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Is Buddhism a philosophy or a religion?

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#256    Frank Merton

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 02:22 PM

I would urge you to spend a little time and go back and review the thread and comment on some of the posts; your input would help.


#257    Frank Merton

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 02:31 PM

One of the funny things is that one can be a Buddhist without understanding Buddhism.  I don't know how many times when I was young asking people about things and being told to ask a monk.  I suppose young Christians are told to go ask a priest or minister.

Meditation in Asia is beginning to become more common, but when I was young that was something only monks did, because they were seeking Enlightenment.  Everyone else just wanted to accumulate karmic merit by doing good things so as to improve their luck.  I think meditation is central to Buddhism in spite of that.  Very few achieve Enlightenment sitting like that; there is much more to it.

What meditation does for me, as a lay person, is many things; it helps deal with stress and even more with anger.  It puts things into perspective.  It helps me identify superstitions and childhood beliefs that need to be seen for the illusions they are.  It fills me with peace and joy.

About non-self.  What I remind myself is that I am not the same person I was ten years ago; then I realize that I am not what I was even a year ago.  Indeed, I am reborn constantly, from moment to moment.  I constatntly change, so how can I be "I?"


#258    Sherapy

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 03:42 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 12 March 2013 - 02:31 PM, said:

One of the funny things is that one can be a Buddhist without understanding Buddhism.  I don't know how many times when I was young asking people about things and being told to ask a monk.  I suppose young Christians are told to go ask a priest or minister.

Meditation in Asia is beginning to become more common, but when I was young that was something only monks did, because they were seeking Enlightenment.  Everyone else just wanted to accumulate karmic merit by doing good things so as to improve their luck.  I think meditation is central to Buddhism in spite of that.  Very few achieve Enlightenment sitting like that; there is much more to it.

What meditation does for me, as a lay person, is many things; it helps deal with stress and even more with anger.  It puts things into perspective.  It helps me identify superstitions and childhood beliefs that need to be seen for the illusions they are.  It fills me with peace and joy.

About non-self.  What I remind myself is that I am not the same person I was ten years ago; then I realize that I am not what I was even a year ago.  Indeed, I am reborn constantly, from moment to moment.  I constatntly change, so how can I be "I?"

This has been my route to Buddhism, I meditate the easy way-- I hike 8 miles it releases endorphins and I am in good shape (for the day.) I would swear that is why monks did Hawtha yoga before meditation.  I wanted to understand/experience Ahimsa so I became a vegetarian. The point for me is there is no learning without experience BF Skinner said this. Sorry Buddha. The point is well taken, the ideas are there and it is in the using of them you figure out what works for you and what doesn't. Test everything it is our own experiences that we glean the wisdom or not from an idea(regardless of where it came from.) In summary-- this is what the Buddha taught. Big hug to Mr. Miagi, great to see you posting friend!

Edited by Sherapy, 12 March 2013 - 03:43 PM.


#259    Mr. Miyagi

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 07:23 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 12 March 2013 - 02:22 PM, said:

I would urge you to spend a little time and go back and review the thread and comment on some of the posts; your input would help.

In regards to the quantum mechanics information, It's interesting to me but I'm not adequately educated on the subject to comment. As far as the negative cultural aspects and misunderstandings that L has brought up, In my experience he's just pushing buttons. He doesn't care what you think say or do as long as what you think say or do is in response to his posts. That being said.. Once more unto the breach! lol.

IMHO most Buddhists are passive but not pushovers. I'm unaware of an entirely Buddhist nation (Thailand?) , but I am aware of contemporary sources of Buddhist violence. (Sri Lanka for example) Usually these are cultures in which Buddhism has been intertwined with the government such as Thailand. This is not a religion acting in violence but a government. These acts obviously fly in the face of the 1st precept. That line begins to blur when a populace or government is threatened and in such a case violence can be justified in the minds of some in what would constitute defense. Again, it depends on the culture and the acting government within that culture. Buddhism isn't black and white and all tied up in a shiny little package. It continues to change and grow as more people decide to take up it's practice, or not. There are even so called "Christian Buddhists" http://www.buddhist-christian.org/

Again, this is to be expected when Buddhism begins to adapt to a largely Christian populace such as one would find in the west. No harm no foul. It is what it is.

