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Online One Above All

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #29 on: May 14, 2012, 09:19:51 AM »
... well, yes.  'philosophical bhuddism'.  (and you're right on the above - I should have said 'philosophical bhuddism can be said to have a great deal of value'.  Ugh.)

So far I haven't seen anything of value[1] from what you refer to as "philosophical buddhism".

Sorta.  ... hrm. Would it help if I tried to do a quick rundown?  Something summary to explain what I really mean?  It'd be longish.

If you think it'll help your case, feel free to do it. I'll read it and take it into consideration, provided it doesn't incorporate woo[2].
 1. Different; new.
 2. "Woo" being defined as supernatural concepts, appeals to emotion and other things like that.x
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 09:31:44 AM by Lucifer »
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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #30 on: May 14, 2012, 09:44:52 AM »
The core of Buddhism isn't actually anything supernatural. It's why you can be a Buddhist and not believe any of that supernatural malarkey. Many only believe it because Siddartha Gautama believed it or because they believed it already, but it's not key to what he taught and what other Buddhas taught. Although Hindusim has reincarnation, what some Buddhists believe is actually sometimes called "rebecoming" because one thing that is denied in Buddhism is the existence of a soul. So, some Buddhists have altered their idea on how reincarnation must work - I don't believe Buddha actually made any comment on the lack of a soul in relation to reincarnation. Karma was/is accepted as a natural principle to explain why certain things happen. For every action there is a reaction, just in a more supernatural sense, it's from a culture who did not understand what we know about the world now.

But I think what is key is that Buddha didn't really think any of the above mattered in regards to how we live our lives. The whole point about understanding his teachings, deciding for themselves and taking their own path to 'enlightenment' allows people to keep whatever beliefs or lack of beliefs they have. At the time, it was Hinduism, hence it is often referenced. For example, the story of when a stranger tries to understand what Buddha was the strangers lists all of the types of existence (including, Deva/god) to try and work out what he is and Buddha tells him that's he's just Buddha (which just means he's enlightened, which is the ultimate psychological state of mind). Think of it this way, Kant was a Christian and he even refers to God in his Critique of Pure Reason, but his philosophy requires none of Kant's supernatural beliefs.


I think Jaimehlers' analysis is appropriate. Whilst buddhism and humanism are similar, they're not the same. I suppose it'd be a case of comparing Kant to Wittgenstein, because Kant tries to use empiricism and logic and so does Wittgenstein, but their philosophies are different. Hence there's Kantianism and Logical Positivism.



Lets look at some Buddhist teachings. The eightfold path is one of the main principles. It can be split up into 3 sections:

Wisdom
1. Right View
2. Right Intention
Ethical Conduct
3. Right Speech
4. Right Action
5. Right Livelihood
Mental Development
6. Right Effort
7. Right Mindfulness
8. Right Concentration


And take Tibetan Buddhism[1], here's a list of principles:

Quote from: Atisha (11th century Tibetan Buddhist master)
The greatest achievement is selflessness.
The greatest worth is self-mastery.
The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
The greatest precept is continual awareness.
The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
The greatest action is not conforming with the worlds ways.
The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
The greatest patience is humility.
The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.
[2]

In Buddhism there's also, the five precepts (and 8 & 10). The five precepts are recommendations and not commandments. The first 5 is for everyone. 6 to 10 are laid out for those who wish to persue a monastic lifestyle (and that increases once you become a monk)

Essentially a Buddhist will try with their best effort to uphold the precepts.  Which in full are:
Quote
1) harming living beings.
2) taking things not freely given.
3) sexual misconduct.
4) false speech.
5) intoxicating drinks and drugs causing heedlessness.
6) taking untimely meals.
7) dancing, singing, music and watching grotesque mime.
8) use of garlands, perfumes and personal adornment.
9) use of high seats.
10) accepting gold or silver.

This is why I've said Buddhism is not dogmatic. Much of its teachings aren't commandments and you don't HAVE to agree with everything. It only asks that you consider it and keep it in mind to better yourself and take on a path to become enlightened. Enlightenment is a principle that is not supernatural, though for some it is spiritual because they are spiritualists, but it's just a state of psychological being, hence the 8-fold path deals with mental development. You could suggest that the 8-fold path asks people to: to learn & become wise, to have a good moral standing and to have mental stability.

