Who Was This Buddha Guy?

Last night I went and saw Stephen Batchelor speak at Against The Stream, Noah Levine’s center on Melrose Ave. in Hollywood. He is in the US right now to promote his new book After Buddhism. I haven’t read the new book yet. I just bought it last night (authors always make more money from books you buy directly from them). But I have liked everything I have read by Batchelor so far and I’m sure this will be another good one.

Batchelor spoke mostly about his belief that in order to make a kind of Buddhism that’s relevant to Western modernity, we need to go back to the original source material; the actual teachings of Gotama Buddha.

To him, what’s important in those teachings is what was original and unique to them. Batchelor has been outspoken that the doctrines of karma and reincarnation as they are commonly understood by many Buddhists these days, are not rational or compatible with scientific understanding. He also said that much of the metaphysics of Buddhism — the ideas of various heavenly and hellish realms, the many gods and demons spoken of in ancient texts, ideas about after-death states, and so on — actually get in the way of understanding the original intent of Gotama Buddha’s teaching. This stuff, he said, is not really original to Gotama. It comes from the Indian cultural tradition.

I agree with all of that. But I wanted to know why he felt it was any better to look to Gotama Buddha as an authority than to look to anyone else. So I aksed.

It’s well understood in almost all the various forms of Buddhism that Gotama Buddha was not a supernatural figure. He never claimed that he spoke from the authority of divine revelation.

If you’re a Christian it makes sense to always defer to the authority of Jesus because Jesus said he was God. At least the author of the Gospel of John says he said that, although in our earliest gospel, Mark, Jesus never claims divinity. Anyway, if you think Jesus was magic and God-like it makes perfect sense to look to him as the final authority. Same deal with Mohammed, Krishna and Joseph Smith (Smith never claimed to be divine, but he did claim the book he discovered came directly from God).

So who was Gotama Buddha and why should we listen to him?

Batchelor compared Gotama to Socrates, pointing out that they were historical contemporaries and that much of Gotama’s philosophy could be classified as “Socratic” according to Western terms. But that doesn’t necessarily make him worth listening to.

Batchelor also said — and I’m paraphrasing now — that Gotama’s authority is a kind of non-authority, which is what makes him a good authority. I guess that’s my Zen-ness coming through, to paraphrase it all crazy like that.

What I mean is that Gotama tried to get his followers to discover the truth within themselves rather than simply accept his word. There are examples of this throughout the earliest writings about him. The most famous is the Kalama Sutra in which Gotama tells the Kalama people not to accept anything simply because it was received from a source that claimed to be authoritative. In that Sutra he tells them to accept only what they themselves know to be true.

If you asked my own teacher, Gudo Nishijima, who or what Buddha was he would say, “Gotama Buddha was a kind of genius.” So rather than being a Christ-like divine being, Buddha was kind of the Einstein of meditation.

In the Zen tradition, we revere Gotama Buddha as the originator of what we do. But Zen Buddhists generally don’t spend loads of time studying his teachings. I just worked on a book about Dogen, the founder of Soto style Zen Buddhism in Japan, and I can’t recall very many specific references to the words of Gotama Buddha in his writings. Even when he does make reference to the words of Buddha, sometimes the words he refers to come from the later Mahayana sutras, which even in Dogen’s time were known to have been written hundreds of years after Gotama Buddha had died.

And yet I feel that Dogen had the same spirit Batchelor is promoting of trying to get at the original source of the teachings. But he did so in a way that’s more radical than trying to ferret out what the historical Buddha actually said.

Because what Gotama Buddha was trying to do was help his followers connect with the dharma, a source that transcends any human or even divine authority. If that’s so, then it isn’t just the words of the historical Buddha that point to this. Anyone can express it if they are in tune with it.

Stephen Batchelor actually said this himself at the beginning of his talk. He started off by telling the story of Gotama Buddha’s encounter with a skeptical wandering mendicant named Sivaka. Sivaka asked Gotama what the idea was when he said that the dharma was clearly visible.

Gotama replied by asking Sivaka, “When there is greed in you do you know it? When there is hatred or delusion in you do you know it?” Sivaka said he did.

So Gotama asked, “When greed, hatred and delusion are absent, do you know that?” Sivaka said he knew that too.

So Gotama said, “It is in this way that the dharma is clearly visible, immediate, inviting, uplifting and personally experienced by the wise.”

