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How do you know buddhism is the true religion?

for those who are buddhist, which criteria do you use to evaluate buddhism?
for those who has left their old religion eg catholics, why?
what i am asking is how do you choose a religion?
is it an objective process or not?
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Comments

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran
    I think for me it felt right at first and then through the years as I gained more learning and experience I've found that it's logic and experience are true.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    I don't believe there is one "true religion" (or "right religion"), but I do think there are some "wrong" religions.

    Much of Buddhism and much in the New Testament speak to me with wisdom and guidance.

    I left the Catholic religion because I think the concept of confession is morally wrong. I occasionally go to a Methodist Church, and I'm thinking of looking into a universalist church.

    How? Partly objective, partly emotional.
    Kundo
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran
    I didn't follow any other "religion" before discovering buddhism.

    It just seems right and has helped overcome some mental issues experienced in the past.
    cazArthurbodhi
  • The short answer is it either works for you or it doesn't. Buddhist meditation gave me more insight into my own psyche in a day than I ever got with prayer (I come from an Muslim background). I mean literal personal breakthroughs. "Wow... This really works", were my exact words to my meditation teacher. After a while, Buddhism actually started to make more sense to me than the current popular interpretation of Islam, though I still identify with certain Sufi groups.
  • For me it just makes sense of the way I was already living my life but is also helping me organise my thought processes.
  • jll said:

    for those who are buddhist, which criteria do you use to evaluate buddhism?

    I don't really try to evaluate Buddhism. I only ask myself, "Is this skillful means?"
    jll said:

    for those who has left their old religion eg catholics, why?

    There was no rest for my mind when I was practicing Catholicism.
    jll said:

    what i am asking is how do you choose a religion?

    For me it has been through practice of a few different religious ideas that I like. Buddhism is what I practice now.
  • edited September 2012
    To me it's not so much about what's "true", but rather what fits. I find things I admire in just about all religions, things that inspire me, wisdom that I can draw from. But Buddhism is the only one I've found that fits me.
    vinlyn
  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing great lakes Veteran
    I think the word "religion" has a lot of baggage with it -- so although I consider myself a Buddhist, I don't consider myself to be "religious" -- does that make sense? I think a lot of meaning can be trivialized and almost lost in ritual..


    How does one choose a religion -- hm, I don't think there is any objective way to say "these are the X-many steps to do to find out which spiritual tradition is right for you" -- I think you really just have to try it on, much like how you can ask all you want of your friends about a particular type of shoe, are they comfortable, do they pinch at the toes, are they water-resistant .. but until you try a pair on for yourself you won't know what you're getting into.

    If you are asking why I practice Buddhism as opposed to following another spiritual tradition, I will have to stop you and say that I think most, if not all, spiritual traditions hold virtue, goodness, kindness, compassion, morality, generosity, forgiveness and so forth in high regard -- their greater goals are not at odds. Frankly, I was a very inquisitive kid and very unsatisfied with the "Creator God set the clock of the universe in motion" theory and wanted something deeper -- but even before I came across Buddhism I would have moments when I felt very "connected" if-you-will with life and the universe and whatnot. I don't think it's necessary to follow a spiritual tradition to live a fulfilling life and have meaningful experiences, but the wealth of information, the completeness of the philosophy, and the ultimate aims of a tradition are large deciding factors for me in evaluating how well I will get along with a spiritual path.
  • What other traditions actually address the root causes of suffering and happiness ? The answer was simple :)
    Davetheseekerdooksta123
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    It isn't that simple, Caz. I know Christians who are perfectly content, not suffering, and happy, and it is through their faith.
  • cazcaz Veteran
    vinlyn said:

    It isn't that simple, Caz. I know Christians who are perfectly content, not suffering, and happy, and it is through their faith.

