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Song of Songs Ch.1 A Spiritual Teaching
January 20, 2007
10:20 am
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garfield9547
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Worried Dad

"and take the book of Genesis with a grain of salt or three. "

For me Genesis is a spiritual book that has meaning in my life today. For me there is no other way to look at it.

If I look at Genesis natural it would not make any sense

Love

Garfield

January 20, 2007
12:36 pm
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Worried_Dad
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"Did Buddha say "My path is the best to follow for everyone", because Nirvana the ultimate goal is reached only using Buddha's methods."

No, he never said anything even remotely resembling that.

January 20, 2007
12:45 pm
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Worried Dad

What are you trying to say?

So Buddha did not say this or mean this, so what?

Please explain

Garfield

January 20, 2007
2:11 pm
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Hi Garfield,

Buddha was not pushing a religion to help people get to heaven or something--he just offered guidelines intended to help ease suffering and grant clarity of perception.

January 20, 2007
2:18 pm
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Worried Dad

Your Buddha is the same as my God.

How in your view did Christ or God push peoples religion to get to heaven?

Garfield

January 20, 2007
4:31 pm
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Hi Garfield.

Oops, maybe Im cross posting.

I was reacting to one of guest's comments: "Did Buddha say "My path is the best to follow for everyone", because Nirvana the ultimate goal is reached only using Buddha's methods."

Danged if I can find it now.

My point was that Buddha, for the most part, not considered to be a supernatural being or deity, that nobody worships him, and that he did not preach that anyone should worship any particular God, and he offered nothing in the way of commandments.

In other words, studying Buddhism is more like studying geology or math or engineering or psychology than it is like a religion.

January 20, 2007
11:23 pm
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dustpuff
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So why do people have buddah statues and figurines in their houses?

January 21, 2007
1:50 am
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Hi dustpuff.

Of course I will try to answer your question, but I wonder if may please ask question of you in return?

Conversations about religion are often fraught with controversy and hard feelings. Something about the phrasing of your question to me feels...I dunno, a little edgy or skeptical or challenging.

So my question is: Do you think that I am pulling your leg, lying or maybe just mistaken when I say that Buddha is not worshiped as a God? Or did I say something that strikes you as fishy.

I do want to set one thing straight for everyone before I go on...

I like Buddha--he is a really interesting and wise and worthwhile fellow. Really, really nice guy. And I like that his teachings are pretty much consistent, or at least not grossly inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus.

Just to set the matter straight, Jesus is my favorite spiritual teacher. Buddha lived to 80 and produced volumes of stuff...but man it is really, really dense material.

Jesus, had, what, 30 years. You can tell Jesus was a mystic, for example his use of parables, but he didn't dilly dally around--he was so passionate and direct.

With Buddha I mostly go "yeah that's a head scratcher all right."

Jesus, on the other simply rocks.

January 21, 2007
3:04 am
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Dustpuff,

About statues that depict Buddha. It is not for the purpose of worshiping Buddha--you don't have to take my word for it--check around. I have never even heard of a single person ever worshiping Buddha, ever.

Well you would have to ask the people who have the statues why they have them.

Lots of people who are not even Buddhists have statues of him.

One person I know who has a Buddha statue has it because it is a valuable and beautiful piece of art.

People like statues, is one explanation.

People also like to make art depicting famous, important people who have made a difference--it is a way of showing respect. Think of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

For Buddhists, the Statues are not idols or something--they are more like symbols of veneration and a means to focus attention.

January 21, 2007
6:27 am
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garfield9547
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Worried Dad

Glad we crossed posts. Have learned yet some more things from you.

In your post to Dustpuff you said
"So my question is: Do you think that I am pulling your leg, lying or maybe just mistaken when I say that Buddha is not worshiped as a God? Or did I say something that strikes you as fishy."

I must admit that my thoughts are, until proven otherwise, that some people worship Buddha and some God.

I would never once thought it be otherwise. I am going to google this and see what I find. Not that I do not believe you, its just the way I always saw things.

"With Buddha I mostly go "yeah that's a head scratcher all right."

Jesus, on the other simply rocks. "

Well said

Garfield

January 23, 2007
11:45 am
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dustpuff
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Not trying to strike anything controversial (sp) I am just trying to learn and grow. I am really quite naive about a lot of things. I am trying to learn and grow but have many questions and fears. What is the truth and what are lies? I suppose that is only something I can discover for myself, what I believe and what I should follow. Just trying to learn more by listening to others.

