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What is the nature of the divine?

 
 
manfred
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 11:10 pm
@prothero,
So an experience of awakening in Buddhism might show you that the ego is actually insubstantial (this might be hard to take, even if it is easy to say). So thereafter, your attitude to reality might be completely different, even if the so-called 'objective facts' you are dealing with are completely the same.

But isn't this an ego in it's most extreme state of denial, having convinced a person that they have overcome it's very existance?Or am i reading this wrong?

longknowledge
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 11:49 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;98688 wrote:
I am completely with you. Another kind of analogy - imagine if you are a highly paranoid individual. As a result, you see enemies everywhere. Your experience of life is that your environment is hostile and you constantly expect to be attacked.

Say you receive successful treatment. As a result, you see that your hostility and defensiveness was actually a result of a delusion. So you're living in the same world, but at the same time it is actually quite different. 'All my fears melted away', and so on.

We construe the world a certain way due to our attitudes. Obviously we are not generally paranoid - that was just an exagerration for the sake of making a point. However it might be the case that we have many hidden assumptions about 'the way things are' which continually affect the way we construe reality.

In some ways, spiritual experiences are like 'recovery from delusion'. Certainly, in Buddhist philosophy, it is understood that the normal human outlook is deluded because of underlying egotism, of which we are unaware. So an experience of awakening in Buddhism might show you that the ego is actually insubstantial (this might be hard to take, even if it is easy to say). So thereafter, your attitude to reality might be completely different, even if the so-called 'objective facts' you are dealing with are completely the same.


I'm after you, at least in this thread!

My limited experience of Buddhist meditation has led me to inquire as to where thoughts "come from". They "occur" to me just as "physical sensations" do. In Orteguian terms, they are just as much a part of "my circumstance" as the physical sensations I have. It seems to me the "ego" is the part of me that thinks that somehow "I" created these thoughts.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 12:12 am
@manfred,
manfred;98690 wrote:
But isn't this an ego in it's most extreme state of denial, having convinced a person that they have overcome it's very existance?Or am i reading this wrong?



No you're not 'reading it wrong' but I believe what you're saying is not based on experience. It is conjecture.

In fact it is not really possible to convey that insight verbally. The whole purpose of Buddhist meditation is to awaken to 'the experience of no-self'. Don't think that this is an easy thing to understand, because it isn't - this is why people go on meditation retreats and take up the practise. You don't get it by just thinking about it.

longknowledge;98696 wrote:
My limited experience of Buddhist meditation has led me to inquire as to where thoughts "come from". They "occur" to me just as "physical sensations" do. In Orteguian terms, they are just as much a part of "my circumstance" as the physical sensations I have. It seems to me the "ego" is the part of me that thinks that somehow "I" created these thoughts.


Well - that is not limited. That is the exact insight. All that is required is to actualise that understanding in day to day life. It takes some commitment, but that is the practise.

here is a great quote I found on a usenet discussion of Buddhist meditation:

Quote:
Waking up' means: no more mistaking 'existence' as 'crappy'. Whatever you may think life is, is wrong. It's all beyond the painful confines of apparent thoughts and rational judgements. Boundless and clear.

People assume they are thinking, even thinking logically, but in fact they are being 'thought'. Does one control thoughts or is it the other way around? Obviously thoughts go where they will, to heaven and to hell, according to circumstance and conditioned interpretation, and folks helplessly follow those thoughts when they identify with thought as their own doing and their own self-ness.

But if one were the real thinker of his own thoughts, how could he ever be displeased? How could he be sad or angry or fearful or full of pains? Thoughts nag. Thoughts circle. Thoughts attack.

Proper meditation allows seeing thoughts as thoughts, and feelings as feelings, mere mental phantoms of no substance, and not by any means any 'reality' of importance or dreads. This is detachment-mindfulness.

Non meditators can't see thoughts and feelings as such, but they unconsciously obey them as commands supposedly arising from their own self-ness. They are helplessly and painfully reactive and out of control. Victims of circumstance. They don't know what they're doing, or where they're going, racing along heedlessly 'thoughtful'.

