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Thread: Is Buddhism a religion?

  1. #1

    Is Buddhism a religion?

    Hello Sangha... What do you think? If yes, what makes it so? How do you define "religion"? Are some Buddhist traditions more "religions" than others? What makes it so?

    Another question: I have prayer flags hanging over my front door, and someone asked me "what is this?" and I answered "Prayer flags"...
    Then she asked "if you don't believe in God, who do you pray to?" Help me with this... what would you answer to a conservative Christian, with approx. 10th grade education... (my understanding would not make any sense to her).

    Curious of your responses
    with Gassho
    G.

  2. #2

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gautami
    Another question: I have prayer flags hanging over my front door, and someone asked me "what is this?" and I answered "Prayer flags"...
    Then she asked "if you don't believe in God, who do you pray to?" Help me with this... what would you answer to a conservative Christian, with approx. 10th grade education... (my understanding would not make any sense to her).
    I would answer with my reason for puttin' it up. Curious, what's your reason?

  3. #3

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    The word Religion, at its roots comes from two latin words meaning to bind again, or to bind tightly.

    So, I would say simply;if your bound to it, it is a religion.

    As for prayer, why do I have to pray to something/someone? I pray to reaffirm my own intention.

    Gassho,
    Jordan

  4. #4

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan
    The word Religion, at its roots comes from two latin words meaning to bind again, or to bind tightly.
    FWIW...this is the Merriam-Webster abridged defition:

    Etymology:
    Middle English religioun, from Anglo-French religiun, Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back — more at rely
    Date:
    13th century

    1 a: the state of a religious b (1): the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2): commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance2: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices3archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness4: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
    — re·li·gion·less adjective

  5. #5

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Webster is wrong on this one.

    The root of the word "religion" is usually traced to the Latin religare (re: back, and ligare: to bind), so that the term is associated with "being bound." The idea may reflect a concept prominent in biblical literature. Israel was said to be in a "covenant" (berith) relationship with its God (Yahweh). In a sense, the nation was "covenanted" or "bonded" to the deity. But what does being bound or bonded mean? Is a slave who is bound or bonded to his or her master in a "religious" relationship? Is a business agreement which binds partners in a legal covenant a form of "religious" binding? At one time in human history, such "bindings" may have had religious sanction, but today, in America, slavery is outlawed and business contracts are made in legal settings. This particular notion of religion as "binding" doesn't really fit and therefore this interpretation of the root meaning of the term proves not to be particularly helpful.

    On the other hand, one might argue that the religious person is one "bound" by choice or by commitment to the tenets of a particular faith system. Once again, the parameters of this definition can be broadened to include any commitment to a particular way of life. Such an expansion would embrace concepts like "philosophy" or "psychology" or even any chosen way of living. One's religion then becomes "how one lives one's life" or "how one lives in the light of a particular commitment" or, in popular vernacular, one's "life style." Obviously, while the term "commitment" may provide some insight into the concept of "being bound," it is far too inclusive to be acceptable.

    http://www.teachingaboutreligion.org/Wh ... ligion.htm

  6. #6

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Another interesting one

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Discuss:Wh..._word_Religion

    Gassho,
    Jordan

  7. #7

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    More fun

    The word religion is derived from Latin "religio" (what attaches or retains, moral bond, anxiety of self-consciousness, scruple) used by the Romans, before Jesus Christ, to indicate the worship of the demons.
    The origin of "religio" is debated since antiquity. Cicero said it comes from "relegere" (to read again, to re-examine carefully, to gather) in the meaning "to carefully consider the things related to the worship of gods".
    Later, Lucretius, Lactancius and Tertullianus see its origin in "religare" (to connect) to refer "the bond of piety that binds to God".
    Initially used for Christianity, the use of the word religion gradually extended to all the forms of social demonstration in connection with sacred

    http://atheisme.free.fr/Religion/Wha...eligion-1.htm.

  8. #8

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    I like this one:

    The first set of words are related to the word that is the basis of the word “religion”. This word is
    the Latin word “religare”, which means to tie up, to unite, to bind together. The second set of
    words are related to the word that is the basis of the antonym of the word “religion”. This word is
    the Latin word “scindere”, which means to cut, to split, to tear apart, to divide, to separate.


    http://hmct.dk/religion-antonym.pdf

    :wink:

  9. #9

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan
    Webster is wrong on this one.
    :shock: Whhhhat!

    Not Merriam!
    Not Webster!

