Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2002 07:16:52 -0400
From: K*****
Subject: Re: Not all religions are unskillful.
To: Darwin Bedford <>

9/30/2002 4:08:56 AM, Darwin Bedford <> wrote:

>Dear K*****,
>I have not taken the time nor effort to learn about these other religions
>and therefore cannot really answer your question.  My initial reaction is
>that atheism goes beyond just denying gods -- it is a philosophy of holding
>everything open to criticism.   So what do these   religions say about the
>beginning (how the world came to be)?  Do Buddhists hold Buddha as just a
>wise man?  If they hold truths as "true so far" then I don't have a problem
>with these religions.  I do have a problem with monolibricity (one-book
>living) however.
>Darwin Bedford
>At 11:07 PM 9/29/2002 -0400, you wrote:
>>         Darwin,
>>I just wanted to know your stance on athiest or religions alien to
>>Islam/Judaism/Christianity such as
>>Buddhism, Hinduism, Bahai, Paganism, Shinto, Krishna, Shamanism, Animism
>>and others is? I am a
>>Buddhist and do not believe in any god, afterlife or salvation- I am
>>Buddhist simply because it is a
>>healthy and productive way of living that allows you in concentrated
>>thought to cultivate your mind
>>and awareness of the meaning of life. Many polytheistic religions like
>>Hinduism and Paganism simply
>>replace forces of nature or emotions with named dieities- they will admit
>>that these gods do not
>>exist or they are metaphorical- of course none of them are as disabling or
>>offensive as the three
>>monotheistic gods. Looking at the three religions (Islam, Christianity,
>>Judaism) one can see the
>>obvious similarities and one could even wager that they are the same
>>religion retold three different
>>ways with different names for key figures. My idea is that Jesus was an
>>actual man, but he had
>>visited China or India and learned Buddhism, brought back his Buddhist
>>beliefs and taught Buddhism.
>>All of Jesus's teachings (Which are described in detail in the Bahai
>>religion) are athiest, he never
>>once mentions or notes a God(S) but he promotes several Buddhist ideas. OF
>>course, Christians do not
>>follow these ideas anywhere near as devoted or skillful as the typical
>>Buddhist but they are present,
>>mixed with false diety bearing ideas. What you have to take into account
>>is that many religions are
>>nothing like the most popular ones- some are even athiest! Thanks for your

        Relating athiesm to Buddhism, Buddhism chief task is to criticise everything, to question all
things seen and then to ask oneself if it is skillful (positive) or unskillful (negative). Buddhists
typically do not commit to things which are unskillful. Buddha was a simple man, like any other man
that wanted something beyond the world of materialism- he sought this after leaving his kingdom as
the prince Siddhartha Gautama. Living in his isolated life of wealth and comfort he never left the
city gates to see death, disease and violence- and when seeing these things was shocked so he went
on a quest to find the answer to the overall meaning of life. He became an wandering mendicant, a
practice not alien to the Indo-Chinese culture. To make a long story short he was awakened
(enlightened) to the notion that the only cause of suffering is craving. The entire Buddhist
"relgion" is focused around this one key phrase: "craving leads to suffering." Although there is a
"holy book" in Buddhism (Dharma), not every Buddhist reads it because all it is- is a collection of
wisdom, poems and stories rather then a command. In truth, Buddhism has no rules or dogma, no
clergy, no tithes and no religious hierarchy- and although I am generalizing the several forms of
Buddhism it is generally completely athiest. The thing that makes Buddhists buddhist is the constant
mind set that craving leads to suffering and "Refuge in Buddha" which means to accept the Four Noble

"To be fully understood: the universality of suffering.
To be abandoned: the desire to have and control things, which cause suffering
To be made visible: the supreme truth and final liberation of enlightenment that is achieved as the
cause of suffering is eliminated. The mind experiences complete freedom and liberation.
To be brought into being: the truth of the eightfold ariya path leading to the cessation of

        This is Buddhism in its most primitive form, it is a very indepth religion, if not the most
indepth. Buddha suggests that the world started scientifically, explaining something very similar to
the Big Bang Theory. Buddhism is extremely scientific, Buddhists do not believe in magical forces or
anything quasi-real, nor do we believe in anything that we cannot see. In conclusion, Buddhism is
not a monolibricity. The point of Buddhism is to expand upon our minds so we yearn for the thing
which means most, awareness and conciousness of all things- to do this we must eliminate craving
(and thus materialism, greed, hate, desire, envy and other unskillful emotions). Once the execution
of skillful actions is automatic and one has not a once of craving one generally would call that
person "Enlightened."
        The only thing which one might not believe in is that after death the body goes through rebirth
(Reincarnation) and your awareness and conciousness travel with you into your new body. Many
Buddhists have questioned this far fetched concept and it is theoretical, but there is proof
(personal accounts and testimonies ussually) and people who become enlightened typically see all
their "previous lives" flash before them at least once. Thanks, gotta go.