Any Buddhists in the house?

nosoup4crr

Diabloii.Net Member
Any Buddhists in the house?

In my world civilizations class yesterday, we were discussing the progression of Buddhism in early Asian culture, and it made me realize that I have only a meager knowledge of the subject. One concept we discussed was how Buddhism is rooted in the individual's self-reflection. If there are any buddhists or anyone feeling they have a good understanding of it, could you discuss briefly the pillars, merits, and so forth of the religion? Or direct me to a credible source that discusses it?
 

raffster

Diabloii.Net Member
nosoup4crr said:
In my world civilizations class yesterday, we were discussing the progression of Buddhism in early Asian culture, and it made me realize that I have only a meager knowledge of the subject. One concept we discussed was how Buddhism is rooted in the individual's self-reflection. If there are any buddhists or anyone feeling they have a good understanding of it, could you discuss briefly the pillars, merits, and so forth of the religion? Or direct me to a credible source that discusses it?
Namaste nosoup4crr,

I'd be very glad to happy any question you may have and if I am not able to, I know a bunch of more experienced Buddhists who would be able to do so. It would be very helpful to me if you could ask specific questions. The pillars, merits, and so forth you mentioned above are too general. Buddhism in many ways is both a religion and a philosophy, depending on which perspective you look at it from, thus making it hard to answer very general questions. But I will try if that's what you're looking for.

Go ahead, fire your questions away. I could PM them to you if you prefer it that way.

-raffster
 

Croup

Diabloii.Net Member
I can also answer what questions you have about Buddhism. I'm not going to claim to be an expert or devotee, but I know my way around it and find it considerably less offensive than most forms of belief.
 

Dirty_Zulu

Diabloii.Net Member
Been to India, Burma and Thailand and have actually PRAYED in temples, I would qualify to answer something.

I would hope that people really not adopt the western believe of buddhism. The zen stuffs, tao and stuffs about looking at psychedelic pictures and meditating.
 

raffster

Diabloii.Net Member
Dirty_Zulu said:
Been to India, Burma and Thailand and have actually PRAYED in temples, I would qualify to answer something.

I would hope that people really not adopt the western believe of buddhism. The zen stuffs, tao and stuffs about looking at psychedelic pictures and meditating.
Ahh, I'd love to go to those countries and see those fascinating Buddhist temples. I'd especially want to visit Eiheiji temple in Japan, where Master Dogen Zenji settled. http://www.sotozen-net.or.jp/kokusai/sotozenschool.htm

Indeed, anyone who wishes to pursue Buddhism in the West must not be lured by water down versions of Buddhism. Authenticity of lineage is vital in the search for enlightenment, otherwise, it will be easy for students to get lost when what or who they're following isn't the real deal. An example of such authentic lineage is the Mountains and Rivers Order (www.mro.org.) It is among the few authentic Zen centers in America where you must pass 5 barriers to become a formal student.
 

Dirty_Zulu

Diabloii.Net Member
raffster--
Sorry but mro.org isn't it. When there's more time, I'll discuss a few things with you that might change your view.
 

raffster

Diabloii.Net Member
Dirty_Zulu said:
raffster--
Sorry but mro.org isn't it. When there's more time, I'll discuss a few things with you that might change your view.
That's a pretty bold claim, Dirty_zulu, please check your PM. I have a favor to ask.
 

Ash Housewares

Diabloii.Net Member
I have been known to disguise myself as a buddhist to keep people from suspecting that they could be the next victim of my flying guillotine
 

raffster

Diabloii.Net Member
Ash Housewares said:
I have been known to disguise myself as a buddhist to keep people from suspecting that they could be the next victim of my flying guillotine
Flying guillotine? Why, that's an advanced jiu-jitsu move...or were you referring to a flying armbar?
 

