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You just picked Buddhism because you are a ...

buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
edited October 2010 in Sanghas
Why is it that there are so many people who, being, drawn to Buddhism, are those who have had bad experiences with other religions in the past?

Does this seem to be you?

What is your refuge?

Are you simply taking "refuge" in Buddhism because Christianity condemned your lifestyle or life choices?

Is that why you're here?

-bf
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Comments

  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited October 2008
    I'm a Buddhist because it's the only religion or path or whatever you want to call it that actually makes sense to me. Christianity never did. It's not like I'm "hiding out" from Christianity by becoming a Buddhist. In fact, I could really care less about Christianity. I abandoned it long ago after finding it devoid of any meaning for me.

    Palzang
  • 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 October 2008
    Well, I was born into, baptised, given Holy Communion, confirmed and moulded by the religion I was put into.
    It now strikes me as odd that you wouldn't register your child into a specific Political party at birth, but doing so with a religion seems to be both the norm, and acceptable. In fact, if part of a specific religion, you come under heavy fire if you choose to not baptise that child accordingly.

    Oddly enough, my mother (being the good Roman Catholic, but open-minded woman she was) set me on the road to Buddhism by sending me The Tibetan book of Living & Dying.

    Written especally for me, and just waiting for me to come along, read, absorb and be swayed by it, with consummate and natural ease.
    The rest as they say.... ;)
  • edited October 2008
    I don't really see Buddhism as a religion as much as a psychology or way of viewing the world. So I'm not sure that it requires leaving behind our other faiths unless we choose to do so. In my case, I didn't really have much of another religious identity so didn't really feel the need to flee from anything.

    Ben
  • edited October 2008
    I agree with waking .... I have been really grateful for what little Buddhist practice I have in the last few days because without it I would have found it very difficult to practice detachment and acceptance in the face of a rather nasty blow.

    With it, I have been able to be very philosophical about it, which has saved me a lot of mental anguish. This doesn't mean I have run away from anything, just absorbed Buddhist teaching into my overall spirituality.
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited October 2008
    I came to Buddhism because I finally got thoroughly sick and tired of all the suffering I was going through. My heart and mind were sick from pain and my back injury was getting worse and worse and I felt like I was trapped in a nightmare. I knew I couldn't commit suicide and I couldn't go on living like that, so something had to be done. I woke up one day, sat up in bed and said, "This is ridiculous! I can't endure this suffering any longer. I've got to find a way to be happy regardless of what my circumstances are. There are millions of people out there who are in much worse situations than mine, who have so much more reason to be suffering than me, and somehow they manage to be happy. If they can do it, I can do it."

    So I asked myself, "Who are the happiest people in the world? The truly happiest, not just those who appear happy, but those who are genuinely at peace?" I thought for a moment then said "Buddhists!!"

    And the rest, like Fede, is...

    I was born and raised Catholic and moulded by that religion, again like Fede, and I loved it. But when the time came to really take control over my own happiness and peace, my own mind, I needed Buddhism to help me find the way. I see my Catholic upbringing as a precursor to finding Buddhism. A catalyst even. Although it no longer holds any real meaning for me I still appreciate what it did for me, how it got me through the dark days, and how it ultimately pointed me in the right direction.
  • edited October 2008
    There was zero religious content in my childhood, as my parents were both far too interested in themselves to take much notice of anything else. They were very 'modern' "me-me-me" parents.

    I always felt that there must be 'more' to it, than just the materialist view I was raised with but I couldn't swallow the concept of a creator god, sitting up there judging us all etc. As a kid I was a disturbingly clairvoyant, which upset my parent's views and generally freaked adults out.

    It had to happen I guess. I have sought the truth all of my life (still do).
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited October 2008
    bf,

    Not me. Personally, I never had any bad experiences with religion. I was raised without any kind of religious upbringing whatsoever and was free to explore my own spirituality without constrainment. As a child, I began my spiritual exploration out of shear curiosity, beginning with Greek and Roman mythology. From there, I branched out to Egyptian, Norse and other ancient myths. Later, during my adolescent years, I found myself drawn to LeVay-style Satanism, Paganism and Wicthcraft. Throughout that period, I thoroughly enjoyed myself; nevertheless, I was never fully satisfied with the results of my practice. When I finally discovered Buddhism after visiting a Thai Theravada temple near my house, I knew that I had found something of real value. So, for me, what prompted me to take refuge in Buddhism was the feeling that this path had more potential for my spiritual growth and well-being than any I had previously undertaken (including materialistic self-indulgence), not that I had negative experiences in the past and was now running to something else in the hopes that it would justify my lifestyle and choices.

    Jason
  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit Moderator
    edited October 2008
    Maybe it has less to do with bad experiences, per se, than it does with experiences that compelled us to seek out Buddhism. In most of the English-speaking countries represented on the site, Buddhists compose a small enough minority that you typically don't casually become one by upbringing or associations :) I have a coworker who would LOVE to talk to me about Jesus, but I've yet to meet one who's talked up Buddhism.

