Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, completely

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby daverupa » Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:06 pm

dharmagoat wrote:("right speech", for example, where one is advised not to raise dissent, possibly missing the opportunity to have an issue resolved) that many like myself find overly restrictive and formularised.


I don't think ~not raising dissent~ is derivable from right speech; I'm aware that there are sanctimonious results, but the descriptions of conduct (sila) are there to give a taste of the proper theme; tuning one's effort in appropriate ways (per the vina simile) would actually task you with using your spontaneity as a strength to feed with right intention. This would make right speech flow naturally, and right intention would simply be harmlessness and good-will, along with renunciation.

Anyway, dissent would be wholly feasible on this model; checking your intention, you could happily proceed.

It's just eightfold path work, useful Dhamma, nothing religious in the sense of rituals or formulas here, and frankly, nothing sectarian either. This should be common ground stuff.

FWIW

:heart:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby greentara » Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:40 pm

kim, "For instance, a Christian is likely to speak of "seeing the face of God" but a Buddhist will not"
Yes thats a good eg but a Zen Buddhist may speak of 'show me your original face before you were born' The face before you were born may indicate the divine or a primeordial state that may be too blissful to put into words.
In addition I have seen Buddhists in Hong Kong and Singapore pray and petition the Buddha rupa as fervently as any Christian before Christ or a statue of Mary.
All I'm saying is language does not reveal the intense yearning and culmination, full justice.
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby Simon E. » Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:48 pm

There is also the fact that there is a whole contemplative school of Christianity including St John Of The Cross and in recent times Thomas Merton who moved way past anthropomorphic imagery and concepts.
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Nov 01, 2013 2:05 pm

Simon E. wrote:There is also the fact that there is a whole contemplative school of Christianity including St John Of The Cross and in recent times Thomas Merton who moved way past anthropomorphic imagery and concepts.
Iconoclasm has been an element of (Eastern) Christianity from way back. There was actually even an internal war between the iconoclasts and supporters of icon worship (iconophiles), during the Byzantine period, from 726-842AD. Iconoclasts (or iconomachus) painted over and destroyed existing images in churches, or decorated new churches without the use of anthropomorphic imagery. This was, obviously, way before 16th Century Protestant iconoclasm.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby Odsal » Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:51 pm

manas wrote:Hi all

I have a friend who is a Christian, and she seems pretty convinced that Jesus is the only way to salvation. Muslims feel the same about their Prophet and the Holy Book he received...Hindus also about their sacred lore...and we Buddhists of course, have our own Path that we hold as most perfect.


This is not true across the board. People can follow their personal spiritual path's without looking down on other path's. You don't have to hate everyone else's mom in order to love your own, right?
Not everyone is stuck in the mentality of "picking sides" or "being on the side of right". This is a people problem. People do the same things in regards to their political affiliation's, race etc. It is a bad mental habit that manifests within the context of that persons lifestyle. It is a problem of the mind. If this is a problem you have then you need to look at your mind and work it out.
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby montana » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:12 pm

manas wrote:Hi all

I have a friend who is a Christian, and she seems pretty convinced that Jesus is the only way to salvation. Muslims feel the same about their Prophet and the Holy Book he received...Hindus also about their sacred lore...and we Buddhists of course, have our own Path that we hold as most perfect.

I know that the Buddha's words are truthful, I mean I'm not denying it...I have seen the truth them often. But there you have it - I'm doing the same thing that everyone else is, I'm holding to a view. Sometimes I get this longing to just be rid of all religion, totally. Everyone is so convinced that they are right. Even me. I don't know if anyone can relate to this feeling, but sometimes I feel disgusted with the whole darn thing. Even my own views are still views. Sometimes I just wish I could live free from words, concepts, ideas and beliefs. Just live virtuously, but not have my head crammed up full of knowledge.

Sorry for the rant. Just don't know where else to put this.

metta.


Those of us with the sense to evaluate our own positions find ourselves coming across this same issue of whether we are a reliable assessor.
Self evaluation is a safeguard.
The real danger here isn't whether or not you believe this or that because you are a self assessor, it's whether or not you have the confidence to adjust your behavior when you recognize a fault.

