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What you think about this and that of old, may eventually count less than the course you are sailing and the weather, if you don't shipwreck.

Pali Canon collections:
AN - Anguttara Nikaya
DN - Digha Nikaya
MN - Majjhima Nikaya
SN - Samyutta Nikaya
[More]

Savoury Buddhism is help for developing also, as "The mind, when developed and cultivated, brings about happiness." [AN 1.30]

Buddhist practices are for free, except those who are not . . . Restricted practices may be for a few, as higher Dzogchen methods.

Buddhism Is not Heartless

Buddhism is not heartless. It offers a wealth of inherently helpful clues.

In many circumstances of daily living there is a place for a Buddhist view or two. What matters is also to get a hold of practical affairs in a deep enough way to profit or get afloat.

General teachings can be fit for many, but maybe not full well, since people and circumstances differ. You may take up TM, Transcendental Meditation. Thousands of Buddhists monks have done so today. [◦A comparison] [◦More on TM]

Provisional faith or interest to test things well

TM and Buddhist practice alike call for a certain kind of faith called shradda in Sanskrit and saddha in the Sanskrit-derived Pali language. The faith that Buddha calls for, is not blind faith but provisional. This suggests an amount of fair confidence on your part to try out aspects of Gautama Buddha's teachings, also called the Dharma (the Dhamma), and study whether and how far these teachings, when practiced adequately, can lead to the good, solid living and benefits you are told lie in store. [Consider]

Buddhistic progress teachings may differ, although some moral basics tend to be fixed, like roots in the soil.

Ask yourself: "If there is no Self, who gets Enlightened?" There is room for Atman (Sanskrit: Self, spirit) and similar in various Mahayana schools. It is expressed by such as, "Atman is an essence . . . an intrinsic nature". Also, the Tathagatagarbha sutras declare that "atman" exists. Further, pre-Buddhist upanishads of Hinduism link atman to the feeling "I am". And the Upanishadic "Self" shares certain characteristics with nirvana. (WP, "Anatta")

You could add some thoughts of your own as part of your way of life if it suits you. Note that Buddha says it is possible to get Enlightened. Who gets Enlightened? What may Enlightenment mean? It is for your to find out. Buddha:

Buddha is Fully Enlightened, the Happy One, and the knower of the world. His Dharma teachings are essentially timeless and inviting investigation, leading to emancipation, to be comprehended by the wise, each for himself. (Abridged from the Maha-parinibbana Sutta: Last Days of the Buddha, trs. Sister Vajira and Francis Story, 1998. DN 16.2.9)

God and Persons in Buddhism

Buddha advises against useless speculation, and for sticking to helpful practice, and ideas that serve progress.

The ancient Buddhist texts also tell that the very first to hear a Buddha sermon after Buddha was enlightened, was Creator-God. That is what one old text says.

Sitting under a tree, during the night Siddhartha [Buddha-to-be] entered into progressively deeper meditative states. Thus he came to understand - By dawn next morning he had completely awakened and is from now on called "Buddha", which means the Awakened One.

Buddha understood that his realization was too deep to be fathomed by most beings. But then Brahma, Creator-God, appeared before him and asked him to teach what he had learned for the benefit of those few beings who could understand and profit from his wisdom. Moved by compassion for all those caught up in the round of cyclic existence, Buddha agreed.

Shortly after being asked by Brahma and committing to doing what God asked of him, Buddha delivered his first public sermon in a Deer Park near Varanasi (Benares). In that lecture a core message is that it is highly important to follow a "middle way" and not indulge in extremes, including extreme asceticism. He also shows a beneficient way out of suffering, if it is adhered to comparatively all right.

The old text says Buddhism owes God a whole lot - up to all of Buddha's teachings, in fact. And without them, there would be no Buddhism as we know it today.

[Retold from a chapter in Anthology of Scriptures of World Religions, by John Powers and James Fieser, published by McGraw-Hill Publications in 1997. On-line.]

God Creator, Brahma, made Buddhism flourish, the ancient text says

Pudgala reckoned with as early as the 200s BCE

For twelve hundred years in the history of Buddhism in India, perhaps one third of the Buddhists believed there is a Person deep within, a pudgala. The word has several meanings, including Ego or individual, soul and personal entity, says the Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit. The ancient Sammatiya and Vatsiputriya schools are known for their pudgala outlook.

