another yoga and christianity commentary

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by BlaznFattyz, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    Yes, it does. In the Mahayana tradition the bodisattva refuses to enter nirvana untill all are liberated, so we have the idea of sacrifice for others.

    Susan Salzberg has a wonderful book on Loving Kindness meditations

    The way I learned it the prayer goes:

    May you be filled with loving kindness
    may you be well
    may you be peaceful and at ease
    may you be happy.

    In practice we start by visualizing a "neutral person" like a stranger we see or meet and say the prayer for them
    Then we move to saying the prayer for someone we are in conflict with an enemy if you will.

    Jack Kornfield in his book A Path With heart outlines much more about the buddhist idea of "heart" as well.

    Peace
    Mark
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    The individual will is dead is the same way that we die in Christ and become new creatures. We "kill" our will and become receptive to God's will. He then comes into us and attaches himself to us through the Holy Spirit.

    I can agree ... but I would differ in my choice of terminology – less aggressive – to complement Christianity as the way of the heart/love.

    Divine Union is not attained by one party ceasing to exist, by the Holy Spirit killing you or me, or by you or me committing suicide, but by the two becoming united, so I look not to killing the lower part of myself, but its transcendence through 'saving grace' which remakes it anew, and which in fact restores in it the Image of its creator.

    A creator, I might add, who has no image (being the source of all image) but who images Itself in man in a more immediate and direct manner than It does in any other aspect of creation.

    +++

    Terminological exactitude (and I never thought I would ever say that in all seriousness) is vital in theology for the very reasons under discussion here.

    Buddhism is a monism, which Christianity absolutely is not, Judaism absolutely is not, and Islam absolutely is not. This is another aspect of the 'schizophrenia' I spoke of.

    A vital aspect of this is the location of 'the person' – Buddhism (and Asiatic traditions generally) regard the 'person' as part of the problem, as transient, ephemeral, and without foundation ... so nirvana involves the cessation of the individual being, and the continuity of being-as-such.

    Christianity sees 'the person' as Divinely ordained, and thus Divine founded; so salvation for the Christian does not involve the continuance of some 'part' or 'fraction' of the being, it involves the continuation of that being as such. Hence the idea of bodily resurrection and restoration, signified in the Resurrection, pointed to by St Paul, and envisioned in the Book of Revelations.

    Again and again, it seems to me, that whilst there are superficial correlatives – and this is hardly surprising as both traditions address the human being – the actuality between the two is fundamentally and irreconcilably different, and it is the general ignorance, or lack of importance accorded to those fundamental aspects, that allow for so much that can only be called 'loose talk' when people declare Buddhism and Christianity essentially the same. They are not, and to attempt both, or a synthesis of both, is to try and walk in opposite directions simultaneously ... or at very least negate everything one says in the moment one says it ...

    The Buddhist kills his ego and then, when all suffering ceases, "Nirvana" "attaches" itself to the individual mind.

    If the ego is dead, then what is left that we can call 'individual'?

    (I see the "divinity within" as the Holy Spirit)

    So do I, but I refrain from making statements about what the Holy Spirit says or does under my own authority.

    Thomas
     
  3. Prober

    Prober Give Us This Day...

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    Much to think about...I've been wrong before.:)
     
  4. Prober

    Prober Give Us This Day...

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    (I put the blue parts in and the Oops. The edit miscued them)
     
  5. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    I understand that the individual is salvaged by the Redeemer Christ. But--and I am not preaching this, but simply throwing it out here for consideration--in the Christian view, is not all of creation awaiting perfection? Could it be that the idea of our restoration (our glorified bodies) necessarily sheds that part of each of us that must look upon and deal with temptation and evil?

    Just a thought. Okay--more than that. :)

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  6. pattimax

    pattimax Somewhat returning

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    Is not monism reducing all viewpoint to one principle? Wouldn't you say that was oversimplification?
    BTW- Thanks for the definition.
     
  7. earl

    earl ?

