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10 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2008 - 9:34PM #41
Posts: 23
[QUOTE=brburl;265680]but considering the main reasons behind atheism is this apparent impossibility with any sort of spirtual afterlife, or any supernatural reality at all, leaves to question why an atheist would believe in such a notion as past lives or transmigration of a soul.

Well, it is a good thing that the Buddha did not teach something as impossible as “transmigration of a soul" or as impossible as an omniscient, omnipotent eternal god sort of thing

Atheism can be more sophisticated and nuanced than the picture you are presenting.[/QUOTE]

So atheism can make certain exceptions for supernatural things?  Kinda complicated. Maybe for the sake of confusion, we should just refer to that as something else....

we might be getting kind of side tracked, but what is it sophisticated nuances are you refering to in this sort of "atheism" , or whatever it is.
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2008 - 9:40PM #42
Posts: 1,420
[QUOTE=brburl;265680]Atheism can be more sophisticated and nuanced than the picture you are presenting.[/QUOTE]

So can god worship. I know a Xtian and a Jew who don't believe in an afterlife. I know that sounds contradictory, particularly in the case of the Xtian, but people's beliefs can be unpredictable. When people put a lot of thought into something, they sometimes wind up with unorthodox conclusions. :)
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 06, 2008 - 11:51AM #43
Posts: 37
[QUOTE=Fallenwillrise;267369]So atheism can make certain exceptions for supernatural things?  Kinda complicated. Maybe for the sake of confusion, we should just refer to that as something else....

we might be getting kind of side tracked, but what is it sophisticated nuances are you refering to in this sort of "atheism" , or whatever it is.[/QUOTE]

Hi fallen,

Consider the Buddhist analysis of becoming and psycho-physical conditioning. You have form, feelings, perceptions, consciousness, mental constructs, etc., right? This is based on an analysis of the experience of a living being. Rebirth is explained in the Abhidharma using all of these same concepts WITHOUT positing any supernatural agency. Therefore, still atheistic, yet more nuanced than a strictly physicalist atheism.

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10 years ago  ::  Feb 06, 2008 - 12:03PM #44
Posts: 48
“When people put a lot of thought into something, they sometimes wind up with unorthodox conclusions.”

People may also end up with confused and contradictory religious systems when they really don’t think things all the way through.
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 06, 2008 - 12:17PM #45
Posts: 48

I believe you might be confusing the concept of atheism with the concept of strict materialism in some of your posts above. Those two terms have different definitions.
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 17, 2008 - 12:05AM #46
Posts: 1,338
[QUOTE=Wendy87;181850]Hi! I'm new 'round here.You'll see I've been reading about Buddhism for 2 years but I've a bug doubt. I just don't know which school suites me the best. I'll tell what I believe in, and what I'm like and I'd be really gratefull if you could help me:

All of us here aproched buddhims from some sort of life state. The good thing about you wendy is that you are in the path of¨¨"searching" which is the first step to find the path that suite you best.  Keep in mind that to reach the benefits of any learning experience,  you have to excercise these trhree conditions, faith, practice and studies.  Faith will keep you in the practice, the practice will give you the power of the faith and studies will deepen your faith and   will confirm your practice. Good luck in your searching. Namaste
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9 years ago  ::  Mar 04, 2009 - 3:44PM #47
Posts: 595

The highest goal of all living things is to enter a state of absolute happiness.

I am a Buddhist who originally began this life conditioned to believe in the Protestant Christian Doctrine. When I first began the Buddhist practice I was deeply vested in the concept of a creator God but was struggling with many doubts and contradictions. My practice of Buiddhism consists of the Nichiren school practice. This was over 25 years ago so my understanding of Buddhism, Shakyamuni Buddha, the Buddha Dharma, the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren as the Votary of the Lotus Sutra and the nature and meaning of the Buddhist community has deepened considerably since that time.   

When I first began practicing Buddhism, given the benefits that I recieved I assumed this was good therefore "GOD" must have intended for me to practice this "good thing".    It took me about seven years to completely wash away the conditioned view of Christianity and my attachment to the concept of God. I began to see my life as a manifestation of a universal Law or Laws, as well as governed and conditioned by these universal laws of LIFE. I also accepted the Buddhas view of the four imponderables on the belief that the Buddha has pondered the farthest reaches of cognitive reasoning as it related to the origin of the inner self nature and that there were certain truths that were essentially unfathomable such as the extent of space and time, the origins of Life and reality and the law of eternity. I began to accept  that reality is essentially eternal and that organic life as we know it is an inherent reality of the universe that makes appearance on planets where conditions are present to support it.  I began to see my practice of Buddhism as a means to enable me to understand the cause and effect of my lifes functions, reactions and varying mental states in my daily pursuit of happiness over suffering and the means whereby I can accumulate the inner strength to turn all suffering into true happiness.  I also began to understand that Buddhist practice enables us to reform our thought process and open our inner eye to the laws which govern life and to awaken an awareness to the ever flowing "Buddha Dharma". 

