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dogmafree
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Date Posted:04/09/2006 8:42 AMCopy HTML

Just a different angle on cutting through a lot of the confusion that many of us face after leaving the regime of a revivalist cult... There is an awesome amount of insightful practical teaching and wisdom from some Buddhist sources. I find books that I've read have helped to stabilise things a great deal, as there are very simple and accurate observations of the human condition that provide clarity and sense of it all. No I'm not advocating throwing yourself into another religion and becoming a buddhist. I certainly won't be. Neither is it denying Christ to inquire into such wisdom. But buddhism offers a very gentle, calm way of explaining the realities of life in a manner that is refreshingly accessible, (unlike the brain-drain of wrestling with the bible). This gentle approach can be very healing at a time when you have been through the wringer! To dispel a myth.... the Buddha is/was not a God and never claimed to be. He was a man that lived and died, but in his journey started a movement of inquiry into the nature of life. It is basically a practice of removing the layers of illusion and nonsense that beclouds our minds like peeling layers of an onion. And finding that you are AWAKE. And finally, (with or without any such teaching) MEDITATION is enormously beneficial. the Dog.
"for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" Shakespeare (Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2)
cultevasion Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #1
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Re:Anyone looked at Buddhism?

Date Posted:22/09/2006 9:11 PMCopy HTML

Reply to : dogmafree



Just a different angle on cutting through a lot of the confusion that many of us face after leaving the regime of a revivalist cult...There is an awesome amount of insightful practical teaching and wisdom from some Buddhist sources. I find books that I've read have helped to stabilise things a great deal, as there are very simple and accurate observations of the human condition that provide clarity and sense of it all.No I'm not advocating throwing yourself into another religion and becoming a buddhist. I certainly won't be. Neither is it denying Christ to inquire into such wisdom. But buddhism offers a very gentle, calm way of explaining the realities of life in a manner that is refreshingly accessible, (unlike the brain-drain of wrestling with the bible). This gentle approach can be very healing at a time when you have been through the wringer!To dispel a




Hi Dog,

I was interested in what you had to say about Buddism as another X-RCI guy I know said a similr thing.

can u suggest the name of a good book to read?

thanks
cultivation leads to cultevasion -
don"t reap what they sow!
dogmafree Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #2
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Re:Anyone looked at Buddhism?

Date Posted:22/09/2006 10:11 PMCopy HTML

Reply to : cultevasion




G'day Cult!

Well, well! I was beginning to think that my comments had fallen on deaf ears. No big deal. It's just a bit of an alternative way of putting all this stuff into perspective.

A few names that come to mind are;

Jack Kornfield

Thich Nhat Hanh

Eric Harrison

I've mentioned elsewhere that Jacks book, 'A Path with Heart' is excellent reading. He is a most qualified and experienced teacher, a buddhist monk, qualified psychotherapist, and world traveller. He founded the famous 'Spirit Rock Centre' in the USA, and is accredited with availing the 'west' with eastern wisdom probably more than anyone else. His writing style is very easy and practical to follow and highly inspirational. It is certainly not just a bunch of buddhist stuff, and is relevent to anyone in their spiritual and emotional path. I also love his book, 'After the ecstacy, the laundry'.

A google search will find info about any of these.

I personally have been too put off religion by my experiences with the RF to ever consider getting into buddhism. A book called 'the naked buddha' by eric harrison highlights both the beauty & wisdom of buddhism and the many faults and traps that exist within its traditions. (Christianity is not exclusive in being wrought with curruption and power-tripping individuals taking hostage the souls of others)!

Whatever peoples' orientation, I believe such enquiry can be very enlightening and beneficial. I am most amenable to the gentle, calm manner that some such teachers share their insights and wisdom. It is sooooo refreshing after the hammering indoctrination and being preached at that I was so accustomed to!

BTW, Eric Harrison basicly teaches meditation as a pure practice, without any religious or spiritual overtones.

Hope this helps. Let us know how you find things in your own journey.

Cheers!

the Dog.

"for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" Shakespeare (Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2)
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Re:Anyone looked at Buddhism?

Date Posted:22/09/2006 10:31 PMCopy HTML

$%*'`[Five minute education]%*'`@
A Five Minute Introduction

. What is Buddhism?

Buddhism is a religion to about 300 million people around the world. The word comes from 'budhi', 'to awaken'. It has its origins about 2,500 years ago when Siddhartha Gotama, known as the Buddha, was himself awakened (enlightened) at the age of 35.

. Is Buddhism a Religion?

