Author Topic: Buddhism, spirituality, and conceptions of religious figures  (Read 396 times)

Offline newthoughts

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Buddhism, spirituality, and conceptions of religious figures
« on: January 03, 2017, 01:32:23 pm »
Since finding out about Buddhism, my interest in spirituality in general has increased, and I've been trying to look at spiritual things in a different light than I previously had. I was wondering, have any of you used your Buddhist/spiritual mindset to interpret religious figures in different ways, outside of the traditional paradigm offered by organized religion? An article like this is what I'm talking about:
http://josministries.prophpbb.com/topic17416.html
This might seem kind of random, but I think that my spiritual mindset has helped me open my mind and see things differently  :) I was wondering if anyone can relate, or has similar experiences?

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Buddhism, spirituality, and conceptions of religious figures
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2017, 02:51:22 pm »
The meaning of names and words changes, according to where one is coming from. That article starts out harmless enough but then descends into anti-semitism. Instead of being unifying it is stirring up hatred -- not very spiritual.

My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Buddhism, spirituality, and conceptions of religious figures
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2017, 08:18:40 am »
It is always interesting to me that every culture to which I have been exposed has their myths regarding human origins and the creation of the then known worlds.  Buddhism is no different in that regard, except that some Buddhist leaders, His Holiness The Dali Lama for example, recognize that ancient reasoning has often gotten it wrong, and bow to the methods of modern science in discovering truth,  recognizing that the benefit of science has been the process of discovering the truth of any concern, including creation with a willingness to change theories as new discoveries, or new and better methods of detection & measurement are developed.

In this way, Buddha's advisory to a people called The Kalamas to verify and validate dhamma (the truth) for one's self has been essentially fulfilled:

Bhikkhu Bodhi in his commentary regarding this topic points out that, while Buddha recommends free inquiry as every practioner's right and obligation when pursuing the truth, there will be some issues beyond our grasp and/or capability.  As we say in engineering, "We are just "not process capable."  So, for some matters we will have to rely upon so-called experts, who unfortunately have often gotten it wrong.  That is why the scientific method has proven so valuable and religious / spiritual dogma is do dangerous.

Reference:  A Look at The Kalama Suttahttp://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/bps-essay_09.html
« Last Edit: January 04, 2017, 08:29:47 am 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.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Buddhism, spirituality, and conceptions of religious figures
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2017, 11:09:11 am »
Since finding out about Buddhism, my interest in spirituality in general has increased, and I've been trying to look at spiritual things in a different light than I previously had. I was wondering, have any of you used your Buddhist/spiritual mindset to interpret religious figures in different ways, outside of the traditional paradigm offered by organized religion? An article like this is what I'm talking about:
http://josministries.prophpbb.com/topic17416.html
This might seem kind of random, but I think that my spiritual mindset has helped me open my mind and see things differently  :) I was wondering if anyone can relate, or has similar experiences?


For me it has provided greater tolerance.  I was, for decades, a committed anti-Christian.  More or less anti-religion.  As my practice grew so did my tolerance for differing spiritual views.  To be "right" wasn't very impotant any more. 

As an example,  when we go to visit family in the midwest,  rather than resist going to church on Sunday as I did for so many years, I now find I'm happy to escort Mom.  I don't  feel my beliefs threatened, or pressure to compromise.  I'm able to go and enjoy the morning.  I can sit in a sanctuary my family helped build, see people I've known my whole life.  It's  quite liberating to be able to gather with others and not be encumbered with notions of right and wrong and I have my practice, as feeble as it is, to thank.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2017, 12:31:08 pm by IdleChater »

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Buddhism, spirituality, and conceptions of religious figures
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2017, 06:58:48 am »
Quote
IdleChatter:  " As my practice grew so did my tolerance for differing spiritual views.  To be "right" wasn't very impotant any more.  "

Yes.  I was first introduced to this idea / notion by a Bhikkhu, who ran a sangha teaching meditation in the Northern Mid-West in Minnesota.  He explained that another monk and he decided to simply substitute the word "harmonious" for "right" in The Noble Eight Fold Path, and the preponderance of conceptual / perceptive generating divisions disappeared.  For some reason, when we hear the word "right", there always has to be a wrong to which it applies.  This seems not to be true with the word "harmonious".

Another statement, which supports the value of your discovery is that of His Holiness The Dali Lama: (paraphrasing)  " The truth is the truth no matter what the source."

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.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Buddhism, spirituality, and conceptions of religious figures
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2017, 08:29:08 am »
Quote
IdleChatter:  " As my practice grew so did my tolerance for differing spiritual views.  To be "right" wasn't very impotant any more.  "

Yes.  I was first introduced to this idea / notion by a Bhikkhu, who ran a sangha teaching meditation in the Northern Mid-West in Minnesota.  He explained that another monk and he decided to simply substitute the word "harmonious" for "right" in The Noble Eight Fold Path, and the preponderance of conceptual / perceptive generating divisions disappeared.  For some reason, when we hear the word "right", there always has to be a wrong to which it applies.  This seems not to be true with the word "harmonious".

Another statement, which supports the value of your discovery is that of His Holiness The Dali Lama: (paraphrasing)  " The truth is the truth no matter what the source."

But my experience has nothing to do with truth.  It has nothing to do with lies, either.  I suppose you could call it equanimity, or at least a level of it.

I agree that withou wrong there can be no right. One arises dependant on the other.  That doesn't mean they're important.  I guess I find that I'm becoming less and less interested in the distinction.

Offline CardNilos8

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Re: Buddhism, spirituality, and conceptions of religious figures
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2017, 10:03:24 pm »
I have the similar experience.

 


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