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    My failing (and my strength?:) ): I don't concern myself with dogma or the figuring out of such, but merely keeping my mind and heart to the grindstone; breath in, note what's there , breath out, note what's there, let go, smile. Start all over when foregoing goes awry. :D Afterall, I don't believe what I believe will make any worthwhile difference in my life. Rather the quality of my being will which is much more reliant upon how I work with myself and others. (Of course, unless I believed something made good sense I wouldn't be incorporating it into my life.) But nevertheless sorrier to say I am really a closet concept junky or why would I spend as much time as I do studying and discussing concepts? Maybe I can find a 12-step group for that.;) But to me all contemplative approaches are really about opening up our sense of being (or as with the Buddhists doing away with any ultimate concept of being-though as with this I'm reminded of a purported Sufi saying, "there's a voice in the night telling me there's no voice in the night"- but again words, words, words don't matter-it's not about the word-concepts, nama-rupa-it's about the effect. The effect of continually seeing no conceptual boundary we place around things does justice to the Mystery) have a good one,earl
     
  8. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    It is my understanding that prior to the canon being developed, reincarnation was largely discussed and entertained as part of Christianity.

    While I read folks saying there is no 'divine within' but to me omnipresence, in our midst, all indicates to me that the divine is everywhere...which includes within. Despite the ancient notion of looking up (whether one is in Australia, Europe or America....all looking in opposing directions) I see G-d as here....and within.
     
  9. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Woah! Re-incarnation? In Christianity? Well strike me blind...where did you find that? I really want to know Wil...
     
  10. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Well my sarcasm alarm is buzzing, even without the little smileys but others may have the same question...

    I've heard it for years, read it amongst a number of sources and read references to biblical passages that still imply...have nothing currently on the tip of my tongue or at my fingertips but a keyboard so I googled...
     
  11. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    A million hits??? Bah, that's nothing. Probably a fluke, try again later. :p
     
  12. earl

    earl ?

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    Looks like we could have any number of off-shoot topics spring from this thread. For someone who mistrusts words-or just sees their very limited nature-I should take my own advice and shut up. But ran across a quote from the Upanishads that realy gets at what I'm trying to say better than I could as it comes to addressing matters of the "Absolute." So 1 last one (for now:) ):

    "That which is not spoken in speech but that whereby all speech is spoken. That which does not think in the mind, but that whereby the mind proceeds to think. That which does not perceive with the eye but that whereby the eye receives its sight. That which does not hear with the ear but that whereby the ear hears. That which does not breath the breath of life, but that whereby life itself is kept up. Know thou that that is the Absolute, not this that people worship."

    "If thou objectest, how should I grasp this? Pray do not grasp it for the residuum after all grasping is at an end, is none other than thy real self."

    no doubt why Zen speaks as much with koans as with direct discourse. Take care, earl
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi InLove –

    I understand that the individual is salvaged by the Redeemer Christ.
    Yes.

    But -- and I am not preaching this, but simply throwing it out here for consideration -- in the Christian view, is not all of creation awaiting perfection?
    Yes.

    Could it be that the idea of our restoration (our glorified bodies) necessarily sheds that part of each of us that must look upon and deal with temptation and evil?

    We have to look at that which looks at temptation and evil...

    In fact we have to examine that which chooses temptation and evil ...

    Resistance to temptation, resistance to the passions or appetites of the flesh, lies in the human will. Sin, in the Christian Tradition, is brought about by a free act of the will and is qualified as a moral choice – sin does not exist 'outside' the will and has no other cause nor source in creation (the erring will ascribed both to angels and man) – whatever the sin, it is always a weakness in the moral fibre of the person.

    So to exorcise sin requires a 'circumcision of the heart' or perhaps more immediately a circumcision of the will.

    The question then is must man shed or shut down his own will to attain perfection?
    (I'm over-simplifying your argument, but brevity is the way without face-to-face)

    The Christian answer is no. Philosophically the cessation or extinction of the will means the cessation or extinction of the acting being.

    Catholic theology (as opposed to Reformation theology), insists on man's co-operation with the Divine Will, as is exemplified in the Adamic myth. He cannot work his own salvation, but he can work towards it. A very junior partner in the deal, yes, but generally man's assent is required – it is rare that God coerces (coercion is itself questionable, if not evil), rather God invites.

    The Fathers speak of metanoia – a change of mind. A radical revision and transformation of our whole mental process. That change of mind is something whereby God takes center place in our consciousness, in our awareness, and in our minds.

