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InvisibledeCypher
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The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism * 1
    #15227975 - 10/15/11 02:31 AM (9 years, 1 month ago)

I recently stumbled across this excerpt in the book Lords of the Left-Hand Path by Stephen Flowers, Ph.D, and was surprised to learn that Buddhism itself has a left-hand path tradition.  Is such a philosophical doctrine completely contrary to the principle of no-self, or is such a belief system workable in a way free from contradiction?  Thoughts?

+ = ?


The Left-hand Path in Buddhism

In Buddhism the position of the left-hand path is more philosophically paradoxical, but in fact and practice it is perhaps no less prevalent than in Hinduism.  The reason the Buddhist left-hand path is paradoxical is that the very foundation of Buddhism lies on the basis that there is no individual self--that such a concept is only an illusion created by the mind.  The Hindu holds that the self does exist, as do the gods and goddesses.  The Buddhists' original denial of these assertions, as well as their rejection of the ultimate validity of the Vedas, are the main reasons they were themselves rejected as heretics in India.  Originally Buddhism was not so much a religion as it was a technique or method of "enlightenment," or the realization of the nirvanic state.  Historically many elements have accrued to the Buddhist method as it adapted itself to local cults and social conditions throughout Asia.

The historical Siddhartha Gautama, called the Buddha ("Awakened One"), died in 544 BCE.  He was an Indian (Aryan) prince of a Ksatriya (warrior) tribe paradoxically using a Brahmanic clan name--Gautama, "descendant of the sage Gotama."  Siddharta established a radical teaching for gaining enlightenment.  This teaching is based on the so-called Four Noble Truths: 1) life is inherently full of suffering (Pali dukka), 2) that suffering is due to craving (Pali tanha), 3) suffering can be stopped by "eradication of craving" (Pali nibbana, Skt. nirvana), 4) "eradication of craving" can be achieved by following the Noble Eightfold Path (Pali ariya).  This Eightfold Path consists of: 1) right understanding, 2) right thinking, 3) right speech, 4) right action, 5) right livelihood, 6) right effort, 7) right mindfulness (contemplation), 8) right meditation (one pointedness of mind).  By following the Eightfold Path the practitioner will gain the awakened state of Buddha-hood.

Buddhism at this level is a highly developed and sophisticated doctrine which epitomizes the right-hand path.  The root of this can be easily understood by analyzing the first of the Four Noble Truths.  In a chain of causation, sorrow is equated with ignorance, ignorance causes imagination, imagination causes consciousness of self, which causes embodied existence, which gives rise to the senses, which cause perception.  Perceptions cause emotion, emotion causes craving (tanha), craving causes attachment (to the things craved), attachment leads to becoming, which leads to rebirth--the principal phenomenon equated with "suffering" in both Hindu and Buddhist traditions.  The ignorance which started the whole chain in motion is equated with an ignorance of the nature of the universe, that it is full of sorrow (dukka), instability or becoming (anicca), and "lack of self" (anatta).  If Buddhists had remained true to those fundamental philosophical stances and practices, there could be no talk of a Buddhist left-hand path.

The most "orthodox"--or simplest--school of Buddhism has come to be referred to as Theravada ("teaching of the elders"), and is strongest in southern Buddhism in Sri Lanka and southeastern Asia.  But beginning around the 1st-2nd centuries CE learned monks began to develop a more esoteric tradition which came to be known as the mahayana ("greater vehicle").  In this context Theravada is often referred to as the hinayana ("lesser vehicle").  Mahayana eventually came to dominate in the north, in TIbet, China and japan.  The orthodox view is that each person is fully responsible for his own enlightenment and that the realm of bliss, nirvana, is fully separate from the realm of ilusion, or maya (the phenomenal world).

There was a tendency in mahayana to bridge the gap of absolute separateness between nirvana and maya.  One way was found in the doctrine of the boddhisattva, "one bound for awakening."  A boddhisattva was a near perfected being who could effect the enlightenment or development of less awakened people through a kind of magical intervention from his ascended state.  (This doctrine, as found in Tibetan Buddhism, is apparently the main source for later ideas of "unknown superiors," "secret chiefs," and mahatmas found in certain Masonic, quasi-masonic and Theosophical schools in the west.)

