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Why Buddhism ?

ShoshinShoshin No one in particularNowhere Special Veteran

Some members from what I gather, come from different 'religious' backgrounds...Some have given up their old beliefs completely, whilst others may have decided to blend some of their old religious beliefs with the Buddha Dharma....for example they may still hold a belief in a creator god...or in Jesus the Christ...or they may hold on to some parts of other religion's beliefs...

I remember reading somewhere that the Dalai Lama once said (when talking about conversion) something along the lines of "Don't renounce your old religion, stay with it and become a better practitioner"

I often wonder what it was that was lacking in one's old religious belief system that drove one to seek out the Buddha Dharma ...


And for those who were atheists to begin with.... what entice you ?

For me personally...my parents didn't really adhere to any religious beliefs, however many moons ago I dabbled a bit with the "I" & "I" Rasta movement for a while, but in the long run I was looking for a way to calm the monkey chatter that occupied the mind, causing me all kinds of grief and I happened to stumble upon the Buddha Dharma ( perhaps Karma had something to do with it...who knows ??? ) ....

Comments

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited August 11

    I didn't grow up very interested in religion. For me at the age of 9 it was football as my thing that excited me. But some some cousins and aunts and uncles had religious beliefs. I felt a bit left out when my parents joined a church actually at the requests of my brother who wanted to explore what he I imagine his friends talked about. Maybe some time I'll hear more about those times from my brothers and parents perspective. For me it felt a very strange vibe and it was a liberal church that was once a Baptist church. So for me the beliefs part of the church I don't remember much. But that's probably because it was long ago and I probably only went until freshman year of high school. But I remember some rough times feeling social problems with a group of kids I saw once a week. I feel like I'm talking to my therapist haha!

    So somewhere along there I heard about eastern thought and religions and had a terrible problem develop with school and even my ability to make sense of the world to the point where I had to be hospitalized. Buddhism somehow fit with that even though I haven't really met many Buddhists face to face and nothing puzzling there as in 'are they really buddhist'. I mean I haven't offline had other Buddhist friends I could compare their experience.

    I heard a one liner "it's a key to a lock that doesn't exist any longer"... Kind of strange

    ShoshinBigsby123
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited August 12

    The thing I don't understand is what does a Buddhist do analogous to a Christian? So a Christian tells God that they know they sinned for various and particular sins and are sorry. Seems a Buddhist the sin comes up again and again. So I suppose there is something important about acknowledging the sin or ignorance. And I guess God is watching? Or not? Ok so I acknowledge it? So you don't worry as much because God is there to help? And then when the sin comes up in your consideration I think someone who is stressed you have to not stress them more and wait

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited August 12

    It's often said when things go wrong...a tradesperson always blames they tools...

    What's in the toolkit @lobster ? I take it they are tools used not so such for building but dismantling...

    "Seeking but not finding the house builder,
    I hurried through the round of many births:
    Painful is birth ever and again.

    O house builder, you have been seen;
    You shall not build the house again.
    Your rafters have been broken up,
    Your ridgepole is demolished too.

    My mind has now attained the unformed Nibbâna
    And reached the end of every sort of craving"

    JeffreydhammachickKannon
  • techietechie India Veteran

    @vinlyn said:
    Interesting question, Shoshin. Recently I reached the breaking point with Christianity, although for about 30 years I saw myself as a mix between Christian and Buddhist. But something happened in my personal life recently which really put the breaks on the Christianity aspect. In a sense you could summarize my rejection of God-ianity with the totally inconsistent viewpoint that Christians have about God.

    A couple of weeks ago I read about a new mother who was at home with either a 2 day old baby, or 2 weeks old; the mother was sitting in a recliner breast feeding the baby. As might be very common with a new mother, she was very tired and briefly dozed off. She woke up minutes later and the baby had smothered. Now if God is "ever loving" and "all powerful", why didn't he nudge the woman and say, "Psst. Wake up."?

    A baby is born healthy and people say, "Oh look, God has blessed them with a healthy baby boy." A baby is born deformed or retarded, and if someone is critical of God for that, the typical Christian will say, "Well you can't blame God." Either God is responsible for life, or he isn't.