There are some people on this forum that would have you think that as long as you follow some guru everything will turn out great and you won't be born into an animal realm for instance.
But I think you are already aware that relying on an authority to dictate your behavior is a gamble with a low pay off rate.

The best route is to strengthen your self assessment and your confidence in your ability to discern so that you won't hesitate to abandon what leads to harm and adopt what leads to benefit regardless of what the people caught up in ego identities as Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, etc, around you say to maintain their persona.

I hope this wasn't too long a response.
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby undefineable » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:30 pm

Odsal wrote:This is not true across the board. People can follow their personal spiritual path's without looking down on other path's. You don't have to hate everyone else's mom in order to love your own, right?
Not everyone is stuck in the mentality of "picking sides" or "being on the side of right". This is a people problem. People do the same things in regards to their political affiliation's, race etc. It is a bad mental habit that manifests within the context of that persons lifestyle. It is a problem of the mind. If this is a problem you have then you need to look at your mind and work it out.
Well yeah, but -if you take this out of context- you end up with the 'logical conclusion' that any pondering of how things are (and certainly any suspicion that 'theory x' might be a more distorted facsimile of reality than "theory y") runs the risk of being offensive and therefore wrong :rolleye: Better to have the confidence of one's insight that things are more one way than they are another, and to understand that this way in which things 'are' is neither "Buddhism" nor anything else that happens within the human mind _ _
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby greentara » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:51 pm

Simon E, You may have overlooked Meister Eckhart, a truly outstanding spiritual teacher. Furthermore parroting teachings of most traditions and in some cases using words like emptiness seem to lead nowhere! All teachings impinge on the personal. You can't follow a teaching as a third party observer. How does the practise square with your own personal reality?
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby Alfredo » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:55 pm

Christian tradition is full of texts and figures that may appeal to Buddhists in some way. I am personally fond of the Apopthegmata Patrum (Sayings of the Fathers), a collection of sayings from 5th-century Egyptian monks.

Sherab Dorje wrote:
[Byzantine iconoclasm] was, obviously, way before 16th Century Protestant iconoclasm.


If we are looking for influences, then Islam would be the most likely candidate.
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:05 am

Alfredo wrote:Christian tradition is full of texts and figures that may appeal to Buddhists in some way. I am personally fond of the Apopthegmata Patrum (Sayings of the Fathers), a collection of sayings from 5th-century Egyptian monks.
It goes both ways, see here for example.

If we are looking for influences, then Islam would be the most likely candidate.
Yes and no. Would you say that Islam influenced Protestant iconoclasm? Of course I would not rule out the influence of Islam, but then one could also talk about the influence of early Buddhism as it was also completely iconoclastic. Remember that Buddhist anthropomorphic depictions started with the advent of Hellenic culture.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby Alfredo » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:18 am

But the geographic and temporal proximity of Islam is pretty compelling in this case. For the Reformers, Islam was distant (not to speak of Buddhism). Their antipathy towards statuary arose from their Bible reading (the first commandment), coupled with a general suspicion of what we might call the "folk" elements of Western Christianity which included saints' cults. Notice that they did not apply their iconoclasm to stained glass, though.
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:37 am

Alfredo wrote:But the geographic and temporal proximity of Islam is pretty compelling in this case.
I agree.
For the Reformers, Islam was distant (not to speak of Buddhism). Their antipathy towards statuary arose from their Bible reading (the first commandment), coupled with a general suspicion of what we might call the "folk" elements of Western Christianity which included saints' cults. Notice that they did not apply their iconoclasm to stained glass, though.
Again I agree, I was just making the point that the influence of Islam is not a necessary factor for the development of iconoclasm, Buddhism was iconoclastic a thousand of years+ before Islam.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby undefineable » Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:16 pm

greentara wrote:All teachings impinge on the personal. You can't follow a teaching as a third party observer. How does the practise square with your own personal reality?
I can't see how spirituality can fail to be personal, although many will ask how personality can be relevant :shrug:

I doubt I'm alone in finding that the Buddhist teachings explained a lot that I already sensed about life, rather than writing off that 'personal reality' as sin or error. Surely the observation that traits like creativity -and even emotionality- often walk side-by-side with an impression of cerebral detachment is a cliche :thinking: ;)
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby KeithBC » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:32 am

manas wrote:Hi all

I have a friend who is a Christian, and she seems pretty convinced that Jesus is the only way to salvation. Muslims feel the same about their Prophet and the Holy Book he received...Hindus also about their sacred lore...and we Buddhists of course, have our own Path that we hold as most perfect.

I know that the Buddha's words are truthful, I mean I'm not denying it...I have seen the truth them often. But there you have it - I'm doing the same thing that everyone else is, I'm holding to a view. Sometimes I get this longing to just be rid of all religion, totally. Everyone is so convinced that they are right. Even me. I don't know if anyone can relate to this feeling, but sometimes I feel disgusted with the whole darn thing. Even my own views are still views. Sometimes I just wish I could live free from words, concepts, ideas and beliefs. Just live virtuously, but not have my head crammed up full of knowledge.

Sorry for the rant. Just don't know where else to put this.

metta.

There is more going on there than just people feeling that they are right and others are wrong.

I have have many rewarding discussions about religion with Christians who thought they were right and I was wrong, just as I thought I was right and they were wrong. What made those discussions positive and rewarding was that we both treated each other with respect. What causes the disgust is when that respect is lacking.

Freedom of religion means that everyone is entitled to believe that they are right. And while it may be politically incorrect to say so in some circles, that logically includes the belief that others are wrong.

The respectful way to handle that is to realize that there is no benefit in dwelling on the "you are wrong" part, and nothing to be gained by insisting that the other acknowledge one's own rightness. If both parties keep to those understandings, then the whole world of diversity of religion opens itself up to healthy and mature discussion. I have fond memories of many such discussions.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby greentara » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:42 am

KeithBC, Of course the discussions are rewarding. The only problem is with all the cross pollination chat you'll find the one that is more articulate will win the debate. Point scoring boosts the ego big time!
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby Alfredo » Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:32 am

Christians actually have a variety of beliefs about other religions, although some voices are obviously louder than others. It is NOT true, for example, that all (or even most) Christians think non-Christians are going to hell. Liberals tend to see all religions, including their own, as human constructs, at least to some extent.

While Jewish opinion is equally diverse, no Jew thinks that everybody ought to become Jewish. Liberal Jews are even more radical than liberal Christians in terms of what parts of their tradition they may reject or doubt. Not a few Reform synagogues have sponsored yoga and meditation and the like!

Hindus? Spectrum of opinion, ranging from Hindutva activists to fervent sectarians to indifferentists.

Muslims get a bad reputation, but liberals are out there, and a number of groups are active in interfaith dialogue. Few Muslims are all that religious (ask them if they drink!), or will be interested in converting you. The Qur'an itself affirms Judaism and Christianity to be divine teachings, albeit superseded.

As far as I can tell, the Daoists / Chinese folk religionists don't care what anybody does or believes.

Meanwhile, do Buddhists ever display intolerance or smug superiority? Why yes we do. :namaste:
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby KeithBC » Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:34 am

greentara wrote:KeithBC, Of course the discussions are rewarding. The only problem is with all the cross pollination chat you'll find the one that is more articulate will win the debate. Point scoring boosts the ego big time!

