Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

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.
User avatar
kirtu
Former staff member
Posts: 6207
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by kirtu » Sun Aug 24, 2014 6:36 pm

Malcolm wrote: Weak countries may let you have citizenship in two nations, but if you are a US citizen, you cannot be a citizen of another country, unless you are a minor, but at some point you have to choose.
Not so. The US went all in on dual citizenship in the late 70's. Many nations permit dual citizenship like those weaklings the UK, Sweden, France and Switzerland. Ironically Holland and Germany stepped back from dual citizenship during the 70's although Germany now permits some forms of dual citizenship (technically Holland does too again but it's more restricted certainly than Germany or the US). The weak/strong country concept you are advancing is nonsense.

However it's true that I did not see the following before posting:
Malcolm wrote:It's a little different with Hinduism and Buddhadharma. There are many mundane rites Buddhists can avail themselves of from Hinduism, and have done so for millennia. Even so, it is inappropriate for those who have taken refuge in the Three Jewels to take refuge in Brahma, Shiva or Vishnu and so ...
and thus repeated a salient point.

Kirt
Last edited by kirtu on Sun Aug 24, 2014 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

Malcolm
Posts: 30831
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by Malcolm » Sun Aug 24, 2014 7:08 pm

kirtu wrote:
Not so. The US went all in on dual citizenship in the late 70's. Many nations permit dual citizenship like those weaklings the UK, Sweden, France and Switzerland. Ironically Holland and Germany stepped back from dual citizenship during the 70's although Germany now permits some forms of dual citizenship (technically Holland does too again but it's more restricted certainly than Germany or the US). The weak/strong country concept you are advancing is nonsense.
The UK does not permit you to be a dual citizen. They simply don't recognize that you have abandoned your citizenship unless you make a specific declaration to a British authority even if you for example renounced your allegiance to Britain by becoming a US citizen. Anyway, Kirt, this is off topic.

Traditionally, as you know, you cannot serve two kings, as the metaphor goes, and that was the point. You cannot have refuge in Dharma and also have refuge in Christianity.

Russell
Posts: 191
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 11:13 pm

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by Russell » Sun Aug 24, 2014 7:23 pm

HHDL said today that in the beginning it is of course no problem if people get inspiration from different traditions but when they reach a certain level with their spiritual path they will need to specialise in one tradition because of the obvious contradicitons and differences.

User avatar
Nicholas Weeks
Posts: 4124
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am
Location: California

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:28 pm

Even if one take refuge in the Triple Jewel, but only intends to get a better rebirth or a higher birth, one at least has the connection to Buddha and his system.

Other paths are basically samsaric and the more lives one spends in just becoming a more virtuous person, the less likely is liberation as an arhat or bodhisattva or buddha possible. Why? Because you have no mental intentions aimed at the buddhadharma in those lifetimes.

So if you prefer the highs and lows of cycle existence, then ignore the buddhadharma.
May all seek, find or follow the Path of Buddhas.

M.G.
Posts: 438
Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:56 am

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by M.G. » Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:39 pm

Malcolm wrote:
M.G. wrote:@Malcolm - That was a very informative answer.

Are there historical evidences of practitioners studying under, say, both Vajrayana and Hindu gurus?
Yes, of course. The Natha tradition grew out of Hindu-Buddhist syncretism and many Nathas followed Buddhist gurus even though they may have begun as Hindus, such as the Indian Buddhaguptanatha, Tārānatha's teacher.
Interesting. Were aspects of Hindu yogic practice actually adopted by Buddhists and seen as conducive to liberation? Or was it more along the lines of learning worldly rites?

M.G.
Posts: 438
Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:56 am

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by M.G. » Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:54 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Dan74 wrote:So let me get this straight - a Buddhist who is inspired by stories about Jesus's life and some teachings which help him cultivate kindness, forbearance and compassion, is wasting his time and getting further away from liberation?

I see plenty of potential for people to be inspired by all sorts of stories, teachings, day-to-day occurrences. There is Dharma in all sorts of places if one knows how to see.
Dan, what is the topic of the thread? "Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices", right?

So, essentially, we are not talking about whether Jesus is an inspiring character for someone, our warm feelings about St,. Francis of Assisi and so on.

We are talking about a technical issues, e.g, for example, whether one ought to sincerely attend a Catholic Mass, looking for redemption, as a Buddhist. In other words, we are discussing the appropriateness of someone who claims to follow Buddhadharma who also asserts that Jesus Christ is their lord and savior.

Someone who has taken refuge in the Three Jewels cannot at the same time take Jesus Christ as their lord and savior. They may imagine that they can, but all they succeed in doing is ignorantly destroying their refuge in the Three Jewels.

