Friday, September 22nd 2017

Spiritual Surf: James Arthur Ray, celebrity Buddhists, Anglicans and Catholics, Thailand’s Diwali

Road to Enlightenment: No sweat?

jamesarthurrayimages1Those who attended the now infamous sweat lodge ceremony of James Arthur Ray (including the three who died) paid $10,000 a head for the experience of being deprived of food and sleep.  Not to mention sweating it out in a small, over-crowded space.  One critic labels this “spiritual masochism,”  an extreme asceticism taking physical privation as essential to spiritual insight, much like Guatama Buddha’s early meditative practices.  Ray is continuing to receive criticism from a variety of spiritual perspectives as more witnesses to the incident speak out.

arod2imagescabzhiabAthletes sporting Buddhism

Disciplining the mind and body as a Buddhist goal is gaining a wider following among goal scoring athletes in the U.S.  A-Rod, for one, is giving Buddhism a try-out, probably with the influence of Kate Hudson, who was raised Buddhist by her mother Goldie Hawn.  Tiger Woods has openly spoken of Buddhism’s influence on his life, particularly from his mother.  While Buddhist meditation may contribute to the game play of these men, a woman’s influence does not go unnoticed.

canterpopeimagescai45lc0Some Anglican roads lead to Rome

Another womanly spiritual gesture by ”Holy Mother Church” (aka, the Roman Catholic Church) was made to Anglicans.   Pope Benedict XVI has taken steps to welcome Anglicans who reject the Anglican Church’s official allowance of gay marriage and women’s ordination.  the consequences: the possibility of married Roman Catholic priests, and possible changes to Roman Catholic liturgy based on Anglican models.

Halloween and Saints

Another link between the British Isles and Rome is the upcoming holy days of Samhain (October 31) and All Saints’ Day (November 1), the former being an ancient Gaelic festival to pay farewell to summer while the latter originated in Rome, originally placed in May but eventually moved to November.  At least one similarity: remembrance of the dead by the living.

Light and life in Loi Krathongloikrathongimagesca9q69t0

Another festival celebrating life (and romance) begins this week in Thailand, Loi Krathong.  While its origins remain unknown (Hindu or Buddhist), Thais will celebrate with impressive displays of light, perhaps the most impressive being thousands of “floating” lights: lanterns in the air, candles in the rivers.

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3 Comments on “Spiritual Surf: James Arthur Ray, celebrity Buddhists, Anglicans and Catholics, Thailand’s Diwali”

  1. I believe the whole 'Everything that you dislike represents a part of yourself" assumption, when taken too far, can invite people into masochism.
    Sometimes it's true and warrents a look. At other times, it's just not so. But
    some truly decent and compassionate people can take on too much of another's negativity as their own, when discernment would be a healthier option.

    I have a sword made of metal, with a driftwood and silver handle which is a replica of an Asian Warrior weapon. The teaching is that it is both a mirror and a blade.
    You need to use the metal surface as a mirror first to see if you contain that which you're battling. If not, and only if not, can you then attack the external enemy.

  2. Reference the James Ray retreat

    I only heard about this incident earlier in the week and like many people I simply thought - why?

    Spiritual awareness and Spiritual maturity, I believe cannot be forced. The greatest of Spiritual experiences can be had in the simplest things and in the most extreme things.

    It really has nothing to do with, I believe, what we're doing, whether pampering ourselves or whipping ourselves but with allowing ourselves to be open and still enough to tune into divinity. Many of the greatest people who have walked this planet tell us that in essence we are pure, perfect & complete. We are made in the image of God. Where does it say we must whip ourselves to the extreme to realise God?

    I hope that the era in humanity where we think that "there is no gain without pain" is coming to an end and perhaps these tragic deaths on this retreat are a reminder to us all to help hasten that process. As the author Richard Bach said in his book "Illusions" - "In the path of our happiness shall we find the learning for which we have chosen this lifetime"

    May Your day be Full of Joy and May You Realise God!
    Sean M Kelly

  3. Interesting read. I discovered the coined phrase "spiritual materialism" that refers to the power of positive thinking, visualization and imaging techniques used to service the ego's desires.

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