Wanting to convert,still have unexplained doubts and fears,So I found this forum!

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Questionsdharma
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Wanting to convert,still have unexplained doubts and fears,So I found this forum!

Post by Questionsdharma » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:54 am

Mod note: This topic seems better suited here rather than in the Tibetan Buddhism subforum where it was originally posted.
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Hi and peace to all.I'm from a catholic background and have some questions.I will first say that I am so glad to have found this place!

OKay .a background story :I'm coming from a Christian background .I was raised Christian in a pretty fundamentalist environment .I was a true believer until recently.I came across a lot of scholarly works on the origins of the bible that prove most of it is a giant pseudepigraph.I came across the numerous contradictions in the exodus account .I came upon the garbled crucifixion and resurrection accounts.I read a lot of apologetic materials and was not convinced,in fact I felt they were insulting my intelligence.I also came across walter r Mattfield an amazing scholar that has outlined the many failed prophecies of the old testament prophets.also I just couldn't accept animal sacrifices as being just or compassionate .I can go on and on but basically my faith in christianity is gone and if I did stay if be a dishonest Christian,as I don't believe the bible is inspired let alone inerrant.

I came upon some Buddhist material years ago and studied it,unfortunately it was entirely from fundamentalist theravadans like Brian Ruhr and the nihilism kind of scared me off,I definitely didn't want it to be true ,as I did not want to reincarnated for billions of lifetimes and I felt comfortable with the abrahamic paradise,sure its hard to get in,dying outside a state of mortal sin but it seemed less bleak..that is until I started to study about the Buddha realms!

I also started to study buddhisms fundamental ethics and it appealed to me so much.Buddha's seem like cool guys,they are fully compassionate and if we do end up in he'll its temporary and no one is condemning us there while claiming to love us and have good will towards us.

But here's my doubts:I have heard so many testimonies of people going to the ChristIan hell or heaven.I have read about so many contemporary saints meeting Jesus or going to heaven both catholic (padre pio)and orthodox(Tamav Irene or macarius the bishop of qenah),doing miracles etc I don't think all of them are lying of their experiences.the ones on Sid Roth or CBN could be actors ,but what of the independent noncommercial ones like on YouTube truthrabbit's channel?are all these people lying?

But then I wouldn't be convinced alone based on anecdotal accounts,albeit my fear they could be right .I have seen many Buddhist miracles and Delog accounts,have heard of the saintly karmapas and La mas,and amitabha stories.my fundamentalist remnant would label all of this as possibly demonic ,as many magicians have similar powers and demons can give false visions,pose as many things etc but then if all the Buddhist miracles,gifts and apparitions and Nde are demonic why can't the Christian ones be from Mara or pretas or nagas etc

If either side had none of these things,it would be a no-brainer that christianity is not true for me and the bible not being inspired in my view,but these things Will always cause me to doubt.what are your opinions on this?

I really need convincing answers.if I am wrong I am going to suffer from Yahweh's unending punishments.if I go back to christianity,despite how unhappy I would be and despite my logical side always rejecting it nor agreeing with its ethics and buddhism is right my karma would be so bad I would likely die really soon,be prey to all kinds of evil and sicknesses after rejecting padmasambhava and Amituofo after I sought refuge in them(and they saved my life many times from imminent death things like getting hit by 3 cars just a few inches away and choking to death a few times,once the piece of food literally evaporated as I called on padmasambhava in my mind before I choked to death)and id fall into billions of kalpas of torture in vajra hell plus gazillions of horrible lives in the future.so yeah the stakes are high.I was thinking to ask a saintly Lama that could convince me definitively.I'm so scared of death.even if my dieties came to escort me to a pureland id maybe doubt that it were demons tricking me and that Yahweh was waiting to punish me .yrs of fundamentalism will do that to you.

Pls help me out of your kindness,I love buddhism,buddha and dharma and its a path I can sincerely love rather than living in fear like my former religion.

Johan

Miroku
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Re: Wanting to convert,still have unexplained doubts and fears,So I found this forum!

Post by Miroku » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:57 am

Hmmm that is a hard position you are in. I'd recommend to relax a bit. If you are into nembutsu try reading sutras or books connected to the practice. Explore for a while and you will see. Great intro to buddhism book is "What makes you not a buddhist" by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. Wery thin, but great read.

You can try to send this question to Lama Zopa Rinpoche (https://www.lamayeshe.com/), maybe he would have something to tell you ... maybe you will find some answers there, he already answered many questions and they made them public (those answers).

