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Being believer or dependent on God so far in my life, I'm clueless how exactly can I become independent without turning morally Bankrupt? Being devotee I'm automatically moral & lovingly but When I start believing in experience I become somewhat immoral, without any good feelings. How & Why to be moral without believing in supernatural entity like God? What are the ways to become independent because I want to be moral without being devotee or dependency on the God?

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    You don't have to, but the question might be clearer if you gave some example[s] of what you mean by "moral" and "immoral". – ChrisW Jul 13 '17 at 20:35
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    An interesting approach would be to explore how you rely on God for morality, and explore the question of how aware you are of what that process entails. An awareness of this will help if you wish to depend less on the support of an external supernatural entity. – Cort Ammon Jul 13 '17 at 20:56
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    You may find The Way to Happiness to be extremely valuable. As it transcends all cultures and religions, it is even used by Buddhist monks. – Wildcard Jul 13 '17 at 23:23
  • @CortAmmon I'm moral automatically in devotion. – user10804 Jul 14 '17 at 3:51
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    If you can't determine right from wrong you lack empathy, not religion. – DeepSpace Jul 14 '17 at 16:08
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+50

Fire

In Buddhism, fire is used to describe the destructive & harmful mental defilements of greed/lust, hatred/anger & delusion/ignorance, such as in the Fire Sermon.

Being believer or dependent on God so far in my life, I'm clueless how exactly can I become independent without turning morally Bankrupt?

Yes. Buddhism explains immoral (harmful) mental tendencies occur due to ignorance, not-knowing or cluelessness, as follows:

Monks, ignorance is the leader in the attainment of unskillful qualities, followed by lack of conscience & lack of concern. In an unknowledgeable person, immersed in ignorance, wrong view arises. In one of wrong view, wrong resolve arises. In one of wrong resolve, wrong speech... In one of wrong speech, wrong action... In one of wrong action, wrong livelihood... In one of wrong livelihood, wrong effort... In one of wrong effort, wrong mindfulness... In one of wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration arises.

Avijja Sutta

The rationale here about needing God is similar to a violent dog that needs to be kept behind a fence or in a cage; or a evil person that must be isolated from society in a prison.

In Buddhism, it is taught people have an evil disposition due to nature. We can observe the tendency to merciless violence in animals. People have obviously evolved from animals (rather than were created by & in the image of a god).

Buddhism teaches the minds of people can dwell in different mental states called:

(i) human (moral);

(ii) godly (powerful);

(iii) animal (immoral);

(iv) hungry ghost (addicted); and

(v) hell (suffering).

People who are immoral in nature & behaviour dwell within a mind in the animal world & eventually end up in hell (suffering).

When I start believing in experience I become somewhat immoral, without any good feelings.

Genesis 6.5 of the Bible states:

the Lord saw how wicked everyone on earth was and how evil their thoughts were all the time, he was sorry that he had ever made them and put them on the earth. He was so filled with regret

This seems to show following the Abrahamic god creates an evil nature. In other words, the immoral feelings are due to how your religion created you, as explained in Genesis 6 of the Bible.

The history of the world seems to show people who believe in a supernatural entity like God are more evil than those that don't. For example, Christians have been at war among themselves & with others for hundreds of years & have destroyed many indigenous cultures with their imperialism. Even today, the American prison system contains more theists than atheists. I would suggest this is because God-believers want to exercise violent power over others; following the example of God as depicted in various scriptures that show God excising violent absolute power. Even the evil of atheist dictatorial Communism was created by Jews, with a violent dictatorial yet classless ideology similar to Judaism. Thus theistic religions have a tendency to attract evil people who lust for power and who want to act on this earth towards the humans as though they are gods.

Unfortunately, the good human people of this earth have to endure these wanna-be gods, like we must do, such as endure the evil politicians who today run the USA and are God-believers, both Christian & Zionist; who finance & arm Saudi terrorists that murder people while screaming: "Allah U Akbar" or "God is Great".

How & Why to be moral without believing in supernatural entity like God?