So it should be clear how different Buddhism is on a philosophical level to humanism. Humanism, which based around the same basic principles actually applies them differently. So a philsophical Buddhist and a humanist are different from one and another, even if there's a lot of similarities. I suspect there's things Buddhists try to uphold that humanists don't and vice versa.
 1. There's multiple schools, so I'm only using one here. Because of the Dalai Lama, it's Tibetan Buddhism that's touched a lot of people in the West, even if the man's a hypocrite
 2. http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 09:47:52 AM by Seppuku »
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Offline Grimm

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #31 on: May 14, 2012, 09:50:54 AM »

If you think it'll help your case, feel free to do it. I'll read it, provided it doesn't incorporate woo.

... so tricky to do when you're not a believer. :)

ANYWAY:
(I had this whole big thing written, and Seppuku did it better.   So - there ya are! )

 I would add, in reference to Suppuku's last statement: "I suspect there's things Buddhists try to uphold that humanists don't and vice versa."

Bhuddism is inwardly focused, it targets the individual and expects that individual to be steadily improved, and thus improve everything around them.  Humanism is outwardly focused, pointing out that you can improve the world around you and should via positive action rather than passive example.  A bhuddist would not dream of the confrontation inherent in, say, Dave Silverman's billboards; a Humanist wouldn't have any problem with that if the interaction led to someone else's understanding.

Just one example of many, I think.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 09:54:27 AM by Grimm »
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Online One Above All

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #32 on: May 14, 2012, 09:52:49 AM »
I'm seeing a lot of "poetry" and woo, but nothing of value.

Bhuddism is inwardly focused, it targets the individual and expects that individual to be steadily improved, and thus improve everything around them.  Humanism is outwardly focused, pointing out that you can improve the world around you and should via positive action rather than passive example.

That's the same thing. Buddhism "improves" the individual who then "improves" everything around them. Secular humanism "improves" everything around the individual by having the individual "improve" himself/herself first.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 10:01:24 AM by Lucifer »
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
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Offline Zankuu

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #33 on: May 14, 2012, 10:10:05 AM »
I'm seeing a lot of "poetry" and woo, but nothing of value.

Would you say the same thing about the Egyptian proverbs? If so then I suppose you won't be swayed into seeing the value from Buddhist tenets.
Leave nothing to chance. Overlook nothing. Combine contradictory observations. Allow yourself enough time. -Hippocrates of Cos

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #34 on: May 14, 2012, 10:14:19 AM »
Would you say the same thing about the Egyptian proverbs?

Dunno. Never heard any, as far as I know.

If so then I suppose you won't be swayed into seeing the value from Buddhist tenets.

I should clarify - what I mean by "value" is that the concepts are not new or different from anything else I've heard or concluded on my own.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline Seppuku

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #35 on: May 14, 2012, 10:29:32 AM »
Quote
I'm seeing a lot of "poetry" and woo, but nothing of value.

Of course there's going to be a lot of poetry. You're talking ancient society, you're talking about an oral culture and poetry was the ultimate form of passing across information, it is through poetry and storytelling through poetry that this information is passed down. It may not be ultimately be accurate to who said what, but as it's not inspired by divinity (or claims to be) it doesn't matter. The poetic form is one of the easiest ways of memorising pieces of information. It's how oral cultures do it. We live in a literate society, it works very differently for us.

Much of what we learn from historical documents from ancient times is often written in a poetic fashion. Heck, even the bible is considered a relevant historical document and that's very poetic, but it's not historically relevent for the reasons Christians would like to believe. So I don't think it being 'poetic' affects how valuable it is.

Quote
what I mean by "value" is that the concepts are not new or different from anything else I've heard or concluded on my own.

You're talking about a religion whose main talking point was born ~500BC, I doubt you're going to find much that's new. It was certainly new at the time. But it doesn't make it equal to humanism, because whilst there's many similarities, the teachings and by which the teachings are applied are not one and the same as they are with humanism.

A humanist and a Buddhist may like to high-five each other once in a while though. The goal of humanism is to end poverty, offer freedom in the realm of civil liberties, world peace and world unity. The goal of Buddhism is to be wise, solve the human condition and achieve enlightenment (ultimate state of mind & mental stability). They are similar, but not the same.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 10:37:22 AM by Seppuku »
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Offline Grimm

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #36 on: May 14, 2012, 10:30:54 AM »
Would you say the same thing about the Egyptian proverbs?

Dunno. Never heard any, as far as I know.

If so then I suppose you won't be swayed into seeing the value from Buddhist tenets.

I should clarify - what I mean by "value" is that the concepts are not new or different from anything else I've heard or concluded on my own.