So even though Gotama Buddha was a guy just like you or me, he was a very wise guy. He was in touch with something greater than himself. But this something was not a God who revealed his specific individual Godly thoughts directly to Gotama. Gotama’s authority — if he can be said to have any — derives from the very nature of reality itself, which is perceivable by anyone at any time, including you out there reading this on your phone on the toilet.

* * *

After my last post, some folks in LA are mad at me because they think I no longer want to open a Zen center here. But they’re wrong! I still very much do! Just not a megachurch style one. If you too want to see a non-megachurch style Zen center happen in SoCal, contribute to our fundraiser to make the Angel City Zen Center come alive! Every little bit helps a lot! Click here to learn more!

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November 6-8, 2015 Mt. Baldy, CA 3-DAY RETREAT

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Every Monday at 8pm there’s zazen at Silverlake Yoga Studio 2 located at 2810 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039. Beginners only!

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* * *

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52 Responses

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  1. Jinzang
    Jinzang November 4, 2015 at 10:04 am |

    Well, this is an old story. Someone says, “let’s get back to what Buddha (Jesus, Muhammad , etc.) really said.” And then they tell you what that is. So what you get is another layer of interpretation, disguised as the original teaching.

    I can understand the desire to streamline. After 2500 years there’s more than any one person could learn in a lifetime and it makes sense to focus on what’s most important. But what seems most important to me is not going to be the same as you. We should all learn to be more tolerant and not label teachings as good, bad, authentic, dubious, superstitious, etc. It’s just another tool and if you can’t find a use for it, maybe someone else can.

    1. Wedged
      Wedged November 10, 2015 at 5:11 pm |

      Best “hardcorezen” comment…ever.

  2. skatemurai
    skatemurai November 4, 2015 at 12:40 pm |

    Many buddhist books says: “Zazen is a way to true happiness.” This was one of the biggest possible misinterpretation and simplification I made. Because I was unhappy I was looking for a way out of my unhappiness. So I belived those sayings very quickly and strongly. But I am still quite unhappy person. I didn’t find true happiness. Is it even possible? Isn’t psychotherapy much more effective then zazen?

  3. Mettai
    Mettai November 4, 2015 at 12:48 pm |

    If what you are looking to make is a “kind of Buddhism,” I think you really do need to look at what the historical Buddha said. It is implicit in the definition. On the other hand, if you are looking to make a spiritual practice somewhat like Buddhism, then it doesn’t matter.

    BTW: Fascicle 73 of Shobogenzo is pretty solidly Pali Canon what Buddha said.

  4. Keith P. Myers
    Keith P. Myers November 4, 2015 at 2:58 pm |

    I’m glad to hear you say you are in agreement with Batchelor. I like your books. I like his books. I like this “secular” approach to Buddhism that doesn’t get caught up in cultural baggage. People have talked about a “western” Buddhism for years now. I think this is the best candidate. I know even you don’t care for the Japanese robes and ritualism.

  5. sri_barence
    sri_barence November 4, 2015 at 3:25 pm |

    I once heard this story about Zen Master Dae Kwang, the former abbot of Providence Zen Center.

    Student: “What about the teachings on Karma, the Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path?”

    ZMDK: “Nah. We don’t talk about that shit here.”

  6. Dogen
    Dogen November 4, 2015 at 3:30 pm |

    To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by the three stooges.

  7. Harlan
    Harlan November 4, 2015 at 3:51 pm |

    I guess there is no such thing as independent happiness no matter how much zazen you do. It seems to depend upon the well being of others and their happiness. I think Moe was onto that.

    1. Fred
      Fred November 4, 2015 at 4:17 pm |

      “But I am still quite unhappy person. I didn’t find true happiness. Is it even possible? Isn’t psychotherapy much more effective then zazen?”

      If you want the sensation of happiness, take Prozac.

      It’s not the same as experiencing reality exactly as it is.

  8. Mumbles
    Mumbles November 4, 2015 at 4:58 pm |

    Baudelaire said somewhere that the real hero is he who keeps himself amused.

    I’d go along with that (chuckle).


    1. The Grand Canyon
      The Grand Canyon November 5, 2015 at 4:07 am |

      “Hello, and welcome to American Top 40. I’m Casey Kasem and this is our weekly countdown of the 40 best selling songs in the nation for the week of May 14, 1977.”

  9. Khru 2.0
    Khru 2.0 November 4, 2015 at 5:48 pm |

    You wrote: “But this something was not a God who revealed his specific individual Godly thoughts directly to Gotama. ”

    Or perhaps God really did direct Gotama’s experiences as well as his thoughts and just did so anonymously?

