Hi :-)

I've been contacted twice now by people claiming to be buddhists that have a difference with me referring to it as a religion.  I just wish to publicly reaffirm my belief that it is a religion.  I'd also like to say that if you wish to approach me on this subject, you should be friendly and intelligent, able to argue in a coherent fashion and not defensively or aggressively.  And if you claim to be a buddhist you should probably not be rude like the two "buddhists" who have contacted me.
ReformedAutomaton ReformedAutomaton
41-45, M
28 Responses Aug 7, 2007

Thank you very much bodhi...only recently have I finally started meditating more regularly. It is paying off for certain. For the longest time I've felt really uncomfortable while meditating and couldn't generally sit more than 5 minutes. I've begun reading passages before I sit and that seems to help a lot. I've also started doing breathing exercises every morning when I wake up and that is helping too.

Isn't this about the time when the Zen Master smacks the debate-monger on the head to wake him up and bring him back to the present moment? I just joined and I am shocked at how mean some of these people are! You follow your own path ReformedAutomaton, I'm with ya.

Do you really think it'd make a difference if Buddhism is a religion or not??? Or if Buddha actually believed in a Creator God or not Or if........<br />
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Don't you think that either way, the answers you get are all theoritical. Better would be to get down and actually PRACTICE buddhism (ya, whatever school or practices you follow)?<br />
Get down into the pool to swim man, no point debating the chemical properties of water!!!

I really like that last line about late elaborations, very well said. I think that most and/or all religions have been bastardized and have gotten far away from their original intention. <br />
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Although I am agnostic I do have leanings in my beliefs and one of those is in reincarnation. I just happen to believe that, most likely, I didn't just appear in the universe in 1975 only to disappear from the universe upon my death. <br />
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I don't believe in any such thing as nothing so I have a hard time believing that I was nothing before and will be nothing after. Maybe that's my old christian beliefs coming back to haunt me but it's also based on my own experiences, dreams, and ideas derived from reading and observing the world around me. <br />
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I don't wish to impose these ideas on anyone and I don't pretend to know that they are the truth. But I have to go with my gut instinct. My intuition tells me that there is more to this life than birth, death, and everything in between. And even more than the psychological and physical material we leave behind. <br />
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All I know is that the universe is far too infinite at both the cosmic level and at the quantum level for there not to be more to life than what we see. I do think life after death in some form occurs, I don't know how and I know I won't find out until I'm dead. But I'll always have my own personal theories and leanings. Sorry to ramble but you do make for interesting conversation. Thanks for sharing your ideas :)

I think that we agree. Most people are religious, including most Buddhist persons around the world. Some people won't accept that they are in fact still religious despites they turn to Buddhism. <br />
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On the other hand I must reiterate that reincarnation in Buddhism is not at all what you think it is. It is not life after death. It is more like a "continuation" of what you did, for example it might include some of your children's traits of personality that they got from you. In that sense you "reincarnate" in your children, among many other "places". This has nothing to do with anything supernatural. It has to do with your psychological legacy! Well... this is the way I understand it. I, like you, don't believe in anything supernatural. :-) See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reincarnation<br />
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I do agree that maybe there are Buddhist societies where for most people (the religious people typically) reincarnation is more like what it is for us westerner. It is this way because a society must be accepted by most people, and most people, by nature, are religious and kind of "have to" believe that life goes on, even once you're dead!<br />
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So, next time you encounter a religious Buddhist, tell him/her that you are "nothing supernatural Buddhist!"<br />
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Buddha was not a Buddhist much like Jesus was neither Catholic nor Protestant nor from any other branch of Christianity. These are late elaborations that more often than not weaken the original message.<br />
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Have fun.

I also find it strange how much energy and vigor these buddhists (I'm not talking about you Jean Marie) put into making their point that buddhism is not a religion. I think it comes from people being raised around fundamentalist christians who throw religion in their face. That would make me understand how later on they would want to embrace something only if it was not a religion and they would defend vigorously their belief that it is not a religion even despite evidence to the contrary.

Yeah but I just can't get around that fact. No matter how you spin it, the belief that we live on after death in any form or capacity is supernatural and therefore religious. The only thing that we can see and touch about death here on earth is that it is final. We never see or touch that person again. Any idea that the person is not dead or that a portion of them lives on is a religious one. I am a big fan of buddhism, it's my favorite religion/philosophy/whatever you want to call it. I just get tired of these "buddhists" trying to tell me what I'm supposed to believe just as so many christians did to me in my upbringing. People should really just follow their own path and let others make their own decisions.