    :mrgreen:


    FWIW, I do think Buddhism is a religion. But. That in itself does not tell us much beyond trying to putting a label on a label.

  10. #10

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?


  11. #11

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan
    Webster is wrong on this one.
    :shock: Whhhhat!

    Not Merriam!
    Not Webster!

    :mrgreen:


    FWIW, I do think Buddhism is a religion. But. That in itself does not tell us much beyond trying to putting a label on a label.

    Sorry I got a little carried away, :wink: I actually think that weather or not it is a religion in the eye of the individual.

    For me it is a religion and not a religion. Go figure :?:

    Gassho,
    Jordan

  12. #12

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan

    Sorry I got a little carried away, :wink: I actually think that weather or not it is a religion in the eye of the individual.

    For me it is a religion and not a religion. Go figure :?:

    Gassho,
    Jordan

    On the contrary, the links you gave us were pretty good in giving a perspective in how defining "religion" can get dicey.

    I have met some folks, though, that came from a very fundamentalist Xtian background and now are exploring Buddhism. From my experience, they are a bit hesitant from calling it a religion. I think it makes them feel like they have fallen from the wagon. :wink:

  13. #13

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    chicanobudista... hi...

    [/quote]
    I would answer with my reason for puttin' it up. Curious, what's your reason?[/quote]

    My reason for puting up prayer flags is the same as having Buddha's picture and a statue in the house. It reminds me about the path and practice, it gives me comfort of being grounded in the Buddha's teaching. It brings a sense and feeling of peace and beauty.

    Her question was "Who do you pray to if you don't believe in God (and these are 'prayer flags' " ... it stopped me in my tracks for a minute...

    My answer, actually, was "I don't pray to somebody for something. I pray by turning my thoughts to the source of guidance and comfort, which is, to me, Buddha's teaching"

    Thanks with Gassho
    G.

  14. #14

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Hello Jordan...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan
    As for prayer, why do I have to pray to something/someone? I pray to reaffirm my own intention.
    Gassho,
    Jordan
    Actually she was responding to the popular name of Tibetan "Prayer Flags"... a pieces of cloth with printed Tibetan "prayers", to be strung outdoors, usually between stupas, privately in gardens and between trees. They are beautiful and a complement to Tibethan "Prayer wheels"... Yes, Tibethan Buddhism use prayers, although I can not relate to the practice. To me they are more one of the symbols of generally Buddhist traditions I love.

  15. #15

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gautami
    Hello Jordan...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan
    As for prayer, why do I have to pray to something/someone? I pray to reaffirm my own intention.
    Gassho,
    Jordan
    Actually she was responding to the popular name of Tibetan "Prayer Flags"... a pieces of cloth with printed Tibetan "prayers", to be strung outdoors, usually between stupas, privately in gardens and between trees. They are beautiful and a complement to Tibethan "Prayer wheels"... Yes, Tibethan Buddhism use prayers, although I can not relate to the practice. To me they are more one of the symbols of generally Buddhist traditions I love.
    I like the flags too, I think to me they represent an intention too :wink:

    Gassho,
    Jordan

  16. #16

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Hmmm... That is truly an interesting question.

    The answer (as I would think of it), has been posted earlier. Even so, I'd like to make my voice heard.

    It depends on what you think of it. To me, the word "religion" has the same connotation as "faith". Whatever the definition (and those were some very interesting links), if an ideology is based on faith (rather than observation) then it is a religion. If I use that as my marker, then buddhism isn't a religion... At least to me. It focuses on observing the world and yourself (and the lack of boundary between one and the other), rather than believing in a supernatural force.

    Thinking of it in another way, if you are faced with the death of a loved one, buddhism would invite you to realize that death is something that simply must happen as a natural part of life. In addition, the teachings would suggest that by "wishing" the person back instead of letting them go, you would be causing yourself more sorrow.

    Alternately, Christianity (at least in my experience) would tell you that "they are in a better place now", something which you would simply have to take on faith. Usually, the person involved would also say "it's part of god's plan", again requiring faith in the existence of said god. Now, I am willing to admit that both of these can bring comfort to one who believes. But if you do not, they sound hollow indeed. Most other religions would have similar reactions to the situation (again, in my limited experience).

    As for the comment on prayers, I have a story which I rather enjoyed at the time. (Plus I like to tell it.)

