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3 years ago  ::  May 22, 2012 - 4:09PM #1
ndg4
Posts: 3
Good afternoon,

I'm looking for some questions I have regarding Buddhism. I was raised a Christian, and I'm currently studying many different religions and their world views. I'm really trying to make an informed decision regarding my faith and a response would be appreciated.  



1. What is the purpose of life?
2. Who is Jesus Christ to you? 
3. What happens when you die?
4. Does suffering have a purpose? If so, what? If not, why not?
5. Who is God to you?
6. What is your view of the Christian Bible?
7. If you could only state one thing, what is the most important thing in your
life?

Thank you! 

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3 years ago  ::  May 22, 2012 - 10:51PM #2
etoro
Posts: 574

1. What is the purpose of life?  -  To achieve true happiness otherwise defined as Buddhahood.


2. Who is Jesus Christ to you? - A deeply empathetic and compassionate man who faught for the happiness of the people even at the risk of his own life. 


3. What happens when you die? - The aggregates of manifested phenomena which comprise our temporary existence recede into their latent state in the same way that thoughts appear and recede during each thought moment and one's own consciousness itself recedes each night when we fall into deep sleep.  


4. Does suffering have a purpose? If so, what? If not, why not? - Suffering derives from sheer attachment to temporarily arisen phenomena devoid of a total awareness of their true nature.  However were it not for suffering we would not seek true happiness. The search for true happiness leads us to investigate the nature of dharmas.  In this way we come to discern the difference between conditional and unconditional dharmas. True happiness derives from awakening to the unconditional aspect of all dharmas. All dharmas or phenomena contain the marks and signs of the unconditional aspect of dharmas. This is known as the Middleway of true Wisdom.


5. Who is God to you?  -  God is a concept representing the greater and superior truths of the universal reality which are mysterious and ill understood by non-Buddhists human beings.



6. What is your view of the Christian Bible? It is the most popular form of non-buddhist wisdom.


7. If you could only state one thing, what is the most important thing in your
life?  - Opening up the direct path to Buddhahood, indestructable and eternal inner happiness in this lifetime through the practice of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. In this way I can bring true benefit to myself, my family, my fellow man and all living beings.  Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is the direct path as expressed by Nichiren, the leading devotee of the Lotus Sutra in this modern age of Buddhism.  Check out his teachings------>  www.sgilibrary.org/pdf/001_0003.pdf

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3 years ago  ::  May 22, 2012 - 11:31PM #3
ndg4
Posts: 3

Wow, thank you so much for such a well explained response. It is definitely appreciated, I was afraid no one would reply.

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3 years ago  ::  May 26, 2012 - 1:53PM #4
Ferretling
Posts: 254

May 22, 2012 -- 4:09PM, ndg4 wrote:

Good afternoon,

I'm looking for some questions I have regarding Buddhism. I was raised a Christian, and I'm currently studying many different religions and their world views. I'm really trying to make an informed decision regarding my faith and a response would be appreciated.  



1. What is the purpose of life?



I don't know that there *is* a purpose to life. Life simple *is*. I like being alive. I want to follow the ideals of the Buddha: to eliminate suffering, both in my life and in others. But that's my own goal, my own self-given purpose. Life in general just happens. It's kind of neat that way.



May 22, 2012 -- 4:09PM, ndg4 wrote:

2. Who is Jesus Christ to you?



A myth. In all honesty, Jesus isn't a consideration in my life. He's a guy some people believe in. To me? I really have no interest in Jesus at all.



May 22, 2012 -- 4:09PM, ndg4 wrote:

3. What happens when you die?



I have absolutely no idea. And that's pretty interesting. If I die and there's nothing, then eh, there's nothing. I won't be alive to care about it anymore. And if there is something, then cool, I get to find out new things!



May 22, 2012 -- 4:09PM, ndg4 wrote:

4. Does suffering have a purpose? If so, what? If not, why not?



Suffering is kind of like life. It's there. It doesn't need to have a purpose. I can learn lessons through suffering but, in the end, it's something that is and it is to me what I do about it.



