After all, what would make it be a religion?

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

Postby beeblebrox » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:33 pm

Coyote wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:Also i completely agree that relegate the dharma to religion disrespects and degrades it. Religions are make beleive and myth and the dhamma is about reality. Imo if people need to feel holy they should go somewhere else.


You know Christians say the exact same thing. Ok, maybe not the part about feeling holy.


Yes, it seems to be a classical argument... of religion even. I think it's a quite unfortunate view to have.
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby m0rl0ck » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:46 pm

Coyote wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:
:goodpost:

Also i completely agree that relegate the dharma to religion disrespects and degrades it. Religions are make beleive and myth and the dhamma is about reality. Imo if people need to feel holy they should go somewhere else.


You know Christians say the exact same thing. Ok, maybe not the part about feeling holy.


I speak from experience. As a student of buddhism for the past two decades, i have never been asked to beleive in anything with the kind of blind faith i was asked to display as a christian. Either your response is naive in the extreme, or you were trying to get a reaction. If you personally beleive that buddhism can be equated with faith based theist religions, you need more experience and familiarity with both.
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby ground » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:16 pm

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

What do you mean exactly by that?

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. It is however acknowledged that religions can have wanted effects through cultivation of ideas and belief. These effect however are quite trivial and simply an effect of focused cultivation which may entail confidence and contentment, even happiness, not least by means of exclusion of ideas that tend to cause stress. :sage:
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby Coyote » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:26 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:
Coyote wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:
:goodpost:

Also i completely agree that relegate the dharma to religion disrespects and degrades it. Religions are make beleive and myth and the dhamma is about reality. Imo if people need to feel holy they should go somewhere else.


You know Christians say the exact same thing. Ok, maybe not the part about feeling holy.


I speak from experience. As a student of buddhism for the past two decades, i have never been asked to beleive in anything with the kind of blind faith i was asked to display as a christian. Either your response is naive in the extreme, or you were trying to get a reaction. If you personally beleive that buddhism can be equated with faith based religions, you need more experience and familiarity with both.


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:
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby Sekha » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:09 am

David N. Snyder wrote:There are many different versions of what is a religion, but the one I like is:

a belief in any one or more of the following:

1. A belief in a supreme being God or in gods, worthy of worship or veneration
2. Belief that there are sacred things, objects, places, or writings set apart from other mundane things and writings
3. Belief in some kind of post-mortem continuation, heaven, hell, reincarnation, or rebirth

Buddhism, oops I mean The Dhamma meets all of the above. There is no creator-God, but there are devas (1), there is the Pali Canon, pilgrimage (2), and there is rebirth (3).

so, you are saying that the Dhamma may be religion for whoever is not a sotapanna yet, not so after that. In your definition, first thing I would replace the word "belief" by "dogma" and still consider the teaching of the Buddha as something quite different from all rest, since it is entirely non-dogmatic (the Dhamma is sanditthiko visible here and now, akaliko - immediately testable, paccattam veditabbo viññuhi - VERIFIABLE by the wise for themselves). To me, considering his teaching a just another religion is greatly depreciating it, as Goenka says. And to me, this is the very reason why there were no Buddha statues in ancient times.

I would rather define a religion as "a social organisation based on a set of unverified dogmas that regards itself as the supreme moral and spiritual authority".


David N. Snyder wrote:Follower of the Dhamma, Buddhist, etc. "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

Call it whatever you like, but it is Buddhism.

Well, there IS a difference between considering it as a religion and considering it simply as the pragmatic way to end suffering. one example is that in the former case, people get attached to rites and rituals, not in the latter. I will post an illustrating story about the "religious feeling" that happened to me later.


m0rl0ck wrote:Religions are make beleive and myth and the dhamma is about reality.

I would rather refer to the concept of dogma vs verifiability, again.

m0rl0ck wrote:Imo if people need to feel holy they should go somewhere else.

I wouldn't go to that far though. If you read the definition of the sangha, it does somehow state that its members are kind of holy, as they are worthy of gifts and respectful salutations.
Last edited by Sekha on Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

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As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby danieLion » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:21 am

m0rl0ck wrote:Religions are make beleive and myth and the dhamma is about reality.
There's plenty of make believe and myth in Buddhism.
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:24 am

For myself, Buddhism what it is to each person depending on what way you look at it. There are aspect of each "thing" people want to describe it as.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby Sekha » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:27 am

Coyote wrote:Perhaps it is best to challenge divisive views about Buddhism and religion in general by living in a manner that suggests Buddhism has the ability to transcend it rather than just changing the name you call it by.

I would agree with that part.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby danieLion » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:27 am

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.

According to the great world religions scholar Huston Smith, the Buddha didn't found a religion, he founded a civilization. Speaking of experts on religion, these kinds of threads go round and round because religion is difficult if not impossible to define.
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby Sekha » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:34 am

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

What do you mean exactly by that?

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.

then the teaching of the Buddha doesn't fit this definition.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby danieLion » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:41 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Religion is typically devotional, science isn't....

