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pragon
02 Jan 2019, 18:30
Is it atheist or polytheistic? Does it teach about the after life? I hear a lot claim to be Buddhists who believe in reincarnation. So many different branches of Buddhism. I used to have a big interest in it. Unfortunately, all these contradictions make my interest go downhill. Where does Buddha claim to believe in gods or any god? He himself never claimed to be one. It is nothing like Hinduism. He saw flaws in Hinduism and of course changed it? I mean why Buddhism? It's all in India, right? I watched a documentary on WVIZ or PBS channel on tv about Buddhism. Full documentary. Of course these people have to be professionals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vc7_VyVXDLs

Where does it talk about worshiping gods? Reincarnation? It doesn't make any sense to me. Pretty much this is how I see Buddhism.... The founder Siddharta Gutama Buddha went out to try and understand human suffering. The fact we have to worry about or ask questions like this, proves suffering. Buddha focused on the here and now. He wasn't worried about life after death. He dies and of course as most all founders of a philosophy or religion in the olden days... They get worshiped! Well, maybe not literally but I bet a lot of people still who have no idea about Buddhism think that Buddha is the god of Buddhism. I ain't joking here. I know my spelling and grammar sucks ass but I am serious. I don't see any of the original teachings from the founder talking about gods or reincarnation. Rituals as well. The founder wasn't ritualistic at all.

Which leads me to believe that all these people saying they are Buddhists, really aren't Buddhist. I'm sorry but this is what I believe. The religion or philosophy/way of life what ever you want to think about it seems to be so contradicting. People after Buddha make there own teachings. People follow that. They forget the founder and where it was all founded. It's ludicrous. I see monks wearing orange. I see rituals and incense. To be honest I find modern Buddhism to be very pagan. I'm not against people being pagan but I am against the fact that I believe true Buddhist teaching has become corrupted and no one seems to actually follow or do what the real BUDDHA DID!

I mean seriously...... WHAT THE HELL!?

anunitu
03 Jan 2019, 00:06
You may need to open your mind a bit to understand many things.

prometheus
03 Jan 2019, 00:36
Is it atheist or polytheistic?

Agnostic. In some Sutras (i'll dig out which ones if you're interested) leave no doubt that the Buddha believed in Devas (gods) and other supernatural powers. But this has nothing to do with his teachings. Their existence or otherwise are irrelevant (consider the arrow and medic parable), hence i would say agnostic.



Does it teach about the after life? I hear a lot claim to be Buddhists who believe in reincarnation.

Buddhism teaches rebirth, different from reincarnation in that there is no soul, or eternal core, that gets passed on. Many Western and a few Eastern Buddhists take this as metaphorical rebirth, but there seems little doubt it originally meant something 'physical'.



So many different branches of Buddhism.

Well it is over 2 thousand years old, and the Buddha famously refused to organise his followers on his death bed. He was also famous for adjusting his teaching to the audience, evident in all the Sutras. Add the fact he often taught people to seek their own way then you have a recipe for divergence.





Which leads me to believe that all these people saying they are Buddhists, really aren't Buddhist. I'm sorry but this is what I believe. The religion or philosophy/way of life what ever you want to think about it seems to be so contradicting. People after Buddha make there own teachings. People follow that. They forget the founder and where it was all founded. It's ludicrous. I see monks wearing orange. I see rituals and incense. To be honest I find modern Buddhism to be very pagan. I'm not against people being pagan but I am against the fact that I believe true Buddhist teaching has become corrupted and no one seems to actually follow or do what the real BUDDHA DID!

I mean seriously...... WHAT THE HELL!?

Everyone thinks they are following the one true path. Take some advice from the Buddha:

Pay no attention to the faults of others, things done or left undone by others. Consider only what by oneself is done or left undone.

B. de Corbin
03 Jan 2019, 07:23
Which leads me to believe that all these people saying they are Buddhists, really aren't Buddhist. I'm sorry but this is what I believe.

I do not think you have looked at Buddhism closely enough to have a valid opinion. If you'd have done a quick Google of a few of the things you've brought up, you would have found that the answers are not that simple.

That being said, have fun with your explorations!

thalassa
03 Jan 2019, 07:57
Life is contradicting. Religions, all of them, are a reflection of life. Of course they seem contradictory.

faye_cat
04 Jan 2019, 16:54
prometheus gave a good breakdown, but also it's not just restricted to India, a lot of Asian was Buddhist for a long time (not sure how much they are now).

Things evolve, especially something from thousands of years ago. People learn more, find different ways to apply that knowledge, and branch off into various ways of thought.

Pythagoras
04 Jun 2019, 21:43
Eastern philosophies are interesting but filled with riddles and often cryptic messages, I've always just felt that's how eastern mysticism works.

It's filled with secret meanings and understandings waiting to be uncovered by the seeking initiated.

