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Everything posted by ram

  1. 'Who's That Knocking on the Door? A Buddhist's Guide to Evangelical Christianity' by Ven. S. Dhammika Ven. Shravasti Dhammika, an Australian Buddhist monk, is a regular contributor to newspapers and journals with perceptive observations on matters related to Buddhism, Buddhist culture and Buddhist practice. He is a distinguished lecturer who has spoken on Buddhism and Asian religions in universities and on television and radio in Australia and throughout Asia. He is widely known for his thought provoking analysis on a number of issues. Ven Dhammika is the author of many popular books on Buddhism. Ven. Dhammika's latest work is entitled ' Who's That Knocking on the Door? A Buddhist's Guide to Evangelical Christianity' The Buddhist Times (Vol. 2 No. 8 Unduvap 2546 - December 2003 issue) has published an extract from the forthcoming book Who's That Knocking on the Door? A Buddhist's Guide to Evangelical Christianity: "About six months ago there was a knock on my door and I opened it to find two evangelical Christians there. I knew they were evangelicals because they had that fake friendly smile on their faces, which all evangelicals have when they are trying to convert someone. This was the third time that month those evangelists had come knocking on my door and disturbing me so I decided to teach them a lesson. 'Good morning' they said. 'Good morning' I replied. 'Have you heard about the Lord Jesus Christ?` they asked. 'I know something about him but I am a Buddhist and I'm not really interested in knowing more' I said. But like all evangelists, they took no notice of my wishes and proceeded to talk about their beliefs. So I said, 'I don't think you are qualified to speak to me about Jesus'. They looked very astonished and asked, 'Why not'? 'Because', I said, 'you have no faith'. 'Our faith in Jesus is as strong as a rock' they insisted. 'I don't think it is' I said with a smile. 'Please open your Bible and read the Gospel of Mark, chapter 16, verse 16, 17 and 18' I said and while they flicked through their Bibles I went quickly inside and came out again. One of them found the passage and I asked him to read it out loud. It said, 'He who believes and is baptized will be saved but he who does not believe shall be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe in my name. They shall cast out devils, they shall speak in tongues, they will handle snakes and if they drink poison it will not hurt them and they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover'. When he finished I said, 'In that passage Jesus says that if you have real faith you will be able to drink poison and not die'. I took a bottle of Lankem from behind my back, held it up and said, 'Here is some poison. Demonstrate to me the strength of your faith and I will listen to anything you have to say about Jesus'. You should have seen the looks on their faces! They didn't know what to say. 'What's the problem'? I asked. 'Is your faith not strong enough'? They hesitated for a few moments and then one of them replied, 'The Bible also says that we must not test God'. 'I'm not testing God', I said, 'I'm testing you. You love to witness for Jesus and now is your big opportunity'. Finally one of them said, 'We will go and speak to our pastor about this matter and come back and see you'. 'Ill be waiting for you' I said as they scurried away. Of course they never came back again. Here is a bit of advice. Keep a copy of this Bible reference and a bottle of Lankem ready and every time the evangelists come to your door to harass you give them this test. You might like to have a polanga ready as well. Evangelical Christians are often predicting that the world is going to end very soon and Jesus is going to come again. When I was 18, I remember very distinctly that the Jehovah's Witnesses came to our house and told me that the world was going to end in 1975. If you find any old Watch Tower or Awake magazines from that period you will see many articles about the world ending in 1975. Of course they were wrong, just as they were wrong when they predicted that the world was going to end in 1895 and again in 1914. In the 1990's many churches were claiming that the world was going to end in 2000. Some naive and impressionable people were frightened enough to believe this nonsense and converted to Christianity. In 1991 I was working in a particular place and at every lunchtime, I would go to the restaurant on the ground floor. One day I met three young men who told me that they were doing part time work for a man on the 5th floor. One day as we sat having lunch together the subject got on to religion and they told me that their boss believed that the world was going to end in 2000. One of them was obviously a little frightened by this possibility and asked me what I thought about it. 'It is complete nonsense' I said. 'I don't believe it and I guarantee that your boss doesn't really believe it either.' 