Author Topic: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods  (Read 9191 times)

Entropic

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Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« on: September 10, 2013, 12:54:12 PM »
Hi guys and thanks for admitting me to the forum. I have no intention of trying to convert anyone however I was affected quite deeply through vipassana at Mr Goenka's feet in a way a way I consider negative.

Just reexamining his teaching I was appalled to recall the complete surrender which I and so many others repeatedly undertook.

Moving on from that I made some blog posts about the whole thing

MOD EDIT LINKS REMOVED

And I also started a thread for discussion at the atheist foundation of Australia.

MOD EDIT LINKS REMOVED

I now have some pretty strong views on the subject. I don't mean to come in here like a Cassandra but anyone doubting Mr Goenka's teaching and technique would probably be interested in joining the discussion.

Regards
Dan
« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 10:22:11 PM by Matthew »

redalert

Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2013, 02:15:06 PM »

I now have some pretty strong views on the subject.

Hi Dan, welcome to the forum.

These beliefs of yours are disturbing you are they not?

Remember: "Whatever you accept you go beyond. That's a miracle. You fight it, you're stuck with it." ET

Quardamon

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2013, 07:39:02 PM »
If the teacher is a video tape, what do you expect the student to be?

Matthew

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2013, 10:18:34 PM »
Hi Dan,

I'm no fan of Goenka (such you'd know if you read the forums) - in fact all the guru stuff troubles me. However your post looks like spam and breaks the forum rules. It is also likely to lead to division within the community.

Rather than spam linking your blog please come back and talk about your experiences here to benefit others.

I've read your discussion on the atheist forum as it happens and don't disagree but what you are doing here I'd not what this place is about. Say what you need to say.

Warmly,

Matthew
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Entropic

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2013, 03:37:26 AM »
Thanks Mattherw, Quardamon, and Redalert

I certainly feel great to find that meditators are taking responsibility for their spiritual lives here on this forum.

Personally I don't think there is any evidence of an historical Buddha but there is certainly evidence of an historical tradition from which we may take what is good, reject what is bad, and make our own contributions.

Regards
Dan

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2013, 04:20:27 AM »
Personally I don't think there is evidence of a historical Socrates or Alexander the Great either given the lack of genetic testing and computerised databases 2000 odd years ago, but seeing as there aren't really any magical claims surrounding them, but instead an ability to measure the product of their supposed existence, I'm willing to take it as a given they existed, not that it matters too much.

This isn't like deism which proports to make magical claims related to the existence of a Jesus or Mohammed.

J0rrit

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2013, 09:59:49 AM »
If I understand your opinion well; it's that of that there is no scientific evidence of meditation (vipassana) being good for the brain? And if I understand you well; you say that all vipassana meditation is nonsense, not only the Goenka-style, right ?

Entropic

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2013, 02:17:47 PM »
No I don't reject all meditation or vipassana. I just had to get rid of the bad taste in my mouth after getting headlong into the Goenka tradition. I reject primitive stone-age dogmatism, claims of supernatural and post death knowledge. Btw to say there is nothing after death is a claim for which there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. But now when i hear somebody claim knowledge of what happens after death (and reincarnation has it that this is all a post death experience), i get running in the other direction.

I look forward to exploring vipassana free from any dogma that there was a single enlightened person who unlocked the secrets of humanity and existence. I think the vipassana tradition may have something useful to which individuals can add and develop so long as it doesn't get hijacked by anyone trying to get people to surrender to them.
We live in the age of science and many of the ancient beliefs of the Buddhist and Hindu, Christian and Muslim mystics can be disposed of as there are now more evidence based theories of how we got here -evolution rather than rebirth, and that we die and don't get reborn in heaven, he'll, paradise earth, or in another body.
Useful aspects of the traditions can be used to advantage in a positive way while useless or harmful aspects can be disposed of.

Entropic

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2013, 02:21:41 PM »
Ps I looked for evidence of an historical Buddha and have yet to see the slightest bit. That is very liberating to me because it means that the traditions are the creations of real men and women and not some enlightened being.

redalert

Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2013, 02:54:05 PM »
Useful aspects of the traditions can be used to advantage in a positive way while useless or harmful aspects can be disposed of.

Is this not what you were taught to do, when Goenka offers this teaching as a plate of yummy food, to accept only what you find palatable?