    Content, Not suffering and happy :) What I actually said was Buddhism addresses the Root causes of Suffering and Happiness I wasn't comparing this with Christians having a temporary reduction of suffering through their faith as they still have the causes of suffering firmly placed in their minds.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    ^ Who are you to judge what a Christian feels and experiences?
    dooksta123
  • SileSile Veteran
    edited October 2012
    For many reasons, including that it was the only system I'd encountered whose attitude toward animal life reflected (and turned out to be even deeper than) my own. If I'd met Jains first, I might be Jain ;)

    I had always thought I was about as concerned about animals as one could possibly be, and then was quite humbled when first instructed by the nuns to gently take out the dead flies, blow mantras on them, and put them in the garden! It's not that I disrespected animal bodies before Buddhism, I had just never thought of taking quite that much care with them. A memory which will always stay with me. I thought, "I'm home."

    Another story I love is of the workers in the vegetable businesses in Switzerland--there are quite a few Tibetans there, and apparently they (like I!) find vegetable-cleaning rather painstaking, as it involves constant trips outside with both dead and live bugs and worms.
  • Myself when I was younger, living with my mother of Muslim faith, and visiting my father on the weekends of Christian faith (it being the weekends, of course I would attend Church), I have experienced the two religions in a somewhat unique way. I would say living and embracing the Muslim culture by week, by weekend I would be living and embracing the Christian faith.

    As a teen I had already read and understood the Bible and the Quran (Not in every aspect, but more than most people that label themselves under the religions know) because I had read them both multiple times... It absolutely fascinated me what these texts had on people, what they did to people... However I never felt that way, though I sure did enjoy going to church, but it was more of a social for me, it gave me a good feeling being around my peers outside of school... At an early age than usual I had found I understood way more than my peers did about the religion (Christianity), and so I decided to stop attending the session for younger people and instead, stay and be with the adults to listen to topics that were more involved and complex... That's when I started to learn how the religion operated, I learned more about the faith based aspect of the religion, which I didn't by into to begin with, but I was young I figured maybe I was naive and needed a professional to interpret the words for me. And this was turning me off greatly, there never seemed to be any questions I could ask an Christian that considered themselves a teacher, it always boiled down to, you just need to have faith...

    Well that's the thing, basically in my 16 years in Christianity and Islam both, there was never anything that I could experience or feel, it was basically a matter of believing the people around me that these events in this book are real and they matter, believe that what this book has to say is true, but why should I? There is no way to prove it to me, there are countless number of religions out there saying different things, what makes this any special?... Christianity and Islam never gave me anything to apply to life, it never gave me anything to test... Sure they have some things to say about life, but it is nothing that can't be said by a non believer...

    When I bumped into Buddhism, it gave me many things for me to test and apply to life, just about everything I read... What I like about Buddhism, is that there isn't a guy claiming to be Godly, there isn't a guy that is saying that if you don't believe in me as your God and Savior then you won't find yourself in this realm known as "heaven"... However, there is this man in Buddhism that is nothing but an enlightened human being that gave words of advice and says here, this is what I have to say, take what you need and use it where you need to use it... I am aware that in Buddhism that there are some outlandish beliefs and claims of different realms, but you aren't required to believe these things, I won't believe them because it requires faith, it cannot be tested... Yet it doesn't bother me to cherry pick in Buddhism because I am actually allowed to... In Islam and Christianity, they have "holy books" that are the word of God, are you going to cherry pick the words of your God that you worship while you believe he is almighty and the creator of the universe? No, that doesn't make any sense...

    I am actually glad that I experienced two of the worlds major religions growing up... It gave me a great understanding of them and how much they did not fit my skeptical mind and I went on my own journey to find the philosophy that best fits me, even though I don't consider myself a Buddhist, I am only a student, studying as much as I have free time in a day, but I know that this is the best thing that has ever happened to me...
    Takuan
  • cazcaz Veteran
    vinlyn said:

    ^ Who are you to judge what a Christian feels and experiences?

