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Author Topic: Budhha statues  (Read 7874 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: August 06, 2011, 07:51:25 PM »

While I was still searching through the world religions I spent a great deal of time with buddhism. During this period I came to possess a number of Buddha-statues(seven actually) and a statue of the hindu god Ganesha.
I mostly bought them because they were pretty but now when I have found Orthodoxy I have come to realize that I cannot have in my room anymore, but I am not sure what to do with them. Should I sell them or just hide them somewhere?

Also I have a dreamcatcher hanging from the ceiling. Should I also take that down?

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« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2011, 07:58:40 PM »

If you don't want them anymore, sell them on ebay!

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« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2011, 08:44:25 PM »

You could dispose of them. [EDIT] That way you don't allow others don't make use of them.

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« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2011, 08:52:31 PM »

Buddha statues, I would remove somehow.

The dreamcatchers...I am always ambivalent about those. I used to own them but I've disposed of them since. I'm torn because they are truly beautiful and I wouldn't ascribe any sort of spiritual power to them. I own some jewelry with the mati (evil eye) symbol, but it's because I think the blue glass beads are pretty. Same with the Qur'anic verses I own -- they're more for the beautiful calligraphy than the verse.

I wouldn't put it near my icon corner, but I'm not sure that you should throw the dreamcatcher away if you happen to think it's beautiful and want to keep it up for an aesthetic purpose.

What I would do with certain items is that I would sit on it for a few weeks. Sometimes I would have a "weird feeling," and if I did, I would dispose of them. The jewelry and the calligraphy don't bother me, but certain other items did.

And of course, "ask your priest" is always applicable.
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« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2011, 09:03:52 PM »


Personally, I would get rid of all the "pagan" symbols.

I agree with Zekarja.  I wouldn't sell them....because I wouldn't want to tempt others with them, and I wouldn't want to use the money I made off them, either.
I would just pitch them.

I was once gifted a bunch of stones which had "spiritual" powers attributed to them.  Amethysts, jade, quartz, etc.  I know these are all mentioned in the Bible so I had no issues with keeping them in a bowl on my dresser.  However, when I realized that people were truly attributing all sorts of powers to these stones....I decided that by simply displaying them, I might be advertising the same thing.  They now happily are resting at the bottom of my fish aquarium!  The fish love them!  They are doing wonders for them!

Smiley

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« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2011, 09:09:59 PM »

I inherited from my grandparents a very beautiful Buddha statue of brass, about 18" high.    It was brought back from Burma in the war years by one of my great uncles and my grandparents used to use it as a doorstop!!!

But there is no way I could display this in my house even as simply an art object.  So it is at the back of a cupboard and hasn't been out for 20 years or more.  
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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2011, 09:54:17 PM »

Donate them to a Buddhist temple nearby.
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« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2011, 04:23:25 AM »

Don't some Orthodox Churches have pictures of Greek Philosophers in the entrance or on the outside, as a testament to the Logos Spermatikos?
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2011, 05:11:43 AM »

Thank you for the advices. Smiley

I think I am gonna consider the options I have the next few days, but right now I think I will probably hide away in our hoarding.
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« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2011, 05:24:39 AM »

I think disposing them will be best. I did read several instances where Spirit of God will not visit a house having non orthodox items.
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« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2011, 07:47:21 AM »

Honestly, I think that simply discarding the sacred images of another tradition is a bit disrespectful and extreme. If selling them doesn't feel right to you, the most respectful thing you could do is what Jetavan suggested: donate them to a nearby temple. After all, how would we feel if we knew that someone from another tradition was throwing Orthodox icons in the trash? Donating the statues to a temple would demonstrate respect for a tradition you once admired (or perhaps still do), and would remove what you deem to be a problem from your house. Everyone's happy!
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« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2011, 07:53:40 AM »

Honestly, I think that simply discarding the sacred images of another tradition is a bit disrespectful and extreme. If selling them doesn't feel right to you, the most respectful thing you could do is what Jetavan suggested: donate them to a nearby temple. After all, how would we feel if we knew that someone from another tradition was throwing Orthodox icons in the trash? Donating the statues to a temple would demonstrate respect for a tradition you once admired (or perhaps still do), and would remove what you deem to be a problem from your house. Everyone's happy!

You might be right there.
I could look around but there are not many temples in Denmark and it is not sure if I will even be able to find anybody who wants them, but of course i could try Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2011, 09:40:03 AM »

Honestly, I think that simply discarding the sacred images of another tradition is a bit disrespectful and extreme. If selling them doesn't feel right to you, the most respectful thing you could do is what Jetavan suggested: donate them to a nearby temple. After all, how would we feel if we knew that someone from another tradition was throwing Orthodox icons in the trash? Donating the statues to a temple would demonstrate respect for a tradition you once admired (or perhaps still do), and would remove what you deem to be a problem from your house. Everyone's happy!

You might be right there.
I could look around but there are not many temples in Denmark and it is not sure if I will even be able to find anybody who wants them, but of course i could try Smiley

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« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2011, 09:52:05 AM »

Honestly, I think that simply discarding the sacred images of another tradition is a bit disrespectful and extreme. If selling them doesn't feel right to you, the most respectful thing you could do is what Jetavan suggested: donate them to a nearby temple. After all, how would we feel if we knew that someone from another tradition was throwing Orthodox icons in the trash? Donating the statues to a temple would demonstrate respect for a tradition you once admired (or perhaps still do), and would remove what you deem to be a problem from your house. Everyone's happy!

You might be right there.
I could look around but there are not many temples in Denmark and it is not sure if I will even be able to find anybody who wants them, but of course i could try Smiley
A university with a history or religion department might be another option.
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« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2011, 10:02:22 AM »

Honestly, I think that simply discarding the sacred images of another tradition is a bit disrespectful and extreme. If selling them doesn't feel right to you, the most respectful thing you could do is what Jetavan suggested: donate them to a nearby temple. After all, how would we feel if we knew that someone from another tradition was throwing Orthodox icons in the trash? Donating the statues to a temple would demonstrate respect for a tradition you once admired (or perhaps still do), and would remove what you deem to be a problem from your house. Everyone's happy!

You might be right there.
I could look around but there are not many temples in Denmark and it is not sure if I will even be able to find anybody who wants them, but of course i could try Smiley
Thank you Smiley

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« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2011, 10:49:42 AM »

If you want to show respect for a religion that sends billion+ people to Hell, it is your option.

Bear in mind that there is particular judgmenet and last judgement. at particular judegement the everything to that point is judged. At last judgement everything to the end of the world is judged. So if you left a water well and people drink water after your death you become in better standing. If you wrote poetry against God and people lost belief while you are departed you get into worse standing. So giving these to a Budhist temple where sick angels are praised for how many years can make your situation worse. So trash is best option in my opinion. I do see that you may be attached of them and that they are a part of your life, anyhow for future I believe is best option. That remainds me of my yoga books that I need to trash.
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« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2011, 11:14:14 AM »

If you want to show respect for a religion that sends billion+ people to Hell, it is your option.

Bear in mind that there is particular judgmenet and last judgement. at particular judegement the everything to that point is judged. At last judgement everything to the end of the world is judged. So if you left a water well and people drink water after your death you become in better standing. If you wrote poetry against God and people lost belief while you are departed you get into worse standing. So giving these to a Budhist temple where sick angels are praised for how many years can make your situation worse. So trash is best option in my opinion. I do see that you may be attached of them and that they are a part of your life, anyhow for future I believe is best option. That remainds me of my yoga books that I need to trash.

Don't worry I haven't given them away yet Smiley
Until so far I have gathered all the small statues in a box. I still need to find a place where I can place the big ones.
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« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2011, 04:48:18 PM »


I would dispose of them, for the reasons zekarja and Liza give. On the issue of showing disrespect by trashing them, then you could try a more definite form of disposing of them that would mean the statues would not be used by someone else, nor would they be covered in rubbish. After all, there is a specific way of disposing of icons (by burning) which ensures the images of Christ and His saints are not trampled upon or dirtied - it is not considered disrespectful to destroy them. I don't know what your statues are made from, but whatever they're made of I am sure there will be a method of destroying them so their elements can be returned to the earth.
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« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2011, 05:02:44 PM »

In Deuteronomy 12:3 it says that people shouldn't destroy sacred idols
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« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2011, 05:15:21 PM »

In Deuteronomy 12:3 it says that people shouldn't destroy sacred idols

Huh?

"And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place."
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« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2011, 05:20:27 PM »

In Deuteronomy 12:3 it says that people shouldn't destroy sacred idols

Huh?

"And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place."

ok i was just testing  Wink

im looking for the place where it says that though....i know its there because thas why the Jews don't write the whole name of God down on paper because they can't destroy it.
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« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2011, 05:23:21 PM »

OK its verse 4 after that it says not to do the same thing to the Lord your God....destroy stuff etc...
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« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2011, 08:15:14 PM »

Honestly, I think that simply discarding the sacred images of another tradition is a bit disrespectful and extreme. If selling them doesn't feel right to you, the most respectful thing you could do is what Jetavan suggested: donate them to a nearby temple. After all, how would we feel if we knew that someone from another tradition was throwing Orthodox icons in the trash? Donating the statues to a temple would demonstrate respect for a tradition you once admired (or perhaps still do), and would remove what you deem to be a problem from your house. Everyone's happy!

St. Vladimir ordered all pagan idols destroyed.  He is just one of many saints who have destroyed pagan idols.  I think that people are too caught up in treating all religions equally.  When Christ was zealous for righteousness, look what he did in the Temple!  He crafted a whip and overturned the money changer's tables!  When St. Nicholas had love for the Theotokos and zeal for his faith, he punched a heresiarch in the face! 

There is a difference between someone throwing Orthodox icons in the trash and someone destroying a Buddha statue.  The Buddha statue is a representation of a false religion.  The Orthodox icons are windows into heaven.  Now, you might say that "But, Buddhists think that their religion is right!"  Well, that's true.  However, Orthodoxy isn't just something people think is true, The Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church established by the Lord God, to be the Body of Christ.  It is the truth, Buddhism has a flicker of truth, but it is greatly distorted.
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« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2011, 08:18:31 PM »

Oh, and one more thing.  St. Vladimir ordered the destruction of OTHER PEOPLE'S idols.  The Jews were ordered to destroy OTHER PEOPLE'S temples and idols.  There is a legend of Abraham destroying his father's idols.  Now, even saying that destroying idols is perfectly acceptable (even encouraged), one could still argue that destroying other people's stuff is still bad.  Evidently, many saints of the Church disagree with that argument; how much more so, then, must the destruction of idols by the person who owns them, be acceptable?
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« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2011, 09:14:17 PM »

Oh, and one more thing.  St. Vladimir ordered the destruction of OTHER PEOPLE'S idols.  The Jews were ordered to destroy OTHER PEOPLE'S temples and idols.  There is a legend of Abraham destroying his father's idols.  Now, even saying that destroying idols is perfectly acceptable (even encouraged), one could still argue that destroying other people's stuff is still bad.  Evidently, many saints of the Church disagree with that argument; how much more so, then, must the destruction of idols by the person who owns them, be acceptable?

And where does this kind of thinking get us? Christians destroying Buddha statues and burning Qurans. Muslims burning Bibles and blowing up Buddha statues. And so on. There are respectful ways of dealing with the sacred objects of other traditions. You may think that an image of the man Siddhartha Gotama is an image of a demon, but I beg to differ (and I think perhaps others here would, too). This is the kind of divisiveness, intolerance and paranoia that has people turning from organized religion in droves. What would be so bad about donating these statues to a Buddhist temple? The Buddhists there might appreciate it. And if they are already in the clutches of demons Roll Eyes, then how would it do anymore harm to their already damned souls?

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There is a difference between someone throwing Orthodox icons in the trash and someone destroying a Buddha statue.  The Buddha statue is a representation of a false religion.

I tend to think that Buddhists would feel differently about this. We don't live in Orthodox Greece or Russia. Most of us find ourselves in a rather secular and multicultural North America, and I believe that people peacefully practicing within different wisdom traditions should show respect for one another.
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« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2011, 09:24:58 PM »

If you want to show respect for a religion that sends billion+ people to Hell, it is your option.

Who teaches that?
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« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2011, 09:27:10 PM »

If you want to show respect for a religion that sends billion+ people to Hell, it is your option.

Who teaches that?
Pasadi offers the best made up statistics on this board, bar none.
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« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2011, 09:29:27 PM »

If you want to show respect for a religion that sends billion+ people to Hell, it is your option.

Do they end up above or below the smokers' department?
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« Reply #28 on: August 07, 2011, 09:30:27 PM »

If you want to show respect for a religion that sends billion+ people to Hell, it is your option.

Who teaches that?
Pasadi offers the best made up statistics on this board, bar none.
Only 80% of the time.
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« Reply #29 on: August 07, 2011, 09:37:12 PM »

You could just bury the statues underground. That way no other people can get a hold of them. Heck, if someone does it's more than likely going to be an archaeologist hundreds or thousands of years from now scratching their head wondering why someone would bury buddha statues.
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« Reply #30 on: August 07, 2011, 09:39:11 PM »

From Prayers by the Lake by St. Nikolai of Zicha:

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All the prophets have from the beginning cried out to my soul, imploring her to make herself a virgin and prepare herself to receive the Divine Son into her immaculate womb;

Imploring her to become a ladder, down which God will descend into the world, and up which man will ascend to God,

Imploring her to drain the red sea of sanguinary passions within herself, so that man the slave can cross over to the promised land, the land of freedom.

The wise man of China admonishes my soul to be peaceful and still, and to wait for Tao to act within her. Glory be the memory of Lao-tse, the teacher and prophet of his people!

The wise man of India teaches my soul not to be afraid of suffering, but through the arduous and relentless drilling in purification and prayer to elevate herself to the One on high, who will come out to greet her and manifest to her His face and His power. Glorious be the memory of Krishna, the teacher and prophet of his people!

The royal son of India teaches my soul to empty herself completely of every seed and crop of the world, to abandon all the serpentine allurements of frail and shadowy matter, and then in vacuity, tranquillity, purity and bliss to await nirvana. Blessed be the memory of Buddha, the royal son and inexorable teacher of his people.

The thunderous wise man of Persia tells my soul that there is nothing in the world except light and darkness, and that the soul must break free from the darkness as the day does from the night. For the sons of light are conceived from the light, and the sons of darkness are conceived from darkness. Glorious be the memory of Zoroaster, the great prophet of his people!

The prophet of Israel cries out to my soul: Behold, the virgin will conceive and bear a son, whose name will be the God-man. Glorious be the memory of Isaiah, the clairvoyant prophet of my soul!

O heavenly Lord, open the hearing of my soul, lest she become deaf to the counsels of Your messenger.

Do not slay the prophets sent to you, my soul, for their graves contain not them, but those who slew them.

Wash and cleanse yourself; become tranquil amid the turbulent sea of the world, and keep within yourself the counsels of the prophets sent to you. Surrender yourself entirely to the One on high and say to the world: "I have nothing for you."

Even the most righteous of the sons of men, who believe in you, are merely feeble shadows which, like the righteous Joseph, walk in your shadow. For mortality begets mortality and not life. Truly I say to you: earthly husbands are mistaken when they say that they give life. They do not give it but ruin it. They push life into the red sea and drown it, and beforehand they wrap it in darkness and make it a diabolical illusion. There is no life, O soul, unless it comes from the Holy Spirit. Nor is there any reality in the world, unless it comes down from heaven.

Do not slay the prophets sent to you, my soul, for killing is only an illusion of shadows. Do not kill, for you can slay no one but yourself.

Be a virgin, my soul, for virginity of the soul is the only semi-reality in a world of shadows. A semi-reality until God is born within her. Then the soul becomes a full reality.

