Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby Kim O'Hara » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:19 pm

Samanthabhadra wrote:Anyone who has seriously investigated Buddhism knows that Buddhism has 100 peaceful and wrathful deities.

I don't want to be unnecessarily negative towards you but your argument fails with the very first thing you wrote in this thread.
There are - literally - millions of sincere, well-informed Buddhists who don't know this.
Most of them live in Theravadin countries.

:namaste:
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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby Jikan » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:31 pm

Samanthabhadra wrote:We don't view Buddha as just a historical figure, we view him as someone who exists in an eternal platonic realm and our goal should be to attain this Buddha nature. Atheistic Buddhists have no future because the tantric texts of Buddhism slams the views of atheistic and secular Buddhists explicitly.


I disagree with the bolded bit. Atheistic Buddhists have as much of a future as anyone else, and deserve kindness and respect like anyone else. Atheistic Buddhism as a teaching has no future not because some ancient texts anticipate its weakness, but rather because it is not so helpful.

This is not to say that we should silence disagreements. Earnest debate and discussion is indispensible. It simply needs to be done in a spirit of friendship.

Let a thousand flowers bloom.
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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby greentara » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:49 pm

Of course secular Buddhism should be tolerated even though it seems as if there's something fundamental lacking. Is it real Buddhism? Where is the devotion, where is the tremendous pull inwards seeking the truth, the divine? I could go on and on but I'm sure you get my drift.
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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby BuddhaSoup » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:50 pm

It's my understanding from the early texts that Gautama, when asked about deities by the lay folk as he traveled from town to town, refused to respond one way or the other. The idea was that the existence/nonexistence of creator gods and deities was not integral to his Dharma. So, if the Buddha expressed a neutrality, and a tendency to tolerate various viewpoints so long as the essential Dharma was being absorbed, then, yes, tolerance is an important element of our practice. Attaching too strongly to one view on this issue may be a fetter that obstructs us from the liberation we seek.
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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:40 pm

"Shouldn't be tolerated"?

In what way lol, it's not your place to tell others what to believe. Anyway the best way to prevent people from doing self-help Buddhism is to associate yourself with people doing "real" Buddhism, practice it to the best of your ability, and get good at explaining it to our over-rationalized society full of people who believe reality is the narrow bandwidth they can see and touch only.. Argue with them sure, that's probably a good thing...but in terms of tolerating them, I would hope so. There are way worse things out there to believe, and these people should be viewed as friends who we believe are simply not getting the full meal deal, rather than enemies to be crusaded against.

When I first got into reading about Buddhism as a teenager, and even to a degree when I picked it up later, I was one of "those" people that was attracted to non-theistic, skeptical bits of Buddhism. People don't stay the same in what they believe. I wouldn't have ever set foot in a sangha if i'd run into self-appointed Dharma crusaders acting like you are and trying to tell me how to think, instead of actually making good (friendly) arguments for me to chew on.

Also worth mentioning, I am not sure if you are taking the deity's as evidence that Buddhism is anti-atheist or what, but obviously "deity" in Tibetan Buddhism generally isn't the same as what it means in theistic religions. Compared to most theistic religions any form of Buddhism is somewhat Atheistic, first cause is kind of a given in most theism, and that's something that literally cannot exist within a Buddhist framework and worldview.

Rebirth is not important, the eternal Buddha realm is not important and Buddha was an agnostic, these are some of the new age subsequent developments and you expect me to accept this view without ridiculing and criticizing it?



Do you really think these people will care about your indignation and confrontational attitude about it? You will just get laughed at or yelled at. Do what you do, figure it out well enough to advocate for it, or leave it be and keep quiet with them - otherwise you are more likely to just turn more people off from Dharma altogether. In addition, you gain more confidence yourself in your practice by figuring out why you believe what you believe, and certainly if you are not capable of presenting your view of the world as a workable alternative to theirs, you have no place even bringing it up with them.
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is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby Astus » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:25 pm