    I wasn't judging at all it is a matter of fact everyone who isn't trained has various Ignorances in their mind which are a cause of suffering, These don't just go away because you haven't recognised them or choose not to.
    Davetheseekerseeker242Siledooksta123
  • 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
    edited October 2012
    Caz, put the brakes on. Whatever a devout Christian feels in their heart and mind is right for them. Simply because you disagree with their theological - logic - it doesn't give you the right to disparage what they do, or why, or what their fundamental objective is. A Christian is a Christian because to them it feels right, proper and correct to be practising what they practice, and it feels right.
    the same can be said for you. Both have the courage of their convictions.
    Leave it there.

    ETA: Reminder to all: The thread isn't about why others are wrong to be following what they follow, but why you follow what you follow.
    Kundo
  • For some people, Buddhism welcomes them when other religions have rejected them or told them they must change who they are before the seeker is allowed in.

    I agree the question is loaded with words like "know" and "the true religion" that are best left with the other religions. Generally Buddhist don't buy into the Highlander model of Gods battling over who will be left standing.

    Buddhism is right for me. My family wishes I would have stayed with Christianity. They claim it lost a great preacher when I walked away.
    zenff
  • jll said:

    for those who are buddhist, which criteria do you use to evaluate buddhism?

    The list of objections was smallest with Buddhism.
    ;)
  • there is no right or wrong answer to this as all religions are basically the same as they all teach love and compassion and so on it is just the practise that varies.

    In response to your question i dont know buddhism is the one true religion but i do know it is the one that rings true with me.

    If that makes sense
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited October 2012
    How do you know buddhism is the true religion? By putting it into practice and observing the results.
  • SileSile Veteran
    Wisdom23 said:

    there is no right or wrong answer to this as all religions are basically the same as they all teach love and compassion and so on it is just the practise that varies.

    In response to your question i dont know buddhism is the one true religion but i do know it is the one that rings true with me.

    If that makes sense

    Definitely agree that all major world religions--and indigenous spiritual traditions, too--teach ethics.

    So why choose Buddhism, then? For me it is partly because the ethics are extended to include non-humans. But beyond worldly ethics, then, is the idea of transcending the cycle of suffering altogether and that by training our minds we have the capacity to do this. One develops a great sense of respect and responsibility for oneself, I think, with this approach, as opposed to focusing all respect and responsibility outward onto some other being.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    I don't think there is one true religion, and I think suggesting there is is the cause of a whole LOT of the world's current problems. The destination is the same for all, the route is different. Buddhism fits me, and it feels right for me. That doesn't mean it's right for my mother, if it was clearly she would be Buddhist yet she is not. I think the values in Buddhism are the same values that are the root of all religions, just unfortunately some religions have lost their way and their focus of the root of their teachings and chosen to focus on political matters, power, and other things.

    I was raised Lutheran(Christian). From a very young age I didn't buy it as a valid option for me to understand my world. For me it was just a bad experience, and a complete lack of connection. We belonged to different congregations over the years, and there was no change. But I grew up in a very small town that is only Christian (there are non Christians of course, but no where to practice anything but Christianity in a more formal setting). When I asked my parents why I had to go to church I got a blank stare with a "well because it's what we do!" because they had never thought about why they went, either, lol. Thankfully their views of religion and the world have expanded as they got older, too. Anyhow, once I got to college and had access to so much information at libraries and eventually the internet as it came into being, I started learning the basics of a lot of different religions. I always liked Buddhism but the way it was presented to me wasn't in a very positive light and it seemed very complex to learn and at that place in my life I wasn't prepared to take on that level of learning on top of going to college and raising a young family (I was in my early 20s). I took what I felt and matched it with Pagan religions at the time, but never really felt at home there, either. More so than within Christianity but the rituals and some of the strange things within Pagan religions didn't fit me at all. Eventually I wandered back to Buddhism. At the same time I got a free Kindle book "Zen and the Art of Running," my teenage son was getting interested in Buddhism, and as a gift I got him tickets to see the Dalai Lama. That was the last kick i needed to jump in with both feet, and I'm still treading water but at least I don't feel like I'm drowning now.

