Overwhelmed by Hindu thought
#1
Hello,

I had a question as to any book recommendations. I am taking a course on Asian Art History and am overwhelmed with readings on Hinduism and Buddhism. Is there any books that would be a good way to freshen up my semester? Something poking more into the flaws of their religion, philosophy, or any apologetical material, etc.

Thanks!
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#2
You ought to read In the Buddhas Words by Bhikkhu Bodhi. It is a basic compendium of the ideas of what the historical Buddha taught. There is an introduction to each little area of his teachings followed by the English translations of a nice cross section of some of his(the Buddha's) teachings from the Pali Canon (what traditional Buddhists of the Theravada school use.)  The Theravada school is the branch of Buddhism that follows most closely what he actually taught. Various other forms of Buddhism get really out there and bizarre such as Pure Land, Tibetan etc and don't generally follow the straight and to the point path of the Theravada school that uses the Pali Canon. It is the best introduction to Buddhism I can think of that is scholarly yet accessible. Once you see just what it is the Buddha taught you might be able to sucessfully refute it. I don't have the philosophical background nor the real desire to do it, as his teachings were repulsive enough after repeated and deep reflection to warrant me turning away in disgust. While most serious Buddhists would deny it, Buddhism is a sort of atheism/nihilism where the goal is the extinction of everything through renunciation and meditation. There is no God, no soul, no self, no nothing...at least that is what much reflection and meditation is supposed to make self evident.Good luck to you.
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#3
Good post, formerbuddhist. Not sure, but I think Miss Fluffy knows something about Buddhism too. At least she mentions it in her sigline. Maybe she'll chime in.
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#4
Thanks. I am familiar with the Theravada school, as to having just briefly touched on it in class, and will look into the book. It is very fitting in seeing your name that you were the first to throw me a line!
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#5
(01-19-2012, 12:15 AM)spes Wrote: Thanks. I am familiar with the Theravada school, as to having just briefly touched on it in class, and will look into the book. It is very fitting in seeing your name that you were the first to throw me a line!

I'm kind of excited about this project of yours, as I would really love to see someone who has the time, the interest and the knowledge actually go out and come up with a solid refutation of Buddhism or Hinduism but especially Buddhism. Although I don't have the numbers I know that Buddhism is growing very rapidly in the West, especially in places like the US and certain parts of Europe.  I think ultimately it will be critical to have a solid Catholic refutation of it. Hinduism might be difficult because it seems so fragmented and contradictory with all of it's different paths and gods, goddesses and rites. I'm not even sure if Hindus know what if anything is actually uniform belief in their religion.


StrictCatholicGirl- I have seen that sigline of Miss Fluffy. If I recall correctly I think I once saw a post of hers where she said she too spent some time as a Theravada Buddhist. Let's hope she does chime in.
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#6
Some solid, reality based Greek philosophy wouldn't hurt you either.
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#7
Anything from the Church Fathers against paganism will work as a rebuttal against Hinduism.
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#8
Walty: sort of, but many Hindus consider themselves pantheists, or theists, and don't define their beliefs the way the pagans of that era did.

A very simple and easy but good introduction can be found in Peter Kreeft's "Fundamentals of the Faith" -- he has chapters on Hinduism and Buddhism.  Really just a starting point, but I think what he addresses is exactly what I grew up learning as a Hindu, so it's practical.
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#9
(01-18-2012, 11:40 PM)spes Wrote: Hello,

I had a question as to any book recommendations. I am taking a course on Asian Art History and am overwhelmed with readings on Hinduism and Buddhism. Is there any books that would be a good way to freshen up my semester? Something poking more into the flaws of their religion, philosophy, or any apologetical material, etc.

Thanks!

Mother India by Katherine Mayo is awesome.
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#10
I will have to find my Kreeft book.
I found it interesting in this book  Darsan, the idea of whether Hinduism is a polytheistic religion. The author was shying away from calling it polytheistic, but moreover  "kathenotheism". I found this interesting because I had never came across this term before. The idea is that each god is worshipped one at a time, each exalted in his own turn as to not diminish the significance of any one of them. I thought this was a bizarre way to tiptoe around polytheism.

Newyorkcatholic: Wasn't sure what you thought of this seeing you were raised Hindu.
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