Buddhism, and theistic religions.

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:50 am

My background is also Kagyu, and I also base my thinking in scientific skepticism.
You can't kid yourself into believing something that you don't ultimately believe.
However, you can broaden (rather than deepen?) your understanding of the teachings.

Personally, I would recommend Amitabha practice, for two reasons.
And I would add to that, not just Vajrayana Amitabha visualizations, but non-vajrayana ("traditional" mahayana) Pure Land practice
(reciting "namo Amitabha") as well.

First, because, as the vajrayana teachings say, the true nature of your mind is infinite.
Likewise, Amitabha is the Buddha of Infinite Light. When you take refuge in Amitabha,
you stop relying on finite, samsaric mind. You take refuge in your mind's infinite nature, which is inseparable from Amitabha.

Second, because you are scientific minded, you cling to logic and reason as part of who you are. Same with me. It's how I was raised.
We like buddhism, rather than to theistic religions because "it makes sense", right?
But, see, that's still ego clinging.
"I am a totally rational person and not prone to being duped by superstition!!!"
It's still a comfort-zone trip, still a "me" thing.
So, how do you cut through that?

I've pissed off a few people before, by saying this:
Mahayana Amitabha practice is brilliantly stupid.
It's like a Zen koan in that way...it pokes a burning stick up your logical nose, because you just do it.
If you try to rationalize it scientifically, there is nothing to hold onto.
In fact, the Jodo Shin tradition insists that you must quit even trying by your own efforts, and just chant Namo Amida Butsu,
...that it is purely Amitabha Buddha's Compassion that is at work.

This is where broadening your understanding of the teachings comes in,
that non-conceptual space opens up where you see everything as Pure Land,
And Amitabha can be experienced as "real" ...yet you aren't trying to "convince" yourself that there's some kind of god thing going on.

I think, that's the thing about theistic gods...
If you want them, you can't be logical about it, because they aren't logical.





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tellyontellyon
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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by tellyontellyon » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:05 am

This is all really interesting. I haven't read the lotus sutra, I don't know why I've skipped over that?
:heart:
“To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

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Queequeg
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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by Queequeg » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:22 pm

tellyontellyon wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:05 am
This is all really interesting. I haven't read the lotus sutra, I don't know why I've skipped over that?
:heart:
Well, that's actually fine. By its own description, its not meant to be encountered at the beginning... its the teaching the Buddha gives at the end, to tie it all together, how to put all these teachings into the context of Buddhahood - which is presented differently than in other teachings. It breathes life back in, in contrast to other teachings and practices that tend to desiccate... Its the rain that nourishes and enlivens. Its fundamentally about Joy in the Dharma.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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tellyontellyon
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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by tellyontellyon » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:43 pm

Another little book that I picked up a few years ago was: The Four Buddhist Books In Mahayana. Translated by Upasika Chihmann.
It is a lovely book with a very endearing and sincere testimony by Miss P. C. Lee (the translator).
This book also talks about chanting Amitabha.

There seems to be a few different ways of doing this I can find: Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese and probably others.. So I'm in a bit of a quandary.
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SonamTashi
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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by SonamTashi » Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:57 am

tellyontellyon wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:43 pm
Another little book that I picked up a few years ago was: The Four Buddhist Books In Mahayana. Translated by Upasika Chihmann.
It is a lovely book with a very endearing and sincere testimony by Miss P. C. Lee (the translator).
This book also talks about chanting Amitabha.

There seems to be a few different ways of doing this I can find: Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese and probably others.. So I'm in a bit of a quandary.
If you're interested in Amitabha practice/Pure Land Buddhism, you should visit the Pure Land forum and maybe ask some questions there. Of course if you're more interested in Tibetan Buddhism, then you could ask about Amitabha practices on the Tibetan forum as well.

In general, the language you recite in doesn't matter too much (although it is unusual to chant Amitabha in English), it largely just depends on the school and country of origin what way you will chant. I prefer the Chinese version, Namo Amituofo.
:bow: :buddha1: :bow: :anjali: :meditate:

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rory
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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by rory » Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:06 am

These are two simple and common practices: You could chant ch. 25 at an altar with a statue of Guanyin and when you are finished, transfer the merits and vow to be born in the Pure Land. And you chant Guanyin's name. Or if you prefer chant the smaller Pure Land Sutra etc.,and chant Amida's name. Both practices are widely done.