If you think meditation seems hard or painful, that is thought not truth. Don't believe what you think you think. Bathed in thought, submerged in thought, enchanted by thought one dreams up a 'life' of heavens and hells that truly do not exist.

Reality is here and now. There's not a problem in the world.
0 Replies
 
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 01:15 am
@prothero,
God in my opinion (don't jump on me I know my opinion could be wrong) equated to the primordial "Uncaused Cause" the reason for existence more than creator

God =Existence

Existence =God
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 01:36 am
@prothero,
actually, and without jumping on you, I think a distinction must be drawn between two terms which are often confused - 'existence', and 'being'.

It is one thing to think of God as 'the source of all being' and quite another to say he is 'everything that exists'. The word 'exist' actually means 'to be apart from'. So everything that 'exists' is by its nature compound and contingent. Whereas 'being' encompasses but is not actually an existing thing. There are realities which are beyond existence, and forms of existence which are so ephemeral that they are to all intents and purposes unreal. Huge discussion of course. But do get that 'existence' is by nature contingent, limited, compound, and, to quote the Buddha, 'DUKKHA'.

---------- Post added 10-20-2009 at 06:53 PM ----------

and as mentionedin an earlier post, the British theologian and philosopher of religion has some BRILLIANT things to say about the question of Who or What is God.
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 06:26 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;98709 wrote:
actually, and without jumping on you, I think a distinction must be drawn between two terms which are often confused - 'existence', and 'being'.

It is one thing to think of God as 'the source of all being' and quite another to say he is 'everything that exists'. The word 'exist' actually means 'to be apart from'. So everything that 'exists' is by its nature compound and contingent. Whereas 'being' encompasses but is not actually an existing thing. There are realities which are beyond existence, and forms of existence which are so ephemeral that they are to all intents and purposes unreal. Huge discussion of course. But do get that 'existence' is by nature contingent, limited, compound, and, to quote the Buddha, 'DUKKHA'.

---------- Post added 10-20-2009 at 06:53 PM ----------

and as mentionedin an earlier post, the British theologian and philosopher of religion has some BRILLIANT things to say about the question of Who or What is God.


This idea suggests that God is separate from existence and not the cause thereof . Maybe reality consists of two broad factors Mind =God and Matter/Energy =that which is not God. Do you agree?
manfred
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 08:21 am
@Alan McDougall,
Im still trying to understand why someone would even want to achieve nirvana.The whole point of existence to to learn,it's that simple.Everything you can imagine or label as(X belief) fits under the umbrella of learning/understanding or whatever you want to call it,but why would anyone want to reach that level of enlightenment?Once you do that,it's game over...in my opinion this is the most disrespectful thought a human being can have,it's like spiting in the face of the god.This just blows my mind,it's an arrogant move in my book,but my book's not that thick,i dont know,maybe some of us were meant to stick it out down here in the trenches.
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 10:05 am
@prothero,
Manfred,

All things being equal, I might say that I suspect that you too are as crazy as a loon. But would that be playing nice?

My ideas may seem unusual to you. But, I assure you that I am not alone in this way of perceiving/thinking. Check out the Advaitist. They are one of the largest religious/philosophical groups in the world.

For the most part I agree with them. They have been around for centuries. You need to widen your parameters, or get out of your little world, and look around. Your particular “well” (like frog’s well), seems IMO to be VERY small.

My physical manifestation IS Human. Thanks for asking. ; ^ )

M: You ARE the ego, why is that so hard for you to admit?

S9: Why should I admit something, that investigation through meditation and reasoning has revealed itself to be not the case?

Ego is a practical instrument only. I wear it much like I wear clothing. If I were to identify myself as being my clothing, just because it is a necessary tool for living comfortably in this world, you would really think that I was confused. In this same way, I see your identifying with this story line, called ego, silly.

It is only because there are so many people like yourself also confused; that you think you must be right. If there are 10 men who are equally mistaken about something, that does not change the mistake into a truth, does it?

