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Guest Zenda

Do You Really Know Buddhism???

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Guest Zenda

Kia Ora,

What is Buddhism? A simple question but not easy to answer…

Is it a religion?

Is it a philosophy?

Is it a way of life?

Is it a form of psychotherapy?

Or all of the above????

Is the Buddha a god?

Is there a god that’s worshipped in Buddhism?

Do Buddhists ‘worship’/pray to the statue of the Buddha or other Buddhist images?

Was the Buddha a psychologist?

Was the Buddha human?

What does ‘Buddha’ mean?

Can you answer any of the above questions?

I ask this because there are many people who still confuse Buddhism[inner science] with the Abrahamic religions-that look to an external source - involving a god and worship…

The following will give the lay person a good insight into the fundamentals of Buddhism…I.E, Free from superstition and the supernatural …

In the essay "Buddhism Meets Western Science", Gay Watson explains;

Buddhism has always been concerned with feelings, emotions, sensations, and cognition. The Buddha points both to cognitive and emotional causes of suffering. The emotional cause is desire and its negative opposite, aversion. The cognitive cause is ignorance of the way things truly occur, or of three marks of existence: that all things are unsatisfactory, impermanent, and without essential self.

The noble eightfold path is, from this psychological viewpoint, an attempt to change patterns of thought and behavior. It is for this reason that the first element of the path is right understanding (sammā-diṭṭhi), which is how one's mind views the world. Under the wisdom (paññā) subdivision of the noble eightfold path, this worldview is intimately connected with the second element, right thought (sammā-saṅkappa), which concerns the patterns of thought and intention that controls one's actions. These elements can be seen at work, for example, in the opening verses of the Dhammapada:

Preceded by perception are mental states,

For them is perception supreme,

From perception have they sprung.

If, with perception polluted, one speaks or acts,

Thence suffering follows

As a wheel the draught ox's foot.

Preceded by perception are mental states,

For them is perception supreme,

From perception have they sprung.

If, with tranquil perception, one speaks or acts,

Thence ease follows

As a shadow that never departs.

Thus, by altering one's distorted worldview, bringing out "tranquil perception" in the place of "perception polluted", one is able to ease suffering. Watson points this out from a psychological standpoint:

Research has shown that repeated action, learning, and memory can actually change the nervous system physically, altering both synaptic strength and connections. Such changes may be brought about by cultivated change in emotion and action; they will, in turn, change subsequent experience.

This brief explanation should help clarify a few things regarding Buddhism, however try to answer the above questions at the beginning of the post…Test your general knowledge…The more you learn the less you fear!!!

:rolleyes: DISCLAIMER : THIS IS NOT A BUDDHIST PROMOTIONAL PROPAGANDA STUNT!

AND NOR IS IT A RECRUTEMENT EXERCISE…

It’s just information for people who are interested in finding out more about Buddhism -a belief system that is often misunderstood…Buddhism is a non deistic spirituality

Happy Mindfulness

Metta Jendar:)

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Guest Linus Thomas

That's an excellent way of putting it. I do think that one of the things I like about Buddhism, at least how's it's been interpreted in the West, is the lack of dependence on superstition and supernatural. Of course, there are different views of Buddhism and the Four Noble Truths with the Eightfold path. In the West, it's been taken more as a philosophy than a religion. In the East it is a religion. I personally like Lama Surya Das' method of teaching. I've tried to participate in formal buddhist activities but have found that my travel schedule to be too much of a challenge to participate in a group thing so I'm looking more and more to do something personally when on the road or at home.

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Guest S. Chrissie

Well put! I am a follower of Christ by faith but I've always fascinated by the Buddhist teaching. I went to Buddhism camps when I have the chance. What I've came to realise is how misunderstood Buddhism is here (South East Asia). My mom claims to be a Buddhist, yet she know nothing about the teachings, she believed that she prays to a God when Buddha was revered as a teacher instead of a superior being.

And apparently, it is a practice to say one is a Buddhist eventhough one practices the teachings of Taoist. Ask any Chinese in my country what do they practice and they would say "Buddhism" without batting an eye and when you ask about the teachings, they talk about Taoism and other stuff or that Buddha is god.. :rolleyes:

I am glad you posted this thread, it might clear up what Buddhism means to those that doesn't know about it.

