Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Shine of Your Japan, the Sparkle in Your China

What a pithy comment by Magnus Itland on a key difference between Christianity and Buddhism: "I think Jesus could have made a great Buddha if he had decided to not die for all those scurvy bastiches. He could have just wandered the world and compassionately told people to save themselves: 'after all, that's what I did.'"

First of all, this is not in any way to criticize Buddhism. For one thing, I don't yet have any idea what I'm going to say about it. Furthermore, there are certain deep similarities between Buddhism and Christianity, in addition to the differences.

For example, both stand in relation to much older revelations. In the case of Christianity, it is obviously an offshoot of Judaism, while Buddhism was an outgrowth of Hinduism. Moreover, both represent a "universalizing" of the traditions from which they sprang. Just as Judaism has a "tribal" and cultural component, so too does Hinduism. You rarely see a Westerner calling himself "Hindu," because in a certain sense one can't really be Hindu unless one is from India.

Plus, Hinduism has a lot of the ritualistic or "mythological" trappings from which Westerners are usually trying to escape when they embrace Buddhism, which seems to them to be more concrete, experiential and even "scientific." It seems that many Westerners turn toward Buddhism because they see it as a kind of religion purged of superstition. Looking back on it, this is undoubtedly what motivated my interest in it many years ago.

But as I have mentioned before, I didn't make any real progress with it. In my case -- just as implied in Magnus' comment -- I didn't really get anywhere until I gave up "self power" for "other power." Now I rely solely upon grace, although I naturally still do everything in my power to pretend that I am worthy of it. In a way, the slack-path of the Raccoon is very much analogous to "the lazy man's way to riches," being that there are two ways to become wealthy. The first is to go about getting what you want; the second is to cultivate gratitude for what one has. It should go without saying that there are no poor Raccoons.

For me, the turning point occurred in 1995, when I became a disciple of Sri Aurobindo, a path which begins and ends with the practice of aspiration, rejection, and surrender. From this stance it was very easy to transition to a more Christian viewpoint, being that it pretty much involves the identical verticalisthenic exercise: aspiration toward the higher, rejection of that which is contrary to God, and surrender to the grace -- which of course has its "severe" and "merciful" and aspects, i.e., purification (both by fire and water) and consolation.

In one sense, God loves us "unconditionally," but in another sense, quite the opposite -- which is our salvation, just as is a father who has expectations of his child. This is a generalization, of course, but mother love tends to be more unconditional, while father love has strings attached -- thank God, I might add, since I can already see in my three year-old that the fine line between civilization and barbarity is rooted in his fear of my being disappointed in him. Wisdom begins with fear of Dad. As above, so below.

Interestingly, although Future Leader is obviously intensely bonded to his mother, the nature of the bond couldn't be more different. For example, he actually gets a kick out of pushing her buttons. He clearly thinks she's cute and even funny when she's angry. Far from being frightened by her reactions, he seems to enjoy provoking them -- like a Hollywood liberal who claims to be living in a fascist state while taking such evident narcissistic pride in being a "courageous" rebel who provokes the fascists of whom he is supposedly so fearful. They pretend to be afraid of President Bush, even while they laugh at him as irrelevant.

This is what happens to a mind -- and culture -- with no father principle. There are never any consequences, and therefore, no standards and no emotional or spiritual growth. This is what is meant by God's "severity," which is clearly a mode of compassion. But new-age idiots tend to be utterly blind to this, which is why they reject Christianity as "judgmental," "narrow-minded," or "patriarchal."

Again, just as Christianity (from its standpoint) transcends (or fulfills) the Mosaic law, Buddhism transcends the Vedas (or, it could be argued that it returns Vedanta to its first principles in their most abstract essence, i.e., that the world is illusion, that Brahman alone is real, and that Atman and Brahman are not-two).

How coonvenient. Magnus just left another comment, expanding upon his previous one: "Jokes aside, there is a big difference between Jesus and Buddha, certainly according to what the two of them claimed. You could say they are complementary, to put a positive angle on it. The Buddha represents the upward movent of the human soul, whereas the Christ represents the Divine coming down... and not in a stately, dignified visit to meet the ascending soul halfway, but a desperate dive from the throne of Heaven to the murky depths of Hades itself, to rescue the black sheep that were beyond any other help. Or that's how I have learned to know it. But there may be 99 others who see it differently."

That is just where I was about to go with this. Using the symbols from my book, you could say that Buddha represents (↑), while Jesus is the quintessence of (↓). Nevertheless, any full-service revelation is going to have both arrows, although it will obviously give priority to one or the other. In a sense, you could say that each doctrine will have its "shadow" side that is simply underemphasized. Sometimes this shadow is seen in a kind of exoteric formulation by the masses, while other times it is seen as an esoteric "extension" understood by spiritual elites.

To cite an obvious example, one of the earliest formulations of Christianity is that God became man so that man might become God (so to speak). This is sort of what I was driving at with the circular structure of my book, which ultimately signifies the downward arrow of God meeting with the upward arrow of man, in an eternally spiroidal circle of creation transcending itself in Oneness.

And in Mahayana Buddhism there is the Bodhisattva principle, through which you might say that a (↑) comes back down for our benefit and becomes a (↓), and will remain so until every last (•) becomes (0).

