Secular world

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Secular world

Postby greentara » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:20 am

We are now living in a secular society. Some may still have their rituals but fundamentally we are secular.
The vices of gluttony or luxury are embraced as many in our world have now become intensely greedy and competitive. Now the life history of the driven man or mankind, is seeking not enlightenment but recognition from others and to bolster self esteem. It is now the theology of the success of the individual.
Consumption is the driving force of capitalism and the driven man attaches great importance to work and success.
Sadly we have an enormous pool of humanity that are struggling to get out of grinding poverty. A large section of society is crammed into a very flexible 9 to 5 slot where you have to play at being a team player and look like you're enjoying it. Then we have the modern entrepreneur with a strong urge to win....upwardly mobile, adored and so admired the world over. In addition we have a nice little slice of society that slide effortlessly into the leisure class, though family business and inheritance they live the 'good' life seeming unruffled by the demands of a troubled world.
What do all these disparate groups have in common? I'd have to say the hankering to have more, to possess, the desire to consume. Has the world changed irrevocably? It seems for the vast majority it has!
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Re: Secular world

Postby disjointed » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:51 am

I don't think the world has changed significantly.

The media is the main difference in this respect I think.
Where as before you had more people making up their own minds, you now have a media telling people how to see things and what supposedly works in life and what doesn't with tv shows.

The dog eat dog world idea in the media causes disharmony in the masses so they cannot cooperate to address threats.
Meanwhile small groups of people(cronies) cooperate seamlessly to take advantage of all the other people who are operating as powerless individuals.

The corporate media is the lynch pin.
Keep people distracted.
Keep people at odds with each other.
Then your crony network can do whatever it wants as long as you watch each other's backs.
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Re: Secular world

Postby Wayfarer » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:55 am

A very good Buddhist essay (given as a speech) on this very topic, by Bikkhu Bodhi

A Buddhist Response to Contemporary Dilemmas of Human Existence.

On the positive side, you can use the benefits of modern industrial society to allow you to devote more time to study, meditation and beneficial activities. Sure a lot of people don't do that, but there is no reason not to.

Furthermore the benefits of globalization have provided ways out of agrarian and subsistence living for billions of people in India and China, so it's not all bad.

Although I do agree the 'radical secularization' that Bikkhu Bodhi talks about, is spiritually dangerous.
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Re: Secular world

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:31 am

When was the seeking of enlightenment the driving force behind the lives of most people? Uh, never. Samara may be "worse" in some relative sense, but it's always samsara.

Certainly not in the Buddhas time, as we are told repeatedly pretty much this same stuff about how people behaved, their values, and warped views. We are also not the first people to not care about spirituality much, affluent cultures throughout history have gone in a similar direction. again, you can read the Buddha himself talking about this stuff.

I'm no fan of corporate capitalism, but there is not more poverty than there was at one time, not by a long shot, MOST people had to live like that for huge chunks of human history. The issue right now is that capitalism has created the possibility, the conditions (at least on a technical level) of a world that could be rid of things like starvation and abject poverty...but of course, being capitalism, this being samsara, yada, yada things will never go in that direction, and a certain group of people will live off the poverty of another group. I'm sure whatever replaces capitalism will be broken too. I envision large, shitty, trans national bureaucracies sort of growing up around and melding with the current corporate dominance. Probably something like that will replace the nation state one day.

"Not even with a shower of gold coins would we be satisfied..."

Sounds like not much has changed on a basic level.
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Re: Secular world

Postby greentara » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:40 am

Yes I agree the media has a lot to answer for. I'll be judge I'll be jury said cunning old.......
Of course now the media is owned, controlled by a few massively wealthy individuals. They can make or break any politician, control who'll win the next election. Tell the 'masses' how and what to think and so forth.

Get away from the constant onslaught of materialism, perhaps people would be calmer more satisfied.

J D, Yes there's always been shocking poverty but now the carrot is dangled through advertising that all can participate in the good life. The constant bombardment that all can 'have their cake and eat it' and own a car, washing machine, own a fridge for eg in the third world. even though there's little chance of continuous power, outages are a daily happening.
The constant yearning to have more has never been so overwhelming. Everyone wants goodies, a mobile phone, a lap top, branded clothing etc. If only the greedy corporations would let up, give people a chance to catch their breathe. The problem of this enormous population we have. This poor earth, give the planet a chance, let it heal.
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Re: Secular world

Postby Indrajala » Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:03 am

jeeprs wrote:Furthermore the benefits of globalization have provided ways out of agrarian and subsistence living for billions of people in India and China, so it's not all bad.


You ever been to urban India? It ain't nice. The air, water and food are toxic. China isn't so different. The food there is often fatally toxic.

The rural lifestyle is a lot healthier and arguably better for the planet's ecosystem.

The more Indians and Chinese achieve middle-class lifestyles, the more the planet suffers.

