Hidden Buddhist in all of us?


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In the early 1990s I had an occasion to meet with a Catholic priest several times in a social setting.

He was a well educated man.   And a missionary to Bangladesh for (at that time almost 40 years.)

He died after more than 50-years of working there.

 

One of many ideas exchanged was, if he had not been born and raised and educated in the 

United States, he suspected his religion of choice would be Buddhism.   When I raised an eyebrow

he added, of course is very much a faithful Catholic.   However, if in his younger days he had

been exposed to Buddhism he would have, perhaps, chosen that for his path. 

 

His other surprising statement is that he studied, as a Catholic priest in his mid-life years with 

some Buddhist monks.   His conclusion is that Buddhism was compatible with most other 

religions.  One need not give up any base religion to practice Buddhist philosophy.

 

He also noted that "Everyone is Buddhist in some way" they just don't realize it - yet" 

 

I have been pondering a good long time about these things.

I suspect the supposition that early exposure influences ones later choices is likely true. 

It also seems true that many people of many base religions incorporate some form of or appreciation for

Buddhism right along with other helpful values.

 

I am still pondering that last point.   At heart is everyone, in some fashion - Buddhist in thought or action?

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3 hours ago, VonNoble said:

In the early 1990s I had an occasion to meet with a Catholic priest several times in a social setting.

He was a well educated man.   And a missionary to Bangladesh for (at that time almost 40 years.)

He died after more than 50-years of working there.

 

One of many ideas exchanged was, if he had not been born and raised and educated in the 

United States, he suspected his religion of choice would be Buddhism.   When I raised an eyebrow

he added, of course is very much a faithful Catholic.   However, if in his younger days he had

been exposed to Buddhism he would have, perhaps, chosen that for his path. 

 

His other surprising statement is that he studied, as a Catholic priest in his mid-life years with 

some Buddhist monks.   His conclusion is that Buddhism was compatible with most other 

religions.  One need not give up any base religion to practice Buddhist philosophy.

 

He also noted that "Everyone is Buddhist in some way" they just don't realize it - yet" 

 

I have been pondering a good long time about these things.

I suspect the supposition that early exposure influences ones later choices is likely true. 

It also seems true that many people of many base religions incorporate some form of or appreciation for

Buddhism right along with other helpful values.

 

I am still pondering that last point.   At heart is everyone, in some fashion - Buddhist in thought or action?

 

I suppose that is a matter of interpretation.  I am not a Buddhist, but I have incorporated some basic Buddhist thought into my life.  It helps me a lot.

 

 

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On 1/22/2022 at 9:00 AM, VonNoble said:

In the early 1990s I had an occasion to meet with a Catholic priest several times in a social setting.

He was a well educated man.   And a missionary to Bangladesh for (at that time almost 40 years.)

He died after more than 50-years of working there.

 

One of many ideas exchanged was, if he had not been born and raised and educated in the 

United States, he suspected his religion of choice would be Buddhism.   When I raised an eyebrow

he added, of course is very much a faithful Catholic.   However, if in his younger days he had

been exposed to Buddhism he would have, perhaps, chosen that for his path. 

 

His other surprising statement is that he studied, as a Catholic priest in his mid-life years with 

some Buddhist monks.   His conclusion is that Buddhism was compatible with most other 

religions.  One need not give up any base religion to practice Buddhist philosophy.

 

He also noted that "Everyone is Buddhist in some way" they just don't realize it - yet" 

 

I have been pondering a good long time about these things.

I suspect the supposition that early exposure influences ones later choices is likely true. 

It also seems true that many people of many base religions incorporate some form of or appreciation for

Buddhism right along with other helpful values.

 

I am still pondering that last point.   At heart is everyone, in some fashion - Buddhist in thought or action?

Hey Von. Good to see you. It depends on the form of Buddhism. If it’s purely philosophy sure. I’ve done a fair amount of studying it. I already have my own tradition to worry about and work on. Working on following tw philosophies even if they are compatible seems like too much.  

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A few years back Rolling Stone interviewed the Dali Lama ( or whoever the face of Buddhism was at the time).

In the interview he said that many monks are choosing to be reborn in the west, mainly to escape the totalitarian censorship taking place in the Tibet region toward anything contrary to stated government censure for the past several decades.

As a result Buddhism has been more decidedly introduced into western thought , the westerners formally being easterners, as it were.

Just an interesting thing related to this thread.  I’m sure the interview could be found online if anyones interested.  Don’t take my word for it.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't read Rolling Stone (or any magazine, to be honest), but that sounds like something that I would expect to hear from him.  That's not a bad thing.

