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Don't try to explain too much, Unanswered Questions and why I decided to call myself a Hindu

Howdy

For those of you unaware the Buddha somewhat famously refused to answer certain questions.
Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta: The Shorter Instructions to Malunkya
The unanswered questions

These questions were things like " Is the universe finite or infinite, what happens to the tatagata (Buddha) after death" etc and it is a bit of a speculation as to why the Buddha did not answer these questions. In some places it is said that the Buddha didn't answer questions like this because it would merely confuse the people asking them and would not actually help in their practice.

On my own spiritual journey I didn't like unanswered questions at first. I thought it was a way of getting out from giving answers to what students wanted to know. Students can be ceaseless with their questions after all. Mystics are well know for giving their contradictory answers and there are plenty of people who know about koans which are deliberately difficult or unanswerable questions in the zen/chan tradition.

It wasn't until I had my first mystical experience that it really made sense why you give such weird answers to questions asked about mystical experience. They are simply put indescribable but people desperately want to know what you have experienced. People who haven't had that experience want more than anything for you to relate what happened and how it happened.

The truth is I just really can't. I can't relate what happened to me or why. I have studied numerous faiths and mystics to understand that there is certainly something similar going on between faiths as different as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Taoism etc but what is actually happening is still a bit of a mystery.

For me personally I think we are connecting to something divine and unfathomable. For shorthand I might call it God, Ultimate experience, whatever really but it is not something that can be related with words it can only be experienced. I've seen that experience profoundly change some people and It is the thing that saved me from alcoholism and a life of profound suffering. Recently I had some events remind me of how bad things really were and the amount of pain and isolation I was in and I can only say I am thankful to no longer be in that situation.

Now part of the reason I decided to call myself A Hindu with Taoist leanings is that I have personally found Bhakti and the expression of the divine through certain Hindu gods immensely useful. I have felt a very strong connection to certain Hindu texts and found that the rituals have given me a form of expression and connection I did not have previously. The rituals give me a system I can use to continue connecting with that divine presence that I find so difficult to describe. I say I have Taoist leanings because so far I have still not found a single text that seems as willing to embrace the difficulty of putting names to this divine presence as the Tao te ching and the philosophies and practices of Taosim have given me a lot over the years.

I think Hinduism acknowledged a variety of experience that few other faiths do. From what I have seen the mystical experience doesn't really play favorites and people are of such a diverse variety that no one path is ever going to truly work for everyone. Some people want strict rules and practices while others need things more free form. Hinduism embraces that variety of paths since it is more of an umbrella term than anything else. This is also useful for me since although I have been studying the vedas as a historical document they don't really give me much spiritually while the Bhagavad Gita has given me a great deal more.

I think we should take more from the example of the Buddha and be fine just telling people we don't know or that we don't have the answers to the questions they ask. The answers we get in our own lives are often for us and a good deal of what happens after that is unknowable. We should be concerned with our practice here and now and being good. It seems to me we get into squabbles over the tiniest parts of of doctrines without really embracing our own truths and acknowledging that things can be different for different people.

If you have a vegan friend you don't scorn them for it you just buy some vegan hotdogs so they can still attend the bbq. Maybe it's a little annoying to be accommodating sometimes but you need to try and welcome those people just as much as anyone else. God comes to us in myriad ways and we need to be willing to open ourselves up to that just as much as we need to be understanding that not everyone is going to be open or open the same way.
 

stvdv

Veteran Member: I Share (not Debate) my POV
These questions were things like " Is the universe finite or infinite, what happens to the tatagata (Buddha) after death" etc and it is a bit of a speculation as to why the Buddha did not answer these questions
I wonder if the Buddha would answer your question? :D
 

sun rise

The world is on fire
Premium Member
I love the Ladinsky rendering of Hafiz on this topic:

I have a thousand brilliant lies for the question: How are you? I have a thousand brilliant lies for the question: What is God? If you think that the Truth can be known from words, if you think that the sun and the ocean can pass through that tiny opening called the mouth, someone should start laughing! Someone should start wildly laughing now!
 

Spirit of Light

Be who ever you want
Howdy

For those of you unaware the Buddha somewhat famously refused to answer certain questions.
Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta: The Shorter Instructions to Malunkya
The unanswered questions

These questions were things like " Is the universe finite or infinite, what happens to the tatagata (Buddha) after death" etc and it is a bit of a speculation as to why the Buddha did not answer these questions. In some places it is said that the Buddha didn't answer questions like this because it would merely confuse the people asking them and would not actually help in their practice.

