Should I go to a temple?

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seacat
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Should I go to a temple?

Post by seacat »

There is a Buddhist temple near me, but I am not interested in worshipping or devotion to Buddha, just the meditation and philosophy, probably what is known as Western Buddhism. Is there any point in going to a temple in this case? I think it's a Vietnamese temple as well.
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Ayu
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

Post by Ayu »

If they would give a class about Buddhist philosophy, I would go there. I wouldn't join puja's or worshipings, if they made me feel really uncomfortable. It would be better to attend pujas with an open mind, I think.
On the other hand, there is no harm in exploring everything.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

seacat wrote:There is a Buddhist temple near me, but I am not interested in worshipping or devotion to Buddha, just the meditation and philosophy, probably what is known as Western Buddhism. Is there any point in going to a temple in this case? I think it's a Vietnamese temple as well.

Part of the philosophy taught will involve devotion, you should learn what "worshipping" and devotion mean in Buddhism before assuming they are extraneous and unrelated to meditation and philosophy.

Many places will teach meditation that is suitable for non-Buddhists in some classes. I wouldn't neccessarily expect a typical Vietnamese temple to do that however, particularly if it is one that serves the Vietnamese community.

You might be better off looking for a secular mindfulness class. If you are going to get into the "philosophy" bit of Dharma, that cannot really just be separated from everything else, though people sure do try.
"...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."

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seacat
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

Post by seacat »

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
seacat wrote: You might be better off looking for a secular mindfulness class. If you are going to get into the "philosophy" bit of Dharma, that cannot really just be separated from everything else, though people sure do try.
So you're saying that Buddhism requires a belief in rebirth or other supernatural stuff? I like everything except for belief in rebirth and gods.
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

seacat wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
seacat wrote: You might be better off looking for a secular mindfulness class. If you are going to get into the "philosophy" bit of Dharma, that cannot really just be separated from everything else, though people sure do try.
So you're saying that Buddhism requires a belief in rebirth or other supernatural stuff? I like everything except for belief in rebirth and gods.
Well, you can practice meditation without being a Buddhist. It would be good to actually do some reading, on rebirth or whatever. If you aren't interested in what you see as the "religious" bits though, again, id' just find a mindfulness class, there are plenty out there. If you prefer to explore stuff at a Dharma center, many of them that cater to Westerners have classes that a geared towards meditation, and at most of them you won't need to worry about proselytizing or anything, no one will check your belief in rebirth at the door. At the same time, maybe it's worth being a little more open minded in your search, instead of just immediately trying to find what think you'd like.
"...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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Grigoris
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

Post by Grigoris »

seacat wrote:So you're saying that Buddhism requires a belief in rebirth or other supernatural stuff?
What is the belief in a liberation that is beyond everyday temporary escapes from suffering? Natural or supernatural?
I like everything except for belief in rebirth and gods.
What we imagine that we like, and what may actually be the case, are often quite disparate... :D
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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dharmagoat
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

Post by dharmagoat »

seacat wrote:I like everything except for belief in rebirth and gods.
You are certainly not alone.

There are traditions within Buddhism (such as Zen) that place much less emphasis on rebirth than other traditions. But as others have said, it is best to maintain an open mind. I would suggest that you investigate as much as you can, eventually settling on that which feels most natural for you.
seacat
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

Post by seacat »

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
seacat wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
So you're saying that Buddhism requires a belief in rebirth or other supernatural stuff? I like everything except for belief in rebirth and gods.
Well, you can practice meditation without being a Buddhist. It would be good to actually do some reading, on rebirth or whatever. If you aren't interested in what you see as the "religious" bits though, again, id' just find a mindfulness class, there are plenty out there. If you prefer to explore stuff at a Dharma center, many of them that cater to Westerners have classes that a geared towards meditation, and at most of them you won't need to worry about proselytizing or anything, no one will check your belief in rebirth at the door. At the same time, maybe it's worth being a little more open minded in your search, instead of just immediately trying to find what think you'd like.
I have no interest in reincarnation, it just seems implausible to me. I was just under the impression that it was not necessarily to believe in anything to be a Buddhist.

I meditate daily, mindfulness of breath, which I do for my anxiety mostly.
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Grigoris
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

Post by Grigoris »

seacat wrote:I have no interest in reincarnation, it just seems implausible to me.
Implausible to you right now...
I was just under the impression that it was not necessarily to believe in anything to be a Buddhist.
Well it seems your impression was mistaken (cf my question to you in my previous post).
I meditate daily, mindfulness of breath, which I do for my anxiety mostly.
Anapanasati is brilliant! Keep at it. It will open doors for you. 100% guaranteed! :smile:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
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dharmagoat
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

Post by dharmagoat »

seacat wrote:I was just under the impression that it was not necessarily to believe in anything to be a Buddhist.
I think ultimately this is true, but requires a special kind of understanding.
seacat
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

Post by seacat »

dharmagoat wrote:
seacat wrote:I was just under the impression that it was not necessarily to believe in anything to be a Buddhist.
I think ultimately this is true, but requires a special kind of understanding.
I guess I will continue to read. I'm also watching Professor Eckel's lectures. Maybe one of them will have the definitive answers.
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

seacat wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
seacat wrote:
So you're saying that Buddhism requires a belief in rebirth or other supernatural stuff? I like everything except for belief in rebirth and gods.
Well, you can practice meditation without being a Buddhist. It would be good to actually do some reading, on rebirth or whatever. If you aren't interested in what you see as the "religious" bits though, again, id' just find a mindfulness class, there are plenty out there. If you prefer to explore stuff at a Dharma center, many of them that cater to Westerners have classes that a geared towards meditation, and at most of them you won't need to worry about proselytizing or anything, no one will check your belief in rebirth at the door. At the same time, maybe it's worth being a little more open minded in your search, instead of just immediately trying to find what think you'd like.
I have no interest in reincarnation, it just seems implausible to me. I was just under the impression that it was not necessarily to believe in anything to be a Buddhist.

