Saturday, September 8, 2012

Paul Dvorak

Hello and Happy Saturday!

I wish to thank Kari Tauring for her very interesting and informative interview. I really enjoyed reading your answers and learning more of your faith. Thanks so much for sharing with us Kari!

Today we have a new interview so please welcome Paul Dvorak. Paul is a Neopagan Buddhist and I know you'll enjoy his interview as well!

Here Is Paul Dvorak's Introduction:

I am a Neopagan that practices a Buddhist path. I follow and honor the Goddess in all her works and creation. I have a family that I love and adore.

1) What religion do you practice?
The easiest way to describe what I practice is Neopagan Buddhism. I practice walking the eight-fold path and recognize the Divine Goddess as the creator and sustainer of all things.

2) Are you a convert/revert or were you raised within this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
I am in the process of “initiating” myself to the Goddess. I did not convert to Buddhism, I simply started practicing it. I was Catholic Christian but stopped practicing a few years ago. I use and respect what I learned while studying Jesus’ message of peace.

3)Within your religion are there degrees of observance (ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal)? What are the defining differences between the degrees of observance?
There are degrees within Buddhism. In Buddhism it seems to mostly relate to how you practice and who you learn from. I practice the eight-fold path and “active mindfulness”. I study Zen from Alan Watts and Thich Nhat Hanh and the Tao from Lao Tzu.

There are degrees in Goddess-centered Paganism as well. In Goddess-centered Paganism, it seems to be about where you come from and what kind of group you are looking for. Many on my path are women that follow Dianic Wicca, a Goddess-only version of Wicca traditionally only accessible to “woman born women (cisgendered)”. I hope those looking for that find it, as they minister to each other as only they can.

Recently other groups, such as Pan-Dianic Wicca, have publicly considered non cisgendered women, including men and transgendered women, as potential Goddess-centered followers.

Then there are followers like me; Buddhists that do not practice witchcraft or spellcasting, only devotion, reflection and meditation.

4)Within your religion what degree of observance are you ((ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal) ? Why did you choose this degree of observance?
I am probably considered liberal for a Pagan, since I’m monotheistic and do not practice spell work. I am also probably considered liberal (or even not really Buddhist) for Buddhism since I recognize a deity, and occasionally eat meat.

I chose this degree of observance because it allows me to practice mindfulness while allowing me to fulfill my spiritual need to connect and commune with the Mother of Life, the Divine Goddess.

5)What is the Afterlife within your religion? For example: what happens when a person dies? Are there places for reward/punishment? (such as a Heaven/Hell concept)
When we die, we return to the Earth, and the Earth reuses us to create new life. Rewards and punishment happen while we are alive. Waiting for heaven, when we walk in the miracle of life everyday, seems a waste to me. Heaven and Hell “exist” in the here and now, in our heads and hearts.

6) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
Yes, they can, if they choose to.

7) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
It is flexible and I find it suits me.

8) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
I recognize and celebrate the cycles of the Earth, Sun and Moon; specifically I follow the Wiccan wheel but put more emphasis on the Summer and Winter Solstices and the Spring (Ostara) and Fall (Mabon) Equinoxes. I generally follow the Wiccan concepts and of Birth and Death for the Solstices and Balance for the Equinoxes. And, Samhain is always fun. :-)

9) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?

10) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
Yes! Celebrations are always fun. Plus, mutual respect and acceptance for what I believe begin with me.

11) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
I have a hard time with these. I do not personally like them and find them abusive. But to each their own.

12) Are women allowed to hold religious office (priest, minister, rabbi, iman etc) in your religion and how do you feel about it?
Yes, it’s awesome that they can.

13) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?

14) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
It affects every aspect of my daily life. Mindfulness is a lifelong practice.

15) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
Great, I have no opinion either way.

16) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
No, see my heaven/hell answer.

17) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
Thich Nhat Hanh speaks well for the Buddhist side of my practice, as does the Dalai Lama.

Many women followers of Dianic Wicca appear to follow the works of Zsuzsanna Budapest, but she really only speaks to other women.

At this time, I don’t know of many that speak for Goddess-centered Paganism other than her.

18) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
No, I’m private about my beliefs unless asked about them.

19) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
No, I did at first while looking into Dianic Wicca, but I have a deeper understanding and respect of what they are doing now.

20) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
Yes. (-.-)

21) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
No, other than the materials that make up our bodies are reused.

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