Mod+ This Atheist has revolutionized Buddhism. Does the latest consciousness science agree with his belie

#21
To understand the rules of Buddhism you have to understand them in context and what their purpose is. The purpose of the rules is to help you awaken. If you follow the rules you are more likely to awaken. That's all. The rules are more like laws of psychology (or laws of nature) than laws of a legal system. There is no judgment - it's your choice. If you don't follow the rules, it is not a "sin". You won't be excommunicated from Buddhism. You won't be condemned to hell because you broke a rule. Many Buddhists, like many non Buddhists, believe you could have bad karma if you don't follow some of the rules, eg. if you murder. But the karma is from the murder not because you are disregarding a warning from Buddha that murder would make your mind turbulent and could prevent awakening. Some people who want to awaken agree to follow certain rules and form a group for like minded people. If you don't like their rules, find a different group or start your own group or practice by yourself. There is no pope of Buddhism. Anyone who believes the teachings of Buddha can claim to be a Buddhist whether they follow the rules or not.
 
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#22

20:15 People's pursuit of material things in life,
20:19 the concept that only physical things are real,
20:25 has really impacted and damaged traditional culture and martial arts.
20:31 People have not paid enough attention to Eastern philosophies, traditional concepts, and theories.
20:37 They have forgotten them.
 
#23

20:15 People's pursuit of material things in life,
20:19 the concept that only physical things are real,
20:25 has really impacted and damaged traditional culture and martial arts.
20:31 People have not paid enough attention to Eastern philosophies, traditional concepts, and theories.
20:37 They have forgotten them.
cool. Jim do you know much about the connection between Zen and the Samurai tradition?
 
#24
cool. Jim do you know much about the connection between Zen and the Samurai tradition?
http://education.asianart.org/explore-resources/background-information/religious-practices-samurai
Religious Practices of the Samurai

Like most Japanese of their time, the samurai followed Buddhist religious teachings as well as the practices of Japan’s native belief system, Shinto.
...
By the mid-sixth century, when it reached Japan, Buddhism had spread from India throughout China, Southeast Asia, and Korea. In 552, Buddhism was introduced to Japan by the ruler of a kingdom in southwest Korea. Under patronage from the Japanese emperor and nobility, hundreds of Buddhist temples were constructed in Japan throughout the Nara (645–794) and Heian (794–1185) periods.
...
Another, quite different sect with many samurai adherents was Zen Buddhism. Introduced to Japan from China in the twelfth century, Zen is a form of Buddhism that stresses seated meditation and pondering of koan—paradoxical statements or questions—as practices leading to enlightenment. Zen’s rapid acceptance in Japan was another response to the search for religious alternatives in the Latter Day of Buddhist Law. The military leadership, based in Kamakura, was particularly welcoming to Zen, supporting the activities of Chinese and Japanese monks and sponsoring the establishment of several major temples in the east during the thirteenth century. This patronage continued throughout the period of rule by the Ashikaga shoguns, accounting for the great concentration of Zen temples in Kyoto, where their capital was located.

Describing the connection between Zen principles and samurai values, the historian Martin Collcutt writes:
With its emphasis on discipline and self-reliant effort, Zen was temperamentally suited to warriors, who on the battlefield required skill and courage. The ultimate goal of Zen is, of course, spiritual awakening and the attainment of Buddhahood, but the concentration and equanimity fostered by the practice of meditation and the directness of mind and expression called for in koan encounters were of great practical use to even the most unenlightened samurai.3
Many samurai practiced meditation, alone and under the tutelage of Zen monks, and the concentration required by this practice became a guiding principle for martial arts and military discipline. But Zen was also important as a conduit for many cultural activities, including the “Way of Tea” and ink painting, that were later associated with warrior life. For example, the fourth Ashikaga shogun commissioned one of the most famous Zen paintings of his age, Catching a Catfish with a Gourd, to illustrate a famous koan. The shogun’s deep connection to the Zen community is further demonstrated by the fact that thirty eminent Zen monks wrote inscriptions above the painting to comment on its content. Other leading warriors collected Chinese ceramics and ink paintings, introduced to Japan through the Zen monasteries.
"With its emphasis on discipline and self-reliant effort, Zen was temperamentally suited to warriors, who on the battlefield required skill and courage. The ultimate goal of Zen is, of course, spiritual awakening and the attainment of Buddhahood, but the concentration and equanimity fostered by the practice of meditation and the directness of mind and expression called for in koan encounters were of great practical use to even the most unenlightened samurai."


