Fourth Thesis

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Victor, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    See Teitaro Suzuki's classic text on sources about the first council. See Williams and Williams' review in Buddhism: Critical Concepts in Religious Studies on the second council.

    Since the third was called by Asoka (do you really need a reference? Even Clement of Alexandria commented on it). See Gutama's recent History of Buddhism in India for sources on the Fourth Council (the divided council). Since the Fifth and Sixth are so recent that even the European Press covered them, I know you do not need references on them.

    An easier way (if you have access to a good library with download privileges) is to look up each council in "Google Scholar" there are, literally, thousands of references and hundreds of non-Buddhist sources for the first two (the third and subsequent councils are so well documented, I cannot believe you can question them).

    Unlike the life or Jesus or the Besht, the life of the Buddha and Mahavir are pretty well documented -- in Hindu sources that really did not follow either of them. However, the Sanatana Dharma (or rather some of the more broad-minded of them) do consider both manifestations of this rather more ancient teaching.
     
  2. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    BOTTOM LINE: Jane-Q there a many non-religious aources for the basic beliefs of both Jainism and Buddhism before your claim of "Fourth or Fifth Century (C.E.)".

    The only question is, do you accept non-Western Sources?
     
  3. Jane-Q

    Jane-Q ...pain...

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    Hi, radarmark.

    Thanks for the references. Appreciate it.
    One of my favorite Portland hangouts (don't laugh!) is the Reed College Library. Excellent, comfortable old-fashioned library, monster collection of books, and is open past midnight most days.
    Should be able to find your references, when I find the time.

    Probably around 30 years after the birth of Mahavira . . .

    Siddhartha Gautama, who became known as the historical Buddha, was born in what is now southern Nepal in c.485 BCE . . . [according to] scholars who have recently studied the chronologies of the Buddha and his contemporaries . . .

    Siddhartha Gautama was born into the Shakya clan . . . Although he is said to have been a king's son, the Shakyas were in fact governed not by a monarch but by a small council, perhaps of elders . . .

    There is little historical evidence for the events of the Buddha's life as recorded in the scriptures. The latter were first written down during the 1st century BCE in Pali, an ancient Indian vernacular, but historians are unable to separate fact from fiction in the stories of the Buddha's life told in either the Pali canon or in later Buddhist texts. Over centuries, the accounts were colored by mythology and laden with symbolism, and different versions of the Buddha's story -- all a mixture of scripture, legend and folklore -- are told in different places . . .


    --The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Buddhism (2008), p13-15.​

    These folk-legends were recorded in the Lalitavistara Sutra, "700 years after his death." About 300 CE. Other collections followed in future centuries.
    (Okay. I should have said "late-3rd to 5th century CE.")
    As for the Ashoka Edicts, here is a typical one:

    Few faults.
    Many good deeds.
    Compassion.
    Giving.
    Truthfulness.
    Purity.

    Sure, this sounds like Buddhism.
    But it also sounds like Jainism. And it probably sounds pretty much like how any number of countervailing 3rd century BCE sects of Hinduism sounded, back in the day. (Sects which are now lost to history.) These ethical ideas were "in the air," and were even publically debated. The ideas themselves are only semi-original to Mahavira or Gautama or whomever, in the first place -- i.e. they were modern updates of a popular thread of Bronze Age wisdom-literature which ran counter to the Vedic practices of the Brahmins.
    (This is not unlike the difference which I've talked about, in early Jewish Monotheism, between the prophets and the priests. The Biblical prophets' proclaiming Yahweh's "mercy" -- i.e. hesed. Over and against the Levite priests' insistence upon a strict observance of Yahweh's "Law" -- i.e. retributive justice, which includes burnt-offering sacrifices.)

    The Dhammapada is a book of poetic aphorisms, traditionally reputed to be from the Buddha's own lips, handed down orally for several centuries.
    I've been reading Gil Fronsdahl's readable but linguistically accurate 2008 translation (from Pali) of the Dhammapada.
    Lovely lovely stuff!
    Fronsdale is both a respected scholar and Buddhist practitioner. In the book's "Afterward," he makes these observations:

    In addition to holding a place within the Theravada canon, the Dhammapada belongs to a family of closely related texts . . . Other members of this family -- belonging to the canons of Buddhist traditions other than the Theravada -- have survived in Gandhari, Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Chinese. All are anthologies of verses, although they do not use all the same verses or the same ordering of verses and chapters . . . We can conclude that ancient Indian Buddhist editors made many such verse anthologies, the contents of which were fluid . . . It is not possible to discern which anthology is of the greatest antiquity or which may have served as the basis for others . . . The surviving records do not reveal when any of the Dharmapada texts, including the Pali version, attained their present form.

