Love, Peace, and Joy to You!
Last night I did 108 bows, but I made about 114 vows, or so. I bow for the same reason I meditate; I know that the benefits in bowing and meditation can change my behavior, or Karma. That is the point of spiritual practice, in my view.
I offered more vows, (and altered some of the existing ones) as I bowed and recited them, because I have my own ideas about what I need to do, think, believe, and practice, to live a better life for myself and those around me.
This, to me, is finding the truth within; taking lessons from different doors I have walked through, but not forgetting the journey I can make by paying attention along the way, having walked through the door in my own “heart” and by looking through the window of my own mind.
When we do not do this, accepting one way or one dogma part and parcel, I feel we sacrifice our own mind; our own connection to the divine, and truths waiting to pass through us as individual portals of consciousness.
I have experienced the benefits of prostrations and meditation. I am not talking about anything supernatural, in any way, shape , or form. I am giving testimony about physical, mental, and behavioral changes in my life and in the lives of those around me as a result of my meditation and bowing, and as a result of the beautiful vows and acts of contrition I recite while doing these practices.
I believe that if most people on this planet-regardless of their religious, spiritual, or philosophical practices were to take these vows every day and try to be mindful of them (if not actually fulfill them all the time) many problems would begin to go away quickly, as long as we didn’t fight over the concept and force it on anyone.
I also believe that taking these vows while prostrating or meditating makes the vows more effective and easier to follow because making a promise and acknowledging pious and impious behavior while doing something physical manifests the vows and acknowledgements deeper in the mind, and in one’s behavior.
Having said this, I offer a great video for your nourishment, which actually sort of takes a crack at repetitive spiritual practices, like bowing…so I apologize to anyone who might be offended when they come across it.
Also, I saw only the first part of this video after writing my article, and put it up then. In addition, I have since discovered there are five other parts that go into greater detail.
Lastly, I can be a bit myopic, so I didn’t notice the title, which some may find a bit alienating. I often think people should be more careful with their titles if they would like a wider audience to consume their ideas! As consolation, I say that I feel the essence of the ideas expressed in the video, you may find worthwhile, if not wonderfully enlightening; perhaps even worthy of passing on.
Peace, Love, and Joy to You and Those Around You!
18 thoughts on “Bowing, Meditating, And A Challenging Video”
While I appreciate the explaination of Dhamma in this video, I don’t feel the conclusion is particularly helpful. Setting up an “Other” and demonizing it is just another form of the same thing the video rails against. The people that make up that “other” and myself are not separate, so to the extent I despise and berate them, I’m cutting myself off from my own root.
What is it that enslaves me? My ignorance and habits. If I take care of those, then everything else solves itself.
There’s a great “law” called Hanlon’s Razor, which I think does a good job of explaining most of the b.s. we encounter:
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence (or ignorance.) ^-^
Hi Chong Go Sunim!
Thank you for the erudition, but I must confess ignorance, myself, because I didn’t catch what you did.
Have you watched the rest of the installments? I discovered them after I had posted, and am only now viewing the second one.
In a way, I expect to get in trouble with some people who will say I espouse all the ideas and notions herein (what happened with a very important person-as you know-over some other sources of ideas).
Actually, I have offered this up as food for thought. Suffice it to say, the rest seems to be a critique of forming separate religions, no? Is that the bad conclusion you speak of?
Yes, I must confess it goes a bit far. Perhaps the author should say that it is natural for sects to develop, and that we should try not to find differences, but commonality.
Just the other day, while jamming my left foot in my mouth, shooting my right one with the other hand, and simultaneously being hung by the authors of books I read, I was telling a very important person in my life that Jesus probably didn’t intend to form a new religion. Did Buddha?
As I go deeper into the production, I see the author (who sounds like a character I have made up), says that once we feel our religion, group, view, or sect is superior to another, we have gone off the path, which is in line with universal law if it includes peace and well-being for all creation. I thought this to be quite a beautiful test of our faith or practices. And actually it sort of mirrors a thought I had a few years ago, when the terror attacks happened; that a practice, faith, relgion or philosophy should humanize and transform a people (not just a person) beyond the rigidity of culture, such that society is improved. Are you saying that this statement in and of itself sets the author up as superior?
