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  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

      It seems that the only basis for using the words "wholesome" or "unwholesome" is simply because of the rejection of God.


      No, not necessarily. You don't see the government telling people "smoking cigarettes is evil". You see them telling people "smoking cigarettes is unhealthy and causes early death".

      You see, whether smoking cigarettes is evil or not is besides the point. And you are entitled to your own opinion whether smoking is evil. But the purpose of the government is to tell us the harmful, factual, effects of smoking. The government has a job to educate us about cause and effect, same with Buddha. It has nothing to do with rejection of God. The government didn't avoid saying "smoking is evil" because it rejects God, and even if the government is Christian, saying that "smoking is evil" is still besides the point.

      The fact is that whether smoking is evil or not, or whether there is a God or not, smoking IS going to accumulate tar in the lungs that causes cancer etc.

      1. The government does not deny the fact that there is good or evil even if they do not say that smoking is evil, though they say it is harmful to health. I would also make the distinction between a moral issue and a health issue. BTW, I do not hold the view that smoking is evil, anymore than to say that drinking is evil.

      2. I think the issue is again not that cancer brings death. We are again back to the issue of origins. Life comes first, not death. Where then does life come from? Even if you say the conditions are right, they are not sufficient to cause life, as I have explained earlier. Life comes only from life. God, who is Life, created life. God, who is Mind, made man intelligent. God, who is a moral being, created us as moral beings. A car doesn't come together because of right conditions, but because intelligence was applied to materials. A car existed in the mind before it became matter.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

      Well again, that is entirely your opinion whether something is evil or not. Karma is not about good/bad, evil, wrong/right, etc. 'Wholesome' 'unwholesome' is describing something factual - nonjudgemental. Smoking causes cancer and is thus 'unwholesome', this is factual. No judgement required, only a discerning eye and intelligence to see that it is so.

      You say Hitler is evil... I'd think otherwise. I think he is seeking happiness in a very ignorant way for his people. His compassion for his people is limited by his inability to feel beyond his limited nationalistic scope or identity.

      Just like a lion loves his child but kills deers, etc.

      I think you have misunderstood. I am not saying that everything have a moral judgement involved. Though I would qualify my statement by saying that it was because of Adam's rebellion that death and suffering (which cancer can cause) entered the perfect world that God created.

      In the Bible, God tells us what is right and wrong. When we say something is evil we are only aligning ourselves with God's view. Which is why God is angry with those who call evil good and good evil.

      If Hitler was just ignorant and seeking happiness in his own way, then he ought not be judged. He is not morally wrong or accountable. We do not bring lions to court and put them on trial and charge them with murder etc, and it would seem that to be consistent you wouldn't do that to Hitler, or any wrongdoer for that matter. Is that your view?

      The point about Hitler was not about his lack of compassion or his ignorance, but that he was guided and influenced by the scientists of his day who championed Darwinian causes and ethics, to root out the weaker races to prevent them from contaminating the Aryan superior race, and to breed an elite race of supermen. You can see the documentation here http://www.amazon.com/Hitler-Nazi-Darwinian-worldview-Holocaust/dp/1894400496

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by jlowbog:

      yup…i do believe u have some basic understanding but the plm is..its not structured but bits n pieces of infos from the internet…as c u the plms with educated ppls r they like to quantify things which actually is not wrong but not complete…take for example 1+1=2 but if i said 1+1+1=infinity(from tao de jin) ppl cant accept. Buddha preaches the middle way…something n nothing always complemet each other, if u think something is something n nothing is nothing then u fall into 1 of the extreme sides…

      as i said check out maha vaipulya buddhavatamsaka sutra
      buddhism = greatest enjoyment of life.

      btw the developement of nuclear boomb was more of a experiment under the facade of ww2.

      It not about right, left or middle way. It is an issue of truth. Is the middle way the truth? It is not extreme to insist that 1+1=2, it is true. To say 1+1+1=infinity would be false. Because the answer cannot be both 3 and infinity at the same time in the same sense. Something and nothing does not complement each other, they are opposites! The problem is in thinking that something can comes from nothing by nothing.

      One can say that Buddhism is greatest enjoyment of life. Another can say that Christianity provides that. So this cannot be used as a test of truth.

      The nuclear (atomic) bomb was dropped in WW2. Anyway, the point was that the bomb or its effects was NOT an example of something coming from nothing.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by jlowbog:

      It seems tat bchrist r trying very hard to defend christianity, but as u c there r just too many loop holes in the bible not to mention tat anyone rich enough can come up with their own ver of bilble. u said god create human to be look like him, y is tat so, do god behave the same way as human or wat. Since god is omnipotent, then y did he not use his power to make human obey his again and y did he let human to sin, give them chance again..y did he go thru all this troubles n for wat…for fun, i doubt so…U also said god created universe for human but he himself live in another dimension or universe…y cant he live together with human in this same dimension or universe…is he despising human or wat…??

      1. Yes, defending Christianity does take some effort. Usually that is so because most critics of Christianity know little about what they criticise.

      2. What do you mean by loop holes in the Bible.

      3. Sure, anyone with the money can come up with their own version of the Bible, but what's this point supposed to prove about the Bible?

      4. God created man in His image, simply means that humans reflect God in SOME ways, not in every aspect. It is not that God is like man, but man is like God.

      5. Certainly God can make man do His bidding. But then you won't be man, but robot. What kind of meaningful reciprocal relationship is there? And indeed none of redemption history was for fun. God is not a capricious God.

