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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

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:Personally, I like to keep things simple smile



It's true that even the best spiritual systems/philosophies, are prone to distortion, corruption or misinterpretation as the centuries roll by.



I've said myself on several occasions that many current systems calling themselves buddhist, do not correspond with the original form (that includes most 'state' forms of 'buddhism')



So, we appear to agree on that.



------------------------



How I determine for myself what is 'true' buddhism, is by the following-



1. Does it accord with a few of the basics which the Buddha is recorded as having stated (these are listed in my previous posts)

2. Does it not contradict any of those basics

3. Is it logically consistent

4. Does it 'work' spiritually (produce good results in, for example, creating peace of mind)



For example, the buddha clearly said (as one of the 'basics') that he was not a god.



If a current school calling itself 'buddhist' refers to the buddha as a deity, I simply dismiss it as a non-valid form of buddhism, because it directly contradicts the words of the buddha that I do accept.



That way, I find that I have a system which is logically coherent, contains no contradictions, that 'works' (spiritualy) and that is most definitly not a religion.


"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

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted: Written by:

As a sidenote: it might be that Jesus obtained some ideology from Buddhism and became a renegade to Judaism (but this is speculation only).



That could very well be true, but along with being a visionary and gifted orator, Jesus might have been barking mad by today's standards.

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Adaptation and integration therefore means a corruption of the original concept, it gets diluted. Inevitable over the ages.



Also a distinct possibility seeing as hoe Buddhism existed as an oral tradition for hundreds of years before the Pali canon was actually put to paper.

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Many (spiritual) initiators have stated principles as the foundation to their philosophies that get widely ignored by their disciples and devotees

This is entirely possible too, however claiming something as irrelevant isn't the same thing as saying it doesn't exist so, naturally, people who are drawn towards worshiping higher beings are going to do so and view irrelevance as being a sort of green light to go ahead and do so if they so desire.

Maybe I don't know enough about animinism, but the idea that inanimate object have a soul is downright silly IMO...What my coffee cup has a soul ? what happens if I drop it and it breaks into a hundred pieces? does each piece have it's own soul ? If so, where did those "extra" souls come from? Suppose I keep one piece for sentimental reasons, does the soul of the coffee cup reside strictly within that piece? Or only 1/100 th of that soul ? Suppose I keep two pieces?

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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"?



This is where I have no problems thinking of rebirth as a metaphor for different mental states, or attitudes. I'm not the same person I was 20 years ago, there was no sudden awakening, but gradually, over time, I changed. Was I reborn ?

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3) Buddhism is non-dogmatic



I tend to disagree here.

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4) Buddhism has no devotional practice.



I also disagree here, but this is coming from the perspective of someone who doesn't live in a Buddhist oriented society.

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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?



Do you mean why not just become a hedonist instead in give in to all cravings and wants? If so...good question. Buddhism claims that this is the path to misery, Buddhists might be right...look at Brittney Spears, Amy Winehouse, and hundreds of others who we, errrrr...look up to ( in a People magazine sense ) Their success in the good times industry clearly hasn't led to personal happiness.

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you need to believe in the principles of Buddhism to lead you to salvage your self.



I agree...this is what it's all about...I wouldn't call it blind faith, as in "quit thinking and just believe"

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7) Buddhism does not have worshipping of idols



In my understanding, Buddha images, and the like are meant only to serve as a reminder to the practitioner to adhere to Buddhist values. I won't deny they get worshipped though.

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To gain favours by practising its rituals



This is where I find Buddhism confusing. The online, LCD screen version of Buddhism that I've been experiencing for the past week says no, but there's a significant percentage of the population out there who draws comfort from the idea that they can control the world just bu wishing. eg. prayer. This is one of those aspects, that when I see it, like Thais offering an orange to a little tiny shrine that I wonder whether this is indeed Buddhism or some local superstition.

 Written by:

Would that suitably classify Judaism as a philosophy?



Maybe...are these sects denying the existence of God too ?

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You can live Buddhism as a way of life/ philosophy or you can live Buddhism as a religion



Yes...and that's what makes it interesting smile


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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted: Written by:

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".



