Buddhism bigger than JWs in US - Why? Does It Appeal to YOU!

by Seeker4 36 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • parakeet

    yadda: ***But what puts me off getting into it is the immortal soul, reincarnation claptrap. Buddhists also tend to give 'worship' Buddha and idols.***

    Although some forms of Buddhism understand rebirth to be a literal reincarnaion, Zen Buddhism takes the concept of rebirth figurately in the sense that one is constantly being "reborn" every second. The "you" of five seconds ago is not the same "you" at this instant.

    Zen Buddhism also does not require "worship" of idols; in fact, a Zen proverb states that if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him! The idea expressed here is that a fully enlightened person understands that he/she already is a buddha and no longer needs the example of the original Buddha.

  • Dansk
    the immortal soul, reincarnation claptrap. Buddhists also tend to give 'worship' Buddha and idols.

    This is completely untrue. Buddhism does not teach any of the above. There is no such thing as an immortal soul in Buddhism nor is there any reincarnation. Rebirth is not the same as there is no soul or blueprint of 'you' passed over. As for worshipping idols, the statues (rupas) are there as symbols and nothing more. They are not themselves worshipped, although pictures of people bowing down before them can give this impression.

    If I go into a church and see a statue of Mary or a crucifix with Jesus impaled I may see people crossing themselves - but they know it isn't literally Mary or Jesus before them, just a representation via a carved image.


  • Satanus


    I don't think I can ever "be" a Buddhist because I have an extremely strong aversion to "joining" a religion.

    This is wrong!

    I think you contradicted that by your following statements: "Buddhist morality is, in fact, a natural morality; it is based on an individual's understanding through experience, of the results of his actions, and on his own conscious informed choice to follow this way rather than that. No external agent is invoked; one is not asked to obey the commandments of God; neither fear nor love are involved, only understanding based on experiment and careful choice."

    Thus, if it is natural, then, it is the person becoming true to himself. W a minimum of instructon, the use of a rational mind, and a desire for truth and self knowledge, person could come into a path very similar to the above. Arbitrarily clapping the label buddhism onto that path is again falling into religion and the placing of limitations. What is to stop a person from taking from what just happens to be inside taoism, buddhism and hinduism, and using it for his own benefit without 'joining' something? Afterall, is it not finding ones own integrity, a rejoining of all ones parts that is the goal? Is this not merely the discovery of ones preexisting connection to the all?


    Ps, the maharshi book and be downloaded here http://www.ramana-maharshi.org/downloads/path_of_self_knowledge.zip

  • M.J.
    I have read Buddhist texts that develop arguements very much like Jehovah's Witnesses in saying "we don't build hospitals or public charities because we improve people instead".

    On the other hand, I happened to see a show on Discovery Health where a boy from an impoverished village in Taiwan (I think) had a serious swelling deformity in the face and was helped by some Buddhist missionaries(??? not sure if that's the right title for them), who paid all expenses for him to receive lifesaving surgery. I don't know if this is very typical, but that's an example of a Buddhist group that did this type of charity.

    It sounds like some of the features of Buddhism which attracts people to it are the same features that attract people to Scientology--despite the bad press it gets: No emphasis on a personal God, realizing self-potential, enlightenment, etc. The difference, of course, is that Scientology is a cult--you have to be associated with the group to be on the "bridge to total freedom" and the bag of tricks they use is fiercely guarded for exclusive legal use by the group.

  • ithinkisee

    Ian did a great job of covering the basics of Buddhism. The points that should be clear is:

    1) It is not a religion in the typical sense - although it could be considered a belief system.

    2) You don't "join" anything.

    3) The emphasis is on self, and finding peace and enlightenment within oneself instead of looking to a group or organization to provide external peace and enlightenment.

    (There's alot more, but those are the things that resonated with me)

    My grandfather never went to church, but he would go high up into the Olympic mountains in the Pacific Northwest and pray.

    My dad doesn't go to church either. He prefers to sit alone in the woods in the trees and reflect on his place in the world, on the realities of life around him, his goals, and how he can improve himself and help others.

    Both of these examples, and Buddhism, all share a common theme of meditation and accepting certain realities and working within the parameters of your realities.

    I think this is the kind of teachings Jesus probably taught when he was on earth. Like Buddha though, things were written that he said after the fact from unknown sources (Christians note: it has never been confirmed that Matt Mark Luke and John actually wrote the books that bear their namesake. Evidence indicates that these were the names given to anonymous books to help them carry authority in "the Church").

    Jesus appears to have been an enlightened person, and in many Buddhist writings you will see reference given to Jesus as examples where Jesus lifted teachings directly from Buddhism.

    (Disclaimer: I've only read a couple of books on Buddhism ... so I am willing to be proven wrong on anything I have just said.)


  • Dismembered

    Greetings S4,

    : I stress one of my main points about the Witnesses - preaching, and especially house to house preaching, does more harm than good. It is arrogant, impolite and invasive, making 1000 people angry for every one person it actually converts

    You couldn't be more right!


  • Seeker4

    Thanks, Dis.

    Nice to get support from a fellow free thinking Vermonter.


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