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Are atheistic Buddhists immoral?

New study in the news
https://phys.org/news/2017-08-atheists-thought-immoral-fellow.html

Some of us are Buddhist and atheist. 😇
Are we moral, independent of sila or our affiliation to atheistic dharma?😎

Personally I consider god immoral.😍

Clementine
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Comments

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

    Ha! So even atheists think atheists could sometime use a little strong-arming to keep them on the straight-and-narrow. Do this/Do that - because I said so! That was interesting article, @lobster.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Thanks @silver <3

    These atheistic micro crustaceans recently partly ate a teenager. If they were gods creatures might they have finished off the job? :p
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/aug/07/tiny-meat-loving-marine-creatures-eat-teenagers-legs-at-melbourne-beach

    I consider myself a food item for non vegans but sometimes the tables are turned ... :o

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

    That poor kid!
    Hey, sea lice get hungry too. O.o

    lobster
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    I suppose by one way of looking at it god is an immoral idea because it posits that humans are immoral by their basic nature - this would seem to encourage immorality - since we're incapable of doing any better, why try?

    The closest I ever came to being murdered (not close at all, actually), the perp was -you guessed it - an atheist, and he did murder quite a number of other people. The publicity around this case undoubtedly did a lot to encourage the supposed connection. but I don't see it - it's too simplistic by far.

    lobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    "If there exists a god all powerful to fulfil,
    in every creature bliss or woe, and action good or ill,
    that god is stained with sin, man does but work his will !"

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @Shoshin said:
    "If there exists a god all powerful to fulfil,
    in every creature bliss or woe, and action good or ill,
    that god is stained with sin, man does but work his will !"

    There are other possibilities. As with Shiva, the creator and destroyer, God may create and end things, but not be involved in between. That's what I have come to believe.

    But we don't know, and won't, so each person must think things over and see where his considerations take him or her.

    KeromeJeffrey
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Morality and religion - or lack of it - are not mutually exclusive.

    lobsterJeffreyDavidVastmind
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited August 8

    @vinlyn said:

    There are other possibilities. As with Shiva, the creator and destroyer, God may create and end things, but not be involved in between. That's what I have come to believe.

    But we don't know, and won't, so each person must think things over and see where his considerations take him or her.

    The universe is full of possibilities...endless possibilities :)

    Your post reminds me of the Deist "clock" @vinlyn :)

    Kerome
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Are atheistic Buddhists immoral?

    I'm thinking along the lines of ..."What's immoral today could be moral tomorrow and vice versa"... relatively speaking ( this would include the atheist Buddhists ) ...I guess that's anicca for ya :winky:

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

    @vinlyn said:

    @Shoshin said:
    "If there exists a god all powerful to fulfil,
    in every creature bliss or woe, and action good or ill,
    that god is stained with sin, man does but work his will !"

    There are other possibilities. As with Shiva, the creator and destroyer, God may create and end things, but not be involved in between. That's what I have come to believe.

    Yes I largely agree... but there is still so much we don't know about the universe, science for example hasn't yet come close to explaining what consciousness is or how it works. It is very possible the whole universe is alive, and then perhaps Baruch Spinoza was right and the universe is God.

    yagr
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @vinlyn said:

    @Shoshin said:
    "If there exists a god all powerful to fulfil,
    in every creature bliss or woe, and action good or ill,
    that god is stained with sin, man does but work his will !"

    There are other possibilities. As with Shiva, the creator and destroyer, God may create and end things, but not be involved in between. That's what I have come to believe.

    Yes I largely agree... but there is still so much we don't know about the universe, science for example hasn't yet come close to explaining what consciousness is or how it works. It is very possible the whole universe is alive, and then perhaps Baruch Spinoza was right and the universe is God.

    I think broad swaths of mankind get so very attached to one concept (whichever one it is for that culture) of "what is" that they become blinded to looking at things any other way.

    yagr
  • RefugeeRefugee San Francisco Explorer

    I challenge anyone, anywhere to cough up sound statistical data indicating measurably higher rates of crime in atheists while controlling for confounding factors such as socioeconomic status, educational attainment, and mental illness.

    For we are concerned ultimately with acts, are we not?