B. de Corbin
05 Jun 2019, 01:08
Eastern philosophies are interesting but filled with riddles and often cryptic messages, I've always just felt that's how eastern mysticism works.

It's filled with secret meanings and understandings waiting to be uncovered by the seeking initiated.

I don't generally find that to be the case - what I see is generally a confusion between metaphor and straight description, or, often translation confusion, and confusion from trying to squeeze non-European spiritual practices into a European model.

Can you give me an example?

Heka
05 Jun 2019, 05:40
I reckon become an actual member, then get the fam riled up. Lots of questions though, I reckon I'll have to come back to this one on an actual computer.

Also, Jesus and Buddha are bros - just out there doing their good-dude thing, and people turned around and started worshiping them as gods. It's not all good. It's not all bad. But they, as people, were top-notch blokes. Everything that came after was interpretation, and that's where it gets confusing

Pythagoras
05 Jun 2019, 08:24
I don't generally find that to be the case - what I see is generally a confusion between metaphor and straight description, or, often translation confusion, and confusion from trying to squeeze non-European spiritual practices into a European model.

Can you give me an example?

Zen koans are a good example, hard to distinguish what is literal, descriptive, or just poetic expression.

B. de Corbin
05 Jun 2019, 12:45
Zen koans are a good example, hard to distinguish what is literal, descriptive, or just poetic expression.

That's a good example, because that, of course is their function. They should all (even when based of possibly historical events) be understood as a peculiar class of metaphor, intended to point to a thing which can not be expressed in words, but can be known.

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Zen koans are a good example, hard to distinguish what is literal, descriptive, or just poetic expression.

That's a good example, because that, of course is their function. They should all (even when based of possibly historical events) be understood as a peculiar class of metaphor, intended to point to a thing which can not be expressed in words, but can be known.

Corvus
05 Jun 2019, 13:14
Buddhism isn't contradictory, if you do more than a surface level of research. It's just not western.

LuxNur
11 Dec 2019, 15:59
Is it atheist or polytheistic? Does it teach about the after life? I hear a lot claim to be Buddhists who believe in reincarnation. So many different branches of Buddhism. I used to have a big interest in it. Unfortunately, all these contradictions make my interest go downhill. Where does Buddha claim to believe in gods or any god? He himself never claimed to be one. It is nothing like Hinduism.

Well the Tittha Sutta (Pali Canon) does come to mind. I think of Buddhism as an axiomatic religion, it deals not with overall cosmology or even metaphysics but the intersection of concepts (observable and occasionally speculative) that intersect on what would be a universal scale. At least in Theravada the concept of "God" (which itself in the Monotheistic sense is just, as correctly understood, a veiled personification of Ultimate Reality/The Absolute) is embodied in Nibbana. Not as an attainment of bliss or ecstasy (of which we find with concepts in other religions like Moksha or Jannah) but instead a form of cessation to the pure essence of things of which serves as the true ground of all phenomena. This thing itself which is inevitably omnipresent because all arises to it and all things inevitable achieve the return to it in due time (in theory). I do find it hard to disagree with really, especially when considering the nature of 'the conditioned' from 'the unconditioned'. Clearly through attachment we have metaphysically restricted ourselves, which has given rise (Pratītyasamutpāda) to matter/space/time etc. I think people get way too bogged down by anthropomorphic concepts when it comes to working out that question but no, Buddhism is neither atheism nor agnosticism but it also rightfully rejects any personal deity.

When it comes to Mahayana and Vajranaya, we find more developments away from certain approaches found in Theravada, which makes the question more complicated to answer overall, so I'll limit it more to Theravada here.

Näre
18 Dec 2019, 05:42
I've heard a metaphor that learning Buddhism is like learning to ride a bike. Left and right may sound contradictory but sometimes you need to go right and sometimes left to stay on your path.

DavidMcCann
21 Dec 2019, 09:26
As I see it, Buddha was a philosopher. He adopted the theory of reincarnation which was a recent introduction to the Hinduism of his day and made a pessimistic assessment of the human condition. Therefore he advocated leading a life which would break our attachment to the world and so prevent reincarnation. Gods simply don't come into it. To me the real inconsistency is simultaneously holding that we are attracted to life (hence reincarnation) yet it's said to be miserable! I find myself unexpectedly agreeing with Marx, that the purpose of philosophy should be to change things — Buddha's solution looks like cowardice.

Naturally, his philosophy can be combined with many other views. Most Asian Buddhists are theists, many in the West who call themselves Buddhists are atheists. In China, Japan, and Vietnam, the idea of reincarnation has been dropped and the goal become to achieve enlightenment, after which life is no longer one of suffering, or to enter heaven after death. No doubt Buddha wouldn't accept those views (unless he achieved a second enlightenment!) but there's no patent on the term Buddhist.

