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Thread: Buddhism is not a Philosophy or Doctrine

  1. #1
    mohamed zen
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    Buddhism is not a Philosophy or Doctrine

    The following conversation was between the ascetic Dighanaka and Gautama the Buddha from the book Old Path White Clouds by Thich Nhat Hanh :

    Dighanakha asked the Buddha, "Gautama, what is your teaching? What are your doctrines? For my part, I dislike all doctrines and theories. I don't subscribe to any at all."

    The Buddha smiled and asked, "Do you subscribe to your doctrine of not following any doctrines? Do you believe in your doctrine of not-believing?"

    Somewhat taken aback, Dighanakha replied, "Gautama whether I believe or don't believe is no importance."

    The Buddha spoke gently, "Once a person is caught by belief in a doctrine, he loses all his freedom. When one becomes dogmatic, he believes his doctrine is the only truth and that all other doctrines are heresy. Disputes and conflicts all arise from narrow views. They can extend endlessly, wasting precious time and sometimes even leading to war. Attachment to views is the greatest impediment to the spiritual path. Bound to narrow views, one becomes so entangled that it is no longer possible to let the door of truth open."


    Dighanakha asked, "But what of your own teaching? If someone follows your teaching will he become caught in narrow views?"

    "My teaching is not a doctrine or a philosophy. It is not the result of discursive thought or mental conjecture like various philosophies which contend that the fundamental essence of the universe is fire, water, earth, wind, or spirit, or that the universe is either finite or infinite, temporal, or eternal. Mental conjecture and discursive thought about truth are like ants crawling around the rim of the bowl -- they never get anywhere. The things I say come from my own experience. You can confirm them all by your own experience.


    My goal is not to explain the universe, but to help guide others to have a direct experience of reality. Words cannot describe reality. Only direct experience enables us to see the true face of reality."

    Dighanakha exclaimed, "Wonderful, wonderful Gautama! But what would happen if a person did perceive your teaching as a dogma?"


    I must state clearly that my teaching is method to experience reality and not reality itself, just as a finger pointing at the moon is not the moon itself. An intelligent person makes use of the finger to see the moon."


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  2. #2
    Thank you for posting this. I enjoy reading these.

    Gassho.

  3. #3
    mohamed zen
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6yx View Post
    Thank you for posting this. I enjoy reading these.

    Gassho.
    You are very welcome

    Gassho

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Troy's Avatar
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    Buddhism is not a Philosophy or Doctrine

    I love this quote. I was trying to explain this to my mom the other day. It was a conversation long over due. I could not explain it as well as it is done by Buddha. She is a fundamental Christian and really does not understand why I am practicing Buddhism. It was an awkward conversation and I think I got caught up in my personal dogma.

    In her mind I am wrong and I don't know if there is any changing that. She tried to get me to read a book that she says was written by "someone who use to be a Hindu or Buddhist or something". He became a Christian and his book talked about how Hindu and Buddhist worship a false God. My dad sent her a text saying he was awaken in the middle of the night and was told by God I was going to hell unless I change my ways.

    I tried telling her Buddhism is not about what God is and isn't. That I believe in the same God as her. I believe that Jesus taught us how to experience God. I told her I have a hard time accepting the Christian doctrine of hell and that Jesus is God (that was hard for her to hear and for me to say). I told her once I had a mystical experience and she told me that was a demon talking to me. Ugh, I could go on and on.

    I do respect her views and am glad she has an outlet to experience God and his peace. I respect everyone and every religion's views about God. I respect the views of those that do not to believe in God. We know what we know and not knowing it all is OK. We all have our personal beliefs and that is OK too. There is a peace in accepting that. As I experience life, my understanding deepens and beliefs change and grow. We all have our personal dogmas about what God is and isn't. But again that is not what Buddhism is about. There is a peace in not getting overly caught up in our dogma's and learning to just experience life.

    Sorry for the rant. This is a source of frustration for me which I am still learning how to deal with.
    Last edited by Troy; 03-26-2014 at 06:24 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Hi Troy

    Many of us here are dealing with similar family or societal issues long these lines. We, and certainly I , understand your frustration.

    You might want to read this thread here:

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...fundamentalist

    Definitely a source for continual practice

    Gassho
    C

  7. #7
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    I am grateful that I have not been met with outright fire and brimstone, but I have been lent a book by neighbor who is a Jehovah's witness, after a casual conversation about what Buddhists "believe".
    迎 Geika

  8. #8
    Thank you Mohamed. Fantastic teaching.

    Gassho, Jishin

  9. #9
    mohamed zen
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Thank you Mohamed. Fantastic teaching.

    Gassho, Jishin
    You are welcome Jishin

    Gassho

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  10. #10
    Senior Member Troy's Avatar
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    Buddhism is not a Philosophy or Doctrine

    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    Hi Troy

    Many of us here are dealing with similar family or societal issues long these lines. We, and certainly I , understand your frustration.