The martial artist in the video practices a form of kung fu developed by Shaolin monks in China. The Shaolin Monastery is a Chan temple. Chan is the Chinese form of Buddism that became Zen when it was introduced into Japan. Chan and Zen are written with the same character which means "dhyana" (meditation). The form of kung fu he practices is an "internal" martial art:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internal_martial_arts
Nèijiā (Chinese: 內家; literally: "internal school") is a term in Chinese martial arts, grouping those styles that practice nèijìng (Chinese: 內勁; literally: "internal strength"), usually translated as internal martial arts, occupied with spiritual, mental or qi-related aspects, as opposed to an "external" (Chinese: 外; pinyin: wài) approach focused on physiological aspects.
 
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#25
http://education.asianart.org/explore-resources/background-information/religious-practices-samurai

"With its emphasis on discipline and self-reliant effort, Zen was temperamentally suited to warriors, who on the battlefield required skill and courage. The ultimate goal of Zen is, of course, spiritual awakening and the attainment of Buddhahood, but the concentration and equanimity fostered by the practice of meditation and the directness of mind and expression called for in koan encounters were of great practical use to even the most unenlightened samurai."


The martial artist in the video practices a form of kung fu developed by Shaolin monks in China. The Shaolin Monastery is a Chan temple. Chan is the Chinese form of Buddism that became Zen when it was introduced into Japan.
excellent. thx.

my take-away (would welcome your opinion) is that Zen has been influenced by the Samurai warrior tradition in ways that most Zen practitioners don't fully appreciate.
 
#26
excellent. thx.

my take-away (would welcome your opinion) is that Zen has been influenced by the Samurai warrior tradition in ways that most Zen practitioners don't fully appreciate.
Why do you think that?

The strict discipline is due to the need to keep young monks in line. Wealthy parents would often send younger sons to the monasteries to become monks to get good karma for themselves, but the sons didn't always want to be there.

One of the traditions in Zen group meditation sessions is to whack a meditator with a keisaku which is stick that looks something like a cricket bat. Now-a-days they say they use it to stimulate a acupressure site on the back next to the spine where it doesn't hurt to be hit. Some people ask for a whack when they come around with the keisaku because it breaks up the boredom of long hours of meditation during retreats. But originally it was used to hit monks on the shoulder (where it does hurt) who were sleeping during group meditation sessions. Some sects have a ceremony at the end of a retreat where they use the keisaku lightly on the shoulder to symbolically "awaken" you in the Buddhist sense of "awaken".

The development of Zen can be traced in the writings of Chan and Zen masters. I'm not an expert on the subject, but I think most of the influential writers were monks and abbots in monasteries rather than samurai.


http://zen-buddhism.net/martial-arts/zen-and-martial-arts.html
Zen & Martial arts.

In ancient Japan, Zen had a major impact on Samurai warriors, and it and was widely adopted as their official religion. The Samurai achieved perfection in martial arts such as kenjutsu, kyujutsu, and jujutsu through the practice of Zazen.

The practice of Zen was ideal for the Samurai way of life as it put emphasis on self-composure, vigilance, and tranquility in the face of death. Because of this, Zazen is called the religion of the Samurai. Even the great swordsman Musashi Miyamoto and some of the 47 Ronin were Zen adepts.

The Bushido, which was the unwritten code of conduct of the Samurai, found its origins in Zen and Shintoism. Many Zen concepts, such as control of the emotions, acceptance of the inevitable, and self-control in the face of any event were highly influential in the development of the Bushido.

Zen Buddhism also taught the Samurai to have an intimate awareness of death, and it stressed the importance of detachment from material possessions. Thus, Zen concepts became the heart and soul of the Bushido.
Zen influenced warriors, but I'm not sure if there was any influence the other way.
 
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#27
Why do you think that?

The strict discipline is due to the need to keep young monks in line. Wealthy parents would often send younger sons to the monasteries to become monks to get good karma for themselves, but the sons didn't always want to be there.

One of the traditions in Zen group meditation sessions is to whack a meditator with a keisaku which is stick that looks something like a cricket bat. Now-a-days they say they use it to stimulate a acupressure site on the back next to the spine where it doesn't hurt to be hit. Some people ask for a whack when they come around with the keisaku because it breaks up the boredom of long hours of meditation during retreats. But originally it was used to hit monks on the shoulder (where it does hurt) who were sleeping during group meditation sessions. Some sects have a ceremony at the end of a retreat where they use the keisaku lightly on the shoulder to symbolically "awaken" you in the Buddhist sense of "awaken".
it just strikes me that many Zen practitioners see their tradition as a stripping away of ritual/dogma when what they have really done is replace one for another. is the Samurai level of discipline and control a virtue, or another trap?... obviously both. what is well-suited for warriors (I'm thinking Navy Seals) may not be a good fit for the spiritual seeker. helps to understand roots.

