Author Topic: Ten Misperceptions about Buddhism (Extended Version)  (Read 7971 times)

Offline Dharmakara

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Ten Misperceptions about Buddhism (Extended Version)
« on: October 19, 2015, 03:19:19 pm »
Although most practitioners have come across the article entitled "Ten Misperceptions about Buddhism" because it has been reproduced/republished many times, what follows is an extended version based on the articles that were consequently published as weekly installments on the website of Tricycle Magazine as a blog series, co-authored Robert E. Buswell Jr. and Donald S. Lopez Jr.

The value of this blog series speaks for itself and has been reproduced here on FreeSangha for the benefit of those who are new to Buddhism, allowing readers to find everything in a single document for presentation. At the bottom of each quoted section you'll find a link to the original blog entry, which includes comments from Tricycle readers at the time, as the majority of these are certainly worth reading as well.


1. All Buddhists meditate.
Meditation is often identified as the central practice of Buddhism. However, the majority of Buddhists throughout history have not meditated. Meditation has traditionally been considered a monastic practice, and even then as a specialty only of certain monks. It is only since the 20th century that the practice of meditation has begun to be widely practiced by laypeople.

For over two millennia, Buddhists have made singular contributions to meditative theory and practice. Buddhist literature abounds in discussions about the stages of meditation, the prerequisites to achieving those stages, and the ways in which meditation serves to develop liberating insight. However, the majority of Buddhists throughout history have not meditated. Traditionally a monastic practice, meditation was even then considered a specialty of only certain monks. Furthermore, it is only since the 20th century that meditation has been considered a practice appropriate to teach to laypeople.

Indian Vinaya literature—the collected regulations for monastics—says next to nothing about how meditation practice might have been institutionalized within the major monasteries. This pervasive silence suggests that meditation was not part of the daily routine of monks in large Indian monasteries; instead, these communities are portrayed as engaged primarily in recitation of texts. For the most part, meditation seems to have been left to solitary ascetics (prahanika) who, living in the forest for months on end, seated at the roots of trees that served as their only shelter from torrential rains, must have appeared rather frightening to the sophisticated monks of India’s large urban monasteries. The Vinaya describes these ascetic meditators in consistently pejorative terms—as unkempt, slovenly, and uncouth—and prescribes rules related to their personal hygiene, such as requiring them to wash their feet at least once every three days.

When meditation is discussed in the sutra literature, the audience is invariably monks (and sometimes nuns), and very rarely laypeople. The implication is that meditation practice required such intensity, energy, and application that it was not something that the Buddha considered appropriate to teach to the laity.

This presumption is poignantly illustrated in the deathbed tale of the Buddha’s chief financial supporter, the businessman Anathapindada. As Anathapindada lies dying, the Buddha’s chief disciple Shariputra and his attendant Ananda go to minister to the major donor one last time. To help Anathapindada endure the dying process, Shariputra instructs him in “sensory restraint” (indriyasamvara) so that he remains unattached to his severe pain and develops a state of mind that clings to nothing. At the end of Shariputra’s discourse, Anathapindada begins to weep. Ananda, concerned that this might be the end, asks him, “Are you sinking?” Anathapindada replies, “I am indeed sinking. But I’m more upset because, even though I’ve served the Buddha for many years, never once have I heard these teachings.” Shariputra remarks that such teachings are intended for the monks, not the laity, to which Anathapindada laments that there are laypeople “with little dust in their eyes” who would be able to make use of such instructions. This exchange demonstrates quite movingly that meditation practice was not something that laypeople were typically taught; instead, charity (dana) was the religious practice incumbent on the laity, whose normative religious goal was rebirth in one of the heavens, not liberation from samsara.

Even in Korean Buddhism, where Son (Zen) meditation has pride of place, monastic vocations are rigidly divided between practice monks (ip’ansung) and administrative monks (sap’ansung). The ip’ansung include monks engaged in full-time meditation practice in the meditation halls, as well as monks engaged in intensive textual study in Buddhist monastic seminaries. The sap’ansung include most everyone else, from the abbot (an administrative post in larger Korean monasteries distinct from the Son master, who is the spiritual head of the monastery), the prior, treasurer, and scribes (e.g., bookkeepers), to proctors, vergers of the various shrines around the monasteries, and bosses in the fields. The sap’ansung are presumed to be too busy with their monastic duties to engage in formal meditation practice and are not even permitted to enter the meditation-hall compound, let alone sit with the full-time meditators. Thus, even in Korean Zen monasteries that are devoted to intensive meditation practice, only a minority of monks are actually engaged in meditation practice. And many of the most popular contemporary traditions of Buddhism, such as Nichiren Shoshu and Jodo Shinshu, do not place meditation at the center of their practice. Indeed, according to some Buddhist schools, during the current “degenerate age” it is impossible to achieve enlightenment through meditation.

According to both historical evidence and modern-day testimony, Buddhist monks have followed many vocations, of which meditation is but one (and probably a less common one at that). And it was only in the 20th century that laypeople in Buddhist traditions from Burma to Japan became regular practitioners of meditation.

2. The primary form of Buddhist meditation is mindfulness.
In fact, there are hundreds of forms of Buddhist meditation, some for developing deep states of concentration and mental bliss, some for analyzing the constituents of mind and body to find that there is no self, some for meeting the Buddha face-to-face. The practice of mindfulness as it is taught in America today began in Burma in the early 20th century.

There are hundreds of forms of Buddhist meditation, some for developing deep states of concentration and mental bliss, some for analyzing the constituents of mind and body to find that there is no self, and some for meeting the Buddha face-to-face. Among these, mindfulness, commonly assumed to be the primary form of Buddhist meditation, has only recently risen to prominence.

Mindfulness mania is sweeping the land, with mindfulness being prescribed for high blood pressure, obesity, substance abuse, relationship problems, and depression, to name just a few examples. While some mindfulness teachers maintain that what they are teaching is a distinctly secular pursuit, many others claim it is the very essence of Buddhist practice. Regardless, in the current media, mindfulness is strongly associated with Buddhism. “Moment-to-moment, nonjudgmental awareness,” however, is not what mindfulness has historically meant in Buddhism. Indeed, whatever relationship this interpretation of mindfulness has to Buddhist thought can be traced back no earlier than the last century.

