And yet its perverse judgmentalism persists in some form in almost every major Buddhist community. It's just a feeling. “the purpose of a rose is to be a rose. 2 There are some biographies on the Buddha, but since there is no primary source material, there is really nothing to write about other than regurgitations of the stories from later authors. This is why Buddhist laity generally have such a high degree of respect and admiration for those who do dedicate their lives to the pursuit of enlightenment – monks and nuns. But again, a great many practitioners and adherents of this sect will also tell you that it’s all allegorical and the Lotus Pond is the reflecting pool of your own mind once the “self” has been eliminated. Imagine a Christian Church where the parishioners exited on Sunday morning and then walked over to a Hindu idol and poured milk on it while invoking the god’s blessings for a win on their next lottery ticket. This is true even in Thailand, where women have had a history of far greater importance and legal rights than has been the case in either its dominant Eastern cultural neighbor India, or of its Northern cultural neighbor China. Impermanence- Nothing in the Universe is permanent. There had been invasions before and of course mutual settlement between both areas, but no wholesale movement of peoples as there was after the establishment of the Jaffna Kingdom by the Tamil conquers. A true religious conflict absent ethnic tensions, like that of the French Roman Catholics against the French Cathars or Huguenots, is actually quite rare. Buddhism always highlight the cause and effect of reincarnation, so death is not an end but a new beginning for a new life in the future. You want to believe in gods and a heaven? Yes, such as the Chinese tradition. There probably are some literalists out there, most likely in the Pure Land or Tibetan Buddhist sects, but it’s rare. Imagine a Muslim saying each person could become as close to Allah as was Mohammad? No religion or culture has been able to eliminate them, although the Wahhabists in Islam have been giving it a good try in Saudi Arabia. To the extent that Buddhism blames people's current conditions for imagined failures in a past life, or by which it asks people to make sacrifices in this life for gains in the next, then this is something that needs to be abhorred and condemned. Buddhism and Christianity are similar in their view that suffering is going to happen and that people need to be prepared with their manner of dealing with it. 11 Cf. Also, if an individual is known to practice Buddhism strongly in their personal life, even though they are not a monk, you will see a similar respect accorded to them. You have now undone the connection between the thought and the feeling. it makes myself ask whether I'm depressed if I can't find purpose in what I'm doing. The Dali Lama has called it simply “compassion” and that is a pretty apt summary. I am an American, although I have lived in Asia for more than 20 years. But these are normal human characterizations, and are found among atheists as well as all religions. Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. The mind is a constant maelstrom of thoughts, most of which arise unbidden. The first is a question of which one do you want to pick on? Human beings crave purpose and suffer serious psychological difficulties when we don’t have it. 29 See “Tibet: A History” by Sam van Schail (2013) for an overview of Tibet’s history. In Buddhism, ... and part of this may be due to the lack of interest in the afterlife among meditators. If you are looking to become a leader, the Buddha’s life provides numerous examples of what a successful leader looks like.. Offering seven Bowls of water actually shows the tradition of Vajrayana Buddhism. Buddhism does value nonattachment towards material goods, and promotes the virtue of having less wants, yet that is not the same as encouraging poverty. This is not to say that institutions do not develop within Buddhism which try to impose orthodoxy, and this has been true in Sri Lanka, Tibet, Myanmar and to a lesser extent Thailand in recent years. I have been practicing meditation and Buddhist teachings for about a year now and it has brought me huge contentment and happiness. A calm mind is often compared to a mirror, or still water, or depthless night sky. Honestly such thoughts are normal, but metta might just deal with the excessive rumination. Actually consistently putting yourself in a framework in which you are challenged (as opposed to setting your own schedule) might help; go learn a new sport or something! Everything else is usually described as an aid to achieving this end, although there are sects which also throw in some after death benefits such as being reborn out of a lotus flower in a celestial pond of tranquility (such as in Chinese Pure Land Buddhism) or avoiding another rebirth under a strict doctrine of reincarnation (such as in Tibetan Buddhism, known as Vajrayana). When metta gets you to a better place, you could relax again. Or a Jew thinking that everyone could be as important to YHWH as was the murderous rapist King David? You should realize then that the thought that bothers you, whether it be an image or words, only bothers you because of the feeling that is attached to it. Links to atheist related books, shirts and movies and other atheism related products are affiliate links. Life does have a purpose (or rather can have a purpose) if you need it to. Sunyata, in Buddhist philosophy, the voidness that constitutes ultimate reality; sunyata is seen not as a negation of existence but rather as the undifferentiation out of which all apparent entities, distinctions, and dualities arise. In any country with a political system premised on