I have noticed that recently a lot of the discussions on NewBuddhist seem at variance to what I know as Buddhism. There seems to be a lot of Hindu, New Age, Daoist and other philosophies, not labelled as such (which wouldn't be so much as a problem) but presented as if they were synonymous with Buddhism.
I know the different schools of Buddhism vary, but I also recognise some of the ideas that are being shared as coming from other religion's teachings, that I am familiar with. For instance, the term "avatar" is a Hindu one. As far as I'm aware, so is "Kundalini".
The Buddhism that I am aware of has no concept of the soul or essential self or 'atman' as the Hindus call it. We are not "god within", neither do we have a "Christ consciousness" (or Krishna Consciousness). "I" has no independent meaning, it is simply a conglomeration of dozens of concepts that have come together, to do with "my body", "my mind", "my experiences" etc. I know some Tibetan Buddhists believe in reincarnation, but personally I cannot see how "reincarnation" is an appropriate translation when there is no concept of a soul.
I am also not aware of "God" in Buddhism, as in a supreme, omniscient, omnipotent, eternal creator deity. The whole idea flies in the face of the Dharma, as far as I can see. We need to be extremely careful IMHO using the term "god" in the context of Buddhism, with people who have been brought up with the eternal creator God as their concept.
I know my lay teacher and I have fallen out over her use of "god" to mean the Dharmakaya. As a former Christian, that's like completely redefining the word until it ceases to have any shared meaning at all! She might as well call it "flobberlob" (she sees my point but we've agreed to disagree).
I am not concerned that some people are Hindus, or New Agers, or Daoists, or even Christian mystics or Sufis. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs. And I don't mind if people discuss their personal beliefs on NewBuddhist, provided they are labelled so that we all know what is being discussed. My concern is that this is supposed to be a Buddhist site, so if questions are posted, it is assumed the answers are from a Buddhist perspective.
Unfortunately, as things stand, it can be very confusing for people who are not well-read in these subjects. Nothing wrong with having an eclectic approach to religion, but for those of us who want to stick to one at a time, it would be better to know where stuff is coming from.
The main answer i received was that it is up to the user to skim through the threads and answers and find an answer that is appropriate.
IMO this would be fine if we were all experts but i believe the very reason most came here to begin with (they are new, newbuddhist) suggest that they do not have the knowledge to make the difference between any of the answers (which one relates to Buddhism and which one doesn't).
Another big problem i see with this is that people are familiar with certain cliche that are mainstream (lots of new age stuff) and familiar with psychology stuff so they are much more likely to select theses kind of answers just because it sounds right to them (because it is familiar, it hit home)...
Every chance I get I tell uninitiated people, "Buddhism is not a religion." I'm saying that loosely to outsiders so they can perhaps see B. as something special and get curious about it. If questioned I'll call it "a psychology which does not address the question of 'god' whatever that could be."
Once you say, "You should get to know God thru [insert religion here]," it IMMEDIATELY turns off..., what...? probably 90% of people! (which is fine with me BTW )
Theosophy, to quote Wikipedia:
"...holds that all religions are attempts by the Occult Brotherhood to help humanity in evolving to greater perfection, and that each religion therefore has a portion of the truth."
It has much to recommend it, and I'm sure Krishnamurti has many wise things to say, but it isn't Buddhism.
Buddhism is about attaining the realisation that everything is an illusion, brought about by ignorance of the true nature of things, that we call "Emptiness".
Make it so.
Oh, I see you have.....
"Kundalini" is a Hindu term, but as "Inner Fire/tummo", is a phenomenon well-known in TB and a fundamental component of advanced practice. My impression is that Kundalini is usually mentioned on this forum together with "Inner Fire", except in the comparative religion category.
I'm not sure where these concerns about mention of god are coming from. Maybe I've missed the relevant threads, but in almost 6 months of participating here, I haven't seen god mentioned except possibly in discussions about Christianity. I don't see a problem. Is there a problem?
It's not a widely held view across the board of all Schools or teachings.
as such, some hold it as true, others, otherwise.
Krishnamurti abandoned Theosophy in adulthood
Krishnamurti taught very similar to supramundane Buddhism. He did not teach about 'God', 'rebirth' or 'reincarnation'. He taught the state of liberation was the mind free from the 'self' thought. The mind free from the 'self' thought is Emptiness.
