National Traditions VS Buddhism

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby Roath » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:06 am

Dear All,

A friend of mine asked me the following questions because he wants to have more understanding of Buddhism after I talked about it with him.

Q1: Should we follow our unreasonable traditional practices after becoming a Buddhist? As some customs do make no sense at all in terms of 4 Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Paths or Wisdom normally praised by the Buddha.

Q2: Are the religious rituals in Buddhism justifiable based on the cause-and-effect principles?

Q3: How does Buddhism justify the existence of heaven and hell and those many levels of them?

Your help and response with some reference links are highly appreciated for the sake of Buddhism being able to exist until Year 5,000 or even beyond that.

Yours in Dhamma,
Roath
Roath
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:03 am

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby cooran » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:25 am

Hello Roath,

Q1: Should we follow our unreasonable traditional practices after becoming a Buddhist? As some customs do make no sense at all in terms of 4 Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Paths or Wisdom normally praised by the Buddha.

Please give examples of "unreasonable traditional practices".

Q2: Are the religious rituals in Buddhism justifiable based on the cause-and-effect principles?

To which religious rituals are you referring?

Q3: How does Buddhism justify the existence of heaven and hell and those many levels of them?

This is like asking 'How do you justify the expansion and contraction of the universe?' It isn't a matter of justifying ~ just understanding things as they really are.

Conditionality, things as they really are, and the accumulated wholesome and unwholesome kamma of beings.
"When this exists, that comes to be;
With the arising of this,
That arises.
When this does not exist,
That does not come to be;
With the cessation of this,
That ceases."

Your help and response with some reference links are highly appreciated for the sake of Buddhism being able to exist until Year 5,000 or even beyond that.

The Buddha predicted that the Sasana would decline - and it is in decline at this moment ... how long the core teachings last is unknown. At this moment, the Teachings are relatively intact ~ so make the most of this human rebirth and practice and study.

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7064
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:52 am

Hi, Roath, and welcome to DW.
You might find some useful responses to your questions in an existing thread - 'Full Theravada', http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=4031&start=0
:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 2898
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby Sobeh » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:42 am

Comments below.

Roath wrote:Q1: Should we follow our unreasonable traditional practices after becoming a Buddhist? As some customs do make no sense at all in terms of 4 Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Paths or Wisdom normally praised by the Buddha.


Of course we shouldn't follow unreasonable practices. The assumption in the question, however, is not only that there are such things but that you know which those are. Buddhism is a living religion, and various peoples in various times respond to the Dhamma in various ways. To try to place all extant versions of Buddhism on a spectrum with one or another of them being considered 'better' is simply not possible. All practices ought to come under critical investigation, but this must happen on a case by case basis, and not with generalities.

Roath wrote:Q2: Are the religious rituals in Buddhism justifiable based on the cause-and-effect principles?


Any justifiability will arise from internal states in the performer, and not from the ritual qua performance. Again, approaching this subject as a blanket rejection of all nationalist expressions of the DhammaVinaya is a non-starter because it is too general. Instead, realize that the story of when the Buddha taught a young Brahmin a way to offer dana to the six directions (as the Brahmin's father had asked him to do daily) in conformity with the Dhamma means that all cultural practices can be wholesome if the Right Effort is brought to bear. The claim that the physical body was the main mover and shaker of kamma is a Jain belief, and ritual behavior in that tradition is very important. The Buddha, however, showed us that it was not bodily or verbal acts that were at the core of suffering, but mental acts.

Roath wrote:Q3: How does Buddhism justify the existence of heaven and hell and those many levels of them?


It doesn't justify them; I think maybe you intended a word such as "show" or "prove" or perhaps "account for", and my response in that case is to say that it does so the same way as with anything else in the Dhamma - it is intended that we "come and see", instead of the stereotypical religious injunction to simply "absorb and regurgitate".
User avatar
Sobeh
 
Posts: 329
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:35 am
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, US

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby Stephen K » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:56 am

cooran wrote:The Buddha predicted that the Sasana would decline - and it is in decline at this moment ...


Hi Chris,

Sorry for going a bit off-topic, but — could you provide the source for the above statement?


Metta

:smile:
My philosophy is simple: saying 'yes' to the positive and 'no' to the negative; because the positive is so much better than the negative.
User avatar
Stephen K
 
Posts: 709
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:53 pm
Location: Bulgarian living in Greece

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby cooran » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:35 am

Hello Stefan,

A few suttas which I see as pointing to some things that are beginning to occur more frequently in the world:

Ani Sutta The Peg SN 20.7
The Counterfeit of the True Dhamma SN 16.13
Kimila Sutta AN 7.56

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7064
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby Sobeh » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:09 am

cooran wrote:...occur more frequently in the world


I think this has no evidence.
User avatar
Sobeh
 
Posts: 329
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:35 am
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, US

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby alan » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:50 pm

*(Trying to maintain right speech)*

Please explain. I don't understand your response.
alan
 
Posts: 2442
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:14 am
Location: Miramar beach, Fl.

