Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ultimate Truths



Question:(unedited)
Please try and comment on this: this year i am supposed to finish high school and, after that, go to college ( i want to study physics). I find it already difficult to reconcile my buddhist beliefs with what i learn at school. How could i ever study and belive in something that is just a lie (or, at least, it seems so for the moment)? That is why i asked you about what enlightened people do for a living. I cannot go up to my teacher and tell him all that i know about forces, energies, causality, quantum mechanics, etc. and than, as a closeing statement , say that it is all illusion and that i do not belive anything in the first place. ( By the way, i never thought that any of your comments were rude, not at all.) thank you for your time ( smiles from me :) )

My comment:
Welcome for the 6th time! From what you wrote, I think you are a very intelligent young man.


There are 2 aspects of the Buddha's teachings. One is based on ultimate truth. The other is related to conventional truth. Both are truths in their own rights. Ultimate truth is like saying "everything is subject to change". Conventional truths are truths in the worldly sense so long as everyone agrees with it, for example, in the U.S. you must drive on the right side of the road. This is not ultimate truth, for I drive on the left side of the road in my country.


A lot of our worldly knowledge is based on conventional truths. But this does not mean that we should reject them. We have to live by these truths because everyone lives by them, so that there is a systematic conduct consistent with a certain degree of harmony. Otherwise there will be chaos in this world. Most things taught in schools are conventional truths. They are truths in their own rights. We must not reject them. They are beneficial for human progress. Science and medicines are very useful and beneficial to all of us. We cannot say that these subjects are empty or useless. So we have to be very careful to balance spiritual wisdom with worldly intelligence, so long as we want to live a worldly life. That is why an enlightened person cannot fit into our worldly society.


You must be very careful not to go overboard into thinking that all worldly knowledge are useless or false. You must continue with your education so that you can become a useful citizen. Please go to college and study physics as you have planned. There is nothing contradictory to Buddhism in what you are studying. If you go deeper into physics, you will find that what you have studied were revealed by the Buddha more than 2500 years ago! You see, the Buddha was the greatest physicist when he explained the functions of this body in relation to the mind; and when he revealed the cycle of the universe.

9 comments:

A true Malaysian said...

Justin,

All of us are so used to this 'material' world. Things than are not tangible or not proven by science are very hard for us to believe their existence or logic.

Buddha touches on rebirth, 31 planes of existence and so on and because these are not 'tangible', they are hard to 'convince' people to believe their existence.

To me, Buddha's teachings are not there to 'convince' one to believe in his teachings but it is up to you and me to discover whether there are any truth in the teachings. This is what 'ultimate' truth is all about.

Justin Choo said...

A true Malaysian,

You can say that again.

Thanks for keeping this quiet blog alive>

A true Malaysian said...

Justin,

You are welcome. The truth is that you are the one to keep this blog alive by putting in efforts to answer the questions posed to you. This, by itself, it no easy task.

One thing good about blogging is that one's thoughts can be shared out with others, no boundary, no passport needed and will be there forever (unless deleted by server owners). This is also applicable to those views put through by commentators.

In fact, we are leaving our legacy and wisdom behind in blogsphere where our own children or grandchildren can access and understand 'what type of person we were'.

Who knows, even our own 'next life' reading our 'previous life' writings and found them 'familiar'?

That is also the reason why, to me, internet is the most wonderful invention mankind can have. People like you, who is knowledgeable in Buddhism, should be encouraged to put their 'knowledge' in the blogshpere for the benefit of mankind.

Justin Choo said...

A True Malaysian,

"In fact, we are leaving our legacy and wisdom behind in blogsphere where our own children or grandchildren can access and understand 'what type of person we were."

Funny, all my relatives and friends (not many)don't want to read my blogs,for reasons only known to themselves!

(But I think I know)

A true Malaysian said...

Justin,

They may not be 'bothered' now don't mean that they may be 'bothered' in future.

Anyway, who knows they or others read your blog, but choose not to comment? On the other hand, we can't force people to read or leave comment either.

I can see from your "FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed", visitors from all over the world are visiting. That is an achievement by any standard.

Avatar said...

Dear 'A True Malaysian',

Your comment on 'material world' prompted me to say something. Just because the Buddha touches on intangibles things, is it that hard to accept?

1. Why is it some people can accept the concept of an all omnipotent being, Hell and Heaven but not different planes of existence?

2. What is the Internet but an intangible thing?

3. What are emotions, feelings, thoughts, perception if not intangibles?

Sometimes, all these things and more have me puzzled, especially as to the nature of human beings.

Rgds

Justin Choo said...

A True Malaysian,

Yes indeed, the internet is a wonder, the 8th wonder of the world. I never dreamt that I could reach out to so many people all over the world. Even in the "Allexperts" I have answered 1026 questions to date!

I am indeed very happy in this respect.

Avatar,
Thanks for dropping in.

A true Malaysian said...

Avatar,

Don't get wrong, my 'material' comment was only a 'general' statement that applicable to this material world of ours.

I for one, can accept those 'intangibles' that Buddha touches on , not on 'blind' basis, but on the basis of 'critical and logical thinking', accept and then put into practice.

'Intangible' aside, so long we can 'feel, touch, hear and see' with our senses, like internet and current, there is no doubt we human being accept their 'existence'. Furthermore, they are scientifically proven.

I am equally puzzled as to the nature of human beings.

Take for example, if we talk something on a person's teaching to someone without disclosing that person's identity, then, that person's teaching will be more acceptable to him or her.

But, if after acceptance of that person's teaching, then we tell him or her that the person is so and so, he or she may 'reject outright'.

I have this experience before that telling a friend about Buddha's teaching without mentioning the word 'Buddha'. He in fact accepted there is 'truth' in it, but after I mentioned that the teaching is actually from Buddhism, he 'rejected outright' just because he is not a Buddhist.

You get what I meant, Avatar? So, human nature is something that is hard to understand, as sometime, even we do not understand ourselves. How to understand 'human nature' then?

Justin Choo said...

A True Malaysian,

This is what the Buddha referred to as a deluded mind. A deluded mind is a closed mind, a biased mind...never mind!!

Hahahahaha!!

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