On page 9 of the Introduction to Occult Mentalities, Brian Vickers suggests:
"I have drawn on the admirable studies by P. O. Kristeller,
D. P. Walker, and E. H. Gombrich to define the occult's tendency to reify images and E. H. Gombrich to define the occult's tendency to reify images and toa way of distinguishing it from the nonoccult sciences. .
"The occult discourse is essentially symbolic. In whatever discipline - astrology, alchemy, numerology, or magic or magic - nature is significant not in itself but as a system of signs pointing another system of mental categories.
"Objects, plants, stones planets are given various attributes (good/evil, pure/impure, male /female) and fitted into a system of operations that, far from being addressed to to a disinterested study of nature, returns again and again to a self-centered concern with the individual's welfare.
What can we do to “plant the seeds of Buddhism” and introduce the young people around us?
Have you ever seen "Babette's Feast", a Danish movie from 1987? You can rent it off Amazon and watch it on your computer if you like - terrific flick. Anyhow, what you said, Meh, reminded me of the General's speech:Quote
While we separated ourselves from old friends and sometimes our families because of das org - we know better now, and hopefully have a deeper appreciation for them. This isn't a bad thing; any one we've ever loved has value and it's important that we recognize and appreciate that. We may have caused them sadness and concern over our involvement with sgi, but we're back from the dark side, a little sadder and wiser. And we are better people.
Makes better sense in the context of the movie, I'm sure :/Quote
Mercy and truth have met together. Righteousness and bliss shall kiss one another. Man, in his weakness and shortsightedness believes he must make choices in this life. He trembles at the risks he takes. We do know fear. But no. Our choice is of no importance. There comes a time when our eyes are opened and we come to realize that mercy is infinite. We need only await it with confidence and receive it with gratitude. Mercy imposes no conditions. And lo! Everything we have chosen has been granted to us. And everything we rejected has also been granted. Yes, we even get back what we rejected. For mercy and truth have met together, and righteousness and bliss shall kiss one another.
In hurting myself I have hurt the strong foundation of my family and abused the freedom of choice.
But that's so natural for people! Advertising exploits this *delusion* relentlessly! "Use this lotion and look 20 years younger" (because no one wants you as you are) "Try our diet plan and lose 30 lbs in 2 months!" (because no one likes a fatty and that's what YOU are - fatty!) "Look how attractive the people in this new car are!" (if you buy the car, everyone will think YOU're attractive, too!)Quote
see ourselves as somehow flawed for believing that sgi could help us become the people we'd like to be.
You're absolutely right, corboy, and I found a ray of hope in this article:Quote
And seeing each and every social encounter as an opportunity to "testify"-- seemed to me to turn life into a rat race. Should I speak up? How, when, at what point in the conversation? Yi.
I also ran across this article by a Shin priest (that's Nembutsu to you), that I found extremely sensible and respectful:Quote
How to sell Christianity? Ask an atheist.
Jim Henderson is a recovering evangelist. Back in his soul-chasing, church-starting days, he began hearing a grating dissonance between his faith in Jesus and the way he went about winning new converts. Henderson realized he was doing unto others what he would never want done unto him. He was manipulating conversations to set up a pitch. Viewing people as potential notches on his evangelism belt rather than fellow sojourners and prospective friends. Listening only to the extent it could reveal an argumentative opening. He realized he hated the whole enterprise.
"I told the people in my church, 'I don't like evangelizing, and I know you hate it, so I've decided that I'm formally resigning from witnessing. You're all free to do so the same,' " Henderson recalls. "I said, 'I love Jesus, you love Jesus, and we all want to connect people with Jesus. But we're gonna have to figure out new ways to do it.' "
In the 15 years since, Henderson has blazed a new path as an innovator, author, church-evaluator, self-professed subversive, and leader in the creation of new ways to be publicly and persuasively Christian in the 21st century. Maybe the most subversive — and sensible — surprise of all is the population to which this well-caffeinated Seattle man has turned for partners, friends and teachers: atheists.
What could a Christian possibly learn from atheists? A lot, it turns out. As more and more Jesus followers like Henderson are discovering, taking a look at yourself and your religion through the eyes of the unconvinced can be a revelatory experience. (This is why cults do not want their members hanging around with non-members.)
Although he is just north of 60, Henderson is emblematic of an up-and-coming wave of evangelicals intent on course correction for the church. Through public-opinion research, grassroots dialogue and ears to the shifting ground, they are getting the message that the old ways don't cut it anymore. (Or, for our purposes, the Japanese ways don't cut it anymore.)
The shift has serious implications for the age-old mission to evangelize — the focus of untold generations of well-intentioned Christians compelled to live out the Great Commission that Jesus laid out in the Gospel of Matthew ("Go and make disciples of all nations"). The standard argumentative approach — built around "spiritual laws," A-to-B-to-Z logic, and black-and-white propositions about the one religious truth — seems more counterproductive with each passing year, more likely to repel than persuade.
What do Christians learn when they start listening to atheists? Henderson, author of the forthcoming book The Outsider Interviews, has found that the "I'm right/you're wrong" model is a conversation-killer par excellence. So is speaking of non-converts as "lost." "Nothing sets off an atheist more than hearing a Christian say, 'I know Jesus is God and that I'm going to heaven when I die,' " Henderson says. "They also notice that we often say it loudly and arrogantly, which only serves to reinforce their negative opinion of our certainty."
