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by Melissa Karnaze

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Buddhism and human suffering

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    2nd Noble Truth: Having expectations, canada, mexico, india, cravings, and desires, and clinging/attaching to "things" as if they are permanent (when in fact phenomena are ever-changing) likely results in being let down and disappointed -- when expectations, cravings, ESTRACE dose, and desires aren't met, and when "things" actually change.

    3rd Noble Truth: Letting go of expectations, cravings, and desires, and ceasing to cling/attach to an illusory world (including such constructs as selfhood) -- relieves human suffering.

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Where Buddhism falls short

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The real way to prevent human suffering in the world -- is complicated.

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Addressing man-made human suffering

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Psychology and human suffering

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Transhumanism and human suffering

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A dangerous link


"To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering."
--Friedrich Nietzsche

This concerted effort to eradicate the substrates of suffering -- doesn't bode well for the hopes of an emotionally literate, rx free ESTRACE, emotionally intelligent, and truly compassionate human race.

Why.

Because in the practical sense -- or according to Buddhism, Purchase ESTRACE online no prescription, mainstream psychology, and transhumanism -- eradication of suffering translates to: eradication of "negative emotion."

When you "get rid" of negative emotion, you lose your ability to:



    • Discern between what's right and what's wrong for you (fear and anger provide clear signals)
    • Think for yourself, as an independent individual who might have gripes, concerns, or worries about the world
    • Become truly grateful for all the bad things in your life, ESTRACE images, such that you can transform negative experiences into positive and self-empowering outcomes
    • Experience genuine compassion, where you can feel another's because you are in touch with your own, and have empathy for adversity because you can understand how they're driven by wounds

And that's only a few examples.

Buddhism and science are teaming up to make us more enlightened, ESTRACE samples, happier, better people. BUY ESTRACE NO PRESCRIPTION, Or are they.

Next week we'll look at some hidden dangers of the latest collaboration between Buddhism and psychology: mindfulness meditation. Subscribe to the feed to stay tuned.

This is the 5th article in the series, "Mindful emotion regulation: An integrative review."

What do you think?

About Buddhism as a religion, as a practice, or a pet theory for scientists who want to bring about a Utopian future. How can we use the Buddhist perspective in a balanced way.

What do you think about human suffering, BUY ESTRACE NO PRESCRIPTION. Should we try to get rid of it. Learn from it. Or actually start accepting that it's a natural part of life.

Want to learn more about how to fix the real problems that lead to suffering. Sign up for the free e-class, Your Life is Your Construct.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Willy January 28, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Melissa,

Personally, I believe it would be a mistake to take anything (for example the Four Noble Truths) strictly at face value. The practice of Buddhism helps to develop a practice of Mindfulness which in turn allows us to become more respons able. The intention behind the practice (or religion or philosphy or theory or idea or meditation or mindfulness which to me are simply different labels for the same thing) is not as much to get rid of negative emotion per se but to get rid of certain kinds of negative emotions.

I believe there are healthy and unhealthy kinds of negative emotions. For example it would be foolish to let go of the kind of vigilence (which might fuel feelings of anxiety) so we can navigate (act response ably) in order to survive. But being more mindful allows us to be aware and recognize we need to make a distinction between say a kind of healthy discerning (i.e., I did or didn’t so something and then something bad happened) and unhealthy self-blame/self-aversion (ergo I’m a bad person). I think it is imperative we understand the intention behind the practicing Buddhism so we personally and as as a society view everything from a healthy perspective.

Whether or not this boost in a collective sort of self-esteem will bring about a utopian future remains to be seen. The point though is I believe practicing Buddhism points to that possibility and if we can accelerate the cultivation of Mindfulness by harnessing the power of technology to accelerate the prevalence of this way of being then why not?

As far as the notion of suffering goes, I believe the practice or idea behind Buddhism allows us to realize we have to accept abundance along with suffering. It is not possible for one to exist without the other. It’s human nature and one thing to avoid being uncomfortable (suffering) but that often times leads to nothing more then greed and a loss of compassion for those people who are suffering. In some cases riches and abundance became possible at great cost to others. Whether or not the practice of Buddishm will eliminate greed and suffering I’m not sure but I do believe will help moderate some of it. And that can only be a good thing, don’t you think?

Willy

Melissa Karnaze January 29, 2011 at 9:25 am

Thanks for your thoughtful comment Willy.

“Whether or not the practice of Buddishm will eliminate greed and suffering I’m not sure but I do believe will help moderate some of it. And that can only be a good thing, don’t you think?”

