Gaining Enlightenment and Becoming a Buddha


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My intention is that this thread be a vehicle for serious discussion.

 

About 3,000 years ago, Buddha declared a path.  Anybody could follow this path to Enlightenment, and by so doing, become a Buddha.  

 

After 3,000 years, it is past time to examine the basic claim.  Is this true?  Does the path of Buddhism lead a seeker to Enlightenment?  What does that even mean?

 

Of course, the big question.  After 3,000 years, where are all the Buddhas?

 

I'm not being mean or snarky.  I mean it.  If the Path works -- if the Path leads to becoming a Buddha -- Where are all the Buddhas?  At some point, all claims become subject to objective analysis.

 

:mellow:           :whist:           :mellow:

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42 minutes ago, RevBogovac said:

If it were easy to obtain, it would be worthless... :coffee:

 

 

 

Funny man.  I'm only raising what I think is an obvious question.  Buddhism is supposed to be a practical plan.  Something that is workable.  Well?  After 3,000 years, where are all the Buddhas?  At the risk of being unfair, either it works, or it doesn't.  From what I can see, the path fails.

 

Atheists commonly ask for proof that God exists.  It occurs to me that there are other groups, making claims, that are not backed up by anything except assertions.  Why do we not expect Buddhism to back up it's claims?

 

 

:mellow:

 

 

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2 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

Funny man.  I'm only raising what I think is an obvious question.  Buddhism is supposed to be a practical plan.  Something that is workable.  Well?  After 3,000 years, where are all the Buddhas?  At the risk of being unfair, either it works, or it doesn't.  From what I can see, the path fails.

 

Atheists commonly ask for proof that God exists.  It occurs to me that there are other groups, making claims, that are not backed up by anything except assertions.  Why do we not expect Buddhism to back up it's claims?

 

 

:mellow:

 

And you are absolutely right; we should expect the same "proof". 

And Buddhism actually proves it quite easily; there are some people who actually acquire enlightenment by walking the path the Buddha paved.

 

Unfortunately it is not an "easy" path to take (so quality over quantity, I would argue)...

 

 

Edited by RevBogovac
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1 hour ago, RevBogovac said:

 

And you are absolutely right; we should expect the same "proof". 

And Buddhism actually proves it quite easily; there are some people who actually acquire enlightenment by walking the path the Buddha paved.

 

Unfortunately it is not an "easy" path to take (so quality over quantity, I would argue)...

 

 

 

 

As you say.  Quality over quantity.  Pulling numbers out of the air -- let us say that 1 in 10,000 becomes a Buddha.  It's been 3,000 years.  Where are they?

 

:mellow:

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19 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

As you say.  Quality over quantity.  Pulling numbers out of the air -- let us say that 1 in 10,000 becomes a Buddha.  It's been 3,000 years.  Where are they?

 

:mellow:

 

HmKay... let's go with that;

 

- 1:10.000 what? Humans? Azians? Chinese? Tibetans?

- people don't live 3.000 years... so there's a "growth path" to be considered here (again but in reversed order: Tibetans -> Chinese -> Azians -> Humans...).

 

 

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38 minutes ago, RevBogovac said:

 

HmKay... let's go with that;

 

- 1:10.000 what? Humans? Azians? Chinese? Tibetans?

- people don't live 3.000 years... so there's a "growth path" to be considered here (again but in reversed order: Tibetans -> Chinese -> Azians -> Humans...).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I hit the wrong button.

 

Human Buddhists.  To my reasoning, if there isn't at least one Buddha, per 10,000 Buddhists -- then this practical path is not so practical.  Or workable.  It's one thing for a path to be difficult.  Impossible is another matter.

 

The key to Buddhism is that it's a path for Humanity.  What good is a path for Humanity, where the vast majority are doomed to fail?

 

:mellow:

Quote

 

 

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2 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

I hit the wrong button.

 

Human Buddhists.  To my reasoning, if there isn't at least one Buddha, per 10,000 Buddhists -- then this practical path is not so practical.  Or workable.  It's one thing for a path to be difficult.  Impossible is another matter.

 

The key to Buddhism is that it's a path for Humanity.  What good is a path for Humanity, where the vast majority are doomed to fail?

 

:mellow:

 

 

Valid.

 

Now, let's see: who do we consider to have become Buddha? Those who are awake? Or those who are done learning? Or anything in between...?

 

 

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7 minutes ago, RevBogovac said:

 

Valid.

 

Now, let's see: who do we consider to have become Buddha? Those who are awake? Or those who are done learning? Or anything in between...?

 

 

 

 

That hits the nail on the head.  Unless we can define a Buddha -- or Enlightenment  -- it's hard to say if the Path is valid.  To say that the journey is more important than the destination is evasive -- in my opinion.

 

When I start a journey, I have a destination in mind and plans for when I get there.  Even something vague, like smell the flowers.  Which flowers?  The flowers on the side of the road?  The flowers in a botanical garden?  The lotuses in a swamp?  

 

Perhaps I have misunderstood.  I thought the goal of Buddhism was to become Enlightened.  Maybe it's like God?  Everybody has their own personal definition, so the word has no real meaning?  

 

:mellow:

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14 minutes ago, Sirius said:

Disappointment?? Maybe those achieved enlightenment just didn’t feel the need to broadcast it or share it.

