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/lit/ - Literature

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18562363 No.18562363 [Reply] [Original]

Where do I start with Buddhism? I think it's the religion best suited for me but I want to avoid fitting into the western Buddhist stereotype.

>> No.18562383

>but I want to avoid fitting into the western Buddhist stereotype.
Then just appreciate it as a Westerner. You will never be a Buddhist, just appreciate Buddhism as an Eastern religion.

You should first of all appreciate the religious traditions you were born into.

>> No.18562387

Read 'Foundations of Buddhism', 'Mahayana Buddhism The Doctrinal Foundations' and 'In the Buddha's Words'
They both avoid pandering to western views of what Buddhism should be whereas non western authors can often be caught in trying to pander in order to be seen as respectable due to insecurities

>> No.18562388

look up the different branches. pick one that sounds nice to you and study it. many different types of Buddhism. its hard to get a comprehensive guide to it all.

personally ive always found Thich Nhat Hanh(Vietnamese Buddhism) simple, easy, and cool.

>> No.18562401

Don't listen to this guy. The claim that you have to be from a certain culture or born in a certain place to understand or join a religion is complete bullshit. Read up on it as much as you can and read about the different sects to pick the one that most suits you. Don't let someone tell you not to pursue your chosen path on your spiritual journey. Also start with the Indians since that is the earliest writing on Buddhism.

>> No.18562410

Buddhism was an indian dharmic religion that spread east and west though, it's not a religion limited to a certain group of people or mindsets
Taking your line of reasoning, Europe should have never become Christian and should have stuck with paganism

>> No.18562417

> I think it's the religion best suited for me

Let me guess, because you think it’s “scientific and rational” and doesn’t have the baggage associated with religions where you just “believe things”. Well, you’re in for a big surprise kid

>> No.18562424

That anon is asking for a perspective on Buddhism that's free of western Buddhist stereotypes, obviously he's not interested in Buddhism as being 'scientific and rational'

>> No.18562428

That isn't fair, he may like the ultimate message of letting go of desires and finding inner peace. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt. Worst thing would be to turn away a legitimate convert to any religion because of the cringe others of their people have done.

>> No.18562442

Very important Op that you also look into the different types of Buddhism. Leave non out as you may miss the one best suited for you. This isn't christianity where each doctrine is the total truth according to it but instead each is a school of thought on reaching nirvana. Different paths up the mountain but not all paths are good for all people. (don't leave out the Tibetan one either). It's sort of like (I know I just brought this religion up in a different context but it's multifaceted) Christianity in that you can say you're a Christian but it would be better to say what kind of Christian. This is not as critical for Buddhism but I think it's much more fulfilling in a religion when you are on a structured spiritual path. Just my personal opinion on it.

>> No.18562448

>I want to avoid fitting into the western Buddhist stereotype.

>> No.18562471

>muh spiritual journey
The problem with this is that you can rationalise anything as a spiritual journey. Where it is much better advice to remind people of their identity and what, in a sense, they have a duty to understand before anything else.

Most Westerners look in Buddhism for what can already be found in Greece or Christianity.

>> No.18562481

>Most Westerners look in Buddhism for what can already be found in Greece or Christianity.
A religion free from organisations like the church, free from sin and guilt, free from supernatural forces, free from dogma and free from faith?
I'm not sure that I'd characterise Christianity as being like that

>> No.18562499

>A religion free from organisations like the church, free from sin and guilt, free from supernatural forces, free from dogma and free from faith?
I could have used these exact complaints as an example of the retarded understanding "Buddhist" Westerners have of both their own religions and the Eastern, but I wanted to give the thread a chance.

Literally everything you have said about Buddhism is wrong, maybe you don't know this but it's more than "bro i'm just gonna be happy and not desire anything".

>> No.18562516

OP here, I'm literally the opposite of scientific and rational as I am a borderline anprim. I just wanna live out in the world by myself free of desires and physical as well as psychological constraints. Freedom is all I crave and Buddhism seems to be the religion that more willingly grants it.

>> No.18562527

So you agree that this is what westerners try to find in Buddhism, that this is a 'western Buddhist stereotype' about what Buddhism is that the OP mentioned as being what he wanted to avoid and yet at the same time, apparently these westerners would be able to find this in Christianity?
Congratulations anon for having basic knowledge about Buddhism, you are so intelligent and iconoclastic!