    No such evidence exists: turns out that atheists are about as "moral" as anyone else. The perception of atheists as inherently immoral is based on cultural norms, not objective truth. In societies where people grow up in conditions where they equate morality to religious belief, they develop cognitive biases wherein they incorrectly conflate religiosity and morality.

    Human morality is founded on the one ability that -- barring brain damage or mental illness -- we all possess: empathy.

    personVastmind
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    The whole concept of atheist and not is interesting to me. Buddhists (except those who have hybrid beliefs that work for them) generally don't believe in God, especially an Abrahamic one, so wouldn't that generally mean Buddhists are also Atheist? Yet the term is almost always implied to mean someone who doesn't subscribe to any sort of belief set. It's kind of a confusing thing to navigate. Just like when most people suggest all religion is a God-belief type of religion, which many are not.

    Vastmind
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @Refugee said:
    I challenge anyone, anywhere to cough up sound statistical data indicating measurably higher rates of crime in atheists while controlling for confounding factors such as socioeconomic status, educational attainment, and mental illness.

    For we are concerned ultimately with acts, are we not?

    No such evidence exists: turns out that atheists are about as "moral" as anyone else. The perception of atheists as inherently immoral is based on cultural norms, not objective truth. In societies where people grow up in conditions where they equate morality to religious belief, they develop cognitive biases wherein they incorrectly conflate religiosity and morality.

    Human morality is founded on the one ability that -- barring brain damage or mental illness -- we all possess: empathy.

    You were doing good till you hit that last sentence. I make no such assumption. In fact, I think the moral code in most societies rests on the religion of those societies, even for those in the society who do not act as a member of that religion.

    Jeffrey
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    There have been studies done about morality and where it comes from, and there are, in very young babies, morality that exists across the board of humanity that has nothing to do with religion whatsoever. It's pretty interesting reading. There are a lot of articles if you google "infants and morality." Or "inherent morality." Babies, of course, are atheist in terms of how we consider belief in God and religion. Here's a couple of them

    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/11/as-babies-we-knew-morality/281567/

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-moral-life-of-babies/

    They talk about the moral core that even our youngest babies seem to have, and when it's nurtured and then explained as reason comes into play it carries through their lives. Religion definitely comes into play, but I'd argue religion often does more harm to our natural morality than it enhances or encourages it. Because it so often sets up the barrier of us vs them.

    KeromepersonVastmind
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    @vinlyn said:

    @Shoshin said:
    "If there exists a god all powerful to fulfil,
    in every creature bliss or woe, and action good or ill,
    that god is stained with sin, man does but work his will !"

    There are other possibilities. As with Shiva, the creator and destroyer, God may create and end things, but not be involved in between. That's what I have come to believe.

    But we don't know, and won't, so each person must think things over and see where his considerations take him or her.

    Vinlyn That is an interesting way to look at it. I was just talking to my Dad about Buddhism and Hinduism. He wanted to know if Ghandi was a Buddhist or Hindu and we talked about that for awhile. My dad admires Ghandis phrase "I like your Christ but not always Christians". So I guess the Christians or Buddhists or people in between birth or death those ones are on their own for their conduct and flaws or failures or whatever.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited August 8

    @Refugee said:
    I challenge anyone, anywhere to cough up sound statistical data indicating measurably higher rates of crime in atheists while controlling for confounding factors such as socioeconomic status, educational attainment, and mental illness.

    For we are concerned ultimately with acts, are we not?

    No such evidence exists: turns out that atheists are about as "moral" as anyone else. The perception of atheists as inherently immoral is based on cultural norms, not objective truth. In societies where people grow up in conditions where they equate morality to religious belief, they develop cognitive biases wherein they incorrectly conflate religiosity and morality.

    Human morality is founded on the one ability that -- barring brain damage or mental illness -- we all possess: empathy.

    I will just say mental illness and empathy are not mutually exclusive. And I've spent time in a psych ward as a patient. It does affect it though. Some of my co-patients were so affected they were non-verbal so I couldn't say if in their thoughts they were empathetic. From a Buddhist point of view even without empathy the four immeasurable can potentially arise anywhere. Kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy (Mudita), and Equinimity. I think sometimes people are hurt by a mentally ill person and then they correlate the two.

    yagrvinlynperson
  • RefugeeRefugee San Francisco Explorer
    edited August 8

    I will just say mental illness and empathy are not mutually exclusive. And I've spent time in a psych ward as a patient.

