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 daverupa » Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:32 pm

binocular wrote:Possibly what really matters in regard to cutting out those "supernatural" aspects of Buddhism is the intention, the reason for doing so.


I often wonder this from the other side, to wit: the motive(s) for adding these things into the oral traditions. There's a lot to be said about the way recitation lineages would have slowly grown over time along lines that felt obvious and baldly clarificatory at the time, else poetic and otherwise full of import but which might now be seen as archaic flourishes without local relevance.

Without dismissing this as 'mere' cultural accretion, I will suggest that the cultural carriage of this material was/is a morphing, organic growth around a trim, precise core of material. Ignoring demonstrable chronological developments (the growth of deva and realm lists, etc.) can lead to making strange epicycles in reasoning when attempting to bring it all together, and this can be distracting, even distorting.

Baggage is already brought to the Nikayas; part of the trick is not bringing more, but another aspect involves a certain dietetic circumspection in their consumption...
    "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: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:44 pm

culaavuso wrote:I find the distinction between atheism and nontheism to be an important one in meaning, and not just in word choice. As I understand the terms, "nontheism" is a lack of belief in god, while "atheism" is a belief in a lack of god. By this interpretation, "nontheism" is not-all-that-interested in metaphysical debate, while "atheism" is interested and takes a firm position in that debate.


Yes, that's how I understand it. Non-theist includes agnosticism about God.
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:36 pm

binocular wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
binocular wrote:In one sense, Buddhism is an example of an elaborate applied virtue epistemology, as it instructs a person to develop certain personal qualities for the sake of knowing and making an end to suffering.
Certainly, and the Buddha certainly did not see an need in what he taught for any sort of god notion in its various guises as being needed or being consistent with truth as he understood it.

Of course. We'd be really poorly off if we'd have to rely for our salvation on theistic notions.
Including those found in Vaiṣṇava/Bhagavad Gita traditions.

This is not to say that theistic notions are altogether ineffective in regard to solving the problem of suffering.
Theism can be very effective in promoting wholesome behavior, but it even at its best, it is limited:
    "The assumption that a God is the cause (of the world, etc.) is based on the false belief in the eternal self (atman, i.e. permanent spiritual substance, essence or personality); but that belief has to be abandoned, if one has clearly understood that everything is impermanent and subject to suffering." Abhidharmakosha 5, 8 vol IV, p 19

But I will argue that theism is extremely difficult to enter, and it leaves most people out in the cold. Being born into a theistic family or religion is in no way enough to make one a theist or to find happiness as a theist.
And I would strongly argue the opposite. Theism has a much more direct appeal, having a Great Protector to whom you can pray to for guidance and protection, a loving parent watching out for you, the strongest, wisest ally, etc:
"That Worshipful Brahma, the Great God, the Omnipotent, the Omniscient, the Organizer, the Protection, the Creator, the Most Perfect Ruler, the Designer and Orderer, the Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be, He by Whom we were created, He is permanent, Constant, Eternal, Unchanging, and He will remain so for ever and ever." -- DN 24


Buddhism, on the other hand, is much more generous, much more open, has many more gates, and pretty much anyone can enter. Perhaps not everyone can become a member of an actual Buddhist group, but probably everyone can take up some practice as advised by the Buddha.
Again, yes and no. Relying on oneself can be much more difficult that having the above god to whom we can turn.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby pulga » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:59 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Various traditional Hindu apologists/polemists did just that, labeled Buddhism atheistic.


I think they labeled it nāstika. Not knowing much Sanskrit and being hopelessly divorced in time and place from the milieu in which the accusation arose I consider its precise meaning a can of worms suitable only for speculation.
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby pulga » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:04 pm

daverupa wrote:I often wonder this from the other side, to wit: the motive(s) for adding these things into the oral traditions. There's a lot to be said about the way recitation lineages would have slowly grown over time along lines that felt obvious and baldly clarificatory at the time, else poetic and otherwise full of import but which might now be seen as archaic flourishes without local relevance.


I once came across a drawing of the Buddha from the late 19th century. He was seated in the lotus posture, upper body erect, with the serene face of a white European – the epitome of Victorian rationality. It struck me as hopelessly naïve. I think we need to reconcile the worldview of those of the Buddha's contemporaries - or near contemporaries - who preserved the texts with that of our own, and in doing so we come to understand that both are equally valid in light of the Buddha's Teaching.
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby binocular » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:42 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:and yes pulga , there is certain reluctance on part of modern Buddhists to understand Buddhism by placing it in the historical,social,cultural,political,economic context in which Buddhism took shape and flourished...divorcing Buddhism from the the crucible that nurtured it and grew will lead to an incomplete understanding of Buddhism

But on the other hand, there is the danger of "Asian supremacism" - the idea that it's only the specific Asian Buddhism(s) that is the right Buddhism and all others are inferior.