    I'm 67 years old. How come all the miracles happened 2,000 years go?

    If God is ever-loving, why did so many Jews (and others) get gassed to death and tortured under Hitler? Why did so many slaves suffer under hundreds of years of slavery? Why did so many have to die in the Civil War, World War I, and World War II, and the Vietnam War, and the Middle East wars, and.... And yet when something good happens, Christians blather about, "Oh, look how wonderful God is."

    And then there's the old "power of prayer" routine. And when the prayers don't work there's that old cop-out: "God works in mysterious ways." Well, if God is going to do what he wants to do anyways, why pray?

    It would be nice if God could live up to some of the teachings of Jesus.

    So for me, the Old Testament is out...pretty much completely; too much murder and torture and slavery...all condoned by God. The teaching of Jesus...still some wisdom there. So now, rather than 50-50, I'm more like 90% Buddhist, with 10% respect for many of the teachings of Jesus.

    If God himself suffered on the cross, why shouldn't you or the others?

    That would be explanation for the oft-repeated question, 'Why does God let innocent people, including children, suffer?'

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @vinlyn I guess having a belief in something ( God for example) is like conditioning ...Where one is charmed by subliminal (and not so subliminal) events/signs/beliefs, shared by friends, family, work colleagues, etc...and in such an environment this type of 'conditioning' (for some) is not easy to overcome ...especially if reward (heaven) and or punishment (hell) for sinning is thrown into the mix...

    I know some ex Catholics who many years down the track still suffer from guilt and shame, brought on by their upbringing/conditioning...They find it hard to fully connect with the Dharma ...Sadly I guess this is down to the fear that was installed in them as young children... ....

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @techie said:

    If God himself suffered on the cross, why shouldn't you or the others?

    That would be explanation for the oft-repeated question, 'Why does God let innocent people, including children, suffer?'

    From what I gather...Jesus was meant to have taken on board "all" [wo]mankind sins ... well according to John 1:29 ....

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @techie said:

    If God himself suffered on the cross, why shouldn't you or the others?

    That would be explanation for the oft-repeated question, 'Why does God let innocent people, including children, suffer?'

    Where did you come up with that?

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Arguments against theism, (not a Buddhist requirement).

    I feel without some of the superstitious and ignorant bits, Dharma offers pragmatic life skills.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    Well, Lobster, I guess I must admit that I did not know the distinction between "deist" and "theist" until now. So, thank you for that. I guess I have evolved (very quickly lately) toward deism, from theism.

    But I would disagree with your brief analysis. The speaker does not present arguments against theism, in my view. Instead, again in my view, he presents reasons why he doesn't like theism. There's a difference.

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

    I've always been interested in spiritual stuff/religion and have belonged to several spiritual-leaning forums ever since I've been involved on-line with stuff. One cyber-friend invited me to a forum that focuses on non-dual stuff. I think he thought it would help me cope with my son's death. There were some very harsh 'teachers' and we had many run-ins.

    My curiosity made me stick around just in case someone said something that actually helped my understanding of non-duality. Then, out of the blue, I discovered Buddhism is a non-dual thingy, so off I went to learn all I could and the books I read were so helpful, and reading Buddhist magazines on-line and last but not least, happening upon NB! {hugz all around}. It's amazing the difference it has made in my heart and mind and life.

    ShoshinlobsterKerome
  • Bigsby123Bigsby123 New
    edited August 12

    For my interview with the director to be a member of the NewBuddhist community, I said something like, I wasn't sure if I picked to become a Buddhist or it picked me instead.
    I think I have always had a feeling about the continuity of life. It wasn't until I was having problems with my wife that Buddhism became the way, or the middle way. Problems that I was creating myself because of the poisons. Now that I have been on the path, my wife and I have become happier.
    Life still isn't a piece of cake. Far from it, but I believe that I have become a better person for both myself and others. Especially with better ingredients for a better recipe. : )

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

    Well my parents broke with my grandparents' strict Christian values when I was very young, and took up with Osho. So from about age 9 I was in various Osho communes learning about all kinds of religious thought, from the Sufi's to the Tao to Buddhism. Then Osho died and I left it all behind becoming more-or-less atheist for a few decades. Following the Dalai Lama's advice was not on the cards.

