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Author Topic: Are you a fundamentalist?
Kent
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quote:
Link Buddhism espouses nonviolence. Yet we're living, it seems, in an increasingly violent world. How is it possible to remain peaceful in such a violent world?

You have to want to lose your appetite for violence or aggression. And to do that, you have to lose your self-righteousness. You have to realize that you cannot continue to have your habitual reaction to something, especially if your reaction ends with violence-physical or verbal-against yourself or somebody else, or even against the government of your country or the terrorists or whomever. You have to accept in your gut that the habitual reaction is poisonous not only to you but to the rest of the world.

Some people are waking up to this because they see the repercussions of violence in the world today. But I also see more and more people looking for ways to justify their aggression. I hear them say, "Yes, but this time I'm right." That's our self-righteousness talking. It is the voice of the fundamentalist within us. People need a lot of encouragement before they can silence that voice. Most of them can't get rid of it right away. They keep getting stuck in the story line. But we're not working with right and wrong. We're working with a change at the core of our being. When you make this change, the habitual pattern that causes you to think that something is right or wrong no longer has power over you. You're no longer a slave to it.

Some people find this message powerful, but the next time someone angers them, they start to get self-righteous again. I say to them, "You're sowing those seeds that are going to cause you and others great unhappiness, and you're cutting yourself off from your basic goodness." And they'll pause and say, "You're right." But many of them are still unwilling to give up their story line. They say, "Sometimes you have to be practical. Sometimes there are things that have to be done." The urge to follow that deep groove is very strong.

"We are all capable of becoming fundamentalists because we get addicted to other people's wrongness." Pema Chödrön
Bill Moyers interviews Pema Chödrön in an excellent discussion of becoming addicted to anger.

I believe that fundamentalism is the greatest threat to humanity today. Fortunately, those I associate with seem to find less value in their "rightness" and the "wrongness" of others, and are more focused on loving others. I find great value in this Buddist teacher's message.

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RickyB
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Let's kill all fundies! Only when we have cleansed our shores of all extremists shall we...oops!
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DeLaMancha
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The natural world is violent. The maternal instincts in most animals can result in violence. Would you act violently to protect your children from a predator? What about against one who seeks to infringe upon your basic human rights?

There indeed exists the concepts of right and wrong.

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Kent
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I believe I can kill another human being without feeling hate or anger in my heart. This is deeper than behavior.
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kenmeer livermaile
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Death to killers!
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RickyB
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"While others say they don't hate nothing at all - except hatred
You lose yourself / You reappear
You suddenly find / You got nothing to fear..."

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Wayward Son
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Wait a minute, Kent. Aren't you espousing Fundamentalist Buddhism here?? [Wink]
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RickyB
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OK, I should've made it explicit... no lookee upee - name that (masterpiece) song!
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tonylovern
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quote:
Yet we're living, it seems, in an increasingly violent world.
it seems differently to me. it seems to me that the per capita polulation of the planet, is less involved in violence than any other historical perdiod.

there hasn't been a battle fought on american soil in a long time. i'm betting its been even longer for canada. yes violence still happens, we're better at killing than ever. but its more isolated now, and growing more so yearly. humanity is learning.

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Kent
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Does anyone want to define fundamentalism differently? I find this idea of being deeply invested in another being wrong as a very compelling aspect of fundamentalists.
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Funean
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I like it, too. [Smile]

I've always found the fascination some ideologues have with others' compliance with the dictates of their particular creed to be creepy and something close to lascivious. "Addiction to other people's wrongness" is a nice turn of phrase.

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RickyB
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It is that [Smile]
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scifibum
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It's a great way to put it. Self righteousness is a common drug according to such mental giants as David Brin (IMO he's not on the wagon himself though...ah, there it is. Feels good [Wink] )

Certainty can be terrible thing. And yet, some of the greatest works in history would never have happened without it. How do you tell when someone is addicted to being ACTUALLY right?

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RickyB
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Well, even the most conspicuous "get it righters" were also wrong about a lot of stuff. Like Winston. He got the big one right, but was amazingly reactionary on a lot of other stuff.
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KnightEnder
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Not for nothing but "self righteous anger" is the worst.

