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Re Buddhism and Pxnty

Re Buddhism and Pxnty

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Published by John Sobert Sylvest
ego, self, no-self, personal identity and such in buddhism & christianity

http://johnboy.philothea.net/
ego, self, no-self, personal identity and such in buddhism & christianity

http://johnboy.philothea.net/

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Published by: John Sobert Sylvest on Mar 24, 2012
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01/03/2014

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 being-in-love
and
being beloved 
as indispensable realizations for our journey to
authenticity 
... yes ... the consummation of lonergan's series of imperatives while buddhists are not w/o such realizations
vis a vis 
their mutualencounter of one another (yes, as unique personal identities even though
dynamic, 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
formative spiritualitues 
and various
individuation paradigms 
a 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, substantival version; soul is okay
phenomenologically 
just needn't 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 don't 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
 
 jbthe
practical 
takeaway from the
neither self nor no-self 
a/c of such asbuddhism(s) & deacon's peircean semiotic emergent a/c, then, is that wedon't have a metaphysical self; but the empirical self in ourphenomenological a/c suffices for all practical purposesone needn't go as far as either buddhism or physicalism (i still remainmetaphysically agnostic but provisionally close as a
nonreductive physicalist 
)and this applies to all the traditions, which, like pxnty, should
remain insearch of a metaphysic 
, need have no
root metaphor 
, can function quite well with common sense understandings and phenomenology of essentialdogma w/o overexplaining them w/systems talk, which eventually &inevitably collapses in incommensurabilities and self-contradictions we don't want to conflate pxnty w/robustly metaphysical concepts b/c when the ontology is found wanting the doctrines get called into question &they needn't be b/c they are immune to such critique methodologicallyiow, buddhism, for all of its metaphysical reticence and silence re
primal ontological realities 
, abandons its own counsel when it comes to
teleological  realities 
pxnty 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 wouldn't parse it as an
 indwelling 
but as
the whole (One) being > sum of its parts (the Many)
oras a
pan
-entheism
 vs our
panen-
theism
getting 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
 
individuation and or lonerganian conversion is something that's pivotal and worthy 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 against way 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
to
world 
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 that's not a sticking point if we deal with ego, self andother phenomenologicallythe sense of self in our nonreductive physicalism is pretty much consonant w/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 betranscended byour encounterswith thenuminous,which then better alignsthefunctioning ofegowith selfin amorerobustego-selfaxis,atranscendence,sotospeak
there are different takes w/in buddhism but generally the interpretation would be the typical
'neither selfnor no-self'
revealing, very crudely, thatthe buddha eschewed
substance
but embraced
process 
metaphysics (that'suniquely MY hyperbole) we're 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 person's beingthe buddhist focus is practical and soteriological and not speculative and
3

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