The Sanskrit term smrti (Pali, sati) was first translated as “mindfulness” in 1881 by Thomas W. Rhys Davids (1843–1922), a former British colonial officer in Sri Lanka who went on to become the most celebrated Victorian scholar of Buddhism. In Buddhism, smrti is not so much a type of meditation as a factor necessary for success in any type of meditation. In a list of 37 factors conducive to enlightenment, mindfulness occurs five times, and it is also included as the seventh element of the eightfold path. Among the three trainings (trisiksa) necessary for enlightenment—in morality, meditation, and wisdom—mindfulness is included in the second, the training in meditation (samadhi). It is mindfulness that places the mind on the chosen object of meditation and returns the mind to that object when it wanders. As a well-known meditation instruction says, “Tie the wild elephant of the mind to the post of the meditation object with the rope of mindfulness.” Mindfulness prevents distraction. Mindfulness is also said to protect the mind from the intrusion of unwanted elements—whether they be from the senses or from thoughts—like a guard at the door.

The term mindfulness figures prominently in a famous discourse of the Buddha entitled the Satipatthana Sutta (Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness). Four objects of mindfulness are prescribed: mindfulness of the body; mindfulness of sensations, which here refers to pleasurable, painful, and neutral physical and mental sensations; mindfulness of mental states, in which one observes the mind when influenced by different positive and negative emotions; and mindfulness of dharmas, which here means the contemplation of several key doctrinal categories, including the constituents of mind and body and the four noble truths.

The first of the four, mindfulness of the body, involves 14 exercises, beginning with mindfulness of the inhalation and exhalation of the breath. This is followed by mindfulness of the four physical postures of walking, standing, sitting, and lying down. This is then extended to a full awareness of all activities. Thus, mindfulness is not restricted to formal sessions of seated meditation but is meant to accompany all activities in the course of the day. This is followed by mindfulness of various foul components of the body (asubhabhavana), a rather unsavory list that includes fingernails, bile, spittle, and urine. Next is mindfulness of the body as composed of the four elemental qualities (mahabhuta) of earth (solidity), water (cohesion), fire (warmth), and air (mobility). Finally, there are “charnel ground contemplations”: mindfulness of the body observing nine successive stages of decomposition of a human corpse.

Mindfulness of the body is intended to result in the understanding that the body is a collection of impure elements that incessantly arise and cease, utterly lacking any semblance of a permanent self. That is, the body, like all conditioned things, is marked by three characteristics (trilaksana): impermanence, suffering, and nonself. Clearly, mindfulness here is hardly “nonjudgmental awareness.”

The story of how the popular understanding of mindfulness derived from modern Vipassana meditation and how Vipassana first came to be taught to laypeople in Burma in the early decades of the 20th century is told in Erik Braun’s article “Meditation en Masse” in the Spring 2014 issue of Tricycle. There is thus no need to retell that story here.

Armed with this knowledge, Buddhists of the world can unite in the fight against high blood pressure, but need not concede that the mindfulness taught by various medical professionals today was somehow taught by the Buddha.

3. All Buddhists are vegetarians.
Bhikshu, the Sanskrit term translated as “monk,” literally means “beggar.” Buddhist monks and nuns originally begged for their daily meal (some still do) and therefore were supposed to eat whatever was offered to them, including meat. According to some sources, the bout of dysentery that the Buddha suffered before he entered nirvana occurred after he ate pork. In the centuries after the Buddha’s death, vegetarianism began to be promoted in some Buddhist texts. However, even today not all Buddhist monks and nuns are vegetarians. For example, in China they are; in Tibet they are not.

Bhikshu and bhikshuni, the Sanskrit terms for a monk and a nun, literally mean a “beggar” or “mendicant.” Buddhist monks and nuns originally received their single daily meal by going on alms rounds in local villages and towns, a practice that is still followed today in some Theravada Buddhist regions of Southeast Asia. Monks and nuns were required to accept whatever the laity offered to them, including meat, since charity (dana) was the principal means for laypeople to gain merit and thus better their prospects of a happy rebirth. The only exception to this rule recognized in the Vinaya is if a monk knows that an animal has been killed specifically to feed him, in which case he is not allowed to accept that meat. Monks were always free to choose what to eat from their bowls, but the vast majority probably ate offerings of meat.

We know that the Buddha rejected strict vegetarianism as an imperative of monastic life from a dispute with his cousin Devadatta, an ambitious monk who had sought unsuccessfully to be named the Buddha’s successor. Devadatta practiced five severe types of austerities (dhutanga), including vegetarianism, and he specifically asked the Buddha to require all monks to be strict vegetarians. The Buddha refused this request, since such a requirement would limit what monks could accept from the laity, and thus restrict the amount of merit laypeople could generate.

Another piece of evidence that early Buddhists ate meat is found in the story surrounding the Buddha’s death. According to the Mahaparinibbana Sutta (Discourse on the Great Decease), which narrates the last year of the Buddha’s life, his final meal was offered by the blacksmith Cunda, who invited the Buddha and his monks to his home to feed them. Cunda offered them a dish called sukaramaddava, which the Buddha accepted on behalf of the monks but warned that no one else should taste the dish and ordered that the remainder of the dish be buried. After eating this sukaramaddava, the Buddha came down with the severe case of dysentery that eventually killed him. Cunda was distraught at having sickened the Buddha, but the Buddha sent his attendant Ananda to comfort him and tell him that he would receive great merit for offering a buddha his last meal. There has been much debate in the traditional commentaries as to exactly what sukaramaddava was. The term literally means “tender boar,” which in Indian and Sinhalese commentaries is usually presumed to have been some sort of pork dish. In East Asia, where vegetarianism was more common, this term was translated as chantanshu’er, which means “sandalwood tree fungus,” suggesting that the meal may instead have been something eaten by pigs, such as truffles or mushrooms.

The practice of vegetarianism, which is now widespread in India, seems to derive from the Jaina tradition, one of the rival schools of the wandering shramana ascetics with which Buddhism was also aligned. The Jainas were strong advocates of non-harming (ahimsa) and had strict vegetarianism as one of their defining practices. Since the mainstream Brahmanical tradition of the Vedas also was not originally vegetarian, we can conclude that the pervasive practice of vegetarianism in both Hinduism and later Buddhism is probably a result of Jaina influence.

In the centuries following the Buddha’s death, strict vegetarianism began to be promoted in some Buddhist texts, such as the Mahayana recension of the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, and eventually was codified as one of the bodhisattva precepts in such indigenous Buddhist scriptures as the Fanwang jing (Brahma’s Net Sutra) of China. In East Asian Buddhism, vegetarianism became ubiquitous, perhaps prompted by dietary restrictions of Daoist adherents who comprised the early audience for Buddhism in China. Even today, however, not all Buddhist monks and nuns are vegetarians. For example, in China and Korea they typically are; in Tibet and Thailand, they are not.

