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#77894 - 10/04/05 06:47 PM Re: Buddhism Anyone?
The Seeker Offline
Member

Registered: 04/10/05
Posts: 141
Loc: Ohio, USA
As a child, I went to a Church of God and prayed for a better life constantly. But it didn't happen, the abuse at home and the SA kept happening. I went to a Catholic church too. Taking philosophy in college challenged my faith, as did a terrible childhood. Eastern religion and philosophy made more sense. Western religion seems to conflict with itself too often, where Buddhism does not.

I do think you the religious and the spiritual interconnected for sure. How do you understand one without having the other for reference point.

_________________________
The answers are in me.

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#77895 - 10/04/05 09:54 PM Re: Buddhism Anyone?
Sinking Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/26/03
Posts: 577
Loc: Took my ball and went home.
Seeker - I don't understand your question fully but would like to ponder it, please rephrase it so I can dig into the depths of my unending wisdom and then shower it upon you all \:\)

You know, I was brought up Catholic, never bought into it though. I met a woman, a school bus driver when I was about 12, during the abuse, though she did not know. She was Born Again, gave me my own bible, talked to me about her happiness and relationship with God. I must have prayed 18,000 times for Jesus to come into my soul, my life. I was in so much pain, didn't know why at the time. My parents hated me, I'd been sent off to a horror house masquerading as a residential school. At twelve I was ready to kill myself. I prayed and prayed and prayed and her God and her Jesus never came. I gave up on god then because he gave up on me long before. Eastern thought, Buddhist teaching makes one responsible for their own happiness. You don't need to look to a higher power. You only need to look inside yourself to know what's right and then practice that way of being.

Here is a poem I wrote a year or so ago about my thoughts on god:

Will anything ease this perpetual ache?
How many lifetimes will it take?
A God above, who loves us all,
Canít possibly exist.
When it comes to watching over me,
Heís on a perpetual coffee break.


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#77896 - 10/05/05 03:08 PM Re: Buddhism Anyone?
The Seeker Offline
Member

Registered: 04/10/05
Posts: 141
Loc: Ohio, USA
Hey John,

I think that even if a person is spiritual, that it can have limited meaning or experience without having running such ideas and thoughts against traditional religious concepts. Personally, I considered myself spiritual rather than truly religious (I take from religious teachings what I find valuable and fits my phiosophical leanings). Possibly folks are spiritual without ever bumping up against religion, but often it is man's search for God, meaning in life, and his place in the universe that gets us there I think. I did once have Native American quote, Chief Joseph I think, that said, "We don't want the white man's relgion because they will teach us to argue." The many flavors of Christianity make his point.

_________________________
The answers are in me.

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#77897 - 10/07/05 07:19 AM Re: Buddhism Anyone?
subdeacon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/12/04
Posts: 83
Loc: Florida
It saddens me when I see people give up on Christianity (I'm in seminary, so I've got a vested interest)...but it saddens me more when one has been abused by those who proclaim the faith. We learn from SA that sex is bad, that our bodies are bad, etc. We learn from healing that this is not the truth. When a religious person abuses someone the abused person puts the religion in there too. But sex is not bad, bodies are not bad, and Christianity is not bad either.

It's funny we're studying the whole "I'm spiritual but not religous" argument in class now. I'm not sure I understand that stance, but I used to say it myself. I too rejected Christianity for a while. I used to wonder where God was when I was in trouble. I went through years of depression and sorrow wondering how and why He would let something happen to me. But, God gives us all free will (our perps too), so He won't necessarily stop things from happening (and God hears the cries of the innocent). We live in a world that has suffering in it (even Buddhism teaches that). Suffering is unavoidable. What God will do, though, is give us the strength to carry on and the courage to heal. He also shared our suffering. He knows our pain. If you're a Christian, you know that in the flesh he took on all the sorrow and pain of the world into Himself on the Cross and began the healing process then and there and took that to the throne of God the Father and sat on His right side. All our frailty our woes our sorrows. He has taken on Himself and shares with us. That may sound like bull to you, but there it is. I am alive today because of God. I am sure of that. I have known the love of God. He's there. There is a lot of good in Buddhism, but in the end you are left with just yourself, it seems to me. I need others to love and to love me and the ultimate Other is God, who is not impersonal, but very very personal. For simplicity, I read the Desert Fathers.

This next part is not an attack, just an observation:

I hear many people reject one faith for another because it's more tolerant...but they then claim the new faith is better and list how bad the old faith was/is. I suppose that's human nature...but it's just the other side of the same coin.

I hope this did not sound angry at all. I'm not. I'm just concerned and saddened. I wouldn't judge Buddhism by acts which violate the tenets of Buddhism. History records many instances of Christians who act against their teaching; and Buddhists have done the same.

Please, however you find it, be at peace with yourself and with others, but remember, the Kingdom is within.

Forgive me if I anger or hurt you. That is not my intention at all.