On my own spiritual journey I didn't like unanswered questions at first. I thought it was a way of getting out from giving answers to what students wanted to know. Students can be ceaseless with their questions after all. Mystics are well know for giving their contradictory answers and there are plenty of people who know about koans which are deliberately difficult or unanswerable questions in the zen/chan tradition.

It wasn't until I had my first mystical experience that it really made sense why you give such weird answers to questions asked about mystical experience. They are simply put indescribable but people desperately want to know what you have experienced. People who haven't had that experience want more than anything for you to relate what happened and how it happened.

The truth is I just really can't. I can't relate what happened to me or why. I have studied numerous faiths and mystics to understand that there is certainly something similar going on between faiths as different as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Taoism etc but what is actually happening is still a bit of a mystery.

For me personally I think we are connecting to something divine and unfathomable. For shorthand I might call it God, Ultimate experience, whatever really but it is not something that can be related with words it can only be experienced. I've seen that experience profoundly change some people and It is the thing that saved me from alcoholism and a life of profound suffering. Recently I had some events remind me of how bad things really were and the amount of pain and isolation I was in and I can only say I am thankful to no longer be in that situation.

Now part of the reason I decided to call myself A Hindu with Taoist leanings is that I have personally found Bhakti and the expression of the divine through certain Hindu gods immensely useful. I have felt a very strong connection to certain Hindu texts and found that the rituals have given me a form of expression and connection I did not have previously. The rituals give me a system I can use to continue connecting with that divine presence that I find so difficult to describe. I say I have Taoist leanings because so far I have still not found a single text that seems as willing to embrace the difficulty of putting names to this divine presence as the Tao te ching and the philosophies and practices of Taosim have given me a lot over the years.

I think Hinduism acknowledged a variety of experience that few other faiths do. From what I have seen the mystical experience doesn't really play favorites and people are of such a diverse variety that no one path is ever going to truly work for everyone. Some people want strict rules and practices while others need things more free form. Hinduism embraces that variety of paths since it is more of an umbrella term than anything else. This is also useful for me since although I have been studying the vedas as a historical document they don't really give me much spiritually while the Bhagavad Gita has given me a great deal more.

I think we should take more from the example of the Buddha and be fine just telling people we don't know or that we don't have the answers to the questions they ask. The answers we get in our own lives are often for us and a good deal of what happens after that is unknowable. We should be concerned with our practice here and now and being good. It seems to me we get into squabbles over the tiniest parts of of doctrines without really embracing our own truths and acknowledging that things can be different for different people.

If you have a vegan friend you don't scorn them for it you just buy some vegan hotdogs so they can still attend the bbq. Maybe it's a little annoying to be accommodating sometimes but you need to try and welcome those people just as much as anyone else. God comes to us in myriad ways and we need to be willing to open ourselves up to that just as much as we need to be understanding that not everyone is going to be open or open the same way.
Learning the skill of listening instead of the skill of speaking has taught me a lot.
 

Brickjectivity

Turned to Stone. Now I stretch daily.
Staff member
Premium Member
For those of you unaware the Buddha somewhat famously refused to answer certain questions.
Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta: The Shorter Instructions to Malunkya
The unanswered questions

These questions were things like " Is the universe finite or infinite, what happens to the tatagata (Buddha) after death" etc and it is a bit of a speculation as to why the Buddha did not answer these questions. In some places it is said that the Buddha didn't answer questions like this because it would merely confuse the people asking them and would not actually help in their practice.
Cool.

On my own spiritual journey I didn't like unanswered questions at first. ... deliberately difficult or unanswerable questions in the zen/chan tradition.

It wasn't until I had my first mystical experience....to relate what happened and how it happened.

The truth is I just really can't. I can't relate what happened to me or why.
Thanks. I appreciate what you are saying.

I have studied numerous faiths and mystics to understand that there is certainly something similar going on between faiths as different as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Taoism etc but what is actually happening is still a bit of a mystery.

For me personally I think we are connecting to something divine and unfathomable. For shorthand I might call it God, Ultimate experience, whatever really but it is not something that can be related with words it can only be experienced.
I haven't studied numerous faiths. I have a little info about many. They seem to all try to find a way for people to get along. That is a difficult (or perhaps impossible) task, and that may be why they start to reach into God's dimension. Perhaps it is because humanity is so disappointing. Attempts to coalesce us forces us to reach for a higher dimension of thought which partly overlaps God's thought. An analogy is trying to tune a radio to a very thin band and hearing bits and pieces of conversation. We try to find that channel and overhear bits of God, solutions to our dilemma. I suspect God is there into a plain of perfection, and we tune momentarily across that dimension or channel when trying to iron out how to get along. We can't seem to hold the signal for long.

