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(73 Posts)
Mishap Thu 07-Mar-13 17:35:22

Our book club book this month is The Art of Happiness which explores the beliefs of the Dalai Lama.

It is documented by an American psychiatrist - a bit of an irritating chap really.

I was intrigued by the Dala Lama's assertion that Buddhists believe that all humans are born inherently and mainly compassionate and selfless. I wanted to invite him to a morning in playgroup with a roomful of toddlers!!

JessM Thu 07-Mar-13 17:55:46

grin Monks eh?
I always think he has led a sheltered life getting plucked from normal life at an early age. Lovely chap I expect but he has never had to battle with the everyday ups and downs the rest of us have to contend with. Like earning a living or raising kids. Or even deciding what to cook for tea. A kind of royalty in a way.

Jadey Thu 07-Mar-13 17:59:31

I am Christian but explored Buddhism and found it very pleasant and put me in a very good place.

I took the religon lable off of it all and just enjoyed the benifits of its teachings.

absent Thu 07-Mar-13 18:03:02

I find Buddhism quite disturbing because it seems to me to deny everything that I think of as defining the nature of being human such as love and commitment to other humans.

Jadey Thu 07-Mar-13 18:12:46

absent I am confused the Buddhism teachings is be kind to one another, have I mi understood your post

Ana Thu 07-Mar-13 18:35:29

I'm puzzled too, Jadey. From what I've read and learned about Buddhism it's all about love and respect towards other humans, animals and the environment.

absent Thu 07-Mar-13 19:04:22

But, more centrally, it is to do with abstracting yourself from human feeling, such as love or hate, in order to achieve nirvanha, so far as I understand. Become less and less human until you are at one with the universe seems to be the central mantra. It seems a very selfish sort of belief to me.

absent Thu 07-Mar-13 19:04:46

No, not selfish but self-centred – which is quite strange.

HildaW Thu 07-Mar-13 19:06:45

Mishap......the best visitor we found for our pre-school, for getting the little dears to really behave........was the local police officer. Mind you he used to have all the staff drooling too. After he had done his bit we would usually have a natter and it was then he would admit that coming into pre-schooll terrified him.

Lilygran Thu 07-Mar-13 19:59:56

There are many different versions of Buddhism and also the Western versions are often considerably modified to suit local tastes. Like curry and sushi.

feetlebaum Thu 07-Mar-13 20:27:40

The current issue of New Humanist has an article on The Dark Side of Buddhism

I have to say I have never seen what benefit could possible accrue from sitting around chanting 'Na myoho renge kyo' over and over again (and people do!).

Jadey Thu 07-Mar-13 20:53:13

I did not get that from what I learnt about them at all absent but its like all religons, everyone interpretes things differently.

I very much enjoyed my Buddist experience and have never felt so calm in all of my life and although I am a Christian would recommend it to anyone.

Lilygran Thu 07-Mar-13 21:24:20

Jadey did your Buddhist experience include meditation? A lot of people find meditation useful and helpful.

Mishap Thu 07-Mar-13 21:31:39

There is a lot to commend Buddhism for its emphasis on putting yourself in another's shoes, the meditation and the mindfulness - all useful in leading a happy life.

I was interested in the idea expressed that humans are essentially compassionate - it seemed to ignore the reality of evolution and the survival of the fittest. Competition and aggression are inherent in our makeup - hopefully we become socialised and able to channel and temper these reactions as we grow up.

Nelliemoser Thu 07-Mar-13 21:35:59

Jadey I agree with you fully. The practice of shutting down the mind and thoughts is very calming, if you can do it properly. I suspect the actual meditation thing has marked physical effects on the brain waves and the bodies ability to relax. It does need practice though.

Greatnan Fri 08-Mar-13 07:36:11

Man is a pack animal and had to co-operate when hunting in order to survive. Altruisim is a survival factor but is not restricted to humans.

absent Fri 08-Mar-13 07:54:59

You don't have to be a Buddhist to meditate and meditating doesn't make you a Buddhist.

Lilygran Fri 08-Mar-13 08:06:16

Jadey didn't answer my question about meditation. I agree with absent. Many people whether religious or not, find meditation helpful. I wondered if that was why Jadey found Buddhism interesting. As I said, there are many different forms of Buddhism.

Jadey Fri 08-Mar-13 13:03:54

Hi lillygran

It wasnt just the meditation it was just the nature of the people/buddists they are so lovely, kind and gentle.

The meditation was also brilliant and allowed me to rest for a while take stock and get out of the rat race which can be normal life smile

soop Fri 08-Mar-13 13:53:05

I would recommend the book '*Being Nobody, Going Nowhere'* - Meditations on the Buddhist Path by Ayya Khema, a Western Buddhist nun. She says in her introduction, 'The spiritual path is all about letting go...constantly dropping all we have built up around ourselves...conditioned habits, ideas, beliefs and thinking patterns.'

'Ayya Khema was born in Germany, educated in Scotland and China, and later became a United States citizen. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in Sri Lanka in 1979, and in 1982 established Parappuduwa Nuns Island in Southern Sri Lanka as a training centre for Buddhist nuns and other women of all nationalities. Part of each year she spends travelling and teaching in different parts of the world, and the rest of her time in residence at Nuns Island.'

I have no idea whether or not she is still alive. I purchased the book in 1991 sunshine

soop Fri 08-Mar-13 13:55:37

I used to attend Friday night Zen Buddhist meditation classes in St Austell, Cornwall. Special memories. smile

Eloethan Fri 08-Mar-13 18:04:02

Like absent I've also understood the ultimate aim of Buddhism is to disconnect from the physical world, which involves, relinquishing all attachments to other people.

One of its main tenets is non-violence, and generally it's seen as a peaceful religion.

However, the Buddhists in Burma have recently been ransacking and burning Muslim villages, and the Buddhists in Sri Lanka seemed to have turned a blind eye when the Tamils were being massacred.

Orca Sat 09-Mar-13 07:44:34

The Buddhists you mention Eloethan are Buddhist in a name only. Most are ignorant peasants who happen to live in a Buddhist country. In exactly the same way that so-called Christians in Northern Ireland and Sarajava slaughtered innocent people and extreme Islamist bombed the London Underground.
Absent I wonder how many real Buddhists you've actually met and lived among? They are, believe me, quite amazing.

absent Sat 09-Mar-13 08:17:49

Orca I have not suggested that Buddhists are anything other than fine, peaceful, gentle people. I just find the idea of nirvana and the pathway to it distasteful and dehumanising. Others may find it immensely appealing. Fortunately, as far as I am concerned, death ends it all anyway.

soop Sat 09-Mar-13 11:27:49

Orca smile
absent smile