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Buddhism, Religion? - Dhamma Wheel

Buddhism, Religion?

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

Postby Thaibebop » Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:05 pm

Hello,
I just wanted to share this blog entry I found on Huffington Post which offers an opinion on the debate over whether or not Buddhism is a religion.

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retrofuturist
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:09 pm

Greetings,

Not only is the definition of Religion hard to pin down but the word Buddhism covers so much Dhamma and things inconsistent with the Dhamma, that whatever answer anyone comes up with would have to have so many qualifications attached so as to make it virtually meaningless. Or if done properly, it would be a very long thesis.

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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Kim OHara
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:40 pm


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Sobeh
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Sobeh » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:33 am

I wonder if people want it to be a religion, or not, on account of thereby including it (or not) in polemic on 'religion' generally. Say what you have to say about Christianity or Buddhism or Sunday Football or whatever, but when you start talking about 'religion' you've stepped away from the realm of precision into the realm of colloquialism.

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AdvaitaJ
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby AdvaitaJ » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:37 am

The birds have vanished down the sky. Now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.
Li Bai

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mikenz66
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:59 am


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ground
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby ground » Sat Aug 07, 2010 3:05 am

I don't understand the discussion about whether it is a religion or not. What is so important about this question? Is there a taboo? Taboo means limitation and limitation seems not to be compatible with liberation.
For me of course the Buddha is an idol. I am striving to be like this idol. This idol is an idea but this idea is based an what has been transmitted and it confers enthusiasm, energy, conviction, joyous perseverance (6th paramita). And of course the Buddha is to be revered and honored and admired because he taught the path, he was the one in this age who started turning the wheel for the benefit of all beings. How wonderful! Without him and his activities there would be just darkness.

Kind regards

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Thaibebop
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Thaibebop » Sat Aug 07, 2010 4:44 pm


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Thaibebop
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Thaibebop » Sat Aug 07, 2010 4:47 pm


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Thaibebop
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Thaibebop » Sat Aug 07, 2010 4:58 pm


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Thaibebop
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Thaibebop » Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:01 pm


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Thaibebop
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Thaibebop » Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:27 pm


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Sobeh
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Sobeh » Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:28 pm


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Sekha
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Sekha » Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:14 pm

Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

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mikenz66
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:30 pm


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EricJ
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby EricJ » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:42 am

I consider Buddhism to be the most profound expression of human religious sentiment [although I'm a bit biased ;D]. I don't find this thought alienating, and I don't think that "religion," "philosophy," and "Dhamma" are mutually exclusive terms. I look at that sutta quoted by Dukkhanirodha as discouraging spiritual beliefs which are clung to as ultimate truth without any sort of personal verification a la Vibhajjavada. Think about what the term "creed" means. People often equate it with the word "religion," but the word itself points to a specific core set of religious beliefs which are clung to as ultimate truth, even whenever experience suggests something else. In some religions, the creed is effectively the religion and the acceptance of the creed is taken as the entry in to spiritual life. I think of the shahadah, the obligatory statement of belief for all Muslims which serves as the basis for the key points of Islam ("There is no God but Allah [the characteristic strict monotheism of Islam] and Muhammad is his Messenger [which lends divine authority to the Qur'an and all other Muslim beliefs which emerge from that book.]) This statement is also the means of officially converting to Islam. Of course the Buddha would oppose beliefs of a creedal nature, because creeds are based upon speculation and lead to a great deal of clinging to ultimately useless views. Creedal religions lay out religious paths which are founded upon unverifiable claims and while these claims are taken as the basis of spiritual life, liberating discernment cannot occur. I think you can see this point of mine in the sutta itself:

""Outside here the followers of creeds, place their confidence in views." They place confidence in views instead of experiential discernment.

Here is how I think of the word "religion" [which, admittedly, doesn't count for much]: Any institution with a prescribed set of beliefs and practices which are used to "attain," "realize" or "connect to" something beyond the range of "conventional experience." I put these phrases in quotation marks because they obviously aren't sufficient to describe Nibbana.
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
- Snp. 1.3

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Aug 08, 2010 1:37 pm

“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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jcsuperstar
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Aug 08, 2010 1:51 pm

I've found those (Buddhist or not) who say Buddhism is not a religion usually do so because they don't want it to be a religion
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Kare
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Kare » Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:26 pm

Mettāya,
Kåre

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Digger
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Re: Buddhism, Religion?

Postby Digger » Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:30 pm

If you define religion as "belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered to be divine or to have control of human destiny", unfortunately Buddhism has taken a wrong turn this way as many people pray to Buddha to grant wishes, win the lottery, etc. I personally witnessed this at a Buddhist temple in Taiwan. When I asked how and why Buddha became a god to worship I was told "It's the same thing you (the western world) did with your Jesus"

If you define religion as "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects" then pretty much anything a bunch of people do could be a religion.

I think when you say "religion", most people think worshiping a deity and many people wrongly worship the Buddha this way instead of understanding and following his teaching.
He is different. He thinks.


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