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BillM

Non-Self Versus Loving Self?

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A few years ago I read "Autobiography of a Yogi". The entire book is full of extraordinary unexplained experiences of various Yogis in India, including those of the author. To me, it read like a bunch of "parlor tricks", but who knows!

 

Christianity is full of "miraculous" events, many of which, these days, center around apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Some of these can be explained and others cannot.

 

But, these unusual, or even miraculous events have been reported far outside of Christianity. In Buddhism, there are stories of realized monks sort of de-materializing at the moment of death, leaving only hair and fingernails behind. They remind me of the story of the Ascension of Jesus, And, in India there are many incredible stories about Yogis and holy men and women like the ones I mentioned in the above book.

 

I think Joseph is right, unless we experience something for ourselves, we won't believe it. And, I think that is exactly the way it should be. On the other hand, I won't throw cold water on the experiences of others.

 

Steve

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Blackmore started off with an illogical bias, then confused her failure to find evidence as evidence of nonexistence. Her wild goose chase failed, but wild geese exist.

 

I was taught in the eighth grade that one cannot prove a null hypothesis. Maybe she missed that day.

 

I think anyone who is not a consummate egoist must be open to the possibility of a supernatural realm. Not believe or disbelieve, but simply leave a little mental compartment for evidence which cannot be analyzed. Yet.

 

Paridolia is an well recognized human trait. It has been studied and found in infants, so we understand why people see faces in wood grain, tortillas and dog butts. We have a good grasp on this natural phenomenon.

 

Medjugorje is a special case. Lots of studies were conducted because millions of people simultaneously experienced what they considered miracles for several years. Something definitely happened there, and it is not completely explainable by natural means. Lots of evidence.

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I saw a UFO when I was a child. I was about 10 or so. I was at a neighbor's house. My neighbor pointed up to the sky and said, "Well, will you take a look at that!" Up in the cloudless sky, over a nearby hill, a disc-shaped black silhouette moved slowly across the sky. It was too far away to make out any details. I couldn't tell if it was spinning like in the old scifi movies. But it was steady as a rock, no wobbling. And no sound. It just moved slowly across the sky until it passed behind the hill.

 

It was a true UFO. It was Unidentified, at least by me and my neighbor-lady. We didn't know what it was. It seemed to be Flying, though it had no wings and no obvious source of propulsion. And it was an Object. It wasn't a vision (unless we were both hallucinating). So I believe in UFOs. Been there. Seen one. Wish I had a T-shirt.

 

Doesn't mean that I believe that aliens from outer space were piloting that UFO or that they were on their way to do their next anal probe. :rolleyes:

 

My experience of that UFO was real, as real as anything I know. But the explanation for it is...well...I don't know what it was. On one hand, though it was weird, it didn't seem to violate the laws of nature. No right angle turns at Warp 5 without slowing down or anything of that nature. On the other hand, there is a lot I don't know about it. Probably never will.

 

There is a BIG difference between what is unknown and what is contradictory.

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Blackmore started off with an illogical bias, then confused her failure to find evidence as evidence of nonexistence. Her wild goose chase failed, but wild geese exist.

 

She started off with an experience ... studied the phenomena for twenty years and became skeptical of her beliefs. I can't help but think of this as logical.

I find your assertion, just that an assertion.

 

While I take your point on black swans not existing and I will excuse those living on the same continent as the Black Swan River, but if you were to claim that we should keep an open mind regarding black swans being indigenous to the Columbia River, I would have to go to a deeply solipsistic frame of mind to agree with you here

 

I was taught in the eighth grade that one cannot prove a null hypothesis. Maybe she missed that day.

 

Again, here I think you mistake logic and science. I find I have to keep reminding people science does not deal in proof. And just because science does not provide proof does not mean we have to sit on some fulcrum of a teeter-totter (see-saw) of our beliefs. While we might wish to believe in the possibility some luminiferous aether, the Michelson Morley experiment (and subsequent physics) has put paid to that belief.

