Jump to content

When God Seems Silent


tariki
 Share

Recommended Posts

As I identify as a Pure Land Buddhist I am apparently unable to post on the current thread with the same title that I've given hear. I certainly don't object to this, as I've seen so many Forums disrupted by those who seem to seek only confrontation and mischief. I would need to write my autobiography to fully explain just why I prefer the title "Pure Land Buddhist" to anything else, despite the label meaning virtually nothing to me over and against the title Progressive Christian. But there it is. But I would like to contribute to the thread.

 

I did have days, some time ago, when I saw myself as a Liberal Christian (I even had a "born again phase", though it never lasted long!) It was when I thought myself wise having read a thousand books or so on all the various faiths. They say a donkey with a libarary on its back remains a donkey, but I certainly thought of myself as a pretty sharp and clever donkey! I knew in my heart that I looked down on my partner in terms of "wisdom", and there was part of me that didn't like this at all and wanted it to change. Anyway, as a then "liberal" Christian, I prayed to God that I could learn to love my wife. The prayer was said, and then , frankly forgotten. There were other prayers, but they have long slipped into oblivion. I'm not really certain excatly what time-scale was involved, but finally my father died, and I was left to cope with my mother, who was declining with dementia. I had three years of it, running around from my home to hers, doing my "best" - which never seemed enough - until she too died. And during the three years I was hit by a health problem that needed various tests and explorations to sort out, with tubes and whatnot stuck up various odd places! Obviously this brought on thoughts of my own mortality, and with all this on top of mum............well, finally, when the "weight" of mum being alive was lifted (I know, awful to speak in those terms, but there you are) I think a lot of things held at bay struckhome and I had two years of clinically diagnosed depression. So many tablets! The thing is, during all these years God was silent, and my "faith" meant nothing, and was of no help. There was just an emptiness where thoughts, and communication, with God had been. But also, during the two years of depression, when I must have been a total pain to live with, totally inward looking with my depression, my partner never once complained, always stood by me, was always there. Not a Mother Teresa, just a decent human being who demonstrated day to day that she truly loved me.

 

And thats it really. God was "silent" yet was answering my prayer. I love my wife now beyond all measure, and on a level playing field. Me "wise", her "down there"? Not on your life! The wisdom was kicked out of me. The funny thing is, because my faith had meant nothing during those years, it was then I turned to Buddhism for "enlightenment", inspired by the writings of Nyanaponika Thera, a German born Theravada monk. I began meditating and "searching the scriptures". And I've never really come back to Christianity, having found a new "home" in the Pure Land!

 

Not really sure just what impression this story of mine will have. Perhaps that I'm ungrateful to "God" for not coming back to Christianity?

 

I don't think so myself. My life seems more and more a life of gratitude. So often I'm surprised by joy that a fool like me can know such grace. It just seems to me that the divine - the Unknown in many ways - has just broken out of the chains of any one particular "faith". I like the term "Reality-as-is"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Derek,

 

My wife was also instrumental in bringing me around. She stuck with me when most would not and in that silent love beyond understanding, I was apprehended by that which is heart based rather than mind based. I also felt I was wiser and way beyond her but I am not so sure of that now. Anyway, I enjoyed your story and it spoke to me. Yes, also in a silent sort of way.

 

Happy New Year,

Joseph

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Not really sure just what impression this story of mine will have. Perhaps that I'm ungrateful to "God" for not coming back to Christianity?

 

I don't think so myself. My life seems more and more a life of gratitude. So often I'm surprised by joy that a fool like me can know such grace. It just seems to me that the divine - the Unknown in many ways - has just broken out of the chains of any one particular "faith". I like the term "Reality-as-is"

 

Thanks for the story of your journey, T. It sounds a very challenging one. I am glad you have found peace with your wife. She sounds a very special person, and I am sure you fully deserve one another.

 

Personally, I don't think it matters what label we prefer to use for our own faith. What matters is how God sees us, and to be true to ourselves. Gratitude is good; I don't think I have got that far as yet. I am at times still full of resentment about what could have been, if only. I try to be grateful for the many blessings that I have, but somehow can't help looking to see what others have as well. However, I am working on understanding what 'enough' means, and on accepting it.

 

Many years ago my doctor told me to stop aiming for the top of the mountain, and settle for living in the foothills. I did not settle, and I never have; I have always striven to do what I can, when I can, and I have never quite given up the journey. But I have learned that it is not always our decision, what path our lives lead us in.

Edited by Anglocatholic
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many thanks anglocatholic for your kind and encouraging words. No matter what impression I may - or may not - give, I'm a very vulnerable person and unsure about many things. Your words are encouragement, and I am grateful.

 

And they did suggest the following, which Ive quoted elsewhere - in fact, I think I've quoted just about EVERYTHING elsewhere! - words written by that old Catholic warhorse G K Chesterton......."Great things are seen from the valleys, only small things from the peaks"

 

All the best

Derek

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did have days, some time ago, when I saw myself as a Liberal Christian (I even had a "born again phase", though it never lasted long!) It was when I thought myself wise having read a thousand books or so on all the various faiths. They say a donkey with a libarary on its back remains a donkey, but I certainly thought of myself as a pretty sharp and clever donkey! I knew in my heart that I looked down on my partner in terms of "wisdom", and there was part of me that didn't like this at all and wanted it to change. Anyway, as a then "liberal" Christian, I prayed to God that I could learn to love my wife. The prayer was said, and then , frankly forgotten. There were other prayers, but they have long slipped into oblivion. I'm not really certain excatly what time-scale was involved, but finally my father died, and I was left to cope with my mother, who was declining with dementia. I had three years of it, running around from my home to hers, doing my "best" - which never seemed enough - until she too died. And during the three years I was hit by a health problem that needed various tests and explorations to sort out, with tubes and whatnot stuck up various odd places! Obviously this brought on thoughts of my own mortality, and with all this on top of mum............well, finally, when the "weight" of mum being alive was lifted (I know, awful to speak in those terms, but there you are) I think a lot of things held at bay struckhome and I had two years of clinically diagnosed depression. So many tablets! The thing is, during all these years God was silent, and my "faith" meant nothing, and was of no help. There was just an emptiness where thoughts, and communication, with God had been. But also, during the two years of depression, when I must have been a total pain to live with, totally inward looking with my depression, my partner never once complained, always stood by me, was always there. Not a Mother Teresa, just a decent human being who demonstrated day to day that she truly loved me.

 

And thats it really. God was "silent" yet was answering my prayer. I love my wife now beyond all measure, and on a level playing field.

Not really sure just what impression this story of mine will have. Perhaps that I'm ungrateful to "God" for not coming back to Christianity?

 

I don't think so myself. My life seems more and more a life of gratitude. So often I'm surprised by joy that a fool like me can know such grace. It just seems to me that the divine - the Unknown in many ways - has just broken out of the chains of any one particular "faith". I like the term "Reality-as-is"

 

 

Your story is very moving. It seems to me that you are blessed and are being guided inwardly to a pure land. I like the words pure land, it makes me think of the silence that nourishes my spirit. I like your quote that God was "silent yet was answering my prayer". I feel we learn from all the people who come into our lives. I feel God sends them and speaks or acts through their presence. It seems you have great strength to go through those trying experiences with your parents and two years of depression. It seems those were years lived in the pure land of monastic service. A time of discernment and reflection on what the external world offers and the benefits or grace that the internal sanctuary of the soul offers, it can also be referred to as the pure land. I see religion as part of the external world, a sign or advertisement of the inward graces. You are very knowledgeable and well read on that matter. I like reading this material also, but it is all for not if not internalize in pure land silence. I like the zen story of the professor who visited the zen master. The master poured him tea, but didn't stop pouring, just kept pouring until the cup overflowed. The professor objected and responded to the master's actions. The master said, "The cup can't take any more it is full. In the same way there is nothing I can teach you until you are empty."

 

The best things that happened to me were the worst things that happened to me because they emptied me and brought me to the pure land sanctuary that is inside. Now, that you have come out of the tunnel you have so much to teach. There are people wandering around in the dark yelling religious slogans about the light, but they only know definitions. You have gone through initiation and can teach about the light of pure land soul. Watch out for the cups that are full.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service