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Is Buddhism a philosophy or a religion?

buddhism philosophy religion

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#31    third_eye

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 08:20 PM

View PostMr Right Wing, on 07 March 2013 - 07:23 PM, said:


~snip~

In effect its you that creates the universe.


We know how to use it , express it through a set of numbers ruled by formulated theorems
the only thing 'proven' is that it works either way and we don't know why

Out of the mathematics universe it is still a paradox

in effect I believe the universe created something with me in it that I was fortunate enough to be part of

Quote

' ... life and death carry on as they always have ~ and always will, only the dreamer is gone ~ behind the flow of imagination, beyond any effort to be still
dancing in the ebb and flow of attention, more present than the breath, I find the origins of my illusions, only the dreamer is gone ~ the dream never ends
'

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#32    GreenmansGod

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 10:31 PM

All the Buddhist I know which, not including Frank, is about 5 and are they atheists. I think it is philosophy.  When I took a class in world religions the teacher classified it as a philosophy.

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#33    Big Bad Voodoo

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 10:53 PM

View PostDarkwind, on 07 March 2013 - 10:31 PM, said:

All the Buddhist I know which, not including Frank, is about 5 and are they atheists. I think it is philosophy.  When I took a class in world religions the teacher classified it as a philosophy.

Sadly your teacher was uneducated.

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#34    ciriuslea

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 10:59 PM

Why does it have to be defined ?


#35    third_eye

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 11:00 PM

View Postciriuslea, on 07 March 2013 - 10:59 PM, said:

Why does it have to be defined ?


taxes

Quote

' ... life and death carry on as they always have ~ and always will, only the dreamer is gone ~ behind the flow of imagination, beyond any effort to be still
dancing in the ebb and flow of attention, more present than the breath, I find the origins of my illusions, only the dreamer is gone ~ the dream never ends
'

GIFTS WITH NO GIVER - a love affair with truth ~ Poems by Nirmala

third_eye ' s cavern ~ bring own beer


#36    Paranoid Android

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 06:08 AM

religion
   
re·li·gion
[ri-lij-uhPosted ImagePosted Imagen]
1.
a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2.
a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion. 3.
the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
4.
the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
5.
the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.

Dictionary.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Using the dictionary definition, it would appear that Buddhism is indeed a religion.

Edited by Paranoid Android, 08 March 2013 - 06:09 AM.

Posted Image

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#37    Frank Merton

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 06:47 AM

View PostDarkwind, on 07 March 2013 - 10:31 PM, said:

All the Buddhist I know which, not including Frank, is about 5 and are they atheists. I think it is philosophy.  When I took a class in world religions the teacher classified it as a philosophy.
As Buddhism is taught in many places in the West, it is indeed a philosophy much more than a religion.  As it is practiced in much of Asia, it is a religion with a lot of philosophy in it.

Educated Buddhists are in my experience always atheists.  Mahayana Buddhism has a lot of what are for all practical purposes perceived as deities -- the Bodhisattva -- which are seen as having divine but not infinite powers, not too much unlike the Saints of Roman Catholicism.  In China these are sometimes recirculated native Chinese gods.  Theravada Buddhists try and generally are tolerant of these things but don't actually endorse them -- Buddhists will typically defer to the views of other Buddhists and you sometimes end up with contests to see who can be the most humble.

Edited by Frank Merton, 08 March 2013 - 06:56 AM.


#38    Frank Merton

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 06:55 AM

View Postciriuslea, on 07 March 2013 - 10:59 PM, said:

Why does it have to be defined ?
Excellent question.  I guess the reason is because Westerners tend to think a religion has to be about gods or God, and to Asians this isn't an issue.  Confucianism is mainly about deportment and proper ritual but has "Heaven" in it (a bad translation of something I think is untranslatable but certainly has divine aspects).  Taoism is loaded with spirits and demons and what-not, but treats them magically and is mainly a philosophy of the Tao -- again something untranslatable that fortunately no one tries to translate but certainly is not a deity.

Several of the religions of India are rigidly atheist.  Buddhism, coming out of this, argues that anything that exists must be subject to the laws of existence -- karma -- and therefore, if gods exist, they are not relevant to our own personal destinies, which we have to work out on our own.  It is officially agnostic, although as I said earlier most educated Buddhists go further than that.

You note that I call them religions even though gods play a minor if any role.  I think that is because they have so many other things in them that the English language sees as religious -- rituals, temples, monks, prayers, idols, special days for this or that, and so on.


#39    Goddess_Lilith

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 07:10 AM

It's a way of life based on a philosophy. There's no God or Devil or a preist you have to confess your sins to in order to gain forgiveness. It's you being responsible for you and your own actions and working on creating peace within yourself so you can be a good person and achieve true happiness in life. It's all about working on you and making you a better person.