Matthew

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2013, 03:16:38 PM »
Ps I looked for evidence of an historical Buddha and have yet to see the slightest bit. That is very liberating to me because it means that the traditions are the creations of real men and women and not some enlightened being.

When it comes to historical figures such as Jesus Christ and the Buddha, Shakyamuni Gautama, there is little doubt in my mind that both existed, were real human beings. I cannot see that the marks they left on the world would be so strong if it were otherwise.

My view on the religions that bear their names is somewhat different. Christianity is clearly a highly bastardised version of the teachings of Christ the man. One only has to look at the history of it's development to see this. Additionally the crimes committed over the centuries in his name are well documented: crusades, the deliberate subjugation of traditional wisdom schools such as druids, pagans and 'witches', etc., etc.

With Buddhism too there are clearly many perversions of the core teachings and many versions of Buddhism today would no doubt be shunned or shamed by the Buddha. The core of the teachings though is better preserved than that of Christ. The Pali Canon contains a rich source of personal liberation teachings to explore, and, as the Buddha taught: verify for yourself their truth or otherwise.

Conflating Buddhism with Christianity and other God-believing religions and failing to seek it's truths - or otherwise - for yourself is to fundamentally mistake the meaning of the Buddhist teachings.

There is no need to 'throw the baby out with the bathwater', which you seem to feel a deep rooted desire to do. Investigating this desire and it's roots in your psychology could teach you something real about yourself, and unlike other 'religions' Buddhism offers you practical tools to do just this.

Warmly,

Matthew
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Entropic

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2013, 10:35:31 PM »
Personally I don't think there is evidence of a historical Socrates or Alexander the Great either given the lack of genetic testing and computerised databases 2000 odd years ago, but seeing as there aren't really any magical claims surrounding them, but instead an ability to measure the product of their supposed existence, I'm willing to take it as a given they existed, not that it matters too much.

This isn't like deism which proports to make magical claims related to the existence of a Jesus or Mohammed.

Hi Dharmic Tui

There is a principle in science as well as history and law, that evidence is not proof. In science it is said that any hypotheses can't be proved, they can only be disproved. We are left with hypotheses for which there is supporting evidence, hypotheses without supporting evidence, and hypotheses contradicted by evidence.

There is evidence of an historical Alexander the Great and an historical Socrates, though certainly this is not proof in the absolute sense. However in order to discount this evidence I think would require some rejection of the historical method, or the concoction of some ancient conspiracy to fool us some 2000 + years later.

So why not look for evidence of an historical Buddha and an historical Jesus. Did Jesus really recommend self castration for the sake of the kingdom of heaven? It's there in black and white in most bibles at Matthew 19:12, though it is mistranslated in some modern bibles because it is too shocking otherwise. Look up bible.cc to check on the comparative bibles if you don't believe me.


Parallel Verses

New Living Translation
Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made eunuchs by others, and some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can."

New American Standard Bible
"For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it."

King James Bible
For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it
.
http://biblehub.com/matthew/19-12.htm

Now I put this here because if there really was an historical Jesus then we would have to ask what sort of person would say this and what on earth was he thinking? More likely it represents a particular school of teachings, culture, and society at the time when many children were made eunuchs, and adults made themselves eunuchs, in order to be servants of the king and or of God. Such people were literate.

There can even be contradictory evidence. History, according to the bible geek, a former Christian pastor and current professor of theology, ( RobertMPrice.mindvendor.com) quoting somebody (FCBauer perhaps) is to find out what is probable not what is possible. He looked for evidence of Jesus expecting to find it, but found that there was nothing which could qualify as evidence. So the hypothesis that there was an historical Jesus is for him unsupported by evidence. On the other hand there are alternative explanations for how the various scriptures came into existence, were redacted, some being destroyed and suppressed, others being incorporated in the cannons.

I think the same thing has yet to be done with Buddhism. Commonsense may say that there was a Jesus or a Buddha, because everybody seems to think so, but that's not evidence. Science and history both have to be used to ignore this particular commonsense and look for facts.

Entropic

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2013, 10:43:15 PM »
Ps I looked for evidence of an historical Buddha and have yet to see the slightest bit. That is very liberating to me because it means that the traditions are the creations of real men and women and not some enlightened being.

When it comes to historical figures such as Jesus Christ and the Buddha, Shakyamuni Gautama, there is little doubt in my mind that both existed, were real human beings. I cannot see that the marks they left on the world would be so strong if it were otherwise.