Atheists are also wary of being seen as "projects." Does continued contact and eventual friendship with the Christian in their life depend on them converting? (In my experience, it absolutely does, and within a limited timeframe. Take too long or refuse, and the Christian is off chasing after a new target - you'll never hear from him/her again.)
When Doug asked me what advice I would have for the assembled missionaries in training, the answer came quickly: If you want to have influence, I said, you have to be willing to be influenced. If not, I asked, would anyone want to have a conversation with you?
Conventional evangelism is often accused, and rightly so, of "bait and switch" tactics; think attractive social gathering or sports outing that, unbeknownst to invitees, is really designed to segue into a Gospel pitch. Henderson has a fascinating alternative to propose: all bait, no switch.
Call it promotion by non-promotion, evangelism by attraction, goodwill mongering, or letting one's life speak for itself, but this is what will best represent the faith among the many Americans who do not share the evangelical faith. Henderson and his fellow travelers are right in urging would-be evangelists simply to get to know people, become their friends and let the spiritual chips fall where they may.
This re-imagined form of witness trumpets good news all around -- for Christians who, as Henderson puts it, want to be "normal," for the public credibility of Christianity, and for all of the not-yet and never-will-be converts who don't want to be pitied or demonized for (supposedly) living in the dark.
These new-century Jesus representatives seem to be arriving at just the right formula for making their faith real and known in these changing times: no formula.
And that, gentle readers, is the difference between a *tolerant* religion and an INTOLERANT religion!Quote
The last important difference between Shin and Christianity which we will discuss has to do with the concept of conversion.
Christians believe that all people in the world must accept Christ, and missionaries undergo all sorts of hardship to bring the gospel of Jesus to all mankind. Christians "have a story to tell to the nations." They go to teach and elevate people.
Shin missionaries, on the other hand, go out to seek people who have similar opinions to their own. They invite them to join them in their activities. Shin regards entrance into the Hongwanji as a union of attitudes. The basis of these religious attitudes lies in one's past experiences. No amount of arguing or teaching can bring these attitudes about without there having been the necessary conditioning experiences in one's past.
Shin does not believe that everyone will or must become a Shin follower. It is said that Sakya taught 84,000 different doctrinal systems so that there might be one suited to each possible kind of human personality. Shin, as one of these many doctrines, will find kindred spirits in every country of the world, but were any one country even -let alone the whole world- to follow Shin alone, it would be a sure sign that Shin is not a true doctrine. (No wonder Nichiren hated them so much! Of all the sects of Buddhism in the world, Shin aka Nembutsu has the most followers - thanks to China, of course.)
With regard to conversion, then, Christianity and Shin are quite different. Christianity finds evidence of its truth in the fact that all people will accept it. Shin takes universal acceptance as a sign of not being a true doctrine. [www.seattlebetsuin.com]
Many of us in the US arrive because we left or were scared away from our home nations. Once here, there's disorientation. More of us are scattered and dont have kinship networks. Recent immigrants struggle to make sense of it all, and American and British society have both become more complex.
Those are the times when the strongest of us will secretly, if we admit it, have times when we'd like to crawl into bed, pull the blanket over our heads and hope Mom or Dad will take care of it all.
After my mother died, (dad had died years earlier), an older cousin who had lost both his parents said, "You're facing a big one. When both your parents die, no one stands between you and death. You have to face the abyss, all by yourself. Sorry to depress the hell out of you."
I replied, "I'd rather hear that than bullshit." Still hurt, though.
And the sneakiest times are when we are completely unconscious that we want someone else to tell us The Answer and Give Instructions.
Its when we are unconscious of that desire that we are so very vulnerable.
Its our glory and our danger as human beings. And it overrides intelligence, sophistication and education.
If everyone is nodding and smiling and making out they are hearing something brilliant and profound, the peer pressure itself causes people to join in and agree even if they haven't a clue what the person is talking about, so they don't come across as stupid. I certainly remember sitting there wondering why I found it so repetitive and boring but then saying how wonderful it was after - so lame!
"I remember some years back seeing an article about some Jewish group (was it Kabbalah?) that was selling T-shirts with Hebrew characters on them. They believed that, when people in society saw these characters, even without having *any* understanding of Hebrew or Judaism, the *seeing* would cause a fundamental change in their lives.
Whether they wanted it or not.
More of the same woo-woo wave-the-hands-it's-magic kind of thinking. "
This can be said as much of chants one doesnt understand, Sokka Gakkai scrolls or supposed Kabbala signs which seen but not understood, supposedly have a beneficial effect.
What can we do to “plant the seeds of Buddhism” and introduce the young people around us?
I never liked this approach. It treats all relationships as mere means to an end. One doesnt see people as people, one treats them as marks, objects, for one's own "seed planting."
Its part of the occult mentality to assign properties to words, chants and numbers, even when one doesnt understand their content. We could not create modern science until ways were found to fix meanings and definations in verbal language so that communciation could be standardized. And the most important step was to find ways to detach numbers from magic and understand them as signs for quantities, not carriers of essence or energy, in and of themselves.