Monday, September 25, 2006

Conversation with the “river”

These were replies to a fellow blogger (Edo River) who commented on an earlier posting. I am publishing them here again (with slight modification) because I am hoping to share them with others too.

(For his comments, please see the comment section for the “Are they competing with each other?” post.)

1) On seeing the similarities among the world established religions:

I think I agree with you completely (if I understood you right). The Oneness (of the Way) mentioned in the post may appear simplistic, but the implications are tremendous, and the meanings, limitless and complex. In some sense, as I have come to believe, the very salvation of the planet may be linked to the recognition and the realization of this Oneness. (Not bringing it about, but rather recognizing that it is a reality, just like the modern science of genetics and the study of DNA telling us that there really is only one [homo sapiens] species of people.)

While simplicity can be beautiful, it is not a synonym of 'ea
se'. Overcoming the ego, is just about the hardest thing in the world like you say, and there is no magic mantra either. The Prophets themselves suffered. Yet, all the world's religions have called for sacrificing (that which is low) for (that which is high). They all did.

’Simplicity’ can be beautiful. E=MC2.
(How easy was it to come up with that?)

In order to believe in the oneness of the "Way", we may have to believe that there is only one God, only one human race, and maybe that religion is one
too. Where would that leave us?

2) On the difficulty in not becoming a skeptic, a perpetual doubter, a cynic.

Doubt can be replaced by a (more positive?) principle called "Independent Investigation of the Truth". It is wonderful to have teachers who teach you how to think for yourself and instill a yearning in you to look for the truth. At the same time, there is a saying that says: once you have found the object of your search (I am paraphrasing), then to keep searching is foolish. That is where the doubt should end and become replaced by certitude -- (maybe what you called "Trust" in your post).

What you say about core teachings of religions on the one hand, and social teachings on the other, is very true and important to distinguish between, and also to u
nderstand the reasons for having two sets of teachings. The more obvious differences between the religions are mainly with regards to the social teachings. Each appropriate and perfect for the place and the age they were revealed in. Another difference, if you want to call it so, is in the extent of what they expounded to us. (Also perfectly appropriate to the capacity of the recipients in that time and place). So there is nothing inherent against seeing religion as one, if we can also recognize its relative nature.

As to having 62 churches (all claiming to belong to
the same religion) in a town of 7000, .. there is another saying: "Knowledge is one point, which the foolish have multiplied."

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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