W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dhamma

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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby Mkoll » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:23 am

Shaswata_Panja wrote:This is the general refrain that I get from Western Buddhism/Consensus Buddhism...It is more interested in asserting that its practice is based on atheism and thereby engendering a worldview tinged with negativity , rather than asserting that its worldview bases itself off the very rich philosophy and metaphysics provided for by the Dhamma


If you can't specifically define:

Western Buddhism/Consensus Buddhism
Athiesm-materialism

then I have no idea what you're trying to say.

What is the purpose of your post? What are you trying to achieve here?

:anjali:
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.
-SN 12.61

Ex nihilo nihil fit.

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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby barcsimalsi » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:31 am

Shaswata_Panja wrote:This is the general refrain that I get from Western Buddhism/Consensus Buddhism...It is more interested in asserting that its practice is based on atheism and thereby engendering a worldview tinged with negativity , rather than asserting that its worldview bases itself off the very rich philosophy and metaphysics provided for by the Dhamma


I wonder what ajahn chah really mean by this:
Buddhism in the east today is like a big tree which may look majestic, but can only give small and tasteless fruit. Buddhism in the west is like a sapling not yet able to bear fruit, but having the potential to give large, sweet ones.
http://www.ajahnchah.org/pdf/no_ajahn_chah.pdf
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:34 am

Western Buddhism and consensus Buddhism is the Buddhism that has been forged by Western Converts who want to overlook the supernatural or paranormal claims of the Buddha (that is all claims that donot conform with scientfic materialism) and basically cut out the core aspects of Buddhism that have to do with rebirth and kamma and other realms and other worlds..Western Buddhism also has a decidedly anti-ritual, anti-celibacy,anti-renunciation and anti-monasticism slant to it...the biggest teachers of Western Buddhism are decidedly non-monk such as Jack Kornfield,Joseph Goldstein,Gil Fronsdal

Buddhism as practiced by the lay people of Sri Lanka is quite pro-ritual


David Chapman has fleshed this out in his Wordpress blog

I wanted to get a view whether Western Buddhism sees the things that I have mentioned as non-essential? and can Western Buddhism survive by cutting such things out of the Buddhadhamma


Western Buddhism tries to make an assertion that Buddhism is a religion based on atheism when IT IS NOT...Okay It does not have a Creator God..big deal ..But surely acknowledges other realms, rebirth,kamma, superpowers,ghosts,angels and huge plethora of other things of the same supernatural ilk....

Now a religion that incorporates such elements will be NOT be seen as an atheistic religion by the New Atheists or to btter define it--scientific materialists
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby pulga » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:38 am

culaavuso wrote:Is the path of practice based around individual effort for the sake of release from samsara, or is the path of practice based around ritual and appeasing that god for the sake of personal gain in this or a future life? That would seem to provide a significant difference. The Buddha spoke of devas and Brahma and a whole host of lesser gods that are not eternal but have lifespans and power beyond human comprehension, yet he taught a path of practice to transcend even the state of those deities since they too were still caught in samsara and subject to birth, aging, illness, and death. It doesn't seem to me that adding Vishnu into that mix fundamentally changes the message.


I fully agree with you. But the Buddha also taught a lesser path that leads to heaven and away from hell. If some Buddhists put greater emphasis on this lesser path, I don't begrudge them considering themselves followers of the Buddha. Atheism is too hard a concept to attribute to Buddhism, too alien to Indian popular culture.
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:45 am

pulga wrote:
culaavuso wrote:Is the path of practice based around individual effort for the sake of release from samsara, or is the path of practice based around ritual and appeasing that god for the sake of personal gain in this or a future life? That would seem to provide a significant difference. The Buddha spoke of devas and Brahma and a whole host of lesser gods that are not eternal but have lifespans and power beyond human comprehension, yet he taught a path of practice to transcend even the state of those deities since they too were still caught in samsara and subject to birth, aging, illness, and death. It doesn't seem to me that adding Vishnu into that mix fundamentally changes the message.


I fully agree with you. But the Buddha also taught a lesser path that leads to heaven and away from hell. If some Buddhists put greater emphasis on this lesser path, I don't begrudge them considering themselves followers of the Buddha. Atheism is too hard a concept to attribute for Buddhism, too alien to Indian popular culture.



