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Re: Overwhelmed by Hindu thought - formerbuddhist - 01-20-2012

Interesting that you were at Wat Metta. Of all the Western Buddhist teachers I came across I also had a great respect for Thanissaro Bhikkhu. He is quite rigorous as a scholar from what I can tell and you are right, he really tries to adhere to the teachings as the Buddha taught them as much as one possibly can. You are also right about many of these people falling into Buddhism due to the void within the Church. What is interesting is that whether it is with men like the late Ajahn Chah or Thanisarro Bhikkhu what draws people to them is that they are deadly serious about what they believe. People can see through fakery right away which is why so many have left the Church in the wake of Vatican II. I too had a pretty intense involvment with it but was drawn away. I could never really not believe in God and I realized that God could not be part of the equation in Buddhism, especially Buddhism as it was presented by many in the West. I guess it took a lot of grace to get from there to here but I guess the Lord works in mysterious ways. Interesting that I find a fellow "Thai Forest Tradition" guy in a traditionalist Catholic forum. My prayers are with you and I would ask that you pray for me as well.


Re: Overwhelmed by Hindu thought - Scriptorium - 01-20-2012

I couldn't get over rebirth, and deep down God. I couldn't admit the God part at the time, because I was locked into the idea that God and Christianity were bad through all my reading. But Christ is too much of a figure to ignore. Preannounced. True healer. Fulfillment of his spiritual teaching through death (seen as a stumbling block to other teachers). Risen from the dead. Essential to the faith, i.e., our Faith is about a relationship with Him, not his teachings. Moses, Buddha, Mohammed, etc. were just "prophets". Jesus said He was a prophet and much more. I couldn't get over the I AM of Jesus. And I don't regret my decision one bit. Every day I am confirmed in it, and thank God for that. Even when I study Buddhism now, I think how much more wisdom could be gained from it (the acceptable parts) if a Thomas Aquinas could handle it. The teaching on causality and conditionality in itself can blow your mind. But it is missing its foundation. It takes for granted that we want happiness, but never explains why. Christianity and our Lord answer that question clearly. I will pray for you. And I am consoled by your prayers. Let's prayer for our former brethren, many of which are lapsed Catholics, that they may see the true light which enlightens all men and that He may awaken them as He did his friend Lazarus!


Re: Overwhelmed by Hindu thought - Marc - 01-22-2012

Since people here seem to like "catechisms," I would recommend Dancing with Siva: Hinduism's Contemporary Catechism (Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami) or Am I A Hindu? The Hinduism Primer (Ed Viswanathan), the latter is in simple question & answer format; Louis Renou's Hinduism covers the very basics; a more scholarly introduction to both religions can be found in volume one of the classic Sources of Indian Tradition (ed. Ainslie T. Embree).

As for apologetics, Ravi Zacharias has some material -- Jesus Among Other Gods and The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus Talks with Buddha -- although I've never been very impressed with his work. These kind of efforts are always overrated. I left Shaktism when I came to believe Jesus was who he said he was and that the gospels were trustworthy; intellectual difficulties or discontent with Hinduism played no role whatsoever in my conversion.


Re: Overwhelmed by Hindu thought - Marc - 01-22-2012

Regarding Buddhism (about which I know comparatively less): Entering the Stream (ed. Samuel Bercholz & Sherab Chdozin Kohn), the companion reader to the film Little Buddha, is a pretty good introduction.


Re: Overwhelmed by Hindu thought - SimplyCatholic - 01-22-2012

I was raised Hindu, in the "brahmin" caste, which basically means "priestly."  Just reading some of the descriptions of their beliefs, as well as those of Buddhists, in this thread has made me shudder all over again.  Both of these religions, but especially Hinduism, in my opinion, inculcates so chilling and so pervasive a nihilism as to stop your heart.  I was very sensitive to the ultimate meaning of this religion (and very eager to fly from it), so I can sympathize with your being "overwhelmed" by it. 

I'm sorry I can't recommend any books specifically refuting it, but what I would recommend is just filling yourself with its negation:  read the City of God, the Catechism, the Gospels, the Summa, etc.  Most of all, I strongly recommend intensifying your prayer life to strengthen you for what you have to stick your head in as a student.  Like, pray a few more decades of the rosary, do some (Catholic) meditation, and just try to work in more prayers, even short ones, throughout your day

You might also try looking up the writings of St. Francis Xavier, and other missionaries to India and Asia.  Or even contacting the (traditional) churches in that area, to see if they can direct you to good refutations.  I know the SSPX has chapels and missions in those areas.  Here is their website, www.sspxasia.com, and the email address to one of their priories, sspxindia@gmail.com. 

