Is Buddhism a religion of love ...? ... (raucous laughter)

by fulltimestudent 12 Replies latest social current

  • fulltimestudent

    I quote from a web-page devoted to the Dalai lama:

    The Heart of the Buddha

    Forget all the fancy meditation practices, says His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the real heart of Buddhism is complete commitment to others. In this commentary on The Way of the Bodhisattva, he describes the awakened heart of the Buddha, which is his vow to attain enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings.


    Hmmm? Is that true? Well, some Buddhists have lived lives demonstrating care for others, just as some Christians have and some Muslims also. But does that "love" and "kindness" come from the religion, or does it simply draw on a quality that is part of human nature? And, we may note, some animals seem to demonstrate these qualities also.

    Right now, in a world that started to be torn apart by western Imperialism in the nineteenth century (if not earlier) there are opportunities for people to demonstrate "love." Sadly, many who claim to teach 'love' do not practise it.

    An example can be seen in Myanmar and my posts will attempt to offer graphic evidence of Buddhist involvement in violence against a minor ethnic group who are Muslim.

    It's neccessary to point out that the real cause of this problem is likely the British occupation of India and later Burma, and where they decided to set the border. For some insight into the British attitude toward the people they ruled of and exploited, you could read George Orwell's, Burmese Days. Set in the 1920's in a fictional town, it tells the story of John Flory, a teak merchant who exploits the timber in the area's jungles. Here's some of the plot highlights (from wikipedia).


    Flory dismisses these (government) administrators as mere moneymakers, living a lie, "the lie that we're here to uplift our poor black brothers instead of to rob them." Though he finds release with his Burmese mistress, Flory is emotionally dissatisfied. "On the one hand, Flory loves Burma and craves a partner who will share his passion, which the other local Europeans find incomprehensible; on the other hand, for essentially racist reasons, Flory feels that only a European woman is acceptable as a partner. "

    His dilemma seems to be answered when Elizabeth Lackersteen, the orphaned niece of Mr Lackersteen, the local timber firm manager, arrives. Flory saves her when she thinks she is about to be attacked by a small water buffalo. He is immediately taken with her and they spend some time getting close, culminating in a highly successful shooting expedition. After several misses Elizabeth shoots a pigeon, and then a flying bird, and Flory shoots a leopard, promising the skin to Elizabeth as a trophy. Lost in romantic fantasy, Flory imagines Elizabeth to be the sensitive non-racist he so much desires, the European woman who will "understand him and give him the companionship he needed." He turns Ma Hla May, his pretty, scheming Burmese concubine, out of his house. Under the surface, however, Elizabeth is appalled by Flory's relatively egalitarian attitude towards the natives, seeing them as 'beastly' ... (unquote)

    If you check out the trouble spots of the world, you'll often see the problems are the result of first, colonial administrators setting borders without regard to the ethnicity or religion of the local peoples, and second, the continued colonial filching of adjacent territory. Not the contemporary governments of former colonial powers ever acknowledge that their predecessors were at the root of so many modern problems.

  • fulltimestudent
  • fulltimestudent

    Excellent images in this slideshow with commentary. Again, you must click to start:

  • fulltimestudent

    A BBC video based on Myanmar police footage (they say):

  • Satanus

    Thanks for the info. Do you think that buddhism is a religion, or is it so open that it could be called a philosophy? Of course, it depends a lot on how people follow it, i suppose.


  • Sapphy

    Hi fulltimestudent - I do find the nature of Buddhism interesting.

    The divide and rule strategy employed by many empires worked for a time, but yes, as soon as the empire loses control there is in built conflict, take the balkans for example.

    Here's some apologies for you though.

  • fulltimestudent

    Thank you sapphy,

    Political apologies are interesting. How do we tell a 'real' apology from a 'neccessary' apology?

    I had to spend a little time on that question last semester, in consideration of the political minefield that lays at the heart of East Asian relationships and modern World domination issues.

    Maybe, its a good question to come back to.

  • LoisLane looking for Superman
    LoisLane looking for Superman

    Hi FullTimeStudent, You have lots of informative material, I want to read. But it is too hot today to think.

    I will read your posts later.

    Is it cooler where you are? It is 31C here. Too hot.

    Just Lois

  • fulltimestudent

    Satanus. you call it well - all religions are in affect, both 'religions' and 'philosophy.' Sure, some will argue that belief can't be both, but others argue the opposite, An example is posted below.

    And, of course, our own observations demonstrate it. Go into a Buddhist temple in officially (once, anyway) atheist, China and you can see scenes of religious devotion. Examples follow.


    but at a completely different level, you could have discussions with some Buddhist educators examining fundamental philosophical questions. In fact many, of the divisions that have occurred in Buddhism were the result of having different answers to philosophical questions.

    But, this is also true of Christianity. The fundamental Anathasian/Arian divide was in response, not only to the desire of non-jewish converts, to be able to 'see' Jesus as God, but to deep fundamental questions on the nature of God. So, on the one hand, just more religious devotion. And on the other hand, discussion of philosophy as examplerd by Origen, bringing Greek philosophy in from the cold.

    Examples again:


    Holy Mass being celebrated at the St.Mark's Syriac Orthodox Monastery - Wikipedia.

    An imagined image of Origen

  • fulltimestudent

    Satanus, I forgot to post this reference:

    From Religion to Philosophy: A Study in the Origins of Western Speculation
    Francis MacDonald Cornford -( Princeton University Press )

    In this exploration of the "very first utterance of philosophers," F. M. Cornford showed that the remarkable burst of abstract speculation among pre-Socratic thinkers of the sixth century B.C. emerged directly from the religious thought of the preceding era in Greece. Combining profound classical scholarship with striking anthropological and sociological insight, Cornford rejected the post-Darwinian rationalist assumption that religion and philosophy are fundamentally different from each other. His book supplies a needed reminder of the intricate connections between critical scientific thought and social and emotional experience. As he probes the mythic antecedents of such persistent metaphysical concepts as Destiny, God, Soul, Substance, Nature, and Immortality, Cornford warns us that "unless we have some grasp of that history [of myth], we are not likely to understand the speculation, which, however scientific its spirit may be, constantly operates with these religious ideas, and is to a large extent confined in its movement within the limits already traced by them." Classicists, historians of religion, students of ancient history, and everyone concerned with the subject of myth will find this lucid and highly original work to be a source of rich insights about the organic nature and continuity of Western thought.

    Bold and italics are mine.

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