Meditation may help with anxiety, depression and pain

Comments (34)
stevesimms wrote:

Mantra Meditation actually has been shown to have more benefits in my experience. But rather than even a specific word or sound, it’s WAY more powerful to focus on a healthy concept or IDEA (light, love, etc.). Books like “The Easiest Meditation Ever” and “Creative Visualization” are great for this. Go with focusing on a specific idea. Benefits abound.

Jan 06, 2014 4:43pm EST  --  Report as abuse
AccessSchism wrote:

It’s funny. When stuff shows up on Drudge that involves real things that can help you in your life, it’s crickets. But, when a a guy says it’s a sin and blasphemous to have homosexual sex, the comments section explodes with religious lunatics.

Meditation saved my life from anxiety about 12 years ago. To the religious lunatics who aren’t going to read this anyway; who cares if men have sex with men and woman have sex with woman. :-)

Jan 06, 2014 7:44pm EST  --  Report as abuse
kunukia wrote:

I have been meditating for years. It helps with all kinds of anxiety and negative emotions. I agree with the other poster about meditating on healthy concepts, but since I learned meditation through the Tibetan Buddhist system, I do use mantra. The mantra themselves have the positive concepts associated with them.
Om Mani Padme Hum…compassion…

Jan 06, 2014 8:05pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Aqualungon wrote:

Prayer works for me.

Jan 06, 2014 10:23pm EST  --  Report as abuse
chachamama wrote:

The problem with the pursuit of meditation is that it invariably involves implicit or explicit acceptance of the religious framework in which the meditation originates.

Buddhism pretends not to be a religion but Tibetan Buddhist meditation involves worship of the deity which is the subject of the meditation. Where there is worship there is religion.

Meditation is a form of worship. The use of mantra is itself a form of worship known in sanskrit as japa; a mantra is the ‘name’ of god and repeating the mantra is worship of that god; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

The same applies in Hinduism, except that Buddhism claims to be non-theistic whereas Hinduism does not. Hinduism sometimes comes in the pseudo-technical guise of the science of mind, however in this case the science of mind is the science of religion. All Hindu meditation approaches are highly religiously committed, even when they appear to be just yoga, for yoga means the yoking of one’s mind to god.

It isn’t true because it is non-theistic that Buddhism is not a religion. The Tibetan priest from whom meditation instructions are received is worshipped and where there is worship there is religion. The Dalai Lama is the god of Tibet and is worshipped by Tibetans.

All forms of meditation are embedded in religious traditions whose content is carried into and distilled in meditation. Meditation and worship are inseparable.

It is a mistake to think it possible to safely navigate the Scylla-Charybdis of Hindu-Buddhist polytheism and guru worship on the ship of philosophical abstraction and penetrating insight. It just doesn’t work. You’ll be sucked down into the vortex of religious practices characterized by idolatry and authoritarianism.

The defect of so-called medical meditation studies demonstrating reduction of stress, etc is that they fail to compare the results of meditation with those of other activities, such as running, reading, walking on the beach with a friend, reading psalms or practise of one’s own religious tradition.

The end result of meditation is claimed to be enlightenment but tell me how Buddhism and Hinduism can claim knowledge of truth when the societies based on them are autocratic caste systems devoid of democratic ethical values.

Judge the religious traditions associated with meditation in terms of the ethical values manifested in the societies whose roots are these religious traditions and you will find liberty absent. The value of a religion’s enlightenment, that is, the meditation goal and result, is negated by the caste system caused by the religion.

Not all religions cause caste, only those that involve guru-worship. Religion without guru worship may lead to democratic society. Religion with guru worship leads to caste autocracy.

Buddhist and Hindu meditation techniques involve guru-worship implicitly or explicitly, because that’s what Hinduism and Buddhism are all about. But do you want to subscribe to guru-religions that inherently and invariably treat people as caste objects rather than as human beings.

Don’t be fooled by skinny sadhus, smiling gurus, flashy hats and robes and pomp and ceremony, all designed to get your donations.

Jan 07, 2014 2:04am EST  --  Report as abuse
DETherapist wrote:

I am pleased that the results of this study have finally been released. I am confident that many more studies will be conducted now. Meditation and mindfulness do, in fact, help to get rid of anxiety and depression. As a psychotherapist I have been working with depressed clients for 40 years and have found that including certain directed mindfulness meditation exercises to the therapeutic process is essential. For meditations I usually recommend the guided meditation programs by Jon Shore at http://depression.lightunlimitedpublishing.com.
They seem to work well for my clients.

Maybe physicians will be more likely to recommend a therapeutic process for anxiety and depression that involves mindfulness rather than meds. It will save many lives and a great deal of money.

Jan 07, 2014 2:16am EST  --  Report as abuse
ounceoflogic wrote:

“Using data from 47 earlier studies…”
I want a grant to study 47 studies that have already been done and report on my findings. A couple mil should do. Thank you.

Jan 07, 2014 7:28am EST  --  Report as abuse
YoungProf wrote:

Fascinating article! some astonishing insights are illuminated here!

in related news some people may find warmer climates more enjoyable!

Jan 07, 2014 8:32am EST  --  Report as abuse
topsykrets wrote:

duuuh!! Why is it that they do these studies like they are something new? And anyone that says invariably meditation is religious needs to do some more work and study meditation past their own short sightedness.
transcendental meditation is not religious Buddhist meditation does not praise the deity it’s even in the writing of the deity himself “do not follow me take my words and make them yours” .True Buddhism says that the deity is not important the practice in every form is what is important.

Jan 07, 2014 9:00am EST  --  Report as abuse
Topden wrote:

I disagree with chachama who claims that the pursuit of meditation involves accepting a religious framework. Secular mindfulness programmes such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy founded and developed by Jon-Kabat Zinn et all have demonstrated this.

I also disagree with chachama’s interpretation of Buddhism in general and Tibetan Buddhism in particular. Calm abiding meditation (Shamatha) and Insight meditation (Vipassana) methods are found throughout Buddhism and those methods and techniques can be used without subscribing to any philosophical or religious belief system as indeed meditation is experiential and therefore not based on belief systems but practice and personal experience.

Furthermore, chachama’s interpretation of “deities” in Tibetan Buddhism is inaccurate and seems to be confused with similar but distinct practices found in Hinduism. Deity practice in Tibetan Buddhism, which is not the topic of this article nor is it being suggested in this article, is not worship. In fact it is a creative, psychological symbolic practice where the said deity represents innate human qualities and potentials and is used by some as a method to cultivate those qualities, such as compassion and wisdom for instance, within. The understanding is that those qualities are innately human and the qualities represented by the deity are not separate from the practitioner. The dualistic understanding chachama describes between the practitioner and an outer “diety” is a wrong view in Buddhism based upon philosophical Hindu beliefs that are not accepted within Buddhism.

Mantra in Hinduism may be understood as names of God. But in Tibetan Buddhism it is used as a focus for Shamatha (calm abiding meditation) much like the breath, bodily sensations or a visual object might be. For some the use of intoning certain sounds can be used to align the mind, as described above, with certain states of being and inner human potentials. Whether mantra or sound in general has the ability to influence mental states is neither here nor there with regards to his article, the point is that from the perspective of Tibetan Buddhism mantra use is not a form of worship.

Buddhism is non-theistic, Tibetan Buddhism, especially the Vajrayana, can appear theistic to those who do not understand the elaborate symbolism and purpose behind some of its methods, but again those particular methods are not the subject of this article, nor are they being advocated in general here when discussing the benefits of meditation.

Furthermore, Lamas in Tibetan Buddhism are seen as teachers that have mastered meditation techniques and therefore can provide the instructions for individuals to do so if they wish and find them to be beneficial in their day to day life. Therefore respect, appreciation and devotion may develop over time when one realises the efficacy of such practices through one’s own experience. Once again this is only a trait found in Tibetan Buddhism and not Buddhism in general.

Hence, the Lama is a guide, not a God to be worshipped. The Tibetan cultural phenomenon of the Dalai Lama is complex, but to use it as an example to prove that meditation and Buddhism is a theistic religion and meditation, as described in this article, involves worshiping deities is misinformed and misleading. Again, there is more to Buddhism than Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama. Indeed the Dalai Lama himself has said many times that Tibetans have a lot of blind faith and in general lack an understanding of Buddhism and the Buddha’s teachings who incidentally is understood, within Buddhism, to be a human being and not divine unlike Hindu Avatars.

Furthermore, chachama pointing to the ills of societies where there is a history of meditation practice as evidence for the uselessness of meditation is a weak and questionable argument in my opinion. There are many ills in societies that do not have basis in meditation practice also. There are plenty of counter examples too, for example India is one of the most diverse places on earth when it comes to language, caste and creed where diversity and democracy both flourish. Relatively there is a tolerance and acceptance of the “other” that arguably is missing in some societies, however this is due to many factors and explaining it on the basis of one fact, that there is a tradition of meditation in the country is sophistry.

In the end scaremungering and fear are never helpful and it is up to individuals to try things out for themselves and decide if something is useful for them in their life or not.

Jan 07, 2014 9:39am EST  --  Report as abuse
peachys wrote:

I had trrouble with sleeping and went into chronic depression after meditation and clearing my mind.
Meditation and hypnosis allows evil thoughts to take over your mind.
Never give your mind to mind control methods

Jan 07, 2014 10:38am EST  --  Report as abuse
IrvingC wrote:

Very old news. We knew about this phenomenon back in the 60s. The guy collected real money for a “study” without doing is homework.

