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> The Problem with Enlightenment, a warning to all who are interested in enlightenment
lucid_dream
post Jul 02, 2007, 07:40 AM
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I post this as a warning to all who are interested in enlightenment, and in particular, in Eastern notions of enlightenment.

The problem I have found with Eastern notions of enlightenment, including from the Vedas and Buddhism, is that they are invariably world-denying. In essence, enlightenment consists of the realization that this world is mere illusion and that all is Brahma (or Void). There is no questioning the experience of Eastern notions of enlightenment in which the mind draws into itself, like the turtle draws its limbs and head into its shell. However, the interpretation of this experience is what I have a problem with. Namely, the idea that the world is mere illusion, mere dream, and that all is a creation of the infinite undying Self, disregards the persistent nature of objects in our consciousness, the mathematical nature of everything, and the fact that everything in existence can be measured and is finite (with few exceptions in which we are ignorant, like the true size of the universe).

In short, I seriously question the validity of the interpretations of Eastern notions of enlightenment. I think they are dangerous interpretations that lead to world-denial and to the loss of meaningful participation and interaction in the world. The actual experience of enlightenment is a whole other matter, and is meaningful and worth experiencing. However, the standard interpretations of this experience are, in my opinion, simply incorrect, and by espousing world-denial, are no different from Christianity and other barbaric religions that belittle this world in preference to some imaginary one.
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Joesus
post Jul 02, 2007, 08:41 AM
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Questioning interpretations is what the personal approach to enlightenment is all about.
I however would not assume the foundation of Eastern Traditions is in the denial of the manifest.
I would say that both the Eastern Traditions and the Western Teachings of Christianity have been distorted and tho popular acceptance of beliefs have painted some strange pictures of reality and God, there still exists within both a unity of Truth and information of the Truth.
One must delve into the Truth to find it in and amongst the dogma, similar to filtering out unwanted internal programs of the individual ego in order to realize the Self within.
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gypsy
post Jul 02, 2007, 07:46 PM
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Spoken by someone who has experienced Enlightenment?
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Joesus
post Jul 02, 2007, 08:08 PM
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There are many things one experiences in enlightenment, but enlightenment is not about focusing on the experiences.
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deceit
post Jul 02, 2007, 09:10 PM
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lucid_dream, I agree with your outlook. At one time when I was much younger, I kind of believed that life was a game after briefly analyzing how people become successful in the real world for the first time. I never became disillusioned with this idea, but I did not abandon the concept either. I do not consciously live my life as a big social game or like monopoly simply because living a life like that would have no real significance. I am not saying that I don't play the social game, but that I don't intentionally go through life thinking life is an illusion in the form of a game. I believe that this type of disillusionment in understanding of enlightenment that you warn about will lead to people living under the life is a game/illusion mentality.
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Rick
post Jul 03, 2007, 08:11 AM
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QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Jul 02, 2007, 08:40 AM) *
... I think they are dangerous interpretations that lead to world-denial and to the loss of meaningful participation and interaction in the world. ...

Any evidence to back up this claim? Can anyone suggest counterexamples?
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lucid_dream
post Jul 03, 2007, 08:41 AM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Jul 03, 2007, 09:11 AM) *

QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Jul 02, 2007, 08:40 AM) *
... I think they are dangerous interpretations that lead to world-denial and to the loss of meaningful participation and interaction in the world. ...

Any evidence to back up this claim? Can anyone suggest counterexamples?

my evidence is in the actual texts, the Gita, the Upanishads, the Yoga Vasistha, that espouse the world-denial interpretation of the enlightenment experience/mindset by attributing world appearance to Maya (illusion) and that advocate living life as if half-asleep, which amounts to a rejection of life. Like I said, the experience/mindset is one thing, the interpretation is another. I reject the interpretation.

Joesus, you are right about the personal approach being about questioning interpretations; however, I think the texts themselves espouse their own interpretation which is dangerous if it leads to world-denial. If the world is the reflection of Brahma, and if we are the universe conscious of itself, then it follows that this "world-appearance" is in itself valuable and informative, and should not be simply disregarded as a mere fantasy of the mind, on a par with dreaming. Comparing waking life with a dream is the dangerous and incorrect interpretation which leads to world-denial. Waking life is very different from a dream, as everyone knows. In a dream, anything and everything is possible. In waking life, there are constraints whether we choose to acknowledge them or not. You may call these self-imposed limits, but they are more than that.... they are the same limits which prevent people from magically flying around in the air without technological aids. For while this is possible to do in dreams, it cannot be done in waking life. If this seems obvious, then it should also be obvious that waking life and dreams are completely different phenomena, and to equate waking life with a dream is to belittle the meaning and significance of the former, which unfortunately is what most Eastern spirituality texts espouse, and which is not just incorrect, but a dangerous path to follow.

