Furthermore, Hinduism itself came up with the idea of dualism as opposed to monism, an idea central to Buddhism but one that has been almost completely undercut with the advent of the Scientific Revolution. And Hinduism itself has been influenced by the Age of Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution enough that it has pretty subsumed the teachings of the Buddha in that while we can appreciate some of the ideas of the Buddha in a modern context, we can also reject those ideas that are now known to be not only misguided but also false.
I am in a discussion over at the Facebook page for "Zen Soto Buddhism". I would like to place some of my comments from that page over here so that Zizek and others can see the full context of the history of Hinduism and Buddhism.
This argument falls out naturally from my paper, which it looks like is going to have be a book, "The End of History and the Last Hindu". Please read that to get the full picture.
Anand: Given the multiplicity of views on this matter, the best choice in terms of public utility might be to use a federated form of government where different states within a country are allowed to enact their own laws on prostitution. This idea would be particularly applicable to the Buddha's own homeland, India.
Commenter1 : does this increase or decrease suffering?
Anand: That's a Good way to phrase the question. Let us be really thoughtful and insightful about this rather than jump to conclusions. It would be good to be Insightful about this because, as the Buddha said, it is Reason that we must privilege above Scripture. Whereas upon initial analysis, it might seem to be somewhat counter-intuitive as a stance, we can see that it is actually in accordance with Buddha's ideal of Reason over Scripture.
This economic arrangement, if properly implemented (and that is not inordinately difficult to do), is Pareto-optimal. As economists, we call something Pareto-optimal if, of course, some people are made better off and nobody is made worse off. So, this arrangement ought to decrease Suffering (Dukkha (Pali)). (Again, from a Western Judaeo-Christian Scriptural point of view, this may seem counter-intuitive. But one must cultivate Compassion for those who disagree with us as well.) In fact, that is exactly what we observe in Western democracies where it has been implemented.
As a person on this board said in a different context. The Buddha often told his disciples the following: "The most difficult hindrance to developing Truth in one's mind is adhering to the letters of the scriptures. The merit of millions of years of scriptural study is inferior to that of a single day's cultivation of mind. Abandon the scriptures, instead, cultivate your mind."
Some people would answer your question as : the Hindu scriptures. but this is a less than accurate answer because Hinduism was not even defined at the time at the time.
Please also see my entry on "Who are the Hindus" in The Hinduism FAQ:http://thehinduismfaq.blogspot.com/.../hinduism-basics...
P.S. If the Buddha had been a comparative sociologist looking at the scriptures of all religions: (1) what would he say about killing people in the name of religion? (2) what would he say about modern monotheism? (3) what would he say about modern polytheism? It is reasonable to say that we can guess at what the answers would be - even if we can't be fully sure.
Unfortunately, with the number of addictive substances now available, the number of fields of desire has multiplied immensely.
The fact of the matter is that the Buddha was a pre-modern. This means that post-Enlightenment thinkers (say, Jewish rabbis or Jewish thinkers of today - say me! <feeling mischievous>) are a better guide to both curbing desire and to avoid excessive licentiousness than the Buddha. (With due respect to the Buddha, of course).
I should also mention that the Buddha himself said that if there was something that he said we did not feel was right, then we should reject it.
As far as sexual desire is concerned, I, for one, believe that Freud was right. (Jewish guy! :))
> fields of desire.
Yes, but if you see my point on Facebook, surely you can note: first, that this specific form of addiction (to online social networks) is new and different; and second, therefore, it follows that the treatment for this form of addiction could potentially be different. It is certainly possible that what the Buddha said could potentially be applicable here. That is one hypothesis. Call it H1. The other hypothesis is that what the Buddha said is -not- applicable to deaddiction from Facebook. Let us call this hypothesis H2. How can you prove to me, beyond reasonable doubt, that H1 is the right hypothesis to go with? I can certainly see the other possibility- viz., that there may be specific strategies that may be applicable to getting deaddicted from Facebook that may not even be Buddhist in nature at all.
> Nothing has changed with humans at all.
No, people are now exposed to a very different set of stimuli than they were at the time of the Buddha. To argue otherwise would be daft. The addiction to Internet pornography, for instance, is a new phenomenon. The question of the "misuse of sex", therefore, comes up in that context.
However, it is clear that hypotheses H1 and H2 are just as applicable here as well. Thus, we are being asked to think more critically about whether the teachings of the Buddha are applicable -necessarily- to deaddiction from Internet pornography. Maybe it won't help.
> is suffering. It proceeds from the mistaken belief that I am a
@Tom, with due respect, whether one believes that one is a separate being from others or not is not important to many questions related to the "misuse of sex", which is the topic under discussion. I, for one, think the monism preached by the Buddha has been almost throughly rejected by all modern scientists. We must, therefore, reject this idea of the Buddha just as he asked us to. (The Buddha said that if there was something that we found incorrect in his teaching, we should reject it.) I think it is time that we simply rejected any idea of monism - such as the idea that I am not a separate being. No matter how charming the idea itself may be. This is partly what prompted the great Hindu thinker Madhvacharya to argue for dualism. Madhvaharya defeated many, many others in debates, and it is a testament to the greatness of the Hindu religion that they considered Buddhism (or Buddhisms) also to be under its umbrella as possible approaches.
And I think we can all agree that Madhva was right. P.S. The Hindus simply can't defeated in debates. <feeling mischievous>