It could be said that both Jesus and Buddha did intend to form new religions.
Jesus specifically gathered his apostles to be “fishers of men” and appointed Peter as the “rock upon which I will build my church”. (The quote is from memory so I might be wrong).
The Buddha, even more clearly, gathered around himself a new group of people following his unique teachings. He formed the Sangha and formalised all the rituals (alms round, shaving of head, etc) to go with it.
One could argue that both were creating no more than new communities, but given the radical departures in teaching, I doubt either group could ever have remained fully within the older religious structures.
I love your posts, thanks so much mate. But, I also have a few problems with the video. It does seem to take a ‘holier-than-thou’ approach by sugesting that everyone has got it wrong.
If you didn’t know any better, judging by this video, you’d think that everyone was fighting over religion and the whole world is at war! But that’s just not true. The majority of religious people of all religions are actually just peacefully getting on with doing good, avoiding evil, and practicing their faith.
Now, when you consider the millions of Quakers, Baptists, Anglicans, Catholics, Jews, Hindus, Pure Landers etc etc who are NOT fighting (watch out for those Anglican suicide bombers LOL!) – it kind of puts a dent in the argument of the video that finding external salvation leads to conflict! Far from it, for countless millions of people finding external salvation leads to peace and fulfilment and goodness.
Where I’d agree with the argument of the video (and the reason I’m even here on this site) is that spiritual progress is best made within one’s own heart. Even ‘external’ salvation has to change the inner person. But this is surely, just as the video suggests, a message that was delivered by all the great figures, saints and sages of all good traditions.
Thank you for sparking off a potentially interesting discussion!
Thank you, too, for being so supportive and interesting.
I didn’t tell you, but my girl and I are no more, and religion-specifically that I look at Jesus with more questions than answers (not that I do not believe in him per se, in fact I believe a lot in his message)-is for the most part why I have had my heart broken.
Whilst you are right that the majority of the populace on masse over the face of this world coexists despite different faiths, see how many of them actually are willing to intermix through marriage outside of the cosmopolitan centers (to me, a true test of open mindedness and enlightenment); especially in premodern cultures. I am betting not many at all. In that sense, I think the video has a great hidden point, if that is not it’s real one. And though I am all for your positve bent, I still think that point is valid, and it is that religion divides, rather than unites people.
I was watching this Indian teacher on TV last night. He has had his broadcasts filmed in the very room we studied and meditated in, Marcus, at the library near Anguk. He was talking about what the Buddha taught and believed, and he came to a specific point that should have earned us a camera’s glance around the room. He spoke about the Buddha’s not believing in a soul, and his NOT believing in our complete consciousness or soul being reborn in another creature, such as a dog or an ox. Just today, a very well-educated friend of mine asked me ‘isn’t reincarnation something Buddhists believe in?’, to which I had to say, ‘yes’, but the Buddha did not.
The video makes this point clearly, too; that great prophets have had their messages vastly distorted, and that this…THIS, is the reason that sects are, in a way, a harmful thing. They wind up teaching what was not said, and then at odds. And a certain (large?) pecent of people involved wind up heart-broken, neurotic, or in the case of the religions that came from the middle East, dead, (in the hundreds of millions).
This very issue of what was said or not said by one or another great enlightened person or savior, when studied by well-intended, learned and even holy men (a certain scholar who’s initials are BE, comes to mind), causes fractures among individuals and whole groups, and these men are lauded by some [rightly so, because they are caring, honest scholars seeking the truth, to liberate people from incorrect teachings], and villified by others, which they abosolutely DO NOT diserve), simply for teaching that more needs to be discovered sometimes before we can say what the historical truth is.
I like the video because it paints Buddhism as a non-religion. I know religion can be referred to as one’s practice, but here, I am sure you take my meaning that religion is a set of supernatural beliefs, which , to me, Buddhism is not. Once it begins to become a discussion of the supernatural, I think the Buddha himself (were he present), would get up and walk away. Pardon my semantics.
I could agree with the perception of your view of the video, though. It could be seen as high-minded, or negative, or it might be seen as confident. It depends on one’s point of view, and I dare say, the nature of one’s interests.
Should I scrap it?
Sorry to hear about things with Amber.
Hope your doing well. I see Marcus already gave the best advice!
