Can we keep "God" (Abrahamic religion) as the meditation object?

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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mikenz66
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Re: Can we keep "God" (Abrahamic religion) as the meditation object?

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:52 am

I agree it makes little sense from a Buddhist point of view, so, as I said, I'm not sure what the OP is looking for from this thread.

However, for someone with a Christian world view it would be perfectly logical, and there are many accounts of such contemplation leading to very concentrated/unified/ecstatic mind states. Of course from a Buddhist world-view, that development would not lead to liberation from samsara, but would presumably lead to the development of a lot of good qualities, such as compassion, etc, and a good rebirth (in common with Buddhist practice that did not develop sufficient wisdom).

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Re: Can we keep "God" (Abrahamic religion) as the meditation object?

Post by Pinetree » Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:28 am

I'm know very little about Christian mysticism, but wouldn't God be a rather obvious object of contemplation for a Chirstian?
Well, the problem comes up ... when we bump into "object".

How shall I put it: a Christian meditating on God would be like a Buddhist meditating on Nibanna.

But of course, there will be religious images or prayers or music or beads which cultivate a state of meditation.

-----

@dagon :

I see you are linking a commercial site, selling meditation CDs, that suggests to use passages from the Bible as "mantra" and calls that meditating on God.

But of course, if we search enough, we will certainly find somebody who call themselves Christian and meditates on God.

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daverupa
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Re: Can we keep "God" (Abrahamic religion) as the meditation object?

Post by daverupa » Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:31 am

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_contemplation

But of course, it's tainted with rebecoming, as others have mentioned.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Can we keep "God" (Abrahamic religion) as the meditation object?

Post by SarathW » Tue Mar 29, 2016 11:28 am

Let my self clear. (I will try)

Will, keeping God as meditation object , lead to absorption Jhana?
How far they can go? First Jhana or second etc.
Why it is not Lokiya samma-ditthi which lead to samma- samadhi?
Is accepting Kamma and rebirth, important to attain Jhana?

==============
We know Nibbana is out of the scope of Abrahmic religions.
So I do not expect your thoughts on that subject.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Can we keep "God" (Abrahamic religion) as the meditation object?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Mar 29, 2016 11:31 am

SarathW wrote:Let my self clear. (I will try)

Will, keeping God as meditation object , lead to absorption Jhana?\
As much as keeping Odin as a meditation object.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Can we keep "God" (Abrahamic religion) as the meditation object?

Post by Saoshun » Tue Mar 29, 2016 11:34 am

SarathW wrote:Let my self clear. (I will try)

Will, keeping God as meditation object , lead to absorption Jhana?
How far they can go? First Jhana or second etc.
Why it is not Lokiya samma-ditthi which lead to samma- samadhi?
Is accepting Kamma and rebirth, important to attain Jhana?

==============
We know Nibbana is out of the scope of Abrahmic religions.
So I do not expect your thoughts on that subject.

1. No, because there is no object called God. If you mean thought-object called God - yes it can, but entering jhana is not using object rather formless wobble which pops up thru realization of anatta and meditation.
2. There is no such thing as how far they can go? How far you can go? This you need to answer yourself.
3. :rolleye:
4. No, because kamma and rebirth can be discovered thru jhanas.
Remember… the Buddha had said that everyone living in this world is crazy, by the phrase, “Sabbē prutajjana ummattakā”; excluding the Arahants, everyone else is crazy. Would you get angry if a mad person scolds? Do we get angry for a crazy thing done by a crazy person? Just think about it! :candle:

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Re: Can we keep "God" (Abrahamic religion) as the meditation object?

Post by Pinetree » Tue Mar 29, 2016 4:25 pm

Will, keeping God as meditation object , lead to absorption Jhana?
Ok, let's start again from the beginning: how exactly would you be meditating on God ?

How does the actual practice look like, if you could describe it in detail ?

Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't understand what your object of meditation is and how do you find your meditation object to focus on ?

I mean ... when I do breath meditation, I might direct my attention towards the abdomen. Other times, I may use sound as meditation object and I would focus on the sound or other times, my object of meditation would be the body posture and I would focus on the body.

But, when you would meditate upon God, where are you directing your awareness towards ?

And there certainly are Christian methods of meditation, which lead to absorption, but it's not using God as a meditation object.

From descriptions I heard about, I'm guessing at least 5-th, 6-th Jhana.

And I'm wondering, maybe other traditions have different Jhanas than the 9 you're talking about. Maybe 1 to 9 is not the only way to go.

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Re: Can we keep "God" (Abrahamic religion) as the meditation object?

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:40 pm

Pinetree wrote: And there certainly are Christian methods of meditation, which lead to absorption, but it's not using God as a meditation object. .
That's an interesting observation. Are you familiar with some variety of Christian mysticism? I'm not, but some of the methods mentioned in the links and posts above seem to me to be various ways of "focussing on God", sometimes analogous to recollection of the qualities of the Buddha, sometimes more like a Brahmavihara/visualisation approach. Details from someone who actually practises these methods would be interesting.

