Buddhism, Religion?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Tex » Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:11 pm

It definitely depends on how "religion" is defined.

To me, a religion involves an object of worship, whether it's god(s), nature, the sun, ancestors or whatever. So, I consider Buddhism as simply a practice or a way of life. If a way of life is considered a "religion" even if it does not involve worshipping anything, then okay, Buddhism is a religion. And so is being in the Marine Corps, or being a college student, or practicing any number of other lifestyles, and then the word religion has lost any real meaning anyway.

Just my take.
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Kare » Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:50 pm

Tex wrote:It definitely depends on how "religion" is defined.


Yes. Definitely. When I studied comparative religion, I was at first confused - then more and more amused - seeing that every important writer on religion had their own definition, and that there is no consensus among the learned ones. :shrug: :rolleye:

But I do not see this as a problem. Dhamma is dhamma, no matter how you choose to define "religion" - and there are scores of definitions floating around, so just pick whichever suits you.

:lol:
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Thaibebop » Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:00 pm

Sobeh wrote:Comments below, per highlighted sections:


1. The difference is a Western one, and thereby created, not inherent. Reifying the difference in order to apply it across cultures and intellectual traditions worldwide is unsupported and disingenuous.
"The third fetter is superstition or attachment to rules and rituals based on a misguided understanding of their real purpose. Essentially it is a misguided attachment to certain things one does. Usually it has to do with doctrines and ceremonies. An example of this is belief in magic and magical practices, which is blatantly just superstition and occurs even among Buddhists. Practice based on the belief that it will produce magical abilities, psychic powers, and protective forces is founded on false and irrational hopes."
Also, " Buddhist practice becomes superstition if there is the expectation of mystical powers. This applies even to very small and trivial things such as ritual chanting, merit-making, and the like. The ceremony of placing rice and trays of sweetmeats before the Buddha's image, if performed in the belief that it is an offering to the Buddha's 'spirit' and that he will be able to partake of it, is certain to produce effects precisely the opposite of what the devotee is hoping for." Bhikkhu Buddhadasa, ed. Swearer, Donald K., Me and MIne: Selected Essays of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa, Handbook for Humankind, pg. 48.

What is disingenuous is believing that Asian cultures can't tell the difference between religion and philosophy. I think you will find with a little study that philosophy, that not being attached to religion, has been alive an well throughout Asia for centuries. I believe someone here shared a story about Ajahn Chan and a woman being 'possessed' and how he tricked her out it by claiming she had to be burned to exorcise the demon. Clearly, putting superstition in a negative light and the Dhamma in the forefront.



2. Sloppy generalization, as I warned against; centuries of theistic philosophy are wholly ignored here. Further, while I'm not in agreement with theism as it makes too strong of an epistemological claim, a-theism makes the same epistemological mistake. (Eternalism/Annihilationism.)

I'll say this another way: (a-)theism is a metaphysical claim; agnosticism is an epistemological one, as is the Dhamma. The difference is enormous.

A-theism is not anti-atheism, if that is what you are getting at. I suggest you watch the link I'll put at the bottom, the gentleman who produced the video speaks nicely about atheism.


This discounts the difference between views on homosexuality that arise between adherents of the same religion. Religion is sometimes used as an explanation, but it is not necessarily the cause of the behavior as different individuals agree, or not, on this interpretation of their scripture(s). This is the same mistake as saying...
No, I am sorry but you are dead wrong.

"If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them." (Leviticus 20:13)

"Women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should be submissive, as the law also says." (1 Corinthians 14:34)

"For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother. His blood shall be upon him." (Leviticus 20:9)

There is no interpretation here, you either follow it or ignore it. Most Christians ignore such Biblical passages, which we should all be thankful for. Yet, many still follow these and for those who attack homosexual civil rights these are the kinds of passages they are reading. The Christians who support gay rights are clearly ignoring such barbarous passages./color]


The intentions of all Abrahamic thinkers are assumed to be known. This is not a valid claim.
[color=#0000FF]I was clearly talking about those of the Abrahamic faiths who take their scripture literally and use it to attack others. They position on such matters is very clear, just reading the passages above. For those who follow an Abrahamic faith and are not engaging in such hateful speech, again, I say they are ignoring the parts of their religion that they don't like.



