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#72877 09/24/02 06:54 PM
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Dear David,

Mor Ephrem means that we cannot accept anything simply on the authority of others,(what if they are in error?), but because we recognize it to be the truth in our hearts and minds.

Alex

#72878 09/24/02 07:21 PM
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Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear David,

Mor Ephrem means that we cannot accept anything simply on the authority of others,(what if they are in error?), but because we recognize it to be the truth in our hearts and minds.

Alex
Alex,
Thank you for the clarification but.....

I bet you knew I would have a "but" here didn't you.

If we hear the truth, but we do not recognize it to be the truth, are we still bound by it? Does it make it any less of a truth?

On a side note, is this really the place to be talking about buddhism or any other non-catholic religion? I know there are some things that could be learn from them but are they necessary to life our faith?

I find that discussion such as this can cause problems. People who are not grounded in the faith, who might not be as able as others to discern truth, can be lead astray.

Just a thought.

David

#72879 09/24/02 07:34 PM
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Dear David,

I think we can view Buddhism and other world religions as: 1) cultural and philosophical systems and 2) as somehow being "Old Testaments" preparing the people for Christ.

This is how the Fathers saw the pagan religions of the Greeks and Romans. St Augustine believed that the pagan Plato knew about the "true religion."

Plato and Aristotle have often been depicted in iconographic form in both East and West, without haloes of course, to show that their philosophy, like the conquests of Alexander the Great, were an "Old Testament medium" which prepared Europe for the reception of Christianity.

I mentioned how Greek monks reading the story of the Buddha thought him to be a Christian and placed him in the calendar of Saints under another name.

The story of "Barlaam and Joasaph" is still read as spiritual literature on Mt. Athos and was widely translated in the time of Kyivan Rus'.

Eastern Churches in Asia have developed a positive relationship with the non-Christian religious cultures that surround them. They strive to inculturate the Gospel to make Christ look less like an American and more Asian, as they should.

Christ calls Buddhists to His Salvation. And He and His Church reject nothing by way of spiritual method or philosophy that can help them achieve close union with Him.

Therefore, this is truly related to our Eastern Christian concerns.

The way I see it, anyhow . . .

Alex

#72880 09/24/02 08:02 PM
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Originally posted by DavidB:
If we hear the truth, but we do not recognize it to be the truth, are we still bound by it? Does it make it any less of a truth?
Thanks, Alex. What you said was exactly what I had in mind.

David, I don't think the Truth is relative. So, if we hear the Truth, whether we know it or not, it is now and always will be, unto the ages of ages (if you prefer), the Truth.

But people have to accept that. Would to God that we could all preach the Gospel so that everyone would automatically know from our conviction and our witness that it is the Truth. But it's not like that for most of us. So we can and must preach the Gospel to all. But there will always be people who are not convinced, who don't really believe it, etc. I don't think it is right to dogmatise on such people, saying they're being led astray, on the path to damnation, etc. Who are we to tell God how to go about the work of salvation? If God wants to, He can save anyone, wherever they're at, because ultimately it is God and God alone Who saves us.

Mind you, I'm not saying that every religion is equal to Catholicism/Orthodoxy, not by a longshot. But what I am saying is that there are a lot of people who haven't heard and a lot of people who have heard and are not convinced. I don't believe that God would just condemn these people for not understanding what they may not even have heard. Rather, I like to think that God will guide them to Himself, in whatever way He desires. And I, for one, don't intend on questioning His methods. He's much taller and stronger than I am. wink

#72881 09/24/02 09:26 PM
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Orthodox Catholic,

Regarding your link - yes I would tend to agree a good many Christians don't know very much about Christianity. I also would tend to agree that most of our Holly Wood Buddhist don't know very much about Buddhism either. I always found it interesting how California Buddhist tend never to resemble Buddhist of the Eastern world in moral teaching or self denial. They seemed to have a totaly different teaching all together. I remember a Politicaly Incorrect show (hosted by Bill Maher) where a Cali woman was a proffesed Buddhist, and bashed Christianity to include monastic life. LOL! As though Buddhism of the East has not a long and rich tradition in monasticism and self denial.

Justin

#72882 09/25/02 08:12 AM
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CIX!

Oooh I love this thread. Eastern religions, Indian food, great friends... I'm quite at home. Now if only we could all get together and have a potluck party. I do pretty good chinese food smile

I use a pair of tibetan bells in my own prayer...

Just my two obols!

in Domino,

Edward

#72883 09/25/02 12:45 PM
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Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear David,

I think we can view Buddhism and other world religions as: 1) cultural and philosophical systems and 2) as somehow being "Old Testaments" preparing the people for Christ.

This is how the Fathers saw the pagan religions of the Greeks and Romans. St Augustine believed that the pagan Plato knew about the "true religion."
While this is true Alex, one of the Fathers of the Church (can't remember off hand which one) did not believe that Mary was conceived immaculately.

So I do not feel too bad that I disagree with your number 2 above.

And I stand by my comment that the study and discussion of pagan religions may confuse and lead astray those who might not be solidly grounded in the faith and that it could even be dangerous to those who are grounded in the faith.

David

#72884 09/25/02 01:08 PM
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Dear David,

No one is saying you have to start praying in the lotus position.

We're talking about another spiritual culture and milieu in which millions of Christians live and consider their own by virtue of being citizens of Asia.

We're just saying that every Christian Church and tradition should be encouraged to inculturate itself in its surroundings as much as possible.

Nothing more than that.

I've studied the pagan traditions that the Ukrainians have adopted into their spiritual tradition, as well as those we North Americans have adopted.

And there are many, including the Christmas tree, originally part of the cult of the god of the Oaks, Odin.

"Kutya" or the boiled wheat with poppy-seeds was part of the pagan Indo-European tradition for thousands of years before Christianity came.

Even the icon corner is a Christianized pagan tradition as our pagan ancestors kept the images of their house gods in the main corner of their home, the most sacred corner that faced East.

St Peter in Acts had doubts about receiving Gentile pagans into the Church before having them adopt Judaism.

That was when he had the dream where a tablecloth laden with all sorts of food deemed unclean by Judaism was presented to him (it was lunchtime and he was hungry).

He rejected the food saying it was "unclean."

Then the voice came from Heaven saying, "Peter, do not say that that which I have blessed is unclean."

Anything made by man can be used to God's glory in Christ. Everything, as St Paul says, is made sacred through scripture and prayer, as long as it doesn't openly contradict Christian faith.

It was St Thomas Aquinas who denied the Immaculate Conception. But then that whole debate isn't ours to begin with.

St John Damascus, when confronted with the real possibility that St Epiphanius of Cyprus MAY have been against the liturgical use of icons said, "And just because one bird has sung does not mean that spring is here!"

Alex

#72885 09/25/02 01:13 PM
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Dear Edward,

Yes, how do you use those bells? I have a pair of chimes as well, a Tibetan shawl, prayerbeads, and a large sling-shot for good luck . . . wink

An acquaintance told me a Russian Orthodox academic wrote a review of Tibetan traditions and indicated how closely they compared to Orthodox ones.

On pilgrimage up their holy mountains, the Tibetans pray continuously on their beads with their hands draped in the "Katah" or shawl that they also drape over their particular icons.

And they make prostrations constantly on the way up.

They also have these prayer flags with scriptures and prayers that they fly outside and they believe that the wind blows their prayer up to heaven.

Alex

#72886 09/25/02 01:17 PM
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Dear Maximus,

The Westerners who say they are Buddhists can be rather ridiculous!

I think the real Buddhists have done tolerating them since the Malibu Beach crowd has really vulgarized Buddhist teachings and practices.

When the Jesuits were in Japan, they often felt the ire of the Buddhist monks there who opposed them. But the Jesuits wrote most favourably about the Buddhist monastics, saying that their spiritual exercises gave them perfect control over their bodies and minds. They were also surprised to see how devoted the Buddhists were to prayer beads.

Ten rounds of the 108 beads is a daily practice among many Buddists (they say "Om mane padme hum" or "Hail Jewel in the Lotus" and some Christians apply this to Jesus etc.)

One Buddhist tradition has a continuous string of 1080 beads, and they chant from one end to the other. The very long strand is kept in a "prayer basket."

I remember being in a restaurant in Hawaii when our server went on and on about the Hawaiian spiritual traditions - again I didn't believe for one second that she knew what she was talking about.

And every time she lifted her arms, her navel was exposed in my face - not a good mental appetizer.

I cut short the discussion by asking if she was originally from Malibu Beach.

"Why, yes!" she said with surprise. "How did you know?"

Lucky guess, do you think?

Alex

#72887 09/25/02 03:21 PM
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Dear Alex,

I use them thrice (or sometimes thrice three) before prayer, in imitation of the Russian bells I so love, in order to clear my head and get my mind focused.

Also, when my mind starts to wander, the silvery sound of the bells brings me sharply back to the prayer.

Just my two obols!

In Domino,

Edward

#72888 09/25/02 03:32 PM
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Certainly when His Holiness the Dalai Lama denounced abortion as contrary to the life-affirming principles of Buddhism, the buffet Buddhists of Hooie-wood experienced a dukkha day of Cecil B. Demille proportions.

Abdur

#72889 09/25/02 04:13 PM
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Hollywood sangha, riddle me this:

"Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I vow to cultivate responsibility and learn ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without love and a long-term commitment. To preserve the happiness of myself and others, I am determined to respect my commitments and the commitments of others. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct." - The Third Precept

Thich Nhat Hanh
Buddhist monk and social activist

#72890 09/25/02 06:52 PM
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Dear Abdur,

Yes, this monk also has an icon of Christ on his Buddhist altar at home.

I find the Tibetans to be so wonderfully warm and I've collected a lot of their cultural trinkets over time.

The lady in the Tibetan shop I frequent prays ten thousand invocations daily and has a burning incense stick in a corner. I tell them about Jesus and they are VERY receptive. When I bought some prayer beads from them, I told them I would use them to pray the Jesus Prayer and discussed this with them.

Her husband actually asked me my view on how better to reorganize the store and the book-stall!

It was my pleasure . . .

I've attended demonstrations in support of Tibet's struggle, wear the special "protest bracelet" against Chinese communist occupation (if you are caught wearing it over there, it's a few years in prison for you!) and have a picture of the Dalai Lama - again something for which you can suffer imprisonment.

Thomas Merton was very much into Buddhist philosophy and applied Buddhist meditation to the scriptures.

He believed that Buddhism was natural mysticism and that one could be a Buddhist in this sense AND a Christian since the latter was supernatural etc.

"I'm going to be as good a Buddhist as I can" was Merton's motto . . .

We can think about that one . . .

Ommmm . . . wink

Alex

#72891 09/26/02 08:42 PM
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Thich Nhat Hanh? Name is familiar. This is a monk that has long passed away isn't he?

Alex, I haven't read much through Ani Pachen's book (Sorrow Mountain) yet. But I've gotten far enough into it to read how the Chinese communist use to tie her hands behind her back and hoist her up letting her swing and pass out. And how Chinese soldiers beat an old Tibetan man, tied him up to a pole or something, and then shoved bamboo splinters as far as they could up in between the mans finger nails and fingers. As the man howoaled in pain the soldiers laughed and attached small Chinese paper flags to the end of the splinters.

The apparent American government's Christian response to this, via professed Christian members of Casa Blanca, is to export Mc Donalds and make the Chinese a bigger partner in global economics. Sending over Wisconsin jobs to China. Of course we've still got Bin Laden out there (presuming he's not dead). And know we need to oust Saddam and kill Iraqi's splitting up the oil shares amongst big players in the world. And when the American kids come back from actually carrying out the campaign against Iraq. We can send them to school on the GI Bill so they can work an intership under one of our Corporations where the CEO and some XO's are robbing the company of it's loot. But they shouldn't worry because push comes to shove, the federal government will financialy bail the big company out if needed. Hey isn't there some "Ma & Pa" shop when need to make some more regulations for?

Any ways this is just what Christ had in mind when he said follow me.

But perhaps there is another side to this story, perhaps I'm just to naive and in a world with nuclear weapons, maybe it's best befriend the Chinese government. I don't know?

Any ways I suppose you can just do what you can do in your life. Live as Christian as you can.

Justin

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