 

 

Buddha's title was "The Compassionate One."  Much of Buddhism is about developing --  cultivating  -- compassion and mercy.  You're suggesting that a fully developed Buddha would refuse to share?  Then he has failed in development and is a fraud.  At the most basic level, Buddhist mercy is about leading others onto the path of Dharma.

 

:mellow:

 

Back to basics.  It's been over 3,000 years.  If the Path is practical, then where are all the Buddhas?  Buddha himself said to take nothing on faith.  Not even if he said it.  Everything that he said was to be proven.  Alright.  After 3,000 years, where is the proof that it works?  I don't know a more simple way to ask.  Where are all the Buddhas?

 

:mellow:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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while compassion is a part of buddhist studies,and actions,it (at least to me)does not mean i should run around saying how enlightened i am(or think i am;and believe me i am not).

 

 

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15 minutes ago, mark 45 said:

while compassion is a part of buddhist studies,and actions,it (at least to me)does not mean i should run around saying how enlightened i am(or think i am;and believe me i am not).

 

 

 

 

Is it possible that the world is full of hidden Buddhas?  I suppose it is.  Is it possible that a fully developed Buddha would not be noticed?  Maybe.  What then is the impact on the world, of many hidden Buddhas?  I can't say.  I suppose they could exist.  I'm not sensing their influence.  Maybe.  If there were a 1,000 Buddhas in the world, is this what the world would look like?

 

:mellow:

 

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6 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

[...]  If there were a 1,000 Buddhas in the world, is this what the world would look like?

 

:mellow:

 

 

It depends on the positions they "take". Unfortunately in the "post-modern" world the systems in place have made it so that sociopaths and psychopaths are in the most influential positions (previously most often being banned from their groups but in our "anonymous/governed societies" they actually become CEO's and presidents).... 

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4 hours ago, RevBogovac said:

 

It depends on the positions they "take". Unfortunately in the "post-modern" world the systems in place have made it so that sociopaths and psychopaths are in the most influential positions (previously most often being banned from their groups but in our "anonymous/governed societies" they actually become CEO's and presidents).... 

 

 

Maybe.  Consider modern day Burma.  The majority are Buddhists.  The Muslim minority there are subject to atrocity from the majority.  The usual crimes.  Murder, beatings, rape, arson, looting, mayhem.  A few weeks back, they had a military coup.

 

I'm not inclined to blame Buddhism.  This is clearly not what Buddha had in mind.  At the same time, I have to wonder how much influence Dharma really has on the world.

 

Again, during World War II, how well did Buddhism restrain Japanese soldiers, from atrocity in China?

 

The point has been raised in this thread.  Suppose the Buddhas of the world are simply invisible.  They exist but nobody knows who they are or how many.  Well?  If they exist, how much influence are they having?

 

I hope I'm not being unfair.  My own life has been improved by exposure to basic Buddhist ideas.  I'm only raising what I think are obvious questions.

 

:whist:           :mellow:

 

 

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3 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

Maybe.  Consider modern day Burma.  The majority are Buddhists.  The Muslim minority there are subject to atrocity from the majority.  The usual crimes.  Murder, beatings, rape, arson, looting, mayhem.  A few weeks back, they had a military coup.

 

I'm not inclined to blame Buddhism.  This is clearly not what Buddha had in mind.  At the same time, I have to wonder how much influence Dharma really has on the world.

 

Again, during World War II, how well did Buddhism restrain Japanese soldiers, from atrocity in China?

 

The point has been raised in this thread.  Suppose the Buddhas of the world are simply invisible.  They exist but nobody knows who they are or how many.  Well?  If they exist, how much influence are they having?

 

I hope I'm not being unfair.  My own life has been improved by exposure to basic Buddhist ideas.  I'm only raising what I think are obvious questions.

 

:whist:           :mellow:

 

 

 

 

It's not unfair... it's actually as we say about deities that can not be demonstrated in everyday live. If they can not be demonstrated then they are irrelevant, aren't they...?

 

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30 minutes ago, RevBogovac said:

 

 

It's not unfair... it's actually as we say about deities that can not be demonstrated in everyday live. If they can not be demonstrated then they are irrelevant, aren't they...?

 

 

 

I want to be clear about my use of the word Buddha.  I mean it as short hand for someone who becomes an Enlightened Master.  If following the Buddhist Path is a practical way to becoming a Buddha, then well and good.  The Path is valid.  If following the Buddhist Path is not a practical way to becoming a Buddha, questions arise.  Is the Path fraudulent?  Are the high level practitioners engaged in self deception?

 

This is different from questioning the existence of a god -- or God -- which may or may not exist.  Which is irrelevant if the deity can not be demonstrated to exist.

 

On reflection, there is another way of looking at Buddhism.  To treat Buddhism as a form of therapy.  To help the Buddhist reduce his suffering.

 

What was in the mind of the original Buddha?  He asked certain basic questions.  What is the nature of suffering?  How can we escape or reduce suffering?

 

If we regard Buddhism as a form of therapy, which does not lead to Enlightenment -- what ever that is -- then there is no deception and the path is valid.  This changes the conversation.  What is Enlightenment and what did Buddha intend for his followers?

 

Or -- Buddhism was intended from the start to be a path to Buddhahood.  In which case we have all the questions about validity.

 

Or -- Buddhism began as simple therapy -- a way of dealing with suffering -- and the Buddha's followers added the mystical elements which I am now questioning.


I don't know.  I'm just raising questions.

 

:whist:           :mellow:

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