Can I still follow the path without being buddhist/religious?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Butters
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Re: Can I still follow the path without being buddhist/religious?

Post by Butters » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:45 pm

Akashad wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:29 am
Hello,

I'm not sure if Buddhism with all the bowing and chanting and rituals is for me....What do you think do you think I can leave out all the religious stuff and just stick to practical things like keeping precepts and meditation and succeed in this path?🐢🙏
Having read most of this thread, I have to ask you: what exactly is your intention here?
From the way you reply to many comments, you seem to be very confident in your opinion.

So this means you:

1) only want confirmation of your own way of thinking

or

2) want to share your way of thinking to the community

or

3) I made a mistake.

If 1) is true, there must be some doubt (in whichever sense) on your own comprehension. My suspicion is that this doubt is based on arrogance.
If 2) is true, you are better off (from the ego point of view) to formulate your post as a comment rather than a question.
If 3) is true, please forgive me.

From my personal experience: I bow at the end of my meditation in order to remember myself that this path was given to me and that helps me to tame my own ego. Those rituals you mention might be a great way to dimish yours if you do it with the right understanding.

Please understand my post simply as another way on how a person (in this case me) can understand your behavior and, based on this, which conclusions he could make.

Pulsar
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Re: Can I still follow the path without being buddhist/religious?

Post by Pulsar » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:19 pm

Butters,
Your first post
or comment is mind blowing, may you post many more!
I appreciate all the responses of course that lead Butters to this fine conclusion,
using reason :heart:

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Akashad
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Re: Can I still follow the path without being buddhist/religious?

Post by Akashad » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:48 pm

Butters wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:45 pm
Akashad wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:29 am
Hello,

I'm not sure if Buddhism with all the bowing and chanting and rituals is for me....What do you think do you think I can leave out all the religious stuff and just stick to practical things like keeping precepts and meditation and succeed in this path?🐢🙏
Having read most of this thread, I have to ask you: what exactly is your intention here?
From the way you reply to many comments, you seem to be very confident in your opinion.

So this means you:

1) only want confirmation of your own way of thinking

or

2) want to share your way of thinking to the community

or

3) I made a mistake.

If 1) is true, there must be some doubt (in whichever sense) on your own comprehension. My suspicion is that this doubt is based on arrogance.
If 2) is true, you are better off (from the ego point of view) to formulate your post as a comment rather than a question.
If 3) is true, please forgive me.

From my personal experience: I bow at the end of my meditation in order to remember myself that this path was given to me and that helps me to tame my own ego. Those rituals you mention might be a great way to dimish yours if you do it with the right understanding.

Please understand my post simply as another way on how a person (in this case me) can understand your behavior and, based on this, which conclusions he could make.
I am confident in that i don't see much use in rituals for my own practice.
I asked because i wanted to know if it's possible to follow the path without rituals.

kind regards,

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Butters
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Re: Can I still follow the path without being buddhist/religious?

Post by Butters » Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:01 am

@Pulsar

Thanks for your kind words, they made me smile :)

@Akashad

I see, so it was a philosophical question. Thanks for your answer.

lostitude
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Re: Can I still follow the path without being buddhist/religious?

Post by lostitude » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:36 pm

Akashad wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:29 am
Hello,

I'm not sure if buddhism with all the bowing and chanting and rituals is for me.I use to be very self reliant on inner qualities like my own virtue and kind deeds but now tried to go to external things and don't feel authentic. I don't feel really inspired when I visit temples or monasteries.I had a really bad experience which usually involved women in their 50 or 60 seemingly asking me rudely not to wear a beanie in the meditation hall.I'm not sure why they couldn't just tell me this nicely since it was my first time.Or stand in a single line while giving pibdapata.none of them had any Metta they were quite rude even when I couldnt use the sink but It was broken they just said can you read? ...theres like drug addicts on the train more polite.long story short, it put me off monasteries and but even before that I'm not into rituals.like once you start talking about devas and nagas I have an out of body experience,its not that I don't believe they exist I do I just don't care.and I often don't bow all the way I really don't see the point.
Hello Akashad,
I could have written almost everything your message contains (except I've never been to a buddhist monastery).
I am of course only talking for myself, but in my experience, there should be a clear difference between:
1/not seeing the point in bowing, chanting, rituals but not seeing any problem performing them either
2/not seeing their point AND feeling uncomfortable performing them.

I think the second case betrays a feeling of pride and superiority (I understand it's pointless, and those silly people don't). I have experienced this myself in a "previous" spiritual life. If I am invited to bow to a statue and feel uncomfortable/ridiculous about it, then I know my pride is at play, and I know I will have conquered it when I can bow to anything in front of anyone and not feel like I'm being humiliated.

