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rockyysdt

Why are you drawn to Buddhism?

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I'm often drawn to thoughts of why many turn to Buddhism.

 

Those who view Buddhism as just another irrational religion, one which in their eyes is founded on superstition, will naturally reject rituals and effort required to subscribe.

 

As Unawakened beings, we all start from a position colored by Greed, Aversion & Delusion?

 

 

Why are you drawn to Buddhism?

 

What drives you to spend hours of practice pursuing such a belief?

 

 

Are these motives un-Buddhist like, and how do these align with our chosen path?

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Interesting questions, Rocky.

According to Mahatma Gandhi. "In reality, there are as many religions as there are individuals."

That's also my personal belief.

 

I'm attracted towards Buddhism to the extent that it makes sense in relation to my conditioning and general understanding of logic, rationality and science.

 

I understand that what we interpret through our senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch, is is not only biased by individual characterists, but also by the fact we are a particular species of animal, known as homo sapiens.

 

Buddhism seems to intuitively understand that, without the benefit of modern science. That's what impresses me.

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On 2017-4-29 at 3:36 PM, VincentRJ said:

Interesting questions, Rocky.

According to Mahatma Gandhi. "In reality, there are as many religions as there are individuals."

That's also my personal belief.

 

I'm attracted towards Buddhism to the extent that it makes sense in relation to my conditioning and general understanding of logic, rationality and science.

 

I understand that what we interpret through our senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch, is is not only biased by individual characterists, but also by the fact we are a particular species of animal, known as homo sapiens.

 

Buddhism seems to intuitively understand that, without the benefit of modern science. That's what impresses me.

 

Hi Vincent.

 

I also like the way the Buddha was able to articulate in great detail, an accurate description of how a human functions well before the advent of modern science.

 

One could also ascribe positives to other religions, but taken in their entirety, most can be rejected.

 

Doesn't the Buddha touch upon aspects which may seem illogical, irrational or unscientific?

 

Re Birth from life to life (each person having a linear lineage (your Re Births are a different lineage to mine)

No mention of Alien life forms involved in such lineages).

Entering Permanent & Unconditioned states.  

Kharmic affect on future lives

 

To name but a few.

 

 

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22 hours ago, rockyysdt said:

Doesn't the Buddha touch upon aspects which may seem illogical, irrational or unscientific?

 

Re Birth from life to life (each person having a linear lineage (your Re Births are a different lineage to mine)

No mention of Alien life forms involved in such lineages).

Entering Permanent & Unconditioned states.  

Kharmic affect on future lives

 

Hi Rocky,

I agree there are certain concepts in Buddhism that are beyond the current capabilities of science, but that doesn't mean they are irrational and illogical.

The concept of Karma, even if it's eventually proved to be literally false, was still a brilliant concept in the absence of any knowledge about genetics in those times of the Buddha. Is it not surprising that people in those days would be puzzled by the unequal circumstances of individuals who clearly could not ask to be born? Why would someone be born into great poverty, another person born into great wealth, and yet another person born with physical or mental defects?

 

The concept of Karma is at least a partial explanation in the sense that our behaviour in this life does affect our genes which are transmitted to future generations. It used to be assumed that inheritable genes are not modified by one's behaviour in this life, but recent research indicates this is not so. The process is known as transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.

 

What we eat, the air we breathe, and even the emotions we feel, might influence not only our genes but those of our descendants?

Of course, Karma does not rely upon genes. How could it? The gene is a modern scientific concept. However, in the absence of any knowledge of genetics, Karma is a pretty good explanation, and might even prove to be true, eventually, when one considers that the current state of scientific knowledge suggests that we are only capable of discerning and detecting 5% of the matter and energy that surrounds us. The other 95% is called Dark Matter and Dark Energy, which is invisible and completely undetectable, so far.

 

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While my engagement has lapsed in the past year, for some time I was involved with a Western Buddhist order in Sydney, Australia, which was founded by a British guy in the 1960s who has no claim to any lineage. 

