I've noticed that we have quite a number of Buddhists here on HubPages, so I'd like to ask for a bit of history, some insight into the faith. I have been searching for a 'path' all my life and I would appreciate some help in understanding Buddhism.
I don't think many Buddhist are here.
Buddha is more important than the Buddhists and the Buddhism, in my opinion; they don't and cannot follow Buddha, a truthful Messenger Prophet like Jesus, who received Word of Wisdom Revealed from the Creator-God Allah YHWH. They could not preserve the Word and the Acts of Buddha, it is lost in the debris of time; all they have is collected some 500 years after him; one could guess its authenticity. They have nothing in writing from Buddha or dictated by Buddha, in the original language he spoke or write. They don't have any truthful account of Buddha's life; all guesswork.
Sorry; this is what I gather from them; and it is my opinion; others are free to differ with me with reasons and arguments.
Would it be proper to say, "in my opinion" paar surrey, instead of "a simple fact what I gather from them." ?
Sometimes I feel people state strongly held beliefs as fact when they are, in fact, opinion and best guesses according to information people have available to them at a certain time.
I like that you have strong beliefs but sometimes I do the same thing and mistake things I feel I am informed about for fact, too - then I get buttkicked by email lol and have to edit something or realize where I got mixed up. Usually I have to *gasp* apologize by email and that hurts someone like me lol
I find the fact/opinion difference particularly difficult to manage in discussions about religion where peoples' beliefs are at stake. I wouldn't want you, paarsurrey, to lead lorlie6 aside from learning more about a religion that is uncommon to her, based on your opinion - that's all. Also, I think peoples' opinions are worthy of mention and when stated as opinion are much better received even if others don't hold the same opinion.
Lorlie6 I'm also interested in Buddhism, so will follow this thread and see what info people post for you.
Do you have to spam in each and every thread ?
Its amazing what people will believe in. A few cool words and all of a sudden another prophet is born and is from god, how amazing. I noticed that yahweh did not preserve buddhas` books like He preserved the bible.
Gotta wonder about that.
Just to clarify. We don't believe Buddha was a prophet from God. He was just a man who "woke up". In fact that's what the word Buddha means in Sanskrit. He even stated that quite clearly himself.
In the Buddha's words: 'Suffering I teach and the way out of suffering.'
Nothing more, nothing less.
Buddha's teachings, word for word, were remembered in their entirety by the ancient art of chanting in verse. Monks chanted and repeated these phrases several times a day, every day and have done so for thousands of years. These verses were written down in The Dhammapada and then translated into many languages.
They might have chanted; but with variance, that is why a council was arranged 500 years after the death of Buddha to work out differences.
Any thoughts on this
Here's a good link to information about this. It is long but worth the read if you want to understand why to me and many Buddhists the issue of written versus oral tradition is inconsequential.
The teachings of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path (which are the heart of Buddhism) have remained intact and are expressed exactly the same across all Buddhist schools and lineages.
Other teachings can vary widely across Buddhism and that is the beauty of it. We all follow the Dharma path but our paths are all very individual at the same time.
We embrace the differences. I know this can be a difficult concept for those raised in monotheistic religions to understand.
Within the Buddhist community as a whole there are wide differences in practice and focus of study. The most well documented schism is between the Theravada and Mahayana schools. Tibetan Buddhism has four different lineages just within it's own focus of study.
However, even though we may differ on certain things we still have profound respect for each other. We have discussions and discourses across schools. Monks from all lineages travel, stay and study with each other while maintaining their own individual practices.
These difference do not dilute the Buddha's teachings but create a beautiful tapestry of teaching that allow people from all different cultures and countries to find a Dharma path that resonates with them.
To reiterate an earlier quote:
"Because beings have different abilities, the Buddha Dharma has different ways. But ultimately, there is only one way. All of these ways are nothing but methods to become a buddha. The way to buddhahood is like a long river that has many streams, lakes, and rivers flowing into it; together they flow into the ocean."
The heart of Buddhism has never changed, however, our teachings and practices vary widely.
An apt analogy would be to compare this with monotheistic religions. All Muslims, Christians, Catholics and Jewish people believe in one God as The Creator.
The heart of all these teachings is the same but at different points in history your practices diverged widely because of a number of different factors.
In Buddhism we feel that diversity in teachings is important because of the fact that human beings have such individual ways of experiencing life. It is not a detriment but a benefit to Buddhism as a whole.
Hope this answers your question.
It is only a cultural thing; nothing to do with Buddha; or what Buddha said or practiced and his true character.
Sorry, I'm not really sure I understand your reply. Can you elaborate?
Buddhims doing things in the name of Buddha while having nothing from Buddha would be like Christianity doing things in the nae of Jesus yet having nothing from Jesus.
