April 29, 2016
1. In this section, I plan to address some concepts and practices in Buddha Dhamma that appear to be myths and/or contradictions to many. Some are indeed myths, but some are not. And sometimes it depends on the interpretation. There are two aspects to some of these practices.
- It is hard for people from various religions to understand why Buddhists pay respect to Bodhi trees or pagodas (chetiya) which look like pyramids with different shapes.
- On the other hand, even many Buddhists who worship them do not really know why they are doing it.
- Some of the practices are outright myths, like the belief that one can attain Nibbāna by doing breath meditation; there is no basis to that. How can one remove defilements (greed, hate, ignorance) by concentrating on the breath?
- However, some of them can be shown to be verifiable and inter-consistent fundamentals of nature: realities or verities.
2. Then there are other concepts like a Bodhisattva getting “niyata vivarana“, or confirmation from another Buddha that he WILL become a Buddha at such and such a time. How does that tally with the concept that one can change one’s future drastically by even a single act, and that kamma is not deterministic?
3. The value and strength of Buddha Dhamma comes from its unshakable foundational concepts (axioms) and inter-consistency. There is nothing inconsistent in the practices or concepts in true and pure Buddha Dhamma.
- But it requires some background material in order to be able to discuss some of these issues. Buddha Dhamma cannot be assessed with conventional thinking. One needs to comprehend the basics of Buddha Dhamma first.
- The more one understands the basic premises, the easier it will become for one to sort out myths from realities.
- After two years of posting essays on key concepts, we are at a stage to start discussing some of these issues. With time, we will have enough background to cover more of these issues.