Ideally, if one's goal is to make an end to suffering, then figuring out Buddhism in some correct religiological, historiographical, culturological, or politological manner will not be a priority.

Often enough, one can notice these extremes though: one is the watered-down version of Buddhism popular in the West (without karma and rebirth, and esp. without the fancy giant fishes and all that); another is a vehement adherence to an Asian variation of Buddhism; then there is the academic attempt to come up with the correct religiological, historiographical, culturological, and politological understanding of Buddhism.

The real, liberation-bringing Buddhism may be somewhere between these extremes.
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:00 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:good points binocular

and yes pulga , there is certain reluctance on part of modern Buddhists to understand Buddhism by placing it in the historical,social,cultural,political,economic context in which Buddhism took shape and flourished...divorcing Buddhism from the the crucible that nurtured it and grew will lead to an incomplete understanding of Buddhism
One should have a good understanding of the Brahminical background of the time of the Buddha as well as the of the anti-Vedic Shramana movement of which the Buddha was a part. On the other hand, the later schools of what eventually became Hinduism do not objectively get to define Buddhism and the Buddha's teachings. They tried, in various way, to subsume Buddhism and the Buddha, and followers of some of the later Vedic/caste schools also very deliberately persecuted Buddhism in India at various times.

At the risk of repeating myself I have to again delineate the various philosophical schools of Hinduism, so that Buddhists when talking of Hinduism know which part of Hinduism they are talking about (this basically agrees with what titbillings wrote----I would like to introduce the idea that the idea of an absolute Monotheistic God (as Deity like Allah,Yahweh) makes an entry into Hinduism with the rise of the Puranas..especially the Srimad Bhagavatam............but even then the Hindu Monotheistic Deity is NOT a Jealous God....It is Henotheism and not Monotheism)
The Puranas and the Srimad Bhagavatam post date the Buddha considerably. Monotheism finds its entry in Brahmanism before the Buddha:

    Klaus Klostermaier's A SURVEY OF HINDUISM, pgs: 137-8,
    149-50:

    "In the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad [one of the very few Upanishads that pre-dates the Buddha] we read a dialogue in which
    Yajnavalkya is asked the crucial question: _Kati devah_, how many are the devas [gods]? His first answer is a quotation from a Vedic text: 'Three hundred and three and three thousand and three." Pressed on, he reduces the number first to thirty-three, then to six, then to three, to two, to one-and-a-half and finally to One. 'Which is the one deva [god]?' And he answers: "The prana (breath, life). The Brahman. He is called _tyat_ (that).' Though the devas still figure in sacrificial practice and religious debate, the question 'Who is God?' is here answered in terms that has remained the Hindu answer ever since.


    Hindu theology has many ways of explaining the unity of Brahman in the diversity of ista-devatas: different psychological needs of people must be satisfied differently, local traditions and specific revelations must be accommodated, the ineffable can only be predicated in -- quite literally -- thousands of forms. Among the saharanamas -- the litanies of thousands names, which are recited in honour of each of the great gods -- the overlap is considerable: each one would be named creator, preserver, destroyer of the universe, each one would be called Truth and Grace and Deliverance. Each one, in the end, is the same: One.


    Also from the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad"

    == 10. Verily, in the beginning this world was Brahman. It knew only itself
    (atmanam): "I am Brahman!" Therefore it became the All. Whoever of
    the gods became awakened to this, he indeed became it; likewise in the
    case of seers (rsi), likewise in the case of men. Seeing this, indeed, the
    seer Vamadeva began:-

    I was Manu and the sun (surya)!

    This is so now also. Whoever thus knows "I am Brahman!" becomes this
    All; even the gods have not power to prevent his becoming thus, for he
    becomes their self (atman).

    So whoever worships another divinity [than his Self], thinking "He is
    one and I another," he knows not. He is like a sacrificial animal for the
    gods. Verily, indeed, as many animals would be of service to a man,
    even so each single person is of service to the gods. If even one animal
    is taken away, it is not pleasant. What, then, if many? Therefore it is
    not pleasing to those [gods] that men should know this.
    11. Verily, in the beginning this world was Brahman, one only.

Samkhya tradition of Hinduism is atheistic
Except it has been subsumed into a theistic contexts, as we see in the Bhagavad Gita.

