What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby clw_uk » Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:04 pm

Greetings


This is in response to this thread

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1540&start=40

I think that if we are going to be discussing religion in any context we need to understand what each person definition of the word is


I will get the ball rolling

My definition of religion and "religious impulse"

An institute of rites and ritual aimed at reaching or pleasing something metaphysical coming from conditioning, wish thinking, false concept of morals or false concept of conditionality and so, for the most part, superstitious in nature. Something that for the most part is removed from this world and focuses on something beyond. I see it as a set of beliefs that have no inherent meaning anymore other than having the ability to comfort ( and inspire art and poetry etc). Something that stands at odds with how we think, an offering of an extraordinary "truth" but offering no evidence in support and so a system of non-thinking
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:36 pm

Hi all,

Before these threads that have emerged in the last few days, I'd never heard the term "religious impulse." It sounds so funny to me! What in the world is a religious impulse?

:anjali:
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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:55 pm

clw_uk wrote: wish thinking, false concept of morals or false concept of conditionality and so, for the most part, superstitious in nature.
no inherent meaning anymore other than having the ability to comfort ( and inspire art and poetry etc). Something that stands at odds with how we think, offering no evidence in support and so a system of non-thinking


:jumping: Well, with a definition like that, who would like religion?!

But that is not a very good definition, in my opinion.

Wikipedia has a pretty good one, but I adjusted it a little to include the "other worldly" dimension that I think is important and common in nearly all religions:

A religion is an organized approach to human spirituality which usually encompasses a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices, often with a supernatural or transcendent quality, concerned with life and morality in this world and some other world, be it a heaven or nirvana; that give meaning to the practitioner's experiences of life through reference to a higher power of either:

a) God
b) gods
c) ultimate truth, such as Dhamma

And to complete the definition, I would also include pseudo-religions:

Certain philosophies or ways of life that have a belief system similar to religions, a founder, and some prophets or greatly admired teachers who espouse this philosophy, and may include venerated texts.

Examples of pseudo-religions:

Communism/socialism:
Founder: Marx
Prophets: Marx, Engles, Lenin, Mao
Texts: Communist Manifesto, Mao's Little Red book

New Age movements:
Founders: Teresa of Avila, Swedenborg
Prophets: Blavatsky, Meister Ekhart, Eckhart Tolle
Texts: all religions' scriptures, paraphrased to their new meanings

Agnostics and atheists against religion:
Founders: Hume, Russell
Prophets: Harris, Dawkins
Texts: Ancient Greek works, European Enlightenment works
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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:35 pm

Thanks for these definitions, TheDhamma :anjali:
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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:00 pm

No-religion! This is a little lengthy, but I've posted an excerpt from Bikkhu Buddhadasa's "No Religion."
I liked reading this talk, I found it useful.

:anjali:

People who are blind to the true reality (Dhamma) can speak only people language, the conventional language of ordinary people. On the other hand, people who have genuinely realized the ultimate truth (Dhamma) can speak either language. They can handle people language quite well and are also comfortable using Dhamma language, especially when speaking among those who know reality, who have already realized the truth (Dhamma). Amongst those with profound understanding, Dhamma language is used almost exclusively; unfortunately, ordinary people can't understand a word. Dhamma language is understood only by those who are in the know. What is more, in Dhamma language it isn't even necessary to make a sound. For example, a finger is pointed or an eyebrow raised and the ultimate meaning of reality is understood. So, please take interest in these two kinds of language - people language and Dhamma language.
To illustrate the importance of language, let's consider the following example. Ordinary, ignorant worldly people are under the impression that there is this religion and that religion, and that these religions are quite different, so different that they're opposed to each other. Such people speak of "Christianity," "Islam," "Buddhism," "Hinduism," "Sikhism," and so on, and consider these religions to be different, separate, and incompatible. These people think and speak according to their personal feelings and thus turn the religions into enemies. Because of this mentality, there come to exist different religious which are hostilely opposed to each other.
Those who have penetrated to the essential nature of religion will regard all religions as being the same. Although they may say there is Buddhism, Judaism, Taoism, Islam, or whatever, they will also say that all religious are inwardly the same. However, those who have penetrated to the highest understanding of Dhamma will feel that the thing called "religion" simply doesn't exist at all. There is no Buddhism; there is no Christianity and there is no Islam. How can they be the same or in conflict when they don't even exist? It just isn't possible. Thus, the phrase "no religion!" is actually Dhamma language of the highest level. Whether it will be understood or not is something else, depending upon the listener, and has nothing to do with the truth or with religion.
I'd like to give a simple example of people language, the language of materialism. "Water" will suffice. People who don't know much about even the simplest things think that there are many different kinds of water. They view these various kinds of water as if they have nothing in common. They distinguish rain-water, well-water, underground-water, canal-water, swamp-water, ditch-water, gutter-water, sewer-water, toilet-water, urine, diarrhea, and many other kinds of water from each other. Average people will insist that these waters are completely different, because such people take external appearances as their criteria.
A person with some knowledge, however, knows that pure water can be found in every kind of water. If we take rain-water and distill it, we will get pure water. If we take river-water and distill it, we will get pure water. If we take canal-water, sewer-water, or toilet-water, and distill it, we will still end up with pure water. A person with this understanding knows that all those different kinds of water are the same as far as the water component is concerned. As for those elements which make it impure and look different, they aren't the water itself. They may combine with water, and alter water, but they are never water itself. If we look through the polluting elements, we can see the water that is always the same, for in every case the essential nature of water is the same. However many kinds of water there may seem to be, they are all the same as far as the essential nature of water is concerned. When we look at things from this viewpoint, we can see that all religions are the same. If they appear different it's because we are making judgments on the basis of external forms.
On an even more intelligent level, we can take that pure water and examine it further. Then, we must conclude that there is no water, only two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. There's no water left. That substance which we have been calling "water" has disappeared, it's void. The same is true everywhere, no matter where we find the two parts of hydrogen and one part of oxygen. In the sky, in the ground, or wherever these parts happen to be found, the state of water has disappeared and the term "water" is no longer used. For one who has penetrated to this level of truth, there is no such thing as "water."
In the same way, one who has attained to the ultimate truth sees that there's no such thing as "religion." There is only a certain nature which can be called whatever we like. We can call it "Dhamma," we can call it "Truth," we can call it "God," "Tao," or whatever, but we shouldn't particularize that Dhamma or that Truth as Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Judaism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, or Islam, for we can neither capture nor confine it with labels and concepts. Still, such divisions occur because people haven't yet realized this nameless truth for themselves. They have only reached the external levels, just as with canal-water, muddy water, and the rest.


What The Buddha Taught--"No Religion"
translated from the Thai by Bhikku Punno--Talk given on January 27, 1964 at Suan Usom Foundation, Bangkok
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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby Fede » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:14 pm

Religion comes from the Latin root 'religare' to bind.
It merely means a person devotes themselves to a specific calling.
Could be theistic, might not be.
That's why I consider Buddhism to be a Phylophigion.
Or a Relisophy.

I'm happy with the simpler :quote: things. :thumbsup:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby clw_uk » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:23 pm

Hey

Wikipedia has a pretty good one, but I adjusted it a little to include the "other worldly" dimension that I think is important and common in nearly all religions:


Thats my view of religion. An institution/set of beliefs etc that involve some concept of a "here after" and belief in that as being true (or must be true)


A religion is an organized approach to human spirituality which usually encompasses a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices, often with a supernatural or transcendent quality, concerned with life and morality in this world and some other world, be it a heaven or nirvana; that give meaning to the practitioner's experiences of life through reference to a higher power of either:

a) God
b) gods


Religion, as i define it (and feel is very apt), always involves some heavy belief in a here after or supernatural side to reality. This is the problem (for me) because there is no reason to believe that there is the supernatural. How can you claim something as "true" but with no evidence, not a shred, to back up your claim and then worse organize ones life around it and even try to organize others around it. I mean the supernatural is heaven, hell, God, devil, unicorns, vampires, fairies, dragons, magic etc. There is no evidence for it, no reason to accept it as a truth. Why is believing in something that has no evidence good?

Religion always involves either some concept of there being a higher power (God) who either watches and cares about us (theistic) or might not or doesnt (deistic) and always invloves the concept that we are the centre of the universe in some special way, that the universe has us in mind in some way. If it doesnt contain god then it will at least have the last (jainism). This to me comes from fear and/or wish thinking and sometimes mixed with bad reasoning (an example of this would be the watchmaker argument). It always involves some dogma or creed that one must live by, despite their being no evidence for it, however religion asserts that its true and must be taken on "faith" thus allowing some amoral acts to be carried out by the followers because the religion states its true and they must have faith in it. Religions also always have the concept of going somewhere after death or continuing in some way. This, i feel, is wish thinking. The wish to continue on in some better realm, to reunite with all you love, to be seperate from all you hate and to exp. something completely new and exciting

