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Author Topic: Buddhism Q&A  (Read 22406 times)
Starglade
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« Reply #15: May 25, 2010, 02:12:39 pm »

<snippage>

2.) Buddhists don't believe in any all-powerful deity that created the world and on and on... We do believe that there are actual beings that have been reborn on higher planes of existence and these are what we call Gods. There are actually to kinds Devas and full on Gods. Devas are like super powered humans with extremely long life spans and the ability to speak material things into being. And then their are "Gods", having abilities to affect the lives of people to a degree and have the power of the Devas x100. but Buddhists do not worship these Gods as they are just as deluded and in need of rescue from the endless cycle of birth and death as the rest of us are.
     Some forms of Buddhist devotion can take on the trappings of deity worship in the traditional sense, especially in my school and the Pureland schools of Buddhism. But my guru's and the Buddha Amitabha aren't gods, they are (or were) people who have overcome and destroyed the enemy, entered into their true nature and found infinite power. In nature they are no different that anyone of us. And I think that's an important distinction. Smiley

And that said, there are many "gods" that were originally local, tribal powers/deities that were absorbed by the Buddhist practices in Tibet and Nepal over the centuries.

I point anyone who needs info on this to get hold of a copy of John Powers's Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism (2nd edition 2007, Snow Lion Publications). It's a hefty paperback stuffed with information, very accessible and readable.

There's also the "little blue book of Nepalese gods and goddesses", so called because--it's little and blue.

http://www.dharmashop.com/details.mgi?NUM=bk005

$12.95 plus shipping. Probably available for less if you shop around, but I know Dharmashop tries to keep it in stock.

Just a simple Buddhist chiming in with a little more information.
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Starglade
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« Reply #16: May 25, 2010, 02:13:28 pm »

One of the definitions of "paganism" is any faith that is not considered to be of the Abrahamic faiths, so Buddhism would qualify.

My mother would certainly have agreed that I'm "pagan," but I will say I don't self-identify as such. I'm Buddhist.
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The source of all misery in the world lies in thinking of oneself. The source of all happiness lies in thinking of others. -- Shantideva

My public transcript is available for viewing.
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« Reply #17: May 25, 2010, 02:45:28 pm »

My mother would certainly have agreed that I'm "pagan," but I will say I don't self-identify as such. I'm Buddhist.


I guess that's what I was trying to say too, I don't self-identify as pagan and most Buddhists don't so I threw the topic over in this forum
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« Reply #18: May 25, 2010, 02:51:01 pm »

One of the definitions of "paganism" is any faith that is not considered to be of the Abrahamic faiths, so Buddhism would qualify.

I think it's more helpful to add 'and self-identifies as such.'  You know, so you don't go around telling people what they really are.
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« Reply #19: May 25, 2010, 02:59:08 pm »

And that said, there are many "gods" that were originally local, tribal powers/deities that were absorbed by the Buddhist practices in Tibet and Nepal over the centuries.

I point anyone who needs info on this to get hold of a copy of John Powers's Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism (2nd edition 2007, Snow Lion Publications). It's a hefty paperback stuffed with information, very accessible and readable.

There's also the "little blue book of Nepalese gods and goddesses", so called because--it's little and blue.

http://www.dharmashop.com/details.mgi?NUM=bk005

$12.95 plus shipping. Probably available for less if you shop around, but I know Dharmashop tries to keep it in stock.

Just a simple Buddhist chiming in with a little more information.


All of this is very true, many of these himalyan gods are called "Dharmapalas" or protectors of the dharma. There are a bunch of stories about how Padmasambhava came through converting and subduing this entities. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Padmasambhava
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« Reply #20: May 25, 2010, 05:00:48 pm »

I think it's more helpful to add 'and self-identifies as such.'  You know, so you don't go around telling people what they really are.

Apparently, I didn't phrase myself correctly.  Perhaps more emphasis is needed on the "One definition of paganism is...

And yes, it does seem strange that all religions, but a select few are lumped together into "other".

I've also heard Buddhism being compared to a philosophy rather than religion?  Myself, I would consider it to be both (I guess most religions are), but would someone of that faith feel the same?  Does anyone consider Buddhism to be religion, philosophy, or both?
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« Reply #21: May 25, 2010, 05:03:56 pm »

Apparently, I didn't phrase myself correctly.  Perhaps more emphasis is needed on the "One definition of paganism is...

And yes, it does seem strange that all religions, but a select few are lumped together into "other".

A number of religions don't really appreciate it. That's one of the reasons using that definition of Paganism is questionable. It's sort of like how annoying it is when some conservative Christians decide all religions but there own are really Satanism.
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« Reply #22: May 25, 2010, 05:20:43 pm »

Apparently, I didn't phrase myself correctly.  Perhaps more emphasis is needed on the "One definition of paganism is...


That's pretty much how I took it.  I just still think it is problematic. Smiley
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« Reply #23: May 25, 2010, 07:12:18 pm »

I've also heard Buddhism being compared to a philosophy rather than religion?  Myself, I would consider it to be both (I guess most religions are), but would someone of that faith feel the same?  Does anyone consider Buddhism to be religion, philosophy, or both?

