Moi!

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by etsijä, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. etsijä

    etsijä New Member

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    Hello to you all!

    I've been looking for a good forum to discuss and to get to know different belief systems. I have, for as long as I can remember, been interested in religions and spirituality. It has been hard finding likeminded people though. It would have been easier, if I could say "this is my religion" and name it. But I can't. My beliefs constantly develop, and I have no name for what I believe. Still, I have long felt a need to discuss spirituality with people. But when joining any forum, I end up feeling like an outsider, because they all seem to focus on just one religion, and bashing all others...

    Anyways, I live in Finland, I'm 32 years old and share my flat with my gf and our four (!) cats. I'm at the moment working as a trainee (yes, I know, usually trainees are younger... but with the work situation as it is, you take what you can get...) at the Finnish Environmentall Institute, where I have been working mostly with climate change mitigation.

    I would like to spend more time on a mountain top, speculating. I'd like to actually have the time to live a little more, do the things I love - write, read, paint, build... But that does not pay the build. It feels like this world was not designed for people who want to explore the magic of living, the essence of being. It was not build for artists, or at least not for wanna-be-artists without any Picasso-class talent.

    Oh and well... I tend to ramble at times. Sorry 'bout that.

    Now I got to get going, work calls..

    (oh and since I tend to avoid being in front of the camera, my avatar is a self-portrait of me as a blonde - really, my hair is dark. Do not know why I put it blond in my oh-so-complicated-self-portrait)

    P.S. Self-irony and irony in general is a maybe-bad habit of mine...
     
  2. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Hi Etsijä and welcome to the forum.

    Yes, there are some religious bashers here, but there are also some very open-minded people here too. My advice is find out which people here are in which groups. ignore the closed-minded ones and begin having fascinating discussions with the open-minded ones.

    But we do need to have some kind of frame of reference for you. Are there any spiritial or religious ideas and/or traditions which resonate with you?
     
  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    yes welcome and jump in the water is fine....we not only have many walks of life and religion here, but also many that are amalgams and/or think they are versed somewhat in a number of areas....enough to get in trouble anyway....

    I personally love the explorers....I were/are one. Your english is great, and I would think it tough in Finland....my understanding is you scandavavian areas are just about as least spirtitual as any???

    But yeah...ramble on, give us a hint of what resonates and we can talk...

    or go over to Belief-O-Matic - Beliefnet.com and take the test...postyour results and thoughts here and have fun!
     
  4. etsijä

    etsijä New Member

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    Thank you for your welcome :)

    Some reference to me... What I tend to call my believes has changed over the years. I was born into the lutheran church, but found out that is not me. I've called myself a pagan, witch, wiccan, but ... No. Buddhism is MAYBE the closest, but still not really. Currently, if I have to put a name at my believes, I guess I would call myself "a spiritual atheist". That does not cover everything, but it is the closest I can come to think of.

    Atheist because approx. half a year ago I hade this deep realization that I just do not believe in any kind of God or deity. Before that, I did try to. Realizing that I actually do not, was a great relief. Or, if I would put it differently, I do not believe in one or several gods seperately, but I do believe in some kind of divinity within everything and everyone. It is not a "holy spirit" that infuses us, but it is us and everything we see and do not see.

    Do any of that make any sense... I do not know. I am on a path, but I still have to find out which one it is. I am in no hurry, even thoough I am longing. Everything changes, but my most longheld belief is that life is eternal even if the human body is not.
     
  5. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    Welcome to the nuthouse, etsijä. :)

    **wanders off to youtube to look for some good heavy metal to listen to**
     
  6. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Welcome to the forums. :)
     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Welcome current spiritual atheist...

    for me atheism and theism....both black or white constructs of the unkown present a problem...and that being...unknown.

    I currently consider myself a Nontheistic Christian Panentheist, in that I don't believe the personal G!d as portrayed in conventional biblical interpretations and most churches, the all seeing, all knowing, scorekeeper....not that G!d loves, but that G!d is love...G!d being a principle, not a being, but being what science is seeking, the theory of everything, not the string or the ether but in the void of everything exists, in everything, through everything, look niether high nor low, but in the midst. I could follow the tao, or the Buddha, got feelings and love for many parts of many religions, but see Christ as my elder brother and wayshower...

