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Buddhism as a model?
Posted: 08 July 2007 11:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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[quote author=“mahahaha”][quote author=“burt”]It could be that your reaction to the clutter surrounding the various “models” or systems is standing in your way, and that could well be a case of the seeker who could only accept the perfect teacher, only to find that this ideal teacher would not teach him because he could only deal with the perfect student.  I recall a comment by one of the trainers in an early training that I was in, to the effect that “boredom is an essential part of this work,” and another comment that an important aspect of any system was “learning to accept the unpleasant manifestations of others.”

Fair enough (if not a tad didactic and presumptuous), but conceded that the point has merit.

However, you completely failed to address the other issues which are of concern not only to me, but also to Sam Harris, and telling us that the problem is with our attitude and not the true actual bullshit, pomp and circumstance of the particular sect solves nothing.

 

Sorry for the presumptuous tone.  I think one aspect of the problem is that any group organized around a legitimate teaching system is going to show aspects of cult-like behavior (bullshit, pomp, etc.) just because that is the way that people are.  Somebody finds a system and the first impulse is to become a “follower” rather than a “student.”  It seems to be the way that people react (for what I consider excellent descriptions of this the writings of Idries Shah are hard to beat).  As I see it, this means that there will always be the problem of dealing with the bull and one way of determining whether a method/system is likely to be legitimate or not is the extent to which the bull is encouraged or discouraged (some time ago in the cult thread I posted a listing of cult symptons). 

[quote author=“mahahaha”]
The fact is that Asian rituals and culture do not translate well into western culture.  Christianity evolved over many centuries in Europe, and then the USA, and we all know how completely European culture bastardized it, and how American culture has made it into a complete joke.  But it is accessible to westerners.

Tibetan Buddhism and Zen have been exposed to western culture (at least popular culture) for less than a century, and are accessible to westerners only insofar as they retain some actual Buddhism (and/or Taoism).  But for westerners to walk around in funny clothes, engage in meaningless rituals, bow to people - in short, trying to act Asian - is unnatural.

We’re in complete agreement here: it is difficult for a Westener to really get into any of the Asian systems.  Having said that, I do know of some who have, but mostly it just doesn’t work.  To make matters worse, the older Western philosophical systems were supressed by the Church, went underground and degenerated into occult magical systems.  Any Western system now would have to grow out of the past few centuries scientific culture.

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Posted: 08 July 2007 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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[quote author=“unsmoked”]
Why separate the mundane and the spiritual?  Why play with the spiritual/mental rattlesnakes that almost everyone else is playing with and getting bitten, getting their lives poisoned with - jealousy, resentment, boredom, ambition, fear, envy etc. etc.?  Why say you’re in charge of the mundane choices, but not the mental, or spiritual?
.........
“If you want to be free, get to know your real self.  It has no form….”

This is a good discussion, unsmoked, thanks for getting into it.
I have no intention of separating the mundane and the spiritual. To continue with the rattlesnake analogy, remember I wrote that the dangerous rattlesnakes are the ones I don’t see.
Why play with the rattlesnakes? I have no intention of playing with rattlesnakes, spiritual or mundane.
I go about my life, not in charge of anything, but participating according to my conditioning and whatever insights arise.
My intention IS to get to know my real self, which is not limited to this constantly transforming collection of forms. However, it takes more than intention. It takes something rather mysterious, something that opens up in unexpected ways, not according to what I do, or don’t do.
I’m working with a teacher, but a true teacher doesn’t say “do x-y-z and you’re saved.” We see the fundamentalists doing that, and we recoil. 
And your experience?

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Posted: 08 July 2007 01:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]
The individual is charged with the responsibility of taking the tradition’s original thought (accessed through the writings/scripture of that tradition) and applying that thought to his/her particular circumstances. If it can’t be done, then that is an indication that the spiritual tradition is not for that person.

I would just add that the key component of a spiritual teaching is how it can be practiced. That’s why many Zen teachers have not been in a big hurry to dump the ‘Asian’ externals. It’s not immediately clear which of those externals are valuable and which are disposable.
We could look at this from a Darwinian point of view. We can’t tell from looking at a genome how viable it is - but observing it manifested as an organism in a particular environment, we may begin to get an idea of what is ‘vestigial’. Then again, some organ that at first glance seems rather useless may have hidden value.
What’s happening with spirituality right now is interesting because so much ‘cross-fertilization’ is going on.
(See Raimond Panikkar references by Mahahaha.)
With cross-fertilization some aspects of a genome that seemed rather useless may suddenly jump into action with hybrid vigor in a changed environment.
It’s all very creative!
I include atheists as indispensable to this cross-fertilization, by the way.

