Gaining Enlightenment and Becoming a Buddha


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16 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

I want to be clear about my use of the word Buddha.  I mean it as short hand for someone who becomes an Enlightened Master.  If following the Buddhist Path is a practical way to becoming a Buddha, then well and good.  The Path is valid.  If following the Buddhist Path is not a practical way to becoming a Buddha, questions arise.  Is the Path fraudulent?  Are the high level practitioners engaged in self deception?

 

This is different from questioning the existence of a god -- or God -- which may or may not exist.  Which is irrelevant if the deity can not be demonstrated to exist.

 

On reflection, there is another way of looking at Buddhism.  To treat Buddhism as a form of therapy.  To help the Buddhist reduce his suffering.

 

What was in the mind of the original Buddha?  He asked certain basic questions.  What is the nature of suffering?  How can we escape or reduce suffering?

 

If we regard Buddhism as a form of therapy, which does not lead to Enlightenment -- what ever that is -- then there is no deception and the path is valid.  This changes the conversation.  What is Enlightenment and what did Buddha intend for his followers?

 

Or -- Buddhism was intended from the start to be a path to Buddhahood.  In which case we have all the questions about validity.

 

Or -- Buddhism began as simple therapy -- a way of dealing with suffering -- and the Buddha's followers added the mystical elements which I am now questioning.


I don't know.  I'm just raising questions.

 

:whist:           :mellow:

 

Sometimes even asking the questions equals answering them...

In this case I would agree with the "therapeutic" view... anything else seems practically unreachable. 

 

But the intentions of the original Buddha can not be verified any more... :coffee:

 

 

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3 hours ago, RevBogovac said:

 

Sometimes even asking the questions equals answering them...

In this case I would agree with the "therapeutic" view... anything else seems practically unreachable. 

 

But the intentions of the original Buddha can not be verified any more... :coffee:

 

 

 

 

There are a few things we do know about the historic figure. 

 

He was born Prince Siddata Gautama.  The son of a King, he was raised in luxury.  For me, this has the stink of truth.  Then as now, most people don't have the resources to run off on a quest to "find themselves."  As an Indian Prince, he was trained in the Vedas.  The religious literature and traditions of India.

 

In order to go on his quest for Enlightenment, Gautama abandoned his wife and young son.  At the risk of being unfair, I suspect they had their own thoughts about what he owed them as husband and father.  In Buddhist apologetics, this freeing himself from the trap of responsibility, is sometimes compared to the "temptations of Christ".  An obstacle which had to be overcome.  I'm not able to speak for his wife or his son.  They had their own perspectives.

 

I can only speculate on what Buddha intended.  I do have opinions.

 

I doubt that Buddha intended to start a new religion.  I see him as a reformer of the Vedic traditions.

I doubt that Buddha intended to start a professional class of beggar monks.

 

What is it that happens, whenever there is a class of professional clergy?  Simple ideas become complicated -- and the well being of the clergy becomes a priority.  I'm on the edge of being unfair here.  Of course, things change over time.

 

In India, Buddhism was largely absorbed by the Hindu religion.  Buddha himself became an avatar of Vishnu the Preserver, along with Vishnu's other avatars, including Krishna.

 

Everywhere that Buddhism went; China, Japan, Tibet, etc. -- it blended with the local traditions and became distinctive.

 

If Buddha came back, would he recognize modern Buddhism, in any of it's forms?  Would he be pleased over what is being taught and practiced in his name?  I doubt it.  I can't prove anything.  I have my doubts.  For all that, some of the core ideas were really good.  They still ring true.

 

Then again, it seems that much of the modern Buddhist world is being displaced -- by Christianity.

 

:sigh2:

 

:mellow:

 

 

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17 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

There are a few things we do know about the historic figure. 

 

He was born Prince Siddata Gautama.  The son of a King, he was raised in luxury.  For me, this has the stink of truth.  Then as now, most people don't have the resources to run off on a quest to "find themselves."  As an Indian Prince, he was trained in the Vedas.  The religious literature and traditions of India.

