Meditation and My Questions of Christian Belief

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Meditation and My Questions of Christian Belief

Postby Collective » Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:17 pm

I'm a Christian - though I use the term loosely - with 'many' questions about the veracity of the biblical claims.

What I want to know, is will meditation help me to resolve my belief issues one way or the other? I ask because I keep hearing claims of people who say how meditating has brought them insights they had never experienced before meditating.

Thank you
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Re: Meditation and My Questions of Christian Belief

Postby bodom » Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:25 pm

Collective wrote:I'm a Christian - though I use the term loosely - with 'many' questions about the veracity of the biblical claims.

What I want to know, is will meditation help me to resolve my belief issues one way or the other? I ask because I keep hearing claims of people who say how meditating has brought them insights they had never experienced before meditating.

Thank you


I strongly recommend you to read this book:

Christian Insight Meditation: Following in the Footsteps of John of the Cross

http://www.wisdompubs.org/Pages/display ... n=&image=1

And to answer your question, yes, meditation can bring tremendous insight dependant on the object used.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Meditation and My Questions of Christian Belief

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:00 pm

Since you posted on a Buddhist forum, I presume that you mean “Will Buddhist meditation enable me to resolve my doubts?”

Insight meditation is based on observing realities. Its aim is to transcend belief and to gain direct knowledge of the way things are. Doubt is one of the five hindrances that need to be overcome to develop concentration and insight.

Doubt
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Re: Meditation and My Questions of Christian Belief

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:08 pm

Collective wrote:I'm a Christian - though I use the term loosely - with 'many' questions about the veracity of the biblical claims.

What I want to know, is will meditation help me to resolve my belief issues one way or the other? I ask because I keep hearing claims of people who say how meditating has brought them insights they had never experienced before meditating.

Thank you


I think it will help you put those belief issues in perspective.

One thing I've learned through Buddhist practice is that it's ok to not know, in fact letting go of the craving to know the answers and categorise everything is a huge release and it opens your mind up to receive insight from unexpected places.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Meditation and My Questions of Christian Belief

Postby bodom » Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:38 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Since you posted on a Buddhist forum, I presume that you mean “Will Buddhist meditation enable me to resolve my doubts?”

Insight meditation is based on observing realities. Its aim is to transcend belief and to gain direct knowledge of the way things are. Doubt is one of the five hindrances that need to be overcome to develop concentration and insight.

Doubt


If you would like an introduction to Buddhist meditation then i also strongly recommend you read this book:

Mindfulness in Plain English

http://www.wisdompubs.org/Pages/display ... alue=32800

You can read it online here:

http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe.html

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Meditation and My Questions of Christian Belief

Postby baratgab » Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:54 pm

Collective wrote:I'm a Christian - though I use the term loosely - with 'many' questions about the veracity of the biblical claims.

What I want to know, is will meditation help me to resolve my belief issues one way or the other? I ask because I keep hearing claims of people who say how meditating has brought them insights they had never experienced before meditating.

Thank you


I think that this is a tricky thing to answer, because deep meditation needs the right conditions to manifest. It normally involves considerable exposure to the teachings, because the teachings are what condition the mind to incline to meditation, and to incline in a skillful way. If you are familiar with the eightfold path, you can see that right concentration (or stillness) is just the last part of the path, with good reason. All the other aspects of the path lay the foundation of it (though, the actual relations are more complex, because there are feedback mechanisms).

So, I think, the question is that whether you will study the dhamma to the proper degree despite of your religion, or not. If you consider that most of the lay Buddhist people don't have any sort of insight even as a Buddhist (I think it is safe to say this), you can see that real insight is not a small thing.*

*Though, in reality there is no inherent difficulty in anything; it is just our predisposition what makes certain things difficult.

:anjali:

Edit: I would like to add that intellectual inquiry is not a terrible tool either, and it is more readily available. You can refute or accept quite a lot of simple things just by the sheer power of intellect: by looking for logic and consistency. The Buddhist doctrine is a good point of reference, but there are even scientific works on this subject (maybe Richard Dawkins, or memetics). Of course this way wouldn't make you blissed out; it would probably give you gastric ulcer and headache. :lol:
Last edited by baratgab on Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Meditation and My Questions of Christian Belief

Postby AdvaitaJ » Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:13 pm

Collective,

Whether or not mediation will help with your belief issues is going to be up to you and where your insights take you. While vipassana meditation is clearly Buddhist oriented, I can't see why it wouldn't be just as useful and rewarding to a non-Buddhist. However, I do highly recommend you consider the practical aspects of the Noble Eightfold Path, regardless of your religious beliefs. When considered from a purely logical and practical perspective, these teachings just make good sense. When you put the pieces in place, the results will be unique to you and your situation and the question of guiding your mediation to achieve a specific goal will naturally fall into place.

Regards: AdvaitaJ
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Re: Meditation and My Questions of Christian Belief

Postby Ben » Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:41 pm

My teacher is somewhat famous for presenting the Dhamma in a way that is open and available to people of all faiths (and non-faiths). My personal expience of attending retreats under my teacher's guidance is that I have witnessed many clerics and ordained people of all major religions attend ten days of vipassana meditation. He says that Dhamma will make one a better Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, whatever and he is against converting anyone from 'one organised religion to another'. Here, SN Goenka, is relating an anecdote regarding his teacher, Sayagi U Ba Khin. U Ba Khin, apparantly, was married to a muslim.