M: Your ego is what makes you respond to anything anyone has ever said to you.

S9: Ego is a tool for interfacing with others, correct.

“Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.” Ecclesiastes

This is a statement about the impossibility of our material manifestation moving out of ego. But, if I don’t identify with my material manifestation, then I, my Ultimate I/Self, am not subject to ego’s ways. Ego is an instrument of the mind. Mystical Transcendence is beyond the mind.

M: I'll prove it, can you stay away from this website for just 3 days? PROVE IT.

S9: Silly talk.

I enjoy this web site, true. How would my staying away prove anything? Do you think that my trying to prove a point about anything is proof that I am an ego? It isn't. It only proves that I, like yourself, use the ego to interface.

What if I am only dreaming this web site?

Incidentally, I am not at war with my ego. I feel that a healthy ego is a good thing. It is a weak ego that causes people so much trouble.

S9
manfred
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 10:25 am
@Subjectivity9,
Im most definitely a nutter,i have no problems with this what so ever.And yes,it would be playing nice if you were to say,"MANFRED,YOUR CRAZY",i can handle this because it's my job,you of all people should have figured this out by now,it's called a healthy argument S9,not a biggest pecker contest.

M: You ARE the ego, why is that so hard for you to admit?
S9: Why should I admit something, that investigation through meditation and reasoning has revealed itself to be not the case?
S9: Ego is a tool for interfacing with others, correct.
Incidentally, I am not at war with my ego. I feel that a healthy ego is a good thing. It is a weak ego that causes people so much trouble.
S9
Im sorry S9,but evidently i just dont get it,i will bother you no more.
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 11:59 am
@prothero,
prothero,

It is easier to say what the Divine is not, than to say what the Divine (AKA Ultimate) is. This is because, both thought and language cannot capture the Essence of the Ultimate.

Mind thinks lineally and is constantly becoming, and the Ultimate is perfectly whole, and All at once. (Therefore unchanging.) This is mind's dilemma, when dealng with the Ultimate.

But, even if we could say it, and some people get really close to pointing at where you must look, in order to experience the Ultimate in an intimate fashion, I believe that the mind wouldn’t be subtle enough to understand what it was looking at.

This is the thing, however, you can BE Ultimate, and know yourself as this Ultimate Self intrinsically.

When Bodhidharma (Zen patriarch), after total Realization, was asked who he was, he replied, “I have no idea.”

Now, this wasn’t because he hadn’t really come upon the Ultimate Self. This was because his mind couldn’t explain it. He couldn't make it into an idea.

Questions?

S9
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 02:49 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;98727 wrote:
This idea suggests that God is separate from existence and not the cause thereof . Maybe reality consists of two broad factors Mind =God and Matter/Energy =that which is not God. Do you agree?


I don't know Alan. I am generally very wary about making declarations about the divine nature. I read a lot, and contemplate a lot, but really I don't know.

---------- Post added 10-21-2009 at 08:04 AM ----------

and I am not trying to dodge the issue by saying that. I think there is a difference between 'contemplative speculation', so to speak, and believing you really do understand the divine nature.

"He who knows it, knows it not" - the Chaung Tzu

"The wise will only say - it is not this, it is not that" - anon.
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 04:29 pm
@jeeprs,
[QUOTE=Alan McDougall;98705]God in my opinion (don't jump on me I know my opinion could be wrong) equated to the primordial "Uncaused Cause" the reason for existence more than creator [/QUOTE]
Alan McDougall;98705 wrote:

God =Existence
Existence =God


[QUOTE=Alan McDougall;98727]This idea suggests that God is separate from existence and not the cause thereof . Maybe reality consists of two broad factors Mind =God and Matter/Energy =that which is not God. Do you agree?[/QUOTE]

[QUOTE=jeeprs;98850]I don't know Alan. I am generally very wary about making declarations about the divine nature. I read a lot, and contemplate a lot, but really I don't know. [/QUOTE]
jeeprs;98850 wrote:

"The wise will only say - it is not this, it is not that" - anon.


