Author Topic: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)  (Read 4503 times)

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Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« on: June 05, 2016, 01:16:27 PM »
I recently came across Greek Philosopher named Pyrrho who may have come into contact with early Buddhism. I stitched the following quote and article from a couple of internet sources I found. Links to the sources are provided at the end of the article. Enjoy!

Quote

"By suspending judgment, by confining oneself to phenomena or objects as they appear, and by asserting nothing definite as to how they really are, one can escape the perplexities of life and attain an imperturbable peace of mind".

Pyrrho was a Greek philosopher from Elis, and founder of the Greek school of skepticism. In his youth he practiced the art of painting, but passed over this for philosophy. He studied the writings of Democritus, became a disciple of Bryson, the son of Stilpo, and later a disciple of Anaxarchus. He took part in the Indian expedition of Alexander the Great, and met with philosophers of the Indus region. Back in Greece he was frustrated with the assertions of the Dogmatists (those who claimed to possess knowledge), and founded a new school in which he taught fallibilism, namely that every object of human knowledge involves uncertainty.

Pyrrho left no writings, and we owe our knowledge of his thoughts to his disciple Timon of Phlius. His philosophy, in common with all post-Aristotelian systems, is purely practical in its outlook. Skepticism is not posited on account of its speculative interest, but only because Pyrrho sees in it the road to happiness, and the escape from the calamities of life. The proper course of the sage, said Pyrrho, is to ask himself three questions. Firstly we must ask what things are and how they are constituted. Secondly, we ask how we are related to these things. Thirdly, we ask what ought to be our attitude towards them. As to what things are, we can only answer that we know nothing. We only know how things appear to us, but of their inner substance we are ignorant. The same thing appears differently to different people, and therefore it is impossible to know which opinion is right. The diversity of opinion among the wise, as well as among the vulgar, proves this. To every assertion the contradictory assertion can be opposed with equally good grounds, and whatever my opinion, the contrary opinion is believed by somebody else who is quite as clever and competent to judge as I am. Opinion we may have, but certainty and knowledge are impossible. Hence our attitude to things (the third question), ought to be complete suspense of judgment. We can be certain of nothing, not even of the most trivial assertions. Therefore we ought never to make any positive statements on any subject. And the Pyrrhonists were careful to import an element of doubt even into the most trifling assertions which they might make in the course of their daily life. They did not say, "it is so," but "it seems so," or "it appears so to me." Every observation would be prefixed with a "perhaps," or "it may be."

This absence of certainty applies as much to practical as to theoretical matters. Nothing is in itself true or false. It only appears so. In the same way, nothing is in itself good or evil. It is only opinion, custom, law, which makes it so. When the sage realizes this, he will cease to prefer one course of action to another, and the result will be apathy (ataraxia). All action is the result of preference, and preference is the belief that one thing is better than another. If I go to the north, it is because, for one reason or another, I believe that it is better than going to the south. Suppress this belief, learn that the one is not in reality better than the other, but only appears so, and one would go in no direction at all. Complete suppression of opinion would mean complete suppression of action, and it was at this that Pyrrho aimed. To have no opinions was the skeptical maxim, because in practice it meant apathy, total quietism. All action is founded on belief, and all belief is delusion, hence the absence of all activity is the ideal of the sage. In this apathy he will renounce all desires, for desire is the opinion that one thing is better than another. He will live in complete repose, in undisturbed tranquillity of soul, free from all delusions. Unhappiness is the result of not attaining what one desires, or of losing it when attained. The wise person, being free from desires, is free from unhappiness. He knows that, though people struggle and fight for what they desire, vainly supposing some things better than others, such activity is but a futile struggle about nothing, for all things are equally indifferent, and nothing matters. Between health and sickness, life and death, difference there is none. Yet insofar as we are compelled to act, we will follow probability, opinion, custom, and law, but without any belief in the essential validity or truth of these criteria.


http://www.enkivillage.com/famous-greek-philosophers.html
www.iep.utm.edu/pyrrho/
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rogp99

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2016, 03:39:26 PM »
From a certain perspective (well...) yes, there is no such thing as right and wrong, black and white, etc. because everything has shown their own nature to us. (something from Kant here). However in the N8P there are basically 8 Correct Paths so a gazillion incorrect paths exist, right?
« Last Edit: June 05, 2016, 03:41:06 PM by rogp99 »

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2016, 05:42:18 PM »
It is your opinion that eight-fold path is the right path. And therefore you judge all other paths must be incorrect. Then you get attached to eightfold path. When others disagree or express opinion to the contrary, you have a problem and suffering follows.

Jiddu Krishnamurti said that truth is a pathless land and he criticized Buddhist monks spending decades meditating in the forest as a waste of time. That is his opinion.

So, what is the right path? The path that makes sense to you at this point in time. So, do not quarrel with Muslim or Christian that eightfold path is the right path. Their path makes sense to them at this point in time.

Although I address you, I don't mean you. I am speaking in general terms. This is my opinion at the moment.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2016, 05:47:22 PM by Middleway »
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Frightful

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2016, 09:40:05 PM »
This thread reminds me of many concepts from indigenous tribes, more specifically those native to the Americas, that I've read about before.  One example comes from Native American storytelling, where it is customary to include as a prelude "...at least this is the way I remember it..."  or  "....at least this was the way it was relayed to me....".

Additionally, a good passage from Dan Everett's "Don't Sleep there are Snakes" about his failed efforts to convert the Piraha natives of South America to Christianity:

"Is it possible to live a life without the crutches of religion and truth? The Pirahas do so live. They share some of our concerns, of course, since many of our concerns derive from our biology, independent of our culture (our cultures attribute meanings to otherwise ineffable, but no less real, concerns). But they live most of their lives outside these concerns because they have independently discovered the usefulness of living one day at a time. The Pirahas simply make the immediate their focus of concentration, and thereby, at a single stroke, they eliminate huge sources of worry, fear, and despair that plague so many of us in Western societies. They have no craving for truth as a transcendental reality. Indeed, the concept has no place in their values. Truth to the Pirahas is catching a fish, rowing a canoe, laughing with your children, loving your brother, dying of malaria. Does this make them more primitive?

