Author Topic: Is Buddhism a passive religion?  (Read 20944 times)

dondrup

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 816
Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2012, 12:29:13 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.

Perception is deceiving.  People like to jump to conclusion or form an opinion of what Buddhism should be or how Buddhists should act.  I agree with dsiluvu.  It is not about being passive or active.  It is about the motivation behind each action.  It is about doing the right thing in any situation because each action leads to karma.  Doing the right thing with the correction motivation is having compassion not only for us but for others too. 

We will notice out of compassion, qualified lamas use skillful means which can be peaceful or wrathful to train their students.  The method adopted by the lamas may appear inappropriate in the eyes of others, but that very method is the right method for that particular situation.

We are all inter-connected.  Every action that we perform will have an impact on others.  To accept our karma means to take personal responsibility of what we have done in the past and to do the necessary to purify our negative karma.  In this way we prevent ourselves from creating more actions that will harm others.

vajratruth

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 706
Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2012, 03:44:19 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.


I like what you said PC but let me be a bit more precise here. I am not saying that Buddhism is WEAK and yes I agree that one would need tremendous strength to stand on one's ground. By asking if Buddhism is "passive" I meant to ask if corporeal Buddhism:

1. Should be more evangelical in character. If we truly find strength from the truth we realize in the practice, should  we not be a lot more aggressive is dispelling the delusions in the world. If one has true compassion, why not evangelize more? Compared to other religious movements, isn't Buddhism relatively passive in spreading the truth?

2. When some wrong is being done to us by another person, a usual reaction from Buddhist is to peacefully and passively accept is as the fruition of our negative karma. Some may fret about it but they accept it. Instead should we take the view that we cannot allow the other person to create negative karma and therefore seek to take aggressive actions to stop the person or counter the negative karma?

I there perhaps a huge ocean of options between total zen like passiveness and outright aggression?

Ensapa

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4124
    • Email
Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2012, 10:06:14 AM »
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.


I like what you said PC but let me be a bit more precise here. I am not saying that Buddhism is WEAK and yes I agree that one would need tremendous strength to stand on one's ground. By asking if Buddhism is "passive" I meant to ask if corporeal Buddhism:

1. Should be more evangelical in character. If we truly find strength from the truth we realize in the practice, should  we not be a lot more aggressive is dispelling the delusions in the world. If one has true compassion, why not evangelize more? Compared to other religious movements, isn't Buddhism relatively passive in spreading the truth?

2. When some wrong is being done to us by another person, a usual reaction from Buddhist is to peacefully and passively accept is as the fruition of our negative karma. Some may fret about it but they accept it. Instead should we take the view that we cannot allow the other person to create negative karma and therefore seek to take aggressive actions to stop the person or counter the negative karma?

I there perhaps a huge ocean of options between total zen like passiveness and outright aggression?

It does not help either that a lot of people dont understand how Karma works and that "allowing" things to happen wont help anyone in the long run, but it does help by preventing a catastrophic chain of events from happening that stems from reacting back. However, in the same context it does not mean that we should just allow things to happen and not do anything about it. That is just being inert and lazy.

There is still a lot of misunderstanding of the Dharma and Buddhism in general that is prevalent among people these days and this is due to the fact that there are very little people that would seriously study Buddhism under a  proper teacher but choose to learn Buddhism from all the various books out there and putting their own interpretation into the mix and resulting in all sorts of confusions.

When Lamas use wrathful methods on the students, it never ever damages the students in any way and the only thing damaged is their ego which in any case might trigger that student to run away from the lama or abandon Buddhism altogether, in the many cases that I have heard, but in general and in long term they bring in more benefit than harm and whatever damages sustained is not permanent.

When ordinary people like us attempt to use the exact same methods, it would often result in permanent damage and in general a lot of harm and negativities will occur because 1) we are not sure of our actual intention and 2) we do not possess enough knowledge or compassion to help those who need help in the right way, so that they do not react badly and create more negative actions for themselves and others...

