Salvation and Belief

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by muhammad_isa, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Oh yes!

    Try and get a book published. Even if the agent agrees to accept it -- one out of very many other submissions in the field -- he will require you to re-write it several times, to clarify what's going on. The reader can't be expected to do the work. That's the writer's job. The reader can just put it down and pick up another book.

    What's interesting to the writer/speaker might be extremely uninteresting to everyone else. It's the writer's job to make it interesting. Imo
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
  2. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls Staff Member

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    Good point .. faith is a gift .. praise G-d.
    ..yet sincerity of deeds is something that draws us closer to G-d.
     
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  3. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls Staff Member

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    True .. it helps if you understand your "audience" :)
     
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  4. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    Yeah, but I'm talking about sharing our thoughts so that others understand us. That that is easy I can not agree with you on.

    No I disagree here. The one-directional communication of book writing is only partially similar to the two-way communication of speech. And post like these fall somewhere in-between.
     
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  5. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Yep.

    Yes, he does end with suggesting it's hubris "to assume that the part somehow radically differs from and transcends the whole," and this agrees with my previous post. Before that last line he asks:

    "For is it not an extraordinary act of human hubris - literally a hubris of cosmic proportions - to assume that the exclusive source of ALL MEANING AND PURPOSE IN THE UNIVERSE is ultimately centered in the human mind, which is therefore absolutely unique and special and in this sense superior to the entire cosmos?"

    He's suggesting the entire cosmos may possess consciousness too, and I think he is suggesting other intelligent beings with minds outside the human mind don't exist (for atheists or whoever he's thinking believes they are the source of all meaning and purpose). Why the latter? From my experience some atheists tend to believe other intelligent beings out there may create purpose too (e.g., simulation hypothesis). And I was pointing out I don't necessarily assume human minds on this planet are the only "conscious" beings in the universe. So I didn't suggest that. I presume he's directing his criticism toward certain atheists then. If he's criticizing them, note most assume the human mind is not unique or superior to other "minds" (say, elephants), and some are content to believe "all meaning and purpose" is merely self-created and superimposed on an inherently purposeless universe. I don't see the hubris here. These ideas do not diminish their amazement or mean they possess a superiority complex just for deeming themselves the creators of purpose and meaning. And I haven't physically met one who thinks they are the sole source of purpose and meaning in the universe. Again, from my experience they tend to assume other forms of intelligence exist. And I wanted to make it clear I believe that's a strong possibility too.

    Is that clear? I've edited this multiple times to add clarity.

    Then Dogen is translated as saying:

    "Whoever told people that 'Mind' means thoughts, opinions, ideas, and concepts? Mind means trees, fence posts, tiles and grasses."
    (Dogen)
    From this small excerpt it seems he's suggesting a hierarchy of being doesn't exist for "mind," and so why make these distinctions when trees, fence posts, and so on also possess "mind?" Looked at in combination with the previous quote ("When consciousness ends in the skull, how can joy exist?"), I assumed both were saying consciousness extends beyond the human mind, so don't presume the human mind is unique. Now combine this previous understanding of these two quotes with Richard's words above and maybe you'll see my previous confusion. Keep in mind I was also going back and forth between the discussion here and discussions on social media very, very early in the morning. Also keep in mind I'm not familiar with Dogen's school of thought at all, and so I wasn't seeing any connection with Dogen, the koan, and Richard. :oops:
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  6. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Makes sense.
     
  7. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. So matter is directed towards consciousness. In other words, it's in the process of becoming a giant system of self-reflection?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  8. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Well, we're talking about consciousness, not the body, right? Or is consciousness a part of your body? If so, have you ever felt like you've jumped to another location in a dream? How about people who've said they've had an outer body experience?
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
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  9. As I was trying to say, I was only stating that my own way of posting was "easy". Whether others understand or not!

    There is a technical Japanese word that just means a "person to person" form of communication, face to face, hand to hand, is necessary. Merton speaks of "communion" as the highest form of communication, a communion that is wordless, even beyond concept.

