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Bernard White

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Should (+ why is) Buddhism ( be) held in such high regard compared to other religions?

Also if Colleen Steen, Jordan Burrill and Obey No1kinobe help me with the description, for I feel it is lacking in something. (Only if you want to, of course!)
The comment (by me) which inspired this debate : "I personally have never got why Buddhism is held in such high regard compared to other religions.
It believes in reincarnation, and that the dalai lama is the Buddha "reincarnate", (which from the New Atheist perspective that there is a need for evidence to make any claim valid, I don't see much evidence to suggest that reincarnation is correct, at this current moment in time.) and that "desire is the root to all suffering". While I would say rationalization was, but am happy to debate this with many.
I mean, do Buddhists want us just to be zombies? With no desire, or wishes. I am afraid I could not live in a world like that.
Buddhism, has a focus on getting rid of consumerism (and focus more on happiness economics), yet when my brother visited some Buddhist monasteries in Sri Lanka, some Buddhist monks forced him to pay to see the monasty, and made him pay more if he wanted to stay. Which seems rather ironic.
Also I find it rather odd when people say Buddhists are the most "peaceful" when they have extreme discrimination against Islam, which goes contrary to their own beliefs.
I hope you can help with this dilemma I have.
While I am willing to accept that Buddhism does have some amazing insights into what people fulfilled and happy (Which to be honest, I feel is quite amazing, and the main reason they are held in such high regard. And their research into meditation) I just disagree with (from what I understand of my very limiting knowledge of Buddhism) with some of the things they say!
I just view Buddhism in the same light, as I view all religions. (Which is strong agnosticism concerning their spiritual beliefs)"

I know I may have got some of my facts wrong! And apologise if I have!

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  • Apr 11 2013: Part 1

    Thank you for your question, I have posted in three parts as my answer is quite long.

    I am not aware that Buddhism is held in higher regard to other beliefs.

    I was brought up in a Christian society (Church of England), attended church as a boy but drifted away from it as I grew older and developed a taste for critical thinking and rebellion.

    I recently became interested in Buddhism after going through what I believe was some kind of awakening (although it might simply be a mid-life crises).

    I do not know anybody else within my social circle that is a Buddhist, but I felt naturally drawn to it, bought some books and started attending daily meditation at a Buddhist centre in the town where I was born (where I no longer live).

    I have felt a natural affinity to most of the teachings so far and have benefitted immensely from the meditation.

    These are my personal reasons why I understand and feel comfortable with Buddhist teachings and practice:

    There is no supernatural being in Buddhism that hands out rewards or punishments on judgement Day.

    There is no original sin or saviour concept in Buddhism. A Buddhist does not think that he can gain purity merely by seeking refuge in the Buddha or by mere faith in him. It is not within the power of a Buddha to wash away the impurities of others.

    The liberation of self is the responsibility of one's own self. Buddhism does not call for an unquestionable blind faith by all Buddhist followers. It places heavy emphasis on self-reliance, self discipline, practice and individual striving.

    Dharma (the teachings in Buddhism) exists regardless whether there is a Buddha. Sakyamuni Buddha simply discovered and shared the teachings. He is neither the creator of such teachings nor the prophet of an almighty God to transmit such teachings to others.

    Please continue to part 2.

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