It will be culture in the name of Buddha or in the name of Jesus.
I guess that's where the confusion lies. We don't do anything in the name of Buddha.
Buddha is our mentor. An example of someone who achieved enlightenment and exhibited ultimate compassion for humanity. Jesus was also such a person.
And in my opinion and in the belief systems of many eastern philosophies oral history and teachings are on par with written teachings. Their validity is not in question because there is truth in the heart of the teachings.
In fact (for a Buddhist) there is great importance placed on oral teachings and listening to the Dharma as opposed to reading those words on a page.
I guess to put it another way...Just as you have faith that the Quran is the word of God, so we have faith that the Dhammapada are the direct teachings of Buddha.
This idea of oral teachings being equal to written teachings is obviously an area where we will continue to disagree. But that is okay. If we all agreed on everything the world would be a boring place.
Hmm that makes perfect sense.
So Islamics follow Muhammad and now are in process to eliminate non-Muslims right ?
Actually I do understand what paarsurrey is trying to communicate. Things do often get lost in translation.
His argument is that because Buddha never personally wrote his teachings down, how do I *know* that Buddhist teachings are in fact from the Buddha.
I disagree on the grounds that Buddhism has a rich oral tradition of chanting verses for memorization. A tradition that has existed in the east (and in other cultures) for centuries in regards to remembering accurately philosophical, artistic, historic or religious teachings.
I trust in narratives a lot, RFox, so the fact that much of what has reached us concerning Buddhism is via oral tradition rather than writings is fine with me.
Some things, when told, are "taught" and not just recorded for someone else to interpret, in my opinion.
This would seem to be confirmed by the dream time stories of the Australian Aboriginal peoples too.
there you are mate, or are you gone again, I get your name now, perfect, read my new hub or I'll cry ok?
Am I off topic? sorry
There are so many good dream-time story tellers who would love to.
Unfortunately I am not one of them.
Exactly. I lived in the outback and learned a lot about aboriginal culture growing up. Hence why I value and have a high respect for oral traditions.
I like Buddha; and would like Buddhism if it persents Buddha correctly.
1. Buddhists and Buddhism have nothing in writing from Buddha which he had himself written.
2.Their oral tradition is not flawless; it simply does not present "words spoken by Buddha";narrative from otheers.
3.Life account of Buddha presented by Buddhists and Buddhism is not correct; not prolife or rational.
I have written on it in this forum in many threads.
I may repeat it if needed.
The first thing to understand about Buddhism is that it is NOT a faith. It is a lifestyle. That is the first thing you should get straight, before you choose to go any further.
RKHenry, love your avatar! Very stylish! lol
Absolutely right, it is a lifestyle and a way of thinking, a superior way of thinking in my opinion. It did have its day of being a religion in the 'lets get loads of people killed' sense at one time - but now it has settled down to being one of the most peaceful and enlightened of the religions, which makes it more a way of life.
Like others have said Buddhism is not a faith. There is no God or messiah to believe in, there is no sin, and no rules - it's an individual path (this is why it appeals to me). At a basic level Buddhism is about recognising, through meditation, certain truths. The main ones being that everyone suffers; everyone wants to be free from suffering and to be happy; the most important place to be is here, in the moment: and everything in life, as well as life itself, is impermanent.
Buddhism is practical. It gives tools to increase our most positive human attributes such as compassion, forgiveness, joy, love, non judgementalism and patience. By developing these qualities, other, less wholesome human attributes such as anger, hate, jealousy, bitterness and resentment, gradually fall away. It's all about practice.
I would recommend reading the Dalai Llama's "The Art of Happiness" for a very down to earth overview of Buddhism and "A Gradual Awakening" by Stephen Levine to learn practical ways of incorporating Buddhist practices into your everyday life.
Best wishes on your path!
It is less a question of understanding Buddhism and more a way of discovering yourself and your own path in the world and how it meshes with others' paths. It is not really a system of "belief" - you don't have to have blind faith - it is a way of becoming more aware and awake in the world. I see Buddhism as a path through life and it helps me in so many ways every day. There can be dogma attached, but it isn't necessary. Buddhists are very welcoming and understanding and never try to tell you theirs is the ONLY way - or tell you you will go to hell for not accepting Buddha! those are just a couple of great things about it!
I have several Buddhist related hubs---please check them out someday when you get time. Thanks!
Gautam Buddha was the prophet of buddhism. He was born in royal family of Lumbini In Nepal ( a south asian country between India and CHina) he left the palace and went into deep meditation. He got enlightened through meditation he spread the words of peace and life all over asia and many were the follower of him which were later on called Buddhist
Log on to www.wikipedia.com. You will get your answer.
So you are saying Buddhists have no proof for their beliefs?
Just like your belief eh?
