Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby oushi » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:32 am

zangskar wrote:
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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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Yudron » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:45 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:


Who said Dzogchen is not like Mahamudra?
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby DeepFriedFunk » Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:11 pm

I do believe it could be possible within another religion but very difficult. In most cases it does require correct direction and a good teacher. A lot of spiritual leaders are directly or indirectly affected by corruption in their religions, particularly within Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The sheer amount of evil committed in the name of a lot of mainstream religions sends up alarm bells to me. This is not to say they are wrong or all of the followers are bad people or that wrong has never been in the name of the Buddha. I went from being Catholic to atheist and finally coming to find Buddhism after feeling there was something missing.

Since becoming Buddhist I have read more of the word of Jesus than I ever did as a Catholic (in fact I read more as an atheist but with the intention of picking arguments with my Religious Education teachers at the Catholic high school i belonged to.) He was a good, pure man but I believe his words have been twisted - after all the bible was written by the most powerful men in Europe who really needed control of the population. Those who have knowledge have power.

A man who objected to the temples of his day because of corruption and taught in the streets and on the hills could not have possibly condoned the concept of the Church we see today.

Buddhism to me shows the most honesty and the least amount of corruption within it's teachers - the sheer fact we are taught we can all attain the level of the very person we worship was a very alien thought to me.
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Will » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:14 pm

Bodhi is not the same as full Buddhahood. There are stages of the former, some of which can be experienced by anyone on any path. Buddhahood requires the teachings from a Buddha.
Revealing one essence: this means the inherently pure, complete, luminous essence, which is pure of its own nature. -- Fa-tsang
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:40 pm

Ikkyu wrote:Is Buddhism exclusivistic?

How bout I'll let you know when I'm enlightened?
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Ikkyu » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:11 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
Ikkyu wrote:Is Buddhism exclusivistic?

How bout I'll let you know when I'm enlightened?


I guess I'll ask the question again when I'm enlightened. :rolling:
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Queequeg » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:53 pm

Another one of those questions that just stubbornly won't go away...

Here's an answer that stubbornly won't go away:

If other religions lead to Enlightenment, then yes, they lead to Enlightenment.

"Objection! What is enlightenment?"

Answer: "Exactly!" :hi:
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Queequeg » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:27 pm

This is from Dhiga Nikaya 25

"Nigrodha, you may think: "The ascetic Gotama says [you can attain in this life to that unequalled holy life and goal, for the sake of which young men of good family go forth from the household life into homelessness, by his own knowledge and realization, and he will abide therein, within 7 days] in order to get disciples." But you should not regard it like that. Let him who is your teacher remain your teacher. Or you may think: "He wants us to abandon our rules." But you should not regard it like that. Let your rules remain as they are. Or you may think: "He wants us to abandon our way of life." But you should not regard it like that. Let your way of life remain as it was. Or you may think: "He wants to establish us in the doing of things that according to our teaching are wrong, and are so considered among us." But you should not regard it like that. Let those things you consider wrong continue to be so considered. Or you may think: "He wants to draw us away from things that according to our teaching are good, and are so considered among us." But you should not regard it like that. Let whatever you consider right continue to be so considered. Nigrodha, I do not speak for any of these reasons...


Here comes the punch line:

'There are, Nigrodha, unwholesome things that have not been abandoned, tainted, conducive to rebirth, fearful, productive of painful results in the future, associated with birth, decay and death. It is for the abandonment of these things that I teach Dhamma. If you practice accordingly, these tainted things will be abandoned, and the things that make for purification will develop and grow, and you will all attain to and dwell, in this very life, by your own insight and realization, in the fullness of perfected wisdom.'


Do other religions teach what the Buddha taught? If they do, they will lead to enlightenment. If they don't, they will not.

The Buddha was not in the business of offering yet another set of views to compete with one assertion about the origin or workings of the universe, or any other unfounded assertion. He taught how to end the suffering of life. Nothing more and nothing less.