More importantly, it's not very practical to try and recruit the staff of NewBuddhist to sort through every thread in order to determine whether it falls in the Buddhist or non-Buddhist category. For example, some people adamantly disagree with the use of the term 'sin' in relation to unskillful actions, whereas others (like myself) see no problem with it as long as its use is limited to the idea of sin stemming from the Greek word hamartia, which is closely related to the verb hamartanein or 'missing the mark.'
The bottom line is that people have to do their own homework and use their own discernment in these matters. This place is meant to be a place where people can come together and discuss these things and share their own ideas and experiences, not to be the arbitrator of what is or isn't 'Buddhist.'
(Incidentally, a few weeks ago, one of Ajahn Jumnien's senior monks living in the US came to my local Buddhist centre and gave a six hour Dhamma talk. During most of the talk, he continually used a diagram that he'd made at the behest of Ajahn Jumnien as a teachings aid, and which happened to include one picture utilizing chakras that was meant to illustrate the mind-body connection. Personally, I thought the talk was incredible, but should I have told him that it wasn't 'Buddhist' because he incorporated 'Hindu' chakras in his diagram?)
I see your point Jason, but all I'm asking is for attributions. For instance, I've read books by Osho (Taoist) and Krishnamurti (who seems to be one on his own, tradition-wise). I am familiar with Christian mysticism, including Quakerism, which is often pretty close to the Dharma. But if I wrote about any of these things, I'd say where I got them from.
I would not, for instance, claim that a teaching was Buddhist if it came from the writings of George Fox (founder of the Quakers), no matter how compatible they may be with the dharma.
Rather as new buddhists the practioners are searcing. I do think categories can be helpful to organize, though I have every category on my feed page in any case so ultimately there are only categories as labels. For me.
Finally what you recognize as 'buddhism' may not be what another does. I think you have a point, but it seems you are trying to protect the purity of buddhism. Its already impure. There are already branching streams in darkness (a poem called the Sandokei if you are interested). So as I said trying to make it a sangha with a practice around a teacher or text or something is futile.
However I will bow to the site owner to do what is necessary to keep this space functional. And I respect your vision Ada, but as I say I am comfortable and quite enjoy the diversity and even the confusion. It has a feel of genuine inquiry rather than 'giving a witness' as its called in Christianity.
I think it falls on us to actually read the content of the posts in order to understand why certain terms are coming up. And keep in mind it's a site of/for "new" Buddhists who are still finding their way, even if there are some long-time practitioners as well.
It is often mixed with superstitions and contradictory ideas - like my neighbour, who claims to be a Buddhist, but believes in Chinese magic, and lucky charms, and household deities and all manner of practices which seem to owe more to animism than the Dharma (and most of it is about pacifying the wrathful spirits she believes are all around, including those of her ancestors, rather than focussing on anything positive). It is like her poor mind is cluttered-up with all this stuff and it stresses her out.
And it's not as if she's unintelligent - she has masters degrees, speaks several languages...
I must confess, when I first met her and heard she was a Buddhist, it put me right off. Then I met a Tibetan Buddhist, saw her house full of statues and Tibetan wall hangings and thought "This is just a load of superstitious old nonsense". Bearing in mind I devoted almost 20 years of my life to bat-sh*t mad Christian fundamentalism, I wasn't going to get caught by that old trick again!
Fortunately, then I met some slightly more conservative Buddhists, including my karate teacher, who is a Zen practitioner and very sane and balanced, and I realised that much of this was about the individuals concerned. And then I got to know the Tibetan Buddhist lady and realised she loved the Tibetan art and was actually sane as well.
So now my house is full of Tibetan and Buddhist artefacts as well, and everyone thinks I'm insane
And my Chinese friend continues to get her religions mixed-up but we keep working on her. She is a very fearful woman but her heart is in the right place. Even if I refuse to agree with her that my feet are afflicted by maras (it's actually Ehler-Danlos Syndrome).
The only way you'll be free of it is to stop worrying about it, stop judging, and start accepting things as they are. That's what Buddhism is really about, acceptance and letting go of the struggle.
No one can own truth. Truth is. Buddhism cannot own truth. Though I believe it screams truth a bit louder than most.
All ideas are preventing you from seeing truth. Buddhism is not about ideas. Buddhism is about experiencing your true nature through meditation. Buddhism is the finger pointing to the moon. When you make it anything more than that you are taking a shit on the Buddha.
Lol. I am channeling my inner Bodhidharma. He would rip us all apart.