4. All Buddhists are pacifists.
It is often said that a war has never been fought in the name of Buddhism. It is unclear what “in the name of” might mean, but there have been many battles between Buddhists (with some Buddhist monasteries having their own armies). There have also been wars of Buddhists against non-Buddhists. Tibetan Buddhists fought bravely against British forces that invaded Tibet. During World War II, many Japanese priests supported the military expansion of the Japanese empire.

One sometimes hears people say, “A war has never been fought in the name of Buddhism.” Exactly what “in the name of Buddhism” means is debatable. Not debatable is that Buddhists over the centuries have engaged in violent acts, including warfare, and have also condoned such acts.

In the 20th century, Tibetan monks took up arms and fought bravely against the Chinese troops of the People’s Liberation Army. Earlier in the century, they had fought against British invaders; troops of the Younghusband expedition took protective amulets, pierced by bullets, off the bodies of the Tibetan dead.

In Japan, during the Second World War, Buddhist monks, especially those of the Soto Zen sect, supported the aggression of Japanese troops in China and Korea. In previous centuries, many Japanese monasteries had their own armies, called sohei, made up of professional soldiers who wore monks’ robes but were not ordained, changing into their armor when it was time to fight, often against rival Buddhist armies.

Buddhism, like other world religions, has its own justifications for violence. The great chronicle of Sri Lanka, the Mahavamsa, tells the story of King Dutthagamani, who led his troops into battle against the Hindu Tamils who occupied the island. Dutthagamani himself killed the Tamil king in battle using a spear adorned with a relic of the Buddha. He then plunged the spear into the ground and ordered that a stupa be built over it. As a Buddhist, Dutthagamani was troubled by the carnage he had wrought, with tens of thousands of the enemy lying dead on the battlefield. He called in a group of arhats (enlightened monks) to calculate the negative karma he had accrued by so many acts of murder. They explained that he was guilty of killing only one-and-a-half people. Among the enemy dead was one person who had taken refuge in the three jewels of the Buddha, dharma, and sangha and had taken the five precepts of a Buddhist lay disciple (upasaka). He counted as one person. Another of the dead had only taken the refuges but not the precepts, and so counted as half a person. The rest were not people, so the king accrued no negative karma for their deaths.

Buddhism has been supported by all manner of kings and emperors over its long history. One of their motivations for doing so was to protect their lands from invaders. Huguo Fojiao, or “state protection Buddhism”—the idea that by supporting the community of monks and nuns, a kind of religious force field would guard the kingdom from harm—is a central theme of East Asian Buddhism. The first Zen text written in Japan, by the monk Myoan Eisai, was entitled “Promoting Zen in Defense of the State” (Kozen gokokuron). And perhaps the most famous of the Chinese Buddhist apocrypha (texts written in China that purport to be of Indian origin), the Renwang Jing (“Scripture for Humane Kings”), is devoted in part to the theme of state protection.

In some cases, the protection does not work, leading to dreams of revenge. The Kalacakra Tantra predicts that in the future, a great Buddhist army will sweep down from the Himalayas to defeat the barbarians who had driven the dharma from India long ago. These barbarians are followers of someone called Madhumati, an Indian attempt to render into Sanskrit the name Muhammad.

Violence in Buddhism is not always committed by physical means. In tantric Buddhism, so-called “liberation” rites are performed to liberate (that is, kill) one’s enemies. The great Tibetan translator Ra Lotsawa used such rites to murder the son of Marpa, the teacher of Milarepa. Farther east, when Korea was facing an invasion from Tang China in 670, the Korean thaumaturge Myongnang used powerful spells (mantra) he received from the undersea Dragon King protector of Buddhism to generate a typhoon that would sink the Chinese flotilla. (It worked.) When the Japanese invaded China in what would become the Second World War, the Chinese invited the Panchen Lama to come to China and perform tantric rituals in order to repel the invaders. (It didn’t work.)

5. Buddhism is a philosophy and not a religion.
Buddhism has many philosophical schools, with a sophistication equal to that of any philosophical school that developed in Europe. However, Buddhism is a religion by any definition of that indefinable term, unless one defines religion as belief in a creator God. The great majority of Buddhist practice over history, for both monks and laypeople, has been focused on a good rebirth in the next lifetime, whether for oneself, for one’s family, or for all beings in the universe.

The Buddhist philosophical literature produced over the last 2,600 years is so astounding in both breadth and depth that it is little wonder Westerners have often claimed that Buddhism is a philosophy, not a religion. Scores of different philosophical schools have developed within Buddhism, from the Abhidharma schools of Burma, with their careful analysis of the constituents of reality (dharma); to the Huayan school of China, with its elaborate outline of a universal causality in which all things are creating, and being created, by all other things (shishi wu’ai fajie); to the Gelug school of Tibet, with its precise delineations of the relationship between emptiness (sunyata) and dependent origination (pratityasamutpada). The sophistication and rigor of Buddhist philosophical analysis rival that of any philosophical school that developed in Europe. Indeed, The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism is replete with entries on the ideas and terminology of these many philosophical systems.

Despite this wealth of philosophy, Buddhism is also a religion by any definition of that indefinable term—unless one narrowly defines religion as belief in a creator god. Magic and miracles, which we often associate with religion, fill Buddhist texts. As we wrote the dictionary, we were continually surprised at how central magic and miracles were to the biographies and legends of the Buddha, his disciples, and their eminent successors throughout history. Of eight major pilgrimage sites in Indian Buddhism, which commemorate important events in the Buddha’s career, four are concerned with miracles he performed. Among these sites is Sravasti, where the Buddha performed the “dual miracles” (yamakapratiharya) to vanquish a rival group of yogins by flying into the air and releasing fire from his head and water from his feet, and vice versa.

Such miracles were not only performed by the Buddha. Mastery of the fourth stage of meditative absorption (dhyana) is said to enable the meditator to deploy a set of psychic powers (rddhi) that includes the ability to pass through mountains, walk on water, fly through the air in full-lotus position, and “touch the sun and the moon with one’s hand.” Mahamaudgalyayana, one of the Buddha’s two main disciples, was the acknowledged master of such psychic powers. He once flew off to the Himalayas to find a medicinal plant to cure his sick friend Shariputra, and was renowned for his ability to travel anywhere in the universe as easily as flexing his arm. During a severe famine, Mahamaudgalyayana offered to turn over the earth’s crust to expose the ambrosia beneath it, but the Buddha wisely dissuaded him, saying that this would confound the earth’s creatures.