Schuon points out the truism -- unfortunately lost on our overeducated middlebrow masses -- that a given revelation cannot be like a New York Times editorial, aimed only at a tiny enclave of pompous jackasses. To the contrary, it must be for everyone: the revelation must meet "not only the spiritual needs of an elite but the manifold demands of a total human collectivity, and thus of a society containing the most diverse minds and aptitudes."

As such, in the case of Christianity, it veils the clearly esoteric or "inner" dimension "of its dogmas and sacraments by declaring them to be 'unfathomable' and 'incomprehensible,' and by qualifying them as 'mysteries.'" Again, you can well understand the necessity of this when you see what becomes of spiritual doctrine in the hands of the wrong heads, as in the case of uncomprehending trolls or lizards. They can't help bringing higher knowledge down to their crude level, or (n) to (k). Better to simply draw a fence around it and declare it a "mystery" than to let it be sullied by the barbarous hands of troll or lizard. But of course, for the Raccoon," "mystery" is a mode of knowledge, not some kind of intellectual "deprivation," much less mystification. Thus the paradoxical truism that Petey always speaks "perfect nonsense."

When speaking of the esoteric or inner teaching, one must deal with the ubiquitous problem of the Swine and Dogs, those infrahumans who can take the most sublime wisdom and convert it into a worldly image of themselves. "Swine" might sound harsh, but what else can you call someone who not only doesn't understand, but insists on the superiority of his ignorance? Remember, when Jesus walked the earth, the word "tenured" did not exist.

Schuon notes that Buddhism adopted a different strategy to protect its inner teaching, by giving it a "rational" as opposed to "mystical" cast. Nevertheless, we can see how the intensely mystical Christianity of the early fathers meets with the rationalism of the scholastics, while the rational character of Buddhism later makes room for "the sacramental image of the Blessed One, which Image is derived from the very shadow of the Buddha, and was left by him as a 'remembrance' to his spiritual posterity, hence as a means of grace; in consequence, the bodily appearance of the Buddha is said to be a teaching no less than is his doctrine" (Schuon).

Well, it's work o'clock, so I'd better stop here. If there is sufficient interest, we'll pick up this thread tomorrow.

*Title playgiarized from Bodhisattva by Steely Dan

96 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps a bit horizontal of a line of thought, but I always thought the Buddha lived in very different times than Jesus, man was perhaps not in so much immanent danger as during Jesus descent from God.

Though from what I've read man was pretty screwed up during the Buddha’s times too. There were some hard core ascetics starving themselves, deforming limbs, all trying to find transcendence. Seems the middle way was the divine message needed at that time.

The bodhisattva concept is interesting. It doesn't really seem to be part of the original message of Buddhism. Though certainly a noble goal, as practiced in western oriented traditions it seems vulnerable to way overestimating what man is actually capable of and thus cuts of the channels of grace that are much needed sustenance for the starving heart of man. Christianity on the other hand seems to make certain man does not cut himself off from the nourishment of grace.

7/10/2008 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Remember what I mentioned yesterday about a revelation creating the cultural context for additional aspects of the revelation to come to fruition. I think that Mahayana Buddhism in general and the Bodhisattva principle in particular are examples of this.

Also, I think that a genuine revelation speaks to Man as Such, and not to any particular man. However, Schuon would say that a given revelation is providentially addressed to a particular collective mentality. But also, being that the intellect is revelation subjectivized, it will tend to see the universal in the particular revelation, or to compensate for what may be underemphasized in it.

7/10/2008 09:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I recall correctly:

I read somewhere in Rudolf Steiner's books that Buddha is human soul that actually succeeded in becoming a Divine soul through spiritual work; Christ was never a human soul but a Divine soul that incarnated as a human being to save humanity.

7/10/2008 09:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gagdad Bob, I think I get what your saying...For a long time I wondered in western materialistic thought and a had absolutely no clue about revelation so it made no sense to me, how the Buddha's and Christ's saving message could be so simple and yet fuel centuries of spiritual development and further revelation.
My former thoughts were that it was just the followers distorting the original teachings through the centuries and that religion was dead. Now I entertain the thought that our saviors have been bringers of BIG revelations, that have many other revelations already rolled into them that are sort of predesigned for the situation

7/10/2008 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes! Very much so. The vertical revelation is "prolonged" horizontally, or like branches and leaves that grow from the trunk and roots. Schuon points out that many "purists" think it's a good idea to hack away at the branches and even trunk, e.g., fundamentalist bibliolaters.

7/10/2008 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

As such, in the case of Christianity, it veils the clearly esoteric or "inner" dimension "of its dogmas and sacraments by declaring them to be 'unfathomable' and 'incomprehensible,' and by qualifying them as 'mysteries.'"

Of course, it's so tempting to try to set up those fences to claim other real estate. Perhaps you can understand why one might be skeptical of such claims in general, when they'd been demonstrably abused (or at least misused) so often.

If nothing else, it can be taken as a version of Augustine's warning to believers to be careful what they yoke to their belief.

7/10/2008 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"...one of the earliest formulations of Christianity is that God became man so that man might become God (so to speak)."

Or, in other words....

It all seems to ultimately be about eternal life.

Just keepin' it simple.