Sherlyn

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Guest mia 1

Does it really matter? The western world is infatuated with Buddhism and think it is the end all of the problems of Abrahamic religions...but when it comes right down to it..human weakness and the evil within take over and we are always back to the same problems...war famine and pestilience...

Maybe we should just try and see ourselves as exixtentialists and that we are on a journey from birth to death and leave a footprint behind...time to put aside childish things and take who we are without the mystical voodoo.....N'est Pas

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Sally
Is the Buddha a god? No

Is there a god that’s worshipped in Buddhism? No

Do Buddhists ‘worship’/pray to the statue of the Buddha or other Buddhist images? I don't know what else to call it when you pray and then rub gold leaf onto the foot of the statue - I have seen this many times in Southeat Asia.

Was the Buddha a psychologist? No

Was the Buddha human? Yes, he was Prince Siddhartha

What does ‘Buddha’ mean? "Awakened one" or "Enlightened One"

Can you answer any of the above questions? Yes

These are the best answers that I have.

I am sorry if my response on praying to the Buddha is upsetting to you or any other Buddhist, but actual practice much like in Christianity, Islam and all other religions and philosophies often strays from the true path.

Just a quick foot note - everyone please notice Jendar's correct useage of 'the' preceeding Buddha, it is a title not a name, so often Christians refer to Jesus Christ and 'the' is so important there for the same reason.

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Guest Elizabeth K

Jendar

Good information. These religious / spiritual forums are such a place for volatile exchanges! But I am glad to see you placing your belief on the line. Again, as a moderatior, I ask that each and everyone here read and practice the rules for this forum. Laura's is a place for discussion of our shared issues -and religeon / spirtuality, as important as it is, is really here as a forum for information. No one wants to be challanged, and it is sometimes difficult to let a comment slide by without a rebuttal. But please be kind to one another.

Also please do not cloak an attack with paper words. An attack covered by ' I respect your rights to believe in what you believing BUT... {FLAME} - that is still an attack.

This is directed at everyone, including me. The Spirituality Forums can be removed if the Administration sees it is NOT promoting the tenants of the original MISSION here at Laura's Playground. Personally I would feel we would lose a great resource and a chance for instructive dialogue.

My opinions

Lizzy

WOW I sound like MaryEllen!

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Guest With Faith Or Flames

Hmm it looks like your questions about buddhism are pretty much answered but if you have anymore or just want to find a buddhist community go to www.newbuddhist.com Its a great and valuable source for information. I used to be a buddhist and would go there a lot.

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Guest michelle.butterfly

Hi Jendar!

My only real comment at this moment (not much time, at work :rolleyes:) is that there are many different practices of Buddhism and really you have to examine the particulars of those groups to answer the questions; it's kind of like trying to describe "Christians" since there are such diverging viewpoints even within Christianity that it's impossible to nail down a good description without describing each individual denomination.

I am quite Buddhist although I would not say "a" Buddhist, and in particular I feel an affinity for Zen Buddhism. I am a mystic, therefore I believe anything that is to be known about the spiritual world must be found within yourself, and therefore I also find myself in significant agreement with many religions and spiritual philosophies from the Liberal Christianities to Daoism.

My religion, if you could call it that, is solely my own, but I have learned much from each of the religions and philosophies I have studied.

Anyway, thanks for the post Jendar, hope this finds you well!

