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Carleton University
RELI 1731
Angela Sumegi

kj+Religion Lecture 1 September 11, 2013 - What is religion? How would I describe it? - - religion is a way of life….it is how people view their surroundings and comprehend the meaning of why we are here…..what our purpose is…to some, religion IS the reason, to some religion doesn’t exist….it is how people interpret life. It is individual and personal, yet can be commemorated in group settings and celebrated together. It provides community as well as personal comfort (knowing your not alone etc). - Two major categories: theory and practise - Belief vs. actions  how you express it - Genealogy/history of religions: family relationships of religions (connections in the beliefs of different religions) ie. Hinduism and Buddhism, Abrahamic religions, etc. - Ninian Smart: Dimensions of Religion D octrine: beliefs abt the ultimate meaning/goal in life R itual: related to special days or times E thics: ruels/conduct/bhvr E sperience: feelings and experiences of otherness and power M ythology: narratives abt who we are and where we came from M aterial: buildings, art, books, geography S ocial: organization, a kind of community. Club etc 5 sheaths body of – food, breath, thought, consciousness, blizz, ieee atman September 16 Readings: Experiencing the Sacred, Gary Kessler - Religious experience: collective term that refers to a wide variety of religious expereices: enlightenment, prophetic calls, visions, voices, conversions, etc. - Some say there is a common core to these eperiences while some say there isn’t - Religious experience: experience a person has that they deem significant  depends on the person - What makes it significant? Revelation: can be personal or communal, Muhammad as a spokesperson for the divine, the judgement that they are divine experiences that give them religious significance - Types of religious experiences: revalational (personal or communal/exemplary or emissary pophets) OR ecstatic (possession/out of body) - Buddhism: ignorance is the opposite of enlightenment, karma and rebirth, eightfold path = nirvana, meditation as the state of a. tranquility b. right mindfulness, desire is suffering, end of desire means the end of suffering, - Buddha discovered truths but they were not revealed to him as they were to Muhammad - What came first? Teachings or enlightenment?  who knows, like chicken or the egg. - Comparison of divinity: A god vs. a Buddha, many gods, shrines etc human being who became enlightened, reached nirvana. - Friedrich Ernst Daniel Schleiermacher – Christian theologian heart of religion not found in dogmas, rituals, repressive moral codes, or institutions, but in the experience itself o Experience came before teachings o Dogmas, rituals, rules etc is secondary to the experience o All different types of religious experience could be boiled down to a single core: a unique & distinctive feeling: absolute dependence  life islimitec by all kinds of factors, we are not in complete control of our lives, dependent on a higher power, specifically a god. o  betrayed by Buddhism , as it is a religion that does not depend on a higher entity. o Rudolf Otto: continued scheied’s research. Agreed with the unique feeling, however it was erred by being too subjective - Additional types of religious experience: dependence, feelings of awe or wonder, unity (mystical), feelings of confirmation, feeling of responsive divine presence,  miracles, salvation, sanctification - Shamans: religious functionary found in tribal societites who engages, with the assistance of spirit guides and helpers etc with the needs of society. Ie illness, guidance, hunting, making grain etc - Shamanic powers granted through experiences ie being called on by a spirit, initiation by other shamans, trances, visions, or guiding the tribe in a way - Shamanic ecstasy (out of body experience, going into a trance) is oldest type of religious experience that continues today (workshops)  muhammads nighttime journey and buddha’s trance  - Mystical experiences & states: walter t stace: extrovertive – unifying vision of al present in day to day life & introvertive – unitary consciousness, all disappears, all space and time is gone, pure consciousness - Both marked by a sense of having experienced the final truth about things, sacredness, joy, cannot describe something in words September 16, 2013 - Mark taylor: limitless, ungraspable & as a concept religion is a construct -  academic construct - Religion encompasses all, can mean 27486726074 different things - Oxford English dictionary: religion – linked to the latin word relegere which means to reread over and over againassociation of repetitive action (ritual etc)  more prominient & recent: religare means to bind back, relinking of humans to god, vows ligament: tissue that binds, obligations, bound to duty - Dharma (india) - Europeans had a wide scope of worldly religions - Emphasis on creed: shahada etc, declaration of faith and belief - Orthopraxy vs orthodoxy – ortho (correct) paxy – correct action, practise - Doxy, correct belief - Distinction btwn secular and sacred - separation of church and state  we think its natural, however based in historical circumstances - Exclusive membership – toleration of no rivals, follow one religion, cannot follow another one -  possible in other places of the world, Africa, Asia etc, while people here seem to find it impossible - Ie monotheistic vs. polytheistic Reading #2 The idea of Holy – Otto Rudolf - Essential to every theistic concept of god: characterization of deity by spirit, reason, purpose, goodwill, supreme power nd unity -  rational