is sam harris budhist?
Posted: 24 February 2007 06:28 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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just curious because the book didn't say whether he was or not.  If i remember though he does a lot of meditation and i thought he was for budhism.  So if he is budhist then he isn't an atheist i take it?  or does he not consider budhissim a religion?

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Posted: 25 February 2007 01:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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[quote author=“bhome83”]just curious because the book didn’t say whether he was or not.  If i remember though he does a lot of meditation and i thought he was for budhism.  So if he is budhist then he isn’t an atheist i take it?  or does he not consider budhissim a religion?

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Posted: 25 February 2007 04:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Some Buddhists are atheists.  So even if Sam were a Buddhist, he could still be an atheist.

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Posted: 25 February 2007 04:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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bhome83, you are obviously unfamiliar with the philosophy of Buddhism.  There is nothing in the general principles articulated by Siddhartha Guatama (The Buddha) that support, acknowledge, or other wise endorse the notion of or the existence of a deity.  In fact, to the contrary, the Buddha writes specifically for those who in the course of their journey might want to envision him as a deity, that they should kill that Buddha.  Buddhism is NOT a theistic religion (if it can be called a religion, it is more like a philosophy of living).

Around the world Buddhists come in a variety of versions, there are atheists, agnostics, and (unfortunately) theists.  However given the statements made by The Buddha it would seem counter to his teachings that a buddhist would also be a theist, but humans are capable of all sorts of contradictory beliefs -  just examine christianity.  Those buddhists who might be labeled “theists” are in fact believers in ancient nature spirits and supernatural entities that can bring either luck or misfortune.  These sort of myth-laden beliefs are common around the world and they only become harmful when they morph into supremacist theories about the nature of some specific god and anti-god.

So Sam could indeed be an atheist as well as a buddhist, it would be a perfect fit.

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Posted: 25 February 2007 07:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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thanks, that clears up alot guys.  i don’t know a ton about budhissim but seems more open minded than christianity..but then again i dont know much about it.  if anyone knows of any good books that explain the basics of the philosophy, shoot em my way. thanks.

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Posted: 25 February 2007 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Canzen wrote

There is nothing in the general principles articulated by Siddhartha Guatama (The Buddha) that support, acknowledge, or other wise endorse the notion of or the existence of a deity.

However this has not stopped some “Buddhist” from creating gods in their practice. In spite of what the Buddha said it seems that there is an overpowering human need for some kind of god, although, in this case they are typically not ‘creator’ gods. So don’t be surprised if you run into some ‘higher beings’ or even gods in some forms of Buddhism. This seems so typical of Humanity, a ‘realized’ man has a religion started by his followers and he cannot control what they do as the years go by. Thus a ‘religion’ gets started in spite of what the person who provided the spark for it says.

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Posted: 27 February 2007 08:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“bhome83”]thanks, that clears up alot guys.  i don’t know a ton about budhissim but seems more open minded than christianity..but then again i dont know much about it.  if anyone knows of any good books that explain the basics of the philosophy, shoot em my way. thanks.

A good place to start would be with Stephen Batchelor Buddhism Without Beliefs.
Then you can keep in mind that the Buddhist tradition did not begin with a ‘jealous God’, and as it spread around it picked up many of the indigenous religious beliefs, customs and values. 

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Posted: 18 March 2007 06:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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[quote author=“JustThis”]Canzen wrote

There is nothing in the general principles articulated by Siddhartha Guatama (The Buddha) that support, acknowledge, or other wise endorse the notion of or the existence of a deity.

However this has not stopped some “Buddhist” from creating gods in their practice. In spite of what the Buddha said it seems that there is an overpowering human need for some kind of god, although, in this case they are typically not ‘creator’ gods. So don’t be surprised if you run into some ‘higher beings’ or even gods in some forms of Buddhism. This seems so typical of Humanity, a ‘realized’ man has a religion started by his followers and he cannot control what they do as the years go by. Thus a ‘religion’ gets started in spite of what the person who provided the spark for it says.

In my understanding, Buddhism does not necessarily deny the existence of a God or celestial beings per se but rather suggests that if a God does exist, i.e. some sort of creator, humans are nevertheless still subject to the problem of impermanence and the suffering that accompanies the reality of impermance. In other words, even if there is a God, praying to that God won’t solve a human’s problem, but simply represents another form of attachment destined to cause suffering.

Ultimately, Buddhists believe that the question of whether God exists or not is irrelevant.  The useful question is what practices can human beings undertake to reduce or eliminate suffering from their lives here and now.

The answer, according to Buddhists, is to have insight into the futility and suffering that is caused by attaching to anything as being me or mine. It is this insight alone that can result in the ultimate liberation and freedom from suffering every human should seek. The Buddhist, through meditation practice, comes to realize directly that the delusion of self causes him to attach to things as me or mine, when in reality there is nothing that should be considered as me or mine, because everything is subject to change.  Attachment to anything that is subject to change ultimately leads to suffering when changes inevitably occur.

Interestingly, the core principle of virtually all religious traditions is the idea that self-centeredness and attachment to material existence is the primary problem. And all religious traditions suggests different practices to eliminate this self-centeredness.

Unfortunately, as humans we have twisted these religious traditions in such a way as to create another form of attachment, thereby, once again separating ourselves from other humans as well as the rest of the world, thereby, prepetuating our own suffering and the suffering of others.

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