Author Topic: Is Buddhism a passive religion?  (Read 20946 times)

vajratruth

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Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« on: April 28, 2012, 02:47:36 PM »
As I was reading a post in this Forum, a thought came to my mind. Buddhism has long been seen as a peaceful religion and almost passive in nature. The image of the Buddha sitting peacefully and unperturbed in the face of incessant attacks by Mara's hordes may have sealed in our minds the idea that Buddhism is unresponsive - a religion that teaches complete acceptance.

The idea of monks vigorously shaking placards or yielding instruments of protests therefore does not sit well with the traditional view of Buddhism as a peaceful and accepting religion.

On the other hand we learn that sometimes tough actions need to be taken out of compassion, to stop other parties from committing wrongs that could be detrimental to their karma.

So where does compassion end and acceptance of karma begin? Is there a way to differentiate?

Klein

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Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2012, 12:08:50 PM »
Dear vajratruth,

With regards to your question, "So where does compassion end and acceptance of karma begin? Is there a way to differentiate?", it shows that we need a lot of wisdom in order to differentiate. That is why if we sincerely want to effectively help others, it is necessary to gain perfect wisdom and develop full compassion as soon as possible. In other words, we can only help others flawlessly, if we gained full Enlightenment.

So in the meantime, I feel it's better to practice peaceful forms of compassion so that we do not create more negative karma in the name of compassion unless instructed by our teachers.

Positive Change

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Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2012, 01:01:26 PM »
I do not equate compassion with being passive and hence I do not see Buddhism as such... There is great strength in standing one's ground minus the violence. In fact I personally feel it is a lot tougher to be "peaceful" than it is to be violent.

As such, I would vehemently disagree with Buddhism being a passive religion... in fact I would say it is inspiring and uplifting to be able to transcend normal perceptions of what we call the norm.

The strength of Buddhism is in the firm believe that we are masters of our own destiny and emotions. That the only person that can sway us either way is ourselves. Empowering and very uplifting if you ask me!!!

Ensapa

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Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2012, 02:23:28 PM »
Buddhism isnt a passive religion, but it is just what the majority of lay buddhists would like to believe. In fact Buddhism is a religion that is very vigorous and challenging for the individual. Because being passive, avoiding and not retaliating is easier than doing so. And also because, most Buddhists would not like to lose out to christianity and its image as a "peaceful" religion.

No matter what, it is still a fact that many people become Buddhists because they wish to escape from the mainstream religion of christianity or that they want to be different, or because Buddhism is an exotic religion, or maybe perhaps they see buddhism as a less demanding religion with less commitments and less "superstition" compared to the religion they grew up in.

From all these, they start to push Buddhism in to fit their mould, to be something it is not. And thus came many misconceptions and sterotypes about Buddhism that are not true at all. Being passive and hippy-like is just one of the many. If Buddhism was a passive religion, it would not grow and stay stagnant. It is a religion that encourages us to take action against something after education.

The world can believe what they want, but it does not mean that they are right. For example, everyone else, except for a few believes that animals are not as intelligent as humans, and therefore it is all right to hurt them and breed them for food. This belief is obviously wrong even when the majority believes in it. So why is it that we have to follow people's preconception on Buddhism and maintain that when we know it is not true?

michaela

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Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2012, 02:49:47 PM »
Dear Vajratruth

I found your question to be very interesting.  Firstly, I am interested to know what do you mean by passive?  Passive is generally defined as:  lacking energy or will, open to outside influence or just doing nothing.  The fact that Buddhists generally respect others' beliefs and religion is often being mistaken as passive or inaction.

With regard to when to act with compassion and/ or just accept karma?  I personally think that the acceptance of karma is to accept the results of our previous conducts willingly.  While compassion is to take action because one cannot see the sufferings of other beings.  Many high lamas or monks often acted in a way that we cannot immediately understand (e.g., implementing DS bans, demonstrating openly against the ban, but at the end, it is the intend and the motivation that determined whether these are positive or negative actions.

   

dsiluvu

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Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2012, 05:29:28 PM »
I do not equate compassion with being passive and hence I do not see Buddhism as such... There is great strength in standing one's ground minus the violence. In fact I personally feel it is a lot tougher to be "peaceful" than it is to be violent.

As such, I would vehemently disagree with Buddhism being a passive religion... in fact I would say it is inspiring and uplifting to be able to transcend normal perceptions of what we call the norm.

The strength of Buddhism is in the firm believe that we are masters of our own destiny and emotions. That the only person that can sway us either way is ourselves. Empowering and very uplifting if you ask me!!!

I agree with this. Yes definitely reacting violently with anger is much easier then to stand ones ground and act in peaceful manner. When our buttons are pushed... do we act or react?

I think in Buddhism... it is not about being active or passive... it all depends on the situation and most of all the motivation behind it. Therefore there is a great need to develop compassion and wisdom before we can skilfully act out. Usually attained masters uses different methods to bring their message across, but it is always to benefit the receiver and never to cause harm. We on the other hand may not have that same kind of motivation and skilful means so it is best to check first within or best to just follow your Gurur's instructions or advice on the situation. Then you will not go wrong i believe.



 

Ensapa

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Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2012, 12:31:59 PM »
Dear Vajratruth

I found your question to be very interesting.  Firstly, I am interested to know what do you mean by passive?  Passive is generally defined as:  lacking energy or will, open to outside influence or just doing nothing.  The fact that Buddhists generally respect others' beliefs and religion is often being mistaken as passive or inaction.

With regard to when to act with compassion and/ or just accept karma?  I personally think that the acceptance of karma is to accept the results of our previous conducts willingly.  While compassion is to take action because one cannot see the sufferings of other beings.  Many high lamas or monks often acted in a way that we cannot immediately understand (e.g., implementing DS bans, demonstrating openly against the ban, but at the end, it is the intend and the motivation that determined whether these are positive or negative actions.

 

Accepting karma has 2 meanings, one being that you just allow the results to ripen and experience it without doing anything, or that you just dont react negatively to negative things happening around because you are aware that its a result of previous actions but it does not mean you dont do anything, you still take the correct action to rectify the problem because it is called taking responsibility.

Buddhists are generally more understanding and tolerant of others compared to other religions and as such, they are mistaken as being passive. Because in many situations, reacting to them in the wrong way would only make things worse rather than improving it. And as such some people would mistake this as being passive when it is simply knowing when and what to react.

It is more often than not that being a Buddhist actually means having to take the decision that would have the most benefits to others in the long run rather that taking the one that would result in short term and sometimes it involves not reacting to the situation rather than reacting to not provoke others or to worsen the situation. Again, some people would take this as being passive in dealing with problems when it is simply the more intelligent way.

I do agree with dsiluvu with the skillful means thing as in acting and reacting in a better way to situations around us, but it is also about handling situations more effectively so that the benefit is maximized for everyone. Therefore it involves using wisdom and compassion to determine the best course of action so that others are not harmed by our actions or decisions.

negra orquida

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Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2012, 06:01:00 PM »
Buddhism appears to be "passive" outside because all the work is being done on the inside! It is just like a smile... it takes more muscles to make a smile than to frown... appearances are deceiving ;)

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So where does compassion end and acceptance of karma begin? Is there a way to differentiate?

I don't really understand this question... Why should compassion end for acceptance of karma to begin?  Vajratruth had already mentioned that
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On the other hand we learn that sometimes tough actions need to be taken out of compassion, to stop other parties from committing wrongs that could be detrimental to their karma.

Acceptance of karma doesn't mean giving up... to me it is not clinging on to the notion that the situation you are in is "bad" or "unfortunate" but is just is, and then you do something to rectify the situation as much as possible.  It is like.. an alcoholic finally admits and accepts that he has a drinking problem and then makes an effort to kick the bottle.

i'm not sure if one can accept karma without having compassion.  Acceptance will always comes from an open mind and compassion opens up the mind to be more all encompassing and see other perspectives.

DharmaDefender

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Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2012, 04:20:53 PM »
As I was reading a post in this Forum, a thought came to my mind. Buddhism has long been seen as a peaceful religion and almost passive in nature. The image of the Buddha sitting peacefully and unperturbed in the face of incessant attacks by Mara's hordes may have sealed in our minds the idea that Buddhism is unresponsive - a religion that teaches complete acceptance.

The idea of monks vigorously shaking placards or yielding instruments of protests therefore does not sit well with the traditional view of Buddhism as a peaceful and accepting religion.

I think therein lies the root of the problem - expectation. Buddhism is EXPECTED to be a peaceful religion. We are EXPECTED to be calm, constantly in meditation and at peace with the world. Bollocks, the lot of it. What is the first thing we are taught? Expectations and projections are the root of all problems, and the cause of sufferings.

Buddhism is a religion of the mind and if the mind is well, who cares what the expression is... if your mind forms your actions, and your mind is well, then the expression will automatically be good.

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On the other hand we learn that sometimes tough actions need to be taken out of compassion, to stop other parties from committing wrongs that could be detrimental to their karma.

So where does compassion end and acceptance of karma begin? Is there a way to differentiate?

Acceptance of karma does not necessarily mean we do sod all about it. If Im going to die of cancer, am I going to say, "Well I have cancer and I might most likely die so lets not do any chemotherapy?" If its my karma to be hit by a bus, am I going to keep walking onto motorways?

Passivity denotes a lack of willingness to do anything about our situation, whereas REAL Buddhism teaches an awareness of your surroundings and your situation, and a pro-activeness to do something about it. If that isnt the case then why bother learning about the workings of karma at all, if everything has been predetermined for us, and weve no hope of changing it??

DharmaDefender

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Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2012, 04:22:43 PM »
Soz that should read "Passiveness implies a lack of willingness..." not "Passivity denotes a lack of willingness...". My English has gone to hell!

Tenzin K

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Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2012, 11:58:52 PM »
I agree with the statement of Buddhism is a peaceful (mind) religion but not passive. What important is the mind. Buddhist teaching is to train our mind free from all delusion and attachment by developing true and pure compassion.  Additional to this it also teaches us great wisdom. Our compassion always supported by great wisdom in order for us to benefit others in long term. This is exactly what Buddha does to benefit all sentient being live after live.

By understanding the core teaching of Buddhism it’s not necessary passive instead I never see it as passive but looking it as skillful or wisdom. A true practitioner’s actions always act from their compassion by carry their action through wisdom.

Tammy

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Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2012, 02:17:04 AM »
Dear Vajratruth,

The images of peace that Buddha statues portrait is only symbolic to what Buddhists wish to attain - ultimate peace and happiness. The statues were meant to be a focal point for our meditational purposes, a reminder of our ultimate goal.. It is not the 'teaching' by Buddha. I think this is a general misconception that most Buddhists and people of other religious faith have of Buddhism.

It is tru that Buddhism is a peaceful religion, because we are not in competition to others and the path we embarked on to Buddhahood is to ultimately be able to benefit others so that they, too enjoy inner peace.

However, to achieve this, there are many methods (84,000 remember?) and ways to suit different individuals depending on their level of understanding. Wrath I'd only one of the ways to make some individual realize their wrongdoings and hopefully, they would change.

Monks and nuns are human beings too, they too have feelings and should enjoy freedom of speech. The sight of they publicly showing their feelings should not be seen as 'against' Buddha's teaching...

Just my 2-cents' worth
Down with the BAN!!!

vanessa5

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Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2012, 03:45:26 AM »
I think Buddhists or not, everyone has rights and what motivation is set from the onset of one's motivation before an action may make the difference between acting out of compassion or creating negative karma. But everyone cannot go around claiming someone is hurt just because they were acting out of compassion. Then how do we know if someone is acting out of compassion since we are stuck in our own self absorbed mind? That's why the study of Buddhism and the practices given by the lama/guru/teacher are so vital so the students will slowly be molded until kindness and compassion arise spontaneously from a wise mind. Unfortunately most students ran away when the teacher gave them practices to bring them a rung higher. 

Ensapa

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Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2012, 04:57:42 AM »
I think Buddhists or not, everyone has rights and what motivation is set from the onset of one's motivation before an action may make the difference between acting out of compassion or creating negative karma. But everyone cannot go around claiming someone is hurt just because they were acting out of compassion. Then how do we know if someone is acting out of compassion since we are stuck in our own self absorbed mind? That's why the study of Buddhism and the practices given by the lama/guru/teacher are so vital so the students will slowly be molded until kindness and compassion arise spontaneously from a wise mind. Unfortunately most students ran away when the teacher gave them practices to bring them a rung higher.

If we want to justify negative behavior or wrathful behavior and say that it is done out of compassion, it does not make sense because some people who are delusional may think that acts of violence are justified, and this is how in some cases abuse against children and even spousal abuse is justified. "But i did it out of love! But I love them! But i did it with their best interest!" but the child or spouse ends up hurt and damaged anyway.

There is a very easy way of seeing whether or not our reactions or actions are out of compassion or just plain frustration: look at the after effects it has on the receiver's end. If they derive little or no benefit from that action, then that is a very clear sign that whatever we are doing are actually hurting them rather than helping them, or if they end up damaged in any way.

Only a qualified spiritual teacher can have those actions justified as more often than not, students at the receiving end often change their minds and let go of their bad habits and negative habituations. We do not have the power nor the training to perform such acts and we will only serve to increase them in the long run but a teacher does as they are trained in this matter, and it is their full time job to benefit their students.

On our level, unless we are a Lama, there is no way for us to ever justify that a "wrathful" action of us is out of care/concern or benefit to others unless we can predict that the other person will be able to take it and not react negatively to our actions. When they do react negatively to our actions, we create bad karma for ourselves and also for them at the same time and this not in everybody's best interest.

kris

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Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2012, 08:14:57 AM »
To stop someone from committing the negative actions, sometimes wrathful methods will required, BUT, wrathful actions must be based on compassion. I do agree that wrathful actions must be used with care, and if possible, don't use it, but actually I have seen wrathful actions being carried out effectively, especially by parents.

When a mother cane her child because the kids were playing with fire (it is assumed that she is doing it out of compassion), the kids will think twice next time when playing with fire. The key here is wrathful with compassion. She is not doing it for the benefit of herself. We must check our mind when using wrathful methods, "is it for the benefit of myself or someone else?"