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4 years ago  ::  May 21, 2014 - 9:43PM #1
Kl2014
Posts: 3

I am reading Buddhism for Dummies. The book's audience is assumed to be American, and is probably living in the United States, and most likely comes from a non-Buddhist faith background. While I am reading, I have a couple of questions regarding the text.


First, the authors say that you don't have to be a practicing Buddhist to absorb Buddhist teachings and meditation, and also say that the Buddhist teachers themselves would typically discourage conversions unless the prospective convert has looked thoroughly into his or her own faith background first. In that case, I am raised without religious affiliation, devotion, or self-identification, and my family has been that way for three generations, as far as I know (me, my parents, my grandparents on both sides, aunts and uncles and cousins). I suppose that would put me in the Atheist category. So, does that mean I have to investigate the many atheisms in the world, or does that mean I can become a Buddhist more easily than a person who comes from a Christian family, or does it mean that I can still identify as Atheist but practice Buddhist meditation and heed Buddhist teachings?


Second, the authors talk about "salvation" and "saving grace".

A few Buddhist traditions, such as the Pure Land schools, even de-emphasize meditation in favor of faith in the saving grace of Buddhist figures known as bodhisattvas. If you have a strong devotional nature, you may find one of those traditions particularly appealing.




Buddha's final words -- "All conditional things are impermanent. Work out your own salvation with diligence." -- set the standard for this matter.




What do they mean in Buddhism? Are they technical terms? 


Third, the topical question is this: what is the difference between a Buddhist temple/church and a Buddhist center in the United States? How are they different from community college courses that teach Buddhist meditation?


I tried looking up "Buddhist church" in the United States, but most of them are located in California, and I don't live in California. Is it really that difficult to become Buddhist in the United States? Maybe in the US, it's easier to adopt Buddhist teachings and meditation? How do Buddhist churches/temples work in the US? Do you have to attend every weekend? Cry

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4 years ago  ::  May 22, 2014 - 8:46AM #2
etoro
Posts: 595

Kl2014




Buddhism has a long history and its teachings have adopted to many different cultural and social settings throughout historic Asia and now many have come to the western world. I am a practicing Buddhist of the Nichiren Lotus School through a global Buddhist movement for peace, through culture and education known as the SGI-USA.  Check out the web site. Go to the contact section, call and find a center near you. There are many centers throughout the United States.  This is the largest and most diverse Buddhist movement in human history. A well known writer on Buddhism Clark Strand recently published a book about our movement.  


As you know every one says their religion is the best.  I am no different.  But you have to find out for yourself what is best for you. 


Best of the best on your chosen path.



Peace

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4 years ago  ::  May 22, 2014 - 10:31PM #3
Bob0
Posts: 487
You seem to have a lot of questions. That is expected when encountering a new school of thought. It may be for you or it may not be your cup of tea. One of Buddhism's many appeals is that it tended to change whenever it traveled to a new community. There are many Buddhisms out there, part the Buddha's teachings and part cultural folkways, superstitions or esoteric claims.

 

How you absorb either the Buddha's teachings or  the religion's pageants is up to you. But look with an open mind and skepticism.

 

Rather than give you my opinion on all things Buddhist I will touch on one of your questions. You say you were raised to be an atheist. How can one make pronouncements, evaluations or conclusions without dying?  Both the theist and atheist are oppositionally certain based on the unknown. Since they have no certainty they simply declare their desired beliefs as fact and say you can't disprove them.

 

It is my understanding that the Buddha's teaching was undeclared on such matters. Furthermore he taught that debates on such matters were a waste of time because they didn't lead to the end of suffering and awakening.

 

Now many Buddhists seem quite comfortable in either the theist and atheist camps. Both are faith based positions rather that being rooted in certainty. (knowledge) 

 

This link if for an explanation of the Four Nobel Truths. Follow the links for an expanded teaching of the truths and the Eight Fold Path and you should have a good idea whether Buddhism is for you or not.

 


 

Wishing you small tranquil days.

Bob
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4 years ago  ::  May 22, 2014 - 10:35PM #4
Bob0
Posts: 487
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3 years ago  ::  Jun 30, 2014 - 8:55AM #5
etoro
Posts: 595

Reviewing the comments above, as a practitioner of the Nichiren Lotus school of Buddhism, I would have this to say.


Whether one believes that Buddha's, Bodhisattva's and or deities exist outside oneself and one finds themselves reaching outward for something greater than oneself or whether one observes meditative practice seeking to comprehend the true nature of oneself from within, both approaches reflect the duality of the two sides of reality, the inner and the outer realms, life and the environment. self and other. Human beings like all life forms must swim within the waters of relativity. At any given moment, human life, given its conditional existence finds oneself contemplating through dualistic thoughts.  The aspiration to merge the relative nature of oneself with the notion of an absolute truth, an awareness that achieves oneness has been the goal of all great religions. Buddhism is no different.  


Buddhism distingusihes itself however in that the Buddha percieved the oneness of all phenomena in the here and now. This is known as the principle of "wisdom applied to ever changing circumstances."  Here the term wisdom indicates the perception of the true aspect of all phenomena and the term ever changing circumstances means the infinite degree of expressions that all phenomena, governed by the law of causes and conditions, take on from moment to moment. The Buddha's enlightenment is known as the fusion of reality and wisdom.  Nothng could be more joyful within the inner knowledge and life of a human being who thoroughly grasps the true nature of ones own life. 


In the Buddha's own state of life there is no distinction between inner and outer, self and other, life and the environment.  It is simply the mental power to transform the life of all living beings from ignorance to enlightenment.  The Buddha enjoins a method of propogation. a method that is practiced by all Buddha's that make their advent from the realm of the absolute into the realm of the relative.  This method is revealed through the sacred principles of the Lotus Sutra. The proof is found only in the results, the result of gathering disciples from every realm of relativity equally and convert them into a living community of the oneness of "many in body yet one in mind". THis is the way the relative realm is transformed into the absolute. 


 



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3 years ago  ::  Aug 12, 2014 - 8:12AM #6
Karma_yeshe_dorje
Posts: 14,245

I cannot hope to rival the fine words and speeches herein. What I will strive for instead, is pragmatism.


First, the starting point here is atheism. I am not going to say that is a bad place to start. "If it's Dublin you're going to, I wouldn't start from here!".


There are all sorts of ways to find out about yourself. On this site, I recommend taking the Belief-O-Matic® quiz. But it is long-winded and technical. So I recommend finding a time of clear thought, and grabbing a cuppa and a dictionary!


To me, a denomination is a flag of convenience. I find that people are in one or another--for all the wrong reasons! So I have met a Quaker Catholic, and a Jewish Lutheran.

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