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Forums > Social Discussion > Buddhism - Religion or Way of Life?

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LilBBoy
SILVER Member since May 2006

LilBBoy

Discoverer of Rainbow Cheese
Location: Inverness, Scotland.

Total posts: 143
Posted:Yet another thing I'd like to gather views on. For all you Buddhists out there, do you think Buddhism is a religion or more a way of life?

As a Thervadan Buddhist, I believe it is both. biggrin


Time does not exist. In theory, everything with a beginning has an end. Therefore, only things with an end can have a beginning. As time has no end, it has no beginning, therefore does not exist. GO PHILOSOPHY!!!
Brittle Week was the shizz!!!

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted: Written by: Stout



OWD...I "found" this, which has a significantly different interpretation of the first noble truth than the link I previously posted. well, in the sense that it doesn't state all life is suffering.



It this a "better" translation of dukkah ?





For 'Dukka', think, not in terms of 'suffering', but more in terms of 'impermanence' and 'unsatisfactory'.



Think of times when you've really wanted a thing and craved for it, yet, when you got it, after an initial period of being happy, you then started wanting a better version of the thing, or started craving for something else entirely.



That's not to say that it's wrong to desire things, simply that, with many cravings, the approach of satisfying them is not going to be a permanent or satisfactory solution.



Another solution, the one suggested by buddhism, is to do some work on limiting craving itself.



For example,if a persons cravings are out of control to the extent that their main focus on life is trying to satisfy one craving after another, then buddhist practices can help by tackling the root problem.



Rather than constanly trying to satisfy the cravings, they work on stopping them arising in the first place.



(not stopping all cravings, but focusing on the most problematic).


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

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Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted:Ok...I'd originally planned a long and rambling post, but after five hours of reading, I'm just this side of incoherent. I have, however come to a philosophical understanding of the first truth, mostly, thanks to OWD's post above..but. still, I had to go a lookin'

I'm still not buying into the idea that Buddhism is a religion though...nothing I've read so far has convinced me of that.


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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

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Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Fire Tom, I can appreciate why you call Buddhism a religion, and that is fine. What I object to is your insistence that everyone ever one else should subscribe to your opinion.



As someone brought up a catholic, I can say there is a huge difference between kneeling down in front of a statue of Jesus and praying for forgiveness, compared to sitting in front of a rupa of the Buddha and doing mindfulness meditation.



You seemed to be leading up to something by establishing Buddhism was a religion, so perhaps if you were going to make another point you just make it.


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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FireTom


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Posted:Topic: Is "Buddhism - (a) religion or way of life?"

All I said is that in my opinion you can refer to (and live) Buddhism as both: a philosophy/ way of life just as much as you can regard (and live) it as a religion.

OWD and Stone, you insist that Buddhism can NOT be regarded as a religion. Evidence: Buddhism in it's pure form has no "higher beings" and "deities".

As pointed out, Animism too has no deities and higher beings, still gets classified as a religion.

 Written by: www.Buddhanet.net

Especially emphasized in Mahayana Buddhism, all sentient beings have Buddha Nature/ Essence. One can become a Buddha (a supreme enlightened being) in due course if one practises diligently and attains purity of mind (ie absolutely no delusions or afflictions).



OWD It's increasingly tiring to get dragged into an argument by you, when you don't want one. I didn't judge on your judgements, but clearly emphasized that "there is no right and wrong in my world" and there is "no conclusive judgement on anyone". Next thing you do is to accuse me of judging - equalling my 'observations' with 'negative judgements ' - and thereby contradicting myself... (sigh)

Now I would have to repeat my statement in a different way, try to explain myself to you, so you finally understand what I'm trying to point out... (le sigh)

You "appearing arrogant" doesn't equal that "you are wrong".

"observation" = (subjectively) neutral, no judgement involved
"evaluation" = no judgement in terms of "absolute" either, simply filtering
"judging" does not equal "breathing"

IMHO it's further erroneous to believe that only religions would be open for corruption and misdemeanour and philosophies would be not.

Stone, thanks for correcting your quoting self - so I don't have to. If I'm making/ quoting "ridiculous (3.rd hand) statements about Buddhism", please point them out.

Maybe I have to further specify: "Most Buddhists I came across do have Buddha images" (which are subject to devotional practices - I didn't specify as how).

Adapting Buddhism to western culture is not wrong - I side that.

Please stop accusing me of being a judgmental person, if in fact you have no indications of it. If you accuse me of not living in the "real world" then prove it.

Buddhism can be lived as a religion, as much as Christianity can be lived as a philosophy.

You have issues with the term "religion", don't you?


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

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Posted:Fire Tom, Ive never insisted that Buddhism cannot be regarded as a religion. Perhaps, you missed my previous post.



 Written by:

Fire Tom, I can appreciate why you call Buddhism a religion, and that is fine. What I object to is your insistence that everyone ever one else should subscribe to your opinion.





Fire Tom, correct me if Im wrong. When you use quotes like One can become a Buddha (a supreme enlightened being) in due course if one practises diligently and attains purity of mind (ie absolutely no delusions or afflictions). It comes across as if you think you are close to becoming a supreme enlightened being. If you are suggesting that you can do it on your own, because Buddha did, then I will point out once again, that Siddharta Gotama did have training before he reached enlightenment:



 Written by:

Siddharta as Student of Meditation



When Siddhartha reached Magadha, an important kingdom in Central India, he studied first under Alara Kalama from whom he learned the technique of meditation that enabled the adept to attain a state of nothingness. Siddhartha then sought out Uddaka Ramaputta who taught the technique of meditation of neither perception nor non-perception, a meditation which removed the mind from all contact with the world of sensation. Though more profound than the meditation of nothingness, when the meditation was over, the problems of the world returned, thus quieting the mind was an inadequate technique for attaining true wisdom.



Siddharta as a Forest Ascetic



In the company of Kondanna, Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahanama, and Assaji, Siddharta entered the forests to practice the greatest austerities of self-mortification in order to gain wisdom and freedom.





The he moved on, and sat underneath the Bo Tree.



The bit to understand is having absolutely no delusions or afflictions. Now, people who live in their own world (as you said "there is no right and wrong in my world") would seem to have delusions. And, there is nothing wrong with living in your own world. Though, Id suggest you read the Einstein quote again, and when you understand what he is saying then you will be able to move on.



 Written by:

If I'm making/ quoting "ridiculous (3.rd hand) statements about Buddhism", please point them out.