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Posted: 08 July 2007 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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[quote author=“Pat_Adducci”]What’s happening with spirituality right now is interesting because so much ‘cross-fertilization’ is going on.

This is an interesting insight. “Cross-fertilization” among religions and philisophical systems has been going on since the dawn of civilization, but now the level of communication is so much more advanced and rapid that you have a daily smorgasbord of options/opinions/experiences from which to choose (or not). Ultimately each person is drawn to a particular worldview because of that person’s internal nature and wiring. But everything is in a continuous state of flux because of new information coming in. The challenge is to choose what is healthy for you, and you alone can be the final arbiter of that issue.

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Posted: 09 July 2007 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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[quote author=“Pat_Adducci”][quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]
The individual is charged with the responsibility of taking the tradition’s original thought (accessed through the writings/scripture of that tradition) and applying that thought to his/her particular circumstances. If it can’t be done, then that is an indication that the spiritual tradition is not for that person.

I would just add that the key component of a spiritual teaching is how it can be practiced. That’s why many Zen teachers have not been in a big hurry to dump the ‘Asian’ externals. It’s not immediately clear which of those externals are valuable and which are disposable.
We could look at this from a Darwinian point of view. We can’t tell from looking at a genome how viable it is - but observing it manifested as an organism in a particular environment, we may begin to get an idea of what is ‘vestigial’. Then again, some organ that at first glance seems rather useless may have hidden value.
What’s happening with spirituality right now is interesting because so much ‘cross-fertilization’ is going on.
(See Raimond Panikkar references by Mahahaha.)
With cross-fertilization some aspects of a genome that seemed rather useless may suddenly jump into action with hybrid vigor in a changed environment.
It’s all very creative!
I include atheists as indispensable to this cross-fertilization, by the way.

Can emptiness be cross-pollinated with fullness?

I wonder how many of us watched the PBS saga of The Latter Day Saints a few nights ago?  I have relatives in Salt Lake who are Mormons; some cousins with the same name.  Visited them once - very normal, hospitable, kind, willing to help me settle there etc.  Gave me the Book of Mormon when I left, which, I think, told me that I was going to burn in hell forever if I didn’t accept it as the word of God.  (“The Book of Mormon is chloroform in print,” - Mark Twain).  It is strange to see this legion of normal, happy, productive people whose ‘faith’ and fervent view of their eternal future is based on the ravings of a charlatan.

So, for a few days I was ‘pollinated’ with lunacy and kindness.  Those relatives, (cousins and their children), were all born into the lunacy, so I can’t very well ask what it is about Mormonism that made it suitable for them.  That would be like asking fish in murky pond what it was they liked about the murk; asking them why they didn’t swim up the inlet to clear water.

Pat mentions that atheists are indispensable to the cross-fertilization of beliefs, ideas, knowledge that is going on worldwide via the media and Internet these days.  In a previous post here I used the analogy of a CD in our brain to represent our conditioned self, or the ME, (as differing from the unconditioned mind we were born with, or, our original Buddha nature).  To me, atheists are no different, in a Zen sense, from religious people.  They operate from the CD in their brain, from the ME, from all their conditioned knowledge, ideas, convictions, science, theories, etc. 

Can emptyness cross-pollinate with fullness?  Can innocence (original mind) cross pollinate with habits, obsessions, fear, hope, resentment, love, knowledge and all kinds of other categories of thought and the labeling of feelings?  “If there is a trace of the ‘I’ as small as an ant’s gas, you are not manifesting your true nature.”  (Zen Master Joshu Sasaki)

When an atheist practices Zen, his atheism vanishes.  When a Mormon practices Zen, his Mormonism vanishes.  In the living act of manifesting Zen mind, there is no cross-pollinating.

Granted, Mormonism and atheism can cross-pollinate, perhaps producing a Latter Day Atheist - someone whose head is full of monkey business, like yours truly when trying to communicate such things.

Somewhere above, Pat asked about my personal experience, something she has done before.  This question prompted me to begin writing an essay that I called, ‘The Three Wolves,’ posted in the Christianity Forum.  (Probably the wrong category).  The few Zen masters I’ve known discourage people from talking about ‘spiritual’ personal experiences, as this tends to get others ‘looking for,’ or ‘expecting,’ or trying to ‘duplicate’ such experiences.  To be normal, empty, and alert is the ticket.  In ‘The Three Wolves’, the narrator finds the wilderness a place of ‘revelation’.
Another essay might describe an uncomfortable seat in a Zen meditation hall and the barking of a dog.  As we keep saying here, everyone is different.  Everyone must ‘find their own road to heaven.’

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Posted: 09 July 2007 08:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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[quote author=“unsmoked”]So, for a few days I was ‘pollinated’ with lunacy and kindness.