    Metanoia means not simply a change of mind, it means a new mind, and one that I would speculatively call the heart-intellect.

    +++

    Pattimax –
    Is not monism reducing all viewpoint to one principle? Wouldn't you say that was oversimplification?
    Monism is the view that everything is God, and God is everything, as opposed to the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo – that God brought the world into being from nothing ... that although God is Immanent in the Cosmos, He is Himself absolutely other-than-that.

    I don't think I can say its an oversimplification when Vedic, Buddhist and other scholars have presented the argument quite cogently. It just doesn't work for me. I would say New Age or Modern Monism is terribly oversimplified and, like most (but not all) New Age and Modern stuff, lacking in philosophical rigour and metaphysical insight. It's just sentimentalism poorly thought through.

    (ps - apologies when I responded to you saying Christianity is a change of mind – I was a bit too quick off the blocks, as metanoia is just that. Mea culpa.)

    Wil:
    It is my understanding that prior to the canon being developed, reincarnation was largely discussed and entertained as part of Christianity.
    No, it never was. It's not part of Judaic orthodoxy – but there may well have been some speculation among Hellenised Jews – but the Book of Wisdom was written by one such an author less than a century before Christ, and it is not touched on there. Its ruled out by Christians, Jews and Moslems. There's a lot of misinformation around about it, classically that Origen was a reincarnationist, when he has penned a total rebuke of the doctrine as proposed by Celcus – scholars have traced the original erroneous thesis, which gets trotted out regularly as a 'proof' that the Fathers believed in reincarnation.

    Jews and Christians were conscious of the Spirit, so when they talk of Elijah come again, they infer that the Spirit of God that moved Elijah is moving another person, or rather that such-and-such is a continuation of the mission of Elijah ...

    Thomas
     
  14. samabudhi

    samabudhi New Member

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    How so?
     
  15. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Now this is just dead, flat WRONG. Thomas, YOU should know better! For shame! :eek:

    Reincarnation was so well known among the Jews of the time, that Christ scolded Nicodemus, saying "Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?"

    Again, we see Herod terrified that Jesus is John the Baptist, come again to punish Herod for his great crimes against his own people. This HOUNDS him!

    You may interpolate your own meaning if you like, but the truth of this episode is too clear here, I'm afraid. Inconvenient, perhaps, for Catholic DOGMA - but that is all.

    Christ taught the Apostles a great deal regarding the Law of Rebirth, as this does not really even constitute one of the lesser mysteries of being! It is SO basic a teaching, that we may only consider it a work of great cunning indeed, that the ecclesiastical authorities have excised it so well from their theology ... as if it were only so much unfortunate foreskin. :(

    As an American Great once said, "You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."

    As for Origen, remember, the Catholic Church declared his teachings heresy, and like so many other things historical ... Origen's teachings have been heavily "sanitized." :rolleyes:

    Naturally then, we will find Origen espousing all the harmless philosophy of the pre-Christian Pagans (Plotinus, Plato, etc.), UNTIL he comes to something the Chuch has pronounced heretical ... and then, strangely, he speaks in symbols, or else is made to agree wholeheartedly with the good word of Authority. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:


    ONE quote alone - and YOU decide for yourself what Origen KNEW to be true:
    "The soul has neither beginning nor end… [They] come into this world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defeats of their previous lives" (Origen, de Principiis)
    Well we see that in using phrases like "gets trotted out regularly as proof that the Fathers believed in reincarnation" (although this isn't even the one, gee, guess you'll hafta nix this one too), Thomas would like to dismiss the matter entirely. It is - inconvenient to him, brings a bad taste to his mouth, for whatever reason. Could it be, that like all of us, you wonder how the sacrifice of a Bodhisattva is possible ... to look dear Christ-God-Spirit square in the eye and say, No sir, I shall not enter in, while I yet may serve to Liberate even one, single human soul, from the confusion of samsara (?)

    "No, I don't want to come back." This is the objection often raised. Don't worry about it. Did you remember much about it THIS time, from last? Ah no, well then, unless you dropped a bit too much LSD back in the hippie revolution and caught on to the song Deja Vu by CSNY, fageddaboudit! :p

    Oh, Deja Vu? My bad, sorry, we'll just pretend we don't have those, either. :rolleyes:

    Thomas, you are very wily, and clever with the straw-manning. But you can either just own up to being duped by all manner of dubious `scholars' posing as the latest-greatest expert on whatever it is that doesn't fit your worldview ... or you can pass the buck, and admit that the Catholic Church has just whitewashed this along with so much dirty laundry. Oh, is that not clear? Ok, how about this, then.

