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Frank Merton

Is Buddhism a philosophy or a religion?

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So in Buddhism there is no concept of self? (Am I misunderstanding that?) How do you deal with the individual personality that one has?

The soul as Westerners tend to picture it is a sort of little man inside us that is the real "us," although of course then know that it has to be something subtler. There is no self -- mind is not a thing -- not matter, not energy, not substantial, not physically detectable. It is a process.

Sit quietly and "watch" your mind function. It flits here and there, is distracted by this or that, in a loose chain of seemingly somewhat connected, somewhat random events that we call thoughts, sensations, memories, what have you. (Don't be misled by the fact that you can "watch" it -- what is happening is that this same process is pulling up short-term memories of its state a moment or so earlier and giving them to itself). It is a self-perpetuating process, and it has over time developed a personality, based largely on choice you have made in the past (aka its karma) plus of course inherited traits that are part of the brain that it uses as its medium.

Oh I'm exhausted, and I am not competent to teach this in detail. I would suggest finding a book on it.

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1. But wave-particle duality experimentally shows that without measurement there are no particles.

2. A mind creates perceptions it isnt the creation of those perceptions. Such thinking is why many see themselves as robots.

3. No aspect of reality is verifiable through independant means because as soon as measurement stops objects cease to exist as shown in wave-particle duality. The mind cannot observe or have awareness without bringing into existance the illusions called reality.

God that was difficult writing that reply lol

wave-particle duality is not the 'as is' as much as it is 'as much as is' that we can come up with experimentally ... work in progress so to speak

the mind creates 'nothing' but what we pick at, to the mind the activity is nothing but what it does from the day it was formed, to us it could be the flashes of perpetual ingenuity,

we can verify reality only to the extent of 'agreement'

our reality is our 'collective agreement'

the reality we agree upon is only superficially agreeable

the more one claims ones reality is discordant then the reality fractures

the illusion is there even before the fractures

so when reality is illusion, illusion is naturally also reality

the more one makes a big deal out of the meanings of the words the more one would cease to make senses of the word

because the words in itself also a collective 'agreement'

it breaks along with the cracks

Flow with it ol'chap it gets clicketty clacking after awhile :)

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Posted (edited)

If you know anything about Buddhism I think you would know that is religion at it best.

Please tap my shoulder when you found Temple of Spinoza or Temple of Sartre. I want to become their acolyte. Maybe even a monk or a priest.

Edited by the L
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So in Buddhism there is no concept of self? (Am I misunderstanding that?) How do you deal with the individual personality that one has?

Ego is a result of illusion.

It arises when you see yourself as seperate from reality leading to the creation of your personality.

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Posted (edited)

wave-particle duality is not the 'as is' as much as it is 'as much as is' that we can come up with experimentally ... work in progress so to speak

the mind creates 'nothing' but what we pick at, to the mind the activity is nothing but what it does from the day it was formed, to us it could be the flashes of perpetual ingenuity,

we can verify reality only to the extent of 'agreement'

our reality is our 'collective agreement'

the reality we agree upon is only superficially agreeable

the more one claims ones reality is discordant then the reality fractures

the illusion is there even before the fractures

so when reality is illusion, illusion is naturally also reality

the more one makes a big deal out of the meanings of the words the more one would cease to make senses of the word

because the words in itself also a collective 'agreement'

it breaks along with the cracks

Flow with it ol'chap it gets clicketty clacking after awhile :)

Wave-particle duality is experimentally proven and is the basis for real effects which can be demontrated such as quantum teleportation. Your very computer is evidence that wave-particle duality is correct as is your microwave oven, mobile phone and DVD player.

Non-duality is the potential of all possibilities unified together. QM's wavefunction is the same limited in the context of the experiment being peformed. A wavefunction is written as a probability formula listing each possibility.

Now if you gain information on a probability you collapse it leaving one outcome which is the particle aspect of wave-particle duality. In essense its non-duality collapsing into duality through measurement, awareness, gaining information or whatever you want to call it.

Non-duality is not an object, It has no physical essense, it just a unification of potentials. When your mind seeks information you bring into being one of those potentials. When you stop seeking information it returns to non-duality.

In effect its you that creates the universe.

Edited by Mr Right Wing

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~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

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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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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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Why does it have to be defined ?

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Why does it have to be defined ?

taxes

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Posted (edited)

religion

re·li·gion

[ri-lij-uhthinsp.pngthinsp.pngn]

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
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Posted (edited)

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
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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.

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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.

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Posted (edited)

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
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Posted (edited)

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
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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

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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.

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Posted (edited)

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
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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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I think the Copenhagen interpretation kinda makes materialism/physicalism impossible; mind is a necessary ingredient in make the interpretation work.

Niel Bohr didn't seem to think so. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-copenhagen/

"Fourth, although Bohr had spoken about "disturbing the phenomena by observation," in some of his earliest papers on complementarity, he never had in mind the observer-induced collapse of the wave packet. Later he always talked about the interaction between the object and the measurement apparatus which was taken to be completely objective. Thus, Schrödinger's Cat did not pose any riddle to Bohr. The cat would be dead or alive long before we open the box to find out. What Bohr claimed was, however, that the state of the object and the state of the instrument are dynamically inseparable during the interaction. Moreover, the atomic object does not posses any state separate from the one it manifests at the end of the interaction because the measuring instrument establishes the necessary conditions under which it makes sense to use the state concept."

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

No. Judaism preceded Jesus by ages. Hinduism differs from earlier Indian religion in that it picked up an Indo-European pantheon of deities from the invading "Aryans," and other Indian religions didn't. The other similarities -- reincarnation (rebirth), and the notion of karma probably date from the very earliest Indian civilizations of the Indus Valley. Hindus assert that their religion came first, which is a touchy issue. Let me just say that the Hinduism of today is less than 1500 years old and the traces that go back further would indicate that both Hinduism and Buddhism came out of a common tradition, and that Buddhism stayed closer to it in not picking up the polytheism that is in Hinduism (although more and more the sophisticated Hindu theologian becomes monotheistic, but that is another business).

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In effect its you that creates the universe.

According to your egocentric philosophy and nothing more.

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You probably know more about the Copenhagen interpretation than I do, and I do not intend to assert that this is evidence of the truth of any aspect of Buddhist teaching.

I don't think, though, that Bohr's view is the last word. He was almost desperate to stop mystical and other airy emanations that the interpretation seems to invite, and his words are unconvincing. Most physicists of my acquaintance avoid the issue, or take a wait-and-see position, and don't look for ways to reject the outre conclusions that are possible.

And, you know, there is always the "alternative universes" interpretation waiting in the wings.

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THe secret is there are no secrets ....

that's the problem with languages and verbal communication

You speak to yourself in your own voice but all you hear are the ghosts of mankind

Gotama awakened to his own voice

His voice now also haunts my mind

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