    Later Theravada commentaries take for granted that the Dhammapada is a collection of verses spoken by the Buddha and recounts stories, mostly apocryphal, of the occasion on which the Buddha spoke each verse . . . [Compare] the Sutta Pitaka . . . in the sutta passage containing the parallel to verse 383, the Buddha praises a god for this verse and encourages people to memorize it . . . (Samyutta Nikaya 1.49-50). In another passage, the Buddha explains that lines now found in verse 204 of the Dhammapada did not originate with himself but were already current in the society of his day (Majjhima Nikaya 75.19-21). Furthermore, a number of verses appear independently in non-Buddhist Indian sources, suggesting they were selected from a wider body of poems circulating in ancient India.

    The lack of a coherent logic or order does not necessarily mean that the Pali text is a random collection of dissociated pieces. Its development over time suggests that various editors have worked with the text to try to express their understanding of the Buddha's path.

    Who was Siddhartha Gautama?
    Has he disappeared entirely into a patchwork of various editors' and commentators' interpretations? Become a ghost in his own tradition? Where is the flesh-and-blood person?
    Does even the Dhammapada give us any accurate clue-in to what the actual man said and how he acted in the world? Great literature, yes! But, if so much in the lore of Buddhist tradition cannot be taken as fact, what can be taken as fact? And why?
    What actually makes Gautama so unique, so standout for his era?

    radarmark?
    Likely be awhile before I can seriously peruse your references. In the meantime . . .
    Quote something. Please concretely show me.
    What is your picture of Gautama? Based upon what evidence?

    (I may be a woman. But don't expect me to be that clichéd weak-willed creature, of another era. I don't get bluffed off. I won't back-down easily.)
    You are not going to convince me that the tenets of the Buddhist tradition are historical fact by waving your hands in the air and telling me I'm wrong.
    Show me!


    Jane.

     
  4. Jane-Q

    Jane-Q ...pain...

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    radarmark. Hi, again.

    The only question is, do you accept non-Western Sources?

    Is that a serious question?
    Or are you just being nasty?

    We are talking here about hearsay evidence.
    Which is "inadmissible evidence" in American jurisprudence.
    But there are some "hearsay exceptions," even in American law.

    In historical scholarship, "hearsay" is frequently all you have to work with. No firsthand "primary sources."

    You can either accept the hearsay as fact (which would be unethical for serious scholars).
    Or you can intelligently interrogate the hearsay:

    -- Look for internal contradictions.
    -- Set it alongside hard facts from the era and sift out its "unlikely" elements and see what remains.
    -- Use anthropological data consistent with the era in question and its people to sort out what sounds reasonable (for this period) within the hearsay.
    -- Use info on the stages of development of historically-similar cultural developments and see where the hearsay fits on the timeline: A "late" development -- of recent vintage. Or a very "early" development -- near to a tradition's first days.
    -- Trace shifting use of language. Trace back to earliest usages. Find text which matches that early usage.

    Scholars have all sorts of tools like this, for analyzing "internal evidence" of a tradition. But you must look at the full ecology of a tradition and its development. All aspects. Ask questions outside-the-box. Ignore any idealizations.
    This is the kind of comparative "evidence" I am looking for. Cogently interpreted, diligently analyzed.

    Take "hearsay evidence" straight, and on faith?
    No way!

    radarmark?
    It is a little bit annoying to me (maybe also to others) that you merely fling a pile of books in our face to back up your arguments. Rarely (if ever) quote from them.
    Like we all should be familiar with that particular book/tractate/poem/sutra.
    And that we each should automatically "know" that the author's "nugget of wisdom" you are referring to is the one on page 216, not the insightful bit on page 98 nor the one on page 312.

    You don't hide your contempt for western modes of thinking.
    But referring to ideas, without quoting from them and without properly contextualizing them . . .
    This is not following a "non-western" mode of thinking. It is just being sloppy.
    And unfair to your readers. (Slightly insulting, actually. You treat your POV as self-evident. "I know! . . . When you read these 150 books, you will know, too!" Who has that much time?)

    Thing is, I'd kind of like to understand your point-of-view. It interests me.
    But not interested enough to spend the next two years reading everything you've read.
    I'm not looking for a guru.

    If I'm wrong about something (and, yeah, it won't be the first time) . . .
    (Don't patronize me.)
    Educate me. In the here and now.