>> No.18562532

Not that anon, but you should be first of all questioning why you should want freedom, or what exactly that freedom constitutes, before trying out Buddhism. These answers are very easily found in the West, from there you can go wherever you like.

>> No.18562561

Can you literally not read?

I explicitly said it's an example of how Westerners don't understand either Western or Eastern religions. They're immature and unphilosophical presumptions.

>> No.18562567
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Start with translations of Buddhist scriptures or with commentary from practicing, i.e. monastic, Buddhists. Avoid anything put out by non-academic Western layman authors—for now. You won't understand why and where they are mostly wrong.
You should have a complete picture of what you are seeking AND what you are rejecting.
There were Greek Buddhists! Not as exotic as you might think.
All of those exist in Buddhism but Buddhism is far less centralized and different sects emphasize different things. Some will have more of those features and others less.

>> No.18562569

I'm too tired and sleepy to elaborate at lengths about my personal philosophy and I could go on and on about the problems of capitalism and the consequences of the industrial revolution which strip us of both physical and mental freedoms which are necessary for the happiness and fulfillment of mankind but ultimately I came to the conclusion recently that all this intellectual deliberation is detrimental to myself and achieves nothing. As it is impossible to achieve my ideal society, or even to live in the most ideal way possible, I want to live my life simply and enjoy it the best I can within the confines of modern society. Whatever brings me the most freedom within the prisons we're all subjected to is the best, or whatever gives me the tools to unshackle me from the highest number of chains possible is also helpful. That is why I seek the teachings of Buddhism in order to let go of desires and connections to the physical world which I feel is irreversibly limiting. Why I don't want to ascribe to western religions lays in the fact that I interpret them as promising fulfillment through order, regulation and devoutness, which, in my experience, has yielded opposite results.

>> No.18562584

Your performative political identity is fake and retarded but in any event, look up the Rhinoceros Sutra.
I am curious which western systems you think approximate Buddhism. The prominent rejection of a transcendent creator in Buddhism separates it from Christian and much post-Christian (i.e. Christian-replacement) thought.

>> No.18562588

Show me at which point in this discussion did I accept the 'western Buddhist stereotype' as being what Buddhism actually is anon?
>All of those exist in Buddhism but Buddhism is far less centralized and different sects emphasize different things. Some will have more of those features and others less.
Yes I'm aware, my family is literally Asian and Buddhist

>> No.18562616

>Yes I'm aware, my family is literally Asian and Buddhist
Do you give a shit about it or is that like having Catholic parents? I don't think we even had a Catholic Bible, it was some other English one. We did have a crucifix and a painting of Mary though. (I'm assuming some immigrant background)

>> No.18562647

Start What the Buddha Taught, then read the Heart Sutra.

From there, either move into the Mahayana (start with the Diamond Sutra) or the Theravada (start with accesstoinsight.org and Thanissaru Bhikku's youtube dhammatalks).

Not him, but most lay-Buddhists are concerned more with cultivating merit than meditation and sutras. A Western equivalent would be like a more extreme form of Medieval Catholicism where a Christian was more concerned with entities like Jupiter, St. George, Jack Frost, Wotan, St. Irene, St. George, St. George, St. Michael, and St. George, and how to get these entities on their good side than Jesus (except on Sundays, where Jesus is most important).

>> No.18562689

Hmm, I'm not sure what having catholic parents is like (never even been in a church before) but as far as the religion goes, it was being told about certain Gods, certain Buddha's and Bodhisattva, being told to do rituals, having to sit through very long funerals with monks playing musical instruments and chanting while incense made my eyes hurt
I was never given any indication of what any of it meant, just that I was supposed to do it and my parents would be mad at me if I didn't do it
Granted my family were more like syncretised Buddhist but with a focus on Buddhism, there were sutra's written in Chinese lying around my grandparents house for example and we often went to Buddhist temples and my grandparents gave us money to help with their construction
Personally I'm not a Buddhist and the religion is likely going to die out soon cause nobody ever bothered to explain what any of it meant besides 'your grandparents will be sad if you don't

>> No.18562701

>Not him, but most lay-Buddhists are concerned more with cultivating merit than meditation and sutras
Yeah basically
That said, cultivating merit was never explicitly explained to anyone, it was either 'you have to do it' or 'it's good to do it (you have to do it)'

>> No.18562707

>Not him, but most lay-Buddhists are concerned more with cultivating merit than meditation and sutras.
Yeah I'm aware. In western countries the exposure is largely through meditation, yoga, art, and of course books. A typical western buddhist would probably be embarassed by any sort of bhakti or ritualism or statue blessing

>> No.18562727

That sounds about right but my Catholic grandparents were also fairly secular. It is interesting that Christianity now spreads in China and Buddhism spreads in Western countries.