My view on the religions that bear their names is somewhat different. Christianity is clearly a highly bastardised version of the teachings of Christ the man. One only has to look at the history of it's development to see this. Additionally the crimes committed over the centuries in his name are well documented: crusades, the deliberate subjugation of traditional wisdom schools such as druids, pagans and 'witches', etc., etc.

With Buddhism too there are clearly many perversions of the core teachings and many versions of Buddhism today would no doubt be shunned or shamed by the Buddha. The core of the teachings though is better preserved than that of Christ. The Pali Canon contains a rich source of personal liberation teachings to explore, and, as the Buddha taught: verify for yourself their truth or otherwise.

Conflating Buddhism with Christianity and other God-believing religions and failing to seek it's truths - or otherwise - for yourself is to fundamentally mistake the meaning of the Buddhist teachings.

There is no need to 'throw the baby out with the bathwater', which you seem to feel a deep rooted desire to do. Investigating this desire and it's roots in your psychology could teach you something real about yourself, and unlike other 'religions' Buddhism offers you practical tools to do just this.

Warmly,

Matthew

Hi Matthew,
I think you mistake widespread belief in the existence of Buddha and Jesus, as evidence. I have no desire to get rid of Buddha. It's just that I have no reason to believe that he ever existed, and it wouldn't matter if everybody in the world believed it. (though it might then help socially!). I happen to think that there are other explanations for the compilations of the cannons, and teh development of the traditions, through the last several millenia, and also that in some respect Buddhism grows out of the then existing traditions in India from before Buddhism, though in a heterodox rather than orthodox way. But it's not that significantly different - eg reincarnation without a soul rather than with a soul.

I don't think that Buddha is the baby in the bath!  ;) Buddha is in fact the construction of anyone who believes in him, and I might also ask you to consider your own advice and apply it to yourself. You seem to have a deep desire to have a Buddha to give authority to the idea of meditation or vipassana meditation and it's probably worth investigating that desire and it's roots in one's own psychology.

To me it's much more fruitful to consider buddhism and vipassana as a human construct of society rather than any single individual 'enlightened' being.

I warmly invite anybody here to kindly direct me to any evidence that there was an historical buddha.

regards
Dan

PS I don't mean to make any personal attack or ad hominem argument. The Buddha is the doll in the bath for anyone who believes in him and his teachings in my view. Without evidence to support his existence, or indeed to verify anything he is alleged to have said, it's all just competing schools of philosophy appealing to the authority of an alleged authority to whom everything has been revealed. It's a common historical tactic to have Buddha, or Jesus, or Mohammed, say the thing the person wants them to say, in order to give it the authority, the imprimatur, of being beyond normal worldly wisdom.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 11:00:29 PM by Entropic »

Matthew

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2013, 05:22:06 AM »
Dan,

I do not mistake the widespread belief in Jesus or Buddha as evidence they existed. There is widespread belief in God, ghosts and fairies, none of which I believe to be proof they exist and none of which I believe exist.

You miss my point entirely.

The point is that in their day these people, these humans, had such influence that their existential traces are still around, however bastardised the teachings and schools in their names have become. Actually, if you have any grasp of the dynamics of history, the bastardisation is strongly indicative they were real people: people who's truth was so dangerous to the powers that be that they had to be killed, their teachings bastardised or their presence deified - in order to neuter the power of their real teachings.

And please, don't quote the Bible when looking for teachings of Jesus. It's a political document of the failing Roman empire who adopted christianity in a last ditch effort to survive. If you want to understand anything about Christ you are better looking to the gnostic gospels - Thomas is a good place to start.

There are many historical figures who have found the same basic truths through experience, though perhaps expressed differently due to cultural milieu, and usually their followers or some politicos years later distort these truths to materialistic ends.

So please, for your own sake, don't make the mistake of thinking political bastardisations represent the underlying truths: instead why not use your intelligence to try and fathom and then explore the underlying truths - and see how far you can get? That was a core teaching of the Buddha.

It's more profitable to you, and the world, than having pointless arguments about crap in the Bible and what that means about the type of person Jesus must have been, if he said it, which in all likelihood he didn't, because that book was cobbled together centuries after his death for the ends of politics.

