Is Buddhism really that cool?
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07-01-2013, 12:19 PM
Question Is Buddhism really that cool?
So that's something I have been wondering for a while now, and during my little research I've done so far, it seemed that Buddhism is rarely being criticized or even sort of "accepted". I've studied a bit about Buddhism in the past, and I dare not to claim I know all about it. Some of the stuff I read sounded kinda nice and all, one might wanna say Buddhism is rather a philosophy. The whole re-incarnation and the suffering cycles resulting from it have kinda made me scratch my head, but hey, nothing's perfect, eh? Buddha himself was a human and humans... well, make mistakes.

So much about the theory, now lets get to practice. I've been living in a country now where Buddhism is pretty much a state religion and I was quite surprised to find a few parallels that made me go: "I know that from somewhere?!" Ok, lemme throw in some keywords that come to mind here:

1. Temples... eh, buddhist version of churches?
2. Figures, in temples or wherever, they are considered sacred and one must show respect to some statue (sounds familiar, right?)
3. Prayers... yes, they do pray, hands folded whispering some sanskrit scriptures (we all know that one as well, don't we?)
4. Monks (almost all of them male) hey, at least the others got a bit more nuns at least and of course, they all are abstinent, avoid contact to women; don't ever dare to run into a monk if you're a female!
5. Money... yes, that's something none of big deities can handle, they all need it, and more and more of it
6. Belief in ghosts (yeah, yeah, it starts to get boring, I'm almost done)
7. Authority obedience infecting pretty much many walks of life
8. I'm sure there are more things but I can't think of more spontaneously right now Wink

Apart from some wise phrases that Buddhism might have here and there... it seems to be just like all the others and not always so peaceful as one might want to think, just take a look at Burma, or even Tibet... Things are not always what they appear to be. That being said, it would be interesting to know if there are any Atheists that converted from Buddhism they were raised by.

"Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself." (Carl Sagan)
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07-01-2013, 12:22 PM
RE: Is Buddhism really that cool?
I think it's more that Western Buddhism, that is the watered-down and labeled type of 60's "neo" spirituality that most white people who call themselves Buddhists in the US practice... That's pretty benign, since it's *just* the philosophy part without the two or three millennia worth of baggage it has with it in India or SE Asia or China.

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
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07-01-2013, 10:42 PM (This post was last modified: 08-01-2013 03:52 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: Is Buddhism really that cool?
Any thought process based upon a faith can be abused and twisted until just about anything is possible. Now to be fair, it is much harder to twist Buddhism into a suicide cult than it is for Christianity or Islam.

If you're interested in studying an Eastern philosophy, I'd suggest looking into Jainism. They have an unscientifically supported concept of karma and cosmology, but no gods, and their core tenant is 'non-violence to all living things' and 'compassion and charity' to others. Your average Jain is more Jesus-like than Jesus...


:Edited for Grammar:

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07-01-2013, 11:12 PM
RE: Is Buddhism really that cool?
(07-01-2013 10:42 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Any thought process based upon a faith can be abused and twisted until just about anything is possible. Now to be fair, it is much harder to twist Buddhism into a suicide cult than it is for Christianity or Islam.

If you're interested in studying an Eastern philosophy, I'd suggest looking into Jainism. They have an unscientifically supported concept of karma and cosmology, but no gods, and their core tenat is 'non-violence to all living things' and 'compassion and charity' to others. Your average Jain is more Jesus-like than Jesus...
There's a lot of buddhists that are atheists. Buddhism even mentions that it is important to seek wisdom and what is true. I've actually sat down and listened to hours of lectures from buddhists (it's readily available online) and have not ever seen any sort of reference to a god, not once. Many references to wisdom, understanding truth in the world, being humble and peaceful. I really love philosophy and understanding other people, even their beliefs. As of late I've been doing a lot of reading and listening to lectures in Greek philosophy and also Buddhism. But I really have a hard time deciding whether I want to call buddhism a philosphy or religion... all in all I think if we get to it at the core, religion is a good word. But holy shit people are so passive and non-aggressive and don't oppose science and are so peaceful makes it hard for me to tag it in the same group as "religion" because as soon as I HEAR the word, I immediately start thinking of Christianity or Mormons or Catholics and the two don't even belong sleeping in the same bed, let alone sharing the same sentence.

Alas... I will remain firm that faith is still faith... however, they don't tend to use it in the name of a god or things they can't see (unless we're talking meditation or song). But rather, more often I hear it with people. I have heard it used in reference to other human beings, faith in humanity but it is often followed up with references to their "truths".

Many of the modern lectures in anything in regards to "karma" isn't a god, but rather things you can do as a person that help other people. One of the most interesting examples and references I heard was a lecture where they used it to explain that very thing, that it wasn't some god of karma or deity or energy or anything. That instead, everything we do shapes our life and in some way the lives of others and the idea is to be responsible for more good for the benefit of life than anything else.

In all reality, I think most of us can figure out that it is important to be helpful or do things beneficial for ourselves and others (so long as there's no negative effect after all). But hell, that's altruism.

