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Enlightenment - discussion

 
 
vinasp
 
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2010 11:49 pm
This thread is to continue a conversation started in the new member introduction section. I had quoted the seventeenth century Catholic preacher Abraham a Santa Clara who said :
"A man who dies before he dies, does not die when he dies."
From : Graham Parkes, Heidegger and Asian Thought 1990, page 152.


Hi S9,

I hope my post has not caused you to misunderstand. Let me clarify a few things.
To be honest I do not know what Abraham was talking about. Perhaps some sort of Catholic mystical experience? Nor do I know why Heidegger quotes Abraham in the lecture. Heidegger was interested in Japanese Zen which sometimes speaks of enlightenment as "the great death". I have not read much on Heideggers thoughts. I am not really a philosopher.

My main interest is Early Buddhism which teaches "no-self". I think that the realisation of this is enlightenment. I also think that it must be a sort of "ego-death" or "psychological death".

On the question of "how to do it" I am not sure. Is the Catholic version the same as the Buddhist version? Early Buddhists seem not to have believed in "divine beings" or "creator gods".

Early Buddhism seems to be describing a path and a practice which they say will result in enlightenment. Some later Buddhist schools seem to say that there is no method and there is nothing one can do to become enlightened.

I suspect that something else is involved here, not a "god" and not the "unconscious" in a Freudian sense. But a deeper level of the mind which operates in a different way. This "original mind" is in control, and can bring about a psychological transformation under certain conditions.

Perhaps our brains have evolved with a built-in error correction capacity. Certain cognitive errors (connected with language) may lead to unpleasant fragmented states of mind. When the error correction is triggered it results in a spontaneous re-ordering.

Kind regards, Vincent.
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starfighter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2010 11:57 pm
@vinasp,
subscribed. i am speechless.
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 06:05 am
@vinasp,
vinasp, I reposted mt original question for the curious.

"As Arnold might say, I'll be back."

How would you propose that we die b/4 we die?

By the way welcome.

And:

I sought this post out after reading you over on Right View, Buddhism. I happen to agree with you on that topic, incidentally.

Warm Regards,
S9

---------- Post added 01-07-2010 at 07:06 AM ----------

Hi back at ya, Vincent,

Don’t worry about me misunderstanding because of something you may say. I am purely capable of doing that without any help. ; ^ )

You need not apologize for not being a certified philosopher, with all of the bells and whistles. I am only interested in the Truth, Pure and Simple, and you seem to be in possession of some of that, IMPO.

I myself am more of a Mystic (Mutt) having studied many fine disciplines, and like Aldous Huxley come upon a “golden thread” that seems to link them all, ultimately.

I have read my share of Chan, and Zen, as well, some years back now. But, I am not so organized in that area as I imagine you are. So, I am looking forward to learning in some small way from your self in this gentle conversation.

Yes, “no self,” everyone seems to think they know what this means, don’t they? I seem to be in a minority opinion on that one. I see that as speaking of the finite self, only. So, I could easily call it a psychological death, as well, when we become Realized/Liberated. Were that it was that simple. I also have a number of connotations that follow from that original concept.

Enlightenment, talking about it can certainly be both tricky, and confusing. I think much of this comes directly out of the fact that people are often speaking on multiple levels at once, a sort of mix and match, while making no attempts to point this fact out.

We also have the added problem of people speak from the perspective of outside of enlightenment, and within enlightenment, two totally diverse perspectives, but once again throwing both willy-nilly into that original mix. No wonder it seems to be contradictory in many instances.

So of course in the beginning we need a method. We are out here in a boat without any oars. After a while, we begin to realize that what we want is already in our possession and yet covered up to such an extent by misconception that we cannot quite make it out.

So there you have it, “nothing we can do will get us enlightened,” because as Buddha said, “we were all already enlightened, and just didn’t know it,” and at the same time we need a “method” then, to get rid of this “not knowing it.”

Yes, my new friend, we are certainly speaking (not about more/cumulative knowledge), but rather of something far deeper than finite mind and her knowledge, (AKA this dream state.) Like you say, it is “Original Mind.” But, not original in any lineal sense, but rather original as in synonymous with “Essential Being.”

There is certainly some Spiritual Instinct seated deep within us, which seems to be insistent on being known.

I look forward with curious anticipation to your reply,
S9
vinasp
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 10:40 am
@Subjectivity9,
Hi S9,

About Chan and Zen I know nothing. I think I read perhaps three books on Zen about twenty years ago. I did not know what to make of it. Also one book on Chan at about the same time.

I had a sort of "enlightement experience" in 1987. I had been reading Krishnamurti for about five years before that. After this experience I lost interest in reading for about four years. Because it was a "sudden" type of experience I did not understand what had happened. After about four years (when the bliss subsided) I became interested in Buddhism (some say that this is what K was teaching). I read an overview of Mahayana and some sutras together with the Chan and Zen books. I also read some Theravada books. I decided to study Theravada, because I thought it was the original teaching and they seemed to describe things in detail.

That was twenty years ago, and I am still trying to make sense of the teachings in the five nikayas. My latest "discoveries" are very strange but I do not know anyone who I could discuss these things with. I tried some buddhist forums and the result was - shall we say - not encouraging.

On "no-self": Do you mean that the self which ends is not the real self? My opinion is that what ends is only what has been mentally constructed - nothing real.

Kind regards, Vincent.
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 12:35 pm
@vinasp,
Well, Vincent,

Here we are in our new "home sweet home." Now where were we? : ^ )

First of all, let me ask you about your studies of ancient Buddhism. What did they take in?

When I think of ancient Buddhism, I think of Chan in China being imported into Japan as Zen. Am I missing something here? (Of course there is also Indian Buddhism, originally.)

How would you describe your personal take on Buddhism? Do you belong to any particular school now? Is your favorite take on Buddhism still in correspondence with the Theravadan school?

Why don’t you share with us, about your enlightenment experience, if you will, how it manifested, as well as its lasting effects on you then, and now?

I will speak of my experience too, if you wish, although they do not sound to be quite so dynamic as your own experience. They were life changing for me, mainly in perspective.

Do you still enjoy Krishnamurti?

What has you confused about the nikayas? Lets talk about your latest ideas in that area.

My ideas on no-self are that, what we believe ourselves to be is an error, a mistake…so that mistaken self is no self really, just an imaginative figure created by our limited finite mind…or our ego self.

I am closer to seeing this no-self rather like Zen does, or what is commonly called the 'Original Mind,’as an eternal essence, or the 'Unborn.' 'Original Mind' is the 'Unchanging.'

I am not strictly just a Buddhist, in my thinking about these things. I trust my own self, first and foremost, above anything 2ndary opinions. I hold my own witnessing, and my own wisdom in high esteem. I feel to stray from this trust in myself would be disastrous to my spiritual journey towards finding the 'Ultimate Truth' or my very Self (Buddha Nature) through my own integrity.

Warm Regards,
S9
vinasp
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 07:34 pm
@Subjectivity9,
Hi S9,

Before my "enlightenment experience" I had not read anything on Buddhism. But some people say that this is what J. Krishnamurti was teaching - although he did not use that label. When I eventually became interested in it I read a number of books, for example :

* Mahayana Buddhism by Paul Williams 1989.
* Buddhist wisdom Books by Edward Conze 1988.
* The Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra translated by Charles Luk 1990.

This was just sampling the various schools to get a feeling about the teachings. I did not like Mahayana much. I chose to concentrate on the Theravada school and the translations of the Nikayas.

By Early Buddhism I mean the indian teachings in Pali ( the five nikayas) which are thought to be the words of the historical Buddha.

I think that what I was really trying to do was to understand the path to
enlightenment and separate it from the religious trappings. I do not consider myself as belonging to any school or tradition. I don't think that I have ever been in agreement with the traditional or orthodox Theravada interpretation.

For some reason which I do not understand I have not read Krishnamurti since my experience.

The nikayas are really pre-sectarian Buddhism, I do not consider them to be Theravada as such. Each of the early schools had their own interpretation. I think that the nikaya teachings are "esoteric", composed in a special way to permit multiple interpretations, and to conceal the real teachings.

To give just one example lets consider the noble eightfold path. Most people think that anyone who adopts certain beliefs and practices is automatically on this path. But the teachings (when understood correctly) show that this is not the case. Only "noble disciples" are on the noble eightfold path, and most followers (lay or monastic) are not noble disciples.

On the "no-self" teaching in the nikayas, Buddhist academics are divided. Some say that the Buddha was denying any kind of self, others say that he was only denying a false self and not the real one.

My understanding is that the nikayas say that the "view of self" should be removed. By this they mean a deep seated belief in a self. They were trying to achieve liberation which includes freedom from desires. Perhaps the idea of self is needed for desires to arise.

