Buddhism and religion

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby pink_trike » Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:59 am

Jechbi wrote:
pink_trike wrote:I think the religious impulse/urge/view is just more dukkha.


What I don't understand is how you can square that statement with this statement:

pink_trike wrote:I agree that the FNT is a supreme motivation. I don't see this motivation as a religious impulse.


Those two statements contradict one another.


Hi Jechbi,

Could you explain to me in simple terms how they contradict each other? Please spell it out for me as clearly as you can...I'm not understanding this. I've got some thoughts but I don't want to proceed until I'm clear what you're pointing at. Thanks.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby Jechbi » Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:12 am

They contradict each other because the FNT is the truth of dukkha.

In this statement ...
pink_trike wrote:I agree that the FNT is a supreme motivation. I don't see this motivation as a religious impulse.
... you say that a religious impulse is not a kind of motivating factor that derives from the FNT. Therefore a religious impulse can't be dukkha. To be more clear, this is your statement if you substitute the word "dukkha" for FNT: "I agree that dukkha is a supreme motivation. I don't see this motivation as a religious impulse."

But in this statement ...
pink_trike wrote:I think the religious impulse/urge/view is just more dukkha.
... you say that a religious impulse is in fact dukkha.

That's how they contradict each other.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby pink_trike » Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:33 am

Jechbi wrote:They contradict each other because the FNT is the truth of dukkha.

In this statement ...
pink_trike wrote:I agree that the FNT is a supreme motivation. I don't see this motivation as a religious impulse.
... you say that a religious impulse is not a kind of motivating factor that derives from the FNT. Therefore a religious impulse can't be dukkha. To be more clear, this is your statement if you substitute the word "dukkha" for FNT: "I agree that dukkha is a supreme motivation. I don't see this motivation as a religious impulse."

But in this statement ...
pink_trike wrote:I think the religious impulse/urge/view is just more dukkha.
... you say that a religious impulse is in fact dukkha.

That's how they contradict each other.


Let's see if I can make it clearer:

There is dukkha. The religious impulse is an aversive reaction to dukkha that perverts the potentially beneficial motivation that can arise from an awareness of dukkha.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby Jechbi » Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:42 am

pink_trike wrote:Let's see if I can make it clearer:

There is dukkha. The religious impulse is an aversive reaction to dukkha that perverts the potentially beneficial motivation that can arise from an awareness of dukkha.

That doesn't make sense. If the religious impulse itself is more dukkha (as you have stated), then you're saying that dukkha itself perverts the potentially beneficial motivation that can arise from awareness of dukkha.
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But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby pink_trike » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:10 am

Jechbi wrote:
pink_trike wrote:Let's see if I can make it clearer:

There is dukkha. The religious impulse is an aversive reaction to dukkha that perverts the potentially beneficial motivation that can arise from an awareness of dukkha.

That doesn't make sense. If the religious impulse itself is more dukkha (as you have stated), then you're saying that dukkha itself perverts the potentially beneficial motivation that can arise from awareness of dukkha.

My mistake...It's late here and I've just finished up a 14 hour work day.

The religious impulse isn't "dukkha". The religious impulse compounds dukkha.

There is dukkha. The religious impulse is an aversive reaction to dukkha that perverts the potentially beneficial motivation that can arise from an awareness of dukkha. This is best understood when "religious impulse" is viewed as a manifestation of religious materialism.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby christopher::: » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:21 am

pink_trike wrote:
zavk wrote:Hi Pink,...to the extent that you are working with an essentialised notion of religion


Yes, this is exactly what I've been doing here. I'm experientially aware that there are other dimensions/experiences/perceptions associated with what is commonly known as "religion" and "religiosity" but imo, before these other dimensions/perceptions/experiences can be fruitfully discussed here (and in society in general) there needs to be a shattering distinction drawn between religious materialism and these other dimensions/perceptions/experiences. To do that, we have to look our "religious impulses" and habitual unconscious "religiosity" spang in the eye. I'll talk more about religious materialism later on.


I'm glad to hear that you are aware of this. We seemed to be going in circles because your perspective on "religion" utilizes assumptions about terminology that most of us simply do not share.

Glad this is finally being clarified.