Your inherent assumption is that religious components are all merely decorative, but "religious decoration" is carelessly left undefined.
I believe many examples were in the article in question, but I could list amulets, statues, robes, items blessed by monks, who are just humans after all, having to say anything at a given time of day for whatever reason, and on and on. Really, do I need to define religious trappings to you? Refer as well to the second quote from Buddhadasa as well, please.

---

Have a care, all: this is the sort of loose reasoning that eschews evidence in favor of supporting preexisting biases. Clearer thinking is called for.

What are you talking about? Who's preexisting bias, mine, somebody else? Evidence, since we were talking about the article, perhaps that monks evidence? Is there enough evidence here in this post for you. Sorry to say but it sounds to me as if you are just uncomfortable speaking candidly about religion and philosophy. I took care about what I said and I stand by what I said. Cheers!


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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Thaibebop » Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:32 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Thaibebop wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:I'm fine with teachers warning about grasping teachings wrongly. Which I think this article is trying to do.

However, I'm in agreement with Sobeh that people often use words like "religion" in an attempt to justify their particular prejudices, as in:
    "I'm not interested in (religion/other labels for other stuff I don't like), only Dhamma."
Mike

I agree, but see no reason why those prejudices are negative things. I think the Dhamma is the most important thing out of Buddhism. I don't think people need the stories about demons and lotuses in footprints, I think they need the Dhamma. So, I think the prejudices are important. Take what is useful and what is needed, why bother with the trappings?

Exactly my point. The parts of the Suttas that you think are unimportant you label "religion" and dismiss them...

What exactly is the Dhamma, and what is not? How do you know?

I'm not suggesting that all the statements in the Suttas need be taken literally. But there is plenty of stuff in there that makes people uncomfortable not because it seems mythical, but because it is extremely radical. Just look at the threads about rape such as http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5183 to see how much aversion there is to taking seriously the teachings that suggest that we should give the same amount of compassion to the perpetrator as the victim.

Mike

"The Dhamma is paccattam-you know it for yourself. To know for yourself means to practice for yourself.' Ajahn Chan

Both Chan and Buddhadasa have advocated that the individual is responsible for the progress along the path. So, individual practice is more important the memorizing suttas. As I pointed out before suttas dealing with the Buddha's birth and Maya's dreams and all that is religion, and not attached to the thinking behind the practice. It can be and has been removed from the practice many times. Plus, there are other sects of Buddhism that are nothing but religion, praying to Buddhist saints to come save you before you die, and never putting in a day of meditation. Pureland is a perfect example of this. Just say the name over and over and no matter how much of a nasty person you've been you will be saved. That my friend, supported by scripture, is religion. There is no philosophy there, no thinking involved, you either believe or not, pure faith.
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Thaibebop » Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:37 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:I've found those (Buddhist or not) who say Buddhism is not a religion usually do so because they don't want it to be a religion

No, it is a religion, as practiced in one way. It can also be a philosophy that is based on reason and not faith in rebirth, demons and Buddhist angels. So, there are people that choose to take from it those nice rational aspects that are useful for human beings and stick with that. It's the same a people saying the Sermon on the Mound contains good moral lessons, and disregarding the hate filled Old Testament. Thomas Jefferson did such a thing when he created his own Bible, which just contained the parts that he thought were the truly rational and moral parts.
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Thaibebop » Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:48 pm

Tex wrote:It definitely depends on how "religion" is defined.

To me, a religion involves an object of worship, whether it's god(s), nature, the sun, ancestors or whatever. So, I consider Buddhism as simply a practice or a way of life. If a way of life is considered a "religion" even if it does not involve worshipping anything, then okay, Buddhism is a religion. And so is being in the Marine Corps, or being a college student, or practicing any number of other lifestyles, and then the word religion has lost any real meaning anyway.

Just my take.

