Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIMMID)

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Javi
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Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIMMID)

Post by Javi » Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:59 am

This is a good place to put this information, for those who did not know about this program.
Dialogue Interreligieux Monastique / Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIMMID) is an international monastic organization that promotes and supports dialogue, especially dialogue at the level of religious experience and practice, between Christian monastic men and women and followers of other religions.

DIMMID is a commission of the Benedictine Confederation with formal links to both branches of the Cistercian order. It acts in liaison with the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and welcomes collaboration with other organizations that foster interreligious dialogue. DIMMID is civilly incorporated in the state of Minnesota (USA) as a nonprofit, tax-exempt institution operating exclusively for charitable, educational, and religious purposes.

While the natural dialogue partners of Christian monastics are monastics of other religious traditions, DIMMID also engages in spiritual dialogue with adherents of religions that do not have an institutionalized form of monasticism, for example—and in particular—with Muslims.

http://www.dimmid.org/
They have a very interesting documentary that Kusala Bhiksu has graciously posted on his youtube page (he also has other material):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah4nTdyc8Pc
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

davidbrainerd
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Re: Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIMMID)

Post by davidbrainerd » Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:53 pm

Christian monasticism at some point in the past was obviously Pelagian, viewing salvation as earned by obedience to Christ's teachings ala the sermon on the mount and various obvious calls to celibacy found in the gospels (e.g. Luke 14:26). But with the rise of Augustinianism, and subsequent Catholic takeover of the monasteries by St. Benedict, this Pelagian and semi-Pelagian theology was squashed in favor of salvation by grace only theology from Augustine, and more emphasis on Paul than the gospels.

This destroyed the purpose of monasticism, obviously. If salvation is by faith alone, and a monastic achieves no greater salvation than a layman, its pointless to have this special dedication to God and live a celibate life. Monasticism is therefore illusory, delusional in Christianity due to Augustinianism.

Its only natural, therefore, that at some point Christian monastics would realize that lay Christianity is contrary to the very foundations of Christian monasticism, and dissociate from Christianity generally to form ties with Buddhist monasticism where monasticism still has an actual purpose and necessity.

Perhaps they are too in love with some delusions to become Buddhists, but by associating with Buddhist monks they can at least get closer to a true monasticism that views celibacy as actually accomplishing something rather than as a pointless extra on top of free salvation by grace.

Or, they cannot get out of the Catholic monastic system due to financial dependence, but can begin practicing Buddhism while pretending to still believe in Christianity.

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cappuccino
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Re: Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIMMID)

Post by cappuccino » Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:09 pm

Christianity is difficult to understand, it requires faith to understand, therefore, it's misunderstood.

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Re: Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIMMID)

Post by davidbrainerd » Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:32 pm

cappuccino wrote:Christianity is difficult to understand, it requires faith to understand, therefore, it's misunderstood.
Are you saying you're a Christian?

I think the real reason its hard to understand is its built on a lot of contradictory premises. For example:

On the one hand God is benevolent and wants to forgive. On the other hand he refuses to forgive without a perfect human sacrifice.

One the one hand God wants us to live morally and do good works. On the other hand he opposes morality and good works because he just wants faith alone.

It seems to me that such contradictory premises were purposefully stacked together to make it impossible for you, the individual, to understand the religion, thus requiring that you constantly come cowering to a priest to have him juggle the contradictions for you.

Then you have the contradiction that became of monasticism (which I think is very relevant to this thread): Hey come live a celibate life and be special. But really celibacy doesn't make you special because all God cares about is faith alone. [Its like a bait and switch.]

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cappuccino
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Re: Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIMMID)

Post by cappuccino » Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:02 am

Celibacy is peaceful, less complicated, less suffering, etc.

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIMMID)

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:05 am

davidbrainerd wrote:Christian monasticism at some point in the past was obviously Pelagian, viewing salvation as earned by obedience to Christ's teachings ala the sermon on the mount and various obvious calls to celibacy found in the gospels (e.g. Luke 14:26). But with the rise of Augustinianism, and subsequent Catholic takeover of the monasteries by St. Benedict, this Pelagian and semi-Pelagian theology was squashed in favor of salvation by grace only theology from Augustine, and more emphasis on Paul than the gospels.

This destroyed the purpose of monasticism, obviously. If salvation is by faith alone, and a monastic achieves no greater salvation than a layman, its pointless to have this special dedication to God and live a celibate life. Monasticism is therefore illusory, delusional in Christianity due to Augustinianism.

Its only natural, therefore, that at some point Christian monastics would realize that lay Christianity is contrary to the very foundations of Christian monasticism, and dissociate from Christianity generally to form ties with Buddhist monasticism where monasticism still has an actual purpose and necessity.

Perhaps they are too in love with some delusions to become Buddhists, but by associating with Buddhist monks they can at least get closer to a true monasticism that views celibacy as actually accomplishing something rather than as a pointless extra on top of free salvation by grace.

