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View Poll Results: Would Jason be a good monk?
Yes. 3 21.43%
No. 11 78.57%
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Old 07-21-2009   #1
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Jason the Monk

Do you think I'd make a good monk? I'd really like to be one, I think. The only problem is that whole God thing. I'd have to either be a believer or become a secular monk. Are there secular monks? I'll have to google that later.
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Old 07-21-2009   #2
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Re: Jason the Monk

Methinks, the only "good" monks would not claim to be good monks; they would recognize their sinful state and their own incapacity to be good, according God's standards--but even that admission would not make them good. "Good monks," therefore, do not exist--of their own volition--only by God's enabling.

Then again, a "secular monk" might very well define "good" as wearing a robe and appearing pious (heh, or being "marked by conspicuous religiosity")--you could do both of those things quite excellently!

(Not that I'm perfect--not by a long, long, long stretch of the imagination.)
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Old 07-21-2009   #3
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Re: Jason the Monk

I've considered joining a Theravada Buddhist monastery. Considering Buddhists are atheistic, you wouldn't have to swing with the whole god thing, but still have all the rigidity and intense zeal a Christian monastery affords. Let me know if you're ever seriously considering it, 'cause I'd rather not make that kind of sojourn alone.

Also, I think you'd get your ass kicked at a Buddhist monastery.
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Old 07-21-2009   #4
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Re: Jason the Monk

Who did the "never going to happen" tag? Jenn, I'm looking in your direction. (All the others were added by me, but my favorites are "uncanny dodge" and "ki strike".)

I think I kinda want to just wear a robe.

Andrew, where can we find a Theravada Buddhist monastery?
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Old 07-22-2009   #5
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Re: Jason the Monk

well you should be looking this way...

but you should try for a ninja not a monk imo

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Old 07-22-2009   #6
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Re: Jason the Monk

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Originally Said by EmperorChaos View Post
Who did the "never going to happen" tag? Jenn, I'm looking in your direction. (All the others were added by me, but my favorites are "uncanny dodge" and "ki strike".)

I think I kinda want to just wear a robe.

Andrew, where can we find a Theravada Buddhist monastery?
Nope, wasn't me.
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Old 07-22-2009   #7
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Re: Jason the Monk

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Considering Buddhists are atheistic, you wouldn't have to swing with the whole god thing, but still have all the rigidity and intense zeal a Christian monastery affords.
Buddhists, who chant daily prayers, have idols, believe in many gods, and have a "heaven" of nirvana, I would argue, are not atheistic... Or are you just referring to them not having the Christian God or even a general monotheistic god? Still, polytheism isn't atheism.
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Old 07-22-2009   #8
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Re: Jason the Monk

^Buddhists don't believe in many gods. I think you're confusing Buddhism with Hinduism. Or perhaps have a misunderstanding of pantheism. But then, there are, like Christianity, various sects of Buddhism.

Nirvana is another plane of existence. I could see planes of existence working within a scientific mindset in the form of dimensions of which we exist and three of space and move about in one of time.

I think it would be safer to say that buddhists are agnostic.
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Old 07-22-2009   #9
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Re: Jason the Monk

I'm fairly certain that Zen, Mahayana, and Theravada Buddhism all lack any mention of gods.(I can't speak for Tibetan Buddhism, with it's dogmatic scriptures and all) The idols and chants seen in Buddhism aren't related to specific gods, but rather serve as reminders/facilitators to those in meditation. Buddhists don't feel that the idols themselves hold any type of power, thus negating their being termed idols in the first place.