May 22, 2012 -- 4:09PM, ndg4 wrote:

5. Who is God to you?



I don't know if there is a god or gods. I don't believe in one single omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent god. And whether or not they exist, they don't really play much of a part in my day-to-day life. If there is some sort of a god/gods, I am more of the opinion it is something like the Force and a bunch of really powerful nature-spirits. But I am not even so sure about that. It isn't something that I worry about anymore.



May 22, 2012 -- 4:09PM, ndg4 wrote:

6. What is your view of the Christian Bible?



It has some good parts and some bad parts. It is a book compiled by humans. It's in need of a good editor.



May 22, 2012 -- 4:09PM, ndg4 wrote:

7. If you could only state one thing, what is the most important thing in your life?

Thank you! 




Huh. The most important thing? I really don't like to label things like that, because they really are impermanent. Right now, though, I would go with compassion.

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 17, 2012 - 3:53PM #5
allen-uk
Posts: 25

1. What is the purpose of life?


Life has no purpose, no meaning; it is an accident of physics and chemistry. It just happens.



2. Who is Jesus Christ to you? 


A bloke who might have lived, might not; if not, then he was invented by humanity, as we invent many things in our conscious or unconscious struggle against suffering, against the distress of recognising the impermanence of all things.



3. What happens when you die?


Don't know, but I suspect that like all things that live, we just die, rot, and nothing else.



4. Does suffering have a purpose? If so, what? If not, why not?


No, no more than life has a purpose. You can make it have a purpose, and it can be useful to you.



5. Who is God to you?


See my answer to 2. above. Similar 'being'.



6. What is your view of the Christian Bible?


If you read and comprehend it, it is not a 'good' book. There are too many dubious - and uncriticized - instances of cruelty, both by 'god' and by men upon men.



7. If you could only state one thing, what is the most important thing in your
life?


Living long enough to understand it.



Allen.

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2 years ago  ::  Jul 04, 2012 - 9:12PM #6
Amandamcmillen
Posts: 3

There are some really good replies on this but I would like to share mine as well:


1. What is the purpose of life?


I am not completely sure there is one. If there is I think is would have to do with love, joy, and compassion.





2. Who is Jesus Christ to you?


A man who most likely lived. He may not have. I think he did, but I think his message of love has been changed, and lost over time. I think he at least saw enlightenment, and tried to help others.



3. What happens when you die?


I believe in a cycle of birth and death. I admit I am not sure what causes this or stops it, but I think I will have a better understanding when I find some kind of enlightenment.


4. Does suffering have a purpose? If so, what? If not, why not?


Like life having a meaning I am not sure. I know we can give it meaning. I give my suffering meaning by learning from mistakes and moving forward. If it does have a purpose we decide that.



5. Who is God to you?


I am not sure. I have very mixed feelings about this, that would take way to long to post in any detail.


6. What is your view of the Christian Bible?


It is an interesting book. It has some good stories, it has some awful stories. It cause too much arguing and has been edited too many times. For that matter it seems like it may need more, or maybe it is just so edited it has lost all meaning. I say it is worth reading but like all books, and teachings it should be taken lighter than personal experience.


7. If you could only state one thing, what is the most important thing in your
life?


Love (all encompassing; including joy, family, compassion)


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2 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2012 - 4:54AM #7
Bhakta_glenn
Posts: 890

1. What is the purpose of life?


I do not think that life has no purpose. I think that Enlightenment is the purpose of life. The human life is the Vehicle for this ultimate realisation.


Enlightenment: Freedom, which is beyond Wisdom.


2.  Who is Jesus Christ to you?


Jesus Christ to me is an emblem and manifestation of Sacred Truth.


3. What happens when you die?


I believe that Life and Death are both impermanent. The human being does not live forever, does not die forever. When a person dies he or she is reborn into a new life.


4 Does suffering have a purpose? If so, what? If not, why not?


One does not need to cite a Religion to see that life is contaminated by suffereing. Since most of my foundation for spiritual practices are grounded in Theravada Buddhism, I will take the liberty of giving a subjective answer to what I think the Buddha taught.


