Saturday, 22 August 2009

Buddhism Views


Buddhism’s views on the following topics.

Prayer

Buddhism gives full responsibility and dignity to man. It makes man his own master. According to Buddhism, no high being sits in judgment over his affairs and destiny.

The Buddha Himself has clearly expressed that neither the recital of holy scriptures, nor self-torture, nor sleeping on the ground, nor the repetition of prayers, penances, hymns, charms, mantras, incantations and invocations can bring the real happiness of Nirvana.

In place of prayer, Buddhists practise meditation for mental culture and for spiritual development.

To have a healthy body and mind and to have peace in life, one must learn how to practise meditation.

When the mind is free from mental disturbances, it can see many things that other cannot see with their naked eyes.

If you practice meditation, you can learn to behave like a gentleman even though you are disturbed by others. Through meditation, you can learn how to relax the body and to calm the mind; you can learn to be tranquil and happy within.

The worship of the Buddha really means paying homage, veneration and devotion to Him and what He represents, and not to the stone or metal figure. Buddhists use the statue as a symbol and as an object of concentration to gain peace of mind. When Buddhists look upon the image of the Buddha, they put aside thoughts of strife and think only of peace, serenity, calmness and tranquillity. The statue enables the mind to recall this great man and inspires devotees to follow His example and instructions.

An understanding Buddhist does not ask favours from the image nor does he request forgiveness for evil deeds committed. An understanding Buddhist tries to control his mind, to follow the Buddha's advice, to get rid of worldly miseries and to find his salvation.

Buddhists do not see the Buddha image as a dead idol of wood or metal or clay. The image represents something vibrant to those who understand and are purified in thought, word and deed.

The Buddha images are nothing more than symbolic representations of His great qualities. This is basically a human phenomenon. People need physical representation, for various purposes – could be for focus and concentration, could be for relief. People need representation of their faith and belief.

Vegetarianism

Taking fish and meat by itself does not make a man become impure. A man makes himself impure by bigotry, deceit, envy, self-exaltation, disparagement and other evil intentions. Through his own evil thoughts and actions, man makes himself impure. There is no strict rule in Buddhism that the followers of the Buddha should not take fish and meat. The only advice given by the Buddha is that they should not be involved in killing intentionally or they should not ask others to kill any living being for them. However, those who take vegetable food and abstain from animal flesh are praiseworthy.

As Buddhism is a free religion, His advice was to leave the decision regarding vegetarianism to the individual disciple.

They must remember that there is no precept in the original Teachings of the Buddha that requires all Buddhists to be vegetarians. We must realize that Buddhism is known as the Middle Path.

Vegetarianism alone does not help a man to cultivate his humane qualities. There are kind, humble, polite and religious people amongst non-vegetarians. Therefore, one should not condone the statement that a pure, religious man must practise vegetarianism.

If one eats without greed and without directly being involved in the act of killing but merely to sustain the physical body, he is practising self restrain.

Change

Looking at life, we notice how it changes and how it continually moves between extremes and contrasts. We notice rise and fall, success and failure, loss and gain; we experience honour and contempt, praise and blame; and we feel how our hearts respond to all that happiness and sorrow, delight and despair, disappointment and satisfaction, fear and hope. 

These mighty waves of emotion carry us up, fling us down, and no sooner we find some rest, then we are carried by the power of a new wave again. How can we expect a footing on the crest of waves? Where shall we erect the building of our life in the midst of this ever-restless ocean of existence?

This is a world where any little joy that is allotted to beings, is secured only after many disappointments, failure and defeats. This is a world where scanty joy grows amidst sickness, desperation and death. This is a world where beings who a short while ago were connected with us by sympathetic joy are at the next moment in want of our compassion. Such a world as this needs equanimity. This is the nature of the world where we live with our intimate friends and the next day they become our enemies to harm us.

The Buddha described the world as an unending flux of becoming. All is changeable, continuous transformation, ceaseless mutation, and a moving stream. Everything exists from moment to moment. Everything is a recurring rotation of coming into being and then passing out of existence. Everything is moving from birth to death. Life is a continuous movement of change towards death. The matter of material forms in which life does or does not express itself, are also a continuous movement or change towards decay. 