Yes, it does depend on the followers, but this is what Buddhists meant by compassion, no?


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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:OWD thanks for keeping it simple. Sometimes it's not as easy to answer a question or to back up a claim (outside your own box). I (for my part) have explained where I find Buddhism (in whatever form) to contradict itself, abstaining from logic and therefore making it inconsistent to me. Further it appears clear to me (by looking at the wars between Burma/ Thailand and some state forms of Buddhism) that it's not a "foolproof" philosophy and that not all results are "satisfactory". Which is why Buddhism does not necessarily work with anybody.

Whatever you may claim about "Thai Buddhism not representing Buddhism in it's 'pure' form" - at least 'mindful meditation', the '4 noble truths' and the 'eightfold path' - all are its core aspects - and seem not to produce the "desired results".

*

Stout, I fully agree - Jesus could even be regarded a criminal by some (Judaist) standards. However, I can't really think of any prophet who claimed to be a god (which made them prophets in the first place)

And basically what I'm saying is that the "pure" and "original" forms of any (spiritual) philosophy might not even exist outside ones own headspace anymore.

O) Buddhism and higher beings/deities/gods

"Irrelevant"...

 Written by: Buddhanet.net

In the meantime people from far and near flocked to the scene as the news spread. Diverse deities came. Visva Kamma deity who by his psychic power came to the rescue to provide much needed accommodation.

The Buddha requested Venerable Maha Pajapati Gotami to clear doubts about her sainthood. Then she paid tribute by performing many miraculous acts and all present including the Maha Arahants marvelled.



umm

 Written by: Buddhanet.net

At such a sight Venerable Maha Pajapati Gotami was exceedingly glad. The disciples were fully worthy of the Lord as he was of them. She saw that Anna Kondanna, Sariputta, Mogallana, Khema, Uppalawanna, Nanda, Rahula and his mother Yasodhara (Bimba Devi) were to predecease the Lord. She was determined not to tarry but that she should be the first to go. Although she was 120 years old yet signs of old age were not visible. Her hair and teeth resemble those of a girl of 16 years. At the moment of her resolution of obtaining Parinibbana the earth trembled and quaked. The thunder in the sky rent the air. Her companion's likewise sought release.

She and her companions proceeded to meet the Lord



Let me just check this term, "Lord":

 Written by: dictionary.com

lord
1. a person who has authority, control, or power over others; a master, chief, or ruler.
2. a person who exercises authority from property rights; an owner of land, houses, etc.
3. a person who is a leader or has great influence in a chosen profession: the great lords of banking.
4. a feudal superior; the proprietor of a manor.
5. a titled nobleman or peer; a person whose ordinary appellation contains by courtesy the title Lord or some higher title.
6. Lords, the Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal comprising the House of Lords.
7. (initial capital letter) (in Britain)
a. the title of certain high officials (used with some other title, name, or the like): Lord Mayor of London.
b. the formally polite title of a bishop: Lord Bishop of Durham.
c. the title informally substituted for marquis, earl, viscount, etc., as in the use of Lord Kitchener for Earl Kitchener.
8. (initial capital letter) the Supreme Being; God; Jehovah.
9. (initial capital letter) the Savior, Jesus Christ.



What does Buddhanet refer to when using the phrase "the Lord" in conjunction with "the Buddha"? Possible escape hatch: Maybe Buddhanet is not referring to Buddhism in it's 'pure' form... ? Maybe the scripts that Buddhanet cite, are compromised already?

O) Buddhism and women Buddha initiated ONE woman during his lifetime and teachings. This ONE woman has been his foster mother and when she initially asked him, he answered: "Do not ask so". Finally it seems he could get 'persuaded' and applied 8 conditions...

