All Buddhists Are Atheists

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:48 pm

oushi wrote:Why do you need to divide truth into two, when both are true?
I don't "need" to. Obviously you did not read all my previous post.
Maybe because those two truths contradict each other.
Does "heads" contradict "tails"? NO!
You simply have left and right brain hemispheres with separate awareness building one experience. On the left you have samsara, one the right you have nirvana, two separated by the gateless gate (special function of the right hemisphere).
Yes, well... :shrug:
In hinayana they chase after nirvana, in Mahayana (and Christianity) it's all about the union of those two, because only by union the picture is unbroken and God is revealed.
Mahayana and Christianity are the same???
As you can see, the union of the internal and external creates all, and as such it was called Creator, or the Source. As it encompasses all, it is Alfa and Omega. As it is nothing but vivid play of presence, it is called Buddha.
If there are two (divided) how can they be one (unified)? If they are unified (one) how can they be divided (two)? How can something be one (unified) and two (divided) at the same time? How can something be neither one (unified) nor two (divided)?

Back to the cushion we go!
:namaste:
"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
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Former staff member
 
Posts: 7900
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby pueraeternus » Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:56 pm

Matt J wrote:Well, one would say that the Unborn is neither existent nor truly existent, so it wouldn't result in an extreme eternalist view.

I think people capitalize it so you don't get it mixed up with an curled up little embryo.

Jnana wrote:
Sara H wrote:The "Dharma" is about finding the Unborn for yourself.

There's no such animal as "the Unborn." Reifying negations as truly existent entities results in extreme eternalist views. Moreover, there is no need whatsoever to capitalize such terms in English translation. They aren't proper names.


The term "Unborn" is the English translation of the chinese term 無生 (wusheng), referring to the suchness, nature of the tathagatagarbha, etc. In Chinese, the term does not sound like a reification (more like a verb, less a noun), but when you translate it into English, it sounds like an object, and has a lot of connotations of a mysterious soul nature. So there should be caution in this. The problem is that English speakers tend to come from Abrahamic backgrounds, or rather western cultures are heavily conditioned by Abrahamic subtexts, so without sufficient education one would still "get it wrong" and end up with erroneous views.
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.

- Leto II, the God Emperor
User avatar
pueraeternus
 
Posts: 690
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:10 pm

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby Jikan » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:04 pm

The extent to which a typographic convention (capitalizing an abstract noun) reifies a word into an eternalistic position is debatable. I think Jnana is making an important point in bringing it up as a problem in the context of negations ("the unborn" for instance).

I'm interested in how this works in terms of positive claims such as the Absolute, Suchness, one's true nature, Eternal Buddhahood, &c. If there are ways in which canonical Buddhist discourses particularly in practice lineages can seem theological or at least ontological, it seems to me this is surely one of them.
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4288
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby pueraeternus » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:44 pm

Jikan wrote:The extent to which a typographic convention (capitalizing an abstract noun) reifies a word into an eternalistic position is debatable. I think Jnana is making an important point in bringing it up as a problem in the context of negations ("the unborn" for instance).


This is not so different from Indian masters using a term such as Sunyata and needing to explain them carefully through shastras on what it really means. What I am trying to say is that:
1. Some education is needed to understand the more complex teachings of Buddhism.
2. I agree with Jnana that it is certainly possible to educate anyone on the dharma, even those who might not be academically or intellectually inclined.
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.

- Leto II, the God Emperor
User avatar
pueraeternus
 
Posts: 690
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:10 pm

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby pueraeternus » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:51 pm

pueraeternus wrote:
Jikan wrote:The extent to which a typographic convention (capitalizing an abstract noun) reifies a word into an eternalistic position is debatable. I think Jnana is making an important point in bringing it up as a problem in the context of negations ("the unborn" for instance).


This is not so different from Indian masters using a term such as Sunyata and needing to explain them carefully through shastras on what it really means. What I am trying to say is that:
1. Some education is needed to understand the more complex teachings of Buddhism.
2. I agree with Jnana that it is certainly possible to educate anyone on the dharma, even those who might not be academically or intellectually inclined.


Just to add - I think using Sanskrit (and Pali) terms, in conjunction with the native language of the specific tradition (Japanese for Zen, Chinese for Chan, etc) might clear up confusion, since one can point to a more common platform. This is not as difficult to do, since indic words such as Dharma and Buddha have already filtered into normative use in the English language.
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.

- Leto II, the God Emperor
User avatar
pueraeternus
 
Posts: 690
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:10 pm

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby Jikan » Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:09 pm

pueraeternus wrote:
pueraeternus wrote:
Jikan wrote:The extent to which a typographic convention (capitalizing an abstract noun) reifies a word into an eternalistic position is debatable. I think Jnana is making an important point in bringing it up as a problem in the context of negations ("the unborn" for instance).