I assume by secular Buddhist what is meant is a person who is materialist and/or agnostic toward non-materialist assertions. It is a position where one doesn't have faith in teachings that are apparently without proof and contradict one's original view of the world. There are generally two types of secular Buddhists. Those who only focus on meditation and those who study Buddhist teachings. Both group expects results within this life and find Buddhism beneficial. The support scientific research and that way help spreading the teachings among those who are doubtful about the usefulness of the Dharma. Secular Buddhism should not only be tolerated but embraced, because that is a natural first step on the path for an educated modern person. In places where Buddhism is a traditional religion the majority of Buddhists look for material gain and a better next life, while secular Buddhists find the teachings about meditation and reality intriguing and good. The former is the simple believer with little knowledge, while the latter is someone with personal interest and enthusiasm. Since the lowest aspiration within Buddhism is the path of men and gods, both the simple believer and the secular Buddhist can be accepted as Buddhists.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
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Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby conebeckham » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:39 pm

Samanthabhadra wrote:Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist - Dr. Alan Wallace

Anyone who has seriously investigated Buddhism knows that Buddhism has 100 peaceful and wrathful deities.

Image
Hundred peaceful and wrathful deities.


Anyone who has seriously investigated Buddhism knows that some forms of Buddhism have deities, while others do not. Some of these forms of "non-theistic Buddhism" predate, historically, those forms which may be deemed "Theistic" by some....


We don't view Buddha as just a historical figure, we view him as someone who exists in an eternal platonic realm and our goal should be to attain this Buddha nature. Atheistic Buddhists have no future because the tantric texts of Buddhism slams the views of atheistic and secular Buddhists explicitly.


I suppose it's possible that some Buddhists, even some ASIAN Buddhists, think of the Buddha as existing in an "eternal platonic realm." But I'd bet you most learned Buddhists, Asian or otherwise, would take issue with these terms.

For example, some Buddhists believe there is no "attaining" Buddha Nature, and that there's no "eternal platonic realm," but that it's a matter of perspective, of view, and of obscurations to that view.

Some Buddhists who think that Vajrayana deities are "theistic" are missing the nuances of Vajrayana, as well.
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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby randomseb » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:24 pm

Konchog1 wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:It's ironic that you're not prepared to tolerate subsequent developments in Buddhism, yet you're perfectly happy to accept previous developments... don't you find your stance somewhat arbitrary
But Secular Buddhism is not Buddhism. That's the problem.


This is a personal view, an opinion, a contrived mental construct, this is not buddhism?

Even the tibetan buddhism, with it's heavy influence of pre-buddhist tibetan shamanism and the associated deity practices, at it's very top level, the deepest practice level, makes away with all of the religious mythology.

Here is PadmaSambhava's buddhism, a couple of sections of his own words, explaining what I tried to say a few posts above:


- THE RESULTS OF DESIRES -
Others, in accordance with their own particular faith and practice, having become fettered by desires, cannot perceive the Clear Light.
They are overwhelmed by suffering, and are in darkness because of their suffering.

...

- THE GREAT SELF-LIBERATION -
Owing to worldly beliefs, which he is free to accept or reject, man wanders in the Sangsara.
Therefore, practicing the Dharma, freed from every attachment, grasp the whole essence of these teachings expounded in this Yoga of Self-Liberation by Knowing the Mind in its Real Nature.
The truths set forth herein are known as 'The Great Self-Liberation'; and in them culminates the Doctrine of the Great Ultimate Perfection.

...

- MIND IN ITS TRUE STATE -
When one seeks one's mind in its true state, it is found to be quite intelligible, although invisible.
In its true state, mind is naked, immaculate; not made of anything, being of the Voidness; clear, vacuous, without duality, transparent; timeless, uncompounded, unimpeded, colourless; not realizable as a separate thing, but as the unity of all things, yet not composed of them; of one taste, and transcendent over differentiation.
Nor is one's own mind separable from other minds.
To realize the quintessential being of the One Mind is to realize the immutable at-one-ment of the Tri-Kaya.

...
- THE DHARMA WITHIN -
The Dharma being nowhere save in the mind, there is no other place of meditation than the mind.
The Dharma being nowhere save in the mind, there is no other doctrine to be taught or practiced elsewhere.
The Dharma being nowhere save in the mind, there is no other place of truth for the observance of a vow.
The Dharma being nowhere save in the mind, there is no Dharma elsewhere whereby Liberation may be attained.
Again and again look within the shining of one's own mind.

~ PadmaSambabhava, select passages from Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation


To the OP: How are you going to cling to your view that Padmasambhava expounded a religious view of deities, heavens, and hells, as "The Way", when he clearly states otherwise himself? In fact the top level of his teaching is almost the same as Zen, plus or minus some wording differences.

You can find this text via google pretty easily, I recommend it, it's a beautiful text.