The religious impulse isn't "dukkha". The religious impulse compounds dukkha.

There is dukkha. The religious impulse is an aversive reaction to dukkha that perverts the potentially beneficial motivation that can arise from an awareness of dukkha. This is best understood when "religious impulse" is viewed as a manifestation of religious materialism.


By religious impulse, what do you mean?

Please, you really have to define all these terms for us, as you are using them.
Last edited by christopher::: on Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby pink_trike » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:23 am

christopher::: wrote:
pink_trike wrote:
zavk wrote:Hi Pink,...to the extent that you are working with an essentialised notion of religion


Yes, this is exactly what I've been doing here. I'm experientially aware that there are other dimensions/experiences/perceptions associated with what is commonly known as "religion" and "religiosity" but imo, before these other dimensions/perceptions/experiences can be fruitfully discussed here (and in society in general) there needs to be a shattering distinction drawn between religious materialism and these other dimensions/perceptions/experiences. To do that, we have to look our "religious impulses" and habitual unconscious "religiosity" spang in the eye. I'll talk more about religious materialism later on.


I'm glad to hear that you are aware of this. We seemed to be going in circles because your perspective on "religion" utilizes assumptions about terminology that most of us simply do not share.

Glad this is finally being clarified.


I started at the beginning where all things should start.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby pink_trike » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:31 am

christopher::: wrote:
By religious impulse, what do you mean? Please, you really have to define all these terms for us, as you are using them.


Hi Christopher,

I posted this earlier over at the "What is your definition of religion/religious impulse" thread:

Religion:

a. A naming convention. A convenient conceptual header under which religious people place certain questions and experiences.

b. the institutions that gather and grow around those questions and experiences that religious people place under the header of religion.

c. A political movement

Religious:

a. A egoic identity - "I am a religious person"

b. The experience of a religious impulse and/or religiosity.

Religious impulse:

A movement of the mind. A mind-state. A sensory/conceptual experience that arises as a result of internal/external conditioning. An obscuration.

Religiosity:

Extended or habitual attachment to religious impulse
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:36 am

Pink Trike, Seems you missed these two msgs from page 6. Answering them would be a good thing.

gabrielbranbury

Hi Pink Trike,


There has been a lot of talk of this "religious impulse". You have stated that this is not something which you experience.

I would need to be religious to be able to use the term in a way that religious people understand it. I'm not religious, and I use it differently because I don't agree with how religious people define or perceive religion...from where I stand I see "religion" quite differently. There is no concrete definition or view of religion or the religious impulse, no matter how much many religious people feel they own the term. They don't.


You dont agree with how people define or perceive religion based upon the fact that you perceive yourself not to partake in it as a real thing. If as you say there is no concrete definition or view of religion or the religious impulse then you are not making any sense at all. There is no point in using a term which applies to subjective experience unless you make an effort to correlate the meaning of the term with something you subjectively experience.

Terms which are used to describe our subjective experience always have the quality of of being rough and a bit poetic. So while there is no "concrete" meaning there is a certain spectrum of experience which such a term will point to. I dont think any communication is really possible unless we are willing to place a portion of our own experience on that spectrum. Otherwise I think confusion is going to be the only result.


Happy Trails

Gabriel


Peter:

pink_trike wrote:I'll point out again that the OP question wasn't about defining religion.

I'll say it again: it needs to include that question.

I'm more interested in why individuals choose a religious view of Buddhism, or why they don't.
...
It's about why some people choose to engage Buddhism religiously and some don't as I stated in the OP.

But without first agreeing on what we mean by "religious view" and "religiously", any answers are going to be impossible to understand.

christopher::: wrote:The real problem is ignorance, and then all the unhelpful mindstates and behaviors that arise with it. This is not implicit in religion though, or the religious "impulse," imo. It comes with all human activities and institutions..

Most religions arise as ways of sharing wisdom, improving the human condition. The challenge is to stay true to that.

