If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby Billymac29 » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:38 pm

Taosim
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"
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What traditions did you explore before becoming a Buddhist?

Postby Benjamin » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:00 pm

Good point Retro, I've actually changed the topic a bit to suit that. What other philosophies or religions caught your attention before fully accepting the Buddha's teachings? I know many of us were raised Christian, but I'm sure I'm not alone when I say it wasn't the quickest journey from there to here.

Personally I explored Daoism quite a bit. I appreciated many of it's sayings and philosophies, but all the major one's that stuck with me ended up being part of the Buddha's teachings anyway. Also Vedanta, particularly Adi Shankara and Ramana Maharshi.

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Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby SarathW » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:30 pm

I was born to Buddhist parents but as majority Buddhist, my knowledge was restricted to five precepts. (I did not follow them) However the following questions always bothered me.
- Who am I?
- Why I am her?
- What is the purpose of my life?
So I started reading self development books, study five major religions and other philosophies. Aabout ten years ago one of my Islamic friends gave me the hard copy of the following and I came to the realisation of Anatta!
Since I became a Buddhist again. :)
Answer to your question: If I didn’t become a Buddhist I still will be looking for the answers to my three questions.

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/buddh ... gsurw6.pdf
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Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby Benjamin » Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:16 am

SarathW wrote:I was born to Buddhist parents but as majority Buddhist, my knowledge was restricted to five precepts. (I did not follow them) However the following questions always bothered me.
- Who am I?
- Why I am her?
- What is the purpose of my life?
So I started reading self development books, study five major religions and other philosophies. Aabout ten years ago one of my Islamic friends gave me the hard copy of the following and I came to the realisation of Anatta!
Since I became a Buddhist again. :)
Answer to your question: If I didn’t become a Buddhist I still will be looking for the answers to my three questions.

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/buddh ... gsurw6.pdf



Interesting that your Muslim friend brought you back to Buddhism, how interesting.
"Don't believe everything you read."
-The Buddha
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Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby alan... » Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:13 am

if i had a reset on my background and was raised secular and buddhism didn't exist, then i would go hindu! fun stuff in that religion. lot's of parallels with buddhism. you get to meditate into probably some of the same blissful states but instead of discarding the bliss you get to believe it's union with god! totally sweet and way more rewarding than buddhism in an instant gratification kind of way. i find buddhism to be the most rewarding out there but i wish i could hold onto some of my attainments sometimes instead of just seeing everything as empty and looking for nibbana. in hinduism every little good thing can be kept as a gift from god instead of denied as another thing to let go of. but i would be doing a lot of the same stuff. so i would enter jhana and enjoy my gift from god instead of trying to make sure i don't attach to it and make sure i see it as not self and so on. do a bunch of nice things and imagine going to heaven to live with god because of my merit after death forever, instead of trying not to make merit for kammic reasons but just to do it anyway but selflessly with no intention behind it.

i find buddhism to be unbeatable and i could never do this, hence the need for a background reset. the only way i could enjoy things like i described would be to have no knowledge or memory of buddhism. as it is i find it to be completely and utterly correct that one should let go of everything and always seek the final attainment. not being buddhist isn't even an option for me.

however with my current background i will never go with a deeply faith based religious tradition. i was raised religious and the practical, self sustaining system of buddhism is the only thing i can work with as it works whether you believe in all of it or not! the methods and practices simply keep the mind healthy and strong. if it required my devotion to the buddha as a personal entity or something i couldn't get into that.

if i am still me with my knowledge and background, but the buddha shows up at my door and is like "uh... hey man... turns out i was wrong and... uh... i'm kind of going door to door and letting everyone know... you should just forget buddhism and go with something else. sorry..." (this is pretty much the only way i would quit buddhism :tongue: )

i would immediately jump into taoism! fun stuff there as well. really beautiful. i love zen and zen shares a lot with taoism so it would be a perfect fit. the image of foggy mountains and trees and getting back to nature is so wonderful.
Last edited by alan... on Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:08 pm

Other than Buddhism, I like philosophies like Stoicism, but they don't deal with the other worldly dimension the way traditional religions do. Of the formal religions other than Buddhism I like Daoism and Jainism.

Jainism is especially similar to Theravada and perhaps Daoism is closer to Mahayana.

I admire the ahimsa of Jainism, in their efforts to avoid all violence. I could probably handle the Jain diet okay since I am mostly vegan anyway. But I don't like their concepts of karma (kamma), nirvana (nibbana), atta, or their extremism, including nudity.
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Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:59 pm

I'd be a discordian priest... oh wait, wait, wait I already am a discordian priest... not... or am I?
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

:anjali:
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Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby convivium » Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:29 pm

buddhism is so broad that i think it contains everything else in one way or another.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby polarbuddha101 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:50 am

I'd be a Philosopher, whereas now I'd rather be a Sage.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby PadmaPhala » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:19 am

alan... wrote:(...)
if i am still me with my knowledge and background, but the buddha shows up at my door and is like "uh... hey man... turns out i was wrong and... uh... i'm kind of going door to door and letting everyone know... you should just forget buddhism and go with something else. sorry..." (this is pretty much the only way i would quit buddhism :tongue: )
(...)


