Types of Meditation ?

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by GlorytoGod, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    Thomas,

    I think you might be right in the sense that Buddhism -
    and more specifically Anatma doctrine - is focused on
    the deconstruction of self and removing afflictions
    (freeing the mind from illusory projections). But this
    is valuable in term of opening the mind to "Other" -
    i.e., transcendental nothingness and divine emptiness.
    The resulting insight, in turn, provides rationale and
    motive force for practice (self-discipline and service).
    Buddhist and Christian approaches may very well involve
    identifiable religious distinctions at the level of doctrine,
    but that doesn't mean they are at cross-purposes or
    detract from each other in terms of transformational
    efficacy. These approaches can actually be mutually
    transformational. One augments the other.

    Such attempts to save Christianity from the pantheism are
    not uncommon and typically propose a concept of unchanging,
    lifeless identity in an effort to confer eternality. The irony
    is that the Church's Trinity doctine is actually a full-flegged
    instance of panentheistic ideology with an unfortunate (and
    probably unintended) consequence of limiting Incarnation
    to a single historical instance 2000 years ago!

    My own view is more along the lines of Pierre Teilhard
    de Chardin. In "How I Believe," he observed that the
    total Christ - aka "World Soul" - is completed through
    historical revelation and the developmental progress
    of evolution and transformation. The emergent process
    - the "Universal Christ" is necessarily changing and evolving
    even as the phenomenal world is changing. Indeed, Christ
    is becoming "greater in order to remain the same Christ"
    in the context of history. "I am the vine, and you are
    the branches' (John 15:5). As it turns out, the growth
    of the branches is also the growth of the vine.

    Unfortunately, language can be misleading and deceptive,
    particularly when it's ideological language used to create
    an impression of differences even where religions converge.
    Such language may be very rhetorically contrived. I prefer
    communications that are both precise and experientially
    meaningful.
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    OK. Look at it another way.

    That the first thing God (apparently) did was to speak, before there was (apparently) anything other than God to speak to, implies as aspect of the Divine Nature — it is communicative. To speak implies a subject (speaker) and an object (spoken to).

    This is an important point. Deists argue that God made the world, but thereafter has nothing to do with it. Scripture argues that God loves His creation. There is no reason philosophically why God need communicate with His creation. Nor is there one theologically. He does because He chooses so to do. God can be arrived at objectively through philosophy, as Plato and Aristotle do, but that cannot be made knowledge of God subjectively, it is not experiential.

    That Scripture says that God spoke to world implies it was always the Divine intention for His creation to know Him. That Christ is presented in John as the Incarnate Word, before all else, shows just how profoundly and how intimately He intends that dialogue between creature and Creator.

    The principle of communication must exist in the Divine prior to the world, for God made the world, the world didn't make God.

    This principle, in its origin and in its end, is expressed most directly in the Doctrine of the Trinity. Without Trinity, there is no ontology of the Divine communicability, and without that, all man's religious hopes and aspirations are in vain.

    +++

    To assume that this creation is the only creation is false, for again it determines Divine communicability as limited, and again we decide what God can and cannot do.

    That creations follow themselves linearly implies a meta-creation, that the nature of this one is dependent on one prior, and such has no foundation in theology or philosophy — indeed there is a stronger argument that if there are different creations, then there is no necessary interdependence or even interrelation — or once again we are saying that any and every other creation must in some way be like this one, or at least must be accessible to me.

    It's an argument as baseless and fruitless as asking what I would be like if I was born someone else — it's an exercise in abstraction. It also argues against the idea of God acting according to some necessity to do so.

    Thomas
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Netti-Netti —

    In Buddhism yes, because it doesn't penetrate the veil, as it were. Christianity does, revealing the "Other" as neither nothing, nor empty.

    Not the case. No tradition needs the augmentation of another tradition to attain its end — Buddhism would not say that Christianity augments its own teaching, and vice versa.

    It's not Christianity that needs saving from pantheism, it never was. It's an error people fall into.

    Nor is the Christian eschatalogical identity 'lifeless' — I don't know how, in the light of the Mystics, you can come to that conclusion.

    Utter nonsense.

    But it is we who are transformed, and not Christ; and furthermore our transformation is becoming what we are called to be by grace, not nature, so it's not evolutionary in that respect, either.

    No, that assumes God is subject to the things the world is subject to.

    Again, too superficial. The growth of the vine depends upon the principle (in this context) of unity — but that principle has to exist prior to the vine (without it, the vine would not exist) — see my comments on the Trinity above.

    The prior question is can you embrace a communication that is outside your experience, to experience it — do you conform yourself to the communication, or conform the communication to yourself. You seem to opt for the latter, even though the communication says precisely the opposite.

    Thomas
     
  4. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    The light of the Mystics has nothing to do with doctrine.

    I wasn't talking about traditions or teachings.

    So you have no counterargument.

    This comment assumes that G-d is subject to the things the world is subject to the same way that the forms of the world are. Why would you assume such a thing?

    This has nothing to do with emergent process, soteriology, and the Universal Christ. You've changed the subject to original causation and then projected assumptions about causality into soteriological assumptions. Your argument involves layers of undefended assumptions.