Many anthropologists have suggested so, which is why they are so concerned about finding out the Pirahas' notions about God, the world, and creation. But there is an interesting alternative way to think about things. Perhaps it is the presence of these concerns that makes a culture more primitive, and their absence that renders a culture more sophisticated. If that is true, the Pirahas arc a very sophisticated people. Does this sound far-fetched? Let's ask ourselves if it is more sophisticated to look at the universe with worry, concern, and a belief that we can understand it all, or to enjoy life as it comes, recognizing the likely futility of looking for truth or God?

The Pirahas have built their culture around what is useful to their survival. They don't worry about what they don't know, nor do they think they can or do know it all. Likewise, they do not crave the products of others' knowledge or solutions. Their views, not so much as I summarize them dryly here, but as they are lived out in the Pirahas daily lives, have been extremely helpful to me and persuasive as I have looked at my own life and the beliefs that I held, many of them without warrant. Much of what I am today, including my nontheistic view of the world, I owe at least in part to the Pirahas."

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2016, 02:33:07 AM »
"Is it possible to live a life without the crutches of religion and truth? The Pirahas do so live. They share some of our concerns, of course, since many of our concerns derive from our biology, independent of our culture (our cultures attribute meanings to otherwise ineffable, but no less real, concerns). But they live most of their lives outside these concerns because they have independently discovered the usefulness of living one day at a time. The Pirahas simply make the immediate their focus of concentration, and thereby, at a single stroke, they eliminate huge sources of worry, fear, and despair that plague so many of us in Western societies. They have no craving for truth as a transcendental reality. Indeed, the concept has no place in their values. Truth to the Pirahas is catching a fish, rowing a canoe, laughing with your children, loving your brother, dying of malaria. Does this make them more primitive?

I guess it depends on how one measure primitiveness. If they did not have airplanes, satellites, and iPhone 6 etc. is the criteria, then yes. From the human evolution perspective, the brains of our ancestors 6000-10,000 years ago were fully developed and I think there may not be any significant difference to human brains today. If that is the case, with less desires or worries back then, there should have been more enlightened people on a per capita basis. They must have simply abided in stillness of mind and did not make a big deal of it.  From that point of view, they could have been more sophisticated. 

In Buddhas time, there were 500 enlightened people in a small geographical area. Now, with 7.4B people, you would think there would more enlightened people. Obviously that is not the case. Perhaps, we lost that ability to abide in still mind and now we are all craving for it.
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Attachless

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2016, 11:12:39 AM »
From a certain perspective (well...) yes, there is no such thing as right and wrong, black and white, etc. because everything has shown their own nature to us. (something from Kant here). However in the N8P there are basically 8 Correct Paths so a gazillion incorrect paths exist, right?


Let me give an example of what this means to me, what I thought of when I read your comment. I see it this way:

There are basic principles. Let`s say some of the principles are: Look straight, don`t turn back, look at your feet, where you are walking, soak up the environment, make right decisions based on your destination and your current situation/environment, befriend fellow travelers but don`t attach to them because you`re still on your journey, always think you can succeed.

See, let`s say we have these 8 principles. Let`s say there are many people following them. They will call it a path instead. It`s a path now! It`s not even principles, it`s a path. But let`s call them principles. These principles now are APPLIED to your path, which is your very lifely experience. No one the frik knows where you are going, what you are experiencing, but you can take these principles, you can call them "your path", but your path won`t be these principles. Your path will be that which these principles are applied to, which will be your experience, your life, which -is- your path.

In this sense, the buddhas path is not your path, nor is your path "the path of the Buddha". They way of the Buddha is like the footprints a bird is leaving - there are none! NONE at all! So is it for every human being. So whoever thinks he is "following some path" is wrong, because all they are doing is following/creating their own path - eventually following principles given by people who walked their path (to success according to some given factors), and one wants that for oneself also.

So whether you choose "this path" or not doesn`t matter, it won`t be the same path as someone else who chooses the same principles. You`ll be walking two different paths. For 7 billion people there come 7 billion paths, different challenges, decisions one can make, insights one can have - and yet we may share them all to some extent - EVEN beyond NOT sharing the same principles, or walking even "different" paths. Because, tbh, people from different "paths" (in the way you described it) come to the same conclusions, share the same difficulties, etc.

Me being compassionate, concentrated etc. may be the buddhas path, but it`s also Jesus path, it`s a philosophers path, it`s a mothers path. Because these are principles on how to walk´- and not on the walk itself, not the path itself.

That`s how I see it, and it leaves room for everyone to live as they want, neither being right or wrong. It`s like saying "one is following the right path and others are not", basing your judgement on "right" on the outcome "freedom, enlightenment, end of suffering,  end of rebirth" - not seeing how you CREATED what is "right" all on your own. "Right" right there is your own mental creation based on your desires, on what you attent to achieve, attain - or on what you try to avoid (either in life or afterlife - e.g. Buddhism suffering, in Christianity avoiding hell/damnation, hence turning "this" into "right" and something else into "wrong").

So let`s think of how we create that thing called "right" in the first place, before judging anything to be the "right path" and stuff :-)

Ps: What a beatufil anecdote of the Pirahas! Taken right to the heart, very appreciated :-)
« Last Edit: June 06, 2016, 11:16:07 AM by Attachless »
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rogp99

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2016, 04:24:08 PM »
Well, you're talking about "ultimate truth" (paramattha). I'd stick with my raft.