Be wise, my virgin, and cordially receive the precious gifts of the wise men from the East, intended for your Son. Do not glance back toward the West, where the sun sets, and do not crave gifts that are figmental and false.
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« Reply #31 on: August 07, 2011, 09:40:48 PM »

Stavros, firstly I never said that the Buddha's image is that of a demon.  I think it is more or less the image of Siddhartha, who was not a demon.  Secondly, I do not think other religions have sacred objects.  Thirdly, I am not suggesting that you go out and burn down synagogues, take a sledge hammer to Mosques, or put a stake through the Qur'an.  I am suggesting that you not support religious devotion to an idol.  Would you donate money to mosques or synagogues, or a Buddhist temple?  Would you offer to pay for a new building for them (assuming you had the money lying around)?  That is, essentially, what you are doing by donating the items to a Buddhist temple.

Again, I do not see how it is disrespectful to, in the privacy of your own home, dispose of your own property.  I am not saying you go up to a Buddhist man and say "Watch this!" as you smash the Buddha statutes.  I am saying you should dispose of idols.  As well, why would it matter if we lived in Greece or Russia?  Would living in an Orthodox society make it ok to destroy idols, while living in a multicultural society makes it wrong?  Is right and wrong determined by where you are?  If so, it isn't really right and wrong, but merely what society expects of you - and since when did the Church care about societal expectations?  Certainly the pagans of Russia didn't expect St. Vladimir to order the destruction of their idols, yet he did so nonetheless.  I do not see why it is disrespectful to dispose of idols if you aren't doing so with the goal of upsetting Buddhists.
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« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2011, 09:48:19 PM »

Indeed, and we must also remember St. Vladimir lived under a form of causa regio eius religio. His subjects would have understood this implicitly even as they cursed his name.
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« Reply #33 on: August 08, 2011, 12:55:35 AM »

Of course, we're assuming that a statue is an "idol".
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« Reply #34 on: August 08, 2011, 01:31:32 AM »

personally, i like the idea of batting practice
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« Reply #35 on: August 08, 2011, 01:36:27 AM »

Personally, I would get rid of all the "pagan" symbols.

I agree with Zekarja.  I wouldn't sell them....because I wouldn't want to tempt others with them, and I wouldn't want to use the money I made off them, either.
I would just pitch them.

More agreement here and with James' post.  
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« Reply #36 on: August 08, 2011, 01:41:18 AM »

I have a friend, a principal of a Catholic school.    With the post Vatican II distaste for some of the traditional statues in the classrooms, they were not sure how to dispose of them..... So they put them in sacks and battered them to death with baseball bats.

I thought it was a bit grotesque.  Sad
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« Reply #37 on: August 08, 2011, 01:49:32 AM »

True, but those were presumably Christian statues.   
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« Reply #38 on: August 08, 2011, 02:15:59 AM »

I think disposing them will be best. I did read several instances where Spirit of God will not visit a house having non orthodox items.
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« Reply #39 on: August 08, 2011, 07:43:25 AM »

Stavros, firstly I never said that the Buddha's image is that of a demon.  I think it is more or less the image of Siddhartha, who was not a demon.  Secondly, I do not think other religions have sacred objects.  Thirdly, I am not suggesting that you go out and burn down synagogues, take a sledge hammer to Mosques, or put a stake through the Qur'an.  I am suggesting that you not support religious devotion to an idol.  Would you donate money to mosques or synagogues, or a Buddhist temple?  Would you offer to pay for a new building for them (assuming you had the money lying around)?  That is, essentially, what you are doing by donating the items to a Buddhist temple.

Again, I do not see how it is disrespectful to, in the privacy of your own home, dispose of your own property.  I am not saying you go up to a Buddhist man and say "Watch this!" as you smash the Buddha statutes.  I am saying you should dispose of idols.  As well, why would it matter if we lived in Greece or Russia?  Would living in an Orthodox society make it ok to destroy idols, while living in a multicultural society makes it wrong?  Is right and wrong determined by where you are?  If so, it isn't really right and wrong, but merely what society expects of you - and since when did the Church care about societal expectations?  Certainly the pagans of Russia didn't expect St. Vladimir to order the destruction of their idols, yet he did so nonetheless.  I do not see why it is disrespectful to dispose of idols if you aren't doing so with the goal of upsetting Buddhists.

First of all, I apologize for replying as if to you only, James. I know you didn't say that Siddhartha was a demon. I should have parsed my response, as it wasn't all meant as a response to you specifically (but was also a reaction to other posts). Of course no one is suggesting that the original poster make a show of the destruction of these objects (I hope). Really, it is a matter of principle, though. I do find it a bit disconcerting how many are in support of destroying them (even going so far as to suggest using the objects for batting practice). But alas, I find many things written on OC.net to be pretty disconcerting.  laugh

The OP will do whatever he (or perhaps his priest) deems best now, so... have a nice day!



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« Reply #40 on: August 08, 2011, 10:49:43 AM »

I do find it a bit disconcerting how many are in support of destroying them (even going so far as to suggest using the objects for batting practice).

You have taken the opposite meaning from the intention of my post on the Catholics battering their statues into smithereens.  I wrote that I found it disturbing and grotesque.
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« Reply #41 on: August 08, 2011, 11:10:52 AM »

While I was still searching through the world religions I spent a great deal of time with buddhism. During this period I came to possess a number of Buddha-statues(seven actually) and a statue of the hindu god Ganesha.
I mostly bought them because they were pretty but now when I have found Orthodoxy I have come to realize that I cannot have in my room anymore, but I am not sure what to do with them. Should I sell them or just hide them somewhere?

Also I have a dreamcatcher hanging from the ceiling. Should I also take that down?



You can take them or mail them to a Main-Line Buddhist Temple. They will know how to dispose of them properly.
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« Reply #42 on: August 08, 2011, 11:18:37 AM »


I just don't get how it is disrespectful to throw out a statue of some god that you happen to have in your own house.

I don't know much about Buddhism, and don't care to.  However, if I had a little fat statue of Buddha, I would immediately throw it in the trash.  No qualms about it.  It's a silly statue!  It has nothing divine in it or about it.  I can't believe this politically correct mentality afforded to pagan symbols - that are in your own, private possession.  Seriously?  How are you hurting some Buddhist's feelings, if he doesn't even know anything about you owning the statue?

If I met a Buddhist on the street, I would treat him with respect, as Christ taught us to love everyone.  However, I would not perpetuate their misguided beliefs.

I'm sorry, I would just throw it in the trash right along with the kitchen scraps, and not think twice about it.

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« Reply #43 on: August 08, 2011, 11:22:33 AM »


I just don't get how it is disrespectful to throw out a statue of some god that you happen to have in your own house.

I don't know much about Buddhism, and don't care to.  However, if I had a little fat statue of Buddha, I would immediately throw it in the trash.  No qualms about it.  It's a silly statue!  It has nothing divine in it or about it.  I can't believe this politically correct mentality afforded to pagan symbols - that are in your own, private possession.  Seriously?  How are you hurting some Buddhist's feelings, if he doesn't even know anything about you owning the statue?

If I met a Buddhist on the street, I would treat him with respect, as Christ taught us to love everyone.  However, I would not perpetuate their misguided beliefs.

I'm sorry, I would just throw it in the trash right along with the kitchen scraps, and not think twice about it.


Truth. Or just leave them outside your front door in hopes to scare away JWs
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« Reply #44 on: August 08, 2011, 11:31:17 AM »

I do find it a bit disconcerting how many are in support of destroying them (even going so far as to suggest using the objects for batting practice).

You have taken the opposite meaning from the intention of my post on the Catholics battering their statues into smithereens.  I wrote that I found it disturbing and grotesque.

Sorry for the confusion, IH. I was referring not your post but to the following post:
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personally, i like the idea of batting practice
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« Reply #45 on: August 08, 2011, 11:46:23 AM »

Sorry for the confusion, IH. I was referring not your post but to the following post:
Quote
personally, i like the idea of batting practice

Sorry for being confused.  I should assign myself some prostrations.  Smiley

Something occurs to me.... We recommend to people who have all those Christmas cards with icons on them, and all the church newsletters with icons in them, that they are disposed of by burning.   If we have access to a large enough oven this would be a way to dispose of statues.   I imagine that the Athonite monks would do this, in their largish ovens for cooking and bread making.
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« Reply #46 on: August 08, 2011, 12:54:01 PM »

Of course, we're assuming that a statue is an "idol".

Buddha himself probably would've destroyed it.
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« Reply #47 on: August 08, 2011, 09:20:45 PM »

The pragmatist in me says "it's a rock, throw it in the river."  The Orthodox in me says "it's a foreign idol, load it in a cannon and shoot it back to Poland."
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« Reply #48 on: August 08, 2011, 10:14:00 PM »

We recommend to people who have all those Christmas cards with icons on them, and all the church newsletters with icons in them, that they are disposed of by burning.   If we have access to a large enough oven this would be a way to dispose of statues.   I imagine that the Athonite monks would do this, in their largish ovens for cooking and bread making.

So bring the Buddhist statues to Mt. Athos for proper disposal? 

These are not Icons.  They are not images of Christ, the saints, or the angels.  At best, these are statues of a man who, as Shanghaiski rightfully points out, would be fine with their destruction.

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« Reply #49 on: August 08, 2011, 10:22:29 PM »

We recommend to people who have all those Christmas cards with icons on them, and all the church newsletters with icons in them, that they are disposed of by burning.   If we have access to a large enough oven this would be a way to dispose of statues.   I imagine that the Athonite monks would do this, in their largish ovens for cooking and bread making.

So bring the Buddhist statues to Mt. Athos for proper disposal? 

The Taliban did a thorough job of destroying those gigantic Buddha statues in Afghanistan.  I think they were 3rd century.

So give your statues to the local branch of the Taliban.

Quote
These are not Icons.  They are not images of Christ, the saints, or the angels.  At best, these are statues of a man who, as Shanghaiski rightfully points out, would be fine with their destruction.

It still seems uncivilised.  I wonder how many of the Saints, humble as they are, would be OK with having their icons destroyed.
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« Reply #50 on: August 08, 2011, 10:45:48 PM »


Yes, but, Buddha isn't a saint.
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« Reply #51 on: August 08, 2011, 11:05:11 PM »

I would guess a few Orthodox Saints wouldn't mind having their icons properly burned, muzzle loaded and canonized if they were pointed towards a good cause.
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« Reply #52 on: August 08, 2011, 11:16:48 PM »

It still seems uncivilised. 

What does that say about the idol destroying saints chronicled in our tradition?  Surely they weren't "uncivilised" or exhibiting "grotesque" behavior.

He certainly doesn't have to destroy them, but this sensitivity towards this sort of object seems silly to me.  How should we properly dispose of National Geographic pictorials of Celtic horse gods?

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« Reply #53 on: August 08, 2011, 11:17:47 PM »

When I was 13 I was into all of that new-age stuff.  When I started going to Church, I tore/broke my tarot cards, "magic" candles, statues, etc. 

It is much better to bin them than let someone else get a hold of them.  You could be doing a favor for someone else's soul.
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« Reply #54 on: August 08, 2011, 11:21:18 PM »

whenever i see them [Buddha statues] in the houses/ apartments i work in as a handyman, i also look for whole foods bags; these seem to be symbiotic.
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« Reply #55 on: August 08, 2011, 11:21:57 PM »


Yes, but, Buddha isn't a saint.

How do you know that he wasn't, though? You admit to knowing next to nothing about the Buddha or Buddhism, and also that you would prefer to remain ignorant about such things. Perhaps people ignorant of Jesus and Christianity somewhere are saying: "I'd throw the statues of that scrawny bearded Jew in the trash, right along with the kitchen scraps"! That's the kind of speech that comes from ignorance.
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« Reply #56 on: August 08, 2011, 11:45:52 PM »


Yes, but, Buddha isn't a saint.

How do you know that he wasn't, though? You admit to knowing next to nothing about the Buddha or Buddhism, and also that you would prefer to remain ignorant about such things. Perhaps people ignorant of Jesus and Christianity somewhere are saying: "I'd throw the statues of that scrawny bearded Jew in the trash, right along with the kitchen scraps"! That's the kind of speech that comes from ignorance.

Sorry, but this is ridiculous.  The Church does not recognize him as a saint. 
According to your logic, we shouldn't destroy or discard any statues or images of any people, as we don't know if they really might be saints?

She's presenting an Orthodox viewpoint, not an ignorant one.  It's unfortunate that your universalist position can't discern a difference between the two. 

If it makes you feel better, I'll be sure to only use my right hand while leafing through the Qu'ran, just in case Muhammad's really a saint too.

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« Reply #57 on: August 08, 2011, 11:46:51 PM »

whenever i see them [Buddha statues] in the houses/ apartments i work in as a handyman, i also look for whole foods bags; these seem to be symbiotic.

 Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
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« Reply #58 on: August 09, 2011, 12:05:41 AM »


Yes, but, Buddha isn't a saint.

How do you know that he wasn't, though? You admit to knowing next to nothing about the Buddha or Buddhism, and also that you would prefer to remain ignorant about such things. Perhaps people ignorant of Jesus and Christianity somewhere are saying: "I'd throw the statues of that scrawny bearded Jew in the trash, right along with the kitchen scraps"! That's the kind of speech that comes from ignorance.

Sorry, but this is ridiculous.  The Church does not recognize him as a saint. 

<Looking at my avatar> Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes
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« Reply #59 on: August 09, 2011, 01:21:11 AM »

It still seems uncivilised. 

What does that say about the idol destroying saints chronicled in our tradition?  Surely they weren't "uncivilised" or exhibiting "grotesque" behavior.

Who does not thrill to the exploits of Saint Patrick and his men overturning idols and cutting down the sacred groves of oak, and the Irish missionaries on the continent did the same.  Often of course they paid a heavy price and were brutally assaulted and murdered.

But I don't see the bishops and missionaries doing that these days..... neither in Thailand nor India.  Are they afraid of being assaulted or taken to court?   
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« Reply #60 on: August 09, 2011, 01:26:02 AM »

Sorry, but this is ridiculous.  The Church does not recognize him as a saint. 

<Looking at my avatar> Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

My mistake.  I guess Siddhartha Gautama is a recognized Orthodox Saint, and Buddhism is really just Eastern Eastern Orthodoxy.  Feel free to worship his statue as a deity.       Roll Eyes Right back atcha.

On a related note, if the OP genuinely felt as if Buddha directly brought him to Christ/Orthodoxy, my response might've been different.  He didn't mention anything like that. 

The idea that Orthodox Christians are supposed to revere statues of Buddha is rubbish. 
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« Reply #61 on: August 09, 2011, 01:32:59 AM »

Sorry, but this is ridiculous.  The Church does not recognize him as a saint. 

<Looking at my avatar> Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes
On a related note, if the OP genuinely felt as if Buddha directly brought him to Christ/Orthodoxy....
Good question: I reckon the answer depends upon the meaning of "brought".
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« Reply #62 on: August 09, 2011, 01:35:06 AM »

Sorry, but this is ridiculous.  The Church does not recognize him as a saint. 

<Looking at my avatar> Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

My mistake.  I guess Siddhartha Gautama is a recognized Orthodox Saint, and Buddhism is really just Eastern Eastern Orthodoxy.  Feel free to worship his statue as a deity.       Roll Eyes Right back atcha.

On a related note, if the OP genuinely felt as if Buddha directly brought him to Christ/Orthodoxy, my response might've been different.  He didn't mention anything like that. 

The idea that Orthodox Christians are supposed to revere statues of Buddha is rubbish. 

Name the Orthodox Christians who have said that. I cannot think of any.
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« Reply #63 on: August 09, 2011, 01:41:07 AM »

It still seems uncivilised. 
What does that say about the idol destroying saints chronicled in our tradition?  Surely they weren't "uncivilised" or exhibiting "grotesque" behavior.
Who does not thrill to the exploits of Saint Patrick and his men overturning idols and cutting down the sacred groves of oak, and the Irish missionaries on the continent did the same.  Often of course they paid a heavy price and were brutally assaulted and murdered martyred.

But I don't see the bishops and missionaries doing that these days..... neither in Thailand nor India.  Are they afraid of being assaulted or taken to court?

