Archive for September, 2011

Daoism/Taoism in a nutshell

 

Taoism was founded by Lao-tzu. Almost nothing is known about him and many scholars believe he never existed.

There is some dispute as to whether Taoism is a religion or a philosophy.

Taoism is generally accepted to mean Way, Truth or Path.

The God of Taoism is an impersonal one.

It is the goal of a follower of Taoism to become one with the Tao – this is done through Wu Wei (meaning inaction)

The main book for Taoists is the Tao Te King.

Taoist believe that the Tao is the thing by which everything in the cosmos functions.

A harmonious life is achieved by becoming one with the Tao, going with the flow and leading an inactive life.

 

Why I’m not a Taoist

 

It has an underlying ethic of indifference and irresponsibility

Most scholars believe that it’s founder never existed and it’s origins are very vague.

It recognises no evil in the world.

The ultimate goal of a Taoist is not a higher place but just a protracted existence in this life. However, where is the evidence to suggest that any Taoist live longer?

It is a completely impersonal religion or philosophy and is ultimately unfulfilling.

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What About Other Religions – Buddhism?

Posted: September 14, 2011 by Nathan in What About...
Tags: , , ,

Buddhism in a nutshell

 

Buddhism came into existence as a breakaway cult from Hinduism in around 500 B.C.

 

Scholars estimate that their could be up to 1.691 billion followers of Buddhism worldwide.

 

Buddhism was founded by Siddhartha Gautama.

 

Siddhartha Gautama, Buddha or the enlightened one was born in North-East India in around 560 B.C.

 

After spending seven days meditating under a tree Siddhartha Gautama changed his name to Buddha and started preaching as “the enlightened one”. Many people who had become disillusioned by Hinduism found his teaching appealing.

 

Buddha taught Four noble truths and the Eightfold Path –

 

Existence of suffering

Cause of suffering

Ending of suffering

Ending of all pain via the eightfold path which is…

 

 

Right Views

Right Resolve

Right Speech

Right Behaviour

Right Occupation

Right Effort

Right Contemplation

Right Meditation

 

Buddhist follow 5 precepts

 

Kill no living thing

Do not steal

Do not commit adultery

Do not lie

Do not drink alcohol or take drugs

 

Buddhism denies the existence of a personal God.

 

 

 

Zen Buddhism

 

Zen Buddhism is the most widely known form of Buddhism in the West although it’s origins are unknown.

 

Zen Buddhism originated over a thousand years after the death of Buddha. Zen Buddhism has no sacred literature but looks inward to man.

 

It has an emphasis on meditation as a path to enlightenment.

 

 

Buddhism and Jesus

 

One Buddhist nun, Ajahn Candasiri, a senior nun at the Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in Hertfordshire say this of Jesus… Although there is much said about him being the son of God, somehow that doesn’t seem nearly as significant to me as the fact that he is a person – a man of great presence, enormous energy and compassion, and significant psychic abilities.

 

Why I’m not a Buddhist

 

Buddhism is all about you. There is no personal God it is about how much you can put in in order to achieve things.

 

In Buddhism man is of no worth.

 

At it’s root Buddhism, a sort of reformation of Hinduism, is based on a man seeing a happy beggar and concluding that all life’s pleasures were worthless. To me this is not the greatest basis on which to start a religion!!

 

Buddhism is a religion of works and not of grace and mercy.

Buddha did not claim to be God or even a god and he did not claim that his teachings were divinely inspired. So what he have are the teachings (good or bad) of a man.

As in Hinduism there are major questions that I would need to have answered.

If everyone is reincarnated where did the first people come from?

If everyone is reincarnated why is the world population growing and not shrinking?

Hinduism in a nutshell

 

Hinduism came into existence in India around 1500B.C.

 

Hinduism has over 800 million followers worldwide.

 

90% of Hindus live in India.

 

Hinduism comes from the Aryan peoples who conquered the Indus Valley in north west India around 1500B.C.

 

The oldest and most revered holy writings in Hinduism are the Vedas. These consist of four collections of writings including chants, hymns explanations etc.

 

Numerous other “Holy Books” have been added to the Vedas over the years.

 

Hindus worship numerous gods.

 

Temples and shrines are very important in Hinduism with most families having personal shrines in their own homes where they worship their own personal collection of gods.

 

Communal forms of worship are not the norm within Hinduism.

 

Each Hindu village will often have a place of worship within it, often a natural feature such as a tree, a hill, or a boulder.

 

The Gods

There are many thousands of gods in Hinduism. Here are some of the more important or well-known ones

  • Brahma – the creator.
  • Vishnu – the preserver who sustains life.
  • Shiva – the destroyer.
  • Agni – the god of fire.
  • Surya – the sun god.
  • Indra – the powerful god of thunder and lightning.
  • Ganesha – the elphant-headed god, son of Shiva and Parvati.
  • Nandi – the white bull on which Shiva rides.
  • Garuda – the white bird-man which Vishnu rides.
  • Hanuman – the monkey god who helped Rama rescue Sita.

The four main belief systems of Hinduism

Karma – Actions and their subsequent reactions

Caste – the place you have in society

Dharma – the moral law combined with spiritual discipline that guides one’s life

Samsara – the continuing cycle of life, death and rebirth

 

Hindus believe that there are many ways to God – there is no one true religion.

 

Hinduism and Jesus

 

Hinduism does not refer to Jesus in its scriptures.

 

Some Hindu thinkers, however, include Jesus in their religion in one of two ways. Some believe Jesus was another incarnation of God. Others believe that Jesus spent the years between him being 12 and 30 (where nothing is recorded about him in the Bible) in India being instructed by Hindu teachers. It was then this teaching that he taught during his years of ministry.

 

Why I’m not a Hindu

 

For most Hinduism is a hope-less religion. Unless your good outweighs your bad (and most Hindus accept that they are more bad than good) you are onto a downward spiral. Take life one, if the bad you do outweighs your good you do then, not only do you move down a caste, but start the next live with negative karma, making it almost impossible to move up again!!

 

Hinduism has no end or beginning. Hinduism gives no coherent answer to where we came from or where we are going. There is the possibility of getting out of the caste system and circle of constant reincarnation but it is not know how or where you go to. There are many answers but no cohesion.

 

Hinduism has a real sense of vagueness about it. Most things are permissible and you only do wrong against yourself – not against god. One web-site I found estimated that although Hindus claim to recognise only one god there are 300 million gods worshipped.

 

Hinduism is a religion that has been added to here and there and tries to encompass all things into the religion.

 

Hinduism is a religion of works and not of grace and mercy.

 

There are major questions that I would need to have answered.

 

If everyone is reincarnated where did the first people come from?

 

If everyone is reincarnated why is the world population growing and not shrinking?

 

If the idea is for people to purify their lives over these different reincarnations why is the world not becoming a better place over time?

 

If you base your thinking on Karma (i.e. if you do good things good things will happen to you), why are so many of the countries where Hinduism is most prevalent the countries that have experienced a great deal of misery and suffering?