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Hi one and all,
My first post on this forum.
I have had a curiousity about buddhism for a number of years - but my background as a secular humanist makes me see it in a different light maybe from many people.
What seems to be the case is a guy called Sidartha [sic] came up with some good ideas about how to approach life, then in the time that followed his teachings were mystified and ritualised.
What kind of records exists for what the Buddha actually said. I've heard of something called the Baghavad-Gita, what is this? Where can I find it?
Do you think there is a need for a more orthodox version of Buddhism, maybe with it's own label in order that it can be distinguished from the other schools. I think the Theravada school is most similar to what I am think of, but not quite.
I remember seeing on the news a couple of years ago a news story about Buddhists travelling across continents to climb a pyramid of steps and ring a 'sacred' bell at the top. To me, with my possibly naive understanding of what the Buddha was about, this seems absolutely crazy.
I have the feeling that these 'religious' Buddhists are not Buddhists at all, because so much of what they do seems to contravene the intent of the original guy who came up with these ideas. They kind of turn him into a God, especially the idea of the Buddha re-incarnated over and over. Did these ideas come from Siddartha himself, or added later by the usual channels of religious evolution?
I don't mean to offend, and I recognise my lack of experience in this subject.
I really feel a curiousity for getting to the core of what Siddartha actually said. He seems quite a visionary, and at the same time quite egoless (i.e. doesn't claim to be the son of God like Jesus Christ or David Ike), given my current understanding, but I need to get at some evidence...