January 23, 2007
11:59 am
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dustpuff,
We all have, as WD said, different ideas of what to believe in. Sometimes it takes chaceking out alot of different things to see what works. When you find it, you will know without a doubt.

Me personally, I find that comparing Jesus to anyone is like comparing a tree to an ant. The tree is always there for the ant, the ant can choose to climb the tree, or pass it by and go to antoher tree, or a bush, or a flower. To me, Jesus is the only tree in the forest that makes sense. I have only found that out by testing it. To me Jesus isn't a 'was' being, he 'IS'...so to me he is what works.

Wish you the best in your searching! 🙂

January 24, 2007
7:04 pm
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Dustpuff.

The significance of your 'nick' is not lost on me.

Shen Xiu, an aspirant for the position of the 33rd Buddhist Ch'an Patriarch, wrote on the temple wall:

"Our body is the Bodhi-tree,
And our mind a mirror bright.
Carefully we wipe them hour by hour,
And let no dust alight."

Hui Neng, an illiterate monk said:

"Two days after, it happened that a young boy, who was passing by the room where I was pounding rice, recited loudly the stanza written by Shen Xiu. As soon as I heard it, I knew at once that the composer of it has not yet realized the Essence of Mind. For although I had not been taught about it at that time, I already had a general idea of it."

Then Hui Neng got another monk to write these words on the temple wall near that of Shen Xiu's words:

"There is no Bodhi-tree,
Nor stand of a mirror bright.
Since all is void,
Where can the dust alight?"

Hui Neng was instantly recognized by the 32nd Patriarch and given the Robe and Bowl to be inherited by the incoming 33rd Buddhist Ch'an Patriarch, therein Hui Neng became the 33rd Patriarch himself.

January 24, 2007
11:14 pm
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dustpuff
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Where do you get all this knowledge and how do you capture it and keep it?

Tez~ I am not illiterate but very naive at best. Can you explain that a little more for me to see if I am understanding it right?

I would appreciate it.

January 25, 2007
11:15 am
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If I may step in briefly dustpuff. Regarding knowledge, knowledge means nothing unless it is in your heart and a part of you. Knowledge by itself does not go very far. I will speak for Tez (sorry Tez) and say that he truly knows his stuff. SO maybe it is a huge part of his heart. He has a good one.

Ya do Tez.

Even what I beleive wich is different, knowledge got me nowhere. With having understanding then practicing, acting on it, it becomes a part of you. Whatever you choose to believe, I think this sums up knowledge.

January 25, 2007
7:31 pm
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Dustpuff.

You are on life's journey. You can choose to answer life's questions for yourself by turning within and discovering your own mind and what it has to offer you.

Or you can choose to opt for the easy way out and blindly believe in the pat answers of the faith of your forefathers unquestioningly.

The latter course feels good for a while as long as the 'infidel' thoughts can be kept at bay. But you will always remain inauthentic and never find 'yourself'. The former course is a very rough road to travel that in the end leads to the real 'you'.

Dr. C.G.Jung one of the great fathers of modern psychology referred to the wise old man in all of us to which we all have recourse if we choose to turn within for our answers rather than to so-called experts without to do our thinking for us.

This is not to imply shunning what the masters and sages have to offer. Churning the many gems with reference to this 'wise old man' is profitable. But in the end, if we are to become 'authentic' what we believe must fit into our 'jigsaw of life' not someone else's.

Now I will try to answer your question. You asked:

"Can you explain that a little more for me to see if I am understanding it right?"

No, I don't think that I can. I can only talk about my own 'jigsaw' of life.

Prior socializing and conditioning of my mind has deluded me into having a mindset that centralizes on a 'self' that is in relation to 'other than self'. I was indoctrinated from earliest childhood in regard to that 'self' and who supposedly created it and all other than it. That 'creator' was supposedly some God with human emotions of anger, wrath, love, etc who dwelled somewhere in the ether and who was all knowing, all powerful and all loving. Or so I was told, told and told.

After many years of questioning beliefs of different religions and being in them, I realize now that all religion is mostly superstition that is driven and perpetuated by fear. There is however 'wheat' to be found within some of the 'chaff'.