 

I think anyone who is not a consummate egoist must be open to the possibility of a supernatural realm. Not believe or disbelieve, but simply leave a little mental compartment for evidence which cannot be analyzed.

 

If I were to write:

I think anyone who is not a consummate egoist must be open minded to the possibility that they are completely a product of the universe unfolding.

 

This sentence would go down about as well as yours.

 

There is evidence that the universe is "unfolding", but the supernatural seems to be events that we have not had the ability or chance to explain.

 

Yet.Paridolia is an well recognized human trait. It has been studied and found in infants, so we understand why people see faces in wood grain, tortillas and dog butts. We have a good grasp on this natural phenomenon.

 

Yes ... completely natural. Not just faces or just vision.

 

Medjugorje is a special case. Lots of studies were conducted because millions of people simultaneously experienced what they considered miracles for several years. Something definitely happened there, and it is not completely explainable by natural means. Lots of evidence.

 

And here you confuse we don't have an explanation with supernaturalism. I would argue supernaturalism is an abandonment of an explanation.

 

I don't know how it was done, therefore supernatural, is not a logical proposition. A God of the gaps argument.

  • Upvote 1

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Burl,

 

You do have a way: throwing in a disparaging characterization,description or comment that must apply if another does not accept what you are selling (ex. poor Ms. Blackstone's education must be lacking). Merely because one does not subscribe to some of what is mentioned in these posts, does not mean they do not believe in the 'supernatural realm' - if that is what is meant by or includes 'God.' As has been discussed in these topics already (see theism, panentheism), there is a difference in defining/understanding God and, therefore, this term.

 

For me, we live in a Presence (in Being/God so must be the realm of God) that is so subtle that it is often missed (called by some an ‘epistemic distance’) yet so powerful that it thrives even when unrecognized; we are of the only realm that IS: Holy Being (this is not to deny a greater actualization or fulfillment in Being). However, If the characterization of God's realm as supernatural suggests two worlds (man's and God's) and presupposes that 'God' is 'outside' the natural world, it simply does not resonate with me. Nor does the idea of miracles or other phenomena/beings that suggest a 'breaking into the natural world' of man or breaking the laws of nature. I simply don't believe that God interact acts with us in these ways. Are there mysteries, are there unexplained experiences? Hell, I took Silva Mind Control in college and we amazed even ourselves but, if anything, I chalk that up to the power of the mind, not the way of God. I simply don't accept that that is his modus operandi. Others can, that's fine, we disagree - we will never know on this side of the grave and, sure, there might be things we discover about the power of the mind but never 'things' that we can analyze about the realm and way of God. Humbly, don't think so.

 

You stumbled on it when you said "not believe or disbelieve" (and I assume we can also include believe): those are the options. The supernatural, God's realm, God - cannot be analyzed. One can analyze things and even offer proofs for some things, but I suspect that God does not give us information to be analyzed, he gives him-Self (revelation is the Self-Revelation of God) and faith - the giving of oneself in relationship - or not, is the option. Our speculation is fine and fun but ultimately it is faith.

 

Finally, isn't it accurate that Blackstone wasn't chasing geese, she was chasing the 'paranormal' and she concluded it wasn't there. And, doesn't paridolia mean wrong image?

Edited by thormas

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Thormas, I am trying to be direct and readable. This is a casual after-dinner conversation from my POV, not an academic fussathon. Sometimes I step on a toe but at least I got people posting again. Look at the history sometime: from 2012-2016 this place was moribund.

 

I agree with you that the supernatural cannot be analyzed, but an apparently supernatural event can indeed be analyzed to exclude natural causes and this is frequently done, as was done with Medjugorje. In that case, natural causes were excluded and the event was considered consistent with previously described supernatural events.

 

>>crickets<<. As everyone who clicked my link is aware. >>/crickets<<

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Burl, I'll pass on your history but it seems from the few I've read people are often disagreeing and correcting your comments toward others. Also, this is casual after-dinner conversation - not sure what you consider academic, but this isn't it! BTW, difficult to be readable if you insult people. Perhaps you can change it up a bit.

