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Messages - Chaz

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Open Discussion / Re: Cultural Baggage
« on: February 28, 2021, 11:52:43 PM »
Long divergent groups with wholly different foundational understandings using language to transmit what took millennia to form and practiced in some way or another as cultural behavior and expressed or veiled under many different heritages....Sometimes its just a wonder we can speak to one another.

Yes it is, but is we are to understand what others are trying to say, we must not only understand thee actual language we have to understand the culture as well.  They go hand-in-hand.

For example, When Tibetan teachers talk about meditation, they often use the word "Gom" - their word for "meditation".  The word actually means "become familiar".  This is important and interesting as it shows how the culture relates to the activity/practice.  In the west most people often think of something like navel-gazing when we talk about meditation.  When a Tibetan meditation master teaches "meditation" he teaching somehing quite different that.  Unless we make an effort to look into the cultural underpinnings of a people, we are less likely to understand them.  It's important and not something we should be so careless to discard.

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Open Discussion / The Application of Mindfulness of the Sacred Dharma
« on: February 16, 2021, 08:38:43 PM »
 From BuddhistDoor:

Quote
On the occasion of the Lunar New Year, the global nonprofit 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha is announcing publication of a new translation of an important sūtra known as The Application of Mindfulness of the Sacred Dharma. This scripture, one of the longest texts of the Tibetan Buddhist Canon, has never before been made fully available in English.

https://read.84000.co/translation/toh287.html

This looks real interesting.


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Open Discussion / Re: Losar
« on: February 13, 2021, 12:20:51 AM »
Great, just don't put a giant yak head on it!

On a serious note, I am thinking that this is a good occasion to practice the perfection of generosity.  Often donations to temples and monasteries are given on Losar and help support Dharma work for the coming year.  It is nice being able to dedicate that!

No Yak head.  Yes, Gibbon-la.

As I understand it, Losar is among the most auspicious of days in the calendar.  The merit of all practice is multiplied.  So, yes, it's a great occasion for perfection of generosity.

Offerings, practice, hanging prayer flags, sutra recitation are all excellent.  In the kagyu, activities include burning green juniper bows.  Leaving offerings for Hungy Ghosts and so on

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Open Discussion / Re: Losar
« on: February 12, 2021, 10:39:05 PM »
Happy Tibetan New Year, year of the Iron Ox!

Gods, it is Losar, isn't it?  Well Tashi Delek!

Shoulda taken the day off and dusted off the shrine :-)

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Open Discussion / Re: Cultural Baggage
« on: February 11, 2021, 07:51:20 PM »
What would be some examples of that?

I'll take a stab at that ...

Using Tibetan Buddhism (TB) as an example, people often point to the cultural trappings of TB as "baggage".  This includes, but isn't limited to, iconography, ritual, dress, and doctrine such as karma and rebirth.  Baggage, in the English language used in this context, is always negative.  The term "Cultural Baggage" is seldom if ever neutral.

It occurs to me that such thinking is, in large part, ethnocentric - the baggage is directly and negatively related to a particular culture.  It's not solely that the baggage is in some way unacceptable, the cultural source of the so-called baggage is perhaps the larger issue. 

Wouldn't this ethnocentricity be cultural baggage as well?

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Open Discussion / Cultural Baggage
« on: February 10, 2021, 08:00:51 PM »
People sometimes express a certain displeasure with the "cultural baggage" they see in Buddhism today.  This is often directed towards Tibetan Buddhism. 

It's certainly true that there are a lot of culturally relevant trappings associated with those traditions and lineages.  Is this really "baggage", or rather a way to ethnocentricly describe the cultural context in which TB is presented?

Additionally, wouldn't these assertions of "baggage" acctually have roots in cultural baggage as well?

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Theravada / Re: Reposting the Metta Sutta
« on: January 21, 2021, 09:15:04 PM »
Thanx!

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Open Discussion / Re: This time of year .....
« on: January 10, 2021, 04:56:32 PM »
I look forward to decorating the Buddhamas tree a few hundred years from today!

Me too.

My old sangha in CO had a new members reception in mid December.  This party was held in the shrine room.  The room was decorated with a Christmas/Chanuka theme along with all the Buddhsit adornments.

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Open Discussion / Re: This time of year .....
« on: January 07, 2021, 12:46:32 AM »

This is why eastern and western christianity differ.  This is why they are in some ways the same.  The same is said for Buddhism.  As Buddhism spread it encountered new cultures and was adapted by those cultures.  Sometimes Buddhism prevailed, sometimes not.