Let me know if you’d like to hang out sometimes… it’s usually hectic with the baby but I’m thinking about heading to YongJuSa after hangin’ with the in-laws tomorrow, let me know if you’d be interested!
I am so sorry to hear that you and your partner have broken up. I know how much she meant to you mate and it’s awfullly sad that you are apart now. Take your time as you recover mate, look after yourself really well, sit lots with your pain, don’t let its energy make you do things you might later regret, and don’t try to deny your pain either. I wish you all the best.
As for the video and Buddhism being a non-religion, it is a perfectly respectable position and far be it from me to deny it! There are 84,000 Dharma doors and this is a good one too for those that are karmically inclined towards it. So, Should you scrap it? No way! Everything the video says, and everything you’ve said, is an expression of the Buddha-Dharma!
I disagree with some of it – for example, I think re-incarnation is important, and the Buddha himself described his previous lives – but in a friendly Dharma-brother kind of way! And I think your point about the ‘supernatural’ is an important one, and one that might be applied to Juingong/Hanmaum. To what extent does ‘Buddha-nature’ fall into the category of the supernatural? I’ll ponder that one tonight.
Thanks again Carl mate and I hope you keep these fascinating posts coming!
actually not bad video, it has a good point that humans are nut cases, the only thing that the narrator contradicts himself and talking about HIS word of thruth and calls it a name “Dhamma”, however I think this Dharma is not some natural law that governs the Universe, it goes beyond the boundaries of the Universe. It is the whole totality of things, it is not just doing good and nice things, then all animals have to die out since many depend on killing each other. Humans also animals, well, half-a-step above animals, they also follow many ‘rules’ of animal world, we do the same things! Being human is to feel compassion and finding the invisible source within.
The understanding and finding of this spiritual aspect is different for different people, so there are different sects, religions and so on, it is more a necessity, it is a direct result of different kinds of delusions and obscurations of the mind. For example if you run into a bush of thorn you have to get out of there by stepping through a bush of thorns (and not some beans), I mean different ways might be beneficial as it all swirls towards the same purpose.
I would not want to watch other videos of the same author, it is just generalized and does not do nothing, I think in this sence is better to watch some music videos, like ‘Man in the Mirror’ by Michael Jackson, I mean, honestly, this Dhamma video has a lot of blabbering, even though I might myself have such feeling sometimes, I would not publically spread the dislike for someone’s religions, because religions gives to many people some boundaries of behaviour and if you would see where those people were before their religion, I think religions gave much more positive than negative. Finding similarities in religions are more useful and more positive, it is actually possible to extrapolate the truth by looking at similarities, and in this way you feel unity.
People do horrible cruelties not because of religion, but because of their stupidity and ignorance, their religion actually is meant to curb beastly cruelties. I think you cannot do much by talking, but you can influence things by becoming one with everything through your foundation, then you can connect, so it is better to concentrate on onenness and similarities and try to not convert people to some natural law, which everybody have different opinion about, but by having compassion and having genuine respect to spiritual traditions. I like Deepak Chopra a lot in this sence, he wrote many interesting books, and talks in his teachings and books and videos from point of view of inclusion of everything and everyone and he brings it and directs it inward so appealingly, showing that all religions are based on the inward source, showing that you do not even need religion to turn inward and find that unbounded infinite source. He speaks to vast amount of people by his intent to show that inward place and not to insist on his right view as the author in the video says.
sorry to butt in your conversation with Marcus, but I think this is interesting topic, because it is maybe misunderstood:
“He spoke about the Buddha’s not believing in a soul, and his NOT believing in our complete consciousness or soul being reborn in another creature, such as a dog or an ox. Just today, a very well-educated friend of mine asked me ‘isn’t reincarnation something Buddhists believe in?’, to which I had to say, ‘yes’, but the Buddha did not.”
The reason Buddha did not teach reincarnation as some separate soul travelling to another body, because there is no separate soul, it is ONE MIND, so there is no separate piece of mind that sits in separate body. Our conscience is not separate from this one mind, this conscience is the illusion of ‘I’ . The mind experiences different state, somewhat similar to what your mind experiences in a dream, you can see yourself as flying bird or superhuman or animal or yourself etc, but you are not going anywhere, you are just sleeping having dreams, so you can say you “reincarnate” in your dreams. Life is also can be said to be a dream, it is more like tv screen having different images, so reincarnation is not traveling of soul -the separate thing- it is the reality that same mind experiences, so it can experience different realms and lives according to its level, enlightment is waking up from this perpertual dreaming.
