[Buddha-l] Laughing at enlightenment

Mike Austin mike at lamrim.org.uk
Mon May 9 00:55:10 MDT 2005

In message <1115609225.7935.18.camel at localhost.localdomain>, Richard P. 
Hayes <rhayes at unm.edu> writes

>If you choose to see your appearance as handsome, your physical
>condition as health and your financial status as wealthy, then choosing
>to see things in that way is precisely what makes you healthy, wealthy
>and handsome. Nothing else possibly could achieve that than your choice
>to so believe.

If that were so, we would have a solution for poverty and ill-health in 
the third world.

>The Buddha said things that you chose to believe was a diagnosis of your
>existence. You convinced youself, perhaps, that you are deluded in
>thinking you are happy. Or you may have convinced yourself that you
>engineered your own unhappiness. But what if you chose not to believe
>such things?

I see how my folly can lead me to periods of unhappiness, just as Buddha 
said. I would be in denial to say it is otherwise. If your experience is 
different, then dismiss what he said.

>What if you were to believe that you are happy when you are
>happy and unhappy at other times

I do just that, but there are qualifications to it. Some of my happiness 
is the suffering of change.  But I know you have argued against the very 
notion of suffering of change on a previous occasion.

>> We are not obliged to accept it. I don't see any attempt to persuade. It
>> is up to us if we want to hear it or read it.  If we want to dismiss it,
>> we are at liberty (bad choice of word) to do so.
>Yes, of course. That is exactly my point. But it does not answer my real
>question. My question is: are we better off when we choose to believe it
>that if we choose to believe otherwise?

I did answer your question, but you didn't quote it.

"If one imagines a better state, it does not necessarily cause suffering 
in the present state. If one knows how to reach an enjoyable destination 
and one is travelling there, then hardship is more easily tolerated."

>And by what criterion could one
>possibly have any confidence that she has correctly assessed whether or
>not she is better off one way than another?

If one is enjoying oneself hurtling along in an open topped car, that is 
by itself enjoyable.  If one realises one is travelling so fast that one 
will definitely hit the car in front, all enjoyment vanishes even though 
an accident has not yet happened.

>Bt what could be better than believing that nothing could be better than
>how you are right now?

Knowing that it will remain this way, which is not the case in the above 

Mike Austin

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