2012/03/06 – 2012 & the Fraud of Buddha’s “Enlightenment”

Meh. He meant well.

“Well, this has been an interesting site. Thanks for helping me find some sanity in some of the rather bullcrappish stuff I have followed over the past decade. I know I have bought and read all of the books mentioned of all of the authors so far and I am broke, unemployed, ready to lose my home, so you figure, who is enlightened by all of this?” – kkorth

Indeed, all the Eckhart Tolle’s and the Neal David Walsch’s of the world pump out their discredited New Age spirituality fictions while passing them off as “truths” and selling them for big bucks to people like you and me, who knew something is terribly wrong with the world and was forever looking for a way to deal with it. As we both have learned, kkorth, reading and applying these principles peddled by the New Age community doesn’t work. It may work for the 1% who write, market and sell this fluffy flowerhat metaphysics, but for the other 99% all we get is a lump of coal in our stocking.

There’s a very good reason it all works this way. We all have been led astray by the assumptions made by philosophers, theologians and spiritualists that there is something “out there” that 1) has our best interests at heart and 2) gives meaning to our suffering. Human suffering is the out-flowing of the singular human condition of necessity. Nobody would ever survive infancy without the aid from others. This condition of needing/requiring aid from others can only come from the network of relationships that are formed by all things in this world. Thus everything that necessity demands is Here. On Earth. The “Power of Now” has nothing to do with anything essential to anything as it is only a refurbished, retooled religious philosophical abstraction created by people like Tolle in the guise of offering a “truth,” who probably mean well, but as we have seen, this doesn’t give anyone any lasting benefit at all.

“Enlightenment” is a fraud. It is a deception that assumes to know and understand more than it can. Enlightenment doesn’t fail because you’ve applied it incorrectly, or because you are not worthy of it. People throughout the ages have sought it and it and only a few have dared to claim that they have attained it. It would be one thing if Enlightenment actually changed the world for the better for all of us. We can easily see that is not the case.

For example, “enlightenment” has long been associated with the doctrines and legends of the Buddha. The fundamental core of the doctrines of the Buddha is the claim that provides an understanding and methodology that allows a person to end “suffering.” But for the Buddha, this cessation of suffering had been personal and it had to include a denial of the physical Here-ness while insisting that there was mental realm of inner peace that transcended suffering (and hence, necessity). This is the fatal flaw of all metaphysics, Eastern and Western. For it is within the relationship-networks of humanity, poisoned by self-interest and the seeking of overpowering others that are the causes of suffering. There is no need for any reaching out to the metaphysical. The solutions are all here on Earth, not locked away in some inaccessible region of consciousness but within understanding who we are and choosing how we are going to relate with ourselves and each other. Yes, the Buddha was correct in a sense that desires and cravings are instrumental in the suffering of human beings, but that arises not because existence is suffering, but because have not learned from what we have all seen, accepted and allowed within ourselves that is reflected in out in the world. Buddha missed the Equality Equation, the universal point that is the key to appropriate self-government and democracy. The application of universal equality alone will end human suffering. People will call this “communism” and “utopia,” but these people have not lost everything yet. Only those with nothing to lose will consider the elegant proposition of political and economic equality. And one doesn’t need ‘the Power of Now” or a Buddha to get there.

 

 

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8 thoughts on “2012/03/06 – 2012 & the Fraud of Buddha’s “Enlightenment”

  1. ““Enlightenment” is a fraud. It is a deception that assumes to know and understand more than it can. Enlightenment doesn’t fail because you’ve applied it incorrectly, or because you are not worthy of it. People throughout the ages have sought it and it and only a few have dared to claim that they have attained it. It would be one thing if Enlightenment actually changed the world for the better for all of us. We can easily see that is not the case.”

    Enlightenment is a personal journey. No two people have the same path to it. And as far as it not changing the world, that’s beyond ridiculous. Those who strive for deeper compassion and kindness (to their fellow humans), as a path to Enlightenment, do great things because of their compassion and kindness. Sneering at individuals who aim for deeper understanding of their fellow human, deeper compassion for all peoples, and greater personal-outward kindness is not praiseworthy or intellectual by any measure. It makes me sad to know you do not see how you are right on the core issue, but wrong on the examples, as you demonstrate here:

    “The solutions are all here on Earth, not locked away in some inaccessible region of consciousness but within understanding who we are and choosing how we are going to relate with ourselves and each other.”