Peace,
Philip

_________________________
"By way of trials and sufferings we must purify the divine image in us...for it is by reforging our senses in the furnace of our trials that we free them from defilement and assume our royal dignity. --Abba Philimon

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#77898 - 10/07/05 02:33 PM Re: Buddhism Anyone?
Sinking Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/26/03
Posts: 577
Loc: Took my ball and went home.
Phillip - I've not given up on Christianity. I believe Christ walked the earth and I believe he taught good lessons. I have, however, given up on Catholicism, long, long ago. Yet I am very in touch with Catholicism through my in-laws who are devoted to their faith but also see the desperate need for change in that religion, in the church, at the Vatican.

And yes, you have angered me, but that does not make us enemies. Your argument about free will is garbage. Where was my free will while I was being raped by a former Marine when I was nine years old? Or when I was five and six and seven and older and my father was on top of me beating the hell out of me? Where is the free will of unborn children who are being murdered every day because they are inconvenient?

You say that your God gives us the strength to carry on and heal. Have you not heard of all the poor, abused souls who end their suffering by ending their lives? Where was your God then?

You say suffering is unavoidable, this is true. You then say "even Buddhism teaches that". Even Buddhism? That statement alone is a slight to those of us who find comfort there.

You say there is a lot of good in Buddhism but Buddhism leaves us alone in the end. Why do you feel it necessary to insult Buddhism? Because that is what you're doing with that statement. What religion doesn't leave us alone in the end? I have loved ones, wife, daughter, siblings, parents, in-laws and friends. But as I take my last breath I will be alone, same as the day I got here, same as I spent many, many years in my suffering. Your God left me alone in those times. If he has taken on and shares my suffering, as you say, I've felt little, if any, relief.

Finally, I don't look to Buddhism as a religion or even a faith. It is a way of life. A constant practice of trying to better one's self and what could possibly be wrong with that?

With Respect for you and your faith - John


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#77899 - 10/07/05 03:30 PM Re: Buddhism Anyone?
The Seeker Offline
Member

Registered: 04/10/05
Posts: 141
Loc: Ohio, USA
Sorry Philip, but I agree with John (Sinking), although I am not angry as I don't allow myself that feeling very often. Buddhism doesn't teach that you are alone, it teaches that all things are interconnected in a web of life. It does teach that you must find your own way through life's pitfalls as the "answers are in you." That doesn't mean there can be no fellowship. I believe Christ walked too, and did good works. It is the son of God part where my faith was broken. In many instances, I think organized religion teaches intolerance and presupposes that the beliefs of one group/person are better than the beliefs of another group/person based upon the "true faith". Personally, I believe only a few things. There is a God who created life. Watching the birth of my first child convinced me that this isn't just chance or basic biology. Second, we are small feeble creatures that give ourselves much more credit than we should, not inherently bad creatures as Western religion teaches, but inherently good as Eastern religions teach. But, I think we are small, and we use a fraction of our brains and are therefore incapable of understanding or conceiving what God really is wihout some references to our feeble selves. The "in his image" part I later found to be rather conceited. I don't try to answer the questions of what is God, or the meaning of life, or what happens when we die. I think the truth is that we will not know in this existence, and it is fruitless to argue about it. People fighting in the name of God have killed many others that only God could create. Why does that make sense? I try to respect life, and do the best I can not to harm others or myself while navigating life's pitfalls and leave it at that. In anything else, I have no faith. People have said that this is taking the easy way out, but I think it is harder to believe you will not know these things than to latch on to something in faith that cannot be proven or fully understood. But, hey, that is just me. However, I certainly give you (or anyone else) the leeway to believe whatever you wish if is brings you comfort. At the end of day, we will all find out what the ride was all about because I think that is when you get the travel brochures, and not before.

_________________________
The answers are in me.

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#77900 - 10/07/05 07:26 PM Re: Buddhism Anyone?
subdeacon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/12/04
Posts: 83
Loc: Florida
John,
Sorry to cause any pain, but I should point out that most of the posts here were becoming more and more anti-Christian (re-read them). I will say it was my faith that got me through this stuff, so in a way I felt my way of life was being attacked. Sorry. However, I think you misunderstood my statement about free will. I wanted to emphasize that the perp was abusing your free will in exercising his own. That is sinful and evil on the perp's part. That the strong often abuse the weak is a fact of a fallen world, but the existence of free will, utlimately, leaves that possibilty open. That God can help us cope and come to peace and heal, I have found to be true. Whether you believe in karma or God's justice, though, sometimes the recompense of one's actions are not going to be in this lifetime. by that I mean there are people who do evil but seemingly get away with it.

In the end, God isn't to be understood. He is to be experienced. I will say though that I am not a Western Christian, but an Eastern one. The way of the Eastern Christianity is not a "religion" (as I think people use that term) or a "faith" (faith is what you have in someone) it too is a complete spiritual way of life that is only understood within one's life when the entire arc of the life is looked upon. Why did God "let" my brother rape me? Why did I feel abandoned for so long? All I know is that I'm alive now because of Christ. There are others, as you say, who ended their lives in despair. I believe in a merciful loving God who can give those souls peace, though suicide is not ultimately the answer according to my path. I believe God takes into account the evil done to those precious souls and takes them in His embrace.

