Saturday, December 3, 2011

Buddhism: Practical Applications for Our Times?

TG Baker wrote a bit about Buddhism and did it have practical applications for our time, even as atheists in this article.  He starts with this thought:

'If atheism is the rejection of belief in gods then Buddhism is an atheistic system!  Buddha himself was an agnostic who said in Deer Park, "I can not say whether there is a god, no god or not a not-god. But I can tell you how to obtain enlightenment"  '

Read the rest of the article and see what you think.

A Neglected Atheism: A View from Sam Harris 

TG was an interesting and well read person.  There were some topics I wish we could have discussed before his death.  This would have been one of them.  I don't necessarily agree with everything that TG ever said but I liked that he sparked a reasoned discussion of issues.

My thoughts

"There is much more to be discovered about the nature of the human mind. In particular, there is much more for us to understand about how the mind can transform itself from a mere reservoir of greed, hatred, and delusion into an instrument of wisdom and compassion. Students of the Buddha are very well placed to further our understanding on this front, but the religion of Buddhism currently stands in their way."  [quote from article]

I have gotten a lot from reading the words of Buddha although I would by no means call myself a Buddhist.  Buddha speaks to me of this world and what we can do to live better in this lifetime.  What we can do to calm our minds and open our hearts.  I think those are good things.  

As pointed out by TG, Buddhism the religion is not Buddhism the concepts about the mind.  If there are truths to be found about the human condition in ancient words, and I believe there are, then let them be a part of our new and modern world.  I have noticed upon reading the words written several thousand years ago whether Eastern or Western, Biblical or Buddhist, Sumerian or Greek is that we are really the same then as we are now as far as emotions, thoughts, notions and ways of viewing the world.  

The modern world is fantastic but there is no reason we can't learn from the ancient world about who and what we are emotionally and psychologically.  We are still a the same humans we were then.  Hopefully, we are becoming a little more mature as a group as the centuries pass.

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