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  • What is "spirituality"?

    This is a term which is, as Joan has mentioned in another recent thread, almost a taboo word in the Western languages. But what is spiritualit really? And what is it often misconstrued to be?

    Andrew
    Sifu Andrew Barnett
    Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland - www.shaolin-wahnam.ch

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  • #2
    I think that for most people in the West it will be something involving a "mystic" event; where people feel they have become "one with the universe" , gained insight in the way of things, or talked to Angels. Usually it involves meditation or something mystical; those who believe in New Age seem to talk about it very much. People who are thought to be very spiritual are thought to be generous (some people belive that they should share whatever wisdom they have found for free! ), always calm, friendly and inspirational, and have a huge noticeable "aura" around them, his / her presence is "overwhelming", or at least, you should feel something when you're in the same room.

    Strangely enough, I don't think most people in the West (at least here in Holland) would see it as feeling good and happy.

    Roeland
    Last edited by wooden shoes; 16th September 2004, 10:24 AM.
    www.shaolinwahnam.nl
    www.shaolinholland.com

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    • #3
      I would not view feeling happy, peaceful and joyful as spirituality in itself, but either as a result of a rich spiritual life, or as a mean to start one's spiritual journey.
      Hubert Razack
      www.shaolinwahnam.fr
      www.sourireducoeur.fr

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      • #4
        I have heard 'spirituality' described in a few ways that have helped over the years:

        "I am not sure what God is but at least I now know its not me"

        "A simple reverence for all things"

        "The awareness of an unsuspected inner resource"

        All of these things have helped me at different times - and I have even experienced them very occassionally

        For me 'spirituality' has been bound up with learning that the only meaning to life is the meaning I make of it. I can make choices. Also the simple interconnection between people and events - what I do affects others and visa versa in a never ending set of interactions. Also its been helpful to discover I can't impose myself on the world to make it perfect for me. All of these things have had practical utility. Its also been nice to discover the joy in experiences, without trying. For me I discovered that trying to enjoy nature is trying to enjoy nature, rather than spontaneously enjoying.

        Best,

        Barry
        Profile at Capio Nightingale Hospital London Click here
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        • #5
          Preconceptions

          One thing that I have always found highly amusing is that nearly every new student has automatically assummed I am a Buddhist vegetarian.

          To me, spirituality is simple - it's anything and everything to do with the spirit. If you are not sure what a spirit is, or if you have a spirit then how can you genuinely understand spirituality?

          I have heard many people trundle out spiritual sayings while others around them nod sagely. Or they may act a certain way, having previously decided that this is Being Spiritual. To me, those who grin, laugh and genuinely enjoy being alive are displaying spirituality, the growth and development of their own spirit. As to where this takes them - who says it has to take them anywhere? I believe that there is more than enough spiritual confusion in the world(s) already, so why add to it. Be simple, be patient, be nice. Be. As Barry had already noted, your definition changes as you change allowing many many reststops along whatever way you decide to explore.

          And now for my disclaimer - those who are still being pioneers, searching the frontiers of their own understanding - congratulations. You can either forge ahead with a 'manly man' attitude, or you can stroll around, see many new things and learn things about yourself that you never knew. If instead, you are already travelling with a specific goal in mind - congratulations again.

          A friend once asked me what I would do if, when I died, I discovered that there was no life after death, no such thing as a soul, no heaven, no hell, no birth or rebirth. I replied that it genuinely wouldn't matter, that if there was something else then excellent and if not, I still would have had a lovely time.

          In summary, I would say that if I had to attempt to pin down what is spirituality, I would say that is Self Discovery and/or (non)Discovery of the Self.
          Last edited by Darryl; 16th September 2004, 02:29 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Darryl
            One thing that I have always found highly amusing is that nearly every new student has automatically assummed I am a Buddhist vegetarian.
            So, does that mean you will eat Buddhists

            Originally posted by Darryl
            To me, those who grin, laugh and genuinely enjoy being alive are displaying spirituality
            I think sadness has a part in it too. Especially evident in the loss of a loved one. Also in having to accept lifes imperfections and limitations.

            Originally posted by Darryl
            A friend once asked me what I would do if, when I died, I discovered that there was no life after death, no such thing as a soul, no heaven, no hell, no birth or rebirth.
            You wouldn't do anything. You wouldn't exist to do anything.

            Regards,
            Chris.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Darryl
              Self Discovery and/or (non)Discovery of the Self.
              or "Spirituality according to Boole algebra"
              Hubert Razack
              www.shaolinwahnam.fr
              www.sourireducoeur.fr

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              • #8
                Originally posted by cnholmes
                You wouldn't do anything. You wouldn't exist to do anything
                That's the first answer I gave as well

                genuinely enjoy being alive
                Joy and sorrow are both parts of being alive, as is anything that can happen either to you or to those around you while you are alive. Another way of (mis)interpreting it would be as 'acceptance'. Since 'acceptance' is also just another word, the context is in line with the topic - an acceptance of your own interpretation of spirituality. A different way of saying 'don't force it'.