Neti, Neti and the Via negativa

Of course, it is all speculation, but as humans, we wonder, we imagine, we speculate and if god is significant in our worldview it is quire natural to speculate. It is perhaps just a game: some gamble, some play cards, some watch sports others speculate about the nature of the universe and the nature of the divine. Logical positivists and linguistic analysts will say all such statements are meaningless or nonsense but in traditional philosophy speculation about the nature of the divine is central.

We all have some working speculation or favored notion about divine nature and divine action but we should (not jump on each other) because we are all speculating.

Personally I object to the notion of god separate from the world. In my view the best analogy between god and the world is that between your mind and your body. The world is contained within God but God is more than the world. In traditional language god is highly immanent (present within the world) and slightly transcendent (more than the world, possibilities, values and aesthetics).

As a process theology person god has a dipolar nature. God has a primordial nature (the realm of possibilities, values, aims, aesthetics sort of like the realm of Platonic ideals) and similar to the notion of the ground of all being. God also has a consequential nature taking in the world as it changes and develops. God takes in the experience of the world and persuasively influences (through nature and natural law) the world forward into creative advance.
0 Replies
 
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 05:45 pm
@prothero,
prothero;96837 wrote:
I believe the divine is a rational agent accounting for the order and the logical intelligibility of the world and the ability to express natural law in mathematical form.

I believe the divine strives for higher levels of order complexity, life, mind, and experience accounting for the self organizing properties of nature and the endless creativity and novelty of the world.

When I look at the world, I do not see a universe primarily of matter inert and insensate. Instead I see a universe alive and enchanted, striving against the forces of chaos toward creativity, novelty and experience. Because I am a panpsychist for me the world is full of experiencing entities, societies and organisms. Because I have a process view the ultimate reality is one of becoming, change and flux not of machine like mechanistic determinism.

The "divine dwells within" within your mind, within the world. The divine patiently, persistently, lovingly and persuasively urges the world forward in a never ending process of creative advance. The divine is not a tyrant, the divine is not a judge, the divine dwells upon the tender elements of the world.
Several things come to my mind:
1) When I was a small child, I saw a sine wave as on an oscilloscope that was connected to a microphone. If you made a continuous note, you'd see a simple sine wave. I connected to the shape of the wave emotionally. I've since learned that the parts of the wave have names like the curve of grace and the curve of strength... these are old names I came across studying Italian jewelry design. So for me, trigonometry was special. It made me realize that when I talk, there are spheres coming out of my mouth. But I could go on and on about how waves and circles have permeated my thoughts... x-y axes...slope.. the unwinding of the circle into a function... My name for this specialness that's attached to the circle is: the divine.
2) You spoke about unity... I've been reading something by Heidegger where he talks about the connection between unity and the concept of truth.... when I get around to it, I'd like to do a little review of it.
3) What you said put me in mind of an idea I came across that has entered my way of thinking: the idea is that the whole is in each of the parts. Like the whole of the universe is in a raindrop... in a grain of sand. Just logically, you can see that a single raindrop implies the whole rest of the universe along with all of its alternate presentations.
4) I have some things to say about how the idea of the other is related to the experience and concept of divinity, but somehow that seems insignificant to me right at this moment.
5) What you wrote inspired me to ask if you've ever come across stuff about Meister Eckhart... a Dominican. If you happen to stray across that name... check it out. Thanks for what you wrote... I appreciated it Smile.
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 09:28 pm
@prothero,
In essence, God is a very Human (sometimes) rational Concept, and within those parameters we can say whatever we want about him, once it "exists" mainly, as an object of cohesion in our very personal experience of reality...
I say mainly because, any Idea of God, even through our need, expresses also a true link between ourselves and the Universe around, in many ways it summarizes that inner impression of belonging...so somehow, its true when we say, that God is because we believe, or in a more common approach, that faith bring us to is presence...

...once alive, we all believe in something, so its fair to say that we all believe in God to some level...

