Crowley Was Wrong about Buddhism

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Crowley Was Wrong about Buddhism

Postby landis » Mon May 13, 2013 11:36 pm

In Magick Without Tears, "Chapter VII: The Three Schools of Magick (2)," Crowley wrote:
The Black School of Magick, which must by no means be confused with the School of Black Magick or Sorcery, which latter is a perversion of the White tradition, is distinguished fundamentally from the Yellow School in that it considers the Universe not as neutral, but as definitely a curse. Its primary theorem is the "First Noble Truth" of the Buddha—"Everything is Sorrow." In the primitive classics of this School the idea of sorrow is confused with that of sin....

The analysis of the philosophers of this School refers every phenomenon to the category of sorrow. It is quite useless to point out to them that certain events are accompanied with joy: they continue their ruthless calculations, and prove to your satisfaction, or rather dissatisfaction, that the more apparently pleasant an event is, the more malignantly deceptive is its fascination. There is only one way of escape even conceivable, and this way is quite simple, annihilation. (Shallow critics of Buddhism have wasted a great deal of stupid ingenuity on trying to make out that Nirvana or Nibbana means something different from what etymology, tradition and the evidence of the Classics combine to define it. The word means, quite simply, cessation: and it stands to reason that, if everything is sorrow, the only thing which is not sorrow is nothing, and that therefore to escape from sorrow is the attainment of nothingness...) (my bolds).

Part of the problem here is that the Buddha took great pains to differentiate his teachings from annhilationism. For instance, one aspect of the Middle Way is that it is neither eternalism nor annhiliationism. As Thanissaro Bhikku (next to Bhikkhu Bodhi, the most prolific English translator of our most ancient Buddhist texts) notes in his book, Refuge, from the chapter, "Nibbana", the goal of nibbana is liberation and freedom.

We all know what happens when a fire goes out. The flames die down and the fire is gone for good. So when we first learn that the name for the goal of Buddhist practice, nibbana (nirvana), literally means the extinguishing of a fire, it's hard to imagine a deadlier image for a spiritual goal: utter annihilation. It turns out, though, that this reading of the concept is a mistake in translation, not so much of a word as of an image. What did an extinguished fire represent to the Indians of the Buddha's day? Anything but annihilation.

According to the ancient Brahmins, when a fire was extinguished it went into a state of latency. Rather than ceasing to exist, it became dormant and in that state — unbound from any particular fuel — it became diffused throughout the cosmos. When the Buddha used the image to explain nibbana to the Indian Brahmins of his day, he bypassed the question of whether an extinguished fire continues to exist or not, and focused instead on the impossibility of defining a fire that doesn't burn: thus his statement that the person who has gone totally "out" can't be described.

However, when teaching his own disciples, the Buddha used nibbana more as an image of freedom. Apparently, all Indians at the time saw burning fire as agitated, dependent, and trapped, both clinging and being stuck to its fuel as it burned. To ignite a fire, one had to "seize" it. When fire let go of its fuel, it was "freed," released from its agitation, dependence, and entrapment — calm and unconfined. This is why Pali poetry repeatedly uses the image of extinguished fire as a metaphor for freedom. In fact, this metaphor is part of a pattern of fire imagery that involves two other related terms as well. Upadana, or clinging, also refers to the sustenance a fire takes from its fuel. Khandha means not only one of the five "heaps" (form, feeling, perception, thought processes, and consciousness) that define all conditioned experience, but also the trunk of a tree. Just as fire goes out when it stops clinging and taking sustenance from wood, so the mind is freed when it stops clinging to the khandhas.

Thus the image underlying nibbana is one of freedom. The Pali commentaries support this point by tracing the word nibbana to its verbal root, which means "unbinding." What kind of unbinding? The texts describe two levels. One is the unbinding in this lifetime, symbolized by a fire that has gone out but whose embers are still warm. This stands for the enlightened arahant, who is conscious of sights and sounds, sensitive to pleasure and pain, but freed from passion, aversion, and delusion. The second level of unbinding, symbolized by a fire so totally out that its embers have grown cold, is what the arahant experiences after this life. All input from the senses cools away and he/she is totally freed from even the subtlest stresses and limitations of existence in space and time.