If you've read their 4 truths and rules you'd know that it is regarding this order....

Life is suffering, suffering happens because of attachment, you can alleviate it if you want, live the path to alleviate it.

I've read through a lot of it and can't say I necessarily would jive with it because I sure as shit love my attachment to my hobbies, material things and the way I live my life. Many buddhists (hardcore buddhists) abstain from alcohol in any form, smoking, harmful things to the body. Some go and live a life with only the most basic material possessions. Others on the other hand enjoy the philosophy.

I'm not trying to "defend it" (I'm not a buddhist) but I have to say that I can really appreciate some of the philosophy and I think a lot of it is very interesting. The reason I think most people would never challenge it is because they really care about what is true (science and the universe... they have absolutely no quarrels with science, period, at least none that I've ever met), want to be kind and peaceful people (after all, one of their "tenants" is to not ask for things, not to assume you deserve them and to be peaceful and not harm others).

I suppose, what I'm trying to say is that there isn't really a reason to oppose someone who:

- Doesn't propose a god, nor wants to force it on you
- Doesn't oppose science, nor wants to twist it
- Doesn't want to harm other people, mentally or physically
- Doesn't force their view on you, even if you disagree, doesn't want to force it on your kids either
- Cares about understanding the world

The major difference here is they don't discriminate against people over their (I feel uncertain to call it a religion or philosophy and I'm being serious) views, don't tell your kids they're going to hell, don't feel the need to harm others over their beliefs and really honestly they just sorta do their own thing. If anything.... I've never met any buddhist that I've went, "Wow, what an asshole."

Alright... exiting my softie mode now. Continue on.
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07-01-2013, 11:16 PM
RE: Is Buddhism really that cool?
Nice People.
Nice vegetarian food.
Hipocritical Religion. (Just like any other)

For no matter how much I use these symbols, to describe symptoms of my existence.
You are your own emphasis.
So I say nothing.

-Bemore.
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07-01-2013, 11:35 PM
RE: Is Buddhism really that cool?
(07-01-2013 11:12 PM)Logisch Wrote:  There's a lot of buddhists that are atheists. Buddhism even mentions that it is important to seek wisdom and what is true. I've actually sat down and listened to hours of lectures from buddhists (it's readily available online) and have not ever seen any sort of reference to a god, not once. Many references to wisdom, understanding truth in the world, being humble and peaceful. I really love philosophy and understanding other people, even their beliefs. As of late I've been doing a lot of reading and listening to lectures in Greek philosophy and also Buddhism. But I really have a hard time deciding whether I want to call buddhism a philosphy or religion... all in all I think if we get to it at the core, religion is a good word. But holy shit people are so passive and non-aggressive and don't oppose science and are so peaceful makes it hard for me to tag it in the same group as "religion" because as soon as I HEAR the word, I immediately start thinking of Christianity or Mormons or Catholics and the two don't even belong sleeping in the same bed, let alone sharing the same sentence.

Alas... I will remain firm that faith is still faith... however, they don't tend to use it in the name of a god or things they can't see (unless we're talking meditation or song). But rather, more often I hear it with people. I have heard it used in reference to other human beings, faith in humanity but it is often followed up with references to their "truths".

Many of the modern lectures in anything in regards to "karma" isn't a god, but rather things you can do as a person that help other people. One of the most interesting examples and references I heard was a lecture where they used it to explain that very thing, that it wasn't some god of karma or deity or energy or anything. That instead, everything we do shapes our life and in some way the lives of others and the idea is to be responsible for more good for the benefit of life than anything else.

In all reality, I think most of us can figure out that it is important to be helpful or do things beneficial for ourselves and others (so long as there's no negative effect after all). But hell, that's altruism.

If you've read their 4 truths and rules you'd know that it is regarding this order....

Life is suffering, suffering happens because of attachment, you can alleviate it if you want, live the path to alleviate it.

I've read through a lot of it and can't say I necessarily would jive with it because I sure as shit love my attachment to my hobbies, material things and the way I live my life. Many buddhists (hardcore buddhists) abstain from alcohol in any form, smoking, harmful things to the body. Some go and live a life with only the most basic material possessions. Others on the other hand enjoy the philosophy.

I'm not trying to "defend it" (I'm not a buddhist) but I have to say that I can really appreciate some of the philosophy and I think a lot of it is very interesting. The reason I think most people would never challenge it is because they really care about what is true (science and the universe... they have absolutely no quarrels with science, period, at least none that I've ever met), want to be kind and peaceful people (after all, one of their "tenants" is to not ask for things, not to assume you deserve them and to be peaceful and not harm others).

I suppose, what I'm trying to say is that there isn't really a reason to oppose someone who:

- Doesn't propose a god, nor wants to force it on you
- Doesn't oppose science, nor wants to twist it
- Doesn't want to harm other people, mentally or physically
- Doesn't force their view on you, even if you disagree, doesn't want to force it on your kids either
- Cares about understanding the world

The major difference here is they don't discriminate against people over their (I feel uncertain to call it a religion or philosophy and I'm being serious) views, don't tell your kids they're going to hell, don't feel the need to harm others over their beliefs and really honestly they just sorta do their own thing. If anything.... I've never met any buddhist that I've went, "Wow, what an asshole."

