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Bhagavad Gita ॐ

Posted on 2012.01.11 at 09:55
Current Location: 67114
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One who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction,
is intelligent among men,
and he is in the transcendental position,
although engaged in all sorts of activities.1

The Bhagavad Gita. My wife has been carting around a gorgeous copy of it for years. Researching Buddhism and Hinduism2 and especially studying the differences between them is fascinating. And not having to speak to *actual* Buddhists or Hindus is also helpfully objective.

"Karma ultimately means to accept responsibility for who we are and what we do. We often rail at the ides of so-called cosmic injustice, blaming God for the problems that may befall us or society at large, but if we begin to properly understand the parameters of karma, we can take hold of our own lives and our whole spiritual destiny."3

This. This is what I do. I not only preach personal responsibility (easy to do), I practice it (much more difficult to do). I train my children in its awesome fulfilling power through examples they can understand. I remember when I thought everything I knew was all there was to know. That ignorance in myself then, makes me giggle now. Especially when I run across it in others. I know something that they do not. Its like holding the answer to a cosmic secret.

But while Buddhism is also a karmic religion, and while I am constantly surprised to find how I live my life follows very closely to its philosophy already, were I to have the proverbial gun to my head to make a choice as to which one of the two to embrace as a belief, I would choose the more hedonistic Hinduism any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Its the difference between "The activity of sex will never ultimately satisfy the desire for sex..."4 and "Try not to sleep with another man's wife."5 Not don't or suffer eternal damnation. Rather, "Try to not." That cracks me up. Of course later sacred texts appear to have since been modified to incorporate more modern values,6 just like the bible. Sacred my ass. Can you imagine if every follower of every religion studied the history of their own religious texts rather than relaying on faith that it is immutably the inspired Word of [Diety]?

Or I might just become a Sherpa in Nepal. They make no distinction between Hinduism and Buddhism - three flavors of Buddhism - all probably varying degrees of a more watered-down version of the other. I've heard it stated that every Christian denomination is just a less-harsh version of Catholicism. Each "new" faith just an easier version of the one before it. Looking around me today, that makes a lot of sense. Its like I said in another post, imagine if Christ, rather than Buddha had said, “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” This world would be a *very* different place.

If you think I've been incorrigible up to this point - you haven't seen anything yet. My wife has chosen twenty-twelve as the year of self-discovery. What I've done this past year was only identify the edges of the envelope. Its now time to push past them.

1 - Chapter 4, Verse 18
2 - Karma
3 - http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Hinduism/Articles/An-American-Hindu-Monk-In-Manhattan.aspx
4 - http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma5/sex.html
5 - The margins of Hindu marriage: essays on gender, religion, and culture, Harlan & Courtright, p 161
6 - Hindu iconoclasts, Salmond, pp 65-91


(Deleted comment)
ehowton at 2012-01-11 23:49 (UTC) (Link)
I have a spoof of Top Gun avatar...does that count?

And yes, I get the idea. Fear itself is really the only thing to fear moving forward. Not the consequences. Consequences are not to be feared, but embraced. At least, that's the only way I can justify the journey.
CeltManX, Devlin O' Coileáin
celtmanx at 2012-01-12 04:29 (UTC) (Link)
"I've heard it stated that every Christian denomination is just a less-harsh version of Catholicism. Each "new" faith just an easier version of the one before it. Looking around me today, that makes a lot of sense."

Oh, I don't know about that. It seems you're making a broad generalization. For example, how is Baptistism (yes, strangely that's not a real term but it should be, what else defines the collective beliefs of Baptists) just to name one splinter group from Catholicism, less harsh than Catholicism?

It's also a lot more complicated than you assume. How are the Greek, Russian, Egyptian and Syrian Orthodox Churches less harsh or easier than Catholicism?

ehowton at 2012-01-12 13:26 (UTC) (Link)
Broad simplistic generalization yes - for illustrative purposes. And having actually attended a Greek Orthodox service in Saint Louis, I have to tell you...you bring up a great point! What the hell, man. Might make a good study topic. That way the next time someone suggests the watered-down theory to me I'll be better prepared to answer. The person who told it to me was an ex-Catholic or - like the Corps once a Marine always a Marine? Former Catholic. Either way. I'll try to cajole his best friend into commenting on the subject if he has any insight :P
michelle1963 at 2012-01-12 15:19 (UTC) (Link)
I had a friend who converted to Catholicism from Baptist when she married her Catholic husband. She said going from "fire and brimstone" Baptist, to Catholicism was the "kinder, gentler religion."

And as an aside, she said all of her family wanted to know why she "turned heathen".

Edited at 2012-01-13 12:01 am (UTC)
CeltManX, Devlin O' Coileáin
celtmanx at 2012-01-13 03:09 (UTC) (Link)
"And as an aside, she said all of her family wanted to know why she "turned heathen"."

