Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

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Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:35 pm

Lord Buddha, the Dhamma and all the Ajahn's teachings that I read, teach that we should respect other religions and that there is merit in other religions and schools of philosophy.

The nikayas teach us to respect a religiob/philosophy if it adheres to the Dhamma and teaches kindness, patience, reflection, the danger of grasping and sensual pleasures etc


If a religion etc teaches this, then we agree with them. If a doctrine teaches what is in opposition to the Dhamma (the way it is) then we declare it to be in error.

So for example Buddha would agree with aspects of the sermon on the mount by Jesus, or with aspects of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali which teach partial detachment, wholesome action and reflection, yet we would disagree with the eternalism.


Now by point is that, over my years of being a Buddhist, we are always taught to respect eternalist adhereing religions, such as the Abrahamic faiths and Hinduism etc. However annihilationist doctrines seem to be, shall we say, scorned or recieve more criticism than the eternalist doctines do (despite some evidence that Buddha said that some of the annihilationists of his day were closer to the Dhamma than the eternalists).


I think a balance is needed in how we approach others, and maybe more respect for those who hold materialistic views.

For example Epicureanism is materialistic and adheres to a sophsticated form of hedonism, yet it teaches that worry about a future death of "me" causes pain and should be overcome, that sensual pleasures (drink, sex, drugs etc) lead to pain and should be abandoned and that friendship and reflection is more "pleasurable", also it taught that all are equal etc as the Dhamma does.


However, it is of course with its faults, such as it adheres to a speculative metaphysics that can be clung to and can be a source of identity, leading to stress from arguing that the doctrine is true in postilion to other positions. It adheres to a view of "Self" that is annihilated at death and it has only a rudimentary understanding of how craving leads to dukkha.


However I feel Buddha would have seen merits in some teachings of Epicurus, and other non-religious materialist philosophies.


I guess what I'm trying to say is that materialism etc isnt always 100% unwholesome, and that sometimes materialistic views are attacked far to harshly than religious/idealist/anti-materialist ones.


Any thoughts?
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Re: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:58 pm

A religion is just a brand name that has an aggregate or collection of teachings, practices, and principles asscociated with it.

Some follwers are going to identify more with some of those teachings, practices, and principles more than others, and yet we focus on the brand name and pigeonhole it's followers. We don't like this when others do it to us.

So instead of focussing on the brand name we should be looking at each of the teachings, practices, and principles individually to see what is and what isn't in harmony with Dhamma.

I don't see why a "world religion" gets special status either, it's just one kind of view or philosophy on life.

Materialism is also a kind of view or philosophy on life it's just not organised into a brand name world religion, again there will be teachings, practices, and principles we agree with and others we don't.
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Re: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:20 pm

MN 60 Buddha comes down heavily on annihilists...be other philosophies eternalist or not..Buddha paid great respect to any philosophy that asserted that there is life after death--MN60 is a clear testament to that
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Re: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby daverupa » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:41 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:MN 60 Buddha comes down heavily on annihilists...be other philosophies eternalist or not..Buddha paid great respect to any philosophy that asserted that there is life after death--MN60 is a clear testament to that


Although throughout, sections A.ii and B.ii are oddly situated; the passage makes better sense to me if the Buddha offers the wager simply, as a wise man considering the options. To slip these assertions into the middle of this approach is jarring, and feels like patchwork.

(There's a very interesting passage at the end of all that on the immaterial realms. It says that, whether or not the immaterial realms obtain, the fine material realms do so obtain. I find this fascinating: perhaps it's a snapshot of an early time before/while the immaterial realms - and by extension, the immaterial attainments - entered the texts.

Note: the phrase there is "If, without knowing and seeing, I were to take one side and declare: 'Only this is true, anything else is wrong,' that would not be fitting for me." Why isn't this mentioned in place of A.ii & B.ii, above? Or why don't the immaterial realms and cessation statements have a similar A.ii & B.ii?

In any event, this sutta definitely feels composite...)
    "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: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:02 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:MN 60 Buddha comes down heavily on annihilists...be other philosophies eternalist or not..Buddha paid great respect to any philosophy that asserted that there is life after death--MN60 is a clear testament to that


If you read MN 60 among the positions it criticises is the view "There is no this world", this is the opposite of a materialist view I'd say.
There are some contemplatives & brahmans who hold this doctrine, hold this view: 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no brahmans or contemplatives who, faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the next after having directly known and realized it for themselves.
MN 60.

Looking at the list as a whole only about half the items are incongruant with materialism, I doubt many materialists would say there is " no mother, no father" for example, and for " fruit or result of good or bad actions" I don't see materialists questioning commonsense cause and affect.

I understand next world is more correctly translated as "other world", I don't think many materialists would deny the existance of other planets, which is one possible interpreation.

