Discussion in 'Spirituality and ME/CFS' started by starryeyes, Dec 7, 2009.
I'm taking a time out.
1. I would be interested in what you might want to say about how the Torah interprets the Garden of Eden story, knowing that there must be varying interpretations within the Torah. I expect others here would also. But maybe you wouldn't think that was appropriate for Gentiles.
2. The language which seems most extreme and "violent" to me in the thread is coming from you. One's style is suggestive of one's meaning.
3. To me your thinking seems based on a view that cultures are sacred. Cultures, however, are made up; they are man made. This doesn't make unworthy of respect or consideration, but doesn't make them sacred as such. Because sacredness by definition refers to the divine. An experience of the divine is called sacred.
Afterwards, someone writes about this or creates a ritual or tradition to commemorate it--these are a step removed, like a memorial, but not the sacred event itself. These then may become part of a culture, where they make up part of what is called that culture's religion. That is why it is often said that religion is not the same thing as spirituality--spirituality here meaning a primary experience of the divine rather than the artifacts of those experiences, practices and beliefs based upon them. I think of a religion as like a ladder to "heaven", spiritual consciousness, etc.
However, this gets complicated by the fact that later on, people can have primary spiritual experiences via religious information, training, practices, ceremonies, etc., which in themselves are only cultural artifacts.
And it is also complicated by the fact that religions and religious authorities appropriate to themselves the status of sacredness. Of course, cultures, traditions, ideologies and their authority figures like to do the same. The fact remains, however, that religions like other aspects of cultures were man made, made up, to serve various purposes. We made them up and we can re-make them.
4. Lastly, like Dreambirdie and any others here who have said similar things, I feel that humanity shares a good deal of our tendencies, potentials and responses. This is why religions share so many common symbols, mythical themes, practices and aspirations cross culturally.
I'm glad everyone is hanging in for a useful discussion. I am learning from this and hope that others are too!
Oh, I wrote the above without reading the last page, which was one of my brain errors, coming on to this discussion after a day and a half away, so I didn't realize quite how heated it had gotten.
Not your fault, Cecelia!
Things have been going fast and furious here today. Last thing you'd expect on the Buddhism thread, right?
brawling on the Buddhism thread...
bound to happen sooner or later
Getting back to my original thought before all this distraction... I had an interesting similar experience a few years ago during a biofeedback session. I noticed that when I just let my mind BE and do its usual dance of yes/no, right/wrong, hate/like, I tended to retain the alpha wave state much easier. When I began judging my thoughts or trying to stop the "BAD" ones, I went right into the beta waves each time. Very fascinating to witness it like this.
Lol, all this "distraction."
When you're using the "N" word to talk about black people, and someone tells you that's offensive, most people of good will would stop using the "N" word.
If the person marginalizes the attempts to point out that using the "N" word is offensive and calls it a "distraction" so they can keep on doing exactly what they're doing no matter who it offends, what can we conclude in that case?
Applying "interpretations" to the Torah from a western/christian point of view is the same thing as using the "N" word and other offensive stereotypes to talk about black people. It's not yours to apply interpretations to, just like it's not your culture to call its members by the "N" word. It's a form of violence toward that culture.
Is that any clearer to you?
The Chinese government recently announced that through their advanced understanding of Tibtan Buddhism, they have found the next Dalai Lama. Their "methods" of finding the Dalai Lama have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with how the actual Dalai Lama is found and selected, but they have appropriated the culture, and by spreading their "interpretation," through propaganda, through cultural hegemony, they have the people going along with them. They are committing cultural genocide (destruction of culture).
When you "interpret" the Torah from a western/christian/non-Judaic point of view, you do the exact same thing to the Jewish culture that the Chinese are doing to Tibet.
My Jewish friends have told me that, since they are a tribal people, there are many similarities between the jews and the Native Americans. (Trungpa rinpoche has also pointed out the same kind of indigenous situation regarding the Tibetan people, incidentally). The difference, my friend said, is that the Jews have a written Torah, while for the Native Americans, the earth is their Torah. They live according to natural laws, and so on.
What did the white western european christians do to the "Torah" of the Native Americans? Essentially, they came here, stole the land, and desecrated it. They nearly wiped out the buffalo, they tore down forests, they paved things over, they polluted the waters and the air.
And that's the visual representation of what they also did to the Jewish Torah. First in effect they stole it, and then they desecrated it with their "interpretations."