    In technology, we talk about "push" and "pull" technologies. The "pushes" are things like email, IM, and text messages that "push" into your life. The "pulls" are websites and forums you go to to check because you want to see what's new. I would describe Christianity and Islam as fundametally "push" religions, while Buddhism is a "pull" - you seek it out.
  • edited October 2008
    I have been interested in Eastern Phylosophy since my 20's. But not until 2 little boys were tortured and killed when I was in my early 30's did I seriously start seeking answers to why and how if there really was a God how could he let this happen. I was told by my Christians friends that it was "Gods Will" and by my Catholic friends I was told "the devil did it" Those answers to me were not answers and I found in Buddhism a real answer. Didn't like the answer but it made sense to me.........
  • edited October 2008
    With hands palm to palm...
    I've led a moderately successful practice for about 34 years now...it works for my needs.Any refuge i take is a refuge of absloute surety in the value/merit of what I am taking to be true. I gravitated to the buddhasasana solely because it worked for my needs, while I cannot say with surety that Catholicism was ever able to provide that...I had no "bad" experience with my previous belief system...just that it went the way of everything,and no longer worked.All that was left? The taste of liberation...
  • edited November 2008
    In the worst time of my life, I had a strange dream --- a Buddha statue in parinibbana...I thought, why am I dreaming of a Buddha statue?

    So I thought, hmm, let me study Buddhism...along with other eastern philosophy that I was previously interested in.

    I read Tibetan Lama's versions of the 4 noble truths -- I was not impressed -- I thought, this is not impressive, if Buddha was all knowing, than these 4 Noble Truths are nothing special.

    I did not convert for years, thinking this teaching is not very special...Buddha was a nice monk -- a man-- a saint, nothing more.

    Then thanks to the British and American converts who translated Buddha's actual words, I thought let me read what Buddha actually said Himself in the Tipitika.

    When I did, I thought how beautiful the 4 Noble Truths!
    How perfect the Noble Eightfold Path -- there is nothing like this anywhere else to be found!
    Such a Man if He walked the earth, must be God if God ever walked this earth -- here I took refuge immediately!

    reading the Tipitika in English,

    here I was baptized in faith in the Lord,
    here I was circumcised in the heart by the Lord,
    here I drank of the sweet Dhamma -- the blood and body of Yashua Masiach--
    here I saw Nibbana, the eternal city of Jerusalem
    here I practice again and again trying my best to overcome my evils (I can perhaps try harder:().
  • 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 2008
    shambala wrote: »
    In the Such a Man if He walked the earth, must be God if God ever walked this earth -- here I took refuge immediately!
    You are not correct there. Even the Buddha would take issue with you on this one. The Buddha was not - and is not - God.
  • edited November 2008
    Oh, it's quite correct... In the recollections of Buddha's quality, one of the qualities is that He is "Bhagwan"...that's the supreme most God in Indian religions.

    Buddha is also, anuttaro - without equal.

    Buddha declares there is no being higher than the Tatagatha in the Itivuttaka and faith in the Tatagatha is the foremost since Buddha is the foremost.

    Buddha is also called "King of Kings", "King of righteousness" in many suttas, including the Sela Sutta.

    In the Licchavi Sutta, faith in Buddha constitutes baptism for the Buddhist.

    I'm just surprised there are people who call themselves Buddhists, but can't figure something this basic out.

    The Refuge Supreme??? Hello, that's God...
  • 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 2008
    sela Sutta.

    Where here is he called "The king of kings, or the King of righteousness"?

    Licchavi Sutta

    And please explain your reference to this also.

    I think you're treading on thin ice, and mixing different premises for your own satisfaction. :confused:

    Unless, of course, you're Hindu.
    That would explain a lot. :)
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited November 2008
    The whole 'God' thing is a supreme irrelevance, even in Christianity imho - although that is a much longer debate.

    Both the Jesus message and that of Gotama stress the potential of each being to manifest and make real that which is 'within' them. I am sure that members here know all sorts of texts about 'BuddhaNature' so here are a couple from one of the earliest Christian texts, the Gospel of Thomas:
    (Jesus said: ) There is light at the centre of a person of light, and they illumine the whole world. If they do not shine, there is darkness.
    (logion 24)
    and
    Jesus said, When you bring forth that in yourselves, this which is yours will save you.
    (logion 70)


    The main difference is that Jesus spoke from a tradition with a 'known' deity, whereas the context of the Buddha's teachings - as with all evolved polytheisms - is of an unknowable out of which all arises.
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited November 2008
    shambala wrote: »
    Oh, it's quite correct... In the recollections of Buddha's quality, one of the qualities is that He is "Bhagwan"...that's the supreme most God in Indian religions.

    Buddha is also, anuttaro - without equal.

    Buddha declares there is no being higher than the Tatagatha in the Itivuttaka and faith in the Tatagatha is the foremost since Buddha is the foremost.

    Buddha is also called "King of Kings", "King of righteousness" in many suttas, including the Sela Sutta.

    In the Licchavi Sutta, faith in Buddha constitutes baptism for the Buddhist.

    I'm just surprised there are people who call themselves Buddhists, but can't figure something this basic out.

