Buddhism Salvation

November 23, 2008

I don’t go looking for these things. They show up in my Tag Surfer.

The Deliberate Ruminator is an evangelical Christian blog, and this comparative religions post posits the usual misunderstandings in order to prove there is only one true religion. In response to Salvation, Oh How We Count The Ways posted by tree63fan:

Buddhism salvation:
“Most Buddhists believe a person has hundreds or thousands of reincarnations”

The person, the personality, the soul does not reincarnate. The karma, the causes, the habits, the attachments incarnate.

“all bringing misery.” 

try to understand “Dukkha”. It is not Misery, it is not Suffering. It is clinging to concepts of self and other, it is wanting a drink of water, it is eating ice cream.

“And it is the desire for happiness that causes a person’s reincarnation.

It is attachment to desire that brings about the incarnation. I could be attached to revenge.

“Therefore, the goal”

There is no goal, there is only practice. “Goal” is part of the discriminating, labeling mind.

“of a Buddhist is to purify one’s heart and to let go of all desires.” 

rather the practice is to let go of the discrimination between self and other, to let go of the attachment to things we think will make us happy, or the stories we tell ourselves about what we are.

“A person must abandon all sensuous pleasures, all evil, all joy and all sorrow.”

No. Relinquishing attachment to these things – as a way to define who we are and what we want – is the practice. These things are fleeting, moments, not solid, not what we are, not who we are. Denying them is the same as grasping them. These things come from a fixed view of person, personality, self and other. They do not exist other than as our own discriminating states of mind.

“To do so, Buddhists are to follow a list of religious principles and intense meditation.”

There is such a wide degree of difference in various practices and branches of Buddhism. There is practice for the layman, for ordinary persons, there is practice for monks. For instance the Five Precepts that laypeople can follow… and meditation is just one technique that the majority don’t even bother with.

“When a Buddhist meditates it is not the same as praying”

Maybe, maybe not. Since, in Buddhism, there is no god, and nothing outside of anything but this whole inclusive process of being, what exactly is there to pray to? Meditation practice is the process of seeing this whole thing and all the little discriminations we do to make ourselves different from it – as really false, illusory and completely unnecessary – and actually destructive in understanding “god”.

“or focusing on a god, it is more of a self-discipline.”

There is nothing outside of ourselves. There is nothing that is a self. There is no boundary between our body and our mind, there is no boundary between our body and the world, there is no boundary between the world and God.

Focusing on God as outside of self – focusing on self as different from God is the act of the discriminating mind. You need to practice self-discipline to see that.

“Through dedicated meditation”

doing, being, practice… not of a single technique, but practice of the Eightfold Path, and seeing (process, not goal) when discrimination and attachment, labels and stories arise… and letting these things pass away. These things are not who you are.

“a person may reach Nirvana — “the blowing out” of the flame of desire.”

or a person, having abandoned attachment and discrimination, labels and stories, a person may see that Samsara and Nirvana are one and the same thing. 

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10 Responses to “Buddhism Salvation”

  1. tree63fan Says:

    Actually, the point was that Christianity is not works based where ever other major religion is.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to share your comment and add to the blog. As I said in the blog, I could not put all information in there. However, where ever I got the information from on the web is never as good as getting information from a real believer in that faith.

    Thanks again,
    Jeff – The Deliberate Ruminator

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  2. dougrogers Says:

    I don’t see how Buddhism is ‘works’ based.

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  3. tree63fan Says:

    Thank you for the link. On that blog, one of the comments from a new practicing Buddhist notes, “My practice consists of daily samatha meditation, focusing on the breath and releasing thoughts as they arise, and doing my best to follow the eightfold path.”
    I would be the first to admit that in my faith, Christianity, there are ‘practices’ that are recommended, such as prayer and good works. Of course, these are products of the conversion and not done to ‘be’ converted or saved.
    Would you define the eightfold path as something along these lines, or is it something that ‘must’ be done, etc? I could look it up, but I believe your answers may be better.

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  4. dougrogers Says:

    I don’t think there is a ‘must’. Nothing must be done to be a Buddhist. Nothing must be done because you are a ‘Buddhist’. Are there things that must be done because you are a human being?

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  5. tree63fan Says:

    So much for personal insight, but google will do. Thank you.

    Would it be your contention that everyone is a Buddhist, but many have not begun the journey or maybe are not yet at the beginning of some sort of time of enlightenment? I’m failing at using religious terminology that makes sense here since I do not know it. Please accept my apologies.

    Also, just to clarify, I’m asking ‘you’ these questions for the very reason that you had to ‘correct’ the web info that I had garnered for my post. If you prefer that I attempt to gather info that could be just as faulty, by all means, give me another google link.

    Thanks in advance.

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  6. dougrogers Says:

    The Big View and the Wikipedia links are very reliable.

    Everyone is a human being. Once you are there, there is no beginning, there is no journey and there is no enlightenment – no birth, no death, no good, no evil – because all of these things are *not* outside of what you are – a sentient being not separate from the world or others or the grass or the trees or the stars. All of this is before language, before labels of religion, terminology, or sense of separation – which we so longingly ache to overcome.

    You become a Buddhist the instant you see everyone is trapped in Samsara, and you see that the way out is to know the stories, the labels, the language, the discrimination between this and that, self and other is that trap.

    You need make no other declarations, swear no creeds or hold no dogma’s or rituals. However, the Five Precepts and the guidance of the Eightfold Path are wonderful information posts along the path.

    There is a very odd condition that I have to respect, and that is Transmission. I only know what I know from reading and practice and talking with some monks and nuns. I suspect I understand. I can correct some things. But what I say here is only what I know. I haven’t had affirmation or argument from an authority of it’s correctness, or incorrectness.

    What I’m saying is that this is my opinion, from my experience. I cannot teach.

    Some wonderful reliable and accurate Buddhist books would be Brad Warner’s “Hardcore Zen”, and Pema Chodron’s “When Things Fall Apart”.

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  7. tree63fan Says:

    I appreciate the insight. Thank you :)
    It seems that Buddhism is so far different than Christianity that they are actually very difficult to compare.

    Blessings! If you celebrate Thanksgiving a great time.

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