RedLantern

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 758
Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2012, 10:00:35 AM »
Buddhism is not a passive form of religion in which one sits down and meditate and gain Enlightenment.It is through contemplations of life,one's attain understanding through the teachings of Buddha.Buddhist practise require high participation of mental thinking to understand and gain awareness.
Compassion isn't self pity or pity for others.it's really feeling one's own pain and recognising the pain of others
Seeing the web of suffering we're all entangled in ,we become kind to one another, a liberative action within society of those who have become Enlightened or who are sincerely following the path towards it.
Those who accuse Buddhism to be passive have to be answered correctly.

diablo1974

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 251
Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2012, 05:29:55 PM »
Buddhism is definitely not a passive religion to me...in fact it can be passive if you wish to and if you dont do anything it will be more than passive. Buddhist believes in the law of karma literally meant cause and effect. By creating causes to achieve a certain effect, how can creating good causes be passive. In layman terms, creating opportunities couldnt be passive to me.

There are many other buddhists in our community who hasnt fully understand the theory/working of karma and having the wrong view of "staying passive and all is about karma".  The community needs learned dharma teachers or guide to educate and spread the right view of buddha dharma. The entire Buddhist doctrine is too much and profound for a beginner to comprehend, but having a good foundation in the basic principles of buddhism is no doubt a prerequisites in any higher teachings.

Vajraprotector

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 610
Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2012, 10:42:21 PM »
This may seemed so because Buddhism advocates a withdrawal away from the affairs of the outside world, emphasizing that everything, including war, suffering, power, and oppression, is empty, or temporary and illusory.

Let’s look at what Buddha did. It seemed that he choose a life of seclusion, practicing the teachings of various schools of beliefs in attaining a learned man.  He attained enlightenment because he wanted to do something about the suffering of all sentient beings.

When Gautama attained enlightenment did he turn away from the world and go into retreat? No. He stayed in the world and helped others find the path.

Hence in general, I think Buddhism is not a passive form of religion in which one only sits down and meditate and gain enlightenment (for themselves). Rather, it is through the contemplations of life, one attains understanding through the teachings of Buddha.

Also, Buddhism does not want blind faith from its followers. Its teachings revolved around the concept that the teachings help people understand their surroundings and the reality they are in. Hence, it is a high participation of mental thinking to understand and gain awareness. I don’t think that is passive at all.

However, there is a new sphere has been called engaged Buddhism. First coined by zen Buddhist leader Thich Nhat Hanh, he and his students decided they had an imperative to not only become aware of but respond to the suffering they saw around them during the Vietnam war. Rather than attempting to meditate away from the problems of the world, Thich Nhat Hanh and his community saw that responding to suffering was in fact a core principal of their practice; they reached their own transcendence through reaching out to others, not in isolation.

Positive Change

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1008
Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2012, 01:46:31 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.


I like what you said PC but let me be a bit more precise here. I am not saying that Buddhism is WEAK and yes I agree that one would need tremendous strength to stand on one's ground. By asking if Buddhism is "passive" I meant to ask if corporeal Buddhism:

1. Should be more evangelical in character. If we truly find strength from the truth we realize in the practice, should  we not be a lot more aggressive is dispelling the delusions in the world. If one has true compassion, why not evangelize more? Compared to other religious movements, isn't Buddhism relatively passive in spreading the truth?

2. When some wrong is being done to us by another person, a usual reaction from Buddhist is to peacefully and passively accept is as the fruition of our negative karma. Some may fret about it but they accept it. Instead should we take the view that we cannot allow the other person to create negative karma and therefore seek to take aggressive actions to stop the person or counter the negative karma?

I there perhaps a huge ocean of options between total zen like passiveness and outright aggression?

I do understand what you are trying to say here Vajratruth and here are my thoughts on both your points:

1. Being evangelical to spread the truth as you call it seems like the logical thing to do as we want to share the knowledge we have for the betterment of people. However, historically, evangelical methods are often brutally abrasive to the point of shoving it down a person's throat because the passion for getting th message out there is so strong and valid... that perhaps the true nature of Buddhism will be enveloped into yet another Christian crusade. Surely as Buddhist, that would be the last thing we want. Buddhism I feel is about an individual path and what works for some may not work for others hence Buddha teaches 84,000 paths to enlightenment. One size does not fit all and from an evangelical stand point that in itself is already defeatist.

2. I dont think we actively or consciously let a person walk all over us. That is not Buddhist either. I believe there is always a fine line we draw. But in general we do "accept" more than the average person indeed! And yes if a person is ultimately taking advantage of our compassion and kindness there are ways to counter the negativity of the person without being violent too as we certainly do not want to encourage the person to create more negative karma for him/herself...