 Written by:

Most Buddhists (East or Western) do have devotional figures, these figures represent "the (Gautama) Buddha" and are subject of worship.







Images of Buddha are called rupas. Mindfulness meditation cannot in any way, shape or form, be classified as a devotional practice.



Fire Tom, as you are the one arguing about what is and what is not a religion, then Id suggest that it is you that has issues with the term "religion".



If you are tired of arguing, then stop.


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Location: sheffield

Total posts: 3252
Posted: Written by: FireTom


Topic: Is "Buddhism - (a) religion or way of life?"

All I said is that in my opinion you can refer to (and live) Buddhism as both: a philosophy/ way of life just as much as you can regard (and live) it as a religion.

OWD and Stone, you insist that Buddhism can NOT be regarded as a religion. Evidence: Buddhism in it's pure form has no "higher beings" and "deities".

As pointed out, Animism too has no deities and higher beings, still gets classified as a religion.

 Written by: [url=http://www.Buddhanet.net

www.Buddhanet.net[/url]]Especially emphasized in Mahayana Buddhism, all sentient beings have Buddha Nature/ Essence. One can become a Buddha (a supreme enlightened being) in due course if one practises diligently and attains purity of mind (ie absolutely no delusions or afflictions).



OWD It's increasingly tiring to get dragged into an argument by you, when you don't want one. I didn't judge on your judgements, but clearly emphasized that "there is no right and wrong in my world" and there is "no conclusive judgement on anyone". Next thing you do is to accuse me of judging - equalling my 'observations' with 'negative judgements ' - and thereby contradicting myself... (sigh)

Now I would have to repeat my statement in a different way, try to explain myself to you, so you finally understand what I'm trying to point out... (le sigh)

You "appearing arrogant" doesn't equal that "you are wrong".

"observation" = (subjectively) neutral, no judgement involved
"evaluation" = no judgement in terms of "absolute" either, simply filtering
"judging" does not equal "breathing"

IMHO it's further erroneous to believe that only religions would be open for corruption and misdemeanour and philosophies would be not.

Stone, thanks for correcting your quoting self - so I don't have to. If I'm making/ quoting "ridiculous (3.rd hand) statements about Buddhism", please point them out.

Maybe I have to further specify: "Most Buddhists I came across do have Buddha images" (which are subject to devotional practices - I didn't specify as how).

Adapting Buddhism to western culture is not wrong - I side that.

Please stop accusing me of being a judgmental person, if in fact you have no indications of it. If you accuse me of not living in the "real world" then prove it.

Buddhism can be lived as a religion, as much as Christianity can be lived as a philosophy.

You have issues with the term "religion", don't you?



It's not just gods/deities/'higher beings'- it's any 'supernatural' entities/energies.

Buddhism, in its pure form, is not dependant on the existence of any deities or supernatral entities, whereas, as far as I know, religions are. (including animism, if it relies on the reality of spirits/consciuosnesses in rocks etc).

Buddihsm, in contrast, is fully functional and vaild in both the following possible realities-

1. a world which does contain gods/deities/'higher beings'/supernatural entities

and

2. a world which does not contain gods/deities/'higher beings'/supernatural entities

ie, such things are (as the buddha said) 'irrelevant' to buddhist practice.





FireTom- where 'judgement' is concerned- maybe we have a different concept of what judgement is?

To me, to judge is to discern, so, for example, to insist that buddhism is a religion,is to put a judgement on it (equally, of course, for me to determine buddhism is not a religion,is, equally, a judgement).

Is that also what you mean by 'judgement',or, do you mean something different? If so, could you tell us what judgement means to you please.


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But you can make the Bastard work for it."

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"Last of The Lancers"
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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted: Written by: Stone









If you are tired of arguing, then stop.





smile


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted:Here's the views of one buddhist on the question of whether buddhism is a religion-

from

http://www.buddhanet.net/nutshell03.htm


 Written by:



Is it a religion?

It is neither a religion in the sense in which that word is commonly understood, for it is not "a system of faith and worship owing any allegiance to a supernatural being."

Buddhism does not demand blind faith from its adherents. Here mere belief is dethroned and is substituted by confidence based on knowledge, which, in Pali, is known as saddha. The confidence placed by a follower on the Buddha is like that of a sick person in a noted physician, or a student in his teacher. A Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha because it was he who discovered the path of deliverance.


A Buddhist does not seek refuge in the Buddha with the hope that he will be saved by his (i.e. the Buddha's own) personal purification. The Buddha gives no such guarantee. It is not within the power of a Buddha to wash away the impurities of others. One could neither purify nor defile another. The Buddha, as teacher, instructs us, but we ourselves are directly responsible for our purification. Although a Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha, he does not make any self-surrender. Nor does a Buddhist sacrifice his freedom of thought by becoming a follower of the Buddha. He can exercise his own free will and develop his knowledge even to the extent of becoming a Buddha himself.


The starting point of Buddhism is reasoning or understanding, or, in the Pali words, samma-ditthi.


To the seekers of truth the Buddha says:


"Do not accept anything on (mere) hearsay -- (i.e., thinking that thus have we heard it for a long time). Do not accept anything by mere tradition -- (i.e., thinking that it has thus been handed down through many generations). Do not accept anything on account of mere rumors -- (i.e., by believing what others say without any investigation). Do not accept anything just because it accords with your scriptures. Do not accept anything by mere suppositions. Do not accept anything by mere inference. Do not accept anything by merely considering the reasons. Do not accept anything merely because it agrees with your pre-conceived notions. Do not accept anything merely because it seems acceptable -- (i.e., thinking that as the speaker seems to be a good person his words should be accepted). Do not accept anything thinking that the ascetic is respected by us (therefore it is right to accept his word).


"But when you know for yourselves -- these things are immoral, these things are blameworthy, these things are censured by the wise, these things, when performed and undertaken conduce to ruin and sorrow -- then indeed do you reject them.


"When you know for yourselves -- these things are moral, these things are blameless, these things are praised by the wise, these things, when performed and undertaken, conduce to well-being and happiness -- then do you live acting accordingly."


These inspiring words of the Buddha still retain their original force and freshness.


Though there is no blind faith, one might argue whether there is no worshipping of images etc., in Buddhism.


