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from religion to meditation

Discussion in 'Meditation Chatter Box' started by brozen, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. brozen

    brozen Member

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    is it wrong of me to try to convert religious people to a purely meditative life.

    between Christianity and buddhist philosophy there seems to be almost no difference other than in buddhist philosophy you are acting for yourself and others rather than acting on behalf of jesus.

    i know that christians can acheive just as many good things as a person who is practicing meditation, but i feel that it is wrong to be doing it IN FEAR of hell or so that they are allowed in heaven. or simply becuase they believe it to be the word of the lord therefore must be followed.

    Should i keep mouth shut or is it okay to PREACH to religious ppl to convert to a non religious life of working for good
     
  2. Mr Monkey

    Mr Monkey Member

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    Hi Brozen,

    Maybe it’d be worth reflecting on things like why you feel the need to do this and why aren’t you content with just finding your own truth? Also if you flip the perspective round, how would you feel if someone told you what you were doing was wrong?

    As your asking this question I get the impression you have some background doubts yourself, also it seems a little like you asking for permission to go up to people and “tell them how it is” :eek:, which I would suggest is inadvisable. Instead of running off down the street after people, why not wait for people to come up to you? People will only change when they are ready and will only see what they want to see, if people are not willing to accept the change you offer, then all you will be met with is resistence.

    I’ve replied on another thread to you where something you said made me think of the Gandhi quote “Be the change you want to see in the World”, funnily enough this has brought the same quote back to my mind.

    :)

    Paul
     
  3. brozen

    brozen Member

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    Hi paul,
    thanks for your responses to my questions, im still yet to read the others. These level headed responses i have seen so far has made me glad to have signed up to this forum.


    Haha, I had just written a big response back to you, listing all my reasons for wanting to change people from Christianity/religion to meditation but deleted it after i reread the sentence "People will only change when they are ready and will only see what they want to see"

    This is too true. But i guess my concern with WANTING to change people from religious beliefs lies with the fact that religion holds an authority over people and I feel makes them feel inadequate. (speaking very generally) But from experiences with a few religious friends, they believe things like addictions they may have are temptations from the devil and only God can help them overcome it, rather than trusting in the strength that they themselves hold. Other friends have prejudice against gay people since the bible says it is a sin, despite this not being a belief they would otherwise hold.

    A life that is lived for an authority or a book of rules, seems to lack understanding of the true nature of good, (something that i feel i have gained from meditation) It feels like by being religious, you may be missing out on the bigger picture. I hope that doesn't sound arrogant but it feels like its the truth.

    I guess this question comes from me questioning the Buddhist way of accepting other religions and practices. since meditation i will admit i am all for accepting others religions knowing the joy they get from it as good as the joy i receive from meditation, but it's still a curious subject when considering the beliefs religions can impose...

    Although, your quote from Gandhi does cover all of my venting, I just have to go out there and "out-good" the good of the religious, haha

    thanks for getting me thinking.
     
  4. Boris Badenov

    Boris Badenov Member

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    If you reflect on it deeply enough you'll come to realize that all religions take you to the same inner place. Deeply religious people are meditative it's just that the outer manifestations of religions differ because of history, cultural differences, and race.
     
  5. Mr Monkey

    Mr Monkey Member

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    Hi Brozen,

    Good to know you were willing to consider my questions, for me a sign of an open mind and a healthy ability to challenge your own views and perceptions :).

    As for you thoughts on religion, I agree and disagree but don’t really feel qualified to comment, although I’d be interested in seeing what others have to say.

    I think you may have hit slightly off target on what I was getting at. I wasn’t trying to suggest that need to out point/’good’ anyone. I think even if you tried that, as ‘good’ is subjective you’d only be pushing what you perceive as ‘good’ which can lead to difficulty, ie someone can have an opposite view to you and consider it the ‘good’ point of view. But in that case you're both 'right' :confused: :eek:, so then you must prove that what you think is right IS right, but the other person thinks this too, so the escalation starts between you both of needing to prove your ‘right’/'good' until some fur ends up flying about :mad: :eek:, which is a bit of a downer :(.