In Buddhism, morality equates with harmlessness. Morality is not a commandment or doctrine but, instead, harmlessness. To understand morality, one must comprehend harmlessness. If harmlessness is not comprehended, it is difficult to maintain morality.

Buddhism explains when you are moral, you no longer harm yourself. Being moral is a method to love yourself & benefit yourself.

If you examine with reason & intelligence the behaviours Buddhism considers to be immoral, such as killing, stealing, promiscuous sex, lying, drug taking, gambling, etc, you will find people who engage in these actions bring suffering & problems to their own lives (and, of course, suffering to the lives of others).

For example, men go to war, return with PTSD & even commit suicide. People who steal, end up in prison or lose their jobs. People addicted to promiscuous sex end up with broken relationships & mental disorders. People who lie are not trusted (even though they make money as evil politicians or business leaders). People who take drugs destroy their lives with bad health. People who gamble & borrow money greedily end up ruined.

Therefore, in Buddhism, we reflect or think deeply about the harmful consequences of immoral behaviour.

In addition, in Buddhism, another method to become moral is to develop 'empathy', namely, 'putting oneself in the place of another'. For example:

  1. All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.

  2. All tremble at violence; life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.

  3. One who, while himself seeking happiness, oppresses with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will not attain happiness hereafter.

  4. One who, while himself seeking happiness, does not oppress with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will find happiness hereafter.

  5. Speak not harshly to anyone, for those thus spoken to might retort. Indeed, angry speech hurts, and retaliation may overtake you.

  6. If, like a broken gong, you silence yourself, you have approached Nibbana, for vindictiveness is no longer in you.

  7. When the fool commits evil deeds, he does not realize (their evil nature). The witless man is tormented by his own deeds, like one burnt by fire.

Dandavagga: Violence


What are the ways to become independent?

To become independent, the Buddhist scriptures (SN 56.120) explain an 'animal' mind must realise the Four Noble Truths & practise the Noble Eightfold Path to become 'human'.

The full development of moral empathy is explained in the Veludvareyya Sutta, as follows:

"I will teach you, householders, a Dhamma exposition applicable to oneself. Listen to that and attend closely, I will speak."

"Yes, sir," those brahmin householders of Bamboo Gate replied. The Blessed One said this:

"What, householders, is the Dhamma exposition applicable to oneself?

Here, householders, a noble disciple reflects thus: 'I am one who wishes to live, who does not wish to die; I desire happiness and am averse to suffering. Since I am one who wishes to live, who does not wish to die; who desires happiness and is averse to suffering; if someone were to take my life, that would not be pleasing and agreeable to me. Now if I were to take the life of another -- of one who wishes to live, who does not wish to die, who desires happiness and is averse to suffering--that would not be pleasing and agreeable to the other either. What is displeasing and disagreeable to me is displeasing and disagreeable to the other too. How can I inflict upon another what is displeasing and disagreeable to me?' Having reflected thus, he himself abstains from the destruction of life, exhorts others to abstain from the destruction of life, and speaks in praise of abstinence from the destruction of life. Thus this bodily conduct of his is purified in three respects.

"Again [Furthermore], householders, a noble disciple reflects thus: 'If someone were to take from me what I have not given, that is, to commit theft, that would not be pleasing and agreeable to me. Now if I were to take from another what he has not given, that is, to commit theft, that would not be pleasing and agreeable to the other either. What is displeasing and disagreeable to me is displeasing and disagreeable to the other too. How can I inflict upon another what is displeasing and disagreeable to me?' Having reflected thus, he himself abstains from taking what is not given, exhorts others to abstain from taking what is not given, and speaks in praise of abstinence from taking what is not given. Thus this bodily conduct of his is purified in three respects.

"Again [Furthermore], householders, a noble disciple reflects thus: 'If someone were to commit adultery with my wives, that would not be pleasing and agreeable to me. Now if I were to commit adultery with the wives of another, that would not be pleasing and agreeable to the other either. What is displeasing and disagreeable to me is displeasing and disagreeable to the other too. How can I inflict upon another what is displeasing and disagreeable to me?' Having reflected thus, he himself abstains from sexual misconduct, exhorts others to abstain from sexual misconduct, and speaks in praise of abstinence from sexual misconduct. Thus this bodily conduct of his is purified in three respects.