Well at least there aren't reams of hate filled threats in Buddhism then, unlike in your religion.
Still terrified of the truth Klara? I did not know you were a Muslim?
Well if you are psychic you should already know there are no gods and religion is a gutless cop-out.
Watch your tongue, young man! You're talking to a teacher!
I love teachers! The salt of the earth.
What do you teach?
I love music too.
I play 6 string acoustic guitar and sing, so do 2 of my children. One also plays percussion.
It all started with religion. Mom learnt piano as part of her convent education and passed it on.
You divorced her and became an atheist? What happened?
Oh, did you mean your mom? Or the mom of your children?
Sorry, it's the artist in me... can't focus!
It was easy! I studied religion. I do not use the term atheist. It sounds like another religion. No religion is required to not believe in a god. Just common sense.
As your career?
I took a religion course while doing my bachellors. It was a real eye-opener! The Enuma Elish did it for me - the old testament was a replica of this old Babylonian creation myth. Incredible! But I still see ghosts... sorry, can't do anything about that.
Some people just have very active imaginations I believe, so seeing ghosts is no big thing in my opinion providing you don't take the process literally and assume they are really there.
I also saw the many stories that came before the biblical ones, all with the same agenda as the bible and quoran.
earnest... but they really ARE there! Can't you see them?!
No I can't. I believe you may see them though!
Seriously, I do. I joke about it because I too know how crazy it sounds and I am not one to take anything seriously. That's just me - other psychics get really upset when people don't believe them. But in all truth, I don't care. I can't help it, I'm not wanting to see, and I'm not making a living out of this or trying to prove anything. I just happen to see spirits ever since I was a little girl. I would reveal information to people I hardly knew and they would always confirm I was right. But in all honesty, it's something that happens to me and it's not ME - it's not WHO I AM. So, what people think it's really of no importance. So, I joke about it as well. It's the healthiest way to handle this "gift" in my opinion.
I must say, the phenomena of seeing spirits, ghosts and poltergeists is fascinating.
I still don't know much about it other than to say you are in good company.
Carl Jung at one time used to talk to his kitchen to keep the pots and pans inline and to stop them leaping around the house!
No idea what he was smokin at that time, but it's better even than the Dutch head I get!
The constant repetition and re-indoctrination of these myths going back so far is interesting. We follow our leaders and they would like us to look up at them at the top of the pile - in my opinion the purpose of religion from the first cave dwelling fraudster was to support the leader in a co-operation of power. It may be as simple as getting the masses to look up - and then stand the leader there to make him appear superior. You would have thought more people would have got fed up with the whole basic idea of unjust hierarchy with smug superiority by now.
"No religion is required to not believe in a god. Just common sense."
And they sy that common sense is very uncommon. Is it true?
The first thing to understand about Buddhism is that it is NOT a faith. It is a lifestyle. That is the first thing you should get straight, before you choose to go any further.
Did this life style originate with Buddha; or it was introduced much later and it has nothing to do with Buddha?
Well I guess this was almost a mistake. Asking for information in the forums. I should have known better.
There are a couple of comments that interest me, however, so I'll continue to see if anyone can get off their high horse long enough to do some actual communicating. After all, that was all I was interested in.
Wait for RFox to show up, she has the capacity to answer your question
haha...Thanks Misha! I will do my best.
I was downstairs at my neighbours birthday party. Met some really nice people. We have a good building here.
Hi lorlie6! Thanks for your questions.
Okay, so Buddhism....well it is 5am so I will do my best with the limited brain function I have at the moment.
I did write a very basic forum post under the Buddhism heading...here's the link:
So to begin at the beginning:
There is a great opening paragraph in one of my books. The book is called "The Way To Buddhahood":
"To study Buddhism means to learn from the Buddha. One takes the Buddha as one's ideal and one's mentor and learns from him incessantly. When one reaches the same level as the Buddha, then one has become a Buddha."
While I love this book and it contains some amazing pearls of wisdom it isn't a great book for people just learning about the Dharma (what Buddhists call our belief system). It is written by a Chinese master and contains a lot of extra philosophies that may simply confuse beginners. For any other Buddhists who want another very interesting book to read it is quite fascinating.
Every lineage of Buddhist teaching is very different and how you learn is treated very differently. If you start down the Dharma path and find Buddhist philosophy is resonating with you then you will need to explore what type of Buddhist teaching feels the best for you.
Another quote from the book: "Because beings have different abilities, the Buddha Dharma has different ways. But ultimately, there is only one way. All of these ways are nothing but methods to become a buddha. The way to buddhahood is like a long river that has many streams, lakes, and rivers flowing into it; together they flow into the ocean."
I have a lot of Tibetan Buddhist friends and explored that aspect but found I am definitely of the Zen Buddhist variety because I like a more streamlined, pared down, very non traditional style of teaching.
Zen is basically meditate, meditate some more....study life, every detail, every action, every thought, every breath. Listen, study, mediatate....rinse and repeat.
Other people gravitate towards the more formal, religious style aspect of Tibetan Buddhism. There are also many, many other styles, lineages and teachers, so explore what works for you. After all this is your path and no-one else's, it is individual and so you must individualize your study.
Question everything!! Always question!!
This is one major fundamental difference between Buddhism and many theistic based religions. Usually theistic religions require you to have faith, belief comes first. The faith aspect is very important.
In Buddhism there is a faith element involved, however, it's more of a 90% thought 10% faith kind of equation. I mean, if you are going to be a Buddhist then you must have some kind of faith that Buddha actually knew what he was talking about.
Of course once you read the Buddha's teachings it is imperative that you question the truthfulness of these teachings for yourself. Test them, question them....never just have faith that what you read, hear, learn is the truth (even if you hear it from someone deemed a master). Everything bears examination!
One thing all Buddhist philosophies have in common is the core teaching of the Four Noble Truths. This is the backbone of all Dharma practice:
1. Life contains suffering
2. The origin of suffering is attachment
3. The cessation of suffering is possible
4. The path to the cessation of suffering
So to address these truths:
1. Pretty self explanatory and I don't think anyone will disagree with number one. We are constantly suffering in our worldly life. In small ways, in big ways. Sometimes all the time, sometimes in waves.
We suffer because of external factors such as disease, being born into poverty, losing loved ones. We suffer because of change itself, maybe we want things to stay the same but the laws of physics make this impossible. Maybe we want things to change but it's not happening fast enough. Maybe we are simply dissatisfied with what we have and want more. The "keeping up with the Jones's type of suffering".
Each type of suffering has a root cause and that is desire, attachment, clinging.
(Many people the first time they hear Dharma teachings think we are pessimists or nihilists because of our views on suffering and meditating on impermanence and death but nothing could be farther from the truth. And as a side note: suicide is never a solution to the problem of suffering. Ending your life does not end suffering from a Buddhist perspective and in fact could very well make it worse.)
2. The Dalai Lama has a great summation of the cause of suffering. Here's the paragraph:
"Buddhists maintain that there is no external creator and that even though a buddha is the highest being, even a buddha does not have the power to create new life. So now, what is the cause of suffering?
Generally, the ultimate cause is the mind; the mind that is influenced by negative thoughts such as anger, attachment, jealousy and so forth is the main cause of birth and all such other problems. However, there is no possibility of ending the mind, of interrupting the stream of consciousness itself.
Furthermore, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the deepest level of mind; it is simply influenced by the negative thoughts. Thus, the question is whether or not we can fight and control anger, attachment and the other disturbing negative minds. If we can eradicate these, we shall be left with a pure mind that is free from the causes of suffering. "
Here's the link to his whole discourse on the Four Noble Truths:
http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect … amp;id=380
3. To end suffering we must free ourselves of our attachments. This sounds so simple, yet is so difficult to actually accomplish. Hence, why we are not all buddha's...yet!
Another quote from the Dalai Lama: "The root of all disturbing negative minds is our grasping at things as truly existent."
We attach emotions to objects, we attach ourselves to others, we attach to our own false belief that we are superior, wise, better, less, unworthy, too worthy etc etc
So we must investigate our grasping mind. Investigate where these attachments come from and why they should so influence us.
For example: Our child/pet destroys our favourite shoes and we become angry, upset, frustrated, disappointed. But why? Why are these material objects worth so much to us that we would hurt another sentient being emotionally, sometimes physically because of an object. Why are we so attached that it even causes an emotional response to begin with? Where does this attachment come from?
When you start investigating this you will find so many different layers of attachment within yourself from the obvious (material possessions) to the deeper emotional levels (the attachment to being "right").
When are finally able to rid ourselves of our disturbed mind and free ourselves of our attachments we are then free of our suffering.
4. The path to liberation is found in the Eightfold Noble Path. A fantastic explanation of this can be found here:
However, please remember that this only a blueprint and there is much more to ending attachment within ourselves than this seemingly simple plan. Think of the Eightfold Path as a compass that helps point the direction but you yourself must build the path.
So this is a good starting point for contemplation of Buddha Dharma. I must now go to sleep as the sun is coming up. But I am always up for a discussion regarding Buddhist philosophy and love to answer any questions I can.
I'm sure the other Buddhists here will give their views too. In the beginning the best thing is to seek out as many honest Buddhist practitioners as you can because we all do things differently and have different ideas on how to help understand and practice the teachings in your everyday life.