I think this is very well said.

pink_trike wrote:Perhaps ... it's the time for everyone to seriously reconsider the value of these institutions, and to reconsider the value of centralization. Perhaps they are no longer needed. How about Open Source locally-sustained wisdom? No intercessors. Direct experiences of awareness in direct contact with the phenomenal world. Let religion die away. :smile:

Perhaps it's time for everyone to seriously reconsider the value of tolerance instead. People who believe in centralized sources (for example Buddhists believe in the Buddha) can learn to tolerate people who don't recognize any centralized sources. Likewise, people who don't recognize any centralized sources can tolerate people who do. Surely there's room enough in this world for both?

Making calls to kill off religion, insulting people who value religion... these are not examples of tolerance. Honestly, pink_trike, it is very clear your intent in this thread is not curiosity in the "other side", but rather to persuade the other side to change it's ways. Real, honest curiosity comes from respect.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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

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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby christopher::: » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:41 am

pink_trike wrote:
Religious impulse:

A movement of the mind. A mind-state. A sensory/conceptual experience that arises as a result of internal/external conditioning. An obscuration.

Religiosity:

Extended or habitual attachment to religious impulse


Well. It sounds to me like you are classifying this in a negative sense. In my mind we could see religious impulse as having two forms, one is tied up with dukkhu, is an obscuration, definitely. Those religious impulses will only create more problems.

But for any religious person, there is at the core a purity of intentions, insight, wisdom. We can call this dharma, love, metta, mudita, christ consciousness, etc. Doesn't matter what you call it but this is the "water" that Bhikku Punno talked about, that I do believe is at the center of most religious activity on our planet.

To frame human religion in a negative way, is a kind of obscuration as well, imo. Light and dark go together. Focusing only on the negative side of something that is sacred and important to people is a dualistic way of thinking...
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby pink_trike » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:00 am

christopher::: wrote:
pink_trike wrote:
Religious impulse:

A movement of the mind. A mind-state. A sensory/conceptual experience that arises as a result of internal/external conditioning. An obscuration.

Religiosity:

Extended or habitual attachment to religious impulse


Well. It sounds to me like you are classifying this in a negative sense. In my mind we could see religious impulse as having two forms, one is tied up with dukkhu, is an obscuration, definitely. Those religious impulses will only create more problems.

But for any religious person, there is at the core a purity of intentions, insight, wisdom. We can call this dharma, love, metta, mudita, christ consciousness, etc. Doesn't matter what you call it but this is the "water" that Bhikku Punno talked about, that I do believe is at the center of most religious activity on our planet.

To frame human religion in a negative way, is a kind of obscuration as well, imo. Light and dark go together. Focusing only on the negative side of something that is sacred and important to people is a dualistic way of thinking...


The 1st NT (the first step) says "there is suffering"...it doesn't say "there is suffering and bliss". When the King was walking down the road showing off his beautiful clothes to the ecstatic admiration of all his subjects, what did the little boy point directly at?

Sometimes it's effective and necessary to get a good clear stand-alone look at the side that everyone assumes is light. What is assumed to be light is often obscuration.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby pink_trike » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:47 am

Peter - Honestly, pink_trike, it is very clear your intent in this thread is not curiosity in the "other side", but rather to persuade the other side to change it's ways.


Are you really sure that you know my intent?

Peter - Real, honest curiosity comes from respect.


Of course. If I didn't respect you (and everyone here) I likely wouldn't waste any time talking to you. :hug:
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby christopher::: » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:53 am

pink_trike wrote:
The 1st NT (the first step) says "there is suffering"...it doesn't say "there is suffering and bliss". When the King was walking down the road showing off his beautiful clothes to the ecstatic admiration of all his subjects, what did the little boy point directly at?

Sometimes it's effective and necessary to get a good clear stand-alone look at the side that everyone assumes is light. What is assumed to be light is often obscuration.


And sometimes what people assume to be light, is light. Sure, if someone is showing off their beautiful clothes it can be helpful to take them down a notch. But many people put on the heavy clothing of religion because they felt cold, were suffering in the wind, naked.

Putting on extra layers then, is a natural response, a natural impulse, its not "wrong." If the clothing is making trouble though, a helpful approach could be something more akin to praising everyone's natural light, their nakedness, and then point a finger in the direction of the hot tub...