The Buddha insists that this level is indescribable, even in terms of existence or nonexistence, because words work only for things that have limits. All he really says about it — apart from images and metaphors — is that one can have foretastes of the experience in this lifetime, and that it's the ultimate happiness, something truly worth knowing.

So the next time you watch a fire going out, see it not as a case of annihilation, but as a lesson in how freedom is to be found in letting go (my bolds).

Crowley continues:
Western philosophy has on occasion approached this doctrine. It has at least asserted that no known form of existence is exempt from sorrow. Huxley says, in his Evolution and Ethics, "Suffering is the badge of all the tribe of sentient things."

The philosophers of this School, seeking, naturally enough, to amend the evil at the root, inquire into the cause of this existence which is sorrow, and arrive immediately at the "Second Noble Truth" of the Buddha: "The Cause of Sorrow is Desire." They follow up with the endless concatenation of causes, of which the final root is Ignorance. (I am not concerned to defend the logic of this School: I merely state their doctrine.) The practical issue of all this is that every kind of action is both unavoidable and a crime. I must digress to explain that the confusion of thought in this doctrine is constantly recurrent. That is part of the blackness of the Ignorance which they confess to be the foundation of their Universe. (And after all, everyone has surely the right to have his own Universe the way he wants it....)

The culmination of the Black philosophy is only found in Schopenhauer, and we may regard him as having been obsessed, on the one hand, by the despair born of that false scepticism which he learnt from the bankruptcy of Hume and Kant; on the other, by the direct obsession of the Buddhist documents to which he was one of the earliest Europeans to obtain access (my bolds).


Contrast this with Thanissaro's explanation of the First Noble Truth in Refuge, from the chapter, ""Life Isn't Just Suffering":

You've probably heard the rumor that Buddhism is pessimistic, that "Life is suffering" is the Buddha's first noble truth. It's a rumor with good credentials, spread by well-respected academics and meditation teachers alike, but a rumor nonetheless. The real truth about the noble truths is far more interesting. The Buddha taught four truths — not one — about life: There is suffering, there is a cause for suffering, there is an end of suffering, and there is a path of practice that puts an end to suffering. These truths, taken as a whole, are far from pessimistic. They're a practical, problem-solving approach — the way a doctor approaches an illness, or a mechanic a faulty engine. You identify a problem and look for its cause. You then put an end to the problem by eliminating the cause.

What's special about the Buddha's approach is that the problem he attacks is the whole of human suffering, and the solution he offers is something human beings can do for themselves. Just as a doctor with a surefire cure for measles isn't afraid of measles, the Buddha isn't afraid of any aspect of human suffering. And, having experienced a happiness that's totally unconditional, he's not afraid to point out the suffering and stress inherent in places where most of us would rather not see it — in the conditioned pleasures we cling to. He teaches us not to deny that suffering and stress, or to run away from it, but to stand still and face up to it. To examine it carefully. That way — by understanding it — we can ferret out its cause and put an end to it. Totally. How confident can you get?

A fair number of writers have pointed out the basic confidence inherent in the four noble truths, and yet the rumor of Buddhism's pessimism persists. I wonder why. One possible explanation is that, in coming to Buddhism, we sub-consciously expect it to address issues that have a long history in our own culture. By starting out with suffering as his first truth, the Buddha seems to be offering his position on a question with a long history in the West: is the world basically good or bad?

According to Genesis, this was the first question that occurred to God after he had finished his creation: had he done a good job? So he looked at the world and saw that it was good. Ever since then, people in the West have sided with or against God on his answer, but in doing so they have affirmed that the question was worth asking to begin with. When Theravada — the only form of Buddhism to take on Christianity when Europe colonized Asia — was looking for ways to head off what it saw as the missionary menace, Buddhists who had received their education from the missionaries assumed that the question was valid and pressed the first noble truth into service as a refutation of the Christian God: look at how miserable life is, they said, and it's hard to accept God's verdict on his handiwork.