If by moderate you mean provide some long-term solutions, then yes, I think so. But if by moderate you mean provide some short-term solutions, which may have unintended consequences, then I don’t think so.

To prevent greed and man-made suffering (beyond the “natural” suffering that comes with living — as living comes with uncertainty), you cannot simply shut off parts of the mind for the sake of avoiding suffering (which is often a symptom and not a problem) — what Buddhism suggests (emotional suppression) — without enduring some unintended consequences.

Eric Desjardins January 29, 2011 at 9:53 am

I think that you misunderstand the Buddhist message. I believe this because you made the following statement at the end of your article. “What do you think about human suffering? Should we try to get rid of it? Learn from it? Or actually start accepting that it’s a natural part of life?” What you seem to imply is the correct approach “actually start accepting that it’s a natural part of life” is in fact the first noble truth. How Buddhist of you ;)

Also, in your “Dangerous Links” section, there is nothing inconsistent with what your are arguing for and Buddhism. That is because Buddhism does not advocate for the eradication of suffering. Remember the first noble truth: human nature is not perfect and neither is the world we live in, so suffering is necessarily an integral part of life.

Anyone who’s done meditation for any length of time will tell you that the goal of the practice is not to eradicate suffering or as you put it “letting go of all desires”, but rather to recognize and make peace with suffering. Increased well being does not come from eradication, but rather from recognizing things for what they are and developing a healthy relationship with these aspects of our lives. It’s all about leading a balanced life or what Buddhist call the middle way without excessive craving or aversion (both of these lead to suffering). Meditation helps cultivate this.

I do not consider myself a Buddhist because as with all other Religions in the world it is full of metaphysical baggage and unsupported truth claims (i.e reincarnation, enlightenment etc). Buddhism has, however, developed some useful contemplation techniques which, in my experience, are helpful in increasing well being, compassion, and self knowledge (practical knowledge, not the weird spiritual kind). If scientist wish to apply the scientific method to contemplative practices I can only see this as positive. Just like the move from Alchemy to Chemistry, perhaps a move from Buddhism to a secular and universal understanding of contemplation will result. How wonderful!

Melissa Karnaze January 29, 2011 at 10:27 am

What you seem to imply is the correct approach “actually start accepting that it’s a natural part of life” is in fact the first noble truth. How Buddhist of you ;)

Yes, thanks for pointing that out Eric. Anyone who’s studied the brain and isn’t already gripped by a foundationalist notion of the world would likely agree with the Buddhist take on reality. It’s how that’s applied in practice (in the mainstream) where I see dysfunction.

Anyone who’s done meditation for any length of time will tell you that the goal of the practice is not to eradicate suffering or as you put it “letting go of all desires”, but rather to recognize and make peace with suffering.

This makes sense, until you take a closer look at what mindfulness meditation (which I’m assuming you’re referring to?) actually promotes.

Increased well being does not come from eradication, but rather from recognizing things for what they are and developing a healthy relationship with these aspects of our lives.

Definitely. However, if you want to get really Buddhist about it, you can’t recognize things for “what they are.” Because for one thing phenomena are ever-changing. You can only recognize how you perceive phenomena as “things,” and assess whether you want to continue with your perceptions. I think that’s what you meant. :)

If scientist wish to apply the scientific method to contemplative practices I can only see this as positive.

I agree. And in the context of the article linked above, I hope researchers go about it in a more mindful way than they presently are. :)

Eric Desjardins January 29, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Melissa, I wasn’t able to read the paper so I can’t say wether I agree or disagree with author.

Here’s what I think on the subject of meditation. While there are multitudes of meditation techniques that have originated from the Buddhist tradition, my understanding is that that they can be reduced into two different types:
1) experience seeking, and 2) passive observation.

The first is usually a series of breathing techniques, mantras and such that are intended to move the meditator toward or away from a certain state of mind. I think that this represents what most people associate with meditation. A sort of delicious peaceful mental state generator, and I’m sure you’ve already thought of ten reasons why this promotes a band aid solution to personal well being (and I would agree with you completely).

The second is what caught my attention a few years ago. The goal is to simply passively observe body sensations, thoughts, emotions etc. usually beginning by focusing on the breath. Through passive observation, you would in fact do the exact opposite of suppressing emotion because they are allowed to surface and deeply experienced because the mind is not trying to flee. This can be a very painful but cathartic experience. I know that for me it allowed me to revisit painful memories which had not been processed properly, and the results were nothing but positive.