 

In order to go on his quest for Enlightenment, Gautama abandoned his wife and young son.  At the risk of being unfair, I suspect they had their own thoughts about what he owed them as husband and father.  In Buddhist apologetics, this freeing himself from the trap of responsibility, is sometimes compared to the "temptations of Christ".  An obstacle which had to be overcome.  I'm not able to speak for his wife or his son.  They had their own perspectives.

 

I can only speculate on what Buddha intended.  I do have opinions.

 

I doubt that Buddha intended to start a new religion.  I see him as a reformer of the Vedic traditions.

I doubt that Buddha intended to start a professional class of beggar monks.

 

What is it that happens, whenever there is a class of professional clergy?  Simple ideas become complicated -- and the well being of the clergy becomes a priority.  I'm on the edge of being unfair here.  Of course, things change over time.

 

In India, Buddhism was largely absorbed by the Hindu religion.  Buddha himself became an avatar of Vishnu the Preserver, along with Vishnu's other avatars, including Krishna.

 

Everywhere that Buddhism went; China, Japan, Tibet, etc. -- it blended with the local traditions and became distinctive.

 

If Buddha came back, would he recognize modern Buddhism, in any of it's forms?  Would he be pleased over what is being taught and practiced in his name?  I doubt it.  I can't prove anything.  I have my doubts.  For all that, some of the core ideas were really good.  They still ring true.

 

Then again, it seems that much of the modern Buddhist world is being displaced -- by Christianity.

 

:sigh2:

 

:mellow:

 

 

 

HmKay, (mostly) fair enough...

But what would be against "cherry picking" some of those "core ideas" for one's own benefit (maybe even pleasure)..?

 

Basically as anyone can do with any philosophy he comes about...

 

 

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33 minutes ago, RevBogovac said:

 

HmKay, (mostly) fair enough...

But what would be against "cherry picking" some of those "core ideas" for one's own benefit (maybe even pleasure)..?

 

Basically as anyone can do with any philosophy he comes about...

 

 

 

 

The ideas I had in mind are

  • Understanding that everything passes
  • Understanding that if we can not release attachments to things that pass, we will suffer
  • The need to release anger and resentment  Anger is a fire.  It burns the one who is angry.
  • The Middle Path of Moderation.

While these ideas and others, form the core of Buddhism (in my opinion),  there is nothing about them which must be Buddhist.  They are simply good ideas which help us be happy.  At least, less miserable.

 

I think these ideas fit in well with Hedonism.           :bye:

  • Letting go of attachments could translate as -- Live for today.  Live in the now.

The Middle Path of Moderation can also be Hedonistic

  • Enjoy life.  Don't let pleasure enslave you.
  • My happiness is important.  The happiness of others is important.
  • Be happy now.  Plan for future happiness.
  • Enjoy your friends.  Enjoy being alone.
  • etc.

:mellow:

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23 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

The ideas I had in mind are

  • Understanding that everything passes
  • Understanding that if we can not release attachments to things that pass, we will suffer
  • The need to release anger and resentment  Anger is a fire.  It burns the one who is angry.
  • The Middle Path of Moderation.

While these ideas and others, form the core of Buddhism (in my opinion),  there is nothing about them which must be Buddhist.  They are simply good ideas which help us be happy.  At least, less miserable.

 

I think these ideas fit in well with Hedonism.           :bye:

  • Letting go of attachments could translate as -- Live for today.  Live in the now.

The Middle Path of Moderation can also be Hedonistic

  • Enjoy life.  Don't let pleasure enslave you.
  • My happiness is important.  The happiness of others is important.
  • Be happy now.  Plan for future happiness.
  • Enjoy your friends.  Enjoy being alone.
  • etc.

:mellow:

 

True, but the funny thing is that these traits/paths are not only available through Buddhism. 

Aristotle - for instance - basically described the same path...

 

Will it make me a Buddha? Probably not (damn hard).

 

Will it help me in everyday live? It does...

I find that journey enjoyable and find meaning in it for both me and my surroundings.

 

Would this world be a "better" place if more people walked that path? 

