Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:47 pm

daverupa wrote:....a criticism of a view as being delusional is not a criticism of a person as being delusional.


Really? If somebody told you that your views were delusional, how would it make you feel?
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby daverupa » Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:45 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
daverupa wrote:....a criticism of a view as being delusional is not a criticism of a person as being delusional.


Really? If somebody told you that your views were delusional, how would it make you feel?


Taking personal offense of any kind isn't a requisite result of having a current view come under criticism. Consider the practice of effacement, for example, per MN 8.

Or

DN 1 wrote:"If, bhikkhus, others speak in dispraise of me, or in dispraise of the Dhamma, or in dispraise of the Sangha, you should not give way to resentment, displeasure, or animosity against them in your heart. For if you were to become angry or upset in such a situation, you would only be creating an obstacle for yourselves. If you were to become angry or upset when others speak in dispraise of us, would you be able to recognize whether their statements are rightly or wrongly spoken?"

"Certainly not, Lord."

"If, bhikkhus, others speak in dispraise of me, or in dispraise of the Dhamma, or in dispraise of the Sangha, you should unravel what is false and point it out as false, saying: 'For such and such a reason this is false, this is untrue, there is no such thing in us, this is not found among us.'

"And if, bhikkhus, others speak in praise of me, or in praise of the Dhamma, or in praise of the Sangha, you should not give way to jubilation, joy, and exultation in your heart. For if you were to become jubilant, joyful, and exultant in such a situation, you would only be creating an obstacle for yourselves. If others speak in praise of me, or in praise of the Dhamma, or in praise of the Sangha, you should acknowledge what is fact as fact, saying: 'For such and such a reason this is a fact, this is true, there is such a thing in us, this is found among us.'


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    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby whynotme » Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:48 pm

SDC wrote:They are inseparable as far as I understand. The belief in the existence of an objective world separate from a subjective one is an example of the left hand and the right hand not knowing what the other is doing. Both ideas are a product of a false perception of reality.

EDIT - Spelling only

I agree with that

The normal view is that there is an outside world with coordinates and time, but coordinates are all relative. The Earth goes around the Sun or the Sun goes around the Earth, both are true depends on point of views. You go forward or just every object is moving backward while you stay still? Motion is relative. The time goes on or just your feeling the time going on? Where is billions of year gone to the past? Where is the past? Or "the past" only exists in your imagination? The truth is, "the past" does not exist. And so future does not exist. So where does god the creator exist if the past does not exist? That is one example of the solid world does look solid like everyday thoughts.

Does the world exist forever? Which timer does we use to say forever, the timer of the Buddha with the cessation of perception, or the timer of you, or the timer of the blackhole?

When someone put the origin on the outside world he forgets himself. It is just a habit of perception: there is a solid world going on out there. But that world (as someone sees) needs him to form the world as a recognizable world, without him, there is nothing to say about anything.

And he still says without him, there will be someone viewing that world. Who is that one viewing the world for him (while without him)?

Space and time are both the products of perception. The whole world is just the imagination of the mind. The "physical world" is unimaginable (in a manner). Noone has ever touched/ viewed/ seen that physical world. What can we say about the thing that no one has ever seen?

There is only one real world, the world of perception.
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:46 pm

daverupa

The problem is the unquestioned assumption (currently being questioned) that all such claims must be considered to be on the same footing.

To put it another way: the assumption that these different claims are all equivalently positioned, one to the next, in terms of evidence, necessary assumptions, etc. is not yet demonstrated. Real differences in approach and reasoning modalities and so forth are being inappropriately blended through use of the term 'faith', which is a very fuzzy and vague way to go about the discussion. Previous threads on saddha vs. theistic-faith have addressed this point before, in any event.


Even though different claims have different "evidence, necessary assumptions, etc", this does not address the question of whether they are true. Until they are known to be true, then they are "on the same footing" with regard to their truth. If they were known to be true, the person knowing them to be true would have no need for evidence, or necessary assumptions. The evidence and necessary assumptions are what make the claim more or less palatable in the absence of knowledge. If there is something that over-rides the assumption that claims are equivalently positioned with regard to their truth, then it should be easy enough to state it.

