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Chordal Wrote:But I can try and wait until I can read through the section on nirvana and see what it gets me, and then try and come back more prepared. I know there is "nirvana without fixed abode" (apratisthita-nirvana) which is the state of a bodhisattva who has attained enlightenment and remains in the world by choice to help beings...there is also...the idea that nirvana is the cessation of the defilements which are never to rise again (the main defilements [the "Three Poisons"] being anger, greed, and ignorance [of the Dharma])...then there is nirvana-with-residue and nirvana-without-residue, which I won't understand without studying more...
Okay, so looking at a book I've recently found, not fully including all the information I got from Mizuno:
Mahayana divides Nirvana into four categories.

Svabhava nirvana: Nirvana which is always present, but not always obvious...to my presently-conditioned mind it seems similar to the idea of a ...how should I put this? The idea seems similar to the concept I have of ...higher planes of existence. Not literally "higher", as in away from the center of the Earth; but occupying the same space that we sense around us, just on a different frequency. When I've discharged some of my crystals I've sensed the gate between worlds; essentially the energies are transmuted.

The idea of "above" (as in "heaven above") is, in my understanding, a metaphor for a different-vibrational world. It isn't that the energies caught up in the crystal are literally going up, as flame to fire. It's more like they shift and disperse. The metaphor that I read which attempted to explain this, didn't make rational sense; but it did seem to refer to potentiality, and that would refer back to the Void -- nothingness with limitless potential, itself a Daoist concept. My mind is also pulling in something from near-death experiences as well; but best not to get into that.

Nirvana with residue (sopadhisesa-nirvana): the state of one who has eliminated the Defilements (this includes the Three Poisons, which fairly clearly can lead to great suffering) but is still bound by karma (? I question this statement) and the Five Aggregates (skandhas) -- the elements of existence put forth by at least some Buddhist schools (though it does seem standard).

The five skandhas are rupa-skandha (form), vijnana-skandha (mind), vedana-skandha (perception), samjna-skandha (mental conceptions) and samskara-skandha (volition). These are given out of the order in which my most recent source gives them (Seeker's Glossary of Buddhism, pretty clearly put out by a Pure Land school, given its use of the concepts of "Evil," "Demons," "Hell," and extolling of the virtues of Pure Land Buddhism), because the last three skandhas are elements of the second. That is; if someone has attained nirvana-with-residue, grossly, this means that they no longer suffer, and they no longer desire, but they're still alive.

Nirvana without residue (nirupadisesa-nirvana): the state of one who has eliminated the Defilements, and in whom the skandhas have also ceased. No form, no consciousness, no perception, no conception, no volition. No desire, no suffering. Obviously can't happen if your body is still functioning.

"Nonabiding Nirvana": what I prior referred to as "nirvana without fixed abode" and apratisthita-nirvana -- this occurs when one is released from Samsara, but because of great compassion, continues to help living beings. I believe this is known as the "Supreme Enlightenment" (that is, not the enlightenment of the Sravakas [hearers of Shakyamuni's sermons] or of the Pratyekabuddhas [those who have become enlightened in isolation and have taught no one]). "Supreme Enlightenment" (I am not certain of the original term) is supposedly the enlightenment of the Buddhas (in Mahayana, at least, there are more than one) and highest Bodhisattvas (the epitome being Manjushri).

AAAAAAAAA. Ok. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> As a warning, I get kind of heated in the below, though it's more frustration than anything.