I certainly hope not, but my faith in bishops needs further cultivation.  I understand that publicly smashing other people's statues of faith would not be helpful or wise, but we're talking about the OP's own collection.

I'm also aware that this is a public forum, and that advising the OP to smash Buddhist idols/statues looks callous, intolerant, and generally distasteful to inquirers.  Fine, but I still don't think statues of Buddha are actually subject to the same disposal recommendations as Christian images. 
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« Reply #64 on: August 09, 2011, 01:44:53 AM »

It still seems uncivilised. 
What does that say about the idol destroying saints chronicled in our tradition?  Surely they weren't "uncivilised" or exhibiting "grotesque" behavior.
Who does not thrill to the exploits of Saint Patrick and his men overturning idols and cutting down the sacred groves of oak, and the Irish missionaries on the continent did the same.  Often of course they paid a heavy price and were brutally assaulted and murdered martyred.

But I don't see the bishops and missionaries doing that these days..... neither in Thailand nor India.  Are they afraid of being assaulted or taken to court?

I certainly hope not, but my faith in bishops needs further cultivation.  I understand that publicly smashing other people's statues of faith would not be helpful or wise, but we're talking about the OP's own collection.

I'm also aware that this is a public forum, and that advising the OP to smash Buddhist idols/statues looks callous, intolerant, and generally distasteful to inquirers.  Fine, but I still don't think statues of Buddha are actually subject to the same disposal recommendations as Christian images. 

I'm too sensitive..... I couldn't use a piece of newspaper with the Queen's image as toilet paper on a camping trip.
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« Reply #65 on: August 09, 2011, 01:49:19 AM »

Sorry, but this is ridiculous.  The Church does not recognize him as a saint. 

<Looking at my avatar> Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

My mistake.  I guess Siddhartha Gautama is a recognized Orthodox Saint, and Buddhism is really just Eastern Eastern Orthodoxy.  Feel free to worship his statue as a deity.       Roll Eyes Right back atcha.

On a related note, if the OP genuinely felt as if Buddha directly brought him to Christ/Orthodoxy, my response might've been different.  He didn't mention anything like that. 

The idea that Orthodox Christians are supposed to revere statues of Buddha is rubbish. 

Name the Orthodox Christians who have said that. I cannot think of any.

Is this in response to my final sentence?  If so, by recommending that these statues be treated similarly to how we treat images of Christ, the saints, angels, etc. or donated to a Buddhist temple seems to be showing reverence. 

If it was to the first sentence: it was hyperbole.  I thought Jetavan's implication that Barlaam and Josaphat being commemorated proved Buddha's sainthood was over the top and deserved a similar response.
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« Reply #66 on: August 09, 2011, 01:51:43 AM »

I'm too sensitive..... I couldn't use a piece of newspaper with the Queen's image as toilet paper on a camping trip.

I'm with you on the latter.  Smiley
As to the former, well... I'm working on it.
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« Reply #67 on: August 09, 2011, 01:55:50 AM »

Good question: I reckon the answer depends upon the meaning of "brought".

Ah, yes. Semiotics, the ever-faithful trump card.
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« Reply #68 on: August 09, 2011, 02:02:29 AM »

There are two ways of looking at Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, etc.

1.  The first one is to start from the verse of the Psalms "All the gods of the pagans are demons."

2.  The second is to understand that it is God Himself who has planted in man the need to worship Him.   In the places outside the countries of divine revelation (first Israel, and now the Christian countries) this God-given urge took many forms.  Some of the religions which were formed were mild and benevolent (Buddhism) and some were militant (Islam) and some (thank God, now extinct) required such ghastly things as human sacrifice.  And in the last example we can see the demons at work, perverting the human need to worship.

Man is created to worship God, and man will find for himself the ways to satisfy the need God has put so deep in his heart.  He can no more help worshipping than he can eating.  Without divine revelation he is not able to create true and pure religion and so he gets parts of it wrong.
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« Reply #69 on: August 09, 2011, 02:08:19 AM »

Good question: I reckon the answer depends upon the meaning of "brought".

Ah, yes. Semiotics, the ever-faithful trump card.
I-95 (a major interstate highway in the U.S.) can "bring" you to NYC. Maybe Buddhism served as the OP's "I-95", with Orthodoxy as the NYC, the final destination.
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« Reply #70 on: August 09, 2011, 03:09:23 AM »

There are two ways of looking at Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, etc.

1.  The first one is to start from the verse of the Psalms "All the gods of the pagans are demons."

2.  The second is to understand that it is God Himself who has planted in man the need to worship Him.   In the places outside the countries of divine revelation (first Israel, and now the Christian countries) this God-given urge took many forms.  Some of the religions which were formed were mild and benevolent (Buddhism) and some were militant (Islam) and some (thank God, now extinct) required such ghastly things as human sacrifice.  And in the last example we can see the demons at work, perverting the human need to worship.

Man is created to worship God, and man will find for himself the ways to satisfy the need God has put so deep in his heart.  He can no more help worshipping than he can eating.  Without divine revelation he is not able to create true and pure religion and so he gets parts of it wrong.

Bless, Father,

An extraordinary post, my dear friend!

Many years,

Neil
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« Reply #71 on: August 09, 2011, 06:15:31 AM »

There are two ways of looking at Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, etc.

1.  The first one is to start from the verse of the Psalms "All the gods of the pagans are demons."

2.  The second is to understand that it is God Himself who has planted in man the need to worship Him.   In the places outside the countries of divine revelation (first Israel, and now the Christian countries) this God-given urge took many forms.  Some of the religions which were formed were mild and benevolent (Buddhism) and some were militant (Islam) and some (thank God, now extinct) required such ghastly things as human sacrifice.  And in the last example we can see the demons at work, perverting the human need to worship.

Man is created to worship God, and man will find for himself the ways to satisfy the need God has put so deep in his heart.  He can no more help worshipping than he can eating.  Without divine revelation he is not able to create true and pure religion and so he gets parts of it wrong.


Bless, Father.

I agree with what you say above, and believe that both viewpoints are valid and part of the Orthodox view on other faiths specifically, and human nature in general. So, what action best reconciles these two views?

If we look at Buddhism as described in #1, then destroying the statues is the best option, as it means we will not be contributing to someone else's worship of "demons", nor will we be seen to support their faith.

If we look at Buddhism as described in #2, then destroying the statues is still an option, because they belong to Ansgar, and so the Buddhists' "need to worship" is not prevented by a few statues which they never owned being destroyed. In addition, whilst giving the statues to a local temple may look like we are giving credence to that faith, destroying the statues will not look like anything, because it can be done in private. Even we need never know what happened to them if Ansgar doesn't tell us, and we don't feel the need to ask him.

So, in conclusion, destroying the statues privately without fuss means that we act in the spirit of #1, without denying #2.
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« Reply #72 on: August 09, 2011, 08:45:28 AM »

I noticed no one has brought up iconoclasm.
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« Reply #73 on: August 09, 2011, 04:48:04 PM »


Yes, but, Buddha isn't a saint.

How do you know? He lived long before Christ. Had no access to the Hebrew Prophets or scriptures and yet taught people to get control of their passions and live for others... Not too bad considering.
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« Reply #74 on: August 09, 2011, 04:52:40 PM »

There are two ways of looking at Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, etc.

1.  The first one is to start from the verse of the Psalms "All the gods of the pagans are demons."

2.  The second is to understand that it is God Himself who has planted in man the need to worship Him.   In the places outside the countries of divine revelation (first Israel, and now the Christian countries) this God-given urge took many forms.  Some of the religions which were formed were mild and benevolent (Buddhism) and some were militant (Islam) and some (thank God, now extinct) required such ghastly things as human sacrifice.  And in the last example we can see the demons at work, perverting the human need to worship.

Man is created to worship God, and man will find for himself the ways to satisfy the need God has put so deep in his heart.  He can no more help worshipping than he can eating.  Without divine revelation he is not able to create true and pure religion and so he gets parts of it wrong.


Bravo ! POM nomination

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« Reply #75 on: August 09, 2011, 04:58:53 PM »

whenever i see them [Buddha statues] in the houses/ apartments i work in as a handyman, i also look for whole foods bags; these seem to be symbiotic.

LOL laugh
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« Reply #76 on: August 09, 2011, 05:07:01 PM »


Yes, but, Buddha isn't a saint.

How do you know? He lived long before Christ. Had no access to the Hebrew Prophets or scriptures and yet taught people to get control of their passions and live for others... Not too bad considering.

As far as I know the Orthodox Church hasn't recognized him as such, nor have I seen any icons of him with a halo.

Whether the man himself is a saint or not is a irrelevant here.  The discussion centers around Buddhist idols of a pagan god.

I have been taught to follow Christ. 

Buddhists have for the most part heard of Christ (especially those here in the U.S.) however, they choose to pray to a round bellied Buddha.  Why would I even chance reinforcing their misguided beliefs by saving some silly clay or jade or whatever statue in my own house?

Is this for real?

I won't mention what I did with the copy of the Quran that was pushed on me at the State Fair.

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« Reply #77 on: August 09, 2011, 06:51:37 PM »

He lived long before Christ. Had no access to the Hebrew Prophets or scriptures and yet taught people to get control of their passions and live for others... Not too bad considering.

You forgot to mention that he also taught that there is no God, that we get reincarnated, that we can escape the cycle through nothingness.  The living for others is debatable.  More like detachment.

Look, he was probably a good fellow, and I don't believe anyone's claiming that he's burning in eternal hellfire  That said, he is not recognized as a saint, and his statues are certainly not things we're supposed to venerate/hold in a place of reverence.  Just because people have a certain affinity for him doesn't mean that we can just pretend he's a saint and move on.  Perhaps he is secretly a saint, but so are plenty of other people as well.  Great.  This is not an Icon folks, sorry.

Has anyone asked their priest about this sort of thing?  Mine, for one, would look at me as if I asked to play jazz trumpet during Divine Liturgy and tell me to toss it.
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« Reply #78 on: August 09, 2011, 07:04:12 PM »

Mine, for one, would look at me as if I asked to play jazz trumpet during Divine Liturgy
Sorry, just had to say LOL.

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« Reply #79 on: August 09, 2011, 07:14:41 PM »

I do not really care about Buddha or  how his teachings square with the Orthodox faith, but I wouldn't keep those statues in my house for the only reason that they are the most stereotypically bourgeois "spiritual" items. On that account alone they are worthy of  being tossed out. Get a Sacred Heart Jesus instead or a plastic Madonna.
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« Reply #80 on: August 09, 2011, 07:24:16 PM »

bourgeois

lol
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« Reply #81 on: August 09, 2011, 07:25:55 PM »


Yes, but, Buddha isn't a saint.

How do you know? He lived long before Christ. Had no access to the Hebrew Prophets or scriptures and yet taught people to get control of their passions and live for others... Not too bad considering.

As far as I know the Orthodox Church hasn't recognized him as such, nor have I seen any icons of him with a halo.

Whether the man himself is a saint or not is a irrelevant here.  The discussion centers around Buddhist idols of a pagan god.

I have been taught to follow Christ.  

Buddhists have for the most part heard of Christ (especially those here in the U.S.) however, they choose to pray to a round bellied Buddha.  Why would I even chance reinforcing their misguided beliefs by saving some silly clay or jade or whatever statue in my own house?

Is this for real?

I won't mention what I did with the copy of the Quran that was pushed on me at the State Fair.



As far as I know the Orthodox Church hasn't recognized him as such, nor have I seen any icons of him with a halo.


So you thought my statement indicated that I believed the Orthodox Church has canonized Shakyamuni Buddha? Really??...

I bet youre just trying to be snarky.  Wink

Whether the man himself is a saint or not is a irrelevant here.  The discussion centers around Buddhist idols of a pagan god.




I think that is an inaccurate assessment. The Buddha is not considered "A God" or "God" by Buddhists FYI.

So what we are really talking about is being respectful of a venerable person, Saintly by all accounts, who predated Christ and whose teachings are laudable by any and all standards. Plus, we are certainly not discussing worship of statues of him but rather how to dispose of them. I vote for being respectful and avoiding triumphalism and arrogance...  You do whatever you want.


I have been taught to follow Christ.  

Buddhists have for the most part heard of Christ (especially those here in the U.S.) however, they choose to pray to a round bellied Buddha.  Why would I even chance reinforcing their misguided beliefs by saving some silly clay or jade or whatever statue in my own house?


I think you may not have read this thread carefully enough. No one is suggesting that. We are discussing how to best dispose of such statues, either toss them or destroy them like trash or return them.

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« Reply #82 on: August 09, 2011, 07:36:49 PM »

He lived long before Christ. Had no access to the Hebrew Prophets or scriptures and yet taught people to get control of their passions and live for others... Not too bad considering.

You forgot to mention that he also taught that there is no God, that we get reincarnated, that we can escape the cycle through nothingness.  The living for others is debatable.  More like detachment.

Look, he was probably a good fellow, and I don't believe anyone's claiming that he's burning in eternal hellfire  That said, he is not recognized as a saint, and his statues are certainly not things we're supposed to venerate/hold in a place of reverence.  Just because people have a certain affinity for him doesn't mean that we can just pretend he's a saint and move on.  Perhaps he is secretly a saint, but so are plenty of other people as well.  Great.  This is not an Icon folks, sorry.

Has anyone asked their priest about this sort of thing?  Mine, for one, would look at me as if I asked to play jazz trumpet during Divine Liturgy and tell me to toss it.

You forgot to mention that he also taught that there is no God, that we get reincarnated, that we can escape the cycle through nothingness.  The living for others is debatable.  More like detachment.


Ummm...It's actually a bit more complicated than that.

When the Buddha was asked "Is there a God" he remained silent.

He was then asked "Is there not a God" he remained Silent.

And not to get too deep into this, but the Lotus Sutra does indeed reveal that there is a Supreme Being. The "Eternal Shakyamuni Buddha" ( not the temporal manifestation that we are discussing). Google Lotus Sutra chapter 15 through 22, especially chapter 16....like I said. it's complicated.

So Buddhists in some sects did indeed have some notion of the existence of a (The) Supreme Being. Not a Creator God as we know him..but none the less.  
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« Reply #83 on: August 09, 2011, 07:40:55 PM »


Snarky?  Me? Wink

...and I HAVE read the thread carefully.

I understand that it revolves around whether one should keep these idols or destroy them.

"So what we are really talking about is being respectful of a venerable person, Saintly by all accounts, who predated Christ and whose teachings are laudable by any and all standards. Plus, we are certainly not discussing worship of statues of him but rather how to dispose of them. I vote for being respectful and avoiding triumphalism and arrogance...  You do whatever you want. "

I don't have to "do" anything, because there's no way a statue of Buddha would be in my house in the first place.

However, if it were, I would throw it in the trash and not think about it twice.  I would not be offending local Buddhists, because they would know nothing about it.  It wouldn't be a display of triumph as you seem to think, it would simply be housecleaning.

If I think it improper to pray before a statue of Buddha, how would I in good conscience donate it or gift it (local temple or Salvation Army) knowing that someone else would be praying before it?  Seriously.  

If I had fireworks in my house, and was afraid they would cause me harm because they were old and unstable.....would I, out of respect for the fireworks makers and others, donate these same fireworks to the city, perhaps to be used in the local fireworks display....knowing full well that someone might get hurt if they use them?  No.

If it's not safe for me, it's not safe for others.  ...and exactly OUT OF RESPECT for others, and for their souls, I would destroy that statue of Buddha, rather than send it in to the world to hurt others.

