After all, what would make it be a religion?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby ground » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:21 am

ground wrote:Actually there is a lot of religion in many suttas.

Sekha wrote:What do you mean exactly by that?

ground wrote:Investigating into the meaning of religion, the commmon denominator of all religions resulted in categorising as religion all words - either spoken or written - that cause affirmation of ideas of a future "state of being" or similar that is imagined to be better, more attractive, worthwhile to strive for but is not supported by any kind of experience accessible. I.e. it is just sort of worshipping of ideas as if these were more that just mere ideas.

Sekha wrote:then the teaching of the Buddha doesn't fit this definition.

Well actually there is a lot of religion in many suttas. E.g. the idea of nibbana, idea of "better" re-birth, idea of end of stress ... these ideas refer to an idea of a future to come or future achievement fostering hope and confidence if cultivated with focus and may entail reduction of stress regardless of whether something will ever be achieved or come in an imagined future ... simply through being cultivated. This is meant to be "religion". But of course you do not have to subscribe to this understanding of the term "religon". It is the result of investigation and has become certain knowledge. Some have aversion against being known as "religious" since they consider this to be the sphere of non-truth or mere belief and inferiority but cling to the idea of truth and want to be superior. But this is just the sense of self. Sense of self actually is the support for religion. Because what is it that wants to achieve anything? But there is no problem with this ... it just is as it is. :sage:
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 2592
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:01 am

Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby ground » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:42 am

To add this:

Based on investigation It may be acknowledged that what is called "consciousness" actually is the human dilemma
From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. ... Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

However considering religions (none excluded) it may also be acknowledged that it is exactly so called "consciousness" which is [the nature of every] religion (thinking, intending, cultivation of ideas etc.). So obviously this system of aggregates has the potentiality to fabricate artifice (ideas qua consciousness) to somehow deal with its own dilemma ... more or less. :sage:
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 2592
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:01 am

Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby SamKR » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:04 am

danieLion wrote:
Sekha wrote:
danieLion wrote:What's Goenka so scared of?

That the sasana ends too soon. So was Asoka.

danieLion wrote:Also ironic. If the sasana was dead he wouldn't be able to fear it dying.

Sekha wrote:don't get your point.
1) no one here has said the sasana is dead
2) what's the matter with being ironic or not?

If it's survived long enough for Goenka to fear it not surviving anymore, it implies the problem might lie in fearing rather than The Religion itself.

Irony has it's uses. I'm examinging whether or not this is an appropriate use. Is Goenka merely being rhetorical or is he also lamenting modernism? Does he really fear The Religion will disappear or does he fear what it has and/or might become in the hands of contemporary humans?

If we consider people's degree of attachment towards rites, rituals, superstitions, caste/status based on own's sects/religions in the Indian subcontinent region, and the immense harm that has been done by these attachments for centuries (including the disappearance of Buddha's teachings from India), then what Goenka ji is saying makes some sense.
SamKR
 
Posts: 758
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:33 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:28 am

danieLion wrote:What's Goenka so scared of?

Nothing. He's ruffled many a feather.
It is just a particular message for a particular audience.
kind regards,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15964
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby Mr Man » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:48 am

Ben wrote:
danieLion wrote:What's Goenka so scared of?

Nothing. He's ruffled many a feather.
It is just a particular message for a particular audience.

A skillful means?

Ben is there a reconection with the heritage of the tradition happening at the moment? I noticed that in another thread you had mentioned that you had visited IMC rangoon and that you also recomended IMC. Hope you don't mind the question.
User avatar
Mr Man
 
Posts: 1192
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:46 am

Mr Man wrote:
Ben wrote:
danieLion wrote:What's Goenka so scared of?

Nothing. He's ruffled many a feather.
It is just a particular message for a particular audience.

A skillful means?

Ben is there a reconection with the heritage of the tradition happening at the moment? I noticed that in another thread you had mentioned that you had visited IMC rangoon and that you also recomended IMC. Hope you don't mind the question.


Hi Mr Man,

No, I don't mind the question at all.

Yes, I do heartily recommend IMC. I will never get over the boundless metta that I was received, as were senior American teachers who I was traveling with, as 'Dhamma brothers and sisters' by the managers of IMC Yangon. While SN Goenka is my teacher, I feel an intense connection with Sayagi U Ba Khin and other teachers in the tradition inc. Saya Thetgyi, and the Venerable Ledi Sayadaw. My debt of gratitude to them is beyond measure.

You will also find that within the context of SN Goenka's long courses, which are reserved for old students who have completed years of continuous practice and retreat attendance (to sit and serve), the same message is somewhat attenuated. You will also note that in recent years when Goenkaji has returned to Myanmar for pilgrimage, he has paid respects to the Bhikkhu Sangha and has personally distributed lunch dana to hundreds of monks from his family house in Yangon.

I think the connection with the tradition has always been there. At least that has been my observation - however clouded it may be.

Personally, I take my teacher's statements about "this is not Buddhism" with a grain of salt.
kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15964
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby danieLion » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:29 am

Ben wrote:
danieLion wrote:What's Goenka so scared of?