    My mother (a very devout christian) once asked me "So, you're not christian?"
    I responded "No. I am a buddhist."
    She was somewhat taken aback and said "So, who do you pray to?"
    I was honestly confused for a moment, then replied "You are making a basic assumption which is incorrect."
    Mom: "What's that?"
    Me: "You are assuming that I pray. I don't."
    Mom: "So what are you doing while you're meditating?"
    Me: "Ummm... Meditating."

    She seemed to think I was being a smartass, and it took some explaining to convince her that it was an honest answer.

    In any case, I'll end the wall of text now.

    Gassho

    -Kanno

  17. #17

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Hello Gautami!

    IMHO Buddhism is definitely a religion. If one subtracts the idealized and highly intellectualized mainly western ideas about what Buddhism as a whole is or should be (meaning the last 100 years basically), and if one then turns to the hundreds of millions of practitioners with hundreds of years of continuous tradition who still represent the majority of Buddhists by far, one will find in daily life all the mindsets, rituals, regalia, superstitions etc. to rival any catholic convention.


    Gassho, Hans


    P.S. Haven't read Mr. Heine's latest essay collection yet, but "Zen Ritual" is supposed to present a certain side of Zen buddhist reality in Japan which couldn't be further from our lovely idealistic notions of "just my zafu and the universe".

  18. #18

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Is Buddhism a religion?
    Is Pluto a planet?
    Is a Toyota RAV4 an offroad vehicle?
    Is Europe really a continent?

    Who cares – really?
    When someone says Buddhism is a religion, I reply: No, it isn’t. When somone says no, I insist it is. Beyond that I never bothered.

    Regards,
    Mensch

  19. #19
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    I think of Buddhism as a religion because it has a set of practices that go with the philosophy. There are central tenets and a basic path of practice.

    Oddly, by this definition, Protestant Christianity is more of a philosophy than a religion - as it has more to do with asserting belief in certain tenets than in any certain practice whereby one can know God.

  20. #20

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    I think of Buddhism as a religion because it has a set of practices that go with the philosophy. There are central tenets and a basic path of practice.
    That's why I use to say that economy, science and maybe even sex are basically religions.

  21. #21

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Hello...I'm new here, just wanted to dip my feet in the water so to speak...

    I think "philosophical Buddhism" is valid -- who am I to say that it isn't? -- but certain problems arise. For example, sooner or later you run into "devotional Buddhism", which, as Hans mentioned, actually accounts for the vast majority of Buddhist practice. Moreover, when you begin looking at the sutras, you find that they contain supernatural language and concepts. The effort to strip them away can become tiring and unproductive, plus it limits the possibilities for interaction. It may be a happier approach simply to acknowledge Buddhism as a religion, albeit one whose core teachings correlate unusually well with a rational understanding of the cosmos.

    On another note, it seems to me that the distinction between philosophy and religion is not clear-cut in some parts of the world where Buddhism is practiced -- in China, for example. Confucianism would strike most Westerners as a philosophy, but there are Confucian temples. There is folk Taoism and philosophical Taoism. Likewise people seem to freely move between "intellectual" and "devotional" Buddhism. Maybe it is a more holistic outlook...

    Best regards, Rob

  22. #22

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    My wife says she doesn't care how people look at it so long as I personally don't take it on as a "religion", the "philosophy" is fine. She's struggling with my departure from traditional Christianity and moving towards a more serious, devout Buddhist practice.

  23. #23

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Please see what I wrote in the "Ignorance is Bliss" thread ... two birds with one stone ...

    viewtopic.php?p=14521#p14521

  24. #24

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Hello ScottyDoo... I have always been fascinated by the impression that so many Buddhists, (majority of?) Buddhist scholars and a majority of Buddhist traditions treat and refer to Buddhism as a religion. There are many implications in refering to the tradition as 'religion' (regardless of the meaning of the word) - see your wife's comment "...so long as I personally don't take it on as a "religion", the "philosophy" is fine." I have been reading every one's responses with interest... thank you. Posted the question while being curious what you all think about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottyDoo
    My wife says she doesn't care how people look at it so long as I personally don't take it on as a "religion", the "philosophy" is fine. She's struggling with my departure from traditional Christianity and moving towards a more serious, devout Buddhist practice.
    I, personally, am not devotionally inclined therefore more attracted to the philosophical aspect of Buddhism. Because of my personal preferences, and for the sake of principle (of respecting all preferences), I reacted to your (or your wife's) statement "...moving towards a more serious, devout Buddhist practice".