Similarly, if "faith" is too fuzzy and vague, then a clearer and more helpful term would be useful.

And if previous threads have addressed this point before, did they have a conclusion which is relevant here? Again, it should be easy enough to provide it.

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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby daverupa » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:40 pm

Sam Vara wrote:Even though different claims have different "evidence, necessary assumptions, etc", this does not address the question of whether they are true. Until they are known to be true, then they are "on the same footing" with regard to their truth. If they were known to be true, the person knowing them to be true would have no need for evidence, or necessary assumptions. The evidence and necessary assumptions are what make the claim more or less palatable in the absence of knowledge. If there is something that over-rides the assumption that claims are equivalently positioned with regard to their truth, then it should be easy enough to state it.


I don't know if we're going to end up on the same page; confirmation theory is my primary approach here, such that religious claims are hypotheses which have or do not have certain pieces of evidence supporting them. Prior to certain knowledge, prior to true belief, there is investigation: evidences examined, assumptions assessed, and so on.

These very real differences between claims undercut the idea that claims are equivalent prior to certain knowledge. But it's odd to have to override an assumption - the assumption is simply groundless, which is to say, there's no evidence for it...

Similarly, if "faith" is too fuzzy and vague, then a clearer and more helpful term would be useful.


The problem is that there isn't a single English term that covers both semantic realms of e.g. pístis and saddhā. These terms exhibit differences that oughtn't to be ignored; using 'faith' for both is thoroughly imprecise and can only muddle the waters. A clearer and more helpful term doesn't exist when there is such spotty overlap, at best, in the first place.

Maybe you favour the anatta doctrine on the basis of faith, but without clarification on that term the phrase doesn't actually convey meaning. For example, do you mean, here:

Sam Vara wrote:Me, I favour the anatta doctrine, and I do so on the basis of faith.


...that you accept the truth of the anatta-claim without any evidence at all? If so, I can see how Xian faith and this faith look a lot alike to you.

And if previous threads have addressed this point before, did they have a conclusion which is relevant here? Again, it should be easy enough to provide it.


Yeah, already stated above re: mismatched semantic realms.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:37 pm

daverupa

These very real differences between claims undercut the idea that claims are equivalent prior to certain knowledge.

They are not equivalent, but the thing that makes them different is our attitude towards them, or faith in them.

But it's odd to have to override an assumption - the assumption is simply groundless, which is to say, there's no evidence for it...

Is saying that an assumption is "simply groundless" an assumption itself? We override assumptions all the time, by uncovering them in thinking and showing how they are incorrect. It doesn't seem so odd, and there should be no reason why it can't be done here.

The problem is that there isn't a single English term that covers both semantic realms of e.g. pístis and saddhā. These terms exhibit differences that oughtn't to be ignored; using 'faith' for both is thoroughly imprecise and can only muddle the waters. A clearer and more helpful term doesn't exist when there is such spotty overlap, at best, in the first place.

But the idea seems to be quite clear, and doesn't need translating into Pali where this problem can arise. It is that we believe something to be true, yet without knowing for ourselves. But if pistis and saddha have differences that are relevant here, then they should be easy to outline, and to show how they are relevant.

you accept the truth of the anatta-claim without any evidence at all? If so, I can see how Xian faith and this faith look a lot alike to you.

No, I said that I favour the anatta doctrine, which means that it looks to me like a useful line of enquiry. Unless I know the truth of it, I cannot be certain that another different claim is not true.

Yeah, already stated above re: mismatched semantic realms.

Sorry, I can't understand this bit. Are you saying that it is merely a disagreement over the meaning of words? Again, that should be easy enough to sort out, and then return to the problem...

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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby daverupa » Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:09 pm

I think we're talking past each other, else we simply disagree. :shrug:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby chownah » Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:05 am

Sam Vara wrote:If there is something that over-rides the assumption that claims are equivalently positioned with regard to their truth, then it should be easy enough to state it.