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Achintya
post Jul 03, 2007, 10:06 AM
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This is the old Lao_Tzu... (major BrainMeta password problems lately)

lucid, that's an interesting point you make (I'm referring to your first post here). However, I suspect you're making a few subtle mistakes with your terminology and that these may point to some subtle misunderstandings of Buddhist ontology (I can only speak for Buddhism, not the Vedas, and probably only in a limited and probably erroneous way even on Buddhism).

Of course, none of us (though I'm open to the possibility of correction here) is enlightened. So all we have to go on are others' descriptions of the enlightened perspective on reality. One major problems with this is that almost all descriptions of enlightenment (i.e. "interpretations" of the enlightenment experience) are negative; they say what the world is not like, rather than what it is like. The essential point is that it's basically indescribable, being utterly beyond the domain of words and concepts, but even that point is itself a positive description and so (therefore) not strictly true. Such is the kinky quandary.

I think I'd aim most of my argument at this sentence of yours: Namely, the idea that the world is mere illusion, mere dream, and that all is a creation of the infinite undying Self, disregards the persistent nature of objects in our consciousness, the mathematical nature of everything, and the fact that everything in existence can be measured and is finite (with few exceptions in which we are ignorant, like the true size of the universe).

Firstly, to be technical, but relevant, Buddhism doesn't say that the world is an illusion, just that it is illusory, and it uses this term to refer to a very specific characteristic of the world - its impermanence. If the world was said to be an illusion, that would be world-denying. However, it is not (correctly) said to be an illusion. Our experience attests to the truth of this: if the world was an illusion (i.e. fully apparition, without any substance) then swung swords would pass through us without hurting us, for instance. Our experience in this regard is not false; we really are hurt by impacting objects. So it cannot be an illusion. However, it is illusory in the sense that objects appear to have independent existence from their own side, but logical analysis shows us this can't be the case (but that's a topic for another topic).

I can't go into the idea of an infinite undying Self... that sounds more Hinduistic than Buddhistic, and that way a near-infinitude of very complicated semantic confusion lies.

My point regarding the world's impermanence also refers to your citation of "the persistent nature of objects in our consciousness", which you say the interpreted enlightenment experience disregards. I'd suggest that our impression of objects' persistence in our consciousness arises from our mistaken view of them as independent objects existing from their own side. We view them (erroneously) as inherently existent things, so we perceive their persistence. However, the act of designating a 'thing' with a name (i.e. the keyboard, as independent of your fingers or the mains electricity - all three being these contingent designations to which I refer) is a departure from reality; the 'thing' changes from moment to moment far too quickly for a name ever correctly to apply. Things are not really persistent; they arise and pass away each moment. The enlightened experience therefore does not disregard the apparent persistence of phenomena; it cuts through that erroneous conception of the world by seeing that forms do not have inherent or independent existence form their own side.

[Given the foregoing, I'm rather surprised that you ascribe a "nature" to everything, and then venture to give a description ("mathematical") to that nature... since we're talking about the fundamental nature of reality here. I'm also quite impressed that you say everything in existence is finite and can be measured! Bold statements. But not my ambit here.]

To be more concrete and less metaphysical, I think the examples of a few highly realised (to all intents and purposes enlightened) humans, or even the historical tale of Buddha Shakyamuni, would suffice to convince you that enlightenment does not lead to world-denial or withdrawal. On the contrary, it would seem that it leads to a particularly energetic, wise and compassionate engagement with the world.

And a footnote to all of this, in the same vein as my preamble: enlightenment might well be (incompletely) described as the absence of all interpretations. Interpretations, after all, necessitate putting labels on things, and labels, being dependent on words and concepts, can never describe the ultimate truth. So in a sense this entire discussion is moot.
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Joesus
post Jul 03, 2007, 10:17 AM
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The descriptions of the world in its appearance by the enlightened are descriptions based on a different point of reference than the world appearance.
Basically the world as it appears to the waking state without the experience of the absolute as a foundation or point of reference is such that the world is very real and it happens around the observer with little or no ability to affect the way one experiences it. Tho experiences change in the waking state they seem subject to the conditions of the world and its movement.
From the experience of the enlightened and from the point of reference in which the awareness is established in the absolute, the manifest is a reflection of thought and intention.
When one discovers the absolute and then allows it to move from the depths of the inner experience of the self to the outer experience as the Self/self the entire experience of life changes. It is not unlike a dream, one that is more lucid than most experience in lesser states of consciousness and with the unification of thought feeling and action of all things perceived to exist in awareness.