Teacher of a Non-sectarian Path - by S. N. Goenka
One of the things which kept attracting me closer and closer to my teacher was his non-sectarian interpretation of Dhamma. The teaching of Buddha is so universal that people from different sects and communities can follow it and experience its benefits. I never found Sayagyi interested in converting people to the formal, organised Buddhist religion. Of course, he himself was Buddhist by birth, and proud to be so. But for him the essence of Buddhism was Dhamma, and a true Buddhist was one who practised Dhamma. He was interested in helping people to establish themselves in Dhamma—that is, in sīla (morality), samādhi (concentration) and paññā (wisdom); to show people how to convert themselves from misery to happiness. If someone who had undergone this conversion from impurity to purity then wished to call himself a Buddhist, Sayagyi was pleased; but the important point was the change in the person’s life, not merely the change in the name he called himself.

Sayagyi would even admonish enthusiasts who were eager to convert others to Buddhism, saying to them, "The only way to convert people is to become established oneself in Dhamma—in sīla, samādhi, paññā—and to help others similarly to get established. When you yourselves are not established in sīla, samādhi, paññā, what is the sense in your trying to convert others? You may call yourselves Buddhist but unless you practise sīla, samādhi, paññā, to me you are not Buddhists. But if someone practises sīla, samādhi, paññā, then even though he may not call himself a Buddhist, nevertheless he is a true follower of the teachings of the Buddha, whatever he may label himself."

One incident, illustrating this non-sectarian attitude, occurred when a staunch Christian came to take course under Sayagyi. While the opening formalities were being explained, this man became frightened that he was being asked to convert from Christianity to Buddhism; and out of this groundless fear, he refused to take refuge in Buddha. "I can take refuge in Jesus Christ, but not in Buddha," he said "Very well," replied Sayagyi smilingly, "take refuge in Jesus Christ—but with the understanding that you are actually taking refuge in the qualities of Christ, in order to develop these very qualities in yourself." In this way the person began to work; and by the end of the course he realized that his initial objections had been unnecessary, that his fears of conversion had been without cause.
-- http://www.vridhamma.org/en1996-01-02.aspx

kind regards

Ben
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Re: Meditation and My Questions of Christian Belief

Postby Butrfly_Nirvana » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:45 am

Not sure if this will answer the questions you have, but it helped me with mine. So maybe you can find some use in it as well.

http://www.justbegood.net/Downloads/e-books/Beyond%20Belief.pdf

I hope you find what it is you are looking for. For me, I wasn't looking necessarily for answers to specific doubts I'd had, but rather for the "Okay" to question and not believe things that were told to me. I found that this e-book I listed for you was able to touch upon many things I myself had questioned, and brought a lot of clarity to things.

Good luck in your search for answers!

PS: In regards to actual meditation helping: I think it will. But you need to be honest with yourself about what your doubts are and what YOU think is the right answer--irregardless of who gives you the answer, it needs to fit with your logic and thinking. Never be afraid to doubt, question, or even not believe something.

:namaste:
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Re: Meditation and My Questions of Christian Belief

Postby zavk » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:44 am

Hi Collective

I would echo what the others have said about the Eightfold Path. Meditation is but one part of the path.

You asked if meditation would produce any insights that would help resolve your belief issues. In my experience--and also based on the stories I've heard from others--meditation, when cultivated alongside the other aspects of the path, does produce insights. But if I've had any insights, I wouldn't say that they were 'eureka' moments. Rather, the insights manifest gradually over time in the context of everyday experience--sometimes quite surreptitiously.

Living my life according to the Dhamma has help me to gain some clarity on the nature of doubt and belief. There's still much to learn, of course.

All the best.
With metta,
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Re: Meditation and My Questions of Christian Belief

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:59 am

Collective wrote:I'm a Christian - though I use the term loosely - with 'many' questions about the veracity of the biblical claims.

What I want to know, is will meditation help me to resolve my belief issues one way or the other? I ask because I keep hearing claims of people who say how meditating has brought them insights they had never experienced before meditating.

Thank you


Maybe, maybe not.

Depends on what sort of meditation you practice, how you practice it, and also what sort of belief issues you have, and their underlying psychological causes.

Maybe, maybe not - it depends. Still, worth a try, no?
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Re: Meditation and My Questions of Christian Belief

Postby Heavenstorm » Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:55 pm

Collective wrote:What I want to know, is will meditation help me to resolve my belief issues one way or the other? I ask because I keep hearing claims of people who say how meditating has brought them insights they had never experienced before meditating.


When it comes to meditation, its always better to have an experienced person than a book to be a guide.

Meditation might dismantle your present perceptions of the world and throw you into greater doubt if you are not prepared or ready. Insights are not a guarantee neither can they be gained without a price; A price that might come in the form of your current cherished beliefs.

In the end, you know yourself the best, no one else can give you an accurate answer of what will happen.
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