To me "There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed" looks to be about gratitude, which might also explain why "There is mother & father" is also in there.

So the list of items is about gratitude, and awe, and seeing oneself in context of the big picture motivating one to right action, wheras lacking gratitude, lacking awe, and lacking seeing oneself in context of the big picture motivates one to wrong action.
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Re: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:34 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
Shaswata_Panja wrote:MN 60 Buddha comes down heavily on annihilists...be other philosophies eternalist or not..Buddha paid great respect to any philosophy that asserted that there is life after death--MN60 is a clear testament to that


If you read MN 60 among the positions it criticises is the view "There is no this world", this is the opposite of a materialist view I'd say.
There are some contemplatives & brahmans who hold this doctrine, hold this view: 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no brahmans or contemplatives who, faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the next after having directly known and realized it for themselves.
MN 60.

Looking at the list as a whole only about half the items are incongruant with materialism, I doubt many materialists would say there is " no mother, no father" for example, and for " fruit or result of good or bad actions" I don't see materialists questioning commonsense cause and affect.

I understand next world is more correctly translated as "other world", I don't think many materialists would deny the existance of other planets, which is one possible interpreation.

To me "There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed" looks to be about gratitude, which might also explain why "There is mother & father" is also in there.

So the list of items is about gratitude, and awe, and seeing oneself in context of the big picture motivating one to right action, wheras lacking gratitude, lacking awe, and lacking seeing oneself in context of the big picture motivates one to wrong action.



see Bhikkhu Bodhi series on it..there is no wiggling out of it that Buddha asserts that there is life after death here..as BB said it "Buddha really lays down the line here"...Buddha also appeals to the shared common knowledge of all the ppl of Aryavarta that the yogis and sages before him also talked about other worlds.....To an Indo-Aryan (who were Buddha's audience) this basically means talks about afterlife.....

I would say Dharmic religions(religions coming from India) are equi-distant from Western monotheism and atheism
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Re: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby whynotme » Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:21 pm

AFAIK, the Buddha didn't teach respect other religions. He said smt like when someone understands dhamma he only respects the dhamma and the Buddha as teacher, and the sangha.

About other religions, materialism, think like this: if you see a child wants something like a worthless toy, would you give it to the child? Let see other religions or materialism like a child, they don't know what is good, but if they want something that is not bad, gives it to them and enjoy. Both of you will have peace. Or else you will try to teach a child that this toy is boring, cheap, worthless and hope the child will accept your view. No, he will not. If you loves him give him what he wants
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Re: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby culaavuso » Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:52 pm

clw_uk wrote:The nikayas teach us to respect a religiob/philosophy if it adheres to the Dhamma and teaches kindness, patience, reflection, the danger of grasping and sensual pleasures etc

If a religion etc teaches this, then we agree with them. If a doctrine teaches what is in opposition to the Dhamma (the way it is) then we declare it to be in error.

So for example Buddha would agree with aspects of the sermon on the mount by Jesus, or with aspects of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali which teach partial detachment, wholesome action and reflection, yet we would disagree with the eternalism.


It doesn't seem to matter whether it's a "religion" or not. It's simply the qualities that the actions and beliefs lead to that is important.

AN 8.53
AN 8.53: Gotami Sutta wrote:"Gotami, the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead to passion, not to dispassion; to being fettered, not to being unfettered; to accumulating, not to shedding; to self-aggrandizement, not to modesty; to discontent, not to contentment; to entanglement, not to seclusion; to laziness, not to aroused persistence; to being burdensome, not to being unburdensome': You may categorically hold, 'This is not the Dhamma, this is not the Vinaya, this is not the Teacher's instruction.'

"As for the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead to dispassion, not to passion; to being unfettered, not to being fettered; to shedding, not to accumulating; to modesty, not to self-aggrandizement; to contentment, not to discontent; to seclusion, not to entanglement; to aroused persistence, not to laziness; to being unburdensome, not to being burdensome': You may categorically hold, 'This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher's instruction.'"


Quarreling between groups that hold to different partial understandings of the Dhamma (whether they call it that or not) is an unfortunate outcome from not recognizing the extent to which these groups are describing different partial understandings of the same underlying body of truth. It's noteworthy that in the Buddha's description of arguing sectarians, they are all right to an extent and are primarily wrong in that they dismiss the possibility of the others being right to an extent as well.

Ud 6.4
Ud 6.4: Tittha Sutta wrote:"Responding, 'As you say, your majesty,' to the king, the man showed the blind people an elephant. To some of the blind people he showed the elephant's head, saying, 'This, blind people, is what an elephant is like.' To some of them he showed the elephant's ear, saying, 'This, blind people, is what an elephant is like.' To some of them he showed the elephant's tusk... the elephant's trunk... the elephant's body... the elephant's foot... the elephant's hindquarters... the elephant's tail... the tuft at the end of the elephant's tail, saying, 'This, blind people, is what an elephant is like.'

