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 Post Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:29 pm 
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Presumably, and I'm out on a limb here, it's about Buddhishm being about removing desire of any kind. No desire, no suffering. But again, that's something I heard, or read, somewhere, ages ago.

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     Post Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:09 pm 
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    BLANDCorporatio wrote:
    Presumably, and I'm out on a limb here, it's about Buddhishm being about removing desire of any kind. No desire, no suffering. But again, that's something I heard, or read, somewhere, ages ago.


    Ah. I suppose I can see that. The "desire is suffering" bit is quite often misunderstood, especially by Westerners. Desire is such a loaded word for us. It doesn't mean what we think it means. Suffering is also not translated well. The actual Sanskrit word is "dahka", which has a lot of meaning that doesn't translate well into English.

    The closest, best explanation I've heard is that dahka is like a wheel out of true. You're on a cart and and one wheel is a bit off center. Not a perfect circle. So it makes the cart wobbly. You're not driving the cart, nor do you have the means to repair the wheel. The wheel is going to be out of true and there's nothing you can do about it. That wobbliness is dahka. It's an annoyance that's 'built in'. Annoyance that you will never be rid of. Life is going to be wobbly. That is simply The Way It Is. There's some suffering in life you can never be rid of. That's the First Noble Truth: Suffering exists.

    Desire is referring to the want for the wheel to be straight and true. The wheel is never going to be straight and true. That's just the way it is. Period. The end. Full stop. Wanting that wheel to be straight, wanting life and reality to be something other than What It Is is going to make you suffer. That's the point of the Second Noble Truth: Desire is suffering. There is some suffering that exists and there's nothing we can do about it yes, there's a lot of suffering we can do something about. Wanting that wheel to be straight when it's never going to be that way is going to make you suffer. Desire for reality to be other than What It Is causes suffering.

    The Third Noble Truth talks about the different types of 'false' dahka, the suffering that isn't an intrinsic part of life. It goes into three different categories of suffering. What they are and why our minds create them. Basically, you suffer because you choose to without ever knowing there's a choice. Then you come to the real meat of it. The Fourth Noble Truth says that if our minds created this false dahka, then the mind can also destroy it. If you choose to suffer, then when you realize the suffering is there, you can choose NOT to suffer. Hence, nirvana.

    Buddhism is about seeing reality clearly, without any notions or views or self attached to it. See what is there and nothing else, then accept that reality. That's it. Just See

    That's (at least the Zen) understanding of Buddhism in a nutshell. See and accept reality, really real reality, for what it is.

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     Post Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:22 pm 
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    Housellama wrote:
    The actual Sanskrit word is "dahka"


    *titter*

    But seriously, yeah, that's a rather different explanation than what "desire causes suffering, so remove it" means. I've heard a similar philosophy as the one you described being espoused about the stereotypical Australian, "it is what it is mate, get on with it".

    Hmm. How to get that in five words or fewer* now. "Only change what you can" sounds nicely Yogi Berra-ish but the nuance is still wrong.

    EDIT: gosh darn it.

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     Post Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:51 pm 
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    BLANDCorporatio wrote:
    Housellama wrote:
    The actual Sanskrit word is "dahka"


    *titter*


    Yeah, when I first heard that, I about fell over.

    I think the orcs would approve. Dakka is suffering... for someone else!

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     Post Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:11 am 
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    As long as you don't begin treating problems that are merely very difficult to solve as dahka, I can be on board with that.

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     Post Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:27 pm 
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    drachefly wrote:
    As long as you don't begin treating problems that are merely very difficult to solve as dahka, I can be on board with that.


    If you take Zen to its furthest possible point, it's a religion of inaction. You don't do anything. You simply exist. Usually in a monastery with a bunch of people just like you.

    What I follow is a more practical interpretation. I look at every moment and every problem individually. There's a concept in Zen called no-mind. It means abandoning all the concepts and preconceived ideas of who you are and simply be who you are. You are yourself all the time. You can't help it. It's the nature of things. What gets in the way is the idea of self. Who you think you are or should be. All of that stuff is built in. You don't need the ideas because it's going to happen naturally.

    So I look at every problem in kind of a cost-benefit kind of way. Will tackling this problem result in a better life for me over the long run? If yes, then I'll work toward solving it. If not, if the problem is either too big or not worth it, then I accept the situation as it is and work around it. What is dahka depends on who I am and what the situation is at that moment.

    Part of that is who I am and part of it is zen, so it's not pure zen. But it's the kind of zen that lets you not live in a monastery spending your days sitting.

    Make sense?

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     Post Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:55 pm 
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    Yes.