Hi ReformedAutomatom,<br />
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Descartes stated "I think therefore I am" and we have Cartesian ism and science.<br />
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Buddhism states "There is suffering and it can be reduced"<br />
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Those things are not supernatural at all, quite the contrary (and Cartesian ism is hardly a religion, or is it ?).<br />
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There exists religious Buddhists who felt compelled to add rules that society should enforce. In that sense, Buddhism is a religion, in some countries.<br />
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However, if you get back to the basic principles of Buddhism, you won't see anything supernatural. Buddhist reincarnation is not westerner's style reincarnation, where you are dead but still alive in a new body. Buddhism tells that 1/ there is no "you", there is a "we" 2/ Whatever there is keeps having effects once "you" die. That is a very different understanding of what reincarnation means.<br />
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Well... maybe. ;-)

One who believes in a certain set of criteria that govern and describe our lives is religious. I've read extensively in buddhism and though there are many different sects of it, there are always sets of beliefs and a basic belief in the supernatural. <br />
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Atheists believe in nothingness, agnostics don't know, but buddhists have a set of criteria that is based on the supernatural belief in reincarnation and the ability to achieve buddhahood which are not things you can see and touch but only theorize about making it a religion by definition. Philosophy discusses things of this world but a religion tells us how we should live in it and what will happen when we live no more.

Buddhism is neither religious nor non religious. The religiosity of Buddhism is irrelevant to Buddhism.<br />
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It is the people that are religious or not. Some people are religious, some people are not.<br />
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Religious people tend to do things in a religious way, whereas non religious people don't. It is a matter of faith I suppose. One who has faith is religious, one who doesn't know is not. Most people are religious. Sometimes they believe in the non existence of any god. That is atheism.<br />
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Buddhism is a way of life.

Thanks Internalarts, very insightful.

Good stuff. Did you guys hear this one:<br />
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What did the buddhist say to the hot dog vendor?<br />
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"Make me one with everything."<br />
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I suppose both people involved in this someone petty argument were 'correct'. I am guessing that Brundlefly has studied and practiced Zen. That is a practice and a philosophy, not a religion. It is iconoclastic and some of the teachings appear to disrespect held ideas, but that was a teaching method to help students break long held ideas. I think you would be very hard pressed to find a Zen teacher who would tell you as Brundlefly explained: <br />
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"So, if you are a mean, nasty, spiteful, D*ckhead by nature, then accept it about yourself, learn to use it wisely, and move on. Just because you're a natural @sshole doesn't mean you're not a Buddhist..."<br />
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He is of course right. There are all types of people in every religion. Just because you are an _____________ (Christian, Muslim, etc) does not mean you are one that can be held to high standards or that they lve up to all the teachings. All it means is that they identify with that group or title and hopefully are trying to follow the teachings.<br />
Anyway--there are non-zen sect buddhists all over the world who practice buddhism as a religion and worship the buddha. Anyone who has read some buddhist texts outside of zen should know that. <br />
Buddhism does attempt to help people understand their minds and then be present enough to not continue to do things that are harmful to themselves of others. I don't think it would recommend anyone who knows they are spitefulto continue to be so. That may be where they are along the path, but not where they should stay.

Self, I like the Buddhist ideas that you aspire too. Mr. Dodo, I like your imagination, that made me laugh. an intellectual sense of humor, you don't see that often. like the true story of the philosopher who was looking up in the sky contemplating the universe and fell in a ditch, peace

Tibetan Buddhism is definitely a religion.

No harm Dodo, you're a good guy. I just wanted to clarify my position.

As a Buddhist I found the conversation enlightening. I've always known there were different perspectives. I've found it interesting reading about them.

hahaha... yes, I know. That last comment of mine was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. :) I just had this vision of two Seekers of Enlightenment both Stoutly Defending Their Positions and Their Own Correctness and Their Version of the Truth, before it descended into name calling, then a sandal slap fight, whilst their respective teachers looked on laughing :D And if anyone is offended by something as facile and harmless as my silly imagination, it's probably time for you to go meditate ;)

Well, as I've stated before, I am not a buddhist so I would not claim to be a good or a bad one. But I do feel I clearly stated in my last post the things that inspire me about buddhism and the ways it has affected my outlook on life.

