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saura
03 Apr 2017, 03:54
Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

By B. Alan Wallace


Dr Alan Wallace has criticized the views of secular Buddhists like Stephen Bachelor, Sam Harris and others. Buddha was not an atheist, he believed in the existence of gods and demons. There are hundred peaceful and wrathful deities in Tibetan Buddhism and each deity is worshiped in the form of a yidam.


"My father is the intrinsic awareness, Samantabhadra (Sanskrit; Tib. ཀུན་ཏུ་བཟང་པོ). My mother is the ultimate sphere of reality, Samantabhadri (Sanskrit; Tib. ཀུན་ཏུ་བཟང་མོ). I belong to the caste of non-duality of the sphere of awareness. My name is the Glorious Lotus-Born. I am from the unborn sphere of all phenomena. I act in the way of the Buddhas of the three times."

- Padmasambhava

If western people who want to be spiritual but not religious are so sick of Christianity then please just be atheists instead and stop misrepresenting other religions for Christ's sake. Its a big shame on them.

Sean R. R.
03 Apr 2017, 05:26
Religions are what their followers are. You can't stop people from believing or doing what they do. If people want to follow Buddhist philosophy but in a secular way, you can't stop them. If they say they're Buddhist, it's okay, if you don't agree with them and don't consider them Buddhist, it's okay too.

It is by all means a noble thing to fight for the sanctity of a label, religion or whatever, but the most represented variant of any belief system are naturally going to be the face of the religion. Since non-secular Buddhism is in the western world under-represented and the OM sign wearing secular hippies that do sunday yoga are everywhere, that's what it is at the time being. So you should seek for more representation of your non-secular Buddhism if you want to stand a chance against the hipsters.

Just my 2 cents.

Tylluan Penry
03 Apr 2017, 09:49
Wel, this is Stephen Bachelor's reply: http://fpmt.org/mandala/archives/mandala-issues-for-2011/january/an-open-letter-to-b-alan-wallace/

thalassa
04 Apr 2017, 16:11
The mistake is made when people consider any religious tradition to be monolithic. Variation is as great as the number of people that are practitioners in any given tradition. Sure, we can divvy them up into similar-ish groups (or denominations) within broad religious categories, but at the end of the day, no one believes all the same things in the same way, even in the same church/temple/mosque/circle/whatever. Buddhism as a general religious category is quite varied, and (like most traditions that have succeeded over the years) flexible enough to accommodate the range of human experiences and human imagination, even if some sects are more rigid in their thinking than others.

anunitu
04 Apr 2017, 16:36
I had a friend in SF that was Jewish and also followed Buddhism to a large degree,but also kept her Jewish faith at the same time. Different strokes for different folks.

Lydia
07 Apr 2017, 21:10
There are hundred peaceful and wrathful deities in Tibetan Buddhism and each deity is worshiped in the form of a yidam.

The stuff that the tibetans added to their own offshoot of Buddhism is irrelevant to the defining attributes of Buddhism.



Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist
...
Buddha was not an atheist, he believed in the existence of gods and demons.

Buddhism is the religion that is centered around the so-called "four noble truths" (which are not actually true), the "eightfold path", and the goal of applying said eightfold path so as to achieve nirvana (the extinguishing of desire and sense of self), and consequently end samsara (the cycle of reincarnation).

Those doctrines that define buddhism do not mention gods, one way or the other, which means that Buddhism is an apatheist religion- a religion that is indifferent to the question of whether or not one or more deities exist. While Siddhartha himself probably believed in the existence of deities, he did not care about them enough to incorporate them into Buddhism. Thus, buddhists can have almost any belief as far as deities are concerned (including agnosticism and atheism). The only type of deity-related belief that is incompatible with buddhism is benevolent omnipotent theism, because that contradicts the first so-called "noble truth".



