the key master wrote:James doesn't sound like a total nitwit and from what you guys say he must be a pretty decent teacher. He also sounds like a goddam vedanta salesman in that message and some of his characterizations of Eckhart seemed not only over the top, but motivated by self interest. So I threw some back at him, hehe.
YUP JS is passionate about vedanta and is very outspoken and blunt. I found it off-putting at first until I realised he's very rarely far off the mark. It's not other teachers he has a problem with, only teachings that don't always stack up, or at worse are distorted and damaging. If you think he's critical of Eckhart you should hear what he says about Osho, or the neo/psuedo advaita crowd. (His take on neo advaita http://www.shiningworld.com/top/images/ ... rticles/(4
)%20Neo-Advaita.pdf ) He perhaps was too hard on Eckhart, although I don't think he's motivated by self interest. He does all his teaching for free and his website is packed with literally thousands of pages of articles, books, q&as and hundreds of hours of audio teachings. He's probably the least commercialised spiritual teacher I've encountered. It's clear from his attitude he really doesn't give a toss what people think about him; it's all about the teaching. Again, unlike virtually all western spiritual teachers he hasn't tried to spin his own 'unique' teaching to set himself apart from the crowd. It's 100% pure unadulterated vedanta. He said there's no need to reinvent the wheel when the wheel was already invented centuries ago. Don't mean to sound like a complete sycophant haha...I'm not. He's not what you expect an 'enlightened teacher' to be like...he's irreverent at times and a little fiery but he really has integrity.
I understand that minds are drawn to practices and doing stuff, and I'm certainly not telling people to not do anything. I do find myself pointing out the futility of practicing anything as a means of waking up because of how it reinforces the mind identification and often splits the mind in half. This doesn't mean don't practice, meditate, shift attention, what have you. It just means somethings going on, and we're looking at what that is.
I get what you mean. it's a double-edged sword. DOING a practise emphasises the doer, which can in turn emphasise this false self-identification we have it it, and which also gets us attached and hooked into results and what we'll get out of the practise. That's why the 'practise' of karma yoga (which is really more an attitude or mindset that we adopt toward life and doing than it is a practise) and an understanding of dharma helps neutralise the doer. We can't avoid action - we'll be doing actions every day til the day we drop dead. But changing the way we do things - ceding the actions to the Self/Brahman/whatever and letting go our attachment to results generates a generally more peaceful and steady mind and starts neutralising our conditioning, programming and our over-identification with the 'doer' aspect. Then we hand it over to jnana, knowledge and let the logic of vedanta do the work for us. That's all the 'practise' is in vedanta. Get your act together, clear out obstructing mental/emotional/psychological crap/habits/vasanas/conditioning, and just relax into the truth that we are pure awareness. There's a specific sequence of logic which, when unfolded by a skilled teacher, is pretty much irrefutable when explored, questioned and analysed. It just makes so much sense.
Yah, well things can only be noticed when mind is ready to notice them,
and if inquiry and meditation play a role in getting mind to that state then those mechanical functions played an implicit role in whatever get's noticed, but there are lots forces out there which compel mind to do and avoid certain things, and none of them are being chosen. On the other hand, I wouldn't say any of these mechanical thangs lead to truth realization or self knowledge or whatever, because its the absence of belief in the untrue idea that one is limited to what one appears as which is being washed away, the one who does stuff. This is why I talk a lot about delusion and split minds and stuff, because noticing, and yes, inquiring into that stuff is something mind can do which can lead to the absence of that stuff. I also understand that some folks don't have the same conceptual understanding of what the term delusion and split mind means to me from over here and my perspective, which leads to a lot of what I write falling on deaf ears. I do enjoy re-wording things and seeing what works for the peeps and what doesn't. Putting things into words is very cool part of being human, and we all put our own unique spin on the truth we fail at expressing.
what you're saying totally gels with what vedanta is saying. just different words and terminology and that's probably part of the problem in such discussions. We' often talk using certain words and terms that have quite differing meanings and connotations to each of us.
There do seem to be enlightened peeps out there who don't seem to be at war with themselves internally, but when they sell that as a product of something they did or the bastion of enlightened who came before who handed down the teachings through the ages from infinity and beyond, I get the wash cloth out. I enjoy the old dead teachers, I love the Tao, and Rumi, and a lot of the expression in Advaita, for the record.
I love them too. like you I often find the traditions that have sprung up around them often miss the point a bit. I do certain taoist practises, qigong, neigong etc, mainly for healing etc, and find them great. But most of the Taoists are not very clear on Lao Tzu's teaching at all. They don't really get it. I don't think I've yet met a Taoist practitioner/teacher/etc who knows who they are. It's all about cultivating Chi...many of them are terrified of even ejaculating as they think their chi is so limited and they can't afford to leave any. They think they're very limited little doers - and if you look into Taoist alchemy, the overall intent is actually to create what they call an 'immortal foetus' so they can have everlasting life. They don't know they already do have everlasting life because that's what they ARE. Lao Tzu would be laughing at them, as he knew the Truth.