Author Topic: Paths and Labels  (Read 2987 times)

Fritz-the-Cat

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Paths and Labels
« on: October 05, 2007, 11:16:38 PM »
On the spiritual side, I have a hard time with labeling my beliefs.  If I had to put a label on, I would say I'm a Gaian believer following a buddhist philosophy.   ???  How's that? 

The above is from my introduction.  I'm posting it here as well for comments outside of the introduction subject. 

I say Gaian because I'm a big fan of the Gaia Theory (at least up to James Lovelock's latest book where he endorses nuclear energy - I'm not so sure I can support that, but that is another matter  :) ).  And I say buddhist philosophy because I have a problem with the last precept of avoiding intoxicants.  I believe there is a wealth of information that can be gleaned from psychedelics as long as they are used in an appropriate set and setting.  I can certainly concur with abstaining from recreational use but I feel that total abstinence is throwing out the baby with the bath water.  So to speak....

So, that's why I can adopt a buddhist philosophy but can't consider myself (or label myself) buddhist.

Blessings!

Fred



Fritz-the-Cat

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Re: Paths and Labels
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2007, 11:44:09 PM »
I guess I ought to elaborate a bit now that I've had a few moments to read over my post and let it digest.   ::)

I can mesh the Gaia Theory with buddhist philosophy quite easily.  Buddhism has a philosophy of impermanence and the gaian view is that the earth is constantly changing and evolving.  What we see today will be different tomorrow or in truth is already different from its origin. 

I really like Thich Nhat Hanh's work when he speaks of a sheet of paper.  Rather than just seeing the paper, if you look closely you can see the tree, the leaves, the sun, the soil, the logger, etc.  That view, that vision just really gripped me when I came across it.  So simple yet so profound. 

And of course I am always finding that the more I learn, the more I realize there is so much more to learn.   ;D

Blessings!

Fred

xRyokenx

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Re: Paths and Labels
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2007, 06:33:09 AM »
I also have my own different beliefs that can't really be classified...  at least not without my putting more thought into them and trying to figure them out...  which I am, but I have a lot of other things on my mind too, school, friends, etc.  Interesting times we live in, lol...  at least we always have something to think about, eh?  ^_^

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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Re: Paths and Labels
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2007, 08:34:44 AM »
On the spiritual side, I have a hard time with labeling my beliefs.  If I had to put a label on, I would say I'm a Gaian believer following a buddhist philosophy.   ???  How's that? 

The above is from my introduction.  I'm posting it here as well for comments outside of the introduction subject. 

I say Gaian because I'm a big fan of the Gaia Theory (at least up to James Lovelock's latest book where he endorses nuclear energy - I'm not so sure I can support that, but that is another matter  :) ).  And I say buddhist philosophy because I have a problem with the last precept of avoiding intoxicants.  I believe there is a wealth of information that can be gleaned from psychedelics as long as they are used in an appropriate set and setting.  I can certainly concur with abstaining from recreational use but I feel that total abstinence is throwing out the baby with the bath water.  So to speak....

So, that's why I can adopt a buddhist philosophy but can't consider myself (or label myself) buddhist.

Blessings!

Fred

Fred,

Thanks for posting this here.

You raise many interesting points. In particular some of them collide at the intersection marking the question "What is Buddhism?" and the question has deeper ramifications than "can one mesh Gaia theory and Buddhism?"

You mentioned Buddhist philosophy. All philosophy, all teachings, all words and texts in Buddhism have but one aspiration: to inspire in the student of the Buddhist path the right view and give them the tools they need to meditate effectively.

Buddhism has many schools and I take a very fundamentalist position. Western mind is full of ideas and thinking. Quiet-mind - a state that is a ground needed for all further meditations to reach full fruition - is the opposite of western mind.

Right view encompasses understanding the purpose of meditation, how to meditate and what to look for so you can validate the findings of the experiment of meditation. Buddhist meditation is a path of deconditioning from the collections of habits, ideas, memories and stories that you call you.

Buddhist meditation is a path to self knowledge and as such it is a DIY religion and not religious in the sense of having any beliefs beyond the belief that sitting changes you in a way that makes you effective and real as a human being.

Specifically, Gaia theory posits the earth as having a living consciousness not all that different to God's as I understand it. We don't talk much about God, heaven, hell or anything else we don't know about by and large as Buddhists. Beliefs are things you do not know about. one thing you can be sure of is they often lead to conflict with others and also to a wandering mind. In this sense Buddhism is a "Gnostic" religion concerned with real knowing.

Westerners are not raised to feel in ownership of themselves but in thrall to history, nation and family, etc. We live in a fast paced world where most of us have to be on our toes and running all day. Our minds are awash with thoughts, ideas and junk placed there by accident, history and our upbringing and "education".

Buddhist meditation is about changing yourself. It is about turning your mind into a tool which serves you instead of being a tiger dragging you around all over the place.

"Being Buddhist" means you meditate in a Buddhist taught tradition. First aim calming the mind. Second aim increasing awareness. Third aim strengthening and flexing the mind. As you follow the path of being a mediator you change. The way you act and react or respond changes. Everything changes. All the time. But as a meditator you slow down enough to be the one in charge of what changes you.

One of the first things we do as Buddhists is start to notice and change our thinking patterns. Not actively so but through becoming more aware of everything, including our thinking.

A couple of years back I ate dinner with a Tibetain master meditator - a Rinpoche (Teacher lit. Precious Jewel) accomplished and recognised in all four schools and leader of the "No walls" movement, called 'Rime' (pron. Rimay) in Tibetain.

I asked him if in one sentance he had to sum up the core of Buddhist teachig what would that sentance be? "Oh that's easy" he said, "that you can change yourself".

My advice is to explore the practical and only side of Buddhism that matters and learn to sit and calm your own mind. Then you will see much more than when its full of ideas and very busy looking everywhere for more :)

In the Dhamma,

TIB

How to:

[youtube]HLcIQEbLyUg[/youtube]

:)
« Last Edit: October 06, 2007, 04:34:07 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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