Foundational for me was comparative. I started on the mythological – the equivalence of Star Wars and Christ and Buddha stuff. That was my childhood and adolescence – my grandmother was into that.
I flipped through a few religions, finding myself mostly drawing parallels but trying to find what is unique about each as well where they were particularly good.
Did a long stay in the Eastern Orthodox Christian church – monastery and such. The Philokalia was my Analects basically.
Then I did a stop off at Osho for two years.
Doing other stuff since (last 20 years).
So, comparative is in my foundation. My Christian upbringing was Methodist – far from a bible-only – so I did not grow up with a text-is-holy-on-its-own bias but rather that documents are supportive of beliefs.
What would be my own interpretation?
It would be influenced by everything else I’d learned in life.
If I was to follow it, I would be a part of a community of others also following it, unless it was an individualist ideology in which case, I could roll-my-own-religion based on the text.
Now I don’t know much about it, but I never once had the impression that it was an individualist ideology.
It’s rare that I go in, but when I DO go in, I go ALL in.
25 years ago I was in this little monastery for a little while, getting up at 5am, standing in those prayer stands, 3-4 hours of prayer and singing before breakfast.
I’ll study the entire history of a thing, go as deep and wide as it’ll let me, soak up whatever it has. This segment of life had me for six years straight.
I even remember the moment I ‘got’ the Trinity concept and it was something.
If I was just read the analects, it’d be like reading a book of emily dickenson poetry, or ee cummings or clever things Mark Twain said.
I wouldn’t be able to give it the respect it deserves.
The people who are into can. You guys can. I’ll give my thoughts from outside the Citadel, meet in the hallways as it were, but the inner sanctum is for those who are dedicated, not for me.