Jan 07, 2014 10:48am EST  --  Report as abuse
IrvingC wrote:

Very old news. We knew about this phenomenon back in the 60s. The guy collected real money for a “study” without doing is homework.

Jan 07, 2014 10:48am EST  --  Report as abuse
IrvingC wrote:

Very old news. We knew about this phenomenon back in the 60s. The guy collected real money for a “study” without doing is homework.

Jan 07, 2014 10:48am EST  --  Report as abuse
IrvingC wrote:

Very old news. We knew about this phenomenon back in the 60s. The guy collected real money for a “study” without doing is homework.

Jan 07, 2014 10:48am EST  --  Report as abuse
IrvingC wrote:

Very old news. We knew about this phenomenon back in the 60s. The guy collected real money for a “study” without doing is homework.

Jan 07, 2014 10:48am EST  --  Report as abuse
IrvingC wrote:

Very old news. We knew about this phenomenon back in the 60s. The guy collected real money for a “study” without doing is homework.

Jan 07, 2014 10:48am EST  --  Report as abuse
IrvingC wrote:

Very old news. We knew about this phenomenon back in the 60s. The guy collected real money for a “study” without doing is homework.

Jan 07, 2014 10:48am EST  --  Report as abuse
IrvingC wrote:

Very old news. We knew about this phenomenon back in the 60s. The guy collected real money for a “study” without doing is homework.

Jan 07, 2014 10:48am EST  --  Report as abuse
IrvingC wrote:

Very old news. We knew about this phenomenon back in the 60s. The guy collected real money for a “study” without doing is homework.

Jan 07, 2014 10:48am EST  --  Report as abuse
IrvingC wrote:

Very old news. We knew about this phenomenon back in the 60s. The guy collected real money for a “study” without doing is homework.

Jan 07, 2014 10:48am EST  --  Report as abuse
IrvingC wrote:

Very old news. We knew about this phenomenon back in the 60s. The guy collected real money for a “study” without doing is homework.

Jan 07, 2014 10:48am EST  --  Report as abuse
IrvingC wrote:

Very old news. We knew about this phenomenon back in the 60s. The guy collected real money for a “study” without doing is homework.

Jan 07, 2014 10:48am EST  --  Report as abuse
mitchie124 wrote:

Duh!

Jan 07, 2014 11:12am EST  --  Report as abuse
baldernyu wrote:

I sense someone is fishing for a research grant to prove the obvious. It would be difficult to find someone who disagrees with the value of meditation and self-reflection.

Jan 07, 2014 1:25pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Reuterszzz wrote:

I’m noticing an interesting trend, as Obamacare begins to take hold. All of the “experts” who used to swear by medicine (drugs) are now advocating non-drug treatment. The same thing is occurring in the world of ADHD, where the “experts” are now saying that drugs is not the answer. It sounds to me like drugs were NEVER the answer, but now since the American health care system is going down the toilet, the majority of people aren’t going to be able to afford expensive drugs, and insurance companies don’t want to be stuck footing the bill. I predict we will see an onslaught of all kinds of “holistic” remedies now (read: cheaper)

Jan 07, 2014 2:31pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

@Reuterszzz

“I’m noticing an interesting trend, as Obamacare begins to take hold. All of the “experts” who used to swear by medicine (drugs) are now advocating non-drug treatment. The same thing is occurring in the world of ADHD, where the “experts” are now saying that drugs is not the answer. It sounds to me like drugs were NEVER the answer, but now since the American health care system is going down the toilet, the majority of people aren’t going to be able to afford expensive drugs, and insurance companies don’t want to be stuck footing the bill. I predict we will see an onslaught of all kinds of “holistic” remedies now (read: cheaper)”

If we see Colorado and Washington successfully make a lot of money off their new Marijuana laws it will spread. And then we will see a lot of advertising for the benefits of said herb. One of the best reasons to kill off the health insurance and for profit model in medicine may be we end up better off without the pill cocktails that Doctors love pushing down our throats. They should have never been allowed to make money off the drugs they prescribe. Some doctors are nothing more than legitimate drug dealers.

Jan 07, 2014 9:06pm EST  --  Report as abuse
zafoo wrote:

Response to Topden:

Intro

I will here explain why for a beginner in meditation what you say seems true but for an advanced student it is clearly seen to be false.

I will demonstrate that there is absolutely no way to reduce Tibetan Buddhist meditation to technical science of mind distinct from full-blown religious worship. Buddhist lama-rinpoches present their initial teachings as if they are religiously neutral science of mind in order not to scare off their beginning students. This is irresponsible authoritarianism because it leads people to waste a lot of time and donations before the real meaning and implications of the teachings are revealed.

Nonetheless the rare competent observer will discern religious elements immediately if he has a good general understanding of religious principles and practices. But the vast majority of Buddhist-Hindu followers have no such basis on which to evaluate their teachings, elementary or advanced, and for this reason every Hindu-Buddhist of two or three months considers himself a guru.

“A little learning is a dangerous thing; 
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: 
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, 
And drinking largely sobers us again.”
– A. Pope (1688 – 1744)
Buddhism and Hinduism are guru religions, i.e. the guru is worshipped. Worship implies religion and vice versa. Considering that these religions take deified human beings as their origin, this should come as a logical consequence as opposed to a surprise. Buddhism is named for its founder, Gautama Buddha, who lived approx 2400 years ago. Hinduism traces its origins to many gurus such as the Krsna, considered to be the avatar origin of the deity aspect Vishnu, and others too numerous to mention.

In Tibetan Buddhism there is a universal practice called ngondro, the four preliminaries.
Preliminary number one is the execution of 100,000 refuge prayers with full prostrations and visualisations. Tibetan Buddhist take refuge the lineage tree of the gurus and deities. Refuge prostrations constitute an expression of worship, as you will understand if you think about the meaning of refuge. What you see Muslims doing in the mosque when they prostrate is the Islamic form of Tibetan Buddhist prostration. They’re taking refuge in Allah first and Mohammed second. Fundamental Christian practice is refuge in Jesus. Refuge is a universal religious practice.

And don’t forget that whenever the Lama-Rinpoche enters the room one is required to do three full prostrations to him. Go ahead and rationalize that away.

Preliminary number two is 100,000 repetitions and visualizations of the guru-deity in a certain configuration, again an expression of worship in a purification ritual.

Preliminary three is 100,000 repetitions of making offerings to the lineage gurus and deities, again a universal form of worship.

And the culmination of the four preliminaries number four, guru yoga, is the repetition of 100,000 prayers to the guru for liberation, yet another universal form of spiritual practice found in all religions.
It’s like saying, “God help and bless me”.

Clearly this is all about worship of the guru. As the chief cleric of Tibetan society, the Dalai Lama is universally worshipped through the preliminaries mentioned above as well as subsequent practices me. If the Dalai Lama is not the main object of a Tibetn Buddhist’s religious practice some other Lama is cast in the same role. Whichever Lama is involved if he is not considered to be the living Buddha, the practice will not work; so it is taught. And similarly, whichever deity the practitioner worships, if he is not considered to be identical with the Lama, again the practice will not work; so it is taught that all progress on the path comes through the blessings, the blessings and not just the teachings, of the guru.

These preliminaries are the conditioning basis for yidam meditation, another form of worship in which guru and deity are viewed as synonymous in content and form.

There is no need to continue with further detail of Buddhist practice because it is abundantly clear that Tibetan Buddhism is all about guru worship. Any Lama-rinpoche will admit as much.

Now, what is considered by Tibetan Buddhism to be the very introductory form of meditation, called shamatha, leading to vipassana, closely resembles Hindu meditation and is the main subject of meditation most people first encounter. Vipassana per se in Tibetan Buddhism is actually considered a potentially misleading practice and properly belongs to Southern or Theravada Buddhism, which is also a guru religion with the guru Buddha as the primary object of veneration, worship and refuge, as may be understood through study or by living in a Theravadin ashram.

The only way to make vipassana and shamatha work, according to Tibetan Buddhist training, is on the basis of the four preliminaries and subsequent practices mentioned above. Therefore in Tibetan Buddhism vipassana and shamatha are also inseparable from guru worship. Of course in Hinduism, guru is god is the basic principle.

While it is true that there are certain teachers who have attempted to abstract elements of Hindu-Buddhist meditation, usually presented as shamatha-vipassana, in an attempt to ‘sanitize’ the religious elements, all such attempts fail for a variety of reasons pertaining to the techniques’ underlying philosophies. For example in Transcendental Meditation the ‘secret’ mantras correspond in essence and efficacy, according to Indian philosophy, to Vedic and other deities. Thus, as the mantra is repeated it is considered to be beneficial to the extent that it bestows the energy and essence of the deity. Of course this is not explained to the meditator throughout the first several stages of meditation training following the payment of fees.

Obviously yoga exercises and meditation on breath per se are not religious practices, but these subjects are rarely if ever taught without religious elaboration and in any case they soon lead students to explore their religious dimensions. Yoga exercises and meditation on the breath are taught in conjunction with religious concepts of Buddhism and Hinduism such as karma, suffering, impermanence, death, rebirth, reincarnation, specific ethics, illusion, isolation, guru-worship and so forth, all of which are religious concepts. Moreover, you will not find a non-Western Hindu or Buddhist yoga practitioner on the Indian subcontinent who does not worship one of the many deities of the Hindu-Buddhist pantheon and therefore the attempts to sanitize meditation of such elements is hypocritical and misleading.

