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Other Middle Ways?

@Fosdick mentioned in another thread the possibility and difficulty of finding teachings about enlightenment in Christianity:

Maybe a good topic for another thread, but I can't help observing that there is some similarity in the two positions. In Buddhism, everyone is "saved" and they don't even have to be Buddhist to inhabit this state. All are "saved", but we don't realize or see it.
To see it takes a lot of work.

In Christianity - as I understand it - only Christians are "saved". They don't see it either, they have only to accept the dogmas of the Church - that is, to take someone else's word for it. My experience has been that "seeing" hardly rates a mention in the average congregation - One of the reasons I hightailed it out of there a long time ago.

Christians also can become enlightened, or something like it, but it never seemed to me that they get much help in doing so. Nonetheless, the two approaches are not completely incompatible.

In some Christian mysticism it is recognised that other traditions reach states of being or grace that are comparable to the interior journey with Christ. Here for example are my efforts at expression from other perspectives, including the Christian ...
http://yinyana.tumblr.com/day/2013/08/08

Neither Buddhist, Christian, Islamic or Flying Speghetthi Monster enlightenment is easy for dabblers. However the interior landscape in my experience is indeed the same.

'Know Thyself' as the Apollo Pagans used to say ...
http://ageac.org/en/ageac/know-thyself/

Are we on the same path as our brothers and sister?

Comments

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    So are there any particular practices from other traditions that might be of interest to members here?

  • I was raised by my Grandmother, who as they say, received "a calling" and became a Preacher in her middle age. That meant I spent a lot of time in little country churches of the "Holiness" variety, unaffiliated with the larger denominations. I have seen personally how their "Confessing your sins and accepting Jesus into your life" can be a life transforming experience. When we talk about "letting go" and taking refuge and what a Satori feels like, I totally believe we're talking about the same experience.

    And after all, people are the same everywhere, with the same problems and the same suffering, so the remedies have that in common. We "live in the present moment" and they "put their trust in God".

    Yes, organized religion is vastly misused. Even Buddhism has been and will be misused, people being what they are.

    Bunksdhammachicksilver
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    @lobster So. Blaming this thread on me are we? =) >:) I have to thank you I guess - I've had a migraine all day, swore I would not touch the computer, but as soon as I started typing here the headache went away.

    However the interior landscape in my experience is indeed the same. ... Are we on the same path as our brothers and sister?

    Same landscape, different paths, same destination? I have long felt it must be so, but have always been stymied in the job of constructing a unified field theory to give the feeling weight - to give it birth in the land of words.

    In the case of Christianity, and the Abrahamic religions generally, I am always stumbling over the use that has been made of mythology and of the underlying or overlying metaphysics, and the insistence on literalism that seems to be permanently enshrined in official doctrine - it's always up front, right there in the show window.

    In Abrahamic mystical traditions, things seem more reasonable, but still they are chained to that mythology thing, and I cannot figure out what it's legitimate function might be. It has very ancient roots, of course. I think maybe the leaves are beginning to show signs of age, but the root lives on. What do you think?

    @Cinorjer says

    I have seen personally how their "Confessing your sins and accepting Jesus into your life" can be a life transforming experience. When we talk about "letting go" and taking refuge and what a Satori feels like, I totally believe we're talking about the same experience.

    I've also long wondered if this might be so, but have never witnessed it - the churches I've attended - all 3 or 4 of them - have been pretty reserved, haven't sensed a lot of spiritual energy there. Could be just me.

    How seriously or literally do you think the people in these "Holiness" churches understand the official dogma?

    Long post for me. Probably have headache when I quit. To tie in with Buddhism - If we are to be truly mindful, is it not of value to be mindful also of the paths of others, and of where those paths might lie in relation to our own? They, too, are a part of our world.

    Cinorjer
  • Taking Christianity as the example:
    They have a sangha tradition, also solo practitioners. The iconograpy of the Orthodox and Catholics is very similar to Tantra. In terms of mystics Thomas Merton is often studied by Buddhists.
    https://appliedbuddhism.com/2010/08/18/can-you-be-a-buddhist-christian/

    dhammachickFosdick
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited March 2016


    Let go is nearly the same as
    Let God.

    If one realizes that all things are not ours, the outcome is to let go or let God.

    CinorjerRatBoy
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    "I saw also that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness."
    George Fox, 1647

    http://qfp.quaker.org.uk/passage/19-03/

  • "There are many who live in the mountains and behave as if they were in the town; they are wasting their time. It is possible to be a solitary in one's mind while living in a crowd; and it is possible for those who are solitaries to live in the crowd of their own thoughts."
    Chocolate Christian ascetic and Dessert Mother Amma Syncletica
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_Mothers

    Sound familiar? You bet your cushion ...

