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"living Buddha, Living Christ"


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Poll: "Living Buddah, Living Christ"

Are you interested in a chapter by chapter group reading if this Thich Naht Hanh classic?

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#41 soma

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Posted 21 August 2016 - 06:29 PM

I`m enjoying TNH`s poetic heart. In Chapter Two, I especially like this quote: "The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When our mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers. If you love someone but rarely make yourself available to him or her, that is not true love."

I think Jesus was trying to say the same thing.

 

 

Realspeak, I agree and like that quote too. I feel we do this by being a light beneficiary that flourishes and expands towards the light source similar to plants growing higher in the direction of the sun without worrying because the night will pass and we get rid of darkness not with gloomy thoughts, but with light. The light is not only at the end of the tunnel, but here now despite all the darkness, the light is with us now, we just have to open our eyes and reflect it by lighting another candle, the birds perceive it before the sun rises and start to sing. They don’t preach, but just reflect the expression of divine energy as divine beauty with no question of God or not God, but only by reflecting the divine expression of energy that is the Essence of all existence, the energy we are made of. They are an example for us to be our self and enjoy the moment so there is joy just being around us and others can find rest in our being for a moment of peace.


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#42 Realspiritik

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 05:52 AM

Hi, Soma. I really like what you said here about the birds. I love to listen to the birds and watch their joyful flight.

 

 They are an example for us to be our self and enjoy the moment so there is joy just being around us and others can find rest in our being for a moment of peace.

 

Yes, this is so true.

 

Hope your moving quest continues on track without too many backaches or headaches!

 

Jen


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#43 Burl

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 12:51 PM

CHAPTER THREE: The First Supper

TNH observations on the sacrament of the Lord's Supper center on TNH concept of mindfulness. Perhaps this is a linguistic issue, or perhaps a religious one, but I feel I understand mindfulness better after reading this chapter.

I had previously thought of mindfulness as a type of focus or concentration, but the sacrament of the Lord's Supper is more about releasing and removing attention from what is extraneous in order to isolate, ensconse and elevate the omnipresent divinity. It's not about making God more present, it is about minimizing everything else.

Interestingly, TNH mindfulness reveals to him to Peter Abelard's conception of the meaning of the Eucharist as a joint effort of God and humanity to create a result superior to what either could have achieved alone. Astounding that a 20C Buddhist could express a 16C theological interpretation of Christian ritual with such eloquence.

TNH knowledge of formal Christian theology so far is incidental at best, but it is decisively congruent. It is also evidence of the semiotic power of ritual and why ritual is a basic component of society.

Edited by Burl, 22 August 2016 - 12:54 PM.

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If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

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#44 SteveS55

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 06:01 PM

Mindfulness is nothing more than attending to whatever arises in the present moment (a very difficult practice in my opinion).  According to Naht Hahn (in some of his other writings), “forgetfulness” is the opposite of mindfulness.  Forgetfulness here means being distracted.  It is as though one is not awake when one lacks mindfulness.

 

Particularly in the Theraveda School of Buddhism, Vipissana meditation is taught, and it is the basis for the various “mindfulness training” workshops that have become popular in the West.

 

For some Buddhists, and apparently Naht Hahn is one of them, it is through mindfulness of what arises in the consciousness that one can become aware of the “true nature of things”.  And, in Buddhism, the “true nature of things” is the truth of suffering (Four Noble Truths), impermanence and contingent existence/non-self, or anatta.  These “truths” are pretty universally accepted in all of the schools of Buddhism.

 

That, it seems to me, is where he is coming from.   I read “Living Buddha, Living Christ” some time ago, and I have read a few of his other books more recently.  He is not my favorite Buddhist author, but he means well.

 

Steve


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#45 romansh

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 09:14 PM

Making Peace

When I first came to Canada, living in a relatively rural part, I would leave for work in the morning, I could not help but feel like I was on holiday. Eventually this feeling wore off, maybe it lasted seven years or so. I get it every so often ... now and again.

Here's a view from the deck

image001.jpg

I know I am incredibly lucky ... that is the bit I consider "I" and how it fits into Hahn's interbeing. Quite often I find myself staring out of the window at the mountains without "words", just like the dead roses.

Again Hahn talks of energy ... and again I question what exactly he means is difficult for me to imagine. I reminded of new age proponents talking of crystal power.

I was watching an old episode of Vera (a British cop show) and there was a actor/gentleman was talking about the murder of his daughter; the supposed murderer had recently had killed herself and it was found that the suicide victim was actually innocent of the murder. The father said ... All that hate sent to the wrong address.  I could not help but think of that line when reading the last paragraph in this section.

 

I am There for You

Questions that come to mind as I read this are:

  • Do I have need to be mindful 100% of the time? I think not?
  • What do I do when there are competing inputs for my mindfulness?

For example if I am eating with my family should I concentrate on counting the number of chews or listen to my wife ... plainly this is a no brainer?

 

The Light that Reveals

Children have little problem of understanding the Holy Spirit?

Here is Dave Allen on the Trinity

 

Our True Home

Here I am reminded of Susan Blackmore and her Zen meditation practices. This one is far more serious than Dave Allen's take on the Trinity. Am I conscious Now? I find her personal observation of consciousness and now quite accurate. Interestingly what neuroscientists and psychologists find is that our perceived now is an agglomeration of the past two or three seconds. Specific high fidelity actions (like catching a ball) go back 50 µs.


Edited by romansh, 22 August 2016 - 09:23 PM.

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#46 SteveS55

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 09:27 PM

  • "Do I have need to be mindful 100% of the time? I think not?
  • What do I do when there are competing inputs for my mindfulness?"

Interestingly, Rom, to reap the benefits of "mindfulness", there are teachers who say that eventually there can be no "gaps" in one's mindfulness.  I just read a rather lengthy paper along those lines by one of them.  Any distractions sort of ruin the whole thing.  I don't know what Nhat Hahn would say.

 

It is for this reason that I have pretty much discarded this method as too difficult and requiring too much effort.  In this degenerate age and culture, with all of its attendant distractions, I don't think it is a real possibility. I suppose that it might work in a monastic environment, but not in my world.  I'm looking for a more viable means to enlightenment, if such a thing actually exists.

 

Steve


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#47 Realspiritik

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 06:28 AM

 


It is for this reason that I have pretty much discarded this method as too difficult and requiring too much effort.  In this degenerate age and culture, with all of its attendant distractions, I don't think it is a real possibility. I suppose that it might work in a monastic environment, but not in my world.  I'm looking for a more viable means to enlightenment, if such a thing actually exists.

 

Steve

 

This leads to some other thoughts. How would you define enlightenment? What do you think it would "look" like if you "got" there (metaphorically speaking, of course). What practices do you think would help you "get" there (bearing in mind that metaphors of arrival may, in fact, undermine the whole concept)?


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#48 JosephM

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 07:22 AM

 

I am There for You

Questions that come to mind as I read this are:

  • Do I have need to be mindful 100% of the time? I think not?
  • What do I do when there are competing inputs for my mindfulness?

For example if I am eating with my family should I concentrate on counting the number of chews or listen to my wife ... plainly this is a no brainer?

 

 

It seems to me one can remain mindful when distractions occur. One merely remains aware of all ones surroundings including distractions and makes choices . Mindfulness to me is not actually thinking the thoughts such as counting the chews but rather just being completely aware of it. This, in my experience, can be expanded to be aware of all around you without focus on one thing. It may start by the practice of focusing the mind on one thing but it can expand that focus to what i describe a feeling of all around you as complete as one. It is more a state of no mind than thinking and difficult to put in words. Awareness and presence are sort of abstract words to describe what is beyond description. Practicing being mindful seems to me to increase awareness and awareness is actually more a gap in thinking or thoughts rather than thinking. We feel this when we are present with the things around us such as the beauty in Rom's view that was beyond his description.

 

Just my take on the matter,

Joseph


"The only separation between you and me can only be in your mind." --Joseph Mattioli


#49 SteveS55

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 09:20 AM

That's a bit of a tough question, Jen.  I generally use the word "enlightenment" in a tongue-in-cheek manner, but I'm not sure if there is an emoji for that!  But, as long as you are asking, I think enlightenment is probably a series of intuitions about the nature of one's existence where one eventually realizes that the "ultimate truth" is that there is no "ultimate truth".  When that happens, a person can finally exhale and relax in the sun.

 

As for "getting there", probably simply sitting in meditation and silent reflection a few times a day.  I remember a story of one of the Desert Fathers who told a monk in his charge to go to his cell, and his cell would teach him everything.  Keep it simple.

 

Steve


Edited by SteveS55, 23 August 2016 - 09:30 AM.

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#50 JosephM

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 10:38 AM

PS to post 48 -  A distraction is essentially a disturbance of the mind. . When one is truly present  or just watching the mind rather than being caught up in it, there are no distractions. Everything is part of the moment even that which many perceive as distractions. I think some call it Mushin or mind without mind and some call it no mind.  


"The only separation between you and me can only be in your mind." --Joseph Mattioli


#51 SteveS55

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 11:59 AM

Yes, Joseph. I suppose that's the end result of the practice. Harder for some than others I suspect.

Steve

Edited by SteveS55, 23 August 2016 - 12:01 PM.

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#52 Burl

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 01:25 PM

CHAPTER FOUR: Living Buddah, Living Christ

This is a lengthier chapter, and title of the chapter is the title of the book so let's read carefully and be precise.

A reminder: this is a chapter by chapter discussion of this particular book and not a general discussion of meditation, Buddha or Jesus. Those are all excellent subjects for new topics but please try to stick to the book in this topic. Start a new topic if you are inspired to do so.

If the names Christ and Buddha are not both in your post, you are likely to be getting off topic as the comparison of these two people is TNH subject.

Edited by Burl, 23 August 2016 - 01:26 PM.

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If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

#53 romansh

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 10:24 PM

Chapter 3

The First Supper

 

To Be Grateful

I have no problem with this. I am reminded of Meister Eckhart's If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.

But the agnostic in me can't help asking to what am I doing this thanking. A universe that is ultimately chaotic? To be thankful for an arrangement of "energy" that can be seen in a dualistically positive light? Well this little bit of interbeing is appreciative.

 

Looking Into Our Food

Again this food eating thing ... this is not making much sense to me. Either I am concentrating on the food or the dispossessed. Apparently I don't need to be in a monastery to practice this. But I asked do I need to practice it at all? Steve suggested earlier because it is difficult to practice he does not; which of course is fair enough.

 

Living in the Presence of God

The entire world, all the good things in life,belong to God. ...Well I can't help thinking this is a bit selective here. Interbeing; all is connected, I think "God" [whatever we might have in mind here] is also responsible here for what might be considered the crappy parts of life. Hahn in the same paragraph goes on to say ... Piety is the recognition that everything is linked to the presence of God in every moment.

 

The Bread We Eat is the Whole Cosmos

As a metaphor I get it. Indra's net says the same thing. pretty much.

I sure I have posted this camp video before ... but essentially science also points to the same thing. Except, like Laplace I have no apocryphal need of the God hypothesis.

 

The Body of Reality

Again talks of mindfulness ... I think it would be a mistake to censor meditation from the discussion, at least for those who find that aspect relevant to Hanh's writing.

 

Later he seem to skirt the subject of transubstantiation ... for which I am thankful.

 

Everything is Fresh and New

I found this was getting a little repetitive ... time to move on to the next chapter.


Edited by romansh, 23 August 2016 - 10:27 PM.

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#54 soma

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 11:00 PM

TNH observations on the sacrament of the Lord's Supper center on TNH concept of mindfulness. Perhaps this is a linguistic issue, or perhaps a religious one, but I feel I understand mindfulness better after reading this chapter.

I had previously thought of mindfulness as a type of focus or concentration, but the sacrament of the Lord's Supper is more about releasing and removing attention from what is extraneous in order to isolate, ensconse and elevate the omnipresent divinity. It's not about making God more present, it is about minimizing everything else.

 

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” (Thich Nhat Hanh)  We are always in the present moment, but we are not always aware of it. The present continues if we are aware of it or not, the difference is where is our attention on our pain or on worrying about what is to come. 

 

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[c]? (Mathew 6:25:27) Jesus at the last supper didn't worry about the events to come, but gave thanks for the bread in the present moment. I feel he was an example of being mindful in the midst of a crisis. Jesus saw the the outer reality and the inner reality at the same time the big picture in the moment and not focused or attached to the part of it that causes pain. 


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#55 Burl

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 11:54 AM

Ch. 4: His Life is His Teaching

TNH equates the recorded wisdom teachings of Jesus with Buddha.

What impresses me is TNH recognition of the critical importance of Jesus' title "Son of Man". Scripture uses the term "Son of God" for many, but the term "Son of Man" is exclusive to Christ. So many Christians miss this, but TNH recognizes it immediately.
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If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

#56 SteveS55

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 12:10 PM

Maybe it’s just me, but this chapter seemed to be a bit fragmented.  He talks about Dharmakaya, references Tillich’s “ground of being”, the mystical body of Christ and even devotion to the Virgin Mary.  Any of these concepts are full of possibilities for endless discussion.

 

But, in the end, I think he does a pretty good job of separating the man, Siddharta Gautama from “Buddha” and the man, Jesus of Nazareth from “Christ”.  Both honorifics are available to all of us in any of 84,000 ways, only awaiting the birth (or rebirth) of the “Buddha” within, “Christ consciousness”, or whatever you choose to call it.

 

Humans, being what we are, have frequently chosen to worship the particular manifestation and ignore the universal possibilities.  Perhaps worship masks our spiritual envy at these two exceptional humans.  But they, like us, come from the same “stuff”, embedded in the Logos if you like.  We have all manifest as the same creative display of the “ground”, or zero dimensional fundament of reality.  Since this idea is not necessarily warm and fuzzy, it seems necessary to make it so, and therefore create more idols for the Pantheon.

 

Christianity gets pretty hung up on “time”, beginnings and endings.  Buddhism doesn’t suffer from this constraint.  To me, one of Naht Hahn’s more profound statements is “We come from nowhere and have nowhere to go”.  Indeed, we have arrived, but in some sense have always been.  Only now, in this moment, we are aware.  I agree with him; there is really nowhere to go.

 

Steve


Edited by SteveS55, 24 August 2016 - 12:11 PM.

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#57 JosephM

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 02:21 PM

Steve,

I like your points on this chapter.


"The only separation between you and me can only be in your mind." --Joseph Mattioli


#58 Burl

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 03:53 PM

Steve,
I like your points on this chapter.

Agreed. A topic on the nature of time would be welcome.
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If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

#59 Burl

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 11:45 AM

Ch. 4: More Doors for Future Generations

TNH observes that both Christ and Buddha are doors to an immediately accessible God. He mentions that this view of an immediate access to the divine is supported by the gospel message, which is absolutely true.

Mention of heaven is rare in Scripture, but the term everlasting life (which certainly includes present existence) is common. Biblical imagery is not of souls going up to heaven but of heaven materializing on earth. TNH has a better grasp of Christianity than many Christians.
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If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

#60 Burl

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Posted 28 August 2016 - 08:23 PM

Finishing Chapter four, I realized the reason TNH does so well at recognizing Christ within Buddha is that he tries his best to adopt a Christian viewpoint. He is not outside looking in, and he is not comparing theological constructs.

He has borrowed what he can from Christians he respects and has built himself a little hut in the Christian wilderness.

Edited by Burl, 28 August 2016 - 08:24 PM.

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If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species




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