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Sunday, August 17, 2014

REFLECTIONS ON RELIGIOUS LIFE

REFLECTIONS ON RELIGIOUS LIFE

This week's Comment is part of a larger talk I shared at the Reflection2Action Retreat we held yesterday. The full text is available on the Dharma Talk Page here.

Within the ritual tradition in Buddhism, particularly our Tendai tradition, it is proposed that the reality we mentioned a few moments ago is impossible to experience or to communicate with through normal human actions. We are told that there are three ways through which that reality communicates with us. They are sacred chanting or mantra, particular postures or movements, mudra, and special visual patterns, mandala. If we wish to interact with that higher reality, then we must do so with those three capacities. If we are to agree that there is some reality beyond our individual human lives, then, it strikes me, we want to be alert to how we might connect with that reality. We cannot assume that this greater reality sees the human form and culture as being as advanced or special as we ourselves do, and that it must accommodate to our way of communicating. I think that, as we do with our mindfulness practice, we want to open ourselves to what is present beyond the confines of our limited bodily experience. We want to look for ways to reach deeper and deeper into the possibilities of human experience. With this in mind, it seems that religious activity, in addition to building community, offers us an opportunity to explore this realm, to move beyond our rather limited individual experience.

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