Philosophically a certain school within the mahayana (called madhyamika) claimed that in fact there was no difference between maya and nirvana--both were equally void (sunyata) or alternately that the phenomenal world (maya) exists only in the mind of the perceiver.

These ideas might remind the reader of the "sense data" theories of the British philosophers George Berkeley (1685-1753) and David Hume (1711-1776), whose application of empiricism led them to conclude that we can only know the subjective contents of our minds as fed by impressions made upon them by the senses.  The "reality" of the world outside our minds is uncertain.  Already in ancient times the epistemologies of Hinduism and Buddhism had passed through the radical stages of subjective observation that would only be possible in the west after the demise of the intellectual hegemony of Christianity.

The most striking development within the mahayana is the emergence of the vajrayana ("thunderbolt or diamond vehicle"), especially prevalent in Tibet.  Philosophically, the vajrayana is virtually synonymous with Tibetan Buddhist tantrism.  Thus, if maya = nirvana then indulgence in the phenomenal world can lead to the world of bliss.  Maya is used to attain nirvana.  In practical terms this opens the way to antinomianism.  "Profane" things are made "pure" as an exercise of the mind.  Vajrayana is heavily influenced on a philosophical and practical level by Indian (Hindu) tantrism, indigenous Tibet religion (Bön), and central Asian shamanism.  Again in an antinomian spirit the over-culture absorbs techniques from the under-culture.

In Buddhism, as in Hinduism, the left-hand path ends not in the absorption or annihilation of individuality in moksha or nirvana but in a perpetuation of that individuality on a more permanent plane of existence.  Within Buddhist terminology, the practitioner of the left-hand path aims to attain only to the boddhisattvic state--and to remain there as a deity--"angelic" or "demonic."  The final annihilation is resisted.

Of course, when we look at the original Buddhist teachings, such aims are theoretically antithetical to the very premise of Buddhism.  But in the history of religious ideas such contradictions often arise.  Who would think, for example, that the teachings of the Nazarene, as reported in the Gospels, could be used to support such institutions as the Crusades and the Inquisition?  So it is not surprising that Buddhism would develop within itself patterns out of synch with the founder's original intentions.  Over the 1500 years following Gautama's death Buddhism spread from India in a largely peaceful way throughout the cultures of southeastern Asia, China, Tibet, Mongolia and Japan.  With this kind of cultural diversity as its matrix, it is certainly no wonder that teachings at odds with those of the founder took root in the religious soil called Buddhism.

Left-hand path tantrism seems to have had various epicenters of development in the Buddhist world.  Principal among these were Tibet and Bengal (present-day Bangladesh).  In this latter region Buddhism was eventually driven out by Muslim conquest starting about 1200 CE, and from there it sprad to Java and up to Nepal.



Methods of Left-Hand Path Buddhism:

One of the chief aspects of left-hand path Buddhism is its positive attitude toward sexuality.  The left-hand path Buddhist accepts certain Shakta ideas that the creative energy or "potency" of a deity, angel, demon, or boddhisattva is personified as his wife or consort.  In the left-hand path Buddhist tantra the shaktis, or female aspects of supermundane entities, are worshipped as lovers.  The buddhist tantrik seeks sexual union with these shaktis in order to draw on their power and to use the power gained from such unions for further spiritual development.  Another chief feature of left-hand path tantric Buddhism is the utilization not only of "deities" or "angels," i.e. entities considered generally beneficent, but also of "demons" and their consorts.  The god Bhairava ("the Terrible") is worshipped, and elaborate rites are performed in burial grounds.  Also, sexual intercourse and other activities considered immoral by the general population are utilized as practices which lead to spiritual development or salvation.(65)

The Buddhist left-hand path tantrism holds that the passions and desires which the right-hand path seeks either to annihilate or sublimate can be utilized in their direct unsublimated forms as vehicles for "awakening."