Buddhists do not worship an image expecting worldly or spiritual favors, but pay their reverence to what it represents.
An understanding Buddhist, in offering flowers and incense to an image, designedly makes himself feel that he is in the presence of the living Buddha and thereby gains inspiration from his noble personality and breathes deep his boundless compassion. He tries to follow the Buddha's noble example.


The Bo-tree is also a symbol of Enlightenment. These external objects of reverence are not absolutely necessary, but they are useful as they tend to concentrate one's attention. An intellectual person could dispense with them as he could easily focus his attention and visualize the Buddha. For our own good, and out of gratitude, we pay such external respect but what the Buddha expects from his disciple is not so much obeisance as the actual observance of his Teachings. The Buddha says -- "He honors me best who practices my teaching best." "He who sees the Dhamma sees me."


With regard to images, however, Count Kevserling remarks -- "I see nothing more grand in this world than the image of the Buddha. It is an absolutely perfect embodiment of spirituality in the visible domain."


Furthermore, it must be mentioned that there are no petitional or intercessory prayers in Buddhism. However much we may pray to the Buddha we cannot be saved. The Buddha does not grant favors to those who pray to him. Instead of petitional prayers there is meditation that leads to self-control, purification and enlightenment. Meditation is neither a silent reverie nor keeping the mind blank. It is an active striving. It serves as a tonic both to the heart and the mind. The Buddha not only speaks of the futility of offering prayers but also disparages a slave mentality. A Buddhist should not pray to be saved, but should rely on himself and win his freedom.


"Prayers take the character of private communications, selfish bargaining with God. It seeks for objects of earthly ambitions and inflames the sense of self. Meditation on the other hand is self-change." -- Sri Radhakrishnan.


In Buddhism there is not, as in most other religions, an Almighty God to be obeyed and feared. The Buddha does not believe in a cosmic potentate, omniscient and omnipresent. In Buddhism there are no divine revelations or divine messengers. A Buddhist is, therefore, not subservient to any higher supernatural power which controls his destinies and which arbitrarily rewards and punishes. Since Buddhists do not believe in revelations of a divine being Buddhism does not claim the monopoly of truth and does not condemn any other religion. But Buddhism recognizes the infinite latent possibilities of man and teaches that man can gain deliverance from suffering by his own efforts independent of divine help or mediating priests.


Buddhism cannot, therefore, strictly be called a religion because it is neither a system of faith and worship, nor "the outward act or form by which men indicate their recognition of the existence of a God or gods having power over their own destiny to whom obedience, service, and honor are due."


If, by religion, is meant "a teaching which takes a view of life that is more than superficial, a teaching which looks into life and not merely at it, a teaching which furnishes men with a guide to conduct that is in accord with this its in-look, a teaching which enables those who give it heed to face life with fortitude and death with serenity,"[6] or a system to get rid of the ills of life, then it is certainly a religion of religions.





"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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FireTom


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Posted:Stone. You derail a number of threads, make me repeatedly ask you to stop missionising for Buddhism all over the discussion board because it gets unnerving (to me), make me bump this thread so you can indulge in your Buddhist purple glass fantasies and then you tell me:



 Written by: Stone

What I object to is your insistence that everyone ever one else should subscribe to your opinion.





umm ubblol



I said:



 Written by: Firetom

I observe my mind to quickly classify, but that only is it's purpose.





You turned it into:



 Written by: Stone

If you observe your mind to quickly classify, and thats is its only purpose.





Please stop twisting my words.



Then again:



 Written by: Stone

It comes across as if you think you are close to becoming a supreme enlightened being.





No, that's not the case.



 Written by: Stone

If you are suggesting that you can do it on your own, because Buddha did, then I will point out once again, that Siddharta Gotama did have training before he reached enlightenment:





And if he had Vegemite pancakes for breakfast, before actually reaching enlightenment - I couldn't care less. I dislike Vegemite pancakes and I'm not comparing myself to Siddharta, I'm not remotely putting myself in the same or even a similar position, I'm not claiming "I can do it (myself) because Siddharta did it (himself)". If you think like that about me you did a great deal of selective reading and misinterpretation. I'm also not drawing the erroneous conclusion that "if I only get around the campfire 20x anti-clockwise on my left leg - simultaneously putting my right thumb up my left nostril and my left thumb up my right ear, during a full lunar eclipse on Christmas eve, mumbling the Upanishad texts backwards to the melody of "We're pirates" whilst chewing on Marmite cookies - I will reach enlightenment, because that's exactly what David Hasselhoff did".



Whether it's a "Rupa" or a "Crucifix", it's an object of devotional practice and worship...



 Written by: accesstoinsight.org



It would be a mistake, however, to conclude that the Buddha disparaged a reverential and devotional attitude of mind when it is the natural outflow of a true understanding and a deep admiration of what is great and noble. It would also be a grievous error to believe that the "seeing of the Dhamma" (spoken of in the first saying) is identical with a mere intellectual appreciation and purely conceptual grasp of the doctrine. Such a one-sided abstract approach to the very concrete message of the Buddha all too often leads to intellectual smugness. In its barrenness it will certainly not be a substitute for the strong and enlivening impulse imparted by a deep-felt devotion to what is known as great, noble and exemplary. Devotion, being a facet and natural accompaniment of confidence (saddha), is a necessary factor in the "balance of faculties" (indriya-samata) required for final deliverance. Confidence, in all its aspects, including the devotional, is needed to resolve any stagnation and other shortcomings resulting from a one-sided development of the intellectual faculties. Such development often tends to turn around in circles endlessly, without being able to effect a break-through. Here, devotion, confidence and faith all aspects of the Pali term saddha may be able to give quick and effective help.





This one reads like the fineprint on a car lease contract, still:



 Written by: Buddhanetnet

If, by religion, is meant "a teaching which takes a view of life that is more than superficial, a teaching which looks into life and not merely at it, a teaching which furnishes men with a guide to conduct that is in accord with this its in-look, a teaching which enables those who give it heed to face life with fortitude and death with serenity,"[6] or a system to get rid of the ills of life, then it is certainly a religion of religions.





And finally:



 Written by: OWD's quote

Buddhism does not claim the monopoly of truth and does not condemn any other religion.





 Written by: Buddhanetnet

"But when you know for yourselves -- these things are immoral, these things are blameworthy, these things are censured by the wise, these things, when performed and undertaken conduce to ruin and sorrow -- then indeed do you reject them.