:tongue:

Image
Last edited by christopher::: on Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby pink_trike » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:56 am

christopher::: wrote:
pink_trike wrote:
The 1st NT (the first step) says "there is suffering"...it doesn't say "there is suffering and bliss". When the King was walking down the road showing off his beautiful clothes to the ecstatic admiration of all his subjects, what did the little boy point directly at?

Sometimes it's effective and necessary to get a good clear stand-alone look at the side that everyone assumes is light. What is assumed to be light is often obscuration.


And sometimes what people assume to be light, is light. Sure, if someone is showing off their beautiful clothes it can be helpful to take them down a notch. But many people put on the clothing of religions because they felt cold, were suffering naked.

A helpful approach in such situations could be something more akin to praising the beauty and of everyone's natural light, their nakedness, and then point a finger in the direction of the hot tub...

:tongue:

Image


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emperor's_New_Clothes
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:57 am

PT,

Oops this is the one from Peter, which you ignored, I had meant to copy for your consideration.

You've finally gotten around to honestly stating what your purpose is with this thread:

pink_trike wrote:I would need to be religious to be able to use the term in a way that religious people understand it. I'm not religious, and I use it differently because I don't agree with how religious people define or perceive religion.

Here you state it is impossible for you to engage in meaningful dialog with people who hold a different view that you do. So if it's not open dialog your after, what is is?

pink_trike wrote:What I'm advocating (perhaps a bit too strong of a word) is that religion and the religious impulse should be dragged out of the closet and examined free from biases - as I did for years _before_ forming opinions of it and choosing not to engage in it. Before it can be examined free from biases, one must clearly know one's biases. This is consistent with the mission of Buddhist practice by any standard that I know. How can we claim to be something (or not) if we haven't examined it carefully from all sides, not just the side that makes us feel the most comfortable? I'm always surprised by self-described religious people who take religion and religious impulses for granted - who haven't asked themselves what their religious impulse is and why it arises in their mind-stream.

Ah, so it's not dialog you seek at all. What you seek is for other people to re-examine their own beliefs. You've already done your examination and concluded religion is bad, evil, harmful, unnecessary, etc. and you are inviting other people to come to the same conclusion. This is a very far cry from your OP: "I'm naturally curious why other people do [experienced Buddhism in any religious way]."
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby Jechbi » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:59 am

Hi Pink,
pink_trike wrote:Religion:

a. A naming convention. A convenient conceptual header under which religious people place certain questions and experiences.

b. the institutions that gather and grow around those questions and experiences that religious people place under the header of religion.

c. A political movement

Religious:

a. A egoic identity - "I am a religious person"

b. The experience of a religious impulse and/or religiosity.

Religious impulse:

A movement of the mind. A mind-state. A sensory/conceptual experience that arises as a result of internal/external conditioning. An obscuration.

Religiosity:

Extended or habitual attachment to religious impulse

This is completely circular and doesn't define anything. You start with a preconceived notion of what the term "religion" means, which apparently to you means ignorance, avijja.

If you go through all of your writings, you may find that your description of religion parallels avijja. You describe clouding, obscuration, turning away from dukkha, not understanding dukkha, etc. You have taken the word "religion" and misapplied it as a term synonymous with avijja.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby christopher::: » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:00 am



I liked the Alf version..

:smile:

The story has been parodied numerous times, including one story in the animated television series Alftales where Alf plays a frustrated tailor of comfortable casual clothes who pulls the trick on the uninterested emperor who refused his usual goods. At the end, when the emperor's pretension is exposed by a girl who makes some sarcastic comments about his state of undress, Alf's character supplies the ruler some of his usual wares which the emperor finds agreeable. However, the story ends with the emperor making the best of his humiliation by indulging in his one opportunity to go streaking, and then announces to his subjects that he is giving away all his unwanted clothes to charity.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:11 pm

pink_trike wrote:Religious impulse:

A movement of the mind. A mind-state. A sensory/conceptual experience that arises as a result of internal/external conditioning. An obscuration.

This is a little vague. Perhaps you could clarify? A movement from what? or to what?