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     Post Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:11 pm 
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    Housellama wrote:
    There's a concept in Zen called no-mind.
    {snip}
    Make sense?


    Hah, no. But then I'm a pantheist nutter who looks at the Jupiter Red Spot and says (half-jokingly) that it's alive. Half-jokingly.

    Getting back to seriousness, I suspect the "no self" thing is another one of those lost in translation ideas, and may make more sense if explained in detail.
    But whatever the meaning of that turns out to be, I find the Zen-Buddhism as described here to be purposefully passive; and dahka is good for people as it's the wound-up clock that ticks and the burning coal that shines. Peace is for the grave. In the end, to each their own, of course, as what's paid lip-service to is not the same as what is paid done-service to.

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     Post Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:34 pm 
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    This thread sure has deviated from the original topic :I

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     Post Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:16 am 
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    Housellama wrote:
    BLANDCorporatio wrote:
    And presumably, one can argue that "Buddhism is about spiritual castration" is about as accurate as one can be about describing Buddhism in 5 words or fewer*, just like Christianity may be similarly summarized as "accept Jesus or burn forever".


    BLANDCorporatio wrote:
    So yeah whatever, I dunno. A 5-word description might come with certain limits on its scope of accuracy/informativeness.


    I can't even come up with a parallel in Christianity because I have absolutely no idea how he could have reached that conclusion in any kind of logical manner. I can't straw man a position I have no ability to comprehend.


    Eat Jesus or burn forever?

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     Post Posted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:39 am 
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    Housellama wrote:
    The actual Sanskrit word is "dahka", which has a lot of meaning that doesn't translate well into English.

    I've never seen that word transliterated like that before. Since early Buddhist works were written in both Pali and Sanskrit, you may be refering to Pali दुक्ख, dukkha, or Sanskrit दुःख, duhkha. The Pali form is the one that appears in my Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, so it would seem to be the correct English term. Native English speakers need to take care when dealing with Indic languages, since, in English, aspiration is not phonemic. English speakers do not make a distinction between the aspirated voiceless alveolar plosive in take and the unaspirated voiceless alveolar plosive in stick. Students of Ancient Greek may recognize this, since that language made a phonemic distinction amoung voiceless plosives. In Indic languages, however, the distinction is phonemic among both voiceless and voiced plosives, e.g. Hindi kānā 'one-eyed'/khānā 'to eat' or bāt 'thing'/bhāt 'cooked rice.' While the standard transliteration schemes for Indic languages, such as IAST for Sanskrit, use digraphs to represent these phonemes, it is important to think of them as distinct sounds which are represented in native scripts, such as devanagari, with by discrete graphemes. I apologize for this boring detour into the land of phonology.

    Housellama wrote:
    Buddhism is about seeing reality clearly, without any notions or views or self attached to it. See what is there and nothing else, then accept that reality. That's it. Just See

    When you describe it like that, Buddhism sounds alot like nihilism. I'm not trying to make a point; it's just a random thought I wanted to share.

    BLANDCorporatio wrote:
    Hmm. How to get that in five words or fewer* now. "Only change what you can" sounds nicely Yogi Berra-ish but the nuance is still wrong.

    "Don't focus on the immutable," maybe?

    mortissimus wrote:
    Eat Jesus or burn forever?

    That may still apply to Catholics. :P

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     Post Posted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:39 pm 
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    Mrtyuh wrote:
    Housellama wrote:
    The actual Sanskrit word is "dahka", which has a lot of meaning that doesn't translate well into English.

    I've never seen that word transliterated like that before. Since early Buddhist works were written in both Pali and Sanskrit, you may be refering to Pali दुक्ख, dukkha, or Sanskrit दुःख, duhkha.


    *facepalm* I did that last time too. I know the word, but this is the second time I've written it wrong. You're right, it's dukhka. I'm just a huge nerd and get those two confused.

    Mrtyuh wrote:
    Housellama wrote:
    Buddhism is about seeing reality clearly, without any notions or views or self attached to it. See what is there and nothing else, then accept that reality. That's it. Just See

    When you describe it like that, Buddhism sounds alot like nihilism. I'm not trying to make a point; it's just a random thought I wanted to share.


    Nihilism is believing in nothing. Zen believes that only the present moment exists. There is no past and no future, just an ever-changing now. What Zen tries to get rid of is everything that isn't really real in this moment. The mental constructs and false assumptions we make all the time about everything. We all have a bias view. We often live in the future and/or the past, when those things don't actually exist. What exists is right now and nothing else. When you make up stuff about what's going on now, when you live in the past or the future, you're missing the only thing that is actually real.