7/10/2008 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Gap
sense the still small voice
at the fulcrum of nothing
upwardly mobile

7/10/2008 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

What could ever give more meaning to our brief earthly lives, but the assurance of ETERNAL LIFE.

BTW Ray - Just curious. What is it that gives meaning to your life?

7/10/2008 10:16:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Is anyone clicking on any of deconstructionist Ray's links anymore?
I do see that he is linking to more Biblical references lately to make his "points" so maybe there is some hope.
Nah!

7/10/2008 10:25:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Get thee behind me Ray! ;^)

7/10/2008 10:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Let the dead link to the dead.

7/10/2008 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Warren said...

"Bodhisattva... gonna sell my house in town..."

Chesterton compares "original" Buddhism (Hinayana) with certain philosophical schools of ancient Greece, especially Stoicism. Quite correct, I think. The Mahayana revolution, with its bodhisattva ideal etc, may or may not be implicit in the original Buddhist message, but I find it interesting that it arose soon after the "smoking crater" in Palestine. The same could be said for the bhakti revolution (including devotion to the Krishna-child) that has become such an important part of Hinduism. No known historical (ie, horizontal) connections between Christianity and these Indian traditions, but the influence sure appears to be there.

7/10/2008 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Since he doesn't believe in transcendence, Ray can only believe in one god - himself.

7/10/2008 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous christopher said...

GBob, thanks. I especially relate to the up and down arrow revelation thing and the way that it shifts the vision. I also liked yesterday the historical interrupt that a realized being makes. One thing about Buddhism is that it points out the eventual reality of a successful rise. One thing about Christianity is that it points out the necessity of grace in that rise. Indeed the two are shadows of each other.

I am uncomfortable however with the idea that one is "higher" than the other when both are actually at "right angles" to all mundane angles, which renders that evaluation meaningless -

except -

When God "tells" you or me "go here" then go there. It is what I call a "question of fit". When God says it fits, so be it. I am more "Hindu" than Buddhist, with a huge amount of Taoism thrown in. Also as may have been surmised, I am not a stranger to philosophies and metaphysics and some more esoteric studies too. All this to build a personal mix suited to my own crater moment (nice term too) which said to me "go there." In my personal case, I say the eastern traditions are better for me. That is different from saying they are superior.

I have a suspicion that the placement of humans on the planet is not only horizontal but also vertical in relation to revelation. I don't insist on it but I have thought that all spiritual walks have doorways to beyond and that it may be utterly right for some person to follow for example the Deepaks of the world even if it would be literally insane for me to follow them. This because in the vision of life as a school, this is a one room school house and we are all mixed together here.

7/10/2008 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Warren:

Very good. If you think of the "Christic event" as a kind of "primal pulse" sent down from heaven, there would have to be resonant phenomena all around it, in the manner in which surrounding strings will vibrate to the pitch of a nearby plucked one. Think of them as cosmic overtones.

7/10/2008 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

They're resurfacing the street in front of my house, and when the steam roller goes by, it's as if there's a giant subwoofer outside, and the whole house is vibrating to its pitch. One thinks of the earthquake that occurred around Golgotha, the vibrations of which we can still feel....

7/10/2008 10:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nomo, I agree what could be more important than eternal life, but it has always struck me that more than just hearing the words, more than just claiming of acceptance of Jesus is needed for eternal life. I always think of..



"but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."

It seems to imply Jesus was very literally offering to show people the source that connects people here and now and forever to God.

What made me rebel from Christianity as a youth was being told that heaven and eternal life started after you died. I always thought it had to by the defintion of eternal start begining and end right now.

I know we are offered this connection in holy sacrement, yet I still can't help but wonder if Jesus was perhaps teaching his followers how to meditate to attain union with God. What else could eternally quench our thirst, but ecstatic union with the eternal?

If this is the case is not some form of meditation or deep contemplation needed along with acceptance of Jesus Christ to have eternal life?

7/10/2008 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

I don't know, I think it is kind of admirable that Ray is showing up each day, even when we talk about things he could not possibly have any interest in and that not even exists on the ordinary plane of reality. It is a kind of discipline that few souls is willing to undertake. Who knows, perhaps it is like Niels Bohr's horseshoe, which brings good luck even if you don't believe in it...

7/10/2008 10:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ray, you strike me as an effective troll. First, you focus on a single issue (whether the boundaries around revelation are to keep them pure or are to concentrate power on an elite). You supply links and references. I must say, keep up the good work.

For my part, I try to pick one thing that GDB writes in each post that strikes me as inimical to spiritual life (my thesis, as it were, is that GDB, while largely sound and sincere, suffers from anti-spiritual contaminants)

In this post, his use of the swine image to portray humans and his use of the term "lizard." These are denigratory both to people and to the animals used to try to degrade people. The movement of denigration in itself is an ego defense mechanism in every instance of its use.

Ego is anti-spiritual.

7/10/2008 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

The boundless compassion of the ManRay, who descends daily into this den of ignorance to try to rescue the deluded!

7/10/2008 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Credit where credit it is due: "swine" is borrowed from Jesus, while "lizard" is from Charles Johnson.

7/10/2008 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"This is what happens to a mind -- and culture -- with no father principle. There are never any consequences, and therefore, no standards and no emotional or spiritual growth. This is what is meant by God's "severity," which is clearly a mode of compassion. But new-age idiots tend to be utterly blind to this, which is why they reject Christianity as "judgmental" or "narrow-minded."

