Lack of knowledge about world religions in the US

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Re: Lack of knowledge about world religions in the US

Postby Luke » Sun Oct 10, 2010 6:16 pm

BFS wrote:This quote by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in When The Iron Bird Flies, puts it into perspective, for me.

Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama: "For a truly religious person there is never any basis for quarrel or dispute. Yet it is a fact that there have been so-called religious wars. However, the people involved in these were not practising religion but were merely using religion as an instrument of power. The actual motivation was selfish, not spiritual.

Yes, that's true. I guess what I should have said earlier is that the misuse of religion has been one of the most negative forces in history.

BFS wrote:"Four people from the Abbey attended the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr marking the end of Ramadan at the Spokane Islamic Center. There were prayers and a huge, delicious meal that followed it. A woman from the mosque who had lunch with the Abbey residents afterwards wrote to us, “It was a pleasure meeting you all. I met several people who attended the EID activity and they were impressed with your presence. It meant so much for everyone the support and solidarity you offered. A simple physics theory says that constant movement of butterfly wings over time create a hurricane and I am a believer. The collective effect of drops of kindness inside each person can lead to peace and tolerance. Meeting wonderful people gives one hope and a positive outlook.”

That is a great example of the friendships which can be built between members of different religions. Even if people of different faiths disagree about every theological issue, it is very significant if they simply meet each other and see that they are both reasonable, decent human beings who are worthy of kindness and respect.

Fear and distrust of people of other religions has also led to a lot of historical tragedies (the massacre of the Sikhs in Punjab, etc.). When more people of different faiths talk to each other respectfully, they make it less likely that such events will be repeated.

However, I would feel more positively about Christians and Muslims if I saw more of them speaking out against war. I frequently read surveys which indicate that Conservative Christians are far more likely to support wars in the Middle East than other people in the US. This always makes me feel uneasy. Who cares about smiles on Sunday morning if the same people wouldn't hesitate a second to heavily bomb any country they feel threatened by?
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Re: Lack of knowledge about world religions in the US

Postby Astus » Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:11 pm

"I guess what I should have said earlier is that the misuse of religion has been one of the most negative forces in history."

That's what I was talking about. Also, it should be reduced mainly to the people involved with Christianity and Islam. And that is not because those religions are specifically more evil than the others. It's just that they have been integrated into the government of nations to the level that no other religion has been so they could become state ideology. Buddhism could reach that level of penetration of a society only in a few countries and not always for a long time. So actually it is a sign of success for those religions that they could become the leading force. And while there are certain bad results from such a high level of acceptance of a doctrine, there are also good things that could be attributed to their influence.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

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Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Lack of knowledge about world religions in the US

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:56 am

Well...I certainly wish I could be religion.

When something bad happens directly as a result of religion is it always...people useing religion for their own selfish intent,misuse it is called when bad result effects always.

When something good happens indirectly as a result it is always religion as cause.

And when 100 or so pure innocents killed in a tornado.....always it is this one or two saved by gods graces..never is god nor religion cursed for the hundred dead.

Yes....I wish I could be religion...

A video, a bit dated but true nevertheless. .....
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Lack of knowledge about world religions in the US

Postby Ogyen » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:05 am

Lack of knowledge about world *insert any topic here* in the US -

Religion, while a symptom is not the root of the problem. Lack of knowledge period in the US is a major problem where kids can get out of highschool and not know how to read... I mean... seriously?!

It is a major problem that a growing percentage of US society is growing to resemble an idiocracy instead of the civilized democracy purported previously.

Ignorance is rampant and hate is breeding. Buddhists have their work cut out for them.
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Re: Lack of knowledge about world religions in the US

Postby Heruka » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:20 am

OgyenChodzom wrote:Religion, while a symptom is not the root of the problem. Lack of knowledge period in the US is a major problem


the greatest enemy hides in the last place we will look.
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Re: Lack of knowledge about world religions in the US

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:35 am

Not to hit on any specific slam but....

I find fundamentalist thinking on religious matters to actually produce a dumbing of peoples.
Is it the bliss they find in prayer to exclusion of exterior, is it the self perspective...I don't really know.

But have I observed seemingly bright people become dumb upon seeing the light, and becoming fundamentalist....yes I have seen that more than once. Multiple times in fact. Enough to see it as cause, and effect relationship.

I would state all fundametalists are not bright people. All surely did not become dumb upon becoming such, some were that way initially. But many it seems do become that way. And with time it seems to become worse in many individuals. They effectively have begun consumeing stupid pills and are on a every increasing regiment.