    Jane.

     
  5. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Whoa there. I was merely pointing out that there are plenty of non-religious texts in Indian literature that refute your timeline.



    You are free to call the Indian texts hearsay, fine. I do not agree. Are they heresay because they do not conform with your thesis? Or because they were written by Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains?



    This Western prejudice is one of the problems with your definition of “historical scholarship”. At one time serious scholarship said Homeric epic could not have been verbal because all the scholars could not memorize them. I am afraid that Lord and Parry have proven that there are illiterate oral versions of H both works as late as the XXth century. Similarly, Schliemann pretty much destroyed the concept of “Homeric myth” (that is Troy and the Iliad are mere myth. Recent dating of very early American settlements have vindicated the Native American claims of a 12,000 year history (see Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol 33, by University of Pennsylvania, I think). No, the Western Mind and Western Science and Western History are not always right.


    That is an inexcusable attack. I see no primary sources cited at all by you. Merely “scholarly reviews”. I might be sloppy (hard for a physicist to accept, but I will), but at least my viewpoint is somewhat more sophisticated (and more importantly) truthful than yours. If you do not care to look at the books, fine. But that means you are not really qualified to object. My simple thesis is that Western Science is not always right. Western history is even more seldom correct. If you choose to ignore the corpus of many, many books written by then Indians (dots not feathers), that is your choice, it is not my job to repeat what I think is a fairly strong case against your dating of Buddhist and Jain texts from 300-400CE (which is what I originally objected to).
     
  6. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Here are four detailed references.

    Mohan Wijayaratna, Buddhist Monastic Life: According to the Texts of the Theravada Tradition (1990)

    “So his [Ashoka’s] reign, c.268-239BC, provides the first secure historical data we have for Buddhism , and indeed for any ancient Indian History”.

    For details see Smith Asoka, the Buddhist Emperor of India Smith pp107-197 (2009) (listing of all the edicts, pillars, and monuments)


    THE INVENTION OF JAINISM A SHORT HISTORY OF JAINA STUDIES Peter Flugel (IJJS, Vol 1, No 1, 2005)

    “Because no textual evidence was presented by the Jains in public, ’Jainism/Jinism’ was not recognised as an independent ’religion’6 until 1879 when Hermann Jacobi in the introduction of his edition of the Kalpasūtra of Bhadrabāhu furnished for the first time textual proof that the ancient Hindu and Buddhist scriptures already depicted the nigganthas as a separate ’heretical’ (tīrthyā) group.”

    For the details, see Jacobi, 1895:131-134.
     
  7. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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  8. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    http://isjs.in/sites/all/themes/school/images/christian_Haskett.pdf is a similar arguemtn for Jainism. See esp pp. 48-49. In Jainism it is the householder not the monk who is the basis of the Sangha. Therefore, any early (pre 300 CE) references to householders and enlightened ethics must have been about Jains.

    Is this surprising? Not really. The tradition of writing texts onto palm (or other leaves) really limits the lifetime of texts on the Indian Sub-continent. And, remember things like Papyrus have barely existed for more than 2,000 years.

    So it should not be surprising that while no c. 500 BCE texts exist, the general consensus among experts is that the dating of both Mahavira and Gautama are accepted as given in the Canons of each. Furthermore, the idea that the ethical content of each religion has changed little is also well founded in Western Studies of each.
     
  9. Victor

    Victor Silver Haired Member

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    Don't mean to interrupt, but, HI! Eleven months of constant work til all the A.M.'s in the morning and the fourth thesis, 188 pages, is FINI! The Sacrament of Life, which covers: Sin, contrition, repentance, forgiveness, penance, the Genesis of Man, Original Sin, and Karma (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction)... and all the good stuff in between. If I wasn't considered a heretic before, I surely must be now... and I need a break. I just posted on where did Satan come from... at least I think I did... so where do I come for relief? Right here at home with Brian and all the guys and gals. At least it's a pleasure to get back to where people think! This time I might just stay around for awhile.
    Victor G
     
  10. Jane-Q

    Jane-Q ...pain...

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    Hi, Victor.
    Welcome back.

    [post=276274]Has it ever occurred to you that in our Christian doctrine it is always the victim who bears the weight of the sin and not the perpetrator?[/post]
    --Victor.​

    We are talking here, ultimately, about how contemporary culture teaches morality to our children. Right?
    We are talking about setting the correct moral example?

