Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 3
Frank Merton

Is Buddhism a philosophy or a religion?

284 posts in this topic

No, there is no heaven in Buddhist teaching. "Nirvana" is often mistaken for being heaven, but if you research the topic, it's virtually the opposite of what heaven actually is in other faiths such as Christianity.

Sorry to butt into the discussion, I just thought I'd add that little tid-bit.

There are many heavens and many hells in various Buddhist traditions. The difference is that they are not permanent. Once the good karma that got you into a heaven or the bad that got you into a hell are worked out, you again get reborn a human.

I don't think any of this was in the original Buddhism, but it got into it pretty early so it's hard to say. In Thailand one of the best ways to get yourself into a pretty nice heaven for a good long time is for a son to become a monk.

I don't know that I care to post my personal view of these ideas.

Edited by Frank Merton
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reviewing this I want to make sure it is clear that Nirvana is the final solution achieved by reaching Enlightenment. As was said, it is not to be confused with the Christian Heaven.

It is interesting that there are Buddhists, myself incuded, who have their doubts about this basic idea. That the Buddha had an "Enlightenment" experience as a young man, where he realized certain thing (kinda put the puzzle together) seems reasonable and likely, but I don't think he stopped developing at that point and that his teaching continued to evolve and develop all his life.

4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Reviewing this I want to make sure it is clear that Nirvana is the final solution achieved by reaching Enlightenment. As was said, it is not to be confused with the Christian Heaven.

But it may not be much different from theosis or "beatific vision" of the apostolic succession Christian churches. The main difference for all Nicene churches is that Christians envision an embodied eternity. But, theosis or "beatific vision" doesn't require waiting for the general resurrection.

Theosis is a never-ending process, which may have some relevance to your other remark about the Buddha improving after enlightenment. Theosis can be attained during natural life, and in the Eastern Orthodox conception, there is no set limit to "how nearly completely" it can be attained during natural life.

That there would be any difficulty at all distinguishing the desirable endstate of Buddhism from the endstate taught by a set of religions adhered to by 1.5 billion people worldwide, the most prevalent form of Christianity, would in itself all but compel the conclusion, IMO, that an occasion exists when it would be appropriate to call Buddhism a religion, and inappropriate to refrain from calling it a religion.

Edited by eight bits
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, there is no heaven in Buddhist teaching. "Nirvana" is often mistaken for being heaven, but if you research the topic, it's virtually the opposite of what heaven actually is in other faiths such as Christianity.

Sorry to butt into the discussion, I just thought I'd add that little tid-bit.

There is place sort like Heaven where people who had good karma become sort like angel figures. You need to research a topic. :tu:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it possible to have two religions within your head? rather like holding two contradictory thoughts at the same time and believing both of them. I ask because in Japan they have Shinto which is clearly a religion, and they are Buddhists at the same time. So, do they see Buddhism as something not quite a religion. Any Japanese here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it possible to have two religions within your head? rather like holding two contradictory thoughts at the same time and believing both of them. I ask because in Japan they have Shinto which is clearly a religion, and they are Buddhists at the same time. So, do they see Buddhism as something not quite a religion. Any Japanese here?

as long as you're not requesting membership cards you can have as many religions as you want ,

gandhi said god never had any so I wonder why I would need even one ....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are cherry picking person you can find philosophy in Quran, Bible even in Brothers Grimm.

You see what you wants to see.

that would make cherry pickers the most philosophical people in the world, won't it ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as long as you're not requesting membership cards you can have as many religions as you want ,

gandhi said god never had any so I wonder why I would need even one ....

Perhaps as well there are no membership fees for me, as I have more gods than there are grains of sand on the beach. Hmm, I just had a money making thought. Perhaps at each worship a collection could be made. But no, surely no religion would be so grasping as to do that.........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is place sort like Heaven where people who had good karma become sort like angel figures. You need to research a topic. :tu:

What he has specifically said is that these are local versions of Buddhism which have residual carry over beliefs from their assimilation into the Buddhist faith. The ultimate aim of Buddhism is self annihilation by removal of all desire - to step off the wheel of karma. Ultimately all other things that exist are simply leading you to this state and as such a heaven could exist - but it would be a lesser state not to be confused with Nirvana.