This debating strategy may have scored a few points at the time, and it's easy to find Buddhist apologists who — still living in the colonial past — keep trying to score the same points. The real issue, though, is whether the Buddha intended for his first noble truth to be an answer to God's question in the first place and — more importantly — whether we're getting the most out of the first noble truth if we see it in that light.

It's hard to imagine what you could accomplish by saying that life is suffering. You'd have to spend your time arguing with people who see more than just suffering in life. The Buddha himself says as much in one of his discourses. A brahman named Long-nails (Dighanakha) comes to him and announces that he doesn't approve of anything. This would have been a perfect time for the Buddha, if he had wanted, to chime in with the truth that life is suffering. Instead, he attacks the whole notion of taking a stand on whether life is worthy of approval. There are three possible answers to this question: (1) nothing is worthy of approval, (2) everything is, and (3) some things are and some things aren't. If you take any of these three positions, you end up arguing with the people who take either of the other two positions. And where does that get you?

The Buddha then teaches Long-nails to look at his body and feelings as instances of the first noble truth: they're stressful, inconstant, and don't deserve to be clung to as self. Long-nails follows the Buddha's instructions and, in letting go of his attachment to body and feelings, gains his first glimpse of the Deathless, of what it's like to be totally free from suffering.

The point of this story is that trying to answer God's question, passing judgment on the world, is a waste of time. And it offers a better use for the first noble truth: looking at things, not in terms of "world" or "life," but simply identifying suffering so that you can comprehend it, let it go, and attain release. Rather than asking us to make a blanket judgment — which, in effect, would be asking us to be blind partisans — the first noble truth asks us to look and see precisely where the problem of suffering lies.

Other discourses make the point that the problem isn't with body and feelings in and of themselves. They themselves aren't suffering. The suffering lies in clinging to them. In his definition of the first noble truth, the Buddha summarizes all types of suffering under the phrase, "the five aggregates of clinging": clinging to physical form (including the body), feelings, perceptions, thought constructs, and consciousness. However, when the five aggregates are free from clinging, he tells us, they lead to long-term benefit and happiness. Of course, by "happiness" he isn't here referring to the arts, food, travel, sports, family life, or any of the other sections of the Sunday newspaper. He's talking about the solid well-being that comes when we treat the aggregates as factors in the path to the Deathless. The aggregates in themselves are neutral. The role they play in leading to true happiness or suffering lies in whether or not we cling.

So the first noble truth, simply put, is that clinging is suffering. It's because of clinging that physical pain becomes mental pain. It's because of clinging that aging, illness, and death cause mental distress. How do we cling? The texts list four ways: the clinging of sensual passion, the clinging of views, the clinging of precepts and practices, and the clinging of doctrines of the self. It's rare that a moment passes in the ordinary mind without some form of clinging. Even when we abandon a particular form of clinging, it's usually because it gets in the way of another form. We may abandon a puritanical view because it interferes with sensual pleasure; or a sensual pleasure because it conflicts with a view about what we should do to stay healthy. Our views of who we are may expand and contract depending on which of our many senses of "I" is feeling the most pain, expanding into a sense of cosmic oneness when we feel confined by the limitations of our small mind-body complex, shrinking into a small shell when we feel wounded from identifying with a cosmos so filled with cruelty, thoughtlessness, and waste. When the insignificance of our finite self becomes oppressive again, we may jump at the idea that we have no self, but then that becomes oppressive.

So our minds jump from clinging to clinging like a bird trapped in a cage. And when we realize we're captive, we naturally search for a way out. This is where it's so important that the first noble truth not say that "Life is suffering," for if life were suffering, where would we look for an end to suffering? We'd be left with nothing but death and annihilation. But when the actual truth is that clinging is suffering, we simply have to look to see precisely where clinging is and learn not to cling.