Every time, therefore, that we apply our western/christian-based non-Judaic "interpretations" to the Torah, we are participating in that desecration. It's not ours to do that to, anymore than the land of the Native Americans was ours to steal, pollute and desecrate. It's not ours anymore than the Tibetan cultural and religious practices belong to the Chinese. We are committing cultural violence every time we participate in appropriating these fundamental aspects of other cultural traditions and doing what we want to them, usually for power relations, although most of the time the people who are blindly participating in it are not always cognizant of the violence they are perpetrating, just like the chinese people who are going along with the chinese government honestly believe -- because of propaganda, because of the naturalization of the chinese point of view among the chinese -- that what the government has claimed is legitimate.
That's why we have to be extremely vigilant about our own acts of cultural violence. It's all well and good to say "all cultures change," and the other idealistic notions, but in reality it is up to the culture itself to decide if it wants to change, not the decision of an oppressor culture to impose upon a more subjugated one. That's a move of cultural violence that drastically lacks as much in awareness as it does in sensitivity.
I can see you are very passionate about this topic and want to discuss it. Have you thought of starting a new thread on the topic? That's what we do when a thread has made us think of another topic we wish to discuss to avoid going off-topic on the original thread - hijacking it so to speak.
I'm tired so to the Buddhism and CFS thread will contribute the thoughts of others:
From an online discussion group -forgot to note the writer
No, I don't really want to start a new thread, thanks anyway.
I'm reminded of a story Jack Kornfield told about Gurdjieff and one of his retreats. There was a participant there who no one could stand, and when Gurdjieff was off one day on some errands, they finally succeeded in driving the guy away so they could get back to their "peace" and "love."
When Gurdjieff found out that the guy was gone, he was quite alarmed, and sent one of his helpers out to find the guy and bring him back. The participants were completely astounded and asked Gurdjieff why he allowed such an awful person to stay. Gurdjieff said he not only allowed him to stay, he paid him to come back. He knew there was nothing more valuable in "spirituality" than confronting that which bothered and upset them the most. They're really just facing themselves, right.
I don't really understand why people were discussing "Garden of Eden" in a Buddhist thread anyway, or why that wasn't considered off topic or fodder for another thread. But what do I know. There's always a rationale available when it's convenient to have or require one, it seems.
I would really appreciate it if you did. And I know I'm not the only one.
I think if you're going to talk about christianity and the garden of eden, you really should start a new thread. As a Buddhist, I really don't want to read about christianity in a thread about Buddhism, thanks.
This thread has contained so many topics that I don't think we can start labeling things OT now.
If you are Buddhist, Starcycle has generously offered up some very interesting provocation with which you can engage, or not, in accordance with your own understanding of dharma.
Hey Starcycle, you have some pretty audacious views and I'm sure you know full well that you are being provocative. So, I'm not going to worry about you getting your feelings hurt because I'm sure you know what you're doing. Do consider, if you will, that you may be racking up some unnecessary karma with rash judgment and less than the most skillful means you can employ. But, seriously, what do I know? Nothing. Just a word to the wise.
Thanks for the gift! I hope I can do it justice.
Take care, all,
Starcycle - No-one needs to start a new thread on Christianity. This is the Lounge, where discussion will meander. Sadly though, it looks as if another reminder is needed that we need to be respectful of one another - and that extends to the religious beliefs of other members. Discuss but don't trash.
The discussion will meander -- as long as it doesn't meander to facts that make us uncomfortable. I can appreciate that, as much as I have no respect for it.
But these comments raise some other interesting questions. First and foremost, what were people doing discussing christianity in a thread on Buddhism to begin with? I'm not christian, I don't believe in christianity, and I don't particularly want anything to do with christianity if I can at all avoid it. I certainly don't want to have to start reading christian "interpretations" of the Torah in a thread on Buddhism - why even have topics at all if you're going to "meander" away from them that radically?
Oh - I see why. So that when someone says something you don't like, you can call THAT off-topic and ask them to leave. "Please leave the Buddhist thread because we are busy discussing christian interpretations of the Torah here, and you are disrupting that."
Makes sense. christian interpretations of the Torah are "acceptable" off topic, I guess (because this is the lounge and the discussion "meanders"). But when the discussion goes to "unacceptable off-topic," I guess it must be, suddenly that is not a "meander" any more, suddenly that is grounds for being asked to go start a new thread.
If you'll go back and read, you'll notice that when I encountered all this christian off-topic discussion about the Torah, I gently tried to steer the conversation away from the disrespect by mentioning more humane Judaic interpretations of the story they were discussing. That got a cursory reply, and then back to the disrespect. So much for Koan's "skillful means."
One has to wonder what would happen if someone went into a christian thread and started talking about Buddhism. For example, what if I jumped into a christian thread and started mentioning that central tenets of xianity appear to be incorrect and invalid, because the Buddha explicitly stated that no person can "save" another, that everyone has to liberate themselves by their own efforts and intelligence?
Actually, it's not hard to imagine what would happen at all: I would be severely admonished for being "off-topic," "this isn't the place to discuss this," etc., and would be told to leave the thread. Pretty obvious. So you can't talk about Buddhism in the christianity thread, and you can't talk about Buddhism in the Buddhist thread. You have to talk about christianity in the Buddhist thread and not say anything people don't like about it, or be asked to leave the thread.
Interesting double standard. Or is that a triple standard? There is so much inconsistency there one hardly knows how to begin quantifying it.
We could even take the next step, to parallel more closely what is happening here. Because I can "interpret," too, watch:
The Torah commands all Jewish men to marry. jesus never married. By Jewish biblical standards, then, jesus was not very religious. Furthermore, the extensive time he appeared to spend associating mainly with men strongly suggests that he may have been gay. We might conclude that the decade or two of unaccounted time in his history was spent as a gay male prostitute or perhaps off doing drugs somewhere.
If I or anyone else proffered that interpretation, we would be called disrespectful in 2 seconds flat. Oh, but it's perfectly fine to "interpret" the Torah any way you want. That's somehow *not* disrespectful. It's only disrespectful when you interpret christian mythology in a way the christians don't like, not when christians interpret the Torah any way they want, saying Eff you to everyone who they offend in the process.
Another interesting double standard.
I have to note that if people had not veered off-topic in the first place, none of this even would have arisen. But under the christian rules, apparently you are allowed to discuss christianity anywhere you want, but you are not allowed to discuss Buddhism anywhere you want. You can barely discuss Buddhism in the Buddhist thread because it's so filled with christianity and people telling you to leave and calling you off topic because they don't like what you're saying about their off-topic posts.
Interesting double standard again -- where do they stop?
I used to be very involved in a Christian church and walked away from all of that 8 yrs ago. Have since been trying to take a fresh look at things. Quite a process after being tied into a Baptist and then a Pentecostal world for 20 yrs.
One of the things that has really helped me get a fresh outlook on things learned in my past, is finding information about historical Christianity from a Jewish perspective. I have found much of it very freeing from old biases.
My problem with what I'm reading here in this thread is you're really hostile to the people you are talking to. I myself want to hear your information. But the hostility has to go. It really does.
Take a step back for a bit. Please.
Or, if you're willing, Starcycle,
Start a new thread on these things that have you so passionate, and I'll go with you.
And yes, I am trying to get you off this thread. But I am serious, these are things I am very interested in knowing. It would be cool.
You and I must have been posting at the same time.
Great minds think alike, even when it's two cfs brains.
I'm not posting any new thread, because I just know I'll end up being crucified for that somehow, too (pun intended). If anyone else wants to start a thread I'll be interested to see the discussion, but it seems I'm already enough of a target around here as it is. If people here are so offended by someone pointing out that *he* is offended and can't get that, I don't know what else to say to them anyway. But I don't have a problem with refraining from posting anything more here. Just please don't reference any of it, because then I often feel obligated to respond to defend myself, thanks.
Sounds like a plan, starcycle.
The guys on this thread can continue on without making reference to you here. If they do, and if I don't see it, send me a pm and I will gently remind them to leave you out of it.
Now. I don't think I can make a very good start on that other thread on my own. CJbrennan, if you'll come give me a hand, that would be cool. If you can't I will just give it a shot myself.
Gotta have breakfast first though. And take a few minutes to think about what to write there. Anyone else interested in the subject at hand, and wants to start a thread before I get there, feel free. I will jump in.
Okay. So, the Buddhism & CFS thread will carry on. And I will see whoever wants to join in on a thread to be started in a few minutes at the Community Lounge. What will it be called? Let me have my breakfast first. Running on cfs fumes at the moment.
You can also try a Google Site Search
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