:reading:
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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby Simon E. » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:29 pm

Samanthabhadra wrote:
Simon E. wrote:There is an eastern mind ?


Yes, Asian thought is not positivistic, for us the mind and brain are two different things and our epistemology is different.

And this is true of all Asians, and the inverse is true for all Caucasians ?
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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby Samanthabhadra » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:37 pm

conebeckham wrote:Some Buddhists who think that Vajrayana deities are "theistic" are missing the nuances of Vajrayana, as well.


Vajrayana Deities are gods with whom you can have a dialogue with. That's what tantric Buddhism is. There is no arguing there. Of course the deities are to be considered in an emanationist sense.

Image

Q: Is the process of bardo and rebirth the same for all human beings regardless of whether they have Vajrayana training or not?

A: Yes, everybody goes through this process, whether they are Buddhist or not. All sentient beings take birth. They all have five aggregates. They must have parents to contribute the two elements and these elements are going to dissolve at death. Whether Buddhist or non-buddhist, earth dissolves into water, water evaporates into fire, and all physical systems degenerate. The details of the visionary sequences may vary according to one's beliefs, but basically everybody will have similar experiences.

According to the Vajrayana teachings, the bardo visions are reflections of your mental state, so the forms and images do not always have to appear in the same way for everybody. There may be differences as to the color and the shape of the visions, but the main thing is to recognize them as projections of your own consciousness. Therefore in The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Guru Padmasambhava repeats, "Do not be afraid of your own visions. Don't be afraid when the wrathful deities appear. Do not be distracted. Recognize them as your own mind forms." He repeats that again and again throughout these teachings. This is the basic message, the main point.

- A modern commentary on Karma Lingpa's Zhi-khro teachings on the peaceful and wrathful deities by Rinpoche
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.
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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:42 pm

randomseb wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:It's ironic that you're not prepared to tolerate subsequent developments in Buddhism, yet you're perfectly happy to accept previous developments... don't you find your stance somewhat arbitrary
But Secular Buddhism is not Buddhism. That's the problem.


This is a personal view, an opinion, a contrived mental construct, this is not buddhism?
Four Seals and their implications
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby randomseb » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:46 pm

In referring to Ultimate Reality (dharmata) as the sky-like original nature, understand that to be sky-like is to have no intrinsic nature at all. It is completely beyond objectification and beyond all concepts such as "is" or "is not;" both "is" or "is not" or something other that "is" or "is not." Between "sky","mind" and "Ultimate Reality" no distinction should be made. All these terms should be taken as mere designations and concepts. Everything is one's own mind. Not so much as an atom exists outside of mind. Whoever realizes that from the very beginning there has been nothing other than mind, has acquired the realization of all the Buddhas of the three times.

~ The Mahamudra Dohakosa of the Mahasiddha Saraha



"Therefore, shariputra: since there is no acquisition, bodhisattvas abide in reliance on transcendental wisdom. Having no mental-object, they are without fear. Having utterly transcended erroneous views, they acquire ultimate nirvana."

"All the Buddhas of the three times come to realize supreme perfect complete enlightenment by this reliance on transcendental wisdom."

~ The Heart Sutra
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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby Samanthabhadra » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:01 pm

randomseb wrote:To the OP: How are you going to cling to your view that Padmasambhava expounded a religious view of deities, heavens, and hells, as "The Way", when he clearly states otherwise himself? In fact the top level of his teaching is almost the same as Zen, plus or minus some wording differences.

You can find this text via google pretty easily, I recommend it, it's a beautiful text.



Anyone who doesn't accept this Buddhist cosmology and all these worlds is not a Buddhist.

If you're a Buddhist then start taking the Buddhist cosmogony very seriously otherwise please find yourself an another religion. There is nothing wrong with it but for god sake stop misrepresenting Buddhism. For us the truth and the correct representation of our religion is more important not how many people are following our religion. Even if millions follow Buddhism they cannot establish Dharma as long as they are following a false view of Buddhism.

That's what I would like to say to secular and atheistic Buddhists.
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.
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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby Jikan » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:06 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Samanthabhadra wrote:
Simon E. wrote:There is an eastern mind ?


Yes, Asian thought is not positivistic, for us the mind and brain are two different things and our epistemology is different.

And this is true of all Asians, and the inverse is true for all Caucasians ?