Yep.

ray continues his perfect score of Point missing links, but does by chance make a hit, which he, and deGrasse both miss... in quoting Galileo,

"In expounding the Bible if one were always to confine oneself to the unadorned grammatical meaning, one might fall into error. . . .
Nothing physical which . . . demonstrations prove to us, ought to be called in question (much less condemned) upon the testimony of biblical passages which may have some different meaning beneath their words. . . .
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. "


Galileo got the point - which deGrasse promplty misses with his "A rare exception among scientists, Galileo saw the unknown as a place to explore rather than as an eternal mystery controlled by the hand of God.""

Whether embellished or not, another passage tells more truth than intended, with,

"According to an oft-repeated but probably embellished account, when Laplace gave a copy of Mécanique Céleste to his physics-literate friend Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon asked him what role God played in the construction and regulation of the heavens. "Sire," Laplace replied, "I have no need of that hypothesis.""

Why are the self impressed atheists always so buddy buddy with dictators? Probably has to do with the Father Principle quoted above.

7/10/2008 11:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And of course my ego is never involved in any of my posts. Thus I am an stellar example of divine purity.
And now, the inevitable quote from Trolle, err, umm, Tolle......

7/10/2008 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Anonymous (at 10:49 - you seem like a serious seeker; it would be really helpful if you would choose a handle for yourself. As you can see there are a lot of anonymouses here, most of whom have little to offer),

Along the lines of your comment I think you'd really appreciate Walt's post today.

7/10/2008 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Has everyone heard the classic Drunken MC Introduction to Steely Dan, before they break into Bodhisattva? Just ignore the video and give it a listen. HIlarious.

7/10/2008 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Dennis Prager had Lizardmon on his show this morning. He's good when he sticks to ferreting out jihadist subterfuge.

7/10/2008 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnymouse said "The movement of denigration in itself is an ego defense mechanism in every instance of its use"

riiight... it also helps that it's funny.

Note to soph: If you're human, you have an ego - pretending you don't is not only pretentious, ignorant, full of false pride, stupid (you get the picture), but denigrates not only all humanity, but the deisigner as well.

7/10/2008 11:21:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin Dupree said...

Woo hoo!

7/10/2008 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Dougman said...

"Swine" might sound harsh, but what else can you call someone who not only doesn't understand, but insists on the superiority of his (her) ignorance?

My wife!

(sorry honey, but you are a pig. You absolutly OWN it!)

And she knows it.
She even admitted it on Montel!

7/10/2008 11:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ray ingles,
I get the concern over a dogmatic religion gaining control of a peoples mind. However most mainstream schools of Christianity no matter how dogmatic at least offers those who seek it saving truths.
I don't know how to put this kindly or without activating your logical ALERT buttons but Scientism or any other purely intellectual pursuit fueled solely from mans efforts is a path towards death.
Perhaps this offends you because you are committed to your intellect and mind as being capable of saving yourself or at the very least you are convinced that it offers truth. Mans intellectual efforts can not unveil truth, but you will not see this if you are committed to your intellect. Luckily we all seem to posses a heart that is far closer to God than our minds will ever be. That is why Christianities message has been about love, so that we may be drawn closer to God by Jesus love for us and our love we spread for others. Does Christianities message appeal to your heart?

7/10/2008 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of drunkenness, here's another installment of "Beer... is there anything it can't do?"

7/10/2008 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Anon 10:49 - In my life experience and view of scripture, eternal life begins when one comes to believe (by grace through faith). The transformations that ensue are profound but also very often subtle. I am also one who believes that once you step on that path, the One who placed you there will keep you there - one way or the other. Assurance of this is sustained by a faith that grows from exposure to the Light. In more practical terms - satisfying spiritual hunger with spiritual food (like what GB cooks up here in the OC kitchen) and allowing the indwelling Holy Spirit to teach and guide. Without that exposure - like when we allow too much overgrowth to cover the path -faith can become wilted and assurance pale. (What, now I'm Chauncey Gardener?)

Anyway, I suspect that the transformation at physical death will be ...... (fill in the blank).

Everything I've said here has its source in scripture, but there's no room to contain all the links.

7/10/2008 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calvinism is not scriptural.

7/10/2008 12:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To clear up some of the anoynomous activity, I'll take blame for the 9:17,9:59,10:49 and 11:37 posts. I confess I have a habit of reading many blogs without commenting, so I've never gotten an account. Perhaps I'll change that soon. Anyways I've been challenged by this blog for over a year now. It has had a strange pull in my life and thoughts. I'm suprised that given my initial repulsion of Gagdads politics that I find myself drawn to it so much.

Nick

7/10/2008 01:20:00 PM  
Anonymous son of a preacher man said...

Believing you can lose your salvation once it has been attained is also not scriptural.

7/10/2008 01:20:00 PM  
Anonymous bob f. said...

"...a revelation creating the cultural context for additional aspects of the revelation to come to fruition."

How about this one: Christ left us the Shroud, which could only be understood by the science that Christianity birthed, and also seems to be designed to answer the scepticism that that very science has engendered.