AAH.  See, in that case, I'm not shocked that you find nothing new here.  Bhuddism is old, and everything it does that's right is nothing new to someone who's been interested in even debunking new-age nonsense, much less someone who explored faith on the progress to atheism. 

The good stuff is, in part, in Humanism.  I won't deny that - but I doubt you'll find anything new here save the structure of it.
"But to us, there is but one god, plus or minus one."  - 1 Corinthians 8:6+/-2

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Online One Above All

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #37 on: May 14, 2012, 10:40:42 AM »
<snip>
So I don't think it being 'poetic' affects how valuable it is.

You forgot the woo. There's the assumption of objective morality, appeals to emotion; even the poetry is "woo", since it's an attempt to make the idea seem "deeper" than it is, which actually does the opposite.

But it doesn't make it equal to humanism, because whilst there's many similarities, the teachings and by which the teachings are applied are not one and the same as they are with humanism.

In case you hadn't noticed, I've been addressing Buddhism sans the woo. And, as I've mentioned, without the woo, Buddhism is just a premise of secular humanism.

AAH.  See, in that case, I'm not shocked that you find nothing new here.  Bhuddism is old
<snip>

I know Buddhism is old. That doesn't mean it can't have some unique things that no other philosophy does.
To be honest, I'm starting to think that Buddhism was just one guy's attempt to try to sound smart by stating the obvious and filling it with as much woo as possible.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline Grimm

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #38 on: May 14, 2012, 10:46:01 AM »
It wasn't obvious in 500 BCE. :)
"But to us, there is but one god, plus or minus one."  - 1 Corinthians 8:6+/-2

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Online One Above All

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #39 on: May 14, 2012, 10:53:29 AM »
It wasn't obvious in 500 BCE. :)

Probably true. I'm not a big fan of history. Regardless, it's still just another religion. Take away the woo (id est: take away what makes it a religion) and you get what (almost) everyone already agrees with.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #40 on: May 14, 2012, 11:16:27 AM »
I'm not talking about the origins of Buddhism or secular humanism. What I am saying is that if you discard all the supernatural BS from Buddhism, you get secular humanism[1]. I'm also saying that there's no reason to call this "philosophical buddhism" or any neologism[2], since we already have a name for it.
 1. Or, to be more specific, one of its premises.
 2. I'm unfamiliar with the term "philosophical buddhism, and it seems like a neologism to me. If it's not, then please disregard this and replace "any neologism" with "anything".
Philosophical buddhism has principles that secular humanism does not, just as secular humanism has principles that philosophical buddhism has.  That's the point that you don't seem to have realized.  Therefore, your statement that if you take the supernatural stuff out of Buddhism, you get secular humanism, is incorrect.  The fact that two philosophies have similarities in no way means that they are the same thing.  It's like saying two different trees are the same because they both have roots, bark, and leaves.

If you want to make this argument, you have to show that the non-supernatural stuff in Buddhism is wholly contained in secular humanism, not simply say that because they both contain the principle of how you act is how you will be acted upon, the one must be a part of the other.
Worldviews:  Everyone has one, everyone believes them to be an accurate view of the world, and everyone ends up at least partially wrong.  However, some worldviews are stronger and well-supported, while others are so bizarre that they make no sense to anyone else.

Offline Seppuku

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #41 on: May 14, 2012, 11:21:12 AM »
Quote
To be honest, I'm starting to think that Buddhism was just one guy's attempt to try to sound smart by stating the obvious and filling it with as much woo as possible.

Have a look at a lot of older philosophy, you'll see that what's not obvious needed pointing out. It's only obvious because they're such common principles today that we don't really think twice about. When you're looking at a world where religion is people's only understanding of the world and their beliefs in the supernatural, it's pretty revolutionary for somebody to say, "hang a minute, none of that matters".

Even today, you might consider that special because of how many people who don't find it obvious that "none of that matters".


Quote
You forgot the woo. There's the assumption of objective morality, appeals to emotion; even the poetry is "woo", since it's an attempt to make the idea seem "deeper" than it is, which actually does the opposite.

Define 'woo'.

The 'morality', I've only posted a small amount of what Buddhism actually says and how it's defined - I'd have to crack open a book to take you deeper into the teachings of Buddhism.