But you have a point about not disparagingly judging other ways though.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2016, 04:28:24 PM by rogp99 »

Frightful

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2016, 06:16:46 PM »
I find this a fascinating thread.  I've generally held the view that, although not *all* primitive-type cultures have/had a more direct conduit to what meditation is seeking, some of the cultures nevertheless may be characterized as a "living meditation"....their whole existence being wrapped up in the here-and-now and immediacy of experience.  It is further interesting that Pyrrho left no writings, presumably in a time when writing had become the vogue.  Many non-literate peoples are that way not because they were either lazy or have not had the prowess to develop a writing for their language, but because writing for some comes with a change in viewing the world.  As David Abrams has noted in "The Spell of the Sensuous", it's no accident that the verb "to spell" has several meanings, two of which are connected: "Spelling" and reading text on a page was considered by some non-literates to represent a "spell" cast over the individual who was immersed in reading the characters on the page/papyrus.  As I think this relates to the purpose of this forum and website, it appears to me that the practice of meditation as outlined by Matthew here brings us more to the immediacy of the breathing, the body feeling as we drop down into the meditative state, and all non-judgementally and non-forcefully returning to this immediate experience when our minds drift towards abstractions.  And strangely enough, it may be, as Tolstoy suggested in his work "The Kingdom of God is within You" (a work about Christ that impacted Gandhi greatly), that it is through this type of direct experience within that we find the best sources of "good", slippery as that concept may be.

An addition to this discussion is an abridged passage with which some may be familiar, from the writer-philosopher Robert Pirsig, with 'Indians' here referring to Native Americans:

"He remembered it had been spring then, which is a wonderful time in Montana, and the breeze blowing down from the pine trees carried a fresh smell of melting snow and thawing earth, and they were all walking down the road, four abreast, when one of those raggedy non-descript dogs that call Indian reservations home came onto the road and walked pleasantly in front of them. They followed the dog silently for a while. Then LaVeme asked John, 'What kind of dog is that?" John thought about it and said, "That's a good dog." LaVerne looked curiously at him for a moment and then looked down at the road. Then the corners of her eyes crinkled and as they walked on Phaedrus noticed she was sort of smiling and chuckling to herself. Later, when John had left, she asked Dusenberry, "What did he mean when he said, 'That's a good dog.' Was that just 'Indian talk'?" Dusenberry thought for a while and said he supposed it was. Phaedrus didn't have any answer either, but for some reason he had been as amused and puzzled as LaVerne was. ....

For some time now he'd been thinking that if he were looking for proof that "substance" is a cultural heritage from Ancient Greece rather than an absolute reality, he should simply look at non-Greek-derived cultures. If the "reality" of substance was missing from those cultures that would prove he was right. Now the image of the raggedy Indian dog was back, and he realized what it meant.  LaVerne had been asking the question within an Aristotelian framework. She wanted to know what genetic, substantive pigeonhole of canine classification this object walking before them could be placed in. But John Wooden Leg never understood the question. That's what made it so funny. He wasn't joking when he said, "That's a good dog." He probably thought she was worried the dog might bite her. The whole idea of a dog as a member of a hierarchical structure of intellectual categories known generically as "objects" was outside his traditional cultural viewpoint. What was significant, Phaedrus realized, was that John had distinguished the dog according to its Quality, rather than according to its substance. That indicated he considered Quality more important. Now Phaedrus remembered when he had gone to the reservation after Dusenberry's death and told them he was a friend of Dusenberry's they had answered, "Oh, yes, Dusenberry. He was a good man." They always put their emphasis on the good, just as John had with the dog.  A white person would have said he was a good man or balanced the emphasis between the two words. The Indians didn't see man as an object to whom the adjective "good" may or may not be applied. When the Indians used it they meant that good is the whole center of experience and that Dusenberry, in his nature, was an embodiment or incarnation of this center of life. Maybe when Phaedrus got this metaphysics all put together people would see that the value-centered reality it described wasn't just a wild thesis off into some new direction but was a connecting link to a part of themselves which had always been suppressed by cultural norms and which needed opening up. He hoped so.

The experience of William James Sidis had shown that you can't just tell people about Indians and expect them to listen. They already know about Indians. Their cup of tea is full. The cultural immune system will keep them from hearing anything else. Phaedrus hoped this Quality metaphysics was something that would get past the immune system and show that American Indian mysticism is not something alien from American culture. It's a deep submerged hidden root of it. Americans don't have to go to the Orient to learn what this mysticism stuff is about. It's been right here in America all along. ....And he remembered that Franz Boas had said that in a primitive culture people speak only about actual experiences. They don't discuss what is virtue, good, evil, beauty; the demands of their daily life, like those of our uneducated classes, don't extend beyond the virtues shown on definite occasions by definite people, good or evil deeds of their fellow tribesman, and the beauty of a particular man, woman or object. They don't talk about abstract ideas. But Boas said, "The Dakota Indian considers goodness to be a noun rather than an adjective." He will tell someone, 'Take care of your goodness," rather than, "Be good." 
-- Robert Pirsig, "Lila, An Inquiry into Morals".

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2016, 12:44:09 AM »
Well, you're talking about "ultimate truth" (paramattha). I'd stick with my raft.

But you have a point about not disparagingly judging other ways though.

By all means you should stick with your raft.

