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Thread: Odd "Belief-O-Matic" result

  1. #1
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    Odd "Belief-O-Matic" result

    I recently decided to retake the Belief-O-Matic quiz. The top result was no surprise, but I was interested in the big difference in results for Mahayana Buddhism compared to Theravada Buddhism:

    1. Hinduism (100%)
    2. Jainism (80%)
    3. Neo-Pagan (72%)
    4. Mahayana Buddhism (67%)
    5. Unitarian Universalism (61%)
    6. Sikhism (59%)
    7. Orthodox Judaism (57%)
    8. New Thought (56%)
    9. New Age (54%)
    10. Reform Judaism (47%)
    11. Baha'i Faith (46%)
    12. Theravada Buddhism (46%)
    13. Liberal Quakers (45%)
    14. Scientology (45%)
    15. Islam (43%)
    16. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (31%)
    17. Orthodox Quaker (27%)
    18. Seventh Day Adventist (27%)
    19. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (26%)
    20. Eastern Orthodox (24%)
    21. Roman Catholic (24%)
    22. Taoism (24%)
    23. Jehovah's Witness (24%)
    24. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (22%)
    25. Secular Humanism (21%)
    26. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (21%)
    27. Nontheist (16%)


    Can anyone explain why Mahayana Buddhism should be closer to Hinduism?

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    Re: Odd "Belief-O-Matic" result

    Hari Om

    Namaste Tandava (like your name) and everyone,

    Think there are many here who have grasp on this much better, but I will try. Think your results make sense. I have no direct study with Mayayana and much with Theravada. I am a baby within SD. As I understand it, Mayayana, in practice has quite a lot in common with Sanatana Dharma. Although "home" for Mayayana and Theravada may be the same, the way to get there appears drastically different.

    Things that I have read and read even here on HDF (and assume would be experienced in Mayayana) are in stark contrast with Theravada. As example, what I have read about Kundalina, in Theravada, you would be taught to ignore as experience or perhaps that it was something one should put effort forth to suppress. Many experiences that get to have with SD (and believe much would be same with Mayayana), you ignore/do not focus on with Theravada.

    Another big difference, and perhaps one of the reasons why I am here, in Theravada, it is very much a self effort journey. No focus on energy that permeates everything from the Divine/each of us/everything, etc.. No real devotion, as I believe the case with Mayayana permits.

    Perhaps not so scholarly, but think that results line up well with someone within Sanatana Dharma, with where Mayayana and Theravada fell with each other.

    Om Shanti.

    FFTW

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    Re: Odd "Belief-O-Matic" result

    There are several reasons Mahayana Buddhism seems very close to Hinduism.

    First of all, part of the reason Mahayana Buddhism can have very similar ideas in the first place, is because, nowadays, Mahayana Buddhism is predominant in societies where Hinduism is not dominant. Thus, M.B. can have similar ideas without having its integrity undermined by being co-opted by neighboring Hindus. Notice that Theravada in India has maintained its existence by emphasizing how it differs from Hinduism.

    OK, here are some M.B. ideas that are similar to Hindu ideas:

    1. Many M.B. believe that Shakyamuni was already enlightened before he took birth in what is now Nepal, 2500 years ago. He had become enlightened eons ago, and his struggle to achieve enlightenment, and his teachings, were for the sake of suffering beings, not because he really needed this enlightenment. (This idea is rejected by Theravadans, because, in part, it seems like a variation of the avataravada.)

    2. M.B. often speaks of the Tathagatagarbha, the Buddha-Nature that is present in all beings, allowing them the possibility of realizing Buddhahood. It is described as being unborn, undying, etc., which is why Theravadans reject it, for being too close to the atman idea of Hinduism.

    3. Some M.B. speak rather explicitly about an Adi-Buddha, the primordial, or first, Buddha, often symbolized by a rather Siva-Sakti type image among the Tibetan Buddhists (who practice a type of M.B.). Theravada rejects that idea of a "first" Buddha, because Theravada teaches that there was no "first" Buddha, and because the idea of an Adi-Buddha seems too close to the Hindu ideas of a creator deity.

