I am continuing my exploration of Buddhism (out here in the real world, I mean, not on the Internet) and I am slowly coming to some conclusions, I think.
I've been attending two very different groups, and I think I've decided that I prefer the one much more than the other.
The one I like most more-or-less has the philsophy that:
(a) we are not our thoughts and feelings, and that it is possible to simply be aware, and observe, and not caught up in our emotions
(b) compassion and right living are "the path". However this path is not really filled out much more than that. In other words, you are expected to figure it out for yourself, with no looking to an authority for guidance on this.
Thats why I think it is very important to tell your master about what you're thinking etc during sessions! I think that you should be honest within yourself and it helps if you share whats really going on within yourself.
Nope. There is no "master" in the group I go to. There is a guy who is roughly the leader, but he is very obviously an equal also. And clearly finding his own way...
"I tell ye you are all gods" Jesus
The greatest of masters will guide you to the master in you.
No, you are not listening. I don't WANT a master. That is the whole point. I am pretty totally turned off by anything that resembles institutionalization (pun intended, perhaps), ritual, or hocus pocus. Anyone wearing robes and I am off running for the hills, for example.
The group I have found is about as informal as you can imagine. There is absolutely ZERO implication that I or anyone else should follow anyone else. Maybe that is what you are saying wit your comment about us all being gods. But even that to me screams doctrine or dogma if you ask me. What I like is that I am not asked to BELIEVE the dogma at all.
That sounds very much like the Theravada sect of Buddhism.
I cross between it and Mahayana Buddhism because pure Theravada Buddhism seems so selfish as it is all about obtaining enlightenment for yourself. In Mahayana Buddhism one stops short of nibbana, and helps others to get there first. I like that idea of compassion, and as I am a natural teacher that is what I'm inclined towards.
However I do like the reflexive, and introspective aspect of Theravada Buddhism. It is all about self reflection, and observation until you realize you aren't a slave to your mind.
I'm happy that you've found something that works for you
Forgive me for saying so, Mohit, but that sounds condescending. As if you are looking from lofty heights attained ahead of me, from a plateau I have not yet reached... yet you do not know me at all...
...Of course, I appreciate that this is just my INTERPRETATION of what you wrote: and this is part of the point. Our interpretations are not necessarily the truth, and realizing this releases us from all sorts of worry, tension and fretting that were never "intended" for us
I went to a Shambala retreat a couple of weeks ago, and it really turned me off. I guess it is largely subjective though. I mean, I really like the PEOPLE at the other thing (it is a part of the Plum Village movement, though locally independent), and this is part of it.
sorry sport, every servant has a master.
authority is not to be looked at as a St George Rulebreaker stigmata, but rather a teacher who sits beside you.
And if you found compassion & righteousness the path, then step onto the road and walk. You cannot guide yourself, even the heart in you. So, listen closely to the Still Voice, and no doubt you will, then your master is righteousness and compassionate and will walk with you every step.
don't trust in men, mediums or mythology. These things are blocks on the side of the road, tasty snack bars and oasis of cool water.
Remember, Addy, free will is like butterfly wings, once touched, it has a tough time getting off the ground.
Why do you (contextually-erroneously, I will add) quote Jesus, while not touting Christianity?
Thoughts are our building blocks, we think and manifest .
Then one can sit back and look at everything like a big 3D movie and not get involved in it,understand the perfection.
Then one can laugh like the laughing Buddha symbolizing a knower of god, all is you.
I like the second piece eve more about finding your own path.
Does no authority mean no accountability, no law?
There is an assumption, much like Paul's pronouncement that the Law is written on all of our hearts, that inside us we know already about compassion and giving to others. It is to be hoped that the result of "transgression" would be sorrow. This too bears resemblance to Christian teaching, ie, is in some ways I guess parallel to the Holy Spirit letting you know what is right and what is wrong (I know it's not exactly the same, but it goes some way to answering the question)
even in christianity, one is expected to know right from wrong instinctively. it is not only because there is a God to be followed that one does the right thing. what is written on everyones heart has been there since the beginning of time. it is a primal instinct so to speak. Looking to God is more about having a purpose for that instinct and a validation in this life.
I have to respectfully disagree that we should not have an authority or guidance or whatever. In every facet of life, there is an authority. Parents to their chilren, bosses to their employees, Presidents to their countries, etc. There is a reason for this. its very clear. But that is just my opinion.
I wish you could hear my father speak at church. he is just like us. admits his wrongdoings, expresses his fear and doubt and lets us know that we are all on the same road, experiencing the same things. he is open and kind and allows others to speak their minds. but he is an authority figure in the way that others look to him for guidance. and he does not proclaim to be able to guide everyone, but he does what he can and he does it standing on the same level as everyone else.
but, i kind of went off topic here. anyway, i am glad you have found something that works for you.
I guess this a meeting of the Canadians
I don't think it is clear to be honest. I'm not saying for a second that Christians (or anyone else) should rush out and become Buddhists. In fact I don't know that I am really a Buddhist myself, to be frank. To each their own. I am sure there are inspirational (Christian) preachers. I have heard some (on occasion) myself. But I don't think it is clear that there needs to be an authority. Presidents in particular should be GRILLED MERCILESSLY by their "followers." Bosses can be wrong, and it benefits the whole organization when it is pointed out to them. And we all know some of the travesties perpretrated by Church authorities (just thinking about some recent controversies surrounding one major Church world authority in the last week or two...).