I would like to share a funny incident that happened yesterday morning. I made eggs and toast for breakfast. Here is the gist of the conversation (I embellished a little) at our breakfast table:

son: my toast is a bit burnt.
daughter: no it is not. It is perfect the way it is.
me: if he says it is burnt, then it must be burnt a bit.
daughter: why don't you taste your toast and see.
me: well, that does not help because my toast is not same as his toast. There may be fluctuations in electricity and his toast may have been over-toasted than mine as a result.
son: why don't you taste my toast on the other side and tell us?
me: that would not help either. The toaster may have heated the bread unevenly.
daughter: well, let us assume all things are equal while making of both toasts.
me: well, my toast is edible, it provides nourishment to my body, and helps me break my fasting. That's all what matters to me.
son: (with a smile) well, what is edible to you may not be edible to me.
me: you are absolutely right. Give me your toast, I will eat it as I am very hungry and oh by the way that is the last piece of toast.
son: (smiling sheepishly) on second thought I think it is edible and I will eat it. But my toast is slightly burnt and I am sticking with it.

I guess my daughter and I will never know the truth about my son's toast. But that is certainly my son's reality at that moment (as it appears to him). As for me, it was timely as I was contemplating on Pyrrho's teachings, and another insight and a milestone in my practice.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Middleway

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2016, 01:03:09 AM »
I find this a fascinating thread.  I've generally held the view that, although not *all* primitive-type cultures have/had a more direct conduit to what meditation is seeking, some of the cultures nevertheless may be characterized as a "living meditation"....their whole existence being wrapped up in the here-and-now and immediacy of experience.  It is further interesting that Pyrrho left no writings, presumably in a time when writing had become the vogue.  Many non-literate peoples are that way not because they were either lazy or have not had the prowess to develop a writing for their language, but because writing for some comes with a change in viewing the world.  As David Abrams has noted in "The Spell of the Sensuous", it's no accident that the verb "to spell" has several meanings, two of which are connected: "Spelling" and reading text on a page was considered by some non-literates to represent a "spell" cast over the individual who was immersed in reading the characters on the page/papyrus.  As I think this relates to the purpose of this forum and website, it appears to me that the practice of meditation as outlined by Matthew here brings us more to the immediacy of the breathing, the body feeling as we drop down into the meditative state, and all non-judgementally and non-forcefully returning to this immediate experience when our minds drift towards abstractions.

I think development of language created the problems. We try to verbalize what is (which fabricates the reality) rather than just observing it non-judgmentally.

LaVerne had been asking the question within an Aristotelian framework. She wanted to know what genetic, substantive pigeonhole of canine classification this object walking before them could be placed in. But John Wooden Leg never understood the question. That's what made it so funny. He wasn't joking when he said, "That's a good dog." He probably thought she was worried the dog might bite her. The whole idea of a dog as a member of a hierarchical structure of intellectual categories known generically as "objects" was outside his traditional cultural viewpoint. What was significant, Phaedrus realized, was that John had distinguished the dog according to its Quality, rather than according to its substance. That indicated he considered Quality more important. Now Phaedrus remembered when he had gone to the reservation after Dusenberry's death and told them he was a friend of Dusenberry's they had answered, "Oh, yes, Dusenberry. He was a good man." They always put their emphasis on the good, just as John had with the dog.  A white person would have said he was a good man or balanced the emphasis between the two words. The Indians didn't see man as an object to whom the adjective "good" may or may not be applied. When the Indians used it they meant that good is the whole center of experience and that Dusenberry, in his nature, was an embodiment or incarnation of this center of life. Maybe when Phaedrus got this metaphysics all put together people would see that the value-centered reality it described wasn't just a wild thesis off into some new direction but was a connecting link to a part of themselves which had always been suppressed by cultural norms and which needed opening up. He hoped so.

We tend to accumulate more knowledge than necessary to live a peaceful and harmonious life. I guess with the advent of agricultural societies 12,000 years ago, people had too much time on their hands to make up useless things.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Nicky

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2016, 06:16:45 AM »
It is your opinion that eight-fold path is the right path. And therefore you judge all other paths must be incorrect. Then you get attached to eightfold path. When others disagree or express opinion to the contrary, you have a problem and suffering follows.

Not so. Did the Buddha suffer when he reputedly said: "273. Of all the paths the Eightfold Path is the best;.... 274. This is the only path; there is none other for the purification of insight...." (Dhammapada)

Jiddu Krishnamurti said that truth is a pathless land and he criticized Buddhist monks spending decades meditating in the forest as a waste of time. That is his opinion.

Probably why KM had sexual affairs.

So, what is the right path? The path that makes sense to you at this point in time. So, do not quarrel with Muslim or Christian that eightfold path is the right path. Their path makes sense to them at this point in time.

Not all paths lead to the same place. For absolute purity of mind, only the Buddha-Dhamma can bring this about.

Jesus said his path was to The Father (Brahma).


Although I address you, I don't mean you. I am speaking in general terms. This is my opinion at the moment.

Sure. But this "opinion" is wrong view (micchāditthi).  ::)

Nicky

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2016, 06:27:05 AM »
I recently came across Greek Philosopher named Pyrrho who may have come into contact with early Buddhism. I stitched the following quote and article from a couple of internet sources I found. Links to the sources are provided at the end of the article.

Not sure why the excitement? Greeks were highly attracted to Buddhism (unlike the Roman repulsion towards Christianity). Once a Greek king brought his army to Bactria (whereever) to protect Buddhists from persecution. There were many Greek bhikkhus.

Buddhism was known & existed in the Mediterranean world (before Christianity destroyed all indigenous religions & historical knowledge, such as the great libraries in Alexandria).

I once read it was the Muslims that preserved ancient Greek philosophy (from Christian destruction).

The Lord Buddha is the Light of the World.  8)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Buddhism
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_and_the_Roman_world
« Last Edit: June 07, 2016, 06:28:39 AM by Nicky »

Nicky

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2016, 06:30:56 AM »
I think development of language created the problems. We try to verbalize what is (which fabricates the reality) rather than just observing it non-judgmentally.

Language was not a problem for Buddha, who spoke, clearly, 84,000 teachings.

We tend to accumulate more knowledge than necessary to live a peaceful and harmonious life. I guess with the advent of agricultural societies 12,000 years ago, people had too much time on their hands to make up useless things.

