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 James M. Martin on March 12, 2010 at 8:17pm
@T.A.: Buddhism is as much a system of ethics as a faith or religion. And it has no cop out revolving doors like sin and redemption, by which one simply does all manner of horrid things, apologizes to a cleric, and goes out to do worse things. As long as one may be forgiven, one should never steal anything small. Yes, I know, Buddhist ethics are grounded in the concepts of karma and reincarnation, but you don't have to believe in them to practice Buddhist ethics. :-)
Comment by James M. Martin on March 12, 2010 at 8:11pm
Newbie here, but got to thinking on the way home from work that Buddhism is the closest some of us get to being "religious." The religion doesn't even require us to believe in its own ontology, or anything for that matter, if only because their "prophet" died saying we should accept nothing on faith: make our own inquiries. But no wonder not only Sam Harris but other writers on failure of faith have singled out Buddhism as an exception to the monotheistic warlord religions and their misunderstood New Testamentary faith. Nagarjuna forever!
Comment by Goddess of the Vibes on January 25, 2010 at 3:10am
Buddhism is the only so-called "religion" that makes any degree of sense to me. I like the non-god aspect and the idea of non-attachment, and am dipping my toes in..
Comment by Michael Hutchinson on January 15, 2010 at 11:12am
The Buddha said to only believe that which we can observe and confirm for ourselves. It is mostly Buddhists who get angry for me to discuss this issue because it flies in the face of their dogmatic teaching that they've accumulated over time.

Things constantly change each moment. Each moment we "die" and are "reborn". Depending on what we do, it influences our "rebirth" in the next moment. That deals with the teaching of karma.

We can observe this moment, but we have never observed anyone reincarnating. It is of the most importance that we do not attach dogma to our experience of the current moment. Doing this leads to more problematic and unanswerable questions which leads to more dukha (suffering).

I see this to be the case with many traditions attached to Buddhism. Many times the robes that the monks wear are more elegant than what an average person wears. If one is renouncing their possessions, how can it be possible if there is gaining more elegant material things in the process?

Any person who is honest can observe the fact that there are indeed things wrong with Buddhism in the light that its being presented.

Another touchy issue is the issue of mystical Buddhas living in other realms to help others attain enlightenment. Again, can we observe this realm where these Buddhas supposedly reside? The problem is that some who call themselves Buddhists will worship these mystical Buddhas (which have no proof of existence) to gain a quicker enlightenment.

My biggest problem comes from those within the Zen tradition who fall into this trap, because it has no basis within the early origins of Zen. My favorite quote from a Zen master is this,

"Followers of the Way, if you want to get the kind of understanding that accords with the Dharma, never be misled by others. Whether you're facing inward or facing outward, whatever you meet up with, just kill it! If you meet a buddha, kill the buddha. If you meet a patriarch, kill the patriarch. If you meet an arhat, kill the arhat. If you meet your parents, kill your parents. If you meet your kinfolk, kill your kinfolk. Then for the first time you will gain emancipation, will not be entangled with things, will pass freely anywhere you wish to go."

Of course this isn't literally referring to the killing of people (albeit karmic merit sometimes needs the killing of a mass murderer, rapist, etc.) but it is referring to stomping it out of your mind. It is speaking of the dependence on others and negating it.

Gods cannot be observed, and therefore should be tossed to the mental trash can. This will offend many people, but isn't a description of truth much better than a description of a lie? Surely one should rather wish to learn to cope with the truth, rather than believing lies to make yourself feel good.
Comment by Karam Gill on December 28, 2009 at 7:18pm
This is exactly the group ive been looking for.
Comment by Hiram on November 22, 2009 at 3:22pm
I went to a Buddhist service today, I do that on some Sundays, I like that you don't have to believe in the supernatural to be into Buddhism, it's very scientific, psychological and humanistic.

I think one thing that it does for me is that it helps me to overcome a lot of the cinicism I've developed over the years. I can cultivate some humility and other virtues with a scientific and pragmatic mindset. I choose to see it personally more as a philosophy than a religion.
Comment by Pansy on November 22, 2009 at 2:02pm
i'd contemplated being a buddhist and studied buddhism for a few years. by definition, buddhists are atheists- denying the existence of a god, a personal, all knowing, all good, creator, god. i would love to 'get back into it' and hopefully being with you all, will give me a little push.... :)
Comment by Jenny on September 26, 2009 at 12:22pm
Oh thank you! Here I was thinking I had this horrible secret to keep! I love being a Buddhist, I'm also an atheist, I'm glad there are other people who are both.
Comment by It's just Matt on July 21, 2009 at 10:53pm
I was downloading ebooks and came across this nifty site full of free downloads:

I have a lot of ebooks already, if you are trying to find one, let me know
Comment by Chuck on May 28, 2009 at 4:31pm
Glad I found a web site on this subject. I have practiced Tibetan Buddhism for 25 years and in the last 4 years have dedicated more time and effort to it. Having lost any theistic notions in college as a philosophy major, I have been able to study related subjects for a long time.
I think Buddhism has many cultural aspects that are hard to assimilate in our western thinking. The concept of Emptiness is a basic Buddhist concept. See for a short explanation. The arguments supporting emptiness preclude any notion of a creating eternal theistic being. Any deity is just another dependently created aspect of our experienced reality. I think that humans tend to idealize a concept and then represent it in some form. Tiger Woods as the ideal golfer who I want to be like. Easier to hold in our minds and talk about. It is all psychology and therefore no claims of eternal powers. In fact, deity worship involves an attempt to visualize and emulate a concept, which activates areas of the brain and help change awareness. Therefore, theism is not a Buddhist concept.

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