      6. If you have read the Bible you would know that those who are in Christ i.e. the church is God's dwelling place. God lives in us since we are the spiritual temple, to those who believe in Him and trust in Him. That's the God revealed, not some distant aloof being, but One who dwells in His people. Transcendent yet immanent.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

      You can judge it to be 'wrong', I wouldn't have problem with that. But karma in and of itself isn't about 'wrong' or 'right'... karma is either wholesome, unwholesome, and pure [i.e. actions not done out of craving, aggression and delusion].

      With regards to karma, nobody decides something to be wholesome or unwholesome just like nobody decides something to be black or white... what is black is seen to be black by a discerning eye, and a black seed seen plainly in sight produces a black result, while a white seed produces a white result... just like a black animal produces a black offspring and a white animal produces a white offspring. A chinese man produces a chinese offspring, a western man produces a western offspring [lets not talk about mix blood]. You don't need to "judge" if someone is a chinese, i.e. his skin colour is already plain in sight for you to see, and if you have the intelligence to discern. Seeing is enough, no need for judgement. Same goes for karma.

      When the Buddha calls it 'wholesome' or 'unwholesome' he is not making a judgement on things, he is simply describing the action and its results. What is wholesome produces states of well being, happiness, freedom from suffering and afflictions. What is unwholesome is... well... the opposite of that.

      For example smoking two packs of cigarettes a day is certainly unwholesome because it does damage to one's body. You don't get cancer because of someone's judgement that it is 'evil' and 'wrong', you get cancer because smoking is unwholesome, it causes addiction and the tars accumulate and cause cancer. We don't say smoking is 'evil' or 'wrong' - well, you are certainly entitled to your own opinion, but regardless of your opinion whether it is 'right' or 'wrong' - it is a fact that smoking is 'unwholesome', so karma is non-judgemental in that sense yet can be catergorized as wholesome/unwholesome with its corresponding effects:

      Wholesome:

      1.
      conducive to moral or general well-being; salutary; beneficial: wholesome recreation; wholesome environment.
      2.
      conducive to bodily health; healthful; salubrious: wholesome food; wholesome air; wholesome exercise.
      3.
      suggestive of physical or moral health, especially in appearance.
      4.
      healthy or sound.





      Buddha:

      The Wholesome and the Unwholesome

      3. "When, friends, a noble disciple understands the unwholesome, the root of the unwholesome, the wholesome, and the root of the wholesome, in that way he is one of right view, whose view is straight, who has perfect confidence in the Dhamma, and has arrived at this true Dhamma.

      4. "And what, friends, is the unwholesome, what is the root of the unwholesome, what is the wholesome, what is the root of the wholesome? Killing living beings is unwholesome; taking what is not given is unwholesome; misconduct in sensual pleasures is unwholesome; false speech is unwholesome; malicious speech is unwholesome; harsh speech is unwholesome; gossip is unwholesome; covetousness is unwholesome; ill will is unwholesome; wrong view is unwholesome. This is called the unwholesome.

      5. "And what is the root of the unwholesome? Greed is a root of the unwholesome; hate is a root of the unwholesome; delusion is a root of the unwholesome. This is called the root of the unwholesome.

      6. "And what is the wholesome? Abstention from killing living beings is wholesome; abstention from taking what is not given is wholesome; abstention from misconduct in sensual pleasures is wholesome; abstention from false speech is wholesome; abstention from malicious speech is wholesome; abstention from harsh speech is wholesome; abstention from gossip is wholesome; non-covetousness is wholesome; non-ill will is wholesome; right view is wholesome. This is called the wholesome.

      7. "And what is the root of the wholesome? Non-greed is a root of the wholesome; non-hate is a root of the wholesome; non-delusion is a root of the wholesome. This is called the root of the wholesome.

      8. "When a noble disciple has thus understood the unwholesome, the root of the unwholesome, the wholesome, and the root of the wholesome, he entirely abandons the underlying tendency to lust, he abolishes the underlying tendency to aversion, he extirpates the underlying tendency to the view and conceit 'I am,' and by abandoning ignorance and arousing true knowledge he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view, whose view is straight, who has perfect confidence in the Dhamma and has arrived at this true Dhamma."

       

      It seems that the only basis for using the words "wholesome" or "unwholesome" is simply because of the rejection of God. Otherwise, in most instances cited the words would be "good" or "evil" in a moral sense. Everyday we make moral judgements, we call some behaviour good or bad, and some evil. Our legal system uses the same lingo, recognising somethings as good and evil, right and wrong, just and unjust.

      Why is covetousness, greed, adultery, murder etc wrong? Because God said so. He made us, so He sets the rules. It is not the 10 Suggestions, but the 10 Commandments. God sets the moral standards by which we are judged.

      I submit that underlying the Buddhist notions of wholesome and unwholesome actions is some knowledge that some things are just plain wrong. Murder is not just unwholesome, it is evil. Hitler wasn't just doing unwholesome acts, he was actually an evil person and did evil things that required punishment.

      I think it still somehow comes back to the question, is there a Creator God? If there is, it changes the whole game, doesn't it?

       

       

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by jlowbog:

      In fact all of the Q posted by Bchrist can be found with great details in maha vaipulya buddhavatamsaka sutra. For example how something can be created out of nothingness, a gd example would be nuclear bomb, just imagine how a small piece of unstable element can be manipulated to release such a huge amt of energy, following this line of tots, u will understand, similiarly the invisible energy present in the nothingness can be gathered and cystallised into something touchable.

      So u give yrself and buddhism a chance, for a start u can read up maha vaipulya buddhavatamsaka sutra and make a comparsion yrself cos without some basic knowledge in buddhism, its very diificult to appreciate wat others tried to explain to u.

      Urrmmm...the nuclear bomb has to be created. The elements has to be harnessed and manipulated to give the intended effect. All this requires intelligent causes. So I don't see how this example is evidenc that something can be created out of nothingness. The unstable elements already exists, the people who manipulate it also exists. Energy present in the nothingness? This statement is rather incoherent. Please explain.

      I believe I have some basic understanding of Buddhism. And I certainly try to appreciate what is being said.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by Steveyboy:

      @BroInChrist 

      I appreciate your passion in Christ. I love him too. I personally think he is a Bodhisattva due to his wonderful actions. (That means he is a being on the verge of spiritual awakening and evidence of that is through his compassionate actions) With the deepest respect to you, it is pointless to keep quoting from the bible and telling us your Bible beliefs when obviously, we, Buddhists do not believe in it. 

      Jesus once asked who people think He is. Many views were given, but only one was met with His approval and endorsement, that He is the Son of God, i.e. God Himself. Christ's revelation and claims for Himself is more important than what we like to think of Him as.

      I quote the Bible to show that I am not making my own answers up. Truth be told, many Buddhists also quote chunks of Buddhist teachings for me even though I don't believe it. Is it pointless? Nope. At least I can read and evaluate them, even if I do not agree or believe them.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by Steveyboy:

      Dear BroInChrist,

      Here are my answers to your questions:-

      1. In what sense is conversion to Buddhism from Christianity a novelty? Even if it is a novelty, what is the significance of that?

      Of course it is a novelty because Christians have always been more evangelical and aggressively converting people to Christianity. Even as a Catholic, I have had so many other Christians telling me that my church is wrong and that I am going to hell and that I have to go to their church, its ridiculous. However, I have so far not heard of a Christian converting to Buddhism and do feel I am a unique 1. However, I heard of my friends who were Buddhists being converted to Christianity though. Hence, I think I am rather unique. 

      2. Yes, Buddhism teaches how to get out of suffering. But it never addresses the question of origins. It sidesteps it entirely and dismisses it as irrelevant. There is IMO a lack of the big picture and a complete view of things.

      Yes, the Buddha never explicitly described our origins and Buddhist scholars interpret his silence to be because it is not important for our spiritual development at this point and that the truth may be too much for us to understand. Buddhists believe that we have so many previous lives that it is way to far to trace our origins. Buddha talked about other worlds and that this world we live in is just one amongst many. On the other hand, the bible say that God created Adam, Eve and the world and universe in 7 days. I am sorry, I find that even harder to believe and there's no shred of evidence for that one. 

      3. Indeed the Buddha is an ordinary man who claimed to have an answer to the problem of suffering and death, and who also succumbed to death eventually. Christianity teaches that God came down as man, suffered and died on the cross, and rose from the dead to show that death has been overcome. But Buddhism does not explain why or where man come from, but the Bible teaches that God created us.

      If Christ overcame death, can you show me another Christian who had achieved that same state? 

      4. You claimed to have been a convert from Christianity, but have you read Genesis? What does it say at the end of Day Six of creation week? God's says it was "very good". What do you think He meant by that? If you have never considered this deeply, perhaps now is a good time to refresh yourself on this.

      I am sorry, I don't believe in the bible, especially the Old Testament. 

      5. You think God is unable to stop evil? Then the God you reject is not the God of the Bible. God has already told us the future, evil will be no more and the curse will be no more. Have you read Revelation? You can't claim to have read that and then say that Satan is stronger than God.

      Why does he need to wait till then? Why can't he do it now? Why does God have to put everyone to the test? He sounds like a powerful bored petulant child and treating us mortals as mere toys. 

      6. What about people who never heard of God? Well, the Bible teaches about this too in the book of Romans. Have you read it?

      Your point eludes me. I have read it a long time ago. So, I have to believe in God in order to be saved. A sinner who had sinned his whole life and at the moment of death, he says he believes in God and that wipes out his whole lifetime of sin and goes to heaven? What about those who have been virtuous their whole lives but never believed in God. They go to hell or purgatory? 

      7. Lastly, what particular issues do you think that the Bible does not answer but only Buddhism can? To be sure, the Bible does not claim to answer everything, and I don't think the Buddha answered everything too. So perhaps you may wish to clarify?

      Let me get this straight, Buddhism and Christianity have answers for both but I find that the answers provided in Buddhism suits me better.  Pscyhologists are having conferences with Buddhist scholars and they found similarities. Past life regression is now a legitimate field of study without any Hindu-Buddhist association. 

      Even the greatest physicists of the 20th Century, Albert Einstein says this about Buddhism, 

      "Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and the spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity. The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism. "

      That's all I need. Buddhism may no suit you but its ok. It suits me. 

      1. Perhaps you do feel unique in being a convert to Buddhism from Roman Catholicism. But still it is irrelevant to the question of truth claims. Like you said, it can be just mere novelty and nothing more. Thus my point about the significance of it.

      2. Why would you find it hard to believe that God created the universe but easy to believe the non-answer (i.e. silence or sidestepping the issue) that Buddhism give? Is there any evidence for other worlds or universes besides ours?

      3. Buddha was an ordinary man who died. He never claimed to be God or infallible. Christ died and rose from the dead, the first. The Bible does not teach that Christians will now all resurrect from the dead, so your theology and expectation is already wrong. But the Bible does teach that there will come a resurrection of all from the dead, when judgement day comes.

      4. I am not asking if you believe the OT, I am asking if you KNOW what Genesis taught. Apparently not it seems.

      5. The Bible gives the answer as to why God does not close human history now. It says that God is patient and not willing that all will perish, but that many will seek salvation in Him. It is not about God's ability to stop evil, but God's patience and willingness to us.

