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The split of morality in religion

 
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Sep, 2009 05:04 am
@Eudaimon,
It does go back a long way, probably to the shamans in hunter-gatherer society. Shamans had many techniques for divining where the herds were, what the sources of power were for the tribe, magic and sorcery and the like. For this they needed to go into trance states and other planes of being. This certainly goes back far beyond any recorded history, probably more than 30,000 years. The best book on this is Mircea Eliade Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstacy.

As far as Indian civilization is concerned, there are engravings suggestive of meditation and yoga in the Mohenjo-Daro excavations. This was the civilzation that existed before the Sanskrit-speaking peoples arrived. We are talking 3,000-6000 years ago; they are very ancient. The Vedic (i.e. Sanskrit) traditions talked of meditation and higher states, and they go back many thousands of years also. So these practises are very ancient indeed. Again, the best insight into the roots of yoga is another book by Mircea Eliade, Yoga: Immortality and Freedom.

I believe the whole yoga-shamanism stream is quite separate from the worship of deities and the social aspects of religion. Nobody is much aware of this stream and what it means. It is actually different to much of 'religion' as it has come down to us in the West. I don't think there is an English word for this stream as Western culture generally evolved without this perspective. Hence it is very misleading to judge these traditions through Western eyes.

In fact many mainstream Yoga schools are non-theistic, so there is no question of these being 'given by God'. Among these are Sahmkya, Jain and Buddhist. In India, you can believe in thousands of dieties, or none, and still be a 'sadhaka' (practitioner of spiritual discipline).

Key to all of them, though, is the idea of 'spiritual practise', of the inner work of meditation and changing the mind through 'restraints and observance' and gaining insight. This is the essence of yoga. It may or may not involve 'asanas', the postures which yoga is known for in the West, but it will always involve 'dhyana' which is learning to be still and watching the mind.

---------- Post added 09-09-2009 at 09:42 PM ----------

I read the first part of your post second. The point I was making about 'meditation' as being 'considering a religious subject' is that this just refers to the action of thinking about something. Thinking about something in this sense is not 'meditation'. Sure the Greeks had a similar understanding, but it is kind of buried in the mists of time. I do know, however, that the Sceptics practised 'epoche', suspension of all judgement, which sounds very like Dhyana.

---------- Post added 09-09-2009 at 09:48 PM ----------

Eudaimon;89147 wrote:
By the way, many ch'an philosophers were also skeptical of any training, they taught that it is only when we forget both religious and householding life, both sansara and Nirvana, about freedom, that we shall become free. That is to say only when everything is loosed, everything is abandoned, and this includes any practice, only then we are free. Krishnamurti said the same, some sufis said the same. Were they all fools?


I am perfectly aware of that. Most of those who spoke thus were monks and wanderers. I know Krishnamurti used to criticize practise but I read him for 20 years and could never really understand him till I learnt to practise.

You can criticize everything and anything and in the end what do you learn?
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Sep, 2009 03:29 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;89150 wrote:
It does go back a long way, probably to the shamans in hunter-gatherer society. Shamans had many techniques for divining where the herds were, what the sources of power were for the tribe, magic and sorcery and the like. For this they needed to go into trance states and other planes of being. This certainly goes back far beyond any recorded history, probably more than 30,000 years. The best book on this is Mircea Eliade Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstacy.

But still, there must have been the beginning. When I said "God" it wasn't the thing we usually mean thereby in Western cultures, I just meant something supernatural. For example, the idea of Karma is also supernatural, the idea of buddhas coming to us and teaching is supernatural as well. Thus, by "God" I meant something like "supreme reality". Again I must ask: "Was it given by something Divine?"

jeeprs;89150 wrote:
As far as Indian civilization is concerned, there are engravings suggestive of meditation and yoga in the Mohenjo-Daro excavations. This was the civilzation that existed before the Sanskrit-speaking peoples arrived. We are talking 3,000-6000 years ago; they are very ancient. The Vedic (i.e. Sanskrit) traditions talked of meditation and higher states, and they go back many thousands of years also. So these practises are very ancient indeed. Again, the best insight into the roots of yoga is another book by Mircea Eliade, Yoga: Immortality and Freedom.

