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Featured On Matters of Belief and Practice

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by Renki, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. Renki

    Renki wayfarer to the Western Pure Land
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    Lately, my mind has flung me back towards polytheism. This is not a bad thing unto itself. Nothing wrong, right? Not exactly. I had asked several of you about how to deeply engage with religion (in general), with @Vinayaka (bless his heart and soul) suggesting something to the effect of “DJ, stop thinking about it.”
    @Quintessence had also, I think, driven home the point that religion is meant to be engaged with, practiced, not merely thought about or believed in.

    Their words of advice remind me of a quote from Bruce Lee which says,

    “Life is meant to be lived, not conceptualized.”

    This makes it abundantly clear to me that maybe I've been trapped in the thinking, the believing, regarding religion rather than the doing, the practicing. This must change. I would like to re-orient my religious life around engaging in practices instead of beliefs, but I don't know how.

    My question for all of you who may be reading this is:

    What sorts of practices do you engage in for your own religion?
     
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  2. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    My #1 practice is service. And this is not a headline-worthy activity but just small acts of being pleasant to checkout clerks, for example. Another activity is sorting clothing donations with the model of "would I give this to my best friend". There are many avenues for this practice.

    The other is to spend time focusing my mind and heart on a vision of divinity. There are many different forms of meditation and which one to choose depends on the person - there is no one practice for everyone.

    I'll note that specific rituals practiced by religion is not interesting to me. Mostly they are just done mechanically with no heart behind them.
     
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  3. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    DJ, I think it varies because of stage of life. I'm retired, so have about 20 times as much time on my hands as before, while helping raise 5 kids, and working.

    So every day I do an hour of personal sadhana, transformation time. It involves invoking the mystical presence of God (puja) recitation of a mantra (japa), some reading of my Hindu lineage (3 components, basic philosophy, how to live, and how to go inward) in these books: Dancing with Siva, Living with Siva, and Merging with Siva. I go to temple minimum of once a week to attend another puja, or for Hindu festivals. At least once a year, Boss and I go on a more lengthy pilgrimage, often to Hawaii, or driving across North America, exploring Hindu temples we've never been to. We can drive from here to Toronto 4 or 5 days driving, and think nothing of it. We enjoy the scenery on the way for sure.

    In summer I'm the main volunteer landscaper at the temple I go to. I get to make a lot of decisions with that, planting roses, fruit trees, cutting grass, deadheading etc., and it's always alone time. If I go when something is going on, everyone stops to say 'hi' and I get no work done. So it's healthy, reflective, and involves enough thinking about the landscaping that I don't get muddled up in other thought.

    It's also a great service, and I occasionally even get noticed. That lasts 6 months of the year. In the winter I do hobby woodworking. Again, it's active enough, and there's enough thinking about what I'm making that the mind doesn't go all intellectual. Mostly I just make religious gifts for friends, although sometimes somebody asks for something. My granddaughter wanted a toy wooden pig so that's the current project. Grandson already has a chess set. That took a month or so.

    So, for me, it's important to keep busy but not intense busy.

    I'm happy for you, on your recent shift in thinking.
     
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  4. Mindmaster

    Mindmaster Well-Known Member
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    My religion is ultimately about practicing my passions and making them come into existence, so in a way it's a lot simpler than others... But, also more complicated when things are falling apart in the mundane world... It's easy to get disheartened after a bad run, such as where am I now and considering a complete change of career to something more true to my nature.

    Spiritual practices that aren't conductive to refocusing you toward your goals are worthless platitudes at best, and pageantry at worst. This is the starkest contrast, I feel, between my path and others. There is simply no tolerance for this sort of self-defeating mental masturbation in the left-hand path, or traditional Satanism as a whole.

    In my case this often comes out in forum posts and chats, projects over the web that I am working on, divination, and ritual work. But, I only engage any of these things as they stimulate my existence to do so... Sometimes I don't do rituals for months, for example, because of inspiring me they would feel like a chore. Nothing you do purposefully should EVER feel that way, and if it does save it for another time... There is something to be said for the subjectively pleasing quality of such actions, and those things will take you closer to your spiritual home than a bunch of rote repetition.

    Anyway, your OP made me a think a great deal, great post. :D
     
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  5. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    I don't have a very orderly or consistent practice as typically thought of. Its due to time and other personal constraints. I go to temple once or twice a week, but sometimes as infrequently as once or twice in two or three weeks. I can't tell you when the last time was that I did prayers or worship at my home shrine, however, what I do:
    • I read snippets now and then from scriptures.
    • I pray, i.e. just "conversate" with God(s).
    • I listen to bhajans (devotional songs) and mantras on my iPhone when I'm driving, working out, working at home.
    • I try to do charitable things, with the thought nar seva narayan seva "service to man is service to God". I also donate to animal rescue and shelters.
    I like to think all those, done in his name, contribute to what Sri Krishna says in BG 18:65-66, wherein he says to simply worship him, think of him, give him our devotion, surrender to him (i.e. let him worry about things).

