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My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply? - Page 2 - Dhamma Wheel

My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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tobes
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Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby tobes » Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:22 am

Selfish: putting your **self** first.

Buddhism: destroying the basis for even assuming a self.

I think that is a pretty powerful argument for your friend to contemplate.

:anjali:

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James the Giant
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Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby James the Giant » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:06 am

Excellent and thoughtful replies, thanks everyone.
I think the fundamental issue my friend and I have is that we see the world in different ways. Me increasingly through the lens of dhamma and the 4 noble truths, and he through the lens of a regular joe trying to make his way in the world. He does do a lot of good in his community, he's a primary-school teacher, but his whole world is about finding the perfect woman and a good job, and having a laugh with his mates over a beer.
He's a very open-minded chap though, and I enjoy his company. I'm sure he and I will talk on this point again (not to mention what my parents and brothers will say when I ordain), so I thank you all for your perspectives and suggestions.
Cheers!
:anjali:
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.

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Ben
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Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby Ben » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:43 am

That sounds good James. When your friend sees the positive change in you, perhaps he will reconsider.
And I hope your parents give you permission to ordain.
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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adosa
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Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby adosa » Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:53 pm

James this sutta might help.



With some comments from Ven. P. A. Payutto.



adosa
"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183

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123ertyy
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Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby 123ertyy » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:46 am

Great replies, what i think is that in the 45 years after enlightenment, Lord Buddha made innumerable species in the Human, Deva, Brahma worlds to Nirvana... I feel pity for the believers those think that they will go to heaven for what ever bad things they do(who doesn't follow at least the 5 precepts). They got stucked in the human world for a great good deed that they've done in the early samsara, and now after they are born in human world they believe in myth- as in what they call as a "Creater"...
We die someday.

nameless
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Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby nameless » Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:57 pm

As someone said before, most people who are "contributing to society" are mainly in it for themselves to earn a wage.

Some people complain that monastics live on alms while people struggle to find jobs... well there you go! A monastic is keeping his basic needs to a meal a day so he/she is not competing with someone who needs a job more.

Someone elsewhere talked about being on a plane: the safety person always says that if there are children around, that the adult should put the oxygen mask on first before taking care of the child. Is that selfish?

My thoughts are that if you help someone in a conventional way, you're only helping them from suffering temporarily. If you feed a beggar he will still starve later. Even if you are a great parent to your children, they'll still be children that can't escape from suffering. I'm a counsellor by profession. In the end, I often feel that I've helped to return clients to a somewhat, for lack of a better word, "normal" functioning, yet "normal" is still full of suffering.

Of course there's still value in temporary fixes, but there's also value in somewhat deeper changes, which I believe can only occur if you obtain insight and help others do so too.

yiming
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Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby yiming » Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:51 am


Jhana4
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Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:15 am

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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retrofuturist
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Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:20 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

yiming
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Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby yiming » Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:57 pm


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kirk5a
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Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby kirk5a » Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:30 pm

"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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bodom
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Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby bodom » Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:50 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

yiming
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Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby yiming » Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:44 am


nameless
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Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby nameless » Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:06 pm


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Bodhisurfer
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Location: Cornwall, England

Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby Bodhisurfer » Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:59 pm

:goodpost:
Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya

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adosa
Posts: 266
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Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby adosa » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:37 pm

Yiming,

I take it you didn't read the Sutta, or the commentary to it, I linked above. There is no nobler, or more worthwhile, undertaking than taming the mind. Those who do impact society far more than you'd ever know.

adosa
"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183

yiming
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:09 pm

Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby yiming » Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:20 pm


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Viscid
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Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby Viscid » Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:35 pm

"What holds attention determines action." - William James

nameless
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Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby nameless » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:44 am


Digity
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Re: My friend says Buddhism is selfish... how to reply?

Postby Digity » Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:00 pm

Imagine a world where we all dedicated our lives to the Buddha's teachings. We'd all work together to support ourselves enough to practice the Dhamma and do our best not to create harm in the world. Does that sound like a bad world to live in? Does that sound like a bunch of selfish people?

On the surface level Buddhism can seem selfish, but the deeper you look the more wholesome you realize the teachings are. Almost everyone I hear from who has a problem with Buddhism turns out to have a surface level understanding of the teachings. I think it's good to try and clarify the teachings to these people. Do your best and leave it at that, but don't turn it into a game where you have to convince everyone that Buddhism is the best. At least through my own experience I've had to spend a lot of time reading and practicing before the teachings started to 'click'.

That's why, even if you come up with a very convincing argument for this person it still might not be enough. That shouldn't deter you. Do your best to clarify and then move on.


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