This is not so different from Indian masters using a term such as Sunyata and needing to explain them carefully through shastras on what it really means. What I am trying to say is that:
1. Some education is needed to understand the more complex teachings of Buddhism.
2. I agree with Jnana that it is certainly possible to educate anyone on the dharma, even those who might not be academically or intellectually inclined.


Just to add - I think using Sanskrit (and Pali) terms, in conjunction with the native language of the specific tradition (Japanese for Zen, Chinese for Chan, etc) might clear up confusion, since one can point to a more common platform. This is not as difficult to do, since indic words such as Dharma and Buddha have already filtered into normative use in the English language.


:good:

I think you're making a lot of sense here.
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4288
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby Jnana » Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:58 pm

Jikan wrote:The extent to which a typographic convention (capitalizing an abstract noun) reifies a word into an eternalistic position is debatable.

Right. Capitalization itself doesn't necessarily entail reification. However, capitalization is unnecessary, and can reinforce reification on the part of the reader.

Jikan wrote:I'm interested in how this works in terms of positive claims such as the Absolute, Suchness, one's true nature, Eternal Buddhahood, &c.

According to Trungpa Rinpoche, because Buddhism is non-theistic, none of these terms should be capitalized either. Only the names of people and places, etc., should be capitalized in English translation, according to English language conventions.
Jnana
 
Posts: 1106
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:58 pm

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:25 pm

The discussion regarding what exactly takes rebirth (body or mind) has been split to here viewtopic.php?f=66&t=10593#p134561
:namaste:
"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
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Former staff member
 
Posts: 7900
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby Matt J » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:07 pm

Even more difficult is relating words to direct experiences.

pueraeternus wrote:Just to add - I think using Sanskrit (and Pali) terms, in conjunction with the native language of the specific tradition (Japanese for Zen, Chinese for Chan, etc) might clear up confusion, since one can point to a more common platform. This is not as difficult to do, since indic words such as Dharma and Buddha have already filtered into normative use in the English language.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://zenanddao.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Matt J
 
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:29 am

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby pueraeternus » Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:15 am

Matt J wrote:Even more difficult is relating words to direct experiences.


That goes without saying, no matter what language one is using.
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.

- Leto II, the God Emperor
User avatar
pueraeternus
 
Posts: 690
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:10 pm

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby Indrajala » Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:21 pm

I wrote a blog article about this issue here:

http://huayanzang.blogspot.tw/2012/10/b ... pagan.html

I point out several canonical sources which demonstrate the role of gods in Buddhism and that by no means can you define Buddhism as atheist.
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
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5565
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby catmoon » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:11 pm

Huseng wrote:I wrote a blog article about this issue here:

http://huayanzang.blogspot.tw/2012/10/b ... pagan.html

I point out several canonical sources which demonstrate the role of gods in Buddhism and that by no means can you define Buddhism as atheist.


A most interesting article. Perhaps this:

It begs the question what would the “Atheist Buddhists” say if the Buddha really did believe deities like Indra had a significant role to play in maintaining the cosmic order?


should be answered. If Buddha did so believe, and he is our teacher, then we should all follow him, and devote ourselves to the worship of Indra. This might not leave much room for Dharma though.

The recurring problem with gods in Buddhism is that they, like any other deities, steadily accumulate powers and virtues over time as their followers compete with each other. Eventually they surpass the Buddha in power and importance, and worship becomes centred on them, even as today, most pujas revolve around Tara, Medicine Buddha or that Other Protector, among others.

Let us continue with with the supposition that deities do exist. Since they are powerful and wise, they can intervene in human affairs on our behalf, should they wish to do so. So, if it is enlightenment we seek, why follow the arduous methods of the Buddha at all? Why not simply pray to the gods to grant us enlightenment right away, or ask them to create the causes and conditions for enlightenment preferably by next Tuesday afternoon? Why not get them to pull us out of the wheel of samsara immediately? If it doesn't work, we can always claim it is due to our failings rather than the failings of the gods.

I propose that many people pray in this way every day, and that the method fails to produce enlightenment just as often. This leads me to believe that such beings, if they exist, have no power to help anyone, and should be ignored, or that they do not exist at all.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
User avatar
catmoon
Former staff member
 
Posts: 2916
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: British Columbia

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby Pero » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:30 pm

catmoon wrote:The recurring problem with gods in Buddhism is that they, like any other deities, steadily accumulate powers and virtues over time as their followers compete with each other. Eventually they surpass the Buddha in power and importance, and worship becomes centred on them, even as today, most pujas revolve around Tara, Medicine Buddha or that Other Protector, among others.

Uhm, Tara is a Buddha. Medicine Buddha is a Buddha (should be obvious lol). What we generally call deities in Vajrayana are not some worldly deities like Indra. So your argument doesn't really make any sense.
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
- Shabkar
Pero
 
Posts: 1800
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:54 pm

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby catmoon » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:44 pm

Pero wrote:
catmoon wrote:The recurring problem with gods in Buddhism is that they, like any other deities, steadily accumulate powers and virtues over time as their followers compete with each other. Eventually they surpass the Buddha in power and importance, and worship becomes centred on them, even as today, most pujas revolve around Tara, Medicine Buddha or that Other Protector, among others.

