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7 years ago  ::  Jan 02, 2008 - 3:30PM #1
Wendy87
Posts: 2
Hi! I'm new 'round here.You'll see I've been reading about Buddhism for 2 years but I've a bug doubt. I just don't know which school suites me the best. I'll tell what I believe in, and what I'm like and I'd be really gratefull if you could help me:

I am atheist.I just don't believe in any supernatural being.
I'm into a lesbian relationship.
I'm a physicist.
I believe that after out death we rebirth in another person or another living thing, but we don't notice it, that is, we live as a person...then we die..and suddenly we're living as another person ut we don't remember anything.
I think Buddha's saying were really interesting but I don't see him a god, just as a god person.

What school do you thing that suites me the best?

Thank you very much for reading me.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 02, 2008 - 10:57PM #2
ronnewmexico
Posts: 490
HI

I am Tibetan Buddhist and not really qualified to speak of other forms of Buddhism , and I have but a limited laypersons understanding of Tibetan Buddhism, but there are no other replies, so I will venture one.

The biggest hurdle for a westerner to tackle in my estimation is the lack of a creator God and permanent soul, in Tibetan Buddhism. Many integrate this concept regardless, I'd guess just because it is very difficult to seperate oneself from ideas born into.  This is possibly why the Dali Lama says one should stay with the religion of their cultural upbringing generally. But you have already eliminated this concept. So it may be very much easier for you. It is generally easier for one to find compassionate action in the religion of their culture but I can see how that would be very difficult sharing that particular view of no creator God.
   Tibetan Buddhism does have dieties as aspects of awareness and does believe in other realms of existance, which include God realms and ghost realms, animal realms and others, but they are all considered like us, to be finate, changeable and in the end subject to dissolution. So there are such aspects to Tibetan Buddhism but they are as mentioned all like us, not permenant, even Gods and the God realm. Some of them may perhaps feel they will live forever but quite sadly they do not, they age and die like us. All aspects of everything are considered to be composite in origin, even our awareness is only present when conditions(objects) elicits its ariseing. We have a quality of awareness but it is not a object or continually present.  It is functionally always present as we always have objects and past cause and circumstance but under study even that is but a quality and not finally considered present permenently.

What reincarnates.... it seems we develope habitual formations in our consciousness. Despite our consciousnesses being ultimate empty(as described above) it functionally remains continual or as a continum. So it continues. Habitual formation and concept of self until enlightened also continue.

There are always causes to elicit its ariseing(even perhaps past events) .  This habitual formation and concept of self, are aspects of awareness, but our awareness misinterpretates what is, to be other than it is, and predicates the particular reincarnation we create. It creates a self and a environment that reinforces this false sense of seperation. We share our environment with others who share similiar view, or karmic predisposition.           

Gender is basically arbitrary and I see no reason sexual preference should have any impact upon anyone choice of religion unless such religion prohibits such, which Tibetan Buddhism to my knowledge does not. There may be found individuals within the religion that do, but generally my impression is that it is not a general view, gender being arbitrary. As we have no nature inherantly, we have no solid role or part to play. All is changeable due to circumstance so male or female is arbitrary. So sexual preference....how significant can that be?
You will find very many differing opinions on select items that say certain things in Tibetan Buddhism. Be advised that contradictory things may be found quite often in matters such as these. The Buddha stated his things to the audiences they were spoken to and the level of understanding of such. Final understanding are always logically and reasonably able to be deduced. Other statements may not be. A final understanding on gender to my knowledge is that it is not significant, a product of circumstance only and thusly sexual orientation would seem also not significant in any manner.

Generally it seems a personal observation of mine that Tibetan Buddhism is more ceremonial than say Zen or evenTheravadan Buddhism. Zen and Tibetan Buddhism are considered to be Mayahanan Buddhist belief structures. They are found in Mongolia, China, Tibet, Japan. Theravadan is found in Burma, and southeast Asia areas generally.  I'd say Mayahanan tends to be slightly more generally compassionately oriented, Theravadan seems to be slightly more individually compassionately oriented. But that is just a personal observation and I am again, not qualified to discuss Theravadan Buddhism. Zen I'd say seems more modernistic, but that is a personal observation. A more modernistic form of Tibetan Buddhism is found in the Shambala forms, out of Bolder Colorodo, I think.   I am Kagyupa which is pretty traditional, it seems. There are four traditional forms of Buddhism in Tibetan Buddhism. Kagyupa's main thing is probably Mahamudra(watching mind basically) which all forms have but they seem to specialize in this as opposed to Dzogchen and other disciplines. 

So I don't know what suits you, you will have to decide that. This is a little start, but you must read study and visit actual temples.

This all to my very limited understanding and subject matter only discussed purposely very superficailly, and  by one with a very small laypersons  view of things. Others know far far more than I.