Alright... exiting my softie mode now. Continue on.
Fair enough. I just know that I've seen reports of Buddhists freedom fighters and terrorists, that don't appear to be much different from versions we've seen in other religions. Given what you have posted, I take it they were not very well educated or devout Buddhists. Still, I'd just as soon ditch the philosophy in favor of science. Studying it can lead new interesting new thought processes and perspectives, but be always ready to change your belief as new evidence emerges.

So Buddhism without any theology or dogma, practiced by a rational pro-scientific skeptic, sounds relatively harmless.

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07-01-2013, 11:53 PM
RE: Is Buddhism really that cool?
(07-01-2013 11:35 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Fair enough. I just know that I've seen reports of Buddhists freedom fighters and terrorists, that don't appear to be much different from versions we've seen in other religions. Given what you have posted, I take it they were not very well educated or devout Buddhists. Still, I'd just as soon ditch the philosophy in favor of science. Studying it can lead new interesting new thought processes and perspectives, but be always ready to change your belief as new evidence emerges.

So Buddhism without any theology or dogma, practiced by a rational pro-scientific skeptic, sounds relatively harmless.

And that is exactly why I have a hard time defining something on the fine line of "religion or philosophy" because of interpretation. Can't say I've heard of any buddhist terrorists. Although I've heard of them doing self immolation (burning themselves alive) to make a stand on something or get a message across. But anything is possible as any set of ideas or principles or rules can be interpreted by someone differently than other.

And this is also where I think a lot of religious people would get into the no true scottsman fallacy of, "Well then they must not have been real buddhists." But let's get real, that's in pretty much every religion. If the dogma associated with a set of rules or beliefs ends up causing harm in the end to another human being, well, it's not ok.

I would agree with your last sentence. Although I think we could say the same for some examples of other religious types of the same set of qualities. Look at our friend KC, he's a rather rational, pro-scientific type. He doesn't seem to me that he'd harm another person over his beliefs, nor force it on others, nor use it to hate/discriminate. Although he interprets it differently than other christians.

Although this is where we get into that area where I have to toss up my arms and say, "Well, if it can be interpreted in a manner that another person hurts another person over it, fuck it, I'm not interested." but regardless, I think it's good to at least understand what it is about and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested in philosophy of all kinds. Which is why I read up on it and listened to some lectures. Some of the lectures for me gets a tad boring as a lot of times it is repetitive, while others were pretty interesting.
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08-01-2013, 12:37 AM
RE: Is Buddhism really that cool?
(07-01-2013 11:53 PM)Logisch Wrote:  I would agree with your last sentence. Although I think we could say the same for some examples of other religious types of the same set of qualities. Look at our friend KC, he's a rather rational, pro-scientific type. He doesn't seem to me that he'd harm another person over his beliefs, nor force it on others, nor use it to hate/discriminate. Although he interprets it differently than other christians.

Although this is where we get into that area where I have to toss up my arms and say, "Well, if it can be interpreted in a manner that another person hurts another person over it, fuck it, I'm not interested." but regardless, I think it's good to at least understand what it is about and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested in philosophy of all kinds. Which is why I read up on it and listened to some lectures. Some of the lectures for me gets a tad boring as a lot of times it is repetitive, while others were pretty interesting.
There is little that is not opinion or interpretation. However as long as you acknowledge this fact, realize your own fallibility, and resolve not to use your interpretation to make truth claims; you'll have little trouble with anyone dedicated to rationality.

Buddhism could very well lead you to a deeper thought process, a better understanding of yourself. This can have a net positive affect in your life, and the lives of others, and I would never have a problem with this. So long as you don't use your Buddhism/religion/philosophy to make unsubstantiated truth claims, I don't see an issue with it.

So keep the meditation, but so long as you don't claim that reincarnation is an absolute truth (in the way Christians do with the divinity of Christ), I don't see you crossing that line over into hypocrisy.

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08-01-2013, 01:05 AM
RE: Is Buddhism really that cool?
The main difference (and the reason why I don't go all attack-dog on my Buddhist pals like I do with my mussie and Xian friends) is that the main difference is:
Buddhism: right living
Christianity: right believing.

Big difference.

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08-01-2013, 10:07 AM
RE: Is Buddhism really that cool?
I recently got taught what the real version of Karma is. It's not the non-offensive New Age definition everyone talks about, say for example, "He was mean to me, but Karma got him in the end!*".

The actual meaning of karma is that what you do in this life will get back to you in the next. It influenced by a previous lifespan and influences the next lifespan. No changes happen within the same lifespan (*).

The truly insulting reality: if you're born with a disability, defect or go through some sort of trauma in childhood, that's karma from a previous lifespan you went through.

What the actual fuck?

It's blamed on the person with the disadvantage.

The Buddhism I'd encountered before that is very whitewashed.

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