Friday, July 02, 2010

Buddhism Isn't Buddha's-ism

Hasn't anyone listened to the Podcast? The end of it is really good. It's at this link. The URL is http://hardcorezen.libsyn.com/

Here is an odd email I received this morning:

Last August in Finland you had an interview with yoga mag called "Ananda". In the interview journalist asks, "Are you married?" and you answer something like, "No, I'm a monk and that's why I'm not married." (I'm paraphrasing). This caused some debate when people read it because you were married before. And Japanese monkhood is different than Vinaya so a so-called monk can be married. I find your answer also interesting so can you clarify a little bit?

Of course I never said, "I'm a monk and that's why I'm not married." That would make no sense at all. Monks in the Japanese Zen tradition have been allowed to marry since the 1860s. I was married when I was ordained as a monk by the Soto-shu. Obviously the journalist misunderstood what I said. Like when Ron Nasty of The Rutles was supposed to have claimed that The Rutles were bigger than God. He actually said The Rutles were bigger than Rod, meaning Rod Stewart.

This is why Buddhism is not a religion. This is why a lot of Buddhists fail to quote the words of Buddha and instead are more likely to quote the words of more recent teachers like Dogen, for example, or their own teachers. You can't really rely on what's written in books.

I've been reading about the Koran lately and it's fascinating. In some circles it is dangerous to advance the idea that anything in the Koran might be mistaken. So folks who want to try and modernize Islam are forced to stretch and bend what's written in the Koran to make it work in the modern world. Many Christians, Jews, Hindus and even Buddhists feel the same way about their scriptures. But Buddhists who feel that way about the words of Buddha don't really understand the words of Buddha very well.

This is why Buddha, in the Kalama Sutra, cautions people against believing what is written in scripture. And note that I ironically have to refer to Buddhist scripture here. But understand, it's not because the Kalama Sutra is supposed to be the words of Buddha that impresses me. It's because whoever wrote it, it makes damn good sense. This is also why people in the Mahayana tradition often accept words attributed to Buddha that we know damned well Buddha couldn't possibly have said since he was already long dead when those sutras were written.

It's not that scripture is necessarily wrong. But it is necessarily expressed in words. And words themselves are not perfect. The same sentence can mean vastly different things to different people even if all of the words are maintained correctly and even if everyone speaks the same language.

This might be the key for religious people. Perhaps we can say that our scriptures themselves are perfect but that our human interpretation of them can never be perfect. Just puttin' that one out there for what it's worth...

But getting back to Buddhism; I've been thinking lately that the word "Buddhism" is unfortunate. It was created by Western people who didn't understand what they were looking at when they tried to study the religions of Asia. The word Buddhism tends to suggest a religion that worships Buddha. And, no doubt, the folks who coined the term assumed that's what Buddhism was.

But it isn't.

Calling it Buddhism is a bit like calling relativity theory "Einsteinism." To do so would be a nice way to give due credit to the guy who first expounded the basics of the theory. But it wouldn't follow that people who practiced "Einsetinism" worshiped Einstein. Nor would it follow that the theories of Einstein would be held up as the final word for what was absolutely true in relativity theory. If it were found later that Einstein was wrong about some things-- and I think maybe it already has been -- that wouldn't make the whole of relativity theory wrong. It would just indicate a need for revision.

In the same way, Gautama Buddha did not have the final word on Buddhism. He understood himself clearly. But his followers, who memorized his words, may not have actually understood him very well. Nor did later copyists. Nor, in fact, would we have probably understood what Buddha said even if we'd been alive ourselves to hear his words spoken with our own ears.

If we reduce Buddhism to quotations of the accepted authorities on Buddhism we have not understood Buddhism at all.

This leaves us in a very tricky position. We can't even point to the words of Buddha and say that they are perfect. We don't really know what he said. In the case of someone like Dogen, we can be pretty certain the exact words he wrote have been preserved in most cases. But even that doesn't help a whole lot if we don't understand them. And who can say we have understood Dogen? Only Dogen himself and he's not around to ask.

Buddhism is a face-to-face transmission. When Buddhists say that Buddhism is not in books it's because Buddhism cannot be contained in books. Books are a good way of pointing in the direction of Buddhism. But they always fall short. Blogs, by the way, are pretty useless in doing even that much, if you ask me.

64 comments:

1 said...

By the time I read it I won't be #1.

2 said...

I like to be 157.

But then, in the present moment, I can't be that.

I'll wait for the sun to come.

Uku said...

Grrrrreat post!

Oh, by the way. I checked from the wonderful world of internet and one person quoted that part of your interview. Interview was something like this: "Are you married?" "No, I'm a monk." So journalist let us understood that you're not married because you're a monk. There were some other weird quotes. I read the interview when it was published but maybe I should get a copy from it and translate it to you. I don't remember all of it anymore and like I sent that email to you in the morning, I was paraphrasing. I almost remembered it right... hmm... and some people are actually thinking that Buddha actually said certain things even when they didn't write anything down during Buddha's lifetime... yes, Buddhism is not in the words. Words can help us but the essence of Buddhism is not in the words.

Peace,
Marrrrrrrkus

4 said...

SiaEGWftS

anon #108 said...

Jolly good post, Brad.

Josh said...

This is a point I've tried to make a great many times to both Buddhist and Christian friends of mine. I'm glad to see someone who's put "more" thought into it spend a little time discussing it. Thanks Brad.

Harry said...

"It's not that scripture is necessarily wrong. But it is necessarily expressed in words. And words themselves are not perfect. The same sentence can mean vastly different things to different people even if all of the words are maintained correctly and even if everyone speaks the same language."

Hi Brad,


I think this can be taken a little bit further in light of Dogen's teaching and, if I'm honest, you're idea here is a bit obvious and played out and falls into the usual snare of an enforced duality between the language of realisation and the practice of realisation which was a dichotomy that Master Dogen was very keen to resolve in his writing (the fragmented notion has resulted in some excessive nihilistic iconoclasm in Zen tradition; it also sits very comfortably with the latter-day 'anti-koan' ortodoxy in 'Soto Zen' which devalues koan literature in a way that often throws out the baby with its bathwater).

Dogen clearly considered that words, the 'turning words' and expressions of masters which he valued so highly, were more than just blobs of redundant, relative meaning. This is why he asks us to take them up again and again.

Sure, one word like 'katsu!' can be a turning word to someone in one moment, and/or it can just be nonsensical to another in the same moment, and the same can be said of a whole sentence or an hour-long discourse... but that does not negate the fact that there is a tradition of teachers intuitively responding to the needs of their students in ways that are keenly appropriate to the students' individual needs at that specific time using the medium of language (verbal and non-verbal).

The true meaning and scope of language is an instantaneous event: it can be very limited or it can directly indicate and express reality depending on what you do with it. This has long been realised in Zen tradition (across all sectarian divides, although Dogen was particularly interested in it) and has been employed to dissolve our simple notions of the limitations of words, meaning, ourselves and everything.

Oh yeah, and if you're just lazy, the dumb-ass 'zen is beyond words' thing is much easier than what Dogen Zenji proposed... pretty attractive to the "whatever" generations.

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

The Kalama Sutra is the best thing "Buddhism" has going for it and is one of it's hidden gems(despite it's apparent hypocrisy). People should read it before picking anything else up - even a copy of Hardcore Zen!

Uku said...

Hi Harry,

you wrote:

Oh yeah, and if you're just lazy, the dumb-ass 'zen is beyond words' thing is much easier than what Dogen Zenji proposed... pretty attractive to the "whatever" generations.

I think the "whatever" generation's dumb-ass 'zen is beyond words' is more closer to what master Dogen proposed than the intellectual side "".

Yours,
Uku

Harry said...

"I think the "whatever" generation's dumb-ass 'zen is beyond words' is more closer to what master Dogen proposed than the intellectual side ".

Hi Markus,

I know what you think, and I've a pretty good idea as to why you think it, but it's not what I'm talking about while you see some sort of barrier between "what Master Dogen proposed" and "the intellectual side".

Nishijima Sensei maintains that zazen without Buddhist philosophy is not Buddhism. I heartily agree.

Regards,

Harry.

Frank said...

Harry is a well spoken and possibly more attached to the idea of precision in language than Americans. As we like to say in the USA, It takes two to conversate.

Uku said...

Hi Harry,

you wrote:

Nishijima Sensei maintains that zazen without Buddhist philosophy is not Buddhism. I heartily agree.

I agree. But I have always found this to be very interesting question: what is Buddhist philosophy? In where can we draw the line "this is Buddhist philosophy, this is not?" I love to read (Buddhist) philosophy and also because of my university studies but also because I truly believe we should read teachings and stuff - I read a lot and I think it's important part of my Buddhist life. But I don't think it's essential for everyone to read. But I like to emphasize that without the practice of zazen those teachings are just empty but beautiful words. That's why I rather speak of lazy dumb-ass zen. And because I am a lazy dumb-ass.

I love Nishijima Roshi's teachings because his approach is so clear and simple. His wonderful book "To Meet the Real Dragon" is really great for explaining the meaning of the Buddhist philosophy and why it's so important to read and study Buddhism but why the base should be grounded in zazen - "zazen is all of Buddhism". I think Nishijima Roshi and master Dogen are speaking the same language (no, I don't mean Japanese or Chinese).

Peace, my friend.

U

Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mysterion said...

His Bradness sed:
"Blogs, by the way, are pretty useless in doing even that much, if you ask me."

LOL

But blogs can present ideas for consideration. It's just that 99% of the blogs are unworthy of consideration so one's informed opinion is based upon one's own scholarly research.

If you are unaware of the common characteristics of "scholarly research," then you should go to a reputable university and take a (graduate level) course in the same. After you have honed your critical thinking skills and sensitized your crap detector, you may have sufficient filter floss to proceed. Profoundly ignorant people may be subjected to the most egregious beliefs.

For them, their karma leads them on the path of suffering and living hell. For us, please step beck and let them error - by going on their merry way. It is not for us to involve ourselves in their pathetic karma.

The term "gone south" refers to the archaic jargon used for 'mind filled with crap' or 'he is full of crap.' The south gate was the dung gate where the dung of the sacrificed animal was burned among many primitive sacrificial cults. The modern term is simply "Bullshit."

And there is no shortage of bullshit - and repeated bullshit (a.k.a. republican talking points) in the blogisphere.

Anonymous said...

Help, I used the Enlightenizer™ and am experiencing anal leakage. I've just ruined my favourite brand new zafu!

Anonymous said...

Mysterion help me, my dung gate chakra was recently opened at an expensive seminar and i can't afford the next seminar to find out how to close it!

Harry said...

Hi markus,

"But I have always found this to be very interesting question: what is Buddhist philosophy?"

Buddhist philosophy is the philosophy that has come from Buddhism. Nishijima Roshi's explanation of it is, I have found too, particularly clear and practice-oriented.

It is part of Buddhist philosophy that we realise the theory in practice and, yes, the philosophy is empty when it is not realised in practice. Noboby has said anything to the contrary (at least, I haven't). That goes without saying.

There is a problem though when we start to consider one aspect of a PHILOSOPHY of PRACTICE 'superior' to the other, when we start to set zazen up as some magical 'ultimate' thing that is different from our ordinary lives; then we might split ourselves and our study/practice in (at least) two.

To take a saying like "zazen is all of buddhism" to mean that one should disregard the teachings of people like Nishijima, Dogen, or whoever (those people who have studied and practiced hard and who have experience to help us avoid disappearing up our own 'ultimate' wholes... which we are very inclined to do) is clearly not the intention.

Philosophy/words inform practice and practice makes the philosophy/words real. Master Dogen took this much further, but I'll let you pursue that if ever you are so inclined.

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't anybody on here know how to seal a dung gate chakra?!?

Anonymous said...

put a cork in it

Uku said...

Hi Harry,

I agree with you that it's a problem if we start to split zazen from our ordinary, daily lives. And that's why I love Nishijima Roshi's and master Dogen's teachings because they have showed us what the real practice is: practice means practicing the practice, Buddhism is action. Of course I haven't met master Dogen, hehhee, but it's clearly obvious that he sure knew what it means to practice really hard. And I can test their teachings in my own daily, ordinary life. And zazen works and for me it's the best practice. Otherwise I wouldn't practice it at all. I don't need any Sunyata Shit (tm) for that. And that's why it's good for nothing. And that's why it's more than a practice. Zazen is zazen and now I need some sleep.

Good night from Finland!

U

Anonymous said...

The Koran is interesting because it is kind of unique in scripture. My understanding is that it is the equivalent of Christ in Christianity, rather than the Bible. It is considered the manifestation of the Word or Logos and not simply the writings of inspired men. Mohammed is just a prophet and not an equivalent 'incarnation'. This does explain a lot about Islam and the attitude towards the Koran, I think.

telecasterroy said...

Buddhism is a religion. It has priests, and robes, and temples, and dogma, and the priests marry people and conduct funerals, etc.
So what?

Jinzang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jinzang said...

Karl Marx said science is the union of theory and practice. That's about as good an explanation of the Buddhist position as any I've heard, and better than most.

Harry said...
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Harry said...

Interesting point about the Koran, Anon.

There may be some slight sort of parralel here regards the 'directness' of words.

One of the things that Master Dogen clearly does in Shobogenzo (that does not sit well with the inherently dualistic 'Zen' idea that 'Zen is beyond words' and some latter-day sectarian assumptions) is reclaim the language of Zen for the rationale of practice-realisation. He dissolves the words/action-realisation 'split' that Zen tradition did, and still does, often dwell on (that the teachings are invariably 'just a finger pointing at the moon' for e.g.)

In this 'split' scenario the language is seen as secondary to the act-realisation itself, it is 'other' to some remote state of enlightenment or whatever. Realisation or 'enlightenment' or whatever is seen as 'beyond' reason, language and terms... thus zazen-realisation becomes some cut-off reified 'zone' that we transcend into. It's a regrettable state of affairs really in a tradition that, at it's best, is actually very down-to-earth and practical and excludes nothing of our daily lives and being.

In Shobogenzo, Master Dogen presents the language of realisation (koans, teachings, sutras as well as the sounds of nature etc) itself as realisation when it directly expresses, when it is put in accord with, practice-realisation. And so such language and reason IS reason itself, not the limited sort of 'reason' of just the intellect/philosophy (which need not be negated but can be realised and realise us), but the realised reason and rationale of direct practice-experience itself.

Regards,

Harry.

john e mumbles said...

al-Qu'ran is considered by Muslims (lit. those who surrender to God's will) to be the last time the Abrahamic tradition's deity known as Allah in Arabia transmitted the Word. (according to tradition:) Disgusted with the perversion of the original revelation, its subsequent translations and versions, Allah, through the angel Jabriel (Gabriel) gave the revelation to the ummi (unlettered, ie; illiterate) Muhammad, thus considered the Last Prophet. This is the reason it is essential to learn Arabic and read the Qu'ran in the original language in which it was revealed. al-Qu'ran in this sense is not a book, it is the revelation of God which alights anew and afresh upon the heart of each believer who lays eyes on it.

Many "Occidentals" (those who are familiar with the Old Testament of the Bible) are impressed when reading the text of al- Qu'ran (even in English) with how similar some of the stories are to those in the Bible. Indeed, it may seem that these familiar stories are seen in clarity previously missing, in detail not found in English translations from the Greek, etc., of the Bible.

Anonymous said...

I AM A VIRGIN WHORE!!!!!

Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...

The Qu'ran is certainly one of the most auto-hypnotic books ever composed.

The three Abrahanic Religions - Judahism (see Josiah), Xtianity, and Muhammadism are certainly the most violent in the history of the world. And, as I previously stated, a few of us think Abi-Ur-Hamm was, in fact, Hamm-Ur=Abi. All three are, quite frankly non-human in the Buddhist/Hindu view. For me, they are merely 'the unfortunates.' Killing helpless animals is a perversion of the custodial duties for which we exist.

Now if they want to sacrifice a bull/sheep/goat and burn it's dung at the south gate of the city, I would prefer no to know about it - or smell it.

The sin sacrifice was, by the way, a female - without a blemish. A detail often lost in Xtian theology.

see

Leviticus 4:28 (for a tribe or band)
When they become aware of their sin, they must bring as an offering for their sin a female without blemish...
Leviticus 4:32 (for an individual)
And if he brings a lamb for a sin offering, he shall bring a female without blemish.

Well, the Levi clan got to eat the BBQ'ed meat... but that's another story (feeding the priestcraft).

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the views of the writer alone and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of other individuals, groups, bands, gangs, corporations, or companies - real or imagined.

john e mumbles said...

Auto-hypnotic= Self Initiatory

I became a Self-Debunker through the Fire of belief, through research, and practice, just short of taking up rattlesnakes and drinking poison.

You couldn't throw a tradition at me that I wouldn't swallow whole, devour, and eventually throw up, only to move on to the next, the next...

Until all the seeking Stopped.

108 the merciless said...

"Until all the seeking Stopped.."