I do know what Buddhism is to me, you chose your own approach. smile



Enjoy awakening

EDITED_BY: FireTom (1204092069)


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

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Posted:Fire Tom, Im truly sorry you feel that way.

Perhaps one day you will understand where I was coming from, and forgive me.


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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FireTom


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Total posts: 6650
Posted:ubblol burn baby burn ubblol

There is nothing to forgive and I do have a very slight idea of where you're coming from (telling us about your childhood and your quest to discover fullfillment of your soul). If at the same time you would take into account that I come from an atheist background which strongly opposes the (catholic) church and it's (violent) missionizing, you might get an idea where I am coming from.

Nobody has to sign up to my opinion, nobody has to regard Buddhism to be as much a religion as a philosophy. In fact nobody needs to even read what I am writing - but if one does, I'd say it's the least of respect not to take apart, twist and cripple it just to prove a point that I have never objected.

I countered your evidence, presented mine, you are not convinced... so be it. In the meantime we seem to have gotten "lost" and in order to put this thread back on track I use this as an opportunity to "move on" or "restart":

Your evidence of Buddhism to be a philosophy rather than a religion:

1) Buddhism is non dogmatic
2) Buddhism has no devotional practice
3) Buddhism has no supernatural beings, deities
4) Buddhism is not a system of faith and worship owing any allegiance to a supernatural being
5) Buddhism does not require blind faith
6) Buddhism does not have worshipping of idols
7) Buddhism does not consist of petitional or intercessory prayers
8) Buddhism does not have an almighty god (*note 3&4)
9) Buddhism has no (ultimate) saviour

Is there anything that I forgot, or misinterpreted? Please correct me and complete the list. Please lets stick to a non accusative way of communication and simply present (counter) evidence. The audience (if any) can evaluate (or judge) upon this evidence by themselves. Personal attacks only lead to the audience getting tired of the topic.


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

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Posted:Thanks Fire Tom.

Now you are just out of control.


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

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Posted:Ill rephrase that.

Thanks Fire Tom, there was no spin on what I said.

You seem to be out of control.


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted: Written by: FireTom


........evidence of Buddhism to be a philosophy rather than a religion:

1) Buddhism is non dogmatic
2) Buddhism has no devotional practice
3) Buddhism has no supernatural beings, deities
4) Buddhism is not a system of faith and worship owing any allegiance to a supernatural being
5) Buddhism does not require blind faith
6) Buddhism does not have worshipping of idols
7) Buddhism does not consist of petitional or intercessory prayers
8) Buddhism does not have an almighty god (*note 3&4)
9) Buddhism has no (ultimate) saviour

Is there anything that I forgot, or misinterpreted? Please correct me and complete the list.



I think it would be useful to add the fact that, the Buddha himself, who originated buddhism, specifically stated 3 & 8 with statements saying that the existences of gods/supernatural beings were irrelevant to buddhism and, pointing out on another occasion, that he himself was not a god.

I feel this is important because, as we all know, there are groups who consider themselves buddhist, who do seem to consider gods etc to be real and very relevant to what they do.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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onewheeldave
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Posted:Firetom, you asked if I had anything against religions.



It's more a case that I distinguish between what I call the 'spiritual' aspects and the fundamentalist aspects.



Where 'spiritiual' are the inward directed focus-on-improving-own-self and fundamentalist are the missioning/preaching-to-others-about-their-faults.



Currently, there is a movement starting to gain great impetus, against religions and the harm they do.



Dawkins is a prime mover and, while I agree with his sentiment and feel his pain about the harm religion has caused, I feel that he is shorton discernment when it comes to seperating those two aspects.



Like most who have not actually engaged in spiritual practices, he seems unable to seperate them from the fundamentalist concepts of religions.



To me, buddhism, in its 'pure form' (ie which follows the buddhas words on not regarding gods/supernatural as anything other than irrelevant, with a focus on 'practice' (meditation, 4 noble truths etc) is pretty much 100% spiritual and pretty much 0% fundamentalist.



If Dawkins and others, do succeed in, to some extent, 'bringing down' fundamentalist religions, I wouldn't want to see either buddhism,or the genuine spiritual aspects of any religion, being tarred with the same brush.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

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Posted:I suppose we could add one more item to the list

10) Buddhism denies the existence of the soul.

According to the thebigview.com site at least

 Written by:

The body is mortal and when it dies, consciousness and all mental activities cease. That is why there is no soul. The idea of soul is simply an extension of the self. Soul is the immortal version of the self that supposedly survives physical death. Since we know that consciousness is a function of our nervous system, it seems difficult to believe that the conscious self survives death. Hence, Buddhists deny the reality of both self and soul.



link here

However...reading on the Access to Insight site drives me to question the idea as ( I know we're trying to downplay this ) the whole idea of rebirth and "ascension" to the Pure Abodes surely suggests the idea of the soul...and a heaven. my inner skeptic has me wondering if...when Siddhartha Gautama was out doing his thing, trying to sell this philosophy, he might not have had so much success were he outright denying the existence of ideas that, let's face it,,,too many people believe in.

Speaking of belief and the soul...Can we agree that animism is just plain silly ? I don't agree that that can be described as a religion either. It's more along the lines of gooey, saccharine sentimentality than anything else.

OWD...what do you see as being the differences between your interpretation of spirituality..and philosophy ( the study of thinking )


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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

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Posted:Stout, thats a great quote and an excellent question.

 Written by:

The body is mortal and when it dies, consciousness and all mental activities cease. That is why there is no soul. The idea of soul is simply an extension of the self. Soul is the immortal version of the self that supposedly survives physical death. Since we know that consciousness is a function of our nervous system, it seems difficult to believe that the conscious self survives death. Hence, Buddhists deny the reality of both self and soul.



Show me a soul? When you die, you die, end of story. The rest just is craving. Physical rebirth (life after death) is the ultimate craving, and therefore one of the main causes of suffering. So, the way I look at it is to say we are reborn when we have a victory over craving.

You could also say rebirth is an inner transformation:

 Written by:

Rebirth is a recurrent theme in the literature of inner transformation. Inner transformation is primarily a death and rebirth, the death of an old identity and the birth of a new one, on a deeper level of reality(ahalmaas.com/glossary).



If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Pyrolific
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3289
Posted:not sure if anyone has done this yet;



www.dictionary.com



philosophy

noun, plural -phies.

1. the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.

2. any of the three branches, namely natural philosophy, moral philosophy, and metaphysical philosophy, that are accepted as composing this study.

