can you separate organized religion from god?

 
Pat_Adducci
 
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Pat_Adducci
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01 April 2007 06:26
 

Unsmoked - I am so much more interested in your experience than I am in quotes! Maybe other readers appreciate the quotes, so of course it’s always your judgement that counts. But I enjoy the forum because we can get right down to the individual opinions and experiences - that’s what I find informative. Sometimes a reference to a book will also be interestings, or a good quote, but really I want to hear from you.
Now I want to recommend someone you might find interesting - are you familiar with Tony Parsons? He says many of the same things you say, many of the things you quote, and more. He’s alive and talking to people (mostly in England and Amsterdam) and says some great things on his website - http://www.theopensecret.com

 
 
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unsmoked
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01 April 2007 08:35
 

[quote author=“Pat_Adducci”]Unsmoked - I am so much more interested in your experience than I am in quotes! Maybe other readers appreciate the quotes, so of course it’s always your judgement that counts. But I enjoy the forum because we can get right down to the individual opinions and experiences - that’s what I find informative. Sometimes a reference to a book will also be interestings, or a good quote, but really I want to hear from you.
Now I want to recommend someone you might find interesting - are you familiar with Tony Parsons? He says many of the same things you say, many of the things you quote, and more. He’s alive and talking to people (mostly in England and Amsterdam) and says some great things on his website - http://www.theopensecret.com

Pat, I was not familiar with Tony Parsons.  I clicked on the link and read two of his essays.  Many insightful remarks.  One line stood out: “It seems that the seeking mind is fascinated by struggle and complexity.”
Among other things, I suppose this gives the ‘self’ (the one who is seeking) a sense of great achievement when he gets the teacher’s approval.  Many clever people get supremely frustrated with Zen and soon reject it because, unlike school, they can never get the teacher’s approval.  The only time they can get approval is when they manifest being a nobody who doesn’t know anything special, who isn’t looking for anything more, including the master’s approval.  (for some Zen students, reaching this state of mind might take 20 years of ‘struggle and complexity’, and, of course, many never get there.  This in spite of the fact that on a daily basis the master advises, “You must be naked.  Throw your clothes away.”  Most of us confuse our ‘clothes’ with the original self.  We think that the original self will be a dummy, or a vegetable, without all the acquired layers - our knowledge, our talents, our ‘charm’.  No!  Surely this teacher wants to see how clever I am - what a great teacher I will be!  He will make ME his successor!  Now I will tell him the great insight I had during my last hour of meditation! . . .

The master listens to the insight and nods.  “A good idea.”  (the key word being ‘idea’.)  The master taps his stick on the floor.  “How do you realize paradise when you hear this sound?”  (The student is puzzled, thinking, “didn’t my insight address that?”)  The master supplies an answer.  “Just the sound.”

 
 
 
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Skipshot
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01 April 2007 15:23
 

[quote author=“bhome83”]I think harris and dawkins doesn’t really make this distinction that we can live in a civil and moral society without religion but with a god.

This is a good point.  Confucius answered it with “Yes.”  Gods and heaven, to the ancient Chinese, were completely separate from men and earth, and so it was best to not bother with heaven while one is still alive, but instead to make this life better for yourself and others.  So, yes, you can believe in gods, but as someone stated earlier on this thread, you imperil yourself when you believe your gods have an influence over you and you over them.

 
 
 
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nv
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02 April 2007 12:38
 

[quote author=“Pat_Adducci”]Unsmoked - I am so much more interested in your experience than I am in quotes! Maybe other readers appreciate the quotes, so of course it’s always your judgement that counts. But I enjoy the forum because we can get right down to the individual opinions and experiences - that’s what I find informative. Sometimes a reference to a book will also be interesting, or a good quote, but really I want to hear from you.

Pat, unsmoked has written many great stories on this forum. If you click on his name, you’ll be able to reach into the archives to find his Maugham-like storytelling voice.

 
 
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Pat_Adducci
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03 April 2007 10:09
 

Thank you, homunculus! I will make myself a bit less clueless… unsmoked was too modest to suggest this.

 
 
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nv
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03 April 2007 10:17
 

[quote author=“Pat_Adducci”]Thank you, homunculus! I will make myself a bit less clueless… unsmoked was too modest to suggest this.

He’s the star of the show here, as far as I’m concerned, and I hope he lets us know when/if his pieces get collected into print.

 
 
 
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H. Finn
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03 April 2007 10:34
 

homunculus referring to unsmoked wrote: 

“He’s the star of the show here, as far as I’m concerned, and I hope he lets us know when/if his pieces get collected into print.”

Agreed, besides someone once said the thing that keeps some people from being original thinkers is a great memory.

 
 
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unsmoked
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05 April 2007 06:42
 

[quote author=“Pat_Adducci”]We don’t know if there is any such thing as an ‘adept’ or ‘awakening’.
How do we know that these Zen Masters beloved of Thomas Cleary aren’t just clever with words and internally about as free as a rat in a lab cage?
We don’t know. We have to be willing to suspend judgement in order to investigate further.
As I’ve investigated further (I don’t practice Zen or Tibetan Buddhism anymore) I’ve seen for myself that there is no method to follow.
But that is not the end of the story.
The story shifts to a different level, the metaphors are seen to be paradoxical, spirit is seen to be more real than thought, and resting in the Unborn one is content to be an ordinary person.
Transmission is not necessary, but if transmission is offered, how can we refuse?

