Buddhist "relics"?

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Crazywisdom
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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by Crazywisdom » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:24 am

nichirenista wrote:
Crazywisdom wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Shariraṃ, relics, are the small pellet—like secretions found in the ashes of Buddhist saints when they are cremated.
They look like pearls. These are but one kind. There have been many Kagyu masters whose eyes, tongue and heart fused in cremation. Some manifested bija on their teeth. Some manifested mandalas in their skulls, mantras on bones, etc. Another form of relic is the remains of the saint, like the hair or even the robe. These carry very powerful blessings. The idea of relics in Catholicism is simply some part of the corpse. I am not aware of a Christian relic of miraculous quality similar to the Buddhist saints, except the alleged Shroud of Turin.
As a child in the Catholic Church, a Catholic priest visited my Catholic Elementary school one day with his statue of the Virgin Mary. This statue was said to cry -- particularly when visiting states where abortion was legal. It was also known to perform miracles. There are countless examples in the Catholic religion of miracles being performed by statues. There is also something in Catholicism known as "incorruptibility," wherein the body of a saint is said to be preserved, and in many cases such bodies are said to grant miracles to people: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incorruptibles" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This is one of the reasons I left the Catholic Church. Even as a child, this all sounded preposterous to me.
I thought these things were preposterous as a child, and then I grew up and saw things with my own eyes. The effect of these relics tends not to be so miraculous as their appearance is miraculous. When one gets in contact with them one can experience meditative bliss. Locations where masters meditated are also like this. I experienced this myself many many many many times. So for me, it's just normal like the sky is blue. It's like leaving the human race because the ordinary people don't accept this. But I only feel sorry for such people. It's like not being able to dream or never experiencing the taste of sweet. The modern world is missing an element of life that makes it worth living. It helps to have an open mind, because, please have some faith in something more than science, but science makes the world a machine.
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nichirenista
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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by nichirenista » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:29 am

Did I mention that the Catholic Church I refer to, the one visited by the priest with the statue of the Virgin Mary who wept when visiting states where abortion is legal, has since lost several priests due to sex abuse allegations? This is something that has rocked the Catholic Church and is one reason I look skeptically on a lot in the religion. And -- though I probably shouldn't touch it -- I know that these topics also exist in the Tibetan Buddhist religion. In other words, it's one thing to have faith; but it's also important to "think."

My skepticism isn't based on me being "sour grapes," but on me having witnessed abuses of power by religious figures.
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tobes
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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by tobes » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:29 am

Speaking as a mod here:

It's quite legitimate on a Buddhist forum that one person may believe in the power of relics and another may not.

It seems clear to me where Nichirenista and Malcolm sit on that issue. If there is something to be gained by substantively engaging in the issue, then by all means continue.

But please do so by respecting each others personal beliefs.

:anjali:

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nichirenista
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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by nichirenista » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:31 am

tobes wrote:Speaking as a mod here:

It's quite legitimate on a Buddhist forum that one person may believe in the power of relics and another may not.

It seems clear to me where Nichirenista and Malcolm sit on that issue. If there is something to be gained by substantively engaging in the issue, then by all means continue.

But please do so by respecting each others personal beliefs.

:anjali:
I never criticized Malcolm or said "you are wrong." What I've done is restate my views in an attempt to hopefully keep them from being misrepresented. Also fielding off attacks.

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tobes
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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by tobes » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:35 am

nichirenista wrote:
tobes wrote:Speaking as a mod here:

It's quite legitimate on a Buddhist forum that one person may believe in the power of relics and another may not.

It seems clear to me where Nichirenista and Malcolm sit on that issue. If there is something to be gained by substantively engaging in the issue, then by all means continue.

But please do so by respecting each others personal beliefs.

:anjali:
I never criticized Malcolm or said "you are wrong." What I've done is restate my views in an attempt to hopefully keep them from being misrepresented. Also fielding off attacks.
No worries nichirenista - I'm not saying you are.

I'm just saying that showing respect for different views is appropriate for all parties in this discussion.

