Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest

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So, Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. Ex At the same time, violence-oriented rituals invoke ritual killing of enemies including their livestock , as an act of worship; often performed on the basis of mythical battles against Israel's mortal enemies Eisen However, Biblical Judaism included also the nazirite rituals Num , which were personal peace-offering vows that an individual took to become 'holy unto the Lord'. Nazirism was preceded by additional rituals of purification which involved abstinence from alcohol, from cutting hair, from touching corpses and the avoidance of graveyards.

Nazirite rituals included the practice of sacrifices such as the olah [lamb as a burnt offering], the hatat [sheep as sin-offering] and the shelamim [ram as peace offering]. Contemporary Jewish rituals continue to express religious ambivalence. The peace-oriented rituals involve morning prayers shacharit , afternoon prayers mincha and evening prayers ma'ariv , or arvit , as well as Friday night and Saturday morning services.

The evening prayers include a particular peace invocation such as: 'Lay us down to sleep, Adonai, our God, in peace, raise us erect, our King, to life, and spread over us the shelter of your peace' Martin Regarding contemporary violence, as Robert Eisen writes, 'Judaism has inspired violence not just in religious Zionism, but in secular Zionism as well' p. The peaceful and the violent aspects of the Muslim rituals are linked with the centrality of Mecca, and with the question of leadership. Muslim worship takes several forms such as salat [ritual prayer], dhikr [contemplative prayer] and dua [prayer of praise or exhortation].

The ritual involves a prostration towards Kaba from Mecca, which is performed daily morning, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and evening , and it is practised at home or in the mosque. The Hajj culminates with a ritual called, 'stoning the devil' which denounces Satan's temptation of Abraham, and by extension, of the entire Muslim community. The importance of this ritual is significant as it promotes a dramatic release of frustration into a virtual scapegoat and not into a human being.

In Islam, rituals of violence are conducted prior and during military confrontations; mainly as acts of encouragement, and as forms of spiritual discipline designed to ensure that the battle is conducted for the benefit of Islam.


Ritual violence is directed against external enemies, as well as internally, as a devotional symbol. When directed against external enemies, Islam practises two chants for mobilisation, the shahada and Allahu Akbar [Allah is the Greatest]. The shahada - La ilaha il Allah, Muhammad-ur-Rasool-Allah ['there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet' - is a chant that prepares the crowd for a violent confrontation]. However, when the moment of attack is imminent, the Allahu Akbar chant is used.

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According to Islamic tradition, Allahu Akbar was prescribed by Prophet Muhammad to each mujahedeen [holy fighter] to ensure spiritual legitimacy when fighting 'on the path of Allah'. The pain imposed through self-flagellation has strong emotional consequences, explaining perhaps the ease of willingness to conduct jihad and martyrdom Bowker Ritual ambivalence in Orthodox Christianity. In Orthodox Christianity, the relationship between ritual and violence subscribes to the general configuration of religious ambivalence. The metaphorical representation of violence through symbols, rites, rituals and sacred art plays a significant role in the way Christianity understands itself.

Symbols of violence such as cross and blood were given opposite meanings through the power of ritual. While for Roman criminal justice the cross served as an effective tool to maximise pain and suffering, Paul took it to represent sacrifice, redemption and human salvation; and thus it became an object of veneration.

On the same token, the meaning of the blood that Jesus of Nazareth shed on the cross was redefined to represent the glory of salvation through the bloodshed of martyrdom. Defining Orthodox ritual. The ritual recreates a complex and symbolic world that parallels, mimics and even mocks the drama of the human condition. It replicates the deficiencies of human society by reaffirming idiosyncrasies such as social inclusion and exclusion, reward and punishment, and superiority and inferiority. The ambivalence of ritual is perhaps best represented by the Eucharist; the most significant ritual of Orthodox Christianity.

While, in an allegoric sense, the Eucharist is a 'cosmic liturgy' which includes and celebrates the entire creation - should one take Maximus the Confessor in a literal sense Urs von Balthasar - in reality, the physical participation in the epiclesis the summit moment when the priest invokes the blessing power of the Holy Spirit, and the bread and wine become the Eucharistic body and blood of Jesus Christ , remains the exclusive privilege of those who have been baptised, illuminated, anointed with the holy myrrh, hallowed and washed clean Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America ; therefore Orthodox.

This exclusiveness is further dramatised once the prospective candidates to Orthodoxy the catechumens have been asked to leave the church, the doors are closed behind them, then the liturgy continues to the epiclesis. In Orthodoxy, any liturgical act ought to echo the spiritual teachings of the Church, while also reminding the believers what moral conduct is expected of them.

The language has to be carefully selected in order to accurately reflect and even impose the dogmatic teachings. A theologumena , or a theological opinion which does not contradict any dogma, has to be crafted in such a way as to modify the innermost spiritual universe of the believer and align it with the official standards. In other words, a theologumena represents the negotiation zone between truth and heresy, which only the emotional stir of the ritual can fully control.

The subject of worship is man , and the object is God. As such, man's worship is supreme and relative. The social structure replicated by the ritual is exclusively hierarchical. The public control of ritual is the exclusive privilege of the clergy. The Orthodox clergy follow a very clear hierarchy which has specific ranks and specific duties. As for laity, their public role in the ritual is limited to various chores, such as ushers, grave diggers, bell ringers and others, as needed by the community.

The gender ambivalence of ritual is revealed by the dichotomy between contents and performance. Their privilege of ordination is simply denied. In the Orthodox understanding time is Christ-centred, and it is organised in line with the narrative of salvation. Within each ritual, time is not only confined to reflect a specific history - bracketed by the beginning and the end - as it also operates with the concept of eternity.

In the Eucharist the anamnesis [or remembrance] which precedes the epiclesis of the Eucharist, time is no longer limited to a beginning and an end as it becomes an expression of eternity and everlasting life. Therefore, during the Eucharistic moment human history and eternity overlap. As a longitudinal sequence of events, time is organised in line with the saga of salvation, and the liturgical calendar is organised in line with Christ's role of prophet, priest and king.

Instead, it became associated with the feminine self-understanding of the Church bride of Christ , by being flanked by Virgin Mary's nativity at the beginning September 8 and her dormition at the end August Liturgical time also involves time set aside for personal devotion of the believer. Aiming toward the forgiveness of sins and the eternal life, the Orthodox devotion includes periods of time dedicated for spiritual exercise to be practised in the form of thought control and physical abstinence.

The Three Individuals

As an exercise of devotion, the Orthodox ritual focuses primarily on the individual and less on the group. Guilt, which can only be expiated through acts of sacrifice, gave rise to extreme forms of manifestation culminating with martyrdom. As physical needs often pose grave dilemmas in one's struggle for spiritual ascent, the act of devotion itself came to be interpreted as a form of spiritual warfare, particularly by the desert fathers and the philokalic tradition in general. Focused on the concept of spiritual warfare , whereby a war ought to be declared against human passions and negative thoughts which undermine one's salvation Scupoli , the manifestation of such spiritual warfare took the form of severe asceticism and self-mortification.

For instance, an Egyptian spiritual narrative tells how Saint Dorotheus Theban Ascetic practised his devotion:.

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All day long in the burning heat he would collect stones in the desert by the sea and build with them continually and make cells, and then he would retire in favor of those who could not build for themselves. Each year he completed one cell.

The Buddha was bald

And once when I said to him: 'What do you mean, father, at your great age by trying to kill your poor body in these heats? But he would sit up all night long and weave ropes of palm-leaves to provide himself with food. MacDermot The harsh treatment of one's own body was performed because it was the body that caused the spiritual failure of the monk.

For a monk, this failure was similar to that of the lapsi from the Early Church, who, out of fear of pain, have abandoned the faith during persecutions and sacrificed to the Roman gods.

The extreme forms of self-mortification and self-punishment were often debated by the spiritual elders, particularly as Paul considered the human body to be the temple of the Holy Spirit 1 Cor Justification of war. On account of its spiritual infallibility, the Orthodox Church has never adopted a Just War theory Simion While local Orthodox Churches defended the morality of wars conducted in self-defence, offered rituals of blessing weapons and military symbols, and even adopted the language of the Just War theory, the Orthodox Church has never justified war at a pan-Orthodox level.

The Church of Christ, which understands war as essentially the result of evil and sin in the world, supports all initiatives and efforts to prevent or avert it through dialogue and every other viable means. When war becomes inevitable, the Church continues to pray and care in a pastoral manner for her children who are involved in military conflict for the sake of defending their life and freedom, while making every effort to bring about the swift restoration of peace and freedom.

During war, the Orthodox Church prayed for peace, and also warned its members not to kill, for killing in war was still murder. For instance, Canon 13 of Basil the Great stated that any soldier who killed on the battlefield was to be deprived from receiving communion for 3 years Mantzaridis With martyrdom as the ideal way of embracing the paradise, the attitude was simply reduced to the logic that it is better to be killed than to kill, and it challenged the moral authority of erratic sovereigns.

In fact, immortality and paradisiacal life can only be attained via two exclusive paths' - martyrdom or pious life - criteria used to recognise sainthood. In the contemporary context, the collective Orthodox thinking favours an obvious sense of ambivalence. For instance, while the Russian Orthodox Church blesses weapons of mass destruction as a show of aggression of the Russian state Simion , the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt not only failed to retaliate against the ritual beheading 5 of the 21 Egyptian Orthodox men by ISIL in Tunisia in , but it canonised the victims as martyrs Arocho and continued to send messages of forgiveness to their killers.

Ritual and the military. During the late 6th century, the Byzantine military manuals started to include specific guidelines for religious rituals to be performed in the military camps before and during battle. The rituals included blessings of soldiers, blessings of flags and liturgies, as well as rituals of religious burials for the fallen warriors.

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In preparation for the battle, the generals had the duty to ensure that the proper rituals had been conducted in order for God to grant victory with minimum casualties. Taktika of Leo VI prescribes the following ritual:. O general, before all else, we enjoin upon you that on the day of the battle your army should be free from sin. The night before, the priests are to offer fervent prayers of intercession.

Everyone should be sanctified and so, by words and deeds, they should be convinced that they have the help of God Taktika, Stoyanov According to the same source, the flags and other military symbols needed a particular attention within ritual:. A day or two before the combat, the tourmarchs should see that the standards are blessed by the priests and then present them to the standard-bearers of the tagmata Taktica, In preparation for the battle Maurice's Strategikon prescribed:.

Whether the bandon or tagma is in service with the rest of the army or is camping someplace by itself, the 'Trisagion' must be sang, and the other customary practices observed, early in the morning before any other duty and again in the evening after supper and the dismissal Strategikon, 7. During the battle, the same source prescribed:. All, led by the priests, the general, and the other officers, should recite the 'Kyrie eleison' Lord have mercy for some time in unison. Then, in hopes of success, each meros should shout 'Nobiscum Deus' God is with us three times as it marches out of camp Strategikon, 2.

Leo VI also specified how those fallen in the battle should be treated:. Although the Theravada holds that anybody can be a Bodhisattva, it does not stipulate or insist that all must be Bodhisattva which is considered not practical. The decision is left to the individual whether to take the Path of the Sravaka or of the Pratyekabuddha or of the Samyaksambuddha. But it is always clearly explained that the state of a Samyaksambuddha is superior and that the other two are inferior.

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Yet they are not disregarded. In the 12th Century AD. Thus it was believed that kings of Sri Lanka were Bodhisattvas. We come across at the end of some palm leaf manuscripts of Buddhist texts in Sri Lanka the names of even a few copyists who have recorded their wish to become Buddhas, and they too are to be considered as Bodhisattvas. At the end of a religious ceremony or an act of piety, the bhikkhu who gives benedictions, usually admonishes the congregation to make a resolution to attain Nirvana by realising one of the three Bodhis — Sravakabodhi, Pratyekabodhi or Samyaksambodhi — as they wish according to their capacity.

There are many Buddhists, both bhikkhus and laymen, in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia which are regarded as Theravada countries, who take the vow or resolution to become Buddhas to save others. They are indeed Bodhisattvas at different levels of development. Thus one may see that in Theravada countries all are not Sravakas.

There are Bodhisattvas as well. There is a significant difference between the Theravada and the Mahayana with regard to the Bodhisattva ideal.

Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest
Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest
Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest
Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest
Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest
Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest
Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest
Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest
Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest

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