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What is Buddhism? - Dhamma Wheel

What is Buddhism?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Bankei
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What is Buddhism?

Postby Bankei » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:36 pm

What is the defining characteristic of Buddhism? ie how do we know that a certain teaching/practice etc is authentic Buddhism?

Is it only what is in the (Pali) Tipitaka?
or
only that which is in the Tipitaka or Commentaries or sub-commentaries?

or

Is any anything which is in accord with the teachings as in the Tipitaka?

or

Is it any practice which is conducted by Buddhists? (or by ordained monks)?

Bankei
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Bankei

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retrofuturist
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Re: What is Buddhism?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:38 pm

Greetings Bankei,

Given that you've asked "What is Buddhism?" rather than "What is Theravada?", do you mind if we move this topic to the Dhammic-Free-For-All so that members of other traditions may also speak freely on what they think Buddhism is?

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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Re: What is Buddhism?

Postby Fede » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:47 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/

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David N. Snyder
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Re: What is Buddhism?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:16 pm

Anywhere there is the Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path. Some schools and traditions may have added cultural practices and other teachings, but as long as the base is the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path, it is Buddhism, in my opinion.

Since your posts seem to reflect an interest in scripture, here is how I break down the two major Theravada interpretations:

"Modern Theravada" -- Suttanta based, priority to Suttas and Vinaya and for some also the Abhidhamma
"Classical Theravada" -- Tipitaka, Theravada Commentaries and sub-commentaries

Tipitaka, written down about 100 BCE. The Commentaries and sub-commentaries, however, were written down from about 300 CE to the 13th century CE.
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Bankei
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Re: What is Buddhism?

Postby Bankei » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:38 pm

hi Retro

Yes, good idea and thanks.
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Bankei

Bankei
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Re: What is Buddhism?

Postby Bankei » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:42 pm

Thanks for the replies so far.

What about a practice like that of amulets in modern Thailand. There is no scriptural authority for it, but it is a big part of Buddhism there.

Or Buddha images - none existed at the time of the Buddha, yet it is standard practice for temples to have Buddha images in Thailand - in fact it is considered virtually heretical not to.
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Bankei

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David N. Snyder
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Re: What is Buddhism?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:48 pm

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plwk
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Re: What is Buddhism?

Postby plwk » Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:08 am


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Goofaholix
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Re: What is Buddhism?

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:23 am

Buddhism isn't a word the Buddha ever used, he called his teaching Buddha Dhamma.

So if you want to know what "Buddhism" is it's a world religion, it includes what the Buddha taught plus a whole lot more people have added to their religious practice over the centuries, plus a whole lot of populist misconceptions.

But if you are asking what defines Buddha Dhamma that's a whole nother story.

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retrofuturist
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Re: What is Buddhism?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:25 am

:goodpost:
"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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Re: What is Buddhism?

Postby ground » Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:22 am


Freawaru
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Re: What is Buddhism?

Postby Freawaru » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:12 am


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Prasadachitta
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Re: What is Buddhism?

Postby Prasadachitta » Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:47 pm

As I get a sense of what Buddhism is about I begin to recognize that my notions about religious practices and beliefs are not helpful to rely on. I find it best to let them go as much as possible. I try to take each person and their particular take on things as a unique experience. How one persons take on existence fits with my notions of the categories of religion is something I try to keep as secondary as possible. I think the defining characteristics of groups or philosophies can be a bit problematic when it comes to the practical application of that definition.

Just pondering.

That being said I think "specific conditionality" is the defining principle of Buddhism.

Take Care All

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: What is Buddhism?

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:45 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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