:anjali:

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Jesse
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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by Jesse » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:38 am

nichirenista wrote:This is one of the reasons I left the Catholic Church. Even as a child, this all sounded preposterous to me.
Why bother with religion at all then? Or philosophy? You've obviously got it all figured out. You know exactly what reality is, you know what's real and what's not. So I ask, what is it your looking for?
Did I mention that the Catholic Church I refer to, the one visited by the priest with the statue of the Virgin Mary who wept when visiting states where abortion is legal, has since lost several priests due to sex abuse allegations? This is something that has rocked the Catholic Church and is one reason I look skeptically on a lot in the religion. And -- though I probably shouldn't touch it -- I know that these topics also exist in the Tibetan Buddhist religion. In other words, it's one thing to have faith; but it's also important to "think."
The funny thing about thinking is, it will only get you so far. You can experience thing's in this life far beyond logic and reason. What's hilarious is, the very intelligence so proud of it's technological and scientific accomplishments can't even explain it's own existence, we can't even figure out something so basic as our own consciousness! You're just bitching about culture, spirituality has nothing to do with all of that, sure it's part of the religion and culture, but none of that matters anyway, if you want to use these sorts of thing's to complain about Buddhism, you're only doing yourself a disservice. Buddhism is a tool to reveal your own true nature, and learn and grow spiritually, if you want to do that then practice, or just keep finding petty thing's to convince yourself how much superior your preconceptions about reality are.
“Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of one's desires, but by the removal of desire” – Epictetus

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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by nichirenista » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:41 am

tobes wrote:No worries nichirenista - I'm not saying you are.

I'm just saying that showing respect for different views is appropriate for all parties in this discussion.

:anjali:
Thank you. I have no problem with people believing the relics are literally those of the historical Buddha. I just don't believe it. To each their own. But the fact that I don't believe it doesn't mean I am some negative, morally corrupt, down-and-out mess drinker. LOL :rolling:

To be honest, this thread has answered my question by showing me that, yes, this is a part of the Tibetan/Bhutanese religion that some people believe it literally true. It reminds me of the practice of Communion in the Catholic Church. On religious/spiritual level, some people literally believed the priest had the supernatural power to change those little wafers into the "body of Christ." As a child sitting in the congregation, I remember thinking to myself, "If that's really the body of Jesus, he would've have been eating up long ago." And I'm certain that if any wafers in the Catholic Church were examined by a scientist, they would find that those wafers were merely bread.

Some things are just a matter of faith. I didn't know that those kind of faith existed in Tibetan/Bhutanese Buddhism, and if I had known I wouldn't have attended the event. :oops:

Thanks. :)

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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by nichirenista » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:45 am

Jesse wrote:
nichirenista wrote:The funny thing about thinking is, it will only get you so far. You can experience thing's in this life far beyond logic and reason. What's hilarious is, the very intelligence so proud of it's technological and scientific accomplishments can't even explain it's own existence, we can't even figure out something so basic as our own consciousness! You're just bitching about culture, spirituality has nothing to do with all of that, sure it's part of the religion and culture, but none of that matters anyway, if you want to use these sorts of thing's to complain about Buddhism, you're only doing yourself a disservice. Buddhism is a tool to reveal your own true nature, and learn and grow spiritually, if you want to do that then practice, or just keep finding petty thing's to convince yourself how much superior your preconceptions about reality are.
Maybe that's because something like "consciousness" and "existence" isn't so easy to "figure out," and maybe it doesn't have to be. But I don't think my lack of faith in the Communion wafers being the Body of Christ, or the Relics being literally those of the Historical Buddha, make me any less closer to understanding "consciousness" and "existence."

I don't think it's "bitching" to ask for extraordinary claims to be backed up by evidence. I don't think it's "bitching" to be put off of a religion you grew up in because some of its leaders had abused children, and said leaders were protected by the powerful hierarchy. I think you're minimizing me and my arguments, and I think that's unfair.