I wouldnt say it was originally intended as an approach to spirituality either. Id say they were founded on fear and ignorance. Fear of death, fear of what the storms were, fear of earthquakes, fear of sickness, fear of the unknown. Ignorance of the reason behind storms, sickness, earthquakes etc. I see religions as being founded on superstition


The Buddha doesnt do any of this, he reconizes that there is dukkha and that it must be removed. This is the only important spiritual problem, metaphysical arguments, beliefs, speculation and dogmas are not needed and can be a distraction (parable of the arrow). Because of this there is no supernatural in buddhadhamma nor any need of it which is why i dont define buddhadhamma as religion


As for the transcendent quality, i dont count this as religious since its independent of belief, creed, supernatural agent or realm etc. A xtian can exp. this just the same as a materialist can

Because of all this i also define religion as both superfluous and the potential to be very damaging to the follower and others around them

In your passage you state that

concerned with life and morality in this world and some other world, be it a heaven or nirvana


Do you view nibbana as other wordly, wordly or both? I couldnt work out where you place it from what you said

I have left out the dhamma from this list since i dont see how it fits, dhamma is about what is and the practice involved to come to terms with that/realize it/moves towards. The 4nts and the NEFP make no reference to any supernatural element

Agnostics and atheists against religion:
Founders: Hume, Russell
Prophets: Harris, Dawkins
Texts: Ancient Greek works, European Enlightenment works


I find this interesting. Atheists and agnostics are people who dont believe in some doctrine and some explain their reason for this to others. Lots of people dont believe in astrology and criticise it, are they part of some pseudo-religion?



Metta
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby clw_uk » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:47 pm

Hey Fede

It merely means a person devotes themselves to a specific calling.


Do you include communism, socialism, peta etc as religion?



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“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:49 pm

Since I first used the expression "religious impulse," what do think I might mean by it?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby pink_trike » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:37 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Since I first used the expression "religious impulse," what do think I might mean by it?

It would benefit the dialogue if you just told us directly. What's the point of making us guess? It may amuse you or satisfy some other personal whim but it certainly doesn't benefit the group process.
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Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:45 pm

Actually, I have said a fair amount in your thread (which you rejected), but I shall give a bit more detail after I eat, clean the gutters before it rains. The point of above msg was neither an attempt an amusing myself or satisfying some other unstated need; rather, it was to simply point out that the expression was first used by me here, and I probably do have particular ideas as to what I mean by it, which I shall share shortly.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:02 am

clw_uk wrote:Do you view nibbana as other wordly, wordly or both? I couldnt work out where you place it from what you said


It is just a generic definition of religion, not meant to go into thorough detail about the nature of Nibbana, etc. Suffice it to say that Nibbana is not this worldly.

I find this interesting. Atheists and agnostics are people who dont believe in some doctrine and some explain their reason for this to others. Lots of people dont believe in astrology and criticise it, are they part of some pseudo-religion?


Not necessarily because some who are opposed to astrology are Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, etc. But if there is a whole 'movement' with similar doctrines and texts around it and not much else and not mixed with other beliefs, I suppose it could become a pseudo-religion.

There will always be some overlaps, no matter what the definition. Some people follow certain beliefs that are shared with other faiths.
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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby Individual » Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:54 am

Religions are organizations or systems for spirituality and theology. Theology (theos) means, "An account of the gods," and spirituality (spiritus) means, "Pertaining to the spirit".

Since Buddhism rejects the soul and considers the gods to be minimally important, it is not a religion, because it is neither a form of spirituality or theology.

Besides religion, there is also philosophy and science. Philosophy means "the love of wisdom" and science means "knowledge acquired by study".

Although religions can resemble philosophies and sciences, they tend to be wrapped up with superstitions, especially about gods, and with egoism, with "gods" basically being figured by which to project egoism onto abstractions. Hence, monotheistic conceptions of God can resemble radical narcissists.
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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby zavk » Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:59 am

Hi all,

NOTE: This was written for pink_trike in response to his questions in 'Buddhism and Religion'. I have been composing this reply in the past two days, during timeouts from work and what not. It is quite long, but may be of interest to some. I have posted it here as it is relevant to the present discussion. So FWIW:

How familiar are you with the history and origin of the idea of religion (the concept, not the phenomenon)?


I have a general understanding of various sociological approaches to religion (e.g. Durkheim, Luckmann, Berger), and I just happened to be reading about them in recent days. But I think you are trying to probe beyond these sociological explanations.