    I'm still on that path of discovery and wish you well on yours.
     
  8. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Hi Etsijä,
     
    You said,
     
    "Buddhism is MAYBE the closest, but still not really."
     
    --> I call myself a "Buddhist, but not in the traditional definition of the word". What are the things you like and don’t like about Buddhism?
     
    "… approx. half a year ago I hade this deep realization that I just do not believe in any kind of God or deity."
     
    --> You and I have something in common. I certainly do not believe in the God that is portrayed in Genesis. The question of Buddhist beliefs about God are complicated. Some Buddhists insist they do not believe in God. Others say there may be a God, there might not be, it’s not important, we should instead spend our time concentrating on what we can do right here, right now, to accelerate our progress towards enlightenment.

    It has been said that we achieve enlightenment and then move on to nirvana, we are not even asked if we believe in Jesus, Buddha, etc. This makes sense to me.
     
    "…I do believe in some kind of divinity within everything and everyone. It is not a "holy spirit" that infuses us, but it is us and everything we see and do not see."
     
    --> I agree. I do not see a reason to think of it as us over here and God over there, as if God was a separate deity.
     
    "I do not know. I am on a path, but I still have to find out which one it is. I am in no hurry…"
     
    --> My advice is for you to take your time. I have checked out several religions, but I never quite found exactly what I was looking for. I made it my policy to head for the door as soon I heard one thing in a religion that I do not like. Then, one day, Boom! I found exactly what I was looking for. I suggest you keep looking around until you find exactly what you are looking for too.
     
    "…life is eternal even if the human body is not"
     
    --> I have a similar belief.
     
    Keep looking until you find exactly what you are looking for!
     
  9. etsijä

    etsijä New Member

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    Thank you for your reply. To say "like" and "don't like" is not really the problem, more it's like "agree" and "don't agree". But that is details.

    Anyways, I like much of their philosophy, but what I tend not to agree with is "the goal" as I understand it - nirvana, learn only from within, focus more on the spiritual... But then again, I am not an expert on Buddhism. That's why I'm still reading about it, and hopefully learning :)
     
  10. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Hi Etsijä,

    I would not say the goal in Buddhism is nirvana, I would say it is enlightenment. What do you see as the difference between nirvana and enlightenment?

    I know that you are only a beginner, but what do you think nirvana is?
     
  11. etsijä

    etsijä New Member

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    I've understood it so that nirvana is when you not longer exist as one specific being, but join in some sort of "universal energy"...
     
  12. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    I think you've described nirvana better than some monks!

    Now, what do think enlightenment is?
     
  13. etsijä

    etsijä New Member

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    I had to think about this a little, before I answered :) It is a hard question, and I'm not sure how to put the words.

    I have understood it so, that enlightenment is a state of mind when you are no longer you in a sense of being an individual, instead the borders between "you" and "I" and "that stone over there" have merged.

    Now, I'm not sure, but it seems to me also that there are two kinds of enlightenment. At least if you think of all those people claiming to be enlightened, but when reading their texts, they do not seem to be any more merged with their surroundings than anyone else.. in some cases the opposite. Would that me "enlightenment light" or something... Then there is the enlightenment when in nirvana, where actually becoming everything and everyone..

    I guess the most common enlightenment, in my opinion, seems to be the epiphany-enlightenment. With that, I mean those who have had an experience where they've felt this enlightenment, and then "come back", and those are the once writing books on how it is to experience enlightenment...

    Do I even come close with my definition? :)
     
  14. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I think these definitions vary far and wide, depending on the religion, denomination, guru...

    But believe I concur with the direction you think...

    I see nirvana as yes another plane of existence...where we all exist as one, without differntiation, and enlightenment not just the knowledge that that is also true in this plane but acting as if it is as well.
     
  15. etsijä

    etsijä New Member

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    :) yes, but remember that we are talking about what I disagree with... That is my view of what I think is meant by enlightenment and nirvana, and also the reason why I am not a buddhist... Because I disagree with those "goals"...
     
  16. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Hi Etsijä,
     
    You said,
     
    "Do I even come close with my definition?"
     