    Fosdick
  • @Fosdick said:

    @Cinorjer says

    I have seen personally how their "Confessing your sins and accepting Jesus into your life" can be a life transforming experience. When we talk about "letting go" and taking refuge and what a Satori feels like, I totally believe we're talking about the same experience.

    I've also long wondered if this might be so, but have never witnessed it - the churches I've attended - all 3 or 4 of them - have been pretty reserved, haven't sensed a lot of spiritual energy there. Could be just me.

    How seriously or literally do you think the people in these "Holiness" churches understand the official dogma?

    Long post for me. Probably have headache when I quit. To tie in with Buddhism - If we are to be truly mindful, is it not of value to be mindful also of the paths of others, and of where those paths might lie in relation to our own? They, too, are a part of our world.

    These churches take their religion very seriously, in that to them leading a religious life is a personal transforming experience and a one-on-one relationship with the Holy Spirit. A church service isn't successful unless it become "filled with the Spirit and people "get blessed". That means you actually become a puppet in the Holy Spirit's hands and are called to testify, to sing, or just get happy and celebrate. People jump up and down and shout, they run up and down the isles, etc. As a young boy, one time an old man I didn't know grabbed me and ran up and down the isles with me on his shoulder, whooping.

    I know, that doesn't sound at all like your quiet zazen hall, does it? But it's ritual. You can see the buildup, the stages, and at the end you have the quiet meditative altar call.

    The amazing thing about this type of religion is, it works. For some people. Not so much for a skeptical introvert such as myself, though.

    Fosdicklobster
  • @SpinyNorman said:
    So are there any particular practices from other traditions that might be of interest to members here?

    I would say so. For example doing tai chi and chi qong from Taoism. Practicing ritual in Freemasonary. Attending quiet/empty synagogues, mosques or churches for quiet meditation. None of this is incompatible.

    I had lunch yesterday in a 900 year old churchyard that had picnic tables, bird feeders and I was waved at but not evangelised by Christians filling the Church hall for Easter ...

    Eh Mah Ho as they say ...

    Cinorjer
  • WalkerWalker Veteran

    Agreed @Cinorjer
    In my experience, many Christians seem to miss the point about the Kingdom of Heaven being within us.

    CinorjerShoshinpegembara
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    Quoth @SpinyNorman

    So are there any particular practices from other traditions that might be of interest to members here?

    I'm wondering if many ritualistic observances are not in large degree contemplative in nature, especially those that employ a minimum of words. In Christianity, the Eucharist can be one such thing - yeah, the Episcopal church allows me to participate because I am baptized, even though apostate, and I can feel some connection with that.

    Another one might be the Episcopal rosary service, sometimes held before a funeral. I went to one of those years ago, and it seemed a lot like chanting done responsively - the most grounding experience I've ever had in a Christian church. Unfortunately, it also seems to be rarely done. More common in Catholicism, I guess, but there I speculate that it may be excessively verbose - the Episcopal version was fairly simple.

    @Cinorjer says:

    I do think all religions start with the assumption that something is wrong with us and with the world.

    God walked with us in the Garden, but now we've been kicked out, or wandered out, or just unaccountably dreamed of Samsara and now we can't wake up. We want our Garden back - Where the heck did we put those ruby slippers?

    @lobster and @pegembara I agree, Merton is excellent reading, quite remarkable that he rarely, if ever, makes reference to the "mountain of crap" previously mentioned. Another worthwhile read is Meister Eckhart, who spent a lot of his life successfully dodging the inquisition - no mean feat. He provides some very illuminating commentary on the sayings and doings of Jesus, as well as radiating a quite 'enlightened' sense of the nature of god.

    Cinorjer
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited March 2016

    ^^^ indeed
    I rate Meister Ekhart very highly. His idea that in the highest expression god is absent of being, is stunning for his situation.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meister_Eckhart#Buddhist_modernism

    Easter eggs all around B)

    @Walker said:
    Agreed @Cinorjer
    In my experience, many Christians seem to miss the point about the Kingdom of Heaven being within us.

    Wot? Kingdom of Heaven is not a perfect planet/dimension/Pureland somewhere? I demand a refund! Easter eggs [pagan fertility practice anyway] removed ... (well eaten actually but that is another story) ... :3

    WalkerCinorjer
  • WalkerWalker Veteran

    tsk-tsk @lobster
    Careful, you'll find yourself on the wrong side of the War on Easter!

    lobster
  • WalkerWalker Veteran

    @lobster said:

    Wot? Kingdom of Heaven is not a perfect planet/dimension/Pureland somewhere? I demand a refund! Easter eggs [pagan fertility practice anyway] removed ... (well eaten actually but that is another story) ... :3

    Ajahn Brahm on The Pure Land. B)

    lobster
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    With reference to practices found in other religions, I personally seem to apply the criterion that if that practice points to silence, or stillness, it is compatible and might be of use. If that practice seems to consist of words that point to more words, better not to touch it with a barge pole.