The perception described does not prescribe that one of lesser awareness attempt to step into something without knowledge or to step off of a cliff without the ability to transcend the lesser states of awareness.
These are the complaints that fuel the fear based arguments of ignorant unaware people toward enlightenment and the scripture written by the enlightened.

Most complaints come from not knowing rather than from knowing.

In my own experience with people, you can say anything, and observe those who would make assumptions or who are not paying attention, or have no experience of what I'm talking about take the information so far from the meaning it is no longer what I have said.

This is most often the case when it comes to interpretation of scripture, be it Eastern or Western.

By the way, have you read Baird Spaldings Books about his time spent with the Eastern Masters and his observances and experiences of their abilities?


Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East, by Baird Spalding. DeVorss press
They go into very good detail about Eastern and Western Teachings, and the potential of the Human life in relation to the manifest world.

Oh and one last thing. You can't get enlightened by reading a book.
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lucid_dream
post Jul 03, 2007, 10:58 AM
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I'm having trouble acquiring Baird Spalding's works, but like you noted Joesus, enlightenment is not realized by reading or hearing verbal descriptions. Lao Tzu mentions enlightenment can be described as the absence of all interpretations, but I think on second thought, Lao Tzu, that you will recant, as there are states of mind with minimal interpretations that cannot be said to be enlightened. Is a mentally disabled person who is thoroughly confused and cannot form interpretations considered enlightened in your book? All of perception is interpretation. Besides that, the state of mind in which awareness turns completely back on itself and is characterized by one-pointedness can itself be said to be just an interpretation. One general rule is that conscious awareness invariably involves interpretation, even when that interpretation is not overtly conceptual.

Reflect on the following:
In science, self-satisfaction is death. Personal self-satisfaction is the death of the scientist. Collective self-satisfaction is the death of the research. It is restlessness, anxiety, dissatisfaction, agony of mind that nourish science.
- Jacques Monod 1910-1977, New Scientist, 1976.

Now consider how Eastern traditions espouse self-satisfaction as the highest goal in life. Is this productive? Do you want to be self-satisfied if it means giving up on all of your goals and ambitions of your youth? If we're really honest about it, self-satisfaction is the goal of mainly old, tired people who have given up on life. Their self-satisfaction is their only consolation in life, even if it means buying into an illusion and turning their backs on all of what they previously considered worthy. This is the problem I have with Eastern traditions and institutions that claim any sort of affiliation with Eastern traditions, that they try to sell snake oil to desperate individuals who seek a more meaningful life. The truth of the matter is that you don't need Eastern dogma to achieve a state of enlightenment, nor does enlightenment imply world-denial. This is the only thing I'm griping about. I'm not denying the experience/mindset of enlightenment, but merely pointing out that Eastern traditions gratuitously insert their own interpretations which are irresponsible, false, and dangerous if taken seriously.
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Achintya
post Jul 03, 2007, 11:13 AM
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QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Jul 03, 2007, 10:58 AM) *

Lao Tzu mentions enlightenment can be described as the absence of all interpretations, but I think on second thought, Lao Tzu, that you will recant, as there are states of mind with minimal interpretations that cannot be said to be enlightened. Is a mentally disabled person who is thoroughly confused and cannot form interpretations considered enlightened in your book?

Ah, lucid, that's a disappointing response. You have either read my post very hastily or you're deliberately ignoring my nota bene that my afterthought (and you didn't reply to the meat! very disappointing) was an incomplete description of enlightenment. And even if it had been a definitive description, it still wouldn't follow that all states of mind that lacked interpretation were enlightened.

QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Jul 03, 2007, 10:58 AM) *

Besides that, the state of mind in which awareness turns completely back on itself and is characterized by one-pointedness can itself be said to be just an interpretation. One general rule is that conscious awareness invariably involves interpretation, even when that interpretation is not overtly conceptual.

No - the state of mind itself is not an interpretation. But when we label it or describe it as such, that is an interpretation. There is consciousness beyond concepts. But this is just mutual headbutting; after reflecting on what I say here you can accept it or not, because I've got no real arguments to support it.

I must say that your argument regarding self-satisfaction strikes me as rather specious, involving the conflation of many different meanings of self-satisfaction, variously as arrogance, smugness, contentment and, finally, (a synonym you claim, and which I would certainly dispute) as enlightenment.

However, I do agree with you on this:
QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Jul 03, 2007, 10:58 AM) *

The truth of the matter is that you don't need Eastern dogma to achieve a state of enlightenment, nor does enlightenment imply world-denial. This is the only thing I'm griping about.

Full agreement!

