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Is Buddhism just like the others?

I am a person who is very critical of religion. Yet, I can't help but feel am I any better being a Buddhist (probably not a great one though)?It feels like faith to me . I am satisfied that meditation may bring certain benefits but things like Nirvana and enlightenment I just don't know. They feel like a belief to me. Are people achieving this today? Have any of you guys felt anything like it? Sorry for bad articulation I'm having to be brief.

Comments

  • TravellerTraveller East Midlands UK Veteran

    I've had moments of Vipassana, I know for definite that the body is not self or belongs to me, there was a joy in it that lasted for hours. Like the Buddha said test the teachings. Sometimes I feel like giving up on it for a few hours or a day or two but I always come back.

  • KannonKannon Ach-To Veteran

    As long as we keep the foundational teachings and practices in mind, everything else is immaterial. It can be important to us and help guide us in learning and exploring, but it's of no use to really being mindful and compassionate. But we can do both I believe

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Moments of clarity like nothing else, yes, I've experienced that. So far, in my experience, meditation helps to bring them about more frequently and for longer duration. Why worry about enlightenment? Or faith? or belief? It's not necessary.

    TravellerMinglelobstersilver
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    When I realised emptiness I had a feeling of joy flow through me that I had never experienced before or since. It lasted about 30 seconds.

    If that's enlightenment, I'd like to order some more please :)

    MingleShoshinlobstersilver
  • TravellerTraveller East Midlands UK Veteran

    @Bunks, yeah I've experienced that, however I heard from a teacher that if the mind was purer their would be no joy, just a calm appreciation.

    Shoshin
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Traveller said:
    @Bunks, yeah I've experienced that, however I heard from a teacher that if the mind was purer their would be no joy, just a calm appreciation.

    That's not what I have heard.

    A Mahayana teacher said when someone realises emptiness they'll experience either great joy or great fear. I had the former obviously!

    They did say that this would then go away and the mind settle into calmness.

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited July 28

    @Mingle said:
    I am a person who is very critical of religion. Yet, I can't help but feel am I any better being a Buddhist (probably not a great one though)?It feels like faith to me . I am satisfied that meditation may bring certain benefits but things like Nirvana and enlightenment I just don't know. They feel like a belief to me.

    Sure! Until you actually attain it, it can't be anything other than a faithful belief, in your own mind anyway. However, faith in Buddhism normally arises from accumulated experiences rather than blindly following. So, it is like the others, but at the same time, it's not.

    For example, you can personally verify in your own life that clinging causes suffering and when you stop clinging, the suffering goes away. Therefore, it's quite reasonable to conclude that if all clinging was stopped, then all suffering would go away, because you have already personally witnessed that clinging is the cause of suffering. Now you believe (AKA have faith) that all suffering can go away (AKA enlightenment) even though it hasn't happened yet.

    BunksKannonkarastilobster
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    Even traditional teachings (the one I remember) says different people practice for different reasons. This tradition mentions 3 that are typical. One of them is just to have a good life. To try to have a good life. That's fine to have that as your motivation and purpose. The other two if I recall are to escape being reborn again in samsara after death. The third is to help all beings to escape rebirth/suffering and be happy.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Other religions encourage you to cling to them, and them alone. They discourage questioning most facets of the teachings in them. They tell you what you are supposed to be. Buddhism is largely what you make it. Buddhism doesn't care if you believe in it or not. It doesn't care if you arrive at the same conclusions and experiences Buddha did. It says "This guy did this. Here's what he found. Try it out, see what you think. If it's not for you shrug that's ok." I don't know of any major religion that is like that. They often tell you "This is the one right way, and if you aren't on it, you are screwed."

    vinlynMingle
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited July 29

    @Mingle said:
    I am a person who is very critical of religion. Yet, I can't help but feel am I any better being a Buddhist (probably not a great one though)?It feels like faith to me . I am satisfied that meditation may bring certain benefits but things like Nirvana and enlightenment I just don't know. They feel like a belief to me. Are people achieving this today? Have any of you guys felt anything like it? Sorry for bad articulation I'm having to be brief.