I think so.

 

Will all these people eventually come to that "divine" state?

Probably not (again... damn hard...).

 

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5 hours ago, RevBogovac said:

 

True, but the funny thing is that these traits/paths are not only available through Buddhism. 

Aristotle - for instance - basically described the same path...

 

Will it make me a Buddha? Probably not (damn hard).

 

Will it help me in everyday live? It does...

I find that journey enjoyable and find meaning in it for both me and my surroundings.

 

Would this world be a "better" place if more people walked that path? 

I think so.

 

Will all these people eventually come to that "divine" state?

Probably not (again... damn hard...).

 

 

 

True, but the funny thing is that these traits/paths are not only available through Buddhism. 

 

Of course.  That is why I related these ideas to Hedonism.  I knew you would understand.     :bye:

 

 

 

Will it make me a Buddha? Probably not (damn hard).

 

Who said that you are not a Buddha?  We have our disagreements, but I see you as a source of wisdom.    :bye:

 

Late to the party mystics -- and history -- have layered ideas like Enlightenment and Buddhahood with complexity.  I'm not at all clear that Buddha intended any of it.

 

:mellow:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

[...] Will it make me a Buddha? Probably not (damn hard).

 

Who said that you are not a Buddha?  We have our disagreements, but I see you as a source of wisdom.    :bye: [...]

 

Thank you for the compliment! 

 

But if that is true, then there must be an awful lot of Buddha's on this planet as there are a lot more enlightened, wise people then me... 

 

Have we then just proven there are a lot of Buddha's and thus the path is valid..?

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16 minutes ago, RevBogovac said:

 

Thank you for the compliment! 

 

But if that is true, then there must be an awful lot of Buddha's on this planet as there are a lot more enlightened, wise people then me... 

 

Have we then just proven there are a lot of Buddha's and thus the path is valid..?

 

 

No.  We have established that there are many paths to Enlightenment.  It follows that there is nothing special about the Buddhist Path.  It also follows that there are many Enlightened Masters, who do not think of themselves as Buddhas, because they have no reason to use that idiom.

 

Consider.  When did Buddha say that his way was the only way?  Or even the best way?  Buddha came up with some great ideas.  Nobody has a monopoly on great ideas.  Or an exclusive right to them.  Isn't that what we concluded?

 

:bye:

 

:mellow:

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11 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

No.  We have established that there are many paths to Enlightenment.  It follows that there is nothing special about the Buddhist Path.  It also follows that there are many Enlightened Masters, who do not think of themselves as Buddhas, because they have no reason to use that idiom.

 

Consider.  When did Buddha say that his way was the only way?  Or even the best way?  Buddha came up with some great ideas.  Nobody has a monopoly on great ideas.  Or an exclusive right to them.  Isn't that what we concluded?

 

:bye:

 

:mellow:

 

 

True, but isn't that "semantics"...? Something along the lines of: all Buddha's are enlightened, but not everyone who's enlightened is a Buddha..?

 

 

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49 minutes ago, RevBogovac said:

 

 

True, but isn't that "semantics"...? Something along the lines of: all Buddha's are enlightened, but not everyone who's enlightened is a Buddha..?

 

 

 

 

It is semantics.  It's also culture.  Buddha.  Christ Consciousness.  Ascended Masters.  Saints.  Different groups and cultures will use different labels for the same thing.  Forgive the comparison.  It's like arguing about whether it's best to be known as Atheist or Agnostic or Freethinker or Secularist or what ever.

 

Sometimes labels matter a lot.  I have discovered that I don't care as much as I used to.

 

:bye:

 

 

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On 2/19/2021 at 12:03 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

It is semantics.  It's also culture.  Buddha.  Christ Consciousness.  Ascended Masters.  Saints.  Different groups and cultures will use different labels for the same thing.  Forgive the comparison.  It's like arguing about whether it's best to be known as Atheist or Agnostic or Freethinker or Secularist or what ever.

 

Sometimes labels matter a lot.  I have discovered that I don't care as much as I used to.