religion - Holiness – interpretation of value in a religion: morality, completely good  innacurate - Numinous: feeling of dependence, feeling of nothingness compared to a vast and supreme higher entity mysterium, trememndum, majestas, awefulness, urgency, energy, : idea of the living God - Stupor: blank astonishment, strikes us dumb, wonder, absolute amazement - Expression of the numinous: cannot be taught; must be awakened from the spirit, numinous basis and background in religion cant be taught but induced, incited, aroused. Not about symbls and recitiations but about feelings, moods etc. attitude if one sits in a congregation and does not feel the numinous, he is not availed by preachings and recitations! - Two processes of development - Three factors in the proceses by which religion comes into being history: predisposition of stimulus mans mind determines potential in the stimulus and actualizes its form 2. Recognition of holiness in the manifestation, 3. The knowing, feeling and willing. - I don’t even know September 23, 2013 Shamanic world views: - Point of reference supernatural, sacred - Religious perspective presupposes that reality - Natural/supernatural – can make the distinction between some cultures over others - Numinous – experience of/& mystical experience how would you distinguish? - Numinous: experience of the numinous requires the other - Mystical: characteristic nonduality - (ninian smart) - Shamanism: NOT salvation – oriented”numinous” etc not used for shamanic religions - What is shamanism? Not a religion. o Unlike judiasm, islam, chirstianity etc o Phenomenon as difficult to define as “religion” o We must consult anthropologists (cause they study culture) o Early research says: (abt the Siberian Evenk) Shaman is the name for the religious/ritual specialist of the Evenk people ”xaman” o Cosmology: 3 layers – spirits of the sky, earth, spirits of and below the eart  All layers joined by world mountain, tree, river etc  In cosmology we have a link^^ (the Siberians, mongols etc)  Ability of the soul to separate from the body (ecstatic trance)  In trance, shamans soul could travel throughout the worlds using the links  Eliade – hallmark of shamanism was if one could travel vertically through the cosmos (layers)  Many scholars object the way in which the term ‘shamanism’ is now used  Shamanism now used as a general term for a complex of practises and beliefs, aspects which exist in most human societies  Divided as to whether the terms shaman/shamanism/shamanic should they be used in a narrow or broad way (cross cultural context or only pertaining to relatives of Siberians/mongols)  Shaman as a term is useful as a category due to how ppl regard the world and the experiences that ppl are a part of  Convenient label for a constellation of religious practises and beliefs that are associated with many indigenous cultures different across several indigenous cultures ( many shamanisms) the way it appears in one culture is not how it appears in another   Three basic characteristics: 1 dualistic concepts of the person and of the world, (double nature – body & seperable soul(s) & double nature of envirenvironment & materialism) visible and invisible. 2 communication with spirit (establish direct communication with the other world by will (bringing spirits into this world or sending their soul to the other world) 3 social function indicating that the shaman acts in response to social demand (community needs them to act for protection, education etc)  Shamanism as a shifting constellation does have some common elements that can identify a traditional shamanic thing  humans share their existence with al kinds of non human beings, he world itself as a place where beings live includes visible and invisible dimensions  beings of the other world can be accessed spontaneously by regular ppl (dreams, etc) but shamans may access this world whenever they please, the shaman is the soul specialist dealing eith the spirits of he other world  Shamans job to restore and maintain harmony in communities by reaching the invisible world, keep positive interaction with unseen spirits  Shamans communication with the spirits is dependant on the participation of the spirits (cant do it on his own) by means of consciously induced and controlled states of activity (trance, dream etc)   jefferey Samuel: shamanism is: the regulation and transformation of human life and human society through the use or purported use of alternate states of consciousness by means of whih specialist practitioners are held to communicate with a mode of reality alternative to, and more funda,ental than, the world of every day experience  Mediates btwn humans and invisible world • You can be human in dead, living, man woman, whale, plant, river, etc • Capacity for multidimensional being •  a human can appear as a human, or in another mode ie, animal. o Dylan Thomas – understanding of the world as being and living in the world is constituted as a relationship between human beings and all other beings o Humans share existence with all manner of persons (animism) everything is alive o Every part of the world has the capacity for personhood (ANIMISM GETTING BALLED CAPRETTA) o ALL THAT EXISTS LIVES (WALLS, LAMPS, ROCKS, ERATHANG) o Everything has their own community, land and house (clouds, wind, eve r y thing) o ^ own shamans as well (even as human shit is pictured as an old man dressed in brown furs very boastful but secretly afraid of being eaten by dogs) that some real legend o Even colours have their own power o Anything you can name and identify has a spirit and can come into contact with human beings o Also find the concept of supreme