'Oh but he does' the three boys said. They told me that he had books on the subject and he had showed them passages in the Bible proving that the world was going to end in nine years. 'I tell you, your boss doesn't really believe that', I said. 'Do you mind if we tell him that' they said and I told them that I didn't mind. The next day the man together with the three boys came to see me. We had a friendly chat about Christianity and then we got onto the subject of the end of the world. The man insisted that the Bible clearly predicted that the world was going to end and that he had utter faith in the Bible. I laughed at him. 'You Christians are so confused and lacking in awareness that you don't know what you believe' I said. 'You have no right to doubt the depth of my faith' the man said, now a little annoyed. I said, 'I can prove that you don't really believe the end of the world and Jesus' return'. 'Prove it then'! he challenged. The three boys were now listening to our discussion very intently. 'Alright'! I said. 'Do you believe that the world is going to come to a complete end in the year 2000'? 'Absolutely'! said the man. 'The Bible predicts it and I believe it will happen'. 'Okay' I said. 'I have a friend who is a lawyer. I will ask him to come here tomorrow and you and I will draw up a proper legally binding contract in which you will agree to give me all your property - your house, your business and all your assets - in the year 2001. Do you agree to do that'? The man was flabbergasted. He didn't know what to say. 'Come on', I said. 'If you are right, and you insist you are, in 2001 I will be in hell and you will be in heaven with Jesus where you wont need all your worldly goods'. 'This is just silly' said the man now very flustered. Now one of the boys joined in. 'It does not seem silly to me. It seems like a good chance for you to prove you beliefs'. 'I agree' I said. 'Now is your big chance to demonstrate how genuine you are and how strong your faith is. These boys might be so impressed that they might become Christians. Put your faith where your mouth is'. The man became very angry, got up and walked away. The three boys were smiling and the one who had been a little frightened about the end of the world was smiling the most.
  2. hare krishna. this device will tell you where you are heading in this life. before you start you need a timer with you. a simple wrist watch with seconds needle, computer clock or any thing would do. ready ? just believe this. you will die in the next 60 seconds. turn the timer on turn the timer off. what did you think of ? what were you conscious about ? what did you do ? write it down. this tells you where you are headed in this life at this moment. you can decide where you want to go using the guidance of the sastras.
  3. the lord says that one should ONLY worship him, vasudeva, the Self of all, the supreme brahman, the supreme controller, regulator, who beyond mind and words, who is undersood through the sastras, who is an embodiment of bliss, who incarnated in the house of vasudeva by manipulating his own maya. the lord also says that he is essence of all vedas is vasudeva, the lord who appeared as the son of vasudeva. also, he shows that one need not worship indra when one is worshipping him, vishnu. that he is the god of devatas. it is obvious that there can be but only one god. if there are multiple gods as in pantheism, then arises the confusion of whose will shall be done. the lord also says that i am only to be worshipped not the "demi gods", who are his servants. but there are different "demigods" like shiva, karthikeya, indra, rahu, ketu, varuna, candra etc. in different upanishadic texts they are all glorified as supreme brahman. vaishnava interpretation is to say that the supreme lord vasudeva is glorified in all these texts. it is supported by the statement of the sastras that the vedas, itihasas and puranas glorify only the supreme lord hari. that shiva etc., came from narayana. so to worship shiva etc. considering them supreme is considered to be demigod worship by the vaishnavas where as the worship of them as devotees of the lord who can bestow devotion to the lord by his mercy is considered acceptable. but as guru is an embodiment of the demigods, the vaishnavas dont find the need to worship the demigods as they worship the guru and krishna. by worshipping krishna all the demigods are also satisfied because he is their dear lord too. by worshipping the guru, krishna is satisifed. is there a problem with this most satisfying explanation ? on that later.
  4. Could any one please confirm if this is by Sankara. If it is by Sankara, in which work does it occur ? 1. Adbhyo vA esa prAtar udety pah sAyam pravisati (this is a quote from aitareya brahmana that sankara interprets in his bhashya. the question is which bhashya does it occur in.) 2. eka eva visaddhatma tasyAvidyayAparichinnasya tasyAm pratibimbitasya vA nAnAtmatvam
  5. all the traditional schools of vedanta accept the gita as devoid of interpolation. the original manuscripts have been protected through rewriting in different identical rescensions in different traditional schools.
  6. hinduism is a term for sanatana dharma or eternal principles. these eternal principles are metaphysical facts that apply to every one. for example, laws of state or phsyical laws apply to every body. in that sense every one is a "hindu". but we are beyond beyond bodily identities and are actually the spirit soul, servant of god, Krishna, the Self of all, . we can study the vedic literatures to understand the details or perform devotional service. one simple technique is to chant hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare. if you focus on the sound vibration and sincerely pray to the supreme lord of all you will get better understanding.
  7. ram

    New to Hinduism

    hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare "water water every where not a drop to drink" if you keep repeating water, water, it will not qunech the thirst. but if we chant krishna krishna, the lord will manifest. this is the difference between mundane sounds and spiritual sound.
  8. after reading this my respect for bhaktivinoda has increased. how can jesus be the only way ? what happened to people before his advent and who never heard of him ? i used to think that the gaudiya acharyas equate chrisitianity to vedic dharma for evangelistic purposes. i am glad to know that they smash it so well as most advaita acharyas do. truth knows no diplomacy.
  9. hi, have you reached a conclusion ? scholars have not.
  10. anveshanam, i would think it is 6 numerologically as most numerological software/calculations use this calendar. this also seemed to match my estimate. but if you have a well laid out horscope that should be used for serious predictions. does your current door number add to 5, a number like 113 ? of course, if you have letters like B in your door number it is all the more complicated for you to convert it to its numerlogical equivalent.
  11. anveshan, is the sum of your birth date = 6/7 ? you may choose to answer or not.
  12. hello guest, please take on a user name so that i dont have to deal with anonymous writers. the concept of aryan race started in the 19th century and was started by the british. the word arya means a civilized individual. the word dravida refers to a place. that is all. there is no basis for aryan invasion theory except in the figment of one's imagination.
  13. there is a saying in tamil : vidiya vidiya ramayanam kettuttu sedhaikku raman chitappannaanaam. the point here is that there is no such race as aryan.
  14. hey - i dont think you are a christian missionary jst because you posted an article. you can see that from my response to rghu. and my counter to the article is just to expose its shalowness.
  15. i trust that there is no ulterior motive for you richard. in any case, mundane truth is subject to test of logic. we can definitely discuss logically and based on facts inspite of our own motives - known and latent. i refuted all the points through hard facts but unfortunately, the messages are lost.
  16. genetic basis of race itself is highly questionable. Physical features like skin colour and hair type are unreliable guides to a person's genetic ancestry, according to a major study that further undermines the popular concept of 'race'. Brazilian researchers at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Rio Grande do Sul and colleagues at Portugal's University of Porto based their results on DNA tests conducted on individuals in two groups of people. The research was an attempt to establish if, by studying particular physical characteristics normally associated with 'race', if it was possible to determine the genetic background of a person. The results appear in today's issue of the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr Sergio Pena and colleagues used a set of genetic markers to test how closely physical 'race-determining' traits correlated with ancestry in Brazil. They chose Brazil as their target population because the country has a long history of inter-ethnic mixing between European, African and Native American lineages. The group isolated three samples of populations considered representative of the major founding groups of Brazil: Portugal, Africa and Native Americans. "We wanted to ascertain to what degree the colour of a Brazilian individual was predictive of the degree of genomic African ancestry," Pena wrote. The first test group consisted of 173 people living in a rural community who were classified as 'white', 'black' or 'intermediate' based on arm skin pigmentation, hair colour and nose and lip shape. The second consisted of 200 men living in major metropolitan areas of Brazil who classed themselves as 'white', or Caucasian. The researchers used a genetic marker that distinguishes between people from Portugal and those from Africa. The number of times the African marker appeared was reflected in an African Ancestry Index (AAI) for each person. These AAI values can reliably distinguish between Europeans and Africans. People who looked 'black' might have expected to score a higher AAI. But in the populations tested, there was little difference in AAI values between groups - whether they were initially classed as black, white or intermediate. The self-nominated 'white' urban men tested in the second group also showed AAI values halfway between Europeans and Africans. "It is interesting to note that the group of individuals classified as blacks had a very high proportion of non-African ancestry (48 per cent)," the authors said. "The intermediate group, with 45 per cent African ancestry, was closer to the black group than to the white one." The concept of race - classifying humans into different groups based on physical characteristics that indicate a lineage or 'breed' - has been around for centuries, but has no basis in science, the scientists said. The new study further supports this view, and for the first time quantifies it. Dr Robert Attenborough of the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at Canberra's Australian National University - who has studied the historical and genetic basis behind race - agreed. It was an old and now discredited concept in science that was based on flawed evidence and personal prejudice, he said. "Race is many things to many people, and amongst other things it is a former scientific concept, that on the whole is not found to be much use in science these days," he told ABC Science Online. Despite this, the way people look strongly affects how others respond to them and what 'race' they are considered part of, the Brazilian and Portuguese scientists said. Their study shows that, in Brazil at least, looks are a highly inaccurate way to determine a person's genetic ancestry. Attenborough said that the study differs from previous work because - rather than looking at a whole population - it analyses the data at the level of individual people. It is much easier to find patterns in genetic traits when looking at whole populations. "There are differences between groups of people, but it is much harder to find clear cut distinctions," said Attenborough. "Nobody disputes that - biologically - individual human beings differ, and if you put together groups with a similar origin, then there will be average differences between groups with one origin and groups with another origin."
  17. ram


    there are so many people who throw prabhupada's books in to the garbage can. they think it is better to be a materialist than to follow this form of artificial repression. this does not make prabhupada's works useless. they are just not intelligent enough. if one does not understand sankara's writings, then the fault is not sankara's. i am sure that paul and vaishnava dasa would do well to learn how to respect a great tradition such as that of sankara's. there have been great devotees and acharyas in sankara's line. as you know caitanya mahaprabhu himself took initiation in sankara line and treated the sankartie sannyasins with great respect. this should teach you a lesson or two. even srila prabhupada says that you should be thankful to different acharyas like sanakara for their important teachings. he uses sanakaracharya's authority also to establish the supremacy of lord krishna. i myself was convinced of krishna's supremacy by a quote from sankara given to me by a staunch hare krishna.
  18. As jndas prabhu put it, even if it is not the same bridge that rama built it should be named after him. i have a few questions : 1. how do we know it is a picture taken by NASA ? there are many studio edited pictures to prove a point. while these make a good initial impression, they create cynicism over time. 2. how do we know it is a bridge ? 3. how does this compare with the dating of treata yuga ? i was under the impression that the end of treta yuga was atleast 2989000 years ago. also we have to see when in treta yuga rama appeared.
  19. i held the stand that as per sankara brahman is not only attributeless but also full of attributes. shvu has quoted from upadesa sahasri that this stand is denied by sankara. so i have to agree, at this point of time, that as per sankara brahman is nirguna or attbituless. that which is attributeless is obviously impersonal. therefore shvu, karthik and your good self win this round of debate in your understanding that sankara's stand is purely impersonal. i am not able to reconcile with the personalistic statements in the acharyas works in his songs and gita bhashya. on those counts i dont find satisfactory explanation. i may restart the debate after i read upadesa sahasri etc if i find anything in it contradictory to what we concluded now.
  20. in my opinion a debate or discussion should conclude or else it does not benefit the speakers or the listeners. shvu made a good point when he said that sankara refuted the notion of brahman with attributes as absolute/eternal even though this is the conclusion that even great practising advaitins like swami sivanand have drawn. i am not convinced by the explanations that the poems speak only figuratively. but unless we can come up with a truthful argument, there is no point in continuing the debate. as you know victory and defeat are but temporary. if after further study if i am convinced sankara's views were different, then i will come back. the problem in indiadivine forum is that discussions are not based on granthas - er. pusthakams.
  21. on the assumption that shvu's quote is correct, i have to concede defeat in this round. as i started this debate, i would like to close it. but the explanation for poems and avyakto paro narayana are not satisfactory. until another round. can we close the debate for now ?
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