The only atheist school in India is the Charvaka/Lokayata school which is extremely popular with Indian Leftists and Communists--Buddha went hammer and tongs against this school in MN 60


This school is basically an Indian Scientific Materialist School and asserts that with death, existence ceases and says the mendicants and ascetics who are hankering after spiritual knowledge are basically fools

They take inspiration from a certain Brihadarayanaka Upanishad line:


Springing forth from these elements itself
solid knowledge is destroyed
when they are destroyed—
after death no intelligence remains.



In the SarvaDarshanaSamgraha (Collection of All Philosophies)--a 14th century work--Charvaka tradition is given the lowest position among all Indian Philosophies
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:00 am

Western Buddhism and consensus Buddhism is the Buddhism that has been forged by Western Converts who want to overlook the supernatural or paranormal claims of the Buddha (that is all claims that donot conform with scientfic materialism) and basically cut out the core aspects of Buddhism that have to do with rebirth and kamma and other realms and other worlds..


My experience of "western buddhism" has been quite different. In my experience "western buddhism" mostly accept's the concept of rebirth post mortem as being an essential part of Buddhism, while some do not. Its a mixed bag just like "eastern buddhism", if there is such a thing ...

Western Buddhism also has a decidedly anti-ritual, anti-celibacy,anti-renunciation and anti-monasticism slant to it...the biggest teachers of Western Buddhism are decidedly non-monk such as Jack Kornfield,Joseph Goldstein,Gil Fronsdal


And "eastern buddhists" dont have families? I would say there maybe a more anti-ritual slant, however cutting away some of the dead wood cant hurt (or at least opening up questions about which rituals are proper).


I wanted to get a view whether Western Buddhism sees the things that I have mentioned as non-essential? and can Western Buddhism survive by cutting such things out of the Buddhadhamma


Well I can only speak for myself but I can see some benefit in ritual, as along as its not seen as essential. I can see the helpful aspect of having rebirth view, although I dont see how its essential to have it to be a "Buddhist" (others though from the west would disagree with me).

I think celibacy is good however

So you see there is a mixed bag in myself, not just in "western buddhism". I find generalisations never are accurate descriptions.


Western Buddhism tries to make an assertion that Buddhism is a religion based on atheism when IT IS NOT...Okay It does not have a Creator God..big deal ..But surely acknowledges other realms, rebirth,kamma, superpowers,ghosts,angels and huge plethora of other things of the same supernatural ilk....


The mistake is on your part here as you equate atheism with materialism, however it just does not follow. A person can have no belief in gods etc yet believe in some kind of supernaturalism.

Also I have never come across a "western buddhist" who says that Buddhism is "based on atheism".

I would also like to add that belief in "ghosts, angels" etc is not necessary to Buddhism IMO, yet i'm not a materialist either ;)

Now a religion that incorporates such elements will be NOT be seen as an atheistic religion by the New Atheists or to btter define it--scientific materialists


Yet buddhism is "Atheist" by certain definitions, for example it doesn't teach belief in an all loving, all knowing, all powerful God. Therefore it is A - Theist (theism being all knowing, all loving God etc)



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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:07 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Shaswata_Panja wrote:The only atheist school in India is the Charvaka/Lokayata school which is extremely popular with Indian Leftists and Communists--Buddha went hammer and tongs against this school in MN 60
So, the Buddha and the following Indian Buddhism and the doctors of the various schools of Indian Buddhism taught theism?



Well I told you Buddha in my eyes taught theism (not theism as in a Judeo-Christian-Islamic God)...Theism here covers all sorts of supernatural claims and concepts....like the assertion that there is life after death--this will definitely not qualify as atheism in front of Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens or Daniel Denett or Lawrence Krauss
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:11 am

Shaswata_Panja wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Shaswata_Panja wrote:The only atheist school in India is the Charvaka/Lokayata school which is extremely popular with Indian Leftists and Communists--Buddha went hammer and tongs against this school in MN 60
So, the Buddha and the following Indian Buddhism and the doctors of the various schools of Indian Buddhism taught theism?



