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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
MilesToGo
12:55 PM on 03/16/2011
Thanks for this article, which contains several kernels of truth. As a Christian, my studies of the treasures of Buddhism have been valuable, besides meaningful & beautiful. The light of another's traditions & doctrine does not dim my own.
03:55 AM on 03/17/2011
just your brain
12:09 PM on 03/16/2011
Why is it important to this article to say that Buddhism is not a religion?
For most people, it is a religion. Sure, there are elements of Buddhist philosophy that are compatible with other religions, but discounting the thousands of years of ritual and practice by deeming them not a religion is problematic.
Granted, religion is a slippery term, so arguing whether or not it is a religion is also problematic. I just find it strange that saying Buddhism is not a religion is the high point of your argument that it is practical. Why is religion impractical?
08:16 PM on 03/16/2011
I completely agree with you. Just in terms of formulating an argument, it is extremely problematic to throw in an anti-religion point at the end. While it is silly to blithely assert, without justification, that religion is "impractical," no matter how much the author may believe that. Why not simply say that Buddhism is not as dogmatic as many religions--which is really what the article seems to be getting at?

Moreover, while Buddhism cannot neatly be assimilated to a theistic religion like Christianity or Islam, it is highly misleading to say that it is just a "philosophy of life" (and I say that as someone who is Buddhist and has spent many years teaching "philosophies of life" at universities). Unlike in academic philosophy, there are rituals and prayers in Buddhism--not to mention an intense awareness of the sacred (a dimension completely absent from most philosophy). And, perhaps most importantly, Buddhism centers around the practice of meditation: the sort of account that is given above would be the end of the matter for a "philosophy of life," but critical to Buddhism is applying it to one's own experience through meditation.

So this is a pretty good article as a whole, but I do wish he axed the last paragraph.
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LesCap
I miss Hitch
10:00 PM on 03/16/2011
Philosophy is a result of reason, as I understand it. There is no god or word of god required.
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tdpubs
Content publisher for small business marketing
12:06 PM on 03/16/2011
Great read to start my day.
12:01 PM on 03/16/2011
"Buddhism is a philosophy of life and not a religion. So in sharing these thoughts with you, my hope has been that you can see some of its practical wisdom."

Some attachment going on there, me thinks...

Has some pain prompted you to classify Buddhism as something other than religion? Are you trying to speak only to the non-religious, or to get religious people to consider Buddhism as something they can utilize regardless of what their religion is? Do you think religion can not include a philosophy of life, or that practical wisdom is not compatible with religion? Does it really matter if Buddhism is a religion or not (except when it comes to tax exemptions and conscientious objection)?
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LesCap
I miss Hitch
10:10 PM on 03/16/2011
Accepting a philosophy of live from the interpreted words of a god is very different from a philosophy of life based on the reason of man...even if the two philosophies are considered similar....don't you think?

I believe Sam Harris's recent book covers this thought very well.
12:52 PM on 03/18/2011
There is no difference between a philosophy of life from interpreted words of a god and one based on the reason of man. Both are based on the reason of man. Interpretation is an act of reason, unless there really is a god.
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Robert Frank
My last name is FRANK so thats what I am..
11:13 AM on 03/16/2011
live life striving to be always positive in your approach to EVERYTHING and EVERYONE and you will live well and be content
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09:59 AM on 03/16/2011
Great read.
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09:58 AM on 03/16/2011
Practical, yes. Good read - thank you.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
H P
Citizen
09:55 AM on 03/16/2011
The article is very deep, philosophical. Nothing is mentioned about how to become aware of our 'suffering'. The answer is not just thinking about it in an intellectual way, but by simple meditation. Meditation on your breath. Take time to get away from things, and actually see, actually experience your thoughts arise out of... what ever they arise out of in your mind.
08:33 AM on 03/16/2011
A Rimpoche once told me when I was asking about the China/Tibet phenomena: "Don't be atteched to Tibet and don't hate the Chinese. Keep your mind free." Sound advice in all things.
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Lesperado
liberal... born that way...
11:47 AM on 03/16/2011
Thank you and fanned for that.
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gemsviathailand
Namaste - Have a nice day!
04:53 AM on 03/16/2011
I once heard a very simple definition of “Religion” – “That which is held most important in one’s life.” The speaker went on to say all people have the same religion; there is only one – the avoidance of pain.