Whether the original Buddhist would have believed in any state of heaven is debatable.

In a sense the purest form of Buddhism is Zen which has no concept of heaven.

Br Cornelius

Edited by Br Cornelius
3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps as well there are no membership fees for me, as I have more gods than there are grains of sand on the beach. Hmm, I just had a money making thought. Perhaps at each worship a collection could be made. But no, surely no religion would be so grasping as to do that.........

I wouldn't speak so soon ..... other than the scandals of the carnal nature, the next most highest scandals are "funds"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, although I understand why you think the way you do.

QM is counter intuitive, it does sound pretty ludicrus in places buts its not until you see the experiments before you very own eyes or at least have a decent book explain them that you realise an object is capable of having two outcomes co-existing as once. Such as being in two places at once.

Counter intuitive is not relevant. Counter logical and possible is. For example lots of people think quantum entangle ment means two identical things existing in two different places at the same time. In fact they are not the same thing but two separate thngs with identical properties. One separate thing can't exist in two places at the same time without becoming two separate things. Like wise something can't be a wave or a particle at the same instant in time. It's state can fluctuate and be influenced by its environment, including observation of its properties, althought how and why that should happen is not yet understood, but it cannot "be" two different things at the same time. One possibility is that waves and particles are not two separate things but components of one larger "entity"

I suspect this will be resolved with further understanding, and once practical usage and application of the principles and properties are begun. But quantum mechanics and understanding does NOT basically alter the way the universe is, or operates. It might allow us to do many things by altering the properties of the universe even as we do today. Ie today we alter the universe by building a wall. Such a wall will remain solid, but technology based on QM might allow us to either walk through it, or make such things as material, or matter, based walls redundant.

At the moment, however, how we interface with the universe remains based on our newtonian understandings of the nature of the universe. It is likely that, even using QM, we will have to work around these principles and understandings. eg when we are able to transmit ourselves instantaneously from one end of the galaxy to another, or from our home to the shops, (if shops stil exist in a world where all requirements can be beamed into your home) our physical reality will affect how this works. Will it create two copies of us every time, as in quantum entanglement, or will the original actually be able to be moved from the first location to the second without duplication. A wall or chair/table/bed etc designed as an energy field will still stop or support our body because the nature of our body remains physical.

I apprecaite tha the concept of two outcomes existing as one leads us to the idea of a multiverse. This is a neat idea, but there isnt the slightest physical evidence for it as yet. In our current reality, while there are multiple potential outcomes from any instant in time, only one"solidifies" within our universe. The others, if they exist, enter into other universes.

In another post you talk about a wave collapsing into an atom and then reverting to a wave function. This makes my point. In that scenario the wave and the atom do NOT coexist at the same moment in time. They are alternate states of a larger "entity"

Edited by Mr Walker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't read through all these 16 pages of comments, but I don't think Siddhartha Gautama intended his teachings to become a religion or a philosophy. I think in a similar way Jesus did not intend to start a new religion. If you read Buddhist texts pretty soon this guy becomes a supernatural being, performing miracles and hob-sobbing with all sorts of divine gods and angels.

It seems to me this Siddhartha Gautama fellow was a very practical man, and he taught a practical way of detaching the human mind from its various psychological delusions and its conceptual way of viewing itself and the world it finds itself living in.

In my view, if we remove religion and philosophy from Buddhism we come closer to Mr. Gautama's basic message. If we elevate this man to some ethereal plane and make him some sort of supernatural spiritual being, we loose sight of his sensible and useful message.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to this definition Buddhism is another religion:

Religion is an organized collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion

It doesn't say anything about worshiping a god or gods.

+++

EDIT:

I see the thread has already evolved beyond all that, lol.

.

Does anyone have an answer to "Is Buddhism a philosohy or a religion?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't read through all these 16 pages of comments, but I don't think Siddhartha Gautama intended his teachings to become a religion or a philosophy. I think in a similar way Jesus did not intend to start a new religion. If you read Buddhist texts pretty soon this guy becomes a supernatural being, performing miracles and hob-sobbing with all sorts of divine gods and angels.

It seems to me this Siddhartha Gautama fellow was a very practical man, and he taught a practical way of detaching the human mind from its various psychological delusions and its conceptual way of viewing itself and the world it finds itself living in.