:?

Bet that felt good, didn’t it? As far as I can tell, you’re still just as much a boob as you ever were. It’s the wasted motion that really gripes me. Unless feeling good is an end in itself. Which I question.

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Posted: 09 July 2007 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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[quote author=“unsmoked”]
Can emptyness cross-pollinate with fullness?  Can innocence (original mind) cross pollinate with habits, obsessions, fear, hope, resentment, love, knowledge and all kinds of other categories of thought and the labeling of feelings?  “If there is a trace of the ‘I’ as small as an ant’s gas, you are not manifesting your true nature.”  (Zen Master Joshu Sasaki)

When an atheist practices Zen, his atheism vanishes.  When a Mormon practices Zen, his Mormonism vanishes.  In the living act of manifesting Zen mind, there is no cross-pollinating.

Granted, Mormonism and atheism can cross-pollinate, perhaps producing a Latter Day Atheist - someone whose head is full of monkey business, like yours truly when trying to communicate such things.

Somewhere above, Pat asked about my personal experience, something she has done before.  This question prompted me to begin writing an essay that I called, ‘The Three Wolves,’ posted in the Christianity Forum.  (Probably the wrong category).  The few Zen masters I’ve known discourage people from talking about ‘spiritual’ personal experiences, as this tends to get others ‘looking for,’ or ‘expecting,’ or trying to ‘duplicate’ such experiences.  To be normal, empty, and alert is the ticket.  In ‘The Three Wolves’, the narrator finds the wilderness a place of ‘revelation’.
Another essay might describe an uncomfortable seat in a Zen meditation hall and the barking of a dog.  As we keep saying here, everyone is different.  Everyone must ‘find their own road to heaven.’

In my own tradition, there is a distinction made between the Absolute Mind of non-conceptuality and the Relative Mind of language and concepts.  The latter is not to be dropped, but rather understood because it is the source of wisdom.  The problem lies in becoming caught in the coils of the Relative mind (attachments, the unprocessed “me”), without knowledge of the Absolute.  A good symbol is the Medusa, as the uncontrolled mind, the writhing snakes (to speak of snakes) as thoughts, which if one looks at directly (i.e., becomes attached to and emeshed in) paralyzes all real action (turns you to stone).  The remedy: to polish the shield until it is a perfect mirror, and view the linguistic/conceptual mind in that mirror.  The myth continues with the head of Medusa being placed in the center of Athena’s war shield (Athena, of course, being the patron goddess of intellect, having sprung fully formed from the forhead of Zeus.)  Then, one is ready to effectively re-enter the world in a role of service.

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Posted: 09 July 2007 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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[quote author=“unsmoked”]
When an atheist practices Zen, his atheism vanishes.  When a Mormon practices Zen, his Mormonism vanishes.  In the living act of manifesting Zen mind, there is no cross-pollinating.

Very interesting point. This brings up the importance of not just following a model, but experiencing what the model represents. It makes me think of the importance of a teacher who can not just give instructions in the model, but transmit the faith that doesn’t fit in any model.
When a theist goes into silence, her theism is no longer believed. However, if she wants to communicate she might decide to use language which sounds theistic. Is this manifesting Zen mind or not? It depends, right? Similar words can either manifest Zen mind or confusion.
(I’d like to hear from a Mormon who practices Zen!)

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Posted: 09 July 2007 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”]
The problem lies in becoming caught in the coils of the Relative mind (attachments, the unprocessed “me”), without knowledge of the Absolute.  A good symbol is the Medusa, as the uncontrolled mind, the writhing snakes (to speak of snakes) as thoughts, which if one looks at directly (i.e., becomes attached to and emeshed in) paralyzes all real action (turns you to stone).

Vivid metaphor! It’s about believing something to be what it is not, right? We mostly ignore our experience of the Absolute, and try to make the Relative something it has no power to be.

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Posted: 09 July 2007 02:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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[quote author=“unsmoked”]Can emptyness cross-pollinate with fullness?  Can innocence (original mind) cross pollinate with habits, obsessions, fear, hope, resentment, love, knowledge and all kinds of other categories of thought and the labeling of feelings? 

When an atheist practices Zen, his atheism vanishes.  When a Mormon practices Zen, his Mormonism vanishes.  In the living act of manifesting Zen mind, there is no cross-pollinating

Bullshit. 

“Nirvana is Samsara; Samsara is Nirvana.”

I would counsel that you cease trying to sound enlightened when you aren’t.  You are merely repeating platitudes that you haven’t assimilated.  It is pretentious - and it pisses Salty off.  Me too.  And I bet your Roshi, as well.