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby alan » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:00 pm

Sobeh wrote:Comments below.


Of course we shouldn't follow unreasonable practices. The assumption in the question, however, is not only that there are such things but that you know which those are.

As is your response.
alan
 
Posts: 2442
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:14 am
Location: Miramar beach, Fl.

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby alan » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:42 pm

I'll clarify and then lay off.
By saying "of course" we should not do X, you are, obviously, assuming that there are such things, and that you know what they are. But then you go on to question that very assumption. Do you see the flaw in this reasoning?
No snark here, and I don't mean to offend. To my earlier response, I'll just point out that the Suttas given seemed relevant and to the point. Not sure what evidence you require.
Good Luck,
Alan

(Edited for grammar).
alan
 
Posts: 2442
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:14 am
Location: Miramar beach, Fl.

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby Roath » Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:44 am

Hello Chris : Thank you for your nicely-put answers.

Please give examples of "unreasonable traditional practices".
Eg. Chinese people believe that by putting food and other offerings like paper/toy house, car, etc. in front of their dead relatives’ tombs during certain Chinese traditional festival time, those dead relatives will be able to receive those things and in return help their living relatives/children/grandchildren have good luck and run businesses well, etc.
Eg. Some Chinese would burn paper money to send to their dead loved ones.

To which religious rituals are you referring?
Eg. Normally, in Cambodia and Thailand, Buddhists perform rituals (Kathen Dana) following Buddhist monks’
3-month retreats.
Eg. Buddhist Monks spray water to Buddhist followers asking for happiness during certain auspicious days (Full-Moon Day, etc.)

Hello Kim : Thank you for referring me to the existing thread full of new knowledge.

Hello Sobeh: Thank you for your nicely-put answers.
Roath
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:03 am

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:58 am

Roath wrote:Please give examples of "unreasonable traditional practices".
Eg. Chinese people believe that by putting food and other offerings like paper/toy house, car, etc. in front of their dead relatives’ tombs during certain Chinese traditional festival time, those dead relatives will be able to receive those things and in return help their living relatives/children/grandchildren have good luck and run businesses well, etc.
Eg. Some Chinese would burn paper money to send to their dead loved ones.


These are not unreasonable, just not Buddhist. In China, as well as some other countries there has been a long tradition of mixing two or more religions and/or other cultural practices.

Ancestor veneration predates Buddhism:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_i ... or_worship
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7694
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:08 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
Roath wrote:Please give examples of "unreasonable traditional practices".
Eg. Chinese people believe that by putting food and other offerings like paper/toy house, car, etc. in front of their dead relatives’ tombs during certain Chinese traditional festival time, those dead relatives will be able to receive those things and in return help their living relatives/children/grandchildren have good luck and run businesses well, etc.
Eg. Some Chinese would burn paper money to send to their dead loved ones.


These are not unreasonable, just not Buddhist. In China, as well as some other countries there has been a long tradition of mixing two or more religions and/or other cultural practices.

Ancestor veneration predates Buddhism:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_i ... or_worship

Hi, David, Roath,
I might have said, "unreasonable and un-Buddhist," but "unreasonable" is a matter of opinion and a bit rude, so I might have chosen not to say it.
"Un-Buddhist", though, is a matter of fact, not opinion.
:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 2898
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby Roath » Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:31 am

Dear David,
You said “These are not unreasonable”. Can you show me their credible/rational reasons behind them? Besides showing respect and gratitude, what else?

Dear Kim,
I think : blaming things/people worth blaming (unreasonable practices in the past/primitive period like burning girls/sheep to offer to God, asking God for things to happen or to send you things, all these kinds of similar stuff ect.) is alright and admiring people worth admiring (like praising the Buddhas) is also alright. I mean I wouldn’t bother to do such and advice my loved ones to do such since life is too short to walk on a wrong path, when it comes to endless cycle of birth and death? Maybe I’m too self-opinionated sometimes!
Roath
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:03 am

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby oceanmen » Sun Apr 11, 2010 5:20 am

Roath wrote:Q3: How does Buddhism justify the existence of heaven and hell and those many levels of them?

