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Zen and Religions

by Fr. AMA Samy, December 2015

Spiritualities, particularly New Age ones, are sprouting everywhere while traditional religions are in decline and are losing members. These spiritualities usually are guru-centred and they promise health, wealth and spiritual powers, and thus are alluring and flattering. If the spiritualities are rooted in the great religions and draw their sources from them, they are reliable and liberating. The great religions are pillars of spirit and of society, even if they are challenging and demanding, and even though they seem to be routine and stale. Without peace between world-religions, there cannot be peace in the world. Yet religions also have a darker side. They become destructive when they are identified with the social or political realms, particularly when they claim ethnic identities. ...

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Problems in Zen and Buddhism

by Fr. AMA Samy, November 2015

Buddhism and Zen are great. Zen is rooted in Buddhism and yet in a sense it transcends Buddhism. Zen is deep and broad, human and transcendent, beautiful and dynamic.Yet Buddhism and Zen have many problems, particularly with how they are taught and practiced. I will point to some of the problems and also to those of the New Age Spiritualities which have their source in Buddhism and Advaita, Zen and Vipassana. Almost all these are focused on the self. They talk about the so-called self, but it is primarily about oneself, myself. They are thus self-centred, one could say, they are narcissistic. They talk about Pure Consciousness, Spiritual Self, Eternal Self, No-Self, Universal Mind, Radiant Mind, Self as Atman/Brahman, and so on, and on, endlessly. It is in the popular jargon of ‘I’m OK, you’re Ok’. However, they are not concerned with the second part of ‘You’re OK’ ....

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Every Day is a Good Day!

by Fr. AMA Samy, June 2014

Unmon giving instruction said, "I don't ask you about before the fifteenth day; bring me a phrase about after the fifteenth day." Unmon himself answered in the monks' stead, "Every day is a good day."

The koan’s kernel is the phrase ‘Every day is a good day’. The word ‘good’ refers not to the ordinary meaning of good. It refers rather to the transcendent dimension, to the realm of Emptiness that is mystery, mystery that is graciousness. But we have to face the night of horrors of hell and of nihilism before we are able to enter the mystery that is graciousness.

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Is God dead?

by Fr. AMA Samy, May 2013

Jesus said, “It is written: ‘One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Mt. 4:4). Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Viktor Frankl, the concentration‐camp survivor, proposed the will‐to‐meaning as more vital than those of pleasure or of power. All these point to the need of meaning for human living. Meaning is the food of the soul. Religions and spiritualities are supposed to offer us worlds of meaning and value. However, in the modern situation organized religions, including Buddhism, have lost their vital meaning to most of the people. Nowadays there is talk of ‘belonging without believing’ or ‘believing without belonging’...

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