Your crusade to kill the (almost certainly) real people who found underlying truths about the human condition is driven by a total misunderstanding and much misinformation about these people, the underlying truths - and the dynamics of history.

And worst of all, it's a waste of your time, frankly.

fyi, the Buddha never taught vipassana meditation, another bastardisation a lot of people need to realise. And yes, I misnamed this forum but that's a long story :D

Warmly,

Matthew

PS you also misunderstand the significance of the radical shift Buddhist teachings were from pre-Hindu Brahmanism. It's rebirth, not reincarnation without a soul (not that I believe in either) but most importantly it taught you were not destined to live the same life again and again: you could change, you were not stuck in the same place in the social order, it was not preordained: a radical political teaching at the time that put at threat the whole social order of the caste system - and also the reason Buddhism later retreated behind the monastery walls: an act of political accommodation that lead to much of the current bastardisation of the teachings.
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Entropic

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2013, 05:57:19 AM »
Matthew,

You reject that anything Jesus said, or didn't say, can't be relied up onto have been accurately transmitted. I agree, only itaketheadditional step of saying that rumours of his existence are also unreliable.
[edit. Sorry what I mean is that you agree that anything these people are reputed to have said can't be certain to be what they actually said.]

Similarly for Buddha. I have no intention of killing Buddha and your language there really surprises me. If I say there is no evidence of a historical Buddha, it might hurt your feelings as a believer, but it can't hurt Buddha, even if he did exist.

What I am getting at is that things like Asoka's edicts are evidence of Asoka's existence and beliefs (though not proof of course), but are certainly not evidence of a Buddha two centuries previous.

Let us assume there was a Buddha or a Jesus. Who is to say what they did or did not say? they become ventriloquists dummies in anybody's hands, yours or mine included, as well as Mr Goenka's.

Ultimately it's all very nice to imagine such a perfect person and dress him up in whatever qualities one admires today, but its just an appeal to authority into wend, an act of idolatry. I say that as an atheist, recognising, I my opinion, that idolatry does exist, whether for YHWH, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Alla, etcetera.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 06:41:15 AM by Entropic »

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2013, 09:35:04 AM »
I think you've totally missed the boat on Buddhism, and are trying to shoehorn it into the same realm as theist beliefs, I can't see the point. Buddhism itself is atheistic, it does not rely on a magical skywizard or any other supernatural entity for it's claims to be valid - the result of following Buddhism in regards to both a meditation practice and a general outlook need to be tested by one's self, and then you can make up your own mind as to the validity of it's claims. There is a large amount of medical and psychological science to support this 2500 year old psychological system.

So yeah, guess the Buddha may not have been a real person, but obviously the whole concept came from someone. Maybe we'll just call them Buddha, not that it really matters. Probably what you're getting confused with is the idolatry that follows the Buddha, which has a largely cultural phenomenon. In many Buddhist nations, the Buddha is revered and it manifests much like Islam or Christianity, a set of moral rules which are tied to an idol figure. Most "Buddhists" in these societies don't undertake a formal meditation practice and those that do often have a large amount of worship in their practice and subscribe to a great deal of superstition that is taken as a given. But then you also get similar behaviour from agnostic or atheist types also about a great many things, nothing is really taken in it's pure form, we add meaning to all which is without meaning, for this is what we do as a species.

Maybe go listen to some Stephen Batchelor dharma talks, he splits out the cultural bias from Buddhism quite nicely:

http://www.audiodharma.org/teacher/12/

He's a bit sterile for me, but I did find his logic trail and historical insight quite useful in encountering supernatural claims of various Buddhist subgroups.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 09:38:28 AM by Dharmic Tui »

Matthew

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2013, 09:51:27 AM »
....
Similarly for Buddha. I have no intention of killing Buddha and your language there really surprises me.
....

That shows how little you know about Buddhism. There is a famous saying 'if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him'.

I was playing with those words Dan.

My feelings are not hurt, it just seems you have a bee in your bonnet about 'no gurus'. Now, in meeting Goenka (well ... in watching twenty something year old DVD recordings of him), I'd say, 'bad luck mate, you picked a bad un', move on.

You don't seem able to move on until you've killed, metaphorically, all gurus past and present.