This is where we encounter the Buddha's great skill as a strategist: He tells us to take the clingings we'll have to abandon and transform them into the path to their abandoning. We'll need a certain amount of sensory pleasure — in terms of adequate food, clothing, and shelter — to find the strength to go beyond sensual passion. We'll need right view — seeing all things, including views, in terms of the four noble truths — to undermine our clinging to views. And we'll need a regimen of the five ethical precepts and the practice of meditation to put the mind in a solid position where it can drop its clinging to precepts and practices. Underlying all this, we'll need a strong sense of self-responsibility and self-discipline to master the practices leading to the insight that cuts through our clinging to doctrines of the self.

So we start the path to the end of suffering, not by trying to drop our clingings immediately, but by learning to cling more strategically. In other words, we start where we are and make the best use of the habits we've already got. We progress along the path by finding better and better things to cling to, and more skillful ways to cling, in the same way you climb a ladder to the top of a roof: grab hold of a higher rung so that you can let go of a lower rung, and then grab onto a rung still higher. As the rungs get further off the ground, you find that the mind grows clearer and can see precisely where its clingings are. It gets a sharper sense of which parts of experience belong to which noble truth and what should be done with them: the parts that are suffering should be comprehended, the parts that cause of suffering — craving and ignorance — should be abandoned; the parts that form the path to the end of suffering should be developed; and the parts that belong to the end of suffering should be verified. This helps you get higher and higher on the ladder until you find yourself securely on the roof. That's when you can finally let go of the ladder and be totally free.
(my bolds).
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Wander alone; bearing the Light and thy Staff.
And be the Light so bright that no man seeth thee.
Be not moved by aught without or within:
keep Silence in all ways
."

The Book of Thoth, p. 257 (on Atu IX, The Hermit).
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Re: Crowley Was Wrong about Buddhism

Postby Angel of Death » Tue May 14, 2013 4:06 am

Timely post for me because last night as an introduction, my kids and I watched 7 years in Tibet.

I highly recommend His Holiness book The Universe in a Single Atom. The teachings of Buddism directly relate to the principles of quantum physics.
Life is Suffering

that used to be a confusing statement for me, and one that seemed to go against my natural optimistic nature. Then I gave birth :D .

I won't get to long winded here, but I think the modern question
Do you want to be annoyed, or alone
plays into the true idea of suffering.
The cosmos itself gives every appearance of being social, of relating this and that, and suffering denotes a Caring for something outside.
For a long time I struggled with the idea of getting off the wheel of life, clinging to what I cared for....but I don't think it's anything to struggle against anymore because it's not like a merry go round, where you have to hop off and go home alone. It's more like you are the merrygoround, letting go.
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Re: Crowley Was Wrong about Buddhism

Postby landis » Wed May 22, 2013 10:27 pm

Then again, Crowley says stuff like this, and I think, "Well, that's pretty accurate."

From The Book of Wisdom or Folly:
70. DE GAUTAMA. (On Gautama)
Whom Men call Gautama, or Siddartha, or the Buddha, was a Magus of our Holy Order. And His Word was ANATTA; for the Root of His whole Doctrine was that there is no Atman, or Soul, as Men will translate it, meaning a Substance incapable of Change. Thus, He, like Lao-Tze, based all upon a Movement, instead of a fixed Point. And His Way of Truth was Analysis, made possible by great Intention of the Mind toward itself, and that well fortified by certain tempered Rigour of Life. And He most thoroughly explored and Mapped out the Fastnesses of the Mind, and gave the Keys of its Fortresses into the Hand of Man. But of all this the Quintessence is in this one Word ANATTA, because this is not only the foundation and the Result of his whole Doctrine, but the Way of its Work.
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Wander alone; bearing the Light and thy Staff.
And be the Light so bright that no man seeth thee.
Be not moved by aught without or within:
keep Silence in all ways
."

The Book of Thoth, p. 257 (on Atu IX, The Hermit).
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Re: Crowley Was Wrong about Buddhism

Postby Bereshith » Thu May 23, 2013 5:01 am

I've sat with some local Buddhists and loved everything they said except that "life is suffering."