But actually you didn't stop there...
QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Jul 03, 2007, 10:58 AM) *

Eastern traditions gratuitously insert there own interpretations which are irresponsible, false, and dangerous if taken seriously.

Well, I would hesitate to call it gratuitous. Although, as I admit, all description falls short, the finger pointing at the moon is nonetheless useful in helping people to look in its direction!

Perhaps the idea is not to take them too seriously (anything is dangerous if taken too seriously, after all).

But overall I would suggest a more careful and thorough reading of these 'interpretations'.
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lucid_dream
post Jul 03, 2007, 11:25 AM
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QUOTE(Achintya @ Jul 03, 2007, 12:13 PM) *
Ah, lucid, that's a disappointing response.

that's not a very enlightened response...

QUOTE(Achintya @ Jul 03, 2007, 12:13 PM) *
You have either read my post very hastily or you're deliberately ignoring my nota bene that my afterthought (and you didn't reply to the meat! very disappointing) was an incomplete description of enlightenment.

I read through it hastily but not too hastily, and did not respond to what I didn't see any problems with. However, on further examination, I see you defining interpretation as necessarily involving placing labels on things, and this I certainly dispute. All of perception involves interpretation, whether you are aware of placing labels on things or not. This is an experimentally verified fact. And my claim is a generalization of the preceding fact; namely, that all of conscious awareness involves interpretation, whether we recognize it as an interpretation or not. Certainly interpretation is not limited to placing labels on things in my book.

QUOTE(Achintya @ Jul 03, 2007, 12:13 PM) *
the state of mind itself is not an interpretation.

Prove it. Better yet, try working out the implications of state of mind being an interpretation, and see how it meshes with your reality.

QUOTE(Achintya @ Jul 03, 2007, 12:13 PM) *
I must say that your argument regarding self-satisfaction strikes me as rather specious, involving the conflation of many different meanings of self-satisfaction, variously as arrogance, smugness, contentment and, finally, (a synonym you claim, and which I would certainly dispute) as enlightenment.

I was using the term to mean satisfied in the sense of not showing any interest in the world or its mysteries because of the belief that it is just an illusion.

QUOTE(Achintya @ Jul 03, 2007, 12:13 PM) *
Although, as I admit, all description falls short, the finger pointing at the moon is nonetheless useful in helping people to look in its direction!

This we agree on.
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Achintya
post Jul 03, 2007, 11:43 AM
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Ha! I never claimed to be enlightened, okay? smile.gif Or always to respond in an 'enlightened manner' (however that might look, as if any of us would know).

Hmm, okay, I think I might be able to understand how a mere state of mind could be an interpretation ... in the sense that any state of mind would necessarily involve a 'human angle on reality' which would be an interpretation even if it didn't involve labelling? (Contrasted with a 'tree angle' or a 'star angle' or a 'hydrogen atom angle', all different 'interpretations'?) Is that the sort of thing you mean?

So do you reckon we can't have a primordially raw, uninterpreted experience? I wonder what the implications of that would be for enlightenment.

Thinking aloud (getting tired)... wouldn't that thesis rest on a dualistic conception of the world? (I.e. experience, experiencee, and experiencer? Or [raw reality], [filter], [necessarily interpretatious experience]?) That would, in my view, be wack. But then, I'm not sure whether we agree that any kind of dualism is, at bottom, untenable...
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lucid_dream
post Jul 03, 2007, 11:44 AM
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QUOTE(Achintya @ Jul 03, 2007, 12:13 PM) *
But overall I would suggest a more careful and thorough reading of these 'interpretations'.

I can only stomach so much of the thinly veiled arrogance and error that tries to pass itself off as absolute truth. I know my experiences and mindsets, and I know what can and cannot be said about them, and I think it irresponsible to make universal claims that have no support outside of one's imagination. Most of the interpretations of enlightenment within the Eastern tradition are often little more than glorified solipsism. And this is supposed to be a pinnacle of human thought and spirituality? Give me a break! There is so much there that hasn't been tapped.
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lucid_dream
post Jul 03, 2007, 11:51 AM
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QUOTE(Achintya @ Jul 03, 2007, 12:43 PM) *
Ha! I never claimed to be enlightened, okay? smile.gif

I was joking.

QUOTE(Achintya @ Jul 03, 2007, 12:43 PM) *
wouldn't that thesis rest on a dualistic conception of the world? (I.e. experience, experiencee, and experiencer? Or [raw reality], [filter], [necessarily interpretatious experience]?)

the thesis that all conscious awareness involves interpretation is not limited to dualistic modes of thought. Any mindset and anything we are consciously aware of, I would claim, is an interpretation. I am not certain of this claim, but do currently find it plausible, and have been trying to work out the implications.


