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Wanted: opinions about Buddhism

susmariosepsusmariosep Member PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
What do the people here think?

Is Buddhism to put it crudely but honestly all incoherent nonsense? specially that thing about Nirvana. Of course the moral teachings are all right but for the motivation of escape from suffering which in turn is blamed on desire.

Susma
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Comments

  • IscharamoochieIscharamoochie Moderator PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    an incoherent philosophy for an incoherent reality. sounds good to me...
  • rickymrickym Member PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    Is Buddhism to put it crudely but honestly all incoherent nonsense? specially that thing about Nirvana. Of course the moral teachings are all right but for the motivation of escape from suffering which in turn is blamed on desire.
    Susma

    you're saying that you're not comfortable with the idea that suffering is blamed on desire? i think that's a major part of buddhism. desire or attachments to buddhists is considered the start of suffering.

    i was born a catholic, but right now am very fond of buddhism. it is really quite unnerving at first(the idea that attachment is the cause of suffering).

    from catholic to buddhism is quite drastic. in catholicism and christianity it is basically, do good to others and you go to heaven. when you have good intentions, you go to heaven. nothing much is said about stress, an undisciplined mind, and attachment. in fact some catholics/christians i've met will even associate attachment with love. and therefore find nothing wrong with it. i personally find this attachment due to affection also a cause of suffering. at least that's the way i interpret it.

    star wars has a lot of buddhism elements in it. if you notice annakin skywalker in the end changed into darth vader. annakin was not greedy for power or even money. he was not sadistic. but annakin skywalker was very attached to his mother who died in his arms and his wife pademe. that attachment was enough to convert him to the dark side of the force. obi wan even cautioned him once to discipline his thoughts.

    i watched tv the other week and hey wired this buddhist monk to a machine and checked his brain waves. his happiness which was measured by the machine was very high.

    http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,60452,00.html
    Last year Dr. Richard Davidson, director of the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin and a conference presenter, used an fMRI machine to map the brain of monk Matthieu Ricard.

    While Ricard, a monk with over 30 years' experience in contemplative practice, engaged in what Buddhists call compassion meditation, Davidson measured the activity in his brain. The pictures showed excessive activity in the left prefrontal cortex (just inside the forehead) of Ricard's brain.

    Generally people with happy temperaments exhibit a high ratio of activity in the left prefrontal cortex, an area associated with happiness, joy and enthusiasm. Those who are prone to anxiety, fear and depression exhibit a higher ratio of activity in the right prefrontal cortex.

    But the degree to which the left side of Ricard's brain lit up far surpassed 150 other subjects Davidson had measured. No one knows whether Ricard might have exhibited the same results before he became a monk. But given that his readings were off the chart for happiness, Richardson believes that studying the minds of meditating monks can help us learn how meditation can mold our brains to develop happier and less-afflicted temperaments.
  • IscharamoochieIscharamoochie Moderator PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    want not, suffer not.
  • susmariosepsusmariosep Member PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    Thanks, Rickym.

    Actually I must confess that I find Buddhism interesting in the sense that there are people who had been of another religion like Catholicism from birth and culture, and now convert to Buddhism, something like seeing a new kid on the block and a lot of kids flock to him, of course not all, but enough to raise my curiosity. Maybe he dresses more smartly or he talks with another accent seemingly more classy.

    So I did some reading on Buddhism, and honestly I don't find anything in it that is not also found in Catholicism. You mention ideas and practices in Buddhism which I think the corresponding equivalents are summed up in what is called the spiritual life in the Catholic faith.

    Tell me what you have learned about Nirvana.

    Or better, had you studied in a Catholic school, you must have learned the answer to the first question in Catholic religious instructions, Who made me? and the answer: God made me. What is the equivalent of this question/answer in Buddhism?

    Susma
  • eastereaster Pinoy PExer
    rickym wrote:
    christianity it is basically, do good to others and you go to heaven. when you have good intentions, you go to heaven.

    This statement is not an accurate representation of Christianity. Since no one is without sin, one cannot rely on his own merits to go to heaven. Only faith in Jesus Christ as our savior will get us there.