I also found an interesting quote which relates what I was saying in the above, here:

Chordal Wrote:
Gesigewigus Wrote:
Chordal Wrote:I'm not sure if this would be considered a mistake, but I would like to know what is Buddhism and what is people trying to add in extraneous messages under the heading of "Buddhism". Taste of salt? <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink -->
If you're worried about the extraneous stuff under the heading of Buddhism you can drop all your silly Boddhisattva and reincarnation talk right here, and this weird idea that you can be Buddhist and talking online, get thee to a monastery!
Heh -- I realized that "extraneous messages under the heading of 'Buddhism'" would probably include a majority of what I was talking about, about a day after I sent this.
The quote is this:
Quote:"[...] Buddhism doesn't cure people of their culture, and sometimes Buddhist rhetoric reveals more of a cultural agenda than a spiritual one." -- p.5, Sallie Tisdale, Women of the Way.
The context of that quote...Tisdale is speaking on inequality within Buddhist institutions based on sex (or rather, based on not being male)...which is something which I rather accidentally got a noseful of while reading a book by H.H. which clarified the logic of the arya-satya to me. Kind of like fruit and poison at the same time...though you'd likely only notice the poison if you were female. It wasn't anything H.H. said, rather it was the utter dearth of female representation in the photographs accompanying the text, which was an eye-opener. Unnecessary discrimination based on someone's form, not their merit; even with an intent to kindness, is still...heh, maybe I should be trying not to judge. Or is that just something people say to cover their own weaknesses, hoping you'll obey them and not question?

Chordal Wrote:It is rather odd to have shifted into this viewpoint. Someone whose words I used to follow elsewhere, I recall saying something to the extent that we know that extreme asceticism is crazy, and we know that going to the other extreme of indulgence brings pain, so how do we negotiate a middle path...but the asceticism s/he (I can't remember hir gender) referred to was of the type of not killing anything ever (like insects), not eating meat...in the past I've brought up the idea that we can't even survive without killing something, or we would be overrun by microorganisms very quickly.
So, in the abovementioned text...SGoB, let's call it; I did find an entry on "Killing". It's fairly universally against killing anything (even an ant), but ambivalent on animal experimentation, because of the human benefit (selfish, anyone?). Killing is wrong, but torture is justified? Killing something with a face is wrong, but having a working immune system and chopping down trees is fine? What about eating rice, eh? Those were little grass babies!

...This doesn't seem right.

In light of this, I've been doing some thinking. Part of this is the fact that my house has seen its share of insect and arachnid invaders, and that the only way we can keep it under control (that is, as not multiple infestations) is by killing them. Another part is that if you don't kill them, they have babies, and then all the babies eventually die (as the field of dead fruit flies I discovered today -- none of which I killed -- on my windowsill can attest to). Is it better to kill the potential parents, or let the masses of their babies suffer and die? Is it better to kill the flies, or let them kill your plants? Let the snails eat everything in your garden and then die en masse of starvation?

Somehow I'm thinking that if Shakyamuni had been a farmer, he would not have said never to kill anything, under any circumstance.

I also find the division between "sentient beings" and everything lacking a brain (i.e., plants, stones, bacteria, fungi, intestinal parasites, etc.) to be...arbitrary. Just because they do not have what we think of as consciousness does not mean that they are unaware of existing, or don't care if they die. Balance is the nature of samsara. Never harming anything, for any reason, ever (even as in euthanasia or self-defense), is not balanced.

In light of the fact that I do not observe the precept which states never to kill anything ever, and I don't see myself changing on this anytime soon without a good deal of rage, I think I'd feel better if I withdrew the "bodhisattva" status from my little mini-bio on this board. If it's in me, it's in me. No need to announce it to the world. I'm thinking that I may be best off learning from Buddhism, while still keeping in mind that people thought this stuff up and that people are imperfect, hence the teachings are imperfect. (Though...you will find people who say others and their teachings, are perfect...) Question is that if you do not believe the Buddha was perfect or "enlightened", how are you going to be a Buddhist...how are you going to have faith in the teachings?

The assist keeping that mess (the "bodhisattva" stuff) up there could give me, would be a reminder to focus on bodhicitta -- altruistic intent to attain both wisdom (prajna) and compassion (karuna) for the liberation of myself and others. The deficit it would give me would be in my being unsure I'm worthy of presently holding the title...even if I have recently had legitimate moments of bodhicitta.

