Author Topic: The Darkness of Buddhism  (Read 883 times)

Offline SGOS

The Darkness of Buddhism
« on: December 01, 2019, 06:51:27 AM »
Something that came out of my participation in counseling years ago was learning about deep introspection.  About that time, I became aware of meditation as it is mentioned in the practice of Buddhism.  You kind of get the impression the Buddhist meditation is a lot like introspection, except that it is on some imaginary higher plane of mysticism, described with associated chants, prayers, incense, and mantras.  That part always sounded like unnecessary dressing to me.  But it does imply a mystic quality that makes practitioners feel they are participating in a spiritual endeavor.  Of course even as a quasi Christian back then I was too nuts and bolts oriented to get involved with another wonky religion.  I was looking for personal growth and self understanding, rather than to bathe in a glorious lake of spiritual love.  It had to be real to me, and consistent with reality.

My experience was that there is a lot of darkness to be found in introspection.  Some of the stuff you find is discomforting, and that is an understatement if there ever was one. I have experienced panic a time or two.  Lay descriptions of Buddhist meditation don't seem to mention this, but I figured it had to be there if it was anything more than myth.  So seeing this article was helpful:



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Incidentally, Sam Harris seems to be getting into this spiritual stuff lately.  Much to my horror, he is sounding like a space cadet.  Well, not quite that bad, but I do have a hard time connecting with what he is talking about.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2019, 06:58:00 AM by SGOS »

Re: The Darkness of Buddhism
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2019, 05:30:27 PM »
Interesting article. I'm not a practitioner of meditation, but anything to do with the brain and cognition are of interest. It's not surprising that some "challenging" states of mind might occur, but I would think they're part of the process, and decrease with practice.
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“Let others pride themselves about how many pages they have written; I'd rather boast about the ones I've read.”
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Offline Baruch

Re: The Darkness of Buddhism
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2019, 06:44:31 PM »
Be your own shrink.  Do it enough, and you become a midget or leprechaun ;-)  People have evil in their souls.  Nirvana, enlightenment, salvation would have no point, if tat weren't true.  How can you face yourself, evil doer?  Can you be honest?  Free of self delusion?

You aren't supposed to do meditation on you own.  Only Western individualists (egomaniacs) do that.  Same thing as practicing medicine without a license.  And mental states can be as bad as taking drugs, depending on how wrapped up in a knot you are.

Those who reject all authority, will never have a guru.  Know-it-alls will never listen to counseling.  Guilty parties will never come clean with themselves or others.  Anti-social types hate monastic life.  So ... if you are really messed up, you won't do meditation properly.

Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you are.  In China today, crazy people still go off into the mountains to be hermits.  Access to "herbs" and rave at the moon without embarrassing questions from passersby.

It is possible to make progress on your own, but only if you do it right.  You can be a pratyekabuddha ... not an arhat, not a bodhisattva.  But if you are on your own, and you don't do it right, then you are just a lune.

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To be an arhat (eventually) you have to submit to external discipline, and build internal discipline on that, but also completely devote yourself to personal nirvana.

To be a bodhisattva (eventually) you also have to submit to external discipline, and build internal discipline on that, but you have to completely devote yourself to universal enlightenment.

A pratyekabuddha has to build internal discipline on his/her own.  And like an arhat, completely devote yourself to personal nirvana.

Of course the New Agers, aren't proper meditators.  They are into their own egos, validation of their false self worth.  Like Hollywood starlets trying to do Kabbalah with just a red thread around their wrist (and probably also taking recreational drugs and many other sins).  Basically, progress is made by facing Last Judgement here and now.

You are supposed to die on the meditation cushion.  To do cremation ground puja like Shiva.  The point of testing isn't to judge you, but so you can get an honest appraisal of your progress.  Schools and sociopaths deny this.  Nobody will pass or fail.  If you refuse to face up to yourself, then in some manner you have failed yourself.

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That is the real thing, here and now.  Not 1000 years ago in a galaxy far far away.  How can you approach introspection without any model?  Without any metaphysics?  Unless you want to fall back on Freud or Jung.  Which you will say is not scientific.  Only brain chemicals and brain drugs are real to you.  What you want is a better high, without the crash that follows.  Hippies in India in the 60s.

