Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Blendy
Jun 18, 2007

She thinks I'm a haughty!



I just wanted to add to the discussion that secular schools of Buddhism also exist, Buddhism is not strictly a religion. The Buddha himself was not concerned with the religions of his time and taught everyone willing to learning, telling them there is no conflict between belong to any religion while also following Buddism. Most of the mythical religious aspects of Buddism came about as Buddhists melded local religions and shamanism into their belief system to attract more followers, for example, Tibetian Buddism is a fusion of Buddist teaching and the Bon religion. Or it picked up those aspects to supplement instead of competing with local views such as in Japan where Shinto did not deal a lot with death rites so Buddhists were like "we got you" and today weddings in Japan (if tradition non-Chrisitan) is Shinto and funerals (non-christian) are Buddhists. For those interested in the philosophy but are not interested in converting or are simply not interested in the religious aspects of various schools, there is still a ton that Buddism can offer you. Here's a link to the Secular Buddist Association: https://secularbuddhism.org/ for a simple summation I also like to recommend the book Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor.

Edit:

I wanted to add one of my favorite Buddist anecdotes about the nature of compassion in Buddism that always made me laugh. A Buddhist monk and a young child who is a ward of the temple are out for a walk. It's a long walk and eventually, the child has to urinate. So the child starts to leave the road to go behind a tree. The monk asks the child, "what are you doing?' and the child replies 'I am going to pee, I need to pee.' The monk gets upset and tells the child 'You can not pee on that tree, the tree has Buddha's nature you cannot foul it.' The child obeys and they continue their walk. The child then spots a stream and begins to dash off to pee in it. The monk again stops the child, explaining the stream also has the Buddha's nature so he can not foul the stream. So again they begin their walk until the child spots a mound of rocks and again dashes off clearly in pain. Again the monk stops and scolds him explaining that the rocks, and the grass, the dirt, and all of nature have the Buddha's nature and cannot be spoiled. So the child walks over and pees on the monk.

Blendy fucked around with this message at 21:25 on Feb 16, 2020

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Blendy
Jun 18, 2007

She thinks I'm a haughty!



Paramemetic posted:

Thanks for this. I tend to dislike the term "secular Buddhism" because to me, all Buddhism is secular. It is about people living in the world, how can it not be secular? I recognize there's a major movement towards a secularized Buddhism in favor of Western materialism. I would argue that it's a stretch to say that the Buddha didn't engage with the religions of his time because a significant amount of the Pali canon is stories of the Buddha dunking on teachers of other religions of his time, and he came to Buddhism only after (and incorporated into Buddhism) attaining many stages of Samadhi through other practices.

Double tl;dr Secular Buddhism is cool but be careful about dogmas of any sort.

In particular I want to be clear that I'm not accusing you, Blendy, of any of those things, or Stephen Batchelor, whose work I'm only passingly familiar with. It's just a sort of tendency and a discussion I've had many times, especially with academics.


Edit: (help, the only unceasing things in the three worlds are the Buddha's compassionate activity and my bad posting)


Edit2: I'm just doing edits at this point because I don't want to do like a quadruple post.

Anyhow, much of this came to me as a matter of necessity rather than as a willful decision. I used to have a practice of about 2 hours a day in meditation and ritual before doing my fulltime work as a Tibetan language translator and personal attendant to my Lama.

Then I had a kid and you know what is not supportive of a fulltime Dharma life? Havin' a fuckin' baby. But boy, let me tell you, nothing teaches practicing compassion quite like having to defend your home from a goblin 12 hours a day, and it helped me greatly to take that practice of Dharma and put it in the context of the real world.

Hey, thank you for the reply as well. I haven't had a chance to get back to this thread and this is on the last page but I wanted to respond since my first post was very brief and slapdash just trying to add in the voice of secular Buddhism. My background is in comparative religious studies and East Asian culture and history focused on Japan. When I said the Buddha did not engage with religion I meant his teachings specifically said that the metaphysical aspect of religion was fine to put belief into as long as it did not get in the way of following proper dharma, even going so far as to say that the gods themselves suffered the same foibles as humans and were too could attempt to achieve nirvana. I think it's an equal stretch to say all schools of Buddhism are secular just because they deal with secular issues, all religions deal with secular issues, it's part of how they attract followers.