This we can even equate to the ban of Dorje Shugden and how there are difference methods to counter of “fight” the ban. We could go out there and protest in an almost violent nature or we can slice through ignorance using the wisdom sword of knowledge… both very “aggressive” ways but the latter with a little more Buddhist finesse.

I believe, at the end of the day, the pure motivation of focusing out in all we do is the driving force behind a Buddhist mind.

Ensapa

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4124
    • Email
Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2012, 06:41:51 AM »
I couldnt help but add my own comments to this one:


I like what you said PC but let me be a bit more precise here. I am not saying that Buddhism is WEAK and yes I agree that one would need tremendous strength to stand on one's ground. By asking if Buddhism is "passive" I meant to ask if corporeal Buddhism:

1. Should be more evangelical in character. If we truly find strength from the truth we realize in the practice, should  we not be a lot more aggressive is dispelling the delusions in the world. If one has true compassion, why not evangelize more? Compared to other religious movements, isn't Buddhism relatively passive in spreading the truth?
The Buddha has explicitly forbade his followers from evangelism. Why? because 1) it shows that we are insecure about our own faith, thus the need to reaffirm it to others by forcing it down their throats and 2) it shows the lack of understanding of the law of Karma. people must come to the Dharma on their own accord, but that does not mean we cannot be the trigger point or plant seeds by doing events or making huge statues. If they have karmic affinity with Buddhism, they will come.  We do not need to impose it onto others.

2. When some wrong is being done to us by another person, a usual reaction from Buddhist is to peacefully and passively accept is as the fruition of our negative karma. Some may fret about it but they accept it. Instead should we take the view that we cannot allow the other person to create negative karma and therefore seek to take aggressive actions to stop the person or counter the negative karma?
That's because even among Buddhists, there are many people who misunderstand the law of Karma and thus they think that being passive will help with situations. Most of these people incidentally, are also very afraid to step out of their comfort zones and know very little about the Dharma. More often than not, the most likely words that will come from their mouths is "I'll just stick to my path coz its more comfortable" even if it has lead them nowhere to date. Not the best example, but oh well.
I there perhaps a huge ocean of options between total zen like passiveness and outright aggression?

What you have described is the general popular belief of how Buddhists are but it does not reflect how real Buddhists really are in any way. for example, the Buddha advocated the dispelling of ignorance by studying the Dharma, yet many 'buddhists' refuse to study the Dharma and prefer to spend their time doing other things instead.

diamond girl

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 282
Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2012, 07:09:40 PM »
I do not think compassion ever ends in the teachings of Buddhism. However, compassion can be expressed in various ways. It is also said that true compassion is expressed by wrath. Although it is initially difficult to understand how someone being harsh with us is a form of compassion but it does make sense once we look deeper. Due to our own attachments to our ignorance, ego and anger, we can sometimes become stuck onto our old ways that does not serve us. Therefore, under such circumstance, wrathful methods that is practiced with wisdom, compassion and skillfulness may be needed to cause a required shift in our minds. However, I do agree with Klein that one must be cautious with the use of wrathful means because if our intention is unclear, it is possible to cause negative outcome.

As mentioned by Michaela, what do we mean when we define a religion to be passive? If non-passive means aggressive, then I would say “Yes, Buddhism is a passive religion”. However, if non-passive means the proactive approach to living your life, I would say “No, Buddhism is a vibrantly creative and proactive religion.” From my understanding of Buddhism, our fate and destiny is completely within our control. The law of karma is not what many people blatantly claim: “Oh, such is my karma, I just need to accept.” On the contrary, with every choice and action of body, speech and mind we get to “manage” our karma in a manner that empowers us to progress towards deeper learning realizations, attainments and eventually enlightenment. Of course this sounds simpler that it is to do, which gives great dynamics and challenge to our minds that is contrary to passiveness perceived of Buddhism.