Nothing. He's ruffled many a feather.
It is just a particular message for a particular audience.
kind regards,

Ben

I admire feather rufflers, so it that's his aim, more power to him.
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby Sekha » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:14 am

Ben wrote:
danieLion wrote:What's Goenka so scared of?

Nothing. He's ruffled many a feather.
It is just a particular message for a particular audience.

I think one important thing Goenka has demonstrated is that one needs not being a buddhist to practice successfully the Buddha's teaching, which comes down to say that in order to gain freedom from suffering, one needs not perform buddhist rites and rituals (especially bowing down to statues or offering them incense and food) nor accept dogmatically all buddhist teachings. This is actually consistent with early scriptures and strongly supported by DN 16:
"Ananda, the twin sal-trees are in full bloom, even though it's not the flowering season. They shower, strew, & sprinkle on the Tathagata's body in homage to him. Heavenly coral-tree blossoms are falling from the sky... Heavenly sandalwood powder is falling from the sky... Heavenly music is playing in the sky... Heavenly songs are sung in the sky, in homage to the Tathagata. But it is not to this extent that a Tathagata is worshipped, honored, respected, venerated, or paid homage to. Rather, the monk, nun, male lay follower, or female lay follower who keeps practicing the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma, who keeps practicing masterfully, who lives in accordance with the Dhamma: that is the person who worships, honors, respects, venerates, & pays homage to the Tathagata with the highest homage.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Those who prefer taking the Buddha's teaching as a religion where inter alia rituals are considered as important, should to the least recognize that it is not the only approach possible, that it is not really recommended by the Buddha, and acknowledge the fact that it creates a barrier for all those who, on hearing that the Dhamma is a religion or on seeing people performing rituals which are considered in western culture as barbarian (eg. worshiping statues by offerings and bowing downs - see the golden calf story) , refuse to listen to it on account of superficial and unnecessary practices that cloud the original spirit of pragmatism as expressed in DN 16. This problem is of importance for a lot of westerners, imo.
Last edited by Sekha on Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org
User avatar
Sekha
 
Posts: 743
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:32 am
Location: French Guiana

Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby Ben » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:18 am

Sekha,
"Religion" and "Buddhism" are merely words, pointers, that is all.
They mean different things to different people.
The important thing is to actually walk the path.
It might be wise to just let these words "Buddhism", "Religion", and "Dhamma" go.
kind regards,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15964
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby Sekha » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:28 am

Ben wrote:Sekha,
"Religion" and "Buddhism" are merely words, pointers, that is all.
They mean different things to different people.
The important thing is to actually walk the path.
It might be wise to just let these words "Buddhism", "Religion", and "Dhamma" go.

Well, let's let go of those words then. It doesn't change anything to the issues of rituals and dogmatism that cause the actual problems. I think Goenka has chosen to refer to those words because statistically those who consider anything as a religion will quite extensively match those who give importance to rituals and behave dogmatically, respectively those who don't. So although quite a few people who have contributed to this thread have taken this issue to be a mere discussion on words, I do think it goes significantly deeper.
:anjali:
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org
User avatar
Sekha
 
Posts: 743
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:32 am
Location: French Guiana

Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby Ben » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:06 am

Sekha wrote:
Ben wrote:Sekha,
"Religion" and "Buddhism" are merely words, pointers, that is all.
They mean different things to different people.
The important thing is to actually walk the path.
It might be wise to just let these words "Buddhism", "Religion", and "Dhamma" go.

Well, let's let go of those words then. It doesn't change anything to the issues of rituals and dogmatism that cause the actual problems. I think Goenka has chosen to refer to those words because statistically those who consider anything as a religion will quite extensively match those who give importance to rituals and behave dogmatically, respectively those who don't. So although quite a few people who have contributed to this thread have taken this issue to be a mere discussion on words, I do think it goes significantly deeper.
:anjali:


I think it might be worthwhile for you to investigate some of your assumptions/
To be honest with you, I feel closer to "ignorant" Burmese Buddhists than I do to many in the West who feel they have the 'one true Dhamma'.
Keep in mind, Sekha, sadha is the first of the indriya, and it conditions panna. Without sadha one's panna is limited.
kind regards,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15964
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: After all, what would make it be a religion?

Postby Sekha » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:10 am

ps: I am not saying either that all rituals performed by buddhists are "evil". Only those through which they increase their own cravings and delusions, as well as others' distrust. For example, the ritual consisting in repeating the 3 recollections is perfectly fine, as no craving, aversion, delusion can arise on account of it, and there is little chance that they would stir up distrust among outsiders.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org
User avatar
Sekha
 
Posts: 743
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:32 am
Location: French Guiana

Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby Sekha » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:13 am

Ben wrote:I think it might be worthwhile for you to investigate some of your assumptions/

I am always open for that, so I will gladly welcome your suggestions (although I may not connect again here for a long while, so not able to address them so soon).

Ben wrote:Keep in mind, Sekha, sadha is the first of the indriya, and it conditions panna. Without sadha one's panna is limited.