    Hypatia was perhaps THE last authority of the ancient world who stood up to the RCC and challenged the PURE BUNK that it was shoveling out there to fertilize the masses. She most definitely would have been teaching the Law of Rebirth, as would have Origen, since both KNEW it to be true, and knew it be part 'n parcel of the Mystery Traditions ... the ABC of God's Timeless Truths, Cause and Effect, Cosmic LAW.


    This, however, like much of the Wisdom of the day, did not coincide with the Church's agenda ... especially a FEMALE Voice of Wisdom and Truth (one of Love's many expressions in this world, even if She is all-but-strangled at times). What did the dear Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, do? He had Hypatia DRAGGED through the streets, behind a chariot! Now let us see how HISTORY records this event, via Socrates Scholasticus, in his Ecclesiastical History:
    Yet even [Hypatia] fell a victim to the political jealousy which at that time prevailed. For as she had frequent interviews with Orestes, it was calumniously reported among the Christian populace, that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled to the bishop. Some of them therefore, hurried away by a fierce and bigoted zeal, whose ringleader was a reader named Peter, waylaid her returning home, and dragging her from her carriage, they took her to the church called Caesareum, where they completely stripped her, and then murdered her with tiles. After tearing her body in pieces, they took her mangled limbs to a place called Cinaron, and there burnt them. This affair brought not the least opprobrium, not only upon Cyril, but also upon the whole Alexandrian church. And surely nothing can be farther from the spirit of Christianity than the allowance of massacres, fights, and transactions of that sort. (emphasis mine)

    But wait! Harken to the new and improved, SANITIZED version, as we find in the Catholic Encyclopedia:
    In one of these riots, in 422, the prefect Callistus was killed, and in another was committed the murder of a female philosopher Hypatia, a highly-respected teacher of neo-Platonism, of advanced age and (it is said) many virtues. She was a friend of Orestes, and many believed that she prevented a reconciliation between the prefect and patriarch. A mob led by a lector, named Peter, dragged her to a church and tore her flesh with potsherds till she died. This brought great disgrace, says Socrates, on the Church of Alexandria and on its bishop; but a lector at Alexandria was not a cleric (Scr., V, xxii), and Socrates does not suggest that Cyril himself was to blame. (emphasis mine, noting that even here, the RCC subtly hints that perhaps this was not true! for shame!)
    Notice that every effort has been made to exonerate all blame from Cyril and the RCC, and you DARN WELL SKIPPY better believe it, if the latter still thinks it can prove ol' Abe Lincoln wrong, and have folks swallowing this "God's instrument on earth" business.

    I like to present these inconvenient little inconsistences ... Thomas, not to see you squirm (I am outwitted, as I will point out later). It is, hopefully, to get people to THINK. And if any person has a SHADOW of a doubt, that s/he cannot do it for him or herself, and needs the Church to do it instead (Priest, Prelate, Pope or Pontiff) ... then put on your headphones and give Rush's Tom Sawyer a spin or two. Oh, that terrible rock music ... yet you'll find your Buddhist Wisdom there, your Zen, and the same Christian Love you Preach, preacher.

    Dare to THINK, Dare to be a Tom Sawyer. If it aggravates you, chances are, there's a lesson there in it for you, somewhere. People stepping in and saying things like, "No, [reincarnation] never was [a part of early Christianity]," well YES, that does aggravate me!!!

