Spirituality and Drive

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Re: Spirituality and Drive

Post by Sighclone » Tue Jun 24, 2008 2:12 am

Craig -

This is from page 120 of Adya's "Emptiness Dancing":
The true self can’t be divided, but the imaginary self can be divided very easily. Most suffering arises out of this divided self, which exists only in your mind. Because it exists only in your mind and you believe it, it sends signals to the rest of the body, and then the rest of the body has an emotional, traumatic, fracturing experience. In Buddhism you hear about the wheel of suffering, called the wheel of samsara, which is the suffering that comes out of this interior fracture, this false sense of self. When it arises, it is cyclical, mechanical and impersonal. It happens whether you want it to or not. It is associated with the world, because the world, by and large, operates on the wheel of samsara.

Samsara is a completely mechanical unfolding of conditioning. One person gets triggered and triggers five other people, who each trigger five others, and it keeps moving out like the spokes of a wheel, until many are affected. Getting off that wheel of samsara means waking up to the fact that the only thing on the wheel is a misunderstanding – the idea that I am this being with these feelings and problems. We call it samsara because it’s not actually real. It only exists between your ears. In our culture we make the suffering of samsara noble. It is almost a sacrilege to imagine that who you are is not a problem to be solved. We are not expected to actually hop off this wheel of suffering and wake up from this trance of “me.”
So, here, at least, he is clear that samsara is not enlightenment. And samsara being unreal, can be dualistic or tri-alistic or multiple-listic or whatever it needs to be.

Craig, you say:
Stop and think about it- "What is my normal state of consciousness like on any given day?" Whatever state it is is the enlightened state. So too are any states of consciousness that differ from the "normal" state. So if you're busy thinking away about something, that's it. If you're focused on what you're doing at work, that's it. If you're fast asleep, that's also it.
I guess I'm reading this as saying that we are all enlightened all the time. Tell that to the victims of the holocaust...surely someone was not enlightened there.

Namaste, Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Spirituality and Drive

Post by Craig » Tue Jun 24, 2008 2:23 am

Okay, so it appears it was not from Adya at all, but rather Ken Wilber quoting other individuals in his essay "One Without A Second". Here are the words:

"In fact, it's only because we insist that the Ultimate State of Consciousness be different from the Present State of Consciousness that makes it so hard for us to admit to ourselves that we already know our Buddha Nature. We imagine, for instance, that nirvana is different than samsara, that enlightenment is different from ignorance, that Brahman is different from maya (illusion). Yet Nagarjuna clearly states 'There is no difference whatsoever between samsara and nirvana. There is not the slightest bit of difference between these two...'

And pure Vedanta has never understood maya or illusion to be different from Brahman, but rather as something that Brahman is doing. And yet we seek to escape samsara as if it weren't nirvana; we try to overcome ignorance as if it weren't enlightenment; we strive to wipe out maya as if it weren't Brahman. Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambrai, has the only acceptable comment on this state of affairs: 'There is no more dangerous illusion than the fancies by which people try to avoid illusion.'"
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Re: Spirituality and Drive

Post by HermitLoon » Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:05 pm

In respectful humility my simplistic mind wonders “Is it really that complicated?”
Somehow a deep, profound awareness of the eternal un-manifested developed which has produced – for me - an expanded awareness – in amazing detail – of the manifested – with both co-existing as an absolute awareness of the Oneness of all Being.

I apologize for the crudeness of these words.
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Re: Spirituality and Drive

Post by Sighclone » Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:01 pm

Craig -

Re Nagarjuna, the famous skeptic:
For his own part, Nagarjuna would only assent to enter a philosophical debate as a vaitandika, committed to destroying the Brahminical proponents' metaphysical and epistemological positions without thereby necessitating a contrapositive.