This is also the case with teachings such as emptiness and dependent origination. For example, I heard HH Dalai Lama, that bastion of ecumenicalism, state in 2005 in Tucson, AZ, that emptiness was not the business of Christians and that he generally felt that Christians ought to mind their own business. Emptiness, he said, was the business of followers of Buddhadharma, and that is was inappropriate for Christians to be interested in it. Why? Because Christians believe in ex nihilo creation, souls, and so on. Ex nihilo creation and dependent origination are mutually incompatible. One does not need to be a Buddhist to see this, as Lucretius said, ex nihilo nihil fit, "nothing comes from nothing" (but we leave all similarity with epicurean materialism here).

It's a little different with Hinduism and Buddhadharma. There are many mundane rites Buddhists can avail themselves of from Hinduism, and have done so for millennia. Even so, it is inappropriate for those who have taken refuge in the Three Jewels to take refuge in Brahma, Shiva or Vishnu and so on because the latter are mundane gods who have not realized the nature of reality and are themselves trapped in samsara, like Jesus, Allah, Jehovah, etc.

We cannot allow our warm and fuzzy feelings obscure the fact that Buddhadharma is something very precise and specific. It is not a method of "becoming a better person", nor is it a method of "resolving our unresolved issues", nor is it a practice of "mindfulness", nor is it a method of "becoming more compassionate", and so on. All of these things reduce Buddhadharma to the level of pop self-help manuals.

If someone from outside the Dharma wants to enter the Dharma he or she must leave their previous refuge behind. You cannot have two feet in two boats (try it, it is really, really difficult), you cannot serve two masters, etc.
Isn't there room for grey when looking at extra-normal forces like non-Buddhist deities and deciding whether or not they are trapped within samsara? Heck, for all I know, the Gnostics may be in touch with a different deity than the Baptists.

User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 1117
Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 5:53 am
Location: Texas

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by Mkoll » Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:20 pm

Soar wrote:HHDL said today that in the beginning it is of course no problem if people get inspiration from different traditions but when they reach a certain level with their spiritual path they will need to specialise in one tradition because of the obvious contradicitons and differences.
I'd say that's about right.

I think that for Buddhism, taking refuge is that "cutting off point" as Malcolm said:
Malcolm wrote:Someone who has taken refuge in the Three Jewels cannot at the same time take Jesus Christ as their lord and savior. They may imagine that they can, but all they succeed in doing is ignorantly destroying their refuge in the Three Jewels.

If one is serious about taking refuge in the Triple Gem as a spiritual and profoundly meaningful act, then I don't think it's possible to have a simultaneous refuge in someone other than the Buddha(s). Taking refuge should be a spiritual and profoundly meaningful act, a life-changing moment. If it's not, then one is "still shopping", one's faith in the Triple Gem as the refuge is lacking.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

Malcolm
Posts: 30831
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by Malcolm » Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:50 pm

M.G. wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
M.G. wrote:@Malcolm - That was a very informative answer.

Are there historical evidences of practitioners studying under, say, both Vajrayana and Hindu gurus?
Yes, of course. The Natha tradition grew out of Hindu-Buddhist syncretism and many Nathas followed Buddhist gurus even though they may have begun as Hindus, such as the Indian Buddhaguptanatha, Tārānatha's teacher.
Interesting. Were aspects of Hindu yogic practice actually adopted by Buddhists and seen as conducive to liberation? Or was it more along the lines of learning worldly rites?

It is not really possible to explore this in a simple post. However, the long and short of it is that the highest Buddhist tantric systems present the body in a way entirely different than lower Buddhist schools such as Theravada and general Mahāyāna, or even lower tantra. In lower schools, things like the three kāyas and so on are exteriorized, but in the highest tantric systems they are understood to be implicit in the very structure of the body itself. The way the body is understood in Hindu systems is really not the same, so no, I do not think one can say that aspects of yoga as understood by Hindus were adopted by Buddhists.

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 10756
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:29 pm

I think you can appreciate stuff from a variety of religious traditions when you already hold a Buddhist view, but I have to agree that doing their actual practices seems iffy to me, since they rely on a different view of what constitutes salvation/liberation/whatever. There's exceptions of stuff like joining in a before meal prayer when you are someone's guest who does that etc. - which to me is a question of respecting someone else's tradition.

When I took refuge my teacher said something like once you take refuge, it means you're finished with spiritual shopping, so you can appreciate plenty of stuff from plenty of traditions, but at that point you aren't gonna purchase it.

