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Enlightenment - discussion

 
 
Febo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2010 09:20 pm
@salima,
Hello everyone this is a really great thread you all have going and I hope I can join aswell

"it is a shift in perspective, like looking through a different window which gives us more of the whole view of reality."
- Salima

I see it the same way, but i wonder if its an instant shift or not? I really like the comments about enlightenment being natural, maybe with every enlightened soul the whole world comes closer to a unified knowledge, a unified consciousness...

:rockon:
vinasp
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2010 09:28 pm
@Febo,
Hi everyone,

S9 - You ask "what did I realise?" This is the problem. What do I say? Was it God, the One, Brahman, the Tao, Nirvana, Emptyness? It was something which could be understood in all these ways - depending on ones background and culture. And yet, all these are wrong, one should not call it anything. But one has to say something.

I think that there are two kinds of knowing. The lower or old way is conceptual knowing (fragmented). You can express it in words because concepts are just words. So it can be communicated to another person. But the higher or new way is non-conceptual (holistic). Because you do not know "it" conceptually you can't put it into words.

It's very frustrating, something so vast, so extraordinary, so wonderful, right there inside oneself - and yet one can not speak of it.

The correct proceedure must be to bring another to experience it for themselves. And the correct method must be to move away from the "old" way of knowing.

Of course there is nothing wrong with conceptual knowledge of mundane things. The problem arises when we understand ourselves in this way.

Salima - I honestly do not know. I am open minded about such possibilities. Our brains may be separate, isolated in individual skulls, but our minds may be connected at a deeper level.

jeeprs - Thanks for the mention of Bernadette Roberts. A quick google brought up some astonishing stuff. I had no idea, I have been immersed in my Buddhist studies for years and living like a hermit. The field is so large now - who can keep track of it all?

On the Bhumis - I have read nothing on this topic. After studying the five nikayas for many years I came to the conclusion that the real teaching is very different to the apparent teaching. I suspect that this is true of most schools of Buddhism, how long would it take me to discover the real teaching in a Mahayana school, another fifteen years perhaps?

My understanding of the Bodhisatta path is that they must avoid becoming even a stream-winner, let alone an arahant. This is because a stream-winner is "destined" to become an arahant in a relatively short period of time, and an arahant is not reborn.
But, of course, the "real" teaching is probably very different!

Kind regards, Vincent.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2010 11:54 pm
@vinasp,
I think it is very different to how you imagine it. I think you have spontaneously realised one of the bhumis. The bhumis are stages of realisation. Perhaps you should request assistance from a bodhisattva on the spiritual plane. I am sure they will respond.

I don't know much about Bernadette Roberts, but that book Experience of No Self is very similar to what you describe. Don't worry, there ain't many people around like this. It's not as if this happens every day.

I think your realisation is much nearer the Mahayana than you know. The Mahayana is not around much any more, the original movement died out centuries ago. Have you studied Ashvagosha, Awakening of the Faith in the Mahayana? The Platform Sutra of Hui Neng? Diamond Sutra? I am sure you will find resonances here. Of course it is very different from the Nikaya buddhism. Different people at different stages of realisation need different things.
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 10:28 am
@vinasp,
Jeepers,

I like the way that Douglas Harding spoke of not living in our heads, and I think that living from there is a very good way for us to get back in touch with our whole body living.

We as a species are apt to wander off a bit too far onto conceptual living (searching 4 truth, granted), and eventually getting lost. But, do you feel that this description is equally an apt description of Enlightenment/Liberation/Realization? (Pick your favorite word.)

I thought it was interesting, that towards the end, Bernadette Roberts would only give written interviews, interviews where she, herself, wrote out the answers to the interviewers questions. I guess bad luck in this area had taught her something. That instead of hoping, that the interviewer on listening would then get what she replied to them right, she was taking no chances. This is very subtle territory we are threading.

Spiritual experiences that come and go (impermanent) are mind experiences. Or should I say, the part of the experience that came and went is a mental apparition?

