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Go Back   Spiritual Forums > Religions & Faiths > Interfaith

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  #1  
Old 21-07-2021, 07:17 PM
The Cobbler's Apprentice The Cobbler's Apprentice is offline
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The pre-eminence of Grace

"By God's grace alone is God to be grasped. All else is false, all else is vanity." (Guru Nanak of the Sikh Faith)

"They who have known God have known also this one certainty; that it was God's grace that led them to it, and framed them in readiness for it, and prepared their heart and mind for it; and it was God alone who lifted them to that embrace." (Swami Abhayananda of the Hindu faith)

The above are quoted purely to dispel any illusion that some might have that Grace (a beautiful word) is unique to the Christian Faith. However, some might well consider that Grace is only to be found in the theistic Faiths.

Yet for all intents and purposes the efficacy of Grace for enlightenment/salvation is to be found in the Pure Land expression of Buddhism, which has among its followers a wide spectrum of understanding. From those who understand Amida as Him/Her up there (or out West) who bestows "salvation" upon all who call upon Him/Her, and the Pure Land as a place we go to after death; to those who see Amida as a personification/representation of Reality-as-is and the Pure land as THIS world, NOW, when seen and lived in by an enlightened being. And all points in between.

Mentioning the in between, I can bring in some ideas of Thomas Merton who speaks of the movement between an "I-Thou" relationship with the Divine to an experience of oneness, where the sense of "self" is lost, a movement from acting in conjuction with grace, to acting spontaneously from grace. Which in the "Eastern" way of speaking, is the way of wu wei, effortless working purely as the good.

Irrespective of exactly how we would understand the scope of effort in relation to Grace I would always think in terms of realisation rather than attainment ( or, perhaps, in Christianity, of being chosen rather than of choosing )

So it can be seen that even in a non-theistic context, what can be known as Grace is present. Present in as much as the enlightened state is to be realised/known/seen...........not achieved/attained/earned.

Just to add, that there is believing in grace and living in and by grace. Just as there is the written word and the Living Word.

For Buddhism, truth is "directly perceived", "beyond the limits of time", "to be personally experienced", "persuasive" and finally "to be understood each for themselves". (There are fancy Pali words for each..... )

But the point is that there is an analytic understanding, but such is never sufficient....we must experience in our innermost consciousness/being all that is implied by any teaching/belief, so that we not only "understand it" but put it into practice. As D T Suzuki says......"There will then be no discrepancy between knowledge and life"

It is for these reasons that I would hold that the ways for grace to come to fruition in each human being are unique for each and therefore infinite in variety - and could never be reduced to the product of one "narrow way" ideology/theology bound to one book, however "holy".

As the zens say......."creation itself is our scripture".
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Old 21-07-2021, 07:42 PM
Miss Hepburn Miss Hepburn is offline
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Angel1

I couldn't read anymore after the 2 quotes. I didn't need to.
In the middle of the afternoon, what a blessing.
Thank you.
Not many know this is so true.
It is most certainly God alone that draws us near.
And we know it...we have done nothing to deserve such Grace.

The Interfaith section. Good choice.
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Old 21-07-2021, 09:05 PM
The Cobbler's Apprentice The Cobbler's Apprentice is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Hepburn
The Interfaith section. Good choice.
I wasn't really sure. There is a General Religion section. However, I always feel the power of words, and "faith" has greater resonance for me than "religion".

Being a non-theist I am open to many modern understandings of zen where it is said that it "developed and cannot be fully understood outside of a worldview that sees reality itself as a vital, ephemeral agent of awareness and healing" and speaks of
the liberative qualities of spatiality and temporality.
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Old 21-07-2021, 10:53 PM
Miss Hepburn Miss Hepburn is offline
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Reality - ''a vital, ephemeral agent of awareness and healing"

Ok...And you say you are a non theist? Doesn't sound it to me! :)
A rose by any other name is still a rose.
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Old 22-07-2021, 06:36 AM
The Cobbler's Apprentice The Cobbler's Apprentice is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Hepburn
Reality - ''a vital, ephemeral agent of awareness and healing"
Ok...And you say you are a non theist? Doesn't sound it to me! :)
A rose by any other name is still a rose.
"For the earth brings forth fruits of herself"

Really, to spend time reflecting upon the words and insights of those such as Thomas Merton and Meister Eckhart, then move across to Dogen (an eastern zen master) is to begin to erode some of the arguments that have in the past created Inquistions.

Then again, it just might be me.
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Old 25-07-2021, 02:25 PM
Molearner Molearner is offline
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Did Thomas Merton borrow I Thou from Martin Buber ?
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Old 25-07-2021, 04:30 PM
The Cobbler's Apprentice The Cobbler's Apprentice is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Molearner
Did Thomas Merton borrow I Thou from Martin Buber ?

Thomas Merton was a voracious reader so may well have read Martin Buber's book. Merton gave lectures to the novices at his monastery on Jewish mysticism and Martin Buber's Hasidic tales so obviously was aware of the man.

The quote I gave in the OP was from a dialogue between Merton and D T Suzuki (the "zen man") called "Wisdom in Emptiness" contained in Merton's book "Zen and the Birds of Appetite". This dialogue was concerned with themes different from those in the book "I and Thou".
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