After many years of study and qualification, I have realised that there are people who have deep personal investment in seeing their own discipline as the ultimate answer. I came across the same mindset when training as a psychotherapist. Qualifying as a T.A. therapist seemed to demand that I accept that the Berne/Steiner model was the best. Then my Jungian, psychosynthesis and NLP trainers demanded the same allegiance.
My problem has always been that I was raised by a scientific atheist who always asked "Why?" and taught us to question, particularly to question any authority which demanded absolute submission. This tendency, reinforced by Enlightenment and existentialist-inspired French schooling, was confirmed by the work of theologians around "Vatican 2" and their emphasis on the primacy of personal conscience.
And if I am to insist that my decisions be recognised and respected, I can only do so with all honesty if I accord the same respect to others, even if I am prepared to argue the toss, endlessly.
I am concerned about my superstitious friend because she makes herself unhappy. And I'm not judging her - other people far more knowledgeable than myself, in our sangha, have said exactly the same about her. Living in fear is a horrible thing.
The point in my story is that if you meet confused people who say they are Buddhist, but actually have a load of contradictory beliefs and practices, it can put a beginner off. Especially if they tell you how great meditation is whilst acting completely anxious and unhappy. It doesn't really speak of inner calm.
I resent you telling me I'm "screwed" because I am honest about how I felt when first encountering Buddhists. And also because whilst Tibetan Buddhism is full of supernatural beings and tales, my friend's beliefs explicitly do not come from that tradition or any Buddhist tradition. She is quite open about that - and no one is judging her, but she has said she wishes to take refuge and be a member of the sangha.
I am not looking for some "pure" Buddhism, and I have never told anyone what to believe since I left the church. I simply feel compassion for someone who is unhappy and confused, and feel she'd be a lot happier if she stopped worrying about spirits and ancestors. She has said as much herself, but I expect it isn't that easy.
I have never disrespected any other religion, or suggest it's not "cool", I simply found it confusing when people were quoting Osho or Krishnamurthi or whoever, along with discussions on Buddhism. It's about understanding where people are coming from, not being the "attribution police".
I'm sorry I even started the discussion. Apparently I am judgemental, fanatical and dogmatic. Great. Nice to know I'm appreciated.
Just so you know, I don't give a rats arse what you believe, as long as it works for you. Contrary to popular belief on this forum, I'm actually interested in other people's beliefs and have many friends of all sorts of religions. At my wedding, 9 different religions were represented, so we had a Humanist ceremony so as not to offend anyone.
But why do I bother.
In tibetan buddhism I was taught that a heaven realm expels beings who are unhappy because they don't fit. While the buddha goes to all realms.
As much as Buddhism may be represented just-so in the texts, it's alive in people's minds. Everyone takes it their own way depending on the circumstances of their life that have shaped their minds. Buddhism isn't one thing that you pick up and discard everything else; ideally, it's one thing you pick up so that you can learn to discard (let go of clinging to) everything else (including Buddhism!). This takes time and effort!
I wish only the best for everyone involved, and apologize if I've offended you.
IMO it beats the alternative, which would be allowing some threads to descend into chaotic gibberish.
But I guess I should get off my soapbox before the Stay on Topic Police come to get me... :0
Sure, I'll admit that the 'attribution police' comment was a bit cheeky, but I don't think it was to the point of being uncivil. If you thought otherwise, however, I apologize for it. I, for one, never said you that you're being disrespectful to other religions, or that you're judgmental, fanatical, dogmatic, etc. I'm simply trying to show the absurdity of 3-4 people going through each thread attempting to sort out what's 'Buddhist' and what's 'other.'
As I pointed out, according to you, chakras are cool since they're a part of Tibetan Buddhism, but kundalini isn't, even though Lama Yeshe uses this term in The Bliss of Inner Fire. You do see the difficulty here, don't you? Whose criteria of what constitutes Buddhism am I supposed to use in this case?
Like you, I find a lot of stuff on here confusing, which is why I limit my participation to those threads where I think I have a good idea of what's being discussed and something to add to the discussion instead of trying to make every discussion less confusing and more 'Buddhist.' I just don't have the time or the energy for that. I do what I can to share my knowledge and let others decide for themselves whether what I say is of any value.