Buddhism is an everyday, every moment kind of deal. There is no separation of philosophy and day to day living. Every minute is an opportunity to achieve greater understanding.
Thanks to anyone who read this far!!
What's the matter? Not the answers you are looking for? I have a hub about the Four Noble Truths. You might be interested in reading it. Maybe it could help you find what you need.
What I noticed in this thread is that a fight broke out almost immediately, IE, and that's not what I intended. I'm looking for edification, not arguments and mudslinging.
I'll go look at your hub-thanks!
Is hokey still around? He seemed to know a fair bit about it.
I have read quite a bit on Buddhism but like with most of what I read, I study the narrative value and structure of old writers, study narratives for "the legends" they contain which might hold wisdom but might still not be historical facts...
I don't know about the historical aspects or validity of certain things but I really like a focus on "practices" and meditations and general mindfulness in Buddhism. I also often carry notes about the Noble Eightfold Path in my pocket so that I can "ground" myself in certain situations, especially if I have to go into a situation where I'm sure verbal conflict might occur.
So far, I only feel I can connect with or practice ("get")certain aspects of the eightfold path - but I agree with a previous post where the writer said that Buddhism is "[...] NOT a faith. It is a lifestyle."
Stopping to try and become mindful of aspects of the Eightfold Path helps me understand Buddhism very minimally but I keep trying to read more articles, understand more all the time.
Mythbuster, thank you! I will write these down-since I can't afford the bookstore at the moment!-and then check out the local library on Monday.
Right Intention already speaks to me. I try to be attentive to my intention, and try to peel back the layers to understand my own. Others' intention can make or break my consideration of them as friends.
I have a lot to learn!
Once again, thanks for this-it's exactly the kind of response I was hoping for.
Mythbuster I find this reply interesting and would boldly suggest that your 'lifestyle' comment would apply to most of the common religions around today. I mean if they are practiced 'religiously' sorry about the pun
One more thing I forgot:
A great book (particularly if you like poetry style teachings, small bites, easy to read but profound to contemplate) is:
The Dhammapada translated by Gil Fronsdal (It is important to find this exact translation. It is hugely popular in the west and should be easy to find.)
The Dhammapada is THE core Buddhist text. These words have been chanted for thousands of years by the Buddha's students/monks so as to remember Buddha's words in their entirety. Eventually these chants were written down and have been translated many, many times into English and other languages. However, I feel for a western Buddhist Gil Fronsdal's version is the best. Just my personal opinion.
One of my fave phrases from the book:
"Many do not realize that
We here must die.
For those who realize this,
Thanks, Rachelle, for your discussion! I 'favorited' the page so I can reference it later. It seems Buddhism is about humility. In everything.
Hey mega! I love that it is not a belief system in and of itself, that it encourages independent thought and a personal path. I must start studying.
Yes, humility is important but it's also more than that and hard to explain. I'd say compassion and cultivating compassion is also a fundamental goal for all Buddhists.
As you can see by my 5am ramblings there is a lot to Buddhism that requires much study and meditation to grasp fully. It literally takes years....life times even...but the journey is worth it for me.
After meditating on the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path the next step is contemplating Interdependent Origination which seems simple but is truly complex to fully understand.
In fact the saying goes that you can only 100% understand Interdependent Origination once you are a Buddha. lol.
Here's a link to that information:
http://www.thebuddhadharma.com/issues/2 … mmer03.htm
Thanks Misha for being the cause of reading RFox's explanation!
Thanks RFox for your explanation!
Wow, you mean I actually made some sense at dawn?
Maybe this is when I should do all my writing.
I am not Buddhist but understand some of the teaching. I guess what I don't agree with is their emphasis on suffering as a way to enlightenment. suffering in itself can be defined differently for anyone. what I can endure someone else may consider suffering. I have nothing against it though. I think people find what they want to find.
you might also find some meaning with Taoism. the teaching is more reflected in living in alignment with nature and the universe. there is the Tao de Ching which you can read or Wayne Dyer also has a book about it.
best wishes on your journey. it's all within I think, taking ourselves away from so much thought.
Hi rebekahELLE-the Tao de Ching has been on my bookshelf forever. I haven't cracked it in so long. Apparently I've been interested in Eastern philosophy for a long time-I imagine self-discovery can be circular...
I agree that 'the path' is within. What I choose is ultimately what appeals to my heart.
Just to clarify. We don't believe that suffering is the way to enlightenment....just that suffering exists.
It is exists because of our attachments.
If we let go of our attachments, we let go of our suffering.
But I appreciate your thoughts! I also have a mini pocket version of the Tao de Ching I got while traveling. It's a very interesting book.
There might be a misunderstanding of "suffering" here, rather a Western worldview of "suffering" generally contains narrow focus and connotations with pain, angst, very negative details.