It makes sense to take what helps and leave that which currently only inspires internal conflict and more suffering.

I think I'm a little angered, by what I've read...probably because I've been on the frontiers of space prior denied to women. Plus I'm getting martial arts flashbacks (where, for years, I was the only female in the class). I suppose I'm just a bit disappointed. And I suppose I've just tapped what's left of my rage. As, how can I put my faith in a flawed system? How can I believe anything it says, when certain elements, like seeing others' bodies as disgusting, seemingly has roots in misogyny, which looks like it was cultivated in an attempt to avoid desire for women?

If anyone wants to talk about nirvana now...I've reviewed what I can easily reach, but I can see it's possible that there may be something else here one may want to talk about.

Gah. I normally only see stuff like this coming out of the mouths of Zen people...
Chordal Wrote:I know that I don't want to kill insects and spiders, but I also know that if I don't, they will overrun me. I know that an entirely vegetarian diet is not what my body is built for. I know that I will quickly die if my immune system stops working. I would like to not ever have to kill anything, but I also would like to survive. Buddhist morals say it is wrong to harm or kill sentient beings. What is the boundary which determines which beings are sentient, and how can we judge that? Is it the more itself that is unrealistic, untenable? If so, do we modify it? Should we?

See, in Vajrayana this isn't an issue. In fact once at a White House dinner the Dalai Lama apparently protested a vegetarian meal saying he was a Buddhist, not a vegetarian. Don't know if it's true though. Different sects have different ways of handling it, I'm under a slightly bizarre restriction of eating me. I can go to a store/butcher and buy anything they have, but if they don't have something I can't ask for it. Why? Well that cow was already killed and ground up, but if I ask for a chicken somewhere down the line there is a chicken that is going to die just so I can have it. If it's there it isn't my fault, but if I cause it to be there (request it) then it is my fault.

Chordal Wrote:Svabhava nirvana: Nirvana which is always present, but not always obvious...

Don't think high, low, outside, or anything, think subtle. Stop for a moment a listen. What do you hear? A tv in another room quitely running, your computer fan. What do you feel? The sensation of warm air passing your upper lip as your breath out, the pressure of the chair against your legs, the tightening of your socks against your ankles. All of this, and a hell of a lot more, is present every moment, but we're too focused on everything else to realize it. Always present, but not always obvious.

Quote:Unnecessary discrimination based on someone's form, not their merit; even with an intent to kindness, is still...heh, maybe I should be trying not to judge. Or is that just something people say to cover their own weaknesses, hoping you'll obey them and not question?

How do you know that form isn't a result of merit, and female bodies are a result of less merit? Not that I believe that, but gotta stir up shit.

Seriously though the entrenched sexism in Buddhism is always an issue, even with the most amazing of women. Great women are dakinis, but men can be tulkus, rinpoches, high lamas, and more. Women sometimes have their roles completely appropriated. For example various hagiographies of Machik (Tibetan Saint, awesome woman) have various levels of importance put on men, and it's all social/political. Sometimes it mentions how she fought getting married to study Dharma, but since she was an emanation of Wisdom it was just pretense really. Other times she's actually an advanced Yogi from India who takes over a girl's body to teach, and he learns a whole lot from a bunch of awesome men.

There are shifts, yes, but it's slow.

Quote:Another part is that if you don't kill them, they have babies, and then all the babies eventually die (as the field of dead fruit flies I discovered today -- none of which I killed -- on my windowsill can attest to). Is it better to kill the potential parents, or let the masses of their babies suffer and die? Is it better to kill the flies, or let them kill your plants? Let the snails eat everything in your garden and then die en masse of starvation?

This is why the majority of food for African nations charities kill more people than they save. Families have 8-9 children cause only 2-3 survive, but better nutrition means 6-7 survive and 15 years later there is no way a family three times bigger can support itself.