Dude, You're starting to sound like that windbag Mysterion.

Mallo said...

"The three Abrahanic Religions - Judahism (see Josiah), Xtianity, and Muhammadism are certainly the most violent in the history of the world."

Total horseshit.. Ever hear of Atilla. What religion was the great Khan? You have an agenda Dickhead.

Fugen said...

Hi.

Thank you for a good post.
Any way to subscribe to the podcasts, so you get updated when they get on?

Gassho
Fugen

R said...

I fail to see how is the sentence “This is why Buddhism is not a religion” (5th par.) deducted from the proceeding part of the post.

R said...

- “Blogs, by the way, are pretty useless in doing even that much, if you ask me”.


- I guess that mean else than PhillySteveInLA and his virtual Dharma.


- Well, at least Jinzang seems to be getting educated.

ruairi said...

Great post.

I think the idea that Buddhism is not Guatama Buddha-ism is very interesting, and possibly one that is not explored enough.

Should it be thought of as "Buddha-nature-ism"?

Usama Van Halen said...

"All isms should be wasms." Abbie Hoffman

anon #108 said...

The man wrote, "Buddhism isn't Buddha's-ism" - which suggests to me -

1) Not a doctrine of belief dependent on fixed interpretations of the (alleged) recorded words of the Buddha.

2) That 1) is not what the Buddha intended his teaching to establish.

Nicely done, Brad.

Hokai said...

I like the idea, to be blogging in a useless comment section of a useless blog.
Let us all be useless.

@ 1 said:
Get off this place,cocky and wait for the true owner of Nr 1:
Harry!

Once in a lifetime, but...

I can wait.
Inschallah,
Gerald

Glen said...

I have a copy of the Quran.

All i can say is that whoever wrote it says all Buddhist, Hindus and all others who reject Allah will meet with eternal hell fire, we are the worst of creatures.

Other than that, its crap.

dsla said...

Hi Fugen,

I use iTunes to subscribe to podcasts, and the Hardcore Zen Podcast is on iTunes.

However, podcasts (including this one) use RSS, similar to blogs, so I'm sure there are other ways besides iTunes if your not an iTunes user.

I've added the DSLA email as contact info on the podcast homepage. Any technical questions can be directed there.

-John

Half Astrology said...

Astrology worship.

http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/moongod.htm

Allah (Sun) was the principal though not the only deity.
He had three daughters:
Al Lat (Crescent Moon)
Al Uzzah (Venus)
Al Manah (Fate)

Besides the Ka'ba of Mecca, caves, trees, waterholes, wells, and rocks were also venerated.

Big Boys said...

We don't reject Allah. We don't reject Jesus, talking mules, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy either. They all have their proper places - in perspective.

john e mumbles said...

108 the merciless: that should have read: "Until the leaking Stopped."

You know, that tricky dung chute chakra thingie.

Anonymous said...

"Total horseshit.. Ever hear of Atilla. What religion was the great Khan? You have an agenda Dickhead"

Join the crowd--let's lump that one on top.

--matt

Anonymous said...

I've noticed something unsavory that has developed in my demeanor and chosen ways of expression since I took up the practice of zazen. Otherwise, the practice has reaped greatly impactful and yet subtle benefits on my life, but there is this negative aspect in my behavior that appears a common hangup with Buddhists. Brad hinted at in his holocaust museum post. It's this urge to present a facade of buddhism. For me, it rears it's ugly head in these ways... Expressing myself with economy of speech, in order to silently look down upon the frivolous use of words. The stoic, all knowing face when it comes to picture time, I guess to show that I'm above this smiling business. Writing in crisp, dry, logical style to show maturity and detachment. But these characteristics that I believe come across as sincere and mature are really kinda assholeish. I guess the best thing I can do is to notice whenever I put on the serious face of buddhism and laugh at it's ridiculousness. To see that those keen and wise eyes I see in the mirror are just another facade.

Yoga Network said...

"Thats why Buddhism is not a religion" wtf because YOU say so ?
please... zen - or just liberal nonsense ?

Anonymous said...

...wtf because YOU say so?

Along with everything else in this blog post, Brad Warner is expressing his personal views. It's his view that Buddhism isn't a religion, and he tries to explain why. If, however, you are convinced that Buddhism IS a religion - if that makes a differece to you - then a religion it is. Not for Brad, though.