It works as a perspective if the goal is detachment from everything that you give the power to make you suffer. But I can't get past the sense that this is merely a functional perspective to take toward that goal.

"Life is change" seems more factual and less of a value judgement, in line with the goal of doing one's Will (personal dharma?) with freedom, joy, and peace, without the lust of result.

Better, in my view: "Life is change. The lust of result is suffering."

But how much can one communicate simply to one's audience at once, considering their immediate, personal, spiritual needs versus the level of complexity of thought their education has allowed them to develop?
Last edited by Bereshith on Thu May 23, 2013 5:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Crowley Was Wrong about Buddhism

Postby Bereshith » Thu May 23, 2013 5:22 am

In short, when you have an Enlightened One being the source of a popular religion, there's always (seemingly) a simplification that takes place somewhere so that the people can more easily comprehend it. Go more deeply into it, and you'll find a discussion of a more complex nature, but on the surface, simplicity.

In my opinion, it's the difference between a religion that's for "the people" and "Ye are against the people, O my chosen!"
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Re: Crowley Was Wrong about Buddhism

Postby gurugeorge » Thu May 23, 2013 11:24 am

I read a lot of Thanissaro and Bikkhu Bodhi stuff ages ago (they're both great writers!), and I remember being particularly struck by Thanissaro's investigations into "nibbana" and the background Vedic ideas about fire. It really does put a very different light on the whole thing (it pretty much makes the original Buddhism non-dual like many subsequent forms more obviously were).

Generally, I think Crowley was probably wrong about a lot of things in some of the details (I've already commented on stuff relating to "Jnana", that he got via Vivekananda, in another thread), and bombastic with it; but overall his position is internally coherent, so it doesn't matter too much if some of his references to external systems are strictly-speaking inaccurate. Everyone was pretty inaccurate in those days, and Crowley was in part relying on then-contemporary academic stuff (e.g. Max Muller) just like everyone else. Over time, scholarship, and access to authentic Eastern traditions in their living form, has corrected a lot of earlier mistaken ideas.

But then on the other hand, Crowley was more accurate about some things then one might think (e.g. I remember you mentioning his true translation of "recollection" in a Los thread a while ago). That was probably due to his connection with Alan Bennett, who was presumably getting some accurate Theravada practical teaching - although who knows, perhaps Bennett was making the same theoretical/philosophical mistakes everyone else was making at the time.
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Re: Crowley Was Wrong about Buddhism

Postby landis » Thu May 23, 2013 3:56 pm

Bereshith wrote:I've sat with some local Buddhists and loved everything they said except that "life is suffering...."

Better, in my view: "Life is change. The lust of result is suffering."

Well said. Most the Buddhists I know seem to agree with Thanissaro.
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Wander alone; bearing the Light and thy Staff.
And be the Light so bright that no man seeth thee.
Be not moved by aught without or within:
keep Silence in all ways
."

The Book of Thoth, p. 257 (on Atu IX, The Hermit).
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Re: Crowley Was Wrong about Buddhism

Postby landis » Thu May 23, 2013 4:01 pm

Bereshith wrote:In short, when you have an Enlightened One being the source of a popular religion, there's always (seemingly) a simplification that takes place somewhere so that the people can more easily comprehend it. Go more deeply into it, and you'll find a discussion of a more complex nature, but on the surface, simplicity.

In my opinion, it's the difference between a religion that's for "the people" and "Ye are against the people, O my chosen!"

I thinks there's a good case to be made that in the passages where the Buddha gets all, "Be a lamp unto yourselves," and "Be your own refuge," etc..., he was disapproving of the Cult like qualities already apparent around his teachings, e.g., refuge in the Triple Gem (Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha).

Enlightened does not mean perfect, as the Traditionalist Theravadins would have it. The Buddha's on record changing his mind, making mistakes, expressing anger, calling people names, etc....
My blog: thislandismylandis.wordpress.com

Wander alone; bearing the Light and thy Staff.
And be the Light so bright that no man seeth thee.
Be not moved by aught without or within:
keep Silence in all ways
."