In my view, if we remove religion and philosophy from Buddhism we come closer to Mr. Gautama's basic message. If we elevate this man to some ethereal plane and make him some sort of supernatural spiritual being, we loose sight of his sensible and useful message.

One of his 'messages' I liked (and I'm not even sure it was from his mouth) is:

Truth is that which works.

Very practical indeed.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A buddhist monk once said to me,

"The only religion is the truth"

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is place sort like Heaven where people who had good karma become sort like angel figures. You need to research a topic. :tu:

Perhaps in a transitory sense, though not all strands of Buddhism hold this to be true. But for those that do believe it true, ultimately it will still result in returning to the cycle of rebirth and suffering, which is tragic and not the goal of Buddhism. The goal of Buddhism is to escape the cycle of rebirth and suffering altogether by not accumulating Karma at all (good and bad included) and thus achieving "Nirvana", which is the extinguishing of your life force completely (like blowing out a candle). You need to research a topic. :tu:
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps in a transitory sense, though not all strands of Buddhism hold this to be true. But for those that do believe it true, ultimately it will still result in returning to the cycle of rebirth and suffering, which is tragic and not the goal of Buddhism. The goal of Buddhism is to escape the cycle of rebirth and suffering altogether by not accumulating Karma at all (good and bad included) and thus achieving "Nirvana", which is the extinguishing of your life force completely (like blowing out a candle). You need to research a topic. :tu:

Post 189. :tu:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PA. To research true Buddhism one must practice meditation. In the Buddha story he tried everything he could, but ONLY when sat and meditated did he achieve his goal. Direct experience through Meditation is the key.

“He is awake and finds joy in the stillness of meditation

The masters only point the way. But if you meditate and follow the dharma

You will free yourself from desire. Sit in meditation, sit in light. Choose your seat. Let wisdom grow.

Seeker! Do not be restless. Meditate constantly. Beyond the beyond, Where there is no beginning,

No end. Without fear, go. Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work, with mastery. By day the sun shines, And the warrior in his armour shines. By night the moon shines, And the master shines in meditation. The Dharmaparda.

Without meditation you will never understand, here’s a quote from Krishna Murti

” For the total development of the human being, solitude as a means of cultivating sensitivity becomes a necessity. One has to know what it means to be alone, what it is to meditate, what it is to die; and the implications of solitude, of meditation, of death, can be known only by seeking them out. These implications cannot be taught, they must be learnt. One can indicate, but learning by what is indicated is not the experiencing of solitude or meditation. To experience what is solitude and what is meditation, one must be in in a state of inquiry; only a mind that is in a state of inquiry is capable of learning. But when inquiry is suppressed by previous knowledge, or by the authority and experience of another, then learning becomes mere imitation, and imitation causes a human being to repeat what is learnt without experiencing it!” Krishna Murti

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Post 189. :tu:

None of that takes away from the three points I am making: 1- Not all Buddhists believe in heaven, 2- those that do believe in heaven only believe in a transitory one and that because it still accumulates Karma it is therefore ultimately tragic, and 3- Nirvana is not "beyond heaven" as you wrote, but actually is an anti-heaven, pretty much the exact opposite of heaven as it is believed by other faiths.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PA. To research true Buddhism one must practice meditation. In the Buddha story he tried everything he could, but ONLY when sat and meditated did he achieve his goal. Direct experience through Meditation is the key.

I am not inclined to "experience" Buddhism via meditation. I have found my path and am quite content where I am in my walk of life. I'm also content knowing the basics of Buddhism intellectually without the experience of it.

That's not to say I've never meditated. I do meditate, but not in a desire to purge my attachment and thus end any suffering, it's just a good way to relax sometimes. One could even argue that prayer is a form of meditation.

Edited by Paranoid Android
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PA

1- Not all Buddhists believe in heaven, 2- those that do believe in heaven only believe in a transitory one and that because it still accumulates Karma it is therefore ultimately tragic, and 3- Nirvana is not "beyond heaven" as you wrote, but actually is an anti-heaven, pretty much the exact opposite of heaven as it is believed by other faiths.