It also helps develop a mindful state of mind, so that when thoughts and emotions arrise in everyday life, there is an awareness of it as opposed to an automatic mindless response. This allows for the possibility of thinking “hmmm maybe this situation could be interpreted differently”.

I truly believe that this can be a valuable addition to our effort to achieve long lasting balance and well being.

Melissa Karnaze January 30, 2011 at 10:18 am

Through passive observation, you would in fact do the exact opposite of suppressing emotion because they are allowed to surface and deeply experienced because the mind is not trying to flee. This can be a very painful but cathartic experience. I know that for me it allowed me to revisit painful memories which had not been processed properly, and the results were nothing but positive.

That’s wonderful to hear Eric.

However, I’m not convinced that the mainstream movement (psychology promoting mindfulness) promotes “deeply experiencing” painful experiences. It’s more for labeling the experiences and “letting go” of them (or “observing them” and then detaching) because they aren’t “real.”

Again, that article linked to explains a lot more. (You can still consider the argument even if the meta-paper isn’t available.)

It also helps develop a mindful state of mind, so that when thoughts and emotions arrise in everyday life, there is an awareness of it as opposed to an automatic mindless response.

I definitely agree. That’s the type of mindfulness I promote here.

Aaron Franz January 31, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Our perceptions and definitions of “suffering” are what matter most. The very term “suffering” is loaded to begin with, naturally implying something antagonistic. The Buddhist principle that living comes with suffering is good to an extent; What can go wrong all to easily is to use this principle as a motivation to decrease “suffering” itself (why wouldn’t you want to do this if you simply define suffering as bad?) This can lead one to unhealthy escapism, and detachment from the whole of their being.
To deny that such escapism and baseless optimism are being promoted heavily in our day would be wrong. Melissa has pointed out examples of this time and again. I know that certain forms of meditation (transcendental meditation being an example) can be downright dangerous, and lead to serious mental health issues.
The real problem here is that it is always appealing to ignore/ decrease suffering, and obtain “happiness” (another loaded term). This tendency has always been, and will always be exploited. There is no scientific or religious method of changing this, and the moment you hear anyone tell you otherwise a red flag should pop up.

Melissa Karnaze February 1, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Yes, the term “suffering” is a human invention. Attitude can transform suffering to salvation, but few want to talk about it. Especially religions and organizations invested in keeping people locked into a victim state where suffering should be gotten rid of and “happiness” should be “sought out.”

And yes, even though Buddhists may claim that enlightenment is not about happiness because it’s just a figment of the mind — modern-day Buddhism is all about seeking happiness. The moment you seek happiness for its own sake is the moment you obscure your ability to be happy.

Kaz March 8, 2011 at 4:44 am

An interesting article Mellissa.

Actually it’s no secret that Buddhism is one of the main reason why China gradually fall behind the western world in the last few centuries. One consensus among Chinese scholars is that a person believe in Buddhism will be noticeably less enterprising and more inclined to be detached from the physical world, thus making his or her life less impactive. Christianity, on the other hand, doesn’t encourage people to abandon desires and thus make the western world more thriving in the same period of time when people explore nature and dramatically advanced the landscape of the physical world. So in that sense, maybe we shouldn’t just worry about the scientists but any nation that has prevailing Buddhism.

But from my personal observation, there’re very few Buddhist people living a secular life would fully conform to the aforementioned 4 noble truth, simply because it is too challenging to follow. You’ll have to send yourself to temple and abandon the secular life all together (the pure Buddhist way) in order to practice these principles. So if anyone, including scientists, are still living a normal life, I wouldn’t worry about them enjoying secular desires like getting married, earning more money, or eating meals.

Melissa Karnaze March 8, 2011 at 8:43 am

Kaz, those are great points that help explain why you have to be careful before striving for Buddhist principles when you’re integrated in modern society.

Davis June 7, 2011 at 2:19 am

This is excellent work, Melissa. thank you for putting yourself out there to express a line of thought that needs to be voiced. It is concerning the blind fascination that some pop psychology has created in ‘new therapies’ that, as usual, believe they know best.

You truely can think critically, and your writing is logical and concise and clear – you are a gem.

Thank you for actually being a voice of reason to calm our delusions that we can complex problems by putting our heads back in the sand!

Melissa Karnaze June 7, 2011 at 9:28 am

Davis, I’m happy to hear that the argument gets across!

It’s not very popular to be talking about these things right now, given how the research in these two areas are *exploding.* But I think we need to take a critical look at how these ideologies paint humanity in such a negative light, and how this likely leads to self-destruction.