Kindly,

Matthew
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Entropic

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2013, 10:31:07 AM »
I think you've totally missed the boat on Buddhism, and are trying to shoehorn it into the same realm as theist beliefs, I can't see the point. Buddhism itself is atheistic, it does not rely on a magical skywizard or any other supernatural entity for it's claims to be valid - the result of following Buddhism in regards to both a meditation practice and a general outlook need to be tested by one's self, and then you can make up your own mind as to the validity of it's claims. There is a large amount of medical and psychological science to support this 2500 year old psychological system.

So yeah, guess the Buddha may not have been a real person, but obviously the whole concept came from someone. Maybe we'll just call them Buddha, not that it really matters. Probably what you're getting confused with is the idolatry that follows the Buddha, which has a largely cultural phenomenon. In many Buddhist nations, the Buddha is revered and it manifests much like Islam or Christianity, a set of moral rules which are tied to an idol figure. Most "Buddhists" in these societies don't undertake a formal meditation practice and those that do often have a large amount of worship in their practice and subscribe to a great deal of superstition that is taken as a given. But then you also get similar behaviour from agnostic or atheist types also about a great many things, nothing is really taken in it's pure form, we add meaning to all which is without meaning, for this is what we do as a species.

Maybe go listen to some Stephen Batchelor dharma talks, he splits out the cultural bias from Buddhism quite nicely:

http://www.audiodharma.org/teacher/12/

He's a bit sterile for me, but I did find his logic trail and historical insight quite useful in encountering supernatural claims of various Buddhist subgroups.

No I don't imagine meditators to be so naive as to be worshipping Buddha on their knees. Nevertheless there is a strong appeal to authority in seeking a Buddha to tell one what to do. Realising the fact that there is no historical Buddha, (more accurately no evidence to support the hypothesis of a Buddha) simply frees a person from the dogma of following him. Yes there is good and evil in Buddhism. But realising that Buddhism is a tradition not developed by a single man, but rather by men and women over millennia, is a more realistic way of looking at it, and more fruitful too. I for one have no intention of taking refuge in Buddha, dharma, or sangha. If any refuge is to be taken, it is Eugene from dogmatism. To believe some enlightened being 2500 years ago found the answer to life, the universe, and everything, and spoke it all in 45,000 long and sophisticated discourse over 45 years, that it was all conveniently heard by his secretary Anand, who just happened to have stereo recording hearing and perfectly preserved it all, only to disgorge it to 500 perfectly enlightened and thus incorruptible monks after Buddhas death, who faithfully and perfectly preserved it for three centuries before anyone thought to write it all down, which just happens to coincide with it becoming the religion of the emperor Asoka, ... That's a very very very long bow, without any evidence to support it.

These things were written by competing schools over centuries, if not millennia. The earlier people realise it the sooner they can stop being followers. It may not be easy to question the whole basis of one's adult life by seeking after all to know if there's any evidence this guy existed. But I'd highly recommend the effort.

Buddhism is not atheistic. It relies on the theory of rebirth as you put it, that is the supernatural spiritual journey from one body to the next, either of the person or their karma depending on which school a person belongs to. It's strongly supernatural. That's why people aim to follow what the Buddha taught, and try to work out what he taught, to get access to this supposed wisdom.

Buddhism aims for the deathless, to escape the cycle of rebirth, as was the philosophical belief in those days. I have wondered if it wasn't just achieved by redefining self as not self, soul as non-soul etcetera, while not challenging the then common sense wisdom of rebirth or reincarnation, (depending on your school again).

We can modernise it and bring it into the age of reason, but that would be to go against much of the writings said to be words of the Buddha, as for instance in the Tripitaka. Realising that Buddha is really a pseudonym for later and perhaps earlier writers, gives the modern meditator the freedom and responsibility to think and choose for him and her self.


Entropic

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2013, 10:41:26 AM »
....
Similarly for Buddha. I have no intention of killing Buddha and your language there really surprises me.
....

That shows how little you know about Buddhism. There is a famous saying 'if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him'.

I was playing with those words Dan.

My feelings are not hurt, it just seems you have a bee in your bonnet about 'no gurus'. Now, in meeting Goenka (well ... in watching twenty something year old DVD recordings of him), I'd say, 'bad luck mate, you picked a bad un', move on.

You don't seem able to move on until you've killed, metaphorically, all gurus past and present.