    --> I am flattered that you think I am able to bestow upon you a decree of whether your definition is correct or not. But in Buddhism, as Wil is trying to say, there are several traditions, and the various traditions do not agree. Zen Buddhism, Pureland Buddhism, Theravadin Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, etc., all have very different ideas as to the nature of enlightenment and nirvana. If we wish to find the ‘true’ answer, we must consider which tradition’s answer we are using as the ‘right’ answer. I, of course, have my answers, but my answers are often quite different than many of today’s mainstream Buddhist traditions.

    When you read Buddhist books, which Buddhist traditions' books do you read?
     
    "I have understood it so, that enlightenment is a state of mind when you are no longer you in a sense of being an individual, instead the borders between "you" and "I" and "that stone over there" have merged."

    --> Actually, that is a pretty good definition. However, I would say your definition describes nirvana, not enlightenment. I see enlightenment and nirvana as being two different things. By the way, most Buddhist traditions see enlightenment and nirvana as being the same. I have yet to find a Buddhist who will give me an explanation that I like of the difference between enlightenment and nirvana. (Have you?)
     
    "Now, I'm not sure, but it seems to me also that there are two kinds of enlightenment. At least if you think of all those people claiming to be enlightened, but when reading their texts, they do not seem to be any more merged with their surroundings than anyone else.. in some cases the opposite. Would that me "enlightenment light" or something..."
     
    --> I know exactly what you are talking about. This idea is especially popular in Zen Buddhism. The idea is that enlightenment is merely a frame of mind, merely the experience of having a particular kind of Aha! Experience. The idea here is that we can float in and out of enlightenment quite easily, it comes and it goes. (This idea most certainly does not fit into my own personal belief system.)
     
    "I guess the most common enlightenment, in my opinion, seems to be the epiphany-enlightenment. With that, I mean those who have had an experience where they've felt this enlightenment, and then "come back", and those are the once writing books on how it is to experience enlightenment..."
     
    --> This is the same as the Zen idea of having an Aha! Moment.

    There is also the idea that some people experience enlightenment, but aren't sure or don't remember. In my own personal belief system, it would be quite impossible for anyone to 'forget' achieving enightenment.
     
    "Then there is the enlightenment when in nirvana, where actually becoming everything and everyone.."
     
    --> Of course, this idea has an inherent contradiction which says that we become one with all, and everything becomes one with us, yet we also maintain our own individual identity, when we achieve nirvanic consciousness. This idea (and contradiction) fit quite nicely into my own personal belief system.
     
    "…That is my view of what I think is meant by enlightenment and nirvana, and also the reason why I am not a buddhist... Because I disagree with those "goals"..."
     
    --> What, then, is the goal of existence?
     
  17. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Etsijä,

    Two more questions for you:

    What do you think of reincarnation?

    Are you aware of how Buddhists distinguish between reincarnation and rebirth?
     
  18. etsijä

    etsijä New Member

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    I've been thinking about what to answer again, took me some time :)

    I have mostly read books about zen Buddhism, I have found that they somehow "speak to me" better.

    Probably not :D I'd guess I'd say that in nirvana you're physical body do not exist anymore, when you are enlightened it do...

    Okay, so maybe I've read too much about zen Buddhism then :) I don't say this moments of clarity is a bad thing, in my opinion, they are better than nothing, maybe a start on the way to enlightenment? It is just that they pass, and after they pass, I question that some say/act like they still are enlightened and better and so on...

    I had not heard about that contradiction before. I find it interesting to think about.

    I'll tell you when I find out :)

    I've actually found myself thinking about this for the last couple of days. Had some good points too. Of course I was just about to fall asleep right then, and now that I am awake it is harder to remember exactly what I was thinking then :)

    I was thinking, that maybe "the Buddhist goal" is not so bad, BUT since I believe in reincarnation, and also believe that the quote "it is the journey, not the goal that is of importance" has something to it, I think many focus too much on that goal. I mean, everyone can't be "an old soul" at the end of their journey. My soul is probably still in diapers, and I'm just waking up to life, and thinking about how to reach the goal, if that goal in fact is nirvana as Buddhists explain it, focusing on it and trying to live just to reach it, seems a waste of time.

    And even for "old souls", I would think the journey of more importance. It is what teaches us. Learning the lessons of life is what teaches us to understand, and that understanding would in my opinion be the way to "become one with everything". That is why I think you should not live your life focusing on how to get to nirvana when this life ends, instead you should focus on what this life could teach you.