For the past year or so, I've been reflecting on the notion of religion. I am very interested in the views of John D. Caputo, who writes from a continental philosophical perspective. His ideas about religion have been influenced by French philosopher Jacques Derrida, whose work has been compared with various strands of Buddhist thought, although mostly Mahayana. I can't say I have a strong understanding of Caputo (much less Derrida whose writing is quite painful to read!), but I do feel drawn to his ideas. So you will have to excuse me here as I parrot Caputo--partly because of my very rudimentary grasp of his ideas, and partly because he expresses himself so eloquently that his words should stand on their own.

On this point, to those who are reading this, it should be noted that Caputo is a philosopher with a particular 'literary' bent, so he is writing very figuratively, metaphorically, and allusively. This of course doesn't make his words less 'true' or 'effective' than others. It just means that his writing requires that we be reflexively aware of the reading/interpretation process, that we let thought listen to itself think. Anyway, I highly recommend the book if you are interested, Pink. It's a short book and I think you will like some of his ideas, especially what he says about 'non-knowing'.

---------------------------------------------------------

Broadly speaking, in his book On Religion he attempts to articulate this idea of 'religion without religion'. He talks about the experience of the 'impossible' which frames all experience, that which is framed by the 'absolute future'. Unlike the 'relative future' of retirement plans, life insurance policies, our children's education, etc, the 'absolute future' is unforeseeable--it is that which will take us by surprise, that 'which will come like a thief in the night' [he is writing from a Christian perspective and is alluding to I Thessalonian 5:2 here].

As I see it, this notion of the experiencing the impossible, of opening ourselves to the absolute future, corresponds with the Buddhist understanding of impermanence--which on a general level refers to the process of change that we can discern in a conventional sense (i.e. ageing, the changing of the seasons, etc); but on a more profound level it refers to the impossibility of fully anticipating (and thus containing) change, for impermanence means that there is always a horizon of uncertainty, of the unexpected, of the 'impossible'. Yet, this horizon of the impossible (that is, of change) is what makes our path or any endeavour possible.

So, Caputo sees the 'impossible' as a defining religious category:

    [If] the impossible is the condition of any real experience, of experience itself, and if the impossible is a defining religious category, then it follows that experience itself, all experience, has a religious character, whether or not you march yourself off to church on Sunday morning now that your mother is no longer here to get you out of bed. That religious edge to experience, that notion of life at the limit of the possible, on the verge of the impossible, constitutes a religious structure, the religious side of every one of us, with or without bishops or rabbis or mullahs. This is what I mean by "religion without religion" (p. 11).

He further adds that the experience of the impossible requires a kind of 'non-knowing':

    This non-knowing is not a simple garden-variety ignorance but more like what the mystics called docta ignorantia, a learned or wise ignorance, that knows that we do not know and knows that this non-knowing is the inescapable horizon in which we must act, with all due decisiveness, with all the urgency that life demands. For life does not take a break, it does not let up its demands on us for a hour or two while we all break for lunch and a bit of a nap. We are required to act, but our decisions are covered by a thin film, a quiet an uneasy sense, of unknowing (p. 19).

As I understand Caputo (which is only very superficially), he wants to rethink 'religion' in a radical way. You might ask here, 'Well ok, I can see what he is suggesting with the idea of the impossible, but why does it have to be of a religious character?' I have two replies to this:

1.) In writing the above, I am working with the premise that the category of religion cannot be excluded or cut off. This is not to say that it cannot be interrogated and transformed, but merely that it would be self-defeating to think that religion can be 'excommunicated', as it were. Pardon me if I'm being vague here, for I am still trying to come to terms with this. But to give a somewhat crude analogy, it is like how we do not cut off the 'self' even as we work to relinquish the self--a self without a Self.

2.) I think it is important to keep the category of 'religion' for two reasons:

    a.) To mount a tactical challenge against entrenched religiosity. To use religion against itself in order to unsettle the grips of those who, as Caputo puts it, 'devote an ungodly amount of time to bring order to their ranks, silencing the voice of dissenters and excluding--"excommunicating"--those who beg to differ from their communities and institutions, doing battle with those of different confessions and in general trying to make people who do not agree with them look bad' (p.32).

    b.) To engage in ethical reflection on our position on truth and knowledge. For the majority of the people of the world, religion remains an important sphere of life and until the recent triumph of scientific reason did not see it as something to be separated from how the world works.The most vocal critics of religion today are speaking from a position of privilege. It is all too easy to denounce the irrationality and lunacy of religion from the position of the secular West, for which the split between religion and science and the resulting benefits of secularism was a fairly recent phenomenon--and arguably at the expense of the other parts of the world. Reason, however indispensable it is, has been used as a front for various imperialising activities, activities which have often been rationalised as 'progress'. I am not suggest that we abandon Reason or science or anything like that. But given the truth of samsara, given that life is framed within a horizon of uncertainty, there ought to be greater modesty about what Reason can achieve.