    The Refuge Supreme??? Hello, that's God...


    To say that the Buddha had Christ-nature and Jesus had Buddha-nature is not to say anything new. To assert that they are one and the same is just silly.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited November 2008
    shambala,

    To begin with, it should be noted that the Buddha and his followers often redefined various terms and concepts differently than they were originally used by others of their time, giving them their own unique meaning and context. This is clearly documented with a varitey of words such as "brahmin," "kamma," "khandha," "nibbana," etc.

    As such, while it is true that the Sanskrit term "bhagavan" refers to a Supreme Being in certain Hindu traditions, in Buddhism and Jainism the term "bhagava" is a title of veneration. In this context, it does not refer to a Supreme Being at all but a being with extraordinary qualities, incomparable virtue, supranormal abilities, insights, etc.

    In the Pali Canon, the Buddha is most definitely portrayed as a being without equal, beyond that of even the Great Brahmas themselves, and that is due to his superior insight into the nature of reality. But the Buddha is not God. He is the supreme refuge because he has rediscovered and explained the path leading to the end of dukkha.

    Jason
  • edited November 2008
    hmm, I'm not here whistling dixie, either you experience it or you don't.

    You really should take Buddhism 101 and find the meaning of "Bhagwan" (Lord)and "anuttaro"(unequalled) and "supreme refuge"...That's basically taking the Triple Gem refuge -- IT IS THE SUPREME REFUGE!

    Sela sutta in Majjhima Nikaya -- obviously Federica only wants to read what she wants to read -- if you actually read the link that you just denied as invalid, the sutta is quoted where Buddha is called King of Kings and King of the Law.

    http://threeroyalwarriors.tripod.com/jesusthewordofbuddha/id5.html

    bhagavA jAnam jAnAti,Knowing, the Blessed One knows;
    passam passati,seeing, He sees.
    cakkhubhUto (Spirit of the eye) :eekblue:
    gyAnabhUto (spirit of Knowledge)
    dhammabhUto (spirit of the Law)
    brahmabhUto, (spirit of divine creation) :eek:
    vattA pavattA,
    atthassa ninnetA,
    amatassa dAtA, (giver of immortality) :eek:
    dhammassAmA (Dharma Swami)
    tathAgato. (Comes and goes to THAT!)

    MN 18 Madhupindika Sutta The Ball of Honey )

    HMMMM, I wonder who that can be? DUH!:rolleyes::lol:
  • edited November 2008
    Elohim wrote: »
    shambala,

    To begin with, it should be noted that the Buddha and his followers often redefined various terms and concepts differently than they were originally used by others of their time, giving them their own unique meaning and context. This is clearly documented with a varitey of words such as "brahmin," "kamma," "khandha," "nibbana," etc.

    As such, while it is true that the Sanskrit term "bhagavan" refers to a Supreme Being in certain Hindu traditions, in Buddhism and Jainism the term "bhagava" is a title of veneration. In this context, it does not refer to a Supreme Being at all but a being with extraordinary qualities, incomparable virtue, supranormal abilities, insights, etc.

    In the Pali Canon, the Buddha is most definitely portrayed as a being without equal, beyond that of even the Great Brahmas themselves, and that is due to his superior insight into the nature of reality. But the Buddha is not God. He is the supreme refuge because he has rediscovered and explained the path leading to the end of dukkha.

    Jason

    Buddha did not "redefine" things -- he CORRECTLY defined things which were being misdefined.

    Buddha is not God?

    God is simply the term for the supreme most, in that sense Buddha is definately God. Bhagwat is a term always used in India for "God", and the personal God...the one you can get to know and actually have a relationship with.

    Buddha is anuttaro -- without equal.

    Buddha is foremost -- to have faith in Buddha is to have faith in the foremost.

    Buddha is also known as the Mahapurisha -- wonder why these priests were looking for the signs???

    They were verifying that God was born as a Human -- that is what the 32 signs of the Mahapurisha means.

    Siddhartha itself means -- guess what?

    Siddha means perfection -- Siddhartha mean one who has reached perfection.

    Gotham - means "Go" =verses, Utam - highest -- the highest words.

    Buddh -- the One who Knows.

    Buddha is the highest -- that is God. Buddha correctly defines what this means as Siddhartha Gautam Buddha.
  • edited November 2008
    I was raised Roman Catholic, but I stopped believing in my religion around the age of 14. I went through a pretty long period of strong, reactionary feelings towards religion in general. But almost 5 years later, I've simmered down. I consider myself a deist, because I believe in a first cause to this universe. Whether or not that first cause answers prayers and wants people to go to certain buildings at various times throughout the week is highly doubtful to me.

    As far as Buddhism goes, I have greatly enjoyed the writings of Thich Naht Hanh and the Dalai Lama. I don't believe in karma or rebirth, but I have found a lot of every day conventional wisdom from writers like I have mentioned.
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited November 2008
    Dearest friends,

    Methinks the Buddha was presciently wiae when he advised against debating such things as 'the existence of God/gods'. See what results!