      6. Sorry. Believing in God does not save you from hell. The Bible says that even the demons believe in one God. Salvation is about trusting in Christ's finished work on the cross as the basis for reconciliation with God.

      7. The choice of faith should not be a matter of preference, but of truth, since religions make truth claims. It's not whether you like this like ice cream flavours. Einstein is a scientist, not an authority on religion. That would be a fallacious appeal to authority. In any case, there is dogma in Buddhism. Do you avoid dogma in Buddhism? I don't think so.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by 2009novice:

      yes actually i'm quite confused..... if Christianity mentions that self is something permanent, then how do we mature...? It should be "fixed" am I right? If that is what God made us, then it should be impermanent. But then again, if it is impermanent, it will contradict with the first statement. I can't find a permanent self in here.

      If universe has a beginning, then it must end somehow. If it's doesn't end, it is permanent. If it is permanent, then logically speaking, the universe can't grow, evolve, or expand whatever. Then where are we now...?

      If Man sinned against God, then why do I drag in the cruelty, savage animal food chain? This design is obviously flawed, or just a prank...?

      If going by what you claim- only the intelligent designer can question the human intelligence, then i will really feel regrettable and sad for the wisdom and hard work of our ancestors... It will not only discredit, denigrate them, but also to force people to accept that only God can improve our lives.A little too passive...?

      Sorry a bit more questions on Christianity... why God created Man in the image of himself...? (am i correct?) And why it looks like a caucasian but not negro, asian look? Is it biased? Why Man sinned if it is created by God...?  It should be a perfect design right?

      Does Man's mind contain Greed, Anger, Ignorance...? If no, then why Adam picked the apple? Does it indirectly mean God himself has Greed, Anger and Ignorance too?

      What happens to a good person that does not believe in God? Will he be banished into Hell forever?

      If Hell is eternal damnation and what can the good people in heaven do? The Bible teach selfless right...? But are they really, completely selfless?

      you see, my questions have nothing to do with God. Why? I think my questions are related to how people interpret their own God. I am questioning on the interpretation u see?

      Lastly, some questions about you BIC. Why did you choose Christianity? Why not Hindu God of Creator but Christianity...?

      Are you in this Buddhist forum to clear the misunderstanding about Christianity or are you trying to use Christianity to argue on erroneous buddhist concepts? If it is the latter, you may have waste your time and effort... apple and orange cannot be compared together.

      You see, if something, a source or whatever u may called it is permanent, was told to hold on dearly to it is unimaginable. But by doing so i am subjecting myself to stress. I am adhering myself to suffering... All phenomena just.... come and go... not by some intelligent design whatsoever. It is readily observable, not abstract... e.g. weather, food turning bad, etc etc.... to make things understandable. My body itself is also going to age and spoil soon... If God can end all my sufferings, i will be Christian straight away icon_lol.gif

      Please don't use God to conveniently answer my questions... it's too convenient... way too convenient.... icon_lol.gif

      1. Christianity does not teach about a permanent self. Or a nonexistent self for that matter. The Bible teaches that there is a God who created everything, including humans in His image. Every human being is a distinct and unique person. So there is a you, me, him, her, to speak of in real terms. All creation is contingent, having no existence apart from God who always existed. The Bible does not mention about permanence. It does mention about things eternal, things immortal. The universe is not permanent or eternal. But God can sustain it forever if He so chooses to.

      2. The Bible speaks of the present heavens and earth passing away with a big bang. Ironically this big bang is something coming, not something that has happened 14 billion years ago. The present universe is observed to be expanding still, and the Bible speaks about God stretching out the heavens. Hmmm....

      3. Man sinned against God and the whole creation was cursed. Sin affects everything. Death entered the world, the whole of creation groans as taught in the epistle of Romans. If you kill someone, it's not just you and the dead person, it's more than that.

      4. I do not quite get your point about only the intelligent designer can question the human intelligence. Can you clarify that part? Why would the existence of God makes you feel regrettable about anything?

      5. The Bible says God created man in His image but does not tell us explicitly why. But if I may offer my opinions, it would be so that we can have fellowhip with Him. Animals are not created in God's image, thus they do not worship God or have any personal relationship with God. Whether Ang Moh or Black or White, we are all human beings, descended from Adam and Eve. Our so-called racial differences are only skin deep. Do you know that we are all of one blood? We are of the same human race. We are of the same mankind. We are of the same colour, just different shades of the same pigment melanin. The more you have the darker you are. Race has NO biological meaning, it is entirely a social construct, and one that cause no small amount of misery and division.

      6. God created Adam and Eve perfect, innocent, without sin. But God also endowed Adam with free will. It was the wrong choice and action that led to Adam's fall from perfection. Nothing is wrong with God at all.

      7. What happens to a good person? Does he go to hell? Well, what do you mean by a good person to begin with? Good in terms of what? Compared to what? Whose standard of goodness are you using to call someone good? Yours, Hitler, Mother Teresa, or God Himself? You need an absolute yardstick of morality. Being morally good is not good enough, you need to be morally PERFECT, just like God is.

      8. You said your questions have nothing to do with God but only interpretation. I don't see how that is so. In any case, God is the subject and undergirds the Christian answer. Even if you think my interpretation is incorrect, you have to show that your interpretation is correct.

      10. Why I choose Christianity? Well, I became a Christian at a young age. But through the years as I study and learn about my faith (and others) I see that the Christian worldview is the only true worldview. This may not be politically correct to say, but I believe it.