That's what my father's parents said to him when he converted from Baptistism to Catholicism after marrying my mom in 1963.

Again I know Baptistism is not a real word, but it should be and it is for some for the wrong reason. Check out this for Baptistism gone wrong.

Have you been baptistised lately???

Edited at 2012-01-13 03:19 am (UTC)
CeltManX, Devlin O' Coileáin
celtmanx at 2012-01-13 04:28 (UTC) (Link)
I think your friend might be a wee bit misguided on the topic. The Puritans and the Baptists were both English separatist movements from the Church of England who did not think the Anglican Church was harsh enough.

Do you know where the Episcopal Church evolved from and why?
ehowton at 2012-01-14 21:32 (UTC) (Link)
Nope. But I'd place money on it having to do with power, money, or a disagreement over policy/interpretation/dogma.

What say thee?
CeltManX, Devlin O' Coileáin
celtmanx at 2012-01-15 02:59 (UTC) (Link)
None of the above.

The Episcopal Church formed out of the Anglican Church during the American Revolution because the head of the Anglican Church was the King of England. Patriotic Americans could not belong to a church lead by the king of their enemies.
ehowton at 2012-01-15 18:54 (UTC) (Link)
I forgot one of my Rules of Engagement - never argue history with a history major!!!
suzanne1945 at 2012-01-12 15:08 (UTC) (Link)
Or I might just become a Sherpa in Nepal.
Have you thought about secular humanism. When I was first exploring possible belief systems during the 70's, the hippie movement had a set of core beliefs that centered around tolerance, the elevation of the human condition and the exploration of new ideas. It was GOOD. By the mid 80's I began to do a more in-depth exploration of Humanism, but public sentiment was beginning to deem secular humanism as "evil". My cohorts and myself were abhorred that anyone could find negativity in the belief system. Today you might as well paint horns on anyone who thinks this way. I found this website that lays down the basic principles. It seems like a fit. What do you think?
ehowton at 2012-01-12 23:37 (UTC) (Link)
I like a lot of the ideas. Especially this one:

We believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in the place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality.

But don't misunderstand me; I wish Christians and Atheists and Buddhists and Agnostics all pursued this. I wish everyone I interacted with were interested in truth and tolerance and reason. Let's face it, its just not in the cards. Goes back to the only people this is going to benefit is those who already operate that way - no one else.

Of course the moment you label yourself a humanist - like you said, you'll be accused of worshiping Satan.
suzanne1945 at 2012-01-13 00:59 (UTC) (Link)
I thought you might be able to relate. The quote sounds like many of the things I have heard you put forth. It always blew my mind that Christians in particular (because that is who I have dealt with)can't see that these are many of the tenets that Jesus put forth. I've always loved the teaching "Be as the lilies in the field" How better to be optimistic, have hope, have no fear! And yet, so many Christians would, as you say, accuse humanists of being Satanic for espousing such a principle. Hmmm!
ehowton at 2012-01-13 14:17 (UTC) (Link)
I may have been a hippie in my past life.
michelle1963 at 2012-01-12 15:16 (UTC) (Link)
It would be so interesting to read the original texts of these "sacred" books. I can't imagine the editing that has gone on through the centuries...

According to some sites, King James was so paranoid about witchcraft that he had "Do not suffer a witch to live" added to the Bible when it was translated from Hebrew to English. Apparently the Hebrew word was something along the lines of poisoner; not witch.

Poisoner or witch, what the hell?
ehowton at 2012-01-14 21:33 (UTC) (Link)
I read today that King James ensured that his translation would conform to the ecclesiology of the Church of England. Instead of, you know, the other way around!?!?
michelle1963 at 2012-01-14 21:46 (UTC) (Link)
I'm just so tickled at your new avatar..., What was the topic under discussion? Huh? LOL!
ehowton at 2012-01-14 22:05 (UTC) (Link)
celtmax's question above, "Do you know where the Episcopal Church evolved from and why?"

Got me thinking again about my statement in this post, "Of course later sacred texts appear to have since been modified to incorporate more modern values, just like the bible."

Finally decided to do a modifying of my own.
codekitten at 2012-01-13 13:23 (UTC) (Link)
If you think I've been incorrigible up to this point - you haven't seen anything yet.

*rubs hands together*
oh i can't wait! :D
ehowton at 2012-01-14 22:07 (UTC) (Link)
I'm having a little problem with practical application, but I'm sure its just temporary.

I mean, outside of gulping from an embarrassingly oversized goblet of wine at 0900 this morning in front of all the Mennonites.

That never gets old!
michelle1963 at 2012-01-14 22:35 (UTC) (Link)
One of the small joys in life. ;-)
codekitten at 2012-01-16 01:25 (UTC) (Link)
i feel confident it's just temporary!
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