Re buddhism and pxnty


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ego, self, no-self, personal identity and such in buddhism & christianity

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Re buddhism and pxnty

  1. 1. being-in-love and being beloved as indispensable realizations for ourjourney to authenticity ... yes ... the consummation of lonergans series ofimperativeswhile buddhists are not w/o such realizations vis a vis their mutualencounter of one another (yes, as unique personal identities even thoughdynamic, fluid & processive rather than static, essentialistic & substantival),one can see the efficacy, in pxnty, of similarly relating to ultimate reality (one way to measure this efficacy might be as a relational value that isaugmented precisely in terms of an enhanced ego-self axis alignment asrealized by virtue of an amplified numinous encounter, amplified, that is,by being intersubjective as well as intraobjective)such self-axis alignment value augmentations via numinous experienceamplifications are not likely wholly lost (maybe not even overlydiminished) on eastern traditions, however, due to their prominentdevotional practices & objects, which include buddha(s), devas,boddhisatvas and sangha, all in a rather extensive iconographic &hagiographic context that expresses gratitude and aspires to virtuousemulationagain, i think we can risk overstating the practical implications of theseinter-faith conceptual distinctions vis a vis our comparative formativespiritualitues and various individuation paradigmsa glossary might be helpful in better mapping concepts across traditionsnamaste,jbthe empirical self is not denied only a metaphysical self; empiricalpersonal identity is not in jeopardy only the essentialistic, substantivalversion; soul is okay phenomenologically just neednt be metaphysical,could be construed, for example, physicalistically, w/no violence done toessential pxn dogma; i think you imagine the buddhists to be denying theempirical self but the no-self description is adjectival not ontological, iow,they affirm continuity of identity but deny that it is static rather thandynamic; if you dont parse and disambiguate this properly you willengage a caricature (e.g. that no-self denies csc)as far as predicating the personal of God, i was affirming the apophatic andkataphatic and differentiating between the univocal, equivocal, analogicaland metaphorical - some of those predications are the same between pxnty& buddhism but obviously not allhope this helpspax! 1
  2. 2. jbthe practical takeaway from the neither self nor no-self a/c of such asbuddhism(s) & deacons peircean semiotic emergent a/c, then, is that wedont have a metaphysical self; but the empirical self in ourphenomenological a/c suffices for all practical purposesone neednt go as far as either buddhism or physicalism (i still remainmetaphysically agnostic but provisionally close as a nonreductivephysicalist)and this applies to all the traditions, which, like pxnty, should remain insearch of a metaphysic, need have no root metaphor, can function quitewell with common sense understandings and phenomenology of essentialdogma w/o overexplaining them w/systems talk, which eventually &inevitably collapses in incommensurabilities and self-contradictionswe dont want to conflate pxnty w/robustly metaphysical concepts b/cwhen the ontology is found wanting the doctrines get called into question &they neednt be b/c they are immune to such critique methodologicallyiow, buddhism, for all of its metaphysical reticence and silence re primalontological realities, abandons its own counsel when it comes to teleologicalrealitiespxnty advances resurrection as an essentially theological doctrine butbuddhism, b/c it is nontheistic, necessarily must be making what areessentially metaphysical assertions re our personal afterlife destiny?as a buddhist, then, kw is predisposed (stuck really) w/his methodologicalconflations, saying more than we could possibly know positivistically &philosophically (cf helminiak)pxnty asserts more, too, but we recognize our leap past positivist &philosophic horizons, beyond the descriptive and normative to theinterpretive, beyond the certain and probable to the plausibleif kw is a self-described panentheist, he obviously wouldnt parse it as anindwelling but as the whole (One) being > sum of its parts (the Many) oras a pan-entheism vs our panen-theismgetting the ego-self axis better aligned via numinous experience and/orspiritual practices is a topic we can engage (describe and norm)empirically via neuroscience and psychology and then interpretmetaphysically and/or theologically; here the dialogue between buddhistand western psychology comes to bear (and jung engaged buddhism as atheosophical caricature, unfortunately) ... i have read some comparisonsbetween psychotherapy and buddhist psychology but not much more ...exactly how we should treat ego consciousness (e.g. to what extentbuddhists discourage it, as you suggest) on the way to transcendence, 2
