Friday, August 26, 2016

your turn #1 (updated with today's class)

art by kajahl benes

welcome to my class.

this is going to be your first post for comment.

here are some of what we've talked in class:

1- master/slave dialectic in the case of the syncretism in hinduism. i made the point that hinduism is a pottage of tendencies and practices.

2- getting our metaphors right when talking about big things. we need to know what we're talking about, there are real things, and there are metaphors to recontextualize these things. for example, "soul" for me is not real, but metaphoric. it doesn't matter, i still talk about it and make use of it, but you know what i mean. 

3- so far these categories in hinduism:

kharma, universal cause effect. you reap what you sow.
samsara, a cosmic principle. not easy to grasp. it means the same and the different at once.
dukkha, i made the point in class that suffering is essential for hinduism. without suffering there is no spiritual growth. this is the redemptive aspect of hinduism to the idea of suffering.
atman/brahman, a difficult concept. we'll be grappling with it throughout the semester.  is it one? is it two? it's both.
yajna, sacrifice. you give of yourself in exchange for something or someone, that's the first idea of yajna, then comes the second more powerful idea: sacrifice for its own sake. we're not there yet, we need to read from the bhagavad gita.

i've linked these to wikipedia articles (which i think are quite good). in your 150-word comment you can take any tangent you want, while keeping focused on one of these themes. try to make your comment informed, and interesting. you can take a look at these previous comment boxes made by my last phi 2070 class, here and here.

update: today we added mayabhakti and ineffability.

go ahead!

to make a comment 

click at the bottom of this post where it says "post a comment." you will get a box, after you are done with your comment sign it at the bottom of your comment (even if you have a google alias). click "anonymous" (unless you have a google account with your alias). i advise you to write your comment first on word and copy and paste it to the comment box in case it gets lost (this has happened to students whom lost the whole comment). click i'm not a robot and click "publish your comment." by the way, you can preview your comment before you publish it.

if you have any questions, let me know via email ( or call me. good luck.


Cristian Soto said...

I've spent the following days seeing Brahman, or God, in anyone I can remember to observe. The same breath of life that fills me fills all around me. Even in passing, I make a mental note that we are of the same "one." That being said, the concept of samsara, specifically WHERE the individuals are in their respective cycle, is intriguing. I wonder how the drug addict restricted to a wheelchair is bound to that situation by his/her karma.

I saw a Siberian Husky, a breed of dog which I equate to nobleness and loyalty. I wondered if the dog, assuming it has those aforementioned qualities, is further along in its karmic cycle then let's say a murdered of five children. Or perhaps an honest worker bee compared to that same murderer.

Finally, it is rather comforting to say that this is the "best possible world" as discussed in class. My mother didn't seem to apreciate it when I told her to accept the fact that I was the last person to be dressed and ready bfor scholl by virtue that "it was the best possible world and we were resigned to it." Nonetheless I like the concept.

Daiana Oppecini said...

How Moksha (spiritual liberation from the cycle of Samsara) could ever be achieved without the knowledge and wisdom suffering (Dukkha) provides? He who has not experienced some form of profound distress cannot ever consider himself completely aware of the human condition. As human beings we are in a constant state of change, we are change itself. Change is suffering, and suffering is the greatest teacher one could dare to have. Suffering provides the most invaluable lessons life has for us, lessons we could not ever even grasp in any other way. Through pain, we develop compassion to others and ourselves, and the empathy to act accordingly. But all this discomfort and suffering also makes an unimaginable strength arise from within, an incomparable will to pursue all that life has to offer, including the achievement of Moksha. The practically endless circular concept of Samsara is a beautiful one, making individuals feel part of a poetic higher existence and conditioning them, through firm faith and belief, to act in a way that is never exempt of consequence, be it in this life or the next. Although I believe that the concept of Dukkha is a positive one in the sense of personal growth, considering the possibility of suffering to be a catalyst that enables us to have a deeper understanding of life itself and how to live it, I think excessive pain could be crippling when confronted with an unprepared or cynical mind.

Anonymous said...

