Thread: Common Misunderstandings about Buddhism

  1. #1

    Common Misunderstandings about Buddhism

    An article from the Learn Religions website:


    Buddhism: 11 Common Misunderstandings and Mistakes

    Common Things People Believe About Buddhism That Aren't True

    https://www.learnreligions.com/commo...uddhism-449743


    Any thoughts in connection with the article?



  2. #2
    Global Moderator KathyLauren's Avatar
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    That is a good list, and it gives casual readers places to start reading more.

    I have a bit of an issue with the statement that "the Buddha did not specifically teach there were no gods, just that believing in gods was not useful to realizing enlightenment". While this is true, the Buddha did imply, with the doctrine of dependent origination, that there is no Creator. There may be other gods (who are not useful for realizing enlightenment), but the God of the western religions is denied. Since the majority of English-language readers will be either nominal Christians or will have been raised in a Christian context, this is an important distinction to make.

    Om mani padme hum
    Kathy

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    I remember a series of lectures at the Buddhist Centre when we studied the 'Wheel of Life' from Tibetan Buddhism. Gods were there, meaning that if they existed, they were still on the wheel. They are to be pitied as they are gods so see no need to seek for enlightenment. Nothing lasts forever and so the long time are were gods is wasted time and they must stay on the wheel as, perhaps, something much lowlier than gods. It's a specific way of looking at gods, much in the same way as Kathy's comment about belief on gods not being useful.

    My thoughts about whether Buddhism is a religion or not depend on thoughts about how we explore the world. Alongside such areas as mathematical, scientific, philosophical, artistic and historical inquiry there is the investigation of the spiritual side of seeing the world as a human being. What is it that this spiritual inquiry can bring to the table, and how important is it to our understanding of the world? If religions are organised attempts to find meaning in the world for us as individuals, then Buddhism is up there with them.

    The article is well worth a read and well worth keeping in mind when talking to anyone about Buddhism.

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    Global Moderator Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    Any thoughts in connection with the article?
    The following sound suspect & confusing to me:

    However, there is a Buddhist doctrine of rebirth. According to this doctrine, it is the energy or conditioning created by one life that is reborn into another, not a soul. "The person who dies here and is reborn elsewhere is neither the same person, nor another," Theravada scholar Walpola Rahula wrote.
    But Buddhism teaches the self-other dichotomy is an illusion, and that ultimately nothing is separate. When one intimately realizes this, there is no need for attachment. But that doesn't mean Buddhists cannot be in close and loving relationships.
    When the suttas refer to "rebirth", it appears to be the same person. If it was not the same person, why would you bother doing good karma if it is not you inheriting the results of good karma and avoiding the results of bad karma?

    As for attachment, the suttas list four types of attachment. Obviously even wholesome relationships are based on attachment & self-views. I cannot imagine parents sacrificing their lives for their offspring if their offspring were not viewed as "selves" but viewed as mere aggregates or elements.


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    "Buddhism Teaches We're All One." Some of these ideas can be traced to what happens when you meditate. With 'we are all one' this is a classic meditation experience where you are suddenly aware of the interconnectedness of everything, and know it to be so with unshakeable certainty. Of course it only lasts fleetingly, at least it did with me, but the memory is very strong and stays with you for the rest of your life. How to understand the experience in retrospect is perhaps how the 'we are all one' thing came about. We could indeed "fall into the idea that we individuals are component parts of One Thing, or that our individual self is false an only an infinite self-that-is-everything is true."

    Not to worry. We are neither unconnected nor are we the Borg. It's one of the 'What if...?' ideas which helps us come to terms with our understanding of the self. I like the 'What if we were all related?' question where we treat every stranger as if they were at one time our father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, and so on. It changes how we interact with people, but without having to believe we actually are related in those ways. It changes our idea of the self without having to make those ideas true or false.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by philg
    Some of these ideas can be traced to what happens when you meditate. With 'we are all one' this is a classic meditation experience where you are suddenly aware of the interconnectedness of everything, and know it to be so with unshakeable certainty
    Yes, I've often noticed that pleasant feeling of a connection with the rest of the universe when meditating outside in the open air .

    Ajahn Sumedho mentions "Oneness", the concept of "Buddha Nature" etc in the answer to the first question in this question and answer session:


    https://www.dhammatalks.net/Books3/A...stion_Time.htm



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    Moderator justusryans's Avatar
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    Thank you for posting that link Aloka, I appreciate all the information that I can find.


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