    "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • eastereaster Pinoy PExer
    rickym wrote:
    nothing much is said about stress

    Actually the Bible has something to say about stress.

    "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

    "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27)

    "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety." (Psalm 4:8)
  • rickymrickym Member PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    oh, i meant differently.

    in buddhism there is an 'eightfold path' which will make you attain nirvana, i think the last three have something to do with meditation or discipline of the mind.

    if i understand it right there seems to be an implication that a person who has an undisciplined mind can't attain nirvana. its like saying a person who is stressed or has insomnia can't go to heaven. i don't think there's anything in the bible like that. i discussed this with my parents and they couldn't believe it. its like they said stress and insomnia is not their fault and therefore should not prevent them to go to heaven.
  • rickymrickym Member PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    easter wrote:
    This statement is not an accurate representation of Christianity. Since no one is without sin, one cannot rely on his own merits to go to heaven. Only faith in Jesus Christ as our savior will get us there.

    "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

    i guess i meant catholic version, or at least significant amount of catholics.

    another big difference is also that in buddhism there is no god, so you save yourself. and in meditation, you don't ask anyone to save you, it is done to discipline the mind.
  • rickymrickym Member PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    Thanks, Rickym.
    So I did some reading on Buddhism, and honestly I don't find anything in it that is not also found in Catholicism. You mention ideas and practices in Buddhism which I think the corresponding equivalents are summed up in what is called the spiritual life in the Catholic faith.

    Tell me what you have learned about Nirvana.

    Or better, had you studied in a Catholic school, you must have learned the answer to the first question in Catholic religious instructions, Who made me? and the answer: God made me. What is the equivalent of this question/answer in Buddhism?
    Susma

    buddhism is very different to christianity
    1. buddhism is atheist
    2. buddhism does not believe in faith
    3. buddha stated that you must question everything before you believe in something, i think you must even question 'religious authorities' even buddhist ones.
    4. some buddhists are vegetarians, but not all
    5. in buddhism you don't pray to anyone, you meditate to be able to discipline your mind but you don't worship any deity. (but i think some do, i heard somewhere that there is buddhism as a philosophy and buddhism as a religion)

    in fact in the website
    http://www.buddhanet.net/
    they have an e-book "beyond belief" and it explains the differences of buddhism to christianity. quite contraversial to say the least.
    www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/beyond-belief.pdf
    the ebook will site the differences and state why they feel that buddhists ideas are correct in relation to christian ideas. that book will be able to answer most if not all of your questions. of course make sure that you also have a christian book to read for balance.

    i really haven't read up on nirvana if what your asking is how is it up there, but i think the eightfold path is used to attain it. the eightfold path is like the ten commandments.

    about the question 'who made me'. they don't believe in god. i also think they don't bother delving on questions like the creation of the world or how they came to be.

    another thing is that buddhists believe in reincarnation. but it's different from that of hinduism. in hinduism the physical body dies but there is a soul which reincarnates. in buddhism its something like there is no permanent soul because there is no such thing as self. i'm not exactly sure myself on what they mean by that.

    on sex it is quite interesting. although monks are supposed to be celibate. they have no hard and fast rule on recreational sex or homosexuality. but they say that you should not have any 'sexual misconduct'. if two people want to have recreational sex without love, its their business as long as there is no deceit(misconduct).

    introduction to buddhism
    http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/intro_bud.htm

    buddha said he was not god, not god's son, he was simply awake and anyone(yes anyone) can also be awake and be a buddha like him. as in same level of enlightenment.

    buddhism and the god idea- this is their biggest difference
    http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/qanda03.htm
    quoting
    "Do Buddhists believe in a god?