      11. I am in this forum to exchange views, and in the process to correct wrong views about Christianity that Buddhists may have. And I hope that I have conducted myself well so far and have been cordial and polite. In the process I am also corrected on my wrong views concerning Buddhism. I will be frank to say upfront that I believe many teachings of Buddhism are false, and I believe you will also say that many teachings of Christianity are false too. But such need not cause offense at all. It is only logical that two contradictory teachings on a given subject cannot be both true at the same time and in the same sense.

      12. You need to make the right distinction between contingent and necessary beings. The entire creation is contingent, it does not have existence apart from God calling it into existence. It is not permanent or eternal unless God decides it to be so. All observed phenomena that we observe is contingent upon God's sustaining power. God sets the laws of nature in place. If He withholds His hand then everything will fall apart.

      13. In the Bible there is lots of suffering, so what makes you say that you will become a Christian if God will end your suffering? Even Christ suffered. Just to end suffering is a very myopic view of life. Life is more than just trying to end suffering. In this world there will be tribulation because this is a fallen world. But God promises to restore all things.

      14. To ask me not to use God to answer your questions is like to ask the soldier to lay down his weapons in fighting the enemy. If I do not use God or the Bible, then what do I use? My opinions? They count for nothing. But God's Word is infallible and trustworthy. It is not a convenient answer, that would be an insult and mocking my efforts and time in answering the questions here, but I believe they are true answers that explains what needs explaining.

       

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by Weychin:

      It is precisely the clinging to self that cause unsatisfactoriness in our daily lives. It is also the attachment to notion of permanant self that causes rebirth, the never ending cycle of samsara. Knowing and accepting that self is a mind construct of the aggregates and depend on the aggregates and does not exist outside of it that we begin to let go.

       

      1. In the Bible it is not self, or the clinging to it, that cause suffering. It is sin i.e. rebellion against God, that causes suffering. Had Adam and Eve obeyed God rather than the serpent there would have been no suffering and death. Other than God who is independent and necessary, all of creation is contingent, dependent on many things, ultimately dependent upon God's upholding of the creation. That does not negate self, but only points to the fact that apart from God, nothing can exists, not even life.

      2. Our self shares similarities with the shadows only in the sense that both are contingent, dependent arising as you say. But just because we are contingent beings it does not mean that such are illusory or even likened to being illusory. Illusory means illusion, not real. Things that are contingent or temporary are not necessarily illusory. You can say that man is made up of 5 aggregates, I can say that man is made up of many "parts". But the question is, who created man or designed man to function as he does? Again, creation presupposes an intelligent Mind.

      3. You are right to say that software and hardware are created by humans. This points to intelligent design. Same with humans. We are specially designed to function the way we do, and this points to a being of supreme intelligence, God. Life exists not because the conditions are right, but because God created life. Having the right conditions for life is necessary but not sufficient. A dead body have all the necessary ingredients for life, but it is dead. God breathed into Adam and he became "nephesh Chayah", a living soul.

      4. The point about monsters under the bed is that there is such a thing as objective truth. If there are none under the bed, then the belief that there is must be false.

      5. I understand that Buddhism is about no self, I just find that this idea is incoherent and inconsistent in so many ways and run counter to daily experience. It is like saying that there is no such thing as language or logic, one would have to presuppose them to even deny them!

      6. The past is not infinite simply because time has a beginning. While a beginning must have a cause, what has begun may or may not have an end. We do not have now if there was no past. To understand now we need information about the past, otherwise we only work with incomplete knowledge and may apply wrong solution.

      7. Suffering comes when Adam wilfully ignored God's command and disobeyed God by eating from the forbidden tree. The Bible does not teach that man is ignorant, but that man is in rebellion against his Creator.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:


      and that "dimension"or eternal realm existed eternally IS what the text is refering.

      to us, that's Nirvana that's out of samsara that's really the eternal realm.

      we can speak of the single unit of Mind that existed eternally, which u may call it "God", i am fine. but that mind, we all sentient beings have it. that's water/h2o for both wave and ocean.  what the big have the smaller units also have it. like atoms/molecules, everything has it. that is in the matter world or non-living things. same with the mental world, the mind is the atom in all beings as long as they are living thing.

      origins of samsara is when the mind become like a child start to attached to curiousity.  just like dream, if u don't have attachment, wandering thoughts or hatred thoughts, you won't dream. in the end, samsara is also an illusion, unreal when one get rid of attachment, wandering thoughts or hatred thoughts. it's not suppose to be there.

      moon pointing are just examples of similes or analogies. i speak of the monkey trap as analogy, while u say they are real (picking on the finger), then i got nothing to say. if u cannot understand, i also cannot help it. but i do like the bachelor's wife analogy. see i understand your moon pointing. i can use it to explain the Mind. :)

      /\

       

      1. The eternal realms where God is, is not to be confused with the universe or cosmos which is what God created. One is spiritual and the other is material.

      2. Since we are created in God's image, we do share God's Mind in some limited ways. We call this the communicable attributes of God. Atoms are not to be confused with Mind. The material is not to be confused with what is spiritual. They are distinct. We humans have minds because God created us that way with the faculties of self-reflection and self-awareness and self-consciousness.

      3. Since humans have a beginning, as does the universe, and the Mind is the eternal God, samsara could not have been there in the beginning. Suffering was not present when God created the universe. It entered the world when man disobeyed God's command. So you are right, suffering is not supposed to be there. And it won't be there when God comes again to judge.

