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That's enough to give us pause right there – it's not really a process of self-discovery if you're told the method, the steps, and the only acceptable conclusion before you've even begun.
Buddhism's inheritance from Hinduism is the notion of existence as a painful continuous failure to negate itself.
The wheel of reincarnation rumbles ruthlessly over us all, forcing us to live again and again in this horrid world until we get it right and learn to not exist.
I remember one of the higher monks at the school giving a speech in which she described coming back from a near-death experience as comparable to having to "return to a sewer where you do nothing but subsist on human excrement." Life is suffering. Now, there are legitimate philosophical reasons for holding to this view.
Viewed from a certain perspective, the destruction of everything you've ever cared about is inevitable, and when it's being experienced, the pain of loss does not seem recompensed by the joy of attachment that preceded it.
Distraught, she went to the monks who explained to her that she was having such trouble now because, in a past life, she was a murderous dictator who burned books, and so now, in this life, she is doomed to forever be learning challenged.
Not, "Oh, let's look at changing your study habits", but rather, "Oh, well, that's because you have the soul of a book-burning murderer." To our ears, this sounds so over the top that it is almost amusing, but to a kid who earnestly believes that these monks have hidden knowledge of the karmic cycle, it is devastating.
That's just what you criticise Christianity for, isn't it?
" This would be a pretty damn good argument if I were convinced that the conclusions of Buddhist belief were as ironclad as their usually serene-unto-finality presentation makes them seem.
Place your hands in the position of meditative equipoise, four finger widths below the navel, with the left hand on the bottom, right hand on top, and your thumbs touching to form a triangle. Most likely you have a sense that it is associated with the eyes since we derive most of our awareness of the world through vision....
This placement of the hands has connection with the place inside the body where inner heat is generated." This is already an unpromising start – if you aren't even allowed variation in the number of sub-navel finger widths for hand placement, how can we hope to be allowed to even slightly differ on the supposed object of inner contemplation? When speaking of meditating on the mind, the Dalai Lama manoeuvres his audience into a position where his conclusion seems inevitable: "Try to leave your mind vividly in a natural state... However, the existence of a separate mental consciousness can be ascertained; for example, when attention is diverted by sound, that which appears to the eye consciousness is not noticed...