Roath


very simplified and in plain english, and do correct me(moderators and old timers here) if i m wrong,

it is my understanding that heaven and hell is here and now in the sense that everything has consequences and you create your own heaven and hell in this life.
as for the afer-life heaven and hell, it is my understanding that believing in a heaven and hell in the after life, or believing in re-incarnation or in karma is irrelevant, what is relevant is the reason and purpose for believing in this, and that reason is to be motivated to increase our skillful thoughts, words and actions.

another opinion is that in time as we increase observing the events in our life and in others, we experience the truth of karma and how everything has consequences, without the need in believing in it (as in creation of the mind)

skillful thoughts, words and actions lead to more bliss and serenity to see truth(reality) beyond the impurities of the mind
unskillful thoughts, words and actions lead to suffering, and deviation from seeing reality as it is by means of our strong aversions, cravings and illusions of ego and memory...

metta
:namaste:
User avatar
oceanmen
 
Posts: 73
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:45 am

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:54 am

Roath wrote:Dear Kim,
I think : blaming things/people worth blaming (unreasonable practices in the past/primitive period like burning girls/sheep to offer to God, asking God for things to happen or to send you things, all these kinds of similar stuff ect.) is alright and admiring people worth admiring (like praising the Buddhas) is also alright. I mean I wouldn’t bother to do such and advice my loved ones to do such since life is too short to walk on a wrong path, when it comes to endless cycle of birth and death? Maybe I’m too self-opinionated sometimes!

Hi, Roath,
As a matter of principle, I don't think it's fair to blame anyone - here and now, or eons ago - for doing the best they could according to their understanding. You don't blame the toddler for thinking the cat would like to swim with the goldfish in the aquarium; you don't blame the caveman for thinking thunder is the voice of a deity, or even for offering the deity the most beautiful girl in the tribe.
That doesn't mean that I approve of such actions, of course. I think I know better than the toddler or the caveman - though maybe I’m too self-opinionated sometimes, too. :tongue:
:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 2898
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby Roath » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:53 am

Dear oceanmen : Thank you for your help with heaven-hell justification.

Dear Kim : I wouldn’t bother to blame the said toddler for s/he is too young to understand things and how to deal with things properly but I would try and advice him/her how to do so as much as I can if I could.

If the caveman gets to ask me as an honest observer how his deed is considered, then I would faithfully inform him with metta and loving-kindness that what he’s been doing is not at all correct because by offering the deity the most beautiful girls in the tribe won’t help him do away with his own defilement deeply rooted in his mind, but instead it’s one of his wrongdoing or unwholesome deed accumulation which will bring him even worse results next life (deeper ignorance).
Roath
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:03 am

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby appicchato » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:05 am

...If the caveman gets to ask me as an honest observer how his deed is considered, then I would faithfully inform him with metta and loving-kindness that what he’s been doing is not at all correct because by offering the deity the most beautiful girls in the tribe won’t help him do away with his own defilement deeply rooted in his mind, but instead it’s one of his wrongdoing or unwholesome deed accumulation which will bring him even worse results next life (deeper ignorance).


Dealing with the here and now (present) is all we're (reasonably) certain of...anything (and everything) else is speculation...and telling other people such things only validates their thinking (and rightly so) that it's a mad, mad, mad, mad world...what you hold to be valid, and true, doesn't necessarily mean it is...following one's own path is fine, but selling it to others isn't...
User avatar
appicchato
 
Posts: 1512
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby Wind » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:42 am

Roath wrote:Dear David,
You said “These are not unreasonable”. Can you show me their credible/rational reasons behind them? Besides showing respect and gratitude, what else?



Hi Roath

David mentioned that they are also not Buddhist. So that's the most important thing to know. So your friend can disregard these things in reference to Buddhism.

Sounds like your friend has some misconception of Buddhism, so I would suggest for him if he is really interested to read some of our introductory sources on Theravada Buddhism on the top of this forum. :smile:

From my personal experience, the best way to learn about Buddhism isn't from observing what other "Buddhist" are doing but rather to read actually what the Buddha taught which is recorded in the Pali Canon. And then to practice and find out if it's true. There will be a few subjects that are not easily verifiable such as rebirth, heaven, hell etc. But through your progress in following the Noble Eightfold path, you will come to some discernment and faith in the Buddha's words. And if you can reach enlightenment then all doubts is gone.
User avatar
Wind
 
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:10 pm

Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Postby cooran » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:14 am

wind said: From my personal experience, the best way to learn about Buddhism isn't from observing what other "Buddhist" are doing but rather to read actually what the Buddha taught which is recorded in the Pali Canon. And then to practice and find out if it's true.


Well said, wind! :clap: The Buddha said "Ehipassiko - Come and see for yourself".

"Ehipassiko constitutes an open invitation to all to come and see, to inspect, to scrutinize and if need be, even to criticize the Dhamma before accepting it because there is nothing mythical or mysterious about it. The Dhamma is pure and crystal clear. It is as pure as solid gold. The Buddha Himself declared: "Do not accept what I say through mere respect towards me. Just as purity of gold is ascertained by melting or rubbing on a touchstone, likewise the Dhamma should be accepted only after very close scrutiny." This fearless assertion of allowing the teaching to be closely examined marks the greatness of the Buddha and the unwavering truth of the sublime Dhamma."
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... clnk&gl=au

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7064
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia


Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: James the Giant, MSNbot Media and 5 guests