    So just to clarify my original point, I was just trying to highlight that if you just follow your own path, focus on yourself rather than others, then you may get to a point where you radiant naturally a presence that people are drawn to and perhaps want to learn from. That way you don’t have to tell anyone they are wrong at any point in time, you can let them be as they are. But perhaps at some time they’ll see something in you they like and want to know more and which point you can start to converse as they will be open to it :)

    Cheers, Paul
     
  6. brozen

    brozen Member

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    its true Boris, i feel like in my meditations i do experience what u are talking about, but i guess i struggle when it comes to returning to my day to day life. i am happy that people have their own religions and that they can get a positive experience from them. but when through that same religion they develop views against gays etc, their positive experience starts to appear perverted.

    I guess maybe my problem is I have my own view of whats good and right. My expectations are that a religion should be based purely on love, and reject any ideas that are related to hate, so as the cater for all human life, rather than those that fit the criteria (if it is even possible)

    and i guess that brings me to Mr Monkeys point. i think i may have come across as a bit of a zealot for meditation haha. my style of talk is hard to interpret in text, i tend to over express myself, which makes more sense when you hear my inflections etc.
    but ye when i said
    i meant exactly as you described "get to a point where you radiant naturally a presence that people are drawn to and perhaps want to learn from" which goes nicely with the point you said before that people will only be willing to change when they are ready.

    the most effective change is brought about by the self, with as little external resistance as possible

    thanks guys
     
  7. Boris Badenov

    Boris Badenov Member

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    The best way that I've found to deal with the irritation (as I call it) that you refer to (the annoyance to intolerant religion), is to simply do what you can where you are at the moment. Make yourself of service (or helpful) to others in your daily activities. That is very helpful to me. You're not going to solve hunger in Africa but you can help somebody that you interact with on a day to day basis.
     
  8. Karmoh

    Karmoh Member

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    Welcome Brozen,

    When we are ready to begin looking into our present experience in a deep and specific way, we are ready to see why it is that we suffer, why we seek, and why human life contains so much conflict, especially centred on religion. Try not to be caught in a cycle of thought; although you are stuck in what I refer to as cyclic good.

    You are searching and as you find answers to your search, you wish to pass them on. You have realised in a subtle way through beginning meditation& Buddhism because it resonates with you on a level deeper than the mind, this is the peace within you that we know as the present, but that seems somehow buried under the noise of life, personal drama, a friend’s drama and the constant seeking towards future fulfilment.

    As Paul and Boris point out.......First look for the reason you need to explain you new found freedom to others!

    I recently had a talk with a young lady who was devout Catholic, we were sitting at a neighbour’s house chatting after a traumatic experience when she nudged me and asked in a hushed voice why God would do such a thing. She was in crisis of faith, I could of easily took the opportunity to explaining “my thoughts” on non-duality, meditation and how it would help her, but that was not what she was asking... I had to place myself in her space and find her crisis of faith for her. I asked if she believed in God through her faith or through her heart. If she stopped thoughts for a moment and listened to her heart would she understand God?
    I explained that God is unconditional love, you cannot love God through thought, and you can only trust your heart (or true self) and its true and undefinable love. God in her thoughts had allowed this experience to happen; she was blaming her religion through thought. But God in her heart (true faith) was unconditional love and these things happened because absolute love allows everything to be as it is....
    ......She is still a devout Catholic.....

    Peace :)
     
  9. MetaCognition

    MetaCognition Member

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    This. Dont worry so much about others, everyones path is their own and we all find comforts and attach to certain ideas (or the idea of lacking ideas as is common on this site;)) Just find what works for you and others will either follow or they wont, either way, it shouldnt deeply affect your own quest for faith and understanding.
     
  10. brozen

    brozen Member

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    Thanks for all your responses so far.

    To finally address
    I think I was being too specific when I related my concern only to people of religion, and this may seem to be going off topic to the original post, but it stems from the reason I asked the question in the first place.

    [I keep writing big posts only to realize that quotes like "Be the Change you want to see in the world" pretty much respond to my concerns, so after many draft posts this is the ideas I am left with]

    So it really leaves me with only one more question, and the reason I asked this question in the first place.

    While I spend my life being the change I want to see in the world, and hopefully spreading as much good as I can.

    How does one 'cope' with the knowledge that not everyone out there will respond to your change, and that those same people may never find a path to contentment in their own life journeys.

    It leaves me thinking that maybe if I get out there and do all that I can maybe those people will have a better chance. Perhaps in the same way it is a Christians goal to spread the word of Jesus to as many people as they can.

