So who gets to decide what Mexican food is? Mexicans. Mexican-Americans? You? Is it only food served in Mexico?
Don’t know I’m just saying that that’s part of the problem with these types of issues.
When does Western Buddhism cease to be Buddhism and just secular humanism with some Buddhist trappings?
I don’t know, but it is important to make the distinctions.
If we argue that people who claim to follow a religion but who don’t literally accept the most egregiously ridiculous of the tenets that have historically been associated with that religion, then we exclude from the religion most of its adherents, at least in most post-Enlightenment Western societies.
I’m not so sure about that. I think that one can reasonably be called a Christian if they believe in heaven and hell, believe in God, believe that Jesus was the son of God who was sent to earth to redeem the world of its sins (whatever that means) and that by faith in Jesus and/or being good, your soul will go to heaven and have eternal life.
I think that pretty much all Christians believed that 2,000 years ago, and they do today as well.
Or must people from those traditions renounce any claim to them in order to join humanism, secularism, or whatever we here are promoting?
My view is yes. I don’t think that any religion is compatible with reason or an ethical life or society. Religion must be 100% rejected, especially these ancient ones.
Why? The two different modes of thought are fundamentally incompatible.
Is God, or Jesus, or Buddha the source of truth or not? Fundamentally, all of these belief systems claim that some individual was special and above everyone else, and that this individual or being, IS THE source of knowledge and what is right and wrong, etc.
Believing that that is true is fundamentally incompatible with secular humanism, science, and reason. If you reject the idea that Buddha or Jesus were special people whose words and deeds had some special meaning above and beyond those of anyone else, then fundamentally you have rejected those religions.
They may not be ideas unique to Buddhism, but they are certainly traditionally Buddhist ideas. Focusing on the present moment, the uselessness of anxiety about past and future, the importance of compassion and the behavioral strategies for reducing anger and disatisfaction are traditional Buddhist ideas and techniques, and they work for many secular weesterners because they don’t depend on a supernaturalist metaphysics.
Yes of course, but these aren’t unique to Buddhism and you don’t have to be a Buddhist be aware of these same things.
at least many traditional Buddhist teachers (though certainly not all) find exploring these things and leaving aside the rest an acceptable way to at least begin the practice of Buddhism.
Right, the big advantage of Buddhism is that more Buddhists seem to be open to rejecting the beliefs of Buddhism. Great, perhaps some day soon all Buddhists will learn to reject all of Buddhism and that will be their greatest achievement!
I’ll call myself a Buddhist at this point. I have reached full enlightenment, and that enlightenment is that there was no Buddha and this religion is nonsense.
Here are some of my specific problems with Buddhism:
1) Many Buddhists, even Western Buddhists, claim that Buddhist meditation is a means of obtaining facts about reality that is superior to empiricism and the scientific method. In other words, they claim that through meditation they “come into contact with true reality and learn the real truths about the world”.
2) Most Buddhists, even Western Buddhists, believe in reincarnation, and reincarnation is a fundamental aspect of Buddhist belief. Reincarnation is the driving force behind all the ideas. If you take away reincarnation then basically you don’t have Buddhism anymore, you just have a meditation practice. That’s like calling the act of prayer being a Christian. Meditating doesn’t make one a Buddhist any more than praying makes one a Christian. Buddhism without reincarnation is like Christianity without heaven, hell, God, and Jesus.
3) A core teaching of Buddhism is the rejection of all desire. I find this simply to be unhealthy and a horrible concept. Indeed, if you look at Buddhist cultures in Asia, you find that Buddhism has spread poverty and backwardness with it wherever it has gone.
In some Buddhist places, the whole community becomes slaves to the monasteries, where the monks do no work and demand that the villagers feed them and care for them, etc.
4) The very idea that some person lived a perfect life and achieved perfection, which the followers are supposed to seek after and try to obtain by following “his” teachings, is absurd and destructive.
These religious figures are always fictional and mythical. Of their their life was perfect, its fiction, people contrived it. You have to be an idiot not to realize that.
As for the Four Noble Truths:
1. Suffering: Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering.
2. The cause of suffering: The desire which leads to renewed existence (rebirth) (the cycle of samsara)
3. The cessation of suffering: The cessation of desire.
4. The way leading to the cessation of suffering: The Noble Eightfold Path;
This is crap. This is both nonsense and destructive. Cessation of desire is NOT a good thing.
Sila is morality—abstaining from unwholesome deeds of body and speech. Within the division of sila are three parts of the Noble Eightfold Path:
1. Right Speech - One speaks in a non hurtful, not exaggerated, truthful way (samyag-vāc, sammā-vācā)
2. Right Actions - Wholesome action, avoiding action that would do harm (samyak-karmānta, sammā-kammanta)
3. Right Livelihood - One’s way of livelihood does not harm in any way oneself or others; directly or indirectly (samyag-ājīva, sammā-ājīva)
Samadhi is developing mastery over one’s own mind. Within this division are another three parts of the Noble Eightfold Path:
1. Right Effort/Exercise - One makes an effort to improve (samyag-vyāyāma, sammā-vāyāma)
2. Right Mindfulness/Awareness - Mental ability to see things for what they are with clear consciousness (samyak-smṛti, sammā-sati)
3. Right Concentration - Being aware of the present reality within oneself, without any craving or aversion. (samyak-samādhi, sammā-samādhi)
Panna is the wisdom which purifies the mind. Within this division fall two more parts of the Noble Eightfold Path:
1. Right Thoughts - Change in the pattern of thinking. (samyak-saṃkalpa, sammā-saṅkappa)
2. Right Understanding - Understanding reality as it is, not just as it appears to be. (samyag-dṛṣṭi, sammā-diṭṭhi)
When you look into the details of these you see that they are all full of nonsense. It’s a lot of the same moralistic crap that comes with Christianity one the one hand, then superstitious mumbo-jumbo on the other hand.
“Right Understanding”? This basically says that reality is not as we perceive it, etc., etc., and again you go into subjective mystical nonsense, and mass delusion, where people are encouraged to basically trip out and believe that their subjective meditative delusions are “real reality”.