 

And, you have just said that the supernatural can and cannot be analyzed. Helpful.

Edited by thormas

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In that case, natural causes were excluded and the event was considered consistent with previously described supernatural events.

 

Burl

The problem here is, if an event is analysable through cause and effect then it is truly part of the natural world. If we can't find the causal trail then fair enough. But I don't think the default position should be it is supernatural.

 

In your own words, it should not be confused with

 

failure to find evidence as evidence of nonexistence

 

We could end up on wild goose chases etc. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Edited by romansh

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When we speak of a “supernatural realm”, are we not attempting to gild the lily? Our daily mundane existence is perhaps too familiar to us. It has become so to me. Although, every now and then I am struck with awe at this “natural realm”. In those moments, I need no apparitions, or burning bushes, or major epiphanies.

 

Whatever can happen will happen. I think that is a restatement of Murphy’s Law. So, if it happens it happens because it “can”, not because something has impinged upon us from another realm. Although, if that’s what you think is needed, by all means posit the existence of the supernatural!

 

We don’t experience the awe, amazement and seeming impossibility of this existence because we are jaded and unenlightened. We are ordinary beings existing within something really extraordinary.

 

Steve

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I suspect that beliefs in a "supernatural realm" came about because our ancient forbearers couldn't see a direct connection between cause and effect in the natural world. Our 5 senses work fairly well in gauging and giving us feedback on the natural, physical world. But in primitive cultures, we couldn't explain how water could fall from the sky when we never saw it go up. Therefore, God (supernatural theism) did it. We couldn't explain a hurricane. Therefore, God did it, probably to punish the wicked or disobedient. We had no knowledge of germs. Therefore, God punished people with sickness and death. We didn't know anything about epilepsy. Therefore, it was demonic possession. We strongly felt that we had received a message from "another world" or "another realm". Therefore, angels delivered the message. Angels are only necessary when God isn't here.

 

As our knowledge increases, God (supernatural theism) becomes more and more unemployed. This is, IMO, what spawned the "Death of God" movement during the last century. As a "God out there", there is little left for God to do, except for those Christians who still insists that he rules and controls the cosmos.

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Thormas, I am trying to be direct and readable. This is a casual after-dinner conversation from my POV, not an academic fussathon. Sometimes I step on a toe but at least I got people posting again. Look at the history sometime: from 2012-2016 this place was moribund.

 

 

 

Burl,

Sometimes i wonder where you get your data for your statements :blink: . From January 1, 2012 to July 20 2016 (you became a member July 21, 2016) we had 13,141 posts over a 55 month perioid or an app average of 238 posts per month. Since you joined we have averaged 223 posts per month. While you have livened up conversations a bit our numbers for your 3 months are lower so i guess you could still call us moribund with your presence by your interpretation of the numbers. :rolleyes:

Joseph

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Once again, in response to the original OP.

 

Keeping within the boundaries of Buddhism and the Dharma, there is no "versus". One (non-self) would imply the other.(loving self)

 

These are the so called "twin pillars" of wisdom and compassion. (Wisdom, defined as per Edward Conze as "the mind/heart thirsting for emancipation seeing direct into the heart of reality") which can only co-exist.

 

As I see it, if one does indeed necessarily bring forth the other, this has much to say about the Ultimate Reality. In as much as, if to SEE it and know it, and live it, IS to be loving and compassionate, then any human beings simple faith and trust in God (or call it Him or what you will) is not misplaced.

 

I suppose we just need to find out for ourselves. We each have our own unique path, and as far as "only ways" are concerned, as Meister Eckhart said:- They do Him wrong who know God in one particular way; they have the way rather than God. Or, perhaps stretching it a bit ( :) ), as the Buddha said, the dharma is for passing over, not for grasping.

 

 

 

 

 

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I appreciate your thoughts and wisdom on this, Tariki. It gives me much to consider, though I admit, being a Westerner, I struggle with the language.

