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Buddhism & Superstition

ShoshinShoshin No one in particularNowhere Special Veteran

Kia Ora,

Fingers crossed & Touch wood, this threads going to take off and run smoothly -- :D __

Do you think there some elements of superstition to some Buddhist practices ?

Or does superstition have no place whatsoever in Buddhist practice ?

Are you superstitious ?

Metta Shoshin :)

Comments

  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    edited May 2014

    People will always introduce superstition. Even to say "I hope" is a kind of superstition. IN some ways superstition is a matter of perspective. Some people call beleief in rebirth as superstion, while others call it fact. Who's right? Who's Wrong? Does it even matter.

    Yes, I'm superstitious. When I drop a dharma text, sadhana or liturgy on the ground I pick it up and touch it to my forehead. When I enter a shrine room a repeat the 6-fold refuge and perform a prostration 3 times. I clean my shrineroom on Losar

    I have a sangha of feral Puja Tables living in my crawl space. They chant .....

    "Say now and say it loud I'm a table and I'm proud. SooooooHA!"

    Mr. Puja Table is a mysoginist ... he thinks all females should live in beehives and invent cocktails useing Kayopectate and Captain Morgan Spiced Rum.

    Rowan1980
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    @‌Shoshin
    I see superstition and magical thinking as a hindrance to allowing phenomena to be seen for what it is.

    lobsterfedericaShoshinBuddhadragon
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Agree with @how.
    There are varying degrees of magical thinking, practice and experience available and superseded. However reality is also available when required . . . almost as if by magic . . .

    Is it skilful to engage our belief, superstitious and magical mind streams? Most definitely, if yours is a magic orientated Dharma.

    :wave: .

    BuddhadragonShoshin
  • 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 2014

    I think, for many reasons, Mahayana Practice is associated more with Superstition, than Theravada practice, but you would have to investigate that for yourself to verify.

    From my personal PoV, that would be because Mahayana has a great deal of folklore, stories, tales and allegorical accounts, which are obviously effective teaching tools, and demonstrate the Dhamma well, but are inclined to therefore gather around them associated imaginary factors...

    Take what helps you, leave what hinders.

    Shoshin
  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    @federica said:
    I think, for many reasons, Mahayana Practice is associated more with Superstition, than Theravada practice, but you would have to investigate that for yourself to verify.

    This is due to what T.W. Rhys Davids called "corruption of Buddhism," the theory that in order to render the Buddha's teachings more assimilable to the different cultures where it spread, the doctrine got mixed with local folklore and preceding beliefs.
    My personal attitude towards superstition is: what are the statistics available to really prove that this effect responds to this cause? Will my mala really be blessed by my pronouncing this mantra and blowing over it? Will pronouncing that mantra really increase all merits collected that day 100,000 times? Will praying to Sengdonma really protect me from black magic? Is it not all in the mind of the believer who tacitly accepts to partake in these beliefs?
    The centre I attend is Vajrayana, so there are dozens of rituals you are supposed to respect when you're there.
    As long as they don't present obstacles or contradict my practice, I do comply and respect other people's traditions. As long as they don't make me lose sight of the actual teaching of the Buddha, the core at the centre of the layers.

    Shoshinperson
  • 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

    Mental suggestion is extraordinarily powerful.

    I remember demonstrating this to a group of people taking my Qi Gong classes: I talked them through a visualising meditation, during which they were asked to taste a lemon.

    All of them told me afterwards (on my asking them if anything happened) that their mouths began to water.

    All except one.
    She told me, she didn't like lemons, so she thought of a chocolate orange.

    ~roll eyes!~

  • CittaCitta Veteran

    Do you think @Shoshin always having to open and close all posts to the forum with the same formula smacks of possible superstition ?

    federicaChaz
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    I guess this is a good example of superstition: I had a Thai friend living in the United States. I almost dreaded having him over to my place because he had a heart problem so bad that if you sat silently in a room with him you could hear his heart beat and the drastic irregularity of it. It was scary. One day I asked him about his condition, and he told me all about it, and then said that he would die within the month because while cleaning his house he accidentally knocked his Buddha statue on the floor.

    Unfortunately, he did die within a month of doing so...in his 30s.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I'm not sure I think superstition and "magical thinking" whatever that exactly is, are the same thing. I've heard so many stories from credible people who claim to have witnessed these seemingly magical events, that I think I need to stay open minded to the possibility. Various miracles and so on. I don't think about them much, but I don't immediate assign them to the BS bin when I hear them, either. But that is not the same as superstition to me. I'm not a superstitious person by any means. I don't do anything special with my Buddha statue or my books (considering there are thousands of all the books I have sitting around in warehouses around the world). I respect them for what they are but not to the point I am doing rituals if I happen to drop one. Sometimes my son uses my Buddha statue to play with his lego guys, and he talks to Buddha while he plays with him. I'm ok with that, and I gotta believe Buddha would be, too.

  • 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 2014

    @Citta said:
    Do you think Shoshin always having to open and close all posts to the forum with the same formula smacks of possible superstition ?

    >

    @Citta.... humorously intended, no doubt.

    But play nicely, ok....?

  • shanyinshanyin Novice Yogin Sault Ontario Veteran

    A Tibetan lama told me he thinks I was a Buddhist monk in my last life. A while after I became very obsessed with believing I was a monk, even going on the internet and thinking I was certain people in my past life.

    My mind became obsessed with this, and all sorts of superstitions were going through my mind and I believed in them.

    Not good..

    lobster
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    @federica said:
    Mental suggestion is extraordinarily powerful.

    I remember demonstrating this to a group of people taking my Qi Gong classes: I talked them through a visualising meditation, during which they were asked to taste a lemon.

    All of them told me afterwards (on my asking them if anything happened) that their mouths began to water.

    All except one.
    She told me, she didn't like lemons, so she thought of a chocolate orange.

    ~roll eyes!~

    I would say that was pavlovian, right?

  • 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

    Not necessarily, no.
    Pavlov's dogs became conditioned after a while, to associating the sound of a bell, with being fed.

    This was total mental suggestion and the immediate reaction was to a mental image of a juicy lemon...they reacted to the imaginary acidic tartness and sharp flavour they imagined they could taste....

    This was more auto-suggestion, than conditioning...

    Citta
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    Hadn't the group ever had a lemon to become conditioned? If someone talked about pizza I would be hungry, but if I had never heard of pizza then probably no.

    You are probably right as I don't even know what auto-suggestion is. It could be close cousins to pavlovian.

  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran

    Pavlov was enjoying a pint at the pub when the phone rang. He jumped up and cried, "Oh, no! I forgot to feed the dog!"

    (from cyberjoke3000)

    BuddhadragonpersonlobsterJeffrey
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @federica said:
    But play nicely, ok....?

    Kia Ora@federice,

    No problem....I enjoy the banter ......

    Thus I have heard :

    "Darwinian man though well behaved-at best is only a 'monkey' shaved"

    At times @Citta can be a ranter -but I know it's just some friendly banter-

    I no longer attach to what's been said-this stops 'monkey' chatter cluttering up ones head-

    Well the moral of this somewhat Dharma rap....It pays not to fill ones mind with other people's crap! -- :D __

    Metta Shoshin:)

    Vastmind
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran

    .. :clap: ..

  • MeisterBobMeisterBob Mindful Agnathiest CT , USA Veteran
    1
    a : a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation
    b : an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition
    2

    a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary

    hmmmm...Ive indulged in superstitiousness myself. Doesnt make sense to.

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