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Help Needed with Zen Buddhist views on Death.
Posted: 08 September 2008 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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Michael Faulkner - 08 September 2008 08:17 PM

For me I was exploring the point that in our western culture we don’t seem to be emotionally or psychologically equipped to deal with loss. It seems to me the Eastern traditions have some very interesting methods of contemplation and views on the subject of loss. That our perhaps more helpful than our own cultures views.

I can give you a laundry list of ‘interesting methods of contemplating and viewing’ just about anything.
What is it that you are after Michael ?

Are you really this detached or are you looking for an anesthetic to make life a bit easier ?
Sorry for asking but you’d be surprised by the number of wanna-be bliss ninnies that roam these decrepit halls.

A Buddhist mother in Thailand who loses her child in an unfortunate lawn-mowing accident feels the same as a mother in Brussels.
Coping is done with the support of family and friends and a glass of wine.
For the weaker ones a Valium or two may be proscribed.

Sander I’m not saying your wrong but I think you speak for a lot of people who say “don’t think about death, its one of those things, head down, foot to the floor and keeping gunning till ya run out of gas.”

I don’t think many people would be overjoyed if they found that I was speaking for them.

What is the upside to contemplating death Michael?
Do you think it will soften the blow when it comes?

However when we crash and we will all sorts of problems start. Some people are more affected by death than others and I do wonder how much delusion, wish thinking and attachments make them suffer more.

And what problems would that be ?

‘The West’ , in my opinion, has a fine attitude towards death.
Talk about it as little as possible, bury your dead, pay your respects and besides that, get on with life and shut the fuck up about death.

Contemplate it as much as you like Michael and I will call you a fool who is wasting his time and if I am in a foul mood I might accuse you of being a bliss ninny.

Consider yourself lucky that you are alive and can be part of all this, if only for a little while and stop bumming people out.

The less said about death the better.

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“You know I’m born to lose, and gambling is for fools.
But that’s the way I like it baby, I don’t want to live forever.”

From the autobiography of A.A.Mills, ‘The passage of time, according to an estranged, casual tyrant.’

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Posted: 08 September 2008 04:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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I asked this question to get some answers to help me gather my thoughts, i wrote a blog on the subject which touches on death and what it means for our well being. you can read it if you want it more or less maps out what i think and understand.  I dont have answers over how to cope best with death at best its conjecture. I see also you have proved my point about not wanting to talk about death…...

http://theyoungcontrarian.blogspot.com/2008/08/conclusion-to-garden-of-good-life.html

Best and be well

Michael Faulkner.

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Posted: 06 November 2008 05:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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Michael Faulkner - 08 September 2008 08:54 PM

I asked this question to get some answers to help me gather my thoughts, i wrote a blog on the subject which touches on death and what it means for our well being. you can read it if you want it more or less maps out what i think and understand.  I dont have answers over how to cope best with death at best its conjecture. I see also you have proved my point about not wanting to talk about death…...

http://theyoungcontrarian.blogspot.com/2008/08/conclusion-to-garden-of-good-life.html

Best and be well

Michael Faulkner.

Hi Michael. I think your curiosity about death is a healthy dose of youthfulness and by all means I do not mean that as an insult.  I find as I get older, I tend to think less about it in the abstract and more about its concreteness (such that I am getting closer and closer to it with each passing day.)  At the same time I tend to feel death is something not worth spending a whole lot of time on because we will know it when we see it and it will come to us sooner than most of us may want. Death is always a reminder to us that life is for the living.

I wrestled with Death for years, having lost many loved ones over about a 10 year span.  I read some interesting books about it and I analyzed it from high and low. My favorite book about death is The Denial of Death (on Sam’s recommended reading list).  It is psychoanalytical but describes our relationship to it especially from a western perspective.  And on a more personal note, it gave me some interesting insights into my own personality and occasional neurosis.


And while I don’t consider myself religious, I do find Buddhism and Zen in particular interesting.  I don’t believe in reincarnation or Karma or rebirths, etc… but Buddhism offers much food for thought about the nature of our minds and awareness.

I also practice meditation because I think it helps clear my mind from incessant dribble. I don’t find anything spiritual about it.  But as a form of increasing clarity and reason.

Mostly, I just see death as a teacher.  Something to remind me to get what I can out of life, by a variety of means and meanings.

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“Every war is a war against children.”
Howard Zinn

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Posted: 10 November 2008 02:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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OK, I used to be somewhat well-versed in these things
so allow me to clear up a few points;

isocratic infidel - 21 July 2008 01:29 PM

... even desire was considered a source of suffering…

No, in Buddhism that’s not a source of suffering,
but the very source of suffering.

