If anyone is interested, I'd like to explore the element of religion that's found within Buddhism. Religion is a subject that requires more sensitivity than most (for better or worse) so let's experiment here with how we discuss this topic with a minimum of tension and a maximum of beneficial fruit. Here are some suggestions that may help us have a fruitful conversation in a way that doesn't work the mod's last nerve.
1. As Ben often says: Play the ball, not the person.
2. Let emotional reactions rise and then fall away before responding - no matter how long that takes. The ball is just a ball...just a group of pixelated mind constructs. Let's take whatever time is needed before posting in order to do so without letting emotional reaction drive the ball. Let's sit with the ideas being responded to until they have no fire for us, then post.
3. If someone sees things differently, try on their view and explore it. Make a friend of it rather than react to it as a fast ball that needs to swatted back. Then compare the two views from that middle place before responding. There's plenty of time.
4. It's a good idea to read posts knowing that in an electronic forum it's nearly impossible to know the subjective mind-state of any poster or subjective energy of any post - it's good not to assume we know what emotional tone the post is fueled with, if any...t's too easy to project our own subjective reading onto other people's post. Read posts knowing that a misplaced comma or poorly constructed sentence in a post can result in several possible meanings, and that the slightest bit of attachment we hold will color what we read. Words are slippery, we all need to take great care to speak carefully, read carefully, analyze/comprehend carefully, respond carefully. It's useful to ask for clarification when we aren't clear what someone means.
5. Remember that we're all conditioned beings with dust bunny minds - we'll never be "right" so let's look at each other's view with curiosity and compassion, and as a gift. There isn't a view we hold that doesn't benefit from a good look at how other people see our view.
---Let's not make this a discussion about whether Buddhism should be regarded as a religion or not.
I'm more interested in why individuals choose a religious view of Buddhism, or why they don't. I'm not religious and haven't ever experienced Buddhism in any religious way so I'm naturally curious why other people do. I'm more interested in your personal view and experience, rather than what's good for the institution of Buddhism or society. My starting questions for those who engage with Buddhism as a religion are:
- What does the _concept_ of religion mean to you personally? How does the _idea_ of religion itself make you feel?
- How familiar are you with the history and origin of the idea
of religion (the concept, not the phenomenon)?
- Why do you choose to engage with Buddhism as a religion rather than just as a body of valuable wisdom and practices?
- For you personally, what elements of Buddhism need
to be viewed through the lens of "religion"?
- Is meditation inherently a religious activity?
- Is lovingkindness inherently a religious activity?
- Is generosity inherently a religious activity?
- Is compassion inherently a religious activity?
- Is death contemplation inherently a religious activity?
- Is a religious perspective necessary to understand and practice sila?
- Is a religious perspective necessary to understand kamma?
- Is the experience of clarity (both incremental and ultimate) a religious experience?
- Are the various mind-states (or stages) encountered throughout our meditation practice religious experiences?
- If you hold a belief in rebirth: Is a religious perspective necessary in order to have a positive rebirth experience upon death of the body?
Please feel free to answer all or some of these questions...or to respond regarding the questions themselves. Thanks...looking forward to insight into your personal experience of religion and the religious mind-state.