real question

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

real question

Postby Wesley1982 » Thu May 24, 2012 5:07 am

Being conscious and aware of "idolatry" - are you sure that Buddhist worship is not worship of "gods" or "deities" ? . .
User avatar
Wesley1982
 
Posts: 739
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:45 pm
Location: Magga ~ Path to Liberation.

Re: real question

Postby plwk » Thu May 24, 2012 5:25 am

If this is of any help...
plwk
 
Posts: 2636
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:41 am

Re: real question

Postby dakini_boi » Thu May 24, 2012 5:51 am

Buddhist worship is done within the context of a Buddhist view. You will notice, when studying Buddhism, that there is a view (emptiness), and then you have skillful means to realize that view. Any and all techniques found in theistic religions can be used as skillful means if they are understood within the context of the view.
dakini_boi
 
Posts: 683
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:02 am

Re: real question

Postby Lhug-Pa » Thu May 24, 2012 5:56 am

Also, the exoteric aspect of "monotheistic" religions is actually mono-idolatry. They simply worship one invisible idol and call it "God". Not to say that invisible-to-the-physical-senses noumena don't exist. Nevertheless, to take a single invisible—whether existent or non-existent—noumenon and give it attributes of The Absolute, is mono-idolatry.
User avatar
Lhug-Pa
 
Posts: 1423
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:58 pm

Re: real question

Postby Wesley1982 » Thu May 24, 2012 6:27 am

From a beginner's POV - aren't these strange and foreign "gods" and "deities?". .
User avatar
Wesley1982
 
Posts: 739
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:45 pm
Location: Magga ~ Path to Liberation.

Re: real question

Postby Huifeng » Thu May 24, 2012 8:02 am

Wesley1982 wrote:From a beginner's POV - aren't these strange and foreign "gods" and "deities?". .


Perhaps, if the beginner has lot's of "gods" and "deities" lurking around in the depths of their minds, that they wish to project upon the world...

~~ Huifeng
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: real question

Postby Seishin » Thu May 24, 2012 9:33 am

Wesley1982 wrote:From a beginner's POV - aren't these strange and foreign "gods" and "deities?". .


To the misinformed, perhaps.

Gassho,
Seishin
User avatar
Seishin
Former staff member
 
Posts: 1407
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:53 am

Re: real question

Postby greentara » Thu May 24, 2012 2:06 pm

'If you believe you have name and form, then the gods have name and form. If you are the impersonal,formless absolute, so is god'
greentara
 
Posts: 917
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:03 am

Re: real question

Postby Bonsai Doug » Thu May 24, 2012 2:07 pm

plwk wrote:If this is of any help...

:good:

A very nice explanation.
Now having obtained a precious human body,
I do not have the luxury of remaining on a distracted path.

~ Tibetan Book of the Dead
User avatar
Bonsai Doug
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:08 pm

Re: real question

Postby Indrajala » Thu May 24, 2012 2:31 pm

Wesley1982 wrote:Being conscious and aware of "idolatry" - are you sure that Buddhist worship is not worship of "gods" or "deities" ? . .


This has almost always been a historical reality for Buddhism in any country. The local pantheon is usually employed as guardians to some effect for the community, or failing that they are at least respected as neighbours.

It is undeniable that veneration of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas at the common level is little different from worship of deities. This has always been the case. Quite often the Buddha is seen as a benevolent deity who will bestow blessings and worldly happiness upon those who would make offerings to him. Other figures among bodhisattvas likewise receive the same veneration with the expectation that they are deities who will assist people in real life towards worldly aims.

The idea is that you make offerings, say your prayers and expect some kind of divine influence to assist in achieving what you prayed for. This is the case all across the Buddhist world.

In that sense it isn't different from idol worship.

Actually, if you look at this thing called "Buddhism" as a broad far-reaching multifaceted "religion" in numerous parts of the world, much of it has historically been about idol worship and sorcery, not renunciation and liberation from samsara. Historically it has often been the case no matter the country that eminent monks were employed for their skills in medicine, astrology, divination and worldly sorcery (summoning rain or performing rites for the state or powerful individuals). At the grassroots level part of the reason people kept monks around as "fields of merit" was the expectation that supporting the sangha was essentially good luck and a blessing.

I know that is quite broad and general, but I think these patterns are to be found in most Buddhist countries across time.

However, all that being said, you need not engage in idol worship and sorcery, but simply pursue liberation as the Buddha originally intended. That is the difference between "Buddhism" and "Buddhadharma".
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5863
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Re: real question

Postby KeithBC » Thu May 24, 2012 4:47 pm

Idolatry is the worship of idols: statues or other physical objects. Buddhists do not worship idols. In fact, it is a bit of a stretch to consider what Buddhists do to be worship at all.

Om mani padme hum
Keith
User avatar
KeithBC
 
Posts: 405
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:22 pm
Location: East Coast of Canada

Re: real question

Postby Wesley1982 » Thu May 24, 2012 5:18 pm

Yea, its just that in my area theres not any Buddhist culture - just christian worship services.
User avatar
Wesley1982
 
Posts: 739
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:45 pm
Location: Magga ~ Path to Liberation.

Re: real question

Postby Nemo » Thu May 24, 2012 5:39 pm

KeithBC wrote:Idolatry is the worship of idols: statues or other physical objects. Buddhists do not worship idols. In fact, it is a bit of a stretch to consider what Buddhists do to be worship at all.

