Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

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Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Ikkyu » Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:20 am

Is Buddhism exclusivistic? This question has been puzzling me for some time... So many sutras speak of their self-contained teachings to be the "highest" or "greatest" -- essentially surefire ways to attain enlightenment.

To what extent is the notion that there are "84,000 [distinct] ways to the dharma" true? Does this mean that, say, Christianity or Islam or Hinduism are in their own ways one of the 84,000? Do people, regardless of religious affiliation, become pratekyabuddhas or buddhas in their own right?

It would seem that enlightenment simply means the full comprehension and experience of no-self and emptiness. Is this limited to Buddhist meditations such as Vipassana or Samatha... or is it the case that when, say, Christian mystics like Eckhart and Joseph the Hesychast engaged in contemplative prayer aiming for "spiritual silence in God" they were close to experiencing something similar to sunyata?

Just wondering your opinion.

Thank you. :smile:
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby DarwidHalim » Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:31 am

Cannot.

Other religions can make you become a good person, but not a person free from reborn.

Because the one that make you reborn or not is the teaching of no self, which is not shared even by Hinduism.
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Ikkyu » Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:36 am

DarwidHalim wrote:Cannot.

Other religions can make you become a good person, but not a person free from reborn.

Because the one that make you reborn is the teaching of no self, which is not shared even by Hinduism.


But hypthetically speaking... what if someone who is, say, a Sikh is meditating or praying and still independentally conceives of the idea of no-self and then goes on to experience it at some point in their life... if they truly experienced this and attained liberation from suffering because of this wouldn't they have attained Buddhahood? I mean despite someones initial beliefs they can develop new ones. Say a person who has never heard of Buddhism experiences emptiness and no-self... they're pratekyabuddhas, right?
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby DarwidHalim » Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:45 am

Then that is possible.

For example a Sikh meditator. If in their journey of meditation they can see the flaw of self in their scripture and at the end they see the truth of no self from their own meditation, They can achieve liberation. They can be said as pratekyabuddha.

But this hypothetical case may happen in 1 over trillion trillion practitioners
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Jeff » Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:48 am

DarwidHalim wrote:Cannot.

Other religions can make you become a good person, but not a person free from reborn.

Because the one that make you reborn or not is the teaching of no self, which is not shared even by Hinduism.


Other religions support the concept of no-self (eg. Gnostic Christianity).

:smile:
Last edited by Jeff on Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Ikkyu » Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:50 am

ghost01 wrote:It's all bullshit. :tongue:


Care to clarify?
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Ikkyu » Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:51 am

Jeff wrote:
DarwidHalim wrote:Cannot.

Other religions can make you become a good person, but not a person free from reborn.

Because the one that make you reborn or not is the teaching of no self, which is not shared even by Hinduism.


:rolling:


Is there something humerous about this that I'm just not getting?
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Jeff » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:14 am

Ikkyu wrote:
Jeff wrote:
DarwidHalim wrote:Cannot.

Other religions can make you become a good person, but not a person free from reborn.

Because the one that make you reborn or not is the teaching of no self, which is not shared even by Hinduism.


:rolling:


Is there something humerous about this that I'm just not getting?


My apology... I was editing the above post to change/clarify...

Other religions include concepts like no self. But, many only describe them as part of their "inner meaning/knowledge". A specific example that is very similar to Dzogchen is found in various threads of Gnostic Christianity. A Buddha is similar to a Christ.

:smile:
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby SSJ3Gogeta » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:34 am

Jeff wrote:A specific example that is very similar to Dzogchen is found in various threads of Gnostic Christianity. A Buddha is similar to a Christ.



Dzogchen is not even like Mahamudra, yet its similar to Gnostic Christianity?

:rolling:
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Ikkyu » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:43 am

SSJ3Gogeta wrote:
Jeff wrote:A specific example that is very similar to Dzogchen is found in various threads of Gnostic Christianity. A Buddha is similar to a Christ.



Dzogchen is not even like Mahamudra, yet its similar to Gnostic Christianity?

:rolling:


I don't know enough about tantric traditions to comment.
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby SSJ3Gogeta » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:47 am

Ikkyu wrote:How so?



Every non-Buddhist system is realist.
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Jeff » Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:29 am

From a Gnostic Christian website...

