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Higher power in Buddhism

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Comments

  • SattvaPaulSattvaPaul South Wales, UK Veteran
    I think we are all talking about the same thing here - acceptance, surrender, whatever you call it - letting go of our small self. God is just a name. Some find it useful, some not.
  • IñigoIñigo Explorer
    s
    @federica - I'm not sure myself. Hence this thread..
    The adoption of a "higher power" can help to loosen the ties of the ego or lower self. The challenge in Therevada buddhism, at least for me, is that it is somewhat taboo to look to a higher power be it outside or inside oneself.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    s
    @federica - I'm not sure myself. Hence this thread..
    The adoption of a "higher power" can help to loosen the ties of the ego or lower self. The challenge in Therevada buddhism, at least for me, is that it is somewhat taboo to look to a higher power be it outside or inside oneself.
    I'm not sure why you choose to use the word taboo. No one tells you what you must believe.

  • IñigoIñigo Explorer
    edited March 2012
    Hi Vinlyn
    You are correct, no one has made it taboo, I see it as taboo as the belief in a permanent state (i.e. a higher power) contradicts my understanding of dependent orignaination and anatta. The issue is that I cannot see the place of a constant higher power in buddhist philosophy, can you?
    :)
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    no, but the question of the existence of such a power was not responded to by the Buddha. he remained silent.
    He also said that excessive pondering on such a matter would lead to madness.

    Therefore whether there is, or whether there isn't is not relevant.
    the whole point is to be mindful....
  • IñigoIñigo Explorer
    edited March 2012
    I agree with you Federica. The point where all change or even a "higher power" acts is in the present moment, and our ability to remain alert in that moment appears to be through mindfullness.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Hi Vinlyn
    You are correct, no one has made it taboo, I see it as taboo as the belief in a permanent state (i.e. a higher power) contradicts my understanding of dependent orignaination and anatta. The issue is that I cannot see the place of a constant higher power in buddhist philosophy, can you?
    :)
    It just seems like that depends on whether you accept Buddhism as a total package (which, to me makes it a religion), or whether you look at Buddhism more as a philosophy, which lends itself more to personal decision making.

  • ToshTosh Veteran

    It just seems like that depends on whether you accept Buddhism as a total package (which, to me makes it a religion), or whether you look at Buddhism more as a philosophy, which lends itself more to personal decision making.

    Or just a path to follow?

  • patbbpatbb Veteran

    It just seems like that depends on whether you accept Buddhism as a total package (which, to me makes it a religion), or whether you look at Buddhism more as a philosophy, which lends itself more to personal decision making.

    Or just a path to follow?

    yes,
    - with techniques which allows you to develop tools to observe and explore your world (microscope),
    - which leads to realizations from direct observations about your world (we are not what we thought we were),
    - and said realizations end ignorance which also end suffering
    (it did look like the the moon was a giant creature following me, but Buddhists teach me how to build a telescope and observe with it, so i took a good look at the moon and realized it wasn't some kind of creature out to get me, but just a big rock floating in space; there were nothing to worry about to begin with!).
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    It just seems like that depends on whether you accept Buddhism as a total package (which, to me makes it a religion), or whether you look at Buddhism more as a philosophy, which lends itself more to personal decision making.

    Or just a path to follow?

    Okay, but as an old-time hiker, I often found there were various sub-trails that would lead to the same place.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    It just seems like that depends on whether you accept Buddhism as a total package (which, to me makes it a religion), or whether you look at Buddhism more as a philosophy, which lends itself more to personal decision making.

    Or just a path to follow?

    yes,
    - with techniques which allows you to develop tools to observe and explore your world (microscope),
    - which leads to realizations from direct observations about your world (we are not what we thought we were),
    - and said realizations end ignorance which also end suffering
    (it did look like the the moon was a giant creature following me, but Buddhists teach me how to build a telescope and observe with it, so i took a good look at the moon and realized it wasn't some kind of creature out to get me, but just a big rock floating in space; there were nothing to worry about to begin with!).
    But did you believe the moon was not a giant creature stalking you because Buddhists told you so, or because they helped you learn it for yourself?

  • patbbpatbb Veteran

    It just seems like that depends on whether you accept Buddhism as a total package (which, to me makes it a religion), or whether you look at Buddhism more as a philosophy, which lends itself more to personal decision making.

    Or just a path to follow?

    yes,
    - with techniques which allows you to develop tools to observe and explore your world (microscope),
    - which leads to realizations from direct observations about your world (we are not what we thought we were),
    - and said realizations end ignorance which also end suffering
    (it did look like the the moon was a giant creature following me, but Buddhists teach me how to build a telescope and observe with it, so i took a good look at the moon and realized it wasn't some kind of creature out to get me, but just a big rock floating in space; there were nothing to worry about to begin with!).
    But did you believe the moon was not a giant creature stalking you because Buddhists told you so, or because they helped you learn it for yourself?

    well they kind of hint toward it, but told us not to believe them but to build our own telescope and have a look by ourselves. ;)
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    and where, in all of this, was the finger...?
  • AA comes from the Christian tradition, and so therefore uses language and terminology appropriate to that tradition. They do try to widen it out to include people of other faiths and atheists, but it seems to me that is often a stretch.

    But it's like a lot of things in life, particularly if you are a member of a minority religion like Buddhism (as many of us are): you have to slot yourself in any way you can, in order to get the benefit from the group you hope to get. But this doesn't mean to say you have to accept, wholesale, everything that is said to you.

    So, they want a 'Higher Power'. Then interpret that in any way that suits you. The point, after all, is to quit drinking, not to subscribe to some sort of cult ;)

    This makes me think: why are we often so keen to be part of the group that we will squeeze and stretch ourselves until we're a square peg in a round hole? Can't we be involved in a group, but on our own terms? Is it a confidence issue or is it fear that people won't like us, or think us stand-offish? What's so wrong with being the black sheep of the family?
  • IñigoIñigo Explorer

    So, they want a 'Higher Power'. Then interpret that in any way that suits you. The point, after all, is to quit drinking, not to subscribe to some sort of cult ;)

    This makes me think: why are we often so keen to be part of the group that we will squeeze and stretch ourselves until we're a square peg in a round hole? Can't we be involved in a group, but on our own terms? Is it a confidence issue or is it fear that people won't like us, or think us stand-offish? What's so wrong with being the black sheep of the family?
    Hi Ada
    These are questions on my mind also. What is the cause of attraction to fit into a group as you say? Can we answer that clearly from buddhist philosophy?
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran
    edited March 2012
    The OP is a little old but if you can find an enlightened teacher or at least a wise and devoted one you can rely on them as a sort of higher power. Its important that they are actually qualified and not a charlatan or a well meaning fool. Then you can develop trust that they will do right by you and lead you correctly. That is a sort of higher power, not like something to grovel before and plead for acceptance but as a teacher who has qualities you don't and can help you develop them too.
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