What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

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

Postby Jechbi » Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:43 am

I think this works as a definitive description of the religious impulse:
from http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... toend.html
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:The search for a spiritual path is born out of suffering. It does not start with lights and ecstasy, but with the hard tacks of pain, disappointment, and confusion. However, for suffering to give birth to a genuine spiritual search, it must amount to more than something passively received from without. It has to trigger an inner realization, a perception which pierces through the facile complacency of our usual encounter with the world to glimpse the insecurity perpetually gaping underfoot. When this insight dawns, even if only momentarily, it can precipitate a profound personal crisis. It overturns accustomed goals and values, mocks our routine preoccupations, leaves old enjoyments stubbornly unsatisfying.

At first such changes generally are not welcome. We try to deny our vision and to smother our doubts; we struggle to drive away the discontent with new pursuits. But the flame of inquiry, once lit, continues to burn, and if we do not let ourselves be swept away by superficial readjustments or slouch back into a patched up version of our natural optimism, eventually the original glimmering of insight will again flare up, again confront us with our essential plight. It is precisely at that point, with all escape routes blocked, that we are ready to seek a way to bring our disquietude to an end.

(also posted in the other thread)
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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby pink_trike » Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:03 am

Jechbi wrote:I think this works as a definitive description of the religious impulse:
from http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... toend.html
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:The search for a spiritual path is born out of suffering. It does not start with lights and ecstasy, but with the hard tacks of pain, disappointment, and confusion. However, for suffering to give birth to a genuine spiritual search, it must amount to more than something passively received from without. It has to trigger an inner realization, a perception which pierces through the facile complacency of our usual encounter with the world to glimpse the insecurity perpetually gaping underfoot. When this insight dawns, even if only momentarily, it can precipitate a profound personal crisis. It overturns accustomed goals and values, mocks our routine preoccupations, leaves old enjoyments stubbornly unsatisfying.

At first such changes generally are not welcome. We try to deny our vision and to smother our doubts; we struggle to drive away the discontent with new pursuits. But the flame of inquiry, once lit, continues to burn, and if we do not let ourselves be swept away by superficial readjustments or slouch back into a patched up version of our natural optimism, eventually the original glimmering of insight will again flare up, again confront us with our essential plight. It is precisely at that point, with all escape routes blocked, that we are ready to seek a way to bring our disquietude to an end.

(also posted in the other thread)


I would suggest that this only describes teleological motivation.
Vision is Mind
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Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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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 Jechbi » Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:14 am

As opposed to what?

On further reflection I don't understand why you say that. Please explain.
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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:19 am

pink_trike wrote:
Jechbi wrote:I think this works as a definitive description of the religious impulse:
from http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... toend.html
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:The search for a spiritual path is born out of suffering. It does not start with lights and ecstasy, but with the hard tacks of pain, disappointment, and confusion. However, for suffering to give birth to a genuine spiritual search, it must amount to more than something passively received from without. It has to trigger an inner realization, a perception which pierces through the facile complacency of our usual encounter with the world to glimpse the insecurity perpetually gaping underfoot. When this insight dawns, even if only momentarily, it can precipitate a profound personal crisis. It overturns accustomed goals and values, mocks our routine preoccupations, leaves old enjoyments stubbornly unsatisfying.

At first such changes generally are not welcome. We try to deny our vision and to smother our doubts; we struggle to drive away the discontent with new pursuits. But the flame of inquiry, once lit, continues to burn, and if we do not let ourselves be swept away by superficial readjustments or slouch back into a patched up version of our natural optimism, eventually the original glimmering of insight will again flare up, again confront us with our essential plight. It is precisely at that point, with all escape routes blocked, that we are ready to seek a way to bring our disquietude to an end.

(also posted in the other thread)


I would suggest that this only describes teleological motivation.


Theological motivation? And where god mentioned in these two paragraphs? This exactly the point I made about the First Noble Truth as a motivating factor, as the basis for the religious endeavor.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby Jechbi » Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:21 am

I think he's saying teleological, as in the ends justify the means. But I'm not sure how he's using the term exactly.
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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby Fede » Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:23 am

clw_uk wrote:Hey Fede

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


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



Metta


religion
noun 1 the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. 2 a particular system of faith and worship. 3 a pursuit or interest followed with devotion.

— ORIGIN originally in the sense life under monastic vows: from Latin religio ‘obligation, reverence’.


From:
http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/or ... on?view=uk

Look at definition #3.....
It's up to the person ascribing themselves to those views....Politics and religion are very close bedfellows....have been for millennia.
Whilst I personally may not call those specific "paths" 'religions', it's possible others do....and I have heard someone say that Communism was their religion.
So, it's up to the individual to state their own system....
"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 tiltbillings » Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:25 am

Jechbi wrote:I think he's saying teleological, as in the ends justify the means. But I'm not sure how he's using the term exactly.


