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The word as text and doctrine.....and the Word as Living Word.

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dookie On July 26, 2019
Foolish Bonbu





, United Kingdom
#1New Post! Jul 03, 2014 @ 10:03:00
It seems often I am little understood. Which disappoints me as in "real life" I am so simple......

I just happen to be reading some sort of analysis of Four Quartets, the poem by T S Eliot. There is a passage in the introduction that seemed to capture my own approach so well that I feel bound to quote it here, and hopefully it will be easier to understand than my own strangled waffle.

The author is speaking of Eliot's use of various doctrines of various faiths.

......Eliot feels no compunction in alluding to the Bhagavad Gita in one section of the poem and Dante's Paradiso in the next. He neither asserts the rightness nor wrongness of one set of doctrines in relation to the other, nor does he try to reconcile them. Instead, he claims that prior to the differentiation of various religious paths, there is a universal substratum called Word (logos) of which religions are concretions. This logos is an object both of belief and disbelief. It is an object of belief in that, without prior belief in the logos, any subsequent religious belief is incoherent. It is an object of disbelief in that belief in it is empty, the positive content of actual belief is fully invested in religious doctrine.

There we are. My own belief in the Word is mediated via Pure Land Buddhism and its teachings. Others can choose differently. And I truly find that the expression of the Word in other Faiths help my understanding of my own.

(Just do not seek to claim that one set of doctrines is the ONLY set that God approves of...... )
GreenAppleKing On April 23, 2015

Deleted



, United States (general)
#2New Post! Jul 03, 2014 @ 12:30:39
@dookie Said


Just do not seek to claim that one set of doctrines is the ONLY set that God approves of....



Or else what?
dookie On July 26, 2019
Foolish Bonbu





, United Kingdom
#3New Post! Jul 03, 2014 @ 12:47:21
@GreenAppleKing Said

Or else what?



The final comment was just a lighthearted comment. However, I would just say that my own attitude towards one who disagrees with me is to offer arguments against their views. It is NOT to call them names such as "anti-christ" or "apostate", nor do I tell them to throw the books which support their own case into the waste bin......as you have done.

Again, in most cases I seek to answer them, not turn tail and run, which appears to be your own modus operandi.

(Just to say, my use of such phrases as "modus operandi" is just my weird sense of humour which few seem to share)

Bless you.



(please accept the above as passive agression..... )
GreenAppleKing On April 23, 2015

Deleted



, United States (general)
#4New Post! Jul 03, 2014 @ 13:05:00
@dookie Said

The final comment was just a lighthearted comment.



oh
dookie On July 26, 2019
Foolish Bonbu





, United Kingdom
#5New Post! Jul 03, 2014 @ 16:49:33
@dookie Said

And I truly find that the expression of the Word in other Faiths help my understanding of my own.


Just to add to this. Also, to read of the lives, and to read the testimonies, the words, of others of various Faiths as they seek to give voice to their actual experience of "enlightenment", or being found have been chosen, or the actuality of grace......to hear them express the selfsame thing but couched in varied words, supports and helps me see the reality that is often hidden from us in this world. As I have sought to say before, in Christian terms, the "work of Christ" goes far beyond our own experience or beliefs. And rather than fight such a thought, it should be cause to rejoice.
dookie On July 26, 2019
Foolish Bonbu





, United Kingdom
#6New Post! Jul 03, 2014 @ 20:45:29
Having whipped up a degree of interest ( ) I will proceed. Interfaith dialogue is frowned upon by some, their opinion being that if one has the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, then why enter into dialogue with another "truth"? However, for those interested, the Buddhist concept of "sunyata" (or "emptiness" ) is seen to be in correspondence with the mysticism of those in the Christian Tradition such as Eckhart and Jacob Bohme, in as much as their understanding of God is that as the "ineffable".......the "groundless". The tragedy is, that to mention "mystic" to some is to suggest the bending of spoons and suchlike, if not Ouija Boards and suchlike.....Rather than to see it as a rich source of Christian revelation of the Divine, by those who have sought the experience that belief can only point towards.