KE

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Kent
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It's fine to be "right," just as long as it isn't important for you to prove others wrong. Welcome to Ornerytopia.
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RickyB
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True, Kent. I think the, um, fundamental thing one must retain in order not to be a fundamentalist, or "addicted to others' wrongness", is an acceptance that, no matter how strongly held their beliefs, there is a chance, however vanishing, that they are wrong [Smile]

There was this Israeli writer named Dan Ben Amotz. Horrible guy, actually, but very hip and very brilliant. Anyway, he was a known secularist and epicure. When he was dying, he threw himself a going-away party, which he opened with the following memorable quote: "Guys, if there really is a God, we are SO screwed..."

I think that's important, to retain that "IF".

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Kent
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I don't know that you have to doubt your own experiences Ricky. I just had a thought about 5 minutes ago about visiting San Diego. I can be absolutely certain that I had that thought, but what isn't so important to me is convincing you that I had that thought. Same with my experiences that are religious, political, emotional, or otherwise.

[ October 25, 2007, 07:00 PM: Message edited by: Kent ]

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Funean
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So what's the line between "fundamentalist" and "self-righteous?" How can the outside observer make that determination.

I'm completely self-righteous, of course, but not fundamentalist in any respect.

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Kent
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I'm not self-righteous, I take pride in my humility.
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Funean
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[Big Grin]
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Kent
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Funean, self-righteous has the connotation that you are not already righteous, therefore you must justify yourself. It is a defensive posture, intent on proving that you are better than others. I don't know if this is what you mean in your use of the word. Usually we don't need to exploit a value when we aren't going against another important value.
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Funean
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{{headdesk}}

First off, I was being mildly facetious when I referred to myself as "self-righteous." It was one of those ironical statements meant to be, well, ironically self-revelatory. It may be surprising to know that I was aware of the definition of self-righteous.

Secondly, your statement about taking *pride* in your *humility* was therefore funny following my post.

Anyone care to take a stab, then, at differentiating the merely self-righteous from the genuinely fundamentalist when one has no access to the motives and interior landscape of the individual in question?

(edited for more snark than I really meant)

[ October 25, 2007, 07:45 PM: Message edited by: Funean ]

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RickyB
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Kent - it isn't ones experiences one needs to have a modicum of doubt in, but ones axioms. Even if you were born again, and that experience is 100% real to you, you maintain a recognition that is possible, though not plausible, that you got the message wrong. You experienced something, but didn't "understand" it right. Whatever.

There's a fabulous book called "The Death of Abimelech (and his ascension to heaven the arms of his mother)" by Hebrew writer Pinhas Sadeh (his "Life as a Parable" was published in English). Anyway, there's a part where Abimelech (the biblical king of Nablus, son of Gideon) and his men happen upon some madman who babbles loudly about "the onion is holy, peel the onion, for inside it is the messiah" and the soldiers want to kill him for blasphemy and general annoyance, and Abimelech says "leave him be, for who knows - maybe he's right". Abimelech doesn't think so enough to adopt the idea or even entertain it, but he accepts that "who the fock knows for SURE".

Am I making sense?

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OpsanusTau
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Ricky, I feel like I have mentioned apophaticism here on Ornery before at some point, but what you just said makes me think that the time has come for me to mention it again.
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RickyB
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Look here, lady, I can use nasty words too! Apo-whaaaaa? (he said, and scurried over to onelook...)

Update: That's it. Onelook says you just made that word up. All right, wiseass, I'm taking your black ass to jail! (extra urban hipness points for identifying the quote. No google...).

Update II: Yeah, yeah, OK...

[ October 25, 2007, 09:40 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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tonylovern
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that quotes easy. nwa
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Ronwe
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Talk about fundamentlism! So what do you think Nirvana is? (Asking honestly) What is it like?

Is it a good or bad thing? (Asking cynicly)

I'm curious for your viewpoints.

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RickyB
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not you, homes [Smile] I figured you'd know. I always giggle nastily when I hear Easy E's solo rap on that..

Nirvana? Great, only problem is, it's a one-way ticket with no communication back or forth. Hence, the concept of Bodhisattva [Smile]

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
So what do you think Nirvana is? (Asking honestly) What is it like?

