Received Wisdom of Buddha

/ Cosmology … Theology … Ethics /

I’m going to do something silly, something vain: I’m going to argue, to quarrel, rationally (ha ha), with a few familiar tenets of Buddhism. I know better, you know better, come with me and let’s do it anyway. Bear with me, there really is a point coming.

We’ll put religion in its place, then religion will put reason in its place, which is no where too near the average human.
it’s a mess soon after my start, fixing it will take time, and inspiration. Comments from the Peanut Gallery are welcome, hope they come, hope they help. I’m getting old, too bad no one understood what I said when it wasn’t beyond me.

Buddha sat under the tree. He was a Hindu of course, believe in Samsara, the cycle of birth, death, rebirth. He saw it as a run around. His goal is to get off the merry-go-round, graduate from the circle: achieve perfection, a perfect life, then advance to nothingness. Bingo, jackpot: no more rebirths, no more perfection.

Buddhism, like Hinduism, starts with its conclusions.

If you know the results of your experiment before you perform your experiment there’s no point in performing the experiment: nothing can be learned. We learn not by probing but by sitting under a tree. Examining your belly button, with your eyes closed, is wisdom.

Why am I picking on Buddha? It’s no worse than any other religion that starts at its finish line. My poor story Release, not one person ever got it that I know of: including Ivan Illich for whom I wrote it! I’ll start this again, better.

Quoting from Joseph Campbell, Myths To Live By:

For seven days, at ease beneath a fifth tree, the Buddha, considering, thought: “This cannot be taught.”

Campbell himself adds: “For indeed, illumination cannot be communicated.”

We go, “Ooo, true, true”. The Solomon poet writes “All is vanity”. “Ooo, true, true”, we go to that too.

Campbell points out repeatedly, these insights are mythic; not scientific, not forensic. Remember that and the trouble we get into, while far from zero, is less.

I was just watching a doc on a plant in Vietname that attracts dung beetles with a stench of seeming decay. The beetle tries to climb out, the slippery slope defeats him. The plant dusts the dung beetles with pollen. Once the beetles are saturated with the geneic code of the plant, the plant reactualizes its sides, the beetle climbs out, goes off, pollinates other stink-of-death plants. Other plants use similar structures to eat the insects; this plant just delays them in their travels till this plant’s messages are post-marked. Note: the beetle doesn’t have to know it’s carrying pollen to be carrying pollen.

It’s gonna take a couple of drafts to say what I mean. One can get into trouble arguing with religious metaphors. Notice: if I argue with Jesus, I may see Jesus talking to me, but will my girl or my son or my neighbor see Jesus present in the conversation? Trouble everywhere, that’s our doom. I’m donna do it anyway.

Buddha’s imputed wisdom is not objectively established however much we may assent to it.

Attributed to Buddha is the conclusion that all life produces sorrow, pain, frustration. Further, all effer at amelioration is vain. … Like Solomon’s this conclusion is not verifiable, not falsifiable. In fact, examined logically, it’s nonsense. It’s as “true” as saying “This sentence is a lie”: it can’t be true!

more in a min

Cosmology, Theology

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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