reply to post by DangerDeath
Ascestic philosophy, you got to love it
Suppose everybody became Buddhist and there is no society. How are newborn children going to learn? Who is going to feed them? Who is going to
manufacture the clothes, build the homes, irrigate and farm the fields, treat the ill and injured, protect against enemies and animals?
You say Buddhism is not a religion, but in my opinion the philosophy you describe is very religious and very destructive, selfish and lazy. If
followed sincerely would lead to the extinction of the human race. It is sophistry, it sounds nice on paper of everybody retiring to a mountain or
cave and meditating all their life, but it is impractical in the real world. In the real world we need society and its many divisions to keep it
going. We need our schools to become educated, we need leaders to govern us, we need our artisans and workers to build homes, roads for us. We need
our doctors and scientists to ease our ills. We need our armies to protect us. Simply put we need society and society needs us.
Krishna successfuly refutes this sophistic doctrine in the Gita. I will cite his argument which is completely agreeable to the intellect:
Arjuna: If it be thought by Thee that knowledge is superior to action, O Krishna, why then, O Kesava, dost Thou ask me to engage in this terrible
With these apparently perplexing words Thou confusest, as it were, my understanding; therefore, tell me that one way for certain by which I may attain
Krishna: In this world there is a twofold path, as I said before, O sinless one,—the path of knowledge of the Sankhyas and the path of action of the
Not by the non-performance of actions does man reach actionlessness, nor by mere renunciation does he attain to perfection.
COMMENTARY: Even if a man abandons action, his mind may be active. One cannot reach perfection or freedom from action or knowledge of the Self, merely
by renouncing action. He must possess knowledge of the Self.
Verily none can ever remain for even a moment without performing action; for, everyone is made to act helplessly indeed by the qualities born of
COMMENTARY: The ignorant man is driven to action helplessly by the actions of the Gunas—Rajas, Tamas and Sattwa.
He who, restraining the organs of action, sits thinking of the sense-objects in mind, he, of deluded understanding, is called a hypocrite.
But whosoever, controlling the senses by the mind, O Arjuna, engages himself in Karma Yoga with the organs of action, without attachment, he excels!
Do thou perform thy bounden duty, for action is superior to inaction and even the maintenance of the body would not be possible for thee by
The world is bound by actions other than those performed for the sake of sacrifice; do thou, therefore, O son of Kunti, perform action for that sake
(for sacrifice) alone, free from attachment!
(The commentaries are by Swami Sivananda)
Arjuna asks Krishna that if knowledge is the highest virtue(I agree, look at my sig) then why does Krishna urge him to fight, why cannot Arjuna just
retire into a forest or mountain and meditate and gain knowledge. In other words your ascetic doctine.
Krishna explains that if one does not act, they are not commiting to non-action. In fact their decision to not act is an action itself. The real
deteminents of their actions and non-actions are the unconscious forces which are always acting. They do not cease acting as long as you are in time.
If I say I am a non-actor and and decide to do nothing, not even move, this will not stop time from acting on me, it will not stop the electrical
currents and organs from running in my body, it will not stop the Earth from revolving, it will not stop the solar system from from travelling in the
galaxy, it will not stop others from acting on me. So the truth is I cannot cease to act, I am acting every moment.
So even our non-actions actually create actions for us. If you being a buddhist see an innocent person being hurt and it is within your power to help
that person, but you do not, then your inaction is generating an action. The laws of karma state that every action will generate a reaction and hence
your non-action will generate a reaction. Therefore if you continuely choose to non-act you will continously generate reactions and be stuck in a
vicious loop. Hence why Krishna tells Arjuna that one must act, because one cannot help it, but if one acts for sacrifice i.e., selfless action one
is not subject to the laws of karma.
How does one act selflessly? A Vedic maxim says, "All for society, nothing for me" when you cease being the doer and actor and rather dedicate your
life to the betterment of others you are acting selflessly and your work is not binding, but liberating(karma yoga)
[edit on 26-4-2009 by Indigo_Child]