 

However (and this is something that I have discussed with my Rinzai Zen teacher, Meido Moore roshi at Korinji https://www.korinji.org/teachers) some of the bigger name teachers of Buddhism in the United States (especially the likes of Jon Kabat-ZInn and Alan Watts) are putting forth ideas and processes that are not strictly nor traditionally Buddhism, especially Zen Buddhism.

 

That's not to say that their teachings are necessarily bad, but they are not Buddhist. Yes, Buddhism is something that has evolved and adapted as it has moved across new cultures, but there are certain things that are fundamental to Buddhism that have to be understood before you can build on it.

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  • 8 months later...

In continuing this pondering, I am hypothesizing a couple of things. 

 

Buddhism CAN BE/is... simply a philosophy.

 

As such it allows a more inclusive approach to differing points of view.  

Understanding a higher priority than conversion (which is  a low to no approach with Buddhism.)

 

It is not necessary to "save" others. 

It is encouraged to recognize interdependence of life.

Compassionate though and action towards others; improves you. 

 

Buddhism CAN BE a religion as all foundations/traditions of religious practice are available if desired.

 

God belief and rituals are optional.

 "Buddha" require no belief but rather an encouragement to challenge teachings and teachers.   

 

PRACTICING understanding of self leads to acceptance of both self and others. 

 

Still mulling things around.   Sound correct to you?

Observations of others welcome.

 

Von 

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10 hours ago, VonNoble said:

In continuing this pondering, I am hypothesizing a couple of things. 

 

Buddhism CAN BE/is... simply a philosophy.

 

As such it allows a more inclusive approach to differing points of view.  

Understanding a higher priority than conversion (which is  a low to no approach with Buddhism.)

 

It is not necessary to "save" others. 

It is encouraged to recognize interdependence of life.

Compassionate though and action towards others; improves you. 

 

Buddhism CAN BE a religion as all foundations/traditions of religious practice are available if desired.

 

God belief and rituals are optional.

 "Buddha" require no belief but rather an encouragement to challenge teachings and teachers.   

 

PRACTICING understanding of self leads to acceptance of both self and others. 

 

Still mulling things around.   Sound correct to you?

Observations of others welcome.

 

Von 

 

 

I have found the basic ideas of Buddhism very helpful.  I don't regard myself as Buddhist.  

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6 hours ago, RevBogovac said:

 

How would you describe that basic idea..?

 

 

 

The whole idea of releasing the transitory and understanding that everything passes.  It really helps in dealing with all manner of loss.

 

The idea of letting go of anger and resentment.  It makes mental health more understandable.  Anger is a fire.  It burns.  

 

Releasing desire is also useful.  IMO.

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

 

The whole idea of releasing the transitory and understanding that everything passes.  It really helps in dealing with all manner of loss.

 

The idea of letting go of anger and resentment.  It makes mental health more understandable.  Anger is a fire.  It burns.  

 

Releasing desire is also useful.  IMO.

 

 

Nice summary. Sounds indeed helpful from that perspective. 

 

But the ego wants… 

 

:coffee:

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3 hours ago, RevBogovac said:

 

 

Nice summary. Sounds indeed helpful from that perspective. 

 

But the ego wants… 

 

:coffee:

 

 

The basic ideas are solid.  The path has had 3,000 years of professional monks to make things complicated.

 

I do have a few concerns.  Buddha was clear that everything was subject to confirmation.  Including his teachings.  This is a path to enlightenment.  After 3,000 years, there should be a lot of Buddhas.  Where are they?

 

Perhaps I have wrong ideas about what it means to be enlightened.  Or what it means to be a Buddha.  That said, to my understanding, Buddha was an Agnostic.   He seems to have disdained gods and metaphysics.

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On 11/15/2022 at 7:40 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

The basic ideas are solid.  The path has had 3,000 years of professional monks to make things complicated.

 

I do have a few concerns.  Buddha was clear that everything was subject to confirmation.  Including his teachings.  This is a path to enlightenment.  After 3,000 years, there should be a lot of Buddhas.  Where are they? […]

 

I find it hard. (Maybe simple to understand but difficult to practice?) An example: how do I let go of anger towards someone threatening my children? I understand everything  passes (including my children), but I would really like (desire) it to take a bit longer…

 

On the missing Buddhas: there are not a lot of princes who are in the position to spend that much time philosophizing… most of the billionaire children spend their days on sex, drugs and rock&roll (thrill seeking). On that note; I am quite dissappointed that there are so many billionaires in the world and not one has decided to become Batman.

 

So I am only (hu-)man; I need to eat, so I have to earn money. I want to reproduce, so I had children. They need to eat, so rinse and repeat… ?

