Tibetan Buddhism - Dr Alexander Berzin

Some partial backups of posts from the past (Feb, 2004)

Tibetan Buddhism - Dr Alexander Berzin

Postby David Quinn » Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:07 pm

The third installment of the Reasoning Show is now on-line.

Program 3: "Tibetan Buddhism"

Guest: Alexander Berzin
Hosts: Kevin Solway, David Quinn

Please note that the Reasoning Show website has moved to another address. Dan and I have acquired a domain site with the name "geniusrealms.com", and so the new website for the show is at http://www.geniusrealms.com/reasoningshow

-
User avatar
David Quinn
 
Posts: 5331
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2001 6:56 am
Location: Australia

Postby Elizabeth Isabelle » Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:23 am

David,

In the interview, you said (regarding Buddhist groups), that if you were in charge, you would throw the lot out because they were just damaged adults. Is that how you regard us as well? I believe there are a number of "damaged adults" on GF, not just me. In your view, are us "damaged adults" incapable of ever being good enough? No one who has not remained pristinely undamaged by the horrors of humanity is worthy of striving towards Truth?
.
User avatar
Elizabeth Isabelle
 
Posts: 3748
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:35 am

Postby BMcGilly07 » Thu Apr 19, 2007 5:43 am

The whole lot of religionists, be they buddhist, xian, jew, or muslim, are damaged. Like some pumpkin or autumn gourd grown in a mold shaped like Elvis, they are so committed to conforming to their set of religious views that they very well ought to be viewed as damaged.
User avatar
BMcGilly07
 
Posts: 280
Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:33 pm

Postby BMcGilly07 » Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:01 am

I don't know what it is, but with this new format when I download the mp3 using the download button, it automatically opens in winamp with no root file to be found anywhere. I use firefox, and had no such problem with the first two podcasts on the original page. Any suggestions?
User avatar
BMcGilly07
 
Posts: 280
Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:33 pm

Postby keenobserver » Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:40 am

Elizabeth Isabelle wrote:David,

In the interview, you said (regarding Buddhist groups), that if you were in charge, you would throw the lot out because they were just damaged adults. Is that how you regard us as well? I believe there are a number of "damaged adults" on GF, not just me. In your view, are us "damaged adults" incapable of ever being good enough? No one who has not remained pristinely undamaged by the horrors of humanity is worthy of striving towards Truth?
.

The trouble with pristine ones, Elizabeth, they've had it so easy when trouble finally appears they come apart at the seams!
keenobserver
 
Posts: 192
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2007 12:01 pm

Postby Elizabeth Isabelle » Thu Apr 19, 2007 8:17 am

keenobserver wrote:The trouble with pristine ones, Elizabeth, they've had it so easy when trouble finally appears they come apart at the seams!


I agree, but it sounded like David believes that anyone who bears a few battle-scars is disqualified, and I would like to hear his clarification. Although perfection is one of the goals listed at the top of every page on this site, I'm not so sure that a pristine state is a state of perfection - especially for a spiritual warrior.
.
User avatar
Elizabeth Isabelle
 
Posts: 3748
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:35 am

Postby David Quinn » Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:09 am

Elizabeth,

In the interview, you said (regarding Buddhist groups), that if you were in charge, you would throw the lot out because they were just damaged adults. Is that how you regard us as well? I believe there are a number of "damaged adults" on GF, not just me. In your view, are us "damaged adults" incapable of ever being good enough? No one who has not remained pristinely undamaged by the horrors of humanity is worthy of striving towards Truth?

I didn't get a chance to expand on my point, but by "damaged adults" I meant people with strong emotional and/or psychiatric problems who turn to Buddhism for some kind of mental peace and stability, for some kind of palliative for their hellish mindsets.

In my experience, most Western people in Buddhist communities are like this, and the teachers and lamas in charge happily foster this situation and happily dole out mind-numbing rituals, chants and meditational techniques, while emphasizing the stability and authority of tradition. In this way, Buddhism is turned into a process of prescribing sedatives, rather than encouraging people to become open-minded, rational and wise.

Now those of you who come here to this forum may or may not have emotional and/or psychiatric problems, but at least you won't find any easy shortcuts to mental peace here. Instead, you will encounter lots of thorns and prickles. So if that doesn't drive you away, then that says something about you - namely, that you may well be looking for something more worthwhile than mental peace.