On Zazen, having done some before Vajrayana, I don't know why anyone would even see it as a particularly distinct approach to sutra-level Tibetan teachings...if anything, once you hit on some Mahamudra stuff adn similar, if might clarify what you were doing in Zazen, or vice-versa. Personally I never felt there was anything to pick up or discard there. I didn't learn "rules" to Zazen at all, so it wasn't something that would be contradictory unless you were learning an approach where you were heavily focused only on one-pointed meditation or similar. There is as much variance in sutra level Tibetan teachings on how to mediate as there is between Zen and Tibetan/Vajrayana approaches, if not more, it seems to me. So "importing" Zazen is kind of unnecessary, if you've done Zazen - it integrates fine with sutra-level Tibetan practices, and if you don't, you have similar teachings to draw from anyway.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

muni
Posts: 4882
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by muni » Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:28 am

respecting someone else’s tradition
“Buddha” isn't spitting on the appearing others or maras, doesn’t say; you fools you should leave me alone, don’t you see I am here doing serious Dharma work, and by the way you are unfortunate ones and will not be free.
He realized that the problem was own mind and looked within, saw how own being is, and so impartial compassion raised, compassion-emptiness = dependence-emptiness. Others are the means to realize own nature, dividing them accordance our preferences, is bizarre dharma.

People tell here the Dharma tools can liberate, yes. But when we separate it ( the Dharma) from others, can this remain groups-ego thinking to be better. We Buddhists and others.

Why should it not be possible to remain faithful to ones’ Master, ones’ guidance and teachings, and put hands together in a church, a mosque, a temple and so widening mind as the Buddha’s meaning is all inclusive. These hands together is ones’ own practice and is not contradicting the Buddha Dharma, rather opposite.
I do not mean learning other religions' practices but kindness is in most religions’ foundation. This is a Christian kindness and now a Hindu one, here a Buddhist. Kindness is a Boundless.

Anyway we should only fear our own deluded mind. There the delusion is all inclusive. Don’t seek it elsewhere.
Phenomena adorn emptiness, but never corrupt it.

Only if you have developed the love and compassion of relative bodhichitta can absolute bodhichitta – the very essence of the Great Perfection and the Great Seal – ever take birth in your being. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

DGA
Former staff member
Posts: 9423
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm
Contact:

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by DGA » Tue Aug 26, 2014 3:09 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:I think you can appreciate stuff from a variety of religious traditions when you already hold a Buddhist view, but I have to agree that doing their actual practices seems iffy to me, since they rely on a different view of what constitutes salvation/liberation/whatever. There's exceptions of stuff like joining in a before meal prayer when you are someone's guest who does that etc. - which to me is a question of respecting someone else's tradition.

When I took refuge my teacher said something like once you take refuge, it means you're finished with spiritual shopping, so you can appreciate plenty of stuff from plenty of traditions, but at that point you aren't gonna purchase it.
This is also how I've been taught, but with different language. If I'm invited to a Passover seder, for instance, I'll join in and participate in a spirit of goodwill. I'll surely learn something from it. But I'm not looking to it as a practice with the same goal as any of the Buddhist practices I'm involved with. The same goes for other practices like...

...reading Hegel or Shakespeare

...reviewing the kid's algebra homework (an invention of the Islamic world)

...taking medical advice from a doctor who specializes in traditional Chinese medicine

&c

muni
Posts: 4882
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by muni » Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:52 am

These days they are organizing space travels so that one can stay a bit in the dark space looking down to earth. I am wondering if this should not be a good Buddhist practice (keep 250,000 US Dollar ready), since we should maybe start to realize, that our borders, inventions, religions are all existing by the dependency of the "temporary" misperceiving mind seeking comfort from its troubled state. Its maybe another way to see the suffering of all.

By precious methods inseparable Nature/Wisdom-Compassion can be revealed.
https://www.google.com/search?q=earth+f ... 560%3B1600" 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;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:offtopic: :oops:
Phenomena adorn emptiness, but never corrupt it.

Only if you have developed the love and compassion of relative bodhichitta can absolute bodhichitta – the very essence of the Great Perfection and the Great Seal – ever take birth in your being. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

User avatar
Hieros Gamos
Posts: 150
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:25 pm

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by Hieros Gamos » Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:44 pm

Jikan wrote:...reading Hegel
Masochism might be more fun ...
:tongue:

DGA
Former staff member
Posts: 9423
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm
Contact:

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by DGA » Wed Aug 27, 2014 3:35 pm

:lol: Weltgeist im Pelz

sorry for the OT

User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 1117
Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 5:53 am
Location: Texas

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by Mkoll » Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:45 pm

Hieros Gamos wrote:
Jikan wrote:...reading Hegel
Masochism might be more fun ...
:tongue:
I don't see a difference. :rolling:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

M.G.
Posts: 438
Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:56 am

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by M.G. » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:17 pm

I think a big part of the question comes down to whether or not one believes enlightenment manifests outside of Buddhist lineages or not.