popular participation, this is always a serious risk. Many lay followers may have a more literal interpretation of some texts or stories, but if it’s not part of the institutionalized religion what is the point of arguing about it? One thing you can remind yourself is that "What's the point" isn't necessarily a fair or relevant question that your monkey mind is asking. Just feel this feeling or sensation, don't name it, it's just a nameless energy. It was never something for everyone, and most of the circus show elements (like the petting tigers at one famous Thai Wat 27 ) are there to generate money for the Wat to allow those who want to focus full time on their meditation to do so (and for many family owned temples, as in Japan, to make money for the owners). Buddhism is a path of practice and spiritual development leading to Insight into the true nature of reality. It’s like exercising your body. ... but I guess I was also just looking for some guidance from people familiar with Buddhism if they have any tips for overcoming these types of thoughts and fears. For many people in American Buddhist circles, the purpose of meditation is to relieve some stress or suffering. However, recently, Karen Armstrong’s “Buddha” (2004) is a reasonable effort. The conquers were not interested in ruling so much as laying waste to the existing culture and society, and undertook what would probably be called ethnic cleansing measures today. Sponsored link. 3 There are fewer things in life more boring than listening to debates on the proper translations of Pali language texts. 20 This is an aspect of the old issue of whether a tolerance society can accept the internal advocacy of an element with beliefs anathema to tolerance. But that is to miss the point of what “suffering” is, as most people have unrequited desires or lack constant control of their emotions. death) of the Buddha and later spread throughout Asia. They use the same names, Buddha or Jesus, to gain immediate market recognition, but the teachings are altogether unique. But Buddhism doesn’t tell you what to believe, instead it says that such belief is objectively unimportant except from a standpoint of expediency in connection with an individual’s own quest for enlightenment. Women (and men though) are supposed to dress modestly when going into temple areas. 14 Although more value is usually attached to the concept, and it’s often stated that it is impossible to explain to someone who has not experienced it. The religious, monastic system, founded c. 500 B.C. All in your own head 24 . on the basis of pantheistic Brahminism. ~ John Maxwell. The Buddha offered an accountof the human individual as a composite of various psychological and physical elements that challenged the prevailing philosophical views,dominated by the Upaniṣadic idea of an enduring, substantive self (ātman). Its allegory, it’s a story to teach a lesson. One told me “maybe it works, who knows, but it’s not important to Buddhism” which is a good example of the mentality behind the exceptional degree of non-confrontation usually shown by Buddhists. Unlike Brahmanical worship, Buddhism rapidly declined in Sindh after the eighth century and it virtually disappeared by the eleventh century. You are wonderful just as you are.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching But Buddhists are rarely portrayed as the bad guys in popular culture. The blog posts published here undergo only a minimal editing process in order to preserve the voice and views of the writer. Buddhism started out, and still largely remains at its core, a philosophy dedicated to controlling an individual’s emotions through quasi-monastic practices, principal among which is meditation. “Not if it makes them a better person” or “not if it makes them happy” are the standard responses. Oct 05. wsx. He criticized the Brahmanical supremacy. That is, of course, why you need to leave them behind if you are going to have your mind in control rather than your hormones. Whereas tribal conflicts, despite the different tribes being of the same religion, are frequent (just look at European history, the constant internecine wars on the Indian Subcontinent, and the depredations visited upon other Islamic nations by Tamerlane, etc.). Types of Buddhism. This attitude towards women has been adopted in many Buddhist texts as well, where women are seen as temptations for men. ... Go too far and reality will also slip away, which is why lack of sleep can eventually result in psychosis as well. Your purpose is to be yourself. Before, I seemed to flow through life and could enjoy nearly anything without having to ask myself about the purpose. From the outside perspective, they do exactly the same things while in the temple. Various schools of Buddhism interpret the skandhas in somewhat different ways. In Buddhism, the nature of the world around us consists of karma. Monks will often tell you that doing good, even for a bad reason, is the first step to becoming good. Due to lack of proper guidance and in the absence of the True Master (who has Complete Spiritual Knowledge of all the religious scriptures), Mahatma Buddha with his unrealistic beliefs or opinions failed to recognize the nature of god and the hidden facts ~ given in our holy scriptures including the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita. Record your voice here for it to be aired on the Atheist Republic Voicemails Podcast. Chanting and showing respect to the Buddha is a good things, because if your mind is focused on positive states that’s all you need, though devotion is of course too much. 22 Don’t bother reading Wikipedia on this subject, as it’s a hotly contested one and much of what is there is provocative. Expediency rules, which is why mentorship or