Saturday, November 1, 2008

Buddhist concepts not controversial?

Question: (unedted)
Hi, I am a college student and I have to think of a controversial topic/thesis in Buddhism. So far, the topics I have thought of thus far have not been controversial enough to my instructor, so I was wondering with your expertise if you had any ideas. Particularly, I was interested in something about the Four Noble Truths or about Karmic action. If you can please get back to me as soon as you can with some insight, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

My comment:

Thanks for asking me. I am surprised that your instructor found no controversy in your suggestions. In fact most of the Buddha's teachings are full of "controversies" because the average person usually cannot understand them.

Perhaps if you were to start asking questions on the topics, "controversies" will surface. You will then have a hard time resolving them.

Take for instance, the topic of kamma (karma in Sanskrit), just ask this question: If kamma dictates our lives, how can we take control of our lives? We will just be like sitting ducks waiting for events to happen.

Another question relating to the 4 noble truths: If life is suffering then how can we be happy?

What about the precept of not killing? How can we live without any killing? Do you mean that if someone were to kill me, I would just smile and let him kill me? I think the above will generate enough "controversies" for your assignment.

Then the "kill-all" topic: Buddhists do not believe in the all-powerful, ever-loving, creator God. If he is so powerful and everloving, why allow people to be killed in wars, why allow murderers to kill innocent victims, why allow people to contract cancer and die a painful death, why allow accidents and all the natural disasters, why create hell?

Buddhists do not believe that they are puppets on the strings to be manipulated by God.

This will start the ball rolling!


A true Malaysian said...

Well said Justin Choo,

I have the same argument on if God is so powerful, why this and that.

The word 'God' is actually created by our forefathers long long ago because they simply have no answer to certain questions posed to them. 'God' is created out of 'convenient'. At least, this is how I look at God. I am not sure about how other think.

Justin Choo said...

A True Malaysian,

Many will disagree with us.

But let it be.

A true Malaysian said...


I won't make the same mistake as our forefathers.

Anything that my kids ask me, if I don't know, just say 'Daddy doesn't know also',instead of using the word 'God' as an excuse or reason for the answer.

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