Well I told you Buddha in my eyes taught theism (not theism as in a Judeo-Christian-Islamic God)...Theism here covers all sorts of supernatural claims and concepts....like the assertion that there is life after death--this will definitely not qualify as atheism in front of Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens or Daniel Denett or Lawrence Krauss




No theism means, at least to those influenced by the Abrahamic religions, a belief in an all powerful creator of the universe and of humans, who not only created us but cares for us and has laid down certain rules for us on how to live so as to reach him/her/it after death.


Once again your mixing Atheism with materialism. You can be an atheist and believe in reincarnation, rebirth, animism or whatever.
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:13 am

Shaswata_Panja wrote:...
David Chapman has fleshed this out in his Wordpress blog

I wanted to get a view whether Western Buddhism sees the things that I have mentioned as non-essential? and can Western Buddhism survive by cutting such things out of the Buddhadhamma
...

Here's the blog:
http://meaningness.wordpress.com/catego ... -buddhism/
Here is a small sample:
http://meaningness.wordpress.com/2011/1 ... g-visions/
Mixing up contradictory approaches causes trouble

All three approaches have fed into Consensus Buddhism. However, it has not reconciled their contradictions. These conflicts lead to specific, predictable patterns of trouble:

The main practice of Consensus Buddhism is vipassana. This method is meant to shatter the self and break connections. Western Buddhists mostly want and expect the opposite results. Using the wrong tool for the job may produce disappointment, or even serious psychological breakdown.

Mixing up bits of explanation from contradictory systems made Consensus Buddhism conceptually incoherent. To fix the parts of the story that no longer make sense, teachers substitute non-Buddhist Western concepts. Even if those concepts were valid, at some point there is no longer any point in pretending that they are teaching Buddhism.

Westerners want transformation. Buddhism has methods for that, in tantra. Unfortunately, they are politically unacceptable. Instead, Consensus Buddhism substitutes other transformational practices, taken from psychotherapy, the New Age, and Hinduism. These are discordant with Buddhism, and aren’t helpful in pursuing Buddhist goals.
...



:anjali:
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:14 am

Okay Buddha taught supernaturalism---Supernaturalism and Theism are very closely connected....As I said Buddhism wont stand the test of atheism of the New Atheists
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:17 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Shaswata_Panja wrote:...
David Chapman has fleshed this out in his Wordpress blog

I wanted to get a view whether Western Buddhism sees the things that I have mentioned as non-essential? and can Western Buddhism survive by cutting such things out of the Buddhadhamma
...

Here's the blog:
http://meaningness.wordpress.com/catego ... -buddhism/
Here is a small sample:
http://meaningness.wordpress.com/2011/1 ... g-visions/
Mixing up contradictory approaches causes trouble

All three approaches have fed into Consensus Buddhism. However, it has not reconciled their contradictions. These conflicts lead to specific, predictable patterns of trouble:

The main practice of Consensus Buddhism is vipassana. This method is meant to shatter the self and break connections. Western Buddhists mostly want and expect the opposite results. Using the wrong tool for the job may produce disappointment, or even serious psychological breakdown.

Mixing up bits of explanation from contradictory systems made Consensus Buddhism conceptually incoherent. To fix the parts of the story that no longer make sense, teachers substitute non-Buddhist Western concepts. Even if those concepts were valid, at some point there is no longer any point in pretending that they are teaching Buddhism.

Westerners want transformation. Buddhism has methods for that, in tantra. Unfortunately, they are politically unacceptable. Instead, Consensus Buddhism substitutes other transformational practices, taken from psychotherapy, the New Age, and Hinduism. These are discordant with Buddhism, and aren’t helpful in pursuing Buddhist goals.
...



:anjali:
Mike




Still have no idea what "consensus buddhism" means? :shrug: :alien:
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:17 am

Shaswata_Panja wrote:The only atheist school in India is the Charvaka/Lokayata school which is extremely popular with Indian Leftists and Communists--Buddha went hammer and tongs against this school in MN 60
So, the Buddha and the following Indian Buddhism and the doctors of the various schools of Indian Buddhism taught theism?