Try to look at these experiences again, very closely, as they often stay with us in memory quite clearly, and figure out what part of them is still with you, RIGHT NOW. Enlightenment is all about finding this Always Experience. Enlightenment is all about discovering what was always here/now and we have been overlooking.

I’m not saying that what happened to you wasn’t REAL, and wonderful, by any means. What I am saying is, the part that came and went was only the mental packaging. This often comes up so very quickly (in a fraction of a second) that we don’t notice it is just the envelope. Look for the letter inside.

Respectfully,
S9

---------- Post added 01-13-2010 at 11:50 AM ----------

Fedo,

Ancient history claims that there have been other Golden Ages. But, apparently these are like everything else in finitude. They just don’t last. They are impermanent, or even a cycle (circle) of some kind, that just keeps moving around and around.

In that case, any kind of permanent progress wouldn’t make any sense, not a finite/dream world progress anyway. Because here we are doing it all over again, one more time. (More like a dance.)

; ^ )

Glad you have joined our little circle, to go around with us.

Warm Regards,
S9
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 02:47 pm
@vinasp,
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 07:01 pm
@vinasp,
Salima,

Yes, sweet person, you are quite right. We are only now getting to know each other. My feelings are that it is going to be profitable for both of us, if we hang in there.

And:

Language usage is certainly the stumbling block in discussing most of these more subtle subjects of the Spirit.

Unlike your self, I believe that where we disagree, or differ, may actually be the most consequential moments of all. This is where we get to shake the tree, and see what is hiding in its branches, don’t you think?

I believe in the Tao, which is the One, as well. But, how this is described can make all of the difference, don't you think?

For, we might ask after all, what is united if there is only the One? I do not believe that ‘Unity’ is like a jigsaw puzzle, or a putting together of separate little pieces to form one big picture, yet at the same time each little piece remaining autonomous, much like what the Christians might call the soul.

The Hindu’s have Atman and Brahman as One, literally, and it is only our perspective that sees these as being any different.

I am glad that you don’t see humanity as being set apart from the entirety. But, how what you describe this entirety? Is it multiplicity homogenized, or simply one big canvas? If so, where does Nagarjuna’s “empty of the emptiness” enter in?

Where would the idea of transcendence enter into your picture? Is it just a bigger window, with more information, as in instead of a porthole we now have a picture window?

I fully agree that true compassion only grows out of the insight that we are in fact one. This is not, for me, just a karmic idea like "what goes around comes around," but rather that each individual self is merely one of many costumes put on and taken off by the Ultimate One Self. So that your costume isn't my costume, I am this other persona, Tom is not Harry, but rather our Essential Self, everyone's Essentisl Self, is the One, and never was actually seperate except in the dreams we call life.

Said slightly differently. We are each the hub of this one wheel, the wheel of life and death. But similtaneously each individual is a spoke of that same wheel.

I have no idea if there is an end of the game? Maybe dreams just continue, but we need not suffer? It really matters little, if the dream is not us, does it? Dreams may be just like one big toy box.

; ^ )

Buddha never promised to eliminate the dreams, only the suffering.

Warm Regards,
S9
0 Replies
 
Twilight Siren
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 10:54 pm
@vinasp,
I think it has something to do (maybe) also with the realisation of the "cosmic conciousness" or "oneness" as well. . .Plus what you said . .

who really knows? really?
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 10:59 pm
@vinasp,
Hi Twilight (or is it Siren...?) - very probably is exactly that. As for who knows, already it is clear you know more than most. Many people have no inkling of such a state of being. glory be unto it, or something like that. (Nice icon, BTW).

---------- Post added 01-14-2010 at 04:01 PM ----------

and also - S9 (apologies if I am being too familiar:-) - glad you are someone that knows Douglas Harding, I really liked him, he is not too well known in my parts.
Twilight Siren
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 11:11 pm
@jeeprs,
you may call me Siren, since when most people here "twilight " these days, they think of some horrible movie instead on the "between times" of the day!
0 Replies
 
chad3006
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 09:25 am
@vinasp,
I hope I can join this discussion as well. I'd like to share a bit of my experience and ask a question.