I was just in the outskirts of Kathmandu this morning. What was once beautiful forest is now bulldozed for cement homes and farmland. It is crowded even up in the hills. It will only get worse as people from the villages migrate to the city. As people earn more money, they buy scooters which ensures the air is always smelly and somewhat toxic.
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Re: Secular world

Postby lobster » Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:30 am

:thumbsup:

Interesting thread guys. Will we be offering free meditation for corporations or franchising our temple to the highest bidder? Will we be communicating and meeting through the new technology that secularism has provided? . . . oh we are . . .

Live simply, be kind to the planet. Practice dharma. Don't believe the hype, whatever the source. Sounds like a plan. Anything to join or leave? :meditate:
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Re: Secular world

Postby shaunc » Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:33 am

If you live in a house with running water, electricity & a flush toilet you are living the lifestyle of someone in the wealthiest top 10% of people in the world. Congratulations brother you've made it. While I agree with a lot of what has been posted here, what is a viable alternative. We all have to feed, clothe & house our family's in a certain degree of comfort.
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Re: Secular world

Postby Wayfarer » Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:17 am

The point I was trying to make is that capitalism and secularism are not necessarily the same thing. You can dedicate the benefits of capitalist economics to pursuing dharma instead of pursuing material gain. I'm sure many of the readers here are doing that.

What is really sinister in 'the secular world' is this virulent strain of anti-religion and anti-spirituality. That is not really part of capitalist economics or Western thought, actually it might be parasitic upon it. It is misleading tens of millions of people into nihilist mindsets.
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Re: Secular world

Postby rory » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:13 am

So is the answer being rural peasants? As I can tell you it's not a paradise for women; who usually have crappy lives, cooking, cleaning, childbearing. Study dharma? Hey no time being a slave.... Education and industrialization has helped women enormously. And remember New York City, Chicago, London were all diry polluted vile places to live in the early 1900's too; then all kinds of inventions helped them to clean the air and environment.
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Re: Secular world

Postby shel » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:38 am

greentara wrote:We are now living in a secular society.

Obviously wrong. I think you mean to say that there is a separation between church and state in many societies today.

Some may still have their rituals but fundamentally we are secular.

Wrong of course, and what arrogance to judge how meaningful religions are to all the people of the world.

The vices of gluttony or luxury are embraced as many in our world have now become intensely greedy and competitive. Now the life history of the driven man or mankind, is seeking not enlightenment but recognition from others and to bolster self esteem. It is now the theology of the success of the individual.
Consumption is the driving force of capitalism and the driven man attaches great importance to work and success.
Sadly we have an enormous pool of humanity that are struggling to get out of grinding poverty. A large section of society is crammed into a very flexible 9 to 5 slot where you have to play at being a team player and look like you're enjoying it. Then we have the modern entrepreneur with a strong urge to win....upwardly mobile, adored and so admired the world over. In addition we have a nice little slice of society that slide effortlessly into the leisure class, though family business and inheritance they live the 'good' life seeming unruffled by the demands of a troubled world.
What do all these disparate groups have in common? I'd have to say the hankering to have more, to possess, the desire to consume. Has the world changed irrevocably? It seems for the vast majority it has!

This part is absolutely correct. Before the separation of church and state there was no greed or selfishness. People lived to better themselves and the world around them in utter selflessness. All people sought enlightenment first and foremost. It is only the corrupt nihilists of today that seek to slander our benevolent forefathers. They make up stories about religious crusades, inquisitions, witch burnings, etc etc., which they claim were sanctioned by the state or ruling class. Don't believe it. These things never happened, and they certainly could not have been sanctioned by the enlightened leaders of the past.
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Re: Secular world

Postby Indrajala » Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:16 am

rory wrote:So is the answer being rural peasants? As I can tell you it's not a paradise for women; who usually have crappy lives, cooking, cleaning, childbearing.


Some women do in fact find cooking, cleaning and childbearing quite satisfying and emotionally fulfilling.

The feminist agenda might disagree, but feminism hasn't necessarily produced happier more fulfilled people.
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Re: Secular world

Postby rory » Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:47 am

that's patriarchy talking; when women have a choice do most of them retire to the country to cook, clean, bear children and give up education? The women in my family all had jobs and education, way back in the 1920's so when their husbands became unacceptable or disappeared they could support themselves and their children. That they lived in industrial New York City meant they had access to a job market and jobs -that they had choices.

In the Northeast US where the matrilineal Iroquois lived (and still do), many Colonial women kidnapped ( there are now a number of scholarly books on the subject), had no desire to return to the delights of Western society. The Iroquois women owned the land, the loghouses, had female councils that decided if the nation would go to war, could eject a lover/husband at will and take a new one, had birth control. So consequently many Colonial women preferred this existance, no surprise. Do read Barbara Alice Mann's inspiring. "Iroquoian Woman: The Gantowisas," or Heide Goettner-Abendroth's "Matriarchal Societies," about women living in traditional egalitarian societies in Asia, Africa, etc..