If anyone here would like the chance to practice Zen with a much-honored, traditional, 100-year-old, Japanese Zen master, Kyozan Joshu Roshi, here is an email address:

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

A 35-day training period at Bodhi Manda Zen Center, Jemez Springs, New Mexico, April 25 to May 30 costs $1500.  A 7-day big session cost is $425.  The cost of a 5 day ‘sesshin’ is $300.  His health permitting, you would have the chance for personal contact with Joshu Roshi, and could decide for yourself if there is such a thing as a real Zen adept.

Not for the faint-hearted, this would be an experience unlike anything else in our cullture - beautiful setting around the hot springs - vegetarian meals - rise and shine at . . . (guess)

I once told the Roshi that I was interested in helping to create an ‘American Zen’ - (meaning the ‘core of the matter’ without all the exotic old Japanese trappings) an idea he dismissed with a wave of his hand.  However, in the 45 years he has been teaching here, I believe he has softened considerably - taking into account the difference in Japanese and American ‘upbringing’.

I post this here because, for me, Zen is a ‘science of freedom’, not a religion.  For me, an adept like Joshu Sasaki teaches conditioned people how to manifest freedom.  ‘Manifest’ - readily perceived by the senses and esp. by the sight.  2. easily understood or recognized by the mind: obvious syn see EVIDENT.

manifest vt : to make evident or certain by showing or displaying syn see SHOW

 
 
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Pat_Adducci
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05 April 2007 07:06
 

I agree Zen is much better approached as a ‘science of freedom’ than as a religion.
However, if you meet Sasaki Roshi or anyone like him, all predictions are equally worthless. Zen practice is a one-way ticket into the unpredictable.

 
 
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unsmoked
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05 April 2007 07:29
 

[quote author=“Pat_Adducci”]I agree Zen is much better approached as a ‘science of freedom’ than as a religion.
However, if you meet Sasaki Roshi or anyone like him, all predictions are equally worthless. Zen practice is a one-way ticket into the unpredictable.

I like, ‘one-way ticket into the unpredictable’ as a poetic expression, but in this context, what does it mean?

 
 
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Pat_Adducci
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06 April 2007 09:01
 

It means that perhaps Zen is neither science nor religion, as people generally think of those categores.
People usually think ‘religion’ means conforming to a belief system. Zen, with a proper teacher, is an exploration into unfamiliar aspects of individual human consciousness.
Science, as people usually think of it, also involves exploration. But the results of that exploration have to produce some sort of reliable prediction, in order to be recognized as ‘scientific’.
Zen practice can lead us to see that we are not what we thought we were.
Zen practice can also lead us into an unending stuggle against the true nature of emptiness, or a denial of that open quality, possibly a rigid adherence to the forms of the tradition with no real understanding.
In any case, it’s usually pretty messy. Both science and religion generally try to sift out the messiness.

 
 
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unsmoked
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07 April 2007 09:22
 

The everyday mind, before any thoughts or feelings arise.  (mental simplicity)

Pat, at the risk of annoying you with another quote, here is Zen master Yuansou joining the discussion from a thousand years ago:

“If you do not listen truly, you will call the bell a pitcher, and inevitably wind up adding error to error, talking about ‘Buddha,’ ‘Zen masters,’ ‘mind,’ and ‘essence.’  How is this different from gouging a wound in healthy flesh?

“Real Zennists set a single eye on the state before the embryo is formed, before any signs become distinct.  This opens up and clears the mind, so that it penetrates the whole universe.  Then they are no different from the Buddha and the founder of Zen.

“This is called the crowning meditation, the jewel that reflects all colors, the inexhaustible treasury, the gateway to spirtual powers . . . there are various names for it.

“Now there is nothing in the universe, nothing mundane or transmundane, to be an object, an opposite, a barrier, or a hinddrance to you.”

quoted from ‘Zen Essence - the Science of Freedom’ translated and edited by Thomas Cleary.

 
 
 
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Sjoeblom
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11 April 2007 02:18
 

As long as people belive in these things they will organize themselves. Some people will be able to keep it to themselves but many more will turn to others who ‘know more’. Its nothing strange about it, we turn to others to help us out in all areas, be it plumbing, accounting or religion.

Then these groups start getting power, those who are outside teaching other things are a threat to that power and then the logical thing to do is to use your power to keep it. Voila, persecution.

The only way to stop it is to stop it at the earliest level. Just like Sam Harris suggests.

 
 
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arildno
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14 April 2007 10:08
 

No doubt the belief of being the re-incarnation of some great historical person like Napoleon offers its believer much comfort.

It doesn’t follow from this, however, that we shouldn’t regard such beliefs as deplorable to have in the first place.

 
 
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unsmoked
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15 April 2007 07:51
 

[quote author=“arildno”]No doubt the belief of being the re-incarnation of some great historical person like Napoleon offers its believer much comfort.

It doesn’t follow from this, however, that we shouldn’t regard such beliefs as deplorable to have in the first place.

The argument goes that some delusions are harmless, and may help people get through hard times.  If we believe that George W. Bush prays to God for guidance, it is clear that his God delusion is far from harmless.