That is why we don't read Pyrrho.

 ??? ::)

Attachless

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2016, 11:16:17 AM »

Language was not a problem for Buddha, who spoke, clearly, 84,000 teachings.

That`s all he spoke though to be honest..



Jiddu Krishnamurti said that truth is a pathless land and he criticized Buddhist monks spending decades meditating in the forest as a waste of time. That is his opinion.

Probably why KM had sexual affairs.

That may indeed be the case, as it represents my opinion as well and I`m not against sexual affairs or sex at all. Just yesterday I was sitting for my meditation on the afternoon because I had spare time and I noticed my mind was more agitated than else.. I sat there, tensionless in the body, calm and attentive, just my mind was agitated. It was jumping here and there, not to specific places, just being restless. Like a dog who lost his owner, not knowing where he is, restlessly searching for him in despair. I was kind of astonished as to where this agitation came from, or what was it`s catalyst, as I've not felt this agitated for long time!

So, while accepting agitation, I inquired into what was the cause, and it so happened that women - especially two I have met last week, where the cause. They have caused agitation already the day after, and I was aware of that, and it been just as much object of non-resistance and letting-be as anything else and hence not much of a problem at all and Just as much part of the practice as anything else. Now there has been attachment to the idea of - and the longing for - companionship, depth, connection, beside sex (which is an expression of this, and it may be foolish to say it was any other for KM) - I further let that be and investigated, then something akin to insight happened, that, whatever bond to be established, will not last forever, will be gone, and I will sit here, just as I do now, just the same way as I do now, the same awareness, at some point in life - 1 year, 5 year, 10 year, 20 year, 30 year - it does NOT matter at all - what I will be longing for now, will be gone at some point ANY way - and I have to let go. Short sadness overcame me, accompanyied by letting go and inner peace.

I don`t know if it was implied by your comment, but I do not judge "sexual affairs" the way you may implied (excuse me if not). After that realization, I also came to feel the sadness of the reality of my mother inevitably passing away, too, and me having to let go of that, and the urge to tell her I love her, which I wrote her in that instant, and sat back for meditation, because life is too short to not express ourselves, too, and I`m sure KM also know that and that`s why he expressed himself in dance, sex, and so many other ways, too. And by the things he says, I can say he -seems to me- no less enlightened than Buddha.

Because, to me, enlightenment does not neglect life and the participation in life. If that`s the case for you and others, that`s fine, too. The ability to fully emerge in life without loosing ones peace of mind, without attaching, without loosing ones clarity, for me, is an artist of meditation - because he remains a passive, non-judgmental, insightful watcher, full of wisdom, full of caring, even in spite of activity. And I believe only he is able to fully enjoy these moments, because he can fully immerse and indulge, because there is no craving, there is no longing, there is no attachment, and hence no unclear, hazy mind when it comes to the present moment of that particular situation.

And if it wasn`t for all of his experiences, Buddha would not have become the Buddha. Buddha has been talking to many different people, all on a different stage in their life and path, and words have been always directed to them. So, who are we to conclude that all his speeches are one of a summary of a path that are all applying to you, at all times, in all stages of your life - or anyone in that matter?

For what enlightenment implies to me, KM seems a highly enlightened person, just as much as Buddha, and not being attached to any of them, because Buddha would have not become Buddha if he was following any other path than his own, right?

What we learn from Siddhartha, the famous story, if not that all "knowledge", which your eightfold path implies, will turn into a hindrance, and at some point has to be let go as well, unless letting go of the path -is- actually part of the path. :-)

So, what is the right path? The path that makes sense to you at this point in time. So, do not quarrel with Muslim or Christian that eightfold path is the right path. Their path makes sense to them at this point in time.

Not all paths lead to the same place. For absolute purity of mind, only the Buddha-Dhamma can bring this about.

Jesus said his path was to The Father (Brahma).

For we not know what The Father is. I mean, I don`t know, maybe you do. I also thought of Jesus as a synonym for Love, compassionate Love, Compassion, hence just being another manifestation of just that, as much as Buddha was an obvious manifestation of compassionate Love, as he was serving others just as much as Jesus did. How much different where their lives and teachings really now, if it does not imply and DEMAND absolute purity of mind for that Love and Compassion to manifest in a form it did in these two (and several other) people, before and after, and even now?

For we don`t know what Jesus has done in the dessert, what he has been practicing.

Although I address you, I don't mean you. I am speaking in general terms. This is my opinion at the moment.

Sure. But this "opinion" is wrong view (micchāditthi).  ::)

There are contradictions in Buddha's teachings as well, as we should not blindly follow, but we -should- at the same time (right belief, right understanding, not giving in to doubts). To me it seems that to dismiss part of buddhas teachings and path is part of buddhas teachings and path, if that makes sense. :-P And if it`s just for my amusement, I like it that way, at that place of time with my current understanding and needs (for needs vary from person to person - some people may not need the buddhas path for reaching their goal).

I don`t know how one could every claim to have the right path, if it was -not only- practical for them to belief so to have faith in their path for it to actually become realized (so believing it being a necessity for actually walking it), but then one has to see it as being so, or maybe not, that`s just me.

