How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
User avatar
KonstantKarma
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 1:21 pm
Location: Asheville, NC
Contact:

Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Post by KonstantKarma » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:31 pm

It is my opinion the Buddha would encourage a healthy skepticism (keyword: healthy) for people in our day regarding his historical existence. I don't think he would want us to accept anything as blind fact, as religion is so prone to do that to us over and over again. He encouraged us to be skeptical of the dhamma.

User avatar
Wizard in the Forest
Posts: 621
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:16 am
Location: House in Forest of Illusions

Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Post by Wizard in the Forest » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:33 pm

Actually that is a hindrance to practice.
Last edited by Wizard in the Forest on Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4718
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Post by clw_uk » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:34 pm

Wizard in the Forest wrote:Actually that is a hindrance to practice.

Some degree of skepticism is encouraged, otherwise its just blind acceptance
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

User avatar
Wizard in the Forest
Posts: 621
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:16 am
Location: House in Forest of Illusions

Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Post by Wizard in the Forest » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:35 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Some degree of skepticism is encouraged, otherwise its just blind acceptance
Not if it's blinding doubt. You're supposed to take his teachings to the test if you're skeptical, and this should alleviate the doubt. If your doubt is so great that you deny reality then it's blinding doubt. Such is the kind of doubt taught by Sanjaya Belatthaputta.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4718
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Post by clw_uk » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:40 pm

Wizard in the Forest wrote:
clw_uk wrote:
Some degree of skepticism is encouraged, otherwise its just blind acceptance
Not if it's blinding doubt. You're supposed to take his teachings to the test if you're skeptical, and this should alleviate the doubt. If your doubt is so great that you deny reality then it's blinding doubt. Such is the kind of doubt taught by Sanjaya Belatthaputta.

Did I say "blinding doubt"? Bit of a straw man argument
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

User avatar
Wizard in the Forest
Posts: 621
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:16 am
Location: House in Forest of Illusions

Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Post by Wizard in the Forest » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:54 pm

clw_uk wrote: Did I say "blinding doubt"? Bit of a straw man argument
Sorry I was referring to the comment above of encouraging us to be skeptical of the Dharma. He didn't encourage us to be skeptical, but to test his teachings.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

Anicca
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:11 am
Location: Edmond, Oklahoma

Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Post by Anicca » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:08 pm

Wizard in the Forest wrote:And the Sasana will disappear one day. Such is the normal condition of impermanence.
Most assurdly - but the Dhamma (used not as the Buddha's teachings per say, but as principles of behavior that human beings ought to follow) remains for the paccekabuddha to discover outside of the Sasana, allowing her/him to realize full enlightenment.

metta

User avatar
BlackBird
Posts: 1928
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Post by BlackBird » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:13 pm

I don't think the Buddha would have encouraged doubt or skepticism in his own existence. I don't think there's really anything to be gained by doubting his existence, except perhaps a skepticism which will prevent you from taking the Buddha as your teacher and deferring to his word in all matters (which is hard enough to do even when you do believe).
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4718
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Post by clw_uk » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:22 pm

BlackBird wrote:I don't think the Buddha would have encouraged doubt or skepticism in his own existence. I don't think there's really anything to be gained by doubting his existence, except perhaps a skepticism which will prevent you from taking the Buddha as your teacher and deferring to his word in all matters (which is hard enough to do even when you do believe).

It can be argued that Buddha is the one who knows, right now

This we know to exist, regardless of if a man from northern india did
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

User avatar
Viscid
Posts: 930
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:55 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada
Contact:

Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Post by Viscid » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:38 pm

Annapurna wrote:
I have doubt in the historical existence of The Buddha
Why? Just wondering. I don't.
There exist many myths and legends which have been interpreted as fact throughout history. There is controvery over the existence of Jesus because his story incorporates legends which predate him. I don't see why the same skepticism can be applied to the historical existence of The Buddha.
Could this discussion possibly remove your doubt?
No, and that is not the intent. As long as there remains the possibility he did not exist, there is some doubt that he did.
No, my friend. :smile:

If you really think the end result sanctifies the means, then this is not a pure path. It is manipulative and corrupt.