The four noble truths of Buddhism have a clear and definite religious content and are invariably taught with training in shamatha-vipassana. Most students of Buddhism fail to recognize the religious aspects of the four noble truths because they do not realise that other religions present different basic truths incompatible with those of Buddhism and Hinduism. The ethical theories and practices of compassion in Buddhism are always taught as part of Buddhist meditation training. This the sanitizationis never complete and is in fact impossible. The word yoga means the yoking of the individual with the divine and Buddhism does not argue with this because Indian religion is taught to be the mother of Buddhism.

On the basis that the defining aspect of religion is worship, I have shown that Hindu-Buddhist meditation is religion. I do not have to prove that Buddhism is theistic in order to establish that Buddhist and Hindu meditation are forms of religious practice, although I could easily do so.

I will only say that although the Dalai Lama claims that there is no God in Buddhism, the glaring fact remains that for all devout Tibetan Buddhists without exception, the Dalai Lama is god and worshipped as His Holiness identical to the Tibetan national deity Avalokiteshvara. Try as you will, there is no way to rationalize this away. If it looks, walks and talks and is treated as god then it is god. Many people try to fool themselves by attempting to explain away what stares them squarely in the face by on the basis that their philosophical acumen is of a potency capable of reinterpreting everything in terms of heuristics and profound abstraction. And indeed the philosophy and meditation training provides the means and motivation for doing so in terms of the concept of emptiness and illusion, but unfortunately, since emptiness and illusion and their synthesis remain forever beyond the existential grasp of the vast majority of practitioners, the attempt to explain away remains forever a mere theoretical construct.

The idea that the Lama is a teacher and not a deity is totally false. As in Christianity, Jesus is deity and in Hinduism the guru is deity, so in Buddhism the guru is deity. Again this is evident from the fact that the guru is worshipped through the same universal forms found in theistic religions, as shown above. Do not make the mistake of inferring here that Hindu-Buddhist deity must have exactly the same attributes as in Western religious philosophy and remember that even among Western religions God is considered to have significantly different attributes depending on the religion. It bears repeating here that the Dalai Lama is believed to be identical with the deity Avalokiteshvara, Tibet’s national deity.

A brief word concerning the relationship between religion and society. It is as absurd to evaluate meditation teachings independent of both the religion and the society in which they are embedded as it is to ignore that a priest is a pedophile. Judge them by their fruits. Hindu-Buddhist teaching cannot sanely be divorced from its fruits. First, understand that Hindu-Buddhist society developed out of the religious matrix and therefore Hindu-Buddhist religion and society are melded as one. Second, remember that both Hindu-Buddhist society is caste structure. As soon as you realise how life in caste structure is experienced, you will be in a position to competently evaluate the religions that spawned these caste structures. Caste is institutionalized injustice and life under caste is a living h#ll. Obviously, this does not imply that there are no decent people in caste systems.

Therefore, since meditation arises from the same religious matrix as caste, it must be evaluated in the same case as caste. Thus, since Hinduism and Buddhism produce and legitimize the oppression and suffering of the vast majority of its members viaa the anti-democratic caste societies of India and Tibet these religion must get a thumbs down.

And since the meditation teachings arise from the identical religious matrix as the society that enslaves its members, the meditation must also receive the same thumbs down.

Jan 08, 2014 12:30am EST  --  Report as abuse
amnaali wrote:

The researchers found 47 studies with over 3,500 participants that met their criteria
http://desistreams.net

Jan 08, 2014 8:41am EST  --  Report as abuse
amnaali wrote:

(Reuters Health) – Mindfulness meditation may be useful in battles against anxiety, depression and pain, according to a fresh look at past research.

Jan 08, 2014 8:43am EST  --  Report as abuse
ScurbTrekker wrote:

When I was in graduate school, there was a campus social club which often invited me for the activity of meditation. They told me editation can improve the attention on study. I always turned down the invitation bevause I didn’t believe the attention effect of meditation. I felt meditation, which looks very boring, may waste my time. Now I still deem so.

Jan 08, 2014 8:56am EST  --  Report as abuse
Topden wrote:

In Response to zafoo:

Firstly, thank you for such a thoughtful, informative and detailed response zafoo! However, there are points of yours I disagree with.

“I will here explain why for a beginner in meditation what you say seems true but for an advanced student it is clearly seen to be false.”

There are many mindfulness training courses, teachers and programmes that teach meditation techniques outside of any religious context. The techniques are used in the corporate world, in educational institutions, in the mental health setting, in substance misuse settings, in the penal system and so on. Please become familiar with the work of Jon-Kabat Zinn, Mark Williams, John Teasdale and Zindel Segal, for example and the many applications of their work.

“I will demonstrate that there is absolutely no way to reduce Tibetan Buddhist meditation to technical science of mind distinct from full-blown religious worship. Buddhist lama-rinpoches present their initial teachings as if they are religiously neutral science of mind in order not to scare off their beginning students. This is irresponsible authoritarianism because it leads people to waste a lot of time and donations before the real meaning and implications of the teachings are revealed.”

“Nonetheless the rare competent observer will discern religious elements immediately if he has a good general understanding of religious principles and practices. But the vast majority of Buddhist-Hindu followers have no such basis on which to evaluate their teachings, elementary or advanced, and for this reason every Hindu-Buddhist of two or three months considers himself a guru.”

If an individual chooses to go along to see a Tibetan Buddhist teaching, which would obviously be about Buddhism and Buddhist meditation techniques one would assume that individual is interested in exploring such things. What you write hear about authoritarianism and suggestions of hidden meanings and implications are not experiences I can identify with. Within Buddhism the spirit of free inquiry is central and encouraged, those who are interested are encouraged to test the teachings and the methods in their own life and up against their own experience to determine whether or not they are useful to them. Please become familiar with the Kalama Sutra. As for the science of the mind please become familiar with the research that has been carried out by neuroscientist Richard Davidson et al in this area.

“A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, 
And drinking largely sobers us again.”
– A. Pope (1688 – 1744)

Nice quote. The theology and philosophy of traditional Hinduism and Buddhism are distinct from each other. The Buddhist understanding of the nature of the “self” and reality at large is distinctly different from that found in traditional Hinduism. The Buddhist philosophy of emptiness (shunyata) or “no-self” is fundamentally different from the traditional Hindu view. The philosophy of emptiness and dependent origination removes the basis for the notion of a permanent, unchanging, separate “soul” or “atman” which is a central tenet within traditional Hinduism. Moreover, this understanding undercuts the possibility of any self-arising, independent creator beings like the gods and goddesses found within Hinduism. That being said this interdependent understanding of the self and reality is not completely absent within Hinduism at large as it is central to Advaita-Vedanta for example which does not emphasise gods, goddesses, and worship or bhakti yoga but rather direct self-inquiry.

“Buddhism and Hinduism are guru religions, i.e. the guru is worshipped. Worship implies religion and vice versa. Considering that these religions take deified human beings as their origin, this should come as a logical consequence as opposed to a surprise. Buddhism is named for its founder, Gautama Buddha, who lived approx 2400 years ago. Hinduism traces its origins to many gurus such as the Krsna, considered to be the avatar origin of the deity aspect Vishnu, and others too numerous to mention. “

The roots of Hinduism can be traced back to the Vedas and not Krishna who is first mentioned in the Mahabharata which came much later. Krishna is described as a God, an Avatar of Vishnu. Buddhism’s source can be traced back to Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha is not a name, rather it describes a state of being which means “awakened one”) and his teachings. Nowhere in the Hinayana, Mahayana or Vajrayana is the Buddha described as a God, divine or an Avatar of a Hindu God. Many Vishnavites, who perceive Buddhism through Hindu eyes, claim him to be an Avatar of Vishnu but this has no basis in the Buddha’s teachings, commentaries or Buddhism at large. Therefore, with a Hindu understanding the Buddha may be deified but from a Buddhist understanding he was a human being who lived and died and fulfilled his human potential and gave teachings, instructions and methods for others to follow and put into practice if they wish to do the same. That is not to say that due to culture some individuals worship the Buddha as a God, however, with a little understanding of Buddhism and Buddhist teachings it becomes very clear early on that such an act is not a Buddhist one but a cultural one.

“In Tibetan Buddhism there is a universal practice called ngondro, the four preliminaries.

Preliminary number one is the execution of 100,000 refuge prayers with full prostrations and visualisations. Tibetan Buddhist take refuge the lineage tree of the gurus and deities. Refuge prostrations constitute an expression of worship, as you will understand if you think about the meaning of refuge. What you see Muslims doing in the mosque when they prostrate is the Islamic form of Tibetan Buddhist prostration. They’re taking refuge in Allah first and Mohammed second. Fundamental Christian practice is refuge in Jesus. Refuge is a universal religious practice.”

Refuge is not a form or worship. Refuge is a conscious decision about the meaning and perspective one choose to give one’s life. Refuge to the Buddha as an example and inspiration of someone who fulfilled his human potential, Refuge to the teachings and methods that help one do so, and Refuge to those who provide the teachings and methods and support one in their development. Ultimately Refuge is only Refuge to one’s own inner potential. If that is worship then I am the Pope. When Muslims pray the idea is that they are submitting to the will of Allah in their lives. Allah is understood to be an all powerful, all knowing, all loving God that created all that exists who is separate from and outside of the Muslim. It is a very different approach to Buddhist Refuge. Christians believe that salvation can only be attained through a belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Again this is a very different approach compared to Buddhist Refuge.

I am familiar with Ngondro. It is a distinctly Tibetan Buddhist practice, not a general Buddhist practice. What’s more the discussion of it here is completely unrelated to the application of secular mindfulness training and its benefits.