When Dharmakirti so delicately said in the 9th Century CE: "The unquestioned authority of the Vedas; belief in a world-creator; the quest for purification through ritual bathings; the arrogant division into castes; the practice of mortification to atone for sin; -- these five are the mark of the crass stupidity of witless men," he is speaking within a tradition that goes back to the Buddha. As has been pointed out, Buddhists don't have to be crass Western style atheists to be atheists. And, of course, the Hindus were no less delicate:

The Bhagavad Gita, chapter XVI, 8 & 9:

'The universe," they say, "is without truth [asat without an atman/brahman, the Absolute within each of us],"
Without basis/unstable [having no solid ground apratis.t.ham], without a God;
Brought about by a mutual union,
How else? It is caused by lust alone.'


Holding this view,
These men of lost souls, of small intelligence,
And of cruel actions, come forth as enemies
Of the world for it destruction.


Well I told you Buddha in my eyes taught theism (not theism as in a Judeo-Christian-Islamic God)...Theism here covers all sorts of supernatural claims and concepts....like the assertion that there is life after death--this will definitely not qualify as atheism in front of Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens or Daniel Denett or Lawrence Krauss
So you told me, but historical, textual evidence points in a very different direction from your point of view.

Theism here covers all sorts of supernatural claims and concepts
You are playing with words. Because Buddha taught that there are yakkhas and literal rebirth, that does not point to "theism."
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:19 am

Shaswata_Panja wrote:Okay Buddha taught supernaturalism---Supernaturalism and Theism are very closely connected....As I said Buddhism wont stand the test of atheism of the New Atheists




You have to be a supernaturalist to be a theist, but you dont have to be a theist to be a supernaturalist

SO this goes back to my original point that someone can be a buddhist and an atheist, without being a materialist


As I said Buddhism wont stand the test of atheism of the New Atheists


I dont see why not
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:21 am

Shaswata_Panja wrote:Supernaturalism and Theism are very closely connected
Not necessarily.

As I said Buddhism wont stand the test of atheism of the New Atheists
That is no big deal.

The following are a collection of quotes taken from the web quite some time ago. I doubt if any of the links work. The point is that the DL is giving what is essentially an Indian Buddhism point of view:

    Now, as for what the Dalai Lama has said about the idea of a Creator.

    In THE GOOD HEART: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of
    Jesus (pub by Wisdom), the Dalai Lama comments on a number of
    Gospel passages and has dialogues with a number Christians about this.
    It is a wonderful book, showing that dialogue is possible and showing
    the kind of work that such dialogue entails, in this book the Dalai Lama
    states:

    "The entire Buddhist worldview is based on a philosophical standpoint
    in which the central thought is the principle of interdependence, how all
    things and events come into being purely as a result of interactions
    between causes and conditions. Within that philosophical world view, it
    is almost impossible to have any room for an atemporal, eternal,
    absolute truth. Nor is it possible to accommodate the concept of divine
    Creation [page 82]" "The belief in creation and divinity is not universal
    to all major religious traditions. ... Buddhism, which is a nontheistic
    religion.... [page 74]."

    In the World Tibet Network News
    Thursday, May 20, 1999

    the Dalai Lama states:

    "I mentioned the Buddhist law of causality, cause and effect,
    which means no beginning, therefore no Creator."

    On http://www.cuenet.com/~fpmt/Teachings/ironbird.html

    the Dalai Lama states:

    "Now, in Buddhadharma we do not accept the theory of a Creator;
    everything depends on oneself."

    On http://csf.colorado.edu/sine/transcripts/HHDL.html

    the Dalai Lama states:

    "Basically, religions may be divided into two groups. One group,
    including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and some ancient Indian
    traditions, I call God religions. Their fundamental faith is in a Creator.
    The other group of religious tradition, including Jainism, Buddhism, I
    usually call godless religions. They do not believe in a Creator."