Dukkha is the act of suffering that Hindus have to go through to be able to grow as a person spiritually. The concept of Dukkha from what i understood was that due to the Hindus being invaded, they had to become stronger and self mechanic. I believe that what happens in the stages of Dukkha is you become more aware of what is important and needed, and the way that is figured out is through obstacles and suffering. Hindus were just trying to figure themselves out when they had all their power taken away from them. They had to stand their ground and also find a way for them to still have strong beliefs and share things in common. Hindus are what you can say prone to suffering, and that is seen as eternal Karma. Karma is when you have done something wrong or have had negative thought towards something and it comes back around to you. I believe that they also believed in good karma, and that would come around to them too. The cycle of suffering and karma being brought back into your life once you are reincarnated is called Sam Sara. What i understand is that if you have not suffered you have not learned yet, but once you have suffered youve learn. In the 5th century there was a way to escape the Sam Sara cycle of continuous karma. This for the hindus was part of their life and culture, not one was more lucky than the other because they knew everyone had karma and has to suffer. They believed that the world they lived in was the best possible world for them. They could not think of any better because the karma they had was well deserved in their mind. When you live in what you think is a perfect world for you, i believe that there can’t be so much pain of “suffer”. I think the Hindus were very accustomed of their way of living and never though negative opon it.
Carlota Sanchez

Jonathan Coleman said...

Kharma in Hinduism is basically all of your past deeds, whether it be good or bad, is being carried with your soul throughout your samsara, which is a karmatic cycle that never really ends. Dukkha is an important term to understand because what it translates to means suffering, Hinduism emphasizes the understanding and acceptance of Atman and Brahman with the presence of Dukkha as opposed to Buddhism which focused of acceptance of both with the liberation of Dukkha. So within your Atman, or withing your self, you make ration or irrational decisions through your thoughts, through attitude words, through actions we perform ourselves, or through actions performed under your instructions, are ways that we express our kharma, or how our actions within this life and our previous lives, all determine our future. Yajna or scarifice relates with Hinduism as a form of offering. Sacrifices or Yajnas were made daily for different purposes and the sacrifices that were made included, Food cakes, water, firewood, or words. To whom it was being sacrificed to depends on the name of the sacrifice. Bhuta-yanja, Manushya-yanja, Pitr-yanja,Deva-yanja or Brahma-yanja. I see Dukkha now as a positive way of understanding why things are the way they are. and Samsara is a never ending cycle, in which your Karma is traveling with you. So your previous lives are what make you what you are today but not because of fate but because of your past lives and the decisions that were made then.

Anonymous said...

The nature of Atman/Brahman continues to intrigue me the more I read into it. Atman is referred to the soul or life force within each organism, whereas Brahman is everything there is, the beginning and the end, the uncontainable energy that has traveled beyond logic and reason to reach the depth of its existence. At first, I did not understand how it was possible for the Atman/Brahman relationship to be so self-contradicting; separate, yet one all at once. It is this flaw in reasoning that allows us to wake up every morning and have a new beginning. I realized that the only possible way for Brahman to experience itself is through the Atman. This relationship opens the doors to Dukkha, the essential need for spiritual growth through suffering, and Samsara, the continuous cycle of birth, death, and reincarnation. Suffering or Dukkha is everywhere, in every being. It is this suffering that binds a bridge of understanding between every Atman. Although not every being is capable of understanding the individual subjective reality, they are nonetheless capable of understanding pain. Samsara is an ambiguous cycle that is influenced by each individual’s Kharma, good or bad, and ends in a sense of liberation or union with itself.
Gayle Budow

Alfredo Triff said...

interesting thread. don't mind me. go on.

Anonymous said...

I have been explaining the concept of samsara and atman/brahman to literally all my friends since I learned it. Thinking about a metaphoric past life is an outrageous thing and I have been thinking that maybe everything in my life now, is a result of the kharma I had in my metaphorical past life. Although some of my friends are skeptical, I have tried explain different instances, and even some evidence in their daily life that somewhat points to the truth.

Dukkha is uniquely endowed to everyone. As Prof. Triff stated in class, Dukkha is present as long as we are flesh and bones, as long as we are here. In order to learn, we must suffer and that is something I have experienced my whole life. Every wrong thing that I have done has been a lesson in which I have to learn. If we don’t suffer, we don’t learn.
Sebastian Lorenzo

felipe rios said...

Elements of western cultures got absorbed into eastern cultures. This is evidence of how the word not only is round in shape but also in ideology. Like climate in the Americas is affected by the changes in the old world, philosophical beliefs are also influenced and changed like the weather does.

