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yearning for god

genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

Did you ever notice in your spiritual travels, that the yearning for god, by whatever name, can be compelling enough to weep, compelling enough to get depressed, compelling enough to laugh, compelling enough to take up and practice and keep practicing. For some reason, I am thinking back on my own yearning and that's the way it was for me.

And yet, in the midst of that heart-felt yearning, there is or was a sense, A. that I wasn't exactly sure what "god" was and yet B. was willing to dress the longing with rights and wrongs, goods and bads? So ... I didn't know exactly what it was, but I was willing to dress it up. I was willing to say what it was and simultaneously claim not to know what it was.

Odd stuff, whose central suspicion seems to be that, "yes, Virginia, there is a better mouse trap ... a better way to lead this life."

But if god, by whatever name, is pervasive and never missing, how could anything be "better?"

Not criticizing here ... just remembering a little.

FosdickHozanTiggerlobsterherbertowojciech
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Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    For mystics there are varieties of atheism. For Buddhists there are degrees of emptiness. In our need for submission, something we share with wolves ... tantra yidams, master gurus and top dharma is very mysterious.

    Very mysterious to the point of irrelevance is often the Buddhist inclination.

    Nirvana is our yearning substitute. After that god creation? ... maybe not ... Chaos and order.
    Maybe God could go here
    http://liberationunleashed.com
    and inform us of the result.

    Until results are in we can but no-yearn ...

    Hozan
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    There have been times in my life I've had a random longing for God (of varying meanings as I've gone through life). But in the past 5 years or so, for me it's not been so much a longing for God but a longing for the "ease" at which some believers in God in my life get through some things. Not that illness or loss etc is easier for them. But their catch phrases and their belief in heaven seems to carry them so far, and there are times I long to believe that I will see those I love most again after we all die. There are times investigating everything is so exhausting, and most God believers I know don't seem to go through that. But I wouldn't trade it. For me the most compelling yearning is just for connection. I don't always know what to, but kind of the vastness of life, of the universe, or everything we are and where we come from, whatever that happens to be.

    VastmindyagrTigger
  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    As I see it the greatest human longing is for justice. What exactly if anything can God provide?

    Vastmind
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited April 5

    I agree with @federica. Sadly justice does not exist in this realm (see NT1 - first Noble Truth) One of the Sufi greats said the mark of attainment is to be just but not expect justice (for oneself).

    I felt as if the entire duty of Saving the Universe had been dumped unceremoniously on my doorstep.

    Tee Hee! Call for backup!
    Where are 'the Sangha' when you need them? Probably saving the world by sitting 'doing Nothing' ... tsk, tsk ...

    Here is a touch of deity mentioned by Shakyamuni . . .

  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    Peace of mind is only lacking in those who have courage. Silly thinking about justice is the province of the cold and uncaring. Certainly not a part of Buddhism.

  • HozanHozan Veteran
    edited April 5

    Hi all briefly popping in to say hello on this thread. I agree @federica and @lobster . Letting go is the only thing that worked for me. I was brought up with no religion in catholic ireland ( born 1977) . That was very different back then, when if you werent a catholic you must be a martian or some other form of alien. I always searched for meaning, God? Physics? Atheism? Religion? Differences between religion. I found meditation and zen and i let go. Letting go has set me free.

    lobster
  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    Is that freedom the freedom of the Buddhas?

    Hozan
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I used to discuss this with my Quaker friends and I came to the conclusion that "God" is more about seeking comfort than about seeking truth ( obviously they didn't agree! ).

    Did God make man, or did man make God? I pretty sure it was the latter. :p

    HozanFosdickherberto
  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    @lobster. If you believe that justice is not a part of this world then where will you find it? If we will not work to establish justice for others then what?

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited April 5

    @grackle said:
    @lobster. If you believe that justice is not a part of this world then where will you find it? If we will not work to establish justice for others then what?

    I understand don't understand (apparently - see later post in this thread) why you ask this. It is why certain interpretations of the doctrine of karma are so seductive.

    @grackle like love, justice is what we dispense (to the best of our understanding - no beating up Trump types in the ranks please). Surprisingly AND completely in line with karma, the more we give (up as @Hozan mentions) the more we gain. Spiritual justice is natural. So we SHOULD if possible strive for justice, especially for the weak and oppressed. If we are weak and oppressed, then if sufficiently meek we can seek justice in this world - of course we can . . .

