The Zen Koan - parallels, practices that cover?

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by Pineal, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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  3. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    In my humble opinion they serve the same purpose and have the same flavour as traditional Zen koans.

    The purpose of a koan is to make you think, to get you to ask questions with the goal of bringing you to enlightenment (profound understanding). What you have presented obviously has the selfsame goals.

    Until one has experienced "satori" or "enlightenment" it may well seem illusory. I submit that any Buddhist practice that brings one to satori is a proper Buddhist practice.

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    A koan by any other name is still a koan if the purpose and the results are the same.

    The Christian church was created by Paul of Tarsus based on the extant Jewish system of temples scattered around the Mediterranean trade routes. The Jewish temples served as hotels, banks, restaurants and trading centers for traveling Jewish merchants. Paul wished to establish a similar economic system for non - Jews with his new religion. The Knights Templar took it to the extreme.

    When Constantine and his mom took over the Catholic church in the early 1300's, they burned libraries all over the 'civilized' world and edited the crap out of Paul's Christian Bible. They literally removed whole books and installed others - for transient economic and political purpose.

    This is the 'tradition' that is the Holy Roman Catholic Church, but it is based on purely human failings. (citation: Who Wrote the New Testament? Burton L Mack, Harper San Francisco)

    Times change, so do people and their societies. While longing for lost tradition is understandable, nostalgia for days gone by does not solve current problems. The Buddhism that I practice works for me in the world that I live in. My practice benefits me physically, mentally and emotionally - regardless of whether or not some anonymous handle on the Internet approves or not. The profit to the person is in the practice, not in 'book learning' of the tradition.

    The practice of daily meditation has been proven to increase myalenation of several brains areas, to lower blood pressure and calm the emotions - this regardless of the exact school pf practice. Kata meditation (from Korean Buddhist Taekwon Do practice) reduces reaction time, increases strength and flexibility, opens up the circulatory system, gives self confidence and buoys the spirit.

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  5. Pineal Banned Banned

    How do you avoid choosing a tradition that is based on a leader who broke with tradition?

    I disagree. One is not obligated in many religions at least to represent the religion or present as one's own knowledge the tenets of the religion. There are exceptions, but there is certainly a range of choices out there. And there are a number of religions where one can take something similar to a vow of silence. Also there tend to be cautions in a number of religions about presenting things as if one knows them.

    That is certainly what they claim.

    He did try. He was basically told to take back what he said and when he did not, he was excommunicated.

    He may have been a poor politician. Of course, one could argue the church was, especially given what happened. They lost tremendous ground when they did not integrate Luther.

    Much later.

    I agree.

    That may very well be the case. But again, look at what the church lost. It lost many, many members, whole countries. And in the long run it has ended up demonstrating it was wrong about things, but could not admit it at the time. Which is fine for us mortals, but gets problematic given the conception of the Vatican and the Pope(s).

    The the early Christians should have remained Jews.

    If it works, yes, that sounds much more gentle. But I am not sure this fits the situation many people find themselves in.
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  7. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    I don't know.

    Why would one be a member of a religion which one does not feel comfortable representing?

    Or both of them.

    Just because losses occured, doesn't mean they were inevitable, nor that they are proof of either side being right or wrong.

    We can conceptualize it as being "wrong," or as "not befitting anymore," for example.

    It depends on how change is conceptualized.
    There may be ways to think about change that are not threatening.


    It is an idealistic notion, yes.
  8. Pineal Banned Banned

    I think the issue is more of competence. And to refer back to constructive empiricism....

    one way they differentiate acceptance and belief is that the former is conscious and a choice and the latter is involutary. When one enters or even is born into a religion, there may be things one directly believes. Meditation is helping me. That teacher has some serious insight. And then other things one has little experience with, nor even flashes of insight around. One takes these on to fully participate in the path, but perhaps might decide not to represent as if they were integrated in oneself (yet).