    A HUMAN APPROACH TO WORLD PEACE by His Holiness Tenzin
    Gyatso, The Fourtheenth Dalai Lama:

    "While pointing out the fundamental similarities between world
    religions, I do not advocate one particular religion at the expense of all
    others, nor do I seek a new 'world religion.' All the different religions
    of the world are needed to enrich human experience and world
    civilization. Our human minds, being of different caliber and disposition,
    need different approaches to peace and happiness. It is just like food.
    Certain people find Christianity more appealing, others prefer Buddhism
    because there is no creator in it and everything depends upon your own
    actions. We can make similar arguments for other religions as well.
    Thus, the point is clear: humanity needs all the world's religions to suit
    the ways of life, diverse spiritual needs, and inherited national traditions
    of individual human beings."

    On http://www.uky.edu/StudentOrgs/UKBA/dependento_DL.htm

    the Dalai Lama states:

    "This principle [of Buddhism] means that all conditioned things and
    events in the universe come into being only as a result of the interaction
    of various causes and conditions. This is significant because it precludes
    two possibilities. One is the possibility that things can arise from
    nowhere, with no causes and conditions, and the second is that things
    can arise on account of a transcendent designer or creator. Both these
    possibilities are negated."

    Hinduism Today Feb 1998 states of the Dalai Lama:

    "He also gave a bold voice to the Buddhist belief that there is no creator
    God. It was a defining moment of these sessions. In all such interfaith
    meetings religious leaders speak in terms of God, intone prayers to God,
    write their formal statements of purpose in acknowledgement of God. To
    the Buddhists this Creator-centric presumption is presumptuous. It leaves
    them out. The Dalai Lama was challenging them, in his sweet way, to
    find words and concepts that could bridge the Abrahamic world and the
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:27 am

You do realize, dont' you, that the school concerned with the Vedic rituals is an atheistic school?

Purva Mimamsa clearly states that the gods donot have any existence outside of the rituals, outside of the mind of the priests


and There are three views of creation even in the Non-dualist Vedantic School: Ajata Vada, Drishti-Shrishti Vada and Shrishti-Drishti Vada and even then such theories should not be taken too seriously as they were only promulgated to satisfy intellectual curiosity.


and to narrow down the definition of atheism as per New Atheists: Any body who doesnot subscribe to scientific-materialism is NOT AN ATHEIST
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:36 am

Shaswata_Panja wrote:You do realize, dont' you, that the school concerned with the Vedic rituals is an atheistic school?
So? And that school represents the totality of the thought of the Vedas? And it is incorrect to regard them as solely atheistic, and they certainly are not atheistic in the New Western Atheism model. Do keep in mind the Buddha came out of Sharamana tradition which rejected the Vedas.

But you are still failing to address that the Buddha and Buddhism after him in India did not teach theism. You certainly have not come anywhere close to showing that the Buddha did teach theism. The Buddha taught a path of liberation that did not require a god of any sort as being necessary or helpful to liberation.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:40 am

anything that doesnot subscribe to scientific-materialism is NOT atheism according to 99% people on the world and the New Atheists

So Buddha didnot teach theism--okay, but he didnot teach atheism (as understood today) but rather taught supernaturalism


In this sense I again assert only atheistic school to come out of India is Charvaka which Buddha opposed in MN 60
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:43 am

Shaswata_Panja wrote: the definition of atheism as per New Atheists: Any body who doesnot subscribe to scientific-materialism is NOT AN ATHEIST
So? Who died and made them the arbiters of points of view without an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique cause of the cosmos?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:45 am

clw_uk wrote:

Still have no idea what "consensus buddhism" means? :shrug: :alien:

Did you read the blog? I didn't see any point in quoting the whole thing here...

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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:50 am

Shaswata_Panja wrote:anything that doesnot subscribe to scientific-materialism is NOT atheism according to 99% people on the world and the New Atheists

So Buddha didnot teach theism--okay, but he didnot teach atheism (as understood today) but rather taught supernaturalism


In this sense I again assert only atheistic school to come out of India is Charvaka which Buddha opposed in MN 60
The Buddha did not teach theism. And the Buddha clearly rejected theism as having any significance in terms of liberation. "Supernaturalism?" Not at all. From a Buddhist perspective what some, with a limited world view, regard as "supernatural," it is just the way the universe is. And Buddhism does not need to align its understanding in terms of the "New Atheists."
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
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