On Dharma, to action! [A short critique of Buddhism]

Note*: This has been edited, but it remains to be unclear. haha

Being in the world, monad of the world, subject to the world, and the momentary master over it; I here contemplate the Dharma.

In earlier posts, and works yet written, I speak of the Cosmos. When I use this term, I use it as Hinduism uses the term Dharma, namely the principle of cosmic order, the whole considered as one mysterious reality, as a closed system of conceptual gears which coil in on themselves down into smallest, and onto what metaphysicians may call the foundations of reality, and out into the largest, widest, furthest reaches of this totality, outward to the frayed boundaries of anything that ever was, is, or will be –totality by definition.

*edit, cut something for clarity

The Dharma as taught by Buddha (which for practical purposes I shall so name my understanding of it) runs with the aforementioned understanding of everything, everything being a natural function, your worries are nothing so do not worry about them. In fact, lose yourself because that’s more real than your life which it lives.

My present thoughts on the matter are brought forth by this piece: Samm_Samdhi_Detachment.

From the piece:

“Whether in regard to the body or to the mind, just throw them all together as transient, imperfect and ownerless – aniccam, dukkhamand anattā. They are simply conditions of nature. They arise depending on supporting factors, exist for a while and then cease. When there are appropriate conditions they arise again; having arisen they exist for a while, then cease once more. “

This is exactly how I view myself, and likewise how I view you, your cat, a bird soaring overhead, and even any one of the cells within your body. Unless there is a God or a programmer who has created myself and these lives around me, surely life is what naturally rises from that which is (to digress, if there is a God or programmer, and each of us and this world is contrived, then the question of origin goes to Him or him, respectively.)

The above passage continues:

“These things are not a ”self,” a ”being,” an ”us” or a ”them.” There’s nobody there, simply feelings. Happiness has no intrinsic self, suffering has no intrinsic self. No self can be found, there are simply elements of nature which arise, exist and cease. They go through this constant cycle of change.”

If I have accepted the paragraph before, I cannot distance myself from ourselves being “elements of nature which arise, exist and cease”, and I must accept that there is a constant cycle of change, of which each of us is product. Still, I cannot help but see error in there being no ‘self’, nor ‘being’ to which I, us, we, or them may be attributed. My reasons for thinking as such are not conclusions from the mere thought of the Cosmos, but as a thought resultant of the life which I am living. For, the Cosmos cannot think unless something like myself thinks it. And therefore attachments that I have are meaningful, because the good which can be, and is sometimes produced is of greater net value (suffering included) than states of mind concerning detachment.

“This sort of thinking is like building a dam or a dike without making an outlet to let the water through. The result is that the dam bursts. And so it is with this kind of thinking. The Buddha saw that thinking in this way is the cause of suffering. Seeing this cause, the Buddha gave it up… All trees [are] as one, all beings [are] as one, there’s nothing special about any of them. They arise, exist for a while, age and then die, all of them.”

I disagree. Though everything is as one, I believe it is also accurate to say that everything is every one thing in the many parts of which is constituted the whole.  [unclear as hell] that the temporary life is to be treated with a particular kind of passivity seems less than good.

My problem with the prevalent Eastern view of the Cosmos is that, in light of the enlightened revelation that each of us is this one natural totality, there seems to be promoted the disenfranchisement of the individual. That the individual being is an effect of the totality of everything is a good reason not to fear death, but it is a poor reason to lessen the importance of each life.

For, how can the Cosmos live if not through the individual? That I may strive, and cry, and gnash my teeth for the pursuit of a good which so affects the rest of creation; that I may enjoy and worry about, and thus participate in this damming up of sensation under the transient banner of name, identity, of dreams… is it not the highest form of beauty? And is not this beauty my own, as part and whole?

That I am the Cosmos. That in this body, like a wave risen from the great ocean, as a wave among waves, is it best that I, having at all times been the ocean, use this time as a wave to realize my being the ocean and to abandon my being the wave? Or now that I have form to see myself in this body, and in others, that I with joy do as the wave as best I can, that as a human I apprehend the sensations of the mind and make them my own for the fleeting duration of my time as this self?

I believe what is best for all and for each is to apprehend the truth of the totality (as Buddhism does), the Dharma, the Cosmos, and then to live a life as an individual, toward the good of this fleeting self and to all others who may so do the same.

Though it may be, technically speaking, that each is an illusion experienced by the whole, these illusions are as dreams, and they can be so very beautiful and conducive toward even more valuable realities for that which sees, feels and thinks into being. So we should engage ourselves and life, define who we are and be that as best we can.

As I am part, each part is I; let dam the flow, let be the flower of the self. Though life is difficult, and in time its form withers, there is no death, nor life but the being of all through the instance of each.

Suffering is not to be detached from, it is to be fought against with the prevalence of good lives.

Know the whole, by thy self, be the Good. [perhaps too large a coffee this afternoon]

– J

edit: That was all terribly unclear haha.

Essentially I mean to say that attachment is more valuable than detachment. Detachment is probably what the material world is, and when problems of minds arise, there is experience of the world, ourselves, and of others, and the resultant lives produced are beautiful good and can be constructive toward the good of life more generally.

Yes, attachment causes suffering, but that’s feeling for you. We ought to just get used to feeling (and so doing) the right things to make ourselves happy.

– J

edit: good stuff in the comments

About Ossington

I often think but seldom share these thoughts. And if the product of my thinking is to affect anything but my own sense of satisfaction, then surely it must be shared. Here you may try to know what I believe to know.
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2 Responses to On Dharma, to action! [A short critique of Buddhism]

  1. MousAnony says:

    Interesting post, J. I agree whole-heartedly with your thoughts regarding dependent origination.

    I have a minor contention with your critique of no-self though and I think it’s one of the more ‘unbelievable’ concepts to accept/believe. That being said, I think you’re not so much refuting no-self as much as you are actually, even if unintentionally, confirming it.

    For example, when you say: “My reasons for thinking as such are not conclusions from the mere thought of the Cosmos (which I believe my thoughts, our thoughts, are) but as a thought resultant from the life which I am living.” If we accept this as true – the latter half of the sentence – then we also have to accept that if your life were different then you would also be different. I.e., if *you* are the sum of your experiences, then if the experiences were even slightly different the *you* would also be different.

    This is the idea of no-self. It does not presume that there is no *I* that experiences things, but that the *I* is also transient and impermenant. There is no ‘J’ as a *being*, there is only ‘J’ as a *process*.

    I think there are a few examples that can serve to illustrate that point – which may or may not convince you still. If you’ve sat down for a session of meditation you’ll undoubtedbly have noticed that your mind tends to wander. Are you the mind that is wandering? Or are you the mind that is trying to stay focused on the breath? When the mind wanders, can we directly pinpoint and locate the *I*?

    What no-self is trying to show is that we are processes, we are not fixed. And suffering arises when we attach ourselves to a fixed aspect of what we perceive ourselves to be. e.g., if I think of myself as strong and I attribute ‘strength’ as a quality of my identity, then when I am shown to be weak, I suffer.

    “I disagree. Though everything is as one, I believe it is also accurate to say that everything is every one thing in the many parts of which is constituted the whole.”

    That is a fair criticism, but I think one of the main issues is that we tend to see ourselves as being ‘separate’ from our environment, rather than part of it. Although I think there are issues with Alan Watts’ interpretation of Buddhism (though I readily admit he knows a hell of a lot more than I do about it!) he has a pretty great quote: “Where there are rocks, watch out! Watch out.. because rocks are eventually going to come alive and they are going to have people crawling over them. It is only a mater of time, just in the same way the acorn is eventually going to turn into the oak because it has the potentiality of that within it. Rocks are not dead. You see, it depends on what kind of attitude you take to the world”

    And what he is trying to show is that we are intimately connected to the world around us, something that we are not always aware of, or something that we too often forget. We are not born into this world, we grow out of it.

    Hope that makes sense, and if it doesn’t I trust you will let me know!

    • Ossington says:

      Thank you for the comment.

      Your arguments are correct and explain much of what I would like to, only with greater clarity.

      My departure remains; though the self is an idea which is contrived, and below our nonstop adherence to this story is the no-self wherein we may find peace… the contrived story and the array of such narratives, that which we call civilization can be a good and useful thing.

      We certainly do grow out of the world, and thusly we are at once part and product.

      I believe this product can be like art, and where it means the scientific method and colonization of other worlds to continue the experience, I see it as of great importance.

      – J

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