Worship is a good word to bring up. Several teachers have said over the centuries that worshiping the Buddha is a bad thing. Why? Because it creates attachment and you are supposed to do away with attachment. I have heard and read the same for suttas and the teachers themselves as well. Once you remove attachment, it seems to me anyways, that you are dealing with the idea itself and not something divine, for you would be objective without attachment, wouldn't you? Therefore religious trappings would be just something else to be attached to.
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:21 pm

Thaibebop wrote:Both Chan and Buddhadasa have advocated that the individual is responsible for the progress along the path. So, individual practice is more important the memorizing suttas. As I pointed out before suttas dealing with the Buddha's birth and Maya's dreams and all that is religion, and not attached to the thinking behind the practice. It can be and has been removed from the practice many times.

I agree that the teachings can be misinterpreted, but I don't think it's easy to draw lines...
Ajahn Chah had his monks bow to Buddha images whenever they entered a room. Was that just unimportant religious fluff?

The Buddha frequently talked about recollecting Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, qualities of Devas, etc, as a mediation practice:
"There is the case where the disciple of the noble ones recollects the Tathagata, thus: 'Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed.' As he is recollecting the Tathagata, his mind is calmed, and joy arises; the defilements of his mind are abandoned...

Similarly for recollection of Dhamma and Sangha.

So when I'm at the Wat chanting:
Itipi so bhagavā arahaṃ sammā-sambuddho,
He is a Blessed One, a Worthy One, a Rightly Self-awakened One,
Vijjā-caraṇa-sampanno sugato lokavidū,
consummate in knowledge & conduct, one who has gone the good way, knower of the cosmos,
Anuttaro purisa-damma-sārathi satthā deva-manussānaṃ buddho bhagavāti.
unexcelled trainer of those who can be taught, teacher of human & divine beings; awakened; blessed.

Is that "religious", or is it, as it clear from the Sutta, a samatha meditation technique?

Mike
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby bodom » Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:26 pm

Handbook for Mankind by Buddhadasa

Of all these various aspects, the one a real Buddhist ought to take most interest in is Buddhism as Religion. We ought to look on Buddhism as a direct practical method for gaining knowledge of the true nature of things, knowledge which makes it possible to give up every form of grasping and clinging, of stupidity and infatuation, and become completely independent of things. To do this is to penetrate to the essence of Buddhism. Buddhism considered in this aspect is far more useful than Buddhism considered as mere morality, or as truth which is simply profound knowledge and not really practical; and more useful than Buddhism considered as philosophy, as something to be enjoyed as an object of speculation and argument of no value in the giving up of the mental defilements; and certainly more useful than Buddhism considered simply as culture, as attractive behaviour, noteworthy from the sociological viewpoint.


http://www.buddhanet.net/budasa4.htm

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Thaibebop » Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:15 pm

bodom wrote:Handbook for Mankind by Buddhadasa

Of all these various aspects, the one a real Buddhist ought to take most interest in is Buddhism as Religion. We ought to look on Buddhism as a direct practical method for gaining knowledge of the true nature of things, knowledge which makes it possible to give up every form of grasping and clinging, of stupidity and infatuation, and become completely independent of things. To do this is to penetrate to the essence of Buddhism. Buddhism considered in this aspect is far more useful than Buddhism considered as mere morality, or as truth which is simply profound knowledge and not really practical; and more useful than Buddhism considered as philosophy, as something to be enjoyed as an object of speculation and argument of no value in the giving up of the mental defilements; and certainly more useful than Buddhism considered simply as culture, as attractive behaviour, noteworthy from the sociological viewpoint.


http://www.buddhanet.net/budasa4.htm

:anjali:

I never disagreed that Buddhism was a religion, and within this same text Buddhadasa clearly states that focusing on all these 'religious aspects' would produce a poor practice. From what I have taken away from reading him is that you use these religious symbols and rituals as a starting point to help you progress to practicing correctly. Which means that many of these practices, like chanting, don't do anything by train the mind. No one but you is listening to the chanting. This is one of the great contradictions in Buddhism in my opinion. A person practicing the Dhamma shouldn't be attached to Buddhism itself, yet, you use the aspects of Buddhism to help you train your mind to become unattached, so it seems like teachers always say live Buddhism as a practice, but treat it like a religion. Why?