Jehu - 07 August 2008 10:50 PM

.. What’s more, the ‘doctrine of emptiness’, upon which all Buddhist schools are founded, is an entirely rational one

That can be debated, but what it actually says is
is that all conditioned things (caused things) are impermanent and subject to suffering, and that all things are empty of self-nature. The teaching is not that things are “unreal” as such.
Just because things are dependently originated,
that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

for as it states at the end of each sutra: “this doctrine is reasonable”.

Huh? No, it does not state that at the end of each sutra
(to those unfamiliar with buddhist teachings, a sutra
or a sutta (depending on what cult of buddhism you belong to), is like a ‘verse’ (in the bible)
or a ‘sura’ (in the quran)).

If you want to look into zen and be entertained at the same time, please read
“Hardcore Zen, Punk Rock , Monster Movies and the Truth about Reality”
by Brad Warner.
He’s an ordained monk, with direct lineage back to
zen-master whatever and the funny robes and all that,
and he’s highly entertaining.
Let me give you an example; he has a chapter in
the book about reincarnation and it’s titled:
In my next life I want to come back as
a pair of Lucy Liu’s panties

I swear, no kidding.
It’s all very funny and one can pick up
a few seriously profound points, reading it.

Here’s his take on the re-incarnation-thinghy:

“...our undestanding of time is just plain wrong-and that
misunderstanding leads us to believe that we could reincarnate, and that we could live again after we die, that we could go to heaven or, hell or purgatory. That misunderstanding leads us to believe that we even have a soul.
But every one of these ideas
is, ultimately, stupid. They really make no sense at all once we understand that time really is…
...if you want to believe in reincarnation, you have to believe that this life, what you´re living through right now, is the afterlife…”


Here’s my favorite Buddha-teachings qoute:

Accept my words only when you have examined them
for yourselves;
do not accept them simply because of
the reverence you have for me.
Those who have faith
in me and affection for me will not find final freedom
.”

From a buddhist writing named the Majjhima Nikaya.

Really not too bad coming (suposedly) from a founder of a religion.

[ Edited: 10 November 2008 03:07 PM by Bongobongo Smith]
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Christian psychopaty:

Bruce Burleson
“.Tell me why it is wrong to rape, steal and kill….
…If I am a slaveholder in Alabama in 1860, why shouldn’t I enslave the niggers, fuck their women, and whip their children when they disobey me????
I’ll tell you why, and it is the ONLY reason why
..”

..he fears gods punishment.

Christians per definition has no moral.
They are governed by fear and fear only.

..and they don’t mind using the N-word.

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Posted: 10 November 2008 02:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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Now for zen-buddhist teachings about death;
wrap your head around this one:

“..“Firewood becomes ash and it does not become firewood again.
Yet, do not suppose that that the ash is future and the firewood past.
You should understand that firewood abides in the phenomenal expression of firewood, which fully includes past and future and is independent of past and future.
Ash abides in the phenomenal expression of ash, which fully includes future and past.
Just as firewood does not become firewood again after it is ash, you do not return to birth after death.
This being so, it is an established way in buddha-dharma to deny that birth turns into death.
Accordingly, birth is understood as no-birth.
It is an unshakable teaching in Buddha’s discourse that death does not turn into birth.
Accordingly, death is understood as no-death.
Birth is an expression complete this moment.
Death is an expression complete this moment.
They are like winter and spring.
You do not call winter the beginning of spring or summmer the end of spring…”

Dogen Zenjii.

Phew!

[ Edited: 10 November 2008 02:54 PM by Bongobongo Smith]
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Christian psychopaty:

Bruce Burleson
“.Tell me why it is wrong to rape, steal and kill….
…If I am a slaveholder in Alabama in 1860, why shouldn’t I enslave the niggers, fuck their women, and whip their children when they disobey me????
I’ll tell you why, and it is the ONLY reason why
..”

..he fears gods punishment.

Christians per definition has no moral.
They are governed by fear and fear only.

..and they don’t mind using the N-word.

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Posted: 12 November 2008 03:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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There is no uniform view on death in Chan/Zen/Seong. Dogen, who is only canonical within the Japanese branch of the Caodong lineage (called Soto) does give the above statement but also explicitly refers to rebirth several times in various works including the Shobogenzo. In China, most Chan lineage monks would have a very literal view of rebirth, with some exceptions. Of course, in accordance with the teachings of both Siddhatha and Bodhidharma it would be best not to hold a view on death based on speculation and to concentrate on practice within this lifetime.

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