To see all life from the standpoint of the Buddha Dharma is to view all things in light of the most fundamental truth regarding the "true aspect of all phenomena". As we come to understand Buddhism we come to see that the term "phenomena" has a deeper meaning in Buddhism than the way it is used among social and natural scientists. Scientists view and measure objects and events as if these objects and events have their own independent existence apart from our ability to percieve them.  This view is considered a non-Buddhist view. By virtue of such an unexamined perspective such views are considered erroneous.  Buddhism says that all phenomena are not independent of the functions and detection by the mind and the mind itself is a manifestation of all phenemena. Therefore Buddhism begins the study of reality be first examining the nature of our mind. This entails a deep analysis of the components of consciousness itself. There is the study of the seeing consciousness and its physical and mental factors, the study of the hearing consciousness and its mental and physical factors, the study of the smell consicousness, its mental and physical factors, the study of the taste consciousness and its mental and physical factors, the study of the touch consciousness, its mental and physical factors and there is the study of the mind or aggregate consciousness and its mental and phsyical factors. The aggregate consciousness is normally what we call consciousness itself and in Buddhism this level of reality is called the "sixth level of consciousness". Through these analysis one comes to see that the body, mind and environment are inseparable and that one can come to understand all the functions of the body and the outer environment through a study of ones own mind.

In all, Buddhism expounds nine levels of consciousness and the ninth level is called the Dharma nature or the Buddha Nature and it is also considered the deepest grounding or truth of all reality.

It is interesting to point out that in western science, it was only after hundreds of years of studying and analyzing natural phenomena down to their most smallest parts, down to the part where matter and energy become almost indestinguishable,  that scientist came to realize that the mind of the observer plays an important role when it comes to distinguishing matter from energy and vice versa. In other words, the intentions of the observer, the predisposition and philosophy of the observer predertermines how they interpret their observations.  This gets us right back to the starting gate of the Buddhist philosophy. Therefore, there is no phenomena in all ten directions of space and all three time periods of past, present and future that exist apart from ones own mind. Therefore if one wishes to master the true nature of all life , one must come to know the nature of one's own mind.

Buddhism teaches that all states of cognition that are not conditioned by practices of mental concentration and insight regarding the true basis of all thoughts are shallow and faulty and ultimately produce suffering. In Buddhism all states of mind are called "realms of existence" and each realm of existence is governed by its own grounding, causes and conditiones which produce such effects. Therefore, by their very nature, all living beings possess divergent views and the unenlightened world itself is considered a thicket of faulty views and people can only unite together when they share the same causes and conditions. Yet while various causes and conditions may manifest in proximity in terms of time and space they are never completely equivalent. The only reality that is uniform is the totality of all wisdom and knowledge and yet this totality produces innumerable meanings in terms of relativite or manifest existence.  However because the Buddha identified universal laws which govern all life activities, beings in the state of hellish suffering experience similar things, beings in the state of hunger experience similar things and beings in the state of tranquility and rapture also experience similar things. These are known as the six physical states of existence. 

Buddhism states that while there are six physical states of existence, there are actually ten realms of existence as it relates to the true nature of the mind.  The four states of existence beyond the first six are known as the four Buddhist realms of existence. These four states of mind are known as the four Buddhist paths. They are not separate from the lower six paths and therefore a correct understanding of all ten realms of existence is termed the mutual possession of the ten realms of existence. The ten realms of existence are hellish beings, hungry beings, animalistic beings,  cunning beings, passive beings, blissful beings, learners of universal truth, self realizers of universal truth, practitioners of universal truth, embodiments of universal truth. All these realms are mutually inclusive and each one possess the potential for the other nine two appear at any given moment in accordance with causes and conditions.

A correct knowledge of the mutual possession of ten realms is actually Buddha wisdom and the reason why this term exists in the world at all is because the Buddha displayed this truth and expounded this teaching and has been recorded in the Lotus Sutra and several other Mahayana sutras "of great extent".

The truth is that there is actually much contraversy in the world as it relates to the wisdom of the Mahayana sutras in general and the Lotus Sutra specifically. Therefore the principle of the mutual possession of the ten worlds is a Buddha's knowledge that can actually only be understood and shared correctly among Buddhas. This truth is also taught in the Lotus Sutra.

A correct understanding of the ten realms of existence requires an understanding of the true aspect of all phenomena. The Buddha describes the true aspect of all phenomena in the form of ten observances. These ten observances are common to the appearance of all phenomena. This description of the true nature of all phenomena is summarizes skillfully by the Buddha in the following statement found in the second chapter of the Lotus Sutra.  The Buddha states.

"But stop, Shariputra, I will say no more. Why? Because what the Buddha has achieved is the rarest and most difficult-to-understand Law. The true entity of all phenomena can only be understood and shared between Buddhas. This reality consists of the appearance, nature, entity, power, influence, inherent cause, relation, latent effect, manifest effect, and their consistency from beginning to end"  Lotus Sutra ch2.

The great teacher Tien Tai of China taught that the entire 28 chapter Lotus Sutra expresses the wisdom of reality that the Buddha possesses in a single moment of thought. This principle is known as "three thousand realms in a single moment of thought".  A correct understanding of the ten realms of dharmas or manifest effects therefore requires that one understands the underlying dynamics of mind which bring about the various perceptions of reality. All perception begins with appearance therefore appearance is considered the first of the ten factors or "suchnesses" in a single moment of thought.  Such an appearance or thought moment can be delusional or enlightened depending upon the state of life of the observer.  But regardless  of whether the oberver is deluded or enlightened the underlying truth of reality remains the same. This is known as manifest effect and consistency from beginning to end. Consistency from beginning to end indicates that both appearance through and manifest effect are all present in a single life moment. Even each of the factors or suchnesse themselves possess all ten suchnesses. This is why they can be identified and given names. The suchness of "nature", the second of the ten suchnesses above means that all phenomena are non-substantial or in a constant state of change.      

Please enjoy your practice and study of Buddhism to the fullest.

Best Wishes


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