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View Diary: S/T Diary - War in Ceylon (173 comments)

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  •  While Buddhism-isn't-a-religion is, of course, (3+ / 0-)
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    Peace JD, Rayne, dconrad

    a fallacy, there's an interesting history as to how this idea came to be established.

    In the early 20th century, itinerant Christian preacher-types would travel from county to county, largely in the rural South, making their fire-and-brimstone Bible-thumping rounds. Among their "selling points" for Christianity was the demonization of other major religions. Muslims were war-mongers (sound familiar?), Jews were Christ-deniers who sold out the Lord to the Romans, etc.

    There wasn't a wealth of ammunition when they got around to Buddhism (largely denouncing this faith to Chinese railroad workers), so they concluded that it just wasn't a religion because it didn't take a position on the existence of God. This is only partly true actually, and also not an accepted definition of a religion, but the flawed rationale "stuck".

    It is true that Buddhism separates itself from many world faiths in that it is more concerned with what you do than what you believe, but personally, I've always felt this was one of Buddhism's more admirable qualities.

    Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can? - Sun Tzu

    by thenekkidtruth on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 11:07:41 AM PST

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    •  Religion = position on god/s (1+ / 0-)
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      I guess that was always a personal opinion of mine, that religions were those that organized around entities as a way to explain the world and to structure behaviors (most particularly reproductive behaviors).

      Buddhism was more of a philosophy of life, not organized around a god; it was only the flawed interpretations of followers that conferred any specialness or deification upon Buddha.

      As the koan says, "If you chance to meet Buddha on the road, kill him."

      •  What a hard thing to define ! (0+ / 0-)

        As acknowledged by my personal authority on subjects such as these,, in order to exclude Buddhism, you would need to factor out any belief system which both isn't inclusive of a belief in a "God", and doesn't acknowledge that their is a divine being who is a responsible for Creation.

        Some exclude beliefs and practices that many people passionately defend as religious. For example, their definition might include belief in a God or Goddess or combination of Gods and Goddesses who are responsible for the creation of the universe and for its continuing operation. This excludes such non-theistic  religions as Buddhism and many forms of religious Satanism which have no such belief.

        While Buddhism only has a Creation mythology that serves as teaching aids for children (not really taken seriously), it really can honestly be said that Buddhism is Deist-centric. The Buddhist Godhead is perhaps more arcane than that found in other religions, but it certainly plays a central role nonetheless.

        Is not the Mahayana concept of "Buddha Nature" the philosophical equivalent of "God"?

        There is only One Light shining through every window... call it Buddha-nature, call it Divine Essence, call it God, the name doesn't really matter; it is only the direct personal experience and manifestation of that essence that really matters.

        Form is emptyness; Emptyness is form. - Heart Sutra

        Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can? - Sun Tzu

        by thenekkidtruth on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 04:01:16 PM PST

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        •  Buddha-nature = Conscious Turing machine (1+ / 0-)
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          Never have viewed the "One Light" to be a god.

          I view it as a differentiated form of energy which humans are unable to define clearly and articulate as something distinct from other forms of energy, some form of intelligence, sentience or awareness but not a god.

          A global, shared consciousness could be the same thing, but it's not necessarily a god -- the one-mind or a unified not-mind, perhaps.  It's a concept that seems to fit more comfortably in areas of science, a resolution into a vast Turing machine, that which cannot be computationally reduced.

          The whole notion of a god seems antithetical to Buddhist teachings, because it connotes other/not other relationship between god/person, and that either side of the god/person equation would still need to work towards the release of suffering and on detachment in order to reach that not-god/not-person/eternal not-self state.

          Perhaps we're quibbling over schools of Buddhist thought, too.  I don't subscribe to any one of them since attaching to one seems inappropriate.

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