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Let's Talk About Buddhism

Old 08-06-13, 05:21 PM
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Let's Talk About Buddhism

Since we've had a lot of discussion about Christianity lately, I thought it might be a nice change of pace to discuss another major world religion, namely Buddhism. I'm not a Buddhist, but I've studied almost all the big world religions, and Buddhism is the only one that made any kind of sense to me in both the big picture and the small details.

I came across this today, a summation of the basic premises of Buddhism written in plain English, and thought it might be a good starting point, since a lot of people don't have a clear understanding of what Buddhism states.

There was this guy named Buddha. He realized that people can be really selfish and sometimes really stupid. They get upset because their lives are really sucky and all they did was blame other people for their problems. He felt bad and tried to figure it out.


Aside from the inevitables like, birth, growth, illness, and death, he figured out there was a way to not be so affected by the situations that life presented. He presented four absolute (noble) truths and 8 ways to realize them.

4 noble truths:

1. life can suck.
2. it sucks because we get attached to the stuff that we imagine makes our selves “unique” and “special.”
3. There is a way to not be affected by the suckness.
4.If we open our eyes and follow eight simple methods, we can be freed from letting the suckness affect us.

8 fold path:

No one is absolute nor omnipotent. We’re all pretty ignorant.

If you don’t learn to stop and say, “hey, i don’t know” you’re not going to change yourself in a way that’s going to free you from the suckness.

Don’t open your mouth without considering wtf it’s going to sound like to the person on the receiving end.

You’re not the center of the universe. Your actions not only affect everything around you, they can affect everything around the people around you. Don’t do stupid shit that’s going to hurt other people or yourself.

Don’t take action that’s going to make life suck for other people at your benefit.

If something pisses you off, figure out if you need to fix yourself first. Otherwise, Know the consequences of your actions. Moreover, everyone has their own reality and their own right to their own level of stupidity. When you make a mistake (you will), don’t be proud, admit it, and be open to remedy yourself and the situation. And when in a group take care to not act unless it benefits the group in someway.

If you don’t pay attention to the task at hand you’re going to have a bad time.
This came from a post on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/Buddhism/com...imple_english/

I first encountered Buddhist philosophy in college. At the time, I dismissed it, but I kept coming back to it as I got older, and now I lean on Zen Buddhist philosophy to help guide my own life. As I say, I'm not a Buddhist, but I think the Buddhist philosophy and tradition has come the closest to correctly diagnosing the human condition and the steps we need to take to improve it.

So yeah, Buddhism. Thoughts? Questions? Attacks?
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Old 08-06-13, 05:44 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

I'm not the center of the universe. WTF!?

This religion sucks. #hatethiest
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Old 08-06-13, 05:50 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

You’re not the center of the universe.
Ok, but then they said...

Your actions not only affect everything around you, they can affect everything around the people around you. Don’t do stupid shit that’s going to hurt other people or yourself.

Sooooo....it sounds like we are the center of something if we have that much influence over how things affect others.
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Old 08-06-13, 06:08 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

In college I once assisted in the stealing of a two hundred pound Buddha. Later that year some people stole that Buddha off our porch.

That's all I got.
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Old 08-06-13, 06:09 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

If I was going to put any time or effort into any religion, this one would be it.
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Old 08-06-13, 06:10 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

I'd rather talk about Scientologist Monks.
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Old 08-06-13, 06:13 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

Every Buddhist I have met (I've probably met a few dozen that I know of, so not that many) have all been warm, kind, non-judgmental and open. If that's the practical effect of Buddhism, I'm all for it.

Like Supermallet, I studied comparative religions in college and found Eastern philosophy to be very attractive. I was a Christian back then, so I didn't follow it, and now I just don't have much contact with or knowledge of the specifics.
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Old 08-06-13, 06:20 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

Originally Posted by Giantrobo View Post
Ok, but then they said...




Sooooo....it sounds like we are the center of something if we have that much influence over how things affect others.
I'll give you a Buddhist style answer:

A rock thrown into a pond will leave ripples, but the rock is not as vast as the pond. You are the rock.
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Old 08-06-13, 06:32 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

I've practiced Tai Chi as a hobby for many years, and have had some exposure to Eastern religions (more Taoism than Buddhism, although I think the two overlap a bit---I believe it is/was fairly common in China to consider oneself both a Buddhist and a Taoist).

Definitely some great truths and wisdom in there. I particularly like the concept of the Zen riddles, or, as Taoism says "the great Tao (meaning of life/universe) is only two or three sentences. Once spoken, it's worth less than two cents". This is where I think the eastern approach differs greatly from a lot of current western thought. They understand the difference between learning and comprehending---you can't just be TOLD the truth, you have to earn it through experience, work and pondering. I think Jesus thought the same way, which is why he so often used parables and questions to teach, rather than laying out his teachings in a formulaic, literal list of rules.

I don't know much about Buddhism, but I understand that the basic idea is that desire is the root of suffering, and the goal is to reduce suffering by reducing desire. But my criticism would be that, it seems to me, the desire for justice, for righteousness, the desire to help the poor and the sick, the desire to love---these are good things, and it seems kind of selfish to me to want to stop desiring these. And I think this would have practical applications, as I'm pretty sure the number of universities, hospitals, schools, orphanages, and charities founded by Christians far outnumber those established by Buddhists (at least I'm pretty sure---someone correct me if not). So, that's my issue with Buddhism---but as I said I don't know much about it so maybe I'm missing something major.
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Old 08-06-13, 06:54 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

I would say the combination of sīla (the precept of not doing harm) combined with dāna, the precept of giving, would cover that. You need not desire righteousness, justice, to help the poor and sick and so on, because following the Eightfold Path contains those right actions and right thoughts. They are not something to desire, rather, they are essential to your development as a spiritual being.