 Written by: Buddhanet.net

These were the 8 conditions:

1. A Bhikkuni even if she was in the Order for 100 years must respect a Bhikkhu even of a day's standing.
2. A Bhikkuni should reside within 6 hours of travelling distance to and from the monastery where Bhikkhus reside for advice.
3. On Observance days a Bhikkhuni should consult the Bhikkhus.
4. A Bhikkhuni should spend the Vassa (rains retreat) under the orders of both Bhikhus and Bhikkhunis.
5. A Bhikkhuni should ply her life by both the orders.
6. A Bhikkhuni should on two years obtain the higher ordination (Upasampatha) by both Orders.
7. A Bhikkhuni cannot scold a Bhikkhu.
8. A Bhikkhuni cannot advise a Bhikkhu rather it should be the other way about.



umm (just to explain the term: a Bhikkhu (according to Britannica online encyclopedia) is one who has renounced worldly life and joined the mendicant and contemplative community. A Bhikkhuni therefore is a female Bhikkhu)

IF women are equally able to attain the truth, why would they have to subordinate themselves to their male counterparts? Now we would have to refer to the "Buddhist FAQs" - only to find interpretations and assumptions. It is funny (strange) that there are no more definite sayings of Buddha himself to be found anywhere. Okay, the Buddhanet FAQs have been answered by a Thai monk - that might explain it, let's check with other sources... But I can't find comments who don't eagerly try to find explanations and 'excuses'...

O) Buddhism, the soul and reincarnation I have repeatedly pointed at this (essential) contradiction - and noticed that devotees renounce sound logic:

When Buddha revered to his previous lives, he must have been reincarnated (contradictory to the belief that Buddhism renounces reincarnation). If in Buddhism there is no soul, what gets reincarnated then? What gets enlightened and what enters the state of Nirvana? - if not the self, if not the soul?

O) Buddhism and "desire" If desires are the root cause of all evil and one has to overcome all desires... what about the desire for mindful meditation, the desire for Yoga, for the truth? Or is it more the case that there are "bad" and "not-quite-as-bad desires"?

If I'm looking at famous and really rich people, after all I see the same: just people. People who are no more or less happy than anybody else. They all have the same problems, just on a different scale. Being a celeb doesn't ensure happiness - but being Buddhist doesn't either.

O) Buddhism and idols "Buddha images, and the like are meant only to serve as a reminder to the practitioner to adhere to Buddhist values" - and that would then be the great difference to other idols?

O) Buddhism and petitional or intercessory prayers/ practices: What Buddhism promotes is a diminished amount of suffering by practising it's doctrines and further the chance to get enlightened, with the ultimate benefit of being released from the eternal cycle of death and rebirth.

What Scientology promotes is... well, read for yourself. It seems to have 'worked' (spiritually) for a number of individuals, including celebs like Tom Cruise and John Travolta and in some aspects it seems not to be that far away from Buddhism... wink

Offering oranges in small shrines in Asia is indeed more going into the direction of Hinduism (which was the predecessor to Buddhism in most parts of Asia). When looking at Thai Buddhism one will find many elements of Hinduism still anchored with it.

Stout, I was referring to "Buddhism being non-missionizing (non-proselytizing)" in character - which greatly depends on the personality of it's individual devotees. Maybe Jehowas witnesses are only 'compassionate' when ringing your bell?

And when it comes to Animism: "There is an universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves, and to transfer to every object those qualities with which they are familiarly acquainted, and of which they are intimately conscious." (Hume)

Now tell me (hand on heart): Did you ever talk to your car? wink


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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FireTom


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Total posts: 6650
Posted:And OWD - on the other hand:

It's not a disgrace to a philosophy to receive 'adjustments' over the times. After all, times do change and - for example - Buddha has been incredibly progressive in his stance towards women. Hence these days, at least in the West, he just could be regarded 'sub-standard'... Personally I don't care whether 'pure' and 'original' form - but I am in no need of any label, may it be "Buddhist", "spiritual", "Christian" either.

After all the (new) label itself doesn't say too much about the (old) bottle...


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted: Written by:

And basically what I'm saying is that the "pure" and "original" forms of any (spiritual) philosophy might not even exist outside ones own headspace anymore.



That's entirely possible...I've been unable to find any references to "pure" Buddhism, and I've been working on the idea that the Pali canon is what we're talking about here.

The thing about Buddhism, at least the western Buddhism that I've been focusing on, allows someone to practice Buddhism while tossing out the metaphysical aspects as so much, well,,,trash. Once the metaphysics are tossed, what you're left with is inspirational philosophy and psychology.