  • meteorshower01meteorshower01 Manila Explorer

    A Point of View

    Organizations are "perfect", PEOPLE are not.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    Lol, organisations are perfect? I have not found them so. In my view religions are largely composed of rules made up by priests and thinkers long after the enlightened teacher who inspired the movement has gone. Much of this later material is of inferior quality, and editing removes some of the original teachings and obscures what was said, to whom and why.

    One needs to be wary of organisations, as memetic entities they do not have the same goals as people, and are not so amenable to discussion. Even if the organisations goals are currently pure, it's past may not be or there may be factions within it that have worldly goals at heart, and doctrine is often composed as a political consensus.

    To cut through to the heart of a traditions teachings often requires careful selection, but it can yield things of value. Prayer and confession have their uses, the Sermon on the Mount can still inspire. The problem is most people are brought up in a tradition which does not teach them the value of clear vision or a realistic view of human nature, and can't see the forest for the trees.

    In terms of other traditions I have found it more interesting to examine the sayings of those who have claimed enlightenment or were said to be so in the last century or so. Sri Ramana Maharshi, JD Krishnamurti, Meher Baba, Osho, Gurdjieff and others. Why not hear the truth straight from the horse's mouth, rather than contend with the words of those who spawned a priesthood and a council of editors many centuries ago.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited April 2016

    @Walker said:
    Ajahn Brahm on The Pure Land. B)

    Thanks @Walker I agree with Ajahn Brahm, we already are in the Pureland, Hell Realm, samsara, nirvana, animal realm etc ... and if really lucky the human realm (my aspiration).

    The fantasists, dreamers and deluded like to insist on pre and post death 'realms', soul travel, reincarnation on alien planets or spacecraft and eternal nooky for Islamists who have blown up their penis (plus bystanders).

    Comforting insane dharma twists are no use on the Way to Truth.

    I would largely agree with @Fosdick

    @Fosdick said:
    With reference to practices found in other religions, I personally seem to apply the criterion that if that practice points to silence, or stillness, it is compatible and might be of use. If that practice seems to consist of words that point to more words, better not to touch it with a barge pole.

    WalkerKerome
  • meteorshower01meteorshower01 Manila Explorer
    edited April 2016

    I agree with you on the most part of your perspective and totally respect that.

    I cant help but wonder what are your personal experiences that was directly affected or at least one can say was the result of such (thou sharing it is not necessary. :-) )

    Im not trying to make assumptions about anyone or anything or anyway , I do believe that human beings feel certain things for a reasons either it be true or not, fabricated intentionally or not..still it would generate emotions that may reciprocate the idea..

    I am with you with the idea that any organizations, either be social, political, and more..can be corrupted..

    In reference to tradition being approach cut straight to the heart, I totally agree with that.

    As for individuals that where able to gather group of people, either they where perceived as great or the opposite, that I cannot comment about. I

    if I may quote Buddha, and may I quote it right. " Do not believe anything because you have heard it, Do not believe anything because it is spoken and rumored by many, Do not believe anything simply because it was found written in religious books,Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

    To me these is the a great way to view things. for humans are subject to mistakes, we hear people intentionally manipulating system for personal gains, and more.

    That being said what can we do to change things for the better without creating chaos,panic and fear to others? Doing otherwise would only make us a dictator.Isnt it?

    WalkerKerome
  • meteorshower01meteorshower01 Manila Explorer

    An observation and a point of view on the subject of practices and traditions:

    @lobster @SpinyNorman

    • If I may add, looking at things that was practiced in the past and and still being exercised today. One discipline, or a characteristic of an efficient activity is its ability to assist the individual tame its own mind. That being said, such practices on my opinion does not limit itself to prayers, mantras, mediation, yoga, and other various religious or spiritual activities alone.

    Sports,like archery, martial arts or expression of self in various forms of art, as well as a simple activity that one finds joy ( gardening , cleaning the house..etc) , an activity that encourages oneself to be better and persist to improve on its chosen interest. All this under the condition that is non-destructive, calming and allows one to carefully asses self from body to mind on how mind affect body and what needs to be done..

    (There may be some activities, that even they create an alomost perfect condition to oneself , may be better done alone ..