I don't see how, "read this and decide for yourself" and "here's some guidelines you may wish to consider" really takes on the assumption of objective morality. 'Appeals to emotion', I'm trying to see where, the idea of englightenment includes the idea of being unmoved by emotion for it causes suffering. When emotion is mentioned, it's more or less a case where emotion may be a source of your suffering - just like fear. It would rather get rid of the emotion of fear and replace it with wisdom or reason. The whole point of Buddhism is to stop suffering, one of those methods is purely psychological (which includes emotion). Hence it asks for compassion too, as being compassionate may reduce the suffering of others. In many respects it's like the Jedi code, except unlike the Jedi code, it's not mandatory. (there is no emotion, there is only peace. There is no ignorance, there is only knowledge. There is no passion, only serenity. There is no chaos, only harmony. There is no death, only the force. )[1] ;)  Letting your passions get in your way will only turn you over to the dark side of the force.
 1. Sorry for being a geek
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 11:24:00 AM by Seppuku »
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Online One Above All

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #42 on: May 14, 2012, 12:00:55 PM »
Philosophical buddhism has principles that secular humanism does not, just as secular humanism has principles that philosophical buddhism has.  That's the point that you don't seem to have realized.

I've yet to see one of those principles. If you can point out one, then I will concede that "philosophical buddhism" is different from secular humanism.
EDIT: Note, however, that being different from secular humanism is not the same as being useful or valuable.

Define 'woo'.

Appeals to emotion, "deep" statements[1], magic[2], et cetera.

I don't see how, "read this and decide for yourself" and "here's some guidelines you may wish to consider" really takes on the assumption of objective morality.

"This is always good. That is always bad."
This was included in your short list, although under a different form.
 1. Which are actually about as deep as Mount Everest.
 2. Karma, souls, reincarnation...
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 12:31:30 PM by Lucifer »
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline Grimm

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #43 on: May 14, 2012, 12:45:48 PM »
Hangon -

The goal of early poetry isn't 'woo' - it's a mnemonic device.

See, this stuff was written down, sure, but that wasn't the primary means of transmission in these early cultures; most people were not literate.  Instead, you wrote poetry, something beautiful and memorable that stuck in the brain, something you could pass on easily and dredge out of your memory quickly.

Plus - bhuddism has an emphasis on 'epiphany'; eastern philosophy focuses on offering most, but not all of a truth.  Eastern teaching techniques rely on the student closing the last bit of that gap themselves, so that they 'own' the idea.  Ideas are more powerful, after all, when your brain puts them together.. as opposed to having them fed to you.

Thus, koans.  Which are lovely - they're logical conundrums that hope to lead you to specific conclusions based on a hypothetical.  They make no sense until you think them through, and then they suddenly do.. and you never forget 'em.

Anyway, the point is that you must be careful about simply classifying early philosophical thought as 'woo' simply because of its language.  Most of it was in fact religious, but the poetry itself doesn't make it worthless.  Plus... remember that some of these concepts can be esoteric, and precision in language difficult.

For instance, take Taoist philosophical thought:

In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don't try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.

When you are content to be simply yourself
and don't compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.

Success is as dangerous as failure.
Hope is as hollow as fear.

What does it mean that success is a dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
you position is shaky.
When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance.

What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
Hope and fear are both phantoms
that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don't see the self as self,
what do we have to fear?

See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
then you can care for all things.

(this is stz. 8 and stz 13 of the Tao Te Ching)

There's nothing 'woo' about Lao Tse, but he wrote in poetry to try to capture emotion as well as philosophy.  It was the high form of his time, ca. 2000 BCE, written with the purpose of being read and considered 'high literature' - something worth reading and remembering.

Think about Sun Tzu - the art of war is poetry, but offers practical and solid advice if you're waging a land war in asia with ground troops. :)

Anyway - poetry had a point. 
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 12:47:33 PM by Grimm »
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Online One Above All

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #44 on: May 14, 2012, 12:51:07 PM »
<snip>
The goal of early poetry isn't 'woo' - it's a mnemonic device.
<snip>

Already disregarded poetry as being woo for the sake of argument. Also pointed out that that's not all the woo in Buddhism.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline Grimm

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #45 on: May 14, 2012, 01:04:15 PM »
*grins*

I had this thought, too, on 'obviousness':

1 + 1 = 2, right?

That is obvious, to us.  But, as Sagan pointed out, before you can make the above statement, you have to have all sorts of definitions.  What is 'one'?  What is 'two'?  What is 'addition'?  How do we define equivalence?

For you and me, today, in this practical world, 'what is the number one?' is a complex an interesting question that doesn't make a whit of difference.  I mean, seriously, who cares? It doesn't make it easier for me to build an algorithm and doesn't make it simpler for either of us to buy groceries.  However, without that 'complex logical underpinning' (again quoting Sagan), we wouldn't have algorithms or commerce. 