Against secular Buddhism


If western people ... want to be spiritual but not religious ... then please just be atheists instead and stop misrepresenting other religions

The phrase "secular buddhism" is an oxymoron.
The main difference between a religion and mere spirituality is that the former has a coherent set of doctrines, whereas the latter does not. Buddhism clearly has a coherent set of doctrines, and is therefore a religion. Belief in one or more deities is a very common, but non-defining, attribute of religion, and there are many people who believe in one or more deities who are not religious.

saura
04 May 2017, 07:37
The stuff that the tibetans added to their own offshoot of Buddhism is irrelevant to the defining attributes of Buddhism.


Their own offshoot? Vajrayana a.k.a Tibetan Buddhism was founded by Padmasambhava who found esoteric texts preached by Buddha to his disciples. Is Pauline Christianity irrelevant to Christians since it was not preached by Jesus? Just cut it out it does not work that way. Those are oral traditions which can be traced back to Buddha himself.




Buddhism is the religion that is centered around the so-called "four noble truths" (which are not actually true), the "eightfold path", and the goal of applying said eightfold path so as to achieve nirvana (the extinguishing of desire and sense of self), and consequently end samsara (the cycle of reincarnation).

Those doctrines that define buddhism do not mention gods, one way or the other, which means that Buddhism is an apatheist religion- a religion that is indifferent to the question of whether or not one or more deities exist. While Siddhartha himself probably believed in the existence of deities, he did not care about them enough to incorporate them into Buddhism. Thus, buddhists can have almost any belief as far as deities are concerned (including agnosticism and atheism). The only type of deity-related belief that is incompatible with buddhism is benevolent omnipotent theism, because that contradicts the first so-called "noble truth".


Buddhists have to accept the Buddhist cosmology apart from the four noble truths and the eightfold path because Siddhartha believed in such a cosmology and its very core to his doctrine of rebirth and reincarnation. Making up your own notions of what constitutes Buddhism and what it is not is definitely a distortion and is nothing but a disservice to Siddhartha.



"In the vertical cosmology, the universe exists of many worlds (lokāḥ) one might say "planes/realms" stacked one upon the next in layers. Each world corresponds to a mental state or a state of being. A world is not, however, a location so much as it is the beings which compose it; it is sustained by their karma and if the beings in a world all die or disappear, the world disappears too. Likewise, a world comes into existence when the first being is born into it. The physical separation is not so important as the difference in mental state; humans and animals, though they partially share the same physical environments, still belong to different worlds because their minds perceive and react to those environments differently.
The vertical cosmology is divided into thirty-one planes of existence and the planes into three realms, or dhātus, each corresponding to a different type of mentality. These three realms (Tridhātu) are the Ārūpyadhātu (4 Realms), the Rūpadhātu (16 Realms), and the Kāmadhātu (15 Realms). This Sakwala/solar system or plane of existence comprises the "five or six desire realms". In some instances all of the beings born in the Ārūpyadhātu and the Rūpadhātu are informally classified as "gods" or "deities" (devāḥ), along with the gods of the Kāmadhātu, notwithstanding the fact that the deities of the Kāmadhātu differ more from those of the Ārūpyadhātu than they do from humans. It is to be understood that deva is an imprecise term referring to any being living in a longer-lived and generally more blissful state than humans. Most of them are not "gods" in the common sense of the term, having little or no concern with the human world and rarely if ever interacting with it; only the lowest deities of the Kāmadhātu correspond to the gods described in many polytheistic religions."

- Buddhist cosmology




The phrase "secular buddhism" is an oxymoron.
The main difference between a religion and mere spirituality is that the former has a coherent set of doctrines, whereas the latter does not. Buddhism clearly has a coherent set of doctrines, and is therefore a religion. Belief in one or more deities is a very common, but non-defining, attribute of religion, and there are many people who believe in one or more deities who are not religious.

There is no such thing as spiritual but not religious. People who hold such views are moderates who have not understood the implications of the existence of their deities. They are the people who just want to get on with their lives rather than face the reality which exists out there.

anunitu
04 May 2017, 09:36
I try very hard not to be negative about other religious beliefs,and it sounds like you wish a "Pure" manifestation of a belief. I wonder how you would feel if Catholic religious dogma was so "Pure",that they returned to the Inquisition that did not allow ANY other faith to exist. Just a thought,but PURE is not always a good thing. Every belief grows and expands their vision of the world.

saura
04 May 2017, 11:44
I try very hard not to be negative about other religious beliefs,and it sounds like you wish a "Pure" manifestation of a belief. I wonder how you would feel if Catholic religious dogma was so "Pure",that they returned to the Inquisition that did not allow ANY other faith to exist. Just a thought,but PURE is not always a good thing. Every belief grows and expands their vision of the world.