Killing with cause is tricky in Buddhism. Vajrayana gets around it with magickal fruefrueness. In one story a great saint is sailing when his boat is boarded by a pirate who threatens to kill everyone on board. The saint sees all the karma the man has created, and realizes how much more he get if he kills this crew, and others. So the saint kills the pirate out of compassion that way he only has to deal with a small portion of the karma he could have created. There is another tale about Padmasambhava "accidently" killing a man, but it's okay, he actually knew when he knocked the sword/trident off the ledge that the man was going to be a horrible warlord. He killed him not to save the lives of the victims, that would be silly, but to save that man from growing into a warlord and all the karma that would bring.

Quote:I also find the division between "sentient beings" and everything lacking a brain (i.e., plants, stones, bacteria, fungi, intestinal parasites, etc.) to be...arbitrary.

Is it arbitrary though? If I cut a plant in half, and repot both parts, both grow, so which is the original? If there was plant mind/soul, is there now two, is there one they are sharing, does only one have it? What about a stone, when does a stone die? A stone naturally may get smaller in rain over years (many many years) but is it dying in that process? If that stone had a mind/soul wouldn't sand? If that is the case when the stone is worn down where does the sand mind/soul come from, is it part of the rock, or a new one?

With sentient beings this line is far more clear, but not perfect.

Quote:Question is that if you do not believe the Buddha was perfect or "enlightened", how are you going to be a Buddhist...how are you going to have faith in the teachings?

Unlike Christianity Buddhism isn't a matter of grace. I don't believe Siddartha was enlightened because frankly I see no evidence to believe he physically existed. You're confusing the man with the Buddha. The faith is in the Triple Gems, not some spoiled Indian dude who ran out on his wife and kids.
Gesigewigus Wrote:
Chordal Wrote:I also find the division between "sentient beings" and everything lacking a brain (i.e., plants, stones, bacteria, fungi, intestinal parasites, etc.) to be...arbitrary.
Is it arbitrary though? If I cut a plant in half, and repot both parts, both grow, so which is the original? If there was plant mind/soul, is there now two, is there one they are sharing, does only one have it? What about a stone, when does a stone die? A stone naturally may get smaller in rain over years (many many years) but is it dying in that process? If that stone had a mind/soul wouldn't sand? If that is the case when the stone is worn down where does the sand mind/soul come from, is it part of the rock, or a new one?

With sentient beings this line is far more clear, but not perfect.
I don't have a lot of time to write right now, however I did want to say that I actually have an answer to this. However, it's something that I'm not entirely ready to go public with yet. If you would like to know the answer, which I believe might be interesting, hmm...I could PM you or I could ask you for an email address given over PM so that this would be off of the board entirely. I'm a bit cautious and so would prefer the latter, but then again I do not know that this would indeed be more secure.

Gesigewigus Wrote:How do you know that form isn't a result of merit, and female bodies are a result of less merit? Not that I believe that, but gotta stir up shit.
How does anyone know it IS? To say that female-bodied people are spiritually inferior to male-bodied people is like saying that the ancestors of most African-Americans must have done something in their past lives to have merited slavery. If a person treats me badly, it isn't their fault for being maladapted, it's because in some way I must have deserved it? If I get raped, oh, that's just because I'm so effing beautiful that jerks lose control of themselves around me and I can't blame them for not being able to handle their hormones, it must somehow be my fault because I did something to deserve it? Oh, not in this life. IN THOSE PAST LIVES THAT WE CAN'T PROVE EXIST.

It's ...heh, I don't think I'm supposed to curse on this board. <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink --> It's blaming the victim.