Which works out great, because the majority of Christians belong to churches which teach the desirable endstate is not to go to a place but to be in a specified kind of relationship with God. This occurs eventually outside of time and space, and so necessarily not "in any place," except possibly a transitory one (before an embodiment in a "new heaven and new earth").

Given the fractious relationships among Christian churches over the centuries, it might be fair to describe eternal theosis as an "anti-heaven" (to the extent that some conceive of heaven as a place, and so, not as eternal, but merely everlasting). It is interesting that the dividing lines across the Great Schism include how nearly fully theosis can ne attained during natural life. In particular, the Roman and Eastern Orthodoxies dispute over whether it is possible for a natural living person to lose all "inclination to sin," which is a lot like "accumulating Karma."

Of course, simply to be wholly eternal would necessarily remove someone from participation in time and space. Buddhist articulation of "participation in time and space" would naturally favor antecedent Indo-European notions. Given that the subject matter is ineffable, it seems odd to quibble over two articulations of the same fundamental idea, couched in the language of their respective cultures of origin.

The core question of the thread is whether Buddhism can ever be described as a religion. Clearly, the proposition "a human being may exist wholly outside time and space" is facially religious, on pain of saying that Christianity can only be described as a philosophy and never as a religion. Since the Semitic monotheisms incorporate the ground of being into their respective Gods, even the state envisioned by Buddhists and beatific visionary Christians is parallel, except for the signature Christian and originally Pharisaic belief that the righteous will get bodies again.

Edited by eight bits
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it possible to have two religions within your head? rather like holding two contradictory thoughts at the same time and believing both of them. I ask because in Japan they have Shinto which is clearly a religion, and they are Buddhists at the same time. So, do they see Buddhism as something not quite a religion. Any Japanese here?

Check out Morehi Ueshiba's book ,'The Art of Peace' it is free on the net although some will try to charge. He was Brought up in Buddhist type school in Japan but was into Shinto. It is a very beautiful but some of it is about trainig in the martial art of Aikido.

" Each and every Master, regardless of era or place heard the call and attained Harmony with heaven and earth. There are many paths to the top of mount Fuji but there is only one summit - Love" M.Ueshiba 'the Art of Peace'

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mysticism and why it is a problem for the western mind

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To me I suppose, after reading all these views, the Buddhism is philosophy with a few religious tics.

That is because I am seriously doubtful about the core Buddhist religious teachings: Enlightenment, Nirvana, Samsara, Rebirth (reincarnation). I don't exactly reject them -- I tend to view them as more likely than other things religions teach, which strike me as simply absurd. Still, I figure the odds are than when we die we die, end of story.

Where Buddhism helps is as a philosophy -- kinda the Asian equivalent of Stoicism. We suffer for three main reasons -- because we desire things and then either suffer frustration when we can't have them or loss when we get them and later they go away -- because we are revolted or repulsed by things -- we make judgements about people or thngs that are "bad" and hence are bothered by them (especially physical discomforts) -- and finally we suffer delusions.

It takes time and study to understand how all this works. The above paragraph must be confusing but once we understand it we see its truth and this enables us to deal with and be happy with whatever comes our way.

A second aspect of Buddhist philosophy is detached compassion for all other people, for all sentient beings (mainly animals) and for the world. Generosity without foolishness, empathy, even love (although that is in my mind a Western romantic and excessive and unreal notion).

Finally there is the Buddhist moral construct, not based on any set of rules (although there are guides) but on what does the least harm. This is tied in with karma, although karma is not the reason we do what is right, but the consequence. I do not see karma as religious or mystical in any way, but just simply a description of how the world generally works. The gambler in a casino may win in the short run, but usually not, and will always lose in the long run. The same happens to those who do evil.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Check out Morehi Ueshiba's book ,'The Art of Peace' it is free on the net although some will try to charge. He was Brought up in Buddhist type school in Japan but was into Shinto. It is a very beautiful but some of it is about trainig in the martial art of Aikido.

" Each and every Master, regardless of era or place heard the call and attained Harmony with heaven and earth. There are many paths to the top of mount Fuji but there is only one summit - Love" M.Ueshiba 'the Art of Peace'

thanks for the recommended title :tu: :tu:

Edited by third_eye
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 3

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.