    Then aged 39 I had a breakdown and ended up out of work, and I reconnected with Osho while writing a long memoir. There were some things I was not happy with in his path, and so I decided to have a closer look at Buddhism, being a little familiar with the basics.

    I still consider myself as much a spiritual seeker as a Buddhist... one partakes of many paths in one lifetime. But Buddhism has been good for me, it has allowed a gentle flowering within as understanding arises. There are still topics in Buddhism that i do not understand - it's like reading the words but there is no corresponding truth within. So I continue to search and practice.

    The thing I treasure most is that I have a lot more inner peace now than I did five years ago.

    Shoshinkarasti
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    edited August 12

    @Kerome said: ... I still consider myself as much a spiritual seeker as a Buddhist... one partakes of many paths in one lifetime. But Buddhism has been good for me, it has allowed a gentle flowering within as understanding arises. There are still topics in Buddhism that i do not understand - it's like reading the words but there is no corresponding truth within. So I continue to search and practice.

    ...
    I think that's a very good attitude to take for a couple of reasons. First, wisdom is wise no matter who says it or where it comes from. So to abandon all of -- for example -- Christ's teachings does not seem wise to me. Second, if we refuse to consider other sources of wisdom, we are doing what would have prevented us from delving into Buddhism.

    But for me NOW, if I only want to have an all-in-one spiritual home, it's Buddhism. But, there are things I don't agree with or do not yet understand, so the mind remains open.

    Kerome
  • 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

    ...Rightly, as it should. As should everyone's....

    :) @vinlyn.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited August 13

    @vinlyn said:

    But, there are things I don't agree with or do not yet understand, so the mind remains open.

    Careful @vinlyn

    After I began to explore the Buddha Dharma I started to see the teachings of some of the other belief systems in a different light and found that if I so choose I could cherry pick similarities to the Buddha Dharma ..
    For example "Look Within" being quite a popular quote according to the teachings of some other belief systems (No doubt if one cherry picks enough one will find many more) ...

    But I stopped looking for these similarities because the Buddha Dharma seems to cover it all ( well the deeper one ventures into it/the self/the mind, things start to drop away, so to speak ) ...And for me personally, I have no need whatsoever to cling to any of the teachings from other belief systems ... Why should "I".....

    seeker242yagr
  • techietechie India Veteran

    @vinlyn said:

    @techie said:

    If God himself suffered on the cross, why shouldn't you or the others?

    That would be explanation for the oft-repeated question, 'Why does God let innocent people, including children, suffer?'

    Where did you come up with that?

    Eastern Orthodox Christianity. God, in the form of Jesus, went through the same suffering that we as humans go through. It's a mystical approach, different from the 'he took our sins' theology of the protestants.

    silver
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I was forced into Christianty (Missouri Synod Lutheran) as a child but I knew pretty early on (age 7 or so) that it wasn't for me. I never bought the idea that we are born in sin and that infants need baptism to save them from hell. I never bought the idea of sin. God never made sense, the whole idea that he's such a loving father figure was also so wrathful. It just didn't fit for me, none of it. My mom forced me to go to church and get confirmed, but once I got to about 15, i stopped going when she couldn't drag me out of my bed anymore. My dad never went to church because he'd say nature was his church, and I adopted that. That is is my truth, as far as houses of worship and things like that go. I am never more at home spiritually anywhere than I am in nature.

    I was so turned off religion that I just did nothing for a while. I guess I'd have been atheist. I went to college and took a world religions class, and got very curious about Eastern religions, but they were overwhelming for me as a single mom going to school full time, so I gave up on them pretty quick. But I picked up yoga there, which did a lot of my spiritual development. It's still part of my spirituality.

    After that, I did some random google searching for nature religions, and wandered into Paganism. I still keep alot of rituals from that because they are meaningful to me and enhance my connection to nature. But the whole culture of it just wasn't for me. I wanted to connect with others, but anywhere near me, it was all Wiccans, and the whole priestess in dark robes thing just did nothing for me. I didn't want to do spells and other things. Around the same time, my oldest son got interested in Buddhism and I read some things to help him out (he was 14 at the time, so 6 years ago) and it finally sunk in and I had the time to explore it, so I did.