#40    Mr Right Wing

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 03:27 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 08 March 2013 - 06:47 AM, said:

As Buddhism is taught in many places in the West, it is indeed a philosophy much more than a religion.  As it is practiced in much of Asia, it is a religion with a lot of philosophy in it.

Educated Buddhists are in my experience always atheists.  Mahayana Buddhism has a lot of what are for all practical purposes perceived as deities -- the Bodhisattva -- which are seen as having divine but not infinite powers, not too much unlike the Saints of Roman Catholicism.  In China these are sometimes recirculated native Chinese gods.  Theravada Buddhists try and generally are tolerant of these things but don't actually endorse them -- Buddhists will typically defer to the views of other Buddhists and you sometimes end up with contests to see who can be the most humble.

Non-theism isnt atheism.

There is no God figure in Buddhism because oneness means there can be no seperate things. Everything is one and that one is the equivelent of God.

Edited by Mr Right Wing, 08 March 2013 - 03:30 PM.


#41    Frank Merton

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 03:38 PM

View PostMr Right Wing, on 08 March 2013 - 03:27 PM, said:

Non-theism isnt atheism.

There is no God figure in Buddhism because oneness means there can be no seperate things. Everything is one and that one is the equivelent of God.
On your first point, this is a seemingly never-ending English language issue that I have repeatedly been told both ways.  If one has no God or gods, one is an atheist, regardless.  So, then, a non-theist is an atheist.  Others, apparently you included, say that "atheist" is the word for a person who makes the affirmative assertion that there is no God or gods.  The dictionaries are no help.  They have both meanings.  The root of the word would favor the first definition, but of course that is a poor guide.

On your second statement, you make an un-Buddhist formulation that sounds like pantheism or maybe some mystical form of Hinduism.  To my knowledge the Buddhist tradition doesn't contain any sort of identification of existence with a deity.

Edited by Frank Merton, 08 March 2013 - 03:40 PM.


#42    sutemi

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 04:09 PM

A great topic Frank.  Buddhism was very helpful to me in my early years of searching, what drew me to it was the recognition of the importance of Meditation in our lives, especially in Zen. Is it a religion or philosophy? Imho it can be seen as either, depending on a person’s perspective/knowledge. But what the ‘Buddha’ practiced was meditation and the contemplative life, so really it is about knowing the true self. My brother’s wife is from Thailand she is a Buddhist born and bred, she goes to the local Buddhist retreat/temple near Stratford, I often used to go with her. She does not meditate, she does not ‘know’ she believes, she has faith, for her it is a religion,. Philosophy, in modern times seems to be more about trying to understand things with the intellect, so the deeper understanding that meditation brings is missing in most philosophy.  As Socrates says in the Republic ,” Philosophers are lovers of true being” and also “The philosopher is he who has in his mind the perfect pattern of justice, beauty, truth;  his is the knowledge of the eternal; he contemplates all time and all existence; no praises are too high for him”. The Republic Plato.  All the great teachings throughout time have had this problem, after the teachers death the followers revert to rituals, prayers, laws, temples, churches, etc, etc  and forget Meditation. Buddhism has managed to keep meditation as a core value which is so positive. Without the inner connection to Peace it is all just ritual and dogma. take care.
“Buddhists primarily meditate not in order to just become calm or blissed out but to tear through the veil of ignorance concerning our true nature”. ‘Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo’,   Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery’s  facebook page


#43    Frank Merton

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 04:26 PM

Thanks for that.  As you mention, most lay Asian Buddhists don't meditate.  It is seen as something that monks and nuns do.  

This is changing, and I think largely because so many Westerners discovered meditation from the Japanese through Zen.

I meditate for many reasons, and its flexibility is wondrous.  However probably the main reason is when I have a problem, usually of an ethical nature.  As your quote says, meditation is "to tear through the veil of ignorance concerning our true nature."  Now to me that translates "become Enlightened."  I am not so bold or so ambitious, but even a little tear through the ignorance often helps me find my way through an ethical dilemma.


#44    GreenmansGod

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 04:26 PM

Frank, question, do you think Buddha was to Hinduism what Jesus was to Judaism?  Didn't the Buddha come from a Hindu culture?

Edited by Darkwind, 08 March 2013 - 04:27 PM.

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#45    Mr Right Wing

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 04:28 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 08 March 2013 - 03:38 PM, said:

On your second statement, you make an un-Buddhist formulation that sounds like pantheism or maybe some mystical form of Hinduism.  To my knowledge the Buddhist tradition doesn't contain any sort of identification of existence with a deity.

In Buddhism there is no seperate me, you or God being because everything is one.

That isnt atheism (no God) its non-theism (no seperate God being).





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