• god must be atheist
    2.9k
    There’s your problem right there. It’s a religion, and belief is involved. Either get over it, and get on with it, or walk away.Wayfarer

    Buddhism is not a religion. It employs no supernatural elements.

    Belief is involved in everything. Marxist material atheists have a belief, too. (That the world is real, and there are no supernatural forces acting in it.)

    You can't get away from belief no matter what system you choose to apply to build models of the world or to find guidance under.

    However, that does not make all systems religions. Religions have a particular quality: they all share in having supernatural entitties called gods. (Plural or singular.) If a system is not a religion, then it has beliefs, but not in gods or in other supernatural things that play a direct role in the world view. If all the effects are accounted for in witnessed or explained repeated evidence, the belief is not religious.
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    One needs to have trust or faith or a belief that enlightenment is possible. But the goal is liberation not knowledge.Fooloso4

    I can't see how liberation can happen without gaining any knowledge. Can you enlighten me and help me to see how I am wrong in this opinion?
  • Fooloso4
    1.5k
    One needs to have trust or faith or a belief that enlightenment is possible. But the goal is liberation not knowledge.
    — Fooloso4

    I can't see how liberation can happen without gaining any knowledge. Can you enlighten me and help me to see how I am wrong in this opinion?
    god must be atheist

    If I was a bodhisattva I could help guide you to enlightenment, but not having experienced it I know nothing of it except whatever it is I imagine it to be based on the writing of others. Whether they attained enlightenment I cannot say since one would have to be enlightened in order to verify that someone else is.

    It is not that liberation happens without gaining any knowledge but that the goal of enlightenment is not to gain knowledge but to gain liberation. Knowledge comes with it. That is why I said in an earlier post that the knowledge is experiential.
  • baker
    1.3k
    I have explained that Buddhism does not require that we take anything for granted,.FrancisRay
    You most certainly did not explain it. You just claimed it, with nothing further.

    The Buddha spends half his time telling us not to do this. There is no such thing as 'politically incorrect in mysticism. I can't imagine where you get these ideas. . .
    How about you actually reading what I said? The you'll see that I don't have the ideas you imagine I have!

    It seems you want me to explain what is explained in ten thousand books. This is not fair. I'll probably stick to recommending relevant texts in future. . .
    *sigh*
    Well, you described yourself as "lazy". That says a lot.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    Belief is involved in everything. Marxist material atheists have a belief, too.god must be atheist

    Well, Marxists would probably like to see their system as a "science". However, the fact is that some historians and even socialists have described it as a form of messianic religion.

    As to Buddhism, at least in some forms of it, it does believe in supernatural beings, there is no doubt about it.
  • baker
    1.3k
    But it looks like our friend baker will require a good few rebirths - hopefully as a Buddhist - to achieve that.Apollodorus
    While you, of course, are inevitably close to nirvana, or already there, right? Right.
  • baker
    1.3k
    If I was a bodhisattva I could help guide you to enlightenmentFooloso4
    No. A bodhisattva is not yet a buddha, a bodhisattva is not yet enlightened, he doesn't have that status.
    The idea that the unelightened could lead others to enlightenment is absurd.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    While you, of course, are inevitably close to nirvana, or already there, right? Right.baker

    I never said that. But from all the questions you're asking here it's hard to tell what it is that you actually want.
  • baker
    1.3k
    There’s your problem right there. It’s a religion, and belief is involved. Either get over it, and get on with it, or walk away. They’re your choices.Wayfarer
    I don't experience those as my choices, though.
  • baker
    1.3k
    Well, desire is fundamental to our psychological make-up, it's extremely difficult to get rid of. And there is always that secret nagging desire to attain nirvana.Apollodorus
    What a rookie.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    What a rookie.baker

    That was meant as a joke.
  • Fooloso4
    1.5k
    If I was a bodhisattva I could help guide you to enlightenment
    — Fooloso4
    No. A bodhisattva is not yet a buddha, a bodhisattva is not yet enlightened, he doesn't have that status.
    The idea that the unelightened could lead others to enlightenment is absurd.
    baker

    There are different schools of thought on this. For example:

    Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who have put off entering paradise in order to help others attain enlightenment. There are many different Bodhisattvas, but the most famous in China is Avalokitesvara, known in Chinese as Guanyin ...Renouncing their own salvation and immediate entrance into nirvana, they devote all their power and energy to saving suffering beings in this world.
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    However, the fact is that some historians and even socialists have described it as a form of messianic religion.Apollodorus

    Science depends on beliefs, too. To call it a messianic religion is a religious person's way of saying that he or she is not able to get out of his head that there are other world views, which do not contain any god or gods whatsoever.
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    That was meant as a joke.Apollodorus

    It was funny, but true.
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    It is not that liberation happens without gaining any knowledge but that the goal of enlightenment is not to gain knowledge but to gain liberation.Fooloso4

    Check. Thanks. Collateral benefits.
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    The idea that the unelightened could lead others to enlightenment is absurd.baker

    The entire geshmeel is absurd to me, but nobody asked me. It takes a lot of belief to become a Buddhist, and I am very low-key and low-energy on belief. I can hardly muster up any to believe that there is a real word out there, and in here.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    It was funny, but true.god must be atheist

    Unfortunately, I've seen too many people looking for "enlightenment" or whatever for years without result, only to start taking stuff to "speed up" the process and end up in a way that I wouldn't wish on anyone. Just ask Indian locals in Goa and other parts. People brought up with the Western mentality of materialistic consumer society often fail to understand what it all involves.
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    As to Buddhism, at least in some forms of it, it does believe in supernatural beings, there is no doubt about it.Apollodorus

    What is the name of the Buddhist god, (not the name of a god concurrent to Buddhism), and what role does he play in the world of a Buddhist.