So neither "Zen" nor "liberal nonsense", just a way to distinguish Buddhism from religion as the law pronounced by divine authority and written in scripture.

I think that's what he means.

Kyle said...

Great post.

Mr. Reee said...

"I guess the best thing I can do is to notice whenever I put on the serious face of buddhism and laugh at it's ridiculousness."

That is possibly the basis of genuine humor, and possibly 'enlightenment' too--recognizing the relationship between act and actor.

Life is often funny, and we are often ridiculous. Good thing, maybe.

Mysterion said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"I've noticed something unsavory that has developed in my demeanor..."

that would be constitutional. Zazen tends to reveal what (not who) you really are. Try group therapy. One flight up.

Ask for Grace (the girl, not the Xtian Crank).

Blake said...

You can quote other people's words all day long but that doesn't mean a damn thing when it comes to your own practice. This is why I like koan practice so much. It's a chance for a teacher to call "bullshit" when you are full of it.

Anonymous said...

Mysterion,

How is that helpful? Or nice? Or mature? I, you, nobody needs anymore bitterly condescending words in their life. You seem to get some pleasure out of seeing that I don't get "it" on some level and are happy to tell it like it is, dropping some sarcastic recommendations and pressing send. Admittedly, I'm being pretty immature in sending this, and reacting so personally to a blog post, but you're not perfect either, and maybe you need to read this. Maybe. Maybe my need to put you in your place is unnecessary and your post didn't warrant an attacking reaction. But it seemed a little much to me. Blogging bitterness is one of the many many habits that make us who or what we are. It's an obvious one that I see in myself and others. It doesn't need to continue.

john e mumbles said...

Hey Blake, I did koan work -with your teacher! I even once met and worked with Michael Moschen, who she likes to quote, but that didn't help me at all...maybe a shovel would've helped!

Blake said...

@john e mumbles

Koan practice is not for everyone that's for sure! I used to think it wasn't for me until something clicked.

john e mumbles said...

My experience was that I learned more staying stuck for awhile than being passed. I would definitely recommend it.

proulx michel said...

Talking about philosophy, Robert Pirsig makes a good point in "Lila" by calling it "philosophology". For the Ancient Greeks, philosophy was a way of life. if you studied a philosophy, you had to conform to its precepts. For instance, Pythagoricians would never eat beans. It was a study anchored in action.

Courses of philosophy nowadays are akin, says Pirsig, to schools of music where the only object of study would be musicology, and no one would play any music. And then, those majoring in Musicology would be called Musicians...

Come on...

proulx michel said...

And by the way, Qu'ran means "lecture" or "reciting", not "book" (kitab).

And Allah is (and was) the Moon God. So was Abraham's anyway: he left the only city in Mesopotamia that was devoted to the Moon God, fort the only other city in the area (in Syria) devoted to the same: Harran. And that was the god of his brother and of his fathers.

Genghis Khan was purposedly violent, using terror for his political means. But even there, he never got to the extent of the massacres perpetrated by the Muslims in India. Some speak of 80 millions, based upon Islamic records. And Tamerlane, a muslim, had 100 000 killed in one day.

john e mumbles said...

"Recite" is (transliterated) Iqra (eekr'ah) in Arabic, if my shakey memory of the language holds 20 years later....

It is what the angel Jabriel shouted at Muhammed in the cave in which M was meditating, as was his habit. He freaked out, ran home and hid under the covers.

Then, at the urging of his wife, he returned, and the angel reappeared shouting "Recite!" at him over and over until M, completely confused said "recite what?" And the angel said, just do it, and out came the Qu'ran.

Mr. Reee said...

Wow. Sounds like a bad case of monkey-mind.

ginger said...

I'm glad I came back to read this one...I've been busy.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with my sister the other day who takes the bible VERY literally. I don't put much stock in words for the same reasons you point out here...it's good to know others think this way because I often get looked at like I have something growing from the top of my head when it comes up in conversation.

I also had a conversation with a guy I work with who wanted to convert me to christianity because he was concerned that I worshipped the Buddha. He had a very difficult time understanding that I don't worship the Buddha - he wouldn't want anyone to and that I do actually believe in the teachings of Jesus because they're very similar to those of the Buddha, but I don't believe in the bible.

This was a great post, Brad. Well done! Make sme want to go buy another of your books. ;)

ellen9 said...

really like this post. mainly cuz i agree wholeheartedly.