Evans-Wentz cites the following technical instructions from the Tibetan Buddhist text called the "Epitome of the Great Symbol" (87-88):

Quote:

87. Whatever thoughts, or concepts, or obscuring [or disturbing] passions arise are neither to be abandoned nor allowed to control one; they are to be allowed to arise without one's trying to direct [or shape] them.  If one do no more than merely to recognize them as soon as they arise, and persists in so doing, they will come to be realized [or to dawn] in their true [or void] form through not being abandoned.

88. By that method, all things which may seem to be obstacles to spiritual growth can be made use of as aids on the Path.  And therefore, the method is called "The utilizing of obstacles as aids on the Path."(66)




Left-hand path Buddhism, like so many other expressions of the left-hand path in the world, eschews institutional forms and socially acceptable norms.  It tends more in the direction of individualized expression and socially unacceptable behaviors.

In actual sexual practice the male Buddhist left-hand path tantric is more likely to retain his seminal fluid totally, or having ejaculated it, to reingest it in its entirety orally.  The retention of seed (Skt. bija) is tantamount to retaining power and vitality--both physical and mental.  Also, it seems although there might be a generally more spiritually positive attitude toward sexuality and womankind in Buddhist left-hand path tantrism, there is still the fear that women, and especially female demonic entities, can vampirize men of their vital spiritual powers.(67)

In philosophical terms, the Buddhist left-hand path concentrates more on a subjective--intrapsychic--process.  The Buddhist view would be that such polarities as implied by the male/female dichotomy (or that of the right-hand/left-hand path) are illusory creations of the mind of the individual.  Practices are engaged in to demonstrate this illusory aspect.  The Buddhist left-hand path practitioner will tend to create his own subjective internally complete and closed system, whereas the Hindu left-hand path practitioner will tend to acknowledge as real the objective existence of the Goddess (Shakti).

Practitioners who hold that the realm of the five senses is purely a construct of the mind and in reality the product of illusion (may) may often rely on what appears to non-initiates to be chicanery and tricks involving slight of hand.  If the world we see before us is an illusion, then the magician is pointing this out to us not by means of philosophical discourse, but by means of a direct attack on those senses and the ways they (mis-)inform the mind.  Thus, what may at first glance appear to be an attempt at deception or trickery is in fact conceived of as the most direct method of teaching about the central fact (from a Buddhist perspective) that the world is a creation of the mind-- a much more entertaining approach to the problems addressed by Plato's "Myth of the Cave."(68)

Because of the long-standing and continuing proliferation of doctrines and sects within both Hindu and Buddhist tantra/shakta no unifying or definitve summary of either what they believe or practice, or final conclusion on what distinguishes them, can be reached with certainty.  It only seems certain that the desire for continued--if continually transformed--individuality, and lack-of-annihilation, are universal (even if often obscured in actual texts of the left-hand path Tantras).

The influence of the left-hand path as practiced by philosophies based on Indian-derived systems--both Hindu and Buddhist--on the modern western forms of the left-hand path has been enormous.  Historically, it would seem that this influence came in at least two great waves.  The first came perhaps with the opening of cultural channels between "east" and "west" occasioned by the conquests of Alexander (d. 323 BCE).  Following this time ther was a flood of ideas from the "east" (India and Iran) which formed and reformed sects in the Mediterranean region.  These in turn exercised a secondary influence on India with Christian missions (often gnostic in character) beginning in the first century CE.(69) The second wave of influence from the eastern left-hand path is better documented.  In essence it came originally as a result of another "conquest" from the west--the extension of the British Empire into India (beginning in the 18th century).  As the west was again increasingly exposed to ideas stemming from India and Tibet eventually this filtered down to a more popular level of culture where it emerged in forms such as the Theosophical Society (founded 1875) and the Ordo Templiu Orientis (founded 1896 or 1904).  In both instances, ... doctrines of left-hand path Hinduism and Buddhism played significant roles.