I'm sorry you have lost your faith in God, and I feel nothing I say can change that. There is still a lot of anger there (understandably so from our perspective) and you are not willing to listen to what I have to say...and that's OK. You may change your mind someday, or you may not. That's up to you. I'm not trying to change you, one can only change himself. I did not mean that in this life you would not have interconnected relations; by "in the end you will have just yourself," I meant that you will not have any god to be in relation to, which for me is the ultimate Connection and Relationship. I was reacting, actually, to what you wrote:

"You don't need to look to a higher power. You only need to look inside "

Seeker,
The Eastern Church does not teach that we are inherently bad, by the way. We do not teach an inherited guilt or utter depravity as Augustine taught, but rather that we have inherited mortality and the consequences of the sins of others which keep building up. We have inherited a world, that by our choices, has made it easier to harm than to heal. My last post was a clumsy example of that. My words were not meant to anger, and yet they did. My good intentions were not taken as such.

But to both of you I wish peace and healing, but remind you that your words can hurt as can mine. Please forgive me for any harm I have done with my clumsy words.

I'm not much of a Buddhist scholar, I will admit. Forgive my ignorance. I did spend some time, a long time ago, with the tao-te-ching (philosophy not religion) and the Stoics(Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus). There is a lot that is good there, too. Both of them led me ultimately back to Christ, though.

Peace,
Philip

_________________________
"By way of trials and sufferings we must purify the divine image in us...for it is by reforging our senses in the furnace of our trials that we free them from defilement and assume our royal dignity. --Abba Philimon

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#77901 - 10/07/05 10:09 PM Re: Buddhism Anyone?
The Seeker Offline
Member

Registered: 04/10/05
Posts: 141
Loc: Ohio, USA
Philip,

I am not angry. I think God is where you find him. In terms of experiencing God, I raised myself (family never attended) in a charismatic Church of God and the Catholic Church (two extremes in my experience). My thoughts on these topics are surely too lengthy to enter into here, but all experience is relative to the filters through which we infallible humans take them in and process. I was moved by the spirit in a church, but also alone in the woods and in a hospital delivery room. That is my experience, and nobody else. To each their own. I don't feel attacked by your words, as they are just words. What I choose to do with or feel about them is the important thing.

_________________________
The answers are in me.

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#77902 - 10/07/05 11:12 PM Re: Buddhism Anyone?
subdeacon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/12/04
Posts: 83
Loc: Florida
Shalom, my brother.

\:\)

Philip

_________________________
"By way of trials and sufferings we must purify the divine image in us...for it is by reforging our senses in the furnace of our trials that we free them from defilement and assume our royal dignity. --Abba Philimon

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#77903 - 10/07/05 11:34 PM Re: Buddhism Anyone?
Sinking Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/26/03
Posts: 577
Loc: Took my ball and went home.
Seeker is, obviously, more evolved than I am when he reads your words Phillip. Maybe anger is too strong of a word. I guess I don't appreciate being preached to and I feel you are doing that here.

I'm not arguing that one way of being is better than another, necessarily. I'm saying Buddhism works better for me than the religion I was brought up in which is Catholicism.

You assume I am angry with your god. Since I don't believe in a higher power, there is no one for me to be angry with in that sense. I am angry with the people who hurt me, the grown men who exercised their free will, as you say. I am angry that I was taught, as a child, to believe in an all loving god who would protect me. And, once that failed, I was told he would save me from my torment. I put my faith there. I BELIEVED. I prayed and begged and, it turned out, I wasted a hell of a lot of time doing that. It would have been better for me to have turned to drugs and alcohol sooner. At the age of twelve, during the second round of an adult exercising his free will against a child, I was suicidal, even earlier than that. Where was the love from god then, while I was trying to push a steak knife through my breast bone? I suppose he saved me by not making me strong enough to actually succeed...that, however, did nothing to take the pain away.

It does irk me when you say I am not willing to listen to you. Is that because I don't agree with your words? Because I read them more than once. I do understand what you're saying. And part of what you're saying indicates that you think I need to change
Quote:
I'm not trying to change you, one can only change himself.
. Is that what you're saying? If so, why? These are not rhetorical questions. I'd like to hear your answers.

I have not turned my back on Christ, I think I said this earlier. I believe in Christ and his teachings. I actually consider myself to be Christian in the sense that I act in a Christian way. That does not contradict following the Buddhist principles, however, they work quite nicely together. But I do not subscribe to any formal religion or organized religion.

You seem indifferent to others' points of view and I don't understand that either. Wouldn't Christ teach tolerance? I don't claim to be a Buddhist scholar, far from it. I can barely pronounce most of the words. But the word I can make out bring me comfort. I'm not sure why you'd suggest that I change that, especially considering the fact that I am exercising my free will and not doing anything to harm others. Thanks for listening - John


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