It took me a long time to learn that suffering can mean less negative things - like mild discomfort that accompanies learning new things, accepting that which may not be changed (if a change was expected but cannot happen), facing disappointments, etc... generally, a lot of common things in life. Combined with suggestions to deal with "attachment" issues, suffering then makes a lot of sense to me.
I don't tend to learn much or have much intellectual, spiritual, emotional, etc growth while feeling comfortable and content. My growth and understanding seems to increase when I have some discomfort...and usually when I have to let go of something.
I think so. very true about a circular path. a couple months ago I wrote about presence which you might enjoy. it touches on some of what is discussed here.
did you read Eat,Pray,Love?
Hey lorlie6, I've been meaning to get back to you about this, but, got side track. Anyhow, hubber Robwrite published a new hub about Buddha and Jesus being spiritual brothers. If you liked my hub, I'm sure you would enjoy his. I know I did. Cheers!
Here are a couple of links you might be interested in:
http://hubpages.com/hub/Buddha-and-Jesu … l-Brothers
Hope these help.
Buddha prophesied, many hundred years before, for Jesus coming to the lands where Buddha's followers resided. After escaping death of Cross, Jesus did come to India and Buddha's followers accepted him. Hence their teachings have many things in common. Please read the Book "Jesus in India" written by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad 1835-1908, the Promised Messian, Imam Mahid, Second Coming , where he has enumerated similarities of the teachings of Jesus and Buddha.
One may Google for the book.
I think we give too much weight to the written word - we know that we have been around in our current form for at least 80,000 years, maybe much much longer. Writing capable of conveying thoughts is only around 6000 years old. From which time we seem to have gone slowly downhill in many ways that rely on intelligence and reasoning. Language itself is hard wired to our thinking process and poetry may have originated simply as an aide memoire for keeping long narratives straight and accurate. I would trust dream stories and other orally transmitted stories before writing personally.
But writing was there in Buddha's time; and he was a resourceful person being a prince; he needed not trust so much on oral transmission; he could have adopted both the measures.
But that is not the case; we have to see what we have got from Buddha and how much of it is in original shape. It is definitely not word said by Buddha; without exact words even meaning are lost; words are conveyer of meaning, if words are lost the whole thing become vulnerable.
Even Buddha’s life account has not reached us exactly as it should have happened. It is all narrations without mentioning the chain of the narrators and their credibility when it was committed to writing, and that happened 500 years after Buddha.
The cultural part is there only; and that is it
I like Buddhists though
The validity of oral teachings and history versus written teachings and history is an area where we will just have to agree to disagree paarsurrey.
For Buddha, oral teachings and personal meditation were of the utmost importance. Hence why he did not write anything down.
He wanted his students to *think* for themselves and determine a path to enlightenment with Dharma as the inspiration.
This is something I understand but from your cultural perspective will be difficult for you to understand.
C'est la vie.
And that is perfectly okay. As I said before, if we all agreed on everything what a boring place this would be!
I think this is putting words into the mouth of Buddha. Thinking could continue even if he had written his teachings himself. Unless thinking is forbidden; and nobody could do that; it is like breathing; it cannot be stopped.
Buddha could have not thought that.
Well, we've wandered into conjecture now and it serves no purpose. I was very tired when I wrote the above statement and not in a clear frame of mind to answer your question.
I cannot know why Buddha did not write any teachings down. I only know that he taught by example and through oral discourses, beginning with his first in Sarnath, India. These teachings were then converted into poetic chants by his students, a common method utilized at the time to preserve the accuracy of teachings.
This we have already gone over.
Buddhism is a philosophy based on practice and individual meditation and thought. You don't even have to read the sutras to follow the Dharma and achieve enlightenment.
After all, the Buddha did not need these things. Enlightenment is possible without any of these teachings.
Dharma is like a compass for people who do not know the way intuitively. These teachings point people in a certain direction but it is up to us as individuals to navigate our own path.
I discern the truth of any teachings given as Buddha's words. Therefore it is unimportant to me whether there may be (and surely are) false teachings in the world because it is my duty as a Buddhist to question all teachings.
As pisean282311 wrote:
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
We do not accept Buddha's teachings on faith. We question the validity of everything.
The following verses are taken from Gil Fronsdal's translation of "The Dhammapada".
"Oneself, indeed, is one's own protector.
What other protector could there be?
One gains a protector hard to obtain."
"Evil is done by oneself alone;
By oneself is one defiled.
Evil is avoided by oneself;
By oneself alone is one purified.
Purity and impurity depend on oneself;
No one can purify another."
And another couple of verses I particularly like:
"All experience is preceded by mind,
Led by mind,
Made by mind.
Speak or act with a corrupted mind,
And suffering follows
As the wagon wheel follows the hoof of the ox.