User avatar
Sönam
Posts: 1999
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:11 pm
Location: France
Contact:

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by Sönam » Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:16 am

M.G. wrote:I think a big part of the question comes down to whether or not one believes enlightenment manifests outside of Buddhist lineages or not.
Not the complete cessation of suffering ... That is the Buddhadharma.

Sönam
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
- Longchen Rabjam -

User avatar
Hieros Gamos
Posts: 150
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:25 pm

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by Hieros Gamos » Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:21 am

M.G. wrote:I think a big part of the question comes down to whether or not one believes enlightenment manifests outside of Buddhist lineages or not.
Maybe I need liberation from Buddha but love from Jesus.

User avatar
Dan74
Former staff member
Posts: 2874
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:59 pm
Location: Switzerland

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by Dan74 » Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:41 am

Malcolm wrote:
Dan74 wrote:So let me get this straight - a Buddhist who is inspired by stories about Jesus's life and some teachings which help him cultivate kindness, forbearance and compassion, is wasting his time and getting further away from liberation?

I see plenty of potential for people to be inspired by all sorts of stories, teachings, day-to-day occurrences. There is Dharma in all sorts of places if one knows how to see.
Dan, what is the topic of the thread? "Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices", right?

So, essentially, we are not talking about whether Jesus is an inspiring character for someone, our warm feelings about St,. Francis of Assisi and so on.

We are talking about a technical issues, e.g, for example, whether one ought to sincerely attend a Catholic Mass, looking for redemption, as a Buddhist. In other words, we are discussing the appropriateness of someone who claims to follow Buddhadharma who also asserts that Jesus Christ is their lord and savior.

Someone who has taken refuge in the Three Jewels cannot at the same time take Jesus Christ as their lord and savior. They may imagine that they can, but all they succeed in doing is ignorantly destroying their refuge in the Three Jewels.

This is also the case with teachings such as emptiness and dependent origination. For example, I heard HH Dalai Lama, that bastion of ecumenicalism, state in 2005 in Tucson, AZ, that emptiness was not the business of Christians and that he generally felt that Christians ought to mind their own business. Emptiness, he said, was the business of followers of Buddhadharma, and that is was inappropriate for Christians to be interested in it. Why? Because Christians believe in ex nihilo creation, souls, and so on. Ex nihilo creation and dependent origination are mutually incompatible. One does not need to be a Buddhist to see this, as Lucretius said, ex nihilo nihil fit, "nothing comes from nothing" (but we leave all similarity with epicurean materialism here).

It's a little different with Hinduism and Buddhadharma. There are many mundane rites Buddhists can avail themselves of from Hinduism, and have done so for millennia. Even so, it is inappropriate for those who have taken refuge in the Three Jewels to take refuge in Brahma, Shiva or Vishnu and so on because the latter are mundane gods who have not realized the nature of reality and are themselves trapped in samsara, like Jesus, Allah, Jehovah, etc.

We cannot allow our warm and fuzzy feelings obscure the fact that Buddhadharma is something very precise and specific. It is not a method of "becoming a better person", nor is it a method of "resolving our unresolved issues", nor is it a practice of "mindfulness", nor is it a method of "becoming more compassionate", and so on. All of these things reduce Buddhadharma to the level of pop self-help manuals.

If someone from outside the Dharma wants to enter the Dharma he or she must leave their previous refuge behind. You cannot have two feet in two boats (try it, it is really, really difficult), you cannot serve two masters, etc.
OK, for me this thread was about using non-Buddhist methods in with Buddhist methods, not following two religions. I gave some examples of folks who did follow Buddhism as well as Christianity and it might be worth giving them a look, but this is not something I identify with, nor have I given it any attention so far.

On the other hand, what I've said in this thread is simply that various aspects of other traditions (and for that matter psychology, etc) can be helpful on our path to liberation. Whether or not one attends the mass, taking to heart Jesus's teachings and being inspired by his example, is following aspects of Christianity, though one may not call oneself a Christian, nor accept Jesus as lord and saviour.

M.G.
Posts: 438
Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:56 am

Re: Mixing Buddhist and non-Buddhist Practices?

Post by M.G. » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:05 am

Hieros Gamos wrote:
M.G. wrote:I think a big part of the question comes down to whether or not one believes enlightenment manifests outside of Buddhist lineages or not.
Maybe I need liberation from Buddha but love from Jesus.
I suppose it comes down to what one considers "worldly gods."

Post Reply

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: AJP and 15 guests