I'm unsure of "the other religions" stance on the idea of rejecting their metaphysics, but i did run across some Christian perspectives in support of the Jesus Myth Hypothesis.

IMO, I could practice Buddhism without giving a second thought to the idea that, if i eat this cheeseburger, I'll be reborn as a hagfish. I'll have to acknowledge the harm I caused to a living being, but I can deal with that.

I don't have to follow "the path" to its intended destination, I don't want to either. There's enough stupid people out there in the world that I want to reserve my right to inform them of this fact if, and when i see fit. Yep, sometimes I enjoy giving into anger, ( lets face it , most of us do ) Buddhism may be telling me not to do this, or at least consider what my anger might bring me ( unhappiness ) which would be true, if I lived anger as a lifestyle, or allowed my anger to cause me to act in a way that "I'd regret later" ( like getting into a fight with Bruce Lee wink )

Umm, yes..Scientology. There's a prime example of something that's just too stoopid for words and I fail to find anything in Scientology that says I only need accept "what works for me" I reserve my right to not act with right intention in the presence of Scientologists ( as long as they don't know where I live ) and if this is going to result in my being "unhappy" then so be it, I'll take my chances.

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Stout, I was referring to "Buddhism being non-missionizing (non-proselytizing)" in character - which greatly depends on the personality of it's individual devotees. Maybe Jehowas witnesses are only 'compassionate' when ringing your bell?



Yes it does depend on the character of the devotee, but I can't recall anyone, ever, trying to "convert" me to Buddhism. I could if I wanted to, apply the Buddhist idea of compassion when thinking about JoHos knocking at my door, they are after all acting in good faith in trying to save my soul ( I wasn't always this way, I used to turn the garden hose on them,,just for grins ) but truth be known, they don't come knocking on my door often enough to bother me and when they do, I just tell them I'm spiritually looked after.

 Written by:

And when it comes to Animism: "There is an universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves, and to transfer to every object those qualities with which they are familiarly acquainted, and of which they are intimately conscious." (Hume)



OK...So Hume's saying something only has a soul if I deem it personally worthy of having a soul. Were I intimately connected with an object and subjectively awarded it a soul, then what happens when I loose interest in that object ( OWD did a previous post on this idea ) ? Does that object loose it's soul ? Or is animism just a "spiritual" justification for gooey sentimentality ?

I have talked to my car before, and thought it silly at the time, and afterwards. It translates to an attempt to control the world by wishing....praying again. BTW, I also sometimes cross my fingers in an attempt to get what I want/need, and thank various entities ( usually FSM ) when things go the way I want.

Even though I indulge in these behaviours, I still think and know they're complete cowspoo and treat them more as figures of speech than anything else.


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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted:On following "the path" as a solo effort.

I've had a recommendation to read Herman Hesse's "Sidhartha." and pay particular attention to the part in which Sidhartha elects not to be a follower of the Buddha. His point being, that enlightenment must be discovered for oneself.

Aside...the lyrics to Yes's Close To The Edge were inspired by this book, not that that helps to make anymore sense of them.


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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:Hesse's 'Siddhartha' is a book I would very much recommend too.

I found it in my local library at age 12 and it was a bit of a life-changer.


"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, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Hi Stout, I dont think you need "faith" to believe in Buddhism. By, soul I meant specifically the immortal soul. Im sure enlightenment is another plane of existence. One out side the delusions of the mind.



Ive made this point before. It is difficult to know what another person gets out the training they undertake, say by joining a temple for two months. All we are doing is judging that person by what our opinions tell us about the training.



It is really up to you to decide if you are attached to it or not.



Close To The Edge, Down By The River. Id agree enlightenment must be discovered for oneself, but we need some guidance on the way.





Fire Tom, I dont subscribe to your opinion of Buddhism. Thats such a judgmental and inaccurate account of Buddhism that any discussion will only end up in futile arguments. As I have said before, all you are doing is trying to classify Buddhism according to your standards and ideals as a westerner - it should look like this, so I will make it look like this. You even make up lists of how it should look.



You said that nobody has to sign up to your opinion that Buddhism was a religion. Yet you keep arguing the point, page after page.