The Book of Thoth, p. 257 (on Atu IX, The Hermit).
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Re: Crowley Was Wrong about Buddhism

Postby landis » Thu May 23, 2013 4:07 pm

gurugeorge wrote:I read a lot of Thanissaro and Bikkhu Bodhi stuff ages ago (they're both great writers!), and I remember being particularly struck by Thanissaro's investigations into "nibbana" and the background Vedic ideas about fire. It really does put a very different light on the whole thing (it pretty much makes the original Buddhism non-dual like many subsequent forms more obviously were).

Amen.

gurugeorge wrote:Generally, I think Crowley was probably wrong about a lot of things in some of the details (I've already commented on stuff relating to "Jnana", that he got via Vivekananda, in another thread), and bombastic with it; but overall his position is internally coherent, so it doesn't matter too much if some of his references to external systems are strictly-speaking inaccurate. Everyone was pretty inaccurate in those days, and Crowley was in part relying on then-contemporary academic stuff (e.g. Max Muller) just like everyone else. Over time, scholarship, and access to authentic Eastern traditions in their living form, has corrected a lot of earlier mistaken ideas.

And amen.

gurugeorge wrote:But then on the other hand, Crowley was more accurate about some things then one might think (e.g. I remember you mentioning his true translation of "recollection" in a Los thread a while ago). That was probably due to his connection with Alan Bennett, who was presumably getting some accurate Theravada practical teaching - although who knows, perhaps Bennett was making the same theoretical/philosophical mistakes everyone else was making at the time.

Yes. I was impressed by this with Crowley, and I don't think Bennett was making a mistake. Thanissaro's latest book, Right Mindfulness, is an in depth textual analysis of why sati is better translated as "recollection" than "mindfulness." I'm kind of in the middle with Richard Gombrich and Gil Fronsdal who translate it as "awareness."
My blog: thislandismylandis.wordpress.com

Wander alone; bearing the Light and thy Staff.
And be the Light so bright that no man seeth thee.
Be not moved by aught without or within:
keep Silence in all ways
."

The Book of Thoth, p. 257 (on Atu IX, The Hermit).
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Re: Crowley Was Wrong about Buddhism

Postby chris S » Thu May 23, 2013 4:46 pm

As we like to think the objects of our understandings are independent from us in some way.

What does it mean to follow a rule?
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Re: Crowley Was Wrong about Buddhism

Postby landis » Thu May 23, 2013 6:20 pm

chris S wrote:As we like to think the objects of our understandings are independent from us in some way.

What does it mean to follow a rule?

How does this relate to OP? I'm not saying it doesn't--just not understanding it myself. Could you please explicate?
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Wander alone; bearing the Light and thy Staff.
And be the Light so bright that no man seeth thee.
Be not moved by aught without or within:
keep Silence in all ways
."

The Book of Thoth, p. 257 (on Atu IX, The Hermit).
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Re: Crowley Was Wrong about Buddhism

Postby chris S » Thu May 23, 2013 7:34 pm

landis wrote:
chris S wrote:As we like to think the objects of our understandings are independent from us in some way.

What does it mean to follow a rule?

How does this relate to OP? I'm not saying it doesn't--just not understanding it myself. Could you please explicate?


Crowley was wrong about Buddhism.

How do i become enlightened?

I wasnt going to add this but here it is anyway..
Methods may happen, methods may not.. what happens simply happens, and whether someone practices a method or not is completely irrelevant.
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Re: Crowley Was Wrong about Buddhism

Postby Bereshith » Fri May 24, 2013 4:56 am

chris S wrote:
landis wrote:
chris S wrote:As we like to think the objects of our understandings are independent from us in some way.

What does it mean to follow a rule?

How does this relate to OP? I'm not saying it doesn't--just not understanding it myself. Could you please explicate?


Crowley was wrong about Buddhism.

How do i become enlightened?

I wasnt going to add this but here it is anyway..
Methods may happen, methods may not.. what happens simply happens, and whether someone practices a method or not is completely irrelevant.


