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Thread: Is there room for doubt?

  1. #1

    Is there room for doubt?

    Dear friends,

    Are there any beliefs or stories in Buddhism that you find difficult to fully accept? If there are, please share what they are - and why you have doubts about them.



  2. #2
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    Most stuff arising from cultural milieux rather than 'core' Buddhist teachings I find hard to accept. Pare away that arising from prevailing shared understandings and beliefs and the main things are still there, but you don't have to take on board the extras.

  3. #3
    Forums Member Olderon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by philg View Post
    Most stuff arising from cultural milieux rather than 'core' Buddhist teachings I find hard to accept. Pare away that arising from prevailing shared understandings and beliefs and the main things are still there, but you don't have to take on board the extras.
    Yes. I am in total agreement. It is cultural residue, which separates many Buddhist traditions: Examples are dietary restrictions, sexual practices, isolation vs. group sanghas, interpretations of Buddha's teachings, use of Gurus, and etc.

    The other divergences from reality, which are related to religious doctrines and other ignorances and beliefs, which are peeled away as science and communications develops greater capabilities and mankind becomes more educated as to the universe from which we arose, and to which we belong. The best example I can muster here is what happens to all life after our deaths, probably, because all life fears death. For this reason Buddha promoted Charnel Meditations practices for his monks.

    source: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/.../wheel271.html

    In general summary, Buddha directed us with The Kalama Sutta: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/.../wheel008.html It appears that Buddha not only felt that we had a right to free inquiry driven by doubt, but that we had an obligation to investigate (personally) all that we read, heard, and were taught for the sake of understanding, verification, and validation.

    Buddha also pointed out that he did not teach us everything he knew, but just that which caused and will free us from suffering. I guess he figured that was enough for us to handle in one life-time, or perhaps even in hundreds of life-times if we were just of average intelligence.

    He spoke of this fact in The Simpassa Sutta: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipi....031.than.html

    As to why I disagree or at least doubt such beliefs: "Mankind has been dismissing myths since he first found the courage to disagree with elders teachings and stories told around the campfire. Santa Claus is just one example of such stories in our modern culture. Even true believers need to be questioned, we have found out as well. The most recent examples of a need for disbelief being "What the universe is made of."
    Last edited by Olderon; 12 Jan 19 at 13:29.

  4. #4
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
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    I agree with all that has been said by others, and I would like to add my personal contribution.

    A couple of years ago my Samatha meditation group chose to study the Abhidhamma. I approached it with an open mind but after a while I reached the conclusion that it contains neither wisdom, knowledge or insight.

    The Abhidhamma is an exposition of how the mind works, or a description of the mechanism of consciousness. It's not recorded as something the Buddha taught, so I take it to be one of those later add-ons to Buddhism. I can understand it having been developed over a long period of time in the process of teaching meditation to monks, and having to deal with questions like 'what is the mind?' Perhaps there was a need for certainty as a kind of foundation.

    Thought-processes are divided into smaller pieces, ending up with atomic-sized pieces of thought, of many different types. Each type is laboriously described. And a single conscious thought will be made up of aggregates of these pieces, coming together in countless different combinations.

    I would be the first to admit that I don't possess full and complete familiarity with the Abhidhamma. I've discarded it because, in the end, it explains nothing.

    Anyway, if I did learn and accept everything that it teaches, then I would be believing in something that was quite unverifiable to myself, and in my book, that's not what Buddhism offers.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by woodscooter View Post
    A couple of years ago my Samatha meditation group chose to study the Abhidhamma. I approached it with an open mind but after a while I reached the conclusion that it contains neither wisdom, knowledge or insight.
    Hi Woodscooter,

    I posted this (very short) video of Ajahn Brahm in our Theravada forum a few minutes ago:

    "Abhidhamma was not taught by the Buddha"

    https://www.buddhismwithoutboundarie...0416#post80416



  6. #6
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
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    I always find talks by Ajahn Brahm to be full of simple wisdom. To hear his view on Abhidhamma means a lot to me. So I have posted my response to that video in the Theravada forum.

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