  3. 3. individuation and or lonerganian conversion is something thats pivotal andworthy of some good compare & contrast analyses ... good pointit is unfortunate that the phraseology of false self was ever employed or thatdualist and nondualist approaches were ever presented in an over againstway or that any of the furnishings of our epistemic suite were differentiatedin a normative and/or evaluative hierarchy rather than affirmed holistically& integrally as indispensable gifts fr a generously donative realitythe questions in my 1st paragraph were posed to probe what you thoughtbuddhism was saying re: same and not what you thoughtBUT your response delivered some useful clarifications re your ownapproachhave you given any thought to treating the relationships of self and ego toworld and other? may provide useful foils to further elucidate distinctionsbetween ego-self and ego-God and so on (we discussed this in priorcorrespondence if you can find it)you will likely find several references to terry deacon in my old splacecontributions; my own approach is consonant w/his work, which would seeour sense of self as a language-dependent phenomenon = symbolic self-reference, which is an emergent reality that i suspect is physical notmetaphysical but thats not a sticking point if we deal with ego, self andother phenomenologicallythe sense of self in our nonreductive physicalism is pretty much consonantw/buddhist thinking in that self is not essentialist or substantial or soul-derived but merely an intellectual construct (yet still an empirical reality),a useful fiction, so to speak, but this does not entail, in either buddhism orin the physicalist account (both nondual), the goal of dissolving the ego,rather, per both jungian and buddhist accounts, our ego-centricorientation can be transcended by our encounters with the numinous,which then better aligns the functioning of ego with self in a morerobust ego-self axis, a transcendence, so to speakthere are different takes w/in buddhism but generally the interpretationwould be the typical neither self nor no-self revealing, very crudely, thatthe buddha eschewed substance but embraced process metaphysics (thatsuniquely MY hyperbole)were talking fluid and dynamic but not static and essentialistic, not so fluid,however, that identity or agency get sacrificedalso, the buddha is not atheistic but nontheistic, eschewing talk of origins -not only of God but also the nature of a persons beingthe buddhist focus is practical and soteriological and not speculative and 3
  4. 4. ontologicalkws chain of being resonates with this chutes and ladders approach toreality but he departs fr buddhism proper when he gets robustlymetaphysical (buddhism is much more vaguely metaphysical and open, infact, to amendment, more hypothetical than systematic, hence the dalailamas openness to science and evolution)but the practical takeaway for you is its optimism, an all shall be wellnessthat incl personal identity just not a personal God - but even in pxnty Godis neither a person nor not a personexplain what you mean by that deeper metaphysical identity or soul self?for example, would loved ones recognize each other in successive or after-lifes?pax, laterjbyeah, im metaphysically agnostic re soul but suspect we are resurrected atdeath (discussed on splace previously & cited kung)ill send a couple of articles re no selfid be pleased to provide appendix material but maybe you could editsome of what ive already written or you could help me redevelop itdialogically; i have difficulty writing nowadays except when spurred on byconcrete situations or prompted by others inquiriespax, laterjbken wilber & monist implicationsdaccord re kws epistemology, which i describe as arational rather thantruly transrationalwhat happens is, as you say, interdisciplinary lines then blurthe way i say it is that he is being merely inclusive not truly integralthose disciplines have distinct methods so are methodologicallyautonomous w/each necessary but none, alone, sufficient to optimallyrealize human values, hence they are methodologically autonomous butaxiologically integralfor kw, though, they are each methodologically autonomous ANDaxiologically autonomous, iow, yielding WHATEVER 4
  5. 5. re nondual stuff - epistemic approach, ontological outlook & phenomenalrealization/experiencefor most westerners who go there the nd would be developmentallyultimate not necessarily axiologically ultimate, meaning it comes lasttemporally but thats not the same as being the most highly valuedthe unitive intuition perhaps gifts us with HOW we interrelate(interpersonally) while the unitary speaks to HOW MUCH (intimately) isthe way i like to put it in my vague panSEMIOentheism ... they dontcompete axiologically to me, only complete our theo-ontologicalperspectives complementarilypxns already know about both the interpersonal and intimate nature of ourinterrelating fr divine revelationi dont view buddhism pessimisticallyno-self does not entail no personal identity but only no immortal soul (a viewto which im inclined)its not unlike hartshornes nonstrict identity (im also thus inclined)theres much room, indeed an imperative, for personal development andsalvation (blissful even) for that personal identity, only it is not synchronic(think static & essentialistic) & substantival but rather diachronic (fluid thrutime) and processivenow, ultimate reality is