Nov 03, 2002 12:18 PM
Hi. As most people here know, I have taken Buddhist teachings for many years and am still doing so. Buddhism is an exquisitely DESIGNED religion and it is hard to talk about it or understand it without studying it first. I see some of what you are saying, Leon. about Buddhism, as inaccurate and also some of what Jerry is saying as inaccurate. Jerry, I believe you are approaching Buddhism from a perspective that is NOT well-rounded, as you have stated on theos-l that you do not take the The Three Jewels, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, to be important in that you do not believe in the value of Sangha (community). The Three Jewels are the very FOUNDATION of Mahanyana Buddhism, and one does not pluck out one or the other of The Three Jewels according to his taste. Without an understanding of The Three Jewels, any teaching or even discussion of Buddhism will be skewed. I am not sure if you are doing more harm than good or more good than harm, as it is very hard to sort out, and I may not have developed to this level of discrimination, but I will opt for the former, as you are building up a kind of resistance in people toward Buddhism that would be considered detrimental, as you are giving so called "Buddhist" teachings when your understanding is not complete enough to present this material in a way that is well-rounded, though I know you have a good heart and your intentions are sincere and of an altruistic motivation.
Leon, in Mahayana Buddhism, there is not an effort to understand "the 'root' of Consciousness" or "the root of matter," as you have put it, as this would lead to an extreme, which is called "eternalism," which would be contradictory to the teaching of Mahayana Buddhism, which is to act from a middle ground in such a way that as to relieve the suffering of sentient beings by generating great compassion (boddhichitta) which is considered the antidote to the sufferings of sentient beings. It is hard to understand the incredible force of "great compassion" unless one has come into contact with it, and it is my understanding that most people have not experienced the power of this kind and quality of compassion, but just that of the "baby" boddhichitta (conventional compassion).
Leon, re. your statement about Buddha: "His purpose was to instill the value of detachment from the forms of matter in his disciples and the recognition that each individual, as an apparently separate conscious being was, in fact, unchanging and in essential oneness or unity with the primal source of all consciousness." This is NOT Buddhism. The teaching of Buddhism is that everything is changing and that there is NOT a "primal source of all consciousness." This is a KEY teaching of Buddhism, in that the whole religion is based on it.
Mauri, there are three main parts of you (or me): mind, heart and body. Intellectual speculation is not the same as enquiiry. Enquiry leads to a shedding of or release from material through realizing that ones view is wrong in that it is not aligned with the true nature of physical reality. When one realizes the wrongness of ones view, one lets go and is closer to physical reality, or what some on this list have called "esoteric." If you want to enquire, and I believe you do, I suggest you study yourself until you find your own question and then present that question, in a few plain and simple words, to others, and try to start a discussion. You are trying to fit your questions into a certain framework (such as that of Theosophy), but the answer to your question may obliterate certain frameworks. This is what questioning is about. If you keep phrasing a question in such a way that you need to assume certain theory as a BASE or a given in order to answer said question, you may never get an answer that is true, as this effectively puts you in a double bind, which is not a proper intellectual approach. But there is more: you are a person without a practice. In some ways, this is smart, and even sly, as it keeps you pure as a new born baby and unpolluted. You may never find a practice, but if your wait is patient enough, it may begin to function as a magnet, whereas once you are ruined by various kinds of wrong practice, no matter how benign they may seem, your functioning may be imprinted in such a way that certain essential material will not be attracted to you, and visa-versa.
What you have said in the past about going slow, I personally agree with. This is one virtue about you. You are slow, steady and methodical, and you do not seem to quit. Try to be aware of your physical body as a moving object as it walks down the street. In my opinion, being attentive as you perform simple motor functions such as gardening or sweeping a floor, will bring you down to earth. Earth has its own speed(s). In a way, things are slower. A reaction is ONE-SIDED and so fast. A person has a strong feeling and pulls out a gun. Bang. Bang. It is over. He spends the rest of his life in jail. Or the sweeper daydreams he is telling his thoughts to someone important or being important by telling his thoughts. I know. I have been and sometimes still am that sweeper. But when something is attentive to myself AS I AM, simply sweeping, this is a beginning, small and slow, that is actually FASTER. If you and I can make a simple effort with both a top and a bottom, we can help many people, but this effort also needs a middle. When you struggle against your grain to understand something in a way which is not mechanical, you are helping me to make an effort to do the same. This is the heart of true spiritual Work. When I write you this message, it is helping me to remember to be attentive as I sweep. This is the beginning of community. But if we do not keep it SIMPLE and progress slowly, step by step, we will not develop a certain quality, without which we cannot go any further. Sincerely, Wry
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