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Poll

Buddhism is...

  • ...a philosophy
    1 (16.7%)
  • ...a religion
    2 (33.3%)
  • ...a science
    0 (0%)
  • ...a problem
    0 (0%)
  • ...tolerable as long as I get my beer
    3 (50%)

Total Members Voted: 6

Topic: The Problem with Buddhism (Read 25835 times)

  • ersi
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The Problem with Buddhism
Let's show our expertise on this topic too to give our resident (or future) Buddhists also an opportunity to speak up :up:

Is Buddhism a philosophy or religion? Is it scientific enough to be considered relevant or good for anything? Good in what way and for what specifically?

What about Buddhism's rapid spread in the West during the latter half of the last century? What are its causes? What are its effects?

What's a regular Buddhist like? What should a good Buddhist be like? Dalai Lama, Pesala, Steven Seagal, some ancient saint, self-immolators in Vietnam and China...

  • Macallan
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Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #1
As with any other group of non-trivial size - which buddhism? There's a whole lot of variation.

  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #2
Macallan, you mean I missed a poll option for "non-trivial"?

I find it absolutely common, not to say trivial, that any human ideology displays a near-infinite spectrum of colours internally. Still, externally, it can be contrasted with other ideologies. As long as distinguishable, it's having an impact and receiving influences. As soon as no longer distinguishable, it can be said to have either become standard or assimilated into the mainstream.

These metamorphoses reflect the nature of the human mind itself, but if the people feel certain continuity in this, the ideology has succeeded in a very important task, providing cohesion. It becomes a tradition.

Of course I maintain that Buddhism is religion. I also maintain that religion or spirituality contains a philosophy. Every religion is expressible as a philosophy, a world view. The religious or spiritual philosophy would be a theology, if it's about the relationship of gods and humans; about why we exist, not merely about that we evidently exist; about suffering and liberation, not merely speculations about the wrong and right way, if there are those. And inasmuch as the right way can be followed, either by means of rituals or other disciplines, spirituality has its aspect of science too. Practical science is a way of life.

Buddhism has all that. In addition, it also has interesting history. Despite Siddhartha's alleged anti-asceticism by the time of enlightenment, a disciple of his founded monasticism organised around elaborate rituals and formalised hierarchies, which is a regular feature in several important Buddhist cultures, such as Tibetan, Thai, and Vietnamese. Apparently Siddhartha himself invented sermoning to congregations, and possibly also proselytising.

According to some historians, the first Buddhist empire - India under Ashoka - send apostles in every direction, which should account for Buddhism everywhere around India, as far as Mongolia and Japan. However, over centuries, the original Vedic religion steadily regained ground from Buddhism in India, where it's now a negligible minority sect. 

So, you can find everything in it you want, and this is how it should be. It's not religion otherwise. But next time I will write what is missing in it for me.

  • Macallan
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  • Administrator
Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #3

Macallan, you mean I missed a poll option for "non-trivial"?

Well, there are branches of buddhism which are more religious, more philosophical, problematic or even more scientific than others.

Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #4
i dont know if buddhism is philosopy or religion .

but Meditation - Focusing on the Breath , to Stop the Thingking activity .

surely helps to cure my Insomnia .  ;D

and that's all i care about Buddhism.




  • string
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  • Forum Staff
Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #5

i dont know if buddhism is philosopy or religion .

but Meditation - Focusing on the Breath , to Stop the Thingking activity .

surely helps to cure my Insomnia .  ;D

and that's all i care about Buddhism.


Interesting. I found that thinking cured me of Buddhism.

Initially I found that some aspects were attractive, especially about finding one's own way and being ready to question established beliefs and even teachers. Not bad for an enquiring disposition I thought.

But then I came to argue with a Buddhist teacher and found, as is normally the case, I have to say, for all religions, that arguing against Buddhist tenets was absolutely out-of-bounds. Like all these things, if something written in what is laughingly called a Holy Book, or sayings of so-an-so or papal decree, then it cannot be questioned, on pain of various penalties, from being castigated as incapable of spiritual thought all the way to sentence of death and everlasting torment in some imaginary place called Hell.

  • Belfrager
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Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #6
or papal decree

A Papal decree, more correctly bull, has nothing to do with Buddhism.
To Buddha what belongs to Buddha, to God what belongs to God... :)
A matter of attitude.

Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #7
From bulls what comes out of bulls.

  • string
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  • Forum Staff
Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #8

or papal decree

A Papal decree, more correctly bull, has nothing to do with Buddhism.
To Buddha what belongs to Buddha, to God what belongs to God... :)


True,. I was referring, though, to the one thing that is common to many religions which that the tenets of that religion cannot be questioned. That said I must acknowledge that the degree of questioning does vary (though it is often called "interpretation") from religion to religion and sect to sect, With Buddhism I was very disappointed though to learn their central matter/claim of people working things out for themselves was only valid if they came to the exact same result as had been announced by some ancient seer or whatever. For me at that instance the whole thing was exposed as a fraud.