Ever discuss politics on a fundmentalist web site.....its pretty obvious those peoples are severly challenged when chewing gum and walking.

So if that is what Heruka may be referencing....I do agree.
Which reinforces my opinion....I wish I were relgion. Whatever happens is always someone else's fault not mine. I contend opposite in many perhaps the majority of situations considered.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Lack of knowledge about world religions in the US

Postby Ogyen » Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:13 am

Ron, I agree that there is most definitely a linkage between religion and extremism. Any system of belief that places an absolute set of values over even say, reality, well, that's frightening. And that more of these people are coming into power is even more worrisome.

I want to point something very fundamental out here, however (no pun intended). There is a "religious fundamentalist" in every single human being. Not that every human being follows a specific mass religion, but that in every human being is the tendency to the extreme. It's part of desire and want. I want to possess, obsess, and I want to devour everything that looks, smells, tastes good, and I don't want anything but what I want. There is a deep-seated little ruler that holds a little throne in every one of us, so those super bright people who became "dumb" really just had their emotional button pushed that made them hook before their sense of discriminative thinking could kick in.

Emotions are a powerful logic and force in most people's decision-making, whether we like them or not, think there should be laws banning them or not, the point is human emotion is the partner of intellect, but neither is in control, yet as they are the heart of duality made manifest, they matter in every day conventional you and me interaction.

Apologies for an atrocious run-along-sentence, it was a long thought.

You may not get hooked on god, but I bet you someone in your life had you hooked. They tapped into that fundamentalist/extreme energy that is potentially present in any human being. Your button might just look different. Mine does. It's not god. It's Leonard Cohen.

I swear I go stupid when it comes to him. He has that kind of effect on me. I think I'm a Leonard Cohen fundamentalist in some ways. I find him to be the epitomy of transcendent poetry that captures the essence of a man telling the story of what it's like to live the life of a man.

Sometimes this lofty place I've put Leonard Cohen in my heart is a hindrance as it's just the giant cluster of my own self-imposed expectations onto a man who is an artist who is my hero, and I use this energy to push myself to continually create. Especially in music composition, poetry and writing. It's a good place for my energy to go, that's the plus side. I've spent many years honing my skills for these forms of expression. The minus side is the frequent feeling that my material is never quite adequate or up to snuff, that grade of purity that is poetry made composition. To me the process of composition itself is poetry.

Hey, you might laugh, but to me, music and art are like a religion, and sometimes I recognize, facts first, desire to believe later. But my passions are strong and I can get just as bigoted as the next gal in line waiting for the 'validation' bus to roll by. My task in life is to make my practice one of releasing my mind from self-importance and it's been a really liberating process thus far. So many things, you don't need to have an opinion about, not because you're not smart, but because the thing doesn't need an opinion for you to recognize what its nature is.

That I find, the stripping of the dirt off the gem, is the dharma in motion. I have every confidence the young bright people in my generation COULD make a difference in terms of setting more humane values than our predecessors in things like environment and renewable energy systems and sources. The only problem and the question that has not yet been answered is, are they (myself included) going to step up to the plate and say screw it, who cares whose fault it is or isn't, let's fix this darn planet.

I don't know... that's where I don't have much hope. Fortunately change and growth are still taking place. Look at these forums thriving with bright people who really reflect on and contemplate on the nature of life and reality. This is good. This is where the journey of discovery starts, with a child's curiosity.

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Re: Lack of knowledge about world religions in the US

Postby BFS » Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:08 pm

Fortunately change and growth are still taking place. Look at these forums thriving with bright people who really reflect on and contemplate on the nature of life and reality. This is good.

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Re: Lack of knowledge about world religions in the US

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:36 pm

Cd....I hear what you're saying but really do disagree.

"but that in every human being is the tendency to the extreme".

If thoughts are considered to have no inherant value in and of themselves, to only occasionally and rarely produce viable rational and observation,(other when used in a strictly pragmatic fashion as in to solve a problem).....extreme moderate conservative have seemingly no order in the scheme of things.

I am quite extreme.... the most of peoples. I find I have found things to be a certain way. That in todays lexion of coccoon, we seem to wrap ourselves in, is considered to be the furthest view. The supposition we can only theorize and direct ourselves towards a nebulous cloud like as things seem to be, and be in a continual state of searching....I personally firmly reject.

So I am quite extreme, and not to state this is in any manner shape nor form a superior way of being. It does produce equanimity in me to my observation but I claim no spiritual attainment as that thing is considered in a buddhist spiritual sense. So that said the question then becomes....am I stupid?
As it is established thusly that I am most extreme.