    4. There is devotion in Theravada, but M.B. takes it too a whole. 'nother. level.

    5. Theravada acknowledges that nirvana (or "nibbana" in Pali) is not simply a "non-existence", but the language that Theravada uses to describe nibbana is often apophatic -- that is, it is often language telling us what nibbana is "not": nibbana is not conditional, not visible, not dying, not born, etc. M.B., when speaking of nirvana and the enlightened condition, is quite comfortable with giving positive descriptions of what nirvana and the enlightened condition is: bright, shining, pure, bliss, etc. This all sounds too theistic from a Theravada perspective.

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    Re: Odd "Belief-O-Matic" result

    Thanks to both of you,
    that makes sense now

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    Re: Odd "Belief-O-Matic" result

    Quote Originally Posted by Agnikan View Post
    2. M.B. often speaks of the Tathagatagarbha, the Buddha-Nature that is present in all beings, allowing them the possibility of realizing Buddhahood. It is described as being unborn, undying, etc., which is why Theravadans reject it, for being too close to the atman idea of Hinduism..

    Whilst in Hinduism the place for ATMAN is well defined there is no such clear entity in Buddhism. The atman (in Hinduism) maintains an account of sum total of karma(phala) and the next birth is obliged to carry forward the past karma along with prarabda karma (accrued in the present janma). Now that in Buddhism also REBIRTH is an well established doctrine (until Nirvana ends the cycle), what is the carrying vehicle of the past karma there? What is the commonality / denomination in the lineage of one '‘individual’s’' transcendent or vertical journey (for clarity the birth death and rebirth cycle)?

    If no atman or similar link prevails between many births, in that case then individual janmas are delinked and karma is randomly allotted and as a result nirvana loses all meaning. Any clarifications?? Namaste.

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    Re: Odd "Belief-O-Matic" result

    Hari Om

    Namaste to all,

    Charitra, I can not give satisfactory answer to your query and once again, this is in part why I am here.

    With Agnikan response as the rest, I certainly agree. To qualify my initial response regarding devotion and Agnikan's #4: The devotion within Theravada as found it, does exist but it was to Buddha, to past ones, most honored ones, etc. There was a certain reverence there, as could be defined within devotion, but not same as within Sanatana Dharma, whereby practices and disciplines can be devotions to the Absolute, to the Divine. In my experience this was most assuredly missing within Theravada.

    Om Shanti.

    FFTW

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    Re: Odd "Belief-O-Matic" result

    Quote Originally Posted by charitra View Post
    Whilst in Hinduism the place for ATMAN is well defined there is no such clear entity in Buddhism. The atman (in Hinduism) maintains an account of sum total of karma(phala) and the next birth is obliged to carry forward the past karma along with prarabda karma (accrued in the present janma). Now that in Buddhism also REBIRTH is an well established doctrine (until Nirvana ends the cycle), what is the carrying vehicle of the past karma there? What is the commonality / denomination in the lineage of one '‘individual’s’' transcendent or vertical journey (for clarity the birth death and rebirth cycle)?
    Yogachara, one of the traditions within M.B., has an answer for what exactly is it that carries the results of past karma: it is the alaya-vijnana, the fundamental "store-consciousness". Alaya-vijnana is the foundational consciousness on which the other 7 aspects of consciousness exist. All forms of consciousness, alaya-vijnana included, are impermanent (that is, constantly arising, existing, and ceasing to exist, millions of time per 'second'), but the continuity between each moment is the thread of "karma", or "intention".

    Yogachara posited eight forms of consciousness, with alaya-vijnana as the 8th and foundational consciousness.

    Theravada posits only six: the five consciousnesses associated with each of the five senses (the consciousnesses that allow you to see with your eyes, hear with your ears, etc.) and then mind-concsciousness (the consciousness that allows you to see an image of, say, a white rabbit in your mind). (There's also the consciousness of nibbana, though many Theravadans might be uncomfortable speaking of such regarding nibbana, the "unspeakable".) The concept of alaya-vijnana was developed in order to help explain how the results of karma are transmitted through time, so the Yogacharins added two more consciousnesses to the Theravadan six.

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