    This may be too divergent a question, requiring too rich an answer. So discard it, and, instead, please consider this question and please consider writing the answer to me:

    What is an exclusively Buddhist god, and name one instance of the God which is Buddha's alone, in which that god intervenes in the life of Buddha or other Buddhists.
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    People brought up with the Western mentality of materialistic consumer society often fail to understand what it all involves.Apollodorus

    But not everyone fails, right? Just most of them, often, but some get to the enlightenment part, albeit seldom? Your wording is unambiguous, but I check for understanding, anyway.

    BTW, you are almost invoking a fallacy (but you are not, since your statement is not an argument) that is called "No true Scottsmen".
  • Apollodorus
    531


    Most of the supernatural beings of Buddhism were of course taken from Hinduism. You'll find devas (gods), asuras (demons), gandharvas (celestial beings), everywhere in early Buddhist text. You can see it in religious (temple) art, etc. It looks like Buddhists did worship some of them from the start. Obviously, not in the sense of a supreme being as in most religions.
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k


    Thanks, this is great, can you cite just one example in which Buddha or Buddhism relied on supernatural thingies to accomplish something? We know they are not supernatural beings exclusive to Buddhism, but can you cite just one example I can check that these gods and others helped Buddha or anyone attain anything which is typically and exclusively a Buddhist thing, and without which help by Hindu gods the Buddha could not have done an exclusively Buddhist thing?

    This is what I would seek to find if I made the utterance that (some) sort of Buddhism involves a belief in supernatural beings.

    If this did not happen, then one could insist that Buddhism is not a religion, but Buddha and Buddhists were religious, in a form of religion which is separate from Buddhist teachings.

    This is important. It's like considering Einstein's theory of relativity and saying it is a religion because Einstein believed in a god.
  • Apollodorus
    531


    Actually, depending on the group or movement we're talking about, most seekers are said to attain enlightenment after many lives, the lucky ones after two or three and very rarely in this lifetime. I think you can see the dangers of us Westerners trying to attain that "here and now". A lot of realism and proper guidance is needed to avoid potential problems. I'm not trying to put anyone off anything, just advising some caution.
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    Actually, depending on the group or movement we're talking about, most seekers are said to attain enlightenment after many lives, the lucky ones after two or three and very rarely in this lifetime.Apollodorus

    How can you determine the lifetimes, and how can you declare categorically "not in this lifetime", when you have no way of discerning with any amount of certainty, how many lifetimes a person have lived through?
  • Apollodorus
    531


    I'm not sure the majority of early Buddhists looked on the gods and other supernatural beings as "Hindu" or "non-Buddhist", they were just part of Indian culture.

    As for enlightenment you can't declare anything in advance, you're just stating what normally happens, and in those cases where you can see that you yourself or some other practitioner has not attained that state in their lifetime.
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    As for enlightenment you can't declare anything in advance, you're just stating what normally happens, and in those cases where you can see that you yourself or some other practitioner has not attained that state in their lifetime.Apollodorus

    And yet you stated many things in advance re: enlightenment. Some of them were: "takes many lifetimes," "not in this life". How come you can declare these things, when you can't? You defend by saying you have witnessed them fail to attain enlightenment in this life. So they are dead. I admit that you are right and correct when you said of those, "Not in this life". On the other hand, the ones that have attained enlightenment: how do you know with certainty enough to say that this is not their first run at it?

    Just curious. You must have some sort of measuring system, that would be interesting to know about.
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    I'm not sure the majority of early Buddhists looked on the gods and other supernatural beings as "Hindu" or "non-Buddhist", they were just part of Indian culture.Apollodorus

    Right. So when we talk about Buddhists, then we say religion was part of their culture, but not part of their teachings.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    You must have some sort of measuring system, that would be interesting to know about.god must be atheist

    It would indeed. Unfortunately, it isn't my measuring system. I'm just relating what I've heard from Buddhists and Hindus. But some texts do describe what might amount to "evidence" or "signs" of enlightenment. You can always consult them or ask a "guru".
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    It would indeed. Unfortunately, it isn't my measuring system. I'm just relating what I've heard from Buddhists and Hindus. But some texts do describe what might amount to "evidence" or "signs" of enlightenment.Apollodorus

    Oh, that is not my contention. My contention is that Buddhism is not a religion, whereas you said it is.

    And I don't contest the ability to reach enlightenment.

    I contest the allegation that it is known that it takes several lifetimes to attain it.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    So when we talk about Buddhists, then we say religion was part of their culture, but not part of their teachings.god must be atheist

    It isn't quite as simple as that. If deities occur in Buddhist texts then it is hard to tell what was culture and what was actual teachings. There was very little distinction between culture and religion in those days. In the case of the Buddhist masses the distinction would have been negligible. But this is just a guess as none of us were there at the time or if we were we don't remember.
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    If deities occur in Buddhist textsApollodorus

    If? IF? I should have thought you would be familiar with Buddhist texts since you know much about Buddhism. So if you don't know of a particular feature, you can still be an expert, that is not my contention. My contention is that you don't say in the affirmative that deities appeared. It is at this point, so much for you as for me, an unknown. I say you can't say therefore that Buddhism is a religion, on the basis that there may be, but not for sure, some texts that treat Hindu gods in the tales of Buddhist legends.
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