The forms of sexual magic taught by Aleister Crowley and his followers as well as the antinomian chicanery practiced by Anton LaVey have analogs in the left-hand path practices of India.



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InvisibleIcelander
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Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: deCypher]
    #15228387 - 10/15/11 07:51 AM (9 years, 1 month ago)

Of course, when we look at the original Buddhist teachings, such aims are theoretically antithetical to the very premise of Buddhism.

I've been stressing this about Buddhist's and Buddhism for some time.  Original Buddhism is a psychology for psychological healing by addressing the core psychological issue in human suffering.  NEUROSIS.


The rest is a diversion from the goal which is very common in religion.


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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Invisiblec0sm0nautt
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Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: Icelander]
    #15228558 - 10/15/11 09:59 AM (9 years, 1 month ago)

I still don't see too much of a difference. I think the separation between LHP and RHP is more arbitrary and fluid than it is a fixed path. If the LHP is just the RHP with a little ego involved, then I would imagine the vast majority of spiritual seekers are far from the RHP.

I've also heard the left-hand path referred to as the path of knowledge, as opposed to the path of service and devotion. The latters aim to eliminate the notion of little self through focusing one's attention on others while the former seeks to attain wisdom through the intellect, which eventually caves on itself.

In actual sexual practice the male Buddhist left-hand path tantric is more likely to retain his seminal fluid totally, or having ejaculated it, to reingest it in its entirety orally.

:eek:


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Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: c0sm0nautt]
    #15228718 - 10/15/11 10:57 AM (9 years, 1 month ago)

I tried reading this and got up to the picture midway. I just couldnt stand it anymore -

what the hell is right handedness or left handedness got to do with it? I could search but I feel you ought to explain because its not a commonly used term in this context


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Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: c0sm0nautt]
    #15228789 - 10/15/11 11:16 AM (9 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

c0sm0nautt said:


In actual sexual practice the male Buddhist left-hand path tantric is more likely to retain his seminal fluid totally, or having ejaculated it, to reingest it in its entirety orally.

:eek:




Haha, I was like "oh this seems pretty cool" then I got to that part, and was like "okay, not for me."


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Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: c0sm0nautt]
    #15229704 - 10/15/11 04:20 PM (9 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

c0sm0nautt said:
I still don't see too much of a difference. I think the separation between LHP and RHP is more arbitrary and fluid than it is a fixed path.


Perhaps, but there are definitely clear differences that IMO would be difficult to navigate back and forth between without a great amount of confusion.  A true follower of the Right Hand Path adheres to a very strict ethical code, which the Left Hand Path denies as necessary or beneficial per se.  In Western Buddhism I notice extremes--IME people tend to gravitate toward strict, almost ascetic paths, probably often as a result of prior religious conditioning of self-denial; or they tend to take the Dharmic teachings as loosely as they can be taken, incorporating the larger worldview without the personal ethics and regular practice which support it.

One could certainly move back and forth between these perspectives, but how beneficial that would be is questionable.  Good examples of spiritual people who would seem to have at some point embodied both extremes are Bhagavan Dass and Chogyam Trungpa.

As to the question of a how a Left Hand Path could exist in a philosophy with a no-self doctrine: I've seen Markos the Gnostic explain it very well.  The Buddha expounded the doctrine of Anatman to avoid a confusion that was then present in Hinduism.  The confusion was practitioners mistaken the Ego, the small self, with the Atman, the True Self.  Thus Buddha simplified, negating all selfhood in order for practitioners to work diligently toward discovering the true nature of things.


--------------------
“Strengthened by contemplation and study,
I will not fear my passions like a coward.
My body I will give to pleasures,
to diversions that I’ve dreamed of,
to the most daring erotic desires,
to the lustful impulses of my blood, without
any fear at all, for whenever I will—
and I will have the will, strengthened
as I’ll be with contemplation and study—
at the crucial moments I’ll recover
my spirit as was before: ascetic.”