    1. Fred Jr.
      Fred Jr. November 5, 2015 at 3:10 am |

      Or maybe God is the self-organizing medium?

      1. The Grand Canyon
        The Grand Canyon November 5, 2015 at 4:13 am |

        In most religious art god looks more like a large or an extra large rather than a medium.

        1. Le Petit Canyon
          Le Petit Canyon November 5, 2015 at 6:28 am |

          Oui, mon père, c’est vrai!

      2. Khru 2.0
        Khru 2.0 November 5, 2015 at 11:38 am |

        Fred Jr.: Yes, exactly.

  10. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon November 5, 2015 at 4:28 am |

    I read Stephen Batchelor’s latest book and I highly recommend it. He contends that Buddhism was originally very secular and emphasized practice (much like Zen) and later it was corrupted and the emphasis shifted to the supernatural, dogmatic beliefs, and rituals. He supports his claims with many quotes from the Pali canon and the analysis of several Buddhist scholars.

  11. mjkawa
    mjkawa November 5, 2015 at 9:43 am |

    Brad, I agree with above comment. I also have a sense that this separation goes farther back then when science begins to come into conflict with religion.
    It seems to me that this, and MANY other aspects of deulistic thinking arise out of monotheism.

  12. Kyla
    Kyla November 5, 2015 at 11:34 am |

    Really like this blog post and the comments. I find it all thought-provoking. I think most people suffer from a degree of unhappiness that is more like a sense of dissatisfaction with how things are compared to how one thinks they SHOULD be. Of course there is also more serious forms of depression. Generally though, I think people feel entitled to things being different but don’t really know how to change things because they think something outside them can change things for them ( and it is more the sense of entitlement that is making them unhappy anyways). I know it took me a while to get it that life owed me nothing at all, I had to create the life I wanted and that childhood abuse did not mean I was entitled to anything now.
    I found with me, I had to ultimately look to myself and Zazen was a big part of that. I don’t believe in all the reincarnation etc. that can be found in Buddhism but I still can get something out of reading books by people that do. But in no way are books a replacement for sitting and facing yourself.

  13. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote November 5, 2015 at 12:11 pm |

    I knew the ACZC was still on, Brad, even with your last post. Best I could do is in the mail (finally), per the instructions.

    “Buddhism is not a revelation from any supernatural source. It is a set of discoveries made by human beings that can be verified by any other human being who does the experiment. ”

    That is what has excited me about Zen since reading “Zen Flesh, Zen Bones”.

  14. tuberrose
    tuberrose November 5, 2015 at 12:33 pm |

    I like the conversational style of this blog and the, usually, friendly banter. I’m really new to Buddhism so all the links and different opinions are very helpful to me. Without it, I never would have found a local Zendo to go to. So, thank you, Brad for providing this.
    I think the best way to be happy is to stop worrying about whether or not you are and stop thinking that you have to be happy. Nobody has to be happy and no one really knows what it is anyway. But professional help shouldn’t be discounted as a valuable resource especially if you are thinking you might need it.
    I came here first and then to the Zendo to find a way to help me better manage all the things I had to manage. I don’t know if meditation always helps but I do know that it never hurts and for now, that’s enough.

  15. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote November 5, 2015 at 12:53 pm |

    Mettai, by “Fascicle 73 of Shobogenzo”, are you referring to Penetration of Other Minds? I see nothing from the Pali Canon suttas in 73.

    It’s been a question in my mind as well; from what I’ve seen so far, it looks like Dogen copied Chinese koans and koan literature as fast as he could, and brought it back with him from China, but was never exposed to the Pali Canon Nikayas.

    Yuanwu, the author of the “Blue Cliff Record” in 11th century China, was familiar with the Pali Canon:

    “The ancestral teachers just wanted people to see their true nature. All the enlightened ones came forth to enable people to awaken to mind. Once you arrive at the reality of mind and its true nature, and it is pure and unified and unmixed with deluded perceptions, then the four elements that make up your physical body, and the five clusters of form, sensation, conception, evaluative synthesis, and consciousness, and the six sense faculties and the six sense objects, and all the myriad forms of being together comprise the place where you relinquish your body and your life.”

    (“Zen Letters: Teachings of Yuanwu”, trans. Cleary & Cleary, pg 76)

    Ain’t he a beautiful teacher.