    Or more succinctly, How do you deal with the suffering of others, and being content that the amount of good you have done is enough?

    I feel like Karmoh has already addressed this
    But i'm not there yet!
     
  11. GilesC

    GilesC Member

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    You may not like the answer... at least not yet.

    When you truly find your true Self, you will be able to look back on this question and know the answer. I'll give you a hint... you won't have any need to cope, as the need is created by mind, not the true Self. That may or may not make sense just yet, but it will at some point.

    Meet the needs of the present moment. If there is someone in need of help there in front of you, help them. If you go out determined to "help" others to change to your own understandings of truth, I'm afraid you do not understand the truth. This is where many religions and belief systems have fallen down.

    Simply do your best, that is all you can do.

    You may like to read a small book called The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. This addresses such "issues" and I feel will answer your questions.

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  12. brozen

    brozen Member

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    thanks giles, have read some positive reviews of the book and added it to my To Buy list.

    I know you said i may not understand this point yet, so i will keep in mind that I am missing out on the complete understanding. But just from considering this idea, it reminds me of a thread that you have also commented on, regarding Apathy and Contentment.

    It's difficult for me to separate apathy and contentment regarding this situation.

    The only case i can see as ideal would be:

    The 'self' that feels compassion, lacks personal suffering, has motivation to act.

    I only question this since, at first glance, it seems counter-intuitive to think that this is the ideal 'self' when it comes to dealing with problems.
    The reason I would think it to be counter-intuitive is because, i would assume (perhaps Ruiz dislikes assumptions for this reason, lol) that Compassion+Personal suffering = a higher form of empathy which gives greater motivation to act. Disabling apathy from the equation.

    But I guess I can understand that perhaps a more positive version of Pure Compassion (lacking personal suffering) has a chance of creating just as great, or greater motivation to do. Does this leave the gate open for apathy, or does a 'self' of pure compassion also disable any chance of Apathy. Is this close to what you were referring to?

    I may have got carried away turning emotions into maths but its the simplest way i can think of it.

    anyway thanks for giving me a hint, its a great motivation in my meditation practice to consider the possibilities of what the perfect self could be capable of
     
  13. Itlandm

    Itlandm Member

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    One thing we should accept is that most people are not very spiritually advanced, and will not become so even with our explanations. That is because spirituality is not acquired in a theoretical way like algebra, unless one has already acquired the capacity for it on a different level. This can not be transmitted like a teaching. It must grow, and for some it does not change much in a lifetime.

    If someone has the capacity, then hearing a spiritual message will be not so much like learning but more like being reminded of something one already knew deep down. What you can learn this way depends on your capacity at the time.

    You refer to people who are in the "mythic" stage of spirituality, which is where traditional religions mostly operate. You have to understand that for these people, this is a protection. If you somehow had the power to strip away the religion of a man who hates gays, for instance, chances are that he would not become like you. More likely he would start sleeping with a large number of guys and contract some very unpleasant disease. People seek the religion or philosophy that is slightly higher than their current center of gravity. It is for them a refuge, a place they can rest safe from the chaos of their own thoughts and feelings.

    For this reason, religion rarely ever keeps people down, at least not for long. It may, like the skin of a larvae gets unpleasantly tight right before it molts. But in these cases, some event will cause them eventually to move on to a new stage, within their religion or outside of it. That event might be you, but it does not really matter, does it?

    Remember: Nobody ever made a plant grow faster by pulling on it. :)
     
  14. brozen

    brozen Member

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    a good analogy. I am starting to realize more and more that every learning journey, requires knowledge AND experience. It can make the difference between understanding and knowing.

    the same way a parable can mean different things to the same person, over different parts of their lifetime. the more experience, the more understanding.

    Makes me second guess posting questions on the forum, it seems like they will be answered in time anyway.
    although there is always room for the philosophical opinion based questions.
    hmm
     
  15. Edwin

    Edwin Member

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    Consider this for a moment:

    When A few years ago my marriage was a rough ride, it was really easy to blame my wife for that. After all, she did this, she acted like that, most of the marriage problems could be adressed to being her fault.
    Until the lyrics of a song made me realise that I had a lot to be grateful for with my wife, and suddenly I felt the need to "set things straight" with her, and wrote her a letter, telling her I loved her and that I was sorry for being such a [email protected]#$%^&*.
    She cried when she read the letter, and we worked things out, and we love each other more because of it. The source of the problem was not my wife, it was my inability to adress the problems that I caused myself ! Blaming her was a lot easyer !