    I wasn't assuming it meant they were wrong. Just that RRC was no longer THE christian authority. I am pretty sure that would have been seen as a negative outcome by every Vatican official who weighed in on how to deal with Martin Luther.

    I don't think that concept works in the Catholic tradition. These are supposed to be timeless truths.

    Absolutely. And the church has been forced to consider the way it dealt with history and change.

    It could even be the ideal of someone who feels utterly tortured by the tradition they are born in.
  9. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    In some religions, members normally manifest external signs of being members - specific clothes, accessoires or verbal expressions.

    So if one is a member, one will manifest those external signs, and as such, one functions as a representative of said religion.

    I consider manifesting those external signs to be in the same category as professing elaborate philosophical concepts of said religion.

    When I was involved with that Hindu tradition, there was pressure to manifest certain external sings - to at least wear neckbeads. I refused to do so; to me, to wear those neckbeads was the same as declaring, to everyone, that this was the religion I decided to follow for the rest of my life.

    Why not?
  10. Pineal Banned Banned

    Because humans then had other Christian authorities. I meant authority in a relational sense: one who is considered the authority. Though now that I think of it we already had the Orthodox Christians, but in any case, in much of Europe that had been Catholic a new authority was in town.
  11. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    That would mean authority in an organizational sense, but not necessarily in a spiritual sense.
    Although for a functional religious society, both are necessary, and ideally, incorporated in the same person/institution.
  12. Pineal Banned Banned

    Sure, I am not weighing in on who has the real authority in Christianity - or to what degree or even if any of them have it or any. But this was in the context of ML making a political error and my response that they both made that error. I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure the Vatican was upset to be suddenly divvying up Western Europe with a new Christianity. So it was in a practical arena I raised the issue.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  13. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Since ML was the one who had the desire to change others and made the first step, the onus is on him.
  14. Pineal Banned Banned

    The church was an ongoing enterprise changing people. It was actively making them Catholics, actively controlling their behavior, actively trying to and succeeding in controlling kings to do what the Vatican wanted. It had enforcement, marketing, PR, incredibly complex though sometimes simply blunt methods of controlling and transforming people. It was actively converting and by degrees converting children and all its members.

    And this is a fairly neutral description. I am not getting into ways this was terrible. IOw this is not a critique of the Catholic church, I am just trying to dispel the illusion that the Vatican was not trying to change others - that is its mission - and somehow has no onus. This is the precies point where we differ.

    If we shift to cliterodectomies, someone who challenges this tradition has no more onus than those who are carrying out the tradition.
  15. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Onus toward whom?

    Strictly speaking, there is no onus on anyone per se: people could go on without explaining and justifying their actions to anyone, and often, they go on without explaining and justifying their actions to anyone.

    For there to be an onus, a stance needs to be taken first. The onus of proof doesn't exist in a vacuum.
    From the perspective that ML was right (or wrong) to do what he did, the onus is on him.
    From the perspective that the RCC was wrong (or right), the onus is on the RCC.

    And it does seem to me that you subtly maintain that there are things that are true for all, even though you often explicitly argue against this.

    "A cliterodectomy is bad and all women who have had a cliterodectomy suffer."
    I don't know - perhaps this is true, perhaps it is not.

    There are many values and practices nowadays promoted in the name of "individual freedom" and "being natural" that I find utterly abusive and unnatural.
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I understand how values and practices claimed to promote freedom might be unnatural. After all, a natural state is not necessarily a free state.

    And I can understand how values and practices claimed to promote being natural might in fact not be natural. After all, everyone is different and what is natural to one of us may not be to another.

    I can even understand how values and practices claimed to promote being natural might be abusive. After all, a natural state may be quite uncomfortable.

    What I don't understand is how values and practices claimed to promote individual freedom might be abusive--so long as they are promoted sincerely and wisely. Can you provide examples of this? Or are you simply referring to cases in which they are indeed not promoted sincerely and wisely?
  17. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Consider the consequences of the "individual freedom" to drive an SUV or have a cosmetic liposuction.