Of course, one first has to consider the evidence of the authenticity of the Shroud. Once one accepts its authenticity, that it is the actual burial cloth of Christ and holds not only a record of the Passion, but also a mysterious image of the Resurrection, then we can ask what the Shroud means. And that question can take you to where you've never been before.

7/10/2008 01:20:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Anon 10:58,

Dude, that's some deadairspace ya got goin there. Stah stah stifling it is. Just can't get the image of pursed lips out of my head.

Tisk tisk, says the puckerbutt, Bob is being mean by properly identifying the infra-human nature of the targets. So, telling the Truth is anti-spiritual is it?

From today's Bobservation:
"This is what is meant by God's "severity," which is clearly a mode of compassion. But new-age idiots tend to be utterly blind to this..."

Raccoons are free-romping creatures who love Truth above acting nice or being polite to show off they can play well with others.

We can see the chainlink walls of the pen that surrounds you & have no intention getting trapped in there too, just so you can have company.

You're the one peddling anti-spiritual contaminants. No thanks bubba, ain't hungry for what you're selling.

We just ate Real food here.

7/10/2008 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger Warren said...

"If you think of the "Christic event" as a kind of "primal pulse" sent down from heaven, there would have to be resonant phenomena all around it, in the manner in which surrounding strings will vibrate to the pitch of a nearby plucked one. Think of them as cosmic overtones."

Right, which is why the Church is vastly more catholic than most Catholics seem to realize. :-)

7/10/2008 01:29:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Nick:
You don't have to get a Blogger/Google account.

Click 'Name/URL' right above 'Anonymous'. Type Nick (or whatever) in the 'Name' field.
That's it.

7/10/2008 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Anon - I don't know about Calvin, but if what I believe is not scriptural then I suspect scripture and the HS will correct me in good time.

I understand that the concept of "eternal security" is not shared by many believers. It's not something I argue, just something I have come to believe over many years, much grace, and much time in the scriptures. Since it doesn't mean I don't have eternal life, so what if its not true? (Who gets everything right - other than Petey?) But, if it is true, how much more immeasureable is God's grace (at least in my eyes)!

7/10/2008 01:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

ximeze, Thanks guess I never really looked over my options when posting.

7/10/2008 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"more immeasureable"? Oh well, you know what I mean.

7/10/2008 01:43:00 PM  
Anonymous rabid said...

"committed to your intellect and mind as being capable of saving yourself"


Ray committed to his intellect and mind? Yea right. That's not true. He suffers from a misplacement of his intellect and mind, and the sooner he starts feeling lost instead of found, the better.

An evolving life is about being lost and found, a constant tension and dialect between the two: when we're lost we have certainly been found, for if I'm aware of being lost, it's not really I, but the 'being' witnessed that's lost. But when we've thoroughly convinced ourselves that we are found for good, what we've really done is seal off our own being (our lower selves) from a higher being that could be that's free from the constraining limits of the lower self.

Being lost is just an honest admittance that we are limited. It's really one of the greatest acts of humility available. Negate that act of humility and by order of reality, you'll be eating your thanatos very soon, cause life is a blink of an eye--whose looking?

7/10/2008 01:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ximeze said, in response to my (I am the Tolle troll) comment,

"Tisk tisk, says the puckerbutt, Bob is being mean by properly identifying the infra-human nature of the targets. So, telling the Truth is anti-spiritual is it?"

I reiterate; the supposed swine or lizards cannot be analyzed from the outside. Each has her own covenant with the Master, or may even be the Master in mufti.

Imagine yourself at the feet of Jesus. Are you going to prattle on about swine and lizards? It is not fit for the Raccoon quest, is my position.

Bob should stop identifying and attacking targets at once. The practice counterweighs, contaminates, or stifles the light he brings to Earth.

I will even go so far as to request that Bob's followers refrain from such as well to prevent counter-contaminating Bob.

7/10/2008 02:13:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Hooah! Takes all the fun out of everything. Gloom prevails.

7/10/2008 02:37:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Love flows all warm ways
From the still point in the heart
Of you, me, the world.

Even so, there is only so much pious behavior to take before revolting. But then we know that anon is joking, no?

7/10/2008 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Bob,

If I have ever contaminated you, I sincerely apologize.

Oh, and don't fret: I've not noticed you contaminating me.

7/10/2008 02:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Ron said...

Great post, Bob, and one that resonates with me as both a practicing Jew and a Zen student (a Jubu as the kids like to call it). I have always found that Buddhism and the monotheistic faiths are compatible and have much to teach each other. There certainly is no necessary conflict. I often have to disagree with Buddhist friends who state that Buddhism does not believe in a monotheistic god. Maybe the -ism part of that tradition does not include an explicit belief in such a god, but neither does it negate one. Thus, one could practice many forms of Buddhism while also being a committed Jew or Christian. I find that the "mix" calls to me.

Too long a subject to get into, but you will I think know what I mean when I say that the Zen part is almost like a technology (best word I can think of) about the holding of knowledge in a fluid, non-stuck way while the Jew part . . . well, you know. As time goes on, I even think of myself as being within the christian tradition in some sense without really practicing that faith (sort of a jew for jesus, but with small js--not in the club). Indeed, while you have certainly alluded to this before, in a future post, I would love for you to discuss the whole notion of whether one can be a christian without being a christian.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go sit on my zazen cushion and have a bowl of matzoh ball soup. Zai Gezunt!