I have experienced and observed that sometimes that pain is in the form of a seemingly unquenchable hunger – the hungry ghost.



It is no simple thing to accept life on life’s terms and let the present easily slide into the past. Nor is it simple to wait patiently for tomorrow.



I checked a dictionary for religion. It seemed to indicate that a belief or worshipping of a “supernatural power” is a requisite.



What little I have seen of Buddhist practice seems to put more emphasis on living by a clearly prescribed code - dharma. It is not "supernatural" and actually defines more closely to Law or Natural Law.



I was born (5th generation) into the American Judeo/Christian culture and spent my first 55+ years traveling an eclectic path there. Now I live very happily in Thailand where the monks broadcast predawn chants through huge PA systems. I occasionally understand a word or two.



I often hear (and not just from the monks) Do good get good - Do bad get bad



A question I like to ask when the opportunity arises - How many wars have been fought throughout history in the name of the Buddha; or by Buddhists?
kellygreen
"Ideology is the Science of Idiots" John Adams
08:13 AM on 03/16/2011
One...The Pacific War for Japanese Expansion from 1930s-1945.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
H P
Citizen
09:52 AM on 03/16/2011
The Japanese expansion of those years rose out of 'super nationalism', analogous to other times in the world's known history when religion is USED by others to create a pride in self over others. Buddhism was used, not in the name of Buddah.
Christianity is USED right now in our military, by the right wing for the exact same purpose.
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Saidas
11:10 AM on 03/16/2011
Where did you go to school?
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MilesToGo
12:51 PM on 03/16/2011
One could consider the recent Sri Lankan civil war.
researcher
researcher
01:04 AM on 03/16/2011
well written article.easy to understand and follow.

I disagree with the last paragraph. buddhism for most is a religion. try saying something most buddhist dont agree with. they will defend it at all costs.

but it is a very important religion because it deals with the origin and elimination of suffering.

what the buddhist religion has not done is move beyond the origin of suffering. the buddha refused to answer such questions and of course being a religion the followers dont seek beyond what the buddha taught.

the elimination of suffering is not the only meaning and purpose to life. life is about process. to be exact; the involution and evolution of consciousness process to greater and greater awareness.

even tho he warned his followers to be open to new discoveries; this they have failed to do. that is why the buddha is treated as the perfect one. his teachings were not perfect all knowing but he did what he set out to do. discover the origin of suffering and teach a way to reduce or eliminate that suffering.

if one is a sincere seeker then buddhism is surely one of the many practices to better understand the origin of suffering on ones' evolution of consciousness path of discoveries and realizations.
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Eileenla
07:21 AM on 03/16/2011
Nice - thanks!
kellygreen
"Ideology is the Science of Idiots" John Adams
08:21 AM on 03/16/2011
Disagree.

1. Buddhism is not a religion. Religions are organized around a fixed---usually unchanging--set of beliefs. Buddhism, in reality is a PRESCRIPTION for remedying how people are conditioned by our bodies, our biology, and by social programming to misperceive reality. But like a pair of eyeglasses it is ONE distortion of reality, that seeks to correct for ANOTHER distortion.

That is why the Buddha admonished that the Dharma was like a raft to go from one shore (ignorance/avidya) to another (Enlightenment/Awakening). But once the "other shore" is reached, that it is just as important to PUT DOWN THE RAFT....not walk around with it. Or as Zen teacher Adyashanti put it in describing his own satori (Awakening) was the realization that he had not only awakened from the Dream of Form....but that he had also "Woken up from (attachement to) Zen" as well.

2. The Buddha refused to answer such questions because attachment to various perspectives simply becomes more fuel for the fire of Ego and seperation (see any religious/sectarian conflict in history). As such addressing them was counterproductive to his ultimate goal. But those go deeply into practice, ultimately discover their own answers to these questions...and since they are born out of direct experience (rather than faith and belief) they feel no need to fight over them, or impose them upon others as a means of validating them.
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solitude1951
01:22 PM on 03/16/2011
"but that he had also "Woken up from (attachment to) Zen" as well."

Sometimes referred to as 'the stench of zen'.