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Holding Yourself Accountable - Tiny Buddha

This downside is evidenced in practitioner burnout. One source of this burnout is the fact that practitioners are required to do the impossible: to heal someone who is not engaged in the healing process. The downside is also evidenced in the general breakdown in paradigms that have become dependent on chemical medicines to make up for the gap in responsibility. By creating a therapeutic environment where it is understood that personal accountability is fundamental, we can provide a viable alternative to some of the imbalances in the therapeutic paradigms where personal accountability is overlooked.

By taking responsibility for our pain, we can stay focused on what pain is telling us about our experience. Staying close to the pain and following its evolution through the different levels of being, provides a very important grounding mechanism as we seek to understand ourselves. Log In Register 0 items.

Michael Jerryson

Community and Services. Sacred Stream Center. Depth Hypnosis Research. The Stream Enterer. Depth Hypnosis. Applied Shamanism.

A Buddhist Perspective on Monogamy - by Ajahn Brahm - 29 May 2015

Applied Buddhist Psychology. Integrated Energy Medicine. Empowered Living. Distance Learning. Continuing Education. We are delighted that we have been invited to contribute to this book and to offer a Buddhist perspective on these fundamental issues. We believe that Euro-American philosophers have much to learn from the Asian philosophical tradition.

Many of them are still unaware of the degree of philosophical sophistication Asian thinkers have attained. We rely heavily on the best work in the field and trust that we have used it accurately and responsibly. One possible reason for the failure of Asian philosophers to address the issues of this book is the common observation that Asian thinkers, especially those of the Indian Subcontinent, are far more interested in absolute spiritual freedom than freedom of the will.

Rather than a freedom somehow related to the world of cause and effect, the Indian yogis appear mostly concerned with a freedom that transcends the physical world entirely. With this vision in mind the casual determination of karma is not a problem at all, as karmic bondage is a state of all beings until final liberation. Hindu scripture describes the saints as veritable supermen. For example, the Taittiriya Upanishad tells us that the yogi "attains.

In the Pali texts the Buddha rejects these incredible claims of the Hindu and Jain yogis. He was particularly critical of their claims to omniscience.

He did, however, embrace their subordination of the gods and the requirement that they had to be reincarnated as humans in order to be liberated. Therefore, the Buddha and most of his followers are not spiritual Titans, primarily because they rejected the divinity of the saint and sought Nirvana in this world rather than in some otherworldly domain. The Buddha also believed that the body was constitutive of personal identity Sankhya-Yoga and Jain dualists rejected this and that the emotions and senses were not evil. Finally, the Buddha distinguished between Nirvana in the body and Nirvana at the end of the cycles of existence.

Because the Buddha was a strict empiricist and because final Nirvana was beyond the experience of anyone, he declined to say anything about it at all. There is a deeper and more philosophically interesting reason why the Buddha would have found free-will a nonissue. This may be the same reason that Greeks and Romans generally did not find it a problem. Intellectual historians are now getting a better idea about why we find the first discussion of free-will, as Euro-Americans now debate it, in the writings of Augustine of Hippo.

This fact is supremely ironic: Augustine believed in the absolute sovereignty of God and the corollary doctrine of divine omnicausality. In fact, no medieval Christian philosopher, not even Aquinas, solved this basic problem. The full implications of this view were elaborated by William of Ockham, who declared that it was logically possible although not very probable that while we assume that everything operates according to the laws of causality, God could in fact be causing all effects directly out of his potentia absoluta.

It is important to note that, except for some Stoic discussions, divine power was generally not an issue for Asians nor was it for Greek and Roman philosophers.

Was the challenge posed by divine omnipotence, the most radical idea of divine power in the history of religion East or West, the catalyst for problematizing human will power and its freedom? Sanskrit is much richer in this regard. This could very well be the historical clue for the later development of distinctively modernist forms of thought. The resultant split in reason and faith gradually led to the other dichotomies of modernism, the seeds of which were planted in the late medieval period.

Faith returned to the inner world, while reason found new triumphs in empirical science. The basic issues of early modern European philosophy arose out of this intellectual milieu. The pre-Cartesian meaning of subject Gk. After Cartesian doubt, however, there is only one subject of experience of which we are certain--namely, the human thinking subject. All other things in the world, including persons and other sentient beings, have now become objects of our thought, not subjects in their own right. Cartesian subjectivism gave birth simultaneously to modern objectivism as well; and, with the influence of the new mechanical cosmology, the stage was set for uniquely modern forms of otherness and alienation.

Modernism is a form of thought that loves to dichtomize. It separates subjects from objects, the inner from the outer, the private from the public, fact from value, religion and science.