Om mani padme hum
Keith


To an outsider many forms of Tatntric ritual, especially those performed while on retreat, would look identical to idolatry. What do you think that pole and those mantras are for inside the statues? It is for establishing the living presence of the Deity. To disrespect such objects destroys your Samayas.

Your Bell and Vajra, your Damaru, the idols on your shrine, the protection cord around your neck. We are definitely idolaters. Stop kidding yourself.
User avatar
Nemo
 
Posts: 624
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:23 am
Location: Canada

Re: real question

Postby Lhug-Pa » Thu May 24, 2012 6:16 pm

But are Tantric Deities and their representations really "idols" in light of the View of the Buddha Dharma? I think it depends more on the View being cultivated, than it does on outward appearance. For example, if we were to reject dependent-origination, or if we were to reject the teaching that the Nature of all phenomena is unborn, then Tantric statues certainly would be idolatry. Although if you're only saying that we are idolaters until we actualize Right View, then I don't know if I could say that I disagree.
User avatar
Lhug-Pa
 
Posts: 1423
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:58 pm

Re: real question

Postby Nemo » Thu May 24, 2012 7:30 pm

Justifications and rationalizations aside let's test this.

Put your Dharma implements in the toilet and pee on them.

Feeling shocked and disgusted? Welcome to idolatry. Don't be embarrassed. Buddhists are a superstitious lot.
User avatar
Nemo
 
Posts: 624
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:23 am
Location: Canada

Re: real question

Postby KeithBC » Fri May 25, 2012 5:43 am

Nemo wrote:To an outsider many forms of Tatntric ritual, especially those performed while on retreat, would look identical to idolatry. What do you think that pole and those mantras are for inside the statues? It is for establishing the living presence of the Deity. To disrespect such objects destroys your Samayas.

Your Bell and Vajra, your Damaru, the idols on your shrine, the protection cord around your neck. We are definitely idolaters. Stop kidding yourself.

Some are, no doubt. And I agree that what we do has a strong resemblance to idolatry. I would submit that the resemblance is superficial.

Early on in my practice, I went through a crisis of conscience with regards to Tantric practice. It felt too much like deity worship - idolatry, if you will. I knew in my heart it wasn't so, but I couldn't reconcile that with the appearance of the practices or with a literal interpretation of the rituals. I almost stopped doing the practice because I couldn't worship an idol.

I was able to resolve the issue when I finally grasped the meaning of one important line in one of the prayers. The deity was not something external, but the manifestation of the emptiness and awareness of my own mind. The practices and visualizations are all just upaya: skillful means to relate to the nature of one's own mind. However, if not done skillfully, they do become idolatry.

Om mani padme hum
Keith
User avatar
KeithBC
 
Posts: 405
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:22 pm
Location: East Coast of Canada

Re: real question

Postby Shanti » Fri May 25, 2012 8:33 am

I suppose it depends on how you define the word 'idolatry'.

'-latry' is equivalent to the root word 'latria', which, as I was taught as a Catholic, was the worship that was owed to a supreme being. If you view that statue or the Buddha as a divine being, that would constitute idolatry. However, we all know that the Buddha is a teacher, and so no idolatry is taking place, at least according to the Judeo-Christian definition.

My two cents.

:namaste:
User avatar
Shanti
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 9:37 am

Re: real question

Postby Bonsai Doug » Fri May 25, 2012 12:52 pm

Wesley1982 wrote:Yea, its just that in my area theres not any Buddhist culture - just christian worship services.

Have you tried sites like:

http://buddhist-directory.org/
http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/
http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Cate ... _Directory
Now having obtained a precious human body,
I do not have the luxury of remaining on a distracted path.

~ Tibetan Book of the Dead
User avatar
Bonsai Doug
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:08 pm

Re: real question

Postby Wesley1982 » Sat May 26, 2012 12:37 am

Bonsai Doug wrote:
Wesley1982 wrote:Yea, its just that in my area theres not any Buddhist culture - just christian worship services.

Have you tried sites like:

http://buddhist-directory.org/
http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/
http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Cate ... _Directory


I signed up for a newsletter from the -Dallas Shambhala Meditation center- but you can't just walk in and start talking about Buddhism if the ppl there don't know you.
User avatar
Wesley1982
 
Posts: 739
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:45 pm
Location: Magga ~ Path to Liberation.

Re: real question

Postby justsit » Sat May 26, 2012 1:08 am

Wesley1982 wrote:Dallas Shambhala Meditation center- but you can't just walk in and start talking about Buddhism if the ppl there don't know you.


Sure you can! In fact, that's how many of us got started.
From their website it looks like they have a weekly sitting meditation on Sundays, and an open house on Tuesdays.
Just walk right in, tell them you're new to Buddhism and interested in learning more - and they'll show you around and explain what to do. If you don't like it, you don't have to go back.

"Open House Tuesdays

Tue May 29th: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Dallas Shambhala Meditation Center invites you to join our weekly group meditation practice beginning at 7pm. Meditation instruction is offered free of charge each week. Everyone is welcome(italics mine). No previous experience is required. Meditation is followed by a short break for refreshments and a discussion, ending by 9pm. These sessions are free; donations are welcome."
User avatar
justsit
 
Posts: 641
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:24 pm
Location: Delaware

Next

Return to Exploring Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Soar, WASW and 13 guests

>