Fortunately, there was none of that in the discussions I was referring to. No debate, no point scoring, no egos. No winners, no losers. Those things don't have to be a part of interfaith dialogue. We create a dysfunctional myth when we assume that they are inevitable.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby Odsal » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:32 am

undefineable wrote:
Odsal wrote:This is not true across the board. People can follow their personal spiritual path's without looking down on other path's. You don't have to hate everyone else's mom in order to love your own, right?
Not everyone is stuck in the mentality of "picking sides" or "being on the side of right". This is a people problem. People do the same things in regards to their political affiliation's, race etc. It is a bad mental habit that manifests within the context of that persons lifestyle. It is a problem of the mind. If this is a problem you have then you need to look at your mind and work it out.
Well yeah, but -if you take this out of context- you end up with the 'logical conclusion' that any pondering of how things are (and certainly any suspicion that 'theory x' might be a more distorted facsimile of reality than "theory y") runs the risk of being offensive and therefore wrong :rolleye: Better to have the confidence of one's insight that things are more one way than they are another, and to understand that this way in which things 'are' is neither "Buddhism" nor anything else that happens within the human mind _ _


Are you saying that if you take what I said out of context then it means something else? Is that what you are saying? I don't understand.

The OP made the statement : "and we Buddhists of course, have our own Path that we hold as most perfect."
I am a Buddhist and I don't hold my path as most perfect. Most perfect in comparison to what? Other spiritual paths? I can say my path is perfect for me, but I can't say what is suitable spiritual path for others and I don't wish to either.

What I am saying is that who cares if other people behave as if their particular path is the only true one. So what. Why should that make the OP feel he has to do away with something that he has admitted seeing the truth in? If the OP is guilty of the same behavior then it is a personal issue.
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby Luke » Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:45 am

KeithBC wrote:There is more going on there than just people feeling that they are right and others are wrong.

I have have many rewarding discussions about religion with Christians who thought they were right and I was wrong, just as I thought I was right and they were wrong. What made those discussions positive and rewarding was that we both treated each other with respect. What causes the disgust is when that respect is lacking.

Freedom of religion means that everyone is entitled to believe that they are right. And while it may be politically incorrect to say so in some circles, that logically includes the belief that others are wrong.

The respectful way to handle that is to realize that there is no benefit in dwelling on the "you are wrong" part, and nothing to be gained by insisting that the other acknowledge one's own rightness. If both parties keep to those understandings, then the whole world of diversity of religion opens itself up to healthy and mature discussion. I have fond memories of many such discussions.

:namaste: :twothumbsup:

You are such a kind, wise, and reasonable guy, Keith! Please run for president! lol

I agree that interfaith dialog becomes rewarding when everyone drops the arrogant assumption their religion is superior to all others in every aspect.

The world needs more compassionate listening and less uncompassionate preaching.
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby undefineable » Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:18 pm

Your statment:
Odsal wrote:I am a Buddhist and I don't hold my path as most perfect
suggests that you don't share my suspicion that Buddhism presents a less-distorted picture of the human world than other paths do, and that this shouldn't be seen as offensive. However, you then go on to say:
Odsal wrote:I can say my path is perfect for me, but I can't say what is suitable spiritual path for others
, which is a fair point. In this light, Buddhists should avoid the dangers of ego's going on to conclude that they're uniquely strong enough to 'take the truth' {The world gets enough of this from 'Atheists' already!} Instead, "their" path should (correctly) be seen as being dependant on conditions of time, place and subject, as a guide to the truth rather than Truth itself, as something to be grateful for (if it does indeed offer a better 'handle on reality' to those who follow it), and (last but not least) not something to brag about _ _ _ Those with a recognised claim to spiritual maturity do not seem to "conclu(de) that they're uniquely strong enough to 'take the truth'".

Odsal wrote:who cares if other people behave as if their particular path is the only true one. So what. Why should that make the OP feel he has to do away with something that he has admitted seeing the truth in? If the OP is guilty of the same behavior then it is a personal issue.
If I didn't know better, I might wonder if you have a 'personal issue' that leads you to "do away with" the lesser admission that you see more truth in Buddhism than in other paths.

I doubt that there's much real disagreement about how things ultimately are on this thread - It seems more like the 'glass half empty/glass half full scenario, in that it depends on how you deal with the raw material your mind presents you with. On investigation, it seems unnecessary to remain blind to anything in order to be an optimist or 'positive thinker' - likewise in order to be a 'good' Buddhist or what have you.
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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