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Prayer and devotional practices

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Prayer and devotional practices Pål R 9/20/16 1:11 AM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Kim Katami 9/20/16 4:02 AM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Marty G 9/20/16 5:08 AM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Noah D 9/20/16 1:05 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Marty G 9/20/16 3:37 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Pål R 9/20/16 4:19 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Marty G 9/21/16 4:13 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Pål R 9/23/16 3:21 AM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Simon Liu 9/23/16 2:56 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Pål R 9/23/16 5:37 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Noah D 9/22/16 7:57 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Kim Katami 9/20/16 4:27 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Marty G 9/21/16 4:18 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Simon Liu 9/20/16 7:59 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Banned For waht? 9/24/16 10:58 AM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Banned For waht? 9/21/16 1:38 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Banned For waht? 9/25/16 5:56 AM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Ostaron 9/22/16 10:34 AM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Noah D 9/22/16 7:59 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Pål R 9/26/16 3:10 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Simon Liu 9/22/16 10:57 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Stick Man 9/27/16 3:25 AM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Pål R 9/27/16 5:22 AM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Simon Liu 9/27/16 9:10 AM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Matt 9/27/16 12:05 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Ostaron 9/27/16 3:50 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Pål R 9/27/16 4:08 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Noah D 9/27/16 5:31 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Pål R 9/28/16 12:42 AM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Noah D 9/28/16 9:42 AM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Pål R 9/28/16 10:07 AM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Noah D 9/28/16 11:34 AM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Simon Liu 9/28/16 10:16 AM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Simon Liu 9/28/16 10:20 AM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Pål R 9/28/16 3:47 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Pål R 9/28/16 3:41 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Marty G 9/28/16 3:43 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Stick Man 9/28/16 9:10 PM
RE: Prayer and devotional practices Stick Man 9/28/16 10:59 AM
Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/20/16 1:11 AM
Have you experienced any benefits of such practices aside from developement of concentration? Can Bhakti Yoga and the like be a tool for insight, an if so, how? With that goal in mind, what is proper and improper devotional love of some concept of God? I feel inclined to bhakti, but I'm not really a believer when I start thinking about it. 

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/20/16 4:02 AM as a reply to Pål R.
Pål R:
Have you experienced any benefits of such practices aside from developement of concentration? Can Bhakti Yoga and the like be a tool for insight, an if so, how? With that goal in mind, what is proper and improper devotional love of some concept of God? I feel inclined to bhakti, but I'm not really a believer when I start thinking about it. 
Hej Pål,

I've done quite a bit of that. Just a week ago I wrote this: http://openheartopenheart.blogspot.fi/2016/09/good-and-bad-devotion.html

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/20/16 5:08 AM as a reply to Pål R.
Pål R:
Have you experienced any benefits of such practices aside from developement of concentration? Can Bhakti Yoga and the like be a tool for insight, an if so, how? With that goal in mind, what is proper and improper devotional love of some concept of God? I feel inclined to bhakti, but I'm not really a believer when I start thinking about it. 


This may be helpful, if you are seeking a Buddhist perspective. 


https://www.rigpa.org/en/teachings/extracts-of-articles-and-publications/more-articles-and-publications-/faith-devotion-and-wisdom.html


For myself any path without a devotional aspect, would be too dry, unfeeling and arid. Bhakti and intense discrimination can work well together for some people.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/20/16 1:05 PM as a reply to Pål R.
Bhakti helped me experience the a&p for the 1st time.  Before that, devotional practice in the form of diety yoga gave me some magickal effects in the forms of various hallucinations and life synchronicities.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/20/16 3:37 PM as a reply to Pål R.
A bit more on this : Theravada (generally) doesn't really understand 
devotion, even though most of the 'ordinary folk' in Buddhist Asia
perform prayerful and ritual acts often to a deity form (or venerated
monk/sage) just the same as many Christian do in the west. They pray for
both 'effects' (for self or family or friends) mostly and a certain
enjoyment that only the 'lover' or bhakta knows.