Marcus, thank you for the ever-supportive and friendly views; and, of couse-what true fiends are for-the challenges! I am reminded by your mentioning our Buddha spoke of his past lives. On the rebirth/reincarnation issue, I have to read more about what our Buddha taught.
Regarding Amber; we are managing to keep up a diqalog, so who knows? In loss there is rebith and renewal. I have grown and am a better person not only for having met her, but for having been broken up with.
Of course she is growing too, albeit perhaps more slowly, since there are things that she misses by giving up, rather than facing the challenges we had (which were small, in reality, if we were to go about them in a more proactive way than by forbidding certain topics, and forgetting things rather than discussing them and reconciling).
I needed to make changes in my viewpoint. I had stopped pacticing for a long time, giving way to desire, completely. I had become jaded in Korea, and wasn’t balancing my views though practice. So I had been looking through the old culturally imperialistic lenses again, which needed to be changed.
In addition, the perhaps the largest and most deleterious challenge to a change in attitude for me has been my struggles with hypoglycemia. If I don’t eat right, and even before bed; if I take the wrong medication (as I have) to deal with hypoglycemia-induced anxiety, I am literally not in control of my own moods.
But that is why I do 108 bows every night now, and meditate at different intervals throughout the day. TNH figures prominantly! I pray to JC, too.
I feel wonderful now, as a person. The heart is still healing, but then, I haven’t given up entirely, either.
You mention some fascinating points. I especially like you comments on dreams. I also appeciate your comments on the oneness of things, but I do not think we re a collective consciousness, such as Carl Jung theorized. To me we are one in a biospheric sense. We have to put our Buddha’s teachings in perspective with his time in history.
Dhamma and Darma are th same thing. The former is the phonetic spelling of the Indian word. The latter is an English word for the same concept.
I agree with you that religion often softens people, but just to challenge that view for the sake of balanceing our opinions, read Christopher Hitchen’s “God is not Great”. I happen to think he picked the wrong title, alienating himself (if not bringing wrath), and missing his own point that religion is (often) the problem, not this god or that.
He demonstrates historically the opposite of what you say. For example, did you know that God tells Moses how to mark slaves, to ethnic cleanse, and basically refers to a wife as property? In a sense, religion has justified the ills that brought us racial prejudice, ethnic warfare, spousal abuse…not to mention the hatred of gays, etc., etc. As an American I am all too familiar with our nations problems based in religion; George Bush talks to God and George Bush is talked to by God? Jerry Falwell said that the 9/11 was God’ wrth for a nation hving espoused a liberal lifetyle and homosexuality? Peoplefollow these men to ruin. Abortion doctors bing shot in parking lots, to say nothing of the tortures suffered by women who couldn’t get legal ones (I am morally against abortion, but politically for it, because I prefer not to end a life, but I cannot in good conscience support laws governing a woman’s body.)? “This war is for God and country?” The “Left Behinders”, who want a war to end all wars with Muslims to bring the end of the world and the Last Judgement? These people can vote! If it weren’t so staggeringly stupid and ghastly frightening, it would be comedic!
But of course, we have a need for religion, too. Studies seem to indicate religion assists humankind evolutionarily. It is a comfort in the face of heartbeak, natural disaster, disease and death.
Peace, Love, and Joy,
Hi, Carl, it is nice talking to you!, and as you mentioned hypoglycemia, I just had to say something! Because I have same low-sugar thing and I always have to have something sweet nearby or else(!), I learned to listen to my body and feel when to drink juice or eat sweets and when to stay away from it (because just having meal on time is not always enough or sometimes I don’t want to eat), it is a balance I have to carefully keep. And I always have to eat before bed… And as of anxiety, it is the thing of mind, mind-body is the unit, if there is no …(something) in the mind, then there is no such thing in the body. Mind is first. Bipolar mood swings are much stronger than other type of moods and to deal with that is of enormous effort and let me tell you that medications are not really the answer, the best medicine is from MIND, I am speaking from my experience; although it is extremely difficult to help yourself with your own mind (on my opinion), the medicine from mind is best. Medicine Buddha works best, Medicine Buddha is the healing power from within your own foundation. So I am trying to say to you to tap into the depth within you, let the fundamental mind of yours regulate sugars and the time when you would feel the need to eat, and other things as well. After all, millions of body processes are happening without you being aware anyway, so put everything on “automatic” functioning by relying on your foundation, or Juingong (as in Daehaeng KunSunim’s teaching).