Sam Vara,
There is something that over-rides. To assume that claims are equivalently positioned with regard to their truth is to assume a uniformity for which there is no evidence and which does not seem to side with common experience. Some belief systems seem to be more representative of the way things are than others. A much better assumption is that claims are randomly varying in their positioning with regard to their truth. This means that some claims may coincide with their truth and some may not. If all claims are considered to be equally true and we know that many claims are untrue then if there exists a true claim then it will be discounted as being equal to the known untrue claims. On the other hand if a variance of positioning is acknowledged then it allows one to more readily appreciate that even though there are many false claims there very well may be a true one.
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby Sam Vara » Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:49 pm

chownah wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:If there is something that over-rides the assumption that claims are equivalently positioned with regard to their truth, then it should be easy enough to state it.

Sam Vara,
There is something that over-rides. To assume that claims are equivalently positioned with regard to their truth is to assume a uniformity for which there is no evidence and which does not seem to side with common experience. Some belief systems seem to be more representative of the way things are than others. A much better assumption is that claims are randomly varying in their positioning with regard to their truth. This means that some claims may coincide with their truth and some may not. If all claims are considered to be equally true and we know that many claims are untrue then if there exists a true claim then it will be discounted as being equal to the known untrue claims. On the other hand if a variance of positioning is acknowledged then it allows one to more readily appreciate that even though there are many false claims there very well may be a true one.
chownah


Yes, thank you, this makes sense. I don't think that anyone considers that all claims are equivalently positioned with regard to whether they are true or not. The issue is about how we can say, without having certain knowledge, that one particular claim is true and that another is definitely false. There must, in principle, be one or more true claims, whereas there cannot be an infinite number - that would violate the law of non-contradiction. The problem is how we talk about what we think is a true claim, when we are basing it upon faith rather than certitude.

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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby Sam Vara » Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:54 pm

daverupa wrote:I think we're talking past each other, else we simply disagree. :shrug:


Maybe, but I would like to thank you for taking so much trouble over this one. Appreciated.

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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby Avenue » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:54 am

ancientbuddhism wrote:The difference is that the Dhamma and anatta doctrine was no mere view or claim. It is based upon empirical knowledge and is given in the discourses with the invitation to examine the relevance of an atta through ones own experience. Christianity, and even atheism cannot meet such direct knowledge of reality.

Christianity is the teaching of attaining the heavenly realm by forgiveness. It is the same as metta jhana.

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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby Avenue » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:59 am

manas wrote:Thanissaro Bhikkhu argues very convincingly, imo, that anatta isn't a doctrine as such, it's a useful strategy for gaining liberation.


This is true. But the anatta realisation is more than a 'blank mind'. When expounding the anatta reality, in association, Buddha also expounded the things (the five aggregates, sense bases, etc) the ordinary person clings to or takes to be 'self'. Because Buddha did include 'soul' as something clung to, Buddha denied its existence.

manas wrote:it is the agnostic who has no particular view one way or the other. Atheists actually deny the existence of a supreme God, lesser gods, and often any kind of supernatural phenomena at all. I see them as clinging to a particular point of view just as religiously as the Theists do.

Same. Buddha did not teach there is a 'Supreme God' that should not be clung to. Therefore, Buddha denied its existence.

MN 1 lists many things that can be clung to but none of the 'gods' or 'godly realms' referred to in MN 1 are the 'God' depicted in the Bible.
Last edited by Avenue on Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby Avenue » Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:03 am

daverupa wrote:Sure; Vedanta argues that kamma is proof of God, and so forth (which, by the way, shows a dearth of empirical proofs - any Xian who wanted to demonstrate an empirical proof of God to me would have to wait while I got a snack and a drink for the show).

Kamma only provides proof of kamma, that is all. Kamma proves 'lawfulness' (niyama) but this does not provide proof of 'God', which is a Mega Person.

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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:04 am

Hi Avenue,
Avenue wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:The difference is that the Dhamma and anatta doctrine was no mere view or claim. It is based upon empirical knowledge and is given in the discourses with the invitation to examine the relevance of an atta through ones own experience. Christianity, and even atheism cannot meet such direct knowledge of reality.

Christianity is the teaching of attaining the heavenly realm by forgiveness. It is the same as metta jhana.

