Author Topic: Is this a accurate depiction of Buddhism?  (Read 1656 times)

Offline zacice

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Is this a accurate depiction of Buddhism?
« on: September 10, 2017, 11:30:13 am »
Hello, Forum

This is my first post on this site. I have zero experience with Buddhism and I have a school project about how pop culture depicts religions. I have chosen for this project a Simpsons episode "She Of Little Faith". The episode follows Lisa in her journey to convert to Buddhism. For the project, I must answer if the depiction of the religion is accurate or not and also what the effect it might have on the watchers the episode. So if you guys can tell me what the episode got wrong or right is the big thing I need help with. Here are some links for the episodes: and (I recommend AdBlock for this one)

Any answers would be very appreciated and also any sources which can help learn about Buddhism would also be helpful. Thank you all in advanced.  :)  :)  :)
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 11:32:18 am by zacice »

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Is this a accurate depiction of Buddhism?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2017, 02:21:05 pm »
Hi, zacice.

The first thing the episode omitted was the existence of many different traditions of Buddhism and that no individual can speak for the practices of millions upon millions of practitioners.

The fundamentals, however were basically correct:  impermanence, emptiness, the cause of suffering (desire), and the goal of Nibbana (in Pali) / Nirvahna (in Sanskrit) were all briefly mentioned.  These were accepted by all traditions as teachings of The Buddha.  However, his teachings regarding The Four Noble Truths were missing, which is a very big omission.

Here is a link to a  Buddhism WIKI, which will help you with your study and allow you to do a better job of finishing  your homework assignment:
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 02:26:04 pm by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Rahul

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Re: Is this a accurate depiction of Buddhism?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2017, 07:00:00 pm »
Two things that I would like to mention:

About a creator God: Buddhism doesn't talk about god at all and refrains from any discussions such as "there is a god" or "there is no god". The focus is not on any creator god, but on achieving the enlightenment.

About karma: Buddhism doesn't elaborate on karma like "good karma lead to happiness and bad karma lead to suffering". Though there is emphasis on right view, right speech, right livelihood etc., there is not much elaboration on what is 'good' karma and what is 'bad' karma. Overall, the conclusion of Buddhist teachings is like "the karma and results of karma are a bit difficult to understand". The Buddha chose to talk of karma that lead to suffering (desire and clinging), and the karma that lead to cessation of suffering (the noble eightfold path). Outside that scope, the discussion on karma and its fruits are very limited.

That said, what Ron the Elder mentioned above is true. Plus I would like to highlight that Buddhism is one of the most tolerant religion. Buddhists respect all other religions and beliefs. Buddhism is one of the most liberal religion in the sense that you can follow any, all or none of the Buddhist practices to any extent that you feel comfortable with. There is no 'conversion' to Buddhism, because there is no ceremony needed to acquire the title of 'Buddhist'. You can be a Christian or Jew or Hindu etc. and still believe in Buddhist concepts and follow Buddhist way of life.

Offline Samana Johann

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Re: Is this a accurate depiction of Buddhism?
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2017, 03:10:41 am »
There are as many "accurate" Buddhism as there are Buddhist, but

[Yo so tathāgato] arahaṃ sammā-sambuddho,
He who has attained the Truth, the Worthy One, Rightly Self-awakened,

Vijjā-caraṇa-sampanno sugato lokavidū,
consummate in knowledge & conduct, one who has gone the good way, knower of the cosmos,

Anuttaro purisa-damma-sārathi satthā deva-manussānaṃ buddho bhagavā;
unexcelled trainer of those who can be taught, teacher of human & divine beings; awakened; blessed;

Yo imaṃ lokaṃ sadevakaṃ samārakaṃ sabrahmakaṃ,
Sassamaṇa-brāhmaṇiṃ pajaṃ sadeva-manussaṃ sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā pavedesi.
who made known — having realized it through direct knowledge — this world with its devas, māras, & brahmas, its generations with their contemplatives & brahmans, their rulers & common people;

Yo dhammaṃ desesi ādi-kalyāṇaṃ majjhe-kalyāṇaṃ pariyosāna-kalyāṇaṃ;
who explained the Dhamma fine in the beginning, fine in the middle, fine in the end;

Sātthaṃ sabyañjanaṃ kevala-paripuṇṇaṃ parisuddhaṃ brahma-cariyaṃ pakāsesi.
who expounded the holy life both in its particulars & in its essence, entirely complete, surpassingly pure.

[Yo so svākkhāto] bhagavatā dhammo,
The Dhamma well-expounded by the Blessed One,

Sandiṭṭhiko akāliko ehipassiko,
to be seen here & now, timeless, inviting all to come & see,

Opanayiko paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhi:
leading inward, to be seen by the wise for themselves

[Yo so supaṭipanno] bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho,
The Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples who have practiced well,

Uju-paṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho,
the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples who have practiced straightforwardly,

Ñāya-paṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho,
the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples who have practiced methodically,

Sāmīci-paṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho,
the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples who have practiced masterfully,

Yadidaṃ cattāri purisa-yugāni aṭṭha purisa-puggalā:
i.e., the four pairs — the eight types — of Noble Ones:

Esa bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho —
That is the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples —

Āhuneyyo pāhuneyyo dakkhiṇeyyo añjali-karaṇīyo,
worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect,

Anuttaraṃ puññakkhettaṃ lokassa:
the incomparable field of merit for the world.[/quote]

So it's maybe better to do not seek for another accurate Buddhism and become another Buddhist, but to seek simply of the Buddhas Dhamma-Vinaya and become another Dhammika.
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