There is even a specific type of dāna called Aushadha Daan, which is the charity of free medicine to the sick and diseased. One is to give freely and without an expectation of anything in return in order to gain the wealth of the spirit.

A little more about that here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dana_(Buddhism)

And of course you would see more charities, hospitals, etc. founded by Christians than Buddhists, as there are more Christians around than Buddhists.

Also I very much agree that Eastern philosophy puts a great emphasis on comprehension over learning. You can learn all your life but never comprehend the nature of the universe. I do think that learning can aid comprehension, but sometimes it can also hinder it if you allow the certainty of knowledge to block your ability to view the world with fresh eyes.
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Old 08-06-13, 07:07 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

I bought Buddhism For Dummies a while back. Early in the book they summarized Buddhism as (paraphrasing) "don't want what you haven't got and enjoy what you have". I stopped reading at that point. I can't be happy with what I don't have.
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Old 08-06-13, 07:23 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

Having no real idea of Buddhism, I found the brief synopses above interesting, but also sort of an expanded Golden Rule concept (which is not a bad thing). But - what makes Buddhism a religion and not a philosophy? Or would it be a philosophical religion? Is Buddha "just a guy" or is he considered to be a god?
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Old 08-06-13, 07:39 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

Originally Posted by Bronkster View Post
Having no real idea of Buddhism, I found the brief synopses above interesting, but also sort of an expanded Golden Rule concept (which is not a bad thing). But - what makes Buddhism a religion and not a philosophy? Or would it be a philosophical religion? Is Buddha "just a guy" or is he considered to be a god?
Depends on how you define religion. Buddhism isn't too concerned with deities, and in fact "Buddha" means "Enlightened One". Enlightenment is attaining the state of mind known as Nirvana, and attaining this state means you are no longer part of the cycle of reincarnation. So no, Buddhas are not gods, anyone who attains enlightenment is considered a Buddha, but they are venerated, and Siddhartha Gautama above all the others.

I know scholars who define religion as a system of belief that involves rituals and symbols. Under that definition, Buddhism is most definitely a religion. According to Wikipedia, a religion is defined as: "an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to the supernatural, and to spirituality." Buddhism fits that bill.

Deities DO exist in Buddhism, but they are not looked to as sources of enlightenment or morals. They are basically considered supernatural beings with longer lives than regular humans, although they still acquire karma and go through the cycle of reincarnation. They are incidental to the teachings of Buddhism.

Last edited by Supermallet; 08-06-13 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 08-06-13, 07:58 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

Does this make you a Judhist?

Better than me, I'm just Jew...ish.
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Old 08-06-13, 09:54 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

Buddhism has always seemed to me to be about the least objectionable religion.

But do they have holidays where I can get extra days off?
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Old 08-06-13, 10:05 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

If you give up your desire for material things, you won't even need to work!
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Old 08-06-13, 10:11 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

“Kill the Buddha,” says the old koan. “Kill Buddhism,” says Sam Harris. Because the wisdom of the Buddha is currently trapped within the religion of Buddhism.

http://www.samharris.org/site/full_t...ng-the-buddha/

Granted, Sam Harris isn't a big fan of religion.
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Old 08-06-13, 10:15 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

If you placed points of evidence for Buddhism and Christianity side by side on a table, Christianity wins big time.
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Old 08-06-13, 10:19 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

I'm an Atheist but find Hindu religion fascinating. I collect Ganesh statues, for example. They remind me of Buddha but with an elephant's head and multiple arms.

That's all I got.
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Old 08-06-13, 10:21 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

Hinduism is very different from Buddhism, but you can see that Buddhism was influenced by Hinduism.

I like that Sam Harris article, and that's generally how I approach Buddhism. To me, it works as a life philosophy, but I don't give much regard to the religious elements of it. It's quite dynamic in that way.
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Old 08-06-13, 10:33 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

Become a Buddhist Monk - you'll have a nice car and will be one of the few people who can use thr road up the mountain to the temple or shrine!
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Old 08-06-13, 11:55 PM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

Not too opposed to most buddhist philosophy, but have to draw the line at becoming vegetarian.
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Old 08-07-13, 12:26 AM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

Originally Posted by Bandoman View Post
Every Buddhist I have met (I've probably met a few dozen that I know of, so not that many) have all been warm, kind, non-judgmental and open. If that's the practical effect of Buddhism, I'm all for it.
Well, you're obviously not one of Richard Gere's gerbils.
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Old 08-07-13, 02:13 AM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

Interesting topic (except to T.S., who is undoubtedly gnashing his teeth wanting mallet to be 'banned' for 'trolling' in this forum by daring to post a thread about 'religion' ).

The 8-Fold Path sounds more it's pretty much 98% about self-enlightenment (the only parts about other people seem to be more of a live-and-let-live...or live-and-let-die...philosophy rather than focusing upon serving others). One poster on the link posted by mallet summed up Buddhism thusly:

"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional".

He didn't add, "Grasshoppa", though, so his summation is highly suspect.

Only Siddhartha Gautama knows for sure.
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Old 08-07-13, 02:21 AM
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Re: Let's Talk About Buddhism

As I mentioned earlier, both not doing harm to others and generous giving are stressed as essential to one's spiritual growth.
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