The nikayas also speak about "the unborn, the uncreated, the unmade" this is probably a reference to nibbana.

Kind regards, Vincent.
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jan, 2010 10:32 am
@vinasp,
Vincent,

I don’t think that you can go far wrong with J.Krishnamurti. He is a very bright fellow, and understands intellectually just about at the pinnacle of what can be understood in that way.

I must admit that I am not well versed in Early Indian Buddhism, although I have read extensively in Buddhism and Hinduism. So perhaps I won’t be floundering too badly in speaking with you on these things. Perhaps, breaking it up into specific pieces might make it easier for me to keep up with you, however.

I Googled the 5 Nikayas and Khuddaka Nikaya this morning, and it began to seem a larger pursuit than I had originally thought. Do you have a specific sermon, or whatever, which I might read first to discuss with you? I obviously don’t know enough to have formed a preference yet. : ^ )

Yes, I think we are all trying to get to the kernel of this teaching in an intimate and more immediate fashion. We don’t want to just know 'of it.' We want to first live it, and eventually BE it.

The religious mind of man can actually become an obstruction. So much hocus-pokus, and childishness, can get old very fast, especially when you are on fire with suffering.

Or course, with your previous experience, you also have the carrot of “trying to get back to the garden.”

Can I get you to discribe what you mean by bliss? Is it a physical thing, a psychological thing, or something entirely different?

Have you been able to get ahold of some nikayas that predate the 1st council getting their hands on them, and adding to them?

I don’t believe that you can ever get away from multiple interpretations, of anything, simply because of the multiple levels of understanding that people represent. So, in other words, it is not so much permitting different interpretations, as it is not being able to stop it,don'yt you think?

Q: “To a pickpocket, a sage is his purse.”

You are right about the 8 fold path being understood so differently…to some simply as ethics. Maybe we can look at that together, too.

How do you stand on the whole idea of a Real Self, in some detail please?

I actually buy into the ‘Atman is Brahman’ thing the Hindu’s put forward.

I think desires abide in the body. But, since the body isn’t my True Self, what do I care. They are dream desires in a dream body, which I intend to Wake Up from, (by removing myself from “Wrongful Identification.)

Warm Regards,
S9
vinasp
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jan, 2010 04:29 pm
@Subjectivity9,
Hi S9,

What do I think about the Real Self ?

The mind makes distinctions, these are usefull for thinking about the world. One can not avoid dualistic thinking. While thinking dualistically one should not lose touch with the pre-dualistic level of unbroken wholeness. But almost everyone does lose touch. They become lost in a fragmented world of their own making. Liberation is the return to wholeness.
One can not say what the pre-dualistic is. Dualistic thinking is based on pairs of concepts derived from language. Someone makes the distinction between "self" and "other" and then takes this as real. They are creating a fragmented world.
The Buddhist overcomes the distinction between "self" and "not-self" and regards everything as "not-self". The Brahmin does it and regards everything as "self". Both methods work. One is liberated from desire because the generation of desire requires a distinction between self and not self. And yet both are wrong. You can not say that "everything is X" when X is one of a concept pair.
The ultimate reality is the same but the language used is different.
There is no word for it. So I would not call it the "real self".

Kind regards, Vincent.
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Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Jan, 2010 01:46 pm
@vinasp,
vinasp
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Jan, 2010 11:00 pm
@Subjectivity9,
Hi S9,

My answer to your question about the "real self" is probably confused. I am trying to show what I think must be the path back to wholeness. But for me there was no path.

A short description of the "enlightenment" experience may help at this point :
The first thing was the appearance of the conviction "I am going to die very soon". This was completely irrational but I could not get rid of it. I had to "let go" of everything. This lasted about three weeks.
Next was a period of hyper-lucidity which lasted about three days. I read certain passages from Krishnamurti because the one thing which I most desired to know before dying was what K meant by the "ending of me"(psychological death). K explained it well, I understood it, and on the evening of the third day it actually took place.
The experience is hard to describe. A "door" appeared and one knew that if one chose to go through it, then everything that one was familiar with would be left behind. It represented something entirely new. One could know nothing about what was on the "other side" beforehand. One had to stop imagining a future based on the past. One "entered", it took only a moment.

I have been in that state, whatever it is, ever since. There is nothing I need to do, I am just there. I can think conceptually but I seem to be outside the sphere of language and concepts.