You're not suggesting that; rather this educated privileged male idealization of the simple rural life is nothing new, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Tolstoy, Gandhi etc all loved it and depended on their unhappy housekeeper/wife to do all grunt work to keep their rural fantasy going.
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Dharani of Amoghapasa Avalokitesvara:

Om amogha-padma-pasa-krodhakarsaya praveshaya maha-pashupati-yama-varuna-kuvera
brahma-vesa-dhara padma-kula-samayan hum hum

heart mantra: Om amogha vijaya hum phat
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Re: Secular world

Postby Indrajala » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:08 am

rory wrote:that's patriarchy talking; when women have a choice do most of them retire to the country to cook, clean, bear children and give up education?


That depends. In a culture absent of widespread feminism, a lot of women might dislike working and prefer to become housewives, as is the case often in Japan. There are career women, sure, but many more who find motherhood actually liberating.

I don't blame them. Working full-time in Japan might pay fairly well, but it is physically and maybe mentally crippling for a lot of people, both men and women.

In the Northeast US where the matrilineal Iroquois lived (and still do), many Colonial women kidnapped ( there are now a number of scholarly books on the subject), had no desire to return to the delights of Western society.


Are there folk dances celebrating this as well?


The Iroquois women owned the land, the loghouses, had female councils that decided if the nation would go to war, could eject a lover/husband at will and take a new one, had birth control.


It ultimately didn't work out so well for the Iroquis people. Look what happened to their civilization.


So consequently many Colonial women preferred this existance, no surprise. Do read Barbara Alice Mann's inspiring. "Iroquoian Woman: The Gantowisas," or Heide Goettner-Abendroth's "Matriarchal Societies," about women living in traditional egalitarian societies in Asia, Africa, etc..


This is just matriarchal romanticism.


You're not suggesting that; rather this educated privileged male idealization of the simple rural life is nothing new, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Tolstoy, Gandhi etc all loved it and depended on their unhappy housekeeper/wife to do all grunt work to keep their rural fantasy going.



Not really. In the absence of certain economic and technological arrangements, the division of labour based on gender makes a lot of sense, especially in a rural environment.

In modern urban environments, the desire for motherhood amongst women still largely exists clearly. It would be better for women to look after their children and raise them rather than paying a third party to provide such services while advancing one's career.

The breakdown of families in the last century has led to a lot of social problems and unease, especially with the rise of single parent families (which tend to be the mother and children without a father).

Feminism hasn't created better societies. It has done more harm than good. It has also created additional political classes and precedents for further fracturing of political power which lends itself to inept government and competing entities, all of which advance the degeneration of democracy into mob rule and thereafter tyranny.
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Re: Secular world

Postby oushi » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:46 am

It's still a race of the fittest, but now in the environment of locked resources. We have to pay to live, so we are forced to work. There is no more free stuff to pick up and eat. 20 years ago, living in my country, you could go to the forest and pick anything you wish if you did not harm any living being. Now, you cannot even collect dry leafs. In such closed environment, to have more then others, you need to take it from others. The more head for shaving the better, and feminism is nothing but a skillful way for doubling the headcount. Since all resources are already being exploited, humans are the last remaining pool of goods to harvest. It's easy to see it in corporations, where officially, people are called resources.
Still, it remains a mystery for me, what force shapes it all. I don't believe it is the top 1% that benefits from it. How can it be the case, if despite having billions of $, individuals are still paying for more with their suffering? They are also slaves... Whose slaves?
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Re: Secular world

Postby shaunc » Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:16 am

rory wrote:that's patriarchy talking; when women have a choice do most of them retire to the country to cook, clean, bear children and give up education? The women in my family all had jobs and education, way back in the 1920's so when their husbands became unacceptable or disappeared they could support themselves and their children. That they lived in industrial New York City meant they had access to a job market and jobs -that they had choices.

In the Northeast US where the matrilineal Iroquois lived (and still do), many Colonial women kidnapped ( there are now a number of scholarly books on the subject), had no desire to return to the delights of Western society. The Iroquois women owned the land, the loghouses, had female councils that decided if the nation would go to war, could eject a lover/husband at will and take a new one, had birth control. So consequently many Colonial women preferred this existance, no surprise. Do read Barbara Alice Mann's inspiring. "Iroquoian Woman: The Gantowisas," or Heide Goettner-Abendroth's "Matriarchal Societies," about women living in traditional egalitarian societies in Asia, Africa, etc..