  • Belfrager
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Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #9
With Buddhism I was very disappointed though to learn their central matter/claim of people working things out for themselves was only valid if they came to the exact same result as had been announced by some ancient seer or whatever. For me at that instance the whole thing was exposed as a fraud.

Well, I suppose that we both had the same "introduction" to Buddhism with the old thread at D&D. Can't say that I got disappointed by the simple reason I wasn't expecting anything but I thought Buddhism to be a little too rigid regarding aspects as what they call "detachment".

I must admit that maybe it was the particular vision of our colleague at D&D and other Buddhist variations/interpretations to be more relaxed.
Something that surprised me was (if memory doesn't betrays me) a very complex set of mythological texts full of divinities, half-divinities, endless grades and so on with no easy comprehension about what exactly was the message, teaching, example, whatever except for knowing that, at the end, everything resumes to detachment. Okay, I got the message...
A matter of attitude.

Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #10
I'm troubled that the poll didn't offer an all of the above.

I'm delighted to see that our new home is following the tradition of multiple threads on religion.


OOPS!
Quote
World News Briefs; Dalai Lama Group Says It Got Money From C.I.A.

The Dalai Lama's administration acknowledged today that it received $1.7 million a year in the 1960's from the Central Intelligence Agency, but denied reports that the Tibetan leader benefited personally from an annual subsidy of $180,000.

Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #11
i'm not sure which stream is Buddhism dat i stick on it.

Probably dat's sumthing like Zen .

Ofc idc about religion things , since my religion is 'Music . ;D

but , The Balance stuff .. is very sane .

i/e if have some Racing Thoughts.

Afaik , Racing thoughts not always good.

if it conflicted with i/e --> PTSD , ADD, anxiety ,  Bipolar , etc.

that will no good,

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IMHO , Mind is like Operating System ( Windows , etc ) , in an Organic Ware aka Brain.

it have Hardisk , GPU , CPU , Ram , etc.

when the CPU send commands to send some Happy Memories From Hardisk to Ram , we will feel Happy .

but when the CPU send commands to Bring Sad memories from Hardisk to Ram , we will Feel Sadness.

if The CPU not Work properly to Tell to Flush the Ram , i/e when so  Anxious + Depressed .

or cant Flush the Manic effects
That will be very BAd , usually it cant sleep well aka insomnia .




so the Buddhis things usefull at that case.

with Meditate , focusing on the Breath .

to stop the thingking activity , aka --> Flush all temporary Files from RAM.

it will remove the Anxious ,  Racing thoughts, etc  .

so everytime , need to Clear the Mind .

just Meditate .

so it can Shutdown the Brain OS when it needed .

i/e :  before 12 Midnight , to go to Sleep Mode.

or just Shut down it at 12 noon , to take a Nap .


Ofc , Meditate is not the only way .

if you got some Bipolar , Anxiety , etc ..

a Good Psychiatrist is the best sollution .

so you can take some meds for dat .

  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #12
So there are different views on Buddhism even among the few posters who have participated here. This is natural for many reasons. Buddhism is an elaborate religion/philosophy, so people construe or interpret it differently. Also, it turns out that not many have in-depth experience with Buddhism, which causes lukewarm or conflicting impressions.

There's a way to become persuaded by immediate personal benefits, such as the therapeutic effects that Sparta describes. Immediate benefits are individual experiential evidence of the religion's effectiveness. These benefits are different from some distant future or afterlife promises that the religion may offer.

String cites his questioning of the tenets of Buddhism. It would be nice to know which tenets they were and if he questioned them because the doctrine wasn't coherent or because it didn't hold the promises he hoped for. Or was he simply too sensitive to the apparent dogmatism of the particular instructor.

There are varieties of Buddhist sects that really don't even try to make logical sense. For example Zen koans are designed to short-circuit the ordinary thinking patterns, in order to provoke or hopefully to inspire, spark some enlightenment, if that's perhaps your genre. In Zen, there's a set of prescriptive dogmas too all right, but it's for the monks. The rest of the people are supposed to base their beliefs and practices on symbolism and mythical/anecdotal stories. Inasmuch as I have understood, Zen sects tend to be radically anti-disputative - the dispute would not be based on logic, so, logically, there's nothing to argue anyway.

Some other sects, on the other hand, represent scriptural fundamentalism reminiscent of the worst kind of Islam and Christianity. Pesala provides an example of the scriptural fundamentalist kind of Buddhism. According to his beliefs, Lotus and Heart Sutras, which are the introductory Buddhist scriptures to pretty much the entire Western world, are bogus texts and should be suppressed, not studied, not believed. The fact that the texts lay out a path to follow that has been successfully followed by many doesn't matter to him.