Worst Buddhists ever!! ;) :D Seriously, though, this thread is a very good illustration of what Buddhism is *not* about... and thus a step towards enlightenment in itself, perhaps.

One of the things that I believe in most with buddhism is the idea that we as individuals are just a tiny piece of the whole of existence. That we not take ourselves so seriously since this is just one of an infinite number of incarnations that we've experienced throughout existence. I repeated the word compassion throughout my posts because that is to me the most powerful force in buddhism. I've thought that being selfless and wishing for others benefit is important. Considering every human being, whether friend, foe, or otherwise, as being more important than yourself and having a genuine love for them. Especially the foes. That is the hardest thing in the world to me but something that I aspire to. I wish to be able to treat all of my fellows with love and compassion regardless of my personal feelings for them. I have found that impossible but something I strive for. I have mostly studied the Tibetan form of buddhism so maybe we're just coming from different angles. I appreciate what you had to say for the most part and hope we can move on from this. Have a good evening :-)

the 'buddhist' has already admitted to penis envy so i think i'd be done with him, siddy! lol

Thanks Celainn. I'm not sure how he knows about my penis. I guess it's just so big that...ok I'll stop there. LOL Yeah I think I'm done with this debate.

Correction #1...he did not include his entire first post as he said he did. It said:<br />
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"Buddhism isn't a religion, it's a philosophy. You can be an atheist Buddhist or a Catholic Buddhist or... you get the idea."<br />
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I shot back "oh you're here to tell me what I can and can't believe, thanks God!" Which granted was sarcastic but I've gotten one of these buddhists before telling me what I should believe like so many other religious people.<br />
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I then wrote this "here's one definition of religion: a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny<br />
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Do you not have to believe in karma to be a true buddhist? Must you not believe in compassion and the inherent emptiness of existence? The supernatural power that controls human destiny in buddhism is causation. You must believe in reincarnation and buddhas. No it is not a monotheistic religion, that much is true. But it is a religion. <br />
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Another definition: (brackets added)<br />
A set of attitudes (compassionate, loving), beliefs (karma, altruism), and practices (meditation)pertaining to supernatural power(causation<br />
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Oh and here's another fabrication from his story. He said I only used karma as the driving force in the universe which I did not say. I actually said that causation is force which buddhists believe drive everything. He said that buddhism is an open book and you don't have to believe in karma, compassion, the inherent emptiness of existence, the basic fundamentals of the religion. I asked him what is buddhism then if it is not a set of beliefs (reincarnation, karma, emptiness), practices (meditation, abstaining from intoxicants) and attitudes (love, compassion, selflessness). <br />
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This guy never refuted these arguments.

THIS IS THE MOST ENTERTAINMENT I'VE HAD IN A FEW DAYS! WHOOHOO TO THE BUDDA!

well EP censored me...he called me "one heck of a penis" and an "as@"

This enlightened buddhist, follower of the path, had this to say to me in his last message "And you're one hell of a *****. ;-) Good luck in life... I have a snaky suspicion you'll need it."<br />
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He also called me an *** and said I shoud stop making such a fool of myself in public for thinking that buddhism is a religion. I didn't know that anger and vengence were a part of the buddhist path but this guys has been a buddhist for 10 years so I guess he knows!! A religious belief is a belief in the supernatural. No matter what your argument as to what buddhism is about, a buddha is a supernatural figure and that which all buddhists strive for. A buddha is not something that you can see or touch, it is an idea. A supernatural and therefore a religious one.

From a point of some ignorance, I suspect that there is neither enlightenment nor understanding in swapping names and labels. Better to remove the label, and look at what is beneath it?<br />
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Is Buddhism a religion or a philosophy?<br />
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It is,<br />
It is,<br />
It is.<br />
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???

Her's what I found in Webster's Dictionary and Thesaurus: PHILOSOPHY-The logical study of the nature and source of human knowledge or human values; set of values,opinions, and ideas of a group or individual. RELIGION- (syn.)- Belief, dogma, FAITH.------ Whelp, I'm not a Buddist, so ya'll will have to help me understand which fits it's meaning and understanding best. Although, you could BOTH be right??