The very same monks who are the most renowned philosophers of Buddhism are commonly associated with such religious miracles. Nagarjuna, the traditional founder of the Madhyamaka school of Indian philosophy, retrieved the Prajnaparamita (“Perfection of Wisdom”) Sutras, the textual basis of that school, by traveling underwater to the Dragon King’s palace at the bottom of the sea. Kumarajiva, the Kuchean monk whose translation of Buddhist texts into Chinese laid the foundation for Madhyamaka philosophy in China, was a renowned thaumaturge who could ingest needles without injuring himself (a talent he used to justify why he could have sex when other monks could not). His tongue did not burn during his cremation—proof, his biographer claimed, of the accuracy and eloquence of his translations. (We leave to the reader’s imagination why the Chinese Chan monk Fori Qisong’s penis did not burn during cremation.)

Heaven and hell, and how to get to one and avoid the other, is another common feature of religions. And throughout history, the vast majority of Buddhist practices for both monks and laypeople has been focused on gaining a better rebirth in the next lifetime, whether for oneself, one’s family, or for all beings in the universe, and avoiding the baleful destiny of one of the infernal realms.

Indeed, separating philosophy from religion does not work well in the case of Buddhism. Trying to tease apart these two strands of the dispensation would have seemed a futile endeavor to most Buddhists over the long history of the tradition. We in the West need to get over this false dichotomy, which has no significance in speaking about Buddhism or other Asian religions.

The story behind the pilgrimage place of Samkasya illustrates this point nicely. After the Buddha magically flies to the heaven on the summit of Mount Sumeru to meet his mother Mahamaya, who has been reborn there as a deva, the gods build a bejeweled staircase so that he may descend back down to earth at Samkasya—a famous scene called “the descent from the realm of the divinities” (devavatara). The reason for this supernal visit? To teach his mother the Abhidharma, the highest form of Buddhist philosophy.

6. The Buddha was a human being, not a god, and the religion he founded has no place for the worship of gods.
Buddhism has an elaborate pantheon of celestial beings (devas; the name is etymologically related to the English word divinity) and advanced spiritual beings (bodhisattvas and buddhas), who occupy various heavens and pure lands and who respond to the prayers of the devout.

Buddhism is famous in the West as an “atheistic religion,” in the sense that, unlike the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, it does not recognize a single creator deity. However, one should not assume from this that Buddhism has no gods. It has not one, but many.

In traditional Buddhist cosmology, the gods—or deva in Sanskrit, a cognate of “divinity”—are distributed among 27 heavens (svarga): six are located in the sensuous realm (kamadhatu) along the slopes, at the summit, and in the air above Mount Sumeru, the mountain at the center of the world; 17 in the meditation heavens of the realm of subtle materiality (rupadhatu); and four are in the immaterial realm (arupyadhatu), where there is no form, only consciousness. Because each of these heavens is located within samsara, the realm of rebirth, none of these heavens is a permanent abode of the gods who live there, and none of the gods is eternal. Rebirth as a god is based on virtuous actions performed in a previous life, and when the god’s lifespan is over, the being is reborn some place else. Thus, no god in Buddhism has the omniscience, the omnipotence, or the omnipresence of God in the Abrahamic religions. This does not mean, however, that gods have no powers. They have powers far beyond those of humans. And over the long history of Buddhism, Buddhists, including monks and nuns, have propitiated various gods for blessings and boons. A substantial part of tantric practice, for example, is devoted to inviting gods into one’s presence, making offerings to them, and then requesting the bestowal of various powers (siddhi).

What then is the status of the Buddha? Technically, he is a human, among the five other rebirth destinies (sadgati) in samsara: gods, demigods, animals, ghosts, and denizens of hell. But he is unlike any other human, both in his relation to the gods and in his physical and mental qualities.

In his penultimate lifetime, the Buddha-to-be was a god, abiding, where all future buddhas abide, in the Tushita heaven. It was from there that he surveyed the world, and chose the place of his final birth, his caste, his clan, and his parents. After his enlightenment, the Buddha spent 49 days in contemplation in the vicinity of the Bodhi Tree, concluding, the story goes, that what he had understood was too profound for others to understand, and thus futile to try to teach to anyone. The most powerful of the gods, Brahma, descended from his heaven to implore the Buddha to teach, arguing that although many might not be able to understand, there were some with “little dust in their eyes” who would. This is an important moment because it makes clear that the Buddha knew something that the gods did not, and that the gods had been waiting for a new buddha to appear in the world to teach them the path to freedom from rebirth, even from rebirth in heaven. For this reason, one of the epithets of the Buddha is devatideva—“god above the gods.”

Although a human, the Buddha has a body unlike any other. It is adorned with the 32 marks of a superman (mahapurusalaksana), such as images of wheels on the palms of his hands and soles of his feet, a bump on the top of his head, forty teeth, and a circle of hair between his eyes that emits beams of light. Some of the marks are characteristics found in animals rather than humans: webbed fingers and toes like a duck’s, arms that extend below the knees like an ape’s, and a penis that retracts into body like a horse’s. His mind knows all of his past lives and the past lives of all beings in the universe. In fact, he is omniscient (although the various Buddhist schools have different ideas about exactly what this means). Even in the early tradition, it is said that he can live for an eon or until the end of the eon, if he is asked to do so. And in the Lotus Sutra it says that his lifespan is immeasurable. He can go anywhere in the universe. He can perform all manner of miracles.

Did he create the universe? No. Is he omniscient? Yes. Is he omnipotent? It depends on what you mean. Is he eternal? Sort of. Is he God? You decide.

7. Zen rejects conventional Buddhism.
Zen masters burn statues of the Buddha, scorn the sutras, and regularly frequent bars and brothels. Zen monks follow a strict set of regulations, called “pure rules,” which are based on the monastic discipline imported from India. Most Zen monks have engaged in extensive study of Buddhist scriptures before beginning their training in the meditation hall. And although a celebrated verse in Zen speaks of “not relying on words and letters,” Zen has the largest body of written literature of any tradition of East Asian Buddhism.

The literature of Zen, especially as we know it in the West, often portrays its adepts as iconoclasts who reject the conventional norms and restrictions of the Buddhist tradition. Zen masters are said to have burned statues of the Buddha for firewood and scorned the written sutras. When the Chinese master Yunmen Wenyan was asked, “What is the Buddha?” he replied, “A dried turd.” When Linji Yixuan, the eponymous founder of the influential Rinzai school (Linji zong) of Chinese Zen (Chan), was asked what monks should do if they encountered the Buddha, he shouted, “If you meet the Buddha, kill him!”