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Achintya
post Jul 03, 2007, 11:53 AM
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Arg, I missed this bit...

QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Jul 03, 2007, 11:25 AM) *

not showing any interest in the world or its mysteries because of the belief that it is just an illusion.

Yeah well. I think that is a greater malaise than can be attributed to Eastern religions. Strict materialists get it too (though perhaps for different beliefs)!

But fortunately (from the P.O.V. of that statement) I am still fascinated by the mystery of, for instance, why women's skin is so niiize. And I don't think that enlightenment will do much to change that.

I cite Ikkyu (erotic-minded Zen monk, poet and illegitimate son of the Japanese emperor - all rather romantic really):

Why is it all so beautiful?
This fake dream
This craziness -- why?


And perhaps most relevantly:

sick of it whatever it's called sick of the names
I dedicate every pore to what's here
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Achintya
post Jul 03, 2007, 11:57 AM
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QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Jul 03, 2007, 11:51 AM) *

QUOTE(Achintya @ Jul 03, 2007, 12:43 PM) *
Ha! I never claimed to be enlightened, okay? smile.gif

I was joking.

So this magician is driving down the road, and he turns into a driveway...
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deceit
post Jul 03, 2007, 12:31 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Jul 03, 2007, 11:11 AM) *

QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Jul 02, 2007, 08:40 AM) *
... I think they are dangerous interpretations that lead to world-denial and to the loss of meaningful participation and interaction in the world. ...

Any evidence to back up this claim? Can anyone suggest counterexamples?


Maybe LifeMirage has some insight. It seems his name pretty much sums the eastern notions of enlightenment...saying life is merely a mirage..."dangerous interpretations that lead to world-denial and to the loss of meaningful participation and interaction in the world." Plus it would be interesting to see his perspective on a different forum that doesn't deal with nootropics.
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Joesus
post Jul 03, 2007, 06:54 PM
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QUOTE
Now consider how Eastern traditions espouse self-satisfaction as the highest goal in life. Is this productive? Do you want to be self-satisfied if it means giving up on all of your goals and ambitions of your youth?

Eastern Traditions are often misinterpreted to the understanding that being fully immersed in praise gratitude and unconditional love means being stoned on God to the point of losing ones ability to integrate their actions and intellectual comprehension of that which was interpreted before the bliss wiped out all perspectives of reality before and after enlightenment.

There is a saying,"Before enlightenment, Chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, Chop wood, carry water."

If you haven't shared the conscious experience of consciousness and the manifest in Union as has been described by someone who speaks of their enlightenment you cannot share understanding. You can project all over it according to the box you stand in and speak from but you cannot share their perspective or experience.

Truth which is universal, (and not all relative truths are universal) is Truth that can be experienced by anyone.
In the relative world if you know what red is and you have ridden in a red convertible you could have an experience that can be shared tho your experience is not going to be exactly the same as another.
Similarly with enlightenment resonance takes place in the foundation of one pointed awareness and union of the awareness and the manifest. If someone is speaking of it from the awareness of it there is a vibrational resonance that can be felt and experienced by another who also has their awareness of it.

Desire for fulfillment is often pursued from relative reference points. Happiness is chased after by the mind that interprets experiences of brief happiness and the attempt to repeat the past by bringing it into the present. The waking state mind takes this to the idea of preserving this idea into the future in all possibilities and probabilities. This is the ego in action, the need to manipulate the world to fill needs of attachment and perception.
Youth has an advantage in innocence. Children haven't been exposed to so much thought of protecting themselves from future failures. When a child goes outside to play they don't think about failing or the idea they might have a bad day at play. That doesn't come until the mind grasps onto a few experiences that it doesn't like and starts to project failure and fear into future moments.

Have you ever seen a child fall, cry, and get up to go on with what it was doing without dragging the moment and the experience with it. The child will put the experience aside and receive the next moment without dragging the past along. This is what is described as being in the moment, or as Jesus spoke of the innocence of a child in reference to the mind returning itself to being in innocence of the moment.

Eastern Traditional teachings that speak of attachments to desire recognize that most desires are those that pop into the head and are associated with being cures for ailments of boredom and sadness.
Lets say you want to have a relationship because you are lonely. You think this will make you happy, but the Truth of the matter is once you have what you want you will want something else if your life is anchored in relative ideas of potential suffering and emptiness.
If you are not stable in the appreciation of yourself and your life, or in other words you don't love yourself, then you will feel all self worth and happiness is relatively dependent on the love coming from someone else or everyone else.
Some teenagers feel happiness is dependent on their physical freedom and they need a car to have that.
100 years ago it was probably a horse.
The thinking behind the Teachings of enlightenment is that there are wasted thoughts and energies that are focused on relative ideas that bring temporary fulfillment to the mind that is dysfunctional in its awareness of reality.