The reasons these practices were traditionally not taught openly is because of the huge potential for misunderstanding which is what seems to have happened here. Ngondro, traditionally, is a practice that may or may not be undertaken by a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner. However this would be done only after extensive philosophical study, and coming to some understanding of emptiness and the universal altruistic motivation of Bodhicitta. Then, when practicing the practitioner has in mind that the qualities of the teacher, the deities (which represent symbolically the fulfilment of human qualities and potentials and NOT self-existing, independent, creator beings) are not separate from the innate potential and qualities of the practitioner. Such practices including the Yidam practice you mention are skilful means that are engaged in to cultivate innate human qualities and potentials for one’s own benefit and the benefit of others. This is an essential understanding to have before engaging in such practices. Therefore, like Refuge, it isn’t worship because in essence there are no separate or external qualities to worship other than the innate potential abiding within the practitioner.

“And don’t forget that whenever the Lama-Rinpoche enters the room one is required to do three full prostrations to him. Go ahead and rationalize that away.”

“Again you are focusing on Tibetan Buddhism. Such prostrations are not a requirement, they are a choice. The function of prostrations are used as a method to reduce pride and work on one’s ego, also to show appreciation for the source of the teachings they are not an act of worship. You may have noticed that the Lama prostrates to an image of the Buddha and the understanding and motivation for doing so is the same as why students prostrate to the teacher – to subdue pride and shoe respect for the teachings.”

“Now, what is considered by Tibetan Buddhism to be the very introductory form of meditation, called shamatha, leading to vipassana, closely resembles Hindu meditation and is the main subject of meditation most people first encounter. Vipassana per se in Tibetan Buddhism is actually considered a potentially misleading practice and properly belongs to Southern or Theravada Buddhism, which is also a guru religion with the guru Buddha as the primary object of veneration, worship and refuge, as may be understood through study or by living in a Theravadin ashram.”

I have explained Refuge from my understanding. There are no such things as Theravada Ashrams – again there is a confusion here between Buddhism and Hinduism. Vipassana is very much taught within Tibetan Buddhism, and is not seen as an introductory form of meditation but an advanced form of meditation, and through Dzogchen and Mahamudra teachings. Tibetan Buddhism contains Hinayana and Mahayana methods and practices, the additional Vajrayana ones are what make it distinct but they are based within the Hinayana and Mahayana framework.

“The only way to make vipassana and shamatha work, according to Tibetan Buddhist training, is on the basis of the four preliminaries and subsequent practices mentioned above. Therefore in Tibetan Buddhism vipassana and shamatha are also inseparable from guru worship. Of course in Hinduism, guru is god is the basic principle.”
This isn’t the case. Tibetan Buddhism is full of methods and one set of methods is not prescribed to all practitioners as what is suited to one may not be to others. Vajrayana methods are not always instructed or employed, the Ngondro isn’t inevitable – it is one approach – and as I have explained above it is a wrong view to consider Ngondro as worship in the way worship is colloquially understood.

“While it is true that there are certain teachers who have attempted to abstract elements of Hindu-Buddhist meditation, usually presented as shamatha-vipassana, in an attempt to ‘sanitize’ the religious elements, all such attempts fail for a variety of reasons pertaining to the techniques’ underlying philosophies. For example in Transcendental Meditation the ‘secret’ mantras correspond in essence and efficacy, according to Indian philosophy, to Vedic and other deities. Thus, as the mantra is repeated it is considered to be beneficial to the extent that it bestows the energy and essence of the deity. Of course this is not explained to the meditator throughout the first several stages of meditation training following the payment of fees.”

I cannot comment on TM as I do not know that much about it. As far as I am aware it is a form of shamatha using a mantra as the focus. Not something I would pay for!

“Obviously yoga exercises and meditation on breath per se are not religious practices, but these subjects are rarely if ever taught without religious elaboration and in any case they soon lead students to explore their religious dimensions. Yoga exercises and meditation on the breath are taught in conjunction with religious concepts of Buddhism and Hinduism such as karma, suffering, impermanence, death, rebirth, reincarnation, specific ethics, illusion, isolation, guru-worship and so forth, all of which are religious concepts. Moreover, you will not find a non-Western Hindu or Buddhist yoga practitioner on the Indian subcontinent who does not worship one of the many deities of the Hindu-Buddhist pantheon and therefore the attempts to sanitize meditation of such elements is hypocritical and misleading.”

I agree with you! “Yoga exercises and meditation on breath per se are not religious practices.” That is the original point of this article and my reply! If indeed people choose to explore the origin of said practices then that is their choice and I have no problem with that personally because I do not believe all religions or teachers are money grabbing charlatans. Many are but not all and people have discernment. Those that are use religion like corrupt politicians use politics for self-interest, is not therefore the fault of the politics, religion or indeed meditation!

“The four noble truths of Buddhism have a clear and definite religious content and are invariably taught with training in shamatha-vipassana. Most students of Buddhism fail to recognize the religious aspects of the four noble truths because they do not realise that other religions present different basic truths incompatible with those of Buddhism and Hinduism. The ethical theories and practices of compassion in Buddhism are always taught as part of Buddhist meditation training. This the sanitizationis never complete and is in fact impossible. The word yoga means the yoking of the individual with the divine and Buddhism does not argue with this because Indian religion is taught to be the mother of Buddhism.”

What to you is the religious content of the four noble truths? If religion to you means worship where is the idea of worship present in the four noble truths? 1) There is suffering in life, 2) There is a cause to suffering 3) There is an end to suffering 4) There is a way to end suffering – The Eight fold path: Right understanding, Right thought, Right speech, Right conduct: Right means of making a living, Right mental attitude or effort, Right mindfulness, Right concentration.

I do not agree that compassion is the claim of religions I believe compassion is a human quality irrespective of faith or no faith.
As explained, Hinduism and Buddhism are distinct in obvious and subtle ways.

“On the basis that the defining aspect of religion is worship, I have shown that Hindu-Buddhist meditation is religion. I do not have to prove that Buddhism is theistic in order to establish that Buddhist and Hindu meditation are forms of religious practice, although I could easily do so.”

I still disagree. I would like to read your proof that Buddhism is theistic from Buddhist sources, not Hindu ones.

“I will only say that although the Dalai Lama claims that there is no God in Buddhism, the glaring fact remains that for all devout Tibetan Buddhists without exception, the Dalai Lama is god and worshipped as His Holiness identical to the Tibetan national deity Avalokiteshvara. Try as you will, there is no way to rationalize this away. If it looks, walks and talks and is treated as god then it is god. Many people try to fool themselves by attempting to explain away what stares them squarely in the face by on the basis that their philosophical acumen is of a potency capable of reinterpreting everything in terms of heuristics and profound abstraction. And indeed the philosophy and meditation training provides the means and motivation for doing so in terms of the concept of emptiness and illusion, but unfortunately, since emptiness and illusion and their synthesis remain forever beyond the existential grasp of the vast majority of practitioners, the attempt to explain away remains forever a mere theoretical construct.”

The devotion Tibetans have for the Dalai Lama is a cultural phenomenon not a Buddhist one. The belief the Dalai Lama is the incarnation of Avalokiteshvara has its roots in ancient Tibetan culture not Buddhism. To be pedantic Avalokiteshvara is not technically a God as understood in Hinduism but a Bodhisattva who symbolises the potential of great compassion and he was once like us yet through practice and the application of methods realised that potential. The philosophy of emptiness is not understood to be a mere theoretical construct but is a cognitive pointer to a potentially lived experience. Its realisation, that one is not one’s thoughts, emotions or feelings, that the body/mind complex is always changing and the self exists interdependently with others and the environment and not independently, separately without change, is one that is gradually experienced through meditation for example.

“The idea that the Lama is a teacher and not a deity is totally false. As in Christianity, Jesus is deity and in Hinduism the guru is deity, so in Buddhism the guru is deity. Again this is evident from the fact that the guru is worshipped through the same universal forms found in theistic religions, as shown above. Do not make the mistake of inferring here that Hindu-Buddhist deity must have exactly the same attributes as in Western religious philosophy and remember that even among Western religions God is considered to have significantly different attributes depending on the religion. It bears repeating here that the Dalai Lama is believed to be identical with the deity Avalokiteshvara, Tibet’s national deity.”

Your reasoning that because Jesus is a deity and in Hinduism the Guru is a deity therefore in Tibetan Buddhism the Lama is a deity is not one I can accept – it just doesn’t follow. The idea of seeing the Lama as a Buddha again is not to see them as a deity but as a human being who has woken up, has that experience and can communicate ideas and methods that can help the student wake up also if put into practice – not by prayer, wishful thinking or by magic but by application. What’s more this attitude is not one that is expected but developed naturally when one has realised that the instructions of the teacher actually bare positive results for one’s self, so after they have been thoroughly tested up against one’s experience. What’s more, in Tibetan Buddhism, there are detailed instructions and guidelines on how to select a teacher, what qualities they should possess etc and years of examination and testing are suggested. This is a cautious approach that is not appreciated in this fast-food, quick-fix culture. Even then the Guru or Lama is not someone to follow blindly or someone the student relinquishes control of their life over to. No, the teacher is there to give instructions on spiritual practice – as a Doctor does about physical health – as someone who has experiences in applying the methods not to tell people what to do or not to do in the ins and outs of their worldly affairs. Ultimately, the teacher’s role is to get the student in touch with their own innate wisdom, discernment and compassion so they can guide themselves.