All experience is preceded by mind,
Led by mind,
Made by mind.
Speak or act with a peaceful mind,
And happiness follows
Like a never-departing shadow."
These words *speak* to me probably because I am also a poet and the poetry of the teachings appeal to me. But it is not necessary for every Dharma student to know these words.
One can simply be compassionate, meditate, live in mindfulness and achieve enlightenment without ever having read one Buddhist text or heard one Buddhist teaching. In fact one does not even have to declare oneself a Buddhist or identify with the Dharma to achieve enlightenment.
If one learns how to let go of attachments and lives a life devoted to compassion and unconditional love for others then that's all that counts.
How much do you know about oral traditions, paarsurrey?
You may tell me more on oral tradition; if you have something with you.
Oral traditions can very well "bind" meanings into stories in a way that text doesn't convey, paarsurrey.
Because a "whole body" approach is often present and things are conveyed in real time and can also be rehearsed, re-told during a particular sitting, re-told in particular ways for target audiences, oral traditions are very effective at conveying news, parables, any sort of communication that is important.
(about to go off on a tangent here but bear with me)
CHILD LORE can exist intact for years while text of scholars can become threaded and misinterpreted, re-written to end up a garb-filled bunch of ego-assertions in the wrong hands, paarsurrey... CHILDREN are capable of conveying minute and important details amongst themselves and PROTECT this information from adults. Proofs of death in times of plague that got re-written by some scholars...proofs of the holocaust that have certainly been challenged by modern scholars in our day and age...the CHILD LORE still exists for WWI and WWII times and, in my opinion, will not be tainted - because it is protected by CHILDREN and via oral tradition. (we aren't paying enough attention here as scholars - to the children and child lore, fears of children mimic the societal fears, etc).
(end of tangent lol)
As well, if Buddha chose an "action-based" or "active practice" approach to beliefs, this should not be deemed as inferior to written word. The whole point you've missed, in my opinion, is that Buddhism is part meditation, part action... not like reading the Quran, which is mainly meditative and contemplative. Are you stuck inside your mind, paarsurrey, or are you willing to walk a mile, take an action, embrace a new and benevolent idea?
I feel that in your criticisms in this thread, you are making assertions that are not valid. With all due respect to your own religious leanings I feel your assertions show a closed mindedness whereby you are incapable of stepping outside your own belief system in order to understand what people are discussing about Buddhism here.
Acquiring knowledge, in my experience, does not happen via having both hands around our current beliefs and our eyes turned toward the new information. It happens when one is willing to at least take one hand away from our own stuff and reach for new knowledge to hold it for a length of time...something Siddhārtha Gautama did and reached the Middle Pathway doing...
He was born in excess and elite circumstances, he experienced the extreme opposite by rejecting elite living...and found his middle pathway of balance...all through experience and taking both hands away from holding on to previous rigid belief systems.
He did not read some intellectual or spiritual manual - he walked, learned, discovered meaning in life - actively and outside of himself and outside of social constructions.
You are trying to relate Buddhism to the way that other religions work - but it is completely different. Ultimately it doesn't matter what is written about Buddhism and whether Buddha said it or not (unlike Islam and Christianity which rely heavily on who said what and written texts.)
Buddhism is highly practical. What matters in Buddhism (IMO) is trying the practices for yourself and finding out the results of those practices for yourself ie: does it work? Does using mediational practices improve your mental, spiritual and physical state? My answer is yes. Practices I use include mindfulness, loving kindness meditation plus others and the results in my experience back up what Buddha taught, so sacred texts or whatever really have no bearing - I haven't read them and don't plan to.
If you want to get really confused - you can study Zen Buddhism, which tells you,in order to become enlightened, to learn the Dharma (the Buddhist teachings) and then forget it! There are many seeming contradictions to ponder, but basically, for me Buddhism is a simple philosophy of compassion and acceptance for the world. Like any religious dogma, you can study forever and that is one way - but I prefer the simple "groking" of the principles and simple little ways to remember to use the teachings everyday. Great stress reducer!
hahaha....yes, I am a Zen Buddhist.
Study, contemplate, forget....rinse and repeat!
And grokking is a great way. After all Buddhism is more about action than inaction.
Particularly in Zen. You don't study texts as much in Zen as you study life. It is one of the least dogmatic lineages which is why it appeals to me.
I just went to facebook and found this from the Delai Lama - "My true religion, my simple faith is in love and compassion. There is no need for complicated philosophy, doctrine, or dogma. Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple. The doctrine is compassion. Love for others and respect for their rights and dignity, no matter who or what they are - these are ultimately all we need."
