PorkChop wrote: tattoogunman wrote:
... Isn't there also a small following of people out there who also think that Buddha's original teachings got inflated into an actual full blown religion which, as I understand it, it wasn't supposed to be?
Someone turned me onto a book called "Buddhism Without Beliefs", but I haven't read it yet.
I'm curious where you got the idea that it "wasn't supposed to be"..."inflated into an actual full blown religion"?
I remember reading a statement in one of the Nikaya Suttas where one of the major points of kamma in the Buddha's doctrine is that it is changeable (the effects of it are mutable), because otherwise there would be no point of a religious life. This viewpoint of kamma is somewhat fundamental to the 4 Noble Truths; specifically that there can be a cessation of suffering. Without the 4 Noble Truths, there's not much left that's Buddhism.
In "Buddhism Without Beliefs" Batchelor had to re-write the entire life of Siddhartha Gautama in order to fit his paradigm.
Not sure you're going to find any Secular Humanism that's still going to fall under Buddhism. May just want to find a meditation practice & a set of ethics that suit you and go from there.
Just read the "Theravada Buddhism in a Nutshell" that Aloka posted.
I still think if you rule out literal rebirth; then there really isn't any point in becoming a monk.
If you're ready to step away from the world, you'd have a lot more fun going on a week-long bender of hookers & blow, then blow your brains out before that momentary satisfaction flees.
If you want to stick around longer, live a life of luxury, wait till your prognosis is grim *then* go have your week-long bender.
The whole point about the precept on intoxicants is that they make you heedless; in other words, there does exist an amount of intoxicants that will distract you from your problems (at least long enough to go out with a bang).
Just my opinions as a noob.
As a noob (like you), the history that I've read of Buddhism was that he (Buddha) set out to provide his teachings to people who wanted to become enlightened. His teachings were not provided as a means to start a religion, but to help people live better lives. The Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path do not require any element of mysticism or religion to do in my opinion - it's just a guide on how to live a better life. Same thing with the Five Precepts, no religious component required. What I mean by inflated into a religion, obviously there are various sects/factions (whatever you want to call them) of Buddhism that absolutely took it to that level. Mahayana for example - multiple Buddha's who can manifest themselves over billions of different galaxies and planets, multi limbed beings, etc. - definitely what I consider the "religion" level. I don't have a huge problem with the karma element, I can see cause & effect with no problem. The concept of reincarnation seems to be a contentious issue - I've found some references that Buddha did not actually teach the reincarnation idea, but of course there are others that say yes.
)Is Buddhism a Religion?
To many, Buddhism goes beyond religion and is more of a philosophy or 'way of life'. It is a philosophy because philosophy 'means love of wisdom' and the Buddhist path can be summed up as:
(1) to lead a moral life,
(2) to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and
(3) to develop wisdom and understanding. Was the Buddha a God?
He was not, nor did he claim to be. He was a man who taught a path to enlightenment from his own experience. Is Buddhism Scientific?
Science is knowledge which can be made into a system, which depends upon seeing and testing facts and stating general natural laws. The core of Buddhism fit into this definition, because the Four Noble truths (see below) can be tested and proven by anyone in fact the Buddha himself asked his followers to test the teaching rather than accept his word as true. Buddhism depends more on understanding than faith.What is Karma?
Karma is the law that every cause has an effect, i.e., our actions have results. This simple law explains a number of things: inequality in the world, why some are born handicapped and some gifted, why some live only a short life. Karma underlines the importance of all individuals being responsible for their past and present actions. How can we test the karmic effect of our actions? The answer is summed up by looking at (1) the intention behind the action, (2) effects of the action on oneself, and (3) the effects on others. (I can deal with this and look at it outside of a metaphysical/mystical level)
Again, coming from http://www.buddhanet.net
1. There is no almighty God in Buddhism. There is no one to hand out rewards or punishments on a supposedly Judgement Day.
2. Buddhism is strictly not a religion in the context of being a faith and worship owing allegiance to a supernatural being.
3. No saviour concept in Buddhism. A Buddha is not a saviour who saves others by his personal salvation. Although a Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha as his incomparable guide who indicates the path of purity, he makes no servile surrender. A Buddhist does not think that he can gain purity merely by seeking refuge in the Buddha or by mere faith in Him. It is not within the power of a Buddha to wash away the impurities of others
4. A Buddha is not an incarnation of a god/God (as claimed by some Hindu followers). The relationship between a Buddha and his disciples and followers is that of a teacher and student.
5. The liberation of self is the responsibility of one's own self. Buddhism does not call for an unquestionable blind faith by all Buddhist followers. It places heavy emphasis on self-reliance, self discipline and individual striving.
6. Taking refuge in The Triple Gems i.e. the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha; does not mean self-surrender or total reliance on an external force or third party for help or salvation.
7. Dharma (the teachings in Buddhism) exists regardless whether there is a Buddha. Sakyamuni Buddha (as the historical Buddha) discovered and shared the teachings/ universal truths with all sentient beings. He is neither the creator of such teachings nor the prophet of an almighty God to transmit such teachings to others.Buddha says:
"Do not accept anything on (mere) hearsay -- (i.e., thinking that thus have we heard it for a long time). Do not accept anything by mere tradition -- (i.e., thinking that it has thus been handed down through many generations). Do not accept anything on account of mere rumors -- (i.e., by believing what others say without any investigation). Do not accept anything just because it accords with your scriptures. Do not accept anything by mere suppositions. Do not accept anything by mere inference. Do not accept anything by merely considering the reasons. Do not accept anything merely because it agrees with your pre-conceived notions. Do not accept anything merely because it seems acceptable -- (i.e., thinking that as the speaker seems to be a good person his words should be accepted). Do not accept anything thinking that the ascetic is respected by us (therefore it is right to accept his word).
"But when you know for yourselves -- these things are immoral, these things are blameworthy, these things are censured by the wise, these things, when performed and undertaken conduce to ruin and sorrow -- then indeed do you reject them.
"When you know for yourselves -- these things are moral, these things are blameless, these things are praised by the wise, these things, when performed and undertaken, conduce to well-being and happiness -- then do you live acting accordingly."
I understand that it's easier to lump Buddhism with the label of "religion", but I'll argue that it's not because at it's root, it doesn't have the generally accepted requisites. This seems to be a fairly common divisive issue in the Buddhist community and I get that. But I feel that I can follow the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path quite easily without having to resort to super natural, metaphysical, mystical, magical, (whatever) sources for its origin. Unless someone can point me to something of the contrary?? Like I said, I can get on board with the concept of karma, it's a term I've been using for years and I'm perfectly fine with cause/effect.
Got your PM by the way