    I say Yuanwu was familiar with the Pali Canon because of his reference to the “five clusters” and “six sense faculties/sense objects”.

    I have to wonder if the Cleary brothers translation “evaluative synthesis” is correct, for Yuanwu’s terminology for the fourth “cluster”; I. B. Horner translates the fourth khandha from Pali as “habitual tendencies” (Majjhima Nikaya III 19, Pali Text Society vol. III pg 68), and I believe these “tendencies” are the “activities” that Gotama declared cease with the induction of specific meditative states.

    These days the casinos are doing a lot of research on how to keep people in “the flow”. Concentration does bring a kind of happiness, and according to Gotama all the states of concentration have a happiness:

    “Whoever, Ananda, should speak thus: ‘This [the first meditative state] is the highest happiness and joy that creatures experience’- this I cannot allow on [their] part. What is the reason for this? There is, Ananda, another happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness. And what, Ananda, is this other happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness? Here, Ananda, [an individual], by allaying initial and discursive thought, [their] mind inwardly tranquillised and fixed on one point, enters and abides in the second meditation which is devoid of initial and discursive thought, is born of concentration, and is rapturous and joyful. This, Ananda, is the other happiness that is more excellent and joyful than that happiness…”

    (MN I 398-399, Pali Text Society trans. vol. II pg 67)

    And so on, through the third and fourth of the material meditative states, and four non-material meditative states, finally characterizing “the cessation of (habitual tendencies) in perception and sensation” as having a happiness as well.

    Regarding that last, Gotama said:

    “But the situation occurs, Ananda, when wanderers belonging to other sects may speak thus: The recluse Gotama speaks of the stopping of perceiving and feeling, and lays down that this belongs to happiness. Now what is this, now how is this?” Ananda, wanderers belonging to other sects who speak thus should be spoken to thus: ‘Your reverences, [Gotama] does not lay down that it is only pleasant feeling that belongs to happiness; for, your reverences, the Tathagatha lays down that whenever, whatever happiness is found it belongs to happiness.”

    (MN I 400, Pali Text Society vol. II pg 69)

    Pulling that lever, right through the pain (ok– pushing that button, more like). Yes, that’s the way I get myself to sit, and I’ve known for a long time that it’s the only incentive that works for me.

    Almost forgot to mention, I think the translation there in the description of the second meditative states may be slightly askew– I do not experience the mind fixed on one point. I experience one-pointedness of mind, yet the mind moves (the mind fixed on one point is a dualism).

    Gotama did say: “…making self-surrender the object of thought, one lays hold of concentration, one lays hold of one-pointedness of mind.” Making the relinquishment of my body and my life the object of thought, there is concentration, there is one-pointedness of mind, yet that mind is inclusive and shifts around.

    1. Kyla
      Kyla November 5, 2015 at 1:19 pm |

      Very interesting quotes Mark. Thanks for posting them.

  16. SamsaricHelicoid
    SamsaricHelicoid November 8, 2015 at 8:39 pm |

    Hello, Brad, I have a serious question for you, and I would like your answer. I want to ask the question then elaborate on its implications. If rebirth after the cessation of bodily functions were not true for the average man, then how could you ethically argue against a Marquis de Sade or Max Stirner? Why not be an egotist and hedonist that does not care about the welfare of others if rebirth after the cessation of bodily functions was not true, ending the same for everyone. Couldn’t I just dismiss someone’s pains and sufferings on account of the “liberty of the people is not my liberty”?

    In the past, Ch’an Buddhism tended to be negative consequentialist because it encouraged practitioners to disentangle and detach themselves from karmic residues in the storehouse consciousness (alayavijnana) so that it may be purified: by being “purified” presumably in deep samadhi or satori, the storehouse consciousness no longer leaves seeds (bija) to cause the formation of new volitional formations (sankhara), no longer bridging two existences; thus it being purified ends in perpetual parinirvana, the Tathagata-garbha. All of this is taken from the Lankavatara Sutra, which Bodhidharma handed to Hui-ko while calling it the “essence of Zen”. If the pure and empty form of death meets both the murderer and practitioner alike, then what’s the point of valuing compassion? Why not just be a moral nihilist and egotist if the same fate befalls us all?

    This is a serious question, and I request you reflect on it prior to answering me. If the karmic seeds of this life have no greater significance at the approach of the pure and empty form of death, then what is it all for? Aren’t we all technically “”enlightened”” after cessation of bodily functions? Why practice the Dhamma single-mindedly when it is all for naught? What’s the point of compassion if it’s all for naught?

