Spirituality within the context of Philosophy

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by radarmark, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Let me set the stage. Three of the greatest influences on me are A.N. Whitehead ("the last man who knew everything"), Nikos Kazantzakis ("the novel theologian"), and Rufus Jones ("the quaker mystic"). All three of these gentlemen wrote a great deal of philosophy that includes analysis of the Divine. There are many, many others (from Wilber to Aurodindo to Lovejoy to Meher Baba to Osho to Huxley to James).

    Try this as a first step:

    Nikos Kazantzakis' "Askitiki": The Saviors of God

    and let the forum know if you think it is worthwhile
     
  2. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste radarmark,

    it is interesting. it is rather similar to the Buddhist philosophical school called Chittamatra or "mind only" school. i think i posted something regarding the different Buddhist philosophical schools on the forum... i'll excerpt a bit here for convenience:

    http://www.interfaith.org/forum/buddhist-philosophy-719.html


    1. Vaibhasika has been called "direct realism." It is similar to the first few of the Indian views that see the World of Experience as composed of various physical elements that interact with the components of beings.

    2. Sautrantika considers that awareness is merely representational. These first two schools consider that there are two kinds of interactors: Physical aspects, ie. skandhas of which one, rupa comprises the traditional elements, and the Mental aspects including consciousness (vijnana), sensation (vedana) which contributes to pain/pleasure, cognition (sanjna) and the impressions derived from experience (samskara.). The 12 Links of Causality go into this in more detail.

    3. Chittamatra/Yogachara sometimes referred to as the Knowledge Way or Vijnanavada. It has also been called Subjective Realism, acknowledging that individual factors including karma contribute to an experience of reality that must be different for every being. It mentions the idea of "Buddha nature." Vasubandha and Asanga finally adopted this position.

    4. Madhyamika basically holds that there is no ultimate reality in the sense that something exists apart from the experiencer, but that this does not mean that there is nothing at all. It turns around the definition of Shunyata and therefore has been called Sunyatavada. Nagarjuna and Aryadeva are the main proponents. Chandrakirti expounds upon Nagarjuna.

    The Madhyamika view has given rise to two particular schools of thought: Svatantrika and Prasangika, which is the school that i adhere to. According to the Prasangika school, the object of refutation (or negation, gag-cha)* is an extremely subtle object that is ever so slightly more than—a little over and above—what is merely labeled by the mind.

    The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso Rinpoche in The World of Tibetan Buddhism: An Overview of Its Philosophy and Practice. Boston: Wisdom Pub., 1995. (49-54):

    "According to the explanation of the highest Buddhist philosophical school, Madhyamaka-Prasangika, external phenomena are not mere projections or creations of the mind. External phenomena have a distinct nature, which is different from the mind.

    The meaning of all phenomena being mere labels or designations is that they exist and acquire their identities by means of our denomination or designation of them. This does not mean that there is no phenomenon apart from the name, imputation, or label, but rather that if we analyze and search objectively for the essence of any phenomenon, it will be un-findable.

    Phenomena are unable to withstand such analysis; therefore, they do not exist objectively. Yet, since they exist, there should be some level of existence; therefore, it is only through our own process of labeling or designation that things are said to exist.

    Except for the Prasangika school, all the other Buddhist schools of thought identify the existence of phenomena within the basis of designation; therefore, they maintain that there is some kind of objective existence.

    Since the lower schools of Buddhist thought all accept that things exist inherently, they assert some kind of objective existence, maintaining that things exist in their own right and from their own side. This is because they identify phenomena within the basis of designation.

    For the Prasangikas, if anything exists objectively and is identified within the basis of designation, then that is, in fact, equivalent to saying that it exists autonomously, that it has an independent nature and exists in its own right.

    This is a philosophical tenet of the Yogacara school in which external reality is negated, that is, the atomically structured external world is negated. Because the proponents of the Yogacara philosophical system assert that things cannot exist other than as projections of one's own mind, they also maintain that there is no atomically structured external physical reality independent of mind. By analyzing along these lines, Yogacara proponents conclude that there is no atomicly structured external reality.

    This conclusion is reached because of not having understood the most subtle level of emptiness as expounded by the Prasangikas. In fact, Yogacarins assert that things have no inherent existence, and that if you analyze something and do not find any essence, then it does not exist at all.

    Prasangikas, on the other hand, when confronted with this un-findability of the essence of the object, conclude that this is an indication that objects do not exist inherently, not that they do not exist at all. This is where the difference lies between the two schools."

    * Object of Refutation: one possible technique for searching for truth is to employ the process of elimination, and see what is left. Therefore, the principle or topic under consideration may be called the object of refutation which helps keep in our mind the notion that the thing is not to be assumed to exist. It is merely a target, so to speak.

    this link has some very good information for the interested reader:
    Madhyamika
     
  3. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Thanks Vajradhara, Thank the Lord for the net. I first approached pretty obtruse Indian subjects from the logic point of view. Having texts delivered to a base from Mumbai did not go over well (great books but poor wrapping and hand-written labels). And I hope these topics are easier the Nyaya school took me years to comprehend to the point where I could put together a good abduction. And then I found out that William James had gone through the same thing at the beginning of the last century and I could have just read his texts.