    That IS essentially the concept expressed by the whole of the Dharma (and it is put so eloquently by you). Why are you arguing against Buddha when you express ideas that are virtually identical to the Dharma? You may want to read more about the current Dalai Lama’s life story, he’s had a much better set of translators than those of antiquity, and uses almost the same language you use here. That our compassion is derived from our sameness, and how we see each other. That we have all the tools we need here in this life to further understand one another if we choose to use them.

    1. You say enlightenment is a “personal journey.” I have to challenge that assertion. Have you gained enlightenment? Do you know someone who has? How would one even verify that someone, or anybody, including Buddha achieved it? All we have are stories of individuals gaining it, but as they say, the proof is in the pudding, and there’s no proof that anything like “enlightenment” or “karma” or “the wheel of reincarnation” exists the way the Buddhists say it does.

      If people as a whole strove to gain a “deeper understanding of their fellow human, deeper compassion for all peoples, and greater personal-outward kindness” through the application of Buddhist principles and that resulted in a far more sane and rational world, then that would be an entirely different thing. But the Buddha attached a spurious metaphysical component that ended up creating a void where self and the material world is negated. I understand that in principle the Buddhist is to follow the Middle Path, but metaphysical fence-sitting has not brought about a better world for everyone.

      Buddha’s starting point within attaining enlightenment has been so ineffective in dealing with the world because the criterion, the foundation, is suspect. Instead of establishing an world based on egalitarian terms, the focus was placed on eliminating anguish and suffering, which are not causes, but the effects or symptoms of the poisonous relationships between people. Did Buddha, as a member of the royalty, denounce or taught that such a social order was beneficial or detrimental to proper relationships within the world? I doubt that he did. Instead, the Buddha focused on meditation and mental stratagems in removing self from the world, which he considered an illusion, anyway. Look at India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, Thailand; all the countries that have followed Buddhism to one extent or another. The people who live there have been catching hell for a long time. Karma must be something that is defective, because it allegedly is supposed to equalize the human experience towards good and proper ethical relationships. Yet unspeakable poverty, injustice and exploitation exists in conditions that are worse than ever. How would the Buddha explain that?

      I do not “sneer” at people who are interested in making this world a better place for everyone – such a goal is what I’ve always been about. People like myself have been diverted and mislead by religious, spiritual and metaphysical principles that have proven to be ineffective, dubious and actually harmful to our cause. Following religious principles and chasing after gurus and special Ascended Masters has made us into dumbasses that has allowed the elites to be able to run slipshod over us for so long. You don’t see them worrying about samsara or dharma, do you? Their lineage continues and continues as if karma only rewarded their efforts to dominate, exploit and destroy.

      It takes action to change the world, not sitting on your ass under a bodhi tree until you are an ass-ending master so you can teach others how to ass-end.into their minds. I mean, it just hasn’t worked.

      1. “Have you gained enlightenment? Do you know someone who has? How would one even verify that someone, or anybody, including Buddha achieved it?”

        Your first question is like asking if I have ever been in love. Sure, I think I have.

        Your second question, when taken with the metaphor of love also, yes, I think I have.

        As with love, how would one verify that someone is in Enlightened? That question of, “Am I enlightened?” is only answerable by you and for you. It’s not independently verifiable outside the perspective of the individual (IMHO). Buddha’s claim was only a claim to himself, I mean, if you understand his story of “his” enlightenment, he never claimed to know the path for everyone… only the path for himself. At least, that’s what I took from my studies of Siddhartha.

        “All we have are stories of individuals gaining it, but as they say, the proof is in the pudding, and there’s no proof that anything like “enlightenment” or “karma” or “the wheel of reincarnation” exists the way the Buddhists say it does.”

        Yes, each individual understands enlightenment differently. Like I said, love is a great metaphor/allegory for enlightenment. Can you prove love exists? can you define love in a universal manner (eg. provide proof of it). Karma and the great wheel are trappings from Hinduism, and as I understand it, many of those trappings are irrelevant to (or not used/necessary in) modern Buddhism (namely Zen).

        “If people as a whole strove to gain a “deeper understanding of their fellow human, deeper compassion for all peoples, and greater personal-outward kindness” through the application of Buddhist principles and that resulted in a far more sane and rational world, then that would be an entirely different thing”

        … “The solutions are all here on Earth, not locked away in some inaccessible region of consciousness but within understanding who we are and choosing how we are going to relate with ourselves and each other.”