What I have learned from Buddha/Buddhism is to investigate by myself only and follow no one. It hence strikes me sometimes, seeing Buddhists, or being in a Buddhist monastery, me imagining them sitting in front of Buddha who is holding one of his speeches, saying "do not follow anyone, don`t take any refugees beside yourself!", they all on their knees, bowing down, praying, answering "oh yes oh my lord Buddha", bowing down more few times. I mean, I get the idea of appreciation, of devotion and surrender, as I sometimes, during meditation, experience that for myself, too, with deep gratitude, but it`s for all and anyone, not a single one manifestation of life which Buddha is one of, it`s for all, and everyone, and I could never ever by all my experiences and insights claim there is one single path ever, or assume that anyone else is on the wrong path, wasting all their lives for nothing. Not ever could I think that. (Beside "going the wrong path" actually being part of the path, for all our mistakes lead eventually to wisdom and clarity of mind and freedom). So, although I would never say "monks in the forest for years wasting their lifes" (I probably would at some point), but it has a point there which goes deeper than one might guess, too, from my point of view. Despite it not serving anyone, hence not offering any value to anyone but themselves.. kind of selfish, even. But hey, that`s just to create contrast, maybe tension, provoke new ideas. I like that!

Have a good Tuesday all :-)
« Last Edit: June 07, 2016, 11:19:46 AM by Attachless »
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mdr

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2016, 05:41:29 PM »
I recently came across Greek Philosopher named Pyrrho who may have come into contact with early Buddhism. I stitched the following quote and article from a couple of internet sources I found. Links to the sources are provided at the end of the article. Enjoy!


"By suspending judgment, by confining oneself to phenomena or objects as they appear, and by asserting nothing definite as to how they really are, one can escape the perplexities of life and attain an imperturbable peace of mind".

Pyrrho was a Greek philosopher from Elis, and founder of the Greek school of skepticism. In his youth he practiced the art of painting, but passed over this for philosophy. He studied the writings of Democritus, became a disciple of Bryson, the son of Stilpo, and later a disciple of Anaxarchus. He took part in the Indian expedition of Alexander the Great, and met with philosophers of the Indus region. Back in Greece he was frustrated with the assertions of the Dogmatists (those who claimed to possess knowledge), and founded a new school in which he taught fallibilism, namely that every object of human knowledge involves uncertainty...


This absence of certainty applies as much to practical as to theoretical matters. Nothing is in itself true or false. It only appears so. In the same way, nothing is in itself good or evil. It is only opinion, custom, law, which makes it so.


Great topic, thanks for starting it!
All i'll write is my personal conclusions, not a part of some distinctive school of thought.
1. I doubt ancient Greeks were familiar with Buddhist ideas, albeit the philosophies/ system of believes seems to correlate in some aspects. Same can be said of, for example, Chinese philosophy and Jewish mysticism. Is it possible that wisdom appeared (was given?) approximately at the same time in three very distant geographical locations? Or it's that people had traveled and exchanged ideas? I don't know, and there's no definite answer in history of science either.
In Fung Youlan's history of Chinese Philosphy i read about the theory that Lao Tzu was the teacher of the Buddha... Is it true? Is it possible? I don't know, but it's an interesting hypotheses.
Anyway it is, these are interesting ideas to ponder over.

2. I agree an idea can't be qualified as objectively true or false (there's no valid definition of objective reality either), but practically i think we all know where's the line between good and evil, no?
Inflicting pain on others is evil, under no circumstances i can view that philosophically. I am from a country that fell apart in the course of four civil wars where all sides were conducting ethnic cleanse against the "enemy"... That's pure evil.
I was listening to a lecture of Slavoj Zizek (real life, in my city.) I can not stand him for numerous reasons, but that's another story. He jokes about rape and, in what seems to be a funny way to him, promotes it. Only a completely ignorant and emotionally challenged person, a psychopath,  can do that. It is not funny, not at all, under any circumstances.
At the same time, his hatred for Buddhism comes from relativisation of evil, as he sees it, in Buddhist teachings... wtf?!
In the lecture he discussed in very negative context Daisetso Suzuki, like, the later was known to encourage his disciples to engage in killings, so to realize that death was an illusion... I am not sure it's so, i highly doubt it, and even if the master had said something like that, it's in total opposition and breach of the Noble Eightfold Path, right?
(Whereas Zizek himself promotes no less but Stalinism  ::) )

These are my thoughts on the subject  :)

p.s. "The Dakota Indian considers goodness to be a noun rather than an adjective." It's the same in my native tongue, 'goodness' is a noun, albeit, when i think of it, it should be a verb, no?  ;)

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2016, 07:20:44 PM »
I don`t know if it was implied by your comment, but I do not judge "sexual affairs" the way you may implied (excuse me if not).

I 'judge' (discern) KM had not reached liberation (if he continued to have sexual affairs, particularly with married women). That said, I do not judge anyone as 'evil' for engaging in sex. I merely 'judge' (discern) them as not fully liberated.

Quote
And by the things he says, I can say he -seems to me- no less enlightened than Buddha.

Many immoral 'teachers' have intellectually understood the Buddha-Dhamma. Have you heard of the great (yet immoral) teacher Chögyam Trungpa? Do you believe Chögyam Trungpa was no less enlightened than Buddha?

Quote
For we not know what The Father is. I mean, I don`t know, maybe you do. I also thought of Jesus as a synonym for Love, compassionate Love, Compassion, hence just being another manifestation of just that, as much as Buddha was an obvious manifestation of compassionate Love,

Correct. We & billions of others do not know what the Father exactly is. It is tragic that millions of people have been murdered in the name of this ambiguous 'Father' that Jesus declared was the "only true god" & that he was the "only way" to.

The Buddha taught the way to the Father (Brahma) was to radiate love in all directions. That said, the Buddha taught this to Brahmans & not to Buddhists. To Buddhists, the Buddha taught 'anatta' (not-self) & natural elements ('dhatu'). .

The Buddha was perfected in love but his primary manifestation was of Emptiness (Sunnata). Where as Jesus embodied social love.

The Buddha & Jesus are very different. That is why you must hypothesis a "synonym" for what you interpret Jesus meant. If Jesus was actually the same as Buddha, there would be no need for you to take an interest in Buddhism.

It is actually wrong to learn from the clarity Buddhism and then impute the characteristics of Buddha onto the convolutedness of Christ. If Christ had the characteristics of Buddha, we would have never searched for Buddhism.