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I agree we can't grasp God with a closed mind or fist so why not open to everything at our disposal.

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On 10/18/2016 at 12:13 AM, BillM said:

Some religions, especially those of the East, tend to focus on diminishing self or attaining some state where self no longer matters. How would this concept, which I think has some benefit, mesh with Jesus' teachings about loving one's self? Are these notions at odds or do they overlap?

In my reflections on Eastern and Western spiritual traditions, I always tend to converge the teachings by finding the commonality and bridging the difference. In this question, the first thing we need to do is to clarify the concept of the self. In many esoteric traditions, there are two selves: the Higher Self (which is also the Divine Self or Spirit in us) and the Lower Self (normally termed as ego). Apophatic spiritual traditions will always drive toward transcending the ego to be one with the Divine Spirit in us (the Atman or Dharmakaya) because the ego is just an illusion and impermanent, it is the higher soul (or Dharma body) that is eternal and permanent. Cataphatic spiritual traditions (such as Tantra and Ignatian spirituality) makes use of the ego to find God's presence in the present corporal reality.

Following the Tantra and Kabbalah traditions, I am inclined to see that the ego is an essential part of our human nature being a being within time and space. It is through our ego (our beliefs, thoughts, emotions) that we create our reality in space and time. The important thing is to purify the ego of negative programming from other people when we are growing up and to let the Higher Soul or Spirit manifest itself through the ego. The self is an essential part of being human but we need to let the self express our true nature and essence as being created in the image of God.

God loves us unconditionally so we have to learn to love our self. This is the reason why selfishness is something natural to being human. Kabbalah teaches that being creatures means that ingrained in us is the will to receive. God, the creator with the will to bestow, created us with the will to receive so we can receive pleasure from our creator. As I see it, selfishness is not the problem. The problem is how we define the self.

We normally define the self to be our body or our possessions. So we love ourselves and our possessions only to the exclusion of others. For parents with children, they sense and feel that their children is part of their selves. They naturally feel what their children feel because there is a sense of oneness among them. The parents identify with their children and feel their pain and joy. This reminds me of this saying of Jesus: Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do it unto me. I think that with Jesus' identifying with the least of the people, he becomes one with them in mind and heart. He feels what they feel and desire what they desire. To add to this, I have read of Hebrew saying that the true wording of the second commandment is this: Love your neighbor as your self. This wording emphasized that the neighbor is part of our self. When we see the neighbor as part of our self, then we feel what they feel and desire what they desire. 

To summarize, the challenge for us is not to be selfless because it is going against our nature as a creation of God. Love of self and selfishness is natural and part of God's design. The challenge is really self-expansion. We need to begin to expand how we define our self - from our body and possessions to our kin, then expanded to include community and society, then expanded to include the whole world. The truth is that this is the ontological reality: the individual is part of the whole and the whole is part of the individual. What the individual does affect the whole but what happens to the whole also affects the individual. In Kabbalah, the concept of Adam ha Rishon states that our individual soul is just a piece broken from the original soul of Adam. When our consciousness have evolved from ego consciousness to collective consciousness (then to cosmic consciousness), we will begin to see that humanity and the earth is our self. With this expanded self, being selfish will mean taking care of others, humanity and the earth because when we take care of them, we are just taking care of ourselves.

 

Edited by gfcacha

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Seems like a complicated way of saying, "Make new friends".

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9 hours ago, gfcacha said:

In my reflections on Eastern and Western spiritual traditions.............

A lot to unpack, so commenting on just a couple.

I follow and largely agree with your 2nd paragraph but are you saying (or do you believe) the Higher Self or Spirit (of man) is hidden and needs to be made manifest or it must be 'created?'  I lean toward the latter with the understanding that by 'incarnating' Love/God, man becomes the Likeness of God; man (literally?) becomes a New Creation. To possibly contradict myself, I also like Maslow's idea of self-actualization which seems to suggest there is something 'there' (already) to manifest. However to manifest is to make obvious so it could be making obvious what had to be uncovered (already there) or something becomes obvious when it is created??

