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Response to Beringia (Reply #5)

Sat Sep 30, 2017, 12:02 AM

10. Buddhists believe that we are in samsara

There are many forms of Buddhism. All the forms are about the psychology of how the mind works and how to tame the mind and make it work for us. We believe that we are in Samsara, which is a life of suffering that we create for ourselves through various views of ignorance and delusion. Samsara has six realms which are like mental points of view. From lowest to highest are: Hell is fixated on hate and anger, Hungry Ghosts fixated in insatiable greed, Animals fixated on stupidity, Humans fixated on desire, Jealous Gods fixated on envy and power, and the Gods, fixated on pleasure. The best realm to be born into is the human realm, because only humans can become enlightened and realize the true nature of their mind.

A few of us humans grow spiritually, but most of us do not because we are focused on achieving material desires, which never really turn out to be totally and forever satisfying. There are 3 basic forms of Buddhism. Hinayana, the path of individual liberation. Mahayana, the universal path of compassion and wisdom, and Vajrayana, the path of indestructable wakefulness.

Beginning meditation is not supposed to be entertaining. In fact, it is downright boring, which is the whole point. In Hinayana meditation, we learn to focus the mind on the breath and label discursive thoughts as "just thinking." The whole point of beginning meditation is to begin to tame the mind and tame negative emotions. We look directly at the mind and develop mindfulness. Mahayana forms of meditation practice develop a compassionate and loving heart. And finally Vajrayana meditation does a lot of visualizations to create a mindset that is very pure and that sees the world as very sacred and pure.

Buddhist don't have a problem with evolution. Although biology is not taught in Buddhism, we do believe that everything arises from previous causes and conditions, and eventually all physical phenomena will cease to exist, because all things are impermanent. So I guess that would be in concert with what we know about evolution.

There is a lot more that I could say about Buddhism. It can get highly technical. I'm currently reading Vol 1 of Trungpa's Ocean of Dharma which is about 650 pages on the practice of Hinayana - just sitting and watching the breathing. 650 pages! Who knew that there was so much to say about just sitting and breathing? Vol 2 about Mahayana and Vol 3 on Vajrayana are even bigger books.

You seem to be a curious person asking genuinely sincere questions. Buddhism is not a religion, it is a practice. You can be a Catholic, or a Jew, or an atheist and practice meditation and mindfulness. We do not proselytize to win converts. If you want to learn about Buddhism, you have to ask for teachings. You get out of meditation what you put into it, and it does require a little effort and discipline. It helps to have an authentic teacher and a community of meditators. I frequently recommend a little book by the Dalai Lama, "How to Practice." Very clear and easy to understand.

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