Anyhow, I though we were going to discuss ego? I read point No 2, and I dont understand what you are saying. If you want to understand ego, Atman and Anatta, then you need to have an understanding of dependent originations. Which is why I brought up AI and the Turing test.







I read Herman Hesse's "Sidhartha" when I was about 14, though I've forgotten much. I think Ill read it again.



Also, if anyone is "really" interested in understanding Buddhism, from a Buddhist perspective, then try reading Heart-wood from the Bo Tree by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. There are various copies on the net.

EDITED_BY: Stone (1204505389)


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:Stone, Making lists can sometimes help to keep a discussion on track and topic - other than that we could move straight to chitchat. *pours tea and dives into cookie jar* Would you like some milk with your Earl Gray? umm

I'm not going to discuss ego with you in a thread that is about whether or not Buddhism is to be regarded a religion or a philosophy. You want to discuss ego - make an "ego thread".

[off topic]Stout - not sure whether I understand Humes sentence correctly, but as I read it: "and to transfer to every object those qualities with which they are familiarly acquainted," ... meaning my own qualities, of which I am intimately conscious. I might be mistaken. Same effect when 'mankind makes god after their own image'. You ever fell in love with someone? What happens when you fall out of love with that someone? Ever been had 'best friends' who you 'lost sight' of? These people don't drop dead, just because you don't "love" or befriend them anymore.[/offtopic]

OWD: Would you say that Thai Buddhists are aware that they are not practicing "real" Buddhism (according to your standards)?

 Written by: ThaiBuddhist.com

When Ayuthaya fell to the Burmese in 1767, Buddhism declined through the lax of discipline and loss of most of their religious books through the flames. The new kings of Thonburi and Bangkok tried to revive it by collecting the scattered religious books together, purifying the conduct of monks, and promoting a heavy programme of building temples and statues. Buddhism flourishes again during the Ratanakosin (Bangkok) period. The most fervent and enthusiastic king of the present Chakri Dynasty of Bangkok was King Mongkut King Mongkut(1851- 1868) who spent 27 years of his life as a Buddhist priest before he came to the throne. During this period of priesthood, he studied Pali, the sacred language of the Lord Buddha. So learned was he that he was able to read all the teachings of the Lord Buddha in the original Pali language. Then he discovered that so many things in the Buddhist way of life and belief had greatly departed from the practice during the days of Buddha himself. He therefore set to purify the Buddhist texts, conducted new studies, and taught new conducts which would bring the conduct of priests and the teaching back into line with what the Buddha had actually taught in his days.



I guess when you refer to the "pure form" of Buddhism, you're able to verify your claims by reading and citing the original texts in the original language yourself...


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Fire Tom, how can you even pretend to talk about Buddhism if you are not prepared to discuss dependent origination (Pratitya-samutpada), Atman and Anatta.



I dont think anyone actually said Buddhism was the one and only path. I might have said most people need training to tackle the ego. Id suggest that coming to grips with the ego is essential, no matter what path a person takes.



I think if we discussed ego and ego structures, then we could move away from all the false accusations and unfounded opinions about Buddhism. However, discussing the ego can be threatening, and many people shy away.



Besides, it is on your list.



As far as lists go, I think lists loose their usefulness when all they become are vehicles to push personal opinions on to other people.


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

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Ok, I will put it another way.

Fire Tom, you have discussed Buddhism the religion both eloquently and at great length. Are you now prepared to discuss Buddhism, a way of living?


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

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted:Hey Stone...I think we may be talking past each other on the faith topic. Let's drop it in favour of faith not being a requirement to following the path. It's unimportant, really.

We're on the same page when it comes to "the soul" and enlightenment could be another plane of existence. This is where the religious aspect of Buddhism comes into view, and really, it's unimportant as....

We all know the answer to the OP...Buddhism can be either....A religion or a philosophy, depending on the practitioner. I'm applying confirmation bias to support my idea that it's a philosophy, and Tom is doing the same for the religious viewpoint.

It's all good.

You guys read Sidhartha in your early teens. Wow, that's impressive. I think I was reading National Lampoon at that stage of my life.