a “Master” is such an important concept in the Buddhist monastic tradition, where the Master can select the best advice applicable for an individual. it became clear during our discussion that the main cause of depression was not a lack of material necessities but a deprivation of the affection of others. Mahayana is hard to pin down, but generally can be stated as a belief that all beings are capable of enlightenment or liberation of from suffering. Buddhist conceptions of mind evolved from early attempts to offer a systematic account of human experience as described in the large bodyof discourses attributed to the Buddha. There is virtually no contemporaneous independent collaboration for any of this, but then none of it is supernatural either, and certainly a new philosophy and meditative discipline was founded at about this time which is what developed into Buddhism. I also go to a college where a lot of students are depressed/stressed out all the time, so I worry that if I'm not stressed/depressed, something is wrong with me, which is just a ridiculous thought. 15 Usually translated as “soul” or “personal consciousness” but in some writings having a broader meaning. First off, please take everything I say with a grain of salt; I am not a mental health professional. The heart of Buddhism is the conviction that we each have within the power to overcome any problem that comes our way. I wish you luck! If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner. But it’s also largely because of a general difficulty with generalizations about a highly diverse religion (and because of that diversity, people will find lots of legitimate reasons to criticize this blog, with due justification). I came out as a non-believer to family and friends when I went to college. They are part of existence, the scenery, or a character through which a story is told. 27 http://www.tigertemple.info/ But I don’t recommend it, as there is considerable doubt as to how well the animals are treated and whether some have been sold off to China – presumably for consumption. Worrying about whether or not you have depression might keep you stuck in a rut; this is why I suggest sports or something similar to challenge you and keep you part of a group. What should not be cultivated? Certain rituals and practices are later additions to Buddhism and satisfy people’s need for expression and worship. There are also many instances of Buddhism being credited for a ruler imposing more humane treatment on his subjects, with Ashoka Maurya in the 3rd Century BCE being the most well-known example 30 , but you find this in other religions too, so I don’t see it as being a distinction of Buddhism. What is blameless? The other major case of alleged modern Buddhist bigotry is also largely tribal, in Sri Lanka. This is the only way to grasp the purpose of following the Buddha because Buddhism aims at resolving the problem of human existence. It was the Buddhism that gave the greatest blow to Brahmanism in 6th century B.C. 9 Possibly under the influence of the Kushan Empire, which has been accredited by some as the first place where an image of the Buddha was reverenced. Buddhism is a religion because it is a worldview and way of life that is related to the sacred. If you think this is easy, then try to count your breaths while you read this. 24 Meals together are nice, but after 3 days I was dying for some chili and a fried chicken (this was in Japan, in Thailand you get better food). Generally, the first skandha is our physical form. The same is true when people profess their faith in Islam. I am currently seeing a therapist about my anxiety, but I guess I was also just looking for some guidance from people familiar with Buddhism if they have any tips for overcoming these types of thoughts and fears. There are two problems with pointing out stupid supernatural stuff in Buddhist writings. But then Buddhism doesn’t really care about all that, since it’s about the individual alone, and not about his or her position within society. On one occasion, I was able to get a monk to explain to my friend that Buddhism was not concerned with any life before or life after, but the cultural concept of reincarnation was so ingrained in them that such words of comfort were cold indeed. This works for me every time. Buddhism, on the other hand, doesn’t believe that there is a constant soul. Over 35,000 heathens have subscribed to our newsletter! In this sense, the Buddhist monastic tradition has strayed far from its original intent. So pointing out some examples of self-indulgent monks or abbots is about as useful as pointing out some greedy preachers or prelates, or imams, or rabbis, or front-running atheist hedge fund managers for that matter. There the history is between the Tamils (many of whom happen to still be Hindus) and Sinhalese (who are mostly Buddhists) 22 . Words like “left” and “right,” “in front of” and “behind,” have meaning only in relation to our bodies. Worldview and way of life is nothing other than the single purpose of the trade in mercantile goods but never. Name it, so I do it, will be nothing else to pursue they always seemed present. Because you have then given them a better person ” or “ not if it no bit... And lack of purpose buddhism inequalities of Vajrayana Buddhism so long rumination has been shown decrease. Control of your own mind overcome any problem that comes our way, because it ’ s History,! In Islam ~Robin Sharma do good things to make “ merit ” for this.... 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An overview of Tibet ’ s life provides numerous examples of Buddhist sutras and authoritative.! Appreciate it because I want to pick on a lock on the translations.
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