Author Topic: Eightfold Path  (Read 2632 times)

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Eightfold Path
« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2017, 12:03:25 pm »
Hi, Zen Fred.

Appreciated your explanation regarding your Christian belief system, vs. taking on the trappings of "sitting" in the Zen tradition.  Tich Nat Hahn is a good teacher with whom to make that tradition transition.

Also, I could also appreciate your position regarding The Christian Triune Godhead.  Having been raised a "roaming catholic" I had difficulty with that concept myself until later as an adult I came to a better appreciation of what the church meant by a Holy Spirit.  And, much later when I learned of a three person god in pre-Abrahemic religions the idea became even more suspect of being a human creation of mind, rather than a human discovery of the true nature of The Mono-theistic Creator God.
Monistic tritheism
The Hindu Trinity of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer have been held to constitute a Tritheistic belief system. Like the Christian Trinity, these entities are understood to interact harmoniously. However, this Hindu trinity is not conceived in a firmly doctrinal sense, but is rather posited as one of the ways in which the divine order of the universe can be understood. Ultimately, the Universal Spirit, the Param-atman, the Brahman (not to be confused with brahmin, a social class / caste), or Bhagvan is held to reign supreme as a singular entity.

"Monotheistic" tritheism

Muslims, Jews and other nontrinitarians claim that the orthodox trinitarian Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit constitutes Tritheism, since these distinct "persons" are unified only by an impersonal substance ousia which does not transcend, or exist apart from, the persons.
Proponents of trinitarianism claim that the three persons of the Trinity do not have separate powers, since they are omnipotent, and do not have separate spheres of influence, since their sphere of influence is unlimited. They argue that the persons of the Trinity have one divine essence and are indivisible, whereas Tritheism appears to suggest three separate Gods. Athanasius already attempted to distinguish Trinitarianism from Tritheism and Modalism.

I see the idea of The Son of God as a Savior having a  great deal in common with the Mahayana concept of a Bodhisattva, which is one of the reason why I have personally avoided that path.  Like yourself, I cannot accept the idea that others should or could effectively provide unbinding and release from the bondage of ignorance, except in the role of models of behavior for us to follow and as teachers, should we submit to being educated and trained by them.  From that point (once educated and trained) I see it as up to us to "practice" what we have learned and adopted as a discipline of living both as  individuals and members of any given community, such as is meant by the concept of Sangha.

Idle, I believe that I have shared this thought with you in the past regarding the term "right" in the steps of the N8FP:  A meditation instructor of mine shared that he and another monk, while taking training in Cambodia both agreed that exchanging the word right for "harmonious" made a lot more sense to them, and provided a more beneficial outcome to following the path.  The only difficulty I have personally experienced with this idea was when dealing with those, who insist upon living their lives in tactical, or adversarial modalities rather than living it in harmony, with the goal being to win rather than in finding peace.

In any event,  Zen Fred, thanks for providing the thread and for raising this conversation.  Very meaningful ideas and experiences upon which to reflect and to consider. :namaste:
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 12:27:19 pm by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.


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