If you do come up with a good refutation of your own, please post it.  I'd love to see it, and I'm sure it would benefit us all. 


Re: Overwhelmed by Hindu thought - newyorkcatholic - 01-23-2012

(01-22-2012, 12:47 PM)SimplyCatholic Wrote: Or even contacting the (traditional) churches in that area, to see if they can direct you to good refutations.  I know the SSPX has chapels and missions in those areas.  Here is their website, www.sspxasia.com, and the email address to one of their priories, sspxindia@gmail.com. 

Yes, for this purpose its even more important than usual to seek traditional churches in India.  Elsewhere in India syncretism/indifferentism pervades the thinking of Catholics.


Re: Overwhelmed by Hindu thought - denise - 01-23-2012

I would strongly recommend Fr. Seraphim Rose's book "Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future."  The late Father Rose was an Orthodox priest who lived in California during the 50's and 60's when eastern religions were just beginning to spread.  The book contains some interesting chapters on Hinduism and other eastern imports.

Be advised however, he is Orthodox and doesn't shy away from highlighting distinctions between Orthodoxy and Catholicism.  He also detests the charismatic movement wherever it appears.

A very interesting read.


Re: Overwhelmed by Hindu thought - SimplyCatholic - 01-24-2012

(01-23-2012, 01:20 PM)newyorkcatholic Wrote: Elsewhere in India syncretism/indifferentism pervades the thinking of Catholics.

So true, and not just in India.  Since the cultural revolutions of the 1960s, this characteristic of Eastern religions has gained wide acceptance in the West, too.  I remember as a little girl being taught that one must "accept" all religions.  Judging from what I remember and what many in this thread have described, Hinduism is very much an "a la carte" religion: take what you want, leave the rest, and add what you will.  Even in school, we learned that many Asians believe in many religions at once, especially in China.  (Though I don't remember if that was before or after the advent of Communism.)  Syncretism seems to be very common in the East. 

And now political correctness has made it chic in the West.  But for those of us trying to be true to the perennial teaching of the Church, it does help to see explicit examinations and refutations of opposing beliefs--especially when bombarded with them.  Unfortunately, no one seems to be publishing them these days.  Go figure. 


Re: Overwhelmed by Hindu thought - Scriptorium - 01-24-2012

(01-24-2012, 04:33 PM)SimplyCatholic Wrote: Syncretism seems to be very common in the East. 

It goes back to monism, and on a second tier, rebirth/reincarnation. If all things are one, then everything is the one, i.e., nothing is "outside", just not "enlightened". And with rebirth, any "good" path will get you a positive rebirth, so there is no real push to be exclusive. I heard that English is a god now. Judaic religion has always been exclusionary. The Jews were God's chosen people, not anyone else. And Jesus came for all men, but not all men are part of His Church. Judaic religions says there is a definite chasm between the Divine and man, but the East in general sees that chasm as an illusion to overcome, not reality. Now you can find exclusion in the East too, but I find this more a convenient power play instead of a religious doctrine. So the brahmins are the exclusive priests, but there is little in reality to support that in their theology. At least our theology says that all men are equally not divine, and some are given a raised status.


Re: Overwhelmed by Hindu thought - SimplyCatholic - 01-24-2012

(01-24-2012, 10:53 PM)Scriptorium Wrote: I heard that English is a god now.

LOL.  It had to happen sooner or later.

You make a good point about monism, though, I hadn't really thought of it that way before.  Monism is a nightmarish notion, and I know I was bombarded with it so incessantly that it really did a number on me.  But on the other hand, Eastern societies are so rigidly caste-oriented (I don't want to say "hierarchical" because it isn't justified the same way as in the West--even the ancient West) when it comes to actual dealings with other human beings.  Monistic or not, the brahmins absolutely bristle when you "encroach" upon their imaginary prerogatives.  The "exclusionary" or dualistic aspect of Christianity is, of course, just a recognition of reality, and of giving God His due.  But it also gives us our due, in a sense, by recognizing each soul as an individual, and making real Communion with God possible.  Of course, charity is impossible otherwise.  No self, no distinct persons means no love.  This aspect of "nirvana" or self-annihilation in Eastern religions has always been particularly disturbing to me.  The core, the meaning and the end of the Western and Eastern religions, and the value systems to which they give rise, could not be more at odds.