>> No.18564338

the western buddhist stereotype is precisely being a self-conscious whitey who wants to "experience authentic ethnic spirituality"

>> No.18564352


>> No.18565596

>to remind people of their identity
you don't know what you're talking about, your notions of identity are childish and born from frustration and insecurities in what you perceive as culture, identity and probably race

>> No.18565598

>you're probably a racist /pol/tard so your opinion is null!
Great argument.

>> No.18565600

there's 3 main branche,s theravada, mahayana and vajrayana, do some research in each one of them and find which one better fits your character, then finding some books will be quite easy

>> No.18565744

The poster he is quoting says you have a "duty" to your identity, so what is the opinion here, that you have to reproduce the religious attitudes and practices of your culture? That's a highly conservative opinion, if there were anything to conserve. I know I've seen statistics that Muslim immigrants are more devout than native Christians, in terms of church attendence and daily practice. So by all means demand people breathe life into something that's been largely abandoned. But you lost your monopoly a long time ago.

>> No.18565772

Western "buddhists" of /lit/ are mostly people who hate christianity and picked up buddhism as a kneejerk reaction more than anything else

>> No.18565780

The highest freedom is to be in alignment with divine will

>> No.18565797
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>The highest freedom is to be in alignment with divine will
It's this sort of stuff that leads to that

>> No.18565853
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Seeking to act in accordance with divine will will eventually lead you to the Logos made flesh, i.e. Christ. This is where everything culminates and comes together.

>> No.18565876

>It is interesting
Not particularly, people seek out exotism.

>> No.18565880

Another quality Buddhist thread on /lit/ where Christians show up to cite catechism

>> No.18565893

I was responding to a wrong statement. If you want to discuss buddhism and buddhism only and hate Christianity that much, there are forums like dharmawheel that you would probably find better than /lit/.

>> No.18565903

If it were that simple there would have never been dominant majoritarian religions. And come to think of it, there weren't until large, centralizing imperial states emerged. The free exchange of philosophies, gods and idols has resumed in the modern world.

>> No.18565920

What is the wrong statement? You aren't correcting anything. Christians telling people interested in Buddhism to "obey the divine will" to convince them they are better off with Christianity than studying other systems shows the lack of understanding a true believer has of why someone would reject his system in the first place. What divine will is there to an atheist or an agnostic?

>> No.18565930

No, this seeking out of religions and ideologies for surface-level aesthetic reasons and out of a yearning for novelty is far from the genuine philosophical exchange and syncretism that happened in antiquity. Religions have become accessories.
>What is the wrong statement?
This >>18565797
You seem confused, there's nothing wrong with studying other systems. That's what I did.

>> No.18566000

If I'm not mistaken the population were largely illiterate in ancient times and would have been limited to "surface-level aesthetic reasons." A "genuine philosophical exchange and syncretism" would have been limited to the elite. So all of this is still the case, since the typical person does not read anyway it is as if they were illiterate, since they use what literacy they possess largely for commerce and socialization.

>> No.18566011

>would have been limited to "surface-level aesthetic reasons."
Commodification of spirituality wasn't really a thing before the information age.

>> No.18566044
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J.D. Reynolds is the real deal...

>> No.18566066

Bullshit. Religions spread, the concept of native religions doesn't hold up to proper scrutiny.
The fact that Buddhism in the West is mostly a caricature of the true religion doesn't mean that you can't be Western and a proper Buddhist.

>> No.18566067
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>> No.18566069

It's a broad concept. If you are thinking of say, the annual festivals or mystery rites of the Greeks for instance, those weren't really shopped for and came with the community you lived in. But that also didn't stop people from going abroad and bringing back new gods or cults as if they were commodities. I think what you are getting at might be more of the literal shopping for religion as a product that goes on today (ordering some books and knick-knacks so you can identify as a sedevacantist or a Buddhist or a marxist or a nazi to your peers). But just as the Greeks had their more public and communal spiritual conditions ours are more individuated and atrophied. So this is just what people do, it could lead to a more genuine engagement or they could move on to the next fad.