"if you see the Buddha on the street, kill him"
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Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby danieLion » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:52 am

1) Practicing Buddhism is not a matter of being (ontology/metaphyisics).

2) Does everyone in this thread believe Buddhist practice is mutually exclusive to all other practices?
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Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby polarbuddha101 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:10 am

danieLion wrote:1) Practicing Buddhism is not a matter of being (ontology/metaphyisics).


A rather inconsequential semantic point methinks.

2) Does everyone in this thread believe Buddhist practice is mutually exclusive to all other practices?


No, but I imagine the OP was wondering if any of us would choose some other religion or philosophy as our main guide to life if we weren't buddhists or buddhist practitioners.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby danieLion » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:22 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:
danieLion wrote:1) Practicing Buddhism is not a matter of being (ontology/metaphyisics).


A rather inconsequential semantic point methinks.

2) Does everyone in this thread believe Buddhist practice is mutually exclusive to all other practices?


No, but I imagine the OP was wondering if any of us would choose some other religion or philosophy as our main guide to life if we weren't buddhists or buddhist practitioners.


Perhaps, but I'll wait for the OP to respond before I speculate about whether or not (1) is in his opinoin semantically inconsequential and whether or not he agrees with your imagination about his OP and your respons to (2).
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Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby danieLion » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:22 am

convivium wrote:buddhism is so broad that i think it contains everything else in one way or another.
even Magick?
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Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby polarbuddha101 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:22 am

danieLion wrote:
polarbuddha101 wrote:
danieLion wrote:1) Practicing Buddhism is not a matter of being (ontology/metaphyisics).


A rather inconsequential semantic point methinks.

2) Does everyone in this thread believe Buddhist practice is mutually exclusive to all other practices?


No, but I imagine the OP was wondering if any of us would choose some other religion or philosophy as our main guide to life if we weren't buddhists or buddhist practitioners.


Perhaps, but I'll wait for the OP to respond before I speculate about whether or not (1) is in his opinoin semantically inconsequential and whether or not he agrees with your imagination about his OP and your respons to (2).


Fair enough.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby convivium » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:13 pm

even Magick?

vajrayana, definitely.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:11 pm

danieLion wrote:2) Does everyone in this thread believe Buddhist practice is mutually exclusive to all other practices?

I don't think that's the case, but Buddhism is unique enough in its philosophy that one who practices as a Buddhist primarily may have trouble adjusting that approach to allow for other practices that aren't based in anatta, dispassion, and non-clinging.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby jonno » Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:28 pm

Hi all. When I examine the basic teachings of all the masters of all religions, I find that their core message is one of love, compassion , and respect for all beings.At the time that's all that existed, the tag of a religion came after their deaths whereupon all the beliefs dogmas etc. we're added. So my answer is that I would not follow any religion but would try to learn from and practice these masters basic teachings and disregard the sometimes crazy and illogical belief systems that were invented and attributed to them after their deaths. To me I cannot see any major difference between the Buddhas original teachings and Jesus's teachings in the beatitudes. Just to practice simply and live with compassion and love is enough for me with no labels attached. Namaste .Jonno
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Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:04 pm

jonno wrote:Hi all. When I examine the basic teachings of all the masters of all religions, I find that their core message is one of love, compassion , and respect for all beings.At the time that's all that existed, the tag of a religion came after their deaths whereupon all the beliefs dogmas etc. we're added. So my answer is that I would not follow any religion but would try to learn from and practice these masters basic teachings and disregard the sometimes crazy and illogical belief systems that were invented and attributed to them after their deaths. To me I cannot see any major difference between the Buddhas original teachings and Jesus's teachings in the beatitudes. Just to practice simply and live with compassion and love is enough for me with no labels attached. Namaste .Jonno

But what about Christ's teachings regarding a creator God? What about Hinduism's teachings of the Atman, or Muhammad's teachings about violence? Although most religions have, at their core, a message of compassion and love, they also have important differences; in fact, many central tenants of the world's major religions are diametrically opposed to what the Buddha taught.

If someone was over at my house for dinner and asked where the restroom was, I wouldn't say, "Well now, all hallways lead to the restroom. Designations about the nature of restroom paths are simply inventions to mask an eternal, omnipresent hallway." I would give them concrete and meaningful directions to a real place. Enlightenment is just as "real" a thing, so why shouldn't the instructions for arriving there be equally tangible?
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: If you couldn't be a Buddhist, what would you be?

Postby Sam Vara » Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:14 pm

If someone was over at my house for dinner and asked where the restroom was, I wouldn't say, "Well now, all hallways lead to the restroom.


You might if you genuinely believed that the creator was so loving that he didn't care where people took a dump. "For those who prefer to wipe with silk, our lounge curtains are most attractive..."
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