I'm interested in learning more about this one.
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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby Jikan » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:08 pm

Samanthabhadra wrote:
randomseb wrote:To the OP: How are you going to cling to your view that Padmasambhava expounded a religious view of deities, heavens, and hells, as "The Way", when he clearly states otherwise himself? In fact the top level of his teaching is almost the same as Zen, plus or minus some wording differences.

You can find this text via google pretty easily, I recommend it, it's a beautiful text.



Anyone who doesn't accept this Buddhist cosmology and all these worlds is not a Buddhist.

If you're a Buddhist then start taking the Buddhist cosmogony very seriously otherwise please find yourself an another religion. There is nothing wrong with it but for god sake stop misrepresenting Buddhism. For us the truth and the correct representation of our religion is more important not how many people are following our religion. Even if millions follow Buddhism they cannot establish Dharma as long as they are following a false view of Buddhism.

That's what I would like to say to secular and atheistic Buddhists.


Is this more fundamentalist approach any more effective in propagating the Dharma? If so, how do you know?
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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby Samanthabhadra » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:16 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Samanthabhadra wrote:Anyone who has seriously investigated Buddhism knows that Buddhism has 100 peaceful and wrathful deities.

I don't want to be unnecessarily negative towards you but your argument fails with the very first thing you wrote in this thread.
There are - literally - millions of sincere, well-informed Buddhists who don't know this.
Most of them live in Theravadin countries.

:namaste:
Kim


What about the Mahayana Sutras and the Vajrayana Tantras? I have repeatedly said many times here that for us the historical Buddha is not the only thing important for us, the fact that he eternally exists in the platonic realm is as important as the historical Buddha. There is no excuse for such ignorance in this present age and time.

Have you ever wondered what our true concerns are?
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.
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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby Jesse » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:21 pm

Samanthabhadra wrote:Anyone who doesn't accept this Buddhist cosmology and all these worlds is not a Buddhist.

If you're a Buddhist then start taking the Buddhist cosmogony very seriously otherwise please find yourself an another religion. There is nothing wrong with it but for god sake stop misrepresenting Buddhism. For us the truth and the correct representation of our religion is more important not how many people are following our religion. Even if millions follow Buddhism they cannot establish Dharma as long as they are following a false view of Buddhism.


It's natural to doubt thing's you can't directly perceive or know, to believe in a cosmology just because it's part of a religious doctrine is foolish. I always though Buddhism was about ending suffering, not forcing people to believe in an ancient cosmology, but if that's what you think is important, more power to you.
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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby Simon E. » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:22 pm

Yes, Asian thought is not positivistic, for us the mind and brain are two different things and our epistemology is different.[/quote]
And this is true of all Asians, and the inverse is true for all Caucasians ?[/quote]

I'm interested in learning more about this one.[/quote]

Yes. I noticed that it was passed over.
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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:26 pm

These terms "us" and "we" you keep using, do you mean them in a "royal" sense or do you actually believe your view represents that of all "real" Buddhists? For example, your view does not coincide with mine, s does that mean I am not Buddhist? Does that mean I have a wrong view? Just because I do not agree with you?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Should secular Buddhism be tolerated?

Postby Samanthabhadra » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:30 pm

Jikan wrote:Is this more fundamentalist approach any more effective in propagating the Dharma? If so, how do you know?



First of all its not a fundamentalist approach, someone who goes with evidence is not a fundamentalist, stating that the earth is not flat is not a fundamentalist position. That's how silly your question is.

As far as how it is more effective in propagating the Dharma is concerned Vajrayana is considered to be the culmination of all Buddhist teachings and it imbibes the views of all other schools of Buddhism in it.

Dzogchen Rinpoche (2007: p. 89) holds that:

"When we study and practice the so-called lower and higher yanas, we might hear that the most sublime, or the pinnacle of all teachings are those of dzogchen, and this is true. The "lower" yanas of the shravaka and bodhisattva paths, the "higher" paths of the tantras, and the "pinnacle" path of dzogchen are distinguished from one another in this way. This gradation shows the various ways in which it is appropriate for beings of differing propensities to proceed upon the path. Ideally, a practitioner proceeds from the lower levels of practice to the higher levels, and then to the summit. This does not mean that the lower levels of practice are to be disparaged or ignored. We should not focus on the higher paths at the expense of the lower paths..."
Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Hit the edit button instead of the quote button!!! Sorry!
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.
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