Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by lavoidgaskins, Oct 20, 2007.
What does being Buddhist mean to you?
It means that you want to be truly enlightenend.
Buddhist philosophy at its core means that one accepts the tenet that suffering is caused by desire, and enlightenment and happiness can be found by eliminating the self and freeing one's self through meditation and reflection. Following the Three Jewels (the enlightened Buddhas, the Dharma or teachings they present, and the Buddhist community) and the Eightfold Path are the general set of values and beliefs that would define Buddhist to me. Buddhists are interesting in that they are atheistic in nature, and lack most of the characteristics of a usual religion; it's far more a way of thinking than anything else.
Technically the goal of Buddhism is to achieve a state of Nirvana, thus, escaping the endless reincarnation cycle. By a lifetime of focusing and meditating, it is believed that one can illuminate all emotions and feelings that lead to bad karma, which in turn will lead to a state of nothingness, where your spirit can be at peace, free from the ties of reality and all that comes with that. Once hitting "nirvana" you no longer can be a victim of bad karma, because you are above it, and essentially immune to it, as it is no longer applicable. The ultimate goal is to achieve a state of parinirvana, which is the higher than normal nirvana. Funny thing is is that nobody, not even Buddha himself has ever said anything about what parinirvana is like. It is supposedly entirely beyond human comprehension, which leads me to ask the question, where did the idea come from then if nobody can understand it, and nobody has witnessed it?
It's an ideal, just like most of both Eastern and Western philosophy. I'd say it's merely a statement of the fact that there are multiple levels of transcendence, and it helps avoid people worshipping the Buddha as a god; he is simply an extraordinary person.
I think the state of Nirvana is different for everybody, even though there is already a "set" description of it. You could say it is escaping the infinite reincarnation cycle, but I think it's just dying with peace, no regrets, etc., like you've done all you can do to benefit those around you.
I will agree that this is the standard view of Buddhism although it is not really accurate to say that one is "above" so-called "bad karma". It is more a case of becoming aware of the fact that "good" and "bad" are simply dualistic value judgements and little more. Likewise there are no "victums" per se, as one is soley responsible for their actions and the derived effects of those actions. Imho, it is also a mistaken sense of time that is at the root of taking "karma" (like baggage) from one lifetime to the "next" lifetime.
Lastly, I rather expect the Ol' Buddha was describing a quality of being (in parinirvana) that is incomprehensible to our normal understanding simply because he wanted to show that there was much more that awated the voyager beyond simple Nirvana. Remember, he said the object is to attain Nirvana (Nibbana) in THIS life. In theory, it is therefore logical to conclude that it may not be quite as difficult a process (to attain) as many would have us believe.
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