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InvisibledeCypher
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Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: domite]
    #15230617 - 10/15/11 08:20 PM (9 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

c0sm0nautt said:
I still don't see too much of a difference. I think the separation between LHP and RHP is more arbitrary and fluid than it is a fixed path. If the LHP is just the RHP with a little ego involved, then I would imagine the vast majority of spiritual seekers are far from the RHP.




Quote:

Noteworthy said:
what the hell is right handedness or left handedness got to do with it?




Here's how the book that this excerpt was taken from defines the distinction:

Quote:

The central question now becomes what is the way in which this conscious, free soul is going to relate to, or seek to interact with, the objective universe or the universe as a whole.  The right-hand path answers this question simply by saying that the subjective universe must harmonize itself with the laws of the objective universe--be that envisioned as God or nature.  Humanity is to seek knowledge of the law, and then apply itself to submitting to that law in order to gain ultimate union with the objective universe, with God, or nature.  The right-hand path is the path of union with universal reality (God or Nature).  When this union is completed the individual self will be annihilated, the individual will become one with the divine or natural cosmic order.  In this state the ego is destroyed as "heaven" is entered or a nirvanic existence/non-existence is "attained."  This is clearly the goal of all orthodox Judaic/Christian/Islamic or Buddhistic sects.

The left-hand path considers the position of humanity as it is; it takes into account the manifest and deep-seated desire of each human being to be a free, empowered, independent actor within his or her world.  The pleasure and pain made possibly by independent existence are seen as something to be embraced and as the most reasonable signs of the highest, most noble destiny possible for humans to attain--a kind of independent existence on a level usually thought of as divine.

Just as most humans go through their natural, everyday lives seeking that which will give them maximal amounts of such things as knowledge, power, freedom, independence and distinction within their world, those who walk the left-hand path logically extend this to the non-natural realm.  They eschew right-hand path admonitions that such "spiritual behavior" is "evil" and that they should basically "get with the program" (of God, of Nature, etc.) and become good "company men."  The self awareness of independence is seen by many as the fundamental reality of the human condition--one can accept it and live, or reject it and die.  By accepting the internal, known reality of human consciousness an eternally dynamic--ever moving, ever changing--existence is embraced; by rejecting it and embracing an external, unknown reality of God/Nature, an eternally static--ever still and permanent--existence is accepted.  from a certain enlightened perspective, both paths are perfectly good, it is just a matter of the conscious exercise of the will to follow one of these paths in an aware state without self-delusion.

Essentially, the left-hand path is then the path of non-union with the objective universe.  It is the way of isolating consciousness within the subjective universe and, in a state of self-imposed psychic solitude, refining the soul or psyche to ever more perfect levels.  The objective universe is then made to harmonize itself with the will of the individual psyche instead of the other way around.  Where the right-hand path is theocentric (or certainly alleocentric--"other centered"), the left-hand path is psychecentric or soul/self-centered.  Those within the left-hand path may argue over the nature of this self/ego/soul, but that the individual is the epicenter of the path itself seems undisputed.  An eternal separation of the individual intelligence from the objective universe is sought in the left-hand path.  This amounts to an immortality of the independent self consciousness moving within the objective universe and interacting with it at will.

...

Within the Sanskrit terminology of the Indian sects, the right-hand path is that which seeks a union or merger between the jivatman, the individual self or soul and the paramatman, the supreme or universal soul.  The left-hand path seeks only to differentiate the jivatman, articulate, individuate, evolve and immortalize it--without ever consciously seeking to merge it permanently with anything else.(12)

One who has attained this union with the jivatman is said to be in a state of jivanmukti--or an individually liberated state.




Quote:

domite said:
Quote:

c0sm0nautt said:


In actual sexual practice the male Buddhist left-hand path tantric is more likely to retain his seminal fluid totally, or having ejaculated it, to reingest it in its entirety orally.

:eek:




Haha, I was like "oh this seems pretty cool" then I got to that part, and was like "okay, not for me."




:lol:  This is further elaborated in the book in a section on LHP sexual magick; the oral reingestion of semen is usually performed via cunnilingus on a woman after intercourse with her.