This question is, under further analysis, pointless from the Buddha's perspective.
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Quiet Heart » Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:57 am

:smile:
My personal opinion.
Religions....including Buddhisim....don't make people more "spiritual" or "enlightened".
It's people who do that themselves...by their own efforts.
So it's certainly possible to find a Christian, Moslem, Hindu...or whtever religion or they are called that meets that standard of "enlightenment".
Now, whether certain religions...including Buddhisim....make it easier to get to that high level....well that could be debated for hours.
And basically that whole debate is pointlesss anyhow....just because it's the people...not the religions....that detrmine how high they ultimately go.
:smile:
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby greentara » Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:04 am

Let us be very clear, spirituality is not the exclusive domain of an individual or a specific religion. We are all equally qualified to receive the teachings that will free us from the cycle of life and death. Sincerity is the sole qualification which determines whether we discover the right teacher to remove our ignorance. The Sanskrit word "sraddha" can be variously translated as faith, sincerity, and duty. There can be no teaching en mass, every person is on a different level and has to be catered for accordingly.
You can reside in a buddhist country but few are interested in the teaching on a deeper level.
You can live in Bethlehem, the last I heard the christian monks from different denominations were fighting with one another.
In Judaism how many are really interested in Kabala?
How many christians have heard of the extraordinary teacher Meister Eckhart?
It's just the way it is.
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby Jikan » Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:09 pm

Quiet Heart wrote::smile:
My personal opinion.
Religions....including Buddhisim....don't make people more "spiritual" or "enlightened".
It's people who do that themselves...by their own efforts.
So it's certainly possible to find a Christian, Moslem, Hindu...or whtever religion or they are called that meets that standard of "enlightenment".
Now, whether certain religions...including Buddhisim....make it easier to get to that high level....well that could be debated for hours.
And basically that whole debate is pointlesss anyhow....just because it's the people...not the religions....that detrmine how high they ultimately go.
:smile:


:good:

I'd emphasize that it is about people working together too. Teachers and students collaborating, everyone learning. Peter Hershock's essay on this topic is quite good:

http://blogs.dickinson.edu/buddhistethi ... iberation/

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

Postby vinodh » Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:10 pm

I recollect this topic being discussed to death in the erstwhile e-sangha :thinking:

And a consensus was reached.. :quoteunquote:

(It's not hard for anyone to guess.. what that would have been though ! )

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yo dharmaṁ paśyati, sa buddhaṁ paśyati

One who sees the Dharma, sees the Buddha
śālistamba sūtra

na pudgalo na ca skandhā buddho jñānamanāsravam
sadāśāntiṁ vibhāvitvā gacchāmi śaraṇaṁ hyaham

Neither a person nor the aggregates, the Buddha, is knowledge free from [evil] outflows
Clearly perceiving [him] to be eternally serene, I go for refuge [in him]
saddharma-laṅkāvatāra-sūtra
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby dorjeshonnu » Sat Sep 08, 2012 4:44 pm

Ikkyu wrote:But hypthetically speaking... what if someone who is, say, a Sikh is meditating or praying and still independently 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?
The Buddhist no-self and emptiness rely on pratityasamutpada (as stated above) - dependent origination. From the moment the Sikh realizes the evident truth of pratityasamutpada, and then recognizes sunyata and anatman, that Sikh is by definition no longer a Sikh. The person may remain a nominal Sikh, depending on social pressures, but the person will hold a Buddhist view. If that view is implemented and methods are used, they may wake up as a Buddhist, regardless of what the person calls himself or herself.
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby dorjeshonnu » Sat Sep 08, 2012 4:53 pm

Ikkyu wrote:Is Buddhism exclusivistic?
Anything definite excludes every thing not contained within its definition.

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.
Each method is effective, but one particular method may be less efficient for one person, and more efficient for another person, or differently efficient depending on a person's stage in life. A teaching is called "highest" or "greatest" because its author has recognized this method to be "highest" or "greatest." It does not have to be a contest, when it is merely a statement.

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?
There are at least 84 000 methods in the Buddha-dharma, but not "ways to the dharma" that I have heard. Other religions are not Buddhism, and will not produce Buddhist results.