        That’s precisely what you’re advocating. Unfortunately, the ability to relate does come from contemplation and understanding. There’s a direct connection there that I think you’re dismissing or assuming is inherently obvious to everyone with a pulse and their sanity. It’s not. Some people do require time spent in deep thought, using their mind in ways they didn’t previously (consciously) know about. I think that’s the objective of meditation for many people.

        ” Instead of establishing a [sic] world based on egalitarian terms, the focus was placed on eliminating anguish and suffering, which are not causes, but the effects or symptoms of the poisonous relationships between people.”

        I feel you need to spend some time listening to/reading the what the Dalai Lama has to say about compassion: http://www.dalailama.com/messages/compassion

        You have some strange notions of the means/objective of Buddhism, and I do wonder how you formed them.

        “Did Buddha, as a member of the royalty, denounce or taught that such a social order was beneficial or detrimental to proper relationships within the world?”

        You need to read “Siddhartha”, and understand that yes, he did. He did so through direct action. He left the rich, lavish palace life and gave up his property, title, caste, wife and son.

        “Following religious principles and chasing after gurus and special Ascended Masters has made us into dumbasses that has allowed the elites to be able to run slipshod over us for so long. ”

        I agree, but the Buddha would want you to follow your own path. In modern terms, he’d be saying something like, “Do your thing man, just be nice to others about it.” There’s actually a saying about this very thing, “When you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” It’s a way of expressing… “If you believe that you have a correct image of what it means to be Enlightened, then you need to throw out (kill) that image and keep meditating.” A zen master, Linji, expressed that powerful idea years ago and I find it to be helpful in understanding that the Buddha doesn’t guide me, but I guide myself. I think you’re rejecting that kind of empowering self-understanding simply because you haven’t heard of it yet.

        “It takes action to change the world, not sitting on your ass under a bodhi tree until you are an ass-ending master so you can teach others how to ass-end.”

        You’re right, and the fact that you do not like the Buddha’s actions, sitting under the tree, means you have killed him. Congratulations, you have taken a step on your unique path to enlightenment, my friend.

        I really think you have some severe misconceptions about the way Buddhism operates between practitioners, followers and monks… and their respective groups (Theravada, Vajrayana, Mahayana and Zen/Chan/Son[they are quite similar]). It’s nothing like Christianity, where someone pontificates from a perspective of authority on scripture, though there are scholars and they consider others laypeople. It’s nothing like Islam, where there is an imam who leads prayer, but there are masters who can attempt to convey ideas and wisdom (but they aren’t really “guiding” you, you’re guiding yourself with ideas you accept or reject based on your own understandings). It’s more mentoring than religious leadership. I think of it like programming (honestly). I love Ruby (master #1’s ideas), but I can also learn a lot from Javascript and Perl (master #3 and #4’s ideas).

        Last thing… Chan/Son/Zen is very egalitarian… you’d be surprised how much if you wanted to find out.

  2. It may indeed seem to you that I have some “misconceptions” about Buddhism. But it could also be that Buddhism, just like all metaphysical structures, are subject to the same internal flaws that make their claims dubious and unintelligible. The flaw is that the best you or any other meta-physician can do is tell me a story, and yet you cannot communicate it coherently.

    All we have to do is look at your assertion that the question of who is enlightened depends solely on the individual making such a claim.

    You are already lost at sea because according to your own criterion, enlightenment can only be experienced internally and is incoherent and unintelligible to others. {We do agree on this point).

    Guru: “Oh, I have attained enlightenment!”
    Skeptic: Oh really? How can you tell?
    Guru: “Well, I can’t really explain it to you, because everyone experiences enlightenment differently.”
    Skeptic: Oh really? And how do you know that everyone experiences enlightenment differently when you can’t explain your own?
    Guru: “JUST BECAUSE!!! ALRIGHT??”
    Skeptic: Um, no.

    And then you say:

    “Buddha’s claim was only a claim to himself, I mean, if you understand his story of “his” enlightenment, he never claimed to know the path for everyone… only the path for himself.”

    Sounds to me like the Buddha’s prime directive was to escape the bounds of EARTH and its attendant suffering and unpleasantness. Wasn’t that his starting point, his motivation for his spiritual quest? And another thing, didn’t Buddha have a retinue of followers, sycophants and disciples who hung on his every word and followed him everywhere? He absolutely did endeavor to teach others “his way” by being “islands unto yourselves, be ye a refuge unto yourselves, seek not for refuge in others.” (Maybe this is one reason why Buddhism became extinct in India, the land of its birth).