But I have a feeling you are not adverse to such an action, concluding from your last sentence.
You're creepin' me out. :?
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

User avatar
BlackBird
Posts: 1928
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Post by BlackBird » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:51 pm

clw_uk wrote:
BlackBird wrote:I don't think the Buddha would have encouraged doubt or skepticism in his own existence. I don't think there's really anything to be gained by doubting his existence, except perhaps a skepticism which will prevent you from taking the Buddha as your teacher and deferring to his word in all matters (which is hard enough to do even when you do believe).

It can be argued that Buddha is the one who knows, right now
Yes, I've heard a certain Ajahn argue this before also, but as I don't think he does know, I don't think it is a strong argument. The Buddha himself never spoke in those terms, but if you want to develop a degree of mindfulness and concentration and run about calling yourself a Buddha, well that's fine by me ;)

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

User avatar
Wizard in the Forest
Posts: 621
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:16 am
Location: House in Forest of Illusions

Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Post by Wizard in the Forest » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:51 pm

Viscid wrote: There exist many myths and legends which have been interpreted as fact throughout history. There is controvery over the existence of Jesus because his story incorporates legends which predate him. I don't see why the same skepticism can be applied to the historical existence of The Buddha.
Apples and oranges. There's only one historical account of Jesus, but there's multiple accounts of the Buddha. It is also difficult to fabricate the kind of claims the Buddha made. They are know common knowledge.
No, and that is not the intent. As long as there remains the possibility he did not exist, there is some doubt that he did.
There's people who doubt we landed on the moon. :jumping: To this day they think it was fake. Does it mean we should doubt the lunar landing?
If you really think the end result sanctifies the means, then this is not a pure path. It is manipulative and corrupt.
You're creepin' me out. :?
Ultimately if there is no Buddha (of any kind), there's no end to suffering, just expediency created by a corrupt institution. That is why it is a serious allegation.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4718
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Post by clw_uk » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:07 pm

The Buddha himself never spoke in those terms, but if you want to develop a degree of mindfulness and concentration and run about calling yourself a Buddha, well that's fine by me

On the defensive arent we
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

User avatar
BlackBird
Posts: 1928
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Post by BlackBird » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:18 pm

clw_uk wrote:
The Buddha himself never spoke in those terms, but if you want to develop a degree of mindfulness and concentration and run about calling yourself a Buddha, well that's fine by me

On the defensive arent we
Not really man, that's your projection :)
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

User avatar
Viscid
Posts: 930
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:55 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada
Contact:

Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Post by Viscid » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:19 pm

Wizard in the Forest wrote:Apples and oranges. There's only one historical account of Jesus, but there's multiple accounts of the Buddha.
You've cited Buddha Relics as evidence of his existence, yet you disregard the Shroud of Turin, the Sudarium of Oviedo, the Image of Edessa, the Veil of Veronica and the Crown of Thorns in evidence of Jesus. All religions have their relics, because people like to see physical evidence of the religious figures they worship. Same too with Buddhism. These relics come with no reliable provenance, could have easily come from anywhere and anyone and then attributed to The Buddha for money and power: if you have a relic of The Buddha, people will come and see it, if people come and see it, they will donate and give money, importance and influence to your temple or kingdom.
Wizard in the Forest wrote:It is also difficult to fabricate the kind of claims the Buddha made. They are know common knowledge.
It's also common knowledge that we only use 15% of our brain, that glass is liquid, that we get colds from cold air, and that certain parts of our tongue is more sensitive to sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness. That doesn't mean these things are true.
There's people who doubt we landed on the moon. :jumping: To this day they think it was fake. Does it mean we should doubt the lunar landing?
If North Korea were to tomorrow say they've landed on the moon without providing sufficient evidence to support such a claim, I would doubt it. There is verifiable evidence of the American moon landing, so I have little reason to doubt it. There is no such verifiable evidence of The Buddha's existence.
Ultimately if there is no Buddha (of any kind), there's no end to suffering, just expediency created by a corrupt institution. That is why it is a serious allegation.
If there is no end to suffering without The Buddha, then why and how did The Buddha himself come to that end without a Buddha previous to him for a guide?
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 45 guests