    Pax et amor vincunt omnia--radarmark
     
  4. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Okay, let me try to spark some interest in this topic.

    Philosophy is literally the love of wisdom. It is both the most general and least applicable of the many ways our monkey-brians deal with the world. It deals with real basic questions like "what is time", "how can we know something", "what is the scientific method", "how can we de-construct and understand this world", "what is good and evil", "what is truth and beauty", "what is life", "what is existance"....

    It covers pretty much all the topics in IO from the ancient notions of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle to the existentialists and Whiteheadeans. It's real trick is to ""think things out".

    "Spiritualism" as I use it is not spooks and seyances (sp?)... but the Perenial Theology of James, Schuon,Lovejoy, and Wilber (and, and, and). That of G!d that is in me (and she does speak and sing to me often) tells me that there is a central essence, a core, a wisdom within each Way--if we just look deeply (and non-literally) enough. The Kosmos (all that there is in terms of matter, energy, information, space, and time) is an infinate sphere of infinate radius. There are infinate ways to connect each point on that spehere to its Center (think of Feynman path integrals). That Center is the Divine.

    I do not believe the Scientific Method can be directly applied to either topic (Spirituality or Philosophy). Instead I feel that philosophical methods can be extended to cover both Physics and Spiritualism. That is my Quest (to follow that star, no matter how....).

    So what is the link? Time has been infinately analyzed in philosophy (both Eastern and Western). And those philosophies basically give three answers: 1) time is just another dimansion like up and down, left and right and me mistake the ever presence of everything for some percieved passage (this is a variation of time is just an illusion), 2) time is something eternal and beyond (the Kosmos), and 3) some mixture of the two (this inclused our "common-sense notions"). What do these philosophical insights have to say about the spirit?

    Under the first assumption (time is an illusion globally and within each perception--kinda like some materialists say our "sense of choice" is a by-product of what we had for dinner last night) our experiences are invalidated and the way to get beyond is to let all things go (in the final act this means letting go of life as well).

    Under the second assumption (time is eternal and beyond already) what is important is beyond the Kosmos but real nonetheless, and we must strive to return to it. Because the creativity, the Divine (probably) dwells within that Eternity.

    Under the third assumption (our "common-sense" understanding of time) we are stuck right where we are--locked in our monkey minds.

    Any comments out there?

    Pax et armore vincumt omnia--Radarmark
     
  5. donnann

    donnann Active Member

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    Smart star to follow
     
  6. donnann

    donnann Active Member

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    The bible does mention , speaking from a christian point of view, saviors. I believe that beings incarnated from heaven to earth and that saviors were sent to every people with knowledge. To analyze the divine you first have to find your own divine self.
     
  7. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    That is pretty much what Kazantzakis' pitch is. He says that G!d needs us to save Him. And ends with:

    1. I BELIEVE IN ONE GOD, DEFENDER OF THE BORDERS, OF DOUBLE DESCENT, MILITANT, SUFFERING, OF MIGHTY BUT NOT OF OMNIPOTENT POWERS, A WARRIOR AT THE FARTHEST FRONTIERS, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF ALL THE LUMINOUS POWERS, THE VISIBLE AND THE INVISIBLE.
    2. I BELIEVE IN THE INNUMERABLE, THE EPHEMERAL MASKS WHICH GOD HAS ASSUMED THROUGHOUT THE CENTURIES, AND BEHIND HIS CEASELESS FLUX I DISCERN AN INDESTRUCTIBLE UNITY.
    3. I BELIEVE IN HIS SLEEPLESS AND VIOLENT STRUGGLE WHICH TAMES AND FRUCTIFIES THE EARTH AS THE LIFE-GIVING FOUNTAIN OF PLANTS, ANIMALS, AND MEN.
    4. I BELIEVE IN MAN'S HEART, THAT EARTHEN THRESHING-FLOOR WHERE NIGHT AND DAY THE DEFENDER OF THE BORDERS FIGHTS WITH DEATH.
    5. O LORD, YOU SHOUT: "HELP ME! HELP ME!" YOU SHOUT, O LORD, AND I HEAR.
    6. WITHIN ME ALL FOREFATHERS AND ALL DESCENDANTS, ALL RACES AND ALL EARTH HEAR YOUR CRY WITH JOY AND TERROR.
    7. BLESSED BE ALL THOSE WHO HEAR AND RUSH TO FREE YOU, LORD, AND WHO SAY: "ONLY YOU AND I EXIST."
    8. BLESSED BE ALL THOSE WHO FREE YOU AND BECOME UNITED WITH YOU, LORD, AND WHO SAY: "YOU AND I ARE ONE."
    9. AND THRICE BLESSED BE THOSE WHO BEAR ON THEIR SHOULDERS AND DO NOT BUCKLE UNDER THIS GREAT, SUBLIME, AND TERRIFYING SECRET: THAT EVEN THIS ONE DOES NOT EXIST!
    See, it is all a giant kozmic game between us and G!d. "Only You and I exist" becomes "You and I are one" becomes "This one does not exist". And K was speaking from a very spiritual and Eastern Orthodox Christian point-of-view (even if he was excommunicated for "Last Temptation", which by the way was extremely Christ-centric... for after seeing his life in the flesh as husband and father while on the cross itself, Christ resists the Evil One and accepts his fate). Click on the site and try it on for size, little brother.