“God is not great”, or Nietzsche’s Critiques about God are valid points of view of people who are trying to question belief in outside things. However none of them considered that God is something that is within us and ultimately you are just that! And as of 9/11 – consider the situation carefully, it is not such a black and white thing, evidance and alot of shady details point to other people who were the mastermind of those terror acts, 9/11 – was an inside job.
I do agree that religion often makes people crazy , but this crazyness to fight and assert the opinion and force into submission was present long before religion even started. And as of Jewish religion and Moses – well, I’ll tell you a joke, : some say that long time ago, aliens from other planets came and taught people stuff, but these aliens who came to Moses were not very good guys, they actually were bad guys with good technolody to travel around. Take it anyway you want, but I think it is good to question everything. Dalai Lame mentions that he was not interested in Abhidharma because there are alot of nonsence in cosmolody section, there are obviously not truth about the world, it is not flat (duh!) and many other facts, and denying evidence is totally stupid.
About abortions I do agree with you, but for example during Stalin time in Soviet Union abortions were forbidden not due to religion, as religion also was forbidden basically, but due to the need for more people, because many millions died and the state needed population. Soviet Union had quite good moral standards without religion and we were taught right things, however like with religion people often did not follow rules on paper, same way as Jesus’ message of love and kindness is totally ignored most of the time – with all the wars, cruelties and fights etc. Also those abortion doctors could’ve been motivated by money! Abortion is kind of murder that stays with you as a very bad karma, it all depends on situation though (another long story from my own experience) and as a woman I can tell you that I hate how women treated around the world. I myself can probably write a book about it. I also totally hated how a buddhist monk told me that I am horrible person because my husband wanted a divorce because I stopped providing “entertainment”, (actually he also wanted me to make money instead of being at home with child, who had such bad allergies and asthma that I had to home-school in second grade) , the monk told me I have to do my duty in bed, he told me that I was horrible and that I was not welcome anywhere near temple because I broke up family ( by not doing sex) and that I should be ashamed of myself and my behaviours and should feel sorry for husband. (previosly he was telling me that I should have more children!) What is this b.s.?? So even a buddhist monk thought woman is a sex slave. That’s why somewhere in Saudi Arabia and similar places women are all covered up, because they are considered just walking genital. In Canadian law it states that a person, a woman, whether married or not, has the right to live without sex! Halleluja! I looked up the law when I felt I was loosing sanity when I was kicked out of temple because of not wanting to have sex anymore ever again. (and if you wonder how the monk knew – well, the then husband came to temple and complained on me to the monk!) I thought after 19 years of marriage it might be enough…but no appearently number one thing in life is mating. Also one muslim woman, who was very, very nice and proud mother of six boys, told me that in Qu’ran it is said that woman’s number one duty to God is to provide sex for husband, she can ignore cooking, she can even ignore her own children, but she must provide her body for sex. Sometimes I think this world is so darn stupid with its stupid preoccupation with genitals. However I must add that that very difficult situation with monk and all other stuff for me was a wonderful step in practice, it really let me touch that place of foundation, so it was precious, and so I am greatful, for everything. (and divorce was a blessing !!! so happy about freedom! and peace!)
And I wanted to mention being one in biosheric sence, looking at physical world, the quantum
mechanics/physics/astronomy – we are interconnected as one unit, but the world of mind is similar, if you think about people who can pick up on thoughts of others, predict future or tell you your past – these people are not magicians, they can know this because we are all connected and because of this one mind. If you practice properly, that is by always relying on your foundation, you would clearly experience that one mind for yourself, but it is so huge! that sometimes it is hard to believe.