impersonal but friendly and karma, in part, servesto impart a type of continuity to personal identitythe buddha is really treating the nature of ultimate reality & persons ashaving unfathomable depth dimensionsbuddhists are happy & peaceful when authentically practicing, even perneuroscientific accounts, and dont share your affective disposition towardmonist reality - would not recognize themselves in your accountwe can and do appeal to interdisciplinary findings in making ourtheological tautologies more taut BUT those are really theologies of natureand not natural theologies, poetic and not philosophic venturesthose who imagine that those are robustly truth-conducive rather thanmerely weakly truth-indicative are kidding themselves, proving too muchBUT they do have some epistemic warrant and are existentially actionableeven when not positivistically conclusiveso, in the end, kw is offering a system but the only way we can profit from itis as a heuristic device and foilSent from my iPhone 5
  6. 6. in short, the practical implications of the monist account, in general, andeven buddhist account, in particular, neednt be considered that differentfrom a phenomenal experience perspectivein fact, the buddha really honors the unfathomable depth dimension of bothultimate reality & of our personhood, maintaining a respectful silence remuch of their character even though affirming unitary beingauthentic buddhist practitioners are some of the happiest and mostpeaceful humans alive (consistent w/many neuroscientific studies)the nd has epistemic and ontological meanings but also refers tophenomenal experiences, which, as realizations, dont necessarily entailmetaphysical conclusions but rather convey sensibilities of deep solidarityleading to profound compassionSent from my iPhonepractical existential hermeneuticspeculative evidential metaphysici used caricature in the sense of purposeful misconstruction via advancinga strawman as a rhetorical strategy but of course dishonesty is nothing wecould know as you saybut there is another sense whereby, for all practical purposes, hismisinterpretation of any given topic results in his presentation of a merecaricature and it would be fair to say that he, for example, engagescaricatures of evolution, christology snd suchdoes that sound reasonable?as for the unitary vs unitive conceptions of the journey, it is notable thatamong billions of practitioners of each approach over thousands of years,so many, who go deeply, will inevitably share a sense of solidarity coupledwith a response of compassionwhile only an insidious indifferentism would suggest that ad majorem deigloriam would not be at stake in getting our approaches as true, as goodand as beautiful as practicable, i dont think we risk that vice in observingthat the practical differences between some paths are often way overstatedefficacies of right relationship to self, other, world & god (even if notconceptually competent) are realized from right practicesorthocommunio results moreso fr orthopathy & orthopraxy and less frorthodoxy, such realizations are likely much more implicit than explicit, thespirits presence & influence being so generous & profuse, so radicallyincarnationaldont need to understand the metaphysics & theology of eucharist or other 6
  7. 7. sacraments in order for their celebration to be efficacious, same is truewith energy healing, same is true for a 20 minute sittingreality IS like the unitary interpretation but also like. the unitiveinterpretation, it IS a successful reference though not a successfuldescriptionthere IS more to be said literally through apophatic predication but there isno limit on what can be metaphorically affirmed through kataphaticaffirmationthe western dualistic mindset gets caught up in a zen conundrum re thenthere is no mountain b/c it doesnt finish the trialectic w/then there is,which returns one to the practical planethe unitary interpretation is but part of the truth but it refers to a LARGEreality w/enormous existential impetusthe unitive interpretation is the most successful reference to ourintersubjective reality while the unitary refers to our intraobjectiverealizations, the former suggesting the essential nature or HOW (intimacy)of our relationship, the latter suggesting the degree or HOW MUCH(infinite)the unitive w/o the unitary leads to deism, while the unitary w/o the unitivetends to quietism, held in creative tension they refer to created co-creatorsSent from my iPhoneas for the unitary vs unitive conceptions of the journey, it is notable thatamong billions of practitioners of each approach over thousands of yearsso many, who go deeply, will inevitably share a sense of solidarity coupledwith a response of compassionwhile an insidious indifferentism would suggest that ad majorem deigloriam would not be at stake in getting our approaches as true, as goodand as beautiful as practicable, i dont think we risk that vice in observingthat the practical differences between some paths are often way overstatedSent from my iPhonedifferent of my friends get angry about how others writings/behaviorsclose MANY fr considering the core pxtn msgsome are very angry about various traditionalistic & reactionary catholicswho chase people away - not just nonbelivers, but - incl their coreligionists,while others focus their anger on various fundamentalistic & evangelicalprotestantsive come to believe that such anger may sometimes precisely reveal a 7