    God of Fear ("retributive justice" i.e. the punishment fits the crime)
    versus
    God of Love ("hesed" i.e. the applying of mercy).

    One argument goes:

    If you fear God,
    you will be obedient to God's commandments.
    (You might call this: "hard patriarchy.")

    The other argument goes:

    If you love God,
    you will seek to earn God's love, in return, by being good to others.
    (You might call this: "soft patriarchy.")

    Since all three major monotheisms -- Judaism and Christianity and Islam -- each teach both approaches, it is a kind of "carrot & stick" situation. Isn't it?
    Soft patriarchy + hard patriarchy.
    Does one method work better than the other in instilling a "moral compass" within our children?
    Or do they have to work in-tandem to be effective in a child's moral development?

    We could argue this point all day and all night. So . . .
    What if we apply a little science to your question, Victor?

    WHO RAISES CHILDREN WHO ARE MORALLY MATURE?

    Several years ago, Martin Hoffman (1970) carefully reviewed the child-rearing literature to determine whether the techniques that parents use to discipline transgressions have any effect on the moral development of their children.

    Much of the research that he reviewed was designed to test the hypothesis that love-oriented discipline (withdrawing affection or approval), which generates anxiety over loss of love, would prove more effective at furthering the child's moral development than power-assertive discipline (physical punishment or withholding of privileges), which generates anger or resentment . . .


    --David R. Shafer, Developmental Psychology (1985), p578-580.​

    Hoffman's "love-oriented discipline" sounds a lot like God's approach to the sinful people of Judah, say, when sending them into Babylonian exile. But never forgetting them, never stopping his love for the people. But withdrawing it. When the people get the lesson and return to God's way, they are allowed to return to their homeland. They are "redeemed" for their earlier sins, because they have learned their lesson and returned to God. And God proves his continuing love by means of this act of mercy.
    (Anxiety and redemption play a rich role in Judaic literature, particularly of the post-Second-Temple era.)
    Soft Patriarchy.

    This form of discipline is opposed to the older Old Testament "power-assertive" God of absolute justice. Death or suffering to wrongdoers, no excuses. Believing that punishment is the only lesson that sticks in young minds.
    Hard Patriarchy.

    Which side of God (which parenting disciplinary strategy) does Hoffman's statistics come down on?
    Which strategy makes children more morally aware and mature?
    Much of the time, the results are unclear. But in those incidences where the moral effect is observably clear, the studies show:

    Power-assertive:
    7 positive-correlations (moral growth of the child).
    32 negative-correlations (resentment, anger over harshness of punishment, instead of actual moral learning).

    Love-oriented:
    8 positive-correlations (moral growth of the child).
    11 negative-correlations (confusion, depression over withdrawal of affection, instead of actual moral learning) . . .


    --M.L. Hoffman, "Moral Development" in Carmichael's manual of child development (1970).​

    Love & mercy win out over retributive justice, but just barely.
    Neither succeed at showing predominantly positive results (not even when parents utilize the two strategies in tandem).

    The implication is clear:
    Neither of God's monotheistic strategies -- historically (neither Fear nor Love) -- likely proved any more effective in ancient times than these 20th century studies demonstrate regarding the developing morally mature individuals.
    So what kind of strategy does prove effective?

    Hoffman discovered that neither love withdrawal nor power assertion is particularly effective at promoting moral development. In fact, parents who often rely on power-assertive techniques have children who can be described as morally immature.

    The one disciplinary strategy that seems to foster the development of moral affect (guilt, shame), moral reasoning, and moral behavior is an approach called induction . . .


    --David R. Shafer, Developmental Psychology (1985), p578-580.​

    "Induction" may involve "inducing a self-awareness" ("how would you feel if . . . ?") within the child, or may involve "inducing empathy for the other party" ("what do you think that person's reason was for . . . ?") within the child.

    I am reminded of a conversation between Atticus and his daughter Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus is chastising Scout for fighting at school. But Atticus does not "ground" Scout for her actions. Nor does he say something like "I'm ashamed of you" and pull back his affections to generate Scout's anxiety at loss of parental approval and to produce guilt. But, instead, Atticus talks Scout through what the other party to the fight might have been thinking. And about the consequences for others who witnessed the fight. Even if Scout thought she was fighting for a "good reason," i.e. standing up for somebody (her father, was it?), a sense awakens that "good" rarely comes from belligerent behavior -- if you take a wider view.
    You could feel Scout's perspective expand with this gentle talking-to.