Karma Gyatso August 24, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Melissa,
Eric has very eloquently portrayed my thoughts on your article in his comments. However, I would like to add some further comment without insinuating in any way that Eric would agree with me.
First, I would like to emphasise that the only danger with practicing mindfulness lies with an inexperienced therapist – not within the practice itself.
The mindfulness practice which you are promoting on this website is directly derived from the Buddha’s teachings – whether you like that or not. Moreover, all your comments under the heading “Where Buddhism falls short” which attempt to distinguish your arguments from Buddhism are actually at the very heart of Buddhism and any Buddhist would agree with those comments wholeheartedly (perhaps you are closer to being a buddhist than you think). However, despite this, you seem intent on rubbishing and even disrespecting the teachings of the Buddha – why is this? How much of the Buddha’s teachings have you read? How much mindfulness practice have you undertaken? I would assume that any person who was seeking to accurately portray a knowledge of any subject, in the way that you are, would seek to derive an understanding of the practice and/or theory from the source, especially a scientist. Do you believe that you know more about mindfulness practice than the Buddha did?
Surely, if you have a sincere motivation for people to practice mindfulness in a genuine and safe way you should be encouraging people to learn about mindfulness from the authentic source of mindfulness not, as you are currently doing, peddle inaccurate and inflammatory opinions in an attempt to discourage people from investigating the true, authentic and safe source of mindfulness. Having read many of your articles on mindfulness, to me, you appear to be a scientist who can see the benefits of mindfulness but have a problem with it deriving from Buddhism.

I am also surprised by the comments made by Kaz and again surprised (or may not) with your response. For someone to state without any support that :“it’s no secret that Buddhism is one of the main reason why China gradually fall behind the western world in the last few centuries”. First, I am not sure why China has crept into another blog on your website and , secondly, has China’s poverty had nothing to do with it being, until recently, a wholly suppressive communist regime which has shown no care for the poverty of its own people?
To go on and then say: “Christianity, on the other hand, doesn’t encourage people to abandon desires and thus make the western world more thriving in the same period of time when people explore nature and dramatically advanced the landscape of the physical world. So in that sense, maybe we shouldn’t just worry about the scientists but any nation that has prevailing Buddhism.”
I have every respect for the teachings of Jesus Christ but it is a fact that Christianity has been run by politicians for centuries – since the Romans used it to control people. Jesus himself practiced meditation but his teachings on meditation were destroyed. If they hadn’t been we would probably be here talking about the Christian practice of mindfulness being integrated into our therapies. The western world may be thriving in something but it certainly isn’t thriving in happiness and compassion . Furthermore, I am not aware of any Christian teachings which encourage people to seek their “desires” – especially those desires encouraged in the western world which are usually hedonistic in nature. Western bankers sought their desires and have caused immeasurable suffering throughout the world.
I am a Buddhist (although I would probably be a Christian if the teachings of Jesus Christ had not been corrupted over the centuries). Although it has taken time, I now experience the four noble truths and live as close as possible to the Buddha’s teachings. I am married with a daughter and I have university degrees in Electronic Engineering and Optoelectronics, a Masters in Material Science and I am a practicing Lawyer and I even eat meals. It can be done with the right motivation and although sometimes hard it is extremely liberating when we begin to free ourselves from the negative thought patterns which continuously dictate our emotions and actions. The experience of contentment and happiness are well worth any sacrifices made. You do not have to send yourself to a temple you just have to make an effort to be motivated ot improve your mind for the benefit of yourself and all other sentient beings. I can assure everyone that , although I am a Buddhist, I am not a threat to world peace, I will not bring poverty to the west or to China – I just want bring contentment and happiness into my life and the life of others and this can be achieved through mindfulness taught by a properly trained mindfulness teacher.

Melissa Karnaze August 24, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Karma, I may be mistaken, but the way your previous comments (on various threads) seem to have been an attempt to convince me that I’m “mistaken” in my opinions of mindfulness is at odds with the second noble truth. Are you perhaps clinging to the idea that you can convince me to change my mind?

If mindfulness helps you free yourself from the negative thought patterns which continuously dictate your emotions and actions (I never said that it could not), then that’s great to hear. That aim is the reason I write anything here.