    When many people act on their "individual freedom" to drive an SUV, this produces enormous environmental strain.

    And having a cosmetic liposuction is just another way of telling oneself "You're not good enough." Physical and psychological abuse of oneself.
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Well I did note that individual freedom must be practiced wisely. The classic American expression of that principle is, "Your freedom to swing your fists stops at the precise location where my nose begins."

    Freedom must be managed to ensure that conflicts exactly like that one do not occur. It's an imprecise process that does not always produce the fairest outcome, but if managed sincerely, the other condition I stipulated, civilization muddles along in good grace and most people are satisfied most of the time.

    Environmental concerns also fall into the category of "wisdom." If we destroy our environment as, for example, the Mayans did, then the freedom of every citizen to enjoy a reasonably happy life will be reduced or even destroyed. Obviously wisdom depends on knowledge. Our understanding of the ways in which our own individual and collective actions can affect the total environment in which we all live is new and incomplete.

    In other words, within any community, the freedom of each individual must be balanced against the freedoms of every other individual. This is just as true in a global civilization as it was in a small pack of nomadic hunter-gatherers.

    Nonetheless, certain forms of government and certain implementations of those forms do a much better job of preventing powerful individuals from curtailing the freedoms of the less powerful, and also of balancing the freedoms of individuals in order to maximize the total freedom of the population.
    You're certainly imposing your own values on other people. Did someone appoint you as High Priest when I wasn't looking? This appears to be a textbook example of one person attempting to restrict the freedom of another. Who are you to say that a person who finds himself unable to lose weight by diet and exercise (and believe me, there are thousands of people in that position who genuinely try hard and deserve our sympathy) should not be allowed to do it surgically? Healing from liposuction can be an almost unbearably painful experience that leaves the patient unable to move without help--even to the bathroom--for a week or more. Take my word for it, it's not something anyone signs up for on a whim.

    A friend of mine went through it--with a dear friend who babysat her for ten whole days--and it vastly improved her self-respect. I would not treat someone with respect who attempted to deny her the right to do that.
  19. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Last I checked, I am entitled to have my opinions. Are you trying to take that away from me?

    And you really believe that cosmetic surgery improves self-esteem?
    Perhaps in the short-run, superficially.

    You yurself said:

    What I don't understand is how values and practices claimed to promote individual freedom might be abusive--so long as they are promoted sincerely and wisely.

    A cosmetic liposuction to improve self-esteem? Aren't there more sincere, wiser way to improve self-esteem?
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  20. Pineal Banned Banned

    If both parties have the onus, there is no onus. The idea of onus or burden of proof is that one party is distinguished from the other(s) as having this.

    The people carrying out cliterodectomies bear the burden of proof ultimately to the children, one they cannot satisfy. My point was that just cause something's been around doesn't make it lose it's onus.

    This seems to be the foundation of your position. Once something has been around, it loses its onus and anything that goes against it has an onus. I don't think that is the case. Some traditions are good, some are bad - at least for some people - most are probably mixed. They are all actively, ongoing creating, spreading, enforcing themselves. They are changing people to fit them. They have as much onus as anything else that says 'this is good, that is not.'

    I almost added to my cliterodectomy example....

    'and if this example does not work for you, pick something that you think is wrong and in need of some serious justification you cannot see.'

    Though yes, I do think cliterodectory is wrong, period, for the children. I cannot speak to the need it may serve for the adults involved, however.

    I do have limits on what I think people can do to other people and children, even their own. I do think some things are wrong period. But in thinking about what people choose to do for themselves, I don't really care. Sometimes I wish they could be somewhere else - like those who like to fight wars. As much as they can find others to do this with who also like it, they tend to directly and indirectlyl affect people who would rather not have those experiences.

    As far as 'maybe not all these women who've had cliterodectimies suffer....'