    Induction . . . includes techniques in which the parent gives explanations or reasons for requiring the child to change his [or her] behavior. Examples are pointing out the physical requirements of the situation or the harmful consequences of the child's behavior for him- [or her-] self or [for] others.

    These techniques are . . . an attempt to . . . convince the child that he [or she] should change his [or her] behavior in the prescribed manner. Also included are techniques that appeal to conformity-inducing agents that already exist with the child. Examples are appeals to the child's pride, strivings for mastery and to be "grown up," and concern for others.


    --M.L. Hoffman, "Moral Development" in Carmichael's manual of child development (1970), p286.​

    Like morality itself, the teaching of good moral conduct, is not knee-jerk (neither punishment nor unearned forgiveness). And there is no single rulebook as guide toward moral maturity. Teaching morality takes time and patience, with a child. Each situation is unique. There can be no one-size-fits-all answer, when talking about genuine morality.
    That is why both Hard Patriarchy (power-assertive "commandments") and Soft Patriarchy (love-oriented "wisdom anecdotes" about kindness) fail more often than they succeed.

    Induction:
    38 positive-correlations (moral growth of the child).
    6 negative-correlations (parental yack-yack the child feels obliged to sit through, instead of actual moral learning).


    --M.L. Hoffman, "Moral Development" in Carmichael's manual of child development (1970).​

    God (as a moral force in the world) cannot be reduced to a patriarchal rulebook:
    For every 7 successes the Old Testament God's "Commandments" achieved, there would be 32 failures.
    For every 8 successes which the New Testament/Mishnaic/Quranic God's (eventual) "Mercy" achieved, there would be 11 failures.
    God of Fear . . . No.
    God of Love . . . No.
    Instead, God's moral work is a slow, careful, situation-specific process -- of inducing in the child (and in oneself) a reflexive awareness regarding oneself and others. Regarding intentions and regarding consequences -- as these relate to complexities of the situation before the child.
    Expect 38 successes for every 6 failures.

    A post-patriarchal God with whom you can talk a particular situation through, carefully and in depth? . . . Yes.
    (Yes . . . until an even more successful "God" materializes.)

    Victor.
    We are not talking either "retributive justice" nor "forgiveness" here.
    In terms of inducing morally mature behavior, both strategies produce from poor to mediocre results.

    God's most effective moral strategy reaches well beyond the Torah and the Christian Testaments and the Quran.
    It is situation-specific, self-aware, and empathetic.
    It is about talking things through.


    Jane.

     
  11. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    A lot of talk about Buddhism.

    There was a guy here who took on the Buddhist name of something like Vaj__.

    Don't see him anymore here though I have not been looking for him.

    Wait, I will look for him.


    Here, I have found him, but it now turned out that he is a female; I guess it must be another Buddhist convert in another forum, but with the same Buddhist name starting with Vaj__.


    So, he is or she is now over with her Buddhist zeal.


    Do you notice that you guys are discussing your book or print or net information on what Buddhism is all about?

    Have you ever if you are now into Buddhism with a passion thought about how you are really into things which if you look for them in Catholicism, you will also find them aplenty.

    Let me see how long you will be enthusiastic with your new religious gadget or toy.

    Have you ever thought of how the folks ordinary people in Thailand or Burma or China or Tibet who are into Buddhism and identify themselves in government documents as Buddhist for a religion, have you ever noticed at all that for them it is all asking Buddha for favors from getting a spouse to how to make your business improve or landing a better job than the one you have at present, or for healing of bodily sicknesses?

    Religion is all like that, what I have said to myself from since I really did some very serious thinking and observing about religious peoples, namely: it is the belief in an unknown power resulting in affections and actions intended to influence this power to react favorably to the believer.

    That is true with all the Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the unknown power here is God, in concept the creator and operator of heaven and earth and everything.

    In Buddhism it is the Buddha, what I called the divinized Gautama divinized by his followers into some kind of power that can and does dispense favors.

    But in Christianity in particular in Catholicism, you will find all the doctrines and practices and spiritualities that you find in Buddhism also in Catholicism, that is the most versatile religion in human history, Catholicism that is.

    If you are a Hindi with many gods and goddesses, etc., but also with one God and also some sort of Trinity, you will find them represented by the countless saints and also angels in Catholicism, for all kinds of needs and aspirations.

    For guys who long for high or deep spirituality, you will find it also in Catholicism, all kinds of monks and nuns systems and homes for people to flee from the world and work out their holiness and perfection as to pass right away into heaven the moment they leave the flesh.