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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by Jesse » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:49 am

nichirenista wrote:I don't think it's "bitching" to ask for extraordinary claims to be backed up by evidence. I don't think it's "bitching" to be put off of a religion you grew up in because some of its leaders had abused children, and said leaders were protected by the powerful hierarchy. I think you're minimizing me and my arguments, and I think that's unfair.
How am I minimizing you? :thinking:

You're sure good at playing the victim.
“Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of one's desires, but by the removal of desire” – Epictetus

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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by Norwegian » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:53 am

nichirenista,

Your views however falls under the umbrella of scientism and materialism, and this forum is as its header says "A Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism" (and like its Terms of Service says: "Do not be disruptive. Dharma Wheel is an environment for the discussion of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism."), therefore it is not outrageous at all to refute such views, something that the Buddha did thoroughly, and the refutation of such views continues in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions as well.

So it ought not be a surprise that Dharma practicioners criticize and rebuke such views on a forum like this.

Using science as the benchmark and sole measurement for everything that is acceptable, especially with regards to the Dharma, is the most wrong way of approaching the Dharma. It is like having a pot with soil, placing a seed in it, and watering it with nitric acid and then expecting something to grow. It's impossible.

Furthermore, if you've read any of the suttas (since you mention the Theravada which adheres to the Pali Canon as their main body of scripture) with the mindset you have right now, you would end up asking for evidence and confirmation from science with almost all of the suttas, repeatedly. There's just so many things taught by the Buddha that cannot be satisfied with these criteria at all. And that would leave you with very little in the end.
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nichirenista
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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by nichirenista » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:54 am

Jesse wrote:
nichirenista wrote:This is one of the reasons I left the Catholic Church. Even as a child, this all sounded preposterous to me.
Why bother with religion at all then? Or philosophy? You've obviously got it all figured out. You know exactly what reality is, you know what's real and what's not. So I ask, what is it your looking for?
I think most people in the west would be surprised that any branch of Buddhism has something like "relic" worship in it. Buddhism has been presented to the west as a rational meditation-based practice that may or may not even be a religion in the traditional sense.

The branch of Buddhism I practice has no relic worship in it, which is why I wasn't prepared for this.

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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by nichirenista » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:55 am

Jesse wrote:
nichirenista wrote:I don't think it's "bitching" to ask for extraordinary claims to be backed up by evidence. I don't think it's "bitching" to be put off of a religion you grew up in because some of its leaders had abused children, and said leaders were protected by the powerful hierarchy. I think you're minimizing me and my arguments, and I think that's unfair.
How am I minimizing you? :thinking:

You're sure good at playing the victim.
Unlike some people I went to school with, I am not a victim.

You're good at avoiding the topic and name-calling.

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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by nichirenista » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:57 am

Did you miss the part about moderators saying that I am a sincere seeker here?

All that is happening in this thread is that people who do believe in the relics don't like me asking questions, and so they are calling me names -- and I'm defending myself.

I'm not being disruptive. I'm asking questions that apparently few can answer in a civil manner.
Norwegian wrote:nichirenista,

Your views however falls under the umbrella of scientism and materialism, and this forum is as its header says "A Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism" (and like its Terms of Service says: "Do not be disruptive. Dharma Wheel is an environment for the discussion of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism."), therefore it is not outrageous at all to refute such views, something that the Buddha did thoroughly, and the refutation of such views continues in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions as well.

So it ought not be a surprise that Dharma practicioners criticize and rebuke such views on a forum like this.

Using science as the benchmark and sole measurement for everything that is acceptable, especially with regards to the Dharma, is the most wrong way of approaching the Dharma. It is like having a pot with soil, placing a seed in it, and watering it with nitric acid and then expecting something to grow. It's impossible.

Furthermore, if you've read any of the suttas (since you mention the Theravada which adheres to the Pali Canon as their main body of scripture) with the mindset you have right now, you would end up asking for evidence and confirmation from science with almost all of the suttas, repeatedly. There's just so many things taught by the Buddha that cannot be satisfied with these criteria at all. And that would leave you with very little in the end.