Kindly,

Matthew

Glad to hear it :'( :-*

Thinking back if I wasn't primed for belief in the existence of an historical Buddha I never could have surrendered myself to Mr Goenka. It was the magic word at which I let my guard down. As you say that's my bad luck and time wasted.

guru simply means teacher. mr Goenka set himself up to take the complete surrender of his devotees, advise them that there is in reality no mother, father, son or daughter, and I the same course set himself up as the dharma father (my dear dharma sons and dhama daughters', he says to the servers on the course, an all happy instant family and return to mental infancy for the workers).

I am certainly not against real existing, or formerly existing teachers. But I am against make believe characters such as buddha being used by people to get others to surrender to them.

I still warmly invite any evidence to be presented me of the existence of a real person who was the historical buddha.

Regards
Dan

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2013, 11:42:34 AM »
No I don't imagine meditators to be so naive as to be worshipping Buddha on their knees. Nevertheless there is a strong appeal to authority in seeking a Buddha to tell one what to do. Realising the fact that there is no historical Buddha, (more accurately no evidence to support the hypothesis of a Buddha) simply frees a person from the dogma of following him.
Again, I think you're missing the point. By following the Buddhist method, one does not do it merely because one wishes to follow the Buddha because of some elevated position. That can happen, but the results are not dependent on it.
Yes there is good and evil in Buddhism.
It is debatable there is either.
To believe some enlightened being 2500 years ago found the answer to life, the universe, and everything, and spoke it all in 45,000 long and sophisticated discourse over 45 years, that it was all conveniently heard by his secretary Anand, who just happened to have stereo recording hearing and perfectly preserved it all, only to disgorge it to 500 perfectly enlightened and thus incorruptible monks after Buddhas death, who faithfully and perfectly preserved it for three centuries before anyone thought to write it all down, which just happens to coincide with it becoming the religion of the emperor Asoka, ... That's a very very very long bow, without any evidence to support it. These things were written by competing schools over centuries, if not millennia. The earlier people realise it the sooner they can stop being followers.
But you've just gone and disproved your theory. The fact there such varied schools of Buddhism shows at some point there was a commonality from a single source - even the story you have involving 500 monks and the secretary Anand is not universally accepted. Like any idea or belief, there has to be a genesis.
  Buddhism is not atheistic. It relies on the theory of rebirth as you put it, that is the supernatural spiritual journey from one body to the next, either of the person or their karma depending on which school a person belongs to. It's strongly supernatural.
Couple of pointers:
- Buddhism doesn't rely on a theory of rebirth or a spiritual journey from one body to the next. That is available in some forms of Buddhism, which is no surprise seeing as belief of reincarnation was strong in India at the time of the Buddha (or to help you out, the time Buddhist belief came to be).
- Atheism denies a deity (or deities), whether you want to subscribe to supernatural belief is irrelevant. Buddhism (at least in quite a few forms) does not make claim to any sort of almighty supernatural being involved in the creation or administration of earth and the universe. It just is.
It may not be easy to question the whole basis of one's adult life by seeking after all to know if there's any evidence this guy existed. But I'd highly recommend the effort.
Based on what? What is the advantage of scrutinising whether Buddha actually existed or not? Some sort of fallacious concept that if you purely subscribe to that which can only be objectively verified by the scientific method, one is somehow happier, or more integrated? I mean, you've managed to construct an argument which you feel satisfactorily disproves something (which you haven't really, you're talking to an argument you've constructed, rather than engage the points raised disproving you), then what? You get to live out the western neoliberal dream that individualism shall set us free? That the importance in individual liberty, survival of the fittest and the benefits of a free market consumer society is somehow the way to bliss?

Matthew

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2013, 11:57:12 AM »
....
I am certainly not against real existing, or formerly existing teachers. But I am against make believe characters such as buddha being used by people to get others to surrender to them.
....

That's terrifically judgemental of you. 'make believe' .... Wow.

Do you realise your beliefs are closer to theism than Buddhism? Buddhism says 'this is true but don't believe me because I said it, suck it and see for yourself'

You assume the Buddha to be not a real historical person. Unlike Christ he taught for more than forty years. He left a huge body of semantically consistent teachings.

You have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

At least I accept the possibility he might not be
Quote
(almost certainly) real people

Kindly,

Matthew

PS Ananda was not the Buddhas' secretary, but his chief attendant. There were several thousand Arahants, or enlightened students, of the Buddha when he died and they all committed the teachings to memory in an oral tradition. There were splits in the Sangha before the teachings were written down and I do not believe the Pali canon to be 100% accurate  - as I said, you have to fathom and explore the truth for yourself.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 12:18:45 PM by Matthew »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Entropic

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2013, 04:53:54 AM »
The fact there such varied schools of Buddhism shows at some point there was a commonality from a single source - even the story you have involving 500 monks and the secretary Anand is not universally accepted. Like any idea or belief, there has to be a genesis.