    What I am telling you, is that you guys are talking endlessly about information you get in publications on Buddhism, but you are not into what ordinary folks who practice Buddhism in Thailand, Burma, Cambodia or Kampuchea whatever, China, Tibet, Taiwan, they are all into seeking favors from Buddha, the divinized by his followers as the unknown power equivalent to God in the Abrahamic faiths.

    And yes, they have also all kinds of minor gods or dispensers of favors in what I call mass Buddhism just like in Catholicism with saints and angels.

    One day you will graduate yourselves out of and better 'enlightened' about life and death, and what you are to do with your life.

    Just like this girl, Vajradhara whatever.


    But, you know, the most rational of religions is still Catholicism, you cannot beat it when it comes to rationalism, and also when it comes to all kinds of folk religious fervors, favors, and practices, and yes chants and rituals and rites whatever.

    In what faith do you find today and also in history from since AD 30 that has so much very learned men and also holy ones, as well a mafia members, like as in Catholicism.

    Even atheists are Christian atheists, because if they are not Christian atheists, they will look absolutely irrelevant, bereft of any orientation of any worth or incentive for our attention.


    For myself, God exists as the creator and operator of everything that has a beginning, but how He relates with man, it is up to you to choose one faith among so many, or conflate for yourselves an eclectic or syncretistic one; still, I will say that Christianity is the most rational and the one with the most learning in all fields of human knowledge from the most transcendental to the most grossly material, physical as in technological or engineering crafts.


    And one final note, you will also find religious professionals who talk about enlightenment and how to get to close union with God or with Buddha whatever, but they live on you the mass of ordinary believers, and you do count on them at least to give you a decent religious burial and keep your memory alive at least before God or the Buddha or Allah, and your family members and loved ones.



    Susma
     
  12. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Victor G,

    Where can we find a copy (inquiring minds want to know)?
     
  13. Victor

    Victor Silver Haired Member

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    radarmark:
    The best way, which I do not believe will violate the rules of Brian's site, is to send me your e-mail address and I will send it to you in Word 2010, all 190 pages. Publication is still in the works for the end of the year, so this is the quickest way. I would appreciate your critique....
    silver752000-jerusalem@yahoo.com
    Victor G
     
  14. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    Well, I hate to say this, but and you will tell me that I am arrogant, suppose you do your own thinking and observing, and more thinking on your observation of religion in peoples, instead of always looking to read what other people think and want to share with you -- and usually you have to pay for it (more often than not they are also into rehashing what they read of other peoples' writings, so that it is all rehashing and more rehashing and nothing new, except more words which are into the service of rehashing).


    Susmariosep
     
  15. Jane-Q

    Jane-Q ...pain...

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    Hi, Susma Rio Sep.
    I'm Jane.

    . . . rehashing . . .

    Yeah. It's the way of the world.
    There's even an academic name for it. It's called "postmodernism."
    It says there is nothing original out there, to say.
    Everything is a rehash of a rehash.

    All there is . . . is the song or video or piece of gossip which went viral this week.
    Something catchy, something entertaining. Someone's 15 minutes of fame.
    (This is "Meme Theory" . . . a variation on postmodernism.)

    Reminds me of college days when two of us gals and five or six guys would sit around at our favorite coffeeshop on the Ave, and BS.

    This was during the Reagan Administration (Berlin Wall firmly in place). I distinctly remember a friend I sometimes still see, who once said:

    One of these days Capitalism is going to implode.
    Soviet Russia will be still hanging around.
    And it will be the one to pick up the pieces.

    My friend wasn't a Marxist. (Think he votes Republican, now.) He just thought of himself as a realist.
    (Fashionable cynic, truth be told.) Very entertaining to listen to.

    That is the thing about bull-sessions, about the spouting of opinions. Very entertaining, short term.
    Barren, long term.

    Is that what we are doing here, at Interfaith Online? (College bull-session?)
    I don't know.

    Sure, most "ordinary" religious people shun abstractions, want their religion concrete.

    Religion . . .
    it is the belief in an unknown power
    resulting in affections and actions intended to influence this power
    to react favorably to the believer.

    Cobble together a tiny gift, ask a tiny favor of the divine. (Like back in Bronze Age times.)
    Humility matters.
    And that is the last thing that opinionated moderns, like us, are.
    Humble.

    Frankly, as much as I am trying to get wil or radarmark or Thomas to give up some of their cherished abstractions (which I see as faulty fundamentals) . . . I am not willing to give up my own abstractions.
    (I refuse to go back to the Bronze Age. I can only travel forward.)

