Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:52 pm

Aloka wrote:
Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?


No. The word "convert" makes me think of Christian missionaries and the people who ring my doorbell on Sundays !

:)




lol funnily enough I had a JW knock my door this morning


She kinda had her work cut out for her preaching to a Gay Buddhist Marxist :jumping: She kinda gave up when she said that all gays go to hell, to which I replied in that case that is where I would like to be ;) :jumping: :twisted:


I joke lol to be fair we had a nice chat about Buddhism and Christianity


With Christianity though, and Islam as well, they feel the need to try and save you from a future nightmare. It is an act of kindness, worry and concern (mostly) however they always seem to forget the free choice bit and keep pushing to sign up.


As I said Buddhism isnt like that, mostly because you need to see things yourself and realise things for yourself.

A Buddhist going up to a guy and saying "you need to believe that craving causes your suffering" is pretty pointless, as he hasnt known it for himself. The four noble truths, taken as dogmatic doctrine that is "believed in" ex credo is useless.

They are there as tools to use and reflect on and to see, not just to have faith in


And once again I've gone off on a tangent lol :soap: :zzz: :jumping:
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby Sati1 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:33 pm

Thank you for your ideas - great suggestions! It is interesting to note how the Dhamma strikes people when they least expect it. If someone had told me about Buddhism and Dhamma two years ago, I would probably have dismissed them and turned away. Then when some life-events last year resulted in me seeking a way to train the mind, an acquaintance recommended meditation, and the rest is history... I'm glad the aquaintance mentioned meditation, but I'm also glad she didn't try to proselytize, since that would only have inhibited a welcoming encounter with Buddhism.

:anjali:
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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby seeker242 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:47 pm

"In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.

"In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.


It depends. Would saying such things be beneficial for that particular person? If so, then you should say them, at the proper time. :smile:

Of course that all depends on the individual person you are talking to. What may be beneficial for one person may not be beneficial for another.
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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby SarathW » Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:48 am

Goenka said he is for converting human,

- Not from one organise religion to another organise religion
But
- from misery to happiness
- from bondage to freedom
- from cruelty to compassion


Revolutionary speech to United Nations by Vipassana Meditation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xy9PugTy15M
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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby arifinteh » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:10 am

I THINK GOENKA MADE A VERY GOOD EXPLANATION ABOUT THIS. ITS NOT REALLY ABOUT THE RELIGION , BUT ITS ABOUT THE WAY OF LIFE. IT DOESN'T MATTER A BUDDHIST, A CHRISTIAN, A MOESLEM, OR A JEWISH. DHAMMA IS THE LAW OF NATURE, AND PEOPLE STILL COULD BELIEVE THEIR RELIGION BUT THEY CAN ALSO LEARN ABOUT DHAMMA BECAUSE ITS SUPPOSED TO BE UNIVERSAL. LAW OF NATURE IS UNIVERSAL TO EVERYONE. DUKKHA IS UNIVERSAL, THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE WHEN IT COMES TO SUFFERING. BUT IN MY OWN EXPERIENCE, ONLY TEACH TO THOSE WHO REALLY INTERESTED AND HAVE RESPECT.
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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby suttametta » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:19 am

Sati1 wrote:Hello,

I have been struggling with this question recently, having been raised as a Christian, where it was often emphasized that one must try to convert non-believers. From the doctrine of kamma, I would think that there is no point in trying to "convert" someone, since their kamma might prevent them from understanding the teachings, no matter what one says. This idea makes sense from my own experience in talking about Dhamma to others. None of the 5 Precepts, or the 8-fold Path encourage trying to convert others. On the other hand, it seems like bringing someone to the Dhamma must be a tremendously compassionate and meritorious act. While it often seems easiest just to live my Buddhist faith in private, that also feels like a selfish strategy. Any thoughts on this? And does anybody have a citation from a sutta on this topic?

Many thanks


Explaining consequences to actions, impermanence, and conditionality to those who are suffering and can be helped is very helpful. These are facts not beliefs. So no one needs to convert formally.
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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby pilgrim » Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:20 am

The Buddha addresses this question directly. Note that the purpose is not to win converts or swell the number of believers.
Samyutta Nikaya 55.16

"Bhikkhus, those for whom you have compassion and who think you should be heeded
-whether friends or colleagues, relatives or kinsmen
-these you should exhort, settle, and establish in the four factors of stream-entry.
"What four?
You should exhort, settle, and establish them in confirmed confidence in the Buddha thus:
'The Blessed One is...an arahant, perfectly enlightened, accomplished in true knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, unsurpassed leader of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, the Enlightened One, the Blessed One.'

You should exhort, settle, and establish them in confirmed confidence in the Dhamma... thus:
'The Dhamma is well expounded by the Blessed One, directly visible, immediate, inviting one to come and see, applicable, to be personally experienced by the wise.'