Its easy enough to watch a friend who is suffering because he lost his favorite dog, car, girlfriend or whatever and think he/she will get over their loss and go on. But the mind that dives into the suffering and the loss without moving on is the choice that is made not from greater awareness but from the emotion and the attachment to the emotion.
One person may shake it off and move on instantly and another would and will wallow in feelings and some to excess.

The ascension of intellect or the rising of awareness beyond such ignorance is the ability to witness and re-cognize the reality that things do not make us who we are. Relationships with people do not make us who we are. We are amazing in the fact that we can make a choice to be what we are and we often choose to lean on the external so heavily that we depend on our attachments to make us what we feel we should be.

Illusions that create temporary fixes in a world of ignorance can be ascended.
Enlightenment means recognizing the greatness within so that we can bring it into all aspects of knowledge and experience rather than depending on someone elses interpretations of happiness.
Think about what mainstream society has done to human interaction and expectations.

There is a way to be popular according to societal standards and they are different in different countries.
Here in the good ol' USA owning the right kind of car, house and drinking the right beer is important. TV, radio and news tell us what is important and we listen and are influenced.
This influence shadows our real Self and we desire to be what others think we should be and what others want us to be.

There is nothing dangerous about giving up such thinking nor losing any codependent lifestyle that leaves us feeling empty without our things to make us whole.

If one lives with the fulfillment of being satisified with themselves, their energies are not directed toward filling the holes that are created by ignorant thoughts about ones self worth. They are free to create from a solid foundation of being rather than one that is built on balloons that pop every time ones desires aren't fulfilled.
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post Jul 03, 2007, 10:28 PM
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Behaviour - we live the proximate to achieve the ultimate*.

Then there is enlightenment - we understand that the proximate will never achieve the ultimate**.

* = why
** = fulfillment
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Joesus
post Jul 03, 2007, 10:36 PM
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With enlightenment the ultimate fades from the dream leaving only the real. No longer settling for the proximate while dreaming of the ultimate all energies are focused achieving perfection in every thought feeling and action.
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Achintya
post Jul 04, 2007, 01:05 AM
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lucid_dream
post Jul 04, 2007, 09:11 AM
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Joesus, about chopping wood and carrying water after enlightenment: most Eastern traditions recommend doing this as if half-asleep, and promote the interpretation of the world-experience as only a dream. You don't think this is irresponsible advice? Do you live your life as if half-asleep and believe your world-experience is just like a dream? There is an element of responsibility which is missing from all of the Eastern texts I have come across, unless I've missed something, as if the writers had no sense of responsibility and that they regarded their whole life, and everyone elses, as little more than a dream, and as of little consequence. That's why I think such ideas are dangerous and irresponsible, and that the Eastern traditions should be held accountable for being irresponsible and introducing false ideas.

QUOTE(Joesus @ Jul 03, 2007, 07:54 PM) *
If you haven't shared the conscious experience of consciousness and the manifest in Union as has been described by someone who speaks of their enlightenment you cannot share understanding. You can project all over it according to the box you stand in and speak from but you cannot share their perspective or experience.
I would not be raising these criticisms of the Eastern Traditions if I thought this was the case. Of course you are free to think otherwise.

One of the questions may seem to be whether having a sense of responsibility is incompatible with detachment, which is presumably why you talked at length about the negative effects of attachments above. I don't think they are incompatible, and so the question becomes, why are Eastern Traditions so irresponsible, or lack any sense of responsibility? My answer is that it is because the originators of the Eastern Traditions were irresponsible, and this was likely due to the fact that they regarded their world-experience as inconsequential, as being no different from a dream. And for anyone who places any value or significance on their world-experience, or who has a sense of responsibility, they may rightly ask, are these really the beliefs and the mindset that I wish to cultivate?
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Joesus
post Jul 04, 2007, 09:45 AM
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QUOTE
Joesus, about chopping wood and carrying water after enlightenment: most Eastern traditions recommend doing this as if half-asleep, and promote the interpretation of the world-experience as only a dream.

This is your interpretation. The reference to someone being described in a state of fullness as seeming to be in a dreamlike state or half asleep is one that I have experienced in my own teacher. Sometimes it seemed as if he was somewhere else rather than present in the room, yet at any given moment if asked to engage he was sharp and to the point.

Eastern Traditions do not promote any kind of outward appearance. The reference you are suggesting as a recommendation is misinterpreted.

