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Exploring different religions, particularly Hinduism

KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSUAch-To Veteran

When I first became a Buddhist I was very confused where it stood between philosophy and religion so I read up on it a lot. Now that I'm more focused and reading more I've been thinking a lot about different religions. I recently purchased The Worlds Religions by Huston Smith.

The first chapter was about Hindusim. Though I like other religions to understand people's beliefs and cultures, Hinduism is a visceral experience to me, because of its ties to Buddhism. I understand it's basic underpinnings and logic. The extra layers are really enticing because I like having a lot to ponder and think about. I'm particularly drawn to the jnana path because it's similar to Buddhisms ideas of non-duality and non-being, said in another context. But I also like focusing on the figurative as well, knowing it's representational.

Buddhism has been a great foundation for me. It helps me keep things in context. Mindfulness is a blessing. But can it be built upon? I don't want to just say "I like Buddhist philosophy." I want to be a Buddhist first and foremost. But I also want to explore Hinduism. The Buddha acted in response to Hinduism, but also owes immense credit to it.

Thank you for reading

Comments

  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    If Hinduism moved you because of some commonalities with Buddhism, look up Jainism in your book.

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Recidivist Samsarist Veteran

    I set out with Taoism, then meditated for years with an Advaita Vedanta sangha.
    I personally don't identify with the Hindu focus on theism.
    That's why my steps gradually led to Buddhism.

    Hozan
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    "The Religious Experience of Mankind" by Ninian Smart is faithful to the important word in the title: "experience." Smart goes after the meat and potatoes of religion and doesn't loll about so much in theology, ritual and belief. A nervy book from where I sit.

    Kannon
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited May 16

    @eggsavior

    You might find Alan Watts take on "Hinduism" helpful...

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Jnana path eh?

    So I suppose Bhagavad Gita as one classic reading and digesting is worth pursuing?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @eggsavior said:> Buddhism has been a great foundation for me. It helps me keep things in context. Mindfulness is a blessing. But can it be built upon? I don't want to just say "I like Buddhist philosophy." I want to be a Buddhist first and foremost. But I also want to explore Hinduism. The Buddha acted in response to Hinduism, but also owes immense credit to it.

    I find Hinduism fascinating, but I still don't fully understand the essential difference(s) with Buddhism. Both traditions are diverse and pluralistic, so it's not straightforward to compare them.

  • Todd0248Todd0248 Australia New

    I think Hinduism and Buddhism are quite different belief systems. Buddhism is non theistic and there are some negative things about Hinduism like the caste system. Remember the Buddha
    Often argued with the Brahmins and you should look at what he taught. Best wishes

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Todd0248 said:> Often argued with the Brahmins and you should look at what he taught. Best wishes

    Were the Brahmins actually Hindus?

    Todd0248
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    I find Hinduism fascinating, but I still don't fully understand the essential difference(s) with Buddhism.

    On a personal-study and somewhat jocular level, the difference is that Hinduism is older and therefore Hindus laugh more.

    herbertoTodd0248SpinyNorman
  • Todd0248Todd0248 Australia New

    I dislike hunduism, it's
    Interesting to know that Buddhism was forgotten about for many years in India

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Hinduism seemed to me quite interesting, but I dislike the focus on many gods and the caste system, and so I've never really looked deeply into it. Some aspects that I like are the idea of an atman or supreme soul, the ideas of oneness that came from advaita.

    As for it being older, it is generally accepted that the "synthesis" of what we call Hinduism started between 500 and 300 BC, so it's about equally as old as Buddhism. Advaita is considerably older.

  • 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 May 21

    It's also worth remembering that the Caste system is closely allied (according to Hinduism) to a person's Karma. If someone is poor, destitute, homeless, crippled, in pain and visibly, tangibly suffering then ~shrug~ it's because of their Karma - a view openly dismissed and contradicted by Buddhism.

    Many people in India relegated to the lowest of the lowest stations - are now rebelling and defying the general acceptance and opinion of their 'lot in Life' and are getting out and getting some - much to the annoyance of those entrenched in the 'old ways' who regard such people as holding views and opinions greatly above their station.Their indignation is occasionally palpable...

    If you want open, blatant and obvious prejudice, you need look no further than there.... never mind any general feeling of malaise against strangers and immigrants - this is an India pitched against its own people....

    lobsterHozan
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @genkaku said:

    I find Hinduism fascinating, but I still don't fully understand the essential difference(s) with Buddhism.

    On a personal-study and somewhat jocular level, the difference is that Hinduism is older and therefore Hindus laugh more.

    The Dharmic religions certainly seem more mature than the Abrahamic ones. :p

    Hozan
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    The Dharmic religions certainly seem more mature than the Abrahamic ones. :p

    @SpinyNorman -- I once asked at Roman Catholic priest if there were any phraseology in the Bible that asserted "and Jesus laughed."

    I was treated to quite a treatise on the views of laughter inside and outside of Christianity. As far as I can figure out, laughter is pretty close to being a no-no because it is without discipline....

    Which is the central reason I will never give it up.

    Keromelobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited May 21

    @genkaku I think the most mature attitude to humour I've seen came from Osho. He often had jokes at places in his lectures, and often made a point with them too. He once said of Hotei - the laughing Buddha - that in him Buddhism came to flower, that if Gautama Buddha was the root of the tree, Hotei was its bloom.