You should exhort, settle, and establish them in confirmed confidence in the Sangha... thus:
'The Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples is practising the good way, practising the proper way; that is, the four pairs of persons, the eight types of individuals -this Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples is worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of reverential salutation, the unsurpassed field of merit for the world.'

You should exhort, settle, and establish them in confirmed confidence in the in the virtues dear to the noble ones, unbroken, ... untorn, unblemished, unmottled, freeing, praised by the wise, ungrasped, leading to concentration.

"Those for whom you have compassion... and who think you should be heeded
-whether friends or colleagues, relatives or kinsmen
-these you should exhort, settle, and establish in the four factors of stream-entry."
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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby Ben » Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:06 am

The only conversion is from ignorance to wisdom and it's the type of conversion that one can only do for oneself.
The best thing to do is to lead an exemplary life. A life informed by the Dhamma becomes a beacon for those searching to make an end of sufferng.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby Aloka » Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:34 am

Ben wrote:The only conversion is from ignorance to wisdom and it's the type of conversion that one can only do for oneself.
The best thing to do is to lead an exemplary life. A life informed by the Dhamma becomes a beacon for those searching to make an end of sufferng.


Well said, Ben !

:)
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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby manas » Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:35 am

I don't proselytize as Christians have put me off that for life, but I also sometimes feel like I've got this treasure - knowledge about the Dhamma that has truly helped me to have more peace and joy in life, and to be better able to deal with stress - and I just keep it all to myself, over the years learning more and more while others around me seem immersed in considerably more suffering due to not knowing those things. But yeah I agree with Ben, the best preaching is to speak and behave in an exemplary way, so that people will wonder "I wonder why he/she is always so serene?"
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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby Coyote » Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:06 am

While it's true that a noble life is the best example and proof of the Dhamma, aside from seeing it yourself, I would not be a Buddhist had it not been for those who have made an effort to make the Dhamma available. I think it is important to make the Dhamma freely available and accessible so that as many people as possible can benefit. As for whether this would include proselytizing and public preaching, I am not sure. I have never been put off the idea as some here due to Christian preaching - but look at the reputation of the Hare Krishnas for instance. Buddhism should not be like that. Perhaps a middle way - not keeping the Dhamma hidden or secret, giving it a presence in western countries and making Dhamma materials freely available for those who want/need it. I think that when the Buddha told his monks to preach he was not imagining knocking on peoples doors and shouting in the street.
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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby pilgrim » Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:20 pm

People can be exemplary all they want, but I'll be too thick to notice. I am far from stream-winning but and am truly grateful to those who followed that advice and introduced me to the Dhamma.
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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby andyebarnes67 » Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:15 pm

arifinteh wrote:I THINK GOENKA MADE A VERY GOOD EXPLANATION ABOUT THIS. ITS NOT REALLY ABOUT THE RELIGION , BUT ITS ABOUT THE WAY OF LIFE. IT DOESN'T MATTER A BUDDHIST, A CHRISTIAN, A MOESLEM, OR A JEWISH. DHAMMA IS THE LAW OF NATURE, AND PEOPLE STILL COULD BELIEVE THEIR RELIGION BUT THEY CAN ALSO LEARN ABOUT DHAMMA BECAUSE ITS SUPPOSED TO BE UNIVERSAL. LAW OF NATURE IS UNIVERSAL TO EVERYONE. DUKKHA IS UNIVERSAL, THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE WHEN IT COMES TO SUFFERING. BUT IN MY OWN EXPERIENCE, ONLY TEACH TO THOSE WHO REALLY INTERESTED AND HAVE RESPECT.


I concur, though not sure I would have said so in capitals. :tongue:
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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby Ananda26 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 2:40 pm

Sati1 wrote:Hello,

I have been struggling with this question recently, having been raised as a Christian, where it was often emphasized that one must try to convert non-believers. From the doctrine of kamma, I would think that there is no point in trying to "convert" someone, since their kamma might prevent them from understanding the teachings, no matter what one says. This idea makes sense from my own experience in talking about Dhamma to others. None of the 5 Precepts, or the 8-fold Path encourage trying to convert others. On the other hand, it seems like bringing someone to the Dhamma must be a tremendously compassionate and meritorious act. While it often seems easiest just to live my Buddhist faith in private, that also feels like a selfish strategy. Any thoughts on this? And does anybody have a citation from a sutta on this topic?

Many thanks


The way with Buddhism is more to let people know about Buddhas invitation to study the Dhamma.

In Buddha's time there were some people with a following who declared that we were followers of Buddha. They knew that they would follow there decision. If you're sure you have family, friends, workers, or servants who would follow your decision to live in accordance with the dhamma, we also have that precedent in the suttas.
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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:24 pm

If people ask me a question to which I know a Buddhist-related answer is appropriate, I actually give them the choice:

"Do you want an abridged version, or shall I go into this, big-time?"

It's amazing how many people, given the choice, opt for the latter.