Or, they cannot get out of the Catholic monastic system due to financial dependence, but can begin practicing Buddhism while pretending to still believe in Christianity.
This illustrates further misinformation, contrived insinuations, and conspiracy theories from you on the subject of early Christianity. You can't back these contrivances up with reputable citations of any kind.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

davidbrainerd
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Re: Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIMMID)

Post by davidbrainerd » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:47 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:Christian monasticism at some point in the past was obviously Pelagian, viewing salvation as earned by obedience to Christ's teachings ala the sermon on the mount and various obvious calls to celibacy found in the gospels (e.g. Luke 14:26). But with the rise of Augustinianism, and subsequent Catholic takeover of the monasteries by St. Benedict, this Pelagian and semi-Pelagian theology was squashed in favor of salvation by grace only theology from Augustine, and more emphasis on Paul than the gospels.

This destroyed the purpose of monasticism, obviously. If salvation is by faith alone, and a monastic achieves no greater salvation than a layman, its pointless to have this special dedication to God and live a celibate life. Monasticism is therefore illusory, delusional in Christianity due to Augustinianism.

Its only natural, therefore, that at some point Christian monastics would realize that lay Christianity is contrary to the very foundations of Christian monasticism, and dissociate from Christianity generally to form ties with Buddhist monasticism where monasticism still has an actual purpose and necessity.

Perhaps they are too in love with some delusions to become Buddhists, but by associating with Buddhist monks they can at least get closer to a true monasticism that views celibacy as actually accomplishing something rather than as a pointless extra on top of free salvation by grace.

Or, they cannot get out of the Catholic monastic system due to financial dependence, but can begin practicing Buddhism while pretending to still believe in Christianity.
This illustrates further misinformation, contrived insinuations, and conspiracy theories from you on the subject of early Christianity. You can't back these contrivances up with reputable citations of any kind.
So now you're going to argue that Augustinianism was around from the beginning? Go read Christ in Celtic Christianity by Michael W. Herren. Its a decent introduction to the fact that monasticism was originally very Pelagian. I realize its focusing on Gaul, but I think the same can be found generally. If you read the Rule of St. Benedict, you can see (if you have any ability to read between the lines) that he was clearly fighting an uphill battle against Pelagianism in his attempts to reform monasticism. Furthermore, much of the early material on monasticism clearly shows that the secular church looked at it as somewhat of a rival. Its integration was affected by Benedict, and the Benedictine school, and took several centuries.

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Re: Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIMMID)

Post by Luca123 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:50 am

davidbrainerd wrote:One the one hand God wants us to live morally and do good works. On the other hand he opposes morality and good works because he just wants faith alone.
As a person who spent much part of his life as a devouted Christian Catholic I can say that your knowledge of Christian religion is superficial at best

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Re: Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIMMID)

Post by davidbrainerd » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:54 am

Luca123 wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:One the one hand God wants us to live morally and do good works. On the other hand he opposes morality and good works because he just wants faith alone.
As a person who spent much part of his life as a devouted Christian Catholic I can say that your knowledge of Christian religion is superficial at best
No, its based on reality rather than insulation within one tradition that quite frankly doesn't deal with the Bible as a whole. In debating plenty of Baptists, especially Calvinists over the years, and dealing with their nonsensical theories along the lines that God doesn't care about morality because Paul says "faith and not by works," I was finally forced to concede, that indeed, that's in there, as is the other. The Bible says both. Catholics and Church of Christ people like to pretend that the Bible only says that "faith and works work together"; Baptists like to pretend that the Bible only says "justification by faith and not by works." But no, it says both. Its massively contradictory. Do particular traditions harmonize it in such a way as to obliterate the other side of the contradiction? Of course. But that's not what I'm talking about.

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Re: Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIMMID)

Post by Luca123 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:00 am

davidbrainerd wrote:
Luca123 wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:One the one hand God wants us to live morally and do good works. On the other hand he opposes morality and good works because he just wants faith alone.
As a person who spent much part of his life as a devouted Christian Catholic I can say that your knowledge of Christian religion is superficial at best
No, its based on reality rather than insulation within one tradition that quite frankly doesn't deal with the Bible as a whole. In debating plenty of Baptists, especially Calvinists over the years, and dealing with their nonsensical theories along the lines that God doesn't care about morality because Paul says "faith and not by works," I was finally forced to concede, that indeed, that's in there, as is the other. The Bible says both. Catholics and Church of Christ people like to pretend that the Bible only says that "faith and works work together"; Baptists like to pretend that the Bible only says "justification by faith and not by works." But no, it says both. Its massively contradictory. Do particular traditions harmonize it in such a way as to obliterate the other side of the contradiction? Of course. But that's not what I'm talking about.
Please quote the passage of the bible where it is literally written "faith and not by works". Thank you

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIMMID)

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:01 am

Luca123 wrote:Please quote the passage of the bible where it is literally written "faith and not by works". Thank you
Prepare yourself. My wager is he cites Luther's doctored translation of the NT.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

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Re: Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIMMID)

Post by davidbrainerd » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:11 am

Luca123 wrote:Please quote the passage of the bible where it is literally written "faith and not by works". Thank you
Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Romans 3:27 "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith."

