Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thoughts on Buddhism

Like any other religion, there are so many forms of Buddhism, as most of you already know. Some can get crazy just like the extremes in any religion. And I suppose it’s like any other religion where according to one’s needs and interpretation it can turn into any variety of Buddhism one wants, and more and more “flavors” of Buddhism form every day. Like the head honchos of all religions, Buddha never really clarifies what “true Buddhism” is. (Proving once again that people make the religions according to their own culture, traditions and beliefs that have been passed down generation to generation.)

Just a basic few variations are:

From Wikipedia:

* Theravāda Buddhism, using Pāli as its scriptural language, is the dominant form of Buddhism in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Burma. Also the Dalit Buddhist movement in India (inspired by B. R. Ambedkar) practices Theravada.

* East Asian forms of Mahayana Buddhism that use scriptures in Chinese are dominant in most of China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Vietnam as well as within Chinese and Japanese communities within Indochina, Southeast Asia and the West.

* Tibetan Buddhism, using the Tibetan language, is found in Tibet, and the surrounding areas in India, Bhutan, Mongolia, Nepal, and the Russian Federation.

* Most Buddhist groups in the West are at least nominally affiliated to some eastern tradition listed above. An exception is the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, though they can be considered Mahayanist in a broad sense.

To many, particularly in the west, to become a Buddha in everyday life means to live in complete harmony with the universe, and that also means that how the forces in the universe operate is directly linked to humans. I think that is why atheists are a bit more open to Buddhism than other religions, because we already understand our origins, and we know we were not “poofed” into existence by some god’s magical wand. And we aren’t “poofed” out of existence by some invisible supernatural entity. We are just a microscopic part in the whole big operation of one huge universe. And for me, that is a big enough explanation for why I am here at all.


Tommy said...

At one time after I left Christianity I considered myself to be a quasi-Buddhist, and probably still am to some extent. At its core, Buddhism offers a lot of truth in that many of our problems are caused by our attachment to material things which in the end don't make us happy anyway. Unlike the Abrahamic faiths, Buddhism doesn't teach "believe this or you will go to hell."

Of course, I don't believe in any of that reincarnation nonsense or achieving Nirvana. Like all things, Buddhism should be taken with moderation.

Cole said...

That was interesting Star. I can't say I'm a Buddhist. And I'm no longer a Christian. But I got me a book yesterday called The Way Of Chuang TZU. It's got some interesting things in it. It's more along the lines of Taoism.

Today I lean a little towards some form of dualism. It seems to be a little closer to the truth. While I believe there is design in the universe I don't see all that design as being good. I see good and bad in the universe. The universe and life is and never was all good only to experience a fall because of sin.

Stardust said...

Jason, thanks for the "Food for thought". Some things to certainly take into consideration.

I would not follow any one religion. We can chip away at bits and pieces of everything to adapt into our own lives.

Like I pointed out, there are so many variations of Buddhism just as there are of any religion. It's not just one thing. People turn it into whatever they want. I think that western culture has romanticized it much when becoming disillusioned with their old beliefs. Then still needing something to believe in, they cling to some other form of religious belief...and oftentimes people turn to Buddhism or Taoism.

Stardust said...

And just to clarify, no...I do not follow Buddhism or any other religion. While some things sound good, and we can take little pieces of stuff from anything that we might like (literature, for instance), I am not jumping on any religious bandwagon. Just interesting to learn more about cultures and belief systems.

CyberKitten said...

From what I understand and have read Buddhism isn't actually a religion but more of a way of life - a philosophy if you will. The Buddha himself is supposed to have resisted any attempts made during his lifetime to start a religion around his teachings. It was only after his death that people started forming heirarchies and started excluding people.

There are many things I like about it, though I would never actually *call* myself a Buddhist

Shravasti Dhammika said...

Dear Stardust,
I like your gentle skeptisim and caution. Should be more of it. You might enjoy my slightly more spicy Buddhist skeptisim at www.sdhammika.blogspot.com
Keep twinkling