    I have also spent time in a psych ward. I was not indicating that mental illness and empathy are mutually exclusive. Keep in mind that "mental illness" is an umbrella term that encompasses many different kinds of problems spanning from obsessive compulsive disorder to sociopathy. It is easier to assume that the reader is intelligent and understands the distinction than to be needlessly specific.

    Empathy has its roots in the brain, relying amongst other functions on the working of "mirror neurons." This capacity is physical and can be damaged or lost.

    Vastmind
  • RefugeeRefugee San Francisco Explorer

    You were doing good till you hit that last sentence. I make no such assumption. In fact, I think the moral code in most societies rests on the religion of those societies, even for those in the society who do not act as a member of that religion.

    Poorly conceived. From where do religious mores come, then? Out of vacuum? I think not.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited August 8

    Refugee I didn't intend to put words in your mouth that you were saying all mental illnesses result in loss of empathy or non-development of empathy. I was just making my own statement and words to the effect that in general mental illness and empathy are not mutually exclusive. I think a reader could understand what you said but it wouldn't have been terrible writing labor to say "in my experience many mentally ill are not empathic". You didn't do anything wrong or say anything wrong I just posted to share my thoughts and experience.

    Also I'll add that your experience in a psych ward might not have been as a patient but rather as staff or family. That itself would give us a different body of experiences that affect our perspective.

    Shoshin
  • RefugeeRefugee San Francisco Explorer

    it wouldn't have been terrible writing labor to say "in my experience many mentally ill are not empathic". You didn't do anything wrong or say anything wrong I just posted to share my thoughts and experience.

    Fair enough. Judging by your response, I think my tone may have come across as defensive. This was not intentional. I have been sitting in somewhat adversarial meetings for much of the day, and this is likely coloring my communication style. I didn't intend to jump on you.

    Jeffreylobster
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @Refugee said:

    You were doing good till you hit that last sentence. I make no such assumption. In fact, I think the moral code in most societies rests on the religion of those societies, even for those in the society who do not act as a member of that religion.

    Poorly conceived. From where do religious mores come, then? Out of vacuum? I think not.

    Often from folk tales.

  • RefugeeRefugee San Francisco Explorer

    Often from folk tales.

    Where do those come from?

    It's turtles all the way down.

    lobster
  • lobsterVastmind
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited August 9

    Thanks everyone.

    God™is good and Boddhisatvas, non-Allahists, Protestants and HH Dally Lama Trump are evil ... or is it the other way around? Are atheists or goddists mad?

    What is a cructacean to do?

    @Jeffrey said it well here:
    Kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy (Mudita), and Equinimity.

    I want those. I want to express those. God or devils not required. Empowerment needed ...

    Green Atheist Prayer (suitable for some Buddhists)
    Our Friends all around us,
    Hello {insert name};
    You are here;
    will be fun, promise,
    in earth, our haven:
    Give us this day our Garden;
    And forgive us our trumps,
    as we forgive them that turnip against us;
    And lead us not into extinction,
    But deliver us flowers:
    For this is The Shire,
    the Land, and the Wonder,
    For ever and ever
    Sustainably.

    Original:
    Our Father, which art in heaven,
    Hallowed be thy Name;
    Thy kingdom come;
    Thy will be done
    in earth, as it is in heaven:
    Give us this day our daily bread;
    And forgive us our trespasses,
    as we forgive them that trespass against us;
    And lead us not into temptation,
    But deliver us from evil:
    For thine is the kingdom,
    the power, and the glory,
    For ever and ever.
    Amen.

    Jeffrey
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran

    God...trademarked 😂

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited August 9

    God is an idea, a meme transmitted to you by a lineage of other humans complicit in its invention. Similarly entwined with God are the ideas of good and evil, before there were only beneficial and unbeneficial.

    Imagine, our distant ancestors believed in a pantheon of gods. Before that came a variety of nature spirits. These things are just beliefs about the forces that may control our lives, all of which are vain and far from the truth.

    Science has shown us the influence of chance and the evolving natural world, and much of our world today is shaped by human hands. We live in a shell created by other humans - houses, furniture, tv.

