Compassion vs. non-proselytism

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lostitude
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Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by lostitude »

Hello,

Sorry if this question has already been asked, but: how do you reconcile compassion and the desire for a boddhisattva to help all beings towards liberation, and the complete lack of proselytism that seems to characterize buddhism and the idea that only good karma can lead someone to the path so it's pointless to 'preach' to non-buddhists (at least from what I have read here)?

Thanks
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by DGA »

1. practice hard with the intention to benefit all beings without exception until all are liberated from samsara

2. don't bother trying to convince others they are wrong and you are right, just do your thing.

no contradiction there.

this is not about getting others to agree with you.
lostitude
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by lostitude »

Thanks.
But I don't really understand how you can benefit them if you never take the initiative to explain to them how dharma works.
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by Urgyen Dorje »

Having opened the door and set up for practice for a good part of 15 years, it's my observation that one doesn't "make" Buddhists. People generally pick this thing up because of previous connections. The best one can do is plant a little flag or send up a flare periodically so that people with previous connections can reconnect and then move on to what they want and need.

I have also been instructed by my own teachers that non-Buddhists paths are great if one generates love and compassion and works on eliminating self-interest and self-grasping. People are better off on whatever path makes them confortable to do just that. I feel I'd be doing someone a great injustice to turn them into a crummy Buddhist instead of a great Christian or Muslim.

Buddhism is also different than other faiths in that what really matters in the end is inner qualities. The path is just a road to those inner qualities. In the Abrahamic traditions, in the mind of some people, the path is more important than inner qualities. I've dialoged with Christians who readily recognized the great inner qualities of such persons as the Dalai Lama, compassion, wisdom, etc.,. but who nevertheless felt he was going to hell because he wasn't "saved". From a Buddhist standpoint, I hope people generate qualities, good karma, and merit, as that is what will help them at death and in future lives. I don't hope they become Buddhists because I feel it's the one true religion.
Malcolm
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by Malcolm »

lostitude wrote:Thanks.
But I don't really understand how you can benefit them if you never take the initiative to explain to them how dharma works.
If they ask, you explain. If they don't, you mind your own business.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
Urgyen Dorje
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by Urgyen Dorje »

:good:
Malcolm wrote:
lostitude wrote:Thanks.
But I don't really understand how you can benefit them if you never take the initiative to explain to them how dharma works.
If they ask, you explain. If they don't, you mind your own business.
lostitude
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by lostitude »

Thank you.

So basically a boddhisatva would just be nice to anyone without mentioning anything about conditioned arising and the like so long as no question is asked, and in this case the boddhisattva would help ease their suffering through more wordly means rather than through trying to liberate them?
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by LastLegend »

lostitude wrote:Hello,

Sorry if this question has already been asked, but: how do you reconcile compassion and the desire for a boddhisattva to help all beings towards liberation, and the complete lack of proselytism that seems to characterize buddhism and the idea that only good karma can lead someone to the path so it's pointless to 'preach' to non-buddhists (at least from what I have read here)?

Thanks
From Zen Master Hui Neng,

It does not mean that I, Hui-neng am going to deliver them. And who are these sentient beings, potential within our minds? They are the delusive mind, the deceitful mind, the evil mind, and such like -- all these are sentient beings. Each of them has to be delivered by one-self by means of one's own Essence of Mind [Original Mind]; only by one's own deliverance, is it genuine.

From Diamond Sutra,

Subhuti, all the Bodhisattva Heroes should discipline their thoughts as follows: All living creatures of whatever class, born from eggs, from wombs, from moisture, or by transformation, whether with form or without form, whether in a state of thinking or exempt from thought-neccessity, or wholly beyond all thought realms--all these are caused by Me to attain Unbounded Liberation Nirvana. Yet when vast, uncountable, immeasurable numbers of beings have thus been liberated, verily no being has been liberated. Why is this, Subhuti? It is because no Bodhisattva who is a real Bodhisattva cherishes the idea of an ego-entity, a personality, a being, or a separated individuality.
It’s eye blinking.
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Paul
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by Paul »

Historically Buddhism has been spread by missionaries. The best adverts for dharma that I've seen has been just how impressive certain practitioners/teachers have been. They have been powerfully magnetic as a result of their practice & people are naturally impressed.
Look at the unfathomable spinelessness of man: all the means he's been given to stay alert he uses, in the end, to ornament his sleep. – Rene Daumal
the modern mind has become so limited and single-visioned that it has lost touch with normal perception - John Michell
Urgyen Dorje
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by Urgyen Dorje »

In Buddhism we have to liberate ourselves. If others could liberate us, then great beings would have already liberated everyone and there'd really not be much to talk about...

Since we can only liberate ourselves, great beings can only give the tools of the dharma to those who have an interest in using them. If people have no interest in using them, then not only is it a waste of time, but it could actually bother them, cause them suffering, or cause them to make a negative association with the dharma.