Every old religion was an initial attempt to construct a valid hypothesis for the way the world worked and how we should behave toward each other as a result of it.  They are scrabblings in the dark, each building on the next until we grope our way into something that looks like what we have today.  The bleeding edge of modern philosophy is the idea of liberty, of individual worth, universal human rights, and the concept of equality.

Heck, most of the world gives those ideas lip-service, at best.

For you, bhuddism may offer nothing at all - and that's fine.  However, knowing where these concepts come from can be important to understanding them, how they've changed, and where they're going; philosophy underlies everything, and knowing its roots matters. 

Anyway, at points past, these things had to be said in order for them to become self-evident today.  Every concept you think of as self-evident?  It has an origin somewhere, and those origins can show us a great deal about ourselves today. 

Of course, like trig, those origins may be irrelevant, if one tends to simply use the idea.  Knowing, though, that our modern concept of 'equality' and 'compassion' doesn't rise out of Enlightenment thinking, but out of a nobleman living near India somewhere around 500 BCE?  It's an interesting thought.
"But to us, there is but one god, plus or minus one."  - 1 Corinthians 8:6+/-2

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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #46 on: May 14, 2012, 01:07:05 PM »
Quote
"This is always good. That is always bad."
This was included in your short list, although under a different form.

If you're talking about things like *right view*. What is 'right' can even be subjective. The 5/8/10 precepts are guidelines not rules, the 5 precepts pretty much encourage moral relativism, in that it asks you to do your best in upholding these precepts, but it doesn't suggest always following them is good or finding yourself ignoring them is bad.

But here's a few things Buddha said in relation to this:

Quote
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.
Quote
"Don't blindly believe what I say. Don't believe me because others convince you of my words. Don't believe anything you see, read, or hear from others, whether of authority, religious teachers or texts. Don't rely on logic alone, nor speculation. Don't infer or be deceived by appearances."
Quote
"Do not give up your authority and follow blindly the will of others. This way will lead to only delusion."
Quote
"Find out for yourself what is truth, what is real. Discover that there are virtuous things and there are non-virtuous things. Once you have discovered for yourself give up the bad and embrace the good."

He very much expected people to read his teachings and understand them, but ultimately decide for themselves. He wanted people think and ponder on these issues themselves and think for themselves. He wanted people to pursue wisdom and knowledge. Buddha may have had his principles of morality and his own understanding of the world, but what a Buddhist understands and believes is ultimately up to their reasoning, Buddhist texts are there as guidelines and offer many teachings for you to ponder and help you on your way. I think you find that's a pretty subjective approach.

Quote
2.    Karma, souls, reincarnation...

There are no souls in Buddhism. The soul is a Hindu concept. Yes, reincarnation requires a soul, but here's what the actual Buddhist view on reincarnation is, it's actually called 'Rebirth' or 'rebecoming'. In Buddhism, the soul is just, "the illusion of the self", anatta (funnily enough, the Japanese word for 'you' is 'anata'...just something interesting I guess).


Quote
I've yet to see one of those principles. If you can point out one, then I will concede that "philosophical buddhism" is different from secular humanism.

Enlightenment. Whilst there's some level of self perfection in secular humanism. But enlightenment is where Buddhism is closer to the Jedi view. The idea of enlightenment is to reach a high level of clarity of thought whereby you are unaffected by negative emotion, An ultimate sense of internal peace - humanism seeks peace in terms of society and the world, so that there is no violence between emotions. But Buddhism takes it to an inner level and pretty much to an extreme. Because you'd never be able to piss off somebody who is enlightened, they'll never be disappointed by anything, nor if they stubbed their toe they'd yell, "oh fuck!". Whilst many do not achieve that state, it is generally the goal.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #47 on: May 14, 2012, 01:09:14 PM »
I've yet to see one of those principles. If you can point out one, then I will concede that "philosophical buddhism" is different from secular humanism.
EDIT: Note, however, that being different from secular humanism is not the same as being useful or valuable.

If you want to make this argument, you have to show that the non-supernatural stuff in Buddhism is wholly contained in secular humanism, not simply say that because they both contain the principle of how you act is how you will be acted upon, the one must be a part of the other.
You're welcome to your opinion here, I'm not really that interested in changing it considering you basically dismissed the entire website which Grimm (and later, Seppuku) cited as "woo".  In significantly less than 20 minutes, especially since it probably took you a few minutes to see Grimm's reply and a few more minutes to actually write the post.  Do you seriously expect anyone to think that you can get any kind of real understanding of something in such a short period of time?