    Jeffrey
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    edited August 9

    @Kerome said:

    Science has shown us the influence of chance and the evolving natural world, and much of our world today is shaped by human hands. We live in a shell created by other humans - houses, furniture, tv.

    Although I actually went into teaching and then school administration, I started out with 2 degrees in geology and delved heavily into paleontology (and hence, evolution). Every paleontology professor I ever had or just met was a church-going Christian. And when you consider that over 6 BILLION people believe in God, it isn't exactly an idea to just dismiss.

    Jeffrey
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Well said @vinlyn

    I feel our need to accept divinity, reject or use skilfully is much like the placebo effect. It is medicinal ...
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-power-of-placebo-how-our-brains-can-heal-our-minds-and-bodies/

    It is why I value hypnosis as a healing practice.

    And now a message from my sponsor Bodhi Bats Buddha ...

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @vinlyn said:

    @Kerome said:

    Science has shown us the influence of chance and the evolving natural world, and much of our world today is shaped by human hands. We live in a shell created by other humans - houses, furniture, tv.

    Although I actually went into teaching and then school administration, I started out with 2 degrees in geology and delved heavily into paleontology (and hence, evolution). Every paleontology professor I ever had or just met was a church-going Christian. And when you consider that over 6 BILLION people believe in God, it isn't exactly an idea to just dismiss.

    The fact that more people believe in something doesn't mean they are right. There is nothing in the natural or scientific worlds that supports the thought that there is such a thing as God. From a reasoning point of view he seems to be an invention... do you see animals praying, or building temples? Are there daily miracles that require his intervention?

    Wherever we have looked in the world with the detailed lenses of science and evidence, we have found no trace of the hands of God, just more physical processes which continue to shape the world. And that's why I feel comfortable just dismissing God as a meme, the desire by grown men to have a greater father figure who is responsible.

    Vastmindlobster
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    Pah! I shall ignore the feeble-minded theists clutching at their metaphysical straws, and recite my atheist catechism:

    Who made me?
    Evolution made me!
    Why did evolution make me?
    To praise Saint Dawkins and annoy the God-botherers! :p

    lobsterShoshin
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited August 9

    @vinlyn said:And when you consider that over 6 BILLION people believe in God, it isn't exactly an idea to just dismiss.

    Perhaps not, but then most people used to believe the earth was flat, and that the earth was at the centre of the universe.

    In my view the prevalence of God belief is quite straightforwardly explained by the human need for comfort in a brief and uncertain existence.

    I also suspect it is fear of death as final extinction which underlies most religious belief. Religions invariably propose some sort of afterlife or continuation ( Buddhism included ), which is part of their comfort and appeal.

    lobsterVastmindsilverJeffrey
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited August 9

    @Kerome said: It is very possible the whole universe is alive...

    I think it's very unlikely without a liberal application of dodgy pseudo-science. Do you have any evidence or reasoning to support this idea?

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Kerome said: It is very possible the whole universe is alive...

    I think it's very unlikely without a liberal application of dodgy pseudo-science. Do you have any evidence or reasoning to support this idea?

    There are a number of scientists - some of them quite well known in the areas of near-death study - who hold that consciousness is non-local to the brain. That would imply some consciousness-space which at least partially overlaps physical space. Which leads to some kind of conscious life on a universal scale.

    We're not talking well-substantiated science here, it's only speculation.

  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited August 9

    God and his will/plan and the promise of a heaven/immortality is a placebo for when life gets real tough to accept. And yes...placebos can be beneficial.

    @SpinyNorman .... just realized you already said this in a more eloquent way. :3

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    The problem with the god thingy for many theists is how to describe "It" ...It would seem there are as many descriptions of this so-called supernatural being as there are theists who adhere to a belief in "It" ...

    In the long run theists/deists Buddhists can believe what they want...It will all come out in the aggregate wash cycle..... :)

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Are atheistic Buddhists immoral?

    In regards to the research/study...In all honesty the first thing that came to mind was "Who in their "right mind" would commit such an act ?" and the simple answer to this regardless of whether one is a believer or non-believer ...one would have to be mentally deranged to carry out such a barbaric act...
    Quote
    "Participants were given a description of a fictional evildoer who tortured animals as a child, then grows up to become a teacher who murders and mutilates five homeless people"

    To be quite honest I do think that atheists 'Buddhists or otherwise' (unless their 'are' mentally deranged) wouldn't do such a things and the same goes for the religious person ( even those theists who are in the habit of talking to/praying to/worshipping an unseen supernatural force/being)...