3. a system of philosophical doctrine: the philosophy of Spinoza.

4. the critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge, esp. with a view to improving or reconstituting them: the philosophy of science.

5. a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs.

6. a philosophical attitude, as one of composure and calm in the presence of troubles or annoyances.



religion

noun

1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.

3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.

4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.

5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.

6. something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice.

7. religions, Archaic. religious rites.

8. Archaic. strict faithfulness; devotion: a religion to one's vow.





----



now - these concepts are not the same thing, but in arguing if something is one or the other, at least start from a shared understanding of the terms.



now I've not read this whole thread, but it smells a lot like 'this word means this to me' which isnt an appropriate way to debate.

EDITED_BY: Pyrolific (1204156159)


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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Location: sheffield

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Posted: Written by: Stout




OWD...what do you see as being the differences between your interpretation of spirituality..and philosophy ( the study of thinking )



Philosophy- as in 'Western Philosophy' is based on rationality and reason.

Descartes, for example- questions whether the world is real, what it actually means to be real etc. Those questions are tackled by rational, logical argument.

Spirituality is not based on rationality- the core of spirituality is actual 'practice'- which is meant to achieve some spiritual goal and, usually, involves influencing/affecting the 'self', where self may be the mind, or, more esoterically, the spirit/soul (which, if esoterisism is not desired, may be seen as the subconscious or unconscious mind).

When I was studying western philosophy, I looked forward to covering eastern philosophy and, when the time came, found myself perplexed.

Eastern philosophy, I found, had little in common with the approach of western philosophy and, I now see, that is because eastern philosophy is much more 'spirituality' focused.

So, for a practical example to illustrate the difference between a western philosophical approach and a spiritual one.

'Worry is unnecessary'- being plagued, as some are, by excessive worry, anxiety, stress etc.

It's easy to prove by reason, that such excessive worry brings no benefit and solves nothing.

However, for those who suffer from this, having it proven by rational argument, rarely will lead to them ceasing to worry (if it does, the effect is often only temporary).

The spiritual approaches don't trouble themselves much with why, rationally speaking, worry is futile- instead, they are actual practices/exercises, which, in some people who use them, lead to diminishment of the worry problem.

That's not to say reason has no place, IMO, particularly for us westeners, who are brought up in a culture where reason is emphasised, it can be a very useful starting point.

But, when it comes to our emotions and entrenched habitual ways of thinking/feeling- they are generally not that responsive to just reason/rationality.

For example, one with a phobia of spiders, will not be cured by a series of arguments proving that the 'spider can't hurt you', etc.

But, a program based on practising things like, looking at a picture of a small spider, then building up to a picture of a big spider, then, being in the same room as a spider in a aquarium and, gradually, easing up to touching a spider, etc: can, for many, be effective.

In a form of meditation which focuses on the self, observing the mind, without trying to alter it, without trying to 'stop thoughts', gradually, sees how thoughts/feelings arise.

By observing the self/mind, he/she gradually understands the self/mind (in the experiential sense of 'understand' rather than the rational understanding of the physchologist) and, with understaninding, comes the abiltiy to choose which thoughts/feelings he/she is going to engage with.

And so, with time, the arising of 'unnecessary worry' is seen, understood and, eventually, the power and abiltiy is gained, to cease giving attention/energy/fuel to it.

Then the person is in control and, no longer a slave to worry.

That, IMO, is the difference between western philosophy and spirituality.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

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Posted:Pyrolyfic..Does Buddhism, have any beliefs at all, other than the belief that following the doctrine will lead to happiness. I suppose if you had to shoehorn "faith" into Buddhism, this is where it would go.

So if there's no beliefs, then what makes it a religion ? If the Buddha did indeed talk in metaphors, as Stone is suggesting, and there is no rebirth in the terms we stereotypically think of rebirth ( like reincarnation ) and Nirvana is a metaphor for happiness. then maybe there's no real belief component to Buddhism at all.

That would make it fit 1) under the philosophy definition.

OWD and I were tripping over the word spirituality, now that's sorted and given that it is, I can better understand OWD's perspective on the topic. If i were so inclined I could distill Buddhism down to common sense and a lecture on morality.

And just how much of what we ( those unfamiliar with Buddhist doctrine ) stereotypically think of Buddhism as, is just cultural tradition, tacked on to Buddhism ?

Am i actually. literally, going to be reborn as a dog if I act like jerk in this lifetime?
Or might I expect to be unhappy in my life if i continuously engage in unskilled behaviour.

If i kill an ant that's walking across my kitchen floor because I'm mad at it for daring to enter my house, is that the same thing as accidentally stepping on that ant because I wasn't looking. Would expanding that attitude to my interaction with other humans somehow effect my life in a negative way?

I figure it would, and so far, I see that's what Buddhism's trying to tell me.


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Stout
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Posted: Written by:

But, when it comes to our emotions and entrenched habitual ways of thinking/feeling- they are generally not that responsive to just reason/rationality.




No, of course not...You can't reason somebody out of something they haven't reasoned themselves into. I agree, more than reason is needed, like an understand as to why someone may be thinking or acting in ways they themselves are unhappy with.


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FireTom


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Total posts: 6650
Posted:OWD I reckon we're moving on a bit fast.

First of all, you approve the above list? With the necessary addition of Stout, that

10) Buddhism denies the existence of a soul.

What you comment on point 3, 4 and 8 (I think) has been made clear sufficiently. Please rephrase these, if you think they are not. But basically: Are we now clear on this catalogue? Do we now agree on this? Because if we do, I could start listing my evidence and questions.

A question in the meantime:

Do I get it correctly that you rather compare western philosophy with "a series of arguments" and eastern spirituality with "mindful meditation/ therapy"?

The example of Arachnophobia and it's therapy is a mere example for the difference in approach, is it? Or do you actually believe that this therapy is based upon "eastern spirituality" rather than "western reason"?

Forgive me asking, but I want to rule out any misunderstanding as far as possible in order NOT to get caught up in the same circles, which lead to a (disrespectful) debate, rather than a (mindful) discussion.