There are no divine beings to worship, unless you want there to be, and many cultures do. There are no demons, but people have added them. There is no proof of rebirth and even the Buddha said focusing on merit for the after life or next life was unimportant, only the 'here and now' is what the disciplined mind should be focused on, yet people have added that as well. I think on a side note that the idea of rebirth has been used for more harm the good by most, to justify their social position or the position of their lessors. As I pointed out with the Pureland example, where is the Dhamma there? Say a name over and over, never try to do anything other than that, say it before you go to bed and when you wake and the nice Buddhist saint to take you away when you die. That isn't any different then have faith that Jesus Christ is your lord and personal savior and you get into heaven. Just superstition and no practice.

So, yes, it's a religion, I never doubted that. What makes it different is that all these other religions have given their follows reasons to believe, regardless if they are based on hate or nice fluffy thoughts. Yet, Buddhism gives it's follows no reason to believe at all. It states over and over, you don't have to believe in any of the superstitious stuff, the 'religious trappings' if you will, it even says you don't have to believe in the Dhamma. The only solid claim it makes is that when you practice the Dhamma, you will see it's effectiveness and therefore value it, or believe that it works because you tested it, like any other idea from any particle philosophy. However, even when you reach that point, you still don't have to believe in all the other stuff, in fact it's better if you don't, because you don't want to develop attachment. So, I ask, why bother with all the things that could be labeled religious, superstitious, or un-necessary? It seems counter productive when you can just start with the Dhamma itself, just the teachings of the Buddha, no fables, no saints, no demons.
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Thaibebop » Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:19 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Thaibebop wrote:Both Chan and Buddhadasa have advocated that the individual is responsible for the progress along the path. So, individual practice is more important the memorizing suttas. As I pointed out before suttas dealing with the Buddha's birth and Maya's dreams and all that is religion, and not attached to the thinking behind the practice. It can be and has been removed from the practice many times.

I agree that the teachings can be misinterpreted, but I don't think it's easy to draw lines...
Ajahn Chah had his monks bow to Buddha images whenever they entered a room. Was that just unimportant religious fluff?
Yes, it was. He justified it as a training for the mind. Do go through these steps of bowing and chanting was to cultivate the mental discipline they were seeking. I remember a story of a Zen monk saying that since his master said the image of the Buddha wasn't important he wouldn't bow it, in fact he was going to spit. The master said fine, you spit, I bow. I thin k it's possible that Chan needed to bow for his practice and perhaps others don't.


The Buddha frequently talked about recollecting Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, qualities of Devas, etc, as a mediation practice:
"There is the case where the disciple of the noble ones recollects the Tathagata, thus: 'Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed.' As he is recollecting the Tathagata, his mind is calmed, and joy arises; the defilements of his mind are abandoned...

Similarly for recollection of Dhamma and Sangha.

So when I'm at the Wat chanting:
Itipi so bhagavā arahaṃ sammā-sambuddho,
He is a Blessed One, a Worthy One, a Rightly Self-awakened One,
Vijjā-caraṇa-sampanno sugato lokavidū,
consummate in knowledge & conduct, one who has gone the good way, knower of the cosmos,
Anuttaro purisa-damma-sārathi satthā deva-manussānaṃ buddho bhagavāti.
unexcelled trainer of those who can be taught, teacher of human & divine beings; awakened; blessed.

Is that "religious", or is it, as it clear from the Sutta, a samatha meditation technique?

Mike

Right, mental training is all that appears to be. You don't except anything to happen because you chant do you, other than the effects it might have on your mind and mental state, right?
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:13 am

Thaibebop wrote:Right, mental training is all that appears to be. You don't except anything to happen because you chant do you, other than the effects it might have on your mind and mental state, right?

Sure. So chanting and bowing to Buddha images is OK then, if it's part of the training? Along, of course, with practising generosity, and so on?

Thaibebop wrote:There are no demons, but people have added them. There is no proof of rebirth and even the Buddha said focusing on merit for the after life or next life was unimportant, only the 'here and now' is what the disciplined mind should be focused on, yet people have added that as well.

So a large proportion of the Suttas have stuff smuggled in later? How can you tell what is genuine?