About a third of the way in (see, I KNOW how long this is going to take) I stop, and ask them - "Am I boring you?"

To date, bless 'em, nobody has ever said, "God yes, I can barely keep my eyes open!"

Most have engaged in a friendly and interesting way.

so, by actually giving people an option, they will actually opt for a good discussion.

But me? Approach someone and start a discourse with them, with the pre-meditated intention of 'Bringing them to Buddhism'....?

Not the done thing, in "my book" chaps.....
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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby indian_buddhist » Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:35 pm

If someone is truly seeking , truly asking for Insight, for Knowledge then show him the teachings. Otherwise keeping quiet is the correct thing to do. You will hurt others more by trying to teach someone who is not interested.
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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby indian_buddhist » Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:39 pm

Also If I am not wrong, Trying to Convert others or even an urge to make others known the teachings comes under Bhava Tanha (2nd Noble truth) - Trying to impose yourself on others.....clearly not acceptable.

You would never realize as it is very subtle, When the urge to make known the teachings to others would often then lead to criticizing others beliefs which is a very very wrong thing to do. So best is to control that urge.

I believe that someone who criticizes others belief no matter what belief it is (many people do it) , the Person who has done this mistake (criticizing others belief) would most certainly goto Hell.
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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Apr 25, 2014 8:14 pm

indian_buddhist wrote:I believe that someone who criticizes others belief no matter what belief it is (many people do it) , the Person who has done this mistake (criticizing others belief) would most certainly goto Hell.

There are some people who hold some extraordinarily dangerous and false views. One should not be afraid to criticise where criticism is due, but one should do so with compassion for those who might be misguided by those views, not with pride or malice. The Buddha criticised those who held wrong views in his own time.
According to the books, the Buddha considered Makkhali as the most dangerous of the heretical teachers: “I know not of any other single person fraught with such loss to many folk, such discomfort, such sorrow to gods and men, as Makkhali, the infatuate (A.i.33).

The Buddha also considered his view the meanest — just as the hair-blanket is reckoned the meanest of all woven garments, even so, of all the teachings of recluses, that of Makkhali is the meanest (A.i.286).
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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby indian_buddhist » Sat Apr 26, 2014 3:03 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
indian_buddhist wrote:I believe that someone who criticizes others belief no matter what belief it is (many people do it) , the Person who has done this mistake (criticizing others belief) would most certainly goto Hell.

There are some people who hold some extraordinarily dangerous and false views. One should not be afraid to criticise where criticism is due, but one should do so with compassion for those who might be misguided by those views, not with pride or malice. The Buddha criticised those who held wrong views in his own time.
According to the books, the Buddha considered Makkhali as the most dangerous of the heretical teachers: “I know not of any other single person fraught with such loss to many folk, such discomfort, such sorrow to gods and men, as Makkhali, the infatuate (A.i.33).

The Buddha also considered his view the meanest — just as the hair-blanket is reckoned the meanest of all woven garments, even so, of all the teachings of recluses, that of Makkhali is the meanest (A.i.286).



Ok so what do you want?. Force Dhamma down the throat of someone who clearly does not want to listen?. I am sorry NOTHING can be forced upon anyone including Compassion.

Yes teaching the Dhamma is an act of incredible Compassion but even Compassion cannot be forced upon anyone. How different is it from the Christian/Muslim view that they are only converting others to save them from going to hell?.

And the Buddha when he gained Enlightenment he decided not to teach precisely for this reason (The Dhamma is hard to grasp). When Brahma Samhapati said to the Buddha that there were beings in the world with little dust in their eyes who will perish of teachings are not known......It is only when Buddha verified with his Divine eyes that YES there were such beings in the world with little dust in their eyes who can easily learn the Dhamma.......It is only then that the Buddha decided to teach otherwise he would have kept quiet.

Having said that - there are religions in the world (Hinduism - who say you can only be born a Hindu in the so and so Caste and henceforth noone else can be a Hindu) or the Jews ( we are the chosen people and noone else can be).........That is wrong.

The Dhamma is open to all people of any caste and creed. But the teachings should never be forced on anyone. If anyone has a genuine need for the Dhamma then only it should be taught.
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Re: Should one try to convert non-Buddhists?

Postby waterchan » Sat Apr 26, 2014 3:31 am

indian_buddhist wrote:I believe that someone who criticizes others belief no matter what belief it is (many people do it) , the Person who has done this mistake (criticizing others belief) would most certainly goto Hell.

You are certainly free to believe what you want. even if it makes no sense. But this certainly isn't the view of Buddhism, or the view of any religion I know of.

The Buddha repeatedly criticised face-to-face many different beliefs during his time. According to you, he must be roasting in hell now.

indian_buddhist wrote:Ok so what do you want?. Force Dhamma down the throat of someone who clearly does not want to listen?.

I'm puzzled as to how you got that understanding from Bhante's post.
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