 

Being a skeptic and an atheist since the time I first learned to think independently, I initially went to this order with some trepidation, and a radar looking for an silly new-ageism or ritual. What I found instead was a group of people all driven by their sense of what the Buddha and his teachings mean as far as interacting with people around us, the consequences of our good deeds, and the sense of belonging by being part of the Sanga (community). 

 

They hold regular meditation sits, talks, classes and weekend retreats - and I've openly (but respectfully) criticised some of the rituals, and what probably impresses me the most is that more senior members (lets say ordained members) tend to say "You know what, that's a really good observation. If you don't feel like participating in something, you are absolutely welcome to refrain". Wow, a 'religion' without dictatorships or blind faith. They are so laid back that even people who wish to take the next step in their involvement, to become a Mitra, will never be asked by an order member, they will never be pressured, enticed or otherwise persuaded. 

 

The 'teachings' I see as fables, which are open to much interpretation. I do not believe the fantastical stories of three headed Naga's coming from a pit of fire as a literal story, but more a tale similar to Aesop's Fables, where there is something for the reader (on in this case a discussion group) to examine, and make their own conclusions. My involvement with Buddhism has actually softened by dim view on organized monotheistic religions - and I find myself wondering if the Bible was also intended to be a book of fables. Without wishing to offend any Christians here, but let's look at some of the Old and New Testament 'classics'. A man walking on water. Feeding a town with just one loaf of bread. The origin of man involving a talking snake and a donated rib. Two of each animal in the entire world loaded onto a single boat. Buddhism has taught me to reconsider the Bible, actually. I'll never be of the faith, but maybe it deserves looking at alongside the likes of Aesop, rather than a real-life chronical of events. 

 

Something I simply do not understand though, is Thailand's approach to Buddhism. One might think I should me more across it than your average farang, but I'm not at all. I find it to be highly ritualised, almost a social expectation and habit rather than possessing any true recognition of the Buddha's teachings. Of course that feels a little arrogant to say, since Thailand is one of the most populous Buddhist countries in the world (after Japan I believe). Their offerings and giving merit seems like a 'paint by numbers' affair steeped in superstitions as well. 

 

I recall having a discussion last year with a Thai friend who's child had been more or less abducted by the farang father. She says she has resolved it, and 'it is with Buddha now'. I've had other conversations that leads me to feel that the Buddha of Thailand culture is given reverence more akin to a deity such as a Christian or Islamic god. 

 

 

 

 

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On 02/05/2017 at 2:22 AM, FarSeas said:

While my engagement has lapsed in the past year, for some time I was involved with a Western Buddhist order in Sydney, Australia, which was founded by a British guy in the 1960s who has no claim to any lineage. 

 

Being a skeptic and an atheist since the time I first learned to think independently, I initially went to this order with some trepidation, and a radar looking for an silly new-ageism or ritual. What I found instead was a group of people all driven by their sense of what the Buddha and his teachings mean as far as interacting with people around us, the consequences of our good deeds, and the sense of belonging by being part of the Sanga (community). 

 

They hold regular meditation sits, talks, classes and weekend retreats - and I've openly (but respectfully) criticised some of the rituals, and what probably impresses me the most is that more senior members (lets say ordained members) tend to say "You know what, that's a really good observation. If you don't feel like participating in something, you are absolutely welcome to refrain". Wow, a 'religion' without dictatorships or blind faith. They are so laid back that even people who wish to take the next step in their involvement, to become a Mitra, will never be asked by an order member, they will never be pressured, enticed or otherwise persuaded. 

 

The 'teachings' I see as fables, which are open to much interpretation. I do not believe the fantastical stories of three headed Naga's coming from a pit of fire as a literal story, but more a tale similar to Aesop's Fables, where there is something for the reader (on in this case a discussion group) to examine, and make their own conclusions. My involvement with Buddhism has actually softened by dim view on organized monotheistic religions - and I find myself wondering if the Bible was also intended to be a book of fables. Without wishing to offend any Christians here, but let's look at some of the Old and New Testament 'classics'. A man walking on water. Feeding a town with just one loaf of bread. The origin of man involving a talking snake and a donated rib. Two of each animal in the entire world loaded onto a single boat. Buddhism has taught me to reconsider the Bible, actually. I'll never be of the faith, but maybe it deserves looking at alongside the likes of Aesop, rather than a real-life chronical of events. 