    As for criteria, I just discovered as I learned and talked to people and read books, that there was far more "yes! This is how I feel and this is what agrees with me!" than there was "uh, I'm not so sure about that."
  • I like what H. H. Dalai Lama said:
    "This is my simple religion.  There is no need for temples, no need for complication.  One's own mind, one's own heart is the temple, and loving-kindness is the philosophy."
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    I like what H. H. Dalai Lama said:
    "This is my simple religion.  There is no need for temples, no need for complication.  One's own mind, one's own heart is the temple, and loving-kindness is the philosophy."

    I like what he said, too. So, if he really believes that, why is he the head of such a large, formal religion?

  • vinlyn said:

    I like what H. H. Dalai Lama said:
    "This is my simple religion.  There is no need for temples, no need for complication.  One's own mind, one's own heart is the temple, and loving-kindness is the philosophy."

    I like what he said, too. So, if he really believes that, why is he the head of such a large, formal religion?

    He really is the head of such a large religion or just a particular sect from that religión?
    Anyway I have know idea what feel be in the Dalai Lama position, so maybe you need ask to him personally :)
    dooksta123
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    ^ He's the head of a formal religious group, and seen by many in the world to be Buddhism's leading figure. Size is relative. And I like him and respect what he says, but I see a significant conflict in what he is and what he says in the example you gave.
  • All the religions have value. OK, not all, like, Scientology doesn't have any value...

    I think the idea of a "true religion" is pretty flawed.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    I don't think he had much choice in being chosen as the Dalai Lama considering he was 2 years old. That's a pretty hefty responsibility for a child and their family. Can a family decline to have their child taken to monastery if they are chosen or rather found to be a reincarnation of an important figure?

    A little boy in Minnesota was recently found to be a reincarnation of a lama. The story on his life was really interesting, I'll post it in a second.

    I always found it "interesting" that all reincarnations that I personally know of, are always particular ethnic groups and pretty much always males. Are there are female/non ethnic (mostly nonTibetan) reincarnations out there?

    Here's the story:
    http://www.startribune.com/local/north/135804688.html?refer=y
  • 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
    vinlyn said:

    ^ He's the head of a formal religious group, and seen by many in the world to be Buddhism's leading figure. Size is relative. And I like him and respect what he says, but I see a significant conflict in what he is and what he says in the example you gave.

    Well, according to the fundamental creeds of that religion, it seems he really didn't have much choice, but I sometimes think that actually, given the choice, he really would like to be 'a simple monk'.
    He has already abdicated political responsibility, and I think that was a wise strategic move, but as for the rest - he's a prominent Buddhist who actually has done much to make Buddhism such a successfully growing 'calling' for so many, in the West.
    I wonder how many of us would be Buddhists if he (and other Tibetan Buddhists after him), hadn't been so hight-profile?

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    ^ I quite agree with you.

    He's my "favorite" Buddhist.
  • ArthurbodhiArthurbodhi Veteran
    edited October 2012
    vinlyn said:

    ^ He's the head of a formal religious group, and seen by many in the world to be Buddhism's leading figure. Size is relative. And I like him and respect what he says, but I see a significant conflict in what he is and what he says in the example you gave.

    Yep, I see the point, but like I said before I don't know what be a Dalai Lama feel like. I don't know why he think that and the same time remain like the head of a religious group, maybe he think that keep that position that he never choose have in first place, could be of best help for the Tibetan cause or whatever. I don't know really.

    What I know is that I like what he said :)
  • Buddhism is here and now and in this moment. The dharma is just encouragement. We already have a mind and craving and so forth. You can only find Buddhism here and now. Of course you can study, but the practice is not limited to just studying.
  • I don't view Buddhism as a 'religion' at all. :)
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    More of a philosophy?
  • I started meditating (Zen-style) because I had a stress-related skin problem. I thought meditation would help. I was in a group with a woman who thought meditation would help her in her struggle with overweight. There were students who wanted to improve their concentration skills so they could learn faster and have more time left for the fun part of being a student. I suppose some people had heard about Enlightenment and had higher plans.

    For me what counts is that I got hooked on meditation.
    I’m still not sure about Buddhism. There’s a devout type of Buddhism that brings out the worst in me.
    What I liked about Zen is that the questions and the resistances are welcomed and that they get thrown back at me. Go and sit with doubt and embrace resistance. Making this connection with what is here and now and what is truly how I feel; that is the only true religion.

    Imho
  • jll said:

    for those who are buddhist, which criteria do you use to evaluate buddhism?
    for those who has left their old religion eg catholics, why?
    what i am asking is how do you choose a religion?
    is it an objective process or not?

    You choose by what feels right and makes sense to you. And what inspires you to be all you can be, and more.

    Jeffrey
  • vinlyn said:

    I like what H. H. Dalai Lama said:
    "This is my simple religion.  There is no need for temples, no need for complication.  One's own mind, one's own heart is the temple, and loving-kindness is the philosophy."

    I like what he said, too. So, if he really believes that, why is he the head of such a large, formal religion?

    I could be off base here, but I believe he feels a certain responsibility to his people to be what they expect of him.
    Jeffrey
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    I guess I've got to repeat it again. I admire the DL. I think he -- unintentionally or not -- speaks for Buddhism more than any other one person (at least in the eyes of the world).

    I just thought that the one quote mentioned doesn't quite fit what he does.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    jll said:

    for those who are buddhist, which criteria do you use to evaluate buddhism?
    for those who has left their old religion eg catholics, why?
    what i am asking is how do you choose a religion?
    is it an objective process or not?

    I picked up Buddhism because it seemed interesting; and I stuck with it because it's worked thus far. In essence, I find it intellectually stimulating, practical, and following its practices has led me to become an all-around happier and more caring individual. I don't make any objective claims about my practice, just thoughts about my experiences and my understanding of the teachings as they're presented in the Pali Canon. Nothing more, nothing less.
    JeffreyvinlynMaryAnne
  • DaltheJigsawDaltheJigsaw Veteran
    edited October 2012
    It's simple...It works for me, through experience and contemplation.
  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran
    for those who are buddhist, which criteria do you use to evaluate buddhism?
    My criteria is this: does it help me be a better, kinder, more compassion person?

    for those who has left their old religion eg catholics, why?
    N/A in my case

    what i am asking is how do you choose a religion?
    You look in your heart and see how it responds to the religion

    is it an objective process or not?
    It is a matter of direct observation (inner observation of yourself), which is actually quite objective when you think about it. Our own direct experience is the only true reality we have.
  • B5CB5C Veteran
    There is no such thing as an "True" religion. If people start claiming their religion is then only "true" religion. There will be blood. :/
  • PrairieGhostPrairieGhost Veteran
    edited October 2012
    Because first I was practising mindfulness, which I learned, if somewhat vaguely, from a. playing wipeout on the playstation one, and b. wiping tables at my then job at an all night pool hall. Basically there was a point when I stopped thinking 'I'll do this job quickly and then it'll be over', and started understanding 'it's mindfulness of wiping tables that defines whether it's boring or enjoyable'.

    Later, Hindu/Buddhist texts explained what was happening, and some other things that I experienced, and taught me mindfulness of the breath, which gave me a more consistent practice.

    What I mean is, that's why it's true or useful for me.
  • 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
    B5C said:

    There is no such thing as an "True" religion. If people start claiming their religion is then only "true" religion. There will be blood. :/

    @B5C, I agree; and i would have changed the title of the thread, but some contributors had already made comment on that fact, so I let it be.

  • I don't consider Buddhism a religion. It to me, is a philosophy that leads to a more peaceful life with less suffering.

    Also HHDL is a "simple monk" doing his best to help this insane world see that there is a way to accept each other and live in harmony. But that's just my opinion.
    MaryAnne
  • SileSile Veteran
    edited October 2012
    There is a difference between religion as a source of ethics, and religion as a system of disciplined investigation into the mind with the goal of ultimate liberation.