Quote
For we don`t know what Jesus has done in the dessert, what he has been practicing.

Yes. We don't know but what Christ really was is defined by what he taught, what was preserved & how his direct disciples behaved in the world.

In the Book of Acts, Stephen went to Judaic temples and argued with the priests until they stoned Stephen to death. Stephen's behaviour was similar to Jesus, namely, in your face provocation of others, which is similar to how many Christians still behave today.

The Romans (Tacitus) accused the Christians of having a "hatred of mankind" since they disparaged other belief systems.

Where as the Buddha lived in India, with other religions & beliefs, peacefully. The Buddha & Jesus were very different, when we look below the surface. 

Quote
There are contradictions in Buddha's teachings...

There are no contradictions in a Buddha's teachings. If there are contradictions in the scriptures, then the contradictions cannot be the words of a Buddha. It is obvious there are many later additions to the scriptures.

Quote
I don`t know how one could every claim to have the right path,

The Buddha did not use the word "right" subjectively. The word "right" in Buddhism means that which abides with Nibbana.

The Buddhist path is to Nibbana where as the Jesus path is to The Father. If you are interested in The Father, the Jesus path is the right path. If interested in Nibbana, the Buddha path is the right path.

With metta  :)


Attachless

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2016, 07:50:51 PM »
Thanks for the reply, very interesting :-) Neither coming from Jesus or Christianity, nor looking for the Father or Nibbana; I take the teachings as a way of living in this very life.

Also, may come oddly, but I don`t particularly judge having affairs with married women either. Especially because of the status of marriage in many parts of the world (especially india and alike) that I don`t really appreciate, or advocate, or approve of. I have been to india, I have met women in such traditions, and I have got to know they are sexually unfulfilled, and that they think "it is like that". They assume "that`s it". They assume having unfulfilling sex once a month "is" a fulfilling sexual relationship with their husband. They got to tell me. I have slept with a women in such a relationship myself, and could see the lack of love and intimacy and passion for each other that they so took for granted "things being that way and that`s it". I`m in no wonder when someone who sees through traditions and alike comes along freeing women, "even" in the sexual act, if not "especially".  So, I don`t judge, also, any other women in any part of the world that has the necessity to find fulfillment somewhere else than a marriage, which obviously cannot be engaging if there is a need for sleeping with men outside the relationship.

And I strongly assume KM had no other opinion of marriage (especially in such traditions), which is just my assumption, but it would fit to his overall .. point of view, of things. Some many that I share.

I can`t say which women he engaged in sex with though, in which countries etc., that`s just my point of view in general :-) I don`t necessarily agree with many of societies standards and stuff, so of course, it all depends where judgement is grounded on. From that point of view, he seems no less immoral, or unenlightened, as he sees through this stupidity of marriage in the way it is lived in many areas of the world (it`s a "bondage", unfree, forced upon etc.) and many things more.

I assume there may have been abuse of his status, like Osho did and stuff, and yes, Buddha is certainly the one with a clean record. :-) I don`t particularily admire living in silence as a beggar though, only talking as to inspire others to do the same, as silly as that sounds.

:-)
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Frightful

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2016, 08:47:43 PM »
@Middleway: "In Buddhas time, there were 500 enlightened people in a small geographical area. Now, with 7.4B people, you would think there would more enlightened people. Obviously that is not the case. Perhaps, we lost that ability to abide in still mind and now we are all craving for it."

@Nicki: "The Buddha taught the way to the Father (Brahma) was to radiate love in all directions.....The Buddhist path is to Nibbana where as the Jesus path is to The Father."

Looking across the many traditions that include deities and creation myths, I do find myself more drawn to those that tend away from humanistic deities and place their reverence in "the Great Mystery", making all of creation equal in importance and sacredness.  This tradition would be found more, if I'm not mistaken, in indigenous/aboriginal type cultures across the globe.  I just tend, from a psychological standpoint, to be somewhat suspect of humanistic deities as self-referential projections from the human condition.  Where I do feel there may be convergence between these less human-centered traditions and Buddhism as being discussed here is in what Nicki noted with "The Buddhist path is to Nibbana  (Nirvana??..yes??)"  Because my impression with at least some of the indigenous cultures of the Americas is that the final goal of a spiritual path is being amongst the ("deceased", loosely used here) elders, which exist in animal, plant, rock, and other forms as well as in human form.  Some of these cultures use kinship labels to refer to animals (grandfather/brother/sister), maize (corn--grandmother), and so on.  And indeed, going back to Middleway's clipped comment that I pasted above, most of these tribes felt to have lost the ability, over time, to communicate with the natural world in the same way that their ancestors did...so some similarity here as well.  Then the age old question; what sent the human condition, seemingly independently on many continents, down the road of "imbalance" and "disharmony"?  Having grown up in the Judeo-Christian tradition, I have no good basis on which to base my impressions of aboriginal life as I am not of those cultures, but indeed find them to be, broadly speaking, cultures of "least harm".  But irrespective of all of this, my root fascination is in the possible power of meditation to somehow bypass the "clutter of 10,000 years" and enjoy the beauty of existence. (Note similarity, although not equivalence, of 4 directions of Navajo walking and 4 directed views of Brahma.):

Closing Prayer from the "Navajo Way" Blessing Ceremony:

In beauty I walk
With beauty before me I walk
With beauty behind me I walk
With beauty above me I walk
With beauty around me I walk
It has become beauty again
It has become beauty again
It has become beauty again
It has become beauty again
« Last Edit: June 07, 2016, 09:09:25 PM by Frightful »

mdr

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2016, 09:44:24 PM »
I doubt ancient Greeks were familiar with Buddhist ideas...

But they were. Research more.