Eric Paz said...

After discussing the concept of Karma as well as Dukkha in last Thursday's class, I looked back on events and moments in my life through the eyes and mindset of it being caused due to either of those forces. The more I thought about it the more it seemed to make sense to me. When it came to Dukkha and how in Hinduism part of their belief is that being human means suffering, yet how that suffering is in a way a necessity for spiritual growth. I thought about all the family losses I've experienced or even the painful moments in life whether it was with a significant other or having to due with career, and if I not experienced any of those moments if I would be the person I am today. If I would have the mindset and spiritual ideology or not. Although Dukkha (suffering) may be seen as a negative aspect, it's outcome can turn to be positive if dealt within the right way.
When it comes to Karma, it's something I've always noticed in life whether it happens instantly or some time later. I had an example of Karma that occurred to me last Friday that only made think more about both the idea of Karma and Dukkha. Ever since I've had a car my family has told me to never leave anything in it and a come a year later, karma had it's way and my window was broken into and all of the few things I had inside were stolen.

Eric Paz

Calherbe Ernest said...

This is religion or "way of living" amazes me. This ethical code derived in India more than 5000 years ago. Today more than 99% of Hindus live in the Indian subcontinent. Hinduism is considered to be one of the oldest religions in the world. In fact Hinduism is so dense that it has a lot of religion in it. In other words there is no one religion that can accurately define Hinduism. Unlike many other religions it is not based on the word of God and it does not have a single founder. There is no book of faith such as the Bible or the Koran that we must study and obey and live by everyday. Better yet, unlike in the church hierarchical system there is no authoritative figures. Meaning that the respect and nobility is shared equally among everyone. What I enjoy the most about the Hinduism culture is that "Non-violence, Peace, and Harmony" are the biggest principals. They believe that all living beings have a soul and the potential to connect with their supreme by his or her own effort.

What I find mind boggling the most in Hinduism there is one god. But this one god comes in other forms of gods and goddess. 1. Brahman (the creator). 2. Vishu (the protector). 3. Shiva (the destroyer). All of the gods are the same divine energy... just in a different form

Cindy Matheus said...

Hinduism teaches that dharma and kharma are relative concepts. My duty or “right way of living” is then, in translation, for the universal cause and effect to better my kharma in samsara. A kharma in charge of my rebirths in samsara that has followed me and accumulated through metaphorical past lives. I’ve previously been taught prior to this class that kharma has a strong relation to suffering. Is this the same suffering as the hindus dukkha? Or is dukkha and kharma not relative like dharma and kharma? If it is, then how is my dharma my kharma and also my dukkha? Is it my duty to also suffer? The interconnectedness that I perceive within the concepts must be crucial because without kharma there is no dukkha and vice versa. I comprehend the necessity of dukkha. Life cannot be lived without suffering (at least in my personal ideology I accept dukkha). Dukkha leads to enlightenment. Kharma, on the other hand happens to be one of the most difficult concepts for me to grasp, sort of like free will in Christian theology.

Ever valladares said...

Early Hinduism has given me a lot to think about. The idea of this being the best possible reality had left me an itch to counter, but cannot think of any reason why it wouldn't make sense. The wheel of renewal (samara) is a wonderful idea because it not only explains where we can from but gives incentive to do good. I can imagine millions of early Hindus finding solace in their religion, especially considering the amount of abuse they have taken throughout history. We learned that the cost of living is a constant exposure to potential suffering, an idea I agree with. I am really interested in Maya because I've never heard of a divine being who will sabotage you one minute and the next minute give you the most fun you've ever had. I've been so conditioned to separate gods as good or evil and this one just blows my mind.It is definitely a god I can see myself believing in. Early Hinduism has a lot of striking similarities with buddism, giving me an image of an evolution of the religions. I am especially interested in the concept of Atman/Brahman. It shines a light on how we think we are more important than we are, and they only by escaping our bubble and expanding our minds we can reach a more realistic understanding. I see it as a reference to enlightenment but not as a permanent stay, but as a momentary trip to the greater world. I am looking forward to next class.

Mario Louissaint said...

