Author Topic: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus  (Read 1618 times)

Offline Dharma Flower

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Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« on: August 16, 2018, 10:56:11 pm »
As a Buddhist, I would look to the Hebrew scriptures for the purpose of comparative religion. Due to the limitations of human language, are the various world religions explaining the same Ultimate Truth in diverse ways?

Please consider the following words of Exodus:

Quote
And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? What shall I say unto them?
And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

When Moses asks God for his name, so he can tell the Israelites the name of their tribal deity that will rival all other tribes, God refuses.

Instead, he simply says, "I AM has sent me unto you." In other words, "I am Existence-itself, and human language cannot contain me." Even the word “God” is a linguistic construct.

This sounds a great deal like Shinran Shonin's teaching that the true and ultimate nature of Amida Buddha is beyond what human language can describe.

The name of Amida Buddha means infinite light, much like Moses' burning bush that could not be consumed.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2018, 11:43:20 pm by Dharma Flower »

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2018, 01:35:43 am »
As a Buddhist, I would look to the Hebrew scriptures for the purpose of comparative religion. Due to the limitations of human language, are the various world religions explaining the same Ultimate Truth in diverse ways?

I don't find the perennialist approach convincing.  It seems to involve a lot of fuzzy wishful thinking, a slightly desperate grasping at metaphysical straws, a denial of significant differences, a drawing of false equivalences.   

As for "Ultimate Truth", it's basically a meaningless expression.  Is "Ultimate Truth" more true than "Truth"?  And is "Truth" more true than plain old "truth"?
It's the kind of vague cliche that New-agers thrive on.

« Last Edit: August 17, 2018, 01:44:36 am by Dairy Lama »
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Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2018, 10:34:57 am »
While there is no creator or judge in Buddhism, even the word “God” is a linguistic construct for the one ineffable Truth:

IS THERE A GOD? A BUDDHIST ANSWER
by Rev Taitetsu Unno
http://enlight.lib.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-AN/an140493.pdf

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2018, 01:09:26 am »
....even the word “God” is a linguistic construct for the one ineffable Truth:

According to who?

And what exactly is the "Truth" you are you referring to?  There are many "truths" promoted by various religions, many of these are contradictory which means they cannot all be correct - so which "truth" do you actually mean? 

You seem to be on a mission to promote perennialism - a General Religion or New-age forum might be better?
« Last Edit: August 18, 2018, 01:41:55 am by Dairy Lama »
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Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2018, 10:24:52 am »
And what exactly is the "Truth" you are you referring to? 

Quote
The Brahman of the Hindus, like the Dharmakaya of the Buddhists, and the Tao of the Taoists, can be seen, perhaps, as the ultimate unified field, from which spring not only the phenomena studied in physics, but all other phenomena as well.
In the Eastern view, the reality underlying all phenomena is beyond all forms (e.g. beyond a god) and defies all description and specification. It is, therefore, often said to be formless, empty, or void. But this emptiness is not to be taken for mere nothingness. It is, on the contrary, the essence of all forms and the source of all life.
- Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics

A traditional Jewish understanding, based on the Book of Exodus, is the ultimate nature of "God" is beyond even the concept of a god.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2018, 10:29:43 am by Dharma Flower »

Offline Chaz

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Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2018, 06:01:25 pm »
And what exactly is the "Truth" you are you referring to? 

Quote
The Brahman of the Hindus, like the Dharmakaya of the Buddhists, and the Tao of the Taoists, can be seen, perhaps, as the ultimate unified field, from which spring not only the phenomena studied in physics, but all other phenomena as well.
In the Eastern view, the reality underlying all phenomena is beyond all forms (e.g. beyond a god) and defies all description and specification. It is, therefore, often said to be formless, empty, or void. But this emptiness is not to be taken for mere nothingness. It is, on the contrary, the essence of all forms and the source of all life.
- Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics

A traditional Jewish understanding, based on the Book of Exodus, is the ultimate nature of "God" is beyond even the concept of a god.

Where in Exodus does it say that?  Chapter and verse, please.

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2018, 02:23:49 am »
And what exactly is the "Truth" you are you referring to? 