    This is a fairly typical attempt to cast aspersions by invoking an absolute standard that remains undefined. It is essentially an attempt to create an authoritarian halo effect that has no substantive meaning. It is, ironically, an example of language that is neither precise and experientially meaningful - the very thing I was talking about before.
     
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Shows how little you know of the development of Christian Doctrine.

    If you're not talking about the tradition, which is the teaching, then there's nothing that can 'augment' the other, is there? and augment was your term, not mine. I think you're just arguing against orthodoxy for the sake of it, I'm not even sure you follow your own arguments any more.

    I think rather than 'augment', the more accurate term is 'confuse'.

    Actually, so far I think I have defended, and explained, and provided substantial evidence for every refutation of your arguments.

    On the other hand, your arguments are founded on your own opinions and layers of assumption and ignorance, hence the utter lack of substantiating material evidence. Even the sources you do cite, such as Kelly, refute your arguments if examined in detail.

    May I remind you that this thread is about 'types of meditation', but once again, as elsewhere, you're hijacking it to soap-box your anti-orthodox agenda.

    Thomas
     
  6. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Ok the heck with contemplation then...

    [​IMG]25 things you didn't know about me by God
    1. Guilty pleasure: Smiting people.
    2. I had another universe once, it was so much better than this one. But I got really wasted one night and lost it in a game of craps. :( I'm never doing that again.
    3. In my old universe, the really cool one, the dominant species was a race of hyper-intelligent beetles. It was so cool. Unfortunately, when I lost that universe I also lost the beetles-as-master-race patent, so now I have to settle for primates.
    4. I picked up this universe at a 50%-off sale. I thought I was getting a bargain. But as soon as I took it out of the box at home, I figured out why: space and time are both a bit bent in places, and most of the mass is missing. I wish I had saved the receipt.
    More
     
  7. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    Now that I have a headache after reading this thread, I think I'll go do my "standing on head" meditation.
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The first meditation technique I was taught was counting breath meditation, which is a useful exercise and discipline on so many levels. My martial arts dojo used to use it in training.

    The second was the Metta Bhavana meditation, which I think would slip into a Christian practice almost seamlessly.

    Thomas
     
  9. GlorytoGod

    GlorytoGod There is a River

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    what is that ?
     
  10. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    I wish more dojos used meditation, here in the states we have so many McDojos that are just a shell of what they should be.

    The Metta Bhavana is a lovely meditation, It has been so very helpful to me when dealing with conflict. During my divorce years ago I used it to cultivate lovingkindess toward the ex, it was helpful in getting over the whole mess.
     
  11. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    What does this mean, please?

    s.
     
  12. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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  13. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    a particularly good one, with the added benefit of improving eyesight is gazing at a candle flame, completely free from preconceived preconceptions:)
     
  14. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    Thomas,

    I questioned whether the "light of the Mystics" has anything to do with doctrine. Your response:
    I will defer to you in this area.

    Given that Meister Eckhart was accused of being a heretic "before the pope," one might reasonably ask: at what point in the development of Christian doctrine did the Church begin teaching the method of knowing by unknowing?


    Lovingkindness toward self can facilitate lovingkindness toward others.

    http://www.interfaith.org/forum/compassion-toward-self-9761.html
     
  15. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    Let's see now. How long has the Eastern Orthodox Church rejected the Latin church on account of the heresy of the Trinity?

    To phrase the question a little differently: When did the East-West Schism end?
     
  16. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    Ok, so you don't want to talk about the G!d-world relationship. Probably not important. You probably have better things to do.
     
  17. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    McDojos. LOL

    Anyhoo... I do breathing meditation and walking meditation- focusing on the breath or the steps. I think that's about as close as I get to Buddhist meditation. I'd like to learn more formally, but so far my study of Buddhist has been academic rather than practice-oriented. It's on my list of things to do in the next year or two.

    When I meditate in a way I think is Christian, I meditate on a scripture or something fairly simple to me, like Jesus. It's a sort of focus or concentration while trying to also be open and free from preconceived thought. The "Cloud of Unknowing" was pretty interesting as a read on Christian meditation, though wasn't wholesale something that I did. But it informed me, you could say. I use some Christian ideas almost as a koan- the Trinity is something I meditate on in this way.

    In Druidry, meditation as I was taught it is more visualization and focused concentration. There is a light-body meditation, a healing meditation, etc. I find this sort of focused attention is useful in everyday life, in transforming the self in key areas, and from what I came to understand, is the basis for magic if you go into that. It is a way to become keenly and deeply aware of oneself, one's own psyche, energy, body, and so forth, and then the flows of this in other people. At any rate, that's what I've gotten out of it so far. I find visualization based meditation mostly useful for doing stuff, such as healing.

