not quite

August 4, 2008

“…if you are not quite a saint, he is not quite an idiot…”

Visistacarita Bodhisattva

Ways of Thinking of Eastern Peoples p. 383

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sweeping discovery

July 14, 2008

The first lesson of the ascetics of Hinayana Buddhism is to regard one’s body as impure.  Here the body is regarded as the source of all evils, and as a hindrance to the practice of the Way.  Dogen, however, revised this interpretation.  According to him, contemplation should be realized in one’s actions in everyday life.  “So-called contemplations are everyday activities like sweeping the ground and the floor.”  That should be concieved as exactly identical to “recognizing one’s body as impure.”  Moreover, in that case, one is expected to transcend the dichotomy of purity and impurity.”  

Ways of Thinking of Eastern Peoples p. 370 (paragraph 3)

Meditation farming Buddhism

February 20, 2008

……

I’ve been going through a book about Buddhism in Modern Korea.  In it, I came across this passage:

Master Yongseong “[…] founded Hwagwawon center at Hadong, Gyeongsangnam-do province in which he demonstrated “meditation farming Buddhism,” a life of working and practicing Seon (Zen).”  p. 282

My curiousity is this:  a life of working and practicing Zen; does that imply practicing Zen while working?  If so, I think that such a life would be incredibly challenging,

 yet the thought of living that way is very appealing.

Some Background on Zen

D.T. Suzuki asserted that satori (awakening) has always been the goal of every school of Buddhism, but that which distinguished the Zen tradition as it developed in China, Korea, and Japan was a way of life radically different from that of Indian Buddhists. In India, the tradition of the mendicant (bhikkhu) prevailed, but in China social circumstances led to the development of a temple and training-center system in which the abbot and the monks all performed mundane tasks. These included food gardening or farming, carpentry, architecture, housekeeping, administration, and the practice of folk medicine. Consequently, the enlightenment sought in Zen had to stand up well to the demands and potential frustrations of everyday life.[citation needed]

it seems to me that the Bible isn’t very clear on rather or not one experiences suffering/death (i’m going to equate the two here) as a result of past deeds. 

For example, the passage about Jesus healing the man born blind seems to suggest that physical suffering/handicap is not the result of sin as the disciples assumed it was.  But then, you have King David losing the son (v. 13-14) he had with another man’s wife.  This suggests that sin is inherited.  

 Not to mention these passages.    And just when it seems that you might as well throw in the towel of personal responsability and become a fatalist,

  Deuteronomy 24:17  pops up suggesting that God sees it fitting that each die for his own sins.     

On the contrary however, we have David living for a murder he committed but his son dying instead.  And each is to die/suffer for his own sin?   

This contradictory theology had me scratching my head until i considered the reason God is said to have killed David’s son. i stopped scratching my head for a moment when i read that, but now i’m scratching my head again. 

14 But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, [a] the son born to you will die. (NIV) 

That single sentence expresses how much the God of David was concerned about using Israel to draw all of the nations to Himself. 

So much so, that He would (as the account recorded in our bible goes), cause harm to the house of David so that the nations wouldn’t completely turn their eyes away from the God of David in disgust. 

As for why God chose to slay david’s son instead of David himself, is still beyond me, in light of Deuteronomy 24:17.

  I mean, David, the one who had a man killed after sleeping with the guy’s wife, doesn’t die for his sin, or for giving the other nations a reason to mock the God of Israel.  But, his son dies.   

Also, what is God’s intent in causing David’s son to die?  Was it to punish David without killing him?  Or was it to show the mockers of David’s God that He did not approve of what david had done?  Was it both?

According to the reasoning of the prophet Nathan, God’s surmised expression of disapproval towards one man mercilessly stealing from and killing another man is portrayed because those acts do not reflect who the God of David was/is.

It seems that David’s God/the God of Israel was/is very concerned about Israel reflecting who He is. 

As for God intending that David suffer for having wronged someone,

David seems to have been grieved over the loss of his son.  And as far as having his wives stolen, i don’t know where in the Bible that happens or if it’s even recorded. 

Both of these instances involve a loss of something David had been given by God. 

The Bible seems to support the reasoning that all the things we have are given to us by God

(here’s where i start to ramble)     

The reason i mention that what we have has been given us, is that i wonder if pain can exist without pleasure.  I mean, yes there are viruses, which one would assume are created to inflict pain, but what do viruses do?  They use the building block of life (a cell), which is composed of the blueprint for life (DNA), to live, killing the cell in the process. 

Look at this parallel:

In the end, all will see that whatever Evil had was from holiness. It

had nothing of its own. [Rabbi Kaplan speaks more about this in Innerspace, pp.

161-162.] p. 32

 there’s also the passages which deal with children being blessed for their parent’s actions.

this article  (see 6th paragraph)

superstitions

July 10, 2007

i’ve been listening to alot of this guy ajan brahm’s lectures on youtube for a while. 

He’s pretty thorough in his explanations, which i like.  i heard his talk on superstitions tonight. 

He’s under the standpoint that Christianity is a superstition. 

He made the statement that a lot of superstition is just believing without actually checking it out.  From my understanding, he said superstition=blind faith.  i agree.  The only way for Christianity not to be a superstition would be if it’s an experiential religion.  From my understanding, Christianity is meant to be an experiential religion Granted, to have this deposit of the Holy Spirit, someone must believe; likewise though, when ajan speaks of seeing the mind, one must meditate. He speaks of the possibility of even seeing a past life you’ve lived.  i like what he said when he explained how he’d experienced an early life memory, then encouraged the listeners to find out for themselves and not to take his word for it.  i do agree that superstition exists in Christianity just as he acknowledged that it exists in buddhism. 

For instance,  ajahn mentioned how the student went to him and some other monks to have them chant over her so she’d do well on her examn.  i once was talking to a muslim man who was turned off by Christianity because (if i remember correctly) of people he’d encountered who mentioned they needed some spare change to put in the offereing plate, so they’d get their blessing.  And how many athletes have you seen who wear a gold cross necklace which many consider to be their good luck charm.  Maybe there are those who wear it as a statement of faith, but i don’t know that clothing/jewelry can really make a faith statement if it’s not backed up by something inward.     

Forgiveness
What right has that person to forgive you? The only thing they can do is to urge you to forgive yourself…

Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.
— buddha.