God Loves Ice Cream~ January 21st.

Via Benjamin Riggs
on Jan 21, 2011
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It is so easy to get tangled up in ideas, philosophies, and ideologies… And forget to breathe!

Some say The Son of God was born a virgin birth and died on the cross for our sins. Others protest that this suspends the laws of causality and reason. There are also those who believe that we are born, grow old, and die… Then repeat process. Then there are those who believe that death is the final curtain call.

Everybody believes something.

Belief which is not preceded by direct experience is nothing but a series of words! Words are lifeless, unless they point at truth.

The truly religious person isn’t concerned with words, but faith. That is the direct experience which precedes belief! Simply, the present moment.

In the words of Pamela August Russell:

Nietzsche And The Ice-Cream Truck

“God is dead.

But this atomic

berry blast Popsicle

is heavenly.”

~from “B Is For Bad Poetry” by Pamela August Russell.

Elephant 365 is an example of Elephant Journal’s commitment to the Mindful Life. Everyday we will offer a new reading regarding meditation practice and the spiritual path, all infused with a fresh perspective on traditional spirituality. If you would like to follow Elephant 365 on FaceBook click here and become a fan of Elephant Meditation by clicking the “Like” tab at the top of the page.


About Benjamin Riggs

Ben Riggs is the author of Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West. He is also the director of the Refuge Meditation Group in Shreveport, LA and a teacher at Explore Yoga. Ben writes extensively about Buddhist and Christian spirituality on Elephant Journal, and his blog. Click here to listen to the Finding God in the Body Podcast. To keep up with all of his work follow him on Facebook or Twitter.


6 Responses to “God Loves Ice Cream~ January 21st.”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bob Weisenberg and Ben Riggs, Red Fox. Red Fox said: God Loves Ice Cream~ January 21st. http://bit.ly/fE9k1n […]

  2. Lokken says:

    I love the Elephant journal!

  3. TamingAuthor says:

    Good to raise the interesting subject of experience versus belief. Many conversations on the topic get mangled quickly.

    Often we find those who lack experience use the assertion "that is only belief, there is no experience" to dismiss key aspects of the teachings. They assume their personal experience is the full extent of possible experience and from this view of limited experience they give their disbelief iconic status. The skeptic who does not know is then considered the wisest of them all. Not knowing is considered the pinnacle of knowledge.

    The master of this sleight-of-hand is Stephen Batchelor. His book, Buddhism Without Beliefs, has misdirected an entire generation of western Buddhists. A failed practitioner, booted out of the study by more than one teacher, Batchelor set out to memorialize his failure with a book. In essence, he started a "losers" club, which was easy to do as a significant number of westerners who do not want to do the hard work involved in Buddhism, but rather are accustomed to the easy platitudes of western materialist psychology that Batchelor extols.

    The Buddha teaches one should not accept his teachings on blind faith but rather one should pursue the practice with diligence and experience the awareness firsthand. So the Buddha, from day one, teaches Buddhism without beliefs. All that he teaches is based on his firsthand observation AND he promises that if the student is diligent he or she will also experience, firsthand, that which is taught.

    So why does Batchelor claim the Buddha is a liar and it is appropriate to dismiss portions of his lessons as "beliefs" one can redact or relegate to the "fantasy" bin? Why does he reinvent Buddhism to fit his materialistic bias and blindness? Ego. If he was unable to experience enlightenment, if he was booted out of the study (multiple times), this is a terrible blow to his identity. One preserves the identity by destroying the subject, pinning failure on the lessons rather than his inability to learn them.

    We see this same thing in yoga. The texts are redacted and central lessons are tossed in the "fantasy" bin, often with a literary flourish of calling the teachings "metaphor." Same problem at work. An echo of Batchelor. The same dynamics.

    Thus, we must enter the discussion of experience versus belief with humility and an expanded awareness of possibility. We need to honor the masters by not immediately dismissing their words solely because we have not walked the path.

    Very hot topic for discussion, Ben.

  4. Melanie says:

    By dissing Batchelor, no matter what the message, I think you are simply proving what Ben states in his writing. Let it go, brother.

  5. TamingAuthor says:

    Melanie, so it is okay for Batchelor to mislead people about the nature of Buddhism? It is okay to call something Buddhism when it contradicts the Buddha and implies he was a liar? You feel it is okay for Batchelor to disrespect the Buddha, but not okay for me to call him on it?

    Have I disrespected Batchelor? Or have I accurately described his work? Does my comment not take up the issue of experience versus belief in an accurate manner? Do you believe the Buddha did not experience that which he taught? Do you believe he just made things up, as Batchelor asserts?

    Are you defending the work of Batchelor? Can you elaborate? What is there about his analysis of the Buddha that you find accurate?

    In what way am I proving what Ben states? Not sure I track with your comment. My experience is that all the Buddha taught was accurate. Factually accurate and could be known by any diligent student. Do you doubt this is the case?

  6. […] NY Times piece gives this example: “The reason you don’t let your children eat five big tubs of ice cream is because you care about them. With self-compassion, if you care about yourself, you do what’s […]