Hinduism is a one of the strongest beliefs that we have in the world and has a huge impact on the people and are often converted to Hinduism mainly because the way that the think and how things are logical to them. I believe that one of the concepts that convert people is kharma which the belief that a person will reap what they soul and I feel personally that this is one of the most factual beliefs in Hinduism and we could learn from it if we have not already and in some point in our lives we are destined to face kharma. Another religious belief is dukkha and its referred to as the point of suffering the Hindus believes if there isn’t any suffering going on in a person life they won’t be able grow as a person, And when we went over these topic in class I felt a connection in myself through these things and from what I have experienced personally and the things that I have learned from.

Anonymous said...

I believe dukkha was assimilated into Hinduism out of necessity. Claiming that sorrow and suffering are an unavoidable aspect of the human experience, was the easiest way to justify the unrighteousness early Hindus were exposed to. Additionally, it worked as an effective survival tactic for Hinduism as a whole. I think the importance of dukkha to Hinduism and the individual human experience is what compelled me to comment on it. For the individual it was an opportunity to receive the karma they deserved. Additionally, it provided the agent with a diverse set of circumstances that they could learn from and hopefully fly closer to Brahman. I think this is a wise way to deal with adversity. The next time I am struggling or suffering, I will remember dukkha and try to use it as an opportunity to grow as well.
Ian Deck

Daniel Montes said...

I enrolled in this class not knowing exactly what to expect. So far its been hard to rap my head around some of the concepts especially that of Atman and Brahman. It takes me away this idea of the world that I’ve been taught all my life and really forces me to go outside my frame of mind. It’s confusing and might take a bit to really break that frame and create a new frame of mind from which I can truly understand eastern philosophy. One concept I do understand is that of dukkha, the idea that to be human is to suffer. That when you suffer you learn, you can’t learn if you don’t suffer. It’s a strange way to see life especially in a world where we’ve been taught that suffering isn’t good, to not suffer we must make more money because money will lead to a happy life. I have had to learn that suffering is good. You grow when you suffer, when life hits you and you have to stand up and keep on fighting. I understand dukkha I see suffering as way to feel human and grow from your experience’s now I just want to be able to truly take in every other teaching.

Anonymous said...

This class is introducing me to some big concepts in Hinduism already. I would like to give you my interpretation of a few concepts we have learned because I feel I have a little different take on it then most. I feel that most of these concepts we have learned are like pieces of a puzzle and like a puzzle, without all of the pieces you cannot create the picture. We “our atman’s” are in samsara, the cosmic cycle, and within samsara we are living out our kharma, the universal causal effect. Through this cycle of samsara we are with maya “that which exists, but is constantly changing and thus is spiritually unreal” and dukkha “suffering, pain and unsatisfactoriness”. Now this sounds terrible but once we include yajna “sacrifice” we can begin to see a bigger picture. without dukkha we can have no spiritual growth, through yajna “sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice” we give up parts of maya and our kharma. Through this sacrifice we are experiencing dukkha but we also experience bhakti “the joy you feel for being in this universe”.

Daniel O'Brien

Awntonio Rolle said...

Dukkha is an important buddhist which we discuss in class. Dukkha is suffering or pain they suffer for so long that they became aware and was able to understand the important of it.Atman means inner self or soul, which is the true self of an individual beyond identification with phenomena.Which is the essence of an individual. In order to attain liberation, a human must acquire self knowledge which is to realize one's true self.Yajna means to sacrifice, devotion,worship,and offering. The tradition has since changed from offering oblations and libations into sacred fire to symbolic offerings in the presence of sacred fire.

Elena said...

It is hard to comprehend what does the definition of “Maya” means. From one side the professor is telling me that if your wife left you, that’s Maya, if you win the lottery, that’s Maya, if your car get crashed, that’s Maya too. Which I would interpret it as karma. In other words, common sense, logic, a hunch, a sixth sense, could be considered as Maya. However, Maya is also defined as an extraordinary power and wisdom, Maya is unconsciousness and atman is conscious. I also read that Maya is described as “the power that creates, maintain, and destroys the universe.” This creates a conflict with my believe of God. Literally, in order to accept this definition, I have to rethink in the existence of a unique Go, because if there is a power out there, besides God, than can create or destroy “things,” humans or non humans, or destroy the universe, that changes completely the possibility of a unique God. I know that Maya it’s not God, then how are they interrelated?

Eric De moraes said...