 

Something I simply do not understand though, is Thailand's approach to Buddhism. One might think I should me more across it than your average farang, but I'm not at all. I find it to be highly ritualised, almost a social expectation and habit rather than possessing any true recognition of the Buddha's teachings. Of course that feels a little arrogant to say, since Thailand is one of the most populous Buddhist countries in the world (after Japan I believe). Their offerings and giving merit seems like a 'paint by numbers' affair steeped in superstitions as well. 

 

I recall having a discussion last year with a Thai friend who's child had been more or less abducted by the farang father. She says she has resolved it, and 'it is with Buddha now'. I've had other conversations that leads me to feel that the Buddha of Thailand culture is given reverence more akin to a deity such as a Christian or Islamic god. 

 

 

 

 

 If it's the organisation that I think you are referring to then the founder has committed unconsciable actions on members of the order and been forgiven too freely whilst others have suffered and left unsupported and unwanted. That's a red line for me I'm afraid.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sangharakshita

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/19/buddhist-sexual-abuse-triratna-dennis-lingwood

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I wasn't drawn to it, and I don't claim to practice it nor belong to it.  But I think its basic precepts are one of the finest achievements of the human mind. I am an engineer.  And having an exposure to control theory and error signals and the accompanying system stress and response, the analogy to a human having a desire and a craving is obvious.

 

  In an AC unit for example.  The current temperature is 70.  You now change the setting to 65.  That creates and error signal or a desire.  Now the system turns on, consumes electricity, pumps fluid,  blows air as the system attempts to drive the temperature from 70 down to 65.

 

  Now consider a human.  He makes 70,000 USD a year.  He decides for whatever reason he wants 80,000 USD a  year.  He is immediately unhappy.   He has created an error signal and now he is under stress.  Now he will work harder, or longer, to try and make that extra 10,000.  Is he happier?  What if he can't or doesn't make that 80,000?  Is he miserable, unhappy, upset?  Same if he currently has a 1,000 square foot house but decides he needs a 2,000 square foot house.  He is immediately unhappy.

 

  So watch those cravings and desires.

 

Oh and the 4 noble truths are pretty good too.  Life is hard.  Even the lowly squirrel needs to go work and gather nuts to survive the winter or he may not live long.  We as people have the remarkable ability and self awareness to make things easier and less painful to do.  Yet we just seem to never be happy

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On 01/05/2017 at 11:27 PM, VincentRJ said:

Hi Rocky,

I agree there are certain concepts in Buddhism that are beyond the current capabilities of science, but that doesn't mean they are irrational and illogical.

The concept of Karma, even if it's eventually proved to be literally false, was still a brilliant concept in the absence of any knowledge about genetics in those times of the Buddha. Is it not surprising that people in those days would be puzzled by the unequal circumstances of individuals who clearly could not ask to be born? Why would someone be born into great poverty, another person born into great wealth, and yet another person born with physical or mental defects?

 

The concept of Karma is at least a partial explanation in the sense that our behaviour in this life does affect our genes which are transmitted to future generations. It used to be assumed that inheritable genes are not modified by one's behaviour in this life, but recent research indicates this is not so. The process is known as transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.

 

What we eat, the air we breathe, and even the emotions we feel, might influence not only our genes but those of our descendants?

Of course, Karma does not rely upon genes. How could it? The gene is a modern scientific concept. However, in the absence of any knowledge of genetics, Karma is a pretty good explanation, and might even prove to be true, eventually, when one considers that the current state of scientific knowledge suggests that we are only capable of discerning and detecting 5% of the matter and energy that surrounds us. The other 95% is called Dark Matter and Dark Energy, which is invisible and completely undetectable, so far.