“A brief word concerning the relationship between religion and society. It is as absurd to evaluate meditation teachings independent of both the religion and the society in which they are embedded as it is to ignore that a priest is a pedophile. Judge them by their fruits. Hindu-Buddhist teaching cannot sanely be divorced from its fruits. First, understand that Hindu-Buddhist society developed out of the religious matrix and therefore Hindu-Buddhist religion and society are melded as one. Second, remember that both Hindu-Buddhist society is caste structure. As soon as you realise how life in caste structure is experienced, you will be in a position to competently evaluate the religions that spawned these caste structures. Caste is institutionalized injustice and life under caste is a living h#ll. Obviously, this does not imply that there are no decent people in caste systems.”

I think it is absurd to claim all priests are paedophiles. Some might be but many are not, just like some people in general are paedophiles and many are not. It is prudent to judge meditation by its fruits, I agree, but not through others or a society (how does one truly know if someone is diligently putting the methods into practice or not) but ultimately through self-experimentation, that is the only sure way to test anything. Buddhism was a reaction to Brahmanism and the caste system, this is very well known. The Buddha had students, male and female, monks, nuns and lay people from all traditional Hindu castes. It was radical at that time and even today. Any class or caste system that exists in Buddhist nations are culturally based and not based on the teachings of the Buddha.

“Therefore, since meditation arises from the same religious matrix as caste, it must be evaluated in the same case as caste. Thus, since Hinduism and Buddhism produce and legitimize the oppression and suffering of the vast majority of its members viaa the anti-democratic caste societies of India and Tibet these religion must get a thumbs down.”

To me, religion is what happens when bureaucrats get their hands on spirituality. To me spirituality is the inclination towards and application of knowledge and methods that help develop positive human qualities. One can practice Hindu and Buddhist methods as a Hindu or as a Buddhist or in a secular form without subscribing to political systems that are undemocratic or based on class, caste, race, gender or whatever. To think otherwise is limiting personal choice and freedom itself.

“And since the meditation teachings arise from the identical religious matrix as the society that enslaves its members, the meditation must also receive the same thumbs down.”

Let’s not confuse religions, let’s not confuse religion with culture and let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water! ;-)

Thanks for the discussion zafoo :-)

Jan 08, 2014 2:38pm EST  --  Report as abuse
zafoo wrote:

In Response to zafoo:
SORRY ABOUT THE TYPOGRAPHY AND LENGTH BUT THIS IS THE ONLY WAY I COULD RESPOND IN A REASONABLE AMOUNT OF TIME. THIS IS UNEDITED SO KINDLY EXCUSE THE IMPERFECTIONS.
Firstly, thank you for such a thoughtful, informative and detailed response zafoo! However, there are points of yours I disagree with.
“I will here explain why for a beginner in meditation what you say seems true but for an advanced student it is clearly seen to be false.”
There are many mindfulness training courses, teachers and programmes that teach meditation techniques outside of any religious context. The techniques are used in the corporate world, in educational institutions, in the mental health setting, in substance misuse settings, in the penal system and so on. Please become familiar with the work of Jon-Kabat Zinn, Mark Williams, John Teasdale and Zindel Segal, for example and the many applications of their work.
I DIDI NOT DENY THIS.
“I will demonstrate that there is absolutely no way to reduce Tibetan Buddhist meditation to technical science of mind distinct from full-blown religious worship. Buddhist lama-rinpoches present their initial teachings as if they are religiously neutral science of mind in order not to scare off their beginning students. This is irresponsible authoritarianism because it leads people to waste a lot of time and donations before the real meaning and implications of the teachings are revealed.”
“Nonetheless the rare competent observer will discern religious elements immediately if he has a good general understanding of religious principles and practices. But the vast majority of Buddhist-Hindu followers have no such basis on which to evaluate their teachings, elementary or advanced, and for this reason every Hindu-Buddhist of two or three months considers himself a guru.”
If an individual chooses to go along to see a Tibetan Buddhist teaching, which would obviously be about Buddhism and Buddhist meditation techniques one would assume that individual is interested in exploring such things. What you write hear about authoritarianism
YOU MISSED MY POINT CONCERNING AUTORITARIANISM, PLS REREAD
and suggestions of hidden meanings and implications are not experiences I can identify with. Within Buddhism the spirit of free inquiry is central and encouraged,
FREE ENQUIRY IN TIB BUDDHISM IS NOT IN PRACTICE A PRIORITY
those who are interested are encouraged to test the teachings and the methods in their own life and up against their own experience to determine whether or not they are useful to them. Please become familiar with the Kalama Sutra. As for the science of the mind please become familiar with the research that has been carried out by neuroscientist Richard Davidson et al in this area.
NEUROSCIENCE BY DAVIDSON IS A RED HERRING.
“A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, 
And drinking largely sobers us again.”
– A. Pope (1688 – 1744)
Nice quote. The theology and philosophy of traditional Hinduism and Buddhism are distinct from each other.
NOT A CLAIM I DENIED
The Buddhist understanding of the nature of the “self” and reality at large is distinctly different from that found in traditional Hinduism. The Buddhist philosophy of emptiness (shunyata) or “no-self” is fundamentally different from the traditional Hindu view. The philosophy of emptiness and dependent origination removes the basis for the notion of a permanent, unchanging, separate “soul” or “atman” which is a central tenet within traditional Hinduism.
SUPERFICIALLY ATMAN AND EMPTINESS APPEAR DIFFERENT BUT ATMAN IS EMPTINESS
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HINDUISM AND BUDDHISM ON THIS SUBJECT CONERNS THE NATURE OF THE UNION BETWEEN ATMAN AND BRAHMAN ON THE ONE HAND AND EMPTINESS AND FORM ON THE OTHER. BUT NOTHING I SAID IN MY PREVIOUS POSTS RESTS ON THIS ISSUE
Moreover, this understanding undercuts the possibility of any self-arising, independent creator beings like the gods and goddesses found within Hinduism. That being said this interdependent understanding of the self and reality is not completely absent within Hinduism at large as it is central to Advaita-Vedanta for example which does not emphasise gods, goddesses, and worship or bhakti yoga but rather direct self-inquiry.
THIS IS IRRELEVANT TO MY THESIS IN PREVIOUS POSTS
“Buddhism and Hinduism are guru religions, i.e. the guru is worshipped. Worship implies religion and vice versa. Considering that these religions take deified human beings as their origin, this should come as a logical consequence as opposed to a surprise. Buddhism is named for its founder, Gautama Buddha, who lived approx 2400 years ago. Hinduism traces its origins to many gurus such as the Krsna, considered to be the avatar origin of the deity aspect Vishnu, and others too numerous to mention. “
The roots of Hinduism can be traced back to the Vedas and not Krishna
IRRELEVANT BECAUSE ALL I NEED FOR MY ARGUMENT IS KRSNA
who is first mentioned in the Mahabharata which came much later. Krishna is described as a God, an Avatar of Vishnu. Buddhism’s source can be traced back to Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha is not a name, rather it describes a state of being which means “awakened one”) and his teachings.
WRONG, GAUTAMA BUDDHA, SAKYAMUNI THE MAN IS REFERRED TO AS BUDDHA
Nowhere in the Hinayana, Mahayana or Vajrayana is the Buddha described as a God divine or an Avatar of a Hindu God.
IRRELEVANT BECAUSE THE FACT IS THAT BUDDHA IS WORSHIPPED AS ENLIGHTENED BEING
Many Vishnavites, who perceive Buddhism through Hindu eyes, claim him to be an Avatar of Vishnu but this has no basis in the Buddha’s teachings, commentaries or Buddhism at large. Therefore, with a Hindu understanding the Buddha may be deified but from a Buddhist understanding he was a human being who lived and died and fulfilled his human potential and gave teachings, instructions and methods for others to follow and put into practice if they wish to do the same. That is not to say that due to culture some individuals worship the Buddha as a God, however, with a little understanding of Buddhism and Buddhist teachings it becomes very clear early on that such an act is not a Buddhist one but a cultural one.
IRRELEVANT BECAUSE THE FACT IS THAT BUDDHA IS WORSHIPPED AS ENLIGHTENED BEING BY THE RINPOCHE LAMAS AND THIS IS WHAT THEY TEACH THEIR STUDENTS, AS MY EXPOSITION OF NGONDRO DEMONSTRATED
“In Tibetan Buddhism there is a universal practice called ngondro, the four preliminaries.
Preliminary number one is the execution of 100,000 refuge prayers with full prostrations and visualisations. Tibetan Buddhist take refuge the lineage tree of the gurus and deities. Refuge prostrations constitute an expression of worship, as you will understand if you think about the meaning of refuge. What you see Muslims doing in the mosque when they prostrate is the Islamic form of Tibetan Buddhist prostration. They’re taking refuge in Allah first and Mohammed second. Fundamental Christian practice is refuge in Jesus. Refuge is a universal religious practice.”
Refuge is not a form or worship.
SO WITH THIS STATEMENT THAT TAKING REFUGE IS NOT WORSHIP YOU PROVE YOU HAVE NOT DONE NGONDRO OR COGNATE RELIGIOUS PRACTICE, THAT YOUR KNOWLEDGE IS MERE BOOK LEARNING, AND THAT YOU KNOW NOTHING OF RELIGIOUS PRACTICE OR OF RELIGION EXCEPT AT A SHALLOW THEORETICAL LEVEL. YOU SHOW THAT YOUR KNOWLEDGE IS THEORETICAL AND LIMITED BY YOUR INEXPERIENCE WITH PRACTICE. WITH BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF RELIGION, THEORETICAL OR PRACTICAL, YOU WOULD KNOW THAT REFUGE IS THE FUNDAMENTAL MODE OF WORSHIP; THIS IS PAINFULLY OBVIOUS ESPECIALLY IN BUDDHISM.
Refuge is a conscious decision about the meaning and perspective one choose to give one’s life. Refuge to the Buddha as an example and inspiration of someone who fulfilled his human potential, Refuge to the teachings and methods that help one do so, and Refuge to those who provide the teachings and methods and support one in their development. Ultimately Refuge is only Refuge to one’s own inner potential. If that is worship then I am the Pope.
HELLO POPE. THE TRANSLATION IN TERMS OF POTENTIAL AND DECISION, ETC DOES NOT CONTRADICT AND IN FACT SUPPORTS THAT REFUGE IS WORSHIP
When Muslims pray the idea is that they are submitting to the will of Allah in their lives. Allah is understood to be an all powerful, all knowing, all loving God that created all that exists who is separate from and outside of the Muslim. It is a very different approach to Buddhist Refuge. Christians believe that salvation can only be attained through a belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Again this is a very different approach compared to Buddhist Refuge.
THERE ARE DIFFERENCES IN THE OBJECT OF REFUGE OBVIOUSLY, BUT REFUGE IS WORSHIP IN ALL CASES AND NOTHING YOU SAID ESTABLISHES OTHERWISE. THE OBJECT OF BUDDHIST REFUGE DIFFERS, OBVIOUSLY BUT TAKING REFUGE IS WORSHIP AND OBVIOSULY WE ARE TALKIING ABOUT THE ACT OF TAKING REFUGE, WHICH YOU WOULD HAVE UNDERSTOOD IF YOU HAD DONE REFUGE PRACTICE.
I am familiar with Ngondro. It is a distinctly Tibetan Buddhist practice, not a general Buddhist practice. What’s more the discussion of it here is completely unrelated to the application of secular mindfulness training and its benefits.
ALL RELIGIONS CONTAIN ALL THE ELEMENTS OF NGONDRO, THOUGH THE STRUCTURE OF NGONDRO IS UNIQUELY TIBETAN. GENERAL OR TIBETAN BUDDHIST IS IRRELEVANT.
unrelated to the application of secular mindfulness training and its benefits.
NGONDRO IS A METHOD THROUGH WHICH PROFICIENCY IN MIND TRAINING IS DEVELOPED. SECULAR MIND TRAINING TURNS OUT NOT TO BE SECULAR FOR THE REASONS I PRESENTED.
The reasons these practices were traditionally not taught openly is because of the huge potential for misunderstanding which is what seems to have happened here.
IRRELEVANT
Ngondro, traditionally, is a practice that may or may not be undertaken by a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner.
ALL TIB BUDDHIST MONKS AND SERIOUS WESTERN STUDENTS DO NGONDRO EARLY ON IN THEIR TRAINING.
THAT IS SHOWN BY THE FACT THAT NGONDRO=”PRELIMINARY PRACTICES”
However this would be done only after extensive philosophical study, and coming to some understanding of emptiness and the universal altruistic motivation of Bodhicitta.
NOT EXTENSIVE AS TAUGHT BY ALL TIBETAN MEDITATION MASTERS
Then, when practicing the practitioner has in mind that the qualities of the teacher, the deities (which represent symbolically the fulfilment of human qualities and potentials and NOT self-existing, independent, creator beings) are not separate from the innate potential and qualities of the practitioner. Such practices including the Yidam practice you mention are skilful means that are engaged in to cultivate innate human qualities and potentials for one’s own benefit and the benefit of others. This is an essential understanding to have before engaging in such practices. Therefore, like Refuge, it isn’t worship because in essence there are no separate or external qualities to worship other than the innate potential abiding within the practitioner.
THIS IS A SPECIOUS ARGUMENT BASED ON INEXPERIENCE IN ACTUAL PRACTICE AND FAILURE TO UNDERSTAND THE ELEMENTARY LESSONS ON THE MEANING OF EMPTINESS. YOU’RE TALKING PHILOSOPHY NOT EXISTENTIAL PRACTICE. MOREOVER YOUR APPLICATION OF THE CONCEPT OF EMPTINESS IS FLAWED IN THE DIRECTION OF NIHILISM, AS IS OBVIOUS ON THE BASIS OF THE BOTH HINDU AND BUDDHIST EXPOSITIONS OF THE CONCEPT ITSELF.