In 1964, Ch’unsong, a modern Korean Zen (Son) monk renowned for his iconoclasm, was invited to the presidential palace to give a dharma talk at the birthday celebration for Yuk Yong-su, the wife of Korean President Park Chunghee and a devout Buddhist laywoman. Ch’unsong ascended the dais and sat silently for over a half hour, leaning on his staff. When it was obvious that his audience had lost all patience, he held his staff up over his head and shouted, “This is the day the mother of the First Lady split open her vagina!” He then descended from the dais and walked off without saying another word. Needless to say, he was not invited back.

A Zen master’s awakening is said to transcend all the conventional dichotomies of right and wrong, good and evil, moral and immoral. This experience frees him to engage in what the tradition calls “unconstrained conduct” (wu’ai xing), which allows its enlightened monks to do iconoclastic things like frequent bar and brothels. The Hongzhou school, on what was then the wild Sichuan frontier of China, was especially known for such iconoclasm; many of the portrayals of Zen masters striking, shouting at, and kicking their students are associated with Hongzhou masters. Derived from Mazu Daoyi and his successors, the Hongzhou school claimed that all actions were equally manifestations of the enlightened mind and that conventional ethical observances placed artificial restraints on the mind’s free functioning.

Such “unconstrained conduct,” however, was subject to withering criticism by certain other factions within the Zen tradition itself. Guifeng Zongmi, a successor in the Heze lineage that traces itself back to the Sixth Patriarch Huineng, blasted the Hongzhou school for fostering what he considered to be dangerous antinomian tendencies.

The notion that the vast majority of Zen monks are engaged in unconstrained conduct is belied by the fact that Zen monasteries adhere to strict sets of regulations that the tradition itself developed. These codes are the so-called “rules of purity,” or qinggui, a genre of Zen literature that was intended to provide an indigenous disciplinary code distinct from the imported monastic discipline of India. The source of many of the qinggui’s rules and regulations, however, is in fact the normative Indian Vinaya tradition. Quinggui codes cover everything from the monthly and annual celebrations and festivals, down to the minutiae of daily life in the monastery and the specific duties of the monastery’s administrative monks. In modern Korean monasteries, the daily life of Zen monks is so rigorously structured around the 10 to 14 hours typically allocated to formal sitting meditation that they are permitted no time even to read or chant, let alone to hit the local bar. The “unconstrained conduct” of Zen is a literary trope, not a pervasive practice. It is the exception, not the rule.

Despite Zen’s own claim that it “does not rely on words and letters” (buli wenzi), most Zen monks have engaged in extensive study of Buddhist scriptures and primers of Zen before beginning their training in the meditation hall. Indeed, the school that produced the largest body of written literature of any tradition of East Asian Buddhism can hardly be considered bibliophobic. This literature includes such uniquely Zen genres as discourse records (yulu), “transmission of the lamplight” lineage histories (chuandeng lu), and anthologies of Zen precedents (gong’an; Japanese, koan), all of which extensively cite sutras to validate Zen views and practices. “Not relying on words and letters” is a statement of Zen’s claim about its own pedigree: a school that draws its authority not from the written sutras of Buddhism but from its direct connection through successive generations of patriarchs and teachers to the mind of the Buddha himself.

8. The four noble truths are noble.
The famous phrase “four noble truths” is a mistranslation. The term “noble” in Sanskrit is aryan, a perfectly good word meaning “noble “ or “superior” that was ruined by the Nazis. Aryan is a technical term in Buddhism, referring to someone who has had direct experience of the truth and will never again be reborn as an animal, ghost, or hell being. The four truths of suffering, origin, cessation, and path are true for such enlightened beings. They are not true for us; we don’t understand that life is suffering. So the term means the “four truths for the [spiritually] noble.”

The four noble truths—that existence is suffering (duhkha), that suffering has an origin (samudaya), that there is a state of the cessation (nirodha) of suffering, and that there is a path (marga) leading to that state of cessation—is the most famous of all Buddhist doctrines. It is the first thing that the Buddha taught—the content of his first sermon, or in the language of the tradition, what he explained when he first “turned the wheel of the dharma” (dharmacakrapravartana)—after concluding that the enlightenment he experienced under the Bodhi tree could be comprehended by others. The “four noble truths” is the one phrase that most people know from Buddhism, the one thing they remember from their “Introduction to World Religions” course. Unfortunately, it is a mistranslation.

The key term is “noble.” The original Sanskrit term arya—adopted by the Nazis as the centerpiece of their racist ideology—was in ancient India an ethnic self-designation used by inhabitants of north India (whether they were invaders, migrants, or natives remains a topic of scholarly debate) to distinguish themselves from other inhabitants of the region. The Buddha reinterpreted the word, which means “noble” or “superior,” from an ethnic designation into a spiritual one, referring to those with an insight into reality superior to that of ordinary people.

It appears that arya became a technical term early on in the tradition, referring specifically to four stages on the path to nirvana, or more accurately, to those who have reached those stages: the four noble persons (aryapudgala). The first of the four are the stream-enterers (srotaapanna), those who have had an initial insight into the nature of reality, such that they have destroyed all causes for future rebirth as an animal, ghost, or in the hells, and who are destined to enter nirvana in seven lifetimes or less. The second are the once-returners (sakrdagamin), who have deepened that insight, such that they will only be reborn in our world, the sensuous realm (kamadhatu), once more. The third are the never-returners (anagamin), who have deepened that insight further so that they will never be reborn in our world again, but will achieve nirvana in “pure abodes” (suddhavasa) at the upper reaches of the heavens of the realm of subtle materiality (rupadhatu). The fourth type of noble person are the worthy ones or arhats, who have destroyed all causes for future rebirth and will never be reborn again, entering nirvana at death. The Buddha passed through all four of these stages on the night of his enlightenment, becoming an arhat.

Thus, the term that we know as the “four noble truths” should really be translated as the “four truths for the [spiritually] noble.” The truths themselves are not noble; the people who understand them are. And it is the understanding of these truths that makes them noble. Another translation might be the “four ennobling truths.”

