Buddhism

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Robert J Hutton, Jan 2, 2006.

  1. Robert J Hutton

    Robert J Hutton
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    I have been asked to do a talk to a young people's group on Buddhism; however, I don't know much about it. Can anyone suggest any links. Is there anyone who has done extensive work with Buddhists who could offer advice etc.

    Many thanks and kind regards to all.

    Bob
     
  2. psalm40.17

    psalm40.17
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    I would PM John of Japan.
     
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Hi, Bob.

    This is a very complicated subject. If you can narrow down what you want to talk about it would help.

    Suggestions: (1) Who was Buddha? (2) Different kinds of Buddhism (Or maybe just one, like Zen), (3) Beliefs Basic to Buddhism (has a nice ring, that!) (4) How to Witness to Buddhists

    In the meantime, here is a link that does fairly well: http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/buddhism

    God bless.

    John
    Asahikawa, Japan
     
  4. Linda64

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    Just do a search on Google on Buddhism. I found 35,800,000 results. What is the purpose of this talk? Are you going to tell them it is a false religion or is this just going to be an information talk?
     
  5. Linda64

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  6. Aaron

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    Why were you asked to speak on Buddhism if you know little about it?
     
  7. Helen

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    I have taught about cults before to teen groups. I have no way of giving you all my notes, but here are some things I found on the web that will be helpful.

    History in a few paragraphs:
    http://mcel.pacificu.edu/as/students/cgono/siddhartha.html

    The basic stuff:
    http://www.aboutbuddhism.org/what-is-buddhism.htm

    Please note as you read that, that Buddhism is extraordinarily 'self' centered, and thus subject to all manner of deceit and delusions. This needs to be made very clear to your audience.

    http://www.aboutbuddhism.org/Buddhism-beliefs.htm -- basic Buddhist beliefs. They center around karma and reincarnation -- the endless cyclic existence over which a man really has no control.

    the logic of karma and reincarnation is that of an ever DEscending wheel of evil. For there is no forgiveness and every bad thought, word, and action must be paid for and can never really be made up for by good actions. Enough good actions and you MAY get a better reincarnation next time, but nothing is guaranteed and thus there is a hopelessness at the core of Buddhism which all the meditation in the world cannot erase.

    Buddhism is very typical of most of the world's religions in that it recognizes that man has something imcomplete or wrong about him and needs to be made completed, or fixed, or whatever each religion calls it. Buddhism puts the onus of that fixing squarely on man's shoulders -- an unbearable burden for each man. THIS is the precise reason Jesus summons, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." HIS burden is light. We are only to admit our hopeless state, repent from it, and give up ourselves to Him. He has done everything for us so that we can be changed and can be completed as the creations we are meant to be.

    Hope that helps.
     
  8. John of Japan

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    Pretty good, Helen. [​IMG]

    I would add a note on the practical aspects. A lot of this depends on who the Buddhist is. If he is a Western convert (and I've witnessed to some of these, too), what Helen has said will be pretty close--depending on whether they are Zen, Pure Land, etc.

    If we are talking about Asians with a long history of Buddhism, it is a different matter. I would call these (such as who I deal with in Japan) cultural Buddhists. Most are not much concerned with the doctrines of Buddhism (with the major exception of the Soka Gakkai). If you say "karma" to a Japanese Buddhist, chances are you'll get a "Huh?" If you say "reincarnation," you might get "Oh, yeah, who believes that?" Japanese Buddhists care a lot more about ancestor worship than such things.

    Thai Buddhists are a different brand of cultural Buddhist, what with their strict requirements that young men spend awhile as priests, etc. And so it goes, depending on the culture.

    Funny story: I was once going house to house doing a religious survey when I knocked on the door of an old couple. Grandma and I were doing well with the survey. They were Shinshu Buddhists, and I asked, "Is 'shin' the character for 'true,' 'belief' or 'heart'?" Grandma said, "I think it's 'heart.' Grandpa, what is the character for 'shin' in 'Shinshu'? Isn't it 'heart'?" Grandpa saw the foreigner, said, "Not interested. Send him away." But Grandma persisted, so he said, "It's the character for 'belief.'" They were both wrong! It's the character for 'true'! [​IMG]
     
  9. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Sorry, Linda64, I wouldn't recommend just surfing the Internet for information. Most of what is on the Internet about Buddhism is pure propaganda.

    Example: Zen is portrayed as peaceful and quiet, right? However, Zen training in Japan is extremely stressful. That's why Zen is not really that strong in Japan, believe it or not. Americans fall for that "peaceful" image, though.