Lots of space, nothing holy.

quote:

Is it a good or bad thing? (Asking cynicly)

Neither.

Adam

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RickyB
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"Neither."

Adam, I'm disappointed, and Brother J. is too. Shouldn't you have answered a tad more briefly, starts with an M? [Razz]

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Adam Masterman
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The first answer isn't mine. It comes from a very cool story: When Bodhidharma arrived in China, he was invited to the court of the Emperor. The emperor was a Buddhist, and told BD all about how he had built temples and supported x number of monk, etc. Then he asked how much merit he had accumulated through these actions. Bodhidharma replied "None." He said that such worldly activity had nothing to do with the true dharma. After recovering from his suprise, the Emperor glared at Bodhidharma, then asked "What is it like to be enlightedned?" Without hesitation, BD answered, "lots of space, nothing holy." He then left the audience and went to Shaolin, where he sat facing a wall for 9 years. And the rest, they say, is history.

The laconic response was mine, but its definately correct. If you have judgements of good or bad, then you are not talking about Nirvana. Try this: pick up your hand, and blow on the back of it. What does it feel like? The sensation, if you will, is just what it is. Now, is it good or bad? Depends, but either way that is a judgement about the sensation, not the sensation itself. When you first experienced it, there was no good or bad, there was only the feeling. Nirvana means just the thing itself. Its very direct, very simple. Once you ask whether its good or bad, you are a million miles away.

Adam

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OpsanusTau
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Of course Tony knows all of the cultural references and of course I don't.
[Frown]

I don't think I would probably know urban hipness if it whacked me in the butt.
But I DO know that when I looked "apophatic" up on Onelook it was there. Funny.

...as an aside, I want Adam to tell another Buddhist story. Please.

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Ronwe
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Ok then, consider the brick. Wouldn't a brick qualify for existing in a state of true Nirvana? And those, for all those trying to achive nirvana by walking the path are attempting to become the logical equivilant of a brick?
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RickyB
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"If you have judgements of good or bad, then you are not talking about Nirvana."

I know that, bro. If you haven't noticed, I have a thing with inflicting Buddhism jokes and cracks on you. [Smile] Think of it as your, um, cross to bear, or karma...and be thankful I no longer ask you if you heard what the Buddhist said to the hot-dog vendor (goddess, I love that joke [Big Grin] )

You did get my tortured reference to Joshu's "Mu", right? [Smile]

"When Bodhidharma arrived in China, he was invited to the court of the Emperor. The emperor was a Buddhist"

Me confused. Didn't Bodhidharma BRING Buddhism to China? Or only Zen? Wassup with that? I've read that story, but with a different Master, and in Japan.

And since no-one asked, I will tell you anyway why I giggle whenever I hear Easy E's solo rap on NWA's "Fock the Police". See, E had a line there about "E is a nigga who was built to last". E is no longer with us, having been smart and careful enough to contract AIDS and die not long after "Straight Outta Compton" (the album featuring said seminal masterpiece song) came out. Horrible of me, but it makes me giggle. [Big Grin]

Lady O, I have one for you:

Turan and another monk are walking in the countryside. They come to a overflowing brook. a young, beautiful girl is standing on the bank, unable to cross. Turan picks her up, crosses with her, puts her down and continues his journey with the other monk in silence.

Finally the other monk can't take it anymore and says to Turan: "Brother, you know we monks are sworn to beware contact with women, particularly young and pretty ones. Why did you do that?"

Turan looks at him and says: "I left the girl there. Are YOU still carrying her?".

[ October 26, 2007, 05:33 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
...as an aside, I want Adam to tell another Buddhist story. Please.
Ask, and ye shall recieve. [Smile]

Here's a continuation of the Bodhidharma story:

Bodhidharma sat facing the wall for nine years. His legend grew, and seekers came from all over to implore him with questions. They would ask, and he would sit there, eyes open, without speaking. Kind of like "yeah, I know you're there, I just don't give a fock." Finally a man named Hauke came and asked to be shown the path to enlightenment. Bodhidharma completely ignored Hauke, who in desperation, drew his knife and cut off his own arm at the elbow. He dropped the severed limb in Bodhidharma's lap, then raised the knife and said "if you don't answer me, the next cut is going to be my neck!" Bodhidharma calmly turned and looked up at Hauke, saying "it took you a long time to get here"

Hauke then asked "please settle my mind", to which Bodhidharma responded "Okay, give me your mind and I'll settle it."
"I've looked for my mind for a long time, but I cannot find it," hauke responded.
"if you found it, how could it be your mind?" At this question, Hauke became enlightened on the spot. He evntually became the second patriarch of Chinese Zen.