    It's a pity that there don't seem to be more extensive teachings in Buddhism about the place of humour in the dharma.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Oh there is humour in dharma. It is not uncommon for Buddhas to laugh their heads off. Which is why Buddha head statues are so common ...

    Here to help. o:)

    dhammachick
  • KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSU Ach-To Veteran

    @Todd0248 There are negatives and positives to all religions, we have to know what parts have been tarnished by cultural and societal pressures. You can say the same about Buddhism. Several different types of people--all outcasts, such as gay men and gender-variant people--were forbidden to be ordained as monks, and there is scripture which states that the Buddha himself supposedly supported this. Of course that didn't actually happen. But over time any belief system will break under societal pressure. And because sanghas rely on donation and charity from their community, some sanghas aligned with the ideas of that community.

    The caste system is a much larger and enduring issue of course. But I think there is something to be learned from all religions. I wouldn't be exploring religion if I didn't become a Buddhist first. I used to be very pessimistic and against religion. Now that I am a Buddhist, my life has improved, and I can see now the beauty and value in everything. I think religion is a great way to study what people find beautiful and en-heartening.

    I am not a Christian. I do not focus on Jesus Christ but Jesus the man of Nazarene. When I think about his teachings, I do not write them off because of the hate and vitriol other Christians espouse. I take them as they are, and figure out for myself what I like best. I will do the same with Hinduism.

    I think it is better to try to learn more than assume something is problematic and leave it at that.

    "It is sometimes said that not a drop of blood has ever been shed in the name of Buddhism. This overenthusiastic endorsement is not strictly true although it is true that when compared with other religions, Buddhism has always been remarkably tolerant. How other religions fared when it became the state religion is well illustrated by the reign of King Asoka. While a devout Buddhist himself, Asoka wrote this advice to his subjects: "The king honours both the ascetics and lay followers of all religions and he gives them gifts. But the King does not value gifts and honours as much as he values this - that there should be growth in the essentials of all religions. This can be done in different ways but all of them have as their root, restraint in speech, that is not praising one's own religion or condemning the religion of others without good cause. And if there is cause for criticism it should be done in a mild way. But it is better to honour other religions for this reason - by doing so one's own religion benefits and so do the other religions.. therefore contact between religions is good. One should listen to and respect the doctrine's professed by others. The king desires that all should be well-learned in the good doctrine's of other religions". Despite being written in 256BC these words have a remarkably modern ring to them.

    As most higher religions promote values like honesty, kindness, generosity, courage and integrity, Buddhism sees them not as dangerous competitors but as allies in man's quest for liberation."

    http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/dharmadata/fdd50.htm

  • Todd0248Todd0248 Australia New

    All religions are not the same on my opinion. Nice theory but practice is different, look at the many doctrines that exist. I chose not to accept them and evaluate their usefulness

  • Lee82Lee82 Veteran

    Religion in general fascinates me, the societal aspects of it, what people believe, why they believe, the impact it has on their lives and their relationships with other people.

    I like to learn about all religions and it gives me a greater understanding of other people. We are all the same really and want peace and happiness from our lives.

    lobsterKeromedhammachick
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Todd0248 said:
    All religions are not the same on my opinion. Nice theory but practice is different, look at the many doctrines that exist.

    I have to agree.

    I chose not to accept them and evaluate their usefulness.

    As is yours, and everyone else's right :+1:

    Todd0248
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Well the Buddha did say "Ehipassiko" (See for yourselves)
    However....

    Todd0248
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited May 24

    I was reflecting on the common ground that Buddhism and Hinduism share. Both talk about liberation from samsara, and both talk about seeing through personal identity and experience, and realising something deeper. Hinduism talks about the union of Atman and Brahman, while Buddhism talks about seeing things as they really are, union with reality perhaps?
    I sometimes wonder whether they are really that different, experientially at least. It's like they are describing a similar process, but using different language and assumptions.

  • Todd0248Todd0248 Australia New

    Ok check this out folks I met a man recently who is a nice fellow but he's a Jehovah's Witness. A pseudo Christian cult that's predicted the end of the world many times over, very dangerous indeed! Be careful!

  • 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

    @Todd0248 said:
    Ok check this out folks I met a man recently who is a nice fellow but he's a Jehovah's Witness. A pseudo Christian cult that's predicted the end of the world many times over, very dangerous indeed! Be careful!

    No, really, do tell. What's your point?
    If you imagine none of us have ever encountered a person of that religion.... I think this is old news.... ;)

  • Todd0248Todd0248 Australia New

    Actually, they are active on many countries around the world and have had a damaging effect on many people due to their cultish behaviour and that relates to the comment I mistakenly made under sutras
    http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=745838

  • 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

    But we know this already, is my point....

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited June 10

    😌😎🙏🏽

    Dear friends and religious fiends o:)

    As hardcore Buddhists (allegedly),
    ... we have the potential to be hardcore Buddhists. Less personally ignorant for example. I would love to know more in depth wisdom from other religions. I have barely scratched the Dharma surface but am happy to welcome our cousins from atheism, Abrahamic mysticism, poets, whirling dervishes etc etc.

    As we know good will is our personal, social and wise effort. What does that mean? ☦️☣️⚛️🖤

    For me as ever, it is a new kind of kind ... o:)
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lataif-e-sitta

    Vastminddhammachick
  • KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSU Ach-To Veteran

    @DhammaDragon thanks so much for sharing. What a beautiful piece of wisdom

    DhammaDragonHozan
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