...but, that's just me.  You go right ahead and do what you like.  (Now, I am being snarky.)  Smiley
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« Reply #84 on: August 09, 2011, 07:50:01 PM »

A couple things, from my infintesimally small understanding of Buddhism... so far as I understand, saying that "we get reincarnated" isn't exactly right, if by "we" you mean a specific soul or whatever continuing into another life; also, not all buddhists pray to a statue of buddha... and many "buddhist" beliefs also weren't given directly from St. Buddha... thus the fragmenting and significant differences between groups...
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« Reply #85 on: August 09, 2011, 07:52:50 PM »


The Soka Gakkai International, the largest Buddhist Group operating in the West is mostly made up of working class people. They also have a large number of African Americans.. Tina Turner is a member..... So go look her in the eye and tell her what an easy "Bourgeois" life she has had.. Dare ya Smiley

I recall years ago that they used to go downtown and preach to Prostitutes and get them to go to introductory meetings. Many used Buddhism as a way out of that life and reformed.

I ran a Buddhist Prison Ministry ( not the Soka Gakkai but a similar group). My group had a large contingent of former Prisoners who began practicing Buddhism while incarcerated. Most had tattoos on their necks and each finger (LOVE..HATE) and on their faces. We had one Woman who was fully tattooed from head to toe. Even the Japanese priests were a bit scared of her.... A nicer person you will never meet. She had had a hard life.

So.......... count your blessings.. .
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« Reply #86 on: August 09, 2011, 07:56:14 PM »

I understand that it revolves around whether one should keep these idols or destroy them.

Then maybe I am the one who missed the suggestion to keep them. I beleive what we have been discussing is how to best dispose of them.

Oh and you may want to read some things by very well respected Orthodox who are  former Buddhists. Fr. Seraphim Rose and Fr. Abbot Damincene of Platina Monastery for example. They say not to worry too much about people going through a Buddhist phase. They say Buddhism while certainly incomplete, is a SOBER religion to quote Fr. Seraphim and that it can serve to preserve people's soul's until they are ready to receive Christ.

 
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« Reply #87 on: August 09, 2011, 08:03:41 PM »


The Soka Gakkai International, the largest Buddhist Group operating in the West is mostly made up of working class people. They also have a large number of African Americans.. Tina Turner is a member..... So go look her in the eye and tell her what an easy "Bourgeois" life she has had.. Dare ya Smiley

I recall years ago that they used to go downtown and preach to Prostitutes and get them to go to introductory meetings. Many used Buddhism as a way out of that life and reformed.

I ran a Buddhist Prison Ministry ( not the Soka Gakkai but a similar group). My group had a large contingent of former Prisoners who began practicing Buddhism while incarcerated. Most had tattoos on their necks and each finger (LOVE..HATE) and on their faces. We had one Woman who was fully tattooed from head to toe. Even the Japanese priests were a bit scared of her.... A nicer person you will never meet. She had had a hard life.

So.......... count your blessings.. .

What are you on about?
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« Reply #88 on: August 09, 2011, 08:06:18 PM »

I understand that it revolves around whether one should keep these idols or destroy them.

Then maybe I am the one who missed the suggestion to keep them. I beleive what we have been discussing is how to best dispose of them.

Oh and you may want to read some things by very well respected Orthodox who are  former Buddhists. Fr. Seraphim Rose and Fr. Abbot Damincene of Platina Monastery for example. They say not to worry too much about people going through a Buddhist phase. They say Buddhism while certainly incomplete, is a SOBER religion to quote Fr. Seraphim and that it can serve to preserve people's soul's until they are ready to receive Christ.

 

Seriously?  What about those who are Buddhist and happy to remain so....and never "receive" Christ?

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« Reply #89 on: August 09, 2011, 08:32:39 PM »

(for the record, my comment about batting practice was supposed to be so ridiculous and sarcastic, that it should have 0% creditability or sounding good. that was not the case i see, and emotions shall be empolyed to ensure understanding)
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« Reply #90 on: August 09, 2011, 08:43:06 PM »

Imo, Buddha himself is irrelevant to the conversation. Even if he is a secret saint, and whether Buddhism has many positive traits (which it does), the fact is those statues are used by Buddhists for sinful purposes.

If I had the "icon" by Robert Lentz which depicts David and Jonathan in a homosexual embrace I wouldn't hesitate to the throw the thing out just because it happens to depict two Saints of God. Doesn't the purpose for which it is made count? If Siddhartha Gautama is in Heaven right now, he is surely begging God to have mercy on the millions mislead by the movement he spawned. I'm sure he deeply dislikes being depicted as the quintessential Enlightened One in a cosmology in which Christ and His Church are, at the least, nonessential.
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« Reply #91 on: August 09, 2011, 09:31:50 PM »

I understand that it revolves around whether one should keep these idols or destroy them.

Then maybe I am the one who missed the suggestion to keep them. I beleive what we have been discussing is how to best dispose of them.

Oh and you may want to read some things by very well respected Orthodox who are  former Buddhists. Fr. Seraphim Rose and Fr. Abbot Damincene of Platina Monastery for example. They say not to worry too much about people going through a Buddhist phase. They say Buddhism while certainly incomplete, is a SOBER religion to quote Fr. Seraphim and that it can serve to preserve people's soul's until they are ready to receive Christ.

 

Seriously?  What about those who are Buddhist and happy to remain so....and never "receive" Christ?



 The topic here is a bit different. Go back and read from the beginning.
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« Reply #92 on: August 09, 2011, 09:41:27 PM »

When the Buddha was asked "Is there a God" he remained silent.

He was then asked "Is there not a God" he remained Silent.

That's so deep.  He's definitely a secret saint then.

I find it amusing that some on here seem to be attacking our knowledge of Buddhism.  That would be understandable if we were on buddhismnotchristianity.net, but we're not.  I have a decent, if relatively superficial and academic understanding of Buddhism, have friends that are Buddhists and such, I appreciate Buddhist art, architecture, history, temple construction, etc.  Apart from this though, I've had little other reason to delve further.

In other words, please explain, from an Orthodox perspective, why the OP needs to whisper sweet nothings into the Buddha statues' ears before placing them on silk pillows and burying them in platinum vaults.

Yes, Fr. Seraphim Rose was a Buddhist. St. Augustine was a Manichaean.  And?  Does that somehow mean that these images are, by association, Orthodox now?

A couple things, from my infintesimally small understanding of Buddhism... so far as I understand, saying that "we get reincarnated" isn't exactly right, if by "we" you mean a specific soul or whatever continuing into another life;
Right, but my point is that he wasn't teaching Christianity or anything within that framework.

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... and many "buddhist" beliefs also weren't given directly from St. Buddha...
Cheesy I love it!
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« Reply #93 on: August 09, 2011, 09:43:42 PM »

I found a web page called "From Buddhism to Orthodox Christianity" which made several good points;

http://www.angelfire.com/pa3/OldWorldBasic/Buddhism_to_Orthodoxy.htm

I am one of at least 8 people that I know who have become Orthodox Christians after having been Tibetan (usually Nyingmapa) or Zen Buddhists. There is a good possibility that there will soon be a book with the stories of such people, and how their conversion took place. I can offer you a few sample perceptions that I have developed on the way as to why Orthodox Christianity makes sense to Buddhists:
 

• Buddhism has always been primarily monastic and ascetic in nature, with an emphasis on spiritual practice and development more than just mental assent to a list of truths. There is an organic unity between understanding of precepts and the quality of practice in Buddhism that serves well when learning about Orthodoxy.

• Buddhism has always had some form of ‘iconography’.

• Buddhists venerate the lives of ascetics, relics and ‘saints’.

• Buddhists (at least the Tibetans) have highly complex and developed forms of liturgical practice, including chanting, incense, etc. (e.g. they aren't intimidated by the typicon :-))

• Buddhists understand that it is wise not to live for the present life, but to struggle for the future one.

• Buddhists understand the value of dispassion and mental stillness.

• Americans who become Buddhists usually are fervent spiritual seekers, who get used to struggling with foreign languages and cultures, and pushing themselves outside of their ‘comfort zone’ in order to imbibe a deeper spiritual life.

• Buddhists are already used to the idea that fervently seeking spiritual growth will cause pain in the legs :-) :-).

 

Now as to why someone moves from Buddhism to Orthodoxy - everyone's story is different - some are miraculous - some are frightening - some are fairly ordinary. But a common denominator seems to be that; if a person has even the smallest history of knowledge of Christ before becoming a Buddhist, then even the smallest of such impressions, even from early childhood, will cause a Buddhist to reach a point beyond which they cannot grow as a Buddhist. There are Buddhist practices that serve to ‘open the heart’. Such a practice will often not work for one whose heart has been visited even briefly by Christ - their heart will open only for Him. More than one Buddhist has caught himself chanting a mantra that he or she had previously chanted over 100,000 times, that somehow, one day turns into ‘Lord have mercy’. And He does have mercy!

 

Fr Seraphim (Rose), also a convert from Buddhism to Orthodox Christianity, said of Buddhism, ‘It’s fine as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough’.

 
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« Reply #94 on: August 09, 2011, 09:56:13 PM »

Marc,
Thank you for the information, and I apologize if you feel that this has turned into an attack on Buddhism; that really wasn't my intent. 

At the same time, I don't believe that some of the advice given to the OP represents particularly objective Orthodox Christian viewpoints.  As I mentioned, my priest, while he would probably acknowledge many positive aspects of Buddhism, would have no qualms about disposing of Buddhist statues.  He is not a careless man or priest.

Again, if the OP has some sort of Christian connection to these statues, and believes they helped him find Orthodoxy, that's probably a different story.  Either way, I think I've helped to drown him out of his own thread.   Smiley   
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« Reply #95 on: August 09, 2011, 10:04:12 PM »

Assuming that Buddha did teach the existence of a God who isn't the Creator, as opposed to simply refuse to speak about God, I fail to see how that is a good thing.  Clearly, he didn't believe this God was essential to enlightenment, he didn't believe that this God was someone we need to think about very much, or someone we need to worship and honor.  I fail to see how a "God" who isn't the Creator and Sustainer, really counts as believing in GOD as opposed to god (such as the pagans believed in).
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« Reply #96 on: August 09, 2011, 10:49:25 PM »

I remember once being at a funeral banquet which had to take place in Holy Week.  The Serbs, with customary hospitality had prepared for the mourners plates of food which were both fasting and non-fasting.   One old priest happened to be sitting at the point where the fasting and non-fasting dishes met.   He asked the bishop:  What should I eat?  And the bishop replied:  It's your choice.

I think that this applies to the OP of this thread.  It is his choice -to destroy the Buddha statues or to keep them.  He is able to judge if he can treat them dispassionately as works of art and part of his former religious philosophy or whether they constitute a present danger to his faith in Christ.



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« Reply #97 on: August 09, 2011, 10:54:52 PM »

Marc,
Thank you for the information, and I apologize if you feel that this has turned into an attack on Buddhism; that really wasn't my intent. 

At the same time, I don't believe that some of the advice given to the OP represents particularly objective Orthodox Christian viewpoints.  As I mentioned, my priest, while he would probably acknowledge many positive aspects of Buddhism, would have no qualms about disposing of Buddhist statues.  He is not a careless man or priest.

Again, if the OP has some sort of Christian connection to these statues, and believes they helped him find Orthodoxy, that's probably a different story.  Either way, I think I've helped to drown him out of his own thread.   Smiley   

As I recall he asked how to dispose of them.. I suggested that he return them to a Buddhist Temple (by mail is fine) so they can properly dispose of them.... That's about it.
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« Reply #98 on: August 09, 2011, 11:04:39 PM »

Assuming that Buddha did teach the existence of a God who isn't the Creator, as opposed to simply refuse to speak about God, I fail to see how that is a good thing.  Clearly, he didn't believe this God was essential to enlightenment, he didn't believe that this God was someone we need to think about very much, or someone we need to worship and honor.  I fail to see how a "God" who isn't the Creator and Sustainer, really counts as believing in GOD as opposed to god (such as the pagans believed in).

Buddhism tends to teach in an apophatic manner, much like the Orthodox. His silence was not a "refusal".

I agree with you. A sense of God who didnt Create and sustain all there is not the full Truth IMHO. But the Buddhist concept of the Eternal Buddha is that he is Eternally Living and the basis of all illumination. So he is The Supreme Being. Buddhists just have a very partial glimpse. But it is at least a glimpse which is far more than I can say about many many other philosophies and religions,
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« Reply #99 on: August 09, 2011, 11:16:28 PM »

Buddhism tends to teach in an apophatic manner, much like the Orthodox. His silence was not a "refusal".

No but it wasn't an affirmation either. Christianity is about a relationship with God, and thus a necessary component of Christianity. By not acknowledging God, it is also not placing much importance on God.
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« Reply #100 on: August 09, 2011, 11:21:31 PM »

If Siddhartha Gautama is in Heaven right now, he is surely begging God to have mercy on the millions mislead by the movement he spawned. I'm sure he deeply dislikes being depicted as the quintessential Enlightened One in a cosmology in which Christ and His Church are, at the least, nonessential.

Well, that's a bit on the speculative side, I'd say. If I were to speculate, too, I would think that the Buddha would be in good favor with God for at least giving countless people around the world - people who pre-dated Jesus by up to 600 odd years, people who have little to no access to Christianity, or people who are for some reason indisposed towards Christianity - a systematic and peaceful path for developing mental well-being and compassion for all living things.
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« Reply #101 on: August 09, 2011, 11:30:34 PM »

I think that the Buddha discussion is for another thread.

I think this all comes down to our personal ties and feelings about certain other faiths. I am sure that there are people on this site who would have absolutely no problem flushing a Qur'an down the toilet. Based on my studies and work with Muslims, I have feelings about them and I like certain aspects of the faith, although I don't believe in it as a religion. I have Qur'anic verses in Arabic calligraphy and a copy of the book itself.

I have no ties to Buddhism whatsoever, so like Liza, I wouldn't have a problem disposing a Buddha statue by simply putting it out with the trash. Same with any other far-Eastern faith. I don't mean any disrespect, because God is the ultimate judge, but I see no reason to keep the items around. While I don't disrespect the people of those faiths to the point where I will burn the item and put it on YouTube, I see no reason to return an item to a temple either.
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« Reply #102 on: August 09, 2011, 11:39:41 PM »

If Siddhartha Gautama is in Heaven right now, he is surely begging God to have mercy on the millions mislead by the movement he spawned. I'm sure he deeply dislikes being depicted as the quintessential Enlightened One in a cosmology in which Christ and His Church are, at the least, nonessential.

Well, that's a bit on the speculative side, I'd say. If I were to speculate, too, I would think that the Buddha would be in good favor with God for at least giving countless people around the world - people who pre-dated Jesus by up to 600 odd years, people who have little to no access to Christianity, or people who are for some reason indisposed towards Christianity - a systematic and peaceful path for developing mental well-being and compassion for all living things.
I don't believe in being 90% acceptable to God. Buddhism is better than cow worship, yes. But it's devotees still fall short of the fullness of God. If a Buddhist never comes to believe in Christ, he is still as sinful and wretched as anyone else without Christ no matter how mentally healthy he might be in natural terms.
I think that the Buddha discussion is for another thread.
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« Reply #103 on: August 10, 2011, 12:12:55 AM »

Buddhism tends to teach in an apophatic manner, much like the Orthodox. His silence was not a "refusal".

No but it wasn't an affirmation either. Christianity is about a relationship with God, and thus a necessary component of Christianity. By not acknowledging God, it is also not placing much importance on God.

Maybe  Smiley
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« Reply #104 on: August 10, 2011, 09:57:35 AM »

I think that the Buddha discussion is for another thread.

I think this all comes down to our personal ties and feelings about certain other faiths. I am sure that there are people on this site who would have absolutely no problem flushing a Qur'an down the toilet. Based on my studies and work with Muslims, I have feelings about them and I like certain aspects of the faith, although I don't believe in it as a religion. I have Qur'anic verses in Arabic calligraphy and a copy of the book itself.

I have no ties to Buddhism whatsoever, so like Liza, I wouldn't have a problem disposing a Buddha statue by simply putting it out with the trash. Same with any other far-Eastern faith. I don't mean any disrespect, because God is the ultimate judge, but I see no reason to keep the items around. While I don't disrespect the people of those faiths to the point where I will burn the item and put it on YouTube, I see no reason to return an item to a temple either.