There was no doubt however that among his Vedic opponents and later Madhyamika commentators, Nagarjuna's "refutation-only" strategy was highly provocative and sparked continued controversy.
These are from the Internet Encyclopedia entry. His arguments concern mainly the logical relationship betweeen nirvana and smasara, which is to say that they both have similar ontological boundaries, not that they are the same. Wilber is not my favorite. His brief extract is a typical use of a phrase out of context. Here is a larger discussion, again from the IEP (http://www.iep.utm.edu/n/nagarjun.htm):
The words and labels which attach to both the world and the experience of nirvana are not the means of separating the wheat of life from its chaff, nor true cultivators of the soil of experience from the over-ambitious "everyday" rabble. Rather, samsara and nirvana signify nothing but the lack of guarantees in a life of desire and the possibility of change and hope. "We assert," Nagarjuna proffers to say on behalf of the Buddhists, "that whatever arises dependently is as such empty. This manner of designating things is exactly the middle path." A Buddhist oath to avoid suffering cannot be taken as a denunciation of the world, but only as a commitment to harness the possibilities which already are entailed within it for peace. Talk about the Buddha and practices inspired by the Buddha are not tantamount to the raising of a religious or ideological flag which marks off one country from another; rather, the world of suffering and the world of peace have the same extension and boundary, and talk about suffering and the Buddha is only there to make us aware of the possibilities of the world, and how our realization of these possibilities depends precisely on what we do and how we interact.

...In the worlds of the present and the future, it is after all only actions which matter. It is indeed the very physicality of deeds which leads to the accumulation of either meritorious or detrimental karma, and so one's fate lies squarely in ones own hands. But through acts performed in the field of samsara, all conceivable changes are possible. A prince can become a pauper, either willingly, like the Buddha, or unwillingly. Young men become old, beauty morphs into decrepitude, friendship descends into enmity. It is this piercing contingency of samsara which is so often experienced with such anguish. But, Nagarjuna quickly reminds his readers, all these transformations can just as easily go in the opposite direction, with material poverty blossoming into spiritual riches, fathers reborn as sons and mothers as young wives, and the wounds of conflict sutured with the threads of reconciliation. Interdependent causality and the emptiness which change depends on mean that things can always go either way, and so which way they in fact go depends intimately on one's own deeds. And this leads one to grasp that the proper site of practice for the Buddhist cannot be just the monastery, removed as it tries to be from the machinations of state, economy, social class and the other tumultuous and sundry affairs of suffering beings. As there is no difference between samsara and nirvana owing to the emptiness and constantly changing nature of both, so the change which a Buddhist effects upon herself and those around her is a change in the world, and this constant and purposeful change is the rightful mission of Buddhism. With his own peculiar and visionary interpretation of the concept of the emptiness of all things then, Nagarjuna has woven an anti-metaphysical and epistemological stance together with an ethics of action which was, true to its own implications, to transform the self-understanding of the Buddhist tradition for millennia to come.
All of this is deep mind stuff. Is Nagarjuna's assertion of 'the void' sufficient for me to lump all spiritual efforts and progress into a pointless empty bucket? Not today.

Namaste, Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Spirituality and Drive

Post by the key master » Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:20 pm

"So the desire for enlightenment is not the problem. The problem is the expectation that enlightenment will give certain results, or look or feel a certain way." (Gangagi)

Once you say what enlightenment is, you've lost it. Once you think you are someone, you've lost it. Once you think you're on the wheel of samsara, you've lost it. Once you think you are free, and the people over there are on the wheel of samsara, you've lost it. In this sense, we are all enlightened, all the time. But the second you think you are enlightened, you are not. The second the individual loses Unity, from the individual's perspective, which is necessarily limited as it is cut off from the whole, the individual is not enlightened.

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Re: Spirituality and Drive

Post by Sighclone » Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:51 pm

km -

I can go with that for the most part. Eckhart's definition of enlightenment is "your natural state of felt oneness with Being." (PON p. 12) I turns out that you merge with Being, and the sense of "me" disappears, so a 'self' doesn't get enlightened...a self disappears when enlightenment occurs.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Spirituality and Drive

Post by HermitLoon » Wed Jun 25, 2008 12:20 am

Perhaps a good time for Katie's 4 questions? :wink:
The Four Questions
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without that thought?
http://www.thework.com
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Re: Spirituality and Drive

Post by Sighclone » Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:25 am

I love Byron Katie - thanks, HermitLoon.