This is why I said that there was something else involved. It is "as if" my
unconscious mind "set it all up" for the transformation. This is why I can't explain to anyone else "how to do it".

Who knows what a human being is? Who knows what consciousness is? We are a mystery. Deep, unfathomable.

Kind regards, Vincent.
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Jan, 2010 02:34 pm
@vinasp,
Vincent,

So after that experience, are you saying that you were ‘Aware’ of who your real self was, or IS?

If so, could you try to convey to me how that feels in your everyday life, or is it how your everyday life is changed/altered by this knowing? Or is it pretty much where you are coming from now?

I had a ‘life changing experience’ that came closer to how St John of the Cross, might have explained his transformation.

It was more like I was carrying water (my life) in a bucket, and the bucket simply fell out of the bottom. I went to bed one night, going along as usual but on the path towards enlightenment, and woke up the next morning like the path had just walked out the door and left me, without so much as a note to explain why. ; ^ )

The path was simply no longer an option for me, and I (because the path had pretty much been my life up until that moment) was left with absolutely no answers as to why. I certainly hadn’t reasoned it out. It was almost like I had died and been born again without ANY answers.

I wasn’t afraid of this seemingly quiet place, but just baffled… Strange huh?

Now over a 6 month period, or so, I have come to find out that, I wasn’t in a quiet place at/all. I was that quiet, and I abide nowhere. Slowly this is a growing awareness of what was an instant shift.

Peace,
S9
vinasp
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Jan, 2010 04:17 pm
@Subjectivity9,
Hi S9,

I think the problem in Buddhism is the apotheosis, they magnify the founder into a super human deity with qualities and powers that no real human being could ever possess. The problem is worse in the Mahayana.

This spills over into a mis-understanding of the nature of nibbana, or the state of mind of an enlightened person.

My experience gave me no new knowledge of anything external. No knowledge of gods, devas, heavens, or hells. No knowledge of whether or not there is any post-mortem existence. No "memory of past lives". No psychic powers.

It was just an experience of how all that has been constructed by the mind can cease. Me and my world disappeared.

The initial intense bliss is probably due to the over-production of endorphins by the brain. This returns to normal after a few years.

So, for me also, there are no answers, but the questions do not matter any more.

Kind regards, Vincent.
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Jan, 2010 04:34 pm
@vinasp,
Vincent,

So tell me this. What did you discover about your (Ultimate) Self. I know all the things that disappeared, and apparently so do you, from what you are saying.

But, what did you Realize, or Wake Up too?

Regards,
S9
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jan, 2010 11:39 pm
@vinasp,
hope you guys dont mind if i join you?

i think you are talking about the shift in consciousness that i sincerely believing is happening globally...at least that is what i am hoping and believing i am witnessing
vinasp
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2010 01:19 am
@salima,
Hi everybody,

Welcome Salima and Starfighter, yes anyone can join the discussion.

Regards, Vincent.
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2010 07:26 am
@vinasp,
Salima,

I, for one, am always happy to see another face. : ^ )

There seems to be more than one school of thought on this ‘consciousness shift’ that is taking place, some think that it is a historical, or even an evolutionary shift brought about by crisis on this planet, or even the information revolution (the web) making us a little more like the ‘spiritual borg,’ as in now one mind through this connection.

I, on the other hand, while being open to the more group like changes that are definitely going on, I am more inclined to believe that there is also (always has been) something more individually intimate going on spiritually. (An evolution of one at a time.)

Can I prove what happened to me wasn’t just some small part of an iceberg, of course not. But, then, what happened to me seems to be outside of multiplicity, or small mind, and isn’t actually effected by what is happening in this dream world. It is wholly transcendent of this dream world.

Peace and love,
S9
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2010 08:24 am
@vinasp,
my guess is that it is just a natural part of evolution. i believe it has something to do with the species having had enough experience to be prepared for the next step. i believe we have faculties that can be used to sense more than what is easily observable in the physical world, and that is a major part of spiritual evolution. maybe i should say i guess rather than believe, i am only guessing on a lot of stuff here. i dont think what i see as the shift is being caused by any outside of the human being 'effects'.

but in another sense, there isnt really anything changing in you or me because there isnt any you or me. it is only a case of the opening of the faculties of the vehicle this portion of the whole is using as a focal point. and until that happens across the board, 'it' cannot completely comprehend the situation. i guess...

yes, vincent...the answers do not matter any more.

i am the most interested in the following generation to see where they go.
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2010 01:26 pm
@vinasp,
Salima,

I see Enlightenment as natural, too. But, I see it more like the Buddhist might, as a ‘Waking Up’ to what actually is and not so much changing into something new or more advanced.

