RE: virus: Hegel's Virus (was Altruism, Empathy, Etc.)

Wright, James 7929 (
Thu, 24 Apr 97 07:51:00 EDT

Mark wrote:
>This may be true for some Buddhists, and I think it's true of what
>originally tried to convey, but it falls somewhat short of what Buddhism
>for many people. No, it isn't a 'belief system' in the way that most
>western religions are, but there are x number of paths, virtues, etc...
>thinking of the book I read some time ago by Christmas Humphreys. I
>there are different schools, some of which are more formal and
>than others... I'm not saying 'you're wrong', only that many Buddhists
>indeed have something strongly resembling a 'belief system.'<

All this is utterly true; there are probably as many varieties of
Buddhist as there are varieties of Protestant, if not more so. I am aware
of Kegon, Shingon, Amitabha, Zen, Mahayana(SP?) and Hinayana schools;
within Zen itself there are Rinzai, Soto and probably others less well
known; etc. Buddhism has its adherents of varying ability, some of whom
hold the precepts tighter than a drum head, some of whom heard of them
once as a child and haven't considered them since.
I do understand that pretty much all of them at least recognize the Pali
Canon of the Buddha's words, and such works as the Fire Sermon and
Setting-Up of Wakefulness, but this may also be open to question. I do
suspect that Buddhists of all stripes recognize understanding as
preferable to faith, and I am fairly sure that Zen (which of all Buddhist
I am most familiar with) has no use for faith.
Belief is unnecessary where understanding exists; "belief" in arithmetic
is not required when you can understand how the numbers actually are
manipulated.This is the real basis for my understanding that "belief is
not required in Buddhism". Of course, if you are mathematically
challenged, arithmetic may well require faith that the processes are
valid, especially in this age of pocket calculators and computers; this
does not make faith necessary for anyone else.
There are better books on Buddism in general and Zen in particular than
Christian Humphries' out now; I particularly recommend "The Three Pillars
of Zen" by Philip Kapleau as a good reference on Zen.