 

:bye:

 

 

 

Caring less and less about those labels... :coffee:

 

Do care about my own pleasure though and making the lives of those important to me more pleasurable... there are some cherries to be picked here.

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4 hours ago, RevBogovac said:

 

Caring less and less about those labels... :coffee:

 

Do care about my own pleasure though and making the lives of those important to me more pleasurable... there are some cherries to be picked here.

 

See?  That's something a man of wisdom would say.     :birgits_giggle:     :clap:

 

:mellow:

 

:bye:

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I thought this was a serious place for discussion - clearly I am wrong.  The immaturity of thought and argument is quite outstanding.  A lot of what has been expressed here is rude, ignorant and prejudiced.  I am not going to waste my time unpicking it all line by line - I would prefer to spend my time having serious discussions.  

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18 minutes ago, Marku said:

I thought this was a serious place for discussion - clearly I am wrong.  The immaturity of thought and argument is quite outstanding.  A lot of what has been expressed here is rude, ignorant and prejudiced.  I am not going to waste my time unpicking it all line by line - I would prefer to spend my time having serious discussions.  

 

 

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.      

 

:grin:

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4 hours ago, Marku said:

I thought this was a serious place for discussion - clearly I am wrong.  The immaturity of thought and argument is quite outstanding.  A lot of what has been expressed here is rude, ignorant and prejudiced.  I am not going to waste my time unpicking it all line by line - I would prefer to spend my time having serious discussions.  

 

:bye:

 

3 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.      

 

:grin:

 

:coffee:

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  • 2 months later...

Sorry to contribute so late to the discussion. I happened to start thinking, what if those who are enlightened are in such state that they aren't aware to share, and that they are so involved within themselves.

I'm not sure if that makes it clearer, as I'm not at present able to make it so. But I hope you got the gist of it.

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3 hours ago, Key said:

Sorry to contribute so late to the discussion. I happened to start thinking, what if those who are enlightened are in such state that they aren't aware to share, and that they are so involved within themselves.

I'm not sure if that makes it clearer, as I'm not at present able to make it so. But I hope you got the gist of it.

 

 

This takes us back to the start.  What does it mean to be in an Enlightened State?  Must the Enlightened being know that he is a Buddha?  Is it the way that others perceive the Buddha?

 

In the mythology of the original Buddha -- which may  or may not have something to do with actual history -- Prince Gautama was on the path to Enlightenment.  After various trials, tribulations, practices, studies, etc. -- he decided that he was ready for the final stage.  He sat himself down under a tree -- which became known as the Bodhi Tree.  He vowed to remain there until he gained Enlightenment.  That is the story as I understand it.

 

At some point, Prince Gautama decided that he had attained his objective, and rose to his feet as Buddha.  So, yes.  He was aware.  Then he spread his teachings.  That means that others saw him as worthy of being followed.

 

What does any of this mean in cultural context?  Gautama was a Hindu Prince in South India.  In the Vedas, the gods are constantly manifesting on Earth as avatars.  The woods are full of enlightened masters who teach as gurus.  It fits a cultural pattern.  I'm not sure what it counts for.  To my understanding, Buddha was a Hindu reformer.  I don't think he was trying to start a new religion.  Indian Buddhism was largely absorbed by Hinduism.  Buddha himself is said to be an avatar of *Vishnu, the Preserver.  Buddha taught that he was only a man, who had found the path to Enlightenment.  Well, that sort of thing happens in religion.  Over time, religion accumulates like layers of sediment.  In time, it becomes stone.

 

What did Buddha mean by Enlightenment?  I think something different than what we understand in the West, today.  Again, look at all those enlightened gurus in modern India.  There are a lot of them.  Some of them have large Western followings.  

 

Here's a hint.  A Zen Buddhist saying.  "Before enlightenment, chop wood.  Carry water.  After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water."

 

Of course, Buddhism in various forms has spread to the West.  I have been greatly influenced by Buddhist thinking.  I find the core ideas helpful.  I am not a Buddhist.

 

:bye:

 

:umbrella:

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The structure of Hinduism is interesting, but not now.

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