Well not the sharpest tool in the shed I do admit, but quite stupid as I observe peoples to be.....no I firmly reject that assertation.

I would suppose one of the nebulous always searching type would state....how would we know?

Well this is readily observable. If one developes theory or assumption on how things are in any respect, devotes their time and study to any one thng and after engageing thusly finds ones assumptions and conclusions are not coming true, being proven in fact untrue.....well yes, one has determined one is a stupid person.

I don't find that happening, in the politic in the economic in the personal in the result driven...whatever I study if I study it, the conclusions I make are proven valid given enough time. I knew inadvance the consequence of Iraq, I knew the consequence of subprime, I know the consquence of environmental destruction, which will be proven true. Without exception if I study it I can predict it.

So I am not the sharpest tool in the shed but stupid...I on that personal basis reject that.
So the contention is thusly proven in a personal sense not true.
ONe can be the most extreme and be fairly astute in things.

NOw fundamentalist is something different as I am referencing it than extreme, and I will clarify. Though I am not stupid I do not communicate in the best manner at times. I simply don't have the time to produce perfect products for a venue and audience such as this.

Fundamentalist to me equates with belief. A disregard of the rational personal and other observation and a sole regard for the believing things into being. This is how it is/things are, because he she it god buddha whatever told me so.... is the thinking.
That to my opinion leads one directly into stupidity and if engaged for a significant amount of time and with a sgrnificant amount of effort will produce over time...a stupid person.
We all use belief or theory untested as a starting point for a extension into logical thought and to provide a basis for a initial movement. That is certainly thusly a essential composite in religion and spiritual progression. But engaged solely and continually, is negative effect. Belief is what I mean by a fundamentalist.

Meditation (as per a similiar example with exclusion), attention to only the interior, a forcing of nonthought to exculsion, a focus only upon feelings of bliss thusly provided....produces in my spiritual practice study... a stupid person. A indicator to that is if one finds oneself becomeing forgetfull, in my study...one must examine the meditational practice for cause.
Similiarily a use of belief as a expansion beyond and excludeing of the rational and observational in human and overconcentration of this aspect to exclusion produces a stupid person is my personal observation, and contention(though not part of any study practice).

Prayer devotion faith belief...all have validity in a spiritual context to my opinion. The over involvement in those things to the extent that they crowd out our other human expeience of awareness and rational conclusions derived....lead directly to stupidity and stupid actions. I won't build that tornado shelter even though I live in tornado alley...it be gods will. I don't care about that war in Iraq as it is their karma and far away. And on and on.The looking at things continaually in such a context.... to my opinion the rational logical aspect of our awareness becomes like a unused muscle.... atrophies and with time becomes useless for any purpose. So we are left with a whole whole lot of belief and a little little bit of ability to think with the use of rational.

Here is a prediction that will be found true and will with great time prove my contention to be true. The over concern for things of belief to exclusion of logic and observation will lead in the americas directly to a degree of dementia with age, never before prelevent in human poopulations. The habit of such becoming so engrained in the population due to the increaseing prelevence of religious fundamentalist theory in that population will result with certainity to the loss of logic and perceptive ability in that population. It is not the fundamentalist that are intially stupid it is the fundamentalism which makes them stupid.

So I combine the two thoughts with conclusion. I make a contention on what I have studied and state this will be found (abeit in 20 years time) to be true. Proving I am not the stupidiist of peoples, and extending point to result.

Look at the survey.....those of most logical bent and least believing...know more. It is exemplified.
There are exceptions of course. We all start from different starting points as far as logical and observational capacity is concerned(mine is quite meager), but very generally...the more belief is exercised(except as mentioned) to exclusion, the less logic and observational muscles are exercised. Less exercise...atrophy.
Atrophy of this...produces stupidity.
It is not the extreme, I contend counter and support.

As a aside the more we exercise logic observational ability and such thngs to my opinion the greater becomes our capacity in these things. And again (for the stupid amongst us who can't read a post or for the stupid way it may be written)...this is not to deny the role of belief prayer and such in spiritual advancement. I gave up on Leonard C when he gave the concert in Israel disregarding the artists boycott(even though he tried to donate the proceeds). Used to like his stuff.....now it just grates. REminds me much of south africa not that many years ago, and vietnam years ago, and who stood on what side in that thing. The global comunity know exactly what is going on with few exceptions...americans not a clue. He should know better, I am quite disappointed.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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