Gesigewigus Wrote:
Chordal Wrote:Another part is that if you don't kill them, they have babies, and then all the babies eventually die (as the field of dead fruit flies I discovered today -- none of which I killed -- on my windowsill can attest to). Is it better to kill the potential parents, or let the masses of their babies suffer and die? Is it better to kill the flies, or let them kill your plants? Let the snails eat everything in your garden and then die en masse of starvation?
This is why the majority of food for African nations charities kill more people than they save. Families have 8-9 children cause only 2-3 survive, but better nutrition means 6-7 survive and 15 years later there is no way a family three times bigger can support itself.
What people don't understand is that food is just the beginning, in a case like this. If you give clean water, food, and plumbing, this means more children will survive. More children mean more of a burden on the local ecosystem; therefore it's in the long-term best interest of the people whom you're feeding, to become educated so as to no longer depend on gifts of food. Well-educated people can move out of the area. They can also send money back home.

Also important: birth control. I do not mean any form of genital mutilation.

Contraception can be encouraged among the first-generation parents, however the parents will still have an economic incentive to have lots of children if they believe that they will depend on these children to support them in their old age. Provide economic security for the older people so that they will not need to depend on their offspring when they are no longer able to work. Teach children that if they each have as many children as their parents did, and live the same type of lives their parents did, the community will collapse because the Earth can't sustain them. Put in an injunction that says that if the birth rate over X number of years goes over a certain limit, assistance will be withdrawn.

Tell people not to listen to religious leaders who claim that contraception is a sin -- the alternative is either mass abstinence, mass murder, or population explosion, and both of the latter mean greater death than now exists. Teach men and women who want to reproduce that their identity as a man or a woman does not depend on, nor grow stronger from, having many children.

Do not enter into this contract as one state alone, or the economic strain may very well be enough to send that state itself into financial duress. We need the support of many states, not just one. If multiple states do not want to assist, what do we do -- tell them that people will continue to die unless they give their support? This is the weak point. In a system which rewards selfishness, how are we to make it clear that it is in everyone's best interest to help people who are obviously drowning?

In other words: what is needed is not just food, water, and sanitation, but education, contraception, the availability of jobs for the educated, the support of multiple national parties, and the cooperation of the communities themselves. That's just to prevent population collapse over the long-term. This is not even to get into the HIV pandemic or any of the social problems tied into this mess.

Gesigewigus Wrote:
Chordal Wrote:Question is that if you do not believe the Buddha was perfect or "enlightened", how are you going to be a Buddhist...how are you going to have faith in the teachings?
Unlike Christianity Buddhism isn't a matter of grace.
I keep hearing people talking about "grace", and I can only infer what it is...no one ever told me. Or, if they did, I entirely did not understand, to the point that I forgot. What do you mean?

[Edited at 10:44 PM because I'm not sure that bleeped curse words still count as curse words.]
Chordal Wrote:I don't have a lot of time to write right now, however I did want to say that I actually have an answer to this. However, it's something that I'm not entirely ready to go public with yet. If you would like to know the answer, which I believe might be interesting, hmm...I could PM you or I could ask you for an email address given over PM so that this would be off of the board entirely. I'm a bit cautious and so would prefer the latter, but then again I do not know that this would indeed be more secure.

I'm more curious to why you see the need for privacy regarding this, than what your actual answer is, but sure, PM, I'll see what I think.

Quote:How does anyone know it IS?

Presumably because someone who was Enlightened and like Buddha say "thousands upon thousands of lives in the past" and knows more than we do trapped in samsara.

Quote:To say that female-bodied people are spiritually inferior to male-bodied people is like saying that the ancestors of most African-Americans must have done something in their past lives to have merited slavery.

Actually those are totally different. One is saying that one form of existence is inferior to another while the other is saying people are deserving of slavery. Your statement linking them is more on par with "Jenny isn't as good of an artist as Bill, so she should work in the Salt Mines."

Quote:If a person treats me badly, it isn't their fault for being maladapted, it's because in some way I must have deserved it? If I get raped, oh, that's just because I'm so effing beautiful that jerks lose control of themselves around me and I can't blame them for not being able to handle their hormones, it must somehow be my fault because I did something to deserve it? Oh, not in this life. IN THOSE PAST LIVES THAT WE CAN'T PROVE EXIST.