The mind is its own place and in it lies the source of all delusions(dust) as well as perfect wisdom. See through the delusions, shed them, and that perfect wisdom is 'you'.

The irony is that in that pristine consciousness no 'you' will be then found. Yet pure consciousness will remain.

"There is no Bodhi-tree, Nor stand of a mirror bright. Since all is void, Where can the dust alight?" - Hui Neng.

Professor John Wren Lewis calls this void of Hui Neng's the "dazzling dark". All of the Prof's 'reality' emanates from this "dazzling dark" or "void" instant by instant.

The word 'void' does not mean in this instance 'nothingness'. It means void of any boundaries of any dust of 'selfhood' of any kind yet bristling with infinite potentials.

See Lewis's mind blowing story at:

http://www.geocities.com/jiji_.....zdark.html

or at:

http://www.nonduality.com/dazdark.htm

I do hope that this response is of some slight help to you and not a hinderance.

January 27, 2007
7:40 am
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Worried_Dad

You said

"I have never even heard of a single person ever worshiping Buddha, ever. "

What does this information I got on the net then mean?

Biography

Biography And Teachings: How A Hoa Hao Buddhist Adept Takes The Vows And Behaves (page 8) (8/5/2002)

So far, pagodas and temples have presented us with too many statues. Although those images have been created for the veneration of the Buddhas, there has been some abuse. From now on we should not create more of them. This does not mean that we are trying to defame the worshipping in temples and pagodas. We must respect the way of worshipping in the pagodas by the priests. However, for those who practice religion at home there is no need to create more images. Let the worshipping be simple, and let our belief come from our heart instead of aiming at ostentatious appearances.

Until now, we have always worshipped the relics left by our Master Buddha of Tay An. But recently many people thought that the red color we used to worship has been preempted by those who work against the rules and the ideal of our Buddha. That was the reason for our adopting the Brown color. Furthermore, the monks have used brown color to symbolize their taking the holy orders and that color is the association of all other colors so that it can be the symbol of mankind harmony without distinction of races or individuals. That is why we use it at the place of worship to represent Buddhas sublimity.

If there is no room inside the house, a Heavens altar with an incense-brazier is sufficient, because religious endeavor consists in improving oneself rather than in apparent worshipping. For those who have Buddhas statues in the house, it will be all right to keep it that way. Paper images should not be kept and should be burned. For those who are compelled to live with other people who do not take the vows or who belong to a different religion or whose house is so small that there is no room for worshipping, they can pray to Buddha in a low voice when worshipping time comes.

As regards the way of worshipping Buddha, only fresh water, flowers and incense sticks should be used. Fresh water represents cleanliness, the flower represents purity, and the incense is used to freshen the air. No other offering is otherwise required. One can use any available food for the worshipping of ones ancestors.

Besides the cult of Buddha, our ancestors, our parents, and the nations heroes, we should not worship any spirit whose origins we do not know well.

RELIGION PERFORMANCE

One only prostrates oneself before Buddha, ancestors, grandparents, parents and national heroes. As regards to the others, let us put an end to the prostration before the living. Even to our Master we only bow.

Before doing anything within our religion or in society, we must think it over very carefully and not do crazy and absurd things. First, we should not take advantage by relying on the powerful. Secondly, we should not merely rely on the help of saints and gods. Thirdly, we should not count on the support of our Master. We must always remember Buddhas Law of Cause and Effect: if the cause is perfect, the effect is then perfect too. Those who act so crazily without thinking carefully so that they fail and encounter difficulties and suffering, blame afterwards the powerfuls for not having saved them or reproach our Master and Buddha for not having blessed them. Such so erroneous thinking is pitiful.

Let each of us use our intelligence to understand our religions principles or our Masters teachings and not rely on blind faith while we havent inquired adequately. Only by doing so shall we be able to progress on the path of virtue.

It is hoped that the above explained elementary notions will be carefully pondered and put into action so as to wipe off foolish superstitions of a small number of people in our religion, and so that the spirit of Virtue and Peace of Buddhism can be rapidly developed.

FUNERAL

When our grand-parents or parents die, we will keep the ancient mourning customs with some modifications as follows:

Now that we have taken refuge in religion, the prayers for the deliverance of the deads soul from suffering in the next world by the co-religionists must be sincere. We should not send for sorcerers or wizards..., and burn votive paper because this is a waste of money. We must realize that the body is destructible and it should not be buried discreetly without letting it decompose because this is harmful to the living. As to filial piety, it should be shown during the deads lifetime and it should spring from the religious life one leads, from the sincerity in praying and not from the fact that we summon an outsider to say the prayers. One has only to set up an altar in the middle of the house or in the open air for the praying and go on burying the dead discreetly.

As regards worshipping our grand-parents and parents, we can offer anything available on anniversary days. One is free to invite people to these occasions. We can do everything deemed to be simple and convenient but not money wasting.

HOW TO PRAY FOR THE DEAD

Each one stands before Buddhas altar praying:

``Hail our Master Buddha Shakyamuni (three times) and ``Hail Buddha Amida (three times).

Kowtowing: Buddha, Buddha Master, now I sincerely pray for the named .......(name of the dead) ......who thanks to Merciful Buddha who has saved his soul from the path of error, has been able to go to Paradise.

At home as well as during the funerals, we should walk in ranks, both hands joined while praying: ``Hail the Budhistic Paradise, Hail the multitude of Buddhas under the same Most Merciful Name and Title that leads the soul of the dead, Buddha Amida (if the dead is a monk, the last sentence will be: Leads our Master, Buddha Amida.)

NOTE: The mourning family should not cry, but pray quietly for the dead because crying would hinder the deliverance of the deads soul from suffering in the next world

January 27, 2007
7:46 am
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Worried_Dad

Have been reading a bit more. Your take on it is different. I see what you mean.

But there is still thousands of people that worship a statue.

Look at the following information.

"About worship practice
Worshipping is an act to show reverent love or alliance to some sacred object or person. Worshipping Buddha's image and/or statue is commonly seen. In Buddhist temples, followers bow down or even prostrate themselves to worship Buddha's statue. Most Buddhist homes have altars with Buddha's statue or image, candles and incense. People actually pray to Buddha's statue to ask for salvation or help. Especially, in life-threatening situations, praying for salvation is very obvious. Although the practice can be attributed to the reverence people show toward Buddha, it was never originally taught. When Buddha was passing away, he exhorted that practicing his teachings was the best way to remember him. Actually, Buddha even condemned idolatry [2], the practice of worshipping an image or statue. There are still fundamentalist Buddhists who know Buddha's teaching on this subject very well and do not practice idolatry but the number is very few.

But what is wrong with praying to someone's image or statue, one might ask. The answer is an image or statue does not listen. Even if a transcendental Being hears the prayers, he does not help since according to Buddha's teachings, followers need to achieve the salvation by themselves.

Vietnamese Buddhists well understand the self-salvation teaching since they practice self-denial, mediation, doing good work, and so on so forth, to earn their salvation. This belongs to the realm of the mind. Yet, they still pray for salvation from Buddha. Praying for salvation is a burden of the heart. An individual who prays for salvation realizes that he or she is feeble and helpless and therefore, needs intervention from some transcendental being."

January 27, 2007
3:05 pm
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garfield9547,

Hi Garfield,

The difference is that when people worship God--they believe they are communing with God, and that God wants or requires them to worship him.

People don't believe Buddha is a God or that he requires their worship.

They KNOW that Buddha isn't going to intercede on their behalf--

It's not praying like we think of it and it isn't worship as we think of it.

There are variations on Buddhism--it has spread all over. But the essential core of it does not require the belief in anything supernatural at all. An atheist can still be a perfectly good Buddhist.

January 27, 2007
4:12 pm
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Worried_Dad

What you said makes sense. i never saw it this way.

"When Buddha was passing away, he exhorted that practicing his teachings was the best way to remember him. Actually, Buddha even condemned idolatry"

Buddha then was a very clever person that has passed on. We can learn from his teachings but that cannot give us salvation. God is and forever will be.

Big difference here so I can understand better now.

Thanks

Garfield

January 27, 2007
7:06 pm
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Worried_Dad.

For what it is worth, I agree verbatim with your last post of 27-Jan-07 above to Garfield.

January 27, 2007
8:42 pm
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Hi Tez,

Oh good I'm not spouting nonsense.

January 28, 2007
5:56 pm
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Nuh!

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