Road to Enlightenment: No sweat?
Those 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.
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.
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.
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.
If this spoke to you, here are five similar articles.
- Spiritual Surf: Catholics and Anglicans find common cause; The Year of the Pig
- The oldest meditation chamber in the west
- David Richo does Spirit Rock
- Spiritual Surf: Sex scandals, Episcopalians, Anglicans, Vatican visitations, ashrams, Saudi dirty talk, and Madonna
- Spiritual Surf: Episcopalians and Catholics on Twitter and Facebook, E-consciousness, Roger Ebert on reincarnation, Julia Roberts in India and Madonna in Poland