tisdagen den 1:e april 2008

Discussion on the monism of Mazdayasna

Dear Ron

I'm glad we can agree to disagree. And I will be the first to admit that many Zoroastrians consider themselves not only ethical dualists but also dualists in the classic sense, believing that there is a soul separate from the body and a God separate from The World. I don't share these beliefs but have accepted that within a 3,700-year-old religion, such differences should not be surprising. Let's refer to this as a "Western-oriented" Zoroastrianism based on dualism and an "Eastern-oriented" Zoroastrianism based on monism. We can still work and live together and leave it to any newcomers to our faith to decide for themselves what they believe is true.

Just to avoid any unnecessary misunderstandings though, let me just clarify that there ARE indeed many differences between Hinduism and Zoroastrianism. However, first of all I was discussing Brahmanism and not Hinduism and the differences between Brahmanism and Zoroastrianism are far smaller compared to the differences between our religion and Hinduism. Second, there are also important differences between Brahmanism and Zoroastrianism, and this is precisely why I have chosen to be a Mazdayasni and not a Brahmanist or a Hindu. The whole concept of a "positive substance" to existence in itself, is an indeed old Spinzoists like myself abolutely LOVE about Mazdayasna and fully endorse. Iäm glad we can agree on the importance of this belief. It's indeed a belief that is rather alien to most Hinduistic thought.

What is most important is to stress, as our brother Parviz has repeatedly pointed out, is that Mazdayasna is the religion of "mind pre-occupation". We are concerned with, even obsessed with, The Mind and what The Mind can achieve. For good or bad, but The Mind is where we are at, and we are the only religion with this primary pre-occupation. This is why believeing in The Mind and its capacities is sacred to us and why this is more important to us than anything else. And minds do disagree, which they may as well do, which is fine as long as they agree on their mutual sanctity.

Ushta
Alexander

2008/4/1, ztheist <delavegal@bellsouth.net>:
- Dölj citerad text -
Ushta Alex
Its not my intention to get involved in a long dispute I grant your right to see what you choose to accept of Mazdayasna as Monist. I do not see it that way and I have the same right or choice. All of the following comments in these post are, by and large, my interpretations with which I am sure many will disagree and other will agree. They are not meant to be imposed on you nor every body else because that is is not the Z way and because, I would not want some one else's interpretations imposed on me.
The 'wisdom' of my Parsi friends its their interpretation and it is tainted by their presence among an ocean of Hindus for the past 800 years. Of course that is my opinion
As to Hinduism being the same religion as Arya In some aspects, you are correct in fact the root of Hinduism lie in Daevayasna and philosophical speculation that came much later. But Hinduism shares some forms with the religion of the Gathas but little substance again IMO. Even their interpretation of the Rig Veda is, according to some very good scholars, way off mark and flawed ( please see the following http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/lrc/eieol/vedol-0-X.html) just as the interpretations off the Gathas of most trads is as well.
As to your claim of ethical dualism in Hinduism. In most schools of Hinduism evil is considered not real it has no reality and thus nothing is truly evil, so there is no true ethical import let alone dualism True some material has been added that infers some sort of ethics but that only serves to add contradiction much in the same way adding to Christianity Jewish Bible teachings makes it even more contradictive, than it already is.
Besides you are an eclectic which is perfectly all right but I must point that you are; because in embracing and highlighting your perceived similarities between Mazdayasna and Hinduism you are glossing over very major real and self evident differences. Karmic debt, ascetism, mindless ritualism , concepts of extinction of existence , fatalism, pessimistic view of the world, etc. These you ignore because you want to get what you like from Monism religiously speaking You appear to be, from my vantage point, more of a philosophical monist so you may want to purge monism of the religious accouterments, I don't know, but denying the roots of something is often difficult not adviceable and self defeating.
I am not denying that the Aryas had some things in common , but you are IMO. ignoring the fact that Daevayasna is obvioulsy the religion of the Rig Veda and that is the ancestor of Hinduism as any who is familiar with the terminology, the ritualism and the practices, can attest. I think is convenient for a Monist to think of the Gathas and latter Mazdayasna as Monist but I see to many problems with that theory
In my way of thinking, your position reads a lot of what you want and like into Mazdayasna . True its your interpretation and that is OK too. Certainly it is your right to choose that interpretation for whatever reasons you want. But in an arena of ideas those that have other interpretations have the same rights . This will obviously lead into contention since both sides are outspoken and seek to spread their message. That is OK too, as long as we can keep it civil, and we do not sink into ad hominems, character assasination, or sweeping generalizations and stereo typing
With those caveats I say vive la diference! Honestly I have my reservations as to whether PV and yourself would be able to keep it civil and away fron sweeping generalizations and stereo typing , but I been wrong before
Ushta Te
Ron
----- Original Message -----
To: ztheist
Sent: Monday, March 31, 2008 2:08 PM
Subject: [zoroastrians] Monist Mazdayasna

Dear Ron

I have traveled with and met the wisest of Zoroastrians in both India and Iran many times and it always strikes me that they always refer to their ancient religion as monist. Only converts in the west ever speak of dualism in connection to our ancient faith.