B. de Corbin
22 Dec 2019, 09:14
Not sure I would use the term "pessimistic assessment" :

1st Noble Truth = life contains suffering (realist)
2nd Noble Truth = the cause of suffering is attachment to illusion (diagnostic)
3rd Noble Truth = the cure for suffering is breaking the attachment to illusion (prescriptive)
4th Noble Truth = the Noble Eightfold Path leads to the breaking of attachment to illusion (optimistic)

To identify a problem, learn the cause of the problem, find a solution to the problem, and put the solution into practice is NOT pessimissism. Identifying, understanding, identifying a cure, effecting the cure - this indicates hope that the chains binding human beings to their past errors can be broken.

This is better described as "optimism."

Rhythm
23 Dec 2019, 08:33
I think that this is exactly what McCann eas referring to, and despite being the proud possessor of my own personal zen - I tend to agree.

Life is viewed as a problem to be solved. This is a necessarily pessimistic view of life. Regardless of whether it's true or false.

B. de Corbin
23 Dec 2019, 10:06
I think that this is exactly what McCann eas referring to, and despite being the proud possessor of my own personal zen - I tend to agree.

Life is viewed as a problem to be solved. This is a necessarily pessimistic view of life. Regardless of whether it's true or false.

"Life is a problem to be solved" is far too broad a statement to be meaningful. In Buddhism, "the inevitable suffering that comes with life" is the specific "problem to be solved."

If identifying a single problem in a broad system, and then finding a way to solve it is "pessimistic," then anybody who does anything to improve either their own condition, or the condition of others must be a "pessimist." In this case, the word suddenly becomes meaningless.

However, examining a system, identifying a specific flaw, and determining that such a flaw can be fixed via specific actions, clearly shows optimism.

LuxNur
23 Dec 2019, 18:44
Not sure I would use the term "pessimistic assessment" :

1st Noble Truth = life contains suffering (realist)
2nd Noble Truth = the cause of suffering is attachment to illusion (diagnostic)
3rd Noble Truth = the cure for suffering is breaking the attachment to illusion (prescriptive)
4th Noble Truth = the Noble Eightfold Path leads to the breaking of attachment to illusion (optimistic)

To identify a problem, learn the cause of the problem, find a solution to the problem, and put the solution into practice is NOT pessimissism. Identifying, understanding, identifying a cure, effecting the cure - this indicates hope that the chains binding human beings to their past errors can be broken.

This is better described as "optimism."

Yep this is correct. It's diagnosing a problem, not glorifying it.

Bartmanhomer
23 Dec 2019, 19:04
Many religions seem to contradict itself as a whole. Well for the fundamentalist ones anyway.

Rhythm
25 Dec 2019, 23:05
Life as a problem may be too broad a statement to be meaningful (in some context - though this hardly seems to be that context if there is one). Nevertheless, it is how buddhism views life at a fundamental level. I can understand why buddhism conceptualizes life this way even if I don't agree with it.

The pessimism in the viewpoint is inherent, whether it's warranted or not - and it helps to remember that a view can be pessimistic even if it's true. We might prefer to use other terms because of a negative connotation - but a view which states that life is a problem to be diagnosed is necessarily more pessimistic than one which asserts that life is the solution to some problem, for example. Perhaps the first view is factually accurate, and the second a wishful fantasy - but still. OFC, as you note..it's rare to find any pov that leans entirely to one side or the other in that divide. There's certainly some optimism in the notion that the problem of life can be fixed, but this view only makes sense in light of the earlier proposition. One wonders whether any tradition which does not offer some similar tangible or intangible solution would be able to compete with those that do.

We could repeat this with other beliefs, all without ever referring to or debating their factual accuracy, their internal consistency, or asserting that either state of affairs is or should be negatively weighted. The notion of sin is inherently pessimistic, but the hope for salvation is decidedly not.

Miasma, again, inherently pessimistic - and the solution to the problem of miasma if generally tragic (in the classical sense of the term, no less)...but again there is at least the hope of breaking free.

B. de Corbin
26 Dec 2019, 09:46
In that case, I will continue to pessimisticly believe that, if I take certain actions, my life will be better in the future than it was in the past.

Rhythm
26 Dec 2019, 13:52
That sounds more like an optimistic belief that things will be improved with respect to some pessimistic view of past events. As I mentioned before, this isn't any attempt to debate the factual accuracy of what you believe or attach any negative value to it's appraisal of life.

It's merely the observation that buddhism takes a necessarily pessimistic view of life. This does make a person wonder why we would desire it so much, as Mccann noted - but ofc buddhism has some explanation for this as well - again not looking to debate the factual accuracy or proper connotation of that, either.

There's no need to defend or posture over what you believe, to me. We all have beliefs.

I would even answer the initiating OPQ with "sometimes, those contradictions are deliberate" Koan as intuition pump.