I absolutely agree. But to answer your question, rules are for orders that pledge to practice and pass on a particular method precisely as they have received it because they have found it to work.

Yet, one can become an enlightened Buddhist without being a monk. The same is true of Thelema.
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Re: Crowley Was Wrong about Buddhism

Postby chris S » Fri May 24, 2013 12:07 pm

I absolutely agree. But to answer your question, rules are for orders that pledge to practice and pass on a particular method precisely as they have received it because they have found it to work.

Yet, one can become an enlightened Buddhist without being a monk. The same is true of Thelema.


yes..
Paradoxically, the attainment written and spoken of happens outside the doctrine.
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Re: Crowley Was Wrong about Buddhism

Postby landis » Fri May 24, 2013 9:59 pm

chris S wrote:As we like to think the objects of our understandings are independent from us in some way.

What does it mean to follow a rule?


24. The idealist's question would be something like: "What right have I not to doubt the existence of my hands?" (And to that the answer can't be: I know that they exist.) But someone who asks such a question is overlooking the fact that a doubt about existence only works in a language-game. Hence, that we should first have to ask: what would such a doubt be like?, and don't understand this straight off.

25. One may be wrong even about "there being a hand here". Only in particular circumstances is it impossible. - "Even in a calculation one can be wrong - only in certain circumstances one can't."

26. But can it be seen from a rule what circumstances logically exclude a mistake in the employment of rules of calculation?
What use is a rule to us here? Mightn't we (in turn) go wrong in applying it?

27. If, however, one wanted to give something like a rule here, then it would contain the expression "in normal circumstances". And we recognize normal circumstances but cannot precisely describe them. At most, we can describe a range of abnormal ones.

28. What is 'learning a rule'? - This.
What is 'making a mistake in applying it'? - This. And what is pointed to here is something indeterminate.

29. Practice in the use of the rule also shows what is a mistake in its employment.

30. When someone has made sure of something, he says: "Yes, the calculation is right", but he did not infer that from his condition of certainty. One does not infer how things are from one's own certainty.
Certainty is as it were a tone of voice in which one declares how things are, but one does not infer from the tone of voice that one is justified.

Wittgenstein, On Certainty
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Wander alone; bearing the Light and thy Staff.
And be the Light so bright that no man seeth thee.
Be not moved by aught without or within:
keep Silence in all ways
."

The Book of Thoth, p. 257 (on Atu IX, The Hermit).
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landis
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Re: Crowley Was Wrong about Buddhism

Postby chris S » Sat May 25, 2013 4:03 am

landis wrote:
chris S wrote:As we like to think the objects of our understandings are independent from us in some way.

What does it mean to follow a rule?


24. The idealist's question would be something like: "What right have I not to doubt the existence of my hands?" (And to that the answer can't be: I know that they exist.) But someone who asks such a question is overlooking the fact that a doubt about existence only works in a language-game. Hence, that we should first have to ask: what would such a doubt be like?, and don't understand this straight off.

25. One may be wrong even about "there being a hand here". Only in particular circumstances is it impossible. - "Even in a calculation one can be wrong - only in certain circumstances one can't."

26. But can it be seen from a rule what circumstances logically exclude a mistake in the employment of rules of calculation?
What use is a rule to us here? Mightn't we (in turn) go wrong in applying it?

27. If, however, one wanted to give something like a rule here, then it would contain the expression "in normal circumstances". And we recognize normal circumstances but cannot precisely describe them. At most, we can describe a range of abnormal ones.

28. What is 'learning a rule'? - This.
What is 'making a mistake in applying it'? - This. And what is pointed to here is something indeterminate.

29. Practice in the use of the rule also shows what is a mistake in its employment.

30. When someone has made sure of something, he says: "Yes, the calculation is right", but he did not infer that from his condition of certainty. One does not infer how things are from one's own certainty.
Certainty is as it were a tone of voice in which one declares how things are, but one does not infer from the tone of voice that one is justified.

Wittgenstein, On Certainty

20 Years ago i had an Irish Wolfhound that would sit out the back and watch the moon.. Crazy dog.
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