“And don’t forget that whenever the Lama-Rinpoche enters the room one is required to do three full prostrations to him. Go ahead and rationalize that away.”
“Again you are focusing on Tibetan Buddhism. Such prostrations are not a requirement, they are a choice.
IN A CROWD OF 25,000 MONKS, LAMAS, WESTERN PRACITIONERS AND EVEN VISITORS THERE WILL BE ONLY ONE PERSON WHO DOES NOT PROSTRATE. WHETHER IT IS VOLUNTARY OR MANDATORY IS IRRELEVANT BECAUSE THE MEANING OF PROSTRATION TO THE LAMA IS SELF-EVIDENT AND NO AMOUNT OF PHILOSOPHICAL DRESS-UP OR SELF-DELUSION CAN CHANGE, ALTER OR DISGUISE THIS FACT.
The function of prostrations are used as a method to reduce pride and work on one’s ego, also to show appreciation for the source of the teachings they are not an act of worship. You may have noticed that the Lama prostrates to an image of the Buddha and the understanding and motivation for doing so is the same as why students prostrate to the teacher – to subdue pride and shoe respect for the teachings.”
PROSTRATION SIGNIFIES WORSHIP. YES, WHAT YOU SAID ABOUT PRIDE ETC IS TRUE BUT DOES NOT CONTRADICT THE FACT THAT PROSTRATION IS WORSHIP. PHYSICAL PROSTRATION ACCOMPANIES TAKING REFUGE VERBALLY AND MENTALLY IN THE OBJECTS OF REFUGE. PROSTRATIONS AND REFUGE ARE TAUGHT BY THE LAMAS AS A FORM OF WORSHIP, BUT THIS IS TOO OBVIOUS TO NEED ARGUMENT.
“Now, what is considered by Tibetan Buddhism to be the very introductory form of meditation, called shamatha, leading to vipassana, closely resembles Hindu meditation and is the main subject of meditation most people first encounter. Vipassana per se in Tibetan Buddhism is actually considered a potentially misleading practice and properly belongs to Southern or Theravada Buddhism, which is also a guru religion with the guru Buddha as the primary object of veneration, worship and refuge, as may be understood through study or by living in a Theravadin ashram.”
I have explained Refuge from my understanding. There are no such things as Theravada Ashrams –
THEN WHERE DO THE MONKS AND THEIR LEADERS LIVE? OF COURSE THERE ARE THERAVADIN ASHRAMS. BESIDES, IT IS OBVIOUSLY BESIDE THE POINT WHERE YOU LEARN THAT THE THERAVADIN GURU IS WORSHIPPED.
again there is a confusion here between Buddhism and Hinduism.
NOTHING IN MY THESIS DEPENDS ON THE DIFFERENCES OR SIMILARITIES BETWEEN BUDDHISM AND HINDUISM.
Vipassana is very much taught within Tibetan Buddhism, and is not seen as an introductory form of meditation but an advanced form of meditation,
WHETHER THEY ARE TAUGHT AS ELEMENTARY OR ADVANCED IS IRRELEVANT TO MY THESIS. BUT IF YOU HAD EXPERIENCE IN TIBETAN BUDDHIST MEDITATION WITH TIBETAN BUDDHIST LAMAS YOU WOULD KNOW BETTER THAN TO SPOUT FICTION HERE. SH-VIP MEDITATION IN TIB BUDDHISM IS TAUGHT AT ELEMENTARY AND ADVANCED STAGES AS I MENTIONED IN MY PREVIOUS POST. IN HINDUISM AND S BUDDHISM THEY ARE TAUGHT INITIALLY AS THE MAIN FORM OF MEDITATION.
and through Dzogchen and Mahamudra teachings. Tibetan Buddhism contains Hinayana and Mahayana methods and practices, the additional Vajrayana ones are what make it distinct but they are based within the Hinayana and Mahayana framework.
WHERE VAJRAYANA IS BASED, WHATEVER THAT MIGHT MEAN IS IRRELEVANT TO ANY THESIS EITHER OF US HAS HAVE MADE.
“The only way to make vipassana and shamatha work, according to Tibetan Buddhist training, is on the basis of the four preliminaries and subsequent practices mentioned above. Therefore in Tibetan Buddhism vipassana and shamatha are also inseparable from guru worship. Of course in Hinduism, guru is god is the basic principle.”
This isn’t the case. Tibetan Buddhism is full of methods and one set of methods is not prescribed to all practitioners as what is suited to one may not be to others. Vajrayana methods are not always instructed or employed, the Ngondro isn’t inevitable – it is one approach – and as I have explained above it is a wrong view to consider Ngondro as worship in the way worship is colloquially understood.
“While it is true that there are certain teachers who have attempted to abstract elements of Hindu-Buddhist meditation, usually presented as shamatha-vipassana, in an attempt to ‘sanitize’ the religious elements, all such attempts fail for a variety of reasons pertaining to the techniques’ underlying philosophies. For example in Transcendental Meditation the ‘secret’ mantras correspond in essence and efficacy, according to Indian philosophy, to Vedic and other deities. Thus, as the mantra is repeated it is considered to be beneficial to the extent that it bestows the energy and essence of the deity. Of course this is not explained to the meditator throughout the first several stages of meditation training following the payment of fees.”
I cannot comment on TM as I do not know that much about it. As far as I am aware it is a form of shamatha using a mantra as the focus. Not something I would pay for!
YOU MISSED THE POINT, WHICH DOES NOT DEPEND ON WHETHER WE TAKE ™ OR OTHER SANITIZED FORMS OF MEDITATION SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED FOR WESTERN CONSUMPTION.
“Obviously yoga exercises and meditation on breath per se are not religious practices, but these subjects are rarely if ever taught without religious elaboration and in any case they soon lead students to explore their religious dimensions. Yoga exercises and meditation on the breath are taught in conjunction with religious concepts of Buddhism and Hinduism such as karma, suffering, impermanence, death, rebirth, reincarnation, specific ethics, illusion, isolation, guru-worship and so forth, all of which are religious concepts. Moreover, you will not find a non-Western Hindu or Buddhist yoga practitioner on the Indian subcontinent who does not worship one of the many deities of the Hindu-Buddhist pantheon and therefore the attempts to sanitize meditation of such elements is hypocritical and misleading.”
I agree with you! “Yoga exercises and meditation on breath per se are not religious practices.” That is the original point of this article and my reply! If indeed people choose to explore the origin of said practices then that is their choice and I have no problem with that personally because I do not believe all religions or teachers are money grabbing charlatans. Many are but not all and people have discernment. Those that are use religion like corrupt politicians use politics for self-interest, is not therefore the fault of the politics, religion or indeed meditation!
CORRUPTION IS IRRELEVANT HERE. NOTHING I SAID RESTS ON CHARLETANISM.
TO REPEAT: Yoga exercises and meditation on the breath are taught in conjunction with religious concepts of Buddhism and Hinduism such as karma, suffering, impermanence, death, rebirth, reincarnation, specific ethics, illusion, isolation, guru-worship and so forth, all of which are religious concepts. SURE YOGA CAN BE DONE AS PHYSICAL EXERCISE, IN WHICH CASE IT ISN’T MEDITATION.
FOCUSSING ON BREATH CAN BE DONE INDEPENDENTLY OF ALL RELIGIOUS CONCEPTS IN WHICH CASE IT DOES HAVE A CALMING EFFECT FOR MANY PEOPLE BUT SO ALSO WALKING, READING, SINGING, BOATING, SLEEPING, LISTENING TO MUSIC, WEIGHT-LIFTING AND RUNNING ALSO HAVE A CALMING EFFECT, AS DOES A GOOD MEAL.
IN PRACTICE HOWEVER, BREATH FOCUS TRAINING ALWAYS INVOLVES BACKGROUND TRAINING IN THE RELIGIOUS CONCEPTS JUST QUOTED; AND THIS REFUTES YOUR POSITION THAT MEDITATION TRAINING IS NON-RELIGIOUS IN NATURE, EVEN AT ITS MOST SANITIZED.
“The four noble truths of Buddhism have a clear and definite religious content and are invariably taught with training in these subjects are rarely if ever taught without religious elaboration and in any case they soon lead students to explore their religious dimensions. . Most students of Buddhism fail to recognize the religious aspects of the four noble truths because they do not realise that other religions present different basic truths incompatible with those of Buddhism and Hinduism. The ethical theories and practices of compassion in Buddhism are always taught as part of Buddhist meditation training. This the sanitizationis never complete and is in fact impossible. The word yoga means the yoking of the individual with the divine and Buddhism does not argue with this because Indian religion is taught to be the mother of Buddhism.”
What to you is the religious content of the four noble truths? If religion to you means worship where is the idea of worship present in the four noble truths? 1) There is suffering in life,
LOOK AT : LIFE IS HOLY. THIS IS A RELIGIOUS CONCEPT. IT HAPPENS TO INVOLVE WORSHIP. THEREFORE THE INCOMPATIBLE VIEW OF LIFE AS SUFFERING IS A RELIGIOUS VIEW, WHETHER WORSHIP IS OR IS NOT INVOLVED.
LIFE IS SUFFERING LEADS TO RENUNCIATION, ANOTHER KEY RELIGIOUS BUDDHIST CONCEPT. CONTRAST WITH EMBRACING THE HOLY, WHICH IS AGAIN OBVIOUSLY A RELIGIOUS CONCEPT. THESE ARE INCOMPATIBLE, THEREFORE BOTH ARE RELIGIOUS CONCEPTS. THESE 4 NOBLE TRUTHS CONCERN LIBERATION, ILLUMINATION AND BEATITUDE, RELIGIOUS CONCEPTS. SO THE 4 NOBLES ARE PROFOUNDLY RELIGIOUS IN NATURE.
2) There is a cause to suffering 3) There is an end to suffering 4) There is a way to end suffering – The Eight fold path: Right understanding, Right thought, Right speech, Right conduct: Right means of making a living, Right mental attitude or effort, Right mindfulness, Right concentration., RIGHT MEDITATION, RIGHT SAMADHI, LEADING TO MOKSHA, KAIVALYA, NIRVANA OR BODHISATTVAHOOD.
I do not agree that compassion is the claim of religions I believe compassion is a human quality irrespective of faith or no faith.
As explained, Hinduism and Buddhism are distinct in obvious and subtle ways. N O N S E N S E
“On the basis that the defining aspect of religion is worship, I have shown that Hindu-Buddhist meditation is religion. I do not have to prove that Buddhism is theistic in order to establish that Buddhist and Hindu meditation are forms of religious practice, although I could easily do so.”
I still disagree. I would like to read your proof that Buddhism is theistic from Buddhist sources, not Hindu ones.
I DO NOT HAVE TO PROVE that Buddhism is theistic TO PROVE MY THESIS. “On the basis that the defining aspect of religion is worship, I have shown that Hindu-Buddhist meditation is religion. + I GAVE YOU ALL THE SOURCES YOU COULD EVER NEED UNDER NGONDRO. THE DALAI LAMA IS IDENTIFIED WITH THE D E I T Y = THEOS = AVALOKITESHVARA = AVA = LOKA + ISVARA (= GOD). I have shown that Hindu-Buddhist meditation is religion.
“I will only say that although the Dalai Lama claims that there is no God in Buddhism, the glaring fact remains that for all devout Tibetan Buddhists without exception, the Dalai Lama is god and worshipped as His Holiness identical to the Tibetan national deity Avalokiteshvara. Try as you will, there is no way to rationalize this away. If it looks, walks and talks and is treated as god then it is god. Many people try to fool themselves by attempting to explain away what stares them squarely in the face by on the basis that their philosophical acumen is of a potency capable of reinterpreting everything in terms of heuristics and profound abstraction. And indeed the philosophy and meditation training provides the means and motivation for doing so in terms of the concept of emptiness and illusion, but unfortunately, since emptiness and illusion and their synthesis remain forever beyond the existential grasp of the vast majority of practitioners, the attempt to explain away remains forever a mere theoretical construct.”