      4. An analogy is simply to use real things to illustrate a point. I know you used it as an analogy. But the monkey trap product exists. I am just saying that your analogy is flawed. You like my bachelor's wife example? That was not an analogy at all. It was meant to expose illogical and meaningless questions, like "Who created God?"

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:


      there's still a discriminating mind at work.

      /\


       Yes, the divine Mind of God.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:

      sort of think that Tao De Ching or the theory of everything start from nothing is of old testament, which Dharma deal more with human emotion/mind/consciousness, is more practical and is of the new testament. haha.

      /\

      The Bible starts with God and ends with God. Which is why the Bible says that God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, or the A-Z if you like.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:
      ...it got to do with the discrimination of the mind.

      Gravity and friction are examples of natural law. to gravity, there's either up/repel or down/attract.  to friction, there's stop and go. there's opposition everywhere. dark and light, male and female etc.

      /\

       

      The laws of nature (physics, chemistry, biology etc) are not to be confused with the laws of morality. But both have their source in an eternal Mind, God.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by reborn76:

      《华严经》讲,世出世间一切法,“唯心所现,唯识所变

      I think what Sinweiy is trying to pinpoint is Consciousness. It is like an artist trying to paint a picture on an empty paper. Prior to painting there is nothing, but as the artist paint it transfer the image from his consciousness onto the paper.

      Just look at the forex, how the economic outlook and professional comment affect the investor in investing in a more profitable currency. It is a mass consciousness or perception at work. It can cause the currency rate to shoot up or declined.

      As for SG adult comment on “million of people still goes to church..” Well I agreed with u, but do you know most westerner go to church to attend ceremony than for prayer. I’ m staying in OZ, most of my Ang Mo colleague couldn’t care less to go unless it is Christmas (which I also attend), wedding or relative baptism. Church is a social gathering ground.

      Remember how Galileo was persecuted by the Church for believing that the Earth revolve around the Sun. How can one based one faith on a book which was not written as a science text book but for faith inspiration. I think BBC has done a couple of documentary on Bible. Perhaps one can get hold of it, so that one can develope a balance view. Oh Bishop Shelby Sponge and Joseph Campbell are some of the more balance writer which I find inspiring

      1. Then it is this Consciousness or Mind which I believe is better identified as the eternal God who is uncaused and independent of all things.

      2. Yes, many Christians "go to church" in the West as a cultural thing to do. They can be called nominal Christians. But such people can also be found in all religions, includng Buddhism. So I don't see much in this point to make of.

      3. The Galileo affair has been much misunderstood. It was more church politics than about the Bible. Galileo was a believer in God throughout his life. And if you base your faith in a science text book, your faith will keep changing because science is changing. Our faith in the Bible is because it is God's Word, not because it is a science book, which it certainly is not.

      4. BBC has done many documentaries about the Christian faith, but the question is whether it has done justice to the Christian faith in such documentaries. Sponge and Campbell are liberals who play fast and loose with the Scriptures. I won't listen to them or treat them as people who hold to the truth. People who are informed on the Bible will disagree with both of them. See http://creation.com/whats-wrong-with-bishop-spong

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:

      aiya, it is just empty space, existed eternally. which/who ever, the "creator" still dwell in a space/somewhere. that somewhere existed eternally is a fact.
      btw if got "creator", then who's the creator of creator? and the creator of creator of creator etc? there's no end to it. for us the Mind existed beginnless time. 

      the trap is samsara, is suffering, which ever god(s) or heaven realms are still within it. Buddha only found a way to escape this samsara of suffering and endless reincarnations/life. if one still want to play along in samsaric heaven, it's ok. but when one is tired of all this "shows" drama or "dream", Dharma (to let go) is the way out. Buddha woke up from this dream and became the Awakened One. Nirvana is the Ultimate peace and Ultimate bliss in Buddhism that Buddha found.

      haha, there's a saying in Buddhism that one is pointing finger at the moon, and the other person keep looking at the finger and keep missing the moon. 

      /\

      1. The universe (cosmos) we live in did not exist eternally, it had a beginning. The universe (time, space, matter) is created by God, who is Spirit, and thus God is not contained in the universe. God does not exist in space. Where God dwells in the eternal realms is a wholly different dimension from the universe.

      2. The often-asked question "Who created God?" is an incoherent and meaningless question once you understand the nature of God. Just like the question "Who is the bachelor's wife?" once you understand what the word bachelor means.

      3. You speak of the Mind that existed eternally. I would be most glad to tell you that this Mind is what Christians refer to as God. Design in the universe comes only from a Mind. Only a Person can have a Mind. Only Mind can make decisions, moral judgments, act etc.

      4. What is the origins of samsara? I think that has not been answered. If infinite time has passed, then all should have escaped samsara by now. If this is not so, then the idea of infinity time past is incoherent.

      5. The point about the finger and the moon. I take it to mean that you say I keep looking at the finger and not the moon. I would say that your explanation of the moon is not correct. You see, we all have the same facts which we try to make sense of through worldviews. Our worldviews help us interpret what we see. Everyone has a worldview. Worldview colours everything. But not all worldviews can be true at the same time in the same sense.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:

      i do say life is like a dream, and never say life IS a dream.  life is what we need to cope with given that it's there, but the nature of it is like a dream, so that we do not attached to life so strongly and suffer from it. i keep stressing that we are not nihilist (nor eternalist) and u keep saying we are nihilist.

      why we stress on detachment is like the monkey trap. yeah i like to use "like".

      if u cannot understand the cracker part, skip it, and go to the cosmo part that states how we view the origin/genesis of life.

