Buddha: Doubt vs. Belief

“O monks and wise men, just as a goldsmith would test his gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it, so must you examine my words and accept them, not merely out of reverence for me.”
Shakyamuni Buddha

“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…”
2 Corinthians 10:5 (Paul)

Paraphrasing the Buddha: “Don’t believe, test everything I have taught.”
Paraphrasing Paul:  “Cast doubt out, discipline your mind.”

Jesus_BuddhaBuddhist and Christian theological positions on doubt are in huge contrast !  This is another aspect of Buddhism that I embrace.  But believers of any faith may not believe their theologies.  There are Christians who have worked out comfortable ways of doubting and Buddhists who believe irrationally.  People are all tempted by dualism and religious mentality and no matter what the teaching, they go for magic. People always hope that their beliefs and actions lead to a better life. And when suffering hits (as it inevitably does), they often despair of their false faith.

I found this post which illustrates well how many everyday-Buddhists buy into the same delusion of Christians. I have witnessed this in Japan and China many times.

Theologians and common believers are often two different animals !  So for those who think Buddhism is the answer, realize that no matter what faith one contrives, people are the ones who change it !


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

13 responses to “Buddha: Doubt vs. Belief

  1. Buddhist and Christian theological positions on doubt are in huge contrast(Sabio)

    Not so sure I agree with you. Your statement almost sounds like a Fundy lol.

    But test everything; hold fast what is good.
    1 Thessalonians 5:21

  2. T4T: Certainly that does reflect on a somewhat fundamentalist understanding, because a fundamentalist would never consider 1 Thes, 5:21 as loosely as you do. It is OK to test everything in their perspective, as long as you are not discarding their fundamentals, which can be a long list.

    Which I guess affirms the topic of the OP. People will choose and create their own “essentials” in their religion. Some religions provide more basis for doing so than others. I would consider the bible of Christianity to provide believers with an ample number of verses to despise doubt.

    All of which makes me want to flee dogma and doctrine of any kind. No doubt I have my own internalized dogmas, but that’s the best I can do at any given time.

  3. Pseudonym

    It would be fair to say that Christian thinking has moved on since the time of Paul. Some for the better, some for the worst.

    Now that Christianity is in a position of relative luxury in the developed world, compared with relative difficulty in Paul’s day, we now have the luxury to be able to reflect, question, test and recognise ambiguity.

  4. @ pseudo & T4T

    You did read the links, right. You do realize this note is illustrates how superstitious magic thinking sneaks into every religion, no matter what the scriptures say.

    But Sacred scripture is treated uniquely in all faiths even while the religion changes. Jesus reformed Judaism, Luther reformed Catholicism but they alway kept their scriptures. Maybe we need new scriptures to supersede Paul. But this day and age, people would never accept God making someone write something that tells them how to live. Funny that they allow it for ancient people.

    I wish someone just had the guts to toss the scriptures.

  5. Achyut

    Mind (science) begins with ‘doubt’, which leads to ‘observation’, and finally to ‘knowledge’. No belief system is necessary. This is how science works.

    Buddha gave a religion to ‘mind oriented’ people. His method works exactly how science works. The basic difference between science and his religion is that science deals with object, which lies outside the mind (observer) – that’s why scientific mind is extrovert, and religion is for introvert personality (who deal with subject). In Buddhism extrovert person deals with ‘subject’ instead of ‘object’; i.e. extrovert person doubt on subject, observe it, and know it.

    In science, scientist will know about the object under observation; in Buddhism however, the observer becomes observed.

    Christianity is basically what Hindus call a Bhakti Yog, practiced more than 5000 years ago in India. It begins with ‘heart’; there is no use of mind (doubt). It is solely for introvert personality. It deals with ‘duality’ between ‘you’ and ‘God’. Nothing exists besides love between ‘you’ and ‘God’; if there is anything then it must be ‘the holy Ghost’.

  6. @Achyut I find it funny that those interested in spirituality seem to often be looking to be one with the universe/god and bridge the gap between body/mind outside/inside. But it is spirituality that separates them in the first place. Science has been the method that really treats us as part of nature, and that the mind (inside/self) is a product of the brain.

    There isn’t really an inside and outside…that’s just a feeling necessary for our brains to navigate the world.

  7. @ Sara
    There are some interested in lowering the suffering of themselves and others and embrace “spirituality” to do that. Some of what they do is useful, I think. Much is complete nonsense. The trick is to have a discerning mind to know the difference.

  8. Achyut

    @Sara We are already one with the god. God has never forgotten us even for a fraction of seconds; there is actually no way that we can be separated from him however we may try. We just don’t realize this TRUTH because we our consciousness is directed towards “outside world” (worldly activities) through our senses. The whole works of Buddha (and I believe of all religions) is to re-direct our consciousness towards oneself to realize this TRUTH.

    Buddhism is called a scientific religion, because in the existence of god is hypothetical. Buddha has left it up to us to testify it.

    To me ‘mind is a byproduct of matter’.

  9. @ Achyut
    You might find it more productive to see if you can communicate without using the word “God”.

  10. Achyut

    @ Sabio Lantz, I understand what you are saying, and I completely agree with you. However, it is just like a situation when we say that ‘there is nobody inside the room’. Even when the room is empty we still need to use the word ‘nobody’ to communicate the situation to others. I take this as a limitation of language we use. That’s why ‘silence’ has so much importance. Communication through silence. It’s very ironic. Thank you.

  11. @ Achyut
    Fun images. Thank you

  12. It’s good to know that I’m not alone in noticing this trend. I’m a Catholic by birth and a Buddhist by choice. I’m just a recent convert and I’m finding the very things I cannot, will not, approve of in the Catholic faith is also found among the Buddhist Sangha. I hope to find a like-minded sangha. Nice post 🙂

  13. @ geromesariano,
    Good luck finding a sangha like that — I am not sure what it is like in the Philippines. To me, most of Buddhism is romanticized and rejecting of the real world. I teaches to shut down instead of engage. It teaches religion, identity and security — all things it is supposedly not attached to. Best wishes. Thanx for visiting
    — Sabio

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