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Buddhism under one Banner

edited November 2005 in Buddhism Today
This was posted by Zenmonk Genryu on another thread; (Hope you don't mind me borrowing this!)


"Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: it transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural & spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity"

- Albert Einstein


I hope all Buddhists would agree that this little passage is a near perfect description of Buddhism and what it has to offer. In the small amount of time that I have been posting on this Sangha I can't help but notice that the "differences" are all too readily discussed with regards to the many schools available. Buddhism appears to be plagued with the same problems as all of the established religions. The Christian faith apart from the different docrines available is divided on so many issues...Women Priests, Gay Priests etc....

I feel sad that the core messages of Buddhism are in danger of being lost in the ever increasing desire for some practitioners to claim that only they truly understand the language of the Buddha's teachings. I am saddened that a beautiful and simple thing such as Buddhism appears to be as fractured as Christianity has become, and instead of presenting itself in an essentially unifying manner, is "Bogged" down in arguments over theology. It appears that the Four Noble Truths and The Noble Eightfold Path are universally accepted....so why is there so much disagreement on so much of the other subject matter??

No offence is intended by this post and I recognise everyone's right to choose their own path.......

Comments

  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited November 2005
    I think you make a good point, Abe.

    So far, it seems that one could console themselves in the fact that nothing on this forum has turned into a "Crusade" to rid the world of heretic Buddhists (because they don't believe what I believe).

    From the time that I've spent here - I've seen people come and go. I've seen people get upset at what someone else posts and I've seen people come to grips with something new that they have learned.

    I believe that this forum, so far, is able to transcend the petty statements of "I'm right and you're wrong". So far, except in a few instances, everyone has seemed to respect each others thoughts and ideas and for the most part, we "reason together".

    Plus, if I come across something I don't understand or agree with, most of the time it is just so much water running off my back.

    Plus, Fede has enough stamina to go toe-to-toe with the best of them :)

    -bf
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited November 2005
    All,

    The reason I think that the message gets lost is that most people have a herd mentality. Buddhism is a lot of hard work. You must go against the stream of your desires, aversions, and delusions. At the beginning, this causes a lot of confusion and suffering. It can't be helped. Even the Buddha struggled from time to time until he really, truly understood. Lifetimes of following your own path to pleasure (spiritual or material) leaves you in a habitual search for sensual (of the senses) gratification. These sense desires, these defilements of greed, hatred, and delusion, are the shepherds. We follow them to birth, sickness, ageing, and death.

    People don't so much want to sit for hours in meditation to learn the answers as they would rather have some 'enlightend' being just tell them the answers. Many people simply do not have much time in their day to devote to meditation. The only problem with others telling you the answer, however, is that this is not direct insight, this is not self-realized wisdom, and therefore, not true freedom . It is still only a concept in the mind at this point, it is 'conditioned'. It is not an experience that changes your whole understanding. It is in essence a percetion of a memory of sounds that were heard. While these 'sounds' can eventually help us to understand the Dhamma, to cross over that river of knowledge, they are only tools and not the end in and of themselves. I certainly do not have any problems with any school of Buddhism as long as they give the practitioner the tools to discover the Truth on their own. If they do not give the individual the chance to 'see' this Truth for themself, then they are not really following in the Buddha's footsteps. That is why I do not diagree with any tradition. In truth, it is only my lack of understanding that disagrees with my own interpretations.

    While I definitely feel that most of the accepted traditions of Buddhism agree with the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Three Characteristics of dukkha, anicca, and anatta, etc., there are those that wish to pervert and change that. People must be vigilant enough to notice when someone is leading you down the wrong path into an ambush, whether it is a physical ambush or just an ambush of views and attachments. There are immoral and corrupt individuals out there who will pray upon those simply looking for peace. One of the main teachings in the Kalama Sutta was the criteria for choosing the Path that truly leads to Awakening. It was a guide to help those decide if what they were reading, hearing, or practicing was actually in line with the Dhamma.

    The real core of the Buddha's teachings is, "Stop, turn around, and go against the stream of your desires to look within. There is nothing in the external world that is worth attaching to. Let go. Instead, let the Dhamma be your island. Be your own guide. Be diligent. Be mindful. Watch and learn. Learn from what you experience, what you see, hear, feel, taste, smell, think. Wisdom will arise. 'Ah, so it's like this'... Freedom."

    The only reason that I can see for 'disagreements' is attachment. One is attached to their views, practices, tradition, etc. Even I am, I can certainly admit that. If one were really beyond such subtle attachments they would not be affected by either praise nor blame, whether that praise or blame was directed towards them, their views, tradition, or whatever. But that is ok. For now we don't know any other way. That is why we put forth the effort to practice. The more we practice, the more we let go and simply 'watch', the less we will have to attach to. Only when we remove our avijja (ignorance/not knowing) will 'disagreements' cease to arise.

    That is at least my personal belief.

    :)

    Jason
  • edited November 2005
    Nice reply Elohim and wise words:winkc:
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited November 2005
    Abe / Elohim,

    My only point is that - with many other theories, teachings, trains of thought, etc. that there are differences in opinion. The same holds true with Buddhism.

    There is no single "banner" for Buddhism. Followers of Buddha felt this a long time ago. That is why there are different schools of Buddhism. We've even seen a difference of opinion between members that are quite devout and knowledgable in their following of Buddhism - but they/we've managed to hear each other out and respect their beliefs.

    "I" don't believe that much of anything will fall under a general banner of "we're all in agreement" - and that's okay.

    As it has been stated on here before - our own following of the Path is what we learn from. Just sitting around waiting for someone to spoon feed us Enlightenment is only going to provide us with someone else's Enlightenment. Buddhist practice is not just the "thinking" - it's the "doing". It's like someone telling us of a wonderful trip they went on - and then we start telling people about this wonderful trip - like it was something "we" experienced. When we didn't. We're living off of someone else's experience. It can interest and amaze us - but it's truly not our experience. It's an illusion of what we picture in our mind of what this other person has told us. We have no experience - just hearsay.

    Again, my point is: I'm glad we can share views, debate, discuss and provide each other with information that we can use.

    I do not wish to lose the teachings of Buddha - and at least for me, I don't believe that has happened.

    -bf
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited November 2005
    buddhafoot,

    I am glad that we can share them as well.

    No disagreement here. ;)

    :)

    Jason
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited November 2005
    Elohim wrote:
    buddhafoot,

    I am glad that we can share them as well.

    No disagreement here. ;)

    :)

    Jason

    Yeah... but you actually have useful things to say and share.

    I just blab like my mouth has diarehha. :)

    -bf
  • 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 November 2005
    I disagree.
    sometimes you're an ass - (and I mean that with love!)

    Then at other times, you are most definitely not. ;)
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited November 2005
    That's so nice.

    I wish I could give you a big hug and squeeze your butt and drool all over your shirt - just like I do to Nick!

    -bf
  • edited November 2005
    The title of my thread was a little misleading, the point that I was attempting to make is that the core values of Buddhism appear to be fairly consistent whichever school of Buddhism that you follow, hence the single banner.

    I was not trying to create the "Stepford" Monks.......variety is after all the spice of life!
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited November 2005
    Oh.... I gotcha now.

    I like that though.... The Stepford Monks. Could be a neat movie premise...

    -bf
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