    This is the SAME as me asking, "Do you suppose the Earth actually revolved around the Sun BEFORE we found out about it?" And someone coming along and saying, "NOPE. It didn't, and besides, that bugger Galileo was just a looney." :rolleyes:

    So help me, I'd as soon look straight in the eye of the biggest lightning bolt your ol' Jehovah-Zeus Deity has to dish out, if I'm wrong on this one. Zap me, Smite me, whatever it was Jim Carrey said, you mighty Smiter!!! I love how Morgan Freeman handles all that, too. ;)

    Dead, square, 100%, pure and simple WRONG. You don't have to believe it if you don't want to. That's your call. No one can make up your mind but YOU. As for Did Christ teach it? And Did people believe it back then, Christians and Jews included? Like I said, go ahead with the zappity-zap lightning bolts if I'm wrong. :D

    Thomas, you refuse to consider ANY evidence that is contrary to your belief (and poor scholasticism) ... by leveling your canons against anyone and EVERYONE who dares to challenge the Infallable Papal BULL on the matter ... and by making a DIRECT attack on the character of the person or persons involved, rather than actually reading their contributions, considering their arguments, and weighing the evidence on the scale of Good Reason and common sense (not to mention sound, philosophical argument supported by direct experience). Were you to step even ONE INCH in this direction, the scale would tip, and the weight of truth on this matter would come to bear as a trillion neutron stars against a feather.

    Maat, yes, I know of that feather too. :)

    What about this, then? Teilhard spoke, in his writings, about the very heavy things in nature ... how he felt God revealed Himself even through the metals, and the neutron stars, for example. Perhaps these ideas, like his geological evidence of evolution, were a bit too much for the RCC, but I think the inquiring, God-seeking mind (and heart) must and will contemplate them, from time to time.

    What you then must do, and I do believe you understand me, is to stand, and bear all - however precious you know some teachings, some ideas, some pearls to be ... and if you aren't very damn careful - you must watch them torn from your grasp, and witness the ravages of the mob.

    A word spoken in kindness, has more value than a whole sermon delivered with condescension. I could not hope to have all the same gifts as your scholarly background and training, Thomas, or your philosophical ability. In both cases, I haven't the same aptitude. But one thing I do have, is the gift of Understanding. I struggle to put this into words, at times, but it genuinely irks me when a person attempts to dismiss - with a casual wave of the hand - any one of history's heroines, or God's own Messengers.

    If we do this, we not only deny ourselves their contributions (meant for us, meant for all), but we also confuse the many genuine seekers, who are equally deserving of God's Grace, Wisdom and Love - no matter what their station in life. It is one thing to confuse the finger for the moon (or the Star), but it is another entirely to speak ill of S/He who gives so much, to afford each one of us a glimpse of the Heavenly Splendor, and so draw us nearer to God's Bosom.





    Such a creature was Hypatia, and she was silenced for speaking the Truth - unpopular, inconvenient. It is so today, though some things, at least, have changed in 125 years. Let us remember:
    There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
    And this is why (we have) Lucifer, and Lucis, though few will understand, and the myth will eclipse the reality. Demon est deus inversus. If you can start nowhere else, start here. Is it God's word? YES!

    Neither was John the Light, nor was his finger the Light, nor did he wish recognition of any sort, nor a shrine for his finger, not even that Light alone should be recognized ... unless we have misunderstood the Nature, and the Purpose, of Light, altogether. :)

    Is not Christ the Lord of Light and LOVE? To me, He is both, while yet Light, as Love, has many forms ... hence the phrase, "see something in a greater light," or "Lift it into the Light of Understanding." And this has *everything* to do with the Holy Spirit.

    I would only bear witness, since I have worn out my welcome ... that John has come, and comes yet today, his influence can be felt the world over. Many here, I do hope, would agree. Whether he was Elijah, I do not know for certain (at the moment), nor whether he is in incarnation again (at the moment). That there is a Great Law of sowing and reaping, called Cause and Effect, which humanity experiences via the cycles of birth and death, repeated as we gradually RE-enter God's House, whence we emerged ... THIS, I do know (now, and always).





    In uncertainty, I look to the words of the Apostle:
    "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out" (Rev. 3:12)

    I hope this day will speedily come ... but meanwhile, there is always Ben Franklin's epitaph to consider:
    The Body of
    B. Franklin, Printer,
    Like the Cover of an old Book,
    Its Contents torn out,
    And stript of its Lettering & Gilding,
    Lies here, Food for Worms.-
    But the work shall not be lost;
    For it will, as he believd, appear once more
    In a new and more elegant Edition
    Corrected and improved
    By the Author.
    Thus have I heard,

    ~Zagreus
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Zagreus:

    Now this is just dead, flat WRONG. Thomas, YOU should know better! For shame!

