Debating a Monk

Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Paganism, Taoism etc.

Moderators: Blip, DarthHelmet86

Re: Debating a Monk

#21  Postby zoon » Feb 07, 2021 8:51 pm

I accepted a version of Buddhism at one time, and was more recently asked by a Buddhist relative why I had changed my mind, so I had to think about it.

For me, the key point is that Buddhism does claim the existence of supernatural, human-like powers in the universe that respond to our actions. For example, if someone kills something then (according to that version of Buddhism) they are further from Nirvana, and it takes a supernatural power to recognise the action and enforce that response. This is theism without inessential trappings such as beard and thunderbolts.

My relative had been taking the line that Buddhism is not theistic and is compatible with science, which may be entirely irrelevant to your possible debate.
User avatar
zoon
 
Posts: 3230

Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Debating a Monk

#22  Postby Spearthrower » Feb 07, 2021 9:23 pm

Right: there's a cosmic system in place which recycles souls, rewarding or punishing (for want of a more appropriate term) the actions in one life through to the next. And of course, humans are central to the entire affair.

Buddhism doesn't necessarily need to be theistic, but there's a problem in understanding how such a specific system exists absent direction.

Here in Thailand, Buddhism happily sits alongside a suite of theistic beliefs. I'd say the majority of Buddhists I know are theists too, although they necessarily don't look at the gods quite the same way as they're all within the system too rather than sitting above it. The Hindu gods are the most popular, with shrines to Ganesh everywhere. Various traditional Chinese god/goddesses are also quite common - a lot of Thais don't eat beef due to belief in Guan Yin. Plus there's all the local minor god/godesses probably predating the arrival of Buddhism - for example one of the main festivals here is Loy Kratong in which, ironically, people throw tonnes of plastic shit and banana leaves into rivers to apologize to the water goddess for harm caused to the river systems. I've even met Buddhist Thais who believe in the Abrahamic God.

But of course, there are plenty of Buddhist Thais who don't believe in any gods, but still hold belief in this supernatural system.
I'm not an atheist; I just don't believe in gods :- that which I don't belong to isn't a group!
Religion: Mass Stockholm Syndrome

Learn Stuff. Stuff good. https://www.coursera.org/
User avatar
Spearthrower
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 28012
Age: 44
Male

Country: Thailand
Print view this post

Re: Debating a Monk

#23  Postby aufbahrung » Feb 07, 2021 10:03 pm

Not much different from Roman Catholics for abuse - if you wouldn't debate a Roman Catholic given its historical context why a Buddhist?

https://info-buddhism.com/Abuse_and_Bud ... rthal.html

https://www.dw.com/en/dalai-lama-admits ... a-45507680

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/1883902 ... -brighton/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-49505098

etc etc etc
ship struck the rocks yesterday, and the worst is yet to be....
User avatar
aufbahrung
 
Name: Your Real Name
Posts: 1415

Country: United Kingdom
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Debating a Monk

#24  Postby Spearthrower » Feb 07, 2021 10:14 pm

aufbahrung wrote:Not much different from Roman Catholics for abuse - if you wouldn't debate a Roman Catholic given its historical context why a Buddhist?

https://info-buddhism.com/Abuse_and_Bud ... rthal.html

https://www.dw.com/en/dalai-lama-admits ... a-45507680

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/1883902 ... -brighton/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-49505098

etc etc etc



Really no idea what the fuck that's got to do with anything.
I'm not an atheist; I just don't believe in gods :- that which I don't belong to isn't a group!
Religion: Mass Stockholm Syndrome

Learn Stuff. Stuff good. https://www.coursera.org/
User avatar
Spearthrower
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 28012
Age: 44
Male

Country: Thailand
Print view this post

Re: Debating a Monk

#25  Postby Animavore » Feb 08, 2021 12:46 am

Spearthrower wrote:Buddhism doesn't necessarily need to be theistic, but there's a problem in understanding how such a specific system exists absent direction.


Is there, though? I mean the Greeks believed that their World was under some direction of the gods but as far as I know the gods themselves weren't under direction. It wasn't gods all the way down, so to speak. It's the monotheistic religions that stand as having a singular overlord who creates and directs all.

A 'supernatural' world has no more reason to be directed any more then our own. I mean we can get as woolly and science-y with made up shit as we want. Let's say the supernatural is just a name given to a realm beyond our own, a parallel universe, so to speak, created at the Big Bang, but hidden, like dark matter. Y'know, like the scientists believe, only Buddha realised this 2,500 years ago and Buddhists have been waiting for them to catch to. Knowing smile.

It's all just energy, man.
A most evolved electron.
User avatar
Animavore
 
Name: The Scribbler
Posts: 44757
Age: 42
Male

Ireland (ie)
Print view this post

Re: Debating a Monk

#26  Postby Animavore » Feb 08, 2021 12:54 am

One of the things that really put me off Buddhism towards the end, and I realised it applied to nearly them all, is how terrestrial it all is. How Earth-based. There's no talk of being reincarnated on the other side of the Universe but presumably there shouldn't be.

Also how anthropocentic it is. In Zen Buddhism even animals can, sometimes, become enlightened, but your best shot is as human. Then there's the Buddha himself defined as a perfect person in all ways and they've a bunch of features that Mark him as perfect to do with symmetry and proportions, but how is this not arbitrary and all too human?
A most evolved electron.
User avatar
Animavore
 
Name: The Scribbler
Posts: 44757
Age: 42
Male

Ireland (ie)
Print view this post

Re: Debating a Monk

#27  Postby Spearthrower » Feb 08, 2021 1:28 am

Animavore wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:Buddhism doesn't necessarily need to be theistic, but there's a problem in understanding how such a specific system exists absent direction.