"Again [Furthermore], householders, a noble disciple reflects thus: 'If someone were to damage my welfare with false speech, that would not be pleasing and agreeable to me. Now if I were to damage the welfare of another with false speech, that would not be pleasing and agreeable to the other either. What is displeasing and disagreeable to me is displeasing and disagreeable to the other too. How can I inflict upon another what is displeasing and disagreeable to me?' Having reflected thus, he himself abstains from false speech, exhorts others to abstain from false speech, and speaks in praise of abstinence from false speech. Thus this verbal conduct of his is purified in three respects.

"Again [Furthermore], householders, a noble disciple reflects thus: 'If someone were to divide me from my friends by divisive speech, that would not be pleasing and agreeable to me. Now if I were to divide another from his friends by divisive speech, that would not be pleasing and agreeable to the other either. What is displeasing and disagreeable to me is displeasing and disagreeable to the other too. How can I inflict upon another what is displeasing and disagreeable to me?' Having reflected thus, he himself abstains from divisive speech, exhorts others to abstain from divisive speech, and speaks in praise of abstinence from divisive speech. ' Thus this verbal conduct of his is purified in three respects.

"Again [Furthermore], householders, a noble disciple reflects thus: 'If someone were to address me with harsh speech, that would not be pleasing and agreeable to me. Now if I were to address another with harsh speech, that would not be pleasing and agreeable to the other either What is displeasing and disagreeable to me is displeasing and disagreeable to the other too. How can I inflict upon another what is displeasing and disagreeable to me?' Having reflected thus, he himself abstains from harsh speech, exhorts others to abstain from harsh speech, and speaks in praise of abstinence from harsh speech. ' Thus this verbal conduct of his is purified in three respects.

"Again [Furthermore], householders, a noble disciple reflects thus: 'If someone were to address me with frivolous speech and idle chatter, that would not be pleasing and agreeable to me. Now if I were to address another with frivolous speech and idle chatter, that would not be pleasing and agreeable to the other either. What is displeasing and disagreeable to me is displeasing and disagreeable to the other too. How can I inflict upon another what is displeasing and disagreeable to me?' Having reflected thus, he himself abstains from idle chatter, exhorts others to abstain from idle chatter, and speaks in praise of abstinence from idle chatter. Thus this verbal conduct of his is purified in three respects."

7

In Buddhism, morality is evaluated by the fruits of our actions. Grossly speaking, actions that are observed to promote or mature into suffering or added burden are regarded as immoral, while actions that promote or mature into happiness and ease are regarded as virtuous.

But actions themselves are not just judged by their outcome, but also by the intention that manifested it and who they harm or benefit. Buddhism emphasizes the study of our actions in order to become skillful in creating happiness -- that is, in order to become virtuous.

This question also has an echo in the Pali literature. In one sutta, the Buddha tells his audience to consider a person who exercises and fulfills four virtuous characteristics: equanimity, compassion, benevolence and sympathetic joy (happiness from other people's successes):

“This noble disciple, Kālāmas, whose mind is in this way without enmity, without ill will, undefiled, and pure, has won four assurances in this very life.

“The first assurance he has won is this: ‘If there is another world, and if there is the fruit and result of good and bad deeds, it is possible that with the breakup of the body, after death, I will be reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world.’

“The second assurance he has won is this: ‘If there is no other world, and there is no fruit and result of good and bad deeds, still right here, in this very life, I maintain myself in happiness, without enmity and ill will, free of trouble.

“The third assurance he has won is this: ‘Suppose evil comes to one who does evil. Then, when I have no evil intentions toward anyone, how can suffering afflict me, since I do no evil deed?’

“The fourth assurance he has won is this: ‘Suppose evil does not come to one who does evil. Then right here I see myself purified in both respects.’