There is an important teaching in this term: the four truths are not true for everyone. Anyone who has not achieved at least the level of stream-enterer is called an “ordinary person” or “common being” (prthagjana)—sometimes also called bala, meaning “childish” or “foolish.” We ordinary persons are foolish because we don’t know the truth. Specifically, we don’t know that existence itself is suffering, that suffering has an origin, that suffering can be brought to an end, and that there is a path to that state of cessation. We may know it intellectually, we might know it well enough to list it correctly on the midterm, but this does not make us noble. Only the person who has direct insight into the four truths is noble. And it is only for such people that the four truths are, in fact, true.

9. Zen is dedicated to the experience of “sudden enlightenment,” which frees its followers from the extended regimens of training in ethics, meditation, and wisdom found in conventional forms of Buddhism.
Zen monks routinely expect to spend decades in full-time practice before they will be able to make real progress in their meditation.

The East Asian Zen tradition has long understood enlightenment to be a sudden flash of insight rather than a gradual revelation. Zhongfeng Mingben, a Chinese Chan (Zen) master in the Linji (Japanese, Rinzai) lineage, described the sudden approach to enlightenment in verse:

        Chan practice does not involve any progression,
        The absolute essence is free from all extremes and representations.
        . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
        In one realization, all is realized,
        In one flash of cognition, all is cognized.

According to an aphorism attributed to Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen, sudden awakening occurs by “pointing directly to the human mind so that one may see the nature and achieve buddhahood.” In some accounts, a focus on “seeing the nature” (Japanese, kensho; Chinese, jianxing) frees followers from the extended regimens of training outlined in so-called conventional forms of Buddhism. This “subitist,” or sudden, approach to liberation—what we in the business call a “soteriology”—is so central to Zen’s identity that the broader East Asian Buddhist tradition often refers to it as the “Sudden Teaching.”

There is, however, great debate as to exactly how sudden “sudden enlightenment” is. In some Zen descriptions, as in certain strands of the Rinzai school, only an awakening that simultaneously perfects all aspects of Buddhist training—morality, concentration, wisdom, compassion, etc.—may be authentically described as sudden enlightenment. Such a consummate sudden enlightenment, termed “sudden awakening [accompanied by] sudden cultivation” (dunwu dunxiu), is said to be like a sword cutting through a spool (all the spool’s threads are cut simultaneously) or like the dyeing of a spool (all its threads are dyed simultaneously). Other traditions, such as the central strand of the Korean Zen (Son) school, instead interpret “seeing the nature” to suggest that even after a sudden vision of buddhanature, certain engrained proclivities (vasana) of mind still remain, and can only be removed gradually. The idea here is that just because one knows in a flash of insight that one is a buddha does not mean that one is then fully able to act as a buddha. This process is compared to the maturation of a person: at the moment an infant is born, it may be fully endowed with all the potential abilities of a human being, but it takes many years of growing up before that child learns how to act like an adult. This interpretation is called “sudden awakening [followed by] gradual cultivation” (dunwu jianxiu).

Even Zen masters who fervently advocate radical forms of subitism often describe having multiple experiences of awakening over many decades of training before they achieve conclusive sudden enlightenment. The 12th-century Chan master Dahui Zonggao championed the new technique of koan (Chinese, gong’an) meditation, calling it a shortcut to enlightenment because it requires no stages or steps, just repeated inquiry into a koan topic. Yet in his account of his own training, Dahui describes experiences of several awakenings—some from examining koans and others from reading scriptures. The Son master T’aego Pou, a strong proponent of the koan technique in Korea, talks about having four separate awakenings: two from investigating koans, one from tasting soup, and a final one from reading the Perfect Enlightenment Sutra (Chinese, Yuanjue jing). And the Japanese Zen master Hakuin Ekaku describes several discrete awakenings during his career, including one when he hears the ring of a distant bell, another when an old woman strikes him with a broom while he is out on alms-round, and a final awakening prompted by reading the Lotus Sutra. Even the most cursory perusal of Zen literature will show that few practitioners have had a single moment of sudden enlightenment in which all practices are simultaneously perfected. “Sudden” is therefore not typically a temporal suddenness (as in achieving full enlightenment in a single instant) but a lack of progression in practice, as Zhongfeng notes in his verse.

To this day, dedicated meditators in Korean Zen monasteries routinely expect to spend years, if not decades, in full-time training in order to make real progress in their practice. Zen sermons and dialogues are categorical in calling for the transformative experience of sudden enlightenment, but Zen monastic training is focused far more intently on discipline than awakening: monks and nuns will need the disciplined life of the monastery in order to prepare themselves to take that final “leap off the hundred foot pole” into enlightenment.

10. All spiritual traditions, Buddhism included, are different paths to the same mountaintop.
Many great Buddhist figures state unequivocally that enlightenment is accessible only to those who follow the Buddhist path. One can get only so far (generally, rebirth in heaven) by following other religions; only Buddhism has the path to liberation from suffering. All roads may lead to the base camp, but only Buddhism leads to the summit.

Many think of Buddhism as a tolerant religion, one that recognizes the value of all religious traditions. In recent years, there have been growing numbers of Buddhist-Christian dialogues and Buddhist-Jewish dialogues. The Dalai Lama has even commented on the gospels. This might suggest that Buddhism holds that all religions are one, that all spiritual paths lead to the same mountaintop. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The idea of the unity of religions, at least in its popular form known today, has two important 19th-century sources, one from the West and one from the East. In America, the Theosophists, led by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott (both of whom were strong defenders of Buddhism against Christian missionaries), believed that a single mystical doctrine lay at the core of all religions. In India, the Bengali saint Ramakrishna practiced all of the major religions and claimed that they each led to the same mystical experience. Ramakrishna’s disciple, Swami Vivekananda, went on to proclaim that all religions are one. (A closer reading of his claim suggests that what he really meant is that all religions are Hinduism.)

Buddhists have never proclaimed the unity of religions. Early Buddhist texts are filled with accounts of non-Buddhist masters claiming to have achieved enlightenment when in fact they have, at best, only achieved rebirth in the higher heavens of the immaterial realm (arupyadhatu); this was the fate of the Buddha’s first meditation teachers, Arada Kalama and Udraka Ramaputra. One of the Buddha’s closest disciples, Mahamaudgalyayana, liked to visit the hells, see which non-Buddhist teachers had been reborn there, and then return to earth to report their fates to their disciples, just to annoy them. Some of the disciples of these teachers eventually got so annoyed that they had him murdered.

In the 13th century, the celebrated Zen master Dogen, who famously proclaimed that mountains and rivers have buddhanature, was not so sure about Daoists and Confucians, writing, “Ignorant people state that Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism are ultimately one, only the entrances are different. These misguided foolish people have a superficial view of the Buddhist Way because they lack sufficient understanding of the dharma and its origin.”