    Ultimately, I feel as if you are using a flawed rhetoric mixed with contemporary reductive physicalist biases to push for an anti-intellectual interpretation of Buddhism that conforms to adharmic modernized biases. Much of your conclusions on what is or isn’t proper ethic conduct are furthermore inconsistent with your bleak metaphysical views wherein everyone meets the same fate. If anything, you should read some pessimistic fiction like Emil Cioran and take the red pill of antinatalism given your interpretation. I take things to their logical limits, and I simply do not see your Buddhist ethical system as legitimate without rebirth. *gassho*

    1. The Grand Canyon
      The Grand Canyon November 9, 2015 at 3:59 am |
    2. SamsaricHelicoid
      SamsaricHelicoid November 11, 2015 at 11:05 pm |

      If everyone reaches the same state, or absence of all states, after dying, then why should I care about the bliss of “living in the present”? Everyone actualizes it, from time to time, but I don’t see the point of basing large portions of my life on maintaining that “bliss” if there is no greater metaphysical significance to its persistence. It’s just as transitory as every other experience. I’d rather accumulate wealth.

      1. The Grand Canyon
        The Grand Canyon November 12, 2015 at 4:12 am |

        Do you really believe that Zen or Buddhism specify “bliss” or “maintaining bliss” as goals?
        Does anything really have any “metaphysical significance”?
        Are you even capable of accumulating “wealth”?
        Perhaps you should reevaluate your assumptions.

        1. SamsaricHelicoid
          SamsaricHelicoid November 12, 2015 at 2:38 pm |

          1. “Do you really believe that Zen or Buddhism specify “bliss” or “maintaining bliss” as goals?”

          I know the whole word game of saying there is “no goal” or so forth, but that’s not relevant to what’s being asked. Soto Zen is the surrender of all goals to sitting “single-mindedly” or with “Beginner’s Mind”, but it is a waste of time if there is no greater metaphysical significance.

          2. ” Does anything really have any “metaphysical significance”?”

          Depends on the metaphysics. After Buddha’s enlightenment, he continued lecturing on rebirth and so forth. He reportedly died by claiming to end rebirth and ‘transcend’ to parinirvana. Something like that. In order for something to have greater metaphysical significance, the practice needs more ‘merit’ or ‘fruit’ beyond just my the duration of my life. If this ‘conventional’ life is all I’ve got, why not just be a hedonist?

          3. ” Are you even capable of accumulating “wealth”?”

          Yes, I am, but I do not prefer disclosing personal details.

          ” Perhaps you should reevaluate your assumptions.”

          What do you mean?

          1. The Grand Canyon
            The Grand Canyon November 12, 2015 at 5:24 pm |

            Assumptions that should probably be reevaluated:
            – the goal of Buddhism and/or Zen is “bliss”
            – things have “metaphysical significance”
            – Zen or zazen or anything else “is a waste of time if there is no greater metaphysical significance”
            – “the practice needs more ‘merit’ or ‘fruit’ beyond just the duration of my life”
            – and all of your other assumptions

          2. SamsaricHelicoid
            SamsaricHelicoid November 12, 2015 at 6:14 pm |

            1. ” – the goal of Buddhism and/or Zen is “bliss””

            I clarified that wasn’t what I meant. Look what I said here: “Soto Zen is the surrender of all goals to sitting “single-mindedly” or with “Beginner’s Mind”, but it is a waste of time if there is no greater metaphysical significance.”

            2. ” – things have “metaphysical significance”

            I don’t like nihilism, but a lot of contemporary Soto Zen Buddhists do come off as either nihilistic and/or libertine to me.

            3. ” – Zen or zazen or anything else “is a waste of time if there is no greater metaphysical significance””

            Yup, it is. I’m not going to devote whole portions of my life to such a practice if there is no greater metaphysical significance to it, such as ending rebirth and achieving parinirvana.

            4. – “the practice needs more ‘merit’ or ‘fruit’ beyond just the duration of my life”

            Check #3 and original post. How would you argue against a Stirner or Marquis de Sade if life is “anything goes”?

            5. ” – and all of your other assumptions”

            I could discuss the “assumptions” in your post too, attempting to deconstruct it, but I think that would be sophistry.

            I think your practice boils down to a passive acceptance of an “anything goes” approach of life. When you abandon rebirth as a tenet in Buddhism, what you’re left with is nihilism or a weak virtue ethics based off maintaining the Sangha.