I think that me must not overlook the evolution of Vedic religion. In Vedas we see rather primitive worshipping and primitive understanding of life. For example, caste system, stages of life of brahmans, sacrifices. Surely that wasn't the same religion we have to-day. When I see this, I cannot help becoming very dubious of those "sacred texts" and their trustworthiness.

jeeprs;89150 wrote:
I am perfectly aware of that. Most of those who spoke thus were monks and wanderers. I know Krishnamurti used to criticize practise but I read him for 20 years and could never really understand him till I learnt to practise.

So why did they speak like that? This resembles the talk between Krishnamurti and Swami Venkateshananda. Krishnamurti pointed out that "Vedanta" literally means "the end of knowledge". "So why do we have to acquire that knowledge?" he asked Swami. -- "So as to get rid of it in the end". Thus it appeared to be stupid -- to acquire something so as to get rid of it. I think that the same think may be said about practice (and I think that was even meant by knowledge because practice is impossible without knowledge). So, the question is: why practise? So as to understand that there is no need to practise at all? Modern religious philosopher Mooji put it perfectly: "Always remember that you do not need any practice. Its only use is to make you understand that you are already there!"
I wonder why thou didst not understand Krishna. I have never practised anything but I do understand many of the things he used to say. Or at least think that understand:) because he said nobody has right to speak on his behalf.
So what is the result of thy practice?

jeeprs;89150 wrote:
You can criticize everything and anything and in the end what do you learn?

If something gives place to criticism, it should be criticised. If something is absolutely true, it doesn't need any trace of belief. I wanna learn only that truth and not remain on the relative level where everything has pros and cons and everything is liable to criticism and thus demands belief. At least, belief that it works.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Sep, 2009 04:45 am
@Eudaimon,
The result of my practise is that I do understand that whereof Krishnamurti spoke, at least in some small degree. Without this practise, it was only words in books. I would love to say it is the 'end of all sorrow' but nothing that dramatic. Nevetheless something highly worth having. Appreciation of each moment, compassion for all beings. You know, the usual. Life goes on.

But I have found there are things you only learn by doing. You won't learn them talking to me or anyone else here. What are you looking for? A Gold Pass or something? You're like a guy who spends the whole time reading golf books and never picks up a club. You need to set out. You can't be an armchair spectator, and a participant. It is one or the other. That is the whole nature of the quest. You need a sense of adventure.

Remind me to tell you the Helicopter joke next time we talk.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2009 07:16 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;89359 wrote:
The result of my practise is that I do understand that whereof Krishnamurti spoke, at least in some small degree. Without this practise, it was only words in books. I would love to say it is the 'end of all sorrow' but nothing that dramatic. Nevetheless something highly worth having. Appreciation of each moment, compassion for all beings. You know, the usual. Life goes on.

But I have found there are things you only learn by doing. You won't learn them talking to me or anyone else here. What are you looking for? A Gold Pass or something? You're like a guy who spends the whole time reading golf books and never picks up a club. You need to set out. You can't be an armchair spectator, and a participant. It is one or the other. That is the whole nature of the quest. You need a sense of adventure.

Remind me to tell you the Helicopter joke next time we talk.

I am reminding thee: tell me the Helicopter joke:).
I wonder the idea thou hast of me. A swine that wants to remain in its mud, right? To say, I am not looking for anything for myself and the question is not about me but about the things I am saying here. Who knows, my friend, who knows, maybe now thou art speaking with someone of whom thou hast absolutely no idea.
I started a new thread because this discussion went very far from its initial subject: http://www.philosophyforum.com/philosophy-forums/secondary-branches-philosophy/philosophy-religion/5857-spiritual-practice-thought-freedom.html#post89584
0 Replies
 
TheSingingSword
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2009 07:24 am
@rhinogrey,
When Bankei held his seclusion-weeks of meditation, pupils from many parts of Japan came to attend. During one of these gatherings a pupil was caught stealing. The matter was reported to Bankei with the request that the culprit be expelled. Bankei ignored the case.