>> No.18566071

listen to this guy

>> No.18566081

>Buddhism in the West is mostly a caricature of the true religion
This is also true of Christianity in the West according to some of these same people so their point is a bit muddled.

>> No.18566088

Yeah I mostly agree. What I deplore is the fact that people go around looking for spirituality in other cultures yet don't take the time to properly explore what's right in front of them, often dismissing it outright. So then you get the mcmindfulness zenbooth(tm) enjoyer who'll harp on about how western traditions are so backwards and passé and how buddhism (which he doesn't know much about, and latched on to for all the wrong reasons) is so scientific and eye-opening.

>> No.18566126

Western atheists have been calling Buddhism scientific since the 19th century and even talked some Asian Buddhists into it. There is a good book on this by David McMahan, Buddhist Modernism. And in places like Sri Lanka these arguments ended up being used to fend of Christian missionaries. Of course, the case for Buddhism being scientific says more about the person making it than Buddhism itself.

>> No.18566170

Every religion today is a caricature of the true religions, or to be more specific, of true religiosity.
Modernity had made it absolutely impossible to develop true faith.
Monotheistic religions are on their deathbed, Islam is the one holding out the most being the youngest, but it's inevitably following the same steps as it's two older brothers.
Oriental religions died outright when first meeting with the more theologically savvy Western ones, they are either a husk of their true shelves like Buddhism or simply folk traditions and superstition like Hinduism.
What OP is looking for he is only going to find in philosophy, and both Eastern and Western hold value.

>> No.18566190
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These faggots gatekeeping Buddhism of all things must be some of the most intelectually stunted creatures to walk this board.

>> No.18566210

I don't see how you can say eastern philosophy has value and then say "theologically savvy Western ones" bested the majority of Asian religion (inseparable from Dharmic religion, itself equated with what Westerners call philosophy, with few notable exceptions other than Confucianism and Taoism). Many Western philosophers regarded those very traditions as more highly developed than Christianity, e.g. Buddhism and Vedanta especially.

>> No.18566271

>Many Western philosophers regarded those very traditions as more highly developed than Christianity
What a retarded claim to make. The philosophical richness of Christianity is hardly debatable.

>> No.18566275
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>> No.18566348

It makes more sense in the context of pantheism being in vogue with philosohers of the time, e.g. Hegel, Schopenhauer, being very influential. I remember reading William James and being surprised to see him comment that Christianity was childish compared to Vedanta for instance. There is a direct line back to Spinoza in that regard of the rejection of transcendent creationist theology, the nature of which really leaves little room for philosophy, hence the selective use of mostly Plato and Aristotle by Christian theologians for hundreds of years. Whereas with a pantheistic system, which sometimes Buddhism is read as, there is an inherent pluralism in the return to monism, which takes the place of there being one revelatory dogma from the one true god to the one elect people, and so on

>> No.18566368

You fell for the orientalist meme.
It's true that Dharmic religions are inextricably linked to philoosphy in a way that the Mosaic tradition is not. That is not the same case for Christianity and to a lesser extent Islam, which underwent a heavy philosophical revision due to the contact with Greek philosophy.
I said there is value in Oriental philosophy, but anyone who is trying to sell you the idea that Eastern philosophy has ever been more developed than the Western one is either a delusional orientalist, an Asian with an inferiority complex or a retard who knows jackshit about both.
If you are actually serious about any philosophical inquiry you better drop Shankara and pick up Kant.

>> No.18566394

Hegel was a Christian, though. An unorthodox one, but a Christian nonetheless.
I think pantheism and transcendent creationism are both unsatisfactory, panentheism makes much more sense in my opinion.

>> No.18566417

I am simply relaying information, not "falling for a meme." Now the pendulum has swung and people are sneered at for taking an interest in eastern philosophy. Shankara and Kant are both theologians anyway so they are more like each other than they are like Buddhist philosophers.
I'm less interested in the doxography of pantheism vs panentheism and more in immanence vs transcendence, which I think is a better classification

>> No.18566423

>immanence vs transcendence
Panentheism is both.

>> No.18566485
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Here's the chart

>> No.18566879
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Haven't seen that chart in a while

>> No.18567135

>Taking your line of reasoning, Europe should have never become Christian and should have stuck with paganism

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