How you personally feel may not be the most important thing.

Statues certainly are easy for us to dismiss as our culture has so much aversion for them. But how about Mandalas which are icons very similar to what we use? They often depict "Heavenly Realms" and such the like and are "Blessed" by Buddhist Priests. Most mandala's and even statues undergo what is called in Japanese a "Kaigenkuyo" ritual, the "Opening of the (spiritual) Eyes" of an object of veneration.

So even though this discussion is now just an academic exercise, I would still advise caution and not monkey around with objects that shouldn't be messed around with. I would handle them with care, no matter if they are for the good or demonic and send them back to a Buddhist who knows how to handle them..

On a personal "Feeling" level, how would you like it if a person of a different religion trashed your icons? I say, stay humble and respectful because the law of karma can be understood as "What goes around, comes around"

img/ http://i3.ytimg.com/vi/-Z35B9qz3sU/0.jpg \img
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« Reply #105 on: August 10, 2011, 10:09:41 AM »

Look, I've got a lot of sins to worry about, and putting a Buddha statue in a trash can, if it is a sin, is honestly the least of them.

I'm not trying to discount your personal feelings or those of anyone in this thread, but I do think that they are playing a big part in our decisions on this matter. I don't care about Buddhism, so I would see no problem with throwing out a statue if I did have one. But I would also never destroy the erected statues that are out there. If people want to keep them up, fine with me.

And the blessed, sacred items that I would even hesitate on are icons or items blessed by the Church. I don't have any compulsions to prevent me from throwing away my prophecy tapes and Benny Hinn books (but I couldn't throw away a rosary, a scapular, or a crucifix).

Now, since I have a personal connection to Islam and Muslims, I would have a harder time destroying those items. Not because I necessarily consider their items blessed, but because I have respect for certain aspects of the culture and faith.

Am I wrong -- that your personal experience with Buddhism is weighing heavily on your opinion here, Marc?
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« Reply #106 on: August 10, 2011, 10:32:21 AM »

On a personal "Feeling" level, how would you like it if a person of a different religion trashed your icons? I say, stay humble and respectful because the law of karma can be understood as "What goes around, comes around"

img/ http://i3.ytimg.com/vi/-Z35B9qz3sU/0.jpg \img
I would expect someone of a different faith to not do it in front of me, and that's about it.

If a Buddhist friend stopped by after my conversion and said, "Hey, can I have that?" I'd probably give it to them out for friendship's sake. But I'm not obligated to return it or send it to a temple.

And even if it's blessed by someone, it doesn't have any spiritual power or effect on me, so in my eyes, I don't care about the blessing. Maybe I'm wrong on that, but that's how I see it. Most Orthodox can barely swallow Protestant baptism being valid -- and now we have to consider other religions? It's a stretch, at the least.

If I hesitated, it would only be for respect of the people behind the faith, not the item or the supposed sacredness of the item itself.
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« Reply #107 on: August 10, 2011, 10:54:05 PM »

Look, I've got a lot of sins to worry about, and putting a Buddha statue in a trash can, if it is a sin, is honestly the least of them.

I'm not trying to discount your personal feelings or those of anyone in this thread, but I do think that they are playing a big part in our decisions on this matter. I don't care about Buddhism, so I would see no problem with throwing out a statue if I did have one. But I would also never destroy the erected statues that are out there. If people want to keep them up, fine with me.

And the blessed, sacred items that I would even hesitate on are icons or items blessed by the Church. I don't have any compulsions to prevent me from throwing away my prophecy tapes and Benny Hinn books (but I couldn't throw away a rosary, a scapular, or a crucifix).

Now, since I have a personal connection to Islam and Muslims, I would have a harder time destroying those items. Not because I necessarily consider their items blessed, but because I have respect for certain aspects of the culture and faith.

Am I wrong -- that your personal experience with Buddhism is weighing heavily on your opinion here, Marc?

Maybe the second time will be the charm  Smiley

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« Reply #108 on: August 11, 2011, 01:07:06 AM »

I say, stay humble and respectful because the law of karma can be understood as "What goes around, comes around"

The Orthodox karma card?
If a joke:  Cheesy
If not:  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #109 on: August 14, 2011, 02:13:30 PM »

I think that this applies to the OP of this thread.  It is his choice -to destroy the Buddha statues or to keep them.  He is able to judge if he can treat them dispassionately as works of art and part of his former religious philosophy or whether they constitute a present danger to his faith in Christ.

This approach strikes me as most sensible. Based on many of the posts in this thread, it seems that Greece  should waste no time in tearing down the Parthenon and destroying every vestige of its pre-Christian art, down to the smallest trinket statute of Artemis.
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« Reply #110 on: August 14, 2011, 02:14:39 PM »

I say, stay humble and respectful because the law of karma can be understood as "What goes around, comes around"

The Orthodox karma card?
If a joke:  Cheesy
If not:  Roll Eyes

I wouldn't be so quick to roll my eyes. Will we not be forgiven but only to the extent we forgive others?
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« Reply #111 on: August 14, 2011, 02:19:21 PM »

I say, stay humble and respectful because the law of karma can be understood as "What goes around, comes around"

The Orthodox karma card?
If a joke:  Cheesy
If not:  Roll Eyes

I wouldn't be so quick to roll my eyes. Will we not be forgiven but only to the extent we forgive others?



....karma?
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« Reply #112 on: August 14, 2011, 02:47:39 PM »

I say, stay humble and respectful because the law of karma can be understood as "What goes around, comes around"
The Orthodox karma card?
If a joke:  Cheesy
If not:  Roll Eyes
I wouldn't be so quick to roll my eyes. Will we not be forgiven but only to the extent we forgive others?

Are you serious?  Never disagreed with anyone? 

Jog on, oh perfect one.
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« Reply #113 on: August 14, 2011, 03:40:09 PM »

I say, stay humble and respectful because the law of karma can be understood as "What goes around, comes around"

The Orthodox karma card?
If a joke:  Cheesy
If not:  Roll Eyes

I wouldn't be so quick to roll my eyes. Will we not be forgiven but only to the extent we forgive others?



....karma?
...which is defined simply as "intention", in Buddhism. Each "karma" has a subsequent "vipaka", or "result".
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« Reply #114 on: August 14, 2011, 04:52:15 PM »

I say, stay humble and respectful because the law of karma can be understood as "What goes around, comes around"
The Orthodox karma card?
If a joke:  Cheesy
If not:  Roll Eyes
I wouldn't be so quick to roll my eyes. Will we not be forgiven but only to the extent we forgive others?

Are you serious?  Never disagreed with anyone? 

Jog on, oh perfect one.

I don't understand your point. I never said that I have never disagreed with anyone.
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« Reply #115 on: August 14, 2011, 07:11:32 PM »

^My point: Lay off the lecturing.

If I'm going to be judged/damned because I used an eye-rolling emoticon to express the silliness of a forum comment, then I'll make sure to pack for the warm weather in eternal heckfire.   
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« Reply #116 on: August 14, 2011, 07:57:14 PM »

I say, stay humble and respectful because the law of karma can be understood as "What goes around, comes around"

The Orthodox karma card?
If a joke:  Cheesy
If not:  Roll Eyes

I wouldn't be so quick to roll my eyes. Will we not be forgiven but only to the extent we forgive others?


What does "forgiveness" have to do with pitching a statue of Buddha in the trash?  Karma?  Seriously?

Someone seems to be confusing Buddhism with Orthodoxy.

I think that this applies to the OP of this thread.  It is his choice -to destroy the Buddha statues or to keep them.  He is able to judge if he can treat them dispassionately as works of art and part of his former religious philosophy or whether they constitute a present danger to his faith in Christ.

This approach strikes me as most sensible.


The OP was asking other's opinions.  Therefore, we feel free to reply with our opinions. 

It seems to me the heart of the matter is NOT how Ansgar perceives these statues, but, what effect will these statues have on others, depending on his mode of disposal of them.

Should he pitch them in the trash, thereby, ensuring nobody bows down and prays before them?  Or should he donate them to a Buddhist temple, where misguided Buddhists (and yes, that's what they are...no matter how peaceful and loving they are) will strengthen their faith when looking upon said idols.  Or does he simply donate them to the thrift shop, where someone happens upon the "pretty" statue, takes it home, and then decided to read up on Buddha and join said misguided Faith.

The decision is completely his, but, my vote is to PITCH the piece of porcelain, jade, ceramic, plastic, whatever-it-is, in the trash, for it is NOTHING MORE than a piece of porcelain, jade, ceramic, plastic or whatever-it-is.


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« Reply #117 on: August 14, 2011, 08:01:44 PM »

Doesn't karma, on some level, equal the Christian idea that you reap what you sow?
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« Reply #118 on: August 14, 2011, 08:16:06 PM »

^My point: Lay off the lecturing.

If I'm going to be judged/damned because I used an eye-rolling emoticon to express the silliness of a forum comment, then I'll make sure to pack for the warm weather in eternal heckfire.   

I wasn't lecturing anyone, and I do not understand why you are so quick to take offense where none was intended.

Since it seems I must spell it out, I was simply drawing a parallel between the Buddhist concept of karma and the Christian concept that we reap what we sow e.g. we will be forgiven only as we forgive others. (I prayed this at Divine Liturgy today)
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« Reply #119 on: August 14, 2011, 08:22:42 PM »

I say, stay humble and respectful because the law of karma can be understood as "What goes around, comes around"

The Orthodox karma card?
If a joke:  Cheesy
If not:  Roll Eyes

I wouldn't be so quick to roll my eyes. Will we not be forgiven but only to the extent we forgive others?


What does "forgiveness" have to do with pitching a statue of Buddha in the trash?  Karma?  Seriously?

Someone seems to be confusing Buddhism with Orthodoxy.

Apparently I need to spell this out for another person. I was simply drawing a parallel between the concept of karma and the teaching that we reap what we sow e.g. we are taught that how we treat others will bear greatly on how God will treat us.

I think that this applies to the OP of this thread.  It is his choice -to destroy the Buddha statues or to keep them.  He is able to judge if he can treat them dispassionately as works of art and part of his former religious philosophy or whether they constitute a present danger to his faith in Christ.

This approach strikes me as most sensible.


The OP was asking other's opinions.  Therefore, we feel free to reply with our opinions. 

It seems to me the heart of the matter is NOT how Ansgar perceives these statues, but, what effect will these statues have on others, depending on his mode of disposal of them.

Should he pitch them in the trash, thereby, ensuring nobody bows down and prays before them?  Or should he donate them to a Buddhist temple, where misguided Buddhists (and yes, that's what they are...no matter how peaceful and loving they are) will strengthen their faith when looking upon said idols.  Or does he simply donate them to the thrift shop, where someone happens upon the "pretty" statue, takes it home, and then decided to read up on Buddha and join said misguided Faith.

The decision is completely his, but, my vote is to PITCH the piece of porcelain, jade, ceramic, plastic, whatever-it-is, in the trash, for it is NOTHING MORE than a piece of porcelain, jade, ceramic, plastic or whatever-it-is.

[/quote]

I never said that you should not voice your opinion. I was merely stating my agreement with Irish Hermit's.

And, you present a false dichotomy. There is a third choice: the OP can elect to keep the statutes. So long as he does not worship it, I do not see the issue with a statue of Ganesha as an objet d'art.

I guess a lot of people here were scandalized by My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Here we had an Orthodox family, but they had statues of pagan Greek gods in their front yard. Even worse, they held the wedding reception at "Aphrodite's Palace". Heaven forfend!
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« Reply #120 on: August 14, 2011, 08:37:44 PM »

objet d'art.

hogh hogh
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« Reply #121 on: August 14, 2011, 09:32:36 PM »

From my experience in Tibetan Buddhism, a statue of the Buddha which is used in worship is typically "consecrated" in such a way that the Buddha or other deity depicted is supposed to actually inhabit the statue. The texts on taking refuge will often say something to the effect that images of the Buddha are to be worshiped as the Buddha himself, as expressions of his 'nirmanakaya'. In this sense I think it could be argued that some Buddhist images really are idols.
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« Reply #122 on: August 14, 2011, 09:45:00 PM »

From my experience in Tibetan Buddhism, a statue of the Buddha which is used in worship is typically "consecrated" in such a way that the Buddha or other deity depicted is supposed to actually inhabit the statue. The texts on taking refuge will often say something to the effect that images of the Buddha are to be worshiped as the Buddha himself, as expressions of his 'nirmanakaya'. In this sense I think it could be argued that some Buddhist images really are idols.

This is not my experience from my undergraduate and graduate studies, or years in Asia. Buddha is not worshipped.
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« Reply #123 on: August 14, 2011, 09:51:52 PM »

From my experience in Tibetan Buddhism, a statue of the Buddha which is used in worship is typically "consecrated" in such a way that the Buddha or other deity depicted is supposed to actually inhabit the statue. The texts on taking refuge will often say something to the effect that images of the Buddha are to be worshiped as the Buddha himself, as expressions of his 'nirmanakaya'. In this sense I think it could be argued that some Buddhist images really are idols.

This is not my experience from my undergraduate and graduate studies, or years in Asia. Buddha is not worshipped.


You majored in Buddhism?
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« Reply #124 on: August 14, 2011, 09:55:00 PM »

From my experience in Tibetan Buddhism, a statue of the Buddha which is used in worship is typically "consecrated" in such a way that the Buddha or other deity depicted is supposed to actually inhabit the statue. The texts on taking refuge will often say something to the effect that images of the Buddha are to be worshiped as the Buddha himself, as expressions of his 'nirmanakaya'. In this sense I think it could be argued that some Buddhist images really are idols.

This is not my experience from my undergraduate and graduate studies, or years in Asia. Buddha is not worshipped.


You majored in Buddhism?

Japanese history. Was teaching it at a top 20 university by 21.

One sect of Buddism, Pure Land (aka Amida) Buddhism has some striking similarities to Christianity and was cracked down upon quite hard by the Tokugawa.
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« Reply #125 on: August 14, 2011, 09:55:29 PM »

From my experience in Tibetan Buddhism, a statue of the Buddha which is used in worship is typically "consecrated" in such a way that the Buddha or other deity depicted is supposed to actually inhabit the statue. The texts on taking refuge will often say something to the effect that images of the Buddha are to be worshiped as the Buddha himself, as expressions of his 'nirmanakaya'. In this sense I think it could be argued that some Buddhist images really are idols.

This is not my experience from my undergraduate and graduate studies, or years in Asia. Buddha is not worshipped.


Yes he is. My studies and time in Asia are better than yours.
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« Reply #126 on: August 14, 2011, 09:57:24 PM »



I guess a lot of people here were scandalized by My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Here we had an Orthodox family, but they had statues of pagan Greek gods in their front yard. Even worse, they held the wedding reception at "Aphrodite's Palace". Heaven forfend!

I guess that is why Greek Orthodox Priests are sometimes asked if they still worship Zeus?

Greek gods and pillars are often displayed on the Greek Orthodox AHEPA floats at the Rose Bowl parade.
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« Reply #127 on: August 14, 2011, 10:04:06 PM »

From my experience in Tibetan Buddhism, a statue of the Buddha which is used in worship is typically "consecrated" in such a way that the Buddha or other deity depicted is supposed to actually inhabit the statue. The texts on taking refuge will often say something to the effect that images of the Buddha are to be worshiped as the Buddha himself, as expressions of his 'nirmanakaya'. In this sense I think it could be argued that some Buddhist images really are idols.

This is not my experience from my undergraduate and graduate studies, or years in Asia. Buddha is not worshipped.


Yes he is. My studies and time in Asia are better than yours.

This is not the case. However, you may make your argument. First, you may begin by describing which sect(s) of Buddhism worship the Buddha. Being a fellow Asia hand, you know that "Buddhism" is as broad a term as "Christianity".
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« Reply #128 on: August 14, 2011, 10:40:23 PM »

Doesn't karma, on some level, equal the Christian idea that you reap what you sow?

