Saturday, 5 April 2014

Religious Experiences

I was indoctrinated in Catholicism but have heard and read enough Evangelical propaganda to know the difference between these two interpretations of Christianity. I accept Evangelicals' testimony that belief in Christ can change lives. It does not follow that a man who died two thousand years ago still exists as a supernatural being. The mind is powerful enough to generate illusions and alternative perceptions of reality.

The content of visionary experiences is culturally conditioned. Mystical experience is of inner union or identity between self and other. Numinous experience is of an awesome power or presence perceived as transcendent. None of these experiences requires an object that is personal, let alone identical with a semi-historical figure.

Evangelicals must accept my testimony that practice of zazen changes understanding and perceptions. It does not entail the continued existence of the Buddha as a supernatural being.

I heard an Evangelical street preacher inform the public that, without a personal relationship to Jesus, all the cultural wealth, knowledge and experience of humanity is worthless. This is obvious nonsense.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Four Spiritual Insights

The Buddha: There is a way to the end of suffering.
Bodhidarma: zazen, just sitting meditation.

Patanjali: Yoga is control of practice and nonattachment.
Krishna: karma yoga, nonattached action.

I accept these insights, not the teachings in which I was indoctrinated.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Preparing For Death

Plato wrote that philosophy was preparation for death, preparing to think without a body.

Christians believe that their religion prepares them for judgment after death.

Tibetan Buddhists believe that meditation prepares them for the bardo or intermediate state.

I suggest that meditation does prepare us for death - for letting go of everything, including thought and belief.

We are always close to death because life is temporary local negative entropy. We cannot swim against the stream indefinitely and will be swept down to the lowest energy level, the heat death of the universe.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Embodied Divinity II

many morphic gods; the Wanderer
pure monotheism
one never incarnated god; prophets
Petrine and Pauline Christianity
a man raised up by God
apparent incarnation
many temporary descents
Johannine Christianity
one permanent embodiment
Krishna and Aslan
perennial embodiment

This sequence begins and ends with gods like men, and sometimes like animals. "Morphic" means anthropomorphic and sometimes zoomorphic: Anubis, Ganesh, the evolutionary avatars of Vishnu. The Wanderer is simply Odin/Wotan on Earth. Krishna is the supreme deity on Earth according to some of his devotees.