Lotus Sutra. Ch. 25:
Remember:
I shall now tell you in brief,
That for those who hear his name or see him,
And who are mindful of his name unceasingly,
He can extinguish the suffering of all realms of existence....

In thought after thought we have no doubt:
Guanshiyin is pure and sagely.
In times of suffering, agony, danger, and death,
He is our refuge and protector.

Complete with all merit and virtue,
His kind eyes watching living beings,
He is endowed with massive blessings, limitless as the sea.
Therefore we should reverently worship him.
http://www.buddhistdoor.com/OldWeb/reso ... otus25.htm
gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

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rory
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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by rory » Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:19 pm

SonamTashi:
If you're interested in Amitabha practice/Pure Land Buddhism, you should visit the Pure Land forum and maybe ask some questions there. Of course if you're more interested in Tibetan Buddhism, then you could ask about Amitabha practices on the Tibetan forum as well.

In general, the language you recite in doesn't matter too much (although it is unusual to chant Amitabha in English), it largely just depends on the school and country of origin what way you will chant. I prefer the Chinese version, Namo Amituofo.
I practice Pure Land within Tendai (Japanese Lotus Sutra school), so I chant in Japanese and many East Asian practitioners also practice Pure Land along with other practices.
Namu Kannon Bosatsu
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

dude
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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by dude » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:30 am

I recommend the Lotus Sutra above all.

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tellyontellyon
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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by tellyontellyon » Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:55 am

Yes, I think will look into Pure Land Buddhism and see what I can find out.
💚
“To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

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SonamTashi
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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by SonamTashi » Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:53 pm

tellyontellyon wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:55 am
Yes, I think will look into Pure Land Buddhism and see what I can find out.
💚
In that case, check out the /r/Pureland subreddit as well. Lately it has been more active than the forum here.
:bow: :buddha1: :bow: :anjali: :meditate:

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tellyontellyon
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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by tellyontellyon » Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:51 pm

Thank you all :twothumbsup:
:buddha1:
“To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

amanitamusc
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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by amanitamusc » Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:39 am

tellyontellyon wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:31 pm
Hello, I've probably asked this question or one similar to it, but didn't explain myself well... So I'll ask in this forum and explain myself a bit better.

I'm a Buddhist and follow the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, though I also like to read some translations of the Pali suttas and I like to hear Ajahn Amaro podcasts.
I trained as a psychotherapist that included a Universalist spiritual dimension to it, Jungian, Archetypal and Sufi ideas were included.
I like the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan (Sufi mysticism), I also like to read the New Testament.
However, as I said, I am firmly in the Buddhist camp.

I do sometimes feel a bit jealous of the Christians and the Sufis though....
.... I have a sense that they have the feeling of a god right there with them at all times and someone to save them and help them.

Is there something similar in Buddhism? Is the Buddha or Bodhisattvas 'right there' to hear you or help you or guide you in the same sense?
What is the view of Tibetan Buddhism of this and Mahayana schools more widely.

Sometimes as a Buddhist I feel lonely and would like there to be a 'god' like being or beings around me to listen, help and guide me... .. but I don't want to fool myself either.

Western practitioners often have a more secular or 'scientific' background to their approach to Buddhism that doesn't emphasise as much of the more 'spiritual' or supernatural aspects as much as Asian Buddhists, or at least that is how it seems to me (I might be wrong).
As a westerner, have I developed a view of Buddhism that is too 'scientific' and therefore cut myself of from the more spiritual aspects that the theistic religions seem to focus much more on..?
... Or is that just wishful thinking?

What would you say in your opinions on this?

Thank you.
You said you follow Karma Kagyu.What does your Lama say about these questions you have?
BTW You should not feel jealous of two religions that do not lead to liberation.Xstian and sufi.

katz_in_the_hat
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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by katz_in_the_hat » Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:19 am

I'm pretty sure most Buddhists throughout history have practiced devotion to either the buddha or certain boddhisattvas or both, so you shouldn't feel out of place praying in Buddhism. I'm more familiar with zen and I know devotion to Gwan Yin/Kanzeon is widespread in east Asia. I don't have a source for this, but I believe most Asians don't pray to Buddha directly because he's viewed a deity that only intervenes in extremely important matters that affect humanity/society as a whole. For smaller, more personal, problems they go to certain Bodhisattvas and local deities.

Doesn't Kagyu pray to Vairocana and Vajrasattva? Anyway, do you have a guru you can ask about this? They would know best whether to give you a certain deity to pray to or whether this an attempt on your part to grasp at something else.

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