    If you were to train in meditation at a Zen temple here in Japan, a priest would walk up and down behind you with a bamboo sword. If he saw you nodding off, he'd smack you with it!

    Then, you would find that most of the Japanese meditators had nothing religious in mind. They would be meditating for success in business or in relationships. Only the tough survive--the rest are soon disillusioned.

    When we were in Yokohama, my wife taught English to a couple of Japanese ladies. One day they came to the lesson with shocking news. A young American man they knew had been training in Zen at a local temple. He couldn't take the training, had a nervous breakdown and had to be shipped back home! :rolleyes: [​IMG]
     
  10. John of Japan

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    By the way, pay close attention to this link from Helen: http://mcel.pacificu.edu/as/students/cgono/siddhartha.html

    This tells you the true nature of "the Buddha." He abandoned his wife and baby to look for "enlightenment." He was not a person that any Christian can respect. Besides that (I don't think the link says this), he was actually an atheist, and in one of the writings attributed to him said that he was wiser "than all the gods" (not that the gods of the Hinduism of that day were anything good!).
     
  11. mioque

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    According to Buddha's teaching Gods are in the end nothing but a distraction on the road to Nirvana.

    I heard the following story about Zen Buddhism from a fellow student over 25 years ago. I don't know how much of it is true.
    This boy's parents were heavily into Zen. They went of to Japan to train in a Zen temple and they dragged him along. He wasn't into the whole zen thing at all, there was nothing else to do for a 14 year old boy. So he was bored to tears. He swiftly made friends with the only other English speaking person in the temple complex who was just as bored as he was. A rather important Theravada Buddhist monk from either Laos or Thailand I don't quite recall.
    The monk had come over to study this Zen thing and had swiftly come to the conclusion that it was all a load of nonsense caused by an old translation of Buddha's teachings into Japanese that was so bad that it was basically incomprehensible.
    Before long he and his parents were send packing after a zen instructor tried to hit his mom with a stick because she wasn't focussed except that she was so she grabbed his stick and tried to rip it out of his hands.
     
  12. John of Japan

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    Great story, mioque. I loved it and could just picture the incident in my mind. I have no doubt that it is true. [​IMG]

    I do have one small correction. Zen originated in China at the Shaolin ("small forest" temple in Hunan Province. The Chinese character pronounced Zen in Japanese is pronounced "Chan" in Chinese. It's founder was a Buddhist monk from India named Boddhidarma, usually called Daruma in Japanese.
     
  13. mioque

    mioque
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    John
    Thanks for the information on the proper origin of Zen.
    Since Jack Chick I can easily imagine a member of a different branch of the Buddhist faith who has a very low opinion of Zen making up an explanation to put his contempt into words.
     
  14. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    You know what, I can imagine that too! Jack Chick doesn't have a monopoly on false sources and theories! :D
     
  15. LovesJesus

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    I know this guy at work who married a Chinese lady. She is reportedly Buddhist. I had read about Buddhism in school, don't remember much just some "maxims" and such which ends up being fairly good poetry. Kinda like the proverbs in style.

    But he told me some interesting stuff being married to the lady. The mother of the family (his mother in law) was always cooking lots of food and left some out, both cooked meats and drinks for "the spirit". No one is allowed to eat that food but supposedly the spirit or whatever eats it or wants it etc.

    She also made him start wearing a little jade jewelry item around his neck after they got married. The necklace was made of some fairly thin thread. I think I also saw a bracelet similar to that too but I'm not sure. To me, it looked like she married the guy and put that on him like a dogtag or something to prove he was hers (or Buddha's etc.) Maybe it's their version of the wedding band.

    I felt like witnessing to the guy, but the spirit never really was pushing me to do it, so he's still caught up in all that Buddhism stuff. Although he is probably best described as a typical secular humanist or modernist and not a practicing buddhist.
     
  16. John of Japan

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    Hi, LovesJesus.

    The "spirit" being talked about was probably an ancestor. In original Buddhism there was no ancestor worship, but later Confucianism (as opposed to the teachings of Confucius himself) taught ancestor worship, and this belief entered Chinese and Japanese Buddhism. We see it all the time here in Japan.

    Another possibility is that the mother-in-law was Taoist instead of or in addition to Buddhism (they are somewhat compatible). Religious Taoism (as opposed to philosophic Taoism, the original version) worships various spirits and idols.

    The jade jewelry pieces were probably amulets for good luck. Both Chinese and Japanese Buddhists can be very superstitious!
     
  17. LovesJesus

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    Arigato, John-san, arigato. [​IMG]
     

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