    This, if it means anything, can only mean that the Buddha advocated a specific program of social separation – which ultimately leads to social irrelevance. This is one reason why Buddhism has proven itself unable to assert itself as a moral force in the world and why its practitioners have failed to create a better world for all How can a Buddhist become politically or economically involved with the system when the Master has commanded you to separate yourself from others? And yet, how was it so that Buddha’s followers construed his words into a major world religion? According to many of the commonly-understood principles of Buddhism, it shouldn’t even EXIST as a world religion, and yet it does. Curious.. (I understand more about Buddhism than you imagine, sir).

    And I have read the story of Siddhartha and about his alleged royal pedigree. And yes, I already understood that Buddha renounced all that. But he could have done more. He could have renounced the very idea of slavery, royalty and caste were invalid and how such things cause separation and exploitation.

    Slaves, according to Vinaya, the Buddhist monastic code, could not become monks. Slaves could however be given as “gifts” to the monastery, and the monks were prohibited by their own code to set them free or interfere within the accepted social practices of the time.

    But the Buddha and those who followed him couldn’t have cared less about the social stratification and basic inequalities that allowed them the freedom to luxuriate under the Buddha’s wise words.They instead chose to create a very complex (and thus typical) metaphysical schemata that nobody could ever really live up to.

    “… the fact that you do not like the Buddha’s actions, sitting under the tree, means you have killed him. Congratulations, you have taken a step on your unique path to enlightenment, my friend.”

    Please. You have proven that Enlightenment is a trick and you’ve admitted that you can’t be certain that you or anyone else you know has ever experienced it. Enlightenment has no more reality than “Nirvana” or flying unicorns and sugarplum fairies.

    But you are right about one thing. Religions like Buddhism is indeed like “programming.” It is the most successful form of brainwashing ever devised by humans. Once you’ve accepted the premises, foundations and the perspectives of the gurus, it all makes complete sense. But ask yourself, what is the foundation? What is the starting point? Is it what’s in it for me, or what’s in it for every thing that is here? And since the Buddha chose enlightened self-interest first, he failed to consider what would be the best for everyone. Religions cannot get you to that place of open consideration. You have to include a bunch of crap like beliefs in things you can’t see, verify or understand. Religion needs to go away. It was born out of superstitions and misunderstandings. Nobody believes that Zeus and Thor are the reasons why lightning strikes anymore, so why would we believe that it is possible to exist after death within a certain state of eternal bliss? Who has come back with proof that this is so? And if it were so, how is it relevant to anything happening here on Earth? Why hasn’t “karma” – if it exists the way the metaphysicians claim it does – equalized the experiences of people here on Earth?

  3. A fanatic person is talking about karma and religion .
    All religion leads to God u can’t see whats happening in the world.
    What goes around comes all the way back around .

    1. All religions lead to stories “about” God. We created the stories. We made them up for a variety of reasons. All you’ve done is tell another story about what you want to be “true.” It’s great you made an unverifiable belief true for yourself, but stories about God have caused nothing but trouble in the world. Have you noticed that?

  4. I get what you’re going for, there is corruption in all things that condition a belief mentality, and even buddhism has been victim of this. The fundamentals of what “Buddha” shared/taught remain unchanged:

    Honesty vs Deceit
    Compassion vs Hatred
    Selflessness vs Greed

    Siddhartha was clear in his message about the illusion that would also shroud “buddhism.” This was unique. Most do not fully realize the depth of the illusion. Namu Amida Butsu had a pure message as well. You’d be surprised how often these two synchronistically cross my path.

    What you’re really saying in regards to enlightenment, there is a misunderstanding upon the word. In that way, it can be dangerous. It is one of those words, like “God”, and all the other religious words, that can be used to trick and deceive, aka create… illusion.**

    Do you see? We could say enlightenment is simply being aware of the illusion in all things. This parallels over to the pre-columbian america to the native americans. They also saw through the illusion just by way of their mysticism, shamanism. It is the same application of mentality that they share. Interesting indeed.

    You’re right, enlightenment is being used by people to trick people into chasing it. I’ve seen it happen in the flesh. Diamond Mountain University, Geshe Michael Roach and Christie McNally. There’s dirt to be found there, and it’s exactly what you’re talking about, how enlightenment is used to profit off of people, as well as lead people down a relatively false spiritual/mental path.

    One of them, to his death.

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