Buddhism: get it right people! (pathetic rant)

(This is so pathetic, I’m sure)

Buddhism. I am getting REALLY tired of the idiotic way people talk about buddhism on the board, including people who have studied it and should no better.

I know half of you are super-contemptuous of anyone who isn’t an “enlightened atheist”, but for the love of God (rimshot!), at least care enough to talk about a subject intelligently.

My big beef here is that people talk about Buddhism, probably to a greater degree than they do about Christiantity, as if it were one monolothic block of beliefe and everyone who ascribes to that religion is a monolithic Borg who thinks the same way.

No. No frickin’ way, darn it!

Japan alone has probably as many Buddhist sects as all the Christian ones, everywhere, combined. And they do not all think about things in the same way. So get it right people. i see a lot of commentary on Buddhism that acts as if some beliefe were scripture. It usually ain’t, and people disagree even on the scriptures.

So honestly, at least try to include a short disclaimer, like “(this refers to generic Chinese Mahayana Buddism)”, or "I really only studied Japanese True Pure Land, so this may not be accurate for all sects.

because if you are going to talk about other people’s (and even your own) religion like you know somthing about, then you should be honest enough with yourself to admit that other people don’t agree with you, even in the same category of beleifs.

But my beliefs are the one true way. Everyone else is wrong.

It is the “Great Alternative” to the occidental mindset and has been for over a hundred years. When you add the copyright infringement of Christ (or his chroniclers) stealing Buddha’s statements it is easy to see why people want to see a monolithic Buddha-Borg conciousness.

Christ didn’t “steal” Buddha’s statements, he simply repeated them. Christ and Buddha were both messengers of God, and although the paths they described are slightly different, the destination is the same. It starts getting messy when you have people who make rules and names for these “religions”. People who don’t understand something usually either fear it or want to change it into something they CAN understand.

. . . did somebody call me?

You’re obviously mistaking yourself for me.

“There is no human problem that could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.” - Gore Vidal

Ah, good thread subject.

I had a period where I was interested in Buddhism, but at least I actually researched some of the different sects and picked Theravada Buddhism, as opposed to throwing “Buddhism” out randomly with a vague idea from stuff I’ve read in self-help books about what Buddhism teaches. In Sociology, the guy who sits next to me said “Buddhism is a religion without a god!” and I had to point out that many, many sects of Buddhism do include belief in a god or gods and the worship and respect paid to god or Buddha as a possible method of gaining enlightenment… in fact, for me it’s easier to think of Buddhism sects that include (or at least don’t preclude) gods than ones that don’t.

He then told me he was a Zen Buddhist. I told him I’d try not to think any less of him because of that. Ah, my fellow college students… (not that I’m any less naive/arrogant in my own ways, obviously. :smiley: )

To be honest with you, those “paths” are nothign liek each other. Buddha espoused a life of solitude of monasticism, a complete denial of sex, for the ultimate extinguishment of self.

Christ performed miracles to show people the path of God, and how they might be liberated from Sin and freed from death itself, and was then martyred to redeem mankind before God.

I don’t claim to be a religious scholar, I just stated what I believe. I don’t read too much into any religion, IMO no one should. But I do agree with the OP, people who don’t know shit about a particular religion shouldn’t pretend that they do.

That’s rather good advice about any topic in general. As I see it, the last thing that either the Buddha or the Christ would want is for people to fight over which has the bigger spiritual dick.

*Originally posted by leatherheather *

As smiling bandit pointed out, the two paths not the same. Christ did not repeat the Buddha’s statements. Neither was Buddha a messenger of God - in fact he made no public statements to the veracity/non-veracity of “God” or “Gods” in his teachings.

Not to be snippy, but it also might help by not making false statements regarding your understanding of Buddhism as well.