    Oh dear, of dear ... this is all to familiar ... Theosophy up to its old tricks (see commentary on Origen – this is an old, old, erroneous, Theosophical saw ...)

    Reincarnation was so well known among the Jews of the time...

    ONE quote alone - and YOU decide for yourself what Origen KNEW to be true:
    "The soul has neither beginning nor end… [They] come into this world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defeats of their previous lives" (Origen, de Principiis)


    Please look at:
    Early Christianity and Reincarnation: Modern Misrepresentation of Quotes by Origen

    Mystery Quote 1
    "The soul has neither beginning nor end. [They] come into this world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defeats of their previous lives." falsely attributed to Origen


    This quote is a good place to begin. In December, 2005, a web search showed this quote or some minor variation to be on over 200 websites in connection with early Christianity and reincarnation. I looked at scores of these, and in no case found a usable source for the quote. In some cases, the source given was De Principiis, but without the book number (the work has four books), much less the chapter and paragraph.

    Since an English translation of First Principles and Origen's other major works are online, it's simple matter to search them for words or phrases contained in the quote above. I also read with special care all potentially relevant sections of First Principles and Origen's work, Against Celsus, which is the next most likely source, but could not find this passage or anything similar.

    Based on this, I'm fairly confident in saying that this is not a direct quote of Origen. What it might be is a loose summary made by some modern author, and then blindly copied by others without qualification or explanation. Some evidence suggests to me that the quote might have first appeared in the book, Reincarnation: An East-West Anthology, by Head and Cranston (1968).

    This kind of apparently incorrect, and, in any case, inadequately documented quote is bad for many reasons, including these:

    1. It is inconsiderate of readers, because it attempts to persuade them with false or exaggerated evidence. It further does not allow readers to verify the evidence.

    2. It makes refutation difficult or impossible. One cannot evaluate whether the quote refers to reincarnation if one cannot determine and consult its context.

    3. It means the person did not read the work quoted, either entirely or the particular section--if they had, they should be able to supply the source.

    4. It also shows that people copy the quote without trying to otherwise verify its source. In doing so, they show poor judgment, overvaluing the credibility of the source from which they copy it.

    Such careless scholarship suggests those who make use such false or inadequate quotes are not especially desirous of having their facts checked, and that they lack sufficient motivation to track down sources. Perhaps this means they are not convinced themselves of their own position concerning Origen, and are afraid to test it with facts. I say this not in an accusing way, but only to acknowledge this common human tendency.

    If you want to find refutations of reincarnation by the Church Fathers, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Gregory of Nyssa, etc., etc., justr let me know, I'll be happy to oblige.

    But sensing your tone, and presumably your Theosophical Society leanings (you reference their website), which is avowedly and unashamedly anti-Catholic (and by the way at least I have the honest to cite the Master in whom I place my faith) ... and your style which rings strangely familiar ... I shall engage in no further discourse.

    Pax,

    Thomas
     
  17. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Ah well, I did my best. The mind, sometimes, only sees what it wants to see, and cannot behold the brilliant light of the Irrefutable - precisely because we are blinded! On the flip side, the mind is the great slayer of the Real! Even once we *think* we grasp, we decimate the Dharma in our attempt to represent it. I think the Tao Te Ching expresses this more poetically:
    The Tao that can be named, is not the Eternal Tao.
    And yet they are adequate to attract the attention of some of the brightest minds, most talented artists, and beautiful souls that this world has ever known ... who, in turn, express the gift that they have received, in Kind.

    Learning of the history, the tradition and the future of the Human race, it becomes a bit more clear what is meant by "created in God's Image," yet `Fallen' (as the Gnostic Tradition preserves) from Grace. Those who have already been restored to good graces, continue to be reviled, persecuted, crucified - when humanity (and human ignorance) demands BLOOD sacrifice for its sins ... yet the sinners go free (???). ROFL ... ahem, err, beg pardon! Who is it that's up to the tricks??? :rolleyes:

    Joke's on you, as it turns out, but mark my words - as I've already said, if what you really want is just an opportunity to trash Buddhism, Theosophy, Gnosticism, Universalism, and any other brand of esoterism which hasn't received your stamp of endearing approval ... then nothing I say can or will disavow you of what you believe is your God-given right, Church-sanctioned responsibility, to carry out. Nor has history staid the hand in any prior cycle, when prophets both Greater and lesser, even fools like me who retain only a small fragment of what that have heard (yet know it well enough, as I try to show), receive the point.