Uhm, Tara is a Buddha. Medicine Buddha is a Buddha (should be obvious lol). What we generally call deities in Vajrayana are not some worldly deities like Indra. So your argument doesn't really make any sense.


Well that's the actual point, really. Deities in Buddhism are an entirely different breed of cat, so Western terms like polytheism, deity, God, and so forth do not apply. If you look at it that way, the Buddhists deal with no entities that are gods in the western sense of the word, which I think makes us atheists. Then throw in the Vajrayana take on the existence of these beings... they become just skilful means of rebuilding the mind in Buddha's image. Sort of a glorified Jedi mind trick, except it works.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
User avatar
catmoon
Former staff member
 
Posts: 2916
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: British Columbia

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby Lhug-Pa » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:50 pm

The Buddha Dharma teaches that there are Deities who—even though all is ultimately unreal—are just as 'real' as you and I; however that they are generally not visible to those who cannot perceive the Sambhogakaya dimension.

Buddha Dharma may not be theistic, but it sure isn't atheistic.
User avatar
Lhug-Pa
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:58 pm

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby catmoon » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:00 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:The Buddha Dharma teaches that there are Deities who—even though all is ultimately unreal—are just as 'real' as you and I; however that they are generally not visible to those who cannot perceive the Sambhogakaya dimension.

Buddha Dharma may not be theistic, yet it sure isn't atheistic.


Hm. So, what reason then do we have to denote the Abrahamic God as unreal? Why do we not regard every deity ever invented as just as real as the Buddhist ones?
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
User avatar
catmoon
Former staff member
 
Posts: 2916
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: British Columbia

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby Pero » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:01 pm

catmoon wrote:
Pero wrote:
catmoon wrote:The recurring problem with gods in Buddhism is that they, like any other deities, steadily accumulate powers and virtues over time as their followers compete with each other. Eventually they surpass the Buddha in power and importance, and worship becomes centred on them, even as today, most pujas revolve around Tara, Medicine Buddha or that Other Protector, among others.

Uhm, Tara is a Buddha. Medicine Buddha is a Buddha (should be obvious lol). What we generally call deities in Vajrayana are not some worldly deities like Indra. So your argument doesn't really make any sense.


Well that's the actual point, really. Deities in Buddhism are an entirely different breed of cat, so Western terms like polytheism, deity, God, and so forth do not apply.

Yeah but worldly deities like Indra are part of Buddhism too, not just Tara. Although personally I find them more or less irrelevant.

If you look at it that way, the Buddhists deal with no entities that are gods in the western sense of the word, which I think makes us atheists.

How about the "god realm" (as in one of the 6 realms of samsara)? Though we may not really "deal" with it, we believe it exists.

Then throw in the Vajrayana take on the existence of these beings... they become just skilful means of rebuilding the mind in Buddha's image. Sort of a glorified Jedi mind trick, except it works.

Haha....
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
- Shabkar
Pero
 
Posts: 1800
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:54 pm

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby Lhug-Pa » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:07 pm

Then the question is, do Abrahamic gods vividly appear in other dimensions (whether Sambhogakaya, or Deva, Asura dimensions, etc.) to those with the ability to perceive other dimensions? Or are Abrahamic gods only totally made-up intellectual fabrications who do not appear anywhere other than the minds of those who first spoke of them/those who believe in them?

(And I would say that Abrahamic gods wouldn't even appear vividly in the minds of those who made them up, that is if they are only mere intellectual fabrications).
Last edited by Lhug-Pa on Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:15 pm, edited 4 times in total.
User avatar
Lhug-Pa
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:58 pm

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby catmoon » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:10 pm

Pero wrote:How about the "god realm" (as in one of the 6 realms of samsara)? Though we may not really "deal" with it, we believe it exists.


The occupants of those realms are still on the wheel of samsara. This would mean that you and I have both been up there, and fallen, many times. So if these beings are at root the same as you and I, why apply the western term "deity" to them? Again they are an entirely different breed of cat (god I love that phrase) and as such deserve a completely separate and unique term, like "deva". Slathering Western Christian terminology all over them really muddies the waters.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
User avatar
catmoon
Former staff member
 
Posts: 2916
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: British Columbia

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby Pero » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:13 pm

catmoon wrote:So if these beings are at root the same as you and I, why apply the western term "deity" to them? Again they are an entirely different breed of cat (god I love that phrase) and as such deserve a completely separate and unique term, like "deva".

Ah I guess I see your point now. Buddha deities are reffered to as devas too though.
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
- Shabkar
Pero
 
Posts: 1800
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:54 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dharma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: deff, palchi, Simon E., smcj, Thrasymachus, yan kong and 10 guests

>