You're the one making the argument that philosophical buddhism is nothing more than a single precept of secular humanism.  Yet as far as I can tell, you're doing so on an extremely superficial 'understanding' of Buddhism, based on a short skim of a single website.  Now, maybe I'm wrong, and you've done research about it before; if so, it would behoove you to demonstrate this rather than making the same claim repeatedly.  If you haven't done that, you can actually read the website that Grimm and Seppuku linked in order to find examples to prove your point.  But until then, you shouldn't expect to convince anyone, as you have very little ground to stand on.

Already disregarded poetry as being woo for the sake of argument. Also pointed out that that's not all the woo in Buddhism.
Case in point.  Poetry is "woo" simply because you say it is, "for the sake of argument"?  No, I don't think so.  In effect, you're ignoring part of Grimm's argument so that you can focus on what you want to talk about.  And that isn't what "for the sake of argument" means, anyway.  If you were to say that poetry wasn't woo, that would be for the sake of argument.
Worldviews:  Everyone has one, everyone believes them to be an accurate view of the world, and everyone ends up at least partially wrong.  However, some worldviews are stronger and well-supported, while others are so bizarre that they make no sense to anyone else.

Online One Above All

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #48 on: May 14, 2012, 01:37:40 PM »
<snip>

Knowledge is important, yes. However, now you've basically reduced Buddhism to a non-sequitur.
"Bad stuff happens to good people. Good stuff happens to bad people. Therefore we should all be nice to each other." is a non-sequitur.

If you're talking about things like *right view*. What is 'right' can even be subjective. The 5/8/10 precepts are guidelines not rules, the 5 precepts pretty much encourage moral relativism, in that it asks you to do your best in upholding these precepts, but it doesn't suggest always following them is good or finding yourself ignoring them is bad.

Like all religions, it claims to have the answer to stopping people from suffering. It labels certain things as objectively bad (emotions, for example), and other things as objectively good (what it calls "enlightenment").

But here's a few things Buddha said in relation to this:
<snip>
Quote
"Find out for yourself what is truth, what is real. Discover that there are virtuous things and there are non-virtuous things. Once you have discovered for yourself give up the bad and embrace the good."

I wish to focus on this quote for a sec. These are not the words of a moral relativist. Why would a moral objectivist[1] create a philosophy/religion based on moral subjectivity?

There are no souls in Buddhism. The soul is a Hindu concept.

My apologies. You (IIRC) pointed this out earlier, but I forgot.

Enlightenment.
<snip>

Just to be clear - "philosophical buddhism" has no woo. "Enlightenment" is woo.

You're welcome to your opinion here, I'm not really that interested in changing it considering you basically dismissed the entire website which Grimm (and later, Seppuku) cited as "woo".

I dismissed it because we're discussing Buddhism without the woo. Taking away the supernaturalist BS and focusing on the philosophy behind it.

Yet as far as I can tell, you're doing so on an extremely superficial 'understanding' of Buddhism, based on a short skim of a single website.  Now, maybe I'm wrong, and you've done research about it before

Yup. You're wrong there. I have done research on Buddhism. I was fascinated by what it calls Nirvana and how to achieve it, but I soon realized that its methods were highly flawed.

If you haven't done that, you can actually read the website that Grimm and Seppuku linked in order to find examples to prove your point.  But until then, you shouldn't expect to convince anyone, as you have very little ground to stand on.

I cannot provide evidence that Buddhism without the woo isn't different from secular humanism. You can't prove a negative, remember?

Case in point.  Poetry is "woo" simply because you say it is, "for the sake of argument"?
<snip>

My apologies. I tried to write what you said I should've done - that I agreed that poetry was not woo for the sake of argument - but it came out wrong.
 1. Dunno if this is a word, but you probably know what I mean.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 01:39:50 PM by Lucifer »
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline Grimm

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #49 on: May 14, 2012, 02:07:04 PM »
One thing, Lucifer -

It's important to recognize, I think, that definitions are a problem.  When Sep is talking about 'enlightenment', he's not talking about something 'woo'; that's a bhuddist short-word for (and I'm going to mangle this - Sep can probably give a better statement):

*deep breath*

That sense of 'flow' that comes from that moment wherein thought and action are equivalent and a coherent whole; where high concepts like compassion, value, and love translate themselves to an easy actualization that requires no effort.

In other words:  'enlightenment' is a word that has at least a couple of sentences to describe it, and I probably didn't do it justice in twenty words.  You really probably need a good two or three pages to ferret out all of the nuances of what is a very real effect and mental state that modern science is just beginning to describe.