One interesting dialogue took place between the Christian Theologian John Hick and the zen Buddhist Masao Abe. In this dialogue, Hick acknowledged that even within the monotheistic faiths the experience of God differed......the Jewish experience, the Christian experience of the Heavenly Father, the Muslim experience of Allah. And these themselves differed even more radically with the Buddhist and Hindu forms of religious experience. And yet each of these great spiritual traditions seems to be more or less equally effective as a context of the salvific transformation of human beings from self-centeredness to a re-centering in some manifestation of the ultimate. That they apparently produce essentially the same human transformation - though taking varying concrete forms within different cultures - suggests that through these traditions the same ultimate transforming reality is affecting us.

This is because - as is suggested by John Hick - our human experience is always culturally conditioned. Or, as an ancient Hindu text says..."Thou art formless; thy only form is our knowledge of Thee"

Well, that's enough.

EDIT:- the words given in italics are those of John Hick, from the book "Masao Abe: A Zen Life of Dialogue"
chaski On about 2 hours ago
Stalker





Tree at Floydgirrl's Window,
#7New Post! Jul 03, 2014 @ 21:53:32
I don't believe in "the word".

The very idea of "the word" is a failed and necessarily flawed attempt of humans to define their god and put limitations on their god.

Thus the Buddha, at least initially, resisted having his teaching documented.

Zen masters use seemingly nonsensical koans... nonsensical phrases..words... to shock or trick the follower into enlightenment.

I suspect that Jesus was much the same, this is demonstrated by the very few recorded things that he said and the way he said them. (The vast majority of the NT being the words of others...

The converse is religion. Christianity, as an example, IMO, has fallen prey to this "word"... and the need to interpret "the word" with other words.

It seems probable that Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and other religions have also fallen prey to "the word" and human need to "define" it with words.

It is quite possible that primitive "religions" were closer to "the word" simply because they, it would appear, did not spend excessive time writing words that define "the word"... and in fact did not seem to perceive "the word".

I expect that Joseph Campbell might disagree with me, as might be demonstrated in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces... as might Jung.

On the other hand, if there is a universal or collective conscious or unconscious... it would best be realized by not calling it "the word" nor limiting it to the descriptive words of humans... again IMO.

There again, Campbell and Jung would likely disagree with me...religious leaders and followers definitely would tend to disagree with me.

alex_simms On March 03, 2019




Glastonbury, United Kingdom
#8New Post! Jul 04, 2014 @ 04:28:40
Hi Dookie,

Here is a poem by Kabir:

"Find the word, understand the word,
Depend on the word;
The word is heaven and space, the word the earth,
The word the universe.
The word is in our ears, the word is on our tongues,
The word the idol.
The word is the holy book, the word is harmony,
The word is music.
The word is magic, the word the Guru.
The word is the body, the word is the spirit, the word is being,
The word Not-being.
The word is man, the word is woman,
The Worshipped Great.
The word is the seen and unseen, the word is the existent
And the non-existent.
Know the word, says Kabir,
The word is All-powerful."

Yes the Word certainly get around :>
dookie On July 26, 2019
Foolish Bonbu





, United Kingdom
#9New Post! Jul 04, 2014 @ 07:38:34
@chaski Said

I don't believe in "the word".

The very idea of "the word" is a failed and necessarily flawed attempt of humans to define their god and put limitations on their god.

Thus the Buddha, at least initially, resisted having his teaching documented.

Zen masters use seemingly nonsensical koans... nonsensical phrases..words... to shock or trick the follower into enlightenment.

I suspect that Jesus was much the same, this is demonstrated by the very few recorded things that he said and the way he said them. (The vast majority of the NT being the words of others...

The converse is religion. Christianity, as an example, IMO, has fallen prey to this "word"... and the need to interpret "the word" with other words.

It seems probable that Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and other religions have also fallen prey to "the word" and human need to "define" it with words.

It is quite possible that primitive "religions" were closer to "the word" simply because they, it would appear, did not spend excessive time writing words that define "the word"... and in fact did not seem to perceive "the word".

I expect that Joseph Campbell might disagree with me, as might be demonstrated in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces... as might Jung.

On the other hand, if there is a universal or collective conscious or unconscious... it would best be realized by not calling it "the word" nor limiting it to the descriptive words of humans... again IMO.

There again, Campbell and Jung would likely disagree with me...religious leaders and followers definitely would tend to disagree with me.



I would agree. Even the term Living Word can mislead.

The "silence of the Buddha" in respect of metaphysical questions is well documented.

This can be drawn from a Theravada Text......A monk, Kassapa, is questioning the Buddha....

"Then is suffering caused by oneself?"

"Do not put it like that Kassapa"

"Then is suffering caused by another?"

"Do not put it like that Kassapa"

"Then is suffering caused both by oneself and another?"

"Do not put it like that Kassapa"

"Then is suffering neither caused by oneself or another?"

"Do not put it like that Kassapa"

"Then there is no suffering?"

"It is not a fact that there is no suffering: there is suffering, Kassapa"

"Then does Master Gotama (the Buddha) neither know nor see suffering?"

"It is not a fact that I neither know nor see suffering: I both know and see suffering, Kassapa"

In effect we are being asked to "come and see" (for oneself), or in Pali "ehipassiko".

The same sort of exchange can be found for much else.......life after death, the beginnings of the world, etc etc.

Alas, most begin with conclusions and do not LOOK.
dookie On July 26, 2019
Foolish Bonbu





, United Kingdom
#10New Post! Jul 04, 2014 @ 08:00:30
@alex_simms Said

Hi Dookie,

Here is a poem by Kabir:

"Find the word, understand the word,
Depend on the word;
The word is heaven and space, the word the earth,
The word the universe.
The word is in our ears, the word is on our tongues,
The word the idol.
The word is the holy book, the word is harmony,
The word is music.
The word is magic, the word the Guru.
The word is the body, the word is the spirit, the word is being,
The word Not-being.
The word is man, the word is woman,
The Worshipped Great.
The word is the seen and unseen, the word is the existent
And the non-existent.
Know the word, says Kabir,
The word is All-powerful."

Yes the Word certainly get around :>


Thanks.

It seems to me to be a poem of realisation.

My own "way" (if I can give such a stumbling mess so fine a term..... ) is the negative way, the way of unknowing. Exemplified in the Christian tradition by those like St John of the Cross....

In order to arrive at having pleasure in everything, Desire to have pleasure in nothing.
In order to arrive at possessing everything, Desire to possess nothing.
In order to arrive at being everything, Desire to be nothing.
In order to arrive at knowing everything, Desire to know nothing.

In order to arrive at that point where you take no pleasure, you must go by a way that gives no pleasure.
In order to arrive at that point where you know nothing, you must go by a way you do not know.
In order to arrive at that point where you are free of possessing, you must go by a way you do not possess.
In order to arrive at that point at which you are nothing, you must go through that which you are not.


(Ascent of Mount Carmel, book I chapter 13, section 11)

I went forth…
Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart.
This light guided me
More surely than the light of noonday,
To the place where he (well I knew who!) was awaiting me
-- A place where none appeared.
Oh, night that guided me,
Oh, night more lovely than the dawn,
Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover,
Lover transformed in the Beloved!


Again from "Ascent to Mount Carmel"

So spoke a Catholic saint. Here is the Pure Land "saint" Saichi, who earned his living as a cobbler, whose training ground was the kitchen sink, not a monastery....

"O Saichi, will you tell us of Other Power?
Yes, but there is neither Other Power nor self power.
What is, is the Graceful Acceptance only" (From Saichi's Journals)
dookie On July 26, 2019
Foolish Bonbu





, United Kingdom
#11New Post! Jul 05, 2014 @ 07:55:18
Moving on, for many today - and for many in the past - the Living Word is the eternally manifest word, the same yesterday, today and forever,in which we live and move and have our being.

(References for the above, for those seeking Biblical confirmation, are The Prologue to St John's Gospel, Hebrews 13:8 and Acts 17:28)

Given this, it can be seen that those who seek to restrict salvation to those who have heard of and accepted ("believe in" ) the truth of the historical Incarnation, and more, the doctrines associated with this, would in effect be claiming that since the historical Incarnation the gateway to salvation has been narrowed.......which is exactly what they do claim! The "narrow way". Apparently such was/is the plan of God, who "wills that all be saved" (but has mysterious ways of showing it.) For such, as Merton has said, Christ has locked all doors, has given one answer, settled everything and departed, leaving all life enclosed in the frightful consistency of a system outside of which there is seriousness and damnation while nowhere is there any place left for the mystery of the freedom of divine mercy which alone is truly serious, and worthy of being taken seriously.

While such can no doubt point to a few verses in the Bible to support their claims and beliefs, far more can be found that support the deeper Christian Tradition that speaks of the Living Word as eternally manifest.

A tradition which opens the Christian Faith to genuine dialogue with all others.
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