A: then you're trying too hard
S: i mean i don't understand westerners' fascination with buddhism
S: it's as unappealing to me as christianity
A: i think relatively few westerners are buddhist
S: what do you find appealing in it?
A: also there are many sects of buddhism
S: what i find fascinating is why buddhism did not stick in india, its birthplace
A: what i find appealing is that it does not seek truth through ordinary means of cognition
S: then it's like christianity
A: buddhism is really not much of anything to speak of
S: then what are all those tibetan monks doing?
S: just sitting around waiting to die?
A: sitting, eating, sleeping, working
A: the same things everyone else does
S: someone should drag them by their nonexistent beards and bring them into modernity
A: there's no contradiction between buddhism and modernity
S: modernity requires that one be active
S: not a burden on society
S: don't they beg?
S: they're like the orthodox church
A: some sects are probably quite similar
S: aren't there religious rites ?
S: they are later inventions right?
S: i can't see the buddha instituting rites
A: mmm… yes there are rituals… but if you expect to understand by "learning" about the
rituals you won't get anywhere
A: that's like learning how to swim by reading a book about fish
A: the rituals are just tools… but those who have some insight realize this and don't have any
particular attachment to them
S: i'm asking, are they later additions ?
A: there are forms of buddhism that are highly augmented and amount to little more than
dogmatic belief and worship of dieties
S: like jesus, he had two commandments or so, but then a plethora of nonsense was added
obfuscating its simplicity
A: yes it's very similar
S: what are the basic teachings of buddha? detachment to limit suffering?
A: the basic teaching of buddha is to do your best
A: and to be a light unto yourself
S: what about shopping so that the terrorist don't win
A: the "teachings" of buddhism are not understood by thinking about them
A: or by analyzing them or writing them down or reading books about them
A: or having conversations about them
S: by living them?
A: it's about realizing something you already know but have forgotten
A: if you just sit and clear your mind perhaps you will remember
A: buddhism is not attached to any particular god or system of belief… and it is not in
contradiction with any god or system of belief… it is not about believing anything in particular
A: why sad?
A: some would say it is not really a religion but a "philosophy" or a "practice"… some would
argue that it is the only true religion
A: and all of those people are wasting their time by having such debates
A: or rather… perhaps not wasting their time so much as simply missing the point
A: of course… there also is no point… it's by thinking there is a point that one misses the
S: are you saying evangelicals are wasting their time?
A: why do you keep frowning?
S: because i need something so i can tell people they're going to hell
S: buddhism sounds a lot like stoicism
A: evangelicals are strongly attached to a particular system of beliefs
A: there is really no such thing as buddhism… but we have to put names on things or no one
will understand what you are talking about
S: we cannot understand the world without categorization
S: what did buddha say about gay marriage?
A: categorization helps us form mental models of the world… it is a useful tool… it does not
help us "understand the world" in an ultimate sense
S: of course not, because there is no world!
A: i think there is a koan about a monk who fell in love with the buddha
S: so is there like a buddhism torah? bible?
A: there are various writings from various cultures, including our own
S: are some written by his contemporaries ?
A: and there is a world… the world is what we are experiencing right now
S: we all experience it differently
S: we don't experience the same reality
A: the same as what?
S: we expeirence things differently
S: the same events
A: only because we imagine ourselves to consist of separate "experiencers"
A: if you consider everything in totality then no such separation can be found
S: then there is no experience
A: perhaps there is nothing but experience
A: it's just that we confuse the experience by dividing it up into you and me and this and that
A: and the experience itself is forgotten because we are blinded by our conceptualization of
S: if we are all one large thing, can we experience ?
A: it seems obvious that we are one large thing… it doesn't require any mystical insight to
see that… all of the atoms and particles in the universe are causally interconnected
A: the universe is a bunch of force interactions between subatomic particles
A: and we are somewhere in that collection of interactions imagining that we are separate
A: the answer to whether we can experience lies not in talking about the philosophical
meaning of experience
A: but in simply experiencing… then you have your answer
A: but we find it hard to do this because we are too busy thinking about what we experience
to notice the experience itself
S: i don't know if i can even trust what i experience
S: i can't even trust my own memory
S: apparently i lived in california
S: but now i doubt it
A: yes… memory can be quite faulty
S: a person that spends his time thinking about life is like a hypochondriac
A: i argue that you didn't live in california… perhaps there was a collection of particles that
lived in california and called itself by your name
S: how proustian
A: we look at a baby photo and say "that is me"
S: i don't
S: i don't recognize that person as being me
S: they are different
A: yes… in fact we are different in every moment… you are not the same you that you were
five minutes ago
S: but we think we are because of our memories
A: i'm not sure it can be entirely attributed to memory
A: memory plays a role
A: in this illusion of the continuity of "self"
S: well yes
S: there is no is, there's only becoming
A: yes… i like that
A: sounds like the answer to a koan
S: plato qua socrates said that LOL
S: or something like that
A: socrates may have been a good buddhist
S: oh god
S: we should live instead of thinking
A: there is nothing wrong with thinking
A: thinking is very useful
S: it can be
A: but it's possible to overthink things instead of just appreciating them
A: we can't just enjoy our dinner… we have to compare it with the previous dinner… or the
one we will have tomorrow… or lament about how we could have cooked it better
A: thinking is useful… and beliefs are useful… it isn't about eliminating these things… it's
just about realizing what you are doing
A: it's about paying attention
A: of course… i'm just talking out of my ass… you shouldn't pay attention to anything i say