    Is Buddhism just like the others?

    "Ehipassiko" @Mingle ...(Thus have I heard)

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Mingle said:
    I am a person who is very critical of religion.

    We, according to Sufism and some aspects of Buddhism are not yet a Real person. Being critical of religion is just what some do to be a person ...

    Yet, I can't help but feel am I any better being a Buddhist (probably not a great one though)?

    Some are not much of anything ... In Buddhism our feelings and experience leading to persona are empty of inherent existence.

    It feels like faith to me.

    Then we have made it in our own image. God? ;)

    I am satisfied that meditation may bring certain benefits but things like Nirvana and enlightenment I just don't know.

    Benefits? Not really a satisfactory understanding or depth of experience is possible through surface skimming. Nirvana/enlightenment is beyond 'benefits'.

    They feel like a belief to me. Are people achieving this today? Have any of you guys felt anything like it?

    People including some here have gone beyond belief. If not, there is a solution. Where others are will not help us with our nature. That is up to us.

    Sorry for bad articulation I'm having to be brief.

    Life is like that. :)

    KannonJeffreyDhammika
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    Buddhism is many sided, it has many traditions... if you want to approach it from a secular angle, that is totally fine. And inherent in the saying of "test the teachings, and if you find them not to be true discard them" there is the idea that any part of the teachings can be discarded.

    Within any one of the major teachings of Buddhism can be found all the others, supposedly. So it doesn't matter very much whether you start with mindfulness, suffering, metta meditation or something else. Although there does come a point where you need to actually practice, meditation rather than just knowledge.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited July 29

    @Mingle said:
    I am a person who is very critical of religion. Yet, I can't help but feel am I any better being a Buddhist (probably not a great one though)?

    Do you see Buddhism as a religion ? You may want to look into "Secular Buddhism"

    "Some secular Buddhists believe Buddha was a historical figure and his authenticity is of importance to their practice.
    Some secular Buddhists don’t believe Buddha was a historical figure, and view Gotama as a myth and the teachings as full of wisdom, and some nonsense.
    Some secular Buddhists have never thought about whether Gotama is a historical person or a myth, and some don’t care either way.
    Some secular Buddhists practice rituals they learned in traditional Buddhism, while other secular Buddhists reject those very same rituals.
    Some secular Buddhists believe all the teachings should be approached with scientific scrutiny, tested out in the Lab of Life, and they let go of anything in the suttas that can not be practiced in life.
    Some secular Buddhists believe in rebirth or reincarnation, while many do not.
    Some secular Buddhists believe one can reach a fixed state of enlightenment and end suffering completely, while others do not.
    Some secular Buddhists view enlightenment as moments of being awake, mindful in the present without mental embellishments and the suffering that creates.
    Some secular Buddhists believe it’s unBuddhist to call oneself a Buddhist of any sort."

    Which for the most part is similar to "Natural Buddhism"
    "for those not inclined to believe in the supernatural, natural Buddhism points to a practice and an awakening that does not require believing in rebirth, ultimate realities, miracles, heavens, and hells, but instead teaches about the value of peace and letting go. While supernatural beliefs may be useful for some people, for those who cannot believe what they don’t believe, both natural Buddhism and The Book of Eights teach that to be at peace, one must let go of all clinging, including clinging to both natural and supernatural Buddhism"

    It feels like faith to me . I am satisfied that meditation may bring certain benefits but things >like Nirvana and enlightenment I just don't know.
    They feel like a belief to me. Are people achieving this today?
    Have any of you guys felt anything like it?

    As a 'self' no "I" personally have not...However as 'non-self' yes often....

    Mingle
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    ......Also....