          3. The Grand Canyon
            The Grand Canyon November 13, 2015 at 3:58 am |

            “When you abandon rebirth as a tenet in Buddhism, what you’re left with is nihilism or a weak virtue ethics based off maintaining the Sangha.”

            More assumptions based on the logical fallacies of the argument from ignorance and reductionism. Just because you do not understand the point or value of something does not mean that there is no point or value to it or that the point or value of something is only what you can see and there is no other point or value to it.
            If you are so attached to the concept of reincarnation maybe you should just study Tibetan Buddhism. They love endlessly speculating and contemplating complex Hindu cosmology as if it were real.

          4. SamsaricHelicoid
            SamsaricHelicoid November 13, 2015 at 11:06 am |

            1. “Just because you do not understand the point or value of something does not mean that there is no point or value to it or that the point or value of something is only what you can see and there is no other point or value to it.”

            Maybe in the sense of it having health and mental benefits, sure. There is a lot of evidence showing Shikantaza or Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) have positive nneuroplastic changes.

            I can also see the “boundless, unfettered mind” actualized in Shikantaza as having a lot of usefulness depending on context. I simply do not see the point of continuously maintaining such a state or basing one’s life around it.

            2. ” If you are so attached to the concept of reincarnation maybe you should just study Tibetan Buddhism. They love endlessly speculating and contemplating complex Hindu cosmology as if it were real.”

            You don’t get it. Why do you think there are so many sex scandals or other issues in contemporary North Western Buddhism? Because you guys have an issue with deriving a normative ethics from a descriptive ethics. Your descriptive ethics (i.e., the precepts) are based off what is considered awakened mind, good conduct, and so forth, but it gives no real incentive to produce a viable normative ethics. By bringing back rebirth, you have a justifiable reason to make the jump from a descriptive ethics to a normative ethics. Without rebirth, you are just left with a specious descriptive ethics that’s simply based on your desires, wants, or so forth, no matter how noble they may be. This is why there are a lot of sex scandals because there are no real repercussions for breaking the precepts beyond the duration of our lives.

            When I talk like this, people think I’m being “a philosopher”. In truth, I’m not. I’m being dead serious. My teacher once mentioned he believed in rebirth by mentioning the previous bad conduct of a deceased infamous person’s will lead to “negative rebirth”. In his system, these problems don’t exist, and his behavior seems consistent because descriptive and normative ethics become inseparable. However, this was the only time he’s ever mentioned this, and it could have been due to an emotional outburst given the disturbing subject matter, I don’t know.

      2. Conrad
        Conrad November 17, 2015 at 4:49 pm |

        “No earthly pleasure
        No heavenly bliss
        Equals one infinitesimal fraction
        Of the bliss of the cessation of craving”


        The bliss the Buddha speaks about isn’t the same as the bliss of great sex or the fulfillment of one’s desires, even “spiritual” desires. It’s the bliss of the cessation of desiring and craving and seeking. No effort is required to achieve it, only the cessation of the effort to achieve it. Hence, the paradox of Buddhist practice.

        1. SamsaricHelicoid
          SamsaricHelicoid November 17, 2015 at 10:58 pm |

          Yeah, I know. The 9th jhana, cessation of perception and feelings.

    3. Conrad
      Conrad November 17, 2015 at 3:27 pm |

      “If the pure and empty form of death meets both the murderer and practitioner alike, then what’s the point of valuing compassion? ”

      There’s no necessity to value compassion. If one finds one’s true nature, even to a small degree, compassion will spontaneously manifest of its own. The valuation is not in compassion, but in our true nature, from which compassion naturally springs.

      1. SamsaricHelicoid
        SamsaricHelicoid November 23, 2015 at 8:43 pm |

        I don’t agree. I actually would argue melancholy naturally springs on its own if one fins one’s true nature. Compassion emerges afterwards. That melancholia is dukkha and manifests on its own. It is the most basic fact of all existence.

        1. Cygni
          Cygni November 24, 2015 at 4:36 pm |

          True nature

          Melancholy snipers

  17. slacklock
    slacklock November 13, 2015 at 2:45 pm |

    I really enjoyed the interview with Stephen Batchelor in the newest Tricycle. I’m definitely going to read this book now.

    1. Used-rugs
      Used-rugs November 14, 2015 at 8:00 am |

      Good luck. It’s a total snooze fest.

Comments are closed.