Is there, though? I mean the Greeks believed that their World was under some direction of the gods but as far as I know the gods themselves weren't under direction. It wasn't gods all the way down, so to speak.


I understand your point, but I think the example might not be suitable as it actually was pretty much gods all the way down for the ancient Greeks.

From Hediod's Theogony, the Olympians (Zeus etc) were the children of the Titans (Kronos etc), and the Titans were the children of the primordials like Nyx and Gaia, and the primordials were born from Chaos or the void. The system, so to speak, is from the nature of the gods - all the primordials and titans were basically anthropomorphized quantities the ancient Greeks saw in the universe, like time, the sky, the earth, love, day and night etc. So the cosmological system of the universe (the world, as they saw it) was due to the nature of the gods, and each were subject to the system they created but vying with each other and causing effects in the world.


Animavore wrote:It's the monotheistic religions that stand as having a singular overlord who creates and directs all.


I'm not suggesting that Buddhism necessarily holds to a singular director, however, it was born within Hindu philosophy (basically a subset thereof) and that no doubt had foundational implications on Buddhism even if they've been watered down over the years. The complexity of the system Buddhists believe in needs some explanation - while the way it works is essentially passive, i.e. through one's own karma impacting spiritual mobility, the system itself is hard to explain absent at least an initial setup. Buddhism itself seems to necessarily impute one even if it doesn't linger on the topic (have to Google this one)... the Pratītyasamutpāda, the doctrine of dependent origination holds that every phenomenon depends on the prior existence of some other phenomenon with the ultimate being atman. In most Hindu schools, the atman is part of Brahma, the creator god also titled 'the self born' which sounds familiar! ;)

There are actually quite a few parallels between the middle-Eastern religions and the Eastern ones, for example the concept of Heaven (actually, there's a bunch of heavens) & Hell (Naraka) exists in Buddhism, albeit neither are eternal and both are still within the system of samsara rebirth. This is functionally the same as in Hinduism - heaven is attainable through righteous thought and deed, but isn't the goal of spiritual existence. A vertical cosmology where worlds are what they are because of the inhabitants.

But there's no denial of a creator god, it's more a disinterest than anything - I believe Vajrayana Buddhism actually has some creator theism doctrines, but the general thrust of Buddhism is about the self, not the other.



Animavore wrote:A 'supernatural' world has no more reason to be directed any more then our own. I mean we can get as woolly and science-y with made up shit as we want. Let's say the supernatural is just a name given to a realm beyond our own, a parallel universe, so to speak, created at the Big Bang, but hidden, like dark matter. Y'know, like the scientists believe, only Buddha realised this 2,500 years ago and Buddhists have been waiting for them to catch to. Knowing smile.

It's all just energy, man.


:lol:

It's not so much that a supernatural world needs to be directed as that the nature of Buddhist cosmology seems to imply one, and I think it's probably because Buddhism started out as basically a renegade school of Hindu thought in a manner somewhat similar to Christianity coming from Judaism.
I'm not an atheist; I just don't believe in gods :- that which I don't belong to isn't a group!
Religion: Mass Stockholm Syndrome

Learn Stuff. Stuff good. https://www.coursera.org/
User avatar
Spearthrower
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 28012
Age: 44
Male

Country: Thailand
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Debating a Monk

#28  Postby Spearthrower » Feb 08, 2021 1:33 am

Animavore wrote:One of the things that really put me off Buddhism towards the end, and I realised it applied to nearly them all, is how terrestrial it all is. How Earth-based. There's no talk of being reincarnated on the other side of the Universe but presumably there shouldn't be.

Also how anthropocentic it is. In Zen Buddhism even animals can, sometimes, become enlightened, but your best shot is as human. Then there's the Buddha himself defined as a perfect person in all ways and they've a bunch of features that Mark him as perfect to do with symmetry and proportions, but how is this not arbitrary and all too human?



That is one of my major criticisms - it's so anthropocentric. Thais believe in ghosts/spirits and that these materialize due to some karma conditions... but it's always human ghosts that are seen, never ants despite there being several orders of magnitude more ants than humans and consequently there should be a shitload more ant spirits wandering about waiting to be seen. If ants don't have spirits, there goes samsara. If ants can't do bad karma activities, then there goes samsara.

While there are a lot of deep, introspective elements in Buddhism that I find quite refreshing, there are still fooking massive gaping holes despite them having thousands of years to plug them.
I'm not an atheist; I just don't believe in gods :- that which I don't belong to isn't a group!
Religion: Mass Stockholm Syndrome

Learn Stuff. Stuff good. https://www.coursera.org/
User avatar
Spearthrower
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 28012
Age: 44
Male

Country: Thailand
Print view this post

Re: Debating a Monk

#29  Postby viocjit » Feb 16, 2021 3:02 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
Why would that be necessary? The books you've listed above took years, maybe even decades to complete - why would it be necessary for me to spend multiple years of my life to 'show I seriously studied' something that's not necessary at all just to have an informal discussion with a monk?


The discussion will happens with an audience. If you do that you'll show you did a serious study of this religion.
It just an advice from me but I admit it can be unuseful for this situation.
User avatar
viocjit
 
Posts: 194
Male

Country: France
France (fr)
Print view this post

Previous

Return to Other Religions & Belief Systems

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 1 guest