Thus, I would like to conclude my view that compassion never ends although the methods to practice and convey it may be varied. Additionally, Buddhism is one of the most powerful, dynamic and mind-blowing teaching and way of living that I know of.

vajratruth

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 706
Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2012, 10:44:10 PM »

The Buddha has explicitly forbade his followers from evangelism. Why? because 1) it shows that we are insecure about our own faith, thus the need to reaffirm it to others by forcing it down their throats and 2) it shows the lack of understanding of the law of Karma. people must come to the Dharma on their own accord, but that does not mean we cannot be the trigger point or plant seeds by doing events or making huge statues. If they have karmic affinity with Buddhism, they will come.  We do not need to impose it onto others.


Good one Ensapa.  I think the Buddha did not want us to "talk Buddhism" but rather "live Buddhism". The idea of filling up a Dharma Centre with Buddhists vide membership would not appeal to Him at all. If we are to "evangalize", it has to be through the way we live our lives as examples [of the Dharma] and the visible transformation in our minds as the result of having the right view by virtue of the Dhama. I imagine the Buddha would be more pleased to see a Christian (for example ONLY) became a better practitioner of the Christian faith and actually live in obedience to Jesus's Sermon On The Mount (as a result of having heard the Dharma which they  then relate to their own religious teaching),  than convert to become a Buddhist.

In The Beatitudes, Jesus taught "Blessed are the Weak for their shall inherit the Earth". As a Christian, I accepted that to mean that we are to rest in an all powerful Lord and solely depend on Him to bestow everything including the "earth" upon us. However, having heard what little Dharma I have, I re-approached that teaching very differently and accordingly asked very different questions. The conclusion I arrived at is that by not being attached to the desire to have the "earth", and by not trying to manipulate external factors and desperately grasping at power which I thought was required to acquire the earth, and by understanding the impermanence of the earth and the happiness I previously thought having it would bring, by letting go and be "weak" in my efforts to engineer external outcomes to meet my internal expectations...I actually inherit my "earth" which in essence, is really that illusive space upon which I rest as a person free from the mechanics of the insufferable world, and not separated from true happiness. Being weak and to inherit the earth makes good common sense.

My point? It was the dharma in Buddhism that taught me to see things in correct perspective and make logical sense out of what [any] religion teaches. But for the Dharma, I would still be fumbling in the dark and never ever understand the truth of all things and in the absence of true understanding, I would not be able to apply it to my life experientially and if I cannot experience it, then religion becomes a theory and merely a defunct ideal.

We all know Dharma is the ultimate self empowerment and that it works immediately and on a sustainable basis. That being the case, are we not obliged to share this knowledge? Some people may not have the karma to receive this knowledge on their own and if we were to take the stance that their lack of merits does not afford them the Buddha's teachings, are we not being selfish by being passive? Do we not exercise compassion when we share information that others may not have, that can definitely make a difference in their own lives?

My objective is not to debate and question the Buddha's advice but to try and understand the role Buddhists should play in a hopeless world. Can our intervention not change the karma of a person who has not heard the Dharma? And if it can, would it not be out duty to market the Dharma and the Guru so that his message (which is the same as the Buddha's message) may bring some wisdom into their lives?


Ensapa

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4124
    • Email
Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #25 on: July 15, 2012, 02:55:34 AM »

Good one Ensapa.  I think the Buddha did not want us to "talk Buddhism" but rather "live Buddhism". The idea of filling up a Dharma Centre with Buddhists vide membership would not appeal to Him at all. If we are to "evangalize", it has to be through the way we live our lives as examples [of the Dharma] and the visible transformation in our minds as the result of having the right view by virtue of the Dhama. I imagine the Buddha would be more pleased to see a Christian (for example ONLY) became a better practitioner of the Christian faith and actually live in obedience to Jesus's Sermon On The Mount (as a result of having heard the Dharma which they  then relate to their own religious teaching),  than convert to become a Buddhist.

In The Beatitudes, Jesus taught "Blessed are the Weak for their shall inherit the Earth". As a Christian, I accepted that to mean that we are to rest in an all powerful Lord and solely depend on Him to bestow everything including the "earth" upon us. However, having heard what little Dharma I have, I re-approached that teaching very differently and accordingly asked very different questions. The conclusion I arrived at is that by not being attached to the desire to have the "earth", and by not trying to manipulate external factors and desperately grasping at power which I thought was required to acquire the earth, and by understanding the impermanence of the earth and the happiness I previously thought having it would bring, by letting go and be "weak" in my efforts to engineer external outcomes to meet my internal expectations...I actually inherit my "earth" which in essence, is really that illusive space upon which I rest as a person free from the mechanics of the insufferable world, and not separated from true happiness. Being weak and to inherit the earth makes good common sense.

My point? It was the dharma in Buddhism that taught me to see things in correct perspective and make logical sense out of what [any] religion teaches. But for the Dharma, I would still be fumbling in the dark and never ever understand the truth of all things and in the absence of true understanding, I would not be able to apply it to my life experientially and if I cannot experience it, then religion becomes a theory and merely a defunct ideal.

We all know Dharma is the ultimate self empowerment and that it works immediately and on a sustainable basis. That being the case, are we not obliged to share this knowledge? Some people may not have the karma to receive this knowledge on their own and if we were to take the stance that their lack of merits does not afford them the Buddha's teachings, are we not being selfish by being passive? Do we not exercise compassion when we share information that others may not have, that can definitely make a difference in their own lives?

My objective is not to debate and question the Buddha's advice but to try and understand the role Buddhists should play in a hopeless world. Can our intervention not change the karma of a person who has not heard the Dharma? And if it can, would it not be out duty to market the Dharma and the Guru so that his message (which is the same as the Buddha's message) may bring some wisdom into their lives?

Buddhism can only be spread not by evangelism but only via example and when people see these examples, they get inspired to learn more about Buddhism, and from what they have learnt about Buddhism, they will understand its benefits and eventually make the decision to commit to Buddhism so that they can derive even more benefits from them. In a way, every Buddhist show do evangelical work - the right way by applying the teachings and showing the results of their family and friends by being a better person that would impress them and make them wonder what make this change in them, and they themselves become Buddhist. So, the power of evangelism in Buddhism comes through the application of its teachings and its results. If words alone are used, it will not help many people as people will feel odd if we talk about Dharma and our actions contradict the Dharma. It will break their faith in Buddhism. In the workplace...how often have we heard the phrase "Oh my! his work attitude is ruthless! But he's  supposed to be a Buddhist! Why is he being so nasty and evil?" does that help with Buddhism? But that is rampant everywhere and that just gives people a bad impression of Buddhism.

The role that Buddhism plays in the world is not really that of a religion but as a way and method of self improvement that works and that brings results in more ways than one. It is not meant to compete with Christianity or Islam as a major world religion per se, although during this time and age it has to take the form and appearance as a religion because people at this time require a system and an institution and a structure of faith that they can turn to to fill the spiritual void in their hearts, and thus Buddhism has to manifest and take the form of a religion to benefit people as this is what suits the people's disposition. In essence, it is not a religion, therefore it does not function or behave like a 'regular' religion.

Dondrup Shugden

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 896
Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2015, 10:16:32 AM »
Buddhism is not a passive religion as most practising Buddhists do a lot of work with the mind to overcome delusions and fixed beliefs.  Such work is not easier and in order to persevere, one needs to maintain an aura of nonchalant in appearance. 

Karma will ripen and bad and good will happen, and the Buddha taught us that we can take control of our life with the knowledge of the noble truth and find the cessation to suffering. 

As such Buddhism is not passive as being passive means not taking charge and permit whatever will happen be.

Compassion may not be passive and compassion works with wisdom.  With wisdom, compassion can even be wrathful and as such the mention that Buddhist should not be protesting is wrong view.

Nothing extreme, just the middle way.

pgdharma

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1055
Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2015, 07:26:37 AM »
I don’t think Buddhism is a passive religion. We have to be in control of ourselves and it takes a lot of hard work, determination, effort, stability to practice this path to the fullest. Buddhism is about our spiritual development that we encounters our true nature through learning and practiced and that is very challenging.

Compassion in Buddhist terms is an aspiration, a state of mind, wanting others to be free from suffering and it can be expressed in many ways depending on situation and motivation.

kelly

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 142
Re: Is Buddhism a passive religion?
« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2015, 08:32:06 AM »
I think Buddhism is not a passive religion , Buddhism is a peaceful mind religion because the teaching teach us how to overcome our deluded mind is cause of our suffering so by taming our mind we be able to resolve our problem with more effectively. As early mention Buddhism is not a religion who teach us to just accept our unfortunate outcome but we accept it and we do something about the situation and deal with it more skilfully .