torsdag 18 augusti 2011

Zoroastrianism: The Difference between a Philosophical Religion and a Folk Religion

Dear Behnaz

Folk religion has and probably always will exist.
In India, people make the clear distinction between those who believe in Hindu philosophy (Brahmanism) and those who believe in folk religions with gods, angels and all the other bits and pieces (who for example worship Ganesha The Blue Elephant God). A Brahmanist would never worship Ganesha as he or she does not even believe Ganesha exists. Still, the two cultures of Philosophy and Religion co-exist peacefully and to mututal benefit.
Iranian culture somehow lost this dual culture. What was left after Islam came into Iranian culture was the angel worshipping part while the Philosophy (Mazdayasna) went into hiding or even disappeared.
We are now trying to resurrect Iranian philosophy (Mazdayasna) as it was set out from the beginning from Zarathushtra (the original Zoroastrianism). And there is not a single word of angels anywhere in "The Gathas", Ahura Mazda is not Lord Wisdom (a male god figure with male genital organs etc) but rather a principle of existence on which a philosophical religion rather than a folk religion can be based (wherever there is supreme wisdom, this is a menifestation of Ahura Mazda etc).
The angels and other fluffy things are not Zoroastrian, those things are pre-Zoroastrian. But do you honestly believe in the existence of such things? If so, like Dino said, please go ahead! But on the Ushta List we are dealing with the philosophical religion Zarathushra invented which we have inherited and are trying to do something meaningful with. And if Zarathushtra did not believe in supernatural beings, why should we? What's wrong with NATURAL beings as a foundation for a religion. Asha means "that which exists" and not "that which we make up to tell each others as fairytales".

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/17 Special Kain
Dear Behnaz

There is nothing wrong with you. :-)
You are free to believe in a supreme being. You are free to focus on the big picture rather than the details. A good exercise for you would be to be totally honest with yourself and ask yourself why you have these desires. Not because there would be anything wrong with them, but because this means to live truthfully.
There are so many differences among Zoroastrians, because our faith is 3.700 years old. Zoroastrians have spread and lived among other cultures and religions, and they have adoped and creatively re-used the ideas and theories in their different cultural and religious environments. This perfectly explains the differences between Zoroastrians in Iran and their Parsi sisters and brothers in India. But there are a lot more beliefs that we share.

Ushta,
Dino

Von: Behnaz Larsen
An: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Cc: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Gesendet: 22:50 Mittwoch, 17.August 2011
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Zoroastrianism is Philosophy as Religion

That is very clear to me. I don't believe in a God either, though I very much want to. However, this is another matter. What I find confusing is that I believed, from what I have read that mazdayasna is straight- forward and not easily misunderstood as for example a faith or philosophy such as Islam, which no one can understand. I cannot see why an idea could be considered and followed by millions, but be only understood by few. Your version and "their" version are not the same and I consider that a failure of the teacher. Yes, I guess that is what I am confused about. If the idea is brilliant, if the teacher was right, then why such differences among the followers? And where is there a place for people like me, people who only see the big picture and only focus on the result? People who want to believe, for the sake of their sanity, in a supreme being without banging their heads on a temple wall? If I am not an orthodox and don't want to be an atheist, then where will I belong to? Do I consult a Mobed for guidance or a philosopher? am I in the wrong forum?

On Aug 17, 2011, at 10:23 PM, Special Kain wrote:

Dear Behnaz

What is it that you find confusing?
There are panentheists and pantheists. There are those who believe in a divine being that once created this world and those who don't. I don't believe in god - like most modern converts and western scholars. Ahura Mazda is a philosophical concept, above all else. It is Mazda that we worship and hold to be sacred, since Mazdayasna is the original name of our faith. And Mazda means "wisdom" in English.

Ushta,
Dino

Von: Behnaz Larsen
An: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Cc: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Gesendet: 21:51 Mittwoch, 17.August 2011
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Zoroastrianism is Philosophy as Religion

Misleading? The very title of the supreme wisdom, or the very root of the idea of this ideology is Ahura Mazda! Since I am still a student here i will allow myself to ask the above question. I hope you'll understand that I am not criticising but I always thought that the way of the behdins was much more straight forward than the other ideologies.

However, now I am reading that even the Wise lord and righteousness are not what they seem to be and I don't know how to look at it any longer. The beauty of this straight-forward path is no more. I don't disagree with any of you but I am trying to find my place in this. There are the traditionalist, angel worshippers, who follow rituals more than the actual path and here you are entangled in words. Where do you think I could fit in?

Sent from my iPad

On Aug 17, 2011, at 1:32 PM, Alexander Bard wrote:
With one word being feminine and the other word being masculine, Zarathushtra clearly had no "male personality" such as "a lord" in mind when he coined the concept of Ahura Mazda. "Lord Wisdom" is therefore tragically misleadning. "Mind-on-Being-as-a-sacred-unity" is possibly the closest we can get to translating Ahura Mazda to contemporary English.
Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/17 Special Kain
Asha is the truth as in "that which truly exists" and "how it really works".
Ahura is a title that usually designates the divine as in "that which is divine" and "that which is sacred". It is commonly used for proper deities. Mazda is "wisdom" and "intelligence". So if we speak of Ahura Mazda, we speak of wisdom as sacred and divine. The translation "Lord Wisdom" is not necessarily wrong, but it is misleading. The original Avestan expression literally means that it is a sacred act to place one's mind (e.g. to be wise). ago.

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