7/10/2008 02:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Walt:

You know the rules. Do not again speak of the sacred mystery of Higher Coontamination in the presence of the uninitiated.

7/10/2008 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

D'oh!

7/10/2008 03:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

petey's an elitist spirit.

7/10/2008 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Outstanding comments, Ron.

As a Christian, am I not also a Jew - in essence? I would like to think so. And if a Jew comes to believe that Jesus is the messiah, is he not still a Jew? Anyway...

7/10/2008 03:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

son of a preacher man said...
"Believing you can lose your salvation once it has been attained is also not scriptural."

Uh, didn't Saint Paul say "work out your salvation with fear and trembling"? If a person isn't in danger of losing their salvation, why should they have fear and trembling?

The only time you can have confidence in your eternal salvation is once you've gotten there after death. Otherwise, be vigilant for your enemy the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour...

7/10/2008 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Anon - A text without a context is a pretext.

Believe what you want. Calvinism versus Arminianism is not an argument worth having - its been done to death.

7/10/2008 04:37:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Ron,
Love the 'Jubu" tag.

Regular readers here come in various shapes & sizes, so there's nothing odd about what you wrote. In fact, ya otta fit right in, Raccoons being oddballs by temperament - more accurately, other's view us as odd because of the way we're made up.

Me? I'm a follower of the Logos, what's designated with the unsaturated "O" around here. Whatever name or within whatever tradition, in any time or place. It's the Revelation of O that gets me digg'n it, however it's packaged.

7/10/2008 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Anon 2:13 said, "Imagine yourself at the feet of Jesus. Are you going to prattle on about swine and lizards? It is not fit for the Raccoon quest, is my position."

I had a friend who couldn't bring herself to imagine that Jesus ever "pissed against a wall". She just refused to accept his humanity.

However,

Jesus made mud from his own spittle.

He insulted a woman and called her a dog.

He spat on a man to make him hear.

If a troll feels a bit of of a sprinkling insult, it could be an attempt to help it hear or see.

7/10/2008 05:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Tolle troll was wrong to throw water on the fires of verbal combat.

I refer back to Arjuna at Kurukshetra. It is the spirit in which an attack is made that matters. I do not believe Bob attacks with rancour in his heart. He would just as soon hug the lizard as soon as it was no longer necessary to denigrate the lizard.

Nevertheless, one must be cautious about combat, physical or verbal. The ego can get into it and contaminate it. That's what I was refering to.

I don't want people to stop fighting, I guess. But I would like them to be conscious of why and how they conduct themselves, keeping Jesus firmly in mind.

7/10/2008 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It's just a strict application of the Golden Rule: I only do unto others as I would have them do unto me, not as they would have me do unto them, the latter of which is the "fool's golden rule."

7/10/2008 05:20:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

"But then we know that anon is joking, no?"

Don't count on it Chris, that dreary soul shows up regularly to play wet blanket.

Signature: pokey, pedantic, holier-than-thou, always telling Bob how Bob should run the BOBblog. Ego is usually mentioned, along with deadly "proper spirituality" instructions. All for the purest reasons, of course. Nope, no ego there.

Ugh

Bob should do this, Bob should not do that, 'followers' should/should not do whatever & invariably spouting off with
"Raccoons are........"
Today's version was "It is not fit for the Raccoon quest....."

I mean, really. Get your own f'n blog Anon & run it the uncontaminated you see fit. You & your sterilized followers can stay pure.
Over there.

Where does he get off telling Dear Leader what to do?

grrrrrr

The tiresome Anon would never deign to lob a water balloon, being soooooo Above It All, and really, really Spiritual, don'cha know.

'Course he knows nobody would want him on their team, since he's all wet already.

Besides, it would then come out that he throws like a girl.

7/10/2008 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Ximeze rockin' per usual! Oh yeah. Whoaoowhoa, listen to the music, whoawhoa, listen to the music....

8^)>

7/10/2008 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

From the "dead link"

"I don't know what this is. I don't know how it works. It's too complicated for me to figure out. It's too complicated for any human being to figure out. So it must be the product of a higher intelligence."

Let me guess...this is not a *direct* quote.

That's a whole lotta strawman punching going on.

Bob, as a mommy I was laughing my head off at FL's confidence in mama's love. By child #7, I've finally gained enough perspective to have to stifle guffaws while chasing the recalcitrant 2yo across the lawn. 6yo son is exactly as you described, as is his relationship with dad.

Anyway, I related.

Finally, I'm with nomo.

7/10/2008 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Raccoon wealth in two easy steps:

Light in my head
and you in my arms

7/10/2008 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

... okay, THREE steps: and a night that's full of soul.

7/10/2008 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Right....

with no ceiling bearin' down on me
save the starry sky above

Four steps.

7/10/2008 07:25:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Ximeze:
10/10
(Busted, Eyore)
:P

Oh, and the supercillious feline with the special mind-meld keyboard is one Fergus the Cat. I'd love to hear from him or his pal Will.

JWM

7/10/2008 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

New Van on You Tube.

7/10/2008 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Saint Dominic's Preview.

7/10/2008 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

chrisTollepher,
Let me put this as serenely as possible,

phlbbbttttt!