With much love,

Michelle

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Guest Zenda

Kia Ora,

Some people have ‘tried’ certain types of ‘cultural’ Buddhism and have found that it is not for them ie, it’s not compatible with their psyche…whilst others have embraced certain aspects of the Buddha’s teaching that they find compatible…

:rolleyes: For me personally, subconsciously I’ve always had an affiliation with the Buddha’s teaching, so once I became more consciously ‘aware’ I just slotted right in…

In it’s pure form I just see it as ‘psychotherapy’ the Buddha being the physician/therapist…I feel no need to try and read more into it… B)

However for some who still have an attachment to the concept of religion, they will no doubt embrace or see Buddhism as a religious belief…

Unlike in the West, in many Asian countries, religion and philosophy are for the most part seen as one-it is difficult to separate the two…

Buddhism in it’s pure form is a non deistic belief system[spirituality], but as it was introduce into other countries it was also incorporated into local cultural customs, traditions and practices, many of which embraced the worship of local deities or ancestral worship…

I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions that I take no offence at how others ‘perceive’ Buddhism… Nor am I insulted in anyway…I have no attachments to another’s perception- so PLEASE DON’T FEEL that you might offend or insult me personally with your words/comments…

“If, with perception polluted, one speaks or acts,

thence suffering follows - as a wheel the draught ox's foot!”

“If, with tranquil perception, one speaks or acts,

thence ease follows - as a shadow that never departs!”

:rolleyes: Mia, 'Voodoo' is recognised as a 'religion' just like 'Christianity' 'Islam' and 'Judaism', with one surpreme god, however certain ritual and spells are used in Voodoo which are not practiced in Abrahamic religions...

Happy Mindfulness

Metta Jendar :)

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Sally

In my travels through Southeast Asia (no I was not in the military - I went on a cruise in the late 90s) I saw a wide range of practices in following the teachings of the Buddha and much like other religions and philosophies there are many variations, but what seemed to be central to all was the practice of quiet meditation.

The Buddhists in the shrines were always very quiet and contemplative only the 'visitors' were talking loadly and running around.

I have always viewed the teachings of the Buddha as a great guide for peace.

I wish that everyone could learn to meditate quietly instead of talking loudly while others try to meditate.

I love to see yor posts, Jendar - they are a reason to meditate in themselves.

Love ya,

Sally

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Guest Zenda

Kia Ora Sally,

Finding ones 'trueself' through meditation is a wonderful experience...One thing I'm constantly trying to promote is 'meditation'...Meditation with or without the use of Buddhist spirituality is so benefical for ones mental welbeing...

For me personally, I meditate first thing of a morning before 'break-fast' "empty stomach empty mind!" at this time of a morning[around 6am] it's quiet and peaceful, one is left alone with ones thoughts...

However some Buddhist masters believe in order for one to truely reap the long term benefits of meditation one must be able to meditate anywhere, anytime and everywhere -ie, in a quiet secluded place or busy shopping mall...

Happy Mindfulness

Metta Jendar :)

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Guest ArchStanton

Hello,

I just thought I would respond to this older topic, since the internet is an archive of sorts and anyone looking for info might be interested. Also, I'd be curious to hear from others on the forum who are exploring the dharma.

I think there is a danger to try to strip down Buddhism into an acultural science or therapy. I'd be tempted to say that it is a common problem for westerners, but I think its more a symptom of seeking the familiar in something. Just as those cultures where Buddhism flourished added their own ingredients into the mix, so westerners (particularly Americans) want to add their own pragmatism (Confucianism was similar), consumerism and pluralism.

Before one strips Buddhism of all of these so-called cultural trappings (and I'm not accusing anyone here of doing this), I would suggest looking more closely at what exactly is happening when confronted with these experiences-- both externally and internally, if you see it that way. And before it is assumed that Buddhism needs to be stripped down into a 21st century philosophical/therapeutic science, it would be good to look at what teachings have actually been used to justify such a broad range of ideas within the family of Buddhism.

It has been written that the Tatagatha (i.e. the Buddha), with infinite compassion, teaches many different ways to all sentient beings, in heaven or hell or the in-between worlds such that wherever they are sentient beings can hear the dharma.