    I think for the most part this study/research is flawed .... just ask yourself what would drive you to commit such an act ? .......One would think that one would have to be out of their mind ie, not thinking properly =mentally deranged.... (Mental illness knows no boundaries..)

    "quite overtly secular, people still seem to intuitively hold on to the believe that religion is a moral safeguard."
    Only in Finland and New Zealand, two secular countries, did the experiment not yield conclusive evidence of anti-atheist prejudice, said the team
    "

    I had to smile when I read this :) we are a bunch of heathens in this part of the world...so no surprises there..... :winky:

  • KannonKannon Ach-To Veteran

    “Once again, the point of this discussion is not to accuse Christians of endorsing torture and persecution. Of course most devout Christians today are thoroughly tolerant and humane people. Even those who thunder from televised pulpits do not call for burning heretics alive or hoisting Jews on the strappado. The question is why they don’t, given that their beliefs imply that it would serve the greater good. The answer is that people in the West today compartmentalize their religious ideology. When they affirm their faith in houses of worship, they profess beliefs that have barely changed in two thousand years. But when it comes to their actions, they respect modern norms of nonviolence and toleration, a benevolent hypocrisy for which we should all be grateful.”

    ― Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

    lobsterShoshinperson
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @eggsavior said:
    “Once again, the point of this discussion is not to accuse Christians of endorsing torture and persecution. Of course most devout Christians today are thoroughly tolerant and humane people. Even those who thunder from televised pulpits do not call for burning heretics alive or hoisting Jews on the strappado. The question is why they don’t, given that their beliefs imply that it would serve the greater good. The answer is that people in the West today compartmentalize their religious ideology. When they affirm their faith in houses of worship, they profess beliefs that have barely changed in two thousand years. But when it comes to their actions, they respect modern norms of nonviolence and toleration, a benevolent hypocrisy for which we should all be grateful.”

    ― Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

    That's all well and fine. And when I go to chanting once a week at the local Buddhist temple, I don't try to chant in Pali, I follow along in a translation booklet in English (silently). Guess what -- it's an affirmation of faith in the Triple Gem that hasn't changed in substance for decades. This is not exactly the one we use, but close enough: http://www.dharmathai.com/evening-prayers-thai-buddhist-chanting/

    In both Christianity and Buddhism there are really 2 non-parallel paths: the formal religion path and the personal faith path. As I sit there during chanting, it often occurs to me how similar in very general structure the formal religion is. The roles of monk and priest are not that different. The roles of lay people are not that different.

    But since the real topic here is morality, a formally religious Buddhist and a formally religious Christian can both be moral, or can both be immoral. A lay person following more of an informal path in either religion can be moral or immoral.

    A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with two of the Thai monks about change, and one spoke up and said, "Yes, everything changes, except the Truth!" And I stifled a giggle as I thought about all the different Truths that different cultures believe in...that aren't Truths at all. But we are so wrapped up in the my belief system is the only right one, that we can't see that that is exactly what the person in the other belief system is saying. I have a degree of faith in my beliefs, but I am not egotistical enough to be able to be positive that my Truths are THE TRUTH. And as a result I can respect many religions (not all), even if I don't necessarily agree with their beliefs. I guess it comes down to what I think that Thich Nhat Hanh was saying: The proof is in the pudding; what kind of moral life is that person living, regardless of which religion he sees himself to be a member of.

    lobsterkarasti
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited August 10

    The thing that Buddhism has in common with scientific thought is a respect for evidence, so I find it quite ironic that Buddhism has blended with a number of animist and deist traditions around Asia.

    You would think that buddhists would teach the lay people, tell them "do not bother with these superstitions about spirits" and instead look at what kinds of proof support these things. I have great respect for people like Ajahn Chah who take a stand against superstition, because evidence and the working of the world do not support such a thing as spirits.

    Standards of evidence and proof should not only be applied to the teachings of the Buddha, but to anything that other people ask you to believe. There are a lot of con-men and bullshit artists out there who will try to peddle beliefs in fantastical things just because it was what they were told once by a grandparent, who should be treated with decisive skepticism.