Of course , different people will have different interpretations of the Suttas. And they may or may not be taken literally. But you'd have to ignore quite a few of them to claim that that Buddha didn't teach about such things.

Whether or not there is another life, merit is important here and now...

Mike
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Thaibebop » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:30 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Thaibebop wrote:Right, mental training is all that appears to be. You don't except anything to happen because you chant do you, other than the effects it might have on your mind and mental state, right?

Sure. So chanting and bowing to Buddha images is OK then, if it's part of the training? Along, of course, with practising generosity, and so on?

Thaibebop wrote:There are no demons, but people have added them. There is no proof of rebirth and even the Buddha said focusing on merit for the after life or next life was unimportant, only the 'here and now' is what the disciplined mind should be focused on, yet people have added that as well.

So a large proportion of the Suttas have stuff smuggled in later? How can you tell what is genuine?

Of course , different people will have different interpretations of the Suttas. And they may or may not be taken literally. But you'd have to ignore quite a few of them to claim that that Buddha didn't teach about such things.

Whether or not there is another life, merit is important here and now...

Mike

Okay, really? I think you are being (fill in the blank here) now. I was talking about the chanting and bowing to statues yes, generosity is not a trait that solely stems from religion and yes I would say that trying to be nice to people is good training for you. I think though you are just trying to be nasty now with that sentence. What, are you offended now?

All the suttas were written after the Buddha's death, so just like Jesus no one was there to record his words, it has all been written later and with educated guessing and what elders wanted to be in there. This is a perfect reason to apply the Buddha's own lesson to question and pick apart teachings and decide for yourself what is worth paying attention to and what is not. The suttas have restricted nuns in Theravada countries have they not? Have not the elders said women can't ordain and given all sorts of reasons why, all based on the suttas? Aren't women held as less then men, because only men can attention enlightenment? Of course there are suttas which contradict that as well, so take your pick I guess. Which would you rater adhere to? Do believe the Buddha said women could, or could achieve enlightenment? I say of course they can and perhaps the suttas that suggest otherwise should be ignored.

I think the Buddha talked about rebirth as many of his followers would have understood those references, much like Thomas Paine used Christianity as examples and reference points even though he was an outspoken Atheist. The people reading his works would have understood the Christian references. I do find it difficult to believe that after teaching such enlightening things like vipassana meditation the Buddha would turn around and talk about demons or being born from his mother's side with lotuses for footprints. I believe that mythical influence was added later by people who felt that it would be better understood by lay folk. Let's face the truth that people back then would have responded better to those stories than a purely philosophical practice. Considering that these mythical aspects increase in number the further away in time and space Buddhism gets from India also leads me to believe that a large part of superstitious stuff was added later. Tibetan Buddhism is filled with myths that pertain only to them and no one else. It is the same for lay people in South East Asia, there is what the monks practice and then there are all these magic based beliefs that lay folks have that are only found there. Buddhism has changed as it has traveled, just like any other religion and it has been shaped by humans, just like any other religion, so why take anything as face value? Why not pick and choose? I would think that many here picked and choose when it came to Christianity, what is the difference than?

Remember the story of the burning house and lying to get the children out, which showcases the whatever it takes to get the Dhamma to the people and worrying about right practice later. So, why wouldn't mythical, superstitious things be added to scare people or comfort them into the Damma? That would be what got them to the temple, so to speak, than you can focus on right practice when you have their attention.
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:02 am

Hi Thaibebop,
Thaibebop wrote:Okay, really? I think you are being (fill in the blank here) now. I was talking about the chanting and bowing to statues yes, generosity is not a trait that solely stems from religion and yes I would say that trying to be nice to people is good training for you. I think though you are just trying to be nasty now with that sentence. What, are you offended now?

Sorry if I offended you. That wasn't my intention, so clearly I'm not communicating very well. I was simply trying to point out that is very difficult to separate some of these things. As I said earlier, my opinion is that veneration for the Buddha can be a very positive thing, yet it's something some people see as "too religious". And practising generosity seems to be an important precursor to any kind of development, which, again, is sometimes viewed as too religious or not sophisticated enough.