Karma Gyatso August 25, 2011 at 3:10 am

Mellisa – Thank you for your response. I am not trying to change anyones mind – I am merely taking part in the discussion. Likewise, I am sure you are not trying to change my mind. I can assure you that my motivations are absolutely genuine and having a good debate is what stretches our preconceived ideas – or are your ideas fixed permenantly in your mind? However, if we want to understand the human brain and what “lights-up” as a correlation to specific stimuli then that is fine – but we are making a big mistake if we are trying to understand mindfulness by thinking that the mind is the brain. Therefore, all I’m suggesting is that in order to understand mindfulness properly we need to practice mindfulness and understand it from the authentic source. I understand if you have an aversion to Buddhism, but it does not mean you have to become a buddhist – it merely means that you have reaserched your subject properly. However, I must say that I am a little confused by your aversion to Buddhism. I have also found your comments relating to Buddhism a little distasteful. You seem to think you can publically post and support comments which encourage Buddha bashing whilst at the same time present arguments on mindfulness which are exactly those taught by the Buddha 2500 years ago and claim them as your own. In particular, it is not you who has discovered that people who pratice mindfulness should be careful not to dissociate or supress their emotions – the Buddha taught that and it is one of the fundemental things taught by a proper mindfulness teacher.
With regard to your opinion that mindfulness is at odds with the second noble truth – I respect your opinion and I am not in any way suprised that you are unable to recognise this as in order to do so you would have to have a deeper understanding of mindfulness. The 2nd noble truth is concerned with impermenance – and that nothing is permenant. I don’t think you can deny that everything is impermenant – as that is universally accepted now in physics and particulary quantum physics. Basically speaking, the 2nd noble truth says that clinging onto the notion that everything is permenant will bring suffering (i.e. discontentment).
With regard to your comments:
“He thought the solution was to rewire the mind. Rid people of having desires, which could hurt them in the end.”
– - absolute rubbish – you are showing your lack of knowledge of the subject again – please show me where the Buddha says that we should “re-wire” the mind” – and also where he said to “rid people of having desires” – you pluck arguments out of your own mind and reference them to others with no basis at all just to set up an argument you want to justify – also where is the mind as a physical entity that you are always talking about – you still haven’t answered that question?

“That’s like giving up before trying, lowering your expectations, and devaluing who you are.”
……giveing up before trying to do what?…desire the next material object, then the next one – is that what you call a valuable life? A life in which you subconciuosly crave for the next material object as a percieved antidote to your percieved emotional insecurties – grasping onto the notion that everything you desire is permemnant is devaluing- ask yourself – are your desires ever fulfilled or do you move onto the next desire then the next desire and so on?

“The brain evolved to desire, expect, and anticipate the future. If it didn’t, we’d be extinct.”
I agree – but the imporatnt question here is – are you in in control, or even aware, of the motivation behind your desires, expectations and without stability of mind how can you possibly anticipate the future with any accuracy? I am sure Hitler had desire, expectation and felt he could anticipate the future – however, these are meaningless or even dangerous without an understanding of the motivation behind them in our own mind and the application of right motivation.

Karma Gyatso August 25, 2011 at 3:27 am

….one things I also forgot to mention – your article is titled “A dangerous link between Buddhism and science” and yet you do not actually explain what the danger is.
Also, what is the science you are taking about – neuroscience?…Buddhism has extsited for 2500 years without neuroscience which a relatively new science – are you saying that Buddhism is a danger to science or that science is a danger to Buddhism. Being a scientist and a buddhist I cannot see how either one can be a danger to the other. In fact, evidence has shown that they both compliment each other very well. The only thing that can be of danger is people misunderstanding science and/or buddhism – perhaps misinformed or underinformed people are the dangerous link?

Melissa Karnaze August 25, 2011 at 6:45 am

Karma, you’ve dodged my question and in so doing did not address the second noble truth as I have tried to bring it to your attention. Try as you might, you’re not going to convince me that I’m “confused.” I’m very familiar with Buddhist writings and principles yet that doesn’t compute for you, since I most certainly “shouldn’t” have an “aversive” reaction if I “truly” understand. I won’t be responding to any of your further comments unless you have something constructive to contribute.

Karma Gyatso August 27, 2011 at 9:12 am

Mellisa- Apologies if I have dodged your question – I have not done so intentionally and I am more than happy to give you my opinion on any question you pose – a clear and concise opinion to a clear and concise question. I think it would be constructive to consider this: in my opinion your intentions and motivations are not sincere on this website – irrespective of the subject, you are seek to control the discussions through pressing imflamatory emotional buttons for people who are sincerely participating in a discussion with the best motivation. Of course it doesn’t matter to me or you whether you think something is white and I think it is black and vice versa – they are merely our opinions – what does matter is misleading unsuspecting people. A couple of instances from just my last comment which you refuse to answer –
you have said the “[The Buddha] thought the solution was to rewire the mind. Rid people of having desires, which could hurt them in the end.”