Not that I'm supporting or discounting either option, but it is intriguing that someone wondering about being on the path of the Bodhisattva has such reservations about the notions of karma and the effect it has on the present life.

Quote:What people don't understand is that food is just the beginning, in a case like this.

Yes, but a full illustration was not and is not required to make the point.

Quote:I keep hearing people talking about "grace", and I can only infer what it is...no one ever told me. Or, if they did, I entirely did not understand, to the point that I forgot. What do you mean?

I think it's more of a Catholic thing (though Archer says Protestants have it too, even though my upbringing didn't feature it as heavily) but basically, we're all exceedingly unworthy of heaven, even the best of us are horribly wretched sinners that really deserve hell, but you know what, that Jesus-dude loves us so much that out of the goodness of his heart he'll redeem us. Christianity as a religion (not philosophy) is dependant on Jesus being a real spiritual person, because without him even if the Old Testament is true, pretty much every is damned. Buddhism on the other hand, it makes not one lick of difference if the historical Buddha was a real human being or not, because we're not being saved by some external figure, we're doing all the work to get our reward. (Some argue without Buddha being real there is nothing to strive for, but they're outside of the faith, really if Buddha is just a literary figure it changes nothing about the path, or the results people have achieved)
Gesigewigus Wrote:
Chordal Wrote:I don't have a lot of time to write right now, however I did want to say that I actually have an answer to this. However, it's something that I'm not entirely ready to go public with yet. If you would like to know the answer, which I believe might be interesting, hmm...I could PM you or I could ask you for an email address given over PM so that this would be off of the board entirely. I'm a bit cautious and so would prefer the latter, but then again I do not know that this would indeed be more secure.
I'm more curious to why you see the need for privacy regarding this, than what your actual answer is, but sure, PM, I'll see what I think.
Has more to do with having run across people I don't trust here than anything. I won't have a lot of time to write right now, but last night I reconsidered and I'll probably post the hypothesis here.

Gesigewigus Wrote:
Chordal Wrote:How does anyone know it IS?
Presumably because someone who was Enlightened and like Buddha say "thousands upon thousands of lives in the past" and knows more than we do trapped in samsara.
If "Buddha" never existed, how do we know that anyone ever was "enlightened"?

Gesigewigus Wrote:
Chordal Wrote:To say that female-bodied people are spiritually inferior to male-bodied people is like saying that the ancestors of most African-Americans must have done something in their past lives to have merited slavery.
Actually those are totally different. One is saying that one form of existence is inferior to another while the other is saying people are deserving of slavery. Your statement linking them is more on par with "Jenny isn't as good of an artist as Bill, so she should work in the Salt Mines."
Because all the shit female-bodied people go through is due to biology, right?

You probably wouldn't know this, but there is a history in my country that says that Black people are inferior in all ways (except perhaps physical labor, music, and dancing) to Whites. IIRC, Mormonism actually states this (though I don't think they put in the above exceptions).

I'm not quite willing to go in-depth with you on this because it's clear that you won't understand. It's also clear that we're speaking from different levels of power -- you wanting to know information from me and putting the burden of proof on me (without seemingly having any emotional investment), while I'm speaking from a disadvantaged position as both a minority and a female (with a gigantic amount of emotional investment). If I continue to speak about this, it's likely that I'm going to really, strongly want to start cursing -- a lot -- and that is not conducive to my staying on this forum. Hence, for my sake? I may not engage you on this further.

I've got to go.
Chordal Wrote:If "Buddha" never existed, how do we know that anyone ever was "enlightened"?

We've had great teachers, saints, Boddhisattvas and Buddhas since.

Quote:Because all the shit female-bodied people go through is due to biology, right?

No, but theoretically ever condition is karmic. So it doesn't matter if the shit female-bodied people go through is biological, social, or because pigeons prefer pooping on people with boobs, in that paradigm it's all the same.