    The Noble Eightfold Path is not about belief but about practice. This has always suggested to me that walking the Path is done irrespective of the walkers beliefs. Of course some of this opinion has arisen for me because it is precisely (and, no doubt, heretically) how I had come to understand the Jesus message. As old John in Ephesus urged, it's about living compassionately not about beliefs or doctrines or dogmas or - dare I say it? - dharmas.

    For some of us, the Dharma is as integral to existence as gravity - or, perhaps, even more fundamental. What we believe about it is irrelevant to its truth but that truth is never entirely captured in the words of scriptures, any more than gravity was encompassed by Newton or Einstein's formulae.

    I have engaged, more than I am now comfortable with, in such debates and, ever and again, someone (often me, alas!) has said something nasty. hasty and prickly. All of a sudden, friends who had loved each other in their eccentric diversity became like Hutus and Tutsis!

    Lets' avoid that here. Was/is the Shakyamuni 'God' according to this or that set of criteria? That's not the real question, just as masturbation is not real sex. The real question is: Is it worth falling out over?
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited November 2008
    shambala,
    shambala wrote: »
    God is simply the term for the supreme most, in that sense Buddha is definately God. Bhagwat is a term always used in India for "God", and the personal God...the one you can get to know and actually have a relationship with.

    ...

    Buddha is also known as the Mahapurisha -- wonder why these priests were looking for the signs???

    They were verifying that God was born as a Human -- that is what the 32 signs of the Mahapurisha means.

    ...

    Siddhartha itself means -- guess what?

    Siddha means perfection -- Siddhartha mean one who has reached perfection.

    I apologize if I come off as being abrasive or dismissive, but as I have already stated, while it is true that the Sanskrit term "bhagavan" refers to a Supreme Being in certain Hindu traditions, in Buddhism and Jainism the term "bhagava" is a title of veneration. In this context, it does not refer to a Supreme Being at all but a being with extraordinary qualities, incomparable virtue, supranormal abilities, insights, etc. And, speaking of Jainism, are you aware that the name "Siddhatha" was in all probability hijacked from Mahavira's biography? Perhaps you will be interested to know that, according to S. Dhammika, "... nowhere in the Tipitaka does it even mention that the Buddha’s personal name was Siddhattha." He goes on to say: "Even the very late and very legendary Mahapadana Sutta (D.II,1) doesn’t mentions this. When in later centuries a full biography of the Buddha was needed, much of the details were ‘lifted’ from the biography of Mahavira."

    Concerning the 32 marks, I have always found MN 140 interesting in that the wanderer Pukkusati did not immediately recognize the Buddha when he saw him, but only realized who he was after hearing him teach a profound discourse on four determinations and the six properties of experience. That is hard to imagine if the Buddha literally possessed all 32 marks. To me, it is obvious that these marks were either metaphorical (i.e., representative of various characters and qualities) or the result of psychic powers (i.e., visions that were given certain brahmins and wanderers who accepted the ancient Indian tradition regarding the "32 marls of a great man" in order to teach them the Dhamma). As for the rest of what you wrote, it sounds to me like you would be much happier with Christianity or monotheistic Hinduism than Buddhism, even though it appears you are trying to conflate them all. In my opinion, the Buddha is not a god, the God or even a prophet.

    Jason
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited November 2008
    The 'biographies' of the Buddha Shakyamuni are being challenged by archaeology too. Once again I ask: does it matter? As you say, Jason, they are 'metaphorical', which is a perhaps more acceptable (to literalists) than the more accurate 'mythic'. There have been serious doubts expressed as to whether his father was a 'king' or he a 'prince'. Does it matter?

    We seem to be trapped in the cult of personality against which we are specifically warned.

    What is more, we need to acknowledge that the Buddhism which is practised today may be very far from that of early Buddhism, just as with Judaism, Islam or Christianity. In order to survive, these disciplines have evolved and 'morphed' to fit. In many ways, Buddhism presents itself to the modern world as flexible and contrasts itself with the (apparently) less flexible disciplines/doctrines.

    Having grown up in contact with the London Jewish community, I am very aware that Judaism contains far more chiaroscuro and differences that it appears to the outsider - and so does Christianity. When I talk to people who have no knowledge or experience of Buddhism, they are surprised to discover that there are so many different 'Buddhisms'. They will have made their judgments based on (usually) a single representative such as HHDL who represents only one of humdreds of different strands.

    The Dharma may be unchanging but, once the Wheel was turned within history, its expression became subject to the tri-laksana, the marks of existence.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited November 2008
    To me, the facts do matter.
  • edited November 2008
    Elohim wrote: »
    shambala,



    I apologize if I come off as being abrasive or dismissive, but as I have already stated, while it is true that the Sanskrit term "bhagavan" refers to a Supreme Being in certain Hindu traditions, in Buddhism and Jainism the term "bhagava" is a title of veneration. In this context, it does not refer to a Supreme Being at all but a being with extraordinary qualities, incomparable virtue, supranormal abilities, insights, etc. And, speaking of Jainism, are you aware that the name "Siddhatha" was in all probability hijacked from Mahavira's biography? Perhaps you will be interested to know that, according to S. Dhammika, "... nowhere in the Tipitaka does it even mention that the Buddha’s personal name was Siddhattha." He goes on to say: "Even the very late and very legendary Mahapadana Sutta (D.II,1) doesn’t mentions this. When in later centuries a full biography of the Buddha was needed, much of the details were ‘lifted’ from the biography of Mahavira."