                Since 'spirit', 'spirituality' and all other associated matters are non phenomenal (another word ), I would be extremely surprised if we were able to reach a common interpretation.

                does that mean you will eat Buddhists
                If everything has Buddha nature, then surely it is impossible not to? I've tried to eat a frog before as well, if that counts?

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                • #9
                  Hi Hubert, your post takes me back about 23 years when I first heard of Boolean algebra. Those interested might like to take a look here:


                  http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=e...lgebra&spell=1


                  Nice posts, Darryl. I hope that some of our members enjoy the meal.
                  Jeffrey Segal

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                  • #10
                    Excellent points Darryl

                    Originally posted by Darryl
                    Another way of (mis)interpreting it would be as 'acceptance'. Since 'acceptance' is also just another word, the context is in line with the topic - an acceptance of your own interpretation of spirituality. A different way of saying 'don't force it'.

                    Since 'spirit', 'spirituality' and all other associated matters are non phenomenal (another word ), I would be extremely surprised if we were able to reach a common interpretation.
                    That old bugbear! Yes, we can go round and round misinterpreting each other until we all get dizzy. For example, how does 'acceptance' manifest itself? If you're ill do you 'accept' the fact and do nothing, or accept the fact that you need treatment.

                    Originally posted by Darryl
                    If everything has Buddha nature, then surely it is impossible not to?
                    Hee hee hee lol very clever

                    Originally posted by Darryl
                    I've tried to eat a frog before as well, if that counts?
                    If you find a frog that can count you eat it? I'm getting seriously concerned about your eating habits.

                    Yours Misinterpretingly,
                    Chris.

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                    • #11
                      To make an analogy

                      We might also ask:

                      "What is physicality?"

                      This does not seem to be such a difficult question to answer, does it?

                      Why do people have difficulty, then, with the question "what is spirituality?"

                      I believe it is quite simply because they are ignorant of what the spirit is.
                      If they knew what the spirit was, having had the experience of it, there would really be no question for them. They could point to the spirit just as readily as if they were knocking on the desk.

                      My senior brother Darryl has said that he doubts there will be any common interpretation of spirituality. I must respectfully disagree with him: I fully share his interpretation. We are very lucky that our Sifu has enabled us to recognize and allow our spirits to grow. For us it is not a question of having conversations and debates about what "spiritual" means, just as we do not have to speculate about the taste of mangoes.

                      Perhaps we should start another thread:

                      "What does a mango taste like"

                      I doubt we could come up with a common interpretation.



                      Charles David Chalmers
                      Brunei Darussalam

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by cha muir
                        "What does a mango taste like"
                        A mango

                        That's what you get for agreeing with me

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                        • #13
                          hi all
                          there would really be no question for them. They could point to the spirit just as readily as if they were knocking on the desk.
                          i disagree.One time when i was practicing i had an awakening of spirituality but when i tried to talk about it i had no words to describe it because it wasnt an intellectual experience,i could have put words that would be close to describing it,but they would not have done the job in my opinion,that is why words are no substitute for experience.

                          Why do people have difficulty, then, with the question "what is spirituality?"

                          because most people are aware enough to feel their physical bodies but not their spiritual ones.
                          best wishes jez
                          Last edited by jez; 26th December 2006, 05:40 PM. Reason: spelling mistake
                          ".....Irrespective of race culture and religion." Sifu.

                          Love to All.

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                          • #14
                            God & Science , Spiritual & Physical

                            A great scientist teleported to the nebulous heavens to see God and said : " i am an atheist .By the way i clone homo sapiens as a job and i don't need You or religion no more!"

                            God smiled :"Congratulations , show me how you do it .At least now , i can sit back and see myself in action "

                            The scientist elongated his arm ( like plastic man of Fantastic 4 ) to scoop some mud from the nether Earth and proceeded to create a homo ignoramus.

                            God , disappointed , exclaimed : "Hey ! Hold on , that's not right.....go make and use your own dirt , not mine !I thought ,for once i can take a break and go for Xmas vacation!How many Christs do i have to sent down before you guys learn anything.Now go and do more practise"

                            And we were banished again for karmic cycles of millenia from the Garden of Eden to re-discover ourselves.

                            Merry Christmas and Happy New Year .

                            Happy self discovery .
                            Damian Kissey
                            Shaolin Wahnam Sabah , Malaysia .
                            www.shaolinwahnamsabah.com

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                            • #15
                              My spiritual invitation : not too many words, just enjoy your mangos as well as your practice...
                              Papalo

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