So, you see, the Buddha himself speaks still, and much is written through others that can be considered teachings straight from him - I don't care importance people put on the written word, it makes communicating easier in some ways, but the basic principles of Buddhism (or any other religion, for that matter) don't need to be written down in order for people to understand and live by them. And people find it easy to use written words to prove their arguments right or wrong, even though the original intention of those words was not to support endless debate and contention!
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”- Buddha
The above quote says it all..Buddha's words if implemented would make this world better place in instant..
I see Rfox & many others have already elaborated Buddhism quite correctly...however I havent read all of their posts & hope its not too late to answer your question.
Buddhism is probably the only Non-theistic religion that we are aware of today. Because of its nature, many people are reluctant to consider it as a religion & flags it as a branch of philosophy. Like all other religions, Buddhism too evolved over time & currently has many forms which makes it difficult for beginners to understand its true form. I often see that people emphasize on Zen Buddhism these days but point to be noted, Zen is a very late development in the history of Buddhism. Sometimes its hard to identify the oldest Buddhist teachings from the late developments but I will still try to list the basic premises of Buddhism along with popular misconceptions here...hope it will work for you!
1. Buddha never talked about a Creator God/Supreme Deity. Earliest forms of Buddhism talks about Devas (God like creatures which can be compared to Greek Gods) & their heavenly palaces. According to Buddhism, Devas lived in Universe just like us but for a much longer period of time with immense amount of power, pleasure & happiness. However, in most part Buddha made fun of those Gods just like the 18th century atheists & tried to prove that Humans are superior to those Devas since its easier to attain Nirvana in Human form than being a Deva because given so much pleasure & power, it is difficult to get free from Maya(Illusion).
2. Buddha taught about Nirvana. Nirvana is not connecting/ fusing with God/Power/Light/Source/Heaven. This is a common mistake that most people do. Nirvana is a state of non-existence. Buddha taught that ultimate goal of every living consciousness is to attain non-existence. However, non-existence should not be taken in a negative way. Buddha himself has tried to portray the positive sides of non-existence. There are steps of attaining Nirvana & a particular step is hence termed 'The Non Returner'
3. Buddha taught about Maya or Illusion. This world is an illusion like the movie Matrix . Nothing is real here. It is the suffering that we must stop as soon as possible. Heaven, money, sex, love, fame... everything is part of Maya that makes us love this illusion & makes us return in the form of Human or animals after death. Yes thats how he also taught abt Reincarnation!
4. Karma or the law of cause & effect. Buddha taught how our deeds will affect out future life or how our past life deeds affecting our present life. For instance, if your past life is full of virtue then you might born as a Deva or as a Sage in this life. However, Buddhists dont prefer to born as a Deva & consider it as a mistake in meditation in the past life. Buddha didnt talk much about the First Cause or the beginning of creation. According to him, this world is a cycle of time, there is no begining & there is no end. One who tries to find the First cause will only waste his time. Thus Buddha denied the importance of a Creator Deity.
In later times, many developments occurred in the teachings of Buddhism. Many interpreted his teachings in different manners & many new branches evolved. It should be noted that these later developments do sometimes contradict with the earliest teachings!
Hope it works. Thank you!
Nice contribution Rishy Rich.
Yes, Zen is definitely a later development in Buddhism. I think it's emphasized more in western culture, along with Tibetan Buddhism. Those two seem to be the most popular lineages in the west.
Of course in South East Asia, Theravada is more prevalent and in India and China, Mahayana in all it's forms appears more established.
Of course in Japan, Zen is also the most popular form of teaching.
I just love the diversity and richness of teachings around the world.
Although my practice is rooted in the simplicity of Zen my two favourite texts are:
The Dhammapada (part of the original Pali Canon) &
The Lotus Sutra (part of the Mahayana tradition)
I enjoy the poetry and the parables, particularly from a writers perspective. They are works of art more than anything, just like the Bhagavad Gita in Hinduism.
Of course I also love The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer so I guess I have a thing for ancient prose poetry texts!
Although I havent read much about Gita, I must appreciate your taste. I liked the teachings of Buddha & to me he was a man of great talent. However, after going through Nietzsche's criticism of Buddhism, I realized the inevitable truth that no doctrine is perfect!
Nope, no doctrine is perfect. Nothing is.
Trying to achieve perfection is like trying to touch the moon.
The Bhagavad Gita is a great literary work if you like prose poetry. It is considered the greatest work of art in Hindu culture.
Definitely recommend it.
I think (humbly) that Nietsche missed the point. Buddhism is about self improvement, or self enlightenment, and so there is no finished end product. I also think that doctrine is the wrong word to apply to the buddhist teachings, they are a 'way' not a dictated road to a pre-determined point (that always looks very much like an origin).
But I have considerable admiration for Nietsche, anyone who can pronounce that god is dead and then go kill himself (maybe to prove the point) gets my vote for dedication
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