    Concerning the 32 marks, I have always found MN 140 interesting in that the wanderer Pukkusati did not immediately recognize the Buddha when he saw him, but only realized who he was after hearing him teach a profound discourse on four determinations and the six properties of experience. That is hard to imagine if the Buddha literally possessed all 32 marks. To me, it is obvious that these marks were either metaphorical (i.e., representative of various characters and qualities) or the result of psychic powers (i.e., visions that were given certain brahmins and wanderers who accepted the ancient Indian tradition regarding the "32 marls of a great man" in order to teach them the Dhamma). As for the rest of what you wrote, it sounds to me like you would be much happier with Christianity or monotheistic Hinduism than Buddhism, even though it appears you are trying to conflate them all. In my opinion, the Buddha is not a god, the God or even a prophet.

    Jason


    That's your opinion... and you stated it is an opinion - which is good.

    Fact: the brahmins who come to search the 32 marks are searching to prove something -- Buddha readily shows them...why ? To give confidence, to say, "YES, I am God"...

    Fact: Bhagwan IS a term of affection for GOD. It is NEVER used for a human being in any scripture!

    Fact: King of Kings (RajabhiRaj) is used in the MN Sela Sutta

    Fact: DhammaRaj (King of the Law) is used in also in the above text.

    Fact: He is called the "Eye of the world" in the Mahaparinibbana sutta.

    With all these facts, I say the Pali Tipitika is pretty united in stating that Buddha is God.


    The Jains are a joke... please! :lol: If you cannot be honest about the beauty of the brilliance of the 4 Noble Truths, forget it! Only the blind can compare the two!
  • edited November 2008
    shambala wrote: »
    That's your opinion... and you stated it is an opinion - which is good.

    Fact: the brahmins who come to search the 32 marks are searching to prove something -- Buddha readily shows them...why ? To give confidence, to say, "YES, I am God"...

    Fact: Bhagwan IS a term of affection for GOD. It is NEVER used for a human being in any scripture!

    Fact: King of Kings (RajabhiRaj) is used in the MN Sela Sutta

    Fact: DhammaRaj (King of the Law) is used in also in the above text.

    Fact: He is called the "Eye of the world" in the Mahaparinibbana sutta.

    With all these facts, I say the Pali Tipitika is pretty united in stating that Buddha is God.


    The Jains are a joke... please! :lol: If you cannot be honest about the beauty of the brilliance of the 4 Noble Truths, forget it! Only the blind can compare the two!

    I also wanted to add, I am not a Christian or Buddhist. I follow the Dhamma. I am part of the Sangha.

    The Sangha of the Blessed One. That is the name the Lord gave to us. We belong to Him, that is the New Covenant -- we will never fall.

    In my heart I understood Buddha is Jesus, Jesus is Buddha -- there is no difference, my heart is united in the truth.

    However most hearts are divided, prejudiced by culture and race and nationality thinking God had come to only one group here or there. My heart has overcome these divisions.

    I am giving you scriptures to help others, not me. I already know what I know.

    I don't mean to be mean in any way - sometimes I do say things strongly -- I apologize.;)

    But thank you very much Jason -- you are a very thoughtful person...I will look into where Siddhatta is called Siddhata for the first time -- it might be the biography because the Tipitika does not say, and my father called me "siddhata"...however, He is called Gotam and Buddha Bhagwan and Tathagatha all over the place.

    As for MONOTHEISM, BUDDHISM IS MONOTHEISM PAR EXCELLENCE!

    Nathi mein Saranam annam
    Buddho mein Saranam varam
    Etena Saccha Vajjena hotu mein Jayamangalam!

    There is no other refuge
    Only BUddho is the TRUE refuge
    With this truth, may I be victorious!:winkc: Monotheism perfection!
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited November 2008
    Do we not all have the right to believe as we choose?

    Of course we all have the right to believe as we choose, and nobody here has said otherwise.

    Nevertheless, that does not mean that such beliefs are somehow off limits to public discourse.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited November 2008
    shambala wrote: »
    Fact: Bhagwan IS a term of affection for GOD. It is NEVER used for a human being in any scripture!

    Fact: Bhagava is used as such in Buddhist and Jain texts. The most common translation is "Blessed One."
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited November 2008
    shambala wrote: »
    As for MONOTHEISM, BUDDHISM IS MONOTHEISM PAR EXCELLENCE!

    Umm, seriously? What version of the Pali Canon have you been reading?
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited November 2008
    Elohim wrote: »
    Umm, seriously? What version of the Pali Canon have you been reading?

    I think you aver to an important point, Jason: for you, the Pali Canon represents the whole and ultimate expression of the Shakyamuni Buddha's message. But you must admit, surely, that there are many, many Buddhists admit more, later, contemporary even, texts. Different cultures have seen different evolutions. Palzang will, no doubt, confirm that Tibetan thought hails Padmasambhava/Guru Rinpoche as a true buddha.

