Dear Buddhist following Freedomain Radio
I understand your attraction to the jaw-droppingly simple and actionable message of how to bring peace to the world by raising children peacefully. Of course this requires those (Buddhists and others) who actually practice living their lives peacefully in every moment to make it happen.
And then there is the truth that we require no rulers. I love that one as well because I don’t require anything outside of my own understanding and experience to live the best life I can imagine. Not even philosophy or science or the scientific method.
I believe these topics, among other interesting interactions, are why anyone with pantheist leanings hangs out here. Because there is always the question of how do we effectively apply our understanding in the world? How do we take the heart of the message into our daily lives? What are some physical “doing” experiences that will complement the consciousness “being” experiences? How can we bring ever more peace into our lives and the lives of others?
While I practice being fully in the present moment, I am not a “Buddhist.” However, I feel educated enough on the topic to point out that to engage in the “debate” on this site in any way is antithetical to Buddhist practice. You must take and hold a position to debate. You must “suffer dissatisfaction” and “cling” to a position to debate. You must give the mind and thinking the reigns. Those who are Buddhists, please feel free to correct me.
In a recent video regarding “The Truth about the Dalai Lama” presentation, it was agreed by both parties that Buddhism is not philosophy. (I also agree.) That is the end of any philosophical discussion or conversation. The caller then chose to pursue the topic to educate and/or convince Stefan of the validity of the 4 Noble truths and the 8-fold path. He was dissatisfied with the outcome and entered dukkha at that point. He fell into the “explain it to me” thought which, in the world of philosophy, really means to adhere to and defend your position with valid scientific evidence.
There is not now, nor will there ever be, scientific proof of individual, personal experience. That would be a square circle. To defend a position with “reason and evidence” is antithetical to the practice of Buddhist principles. (And to the caller, I am in no way criticizing you or your courage in rising to the challenge. We must stand up and live this life and face opposition with courage. I use my desire for opposition or to defend as a guidepost to indicate where dukkha exists in my life. I thank you for that example.)
Philosophers are not seeking to understand Buddhism and follow the 8-fold path. Therefore, there are no true answers for them about Buddhism unless he, she, they choose to seek those answers voluntarily. It is simply not possible. It would require surrendering the mind. Square and circle. The heart of the practice is to seek and find your own answers and there is no one and no thing that can get those answers for you. Buddhism is not philosophy. It is wholly and completely 100% personal experience. There is no such thing as a square circle.
I will also put forward that debate is a war game. You think about the point you want to be labeled as “the truth”, develop a strategy for proving your strength and convincing the opponent to surrender to your superior force – oops I meant argument. You gather your supporting resources, and make your opening move. Then prepare a defense or another offensive move while the opponent presents his or her first offensive move and then back and forth until a winner is declared. The debate is about who can present the best argument and win the war of truth. But the information and circumstances for the arguments changes moment by moment. It is ceaseless and unending argument about one thought or another. It can be no other way as it is dukkha. It is the impermanent. It is the mind.
If you have practiced Buddhist techniques, I believe you know as well as I that when you are following the 8-fold path, giving up thinking and being at peace is the only way to realize truth. You must give up thinking and experience the space between the thoughts, the silence between the notes of the music. You desire it. You voluntarily seek it. You create the time to practice. This is a simple set of choices that some people make. It is not philosophy. Philosophy is of the mind. Philosophy is matter and energy. Matter and energy are contained in space but are not space. We are space. Square and Circle.
Stefan said in his talk with the caller, and I believe in other discussions as well, “Who has time for that?” We all make choices about how we use our time. His time is given over to philosophy. I respect that. He has dedicated his life to thinking. I respect that. To ask him or try to convince him to give it up is absurd.
Through Stefan’s dedication to thinking, I reap the benefits of learning about peaceful parenting and no rulers as a practical way to practice the 8-fold path. I am following that path at the moment. I do not require Stefan, or anyone else, to follow it as well. We are all snowflakes. Individual human snowflakes are the other side of the coin of “universal application to everyone at all times”.
(She then jumps off the stump and goes outside to play. Oh no, wait, record next podcast whose topic is Practical Peaceful Living and the 8-Fold Path of Buddhism.)