    I cannot speak for wil or radarmark or Thomas. But I do not see myself as rehashing. (Not BS-ing.) I see myself as moving. I think if you "observed" me as carefully as you do ordinary religious folk from Thailand etc, you would see an arc of movement in my writing. New terrain trod.

    I do not see myself as stating opinions. I see myself as providing deeper contexts. And as sharing discoveries.

    But if this is all just hash to you, Susma Rio Sep . . .
    Fine. I can live with that.

    But maybe you should take a refresher course in "thinking and observing" -- with a change of focus to religious intellectual traditions.
    Why?
    Because as far as I can tell, the religious intellectual traditions always came first, historically. Always preceded the popular religious traditions. Starting from the priests of the Bronze Age, charting stars and keeping written records. Continuing through to all the Axial Age reformers and rejecters of Bronze Age temple practices:
    - sages of the Upanishads,
    - Biblical prophets,
    - Confucian and Mohist and Daoist social thinkers,
    - Greek philosophers,
    - the shramanas of the Ganges plain.
    The intellectuals first. The grassroots later. Always.

    Hash? . . .
    Or something worth observing?


    Jane.

     
  16. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    I do not grok either Jane or Susmariosep when it comes to this "rehashing" issue. A human cones up with their own explanation or thesis... and then collects data to test it. When human beings deal with "the beyond" (what traditional Western reason cannot deal with, or else this would be a philosophy site) they should "soak up" as many objectively presented evaluations as they can (IMHO "intersubjective verifiability" requires this).

    No, you do have to agree because there is no "objective truth" in the beyond... it is experiential, existential. When one closes their mind to the experiences of others, one flirts with solipsism or Nietzschianism. One is free to believe either (I am the last to make fun of fringe beliefs); however some of us (Rosenzweig, Kazantzakis, Whitehead come to my mind) want “something more”. A coherent and consistent vision or orientation of our experiences.

    The Religious Society of Friends is a perfect example. We each have our own experiences of g!d and believe that by comparing it to others’ (whether in real time or via reading and research) experiences we gain insight into the beyond and g!d. No you do not have to believe the process. Why? Because it is not empirical.
     
  17. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    Not quite true. The author is forgetting the Vedas and Upanishads that were written after Aryans had come to India (at a time when River Saraswati still flowed - perhaps 1,900 BC).
     
  18. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    Buddha asks you to avoid passion. There are hindis (hindus) with no Gods or Goddesses .. Gods and Goddesses are Gods and not saints .. what rationalism you find in Catholicism .. Atheist who were christians have deconverted and have no religion. Why will they look irrelevant, and why would they be without orientation of any worth or incentive for Your Majesty's attention? .. most learning in all fields? now people from all countries learn things (Chinese, Indians, Japanese, Koreans, etc.), transcendental as well as material. it is not only the religious professionals who talk about enlightenment, it is many people like us also who do not live on the mass of ordinary believers. .. My family will manage my funeral, my children and grandchildren will keep my memory and the great-grand children would ask them about us. We did that for our great-grand parents. Today is the last day of a fort-night reserved for remembrance of our ancestors (Shraddha-Paksha). Today, I remembered my great grand parents and kept some money aside to be given in charity in their remembrance. The cycle goes on. That is life. Since I am an atheist, I know I will not go before any God or Goddess for any judgment and there is no heaven or hell. What constitutes me is star-dust, it is eternal, it has taken many forms in the past and it will do so in future also. But I know you were in passion when you wrote the post which I have quoted.
     
  19. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Ah, yes, aupmanyev. We just do not have any copies from that long ago. I personally believe they (and the Gathsa) are that old. But empirical proof, we have none.
     
  20. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Well, I hate to say this, but and you will tell me that I am arrogant, suppose you do your own thinking and observing, and more thinking on your observation of religion in peoples, instead of always looking to read what other people think and want to share with you -- and usually you have to pay for it (more often than not they are also into rehashing what they read of other peoples' writings, so that it is all rehashing and more rehashing and nothing new, except more words which are into the service of rehashing).

    Susmariosep

    Okay… so the writings of Zoroaster, Mahavira, Gautama Buddha, Laotzi, Chuangtzi, are all equally invalid. All that matters is my experience? Is this not just a trifle self-centered?

    Hi, Susma Rio Sep.
    I'm Jane.
    . . . rehashing . . .
    Yeah. It's the way of the world.
    There's even an academic name for it. It's called "postmodernism."
    It says there is nothing original out there, to say.
    Everything is a rehash of a rehash.

