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Thread: 5/9 - The Dissatisfactions of Modern Life p. 89

  1. #1

    5/9 - The Dissatisfactions of Modern Life p. 89

    Or, as they say in French ... Le mécontentement de la vie moderne ... (things like that alway sound better in French) ...

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: 5/9 - The Dissatisfactions of Modern Life p. 89

    Hi,

    Just got my book yesterday so I have some catching up to do. Anyway, I shall jump in now and be damned. My thoughts are:

    Yes, technology and material goods do not provide peace of mind but then neither does a lack of them. I think they are irrelevent to finding peace by seeking or running away. However, the fact of being human is seeking or running away from things. So at least if we can see this and understand our predicament then we have a few more choices than just being whipped around mindlessly every day.

    I don't understand the word religion. I think more in terms of religion being the feeling of something biggert than oneself. Everyone has this feeling but the ego often gets in the way of allowing it to manifest and drive behaviour when it should. Even Dawkins (anti-religion scientist) has this feeling towards science, and why not.

    Sure, progress and peace is possible if everyone tries to progress for peace for everyone and not just for their own peace. I am a little pessimistic on this.

    Cheers, Paul

  3. #3

    Re: 5/9 - The Dissatisfactions of Modern Life p. 89

    Just looking around the web it seems that the generally agreed cure for dissatisfaction with life lies in having a positive attitude and building good social relationships. But what happens if we find ourselves socially isolated? Uchiyama seems to be saying that we should develop an inner peace of mind that is not dependent on external circumstances. Makes sense to me.

    Gassho,
    John

  4. #4

    Re: 5/9 - The Dissatisfactions of Modern Life p. 89

    Is this always seeking for more possessions and amusements, never content to be where we are or who we are, a part of being human? Or,is it just greatly amplified by our culture? I've always hated hearing and seeing the phrase "Bettering one's self" when applied to getting to seeking more education, losing weight, higher positions, new looks, etc.. It's as if we see ourselves as flawed products that can perfected with polishing. Always getting closer and closer, but never arriving "there". Perhaps, it's better to strive at "Knowing one's self" or just "Being one's self".

    Gassho, Tony

  5. #5

    Re: 5/9 - The Dissatisfactions of Modern Life p. 89

    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by Uchiyama Roshi
    It is becoming increasingly urgent to establish true religion alongside this civilization based on science and technology, to enable us to regain spiritual peace. We must pursue in a practical and serious way a religion incorporating peace in the truest sense - a peace that cannot be achieved by the development of scientific technology but is not incompatible with it.
    I think our Practice distinguishes itself from other 'religions' in this very point, and even other forms of 'Buddhism' as well. True peace does not deny the real and does not affirm the unreal. True peace exists here and now, within and without, in this very moment.

    Gassho
    Ken

  6. #6

    Re: 5/9 - The Dissatisfactions of Modern Life p. 89

    Interesting that Uchiyama turns to discussing the role religion plays in modern society. Scientific/technological progress seem to have substituted religion in the West. In a way, believing in science is not much different than holding mythic believes in some religion (that science dismantled): as my hand rests on the keyboard for three seconds trillions of neutrinos are said to be passing right through it with the speed close to the speed of light yet I have never seen any of those. I have to believe the scientists when they tell me those particles that weigh almost nothing and are very hard to detect exist and are one of the particles that our universe and myself are build of. Well, a lot of stuff that I cannot verify I have to take on faith. Yet, science seems unable to provide this peace of mind that Uchiyama speaks about. On the other hand, no knowledge in itself can give one peace of mind, as peace of mind is a state that is not related to cognitive processes or it least this is what I believe. :wink:

    Uchiyama writes:

    Dissaisfaction is the mother of invention and progress
    .(p.91)
    But together with the wars that are unavoidable if we want to sustain the current level of consumption with the same level of natural resources, there is also a promising trend growing in the Western world as one reads about different movements starting, the downshifters being one of them, when people actualy decide to work less and earn less but instead spend more time with friends and families, pursuing their hobbies...
    In 1981 a new term was coined for this phenomena - "simplicité volontaire" (Jundo will enjoy this one, I only know it in French :wink: ), when people strive to live better with less (in material terms). I also hear about those slow cities in Europe where no fast food restaurants are allowed and where people are encouraged to take it easy.

    I could maintain that I came to the practice not out of satisfaction either and dissatisfaction with how I related to the world around me and the constracts of my mind made me make a shift in my thinking (I am not sure it is the same as a shift in consciousness). In my case then dissatisfaction is the mother of spiritual development then? :roll:

    Uchiyama says we need
    true religion alongside this civilisation based on science and technology, to enable us to regain spiritual peace (p92)
    , very much along the lines of the Dalai Lama's talks with the scientists which I find quite exciting to follow. I think the way the science was developing, it was bound to lead to dissatisfaction despite the huge technological progress: at some point scientsts assumed a very instrumental approach in their research (Middle ages some time?), thinking Nature was somewhere out there and we humans could stand outside and take the thrid person approach to it, using it for making our lives better. In the end it contributed to our feeling of isolation and affirmed the dualistic approach that our whole (Western) society is now is build on. And what have we now?

    Just as Uchiyama advocates for this new sort of true religion, I would advocate for true science. 8)

    Gassho,

    Irina

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