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General Waffle, Bibles and Blogs

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I have retired somewhat from Discussion Forums. My days of crossing swords with various other worthies are over - or at least, I hope they are. Nevertheless, the impulse to post bits and pieces remains. So I gather together a few stray thoughts. 

One thing that I miss sometimes is a Book that holds all the answers, like a big thick Bible. It can be clutched and brings reassurance. Having moved towards Buddhism, although it obviously has its very own texts and Scriptures, it really has nothing like the Bible. Thinking about this, I wonder why, and the answer would seem to be that the forward progress of Buddhism has never involved an attempted gathering together of what could be called an Orthodoxy - as happened in the Christian West with Constantine. This seemed to lead to an orthodox Canon and a varied collection of books became the Bible. Then the mind games started and the varied collection became an orthodox theology which was denied at your peril. This particularly after the Reformation when the newly literate for whom the Word as "word" was all, and had lost all sight of the Word made flesh. And therefore a whole host of theologies vying with each other. And given the equation in some quarters between correct belief and eternal destiny, the arguments became fierce. And still are if you dip into certain Christian Forums. 

But getting back to what I miss. I sometimes yearn for a Buddhist Bible. A nice thick leather bound tome with lovely thin pages that brown at the edge and become gently ruffled with use. Containing all my favourites. maybe a few Buddhist creation myths at the front, then a few Hindu stories and such, followed by a life of the Buddha. Then the Dhammapada, selected suttras from the Pali Canon, then onto the Lotus Suttra, the Bodhicaryavatara, the Heart Sutra etc, then chuck in a few things like Chang Tzu and the Tao te Ching to stir it up a bit and give the "orthodox" of the future something to quibble and ruminate about. Which makes the point that struck me and perhaps caused this post. What would such a Buddhist Bible lead to? How would it eventually grab me? Would the instinctual doctrinaire of mind seek a "common thread" amid the chaos of the various books? Eventually, the "one and only Dharma" emerge from its pages? Soon, no doubt, a "Systematic Buddhology" as the basis for the salvation - or perhaps "enlightenment" - of all.  Good grief! is what I say, even though at a certain level my heart yearns for certainty.

Anyway, my mind wanders, and just to add here a stray thought that arose when I typed above about the Word made flesh. It jogged my mind of a few words of Wittgenstein that I recently copied to my Notebook, having read them ina book about the Tractacus........"The human body is the best picture of the human soul". Lovely words. Others may not think so, thinking perhaps that there is something more to see. 

Well, I have started a Blog on Google recently, which Is pointed to by the "Dookies Place" icon found on this Forum. I have come to love being just a little creative, being able to include pictures and just ramble and waffle as the mood takes me, rather like this. As a taster, here is an example (though you will have to go to the actual blog to see the pictures)

There was once a little second hand bookshop in Maldon, just at the bottom of the High Street. I often took a trip on the bus and ended up browsing the shelves. Being interested in certain "eastern" ways I once spied a book called "Ask the Awakened" by Wei Wu Wei. The book was just a bit water stained but I snapped it up at a bargain price and proudly took it home. For quite a while I imagined Wei Wu Wei as an ancient wizened and crinkled hermit, perhaps living in a cave in the Himalaya's, breaking his fasting now and again to put pen to paper. Then I stumbled upon his amazing secret - he was in fact Terence Gray, Anglo-Irish,  theatre producer and racehorse owner. Did this knowledge mean that the teaching and sayings of the "awakened" who had been "asked" was suspect? Or even, perhaps, was where East and West did in fact meet?

It does seem to be a common practice for those who write so called "spiritual" books to give themselves screen names. Another instance - seeking out the authentic way of the Buddha I picked up a very weighty volume called "A Survey Of Buddhism" by one Sangharakshita. I read the whole thing, reassured by the name that here was the real McCoy, the Dharma as per an authentic easterner and practitioner. Alas, at a certain point I found that Sangharakshita had been born Dennis Lingwood, and hailed from Romford. 

So what is in a name? And does it matter? I prefer questions to answers, so make up your own mind. One of the very best books on Buddhism I have read is "The Vision of Dhamma", a collection of weighty essays by Nyanaponika Thera. Nyanaponika Thera? You've guessed it, he is (or was) Sigmund Feniger, a German born Jew. He took on the name Nyanaponika when he was ordained into the Therevada Buddhist Order, Thera meaning "Elder".

Another of my favourite Buddhist writers is Stephen Batchelor and he breaks the mould. I sometimes wish he was called Dharmachata, or perhaps Po-Che or even the Venerable Jinmyo something or other. But he insists he is only Stephen Batchelor, which does not appear to effect the sale of his books. He actually spent much of his youth in the east, raised in Tibetan monasteries, but is now back "home" giving meditation retreats and featuring on various UTube videos. 

Obviously, as either "Dookie" or "Tariki" I seem to have fallen for the very same thing. 

Well, my apologies if all this seems just a little perverse. Maybe I have too much time on my hands. 

Thanks, Derek

 

 

 

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You are not alone in your wandering. I myself took on the writing name of Koshada and became coined as a sage to some unsuspecting readers who corresponded with me..  No sense popping their bubble to find i was just a common Joe or Joseph. Anyway, enjoyed pouring through your blog ramblings and pictures which all have a soothing feel to them. I am not such a proliferate reader as yourself barely averaging 1 book a year at most. I have been reading the same Eckhart Tolle book, " A New Earth" or Awakening to your lifes purpose for the past 3 years. I'll read a few paragraphs and let it lie for a week or so most of the time awaiting for it to somehow speak to my own experiences. 

The Best to you and family,

Joseph

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Thanks Joseph, I tend to read a lot but having said that certain words/expressions/ideas seem always with me, are always "speaking to me" and moulding my experience. 

One ever-present over the past ten years or do has been the words of the Pure Land myokonin Saichi, when he was asked if he recited the Nembutsu only when he thought about it, and what did he do when not thinking about it. "Yes, well, when I do not think of it, there is the 'Namu-amida-butsu' just the same." 

That simple answer of Saichi, his faith if you like, has deepened for me over the years. Its reality touches everything, whatever and however widely I read. 

"Namu Amida Butsu is blooming everywhere!"

All the best to you and all

 

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I wonder if people of an eastern culture would pick up a book by a 'Bob' or indeed a "Joseph' or 'Derek' and think that the author's name sounds more 'sage-like' than what they're familiar with such as Wei Wu Wei?

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3 hours ago, PaulS said:

I wonder if people of an eastern culture would pick up a book by a 'Bob' or indeed a "Joseph' or 'Derek' and think that the author's name sounds more 'sage-like' than what they're familiar with such as Wei Wu Wei?

Yes, quite possible...........and I like to think so! Ah, that Derek.............:D

On a more serious note, many Japanese thinkers appear to study the works of our Western philosophers - and some ask the question as to whether what they themselves have done (i.e. the Japanese) throughout their history is philosophy at all. All to do with the Kyoto School. All interesting stuff when I tire of Candy Crush Saga.

 

 

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