This teaching of the impermanent nature of everything is one of the main pivots of Buddhism. Nothing on earth partakes of the character of absolute reality. That there will be no death of what is born is impossible. Whatever is subject to origination is subject also to destruction. Change is the very constituent of reality.

The world is a passing phenomenon. We all belong to the world of time. Every written word, every carved stone, every painted picture, the structure of civilization, every generation of man, vanishes away like the leaves and flowers of forgotten summers. What exists is changeable and what is not changeable does not exist.

Nirvana

Until you experience the supreme state of Bliss, you can only speculate what it really is. The text suggests that Nirvana is a supra-mundane state of unalloyed happiness.

When that ultimate state is attained, you will fully understand this worldly life for which you now crave. This world will cease to be an object of your desire. You will realise the sorrow and impermanence and impersonality of all that lives and that does not live.

Suicide

Suicide is a foolish act, a wastage of a useful life. Being born as human beings we are given an excellent opportunity to serve our fellow men and gradually work out our total deliverance from the 'States of Sorrow'. That opportunity will be lost and the 'Circle of Life' is lengthened. 

Suicide is foolish as it does not help the person at all to solve the problems that he wanted to avoid. Death is not the end of life, other lives will follow; and there the problems will be more complicated.

Homosexuality

Buddhist texts do not mention anything on homosexuality. So long as a relationship is warm and caring, there is no reason why homosexuality should not be treated on equal terms as heterosexuality.

Buddha had included in his embrace the likes of murderers and prostitutes. Homosexuals, surely would not be below them?

Buddha said all sentient beings are equal and should be treated with compassion. If we can treat animals with compassion, surely we can also treat homosexuals with compassion? 

The goal of all Buddhists is to achieve Nirvana. Anyone who's serious about achieving enlightenment should not waste time on sensual pursuits. 

Sin

In Buddhism, there is no sin. When a person does something morally or ethically wrong, Buddhism points out that it is only an unskilful act. He acted wrongly and unthoughtfully out of ignorance. Sin comes in when there are commandments.

Freedom 

To be free, people will have to look within their own minds and work towards freeing themselves from the chains of ignorance and craving. Freedom in the truest sense is only possible when a person uses the Dharma to develop his character through good speech and action and to train his mind so as to expand his mental potential and achieve his ultimate aim of enlightenment.

Gods

Buddhist texts have plenty of references to gods. Note the use of the word god in small letter, and pluralized. The god concept in Buddhism does not refer to an all-powerful divine Lord, as the Christians and Muslims know it. In Buddhism, god simply refers to a state of being, another form of rebirth, on a higher plane of existence. 

3 comments:

Sue said...

Raised as a Christian, I would have trouble completely giving up the thought of "God" -- the one with the upper case G. But I've never thought of "God" as only some old man with a beard living in Heaven. In fact, I've never thought of God as only the Christian God; I, for myself, have always thought of God as being something harder to understand, something that's still incomprehensible to me. And I've never really worried too much about "Him" sitting in judgement of me (but not because I'm always good.)


I also like to pray, and I do believe in the power of prayer -- but I also think of prayer as a way some people use to meditate, and maybe focus positive energy at something.

Even with these differences, I feel from what you've written that there is serious truth in Buddhism; I wonder if my beliefs and the beliefs of Buddhism can mesh together? Buddhism seems like an accepting religion....

Netizen101 said...

In its simplest form, Buddhism is a philosophy that teach us to be self-reliant; that life is transient, and all things are impermanent. Buddhism also teaches us that to live a meaningful life, we have to avoid both extremes, and to take the Middle Path.

Buddhism is multifarious. It is simple and yet profound. It is for the layman as well as for those seeking higher spiritual attainment. One can practice it as a religion or philosophy.

Personally, I am a atheist. I practice Buddhism as a philosophy. :-)

Sue said...

OK, I REALLY like that! I think that I can definitely be philosophically Buddhist and still (whatever religion it is I am -- because it doesn't exactly mesh with Christianity, as I've been taught it.)