To many, Buddhism goes beyond religion and is more of a philosophy or 'way of life'. It is a philosophy because philosophy 'means love of wisdom' and the Buddhist path can be summed up as:

(1) to lead a moral life,
(2) to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and
(3) to develop wisdom and understanding.

. How Can Buddhism Help Me?

Buddhism explains a purpose to life, it explains apparent injustice and inequality around the world, and it provides a code of practice or way of life that leads to true happiness.

. Why is Buddhism Becoming Popular?

Buddhism is becoming popular in western countries for a number of reasons, The first good reason is Buddhism has answers to many of the problems in modern materialistic societies. It also includes (for those who are interested) a deep understanding of the human mind (and natural therapies) which prominent psychologists around the world are now discovering to be both very advanced and effective.

. Who Was the Buddha?

Siddhartha Gotama was born into a royal family in Lumbini, now located in Nepal, in 563 BC. At 29, he realised that wealth and luxury did not guarantee happiness, so he explored the different teachings religions and philosophies of the day, to find the key to human happiness. After six years of study and meditation he finally found 'the middle path' and was enlightened. After enlightenment, the Buddha spent the rest of his life teaching the principles of Buddhism ? called the Dhamma, or Truth ? until his death at the age of 80.

. Was the Buddha a God?

He was not, nor did he claim to be. He was a man who taught a path to enlightenment from his own experience.

. Do Buddhists Worship Idols?

Buddhists sometimes pay respect to images of the Buddha, not in worship, nor to ask for favours. A statue of the Buddha with hands rested gently in its lap and a compassionate smile reminds us to strive to develop peace and love within ourselves. Bowing to the statue is an expression of gratitude for the teaching.

. Why are so Many Buddhist Countries Poor?

One of the Buddhist teachings is that wealth does not guarantee happiness and also wealth is impermanent. The people of every country suffer whether rich or poor, but those who understand Buddhist teachings can find true happiness.

. Are There Different Types of Buddhism?

There are many different types of Buddhism, because the emphasis changes from country to country due to customs and culture. What does not vary is the essence of the teaching ? the Dhamma or truth.

. Are Other Religions Wrong?

Buddhism is also a belief system which is tolerant of all other beliefs or religions. Buddhism agrees with the moral teachings of other religions but Buddhism goes further by providing a long term purpose within our existence, through wisdom and true understanding. Real Buddhism is very tolerant and not concerned with labels like 'Christian', 'Moslem', 'Hindu' or 'Buddhist'; that is why there have never been any wars fought in the name of Buddhism. That is why Buddhists do not preach and try to convert, only explain if an explanation is sought.

. Is Buddhism Scientific?

Science is knowledge which can be made into a system, which depends upon seeing and testing facts and stating general natural laws. The core of Buddhism fit into this definition, because the Four Noble truths (see below) can be tested and proven by anyone in fact the Buddha himself asked his followers to test the teaching rather than accept his word as true. Buddhism depends more on understanding than faith.

. What did the Buddha Teach?

The Buddha taught many things, but the basic concepts in Buddhism can be summed up by the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

. What is the First Noble Truth?

The first truth is that life is suffering i.e., life includes pain, getting old, disease, and ultimately death. We also endure psychological suffering like loneliness frustration, fear, embarrassment, disappointment and anger. This is an irrefutable fact that cannot be denied. It is realistic rather than pessimistic because pessimism is expecting things to be bad. lnstead, Buddhism explains how suffering can be avoided and how we can be truly happy.

. What is the Second Noble Truth?

The second truth is that suffering is caused by craving and aversion. We will suffer if we expect other people to conform to our expectation, if we want others to like us, if we do not get something we want,etc. In other words, getting what you want does not guarantee happiness. Rather than constantly struggling to get what you want, try to modify your wanting. Wanting deprives us of contentment and happiness. A lifetime of wanting and craving and especially the craving to continue to exist, creates a powerful energy which causes the individual to be born. So craving leads to physical suffering because it causes us to be reborn.

. What is the Third Noble Truth?

The third truth is that suffering can be overcome and happiness can be attained; that true happiness and contentment are possible. lf we give up useless craving and learn to live each day at a time (not dwelling in the past or the imagined future) then we can become happy and free. We then have more time and energy to help others. This is Nirvana.

. What is the Fourth Noble Truth?

The fourth truth is that the Noble 8-fold Path is the path which leads to the end of suffering.

. What is the Noble 8-Fold Path?

In summary, the Noble 8-fold Path is being moral (through what we say, do and our livelihood), focussing the mind on being fully aware of our thoughts and actions, and developing wisdom by understanding the Four Noble Truths and by developing compassion for others.

. What are the 5 Precepts?