    Why is it your task to change "other people" anyway ?
    Usually when you dislike certain things about people, they are mirroring exactly those things you don't like about yourself, but are not willing to admit you have them.
    Having no peace with other people means that you have no peace with yourself, but are afraid to look in the mirror, because you might not like what you see.
    The people you were talking with, or talking to maybe, might have been passionate about their faith, but you were equally or even more passionate about yours.
    Who are you to think you are right and they are wrong ? Can you be absolutely sure ?

    Every time someone triggers an emotion in you, the cause of the emotion is not what they say, but your reaction to it. Investigate what ticked you off, not who said it. They actually have no business with your reaction, until you act upon it.
     
  16. Mr Monkey

    Mr Monkey Member

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    Quality, thanks gents :)
     
  17. Bryan555

    Bryan555 Member

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    Must say that I very much appreciated the comment of Itlandm. In my own experience -- I'm a teacher, who works one-on-one -- I often come across students who have a very strong dedication to a narrow religious belief. It is useless to challenge such beliefs. But I do find it quite easy to "broaden" them, little-by-little.

    I just keep suggesting the idea of a slightly bigger, more generous and open-minded, God. Then a bigger one; then bigger still. And in very little time I find that we are both talking about the same God, effortlessly.

    People sometimes make themselves 'Children of a Lesser God', without realizing it. They are always glad to "upgrade", so to speak.

    Anyway, it works for me. Itlandm summed it up perfectly: Nobody ever made a plant grow faster by pulling on it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  18. GilesC

    GilesC Member

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    My buddhist teacher, in my first buddhist lesson (I remember it well), was teaching on the topic of Anger. Her analogy was that of your car breaking down and you getting Angry and blaming the car; yet the car is an inanimate object, and does not have any ability to create the emotion of Anger in you, only you have the ability to do that.

    That was my first lesson in recognising that what I see in the world is all the creation of my own perception. It was such a clear example and made sense straight away. Many thanks to my teacher for that one.

    In that sense, to answer Brozen, the emotions cannot be compared to anything mathematical. The love of one person to another may not be recognised by a third, and that sort of love is an emotional love, rather than true love, which exists within everyone and everything.

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  19. brozen

    brozen Member

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    thanks for sharing that part of your life edwin. im glad you were able to turn a negative situation into something so much more positive.

    I think my direction in this thread, may seem a bit muddled up, but I guess i'm at the point where I am not blaming people who hold religious beliefs. But rather the idea of rejection or constriction of free-thought. Religion is an example of this but it is a very weak example

    the following is an explanation of my train of thought, just to clarify where my concern was coming from.

    All controversial opinions to follow!
    -------
    Mainstream media - Fear mongering, fact manipulation, bias, sensationalism, agenda driving.
    A minority of people's listen to this mis-information and their ideas are swayed by this,
    These people go to election booth and essentially change the rules, laws and decisions of their country.
    These changes can have negative effects on the lives of completely innocent people.

    and THEN after having a single encounter with a religious person who told me she would listen to any authority blindly out of respect, due to her religious beliefs.
    This is when I decided it would be a good idea to ask a question about converting religious people.
    -------
    I guess my problem was never with religion, but a dis-ease from the sight of a world in strife. Which i'm sure has many more causes but lately I've been getting quite a bit into politics etc.

    Sorry for the lengthy/somewhat political explanation, but I wanted to clarify with any people out there that my problem doesn't lie with religion or even people, just with a concept and its noticeable negative effect on the world.

    If anything I am angry at television.

    Bryan, I can see a great ease of tension if everyone on the planet was speaking about the same God.

    Giles, on a look back at my 'maths', I laugh that I had even attempted to quantify compassion and suffering. Maybe I will work on a better formula...

    Thanks, Giles and Edwin for the situational lessons, it's good to hear there are things that can be learned from every part of life.

    PS. I thoroughly enjoyed investigating what ticked me off and I guess in a sense it gave me a peak into the works of my ego. I suggest it to all
     
  20. Karmoh

    Karmoh Member

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    Now thats funny :D
     

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