Edit- Hello Sheri! I actually posted this on my facebook and my buddy Narendra had a nice perspective as well.

Edited by Mr. Miyagi, 12 March 2013 - 07:25 PM.


#260    third_eye

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 08:23 PM

Buddhism belongs to country ... country doesn't belong to Buddhism because Buddha has nothing to do with illusionary borders

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#261    Mr. Miyagi

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 08:55 PM

View Postthird_eye, on 12 March 2013 - 08:23 PM, said:

Buddhism belongs to country ... country doesn't belong to Buddhism because Buddha has nothing to do with illusionary borders

The Thai government does actively support Buddhist organizations and they do grant special privaleges to monks etc... One of the king of Thailand's titles is "protector of buddhism" or something to that effect, correct? Also though, I don't think that members of the monastic order there are permitted to hold public office. I don't think it's ever been declared an official state religion but the populace is almost 95% Buddhist or thereabouts, correct?


#262    Blood_Sacrifice

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 09:04 PM

Just like 'art', religion has no proper (and fixed) definition. Depending on the definition of religion used, Buddhism can be deemed as a religion or not. It's not like most organized religions or theistic beliefs as far as I know. Other more enlightened members can possibly shed light in this area.

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#263    third_eye

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 09:13 PM

View PostMr. Miyagi, on 12 March 2013 - 08:55 PM, said:

The Thai government does actively support Buddhist organizations and they do grant special privaleges to monks etc... One of the king of Thailand's titles is "protector of buddhism" or something to that effect, correct? Also though, I don't think that members of the monastic order there are permitted to hold public office. I don't think it's ever been declared an official state religion but the populace is almost 95% Buddhist or thereabouts, correct?

Up to a hairs breadth,
BUddhism is 'above' official in regards to Thailand, beyond governance or Royalty but it is also 'non' official in matters of governance or Royalty
Titles are meaningless to the monastery, a monk in his capacity as 'head' or 'leader' only is responsible for the leading or organising prayers at major festivals.
As with all other forms of cultural exchanges, Thailand has its own unique blend and color of Buddhism compared with border neighbors which has theirs.

Its hard to find a comparison elsewhere and I don't believe I've read any English publication that can express this in fine clarity, I too fail because I'm not good at these academia ligua :lol:

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#264    Frank Merton

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 07:59 AM

<p>

View PostMr. Miyagi, on 12 March 2013 - 07:23 PM, said:

In regards to the quantum mechanics information, It's interesting to me but I'm not adequately educated on the subject to comment.
That entire exchange, in afterthough, bothers me.  Beyond being a demonstration that what we perceive of the universe is illusory, I really don't see where quantum mechanics can be said to confirm anything in Buddhist thought.

Quote

As far as the negative cultural aspects and misunderstandings that L has brought up, In my experience he's just pushing buttons. He doesn't care what you think say or do as long as what you think say or do is in response to his posts. That being said.. Once more unto the breach! lol.

Quite the way I felt.  Still, many virtues when taken too far become vices -- he points out where Buddhists sometimes take Buddhism's virtues too far.

I also tend to see his point when it comes to the idea of people being reborn as animals.  There is a story about an avid hunter who spent all his time in the pleasure of the hunt.  The Buddha is said to have remarked that he may well be reborn a tiger or something similar, the point being that rebirth happens largely in accordance with our desires combined with our karma or our natures.  Hence non-human rebirth is extrememly unlikely.

Where L errs I think is in drawing too much of a line between human and animal.  Human beings are animals.  The Western notion that we are something else has merit but we remain animals too.