A great being might do something like talk to people in their own spiritual metaphors, emphasizing aspects of generating love, compassion, and other concern in those paths, as well as a defocusing of self-interest and self-concern.

A great being could appear as teachers, doctors, friends... even things like food, water, a bridge, a light... for people in need.

lostitude wrote:Thank you.

So basically a boddhisatva would just be nice to anyone without mentioning anything about conditioned arising and the like so long as no question is asked, and in this case the boddhisattva would help ease their suffering through more wordly means rather than through trying to liberate them?
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by Malcolm »

Paul wrote:Historically Buddhism has been spread by missionaries. The best adverts for dharma that I've seen has been just how impressive certain practitioners/teachers have been. They have been powerfully magnetic as a result of their practice & people are naturally impressed.
Not really. This is a Western Historical misconception.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Boomerang
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by Boomerang »

lostitude wrote:Thank you.

So basically a boddhisatva would just be nice to anyone without mentioning anything about conditioned arising and the like so long as no question is asked, and in this case the boddhisattva would help ease their suffering through more wordly means rather than through trying to liberate them?
If you see someone suffering and you think they would benefit, share a bit of dharma with them. A deluded being like you or me can't just go and "liberate" somebody, but you could teach them about basic ethics, cause and effect, and so on. Don't shove it down the throats of people who have no interest at all.
lostitude
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by lostitude »

Boomerang wrote:
lostitude wrote:Thank you.

So basically a boddhisatva would just be nice to anyone without mentioning anything about conditioned arising and the like so long as no question is asked, and in this case the boddhisattva would help ease their suffering through more wordly means rather than through trying to liberate them?
If you see someone suffering and you think they would benefit, share a bit of dharma with them. Don't shove it down the throats of people who have no interest at all.
I was asking this question because it seems to be a very fine line to me. But your answers are enough for me for the time being, I'll keep reading, thanks everyone!
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rory
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by rory »

We should share the Dharma with others; this is the norm in Buddhism. I've given donated Buddhist books to libraries, hospitals, organized events. I set up a study group, encourage others. Not to do so is a form of selfishness; Buddhism is not just for white hipsters.

I know it's common for Tibetan Buddhists to repeat the Dalai Lama's remarks that people should stick to their birth religion but he's a refugee in India. The Indian gov't tries to stop the mass conversion ceremonies of the Dalits to Buddhism.
As to why he wants to embrace Buddhism in particular, Das says, “Joining Buddhism is the only way to escape the chains of slavery. Buddhism respects and treats all human beings equally, it is the best religion
http://www.buddhismtoday.com/english/wo ... npreet.htm
'Go forth, O Bhikkhus, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the good, benefit, and happiness of gods andmen.' (TheBuddha)
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/dha ... /fdd31.htm
gassho
Rory
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Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/
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dzogchungpa
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by dzogchungpa »

rory wrote:Buddhism is not just for white hipsters.
Mind is blown.
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by Urgyen Dorje »

There's a huge difference between making the dharma available and proselytizing. I've opened the door and facilitated practice for the better part of 15 years. I see it as planting a flag or sending up flare for people who might have an interest. But that's not proselytizing.

Proselytizing is getting in the face of people who have no interest to convert them. It's tract literature. It's handshake encounters. It's bait and switch, bringing people in for pizza and dropping religion on them. It's social manipulation and coercion. It's just dirty. It shows no respect for the dharma or the people one sees as marks.
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by TRC »

Meeting people where they are with the real intention to help more closely resembles compassion than trying to proselytise and patronise. Whenever these factors are present there is self and self-interest that hinders.

Setting an example through ones actions and deeds are the best way to convey the Dharma.
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rory
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by rory »

This is the big problem of Western Buddhism and Western Buddhists- internalization of Christianity vs Internalization of Buddhist values. It's more important to not act seemingly like a Christian than spread the Dharma.

My priest led 2 temple groups from Japan to Cambodia and India to spread the Dharma. He banged a drum in the street, chanted and passed out 20,000 free sutra chanting books. I'm happy to pay my yearly membership fee ( 36 EUR) as all the money goes for this. He has a job and does this purely to spread the Dharma.
Image
http://community.beliefnet.com/neverdes ... tab=photos
Buddhist Missionaries in the Era of Globalization
Editor: Learman, Linda;
This insightful volume dispels the common notion that Buddhism is not a missionary religion by revealing Asian Buddhists as active agents in the propagation of their faith
http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/p-3371-9780824828103.aspx
gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Paul wrote:....They have been powerfully magnetic as a result of their practice & people are naturally impressed.

Yep, this right here.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
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Re: Compassion vs. non-proselytism

Post by Ayu »

Often people are simply attracted out of some inner source. They do not need to be convinced and they seem to understand many things from the beginning. Most time these people need more help to do their first steps, or some support to stay on the path they've already started.
If someone is not attracted, no proselytizing would change that.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
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