    Using Yoga as an example, there are devotional, philosophical, as well as integrative (Raja Yoga) traditions, yet I have not heard any reference to which one is more serious. Also, for the sake of curiosity, what is making Christianity (clearly and strongly devotional) less serious than devotional Buddhism?

    Also, if I understand you correctly, what about 'devout Buddhist practice' makes it more serious than philosophical?

    I feel I have missunderstood your statement...
    Thanks for your thoughts ScottyDoo
    G.

  25. #25

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gautami
    I, personally, am not devotionally inclined therefore more attracted to the philosophical aspect of Buddhism. Because of my personal preferences, and for the sake of principle (of respecting all preferences), I reacted to your (or your wife's) statement "...moving towards a more serious, devout Buddhist practice".

    Using Yoga as an example, there are devotional, philosophical, as well as integrative (Raja Yoga) traditions, yet I have not heard any reference to which one is more serious. Also, for the sake of curiosity, what is making Christianity (clearly and strongly devotional) less serious than devotional Buddhism?

    Also, if I understand you correctly, what about 'devout Buddhist practice' makes it more serious than philosophical?

    I feel I have missunderstood your statement...
    Thanks for your thoughts ScottyDoo
    G.
    I may not have used the term 'devout' properly. I see in the dictionary there are a few different meanings. Traditionally I guess it is used in reference to religion, or similar, whereas I meant in this sense, as outlined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

    devoted to a pursuit, belief, or mode of behavior
    When I say my 'devout Buddhist practice', what I'm truly saying is that I'm serious and dedicated to learning and understanding and to take on the precepts and philosophies as a way of life. It is much more than just a current interest or fad for me. So I don't see it personally for myself as a religion by my definition, but I could see how it could be taken that way.

    As an example, some people choose to be Vegetarians/Vegans. Many are hardcore, serious believers in the philosophies/reasons to follow that path.

    Is it a religion? No
    Is it a lifestyle? Yes.

    That's kind of how I see Buddhism...it's a lifestyle of sorts, though a little more perhaps.

  26. #26

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    ScottyDoo... thank you for clarifying for me...

    Your writing reminds me someone's, someplace, statement: "They don't like me being a Buddhist, but they love me when I am a Buddha." Meaning we have often problems with people (or they have with us ) when we say "I am a Buddhist", but they love us when we actually behave like one... :wink:

    with metta
    G.

  27. #27

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gautami
    ScottyDoo... thank you for clarifying for me...

    Your writing reminds me someone's, someplace, statement: "They don't like me being a Buddhist, but they love me when I am a Buddha." Meaning we have often problems with people (or they have with us ) when we say "I am a Buddhist", but they love us when we actually behave like one... :wink:

    with metta
    G.
    I did a "sit-a-long" talk on this subject during the Christmas season ... very common issue for that season (and cooling to listen to in the heat of August) ...

    http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2007/12 ... ng-to.html

  28. #28

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Mensch said

    Is Buddhism a religion?
    Is Pluto a planet?
    Is a Toyota RAV4 an offroad vehicle?
    Is Europe really a continent?

    Who cares – really?
    When someone says Buddhism is a religion, I reply: No, it isn’t. When somone says no, I insist it is. Beyond that I never bothered.
    Danke

    On the other hand, if we insist on confronting concepts and verbal conventions, I'll paraphrase Nishijima Roshi in that religion is the set of beliefs on which your actions are based. Thus, atheism is a religion and you act based on the belief that there ain't no stinkin' gawd; shunning religion altogether is a religion in which you act believing that religion is irrelevant, etc. Acts, and not wooden icons or speeches, tell us what your religion is.

    This is a derivative of a cliche: buddhism is not a religion, but as many religions as there are people following buddhist teachings.

    America is the only real continent, by the way.

  29. #29
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alberto
    Mensch said

    Is Buddhism a religion?
    Is Pluto a planet?
    Is a Toyota RAV4 an offroad vehicle?
    Is Europe really a continent?

    Who cares – really?
    When someone says Buddhism is a religion, I reply: No, it isn’t. When somone says no, I insist it is. Beyond that I never bothered.
    Danke

    On the other hand, if we insist on confronting concepts and verbal conventions, I'll paraphrase Nishijima Roshi in that religion is the set of beliefs on which your actions are based. Thus, atheism is a religion and you act based on the belief that there ain't no stinkin' gawd; shunning religion altogether is a religion in which you act believing that religion is irrelevant, etc.
    This reminds me of a Steve Hagen talk where he says that arguments between Atheists and Christians are arguments between to believers, not arguments between believers and non-believers.

