Religion as Inner Adventure Beau - Reilly - Wiley

The spiritual life is like a journey, consisting of stages that allow us to grow towards maturity


Vipassana is the culminating form of meditation in Theravada, "The Way of the Elders", the Buddhism of southeast Asia. This form of meditation is superior to others because it leads to distinctive buddhist insights, above all the wisdom by one is liberated and transcends into Nirvana.

Nirvana - a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. It represents the final goal of Buddhism.

Discussion Question 1: Why is the Buddhist meditation, Vipassana, superior to the others?

Discussion Question 2: How is Nirvana similar to an extinguished fire?

The particular insights are that existence is characterized by anicca, or impermanence; dukkha, or suffering; and anatman, or no selfhood.

By mindfulness, it is easy to see how one's actions, feelings and thoughts change. Since none of these last, if one tries to find happiness in either of them, the pleasure is brief and the suffering at its absence is long.

Eventually, over many meditations, possibly over several lifetimes, a Nirvana reality is stabilized and one becomes entirely liberated.

Ajahn Chah (1918-1992)

Ajahn Chah was an influential Thai monk who trained several important Buddhist teachers. He was introduced to the monastic life at the age of 9, but returned to work on the family farm. At age 20, he went went back to seek formal ordination as a monk. He then established himself in a forest hermitage years later.

5 General Precepts of Sila in Buddhism

1. Do not harm any living being

2. Do not engage in sexual misconduct

3. Do not lie

4. Do not lose control through alcohol

5. Do not lose control through drugs

5 More Specific to Monks

1. Do not eat after midday

2. Do not watch frivolous entertainment

3. Do not wear perfumes and jewelry

4. Do not sleep on a high or soft bed

5. Do not use money

The 4 "unlimited" virtues of Buddhism: Unlimited friendliness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity of mind. This is the Unitive state.

Faith, and Monks Who Hated God

The Way of Realization sounds fabulous, but what if you try it and it doesn't work?

The Hindu path of bhakti, or devotion, does not focus on following a specified path step by step. Instead, who wins out is the one who loves the Lord in his or her heart. Devotion is something anyone can do at any time.

Martin Luther, a famous protestant reformer and monk, believed that salvation was through simple, unearned faith. Luther's approach involved sola fides, or "faith alone."

Discussion Question 3: What was Luther's answer to his issues with vigils, prayers, reading, and other work?

A similar development appeared in East Asian Buddhism. Pure Land Buddhism centers around Amida Buddha, an enlightened individual, who vowed that all who call upon his name in faith will be brought into his "Pure Land." From there, entering into Nirvana is quite easy. The most important point of this is that salvation is solely through faith in Amida's vow.

Discussion Question 4: What is the most important point of Pure Land Buddhism?

Discussion Question 5: How did Pure Land Buddhism arise?

Honen, a monk, said there were two ways for reaching salvation: the shodo, or path of holiness, and jodo, the way of Pure Land. The shodo was sufficient for those who were okay with following holy practices. However, Honen emphasized choosing the nembutsu; he was interested in finding a simple key to salvation, and faith in Amida's vow was just that.

The Meeting of the Twain

The Way of Holiness and The Way of Faith

Both have been presented under varying names and both have their devotees. Defining them includes many factors, with both having their own view on the psychology of religion and even of God. The way of the path includes a diverse, layered, religious worldview.

Luther's life can be evaluated with the help of Underhill's stages

  • The Awakening- Only after Luther was struck with lightning did he enter the monastery
  • The Purification/ Dark Night of the Soul- Life as a Monk
  • Union- Luther's final liberation through faith

Luther saw himself always as a sinner separate from God though always forgiven.

The Visuddhamagga saw faith as a path, accepting the Buddhist views is like a hypothesis which is tested through faith and practice.


Created By
Beau Barimo


Created with images by mikegi - "buddha buddhism statue" • Hans - "martin luther portrait painting" • Jim Epler - "Great Buddha"

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