Another place we may not agree is, I do not see Enlightenment as a group activity. When we travel inward, as it is a subjective journey, we travel unaccompanied. This is a journey into solitude, and has no room for the notion of 2, or duality. There is no I/thou (and no groups) in this 'end-game.'

We as a species have a tendency to believe that we are superior to other species, perhaps because of our technology, or just perhaps because of our own arrogance.

But, we have no real way of understanding what the other animals may feel or understand about this more spiritual understanding, simply because they cannot tell us what they feel in this area. So of course, we grab the throne and see our species as the cherry on the cake, the big cheese...that is humanities ego sickness after all.

But, if this world and our ego identity were just a dream, on this more material level, than we and all the animals would be quite equal in every respect.

No human beings grabbing, and taking over the top of the spiritual hierarchy, as the (only) guys created in God’s image. (God the human guy in the sky)

But, just perhaps the Ultimate (God to some people) has nothing whatsoever to do with hierarchical ideas, and notions, and was never anything like a created thing.

Again, if the Ultimate is outside of time, untouched by time, what has historical events (a time story) got to do with it?

Warm Regards,
S9
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2010 03:37 pm
@vinasp,
Hi Vinasp - I can completely relate to where your coming from. I have read a lot of the same sources, but have not had the same experiences as you have. I know a few books which talk about the same thing. Bernadette Roberts, The Experience of No-Self, is very close (she is Catholic mind you). Douglas Harding, on Having No Head.

I have had spiritual experiences but they come and go. Mine are of a different type. They are quite hard to describe. But from what you write, I would think what you have gone through is completely real.

One question - have you heard of the idea of Bhumis? These are different stages of realisation on the bodhisattva path. Have you considered the possibility that you arrived at one of them?
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2010 06:20 pm
@Subjectivity9,
Subjectivity9;119413 wrote:
Salima,

I see Enlightenment as natural, too. But, I see it more like the Buddhist might, as a 'Waking Up' to what actually is and not so much changing into something new or more advanced.

Another place we may not agree is, I do not see Enlightenment as a group activity. When we travel inward, as it is a subjective journey, we travel unaccompanied. This is a journey into solitude, and has no room for the notion of 2, or duality. There is no I/thou (and no groups) in this 'end-game.'

We as a species have a tendency to believe that we are superior to other species, perhaps because of our technology, or just perhaps because of our own arrogance.

But, we have no real way of understanding what the other animals may feel or understand about this more spiritual understanding, simply because they cannot tell us what they feel in this area. So of course, we grab the throne and see our species as the cherry on the cake, the big cheese...that is humanities ego sickness after all.

But, if this world and our ego identity were just a dream, on this more material level, than we and all the animals would be quite equal in every respect.

No human beings grabbing, and taking over the top of the spiritual hierarchy, as the (only) guys created in God's image. (God the human guy in the sky)

But, just perhaps the Ultimate (God to some people) has nothing whatsoever to do with hierarchical ideas, and notions, and was never anything like a created thing.

Again, if the Ultimate is outside of time, untouched by time, what has historical events (a time story) got to do with it?

Warm Regards,
S9


we are only beginning to compare ideas and language usage, and i think our disagreements if any exist would be inconsequential. i have faith in the concept of unity-so there is either one individual or a group of all that comprises one individual. i dont see humanity as being set apart from the entirety.

i dont see any change in human beings as a means of describing enlightenment either, and shift in consciousness is a good name for it-it is a shift in perspective, like looking through a different window which gives us more of the whole view of reality.

but once it is complete or reaches a large majority, will it change the world enough? regardless of whether it is a dream world, whether we are illusions of selfhood rather than individual entities, we may evolve in our ethics while believing we are interacting. my confidence in the belief that there are no others doesnt make me feel that i can cheat whoever i want because it is only another part of me. i am still somehow more capable of compassion and even knowing it isnt real would like to act to relieve the suffering of those apparent others, my counterparts in this journey.

or am i kidding myself, and may some aspects of the whole even after knowing they are not real, still wish to rob, murder, torture each other?
on the other hand, if we all realize our unity and conflict is over, is that the end of the game?

---------- Post added 01-13-2010 at 05:51 AM ----------

hey jeep, glad you showed up here!
 

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