    In Buddhism we protect our Sangha, Scripture (dharma) and Buddha (lama/teacher). How we understand and implement does change.
    YHWH - pronounced YA HEY! WAY! o:) is for many of us just god ... and not particularly Just in any comprehensible or discernible manner ... :p

    Hope that makes some sense . . . <3

    Hozan
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    @grackle said:
    Is that freedom the freedom of the Buddhas?

    It must be. Meditation has changed the whole course of my life. I have always been an overthinker but meditation has changed me in that respect. I have much more peace. Instead of trying to ponder the idea of God or No God I just try to live moment by moment, breath by breath. Asking a question that is impossible to answer definitively or empirically can lead to a loop of thinking that becomes obsessive ( in my experience). Letting go is such a relief. I like living in as much as possible without labels which put people into boxes. I am an atheist. I am a Christian etc. I do meditate and am committing myself to buddhism formally on Saturday but I prefer simply "I am". Just I am. Nothing more.
    Who said " if you meet the buddha on the road, kill him". To me that means over thought or investment of thoughts into god or gods actually defeats the purpose.

    lobsterherberto
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @grackle said:
    @lobster. If you believe that justice is not a part of this world then where will you find it? If we will not work to establish justice for others then what?

    Sadly I also do not believe justice is a part of this world. Looking at our "justice system" in Australia pretty much confirms it. He who has the most money, wins the case, guilty or not. That's no justice system.

  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    @lobster. No you do not understand why I said what I said. Many of Maras true sons and daughters believe they represent the Dharma. Such is delusion in the Dharma ending age.

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    @dhammachick said:

    @grackle said:
    @lobster. If you believe that justice is not a part of this world then where will you find it? If we will not work to establish justice for others then what?

    Sadly I also do not believe justice is a part of this world. Looking at our "justice system" in Australia pretty much confirms it. He who has the most money, wins the case, guilty or not. That's no justice system.

    @dhammachick you should see Ireland at the moment. I reckon proportionally we must have one of the most corrupt political systems going. No "justice" politically. Here the politicians and banks walk away from high crimes untouched but people get threatened with jail for failure to pay a tv licence. Our banks bankrupted the state in 2008 and most individuals walked away from it untouched. I think we get disillusioned with "justice" becuase due to power and corruption in politics we dont see justice. Yes we must stand up for our oppressed and unfairly treated.
    Justice is a strange thing. For me coming from a non religious background i never had any dogma to follow. I find buddhism so refreshing as rather than dogma you get to see results of meditation. Buddha said not just to take his word for it but practise and see how it works.
    I dont believe in law of karma just because its written about. I believe in karma as ive seen its effects in my own life ( as we all have).

    herberto
  • HozanHozan Veteran
    edited April 5

    @lobster said:
    For mystics there are varieties of atheism. For Buddhists there are degrees of emptiness. In our need for submission, something we share with wolves ... tantra yidams, master gurus and top dharma is very mysterious.

    Very mysterious to the point of irrelevance is often the Buddhist inclination.

    Nirvana is our yearning substitute. After that god creation? ... maybe not ... Chaos and order.
    Maybe God could go here
    http://liberationunleashed.com
    and inform us of the result.

    Until results are in we can but no-yearn ...

    Liberation unleashed looks very interesting @lobster. Have you been on that forum ?There is no self. The biggest trick us humans ever fell for was believing in a seperate self. The illusion of a self we have all created for ourselves

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited April 5

    Yes been on the forum. However it is a process unique to each. I would recommend the process of finding what the nature of self entails ... Liberation unleashed kindly facilitate this process ...

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @grackle the discussion might go further if you tell us what your idea of justice is. Most of us are stuck on the idea of justice as a system or as fairness in some sense and that doesn't seem to be quite what you are getting at. Caring for others can fall under a lot of different words, and is of course a major part of Buddhism, most other religions, and just being a human. But it doesn't fall under justice in my mind because of my experience with what justice means to me. I have to agree with @federica right now because in my mind justice isn't even on the horizon until we have peace of mind ourselves and understand others deserve the same and what our place might be in helping them to understand and achieve it. Justice, it seems, is a sense of giving freedom as we know it to someone else. But in a broader sense they have to claim it for themselves (and no, I'm not talking about things like the Syrian people fighting back against a regime here, I'm talking in a Buddhist sense of the letting go of all that traps us). I think we are just not on the same page with what you think justice is.