Lol, wiki is certainly not a way to go if conducting an academic research  :)  Anyway it is, Greek philosophy was neither shaped by Buddhism nor heavily influenced by it (in the way in which Christian thought was based in Jewish religious philosophy), but that was not my point, i merely wanted to add some thoughts to the discussion (not to argue)  ::)

(If you are familiar with the Greek thought in general and Sophism in particular, you know that any argument can be won, what i hoped for in this thread was more of a Socratic dialogue  ;) )

mdr

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2016, 10:01:12 PM »
I recently came across Greek Philosopher named Pyrrho who may have come into contact with early Buddhism. I stitched the following quote and article from a couple of internet sources I found. Links to the sources are provided at the end of the article.

Not sure why the excitement?

Maybe because Middleway is citing academic resources, which aren't prone to making sweeping generalizations, so when an eventual succession of ideas is discovered, the connection between the two comes across as credible (and therefore  exciting)?  :)

Middleway

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2016, 02:59:04 AM »
It is your opinion that eight-fold path is the right path. And therefore you judge all other paths must be incorrect. Then you get attached to eightfold path. When others disagree or express opinion to the contrary, you have a problem and suffering follows.

Not so. Did the Buddha suffer when he reputedly said: "273. Of all the paths the Eightfold Path is the best;.... 274. This is the only path; there is none other for the purification of insight...." (Dhammapada)

You did not quote the rest of what Buddha said. He said "Of all the paths the Eightfold Path is the best; of all the truths the Four Noble Truths are the best; of all things passionlessness is the best: of men the Seeing One (the Buddha) is the best".

We don't have to be passionate about the eightfold path. Buddha said that we should see for ourselves because that is exactly what he did. 

Islam and Christianity did not exist during his time. So, he could not have commented on those religions.
 
So, what is the right path? The path that makes sense to you at this point in time. So, do not quarrel with Muslim or Christian that eightfold path is the right path. Their path makes sense to them at this point in time.

Not all paths lead to the same place. For absolute purity of mind, only the Buddha-Dhamma can bring this about.

Jesus said his path was to The Father (Brahma).

Why does everyone's goal has to be purity of mind? Maybe for some people, their goal is not purity of mind. It could just be to live peacefully and harmoniously. So, their path which may lead to their goal makes sense to them. 
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Middleway

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2016, 03:03:22 AM »
I recently came across Greek Philosopher named Pyrrho who may have come into contact with early Buddhism. I stitched the following quote and article from a couple of internet sources I found. Links to the sources are provided at the end of the article.

Not sure why the excitement? Greeks were highly attracted to Buddhism (unlike the Roman repulsion towards Christianity). Once a Greek king brought his army to Bactria (whereever) to protect Buddhists from persecution. There were many Greek bhikkhus.

Buddhism was known & existed in the Mediterranean world (before Christianity destroyed all indigenous religions & historical knowledge, such as the great libraries in Alexandria).

I once read it was the Muslims that preserved ancient Greek philosophy (from Christian destruction).

The Lord Buddha is the Light of the World.  8)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Buddhism
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_and_the_Roman_world

I was excited about the deeply insightful quote (in italics) and the explanation that followed. The history is useful to put things into context but it is dead and long gone.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Middleway

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2016, 03:08:58 AM »
I think development of language created the problems. We try to verbalize what is (which fabricates the reality) rather than just observing it non-judgmentally.

Language was not a problem for Buddha, who spoke, clearly, 84,000 teachings.

Most of my internal mind chatter is verbal. I wonder if there was no language, how it would affect my internal mind chatter. I would imagine, it would be much less. And therefore, I am likely to be in the present moment more often than I am now. It is just my observation. I did not have Buddha in mind when I wrote that comment.

We tend to accumulate more knowledge than necessary to live a peaceful and harmonious life. I guess with the advent of agricultural societies 12,000 years ago, people had too much time on their hands to make up useless things.

That is why we don't read Pyrrho.

 ??? ::)

Forget about who said these words. Just evaluate what they mean to you and contemplate on it. If they do not add value to you, then so be it. They are deeply insightful to me.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Middleway

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Re: Pyrrho (c. 360-270 BCE)
« Reply #24 on: June 08, 2016, 03:19:03 AM »
2. I agree an idea can't be qualified as objectively true or false (there's no valid definition of objective reality either), but practically i think we all know where's the line between good and evil, no?
Inflicting pain on others is evil, under no circumstances i can view that philosophically. I am from a country that fell apart in the course of four civil wars where all sides were conducting ethnic cleanse against the "enemy"... That's pure evil.
I was listening to a lecture of Slavoj Zizek (real life, in my city.) I can not stand him for numerous reasons, but that's another story. He jokes about rape and, in what seems to be a funny way to him, promotes it. Only a completely ignorant and emotionally challenged person, a psychopath,  can do that. It is not funny, not at all, under any circumstances.
At the same time, his hatred for Buddhism comes from relativisation of evil, as he sees it, in Buddhist teachings... wtf?!
In the lecture he discussed in very negative context Daisetso Suzuki, like, the later was known to encourage his disciples to engage in killings, so to realize that death was an illusion... I am not sure it's so, i highly doubt it, and even if the master had said something like that, it's in total opposition and breach of the Noble Eightfold Path, right?
(Whereas Zizek himself promotes no less but Stalinism  ::) )

I struggled with good/evil part myself. How can we not judge when someone is harming others and committing evil actions? Can we separate the evil action from the person? can we say that action is evil (yes I am still judging) so that our focus is not on the person rather it is on the action. As the quote said all actions are based on beliefs, and all beliefs are delusions. All delusions are due to ignorance. Ignorance is the cause of people committing evil actions. So, we do not need to develop aversion towards the person but see their actions for what they are. Just another perspective.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2016, 03:54:37 AM by Middleway »
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

 

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