Originally posted by dmz
care to elaborate? Remeber, even history is irrelevant for a consistent Buddhist.
Meaning itself disappears,
How is meaning real? Or history?
Most meaning is given to us pre-packaged. We seldom inspect things anew ourselves (as Buddhism recommends) but instead pull out the old handed-down meaning, label or opinion.
History is just imparting meaning to items that are variously victims of entropy. Otherwise history is a collective meme that is fluid and simultaneously decaying and being rewritten and evaporating. No one can accurately recreate past events from remnants. It's the same old not precisely
knowing the initial conditions thing.
Originally posted by dmz
here's bit from Milarepa:
Because I see the self-face of the View,
The thought of contrast by itself dissolves;
How then can I have the Idea-of-Two-the self and others?
The View is void of limit and discrimination.
When in the Practice I become absorbed,
Good and evil are reduced to self-liberation;
How then can I have the Idea-of- two-happiness and suffering?
The Practice is devoid of limitary feelings and experience.
When I adhere to the self-continuance of Action,
Dislike is reduced to self-liberation;
How then can I have the Impulse-of-Two- craving and aversion?
The Action is free from limitary attachment.
Since self-liberation is the Fruit,
Both Nirvana and Samsara are reduced to it.
How then can I have the Idea-of-Two- getting and Abandoning?
Absence of fear and hope is
The Fruit of this great Practice.
I guess you plucked this out as some kind of example to prove your (flawed) conception of what Buddhism is (i.e., pessimistic or nihilistic or pointless or negative or a downer?)
As it turns out, although I'm less attracted to the more elaborate Tibetan branch, the passage quoted is extremely true, beautiful and points to exactly opposite to that which I think you are implying.
*Let me guess*. I'm sure that you, a Christian (whose drug is necessarily hope), skimmed hurriedly and bemusedly got to "Absence of ... hope is The Fruit of this great Practice." thinking it a kind of "GOTCHA! Buddhism = No Hope = negative = depressing and hence pointless".
This is precisely the shallow view I'd expect, based on other common misconceptions.
But it isn't about having no hope. It is about walking that line between fear (irrational beliefs that ignore present reality and make matters worse when the things feared don't materialize) and hope (irrational beliefs that ignore present reality and make matters worse when the things hoped for don't materialize). It is pragmatic. It is saying the joy of wise moderation is greater than the extremes of too much or too little. The Buddha found that neither self-punishing asceticism nor selfish overindulgence were beneficial.
But this carries over into other aspects of life. All the extremes are to be avoided, including that which you might have a hard-to-shake preference for. (avoided for our own sake, by the way, not some dogmatic governance over people by a god or elite ruling caste; karma is free will and judgement in one)
Grasping is the concept of having something good, and, since nothing is unchanging, that good thing invariably slips away so you get further and further into depression and loss. This isn't to say that good causes bad and bad causes good. The causality is in the craving (or the opposite, aversion). It is our ill-chosen actions that lead us to
good to bad. Good and bad are not things but are our ignorant determinations put upon phenomena. We constantly project these determinations onto the phenomena before us and, when those phenomena change (as all must), suffering arises from our having to then change our determination or the very fact that we have to react at all repulses us.
We can appreciate goodness (and strive for it's proliferation or maintenance) as Buddhists but we know it is impermanent, which ought to instill a profound sense of appreciation for that beauty precisely for its tenuous existence.
The hope-pushers in the Christian faith are doing humanity a disservice by denying the see-saw-like back and forth sway life has, cyclicly going from good to bad to good to bad...(more accurately us constantly applying labels amongst all the other humans doing the same and the myriad interactions that causes). Our reactions to this ebb and flow can be to resist (and be overwhelmed), swim with the flow (in which case you are only just going to hit the returning waves all the harder and sooner) or just let go and ride with it (stop living in a flawed-concept-based world) in which much of the panic and chaos seems diminished by your relative tranquility.
Letting go doesn't mean drowning. Tread calmly and keep your head up. We do have to go about in our daily world and live in modern times but none of it has any intrinsic reality. it isn't a denial of reality, it is a stripping away of the mental conceptions-that-are-not-the-things-themslves. Including the things conventionally deemed "good", not just the bad things.
But the way isn't good or bad, it is the illumination that we are sillily applying such immutable nonexistent properties as "good" or "bad" to objects-that-are-not-objects. We try to make permanent the constantly changing. It is insanity. Everything is subject to change and hence decay or destruction or un-creation. Everything is interrelated.
That Milarepa piece is a beautiful rejection of duality/binary thinking that you would do well to re-read and try to take to heart.