Calling all Buddhists | General Discussion | Forum
January 13, 2011
Hello everyone again,
I have encountered an interesting conundrum. I am taking the precepts to as a Buddhist and have been trying to find an answer as to how body modification fits in with the beliefs/outlook/attitude of being a Buddhist.
The common answer I am continually getting is that of causing no harm and several people I have talked to online, and as you know online you can not prove they are active Buddhists, have made it clear that body modification causes harm.
They then go on to say that it is up to the individual to determine truely to themselves if what they are doing is for the right reasons and not for vanity and self indulgence.
If there are any Buddhist or if you know any reliable Buddhist to as this I would appreciate it. I do not feel anything that I have done to my body has me unbalanced or was for vanity. I have been a practicing Pagan for 21 years and a practicing Modern Primitive for 13 years. I do not see any issue combing my current faith and practicing with my desire of practicing Buddhism but I am looking for an opinion on the matter.
I'm not a Buddhist myself for a variety of reasons, but consider myself fairly well read on the subject, and share many beliefs and practices.
Buddhism covers a very wide range of beliefs, customs and cultures, so as such i do not believe there is a definative answer on this.
As you have found, vanity and earthly matters are an issue, with the general precept being that these perpetuate suffering, and are things to be overcome and distanced from in order to acheive enlightenment. Clearly there is some arena for conflict with body modification, if that modification is a decoration of sorts.
Despite this it can be noted that some traditions may incorporate overcoming fear or acvt of physical endurance into their religion, in order to train or purify the mind or body. I can see clear parallels to some body modification rituals myself. In fact could a permenant adornment be a sign of devotion to such ideals rather than a vanity?
Hope this helps!
January 13, 2011
Thank Oakbear for your answer. If it helps I am most interested in Zen Buddhism which honestly has not much of an opinion on anything in what I have read. I have practiced Zen meditation as my preferred meditation for years thou not as regularly as they require as a Buddhist. For those that don't know Zen Meditation or Zazen is sitting silently preferably in the lotus pose with eyes open.
I believe their concepts on the mind and body being one ties strongly into my concepts of tying myself into reality through modifications. My beliefs are rather long and drawn out so I wont go into to much detail.
I also feel that Zen Buddhism provides a style of living your life that coinsides with how I try to live as a Pagan. The purpose is to try and give myself more direction as I feel so erratic most of the time with no clear direction, purpose, or intent.
The answers I have received have to do with desire, vanity, and purpose. It seems that if it is not done for vanity, if it not a sole overwhelming desire that one must have, and the purpose is clear precise and true to myself it would be ok. I do not believe and truly feel in my heart that nothing I have done is for vanity and they all have had a true purpose. I feel they are part of what helps keep me balanced and in tune with reality and my life. Not letting me become distracted by so many things in this world.
I intend to start attending a local Zen center as well and hope to get answers there where they will not run me in circles, it appears that how Buddhist like to talk lol. Thank you again for your response Oakbear.
I've found Buddhism to be very much about self discovery, hence the propensity for reflecting questions back!
Given that, i wonder if wanting acceptance or validation from a formal school is wise if it conflicts with beliefs you have already arrived at? Not to say that you wouldn't get that of course!
Good luck with the journey!
January 13, 2011
Thank you, i am not sure I am looking for validity but in a sense maybe I am. I am however looking to join a community and do not want to be turned away for what I feel is appropiate for me. Where I live the community if you do not thump a bible is nearly extint.
My sole true purpose for looking into a community is that of a teacher and guide. A person that would help me in the self reflection and realization. To help move me forward, give direction, and point me toward the books or materials I could or should become familiar with to help me help myself.
I am the kind of person that things come easier when someone is there to throw stuff back at me.
January 8, 2011
I would recommend calling or emailing your local Zen Center or Temple and asking who handles new members. That person may be able to answer some of your questions. Before I moved, I belonged to a Zen Center and sat Zazen on a regular basis. Based on what I know of Buddhism, I don't see a problem with it except for the reasons stated. If you're doing it for spiritual growth, as many of us here at the CoBM are, I don't think there is a problem. But again, you should ask a few people at some of the Centers and see what they say. If you do it by phone or email that may be easier than doing it in person. I know I'm shy when it comes to such things.
January 13, 2011
Thank you for the advice Tiffany. I had been contemplating emailing the Zen centers but had not made a definite decision. I think I may after all thou.
What have you got to lose?
Apologies if my previous post was assumptious or seemed rude. It was simply menat as a question, but I'm on nights so my communication may be a bit off!
January 13, 2011
@Oakbear: No worries I took it as neither. I am not in an area or with any formal group right now other then the COBM. I appreciate any and all feed back I receive for all of you as it gives me a number of views on the subject at hand. Somtimes no matter how much you look at somthing it takes another pair of eyes to really view what you are looking at.
April 3, 2012
I am a Buddhist. It is my understanding that Buddhism heavily preaches self awareness, and spiritual enlightenment. The path of enlightenment is largely left to the device of the individual. There is also a lot of practice of self discipline, and allowing one self the indulgence of pain in order to understand the indulgence of pleasure. Man Buddhist texts make references to the karma sutra which avidly promotes intimate piercings. Many Buddhist interpritations picture him with stretched lobes. I guess I would have to answer this the same a monk once answered me when I had asked him about the use of certain chemicals to enhance or help with meditation. His reply if Buddha was watching you now would you be ashamed for him to see? The path to enlightenment has many forks, none are wrong so long as we can learn form the path we take. It is only wrong to choose a path because we are afraid of another, or learn nothing along the journey.
January 7, 2011
Ive been practicing Buddhism for a long time now, and ive seen a few documentaries where monks in Sri Lanka actually practice tattooing to this day. Of course all of their tattoos are Sutras or Mantras, but i thought you might like to search for a few. I have asked alot of people who run sanghas around the areas ive been to and they all seem very welcoming of people of all walks of life. After all Buddhism is based around compassion for all living beings. Also, ive read in a few places that they are now admitting people with tattoos to be monks, considering how popular it has become world wide. Hope i helped
May 6, 2012
I consider myself to be Buddhist, and while I am no expert on the matter, I feel that body modification fits in well with Buddhist beliefs. Mastery of the mind is a goal among many Buddhists, and I feel that overcoming fear and being able to focus the mind through pain is a great tool for spiritual development.
January 7, 2011
let us not forget tho, the controversy here is that buddhism tries to get us to transcend the limits of body and mind phenomena. To realize that these things are impermanent, and to not be attatched to them. Which admittedly i have my issues with. But has anyone else come across similar teachings?
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