Atheist Buddhists

A place for those who consider themselves Atheist Buddhists, or those who simply don't see this as a contradiction in terms.

Members: 173
Latest Activity: Mar 24, 2015

Discussion Forum

What is different in your life's perspective because of Buddhism.

Started by Philip Jackson Armstrong. Last reply by Philip Jackson Armstrong Aug 15, 2013. 7 Replies

The Teachings of Ethical Culture

Started by Dave Salyers. Last reply by Napoleon Bonaparte Jul 11, 2013. 1 Reply

My power

Started by Joan Denoo. Last reply by Steph S. Apr 4, 2012. 2 Replies

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Comment by Laars Zwarte on January 6, 2013 at 3:52pm

The yard garden sound wonderful, do you have any pictures?

Comment by Joan Denoo on January 6, 2013 at 12:28pm
Philip, My goodness, did you ring bells for me! I, too, found "Desire is the cause of all my suffering," and once I knew that, I could look at my pain in an entirely different way. I also reframed my experiences as opportunity to challenge morals and ethics that keep me tied to old attitudes, beliefs, customs, traditions and values. I call these ABCTV. Realizing family violence affected not only me and my children but legions of other families. So, my campaign to bring awareness to my family and friends of what happens in cycles of family dysfunction, the damage it causes, and the remedies. My family and friends get tired of my pontificating, but they are welcome to block my site and not read my stuff because there are still others who do not know.
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” is another important understanding and I carefully and deliberately designed my home and garden to be a peaceful place where "kids, cats and cabbages" could become all they can be. When I moved into my home 38 years ago, it was condemned, had a thicket for a garden, and was filthy; I bought it for the price of the land. We tore out, moved walls, changed stairways, inside and brought in a huge truck with equipment and tore the garden to the soil and began designing a peace garden. I called it my "Patch of Earth, dedicated to kids, cats, and cabbages" and I created an environment that was healthy for all who live here. I chase away anyone who is not willing to behave peacefully. That created some embarrassment for my three children, but my reputation grew as a mean old lady not to be messed with.
Thank you, Philip, for telling your story. It is an important one and worth letting others know.
Comment by Philip Jackson Armstrong on January 6, 2013 at 10:28am

Joan...Probably equally sad is my ability to communicate what I experience.  About 40 years ago I read a book about Siddhārtha Gautama.  My interpretation of one simple concept was the most life altering event I ever experienced. Desire is the cause of my all suffering, all negative emotions. Everything that hurts me is self inflicted. And when I let desire go and accept reality, I  live mindfully and don't waste the time I have to live needlessly in pain or distraction. Schizotypal sounding statement perhaps but true, and this understanding has made my life very not sad!  The point is pretty much one sentence drastically changed my life, you don't need some paradigm outside of yourself to find enlightenment so to speak. Buddhisim is to the words of Buddha the same as Christianity is to the words of Jesus; obfuscation.  Some people like the extra layers of abstraction of Buddhism vs Buddha. But Buddha said it best, “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”   It's so simple. Sad that people so often miss Buddha's message because of his followers.

Comment by Laars Zwarte on January 6, 2013 at 8:45am

Philip said:"I find it sad that people can't see the difference between Buddhism and the teaching of Buddha. Buddhism is a cult, team, social group, religion, whatever, it takes more than one person to belong. Not even close to what his message is.The message is not out there. It is inside you. You just have to find it. So sad."

I respectfully disagree. Buddha's teaching is out there, however it is less practiced than preached by many Westerners.

I cannot necessarily say "rightfully so" that Eastern practitioners look down on Western "Buddhists" (which is incidentally a fairly recent term (1801 compared to its inception for the practice/teachings) however there is that stigma of it being a "cool" religion like Scientology is among celebs.

It was the Dalai Lama himself that made me feel terrible about my own practice, having seem him speak in DC. Until I realized that it is  highly unlikely to get Buddhist "immersion" in the states without a decent income or savings because few monasteries are self supported, and the demand is higher.

So yes, "Buddhism" as we know it according to the native peoples who live it as opposed to practice it could be construed as a cult, or a social formation, however I do not not think it belies those that may have altruistic intent there. They are viewed with a jaundiced eye for not being born into it.It's a form of snobbery.

Also, what else would you call someone who chooses to adopt the the teaching/discoveries of the Buddha? I would be interested to know.

The quest for enlightenment - which to me is self enlightenment, not a deified one, is not sad, and to me THE most important part would be the 4 Noble Truths about acknowledging that my pain is your pain, we are a collective individual in that regard...etc.

Comment by Joan Denoo on January 6, 2013 at 12:19am

Laars Zwarte, I like meditation as well; time for quiet, thoughtful reflection of events and their consequences as well as looking at possible options for remedies. I know it is possible to make matters worse and therefore I like thinking through to their logical, anticipated end.
I don't like trying to figure out what God or Zeus or Thor or Ra would have me do.

I believe all I need is the clarity to see a problem, the vision to imagine a  preferred goal, the energy to explore for options, the courage to try the one that holds the highest probability of success and then set to work. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on January 6, 2013 at 12:12am

Phillip, I understand you feel sad about ... I am not sure. What is it about Buddhism that makes you feel not sad? Am I missing something that I could learn from you?

Comment by Laars Zwarte on January 5, 2013 at 6:28pm

Hi everyone,

Just going to dive on in...

Buddhism's truths should be the human tenets, just as Christianity preaches love thy neighbor (conditionally, of course) but practices it far less than Buddhists do. I do not care for the mysticism in any religion, but there are redeeming qualities.

I would like to pick it up again, since meditation is also very useful to rewire and rest our brain.

Atheism is more practical in that it does not require me to find the rationale behind an allegedly all-seeing/all-knowing invisible entity.

Some consider us base or less intelligent because we do not ascribe to their beliefs, however I am inclined to agree we may be more prone to introspection that "tossing it up to g-d's will". Being accountable. That's about it.

Comment by Philip Jackson Armstrong on January 5, 2013 at 6:24pm

 I find it sad that people can't see the difference between Buddhism and the teaching of Buddha. Buddhism is a cult, team, social group, religion, whatever, it takes more than one person to belong. Not even close to what his message is.The message is not out there. It is inside you. You just have to find it. So sad.

Comment by Joan Denoo on January 5, 2013 at 4:53pm

I enjoyed Buddhism as a way of seeing the world and creating new frames. I didn't like the mysticism, as I didn't like the mysticism of so many traditions. Atheism has no such barrier for me. If anything, it forces me to look within for decision making. I couldn't find any guru that had instand answers that worked. 
James, I am so glad to learn that Buddhism helped you overcome drinking. I like your statement, "I just thanked Buddhism for showing me the way."

Comment by James M. Martin on January 5, 2013 at 4:30pm

Welcome, Laars.  I think that even though I was not approaching it from an atheist point of view, Buddhism really turned my life around: it helped me to stop drinking.  I did not thank any God for that, I just thanked Buddhism for showing me the way.  The Dhammapada is what did the trick. 


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