I have never been a fundamentalist, nor have I ever been a christian. I did want to be a priest when I was young and the idea of god made sense to me, but it does not now. Plus being gay it made things slightly harder, don't you think that it would be bit odd to have people who are romantically attracted to same gender but condemning them because you are the great creator who does not make mistakes but for some reason they have natural feelings that did not come from you? It is odd and strange and honestly my greatest problem with god is a moral one. I really enjoy Stephen Fry in this video . Just like him I have a big problem with the idea of god.

We cannot convert you. Or at least I cannot do that. You only can change yourself. Look at those pastors look at those believers and then maybe look at what buddhism is like, dalailama is like, buddhists are like or at least aspire to be like. And maybe it will be more clear to you. Clearly you have problems with bible, so why care about the deity connected to the writing? And honestly even if christians were right, then what? Eternal damnation is way better (to me) than living as a hypocrite. But then again I am not you I am not speaking for any school of buddhism, this is just my deluted view.

Definetly I wish you a lot of luck. Maybe focusing on your fears and insecurities and dealing with them first would be better. It seems to me fundamentalists are trying to make people insecure so they believe more (or are insecure to begin with). So relax have a nice cup of tea, read a book and maybe you will find your answers. :smile: Maybe try some of Chogyam Trungpa's books... and remember in buddhism, you are discovering yourself and your real nature and potential. It is not outside, it is in you and you wont get there through fear or hope as it is beyond that. This is the last I will say as it is all mostly incoherent and probably does more harm than good. :D
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
~ Padampa Sangye

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treehuggingoctopus
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Re: Wanting to convert,still have unexplained doubts and fears,So I found this forum!

Post by treehuggingoctopus » Tue Apr 03, 2018 12:13 pm

Questionsdharma wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:54 am
if I am wrong I am going to suffer from Yahweh's unending punishments.if I go back to christianity,despite how unhappy I would be and despite my logical side always rejecting it nor agreeing with its ethics and buddhism is right my karma would be so bad I would likely die really soon,be prey to all kinds of evil and sicknesses after rejecting padmasambhava and Amituofo after I sought refuge in them(and they saved my life many times from imminent death things like getting hit by 3 cars just a few inches away and choking to death a few times,once the piece of food literally evaporated as I called on padmasambhava in my mind before I choked to death)and id fall into billions of kalpas of torture in vajra hell plus gazillions of horrible lives in the future.so yeah the stakes are high.I was thinking to ask a saintly Lama that could convince me definitively.
You seem to have had a really nasty fundamentalist upbringing indeed.

There are Christianities that are miles away from what you are describing here. The talk about Yahweh's punishments (weirdly un-Christian to begin with) sounds really awfully far away from what the vast majority of Western churches in contemporary Europe teach. And few of them are really truly exclusivist these days, I mean, both the Vatican and the CoE (to give just two examples) readily concede that God can be (genuinely and sufficiently, so to speak) worshipped outside of both Christianity and monotheism, no matter whatever name They are referred (or unreferred) to: Long story short, from that perspective Buddhists do not get damned for being Buddhists.

Likewise, you will find plenty of Buddhist teachers who do not mind your being both a practising Buddhist and a Christian, however controversial such a stance might appear to be.

You might want to consider some therapy to sort out the fundamentalist mess you have been through, and do so before you "convert."
. . . there they saw a rock! But it wasn't a rock . . .

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PSM
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Re: Wanting to convert,still have unexplained doubts and fears,So I found this forum!

Post by PSM » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:14 pm

I think you can only unpick this yourself, to be honest.

However one thing that really stands out is that this really seems to be an idea/meme which protects itself from being dropped by having a well structured threat built into it - if you dare disbelieve then you will go to hell. If you maybe look at how the idea functions on a psychological level you might be able to get enough space to view it objectively and get disentangled from it as it doesn't make much sense.

Much love to you & good luck...
"The only virtue which cannot be faked is courage" - Nassim Nicholas Taleb
"Not practicing dharma is painful" - Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
"We don't want to feel the weirdness of life." - James Low

Jeff H
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Re: Wanting to convert,still have unexplained doubts and fears,So I found this forum!

Post by Jeff H » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:17 pm

Perhaps consider this. The hell you are talking about was thrust upon you from outside. It is a punishment for disobedience, and obedience consists of “Do as I say!” It was drilled into you as a cautionary lesson designed to keep you in the fold. And it’s working. But it’s working because you buy it.