"Then, having shown the blind people the elephant, the man went to the king and on arrival said, 'Your majesty, the blind people have seen the elephant. May your majesty do what you think it is now time to do.'

"Then the king went to the blind people and on arrival asked them, 'Blind people, have you seen the elephant?'

"'Yes, your majesty. We have seen the elephant.'

"'Now tell me, blind people, what the elephant is like.'

"The blind people who had been shown the elephant's head said, 'The elephant, your majesty, is just like a jar.'

"Those who had been shown the elephant's ear said, 'The elephant, your majesty, is just like a winnowing basket.'

"Those who had been shown the elephant's tusk said, 'The elephant, your majesty, is just like plowshare.'

"Those who had been shown the elephant's trunk said, 'The elephant, your majesty, is just like the pole of a plow.'

"Those who had been shown the elephant's body said, 'The elephant, your majesty, is just like a granary.'

"Those who had been shown the elephant's foot said, 'The elephant, your majesty, is just like a post.'

"Those who had been shown the elephant's hindquarters said, 'The elephant, your majesty, is just like a mortar.'

"Those who had been shown the elephant's tail said, 'The elephant, your majesty, is just like a pestle.'

"Those who had been shown the tuft at the end of the elephant's tail said, 'The elephant, your majesty, is just like a broom.'

"Saying, 'The elephant is like this, it's not like that. The elephant's not like that, it's like this,' they struck one another with their fists. That gratified the king.

"In the same way, monks, the wanderers of other sects are blind & eyeless. They don't know what is beneficial and what is harmful. They don't know what is the Dhamma and what is non-Dhamma. Not knowing what is beneficial and what is harmful, not knowing what is Dhamma and what is non-Dhamma, they keep on arguing, quarreling, & disputing, wounding one another with weapons of the mouth, saying, 'The Dhamma is like this, it's not like that. The Dhamma's not like that, it's like this.'"
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Re: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby clw_uk » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:56 am

see Bhikkhu Bodhi series on it..there is no wiggling out of it that Buddha asserts that there is life after death here


Its not about if there is life after death, but about if a system of thought is in line with Dhamma or not

Some schools of materialism are, in part.
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Re: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby seeker242 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:27 pm

clw_uk wrote:
I think a balance is needed in how we approach others, and maybe more respect for those who hold materialistic views.



Personally, I think one can say "this is error" but at the same time still show respect. One does not need to agree with something in order to respect it and disagreement does not necessarily entail "disrespect".

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Re: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:26 pm

clw_uk wrote:I guess what I'm trying to say is that materialism etc isnt always 100% unwholesome, and that sometimes materialistic views are attacked far to harshly than religious/idealist/anti-materialist ones.


Based on most of these discussion forums it actually looks the other way round to me. ;)
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Re: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:19 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
clw_uk wrote:I guess what I'm trying to say is that materialism etc isnt always 100% unwholesome, and that sometimes materialistic views are attacked far to harshly than religious/idealist/anti-materialist ones.


Based on most of these discussion forums it actually looks the other way round to me. ;)



I don't see how when most Buddhist forums are saturated with pro supernatural (and so anti materialist) views...
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Re: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:29 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
clw_uk wrote:I guess what I'm trying to say is that materialism etc isnt always 100% unwholesome, and that sometimes materialistic views are attacked far to harshly than religious/idealist/anti-materialist ones.


Based on most of these discussion forums it actually looks the other way round to me. ;)



I don't see how when most Buddhist forums are saturated with pro supernatural (and so anti materialist) views...


But they're not.
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Re: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:20 pm

But they're not.



If a majority takes rebirth as a given then they are
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Re: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:21 pm

clw_uk wrote:
But they're not.


If a majority takes rebirth as a given then they are


I'm struggling to think of any that do - could you give some examples?
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Re: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:25 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
clw_uk wrote:
But they're not.


If a majority takes rebirth as a given then they are


I'm struggling to think of any that do - could you give some examples?



In the past this forum, slightly less now

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Re: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:26 pm

What is your perception of the prevelance of supernaturalism on Buddhist forums?
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Re: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:27 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Dharmawheel

Free sangha


The first, possibly. The second is under new management.... :spy:
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Re: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:28 pm

clw_uk wrote:What is your perception of the prevelance of supernaturalism on Buddhist forums?


My perception is that materialism is prevalent on most Buddhist forums.
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Re: Respect for other religions - What about materialism?

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:10 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
clw_uk wrote:What is your perception of the prevelance of supernaturalism on Buddhist forums?


My perception is that materialism is prevalent on most Buddhist forums.



Then we have experienced things differently and see things differently :shrug:
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