I don't necessarily agree with Buddhism. It does have issues of it's own. But, Buddhists do encourage questioning and science. Their meditation and mindfulness practice are being studied for health and well being.
Do you find Buddhism more palatable? Why or why not?
The mysticism of Buddhism can be stripped away pretty easily, for the most part, leaving a fully formed philosophy. I like Buddhist philosophy well enough, though I disagree with the degree of detachment it promotes, but at its core there seems to be a lot of wisdom especially in regard to eschewing material goals, helping people when we can, and so forth, as a path to personal fulfillment.
To a lot of people, myself included, Buddhism is a philosophy and way of life instead of a religion. The book “Why Buddhism is True: the Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment” is on my to-read list and I’m curious what the author has to say. I’m not practicing Buddhism but probably have been influenced by it. I find some of their teachings philosophical.
I absolutely do, yes. In fact, I call myself an "agnostic Buddhist." I am agnostic about things that cannot be proven, like enlightenment and rebirth. But I am a Buddhist about things I have experienced, the value of compassion, meditation, ethics, community, and non-attachment. Buddhism teaches that nothing is unchanging, so a God, at least in the sense the word is usually understood (as eternal and unchanging) is impossible. Furthermore, if something bad happens to you like you get a health problem, it is not because you have sinned. It is because that kind of thing happens to everybody, sooner or later. Yes, there is the idea of Karma, which is often misunderstood. It just means that actions have consequences. It doesn't mean that if something bad happens to you, it is because you are a bad person. And, the ethics are something one always strives for. It isn't a case of following or breaking them. Everything is a matter of degree, and there is always room for improvement.
I once said that if I was forced at gunpoint to choose a religion, I would choose Buddhism. In my understanding, it is more of a meditation than it is a mindless following of religious tradition; its precepts to eschew desire as a means of experiencing less suffering in life does make some sense. However, I happen to enjoy some of my desires (chocolate for example).
I was raised buddist (Nichirens buddism) which is the practice of the lotus sutra. The lotus only grows in muddy swamps. No matter how messed up life gets you can always change your karma and those around you for a better life. We do chant (pray) but not to a god, but what we call the mystic energies of the universe. We can't Nam Myoho Renge Kyo which mean devotion, mystic law, cause and effect, and the teachings of the lotus sutra.
“If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.” - Dalai Lama XIV, The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality
But, have you ever read Buddhist mythology? That's some convoluted and crazy stuff! "Ancient Alien" theorists love them for all their deities flying around shooting lasers at each other.
BUT (the BIG BUT here) Buddhism is a very benign religion with a much more humanistic philosophy than most religions. It is generally not evangelical and very accepting.
I took kung fu courses in my twenties, partially for the studies in meditation and philosophy. In the midst of my addiction I could not muster the discipline to continue for long but I did take away some concepts, and especially meditative techniques, I've used ever since.
Yes, and I subscribe to the philosophy of Buddhism. It doesn't warrant a belief in anything, in fact, it warns against such a pattern. According to Buddhism belief should only come after in depth personal investigation, and then if what is being presented still holds water then go with it. For instance I don't buy the whole rebirth concept, so I simply discount it as not proven enough for me to believe, much like the god concept. Most of what Buddhism suggests is of a tangible and practical nature, and very easy to chew for someone who has the need for answers or guidance based in known reality.