Or else, you're a masochist.

-
User avatar
David Quinn
 
Posts: 5331
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2001 6:56 am
Location: Australia

Postby Kelly Jones » Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:10 am

If "damage" refers to experience of suffering, then it doesn't mean anything significant, in my view. A dog suffers, so what?

It's only when it's tied to, or contrasted with, understanding of the causes of suffering, that there's any significance. An "undamaged" being learns why the coal burns, and drops it.

Someone who burns and burns and burns, and wastes much energy in keeping their suffering going, is a fool and worth nothing. The expense in supporting such a person is enormous and ultimately useless. Starting with false teachers and disciples, it is right to dump them.

---
Kelly Jones.
User avatar
Kelly Jones
 
Posts: 2665
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:51 pm
Location: Australia

Postby Dan Rowden » Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:29 am

Bryan McGilly wrote:I don't know what it is, but with this new format when I download the mp3 using the download button, it automatically opens in winamp with no root file to be found anywhere. I use firefox, and had no such problem with the first two podcasts on the original page. Any suggestions?


Yes, use right-click and then "save target as" or in firefox "save link as" to downlaod the files. I asked Kevin about the php based download link he was using before but he hasn't responded. If anyone is php code savvy and can help by all means do so..
User avatar
Dan Rowden
 
Posts: 5463
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2001 8:03 pm

Postby Unidian » Thu Apr 19, 2007 11:48 am

I just listened to this program, and found it interesting. A good deal of the show was dedicated to a discussion between Kevin and Dr. Berzin about reincarnation. Although Berzin is a competent speaker who appears knowledgeable, I found his views on reincarnation strange and poorly elaborated. Despite Kevin's use of an effective analogy (the fountain), Berzin seems determined to embrace a rationally indefensible stances, deflecting counter-arguments with terminology that seems intentionally meaningless (such as the oft-repeated "continuity of individual subjective experience"). Although Berzin seems to score early on in the show with his defense of the Dalai Lama, he fares poorly in the remaining time.

Just my 2 cents. No change given.
I live in a tub.
User avatar
Unidian
 
Posts: 1843
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2005 7:00 pm

Postby Kevin Solway » Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:43 pm

Dan Rowden wrote:I asked Kevin about the php based download link he was using


You should have those php files now Dan. The only problem with using them, is that while you can left-click to download, the download is not resumable if interrupted. Its ok for those with broadband though.
User avatar
Kevin Solway
 
Posts: 2578
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2001 8:43 am
Location: Australia

Postby David Quinn » Thu Apr 19, 2007 5:45 pm

Nat,
Although Berzin seems to score early on in the show with his defense of the Dalai Lama ....

This seems to go against everything that you have recently asserted about spirituality (which you equated with ordinariness of lifestyle - a la "carry water, chop wood") and religion (gurus on a pedestal promising salvation).

-
User avatar
David Quinn
 
Posts: 5331
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2001 6:56 am
Location: Australia

Postby Unidian » Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:36 pm

I was referring to the part where you question the Dalai Lama's level of spiritual attainment and Berzin suggests it is high, which I agree with. "Attainment" is a problematic term and we've been through that whole semantic wringer before, but I'm using it in the conventional sense here. The Dalai Lama is no slouch when it comes to spiritual things.
I live in a tub.
User avatar
Unidian
 
Posts: 1843
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2005 7:00 pm

Postby David Quinn » Thu Apr 19, 2007 8:51 pm

Even though he is a religionist on a pedastal who promises salvation to others - the very thing you were mocking and despising not two days ago.

Where is your consistency?

-
User avatar
David Quinn
 
Posts: 5331
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2001 6:56 am
Location: Australia

Postby Elizabeth Isabelle » Fri Apr 20, 2007 2:06 am

Unidian wrote:Although Berzin is a competent speaker who appears knowledgeable, I found his views on reincarnation strange and poorly elaborated. Despite Kevin's use of an effective analogy (the fountain), Berzin seems determined to embrace a rationally indefensible stances, deflecting counter-arguments with terminology that seems intentionally meaningless (such as the oft-repeated "continuity of individual subjective experience").