#265    Frank Merton

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 08:07 AM

View Postthird_eye, on 12 March 2013 - 08:23 PM, said:

Buddhism belongs to country ... country doesn't belong to Buddhism because Buddha has nothing to do with illusionary borders
How a Buddhist lay person behaves regarding their country's activities -- especially wars -- is difficult and I think very much up to each person, so we should not make judgements of how others decide to act or not act.  The ethical guidance seems inclined toward passivity and (I can't think of the English word -- non participation in fighting), but not entirely.  Buddhist ethics are not absolutes but choices, each with consequences.  Failure to participate in the defense of one's country is a wrong, but so is war and killing.

I can't imagine Buddhists engaging in the sorts of things some Muslims do -- where innocent bystanders can be killed, but the self-immolations we see now in Tibet and we saw in South Vietnam when a Roman Catholic regime was persecuting Buddhists can be viewed as a way to defend Buddhism.

Edited by Frank Merton, 13 March 2013 - 08:08 AM.


#266    Frank Merton

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 08:10 AM

It is important that Buddhism stay separate from the state but that it support the state whenever it can, and try to be of help and not hindrance.


#267    MrY

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 08:56 AM

It is whatever you perceive it to be.


#268    GreenmansGod

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 11:32 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 13 March 2013 - 08:10 AM, said:

It is important that Buddhism stay separate from the state but that it support the state whenever it can, and try to be of help and not hindrance.

Separation of Church (any religion) and state is the only way to go. It has been shown time and time again through history.  American's founding fathers knew what they were doing from experience when they said it. Some Christians have been fighting it ever since, but  it is the only way to insure civil rights and religious freedom.

Edited by Darkwind, 13 March 2013 - 11:33 AM.

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#269    third_eye

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 11:45 AM

I always felt the terms 'religious' and 'freedom' used together is somewhat oxy moronic


~edit : grammar pothole

Edited by third_eye, 13 March 2013 - 12:05 PM.

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#270    Mr Walker

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 11:58 AM

View PostDarkwind, on 13 March 2013 - 11:32 AM, said:

Separation of Church (any religion) and state is the only way to go. It has been shown time and time again through history.  American's founding fathers knew what they were doing from experience when they said it. Some Christians have been fighting it ever since, but  it is the only way to insure civil rights and religious freedom.
Democracy is more important and more significant a human right than separation of church and state. Where people want a religious state as part of a democratic and informed public, and nation, then there is nothing innately wrong with a state that combines civil and religious elements. Most humans (in general nearly 90% of the worlds population) combine within them selves secular and  spiritual natures, and may wish a state modelled on that  To deny the democratic will of an informed populace is more wrong, and more dangerous to liberty, than to establish a religious democratic state.

Australia has such a state, despite some opposition to it. But where america's constitution has come to divide church from state, Australia,  with  almost exactly the same wording in its constitution, has come to  make all beliefs equal and inclusive in our governance.
That includes non belief and aboriginal spiritual/religious beliefs. We have emphasised the bit about govt not restricting the right to religious belief or non belief in any form, but kept the disallowance of the state from preferring or forming any specific religion. Thus, in theory, there can be no discrimination for or against religion in the state's governance. In practice this means rather than, for example, public prayers  or religios icons or clothing being banned in govt schools, they are protected by law, but ALL beliefs and practices must be equally free to pray/observe, and non believers free not to.

So no one can be compelled to wear religious apparel or jewelry, and no one can be banned from doing so,  except in cases of health and safety. There is a case in court now where non muslim teachers were compelled to wear muslim dress to work at  a muslim school or face the sack. Given past legal precedent that will not be allowed to stand.

Employment must, by law, allow equal opportunity, regardless of race, sex, age, or sexuality and also religious belief or non belief.  So, for example, a catholic school can't prevent a non catholic or an atheist teaching at their school, although they can ask them to observe certain work related expectations, like taking children to a mass or religious class and supervising them.

Edited by Mr Walker, 13 March 2013 - 12:02 PM.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.




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