I have been thinking about survival and the ego. Maharshi just bailed out to Arunchala. They had to pull him out of a cave where the bugs were eating him. Maharaj left his businesses and family and disappeared - he eventually returned. Eckhart sat on the park bench for two years. But Adya only had his final awakening after marriage and finding a stable career position. Adya's path was long, by the way.

I think survival is important. Maharshi really didn't care. Maharaj finally came back to run the tobacco store, but it was only after he gave up on renunciate living. Eckhart was down to his last dollars. It seems that the road to enlightenment has to do with not only giving up the ego, but also with sacrificing security, maybe even survival. Certainly the extremes of egoic life are easily forgotten (fancy cars and boats and houses and clothes), particularly those which have "attach to me" written all over them.

But survival was the main purpose for the ego in the first place. And survival still has some charm for most of us. Hermitloon, a relatively new member has a modest home which his fixed income allows him to keep. In a way, I wish I could say the same. But I still need income (appraisal jobs and teaching), and get to deal with the egoic world of the Amercian workplace. I prefer meditation, yoga, reading, golf, etc. But I have to work. So I do. I am comforted by Adya's experience - he frankly states that the security of a homelife contributed to his final breakthrough (Emptiness Dancing, second edition, with the interview at the back). Maybe that will work for me. Since it is the life I have, I do accept it.

I think what I am alluding to is that the purpose of the ego (survival) and the shedding of egoic values in approaching awakening incurs a tendency to shrink from survival instincts...Somehow the increasing joy of unity in being itself is a tempting lure away from other responsibilities...(cf. Nisgardatta Maharaj).

other thinking on this???

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Spirituality and Drive

Post by the key master » Wed Jun 25, 2008 3:44 am

Sighclone--
It seems that the road to enlightenment has to do with not only giving up the ego, but also with sacrificing security, maybe even survival.
"To meet our death while the body is still alive is counterintuiutive, contrary to our conditioning as organisms designed to avoid pain and fear. We normally listen to fear because it is part of the survival mechanism of the human body. There is nothing wrong with that. But self-inquiry takes the mind deeper than what is right for survival. Once the desire arises to truly be free, the question of what survives after the body dies is more important than simply surviving. Then we can meet death."
(Gangaji-the Diamond in your Pocket)

Gangagi further elaborates that simply because we "meet death" or accept that the body we inhabit will die, does not mean we no longer take security measures to ensure our safety. Rather, we always accept, and thus know, that our bodies could die tomorrow, and we should live as if they will die tomorrow.
But I have to work. So I do....Since it is the life I have, I do accept it.
Dive further into these statements.

"Many people ask 'How do I intergrate my spirituality into every day life?' You don't. You can't. How could you integrate it? You can't stuff the infinite into your limited life. Instead, give your life to the divine impulse. There is no integration. There's only realization, and that realization is always a perfect destroyer. It is a destroyer of all sense of separateness, a destroyer of that which is not true. Throw your life into Truth. Don't try to stuff Truth into your life." (adya emptiness p 147)

Those last 2 lines say more than I could say in a lifetime.


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Re: Spirituality and Drive

Post by HermitLoon » Wed Jun 25, 2008 3:56 am

Amen Jason:)
Another great site: http://112ways.org
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Re: Spirituality and Drive

Post by innerhike » Wed Jun 25, 2008 4:32 am

I have a simple idea about all of this.

Every day I approach my day with a sense of surrender.

I spend some time, preferably some hours, in meditation, before I touch anything in my life, before I do anything.

From this place when I emerge, my thinking and actions are clearer, not as hurtful, not needing to be embellished or repeated or doubted. Also life flows more synchronistically.

"Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, all else will be added unto you."

Enlightenment is a concept.

My bills are not.

I do not meditate to pay my bills.

I meditate to live life from as surrendered a place as possible.

In this the possibility of enlightenment certainly exists.

Truth is a concept.

Life is not.

Andy, by the way Ramana Maharshi never encouraged anyone to give up their jobs, family responsibilities or conventional lives. The whole idea of any true teaching or path is to be engaged in the world while remaining centered in spirit.

----

The job of spirituality is to destroy the burdens that keep us from living life fully.

It is not to keep us from living life more fully.

The question always to ask when considering any of this is: Is this my will or the will of Life, the Force that animates me?

How do we answer this question?

You can follow any "true" technique or teacher, including ET to arrive at an answer to this.

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Re: Spirituality and Drive

Post by Sighclone » Wed Jun 25, 2008 6:06 am

Thanks innerhike, jason and hermitloon. I think it was about six weeks ago I was counseling someone on exactly what innerhike is saying about integration of the requirements of our daily life with our spiritual path. I'm just preferring this last period of withdrawal of about five months to returning to more active work. Of course Ramana never counseled anyone to shrink away from life; but his own example in ascetic withdrawal, however, required people to drag him out of the cave. I think I know why he was just fine there.

So I approach each day as an opportunity to find unity and beauty in the activities of the moment. I'm usually pretty upbeat and enthusiastic, as anyone who has read my last 500 posts can tell. But the cave would be cool....

Namaste, Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Spirituality and Drive

Post by the key master » Wed Jun 25, 2008 5:21 pm

I do not meditate to pay my bills.

I meditate to live life from as surrendered a place as possible.
Very insightful stuff inner hike.

And Andy, you are a true asset on this board. The light from your consciousness has illuminated my dark room of mind on several occassions.


Jason

on a side note-can someone tell me how to put the person's name in the quote when I'm quoting within a thread??

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Re: Spirituality and Drive

Post by Craig » Thu Jun 26, 2008 3:03 am

Andy,

Here's where I'm coming from. I'm coming from the perspective that spiritual teachings, while not being the truth, are pointers towards it. One theme that comes up again and again in teachings on spirituality or enlightenment is that you are it and all you need to do is stop looking. Now, the thing is, most spiritual seekers read this sentence and part of them thinks it's a trick. They don't really stop 100%. They keep searching, because enlightenment has to be something you achieve (after all, not everyone has it, right?) and it has to be some sort of "higher state" than the one you're in. But the teachers suggest that this is not true, and everything that you're trying to avoid in this moment Now (including the "ego" and the "illusory" world of Maya) is just a part of God/Brahman/Tao/Spirit/No-thingness or whatever you want to call it. And the teachings suggest that you have "always already known" who you are, and therefore you have always been enlightened. So, if you are really always enlightened, how can we say that Samsara and Enlightenment are any different?

Here's some quotations from various teachers:

"Bodhi (knowledge of the Buddha-nature) is no state. The Buddha did not attain it. Sentient beings do not lack it. It cannot be reached with the body nor sought with the mind. All sentient beings are already of one form with the Bodhi... If you know positively that all sentient beings are already one with Bodhi, you will cease thinking of Bodhi as something to be attained."

"See you not that the easygoing Man of Tao, who has
abandoned learning and does not strive?
He neither avoids false thoughts nor seeks the true,
For ignorance is in reality the Buddha nature..."

"That the Ultimate State of Consciousness is not a state apart from or in any way different from the Present State of Consciousness is the point so many people seem to miss".

"Your ordinary consciousness, just that, is the Tao."

"That there is nothing which can be attained is not idle talk; it is the truth. You have always been one with the Buddha, so do not pretend you can gain this oneness by various practices. If, at this very moment, you could convince yourselves of its unattainability, being certain indeed that nothing at all can ever be attained, you would already be Bodhi-minded. Hard is the meaning of this saying! It is to teach you to refrain from seeking Buddhahood, since any search is doomed to failure."