The Chinese pilgrim Hsüan-tsang described the Sammatiya school somewhere in the 600s CE as one of the four main Buddhist orientations of that time. Further, reports of Chinese Buddhist pilgrims in the 600s CE tell there were a lot of followers along the Ganges valley. The school also flourished in Gujarat, in eastern India, and in Champa, which is central Vietnam in our times. A Tibetan account from the 1500s states that it still flourished up to the end of the 1000s CE.

The root of the teaching of the Inward Person, pudgala, is a saying where Buddha speaks of a "bundle" (components of a being) and of one "who carries the bundle". That is the textual foundation of the very old pudgala teachings that the pudgala is is a conscious someone who exists and wanders from life to life while other parts of life do not. Thus your Inward "Soul" or spirit is said to transmigrate and live in intermediary realms between death and rebirth too. Still, you are free to believe as you wish in such doctrinal matters, as the Kalama Sutra explains: [Link]

The Buddhist who adheres to the belief on an Inward Person, can hold on to the practical everyday notion that he is someone. Other Buddhist, who think differently, can have problems with justifying themselves and their thinking, and that is a serious matter. Leaving that issue for now, those Buddhists who believe there is Person within, have traditionally been called Pudgalavadins ("Teachers of the Pudgala"), or Vatsiputriyas. Pudgala teachings of Buddhism appear already in the 200s BCE.

The ancient Sammatiya and Vatsiputriya schools were widely spread, and with several subschools. Sammatiya Buddhism holds that the enduring Person (pudgala) within is distinct from both the conditioned and the unconditioned. One may regard it as close to an individual who hosts a personality during a life. Such an Inward Person is said to be greater than the sum of the parts that make up the organism. This view resembles the theory of Atman in Brahmanistic Hinduism, that is, of an ultimate Self. Sammatiyas maintained that a person (pudgala) is basically an Essence. (See Conze 1993)

The faith that an inmost Essence transmigrates is surely easier to accommodate one's thinking to than the stale "there is no Self, but reincarnation is a fact, and many are headed for Enlightenment." Hence there can be room for God in Buddhist thinking too. [EB, "Sammatiya"; "Buddhism"]

The Person within is called Pudgala; basically Essence.

The Great Universe symbolizes Brahman (and Atman) [cf. Evans-Wentz 1968, 230n].

"Mind-chains", "mind-associations", meaning "association of ideas", can change world-conceptions [cf. Evans-Wentz 1968:231, 231n].

One can "turn homogenous" against many unverified, current beliefs around.

The Void, or Sunyata

Bad ideas can mar a life though, so the value of proficient thinking - up to some levels - is great too. So watch out for what can develop the mind and health and assist neat conditions.

Adi Shankara wrote something that applies far and wide: "Study of the scriptures is fruitless as long as Brahman [God] has not been experienced. And when Brahman has been experienced, it is useless to read the scriptures." Useless, but perhaps not always completely unwelcome, one may add. [Link]

Consider a statement by Shankaracharya Brahmananda too: "Spiritual teachings . . . cannot throw light on the inner Self, for the Self is Light." [More] Then what about what is called the void, emptiness, shunyata? It is a tricky perception. To know a void exists, you need to verify it somehow, but how can you unless there is something to grasp and sense about it? Besides, awareness of a void means awareness is into it too, By that the so-called void is not completely void -

"Many people are afraid to empty their minds lest they should plunge into the Void. They do not know that their own mind [contains] the Void." [With Huang-po]

Also, according to Daizetz T. Suzuki (1870-1966), the total self-identity of "I am I" is the state of non-time and is equivalent to the emptiness of Buddhist philosophy. Reverend Gudo Nishijima of Dogen's Soto Zen line informs that Eihei Dogen [1200-53] says things similar to it:

He denies that sunyata (emptiness), is "nothingness, non-existence, or non-reality." "Sunyata is not non-existence." In Master Dogen's teaching sunyata is not the denial of real existence - it expresses the absence of anything other than real existence." [See Nishijima and Cross 1996, Chapter "Bussho"] [More]

Major texts of Mahayana Buddhism, such as the Mahaparinirvana Sutra or Lankavatara Sutra, teach that the Void (sunyata) is not really void. The Lankavatara Sutra repeats with variations, "Avoid the erroneous reasonings of the philosophers and seek this self-realisation of Noble Wisdom", and "Erroneous teachings do not recognise that the world-mind-system also includes the mind itself. Deep Mind is as real as anything and anyone."