 

 

Hi Vincent.

 

I personally don't believe nor disbelieve such things as Kharma, & Re Birth, but travel with an open mind, but the position you've illustrated surprises me.

 

I'm puzzled that on one hand you accept the possibility of such teachings, but you aren't open to the Abrahamic or Christian God.

 

 

In the Buddhas teachings of Kharma & Re Birth, didn't he refer to God (Deva) realms, amongst others, and isn't it possible that the Abrahamic or Christian God resides in one such realm?

 

Others have described such Gods/Devas as Re Births in divine existences due to the fruits of great stores of accumulated good Kharma.

These beings bask in heavenly existence for great periods until such Kharmic stores are depleted.

Periods so great that inhabitants in such realms have the illusion of immortality.

But as we understand, once the positive kharmic forces are depleted, then beings then recycle into other realms until Awakening takes place.

 

 

The Buddha taught, as you indicated, "brilliant concepts", which included God/Deva realms.

 

If you accept  Kharma, Re Birth, & Realms of existence, why do you not also embrace the Abrahamic or Christian God who would very easily fit into the model?

 

 

Finally, the other puzzling thing is that, if the Buddha taught "brilliant concepts", which were ahead of their time and aligned with science, then isn't his teaching highly probable of being accurate? If the answer is yes, then why don't you walk away from your lifestyle and devote yourself to practice?

 

 

 

 

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On 7/9/2017 at 9:40 PM, rockyysdt said:

 

Hi Vincent.

 

I personally don't believe nor disbelieve such things as Kharma, & Re Birth, but travel with an open mind, but the position you've illustrated surprises me.

 

I'm puzzled that on one hand you accept the possibility of such teachings, but you aren't open to the Abrahamic or Christian God.

 

 

In the Buddhas teachings of Kharma & Re Birth, didn't he refer to God (Deva) realms, amongst others, and isn't it possible that the Abrahamic or Christian God resides in one such realm?

 

Others have described such Gods/Devas as Re Births in divine existences due to the fruits of great stores of accumulated good Kharma.

These beings bask in heavenly existence for great periods until such Kharmic stores are depleted.

Periods so great that inhabitants in such realms have the illusion of immortality.

But as we understand, once the positive kharmic forces are depleted, then beings then recycle into other realms until Awakening takes place.

 

 

The Buddha taught, as you indicated, "brilliant concepts", which included God/Deva realms.

 

If you accept  Kharma, Re Birth, & Realms of existence, why do you not also embrace the Abrahamic or Christian God who would very easily fit into the model?

 

 

Finally, the other puzzling thing is that, if the Buddha taught "brilliant concepts", which were ahead of their time and aligned with science, then isn't his teaching highly probable of being accurate? If the answer is yes, then why don't you walk away from your lifestyle and devote yourself to practice?

 

 

 

 

Hi Rocky,
I've been travelling for the past month or so in Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia, so haven't had the time to reply to your questions, which I'll now try to answer.

 

In relation to the popular definitions and practices of religions, I'm neither a Buddhist nor a Christian. I practice what is meaningful to me, whatever the religious source of the precepts.

 

Buddhism, at a fundamental level, including the Kalama Sutta in particular, appeals to me because of my scientifically biased upbringing. We're all biased or conditioned.

 

You question whether I meditate. I practice 'mindfulness' during my activities, rather than sitting doing nothing. I'm attracted to the Santi Asoke method of meditation because I sense it is more practical and sensible.
I'm disturbed by the concept of traditional monks doing nothing to support themselves and completely relying upon handouts from the working population.

 

There are many stories of corruption in Thailand relating to monks and abbots. When the population is led to believe they can gain merit by donating to temples, and the more money they donate, the more merit they receive, then there's a big opportunity for corruption to take place.

 

The Santi Asoke communities refuse to accept donations. They support themselves from the production of organically grown vegetables and fruit. They are ardent vegetarians. They don't waste money building large statues of the Buddha and large temples.
Hope I've answered your questions.
 

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Let me guess. Your little head is drawn to it because your gf says she's a Buddhist.?