    That's currently my practice.
     
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  6. Rival

    Rival Veteran Member
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    Praying, singing and dancing!

    Hitbotdedut is a wonderful thing.
     
    #6 Rival, Nov 20, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
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  7. Renki

    Renki wayfarer to the Western Pure Land
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    Wonderful, @sunrise123 ! Those are very praiseworthy practices.
     
  8. Renki

    Renki wayfarer to the Western Pure Land
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    MM, I dig the way you practice, especially what I had bolded and italicized. Facts. dude.

    And thank you. :D
     
  9. Renki

    Renki wayfarer to the Western Pure Land
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    Whoa, Vinayaka! All of your practices are very deeply involved, engaging every aspect of your life! Beautiful. Thank you for your response and for your well-wish. :)
     
  10. Renki

    Renki wayfarer to the Western Pure Land
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    The depth of devotion in your practice is very highly admirable, @Jainarayan. Thank you for posting. :)
     
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  11. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    I think. :p
     
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  12. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    @DJ_sXe
    I guess the choice of religious practice is what comes from your own heart. What do you want from religion? A relationship with God...if so which one? And why?

    What do you feel is necessary to please your God of choice? Does he require repetitive ritual or does he require more practical expressions of your faith, like caring for those who are less fortunate and trying your best to be a good person in all respects?

    What does your heart tell you? Do you want your practice to be something meaningful or just fulfilling some kind of duty?

    People look for all kinds of things in order to please themselves in a religion...but what does God want from us? That is what you should be practicing. Yes?
     
    #12 Deeje, Nov 20, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
  13. Renki

    Renki wayfarer to the Western Pure Land
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    Hitbotdedut??? :confused::confused:
     
  14. Renki

    Renki wayfarer to the Western Pure Land
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    :mad::p
     
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  15. Rival

    Rival Veteran Member
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    Google it.
     
    #15 Rival, Nov 20, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
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  16. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Shrugs. I tried.

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    I read the suttas, meditate day and night, listen to Dhamma talk, and pray full body ritual. Throughout the day, I'll write notes and reflect on goals and things I want to work on. I also reflect on reasons and beliefs Im not familar with though when explained makes sense. Meditation slows me down a bit more. I take and renew my precepts every full and new moon. Anyalitic meditation on Lam Rim practices from Tibeten Buddhism.

    A lot of mindfulness and thinking of my death. Also what Im attached to and whether to discard things to clear my apartment as a full "altar" since I live alone and have one already in living room.
     
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  17. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.

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    Just being quiet and allowing life to reveal things via it's own terms without indulging any of the bells and whistles that comes from embellishments and fabrications.
     
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  18. Renki

    Renki wayfarer to the Western Pure Land
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    Hitbotdedut sounds immensely powerful and intimate. :D
     
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  19. Rival

    Rival Veteran Member
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    I would have explained but I was on my phone in bed lol.
     
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  20. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    Just as an example, when I moved to my place the first thing I did was do an assessment of the lands. Well, okay - actually I did that before I moved in. I could feel the Spirit of the Land was ailing, and it wasn't long before I learned why when I started to work with it. Like so many developments, the area where my condo was built was raped. The contractors raped the soil off the land and left it almost barren. I knew it was going to be bad when I bought the place, but I didn't anticipate just how bad the land was violated here. My state is known for having some of the richest soils in the world, and here I was on that land finding it despoiled utterly. The worst thing is that I know this is not something I can fix. It isn't in my power - it takes centuries to build the kind of soil that was once here. On top of that, the area is ripe with that biotic abomination called "lawn grass" that provides next to no habitat value for our non-human relations.

    I set about correcting that as best I could, internally grumbling about the limits of living in a condo association. If it were up to me, I'd rip up every shred of that abominable lawn grass on my corner and replace it with something resembling a proper ecosystem restoration effort. Since it isn't up to me, I basically have done what I feel I can get away with and add to it a bit each year. I was concerned such small efforts would be meaningless, but I was surprised at the results even in the first year. My small tallgrass prairie restoration was a'chirr with insects and home to assorted frogs and toads. My native shrubs were beloved by the winged ones for both shelter and food. I felt I couldn't do a service to the gods with such a small space to work with, but even these small spaces provide refuge. I have wildlife habitat. Not much of it, but I have it.

    Now, if only I could convince my condo association to let me tear through my entire yard and replace it with prairie... :D
     
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