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Old 07-20-2009, 02:43 PM #1
Sapatos
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Questions for Buddhists

I've always been fascinated by religion and philosophy. Although I am not religious, I attempt to educate myself as much as possible on exactly what I choose not to believe in. Recently, I've been reading a lot about Buddhism and I have a few questions for anyone that can give a well-informed answer.

What is the difference between Buddhahood and nirvana? All Buddhas have obtained nirvana by definition, but are all those who have obtained nirvana considered Buddhas?

Attachment is a delusion that breeds great suffering and cultivates bad karma. What is the Buddhist's stance on friendship and romantic relationships? From what I understand, in order to escape samsara, one cannot have any feelings of attachment for a significant other. Where do marriage and boyfriends/girlfriends come into play?

How could anyone consider themselves a true Buddhist without renouncing all worldly possessions and becoming a monk?

I really like the ideals and messages Buddhism has to offer, but I could never practice it realistically. Any Buddhists here care to enlighten me?
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Old 07-20-2009, 02:54 PM #2
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asking a question about what "buddhists think" is akin to asking what "all christians think". You're going to get a bunch of different answers.

to answer your first question, yes buddhahood = attaining nirvana. it is self defining, once you attain nirvana you are a buddha by definition.

Much like the christian idea, you can belong to god but still be in this world. the same as a buddhist can strive for nirvana, but still be in this world. attachment and ownership are not the same thing.

The same with relationships with others/"love". If you live in the here and now and revel and enjoy your relationships with others, with the knowledge that like all things they are temporary and you will not be burdened by the loss of them I see no conflict in cultivating personal relationships and striving to reduce suffering.

You seem to have the idea that the only way to eliminate suffering is to equally eliminate joy. Buddhists aren't stoics or aesthetics necessarily, though it may seem they share many of the same values.

I have followed buddhism philosophically and pursued it intellectually as well. I spent a few years learning at a temple in Boston.
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Old 07-20-2009, 04:21 PM #3
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This is probably a result of my upbringing and personal values, but I'm having a hard time distinguishing attachment from "love" and the like. I feel as though that no matter how hard one tries to rationalize it, a person that they love, particularly a romantic partner, will inevitably come with some sort of attachment. How could you be truly free from suffering when your wife or girlfriend dies?
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