    No, we do not. There are several reasons for this. The Buddha, like modern sociologists and psychologists, believed that religious ideas and especially the god idea have their origins in fear. The Buddha says:

    Gripped by fear people go to sacred mountains, sacred groves, sacred trees and shrines.
    Dp. 188"
  • IscharamoochieIscharamoochie Moderator PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    i've written a paper on the buddhist via negativa (concerning dukka, anatta, anicca, & nirvana) worldview. i could send it by email if anybody's interested.
  • rickymrickym Member PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    send it to me! i'll pm you my address.
  • IscharamoochieIscharamoochie Moderator PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    done. i'd appreciate some comments tho'.
  • rickymrickym Member PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    i've read your paper. it seems to cover the basics-- four noble truths, eightfold path and discusses the hard parts too like anatta, anicca. although the title was "Buddhism and its Negative Approach to Philosophy", you ended up stating in your conclusion "Although the Buddhist approach to philosophical issues may appear negative, Buddhism itself is a positive philosophy".

    i'll just post what you stated about nirvana here for the benefit of susmariosep

    "Nirvana is the destruction of human passion – “it is the destruction of desire and the basic passions which are craving, hatred and delusion”

    Nirvana is the disappearance of the Skhandas – it is the elimination of the five aggregates that constitute the false experience of the self. Once these skhandas are eliminated, there is no longer a sense of “I” or “You” but a total dissolution into the void.
    Nirvana is the end of suffering – Once the notion of selfhood is destroyed, the concept of suffering is eliminated. If there is no one to suffer, then suffering loses its meaning.
    Nirvana is supreme happiness – One may think that this is a positive description of Nirvana. However, closer analysis of Buddhist doctrine reveals that it is not. All existence is suffering. Happiness is derived from simply negating this suffering and arriving at it’s opposite.

    Nirvana is unconditioned – Nirvana is free from change, immutable and absolute. As something which is not, it is neither effected nor changed by anything. It does not have an existence relative to others, but as itself – as their negative.

    Once a person reaches Nirvana, everything that he is is lost. All desires, thoughts, actions and individualities are dissolved into nothingness. He exists in a way that cannot be described by words."


    one question though, i don't get that paragraph you wrote about
    "Nirvana is unconditioned "

    you seemed to play a little safe in the paper. were opinions wanted by your teacher or only the facts?
  • rickymrickym Member PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    "double post"
  • rickymrickym Member PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    Ischaramoochie your paper also states the following:

    "The Patticasammupada, or the chain of interdependent origination explains why we are suffering and makes us aware of the root of our suffering, namely, our ignorance and false assumptions of reality."

    to rephrase "we are suffering due to ignorance". can it also be said that ignorance is a hindrance to nirvana?

    i think i've also read that in hinduism suffering is also due to ignorance. do they mean the same thing?

    so is it also the same as saying that being good is not enough to get to heaven? and can choosing a wrong religion or belief system tantamount to ignorance? and because of this one can not go to heaven?

    if the above is true and buddhism is true then "the pascal's wager" end up inverted. buddhism is an atheist religion. if choosing a theist religion is considered ignorance, then theists will not go to heaven. and the atheists will go to heaven.
  • IscharamoochieIscharamoochie Moderator PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    buddhism has no heaven - there is only nirvana. the suffering in the world is caused by ignorance or too much attachment to the illusion of permanence and absolutes. nirvana is the final recognition that there is no such thing as an absolute - not even the self. upon this realization, the illusion of individuality dissolves and notions of both self and other lose their meaning. religion can be either a means or
    a hindrance towards enlightenment. too much focus on the means will blur one's purpose, just as trying to focus on the glass of a window obscures the outside view.

    nirvana is unconditioned because it is something which is not. it cannot be described by words because words are conditioned by our experience. since we cannot experience that which is not, we can neither put it into words. just think of how you were before the time when you were born.
  • blehbleh blahbitty blah PExer
    rickym, Buddha was no atheist. he just thought the existence of divinities are irrelevant to ours (which is acknowledgement of their existence). he also thought suffering was needless so that's prolly why waiting for a death trip to heaven is needless. my question to Xtianity is, why would you have us live out hell on earth as if life here is unimportant? seems like it stresses the promise of heaven so much that suffering becomes a requisite of some sort, especially when the role models (saints) went thru a great deal of it. anyway, the question is out of topic, but i hope you get my point.