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InvisibledeCypher
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Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: Icelander]
    #15267279 - 10/23/11 05:55 PM (9 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

Lion said:
As to the question of a how a Left Hand Path could exist in a philosophy with a no-self doctrine: I've seen Markos the Gnostic explain it very well.  The Buddha expounded the doctrine of Anatman to avoid a confusion that was then present in Hinduism.  The confusion was practitioners mistaken the Ego, the small self, with the Atman, the True Self.  Thus Buddha simplified, negating all selfhood in order for practitioners to work diligently toward discovering the true nature of things.




Are you implying that Buddha believed that there is a self called the Atman?  I'd definitely be interested in having MarkostheGnostic chime in here.

Quote:

Icelander said:
Of course, when we look at the original Buddhist teachings, such aims are theoretically antithetical to the very premise of Buddhism.

I've been stressing this about Buddhist's and Buddhism for some time.  Original Buddhism is a psychology for psychological healing by addressing the core psychological issue in human suffering.  NEUROSIS.


The rest is a diversion from the goal which is very common in religion.




Do you believe original Buddhism to be the best general technique available to eliminate human suffering?


--------------------
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InvisibleIcelander
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Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: deCypher]
    #15267330 - 10/23/11 06:04 PM (9 years, 1 month ago)

If it's not it's pretty close.


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: deCypher]
    #15267331 - 10/23/11 06:04 PM (9 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

Are you implying that Buddha believed that there is a self called the Atman?  I'd definitely be interested in having MarkostheGnostic chime in here.


I suppose I am implying something along those lines.  It's definitely debatable.  Theologians have argued that Nirvana and Sat Chit Ananda are similar or identical states with different descriptors.  Remember, it was not Buddha's intention to found a new theology or metaphysical view; it was to clarify the confusion and eliminate the suffering that he perceived at that time in Hindu society.

There's a Sutra in which someone asks Buddha for a hint about Nirvana, and Buddha responds, "It is a state of bliss.  Yes, Nirvana is bliss."


--------------------
“Strengthened by contemplation and study,
I will not fear my passions like a coward.
My body I will give to pleasures,
to diversions that I’ve dreamed of,
to the most daring erotic desires,
to the lustful impulses of my blood, without
any fear at all, for whenever I will—
and I will have the will, strengthened
as I’ll be with contemplation and study—
at the crucial moments I’ll recover
my spirit as was before: ascetic.”


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Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: Icelander]
    #15267463 - 10/23/11 06:41 PM (9 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

Icelander said:
If it's not it's pretty close.




It's arrogant to assume any one system is anything IMO... considering different people have different demeanor and inclinations, etc.


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Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: c0sm0nautt]
    #15267708 - 10/23/11 09:17 PM (9 years, 1 month ago)

That's why I said it was close.  I figured it wouldn't work for you.  Just everyone else. :lol:


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: Icelander]
    #15267968 - 10/23/11 10:21 PM (9 years, 1 month ago)

I personally prefer my zen master to beat me with a stick. :bdsm:


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Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: c0sm0nautt]
    #15267988 - 10/23/11 10:26 PM (9 years, 1 month ago)

Very kinky Cosmo.


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: Icelander]
    #15268387 - 10/23/11 11:41 PM (9 years, 1 month ago)

:lol:

I always assumed left hand path buddhism to be where someone cherry picks what they work on to remove "the brakes" from their consciousness but still retain enough self to do whatever they feel like doing.  It seems more and more impossible to me for such a thing to work at least long term...but IMO it wouldn't take all that much work for a guy to become an awakened psychopath.


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Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: Cups]
    #15268465 - 10/23/11 11:57 PM (9 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

Cups said:
:lol:

I always assumed left hand path buddhism to be where someone cherry picks what they work on to remove "the brakes" from their consciousness but still retain enough self to do whatever they feel like doing.  It seems more and more impossible to me for such a thing to work at least long term...but IMO it wouldn't take all that much work for a guy to become an awakened psychopath.