      /\

      Which then begs the question, is the nature of life like a dream? Nihilism is the belief that life is meaningless and without purpose. I don't think this characterise Buddhists. The monkey trap is interesting but flawed. The monkey is real, the trap is real, the banana is real. The trap, BTW, is an intelligent piece of work. It preys on the monkey's instincts for food. Anyway, if the monkey decides to let go of the banana and escapes from his potential captors, what then? It only misses out on the banana and can go eat something else to meet its hunger.

      The article on cosmos defines cosmos differently. Cosmos is synonymous with universe, so how does it make sense to speak of many universes in the cosmos? There is only one universe, one cosmos. The article also did not explain anything about origins, it simply assumes the universe/cosmos existed eternally as a brute fact.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

      Buddhist karma is not so much about 'right' and 'wrong'. It is more about wholesome and unwholesome actions. No judge is involved.

      For example, a seed of hatred etched deep in one's mind will eventually grow into a fruit, a result, and that karmic result must naturally correspond to that seed or karmic cause, which is why those who are always killing other beings are going to be reborn in a place of suffering such as hell. It is impossible that a seed that is rooted in craving, aggression and delusion can result in any true happiness.



      The Pali word kamma or the Sanskrit word karma (from the root kr to do) literally means ‘action’, ‘doing’. But in the Buddhist theory of karma it has a specific meaning: it means only ‘volitional action’ not all action. In Buddhist terminology karma never means its effect; its effect is known as the ‘fruit’ or the ‘result’ of karma.

      The theory of karma should not be confused with so-called ‘moral justice’ or ‘reward and punishment’. The idea of moral justice arises out of the conception of a supreme being, a God, who sits in judgement, who is a law-giver and who decides what is right and wrong.

      The theory of karma is the theory of cause and effect, of action and reaction; it is a natural law, which has nothing to do with the idea of justice or reward and punishment. Every volitional action produces its effects or results. If a good action produces good effects, it is not justice, or reward, meted out by anybody or any power sitting in judgement of your action, but this is in virtue of its own nature, its own law. This is not difficult to understand. But what is difficult is that, according to karma theory, the effects of a volitional action may continue to manifest themselves even in a life after death. (Walpola Rahula, What the Buddha Taught)

       

      Then in Buddhist thought do you call something e.g. rape, murder, adultery, wrong or merely unwholesome? And who/what decides what is wholesome or unwholesome? It would seem to be ultimately dictated by outcome and not by the act. There is mention of a good action, what then is good? It's hard to detach it from any moral judgement, yet you seem to say that it has nothing to do with justice. And if something is just a natural law, then it makes no sense to call anything right or wrong, just or unjust. 

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

      In Buddhism, you know you have made enough merits to escape samsara when 1) you have a human life instead of a birth in other realms which are by far much more numerous than the human realm in comparison [e.g. ants by itself outnumber human tens of millions of times in numbers] 2) you are not born with a disability such as hearing and seeing impairment that prevents the study and practise of dharma, 3) you are not born in a place where the dharma is not known, such as some places in Africa or certain Islamic countries, etc. 4) you actually meet with the dharma/Buddhist teachings, or a Buddhist teacher, or sangha/community that practises the teachings


      When we qualify all these, we know we have obtained an incredibly rare birth and circumstance conducive to our attainment of liberation, through tremendous merits we have accumulated in past and present lives. We actually have such tremendous merits as to achieve a birth that is more rare than striking a million dollar jackpot.

      Then the rest is really up to us whether we want to waste away our precious birth in worldly foolishness, or to actually practise the dharma to attain liberation. Liberation is not so much about merits (though merits are important), it is more about attaining wisdom. Merits merely aid us, but is not the sole or even primary cause of liberation. The more direct cause is to attain penetrative insights and wisdom into the nature of reality through vipassana/vipashyana or insight meditation.

      Assuming that you are an ant, how does an ant (i.e you) accumulate good karma for itself so that it does not become an ant (or something less than an ant) in the next life? An ant does what it does, doesn't it?

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

      Indeed, the idea of karma is foreign to Christianity.

      Buddhist karma and Christian 'you reap what you sow' is different because karma is a natural law without an arbiter whereas 'you reap' in Christianity is the result of God's judgement.

      In Christianity, "reaping and sowing" has both a natural order meaning and a moral order meaning. In a natural order meaning, it means the laws of nature applies. If you jump off the cliff without parachute, you reap the consequences of a splattered body at the base. In a moral order meaning, it means if you do wrong then you must face the moral (and legal) consequences that come with it. It also means that only moral agents can enforce a moral law. God is a moral being, and thus created humans as moral beings too. Thus God's moral standards apply, He tells us what is right and wrong. He is the absolute moral standard. And He judges rightly in accordance to His holy and just character.

      This is different from Buddhism where Karma is a natural law, inanimate. Is it then a moral law? But how is morality enforced by something that is itself just natural law, like the law of gravity? A moral Person can judge right and wrong, how does a natural law make that judgement?

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:

      due to an universal concept of impermanence/change. life is like an on going show; rebirth. one life can be this, the next be another. hence that say life is like a dream. it's this infinity that there's no end nor beginning in samsara. but one can get out of this infinity rebirth by practicing the dharma.

      we believed that we all have the same Mind as "god" and we all can be Equal to 'God'. we are democracy, not imperialism. both the wave and the ocean have the same water element.

      here in the link is our cosmology of "beginning" sort of. see and read the texts from

      Chapter One

      THE COSMOS

      http://sgforums.com/forums/1728/topics/425491

      /\

      1. To say that life is like a dream or is like "X" or "Y" is not the same as saying that life is a dream. One's preference is liken one thing to another is not the same as stating that X is Y. Since there is life and death, the question to ask is, what is the origin of life? I trust you can see why this question keep cropping up.