    Peace, Radar

     
  8. donnann

    donnann Active Member

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    I believe in mans heart but how you get in touch with the feminine side is getting in touch with the female. Even though the energy is coverted to male when it flows its a gentle energy.
     
  9. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Yep. My Divine self is the One Beyond, what I experience at meeting or during solitary silence. It is neither male nor female... it is Divine Unity.

    Peace unto you... radarmark
     
  10. OAT

    OAT Where is the TAO?

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    I've been following Buddhism for so long that it is now really hard for me to believe in any Divinity. Gods are mentioned in Buddhism, even the so-called Creator God, but the Buddha dismissed all these beings as still not having realized what reality really is.

    What science is to the realm of phenomena, Buddhism is to the realm of the spiritual. In Buddhism, all views and beliefs are merely instruments, means to an end, and of no value in and of themselves. They are meant to bring one to a stage where realization of reality becomes possible.

    At the end of the day, what is crucial is the realization of what reality really is, and for that to happen, all views and beliefs have to be dropped.
     
  11. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    By the Divine I mean that which is beyond... if that is Nirvana or Satori or Nothingness or G!d, I do not care. It is the beyond that matters, and that is all that matters.

    Views, beliefs, instruments, means all will drop, one does not "have to drop" them.

    Pax et amore vincunt omina... Radarmark.
     
  12. OAT

    OAT Where is the TAO?

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    Fair enough. But I prefer not to use the term "divine" and it is still a loaded term and prefer something neutral.

    Agreed. Any form of exertion, accepting or rejecting, is a deviation

    Btw, could you explain all the latin quotes that you end all your posts with? I am curious about what they say.
     
  13. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Okay, that is fine by me. I use "Christ Jesus" when I am speaking to my Christian Quaker cohorts and "The Great Mother" when I speak to the Wiccan Quakers and "Peyotyl" when speaking to my Native American Church friends.

    "whenever you whisper any of the ten thousand names the universe shouts back at you".

    The most neutral term I know of is a nice translation of the Buddha "beyond".

    Does that work for you?
     
  14. OAT

    OAT Where is the TAO?

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    Actually, in Buddhism, "beyond" is also here. If "beyond" is also here, then "beyond" is misleading too.:)

    Pay no attention to me, I am just being difficult.:D
     
  15. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Okay, how about that-which-is-beyond-the-material-universe?
     
  16. OAT

    OAT Where is the TAO?

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    When you look at a piece of paper crumbled into a ball, it looks 3-dimensional and rich in features. However when you unravel the ball and iron out all the creases, you get a 2-dimensional featureless paper.

    The here is like the crumbled ball of paper. The beyond is like the uncrumbled flat piece of paper.

    The beyond in this sense is not beyond the here. That is my understanding.
     
  17. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    A good analogy is the root or dimension of a fractal. The "normal" is three-dimensional cube. The "beyond" is a two-dimensional mapping of the cube ontop a plane. "Spiritual endeavours" (talking about what we are talking about) are fractal powers ranging from 3 down to 2. There are an infinate number of paths between the "norm" and the "beyond" (like there a an infinate number of numbers between 2 and 3). Similarly the beyond incorporates the here and each of the transition phases (or paths) incorporate both.

    I like it!
     
  18. OAT

    OAT Where is the TAO?

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    I was actually thinking the other way around, the here or "normal" is a 3-D projection of the 2-D "beyond". Does this make sense to you?
     
  19. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    With time being a human construct me thinks the number of dimensions is unatainable, that we are in flatland, only seeing the 3d, not able to understand we can change our past and remember our future while in this 'plane' of existence.
     
  20. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Or that which is within it? In our midst?

    I'm reminded what every one who learned about atoms and our solar sytem must have encountered somewhere along the line. As I was daydreaming whilst listening to her tell us about electrons and nucleus while carving some girls name into the desk....I gazed up at the solar system chart on the wall. And then out the window at the sun and the clouds and then to her sketch on the blackboard as she said that our desks and chairs were more space than solid and were comprised of billons of atoms....

    Suddenly contemplating the sawdust on my desk I saw a universe I had just carved up, and imagined the kid carving the desk on some planet in their looking up at me....and while he looked down at the pile of dust on his desk...I looked up at the kid carving on my world...and was in house of mirrors....
     

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