    i think the point of taking Buddha's path is to take yourself out of the hell you're living in, big or small. by hell i mean pain, torment, suffering, you name it. so i wonder about Xtians, why do you see so far ahead as to lose sight of what you're in at the moment? why should an imagined hell scare you much more than the one you're in now?
  • rickymrickym Member PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    bleh wrote:
    rickym, Buddha was no atheist. he just thought the existence of divinities are irrelevant to ours (which is acknowledgement of their existence). he also thought suffering was needless so that's prolly why waiting for a death trip to heaven is needless.

    actually i look at only a few websites, primarily the ones below
    www.buddhanet.net
    www.religioustolerance.org

    in the first website i've read that buddhism is atheist. i checked another website
    http://www.cosmicharmony.com/Av/Buddha/Buddha.htm
    "Because Buddha did not interest himself in the study of the Vedas or in religious rituals he was dubbed an atheist. This is utterly wrong. Buddha was a pure hearted person. "

    the author's logic seems to be off. could you show me a few websites which state he is not atheist? i am confused myself George Lucas is buddhist but he claims to believe in God.
  • rickymrickym Member PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    here's a webpage which states buddhism is atheist

    http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/qanda03.htm

    Do Buddhists believe in a god?

    No, we do not. There are several reasons for this. The Buddha, like modern sociologists and psychologists, believed that religious ideas and especially the god idea have their origins in fear. The Buddha says:

    Gripped by fear people go to sacred mountains, sacred groves, sacred trees and shrines.
    Dp. 188

    Primitive humans found selves in a dangerous and hostile world, the fear of wild animals, of not being able to find enough food, of injury or disease, and of natural phenomena like thunder, lightning and volcanoes were constantly with them. Finding no security, they created the idea of gods in order to give them comfort in good times, courage in times of danger and consolation when things went wrong. To this day, you will notice that people become more religious at times of crises, you will hear them say that the belief in a god or gods gives them the strength they need to deal with life. You will hear them explain that they believe in a particular god because they prayed in time of need and their prayer was answered. All this seems to support the Buddha's teaching that the god-idea is a response to fear and frustration. The Buddha taught us to try to understand our fears, to lessen our desires and to calmly and courageously accept the things we cannot change. He replaced fear, not with irrational belief but with rational understanding.

    The second reason the Buddha did not believe in a god is because there does not seem to be any evidence to support this idea. There are numerous religions, all claiming that they alone have god's words preserved in their holy book, that they alone understand god's nature, that their god exists and that the gods of other religions do not. Some claim that god is masculine, some that she is feminine and others that it is neuter. They are all satisfied that there is ample evidence to prove the existence of their god but they laugh in disbelief at the evidence other religions use to prove the existence of another god. It is not surprising that with so many different religions spending so many centuries trying to prove the existence of their gods that still no real, concrete, substantial or irrefutable evidence has been found. Buddhists suspend judgement until such evidence is forthcoming.

    The third reason the Buddha did not believe in a god is that the belief is not necessary. Some claim that the belief in a god is necessary in order to explain the origin of the universe. But this is not so. Science has very convincingly explained how the universe came into being without having to introduce the god-idea. Some claim that belief in god is necessary to have a happy, meaningful life. Again we can see that this is not so. There are millions of atheists and free-thinkers, not to mention many Buddhists, who live useful, happy and meaningful lives without belief in a god. Some claim that belief in god's power is necessary because humans, being weak, do not have the strength to help themselves. Once again, the evidence indicates the opposite. One often hears of people who have overcome great disabilities and handicaps, enormous odds and difficulties through their own inner resources, through their own efforts and without belief in a god. Some claim that god is necessary in order to give man salvation. But this argument only holds good if you accept the theological concept of salvation and Buddhists do not accept such a concept. Based on his own experience, the Buddha saw that each human being had the capacity to purify the mind, develop infinite love and compassion and perfect understanding. He shifted attention from the heavens to the heart and encouraged us to find solutions to our problems through self-understanding.
  • freakster2k1freakster2k1 Member PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    What do the people here think?

    Is Buddhism to put it crudely but honestly all incoherent nonsense? specially that thing about Nirvana. Of course the moral teachings are all right but for the motivation of escape from suffering which in turn is blamed on desire.

    Susma


    Why is buddhism an incoherent nonsense? Im curious. You are making an assumption because u barely understand it?

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