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Buddhism - what's the deal?

Discussion in 'Christianity and World Religion' started by ProScribe, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. ProScribe

    ProScribe Well-Known Member

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    I've tried posting on Buddhist forum but I'm not sure how that works.

    Is dazed or tariki here anymore?...
     
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  2. ProScribe

    ProScribe Well-Known Member

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    I think the eight spokes of the Wheel of Dhamma represents the 8 fold path. The 4 noble truths are a manifest teaching of the Buddha's Dharma.
     
  3. dazed

    dazed Newbie

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    We couldn't possibly be the only 2 Buddhists in this forum?
     
  4. ProScribe

    ProScribe Well-Known Member

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    Generally, people in this area have never heard anything about Buddhism..
     
  5. SeventhValley

    SeventhValley Guest

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    I have spent time in Zen monastaries on retreats. I also am fairly familiar with Nichiren,and a small bit of Pure Land. What do you want to know?
     
  6. Rationalt

    Rationalt Newbie

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    As far as i am aware Gautama Buddha's disciples adopted (Dont know from whom) the wheel as a symbol of buddhas teachings.
     
  7. SeventhValley

    SeventhValley Guest

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    Also remember that for the most part results out weigh the dogma in Buddhism. Although as with every faith you have Zelots even in Buddhism.
     
  8. dazed

    dazed Newbie

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    How does one be a zealot in Baha'i?
     
  9. SeventhValley

    SeventhValley Guest

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    Go to a Baha'i cluster and ask about info on the faith. The guy who calls you up for a week straight asking for you to attend a Ruhi class would be that guy.
     
  10. SeventhValley

    SeventhValley Guest

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    Let me say that the Nicherin and Tibetan buddhism seem to have the majority of the zealots. That I have encountered anyways.

    All I have to say is E-Sangha.....
     
  11. Redac

    Redac Regular Member

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    So where does one even start with learning about Buddhism? The amount of information seems a bit daunting to those not familiar. Is there some scripture that most are pointed to? Some other source of information?
     
  12. SeventhValley

    SeventhValley Guest

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    BuddhaNet's Buddhist Studies: A Basic Buddhism Guide
     
  13. dazed

    dazed Newbie

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    Things you learn on this forum! :bow:
     
  14. Redac

    Redac Regular Member

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  15. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist I believe in life before death!

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    What is a zealot in Buddhism like?


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  16. SeventhValley

    SeventhValley Guest

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    I can give you more info over a PM if you like.

    Just as in every group including my own their are taboos and sectarian strife.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 28, 2012
  17. Syrokal

    Syrokal Church of Starry Wisdom

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    Hey there, im going to copy/paste an info dump I wrote on another forum a year or so ago,


    What are Buddhists?
    How would Buddhists today answer it? Some might reply that Buddhsits are the followers of the Buddha and his teachings.
    While this is an accurate response, it is open to misunderstanding. For example Buddhists do not follow the Buddha in the same way that Christians follow Christ, the reason for this is that the Buddha is not understood to be a god, nor did he teach his disciples a way to god. Indeed he did not even claim his teachings were a unique and unusual source of wisdom; but he did maintain that they had a very specific practical purpose and they were meant to be useful

    The Buddha always said"Dont take what im saying, just try to analyse as far as possible and see if what im saying makes sense or not, if it doesn't make sense, discard it, if it does make sense, pick it up

    Another way to answer the question might be to say that Buddhists Practice the "Dharma". This word had a range of meanings that interconnect. most importantly dharma means truth, law or teaching. Thus, Buddhists are stressing that the Buddha's teaching pointed to the truth; and moreover, that they are practising what the Buddha preached, truthful living, which is open to everyone.

    A third answer to the question would be to say that Buddhists are those who belong to the sangha. Sangha means community. Often it denotes the monastic community, but in a broader sense it refers to Buddhists in general. It could be said that Buddhists are part of the sangha in the way that Christians belong to the Church. However, the distinction of belonging to the Buddhist community is a commitment to living a life that cultivates well-being and happiness through following particular teachings, rules and practices. Sometimes the members of the sangha are referred to as "spiritual friends"

    If we put all three answers together, we may arrive at a more completely Understanding of what it means to be a Buddhist


    The Three Jewels


    The Buddha, dharma and sangha are known as the Three Jewels, the implication of this being that they are what Buddhists hold most dear in life. It is usually to make a commitment to them; this often takes place in a formal ceremony, which marks the intention to live a life that can be summarized in a verse found in the Dhammapada, a popular compilation of the Buddha's teaching


    Not to do evil
    To cultivate good
    To purify one's mind.