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @meteorshower01 said:

    I agree with you on the most part of your perspective and totally respect that.
    I can't help but wonder what are your personal experiences...
    (snip)
    That being said what can we do to change things for the better without creating chaos,panic and fear to others? Doing otherwise would only make us a dictator.Isnt it?

    Thank you for the quote, it is one I like very much and it was one of the things that persuaded me to turn to Buddhism as a saner tradition than many. I have watched my mother and father struggle out of a Christian reformed background. I was brought up in the resultant hippy culture, with fairly religious grandparents, aunts and uncles, and I have read a good amount about the editing history of the Bible.

    Altogether it has left me with the view that religion should not be taught to children, but rather that the tools to rightly apprehend religion should be. The whole question of clear vision, of being aware of cultural conditioning, are central to how you treat your religious belief and making an informed decision about what is sane.

    I feel people should become spiritual seekers when they reach the age that it becomes important to them. For some it may be 15, for others 50. Ultimately I think it is about the personal experience, whether you call it mystical or meditative, spiritual or enlightened. It makes sense to me that the divine lives within us all, even though many may not experience it.

    So to teach people to seek in a good manner is quite important. I like Buddhism, many of its adherents have a gentleness which I appreciate greatly, although I am only beginning in this tradition :)

    meteorshower01Walkerlobster
  • meteorshower01meteorshower01 Manila Explorer

    @Kerome

    True and rest assured I feel you (that is to the best of my knowing and what my inner me is saying). Personally I have my own shares of life"s tragic comedy, wherein by continuously being resilient, and adaptable while making an effort not to harm others i came to an understanding that most of disagreement arises from, either ones inability to listen, agreeing but not completely comprehending, lack of desire to understand for many reasons.

    making that extra effort to work and use the mind to understand, involves taking off ones shoes and putting on others, seeing where they're coming from and why..

    Teaching is a noble act and I'm happy that you've found what brings peace to your heart.

    As for myself, we only have few Buddhist temples here, so far I haven't found one for me yet. Fortunately, there are a lot of old souls here that I occasionally get in touch with most specially in times needed.

    Peace and Loving Kindness =)

    lobster
  • @Cinorjer said:

    I do think all religions start with the assumption that something is wrong with us and with the world. Death and suffering abound and in spite of our best efforts, we can't get along. Not even to save our lives. Then all religions say there's a better way of living that will fix this by being more obedient or more compassionate or more selfless. From there, people seem to diverge greatly and in my observation, most of us miss the point entirely.

    Most of us miss the point? Tsk, tsk. ;)

    In the convergence at the top of the mountain, where angels and boddhisatvas dance, we find our fix. We have been broken, fragmented and reassembled, emptied and made tiny.
    Can we appreciate the movement that accords with others Middle? I know so. No partisan affiliations to other parties, no words of division by region, religion or damned allegiance.

    You have preference? Dancing in the foothills? Mountain for hire?

    Cinorjer
  • A little night music, please. ;)

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Isn't it rich? Aren't we a pair.....?

  • I find myself looking for a syncretic "middle way". Several in this thread have pointed out some of the same complaints I have against modern Evangelicals. Theologically, I am a Christian. However, when I can read Matthew 23:1-35 and apply those same woes against much of modern Evangelicalism, clearly there is something wrong. Since when were the "followers of Christ" supposed to act like the people who crucified him? I can't change what beliefs I hold so deep, but I can challenge the conduct of those whom say they share my beliefs. And I find myself looking for a way to do so in the practices of Buddhism.

    personlobsterKerome
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited April 2016

    ^^^ You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
    Sounds like solid dharma advice to me and perhaps my fellow Buddhist camel swallowing hypocrites [normal strained exceptions apply]

    Matthew Bless His Heart, was having a go against the hypocrites of the Judaic Priesthood.

    Judaism is another path with great potential wisdom. I am always humbled by the Hasidic Masters and the depth of Rabbinical wisdom. Some heretical Jews are even allowing women Rabbis ... Oy Vey Mani Peme Om ...
    Here is something from the Tanya
    "Our understanding in Tanya is like a goat looking at the moon" --Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneersohn

    It is wonderful to combine ones theology and practice. I find that integrity means acknowledging our Middle Way and deepening our path.

    bushinoki
  • Lobster, I thoroughly enjoyed your post. It is both insightful and funny. Wisdom in philosophy should never be disregarded, merely separated from the theology behind it so it can be considered objectively. I like some of the quotes from Buddhist philosophers I often see on the internet. There is blatantly apparent wisdom behind them, as well with other philosopher-theologians. Wisdom is always worth considering, regardless of the source.

    lobster
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