I do understand the (your) motifs of classifying Buddhism as a mere philosophy, rather than a religion. In my understanding you (or whoever) equals religion with fundamentalism (which IMO is erroneous)

source dictionary.com (compiled)

fundamentalism noun

1. (sometimes initial capital letter) a movement in American Protestantism that arose in the early part of the 20th century in reaction to modernism and that stresses the infallibility of the Bible not only in matters of faith and morals but also as a literal historical record, holding as essential to Christian faith belief in such doctrines as the creation of the world, the virgin birth, physical resurrection, atonement by the sacrificial death of Christ, and the Second Coming.
2. the beliefs held by those in this movement.
3. strict adherence to any set of basic ideas or principles: the fundamentalism of the extreme conservatives.

4. A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.
5. often Fundamentalism An organized, militant Evangelical movement originating in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century in opposition to Protestant Liberalism and secularism, insisting on the inerrancy of Scripture.
6. Adherence to the theology of this movement.
7. the interpretation of every word in the sacred texts as literal truth
8. A conservative movement in theology among nineteenth- and twentieth-century Christians. Fundamentalists believe that the statements in the Bible are literally true.

How ironic that fundamentalism originated in the US... rolleyes


Stone, dunno why you're making less and less sense to me - especially on top of this page confused so I won't go there. But if you could show me "ego", I will show you "soul"... IMO Both are concepts that can be explained and maybe 'proven' by evidence, but not put on display.


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Location: sheffield

Total posts: 3252
Posted: Written by: FireTom



OWD I reckon we're moving on a bit fast.



First of all, you approve the above list? With the necessary addition of Stout, that



10) Buddhism denies the existence of a soul.



What you comment on point 3, 4 and 8 (I think) has been made clear sufficiently. Please rephrase these, if you think they are not. But basically: Are we now clear on this catalogue? Do we now agree on this? Because if we do, I could start listing my evidence and questions.







No- like I said before-



 Written by: onewheeldave





I think it would be useful to add the fact that, the Buddha himself, who originated buddhism, specifically stated 3 & 8 with statements saying that the existences of gods/supernatural beings were irrelevant to buddhism and, pointing out on another occasion, that he himself was not a god.



I feel this is important because, as we all know, there are groups who consider themselves buddhist, who do seem to consider gods etc to be real and very relevant to what they do.





That's not a simple rephrasing of points 3, 4 and 8- rather it's making clear that the buddha himself stressed them.



 Written by:



10) Buddhism denies the existence of a soul.







I Also disagree that buddhism denies the existence of the soul- the buddha said such things were irrelevant.



He did not say that God/gods didn't exist and, as far as I know, he didn't say souls don't exist: what he said was that the existencs/non-existence of such things was irrelevant (to following the path of buddha).



So, gods, souls, 'higher beings' may exist, or they may not- it just doesn't matter so far as the buddhist path is concerned.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Location: sheffield

Total posts: 3252
Posted: Written by: FireTom




I do understand the (your) motifs of classifying Buddhism as a mere philosophy, rather than a religion.



No, I wouldn't classify buddhism as a philosophy, due to afformentioned possibility of confusion between the two uses of 'philosophy' (Eastern and western).

I'll stick to classifying it as a 'spiritual system'.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Fire Tom, Id be very happy to discuss soul and ego, without display or argument.



When Im talking about ego, Im not talking about someone who is egotistical. To me, soul, ego and self are all basically the same (memory).



The biggest breakthrough I had in coming to grips with ego was learning about the Turing test



 Written by:

A human judge engages in a natural language conversation with one human and one machine, each of which try to appear human; if the judge cannot reliably tell which is which, then the machine is said to pass the test.





Ditto for Homo sapiens.



Ill be eternally grateful to Dave, for putting up with my criticisms until I understood his thesis, The Ultimate Theory of Reality. It is was not until I understood I was living a life of based automatic recurring behaviors (conditional existence), that I could see these behaviours as ego.



A few edits, less preaching, fix link wink

EDITED_BY: Stone (1204498378)


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

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Location: Canada

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Posted:OWD...according to the link I posted, Buddhism does deny the existence of the soul. I don't have anything else to back that up, I could go looking.

I'm taking it you're equating spirituality with introspection. Like I said upthread, spirituality as a word has been kicked around by so many people that it's basically lost it's meaning. Stereotypically, it is applied to metaphysics.

We could use spirituality to differentiate between what we know, and what we feel. As far as i can tell, Buddhism doesn't really seem to care whether it's classed as a religion or philosophy as it seems to present itself as a series of ideas that one can take, or discard whatever one feels like. Could seeing a psychologist be called a spiritual pursuit?

So if I want to discard the literal idea of rebirth in favour of the metaphorical, How might the Buddha react ? I figure he'd be cool with it.

Buddhism isn't presenting itself as "THE TRUTH" like so many other religions do, in fact it encourages analytical thinking and analysis of it's doctrines. If I don't feel any relationship to the existence of the afterlife, then fine, Buddhism doesn't tell me I'm going to suffer for it.

I'm no expert on religious doctrines and practices, but I've got to say...Buddhism is the first "religion" I've run across that's actually skeptical of itself....and I like that.


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FireTom


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Total posts: 6650
Posted:Updated list

1) Buddha classified the existence of supernatural beings, deities, an almighty god as "irrelevant" to the practice of Buddhism
2) Buddha classified the existence of a soul as "irrelevant" to the practice of Buddhism
3) Buddhism is non dogmatic
4) Buddhism has no devotional practice
5) Buddhism is not a system of faith and worship owing any allegiance to a supernatural being
6) Buddhism does not require blind faith
7) Buddhism does not have worshipping of idols
8) Buddhism does not consist of petitional or intercessory prayers
9) Buddhism has no (ultimate) saviour

Is it this list we can agree upon?


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

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Posted:Stout, here is a bit on craving, from that book I mentioned.

We may say that an enlightened person, one who is a Buddha, is free from (let us say) cravings or selfish desire. We ourselves are full of craving. We crave, for example, food of various kinds; we have a special liking for this or for that. Suppose, as an experiment, we stop eating some of our favourite foodstuffs, whatever they may be. We give them up; we decide we wont take them any more. Very regretfully, very sorrowfully, we close he larder door. We resist temptation, whatever it may be say plum cake. (I knew a Buddhist monk who was wonderfully addicted to plum cake. It was said you could get anything out of him if you offered him sufficient plum cake!)

What happens is that we may suffer for a while, and may not have an easy time at all. In fact, it may be quite hard going. But if we stick it out, if we banish those visions of plum cake, craving is gradually reduced and eventually we shall reach a happy state where there is no craving at all, and where we never ever think of that particular thing. Our abstention from plum cake is now no longer a disciplinary measure, but has become a genuine expression of the state of non-craving to which we have attained.