    The importance of this commitment is made cleared by contrasting these Three Jewels with what Buddhists understand to be the unhelpful influences in life, aslo termed the Three Poisions namely Craving aversion and delusion. The opposition of these triple formulations succinctly defines the Buddhist path. By inclining to the former, and seeking to avoid the influence of the latter, Buddhists understand the purpose of life.
    The Three Poisions , should be understood as three aspects of the same condition or three inter-related symptoms. Each exacerbates the other; for example craving increases aversion and aversion increases delusion and vice verse.

    The Three Refuges



    The Buddha, Dharma and sangha are also known as the Three Refuges. Refuge is not used in its negative sense of hiding away from something; rather, it means that which provides safety and the possibility of growth, that which you can put your trust in. For this reason, the formal recitation of the Three Jewels is described as 'going for refuge'. Although Buddhists of different persuastions would want to say a lot more about what this means and involves, we may begin here by saying that a Buddhist is one who has taken refuge in the Buddha, dharma and sangha; from here, like the Buddha himself when he resolved to leave home in search of wisdom, he or she 'goes forth'

    In many schools of thought through the simple act of reciting this formula three times, one declares oneself a Buddhist.

    I go for refuge To the Buddh
    I go for refuge to the Dharma
    I go for refuse to the Sangha


    The implication of this act is to radically reassess personal priorities and goals, as this passage written by Japanese Buddhist teacher Shuryu Suzuki

    "Taking reguge is the firs step on the Buddhist path to inner freedom, but it is not something new. We have been taking refguse all our loves, though mainly in external things, hoping to find security and happiness. Some of us take refuse in money, some in drugs. Some take refuse in food, in mountain-climbing or in sunny beaches. Most of us seek security and satisfaction in a relationship with a man or a woman. Throughout oru lives we have drifted from one situation to the next, always in the expectation of final satisfaction. Our successive involvements may sometimes offer temporary relief but, in sober truth, seeking refuge from physical possession and transient pleasure meerly deepens our confusion rather than ending it"

    It is useful to note how reguse has a differnet connotation and quality to the way in which it is normally used in the West. Refuge is understood as necessary and endemic in the human condition. It is a question of what one takes refuge in and what satisfaction is gained as a result Samsaric reguse is always transitory. In turn , note how this affects the way in which we might under the idea of freedom.


    Buddhist Practice​


    What does the way of life involve? First And foremost it is a practical path through life

    "It is only useful to you if it's practical. For me it is, I developed my meditation into an awareness and mindfulness and learned to do just what I was doing at any one time and nothing else. I find I pick up on things much quicker and am more open to other people. I have a better perspective on things and am more in touch with myself.

    The Buddha's message stresses that Speculation about the way things are is of little value. He spoke of investigation the human situation as a doctor investigates an illness, needing both diagnosis and cure. His teaching is a prescription. Speculation and discussion that does not focus on this is of no help. IN a welll-known passage he says that, if someone were struck by an arrow, he would not refuse to have it taken out until he knew who shot the arrow, whether he were married or not, what he looked like and so on; he would simply concentrate on removing it. In this way he indicated that he was not concerned with discussion the questions often regarded as of religious importance for example, who created the world? how did it come into being? and so forth. These were considered by the Buddha as questions not tending to edification: what essentially matters is the here and now. Treading the Buddhist path should lead to a transformation in the self: a continuous refining of both thought and action, of the way we related to others and to the world we live in and finally of our self-understanding

    In the West, because of our lack of contact with traditionally Buddhist Societies, erroneous views of Buddhism are prevalent. Buddhists are often thought to be other-worldly, concerned solely with a monastic life, retreating from society, looking inward and being unconcerned with everyday affairs. Buddhism is often believed to be a highly abstract philosophical system, academic and self-absorbing, of no value to the ordinary person. Such views would have bemused the Buddha, and possibly brought a wry smile to his face; however they represent a barrier to understanding present-day Buddhists.

