No!!Sir Arthur was not a Buddhist (stop the false claims)

Edwin Ariyadasa(close associate of Sir Arthur) stated..

“Sir Arthur was one of the freest spirits, that walked the Earth. He was unencumbered by convention or dogma. At one point he described himself as a crypto-Buddhist later on.
I was told that, he had an inclination to drop the adjective “crypto” I am happy that he sent me his touching greetings on my 85th birthday (3 December 2007) just 13 days before his 90th birthday.”
Does this suggest that he became a Buddhist?
NO..
These statements should be understood in connection with other statements that clearly indicates that he did not belong to any religion and he did not believe in reincarnation which makes him a non Buddhist.They are as follows
“During interviews, both in 1993 and 2004–2005, he stated that he did not believe in reincarnation, citing that there was no mechanism to make it possible”
“In 2000, Clarke told the Sri Lankan newspaper, The Island, “I don’t believe in God or an afterlife,”[58] and he identifies himself as an atheist.”
Edwin Ariyadasa’s assumption should be viewed in the context of his own prejudice towards Buddhism that probably would have made him believe that Sir Arthur dies as Buddhist.
That said,I must also state that Sir Arthur did not see Buddhism as a religion which as I think he wrongly interpreted since Buddhism in essence and in practice fits comfortably within the sociological definition of religion.
Which states
” A religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. Aspects of religion include narrative, symbolism, beliefs, and practices that are supposed to give meaning to the practitioner’s experiences of life. Whether the meaning centers on a deity or deities, or an ultimate truth, religion is commonly identified by the practitioner’s prayer, ritual, meditation, music and art, among other things, and is often interwoven with society and politics. It may focus on specific supernatural, metaphysical, and moral claims about reality (the cosmos and human nature) which may yield a set of religious laws and ethics and a particular lifestyle. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and religious experience” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion)
There are many other definitions that should be looked at.But this really sums it up.
Buddhism fits nicely with in this definition though many Buddhists attempt to state that it is a philosophy just because it does not accept a creator God but advocates the belief in an all knowing human being(Buddha) who sailed across “sansara”(Cycles of life and death) for the salvation of all living beings including the gods and the demons.This argument is like a small child saying superman is true but harry potter is false.
So,with due respect to Sr Arthur,it us clear that he misconstrued Buddhism as not a religion.In conclusion it can be stated that he has not found him self as a Buddhist or belonging to any other religion and it is only natural to expect people trying to falsely identify intellectuals like him as belonging to a particular faith after they are dead so that they can use the respect given to such people as authority to
establish and spread their religions.This kind of propaganda was done from Darwin to Einstein therefore it is a common incident that follows after a death of famous scientist.
Full post of Edwin Ariyadasa.

http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2010/03/21/mon05.asp

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About lstlee
Simply a person possessing an independent mind that is unafraid to question the authorities and one who advocates morality and rational thinking and evidential acceptance.

15 Responses to No!!Sir Arthur was not a Buddhist (stop the false claims)

  1. Ancient Agnosticism in India

    This post is not directly related to the article above but is related to the concerns (agnosticism, atheism) of this site. If you have not heard about Lokayata Philosophy, look into it. Here is a little bit about it (quote source below):

    “Thus the Lokayata philosophy which seems closest to the modern Rationalism, seems to have been popular at some stage in history in ancient India. The term Lokayata itself can be translated as ‘widespread among the people’. Its principle exponent is considered to be a philosopher named Charavaka who is said to be a contemporary of Sri Krishna and if legend is to be believed, he was burned at the orders of Yudhisthira after the Mahabharat war. His crime was apostasy in declaring that the Vedas are not the ultimate in human knowledge.”

    Quote from:
    http://www.hindubooks.org/sudheer_birodkar/hindu_history/vedanta.html

    Go there & scroll down to the Lokayata section.

    – S

    • Sam says:

      “…he was burned at the orders of Yudhisthira after the Mahabharat war. His crime was apostasy in declaring that the Vedas are not the ultimate in human knowledge.”