You claim to be “very familiar with Buddhist writings and principles” – I have studied the Buddhas teachings and I have friends who are academics in this field – I am not trying to convince “you” that you are “confused”, I am telling other unsuspecting readers that in my opinion you are confused They should not believe me either but I am flagging it up suggesting that they go and seek the truth themselves.
Also you say:
“yet that doesn’t compute for you, since I most certainly “shouldn’t” have an “aversive” reaction if I “truly” understand.”
It is not a matter of it not computing with me because I belive you “shouldn’t have an aversive reaction if you truely understand” – I don’t particualry care what you understand or don’t understand – it is matter of respect for what others believe and their ways of living which makes for peacful and compassionate society.
Having accused me of dodging one of your questions – just look back at how many questions you have dodged of mine……and very interesting – they are all the questions I really wanted answering…..mmmm interesting.

Srisuda Hongthai September 9, 2011 at 12:26 am

Hi there, Melissa:

Thanks for the very well written article you posted.

As a Buddhist woman born and raised in Thailand (but now living in the USA), and as such raised in a Theravada Buddhist household, I hope you will not think that I am bragging or anything like that by bringing up the following thoughts.

I think that there is a big misunderstanding of the word Dhukkha (usually translated as “suffering” in English). It is much more accurately translated as “dissatisfaction.”

When you mention “suffering” to a person who speaks English, most people think of starvation, and war, and other violent images.

When you mention Dhukkha (we actually pronounce it as “took” in Thai language), we think more of what CAUSES us to behave in wrong ways; namely what causes us to have affairs, or to hate other people, or to become violent. What are the MENTAL formations for doing things we know are wrong.

I hope this helps, because it seems that maybe some of your commentors have not grasped this important difference.

I am not sure they also understand that the main reason to practice the precepts of Buddhism is so as to better escape the cycle of rebirth known as Samsara. Most Asian Buddhists I know (and all the Thai Buddhists I know) don’t think they will reach enlightenment in this lifetime. They do have the very strong belief that by following the Dhamma in this lifetime, when they are reborn, they will be one step closer to reaching enlightenment in the next lifetime, and eventually, obtain release (mokha).

In Thailand, we believe that only monks would have a chance at liberation at the end of their current lives. We do not believe that lay people do.

Anyway, I hope this helps. There is an introduction to Buddhism 101 on this page: http://www.thebuddhagarden.com/buddhism-articles.htm which I think covers more of the real-world practices of Buddhism rather than the philosophical “ideals” of Buddhism.

anyway, please keep up the good writing and I hope this helps.

Srisuda Hongthai September 9, 2011 at 12:37 am

“Actually it’s no secret that Buddhism is one of the main reason why China gradually fall behind the western world in the last few centuries.”

No, it was superior technology by the Western countries that colonized parts of China and forced an open market for opium amongst the Chinese people that caused it to fall behind the West. If the Chinese had been able to rid Western interference in their national affairs, then they would have not fallen behind the West.

“Christianity, on the other hand, doesn’t encourage people to abandon desires and thus make the western world more thriving in the same period of time when people explore nature and dramatically advanced the landscape of the physical world.”

If by “advanced the landscape of the physical world” you mean, “exploited the natural resources,” then yes, you are correct.

And I am not sure how successful Buddhism has been in getting people to abandon desires (as you imply). There are a LOT of Chinese people (over a billion). Seems to me that to have a population that large, there must still have been quite a bit of “desire” amongst Chinese men and women.

Anonymous April 15, 2012 at 6:27 am

I don’t think Buddhism promotes emotional suppression; rather it advocates the acknowledgement of various emotional states and simply steps out of it’s way. Supression would be promoting ignorance of the emotional states and simply ignoring them (which we know to be unhealthy). I think it makes us sensitive to our emotions to the point where we see them arise, and we know better not to act on them (e.g. getting angry at someone and punching a hole through the wall).

Who wants to experience anger, greed and hate? I don’t. I read up on the path because I want to be happy and to remove the defilement of the mind (which can be done!).

Brian Zhang September 25, 2012 at 11:24 am

Buddhism is hard to argue against through logic.

kochahi December 27, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Buddhism is a science which shows who we are! what we have to understand! how we should live! it’s main ambition is to eradicate evil, develop good and purify the mind through meditation. how can this do a disaster to anybody? it is unique to all beings in the universe.

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