Why I am not a Buddhist

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby DAWN » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:25 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
I think you're both right.


All fenomena depends on what we mean by "I".
Sabbe dhamma anatta
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Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby beeblebrox » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:30 pm

DAWN wrote:All fenomena depends on what we mean by "I".


I think that might be a topic for another thread... let's not derail this one.

:anjali:
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Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby DAWN » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:37 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
DAWN wrote:All fenomena depends on what we mean by "I".


I think that might be a topic for another thread... let's not derail this thread.

:anjali:


Actualy it is.

Question :"Why I am not Buddhist?"
Response: "Because, that is called "an Buddhist", was not the condition of your "I". This why, "you" are not "Buddhist"."

:anjali:
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Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby beeblebrox » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:58 pm

"I" has nothing to do with it, period... or else we would be focusing on the wrong thing. It's illusory. Believing in that kind of perception will only contribute to the dukkha... whether it's coming from either side, including yours.

You said that there's no "I" in the Dhamma. Well, why don't you try to view things in that way now? You seem to be fixated on it... even to the point where you believe that it's part of the topic. The word "I" has nothing to do with the person's issue who wrote that blog.

I think that the real issue here is that he encountered something which he didn't like, and then some people in here were concerned enough about it to discuss that. "I" had no part in this... never has been, and it never will be. It's just a word that a guy used.

:anjali:
Last edited by beeblebrox on Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby DAWN » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:01 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
You said that there's no "I" in the Dhamma. Well, why don't you actually start to try view things in that way now? You seem to be fixated on it... even to the point where you believe that it's part of the topic. The word "I" has nothing to do with the person's issue who wrote that blog.


You are right. My "I" depends on Dhamma, this why i see it even when there isn't.
Sabbe dhamma anatta
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Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:06 pm

DAWN wrote:If this "I" is conditioned by "a buddhist", it is.
If this "I" is conditioned by "The Dhamma", there is no "I".


Some people call themselves Buddhist.
Some people call themselves a follower of The Dhamma.

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

As far as I am concerned, they are the same. Others may see it differently or just want to avoid the big "R" label, which is fine; for me they are the same.

The young man in the blog link in the OP is arguing against Buddhism as it is practiced, not as how the doctrine is brought out in the Suttas. For example, there are numerous references against amulets, superstition, divinity, palm reading, etc.

Of course Buddhism does have some mythological elements brought in from Brahmanism, but they are not essential teachings of dukkha and the way out of dukkha.
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Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby DAWN » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:14 pm

:goodpost:
Complitely agree.
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Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:38 pm

Digity wrote:
James the Giant wrote:
Digity wrote:I'm not a fan of Mahayana Buddism.

I have lots of Theravada friends from Thailand and Malaysia, and they pretty much believe the same things in the same way as that guy rebelled against. It's not just the Mahayana.

Fair enough. It just seems like it's more prevalent in Mahayana Buddhism. The first few Buddhist center I went to were Mahayana and I remember one of them talking about how we needed to pray more, because enlightenment was too hard...or something like that. I remember just thinking it was a silly comment and starting to sound too "religiousy". The Theravada teachings are way more in line with the Buddha's original teachings. I guess everyone needs to choose the path that suits them the most. I can't really say much else.

Hi, Digity,
James is absolutely right about Theravada in traditionally Buddhist countries in SE Asia (and probably just as much in China and Japan, too). I think your perception of the difference in religiosity of the two schools reflects the way they have developed in the West - Theravada without so much of the 'cultural baggage' that Mahayana, especially Vajrayana, carried with it.
The difference may be because Theravada has been transmitted to us largely by Westerners while Mahayana has come more often via Asian teachers - especially the Tibetan diaspora - but that's just a guess.

:namaste:
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Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby pilgrim » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:18 am

I also posted the link to a local Buddhist discussion group and some of the responses I received was some thing like, "He is ignorant . He wasn't really a Buddhist in the first place. He didn't make an effort to investigate further". I am struck by the fact that many Buddhists want to spread their religion but would place the blame on the person if he fails to believe. Somethimes comments would go further to say his wisdom is weak, he did not have good karma , etc. They fail to see that the guy picked up all these wrong beliefs and practices from other Buddhists, so who is at fault here?

In Malaysia, becoz Theravada is relatively new and being developed on the back of traditional Chinese Mahayana, thankfully, we also have less of the cultural folk religious elements.
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Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby ground » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:21 am

pilgrim wrote:... "He is ignorant . He wasn't really a Buddhist in the first place. He didn't make an effort to investigate further". I am struck by the fact that many Buddhists want to spread their religion but would place the blame on the person if he fails to believe. ...

It is just the felt self's self-protection strategy :sage:
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Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby dude » Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:20 am

Sounds to me like the Malaysian Buddhist communities he's talking about weren't practicing Buddhism at all, Hinayana or Mahayana.
It sounds like a bunch of local superstitions with some Buddhist teachings thrown in and called Buddhism.
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Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:59 am

dude wrote:Sounds to me like the Malaysian Buddhist communities he's talking about weren't practicing Buddhism at all, Hinayana or Mahayana.
It sounds like a bunch of local superstitions with some Buddhist teachings thrown in and called Buddhism.

That's a bit unfair. Their religion is a direct descendant of the Buddha's teaching, just as Tibetan Buddhism and Zen are. Each of them has adapted through time to local needs and conditions.
Think of it as genetic drift - the same process that turned some monkeys into gorillas, some into gibbons and some into ... us. :tongue:

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Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby Nyana » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:33 am

pilgrim wrote: They fail to see that the guy picked up all these wrong beliefs and practices from other Buddhists, so who is at fault here?