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?
Enlightenment is a mostly meaningless term. Buddhist awakening relies on meditation, study, and conduct, according to a Buddhist view. Development of a correct Buddhist view will make one a Buddhist in fact, regardless of what the world may call you, or what you may call yourself.
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby pueraeternus » Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:35 am

Queequeg wrote:This is from Dhiga Nikaya 25

"Nigrodha, you may think: "The ascetic Gotama says [you can attain in this life to that unequalled holy life and goal, for the sake of which young men of good family go forth from the household life into homelessness, by his own knowledge and realization, and he will abide therein, within 7 days] in order to get disciples." But you should not regard it like that. Let him who is your teacher remain your teacher. Or you may think: "He wants us to abandon our rules." But you should not regard it like that. Let your rules remain as they are. Or you may think: "He wants us to abandon our way of life." But you should not regard it like that. Let your way of life remain as it was. Or you may think: "He wants to establish us in the doing of things that according to our teaching are wrong, and are so considered among us." But you should not regard it like that. Let those things you consider wrong continue to be so considered. Or you may think: "He wants to draw us away from things that according to our teaching are good, and are so considered among us." But you should not regard it like that. Let whatever you consider right continue to be so considered. Nigrodha, I do not speak for any of these reasons...


Here comes the punch line:

'There are, Nigrodha, unwholesome things that have not been abandoned, tainted, conducive to rebirth, fearful, productive of painful results in the future, associated with birth, decay and death. It is for the abandonment of these things that I teach Dhamma. If you practice accordingly, these tainted things will be abandoned, and the things that make for purification will develop and grow, and you will all attain to and dwell, in this very life, by your own insight and realization, in the fullness of perfected wisdom.'


Do other religions teach what the Buddha taught? If they do, they will lead to enlightenment. If they don't, they will not.

The Buddha was not in the business of offering yet another set of views to compete with one assertion about the origin or workings of the universe, or any other unfounded assertion. He taught how to end the suffering of life. Nothing more and nothing less.

This question is, under further analysis, pointless from the Buddha's perspective.


:good:
When I set out to lead humanity along my Golden Path I promised a lesson their bones would remember. I know a profound pattern humans deny with words even while their actions affirm it. They say they seek security and quiet, conditions they call peace. Even as they speak, they create seeds of turmoil and violence.

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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby oldbob » Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:50 pm

Many excellent posts. :good:

What is important is to keep sincere respect for all religions, even when they say they are superior to yours, or when they hate you and would kill you for your different beliefs. Of course you don't respect the hatred and the killing, but the spark of enlightenment, the potential of enlightenment is within everyone, even the worst of the worst.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddha-nature

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Early Indian Buddhism
Nikayas - Luminous mind

The idea of the tathagatagarbha is grounded on sayings by the Buddha that there is an innately pure luminous mind[6] (prabhasvara citta[7]), "which is only adventitiously covered over by defilements (agantukaklesa)"[7] This luminous mind is being mentioned in the Anguttara Nikaya:[8]:

Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements".[9][b]

The Mahāsāṃghika coupled this idea of the luminous mind with the idea of the mulavijnana, the substratum consciousness that serves as the basis consciousness.[6]

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

I cannot say that Moses' experience of the burning bush, from the Holy Old Testament, was different from the luminosity of Buddha Nature.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_bush

I cannot say that "I am the Alpha and the Omega" from the Holy New Testament, is not pointing to the same state, beyond words, of Lord Buddha.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_and_Omega

I cannot say that the "Light upon light" from the Holy Koran, is not the same luminosity of Buddha Nature.

Sahih International 24:35
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things.

Really - who can say? So I :bow: respect the Buddha seed in everyone of all religions, and understand religious traditions, beliefs, ceremonies, and practices in the context of the cultures that they originated from, and are existing in now.

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

Postby dorjeshonnu » Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:05 pm

oldbob wrote:I cannot say that Moses' experience of the burning bush, from the Holy Old Testament, was different from the luminosity of Buddha Nature.
Certainly not - but we can say that such an experience was not undefiled (per your usage). Contact with a spirit is not the same as recognition of a Buddha-nature within the luminosity of mind.

I cannot say that "I am the Alpha and the Omega" from the Holy New Testament, is not pointing to the same state, beyond words, of Lord Buddha.
I can. That is a symbolic utterance indicating that the spirit retaining a covenant with the Jewish people is claiming the status of pantokrator, Creator of a Universe. This symbolic utterance produces cognition that is not associated with those produced by the teachings of Gautama.