Religious scholars usually know what is the "Pure" manifestation of a belief is. We are no longer in those dark ages with lack of information where people used to believe in whatever they like. I really do not care if people start their own religion and claim that its a belief which they have invented on their own what I do not like is cultural misappropriation.

If Stephen Batchelor wants an atheistic Buddhism without any supernatural baggage then let him call his views as the "Four noble truths of Batchelor". Why insist on an alternative interpretation of Buddha and Buddhism when none exists? These are the same people who practice Yoga and take all the benefits of Yoga but give absolutely no homage to the traditions that Yoga came from. Do these people know what a Yidam deity is? Do they even know that deity yoga is part of Buddism?

Its the same problem with conservative young earth creationists who twist the 6 days creation timeline with the 13.5 billion years timeline of the cosmos. No matter how much you twist and distort the religious scriptures in your favor but the truth is always self evident out there for everyone to see it.

anunitu
04 May 2017, 12:00
Thing is,people will do as they will. You may find yourself alone in a room with your truth,and everyone else running around free in the wind,having forgotten you completely. Everything changes over time,and time itself is the greatest equalizer having death as its enforcer.

saura
04 May 2017, 12:10
I hope scholars speak out loud and correct those distortions and misappropriations. I know people will continue to have false beliefs since those beliefs are comforting to them.

thalassa
04 May 2017, 15:15
Religious scholars usually know what is the "Pure" manifestation of a belief is. We are no longer in those dark ages with lack of information where people used to believe in whatever they like. I really do not care if people start their own religion and claim that its a belief which they have invented on their own what I do not like is cultural misappropriation.

Religion evolves. There is no such thing as a "pure" manifestation of any religion. Religion is a purely human anthropological and sociopolitical construct that functions as a part of society. It has a number of functions, and when the need for those functions change, religion itself changes.

Medusa
04 May 2017, 15:49
There is no such thing as spiritual but not religious. People who hold such views are moderates who have not understood the implications of the existence of their deities. They are the people who just want to get on with their lives rather than face the reality which exists out there.

Thanks for telling me about myself.

anunitu
04 May 2017, 16:10
There is reality out side....hmmmm,you are sure it is reality...I thought it was just some reality soap opera..

thalassa
04 May 2017, 16:11
Thanks for telling me about myself.

Lol...

I can't say what I'm thinking now, I'd have to put myself in time out.

Medusa
04 May 2017, 16:34
Lol...

I can't say what I'm thinking now, I'd have to put myself in time out.

This is literally the new age version of the old Christian slogan 'if you could just see one sunset or sunrise or sunnyside up egg' you would know...' something like that.

Bjorn
28 May 2017, 09:25
I had a friend in SF that was Jewish and also followed Buddhism to a large degree,but also kept her Jewish faith at the same time. Different strokes for different folks.

Jewish is also an ethnicity in addition to a religion, so it is entirely possible to be both (or more) simultaneously.

- - - Updated - - -


The mistake is made when people consider any religious tradition to be monolithic. Variation is as great as the number of people that are practitioners in any given tradition. Sure, we can divvy them up into similar-ish groups (or denominations) within broad religious categories, but at the end of the day, no one believes all the same things in the same way, even in the same church/temple/mosque/circle/whatever. Buddhism as a general religious category is quite varied, and (like most traditions that have succeeded over the years) flexible enough to accommodate the range of human experiences and human imagination, even if some sects are more rigid in their thinking than others.

Agreed. Additionally, Buddhism is a religion with a great deal of history considering it's been around since like, 6BC? Don't quote me on that but you get my drift - the older a religion is, the more it has evolved.