Quote
The Brahman of the Hindus, like the Dharmakaya of the Buddhists, and the Tao of the Taoists, can be seen, perhaps, as the ultimate unified field, from which spring not only the phenomena studied in physics, but all other phenomena as well.
In the Eastern view, the reality underlying all phenomena is beyond all forms (e.g. beyond a god) and defies all description and specification. It is, therefore, often said to be formless, empty, or void. But this emptiness is not to be taken for mere nothingness. It is, on the contrary, the essence of all forms and the source of all life.
- Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics

Oh well.  I do wonder if this kind of quote-mining would be better on a New-age forum than on a Buddhist one. 

By the way, you still haven't clearly explained what Amida Buddha is.

Are you really a Buddhist, or are you really just here to preach your perennialist dogma?
« Last Edit: August 19, 2018, 02:38:16 am by Dairy Lama »
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Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2018, 04:06:17 am »
As a Buddhist, I would look to the Hebrew scriptures for the purpose of comparative religion. Due to the limitations of human language, are the various world religions explaining the same Ultimate Truth in diverse ways?

I like studying different religions and finding similarities and exploring differences. Many of the world's religions are based on interpretations of what happens during insight experiences, however they come about. Sometimes accidentally throught fasting, or thinking while walking, or while just sitting doing nothing, but often they are the result of practices designed by that religion. The differences come about by the varied interpretations of what those experiences mean, in the period of reflection afterwards.

It's important for any religion to make sure that such experiences are interpreted according to that particular religion, so that everyone continues to sing from the same songsheet, or hymnsheet. Central to this is the nature of 'truth' arising from the experiences. Hence the idea of an 'Ultimate Truth' (usually with the same capital letter strategy as used in the word God). Of course there is no revealed truth, but an interpretation of a universal experience, known in Buddhist circles as 'enlightenment', but in others as 'finding God' or 'being reborn in Jesus' or any other such phrase, depending on the religion.

The only 'truth' is that we can all go through the human experiences of insight and (dare I say it) enlightenment, and can subsequently see things in a different way, as only those who have gone through such experiences can. These insights should have as infinitely varied subsequent interpretations as the people who have them, but for many reasons, mostly of control and mostly with the 'best' of intentions, they are challenged and channeled according to the context of time and place.

I'm a Buddhist in that the path is the best way, at least for me, of providing practices and the checks and balances needed when attempting to experience such things for yourself.

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2018, 01:43:46 am »
I like studying different religions and finding similarities and exploring differences. Many of the world's religions are based on interpretations of what happens during insight experiences, however they come about. Sometimes accidentally throught fasting, or thinking while walking, or while just sitting doing nothing, but often they are the result of practices designed by that religion. The differences come about by the varied interpretations of what those experiences mean, in the period of reflection afterwards.

Yes, there are many different explanations for the "spiritual" experiences that people have, according to the beliefs and assumptions of various religions, and of various individuals.    But I also think there are many varieties of "spiritual" experience, and that their subjective nature means it is very difficult to make objective comparisons. 

As for perennialism ( the real topic of this thread ), it looks to me like a very superficial approach.  It reminds me of that old hippy cliche: "It's all one, man!"
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Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2018, 02:03:41 am »
I like studying different religions and finding similarities and exploring differences. Many of the world's religions are based on interpretations of what happens during insight experiences, however they come about. Sometimes accidentally throught fasting, or thinking while walking, or while just sitting doing nothing, but often they are the result of practices designed by that religion. The differences come about by the varied interpretations of what those experiences mean, in the period of reflection afterwards.

Yes, there are many different explanations for the "spiritual" experiences that people have, according to the beliefs and assumptions of various religions, and of various individuals.    But I also think there are many varieties of "spiritual" experience, and that their subjective nature means it is very difficult to make objective comparisons. 

As for perennialism ( the real topic of this thread ), it looks to me like a very superficial approach.  It reminds me of that old hippy cliche: "It's all one, man!"
There is an interesting body of thought that religions arose to control the interpretations of insight experiences, so that everyone could have a shared world inderstanding. Those societies that didn't do that died out as those that did became more successful.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Chaz

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Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2018, 06:33:35 am »
I like studying different religions and finding similarities and exploring differences. Many of the world's religions are based on interpretations of what happens during insight experiences, however they come about. Sometimes accidentally throught fasting, or thinking while walking, or while just sitting doing nothing, but often they are the result of practices designed by that religion. The differences come about by the varied interpretations of what those experiences mean, in the period of reflection afterwards.