I cannot say that the "Light upon light" from the Holy Koran, is not the same luminosity of Buddha Nature.
It is fairly simple to induce a brain to produce some sensation of light, and it is widely used in the simile and metaphor of most spiritual traditions, and some poetry. The simile and metaphor of most spiritual traditions, and most poetry, are not semantically conducive toward the liberation or wakefulness exhibited by Gautama.

Sahih International 24:35
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things.
This is a repetition of the assertion that the communicating spirit is claiming the status of pantokrator, a role that is explicitly denied by Gautama.

Really - who can say? So I respect the Buddha seed in everyone of all religions, and understand religious traditions, beliefs, ceremonies, and practices in the context of the cultures that they originated from, and are existing in now.
There are key distinctions between Buddha-dharma and worldly faiths.
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby treehuggingoctopus » Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:25 pm

dorjeshonnu wrote:I cannot say that Moses' experience of the burning bush, from the Holy Old Testament, was different from the luminosity of Buddha Nature. Certainly not - but we can say that such an experience was not undefiled (per your usage). Contact with a spirit is not the same as recognition of a Buddha-nature within the luminosity of mind.

Right. Provided Moses's experience was indeed merely a contact with some spirit and not a recognition of (something like, or that which in Buddhism may be referred to as) Buddha nature. Which we don't know. All we've got is decontextualized words whose real life, experiential meaning may have been quite possibly lost in translation. As for Christians and Jews, the mystical wing is there. In spite of the efforts of the monotheist establishment.

dorjeshonnu wrote:I cannot say that "I am the Alpha and the Omega" from the Holy New Testament, is not pointing to the same state, beyond words, of Lord Buddha. I can. That is a symbolic utterance indicating that the spirit retaining a covenant with the Jewish people is claiming the status of pantokrator, Creator of a Universe. This symbolic utterance produces cognition that is not associated with those produced by the teachings of Gautama.


You're reading the Bible literally, after monotheist fundamentalists.

dorjeshonnu wrote:I cannot say that the "Light upon light" from the Holy Koran, is not the same luminosity of Buddha Nature. It is fairly simple to induce a brain to produce some sensation of light, and it is widely used in the simile and metaphor of most spiritual traditions, and some poetry. The simile and metaphor of most spiritual traditions, and most poetry, are not semantically conducive toward the liberation or wakefulness exhibited by Gautama.


And you know that because? The only way in which you could know it would require you to go through and complete at least one of the, and preferably both, paths. Forgive my doubting that you have already done that.

Also, your stance on non-Dharmic religions here is terribly patronizing, to say the least.

dorjeshonnu wrote:Really - who can say? So I respect the Buddha seed in everyone of all religions, and understand religious traditions, beliefs, ceremonies, and practices in the context of the cultures that they originated from, and are existing in now. There are key distinctions between Buddha-dharma and worldly faiths.


Obviously there are numerous distinctions, but how 'key' they are in the end we can't say. Unless you're equating the Dharma with Buddhist doctrines - and all the faces of monotheisms with this or that set of sanctioned dogmas.

EDIT: can't sort out the quotes, the computer is going crazy :techproblem:
Last edited by treehuggingoctopus on Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby viniketa » Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:26 pm

oldbob wrote:What is important is to keep sincere respect for all religions, even when they say they are superior to yours, or when they hate you and would kill you for your different beliefs. Of course you don't respect the hatred and the killing, but the spark of enlightenment, the potential of enlightenment is within everyone, even the worst of the worst... I cannot say... Really - who can say? So I :bow: respect the Buddha seed in everyone of all religions, and understand religious traditions, beliefs, ceremonies, and practices in the context of the cultures that they originated from, and are existing in now.


Buddha had the wisdom to sometimes stop at "I cannot say..."

:bow:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Can other religions lead to enlightenment?

Postby oldbob » Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:00 pm

viniketa wrote:
oldbob wrote:What is important is to keep sincere respect for all religions, even when they say they are superior to yours, or when they hate you and would kill you for your different beliefs. Of course you don't respect the hatred and the killing, but the spark of enlightenment, the potential of enlightenment is within everyone, even the worst of the worst... I cannot say... Really - who can say? So I :bow: respect the Buddha seed in everyone of all religions, and understand religious traditions, beliefs, ceremonies, and practices in the context of the cultures that they originated from, and are existing in now.


Buddha had the wisdom to sometimes stop at "I cannot say..."

:bow:


Yup!

:smile:
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