"There is an open secret to be spoken. When the sameness or oneness of Mercy and Judgment is realized there is a suspension of Judgment, or bondage to the law (karma), and therefore the power to deliver, or to illuminate, heal and bring peace; hence, the power of the “remission of sin,” or “forgiveness of sin” in the “Blood of the Lamb,” the Spirit of Messiah. This is founded upon the recognition of Ani-Ain, Self-No Self, and the Ain Nature of All (Kol); in this Self-realization there is no longer a doer"

There exist further "non-open" secrets...

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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Jeff » Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:41 am

SSJ3Gogeta wrote:
Jeff wrote:A specific example that is very similar to Dzogchen is found in various threads of Gnostic Christianity. A Buddha is similar to a Christ.



Dzogchen is not even like Mahamudra, yet its similar to Gnostic Christianity?

:rolling:


Again... Further information regarding similar practices...

"As an example, practices of the Transference of Consciousness assume that an initiate becomes somewhat established in the practice of Union with Partzuf, just as the practice of Clear Light Union assumes some experiential foundation in the Transference of Consciousness. Unless I can generate and actual light body, and merge my consciousness with the consciousness of the Partzuf (divine or enlightened personification), then an actual shift of the center of my consciousness into the light body of the Partzuf is not possible, let alone the experience of dissolution in Clear Light Union, the primordial foundation of consciousness. This, however, is all based upon actual developments in consciousness, in the experience of the initiate, not upon length of time or numbers of repetitions of practices.

Within and behind this is another phenomenon, though, which is more difficult to explain outside of the direct experience of it – there is a distinct play of Divine Grace, or the Light-presence (Christ) and Light-power (Holy Spirit), and the development in consciousness, the process of self-realization in Christ, does not occur is as linear a way as provisional teachings make it sound; also we find that spiritual works can often be accomplished of a far more advanced level than the level of spiritual attainment or development of which we might be conscious or aware. In other words, through Divine Grace, the power of the Holy Spirit, radical leaps can occur in the development and evolution of consciousness, and likewise, through Divine Grace, it is often possible to engage in spiritual works that may seem well beyond our present capacity.

We watch a similar play in the process of the Gnostic and Light Transmission, and the transmission of spontaneous blessings and empowerments, of which there are many gradations – very often, through Divine Grace, a spiritual transmission occurs of a far higher gradation than we might have thought possible; it is all dependent upon the extent to which we live within, take up an active and dynamic surrender to Divine Grace, the Holy Spirit, and have the love of Christ, cleaving to Christ with our mind, heart and life – the extent to which we allow this Light-presence and Light-power to take up our person and life."

Also, take a look at Sufi lineages...

:smile:
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Ikkyu » Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:43 am

SSJ3Gogeta wrote:
Ikkyu wrote:How so?



Every non-Buddhist system is realist.


Don't you find it arrogant to claim that simply because something is non-Buddhist it's a "turd sandwich"? Criticizing other religions isn't something that sits well with most Buddhists and with Buddhist doctrine and practice, I'm afraid. To be honest most Zen masters and lamas and monks would probably be shocked that someone proclaiming to be a Buddhist would have such a self-righteous view of things.

Secondly, Buddhism isn't by any means the only religion or ideology in which philosophical realism is rejected. Through Advaita Vedanta Hinduism takes on a strong expression of non-duality and anti-realism. Many Gnostic sects as well actually do deny the reality of the external world.
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Thus-gone » Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:04 am

After full enlightenment, one will have perfect awareness of Buddha-nature even amidst the deepest sleep. Only when one has reached this stage can one claim to see clearly, and thus cease all karmic outflows. While the practices of other religions may lead one to have a glimpse of Buddha-nature, it is extremely difficult to attain the stage of true enlightenment without a consistent and perpetual effort that ignores any gains short of complete realisation. And this kind of effort is not something you find in any other religion.
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby viniketa » Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:34 am

Warning: 99% of those active on this forum will find the following post objectionable. If you wish to keep your mind "pure", do not read.

I suppose the answer to the question in the OP heavily depends upon one's definition of "enlightenment". But, in general, yes, other religions can lead to enlightenment, even under the more limited definitions of the term.

One can find a lot of disagreement, among Buddhists, about what is "enlightenment". At a broad level, it means a sensation of being "in the presence" of something that "transcends" the minds of individuals and is beyond ordinary description.