If the freedom of the will is something subjective and causality is something objective, and if free-will happens only in an internal realm and cannot happen in an outer realm of cause and effect, then free-will and moral responsibility are indeed problems of supreme significance. It is no accident, then, that modern philosophy generated other related problems as well. The issue of the freedom of the will was joined with the problem of the ontological status of the external world, the problem of the knowledge of other minds, and the rejection of the idea of moral facts—in sum, the table of contents of an introductory text in modern European philosophy.

Was he philosophically naive or was he right in his assumptions about the nature of reality and knowledge? If one, for example, does not make a firm distinction between the inner and the outer, then there can be no talk about free events inside us and determined events outside of us. Neither can there be a problem of the ontological status of the external world and the skeptical impasses that arise from this. James and the Buddha observed that basic experience does not divide into inner and outer; rather, the inner flows into the outer and the outer flows into the inner.

One could perhaps read Hume in the same way. It is only by some Cartesian method of systematic doubt that an inner world of ideas and perceptions is separated from an outer world of physical things.

How did Buddhism begin?

The Buddhists would say that this minimal capacity that all of us have is the simply the potential for anyone to use the faculty of mindfulness to a very high and sensitive degree. Although usually referred to as a virtue, mindfulness sati is more accurately called the faculty indriya by which the Buddhists control the six senses the mind is included and their moral development. Earlier we distinguished between Nirvana at the end of existence and Nirvana while embodied, which can be described as state of contentment sukha as an equivalent to the Greek eudaimonia and as freedom from all craving.

Buddhists would also agree with Lehrer that what we prefer is always our option while what we desire wells up in us involuntarily. By giving in to her cravings the Buddhist would continue the cycles of existence forever, something she, or any other clear-minded person, does not prefer. By choosing meditation and other spiritual disciplines as preferences, she prepares herself for the ultimate preference: Nirvana and freedom from Samsara.

Furthermore, note that this Buddhist is an agent of her preferences, as Lehrer explains, rather than being just a passive victim of her desires. Finally, with regard to the problem of preference control, the nontheist Buddhist does not have to contend with an omnicasual deity, who, according to Augustine and Luther, empowers us to turn to God as well as to turn away from divine grace. Most Buddhists also do not have to contend with mad neurophilosophers from Southern California to control their preferences!

While the issue of free-will does not arise in Buddhism, it is indisputable that it embraces a universal determinism: every effect, without exception, has a cause. The idea that the will is uncaused or is self-caused violates the Buddhist principle of interdependent coorigination prattiyasumutpada : nothing in the universe can originate itself as substances allegedly do or the will is said to do. Buddhist causality, however, is seen as a cosmic web of causal conditions rather than linear and mechanical notions of push-pull causation. Furthermore, the Buddha claimed that we are morally responsible only for those actions that we intend.

He took strong exception to the Jain theory that we suffer from accidental karma, such as stepping on a bug that we do not see. Only their strict determinism, they claimed, would maintain objective ethical standards. The Buddha countered, however, that if the mind is always subject to the control of the past, then there could never be any liberation, nor could there be any moral responsibility. Also, if I were to become evenminded in respect to this cause of sorrow, if I were to develop this evenmindedness, I would become dispassionate.

Lasting values in an impermanent world

The most famous example is the analogy of a lump of salt, first placed in a cup of water representing the corrupt person and then placed in a lake representing the Buddhist saint. The effect in the former is obviously different from the latter. This example has become controversial, because the salt is usually seen as an evil intention, having disastrous consequences in the sinful person but virtually no effect on the saint.

Being mindful is deliberately forming preferences over the desires that might lead us out of our own personal means. Like phronesis , Buddhist mindfulness is primarily nonsensuous, correct perception. Such a view is not relativistic in the nonnormative sense, because the principal determinants for eating just right are primarily objective not subjective. If people ignore these objective factors--e.

If people are unmindful, they allow unhealthy eating habits take them in one direction or another, but the mindful stay within their respective means. Therefore, the mindful ones are free, while the ones tending to either extreme are not. We can now define Buddhist free agents as those who are keenly aware of the effects their actions have on themselves and others. They are free from ego attachment and craving either for ascetic deficiency or indulgent excess, representing karmic bondage rather than karmic freedom.


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Free and mindful agents know what their needs are and what their preferences should be; and, on the basis of that knowledge, they can separate desires from cravings, defined as desires that either cannot be fulfilled, or for things that are simply not needed. Moral freedom lies in the ability of agents to form desires that are consonant with their needs and personal circumstances. For the Buddha the deepest and subtlest craving is the desire for a self-determining and independent self—in a word, a soul substance.

It is a supreme irony that what European philosophers assumed is necessary for true human freedom is actually the cause of its greatest bondage. Because the Buddha rejected the both material and mental substances, Buddhist conditionality amounts to causality with substance metaphysics. We should envision, as we have been forced to do in contemporary physics, all events conditioning one another rather than physical and mental causes pushing, pulling, or otherwise interacting with one another.