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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by tobes » Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:03 am

nichirenista wrote:
tobes wrote:No worries nichirenista - I'm not saying you are.

I'm just saying that showing respect for different views is appropriate for all parties in this discussion.

:anjali:
Thank you. I have no problem with people believing the relics are literally those of the historical Buddha. I just don't believe it. To each their own. But the fact that I don't believe it doesn't mean I am some negative, morally corrupt, down-and-out mess drinker. LOL :rolling:

To be honest, this thread has answered my question by showing me that, yes, this is a part of the Tibetan/Bhutanese religion that some people believe it literally true. It reminds me of the practice of Communion in the Catholic Church. On religious/spiritual level, some people literally believed the priest had the supernatural power to change those little wafers into the "body of Christ." As a child sitting in the congregation, I remember thinking to myself, "If that's really the body of Jesus, he would've have been eating up long ago." And I'm certain that if any wafers in the Catholic Church were examined by a scientist, they would find that those wafers were merely bread.

Some things are just a matter of faith. I didn't know that those kind of faith existed in Tibetan/Bhutanese Buddhism, and if I had known I wouldn't have attended the event. :oops:

Thanks. :)
Sure, but if you want respect for your position, you ought to show respect for those which differ from yours - including Catholicism.

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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by nichirenista » Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:03 am

Norwegian wrote: Furthermore, if you've read any of the suttas (since you mention the Theravada which adheres to the Pali Canon as their main body of scripture) with the mindset you have right now, you would end up asking for evidence and confirmation from science with almost all of the suttas, repeatedly. There's just so many things taught by the Buddha that cannot be satisfied with these criteria at all. And that would leave you with very little in the end.
This isn't about my "mindset." This isn't about me reading the sutras. It's about me asking the simple question of whether those particular relics are scientifically confirmed as actual archeological relics, and so far all I have gotten is the run-around, name calling, etc. (not very Buddhist, by the way), which leads me to think people are upset because the answer is "no." Those relics are not archeological…. And this upsets people.

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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by Norwegian » Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:05 am

nichirenista wrote:
Jesse wrote:
nichirenista wrote:This is one of the reasons I left the Catholic Church. Even as a child, this all sounded preposterous to me.
Why bother with religion at all then? Or philosophy? You've obviously got it all figured out. You know exactly what reality is, you know what's real and what's not. So I ask, what is it your looking for?
I think most people in the west would be surprised that any branch of Buddhism has something like "relic" worship in it. Buddhism has been presented to the west as a rational meditation-based practice that may or may not even be a religion in the traditional sense.

The branch of Buddhism I practice has no relic worship in it, which is why I wasn't prepared for this.
http://www.nichiren-shu.org/boston/page ... Rinban.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
After prayers we filed into the hallway up to the columbarium and circumambulated the Stupa containing Nichiren Shonin's relics.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nichiji" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
For many centuries it was unknown what happened to Nichiji after he left Japan.[4] According to legend, he founded a temple in northern Japan and caught a new fish in Hokkaido that he named hokke, after the Lotus Sutra (法華 hokke?);[5] even in legends it was unclear if he ever reached China alive. In 1936, though, a Japanese tourist discovered his gohonzon and relics in a remote region of China, and in 1989 these relics were carbon dated and determined by Tokyo University researchers to be most probably authentic.[6] (http://otowatid.u.cnet-ta.ne.jp/nitiji.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;)


http://www.nichirenshoshumyoshinji.org/ ... /intro.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
In addition to being the residence of the High Priest, Taisekiji is the headquarters for the priesthood and the place where the Dai-Gohonzon is enshrined. It is also where denominational relics, including a sizable collection of original writings by Nichiren Daishonin, have been carefully preserved.
etc.

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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by Jesse » Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:07 am

nichirenista wrote:
Jesse wrote:
nichirenista wrote:This is one of the reasons I left the Catholic Church. Even as a child, this all sounded preposterous to me.
Why bother with religion at all then? Or philosophy? You've obviously got it all figured out. You know exactly what reality is, you know what's real and what's not. So I ask, what is it your looking for?
I think most people in the west would be surprised that any branch of Buddhism has something like "relic" worship in it. Buddhism has been presented to the west as a rational meditation-based practice that may or may not even be a religion in the traditional sense.