I've seen that experience profoundly change some people and It is the thing that saved me from alcoholism...I am thankful to no longer be in that situation.
I have had a life changing experience as well. It was weird, supernatural and difficult to relate or believe.

Now part of the reason I decided to call myself A Hindu with Taoist leanings is that I have personally found Bhakti and the expression of the divine through certain Hindu gods immensely useful.......names to this divine presence as the Tao te ching and the philosophies and practices of Taosim have given me a lot over the years.
Blows my mind, all that verbiology. There was a time when I was twelve, and I could breathe in definitions and spellings. That was the year I read through the entire NIV bible, at night just before falling asleep.

I think Hinduism acknowledged a variety of experience that few other faiths do......studying the vedas as a historical document they don't really give me much spiritually while the Bhagavad Gita has given me a great deal more.
I have seen pieces of both the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita posted online. Is Hinduism a package of multiple faiths....like hundreds? I think of it as "All of the religions of the various people's in India," though now there are lots of people migrating everywhere so there is no longer a particular location.

I think we should take more from the example of the Buddha and be fine just telling people we don't know or that we don't have the answers to the questions they ask. The answers we get in our own lives are often for us and a good deal of what happens after that is unknowable. We should be concerned with our practice here and now and being good. It seems to me we get into squabbles over the tiniest parts of of doctrines without really embracing our own truths and acknowledging that things can be different for different people.
I agree that its a good idea, and I can source that in Christian canon. 'Not knowing' is a very good idea when it comes to disagreement or deciding who is the authority on a matter. Another way of saying it is 'God knows, not I'.

If you have a vegan friend you don't scorn them for it you just buy some vegan hotdogs so they can still attend the bbq......understanding that not everyone is going to be open or open the same way.
True. Vegans I view as special people who are often uniquely sensitive to the feelings of other species, often from childhood. Meat eaters may not be so sensitive in that area but can be sensitive in other areas.
 
Cool.

Thanks. I appreciate what you are saying.


I haven't studied numerous faiths. I have a little info about many. They seem to all try to find a way for people to get along. That is a difficult (or perhaps impossible) task, and that may be why they start to reach into God's dimension. Perhaps it is because humanity is so disappointing. Attempts to coalesce us forces us to reach for a higher dimension of thought which partly overlaps God's thought. An analogy is trying to tune a radio to a very thin band and hearing bits and pieces of conversation. We try to find that channel and overhear bits of God, solutions to our dilemma. I suspect God is there into a plain of perfection, and we tune momentarily across that dimension or channel when trying to iron out how to get along. We can't seem to hold the signal for long.

I have had a life changing experience as well. It was weird, supernatural and difficult to relate or believe.


Blows my mind, all that verbiology. There was a time when I was twelve, and I could breathe in definitions and spellings. That was the year I read through the entire NIV bible, at night just before falling asleep.

I have seen pieces of both the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita posted online. Is Hinduism a package of multiple faiths....like hundreds? I think of it as "All of the religions of the various people's in India," though now there are lots of people migrating everywhere so there is no longer a particular location.


I agree that its a good idea, and I can source that in Christian canon. 'Not knowing' is a very good idea when it comes to disagreement or deciding who is the authority on a matter. Another way of saying it is 'God knows, not I'.

True. Vegans I view as special people who are often uniquely sensitive to the feelings of other species, often from childhood. Meat eaters may not be so sensitive in that area but can be sensitive in other areas.
To answer the question about Hinduism it's honestly an incredibly loose cannon which is mostly put together cause it has some similar elements. Hinduism isn't really a great term for a religion because these days it frequently encompasses schools of thought which are complete opposites. It's interesting because even in reading things like the Hindu epics you will see ideas that conflict and people that have contradictory ideas about the same subject. I am almost willing to say it's not really a religion at all but is more like a very broad umbrella term which includes so many vastly different traditions and beliefs. For me personally I like using images of things like Shiva, Kali etc to represent that elusive divine cause it works for me but whether or not the term hinduism is really useful is up for debate.

I was considering making a post about the names of various different religions and whether or not names like Hinduism or Buddhism are really that useful when talking about what people believe.
 
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