  30. #30

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Buddhism is certainly a religion. When you have a system of monks and nuns, prayers, idols, chants, scriptures, etc, I think it's pretty safe to say that you have a religion on your hands. And the thing is that popular Buddhism in Asia is overwhelmingly religious in a way that I think few Western Buddhists are aware of. Buddhists where I live don't meditate, don't debate koans, none of that, unless they're monks (who here are celibate, vegetarian monastics 24/7). Lay Buddhists go to the temple and pray to the appropriate deity that their kid does well on the college entrance exam, they get that promotion at work, or they have a son instead of a daughter. Occasionally they'll burn some fake money for a dead relative. And this is more or less what Buddhism is in every part of Asia. The gods aren't metaphors, they are real, existing beings, and you want to get on their good side. The rituals aren't to affirm intention, they're to tangibly affect reality. There's no "real" Buddhism that accords with Western principles of the Enlightenment, as a lot of Western seekers imagine; from the earliest records we have in the Pali canon, we have Buddha doing magic tricks, traveling to other realms, performing miracles, etc. And from the earliest Mahayana scriptures we have loads of supernatural nonsense. I think there's a certain amount of arrogance in the "Buddhism is a philosophy, not a religion" shtick, kind of a Victorian attitude like those benighted brown people don't get their own religion, but we understand the full import of it.

  31. #31

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Hi Mountaintop,

    Good to hear from you.

    Your post is a very accurate description of my experience of how Buddhism is practiced in most of Asia. As well, Buddhism has certainly changed in many ways as it has come into Western cultures, just as it changed in important ways over the centuries ...

    I mean, it is different ... but the same. Let me explain. Here is what I usually post on this topic.

    But one thing for folks to remember is that Buddhism did change and evolve over many centuries, as it passed from culture to culture in Asia. The Buddha lived 2500 years ago in ancient India, whereupon the philosophy passed to China 1000 years later, and then to someone like Master Dogen who lived about 1000 years after that in medieval Japan. You and I live in the strange world known as the 21st century. Certainly, some changes arose along the way in some important interpretations and outer forms. For example, the Chinese made Zen Practice very Chinese, the Japanese very medieval Japanese, and now we are making it very Western.

    However, the Heart of the Buddha's teachings ... the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, Non-Self, Non-Attachment, the Middle Way, etc. etc., ... All are here now as much as there then!!

    How?

    On the one hand some outer stuff is, well, changed. For example, when Buddhism came to China it was heavily influenced by, and pretty much merged with, Taoism (not to mention that it was already "Mahayana Buddhism" by that time, a very different flavor from the original). The result was this little thing we now call "Zen Buddhism". So, congratulations, we are already "Taoists" and "Mahayana Buddhists" ... not just "Buddhists". When it got to Japan, the Japanese added Japanese culture to it. In the West, we are now making some very good changes (although we have to, of course, try to avoid bad changes). These good changes include equality of the sexes and a greater emphasis on lay practice.

    But it is still Buddhism. What Dogen taught was Buddhism. What we do around Treeleaf (I do believe) is as Buddhism as Buddhism can be.

    I will even go so far as to say (and this is the kind of statement that has gotten me into all kinds of trouble on with some folks in Buddhism's own fundamentalist quarters) that maybe, just maybe, later Buddhism actually made some big and important "improvements" to the Buddha's original formulation with all those additions, and a couple of thousand years of working out the kinks and bugs. It is much like saying that Buddha was Henry Ford, who first thought up the brilliant idea of sticking 4 wheels on an internal combustion engine, but now we can drive a Prius! I even say that maybe, just maybe, the Buddha was not infallible on every darn thing. Not on the vital heart of the teachings, mind you. But while he was 90% right in his proposals, he maybe also had some klunkers and narrow ideas here and there (as fits a man who lived in a traditional, myth based society some 2500 years ago in ancient India) ... like the whole thing about an overly mechanical view of rebirth, the place of women, the need to abandon the world and family in order to Practice and to repress or extinquish (as opposed to moderate & balance & pierce) the desires and emotions. ...

    Dogen was different from Shakyamuni Buddha, who are both different from all of us.

    But when we are sitting a moment of Zazen ... perfectly whole, just complete unto itself, without borders and duration, not long or short, nothing to add or take away, containing all moments and no moments in "this one moment" ... piercing Dukkha, attaining non-self, non-attached ... then there is not the slightest gap between each of us and the Buddha.