Dirty_Zulu

Diabloii.Net Member
Ash Housewares said:
I have been known to disguise myself as a buddhist to keep people from suspecting that they could be the next victim of my flying guillotine

That's old school. Now it's the flying daggers.
 

nosoup4crr

Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks a lot. I do have some questions. I've read just a few things baout the religion. One thing that I read is that the religion is based on 4 "truths," these equating to something like material gain is where evil is found in the world, and should therefore be curbed so that one may better practice those things which are intrinsic to the religion(self-reflection, meditation, self-betterment). How true is this? Also, it was said there is very little emphasis on deities, if any. While, as of late, I've been lead to believe that the Buddha has grown to the level of a deity in the religion, what is the official stance on this within the religion? Is there a creation myth involved in this belief system? What are its stipulations about prayer/daily responsibilites as a Buddhist? What texts are sacred in this religion?
 

raffster

Diabloii.Net Member
Namaste, nosoup4crr,

Thank you for your post. I hope you will find my response helpful.

nosoup4crr said:
Thanks a lot. I do have some questions. I've read just a few things about the religion. One thing that I read is that the religion is based on 4 "truths,"
You are referring to the 4 Noble Truths

1. All life is suffering.
2. The cause of suffering is desire.
3. Suffering can be ended.
4. The way to end suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path

The Noble Eightfold Path
1. right understanding
2. right thought
3. right speech
4. right action
5. right livelihood
6. right effort
7. right mindfulness
8. right meditation


nosoup4crr said:
these equating to something like material gain is where evil is found in the world,
The pursuit of material gain, per se, is not the root cause of evil in this world. Rather, it is “desire†that is the root cause of evil (suffering) in this world.

nosoup4crr said:
and should therefore be curbed so that one may better practice those things which are intrinsic to the religion(self-reflection, meditation, self-betterment). How true is this?
There is some truth in this but it must be seen from the right perspective. Shakyamuni Buddha actually taught against extreme asceticism so that even “fasting†isn’t a practice found in Buddhism. Note here that there is a difference between practicing poverty and asceticism. All those who are ordained as Buddhists monks make a vow of poverty (that is the reason why the monks in the traditional Buddhist monasteries still carry begging bowls) but are not required to engage in practices that are unhealthy for the body (e.g. starvation). What needs to be “curbed†–removed completely, for that matter- is the notion or idea of “selfâ€. This is from the doctrine of no-self or anatman.

What makes material gain a problem (cause of suffering) is when the person becomes “attached†to wealth and that person tries to become rich at the expense of other people.

To better practice those things which are intrinsic to Buddhism, Buddhists must adhere to the Ten Grave Precepts:

1. Affirm life; Do not kill
2. Be giving; Do not steal
3. Honor the body; Do not misuse sexuality
4. Manifest truth; Do not lie
5. Proceed clearly; Do not cloud the mind
6. See the perfection; Do not speak of others’ errors and faults
7. Realize self and other as one; Do not elevate the self and blame others
8. Give generously; Do not be withholding
9. Actualize harmony; Do not be angry
10. Experience the intimacy of things; Do not defile the Three Treasures


nosoup4crr said:
Also, it was said there is very little emphasis on deities, if any. While, as of late, I've been lead to believe that the Buddha has grown to the level of a deity in the religion, what is the official stance on this within the religion?
There are certain sects in Buddhism that, from an outsider’s perspective, the Buddha has been raised to the level of divinity, or a god. But this is hardly the case. Buddhism neither affirms or denies the concept of a Creator God like the God in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The Buddha himself when asked by the crowd if he was a god, simply said, “I am awake.â€

But in Buddhist teachings one is bound to find the existence of many deities, demigods and a plethora of other supernatural beings. Some branches of Buddhism put a larger emphasis or focus on these divine beings but in the end, it all boils down to the self as being solely responsible for its own salvation (enlightenment).

