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Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out - Dhamma Wheel

Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
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David N. Snyder
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Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:11 am

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retrofuturist
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:34 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:46 am


plwk
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby plwk » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:52 am

Well David, perhaps terms like 'spiritual' and 'religious' needs their proper definition and context whenever they are raised or otherwise, one is looking at another futile debate of 'til the cows come home' thingy and IMHO, the article has not really addressed it but just ranting on generalities based on falliable human behaviour rather than the actual philosophy?

And the second issue is that what's 'spiritual' for one may be regarded as 'religious' and vice versa for another and the whole dynamics...so where is the line drawn or should a line even be drawn in the first place?

Recently, an interesting thought as I raised a on the sister site, where the Dalai Lama was musing over 'secular ethics'...even suggesting that 'religion' is no longer adequate, something that both religionists and non religionists can mutually agree on rather than the usual insistence that religion is necessary to formulate ethics and sidelining the nons in the process? Similarly, would that idea work in the 'spirituality vs religion' debate?

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:08 am

Interesting and valid points. Certainly if one is leaving their birth-religion and searching, the smorgasbord is probably a good idea. That way one can test out various philosophies, religions, spiritual paths. However, for how long? At one point, wouldn't it be better to make a choice?

Following precepts, sila I imagine is on the back-burner or not existent for many on the "spiritual but not religious side." This is not to say they are bad in any way, but according to many Buddhist teachers sila is necessary to make progress.
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby manas » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:46 am

Hi David,

if your criticism is levelled at some 'new-agey' types I've met over the years, who follow a mish-mash of basically whatever suits their fancy (sometimes because it has a 'spiritual feel' to it) but while leaving out such inconvenient aspects of the spiritual path such as virtue or sense-regulation, then yes I agree with you.

But not all of those who have abandoned being defined by any one religious path or way, are like this. Some of them are just seeking the truth as best as they can, and along that journey are also quite willing to undergo many of the less glamorous or 'fun' aspects (such as sense-regulation), just as their more conventionally religious brothers and sisters do. Some of them find themselves forced to walk this lonely path of not 'belonging' to any one organized religion by their nature as it were, not fitting in to either the social structures, nor able to conform to any dogma whatsoever. But I do not judge such persons. (I'm not suggesting you were either, btw.) They too can be challenged and shaken to the core by the trials of the journey towards truth, just as anyone following a more structured and laid-out religious path can be.

metta.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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Hanzze
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby Hanzze » Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:06 am

Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby Hanzze » Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:13 am

Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby Dan74 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:44 am

This is an old debate and as a general rule I would agree that in order to really sink one's teeth into a spiritual tradition, one needs immersion in a community of dedicated practitioners - a Sangha.

Some may make some headway on their own, others may get further mired in delusion while belonging to a Sangha. But while stuck in a swamp I don't like my chances if I propose to pull myself out by the bootstraps. Trust in a wise guide and help from kalyana-mittas who can point out when the Dhamma is misunderstood or misapplied as well as teach by example, is paramount, IMO.
_/|\_

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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby equilibrium » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:47 pm

Being an apple but not apple tree is a cop-out?

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Mr Man
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby Mr Man » Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:52 pm

If the religious insttution is the Catholic church being a cop out is most probably a good thing. Was Jesus perhaps someone who was spiritual but not religious?

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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby daverupa » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:48 pm


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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby reflection » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:12 pm

It's not about being spiritual, not about being religous, and certainly not about choosing anything.

Did the Buddha choose a religion of his time? No he didn't. Should we? No, we don't. We should search for the truth. One doesn't just choose a "truth", that'd be foolish.

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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby Mr Man » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:26 pm


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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:46 pm

I watched a "inteligence squared" debate not too long ago about religion, and one of the debators quoted a monk or priest who when told by a visitor to the church he was in that they are "not really very religious but are spiritual" said "well I am not really spiritual but am religious"

I think it is just how you concieve the notion of the terms, they essentially mean the same thing highlighting different angles of the same thing, yet carry formal and informal connotations nowadays, which are not really in the words.

Anyone can say they are spiritual, and be anything but...; and anyone can call themselves religious, and be anything but....
to boil it down I believe a spiritual person is someone who has faith in ultimate reality or deity... and religion is the manifest these beliefs. You can not be one without the other, you walk your talk so to speak) unless there is a dissidence.


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:03 pm

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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby acinteyyo » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:35 pm

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:57 pm

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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby m0rl0ck » Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:35 am

Given the choice between classifying myself as spiritual or religious i would have to go for spiritual. What this means in my case is that for most days of the past 15-20 years or so i have gotten in at least a few mnutes of buddhist meditation practice. "Religious" connotes to me a kind of rigidity of thinking and belief in the supernatural that i want no part of. I guess i would rather "cop-out", if someone want to label it that way, than follow blindly. Buddhism, to me is about practice and living with reality, religion, as i understand it, is about denying reality in favor of beleif, and performance of ritual.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Ben
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby Ben » Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:55 am

I wouldn't classify myself as anything.
Both 'religious' and 'not religious but spiritual' are so individualistic in meaning that either could mean anything or even the same thign.
I have known religious people who have been incredibly sincere practitioners and also others who just engage in the outward form.
With "not religious but spiritual" I have seen some people who like New Age people mix certain ideas from different traditions like a noodle soup, yet there are also those from my own tradition many of whom eschew the 'Buddhism' label.
We should also keep in mind that Buddhism isn't some monolithic construct, the term didn't exist before the 19th Century and the term "Theravada" didn't exist before the 20th Century.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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