I will say it again, this is what I believe, not what is fact. I don’t go around telling people, hey, let me tell you all about Buddhism (or Christianity) because I’ve got a Master’s Degree in bullshit. I didn’t think it would be necessary to explain this, but I guess I will. It is my BELIEF (not trying to persuade anyone here) that God is a symbol of eternal happiness and not some big guy sitting up in the clouds stroking his beard. God is a metaphor for enlightenment, and that being with God (in heaven) is to be enlightened. I am not making false statements, because in order for something to be false, it has to be proven untrue. And again, these are my BELIEFs, not facts.

I welcome any backlash, I’m bored as hell today. Libertarian, that was a great post!!

Dammit! I figured I wouldn’t have to use a smiley in the pit. It was supposed to be a bit of a joke. They said similar things at times, and did things that can be construed as similar, wandering in the desert, facing temptations, apostle collecting… Whether it was coincidence, or the chroniclers of Christ scooped up something from an older, far off religion to shake things up a bit is irrelevant, I should have used the smiley.

“The central tenet of Buddhism is not ‘every man for himself’!”

–Wanda, A Fish Called Wanda

The older hinayama Buddhism is actually pretty much like that. The Buddha can be an example for you, but only you can actually help yourself get enlightenment.

Sorry. I’ve heard people actually say these things, soo…

Actually, Smiling Bandit, do you know if there’s any linkage between Buddhism and Stoicism? It’s not impossible there could be one…Alexander did get to the borders of India, and some of the Stoic beliefs, like the idea that desire is the cause of suffering, and that people should seek disengagement with the world and extinguishment of desire, seem kind of similar to some Buddhist ones.

Captain Amazing I believe Joseph Campbell makes that claim in his book “Occidental Mythology”. Take that for what it is worth. (I happen to be a fan, but not everyone will agree with him)

My problem was that the content of his previous book “Oriental Mythology” regarding mainly Hinduism and Buddhism was incomprehensible to my western mind and I, unfortunately, got little out of it.

Some would argue that the central tenets of Christianity as taught by Christ and Buddhism as taught by the Buddha are the same in many fundamental ways. Aldous Huxley was big on this, and Joseph Campbell.

It’s sort of downplayed in modern Christian denominations, but a large part of Christ’s message was a reaction against what he saw as the dead religion of the Pharisees and their adherence to the letter of Judaic law rather than the spirit in which the law was made; he referred to them as “white washed tombs” (Matt. 23:27) and self-righteous lovers of display (Matt. 6:1-6, 16-18). The story of the young adulteress who was brought before him to be stoned was likely an attempt to trap him intellectually, as Judaic law demanded that she be stoned. Islam doesn’t recognize his divinity, but does recognize him as a great prophet (although not as great as THE Prophet) who showed the importance of the spirit of the law over the law itself. In the Koran he is the “prophet of the heart.”

Jesus didn’t merely refer to God as his father (abba) himself, he encouraged his followers to do the same in the Lord’s prayer, the point being that a mere adherence to empty forms would never lead you closer to God; the only way to God was through the direct experience, as through a personal relationship. This is similar to Mahayana Ch’an and Zen Buddhism, in that the external practice is not what actually leads one to enlightenment. The external practice is just a method, a finger pointing to the moon, and isn’t to be mistaken for the actual moon itself. When the monk Bodhidharma met the Chinese emperor Wu Ti, the emperor asked him what virtue he had gained by his great works, building of temples, and good deeds. Bodhidharma answered “none whatsoever”, just as the Pharisees had gained no virtue whatsoever in the rigid adherence to Judaic law for its own sake. What truly mattered was not the external practice, but the internal relationship.

Just a clarification. Saying that the Buddha advocated “solitude” is a little misleading: the “Sangha” (Buddhist community) has played an important function within monastic buddhism for pretty much the religion’s entire history AFAIK.

As an aside, I also understand that “the middle path” excludes ascetic extremes, as reflected in Gotama’s experiences immediately before attaining Buddhahood.

If religions are talking about anything at all real, be it God or a benign temporal lobe seizure, you’d expect them to have some things in common, because underneath all the errors, they’re trying to describe the same thing.