    Maybe not, but then if we are going out on this fantastic criterion - since the girls they were suffered incredibly - maybe not all victims of rape, ultimately suffer - they go on to have lives that are no longer affected by the trauma. Nevertheless I think rape is wrong. And a cliterodectomy is a rape where the clitoris is removed and the genitals are sewn up AND then the husband rips open the sewn up vagina with his penis. Many of the girls being given such a small opening for peeing they get infections as a regular part of their lives.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  21. Pineal Banned Banned

    IMagine a country where you had to get liposuction. Where there was a state or church ideal that was enforced by law.

    When there is freedom, people will do things that are terrible and then you try to put limits on this, for me especially where their choices damage others. But a lack of freedom is no defense against the specific bad choices.

    I don't think promote values in the name of individual freedom. They have values and individual freedom allows them to do pursue these values. But what they pursue they pursue because of the values. The values are the justification, not the freedom.

    I got breast implants because I look more beautiful that way, someone might assert.

    I don't think they will say that one of the reasons they wanted it was because they were free.
  22. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    And then what?
    If the children feel violated enough, they can get involved politically and change the laws or social mores. This doesn't guarantee success, though.

    If it has been around for a while, the onus issue gets moot.

    Take for example the child who was abused by family and others "in the name of God."
    What should he do when he grows up? Sue his family? For what exactly - what exactly would the legal charges be?

    No, this is not the foundation of my position.


    Anyone who has ever gone against anyone or anything has carried the onus.
    This is how it works out in practice.
    In an ideal world, the perpetrator would, on their own accord, admit their wrongdoing and beg forgiveness. But this is not an ideal world, and perpetrators admit their wrongdoing and beg forgiveness only sometimes.

    The family of the person in the above example can just laugh him off, claim that he is exaggerating, or that he should legally prove that they indeed were in the wrong.

    At least internally, this person will have to come to terms with the fact that the family might never come to see the error of their ways.
    More importantly, this person has the onus of moving on even without other people's admission of guilt.
    Relying on the wrongdoer to admit the wrongdoing is not conducive to moving on.
    This is how the onus is on the one who wants to move on, who breaks with the tradition.

    You think it is meaningul to sue the RCC because you were abused by a priest?

    The legal option available is to sue the specific priest. Who may or may not plead guilty. The RCC may excommunicate him.

    Who performs the majority of the cliterodectomies? Who supports this practice?
    I imagine it is women.

    Nobody said it wasn't.

    But some people do seem to have the conviction that if the victim has moved on with their life, this means that there wasn't really any crime perpetrated against them.

    And casually risking the woman's health and life and calling it "love" and "intimacy" is allright?
  23. Pineal Banned Banned

    I don't see what their success or failure has to do with anything.
    My point is that a tradition can be good or bad or great or terrible and needs to rest on its merits. That it is a tradition does not, for me, give it some value.
    You can do this in the US. And yes, I think that's just fine. Generally the abuse has to be pretty severe by societal standard - sexual abuse, beatings, chaining them to the radiator.

    That seems the same as above. The tradition does not have the onus.

    Then every tradition has an ongoing onus. So the appearance another view does not change this.

    I agreed with most of this, but no, the abused person does not have onus while the family did not.

    Depends what the RCC did. If the priest abused children and he was simply moved somewhere else where he had known access to children, of course. And I believe it is this kind of situation where the RCC has been held liable. Where they were irresponsible. Just as a daycare would be judged so.

    Sure. Can you flesh that out into an argument or is it so obvious what the conclusion is it does not need to be written?

    It doesn't matter in a discussion between you are me what some people think, except as a fact about the world. Some people think anally raping little kids is OK. Who cares what they think. That as a practical issue there are people who believe this can be relevent, but often it seems like you are a gate for the opinions of others. IOW sometimes it seems like it doesn't matter if you agree with these some people or not. It doesn't even have to be mentioned.

    If you cannot see the difference between two adults having consenting sex and someone cutting out a girl's clitoris and sewing up her vagina to keep her libido low and prevent premarital sex, I don't think we have much to talk about, seriously.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011

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