The Buddhist hells are every bit as horrible, but they are not punishments. There is no “fold” to be rebelled against with disobedience. There’s no formal “conversion” either (unless you plan to be ordained). Instead of a fold there is an internal longing; instead of conversion there is a change of mind/heart.

Buddha discovered what the nature of true suffering is, what causes it, that there is a way to eliminate suffering, and methods for us to apply for that purpose. No rules, no commandments. Those of us who have seen the beauty of his teachings seek out teachers who –- very kindly -– provide us with rules that we willingly follow. That’s not from fear of hell, but from hope of learning and practicing the truth about suffering and how to end it. It’s all about how we understand the environment we find ourselves in and how we react to it.

The hells described in Buddhism are not places that exist but states of mind. They are the natural consequences of thinking and behaving in ways that are concordant with suffering. The hell teachings can sometimes be used to inspire action through fear, but really the point is to show that the mind has infinite potential, both for bad and good. Buddhism strives to wake us up from our sleep-walk where we are baffled by all the ups and downs we experience and see around us. Buddhism tells us that nothing we experience is random, accidental, or caused by a vengeful being: it all arises from what we think and do.

My suggestion is, continue practicing Christianity sincerely. But on the side, begin casually reading some accessible Buddhist books. Nothing too heavy. In general, I find many of the Dalai Lama’s books to be accessible for beginners, yet they pack a punch, too. Be a Christian and read about Buddhism. Then let the karma you’ve already created take its course.

Alternatively, you might want to consider Pure Land practices, as someone else suggested. I know nothing about that, but it might better suit your state of mind. There's a sub-forum here for Pure Land and some knowledgeable people to point you in the right direction.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Grigoris
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Re: Wanting to convert,still have unexplained doubts and fears,So I found this forum!

Post by Grigoris » Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:53 pm

Why don't you just practice in a less fundamentalist Christian sect?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Wanting to convert,still have unexplained doubts and fears,So I found this forum!

Post by Grigoris » Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:55 pm

Jeff H wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:17 pm
The hells described in Buddhism are not places that exist but states of mind.
Ummmmm... No actually. Hell realms are as real as this realm.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Losal Samten
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Re: Wanting to convert,still have unexplained doubts and fears,So I found this forum!

Post by Losal Samten » Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:59 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:55 pm
Jeff H wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:17 pm
The hells described in Buddhism are not places that exist but states of mind.
Ummmmm... No actually. Hell realms are as real as this realm.
I think he means that they're not shared realms like the pretadhatu on up, but are personal like dreams.
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
ཨོཾ་ཧ་ནུ་པྷ་ཤ་བྷ་ར་ཧེ་ཡེ་སྭཱ་ཧཱ།།
ཨཱོཾ་མ་ཏྲི་མུ་ཡེ་སལེ་འདུ།།

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Re: Wanting to convert,still have unexplained doubts and fears,So I found this forum!

Post by Grigoris » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:05 pm

Losal Samten wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:59 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:55 pm
Jeff H wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:17 pm
The hells described in Buddhism are not places that exist but states of mind.
Ummmmm... No actually. Hell realms are as real as this realm.
I think he means that they're not shared realms like the pretadhatu on up, but are personal like dreams.
Okay, but Hell realms are shared realms created by the "common" karma of the beings reborn there, just like this realm.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Jeff H
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Re: Wanting to convert,still have unexplained doubts and fears,So I found this forum!

Post by Jeff H » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:56 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:05 pm
Losal Samten wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:59 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:55 pm
Ummmmm... No actually. Hell realms are as real as this realm.
I think he means that they're not shared realms like the pretadhatu on up, but are personal like dreams.
Okay, but Hell realms are shared realms created by the "common" karma of the beings reborn there, just like this realm.
I meant it in the same sense that we create all our samsaric realms. As the OP noted in what s/he's already learned about Buddhism, hell is understood differently in Buddhism from the eternal/permanent reality that is presented in other religions. One is not condemned or sentenced to hell; one experiences hell as a result of karmic actions. Old, negative karma can be purified and new, positive karma can be created, thus profoundly affecting future experience.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Re: Wanting to convert,still have unexplained doubts and fears,So I found this forum!

Post by amanitamusc » Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:29 pm

If you are worried about christian hell, according to the bible god is omnipresent
so one would be equally with god in hell as anywhere else.

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