    You may outwit me, you may out-argue me; you can never actually prove me wrong. My ego, I shall try to prove, is expendable (aren't they all?), since once every last molecule of hot-air has been allowed (or forced) to escape ... what remains, within us all, is the heart that bleeds, yet beats, as God intended - *indifferent* to any attack.

    This is where the Christ of Theosophy and the Christ of Christianity, even the Heart of the Buddhas & Bodhisattvas in Shakyamuni's own Dharma, all lose their distinction and are revealed as One - to each and every earnest Seeker. Zagreus the hunger, meets with Zagreus-Dionysius. The little self, is Assumed by the Greater.

    It is not that the Mysteries are not present within Christianity, or within Catholicism. I have not said this, or even suggested it. The problem, Thomas, is in the way we approach our mutual understandings - and conceptual respresentations - of things like Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, esotericism, Theosophy, and so forth, even down to concepts, ideas, or even the simple reality of Christ Himself!

    It is not enough for one man to say, yes, I too believe in a Christ. The other man must say, ahhh, but do you believe in MY Christ!?! And then you, me, whoever - we have attempted to appropriate into our own thinking, our own ego, and our own being - something, and someone, Who and Whose LOVE was, is and always shall be intended for us ALL.

    We can either unite in this Mystery and Understanding, or we can simply smile and shrug our shoulders.

    Because I believe in Unity (Mt. of Olives, hmmmm):

    Thomas, et al, it would be ridiculously unfair to ask you, or any one individual to answer for 2000 years of Church history, or even to account for the actions, choices and beliefs of a SINGLE contributor to that institution, other than yourself. Therefore, this is what I would like to communicate, as relevant to the above ...

    My hope would be that you would consider a false view of the Catholic Church, or Christianity (one which it seems you think I might hold), in order that I might contrast this with what I personally believe, and with what is also the Theosophical Message (see below).

    A troublesome conception is the notion, along the lines of the philosophical straw-manning type of approach, that Catholicism, Christianity, Buddhism, or ANY system of spiritual philosophy or religion, is like a house of cards. If this is our visual image, then sure enough, all we must do is demonstrate that one of the cards at the bottom is "unsound," and the entire structure collapses in a shambles!

    It does not matter whether we are right or wrong, either as the attacker or the defender. If our object is simply to remove the card, then in the very least, we present the risk - or challenge - to the 'occupant' of this card-constructed structure ... of disaster. Either the entire system falls flat upon itself and we lose something of very real value and significance to us, or at best, we can step aside and come out unscathed, while our ego will be bruised and worried that onlookers may ridicule us for our foolishness. Ha ha ha, this poor goofball actually *believed* all that stuff. And this is not that uncommon, is it?

    Now I'd like to suggest another approach, a different image and way to represent a Faith Tradition, or belief system. This one I hold more dear, as I believe it reflects the reality. Suppose that our set of beliefs, our religious, philosophical or spiritual understanding, and also the entirety of something like Christianity, Buddhism or the Baha'i Faith, is like a building. Appropriately enough, I like to envision a domed mosque, even the Taj Mahal, perhaps the Great Pyramid or a gothic cathedral.

    With this imagery, as contrasted with the house of cards type of visual, it will be much easier to see that our Faith, or belief, is strong enough (if indeed, it is worth preserving at all) ... to withstand interaction with someone of *another* Faith or belief, if the purpose of the dialogue is to explore individual components, aspects or bricks, as it were, of the edifice. Christ in Christianity cannot be removed, any more than the triangle can be removed from geometry, while yet preserving what we know about this branch of mathematics.

    The question is, are we brave enough to trust in God (Buddha, etc.) that the Temple we have built (as the Sangha or Church, and also inwardly, personally), is not a dark, gloomy castle needing moats, walls, and a drawbridge, for the protecting of something so delicate, that under a siege it would surely collapse? (How lost we have been, in these Dark Ages amidst the Dark Age of Iron!) Are we, perhaps, ready to imagine the open-air architecture, once again, of the Great Hypostyle Hall in Egypt, or the Greek Parthenon, from the ancient city of Wisdom itself?