There needs to be someone to experience or perceive a void to manage to talk of it later too. Milarepa: "Deep words of initiation serve as fetters for those who are not initiated." — "I have forgot all creeds and dogma and all definitions." — "Now I have done away with all distinctions of black or white." — "Carry the teachings into practice in your everyday life."

Progressively "setting the wheel of Dharma in motion" (i.e., live Buddhism) could count a lot so long as you are well and not attacked, and so on..

Other Things than Plain Enlightenment Are Possible (Tantra)

Vajrayana Buddhism, also called Tibetan Tantric Buddhism and at times Mahayana Buddhism too, recognises yab-yum. In Buddhist art of India, Nepal, and Tibet, Yam-yum (Tibetan: "father-mother") shows the male deity in sexual embrace with his female consort, showing a fusion of method or force (female) and wisdom (maleness).'

So it is possible for some to have yogic sex too. In tantric Buddhism supreme buddhahood is by the union of a male and female pair also. One tantric treatises puts a manifestation of the Buddha Akshobhya in the centre of the universe; he is embracing his consort Visvamatri (Mother of All, Mother of the Universe). Buddhist Tantras are traced to the 600s or earlier, says Encyclopaedia Britannica. [EB "Tantra", "yab-yum" etc].

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"Forewarned, forearmed"

Leap and dance for joy, a Buddhist parables says. [EB "bharata-natya"] Developing sound skilfulness in this and many other outlets may be within reach too. Buddha advocates sound skilfulness.

Some governments finds it best that children get conformised together by compulsory public schooling. It may not be as bad as you think, but students may improve their lives and grades by learning TM. [◦Research findings]

Towns could be regulated far better for humans and plant life. [◦Compare Maharishi Vastu Planning].

Resources and use of time is taken away from what is rather concrete, and made use of for just semblances of the real "things." Compare Jean Baudrillard's views of how semblances little by little infiltrate the sense world so that the end results fail due to widespread reductionism. Baudrillard claims that our current society has replaced human experience with a mere simulated reality. Media, including television, film, print and the Internet may serve multinational capitalism and other main players now. [Baudrillard 1994; Wikipedia, "Simulacra and Simulation;" "Simulated reality"]

Nowadays people are getting less free and less lax in urban environments, where money is spent on cars, roads and parking lots more than public "free spaces", including forests, grassy fields and large gardens. You could stand up against the current urban exploitation if you dare. A group could manage to "Plant pears for heirs (Proverb)."

It may also become good for yourself and many others that you make decent and apt use of your time as well as your sound opportunities that are in harmony with essential moral dealings - so as to avoid marring, tough repercussions physically and mentally and above those level again, as the case may be. In the long run you may be able to Yet, "Don't do it if it harms yourself, or good ones with hearts." Thomas Kuhn speaks of paradigm shifts in the sciences [Kuhn 1970]. A paradigm is a set of basic assumptions at the back or bottom of a scientific discipline. Many say that established ways of thinking change only when new brooms replace old brooms somehow. One question is "Does it help, help enough, and does it matter? If it will not harm ableness or higher outlets, it may help somehow. Above that, it may be fit to encourage reasonably safe and positive outlets and truths.

More goes into life than singing in the shower. That leads us to belly dance and similar outlets. In your private garden it could be nice, and in other places a hot potato. Thus, consider - and take into account that husbands and wives divorse. Divorce statistics reveal that in Sweden about two out of three divorce. A marriage, frankly, suggests: "Hard times may be coming as the marriage goes on. Prepare in advance." There are many ways, both on a constructive note and a defensive, guarding note. It may not help to get stubborn and defensive along the road.

Werner Heisenberg: "When new groups of phenomena compel changes in the pattern of thought . . . even the most eminent of physicists find immense difficulties. For the demand for change in the thought patterns may engender the feeling that the ground is to be pulled from under one's feet . . . I believe that the difficulties at this point can hardly be overestimated. Once one has experienced the desperation with which clever and conciliatory men of science react to the demand for a change in the thought pattern, one can only be amazed that such revolutions in science have actually been possible at all. [Zukav 1979:211]."

The total impact of the "development" that means deleloped technology put in the service of exploiting more, may ruin many good sides to life for generations. Being subjeced to machinery, gadgets, and gameboy living is a side to it. Development serves the rich, and the gap between the rich and not rich increases. Are there good all-round solutions at hand, solutions that fit you well?