    The Five Precepts(Panca Sila)​



    A the heart of Buddhist ethical practices are the Five Precepts. These are rules which identify the aspirations of a Buddhist. They are not commandments; rather they are the minimum essential "prescription" for treating the human condition, and an antidote to the three Poisson's; greed, aversion or hatred, and ignorance or delusion. They consists of the following undertakings.
    1 I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from harming living beings.
    2I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from taking things not freely given
    3 I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from sexual misconduct.
    4 I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from false speech
    5 I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from intoxicating drinks and drug causing heedlessness.


    Of course, if carrying out these undertakings were as simple as it might seem, things would soon be well and good. However, the purpose of this commitment is, at leas tin part, to investigate what is really involved in leading this virtuous way of life. Thus, the more diligently tou attempt to put the undertakings into practice, the more aware you become of their significance. This accords with the Buddha's exhortation that one should find things out for oneself. The cure can be prescribed by the doctor-bu the patient must administer it and see whether it works.

    " Of whatever teachings you can assure yourself in this way, these teachings lead to calmness, not to neurotic passion, to mental freedom, not to bondage, to a decrease of worldly entanglements, not to an increase of them. Of such teachings you may affirm with certainty, this is the Dharma, this is the Ethical Life, this is the Masters Message
    Vinaya 11:10

    The Buddhists way of life is meant to consist of carrying a minimum of baggage, both material and spiritual. For this reason the Buddha's pronouncements can appear terse and austere, and imply a separation from society and a consequent introversion. However, if we apply the precepts in the way Buddha Intended their functions become clear.

    The Five Precepts place emphasis on motivation, not just action. They are a self-discipline freely undertaken. As a result, a change in action occurs. Observing not harming living beings creates a sensitivity in one's perceptions and care in one's behaviour. Thus, one becomes more attentive in the actions one carries out as a result


    Mindfulness​



    With deeds of loving kindness, I purify my body.
    With open-handed generosity, I purify my body
    With stillness, simplicity and contentment , I purify my body
    With truthful communication, I purify my speech
    With mindfulness, clear and radiant, I purify my mind

    Understanding the Buddhist view as above leads us to consider how to achieve this refinement of attitude (or equanimity) while involved in the activity of our daily lives.
    Remaining positive in outlook, depends on ot reacting negatively to events. However, the watchfulness and discipline required are obviously difficult to attain. The Buddha's teaching stressed as a supreme quality the cultivation of mindfulness; this involves an ability to watch over our own state of mind at the same time as observing the emotions of those around us.
    We cannot give to others without taking account of, and dealing with, the volatility present in our own nature. In simple terms' anger provokes anger, meanness provokes meanness, heedlessness provokes heedlessness. A crucial implication of the Buddha's teaching is that no one is an island, but that by practising the dharma it is possible to influence the attitudes of those around us and of society at large. Indeed, the substance of this message goes still further. Not only human existence, but the destiny of the world, depend upon this taking place. It involves being in harmony with nature , and respect for all living things. Returning to the Indian context-that this teaching was first formulated, it goes beyond the span of our lives from birth to death, and determines our future rebirths, or the births of others. Buddhists consider that the capacity to progress to a more elevated spiritual and moral state has a fundamental effect on the evolution of the world.

    Wisdom and compassion​



    Compassion must be complemented by wisdom. The two are inseparable; they co-exist, and without the other neither is possible. The development of wisdom depends upon a more formal practice which is understood as meditation. Without the discipline of a formal practice that allows understanding of the way in which one's own mind works, and development of the capacity for insight, the cultivation of compassion is inevitably diminished. One word for meditation that identifies its instrumental tole is bhavana (mean/spiritual development) this presumes that the latent capacity we have needs to be cultivated, in order for our full potential to be achieved. The purpose of this has been described as such

    "Try to be mindful and let things take their natural course. Then your mind will become still in any surroundings, like a clear forest pool. All kinds of wonderful, rare animals will come to drink at the pool , and you will clearly see the nature of all things. You will see strange and wonderful things, but you will be still. This is the happiness of the Buddha"

    This passage outlines succinctly the purpose of Buddhist mediation. Be calm (samatha) and you will become mindful. In this observant and detached state, you will recognize what is actually happening. and again insight into the way things truly are. From this arise a peace or happiness that allows a positive and virtuous response to others, regardless of the way in which you are treated. The result is attainment of both wisdom and compassion.
     