Purva Mimasa of Hinduism is atheistic---this is basically what Buddhists call Brahmanism --Vedic Fire rituals
Purva Mimasa post dates the Buddha, and it is not what Buddhists call Brahminism. Brahmanism is what reputable scholars of Indian religions call the pre-Buddha -- and during the time of the Buddha -- Vedic/caste religious movement. And Brahmanical texts such as the Upanishad reflect the Brhamanical interactions with the non-Vedic shramana traditions, adopting and adapting these traditions.

Vedanta (Advaita Vedanta) is monistic and tends to be largely atheistic as propounded by Gaudapada and Shankaracharya
At best, a highly qualified atheism, to the point of referring to Shankara as an atheist is meaningless.

Atheism in Indian Philosophy : From the Rig Veda to Modern Times by Dr.Koenraad Elst . . . .
There are far better scholars.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby binocular » Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:13 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Including those found in Vaiṣṇava/Bhagavad Gita traditions.

I don't know about that.

And I would strongly argue the opposite. Theism has a much more direct appeal, having a Great Protector to whom you can pray to for guidance and protection, a loving parent watching out for you, the strongest, wisest ally, etc:

Perhaps. But I'm not one of those people. I've never been able to relate to theists. Although relating to outspoken atheists is also difficult for me.

Relying on oneself can be much more difficult that having the above god to whom we can turn.

"Relying on oneself" does require a belief in some kind of relevant selfhood, though. And if this selfhood is to be relevant, then by implication, it has to be permanent.
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:17 pm

binocular wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Including those found in Vaiṣṇava/Bhagavad Gita traditions.

I don't know about that.
You have claimed otherwise and when asked to flesh out your claim, you simply refused to do so.



tilt wrote:Relying on oneself can be much more difficult that having the above god to whom we can turn.

"Relying on oneself" does require a belief in some kind of relevant selfhood, though. And if this selfhood is to be relevant, then by implication, it has to be permanent.
Has to be permanent? Based on what? Does this implicated permanent selfhhood change?
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby binocular » Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:35 pm

tiltbillings wrote:You have claimed otherwise and when asked to flesh out your claim, you simply refused to do so.

B: Of course. We'd be really poorly off if we'd have to rely for our salvation on theistic notions.
T: Including those found in Vaiṣṇava/Bhagavad Gita traditions.
B: I don't know about that.

My "I don't know about that" is in reference to us being poorly off. I don't know, perhaps the BG traditions do offer a gate to liberation from suffering through which many people can enter.

And I didn't "refuse to" explain myself. I think that there are topics that simply require a particular effort, preexisting knowledge and attitude on the part of the listener in order to be discussed. And in my opinion, neither that thread, nor this one, are suitable for such discussion.
I have mistakenly assessed the time, place and circumstance for discussing this topic. I apologize.


Has to be permanent? Based on what? Does this implicated permanent selfhhood change?

Can you conceive of "relying on oneself" while you also hold that this self that one is relying on has no substantial, no truly relevant existence, but is simply something changing, fleeting and subject to disappearing?
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:38 pm

the Rig-Veda already describes sky-clad wandering muni-s with muddy long hair, or what we now know as Naga Sadhu-s.
and The Vedas are just one of many spiritual traditions of India..which grew up mainly in the Haryana region with the Bharata clan....Parallel spiritual developments be it of the Iranic tribes in the West or other Gangetic tribes have been mentioned


Buddha was a middle-ground betwwen anti/pro-Vedic rituals--Towards the end of his life, in the seven factors of non-decline. he promotes the perpetuation of old religious rituals of which Vedic rituals would have constituted the overwhelmingly major component

Purva Mimamsa was fleshed out by Kumarila Bhatta and Prabhakara , but the basic concepts were always there--inherent in the rituals and sacrfices..without a solid understanding of the underlying mechanics and theory of those rituals, it obviously could not have been performed

and Brahma and Brahman are NOT the same...One is a God and the other is Pure Conciousness....Is it very hard to understand? Why do non-Indians always mix up between Brahma and Brahman and Brahmin and Brahmanas and Brahma Sutras? and this can be evidenced from the Upanishads themselves
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:49 pm

Carvaka (scientific materialism on which Buddha comes down hard in MN 60) ,Ajvika and others are unorthodox schools as they donot pay respect to the Vedas


Why do you focus on the wrong view of materialism so much?

You mentioned other wrong views but put more emphasis on "materialism"
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:07 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Carvaka (scientific materialism on which Buddha comes down hard in MN 60) ,Ajvika and others are unorthodox schools as they donot pay respect to the Vedas


Why do you focus on the wrong view of materialism so much?