I suspect (though I'm not sure) that this could be generalized to many other things: when I'm shy, deep-down I'm actually afraid of being humiliated, i.e. I try my best to preserve my pride. When I refuse to dance for example. Or sing, or do anything that threatens my pride. And this is often falsely justified by a sense of superiority (I won't lower myself to dance like those foolish people do). But it may just be me.

frankboase
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Re: Can I still follow the path without being buddhist/religious?

Post by frankboase » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:52 pm

I would suggest that Buddhism isn't a religion, it's an attitude.

binocular
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Re: Can I still follow the path without being buddhist/religious?

Post by binocular » Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:05 pm

Dinsdale wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:34 am
Yes, of course. We don't have to act/react the same as others in order to fit in, or whatever.
Essential to fitting in is to act like others.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

binocular
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Re: Can I still follow the path without being buddhist/religious?

Post by binocular » Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:20 pm

lostitude wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:36 pm
2/not seeing their point AND feeling uncomfortable performing them.

I think the second case betrays a feeling of pride and superiority (I understand it's pointless, and those silly people don't). I have experienced this myself in a "previous" spiritual life. If I am invited to bow to a statue and feel uncomfortable/ridiculous about it, then I know my pride is at play, and I know I will have conquered it when I can bow to anything in front of anyone and not feel like I'm being humiliated.
This doesn't have to be about pride, though.

Not seeing the point of rituals and feeling uncomfortable performing them can also happen in a different intentional/motivational context, notably, one of fear, and, more generally, bad faith.

One can be in the situation where one doesn't see the point of doing something, does it anyway, and feels uncomfortable doing it -- while the doing of that activity is motivated by fear or anxiety. It's how some students do their homework or study, for example. I think many religious people are this way as well.

I think the second case betrays a feeling of pride and superiority (I understand it's pointless, and those silly people don't). I have experienced this myself in a "previous" spiritual life. If I am invited to bow to a statue and feel uncomfortable/ridiculous about it, then I know my pride is at play, and I know I will have conquered it when I can bow to anything in front of anyone and not feel like I'm being humiliated.
Why on earth would you bow if you have reservations about it? (Assuming you're not in a situation where you'd be at gunpoint and told to bow or get shot.)

Spiritual advancement through self-contempt and self-humiliation? Indeed, this is preached in some religions. But it only makes sense if one has accepted the religious doctrine to begin with.

Forcing oneself to bow and to follow the rituals in an attempt to thereby convince oneself of the truth of that religion -- that's just absurd.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

lostitude
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Re: Can I still follow the path without being buddhist/religious?

Post by lostitude » Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:08 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:20 pm
lostitude wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:36 pm
2/not seeing their point AND feeling uncomfortable performing them.

I think the second case betrays a feeling of pride and superiority (I understand it's pointless, and those silly people don't). I have experienced this myself in a "previous" spiritual life. If I am invited to bow to a statue and feel uncomfortable/ridiculous about it, then I know my pride is at play, and I know I will have conquered it when I can bow to anything in front of anyone and not feel like I'm being humiliated.
This doesn't have to be about pride, though.

Not seeing the point of rituals and feeling uncomfortable performing them can also happen in a different intentional/motivational context, notably, one of fear, and, more generally, bad faith.
I was referring to the context of the OP where the problem doesn't seem related to fear and/or bad faith

Why on earth would you bow if you have reservations about it? (Assuming you're not in a situation where you'd be at gunpoint and told to bow or get shot.)
Not to offend other community members, for example. As they say, when in Rome do as Romans do. What does it cost you? how is it hurting you? Some people might feel you are disrespecting the temple or the Buddha or the monks, etc. by not bowing, why would you knowingly give such an impression when a simple little bow can avoid it? the answwer in my case: because I'm too proud.
Spiritual advancement through self-contempt and self-humiliation? Indeed, this is preached in some religions. But it only makes sense if one has accepted the religious doctrine to begin with.
That's really not what I said.
Forcing oneself to bow and to follow the rituals in an attempt to thereby convince oneself of the truth of that religion -- that's just absurd.
I think you misread me.

sunnat
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Re: Can I still follow the path without being buddhist/religious?

Post by sunnat » Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:43 am

"One can be in the situation where one doesn't see the point of doing something, does it anyway, and feels uncomfortable doing it -- while the doing of that activity is motivated by fear or anxiety. It's how some students do their homework or study, for example. I think many religious people are this way as well."

to overcome this imposed behaviour, these acquired latent tendencies, detach from them. They are anicca and thus not self. Calmly recognise them as arisen, observe them being and observe them pass away. Gently, if a situation triggers that arising, don't shy away from that situation in order to not feel.

