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TOPIC: Bernadette Roberts

Bernadette Roberts 08 Aug 2015 11:09 #99978

I started one of her books the other day, What is Self?. Are there others here who have read this author? I am curious about people's perspective. I see her as a highly realized person, but so far I don't relate to the God-talk very well. This is curious when I consider how long I was an active part of a Christian community.

Another writer who interests me is Richard Rohr. I shall post something about him once I've gotten somewhere in his book(s).
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Bernadette Roberts 09 Aug 2015 12:59 #99986

Her first books Path to No Self and Experience of No Self were very inspiring to me 35 years ago because they were open and detailed accounts from her own practice journals and experience. The Buddhist books and teachers I was familiar with then were into the not-talking-about-it approach. BR said that she wrote What Is Self? in part to clarify general points after she felt her earlier books were often misinterpreted. I had a stack of cassette tapes from one of the Christian - Buddhist conferences at Naropa from the late 70s where BR was asked to present after Shamballa published her 1st book. She described herself as a housewife without credentials (though she had kept silence for 10 years as a nun in a Catholic contemplative order during her teens and twenties). But it seemed to me like that in the general discussions she trounced the other panelists in Dharma combat, like the old grandma by the side of the road who tweaks the noses of passing zen monks. She particularly stumped the Buddhist teachers when she quizzed them about the skandhas. I think they said the skandhas remain but you see that they are empty. She countered that a contemplative can verify what the Buddha said that the ridgepole and the rafters are destroyed and not re-formed. I didn't know what she was talking about but I felt, and it seemed like the esteemed panelists felt, like she "spoke with authority".
Last Edit: 09 Aug 2015 13:01 by Kacchapa.
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Bernadette Roberts 13 Aug 2015 10:50 #100056

i never really got into her. i read something of hers some years ago when a friend got excited about it, and it didn't engage. Later I re-read one or two (What is Self and the Path to NoSelf I think?) and remember being touched at how hard parts of her life seemed to have been - I remember being more engaged by her sense of frustration (and sometimes crankiness) that she hadn't found the spiritual direction she felt she needed to help her in times when she was feeling quite unnerved by her inner life. i thought her descriptions of her inner life were broadly similar to some of my own, and to other people's I had heard about. I didn't find her particular way of articulating things very resonant, as they say. So - for whatever reason - not up my alley. I like the fierceness and passion of St. Bonaventure, St. Teresa, and the rest of the gang of great saints. Somehow hits the right chord with me.
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Bernadette Roberts 14 Aug 2015 08:30 #100065

I read all three of her published books some years ago. She situates herself in the Christian mystical tradition, but she's a long way outside the mainstream. She self-published a book called The Real Christ, where she explains her theology, but it's very expensive and I haven't bought it. Yes to Ona's suggestion of St. Teresa of Avila as much more accessible. I haven't read St. Bonaventure.
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Bernadette Roberts 15 Aug 2015 01:40 #100068

I was talking with someone tonight about the ancient greeks/romans and how their religion was about appeasing the gods, and all of a sudden it occurred to me this is the case with many christian prayers, and I'm curious -- is that the case with contemplative christianity too? If so, is that an important part?
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Bernadette Roberts 15 Aug 2015 12:20 #100073

In short: No. While the early part of contemplative prayer is about doing something, the later part is about non-doing.
Last Edit: 16 Aug 2015 12:16 by Derek.
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