Yes, there are many different explanations for the "spiritual" experiences that people have, according to the beliefs and assumptions of various religions, and of various individuals.    But I also think there are many varieties of "spiritual" experience, and that their subjective nature means it is very difficult to make objective comparisons. 

As for perennialism ( the real topic of this thread ), it looks to me like a very superficial approach.  It reminds me of that old hippy cliche: "It's all one, man!"
There is an interesting body of thought that religions arose to control the interpretations of insight experiences, so that everyone could have a shared world inderstanding. Those societies that didn't do that died out as those that did became more successful.

That sounds interesting.  Does this body of thought contain any literature/books for further study?

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2018, 01:31:15 am »
I like studying different religions and finding similarities and exploring differences. Many of the world's religions are based on interpretations of what happens during insight experiences, however they come about. Sometimes accidentally throught fasting, or thinking while walking, or while just sitting doing nothing, but often they are the result of practices designed by that religion. The differences come about by the varied interpretations of what those experiences mean, in the period of reflection afterwards.

Yes, there are many different explanations for the "spiritual" experiences that people have, according to the beliefs and assumptions of various religions, and of various individuals.    But I also think there are many varieties of "spiritual" experience, and that their subjective nature means it is very difficult to make objective comparisons. 

As for perennialism ( the real topic of this thread ), it looks to me like a very superficial approach.  It reminds me of that old hippy cliche: "It's all one, man!"
There is an interesting body of thought that religions arose to control the interpretations of insight experiences, so that everyone could have a shared world inderstanding. Those societies that didn't do that died out as those that did became more successful.

I'm not sure that religion is primarily concerned with insight.  It often seems more to do with finding spiritual comfort and meaning, also a sense of community and shared values.
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2018, 02:10:34 am »
I'm not sure that religion is primarily concerned with insight.  It often seems more to do with finding spiritual comfort and meaning, also a sense of community and shared values.

I think most religion is concerned with supressing insight. It wants the initial insight surrounding it's founder to underpin the comfort, meaning and shared values of that particular society, but no more than that. Christianity, for example, wants you to pray but not to meditate. Historically it has controlled the mechanism of insight generation, and, if insight does come about, has tightly controlled the subsequent interpretation of any insight experiences.



“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

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Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2018, 06:04:20 am »
I think most religion is concerned with supressing insight.


I think you're right, but perhaps a little incomplete in your expression.

Religions, as a rule don't really suppress insight.  Some may but others may not.  They all allow people to achieve insight, but won't allow it to alter dogma and doctrine.  Some even encourage insight practices

Quote
Christianity, for example, wants you to pray but not to meditate.

There's a movement within traditional protestant and catholic denominations that encourages contemplative activity.  Buddhist groups encourage cross-over participation.  Shambhala is the most active in this regard.

Like I said, they don't discourage insight, it's just not going to be allowed to change much.



Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2018, 07:50:43 am »
I think most religion is concerned with supressing insight.


I think you're right, but perhaps a little incomplete in your expression.

Religions, as a rule don't really suppress insight.  Some may but others may not.  They all allow people to achieve insight, but won't allow it to alter dogma and doctrine.  Some even encourage insight practices

Quote
Christianity, for example, wants you to pray but not to meditate.

There's a movement within traditional protestant and catholic denominations that encourages contemplative activity.  Buddhist groups encourage cross-over participation.  Shambhala is the most active in this regard.

Like I said, they don't discourage insight, it's just not going to be allowed to change much.
Of course it depends on definitions of insight. They may perhaps encourage insight in the sense of deeper insight into as aspect of Christianity. I used to know someone who regularly went on Christian meditation retreats for this purpose. She was rather puzzled that I often just meditated with no particular aim in mind. I was perhaps talking about vipassana insight which is about an individual's understanding of the nature of reality, but which, as you say, isn't going to be allowed to change much anyway.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

 


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