The devotion Tibetans have for the Dalai Lama is a cultural phenomenon not a Buddhist one. THIS IS ABSURD. THE DEVOTED ARE BUDDHISTS. The belief the Dalai Lama is the incarnation of Avalokiteshvara has its roots in ancient Tibetan culture not Buddhism. WE ARE DISCUSSING TIBETAN BUDDHISM AND YOU INTRODUCED THE SUBJECT OF TIBETAN BUDDHISM SO I ACCEPTED TIBETAN BUDDHISM AS ONE OF MANY AVENUES I COULD HAVE CHOSEN TO ILLUSTRATE MY POINT. To be pedantic Avalokiteshvara is not technically a God as understood in Hinduism but a Bodhisattva who symbolises the potential of great compassion and he was once like us yet through practice and the application of methods realised that potential. The philosophy of emptiness is not understood to be a mere theoretical construct but is a cognitive pointer to a potentially lived experience. Its realisation, that one is not one’s thoughts, emotions or feelings, that the body/mind complex is always changing and the self exists interdependently with others and the environment and not independently, separately without change, is one that is gradually experienced through meditation for example….I DO NOT HAVE TO PROVE..ETC. REGARDLESS OF THE HAIR-SPLITTING ON BODHISATTVA VERSUS GOD, THE RELIGIOUS ASPECT OF THE MEDITATION AND WORSHIP OF THE DALAI LAMA IS CLEAR AT THIS POINT.
“The idea that the Lama is a teacher and not a deity is totally false. As in Christianity, Jesus is deity and in Hinduism the guru is deity, so in Buddhism the guru is deity. Again this is evident from the fact that the guru is worshipped through the same universal forms found in theistic religions, as shown above. Do not make the mistake of inferring here that Hindu-Buddhist deity must have exactly the same attributes as in Western religious philosophy and remember that even among Western religions God is considered to have significantly different attributes depending on the religion. It bears repeating here that the Dalai Lama is believed to be identical with the deity Avalokiteshvara, Tibet’s national deity.”
Your reasoning that because Jesus is a deity and in Hinduism the Guru is a deity therefore in Tibetan Buddhism the Lama is a deity is not one I can accept – it just doesn’t follow. THE LAMA IS WORSHIPPED, NAMED AS A DEITY, AND SO FORTH AS INDICATED BUT, TO REPEAT AGAIN AND AGAIN, I DO NOT NEED TO PROVE.. ETC. ALL I NEED IS SHOW THAT THE LAMA IS WORSHIPPED, WHICH IS WHAT I HAVE DONE. IF IN FACT YOU WERE EXPERIENCED IN ACTUAL PRACTICE OR IF YOU MERELY KNEW THE TEXTS, YOU WOULD KNOW THAT THE LAMA IS WORSHIPPED. IN FACT, WORSHIP DEFINES THE OBJECT AS DEITY. FOR A MAN WHO WORSHIPS MONEY, MONEY IS HIS DEITY.
The idea of seeing the Lama as a Buddha again is not to see them as a deity but as a human being who has woken up, has that experience and can communicate ideas and methods that can help the student wake up also if put into practice – not by prayer, wishful thinking or by magic but by application.
THAT’S HOW IT IS PRESENTED IN THE RELIGIOUSLY SANITIZED FRAMEWORK OF SCIENCE OF MIND BUT IN FACT ONCE YOU GET INTO THE PRACTICE, WITH BOOTS ON THE GROUND, YOU FIND THAT WORSHIP IS THE ENGINE THAT DRIVES THE WHOLE SHOW. FOR THIS REASON, IN VAJRAYANA BUDDHISM GURU YOUGA IS THE MAIN PRACTICE. SEE DINGO KHYENTSE RINPOCHE’S WRITINGS TO CONFIRM THIS. YOU WOULD KNOW THIS IF YOU HAD PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE IN TIB BUDDHIST MEDITATION. HINDUISM AND BUDDHISM HAVE A FEW POINTS OF DIFFERENCE BUT IN TERMS OF PRACTICE, THEY’RE VERY SIMILAR, VIZ. GURU YOGA, OFFERINGS, PROSTRATIONS, PURIFICATION, ALL OF WHICH ARE FORMS OF WORSHIP.
What’s more this attitude is not one that is expected but developed naturally when one has realised that the instructions of the teacher actually bare positive results for one’s self, so after they have been thoroughly tested up against one’s experience.
THAT’S WHAT THEY SAY BUT IN PRACTICE, WORSHIP AND PRAYERS TO THE LAMA ARE WHAT YOU DO TO MEDITATE.GET HE TRAINING AND YOU’LL SEE OR LOOK AT THE SADHANAS.
What’s more, in Tibetan Buddhism, there are detailed instructions and guidelines on how to select a teacher, what qualities they should possess etc and years of examination and testing are suggested. This is a cautious approach that is not appreciated in this fast-food, quick-fix culture. Even then the Guru or Lama is not someone to follow blindly or someone the student relinquishes control of their life over to. No, the teacher is there to give instructions on spiritual practice – as a Doctor does about physical health – as someone who has experiences in applying the methods not to tell people what to do or not to do in the ins and outs of their worldly affairs. Ultimately, the teacher’s role is to get the student in touch with their own innate wisdom, discernment and compassion so they can guide themselves.
THE METHOD FOR GETTING IN TOUCH ETC IS WORSHIP OF THE LAMA-GURU, PRAYER TO THE LAMA GUR, OFFERINGS TO THE LAMA GURU, PURIFICATION THROUGH THE LAMA-GURU AND ALSO THE M A G I C , IN FACT PRIMARILY THE MAGIC OF THE GURU’S BLESSINGS. CHRISTIANS RECEIVE THIS BLESSING MAGIC THROUGH JESUS, MUSLIMS THROUGH ALLAH AND MOHAMMED, HINDUS THROUGH KRSNA AND BABJI, BUDDHISTS THROUGH BUDDHA, THE GURU AND THE LAMA.
“A brief word concerning the relationship between religion and society. It is as absurd to evaluate meditation teachings independent of both the religion and the society in which they are embedded as it is to ignore that a priest is a pedophile. Judge them by their fruits. Hindu-Buddhist teaching cannot sanely be divorced from its fruits. First, understand that Hindu-Buddhist society developed out of the religious matrix and therefore Hindu-Buddhist religion and society are melded as one. Second, remember that both Hindu-Buddhist society is caste structure. As soon as you realise how life in caste structure is experienced, you will be in a position to competently evaluate the religions that spawned these caste structures. Caste is institutionalized injustice and life under caste is a living h#ll. Obviously, this does not imply that there are no decent people in caste systems.”
I think it is absurd to claim all priests are paedophiles.
YOU TOTALLY MISSED THE POINT. REREAD. It is as absurd to evaluate meditation teachings independent of both the religion and the society in which they are embedded as it is to ignore that a priest is a pedophile OR A SAINT. GOT IT NOW?
Some might be but many are not, just like some people in general are paedophiles and many are not. It is prudent to judge meditation by its fruits, I agree, but not through others or a society
RELIGION MUST BENEFIT EVERYONE IN THE SOCIETY CREATED ON THE BASIS OF THAT RELIGION OR IT IS WORTHLESS IN TERMS OF LOVE AND COMPASSION. RELIGION FOR ONESELF ALONE IS NO RELIGION. I AM NOT SAYING THAT THE MEMBERS OF THE SOCIETY MUST MEDITATE OR EVEN PRACTICE THE RELIGION, SO DONT MISUNDERSTAND; I AM SAYING THAT THE LOVE AND COMPASSION PREACHED IN THE RELIGION MUST BE ABLE TO FLOW IN THE FORM OF THE RESOURCES OF THE SOCIETY ONTO THE DINNER TABLE. IF THE ORGANIZATION OF THE SOCIETY WHOSE FORM IS BASED ON THE RELIGION AT ITS CORE IS SUCH THAT FOOD DOES NOT GET TO THE TABLES OF THE MASS OF PEOPLE IN THE SOCIETY AND IF THEY ARE POORLY TREATED AND DEPRIVED OF HUMAN RIGHTS, THEN IT FOLLOWS THAT THE SOCIAL ORGANIZATION CREATED BY THE RELIGION AT ITS CORE IS INADEQUATE. THEREFORE THE PREACHING OF COMPASSION AND LOVE ONLY DEPRIVES THE TABLE OF FOOD AND THE PEOPLE OF THEIR RIGHTS. WITH THIS IN MIND PLEASE REREAD THE RELEVANT SECTION, IF IT IS STILL NOT YET CRYSTAL CLEAR.
(how does one truly know if someone is diligently putting the methods into practice or not) but ultimately through self-experimentation, that is the only sure way to test anything. Buddhism was a reaction to Brahmanism and the caste system, this is very well known. The Buddha had students, male and female, monks, nuns and lay people from all traditional Hindu castes. It was radical at that time and even today. Any class or caste system that exists in Buddhist nations are culturally based and not based on the teachings of the Buddha.
NOT BASED ON THE TEACHINGS OF THE BUDDHA BUT BASED ON THE WORSHIP OF THE BUDDHA. THIS CONNECTION MAY NOT BE CLEAR TO YOU BUT I WILL NOT FURTHER ELABORATE HERE. THE FORM OF SOCIAL STRUCTURE IS DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE FORM OF WORSHIP, THE WORSHIP OF A HUMAN DEIFIED GURU, OR IF YOU WSH TO OMIT THE WORD ‘DEIFIED’ GO AHEAD. AS I SAID I DO NOT NEED TO PROVE,, ETC.
“Therefore, since meditation arises from the same religious matrix as caste, it must be evaluated in the same case as caste. Thus, since Hinduism and Buddhism produce and legitimize the oppression and suffering of the vast majority of its members viaa the anti-democratic caste societies of India and Tibet these religion must get a thumbs down.”
To me, religion is what happens when bureaucrats get their hands on spirituality. To me spirituality is the inclination towards and application of knowledge and methods that help develop positive human qualities.
GO AHEAD, CHANGE THE TERMINOLOGY FROM ‘RELIGION’ TO ‘SPIRITUALITY’ AND IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE TO MY THESIS. TRUE RELIGION IS SUCH THAT BUREAUCRATS CANNOT TURN TURN IT INTO HARM AGAINST THE PEOPLE.
One can practice Hindu and Buddhist methods as a Hindu or as a Buddhist or in a secular form without subscribing to political systems that are undemocratic or based on class, caste, race, gender or whatever. To think otherwise is limiting personal choice and freedom itself. NOT REALLY, ALL SPIRITUALITY INVOLVES LOVE AND COMPASSSION BUT IF SOCIETY BASED ON AND CREATED THROUGH WORSHIP OF A HUMAN GURU IS HUNGRY, POOR AND MISTREATED, THEN SPIRITUALITY HAS FAILED. THIS IS WHY I REJECT EASTERN AND WESTERN MEDITATION BASED ON GURU WORSHIP. IT CREATES UNJUST SOCIETY IN WHICH PEOPLE SUFFER WHILE THE RESOURCES OF THE SOCIETY ARE CHANNELED TO THE CHURCH OR ARISTOCRACY.
“And since the meditation teachings arise from the identical religious matrix as the society that enslaves its members, the meditation must also receive the same thumbs down.”
Let’s not confuse religions, let’s not confuse religion with culture and let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water! ;-)
THE CULTURE IS CREATED BY THE RELIGION, AS IN INDIA AND TIBET. CULTURE IS AN ASPECT OF WHAT I HAVE BEEN REFERRING TO AS THE FORM OF SOCIETY. IF GOD OR GURU ARE GOOD AND LOVING, THEN SOCIETY BASED ON THEIR WORSHIP MUST BENEFIT EVERYONE IN SOCIETY, NOT JUST THE GURUS AND HIS FOLLOWERS, AND NOT JUST AN ARISTOCRACY OR UPPER CASTE. RELIGION MUST BENEFIT EVERYONE OR IT IS BASED ON ERROR. THE SOCIETIES OF BUDDHISM AND HINDUISM ARE BRUTAL CASTE STRUCTURES BASED IN DETAIL ON RELIGION. THEREFORE THEIR ERROR RENDERS THEM FALSE.
Thanks for the discussion zafoo :-) thanks to you too.

Jan 10, 2014 12:29am EST  --  Report as abuse
AwakenSoul wrote:

Merely closing of physical eyes is not meditation. It is upon opening of the Divine Eye that the process of Meditation begins. Know more at http://www.djjs.org/meditation

Jan 10, 2014 3:38am EST  --  Report as abuse
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