After all, what would make it be a religion?

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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu May 16, 2013 1:05 pm

Sekha wrote: Confidence in the Buddha's words should not become dogmatic acceptance, for example.


Sure. But relentless skepticism can lead to dogmatic rejection, which is also a problem.
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Re: After all, what would make it be a religion?

Postby Sekha » Thu May 16, 2013 1:09 pm

That's why it's called the middle way
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby binocular » Thu May 16, 2013 3:05 pm

porpoise wrote:
Sekha wrote: Confidence in the Buddha's words should not become dogmatic acceptance, for example.

Sure. But relentless skepticism can lead to dogmatic rejection, which is also a problem.

Sekha wrote:That's why it's called the middle way


Do you have a scriptural reference to support this understanding of the "middle way"?
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby Sekha » Thu May 16, 2013 3:20 pm

The "middle way" (majjhima patipada) is not mentioned explicitly in the suttas as referring to this particular matter, as far as I know. But it is obviously applicable given the following quotes:

Here is the "no dogmatism" bit:
So in this case, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.'
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Here is the "relentless skepticism" bit:
Uncertainty is an obstacle, a hindrance that overwhelms awareness and weakens discernment.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby binocular » Thu May 16, 2013 3:41 pm

Sekha wrote:If faith becomes blind faith, it becomes harmful. Confidence in the Buddha's words should not become dogmatic acceptance, for example.

Not sure what you mean by "become" here.

To me, faith and blind faith are two quite unrelated things.
I don't think it is possible that from confidence in the Buddha's words can become dogmatic acceptance.
Which is why I'm not sure how the concept of the middle way would apply here.

Instead, I think that a person can have a cultist approach to a religion or a philosophy, or not. I don't think there exist cults per se; but there are people with a cultist mindset and they have a cultist approach to whatever religion or philosophy they may get in contact with.

People with a cultist mindset start off with dogmatic acceptance and blind faith to begin with. They have that characteristic overnight conversion, and the "I'm right and everyone who disagrees with me is wrong" and "He that is not with me is against me" attitudes from the beginning on, and usually a strong desire to submit to a person in a position of authority; and they have these attitudes and desire from times before they have come in contact with the religion or philosophy that they now so fervently preach and defend.
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Re: After all, what would make it be a religion?

Postby corrine » Thu May 16, 2013 5:25 pm

I think I have always thought of Buddhism as a life practice. I think of religion as blindly following a set of teachings, at the heart of which is, almost always, a specific deity or deities who is/are worshiped. A deity that controls us in some way, as opposed to Buddhism which seems to teach certain practices which will stop the suffering that is human existence. I do not consider myself religious, I do not worship anything and put myself in its hands to control my destiny. Were I to choose from more acceptable titles, I think I would call Buddhism a philosophy, one which, when put into practice, makes a being less subject to the pain that so many actions cause. If that makes any sense. I apologize if this is offensive, but I have always thought of religion as a negative thing, in the name of which, so much harm is caused. How many wars are fought in the name of religion? How many people enslaved or tortured and killed, in the name of religion? And how often do we subjugate others in the name of religion?

I came to Buddhism searching for a way to live a a less painful life, a more productive life, believing that we cause most of the pain and suffering that we endure. The Buddha, for me, shows us a path that will lead to a better outcome, a path out of the darkness of human nature.

Does it matter how we view Buddhism? Does our view alter the effect of Buddhism in our lives? I think we can take anything we choose to believe in and allow it to make us rigid and unbending beings, who may forget entirely why we chose that particular path in the first place.

But, perhaps others view any lifestyle choice as a religion. I imagine a lot depends simply on how you define the terms. I do know that when people ask me if I am a Christian, Christianity being the prominent religion in my area, a always say no and, after a horrified moment, they almost always ask me what my religion is. I usually reply that I do not consider myself religious, but that I follow Buddhist life practices to the best of my ability.This is usually an unsatisfactory answer and often leads to a stern lecture, but that is a non issue for me. I no longer care that I am regularly told that I will spend eternity in hell because of my beliefs. But that is what I see in those who consider themselves religious - judgement and condemnation. Or maybe that is just Christianity. Me, I follow Buddhist practices because they have helped me gain a level of peacefulness and serenity in my life and I cannot imagine giving up my meditation practice. But that, for me, is what it is, a practice engaged in to try to make me a better being.

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Re: After all, what would make it be a religion?

Postby Rasko » Thu May 16, 2013 10:06 pm

However the details are understood, the existence of this relationship between religious beliefs and practices and the individual's destiny — particularly after death — is why religions are referred to as soteriologies, or 'systems of salvation'.

    Religion as soteriology: from the Greek word soter meaning 'savior'. In common usage, it is not necessary for a system to hold that there is an actual saviour figure for the system itself to be termed a soteriology. The key point is that the destiny of the believers in question is thought to be directly connected with their beliefs and practices.

Sue Hamilton, Indian Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction, p. 2

"Birth is destroyed,
the holy life has been lived,
what had to be done has been done,
there is no more coming to any state of being."


A soteriology?
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Re: After all, what would make it be a religion?

Postby Kim OHara » Thu May 16, 2013 11:49 pm

Rasko wrote:
However the details are understood, the existence of this relationship between religious beliefs and practices and the individual's destiny — particularly after death — is why religions are referred to as soteriologies, or 'systems of salvation'.

    Religion as soteriology: from the Greek word soter meaning 'savior'. In common usage, it is not necessary for a system to hold that there is an actual saviour figure for the system itself to be termed a soteriology. The key point is that the destiny of the believers in question is thought to be directly connected with their beliefs and practices.

Sue Hamilton, Indian Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction, p. 2

"Birth is destroyed,
the holy life has been lived,
what had to be done has been done,
there is no more coming to any state of being."


A soteriology?

:thumbsup:
I don't expect the word will catch on in everyday speech but it is the best word I know for covering both Buddhism and the theistic religions. Buddhism isn't quite a religion and isn't quite a philosophy ... what else are we going to call it?

:namaste:
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Re: After all, what would make it be a religion?

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri May 17, 2013 11:18 am

Kim O'Hara wrote: Buddhism isn't quite a religion and isn't quite a philosophy ...


I agree. And IMO insisting on it being one or the other is missing the point.
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Re: After all, what would make it be a religion?

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri May 17, 2013 2:26 pm

Rasko wrote:
However the details are understood, the existence of this relationship between religious beliefs and practices and the individual's destiny — particularly after death — is why religions are referred to as soteriologies, or 'systems of salvation'.

    Religion as soteriology: from the Greek word soter meaning 'savior'. In common usage, it is not necessary for a system to hold that there is an actual saviour figure for the system itself to be termed a soteriology. The key point is that the destiny of the believers in question is thought to be directly connected with their beliefs and practices.

Sue Hamilton, Indian Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction, p. 2

"Birth is destroyed,
the holy life has been lived,
what had to be done has been done,
there is no more coming to any state of being."


A soteriology?


Nibbana is salvation from suffering, which sounds quite soteriological.
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