  • yagryagr Veteran

    @lobster said:
    I agree with @federica. Sadly justice does not exist in this realm

    It is more likely that I don't have a skillful understanding of justice, but I am not sure that I agree. Jump off a thousand foot meter cliff in a realm where the average lifetime is a few seconds and the masses might find it unjust that I get to fly and they don't. Take a longer view and they might find it unjust that I'm about to die (when I hit bottom) and they aren't.

    I don't think I have enough information to decide what is just and unjust but suspect that if I saw more of the puzzle, I might reverse many of my tightly held beliefs.

  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    @karasti. So far I am satisfied with the many responses. I am not now nor have I ever looked for others to agree with me. But I do appreciate your seeking clarification. I have a very different idea of what the teachings are because I've always been close by to flesh and blood Buddhists. Most of whom were trained under rigorous conditions. I hope you can read between the lines.

  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    @yagr. I much appreciate the closing sentence of your post. Good to hear from you.

    yagr
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @yagr said:

    @lobster said:
    I agree with @federica. Sadly justice does not exist in this realm

    It is more likely that I don't have a skillful understanding of justice, but I am not sure that I agree.

    Perhaps this will help with the skilful understanding of Justice...

    yagr
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I am struggling to understand why exactly you introduced the aspect of Justice into this thread, @grackle, when @genkaku made no reference to it, but rather, sought to discuss a somewhat different angle of philosophy....? O.o

  • TiggerTigger Toronto, Canada Veteran

    I don't think I've have ever yearned or longed for God but more something to happen, someone to come and help and yet, I too, did not know what or who that was. As I mentioned in previous posts, when I was young and even until not that long ago I believed I was put on earth to ease people's pain. I don't know how and why but that's how I felt because I often suffered too much watching other people suffer and that was the only explanation I could offer myself. I always knew I was different for it. Not the only one but different because walking in Toronto I often saw hoards of people walk by homeless men/women begging and they don't even bother to look at the person as if they were nothing but a light post. I could never do that and even to this day the least say is "sorry, no I don't". But, it was the suffering, the pain I felt afterwards thinking of this person and what they must be going through. This pain made me yearn for something.....someone....but what, who.

  • RefugeeRefugee San Francisco Explorer

    I get the sense that I may not fully grok your meaning, @genkaku, but if I refrained from entering any conversation where I harbored such doubts, then I might as well take a vow of silence. Come to think of it, that might not be such a bad idea. Anywho...

    I recall a deep longing for understanding, to know, since my earliest years. I was brought up in a conservative small town in Texas where Southern Baptists held sway. While my family didn't actively participate in the church, Christian ideology was pervasive. Until I was around twelve, I accepted it without question.

    That's when things started breaking down. I couldn't help but to see inherent flaws and contradictions, not to mention outright hypocrisy, in the religion as it was practiced around me. Things came to a head when I began to become aware that my sexual orientation was not in line with the statistical mainstream. It was a stressful time for me. I developed severe psychological problems (and an ulcer) as a result of this internal conflict. I was obliged by circumstance to deconstruct my programmed belief system and cobble together something in its place. I kept certain parts and discarded others.

    This curation left a hole, a most palpable and discernible lacking, which I equate with your "yearning for God." I've been seeking ever since. I came to a realization of no-self in a bout of severe depression a couple of years ago when I spent five months turned entirely inward, socially isolated from other human beings save for one person that I texted but have never met in person. The realization was not a positive experience -- it felt almost like psychosis, and maybe it was -- and I reeled. The ego forcefully reasserted itself over the next couple of months.

    That hole, that yearning, is still there. Lately, though, I've wondered whether it's a yearning for God -- whatever that is -- or whether it's a yearning for an identifiable self.

    TiggerFosdicklobster
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @genkaku said:
    Did you ever notice in your spiritual travels, that the yearning for god, by whatever name, can be compelling enough to weep, compelling enough to get depressed, compelling enough to laugh, compelling enough to take up and practice and keep practicing. For some reason, I am thinking back on my own yearning and that's the way it was for me.

    And yet, in the midst of that heart-felt yearning, there is or was a sense, A. that I wasn't exactly sure what "god" was and yet B. was willing to dress the longing with rights and wrongs, goods and bads? So ... I didn't know exactly what it was, but I was willing to dress it up. I was willing to say what it was and simultaneously claim not to know what it was.