The world suffers because all beings are insane. A wise man, reflecting on this insanity, would seek a way of escaping it. Teachers like Jesus Christ and the Buddha offer stratagems for escaping the world of suffering.


If suffering has a purpose, then I think it must be to teach man to live without hating others.


5. Who is God to you?


I believe that there is only One God, who has many forms. God is beyond the range of human thought, and cannot be explained or described. However, through correctly authorised spiritual practices one may become God-Conscious, Enlightened.


6. What is your view of the Christian Bible?


My only real experience of the Christian Bible is when I read the Book of Revelation. There is a vast amount of profound wisdom in the Bible. Unfortunately, I think that the Ancient Wisdom of the Bible has passed into history.


I only read the Book of Revelation once, and it changed the course of my life. I was more affected by its Gnosis than by its Christian message. Afterwards, I set about finding a Spiritual Teacher who understood the difference between Gnosis and Religion. My search was successful.


7. If you could only state one thing, what is the most important thing in your
life?


Dharma.




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2 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2012 - 7:18PM #8
Don
Posts: 34

good questions :)


1. What is the purpose of life?  the evolution of our higher Self through service to others


2. Who is Jesus Christ to you?   one who has evolved his higher soul and who lived to serve others


3. What happens when you die?  for each it's different.  Though no heaven or hell, there are 'locations' of both a pleasant and unpleasant character.  You come back repeatedly until you don't need to anymore. 


4. Does suffering have a purpose? If so, what? If not, why not?  Yes, suffering helps us to evolve.  Through suffering we learn how not to be - and how to be.  Suffering is the direct consequence of our karma - both from this life and previous ones


5. Who is God to you?   There is no God to me.  There is however an intelligence, force, or power which operates always and is the 'cause' of everything.  God isn't separate from anything, you or I.  God runs and operates through all. 


6. What is your view of the Christian Bible?  It was designed to help people evolve.  It describes to the multitudes the ways of good behavior and morality.  It isn't to be taken on the surface level.  For the few, it describes the initiation cycles.


7. If you could only state one thing, what is the most important thing in your
life?   To serve others and learn selflessness. 

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2 years ago  ::  Jul 26, 2012 - 4:47AM #9
Larosser
Posts: 413

It's very interesting to read these responses. Thanks to everyone who has contributed.


As for me, right now, here are my answers:


1. What is the purpose of life?


Living. There are layers and waves and eddies of purpose that come from different events and beings. Some of them I will learn, and some will remain beyond me.



2. Who is Jesus Christ to you? 


I am not sure I've met him. From what I've read, he seems like an epically compassionate guy.



3. What happens when you die?


I don't know - but it's alright. I'm at peace about that.



4. Does suffering have a purpose? If so, what? If not, why not?


I don't think suffering has a purpose in the sense of "everything happens for a reason". I feel that suffering is a result of desires and attachment, and that we suffer because we have not learned how not to. I differentiate suffering from pain. Pain can be useful and sometimes educational.



5. Who is God to you?


Everything.



6. What is your view of the Christian Bible?


It's a book. There are some good things in there. It gets treated as a tool to justify a lot of peoples attachments and delusions, but I don't think that's what it was meant to do.



7. If you could only state one thing, what is the most important thing in your
life?

Compassion, love, joy. I know that's three things. Call it a trinity. :)

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2 years ago  ::  Jul 26, 2012 - 12:53PM #10
ronnewmexico
Posts: 490

To add to the excellent reply above but from a different perspective...there exist many forms of buddhism, and not to say mine is any better than another ....


God, the idea of a creator god, is disallowed in mine. A god who believes he is that is explained in one sutra as being delusional. Because he was first in this realm and he wanted companions he considers himself mistakenly to be the creator of them and all....he is a god but finate and thusly subject to the laws of karma and will devolve, unless she/he becomes enlightened . Many finate gods of differing attributes may exist. But they are not eternal.


Suffering as well as pain may be used for spiritual study and advancement in my practice.


I employ tools of buddhism and one of these is found in a mahamudra context, pain may be focused upon and actually enhanced for purpose of study, as may be death illness..things called sufferings. Used to learn mind. 




 


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