Yes. My mistake. Needing my perscription updated.

And I agree. He needs to explain what looks to be a rather idionsyncratic usage of "teleological."
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"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 6:46 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Jechbi wrote:I think he's saying teleological, as in the ends justify the means. But I'm not sure how he's using the term exactly.

And I agree. He needs to explain what looks to be a rather idionsyncratic usage of "teleological."


In the field of Psychology the word is often used to describe an innate impulse in all living beings to move toward the end state of homeostasis or balance.

Dukkha (dissatisfaction) triggers this impulse.
Last edited by pink_trike on Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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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 Jechbi » Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:49 am

pink_trike wrote:In the field of Psychology the word is often used to describe an innate impulse in all living beings to move toward the end state of homeostasis or balance. Dukkha (dissatisfaction) triggers this impulse.

In other words you're saying the religious impulse is the motivation to end dukkha?
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Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby pink_trike » Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:57 am

Jechbi wrote:
pink_trike wrote:In the field of Psychology the word is often used to describe an innate impulse in all living beings to move toward the end state of homeostasis or balance. Dukkha (dissatisfaction) triggers this impulse.

In other words you're saying the religious impulse is the motivation to end dukkha?

No, I'm saying that the religious impulse renders the teleological impulse impotent. This is better understood if we view the religious impulse as a manifestation of religious materialism.
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 tiltbillings » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:26 am

This is better understood if we view the religious impulse as a manifestation of religious materialism.


Only as you define 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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:28 am

The religious impulse is an aversive reaction to dukkha that perverts the potentially beneficial motivation that can arise from an awareness of dukkha.


It could be, on a lower level, an aversive reaction to dukkha, causing us to seek distractions - sex, drug, and rock and roll -, so we can maybe forget about it or numb ourselves to it for a short while, but that is hardly a solution, likely leading only to more dukkha.

The thing about motivation (the religious impulse), it can change and mature.

The religious impulse, the motivating drive, is what leads us to seek a solution, to look at what pains, to ask is there a way to be free of this. It is dukkha that motivates, which why the Buddha put it as the first of the Four Noble Truths.

We are not asked to believe anything by the Buddha. We are asked, does this hurt, is this hurt what you want, do you want to be free of it?

The very fact that our “self” is not the solid, permanent thing it imagines itself to be is cause enough for disquiet, for uncertainty. We seek to find quiet, to find certainty by manipulating our environment, aligning our aquatic fowl, by aligning ourselves with something bigger, stronger, and identifying with the bigger and stronger as if the bigger, stronger thing will give our insecure self security.

Or maybe we get a bit more subtle, looking for wholeness, completeness. All of this is the “religious impulse,” the driving insecurity of our very being, and again, it is what drives us to practice, to look in hope that we can transcend the dukkha. This dukkha get characterized as separation from god, sin, or whatever the existentialists are wont to call it, and a wild variety of solutions are offered out there, and our responses to it can be equally varied.

Things such as art and music and words, which can give us a sense of awe can be pressed into service in our striving to end dukkha. All of that and more in what is entailed in the term “religious impulse.”

I am not defining religion in an institutional here.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"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 8:23 am

tiltbillings wrote:
The religious impulse is an aversive reaction to dukkha that perverts the potentially beneficial motivation that can arise from an awareness of dukkha.

It could be, on a lower level, an aversive reaction to dukkha, causing us to seek distractions - sex, drug, and rock and roll -, so we can maybe forget about it or numb ourselves to it for a short while, but that is hardly a solution, likely leading only to more dukkha.

I should be :zzz: so I'll just comment on the above...

Yes, an aversive reaction to dukkha causes humans to seek distractions. Religion is one of those distractions, right in there with sex, drugs, alcohol, "lifestyle", wealth, status - the whole dump truck of junk that is packaged and offered to us as a panacea.

Maybe there is a more effective impulse than the pig-wearing-lipstick religious impulse...
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 tiltbillings » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:33 am

pink_trike wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
The religious impulse is an aversive reaction to dukkha that perverts the potentially beneficial motivation that can arise from an awareness of dukkha.

It could be, on a lower level, an aversive reaction to dukkha, causing us to seek distractions - sex, drug, and rock and roll -, so we can maybe forget about it or numb ourselves to it for a short while, but that is hardly a solution, likely leading only to more dukkha.

I should be :zzz: so I'll just comment on the above...

Yes, an aversive reaction to dukkha causes humans to seek distractions. Religion is one of those distractions, right in there with sex, drugs, alcohol, "lifestyle", wealth, status - the whole dump truck of junk that is packaged and offered to us as a panacea.

Maybe there is a more effective impulse than the pig-wearing-lipstick religious impulse...