-- AN 3.65

In other words, no matter what a person may believe about the after life or about the laws of karma, this person who has such virtuous behavior has, at the minimum, created for herself a less burdening, happier and blameless life here and now as a direct result of her conduct -- without having to wait for death to realize the benefits of it, if any. Moreover, if the laws of karma are true or if there's an after life where the results of our actions affect us, then such a person will also enjoy happiness after death, as a result of her conduct in this life.

4

Putting faith on an external entity lightens the burden on the mind. You would believe that an external source would work things out for you than doing it yourself. This give a sense of comfort.

Also when you are mentally burdened discussing these problems with other lighten the burden. Similarly mentioning this in prayer also lightens the burden.

Though this is mentally conferring, what you might need to asses is does everything you pray for materialise as your wish. Also see if this leads to procatination where you do not do what need to be done when it needs to be done. If it does not have you ever had a feeling of being let down. Buddhism gives a solution for this through the Noble 8 Fold Path which is on account of how things playout keeping you mental state and emortions in check.

When it comes to morality, it is completely in your control. Since you have free will the choice is yours. In this case there is not God who makes you moral. One has to make the effort.

Faith is based on ideas and there is a human tendency to get attached to ideas. E.g. many wars have been fought for ideals, politics and religion. In some cases the attachment to and ideal or idea far exceeds that of the value of one's own life. These ideas are very hard to stake off but there is a techniques called Vipassana which might help. Vipassana meditation has its roots in Buddhism but is practiced by Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Atheists, etc. alike. You can try it out. Following are some pointers where you can locate a course:

  • I'm already a Vipassana meditation. – user10804 Jul 13 '17 at 18:03
  • @Suminda One of the better explanations I've read on why people believe and the importance of personal responsibility with regard to morality. – m2015 Jul 13 '17 at 18:37
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How to become independent of any external moral authority? The Southern Baptists ask me this one a lot.

What makes people think they will turn to a life of crime and debauchery absent the moral compass provided by religion? You know ... we DID have villages and even some social order prior to "established" religion. So how did that happen without us killing one another?

Human beings have an internal sense of morality. In its absolute BAREST form it is revealed in toddlers as they comprehend the golden rule and, thus, develop empathy. You'll see them behead toys and kill a bug - that's how they learn it. It's actually hard wired into our brains in the frontal cortex for communication purposes. That formulation they make (or more precisely don't) is actually a leading psychological suspect for sociopathic behavior.

So you start off with a hard wired golden rule ... then you begin adding in the "social" moral codes. Ones made so that we respect boundaries. These change with culture so the line between them and the biological one is blurry and shaded. This is followed by changes as a matter of belief. This changes not only by culture, but then by specific beliefs within that culture.

So of those 3 stages of moral construction one is completely independent of religion . . and it takes a biological defect to stop it. Thus there's no total breakdown of morals in society as so many theists seem to fear.

Like some proof? Turn to youtube and research actual mourning done by the animals on this planet who have a frontal cortex brain structure such as our own. Elephants, orcas, primates, corvids, dolphins - all of the animals on this planet with a highly develop communication structure such as ours exhibit empathy in this fashion. It's biology and it's a fact.

As for further examining how morality is advanced within Buddhism - not necessary to answer your question. Plus the guys above me are much more familiar with that side of it. This, however, is my specialty. Comparative animal behavior. And it says you have innate morals.

4

Undertaking actions simply because they are decreed by a super-natural rule maker is hardly being moral at all. It is simply doing what you're told for fear of punishment - equivalent to Kohlberg's pre-conventional stage of moral reasoning.

  • Not out of fear of punishment but out of love. – user10804 Jul 14 '17 at 3:48
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    Arguably a love-based motivation is more sophisticated than a fear-based one, but regardless such morality still falls well short of principled ethical reasoning. Also, it should be noted that many religions do explicitly call upon the faithful to be fearful. – spinnn Aug 27 '17 at 7:55
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Morality is human not divine

Human morality basically derives from human experience. Our shared experience includes an instinct of self-preservation, aversion to pain and harm, empathy and the value of community. Because humans are communal animals, any actions we take which harm the community are harmful to ourselves as well, not just when we feel empathy for the suffering of others, but also because we cannot be happy in a broken and violent community, at risk of harm from others.

