Thursday, March 18, 2010

Belief-o-Matic Result for March 18, 2010

I've been taking this test for almost 10 years now. I LOVE seeing how my beliefs change every 6 months or so. Here are my results for today. I've posted the "Mahayana Buddhism" beliefs in case you're interested.

If you want to take the quiz it's at

1. Mahayana Buddhism (100%)
2. Neo-Pagan (92%)
3. Unitarian Universalism (92%)
4. Theravada Buddhism (91%)
5. New Age (90%)
6. Taoism (87%)
7. Hinduism (80%)
8. Liberal Quakers (79%)
9. Jainism (73%)
10. New Thought (72%)
11. Scientology (69%)
12. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (63%)
13. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (62%)
14. Secular Humanism (59%)
15. Sikhism (57%)
16. Orthodox Quaker (54%)
17. Nontheist (46%)
18. Reform Judaism (45%)
19. Baha'i Faith (42%)
20. Seventh Day Adventist (31%)
21. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (28%)
22. Orthodox Judaism (27%)
23. Islam (20%)
24. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (17%)
25. Eastern Orthodox (9%)
26. Roman Catholic (9%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (4%)

Mahayana Buddhism includes diverse beliefs, various sects, schools, and trends. The main Mahayana sects include Pure Land, Zen, and Vajrayana (or Tantric) Buddhism. We focus here on some of the traditional elements of Mahayana Buddhism.

• Belief in Deity
Mahayana Buddhism (like Theravada Buddhism) posits no Creator or ruler God. However, deity belief is present in the Mahayana doctrine of The Three Bodies (forms) of Buddha: (1) Body of Essence--the indescribable, impersonal Absolute Reality, or Ultimate Truth that is Nirvana (Infinite Bliss); (2) Body of Bliss or Enjoyment--Buddha as divine, deity, formless, celestial spirit with saving power of grace, omnipotence, omniscience; and (3) Body of Transformation or Emanation--an illusion or emanation in human form provided by the divine Buddha to guide humans to Enlightenment. Any person can potentially achieve Buddhahood, transcending personality and becoming one with the impersonal Ultimate Reality, which is Infinite Bliss (Nirvana). There are countless Buddhas presiding over countless universes. Bodhisattvas--humans and celestial spirits who sacrifice their imminent liberation (Buddhahood) to help all others to become liberated--are revered or worshipped as gods or saints by some.

• Incarnations
The historic Buddha, the person Siddhartha Gautama, is considered by many as an emanation or illusion of the highest power (which is also called Buddha). Many believe there have been countless Buddhas on earth.

• Origin of Universe and Life
No Creator God. All matter is illusion or manifestation of the Ultimate Reality. Generally, Mahayana Buddhist beliefs don't find modern scientific discoveries contradictory to Buddhist thought.

• After Death
There is no transmigration of individual souls, but through the law of karma, one's wholesome or unwholesome intentions become imprinted in the mind. Negative mental states persist through continual rebirth until one's intentions become wholesome. Once fully enlightened, one is liberated from rebirths, reaching a state of absolute selflessness resulting in ultimate bliss called Nirvana--the "Deathless State." One becomes Buddha (or one with Buddha). Some Buddhists, especially modern Western, don't emphasize or believe in literal rebirth.

• Why Evil?
People have free will to commit wrongs. Evil results as cravings, attachments, and ignorance accumulate through perpetual rebirths, thus perpetuating greed, hatred, and violence.

• Salvation
The goal is enlightenment, leading to Nirvana--liberation from cycles of rebirth and suffering--which is life. All are already endowed with Buddha-nature but need to come to realize fully that only the Ultimate Reality (the great "void" or "emptiness") is real (or nonconditional) and permanent. The Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path show the way, along with worship of the essential Buddha. One must work to extinguish self: All worldly cravings, desires, and attachments, through loving-kindness, compassion, charity, moral conduct, wisdom, and meditation. Renouncing worldly possessions and goals is not necessary for the laity, if balanced. Buddha taught the middle path, moderation. Human and spirit world Bodhisattvas are sought for help in gaining enlightenment. Pure Land Mahayana Buddhists aim to find a place of eternal Nirvana in a paradisiacal Pure Land, attainable by calling out the name of the Buddha ruler of the Pure Land.

• Undeserved Suffering
Life is suffering. Suffering results from this and past life greed, hatred, and ignorance, which, unless mitigated, returns as suffering (karma). Intense suffering may be viewed as the release of karma, hastening one's liberation. Suffering is illusion or ignorance of one's true nature as Buddha.

• Contemporary Issues
Abortion is considered murder, and all violent acts cause horrific karmic consequence. Homosexuality in itself is not specifically condemned by scripture, but opinions vary, especially among various Buddhist cultures--e.g., American Buddhists are generally very accepting, while Asian Buddhists are generally strongly opposed to homosexuality. It is believed that divorce wouldn't occur if one follows Buddhist precepts, but a couple is not condemned if they separate due to vast personal differences. Gender roles are generally traditional (e.g. women are child caretakers and men are providers), but are growing less rigid as society inflicts more and more contemporary demands (e.g. women working in increasing numbers).

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