Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby smcj » Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:06 am

Mkoll wrote:
Alfredo wrote:But there are no good reasons for accepting what amounts to one set of religious claims over another.

Apparently not for you. But that rule doesn't apply to everyone.

Ditto. :thumbsup:
Last edited by smcj on Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:14 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby duckfiasco » Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:09 am

smcj wrote:
Mkoll wrote:
Alfredo wrote:But there are no good reasons for accepting what amounts to one set of religious claims over another.

Apparently not for you. But that rule doesn't apply to everyone.

Ditto. :thumbsup:

Thirded. I bounced around between many religions, earnestly trying Christianity for several years, and almost becoming a Jew.
Buddhism was the only "set of religious claims" that remotely addressed my suffering, and has begun to help me share the same relief with others.
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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby Alfredo » Sun Jun 08, 2014 8:46 am

Surely all of you must realize that this hardly proof of the truth of Buddhism. Similar testimonies can be mustered on behalf of virtually any religion.
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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby Sönam » Sun Jun 08, 2014 8:52 am

This thread start to have a very negative orientation ... if it becomes the meeting place of all anti-ex_and so on buddhists, is it not time to close it? It is not free and samayas are involved.

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By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby Mkoll » Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:03 am

Alfredo wrote:Surely all of you must realize that this hardly proof of the truth of Buddhism. Similar testimonies can be mustered on behalf of virtually any religion.

Surely you've missed the point. :smile:

I'm not trying to prove any truths for you. I'm not trying to argue about one religion being better than another. It's up to you to investigate these things for yourself, if you're willing to do so, and come to your own conclusions.

Seeing that you're on a Buddhist forum, it seems that you have at least some interest in this realm. :thumbsup:
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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:01 am

wayfarer wrote:Isn't 'being a Buddhist' often just another ego-trip?
And coming to a Buddhist forum to argue why somebody should not be a Buddhist (Buddhist bashing) is not an ego-trip?
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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby ovi » Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:23 am

Alfredo wrote:Surely all of you must realize that this hardly proof of the truth of Buddhism. Similar testimonies can be mustered on behalf of virtually any religion.

That's not true. You have to believe in an almighty god without evidence, but it's not that difficult to understand the four seals. Form or function is the result of certain conditions and form no longer exists when those supporting conditions no longer hold. That you're made of atoms doesn't contradict selflessness, on the contrary that you have no inherent essence means that there is nothing you can hold for a self. Atoms are just atoms, they don't have consciousness for them to attribute a false sense of self. Dependent origination holds perfectly well in quantum mechanics in the same relative way as the relative truth. Emptiness of inherent existence derives from dependent origination. If you call all of these a set of beliefs, what would you call your current views? Is the idea of permanence not a belief? Is believing in a true existent self not a belief? Is believing greed as the way towards happiness not a belief? If by belief you mean something that can't be understood rationally, it is these ideas that are actually beliefs, people hold onto them without much questioning and on a deep analysis they can be shown to be false. Doubt in the Buddhist sense isn't as much as not believing the Dharma, but not being able to commit yourself to anything, despite reason. That you don't understand the whole picture is not a reason not to understand more.
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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby oushi » Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:35 am

Alfredo wrote:Surely all of you must realize that this hardly proof of the truth of Buddhism. Similar testimonies can be mustered on behalf of virtually any religion.

Surely, that's why it is pointless to argue about it. It's better to focus on solving the problem at hand, which happens to be suffering. It this sphere, Buddhism appears to be a Behemoth among all available religions and belief systems.
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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby Luke » Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:44 am

Alfredo wrote:Count me among the people who would like to see a forum for ex-Buddhists. I sympathize and identify with those who find that they can no longer honestly consider themselves Buddhists

Well, anyone is free to go and create their own forum about whatever topic they like! ...Or to join other already existing religion and philosophy forums.

Mr. Snyder very kindly created this forum to let Mahayana Buddhists have a place to discuss their religion. And I don't think it makes sense to complain about Buddhists acting like Buddhists on a Buddhist forum! lol I have many beefs with Christianity, but I don't go to Christian forums just to complain about them. lol

Alfredo wrote:Of course, religion is not purely a matter of belief, but also a social institution. The cold reality is that for many people who are attracted to Buddhism at some point, that religion turns out not to be a viable option. Some may not live near a functioning dharma center, or have enough money to belong to it. Some may be experiencing social and family pressures to identify with a different (and exclusive) religion, or simply like another group better. (Raising children as Buddhist presents various problems in the West.) Some have been burned by their encounter with Buddhism, perhaps through the misbehavior of a teacher or fellow participant. Some may recoil from news reports associating Buddhism and its leaders with various crimes against humanity (e.g., in Burma)--if so, I can hardly blame them for following their conscience.

