Discussion in 'Community' started by Ghost, Sep 11, 2012.
Dalai Llama spits when he talks. Disgusting, really.
He's saying the spokesperson for Buddhism isn't a member of the Camelidae family.
I get the pun, my objection was to the characterization of Tenzin Gyatso as a broadly Mahayana thing.
Look I'm not really up on Tibetan names sorry.
My understanding was that he spoke for the Tibetan schools, not the Indian or Japanese? Like I said, ages since I looked at this stuff so happy to be corrected.
He indeed speaks for the Tibetan schools, but they're just a fraction of the Mahayana... experience?... and some classifications of schools of thought that I've seen don't even group Tibetan Buddhism into that category, as they prefer to keep Vajrayana separate since they let lots of esoteric nonsense in.
Don't get me wrong, all sorts of weird mysticism creeps into Mahayana as it's essentially the Reader's Digest mass appeal form of the faith (and it is a faith). Pure Landers think you can become a god by thinking really hard on your death bed, a ton of schools think future potential Buddhas walk the Earth like Cain in Kung Fu, and even Chán/Zen (True confessions? Basically my religion.) accepts a bunch of garbage about temporary enlightenment. But Vajrayana is... kind of another ballgame altogether on that front.
I'm not wholly comfortable calling it a faith, though I suspect that's 110% due to bias on my part. There's no denying karma and the consequences of positive/negative karma are wholly faith-based; but in my mind, I am more willing to give them a pass than I am having faith in a benevolent, bearded God who has at some point hated Jews, hated gays, hated blacks making wildly inconsistent pronouncements depending on which scribe wrote what book...
It's like, you can rationalise karma as a metaphor (reincarnation, you are on your own though you could also be metaphoric) and it doesn't sound like you're putting a fig leaf over a druken and sloppy God's withered Scriptures. Yes, get that mental image out of your mind.
> Pure Landers think you can become a god
Yeah, that's what I thought, about all the branches of Buddhism being more decentralized and not having an overarching international structure. The current Dalai Lama is definitely the most famous Buddhist, but traditionally the Dalai Lama's were political rulers of Tibet (there was no separation of state/sangha when Tibet was independent... and sometimes they exercised political power, sometimes they were figureheads), and he doesn't seem to be the Mahayana equivalent of the Catholic Pope.
And Ender, thanks for bringing up Buddhism, so many times all religion is equated to being like Conservative Christianity in these JCC/Senate threads. I was already familiar with those concepts, and have brought them up before (like in the Atheism thread), but many people reading this thread might not be aware.
But do you know what the Dalai Lama once said? "If science proves an aspect of Buddhism to be untrue, then Buddhism will have to change." I wish all faiths could be that open-minded.
Buddha basically said the same thing.
And I agree with it when it comes to Christianity too.
Ok, I don't know if I've given my answer, so here it goes.
But first, the question should be split into two questions.
1. If there is a God, why is there human-caused suffering?
2. If there is a God, why is there nature-caused suffering?
The first is easiest to answer. God has given up some of his unlimited power and unlimited knowledge, and entered into the stream of time, in order to allow us to have Free Will. Why do we have Free Will? Because our purpose is to learn how to truly love, and love is a choice, it can't be compelled. We have Free Will so we can choose to love, which includes the option to not love. You can't love without Free Will. (Would anyone really want to live in a world without any love or freedom? Would we really even be considered "alive" then?) That freedom, that choice, explains why humans can cause suffering. ... So, that answers why there is human-caused suffering, even if there is a God. As for the question "why do humans with free will inflict suffering on themselves and others?"... well, we're human. We're ignorant. We're prejudiced. We're afraid. We're angry. We imperfectly love. Sometimes, we don't know what all the effects of our actions will be. We're imperfect beings in an imperfect world, which leads me to answering the next question.
Why is there nature-caused suffering? Why are we imperfect, why do we live in an imperfect world? Well, if we were perfect and lived in a perfect world, even if we technically had the "choice" to reject love, why would anyone have any reason to? Technically, it would still be a choice, but it would be an extremely-easy no-brainer. Technically, it would still be love, but it would be extremely weak love. So God created a universe, writing the laws of nature, so there would be limitations and imperfections imposed on life. So, as thinking and feeling beings, we would have reasons... potentially strong reasons... to choose NOT to love. A reason to give up, in apathy, and think nothing matters, and that you won't even bother caring anymore. The stronger the reasons not to love, the stronger the love will be when it is chosen. Think of how strong the love is of (for example) people who die so their friends may live... in a perfect world, that would never happen, and love would never ever be that strong. And the reason why we exist, our given purpose, is to learn how to truly love.
(Also, when we enter heaven/paradise [assuming it exists], we'll be able to better appreciate it. To use a more earthly example, if a prince/princess has such great wealth and so many skilled servants that whatever they ask for, they immediately receive, and they've lived like that their entire lives, and don't know that it's possible to live without that instant gratification for everything they want... does anyone think they really appreciate what they have, does anyone think that they're really happy? Wouldn't a poor orphan who grew up on the streets until their old age, and then discovered they were royalty and went on to live like the prince/princess described above, be able to better enjoy and appreciate what they have, instead of having it all from the beginning? Now, imagine how much happier we'll be to live in paradise, after a lifetime of suffering. If we had spent all of eternity in paradise, would we really care, would we even be happy? Probably not. Even if we were technically "happy," would the happiness be that strong, without anything to contrast it with? I don't think so, it wouldn't be able to compare to the happiness of experiencing it for the rest of time after a lifetime of suffering. This way, the way the universe actually does exist, we get the best of all possible worlds. At its core: every person is good, life itself is good, the universe itself is good.)