QUOTE
I would not be raising these criticisms of the Eastern Traditions if I thought this was the case. Of course you are free to think otherwise.

I know better than to assume from reading a book or from listening to another just what reality is without engaging myself in the Topic fully.
I've immersed myself in the Eastern and Western Philosophies for 12 years now and know that misinterpretations of Truth lead to bizarre concepts of reality, and often fatal translations of scripture.

And by the way, it didn't take me 12 years to figure it out.
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lucid_dream
post Jul 04, 2007, 09:59 AM
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QUOTE(Joesus @ Jul 04, 2007, 10:45 AM) *
I know better than to assume from reading a book or from listening to another just what reality is without engaging myself in the Topic fully.
I've immersed myself in the Eastern and Western Philosophies for 12 years now and know that misinterpretations of Truth lead to bizarre concepts of reality, and often fatal translations of scripture.

I may appear overly cynical or otherwise, but I know my experiences and mindsets, and I know what can and cannot be said about them,.... and my own readings of Eastern texts, in an effort to gain better insights into interpreting my experiences and mindsets, have left me with the impression that unwarranted and incorrect claims and interpretations are being presented. Granted, I may be misinterpeting things, or there could be translation issues, and this is not being ruled out, in which case, my warnings above would be directed towards a particularly insidious interpretation of Eastern traditions. And I would assume, that if this is a misinterpretation on my part, that others will likely be misinterpreting as well, and this could be a problem.

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lucid_dream
post Jul 04, 2007, 10:03 AM
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QUOTE(Joesus @ Jul 04, 2007, 10:45 AM) *
The reference to someone being described in a state of fullness as seeming to be in a dreamlike state or half asleep is one that I have experienced in my own teacher. Sometimes it seemed as if he was somewhere else rather than present in the room, yet at any given moment if asked to engage he was sharp and to the point.

but the reference to living life as if half-asleep is not limited to meditating or sedentary activities, but to all activities. How would you feel if your teacher always appeared to you to be half-asleep, or otherwise was always occupied with one pointedness or with purely imaginary worlds in his head? Does your teacher denigrate world-appearance? Does he have a sense of responsibility, and if so, then of what? What is the Eastern Tradition's stance on responsibility? I am eager to correct my misinterpretations!
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lucid_dream
post Jul 04, 2007, 11:06 AM
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I see there's a related topic at http://brainmeta.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=14730
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Joesus
post Jul 04, 2007, 11:29 AM
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QUOTE
I may appear overly cynical or otherwise, but I know my experiences and mindsets, and I know what can and cannot be said about them,.... and my own readings of Eastern texts, in an effort to gain better insights into interpreting my experiences and mindsets, have left me with the impression that unwarranted and incorrect claims and interpretations are being presented. Granted, I may be misinterpreting things, or there could be translation issues, and this is not being ruled out, in which case, my warnings above would be directed towards a particularly insidious interpretation of Eastern traditions. And I would assume, that if this is a misinterpretation on my part, that others will likely be misinterpreting as well, and this could be a problem.

It would appear to be a problem both with Eastern and Western Teachings of enlightenment. That is why my Teacher always said without enlightened guidance learning about ones own enlightenment is slightly more difficult than building a starship with a manual and no experience.

QUOTE

but the reference to living life as if half-asleep is not limited to meditating or sedentary activities, but to all activities. How would you feel if your teacher always appeared to you to be half-asleep, or otherwise was always occupied with one pointedness or with purely imaginary worlds in his head? Does your teacher denigrate world-appearance? Does he have a sense of responsibility, and if so, then of what? What is the Eastern Tradition's stance on responsibility? I am eager to correct my misinterpretations!

I used to wonder about his sense of perception and what he actually saw while appearing to be living in another world but he was as I said always present and sharp. Keen to respond to any situation his outward appearance was deceiving to the untrained or unconscious awareness.
His description of world appearance is that it is not the same to everyone. Tho we share similarities in perceptions each individual sees the world according to the things we personally associate meaning. The underlying support system that allows all to exist in individuality and perception that is both different and similar at the same time exists solely at the discretion of our intentions and belief as reflection of belief.
One man can stand in a room and make a statement to 100 people and each will have their own thoughts and feelings. The man that speaks does not control the 100 people, rather the individual creates the situation and perceives reality as they understand it.
Life is a dream, a very complex and simple extension of universal mind as it takes forms and meanings according to personality.
We can exist in union with each other or find ourselves in conflict with each other depending on our state of conscious awareness.
Responsibility comes into different forms of intent and meaning at different levels of conscious awareness.
To the responsible adult teaching their children, what is important is not what the child does so much but what the child learns and utilizes to become self sufficient and successful at whatever endeavor it chooses to participate in.
To the enlightened, service to awakening or destruction of ignorance is primary because this service serves the enlightened as if they were gathering all sundered parts of ones self to the One and healing the whole. This is a metaphor only because the enlightened are not invested in their tasks only surrendered to do so with great joy, like letting go of any attempts to steer the river in a direction we think it should go rather than that in which it is going.
Water cuts its own path of least resistance upon the earth but humans are stubborn and will resist change, and resist their own evolution out of fear and judgment of the unknown future life may create if one was to simply approach it in innocence.
Without a greater understanding of what is needed through a point of conscious surrender how would one know what serves the individual in awakening to their highest good and enlightenment?