  18. Syrokal

    Syrokal Church of Starry Wisdom

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    Then we have essentially the most important aspect of the faith

    The Buddhas Teaching


    The Crux of the Buddha's teachings came down to the concept of Dukkha (Suffering or Unsatisfactoriness) why it is the fundamental aspect of the human condition, and how it can be overcome
    It is very difficult to translate the term Dukkha accurately. One word, such as suffering, is insufficient and misleading. It is not a purely philosophical term, and it would be wrong to treat it in that way. Suffering os one meaning ascribed to it, but this suggests a pessimistic view, somehow stressing the bad things and ignoring the good that happens in the course of human experience, other words that help show it's full meaning are Dis-ease, imperfection and inadequacy

    This concept of Suffering led to the Four Noble Truths

    The first Noble Truth: All is suffering:
    This sounds pessimistic and in some senses wrong Don't we ever enjoy life? isnt life often pleasurable and aren't we sometimes happy?. Of course, it is true that we have pleasure and feel happy but that is not the point. Instead of contrasting suffering with happiness we need to understand the relationship. The point is that we desire happiness and are averse to suffering. So, can we be happy or fulfilled all the time? Clearly not, therefore because we desire to be happy, fulfilled or content we create the conditions for unhappiness, discontent or suffering. the point is to notice this.

    The second noble truth; The origin of suffering.
    If we can agree that desire produces dissatisfaction or suffering then how can we stop this happening? what is its root cause? The Buddha observes that if I desire then it is I that causes desiring. In other words, desire is caused by the wish to preserve my sense of myself. This idea of the self, that wishes to maintain existence and 'self image', is an attachment we preserve. As long as we are attached to this 'self' we suffer in seeking to preserve it. Thus, the origin suffering is attachment.

    The third Noble Truth: The cessation of suffering or (Nirodha)
    Nirodha means to control;it refers to controlling desires and attachments. this is the beginning of the remedy or cure. Contrary to our normal interpretation of control as controlling, it is about becoming dispassionate, letting go of the wish for life to be as we wish it to be. To do this, a new attitude of mind has to be cultivated. Attachment is replaced by acceptance. this is not fatalistic, but a recognition that life cannot always be as we would want and, therefore, it is the wanting that must change because circumstance will not. this does not mean passive acceptance. It means recognising what is the best way to live in the circumstances that we cannot change. In a larger sense, it is acceptance of the human condition. Our mortal nature results in death, we cannot change that.

    The fourth Noble Truth: The path to the cessation of suffering.
    This is the Noble Eightfold Path and has three aspects; Ethical Conduct (Sila) Mental discipline(Samadhi) and wisdom(prajna). It is best to think about the inter-relationship of these. First, without mental discipline ethical conduct is difficult, we cannot control our actions. Second wisdom cannot be achieved without ethical conduct or mental discipline. Wisdom is effectively, the recognition of the goal to be achieved, outline in the first three Noble truths. Mental discipline and ethical conduct enable that recognition. Wisdom is not cleverness but accumulation of skill full experience

    The Eightfold path
    Wisdom
    1 Right Understanding
    2 Right Intention
    3 Right Speech
    Ethical Conduct
    4 Right Action
    5 Right Livelihood
    6 Right effort
    Mental Discipline
    Right Mindfulness
    Right Concentration

    It is important to to recognize that Ethical Conduct is absolutely necessary in order to achieve Wisdom, and that without Mental Discipline, we lack the capacity for Ethical Conduct. Similarly, therefore , the achievement of Compassion and Wisdom which are the characteristics of an Enlightened One, cannot be gained separately and are not Distinct. Everything goes hand in hand. The wise person is the one who acts compassionately, the compassionate person is the one who acts wisely



    Long I know, but I hoped it helped, I cut the post short beleive it or not, because I don't think background info on the competing scriptures/traditions/history is all that important for a basic glance
     
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