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Guest Zenda

Kia Ora ArchStanton,

:rolleyes: When I take ‘refuge’ I take refuge in the Buddha=an awaken mind[we all have a Buddha nature] the Dharma=awareness of the ‘true’ nature of things-[ which helps to overcome ‘ignorance’] and the Sangha=in knowing the like minded…

I’m sure you are aware that in many Eastern societies where Buddhism is practiced the influence of former cultural practices are still strong[especially ancestor and local deities worship] which is a form of ‘attachment’ to some kind of ‘external’ force…

For me the journey started off as a personal one of understanding the internal struggle ‘I’ faced, and along the way ‘I’ began to encompass all that ‘is’ -‘I’ began to connect the dots-[even though it's easier, I’m still connecting dots]…

As I’ve mentioned before when it come to how one chooses to interpret the Buddha’s teachings ‘each to their own’…What I have personally ‘experience’ to date after removing the clutter of superstition and the supernatural and the sense of a permanent ‘self’, [which could have quite easily block the path], is a true sense of inner peace-which can only come from the study of ‘inner’ science which in a sense is what the Dharma is all about…

The path ‘I’ chose is what suits my ‘needs’…I find that most of those in the West who approach Buddhism do so from a Abrahamic religious cultural background and subconsciously many still tend to ‘cling’ to a concept of some kind of external force that remains in control[a 'back up' comfort zone so to speak]…According to the Buddha all suffering/dissatisfaction[Dukkha] stems from the ‘mind’ and once one truly ‘understands’ this, then and only then will they be able to begin to find true contentment…Hence why I see Buddhism and modern day psychotherapy as compatible-[in some aspects they are one of the same]…

When one finally removes the accumulative cultural clutter of primeval superstition and the supernatural elements that have continued to ‘attached’ themselves over the past 2500 years, one is left with what modern man sees as a sound bases of psychological understanding of not only what makes us tick but how to maintain an healthy balance[the middle path] which leads to contentment…this personal journey of discovery can be seen as a spiritual one=Lacking material body or form or substance…And from my understanding, this is what the Buddha taught…

I measure my understanding of what ‘is’ by the level of contentment ‘I’=the karmic bundle of selves [that’s called ‘Jendar’] feel each day when I practice the Dharma…

One can study the Dharma on an ‘academic’ level or just ‘follow’ a ‘diluted’ version, but if one is not careful one could end up like to a dog chasing it’s tail-never really reaching/understanding it…

I prefer to ‘practice’ the Dharma as it presents itself to me, and by doing so I ‘experience’ personal change…and as they say ‘practice makes perfect’…

If one chooses to blend what’s pure with external ‘comfort’ additives and in doing so find true contentment then so be it-I’m truly happy for them…if not then perhaps it’s time for a ‘change…

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change!” Buddhism in a nutshell...

Happy Mindfulness

^_^

Metta Jendar :)

:rolleyes: Question Archstantan...Have you already begun to put into practice what you have learnt so far from your exploration? and if so what changes have you noticed?

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Guest CharliTo

you know what's terrible? Buddhism is my family's religion...although technically we're not devoted much and I couldn't really answer the first set of questions you put up. lol. >_<

I'm like the rest of the Japanese w/ Buddhism :(

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Guest Joanna Phipps
Hi Jendar!

My only real comment at this moment (not much time, at work :rolleyes: ) is that there are many different practices of Buddhism and really you have to examine the particulars of those groups to answer the questions; it's kind of like trying to describe "Christians" since there are such diverging viewpoints even within Christianity that it's impossible to nail down a good description without describing each individual denomination.

I am quite Buddhist although I would not say "a" Buddhist, and in particular I feel an affinity for Zen Buddhism. I am a mystic, therefore I believe anything that is to be known about the spiritual world must be found within yourself, and therefore I also find myself in significant agreement with many religions and spiritual philosophies from the Liberal Christianities to Daoism.

My religion, if you could call it that, is solely my own, but I have learned much from each of the religions and philosophies I have studied.

Anyway, thanks for the post Jendar, hope this finds you well!

With much love,

Michelle

Like you I walk my own spiritual path, borrowing from other forms those things which help me and rejecting those which don't. I believe that all paths are valid for those walking them and all paths can comfort and guide. I do not condemn someone for their choice of path and request that none condemn me for mine. I also believe that all paths will meet back up at the end and we will be with those who have crossed ahead of us.

Is this Buddhist, probably not but it is my philosophy.

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Guest Mr.Yoav

My younger brother is a Buhddist. He really enjoys the simple way of life it gives him. I'll show this to him.

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