Although his explanation of reincarnation was a bit nebulous, I took it too mean that "continuity of individual subjective experience" meant essentially the same thing as "spirit" or "soul" the way he was trying to describe it.

I think he made some interesting points about the difference between traditional Buddhism and the western version, which does make traditional Buddhism sound more respectable. I also think that he sounded like a very credible representative of traditional Buddhist teachings, and therefore an excellent selection as a guest on the show.
.
User avatar
Elizabeth Isabelle
 
Posts: 3748
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:35 am

Postby Kevin Solway » Fri Apr 20, 2007 2:10 am

Elizabeth Isabelle wrote:Although his explanation of reincarnation was a bit nebulous, I took it too mean that "continuity of individual subjective experience" meant essentially the same thing as "spirit" or "soul" the way he was trying to describe it.


Yes, that's exactly what Buddhists aren't supposed to believe in - which was why the explanation was so nebulous.
User avatar
Kevin Solway
 
Posts: 2578
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2001 8:43 am
Location: Australia

Postby Elizabeth Isabelle » Fri Apr 20, 2007 5:14 am

Kevin,

This link indicates that Buddhists simply do not believe in an eternal soul. Essentially, that a person does have a soul that holds together after death only if the person still wants something out of life - in which case the soul is recycled into another body. If the person no longer wants anything from life, the soul dissipates.

This conforms with what I have believed that consciousness allows a being to have a certain amount of "choice" regarding what happens to the energy that was previously cycling through their neurons and so forth. Like things tend to have a certain amount of cohesiveness - like how water tends to come down in raindrops rather than mist, or cluster together like how fallen leaves tend to be blown into piles caught against a branch, or clouds form rather than always being evenly dispersed particles - I see no reason that energy should be significantly different. The most significant difference would be that which makes certain energy into consciousness rather than that which powers the monitor or your computer. The will of what a person wants at the moment of death has to have an impact on the energy that is left in that person's body.

I have seen and heard of too much reliable evidence of ghosts to completely dismiss the phenomena, including some direct experience, to completely dismiss that. I see the logic of both possibilities of energy just dissipating, and energy clustering together. This is not wishful thinking, as my personal wish for myself is that my energy just dissipates. I am quite done with the experience of being alive (it is only that life does not seem to be done with me yet), and do view the condition of being alive as the seat of hell (which concurs with the Buddhist belief that being alive in a physical body is the source of all suffering), so my logical conclusion that conscious energy could cohere is not tainted by desire. My previously ascertained conclusions do seem to be partially supported by this explanation of Buddhist beliefs on afterlife (although this does not seem to directly concur with my ghost conclusion).
.
User avatar
Elizabeth Isabelle
 
Posts: 3748
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:35 am

Postby Shardrol » Fri Apr 20, 2007 5:20 am

I thought Alex Berzin's 'defense' of the Dalai Lama was the weakest part of his presentation. What he said, more or less, is that he just felt the Dalai Lama was the person of greatest spiritual attainment he had ever met - in spite of the fact that he had already agreed with the idea that unless we're enlightened ourselves we can't accurately judge the enlightenment of another, & stated quite vehemently that he wasn't enlightened.

However, I think David & Kevin got somewhat bulldozed by Alex's habit of speaking in such a way that there are no pauses so you either have to interrupt him (which looks aggressive) or let him to talk till he thinks he's finished. Alex, besides being a person who is utterly confident of his own point of view, has considerable experience of public speaking & teaching, which is no doubt where he developed that technique.

I liked the distinction he made between Buddhism & 'Buddhism Light' but I don't think he & I would always agree on which is which. Don't throw rotten fruit at me, but there are different Buddhist vehicles or methods, each with their different way of looking at the same basic things, & it's important to understand that & to put one's views into some kind of context, which he did not do.

I would say that viewing the realms of existence such as hell realms as states of mind is a 'higher' or more direct way of looking at it, rather than being a watered-down corruption that turns Buddhism into psychotherapy. But he is speaking from the point of view of a different method so it's no surprise that he disagrees with this.
.
User avatar
Shardrol
 
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 12:08 pm
Location: New York, USA

Postby Unidian » Fri Apr 20, 2007 6:22 am

David,

Even though he is a religionist on a pedastal who promises salvation to others - the very thing you were mocking and despising not two days ago.