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

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Posted:Hey Stone...I'm with the program when it comes to the meaning of craving/suffering, and I've pretty much come to terms with the four noble truths. Where I'm at is trying to see whether Buddhism is indeed a religion...ie how much "belief" or "faith" is required.

Right now, I'm seeing Buddhism as not requiring much of either, or, more specifically, It appears up to the practitioner as to how much of these ideas they want to invest in the system. That's why I'm on about the existence of the soul. Today...I'm thinking that that link I posted saying Buddhism denies the existence of the soul...is wrong and Buddhism does require a belief in the "other world"...not the afterlife per se, but another plane of existence.

Which leads us to Tom's list. Just what is a devotional practice ? As an example, let's look at Thai Buddhism. ( btw..I haven't made it past Pali Canon examples, I have no idea on the differences/practices between Theravada, and say, Zen, Buddhism ) In Thailand, a man typically gets out of high school, "relinquishes all his worldly possessions" and joins the temple for a minimum of two months.

Now we know he doesn't really give everything up, he just leaves it somewhere, but still, he enters the temple with "nothing" and is pretty much forced to "beg" for his existence. I put beg in quotation marks, because, in reality, what he's really doing is trading "blessings" for sustenance.

So, technically, he has nothing, and I take this as a "lesson" in having, and wanting nothing..getting used to the idea if you will. He leaves the temple after a time and picks up his worldly possessions and continues on with his life.

Might this giving everything up be considered a devotional practice? How about the trading of blessings for food ? Is that Buddhism, or a local custom wrapped up in Buddhism ? While we're on Thailand, what about wrapping ribbons around trees, what's the meaning of that? As far as I can tell, it's an appeal to luck, and is about as connected to Buddhist philosophy as my crossing my fingers is as connected to the christian culture I was raised in ?

I'm even willing to let go of the confirmation bias I've been applying to wanting to view Buddhism as a philosophy...as I'm not really all that attached to it today, and a week from now, I may view it as valueless.


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FireTom


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Posted:Okay I did not receive confirmation on above listing, yet I did not receive complaints either and I adjusted to OWD's demands and will proceed from there:

It might be, that we will have to elaborate one or the other aspect, I ask for patience in this. No - you don't have to agree with me, no - you don't have to sign up for my personal views. BUT if you would like to discuss them (with me), at least pay the respect and read what I have to say. Trust me, it will take you not even a fraction of the time that it took me to write it down.

Background of Buddhism:

Buddhism emerged from the teachings of Siddharta, the Gautama Buddha around 500BC in India, he himself grew up in an environment of Hinduism. An environment of a few significant particulars:

Hinduism accepts a multitude of deities (simultaneously) to be various emanations of 'god' and over the centuries developed a caste system, in which Brahmins and Kshatriyas held all the power. The caste system has been (and still partly is) inescapable - no matter how much good you would do in your life, you would still be bound to the status you attained at birth.

One needs to understand that back then the 'ordinary man' could also not communicate directly with (the) god(s) but needed a 'messenger' (a brahmin) who he had to "pay" to deliver his 'message' (prayer/ request). To cut a long story as short as possible: No blessing without (paying) a priest, without performing a pooja - and certainly the scales back then were no less sliding ones than they are today...

Personally I regard Siddharta to be a renegade from this Hindu path, one who had found his truth and by that attained (spiritual) liberation from the dogmas of the Brahmin cast (to which even his own, royal family had to subordinate themselves to). As a sidenote: it might be that Jesus obtained some ideology from Buddhism and became a renegade to Judaism (but this is speculation only).

However I suggest to take notice how closely Hinduism and Buddhism are related to each other in terminology and some conceptions (however far away from each other they appear in ideology). Especially when it comes to the habit of "creative renaming", the root of it lies within "spiritual zoning" from Hinduism and the common heritage and language - this seems to have turned into a habit and is carried on till today.

Subsequently to the principal aspect of Hinduism, that multiple emanations of god do exist and each and every emanation does have various avatars, it's inevitable to come to the conclusion that indeed each and every man is an emanation of god (sorry girls, Siddharta only initiated one woman).

Certainly this meant a great blow to the brahmin caste (not only in India) who were eager to adapt to the new threat and to re-impose their powers. Adaptation and integration therefore means a corruption of the original concept, it gets diluted. Inevitable over the ages. It doesn't matter which philosophy or teaching you're looking at, however powerful it might be, chances are very high that it got compromised (in best faith). Whereas (I believe) that the most important aspect of each and every philosophy/ religion is: you.

*

As to the classification of Buddhist philosophy vs. Buddhist religion, IMO it is very important to regard present facts, rather than purple coloured ideals. Because ultimately what is significant is not the intent, but the result.

In particulars:

1) Buddha classified the existence of supernatural beings, deities, an almighty god as "irrelevant" to the practice of Buddhism

- Many (spiritual) initiators have stated principles as the foundation to their philosophies that get widely ignored by their disciples and devotees. We can clearly observe this when looking at the Abrahamaic religions ("You shalt not kill"). This is very significant when looking and evaluating religions vs. their origins.

Fact of the matter is that Siddharta gets worshipped today as a 'supernatural (enlightened) being' - a Buddha - regardless of the fact that he didn't claim the status of a deity for himself. As much as I understand of Jesus and his teachings, he would not see himself represented today by the roman catholic church either. But Siddharta did claim the status of a "Buddha" and that of a "Bodhisattva" for himself. The latter meaning "s/o bound for enlightenment", the former names an "enlightened being"... Dunno how you classify a deity...

Any which way, Buddha allegedly referred to himself as a Bodhisattva (prior to enlightenment that is).

 Written by: Wiki

The term Bodhisatta (Pali language) was used by the Buddha in the Pali Canon to refer to himself both in his previous lives and as a young man in his current life, prior to his enlightenment, in the period during which he was working towards his own liberation.



This quote also gains more significance, when looking at "Buddhism renounces re-incarnation" and "afterlife" or "salvation" (to have any significance towards the practice of Buddhism).

Further it is shown that a religion does not necessarily is in need of a deity/ higher being/ god - as at the example of Animism. If you regard Animism to be "childish" IMHO you have little understanding of it.