    Okay, I really, really hate that label. I believe there is lots to say. Even about things like the Gathas or other classic texts (or even modern or post-modern ones).

    All there is . . . is the song or video or piece of gossip which went viral this week.
    Something catchy, something entertaining. Someone's 15 minutes of fame.
    (This is "Meme Theory" . . . a variation on postmodernism.)

    Meme theory is as useless as “post-modernism” (IMHO). Why? (and here I agree with you…) Nothing original is added.

    Reminds me of college days when two of us gals and five or six guys would sit around at our favorite coffeeshop on the Ave, and BS.

    This was during the Reagan Administration (Berlin Wall firmly in place). I distinctly remember a friend I sometimes still see, who once said:
    One of these days Capitalism is going to implode.
    Soviet Russia will be still hanging around.
    And it will be the one to pick up the pieces.
    My friend wasn't a Marxist. (Think he votes Republican, now.) He just thought of himself as a realist.
    (Fashionable cynic, truth be told.) Very entertaining to listen to.

    That is the thing about bull-sessions, about the spouting of opinions. Very entertaining, short term.
    Barren, long term.

    Here is where you have it wrong. The problem with modern or post-modern thought is that it thinks it can comprehend everything. Call me a Mysterian (see McGinn), I do not believe that is possible for consciousness nor spirituality (JMHO).

    Is that what we are doing here, at Interfaith Online? (College bull-session?)
    I don't know.

    No, I try to express my opinions anf experiences about “the beyond”. Don’t like that, don’t comment.

    Sure, most "ordinary" religious people shun abstractions, want their religion concrete.
    Religion . . .
    it is the belief in an unknown power
    resulting in affections and actions intended to influence this power
    to react favorably to the believer.
    Cobble together a tiny gift, ask a tiny favor of the divine. (Like back in Bronze Age times.)
    Humility matters.
    And that is the last thing that opinionated moderns, like us, are.
    Humble.

    If you read what I post, that is not what I try to express (or are you just needing to bash someone?). I (and I only speak for myself) to not believe anything can influence this power. But the future is not doomed to be like the past. None of the XXth Century thinkers I ever look at or reference or quote thought that either.

    Frankly, as much as I am trying to get wil or radarmark or Thomas to give up some of their cherished abstractions (which I see as faulty fundamentals) . . . I am not willing to give up my own abstractions.
    (I refuse to go back to the Bronze Age. I can only travel forward.)

    Sorry, I do not believe that any of us are “Bronze Age” thinkers. Merely a little more sophisticated than some who cannot or will not face the fact that “Modernity” has not worked (let alone “Post-Modernity”). For me, I can handle the label “existentialist” or “process thinker”. I freely admit I think that way… why? Perhaps because sophisticated XXth century thought is my heritage (if we were both practitioners of the Sanatana Dharma I would not have to point that out).

    I cannot speak for wil or radarmark or Thomas. But I do not see myself as rehashing. (Not BS-ing.) I see myself as moving. I think if you "observed" me as carefully as you do ordinary religious folk from Thailand etc, you would see an arc of movement in my writing. New terrain trod.

    I do not see myself as stating opinions. I see myself as providing deeper contexts. And as sharing discoveries.

    But if this is all just hash to you, Susma Rio Sep . . .
    Fine. I can live with that.

    But maybe you should take a refresher course in "thinking and observing" -- with a change of focus to religious intellectual traditions.
    Why?
    Because as far as I can tell, the religious intellectual traditions always came first, historically. Always preceded the popular religious traditions. Starting from the priests of the Bronze Age, charting stars and keeping written records. Continuing through to all the Axial Age reformers and rejecters of Bronze Age temple practices:
    - sages of the Upanishads,
    - Biblical prophets,
    - Confucian and Mohist and Daoist social thinkers,
    - Greek philosophers,
    - the shramanas of the Ganges plain.
    The intellectuals first. The grassroots later. Always.

    Sorry, I do not buy this “holier than thou” claptrap. One can find (if one bothers to look) plenty of those who found the sp!rit as the result of long and extensive Western Education (look up Rosenzweig, Whitehead, Hartshorne, Stapp, Chalmers, and McGinn to name a few).

    The spiritual is not based on “Bronze Age temple practices”. For me (at least) it is based on experience (what I understand) and the certain knowledge that neither Philosophy nor Science can answer the cry of terrorized humanity in fear of death (thank you FR).

    Hash? . . .
    Or something worth observing?


    Jane.
     

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