I meditate daily, mindfulness of breath, which I do for my anxiety mostly.
Kind of a complicated question, but the Buddha certainly taught rebirth, his whole teaching is in fact, not terribly sensible without rebirth.

Whether or not you can declare yourself "Buddhist" is up to you, I personally think Buddhism without rebirth is nonsensical, though I actually DO understand your skepticism itself, as I came to Buddhism as an atheist/skeptic type.

Best I can tell you is to actually read up on the concepts of karma and rebirth before you think you understand it, and keep an open mind.

Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche wrote a book on Karma and Rebirth called Karma:what it is, what it isn't, why it matters. It's one of the best books on the subject i've read written for western audiences.

IMO, you shouldn't care much about calling yourself "Buddhist" if you aren't comfortable with some of it's core teachings. Just do meditation classes and get what you can out of them. And sorry to burst your bubble but "view", as in your view of the world, place and purpose in it, etc. has everything to do with Buddhism. Its not like anyone demands you to believe this or that to meditate of course.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/View_%28Buddhism%29
"...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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Grigoris
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

Post by Grigoris »

Right View is the FIRST factor on the Noble Eightfold Path.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el377.html
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
SeeLion
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

Post by SeeLion »

I was just under the impression that it was not necessarily to believe in anything to be a Buddhist.
I think a Buddhist you need to have confidence in the Noble Eightfold path and to keep an open mind.

As for concepts such as rebirth, many Buddhists ave wrong or superficial understanding about them, and maybe it's better to simply keep a detached distance. And by detached, I mean that, if you find that you have dislike or aversion towards rebirth or other issues, you should work through that emotion. Some emotions are not useful to cultivate.
There is a Buddhist temple near me, but I am not interested in worshipping or devotion to Buddha, just the meditation and philosophy, probably what is known as Western Buddhism. Is there any point in going to a temple in this case?
Probably there is no point to go to a temple. But to keep in line with keeping an open mind, it will be useful to find out why other people go to a temple, and even talk to few of them, if you get the chance to know somebody.
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

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seacat wrote:There is a Buddhist temple near me, but I am not interested in worshipping or devotion to Buddha, just the meditation and philosophy, probably what is known as Western Buddhism. Is there any point in going to a temple in this case? I think it's a Vietnamese temple as well.
I don't see why you shouldn't go, they won't force you to stay if you feel uncomfortable.
However keep in mind that buddhism avoids two extremes, eternalism and nihilism, which "western buddhist" tend to forget. This will help you understand rebirth better.

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Two_extremes
seacat wrote:I meditate daily, mindfulness of breath, which I do for my anxiety mostly.
That is good, never give up that practice, but further learning will help you improve it.
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

Post by Fortyeightvows »

seacat wrote: I'm also watching Professor Eckel's lectures. Maybe one of them will have the definitive answers.
Those are very good lectures!
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

Post by DGA »

seacat wrote:Is there any point in going to a temple in this case? I think it's a Vietnamese temple as well.
Sure. Go with an open mind and no expectations. You'll probably learn something and meet some people. No harm will come of it.
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

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seacat wrote:There is a Buddhist temple near me, but I am not interested in worshipping or devotion to Buddha, just the meditation and philosophy, probably what is known as Western Buddhism. Is there any point in going to a temple in this case? I think it's a Vietnamese temple as well.
For most critical intelligent Westerners all the religious 'paraphenalia', all the chanting, bowing, statues and the like, seems anachronistic and unnecessary. I was pretty much the same. There's a little relevant story involving a Zen teacher Soen Nakagawa (whose disciple genkaku used to post here):

http://www.viewonbuddhism.org/resources ... .html#spit

You may see already that all the rituals, all the bows and the chants, have a purpose. Pride and hubris are obstacles on the path to liberation, as is a rigid mind, clinging to confused notions. Everything a Buddhist does is aimed at liberating from delusion and cultivating wholesome qualities like generosity and compassion. So the rituals, worshipping the Buddha, etc are just acts of body and speech that help in this journey.

_/|\_
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

Post by AlexMcLeod »

Do they have a weekly charity market? The local Thai temple here does. If you are uncomfortable going on a normal time, those events are the best time to go. Good food for and by their community, and usually the sangha are more likely to have the interpreter handy.
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Re: Should I go to a temple?

Post by seeker242 »

seacat wrote:Is there any point in going to a temple in this case? I think it's a Vietnamese temple as well.
Sure! Especially so if they have actual monks there. Vietnamese temples are awesome! I would definitely go. :smile:
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