Ask the Buddhist!

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by no1tovote4, Feb 24, 2005.

  1. no1tovote4
    Offline

    no1tovote4 VIP Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    10,294
    Thanks Received:
    616
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Colorado
    Ratings:
    +616
    Since the Ask the Evangelist thread has been so popular I thought people might want to see a different angle.

    I am not yet super-knowledgeable so you can expect some time between question to answer sometimes but it would help both myself to learn more about my Faith and others to learn about a different religion.

    Anyway, ask me whatever question you wish about Buddhism and I will answer with my best attempt.

    :D
     
  2. 5stringJeff
    Offline

    5stringJeff Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2003
    Messages:
    9,990
    Thanks Received:
    536
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Puyallup, WA
    Ratings:
    +540
    Copycat! :p:

    Here's a question for you:

    As I understand it, Buddhism teaches that one can ultimately reach the state of nirvana through a series of reincarnations and following the Eightfold Path.

    My question is, who or what decides when you reach the state of nirvana, or what you are reincarnated as? Who is the arbitrator/judge?
     
  3. no1tovote4
    Offline

    no1tovote4 VIP Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    10,294
    Thanks Received:
    616
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Colorado
    Ratings:
    +616
    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.


    Nirvana is an eternal state of being. It is the state in which the law of karma, and the rebirth cycle come to an end. It is the end of suffering, a state where there are no desires and the indivudual consciousness comes to an end. You have accepted and become part of a larger idea, the Amida Buddha or Greater Compassion.

    Since it is a state of being, there is not one judge above all that allows one to enter, it is what you are. If you have not reached Nirvana, you could not escape the cycle of rebirth.
     
  4. ScreamingEagle
    Offline

    ScreamingEagle Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Messages:
    12,887
    Thanks Received:
    1,610
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Ratings:
    +2,159
    So the "larger idea" or the "Amida Buddha" or the "Greater Compassion" are just different words for "God" and "Nirvana" is another designation for "heaven"?
     
  5. CivilLiberty
    Offline

    CivilLiberty Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2004
    Messages:
    821
    Thanks Received:
    50
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Hollywood
    Ratings:
    +50

    I'm "more Zen", and thus I'll likely have a different answer here than no1tovote4 who I believe practices a different sect.

    Reincarnations are not a needed part of "nirvana". While the Buddha mentions the "eight fold path", it's western thinking to look at these as "rules" or "laws". I don't even know if you could call them principals.

    I found this useful:


    It is western thinking that "nirvana" is a place to be "won" or "achieved", like the western concept of "heaven" where one is only admitted if they performed a certain set of defined tasks in life.

    Nirvana is not something to be admitted to, nor is it in itself something that is to be "desired", and desiring it guarantees that you won't find it.

    But to address the most "western" of your questions:

    There is no arbiter or judge. Such a concept does not exist. And one could say that you yourself can't know, because knowing would mean that you were not "nirvana".


    Instead, look for truth.


    Nirvana has been defined as oneness with the Tao. And the Tao has been defined as the nameless physical and nonphysical reality and nonreality both known and unknown.

    Nirvana is not a place, or a thing, or a state of mind. Perhaps it is a transcendence. Perhaps it is purely nothing. Perhaps it is a knowing of the Tao. Perhaps it is an unknowing of the Tao.

    If you don't know it, how can you define it? If knowing it means a freedom from the encumbrances of thought through definitions, then it can never be defined. Or defined only by it's indefinition.



    You might find this interesting:

    http://www.angelfire.com/electronic/bodhidharma/zen30.html


    Regards,


    Andy
     
  6. ScreamingEagle
    Offline

    ScreamingEagle Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Messages:
    12,887
    Thanks Received:
    1,610
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Ratings:
    +2,159
    But we could say Truth is Love and Love is God so we are back to "God" again.
     
  7. CivilLiberty
    Offline

    CivilLiberty Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2004
    Messages:
    821
    Thanks Received:
    50
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Hollywood
    Ratings:
    +50

    I wouldn't agree.

    "God" is neither promoted, nor denied, by buddhism. You may or may not believe in god.

    A buddha is a person that has attained enlightenment, and not "a god".

    When people meditate in front of a statue of buddha, they are NOT "praying to" as if to pray to a god. If anything, it is a focus point or a symbol of inspiration.

    The meaning or definition of "heaven" is markedly different than the meaning or definition of "nirvana".


    A
     
  8. CivilLiberty
    Offline

    CivilLiberty Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2004
    Messages:
    821
    Thanks Received:
    50
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Hollywood
    Ratings:
    +50
    I don't believe in god, I believe in chaos theory.

    or

    Chaos theory is god, and god is chaos theory.


    I'll accept either reading.


    A
     
  9. no1tovote4
    Offline

    no1tovote4 VIP Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    10,294
    Thanks Received:
    616
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Colorado
    Ratings:
    +616

    It would be more like the next step of life. Buddhists believe that humanity is a higher form of life, when one reaches Nirvana it is the next. It is very difficult to describe Nirvana, it isn't Heaven because it is not a place, and is misunderstood until you have reached it.

    It can be better described as an ability. Just as one could not ride a bicycle until they have learned and practiced one cannot reach Nirvana without practice and learning. Once you have learned to ride the bicycle it cannot be unlearned, so it is with Nirvana. (This is very simplistic of course.) Just as with riding a bicycle one can learn how in many different ways, so it is with Nirvana.

    This is one of the tenets of Buddhism, you don't interfere with another's path. This is why Buddhists repect the teachings of other religions and celebrate those that would follow that path.
     
  10. no1tovote4
    Offline

    no1tovote4 VIP Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    10,294
    Thanks Received:
    616
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Colorado
    Ratings:
    +616

    Buddhism does not teach in respect to God, its teachings are in respect to yourself.

    Many Buddhists believe that God is life, all things that live are part of what makes up God. Others do not attempt to describe God.

    Since Buddhism doesn't teach in respect to God some Buddhists would believe in God others would not.
     

Share This Page