Quote:You probably wouldn't know this, but there is a history in my country that says that Black people are inferior in all ways (except perhaps physical labor, music, and dancing) to Whites. IIRC, Mormonism actually states this (though I don't think they put in the above exceptions).

I'm not quite willing to go in-depth with you on this because it's clear that you won't understand.

You're right, because as a social worker who focused on transphobia, homophobia, sexism, and sexual health, and as someone going through for a 5-year degree with an extreme focus on social equity, that's completely out of my field of knowledge. I'm sorry, your snake is a coiled rope.

Quote:It's also clear that we're speaking from different levels of power -- you wanting to know information from me and putting the burden of proof on me (without seemingly having any emotional investment), while I'm speaking from a disadvantaged position as both a minority and a female (with a gigantic amount of emotional investment).

I take it you never take up temple debates. That's all this is, except you don't hear when I clap and point.
Gesigewigus Wrote:
Chordal Wrote:You probably wouldn't know this, but there is a history in my country that says that Black people are inferior in all ways (except perhaps physical labor, music, and dancing) to Whites. IIRC, Mormonism actually states this (though I don't think they put in the above exceptions).

I'm not quite willing to go in-depth with you on this because it's clear that you won't understand.
You're right, because as a social worker who focused on transphobia, homophobia, sexism, and sexual health, and as someone going through for a 5-year degree with an extreme focus on social equity, that's completely out of my field of knowledge. I'm sorry, your snake is a coiled rope.
Your learning doesn't make up for the fact that in this lifetime, you haven't had 29 years of hands-on training as to the effects of sexism and racism, as directed against you and your family and your friends and your colleagues. Transphobia and homophobia are not the same thing as racism -- especially not when either or both are compounded WITH racism. You haven't lived in a world where being of color is the norm and where, should you travel to the majority of other places it is theoretically possible to go in the country, you get stared at, because everyone else is white. You get stared at, because your parents are different races. Do you have places in your country which are off-limits to you because of the way you would be treated? Needless traffic citations, being assumed to be a criminal because of the color of your skin? Have you had the majority of your male relatives put into jail because they were targeted because of their race?

I could list...more examples here, but I have a feeling you would write them off as "personal baggage" and irrelevant.

A 5-year degree doesn't change the fact that you hold the ontological status you do, and the ontological status you hold colors what you see. You have not experienced the experience of a woman of color in the modern United States at this point, and you will not be able to in this lifetime. Your degree will not make up for that. It will not make you into me. And at some point it would be best to realize that, when dealing with minorities, especially racial and cultural minorities, you are not always the teacher.

If you don't understand, say, "I don't understand, could you explain further what you meant by that?" Don't say, "you're talking gibberish." It will get you farther.

Gesigewigus Wrote:
Chordal Wrote:It's also clear that we're speaking from different levels of power -- you wanting to know information from me and putting the burden of proof on me (without seemingly having any emotional investment), while I'm speaking from a disadvantaged position as both a minority and a female (with a gigantic amount of emotional investment).
I take it you never take up temple debates. That's all this is, except you don't hear when I clap and point.
I have never been exposed to temple debates, and I don't know what "clapping and pointing" would infer.
Gesigewigus Wrote:
Chordal Wrote:If a person treats me badly, it isn't their fault for being maladapted, it's because in some way I must have deserved it? If I get raped, oh, that's just because I'm so effing beautiful that jerks lose control of themselves around me and I can't blame them for not being able to handle their hormones, it must somehow be my fault because I did something to deserve it? Oh, not in this life. IN THOSE PAST LIVES THAT WE CAN'T PROVE EXIST.
Not that I'm supporting or discounting either option, but it is intriguing that someone wondering about being on the path of the Bodhisattva has such reservations about the notions of karma and the effect it has on the present life.
I've already said that I don't understand valuations of karma. The karma that I understand is that which is acquired and fulfilled in this life. Karma from "past lives"...let me break this down.