      Well both Mahavira (founder of Jainism) and the Buddha (founder of Buddhism) did not recognise the Vedas… how come they weren’t “burned”?

      • Do not know the answer to why some teachers who did not agree w/ the Vedas were not burned. Nor am I certain that the Lokayata philosopher mentioned above was burned. The point of the link was to show that is is possible that agnostic & atheistic reasoning in India may have existed in the ancient days.

        – S

  2. pravnj1408 says:

    I only know Sir Arthur through his work which has been very dear to me and has inspired me over the years. When one reads his work it is very hard to imagine Sir Arthur as a deeply religious individual, however he does come across as a humanist especially in his vision of a grander human civilization based on greater human sentience and sensitivity.

    It has been a disgusting practice of the religious to “claim” that a certain important public figure belonged to their faith. This is a PR move to lend credibility to a dogma and system which is losing credibility and its hold on society. They do this to Einstein everyday! a very public figure and arguably the greatest classical physicist of the 20th century. What really disgusts me is how such PR campaigns are carried out posthumously when said individual cannot defend his position and answer to these people!

  3. Sam says:

    He certainly wasn’t a Buddhist, but he did seem to hold Buddhism in high esteem. Ditto for Einstein. Also, there are Buddhists who do not believe in reincarnation (correct term is rebirth)…read the book “Buddhism without beliefs”

    • Lahiru. says:

      LOL,how come one call him self a Buddhist if he does not the teachings of Buddha in this case the notion of rebirth or whatever you want to name it.I personally do accept the moral teachings of Buddhism is less hostile than that of other religions but are to large extent idealistic lacking practicality.

      • Sam says:

        Like I said, read the book “Buddhism without beliefs”. If you have trouble googling this, let me make it wasy for you:

        http://www.amazon.com/Buddhism-Without-Beliefs-Contemporary-Awakening/dp/1573226564

        “In this wonderful, concise introduction, Batchelor has captured the essence of the Buddha’s teachings. By going directly to the source and peeling away the accumulated dogma of various traditions, he makes Buddhism relevant for our time. He shows how, despite the Buddha’s wishes, over time Buddhism became a religion and an institution unto itself.

        Of course, rigid doctrinaire thinkers like Bob Thurman will see red when they read Batchelor’s simple wisdom, which eliminates the need for hocus-pocus and a priestly class. Batchelor even questions the need for belief in karma and reincarnation, long accepted as essential Buddhist beliefs.

        Batchelor presents his ideas in simple, but not simplistic, prose, with easy-to-grasp examples. His credentials as a Buddhist and a scholar are beyond reproach, and while others may disagree, no one can question his seriousness and authority.”

  4. Sam says:

    “There are many other definitions that should be looked at.But this really sums it up.Buddhism fits nicely with in this definition ”

    Popular Buddhism would fit into the Wikipedia definition of religion quite well except for the first bit.

    Eg

    “A religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency or agencies,”

    Is this the physical universe or the universe “within?” Buddhism mostly concerns with the nature of the universe and not much on the cause and purpose. Whereas Abrahamic religions posit a creator God (cause), his creation (nature) and worship of God (purpose of universe). Most other definitions of religion include God and that is why Buddhism is often excluded from it. It’s the same deal with Jainism.

    • Lahiru. says:

      Your claim is accepted to a certain level but it does as any other religion attempts give purpose to life by explaining the nature of the universe which if not people would not find any importance in such teachings as humans are very teleological by nature.

      • Sam says:

        In other words, a broader definition of “religion” is needed to include faiths like Buddhism, Jainism, Shintoism, Daoism etc

  5. Sam says:

    “…many Buddhists attempt to state that it is a philosophy just because it does not accept a creator God..”

    I don’t think that is the only reason. That is PART of the reason.