I'll put Heart-wood from the Bo Tree on my list. What I was hoping to do, was take these books out of the library and preview them before actually handing over my hard earned cash, but our libraries are in the middle of a labour dispute, with no end in sight. I should have got Sangharakshita on the day he was mentioned.

Tom...I'm using this as my working definition for animism.

I wonder if King Mongkut King Mongkut, after he learned Pali, was aware that Buddhism existed as an oral tradition for hundreds of years, and might have been corrupted during that time. FWIW

As to the value of the training....As far as I can tell, Buddhism can be a very subjective experience, so were I just to wander into some temple and say "teach me" I may, or may not receive quality training. There's one big advantage IMO to starting out with an online perspective, and that's my ability to "control" what I'm taking in.

Quote from some other forum

 Written by:

Stout

I would first like to begin by stressing how unreliable I find a lot of the information about Buddhism from online sources such as Wikipedia to be, and I would highly suggest that you gather the majority of your information about the Pali Canon directly from reputable practitioners and translators, e.g., Bhikkhu Bodhi, Nyanaponika Thera, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, et cetera, and academic scholars, e.g., Lance Cousins, Rupert Gethin, Richard Gombrich, et cetera, than through sources such as Wikipedia.




Any problems with those sources ? I've been getting most of my information from the Access to insight site.


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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Fire Tom. I have trouble agreeing with your point number two on your list. Could you please explain how the non-belief in a soul promotes schizophrenia?



Stout, as you say the religious part is unimportant. I was suggesting that a better understanding of the fundamentals, like dependent origination, might help clear up some of the misconceptions about Buddhism as a religion. Btw, I like the skeptics dictionary definition of soul (spirit).



 Written by:

A soul or spirit is a non-physical entity capable of perception and self-awareness. Souls are often believed to be immortal.

.



If ever there were an entity invented for human wish-fulfillment, the soul is that entity. As Thomas Hobbes pointed out, the concept of a non-substantial substance is a contradiction. It is not possible to imagine a non-physical entity having life and perception. Even believers in souls always imagine them as being like human shaped clouds or fogs. It is a delusion to believe that the concept of soul is conceivable. Yet, billions of people have believed in a non-spatial perceiver which can travel through space and perceive and interpret vibrations and waves in the air without any sense organs.

.





Work done by philosophers and psychologists based on the assumption of a non-physical entity, which somehow inhabits and interacts with the human body, has not furthered human understanding of the working of the mind. Instead, it has furthered superstition and ignorance while hindering the development of any real and useful knowledge about the human mind. More promising is the work of those who see consciousness in terms of brain functioning and who try to treat 'mental' illness as primarily a physical problem. Two vast industries have been made both possible and lucrative by this belief in a non-entity in need of treatment from experts in non-entities: religion and psychology. A third industry, philosophy, also flourishes in great part due to the concept of soul: a good many philosophers write books and articles based on the assumption of the existence of spirits, while a good many others make a living writing refutations and criticisms of those books and articles. It seems that the skeptic and the true believer need each other!





After reading that, I could only conclude that Buddha, knew a thing or two, even 2500 years ago (ed.)





I havent read much Pali Canon, so I cant recommend anyone. Though I agree about Wiki.

EDITED_BY: Stone (1204581190)


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:Thanks Stout, I also have no idea why there's a debate stemming from the obvious...

And as I said, Stone: I'm not going to discuss the concepts of "soul" in a thread that has nothing to do with it.

Cross reference - could we move over to this one?


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Fire Tom, thats fine if you dont want to discuss the concepts of soul, no problem.

Im not sure what you mean about moving. Do to want continue the discussion on Buddhism in the other thread, or do you want to discuss souls in the other thread? If you dont want to discuss the soul there, just let us know.

Stout,

On reflection, I can now see how it is possible to go solo. If you are really interested in Buddhism, then I suggest you get an understanding of what is at the core of Buddhism. Which to me is meditation. I suggest that you skim through this paper: Mindfulness in Plain English. It will give you a taste of what Buddhism is really about. Its not for everybody.