      2. What do you mean by "God" in saying we can be equal to God? I am sure it does not have the same meaning of God as in the Bible.

      3. Thanks for you link. I always find the Buddhist idea of deconstruction rather interesting, be it a cracker in the hand or the chair or the car. To me, the issue is not that you can tear a car apart until you have all the parts and no car. It's a matter of common sense to me that at time X you have a car but at time Y after you have dismantled it that you have no car. The car existed at time X but not at time Y. You can drive the car at time X but not at time Y. But why would all this be interesting at all? To me, what would be interesting would be to note that the car did not come into existence by itself. It required intelligence to put parts together. Any bloke with half an intelligence can tear a car apart, but not anyone can put a car together that works! The question is to account for the existence of the car, the human, or even the universe for that matter. That brings us back to the question of origins.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by Steveyboy:

      I think you guys didn't watch the documentary in the link. First of all, Christianity didn't teach reincarnation today but historically, Christianity was developed from Judaism and there's still much proof that reincarnation was a central belief of Judaism. In fact, an esoteric form of Judaism called Kabballah still holds on this belief as part of its core beliefs.

      So what happened to Christianity? It is subject to much debate on why it only believe in a single faith. Sociologically, such a belief made it easier for the Christian priests and bishops to control the masses with such a belief because the people would take their belief in God stronger as they only had one life and then eternal salvation or damnation in hell. In fact today, past life regression is an authentic scientific field of study. That means that even the scientific community is slowly and reluctantly accepting the overwhelming proof of reincarnation. 

      1. I would be frank to say I did not watch. God knows the amount of things and videos I am asked to watch and it would be a long backlog! The OT and NT is the book of the Christians. If you can find any hint of reincarnation it would be in these books, but where? Why appeal to esoteric forms of Judaism? Isn't it because you cannot find it in the main forms? I think this strongly mitigates your position.

      2. It is common to hear that Christianity is all about controlling of people. But is this true? Again such explanations only serve to make truth stronger, that it cannot be denied that there was one faith, one baptism, one God. Since it cannot be denied that the Bible does not teach reincarnation, one has to then appeal to secret texts that teach it!

      3. Is the idea of reincarnation scientific? I have my doubts! But please provide some references on this, that the scientists are studying this.

      See also http://www.ccel.us/reincarnation.chap4.html

      http://bible.org/question/what-does-bible-say-about-reincarnation

      Edited by BroInChrist 23 Jan `13, 1:35PM
  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by Dawnfirstlight:

      The following is from the website :

      Reincarnation & Early Christianity

      In December, 1945, early Christian writings containing many secrets of the early Christian religion were found in upper Egypt, a location where many Christians fled during the Roman invasion of Jerusalem. Undisturbed since their concealment almost two thousand years ago, these manuscripts of Christian mysticism rank in importance with the Dead Sea Scrolls. These writings affirmed the existence of the doctrine of reincarnation being taught among the early Jews and Christians. These Christian mystics, referred to as Christian Gnostics, were ultimately destroyed by the orthodox Church for being heretics. Their sacred writings were destroyed and hidden with the belief that they would be revealed at an appropriate time in the future. The discovery in 1945 yielded writings that included some long lost gospels, some of which were written earlier than the known gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

      Why today's Christianity did not teach reincarnation. A reason given by a friend is whoever has the biggest membership usually controls how the religion will develop.

       

       

       I think you have bought the whole Da Vinci Code fiction. With truth there will come falsehoods. You would have to make the case that what is orthodox is actually not. Simply finding so-called lost teachings/gospels does not mean that they are the secret truths. You wouldn't call into question Buddhism if someone says they found texts that are hidden which teach things contrary to what is considered orthodox, right? But it seems that when it comes to Christianity many are happy to just believe anything that might undermine the faith.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by Steveyboy:

      @BroInChrist, 

      Karma is not a score card. Karma literally means actions and each action we do leaves an indelible mark in our mind. It reinforces our mind either towards selflessness - the concern for others or selfishness, which is the concern for only ourselves. In Buddhism, when we are overly selfish, we create problems for ourselves and we becoming increasingly unhappy. People who are happiest is usually people who are more selfless or those that have others as their concern. So any action leading to either states of mind determines whether it is positive or negative. In the end of the day, karma is registered within the deepest levels of our mind and from this part of our mind, karma will reappear to us as 'fruits' of actions. 

      Since it is stored within us, that's why we have people with various talents and mental dispositions right from the moment of our births. If karma and retribution was in the hands of God, then God is really biased and unfair and this is totally opposite of how Christians describe him. Why are some people born mute, impaired or left to suffer in diseased and war torn countries while others are born rich and living comfortably in Singapore? 

      The Bible teaches that we reap what we sow. But this is not to be confused with the doctrine of karma. The Bible also teaches that we should be selfless, again not to be confused with the notion that there is no self. You can't be selfish if there is no self to talk about. Since karma can be positive and negative, why would it not be possible to know where you stand on this karmic register? How much merits must one accumulate to escape samsara? You can't see how far you have gone if you can't look back and see where you have been or take stock of present position.

      The idea of karma is foreign to the Bible. The fact of death and suffering is explained in the Bble, it is because we live in a fallen world. There are people born deaf and blind which Jesus healed. But there will come a time when all is restored. Have you read about the man with no limbs? Why is he also happy? See http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org/about-nick/

      When we see the world through Biblical lens we come away with a completely new outlook. We understand why the world is the way it is, and we look forward to a new heavens and a new earth.