I see same in hatha yoga tradition when "purists" have a hard time accepting that Krishnamacharya borrowed from British gymnastics, but it's clear that he did.
 
#28
it just strikes me that many Zen practitioners see their tradition as a stripping away of ritual/dogma when what they have really done is replace one for another.
I agree. But I see this as something introduced by westerners trying to secularize meditation.

is the Samurai level of discipline and control a virtue, or another trap?... obviously both. what is well-suited for warriors (I'm thinking Navy Seals) may not be a good fit for the spiritual seeker. helps to understand roots.
Even Theravadan Buddhism involves a lot of discipline compared to what most Westerners are used to.
I think the discipline has more to do with Asian cultural differences than Samurai influence. Compare the tea ceremony to British tea time. Is that due to warrior influence?

I see same in hatha yoga tradition when "purists" have a hard time accepting that Krishnamacharya borrowed from British gymnastics, but it's clear that he did.


http://www.yantrayoga.net/about
Yantra Yoga
The Tibetan Yoga of Movement

Yantra Yoga
is one of the oldest recorded systems of yoga in the world. It has come to us by way of Tibet, a land that holds a vast, rich Buddhist knowledge and heritage. Yantra Yoga’s unique series of positions and movements, combined with conscious breathing, can help coordinate and harmonize one’s personal energy so that the mind can relax and find its authentic balance. Many positions used in Yantra Yoga are similar to those of Hatha Yoga, but the way to assume and apply them differs significantly. Yantra Yoga uses a sequence that consists of seven phases of movement, connected with seven phases of breathing.
...
History of Yantra Yoga:
Yantra Yoga is based on the ancient text Nyida Khajor, known in English as “The Union of the Sun and Moon.” This text was written in the 8th century by Vairocana, one of the most skilled Buddhist Masters and translators of his time. This teaching has been passed down from teacher to student, in an unbroken lineage, since that time.

Here is an excerpt from a quote from a student of Krishnamarcharya that gives a different explanation of the simlarities between Yoga and gymnastics. Read the whole thing at the link for the full discussion.
http://lindasyoga.blogspot.com/2010/09/krishnamarcharya-and-those-british.html
It is true that some of the vinyasas and vinyasa sequences like part of Surya Namaskra, the handstands, the jump throughs, jump arounds, push ups (utplutis) may appear to mimic floor exercises in gymnastics. Perhaps there are some asanas and vinyasas Sri Krishnamacharya taught that had some resemblance to drills or gymnastics. But he taught to me almost 1000 vinyasas making up close to 150 asana subroutines. The head stand, the sarvangasana, padmasana are distinctly different from gymnastics and each one of them has scores of vinyasas that are uniquely yogic and no other system seems to have anything like that.

Further, yoga as a physical culture is very old. We may not have records because in ancient times most of instructions were oral and the transmission of knowledge was from teacher to student and the only way to learn was to go to a teacher and learn, practice and internalize. Later on a few texts were written as scripts were developed but they were written in easily perishable palm leaves -- like the Yoga Kuranta -- and barely one manuscript, no xerox copies, no electronic books were available. So in these matters we have to rely upon authorities/tradition or as the Vedas would call it “aitihya” or firmly held belief.

Even from the available texts like the Puranas one can glean a lot of reference to yoga practice including asana practice. The Brahma Sutras mention that a seated asana is a necessity for meditation. Works written hundreds or even a thousand years back contain sections on Yoga including asanas. Thirumular, a yogi said to have lived 3000 years back wrote about several asanas in his Tamil classic Thirumandiram. Puranas, smritis and several later day Upanishads have sections on asana practice.

There is a dhyanasloka pertaining to the Ramayana which mentions that Sri Rama was in Vajrasana while seated in his flowered bedecked, jeweled throne. In fact from time immemorial many people in India, as a religious practice, have been doing sandhya or morning worship of the sun with specific sun worship mantras and physical movements and gestures. It includes mantras like the Gayatri, pranayama and many postures like tadasana, uttanasana, utkatakaasana, and danda namaskara and utakatasana are specifically mentioned in the smritis.

So in a way we may say that suryanamaskara with mantras and the physical exercise has been a very old practice. The word Yoga is indeed a vedic word. You may check with my book “The Complete book of Vinyasa Yoga” (here no commercial intended) based on my studies with my guru and I do not think it in any way resembles a book of gymnastics. Yogasanas have their own distinct nicety. Gymnastics of course has its own charm. Gymnastics was one my favourite programs while watching the Olympics. I do not know if I would enjoy Yoga Olympiad.