You're not suggesting that; rather this educated privileged male idealization of the simple rural life is nothing new, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Tolstoy, Gandhi etc all loved it and depended on their unhappy housekeeper/wife to do all grunt work to keep their rural fantasy going.
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My wife & I have been married for 12 years & have 4 kids between us. During our marriage my wife has worked for much of that time, except of course for late pregnancy & the first 6-12 months of the babies life. Believe me, none of it has been through choice, it's through necessity. If we could afford it, she wouldn't work at all. Her choice not mine. Also, what makes you so sure that Rousseau, Tolstoy & Gandhi's wife were unhappy.
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Re: Secular world

Postby greentara » Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:48 pm

Indrajala, "The feminist agenda might disagree, but feminism hasn't necessarily produced happier more fulfilled people" I agree with you but still think women are fortunate to have a choice but that does not mean I choose to 'dump' my small baby at a creche the length of the working day.

Oushi, "Since all resources are already exploited, humans are the last pool to harvest" This is true and the corporations with their flexing power and muscle, are doing so ruthlessly. Neverthless if I look back on global history and the exploitation of workers whether they were coal miners or sweating. gathering large baskets of leaves on a Tea plantation, nothing has changed. Perhaps what has really changed is child rearing has become totally undervalued in this 'secular' society.
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Re: Secular world

Postby oushi » Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:21 pm

greentara wrote:Nevertheless if I look back on global history and the exploitation of workers whether they were coal miners or sweating. gathering large baskets of leaves on a Tea plantation, nothing has changed.

Nobody questions the work when there is no other choice, but nowadays it is becoming a shame for a woman to be a housewife. Moreover the efficiency increases if working is a choice, not a must. This sophisticated tool has one purpose, to make people work more, for less,as there are more people and less resources.
greentara wrote:Perhaps what has really changed is child rearing has become totally undervalued in this 'secular' society.

It is beyond my imagination. My interest in spiritual stuff begun when my first daughter was born. With time I've develop sensitivity to those subtle "fibers" that developing into big knots. Between 1-5 yo, the entire trunk of personality develops. How can people dump their children before this process even starts? Nobody can even imagine the consequences. Now, people are grown by the system they created. Maybe this lack of sensitivity is the way nature deals with overpopulation.
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Re: Secular world

Postby Lindama » Mon Oct 14, 2013 5:25 pm

Indrajala:
Feminism hasn't created better societies. It has done more harm than good. It has also created additional political classes and precedents for further fracturing of political power which lends itself to inept government and competing entities, all of which advance the degeneration of democracy into mob rule and thereafter tyranny.


Yes, I agree with this. I never trusted feminism, since the 60's. I saw it as a power struggle on women's parts. Granted, the feminine has been discounted, but how could that help. I had a man's job with equal pay in 1968, yet always stayed clear of the competition. For a long time, I couldn't relate to the struggle, I was one of them. All I can say now is that it has taken me a lifetime to reconnect with my natural tendencies. It's still in progress. Now I am on the other end of that dynamic. It is not strictly a gender issue because both men and women have dominant and receptive sensibilities. Not all women have motherly instincts, most do, some don't, some men do. As the years go by, there are fewer models of healthy men and women. It's about economic servitude and also modern birthing practices that take us farther and farther away into the secular world.

Secular at it roots speaks of separation for me. It's interesting that a discussion of the secular world ends up focusing on feminism. This is exactly the point... society is still attached to lifeless concepts and ideas about roles, and power struggles.... quite apart from the vulnerability and surrender seen when we connect with something larger than ourselves, to our intrinsic nature, to nature, to family and our interconnectedness. I hate to call this religion however! .... Another corrupt power designed for it's own survival.

There is no model to follow. It is creating itself. Times past were not ideal by any stretch either. It's a bit beyond me, but I think that the pop culture may just find it's way with a little experimentation and experience. There maybe destruction along the way, some will survive. I am praying. This is not news in the whole universe in three times. There is no going back.

Oushi:
Maybe this lack of sensitivity is the way nature deals with overpopulation.


Yes, this is the wheel turning itself. Plagues have accomplished this in the past. There are always actions and results which balance each other. We are on a dangerous and destructive path, we don't know where it is going. There is evidence of civilizations before this era. I've always felt that we practice and grow to lend a hand when need be without merging into suffering and hysteria of mass consciousness. It seems the only choice. It's always the “renegades” who lead the way into the new world.
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Re: Secular world

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Oct 14, 2013 5:33 pm

shel wrote:This part is absolutely correct. Before the separation of church and state there was no greed or selfishness. People lived to better themselves and the world around them in utter selflessness. All people sought enlightenment first and foremost. It is only the corrupt nihilists of today that seek to slander our benevolent forefathers. They make up stories about religious crusades, inquisitions, witch burnings, etc etc., which they claim were sanctioned by the state or ruling class. Don't believe it. These things never happened, and they certainly could not have been sanctioned by the enlightened leaders of the past.


:rolling:
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