    Odd stuff, whose central suspicion seems to be that, "yes, Virginia, there is a better mouse trap ... a better way to lead this life."

    But if god, by whatever name, is pervasive and never missing, how could anything be "better?"

    Not criticizing here ... just remembering a little.

    For me it gets summed up with the recognition that we learn as we go and that includes any god.

  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    @grackle said:
    @lobster. If you believe that justice is not a part of this world then where will you find it? If we will not work to establish justice for others then what?

    -Excuse me for interrupting. @grackle, in my opinion, when we show compassion, justice often flows from the act. However, as to an expectation of justice for ourselves; justice is like the rain, sometimes it falls and sometimes it doesn't.

    lobsterHozan
  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    I've in no way implied I am seeking justice for myself. For others often. Justice in our world is part of a political process often which shows those under the heel of oppression that acting in union makes it possible to achieve redress. Compassion without wisdom leads to nothing imo.

    lobsterHozan
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    That is awesome @DhammaDragon !!!!

    DhammaDragon
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    I am a creationist: I believe man created god.

    Two-somes like this always leave someone without a resting place. Does it take two to tango? It most certainly does not. If man creates god, how is that any different from the lonely climes where god creates man.

    It's the dance that counts, I think.

    herberto
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @DhammaDragon said:
    But I have found more strength in my own resilience than in the comfort of fairy tales.

    Tee Hee! More strength in yang than yin ha?

    If you long to be purified, you will be.
    If you want to be burnt to ashes, you will be.
    The joy of your purification will demonstrate
    How non-existence turns into existence.

    Rumi.

    I completely trust fairy tales only when I no longer believe in them.
    For examples the fisher king dervish say:

    There is no cod ... But Cod

    In dharma we say 'Emptiness is form and form is even more so ... '
    In other words, be weak at the knees, not strong on beliefs, whatever the sauce ... o:)

  • techietechie India Veteran

    @genkaku said:

    I am a creationist: I believe man created god.

    Two-somes like this always leave someone without a resting place. Does it take two to tango? It most certainly does not. If man creates god, how is that any different from the lonely climes where god creates man.

    It's the dance that counts, I think.

    Let me take a wild guess. You're a zen practitioner, right? :p

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Thanks, @techie... and your point is....?

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran
    edited April 19

    @lobster said:

    @DhammaDragon said:
    But I have found more strength in my own resilience than in the comfort of fairy tales.

    Tee Hee! More strength in yang than yin ha?

    I am both yin and yang, @lobster.
    To quote Whitman, "I am multitudes."
    And then technically, I am not.
    I fade and merge with the landscape.
    And one day my aggreagates will be ashes in the air.
    And I am at peace with that.
    .... and still don't need a god....

    Hozanlobster
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    @DhammaDragon said:

    @lobster said:

    @DhammaDragon said:
    But I have found more strength in my own resilience than in the comfort of fairy tales.

    Tee Hee! More strength in yang than yin ha?

    I am both yin and yang, @lobster.
    To quote Whitman, "I am multitudes."
    And then technically, I am not.
    I fade and merge with the landscape.
    And one day my aggreagates will be ashes in the air.
    An I am at peace with that.
    .... and still don't need a god....

    Im at peace too. :)

    DhammaDragon
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Refugee said:
    That hole, that yearning, is still there. Lately, though, I've wondered whether it's a yearning for God -- whatever that is -- or whether it's a yearning for an identifiable self.

    :) Tee Hee!
    I am continually told 'Cod is within'. :glasses:

    The unsettled is interesting. For me the journey was towards the yearning, which at certain point required a movement into the abyss/void/dark night of the Sole (it is still about the fish).

    In much Western Buddhism we don't really require god. In many Buddhist cultures, Buddha is a kind of magic man who became god - Dashavatara. The reverse of Christianity but no less fantasy based as opposed to experiental ...

    How to balance? Do we have a cushion?
    Or an empty space?
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poustinia

    Answers to the usual godless place ... ;)

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Let me take a wild guess. You're a zen practitioner, right? :p

    @techie -- No matter what the spirit, I appreciate the words. Thanks. At the simplest level, the answer is more or less, "yes."