I've heard some people say that, but those same people define religion based on the worship of gods or not. If you fall into that way of thinking then yes Buddhism is a philosophy and not a religion.

Personally, I'm not scared of the religion label. Buddhism is a system to bring liberation to all sentient beings and if it must be labeled to be accepted then so be it.

But I didn't answer the question, I feel it's both Smiley
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Starglade
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« Reply #24: May 25, 2010, 10:34:46 pm »

Apparently, I didn't phrase myself correctly.  Perhaps more emphasis is needed on the "One definition of paganism is...

And yes, it does seem strange that all religions, but a select few are lumped together into "other".

I've also heard Buddhism being compared to a philosophy rather than religion?  Myself, I would consider it to be both (I guess most religions are), but would someone of that faith feel the same?  Does anyone consider Buddhism to be religion, philosophy, or both?


I've addressed this in other threads around the forum in the last year or two, but my search capabilities aren't the best so I'll answer again. (That said, look down at the bottom of your screen at "Related Topics." One of 'em down there says "Buddhism--religion? spirituality? both? neither?")

For *me* it's more philosophy than religion. For *me* a religion requires a "creator god," and Buddhism has none. The Buddha (Gautama, Siddhartha) was not a god. He became enlightened, and the outcome (Buddhism) is his teachings on how we all can do so. He's a great teacher, an Enlightened Being (as are all those called buddhas), but not a god or a deity.

That said, plenty of Buddhists do venerate him in ways that sure look like they think he's a god. I'd wager some of them would say they do think he is. However--the sutras don't call him that as far as I am aware, and more importantly to *me*, HE never called himself that.

HHDL often tells people that while he's happy they want to learn about Buddhism, he feels that they should, if at all possible, retain the religion of their birth rather than switch. At the same time, he makes it clear that the Buddhist mind-training is highly useful to anyone of any creed, because it's non-religious in nature. I'd recommend reading some of his works to get a feel for what the head of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism--and the face the world associates with Buddhism in general--has to say about Buddhist practices.

Then, perhaps read some works from other schools of Tibetan Buddhism, and other Buddhist forms such as the Pure Land mentioned by the OP. Buddhism comes in many flavors, and the Buddha himself said that there are as many teachings as there are students because no two students are the same or can learn the same way.
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The source of all misery in the world lies in thinking of oneself. The source of all happiness lies in thinking of others. -- Shantideva

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« Reply #25: May 26, 2010, 12:05:33 am »

HHDL often tells people that while he's happy they want to learn about Buddhism, he feels that they should, if at all possible, retain the religion of their birth rather than switch.

That's interesting.  Do you know why this is?  Or is there a place to learn more about it? 
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« Reply #26: May 26, 2010, 11:48:04 am »

1.) Essentially the earliest form of Buddhism was a heresy of Hinduism, denial of the existence of Brahma etc. So if Hinduism is considered Pagan than I guess Buddhism would be too. I just didn't think that it feel under the category of what most people call a "Pagan" religion although it fits the bill if we're looking through the eyes of the Abrahamic faiths...

Well, now. I was told that the Buddha was an incarnate of Lord Shiva, along with Rama and several others. So, an avatar as such to bring enlightenment to the world. Do most modern Buddhists belief he was a man?
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« Reply #27: May 26, 2010, 01:37:22 pm »

That's interesting.  Do you know why this is?  Or is there a place to learn more about it? 

It's simply because by staying in one's birth religion the boundaries and difficulties of following the Buddha Dharma are dramatically reduced. By staying in someone's birth religion one can have a more solid foundation for spiritual practice that can lead to greater merit and a better re-birth.

Well, now. I was told that the Buddha was an incarnate of Lord Shiva, along with Rama and several others. So, an avatar as such to bring enlightenment to the world. Do most modern Buddhists belief he was a man?

Actually all Buddhist sects believe he was a man, well he at least took the form of a man. The earlier schools view him as "just" a man while the Mahayana and later schools view him as an already enlightened Buddha who projected himself into our world to preach the Dharma. It carries on even today. My master is often thought of as a projection of Samanthabadra while HHDl is said to be a projection of Avaloktiesvera.
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« Reply #28: May 26, 2010, 06:30:49 pm »

Well, now. I was told that the Buddha was an incarnate of Lord Shiva, along with Rama and several others. So, an avatar as such to bring enlightenment to the world. Do most modern Buddhists belief he was a man?

The Buddha--Gautama--was an historical verifiable man. The stories that have grown up surrounding him, however--well, not so verifiable. He was a prince, yes, and he did leave the safety of his royal family and compound, yes. He reached enlightenment under the bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, yes. As for the rest . . . I think that most of us (Buddhist or not) are aware of how legends grow, and how parables are created and passed down. A lot of what's attributed to the Buddha (the historical man) is parable, or at least that is what I have gathered from my readings.

Doesn't make it any less useful in a philosophical manner, just makes it nonhistorically verifiable.
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« Reply #29: May 26, 2010, 06:39:08 pm »

Doesn't make it any less useful in a philosophical manner, just makes it nonhistorically verifiable.


This ^

Whether he was a man or more doesn't affect anything he taught. He didn't even have to exist for the Dharma to come about.

And Starglade, if you don't mind me asking, what school of Buddhism do you most identify with?
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