What JWM said.

7/10/2008 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Another good one: Vanlose Stairway.

7/10/2008 09:23:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

No, no Van, it wasn't Chris - Chris thought puckerbutt Anon 10:58 had to be joking with that first comment & his subsequent ones.

This Anonoramabama get's ridiculous.

7/10/2008 09:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Kahntheroad said...

Greetings fellow Coons and Coonettas,

Once again, Bob saves space in his inbox by addressing my questions moments before I get around to the asking part.

My visits here has been few and far between for a while now, mainly because my path had diverged from an emphasis on the metaphysical to one concentrated on the practical. In other words, I found my discussing these topics had become a diversion to actually experiencing them.

Anyway, this week I happened to return from a 10 day retreat in Vipassana meditation, a teaching based in Buddhist teachings (these are offered for free/by donation in several places worldwide). I was drawn to it specifically because of the unabashed practicality and seriousness of the method. 10 days living like a monk - noble silence, dietary restrictions, no reading, writing, outside communications, etc.

I left with largely favorable impression - the meditation is very powerful, and not polluted with trippy new age baggage. The instructions were simple and specific.

Most important for me, though, was how it drove home the commitment and personal responsibility required for a serious spiritual practice. It was quite humbling.

My main problem was the problem I've always had with Buddhism, which is the complete detachment required and the lack of room for a deeper spiritual understanding beyond reduction of the worldly experience to neutral throbs and tingles in the body.

Still, it was an enlightening experience (putting the actual meditation aside, the social experiment of being cut off from the world for 10 days in silence with a bunch of strangers produced enough psychological insight to make the trip worthwhile).

My question remains, however, how does one access the ever fine line between faith and complacency?

My experience raised other questions, but that's the only one I can articulate at the moment...

Otherwise, has anyone else any experience with/perspective on this particular school of thought?

7/10/2008 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Great Van. Now indulge a NoMo fave.

7/10/2008 09:42:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

JWM you're a gem!

Fergus 'n Booger Fergus 'n Booger Fergus 'n Booger

What in the heck was the name of that fancyschmancy item Fergus used....

"brought to you by Intelicat (TM)"

or something.....?

7/10/2008 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I don't know about Calvinism but Hobbesism is clearly Biblical.

7/10/2008 10:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NoMo: In reference to my last comment....here is the contextual text for you -- Philipians 2:12 and 1 Peter 5:8

Know nothing of the inner battles between the Protestant movements.

Curious to know what would you say was the pillar and foundation of truth?

7/10/2008 11:27:00 PM  
Anonymous anoniymous said...

joack ack ack 5:04:

Not that this was directed at me, but I did get a bit of your jesus overspray. I respond:

...if a coon feels a sprinkling humility (not humanity) when addressing an "it", this could be an attempt to help it move past the animal kingdom into the realm of humanity (humility will follow – Trust the process).

If a coon feels no pangs at dehumanizing humans, it is because it is still a coon.

Spit or piss on that, as you will. It's your own personal lightmus test.

7/11/2008 12:04:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Good to see you back Kahn.
In regard to your question, are you imagining that with a deeper commitment to your practice of Buddhism you would develop a complacency towards the world and don't want that for your life?
If so maybe another religious discipline might be more suitable to take you where you need to go. As you said, questions were answered before they were even asked.

7/11/2008 12:09:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

There's a most amusing coonish post by Rick Moran on American Thinker for Friday 7/11:
"Low expectations for Congress"

Teasers include:

"And you thought our Congress was a mean place today?
In the run up to the Civil War...It was not unusual for Members to come armed with pistols to the floor, ready and willing to offer satisfaction to those who maligned them...

American people back then saw Congress as a whole pretty much the way we see it today; a healthy republican skepticism for their motives and a tendency to view the entire crew as a pretty worthless bunch...

Americans have come to a consensus on one major issue. They believe that Congress pretty much sucks;
Rasmussen reports in its latest survey that just 9% of the public gives Congress good or excellent ratings... with 52% believing that 535 marmosets might do a better job than the sorry bunch currently calling themselves our Congress."

Rick M is doing a fine job of channeling Bob in the ISS department. Don't say I didn't warn you.

(This not-mine, fascist Gatesware POS will not post the link properly, thank you very much)

UNIX RULES WHILE GATES DROOLS!!!

ahhh, feel better now

7/11/2008 12:10:00 AM  
Anonymous anonymous when it meant something said...

K the r,

welcome back road man. Thanks for the insights. It's a new batch of bandits here since last you frequented. Hoarhey's still explaining it all with the glass half empty, and GB is still setting the bar impossibly high for all but Jesus and Buddah and himownself mostly, and of course I'm still here, but mostly the tide of time has sucked the old ones out and washed some new ones in. It's more an afternoonish, happy-hour crowd than when last you knew the waitresses names: a little too energetic at times, full of the workaday victories and ever eager to spread the news, but a little more pinched. The eye of the needle has gotten smaller. Stay with it awhile and see whazzup. Your objectivity is in short supply, if you ask anon. Looks like the snapping biz agrees with you...

7/11/2008 12:20:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Anon 12:04,

Humans do a pretty good job of dehumanizing themselves without any help from coons as your post will attest.
Did Joan hit a nerve?
Apparently the rock she threw into the stye hit its mark.

