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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #173)

Mon Mar 25, 2013, 03:09 AM

182. You obviously are lacking in

reading comprehension skills.

Special pleading, seriously?

Let's try this even more simply for you.

The First Congress of the World Buddhist Sangha Council met in 1967 to release a statement entitled The Basic Points Unifying the Theravāda and the Mahāyāna traditions. Representatives from every Buddhist tradition and country were in attendance and unanimously agreed to the following points:

1) The Buddha is our only Master (teacher and guide)

2) We take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Saṅgha (the Three Jewels)

3) We do not believe that this world is created and ruled by a God.

4) We consider that the purpose of life is to develop compassion for all living beings without discrimination and to work for their good, happiness, and peace; and to develop wisdom (prajñā leading to the realization of Ultimate Truth.

5) We accept the Four Noble Truths, namely duḥkha, the arising of duḥkha, the cessation of duḥkha, and the path leading to the cessation of duḥkha; and the law of cause and effect (pratītyasamutpāda).

6) All conditioned things (saṃskāra) are impermanent (anitya) and duḥkha, and that all conditioned and unconditioned things (dharma) are without self (anātma) (see trilaksana).

7) We accept the thirty-seven qualities conducive to enlightenment (bodhipakṣadharma) as different aspects of the Path taught by the Buddha leading to Enlightenment.

8) There are three ways of attaining bodhi or Enlightenment: namely as a disciple (śrāvaka), as a pratyekabuddha and as a samyaksambuddha (perfectly and fully enlightened Buddha). We accept it as the highest, noblest, and most heroic to follow the career of a Bodhisattva and to become a samyaksambuddha in order to save others.

9) We admit that in different countries there are differences regarding Buddhist beliefs and practices. These external forms and expressions should not be confused with the essential teachings of the Buddha.

(Taken from the members areas of WBSC http://wbsc886.org/Enlish/E-index2/E-index.html)

Now, for the purposes of this discussion points 3 and 9 are critical. Point 3 clearly states that Buddhism is atheistic. Period.

Point 9 requires more critical thinking be involved. Every country that Buddhism traveled into over its 2500 year migration and evolution had a local culture that revered polytheistic traditions whether it was the Immortals of Taoism, the Shinto gods & goddesses of Japan, or the gods and goddesses of Bonpo in Tibet. The deities (gods & goddesses like Medicine Buddha and White Tara of Tibet) are not real. They are symbols, metaphors, placeholders of consciousness, archetypes of psychic experiences, etc.

Ven. Walpola Sri Rahula restated point 9 in the 1980's to further clarify this for his Western students who grew up in the Judeo-Christian/Scientific Materialistic culture. He said:

We admit that in different countries there are differences with regard to the ways of life of Buddhist monks, popular Buddhist beliefs and practices, rites and rituals, ceremonies, customs and habits. These external forms and expressions should not be confused with the essential teachings of the Buddha.

So the first sentence shows a respect in each country for the local customs, practices, rites and rituals. A lay Shin Buddhist in Japan may revere Jizo and place his statue in his truck because he travels for work. Jizo is the 'protector' of travelers. A normal everyday Tibetan farmer may make offerings to Medicine Buddha to 'heal' their sick child while they simultaneously have the kid under 'western' medical care.

But, and this is very important so please read this carefully, the second sentence details that these 'external forms & expressions' (i.e. your obsession with gods & goddesses as being 'real') should never be confused with the foundational teachings of the Buddha, which as detailed above are atheistic with respect to deities, empirical as opposed to metaphysical, and reality-based (yes, Buddhists respect all advances in modern science!) as opposed to supernatural. All of these seeming ritualistic, metaphysical, & supernatural aspects of the various cultural expressions of Buddhism are simply mental phenomena. It is all of the mind. That is all.

If you can not get this after this post, then you have no intention of truly understanding that upon which you are trying to speak. You are being willful ignorant so that your mentally created construct and agenda are not disturbed. I will not debate you further on this.

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