-maha (pretentious and unenlightened) haha

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Posted: 10 July 2007 03:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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Your words are, as expected, highly inaccurate and irrelevant, m.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
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Posted: 10 July 2007 03:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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[quote author=“mahahaha”]
I would counsel that you cease trying to sound enlightened when you aren’t.  You are merely repeating platitudes that you haven’t assimilated.  It is pretentious - and it pisses Salty off.  Me too.  And I bet your Roshi, as well.

-maha (pretentious and unenlightened) haha

Isn’t it possible this is part of the process of assimilation?
Any Roshi from Japan would most likely counsel us all to shut up and go back to work. Sorry, Roshi, this is the United States of America.
I used to be a good little Zen student walking with hands folded and mouth held shut, but then I discovered that isn’t necessarily Buddhism. My teacher from Tibet invited us all to talk as much as we wanted and to challenge each other, as part of the path.
There is being pretentious and there is pretending to not be pretentious…consciousness will unpeel the onion for us, and we’re all helping each other as best we can. Why not take a few risks?

The question ‘can emptiness be cross-pollinated with fullness?’ is really very basic. It makes me think of the possibility that God is creating God through manifesting as form which then unfolds in unexpected directions.  Or if you want to think in terms of consciousness and the forms appearing in consciousness - I know the ‘doctrine’ expressed by people like Shankara, that there is this ‘pure consciousness’ which isn’t touched by the forms appearing within consciousness, but what if they were only partly right? What if the fact that it’s all One means that there can’t be pure consciousness untouched by forms, or a God which creates but isn’t created? What if the living act of manifesting Zen mind is precisely the manifestation of fear, hope, love, resentment, knowledge, etc.?

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Posted: 10 July 2007 03:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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[quote author=“homunculus”]Your words are, as expected, highly inaccurate and irrelevant, m.

Your words, are, as expected, highly vague and unsubstantiated.

“Irrelevant” is a matter of opinion and you are entitled to yours.

“Innacurate” is a matter of fact, so let’s see your sources, because your opinions are of little import or substance.

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Posted: 10 July 2007 04:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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[quote author=“Pat_Adducci”]Any Roshi from Japan would most likely counsel us all to shut up and go back to work.

And hit us with a stick, to boot.  Hard.  8)

Sorry, Roshi, this is the United States of America.

Well, it’s “western” culture, anyway.  Plenty of Aussies and Canucks here along the the Yanks.  In any event, it is not “Asian.”

There is being pretentious and there is pretending to not be pretentious…consciousness will unpeel the onion for us, and we’re all helping each other as best we can. Why not take a few risks?

Agreed.  But in communicating, we should start from the common ground we are students, beginners, seekers, and not teachers, gurus, roshis or sages. 

The question ‘can emptiness be cross-pollinated with fullness?’ is really very basic. It makes me think of the possibility that God is creating God through manifesting as form which then unfolds in unexpected directions.  Or if you want to think in terms of consciousness and the forms appearing in consciousness - I know the ‘doctrine’ expressed by people like Shankara, that there is this ‘pure consciousness’ which isn’t touched by the forms appearing within consciousness, but what if they were only partly right? What if the fact that it’s all One means that there can’t be pure consciousness untouched by forms, or a God which creates but isn’t created? What if the living act of manifesting Zen mind is precisely the manifestation of fear, hope, love, resentment, knowledge, etc.?

“Nirvana is Samsara; Samsara is Nirvana” is key. 

Our separate, personal existence is a fact which has to be reconciled with the fact that there is One Truth - but a Truth that can’t be possessed by separate individual egos with minds.  The two facts - that there is Samsara, duality and multiplicty - and there is Nirvana, Unity, Truth, are seemingly contradictory, but must somehow be reconciled because we are confronted with both at the same time.

Think of it this way.  When Gautama Buddha acheived “enlightenment” why did his human form not just vanish and merge into the One?  Instead, there was a body and a mind that was “there” and taught the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path to other minds.  How can we reconcile the notion of “enlightenment” and “form” - or emptiness and fullness - or One and Many?

The answer is that Truth somehow includes both simulateneously.  Monism is not the case; Dualism is not the case.  Non-dualism is the case.  Truth is Not-Two.

I can say all that, but I haven’t experienced it.  Until I do, it’s all speculative, mainly learned from Panikkar, who has experienced it.

Speaking of Panikkar, his book on Buddhism is another must read:

The Silence of God: The Answer of the Buddha

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0883444461?tag=worldcat-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0883444461&adid=09GGRP3Z4C5WDNBF0JZ4&

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Posted: 10 July 2007 05:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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[quote author=“unsmoked”]The Zen adept recognizes the ME in all its guises, and doesn’t give it time to ‘land in his mind.’

Who is writing these posts? 

Why are they being written?

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