It is not particularly surprising that Buddhists would see themselves, and their path, as superior to competing religious groups, whether they were Hindus in India, Daoists in China, Confucians in Korea, or Bonpos in Tibet. What is more surprising, and more interesting, is that Buddhists would make similar claims of superiority against fellow Buddhists.

In one of his most famous essays, the renowned Japanese master Kukai laid out ten stages of religious development. Those of the lowest stage are the goat-like, who have no moral values whatsoever; the second lowest have some inclination toward self-restraint; and the third lowest level includes Hindus and Daoists. The next six levels are all various forms of Buddhism, none of which lead to buddhahood. As one might expect, this is possible only through Kukai’s own Shingon sect.

In Tibet, the famous 14th-century teacher Tsongkhapa argued that everyone who had ever achieved nirvana, even by the Hinayana path, had done so by understanding emptiness (shunyata) as set forth by what is called the Prasangika branch of Madhyamaka. Liberation from rebirth was impossible with any other Buddhist philosophical view. This raised the problem of how to understand the spiritual attainments of great Indian masters such as Asanga, who had taught different philosophical systems—in Asanga’s case, the Yogacara. Some Tibetans solve this by saying that while Asanga may have taught Yogacara, he was really a Madhyamaka at heart.

Certain Indian and Tibetan Vajrayana systems contend that it is impossible to achieve buddhahood without practicing sexual yoga with a female consort, and that even Shakyamuni Buddha had done so. In some ways, this historical claim is not surprising, since all new claims in Buddhism must be traced to the Buddha himself; there can be no enlightenment (bodhi) higher than the complete perfect enlightenment (samyakasambodhi) that he achieved.

Historically, all Buddhists have held that liberation from rebirth is impossible via any religion other than Buddhism. Other religions can at best lead to a better rebirth, either as a human or as a god in one of the many heavens; only Buddhism leads to nirvana. Buddhists have agreed up to this point. Where they disagree is which form of Buddhism leads to nirvana, with each of the many schools across Asia claiming that theirs alone does, and often identifying other forms of Buddhism as only so many expedient stratagems (upaya) taught by the Buddha for those not yet ready for the true teaching.

Offline ECS

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Re: Ten Misperceptions about Buddhism (Extended Version)
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2016, 08:19:06 pm »
Perhaps as one awaken to Buddhism , one realized he is constantly alone with emotion and nothing is belong or connected to him .....he no longer holds the mind as he realize he is the mind and as such he no longer choose what to learn or who to learn from as everything / anything regardless its nature is all a great source of realization to him....he no longer holds any faith or anything as referral of judgement ...he no longer holds knowledge as the basis of judgement so nothing is right or wrong ... nothing is true or false ... nothing is good or bad regardless Dalai Lama or Osama bin Laden or Coca-Cola can is all same great source of realization

Offline Rune

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Re: Ten Misperceptions about Buddhism (Extended Version)
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2016, 04:34:37 pm »
soo, what is buddhism really? some human concepts wraped around spirituality.

why do you need all the concepts, like god, vegitarianism, pasifism, etc? is it not human concepts, that has no meaning over spirituality?

tell us something about the buddha view on woman and gays. perhaps that would clearify some more misconceptions, on how great buddhism is, if you are not a MAN. lol.

please inlighten us all.

"Forget "professional counseling." This calls for an exorcist!" - zafrogzen

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Ten Misperceptions about Buddhism (Extended Version)
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2016, 03:51:43 am »
soo, what is buddhism really? some human concepts wraped around spirituality.

why do you need all the concepts, like god, vegitarianism, pasifism, etc? is it not human concepts, that has no meaning over spirituality?

Buddhism, it seems, depends on what you want from it. I've chatted to many Buddhists from different cultures, and their experiences are all different. I think our task in the West is to tease out that which works for us, while still maintaining the Dharma as a guide to keeping us on the path. It can be merely concepts wrapped around spirituality, or visa versa, but is essentially an individual practice of walking the walk rather than talking the talk.
Which is different for everyone. For me it was developing ever simpler meditations, eventually 'just sitting' in a timeless point, but who knows what it is for others? Not just that, of course, as the path is so much more than meditation, but still about changing your ideas about things, about letting go in the right way, about right living, and so on.
The thread title, 'Ten Misperceptions' is, like any sweeping statement, just a gauntlet thrown down. It doesn't mean anything for me, as they aren't my 'misperceptions'. Anyone who has studied Buddhism in any depth knows the vastness, the richness, of its development over the ages and around the world, and that you can pull stuff out to validate almost any stance you care to take.
The wonderful part for me is a simple story of someone determined to understand the meaning of life, and who did so just by sitting under a tree, and with enough determination to succeed. Everything else is really just an embellishment, to provide background and even color to the story. If that's not Buddhism, then I personally don't care. I hold the man as the example I always keep in mind, as a reminder that we can all gain enlightenment by our own efforts.

As for the concepts, you don't need them. You need to have thought about them, and to have let go attachments to them, but then to undertake right action as you see fit.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline francis

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Re: Ten Misperceptions about Buddhism (Extended Version)
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2016, 04:06:29 am »
Hi there Rune, in answer to some of your questions and to set your mind at ease.

soo, what is buddhism really? some human concepts wraped around spirituality.

Buddhism is the realisation that life is suffering (dukkha) as found in the Four Noble Truths. Once you get that, you can follow the Eightfold Path to end suffering.

why do you need all the concepts, like god, vegitarianism, pasifism, etc? is it not human concepts, that has no meaning over spirituality?

Buddhists don’t believe in God, gods or spirituality, and Buddhists are not necessarily vegetarian because monks accept what people put in their bowls.

As to pacifism, the Buddha’s first percept is to abstain from taking sentient life. It is the Jains who are strict vegetarians, because they believe that animals, plants and humans have living souls. Buddhists don’t believe in soul theory, instead they understand anatta, the non self.

tell us something about the buddha view on woman and gays. perhaps that would clearify some more misconceptions, on how great buddhism is, if you are not a MAN. lol.

Buddha ordinated the first bhikkhuni (Buddhist nun) his aunty, and 500 bhikkhunis over 2500 years ago, which says a lot about his respect for women.

I’m not sure the Buddha talks much about gays, but his view on sexual relationships can be found the third precept, which is to avoid sexual misconduct.

please inlighten us all.

Enlightenment is seeing things as they really are. It is the first step on the path to Nirvana.