7/11/2008 12:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Jackass is still a legend in his own mind.

7/11/2008 12:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He likes to come in late when he thinks everyone else is sleepimg. It'n he cool?

7/11/2008 12:28:00 AM  
Anonymous anonymous when it meant something said... said...

"And jackass is still a legend in his own mind,"

HEY! I resemble that remark.

7/11/2008 12:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And he does weird shit with mules.

7/11/2008 12:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And you can hear him hee hawing late at night.

7/11/2008 12:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's really a pathetic sadsack. But... as he said, he keeps coming around.

7/11/2008 12:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Kahntheroad said...

Hey, Hoarhay,

Its nice to be back.

"with a deeper commitment to your practice of Buddhism you would develop a complacency towards the world and don't want that for your life?"

I wouldn't quite say I have a practice in Buddhism, this retreat was an experiment - It appealed to me because of the opportunity to fully immerse myself in a practice, and also to test my endurance.

It didn't take long for me to realize that a serious Buddhist practice wasn't for me, although it is comforting to know that such a path is there.

This jumped out at me from Bob's post: "The first is to go about getting what you want; the second is to cultivate gratitude for what one has."

Without any kind of serious practice I have somehow come as far as I have by employing a principal of slack - not just slack, more often than not outright irresponsibility.

Here's what's difficult for me to come to terms with: to any observer my path has been downright absurd. Somehow, despite living an irresponsible life (not reckless, or harmful, just careless) I somehow end up getting away with it all - and even meeting people and opportunities that would be inconceivable otherwise.

How do I come to terms with this? The best I can say is that it has given me little option but gratitude for what I have, however it is often difficult to, as Bob put it, "pretend I'm worthy."

Sometimes I'd prefer to turn off any aspiration toward "enlightenment." I'd just love some piece of mind.

But, hey, what can I do? Awake in a dark room and can't get back to sleep, what choice do you have but to fumble around for a light switch - that, or wait around bleary eyed for the sun.

So, I'm compelled in this direction, yet I lack the will - and perhaps the maturity - needed to fully immerse myself. Hell, I can't even catch a train on time - how am I suppose to embrace eternity?

7/11/2008 01:01:00 AM  
Blogger Fido said...

Anon when it meant something,

All together now:

"Sing us a song, you’re the piano man..."


Ximeze, what am I? Chopped liver?

7/11/2008 05:07:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Anon 11:27 - My best answer to your question.

7/11/2008 07:24:00 AM  
Anonymous son of a preacher man said...

anon said -
Uh, didn't Saint Paul say "work out your salvation with fear and trembling"? If a person isn't in danger of losing their salvation, why should they have fear and trembling?

Paul is speaking to a church on being vigilant in their service to Christ. Fearing the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

The devil can only trip up a believer not cause him to lose his salvation.

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. -Matt 10:28

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Marvel not that I say unto thee, Ye must be born again. -John 3:6-7

How can one become unborn?

Read Romans chapter 8.

7/11/2008 07:28:00 AM  
Anonymous son of a preacher man said...

Actually I meant Romans chapter 10 but start with 8.

7/11/2008 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

mr. preacherman. I need to issue a correction, since I've become the Christian 'coon dogmatist 'round these parts...

Yes it is true a man cannot lose his salvation.

But answer this question, have you seen your salvation? Is it complete? Then what security do you have in it? Until you see the face of Christ and the victory is fulfilled - when faith will be as sight - then do not proclaim you cannot lose it. Instead work it out - as we all must - with fear and trembling.

That - your nous - which is born of the spirit can not be lost, but if your nous is dark - so shall your body be. Be advised that the Fathers tell us that a man who is complete sure of his salvation has already lost it. That would amount to a prognostication of what will happen when he dies.

Instead place your hope in the one who can deliver you - who can deliver anyone - the Lord himself. Boast in nothing but the cross of Christ, the Holy Apostle said.

Those who have passed on who lived lives holy? Why should we assume that they are not with the Lord? You can not lose your salvation. Let us ask them to speak to the Lord for us.

Read patristic theology - it is a clearer guide to the scriptures, since the text can not interpret itself.

>relurk<

7/11/2008 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Nomo - A couple of sick kids last night, and the eldest is here for 'take your kids to work day', so I don't have time to write a treatise. But my life means something to me because it's what allows me to do the things I want to do. Not just the stuff that brings me joy, but the stuff that brings joy to those I love as well. It was a great deal of fun watching my son enjoy the bus ride in this morning, for example. It made him happy, and let me see the commute in a fresh light, too.

That doesn't make me a 'god' in any meaningful sense of the term.

Oh, and 'anonymous', I don't consider myself a 'troll' - I'm not a fan of that game.

7/11/2008 07:50:00 AM  
Anonymous son of a preacher man said...

River

I can't quite tell if you are agreeing or disagreeing with me on the issue with eternal security. I will read about patristic theology though.

I never claimed to be a preacher. I don't say that to sound like a jerk, but because I have a reverence for certain things within Christianity.

7/11/2008 08:56:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Fido,
No offense meant to man's best friend: canines, felines & psittacines are for petting, kissing & spoiling, never kicking.

7/11/2008 09:27:00 AM  

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