    Reincarnation is one of my few firm beliefs. I am not aware on how Buddhists distinguish between reincarnation and rebirth, but I would say that reincarnation is when the physical body dies and you move on, in rebirth the physical body might not die, but you move on in a different way, maybe with the help of one of those AHA!-moments we spoke about earlier - to take an example would be a reformed criminal, who understands the pain s/he caused, and thus was reborn to a life that include this understanding.
     
  19. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Hi Etsijä,

    You said,
     
    "I have mostly read books about zen Buddhism, I have found that they somehow "speak to me" better."
     
    --> You will find that different Buddhist traditions have quite different ideas. I find it hard to say that both Zen Buddhism and Pureland Buddhism are in the same religion!
     
    I also wonder if you were a practicing Buddhist in a previous incarnation, and you are just ‘remembering’ these ideas from that time.
     
    "… in nirvana you're physical body do not exist anymore, when you are enlightened it do..."
     
    --> I’m glad you have a distinction that works for you.
     
    "The idea here is that we can float in and out of enlightenment quite easily, it comes and it goes." --> "Okay, so maybe I've read too much about zen Buddhism then…"
     
    --> Go with what works for you, even if everyone disagrees with you!
     
    "…maybe a start on the way to enlightenment?"
     
    --> I believe that anything we do that is spiritual (praying, meditating, etc.) as well as living a clean life accelerates our progress towards enlightenment. I think that a good Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, are all making progress towards enlightenment. (Do you?)
     
    "…I question that some say/act like they still are enlightened and better and so on..."
     
    --> I think a lot of people think they have achieved enlightenment, but they are merely being pompous.
     
    "What, then, is the goal of existence?" --> "I'll tell you when I find out."
     
    --> I’ll wait as long as it takes!
     
    "…"it is the journey, not the goal that is of importance" has something to it…"
     
    --> A lot of people, especially Zen Buddhists, follow this philosophy.
     
    "…everyone can't be "an old soul" at the end of their journey."
     
    --> I think they can. I think we all must become ‘old souls’ before we can achieve enlightenment.
     
    "My soul is probably still in diapers, and I'm just waking up to life, and thinking about how to reach the goal…"
     
    --> I think you are an older soul than you think.
     
    "… if that goal in fact is nirvana as Buddhists explain it, focusing on it and trying to live just to reach it, seems a waste of time."
     
    --> I agree that both the journey and the goal are important, but I still live for the purpose of achieving that goal.
     
    "…understanding would in my opinion be the way to "become one with everything"."
     
    --> That is one way to look at it. Another way to look at it is that we become so busy showing compassion for everyone else that we completely forget ourselves. I think we must achieve this "completely forgeting about ourselves" before we can achieve enlightenment.
     
    "That is why I think you should not live your life focusing on how to get to nirvana when this life ends, instead you should focus on what this life could teach you."
     
    --> I see what you are saying. People who focus on nirvana/enlightenment as a reward are pursuing a selfish goal. I agree.
     
    "I am not aware on how Buddhists distinguish between reincarnation and rebirth…"
     
    --> Buddhists do not believe we have a soul, so they say that reincarnation means the traveling of a soul from reincarnation to reincarnation, whereas rebirth refers to us traveling from rebirth to rebirth but it is not a soul which does the traveling. When pressed for an answer, most Buddhists eventually admit that "something", some kind of "object", travels from rebirth to rebirth, but they refuse to call it a soul.
     
    "…but you move on in a different way…"
     
    --> What is the "you" that moves on? Do you call it a soul? Do you believe we have a soul?
     
    "…to take an example would be a reformed criminal, who understands the pain s/he caused, and thus was reborn to a life that include this understanding."
     
    --> This idea fits into my personal belief system perfectly.
     
  20. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    I also think that we should be careful not to force out understanding of a concept into other things. I think it is noble to try and understand others, but it might not always be the time and place to understand these things. Sometimes we need time to understand.

    Another way of seeing it, as it has been explained to me, is that our actions leave an imprint in the world that effects the next incarnation. In that perspective, it might be more accurate to say that it is not billions of people travelling through lives, but existence itself solving itself. Thus, we are more connected then we think.

    But I am in no way well read on these matters, I simply follow the though into different conclusions.
     

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