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Thread: Ask a Buddhist

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    Sr. Member Spiny Norman's Avatar
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    Ask a Buddhist

    I'm currently exploring paganism but I've been a Buddhist for many years, so I'd be happy to respond to any questions you might have, particularly on the practical side. Just be aware that Buddhism is pluralist and diverse, so giving a pan-Buddhist response to particular questions is often not straightforward. :0

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    Silver Member Bartmanhomer's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a Buddhist

    I got two questions actually, 1. How did you join Buddhism? What's Buddhism about anyway?

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    Sr. Member Spiny Norman's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer View Post
    I got two questions actually, 1. How did you join Buddhism? What's Buddhism about anyway?
    I got interested in it quite young and basically looked in the phone book to find out where the nearest Buddhist group was meeting ( phone books were used in the olden days because we didn't have the internet ).

    As for what Buddhism is about, I think that essentially it's about liberation from suffering, though that's expressed differently across the various schools.
    In recent years my practice has involved meditating regularly and trying to maintain mindfulness throughout the day, paying close attention to experience in order to understand it better. There is a strong focus on self-awareness too.
    Once a man, like the sea I raged;
    Once a woman, like the earth I gave;
    And there is in fact more earth than sea.
    Genesis lyric

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    Sr. Member Herbert's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a Buddhist

    I'm aware that Buddhism, in itself, doesn't entail a belief in reincarnation, but would you say that the majority of Buddhists do or do not believe in it? How actively are The Eight Steps generally practiced? How do you generally interpret the idea that worldly desires, essentially speaking, cause suffering?

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    Sr. Member Spiny Norman's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by Herbert View Post
    I'm aware that Buddhism, in itself, doesn't entail a belief in reincarnation, but would you say that the majority of Buddhists do or do not believe in it? How actively are The Eight Steps generally practiced? How do you generally interpret the idea that worldly desires, essentially speaking, cause suffering?
    Traditionally Buddhist teaching does include a cycle of rebirth but quite a lot of westerners aren't comfortable with that. I wouldn't say that a belief in rebirth is necessary for effective practice though.
    I think most Buddhists practice actively but what they do depends on their culture and the school they belong to. There is a 3-fold version of the 8-fold path, morality, meditation and wisdom, that gives a good feel for it.

    Technically it's craving which causes suffering. Craving is tanha, literally "thirst".
    Once a man, like the sea I raged;
    Once a woman, like the earth I gave;
    And there is in fact more earth than sea.
    Genesis lyric

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    Sr. Member Herbert's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a Buddhist

    Ah, okay. I got the sense that rebirth was generally accepted, but I wasn't certain that it wasn't just a facet of those adjacent to Hindi majorities. Never heard of a three-fold path, but that does sound simpler. You learn a new proper translation every day. (I'm mostly just curious, but I try to incorporate disparate elements into my particular religion, hence why I prefer to know about them.)

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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a Buddhist

    Rebirth and reincarnation are not the same things.

    "Rebirth" is the ability to change, and actually is required - #3 of the 4 Noble Truths, is, roughly, "suffering can end."

    "Reincarnation" is the transmigration of souls. Worldwide, the majority of Buddhists do believe in reincarnation, but a person can be a Buddhist without believing in reincarnation.
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

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    Re: Ask a Buddhist

    What do you think are the biggest differences between Buddhism and Paganism?
    baah.

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    Sr. Member Spiny Norman's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by B. de Corbin View Post
    Rebirth and reincarnation are not the same things.
    That's right. Simply put, re-birth is reincarnation without a soul. In any case there are lots of references in the Buddhist suttas to beings "re-appearing" in different realms, according to their actions ( ie karma ).

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Näre View Post
    What do you think are the biggest differences between Buddhism and Paganism?
    I don't know enough about paganism yet to give an informed response, but one difference I've noticed is that Buddhism tends to be inward looking while paganism tends to be more outward looking. For example when working with the elements in a Buddhist context I would be looking at them primarily as parts of the body, while in paganism the focus seems to be on how the elements inform and define the natural world ( I think! ).

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by B. de Corbin View Post
    "Rebirth" is the ability to change, and actually is required - #3 of the 4 Noble Truths, is, roughly, "suffering can end."
    Not really. Some Buddhists talk about moment-to-moment rebirth, the continual rebirth of self-view, though IMO there isn't much support for that interpretation in the suttas.
    Last edited by Spiny Norman; 28 Nov 2015 at 11:01.
    Once a man, like the sea I raged;
    Once a woman, like the earth I gave;
    And there is in fact more earth than sea.
    Genesis lyric

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    Sr. Member Herbert's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by B. de Corbin View Post
    Rebirth and reincarnation are not the same things.

    "Rebirth" is the ability to change, and actually is required - #3 of the 4 Noble Truths, is, roughly, "suffering can end."

    "Reincarnation" is the transmigration of souls. Worldwide, the majority of Buddhists do believe in reincarnation, but a person can be a Buddhist without believing in reincarnation.
    While I was using somewhat imprecise language, under those definitions, reincarnation would be a form of rebirth. In any case, I generally take a more literal form of the word rebirth than some; namely, being born again (literally, not metaphorically). Using rebirth to refer to something other than being conceived, and then exiting the womb, for the second plus time, is somewhat devaluing the idea of entering the world of the living.

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