Rebirth, is clearly something everyone has their own opinion on. As you say, you don't have to take the Suttas describing rebirth and other things literally, and, whatever your preference, it would probably be a mistake to fixate on a purely literal view.

Mike
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Nyana » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:50 am

Thaibebop wrote:There is no proof of rebirth.... I think the Buddha talked about rebirth as many of his followers would have understood those references....

Hi Thaibebop,

How do you know that the Buddha didn't understand and teach about rebirth based upon his own direct knowledge of former existences?

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby jcsuperstar » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:42 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
Thaibebop wrote:There is no proof of rebirth.... I think the Buddha talked about rebirth as many of his followers would have understood those references....

Hi Thaibebop,

How do you know that the Buddha didn't understand and teach about rebirth based upon his own direct knowledge of former existences?

All the best,

Geoff

he doesn't know. if one reads the Buddha's account of his enlightenment remembering his past lives and understanding kamma was a huge part of his experience.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Ben » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:58 am

Buddhism, Religion?


Does it actually matter?
Just walk the path and these types of questions become irrelevant.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Buddhism, Religion?

Postby GrahamR » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:51 am

Personally I don't really care if we call it a religion, or a belief or a philosophy or what ever, what matters to me is my own personal practice rather than semantics
With metta :bow:
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Sobeh » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:29 pm

Thaibebop wrote:What is disingenuous is believing that Asian cultures can't tell the difference between religion and philosophy.


I said the difference was contextualized with reference to Western history. The word "religion" didn't exist as such prior to the Western explication of it. I never said they couldn't tell the difference, I'm saying that while the difference is here now it wasn't always so.

You did not understand what I wrote.

As to religion generally, you are saying that some adherents are ignoring passages in the scriptures they don't like, but this is at least partly inaccurate. Often such passages receive one or another interpretation that locates them in a chronological or theological development. You cited parts of the Tanakh and a Pauline epistle, for example, but I doubt you are familiar with the various catechisms on those writings as followed by such adherents (the Talmud, for example, or the CCC). They render a different picture, one you seem to be ignorant of. It is on account of that ignorance that I caution you about your conclusions.

I have an MA-ABT in Comparative Religion, so I'm actually very comfortable talking about religion and philosophy in any capacity, contrary to your later claim. On that note:

Thaibebop wrote:Really, do I need to define religious trappings to you?


This is why I brought anything up at all; definitions are part and parcel of a discussion like this, and leaving terms such as this critically undefined is a problem. The definition of religion is itself a troublesome bugbear, how much more so 'religious trappings'? The difference between religion and philosophy is another such issue. Definitions are in fact wholly pertinent to the OP, so why would you not take the time to clearly define your ideas?

I've read Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, and others, so the video added nothing new. Note that this is a debate on the terms used, another example of how important definitions are. I decided to visit the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on account of this:

"‘Atheism’ means the negation of theism, the denial of the existence of God." Simple. Agnosticism is more nuanced, but has to do with the lack of either belief or disbelief. Atheism is thus a metaphysical claim about what exists and does not exist, while agnosticism takes the epistemological position that we don't know yet (or can't know ever - it can be used either way).

Also, Thomas Paine was a Deist (that's my BA in History getting dusted off, combined with a bit of internet verification).

As I said: clearer thinking is called for.
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby pilgrim » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:35 pm

I'm waiting for this argument to settle down before I ask "Is Buddhism an atheistic religion/non-religion." :stirthepot:
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby bodom » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:44 pm

pilgrim wrote:I'm waiting for this argument to settle down before I ask "Is Buddhism an atheistic religion/non-religion." :stirthepot:


Buddhism and the God-idea by Nyanaponika Thera

In Buddhist literature, the belief in a creator god (issara-nimmana-vada)is frequently mentioned and rejected, along with other causes wrongly adduced to explain the origin of the world; as, for instance, world-soul, time, nature, etc. God-belief, however, is placed in the same category as those morally destructive wrong views which deny the kammic results of action, assume a fortuitous origin of man and nature, or teach absolute determinism. These views are said to be altogether pernicious, having definite bad results due to their effect on ethical conduct.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... didea.html

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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