Some quotes from Mindfulness in Plain English:

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Conscious thought, at least the way we usually do it, is the manifestation of ego, the you that you usually think that you are. Conscious thought is tightly connected with self-concept. The self-concept or ego is nothing more than a set of reactions and mental images which are artificially pasted to the flowing process of pure awareness.



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Vipassana meditation is an exercise in mindfulness, egoless awareness. It is a procedure in which the ego will be eradicated by the penetrating gaze of mindfulness. The practitioner begins this process with the ego in full command of mind and body. Then, as mindfulness watches the ego function, it penetrates to the roots of the mechanics of ego and extinguishes ego piece by piece. There is a full blown Catch-22 in all this, however. Mindfulness is egoless awareness. If we start with ego in full control, how do we put enough mindfulness there at the beginning to get the job started? There is always some mindfulness present in any moment. The real problem is to gather enough of it to be effective. To do this we can use a clever tactic. We can weaken those aspects of ego which do the most harm, so that mindfulness will have less resistance to overcome. Greed and hatred are the prime manifestations of the ego process.



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The Vipassana meditator uses his concentration as a tool by which his awareness can chip away at the wall of illusion which cuts him off from the living light of reality. It is a gradual process of ever-increasing awareness and into the inner workings of reality itself. It takes years, but one day the meditator chisels through that wall and tumbles into the presence of light. The transformation is complete. It's called liberation, and it's permanent. Liberation is the goal of all buddhist systems of practice. But the routes to attainment of the end are quite diverse.



Cheers smile


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:See Stone that is the problem that I'm facing with you for some time now: Please practice awareness and keep discussions on topic.

'Soul', etc. has nothing to do with the question of "religion vs. philosophy". We can discuss this, sure. We can discuss the basic principles and practices of Buddhism - no worries. But we need to do this in the right environment, so someone at some stage looking for "apples" has not to put up with 20 pages of "oranges".

I already asked the Mods to move the (only) thread on Buddhism from "Chat" to "Discussion" (after noticing that it's in the wrong forum - I'll wait for their decision.

For my part I'm happy to discuss with you the schizophrenity of Buddhism and it's core elements, thrilled with anticipation why you regard Buddhism "not to be for everybody" and why so many Buddhist accept a 20th century conception of the self ("ego") to be applicable to doctrines that are 25 centuries old, still referring to its "original and pure form", when all they need to have is faith in the quality of translation. And finally I'm really looking forward to your justification for this quote...

 Written by: Stone

Id still call the people on self-directed spiritual paths hedonists. Call it, psychological egoism if you like, its all about me. To me, being reborn a dolphin is just the ego talking. There is no rebirth, and no understanding of the true self.



wink


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

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Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Fire Tom, true I'm not always aware.



The topic is Buddhism - Religion or way of life?



As a way of life, Buddhism is not about religion (belief system) or philosophy (questions of how one should live). It is about how you actually live your life. Its not like Buddhists are better than anyone else, but there is a shift in how you look at life. What you understand yourself to be (i, ego, self, soul) and the ethics you live by.



You should be able to move the other thread. See first post , seniors smile


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

Total posts: 1872
Posted:Tom...there's a debate so we can all determine just where each of us is coming from.
This is by no means a new topic, this same conversation has been had previously by countless people

Personally, i don't care where we discuss what, after all, we're having a conversation, not building a library and if you want to move the discussion over to another thread, so be it.

Stone, thanks for the book. I downloaded a copy of it. Meditation has been one of those subjects I've been avoiding, sort of. I was hoping to see just where it fit into Buddhist philosophy ( or if it was strongly attached to the religious side ) I'm seeing now that it's not something I can continue to avoid if I want to continue my studies in this field.

I realise, that at some point, training is needed. it is possible to walk the path alone, but It looks like someone could only get so far along that path before inadvertently veering off it into,,well,, a self directed "spiritual" path.

This would seem to imply that enlightenment without training is possible if it is, indeed saying Pukkusati attained enlightenment without training. Or maybe he had some, after all he had to hear about the Buddha from someone.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.140.than.html

As to the soul...it's on my list of things to do. Register for the forums at the link I posted and ask them directly, that...If it isn't the soul that's reborn...what is. I want something more substantial than a description of a flame blowing from one log to another. Will I get one ?


