When I was 6 or 7 years old I went to a funeral of family friends who dies in a car crash. The Minister who was talking about "Gods Will" got me to thinking. Also he said god works in mysterious ways that we can not understand. That was the moment I became an Atheist. I live with a christian family and just stayed quite about it for years. I never knew anything about Buddhism but I had Buddhist beliefs. Many years later I picked up a book called "The Buddha Said" and I was blown away. One of the things the Buddha said was "Don't talk to me about god. You have no way of knowing if he exist or not." I was sold. Buddhism is just a guide to living your life with respect for all living creatures. Living a moral life with love for others. No heaven or hell. Everyone has the seed of the Buddha in them. I certainly did and studying, meditation you grow with the intent of trying to become a Buddha yourself. I'm not there yet but I will continue on the path the best I can.

One of my biggest difficulty is I can't get over my hate for people like Sara Palin and Rush. lol

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It has made a big difference in my happiness. You learn to even love people who don't like you.
I can admit up front that I don't understand a great deal about buddhism ...
but here are the reasons it reeks of religion to me: questions I would love answers to...
Monks who cannot sit next to me on a bus b/c as a woman I am "Unclean" (Uh pardon? WTF?)
{& the deeply grotesque / putrid descriptions of womens bodies used to stop monks from sexual thoughts}
Boddhisatvas (sp?) don't they serve the same function as 'guardian angels'?
Religious hierarchy that places monks abouv nuns and the 'enlightened' above the 'unenlightened'?
My knowledge of this so-called philosophy has been limited to the experience of friends (who were brought up buddhist in Sri Lanka), reading Sidddhartha, and research I've done for a few papers in an undergrad world religions course: It left me with the same impressions I get from the big 3 religions: Sex is bad, Women are dirty / men are superior, and the divine is something we have to strive for rather than something innate - eg. 'enlightenment' is just a replacement for 'god' - outside of us and we have to struggle to live up to an externally imposed level of goodness or knowledge?
Plus on a personal level many of the buddhists I've encountered have been incredibly egotistical, judgemental and act superior to other people - kind of the opposite of 'enlightened' - but there are egoist dickheads everywhere so I don't blame that on religion.
I honestly would appreciate any explanations for how the underlined items above are non-religious?
REINCARNATION: That is an issue that I am dealing with myself.
MONKS. There are several different version of Buddhism. The head of our worldwide Temples is a woman. I have never seen our Monk do anything except treat women with great respect and friendship.

There are many different versions. The Chinese type is so different from ours. They pray for money and good luck and good health.
The main tenant, if there is one, is to do away with Lust which has to do with greed, not sex and most suffering in the world is caused by Lust. A newer car, a bigger house, a better job. The US government wanting more oil from other countries causing War's. Not just the US, Hitler, Stalin etc. It doesn't mean that you give everything up. You can still work hard for a job promotion, buy a new car when you need it. It is all about love and trying to help your fellow man. Just the opposite of what Ayn Rand preached. I have read nearly all her work.

Sex is bad, Women are dirty / men are superior, There is nothing in my form of Buddhism that even hints at such a thing. The form of Buddhism is KADAMPA. I am not an expert yet but the more I Meditate the more happy I become. All the stress in my life is going away. I am a Manic Depressive and it feels like I am almost cured.

Good Luck in your journey of discovery.

I have been both a Atheist and a Buddhist even before I ever knew anything. I am working very hard to be a Buddha.
The word Lust is Greed. Not sex
lust is not about sex, it is about greed
Thank you for your thoughtful responses John Log.
I realise that there are many different forms, and as I said, i don't know that much about them.
The Monks who freaked out when I sat next to them on the bus were ??? in Thailand.
My Sri Lankan friends had to appologize to Buddha when they were bad as children ... The research paper I wrote was on the huge disparity between SriLankan Monks - loads of cash, pricey cars and call-girls, whereas the nuns were living in abject poverty!
As for john D's Comment = I really enjoy my lust too! (yeah, the sexual kind!)
Remember, Lust should be thought of as Greed. Not sex
I understand the many sects are all over the map on the issue of reincarnation. Zen, for instance, avoids a belief in reincarnation, or at least avoids the topic altogether. I have read that the different traditions are in dispute as to whether Siddhartha Gautama ever addressed the issue.
For a long while I've said that if I was forced to choose a faith, it'd be Buddhism. Perhaps because it's more wisdom and logic than faith.
We honor the Buddha Shakamuni. It is very close to the original Buddhism practiced in India and Tibet. There are no Gods in this version. It closely followed through Parbawatiya Kadampa Tempes all over the US and around the world,
Here in West Virginia, most seem to be more civil and tolerant of overt Atheists than either Buddhists or neo-pagans of one kind or another. I think this is partly derived from the legend that most Atheists have "lost their way" and in a moment of personal crisis will be born again to find the faith of our forefathers. We represent the sort of tabula rasa from which Christian belief can "fill the void". (Woo hoo! What a delusion.) More or less this is also true of Jews and Muslims who share their same Abrahamic roots.

But Buddhists and pagans embrace what is perceived as flagrantly contrary belief and culture. All the intellectual premises are to be subjectively derided in any kind of response or social encounter.
Atheist should come "Out of the closet" just like gay people



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