"Negative karma" from "past lives" which is seen to be the cause of suffering which was unprovoked in this life appears to me to be a cop-out to cover up what Buddhism is too narrow to understand in and of itself, and a reification of an oppressive status quo.

Karma from past lives which is not valued one way or another, I can see influencing rebirth, but not "luck" in subsequent lives.
I will agree with Chordal, to an extent, that no amount of learning will allow a person to know what it's like to experience racism, sexism, etc, but on the other hand, I do not believe that you have to experience it to comprehend what it is and how it works.
It is, however, a bit silly to use the "you don't know what I know" argument to exclaim that someone else doesn't know something as it applies both ways. Ges doesn't know what it is to be Chordal, but Chordal doesn't know what it is to be Ges either.
(How sure are you, Chordal, for example, that Ges is a male bodied and male identified white person?)

I do not agree that racism and sexism and heterosexism and cissexism are all separated and different.
All the hate and "isms" are interconnected. Study on history, sociology and psychology shows how they are interconnected.

In any case, oppression isn't a contest, we shouldn't go around arguing that one of us is more oppressed (and therefore more knowledgeable on oppression) than another.
Yes, those that face oppression should be heard, but we can't go around believing they naturally have all the answers and all the knowledge. Our background colours our world, no matter who we are, and no amount of personal experience will grant us the same knowledge as study of everything else involved that we haven't experienced. Things like history, sociology, psychology, etc.
Better we pool our resources, those of us who wish to combat oppression, and try and look at the whole picture, not just "my way".
Miniar Wrote:Ges doesn't know what it is to be Chordal, but Chordal doesn't know what it is to be Ges either.
(How sure are you, Chordal, for example, that Ges is a male bodied and male identified white person?)
I think I may know more about Ges in this instance than yourself. I've seen images of Ges. I am not assuming Ges's gender identity. However, it was not my intent to "out" hir (I use that pronoun to the effect that it's gender-neutral, not to the effect that I assume Ges is genderqueer or not).

Miniar Wrote:In any case, oppression isn't a contest, we shouldn't go around arguing that one of us is more oppressed (and therefore more knowledgeable on oppression) than another.
What I was initially upset about were several things:

1) My willing to concede that I did not understand things I did not understand (a trained-female trait), while Ges was not (a trained-male trait).
2) Ges's reproduction of a paternalistic framework in which I was the (minority, female) person who was the student in all ways and sie (apparently white, male) was the leader in all ways, despite the fact that sie may not know what sie's saying, its social context, or how it would affect the listener, in this instance.
3) My knowledge that Ges likely does not have direct experience of either racism or sexism stemming from this incarnation, hence likely did not understand my metaphor, and instead of admitting this and asking for clarification, claimed that I was using faulty logic (because hir understanding of race and racism was not equivalent to mine).
4) My being called on to defend myself as to why the suffering of all female bodied people (and by extension, myself) was not in reality their own (and my own) fault.
5) Ges's apparently not seeing or caring that the assumption that -- all the bullshit I had to live through, as a result of being female, was a result, in fact of my spiritual inferiority (as compared to hir) -- was a harmful and oppressive and paternalistic and ignorant one, not a neutral one.
6) The easiest resort, which is in fact to claim the spiritual superiority of females to males, just reinforces a sexual binary and myths about sex, and is no better than males claiming spiritual superiority to females.
7) The fact that it seemed that to continue to be taken seriously, I'd have to restrain the huge amounts of anger at this situation that I felt, or otherwise reinforce the, "yeah, females have less merit," conclusion that I'm certain countless women have had to go through at the hands of a male-dominated clergy. This is not an unknown social dynamic.

I can see that I probably took this more personally than intended, however; I would hope Ges knows from my prior interactions here, that I am easily pissed as regards sexual inequality. However, that doesn't excuse my going off on hir, and I do feel bad about it, so I'd like to officially apologize for that.
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