    Whilst it might seem anomalous to some, I have no doubt that there are many Buddhists who are either polytheists or even monotheists. There are two syllogisms at play:

    The first sems to go like this:
    God does not exist;
    The Buddha Shayamuni existed;
    Therefore the Historical Buddha is not God.


    The alternate goes:
    God is perfect;
    The Buddha Shakyamuni was perfect;
    Therefore the Historical Buddha is God.


    Both rest on an unproven and unprovable major premise, which is why I turn my eyes to what can be proved and my own syllogism goes more like this:
    The case for God has yet to be proven or disproven;
    The case for the Buddha has been proven;
    Therefore, the case for Buddha adds nothing to the debate about the case for God.


    It may not be pure Aristotle - it works for me. It also enables me to hold to the Buddha's advice to keep off the subject. Mind you Nagarjuna helps even more - so that I can say that the propositions about God may be both true and untrue at the same time. But that needs me to do serious (or rather comic) violence to dualistic thinking.

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited November 2008
    Sorry Simon, but that makes absolutely no sense to me. To begin with, I fail to see how the propositions about God may be both true and untrue at the same time. That is completely nonsensical, and Nagarjuna would have a field day refuting such dualisitic propositions seeing as his primary method was showing how various propositions were ultmately illogical from the standpoint of shunyata in order to free others from their clinging to views. In addition, as far as this converstion has gone, only the Pali Canon has been referenced thus far and I am simply sticking to what has been said regarding the teachings recorded in the Pali Canon.

    As for different sects and texts, an examination of the textual evidence does suggests that some later traditions attempted to transform the Buddha into a transcendent being, and eventually, an emanation of the supramundane Buddha. This process can be traced, beginning with such works as the Mahavastu, and continuing on through works such as the Lalitavistara and the Saddharmapundarikasutra. Personally, I believe that there is ample evidence to support that the conceptual framework of the Buddha being analogous to the biblical God or of transcendent Buddhas that are actively affecting the world have no basis in the early teachings.
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited November 2008
    Elohim wrote: »
    ..................... no basis in the early teachings.

    Preciusely my point. Are the "early teachings" the only vehicles of truth? And where do you darw the line? Why?
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited November 2008
    Preciusely my point. Are the "early teachings" the only vehicles of truth? And where do you darw the line? Why?

    I am sure you know where and why, we have had this conversation many times before. I consider the Pali Canon the closest thing we have to what the Buddha taught.
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited November 2008
    I agree that we have discussed this before but (and it may be my dementia kicking in) but I cannot remember why you think that the revelation of the Dharma stopped at the parinibbana. Please forgive me if you have explained this before.
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited November 2008
    I would just like to point out that Tibetan Buddhism didn't toss out the words of the Buddha. We still study and follow them diligently. They are the basis for everything we do. Anyone who believes anything else simply doesn't know what they're talking about.

    Yes, there have been many Buddhas (i.e. awakened beings) since Shakyamuni lived. Yes, we also follow their teachings. They are not separate. Buddha is Buddha. To somehow believe that Shakyamuni Buddha was the one and only enlightened being would mean that those of us who are following the teachings of the Buddha are just wasting our time.

    Palzang
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited November 2008
    Palzang wrote: »
    I would just like to point out that Tibetan Buddhism didn't toss out the words of the Buddha. We still study and follow them diligently. They are the basis for everything we do. Anyone who believes anything else simply doesn't know what they're talking about.

    Yes, there have been many Buddhas (i.e. awakened beings) since Shakyamuni lived. Yes, we also follow their teachings. They are not separate. Buddha is Buddha. To somehow believe that Shakyamuni Buddha was the one and only enlightened being would mean that those of us who are following the teachings of the Buddha are just wasting our time.

    Palzang


    This is precisely why I ask the question.
  • JerbearJerbear Veteran
    edited November 2008
    BF,
    As one who had a horrible experience with another faith, I initially checked out Buddhism as I had read things about it years ago and thought I would give it a try. Something about the simple honesty of the Buddha touched me in a way that nothing else had. One thing that I've found is that I have the same struggles with belief systems as I did before. I can still get angry and resentful at people and then try to hide from them (or myself). I don't think coming from a negative experience is exactly bad. Finding out that the Buddha asked men to question their experiences and thoughts and if it was beneficial to keep on doing it. The Buddha's teachings have given me the "okay" to question when I am unsure. In some ways, it is difficult to come from a different belief system that was totally unsatisfactory. You're always unsure of what is going to happen and if another bomb is going to drop out of no where. Being rejected by all I knew was tough and I tend to be hypersensitive to it today.

    This time, I'm taking things much slower and allowing myself to ask questions and find answers that work for me. I'm starting from the point of the function of faith as in the Fundamentalist-Evangelical-Charismatic (FEC from here out) church put a premium on it and if you had enough or not was the basis of your experience in Christianity. Years later, I know that I couldn't have had anymore faith at the time. I'm reading some stuff on faith by Sharon Salzberg that is quite interesting and taking what I need and leaving the rest.