I haven't met any Buddhists ever, so I have no experience with real-life modern-day Buddhism, and also no grudges against any Buddhist instructor for any reason. I am not group-driven anyway, never was. However, I am aware of the history of the religion and of the culture that it's spreading around the world - by reading about it. My own spirituality stems from individual experience, from personal verification of the immediate effects and logical coherence of the more distant doctrinal tenets, which lead me to make up my mind about the topic.

My personal grounds for rejecting Buddhism are its unmotivating and incoherent metaphysical teachings. There's the teaching of the Void or Emptiness, the locus of the absolute attainment. I find it simply unmotivating. Why strive for something that is basically nothing? Then there's the teaching of non-self, non-spirit, and non-soul, which in my opinion doesn't logically fit together with the doctrine of reincarnation, karma stretching over rebirth cycles. If there's no soul, what reincarnates? Can some expert on Buddhism answer this? Is nobody bothered by this incoherence?

As to the actual practices of meditation, mindfulness, and the rungs or aspects of the eightfold path, they seem satisfying to me both philosophically and psychologically. Also the doctrine of dependent origination, which is a kind of theory of evolution, provides valuable support to inform and spur the practices.

All that said, I'm not familiar with Buddhism through actual practice, because by means of comparative studies I have found another system that made complete sense to me, about which I have no questions whatsoever, so that I can proceed without having to struggle with doubts. Which is how it should be, I think.

I listened to a philosophy podcast on Buddhism today and there was pointed out a fact that I have been forgetting: The bulk of religious people are not converted by philosophical arguments or scientific evidence. The majority of believers regard organised religion as normal cultural environment, roughly the same way as they belong to the family or to the country where they are born. (Incidentally, this is also true of the bulk of atheists/naturalists/materialists.) I tend to forget this because I myself belong to the (statistically tiny) minority who goes by personally persuasive philosophical arguments, scientific evidence and personal psychological experience rather than by convention, convenience, or by attempts to please and accommodate someone else.

  • Belfrager
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Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #13
For example Zen koans are designed to short-circuit the ordinary thinking patterns, in order to provoke or hopefully to inspire, spark some enlightenment, if that's perhaps your genre. In Zen, there's a set of prescriptive dogmas too all right, but it's for the monks. The rest of the people are supposed to base their beliefs and practices on symbolism and mythical/anecdotal stories. Inasmuch as I have understood, Zen sects tend to be radically anti-disputative - the dispute would not be based on logic, so, logically, there's nothing to argue anyway.

Like that.
Remembers me a specific form of Kendo (The way of the Sword) where you just train one coup, instant decapitation. The idea is that you don't even allow the opponent to fight and by doing so victory is total. So, instead of anti-disputative, I suggest immediate decapitation.

If there's no soul, what reincarnates? Can some expert on Buddhism answer this? Is nobody bothered by this incoherence?

You get used to incoherence if you follow the path of the Buddha. Or, at least, if you listen to what is told to you by his followers.
A matter of attitude.

  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #14

If there's no soul, what reincarnates? Can some expert on Buddhism answer this? Is nobody bothered by this incoherence?

You get used to incoherence if you follow the path of the Buddha. Or, at least, if you listen to what is told to you by his followers.

Are there many followers of the Buddhist path where you live? What do they tell? And no, I will never get used to incoherence. Whether I discover some mistake of my own or it's other people who don't make sense, I never got used to it.

On a certain irc network, I am a regular member of #buddhism channel, but I tend to know more about Buddhism than everybody else there combined (no, I'm not op or mod there). Makes me wonder how and why those channels get set up.

My information on Buddhism comes largely from secondary and tertiary sources. I have read two PDF files from Pesala's site and I have a tiny Buddhist book at home, Santideva's Bodhicharyavatara, which I haven't read.

Pesala is the directest contact with Buddhism I have had. He represents Theravada. Tibetan Buddhism is another important sect. And of course everybody knows Zen. I'm honestly interested if there's anything more I should know. And astonished that the folks at #buddhism don't seem to know even this much.

Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #15
Do Buddhists have a Pope? Can I come back as a DnD Administrator?

  • Belfrager
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Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #16
Are there many followers of the Buddhist path where you live?

No, almost none.
What do they tell?

Nothing. Some keep on saying Hare Krishna and nothing else.
I don't know if they are Buddhists but they seem so.
I have read two PDF files from Pesala's site

I have read a lot of posts he posted. It was enough.
But I regret that there is no Buddhists here to defense themselves from my (our?) criticisms.

Maybe they are already so detached they don't pay attention anymore to forums...
Do Buddhists have a Pope?