    You might want to read this thread here:

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...fundamentalist

    Definitely a source for continual practice

    Gassho
    C
    Thanks Clark. What a great thread. I enjoyed everyone's comments. The quote Andy added summed it up well. "When I am a Buddhist, it upsets everyone, but when I am Buddha it is fine" I think my mom worries because within her belief system I am not going to share eternity with her in heaven because of my beliefs and she loves me so much that it makes her sad. I am blessed to have my mother's love and that is enough.

    Deepest bows, Troy
    Last edited by Troy; 03-27-2014 at 01:55 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Troy's Avatar
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    Buddhism is not a Philosophy or Doctrine

    I was also thinking the conversation between my mom and me was difficult for me because I still have one foot in my Christian roots and I have not really been able to figure that out. It has been a struggle for me that leaves me both scared and and sad at times. It is hard to admit that but it is true.

  12. #12
    Hi Troy,

    We have had several threads on being with family and friends who do not understand. Here is my usual advice ...

    This comes up from time to time, how to speak of one's beliefs and practices to family, spouses and friends who may not fully approve. My typical response is the following. But I would go further ... join in all the family holidays, sing the Christmas songs, have the baby Baptised ... just nod and say "maybe so" ... if it makes your poor mom or dad happy. Why not? Buddha is everywhere and, if there is a God, She's everywhere too.

    I often say that we don't prosthelytize and rarely need to try to convince anyone of the worth of these things.

    Rather, just be a good son/daughter/husband/wife/parent/friend ... perhaps let the peace and gentleness show itself in our ordinary behavior and interactions with others as the years pass ... and many folks will slowly come to understand, even if they do not fully understand.
    I would say, in your case, don't even mention your Buddhist Practice to family members if it is making waves. They know, so no need to mention it more. Furthermore, sometime down the road ... maybe after a few years ... you may be surprised about how they finally open up to it when they see what a fine daughter you are. I know so many cases of family members of people, at first very closed to Buddhism, who suddenly surprised everyone by opening up to their child or relative's Buddhism with time. But for now, don't even mention it, let alone try to convince people of something about it.
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...al-of-Buddhism

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post109146

    other threads ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...al-of-Buddhism

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ism-to-my-wife

    A lot of folks face this. I have a couple of cousins who will not speak to me because they do not approve, and a couple of Christian friends dropped the friendship with me.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Hello Troy,

    Having nothing to add let me add a book,"Jesus and Buddha: The Parrallel Sayings" http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/156...?ie=UTF8&psc=1.

    Am reseaching Jesus "Lost Years" when, if it's fruitful, shows the contemporary buddhist training he performed before returning to his home-town. You may want to vet it but it's inexpensive (USD .01) and can be a useful tool.

    Life as it is.


    Gassho,
    Myosha
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to praj˝a from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  14. #14
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosha View Post
    Hello Troy,

    Having nothing to add let me add a book,"Jesus and Buddha: The Parrallel Sayings" http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/156...?ie=UTF8&psc=1.

    Am reseaching Jesus "Lost Years" when, if it's fruitful, shows the contemporary buddhist training he performed before returning to his home-town. You may want to vet it but it's inexpensive (USD .01) and can be a useful tool.

    Life as it is.


    Gassho,
    Myosha
    There are actually many video documentaries online which talk about this subject.

    Gassho
    C

  15. #15
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Hello Clark,

    Apologies. Was referencing useful tools to assist Christians.

    All evidence regarding Jesus' actual travel to India (presuming it's those videos) is anecdotal so the research is using a different tack.


    Gassho,
    Myosha
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to praj˝a from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  16. #16
    Senior Member Troy's Avatar
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    Buddhism is not a Philosophy or Doctrine

    Thanks Clark and Myosha. I have read through the Parallel Sayings, great book. I also have read Thich Nhat Han's Living Buddha, Living Christ. I love Thich Nhat Hahn; he is so awesome. I am currently reading Paul Knitter's Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christain. From a Christian perspective, I believe this book does the best job at tying Christianity and Buddhism together. He is a former priest and now works as Religion Studies Professor. Thich Nhat Hahn's book is written from a Buddhist perspective. They are both equally great books but approach the subject from slightly different angles.

    There are many similarities between Buddha's teachings and Jesus's. They were both great teachers and their teachings seem to spring from the same truth. There are however major theological differences. Probably the biggest is the concept of Jesus as a substitute sacrifice for our sins so we may be sanctified and join with God in heaven for eternity.
    Last edited by Troy; 03-28-2014 at 05:26 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Troy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Troy,

    We have had several threads on being with family and friends who do not understand. Here is my usual advice ...



    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...al-of-Buddhism

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post109146

    other threads ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...al-of-Buddhism

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ism-to-my-wife

    A lot of folks face this. I have a couple of cousins who will not speak to me because they do not approve, and a couple of Christian friends dropped the friendship with me.

    Gassho, J
    Thanks for the links Jundo. I read through them, and as always great advise and words of encouragement from the Sangha. So sorry to hear about your severed relationships.

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