The underlying question has more to do with "means" than the "end" of "enlightenment". As can be seen even on just this forum among those who are, ostensibly, Buddhist, there is a lot of disagreement about means. In a number of religious traditions, the means get mighty garbled. This happens among Buddhist traditions, as well, but if we get lost and come back to the 4NT, we can always find our way again. I have doubt that other religious traditions have such a profound yet clear statement of the means.

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Last edited by viniketa on Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:46 am

Ikkyu wrote:Is Buddhism exclusivistic? This question has been puzzling me for some time... So many sutras speak of their self-contained teachings to be the "highest" or "greatest" -- essentially surefire ways to attain enlightenment.


The Buddha himself rejected the other schools as they existed in his time (most relevant is the Jains who aimed for the same goal of cessation of rebirth). If he thought their methods were effective he would have adopted them, but he did not. He rejected them.

To what extent is the notion that there are "84,000 [distinct] ways to the dharma" true? Does this mean that, say, Christianity or Islam or Hinduism are in their own ways one of the 84,000? Do people, regardless of religious affiliation, become pratekyabuddhas or buddhas in their own right?


Christianity and Islam do not have any concept of saṃsāra. The whole goal of both programs is to achieve birth in a postmortem paradise on the good grace of an omnipotent deity. They have no concept of saṃsāra, let alone liberation from it. Various schools classified as Hinduism have an idea of saṃsāra and aim towards liberation from it, though it seems improbable from a Buddhist perspective given their widespread emphasis on ātman, which constitutes a wrong view which hinders liberation. At best they achieve rebirth in a form or formless realm.


It would seem that enlightenment simply means the full comprehension and experience of no-self and emptiness. Is this limited to Buddhist meditations such as Vipassana or Samatha... or is it the case that when, say, Christian mystics like Eckhart and Joseph the Hesychast engaged in contemplative prayer aiming for "spiritual silence in God" they were close to experiencing something similar to sunyata?


In terms of the earliest Buddhist literature it seems the Buddha himself promoted his meditation system of the dhyānas as the main process by which one could be liberated. It was not a matter of immobilizing the body and mind like the early Jains promoted, but having appropriate mental stamina coupled with right view. Some later people suggested the dhyānas are mundane accomplishments and do not strictly result in liberation; it actually being the wisdom fostered through right view and actualized through dhyāna itself that would result in liberation. From that perspective even mastery of dhyānas is insufficient. One must have right view.

There is one theory that pratyekabuddhas achieve liberation by themselves by recollecting the teachings of past Buddhas. Being well cultivated in their meditative practices already they have only to gain right view to quickly proceed towards ultimate liberation.

Christians possess wrong view and have no sense of saṃsāra to begin with, so how could they achieve liberation? Moreover, emptiness is the idea of dependent origination -- causality where all things arise due to causes and conditions. Monotheists reject this by suggesting all of time and space is traced to the act of Creation by a sole omnipotent god.
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby catmoon » Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:30 am

Of course other religions can lead to enlightenment.

Buddha himself did not start out as a Buddhist, had no Buddhist teachers and had no proper Dharma to work from.

Then there are the obvious examples, like Ghandi and Mother Theresa. And the pratyekabuddhas. It's happening all the time.
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby oushi » Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:02 am

Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Yes they can. I will also risk an opinion, that most religions emerged from the massage of awakened people, but the massage was lost or is covered by cultural dust. Boddhahood is something that pulls people like gravity pulls waterfall. Every activity, even being a drug lord, is a result of this force. It fashions everything. Now, religions are there to tell us more about this "phenomena", and how to find peace. The final message is very simple, and the journey ends where it started.
Jesus said, "Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is."
Linji said: Followers of the Way, the Buddha-Dharma needs no skilled application. Just be your ordinary selves with nothing further to seek, relieving nature, wearing robes and eating. “When tired I sleep. Fools laugh at me, the wise understand.”
Longchenpa said:"Let whatever you do or whatever appears just be in its natural state, without premeditation. This is true freedom.
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby zangskar » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:28 am

oushi wrote:
Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Yes they can. I will also risk an opinion, that most religions emerged from the massage of awakened people...

Massage always makes me feel saintly too. :smile:
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(Sorry, couldn't help it.)
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