  8. 8. charism of prophetic protest, a special calling to prayerfully &constructively engage a person or topic, that such angry feelings may helpone discern a teaching ministry & fuel it w/passion BUT that the resultingteaching should be delivered only after that passion transmutes into (apeace-filled) com-passion for not only the misguided but the misguideryou can see why kung got angry about rahners coinage of anonymouspxn? people rightly resist having their beliefs appropriated on otherstermspxns can take their apophatic sensibilities & a panentheist theology ofnature and resonate in part w/advaita but strict monists are doctrinallyhamstrung, unable to fully reciprocate in principlebut kw does reach out to differently minded & hearted & believing people,incl them in both practical & teaching aspects of his ministry making for anauthentically inter-faith environment? it is one thing to reinterpret anothersfaith, which i do pneumatologically, myself, but thats not the same ascaricaturizing it, which would preclude dialogue; we dont expect ourdialogue partners to agree with us, only to respect usa caricature misrepresents what others claim about their faith while aninterpretation appropriates elements of others faith on ones own termsi think wilber mis-interprets a lot of stuff (christology, evolution,consciousness, healing arts, etc) but i dont feel like hes dishonestlycaricaturized others positions (but i havent looked into his stuff and otherscritiques enough to say so)many have been led away from caricatures of pxnty b/c they were raisedon nothing but a caricature; that type of dis- belief is hygienic; if only theycould get introduced to the real mccoy! hopefully, thats us :)pax,jbhey, i think i finished that last thought, but im not sure as the oven dingedand i dropped a pepperoni pizza cheese-down on da floSent from my iPhone wilbers gift is breadth & synthesis not depth & analysis; he covers SO much ground; he offers many citations b/c of this breadth but not many references on each category, so its not only christianity that gets short shrift & youll see, as u look further, that others similarly complain that this or that religion or science is given short shrift i sympathize w/ this type of 5ness but i label my grand syntheses as vague heuristic devices (due to my contrite fallibilism) while he considers his synthesis as THE grand metanarrative of the cosmos 8
  9. 9. he thus appropriates pxnty on his terms w/his categories not its own even his buddhism is conflated w/his monist ontology and thus imposes advaita - not only on pxnty, but - other buddhist sects & eastern traditions, all of which, like pxnty, have no need of any robust ontology as they are essentially practical existential hermeneutics not speculative evidential metaphysics Sent from my iPhoneone wilberian irony that has amused me the most is that, re subtle energyhealing claims 1) he recognizes some efficacies - good, so do i 2) hedenigrates the many half-baked physical & metaphysical explanations -good, so do i BUT 3) only b/c they dont coincide w/his own half-bakedmetaphysics where consciousness is a primitive (i suspect it is, rather,emergent, but content to remain agnostic w/sneaking physicalistsuspicions)kinda funny to meSent from my iPhoneyes, my and helminiaks critique is primarily epistemic; having betterdeveloped my own axiological epistemology in more recent years, mycritique would now be more clear & concise; his trans-rational is a-rationalb/c his approach is not robustly integral just merely inclusive, hence aqalneeds to be aqalat where at = all the time, where t= kairos of a full value-realization not chronos of temporality (i think i posted that already); quitesimple, really ... but rather consequential in that it restrains ourpronouncements (hes WAY TOO free-wheeling, a strength practiced to afault, as is our human enneagrammatic tendency)folks like groothuis and even kreeft are offputting to me b/c they juxtaposepostmodernism w/an almost naive realism and they expect too much ofphilosophy and metaphysics, theologically, making their apologetic far toorationslistic BUT rationalism IS an improvement over arationalismyou know, wilber fits in well w/ID theorists re evolution, which isnt helpfuli dont mind csc lingo and subtle energy paradigms as heuristic devicesbut too many gurus employ such literally, which isnt helpful ... but i offergentler corrections on such matters, nowadays, i hopeour weather is like kansas storms today, interesting but dangerous!pax,jbremember this one? There was a little girl who had a little curl | Right in 9
  10. 10. the middle of her forehead | When she was good, she was very, very good| And when she was bad she was horrid.that describes wilbers workthat will continue til he makes the johnboysian corrections that will makethe a/rational truly trans/rationalid present helminiaks critique rather than groothuis though (cant fightmetaphysics with metaphysics)enjoy the equinox, pax!jb 10