Romans 4:6 "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,"

Romans 9:11 "(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)"

My quotes are from the KJV, by the way.

All of this side of the contradiction is largely hammered by Augustinianism, which gets more popular as time goes on. Augustinianism, whether Catholics will own up to it or not, is the basis of both Lutheranism and Calvinism. And Vatican II has nearly turned the Catholic Church into another Protestant denomination with its pushing of Augustinianism. Along with that has also come a decimation in the number of "vocations," i.e of those who join monastic orders. Monasticism is by nature a works based institution, and therefore Augustinianism is contrary to it. Its is no wonder that Luther, who popularized the logical result of Augustinianism was himself an Augustin monk. Just rather than having had it with Augustinianism to the point of doubling down on real monastic practice (Pelagianism), Luther broke the opposite direction, and left monasticism to pursue pure Augustinianism "faith alone" hedonism.

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Re: Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIMMID)

Post by davidbrainerd » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:16 am

I'll give you the other side too. Because it is a contradiction. I'm not arguing Lutheranism, not arguing that the Bible only says "faith alone." It says both.

James 2:14 "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?" (implied answer "no")

James 2:22 "Seest thou how faith wrought with his works [referring to Abraham], and by works was faith made perfect?" (as I said earlier, some passages clearly say faith and works work together)

[Compare that, by the way, to Romans 4, where Paul argues that works were not at all involved with Abraham's justification, whereas James is arguing that Abraham was indeed justified by works.]

Paul himself says:

"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil 2:12)

There's a reason why there are so many denominations, and that's because this book was put together to be purposefully contradictory.

And what you'll find in a controversy like Augustine vs Pelagius, is Augustine quoting the "not by works" side, and Pelagius quoting James etc. These sorts of arguments were intended by the compilers to take place. Confusion keeps the people in check.

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Re: Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIMMID)

Post by Luca123 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:41 am

davidbrainerd wrote:
Luca123 wrote:Please quote the passage of the bible where it is literally written "faith and not by works". Thank you
Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Romans 3:27 "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith."

Romans 4:6 "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,"

Romans 9:11 "(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)"

My quotes are from the KJV, by the way.

All of this side of the contradiction is largely hammered by Augustinianism, which gets more popular as time goes on. Augustinianism, whether Catholics will own up to it or not, is the basis of both Lutheranism and Calvinism. And Vatican II has nearly turned the Catholic Church into another Protestant denomination with its pushing of Augustinianism. Along with that has also come a decimation in the number of "vocations," i.e of those who join monastic orders. Monasticism is by nature a works based institution, and therefore Augustinianism is contrary to it. Its is no wonder that Luther, who popularized the logical result of Augustinianism was himself an Augustin monk. Just rather than having had it with Augustinianism to the point of doubling down on real monastic practice (Pelagianism), Luther broke the opposite direction, and left monasticism to pursue pure Augustinianism "faith alone" hedonism.
I think none of the quotes above specifically says what you have said
There is an intersting explanation of the matter by a Catholic layman here http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articl ... ork-it-out

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIMMID)

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:09 am

davidbrainerd wrote:Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
This is complicated by the next verse of Ephesians 2
8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9. Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
You're idea that this explicitly states "faith, not works" is complicated by the fact that the context is that is comes in a statement saying that faith and works go together, Paul states here that part of having faith is doing good works "which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them".
davidbrainerd wrote:Romans 3:27 "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith."
The context here is that boasting is excluded from the Christian path. One can only boast about works, but one cannot boast in any true way about faith because faith is understood by Paul to be the gift of grace and you cannot boast about what you receive freely (from God, in the Christian worldview), therefore you cannot boast about faith., and it is on that grounds that boasting about your "spiritual attainments" (my Buddhist phraseology, not Paul's) is futile. You probably consider that an "Augustinianism", but if you put Paul in context, that is consonant with his other sayings in the epistles.
davidbrainerd wrote:Romans 4:6 "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,"
The context of this is, once again, talking about boasting about being absolutely saved, which was evidently a problem in the Roman community he was writing to. This is part of Paul's theology about freely given grace. All humanity, according to Christians, through the mysteries of Christ, whether or not they like the use of the word "mysteries", have the potentiality for salvation due to God's freely given grace. It is not excluding morality and good-works.
davidbrainerd wrote:Romans 9:11 "(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)"
This has nothing to do with salvation, this is to do with election. It is put into better context with a fuller quote
11. Even before they had been born or had done anything good or bad (so that God's purpose of election might continue,
12. not by works but by his call) she was told, "The elder shall serve the younger."
13. As it is written, "I had loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau."
14. What then are we to say? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means!
15. For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."
This is just basically saying that God can do whatever he wants and can choose to favour anyone he wants, regardless of who they are, if they serve his purposes. Its not excluding works.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

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