Yes, but on steroids. This is because Buddhists beleive in reincarnation. You make some sort of cause that may or may not have a result in this lifetime. However, it will eventually have a result even if it manifests in some future life.

So this can make for some level of indifference.  If you are suffering with something in this life, it may be a result of a cause you made in an earlier lifetime that in just now manifesting. Or some suffering could be a path you chose between lives to expiate some sort of long standing karma. So if you are poor or challenged in some way it's a result of a karmic seed you yourself had planted in the past. No sympathy is warranted... Kinda harsh IMHO
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« Reply #129 on: August 14, 2011, 11:48:17 PM »

So if you are poor or challenged in some way it's a result of a karmic seed you yourself had planted in the past. No sympathy is warranted... Kinda harsh IMHO
Uh, you are aware of mudita (sympathetic joy in the happiness of others) and bodhicitta, right?
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« Reply #130 on: August 14, 2011, 11:54:19 PM »

So many things to correct, so little time.

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« Reply #131 on: August 15, 2011, 05:42:57 AM »


And, you present a false dichotomy. There is a third choice: the OP can elect to keep the statutes. So long as he does not worship it, I do not see the issue with a statue of Ganesha as an objet d'art.


It is not surprising that after so many posts, the subject of the OP gets lost amid a more abstract debate (c.a. the reference to "the OP", rather than using his username, Ansgar - I have been guilty of this myself, in an earlier post having to check who actually started this thread  Embarrassed).

But since you have invoked Ansgar's opening post, it's worth mentioning that he said quite clearly:

Quote
I mostly bought them because they were pretty but now when I have found Orthodoxy I have come to realize that I cannot have in my room anymore, but I am not sure what to do with them.

So your "third option" is not an option at all. You might be able to make that argument about using objects from other religions as ornaments in a general sense, but seeing as you yourself mentioned "the OP" then I think its right to pull you up on this point: Ansgar doesn't want to display these objects as "objet d'art".

Therefore Liza's options are really the only credible options that have been presented so far: dispose of the statues, donate them to a temple, or sell them. There may be other ideas, but using them as ornaments isn't one of them - that is Ansgar's current situation and he doesn't feel comfortable about it.
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« Reply #132 on: August 15, 2011, 06:39:00 AM »


Therefore Liza's options are really the only credible options that have been presented so far: dispose of the statues, donate them to a temple, or sell them. There may be other ideas, but using them as ornaments isn't one of them - that is Ansgar's current situation and he doesn't feel comfortable about it.

Ansgar can post them to me and they can join my grandparents' Buddha statue at the back of the cupboard.
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« Reply #133 on: August 15, 2011, 10:04:21 AM »

+
So if you are poor or challenged in some way it's a result of a karmic seed you yourself had planted in the past. No sympathy is warranted... Kinda harsh IMHO
Uh, you are aware of mudita (sympathetic joy in the happiness of others) and bodhicitta, right?

What I have in mind is an experience I had after the big Earth Quake in Kobe Japan where one of the Priests I was close with and his congregation lived.

Their attitude was very stoic concerning the loss of life and injuries to people. While in the West we would be crying up a storm for those we had lost, they were a bit mechanical. The attitude towards death and suffering and events like Earth Quakes and such the like is simple cause and effect. Either these people had chosen ( between lives) to be there or they were reaping what they had sown previously.

bodhicitta: How Buddhists proceed to "Save" others is quite a bit different than in Christianity. They endeavor to spread the Dharma by planting the seed of enlightenment in others. This is done by getting other people to have some sort of contact with Buddhism. This initial cause is the karmic seed that can now grow to full illumination. While that is considered the ultimate kindness towards others, the aspect of Christian-like Mercy is very underdeveloped.

I once asked a venerable old Buddhist Priest about Christian Compassion. He said something to the effect that "We have that too" but it was pretty clear it was an afterthought.   

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« Reply #134 on: August 15, 2011, 11:44:42 AM »

But since you have invoked Ansgar's opening post, it's worth mentioning that he said quite clearly:

Quote
I mostly bought them because they were pretty but now when I have found Orthodoxy I have come to realize that I cannot have in my room anymore, but I am not sure what to do with them.

So your "third option" is not an option at all. You might be able to make that argument about using objects from other religions as ornaments in a general sense, but seeing as you yourself mentioned "the OP" then I think its right to pull you up on this point: Ansgar doesn't want to display these objects as "objet d'art".

Therefore Liza's options are really the only credible options that have been presented so far: dispose of the statues, donate them to a temple, or sell them. There may be other ideas, but using them as ornaments isn't one of them - that is Ansgar's current situation and he doesn't feel comfortable about it.

Does he only have one room?
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« Reply #135 on: August 15, 2011, 04:54:51 PM »

But since you have invoked Ansgar's opening post, it's worth mentioning that he said quite clearly:

Quote
I mostly bought them because they were pretty but now when I have found Orthodoxy I have come to realize that I cannot have in my room anymore, but I am not sure what to do with them.

So your "third option" is not an option at all. You might be able to make that argument about using objects from other religions as ornaments in a general sense, but seeing as you yourself mentioned "the OP" then I think its right to pull you up on this point: Ansgar doesn't want to display these objects as "objet d'art".

Therefore Liza's options are really the only credible options that have been presented so far: dispose of the statues, donate them to a temple, or sell them. There may be other ideas, but using them as ornaments isn't one of them - that is Ansgar's current situation and he doesn't feel comfortable about it.

Does he only have one room?

You have continually missed the point in this thread.  J.M.C. stated that Ansgar (rightfully in my opinion) no longer wants to have the statues nearby.  Why is this so difficult to grasp? 

While some, from both sides of the argument, have criticized suggestions for disposal, I'm confident Ansgar could've figured out your apparent "put them in another room" solution. 
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« Reply #136 on: August 15, 2011, 05:09:46 PM »

From my experience in Tibetan Buddhism, a statue of the Buddha which is used in worship is typically "consecrated" in such a way that the Buddha or other deity depicted is supposed to actually inhabit the statue. The texts on taking refuge will often say something to the effect that images of the Buddha are to be worshiped as the Buddha himself, as expressions of his 'nirmanakaya'. In this sense I think it could be argued that some Buddhist images really are idols.

This is not my experience from my undergraduate and graduate studies, or years in Asia. Buddha is not worshipped.


Yes he is. My studies and time in Asia are better than yours.

This is not the case. However, you may make your argument. First, you may begin by describing which sect(s) of Buddhism worship the Buddha. Being a fellow Asia hand, you know that "Buddhism" is as broad a term as "Christianity".


I did specify Tibetan Buddhism. But what I said is basically true of all mainstream Buddhist sects. Buddhists see the Buddha as superior to all other beings, even the Gods, and the Mahayana see him as the ultimate cosmic principle, omniscient and even omnipotent. Buddhists of pretty much all sects make offerings to the Buddha, prostrate to images of him, and pray to him. I'm really trying to conceive of how one knowledgeable about Buddhism might argue that Buddhists do NOT worship Buddha and I admit I'm at a loss.

I would say Buddhism on the whole is much more cohesive than Christianity across the sects. The doctrinal disagreements that have arisen are seldom as hard and fast as in Christianity. I once visited a Chinese Mahayana monastery with a famous Theravada scholar as its co-abbot, and no one is shouting about "heresy" or "ecumenism" because of the mingling. A few years ago a bunch of Theravada nuns went to a Chinese Chan master to get the full bhiksuni ordinations. There was some uproar from Theravadin monks but nothing truly serious. Buddhist traditions are really holographic- they reflect each other with varying emphases on different aspects.

Big tent sects like Tiantai and modern Chinese Chan Buddhism tend to see the different traditions as complementary and the varying practices as suitable for different kinds of people.
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« Reply #137 on: August 15, 2011, 05:29:57 PM »

From my experience in Tibetan Buddhism, a statue of the Buddha which is used in worship is typically "consecrated" in such a way that the Buddha or other deity depicted is supposed to actually inhabit the statue. The texts on taking refuge will often say something to the effect that images of the Buddha are to be worshiped as the Buddha himself, as expressions of his 'nirmanakaya'. In this sense I think it could be argued that some Buddhist images really are idols.

This is not my experience from my undergraduate and graduate studies, or years in Asia. Buddha is not worshipped.


Yes he is. My studies and time in Asia are better than yours.

This is not the case. However, you may make your argument. First, you may begin by describing which sect(s) of Buddhism worship the Buddha. Being a fellow Asia hand, you know that "Buddhism" is as broad a term as "Christianity".


I did specify Tibetan Buddhism. But what I said is basically true of all mainstream Buddhist sects. Buddhists see the Buddha as superior to all other beings, even the Gods, and the Mahayana see him as the ultimate cosmic principle, omniscient and even omnipotent. Buddhists of pretty much all sects make offerings to the Buddha, prostrate to images of him, and pray to him. I'm really trying to conceive of how one knowledgeable about Buddhism might argue that Buddhists do NOT worship Buddha and I admit I'm at a loss.

Well, Tibetan Buddhism is in itself a group of schools. I disagree that the Buddha is worshiped. Statutes of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas are certainly venerated, but they are not worshiped. Do you worship icons? I am likewise at a loss as to how an Orthodox Christian can make such an error about these externalities when charges of worshiping Mary, saints, and icons are so often directed at Orthodox Christians.

The phrase "above the Gods" does not even make sense to me in regard to Buddhism. Devas aren't immortal, don't create, and are caught up in the same cycle of death and rebirth as humans. (then again, as I have previously explained at this forum, "gods" doesn't make sense in Shinto, either, but I digress) There's no creator or personal god. It is perfectly possible to be a Buddhist atheist. In fact, I would say that most Buddhists are.
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« Reply #138 on: August 15, 2011, 07:14:54 PM »

From my experience in Tibetan Buddhism, a statue of the Buddha which is used in worship is typically "consecrated" in such a way that the Buddha or other deity depicted is supposed to actually inhabit the statue. The texts on taking refuge will often say something to the effect that images of the Buddha are to be worshiped as the Buddha himself, as expressions of his 'nirmanakaya'. In this sense I think it could be argued that some Buddhist images really are idols.

This is not my experience from my undergraduate and graduate studies, or years in Asia. Buddha is not worshipped.


Yes he is. My studies and time in Asia are better than yours.

This is not the case. However, you may make your argument. First, you may begin by describing which sect(s) of Buddhism worship the Buddha. Being a fellow Asia hand, you know that "Buddhism" is as broad a term as "Christianity".


I did specify Tibetan Buddhism. But what I said is basically true of all mainstream Buddhist sects. Buddhists see the Buddha as superior to all other beings, even the Gods, and the Mahayana see him as the ultimate cosmic principle, omniscient and even omnipotent. Buddhists of pretty much all sects make offerings to the Buddha, prostrate to images of him, and pray to him. I'm really trying to conceive of how one knowledgeable about Buddhism might argue that Buddhists do NOT worship Buddha and I admit I'm at a loss.

Well, Tibetan Buddhism is in itself a group of schools.

And all 4 (or 5 if you count Jonangpa) basic schools are the same in this regard. All of them accept the same Mahayana scriptures which give the foundation for their worship of the Buddha.

Quote
I disagree that the Buddha is worshiped. Statutes of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas are certainly venerated, but they are not worshiped. Do you worship icons? I am likewise at a loss as to how an Orthodox Christian can make such an error about these externalities when charges of worshiping Mary, saints, and icons are so often directed at Orthodox Christians.

Veneration and worship are synonyms. Hence the troparion for the Sunday of Orthodoxy is sometimes translated "We worship thine immaculate icon..." Some folks get up in arms about this because of all the apologetic literature saying we venerate icons, but don't worship them, but the distinction is really unsupportable from the standpoint of English usage.

Yes, Buddhists worship/ venerate/ reverence the Buddha and his images. Take your pick. Do they worship him like we worship God? Well, that would be on one hand a nonsensical statement since there is no being equivalent to our God in the Buddhist framework. On the other hand it would fit because the Buddha, like God, is regarded as the fundamental cosmic principle, the ground of truth- dharmakaya, tathagatagharba, etc., at least in the Mahayana.  

Quote
The phrase "above the Gods" does not even make sense to me in regard to Buddhism. Devas aren't immortal, don't create, and are caught up in the same cycle of death and rebirth as humans.

The Nordic/ Germanic gods are also basically mortal and yet that's where our English word "god" comes from.

Quote
There's no creator or personal god. It is perfectly possible to be a Buddhist atheist. In fact, I would say that most Buddhists are.

Atheist in the sense that they deny the existence of a God like ours? Sure. In this sense all the polytheists are atheists too (Church Fathers called pagans "atheists"- but then again pagans called us "atheists" too).

In the sense of espousing materialism and denying the existence of any "supernatural" beings/ forces, no, Buddhists can't be atheists, though some Westerners would like to think so.
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« Reply #139 on: August 15, 2011, 07:54:11 PM »

In the sense of espousing materialism and denying the existence of any "supernatural" beings/ forces, no, Buddhists can't be atheists, though some Westerners would like to think so.

Thank you. I am quite tired of skeptical Westerners trying to remake Buddhism in their own image by saving it from the "superstition" of admitting the world beyond the material.
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« Reply #140 on: August 16, 2011, 12:04:19 AM »

In the sense of espousing materialism and denying the existence of any "supernatural" beings/ forces, no, Buddhists can't be atheists, though some Westerners would like to think so.

Thank you. I am quite tired of skeptical Westerners trying to remake Buddhism in their own image by saving it from the "superstition" of admitting the world beyond the material.

Ditto..This has been my constant refrain for years now. Westerners have reformulated Buddhism into a Gnostic style "everyone is a Buddha on the inside" fraud. The great sages at least in the lineage I was associated with Master Tendai and Nichiren etc. were certainly not Atheists. Far from it as it turns out. But you could spend your life in the western Buddhist groups and never know it.

My teacher ( an American scholar and translator) once had it out with a high ranking Japanese Priest and asked him  "Why dont you tell people the Truth" ( about what Nichiren really taught) . His reply was simple and probably correct. He said "They would never beleive it" 
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« Reply #141 on: August 16, 2011, 10:36:12 AM »

I disagree that the Buddha is worshiped. Statutes of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas are certainly venerated, but they are not worshiped. Do you worship icons? I am likewise at a loss as to how an Orthodox Christian can make such an error about these externalities when charges of worshiping Mary, saints, and icons are so often directed at Orthodox Christians.

Veneration and worship are synonyms. Hence the troparion for the Sunday of Orthodoxy is sometimes translated "We worship thine immaculate icon..." Some folks get up in arms about this because of all the apologetic literature saying we venerate icons, but don't worship them, but the distinction is really unsupportable from the standpoint of English usage.

Yes, Buddhists worship/ venerate/ reverence the Buddha and his images. Take your pick. Do they worship him like we worship God? Well, that would be on one hand a nonsensical statement since there is no being equivalent to our God in the Buddhist framework. On the other hand it would fit because the Buddha, like God, is regarded as the fundamental cosmic principle, the ground of truth- dharmakaya, tathagatagharba, etc., at least in the Mahayana.

If the problem is one of English usage, that is the language's problem, not the concept's. The reverence that the faithful give to icons and other created things is certainly different from that paid to the uncreated God. Buddha himself said that he should not be worshiped, so any Buddhist who does simply is not paying attention.

And, the idea certainly doesn't make sense in the Japanese schools of Mahayana that I am most familiar with, such as Zen, which rejects the idea of  scriptures.

Quote
Quote
The phrase "above the Gods" does not even make sense to me in regard to Buddhism. Devas aren't immortal, don't create, and are caught up in the same cycle of death and rebirth as humans.

The Nordic/ Germanic gods are also basically mortal and yet that's where our English word "god" comes from.

Actually, that is not necessarily linguistically sound. The etymology goes back into Proto-Indo-European, which I find to be a speculative field. The actual first known use of the word is in Gothic bibles, not collections of Norse tales.