...my vision, pantheistic and simple at its core, empathizes with the Big Machine concept...something like a "Matrix" made of Algorithms and numbers, with no "true substance", Static and Dead, Eternal, and beyond Time or Space...Time and Space, witch appear to me, as simulated effects, through witch "We" are revealed as Entities, who bring Him/"it" to Life, to existence and, in to Self awareness...
(...so its not that different from ProtheroUU, and gives us is view of U from a certain perspective, thus simulating motion, when we change from a number to another...Gestalt effect of UBB Inflation "123456789" Contraction "-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9" BC ...BB...
...numbers act as frames on a film Inflation "i, ii, iii, iiii, iiiii, iiiiii, iiiiiii, iiiiiiii, iiiiiiiii" Contraction"-i,-ii,-iii,-iiii,-iiiii,-iiiiii,-iiiiiii,-iiiiiiii,-iiiiiiiii" BC ... ( BB...cyclic)


BB-Big-Bang
BC-Big-Crunch

Best Regards>FILIPE DE ALBUQUERQUE
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 09:39 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil. Albuquerque;98912 wrote:
In essence, God is a very Human (sometimes) rational Concept, and within those parameters we can say whatever we want about him, once it "exists" mainly, as an object of cohesion in our very personal experience of reality...
I say mainly because, any Idea of God, even trough our need, expresses also a true link between us and the Universe around, in many ways it summarizes that inner impression of belonging...so somehow, its true when we say, that God is because we believe, or in a more common approach, that faith bring us to is presence...

...once alive, we all believe in something, so its fair to say that we all believe in God to some level...

...my vision, pantheistic and simple at its core, empathizes with the Big Machine concept...something like a "Matrix" made of Algorithms and numbers, with no "true substance", Static and Dead, Eternal, and beyond Time or Space...Time and Space, witch appear to me, as simulated effects, through witch "We" are revealed as Entities, who bring Him/"it" to Life, to existence and, in to Self awareness...

Best Regards>FILIPE DE ALBUQUERQUE


"In essence, God is a very Human (sometimes) rational Concept"

What you say here is clearly false.
God, if he exists, is not a concept. Not a human concept, not a rational concept. God is simply not a concept at all. The concept of God is a concept, not God. If God exists, then the concept of God has a referent, and that referent is God, not the concept.
That really ought to be got clear. There is no point in mixing up the concept of God with God, anymore than there is a point in mixing up the concept of the Eiffel Tower with the Eiffel Tower. Nothing but confusion can result from such a mix-up.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 10:29 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;98913 wrote:
"In essence, God is a very Human (sometimes) rational Concept"

What you say here is clearly false.
God, if he exists, is not a concept. Not a human concept, not a rational concept. God is simply not a concept at all. The concept of God is a concept, not God. If God exists, then the concept of God has a referent, and that referent is God, not the concept.
That really ought to be got clear. There is no point in mixing up the concept of God with God, anymore than there is a point in mixing up the concept of the Eiffel Tower with the Eiffel Tower. Nothing but confusion can result from such a mix-up.


In that case is not Transcendental but simply Transcendent..and you cannot speak of it !
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 10:32 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil. Albuquerque;98923 wrote:
In that case is not Transcendental but simply Transcendent..and you cannot speak of it !


In what case? And why can't I speak of God?
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 10:44 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;98924 wrote:
In what case? And why can't I speak of God?
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 12:09 am
@prothero,
Well it could be that god is entirely a human derived concept. It could be that all values and aesthetics are merely human concepts. Not my favored way of looking at it but still not an irrational conclusion.
However even if God is only the embodiment of human created ideals it is stll a powerful concept which has had immense historical and social consequences. In some sense our conceptions of god are very important.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 06:38 am
@prothero,
prothero;98929 wrote:

However even if God is only the embodiment of human created ideals it is stll a powerful concept


To repeat: If God exists, God is not a concept. No more than if extra-terrestrial life exists, extra-terrestrial life is a concept. Therefore, God is not a powerful concept, nor a weak concept. God is just not a concept. Period.
 

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