Later the pupil was caught in a similar act, and again bankei disregarded the matter. this angered the other pupils, who drew up a petition asking for the dismissal of the thief, stating that otherwise they would leave in a body.

When bankei had read the petition he called everyone before him. "You are wise brothers," he told them. "You know what is right and what is not right. You may choose somewhere else to study if you wish, but this poor brother does not even know right from wrong. Who will teach him if I do not? I am going to keep him here even if all the rest of you leave."
A torrent of tears cleansed the face of the brother who had stolen. All desire to steal had vanished.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2009 07:56 am
@TheSingingSword,
TheSingingSword;89588 wrote:
When Bankei held his seclusion-weeks of meditation, pupils from many parts of Japan came to attend. During one of these gatherings a pupil was caught stealing. The matter was reported to Bankei with the request that the culprit be expelled. Bankei ignored the case.

Later the pupil was caught in a similar act, and again bankei disregarded the matter. this angered the other pupils, who drew up a petition asking for the dismissal of the thief, stating that otherwise they would leave in a body.

When bankei had read the petition he called everyone before him. "You are wise brothers," he told them. "You know what is right and what is not right. You may choose somewhere else to study if you wish, but this poor brother does not even know right from wrong. Who will teach him if I do not? I am going to keep him here even if all the rest of you leave."
A torrent of tears cleansed the face of the brother who had stolen. All desire to steal had vanished.

Thanks, Swordie for this story. But canst thou ein bisschen clarify for me how it bears to our discussion?
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2009 03:22 pm
@Eudaimon,
There was a parish priest in a small town in a valley, somewhere in Europe. One winter there was a great deluge, and it rained non-stop for several weeks. The river came up, and soon the Emergency Services were evacuating the population. They knocked on the door of the church residency and said 'Holy Father! You have to leave! There is going to be flood!'. To which the priest replied 'Don't worry, sons, the Lord will save me.' Later that evening the priest had taken refuge near the Alter. Already the waters were in the nave of the church. Emergency services came again, this time in a boat, and urged the priest to get on board. 'Don't worry, sons, the Lord will save me', came the reply.

By midnight the priest had had to climb the bell tower the waters were so high. Only the top of the tower was out of the raging waters, and a helicopter appeared. They shone the spotlight on the priest and threw down a rope ladder. But such was the priest's faith he said the same thing. Not long after he was swept away. He appeared sodden and dripping at the Pearly Gates and said to St Peter 'Why wasn't I saved? I believed in the Lord" And St Peter shook his head, and said 'my son, my son.... we sent a boat, we sent a helicopter.....'
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 04:25 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;89359 wrote:
But I have found there are things you only learn by doing. You won't learn them talking to me or anyone else here. What are you looking for? A Gold Pass or something? You're like a guy who spends the whole time reading golf books and never picks up a club. You need to set out. You can't be an armchair spectator, and a participant. It is one or the other. That is the whole nature of the quest. You need a sense of adventure.

"If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top."
Zen masters say "Don't seek the truth - just drop your opinions

jeeprs;89665 wrote:
There was a parish priest in a small town in a valley, somewhere in Europe...

Nice story, I am familiar with it. Yet in reality, those boatmen may occur to be pirates, thou knowst? If I refused to sit in a boat proposed by the orthodoxes, if I refused to sit in a boat proposed by "the witnesses of Jehovah", why should I sit in a boat proposed by a fellow from Australia? Who knows, again, maybe it's not me who need to be saved cause I know that my place is safety and their boats and helicopters are damaged.
0 Replies
 
 

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