See 'flow' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)), and extrapolate to philosophical processes.  On the wiki article, there are even a few paragraphs about it.

The problem with philosophy (with any discipline, really) is communicating it well and clearly; it's especially tough at the edges of religion, where cultish behavior includes the idea of special definitions for words to separate the cult from the world. (Scientology and 'Clear', 'scrub', 'SP', 'tech', for just one example.)

We grouse at the word 'energy' - and boy do I, as it covers up all sorts of woo - because it is ill-defined and nebulous.  Unfortunately, I think 'enlightenment' is, too.  I like 'flow'.  It works better, and means the same... and has become scientificially defined, and thus accessable.

"But to us, there is but one god, plus or minus one."  - 1 Corinthians 8:6+/-2

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Online One Above All

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #50 on: May 14, 2012, 02:09:47 PM »
I'll have to get back to you tomorrow, or maybe later today. Right now I need/want to finish a new chapter in one of my stories and then I have to study.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline flapdoodle64

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #51 on: May 14, 2012, 02:18:35 PM »
This is interesting to read.  I'm pretty ignorant on this subject, so keep writing folks. 

But one thing that I've been curious about for a while:

What is the theological for philosophic basis for the Dali Lama's homophobia?

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #52 on: May 14, 2012, 02:21:55 PM »
This is interesting to read.  I'm pretty ignorant on this subject, so keep writing folks. 

But one thing that I've been curious about for a while:

What is the theological for philosophic basis for the Dali Lama's homophobia?

No.  Farking. Clue.

I've read a few things that say it has to do with the religious trappings of his particular sect of Bhuddism, but I think it's part of the Bad Side - the religious woo side - of Bhuddism.

*shrugs*  It shall have to be someone other 'n me who addresses it, but it's likely the same religious nonsense that permeates the western world, turned on its ear and stuffed into eastern philosophy. 
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Offline GodlessHeathen

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #53 on: May 14, 2012, 02:42:51 PM »
Some very interesting discussion here. For the most part, I have stayed on the sidelines, because, admittedly, I know very little about Buddhism except for only a few very basic tenets. While I am not interested in practicing any form of religion, I am interested in learning more.
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" (Christopher Hitchens).

Offline Seppuku

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #54 on: May 14, 2012, 03:03:40 PM »
Quote from: Lucifer
Just to be clear - "philosophical buddhism" has no woo. "Enlightenment" is woo.

How so? Enlightenment is essentially brain training. It's purely psychological. Many who do not understand psychology treat it as 'spiritual', which is where you'll find 'woo'.

Quote from: Lucifer
I wish to focus on this quote for a sec. These are not the words of a moral relativist. Why would a moral objectivist[1] create a philosophy/religion based on moral subjectivity?

Discover there are virtuous things and unvirtuous things. Does he say what you'll find? Is he instructing you on what's right & wrong? Does he say you HAVE to obey the principles of morality he's layed out? I think you'll find not. You'll find that the precepts are not absolutes. If morality is subjective, then all they'll find is their own subjective morality. As for going for the 'good' and the 'bad', it's common sense. If you think "killing is wrong" then it'll be counter intuitive to go against that belief.

Read the other quotes too.

Quote from: Teh Buddha
Don't blindly believe what I say. Don't believe me because others convince you of my words. Don't believe anything you see, read, or hear from others, whether of authority, religious teachers or texts. Don't rely on logic alone, nor speculation. Don't infer or be deceived by appearances.

Quote from: Teh Buddha
Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

This is a complete contrast to Abrahamic religion:

Quote from: Jeebus
"Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God."


These are two opposing attitudes. On one hand: Abrahamic religion offers laws. Instructions you MUST obey or you'll perish. Buddhism offers teachings and guidelines, you learn them, judge for yourself and decide for yourself. It's a lot closer to philosophy than religion. It's no more dogmatic than Aristotle's Virtue Ethics or his other philosophies. But it seems you're trying to apply the Abrahamic model of religion to Buddhism. But it simply doesn't work because the content is different. You've yourself have suggested that it's the same as humanism (once you get rid of the woo), to be honest,  I think it's a better way of treating it - humanism with woo, but within it is subtle differences and some things humanism does not posess (like enlightenment).

Quote from: Flapdoodle
What is the theological for philosophic basis for the Dali Lama's homophobia?