I'm still unclear about the point of this thread. If there was genuine interest in Christian (or other) contemplative methods it would be best to investigate them on their own terms. Questions about the details of how the concentration/unification states induced by those methods relate to the Buddhist definitions of jhana, and so on would be very difficult to answer without having a detailed discussion between experienced practitioners of both approaches.

If it's simply part of the general question of "how important is right view to the development of jhana?" I'm not sure why it's separate from the other recent threads on the subject.
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=26031
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=26096

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Re: Can we keep "God" (Abrahamic religion) as the meditation object?

Post by SarathW » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:01 pm

Pinetree wrote:
I'm know very little about Christian mysticism, but wouldn't God be a rather obvious object of contemplation for a Chirstian?
Well, the problem comes up ... when we bump into "object".

How shall I put it: a Christian meditating on God would be like a Buddhist meditating on Nibanna.

But of course, there will be religious images or prayers or music or beads which cultivate a state of meditation.

-----

@dagon :

I see you are linking a commercial site, selling meditation CDs, that suggests to use passages from the Bible as "mantra" and calls that meditating on God.

But of course, if we search enough, we will certainly find somebody who call themselves Christian and meditates on God.
The way I understand Nibbana can't be used as a meditation object in Samatha meditation.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Can we keep "God" (Abrahamic religion) as the meditation object?

Post by Pinetree » Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:26 am

The way I understand Nibbana can't be used as a meditation object in Samatha meditation.
Yes, of course, and following the same logic, neither can God.
That's an interesting observation. Are you familiar with some variety of Christian mysticism?
Yes, I am, but more for lay people practice than on the monastic side.
I'm not, but some of the methods mentioned in the links and posts above seem to me to be various ways of "focussing on God", sometimes analogous to recollection of the qualities of the Buddha, sometimes more like a Brahmavihara/visualisation approach.
Yes, that is a good summary to something I've been struggling to explain.

There are more practices:
- prayers voiced on beads
- prostrations
- fasting
- rituals including, incense burning, candles, visuals of saints or bible passages, ritual objects
- a version of insight meditation, about which I posted some time ago:
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=25232" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The main religious service which is like a long interactive "guided meditation", talking about offerings, God's blessings, happiness, compassion, light, angels and saints, peace, salvation, humility, God's mercy, forgiveness and love, prayers for ourselves, for the congregation and the deceased, freedom from suffering, faith, purification and delivery from sin and evil/Devil, bible (his)tories.

And the red thread of the service can be seen as the path followed through life: our life, the congregation, the history of the faith and the people of God and their relationship with God, and the life of Jesus Christ, which is the perfect role model.

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Re: Can we keep "God" (Abrahamic religion) as the meditation object?

Post by Derek » Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:07 pm

From my reading on the Christian mystical literature, I think it would be more accurate that love-of-God was the meditation object. If you wanted to translate this into Buddhist terms, you could say that a metta-jhana was the result. Leigh Brasington reports that Ayya Khema also believed that St. Teresa of Avila was experiencing jhana as a result of prayer.

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daverupa
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Re: Can we keep "God" (Abrahamic religion) as the meditation object?

Post by daverupa » Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:17 pm

Sure, why not? As was recently discussed in another thread, "jhana" isn't unique to Buddhism, nor even India, but is instead best thought of as a broad category of human contemplative experience.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Can we keep "God" (Abrahamic religion) as the meditation object?

Post by pulga » Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:02 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Pinetree wrote: And there certainly are Christian methods of meditation, which lead to absorption, but it's not using God as a meditation object. .
That's an interesting observation. Are you familiar with some variety of Christian mysticism? I'm not, but some of the methods mentioned in the links and posts above seem to me to be various ways of "focussing on God", sometimes analogous to recollection of the qualities of the Buddha, sometimes more like a Brahmavihara/visualisation approach. Details from someone who actually practises these methods would be interesting.
Apophatic Meditation Methods

Pinetree
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Re: Can we keep "God" (Abrahamic religion) as the meditation object?

Post by Pinetree » Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:03 pm

Apophatic Meditation Methods
I don't see at that link that God is being objectified ... Quite the contrary.
Apophatic theology—also known as negative theology—is a theology that attempts to describe God by negation, to speak of God only in absolutely certain terms and to avoid what may not be said. In Orthodox Christianity, apophatic theology is based on the assumption that God's essence is unknowable or ineffable and on the recognition of the inadequacy of human language to describe God.

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Re: Can we keep "God" (Abrahamic religion) as the meditation object?

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:28 pm

Pinetree wrote:
Apophatic Meditation Methods
I don't see at that link that God is being objectified ... Quite the contrary.
It's interesting how we read things differently. I'm not sure what you mean by "objectify", but:
Here, you simply call to mind that God’s loving presence saturates all things, and so you simply rest in a kind of general attentiveness to God,...
is the sort of thing I would understand as "God as the object" (which is not a great way of expressing it) and bears some relationship to Buddhist recollection (where the qualities of the Buddha, etc, are the object) or Brahamavihara techniques.

Of course, keeping a "general attentiveness to God" doesn't make much sense in a Buddhist context...

:anjali:
Mike

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