The branch of Buddhism I practice has no relic worship in it, which is why I wasn't prepared for this.
Buddhism is quite logical. You're taking some niche cultural belief and using it to make sweeping generalizations about Buddhism. I'm also at a loss why you believe your being attacked or called names, but whatever.

Also im not avoiding anything, I'm simply pointing out that logic will only get you so far in examining reality and consciousness. You can't objectively measure something that's subjective by it's very nature, and the only reason I'm doing this is because you've somehow managed to convince yourself that Buddhism is some illogical, magical religion.
“Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of one's desires, but by the removal of desire” – Epictetus

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tobes
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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by tobes » Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:07 am

Norwegian wrote:nichirenista,

Your views however falls under the umbrella of scientism and materialism, and this forum is as its header says "A Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism" (and like its Terms of Service says: "Do not be disruptive. Dharma Wheel is an environment for the discussion of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism."), therefore it is not outrageous at all to refute such views, something that the Buddha did thoroughly, and the refutation of such views continues in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions as well.

So it ought not be a surprise that Dharma practicioners criticize and rebuke such views on a forum like this.

Using science as the benchmark and sole measurement for everything that is acceptable, especially with regards to the Dharma, is the most wrong way of approaching the Dharma. It is like having a pot with soil, placing a seed in it, and watering it with nitric acid and then expecting something to grow. It's impossible.

Furthermore, if you've read any of the suttas (since you mention the Theravada which adheres to the Pali Canon as their main body of scripture) with the mindset you have right now, you would end up asking for evidence and confirmation from science with almost all of the suttas, repeatedly. There's just so many things taught by the Buddha that cannot be satisfied with these criteria at all. And that would leave you with very little in the end.
Norwegian, nichirenista is entitled to his view, and you are entitled to disagree with it.

There is no TOS violation.

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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by nichirenista » Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:07 am

Where did I say I didn't respect it? People can believe what they want. I Simply asked the question of whether these are archaeological relics? Respect is not the same thing as blind devotion. I Thought this was a discussion forum where I could ask an honest question.
tobes wrote:
nichirenista wrote:
tobes wrote:No worries nichirenista - I'm not saying you are.

I'm just saying that showing respect for different views is appropriate for all parties in this discussion.

:anjali:
Thank you. I have no problem with people believing the relics are literally those of the historical Buddha. I just don't believe it. To each their own. But the fact that I don't believe it doesn't mean I am some negative, morally corrupt, down-and-out mess drinker. LOL :rolling:

To be honest, this thread has answered my question by showing me that, yes, this is a part of the Tibetan/Bhutanese religion that some people believe it literally true. It reminds me of the practice of Communion in the Catholic Church. On religious/spiritual level, some people literally believed the priest had the supernatural power to change those little wafers into the "body of Christ." As a child sitting in the congregation, I remember thinking to myself, "If that's really the body of Jesus, he would've have been eating up long ago." And I'm certain that if any wafers in the Catholic Church were examined by a scientist, they would find that those wafers were merely bread.

Some things are just a matter of faith. I didn't know that those kind of faith existed in Tibetan/Bhutanese Buddhism, and if I had known I wouldn't have attended the event. :oops:

Thanks. :)
Sure, but if you want respect for your position, you ought to show respect for those which differ from yours - including Catholicism.

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Re: Buddhist "relics"?

Post by nichirenista » Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:14 am

Yes, but I personally have never been present during any relic ceremony in the Nichiren faith. And I don't find it improbable that an organization based in Japan may have the relics (that is the bodily remains and personal effects) of its founder who died in Japan only 700 years ago. If anyone in the Nichiren fold wants me to believe he left behind miraculous jewels after he was cremated -- that's a leap of faith I'm not willing to make. There are many claims of miracles in the Nichiren denomination that I do not accept as literally true.
Last edited by nichirenista on Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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