    Gassho, Jundo
    I would add that, in the West for lay people who are not of Asian heritage and did not come to Buddhism as their "family religion", it is not about the things that you describe in your post, Mountain .... the worship, intervention with spirits, hoping for good luck, praying for a dead ancestor, etc.

    It is about Practice, at least for the meditation schools. That is a good thing, a good development. I believe.

    Gassho, Jundo

  32. #32
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    From a little reading of blogs here and there, this seems to be a debate ( probably an argument somewhere or many somewheres) that has come up recently.

    My view is..does it matter what we label it? Who are we labelling it for? To understand it is to practice it. Logic and intellectualizing only go so far.So why worry about whether it is or isn't? For me the practice is what it is.

    As far as deities and what not. I have the view that even if they exist...what ARE they? What Is their place? And then ...does it matter? In sitting zazen I believe I please them all..if they exist.

    When it comes to anything "supernatural" I niether dismiss nor accept. We don't know that great mystical powers don't exist. We don't know that they do. I feel I have experienced things "supernatural"..to me they are just natural.. nothing super..just are what they are. But at the same time I could have been completely delusional in those moments, and thinking myself the careful skeptic when in the end it was just some normal science based everyday occurrence with no mysticism whatsoever.

    If we close ourselves to them, we won't experience them. Even if they are right in our faces..we'll miss them because we dismissed them as something else.But if we're all superstitious than a "normal" everyday happening becomes some great mysterious thing because we just can't accept that it wasn't some rare occurrence.

    Dave _/_

    Dave _/_

  33. #33

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZenDave
    From a little reading of blogs here and there, this seems to be a debate ( probably an argument somewhere or many somewheres) that has come up recently.

    My view is..does it matter what we label it? Who are we labelling it for? To understand it is to practice it. Logic and intellectualizing only go so far.So why worry about whether it is or isn't? For me the practice is what it is.

    As far as deities and what not. I have the view that even if they exist...what ARE they? What Is their place? And then ...does it matter? In sitting zazen I believe I please them all..if they exist.

    When it comes to anything "supernatural" I niether dismiss nor accept. We don't know that great mystical powers don't exist. We don't know that they do. I feel I have experienced things "supernatural"..to me they are just natural.. nothing super..just are what they are. But at the same time I could have been completely delusional in those moments, and thinking myself the careful skeptic when in the end it was just some normal science based everyday occurrence with no mysticism whatsoever.

    If we close ourselves to them, we won't experience them. Even if they are right in our faces..we'll miss them because we dismissed them as something else.But if we're all superstitious than a "normal" everyday happening becomes some great mysterious thing because we just can't accept that it wasn't some rare occurrence.

    Dave _/_

    Dave _/_
    Hi Dave,

    Just today, on another thread, I posted a couple of things on this topic that I write from time to time. Please have a look ...

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/treeleafzen/2 ... gness.html

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/treeleafzen/2 ... nking.html

    I am sure others will have much to add here too.

    Gassho, Jundo

  34. #34

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gautami
    Hello Sangha... What do you think? If yes, what makes it so? How do you define "religion"? Are some Buddhist traditions more "religions" than others? What makes it so?

    Another question: I have prayer flags hanging over my front door, and someone asked me "what is this?" and I answered "Prayer flags"...
    Then she asked "if you don't believe in God, who do you pray to?" Help me with this... what would you answer to a conservative Christian, with approx. 10th grade education... (my understanding would not make any sense to her).

    Curious of your responses
    with Gassho
    G.
    "if you don't believe in God, who do you pray to?"

    some of my friend also ask me that question, and I just said," who said that I don't believe in God, only our way to understand God is different."

    You understand God as some one that you can ask for something, about new car or new house.

    I understand God as something perfect, which inside it there is no good or bad, high and low, which never born and died, no appear or disappear, is the perfect one. This is God. This is the reality. This is the Way.

    And God cannot be separated from us. We are inside God, and God inside us. It's beyond analytical thinking.

    So, if some said I don't believe in God, he is wrong. I believe in It, and I live with It.

    You think God as something separated to you, that's why you feel lack something in your life, and that's why you need to pray and ask.

    I understand God as something that cannot be separated for us. That's why, we never lack of something, and no need to ask more.

    Gassho, Mujo

  35. #35

    Re: Is Buddhism a religion?

    Indisputably, Buddhism is a religion.

    I, however, am not.



    Edited to add a comma.

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