    It's taken time to process through the crap I learned in my church. I still don't believe any of it. I do believe a lot of what Jesus taught, kindness and forgiveness and service, even to the "worst" of humanity. It is disheartening to me how few Christians live by his example and latch onto such unimportant facets of their belief set because that is how church elders have taught them.

    Why Buddhism? Because I have always been curious, and I apply that to myself a whole lot. I ask a lot of questions, and Buddhism encourages it. I like the focus on compassion. I like that I've learned how to control my mind versus being controlled by it. Buddhism is the only thing, other than science, that I've encountered that has changed how to view the world and its inhabitants.

    Shoshinlobsteryagr
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    I naively thought people would focus on bettering themselves and not judging others on stereotypes........

    Shoshinelcra1goyagr
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @dhammachick said:
    I naively thought people would focus on bettering themselves and not judging others on stereotypes........

    A noble goal that I have rarely seen achieved. Were it so!

  • NMADDPNMADDP SUN Diego, California Explorer

    Why Buddhism? Maybe Karma as @Shoshin said who knows???

    This is from master Chin Kung answered the question:
    Am I Destined to Meet Buddhism? (10mins)

    ...
    (English subtitles) Buddhist Master Chin Kung (淨空法師) talks about the story he learnt Buddhism. At the beginning, he thought Buddhism is superstitious and wouldn't touch it.
    ...

    Master Chin Kung bio.
    http://www.pureland-victoria.org/cos/o.x?c=/wbn/pagetree&func=view&rid=1071725

    A Mi Tuo Fo

    Shoshin
  • elcra1goelcra1go Edinburgh, Scotland New

    I think I'm more an individualist so I was looking for something to help me... (or selfish)
    I came across a video on meditation by Mingyur Rinpoche- as soon as I heard the term "calm your monkey mind chatter" I thought, 'that is exactly what I need!!!'- from there I looked at various meditation techniques and read about Mindfulness- first online, but then went to bookshop, found and purchased 'Mindfulness in Plain English' by Henepola Gunaratana. I was smiling after reading the first pages because I knew I was on the right route.
    I began meditiating and looking into Buddhism, everyday since...
    I am not religious, but I understand why people follow the teachings of Christ or Muhammad or whoever else... (Things get twisted, eh!?) for me, Buddhism clicked x

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

    Yes @elcra1go that's very familiar to me, coming across some piece of writing and immediately smiling because it feels right and you know you're on the right path. That's exactly it.

    elcra1go
  • yagryagr Veteran

    @Shoshin said:

    I often wonder what it was that was lacking in one's old religious belief system that drove one to seek out the Buddha Dharma ...

    There were a number of factors. I was born into a Catholic universe although consistency was an issue. There were years in which we never missed a Sunday mass, and other years in which the family only went on Catholic holy days. I was sent to Sunday school beginning in the first grade and immediately began having issues with much of what was being said. Much of it never made sense to me and I would ask incessant questions which did not endear me to the nuns. So I began taking my questions to the priests directly, and while they encouraged my zeal, they really didn't know what to with me. I was seven years old when I told my parents I didn't believe. That went over well...

    I just remember being so frustrated with so much. A case in point:

    There is this dichotomous paradigm in which good and evil hang in the balance. On one side is an eternity of bliss and on the other, an eternity of unfathomable suffering. Our lifetimes, I'm told, are an absolutely insignificant blip in eternity. So I drew the conclusion, very early on, that based on that reality, any time spent on non-spiritual endeavors was wasted time. I mean, if someone offered you a one time deal of forty trillion dollars if you worked the whole day on an assembly line - who would call in sick on that day? Forty trillion dollars isn't an eternal amount of money, and an eight hour shift is a bit more than a blip, but it was the example I thought of. And then I watched as the priest cut his sermon short because the Super Bowl was scheduled to come on soon and people had other things to do.