You mentioned other wrong views but put more emphasis on "materialism"



when did I say any view is a wrong view? I believe in neither Scientific-Materialism(Charvaka),Samkhya atheistic dualism,Buddhism,Jainism,Vedantic non-dualism nor Puranic Vaishnavite Monotheism....I think its a life-long journey before one can make up his or her mind regarding which one is really true


I just take a strong academic interest in Indian culture,civilization,religion and philosophy and geography and how they intreacted and influenced one another

I was just clearing up mistaken understanding of what Buddhists consider Hinduism to be...I do the same with Hindus---I have very little knowledge of Jainism and Sikhism though (inspite of visiting several times a Gurudwara and having quite a few Jain friends around in childhood )
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:09 pm

binocular wrote:
Has to be permanent? Based on what? Does this implicated permanent selfhhood change?

Can you conceive of "relying on oneself" while you also hold that this self that one is relying on has no substantial, no truly relevant existence, but is simply something changing, fleeting and subject to disappearing?

Well, that's the difficult bit, the key point of difference of the Buddha Dhamma.
12. "Though certain recluses and brahmans claim to propound the full understanding of all kinds of clinging... they describe the full understanding of clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, and clinging to rules and observances without describing the full understanding of clinging to a doctrine of self.

[Translator's Note: This passage clearly indicates that the critical differentiating factor of the Buddha's Dhamma is its "full understanding of clinging to a doctrine of self." This means, in effect, that the Buddha alone is able to show how to overcome all views of self by developing penetration into the truth of non-self (anatta).]
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ntbb.html

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

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:45 pm

binocular wrote:
Has to be permanent? Based on what? Does this implicated permanent selfhhood change?

Can you conceive of "relying on oneself" while you also hold that this self that one is relying on has no substantial, no truly relevant existence, but is simply something changing, fleeting and subject to disappearing?
You answer my question, I'll be more than happy to answer yours.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:53 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:

Buddha was a middle-ground betwwen anti/pro-Vedic rituals--
Not that you have shown.

Towards the end of his life, in the seven factors of non-decline. he promotes the perpetuation of old religious rituals of which Vedic rituals would have constituted the overwhelmingly major component
Back up this statement.

Purva Mimamsa was fleshed out by Kumarila Bhatta and Prabhakara , but the basic concepts were always there--inherent in the rituals and sacrfices..without a solid understanding of the underlying mechanics and theory of those rituals, it obviously could not have been performed
History suggest a bit differently. Secondly, their "atheism is at best qualified.

and Brahma and Brahman are NOT the same...One is a God and the other is Pure Conciousness....Is it very hard to understand? Why do non-Indians always mix up between Brahma and Brahman and Brahmin and Brahmanas and Brahma Sutras? and this can be evidenced from the Upanishads themselves
I am not mixing them up. Take a look at the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upanishad, which was known to the Buddha.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:01 pm

just google up and read seven factors of non-decline Sutta..it will satisfy your curiosity

and in his paranibbana sutta , see how he profusely praises the folk shrines at Chapala and other places
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:04 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:just google up and read seven factors of non-decline Sutta..it will satisfy your curiosity

and in his paranibbana sutta , see how he profusely praises the folk shrines at Chapala and other places
If you make statement such as you did, then you need to back it up. This is response is simply inadequate.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:08 pm

As for the Mīmāṃsā. The following places it well after the time of the Buddha.

The school's origins lie in the scholarly traditions of the final centuries BCE, when the priestly ritualism of Vedic sacrifice was being marginalized by Buddhism and Vedanta. To counteract this challenge, several groups emerged dedicated to demonstrating the validity of the Vedic texts by rigid formulation of rules for their interpretation. The school gathers momentum in the Gupta period with Śābara, and reaches its apex in the 7th to 8th centuries with Kumārila Bhaṭṭa and Prabhākara.

The school for some time in the Early Middle Ages exerted near-dominant influence on learned Hindu thought, and is credited as a major force contributing to the decline of Buddhism in India, but it has fallen into decline in the High Middle Ages and today is all but eclipsed by Vedanta. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C4%ABm%C ... %83s%C4%81
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby daverupa » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:13 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:just google up and read seven factors of non-decline Sutta..it will satisfy your curiosity

and in his paranibbana sutta , see how he profusely praises the folk shrines at Chapala and other places


It does not. You said that the Buddha "promotes the perpetuation of old religious rituals" -that isn't this text and it's nowhere in DN 16 either. Probably you are thinking of the sutta which records the Buddha telling Ananda how the Vajjians can experience non-decline, one point of which is that they should sustain their shrine practices.

But when the layfolk depart, the Buddha summons the Sangha and does not tell them to maintain shrine practices. If we match up the suggestions 1:1, the Vajjian shrine practice (#6 in the list) correlates to sequestered living in forest huts.

Your claim is altogether unsupported, Shaswata_Panje. Asking us to use Google is weak stuff.
    "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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