That monk sounds like the old Catholic Priests in my hometown. They used to go knock on people’s doors and tell them it was time to have another child… A friend of my family’s who is in her 90s now once stopped having sex with her husband. When the priest told her it was her duty as his wife to have sex with him, she shot back, “You get into bed with him when he comes home stinking drunk, and see if you want to have sex!”
Apparently, the priest didn’t argue any further…
rather exciting ‘food for thought’…
i think you perfectly summed up the problem saying, ‘that once we feel our religion, group, view, or sect is superior to another, we have gone off the path, which is in line with universal law if it includes peace and well-being for all creation.’ losing this path seems to be the main problem with different religions for me.
and then of course the immanently working ‘rules’ of certain religions that often aren’t more than embellished discriminations (share your opinion). that’s the point, where it can become terribly difficult for an individuum to seize his/her free choice against a mighty group…
obviously you’re exhausting this theme (or maybe better: it exhausts you) for personal reasons. what i find good, is the immense energy you create to get through it. and my feeling is you shouldn’t calm down now, but complete it so that you can let it go.
i wish you the power of fresh wind of the green coloured Supreme Healer Amoghasiddhi, who grants you the capacity to rejoice; enlightened action and wrathful power! perhaps, while bowing you think a bit on him… he’s great! 🙂
love, peace and bliss
“Dhamma” and “Darma” are the same thing. The former is the phonetic spelling of the Indian word. The latter is an English word for the same concept.
It does not really matter much, but it is more of a language variation of Pali and Sanskrit – Dharma is Sanskrit and Dhamma is Pali version. I personally prefer Sanskrit.
Yes, Pali is a dialect of Sanskrit. I’ve heard an analogy that it’s similar to what Italian is to Latin. Pali is much softer than Sanskrit. I like the flow of it. When I listen to monks chanting in Pali, the Sutras sound very poetic, like songs. It’s very mesmerizing.
Personally, I prefer Pali, but I’m probably biased because of it being the language that the Buddha most likely used~ 😉
I am sorry to hear of your challenges in days past. If you would like to see my take on love and love-making, go to my website, http://carlatteniese.com, and read from the article on the love page. I will sy here that awoman should not feel obliged to hve sex, but in a devoted loving relationship, physical love, if practiced compasionately, generously, and warmly, is an integral part of the spiritual aspect of the relationship, as well as a gret healer, immunologically, mentally, nervous-system-wise. A little known fact: the fluid tht cleanses a mans prostrate gland is peseminal, so a man is either making love to his lover, wife, boyfiend, or girlfriend, or he has to make love alone, if he doesn’t want prostate cancer. Making love alone is okay when you cannot love your wife or partner, but if auto- eroticism is the only physical intimacy a person can have, it can lead to addiction, perversion, and depression. Just another fact of life that most religions do not traditionally deal with sufficiently, and probably a good reson why many religious people go neurotic.
Thank you fo sharing with me about your hypoglycemia. It is tough, isn’t it? I have stopped taking stress medicine, and feel much better, using my mind, exercise, social life, and even prayer to deal with it.
Evelyn, thnk you for writing, too. And thank you for the well-wishing.
As fas as a eligion being a disguised dicrimination, I think they are all based on elevating man. In the sense that this gets us to stop harming one another based on some idea that we are special, that is something I support, but I resent the idea that the cretues of the earth ere put here for us. That is a discrimination that leads to the inhumanity we visit on one another, since al we have to do is liken a group of humans to animals to justify their subjugation.
The worst thing any religion, philosophy, group or individual can do is to paint any one or group as unchangable. We are not immutable. That is why fortune tellers really bug me. They base everything on your make, model, and year of production, not taking into account chemistry, history, or psychology. Why can’t people see through that? What’s your blood type? What is your year of birth? How about my panty size?
Where is that place and, and when are you going? Call me:
It’s about 20 minutes from Suwon Station, apparently not far from line 1, and there are a few buses that go. I haven’t been there yet, thinking of going early, sitting for a while and taking some photos…
* Suwon South Gate, Suwon Station – Citybus No. 24, 46, 46-1
* Suwon Youngtong, Hwaseong-si Byeongjeom – Citybus No. 34, 34-1
* Hwaseong Donghan, Byeongjeom – Citybus No. 50
I had a great time at both the temple and in Insa dong. You and Your lovely family are so very healing.
Thank you, friend!