Monks don't engage in sexual relations. But I suspect the Dalai Lama's view is that 'sex for pleasure' is materialistic and he doesn't really like the idea of being materialistic. So it'd be a case of him being against any sex that's not for procreation, but he did say this:

Quote from: The Lama of Dadaism
"If someone comes to me and asks whether homosexuality is okay or not, I will ask 'What is your companion's opinion?' If you both agree, then I think I would say 'if two males or two females voluntarily agree to have mutual satisfaction without further implication of harming others, then it is okay'"

But the Dalai Lama it seems doesn't practice what he preaches. There are a few things that are a bit shady about him. Hence I referred to him as a hypocrite earlier.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #55 on: May 15, 2012, 03:20:39 PM »
I dismissed it because we're discussing Buddhism without the woo. Taking away the supernaturalist BS and focusing on the philosophy behind it.
Your argument is too general to be very useful.  It would be about like me saying that Star Wars and Star Trek were pretty much the same because they were both dramas set on spaceships and other worlds which involved the interactions between humans and aliens.  Certainly, that's all true, but it disregards too many of the details to be convincing, especially if I were talking to someone who knew anything about them.

Quote from: One Above All
Yup. You're wrong there. I have done research on Buddhism. I was fascinated by what it calls Nirvana and how to achieve it, but I soon realized that its methods were highly flawed.
Right, and I don't deny that there are supernatural elements to most forms of Buddhism.  I just don't agree that you can boil all of the non-supernatural elements down to a part of secular humanism, at least not without convincing examples to show that this is the case.

Quote from: One Above All
I cannot provide evidence that Buddhism without the woo isn't different from secular humanism. You can't prove a negative, remember?
That's not what I suggested you do in any case.  Let me reiterate here - if you want to convince me that philosophical buddhism is basically secular humanism, you need to be able to cite non-woo examples from Buddhism and show that they're incorporated into secular humanism.  Not just say, "if you take out the woo from Buddhism, you get (part of) secular humanism".

Quote from: One Above All
My apologies. I tried to write what you said I should've done - that I agreed that poetry was not woo for the sake of argument - but it came out wrong.
Fair enough.
Worldviews:  Everyone has one, everyone believes them to be an accurate view of the world, and everyone ends up at least partially wrong.  However, some worldviews are stronger and well-supported, while others are so bizarre that they make no sense to anyone else.

Offline joebbowers

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #56 on: May 15, 2012, 08:49:43 PM »
I've spent a lot of time in Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, where the vast majority are Buddhist. This is real Buddhism in practice, not the incense-burning soccer-mom yoga-and-pilates Western Buddhism.

They spend huge amounts of their tax monies to build and maintain temples, but they don't bother with hospitals, schools, power and water facilities, airports, etc. Laos was given a donation of concrete from the US specifically to build a larger runway for their tiny national airport. Instead they used it to build yet another temple. In the capital city Vientiane, there are at least a dozen large temples, and always more under construction at any time, yet the entire country does not have one single modern hospital, and the power is constantly going out everywhere.

Without a proper airport or stable power grid, they can't hope to build a strong economy, and most of their people live in complete poverty.

In this respect Buddhism shares one of the harms of other religions in that it encourages it's believers to waste resources praying for prosperity instead of using those resources to build the infrastructure that would ensure their prosperity.

They have hundreds of thousands of monks who are simply leeches living off donations from the locals. Unlike churches in western societies, Buddhist temples provide no services or classes. They don't feed or shelter the homeless, they don't offer reading classes or have bake sales to provide scholarships to local school kids. Most monks are high school dropouts who were too lazy or stupid to graduate, and then too lazy or stupid to get a real job.

The monks will tell your fortune, for a donation of course.

They still occasionally practice human sacrifice. Western Buddhists will say this is not a tenet of Buddhism but that's really just a No True Scotsman fallacy.

And just for fun, here's a photo of a Lao model in a skimpy outfit shot in a Buddhist statue park. They got pretty pissed that I would dare to take photos like this in their holy place. They made me delete them from my camera. Of course, when I got home I just undeleted them.

« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 09:02:48 PM by joebbowers »
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Offline flapdoodle64

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Re: Buddhism
« Reply #57 on: May 16, 2012, 10:54:51 AM »
And just for fun, here's a photo of a Lao model in a skimpy outfit shot in a Buddhist statue park. They got pretty pissed that I would dare to take photos like this in their holy place. They made me delete them from my camera. Of course, when I got home I just undeleted them.



Thanks for your anecdotes.  It's somehow comforting to know that the human tendency toward religious silliness is universal. 

But I still have some questions.  I think more cheesecake photos would help with our understanding.