2) Buddha classified the existence of a soul as "irrelevant" to the practice of Buddhism

- The "soul" (Atman in Hindu and Atman in Buddhism) refers to "the self" ("ego" is only a recent definition derived from Sigmund Freud theories - some of them are disputed). Certainly it is not 'relevant', but a very difficult concept to understand in the first place. To many it is the difference between man and animal and then it gets coined "(higher) consciousness" or "(higher) self awareness".

To counter Buddhas claim I would say that without the Atman (and awareness of it) there is no desire(*) for spirituality, meditation, inquiry, practice in the first place - therefore that what is "irrelevant" to spirituality is the very source of it. (Which is why I am questioning Buddhism to be "the one and only path", as it first promotes schizophrenia and only then offers the remedy.)

Now I need to ask you if there is no "Atman", then what gets reborn? What gets "enlightened", what gets "liberated", what enters the state of "Nirvana"?

3) Buddhism is non-dogmatic

- Now this I would highly doubt, as the dogmas of Buddhism are the 4 noble truths, the eightfold path, meditation and the conquer of desires. Without practising these doctrines you cannot call yourself a Buddhist and these doctrines (teachings) form the dogma (a principle, or belief or a group of them).

Even if you claim Buddhism to be "non-proselytizing" then I would counter that it greatly depends on its followers and their behaviour to determine that - and what I have experienced is having my sanity utterly questioned when renouncing Buddhism as "the path".

4) Buddhism has no devotional practice

- What exactly means "devotional practice" to you? IF there is no god, higher being, deity, other than you(r 'non existing' self/ Atman) being a Bodhisattva, at least then meditation is definitely a devotional practice.

I have previously provided a quote, that devotional practice sits perfectly within the Buddhist realm, to avoid repetition I suggest you scroll up and read it.

Further let me put this reference to Buddhist ceremonies

5) Buddhism is not a system of faith and worship owing any allegiance to a supernatural being

- This is also in the eye of the beholder. If you have no faith in Buddhism and it's principles, if you have no faith in the possibility of reaching enlightenment by practising its doctrines, you are no Buddhist.

And if you renounce Buddha to be the guide or Buddhism to be the path (according to most Buddhists) you're no Buddhist.

And if you only practice "common sense" and "human ethos", but don't call it "the four noble truths" for yourself (errm others) then you will also not be regarded a Buddhist.

On the other hand, the "real self" (the very "buddha nature" of your(non existing)self) is the "higher being" that you have to devote your self to. If not that, why fighting and conquering desires and cravings in the first place?

6) Buddhism does not require blind faith

- Yes it does. Because you need to convince your self that all craving and all desires, that your self and your life is the very source of suffering - and that suffering is bad. You need to rejoice in the idea of enlightenment (however it gets played down in western theory) and you need to believe in the principles of Buddhism to lead you to salvage your self.

And this ultimately is what it's about: being a Buddhist or being "just" human.

7) Buddhism does not have worshipping of idols

- If "worship" is coined as "devotional practice" than I refer to what I've said to 4) and 5), if "worship" means "the reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object" then I really have to point out the countless shrines all over Asia, that allegedly contain parts of Buddhas body or got built around "footprints of the Buddha". If "worship" is "the ceremonies, prayers, or other religious forms by which this love is expressed", I refer to the Buddhist ceremonies I have pointed out under 5)

Fact of the matter (again) is that temples and idols DO exist and DO get worshipped. Whether or not this has been Siddhartas intent, he gets worshipped.

Show me (western) Buddhists that do NOT have a single (Buddha) image in their home.

And I would like to "quote" the Abrahamaic god:

 Written by: G*d

You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them;

(I believe the rest of the quote has been added later, so I cut it)

However: did it help to tell 'them' not to do it?

8) Buddhism does not consist of (petitional or intercessory) prayers

- Does "Om Mane padme hum" sound familiar to you?

 Written by: Wiki

"So in this way recitation of the mantra helps achieve perfection in the six practices from generosity to wisdom. The path of these six perfections is the path walked by all the Buddhas of the three times. What could then be more meaningful than to say the mantra and accomplish the six perfections?" (Gen Rinpoche, Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones)



I assume your emphasis lies on petitional and intercessory and in addition to above quote I need to ask: Is that what "religion" is all about? To gain favours by practising its rituals? You reckon that is what Jesus intended by proposing his teachings? To gain personal or material benefits? IMO this is the corruption of the initial philosophy, proving that it's only a guise. However, Thai and Chinese Buddhism both have affinity in aiming at material wealth by their practice of Buddhism.

9) Buddhism has no (ultimate) saviour

- ...outside of the (non existing) self, as proposed by Siddharta. Same applies to Hinduism - still it is referred to as a religion.

Please revert to Wiki for definitions of salvation in Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity and Buddhism

 Written by: Wiki on Judaism

Some Jewish denominations disagree with Rabbinic Judaism regarding the nature or importance of the afterlife. For them, the "world to come" may not be a significant focus of religious thought, since they emphasize that Judaism concentrates on the here and now.



Would that suitably classify Judaism as a philosophy? wink

As in Christianity, Buddhism has two prophets: The initial one and "the one that is still to come", the Maitreya Buddha. Whether or not these Buddhae are regarded as individual saviours... Well, how would you refer to someone throwing the "life line" other than being a "saviour"?

(My personal) Conclusion:

You can live Buddhism as a way of life/ philosophy or you can live Buddhism as a religion (as mostly happening in Tibetan and Thai and Chinese Buddhism) - and there is nothing wrong with it being "religion" either, as it usually is just an institutionalized concept of a philosophy, mostly has a patronizing character and often evangelizes/proselytizes, aiming to convert people to it's faith or offers it as a universal remedy to all worldly problems.

It doesn't hurt to look at forms of Buddhism as religious and - on the other hand - it doesn't hurt to accept that Christian faith as Judaism and Islam also can be lived as philosophies.

It depends on the individual (maturity) to choose for themselves which path to follow and which way to live.

(* desire: without the "desire" for spirituality, who would encounter it? If one has tasted the sweetness of 'enlightenment' or the 'blissful state attained by mindful meditation', naturally he develops a heightened 'desire' or 'craving' for it. This IMHO is one of the schizophrenic approaches of Buddhism towards "desire" and "craving". Further, IF my body has learned to extract a certain substance (vitamin or amino acid or whatever) and is in perpetuate lack of it, it will develop a "craving" for a certain food. Myself denying this supplement will possibly result in an ongoing conflict between mind and body.)


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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