The moral code within Buddhism is the precepts, of which the main five are: not to take the life of anything living, not to take anything not freely given, to abstain from sexual misconduct and sensual overindulgence, to refrain from untrue speech, and to avoid intoxication, that is, losing mindfulness.

. What is Karma?

Karma is the law that every cause has an effect, i.e., our actions have results. This simple law explains a number of things: inequality in the world, why some are born handicapped and some gifted, why some live only a short life. Karma underlines the importance of all individuals being responsible for their past and present actions. How can we test the karmic effect of our actions? The answer is summed up by looking at (1) the intention behind the action, (2) effects of the action on oneself, and (3) the effects on others.

. What is Wisdom?

Buddhism teaches that wisdom should be developed with compassion. At one extreme, you could be a goodhearted fool and at the other extreme, you could attain knowledge without any emotion. Buddhism uses the middle path to develop both. The highest wisdom is seeing that in reality, all phenomena are incomplete, impermanent and do no constitute a fixed entity. True wisdom is not simply believing what we are told but instead experiencing and understanding truth and reality. Wisdom requires an open, objective, unbigoted mind. The Buddhist path requires courage, patience, flexibility and intelligence.

. What is Compassion?

Compassion includes qualities of sharing, readiness to give comfort, sympathy, concern, caring. In Buddhism, we can really understand others, when we can really understand ourselves, through wisdom.

. How do I Become a Buddhist?

Buddhist teachings can be understood and tested by anyone. Buddhism teaches that the solutions to our problems are within ourselves not outside. The Buddha asked all his followers not to take his word as true, but rather to test the teachings for themselves. ln this way, each person decides for themselves and takes responsibility for their own actions and understanding. This makes Buddhism less of a fixed package of beliefs which is to be accepted in its entirety, and more of a teaching which each person learns and uses in their own way.

Prepared by Brian White 1993, with thanks to Ven S. Dhammika.

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Re:Anyone looked at Buddhism?

Date Posted:23/09/2006 10:36 AMCopy HTML

Reply to : dogmafree

Sorry I didn't reply earlier. 

After leaving the RCI I eventually joined another Pentecostal group, namely the AOG.  I then kind of moved backwards through Chrisitan history from there.  I eventually joined a Baptist church and then a Church of Christ.  I was also invited to be the youth pastor of an Anglican church, which I declined.  These were all fundamentalist churches in the sense of believing the historical tenets of the faith.  (Of course the Revivalists hold organisation membership as being the pinacle of all things religious so to explore other churches and beliefs after leaving is seen as somehow 'unstable'. But it is healthy to explore and learn.)  Anyway, I of course had a lot to do with people of other Christian groups.  After leaving church I had a VERY brief flirt with Catholicism.  While I don't see them as the anti-Christ, the core of their faith is Christian after all and this had long lost its impact or influence on me.

So I eventually started to investigate non-Christian faiths.  The one that had a lot of appeal for me was Buddhism.  I hate to say it, but I think it was because of the trendiness of it.  I don't mean I liked it because it was trendy, rather because it was trendy, I knew a bit about it.  I did a lot of reading on the subject, visited some temples (easy to do in Asia...but easy in Oz too these days) and talked with some Buddhists.  In Korea, Buddhists happliy live alongside the Christians.  The Christians don't think Buddhists are demon possessed or that one will 'catch' evil spirits if one visits a temple.  That was healthy.  I realised how much superstition and fear was peddled in Western churches regarding Bhuddism.  I read lots of books by Buddhists and even SOME of the writings of the Buddha.  But as one friend of mine said, "You can read about it all you want but to get a real feel for Buddhism then you need to practice it."  He was right, but to be frank, the last thing I wanted or was even ready for is another religious belief system. 

There are a few big problems I have with Tibetan Buddhism though.

1.  Watch the movie 'KUNDUN' and you will see that they use oracles.  That is, people claiming to be possessed by spirits who give direction and even tell the future.  They spit and hiss and growl and it is very Linda Blair!  This kind of superstition turns me right off.

2.  When the Dali Lama and his mates ruled Tibet it was hardly a Buddhist paradise.  The monks were like a religious ruling class who lived in relative luxury while the rank and file Tibetan lived in poverty.  They were also very cruel in the way they treated people, even gouging out eyes and killing people for crimes.  I am not advocating the Chinese subjegation of Tibet, but since the Chinese came in they have added public school system, rail and a syste of roads, lifted the standard of living and increased the Tibetan economic situation.  Again, I am not advocating the Chinese position, but I will point out that the Monks did not rule the country fairly or even benevolantly.