    One can see this message reflected in every public talk the Dalai Lama gives; he always begins with the advice to stick to ones own religion, and that all religions share an emphasis on loving-kindness and ethics, and that this is the basis for personal and world peace. He often adds that religion itself is not necessary--one can have a system of secular ethics to fit this same need.

    He adds that if the Buddhist approach to life is what appeals to you, then investigate it closely. If you are certain it is the best fit, it's okay to choose the Buddhist path; however, he makes it very clear that the Buddhist path will encourage you to go beyond simple ethics into the investigation of the mind and ultimate liberation. From a Buddhist perspective, the mind is the ultimate tool, and working with this tool does absolutely require--in fact it is defined by--nitty gritty analysis, personal exploration, practice, hard work, study, etc., just as any serious discipline or vocation is.

    Of course for Buddhists, ethics and liberation are related, but if you aren't into the Buddhist mind sciences, ethics themselves form a path for world peace, a path which runs through all religions and which can be followed even outside of religion.

    Implicit in this oft-repeated two-part point, as I hear it, is the message that there is an acceptable difference between simple ethics, versus the disciplined pursuit of ultimate liberation according to Buddhist mind science.

    However, as he often stresses, even the traditional-Buddhist mind sciences can be seen more and more through a modern scientific lens; but one doesn't achieve great investigations into the synthesis of 2500 years of Buddhist philosophy and modern mind science by abandoning the information contained in the first tradition, even if some of that tradition has what we label a religious component.

    As any linguist or botanist knows, too, one doesn't throw information away lightly--woven throughout what we often call cultural trappings is precious information, both obvious and subtle.

    And of course there's the very important issue of the millions of people who still today find the traditional Tibetan, Thai, Japanese and other paths, intact, the most rich and rewarding approach to the mind sciences. Not everyone is compelled toward what we somewhat hastily (imho) label a "secular" path without really having established a path at all.

    Many find the incorporation of liturgical chant, for example, to be an asset in mind-training, or find that prostrations do indeed bring about a different and useful change in emotional state.

    If I were under orders to immediately secularize Buddhism,--and I'm not averse to the concept of secularization--I would not throw out the musical and physical and visual trappings lightly at all, but instead try to find some secular substitue for these components, at least at first, because, quite frankly, I just don't know for a fact that they aren't necessary and important, or at least necessary and important for some.

    This is where the Dalai Lama and neuroscientists' investigations are bearing fascinating fruit, I think--whereas once meditation itself was sort of mocked as a religious and/or cultural trapping, now many neuroscientists have agreed, for example, that there's a measurable change in the meditating brain, and that meditation is effective for pain-reduction.

    Sorry for all the rambling--I just think it can be shown that the Dalai Lama is not being hypocritical when he says religion is not necessary for world peace, but he chooses the Buddhist path as a personal science. I think it's also clear he's very committed to finding secular parallels, both of ethics and mind sciences, but not by throwing out things we have labeled "religious" but in fact contain important information we have not yet fully understood.



  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran
    edited October 2012
    karasti said:

    I don't think there is one true religion, and I think suggesting there is is the cause of a whole LOT of the world's current problems. The destination is the same for all, the route is different.

    This :)

    And at the end of the day, how do we know ANY religion is the "True" religion. We don't. We only know what works for us. And what makes us the best people we can be is the "true" religion, whatever that path may be.

    In metta,
    Raven

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    It just works for me. I don't have to believe something just because I was told to and I don't even have to have faith in what I myself believe.

    I get to question everything and see it if holds up under scientific or personal scrutiny. No faith or suspension of disbelief required.

  • No attainment, thus the bodhisattva rests without fear.
    PrairieGhost
  • jll:
    what i am asking is how do you choose a religion?
    Choosing a religion is not like buying a new car or a bottle of wine. Whatever is your disposition (sankhârâ), you will find the religion that suits it.
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