Furthermore, Zoroastrianism and Hinduism are originally one and the same faith, the original Indo-European religion. Dualism was invented by the Egyptians and the Babylonians (to serve the interests of Egyptian and Babylonain land owners, nomads were never dualistic) long after the Indo-Europeans has established their religion and there is not a single trace of any Egyptian or Babylonian influences in Mazdayasna up to and even after Zarathushtra. Actually, the closest relative to Mazdayasni beliefs and practices is Brahmanism in India (just as later Chan in China, which later became Zen in Japan, was introduced to the Chinese by Iranian Mazdayasni, with Bodhidharma as the most prominent one) and we all know that Chan and Zen are also exclusively monist. I would even say that the concept of Brahman and the concept of Ahura Mazda are next to identical.

The ethical duality is a different chapter altogether and has nothing to do with existential monism vs dualism. The fight between good and evil (or rather between constructive and destructive intentions or forces) exists in both monist and dualist faiths, across the board, universally, and has nothing to do with whether the world is viewed as monist or dualist. Actually, the ethical duality seems strongest in monist faiths (like Hinduism). Dualistic faiths are far more pre-occupied with the opposition of material (always bad) against spiritual (always good). And we know that Zarathushtra thought the physical world to be good in itself. That is clearly a strongly monist stance!

Regardless of which, the hole meaning with being a Mazdayasni is to think critically for ourselves and then decide what is true. This is more important than trying to find any "blind beliefs" in any ancient religions, whether it is from within our own heritage or another religion. This is why Mazdayasna is the exact opposite of all fundamentalism, the most pragmatic faith ever invented. And as such, what ulitmately decides whether we think the world is one substance or for some mystical and unknown reason dualistic depends on our intellects and our own understanding of modern science and philosophy in the year 2008. And that is still the strongest reason for stating that Mazdayasna is monist. Science has utterly failed to provide any evidence for any sort of existential dualism. Which is why science is monist today.

Ushta
Alexander

2008/3/31, ztheist <delavegal@bellsouth.net>:
Ushta Alex
I fail to see how you can categorically ascribe Monism to Mazdayasna. Some pasages in the Gathas and some positions taking much later might be interpreted that way but certainly there are other interpretations open. Now for myself, and I would wager, the majority of people that would call themselves Mazdayasni do not see Mazdayasna as Monist. This is irregardless of the Gathas which, I believe, can hardly be used to bolster a Monist view. Immanence, for example, is present as omnipresence in all the major religions, but Monism, religiously speaking, equates existence with godhood and, if that is so and it obviously is, Hinduism, in its philosophical manifestations, is a far better vehicle for such a thelogy of the One.
Ziism is dualistic, (at least in its ethical aspect) in fact, it stands as the mother of all dualistic theologies from Taoism to Islam. This is evidently so because evil in the Gathas, which is the 'document' that first introduces Zarathushtrian teaching to the world, has a definite existence even if we interpreted as wrongfulness. In Monoism evil cannot exist without making the Cosmos , or Existence, or the All, or the Absolute or God ( whatever the centerpoint) evil as well. In this respect the Abrahamic religions end up being Monistic in spite of asseverations to the contrary, because, they end up attributing , (either openly, or by purported actions) evil to God/Universe/The Absolute.
Ziism is Ethically Dualist It does not, clearly, go from there to any categorically Monist statements. The best a Monist can say from the evidence is that eventually it might lead to total union which can then be viewed as Monist. Somewhat like Dina's one being theory; which is completing itself making itself fully One in nature
Of course you can use some possible interpretations, of Ziism ( while totally ignoring others) and wed them to Monist beliefs. But is that Ziism? And how is this truly different from Buddhism and Hinduism? I think is self evident that, at face value, there are many conflicts with Ziist doctrines, both with the original and the accretions. To me, this at best will make the theology confusing and at worst inferior to the established truly Monist theologies which do not contradict themselves in this point.
Be that as it may, its your right to opine but when making sweeping statements like :
" Mazdayasna is a monist and not a dualist faith (like Islam, Christianity and Judaism, which are all dualist faiths) " you are open to charges of exaggeration since there are several different (and arguably better) and less contradictive (of the sources) plausible interpretations of the nature of Mazdayasna.
Ushta Te
Ron
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, March 31, 2008 10:52 AM
Subject: [zoroastrians] Monist Mazdayasna - and how we really die when we die...

Dear Zaneta

I firmly believe that consciousness is connected to the body we live in. It is a product of the body itself. All monist faiths agree with me on this issue, and Mazdayasna is a monist and not a dualist faith (like Islam, Christianity and Judaism, which are all dualist faiths). In other words: There is no consciousness unless it is produced by a specific brain. There is no consciousness without a functioning brain. There is no soul separate from the body. So when the body dies and withers away (which it clearly does when we die) consciousness goes away with the body. Period. So while we can poetically speak of a life after death it exists only in the sense that there was a "life before we were born". This is not was is traditionally meant with an after-life, so I do not believe there is such a thing as an after-life in a traditional sense. It would require a soul separate from the body, and there is no such thing. There exists no such thing. And until somebody has poven that such a soul separate from the body exists, I regard such beliefs as fairytales and nonsense. That's my belief, based on facts and not on fairytales or wishful thinking of any kind. I prefer reality to fairytales. I prefer truth to nonsense.

Ushta
Alexander