And yes, Christians can do this too.  They can find how much shit they are, without the E Asian cultural memes.

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« Last Edit: December 01, 2019, 06:47:28 PM by Baruch »
Zampa xiquihto.  Amo nimitzcuamachilia.
Say it again.  I don't understand you.

Offline Baruch

Re: The Darkness of Buddhism
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2019, 07:07:56 PM »
In Hindu tradition you go thru stages ...

1. Student
2. Householder
3. Forest dweller
4. Recluse

#3 and #4 correspond to early retirement (community) followed by "everyone you knew is dead already" but you are stuck in a nursing home.

One can easily see how naturally idyllic the Chinese retreat looks.  But it gets damn cold and snowy there in Winter.  They aren't that far from Siberia.  And those kids are only partly roughing it, and are a in small group of similar kids, not totally alone.

There is a woman, in Siberia, who was a hermit on her own for 70 years.  That is roughing it.  Definitely not the marrying or child rearing type.

I am hoping, once I have fully transitioned to retirement, to deliberately make a complete catharsis psychologically.

But in the midst of secular community, not as a hermit at the top of a sandstone pinnacle in Monument Valley.
Zampa xiquihto.  Amo nimitzcuamachilia.
Say it again.  I don't understand you.

Re: The Darkness of Buddhism
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2020, 06:08:22 PM »
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In Hindu tradition you go thru stages ...

1. Student
2. Householder
3. Forest dweller
4. Recluse


Did you list these stages in any particular order? Because it seems that I might have gone through them backwards. Oops.



Offline Baruch

Re: The Darkness of Buddhism
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2020, 07:24:24 PM »
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Did you list these stages in any particular order? Because it seems that I might have gone through them backwards. Oops.

Welcome back!  Live long and prosper!

That is the order they have in Hinduism.  Of course Buddha violated that order.  He went straight from #2 shortly after marriage, then thru #3 while mendicant, then #4 after defeating Maya.  A quick learner.

Finding Your Religion by Rev Scotty McClennan lists more than 4 stages.  He explains that depending on how "old" your soul is, your mileage may vary.  It took me 63 years to get to Stage 3 of Hinduism.  But I have been at the mystic level from age 56 (went thru the gateless gate).
Zampa xiquihto.  Amo nimitzcuamachilia.
Say it again.  I don't understand you.

Re: The Darkness of Buddhism
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2020, 03:29:45 PM »
I'm not what Baruch would call "a proper meditator." I sit for 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation daily mainly because it helps me be more attuned to the present moment, more responsive than reactive to thoughts, emotions and sensations, and because it provides some insight into how my brain works. I'm not trying to become enlightened or induce an ecstatic experience (in my opinion, if you want a sense of depersonalization and oneness with the cosmos, psychedelics are much more efficient). I confess I'm one of those horrible Americans who incorporate what they find personally useful from religions and philosophies and ignore the rest. I learned more about Buddhism last year while studying meditation and found it very interesting but I don't know enough to say there is a dark side. I will say that I'm skeptical of the concept that suffering is without meaning and useless to the human condition and that non-attachment is a panacea.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2020, 05:49:04 PM by GSOgymrat »
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Offline Baruch

Re: The Darkness of Buddhism
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2020, 05:13:41 PM »
I used Buddhism as an example, but I am not a Buddhist.
Zampa xiquihto.  Amo nimitzcuamachilia.
Say it again.  I don't understand you.

Re: The Darkness of Buddhism
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2020, 05:50:27 PM »
Baruch's not a Buddhist, he just plays one on the internet...


:-P
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“Let others pride themselves about how many pages they have written; I'd rather boast about the ones I've read.”
― Jorge Luis Borges

Offline Baruch

Re: The Darkness of Buddhism
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2020, 12:18:28 AM »
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Baruch's not a Buddhist, he just plays one on the internet...


:-P

I slept overnight at a Holiday Inn Express in Tibet ;-)
Zampa xiquihto.  Amo nimitzcuamachilia.
Say it again.  I don't understand you.

 

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