    There is plenty of room for those of us who come in wounded. I don't see the Buddha questioning are motives but saying "come in".
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited November 2008


    This is precisely why I ask the question.


    I know. I was just making it explicit.

    Palzang
  • edited November 2008
    I find Buddhism to be a useful set of instructions to reduce your suffering. It is the middle way between self mortification like some hindus and catholics do and indulgence of the "normal" people.What I find good is that buddhism does not postulate a creator god who is almighty and good and so does not come in conflict with reality. One can say samsara or the world is evil by nature or at least has evil sides without having to do Theodicy or intruduce a devil. Nevertheless, there is Mara in Buddhism who does make more sense than the christian devil because he does not fight agaist an almighty,good god.

    I just find much of christianity useless talk like speculation about the afterlife and god. The exceptions are some christian mystics who give useful instructions how to life a spiritual life already in this life here and now but compared to the sutas of the pali canon, i prefer the latter ones because they are unmatched in their depth and wisdom
  • edited November 2008
    My family was never all that devout, so my early religious exposure (Anglican) was a bit uneven. It was also mostly a positive experience for me. Actually, I've been incredibly blessed by encountering so many wise and kind clergymen from many different faiths.

    I've heard many people say that they were chastised as children for asking too many questions of their spiritual leaders, but my minister thought that my inquisitiveness may mean that I had a vocation. So he answered very patiently and thoroughly. He was also the first person I met who thought that there was nothing wrong with my sensitive nature (my parents and teachers were trying to 'toughen me up').

    So I don't have anything against the church, I just don't think I'm well-designed for following a religion that demands a great deal of faith. Maybe it's a bit like being colour-blind? I recognise that other people have a very strong belief in a deity, but I don't seem able to see what they see.
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited November 2008
    I hear you, jacx. I was also the kind of kid who used to delight in asking questions that pointed out the logical inconsistencies and silliness of the Bible. My Sunday School teachers just got confused and couldn't answer. I guess I'm missing the "god-chip" as well!

    Palzang
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran
    edited November 2008
    I agree that we have discussed this before but (and it may be my dementia kicking in) but I cannot remember why you think that the revelation of the Dharma stopped at the parinibbana. Please forgive me if you have explained this before.
    Palzang wrote: »
    I would just like to point out that Tibetan Buddhism didn't toss out the words of the Buddha. We still study and follow them diligently. They are the basis for everything we do. Anyone who believes anything else simply doesn't know what they're talking about.

    Yes, there have been many Buddhas (i.e. awakened beings) since Shakyamuni lived. Yes, we also follow their teachings. They are not separate. Buddha is Buddha. To somehow believe that Shakyamuni Buddha was the one and only enlightened being would mean that those of us who are following the teachings of the Buddha are just wasting our time.

    Palzang


    This is precisely why I ask the question.

    WOW! Anxiously awaiting a long, reflective reply from our friend Jason.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited November 2008
    Well, to be perfectly honest, I am not exactly sure what everyone here wants me to say. It should be obvious by now that my opinion of the Pali Canon, at least a large portion of it anyway, is that it is the closest thing we have to what the historical Buddha taught. This is an opinion that is shared by almost every tradition and school of Buddhism, as well as by scholars. The message contained therein is a path of practice that the Buddha assures us will lead to the end of suffering and the cessation of rebirth. That being said, the question is, Why do I think the revelation of the Dharma stopped at the parinibbana? The question itself, however, is faulty. The fact of the matter is, I never said that the revelation (i.e., the act of revealing or making known) of the Dharma stopped, I simpy do not agree that everything presented as being Dharma is actually Dharma, and that goes for Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana.

    My conclusion, which I have attempted to be as open-minded and impartial as I can be in coming to, is based upon my years of study, practice and reflection. I have studied and practiced Theravada Buddhism for a number of years at Thai Theravada temples, at times living there or spending extended periods in retreat. I am currently practicing at a Taiwanese Mahayana temple with a monk who originally studied meditation for eighteen years as a monk in Thailand before being ordained in Taiwan, as well as with a Tibetan nun who is ordained in the Palyul Nyingma lineage and is the current teacher of the local Sakya center. (Hell, occasionally I even attend meetings at a local athiest and freethinkers group, plus I have recently visited a local Greek Orthodox church.) Nevertheless, in all of this time, nothing I have seen or heard matches the profound simplicity that is contained within the early teachings themselves.
  • edited November 2008
    Palzang wrote: »
    I hear you, jacx. I was also the kind of kid who used to delight in asking questions that pointed out the logical inconsistencies and silliness of the Bible. My Sunday School teachers just got confused and couldn't answer. I guess I'm missing the "god-chip" as well!

    Palzang

    I don't find the Bible silly at all, in fact I think it's quite fascinating. Another example of a wonderful clergyman in my life was the rabbi who undertook a 3 hour drive every week to teach Hebrew to a group of (both Jewish and non-Jewish) university students. We kept getting sidetracked by asking him theological questions, so he volunteered to add a second class, in Talmud studies. It was fantastic, he has excellent debating skills and I just loved the class. As much as I read and studied the Bible and its commentaries, I never actually believed in any of it though. I don't know why.