My Teacher taught me to seek first my own enlightenment before I could help anyone. How could anyone who themselves are still struggling with their own interpretations of life possibly help another?

In my own Teaching and use of world appearance I can only direct one to the Truth and then the student must utilize that truth to become useful to themselves and the world without trying to do so from a handful of ideas and experiences.
With a firm foundation of conscious awareness, or from the awareness firmly planted in the absolute each Teacher I have Taught surrenders the individual personality in the process of teaching by tuning into the needs or evolutionary path of the individual. This is called getting out of the way in surrendering to the universal mind rather than the individual mind or personality.
It's fairly simple if you have spent some time integrating the absolute into the awareness and have established the ability to both witness your own thoughts and the thoughts of others and not be attached to identifying with either.
This process is tantamount to the appearance of being in a dreamlike state in the approach to living life in the moment.
One can be effectively participating in life without being attached to it and jerked about by emotional transgressions and the judgments that arise because of those attachments.
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post Jul 04, 2007, 12:02 PM
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QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Jul 02, 2007, 07:40 AM) *

...the mathematical nature of everything...

In the sense of mathematics as a mental approach to reality? Please explain. Lucid, for some reason you've always shown through your posts as if you have a beef with Budhism. Do you? Whatever they're holy books say, Budhists seem to have something right: They don't start wars in the name of god, they don't crucify a mistic gods as an excuse to comit genocide against other peoples, and they lead a life as in in pursuit of internal peace through a peaceful existence. Isn't that what life is all about in the end anyway? Hell if I ever sign-up to any religion, Budhism or Jainism, with their apparent uncoditional respect towards the universe and its inhabitants would definitely be at the top of my list!
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Achintya
post Jul 04, 2007, 12:41 PM
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QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Jul 04, 2007, 09:11 AM) *

Joesus, about chopping wood and carrying water after enlightenment: most Eastern traditions recommend doing this as if half-asleep, and promote the interpretation of the world-experience as only a dream. You don't think this is irresponsible advice? Do you live your life as if half-asleep and believe your world-experience is just like a dream?

In my experience, Buddhist teachings certainly do not recommend chopping wood and carrying water as if half-asleep! Imagine the peril in which one's toes would be placed, for one thing. In fact, on the contrary, they recommend maintaining an alert mindfulness at all times!

That thing about chopping wood and carrying water, as Joesus presented it, is actually meant as an illustration of the fundamental sameness of things pre- and post-enlightenment, and not as a guide to practice.

QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Jul 04, 2007, 09:11 AM) *

There is an element of responsibility which is missing from all of the Eastern texts I have come across, unless I've missed something, as if the writers had no sense of responsibility and that they regarded their whole life, and everyone elses, as little more than a dream, and as of little consequence. That's why I think such ideas are dangerous and irresponsible, and that the Eastern traditions should be held accountable for being irresponsible and introducing false ideas.

In that case, perhaps you have missed these texts concerning responsibility and other things of some consequence:

He should not kill a living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should he incite another to kill.
Do not injure any being, either strong or weak in the world.

Sutta Nipata II,14

All meditation must begin with arousing deep compassion.
Whatever one does must emerge from an attitude of love and benefitting others.

- Milarepa

This quote may clarify the essence of lucid's problem regarding Eastern religions' views of the world's illusoriness (note, not actual illusion):

Renunciation is not getting rid of the things of this world, but accepting that they pass away.
- Aitken Roshi

That is why we can have, in the same verse from Atisha:

The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.

and then later

The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.


Lucid, don't you think that at the heart of your dilemma is the distinction between relative and ultimate truth? On the level of relative truth, things are important, the world is for engaging in, etc. And on the level of ultimate truth, there are no things, there is no importance, there is no engager, etc. Importantly, though, the fact of the ultimate truth does not obliterate the importance of the relative truth. Perhaps a greater understanding of the interpenetration of these two levels of truths, and the differences between them, would be very helpful.
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