    As Caputo writes, 'religion does not have a corner on the market of pretending to Know The Secret. I would recommend the same modesty to scientists and philosophers, who should likewise resist adopting apocalyptic and capitalizing attitudes toward Physics or Metaphysics, lest these two otherwise modest and respectable enterprises, together or separately, succumb to the illusion that it is they who have seized the soft underbelly of Nature, or Being, or Reality, that they, if I may say so, have their finger on Being's button' (p. 23).

And this is more or less what I have to say about this impossible thing that is religion, for now anyway, until something unexpected comes along.
Last edited by zavk on Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:20 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:05 am

Religions are organizations or systems for spirituality and theology. Theology (theos) means, "An account of the gods," and spirituality (spiritus) means, "Pertaining to the spirit".

Since Buddhism rejects the soul and considers the gods to be minimally important, it is not a religion, because it is neither a form of spirituality or theology
.

And this THE official definition of religion from whom/where? There are no other definitions? All religions, to be a religion, MUST include a god and/or a soul?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby pink_trike » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:11 am

Religion:

a. A naming convention. A convenient conceptual header under which religious people place certain questions and experiences.

b. the institutions that gather and grow around those questions and experiences that religious people place under the header of religion.

c. A political movement

Religious:

a. A egoic identity - "I am a religious person"

b. The experience of a religious impulse and/or religiosity.

Religious impulse:

A movement of the mind. A mind-state. A sensory/conceptual experience that arises as a result of internal/external conditioning. An obscuration.

Religiosity:

Extended or habitual attachment to religious impulse
Last edited by pink_trike on Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:32 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby pink_trike » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:20 am

zavk wrote:Hi all,NOTE: This was written for pink_trike in response to his questions in 'Buddhism and Religion'.


Hi zavk,

This looks juicy and interesting! I'm going to have to clear some time to digest it.

I'm slammed this week so it prolly won't be until this weekend. :coffee:
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby Ben » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:47 am

Thank you Zavk that was a brilliant post. Earlier this morning I was talking to a co-practitioner about practicing Dhamma in daily life (with respect to the little renunciations and serving others) and what I was trying to communicate was a state of mind that borders on Caputo's all experience, has a religious character, .

Because of that, and because of what others have said with regards to the nature of Buddhist experience and how different it is from other conceptions or experiences of religion, I have found it nigh-on-impossible to give much of a meaningful response to Pink's original contention.
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saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby pink_trike » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:56 am

Ben wrote:Thank you Zavk that was a brilliant post. Earlier this morning I was talking to a co-practitioner about practicing Dhamma in daily life (with respect to the little renunciations and serving others) and what I was trying to communicate was a state of mind that borders on Caputo's all experience, has a religious character, .

Because of that, and because of what others have said with regards to the nature of Buddhist experience and how different it is from other conceptions or experiences of religion, I have found it nigh-on-impossible to give much of a meaningful response to Pink's original contention.
Metta

Ben

Hi Ben,

Ah, but I do wholeheartedly agree that "all experience, has a ________________ character". I just don't think it is "religious". I might say that it has a "clear" character...though I'm still working on naming that character, being aware that naming is risky business.

But this would be a topic for a different thread.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby Ben » Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:11 am

Hi Pink

I understand the issue of the use of terms and how they can be charged for different people or different contexts. Many of my co-practitioners do not define themselves as Buddhist despite taking refuge in triple gem, despite practicing sila, samadhi & panna. Some years ago i relented because it was just much more easier to tell people 'I'm buddhist' or talk with other buddhists. There was at least a frame of reference from which communication could begin. And I figured that if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, farts like a duck, then it must be a duck. My co-practitioners who didn't define themselvs as Buddhist, were really just applying a different label to themselves, whether it was 'meditator', 'vipassana meditator', 'old student' or 'not a buddhist'. These days I do use the term 'buddhist' to describe myself with ease having realised that some of my past attitude towards the term was really about some negativity I had.

So again, 'religion' is a term of convenience. As I have mentioned above and elsewhere, it doesn't contain the range and depth of experience that I would like in a term. But the term is a convenient launching place for more meaningful communication.

Good luck with the naming. No doubt it will be a very valuable experience to explore the notions of religion, transcendence and wisdom in depth.
Metta

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

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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