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Old 09-11-2017, 11:15 PM
blossomingtree blossomingtree is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 940
Originally Posted by Gem
Well, religions do all have the same basic structure, and they can be lumped together in that regard.

Please kindly enlighten me as to what you mean by basic structure

Originally Posted by Gem
We can't be free thinkers and religious believers at the same time, but that's not to say free thought is unguided. It's requires honesty rather than obedience.

Disagree on that point....... Let's talk about Yoga - yoga encourages discipline, practice, deepening of spiritual awareness. In what way does that discourage free thinking?

Buddhism. Buddhism starts with the premise - know for yourself. That is, take this body of knowledge and apply/utilize it until you know what the Buddha knew. No need to worship, just practice. Until then, keep working. Meditation - beyond belief. Beyond thought, emotion, practice, or belief. How is that not free?

And how is that not free-er than "free thought" where the ego most often is the arbiter of what is right and not. To transcend ego, limited self, small self, selfishness, idiocy, whatever we want to call it, requires ascension beyond the limited self. In that way, to suggest that a person still mired in partial ignorance or/and delusion is capable of seeing through that themself - well it's possible, but it's also a long shot sometimes (Big caveat: depends on the individual)

Further, I want to be clear that I am not discounting nor would ever argue against aspirants who discover Truth for themselves - there are many. i.e. I don't disagree with you on that point either, and agree also that people should keep investigating for themselves and be honest in themselves.

On the flipside:

As to honesty, well certainly, this is also possibly related to an individual aspect of self. How many on here don't think they themselves are honest and how many on this forum seem to imply (implicitly or explicitly) that they are at a peak and there is no more to do, or/and they are in no need of a genuinely realized Master because let's face it, only "I" am the true arbiter of Truth.

Well as attractive as that is, that ain't the gold standard in genuinely realized traditions - whether they be religion based or not. (for similar reasons as above)

Originally Posted by Gem
I think we get led into the 'superior path' mentality, where self-determined discernment is the only 'way', so if people want a guru or a religious sect, then they needn't overlook their ability to discern honestly what actually motivates that direction, rather than be persuaded by others that it is the 'one true direction'. Self discernment is a primary essential freedom that enables any number of life directions, and freely discerned changes to such directions.

Indeed, agreed that joining a religion is not the one true direction. But if someone is throwing gold my way, I wouldn't discount that value either. I guess we might be talking about different cultures (yet you argue above that all religions can be "lumped together") as I see no disunity between freedom of thought and spiritual traditions. I also avoid and steer clear of any that don't support principles of freedom of thought, meditation, Gnosis, and kindness.

Originally Posted by Gem
In the humanities there is a principle of informed consent, and consent only applies in the absence of coercion, so attempts to persuade others into conversions and so forth contravene the principle. I don't think religious orders can be sustained without coercion...

There is also the same that you could apply for all these arguments that religions are to be avoided, teachers are to be avoided, and even more strongly, that all religions want is to control people.

Granted I don't doubt that many do. It depends on the person and the teacher and the organization - there are specious individuals and many who have no spiritual insights, but claim status. But this is not everyone.

So again, the one sided arguments need balancing, in my opinion, as they are unfair - unfair to whom? Unfair to anyone who is genuinely interested in plumbing the depths of a religion whether that be Buddhism, Yoga, Neo-Advaita, Sufism, Spiritual Christianity (please don't mention the US Christian fundamentalists who scare me)

As to your last statement, you believe that all the people in Sufism, in monasteries around the world, in Buddhism, in Neo-Advaita, Yoga, are all coerced, Gem?

Ending with again - I don't disagree that not all people need religion by any means, or a teacher but it's so circumstantial and dependent on causes and conditions and the individuals' own propensity/spiritual insights/personality etc. that I wouldn't go all out for one path or the other. And I wouldn't discount that there are deeply realized teachers who have insights which could benefit. As to who/where that gold is, I guess I can only put that down to karmic causes and conditions. Nor would I disrespect people who have found their own Truth and happiness in even more belief based religions, so long as those contribute to inner peace, joy and care for people other than myself.

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