Well, most Buddhists would consider awakening to primarily involve the union of Wisdom and Compassion, which would naturally preclude psychopathic behavior.  But there is some idea of a phenomenon, I forget from which school or what the exact term is, that is like a Dark Nirvana, a sort of knowledge without discipline that is detrimental and sets its recipient back considerably in her or his practice.

As to the cherry picking, I think everyone on a spiritual path does this to an extent, or almost everybody.  There is probably a good middle ground to be found and many probably never do.  Some go to the extreme of thinking that a rigid way of living and practicing will guarantee success, while others take a relaxed approach and find contentment (isn't that the name of the game, after all?) rather more easily.


--------------------
“Strengthened by contemplation and study,
I will not fear my passions like a coward.
My body I will give to pleasures,
to diversions that I’ve dreamed of,
to the most daring erotic desires,
to the lustful impulses of my blood, without
any fear at all, for whenever I will—
and I will have the will, strengthened
as I’ll be with contemplation and study—
at the crucial moments I’ll recover
my spirit as was before: ascetic.”


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InvisibleCups
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Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: Lion]
    #15268549 - 10/24/11 12:18 AM (9 years, 1 month ago)

Well what I had envisioned was someone seeing the emptiness of phenomena and then losing any and all inhibitions on behavior.  Why not right? 

As an aside I have heard an argument against the concept of Atman by a Buddhist guy on the grounds that is removes the need for morality.  If everything is one then no harm no foul. 

Anyway, this was my thinking a long time ago (OK Like a few months ago)...before I came to understand when you being to see the emptiness of phenomena all around you you simultaneously see it within your own mind.  So right around the time you start getting to a place where moral restraint falls away due to knowledge...that same knowledge tears at the drive to commit the acts. 

I know that's not written up very well, but it's a self-limiting system of sorts.  IME You can't have one without the other. :shrug:

I do, however, see ample opportunity for someone to go completely off the rails during this process.  Sure it's happened plenty of times.


--------------------
What's up everybody?!


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OfflineLion
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Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: Cups]
    #15268604 - 10/24/11 12:31 AM (9 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

As an aside I have heard an argument against the concept of Atman by a Buddhist guy on the grounds that is removes the need for morality.  If everything is one then no harm no foul.


I don't buy this.  First of all, if you are assuming that there is a need for morality, you are not seeing things as they are per se, you are seeing things as you think they should be.  Why not nvestigate for yourself whether there is a need for morality, instead of viewing things through the filter of an assumption?

Second, if one discovered that all is in fact non-dual, it would be the most absurd thing imaginable for that one to lash out against his/her/its various manifestations.


--------------------
“Strengthened by contemplation and study,
I will not fear my passions like a coward.
My body I will give to pleasures,
to diversions that I’ve dreamed of,
to the most daring erotic desires,
to the lustful impulses of my blood, without
any fear at all, for whenever I will—
and I will have the will, strengthened
as I’ll be with contemplation and study—
at the crucial moments I’ll recover
my spirit as was before: ascetic.”


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InvisibleCups
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Posts: 1,925
Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: Lion]
    #15268653 - 10/24/11 12:41 AM (9 years, 1 month ago)

It was his argument not mine.

But I can see his point.  I shut down thoughts all the time.  Really any different from killing someone in that scenario?  nothing is lost but an idea.


--------------------
What's up everybody?!


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OfflineKickleM
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Re: The Left-Hand Path in Buddhism [Re: Cups]
    #15268667 - 10/24/11 12:46 AM (9 years, 1 month ago)


Well what I had envisioned was someone seeing the emptiness of phenomena and then losing any and all inhibitions on behavior.  Why not right? 


Why not but also, why? It is definitely cherry picking to apply emptiness selectively and will never lead to realizing emptiness on anything more than an intellectual level IMO.


--------------------
Being unable to make what is just strong,
we have made what is strong just. -- Pascal

Why shouldn't the truth be stranger than fiction?
Fiction, after all, has to make sense. -- Mark Twain


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