Quote
Quote
There's no creator or personal god. It is perfectly possible to be a Buddhist atheist. In fact, I would say that most Buddhists are.

Atheist in the sense that they deny the existence of a God like ours? Sure. In this sense all the polytheists are atheists too (Church Fathers called pagans "atheists"- but then again pagans called us "atheists" too).

In the sense of espousing materialism and denying the existence of any "supernatural" beings/ forces, no, Buddhists can't be atheists, though some Westerners would like to think so.

Does the Dalai Lama count as a Buddhist?
http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?article=Ocean+of+wit+and+wisdoms&id=18719

"I'm Buddhist, I'm a Buddhist practitioner. So actually I think that according to nontheistic Buddhist belief, things are due to causes and conditions. No creator. So I have faith in our actions, not prayer. Action is important. Action is karma. Karma means action. That's an ancient Indian thought. In nontheistic religions, including Buddhism, the emphasis is on our actions rather than god or Buddha. So some people say that Buddhism is a kind of atheism. Some scholars say that Buddhism is not a religion — it's a science of the mind."

In response to the question, "do you agree with that [that Buddhism is a kind of atheism]?"

"Oh, yes. I even consider Buddha and some of his important followers like Nagarjuna (one of Buddha's leading disciples) to be scientists. Their main method is analytical. Analyze, analyze — not emphasis on faith."

Would you concede that the Dalai Lama may know a bit more about Buddism that you? Perhaps just a skosh?

By the way, have you ever had the pleasure? I was fortunate to attend a university that has a partnership with Tibet. The Dalai Lama is actually a professor at my alma mater.

Learn more here if you are so inclined:
http://tibet.emory.edu/academics/index.html
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« Reply #142 on: August 16, 2011, 11:23:13 AM »

I disagree that the Buddha is worshiped. Statutes of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas are certainly venerated, but they are not worshiped. Do you worship icons? I am likewise at a loss as to how an Orthodox Christian can make such an error about these externalities when charges of worshiping Mary, saints, and icons are so often directed at Orthodox Christians.

Veneration and worship are synonyms. Hence the troparion for the Sunday of Orthodoxy is sometimes translated "We worship thine immaculate icon..." Some folks get up in arms about this because of all the apologetic literature saying we venerate icons, but don't worship them, but the distinction is really unsupportable from the standpoint of English usage.

Yes, Buddhists worship/ venerate/ reverence the Buddha and his images. Take your pick. Do they worship him like we worship God? Well, that would be on one hand a nonsensical statement since there is no being equivalent to our God in the Buddhist framework. On the other hand it would fit because the Buddha, like God, is regarded as the fundamental cosmic principle, the ground of truth- dharmakaya, tathagatagharba, etc., at least in the Mahayana.

If the problem is one of English usage, that is the language's problem, not the concept's. The reverence that the faithful give to icons and other created things is certainly different from that paid to the uncreated God. Buddha himself said that he should not be worshiped, so any Buddhist who does simply is not paying attention.

And, the idea certainly doesn't make sense in the Japanese schools of Mahayana that I am most familiar with, such as Zen, which rejects the idea of  scriptures.

Quote
Quote
The phrase "above the Gods" does not even make sense to me in regard to Buddhism. Devas aren't immortal, don't create, and are caught up in the same cycle of death and rebirth as humans.

The Nordic/ Germanic gods are also basically mortal and yet that's where our English word "god" comes from.

Actually, that is not necessarily linguistically sound. The etymology goes back into Proto-Indo-European, which I find to be a speculative field. The actual first known use of the word is in Gothic bibles, not collections of Norse tales.

Quote
Quote
There's no creator or personal god. It is perfectly possible to be a Buddhist atheist. In fact, I would say that most Buddhists are.

Atheist in the sense that they deny the existence of a God like ours? Sure. In this sense all the polytheists are atheists too (Church Fathers called pagans "atheists"- but then again pagans called us "atheists" too).

In the sense of espousing materialism and denying the existence of any "supernatural" beings/ forces, no, Buddhists can't be atheists, though some Westerners would like to think so.

Does the Dalai Lama count as a Buddhist?
http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?article=Ocean+of+wit+and+wisdoms&id=18719

"I'm Buddhist, I'm a Buddhist practitioner. So actually I think that according to nontheistic Buddhist belief, things are due to causes and conditions. No creator. So I have faith in our actions, not prayer. Action is important. Action is karma. Karma means action. That's an ancient Indian thought. In nontheistic religions, including Buddhism, the emphasis is on our actions rather than god or Buddha. So some people say that Buddhism is a kind of atheism. Some scholars say that Buddhism is not a religion — it's a science of the mind."

In response to the question, "do you agree with that [that Buddhism is a kind of atheism]?"

"Oh, yes. I even consider Buddha and some of his important followers like Nagarjuna (one of Buddha's leading disciples) to be scientists. Their main method is analytical. Analyze, analyze — not emphasis on faith."

Would you concede that the Dalai Lama may know a bit more about Buddism that you? Perhaps just a skosh?

By the way, have you ever had the pleasure? I was fortunate to attend a university that has a partnership with Tibet. The Dalai Lama is actually a professor at my alma mater.

Learn more here if you are so inclined:
http://tibet.emory.edu/academics/index.html

People need to be careful not to look at the Dali Lama as if he is the Pope of Buddhism. His opinions are based on his own particular brand of Buddhism. Like Christianity, Buddhism has many different sects and very different World Views and ways to practice within it.

In fact, the most advanced practitioners of the Lotus Sutra (Hokekyo) understand that Buddhism is in fact solely dependent upon Faith.

Here is a link to a few essays by my teacher H.G. Lamont. They are a little 'inside baseball' but if you are so inclined, enjoy.

 http://www.kempon.net/lamont%20writting.htm
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« Reply #143 on: August 16, 2011, 11:29:26 AM »

In response to the question, "do you agree with that [that Buddhism is a kind of atheism]?"

"Oh, yes. I even consider Buddha and some of his important followers like Nagarjuna (one of Buddha's leading disciples) to be scientists. Their main method is analytical. Analyze, analyze — not emphasis on faith."

Would you concede that the Dalai Lama may know a bit more about Buddism that you? Perhaps just a skosh?
I don't think HHDL was defining "atheism" in the same way, say, Richard Dawkins would. Dawkins' "atheism" would deny any sort of "supernatural reality".  

HHDL's "atheism" is not really "atheism" as usually defined in the West, because Buddhism does accept the reality of devas and brahmas, as well as asuras and other supernatural beings and supernatural realms of existence.

For HHDL, "atheism" is the denial not of a supernatural being, but a denial of a very specific type of supernatural being: a supernatural being (1) who is the creator of all things (and, thus, controls all things, to the point of negating the karma-vipaka process) and (2) who, thus, may be resorted to, so that one may become free from dissatisfaction and enjoy total happiness, independent of any action on one's own part.

Even so, the HHDL (in this particular quote) is de-emphasizing the role that faith plays in all forms of Buddhism, not because faith isn't important in Buddhism, but because faith is just the beginning of the process of becoming a Buddha.
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« Reply #144 on: August 16, 2011, 11:42:36 AM »

People need to be careful not to look at the Dali Lama as if he is the Pope of Buddhism. His opinions are based on his own particular brand of Buddhism. Like Christianity, Buddhism has many different sects and very different World Views and ways to practice within it.

In fact, the most advanced practitioners of the Lotus Sutra (Hokekyo) understand that Buddhism is in fact solely dependent upon Faith.

Here is a link to a few essays by my teacher H.G. Lamont. They are a little 'inside baseball' but if you are so inclined, enjoy.

 http://www.kempon.net/lamont%20writting.htm

I certainly never meant to imply that he was. To the extent that Iconodule was speaking to Tibetan Buddhism, however, HHDL is an appropriate authority to cite in response.

I also agree with your points regarding the diversity found within Buddhism, contrary to Iconodule's claim that they are oh-so-cohesive.
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« Reply #145 on: August 16, 2011, 11:44:46 AM »

I don't think HHDL was defining "atheism" in the same way, say, Richard Dawkins would. Dawkins' "atheism" would deny any sort of "supernatural reality".  

HHDL's "atheism" is not really "atheism" as usually defined in the West, because Buddhism does accept the reality of devas and brahmas, as well as asuras and other supernatural beings and supernatural realms of existence.

For HHDL, "atheism" is the denial not of a supernatural being, but a denial of a very specific type of supernatural being: a supernatural being (1) who is the creator of all things (and, thus, controls all things, to the point of negating the karma-vipaka process) and (2) who, thus, may be resorted to, so that one may become free from dissatisfaction and enjoy total happiness, independent of any action on one's own part.

Even so, the HHDL (in this particular quote) is de-emphasizing the role that faith plays in all forms of Buddhism, not because faith isn't important in Buddhism, but because faith is just the beginning of the process of becoming a Buddha.

I agree that unlike Richard Dawkins, HHDL likely acknowledges spiritual realities.

Faith in what?
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« Reply #146 on: August 16, 2011, 12:03:47 PM »

It was also common practice for Christians in Tokugawa Japan to make statutes of Mary and saints that look stylistically Buddhist so they could avoid punishment. (the Tokugawa government strictly punished the practice of Christianity after an unsuccessful rebellion led by Japanese Catholics)
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« Reply #147 on: August 16, 2011, 12:24:15 PM »

I agree that unlike Richard Dawkins, HHDL likely acknowledges spiritual realities.

Faith in what?

For all Buddhists, faith in the Buddha, faith in the Truth that the Buddha realized, and faith in the community of practitioners around the Buddha.

For Vajrayana Buddhists, this is supplemented by faith in the Guru as well.
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« Reply #148 on: August 16, 2011, 12:26:09 PM »

I agree that unlike Richard Dawkins, HHDL likely acknowledges spiritual realities.

Faith in what?

For all Buddhists, faith in the Buddha, faith in the Truth that the Buddha realized, and faith in the community of practitioners around the Buddha.

Which one?
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« Reply #149 on: August 16, 2011, 12:29:27 PM »

I agree that unlike Richard Dawkins, HHDL likely acknowledges spiritual realities.

Faith in what?

For all Buddhists, faith in the Buddha, faith in the Truth that the Buddha realized, and faith in the community of practitioners around the Buddha.

Which one?

That depends upon the Buddhist tradition. Theravada Buddhists emphasize faith in Shakyamuni Buddha, as well as the future-Buddha Mettaya Buddha. I think Pure Land focuses on Amitabha/Amida/Adida Buddha.
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« Reply #150 on: August 16, 2011, 02:13:46 PM »


If the problem is one of English usage, that is the language's problem, not the concept's. The reverence that the faithful give to icons and other created things is certainly different from that paid to the uncreated God. Buddha himself said that he should not be worshiped

Where?

The below passage from the Lotus Sutra is very typical of the Mahayana attitude.
Quote
"... After Buddhas passed into Parinirvana, there were people who made offerings to Buddhas' relics by constructing trillion kinds of stupas. With gold, silver and crystal, giant clam shells and agates, assorted gems of carnelian and vaidurya, they extensively adorned and secured the stupas with various first-rate treasures in utmost devotion.

There were also some people who built stone mausoleums, of sandalwood and aloe-wood, of hovenia and other timbers, of bricks, tiles, clay, and the like. Moreover, some people piled up the soil in the outdoors to form Buddha-shrines, even some children playfully built up Buddha stupas from sand. Such people and so on have now attained the Buddhahood.

Out of a deep devotion to Buddhas, people who built, sculpted or even carved out Buddha images, have now attained the Buddhahood.

Some made Buddha statues from seven jewels, or with nickel, copper, white tin, or with alloys of lead and tin, or with iron, wood, or again, with clay. Some even coated the statues with resin and lacquer. All of them conscientiously made the Buddha images. Such people and so on have now attained the Buddhahood.

People produced Buddha paintings with diverse colors, meticulously bringing out the noble qualities of Buddhas with artistic skills, either by themselves or by others through their instructions. They have all now attained the Buddhahood.

Even children while playing, might use grass, sticks, brushes, or their finger nails, to draw Buddha images. Such people and so on would gradually be accumulating virtues, fully harnessing their great compassionate hearts. They have now either attained the Buddhahood, or become Bodhisattvas who have liberated incalculable sentient beings ..."


Quote
And, the idea certainly doesn't make sense in the Japanese schools of Mahayana that I am most familiar with, such as Zen, which rejects the idea of  scriptures.

Which is pure nonsense, since Zen teaching is very much scripture-based, and there is a monumental amount of Zen literature. Even the oft-cited Zen emphasis on the limitations of language can be traced to the Lankavatara Sutra. Pretty much all of the great Zen teachers were well-read in the scriptures. The discourses of Dogen make no sense unless someone is well familiar with the sutra teachings. The "beyond the scriptures" stuff was addressed to people who depended too much on scriptures, people who put great weight in scholarship without minding experience. Unfortunately some western teachers who hadn't read any of the scriptures took this out of context and made it an excuse to make stuff up as they went along.

To go beyond the scriptures you have to know what's in them first.

Quote
Actually, that is not necessarily linguistically sound. The etymology goes back into Proto-Indo-European, which I find to be a speculative field. The actual first known use of the word is in Gothic bibles, not collections of Norse tales.

Regardless, the word "god" is applied in the English language TODAY to many beings which would not qualify as "gods" if immortality and creation ex nihilo are considered defining traits.

Quote
Does the Dalai Lama count as a Buddhist?
http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?article=Ocean+of+wit+and+wisdoms&id=18719

"I'm Buddhist, I'm a Buddhist practitioner. So actually I think that according to nontheistic Buddhist belief, things are due to causes and conditions. No creator. So I have faith in our actions, not prayer. Action is important. Action is karma. Karma means action. That's an ancient Indian thought. In nontheistic religions, including Buddhism, the emphasis is on our actions rather than god or Buddha. So some people say that Buddhism is a kind of atheism. Some scholars say that Buddhism is not a religion — it's a science of the mind."

In response to the question, "do you agree with that [that Buddhism is a kind of atheism]?"

"Oh, yes. I even consider Buddha and some of his important followers like Nagarjuna (one of Buddha's leading disciples) to be scientists. Their main method is analytical. Analyze, analyze — not emphasis on faith."

The Dalai Lama really good at telling people what they want to hear. Such people will be disappointed when they delve into the Vajrayana texts and read all about the necessity of faith and devotion, toward the Buddha and toward one's guru.

Quote
Would you concede that the Dalai Lama may know a bit more about Buddism that you? Perhaps just a skosh?

I would concede that folks like Gampopa, Tsongkapa, etc. know a great deal more about Buddhism that you or I do and that they are more authoritative from a Tibetan Buddhist perspective than the current Dalai Lama. Go to a Gelug monastery and I bet that the works of Tenzin Gyatso make up very little of their course of study.

Since I was a Kagyupa, not a Gelugpa, the Dalai Lama's teaching was never high on my list.
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« Reply #151 on: August 16, 2011, 03:02:59 PM »

And, the idea certainly doesn't make sense in the Japanese schools of Mahayana that I am most familiar with, such as Zen, which rejects the idea of  scriptures.

Which is pure nonsense, since Zen teaching is very much scripture-based, and there is a monumental amount of Zen literature. Even the oft-cited Zen emphasis on the limitations of language can be traced to the Lankavatara Sutra. Pretty much all of the great Zen teachers were well-read in the scriptures. The discourses of Dogen make no sense unless someone is well familiar with the sutra teachings. The "beyond the scriptures" stuff was addressed to people who depended too much on scriptures, people who put great weight in scholarship without minding experience. Unfortunately some western teachers who hadn't read any of the scriptures took this out of context and made it an excuse to make stuff up as they went along.

To go beyond the scriptures you have to know what's in them first.

Pure nonsense? Then what do you make of this?