    Put another way, shall we agree that the question - and further dialogue - is worth pursuing, both on the grounds that it is of very real interest to a great many people ... but also on the equal footing, or even kilter, of the acknowledgement that each man (person, tradition, philosophy) is an Edifice, a Temple, constructed to enshrine the Divine - however or in whatever modality the other party has come to recognize and honor It (?)


    That is quite open-ended, but I am attempting to allow for the vast differences amongst religions, even denominations within a given tradition, while not losing sight of the Ideal of Unity, even if that consists simply in cooperative, focused discussion and dialogue. I guess I've had shorter posts :)rolleyes:), but my level of interest, and commitment to the topic, can hardly be over-exaggerated. Two thousand years from now, we may all be a speck in Nature (or God)'s memory, but our contributions, every one, are Vital.
    "What you say may not be important, but it is important that you say it." -- Gandhiji (a paraphrasal)
    ~~~~~

    Reincarnation, once examined, can be shown to fit and find its proper place, not because of the word of any earthly authority, but IF AT ALL, because it is part of the plan of the original Builder, however poorly we have managed to carry out the Builder's Designs. By the same token, if reincarnation is not among God's Truths, and thus was never among Christ's own Teachings, then its unreality is not owing to its exclusion from Church canon or lack of support from such men as Origen ... but because the structure as God intends it cannot be constructed with this component.

    My argument is that hundred, thousands, perhaps a larger number of early Christians and Jews of this time period did maintain a belief in Rebirth, but my interest in approaching this matter will be *much more* along the lines of whether it works and is consonant with other of Christian Teachings, not an examination of what ANY ecclestiastical authority has seen fit to stamp as "approved" for the consumption of the masses.

    My own personal leaning may be more along the lines of the Protestant approach to Christianity, but this does not - or should not - prevent me from dialogue with such a well-learned, knowledgable, and certainly as sincere, a person, who happens to be a Catholic ... as yourself, Thomas. :)

    Nor should my Theosophical or esoteric studies preclude any discussion, if what we really want to examine is whether or not the early Christians had a belief in Reincarnation. See above.

    Also, FYI and for the record, this is from the webpage of the Theosophical Society in America:

    Q) How do Theosophists regard churches and religions?
    A) Theosophy holds that all religions are expressions of humanity's effort to relate to one another, to the universe around us, and to the ultimate ground of being. Particular religions differ from one another because they are expressions of that effort adapted to particular times, places, cultures, and needs. Theosophy is not itself a religion, although it is religious, in being concerned with humanity's effort to relate to ultimate values. Individual Theosophists profess various of the world's religions—Christian, Jewish, Moslem, Zoroastrian, Hindu, Buddhist. Some have no religious affiliation. The Society itself is an expression of the belief that human beings, however diverse their backgrounds, can communicate and cooperate.
    So, I'm all for approaching this afresh! ;)

    Pax,

    ~Zag
     
  18. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    No sarcasm. You answered my question. Now I need to read through all the links.

    v/r

    Joshua
     
  19. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    There are several commonly held concepts that make no sense to me. One is the "simple" plan of salvation, which seems anything but simple. Another is reincarnation. On both accounts the difficulty is in the implications.

    What kind of supreme being is capricious and self-serving enough to fit the role of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim God? What kind of supreme being requires blood sacrifice atonement? These are not the traits of a supremely intelligent being.

    Reincarnation makes no sense because beyond the realm of individual personality- there's no "you", or "I" to speak of. How can I come back as anything I would recognize as "me", when that dissolves upon death? If we were ever really able to disconnect from ego we wouldn't know when to get up and go to the bathroom. That doesn't sound very enlightened to me! Perhaps it's like when I unplug the blender, and later plug in the coffee grinder. The blender's essential "force" goes back to it's "source", and later the grinder is animated by that force. But is it the blender come back from the other side?

    I just don't know...

    Chris
     
  20. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    China Cat--

    I don't think I have ever met anyone who can ask the most important questions in such an entertaining way.

    Everything you say makes me think.

    Therefore:

    Chris

    (Just thought I'd repost it so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle.) :)

    InPeace,
    InLove
     

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