Sort of.
Can I come back as a DnD Administrator?

No. You'll never come back.
A matter of attitude.

  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #17

What do they tell?

Nothing. Some keep on saying Hare Krishna and nothing else.
I don't know if they are Buddhists but they seem so.

Those are a Hinduist sect, not Buddhist.

Hinduism comes in many forms. In its subtlest form it's barely distinguishable from Buddhism, but the teachings on spirit and soul are exactly what solidly keeps Hinduism apart from Buddhism. According to tolerant and inclusive Hinduist view, Buddhist are heterodox Hinduism, as opposed to orthodox.


I have read two PDF files from Pesala's site

I have read a lot of posts he posted. It was enough.
But I regret that there is no Buddhists here to defense themselves from my (our?) criticisms.

Maybe they are already so detached they don't pay attention anymore to forums...

At least one (former closet) Buddhist has already spoken out in this thread. I hope there will be more.

  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #18
I just found out that Sang is a closet Buddhist. He once agreed with Pesala
http://my.opera.com/lounge/forums/findpost.pl?id=370396
Quote from: Sanguinemoon
Quote
Originally posted by Pesala


My explanation would be, "If, by God, you mean something transcending the material realm, which is eternal, real, and that can be experienced by the wise, then I would say that there is."

However, if, by God, you mean a supreme being who controls the destiny of individuals, who created the world and all beings in it, and who will judge those beings after their death, then I would say "That is not God, but the law of kamma."

That sounds about right
Belfrager, how does this view seem to you?

  • Belfrager
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Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #19
Belfrager, how does this view seem to you?

I suppose you mean Pesala's views not Sanguinemoon's, even if he agrees.

Such views seems to me too much basic and superficial for any candidate for a serious theology. 
Besides, I don't know what is the "law of kamma" and even less how it's supposed to exist relating to the concept of God. It seems to be a step above God since it's able to "create the world and all beings in it" but, at the same time, to be bellow God since only God can be "experienced by the wise".

Honestly, I don't spent my time with "oriental mysticism". Never saw anything on it that can resist to a simple logical philosophical analysis.
A matter of attitude.

  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #20
Yes, I meant Pesala's views. Now, you seem to think it important to identify if the law of kamma (kamma is karma, fate or destiny, nothing too special about it) is above or below God, but Pesala sets forth two approaches:

- God exists
- God doesn't exist

Both equally valid as hypotheses, as a starting point. For him Buddhism is a way of inquiry, i.e. a philosophy, not religion (elsewhere he vehemently denies tht Buddhism is a religion). In philosophy you inquire into stuff, starting with hypotheses.

And in this quote, there's no completed analysis, no conclusion. This is why there's no answer to if God is above or below fate, because there's no answer in this brief quote which one of the hypotheses gets confirmed.

By and large I agree with what Pesala says here, but I'm sure my agreement is different than Sang's (and indeed different from Pesala's other views). I agree that there should be a proper inquiry which crucially depends on the clarity of definitions and earnestness of the seeker, but the inquiry leads to a conclusion. As a result, one of the hypotheses becomes confirmed or the concept of God becomes settled beyond doubt, and the seeker becomes "wise". Theology is found at the conclusion point, not at the starting point.

So I agree in broad strokes, but, knowing more about Pesala, about Buddhism, and about spirituality in general, inquiry shold logically be just a phase, a method. The goal is different. The ultimate wisdom is in the goal.

  • Banned Member
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  • Banned
Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #21
Quote
You didn't answer my question!
Quote
You hadn't asked the proper question.
R.Sheckley

  • Belfrager
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Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #22
Honestly, I don't spent my time with "oriental mysticism". Never saw anything on it that can resist to a simple logical philosophical analysis.

I forgot to say that organized religions are man's made things. Christ never made any Church, he told to Peter go and make my Church.
As a man made reality, religion has necessarily a Cultural nature and Buddhism specifically seems to me to have his boundaries and limits closed inside it's cultural sphere not going outside it towards a Divine nature. It has , as you say, all the traces of a religion but not the philosophical logic quest that characterizes Christianism.

Karma or fate, fatalism, can and in my opinion should be equated into a metaphysical quest and not just presented as a cultural trace.
A matter of attitude.

Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #23
- God exists
- God doesn't exist

The proper statement is...

Man exists, therefore gods exist.

Re: The Problem with Buddhism
Reply #24
As @String has mentioned, I also have found Buddhism to be nice in some aspects, but it rubs be the wrong way when discussing it with so-called "teachers".

For instance, in SE Asia, Buddhists and Muslims constantly clash. From the perspective of the Buddhism I looked into, Buddhism and clash should never be in the same sentence.

Then again, a man created this most interesting philosophy, and if man has proven nothing else, it's that he can find a way to eventually corrupt it too.