My guru had mentioned on a couple of occasions that physical yoga had been the core system of physical exercises in India. It had technically influenced several ancient systems like wrestling, archery, fencing etc., very physically demanding disciplines, requiring a high degree of strength, dexterity and focus. Yoga is called a sarvanga sadhana as it is helpful for all parts of the body, including the internal organs. There were other indigenous circus-like practices such as malcam, kazhakkoothu where they use ropes or poles and do routines very similar to asanas. He had also mentioned that almost all the physical systems of the world, including gymnastics, had borrowed heavily from Yoga, because the asana portion of Yoga was the most ancient and developed physical culture system. Therefore it could be that there were a few similarities between asanas and some obscure gymnastic systems in different parts of the world at different times. Then one has to investigate the origin of those obscure systems, whether they were older than Yoga, or if they themselves borrowed from ancient yoga practices.
"Further, yoga as a physical culture is very old. We may not have records because in ancient times most of instructions were oral and the transmission of knowledge was from teacher to student and the only way to learn was to go to a teacher and learn, practice and internalize. Later on a few texts were written as scripts were developed but they were written in easily perishable palm leaves -- like the Yoga Kuranta -- and barely one manuscript, no xerox copies, no electronic books were available. So in these matters we have to rely upon authorities/tradition or as the Vedas would call it “aitihya” or firmly held belief.

Even from the available texts like the Puranas one can glean a lot of reference to yoga practice including asana practice. The Brahma Sutras mention that a seated asana is a necessity for meditation. Works written hundreds or even a thousand years back contain sections on Yoga including asanas. Thirumular, a yogi said to have lived 3000 years back wrote about several asanas in his Tamil classic Thirumandiram. Puranas, smritis and several later day Upanishads have sections on asana practice.
...
He had also mentioned that almost all the physical systems of the world, including gymnastics, had borrowed heavily from Yoga, because the asana portion of Yoga was the most ancient and developed physical culture system. Therefore it could be that there were a few similarities between asanas and some obscure gymnastic systems in different parts of the world at different times. Then one has to investigate the origin of those obscure systems, whether they were older than Yoga, or if they themselves borrowed from ancient yoga practices."
 
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#29
it just strikes me that many Zen practitioners see their tradition as a stripping away of ritual/dogma when what they have really done is replace one for another.
That is true. It's also true for almost all methodologies/practices. The stuff about the Samurai isn't accurate though. As Jim Smith explained, Bushido had little influence on Zen although Zen did have an influence on Bushido.

One point - in many Eastern practices - is that the state of mind/spirit that is effective for a "spiritual seeker" is also effective for a warrior. An accurate perspective. As I keep restating - the physical is an expression of the physical.

I don't know anything about Krishnamacharya but Hatha is many centuries older than gymnastics
-
 
#30
I suppose this could be interpreted as a martial arts influence on Zen:

http://selfdefinition.org/zen/Philip-Kapleau-Three-Pillars-of-Zen.pdf
THE THREE PILLARS OF ZEN
...
by PHILIP KAPLEAU
...
This lecture will deal with shikan-taza. Shikan means "nothing
but " or "just," while ta means "to hit" and za "to sit." Hence shikan-taza
is a practice in which the mind is intensely involved in just sitting.
In this type of zazen it is all too easy for the mind, which is not supported
by such aids as counting the breath or by a koan, to become
distracted. The correct temper of mind therefore becomes doubly
important. Now, in shikan-taza the mind must be unhurried yet at
the same time firmly planted or massively composed, like Mount Fuji
let us say. But it must also be alert, stretched, like a taut bowstring.
So shikan-taza is a heightened state of concentrated awareness wherein
one is neither tense nor hurried, and certainly never stack. It is the
mind of somebody facing death. Let us imagine that you are engaged
in a duel of swordsmanship of the kind that used to take place in
ancient Japan. As you face your opponent you are unceasingly watchful,
set, ready. Were you to relax your vigilance even momentarily,
you would be cut down instantly.
A crowd gathers to see the fight.
Since you are not blind you see them from the comer of your eye,
and since you are not deaf you hear them. But not for an instant is
your mind captured by these sense impressions.​
 
#31
http://www.yantrayoga.net/about



Here is an excerpt from a quote from a student of Krishnamarcharya that gives a different explanation of the simlarities between Yoga and gymnastics. Read the whole thing at the link for the full discussion.
http://lindasyoga.blogspot.com/2010/09/krishnamarcharya-and-those-british.html

"Further, yoga as a physical culture is very old. We may not have records because in ancient times most of instructions were oral and the transmission of knowledge was from teacher to student and the only way to learn was to go to a teacher and learn, practice and internalize. Later on a few texts were written as scripts were developed but they were written in easily perishable palm leaves -- like the Yoga Kuranta -- and barely one manuscript, no xerox copies, no electronic books were available. So in these matters we have to rely upon authorities/tradition or as the Vedas would call it “aitihya” or firmly held belief.