But that is Tibetan Buddhism and not all flavours of Buddhism.  However, in my experience so far (6+ years in Asia), Buddhism is usually practiced with a large chunk of Animism, ancestor veneration and superstition.  I don't know how the Buddha would have felt about this, but this is the state of Buddhism in most, if not all, countries.

So I felt like I had a good grasp of the tenets and beliefs and moved on.  My more recent research project was Islam.  That was interesting too.

There is an awesome amount of insightful practical teaching and wisdom from some Buddhist sources. I find books that I've read have helped to stabilise things a great deal, as there are very simple and accurate observations of the human condition that provide clarity and sense of it all.

I too have a healthy respect for much of what the Buddha said.  His moral teacings are in many ways comparable to those of Jesus.  Of course both religions have very different foundations and eventual outcomes and hopes...but they are strikingly similar in terms of moral teaching.  But they are both contextualised in a bygone age and much of what the Buddha and Jesus said is archaic and for a long gone time.


No I'm not advocating throwing yourself into another religion and becoming a buddhist. I certainly won't be. Neither is it denying Christ to inquire into such wisdom. But buddhism offers a very gentle, calm way of explaining the realities of life in a manner that is refreshingly accessible, (unlike the brain-drain of wrestling with the bible). This gentle approach can be very healing at a time when you have been through the wringer!

Agreed.  The meditative aspects are very beneficial to many.  I think one can do very well to take the good things of any philosophy or religion.

To dispel a myth.... the Buddha is/was not a God and never claimed to be. He was a man that lived and died, but in his journey started a movement of inquiry into the nature of life.

He did ascend to a higher plane of existence and took on many god-like qualities.  But yes, he did not claim to be divine in the Christian sense of the word, especially while he was on earth.

It is basically a practice of removing the layers of illusion and nonsense that beclouds our minds like peeling layers of an onion. And finding that you are AWAKE.

Yeah, and that is where I tend to disagree with Buddhism.  To deny this reality as being somehow a lesser reality doesn't cut it with me.  This reality is all we have and a religion based on denail of this reality has the potential to be destructive.  The Buddha himslef saw this and hence called his ideas, "The Middle Way".  He was looking to implement a way of life that didn't give over to asceticism or give over to self indulgence.  Still, I like this reality.  It doesn't seem so bad to me.

I am just sharing my point of view here Dog.  I don't mean to sound like I am undermining what you found helpful.  I, like you, am always (cautiously) on the lookout for anything helpful or beneficial. 

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Re:Anyone looked at Buddhism?

Date Posted:23/09/2006 12:52 PMCopy HTML

Hey Te,
You and I are generally on a similar wavelength here I feel.

"Yeah, and that is where I tend to disagree with Buddhism. To deny this reality as being somehow a lesser reality doesn't cut it with me. This reality is all we have and a religion based on denail of this reality has the potential to be destructive. The Buddha himslef saw this and hence called his ideas, "The Middle Way". He was looking to implement a way of life that didn't give over to asceticism or give over to self indulgence. Still, I like this reality. It doesn't seem so bad to me."

Its not my intention to enter into any great debate about such stuff, but a few comments about your quote above......

I'm not advocating any kind of denial here. By applying ourselves to awareness is to open our eyes to reality at every level. One of the mistakes that some may make is to idealise the ascetic levels of practice, and this can certainly be a recipe for disaster as they take their eyes off the immediate realities of life. In Jacks book, 'After the ecstacy, the laundry' is a very grounded book that explores and explains these facts..... (after you climb to the mountain-top, you then have to come back down again).

I welcome your observations and comments on all this.

the Dog.
"for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" Shakespeare (Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2)
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Re:Anyone looked at Buddhism?

Date Posted:23/09/2006 4:34 PMCopy HTML

Reply to : dogmafree

Hey Te,You and I are generally on a similar wavelength here I feel."Yeah, and that is where I tend to disagree with Buddhism. To deny this reality as being somehow a lesser reality doesn't cut it with me. This reality is all we have and a religion based on denail of this reality has the potential to be destructive. The Buddha himslef saw this and hence called his ideas, "The Middle Way". He was looking to implement a way of life that didn't give over to asceticism or give over to self indulgence. Still, I like this reality. It doesn't seem so bad to me."Its not my intention to enter into any great debate about such stuff, but a few comments about your quote above......I'm not advocating any kind of denial here. By applying ourselves to awareness is to open our eyes to reality at every level. One of the mistakes that some may make is to idealise th