What is naïvely supposed to be progress, does it serve men and women, children and grandparents, and so on? Does it serve good folks or big data that threatens to control and limit so much? Does it consist in building down the worth of humans for the sake of growth of machines, big brother data and more control of humans? It seems society is freaking out, wasting resources that are difficult to renew, and endangering humankind by more global heating (for money).

Storing Salt - An Issue

Much savoury food calls for salt(s) - not too little, not too much - but suitable for one's taste and the body's handling of of it. Buddha points out how "Good teachings are excellent in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end." If salt is good in a similar way, and as good as many chefs say, is there a need for having a salt supply? Is having a supply of salt good enough?

For a Buddhist layperson having stored salt may be all right. As for monks, different types of monks deal with salt differently (!).

A Buddhist council was held at Vaishali (in the Bihar state) a little more than a century after Buddha's death. It was called to settle a dispute about the relaxed rules of discipline followed by the monks of Vaishali. What became a matter of dispute was the storing of salt, among other things. Disagreements about storing of salt etc. led to the first schism of ancient Buddhism. The "mahasangha, "Great Order of monks" and the Theravadins split up. They might seem to have had little to disagree on, but disagree the did.

Some monks wanted to store salt, to eat after noon and accept gifts of gold and money and so on. [◦The Second Council]
The Great Order who had wanted rules to be laxer in such ways, was a forerunner of Mahayana ("Greater Vehicle") Buddhism, widely adhered to in China, Korea, Japan, and Tibet as in its Indian "home culture" at that time. The school spread to southern India too. Its texts were written in Prakrit.

Thus, Mahayana Buddhism emerged in about the first century CE from the ancient Buddhist schools as a more liberal and innovative interpretation of the Buddha's teachings. In Japan, Mahayana Buddhism has a significant modern following in Zen Buddhism, Nichiren Buddhism, and Tendai. The Mahayana scriptures were composed mainly in Sanskrit. Where original Sanskrit versions seem to be lost, there are translations of some of them, for example in Tibetan and Chinese.

The Buddhist conservatives or today are known as Theravadins of Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.

What is excellent in modern times is fit for life today and not always what was written down long ago under largely different conditions and not so fit for increasingly arid, deforested areas and urban, regulated life.

Buddhism and Stringed Instruments

Savoury life does not have to dispense with all forms of music, such as whistling a tune, or humming it - Some forms of music are fun. As long as pleasures and fun do not deteriorate a lot, gentle forms of music may help us calm down. Again, some forms of loud music are not fun, and harm the hearing.

Many kinds of stringed instruments are plucked with the fingers. Playing musical instruments does not seem to be included in the Buddhist rules for householders. However, attending vain, pompous or macabre shows is not welcome, as inexperienced young ones and older ones may be abused, and on country festivals too. As for what is popular:

"Do not believe something just because it has been passed along and retold," mentions Buddha in the Kalama Sutta, which is among the most authoritative sutras (discourses). He ends on a positive note in it, namely to aim for well-being, prosperity and happiness.

Being yourself matters too. Learn to assess what your teachers and life philosophy influences say too, and do not believe everything you hear or that what pops up in our own own culture is for a long time onwards. What you can stay with, having a heart (compassion), could help, at least a little.

Contents


Pudgala, Person, Pudgalavadins, Brahma in Buddhism, Buddhist meditation, Buddhism with a person inside, Literature  

Baudrillard, Jean. 1994. Simulacra and Simulation. Tr. Sheila Faria Glazer. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Conze, Edward. 1993. Buddhism: A Short History. Reprint ed. Oxford, UK: Oneworld Publications.

Evans-Wentz, Walter Y., ed. The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation or the Method of Realizing Nirvana through Knowing the Mind. London: Oxford University Press, 1968.

Fergusson, Rosalind. The Penguin Dictionary of Proverbs. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983.

Kuhn, Thomas. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 2nd enlarged ed. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1970.

Masunaga, Reiho tr: A Primer of Soto Zen. A Translation of Dogen's Shobogenzo Zuimonki. University Press. Honolulu, 1975.

Nishijima, Gudo Wafo and Cross, Chodo, trs. Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 2. Windbell Publications. London, 1996.

Zukav, Gary. The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics. London: Rider, 1979.

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