When I was about 16, I became aware of the interconnection of all things. It was kind of a feeling like “everything in the universe is in its place or everything is as it should be.” This lasted about two years. Then when I entered the “real world,” I lost this feeling. I'm currently on the path to re-accepting things as they are, but on a more mature level (I know more now than I did at 16—in a way.) I currently have not come to back to that somewhat blissful state of awareness I had earlier.

My awareness has not come in a rush at one time as it is frequently described, but seems more of a gradual process. Are there other instances of this type of enlightenment?
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 12:20 pm
@vinasp,
Chad,

Did something happen in your life previous to this experience, which you suspect might have brought this on?

I had a major Spiritual Experience when I was 13 years old that came on because of my beloved fathers death. Turned my life upside down with a clarity of vision.

Just curious,
S9
chad3006
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 03:11 pm
@Subjectivity9,
There was no particularly traumatic experience for me. I went to a very rough elementary school that was somewhat torturous for me, but nothing that other kids haven't experienced probably. I think much of it had to do with my parents being somewhat enlightened themselves.
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 05:24 pm
@vinasp,
Chad,

When you say it lasted 2 years, do you mean continuously every minute, or more like off and on?

Also:

What do you mean when you say you “entered the real world?”

And:

When you “lost this feeling?” How did you feel differently? What things are you accepting?

Sometimes what happens is instantaneous, but it takes you a while to see what has changed and how you fit into it.

Did you go completely back to things as they had been, or just lose the blissful feeling in your mind?

I believe that Enlightenment is more of a discovery that never leaves you once it has occurred. There are other experiences that are quite magical, but they come and go more like mind objects do, IMPO.

But, my idea of Enlightenment is like Ramana says, “You know who you are.” But, this of course wouldn’t be ego-you.

Warm Regards,
S9
0 Replies
 
chad3006
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Jan, 2010 10:09 am
@vinasp,
For that 2 years it was pretty continuous. There were probably moments when the feeling left me, but for the most part it was there.

Entering the real world was for me, getting a crappy job, and interacting with people who cared for me only when I could give them something. And realizing that doing the right thing was of no value to this world.

I didn't completely go back, I guess. I certainly lost the blistful feeling.

I agree that enlightenment never completely leaves. I also wonder if it can be passed on from generation to generation like instinct is passed on in other creatures.
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Jan, 2010 11:33 am
@vinasp,
hi chad
for me too the bliss never came back but i stopped looking for it a long time ago. also it takes a lot to keep centered while being in the 'real' world. that's where the choice of a routine or spiritual path is valuable.

i know too it isnt regarded much in the world, doing the right thing. for a long time i also thought there was no right and wrong, though i would choose to do what would more often be considered 'right'. eventually i came to believe there is always a right and wrong, though it changes all the time and it isnt the same for everyone. but it is its own reward.

i am not sure this kind of awareness can be passed down genetically or even environmentally, that would be great. i can only hope and pray because these days i hear enough more people talking like this so maybe it is catching on. i was hoping we are the silent majority...what happens next, i have no idea.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Jan, 2010 04:07 pm
@vinasp,
my experience is that if you're lucky enough to have genuine spiritual awakenings, there is nevertheless a lot you have to do, paradoxically enough. I always had this idea of 'seek first the kingdom of heaven then everything else will be added' which in some ways is true, but life has its own trajectory - I guess this is karma. There are unpaid bills and many things that need doing and the only way out is through it all. AND I get harassed by my own weaknesses which 'Mara' is very quick to exploit (speaking kind of figuratively.) Nowadays whenever I make an effort to commit to practise, mara has a way of stopping me in my tracks - happened again this week. So I keep remembering - Right Effort is really important at this point.
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jan, 2010 02:30 pm
@vinasp,
Chad,

Were you meditating pretty heavily during those two years in order to support these feelings of bliss and did you leave off somewhat just before losing the bliss?