Of course there are also Buddhist cults whose followers believe that either their founder is Buddha himself incarnated or that Buddha is indeed God.


nosoup4crr said:
Is there a creation myth involved in this belief system?
There is no “creation myth†involved in Buddhism as Buddhism teaches that the universe has no beginning and no end.


nosoup4crr said:
What are its stipulations about prayer/daily responsibilities as a Buddhist?
Buddhists follow the four sacred vows:

1. Sentient beings are numberless. I vow to save them all.
2. Desires are endless. I vow to end them.
3. The gate of the Dharma is boundless. I vow to master it.
4. The Buddha way is supreme. I vow to attain it.

As for prayers, most Buddhists usually have a morning prayer, prayer before meals, evening prayer, and other prayers that are used in certain ceremonies or community (sangha) gatherings. Chants are often regarded as some type of prayer.

In Zen Buddhism, the Buddhism sect that I follow, sitting meditation practice is of highest importance to realizing enlightenment. Most other Buddhist sects give emphasis on meditation but it is only Zen that makes it “top priority.â€


nosoup4crr said:
What texts are sacred in this religion?
There are MANY sacred texts in Buddhism, but the main ones are:
1. The Theravada Scriptures, namely, The Pali Canon, also known as the Tripitaka (“Three Basketsâ€) consisting of Vinaya-pitaka (“Basket of Orderâ€), Sutra-pitaka (“Basket of Teachingsâ€) and Abdhidharma-pitaka (“Basket of Special Learningâ€)
2. The Mahayana Scriptures that consists of: the Sutras (Prajnaparamita, Saddharmapundarika-sutra), Shastras, and finally, tantras.

Fore more sacred texts please refer to: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/index.htm

Please click on the link below for a well-written introduction on Buddhism.
http://www.nstmyosenji.org/Introduction/Introduction 1.htm

I will be happy to answer any more questions that you may have.

References used:
Essential Buddhism, A Complete Guide to Beliefs and Practices, by Jack Maguire
The Eight Gates of Zen, Spiritual Training in an American Zen Monastery, by John Daido Loori
 

nosoup4crr

Diabloii.Net Member
Alright...a few more questions--

First...in your scriptures, you mentioned that you studied both Theravada and Mahayana scripture. However, I thought these were two different followings of the religion.

Secondly...if there are no Buddhist temples in the area, how possible is it to carry on as a Buddhist, and is the process much more difficult?

Thirdly...Suppose one does err. Is there any way to redeem yourself?
 

Dirty_Zulu

Diabloii.Net Member
There was monk that told me, "Christianity is a religion of passion while Buddhism is a religion of incompassion".
 

raffster

Diabloii.Net Member
nosoup4crr said:
First...in your scriptures, you mentioned that you studied both Theravada and Mahayana scripture. However, I thought these were two different followings of the religion.
They are. But it's good to have some idea from both "wheels". Zen is from the Mahayana school so most of what I'm learning as a Buddhist is derived from the Mahayana wheel.

nosoup4crr said:
Secondly...if there are no Buddhist temples in the area, how possible is it to carry on as a Buddhist, and is the process much more difficult?
It is possible but it is going to be very difficult, especially if the particular Buddhist path you are planning to follow requires some type of "verification". For example, in Zen, only a legitimate Zen master can actually determine what stage a student is on the path of enlightenment.

If you are just going to practice Buddhism for practice' sake, I don't think it's that difficult especially if you are really convicted that about the Buddha's teachings.

It's like trying to be a Christian without Church fellowship -- very, very difficult.

nosoup4crr said:
Thirdly...Suppose one does err. Is there any way to redeem yourself?
In Buddhism there is no concept such as "sin" so there is no need for "redemption" per se like what Christianity teaches. Instead, if you do something wrong, you must learn from it so that eventually you will become wiser and be more compassionate next time around. The law of "karma" (cause and effect) is among the principle teachings of Buddhism.

In Buddhism you are solely responsible for your own "redemption", "salvation", "enlightenment". Nobody, not even the Buddha, can help you. He can only point the way.
 
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