Yes but that doesn't mean that the "single source"  started with a buddha, simply that it started with somebody, or some people. Yes there has to be some genesis, but no that genesis doesn't have to be a buddha.

How long would it take for such a belief to
What if some teacher made up some such stories, and after fifty years of preaching, managed to convert two people to his beliefs. Those two people preach for fifty years before converting two more each. and so on. After 500 years there would be two to the power of ten believers, approximately 1000 believers. After 1000 years there would be a million believers. After 1,500 years there would be a billion believers. After 2000 years there would be a trillion believers, or more accurately there would be saturation belief in the human population.

Buddha was supposed to have lived 2500 years ago. So any story propagated even then would have had ample time to spread through the whole population.

Based on what? What is the advantage of scrutinising whether Buddha actually existed or not? Some sort of fallacious concept that if you purely subscribe to that which can only be objectively verified by the scientific method, one is somehow happier, or more integrated? I mean, you've managed to construct an argument which you feel satisfactorily disproves something (which you haven't really, you're talking to an argument you've constructed, rather than engage the points raised disproving you), then what? You get to live out the western neoliberal dream that individualism shall set us free? That the importance in individual liberty, survival of the fittest and the benefits of a free market consumer society is somehow the way to bliss?

Scrutinising whether Buddha existed is important if you consider what he said or did to be important.

As to whether asking for evidence of Buddha's existence necessarily means retreating into "the western neoliberal dream", well that's a red herring. "Survival of the fittest" - where did I mention that? "benefits of a free market consumer society"  What has that got to do with anything I have said. You have got no idea what my thoughts are on those subjects, and rolling them out here is just trolling.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2013, 05:45:15 AM »
Yes but that doesn't mean that the "single source"  started with a buddha, simply that it started with somebody, or some people. Yes there has to be some genesis, but no that genesis doesn't have to be a buddha.
Sure, but the odds of Buddhism being started by a guy called Buddha are significantly higher than some guy called Bevan. Occam's razor dude.
Scrutinising whether Buddha existed is important if you consider what he said or did to be important.
Scrutinising what he said is the important part. Who it came from is irrelevant.
As to whether asking for evidence of Buddha's existence necessarily means retreating into "the western neoliberal dream", well that's a red herring. "Survival of the fittest" - where did I mention that? "benefits of a free market consumer society"  What has that got to do with anything I have said. You have got no idea what my thoughts are on those subjects, and rolling them out here is just trolling.
That was my invitation for you to roll them out. You recommend scrutinising the existence of Buddha, and pretty much any religious figurehead. At any point have you yourself actually gleamed any sort of coherent understanding or appreciation for life, and how best to live it? Or is your sole purpose just to walking around disproving things. I get the feeling I could rip apart your beliefs easier than a scientologists.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 05:48:49 AM by Dharmic Tui »

Entropic

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2013, 06:57:21 AM »
. At any point have you yourself actually gleamed any sort of coherent understanding or appreciation for life, and how best to live it? Or is your sole purpose just to walking around disproving things. I get the feeling I could rip apart your beliefs easier than a scientologists.

And what beliefs might they be. That's a really pathetic statement. You imagine I have beliefs, that those beliefs are wrong, that you are right, that your arguments against these hypothetical beliefs are so powerful that they prove that I am more stupid than a scientologist.

You've really got tickets on yourself. Grow up.

I have an evidence based belief sufficient for me to make a conscious judgement as to whether I accept it

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Rejecting Mr Goenka's methods
« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2013, 07:19:31 AM »
And what beliefs might they be.
Couldn't say for sure, but given the predictability of your posts, I can hedge a good guess. And not necessarily as stupid as a scientologist (which is a bit of a silly statement anyway, highly intelligent people can believe all sorts of silly things), moreso the logical foundation or practical realities of your beliefs.

Regardless, your poltroonery is going to prevent you from disclosing them, so we can just imagine in the meantime. Enjoy whatever it is you gleam from your internet atheist cult, and all the best.

 

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