Changing one's religion and being a religious minority are often difficult things. It is for this reason that the Dalai Lama doesn't recommend that most westerners convert to Buddhism. It's only worth it for those people who are very strongly attracted to Buddhism and who find its beliefs sensible.

Alfredo wrote:For those who are still on the fence, there is another option. I sometimes describe myself as "half a Buddhist" in order to capture, in a phrase, my identification with, and reservations about, the religion. This has the interesting side-effect of encouraging further conversation (people often ask what the other half is!), and frustrating efforts to apply a more simplistic label. The drawback, of course, is that I may go to hell for my obduracy in failing to believe various things based on the authoritative testimony of lamas like DJKR, or some of the more strident posters here! On the other hand, if I really understood enough to believe 100 %, then I should probably be enlightened, with all the major and minor marks!

"Building the ultimate personal philosophy" may be a noble activity in some sense, but it can also just be a manifestation of ego to think that one's insight is so much greater than the Buddha's and that we can succeed and "fill in the missing pieces" where he could not. Such public "philosophy-building" is often just the celebration of one's illusory self. But this is also just a stage of life that a lot of intellectual people go through as young adults: "Oh, hey! I figured everything out and created my own synthesis of existing philosophies! I'm just so bright and clever!" lol
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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby Wayfarer » Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:48 am

Alfredo wrote:Similar testimonies can be mustered on behalf of virtually any religion.


Sure. So what? The way you verify and validate Buddhist teachings is by practicing them and watching what happens. And if you don't believe that, then don't practice them.

There has been some discussion of 'faith' in this thread. My view (which is always evolving) is that faith is important, but it has been somewhat disorted by Western religions, in that it has been exploited by the religious institutions to control the masses. Basically it is 'you must believe particular things in a particular way', which has many political ramifications. Christianity has formulas which say exactly what you are to believe, and how. Now I am not saying that to bash Christianity. But notice the emphasis on 'right belief', which is the literal meaning of 'orthodoxy'.

Well, Buddhism has right view, 'samma ditthi'. But it puts a lot of emphasis on 'seeing for oneself'. Much less on 'you must believe so-and-so'. That is the meaning of 'ehi-passiko', 'inviting you to come and see'. 'Coming and seeing' turns out to require quite a lot of 'sitting still and watching'. But if you do that, you can indeed 'see for yourself' the 'cause of sorrow' through attachment formation and the rest.

Sure it is not easy at all, it takes lifelong effort (indeed, 'right effort). But given that effort, you begin to see the results in your own life and mind (a.k.a 'the fruits of practice'). At some points along the way, it does require believing, in the form of 'believing it is worth the effort', but ultimately you have to validate the teaching yourself, and that is a matter of seeing, rather than simply believing.
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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:56 am

While we are on the topic of faith let's also look at the topic of doubt (vicikiccha):
The commentators give two
etymological explanations of the word vicikicchā: (1) vexation due to perplexed
thinking; and (2) being devoid of the remedy consisting in knowledge. Both these
explanations indicate that vicikicchā, usually translated as “doubt,” more precisely means
“perplexity,” “skepticism,” or “indecisiveness” due to the prevalence of delusion. The
citta associated with this “doubt” is the first type of consciousness rooted in delusion.

(14) Doubt (vicikicchā): Doubt here signifies spiritual doubt, from a Buddhist
perspective, the inability to place confidence in the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the
Sangha, and the training. Its characteristic is doubting. Its function is to waver. It is
manifested as indecisiveness and as taking various sides. Its proximate cause is unwise
attention.
From "The Abhidhammattha Sangaha of Ācariya Anuruddha"

HUGE text for emphasis added by me.

Any alarm bells going off yet?
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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby Dan74 » Sun Jun 08, 2014 1:18 pm

I'm sorry I didn't read the entire thread, so I am likely to repeat what someone else has already said.

I'm a bit baffled by this problem to be honest. Buddhism, to me, is first and foremost, a practice. Either the practice works for you, or it doesn't. It's not about constructing a new identity and wearing it with pride (though this may be useful for some people). If I recall correctly, Ajahn Chah said once, 'don't be a Buddhist, don't be anything.' Why carry this extra burden?
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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby Andrew108 » Sun Jun 08, 2014 5:26 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:While we are on the topic of faith let's also look at the topic of doubt (vicikiccha):
The commentators give two
etymological explanations of the word vicikicchā: (1) vexation due to perplexed
thinking; and (2) being devoid of the remedy consisting in knowledge. Both these
explanations indicate that vicikicchā, usually translated as “doubt,” more precisely means
“perplexity,” “skepticism,” or “indecisiveness” due to the prevalence of delusion. The
citta associated with this “doubt” is the first type of consciousness rooted in delusion.