That sort of love is pretty much held in contempt (such
superstition!) or merely exploited (not always but often) by clever
clergy (more alms etc to the temple).

There is also a huge PureLand bhakti movement that is described  :

"Pure Land Buddhism
 offers a way to enlightenment for people who can't handle the subtleties of
meditation, endure long rituals, or just live especially good lives.."

When a Theravadan (not having a go at anyone here, just clarifying) asks
what use is there in bhakti? It's like asking what use is there in
loving someone? It's an odd question..

The correct answer may be: "There is much in it for you, but that can't be
your primary motive, because if it is, then it's not for you"

What I'm getting at is devotion in its higher form : "I'm not just after
effects of some type" goes passed "self". 'My' this, or that, is not the
focus.

The object of devotion moves 'you' passed self ( in the best
practice) therefore it reinforces no-self (not to mention metta, purification, mind training  and so
on), very strongly, hence it's utility in Buddhist as an immediately
self-transcending way. The self is vanished in that moment (only).

So there is a bit of koan in the process and it breaks down the whole, self-effort, self-striving, self, self, self suffering.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/20/16 4:19 PM as a reply to Marty G.
Thanks for everyones thoughts and links!
I'm trying to get as many useful perspectives on this as possible. Because of ...coincidences(?) I'm currently experimenting with christian mysticism alongside thai forest practices. 

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/20/16 4:27 PM as a reply to Marty G.
I always thought it would have been a lot better had it been pure land buddhism instead of zen or other schools of buddhism that has become so popular in the West. emoticon

Just a couple of days ago I was asking in one FB-group if anyone knew about a group or a school of devotional buddhism that really emphasises the heart, through meditation and chanting in a groovy way. I don't know any. Hindus on the other hand got their grooves down...

I heard David Brazier say that he once heard (from a source that I don't remember) that the buddhists used to chant in the same way in ancient times as hare krishnas do today. Whether it's really true or not doesn't matter but singing from one's heart can really cut to the core... And it's much easier than most other practices.

I was just talking about this with a Tibetan lama who after a long history of several decades in vajrayana and dzogchen felt something was missing there. It's the heart, the inner heart, that was and is missing in buddhism. There are titles like "heart of mindfulness", "heart sutra" and so on but it's mostly in the head... a mental emphasis, masculine approach. 

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/20/16 7:59 PM as a reply to Pål R.
God is just a word, a concept, or an idea.Say that word, and everyone will fill in their mind with images and concept that is different and unique from the other person's concept of god.

Why not just deal with reality? Union with god? Whose god are you in union with? Christian god, Hindu god, Islamic god? You see, endless concepts.

Just practice towards enlightenment without concept then you can decide what nibbana is.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/21/16 1:38 PM as a reply to Pål R.
Paweł K:
God comes to those whose hearts burns with love to God. Not because something lacking and God can fill it or to get you relief, these things are not what God is for. Only reason to love God because it is pure awesomeness as it is and you know by experiencing it. If you are with God then you are with God, if you aren't then you aren't. People practice devotion, surrender themeselves to God, etc. and all this is just to avoid actually experiencing God which can be done all the time.

Only practice that is not a some kind of pathetic joke is already experiencing Divine Union with God.
And that is it, and it holds true even if you do not know how or where to begin. You need to feel it not do it.
Ok, but how about this. You fell in love with a really good sensation and you can't let go and you don't want to let go of it and it even doesn't make sense to do it. But you read from a sutra, a saint quote that its a hindrance and leads to bad results, so how you work with that to get pass that point?

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/21/16 4:13 PM as a reply to Pål R.
Pål R:
Thanks for everyones thoughts and links!
I'm trying to get as many useful perspectives on this as possible. Because of ...coincidences(?) I'm currently experimenting with christian mysticism alongside thai forest practices. 

Brilliant combination, friend, stick with it. Pretty much garunteed you are a trail blazer there! Keep notes, explore and test to the maximum, that's how the traditons evolve. 

Marty

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/21/16 4:18 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim, nice sentiments. I guess the heart as emotional /feeling centre is lumped with 'thought' and thus 'gets the flick' in vispassana. In other traditions it may given a special emphasis outside of (just) thinking mind.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/22/16 10:34 AM as a reply to Pål R.
Pål, there was a discussion recently on Sufism at the streamentry reddit group that you might find useful. https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/comments/4zimii/practice_an_introduction_to_sufism_and_its/ 

Also, this sort of follow up: https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/comments/50d78u/how_is_your_practice_week_of_29_august_2016/d737wvr

Arahant0 is a pragmatic dharma practitioner, for the most part, it seems. 

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/22/16 7:59 PM as a reply to Ostaron.
Benjie O K:

Arahant0 is a pragmatic dharma practitioner, for the most part, it seems. 
Indeed, as a friend I can vouch that he is quite pragmatic in his approach.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/22/16 7:57 PM as a reply to Pål R.
Pål R:
alongside thai forest practices. 
You may want to talk to Dhammarato, he doesn't charge for the Dhamma, and was a direct student of Ajahn Buddhadasa.  Available by Skype and e-mail.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/22/16 10:57 PM as a reply to Pål R.
God is what the left brain tells the being when the being feels insecure and wants to feel secure. God did not create men, but men created god.

Left brain likes to interpret instead of just leaving experience as an experience. Absorption of the mind is simply unification of the mind, but for the religious the left brain just cant let it go and has to give a label to that experience.

Can we just let go of the unknowable, and know the knowable?

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/23/16 3:21 AM as a reply to Marty G.
I hope so! It's fun anyway. 

My own relationship to God is quite complicated though. He says he loves me and treats me well and I believe him but everywhere I hear these rumors, like him being almighty, which when you think about it, makes him look like a cruel person. So I tell him "I feel like I don't know you anymore" but then he goes "But who are YOU?" and then shit gets all psychedelic and I freak out. 

(This is allegory)

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/23/16 2:56 PM as a reply to Pål R.
Pål R:
I hope so! It's fun anyway. 

My own relationship to God is quite complicated though. He says he loves me and treats me well and I believe him but everywhere I hear these rumors, like him being almighty, which when you think about it, makes him look like a cruel person. So I tell him "I feel like I don't know you anymore" but then he goes "But who are YOU?" and then shit gets all psychedelic and I freak out. 

(This is allegory)

How do you know you have a relationship with a god instead of having a relationship with "what you like to be there (in this case a god)"?
How do you interpret your raw experience as an experience with god? For example, Buddha said the 1st jhana is the experience of initial thought, sustained thought, ratpure, happiness, and equanimity. There is the unification of the mind, a total absorption.

When a Catholic has this jhana, she calls it a union with god. As she continued her practice, she experienced not-self. She doesn't know a thing about Buddhism. She came to the same conclusion regarding not-self. Prior to not-self, she calls her jhana an union with god. This is just because she grew up in a Christian family so she believes in a god because people told her there is a god. She can't possibly know what god is. She just fills her head with the biased perception that she knows god.

Dr Emerson Brook grew up in a Christian family. He so loved god that he wanted to become a preacher but was raped by his Christian pastor at age 15. Why a loving, ubiqutous, omniscient, and all powerful god did not protect his beloved child who loved him so much? The rape led him into hard drugs. Buddha's teaching saved him.

Michelle Knight prayed for 13 years to God to save her from the kidnapping in Chicago where she was shackled, raped 5 times a day, beaten, confined, and fed lousy food for 13 years. Why would god allow her to be tortured?

When thinking about god, one needs to test the hypothesis. So many Christians only look at positive cases and refused to look at the negative cases to see if the theory of god makes sense. If scientists only look at positive evidence, then we would still be in dark ages. They have a predispostion to have a blind faith and then listen to every story the left brain tells. Left brain always reinforces stories it tells.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/23/16 5:37 PM as a reply to Simon Liu.
For an interesting perspective, look up negative theology, then read all the suttas you can find on nibbana and cosmological questions. Aldo, as have been suggested above, sufism is cool. But what do I know.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/24/16 10:58 AM as a reply to Simon Liu.
Simon Liu:
God is just a word, a concept, or an idea.Say that word, and everyone will fill in their mind with images and concept that is different and unique from the other person's concept of god.

Why not just deal with reality? Union with god? Whose god are you in union with? Christian god, Hindu god, Islamic god? You see, endless concepts.

Just practice towards enlightenment without concept then you can decide what nibbana is.
If you serve me, you are serving God. But i think its too hard nut to crack to make it ingestable, it requiers some wisdom.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/25/16 5:56 AM as a reply to Banned For waht?.
Paweł K:
Rist Ei:
Ok, but how about this. You fell in love with a really good sensation and you can't let go and you don't want to let go of it and it even doesn't make sense to do it. But you read from a sutra, a saint quote that its a hindrance and leads to bad results, so how you work with that to get pass that point?

I do not intend to go past any point out of this world but change it to how I see fit, how it is in my reference experience. That is essence of being alive, to resist the system, improve it from within, using own assumptions of what is right.

there is a saying within my tribe: 'kto bogatemu zabroni?'
it can be viewed from many fitting sides. Something would be lost in translation so I did not, did it.
ok, i try not to force thinking, makes me feel like im not different than any other person who tells how things must be done, i can see there clinging to accomplishments or directed thought.

But do you do something in order to get "new" tastes or stages? I wonder how you get new things, discoveries? perhaps on a scale you would abandon your entire previous tech tree, because new one is much better.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/26/16 3:10 PM as a reply to Ostaron.
That was an interesting read! Usually sufism is worked within an initiatory context, like tantra and western esotericism. I don't think it's very common that people stumble upon it in that way.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/27/16 3:25 AM as a reply to Pål R.
I thought there is no god/brahman/supreme eternal creator in buddhism ? Can't see why buddhists would be praying to one - apart from anthropological reasons, or as concentration practice.
I can see how zikr, chanting etc are concentration practices, and psychological games played with the self - even if at the end of the path there is no self/god duality.

I went to schools where prayer is mandatory (our Father who art etc & blah), none of them were answered.
Even grace said over the school meal - the point of that ? Better to simply enjoy your food mindfully without any shows of gratitude to an external creator who doesn't exist, no divine hand will snatch your plate away just because you failed to say grace. But it is a good way to get people not to complain about crappy food being slopped onto their platters.
Dear god, thank you for this horrible salty mashed potato, ooh aren't we lucky emoticon

Or, another way of looking at it, God gives things to people who are ungrateful anyway, and apple trees don't moan about the nature of the people taking their apples, but you won't notice how nice the apples look if you're holding a conversation with jehovah.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/27/16 5:22 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
Let's discuss practice and not buddhist, christian or other dogma. Most contemplative traditions view love of God (however God is defined) as the best object of concentration and I'm gathering perspectives on why or why not this might be the case. Maybe it's just because it's an enjoyable thing to meditate on. 

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/27/16 9:10 AM as a reply to Pål R.
How do you meditate on that which you dont know anything about? Why not meditate on loving kindness, compassion, equanimity, and sympathetic joy?

Why cant people just focus on what they know until the journey leads them to the truth? This is why Buddha didnt elaborate on what enlightenment is, because that just invites millions of interpretations and imagination.

I dont think there ever was a beginning. Universe is infinite containing infinite galaxies which have come into existence and have vanished as well constantly.

You have a clinging for a god but the first enlightenment is the abandoning of believes, rituals, and ceremonies. If you cling to god, then will be hard to attain 1st stage of enlightenment.

If there is something out there that wants us to know about this something then this something will lead us to know it. No need to create a word or a concept with no meaning but just for feeling good

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/27/16 12:05 PM as a reply to Pål R.
Pål R:
Let's discuss practice and not buddhist, christian or other dogma. Most contemplative traditions view love of God (however God is defined) as the best object of concentration and I'm gathering perspectives on why or why not this might be the case. Maybe it's just because it's an enjoyable thing to meditate on. 

Something like 'love of God' has always been a bit of a mystery to me.  I experience metta practice as a 'fake it till you make it' practice, and as such does not feel genuine.  I think this is, in part, that I'm full of expectations and conditioning around those concepts... something about that situation makes me feel the practice is mostly wishfull thinking.  I do think I could gain something from it if I could work it enough.  That said, I find vipassana practice relativily easy to fathom and put energy and faith into, and it has been impactful.  One little aspect of trying to get better at equanimous awareness of sensaitons is that I found I needed to develop a soft and accepting approach to my own moment-to-moment 'failings' at awareness, which in essence may be loving kindness to myself.  AND, this loving kindness with regard to my own efforts has translated directly to my attitude with respect to circumstances around me.  So, maybe vipassana itself can be a different path up the metta mountain.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/27/16 3:50 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
John:
I thought there is no god/brahman/supreme eternal creator in buddhism ? Can't see why buddhists would be praying to one - apart from anthropological reasons, or as concentration practice.
I can see how zikr, chanting etc are concentration practices, and psychological games played with the self - even if at the end of the path there is no self/god duality.

I went to schools where prayer is mandatory (our Father who art etc & blah), none of them were answered.
Even grace said over the school meal - the point of that ? Better to simply enjoy your food mindfully without any shows of gratitude to an external creator who doesn't exist, no divine hand will snatch your plate away just because you failed to say grace. But it is a good way to get people not to complain about crappy food being slopped onto their platters.
Dear god, thank you for this horrible salty mashed potato, ooh aren't we lucky emoticon

Or, another way of looking at it, God gives things to people who are ungrateful anyway, and apple trees don't moan about the nature of the people taking their apples, but you won't notice how nice the apples look if you're holding a conversation with jehovah.

John, I have a lot of empathy for you here. I grew up in a very religious evangelical christian family, and I recognise a lot of your complaints about the God concept. 

There's a distinction to be made between the naive view of the divine that you and I grew up with - a creator God that you pray to who grants wishes - and the conception of the divine that ideas like Brahma express. (The total field of Everything, the Source, etc)

Incidentally, there is a concept that is kiiiiiiiind of like Brahma/the Source in Mahayana buddhism - the dharmakaya. I only have the shallowest understanding of the idea, so perhaps I'm way off base. 

I've started to notice, as my ideas around the concept of the divine soften*, how often a lot of buddhist teachers I deeply respect make reference to things like the Source. Shinzen Young talks about it with regularity - I can't find the link right now, but in a Youtube video when he was describing what his subjective experience is like, he says when he looks at people, he can "see the source loving them in to existence." 

Sounds pretty divine to me. 

Rob Burbea has a series of talks that explore different ways of thinking about divinity that I highly reccomend. It's called A Sacred Universe: A Sacred Universe: Insight, Theophany, Cosmopoesis. http://dharmaseed.org/retreats/2678/?page=2

*I'll weaken my own argument here by acknowledging that I have no idea if there is or is not anything you could really call the divine, or if these are skilful concepts to use, or not. If there is, though, then I think it's (it being me, you, this rock, that bird, everything) all divine, or none of it is. Maybe? 

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/27/16 4:08 PM as a reply to Ostaron.
I've been wondering if there is any concept similiar to Shinzens Source in the suttas or in theravadin tradition. It can't be Brahma which in the suttas is a deluded demiurge similiar to the Valentinian demiurge. Shinzen himself admitts to doing native american devotional practice besides buddhism which is very interesting. He is also interested in other kinds of mysticism as well, like christian mysticism and kabbalah, but he doesn't practice them. 

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/27/16 5:31 PM as a reply to Pål R.
I think Shinzen's Source would correspond to the Pali Canon's Unconditioned. The Mahayanist Dharmakaya (and also Buddha Nature) would contrast this via the Heart Sutras formulation on form & emptiness.  

Dogma Shmogma

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/28/16 12:42 AM as a reply to Noah D.
But nowhere that I know of in the canon is it said that stuff comes from the Unconditioned, which would make it kind of unnatural to call it a source. Considering mystical traditions over all though, I wouldn't be surprised if the Unconditioned of the suttas is objectively the same "thing" as Shibzens Source and the God of negative theology.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/28/16 9:42 AM as a reply to Pål R.
Agreed, they don't say it comes "from" the unconditioned.  However, in practice, Shinzen talks about simultaneous expansion and contraction of perceived reality, and how noting "gone" is a powerful practice to get to the "source" from which it expands out of and contracts into.  Traditional and post traditional Mahasi teachers like Ron Crouch and Steve Armstrong talk about syncing up with absolute endings of sensations, which leads to cessation.  To me this sounds like "the source which they're contracting into."

edit:  granted, this argument lacks reference to the Pali, but that's the whole idea of the commentatorial traditions - they clarify or flesh out aspects of the Canon.  Specifically, the Canon emphasizes integration of the 3 trainings, not isolated, phenomenological descriptions of the wisdom training.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/28/16 10:07 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Or maybe we could call it the abyss which things contract into. I'll se with practice. Maybe it's skillfull to love this source and endpoint and call it divine. 

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/28/16 10:16 AM as a reply to Pål R.
Pål R:
But nowhere that I know of in the canon is it said that stuff comes from the Unconditioned, which would make it kind of unnatural to call it a source. Considering mystical traditions over all though, I wouldn't be surprised if the Unconditioned of the suttas is objectively the same "thing" as Shibzens Source and the God of negative theology.

Why there needs to be a source? Isn't that just an assumption?

Why don't we just know what we know? If we want to find the answer to this mystery, we just go on a journey to find the answer, but before we find the answer we don't imagine what the answer is going to be. When we define a word or concept without knowing anything about it, we hinder our search for answer. What happens is that our mind becomes prejudiced and we find what we want to see instead of finding the real answer.

There is neither a god nor a source. We are on a journey to go as far as we can to see what we find. That is it. Whatever we find we will know. Until then, whatever word or concept we use it is just a flawed word or concept because it is not what we imagine.

If you have never eaten a guava, you will never know how it tastes even if someone is to describe to you the taste. To know what it taste you like, you have to not know anything about guava and then eat one. You will know what is really tastes like without any preconceived notion.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/28/16 10:20 AM as a reply to Simon Liu.
Nibbana has nothing to do with source. Nibbana is simple energy in equilibrium.

Buddha deliberately did not describe Nibbana because we need to find out for ourselves what is nibbana.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/28/16 10:59 AM as a reply to Ostaron.
Yeah why does Shinzen go on about source ?

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/28/16 11:34 AM as a reply to Pål R.
Pål R:
Or maybe we could call it the abyss which things contract into. I'll se with practice. Maybe it's skillfull to love this source and endpoint and call it divine. 
Yes, particularly if you're drawn to devotional practices, which I think you are, based on reading you for awhile now.

When I find myself trying to over control things or have too high expectations, I do practice smiling into the bottomless pit.

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/28/16 3:41 PM as a reply to Simon Liu.
I kind of get your point. I used to think similiarly until I got into western esotericism where you work with symbolic, often theological concepts much like in vajrayana branches of buddhism. Holding on to dogma is of course always a hindrance, but reflecting on symbols seems to work as a tool for insight. People who do it intensively within initiatory systems seem to go through something similiar to the nanas. 

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/28/16 3:43 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
I think Shinzen's Source would correspond to the Pali Canon's Unconditioned. The Mahayanist Dharmakaya (and also Buddha Nature) would contrast this via the Heart Sutras formulation on form & emptiness.  

Dogma Shmogma


Shinzen Young: Okay. Traditionally in Buddhism, the historical Buddha negated certain ideas about God. So it’s interesting—you don’t have many Buddhist Fundamentalists, okay? But they can exist and in the Theravada world in Southeast Asia—Theravada is the form of Buddhism that in some ways is most similar to early Buddhism of about 2,500 years ago.So in Theravada, most of the teachers are broad-minded but you do have some Fundamentalists there as elsewhere. The Fundamentalists don’t like the G word. They don’t like God because they say the Buddha said there is no God. So that’s already interesting. What the Buddha denied was the naïve notion of a creator God. So from a certain Fundamentalist—it’s sort of weird, right? Because in other religions the Fundamentalists like affirming God, right?But in Buddhism, at least in the Theravada form of Buddhism, among a small group of Fundamentalists Buddhists in Southeast Asia, if you bring up the G word, you’ll get a very negative response. They’ll point to scripture. Just the reverse, right, of the Western world, to point to scripture. “Well, the Buddha said there is no creator God. So that’s it.Now I’m not saying that’s characteristic of all even most of Theravada. But you will actually find Buddhist Fundamentalists who quote Buddhist scripture to say there is no God because the Buddha was against a naïve notion of a creator God. I think we all know what a naïve notion of a creator God can be.However,  as you point out, well, guess what? You’ve got Thich Nhat Hanh who is a Buddhist leader and he uses the G word all the time. A contemporary Buddhist leader. And he’s not alone. There’s a very prominent Theravada teacher named S. M. Palanka. He teaches the Vipassana meditation all over the world and he sometimes will talk about nirvana and he’ll say that’s our goal and if you wanted to call this God, yeah, you could call this God.Then you have my teacher, Hoshu Sasaki Roshi who is arguably the senior living Buddhist master in the world at 104 years old, a Japanese Zen Master, still fully active in teaching, and he lives in the United States, not too far from where you are relatively, in Mount Baldy, California just east of LA. He does not speak English much so he’s not really known or recognized in the United States but if he spoke English he would be recognized as one of the most important Buddhist teachers in the world. Anyway, he uses the God word all the time. All the time. So what you have is more Fundamentalist Buddhist teachers tend to shy away from the G word but a lot of other modern Buddhist teachers have no trouble with it whatsoever. So you have to understand what they are talking about when they’re talking about God. They are not talking about a concept. They are not talking about a revelation because actually Buddhist scriptures reveal there is no naïve creator God, okay? So what are they talking about? They’re talking about an experience. An experience that can be described many, many ways. Because it can be described many, many ways the descriptions may even seem paradoxical when you start to line them up. Remember I said that I’m a hard-nosed rationalist skeptic philosophically?But I’ve devoted my life to directing people to an experience that is beyond time and space and what I would call the source of consciousness, which is the source of experience and since self and world are known only through experience, I can point people to an experience that could be described as Source. And if we want to call it the source of consciousness or the source of moment-by-moment experience. But when a person contacts it, it fulfills all the things that people would want from God.

http://skeptiko.com/buddhist-meditation-teacher-shinzen-young-on-god/

Enbolden text could be useful feedback for another poster.

Marty

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/28/16 3:47 PM as a reply to Simon Liu.
Are you familiar with negative theology? If not, please look it up. 

RE: Prayer and devotional practices
Answer
9/28/16 9:10 PM as a reply to Marty G.
OK so Thich Nhat Hanh references god too. I thought the buddhist scriptures were pretty clear - going into how he tells disciples clearly that the existant brahmanic god philosophy at the time was not true.

Shinzen says "Traditionally, in Buddhism, the historical Buddha negated certain ideas about God"

But it's not just certain ideas, but rather the existence of it itself, isn't it ? So is he misrepresenting the Buddha's position here ?

Following scripture on the subject of god doesn't seem to be the same sort of fundamentalism that makes people believe Jesus really walked on water or the Earth is 6,000 years old, but rather just paying serious attention to a philosophy as expounded by the founder. It's not clear why he uses the term fundamentalism as a semi pejorative.

Does this mean Shinzen and Thich Nhat Hanh havn't got as far as the Buddha in their journey to truth ?

Or is it, as Shinzen says about the Dalai Lama, a marketing job - selling familiar concepts to the masses (the ones that resonate with existing religions) before giving them the no-self bit. That's kind of the impression I get about Thich Nhat Hanh.

Thanks for the excerpt, I've not read much buddhist scripture so it will be interesting to read what people say on this.