Kharma is simply put as reaping what we sow through life. But is kharma true to the end? Do people live their lives without paying for their sins? If so, why would kharma reincarnate into someone after the "debt" has been paid?
I rather believe that we are born of flesh and bone as sinners, but with a clean canvas, and yet destined to suffer because of our human nature. Only after our life on earth we will be rewarded with what we deserve. I am one of the Christian faith, and kharma to me is a metaphor for something that people unconsciously become aware of. Saying that we reincarnate kharma of a past life is saying that we area likely to live our current state of life with a good chance of not paying the price or being rewarded for what we do. Although it is interesting that all over the world people have a coherent understanding that certain things should not be done because life will get back to us one way or another.

Alec Rodriguez said...

Duhkka is one of the essential ides of Hinduism, representing suffering. In Hinduism there is no spiritual growth without suffering but this begs the question of what IS suffering. Suffering has a strong connotation because of how harshly we use the word in everyday language, but there are varying degrees of suffering. It is not that Hinduism requires you go through an extreme form of suffering in order to grow spiritually, but instead promotes the idea that to exist is to suffer. We age, we desire, we and there are things that we may face to face that may annoy us. All of these are forms of suffering which we must use to learn. If existence is suffering then that means suffering provides us infinite potential to continue learning until we reach the end of our cycle. When thinking of duhkka one must accept that it is not a curse that we must live with but rather a tool for growth which paired with the right mindset helps us see beyond ourselves.

Yvelyne chapont said...

I honestly believe in Kharma but in a non-metaphoric way, like literally what you reap you sow. It doesn't mean whatever you do is gonna back after you in exact the same, like if you kill somebody, someone is not literally gonna come and try to kill you. No, you will probably be miserable and have so much guilt that you end up killing yourself. Or if you turned your back on someone , somebody else is gonna turn their backs on you but rather you might become so poor that you loose everything. That is what I understand and believe from Kharma.
Also, Maya , in a way everything bad that happens to you is caused it. In my understanding of my Maya is pretty much much an impression of everything an its opposite, like I've read, pretty much like good from evil . and it only shoes the outer appearance.

Nis Ngambanjong said...

What a way start the class! I wanted to start off by saying that it is my utmost pleasure to be in the class with the best philosophy professor that I have come across in Miami Dade College. I have accepted the challenge of modern day society when they tell me to go to college when I do not have a degree to apply for a job. One day, they will be my slaves. So this is a good occasion to say; it is my privilege, No; It is my Karma... to be in the same room with Professor Triff. It is my Dukkha that the building 8’s air conditioning wraps my cold-hating body with the wind of suffering. I have performed the Yajna from 12:40pm-1:55pm of my day, twice a week, to hear Professor Triff’s words of wisdom and to be in the room with one unique and aspiring group of intellectuals. There are way too many beautiful ladies in here so sometime I feel like Maya be playing tricks on me, I could barely notices my atman... not that I hate it or anything.
I love it already. I love that my Karma has led me here, crossing our path for once for betterment because everyone knows all we want to do is break out of our Samsara.

Diego Vieira said...

The entire concept of Samsara is intriguing to me. The fact that it deals with your evolution as a person throughout your life is one aspect of it that just stands out. So many factors go into producing these cycles which help shape us into who we are at this present day. Dukkha is one of those factors that can be signaled out in Samsara from which we learn, and how we deal with the suffering we all go through is something that forever molds us. Then there's our Kharma and Dharma which also can be considered to have an impact on the events that define our Samsara cycles. I couldn't agree more that metaphorically we are all constantly being born again. Learning from our past experiences, whether positive or negative. Always reshaping ourselves and trying to become better, more polished versions of ourselves. I did not know what to expect coming into this class, but its provided a very unique outlook on life and the way things are.

Diego Vieira

Anonymous said...

Kharma is reaping what you sow, it is our free will action that may or may not have consequences. You can reap what you sow tomorrow or in 10-15 years, time is unlimited when it comes to Kharma. Our thoughts, words, and actions bring Kharma. Hindu divides Karma into three kinds: 1. Sanchita, experience all karma in one lifetime. 2. Prarabdha, which is a portion of Sanchita, where the past karma is experienced through the present body. 3. Kriyaman is everything that we produce in the current life.

I believe that karma is necessary to us, simply because it is part of our nature to think negative of someone, to speak badly about someone and for our action to be wrong-doing. Karma is sowing what you reap, if your actions are negative then your karma will be negative.