"There is no reaching the Self. If Self were to be reached, it would mean that the Self is not here and now but that it has yet to be obtained. What is got afresh will also be lost. So it will be impermanent. What is not permanent is not worth striving for. So I say that the Self is not reached. You are the Self; you are already That."
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Re: Spirituality and Drive

Post by Sighclone » Thu Jun 26, 2008 4:40 am

Craig -

I do intellectually understand the fundamental assertion that we all have the Buddha nature, that we are all part of Being, etc. Possibly the best anthology of older nondual writings was done in 1944 by Aldous Huxley as "The Perennial Philospophy." This has been reprinted several times by Harper Colophon, possibly others.

But the problem lies in a key phrase by Eckhart, his definition of enlightenment: "...your natural state of felt oneness with Being."

A guy in 1944 with his hand on a gas chamber switch at Dachau could have just finished reading Huxley and the quotes you listed (at least those which had been written by then.) He reads these nice pieces and intellectually he understands that you don't have to do anything to seek enlightenement, that he has always been enlightened. He smiles..."Oh, OK, I guess I'm enlightened. I don't feel any different than I did before I read these nice words. But these words are very nice and I guess they must be right."

And then he pulls the frigging switch.

Why? Because he was not enlightened. This is a forum dedicated primarily to Eckhart Tolle. Why? Because he has stated that he is enlightened. Did any of your unnamed teachers make that claim? Adya has also stated that, as have a few others. These are the people I like to listen to. Ken Wilber, in his first few sentencees on the holosync interview made it very clear that he was the guy whose 25 books had been translated into 34 languages. Why did I need to know that? Would that mean that I should give more credibility to him? Also, there was a false modesty about his tone of voice. It was ego, sorry folks...big time ego. Andrew Cohen has that same kind of stink. And so do I from time to time. It's not 'bad', it just is. It's part of the reason that Richard Moss' 'The Mandala of Being' falls so flat - at least he states he is not enlightened.

Another word used in the nondual community is "self-realization." There is more to that event than just intellectually understanding that we are all One or sort of intellectually understanding "I Am That." I can comprehend that I am not "the story of me."..that I am something more or less or different. But full Self-realization apparently requires an event. A permanent event, not a kensho. At least everyone who claims to be enlightened recalls something huge that happened to them. Another word is 'shift.' The simple ratiocinative understanding of the meaning of ontological monism, or unity consciousness is not that shift.

From PON p. 23: "Enlightenment means rising above thought...in the enlightened state you still use your mind..." Oops...there is another phrase from enlightened person: "...the enlightened state..." Um, gee, that suggests that there might be another state. Like another word he uses: "...unconscious..." or "...insane..." or "unenlightened."

Most of us are here because we believe that there is a shift. That we pass through the gateless gate, and looking back, see that there was no gate at all. My little experience in February had that quality. But lots of mind has resumed its place. I can reach deep purity of consciousness in meditation and sometimes carry Presence through a couple of hours of daily life. But I ain't shifted yet. So I surrender, or I dig hard at identifying "who am I?" (dutifully following Maharshi).' So I accept shitty events. And one day I will achieve (or realize) the permanent "natural state of felt oneness with Being." Or not.

But some lecturer attempting to tell me something I know to be, for me personally, at my current state of consciousness, utterly false (...I am already enlightened...) is not particuarly helpful. It kind of smacks of an effort to say: "If you don't feel enlightened, what is wrong with you? Everybody IS enlightened, samsara and nirvana and pea soup and Nisargadatta's toenail are all the same thing or "no-thing." These aren't even pointers. They have the quality of "holier-than-thou", or a kind of spiritual arrogance utterly lacking in Tolle and mostly absent in Byron Katie and Adya. They clearly discourage any further "work" (Byron Katie).

But hang in there, Craig - if it works for you, go for it. For me, the intellectual conceptualization is no better than a fortune-cookie slip.

Namaste, Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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