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Aloka
28 Jan 11, 05:50
I was reading the section 'Emancipation from the world' from 'Handbook for Mankind' by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu.
I thought I'd quote some of the part about ignorance and wondered if anyone had any comments.




"Every normal person wishes to gain knowledge; but if the "knowledge" he gains is false, then the more he "knows,"' the more deluded he becomes. Thus more kinds of knowledge can blind the eyes. We have to be careful with this word "enlightenment." The "Light" may be the glare of ignorance, which blinds and deludes the eye and gives rise to overconfidence.

Blinded by the glare of ignorance, we are unable to think straight and so are in no position to defeat suffering. We waste our time with trivialities, nonessential things unworthy of our respect. We become infatuated with sensuality, taking it to be something excellent and essential for human beings, something which every man ought to get his share of before he dies, and making the excuse that we are doing it for the sake of some quite different ideal. The hope for rebirth in heaven is founded on sensuality. Attachment to anything whatsoever, particularly sensuality comes about because ignorance has enveloped the mind cutting off all means of escape. At several places in the Texts, ignorance is compared to a thick shell covering the whole world and preventing people from seeing the real light.

The Buddha placed ignorance last in the list of the ten fetters. When a person becomes an Arahant, the highest grade of Aryian, he completely eliminates the five remaining fetters or defilements. He eliminates desire for forms, desire for objects other than forms, status consciousness, agitation and ignorance.

The four kinds of Aryian, Stream - enterer, Once - returner, Never - returner and Arahant, dwell in the Supra mundane plane. The Supramundane can be recognized as having nine aspects. The condition of the Stream - enterer while he is in the process of cutting out the defilements is called the Path of Stream entry, and that when he has succeeded in cutting them out is called the Fruit of Stream entry. Likewise there are the following pairs: Path and Fruit of Once returning, Path and Fruit of Never returning and Path and Fruit of Arahantship, in all four pairs. These together with Nirvana make up the nine aspects of the Supramundane.

For an individual in the supramundane plane, suffering is diminished in accordance with his status until ultimately he is completely free of it. When a person once succeeds in attaining unobscured and perfect insight into the true nature of things so that he is able to stop desiring anything whatsoever, he has attained the supramundane plane, his mind has transcended the worldly condition. And when he has completely and utterly relinquished all the mental defilements, his mind is rendered permanently free of all those worldly things which formerly it liked and disliked."

Source:http://www.buddhanet.net/budasa12.htm





:hands:

Cloud
28 Jan 11, 07:03
Yeah... What about it? :) I don't see anything even debatable in all of that.

Aloka
28 Jan 11, 07:08
Ignorance can manifests in many ways, Cloud, especially with those of us who think we have superior knowledge or spiritual attainments.

The quote was merely intended as a springboard for reflections about how we interpret the meaning of 'Ignorance' in Buddhism and how we overcome it.

I was actually going to use this part:

"A person ignorant about the Path that leads to the extinction of suffering is liable to act foolishly and be motivated by his own desires, for instance naively relying on physical things, or on spirits and celestial beings, just as if he had no religion at all. Such a person, though he may be a Buddhist by birth, is able to go to such foolish lengths simply because the power of ignorance prevents his being content with extinguishing suffering by way of the Noble Eightfold Path. Instead he goes about extinguishing suffering by lighting incense and candles, and making pledges to supposedly supernatural things."


but then as some traditions rely heavily on incense, candles and prayers to celestial beings, I decided not to in case I caused offense !

Cloud
28 Jan 11, 07:24
I actually like that part better (lol)! I can see why you would want to not cause offense, and I'm with you on that to a point, but there is a point where the teachings are lost or distorted when we try not to give offense (it's impossible not to offend someone, especially if you're speaking in opposition to one or more "traditions" that are clinging to views).

If there are teachings that rely on those things which are considered fetters (i.e. rituals) and teach those as truth, then those teachings are not the Buddha's path to liberation, at least not as far as I'm concerned!

How can we define Buddhism in these trying times, when some forms do and teach exactly what the Buddha taught was not the way of things? Not the path to non-clinging? "Buddhism" is losing the meaning of being the Buddha's teaching, if it hasn't already.





edited to create spacing

Esho
28 Jan 11, 13:45
Ignorance... a huge topic to analyze.

Ignorance can be present in a myriad conditions. It is part of the three poisons; hate, greed and ignorance and the ignorance about the roots of hate and greed. Ignorance as the opposite of Right View ignoring the origin, cessation and the path that leads to the cessation of Dukkha and desires.

When I first read about Buddhism was about the Four Noble Truths and what really shocked me was the Ignorance issue. We can have a lot of knowledge but is really useless when one understands how ignorant we are about the way we have come to relate with the world and the "things" in it.

Just a few ideas...

;)

Esho
28 Jan 11, 13:54
but then as some traditions rely heavily on incense, candles and prayers to celestial beings, I decided not to in case I caused offense !

I am afraid that some people far from looking at the teachings of the historical Buddha have found in candles, prayers and incense a substitution of their deep need of religion and rituals. That is a very powerfull attachment. They said it is so to keep focused the mind... but why they react so violently when you tell them to drop that away and focus the mind? Than anger speaks about a deep attachment ignoring the true nature of the Buddha Dhamma.


"Buddhism" is losing the meaning of being the Buddha's teaching, if it hasn't already.

Being here I become aware of the difference between the teachings of the historical Buddha (the Buddha Dhamma) and Buddhism. It is right to call Buddhism "Buddhism" because Buddhism is about cultural add-ons, mainly religious ones, to what was the original teaching of the Buddha. I have found a great difference between the different Buddhisms out there and the Teachings of the Historical Buddha.

;)

Aloka
28 Jan 11, 14:05
I am afraid that some people far from looking at the teachings of the historical Buddha have found in candles, prayers and incense a substitution of their deep need of religion and rituals. That is a very powerfull attachment. They said it is so to keep focused the mind... but why they react so violently when you tell them to drop that away and focus the mind? Than anger speaks about a deep attachment ignoring the true nature of the Buddha Dhamma.

I agree Kaarine. When I finally realised that my praying to dead gurus and various heavenly beings and taking part in rituals was pointless, it was like being reborn. However the negative side is that I've had a lot of resentment from people who get a little fanatical when I've spoken about my need to change. For some people these things become a comfort zone and their total reality. (been there myself -it was my ''reality'' too at one time, lol !)

Anyway, that's quite enough of my experiences for now ! ;)

Esho
28 Jan 11, 14:10
it was like being reborn.

The same happend to me when I started to look at the original teachings of the historical buddha left in the Pali Canon.

:hands: