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thoughts and feels and thoughts and feels
lucypevensie
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September 2009
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thoughts and feels and thoughts and feels [userpic]
surrender

I would write my thesis on this, but I know nothing of Buddhism. Alas.

Much talk in vaguely spiritual circles these days is done about nirvana - desiring nothing, being nothing, and doing it in a Buddhist way. One seeks nirvana so as to achieve release from samsara (the wheel of birth and rebirth - a Hindu idea.) Buddha came along and taught everyone about it, so they could follow his teaching (we learned especially about the sermon given at Deer Park in Benares - the four noble truths and the eightfold path) and his way of life.

I have not heard (though perhaps I simply do not hang out in the right circles) nearly so much about surrender - desiring nothing (but God, and to do His will), being nothing (except a vessel), and doing it in a Christian way. One seeks salvation (and thus surrender) to achieve release from the apostatic cycle (the Hebrews follow God, then fall away, then some wrath comes along and they get right again - outlined in the OT.) Jesus came along and taught everyone about it, so they could follow His teaching (we learned especially about the Sermon on the Mount - the beatitudes, etc) and his way of life.

The difference of course is that when one empties oneself out for God, one is consciously getting rid of oneself to make room for something, whereas when one empties oneself out for nirvana, one is simply becoming empty (right?).

Comments

Hopefully, his passing interest in theology would be enough to confirm her statements.

He opened saying, "Not so much recently, and by recently I mean something like hundreds of years past, but in days of yore certain Christian sects practiced a form of surrender, uttering mantras at all times of the day, hoping the repitition and constant meditation inherent to such a practice would empty their soul of all but God."

He paused to fetch a Canada Dry; when he'd situated the can in front of himself, Richard continued.

"Next, your second question-slash-statement. Perhaps the phrase 'empty oneself for God' is incorrect, as one actually wants to become full of the Holy Spirit rather than empty of anything. The goal of Buddhism is to have a life empty of suffering by emptying oneself of all desires; therefore an ascetic lifestyle is practiced by some hardcore Buddhists."

Richard hoped he'd not said anything Lucy didn't already know...

Mmm. Canada Dry.

I had not been thinking so much of days of yore (for once, and oddly enough.)

To empty oneself for God - I meant to be a vessel. We can't fill ourselves up with God by our own trying; we can only let go of everything else, and God will do the rest. Removing one's desires seems to be both a traditional and perfectly logical way of being spiritually good (by which I don't mean 'good' like little boys and girls are told to 'be good', but blessed and joyful.)

Methinks though that the ascetic Buddhists have missed the point - asceticism is not the Middle Way (...at least, I don't think it is - viz previous statement about own ignorance). Buddha himself once said "Asceticism is as irrelevant to enlightenment as oars to moving across dry land." Only in a cooler language.

dmnsqrl pointed me at this. Unfortunately, I don't have time right now to hunt down primary (or other) sources, but I don't feel that these are so different. I will, though, give you a poem that I came across in a Zen book some time ago. It's "by the seventeenth-century Catholic mystic Angelus Silesius."

The God who is pure emptiness
Is created as form.
Becoming substance, light and darkness,
The stillness and the storm.

Buddhist thoughts fill in a lot of the gaps in Christian thoughts (like 'what is a person?' to which Xtnity gives at best abstract replies.) The book I'm reading is awesome about this & makes me smile (someone described it as a way back to Xtnity for Xtns who have wandered towards Buddhism, but it is to me an interesting read as a Xtn with questions.)

It makes me smile. :)

I am finally catching up on lj comments...

I've heard good things about Thich Nhat Hanh, although I don't recall if I've ever actually read anything by him. Also, I read once that some people have put forth the theory that Jesus encountered Buddhism sometime in his wanderings before he began teaching, based on some teaching similarities (which I don't recall right now, alas).

Oh, btw, I do like your journal name "Clever girls escape the troubles wise girls avoid."

That is a theory with which I have passing familiarity. I know nothing of the spread of Buddhism, so I'm not entirely sure how likely it is that many would have wandered to backwoods Israel, but - hey, you never know.

Thanks. :D Every now and then I think about changing it, but apparently LJ has imposed username length limits since I chose it, so I can't put it back if I change it. Thus, I have not done so. ;)