Yes, Buddhism has some mystic elements such as nirvana,(defined simply as a state of being where all conflict ceases) but the main difference between Buddhism and the major western religions is that they consider it a state to be achieved in this lifetime. Even if you were to deem them theistic, the only god I feel they'd claim is the universe.
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"I consider the positions of kings and rulers as that of dust motes. I observe treasures of gold and gems as so many bricks and pebbles. I look upon the finest silken robes as tattered rags. I see myriad worlds of the universe as small seeds of fruit, and the greatest lake in India as a drop of oil on my foot. I perceive the teachings of the world to be the illusion of magicians. I discern the highest conception of emancipation as a golden brocade in a dream, and view the holy path of the illuminated ones as flowers appearing in one's eyes. I see meditation as a pillar of a mountain, Nirvana as a nightmare of daytime. I look upon the judgment of right and wrong as the serpentine dance of a dragon, and the rise and fall of beliefs as but traces left by the four seasons."

-Siddhartha Gautama
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Old 07-23-2009   #10
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Re: Jason the Monk

why would you want to be a monk?
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Old 07-24-2009   #11
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Re: Jason the Monk

Because I can multi-class well as a rogue? And my wisdom modifier adds to my overall armor class?
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Old 07-24-2009   #12
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Re: Jason the Monk

nope, because you're a fat, smelly, drug-addled mess. and they probably don't make robes in XXXL.



but on the plus side you've got the balding thing on lockdown.
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Old 07-24-2009   #13
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Re: Jason the Monk

Shows how much you know.

Monks aren't necessarily balding. They sport a haircut known as a tonsure.
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Old 07-24-2009   #14
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Re: Jason the Monk

oh, in that case you've got absolutely nothing going in your favor. par for the course, really.
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Old 07-24-2009   #15
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Re: Jason the Monk

Hmmm, I guess perhaps I jumped to conclusions. On several websites, it mentioned several gods but that they could not control the course of humans and were subject to the same pains and struggles as humans. Also on wiki (reliable, I know...) it says:
Quote:
In some Mahayana traditions, the Buddha is indeed worshipped as a virtual divinity who is possessed of supernatural qualities and powers. Dr. Guang Xing writes: "The Buddha worshipped by Mahayanist followers is an omnipotent divinity endowed with numerous supernatural attributes and qualities ...[He] is described almost as an omnipotent and almighty godhead."[24]. In the Mahayana, it is also believed that there are countless Buddhas, but all of one essence – that of "Tathata" ("suchness" or "thusness") – and it is in this sense that the Buddha proclaims himself as "Tathagata" and exalts himself in theistic terms beyond all other "gods" when he declares, (Lalitavistara Sutra), "I am the god above the gods, superior to all the gods; no god is like me – how could there be a higher?" There are also many examples in the Pāli Canon, where the Buddha shows his magical superiority over the Brahma class of gods. So this was already present in the Pāli scriptures/ agamas. The Mahayana schools take the "akalikam" ("timeless") or eternal Dhammakaya of the Buddha in the earliest Tipitika and take it to its furthest understanding. His realm ("dhatu"), of which he is the "Holy King" (Nirvana Sutra), is further said to be inherent in all beings. This indwelling, indestructible, incomprehensible, divine sphere or essence is called the "Buddha-dhatu"
So there is definitely at least one branch of Buddhism that sees Buddha himself as a god. And Buddha declaring himself as a god would be odd for a religion who, as you say, is god-less.

Buddhism is commonly seen as a religion, highly suggesting worship, prayer, and ritual as other "world religions" do. There are a few others though that say that it should be considered as more of a philosophy of the mind. Perhaps that's where you stand?

I guess I also assumed that Buddhism had flavor leftover from Hinduism, which the religion broke from. Hinduism, as was previously stated, does have a god/many gods, depending.

I didn't know that the idols, generally made of stone or gold, were simply reminders. Why wouldn't just a painting or the word "enlightenment" be enough to remind them enough of what they are striving for? It just seems like a lot of effort and car being put into a reminder. A string around the finger is much cheaper.

Mind you, I’m no expert, but this is what I’ve picked up from my Sociology of Religion class, word of mouth, and the interwebs. You likely know quite a bit more about it than I
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Old 07-25-2009   #16
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Re: Jason the Monk

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Originally Said by Tala
So there is definitely at least one branch of Buddhism that sees Buddha himself as a god. And Buddha declaring himself as a god would be odd for a religion who, as you say, is god-less.
When Buddha proclaimed himself as Tathagata, he was claiming to have reunited on some spiritual level with the state of Tathata, which essentially means "thusness", but that's not a deep enough understanding of the word. So for that, I'm going to let wikipedia explain too
Quote:
Originally Said by wikipedia
One of the synonyms of the word Buddha is Tathagata, which means "thus gone" or "thus come". Tathata as a central concept of Mahayana Buddhism, expresses the appreciation of reality within a unique moment. As no moment is exactly the same, each one can be savored for what occurs at that precise time. Tathata is often best revealed in the mundane, such as noticing the way the wind blows through a field of grass, or watching someone's face light up as they smile. Shakyamuni Buddha transmitted the awareness of Tathata directly to Mahakasyapa in what has come to be rendered in English as the Flower Sermon. As Molloy[1]states, "We know we are experiencing the 'thatness' of reality when we experience something and say to ourselves, 'Yes, that's it; that is the way things are.' In the moment, we recognize that reality is wondrously beautiful but also that its patterns are fragile and passing."

full article
(I wanted to point out too, that they used the phrase, "the word Buddha," referring to the idea that Buddha-nature is inherent in everything, and that we only need realize it.)

Anywho, I think the whole "god" bit might have been a mistranslation, but I can't know for sure, because I'm having a bitch of a time finding the Lalitavistara sutra online.. so I'm afraid I can't make any kind of argument against that. All I can say is that I think the translation should read: "I am Tathagata above Tathata, etc."

Quote:
Buddhism is commonly seen as a religion, highly suggesting worship, prayer, and ritual as other "world religions" do. There are a few others though that say that it should be considered as more of a philosophy of the mind. Perhaps that's where you stand?
Theravada Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism are very religious in the traditional ritualistic sense, yes. It's Mahayana(and it's subcategories) who consider it a more philosophical practice.. in fact Mahayana is sometimes referred to as the most easily exported form of Buddhism, or Buddhism for the masses, because of its utter lack of dogma. Sure there are thousands(or more?) of sutras, but these are supposed to be simple wisdom, not commandments.

Quote:
I guess I also assumed that Buddhism had flavor leftover from Hinduism, which the religion broke from. Hinduism, as was previously stated, does have a god/many gods, depending.
No, you're quite right. Buddhism definitely owes everything to Hinduism, as it was a breakaway religion.. much like Christianity to Judaism. The Buddha often referred to gods and goddesses, and how could he not? The man was raised a hindu, and his father was a Brahmin and a king. He may have believed in gods, but he never claimed them necessary to achieve enlightenment.

Quote:
I didn't know that the idols, generally made of stone or gold, were simply reminders. Why wouldn't just a painting or the word "enlightenment" be enough to remind them enough of what they are striving for? It just seems like a lot of effort and car being put into a reminder. A string around the finger is much cheaper.
Honestly, it's probably much the same as any other institutionalized religion. Once the wallets of those in charge start to get fat, they indulge. Gautama never meditated in front of a statue, he sat under a tree. I'd be interested to see if there are such idols at Theravada Buddhist monasteries, since they claim to follow the example of the Buddha. I know that typically, Zen monasteries have no such ornaments, but are catered specifically to facilitate meditation.(gongs, incense, and floor mats.. not much else)
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"I've defected."

-The Mars Volta

"I consider the positions of kings and rulers as that of dust motes. I observe treasures of gold and gems as so many bricks and pebbles. I look upon the finest silken robes as tattered rags. I see myriad worlds of the universe as small seeds of fruit, and the greatest lake in India as a drop of oil on my foot. I perceive the teachings of the world to be the illusion of magicians. I discern the highest conception of emancipation as a golden brocade in a dream, and view the holy path of the illuminated ones as flowers appearing in one's eyes. I see meditation as a pillar of a mountain, Nirvana as a nightmare of daytime. I look upon the judgment of right and wrong as the serpentine dance of a dragon, and the rise and fall of beliefs as but traces left by the four seasons."

-Siddhartha Gautama
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Old 08-03-2009   #17
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Re: Jason the Monk

Sorry, I didn't have a lot of time to respond to this earlier. So I'll respond now :)

Quote:
When Buddha proclaimed himself as Tathagata, he was claiming to have reunited on some spiritual level with the state of Tathata, which essentially means "thusness", but that's not a deep enough understanding of the word
So he is referring to a "god" as one who has achieved this "thusness"? And there can be no "god" higher because the highest you can go is the "thusness"? That's interesting. But for a man who, as you said, grew up with many gods in his religion, wouldn't that have to mean that those gods must have achieved "thusness" too? Or is he stating that he is above all the gods because he had achieved this and they have not... I guess, like most of Buddhism, it's a bit of a hard concept to grasp.

Quote:
Theravada Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism are very religious in the traditional ritualistic sense, yes. It's Mahayana(and it's subcategories) who consider it a more philosophical practice.. in fact Mahayana is sometimes referred to as the most easily exported form of Buddhism, or Buddhism for the masses, because of its utter lack of dogma. Sure there are thousands(or more?) of sutras, but these are supposed to be simple wisdom, not commandments.
I looked up some of the sutras and a few of them don't seem to be bits a wisdom but quite direct methods of worship. For example, there is the sutra that there must be three burning pyres when sacrificing and another saying that when worshiping, the Buddha should always be above your head. What would be the point of these specifications? Would it not be more "wise" to let people worship/study as they please so that they may get the most out of the practice?

Quote:
No, you're quite right. Buddhism definitely owes everything to Hinduism, as it was a breakaway religion.. much like Christianity to Judaism. The Buddha often referred to gods and goddesses, and how could he not? The man was raised a hindu, and his father was a Brahmin and a king. He may have believed in gods, but he never claimed them necessary to achieve enlightenment.
As Buddha is the primary religious figure of Buddhism, I would have thought that his acknowledgement of gods would have transferred to all who followed him. If the "all enlightened one" believed in gods, wouldn't the religion that was born from his religious philosophies also believe in them? Even if they were never listed as necessary for the path of enlightenment, shouldn't the wisest of all men (so to speak) have excluded the gods from his beliefs if he did not believe in their existence? Therefore wouldn't those others who attempt enlightenment take that "truth" to heart as well?

Quote:
Honestly, it's probably much the same as any other institutionalized religion. Once the wallets of those in charge start to get fat, they indulge. Gautama never meditated in front of a statue, he sat under a tree. I'd be interested to see if there are such idols at Theravada Buddhist monasteries, since they claim to follow the example of the Buddha. I know that typically, Zen monasteries have no such ornaments, but are catered specifically to facilitate meditation.(gongs, incense, and floor mats.. not much else)
I suppose that all religions can get caught up in money and showing off what they have, but I always thought that Buddhism was attempting to get away from that. After all, didn't Buddha at one point give up all of his possessions? I looked up some pictures of Theravada Buddhist monasteries and they looked much like other monastery photos; gold or stone statues, pictures, herbs/incents, and other artifacts of interest. Zen bases it's path to enlightenment through meditation, right? They don't really follow any text or religious rules, they just meditate. But that is just one school of Buddhism. So was Buddhism originally to achieve enlightenment through meditation, study, and thought, and over time it started to drift away from this ideal pathway to enlightenment?
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Old 08-04-2009   #18
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Re: Jason the Monk

The idea of Jason wearing a smock and little or nothing else is a bit scary. No we wont even visialize that. Wipe it from your minds children or you'll have nitemares.
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Old 08-04-2009   #19
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Re: Jason the Monk

... OR you could become a Jedi. They get to wear robes too, plus you'd get a lightsaber.
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Old 08-04-2009   #20
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Re: Jason the Monk

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Originally Said by Higgins View Post
oh, in that case you've got absolutely nothing going in your favor. par for the course, really.
lol!
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