being or entity ie “god”  Sila, in Inuit o Mongols: Tengri (eternal blue sky) o The high god is far removed from the world of humans, not a lot of communication o They used to be close (heaven and earth) but some human mistake or sins caused a separation o Ancestor spirits are the living dead, part of the social frabic of a community more powerful dead than alive o Forgetting one’s ancestors thought to bring a family misfortune o Thought there is a distinction between the visible and invisible world, all the actions committed in either world are equally as real o Souls: materiality and multiplicity  Family resemblance in the way in which souls are described shape, colour, mobility, vulnerable to attack, illness o Spirit soul and sickness – relationship btwn two worlds sick person is not cured, but rescued from a state where the soul was kept o Soul is a spirit power gives you life, travels when you dream, etcetera o Every joint in the body has its own soul o Different souls are distinct, independent agency to act, are beings themselves o Death as a permanent departure of the soul from the body, and a different life for the soul o Souls can die Native American Religions – an Intro Sam D Gill - Oral events (singing, chanting, etc) as spiritual forces that encompass religious expression in several different forms  oral is more controlling over the significance, fluid, can adapt to the times, participatory, unfixed, - Nonliterate – prefer not to communicate through written word, holds less spiritual effect than spoken communication - Songs – sign and act of life - Transmission of culture  stories & material objects, symbols, traditions, digestion. Culture constantly adds elements, and discards those that because irrelevant  all aspects makeup the culture - “what does this story mean?” this question is essential to our understanding of native American religions - Meaningful lives are dependent on stories - We must understand the differences of thought (literacy vs non literacy  spoken word & expression vs written word & criticism, analysis) th September 25 2013 Shamanizing - A shaman uses what is ordinary in extraordinary ways - Power & control over shamanic states - Many believe that regular sleep can be used to enter alternate states of consciousness – also by drumming, dancing, etc etc - Can be trance and dream\ - Evink: rivals between shamans take place in dreams or other conciousnesses - In many forms can they appear-fire etc, through sleep shamans can access their spirit power - Powerless in normal sleep wat like their bodies rather than souls idk - Waking state can be dreamlike under certain circumstances - Fuck dis - Non literate – not to be associated with illiteracy or preliteracy - Sam gill – only those who are present can hear what is spoken, but what s written can be accessed by anyone for ever - For the written word to be epicacious, it has to be heard, and spoken by a qualified person - Speech and thought: importance of and relationship between o Thought woman – thinks the world into creation o Helpers complete the act by speaking o Thought and speech are equally insperable – speech is the shape of thought - All in the reading  important to recognize certain language for environment - Sam d gill – another can read, understand, comprehend, interpret etc the same objects in the same environement differently - The world can be made sense of in mant different ways  contingent - On our upbringing and historical period, j EP Dutton, Shamanic Voices - Sweat lodge as the oldest and easiest ceremony (before vision quest) - Purification, rebirth, purpose - On vision quest he defended his medicine, and after that he dreamt of visions, and continued to defend the meds so he eventually became a medicine man September 30, 2013 - Capacity for communication exists in internal environment - Different meaning of soul different from monotheistic religions o All embracing connections in nature - Power in ancient socities  recognizing and finding out the hidden connections between things (heart related to mars  not obvious) - Everything is interrelated  circle ie. Cyclical nature (appearing and disappearing of phenomena, birth and death, blooming and dying of a flower etc) - Balance and harmony – element in shamanic world view o Humans are required to maintain harmonious relationship w unseen world, nature, people, animals  This relationship recognizes and respects the understanding of reciprocity between relationships  Relationship values humility, caution, politeness  Treat nothing with disrespect • Cutting down trees, digging through the earth, breaking rocks  all of which can result in harm and consequences bc it is disrespecting nature o Ingenuity and deception  if u can fool the spirits, it is valued and admired good 4 u o No human superiority over nature in indigenous cultures  Within nature, subject to the same rules. No hierarchy, ya o UNSEEN DIMENSION  SOUL DIMENSION, death etc - Shamans are chosen by da spirits o Shamans initiation takes place in spirit world o social stuff in shamanic communities usually involve a blood relation to others in the community o shaman must continually prove his mastery of the spirits  it’s a communal activity  fulfilling their role in society o shaman marries a spirit, shaman is dominant????? o You get the game while u a hunter, but at your end you go into the forest so they can eat u o Husband wife relationship w spirit validates shamans power o Call to shamanism comes in many forms (dreams, visions, being badly behaved, random fits ie seizures and illness, orphans, birth defects, have irregular bhvrs or hapenings)
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