    It seems to me that it is the inevitable nature of the net, of forums such as this, to present problems. No, not easy.

    A Jewish guy once travelled 100 miles after hearing of a famous rabbi. On his return he was asked:- "Did you like what he said?" " Oh" he replied, "I didn't go to hear what he had to say, I wanted to see how he tied his shoe laces."
     
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  10. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    Not necessarily, no. The idea that consciousness in some kind of goal which provides a direction towards it, is just our limited perspective and self-image.

    By the same argument, matter is in the process of becoming a giant yeast loaf, or a giant black hole, or...

    There is a lot going on that is not at all concerned with our human priorities and wishes.

    I strongly believe that there are other numbers besides "one". There is no single winner because it's not a game. Consciousness is awesome, but it likes to think of itself as special and separate and often, better or more advanced or closer to a goal than other phenomena in the universe. In a Gnostic way of speaking, this is where Sophia, Wisdom, performed her foolish act of parthenogenesis, giving birth to consciousness which is ever fascinated with the spark of life and yet only ever able to take it, never create it, because it insists in being separate from it.
     
  11. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    Yes, I've experienced out-of-body dreams. They all had this commonly reported characteristic of being pulled back to the body at one point, inexorably. I don't think consciousness as we understand it is separable from the body.

    Edited to add: We are getting so far off topic, that it would merit a thread on its own. I'm going to be offline a lit this week, but I'd be very much interested in a discussion about consciousness, even if I can only join in on the weekend.
     
  12. It would seem to be. When first on Forums, timid, afraid to say boo to a goose, terrified of spelling mistakes, fearing any response not totally receptive to my own point of view. Now, perhaps well over 30,000 posts later, on various Forums, it all comes tumbling out virtually without effort, without much concern over reception. I have a Google Blog also, with a "back catalogue" of about 150 blogs, and here too it is virtually stream of consciousness stuff.

    Yet, when I self consciously think I shall try to "write a book", the blank screen stays in front of me, I dry up, the words tangle up and congeal.
     
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  13. I'll try to give my perspective as clearly as I can.

    Ever since the beginning, I have sought to "work out my own salvation in fear and trembling", terrified of Authority Figures no matter who, where or what. I have rarely read, or even thought, for simple pleasure, nor to accumulate a store of knowledge. I have made choices, leaving Theravada ( i.e. we have to walk the path ourselves, Buddha's only point the way) for the Pure Land. Pure Land, the so called "easy path" but few there be who find it. Other choices also.

    So how dare anyone assert that Faith is a gift? I have earned it, haven't I? All my own work!

    But the Pure Land scholar Taitsu Unno writes:- It is a necessary step on the path when we realise that what we first thought of as self-power, was in fact Other Power.

    Relevant again, Thomas Merton, on the recovery of paradise:-

    ......and as the Christian doctrine of grace teaches us in other terms, this cannot be the work of our own “self.” It is useless for the “self” to try to “purify itself,” or for the “self” to “make a place in itself” for God. The innocence and purity of heart which belong to paradise are a complete emptiness of self in which all is the work of God, the free and unpredictable expression of His love, the work of grace. In the purity of original innocence, all is done in us but without us, in nobis et sine nobis. But before we reach that level, we must also learn to work on the other level of “knowledge”—scientia— where grace works in us but “not without us”—in nobis sed non sine nobis.

    So, from my own Pure Land perspective (non-theist, non-dual) my "sincerity" is never enough, my intentions are never pure enough, but instead of constant soul searching seeking such "purity" of thought, I rest in Amida, Reality-as-is, who carries the burden for me. For me, it is enough to see that an old lady has crossed the road safely with my help. My tangled reasons for helping her I leave with Amida.

    Namu-amida-butsu!
     
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    A relevant comment from the Perennial Philosophy on the nature of Self-Power / Other-Power (jiriki and tariki).