False dichotomy: there's plenty of devotion "in science."
Kim O'Hara wrote:Science is always open to debate and improvement, religion isn't...
Always? Quite the contrary. Have you read The Tyranny of Science or any Kuhn?
Kim O'Hara wrote:Science is systematic and analytical, religion is mystical and non-rational....
False dichotomy.

Kim O'Hara wrote:Edit: this is just another away of saying what Bhikku Pesala has just said, "Avoiding words like "Buddhism," "Buddhist," "Converting," or "Religion," are mere sophistry..."

It's worse than that. It's politcal correctness. It's not hip to be religious. Hence, you get stupid sayings like, "I'm not religious, but I am spiritual," or crap like, "I'm against organized religion." Maybe it's just Portland, Oregon, but most of the Buddhists I"ve met around here have welfare liberalism blinders on and dare not call bull-crap on such Groupthink. It's no coincidence that the words "polite" and "politics" are linguistically related.
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby danieLion » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:44 am

Sekha wrote:...the teaching of the Buddha as a religion goes way beyond this. It implies being able to have a non-sectarian....
Don't you think it's ironic that you stated this on a Theravadin forum? Theravada is a sect, no?
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby danieLion » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:00 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I think many sceptics misinterpret what is said in the Kesamutti Sutta. Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote a much more thorough article on it. A Look at the Kalama Sutta

On converting followers of other religions, see the Upāli Sutta.

What, then, do you make of this?
Examinations of Buddhist thought often refer to the Kālāma-sutta as the example par excellence for the advocacy of a principle of free
inquiry, expressing a non-authoritarian and pragmatic attitude. Yet, compared with the Kālāma-sutta the Vīmaṃsaka-sutta could lay an even great-
er claim to presenting a remarkable advocacy of free inquiry.

From the Introduction of Rev. Analayo's The Scope of Free Inquiry According to the Vīmamsak-Sutta and it Madhyamagama Parellel
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby danieLion » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:02 am

David N. Snyder wrote:There are many different versions of what is a religion, but the one I like is:

a belief in any one or more of the following:

1. A belief in a supreme being God or in gods, worthy of worship or veneration
2. Belief that there are sacred things, objects, places, or writings set apart from other mundane things and writings
3. Belief in some kind of post-mortem continuation, heaven, hell, reincarnation, or rebirth

Buddhism, oops I mean The Dhamma meets all of the above. There is no creator-God, but there are devas (1), there is the Pali Canon, pilgrimage (2), and there is rebirth (3).

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

Postby danieLion » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:05 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Follower of the Dhamma, Buddhist, etc. "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

Call it whatever you like, but it is Buddhism. But I understand what Goenka-ji is doing, skillful means and all. Some want to avoid the "R" label at any cost.

The Buddha was not so politically correct. He pissed people off all the time. What's Goenka so scared of?
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby Sekha » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:24 am

I think it would be better to quote the whole sentence
danieLion wrote:
Sekha wrote:for me, not considering ...the teaching of the Buddha as a religion goes way beyond this. It implies being able to have a non-sectarian....
Don't you think it's ironic that you stated this on a Theravadin forum? Theravada is a sect, no?

I do.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby Sekha » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:26 am

danieLion wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:Follower of the Dhamma, Buddhist, etc. "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

Call it whatever you like, but it is Buddhism. But I understand what Goenka-ji is doing, skillful means and all. Some want to avoid the "R" label at any cost.

The Buddha was not so politically correct. He pissed people off all the time. What's Goenka so scared of?

That the sasana ends too soon. So was Asoka.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby danieLion » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:43 am

Sekha wrote:
danieLion wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:Follower of the Dhamma, Buddhist, etc. "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

Call it whatever you like, but it is Buddhism. But I understand what Goenka-ji is doing, skillful means and all. Some want to avoid the "R" label at any cost.

The Buddha was not so politically correct. He pissed people off all the time. What's Goenka so scared of?

That the sasana ends too soon. So was Asoka.

Also ironic. If the sasana was dead he wouldn't be able to fear it dying.
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby Sekha » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:22 am

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

That the sasana ends too soon. So was Asoka.

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

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?

sekha wrote:I will post an illustrating story about the "religious feeling" that happened to me later.

So here is that story:

A few monks back I was under 8 precepts in a "monastery" where the monks get themselves treated like gods. As an example their "kutis" look more like 5-star hotel bungalows than "huts": http://sphotos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-a ... 3262_n.jpg not to speak about the food.
So the people would give about a quarter of the respect they give to the monks. At that time, it was just before lunchtime and I had a sudden idea that I wanted to note down. So I went to the small office and asked for a paper and a pen. The guy gave them to me in a very ceremonious way with both hands and head down as if I was a very important person. So after use, I gave the items back to him with a smile and saying "thank you", as normal people would do in such a situation, with the underlying untold message: "chill out, man I'm not a supernatural being". The guy became very displeased and I saw he was feeling like I had just snatched from him whatever merit he had done by handing me over a piece of paper and a pen. It took me weeks to reinstate the communication with this guy and from that moment on I made sure that I would say "sadhu sadhu sadhu" every time someone did anything for me.

This is what happens when the religious feeling and the attachment to rituals that goes along replaces natural communication between human beings.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: After all, what would make this be a religion?

Postby danieLion » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:24 am

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?
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