    Hope this adds to the discussion (from a Buddhist site). I think it makes a few good points:

    =========================================
    Is Buddhism a religion or a philosophy?
    =========================================

    The Buddha referred to his teachings simply as Dhamma-vinaya — “the doctrine and discipline” — but for centuries people have tried to categorize the teachings in various ways, trying to fit them into the prevailing molds of cultural, philosophical, and religious thought. Buddhism is an ethical system — a way of life — that leads to a very specific goal and that possesses some aspects of both religion and philosophy:

    ====================
    IT IS A PHILOSOPHY
    ====================

    Like most philosophies, Buddhism attempts to frame the complexities of human existence in a way that reassures us that there is, in fact, some underlying order to the Universe. In the Four Noble Truths the Buddha crisply summarizes our predicament: there is suffering, it has a cause, it has an end, and there is a way to reach the end. The teachings on kamma provide a thorough and logically self-consistent description of the nature of cause-and-effect. And even the Buddhist view of cosmology, which some may at first find farfetched, is a logical extension of the law of kamma. According to the Dhamma, a deep and unshakable logic pervades the world.

    ======================
    IT IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
    =======================

    Unlike most philosophical systems, which rely on speculation and the power of reason to arrive at logical truths, Buddhism relies on the direct observation of one’s personal experience and on honing certain skills in order to gain true understanding and wisdom. Idle speculation has no place in Buddhist practice. Although studying in the classroom, reading books, and engaging in spirited debate can play a vital part in developing a cognitive understanding of basic Buddhist concepts, the heart of Buddhism can never be realized this way. The Dhamma is not an abstract system of thought designed to delight the intellect; it is a roadmap to be used, one whose essential purpose is to lead the practitioner to the ultimate goal, nibbana.

    ====================
    IT IS A RELIGION
    ====================

    At the heart of each of the world’s great religions lies a transcendent ideal around which its doctrinal principles orbit. In Buddhism this truth is nibbana, the hallmark of the cessation of suffering and stress, a truth of utter transcendence that stands in singular distinction from anything we might encounter in our ordinary sensory experience. Nibbana is the sine qua non of Buddhism, the guiding star and ultimate goal towards which all the Buddha’s teachings point. Because it aims at such a lofty transcendent ideal, we might fairly call Buddhism a religion.

    =====================
    IT IS NOT A RELIGION
    =====================

    In stark contrast to the world’s other major religions, however, Buddhism invokes no divinity, no supreme Creator or supreme Self, no Holy Spirit or omniscient loving God to whom we might appeal for salvation. Instead, Buddhism calls for us to hoist ourselves up by our own bootstraps: to develop the discernment we need to distinguish between those qualities within us that are unwholesome and those that are truly noble and good, and to learn how to nourish the good ones and expunge the bad. This is the path to Buddhism’s highest perfection, nibbana. Not even the Buddha can take you to that goal; you alone must do the work necessary to complete the journey:

    “Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.”

    — DN 16

    Despite its non-theistic nature, however, Buddhist practice does call for a certain kind of faith. It is not blind faith, an uncritical acceptance of the Buddha’s word as transmitted through scripture. Instead it is saddha, a confidence born of taking refuge in the Triple Gem; it is a willingness to trust that the Dhamma, when practiced diligently, will lead to the rewards promised by the Buddha. Saddha is a provisional acceptance of the teachings, that is ever subject to critical evaluation during the course of one’s practice, and which must be balanced by one’s growing powers of discernment. For many Buddhists, this faith is expressed and reinforced through traditional devotional practices, such as bowing before a Buddha statue and reciting passages from the early Pali texts. Despite a superficial resemblance to the rites of many theistic religions, however, these activities are neither prayers nor pleas for salvation directed towards a transcendent Other. They are instead useful and inspiring gestures of humility and respect for the profound nobility and worth of the Triple Gem.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bullitt/bfaq.html

  6. Lahiru. says:

    “…many Buddhists attempt to state that it is a philosophy just because it does not accept a creator God..

    I don’t think that is the only reason. That is PART of the reason.”

    Yea there are many more reasons that really contradicts as the above one I want mention them as you know your Buddhism.