    There is another meditation in Druidry that is a visualization of the inner grove, the inner sanctuary, so to speak. This is created as a very detailed place that may change with each meditation- that is, it is like going somewhere in the mind and then seeing what happens there. It may be different seasons, day or night, different folks may join you there, you might look different, etc. but it is a single place to which one goes in the mind. I found that exceedingly helpful for becoming better at sitting meditation and silencing my mind. I seem to have trouble going directly from regular life to an empty mind. My mind is very busy usually. Going through the grove exercise first transitions me from this world, so to speak, to the other world. Then, in the visualization, I visualize myself meditating and that makes it much easier to go into a state of empty-mind. But it has more uses than that. I find it is a powerful and relatively easy way to get into a state of consciousness that is useful for a variety of things.
     
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well it depends what you mean by the question.

    In Christian theology there are famously two streams of knowing: apophatic and cataphatic theology, and really it depends on who your favourites are as to whether you are drawn by one or the other.

    Eckhart was accused of heresy and certain teachings were condemned, but he was never personally condemned. The Dominican Order to which he belongs has pushed for clarification on the matter, and announced with some delight that there was no need for a 'retraction' of the accusations against Eckhart because they were never formally pronounced; as far as the Church is concerned, Eckhart is OK.

    The same applies, for example, to Origen. He was never formally condemned, although certain 'Origenist teachings' are, but again the history is never as simple as one hopes. The 'teachings' were promulgated by certain monastics, and whilst based on Origen they went further than he might ever have intended.

    Nevertheless, on certain points Origen was wrong, not a heretic, not a villain, just a theologian who didn't get it quite right, and as the understanding increased, the error came to light. No-one is perfect, and knowledge doesn't stand still. In every science, later developments often highlight unseen errors in former interpretations — the Greeks were astonishingly right on atomic theory, but totally wrong on optics.

    Likewise Aquinas is faultless on theological points, but his biology is that of his day, and so riddled with what now seem naive assumptions.

    Eckhart was not wrong, but he is easily misunderstood. It is so easy to assume pantheism from his preaching if one does not understand 'where he's coming from', as the saying goes, and a small industry has grown up around certain assumed and erroneous assumptions regarding his works.

    If you mean 'unknowing' in the Asiatic sense, then the Church has never preached that. How can one call God 'Abba' on the one hand, and preach a doctrine of utter anonymity on the other?

    Latin and Greek disagree on quite how deeply this knowing takes place: The West says it is possible to know the Essence of God (not in its fullness, of course, else one would be God), the East declares it impossible, and God can only be known by His energies (activity) not his essence (being).

    From there on, the argument gets really technical.

    The tragedy for the Greek East is that it succumbed to imperial integralism and its theological development was stunted for centuries. The shameful horror of Iconoclasm, for example, in which more Christians died at the hands of their own Christian brothers than in all the previous persecutions, is even more stark when one realises the question was never theological but entirely political, a decision forced on the Greek church by the emperor as a sop to his Islamic neighbours.

    Thomas
     
  19. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Now now. The point is, if one makes God conform to anthropological assumptions, then the odds are one will be wrong. Jesus said He is a vine. OK. He also said He is a door ... so do we assume He's made of wood?

    So it's necessary to establish the prior principle always, and if one has that, then one has a better chance of staying on track.

    I'm saying for anything to exist in the world as a reality, it has to exist before the world, in God, in principle.

    If God is 'one, alone, single, simple' ... then one can meditate on God all one likes, it's not going to change anything. If God is One, then anything other than God is not that One, and there is no reason why there should be any dialogue of any sort between any one and the One.

    There is no reason why the God of deism is not the case. In fact, all logic, all reason, and all secular metaphysics, argues that the gulf between the created and the Uncreate is so great as to be absolute ... there can be no communication, because there is nothing the two share in common as grounds for communication.

    (Buddhism, for example, would seem to imply just that, according to what I have been told by Buddhists, although I cannot vouch for their orthodoxy.)

    If, on the other hand, God should reveal Himself as One who loves ... as One who not only creates, but chooses to be known by and to His creation ... then everything changes.

    Then we have communication ... we have subject and object ... but where is subject and object in God? Polytheism is one answer, but it doesn't suffice. Binitarianism is another option, but that doesn't suffice either — you end up with an irrevocable duality ... only in Trinity can it be resolved.

    Thomas
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh, this is too rich, really!

    Ah, Netti-Netti — you earn full marks for consistently interpreting Christian history and doctrine in an utterly unique and self-serving manner, it does make me smile.

    If you don't know, the schism still stands, but if you think it's because of some 'heresy of the Trinity' then I wonder quite where you're looking to find stuff to throw at me.

    You think the Orthodox don't believe in the Trinity?

    If I were you, I'd stay away from Orthodoxy, because you'd be in much deeper waters with them than you are with Rome!

    For your information, the Orthodox reckon we're too light on the Trinity, too heavy on Christology! Really ... if you know that, then I am staggered by the depths of your disingenuous argument, and if you didn't, then my advice would be to leave the big questions until you've got the basics sorted.

    Really, I'm not joking — deny the Trinity to an Orthodox, and you'll get very short shrift. Basically you'll be told not to speak about things you can't understand, theology is not for everyone, it's a grace and a charism, and should only be approached in all faith — it's not an exercise in self-affirmation.

    You'll get a Pauline lecture on milk and meat, and be told to stick with the milk.

    Thomas
     

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