Religion can be a serious problem, but that does mean it IS a serious problem, as if it had some sort of inherent aspect to it. Basically, I have been reading your stuff for a while here and you really offer nothing other than "religion bad" or some variation on it. You give us no real argument in the above statement other than your claim that you know it to be true, and any one who disagrees with you obviously does not know as much or more than you do. Basically, all you are doing is swatting perceived fast balls. Certainly there no living up to your own dictum:


If someone sees things differently, try on their view and explore it. Make a friend of it rather than react to it as a fast ball that needs to swatted back. Then compare the two views from that middle place before responding. There's plenty of time.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby Jechbi » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:09 am

pink_trike wrote:Religion is one of those distractions ...

You're overgeneralizing again. Religion can be one of those distractions, but it doesn't have to be. Religion also can be a skillful method of engaging dukkha with an eye toward better understanding. I don't understand why you reject this possibility.
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Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby pink_trike » Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:30 pm

Jechbi wrote:
pink_trike wrote:Religion is one of those distractions ...

You're overgeneralizing again. Religion can be one of those distractions, but it doesn't have to be. Religion also can be a skillful method of engaging dukkha with an eye toward better understanding. I don't understand why you reject this possibility.

Imo, we're more steady on the path if when we observe the religious impulse arise in the mind we note it and observe it as it dissolves away, as all conditioned reactions do. I don't know why you want to indulge in it.
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 MMK23 » Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:01 pm

Hmmmm... This thread is really strange. I don't mean that to be rude. I've kept out of it but I'm shaking my head a bit because a lot of this seems to be re-runs of a few recent discussions, just with different words. I'm reading lots of feelings and passion, but most of the words seem to be running cover or acting as excuses for the drama.

However, in fairness to the OP I'll attempt to answer! I've described my understanding of religion in the other thread. In accordance with that I would say that my understanding of the religious impulse is that which compels one to explore the numenous and perhaps motivates the recurrent question "why?".

I guess I would also have to say that I find it remarkable that there are some who would seek to have us believe that they are "rational" followers of Buddhism:

"I follow the teachings of a semi-historical ancient Indian guru who abandoned a life of comfort and privilege in order to terminate his existence for evermore, and who wanted to teach us to do the same. I know who he was and what he taught with very little certainty, and much of what I presume to be his teachings and biography I only know from the efforts of his fanatical believers to record them over 2500 years. Historians will likely never be able to pin down much about the man or his teachings with any certainty. This is me being rational and logical. Oh and he could travel to different dimensions and he had superpowers and so did some of his followers and did you hear the story about the little girl who flew through the air?"

Yeah right. Real rational and non-religious.

The religious impulse to me then, I guess, is very much like conscience or higher instinct - it's a little bit of luminosity that pierces the grey of even the greatest worldly pleasure and drives us to dig deeper despite the promises of the sensual world. It's the common sense that lit up like a spark the first time we encountered the dhamma and we knew we'd found the raft. It's the bit of courage and extra-rational security that gives us the fortitude to wade into the unknown with the certainty that we will reach the other shore. It's the unflinching better nature that isn't afraid to square up to the abyss and face our aeons of accumulated conditioning.

So yeah. Chalk me up once again as one of those soft religious types. I don't flaunt it or brandish it as an identity in my day-to-day life, but if the alternatives are what they seem to be then maybe it's time for to start wearing a badge.

MMK23

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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby clw_uk » Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:30 pm

It doesnt matter if the buddha lived or not, the teachings are full of wisdom and morality. For the part i have seen they lead to the quenching of dukkha


Think in terms of plato, his works are important it doesnt matter so much if a man called "plato" really did live or not


However if my practice depended on the Buddha performing miracles and so forth then i would agree with you assement, but practicing the dhamma doesnt depend on that


Your thinking of the Buddha as the same as jesus and the xtian need for all the things he done in the bible to be true, and the fact he lived to be true. There is a difference

Metta
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby Jechbi » Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:45 pm

pink_trike wrote:Imo, we're more steady on the path if when we observe the religious impulse arise in the mind we note it and observe it as it dissolves away, as all conditioned reactions do. I don't know why you want to indulge in it.

It's not a question of whether one wants to "indulge" in it. This thing we're labeling a "religious impulse" is a composite of different factors. The blend will be different for different people. You, however, are saying that it's always the same thing for every person, and it's always something negative and endarkening.

One element of the "religious impulse" may be the desire to understand one's suffering. This may yield dhamma-chanda, for example. As a result, one may wish to "indulge" in five precepts. Now why do you suppose a person would want to do something like that?
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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Re: What is your definition of religion/religious impulse

Postby pink_trike » Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:56 pm

MMK23 wrote: In accordance with that I would say that my understanding of the religious impulse is that which compels one to explore the numenous and perhaps motivates the recurrent question "why?".

Or perhaps the religious impulse and the recurrent question "why?" are respectively, ego-defending aversive and grasping reactions to an unconscious sense of the boundlessness of the Whole, and Siddhārtha Gautama's teachings were the antidote to these reactions.
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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