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Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy - Dhamma Wheel

Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
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clw_uk
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Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby clw_uk » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:18 pm

Just wanted to see what peoples take is on the Buddhas Dhamma. Do you consider it a religion, philosophy or something else?
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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Ngawang Drolma.
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Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:25 pm

I think it's a religion.

:buddha2:


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Cittasanto
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Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:27 pm

well if you look at Ancient Greek Philosophy it is very very similar, and philosophers have been Killed for creating new gods, it is also very similar to religion in a lot of ways.
I think it is a way of life which can be seen or viewed as anything people think it is


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

piper
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Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby piper » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:31 pm

Philosophy operates within the realm of discernment or wisdom, and religion involves transcendence. The NEFP contains both aspects.

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Cittasanto
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Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:35 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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retrofuturist
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Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:37 pm

Greetings,

I think both words "religion" and "philosophy" carry with them a lot of baggage that is inappropriate to Buddhism.

The Dhamma is a path of self-liberation.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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clw_uk
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Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby clw_uk » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:53 pm

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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Fede
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Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby Fede » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:55 pm

"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/

piper
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Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby piper » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:56 pm


Element

Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby Element » Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:01 pm

For me, whilst having elements of both, Buddhism is 'dharma' and 'dharma' is sustenance & skilful means.

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Aloka
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Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby Aloka » Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:31 pm

I agree with Retro and also with Element's comment on Dharma.

However, if someone says to me "What is your religion?" - then I'll answer "Buddhism" !

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Cittasanto
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Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:03 am

Thanks Fede & Piper
not seen that Abrev before


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

pererin

Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby pererin » Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:53 am


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pink_trike
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Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby pink_trike » Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:49 am

Perhaps similar to what Element and Retro said...I think it is simply a "way of life" - neither science, or philosophy, or psychology, or religion...although containing elements of all of these...and more importantly, likely not specifically conceived as any of these.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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Ben
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Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby Ben » Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:06 am

According to my teacher, an 'art of living'.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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zavk
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Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby zavk » Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:29 am

I believe a willingness to investigate this thorny issue of religion vs. philosophy is vital to the future of Buddhism. This religion/philosophy dichotomy which we take for granted is a relatively recent invention of the West. The separation between the two really only developed in about the 16th or 17th century. It is this separation between religion and philosophy that allowed for reason and rational (scientific) thought to reign supreme. The religion/philosophy dichotomy also ushered in secularism. And it is through the filters of this religion/philosophy dichotomy that the West discovered a 'universalist', 'rationlistic', and 'pragamtic' Buddhism in the around 19th century. Needless to say, such an understanding of Buddhism persists today.

So, it seems to me that we contemporary Buddhists are in an interesting position to see how our understanding of Buddhism is made possible by a certain development (i.e. the separation of religion/philosophy) that didn't exist in both the Buddha's culture and other Asian cultures where the dhamma took root. This doesn't mean that it is 'wrong' to read the dhamma through a rationalistic or 'scientific' viewpoint. Rational inquiry is important and it has certainly helped us understand the dhamma in new ways. But given how such a viewpoint is not absolute but conditioned (conditioned but not without merit), then, I think it behooves us to reflect carefully one how we approach the dhamma so that we do not pigeonhole it in some category or the other, and hence, foreclose its possibilities.

To give an example: I'm sure we’ve all encountered debates where people try to argue for the absolute certainty of certain doctrines. These people might hold the conviction that doctrines like dependent origination, karma, rebirth, etc, are true/false propositions and that there is no other way to accept such doctrines except on the basis of 'yes' or 'no'. But such an approach to Buddhism has its limits, shaped as it is by post-Enlightenment Western philosophical concerns with the centrality of rationality on all matters, and failing as it does to account for the richer, more complex and 'aesthetic' ways in which humans experience and express life. I don't know about others but I'm unable to express the profound effects that Buddhism has had on me solely in rational terms. There is for me a whole affective or emotional dimension that is beyond rational explanation but equally powerful and valid. I think we could do worse than prevent this dimension of Buddhism to express itself. And one way of doing this is, I think, is too let go of this religion/philosophy dichotomy.
With metta,
zavk

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zavk
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Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby zavk » Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:33 am

I apologise for the mental diarrhea—bad habit. But like Ben I too prefer to think of the dhamma as ‘an art of life’. I’m not suggesting this simply because I’m a student of Goenka. But because I do think that the notion of ‘an art of life’ allows for a more inclusive approach to the dhamma. Some people might take issue with the idea of ‘art’ but I am not using the word in the narrow sense to refer to lofty ideals or aesthetic evaluations. I invoke the word ‘art’ in a broader sense: as a certain ongoing process of thinking and doing that requires creativity and fluidity. So in this sense, religion and philosophy (and even science) are forms of ‘art’. I take ‘art of life’ to refer to a certain attitude not unlike a craftsperson’s attitude towards raw materials. In this manner, I think it is very apt that some of you evoke the Noble Eightfold Path to describe the dhamma. For as I’m sure we’ll all agree, the path is not a linear or rigid one, but one that requires us to live creatively and dynamically—this is a path that brings the religious, the philosophical, the aesthetic, the scientific, and the ethical into mutually supportive (rather than dominative) inter-relationships.

Best wises,
Zavk
With metta,
zavk

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mikenz66
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Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:15 am


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pink_trike
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Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby pink_trike » Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:31 am

Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

pererin

Re: Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy

Postby pererin » Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:36 am



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