A movement of mind is a neutral thing. So is a mind state. So is a sensory/conceptual experience. The only part of your definition which implies some sort of negativity is "an obscuration" but it's still too vague to be actually saying anything. An obscuration of what?
- Peter

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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:50 pm

I put forth this as an example of the religious impulse:

DN31 wrote:When the Exalted One had spoken thus, Sigala, the young householder, said as follows:

"Excellent, Lord, excellent! It is as if, Lord, a man were to set upright that which was overturned, or were to reveal that which was hidden, or were to point out the way to one who had gone astray, or were to hold a lamp amidst the darkness, so that those who have eyes may see. Even so, has the doctrine been explained in various ways by the Exalted One.

"I take refuge, Lord, in the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha. May the Exalted One receive me as a lay follower; as one who has taken refuge from this very day to life's end."


Sigala could have simply approved of what the Buddha said and left it at that. But he went further. He declared an alligence to the Buddha, declared his intent to follow the Buddha for the rest of his life. Something clearly happened in Sigala's mind bridging the gap from simply approving of what the Buddha said to finding the Buddha worthy of following for the rest of his life. It is a gap bridged by sadha, faith, confidence.

I would call this the religious impulse. I would call this the difference between merely finding some Buddhist teachings interesting to taking on Buddhism as a religion, taking the Noble Eightfold Path as the supreme guiding principle in one's life.

And it is something one either experiences or they don't. And those that don't experience it apparently cannot understand those that do; likewise those that do apparently cannot explain it to those that don't. It is that wide of a gap.

I think it is not unreasonable to suggest this lack of clarity on what happens over this gap may be responsible for contributing to some bad behaviors. For example, I have seen people relentlessly (aggressively, annoyingly, violently) proselytize because they believe this is the way to bring people over that gap. I have seen the strength of one's faith give them the energy and will to commit physical aggression and violence. So I can see how someone might conclude "eliminate the faith, eliminate that bridge over the gap and then we will have eliminated the condition for these bad behaviors." I can see this being suggested especially because those who have not crossed the gap do not understand it. In a way both sides are guilty of the same thing: wanting to eliminate that which is different from them. It is fear of the unknown. That's all.

For my part, I believe the problem is neither faith nor lack of faith. The problem is for people of faith to learn how to relate to people of no faith and for people of no faith to learn how to relate to people of faith. It is a matter, as I said previously, of learning tolerance.

I remember myself before confidence in the Buddha arose. I remember not understanding people of religion. I remember thinking religion was a crutch, a delusion, a clinging to something unnecessary. And I remember being shocked to realize one day that I was now a person of religion.

I remember when my sister became a born-again Christian. I remember how obnoxious and at times outright hostile she was to everyone who didn't love Christ. And I remember seeing a gradual change in her over the years as she learned tolerance. Her husband put it to me this way: "It either happens for you or it doesn't. You can't make it happen. And you can't make it happen to someone else. Either Christ makes himself known to you or he doesn't." I find I can understand what he's saying. You either find faith in the Buddha arising or your don't. You either find yourself willing to be a follower for life or you don't. What makes that happen? What's the trigger? the cause? I don't know. Christians say it is G-d's will. Buddhists say it is due to past karma.

:shrug:

I do think it is interesting to talk about, to look at. The religious impulse. I think to look objectively one has to put aside any preconceived notions of good or bad. To say "the religious impulse is bad because it is a supporting condition for all sorts of bad behavior" is going to make one less objective. To say "the religious impulse is good because it is a supporting condition for liberation" is also going to make one less objective. These views are also going to make discourse intolerable as both sides will be looking down on the other. I think both views are also unnecessary to the discussion. Something happens, a chasm surmounted, a profound change occurs. I think this can be talked about while still maintaining an attitude of respect.

I think understanding how that gap is bridged, or perhaps discovering that it can't be bridged intentionally, will go a way to eliminating bad behaviors on both sides.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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Re: Buddhism and religion

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:15 pm

Just thought of a nice little example to clarify a point or two in that last post.

Some religious people feel morally superior to non-religious people and pity the latter for "not getting it".

Some non-religious people feel morally superior to religious people and pity the latter for "falling prey to delusion".

It is the feelings of moral superiority and pity that are blameworthy, not religion or lack of religion, and those blameworthy qualities can be identified and rooted out.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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