The truth about Buddhism is hard to get because you need to accept you are not who you think you are. That is, what you call self consists of nothing more than the five aggregate (skandhas).

Hope that helps :)

With metta
« Last Edit: November 15, 2016, 04:15:54 am by francis »
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Offline Rune

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Re: Ten Misperceptions about Buddhism (Extended Version)
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2016, 05:15:44 am »
2500 years ago it might be something out of the ordinary, but in 2016 it is not anything out of the ordenary, to accept a woman as an equal member of the human race.

my point is, that little has changed in buddhism since then. also you are not saying anything about, what buddhas view on woman is, only that he accepted women in his cult.

where are your woman lama, or your woman buddhist leaders? are you trying to tell me, that for 2500 years, there has simply not been a qualified woman, for the job. you should be a shame of yourself, for taking soo lightly on the subject. what are buddhist problem with woman, is it that they are unclean, less inteligent, focused on material matters, and that kind of hindu crap? or is it that buddhism, is just another hindu cult, like soo many thousands, that opress the truth and human rights, when it all come down to it. i say it is.

soo i need to give up my identety, in order to optain the truth. nothing less. wouw is that not brainwashing in a nutshell. give up your earthly needs, in order to serve some indian babba. is that what you refere to as inlightment, i have to warn you. you are being fooled. big time!

you can not end suffering. it is a illution inside your head. instead, you suport a religious cult, that take away small children from their families and home, to be brought to a monestary, where they are molested and abused. just to mention one aspect, of your "fine" hobby.

just let it go.
"Forget "professional counseling." This calls for an exorcist!" - zafrogzen

Offline francis

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Re: Ten Misperceptions about Buddhism (Extended Version)
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2016, 05:15:15 am »
Hi there Rune, I’m not sure where you are going with this discussion. 

It’s like you have set up this giant straw man argument. That is, Buddhism has a perfect badge attached to its name, then you start to argue that Buddhists are overtly violent, oppressive, steal, kill, wound, withhold truth, violate, disrespect women and so on.

I have never seen it said anywhere that Buddhism is perfect. The Buddha was very pragmatic; he understood human nature and all its downfalls. That is why he taught what he did, which is basically how to become more skilled in living life.

He did ordained women 2500 years ago, which was something out of the ordinary for its time or anytime really, considering the recent presidential election in the USA and that all religions struggle to recognise women.

The Buddha never implied Buddhism was perfect.  At the time he let women into the sangha (Buddhist community) he also said ordination would cause much trouble, and some would say it did. See Women in Buddhism for more information. 

My direct experience with Buddhist nuns is from the time I spent as part of a sangha. The leader was a woman and it was an even split of sexes in both ordained and lay Buddhists. From the Tibetan traditions, Pema Chodron and Robina Courtin come to mind as leaders.

I have never heard Buddhism called a cult before, though cults do exist that pretend to be inspired by Buddhism. Check out Controversial 'Buddhist' Teachers & Groups.

Apart from possibly cults, I haven’t heard anything credible about small children being unwillingly taken form from their families and homes, molested and abused.

Buddhism, is very different to Hinduism (Sanātana Dharma).  Hindus don’t eat cows for example.

To your main question ‘so, what is buddhism really?’ When answered, you take umbrage. You call it brainwashing because your identity feels threatened. The assumption here is that we are not already brainwashed, conditioned, and we have unconditioned identities. 

Buddhism is all about breaking the cycle of conditioned existence, dependent origination or samsara.

So there you have it, your questions have been answered.

With metta
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Offline Rune

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Re: Ten Misperceptions about Buddhism (Extended Version)
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2016, 07:36:24 am »
but the fact of the matter is, that buddhism has a perfect badge, attatched to it's name. that is the image you portray. remember, i did not say it, the buddhist leaders did. if they are not your buddhist leaders, then fine, but they are the spokesperson for millions of people out there.

soo really, this is going to be another religious discution, like the one we have on islam, that someone is saying one thing, and another one is saying a different thing.

first of all, stop eating animals. the argument about if the animal was already dead, is insane.

and then to the point of buddhism itself. did niavana not exist before buddha, if soo why 2 billion years of life on earth, and then 2500 years ago, some babba found it, by meditating and activating some cemicals and electrons in the brain.
you can activate the same thing, by using drugs. wich you are against, but you are propably deeply addicted too, from your extatic meditation.
but that does not prove anything, only that you can activate extatic emotions, from extreme behaviour.
perhaps you should try mdma, and find your buddha in a pill. just show what a hoax it is, to give credit to babbas and lamas, for something science has already discovered.
just take a pill, it will save you the trouble.

that is why it is a hoax, and a cult, where you all need to be accepted by your spiritual leasers, and please him, with your progress.

i garentee you, that you will get the same orgasmic sensation, from chanting coca-cola pepsi dr pepper, than from your lame buddhist mantras. who do you think listen to your mantras? that is right, no one, exactly, it is not the mantras but the method. try it, it will make you think that coca-cola is supernarural. i kid you not.

well if you claim buddhism is not a hindu sect, you have no idea what hinduism preaches. i say it is hinduism, only in buddhism you go to niavana, and in hinduism you go to krishna loka, after trillions of lifes ofcourse. but the tradition is the same, and you have the hindu demigod like brahma, the protector of the universe.
wich tell us, that buddha did tell us about the universe, only he did soo, by being a hindu, like he was all along.

when is something credable, before you have to believe in it? a shame for the children that this hocus pocus tradition, is still going on in modern times. who give away their child? and who want to take someones child, to grow up without a mother or a farther. heartbreaking.

some hindus would eat cows, there are many gods in hinduism, and many strange traditions, like buddhism being one of them.
in fact buddha is said to be a reinvarnation of one of krishnas avatars, in order to stop violence and the killing of animals, in a time where there were very little peace in india, 2500 years ago.
but buddha was a hindu.

yes, the good old slogan; you are already brainwashed, soo no need to worry about it. it is such a cliche'. you need to get real, and start asking qustions, and proof of ghosts, and other supernatural hoax.

the thing is, you can activate some things inside your body, to make you feel love and special, but don't let some illitrate son of a pessant, take controle of your life (like the babbas and lamaskr it's a hoax. start thinking for your self.

"Forget "professional counseling." This calls for an exorcist!" - zafrogzen

Offline francis

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Re: Ten Misperceptions about Buddhism (Extended Version)
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2016, 03:38:51 pm »
Rune, mate I have already answered you questions, you are just repeating yourself.

Let me know when you want to learn about Buddhism.


"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh


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