Also, not all Western secular approaches are materialistic, Batchelor simply tries to argue that modern Buddhism either religious or "woke modern capitalist Buddhism" can offer the same trap, where you replace focus on the core concept with the dogma or commodification of how Buddism "fits into your life." (Attachment, Batchelor does draw a pretty clear line regarding nirvana being simply true mindfulness and radical acceptance of reality instead of something more spiritual). Alternatively, someone like Kristen Neff approaches the mindfulness and compassion lessons of Buddhism to harness a more clinically tested method of learning self-compassion and mindfulness without dipping into dharma or nirvana.

There is clearly a ton of Western academic and armchair atheist snideness radiating out of secular Buddhism but there are rotten apples in all schools. And people remember the worst more than they remember the best when spreading word of mouth. So I agree that sucks but my point in bringing up secular Buddism is that a lot of people do get turned off by spiritual things OR they have a religion and view Buddism solely as a religion and they don't want to convert, which would lead to the before-mentioned people missing out on a lot of great teachings that could help them.

Though I myself am an agnostic secular Buddist I love all schools because they all have something off and regardless if you believe in it or not religions are really good and creating lore and stories. I want all schools (that are not cults pretending to be good Buddhists) to be celebrated because it's everyone's right to find their own path.

Edit: Also yes Buddhism is a lifestyle, the benefits only truly come from practice. I mean, Corporate Twitter Jack is never going to become a sage and gain the power of flight unless he firmly studies and trains and even then becoming a Bodhisattva is extremely unlikely. I kid but yes Buddism is a lifestyle and I think the best one to adopt while we're stuck in the shul.

Blendy fucked around with this message at 01:02 on Feb 18, 2020

Blendy
Jun 18, 2007

She thinks I'm a haughty!



Jack could be the bring celestial peaches to the masses as the new super fruit, maybe work with Musk to send some commercial rocket flights to the Buddha's hand. Pose next to where Wukong urinated. Various Xian would probably do well on Cameo.

Blendy
Jun 18, 2007

She thinks I'm a haughty!



Travic posted:

I'm afraid I don't understand. What do you mean others are part of me and I am part of them?

You are not solely made up of just you. When you are born you get your parents dna, and you also are instructed by them about the world, the reason you can speak is that you heard it from other people. When you go school your teacher gives you lessons and they go into you but they are not you so you are not just "you" you are you and all the other things and people that you have engaged with. Some people and things have more influence than others. Just as you are not you other people are also made of "non-self" things. Just like the flower is made up of dirt and sun, you and everyone else are made up of dirt and sun. We eat food from the soil and the soil is in the food, and then the food is in you. All those things are not you but they also make up who you are.

Blendy
Jun 18, 2007

She thinks I'm a haughty!



Travic posted:

I've been working on this since I last posted. I'm trying to focus on helping others and feeling compassion for myself, but it feels like I should be doing more. I've ordered some of the recommended books to read. I assume they'll teach me about mediating and non-judgmental acceptance, but they won't get here for a while. What can I do in the meantime? I just feel like I'm missing something.


This answer is going to just be about learning basic meditation, and compassion meditation, the stuff below is not specifically Buddhist but all of the resources are tangentially related. This is more just something to work with until you get your books.

Sam Harris has a meditation app with a free trial (or you can email him if you can't afford the subscription cost and he'll unlock it for a year), and Headspace is another that offers a free guided introduction to meditation. I'm pretty sure they're on both iphone and android.

Dr. Kristin Neff's practice is focused on compassion, in particular, self-compassion. You can visit her website which has a lot of information and also guided practices:
https://self-compassion.org/category/exercises/

For more Buddhist stuff I would suggest looking up online sanga as they've been mentioned earlier in this thread. Youtube has a lot of dharma talks. If you search Thich Nhat Hanh on youtube you'll find plenty of footage of him talking about Buddhism. Remember there are a lot of different schools so take some time to find which sanga works best for you.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply