According to ebt ,
how would you answer if
someone like , a beginner,
an ordinary man enquiring
"why were we born ? “
Would ebt has any answer ?
Would ebt give an answer like
” you asked for it ! "
Many peoples are seeking ,
“Does my life have any
meaning, any purpose?”
Can we find satisfying
answers to these questions?
According to ebt ,
Its purpose is to enjoy sense pleasures, no? That’s the reason why we are born -out of ignorance, wanting pleasure, avoiding pain.
Sort of a Koan-ish answer:
Q: why were we born?
A: if there’s no fuel, will the fire burn?
Q: does my life have meaning/purpose?
A: put out the fire.
But , if they were to
compare it to , says,
Christianity , and how to
convince them to have faith
with buddhism ? It’s rather
profound for a beginner to grasp .
I see what you are getting at- the purpose of life according to the Buddhist path, would be to live compassionately and work hard to reduce suffering in this life- the results of which will be available in this life. The Buddha taught for 45 years. There is a clear path. It involves precepts that are voluntary, as well as meditation and generosity. Living mindfully is a major aspect of this path. Beliefs are optional, and there are beliefs about rebirth and karma. There is no God and no commandments. There is no eternal damnation in hell and not eternal heaven. Nirvana is the goal where all suffering has ceased, in this life.
How about that?
Do you think ebt type of
koan would help the
ordinary people without any
background to understand?
I would not dare to tell
them at beginning stage ,
No fuel no fire!
If you do , be your own
Firefighter ! (humor)
Most people expect some
type of Refuge and Protection .
Most ordinary people find it
difficult to accept " no "
to existence , being Nothing !
No things to grasp !
They very much
wanted " eternity " and
They will get that if that is what they truly want. People come to Buddhism by 1) understanding of suffering 2) intelligence- ruling out other religions 3) faith (according to EBT). No one can force another.
The thing is that with those 2 specific questions, no matter how detailed an answer you give, ordinary folks will not find it satisfactory. Why? because questions of this nature can only be answered by the individual himself. So, the Koan-ish response is just a skillful mean that acts like a trigger, something to pique their interest so that they’d venture deeper onto the Path and find the answer for themselves.
I don’t think any EBT will support the view you have to convince anyone to take the three refugees.
When it comes to the most effective way to allow for that to happen naturally I risk saying that the preferred model as per EBTs would be to get one to hear about the gradual teaching. It is all about a progressive list of topics:
- danger, degradation, and defilement of sensual desires
- advantages in renunciation.
Listening to those things, in that order, lead one to be of:
- ready mind,
- malleable mind,
- unhindered mind,
- uplifted mind,
- trusting mind
When those qualities have been instilled in one’s mind, then and only then, would the Buddha have explained the Dhamma teaching the Awakened Ones have discovered themselves: suffering, origination, cessation, path. In other words the for noble truths and it’s respective ennobling tasks.
This is found across EBTs and give us a very nice way to gauge the quality of someone who approach us to teach the Dhamma. If he doesn’t try to somehow follow this model he/she pretty much doesn’t know either what he is doing or teaching.
A nice link about this is:
Buddha did not answer these questions as it is not relevant to the goal. (end suffering)
Whatever the reason we are here. It is like a person accidently fallen into a pit. His objective is to get out of the pit. Not to ask how I get here and what is the purpose of I am in a pit etc.
I asked a similar question in Dhamma Wheel.
"It’s just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a brahman, a merchant, or a worker.’ He would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me… until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short… until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored… until I know his home village, town, or city… until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow… until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark… until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated… until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird… until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.’ He would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.’ The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.
It always seemed to me that, from the Buddhist perspective, life itself has no purpose. It just is. And although our birth has a variety of causes, there is no purpose for which we were born.
However, we have the option of living for a purpose that we select. Since the Buddha taught about a path to the end of suffering, then if we believe what the Buddha taught and want to end our suffering, or the suffering of others, we can live for that purpose, since it is available.
True, for intelligent people .
True , maybe we care a bit more ,
is a different outcome
for the confused.
No, not taking refuge , beginner has no sense of direction , if we could provide some conveniences out of compassion.
Relevant , to them.
Although the scientists
are doing the job , but ,
We can’t always apply
in the " neti - neti "
approach to them.
A beginner already in a lost,
No purpose seems doesn’t help ,
If you are having problems ,
and you are expecting solution ,
hmm, otherwise they’re doomed .
I think the physical organism imposes the biological program of eat, breed, survive etc on us unless we make a conscious choice otherwise. Fortunately we are not so biologically driven that (unlike other animals) that the search for enlightenment and ‘going against the stream’ is impossible.
Well most theistic religions seem to offer a transactional ‘if I do this, you give me that’ type approach. If I pray/believe then you get what you asked for/eternal heaven. Many people find this approach easy. It requires little commitment from them and makes them feel better immediately. If it doesn’t work something else can be blamed. The priests then have something to do. The closest Buddhism comes to this (at one end of the spectrum of practice) is giving (Dana- Velama sutta is one example), based on merit making, seeking fortune and a favourable rebirth. But giving has a progressive element as well in that stinginess is said to be a hindrances to stream entry and jhana (Maccariya sutta).
So having spiritual friends who can introduce another (without causing too much of a clash of views) to giving (Dana) ceremony for example or a temple visit or a book or a website for beginners would be helpful. The Buddha said you can only take the horse to water but cannot make them drink!
Yes, but I don’t think the drives really amount to a coherent purpose or meaning for life.
The drives won’t make for a meaningful life, correct. Everything (mostly everything?) about our bodies and minds are geared for survival including and especially intelligence. While not very satisfying to the mind which values the mental and spiritual over the physical it is the major driving force.
Yes, I agree. But also I’m trying to suggest that since the Buddha’s universe doesn’t contain any designing or creating entity exercising providence or carrying out a grand plan or intention, it’s hard to see how anything in the universe could have come into existence for some purpose.
Unless you think the universe itself has a mind or intention. But I don’t think I have ever read anything in the EBTs that indicate the Buddha thought that.