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Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta
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Re: Can I still follow the path without being buddhist/religious?

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:40 am

Akashad wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:52 am
...
Its a statue.
...
The degree of Buddha-ness of a statue vary between individuals.

For me, a proper Buddha statue is undeniably a Buddha.

I am sure the Buddha-ness of the statues will incerase/decrease if my level of Dhamma incerases/decreases.
🅢🅐🅑🅑🅔 🅓🅗🅐🅜🅜🅐 🅐🅝🅐🅣🅣🅐
  • "the one thing all the mistaken views have in common is the assump­tion that the self exists" ~ DN1
  • "It is an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" ~ MN22
  • The No-self doctrine is found only in the teaching of the Buddha.
  • No-self (anatta) means that there is no permanent, unchanging entity in anything animate or inanimate. ~ SN22.59

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Mkoll
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Re: Can I still follow the path without being buddhist/religious?

Post by Mkoll » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:14 am

Akashad wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:29 am
Hello,

I'm not sure if buddhism with all the bowing and chanting and rituals is for me.I use to be very self reliant on inner qualities like my own virtue and kind deeds but now tried to go to external things and don't feel authentic. I don't feel really inspired when I visit temples or monasteries.I had a really bad experience which usually involved women in their 50 or 60 seemingly asking me rudely not to wear a beanie in the meditation hall.I'm not sure why they couldn't just tell me this nicely since it was my first time.Or stand in a single line while giving pibdapata.none of them had any Metta they were quite rude even when I couldnt use the sink but It was broken they just said can you read? ...theres like drug addicts on the train more polite.long story short, it put me off monasteries and but even before that I'm not into rituals.like once you start talking about devas and nagas I have an out of body experience,its not that I don't believe they exist I do I just don't care.and I often don't bow all the way I really don't see the point.

i am very respectful to others.I just dont want to keep putting on an act. also can't seem to place a lot of emphasis in Buddha the way Christians do God.I find myself mostly communicating to the universe and nature but I am inspired by all Buddhas mostly by their boddhisatta story or their teachings but I don't have that temperament.Like when bad things happen and I pray to Lord Buddha I don't have that.I mostly say just bear it or do metta but don't involve any deities.

I think I meditate fine without visiting monasteries sometimes much better.I find monasteries very loud and people talk a lot and it's disturbing to the mind.Being rude to participants also doesn't help.some people are genuinely nice at the monasteries but I still don't have that ritual based temperament.It seems like a drag.i want to just focus on developing inner qualities like being honest and keeping the sila and meditating and learning about karma and the noble truth without all these rituals.

The only thing that binds me to monasteries is dana because I want the monastics to succeed and I know they need food and necessities but I'm not there to bow around and be pious and hang around people who think rules are more important than being rude.maybe I can just do my offerings and leave.What do you think do you think I can leave out all the religious stuff and just stick to practical things like keeping precepts and meditation and succeed in this path?🐢🙏
You may feel inspiration at monasteries in the future as your practice evolves. Don't give up on them just yet. Personally as a layman, I know there is no better place than a good monastery for me to be.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

Dinsdale
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Re: Can I still follow the path without being buddhist/religious?

Post by Dinsdale » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:33 am

binocular wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:05 pm
Dinsdale wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:34 am
Yes, of course. We don't have to act/react the same as others in order to fit in, or whatever.
Essential to fitting in is to act like others.
But you don't have to fit in. You don't have to conform because of peer pressure.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Sam Vara
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Re: Can I still follow the path without being buddhist/religious?

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Jul 21, 2019 8:48 am

Dinsdale wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:33 am

But you don't have to fit in. You don't have to conform because of peer pressure.
Exactly so. If you think you have to fit in, then you might as well fit in; that way you at least gain whatever benefits there are in so doing. The thought that one has to fit in is a dhamma that ought to be examined to see if one is better off dropping it.

Dinsdale
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Re: Can I still follow the path without being buddhist/religious?

Post by Dinsdale » Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:19 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 8:48 am
Dinsdale wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:33 am

But you don't have to fit in. You don't have to conform because of peer pressure.
Exactly so. If you think you have to fit in, then you might as well fit in; that way you at least gain whatever benefits there are in so doing. The thought that one has to fit in is a dhamma that ought to be examined to see if one is better off dropping it.
With some groups there IS quite a lot of pressure to fit in. In those circumstances walking away might be the best option. This does require a degree of confidence.
The pressures can be quite subtle sometimes, including "group think". I've even come across it in Buddhist groups. :tongue:
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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