Also, the programming can also be understood as the communal aspect of sin. There is individual sin but it always takes place and is 'influenced' by sin that is institutionalized and/or part of the culture into to which we are born. If true, how, for you, does one 'purify the negative programming?'

Finally, I read the commandment differently: the neighbor is not part of self, he/she is not me, therefore love must go out of self (selflessness) to the other which (begins to) create a oneness.  Thus there is a challenge and a need to be selfless: love of self and selfishness are two different realities.

We are probably not far apart.

 

Edited by thormas

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Posted (edited)
On 10/17/2016 at 12:13 PM, BillM said:

Some religions, especially those of the East, tend to focus on diminishing self or attaining some state where self no longer matters. How would this concept, which I think has some benefit, mesh with Jesus' teachings about loving one's self? Are these notions at odds or do they overlap?

Jesus didn't preach about loving yourself, really.  It was implicit in the life-affirming stance of his culture and religion.  His time is not necessarily our time.  We've had 1,000 years of deconstruction of traditional cultural belonging, religious quarrels and the resulting cynicism, and as a result, many people experience alienation... ever from themselves.

Anatman in Buddhism, at least what I'm familiar with, doesn't mean "I" perish at death.  It's more like there never really was an "I" to begin with.  This is something difficult and obscure to understand, though.   It's why there's koans like "What was your face before your mother and father were born?"

Edited by FireDragon76

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Posted (edited)
On 10/19/2016 at 9:23 AM, Burl said:

Reincarnation and karma do not make sense unless there is a durable 'self' which maintains its integrity after death.

 

My personal view is that these are folk beliefs which persist because they do a good job of explaining why life is not fair.

Buddhists implicitly believe in a person (pudgala) surviving physical death, without ascribing complete permanence to that person.  There was a somewhat unorthodox (and now extinct) school called the Pudgalavadans that stated this implicitly, but most Buddhists considered that too much like the Hindu explanation to accept the implicit reality, and preferred to simply remain silent on the topic.

In some ways, the Buddhist view of the person is similar to Whitehead's Process metaphysics.  We can acknowledge persons as real without ascribing to them a particular unchanging essence.

It does seem that the actual historical Buddha, based on the reasonable conclusions of scholarship, accepted beliefs like reincarnation, at least provisionally, because they were so widespread, and he saw some benefit in believing that our actions have consequences for the future.  But in terms of dogmatic belief... that was foreign to his ethos of self-inquiry.

Edited by FireDragon76

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If you use the Pali Canon as a reference i think you will find the essence of the Buddhas teaching to say ..

Essence Buddha's Teachings 
a short explicit explanation of Buddha's discourses based on the Pali Canon recognized by Buddhist scholars as the oldest record of what the Buddha actually taught

Absolute changeless permanent reality, the unconditioned, itself alone is, 
all else has always been, is, and always will be just a state of make-believe fiction, 
a state of delusion worn like a costume with multiple fabricated viewpoints, 
with each self-sustaining itself in a self-perpetuated state of self-ignorance, 
until each decides to come to closure through self-enlightenment and self-awakening 

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16 hours ago, JosephM said:

Absolute changeless permanent reality, the unconditioned, itself alone is, 
all else has always been, is, and always will be just a state of make-believe fiction, 
a state of delusion worn like a costume with multiple fabricated viewpoints, 
with each self-sustaining itself in a self-perpetuated state of self-ignorance, 
until each decides to come to closure through self-enlightenment and self-awakening 

My question has always been, what is the point of it all from the Buddhist perspective? If the unconditioned always is and is permanent and all else is merely a fiction, make believe and ignorance - what is the point? Even the eventual attainment of enlightenment, albeit amidst incredible pain and suffering (which certainly is experienced as real) by many, we awaken to the fact that it was all fiction. Seems like a cruel joke: a joke is also a make believe fiction and the suffering is just cruel.