 

:coffee:

 

 

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7 hours ago, RevBogovac said:

 

I find it hard. (Maybe simple to understand but difficult to practice?) An example: how do I let go of anger towards someone threatening my children? I understand everything  passes (including my children), but I would really like (desire) it to take a bit longer…

 

On the missing Buddhas: there are not a lot of princes who are in the position to spend that much time philosophizing… most of the billionaire children spend their days on sex, drugs and rock&roll (thrill seeking). On that note; I am quite dissappointed that there are so many billionaires in the world and not one has decided to become Batman.

 

So I am only (hu-)man; I need to eat, so I have to earn money. I want to reproduce, so I had children. They need to eat, so rinse and repeat… ?

 

:coffee:

 

 

 

 

You have chosen an extreme example.  I have little to offer in the way of wisdom.  

 

A less extreme example:  A person who I regarded as a friend, who was also one of my teachers, who I had business dealings with -- bounced a check off me and disappeared into the night.  I could have mourned the loss of the money.  A $200  check.  Instead I decided that it was a small price to be rid of a false friend.  

 

Your example is more complicated.  If the situation keeps you from sleeping.  If it affects your health.  You will be less able to protect your children and your enemy has found another way to harm you.  Your rage will not harm this person.  It will consume you.

 

A Buddhist idea that I find helpful is the middle path of moderation.  Get enough sleep.  Don't sleep your life away.  Don't starve yourself.  Don't be a gluten.  Don't be lazy.  Don't work yourself to death.  Etc.  

 

Buddha himself was not always a good example.  He abandoned his wife and child to seek enlightenment.  This is not something his wife agreed to or his son.  I think it was a vile, despicable and selfish decision.    Then again, Buddha was only a man.  For all of his great wisdom, a flawed man like the rest of us.

 

 

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On 11/18/2022 at 9:37 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

You have chosen an extreme example.  I have little to offer in the way of wisdom.  

 

A less extreme example:  A person who I regarded as a friend, who was also one of my teachers, who I had business dealings with -- bounced a check off me and disappeared into the night.  I could have mourned the loss of the money.  A $200  check.  Instead I decided that it was a small price to be rid of a false friend.  […]

 

True, that is an extreme example. I do recognize your example too, and have chosen a simmilar path (only karma to poke it’s head up when I met him a few years later when I had build my business further while driving in my BMW X5. He asked if we could talk. I gracefully declined)…

 

But I did choose that example because that is how I feel nowadays…

 

On 11/18/2022 at 9:37 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

[…] Your example is more complicated.  If the situation keeps you from sleeping.  If it affects your health.  You will be less able to protect your children and your enemy has found another way to harm you.  Your rage will not harm this person.  It will consume you.

 

A Buddhist idea that I find helpful is the middle path of moderation.  Get enough sleep.  Don't sleep your life away.  Don't starve yourself.  Don't be a gluten.  Don't be lazy.  Don't work yourself to death.  Etc.  […]

 

All true. but oh so hard to put into practice. Especially in those extreme circumstances. I am all for the “Aristotelian golden mean”…

 

On 11/18/2022 at 9:37 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

Buddha himself was not always a good example.  He abandoned his wife and child to seek enlightenment.  This is not something his wife agreed to or his son.  I think it was a vile, despicable and selfish decision.    Then again, Buddha was only a man.  For all of his great wisdom, a flawed man like the rest of us.

 

“Good” to know. Thanks for the kind words again. Have I mentioned already I missed you? I am glad you’re back.

 

:coffee:

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On 11/25/2022 at 1:04 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

I have a social nature but I have run out of things to say.

 

Jonathan 

 

Yeah, this forum hasn’t got a lot of good topics any more…

 

You more or less predicted that.

 

Still, good to know you are all right!

 

:coffee:

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A lot of topics are self limiting.   The threads on Agnosticism and Atheism have been beaten to death. 

 

I doubt anyone has changed their opinion on vaccination or masking.  Well, updates.  I still have to mask up at my senior center and medical places. Otherwise,  masking has largely passed.

 

I had the new bivalent vaccine booster.   Vaccine booster rates are low.

 

Things are not quite normal.  Or maybe they are.  

 

Jonathan  😀

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On 11/30/2022 at 2:43 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

A lot of topics are self limiting.   The threads on Agnosticism and Atheism have been beaten to death. 

 

I doubt anyone has changed their opinion on vaccination or masking.  Well, updates.  I still have to mask up at my senior center and medical places. Otherwise,  masking has largely passed.

 

I had the new bivalent vaccine booster.   Vaccine booster rates are low.

 

Things are not quite normal.  Or maybe they are.  

 

Jonathan  😀

 

 

Then let’s wonder off-topic… do you have any (grand-)children, Jonathan?

 

 

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