神光闻是语已,则取利刀,自断左臂,置于师前。师语神光云“诸佛菩萨求法,不以身为身,不以命为命。汝虽断求法,亦可在。”遂改神光名惠可。又问:“请和尚安心。”师曰:“将心来,与汝安心。”进曰“觅心了不可得。”师曰“觅得岂是汝心?与汝安心竟。”达摩语惠可曰:“为汝安心竟,汝今见不?”惠可言下大悟。惠可白和尚:“今日乃知,一切诸法,本来空寂。今日乃知,菩提不远。是故菩萨不动念而至萨般若①海,不动念而登涅槃岸。”师云:“如是,如是。”惠可进曰 “和尚此法有文字记录不?”达摩曰:“我法以心传心,不立文字。”
                                                                ———初祖菩提达摩语录  引自《祖堂集》卷二

What does "不立文字" mean to you? Now, if you are like me, and your Japanese is better than your Chinese, check out:
http://www.rinnou.net/cont_01/subwindow/subwin01.html

文字、言説を立てず、文字言説による教説の外に、別に直ちに心から心に(以心伝心)仏祖の悟りを伝えること。
不立文字(真の仏法は経典や教理によらず、以心伝心 [いしんでんしん] であるとする立場)というのは、文字に耽 [ふけ] り捕らわれないことをいうのです。ぜひ、達磨大師の説かれた悟性論 [ごしょうろん] ・血脈論 [けちみゃくろん] ・破相論 [はそうろん] ・二入四行論 [ににゅうしぎょうろん] ・安心法門 [あんじんほうもん] などの書を読みなさい。そうすることによって、六宗を降伏 [ごうぶく] された祖師方が、徹底的に仏教教理に通達されていたこと、また、今日のような不知文字(基本的な仏教知識すら知らないこと)を禅というのではないことを知るべきです。

Official site of the Rinzai/Obaku council, so I imagine it is has some level of authoritativeness. It certainly does not contradict what I learned during my years in Japan.

Quote
Quote
Actually, that is not necessarily linguistically sound. The etymology goes back into Proto-Indo-European, which I find to be a speculative field. The actual first known use of the word is in Gothic bibles, not collections of Norse tales.

Regardless, the word "god" is applied in the English language TODAY to many beings which would not qualify as "gods" if immortality and creation ex nihilo are considered defining traits.

Like Eric Clapton?

Quote
The Dalai Lama really good at telling people what they want to hear.

Frankly, that is not a response.
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« Reply #152 on: August 16, 2011, 03:51:50 PM »


Sauron, can you give us a translation of what that says?  I don't read Chinese nor Japanese.  Thanks.
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« Reply #153 on: August 16, 2011, 03:52:22 PM »

People need to be careful not to look at the Dali Lama as if he is the Pope of Buddhism. His opinions are based on his own particular brand of Buddhism. Like Christianity, Buddhism has many different sects and very different World Views and ways to practice within it.

In fact, the most advanced practitioners of the Lotus Sutra (Hokekyo) understand that Buddhism is in fact solely dependent upon Faith.

Here is a link to a few essays by my teacher H.G. Lamont. They are a little 'inside baseball' but if you are so inclined, enjoy.

 http://www.kempon.net/lamont%20writting.htm

I certainly never meant to imply that he was. To the extent that Iconodule was speaking to Tibetan Buddhism, however, HHDL is an appropriate authority to cite in response.

I also agree with your points regarding the diversity found within Buddhism, contrary to Iconodule's claim that they are oh-so-cohesive.


I knew you were not saying that. I just thought it was appropriate to issue the standard warning Smiley
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« Reply #154 on: August 16, 2011, 07:10:26 PM »

And, the idea certainly doesn't make sense in the Japanese schools of Mahayana that I am most familiar with, such as Zen, which rejects the idea of  scriptures.

Which is pure nonsense, since Zen teaching is very much scripture-based, and there is a monumental amount of Zen literature. Even the oft-cited Zen emphasis on the limitations of language can be traced to the Lankavatara Sutra. Pretty much all of the great Zen teachers were well-read in the scriptures. The discourses of Dogen make no sense unless someone is well familiar with the sutra teachings. The "beyond the scriptures" stuff was addressed to people who depended too much on scriptures, people who put great weight in scholarship without minding experience. Unfortunately some western teachers who hadn't read any of the scriptures took this out of context and made it an excuse to make stuff up as they went along.

To go beyond the scriptures you have to know what's in them first.

Pure nonsense? Then what do you make of this?

神光闻是语已,则取利刀,自断左臂,置于师前。师语神光云“诸佛菩萨求法,不以身为身,不以命为命。汝虽断求法,亦可在。”遂改神光名惠可。又问:“请和尚安心。”师曰:“将心来,与汝安心。”进曰“觅心了不可得。”师曰“觅得岂是汝心?与汝安心竟。”达摩语惠可曰:“为汝安心竟,汝今见不?”惠可言下大悟。惠可白和尚:“今日乃知,一切诸法,本来空寂。今日乃知,菩提不远。是故菩萨不动念而至萨般若①海,不动念而登涅槃岸。”师云:“如是,如是。”惠可进曰 “和尚此法有文字记录不?”达摩曰:“我法以心传心,不立文字。”
                                                                ———初祖菩提达摩语录  引自《祖堂集》卷二

What does "不立文字" mean to you?

Not relying on the scriptures. I'll make a few observations about this famous quote.

1. It doesn't mean rejecting the scriptures as you claim.  To say "Zen rejects the idea of scriptures" is manifestly silly. It means not depending on writings and language. This concept can of course be traced to the Lankavatara Sutra, as I previously noted.

2. Your use of this passage is similar to iconoclasts pointing at the 2nd commandment. We know their interpretation is false by looking at the context in which the commandment was given and followed. Moses was also commanded to make depictions of Cherubim on the ark and other places. Likewise, any notion that Chan rejects scriptures is immediately shattered on visiting pretty much any Chan monastery and seeing how the scriptures are studied, read, chanted, and copied with great reverence. Listen to or read any Chan discourse and it will be full of scriptural allusions- all the discussion of the limitations of language is itself a scriptural allusion. Most of the Chan masters urging their disciples to not be so dependent on scriptures were at the same time intimately familiar with the content of the scriptures.

3. Where's this passage from? A written record, the Zutangji, one of the many, many written Chan texts which have been faithfully copied, quoted, and memorized throughout the Chan tradition, alongside the more general Buddhist sutras. It's said that Chan has the most voluminous written output of any of the Chinese Buddhist sects.

Quote
Quote
The Dalai Lama really good at telling people what they want to hear.

Frankly, that is not a response.

Right, my response was this: "Such people will be disappointed when they delve into the Vajrayana texts and read all about the necessity of faith and devotion, toward the Buddha and toward one's guru." The current Dalai Lama's opinions are simply not as authoritative as the sutras, tantras, lam rim texts, and commentaries which form the scriptural basis of the Vajrayana traditions.
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« Reply #155 on: August 16, 2011, 07:17:29 PM »

At least Toll House threads are usually somewhat relevant to the Orthodox faith.

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« Reply #156 on: August 16, 2011, 11:33:12 PM »

I'm sorry, Sauron, but I don't see how a statue of a man that non-Christians bow down to, etc., can be anything but an idol. The distinction between different kinds of worship which has developed within Orthodoxy is only relevant to Christianity.
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« Reply #157 on: August 18, 2011, 05:35:08 PM »

I'm sorry, Sauron, but I don't see how a statue of a man that non-Christians bow down to, etc., can be anything but an idol. The distinction between different kinds of worship which has developed within Orthodoxy is only relevant to Christianity.

Drop "Statue" and consider a drawn icon. Buddhists have a very similar view of Icons (Mandalas). They are a window to the spiritual realm. A Re-Presentation of the thing itself. A means to aid in practice, not something to be "Worshiped" like Hindu deities.......etc.

Should a Christian have one? Absolutely not IMHO. I got rid of my Mandala ( Icon) an expensive statue of the founder of the sect ( Nichiren) and a pretty complete library of Buddhist scriptures and commentaries.  

At my first Parish they have a rummage sale every year. They store the stuff downstairs until the sale.  I noticed one item was a Buddhist Mandala.
I pointed it out to the Priests and asked him;

"Do you know what that is?"

he said:"Pretty Picture?"

"Yes, yes, indeed it is. But it's also a Buddhist Mandala"

I proceeded to decode it for him the best I could. He decided to get rid of it once he understood what it was.
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« Reply #158 on: August 18, 2011, 09:25:55 PM »

I'm sorry, Sauron, but I don't see how a statue of a man that non-Christians bow down to....
Is there something un-Christian about "bowing"?
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« Reply #159 on: August 19, 2011, 10:37:16 AM »

I'm sorry, Sauron, but I don't see how a statue of a man that non-Christians bow down to....
Is there something un-Christian about "bowing"?

No. Obviously not. There is however, something idolatrous (as in, by definition) about bowing down to something that depicts a false 'god'.

Marc,

In my opinion, which granted is just my opinion, the distinction between icons and idols, like the distinction between latreia, dulia, and proskynesis, is only relevant to Christian theology and practice. All representations, whether 2-D or 3-D, used in non-Christian worship or contemplation are inherently idolatrous. There can be no re-presentation of a thing-in-itself that doesn't exist or is a fantastic misinterpretation of something that does exist. A depiction of a false theology is not spiritually beneficial insofar as it reinforces that false theology. Pagan drawings and statues are "the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell".

I am not trying to say there is no truth in Buddhism, or that Buddhists are evil or anything like that. Also not defending Taliban-style art destruction. Just saying that I see absolutely no reason to excuse idolatry.
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« Reply #160 on: August 19, 2011, 08:44:58 PM »

I'm sorry, Sauron, but I don't see how a statue of a man that non-Christians bow down to....
Is there something un-Christian about "bowing"?

No. Obviously not. There is however, something idolatrous (as in, by definition) about bowing down to something that depicts a false 'god'.

Marc,

In my opinion, which granted is just my opinion, the distinction between icons and idols, like the distinction between latreia, dulia, and proskynesis, is only relevant to Christian theology and practice. All representations, whether 2-D or 3-D, used in non-Christian worship or contemplation are inherently idolatrous. There can be no re-presentation of a thing-in-itself that doesn't exist or is a fantastic misinterpretation of something that does exist. A depiction of a false theology is not spiritually beneficial insofar as it reinforces that false theology. Pagan drawings and statues are "the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell".

I am not trying to say there is no truth in Buddhism, or that Buddhists are evil or anything like that. Also not defending Taliban-style art destruction. Just saying that I see absolutely no reason to excuse idolatry.

I guess I wasn't very clear.

1.Buddhist have a familiar theory about their Mandala's. It is the same as how we view our icons. They beleive them to be a representation of the thing itself. That is a true statement. That is what Buddhists believe.

2. I agree with you. The various spiritual realms and heavens and cosmic arrangements envisioned by Buddhists are false by a Christian understanding of spiritual reality. Therefore, you will notice that I got rid of every trace of them in my home when I converted and I also advised my Priest to quickly get rid of a Mandala that turned up at our rummage sale, if you read back a few posts.

 
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« Reply #161 on: August 19, 2011, 10:15:42 PM »

From my experience in Tibetan Buddhism, a statue of the Buddha which is used in worship is typically "consecrated" in such a way that the Buddha or other deity depicted is supposed to actually inhabit the statue. The texts on taking refuge will often say something to the effect that images of the Buddha are to be worshiped as the Buddha himself, as expressions of his 'nirmanakaya'. In this sense I think it could be argued that some Buddhist images really are idols.

I am sure that I have read on some occasions that our theology of icons also teaches that in some way the presence of the saint can manifest in an icon. Myrrh-streaming icons bring healing and blessing, and are usually understood to be the saint working through the image in his deified state. Such actions always come from Christ as the source, but the saint is at work by his deified power. So it seems to me that you could just as easily interpret what we believe as saying that the power of the God (Christ) is manifest in his icons or in icons of his holy ones. We wouldn't make the leap to say the the saint or God himself inhabits the images per se, but their power is made manifest through them. The same is true of bodily remains of saints after death. Their bones often almost ooze holy power, and in some sense the power of the saint and the God inhabit those bones. Also, the power of our God is made present in the Eucharist, which we bow before and adore as God. This is a clear example of not only the power of our God being made manifest in bread and wine, but bread and wine actually becoming our God.

So I would agree that it can be argued that some Buddhist images really are idols, but it can also be argued that some Christian images, Christian rags and relics and even some Christian foodstuffs really are idols based on the same rationale.

As far as those who are arguing that Buddhism can be considered atheistic in a certain sense, I would argue that the same is true of Orthodoxy, but in a different way. Most atheists argue that God does not exist as if there were some deity or sky-god residing on a cloud or in another galaxy. We would agree in that God is not a creature. His lack of "created-ness" points to a lack of "existence", as that term usually connotes a state of being in the created order, at least the way that most people use it. So in that sense, God does not exist.

edit: After I wrote this I looked up "existence" for kicks in a dictionary. Most of the definitions were actually quite good, but I did see traces of what I suggested in the listed synonyms, as one was "corporality". This also has a broad range of meanings, but the aspect that focuses on "body" in terms of matter and not so much essential substance seems to point towards an implication that existence is tied in with the corpus, or the body of a creature. Whatever!
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« Reply #162 on: August 19, 2011, 11:08:18 PM »

I have witnessed several "Consecrations" and was in-training to be able to do this myself.

I am sure this varies but in my sect it had nothing to do with the deity inhabiting the mandala (icon).

The ritual is called Kai gen ku yo which means "Opening of the Eyes" of an inanimate object. It is a bit more like a Christian Blessing but on steroids.

The metaphysics has a lot to do with the Buddhist view of the enlightenment of inanimate objects which I won't go into here. But the main idea is that the Priest places his personal "Faith" into the Object, a statue or a Mandala. The object is then "Animated" in a sense or to be banal, switched on. That is the reason the ritual is reserved for the most trustworthy Priests. If their Faith and understanding is faulty, the Object will be flawed in the same way.

I would have been the only American authorized to do this. There is a license sort of thing that they issue saying you are qualified.
Then I quit... Good thing I hadn't gone further with that training.... Someone responsible for me would have had to cut their abdomen open. 
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« Reply #163 on: August 20, 2011, 01:24:46 PM »

Someone responsible for me would have had to cut their abdomen open. 
That's some hard-core Nipponsei.
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« Reply #164 on: August 20, 2011, 02:28:25 PM »

Someone responsible for me would have had to cut their abdomen open. 
That's some hard-core Nipponsei.

You have no idea....

The most Senior guy I ever dealt with was an infantryman in China during the War. Hard core doesn't begin to describe him. 

I almost wrecked a young Priest's career with a minor complaint about him. He and his girlfriend and two female cousins were staying with me for a week. They wanted to go up to see New York which is about a five hour drive from DC. They split one morning without any plans where they would end up once they got there or where they would stay.. There is no such thing as street crime where they live in Japan so I was concerned.

Their senior called and I off highhandedly mentioned that they hopped up to New York and that I was worried.............. WRONG. They had "Worried" their American host. He was recalled to Japan and put out of his Temple. He eventually got back on track after a year or so.

He had caused his Senior to lose face. He had to apologize for him because I was made to worry... Well shoot me in the head. I thought I was just making small talk.

So yes, these guys will kill themselves if you give them the chance. Japanese etiquette is a bit more important than it is here.   
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« Reply #165 on: August 20, 2011, 04:18:31 PM »

Someone responsible for me would have had to cut their abdomen open. 
That's some hard-core Nipponsei.

You have no idea....

Have you had any experience with Won Buddhism, from Korea?
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« Reply #166 on: August 21, 2011, 10:34:07 PM »

Someone responsible for me would have had to cut their abdomen open. 
That's some hard-core Nipponsei.

You have no idea....

Have you had any experience with Won Buddhism, from Korea?

There was a Won center close to where I live. I had a brief chat with the Monk once.
As I recall it appeared to me to be a polyglot inauthentic religion. It was in the vein of many of that type of "New Buddhism" that appeared around the turn of the 20th Century. Not my type of Green Tea.

Korean Zen on the other hand has more to speak for it.
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