Human morals don't therefore come from some deity, but are a natural response to the human condition. If you are feeling a lack of empathy or outright indifference for the suffering of others when not devoted to a god, the problem is most likely an in-group/out-group feeling. Humans are naturally protective of their in-group, while can be aggressive/indifferent to people outside the group. To be moral outside of the commands of/dovotion to a deity, requires you to identify as a member of another group of humans (or humanity in general).

Just realizing all humans are related and part of one large family and that moral behaviour towards others will be more likely to create a society where others behave morally towards you should be sufficient. On the other hand if you dehumanise others or dismiss and other them as part of some "out-group", you will be less likely to include them in your moral considerations.

2

IMHO (an oversimplified idea to think of it in another way)

You could do a simple logic game (maybe oversimplified but will give you an idea).

1) you need other people. You are submerged in a social system, is built on trust and rules, the more you cheat the harder it is to get your goals, because you'll be wasting a lot of resources into avoiding being cheated.

2) People work better when they feel happy.

3) People is not happy when you break their trust, or do harm to them (very oversimplified), because it will mean they'll have to waste or have wasted resources as in 1)

So, In order to achieve your goals efficiently, you need other people to be efficient. For that you need trust, and basic satisfaction. So basically is in your best, egotistical interest that other people is happy.

That's basically what capitalisms does, sells you happiness so you conform to a system and keep doing your work.

This way you can build a parallel to the other awesome and extensive answer about Buddhism, that states that harmfulness is a way of ignorance. When you frame it as the logic I've stated, if you harm someone, you are being ignorant of the ways it will come back to you and make your life harder (i'm not referring as karma per-se, but the physics of the energy of interactions).

Recently i've read this book "Ethics for Amador" which basically explains my idea but properly and with good basis (among several other things). I recommend a read to it. I wish i had read that book before. http://fp.reverso.net/tustareasdesociales-over-blog/6225/en/pages/etica-para-amador-4867607.html

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Morality is independent of religion, but yet inherent to it. The concept of a particular deity, with its likes and dislikes encourages certain behaviour, and much of this behaviour can be called social law. In buddhism, you adhere to the teachings of several buddhas, and from these teachings are also derived morality. But any morality can be invented ad-hoc (mormons are a good example, as are scientologists), and most often - to make this morality more authoritative, a deity is invented/reused in the process.

I consider buddhism to be a philosophy, and while I do not practice it (as I am a jew, and such heresy is strictly forbidden!), I understand that it does not require any concept of a divine patriarch, or pantheon, for its followers to behave in a manner that isn't harmful to other members of the same society.

The concept that such and such benevolent acts yield benevolence from one's surroundings is not misguided. It is usually a direct cause-effect relationship, but it is not a guarantee. Nor are malevolent acts similarly punished. It is a reference for people to subscribe to the philosophy.

0

The ultimate aim of Buddhism is to discard both moral and immoral.

  • Isn't it to shed the self? – user2497 Jul 14 '17 at 16:57
  • Perhaps I would have said that ultimate aim of Buddhism is to discard both wholesome and unwholesome. – SarathW Jul 14 '17 at 22:50
  • How astute. It is like other some other systems of belief in essence an escape from reality. That is the ultimate aim. That the processes of evolution crafted us imperfect omnivores who must reproduce or perish does not enter into any buddhistic texts. – user2497 Jul 15 '17 at 14:27
  • What is the reason for the minus vote? – SarathW Jul 15 '17 at 23:28
  • Your lack of faith. 'I believe in the god of carnage. The god whose rule's been unchallenged since time immemorial' - always happy to mentor buddhists. – user2497 Jul 22 '17 at 11:57

protected by Lanka Jul 14 '17 at 12:37

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