    ~Sensei Sevan Ross~
    _"Great Faith and Great Doubt are two ends of a spiritual walking stick. We grip one end with the grasp given to us by our Great Determination. We poke into the underbrush in the dark on our spiritual journey. This act is real spiritual practice -- gripping the Faith end and poking ahead with the Doubt end of the stick. If we have no Faith, we have no Doubt. If we have no Determination, we never pick up the stick in the first place."

    Never give up the fight @Mingle

    Jeffrey
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Just when we thought it was safe/straightforward/easy ... Dharma deconstructs itself. Emptiness is form and form is emptiness, or to put it another way ...

    When bad omens arise, receive them as auspicious;
    Whatever thoughts arise are the treasury of bliss.
    When illness arises, this brings benefit;
    Whatever arises are a treasury of Bliss.
    When Death occurs, take it onto the path;
    The Lord of Death is a treasury of bliss.
    Mahasiddha Padampa Sangye
    https://www.lionsroar.com/when-the-teacher-fs-up-whats-a-buddhist-to-do/

    ... ay caramba. Easy for you to experience Mx Padampa, you are obviously some kind of Buddhist fanatic brought back to Life ... :p

  • KannonKannon Ach-To Veteran
    edited August 3

    @lobster Great video. It reminded me of this one I watched the other day from a Pure Land buddhist I follow:

    This is my humble understanding which uses the trikaya (i like triads):

    This entrusting is not a belief. Other Power is trusting in the dharmakaya. Self Power is trusting in the ego. the dharmakaya is manifested in Amida Buddha (who is by then the sambhogakaya). the nembutsu brings it all together, turning human beings into a vehicle of the sambhogakaya, which helps us realize the dharmakaya.

    (and how did we come to find Amida? through the nirmanakaya Siddhartha)

    i do not think it is a belief in something ephemeral. it is an abstracted way of looking at the ultimate dharma. by using this viewpoint we use love and prostration to attain peace, instead of trying to use the self which isn't there anyway. despite its convoluted facets, there is a reason Pure Land is popular among "simple/different" people. it was made for us.

    he reads that nothing is as evil to mitigate the effects of the nembutsu. i do not think that means the nembutsu is all powerful and mystical. rather the nembutsu is the greatest equalizer. no one is so evil to mitigate the fact they are a suffering being. they are still included in Amida's vow.

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    I think the big deal about Buddhism, is when those who've had especially trying times (big or small) see for themselves the rational, practical reasons why they went through what they did, and that it's not only okay to send a search party down into the depths of one's self, and how to keep calm and maintain. That is what studying and reading about the Buddha has done for me (and the job is never really done). It's not to worry about 'enlightenment'. It'll probably happen when I'm not looking, heheh.

    I wouldn't have missed this trip for the world. Amen. o:)

    KannonlobsterShoshin
  • RichdawsonRichdawson Explorer

    I have also never been one to follow blindly. It is encouraged and even considered appropriate to question teachings and teachers. Having an open mind and being receptive I think is also important.
    Realizations that happen when I am not “looking” tend to be the most powerful. Little bits of clarity that present themselves to me will leave me with a smile and a very peaceful feeling. I never know when, where or how they might happen but they do happen. It is these realizations of truth, the little pieces of the puzzle falling into place that drive me to continue my practice.

    For some reason I keep thinking of those pictures that look like a blur of color, that if you squint at them long enough a 3D picture forms.

    Shoshinlobster
  • JamesTimmJamesTimm Idaho New

    Like Richdawson I do not follow blindly. My acceptance of Buddhism has been a slow realization of truth meditating on my pillow one breath at a time.

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I agree with the not-blind leading those who want to see.

    So for example it is perfectly sensible to study, listen to sangha, gurus, lamas, a tree :3 etc. but we must also keep our wits about us or we could end up with shaved head, orange robes and one begged meal a day considering lilies... ;)
    Matthew 6:25-34

    In dharma we verify by pillow/experience/taste.

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