Certainly there are many things that most spiritual paths have in common:
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:To the extent that a religion proposes sound ethical principles and can promote to some degree the development of wholesome qualities such as love, generosity, detachment and compassion, it will merit in this respect the approbation of Buddhists. These principles advocated by outside religious systems will also conduce to rebirth in the realms of bliss — the heavens and the divine abodes. Buddhism by no means claims to have unique access to these realms, but holds that the paths that lead to them have been articulated, with varying degrees of clarity, in many of the great spiritual traditions of humanity. While the Buddhist will disagree with the belief structures of other religions to the extent that they deviate from the Buddha's Dhamma, he will respect them to the extent that they enjoin virtues and standards of conduct that promote spiritual development and the harmonious integration of human beings with each other and with the world.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_24.html

By this measure, Christianity is much closer to Buddhism than is atheism.

:anjali:
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby Avenue » Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:08 am

Kamran wrote:The goal of buddhism, Christianity and Islam for that matter, is to purify yourself. The focus on ridding yourself of greed, lust, anger is not only Buddhist.

Buddhism purifies the mind of the delusion of 'self-view'. Christianity tries to purify the mind of greed & anger but not delusion. Christianity is liberation via loving-kindness. The Buddhist scriptures (MN 43) say the liberation via loving-kindness is not the foremost liberation via emptiness (sunnata).

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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby Avenue » Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:14 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:To the extent that a religion proposes sound ethical principles and can promote to some degree the development of wholesome qualities such as love, generosity, detachment and compassion, it will merit in this respect the approbation of Buddhists. These principles advocated by outside religious systems will also conduce to rebirth in the realms of bliss — the heavens and the divine abodes. Buddhism by no means claims to have unique access to these realms, but holds that the paths that lead to them have been articulated, with varying degrees of clarity, in many of the great spiritual traditions of humanity. While the Buddhist will disagree with the belief structures of other religions to the extent that they deviate from the Buddha's Dhamma, he will respect them to the extent that they enjoin virtues and standards of conduct that promote spiritual development and the harmonious integration of human beings with each other and with the world.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_24.html


By this measure, Christianity is much closer to Buddhism than is atheism.

Buddhism is only closer to Christianity, here, if the heavens & divine abodes are not on this earth. But Christianity does state the kingdom of heaven is 'within you', just as jhana is within the mind (rather than on another planet or on a cosmic cloud somewhere in the universe). As metta jhana is something mental rather than 'Godly', I would say it is atheistic.

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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:17 am

My point was merely that I've not often seen atheists teaching the equivalent those things that Bhikkhu Bodhi mentions, such as metta...

:anjali:
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby Kamran » Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:10 pm

Avenue wrote:
Kamran wrote:The goal of buddhism, Christianity and Islam for that matter, is to purify yourself. The focus on ridding yourself of greed, lust, anger is not only Buddhist.

Buddhism purifies the mind of the delusion of 'self-view'. Christianity tries to purify the mind of greed & anger but not delusion. Christianity is liberation via loving-kindness. The Buddhist scriptures (MN 43) say the liberation via loving-kindness is not the foremost liberation via emptiness (sunnata).


:goodpost: I like how you define Christianity as liberation via loving-kindness :)
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Postby SDC » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:01 pm

Avenue wrote:Because Buddha did include 'soul' as something clung to, Buddha denied its existence.

Buddha did not teach there is a 'Supreme God' that should not be clung to. Therefore, Buddha denied its existence.


Welcome, Avenue.

While I understand why you infer a denial of existence in the above examples, the Buddha clearly understood that people do experience these things. People think they have a soul and therefore experience a soul. People believe in a Supreme God and therefore experience one. The Buddha addresses the delusional experience of a world and a self, not their existence. So for him to deny the existence of anything would in fact be an error, because people were/are operating around many things as existing. So instead of legitimizing a delusional world or self by taking a position in a debate regarding the existence, non-existence, or both existence and not existence of anything in regards to either, he turned attention to experience: a world is being experienced, a self is being experienced, existence is being experienced. And he taught how to stop experiencing them. Experience is dynamic and can be adjusted, but existence is static and can never be anything other than what it is. This is why he always took the conversation in the other direction instead of denying or confirming anything, including God and/or a soul.


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