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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

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Total posts: 2830
Posted:Fire Tom, now I have a dilemma about where to post.

My justification for the quote fits here.

 Written by:

Id still call the people on self-directed spiritual paths hedonists. Call it, psychological egoism if you like, its all about me. To me, being reborn a dolphin is just the ego talking. There is no rebirth, and no understanding of the true self.



Ok, it was a bit over the top ubbangel

Id start by reading it in the context of which it was written, but I cant find page. It was connected with something Stout said about being reborn a dolphin. And if the self-directed path was all about me, as in "me" being reborn a dolphin. Then it is just stroking the ego, with out any self-realization.



Hi Stout,

I think training acts as a catalyst, and speeds up the process of learning. Sometimes we have blind spots, and it often takes someone else to point them out.

That book on Vipassana explains a lot, and I got a lot from reading it. But Vipassana meditation is heavy stuff. For a simpler approach, there is also a wealth of meditation resources at Wildmind dot Org.

The soul, its like lighting the second watch candle from the first, and then the third from the second and so on wink Whats wrong with the definition from the skeptics dictionary? I couldnt find a forum at accestoinsight.


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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Posted:I wouldn't say it's over the top. Self directed spiritual "paths" are completely ego driven in the way that they tend to elevate the path followers feelings into something greater than feelings.



Yea, I can't remember what I said about being reborn a dolphin either, I remember making some crack about your eyes glowing gold when you reach enlightenment. I figure the dolphin thing was about what a self directed spiritual path might lead one to believe what may happen to their soul after death.



The Vipassana book didn't look to heavy, it is, after all about developing a skill and it's a skill, that maybe not everybody could develop from text, like spinning poi.



Yes, blind spots....a huge problem.



The forum I was talking about is at thebigviewdotcom. That's the site that, on their Karma and Rebirth page, under the chapter on the non-self states there is no soul.



http://www.thebigview.com/contents.html



I hope to get to it in the next day or so.....



I'm not saying self directed spiritual paths are a bad thing ( not from my perspective at least ), most of the times they're harmless, and at times, may even benefit the practitioner. Mostly, they're just confusing.


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FireTom


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Total posts: 6650
Posted:ubblol topic dilemma? wink I'm ready to move on to the other thread and to have a conversation with you about Buddhism in general, including all it's aspects. Personally I have said 99.9% on why I regard Buddhism to be both: a religion and a way of life. By that I have said (almost) all in regards of the OP.

Stone, you won't find the context of your quote in this thread. This is why I revived it: you were referring to Buddhism as the only reasonable path in a (small) number of threads that had nothing to do with Buddhism (plus one or two other occasions). I would dig it out if you like me to... umm wink

Regarding that "elevated view on life": It's at the time you climb further up in the tree of life, that you get a different outlook on it. You don't necessarily 'need' Buddhism to climb to the top and reach "enlightenment" or to "see things as they really are" (including your self). Some don't even 'need' a guru or a master.

The Buddha is already within everybody, right? And the need for guidance is an individual one, according to ones own abilities, circumstances and intellect... IMO

Stout, I have to disagree once more: if you check "who is online", you will find a lot of ppl browsing old threads. We're not building a library, but we could make it more easy for other ppl by sticking to the initial topic.

So? *holds out cookie jar* got some 'enlightenment cookies'... Here Kittykittykitty...


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:Hi Stout,

The bigview is really cool, Im an enthusiast. Im sure they will give you some interesting answers.

Its me who finds Vipassana hard-core. I just dont think Im up to the 10 day residential course.

See you on the other side smile


True Fire Tom, you dont need Buddhism to reach enlightenment. When you can see things as they really are, you will be a most enlightened person, no argument. Sure the need for guidance is an individual one. However, I think everyone benefits from having a teacher. There are just some things people cant get from reading a book, and thats where having a teacher is important.

Ill try to answer some of you questions in the Buddhism thread; no wiki-woo.


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

Total posts: 1872
Posted:Thanks Stone..I'm hoping to give the big view's forums a read through tonight, there may be an answer to my question already posted.







Edited for rubbish

EDITED_BY: Stout (1204991092)


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