I am perfectly fine with that. But one should keep in mind that saddha is nothing more than being convinced of the Buddha's enlightenment. And that is imo truly achieved by listening and pondering over the Dhamma, and cleansing oneself of defilements, which comes down to actual practice. If faith becomes blind faith, it becomes harmful. Confidence in the Buddha's words should not become dogmatic acceptance, for example.
:anjali:
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org
User avatar
Sekha
 
Posts: 743
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:32 am
Location: French Guiana

Re: After all, what would make it be a religion?

Postby Mr Man » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:26 pm

Sekkha, What of the idea that the rituals are the form which has carried the teaching - like a box? We don't need to revere the box. We can know that it is a box. But it may be worthwhile to maintain the box for the benefit of those yet to come and out of respect for those who have been before.

Personally I also feel that there is also a certain strength in the tradition, which connects us with the timeless.
User avatar
Mr Man
 
Posts: 1192
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:07 pm

danieLion wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:Religions are make beleive and myth and the dhamma is about reality.
There's plenty of make believe and myth in Buddhism.


You can be a practicing buddhist without beleiving in myth. You cant say that about any of the theist religions.
Where did the buddha advocate belief in myth of make beleive?
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
User avatar
m0rl0ck
 
Posts: 972
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:51 am

Re: After all, what would make it be a religion?

Postby SamKR » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:45 pm

Sekha wrote:I fully agree with the views of Goenkaji, it's just as if he would express my own thoughts:

Great misconception has arisen in the name of Buddha and his teaching. (...) He was not the founder of any religion. He never founded any religion. When one goes through the words, original words of Buddha, (...) we find he never taught buddhism. He did not convert a single person as buddhist. More than 50 000 pages of his original words, commentaries, subcommentaries, which are now on a CD-ROM, and a search program is there, the word ‘boddh’ is missing.

No buddhism. No buddhist. He taught Dhamma, that is Dharma. He called his followers dhammiko, dharmic. If it was boddha dhamma, then it would have been limited to a particular community, a particular sect. But Dhamma is for all, not limited to a particular community, a particular sect, and he taught Dhamma. Hundreds of years after Buddha, the word Bauddh was never used (...) after that, we don’t know, after how many centuries these words buddhism and buddhist came into use.

To me, these words degraded Buddha’s teaching, devalued Buddha’s teaching. The teaching is universal, for one and all. And when it has come up in its true meaning, true practice, people are willingly accepting it. There is no religion today in there world, no religion whose followers are not attending vipassana courses.
--- Transcripted from the discourse Buddha: the super-scientist at IIT Powai, Mumbai


The video is available here: http://www.vridhamma.org/StreamingPlayV ... -Scientist

What would be your reasons to acknowledge/reject those assertions?

One of the benefits of this understanding for me personally is: Without breaking the precept of lying I can tell I am a Hindu to my society/family and participate in my family's Hindu rituals (of course understanding their futility) and also to my government for the official record. But at the same time I can actually practice the Buddha's Dhamma while taking refuge in Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha.
SamKR
 
Posts: 758
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:33 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:20 am

Coyote wrote:
All I am going to say is that based on my experience, I agree with beeblebrox. Obviously your experiences are different, but this kind of view dogged my almost the entirety of my thinking life (not nearly as long as yours, from what you have said) and it has been such a relief to give it up, either due to my own growth as person or through coming to the Dhamma, or both.

:anjali:

So if im understanding you correctly, you have chosen naive :) Good for you.
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
User avatar
m0rl0ck
 
Posts: 972
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:51 am

Re: After all, what would make it be a religion?

Postby Sekha » Thu May 16, 2013 6:26 am

I think Benjamin Disraeli has said it all:

Benjamin Disraeli wrote:Where knowledge ends, religion begins.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org
User avatar
Sekha
 
Posts: 743
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:32 am
Location: French Guiana

Re: After all, what would make it be a religion?

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu May 16, 2013 10:10 am

Sekha wrote:What would be your reasons to acknowledge/reject those assertions?


For me it's just somebody else's opinion about what "Buddhism" is. "Buddhist" is a convenient label for a person who does Buddhist practice, and there are many approaches to Buddhist practice. No big deal.
Well, oi dunno...
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2198
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am

Re: After all, what would make it be a religion?

Postby binocular » Thu May 16, 2013 11:50 am

binocular wrote:
Ben wrote:"Religion" and "Buddhism" are merely words, pointers, that is all.
They mean different things to different people.
The important thing is to actually walk the path.
It might be wise to just let these words "Buddhism", "Religion", and "Dhamma" go.


How one will "walk the path" depends on the implicit notions one has of what it means to "be religious" and what a "religion" is and related terms.

We in the West tend to subtly operate out of particular culturological, religiological, politological and other assumptions about "religion" and related concepts - and these assumptions will possibly be different for someone growing up and living in a different culture, in a different time period.

Some of these assumptions may be contrary to the teachings of a particular religion, though.

IOW, there is the whole issue of meta-religion here.

In my estimation, there seems to be a peculiar disconnect between traditional religions and the modern Western approach to religion: the traditional religions seem to have very little awareness of meta-religious issues, while the Western approach to religion is mostly meta-religious.
binocular
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests