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Questions from new member

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  • mythosboy2000
    Greetings. This is my first post. I m just beginning to learn about Buddhism and have a few questions that came up during my reading. Any help would be
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 7, 2008
      Greetings. This is my first post.

      I'm just beginning to learn about Buddhism and have a few questions
      that came up during my reading. Any help would be appreciated.

      1) It seems that Buddhism teaches there is no consciousness possible
      without a material mind. But I also read that one can reincarnate to a
      demi-god or god. Obviously a god or demi-god is not material, and
      also would have consciousness, no?

      2) Is it true buddhism teaches there is no soul? If so, what is it
      that reincarnates and what is it that eventually becomes buddah?

      3) Nirvanah is the ultimate state a buddhist seeks, correct? This can
      only be attained after breaking the death and rebirth chain, or can it
      be attained while alive? At death, in Nirvanah, how is it perieved
      basically (knowing it can't be completely explained). Is it a ceasing
      to have any consciousness, or an expanded consciousness. I heard one
      explain it as becoming the consciousness of God, or ALL. Any comments?

      4) Does the buddhist goal of stopping desire and passion have a side
      effect of making people stop striving for something? Aren't all
      inventions in the world that help people made because someone had a
      great passion and desire? Does it stop one from caring about advancing
      or trying to better one's life (ie: a desire to get educated, a
      desire to do well in a career, etc.)

      Thanks so much for your help!

      David
    • ken
      ... Hash: SHA1 David, Welcome to our group. To make my response more readable, I ll reply below in the context of your questions. ... Though I couldn t claim
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 8, 2008
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        David,

        Welcome to our group. To make my response more readable, I'll reply
        below in the context of your questions.

        On 08/07/2008 12:45 PM mythosboy2000 wrote:
        | Greetings. This is my first post.
        |
        | I'm just beginning to learn about Buddhism and have a few questions
        | that came up during my reading. Any help would be appreciated.
        |
        | 1) It seems that Buddhism teaches there is no consciousness possible
        | without a material mind. But I also read that one can reincarnate to a
        | demi-god or god. Obviously a god or demi-god is not material, and
        | also would have consciousness, no?

        Though I couldn't claim to have read everything, I've never read that
        Buddhism teaches that there is no consciousness without a material mind.
        ~ Perhaps you could cite the place where you read that...?


        |
        | 2) Is it true buddhism teaches there is no soul? If so, what is it
        | that reincarnates and what is it that eventually becomes buddah?

        In the little bit I've read on Buddhism (just a few books and several
        articles) there has been some, but not much mention of a soul. When I
        did read of it, I couldn't tell if the author was speaking of something
        different from the mind or consciousness. So what the soul is for
        Buddhism is still a question for me. Because there can be a lot of
        confusion about a translated term, I suppose we should (and would
        recommend we would) start with the Pali term for the soul, if this is
        different from mind/consciousness.


        |
        | 3) Nirvanah is the ultimate state a buddhist seeks, correct?

        It's difficult to say what each and every Buddhist's ultimate goal is.
        There are some, called "tulkus", who return to samsara with the
        intention to help others reach nirvana.


        | This can
        | only be attained after breaking the death and rebirth chain, or can it
        | be attained while alive?

        Just yesterday I read an article in which the authors said that there
        isn't a distinct line between being enlightened and being not
        enlightened, that even those who are enlightened are not at some point
        enlightened forever, but rather that our enlightenment is continually
        challenged by new events.


        | At death, in Nirvanah, how is it perieved
        | basically (knowing it can't be completely explained). Is it a ceasing
        | to have any consciousness, or an expanded consciousness. I heard one
        | explain it as becoming the consciousness of God, or ALL. Any comments?

        What I've read (and what makes sense to me) is that consciousness
        continues after death. What that consciousness experiences after death
        is discussed in "Good Life Good Death", "The Tibetan Book of Living and
        Dying", and certainly many other works.


        |
        | 4) Does the buddhist goal of stopping desire and passion have a side
        | effect of making people stop striving for something? Aren't all
        | inventions in the world that help people made because someone had a
        | great passion and desire? Does it stop one from caring about advancing
        | or trying to better one's life (ie: a desire to get educated, a
        | desire to do well in a career, etc.)

        Again, I can only speak from my own understanding. That said, stopping
        all desire and passion is-- but isn't-- to be desired. The desire to
        stop having desires is destined for defeat because it begins with what a
        person would be trying to avoid. Part of the problem is that we in
        Western cultures typically draw a sharp distinction between "active" and
        "passive" and this applies as well to desire and passion. There are
        nuances which our language (and perhaps our understanding as well) isn't
        capable of and which make the topic difficult to discuss adequately.


        |
        | Thanks so much for your help!
        |
        | David

        Sorry I can't answer better than that. I'm still a novice myself.

        - --
        Please note that I will be changing this email address soon. The PGP
        signature should ensure for everyone that, though the email address
        will be different, I will be the same person.

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