Normally I tell people to stay with the religion of their birth. You are atheist, and I can empathize with your plight. It is very sad you cannot. I am also, so I must be Buddhist. Compassionate action made no sense to me in a theistic context. So you perhaps must also become Buddhist. It is very hard, a different culture, many times a different language, but I am now very very happy(and have been for many years), and feel at home finally after very many years of being homeless. A great relief; things make sense. Things (the real things the core teachings of the masters) actually really and truly due make logical rational sense. And I have meditated and found them still true.  And I am slightly more compassionate which means I have reached my major goal for this lifetime.       

This all to my very small limited understanding.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2008 - 8:20AM #3
PatriciaBlue
Posts: 1
Thank you very much, this really helped me, I'll keep on searching for more information. ;)
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2008 - 8:20AM #4
PatriciaBlue
Posts: 1
Thank you very much, this really helped me, I'll keep on searching for more information. ;)
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2008 - 10:23AM #5
trishnajewelry
Posts: 31
Hi Wendy --
Find a book which quickens your mind an dheart and then you will have a place to begin.  I began as a zennie, and then found a beleoved teacher (passed) who was Tibetan (I was called by his students who were all vegetarians to cook his lamb for him.)  If you are an athiest you may enjoy Zen buddhism more, as there is no emphasis on diety practice.  I suggest some books:
Zen Mind Beginners Mind, a good zen starter, no god!
Start Where You Are, by Pema Chodron -- and all books by her.  Though she is Tibetan, she started out as a zennie with the teacher listed above, and she has wonderful tools for life without talking about god . . .
Enjoy, and put no mind before your own . . .
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2008 - 11:48AM #6
ronnewmexico
Posts: 490
Not to detract from the excellence of the preceeding post, but on a minor matter; Tibetan Buddhist do not believe in the existance of a creator God,  a inherantly existant or other powered entity. Generally this is what defines a atheist, a atheist in western culture.  Belief in other realms of existance is seemingly not just common to Tibetan Buddhists but found in some other schools of thought in Buddhism, though certainly not all schools hold this belief.  These realms are however considered as our realm to be non inherantly existant or empty.

It would perhaps be more like a person in western culture who believes in ghosts or the unnatural, and does not necessarily believe in God or Gods. A atheist for example may still be a atheist and may believe in such, though it may not be common.

No soul or creator God exists in Tibetan Buddhism. Nothing in fact of a inherantly existant quality is to be found in any part of our reality.  Not to state this is a superior or desired form of Buddhism for others, as it is only equal to all others. 

But Tibetan Buddhism is not a theistic belief structure by any means. Thusly atheists such as myself, are members.

This all to my limited understanding.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2008 - 12:57PM #7
trishnajewelry
Posts: 31

ronnewmexico wrote:

Tibetan Buddhist do not believe in the existance of a creator God, a inherantly existant or other powered entity. Generally this is what defines a atheist, a atheist in western culture. Belief in other realms of existance is seemingly not just common to Tibetan Buddhists but found in some other schools of thought in Buddhism, though certainly not all schools hold this belief. . . .  But Tibetan Buddhism is not a theistic belief structure by any means. Thusly atheists such as myself, are members.



Also not to detract from ronnewmexico, while creator dieties are not emphasized, there are few practices (not readings) that do not mention a diety in the Tibetan tradition, and even many readings speak of the god/desses at some point.  As someone who frequently sponsors athiests in AA, I have found that any mention of a god or goddess can be problematic (not to target you Wendy -- but this can be true of atheists) -- and yet most practices of Zen do not mention any kind of god/dess, unless a translator defines the living Buddha as god, which is not accurate, usually a translation problem in a live talk.  A statue of the living buddha is "merely" a reminder of what can be achieved by any sentient being. 

Belief in other realms is mainstream Tibetan Buddhism, especially as it is taught in terms of Mahayana or Hinayana -- it is only in Dzogchen that that this is fully explained, and in that it is like speaking ot a Jesuit versus a Fransciscan prient.  Dzogchen is a hard one to start with -- I recommend starting where things aren ot slippery at all, though, Wendy, you will probably ahve little trouble with absolute or relaitive reality, as you are a physicist.  I ahve another recommednation -- a book by Chagdud Rinpoche called "Gates to Buddhist Practice" -- as a physicist you might enjoy his discussions of absolute and relative reality. 

I was raised catholic, and decided at 12 I was an athiest.  I was never really an athiest, but had trouble with the Catholic notion of god.  Now I ahve no trouble with any representation or possiblity --

Enjoy outdoors today -- I will.  it is snowing!

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7 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2008 - 2:10PM #8
ronnewmexico
Posts: 490
T
As I'm pretty sure you are aware, dieties in Tibetan Buddhist practices are representations of aspects of our awareness. Their funtion is in relationship to us understanding mind, not as other powered entities that can through some supreme power bring us to understanding.  Their aspects are our aspects, as Buddha nature is our nature, though empty it is.