But what does it mean, sometimes Buddhism prevailed, sometimes not?  There are only two scenarios -- one where Dharma is transmitted and when it isn't.  In case of successful transmission, it does not matter what it looks like.  What matters is whether a realization into the ultimate nature of reality is achieved or not.  Someone once asked my old Guru if Jesus was a Buddha, and he said that he might have been one and it was impossible to determine based on the mode of transmission.

The other case is when it certainly looks like Buddhism, but it's only the outer trappings and the essence is not there any more.  We have all met people who have that ultra-Buddhist look, covered in layers of maroon clothing, jingling their malas, hanging around Lamas, talking much profound stuff.   They absolutely reek of Buddhism, but is it real or just an ego trip?  So it may look like Buddhism has prevailed, while, in reality, the Dharma has become corrupted and is now gone.

What I'm thinking about is more a matter of milieu.  For example, In the 8th-9th centuries, Nestorian Christian missionaries arrived in Tibet.  Their impact wasn't great.  It wasn't a matter of the gospel not being presented properly.  It was more likely Christianity didn't take hold and exert cultural influence, because it didn't really fit, culturally.  Padmasambhava arrived there about that same time and had a much bigger impact, probably because there was already a Buddhist presence and the similarity to Bon.

Here in the west, Buddhism has no concentrated cultural presence with multiple traditions and schools.  Also, the west has centuries of revealed religion instilled in the culture.  Buddhism just doesn't fit well.  That's not to say Buddhism won't have an influence, but whatever it is, it will most likely be absorbed into a largely Christian culture rather rather that supplanting it.

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Meditation / Headspace Guide To Meditation
« on: January 03, 2021, 10:22:35 PM »
I started watching a new Netflix series, Headspace  Guide To Meditation.  It's a 8-part series presented by a fellow named Andy Puddicombe.

It's good.

I've watched the first episode.  It's made up, mostly, of what I would call basic Shamatha/Vipassanna instruction.  From what I gather, the rest of the episodes will follow basic Mindfullness practice in a largely secular setting.  I'll finish the series.  Should be good.

I can whole-heartedly recommend.  If you have Netflix, definitely check it out.  Or, get a 7-day netflix trial and binge.

11
Open Discussion / This time of year .....
« on: December 27, 2020, 07:14:58 PM »
This time of year always give me pause to consider the elements that have gone into present day religion and how such processes may affect western Buddhism in the future.

Lets take the most obvious - Christmas.  As a Christian holidayit has elements of Germanic Yule, Latin Saturnalia and Celitc Solstice observances along with traditional Christian tradition.  You could, if you wanted, throw Mithraism and Egyptian mythos into the mix.

The process by which this happened was first described to me as Purposive Evolution.  Simply put, this is a status quo, like Germanic religions, encounters a revolutionaryforce in Christianity.  Conflict arises.  The result is something new arises, containing elements of both the status quo and the revolutionary. 

This is why eastern and western christianity differ.  This is why they are in some ways the same.  The same is said for Buddhism.  As Buddhism spread it encountered new cultures and was adapted by those cultures.  Sometimes Buddhism prevailed, sometimes not.

This makes defining "pure" religions difficult because they are all have strong cultural influences and all the a]way back.  Like Christianity.  Christianity has Judaism as it's basis. Judaism contains elements of Mesopotamian and Egyptian mythology.  The same goes for whatever flavor of Buddhism you care to name.

You often see discussions about the future of western Buddhism.  These commonly about what people think should be added or subtractedas if there could be a collectively conscious decision to make.  It doesn't work that way.  Like the Chridtmas tree.  This tradition is about as non-Christion as it gets, yet there is is in Chistian homes world-wide.  There was no meeting to add that to Chritian tradition, it just worked its way in.  Why?  Because it worked.  Tibetan Buddhism is a fusion of Bon and Tantric Buddhism.

Sadly, none of us will live long enough to seewhat Western Buddhism will be, but it's still fun to speculate.

Personally I thing Buddhism in the west will begin with a fusion with monastic/contemplative Chistianity.

Your thoughts?

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Open Discussion / Re: Fear, Attatchment, and Suffering
« on: December 17, 2020, 01:40:19 AM »
I've been meaning to reply for a while, sorry it took so long.  Yes, even the best relationship between mother and child (no emotional or health issues ever) will lead to suffering.  That is because it will end. 

Why?  Because all conditioned things are impermanent.  So when they fall apart, as they will, it will lead to suffering.  There are no exceptions from the law of dependent origination. 

Also, karma is very complex.  We choose our parents much more than our parents choose us and there will be deep entanglements and issues right there.   But liberation is real and also the prospect of helping our present parents and all sentient beings, who have also been our parents, in a meaningful way.

Well said!