Hey there Snoop Doggy Dogma! Sorry also for this late reply to your post. Its been one of those posts you keep seeing and mean to get too, but dont! Until now at least. I don't claim to now anyting 'indepth' about the Buddhist faith but has intrigued me for a long time. I say this next comment in complete ignorance, but I cannot remember the last time a war was caused due to Buddhist beliefs???? Many a war, as you are well aware, has been caused by Christian beliefs and others alike. Buddhism is something I would like to delve into further. Not to become 'one of them' but rather, to adopt some of their very principles in life. It seems a calming kind of way of life to me. From the little I know of it anyway. I have watched the movie.. " Seven Years In Tibet" several times and, although I know of course, it was filled with alot of Hollywood Fluff, it still brakes my heart that the simple way of life for them was taken away. Although.. maybe, according to Te's post... life for them may be a lot better now. (No disprespect intended to your post there Te!) I just wish, we, in western countries could adopt a more simple way of living as they had/have.

Thankyou for your informative post. I will be sure to look it all up. And thankyou too for your private email suggesting other books and courses! MUCH appreciated!

Regards... Bindi

" IF I COULD WISH FOR MY LIFE TO BE PERFECT, IT WOULD BE TEMPTING BUT I WOULD HAVE TO DECLINE, FOR LIFE WOULD NO LONGER TEACH ME ANYTHING."
Allyson Jones
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Re:Anyone looked at Buddhism?

Date Posted:24/09/2006 12:42 AMCopy HTML

Reply to : dogmafree

You and I are generally on a similar wavelength here I feel.

Perhaps we are. 

I'm not advocating any kind of denial here.

Hey, I never thought you were.  Rather, we were talking about the Buddha and Buddhism.  It's all cool.  Really.  I am happy to discuss it and break it down, so don't feel it would ever get personal.

By applying ourselves to awareness is to open our eyes to reality at every level. One of the mistakes that some may make is to idealise the ascetic levels of practice, and this can certainly be a recipe for disaster as they take their eyes off the immediate realities of life. In Jacks book, 'After the ecstacy, the laundry' is a very grounded book that explores and explains these facts..... (after you climb to the mountain-top, you then have to come back down again).

Sure.  Have you read Siddhartha by Herman Hess?  I felt that Siddhartha was shirking his earthly responsibilities to his son in the pursuit of enlightenment.  I am sure that Hess was well aware that many readers would feel the same as I did when reading that.  What is the greater good?  Reaching enlightenment or being a good father?  Is one able to reach enlightenment without acknowledging your earthly duties? 

Chinese Buddhism would say "NO!!!" as they have a long cultural tradition of filial piety.  As a matter of fact, in the book, "A Moment in Peking" the father of the female protagonist/hero waits until his children are all married and well established in their adult lives before leaving them their inheritances and going off the be a Taoist monk (not Buddist I know, but this demonstrates the Chinese thinking). He later returns after having wandered the country for decades and is now seen by even his family as a venreated monk.  Herein lies the conundrum for Siddhartha, Herman Hess and so many others I would guess...where is the said "middle way"?

I welcome your observations and comments on all this.

And there they were.  Short and oh so sweet! 

Ok, how pretentious was this post?  I sound sooooo well read and SUCH an expert on China!  Who is impressed with me?  I know I am.

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Re:Anyone looked at Buddhism?

Date Posted:24/09/2006 2:01 AMCopy HTML

Good one there Te,

I haven't read Hess and yes, your subject knowledge is most impressive, o great one!

You'd appreciate Eric Harrison's 'the naked buddha', I'm sure. In it he gives a brief history of Gotama (or whatever his name was) and buddhism, then pulls it apart. He highlights the many wonderful aspects practices and wisdoms that can be appreciated from it. But he also reveals many flaws with the religion, the sexism, the double-standards and the irrelevnce of some of it. An ex practicing buddhist, Eric would be considered an heretick by the die-hard buddhist establishment, but his expose is candidly honest.

As you said, like the bible, the buddhas writings are not all relevent in the times we live in. This is why a modern blend of buddhist teaching and western understanding can be very helpful, and Jack has a very good balance of the two in his writings.

Cheers!

the Dog.
"for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" Shakespeare (Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2)
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Re:Anyone looked at Buddhism?

Date Posted:24/09/2006 9:29 AMCopy HTML

Reply to : dogmafree

If you have broadband or access to it then Iyou might like to download the BBC doco, The Life of Buddha.  It is historical and makes no moral judgements but rather tries to be somewhat objective.  You can find the torrent at:

http://www.torrentspy.com/torrent/697189/BBC_The_Life_of_Buddha_DivX5_AC3_www_mvgroup_org_avi

You will need a torrent program to download it.  You can try the one I use, BitComet, at www.bitcomet.com .

Ciao

Te Luo Yi

 

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