  7. Lahiru. says:

    “The Dhamma is not an abstract system of thought designed to delight the intellect; it is a roadmap to be used, one whose essential purpose is to lead the practitioner to the ultimate goal, nibbana”
    People who belong to other religions say the same thing do not they,though their ultimate goals(heaven or immortality) and paths to salvation are different(Belief in God and his instructions). But Buddhism is more abstract and ideological more than any other religion for it just simply assumes the mind is at our complete command immune from laws of nature(of course if we practice controlling it throughout our painful(man!)sansarik chakra.It analogizes to the ideological communist society of Marx applied to an individual.
    If logic is taken away it would make life of all religions including Buddhism to spread their wings and fly to into the heads of defenseless children and exploit peoples fragile emotional hardships to cope up with reality.

    I do not know how to tell you this Sam.Hmm.You are just like a tape recorder who goes on and on saying the same thing,well may be it is because following Buddhism,which rejects logic as a tool of scrutinizing the world around us and us,has blocked your rational thinking.This is common to all religious people.
    By the way scientific method does not only rely on logic as a frame work to develop knowledge but it mandates observation to find empirical evidence either to dis/prove the logical frame work aka the hypothesis which,if,fails the intense tests of validity stipulated by the scientific method,has to abandoned.
    Sometimes not only the hypothesis but the logical principles upon which it is formed will be questioned and abolished if they do not correspond with the evidence observed.

    “in stark contrast to the world’s other major religions, however, Buddhism invokes no divinity, no supreme Creator or supreme Self, no Holy Spirit or omniscient loving God to whom we might appeal for salvation. Instead, Buddhism calls for us to hoist ourselves up by our own bootstraps: to develop the discernment we need to distinguish between those qualities within us that are unwholesome and those that are truly noble and good, and to learn how to nourish the good ones and expunge the bad. This is the path to Buddhism’s highest perfection, nibbana. Not even the Buddha can take you to that goal; you alone must do the work necessary to complete the journey”

    But yea!it advocates the belief of an all knowing man who can emit water from one side and fire from the other side and who soon as he was born walked on louts peddles which miraculously grew out of ground which was shook by a 1 point magnitude quake.(that is not supernatural and hocus pocus at all!!)
    And how did you come to assume that Buddhism is the only religion that puts responsibility on the follower for his salvation.Not only your religion does it.I suggest you read other religions comprehensively.In Abrahamic religions it is clearly said that God only helps those who help themselves which is quite similar to the saying that “dhammo havo rakkathi dhamma chary”-he who follows the Dhamma(what buddha said as the truth)will be protected by the Dhamma.
    Buddhism might not say this dhamma was created by God but its illusive as all others.
    You said Karma is given coherent explanation.That is what other religions assert about there own religions.In ontological terms most of the religions and there assertions are convincing to an uneducated average intelligent person ,though they are field with paradoxes and contradictions.That said,we would all(contributors of religurd)accept the existence of karama,which Buddhism stole from Hinduism which has it all form of Nibana that unlike Buddhism is compatible with creationism and God,if the anyone adduces solid scientific evidence.
    I think in a very simple manner I debunked your prepositions.We at religurd advocate the scientific method to understand our world subject to secular humanist values, but we are not looking for a emotionally comfortable alternative reality that continues after death.We try to make the best out this life having as our purpose of life summed up by this notion ‘the purpose of life is to live and make others live”
    Sorry!I want reply to your post anymore as I also have to study and do other stuff but because most of all talking to you is like trying to explain to my grandma special relativity or these frauds of religion,which I try very hard.lol.
    Tc man.
    Attain whatever you like!

    • Sam says:

      Lahiru, I waded through your angry rant not knowing what set it off.

      The issue here is whether Buddhism is a religion or a philosophy. My point is the normal definition of religion needs to be expanded to include traditions like Buddhism (and Jainism).I think the article I posted does explain why Buddhism has elements of both. I agree where it says “but for centuries people have tried to categorize the teachings in various ways, trying to fit them into the prevailing molds of cultural, philosophical, and religious thought.” The same thing is happening here.

      I’m not trying to say that Buddhist teachings ARE correct, just that defining where Buddhism as a tradition sits is not that clear cut.

    • Sam says:

      “best out this life having as our purpose of life summed up by this notion ‘the purpose of life is to live and make others live””

      But that sounds like a dogma just like “our purpose in life is to worship god”

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