Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Well, folks, i have decided to start trying to post here on this blog fairly regularly, not that anyone's reading anymore...
whatever. come what may, there will be electronic evidence of my transitory conscious existence.

today i got in a lively debate with my buddhism professor, famed scholar of tibetan buddhism robert a f thurman, also known as uma's dad. he was discussing, in the class, the harmful effects religion has had on history and our lives and claimed that the goals of religion were often at odds with ethics. okay fine, no problem there. i, even as a religious person, need to recognize that bad things have happened because of it. however, he then tried to distinguish between "spirituality" and religion, and while they are most definitely not one and the same, i thought that it was incorrect to completely dichotomize them. he said that when figures arose in religion and represented authentic spirituality, they were killed/silenced. while that may be true, one cannot separate these figures from their religious contexts as much as one cannot separate them from their sociological and political ones. the fact is that these people came to noble conclusions through their religions. while religions have been known to harm, i believe those are instances when they are not being "spiritual" or, as i like to think of it, "Godly." in that way, though, spirituality is seen as a component, a function of religion, not its successor.

but i may just as well be wrong.

the dalai lama had a wonderful point, just as reinhold niebuhr did when confronted by a soulsick will herberg, disillusioned with marxism, desiring christianity: each religious individual has a responsibility to explore the depths of one's own religion first and foremost. it is their tradition. i also believe that religion is primarily an end to an end, that is the eschaton, or whatever you call it. but that's another post for another time.

and i may be wrong about that too. or everything.



Anonymous said...

"the fact is that these people came to noble conclusions through their religions."

isn't it also possible that spirituality led them to create these religions so that the achievement of true spirituality could become structured?

--suz who continues to read everyone's blogs

white lotus said...

do you think uma's dad is any good? i was thinking about taking a course with him, but he didn't get such great reviews on culpa.