National Traditions VS Buddhism

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Roath
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National Traditions VS Buddhism

Post by Roath » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:06 am

Dear All,

A friend of mine asked me the following questions because he wants to have more understanding of Buddhism after I talked about it with him.

Q1: Should we follow our unreasonable traditional practices after becoming a Buddhist? As some customs do make no sense at all in terms of 4 Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Paths or Wisdom normally praised by the Buddha.

Q2: Are the religious rituals in Buddhism justifiable based on the cause-and-effect principles?

Q3: How does Buddhism justify the existence of heaven and hell and those many levels of them?

Your help and response with some reference links are highly appreciated for the sake of Buddhism being able to exist until Year 5,000 or even beyond that.

Yours in Dhamma,
Roath

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cooran
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Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Post by cooran » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:25 am

Hello Roath,
Q1: Should we follow our unreasonable traditional practices after becoming a Buddhist? As some customs do make no sense at all in terms of 4 Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Paths or Wisdom normally praised by the Buddha.
Please give examples of "unreasonable traditional practices".
Q2: Are the religious rituals in Buddhism justifiable based on the cause-and-effect principles?
To which religious rituals are you referring?
Q3: How does Buddhism justify the existence of heaven and hell and those many levels of them?
This is like asking 'How do you justify the expansion and contraction of the universe?' It isn't a matter of justifying ~ just understanding things as they really are.

Conditionality, things as they really are, and the accumulated wholesome and unwholesome kamma of beings.
"When this exists, that comes to be;
With the arising of this,
That arises.
When this does not exist,
That does not come to be;
With the cessation of this,
That ceases."
Your help and response with some reference links are highly appreciated for the sake of Buddhism being able to exist until Year 5,000 or even beyond that.
The Buddha predicted that the Sasana would decline - and it is in decline at this moment ... how long the core teachings last is unknown. At this moment, the Teachings are relatively intact ~ so make the most of this human rebirth and practice and study.

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Kim OHara
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Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Post by Kim OHara » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:52 am

Hi, Roath, and welcome to DW.
You might find some useful responses to your questions in an existing thread - 'Full Theravada', http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 31&start=0
:namaste:
Kim

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Sobeh
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Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Post by Sobeh » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:42 am

Comments below.
Roath wrote:Q1: Should we follow our unreasonable traditional practices after becoming a Buddhist? As some customs do make no sense at all in terms of 4 Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Paths or Wisdom normally praised by the Buddha.
Of course we shouldn't follow unreasonable practices. The assumption in the question, however, is not only that there are such things but that you know which those are. Buddhism is a living religion, and various peoples in various times respond to the Dhamma in various ways. To try to place all extant versions of Buddhism on a spectrum with one or another of them being considered 'better' is simply not possible. All practices ought to come under critical investigation, but this must happen on a case by case basis, and not with generalities.
Roath wrote:Q2: Are the religious rituals in Buddhism justifiable based on the cause-and-effect principles?
Any justifiability will arise from internal states in the performer, and not from the ritual qua performance. Again, approaching this subject as a blanket rejection of all nationalist expressions of the DhammaVinaya is a non-starter because it is too general. Instead, realize that the story of when the Buddha taught a young Brahmin a way to offer dana to the six directions (as the Brahmin's father had asked him to do daily) in conformity with the Dhamma means that all cultural practices can be wholesome if the Right Effort is brought to bear. The claim that the physical body was the main mover and shaker of kamma is a Jain belief, and ritual behavior in that tradition is very important. The Buddha, however, showed us that it was not bodily or verbal acts that were at the core of suffering, but mental acts.
Roath wrote:Q3: How does Buddhism justify the existence of heaven and hell and those many levels of them?
It doesn't justify them; I think maybe you intended a word such as "show" or "prove" or perhaps "account for", and my response in that case is to say that it does so the same way as with anything else in the Dhamma - it is intended that we "come and see", instead of the stereotypical religious injunction to simply "absorb and regurgitate".

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Stiphan
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Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Post by Stiphan » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:56 am

cooran wrote: The Buddha predicted that the Sasana would decline - and it is in decline at this moment ...
Hi Chris,

Sorry for going a bit off-topic, but — could you provide the source for the above statement?


Metta

:smile:

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cooran
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Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Post by cooran » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:35 am

Hello Stefan,

A few suttas which I see as pointing to some things that are beginning to occur more frequently in the world:

Ani Sutta The Peg SN 20.7
The Counterfeit of the True Dhamma SN 16.13
Kimila Sutta AN 7.56

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Sobeh
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Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Post by Sobeh » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:09 am

cooran wrote:...occur more frequently in the world
I think this has no evidence.

alan
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Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Post by alan » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:50 pm

*(Trying to maintain right speech)*

Please explain. I don't understand your response.

alan
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Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Post by alan » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:00 pm

Sobeh wrote:Comments below.