Even from the available texts like the Puranas one can glean a lot of reference to yoga practice including asana practice. The Brahma Sutras mention that a seated asana is a necessity for meditation. Works written hundreds or even a thousand years back contain sections on Yoga including asanas. Thirumular, a yogi said to have lived 3000 years back wrote about several asanas in his Tamil classic Thirumandiram. Puranas, smritis and several later day Upanishads have sections on asana practice.
...
He had also mentioned that almost all the physical systems of the world, including gymnastics, had borrowed heavily from Yoga, because the asana portion of Yoga was the most ancient and developed physical culture system. Therefore it could be that there were a few similarities between asanas and some obscure gymnastic systems in different parts of the world at different times. Then one has to investigate the origin of those obscure systems, whether they were older than Yoga, or if they themselves borrowed from ancient yoga practices."
facinating... many thx for sharing this.
at the end of the day I think we're wrestling with the orthodox versus gnosis thing. i.e. there are many paths to many truths so don't get too hung up on the right-ness of your path.
 
#32
I think we're wrestling with the orthodox versus gnosis thing. i.e. there are many paths to many truths so don't get too hung up on the right-ness of your path.
I would agree that holding of a fixed belief does not have the same value as as the lived experience of a truth. To outsiders, many dogmas seem absurd. It is difficult to understand the orthodox rabbis criticizing Jesus for healing on the Sabbath. Similarly claims within Scientism that the exercise of consciousness outside of the brain is impossible.

With Batchelor it seems his lack of gnosis leads him to reject Buddha's teaching on karma and reincarnation. He seems similar to many protestant schismatics who happily discard teachings they haven't realized. Or western Yoga teachers that disdain God. I have met Theravadan monks who are equally atheistic to Batchelor, and possibly even more nihilistic, but they do accept the doctrine of karma and transmigration.

Materialist orthodoxy may be blocking access to insights from Buddhism. Naropa's teaching on dream yoga where considered impossible by most scientists until the 1970s. While current western teachings on lucid dreaming remain more superficial.

According to Idries Shah, Sufis recognize that in time mystical insights and teachings will degrade into sterile cargo cults requiring new expressions of the teaching. You can't put new wine into old wine skins. Hindus state that when teachings are degraded new Avatar comes to renew the teachings.

On his Buddhist journey, Batchelor changed paths several times. The rightness of his current path is important.
 
#33
...With Batchelor it seems his lack of gnosis leads him to reject Buddha's teaching on karma and reincarnation. He seems similar to many protestant schismatics who happily discard teachings they haven't realized. Or western Yoga teachers that disdain God. I have met Theravadan monks who are equally atheistic to Batchelor, and possibly even more nihilistic, but they do accept the doctrine of karma and transmigration.
nice :)
 
#34
I enjoyed this interview Alex; and I was impressed by Stephen Batchelor.
Various forms of stripped-down secularised Buddhism are very popular among western materialists.
They especially like Zen derivatives.
I think it is a good thing there are forms of 'spiritual practice' which materialists can embrace.
 
#35
I enjoyed this interview Alex; and I was impressed by Stephen Batchelor.
Various forms of stripped-down secularised Buddhism are very popular among western materialists.
They especially like Zen derivatives.
I think it is a good thing there are forms of 'spiritual practice' which materialists can embrace.
yeah... I used to be mad at Batchelor. the preparation for this interview helped me connect with the great service he's done. and even though he's wrong, he's not all that wrong :)
 
#36
wow... this is such a cool post... takes me in so many directions re stuff I've been thinking about.
1. the shadow of materialism... very hard to root it out... crops up everywhere. so, Batchelor feels on solid ground talking about meditation without realizing the fundamental contradictions with materialism. this happens over and over with those that seem to be pushing the boundaries of science and/or spirituality but wind up falling back into the materialist trap.
2. can you get partial credit? I say yes. Atheists get 0 points... wrong answer. Atheist Buddhists get partial credit and are allowed to sit for the final :)
I think Batchelor is exhibiting the fundamental blindness of materialism to extended consciousness science. This blindness is behind his questioning the inductive method with regard to investigating reincarnation. Induction is the basis of the scientific method- gathering specific data that support a more general hypothesis. He seems to think this method is not valid.
 
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