Anyway, I guess the bottom line is that I am a bit sick of all those over the years who have implied that I don't know right from wrong, and that their way is best. As you point out, it is clearly instinctive (for most): compassion is (probably) the highest virtue; mercy alongside it; giving also. This is inside us (well, most of us, at any rate): why do I need an authority to tell me this
I'm Canadian tooo!!! lol
You are more Buddhist, than a lot of Buddhists I know. You seem to really grasp the finer details of Buddha's teachings that most people miss when they try to compartementalize the "religion."
Personally, I don't know what I am either lol. By your definition, I'm not really Buddhist either.
well hello there fellow Canadian. How's it goin eh?
I agree that we need to grill our superiors and not take everythign at face value. its true, that we do this far too often and its wrong. we are like sheep. thats old news though.
One of the reasons I refused to be baptized as a child into a baptist church was because of the congregations' blind following of the pastor. everyone was brainwashed to be judgemental and unforgiving. I hated that. I have problems with religion as well.
Yes, I know all the controversies surrounding the catholic church. this has been known to happen since...well, probably since the beginning of religion. the problem, i believe, is that the masses have given too much power to the diocese without question, and have allowed them unlimited access to our children without thinking of the consequences, for fear of retribution (brainwashed).
well, i am no scholar, and certainly no theologian, so I can't offer any exciting debates, but just to finish off here, its not so hard to believe in God. from the lyrics of a song, which the title escapes me at the moment "I just look at my daughter(s) and son, and I believe." Simple as that.
talk to you soon Adsense Strategies.
Accountability to oneself is extremely important in Buddhism. What I think AdsenseStrategies is referring to is more of the spiritual authorirty. He's found a teaching that makes him solely responsible for finding his path.
If you are wondering if a moral authority, the worst person you can shame is yourself. Buddhists have the five precepts:
1. abstain from taking life
2. abstain from stealing
3. abstain from sexual misconduct
4. abstain from lying
5. abstain from intoxicants (drugs, alcohol etc.)
There are also four more precepts that monks follow in addition to the five:
6. abstain from eating at the wrong time (the right time is after sunrise, before noon)
7. abstain from singing, dancing, playing music, attending entertainment performances, wearing perfume, and using cosmetics and garlands
8. abstain from luxurious places for sitting or sleeping, and overindulging in sleep
9. abstain from accepting money
Then I am not a Buddhist. I do not believe in following precepts. In that sense I am more in line with Paul, ie. the Law is written on my heart
Why don't you just do what you want to do? Why be involved in any group at all?
They aren't laws really, just guides. The thing with Buddhism is you are supposed to question everything, and following nothing that doesn't seem right. The "precepts" are there for the lazy laity, I personally don't strictly adhere to all nine either. And in some situations, breaking a precept might be necessary - that's where the consider everything part of Buddhism comes in - there are no moral absolutes
It's backwards to me. If the idea is that it is within us to discover the truth then laying out precepts at all is contradictory. If someone lays out precepts, then I am not finding these things in myself. To say they are for the lazy laity I think is an insult (not to me, and I am not saying you said that originally, I presume that is some sort of quote or paraphrase from some other source); isn't the idea that people should be self-responsible. Setting out precepts for those who can't be bothered (if that is the idea)... nah, no I don't like that at all. People should be free to discover their own consciences, and make decisions themselves.
I agree with you, and I am very much on par with you as far as wanting from Buddhism the same things - but the devoutly religious want to be told what to do, they don't want to figure it out for themsleves. That is true of any religion, and the people that wrote the Pali Canon knew this. Buddha did not write a single word down, and if he were here today I'm sure he'd be unhappy with the structuralization that has happened to his teachings.
In fact, any religion's teacher/prophet, whatever, I'm sure would be unhappy with what has happened to their teachings if they were here today. People crave order from chaos, and the comfort people get from knowing what is expected of them allows many to be herded like sheep because it's much easier, than wandering the fields yourself.
I am not like that, evidently neither are you, and neither are a lot of people on this forum - but the vast majority of people are.
Mmmm, but what you say here implies here that there was at the beginning a pure truth known by the founders of a given faith, that has been distorted, changed, or corrupted over the centuries. But that doesn't sound right. Surely there was never a Golden Age when select people never made mistakes or were in no sense corrupt or weak, or had no failings.
As a matter of fact by far one of the most compelling aspects of the Jesus' Story is exactly the depiction of his humanity, his struggles, his conflicts: amazing stuff. But it doesn't hide the fact that the originators of a religion can be as wrong as subsequent followers. Which is why I am deeply suspicious of canons
I'm of the belief that no one person holds the absolute truth, I'm also of the belief that if we had it, we wouldn't know it. Furthermore, in the grand scheme of things, I don't really think it matters anyways.
Part of being human is being fallible, I didn't mean to say these teachers had the absolute truth and it has been lost with time. I mean to say that what they had to teach is no longer being taught as they intended. And that's fine, because life is all about change, and perhaps the change in their teachings has been for the better as we learnt more about our reality, who knows. All I'm saying is what is right today, might not be tomorrow.
And as far as canons go, I don't think anything is supposed to be taken at face value, and everything should be questioned. But they are a good starting point, introspection alone will never be enough - that just leads to insanity
Also, I just answered a question by paarsurrey about where Buddha got his wisdom, and I think it applies to what I'm trying to say here:
I said... the Buddha came to his wisdom from inside himself, it was not provided to him by any divine authority. He taught that we all have access to this truth, but we have to look within to find it - that is essentially all one really needs believe to be a Buddhist, everything else is secondary
Now I know the means to my oppression were all lies...
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