Also, does Buddhism believe that this awakening happens in a short 40, 60 or 80 years or are there multiple lives/fictions that we have to endure first?

My questions are serious in that I have long admired aspects of Buddhism but have also been mystified by it.

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On 7/22/2019 at 8:10 AM, thormas said:

My question has always been, what is the point of it all from the Buddhist perspective? If the unconditioned always is and is permanent and all else is merely a fiction, make believe and ignorance - what is the point? Even the eventual attainment of enlightenment, albeit amidst incredible pain and suffering (which certainly is experienced as real) by many, we awaken to the fact that it was all fiction. Seems like a cruel joke: a joke is also a make believe fiction and the suffering is just cruel.

Also, does Buddhism believe that this awakening happens in a short 40, 60 or 80 years or are there multiple lives/fictions that we have to endure first?

My questions are serious in that I have long admired aspects of Buddhism but have also been mystified by it.

1 There is no point per se. 

At night you dream and upon awakening do you think or consider the dream  a cruel joke? In Buddhism suffering is caused by attachment and clinging or in other words our tight grip of our grasping at self. Suffering in Buddhism is broader than physical pain, it is some level of  "unease" which may be translated into any of these english words... unsettledness, irritation, impatience, annoyance, frustration, disappointment, dissatisfaction, aggravation, tension, stress, anxiety, vexation, pain, desperation, sorrow, sadness, suffering, misery, agony, anguish, and so on etc.

"until each decides to come to closure through self-enlightenment and self-awakening"  , however long that takes in the concept of time or lives.

An analogy in Christian thinking  would be .... In Christianity, the Christian life is an ongoing process of "dying to self" . The concept is found throughout the New Testament. Its part of being born again (awakening) . Paul explains to the Galatians the process of dying to self as one in which he has been “crucified with Christ,” and now Paul no longer lives, but Christ lives in him. That is the end to suffering and self enlightenment for the Christian. Christ is that which itself is All in All and alone is and has always been. The self that in Christianity dies is the make believe fiction Buddhism spoke of. Hence "no self" or "non self" or as Wiki relates ... in Buddhism, the term anattā (Pali) or anātman (Sanskrit) refers to the doctrine of "non-self", that there is no unchanging, permanent self, soul or essence in living beings.

In Christianity ... And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. That's the end of suffering for the Christian and its all about dying (not necessarily physical) and awakening to Christ (not a man). But there is no real death/dying cause its like a dream from which you will awake, howbeit , a most persistent dream. 

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4 hours ago, JosephM said:

1 There is no point per se. 

At night you dream and upon awakening do you think or consider the dream  a cruel joke? In Buddhism suffering is caused by attachment and clinging or in other words our tight grip of our grasping at self. Suffering in Buddhism is broader than physical pain, it is some level of  "unease" which may be translated into any of these english words... unsettledness, irritation, impatience, annoyance, frustration, disappointment, dissatisfaction, aggravation, tension, stress, anxiety, vexation, pain, desperation, sorrow, sadness, suffering, misery, agony, anguish, and so on etc.

"until each decides to come to closure through self-enlightenment and self-awakening"  , however long that takes in the concept of time or lives.

An analogy in Christian thinking  would be .... In Christianity, the Christian life is an ongoing process of "dying to self" . The concept is found throughout the New Testament. Its part of being born again (awakening) . Paul explains to the Galatians the process of dying to self as one in which he has been “crucified with Christ,” and now Paul no longer lives, but Christ lives in him. That is the end to suffering and self enlightenment for the Christian. Christ is that which itself is All in All and alone is and has always been. The self that in Christianity dies is the make believe fiction Buddhism spoke of. Hence "no self" or "non self" or as Wiki relates ... in Buddhism, the term anattā (Pali) or anātman (Sanskrit) refers to the doctrine of "non-self", that there is no unchanging, permanent self, soul or essence in living beings.

In Christianity ... And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. That's the end of suffering for the Christian and its all about dying (not necessarily physical) and awakening to Christ (not a man). But there is no real death/dying cause its like a dream from which you will awake, howbeit , a most persistent dream. 