    But, beyond that and perhaps presumptuously, I have a very strong hunch that no matter what the entry point or persuasion, the outcome is always the same ... dualism doesn't work any more than monism does. Any suggestion or hope that there is something ELSE is bound to leave weeping children in its wake. Not that weeping can be avoided, of course, but still.... let's not take the pointing finger for the moon.

    Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim... same ol', same ol' ... and you thought WalMart was full of options! :)

    wojciech
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    “A path is made by walking on it.”
    ― Zhuangzi

    ... assuming we are heading anywhere beyond death of course ...

    Like many here. No need for gods, Gods or even self (though that is a presence of sorts). However our cousins may do ... and may use such a tool skilfully as can the Purelanders and others ...

    Find Your Way. Walk. Iz plan? Wot plan ... B)

    HozanDhammaDragonwojciech
  • HozanHozan Veteran
    edited April 20

    @lobster said:
    “A path is made by walking on it.”
    ― Zhuangzi

    ... assuming we are heading anywhere beyond death of course ...

    Like many here. No need for gods, Gods or even self (though that is a presence of sorts). However our cousins may do ... and may use such a tool skilfully as can the Purelanders and others ...

    Find Your Way. Walk. Iz plan? Wot plan ... B)

    @lobster I like your style

  • wojciechwojciech I yam whatever you say I yam Veteran

    @genkaku said:
    Did you ever notice in your spiritual travels, that the yearning for god, by whatever name, can be compelling enough to weep, compelling enough to get depressed, compelling enough to laugh, compelling enough to take up and practice and keep practicing. For some reason, I am thinking back on my own yearning and that's the way it was for me.

    And yet, in the midst of that heart-felt yearning, there is or was a sense, A. that I wasn't exactly sure what "god" was and yet B. was willing to dress the longing with rights and wrongs, goods and bads? So ... I didn't know exactly what it was, but I was willing to dress it up. I was willing to say what it was and simultaneously claim not to know what it was.

    Odd stuff, whose central suspicion seems to be that, "yes, Virginia, there is a better mouse trap ... a better way to lead this life."

    But if god, by whatever name, is pervasive and never missing, how could anything be "better?"

    Not criticizing here ... just remembering a little.

    Definitely, yes.

    Saying "I don't know" can often be empowering...lest that good ol' catholic guilt shows up with a whammy of a hammer upon the psyche!

    Charged with eternal damnation?

    Saving all sentient beings?

    It certainly is enough to bring laughter and tears.

    Lotus land, ahoy!

    lobster
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    Reading Pema Chodron's "When Things Fall Apart" for the first time. These few pages hit me hard, like a revelation of sorts. Think its relevant to this thread. Yearning for god. Theism. Non theism. Atheism......

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    DhammaDragon
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    DhammaDragon
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    DhammaDragon
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    In a nontheistic state of mind, abandoning hope is an affirmation.....

    lobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I have found that to be true. I wrote about it on FB last year and boy did it get a reaction! I still use the word "I hope you feel better soon!" and so on. But hope as a state of mind or a true feeling just doesn't jive with me. It is, I think, an attachment to wanting things to be other than they are. Hoping for things to go from bad to good. Hoping for improvement. I prefer impermanence and knowing nothing ever stays the same. I don't have to hope things will be good. I know they will be, eventually.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Abandon Hope?
    Aye caramba - Buddhists and Lobsters first ...

    :grin:

    I like the term nontheism and would make it more active in dharma and other mousetraps as untheism.

    All gnostic/knowing interpretations of religion, including Buddhism talk about the means to experiential application.

    In a nontheistic state of mind, abandoning hope is an affirmation.....

    Tee Hee!
    It is BUT also we can trust in lineage blessing, yidam effects, mantra benefits and other spookiness, if that is our way. This duality of 'empty' practice having a profound impact is not to be worshiped but pragmatically utilised.

    OM MANI PEME HUM
    as some of us mumble to Nothing in particular . . .
    https://vividness.live/2017/02/09/yidams-a-godless-approach-naturally/

    Hozan
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    At the risk of repetition:
    I once asked my teacher what role hope and belief played in Buddhist practice. He replied, "For the first four or five years [of practice] hope and belief are necessary." "And after that?" I pressed. "After that," he said, "they are not so necessary."

    Experience trumps hope. Experience trumps belief. Practice means experience.

    karastiwojciechKeromeHozan
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