The reason that I ask that is, because, I have heard others speak of an afterglow set up by meditating heavily, sometimes at retreat, and of losing it on returning home to the job and the screaming kids. : ^ (

Sometimes too, in a false environment (meaning not the usual environment that normal people struggle with daily) like a monastery, or a vacation in Hawaii, or a honeymoon, (stuff like that), or maybe even in a household full of high-minded meditators like your parents, we can get in some lovely moods (is that the right word?) or states of mind, kind of a shared high. But, this ‘high’ is difficult to maintain, because these states are states of mind, and the mind is never constant, as Liberation from the mind might be, no is.

I am a person with a fair amount of ESP types of gifts. I have found that when I am around people who also share these gifts, my own capacities heighten, and I have even had shared (unexplained) experience with others, where they saw the same exact thing as I did. I am not sure why this is, but maybe some good vibrations or capacities increase in groups like violence increases in crowds. So that meditating in a group might prove more successful than meditating alone…just throwing this out there.

So, what I am getting at here, and its about time, is that you have to find a place deeply within yourself where peace abides all of the time and is untouched by circumstances. This is your ‘Essential Self’ that you become reacquainted with and can never lose it. Of course it is always with you, is with you right now, but we so easily overlook it, and mask it from ourselves.

If everyone has this capacity, and we do, it may simply be a matter of skill to on cover it. Whether Spiritual capacity is built in genetically, I cannot say. But it is certainly ‘Present’ to all of us, as “Presence,” if they only know where to look. I do think have parents who introduced you to such things so early may have given you a leg up. : ^ )

Peace,
S9
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 Jan, 2010 01:10 pm
@vinasp,
hi S9,
i have also been in group meditations, and yes they are definitely magnified in power. of course there were studies of group meditations for peace but i cant remember what they were-might have been transcendental meditation groups and studies as to whether crime incidents in the surrounding area were reduced. maybe someone has better memory than me on this...
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 11:02 am
@vinasp,
hi salima,

S: i have also been in group meditations, and yes they are definitely magnified in power.

S9: It is probably a bit like the shared vibrations at a concert. The enthusiasm seems to rain down on you, and you are up jumping about. : ^ ) Or maybe even like a football game where the guys get a little crazy.

I do think our vibrations mingle somewhat, maybe like our auras or something.

Did you ever hear this story about some monkeys (I think they were monkeys or maybe baboons, anyway) it seems that they had been eating their food for many decades with never once washing them b/4 hand.

One day this precocious little guy goes down and washed his food, with everyone looking on, but not following his lead. Slowly they all started to wash their food too, never again eating it without washing it. I imagine it tasted better.

There were other monkeys of the same sort that lived on islands so separate from them that they never mixed. But one day, they all started washing their food too, with no explanation. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Peace,
S9
sneer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 01:38 pm
@vinasp,
Is this, the enlightenment, just another way to feel better?
I'm ignorant in that matter, absolutely. My best understanding is, I'm an animal, who's living on small rotating rock - somewhere in the black and empty universe, and my brain seems to be more complicated than the rest of the matter I can see.
Don't have a problem, as I die, however at the moment it would be sad, to leave this perfect world that surrounds me; I do confide elder men, who say "it's time for me" and pass away ine peace.
I really do appreciate buddhism, as a philosophy of life, because it's non-invasive, harmonic and brings peace to many minds. I was born and grown in Europe, so doing meditations or reading parables about sacrosants from another culture is enriching me only on that way, as studying math or excercising chinese.
As I understand my friend (who systematically meditates) and i.e. S9 post, this is the way of changing the way brain works. Fine. I have many more other ways to do that, but why meditation is so very special, then?

Sorry for being so straight, realistic, ignorant and - maybe offtopic. Hope, one will answer me.
0 Replies
 
 

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