    "The first power is that of intelligence and of will seen from the point of view of the salvific capacity which they possess in principle and which
    consequently can operate in fact once the required conditions are met; in the first case, man is freed thanks to his intelligence and by his own efforts, at least according to human appearances, for metaphysically the enlightening and liberating power lies outside the grasp of an individual, who is simply its instrument.

    "The second power does not belong to us in any way; it belongs to the “Other” as its name indicates and as its reason for being demands; in this context, man is saved by Grace, which does not however mean that he need not collaborate with this salvation by his receptivity and according to the modes that human nature allows or imposes on him.

    "It is certain that man can, in principle, save himself “by his own means”, but it is necessary that such an effort be blessed by a celestial Power, hence a “power of the Other”; and it is likewise certain that man can, in principle, be saved by simply abandoning himself to Mercy, but such an abandonment must contain an element of initiative, for the absence of any “power of Oneself” is contrary to the nature of man ...

    "All told, there are three possible paths: predominance of the “power of Oneself”; predominance of the “power of the Other”; and a balance between the two."
     
  15. Good stuff! Maybe we think we are the only ones posting "on the run", between cooking dinner, baking cakes and being disturbed (disturbed in a beautiful way) by grandchildren leaping onto our knees or shoving us off of the sofa to make more room for themselves.

    Yes, Dogen - as I have said many time - has left behind a large corpus of writings that I personally find challenging to understand. Often, to me, he seeks to have his cake and eat it too. But then, why not?

    I have two help-mates, Hee-Jin Kim and Shohaku Okumura. The former seeks to expound on the entire corpus, the latter on Dogen's "Genjokoan".

    Dogen seeks to realise non-duality within duality. Which is far far too tricky for me, but yes, I can see how he enjoys eating his cake while leaving it for later. There are indeed "graduations" and "hierarchies" yet all is not-two. :cool:
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    This idea of self-emptying (kenosis) is often pointed at in Eckhart and others ... but it is explicit in Scripture:
    "For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father). For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God (Romans 8:14-16)
    And:
    "And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father" (Galatians 4:6)

    In both texts it's explicit that it is the Spirit who knows the Father, not us, and when we pray it is the Spirit who prays in us, as it were, as the Spirit knows He to whom we pray.
     
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  17. As Saichi exclaims in his own unique way.....

    " O Saichi! Will you tell us of Tariki?
    Yes, but there is neither jiriki nor Tariki.
    What is, is the Graceful Acceptance only. "
     
  18. Thinking back, it might have been a good thing to have met you earlier.

    Instead, I had the pleasure of a visit from one of the Brethren who said to me ( a little alone, basically friendless in a foreign country ) that he knew "someone who was just like" me. "I gave him the gospel, and in the end he was telling me to be quiet, to go away. But I gave him the Gospel every chance I got." Then, after a little reflection he said: - "The last time I saw him, he was no more than a vegetable in an asylum" At which point he sunk back into his chair and said:- "Ah, the judgements of God!"

    Well, there you go. That man had "known Christ" for thirty odd years, and his "God" turned people into vegetables.

    I headed for the Pure Land. Or should I say, Amida dragged me there?
     
  19. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls Staff Member

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    Merton expresses an extreme viewpoint. I am not fond of extremes, in politics or religion.
    Merton in effect suggests that our soul has no bearing on its destination .. something that I find illogical.

    "Reality-as-is" could be any number of things .. it could be good or it could be bad.
    Yes .. G-d is ultimately in charge of our souls .. He is in charge of everything.
    ..yet, He decided to endow us with free-will, which means that He requires us to take responsibility for our actions,
    and not imagine than some other entity, whether "reality", I-ching or what-have-you can be blamed.
     
  20. For me, as I see it and understand it, Merton in fact unifies extreme viewpoints.

    The "free will" v "determinism" conflict is one that never dies down.

    It seems fairly clear to me how Merton does in fact unify, giving due respect to both sides, our own "will" and the work of G!d/Grace/Reality-as-is.

    We shall just have to disagree. :)
     

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