Perhaps there are dangerous energies being experienced on the forum. I do advise to respect the sense of danger and be careful. Vishnu too
The relationship between samadhi and wisdom (or samatha and vipasyana) is a crucial point in Buddhism. In the Theravada tradition, the differences between them are emphasized; samdhi and wisdom are considered separate facets of cultivation, to be achieved one after another. In the Mahayana tradition (Zen, Avatamsaka, Pure Land, Esoteric), however, samadhi and wisdom are indivisible; true samadhi necessarily includes wisdom and true wisdom is inseparable from samadhi. Moreover, wisdom is not something external to be obtained through practice; it is inherent in all sentient beings. It is as though we have lost a pearl at the bottom of a lake. When there is no wind and the water is calm, the pearl naturally become visible. To recover the wisdom-pearl, the practitioner need only calm the turbid waters of his mind. Thus, in Mahayana teaching, to cultivate samadhi is to attain wisdom or enlightenment. This relationship is clearly seen in the expression 'three non-outflow (unconditioned) studies', linking precepts, samadhi and wisdom. Pure Land is a projection of the mind, a mental construct but it is also real - to the same extent that our world and everything around it are real. Although both Zen and Pure Land cultivation recite Buddha's name in the their daily practice, Zen followers do not seek rebirth in the Western Pure Land. This apparent difference is, however, easily reconciled when we understand the truth of Self-nature Amitabha, Mind-Only Pure Land. As the Vimalakirtu Sutra states; "When the mind is pure, the Buddha land is pure." Rebirth in the Pure Land is, ultimately, rebirth in our Pure Mind.
The Buddha never taught human beings do not have inherent wisdom. The Buddha taught human beings only have inherent ignorance. The Buddha did teach beings have inherent original or luminous mind.
The Mahayana misconception here is regarding the original mind as wisdom. Each being possesses original mind but original or clear mind is not wisdom.
Wisdom is knowledge about the true nature of reality. Beings do not possess inherent knowledge or insight about the true nature of reality, namely, impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, not-self & noble truths.
This is why when the Buddha gained enlightenment, he said: :coffee:
When there is no wind and the water is calm, the pearl naturally become visible. To recover this samadhi-pearl, the practitioner need only calm the turbid waters of his mind.
I think for me it is (was) helpful for me to believe that underneath my wrong views was a ground from which right views could bloom. In the mahayana ignorance is viewed as a solidifying of that which blooms. Unfortunately so much wrong view has been in us for a long time since our infancy. And if you believe in past lives?
So therefore things can be misunderstood without consultation of a teacher. Perhaps without looking at the mahayana scriptures it is difficult to see whether 'the mahayana' misunderstands things.
A distinction I make is between a conditional right view and an unconditional one. A conditional one is dukkha because it will fail you. The triple gem is reliable and includes the fertile soil of dharmakaya. Yielding nature but not nothingness. When grasping ceases an ALIVE wisdom emerges and not a static one.
I don't think you are confused about this, but what I see is that mahayana isn't your preference but maybe a human can 'still make it work'.
All I got is this old clunker:
For exampe, in the last fourteen stages of the Anapanasati Sutta, the Buddha used the words: "He trains himself". This means morality, concentraton & wisdom are functioning together.
However, contrary to Mind-Only Pure Land, the Anapanasati Sutta ends with Impermanence-Only Reality.
Well said. Sharing ideas is fine, but if someone goes to a newbie forum on a site about Buddhism and poses a question, I think it is reasonable to assume they want a Buddhist answer. And it is difficult to define Buddhism perfectly, but it doesn't have to be perfect - since we're having this discussion, participants must have some idea what is meant by "Buddhist"!
An "attribution police" is not practical, obviously, but I am a little surprised people don't seem to agree with the general sentiment Ada is expressing.
I think everyone is wondering if Ada has a problem with THEM. Perhaps if she wasn't generalizing but aired out what specifics (such as kundalini) she thought was problematic people's imaginations wouldn't turn on.
I also think there is inherently no problem on this forum. Everybody already does have an idea of buddhism. I perceive that Ada is just not comfortable with certain ideas. And I will grant that I would agree with her in some cases.
In the end I don't think the site has enough resources to split hairs (edit : please everyone) though I am sure her voice doesn't go unheard. At least not by me though I am sure I will forget it at times.
Moreover, since this place isn't run by a crack team of experts who are qualified to act as arbitrators of what is and isn't 'Buddhist,' I thinks it's best left up to members to do their own homework and use their own discernment in these matters. That's one of the main purposes of debate, after all. If somebody has an issue with something someone else says here, they're free to address those disagreements, as well as answer newbie questions from what they feel to be a more 'Buddhist' perspective.