    Mrtyuh wrote:
    BLANDCorporatio wrote:
    Hmm. How to get that in five words or fewer* now. "Only change what you can" sounds nicely Yogi Berra-ish but the nuance is still wrong.

    "Don't focus on the immutable," maybe?


    "See only what is there". Once you do that, everything else generally takes care of itself.

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     Post Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:03 pm 
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    Housellama wrote:
    Mrtyuh wrote:
    Housellama wrote:
    Buddhism is about seeing reality clearly, without any notions or views or self attached to it. See what is there and nothing else, then accept that reality. That's it. Just See

    When you describe it like that, Buddhism sounds alot like nihilism. I'm not trying to make a point; it's just a random thought I wanted to share.


    Nihilism is believing in nothing.


    I'm glad you brought this up.

    See, the nihilists in the Nihilist Movement did believe in things, a lot of things actually. They just happened not to like and revere the existing institutions like the Tsar, the Church and the stratified society with serfs at the bottom. So in relation to those nihilists, this is as wrong as the description of buddhism that started that turn of this thread. But then again, that groups definition was superceded by a definition that the socitey at large developed and the 19th century Nihilist are not around so much anymore arguing that their definition is actually the proper one, even in the unlikely case that Wanda will end up being dressed like one.

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     Post Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:08 pm 
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    mortissimus wrote:
    Housellama wrote:
    Nihilism is believing in nothing.


    I'm glad you brought this up.

    See, the nihilists in the Nihilist Movement did believe in things, a lot of things actually. They just happened not to like and revere the existing institutions like the Tsar, the Church and the stratified society with serfs at the bottom. So in relation to those nihilists, this is as wrong as the description of buddhism that started that turn of this thread. But then again, that groups definition was superceded by a definition that the socitey at large developed and the 19th century Nihilist are not around so much anymore arguing that their definition is actually the proper one, even in the unlikely case that Wanda will end up being dressed like one.


    Then let me rephrase. Nihilism, as defined in society currently, believes that a certain aspect of reality doesn't exist or have meaning. Most 'popular' references to nihilism refer to existential nihilism, the belief that life is without meaning. Strictly speaking, this doesn't constitute a belief in 'nothing', simply a belief in a lack of meaning.

    Buddhism acknowledges that the thoughts and views exist, but simply states that they are not an inherent part of Reality. They are generated inside the mind of each individual, and since they are 'made' and not part of What Is There, they can be 'unmade'.

    I appreciate the clarification on nihilism. I was working from the popular definition and learned something new today thanks to your comments.

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     Post Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:42 pm 
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    Housellama wrote:
    *facepalm* I did that last time too. I know the word, but this is the second time I've written it wrong. You're right, it's dukkha. I'm just a huge nerd and get those two confused.

    Unfortunately, I've never played Warhammer, so I missed that connection. When I saw dahka, my first thought was Dhaka, the captial of Bangladesh. Anyway, Pali is considered the language of early Buddhism much more than Sanskrit.

    Housellama wrote:
    Nihilism is believing in nothing. Zen believes that only the present moment exists. There is no past and no future, just an ever-changing now. What Zen tries to get rid of is everything that isn't really real in this moment. The mental constructs and false assumptions we make all the time about everything. We all have a bias view. We often live in the future and/or the past, when those things don't actually exist. What exists is right now and nothing else. When you make up stuff about what's going on now, when you live in the past or the future, you're missing the only thing that is actually real.


    Housellama wrote:
    Then let me rephrase. Nihilism, as defined in society currently, believes that a certain aspect of reality doesn't exist or have meaning. Most 'popular' references to nihilism refer to existential nihilism, the belief that life is without meaning. Strictly speaking, this doesn't constitute a belief in 'nothing', simply a belief in a lack of meaning.

    Buddhism acknowledges that the thoughts and views exist, but simply states that they are not an inherent part of Reality. They are generated inside the mind of each individual, and since they are 'made' and not part of What Is There, they can be 'unmade'.

    I appreciate the clarification on nihilism. I was working from the popular definition and learned something new today thanks to your comments.

    I was actually referring to moral nihilism. The basic premise is that most truths people have are not actually true, but instead rationalizations and human constructs. It is about rejecting the lies society tells us and the lies we tell ourselves. It is about cutting through those lies and figuring out what is actually true, without the bias of society's institutions and morals. While I recognize that they are not the same thing, as I said before, when you discribe Buddhism that way, it does sound much like moral nihilism.

    Now, when most people think about a moral nihilist, they picture someone like the Joker from The Dark Knight, but psychopathy isn't an inherent part of it.

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