As regards this......"I have found that any mention of a god or goddess can be problematic (not to target you Wendy -- but this can be true of atheists) --"
I have personally observed atheists to be more knowledgeable and
rationally inclined then most  theistic belief holders. This is a personal observation and as such may not be statistically or some such verifiable, but as is perhaps your observation a personal one, and it is thusly  equilivent in discussion to yours, also a personal antedotal observation. A general observation and certainly there exists a large percentage to which this does not apply, and not to state theism is any less than any other beliefs such as Buddhism, to which it is equal.

But that is my personal observation; atheists are generally more rationally reasonably inclined than theists, and thusly the mere mention of diety in practice or otherwise may not necessarily infer a abject presumptive negative response.

Of course I am also biased being atheistic in belief.

Diety belief as in belief in ghosts does not necessarily infer belief in Gods as inherantly existant beings. In a theistically derived culture this may be a assuption that equates, but it is not necessarily so. One who has already made the jump to atheism in a theistically derived culture may be also able to discern qualities of belief or gradients of belief that qualify into which catagory a system may be put.

Generally I hold a very high view of the abilities of atheists.

The literal translative derivitive of atheism, is of course theism. A or an are negative terms in English linguistic terminology, meaning not a part of or opposed to. A or An added to theism. So the term atheism is in relation to theism, not diety existance, or belief in the unnatural, or belief in ghosts,  or any some such. Theism is involving the existance of self powered or other powered entities of self existant character. It is generally found to have characteristics of such. This is what makes theism theism.  A or An add the negative to the term, and thusly oppose not other things, but what is found in the word itself.....theism.   The  other things it may seem to oppose, are generally culturally derived biases, or.what we assume to be so, based upon our assumption, but not necessarily consciously known or derived. 

So atheists may believe in ghosts and very many other things such as dieties as aspects of our awareness, or even Gods which are like us, not all powerful knowing and inherantly existant, these all being not characteristic of theistic belief structure, but perhaps add ons; cultural add ons. We cannot basically concieve of dieties not being theistic framed dieties, nor the unnatural being not theistically framed unnatural things.

Most of us.

Atheists have already made that jump by my observation, in most cases. They have already made the move in seperating cultural assumption from things as they are in this specific. Some atheists may perhaps just be reactionary and defensive in nature is their belief but I'd suggest this is a small minority. Most actually see things as they find them. Again not to state this is superior to any other view, but that they actually do believe in this view of things . 

This all to my limited understanding and personal somewhat in nature.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2008 - 2:32PM #9
ronnewmexico
Posts: 490
To add...... "Now I ahve no trouble with any representation or possiblity -- "

In Tibetan Buddhism i am quite certain unequivocally there is no possibility of any creator god, god as commonly defined in theistically derived culures, nor soul nor inherantly existant beings or permenant aspects of our selves. Such possibility is logically, rationally, contraindicated. It is thusly a Godless religion.

Not to state this view is better or worse than any other, but it is what it is.
This is apparently not a view held by all forms of Buddhism. This is good as it brings others to compassionate action through these beliefs, but these concepts are in opposition to views of Tibetan Buddhists derived through logical reasoned Tibetan Buddhist analysis of such. So such possiblity is not entertained. It cannot be. there is no trouble with other beliefs certainly but they are not Tibetan Buddhist beliefs certainly.

To my limited understanding.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2008 - 8:50PM #10
trishnajewelry
Posts: 31
ronnewmexico, I will respectfully have to disagree with you.  I have found athiests to be as logical and illogical as theists.  Rationality and emotionality seem to coexist equally in both!  And that said, my experience in teaching and in psonsoring has led me to suggest that for newbees, why give them something else to hurdle?  I suggest texts and practices that do not mention the dieties because they arenot like ghosts in terms of how they are taught.  Absolute and Relitive reality aside, the dieties are mostly not taught as representatives unless one is in front of a skilled teacher and even then, often the teacher will not mention this unless the question is asked, especially in talks to newbees.  Wendy will now most certainly ask this of her teachers, if she finds them, and so this kind of exchange is good --   and I stick with my recommendations of books from both zen and tibetan teachers.

I suggest you look ot the pantheon of dieties to find the strange creators of time and space . . .  esoteric texts on astrology might have them.  I found them once and since I was not very interested placed them in my notes on Kaballah and let it go -- in fact, I think the study of all the strange and unusual gods and goddesses came from the study of the Kabbalah, and trying to see how it overlaid the Buddhist and Vedic structures.  I could find nada on Zen dieties, but the tibetan pantheon was rich.  But I think they were in the Bon tradition in the astrological realms.

I hope you enjoy this kind of exchange -- I would comment on more that you said but think it may be outside the subject matter to keep on going . . .   new to blogging and have heard that the buddhist group is quite strict about staying on topic.
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