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  • ivanildotrindade 2:33 pm on August 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: and catherine deneuve, buddhism, contrary to popular belief, eight fold path of buddhism, list of majors, right livelihood   

    The sweet ingredients in Buddhism 

    No wars have ever been started in the name of Buddhism. That statement has been enough to drive people toward the Buddhist way of life. And who could argue against the principles behind the eight-fold path of Buddhism? Elsewhere here I have written about the idea of “Right Speech,” one of elements of the eight-fold path. Anyone can benefit from applying the principles of “Right Speech” to their daily lives.

    Contrary to popular belief, Buddhism does have something to say about what a person should NOT do. This falls under the category of “Right Action,” which includes: a. Harming any sentient being (this the worst a person can do, therefore, many Buddhists are vegetarians); b. Stealing (includes all forms of robbery, theft, deceit and fraud); c. Sexual misconduct (not engaging in sexual behavior that harms others either physically or emotionally). I don’t know too many people who take issue with any of these, except maybe the likes of French actress Catherine Deneuve, who says it’s nobody’s business if she wants to wear a fur coat. And yes, I have to confess: I hate flies and my son is always asking me to kill spiders around our house!

    “Right Livelihood” is another great thing in Buddhism. Even though some say Buddhism is not a religion, it does regulate which professions are good and which are to be avoided. And here is the list of majors to avoid in college: a. Trading in weapons; b. Trading in living beings, including slavery, prostitution and raising animals for slaughter; c. Butchery and meat processing; d. Trading in drugs and poisons, including alcohol and recreational drugs; e) trading your vote on raising the debt ceiling (just kidding about the last one!).

    To summarize: no drug dealing, no weapons contraband, and about that favorite neighborhood gourmet meat shop of yours? Gone! And no more pimps and madams. And to boot: the end of the sex trade industry in Thailand, which, ironically, by the way, is 97% Buddhist. I mean who can argue against that? I can’t, except for the little detail about meat. If you’ve had Brazilian barbecue, you know why it would be hard to convert to vegetarianism… but that’s not even among the reasons why I am not a Buddhist. (You will start reading about that tomorrow).

    As you can see, then, Buddhism has a lot going for it, so it is no wonder people the world over have a favorable opinion of it. On the face of it, it looks like the icing on the cake of whatever beliefs you already have going for you. And it does help when you also see that kind of sweetness stamped all over the face of the Dalai Lama whenever you see him on T.V. But is this all there is? How does one practice these noble things without the aid of a supernatural being?

    That is the rub and we will start unraveling it tomorrow. We will see that while there are some wonderful truths embedded in Buddhism (and all truth is God’s truth), and some striking points of convergence with Christianity, there are some sharp contrasts as well, which will automatically eliminate the possibility of simply coating the beliefs of Buddhism on top of a Christianity cake that is already baked. Ingredients will clash and the twain shall not meet. Indigestion is sure to follow.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

  • ivanildotrindade 2:27 pm on August 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: buddhism, einstein, ,   

    Einstein pitching religion? 

    Albert Einstein once did PR for a religion and it was not for Scientology. He is attributed as saying that he was not a religious man, but if he were, he would be a Buddhist. One of the versions of the famous quote goes: “Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and the spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.”

    Whether he did really say that or not is questionable, but though I am no Einstein, if I was trying to make up a quote for Einstein, I would probably have said something like that! No matter. For the next several days I will be writing about Buddhism here. Today I deal with why Buddhism is so attractive to people in the West and over the next several days I will deal with the top 7 reasons why I am not a Buddhist. Tell me what you think. By the way, you can leave comments here even if you are not on Facebook (this is for Bob Mitchell. :)).

    Buddhism is attractive to people in the West for many reasons. First, there is the lure of a “religion” without a God. In fact, many people say that Buddhism is not even a religion, it is a way of life. You can bring a god, no god, or multiple gods and simply add the Buddhist teachings to the menu. For people who are looking for a religion with no accountability to anything other than self and community, Buddhism is the ticket.

    Secondly, Buddhism offers an explanation to the problem of suffering and evil in the world that is compelling to people looking for “scientific” type of answers. Basically, Buddhism is “pay it forward” perfected. If you are good, you progress; if you are bad, you regress. Suffering today is the direct result of having been bad in some previous life. This supposedly avoids the problem of a good and loving God that allows suffering in the world. In Buddhism, “karma” and not God, rules, and you only have yourself to fool.

    Thirdly, there is a fresh and all-pervasive emphasis in Buddhism on compassion. Not just to your fellow human being but to the whole universe and all beings that have feelings. Most people aspire to be compassionate and loving and Buddhism offers them a hope of achieving that.

    Fourthly, Buddhism in the West, and especially Zen-Buddhism, puts a great deal of emphasis on self-mastery. The ability to control one’s emotions and reactions; the dream of a mind that is at ease no matter what. I mean just look at Phil Jackson, the former Lakers coach, before he retired. As a practicing Zen Buddhist, you never saw him yelling and screaming at his players. He was a picture of serenity. For those who are old enough to remember, don’t you think Bobby Knight could have added some Zen-Buddhism to his sideline manners?

    Finally, Buddhism, as it is practiced in the West, looks at this life as the  only game there is. There is no heaven and hell. Like a friend of mine says, “Our life is like the light of a candle whose wick burns until it is no more. Once the flickering flame is extinguished, you also go off into a state of non-existence.” Believe it or not, in an age when people don’t want to deal with personal accountability, this possibility can be very attractive.

    So, my question to you: Are any of these Buddhist traits attractive to you? Why? Please post your comments and we will relay them to Mr. Einstein, that is, if he didn’t reincarnate into some bug or mosquito, as a punishment for bringing to light the theory of relativity, where everything is  relative and there are no absolutes. Oh wait, that’s not what the Theory of Relativity is!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    • Bob 7:14 pm on August 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Brother……Like a mutual friend said “you are in the class of the likes of Ravi Zacariah.” One of the great thinkers of our day. Where do you find time to think so much.:)

      • ivanildotrindade 8:51 pm on August 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        i love ravi and he has been a kind of mentor to me, but in his class? not so fast. stay tuned, there will be much food for thought here coming up…

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