(14) Doubt (vicikicchā): Doubt here signifies spiritual doubt, from a Buddhist
perspective, the inability to place confidence in the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the
Sangha, and the training. Its characteristic is doubting. Its function is to waver. It is
manifested as indecisiveness and as taking various sides. Its proximate cause is unwise
attention.
From "The Abhidhammattha Sangaha of Ācariya Anuruddha"

HUGE text for emphasis added by me.

Any alarm bells going off yet?


No doubt from me. Perhaps the wrong type of certainty? Trust means having experienced the benefits of dharma, such as natural self-liberation. Many dharma practitioners want to teach and so need to have faith. Their futures depend on it.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jun 08, 2014 5:34 pm

No doubt from me.
No doubt? You know, from first hand experience (something you claim is of utmost importance, since you think faith is daft), what happens at the time of your death and after?

Pull the other one Andrew, it plays "jingle bells"...
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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jun 08, 2014 5:42 pm

Andrew108 wrote:Many dharma practitioners want to teach and so need to have faith. Their futures depend on it.
And this statement is both a straw man and a red herring.
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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby Andrew108 » Sun Jun 08, 2014 5:49 pm

It's wrong that some here question the right of another to identify as buddhist. The issue is more nuanced and yet there are senior members of this board questioning another's faith. You wonder why? Are these members lacking humility and what makes them so sure of their own faith? Surely they are getting something out of being on the 'right side'?

It's time to resist this type of bullying. It's stifling.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:49 pm

Andrew108 wrote:Are these members lacking humility and what makes them so sure of their own faith?

If one can't be sure of one's faith, what can they be sure of?

The problem occurs when someone insists that others follow their particular faith. Whereas faith, like belief, is a personal matter.
Last edited by dharmagoat on Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby Adi » Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:51 pm

Andrew108 wrote:It's wrong that some here question the right of another to identify as buddhist. The issue is more nuanced and yet there are senior members of this board questioning another's faith. You wonder why? Are these members lacking humility and what makes them so sure of their own faith? Surely they are getting something out of being on the 'right side'?

It's time to resist this type of bullying. It's stifling.


The issue is simple and made plain by your own statements: you apparently are not a Buddhist. There is nothing wrong with that and people have wished you well on the path you are making. But why hang around a place made for Buddhists by Buddhists where Buddhists are and complain about their basic beliefs and try to proselytize your own non-Buddhist point of view? People here are actually very tolerant of your constant harangues and complaints and are not bullying you -- that is entirely the wrong word. I can't imagine a Christian forum where you announced you didn't believe in Christ, sin and the afterlife yet still wanted to talk about your own version of Christianity. In that case you'd probably be welcomed at a Unitarian board or some kind of philosophical discussion forum. (Well, actually in that case you'd probably just go start your own church! That happens a lot.)

Of course you are free to do what you wish to do here within the limits of the TOS & forum guidelines, but frankly it seems a waste everyone's time.

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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Jun 08, 2014 7:05 pm

Adi wrote:The issue is simple and made plain by your own statements: you apparently are not a Buddhist. There is nothing wrong with that and people have wished you well on the path you are making. But why hang around a place made for Buddhists by Buddhists where Buddhists are and complain about their basic beliefs and try to proselytize your own non-Buddhist point of view?

The very title of this thread is an invitation to Buddhists and ex-Buddhists alike. I have asked for feedback from everyone so that we may best explore the issue. I have welcomed Andrew's and Malcolm's input equally.

Adi wrote:People here are actually very tolerant of your constant harangues and complaints and are not bullying you -- that is entirely the wrong word.

I agree that 'bullying' is an exaggeration. No-one is intimidating anyone.
Last edited by dharmagoat on Sun Jun 08, 2014 7:19 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Abandoning Buddhism, What Now?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jun 08, 2014 7:06 pm

Andrew108 wrote:It's wrong that some here question the right of another to identify as buddhist. The issue is more nuanced and yet there are senior members of this board questioning another's faith. You wonder why? Are these members lacking humility and what makes them so sure of their own faith? Surely they are getting something out of being on the 'right side'?

It's time to resist this type of bullying. It's stifling.
Anybody can identify as anything they want to. That's the beauty of delusion. But when somebody points out to the emperor that they are not wearing any clothes, well, shooting the messenger is hardly correct form now is it?

And who questioned somebody else's faith? I think you may find that it is the object of faith which is being called to account, not the act of faith.

PS You are also being called on your hypocrisy.
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