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On 5/1/2017 at 9:22 PM, FarSeas said:

While my engagement has lapsed in the past year, for some time I was involved with a Western Buddhist order in Sydney, Australia, which was founded by a British guy in the 1960s who has no claim to any lineage. 

 

Being a skeptic and an atheist since the time I first learned to think independently, I initially went to this order with some trepidation, and a radar looking for an silly new-ageism or ritual. What I found instead was a group of people all driven by their sense of what the Buddha and his teachings mean as far as interacting with people around us, the consequences of our good deeds, and the sense of belonging by being part of the Sanga (community). 

 

They hold regular meditation sits, talks, classes and weekend retreats - and I've openly (but respectfully) criticised some of the rituals, and what probably impresses me the most is that more senior members (lets say ordained members) tend to say "You know what, that's a really good observation. If you don't feel like participating in something, you are absolutely welcome to refrain". Wow, a 'religion' without dictatorships or blind faith. They are so laid back that even people who wish to take the next step in their involvement, to become a Mitra, will never be asked by an order member, they will never be pressured, enticed or otherwise persuaded. 

 

The 'teachings' I see as fables, which are open to much interpretation. I do not believe the fantastical stories of three headed Naga's coming from a pit of fire as a literal story, but more a tale similar to Aesop's Fables, where there is something for the reader (on in this case a discussion group) to examine, and make their own conclusions. My involvement with Buddhism has actually softened by dim view on organized monotheistic religions - and I find myself wondering if the Bible was also intended to be a book of fables. Without wishing to offend any Christians here, but let's look at some of the Old and New Testament 'classics'. A man walking on water. Feeding a town with just one loaf of bread. The origin of man involving a talking snake and a donated rib. Two of each animal in the entire world loaded onto a single boat. Buddhism has taught me to reconsider the Bible, actually. I'll never be of the faith, but maybe it deserves looking at alongside the likes of Aesop, rather than a real-life chronical of events. 

 

Something I simply do not understand though, is Thailand's approach to Buddhism. One might think I should me more across it than your average farang, but I'm not at all. I find it to be highly ritualised, almost a social expectation and habit rather than possessing any true recognition of the Buddha's teachings. Of course that feels a little arrogant to say, since Thailand is one of the most populous Buddhist countries in the world (after Japan I believe). Their offerings and giving merit seems like a 'paint by numbers' affair steeped in superstitions as well. 

 

I recall having a discussion last year with a Thai friend who's child had been more or less abducted by the farang father. She says she has resolved it, and 'it is with Buddha now'. I've had other conversations that leads me to feel that the Buddha of Thailand culture is given reverence more akin to a deity such as a Christian or Islamic god. 

 

 

 

 

Your comments about Thailand's approach to Buddhism, sadly I think is explained as a way to manipulate the people, as many religions around the world have been used for.  Be peaceful, don't complain, don't argue, don't confront and voila, you get a almost constant dictatorship, multiple coups as the aggressive people walk over the complacent people.

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Some interesting opinions & interpretations here, really enjoying what you are both writing.

 

I don't have anything so 'erudite' (joke :smile:) to add though.

 

Keep posting please. :smile:

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The Buddha only had one real teaching which is that you are non dual awareness. That is your true nature. But he also had 84,000 other teachings for those who weren't ready to accept the final teaching because he knew minds like stories and ideas. But these other teachings were designed to lead seekers and coax them towards the final and only real teaching.

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8 hours ago, trd said:

The Buddha only had one real teaching which is that you are non dual awareness. That is your true nature.

 

Do you have a reference for that from the historical texts?  If not the Pali Canon the Agamas would be fine.

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  Do you have a reference for that from the historical texts?  If not the Pali Canon the Agamas would be fine.

 

I'm not interested in historical references or debates about scripture. You see, you think it's about the 84,000 teachings. So go and be a scholar and believe that's Buddhism. 

 

BTW are you referring to the Hindu/Vedic Agamas or Buddhist Agamas?

 

 

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