    The world is sufficiently marvellous and fantastical without having to embellish and romanticise it with untruth.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited August 10

    @Kerome said:
    There are a number of scientists - some of them quite well known in the areas of near-death study - who hold that consciousness is non-local to the brain. That would imply some consciousness-space which at least partially overlaps physical space. Which leads to some kind of conscious life on a universal scale.

    Going from consciousness extending beyond the brain ( whatever that means ) to the universe being conscious seems like a really big stretch. And isn't this belief really a form of deism, a sort of theism-lite?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Shoshin said:> In the long run theists/deists Buddhists can believe what they want...It will all come out in the aggregate wash cycle..... :)

    In the suttas the advice is to not speculate about such metaphysical imponderables, and not to cling to beliefs. The focus is more on developing insight into present experience.

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited August 10

    The study seems highly flawed to me. If someone would do bad things just because nobody is going to punish them then they are no less immoral than someone who is only decent for fear of said punishment.

    Someone that thinks in those terms whether Theist, Atheist or Agnostic is not a moral person. Actually, what it seems to suggest is that moral Atheists are more moral than moral Theists in that when they are nice to you it's because it's the right thing to do and not because a deity may be watching.

    Empathy does not come from religion. Empathy comes from understanding pain hurts.

    Shoshinperson
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @Kerome It seems quite common for people to blend new things with the old, comfortable things. I don't find it surprising at all, for example, that Buddhism was blended with Bon in Tibet. I doubt in that time people felt comfortable adopting multiple view sets, especially when they become so intertwined with the culture that you can't differentiate them well. I practice quite a few Pagan things, because when I was a card carrying and practicing Pagan, I really liked the rituals around Sabbats. So I keep them as part of my overall spiritual practice. They don't contradict Buddhism, but even if they did I wouldn't care. Many parts of what I did practice would, to many other people, be seen as contradictions. But if it meant something to me, I wouldn't care and it wouldn't bother me to blend them into something that works for me. That's what people have been doing all through time, I suspect. That's why Buddhism is different in every part of the world.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    I'm sure that that's at least partly right @karasti, but it leads to something precious like the original form of Buddhism being changed over time into other forms which really hardly resemble the original at all. Some parts of the lore are the same, but much of the form and traditions are different when you compare say Tibetan Buddhism to what we know of the original Indian Buddhism. It gets further and further away from the original words of the Buddha.

    Shoshin
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I'm not suggesting that isn't the case, as obviously it is. But that doesn't mean there isn't value in the new conglomeration as well. Culture is a huge thing for most people, and it's not something that is easy or desirable to most to abandon. Every religion takes on a flavor of the culture, even the original parts of Buddhism did so in India. There has been a lot of discussion of what Buddhism will "become" or "turn into" in the Western world as it continues to evolve in our cultures. I don't think there is ever an end point, as long as human beings and their cultures change, the belief sets they carry will change as well. That's not always a bad thing. Refusing to adapt isn't our nature. Knowing the core of their own beliefs is the responsibility of each practitioner.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    It's just that I'm not so sure it's a good thing as far as Buddhism is concerned. The Buddha laid out a path to enlightenment, and for others to go and tinker with that seems like hubris, especially when the tinkering comes from sources like animism.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Kerome said:> It's just that I'm not so sure it's a good thing as far as Buddhism is concerned. The Buddha laid out a path to enlightenment, and for others to go and tinker with that seems like hubris, especially when the tinkering comes from sources like animism.

    So is there an "original" Buddhism, and if so, where would you find it? And is there an argument that the subsequent cultural adaptations ( Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, western, etc ) as not as authentic as the "original"?

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Kerome said:> It's just that I'm not so sure it's a good thing as far as Buddhism is concerned. The Buddha laid out a path to enlightenment, and for others to go and tinker with that seems like hubris, especially when the tinkering comes from sources like animism.

    So is there an "original" Buddhism, and if so, where would you find it? And is there an argument that the subsequent cultural adaptations ( Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, western, etc ) as not as authentic as the "original"?

    I would say that that is so. For example in Tibetan Buddhism very little effort is made to preserve the words of the Buddha separately from later teachers... the lore as it is taught is all of these things together, with people like Lama Tsong Khappa and Atisha providing core perspectives and the words of the Buddha coming at second or third hand.

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