Of course we shouldn't follow unreasonable practices. The assumption in the question, however, is not only that there are such things but that you know which those are.
As is your response.

alan
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Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Post by alan » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:42 pm

I'll clarify and then lay off.
By saying "of course" we should not do X, you are, obviously, assuming that there are such things, and that you know what they are. But then you go on to question that very assumption. Do you see the flaw in this reasoning?
No snark here, and I don't mean to offend. To my earlier response, I'll just point out that the Suttas given seemed relevant and to the point. Not sure what evidence you require.
Good Luck,
Alan

(Edited for grammar).

Roath
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Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Post by Roath » Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:44 am

Hello Chris : Thank you for your nicely-put answers.

Please give examples of "unreasonable traditional practices".
Eg. Chinese people believe that by putting food and other offerings like paper/toy house, car, etc. in front of their dead relatives’ tombs during certain Chinese traditional festival time, those dead relatives will be able to receive those things and in return help their living relatives/children/grandchildren have good luck and run businesses well, etc.
Eg. Some Chinese would burn paper money to send to their dead loved ones.

To which religious rituals are you referring?
Eg. Normally, in Cambodia and Thailand, Buddhists perform rituals (Kathen Dana) following Buddhist monks’
3-month retreats.
Eg. Buddhist Monks spray water to Buddhist followers asking for happiness during certain auspicious days (Full-Moon Day, etc.)

Hello Kim : Thank you for referring me to the existing thread full of new knowledge.

Hello Sobeh: Thank you for your nicely-put answers.

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DNS
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Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Post by DNS » Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:58 am

Roath wrote: Please give examples of "unreasonable traditional practices".
Eg. Chinese people believe that by putting food and other offerings like paper/toy house, car, etc. in front of their dead relatives’ tombs during certain Chinese traditional festival time, those dead relatives will be able to receive those things and in return help their living relatives/children/grandchildren have good luck and run businesses well, etc.
Eg. Some Chinese would burn paper money to send to their dead loved ones.
These are not unreasonable, just not Buddhist. In China, as well as some other countries there has been a long tradition of mixing two or more religions and/or other cultural practices.

Ancestor veneration predates Buddhism:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_i ... or_worship" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Kim OHara
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Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Post by Kim OHara » Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:08 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
Roath wrote: Please give examples of "unreasonable traditional practices".
Eg. Chinese people believe that by putting food and other offerings like paper/toy house, car, etc. in front of their dead relatives’ tombs during certain Chinese traditional festival time, those dead relatives will be able to receive those things and in return help their living relatives/children/grandchildren have good luck and run businesses well, etc.
Eg. Some Chinese would burn paper money to send to their dead loved ones.
These are not unreasonable, just not Buddhist. In China, as well as some other countries there has been a long tradition of mixing two or more religions and/or other cultural practices.

Ancestor veneration predates Buddhism:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_i ... or_worship" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Hi, David, Roath,
I might have said, "unreasonable and un-Buddhist," but "unreasonable" is a matter of opinion and a bit rude, so I might have chosen not to say it.
"Un-Buddhist", though, is a matter of fact, not opinion.
:namaste:
Kim

Roath
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Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Post by Roath » Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:31 am

Dear David,
You said “These are not unreasonable”. Can you show me their credible/rational reasons behind them? Besides showing respect and gratitude, what else?

Dear Kim,
I think : blaming things/people worth blaming (unreasonable practices in the past/primitive period like burning girls/sheep to offer to God, asking God for things to happen or to send you things, all these kinds of similar stuff ect.) is alright and admiring people worth admiring (like praising the Buddhas) is also alright. I mean I wouldn’t bother to do such and advice my loved ones to do such since life is too short to walk on a wrong path, when it comes to endless cycle of birth and death? Maybe I’m too self-opinionated sometimes!

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oceanmen
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Re: National Traditions VS Buddhism

Post by oceanmen » Sun Apr 11, 2010 5:20 am

Roath wrote: Q3: How does Buddhism justify the existence of heaven and hell and those many levels of them?

Roath
very simplified and in plain english, and do correct me(moderators and old timers here) if i m wrong,

it is my understanding that heaven and hell is here and now in the sense that everything has consequences and you create your own heaven and hell in this life.
as for the afer-life heaven and hell, it is my understanding that believing in a heaven and hell in the after life, or believing in re-incarnation or in karma is irrelevant, what is relevant is the reason and purpose for believing in this, and that reason is to be motivated to increase our skillful thoughts, words and actions.

another opinion is that in time as we increase observing the events in our life and in others, we experience the truth of karma and how everything has consequences, without the need in believing in it (as in creation of the mind)

skillful thoughts, words and actions lead to more bliss and serenity to see truth(reality) beyond the impurities of the mind
unskillful thoughts, words and actions lead to suffering, and deviation from seeing reality as it is by means of our strong aversions, cravings and illusions of ego and memory...

metta
:namaste:

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