Where is your consistency?


Since you mentioned it, I did find Berzin's statements about the "precious rebirth" vs the "ordinary rebirth" quite bizarre and as bad or worse than anything you guys say about "conscious vs unconscious." Berzin is definitely a committed religionist. The fact that I even interact with you guys should be evidence that I don't see you as equally religious. I don't spend any time in openly religious circles, because I'm deeply uninterested in religious nonsense.
I live in a tub.
User avatar
Unidian
 
Posts: 1843
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2005 7:00 pm

Postby David Quinn » Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:05 am

I was talking about the Dalai Lama. If being a religionist on a pedestal promising pie-in-the-sky salvation to others is deeply deluded behaviour on the part of the Dalia Lama (and I agree that it is), then how do you conclude that he has high spiritual attainment?

-
User avatar
David Quinn
 
Posts: 5331
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2001 6:56 am
Location: Australia

Postby David Quinn » Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:30 am

Shardrol,

However, I think David & Kevin got somewhat bulldozed by Alex's habit of speaking in such a way that there are no pauses so you either have to interrupt him (which looks aggressive) or let him to talk till he thinks he's finished. Alex, besides being a person who is utterly confident of his own point of view, has considerable experience of public speaking & teaching, which is no doubt where he developed that technique.

Yes, it was a case of amateurs vs a professional, as far as public speaking was concerned. It was definitely hard to get a word in.

But I'm sure it is just a matter of gaining skills in knowing how to deal with those kinds of participants, which will happen in time. I think all of us - Kevin, Dan and I - are still very much in third gear at the moment.

-
User avatar
David Quinn
 
Posts: 5331
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2001 6:56 am
Location: Australia

Postby Ryan Rudolph » Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:17 am

David Quinn wrote:

Yes, it was a case of amateurs vs a professional, as far as public speaking was concerned. It was definitely hard to get a word in.


A definite clue indicating someone’s state of awareness is the pace of his or her thinking. As a general rule, wise individuals are much slower thinkers compared to academics. Academics can spit arguments incredibly fast, but they lack subtlety of thought, sensitivity, and respect for the others in the discussion.

University discussions I’ve encountered are a good example. Many times I even don’t have a chance to speak because by the time I have gathered my thoughts, and figured out the correct way to address the issue in my mind, the others have skipped over to another topic that is vaguely related.

Unconscious people are so erratic in their thinking. The skim over everything, and understand nothing. And they do it at incredible speeds, enjoying themselves immensely in the process.

Its like an eagle trying to fly in unison with a hummingbird, it doesnt work very well.
User avatar
Ryan Rudolph
 
Posts: 2489
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 10:32 am
Location: British Columbia, Canada

Postby Unidian » Fri Apr 20, 2007 11:05 am

I was talking about the Dalai Lama. If being a religionist on a pedestal promising pie-in-the-sky salvation to others is deeply deluded behaviour on the part of the Dalia Lama (and I agree that it is), then how do you conclude that he has high spiritual attainment?


I think the religious trappings are just cultural for the current Dalai Lama. He is first and foremost a humanist and an advocate of compassion.
I live in a tub.
User avatar
Unidian
 
Posts: 1843
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2005 7:00 pm

Postby Kevin Solway » Fri Apr 20, 2007 11:56 am

Unidian wrote:I think the religious trappings are just cultural for the current Dalai Lama.


I'd like to hear him say clearly that it's all just trappings - out of "compassion" - and to show that he wasn't trapped.

Also, I've never heard him say that he believes he is the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lamas, so I suspect that he doesn't even believe it himself. But he doesn't make this clear. He is an obscurantist - and there's nothing "compassionate" about that.

He is first and foremost a humanist


I agree with you there - but I don't think humanists are particularly spiritual or wise.
User avatar
Kevin Solway
 
Posts: 2578
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2001 8:43 am
Location: Australia

Postby Jamesh » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:07 pm

Agreed Ryan, and it applies to most women and gays as well.
User avatar
Jamesh
 
Posts: 1524
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2005 3:44 pm

Next

Return to Archives

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

cron