Saturday, March 1, 2008

At once liberated and broken-hearted

There is an interesting article at The Christian Century written by Gordon Atkinson, author of the blog Real Live Preacher, which includes the following depiction:
I disconnected from the Christian story somewhat and floated gently above our ship, though my father's tether would not let me float too far away. Rather than living within our story, I watched it from above, a floating wraith, only half present to the faith, at once liberated and broken-hearted. I was the Joseph Campbell of Christianity, in love with the story but outside of it.

from "Tethered to Christianity"

Yet many of us did float away. I think this fits well with the concept of wandering spirits. Many of them found their way to Buddhism, but what does the Buddha offer? That is, what might be the result of being nurtured by the Dharma? Can true healing and a deeper spiritual realization/commitment occur if there are unresolved issues with our former tradition(s)? Is the goal of Buddhism to perpetuate itself as a religious/cultural system or to help people overcome their attachments and unhealthy views in order to be liberated from suffering? What does someone who benefits from and has successfully incorporated the benefits of Buddhism into her or his life look like? What particular form, if any, should their liturgy be? What should their spiritual practice look like? How, or to what, should they be tethered?

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