I'd suggest that a more pertinent question is where did he pick up his scientific materialism? The most important aspects of the noble path can't be known through the five senses.
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Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:59 am

Ñāṇa wrote: The most important aspects of the noble path can't be known through the five senses.
True, but it can be known through the six senses.
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: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby dude » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:03 am

It probably is a bit unfair, or at least inadequately considered, because it's an offhand comment in response to reading it through once.
I should think much longer and carefully before saying anything about the dharma. Confucius said "nine thoughts to one word."
After reading it a second time, though, I agree with almost everything he says, and I'm a practicing Buddhist.
Get what I mean?
Buddhism is not about going to a better place after you die. The Buddha's teachings are instructions for a practice to learn the standards of skillful and unskillful conduct which lead to good and bad outcomes, cultivation of capacity for illusion-free perception of the mysteries of the mind, and bringing forth the buddha-wisdom innate in all livings. These practices have practical advantages and produce tangible results; in the here and now.
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Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby Nyana » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:58 am

dude wrote:Buddhism is not about going to a better place after you die.

Firstly, "Buddhism" is a term that covers a lot of ground.

Secondly, if one hasn't attained to the arahant fruition, the Buddhadhamma is about achieving a good rebirth as a god or human being. This includes rebirth in the pure abodes for non-returners, and rebirth in heaven realms for stream entrants, etc. For example, see the Vimānavatthu where gods describe their former meritorious deeds that resulted in their rebirth as deities in heavenly mansions.

dude wrote:The Buddha's teachings are instructions for a practice to learn the standards of skillful and unskillful conduct which lead to good and bad outcomes, cultivation of capacity for illusion-free perception of the mysteries of the mind, and bringing forth the buddha-wisdom innate in all livings. These practices have practical advantages and produce tangible results; in the here and now.

Yes, and this doesn't preclude post-mortem good and bad outcomes. Nor does it preclude engaging in recollection of the gods in order to inspire the mind and develop skillful mental qualities. For example, AN 11.12 Paṭhamamahānāma Sutta:

    Furthermore, you should recollect the devas: 'There are the devas of the Four Great Kings, the devas of the Thirty-three, the devas of the Hours, the Contented Devas, the devas who delight in creation, the devas who have power over the creations of others, the devas of Brahma's retinue, the devas beyond them. Whatever conviction they were endowed with that — when falling away from this life — they re-arose there, the same sort of conviction is present in me as well. Whatever virtue they were endowed with that — when falling away from this life — they re-arose there, the same sort of virtue is present in me as well. Whatever learning they were endowed with that — when falling away from this life — they re-arose there, the same sort of learning is present in me as well. Whatever generosity they were endowed with that — when falling away from this life — they re-arose there, the same sort of generosity is present in me as well. Whatever discernment they were endowed with that — when falling away from this life — they re-arose there, the same sort of discernment is present in me as well.' At any time when a disciple of the noble ones is recollecting the conviction, virtue, learning, generosity, and discernment found both in himself and the devas, his mind is not overcome with passion, not overcome with aversion, not overcome with delusion. His mind heads straight, based on the [qualities of the] devas. And when the mind is headed straight, the disciple of the noble ones gains a sense of the goal, gains a sense of the Dhamma, gains joy connected with the Dhamma. In one who is joyful, rapture arises. In one who is rapturous, the body grows calm. One whose body is calmed experiences ease. In one at ease, the mind becomes concentrated.

    Of one who does this, Mahanama, it is said: 'Among those who are out of tune, the disciple of the noble ones dwells in tune; among those who are malicious, he dwells without malice; having attained the stream of Dhamma, he develops the recollection of the devas.'
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Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby dude » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:21 am

Yes, and this doesn't preclude post-mortem good and bad outcomes.

I couldn't agree with you more. Of course it doesn't.
What I say here is in the context of Buddhism and what it says about the state of existence after death (and before birth).
What I'm saying here is in contrast to the proposition that Buddhism is about offering prayers in this life with faith this will lead to rebirth in a heavenly place after death, even if it is only a way station on the path to nirvana.
Advancement in practice is carried out in the here and now, and manifests in this life. If it doesn't, it doesn't manifest in the next life either, as the sutra passage you quote restates, which I'll excerpt in my next post.
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Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby dude » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:34 am

"Whatever conviction they were endowed with that — when falling away from this life — they re-arose there, the same sort of conviction is present in me as well..."

So to clarify, the point I'm making is kind of the same as the point I think you're making, if you get my drift. Practice in the here and now produces good results in this life and the next. To wait for good things to happen until after you die is not the Buddha's teaching, so what I'm saying is that if he was taught that, he either misunderstood or was taught wrong.
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Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby James the Giant » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:24 pm

dude wrote:To wait for good things to happen until after you die is not the Buddha's teaching, so what I'm saying is that if he was taught that, he either misunderstood or was taught wrong.

However, it is the teaching of the Mahayana Pure-Land school of Buddhism. To them, this life is basically prep work, so in the next life (hopefully the Pure Land) they can really get down to business and start practising.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Why I am not a Buddhist

Postby dude » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:22 pm

Point taken. The doctrines are based on the Amitabha Sutra, so it's Buddhism.
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