One reason I satrted this is because the question of suffering, as M&B putit,  is not uncommon.  People often ask how suffering can be explained in the case of love.  "How can love be suffering?"  they ask.  Well, anyone who's ever been in love has experniced things that time and wisdom  can reveal the truth of suffering.  You experience it, but it takes a new way of perception to realize the truth of it.

Even then, suffering continues for all the same reasons.  We fall in love.  It can't be helped.  It's how humans are.  There is no switch we can we can flip.  You simply can't turn off love.  You van suppress it to a point, but that'ssuffering, too.

All we can do is realize the truth and it's cause and take the path to cessation.

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Open Discussion / Re: Fear, Attatchment, and Suffering
« on: December 16, 2020, 04:56:18 PM »
you know, i didn't even want to look at some of the responses to some of the more passionate and angry things i said on here, but im just totally unsurprised. You just erase things when you don't like it. That doesn't make this a more moral or Buddhist forum by the way, to have fewer and fewer content. It just reflects existing conventions, something that monastic buddhists understandably don't have much of a problem with.

Anyways,
peace and love from a former buddhist.

You're perilously close to breaking rule 5 and another time out.

I delete posts that should be deleted.

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Open Discussion / Fear, Attatchment, and Suffering
« on: November 21, 2020, 01:04:18 AM »
M&B posted something that bears discussion on it's own.

Quote
so am I supposed to believe an attachment believe an infant and a mother always without a doubt leads to suffering?

I'm reading "believe" as "between".

The answer to that is unequivocally, yes.

My guru gave a teaching where he said the fear was the cause of suffering.  Where are afraid the good things will go away and bad things will stay.  so we become attached to that.  Thus there is suffering.

A mother, naturally fears for her child.  She is afraid that her child will get sick.  The child will die.  Leave her.  Not love her.  This cause the mother to cling to the chaild in the forlorn hope that the changes she fears will not come to pass.  That is suffering.  The mother isn't bad for feeling the way she does.  The suffering she experiences isn't bad either.  Just the same it is attachment and it is suffering.

I have an example.  about 50 years ago something happened with/to me that caused my mother such anguish and fear for my well-being that she had a breakdown and ended up in the hospital.  Wht she was feeling wasn't bad, and quite understandable, but it she was suffering on my account.  It was so bad that the family never really recovered from it and  that's on me.  A lot of suffering from a lot of love. 

That's an extreme case, but event the natural care and love a mother will have for her child, will be suffering.  It's inescapable.

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Danger Zone / Re: east and west
« on: November 21, 2020, 12:42:37 AM »
You are sanctimonious, i didn't force you to respond to the topic, you went ahead and did it anyway because you clearly thought you were helping me or something. There's nothing wrong with leaving your forum blank until better content comes along.

You clearly haven't learned anything. Obviously not everyone in SC likes NASCAR, I'm so %^&*ing tired of other peoples dumb as hell generalizations, it's a nightmare, %^&* you. I'm tired of hearing one type of person say "the welfare cheats ruin everything! the immigrants steal!", and then the other person say "america is white supremacist! white supremacists are ruining democracy!".

I also don't fully rely on other people's generalizations...but that's part of being a human, is you rely on information that other people give you, I can't make them out of thin air unless I'm either lying or writing stories. I find very questionable the idea that "attachment leads to suffering", so am I supposed to believe an attachment believe an infant and a mother always without a doubt leads to suffering? Seems like a lot of people don't want to question ancient religious ideas. But what would buddhism be if they did?

All sanghas seem to either want you to torture yourself or lie to you, so what's the point? I don't see why more people don't practice meditation alone and fully divorce it from hindu spirituality and buddhism (there's very little difference between the two...). I wanted to put this in a much shorter message but your programming clearly still doesn't %^&*ing work. It would have taken you much less time and effort to tell me what a TOS is...

Dude, what are you going on about?  Somebody pee in your Wheaties this morning or something?

Now, I'm gonna let the "!@#$ You" slide.  Just this once.  But for the record ......

I'm not sanctimonious.

You're the one who presumed to say I lived in a rural area, my best guess why being that you apparently assume that SC is entirely rural.  You're also the one made the generalization that people down here are "rednecks".

I didn't write the 4NT, ok?  If you don't like the idea that attachment is suffering, that's fine, but it is what Buddhism teaches.

You can meditate all you like and completely divorce yourself from the Dharmic Religion part.  That's fine, too.

I understand if you've had some trouble with other Sanghas.  I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do about that.

You are also the one who put this topic in the DZ.  What did you expect.

You also posted a topic that quite honestly would be difficult to impossible to discuss here.  I'm sorry but I can't helpt that, either.

So what's the !@#$ing problem?

Oh, and TOS means Terms of Service

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