Thanks Joseph, I find this highly interesting:

Good point about the dream but don't some wake and after a particularly disturbing dream, might say, "what the hell?' And, if the dream is bloody or gruesome, one might say, "did I need that" or  "well, that was a wasted night's sleep." So, for some dreams, we do complain and/or question there worthiness or necessity. Perhaps not a joke but cruel in that it was unnecessary and disturbing.  I understand the connection of suffering to attachment but this doesn't mean that a cancer does not really hurt, cause suffering, hair loss, weight loss and overall deterioration with its attendant pain. Some pain and suffering is real and it is a bridge too far for (example) a child to detach and 'understand that her pain is not real.

I get the Christian process but I never thought that even when Christ lives in a person that it is an end to suffering; even Paul suffered and was executed in Rome. And, Jesus suffered pain and intense suffering unto death on the cross. The self that dies in Christianity is self-ishness not the self per se. It is the human self, dying to sin/self-centeredness, that takes on 'Christ' and becomes its true self, becomes more, become humanity expressing/living divinity; one is a new man, a new woman. The self does not die, it is transformed in Christianity. I can accept that the  self-centered self is an illusion or a 'fiction' (not as it should be, not our true reality). I wonder though and therefore doubt that talk of illusionary or a make believe fictitious self resonates to many westerners. But beyond that, I guess I disagree that human self is a fiction to be overcome: there is an essential self in living human beings - thus  he gift of creation to become and be children or the likeness of Being. 

My concern and, I guess, disagreement with Buddhism is why the fiction? Why does the One or the Eternal Self go out from itself and allow for the apparent creation of living beings with no real soul or self to live in illusion and, if enlightened (and apparently most are not) awaken to the Eternal Self or the One which always was anyway, - regardless of whether or not the living beings become enlightened. In Christianity, creation is pure gift for the other; this is seemingly not the case in Buddhism, it seems it is all for the One. Christianity doesn't believe it is all a dream but it does accept the idea of dying (not physical) to self(centeredness) by putting on Christ/God. But this is not for God, it is for man. 

So I am left with, "why the dream?"

Thanks

 

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Thomas,

All that is temporal or non-permanent shall pass in the concept of time. Physical life is like a vapor (James 4:14) that appears for a while and then vanishes away. It's not all that dissimilar to a dream. In essence, yesterday i was born, tomorrow i will die. Once pain and even death is truly accepted and seen for what it is it is overcome. The record shows Jesus and Paul willingly accepted both pain and death. Sure there was pain but it is not necessarily suffering when there is total acceptance and no clinging to physical life. (at least in Buddhism) 

Short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people are considered fiction. Your life is a short story. It is made up of events and people that are impermanent (that change and pass away).In that sense it is fiction (not absolute reality), a state of delusion as we live our life clinging to it and its possessions as if it were permanent. Not unlike a "bad" dream that you will wake up from. Also not a cruel joke as it seems to me, you are a willing participant. You just don't remember at this time.

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4 hours ago, JosephM said:

All that is temporal or non-permanent shall pass in the concept of time.............

Joseph,

I guess my major disagreement is with the characterization of human life as a fiction or a delusion. If it is all an illusion,  it doesn't matter if some reach enlightenment and others remain delusional - the One is still the One: no harm, no foul. My sense, and I might have totally misunderstood you, is that, in Buddhism, human life has no point or purpose, all is illusion. All that matters is the One and its 'action' to create the human illusion has no point. At the least, this seems to be a 'self-centered' action about the need or desire of the One, while at its worse, it is, especially cruel, since suffering and pain are experienced as real -  we would expect more even from a human being. 

I do see, in parts of your explanation, some similarities with Christianity, but it seems an unsuccessful stretch to try to show that Buddhism and Christianity are in agreement on major points such as the worth of humanity, the purposefulness of and reason for creation and the culmination of creation.  

So, clarifications would be helpful, if you have the time and interest.

 

 

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