    I'm not so great with the devotional practices that exist in Buddhism either!
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited November 2008
    I think you make an important distinction, jacx. The Bible is not silly, any more than any other piece of writing which opens our understanding of a developing culture which has had such an effect. It would be as facile to deem The Iliad or the myth accounts of young Gotama as being silly. They are illuminating, disgusting, repellent and attractive but not, I maintain, silly (unless you mean, dearest Palzang, the original meaning of the word: selig: full of soul).

    What is silly, in the face of archaeology, is to continue to view the 'history' of the Tanakh as accurate, but I suspect that it was never meant to be. It was didactic in intent.

  • edited November 2008
    What an excellent question, bf! It has definitely gotten me thinking about judgments.

    I believe my mother is a very spiritual person. Both my parents are Methodist Christians and both definitely believe that Christianity is The Way. While I'm not sure my father's actual feelings on the matter - he is a simple guy and things just ARE without a whole lot of overcomplicated thoughts and emotions - my mother has stated that she does not believe I will ever find true happiness until I find Jesus. I assume this belief applies to all people, and not just that I am the sole person on the planet that must "find Jesus" in order to "find happiness." I would like to add that I disagree wholeheartedly with this statement. I find it illogical.

    Being raised in a Methodist family and going to church has definitely affected my personal ethics and worldview in a positive way, but I am not Christian. I would like to say that I did not come to Buddhism (do I really consider myself a Buddhist, though?) out of refuge from some other religious evil. I would like to say that I am here because it makes the most sense to me, that it resonates. That sounds like the "right" thing to say. However, it would be dishonest to ignore the negative impact that Christianity had on my life in adolescence. My mother would correct me here, and she is right: Christianity didn't have a negative impact on me, Christians did. Texan, big church, big money, religion on your sleeve, join the club Christians. And this is where it gets judgmental on my part.

    What it comes down to, though, is that I think my mom has the right idea about religion, other than the fact that I don't appreciate her definition of my own happiness. Otherwise, she is very live and let live. Christianity is about love and compassion to her, as far as I can tell, and studying/practicing it makes her happier and more peaceful. However, there are a large number of Christians around here that I can't stand. Have they impacted my take on Christianity and my own upbringing? Yes. Are they the sole reason for me to study Buddhism? No. I definitely would have done that anyway; I was headed down that path before we moved to Texas. It's just obvious to me now that the two issues are intertwined, whether I like it or not.
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited November 2008
    Well, if you don't think the Bible is full of silliness, then you obviously haven't read Letters from the Earth by Mark Twain! Of course, it also contains spiritual profundity, engaging stories, etc.

    Palzamg
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited November 2008
    Palzang wrote: »
    Well, if you don't think the Bible is full of silliness, then you obviously haven't read Letters from the Earth by Mark Twain! Of course, it also contains spiritual profundity, engaging stories, etc.

    Palzamg

    I am very fond of Letter From The Earth, and can quite understand Twain's take, particularly in the 19th century. Nevertheless, I still do not find the Tanakh any sillier than, say, the epics of Homer or Virgil, or the Bhagavad Gita, or the infancy narrative of 'Prince' Gotama. They are 'teaching stories', jokes and allegories. May I suggest another read? It is The Book of J with an illuminating commentary by Harold Bloom.

    Of course, all-too-many Christians were exposed to the first seven chapters of Genesis when far too young. Those chapters are not taught to the young in Orthodox Judaism, it being judged that they are too complex and that taking them literally is a mistake.
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited November 2008
    Those chapters are not taught to the young in Orthodox Judaism, it being judged that they are too complex and that taking them literally is a mistake.


    Try telling that to the fundies!

    I don't want to leave the impression that I think the Bible is the only holy writ that has silliness in it. Hardly. I have a hard time in general with people and books that take themselves too seriously. It is healthy, I think, to make fun of such people and such writings.

    Palzang


  • LesCLesC Bermuda Veteran
    edited December 2008
    Hello all,

    I'm new, and this is my first post. I have come to Buddhism from a Christian background. In my very young years I was attached to the church of England. At thirteen I became very disenchanted because of the attitude of the minister in ordering me where to sit in the chuch (you can't sit there, you must sit there) so began a life-long search for spiritual connection.

    In my travels I looked at most, Judaism, Ba'hai, and of course Buddhism. Unfortunately, I chose to to look at Zen Buddhism which turned out to be far to esoteric for me at the time and Koans left me completely bewildered, so I moved on.

    But as the saying goes "All roads lead to Rome", I have recently discovered Tibetan Buddhism, and have come away with a whole different understanding and respect for Buddhism.

    Unfortunately I live in a place with no other Buddghists, Sangha, Teachers or Meditation Centers. So I am struggling along reading and trying to meditate. I realize that I cannot aspire to my full potential without a teacher and a Sangha, but I feel that doing something is better than doin nothing.

    So here I am. I will try to be a good member of this community.

    Les
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