    What???? How could the Super Bowl be that important? Forty-five years later I have no idea who played, who won, who lost, or even if our family watched it. Though I didn't have the words for it at that point, it seemed so very disingenuous. I didn't believe that they could possibly believe what they were asking me to believe. So I didn't.

    There wasn't an internet back then and the Bible was all I thought there was so I began reading it. My twelfth summer was spent reading through it from cover to cover, and then again with a notebook taking notes and writing down questions. Then I spent the next year on my bicycle going from church to church every Sunday looking for someone who could answer my questions to my satisfaction. I think I went to about thirty-five different (Christian) denominations over the next year. I didn't find what I was looking for.

    So, at thirteen years old, I started going to the library. I lived in the 200 section of the Dewey Decimal System - the religious section. There I stumbled across religions that weren't even Christian...I had no idea. We had a fairly large library and over the next year, I checked out and read every book, on every religion, they had. Buddhism made the most sense to me.

  • The teachings are rational and have beneficial results for myself and others.

    elcra1go
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @mindatrisk said:
    The teachings are rational and have beneficial results for myself and others.

    That's nice. But people of all religions feel the same about theirs.

    dhammachick
  • @vinlyn said:

    @mindatrisk said:
    The teachings are rational and have beneficial results for myself and others.

    That's nice. But people of all religions feel the same about theirs.

    Still the reason 'why Buddhism' for me!

  • I may be an ersatz member here, and a pretend Buddhist but Buddhism gets the human predicament fundamentally correct.......

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/4907fb02-7e7f-3f6a-85f6-b0a7fad670c3/ss_why-buddhism-is-true.html

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @IronRabbit said:
    I may be an ersatz member here, and a pretend Buddhist but Buddhism gets the human predicament fundamentally correct.......

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/4907fb02-7e7f-3f6a-85f6-b0a7fad670c3/ss_why-buddhism-is-true.html

    So if you find it on Yahoo news it must be true?

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @vinlyn :lol: did you even look at the link?

    My apologies if I am wrong, it is one of my biggest pet peeves in today's world...that people are in such a hurry to comment that they don't bother to read what they are commenting on. It's not Yahoo declaring anything. It's the author of a book titled "Why Buddhism is True" discussing his belief on why he thinks Buddhism gets it right about suffering, and the benefits of meditation in helping to cope with it.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    edited August 24

    @karasti said:
    @vinlyn :lol: did you even look at the link?

    My apologies if I am wrong, it is one of my biggest pet peeves in today's world...that people are in such a hurry to comment that they don't bother to read what they are commenting on. It's not Yahoo declaring anything. It's the author of a book titled "Why Buddhism is True" discussing his belief on why he thinks Buddhism gets it right about suffering, and the benefits of meditation in helping to cope with it.

    Yes, I did. Here's the problem, and I don't see why this is so difficult to understand. How many books have been written about why Buddhism is "the right religion"? How many books have been written about why Christianity is "the right religion". How many television preachers preach about why their version of religion is "the right religion"?

    Everyone in the world who is religious thinks their religion is the right religion, or they wouldn't be that religion.

    I have a dozen friends who will tell you without any hesitation about how Christian prayer has worked in their lives. So I guess they're right? Christianity is the "right religion"?

    Why do people insist on proving the unprovable?

    I have a problem with people who essentially say: "The _______________ religion is the "right religion".

    I have no problem with people who essentially say: "The _______________ religion is the "right religion" for me."

  • dhammachick
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Why Buddhism ?

    Well....
    The proof of the curry (Dharma) is in the eating (practice)

    Ehipassiko I started to eat it :)

  • KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSU Ach-To Veteran

    Ever since focusing more on the paths of compassion in Buddhism I've been able to follow my heart more and it is truly liberation.

    As a Pure Land Buddhist I am inclined to say that another reason is to enter the Pure Land upon death... But I don't really think of that (though the one lifetime concept is huge, it escapes me right now). I am more interested in how Amida Buddha manifests currently. When I focus on him, I am in a Pure Land already, and I think this has brought my Buddhist study and interests to my every day life.

    I'll get back to you once I'm able to think long term... ;)

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