And here's a more recent one from my own tradition, the Karme Kagyu:

The supreme head of our order is the Karmapa, an amazing teacher and master, the first to directly re-incarnate for his students (the current Karmapa is the 17th, its a much older lineage than the Dalai Lamas). The 16th Karmapa was very active in the west, and when he contracted cancer he chose to die here, as a display or realization for his western students. Osel Tenzin, the first westerner to be a lineage holder for the Karme Kagyu, was very devoted to His Holiness, and was inconsolable about his impending death. When he last visited the Karmapa, he was crying by his bedside, pleading with His Holiness: "please don't go, please don't leave us." His holiness just looked at him very calmly and said "Osel, when you die, nothing happens."

Days later, Osel was visiting another high lama in the Karme Kagyu, Tai Situ Rimpoche. He was amazed at the equinimity of the Karmapa, and related the story to Situ Rimpoche. When he told him the part where His Holiness said "Nothing happens," Rimpoche laughed and said "oh, he says that to everyone."
[Big Grin]

Adam

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RickyB
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"Wouldn't a brick qualify for existing in a state of true Nirvana?"

This is like asking if a brick has a Buddha-nature, to which the answer is... brief, starts with an M. [Big Grin]

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Ok then, consider the brick. Wouldn't a brick qualify for existing in a state of true Nirvana? And those, for all those trying to achive nirvana by walking the path are attempting to become the logical equivilant of a brick?
I would say there is no state of nirvana. A brick qualifies as existing in the state of a brick. Nirvana just means letting the brick be a brick.

Nirvana literally means "not grasping." Its actually a relative state, and it is used mainly when the Buddha talked about suffering. Nirvana is the word used to designate a mind that does not grasp, and thus does not suffer. It isn't necessarily considered the "goal" of spiritual practice. Indeed, one of the vows I have taken is NOT to enter Nirvana until every other sentient being in the entire universe already has. So hurry up, guys! [Big Grin]

Adam

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Adam Masterman
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quote:

I know that, bro. If you haven't noticed, I have a thing with inflicting Buddhism jokes and cracks on you. Think of it as your, um, cross to bear, or karma...and be thankful I no longer ask you if you heard what the Buddhist said to the hot-dog vendor (goddess, I love that joke )

Oh, I know, your post just made me realize that my laconic response probably only made sense to you and I. And yes, that is without question the greatest Buddhist joke in the history of man.

quote:
You did get my tortured reference to Joshu's "Mu", right?

No, I completely missed it, thought maybe you were referring to Jesus. My knowledge of zen is pretty superficial, despite the similarities between our traditions and my obvious admiration for that lineage. Also, I've read all those from the Chinese canon, where Joshu is called "Zhouzhu".

quote:

Me confused. Didn't Bodhidharma BRING Buddhism to China? Or only Zen? Wassup with that? I've read that story, but with a different Master, and in Japan.

He brought Zen, but Dharma had been trickling in. The emperor was a very superficial Buddhist, and Bodhidharma called him on it. I always laugh when I think of the flowery praise the Emperor was expecting for his financial contributions, and Bodhidharma's gruff "none," taking the wind right out of those sails. [Big Grin]
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RickyB
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Buddhists are big on that (taking the wind out of sails with answers oppooste of those expected).

There's the story about the Zen teacher who was asked by a wealthy merchant to write "something for good luck" for his family. So the teacher wrote "Father dead, son dead, grandson dead". Merchant pissed, demanding to know how the HELL is that "something for good luck". The answer, of course, is: Everybody dies, but if the ORDER of deaths in your family would be any different from the one outlined above, that would be, um, rather UN-fortunate. [Smile]

BTW, you READ chinese? You bastard! Me envious. You just delayed your own Nirvana, that's what you just done!

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