A few days ago George posted a comment where he asked what people thought of these statements:
1) the existence of a Divine formless force underlying everything.
2) each person has a true inner self, kernel or spark surrounded by egos or wills clouding their perceptions and ability to know thy inner self and the Divine.
3) using meditation to allow connection or alignment of the inner self with the Divine and thus experiencing direct knowledge of the Divine, rather than thru the intellect with its egos which is inherently limited.
4) our purpose is self knowledge of the inner self, to know who we are, to know thyself.
Taoism appears slightly different, but appears to still require man to know himself to align his/her will or ego with nature, and that this is best achieved by putting the mind into a still passive or meditative state unburdened by the intellect or thought.
I didn't want this question -- are there universal mystical principles? -- to be lost in a string of comments, so dug it out for inspection.
It's a big question, obviously. I used to believe that there was such a thing as the Perennial Philosophy, but now I'm much less sure.
For those willing to wade through some fairly complex ideas about the perennial philosophy, these notes on a book by Jorge Ferrer are worth reading. I resonate with Nigel Wellings' conclusion:
The main reason I agree with these sentiments, especially if the perennial philosophy is taken to be as George describes it in the four principles above, is that some mystic teachings don't emphasize (or even acknowledge) a distinction between "true inner self" and "the Divine."
These are dualistic concepts that don't seem to fit in with nondual philosophies such as Advaita, Buddhism, and Taoism. Here the self is viewed as a fiction or illusion to be seen through, not as a distinct entity that can merge with another entity, the Divine.
So when George says that Taoism is "slightly different," I'd say "very different." I've read a bunch of books about Taoist philosophy, and have practiced Tai Chi for about five years (which embodies Taoism).
In this post I discussed how Taoism is both similar to in some respects, yet also quite different from, the Sant Mat philosophy. I said:
The way I see it – and I understand that everyone has a unique vision of how things are – the Taoist notion of a divine melody pervading the universe is a more genuine reflection of Sant Mat's shabd, dhun, or "sound current."
That is, by and large Taoism lacks the religious dogma and metaphysical baggage that organized spiritual faiths carry along.
Taoism and Sant Mat both teach that mental conceptions obscure a wordless primal reality. However, Taoism (like Buddhism) espouses no-mind, not-knowing. Sant Mat, however, is based on an involved belief system. Once someone has bought into the beliefs, further questioning and conceptualizing is supposed to stop.
So while Taoism has no-mind, Sant Mat has locked-in-place mind. The aspiring Taoist mystic seeks to embrace mystery directly; the aspiring Sant Mat mystic considers that cosmic mysteries will be revealed after traveling a well-defined path.
Thus I think George is correct in identifying the four principles as being parts of many mystical teachings. But not all of those paths adopt all of the principles. And style is as important as substance, in my opinion.
Taoism and Buddhism, for example, take themselves much less seriously than faiths like Sant Mat do. In no small part this is due to the absence of a savior or guru in these more wide open and iconoclastic mystic pursuits.
From the introduction to The Book of Chuang Tzu:
Trying to read the book through logically will only produce faint, ghostly laughter. And the one who will be laughing at you from afar will be the spirit of Chuang Tzu. For if there is one constant theme in the book, it is that logic is nonsense and that eclecticism is all, if you wish to open yourself to the Tao and the Te -- the Way and the Virtue of all.
The Tao Te Ching begins with the thought that the Tao that can be described is not the eternal Tao itself. I think this same theme applies to the concept of universal principles. As soon as we try to lock any principles into words and definitions, we're constraining them from what they truly are.
For me, it's better to pick the methodology that speaks to each of us best (Taoism, Deism, Christianity, Buddhism, Paganism, etc.) and then live it in our lives without over thinking it.
Posted by: The Rambling Taoist | March 31, 2009 at 09:06 PM
Thank you Brian
I don't know if I believe in the concept of a perennial philosophy or not, but what struck me when i compared a lot of these mystic traditions, neoplatonic and even mainstream religious ideas was often the overlap of what appeared to be some basic principles.
What triggered my question were Ashy's comments (see "d’Espagnat sees mystery at heart of reality" on March 28, 2009 at 05:26 PM). I repeat what he said below:
"We wrangling about same concepts using different brushes to paint the same picture.
so what is the difference if Plotinus said it or Lau Tzu, or Socrates, or Confucius, or Gautama Buddha, or Guru Nanak, or Maulana Rumi, or Ramakrishna, or Tulsi Das, or Soami Ji
They are all hinting at exactly the same experience using different precepts and language and expression, all pointing to the same sign posts along the same highway.
Whats the point of keeping score as to who says it more poignantly to our limited frame of understanding."
Clearly Ashy is not a Sant Mat fundamentalist, but lets move past that nonsense, and what i was more interested in was any evidence that contrdicts such a broad assertion.
By its very broad ambitious nature, there should be alot of evidence to contradict these principles, but it would seem that there are some basic principles that do appear to be the cornerstones of a great many different belief systems from the ancient to modern times in all sorts of different civilisations.
This for me was interesting, not the specific ritualist differences of Sant Mat or Sufism or Gnosticism or neoplatanism or anything else.
I guess the really interesting bit is the concept of some sort of transcendent ultimate reality or energy which we are able to tap into or experience by stilling the mind and trying to move past the intellect by entering an altered state of consciousness and delving deep inside into the real self.
Perhaps this has been well discussed, but its been wrangled with throughout time, including Leibniz and Huxley. Before that there is considerable overlap with the neoplatanists and before that the ancient religious traditions of the east.
Nietzhe and many others have commented widely on the inherent limitations of the intellect and supposedly rational philopsophical thought, since by its very nature the intellect has imported into it a range of personal egos, wills and belief systems. All of us are inherently conditioned.
The mystic traditions appear to arrive at the same conclusion and attempt to bypass the intellect at higher levels to gain this true knowledge of self and reality.
Its not so much whether i personally believe this to be the case or not, since i have not had such a spiritual experience, but its the overlap in thought between the different philopshical systems that is interesting.
Moreover, it would seem that the means to enter this 'higher' or altered state of consciousness, and bypassing the intellect, ranges from meditation (in the eastern religious traditions) and stilling the mind to intense introspective reflection (ancient greeks) and indeed their famously secret mystery schools and esoteric beliefs in ritual to induce such 'higher' states, and also the continued use of shamanistic brews or psychadelic chemicals to induce mind-expanding reactions.
The illusions or experiences itself may indeed be fake (perhaps not), but the state induced may nevertheless expand one's horizons or open the doors to perception.
It may cause the individual to think new thoughts or to probe repressed one's. It may also be the complex psyche's way of bring such repressed knowledge of oneself to the surface to be clearly understood by the individual concerned.
In short such a philopshophy or ancient spiritual path may be of tremendous practical benefit apart from anything else.
Posted by: George | April 01, 2009 at 02:38 AM
George posted the following (quoted from Ashy):
"what is the difference if Plotinus said it or Lau Tzu, or Socrates, or Confucius, or Gautama Buddha, or Guru Nanak, or Maulana Rumi, or Ramakrishna, or Tulsi Das, or Soami Ji They are all hinting at exactly the same experience using different precepts and language and expression, all pointing to the same sign posts along the same highway."
-- NO, they ARE NOT "all hinting at the exactly the same experience". Not by any stretch of imagination.
There is no "same experience". Anyone who HAS ever had such an experience knows that no two experiences are the same. No two paths are the same.
Also, they are NOT "all pointing to the same sign posts along the same highway". There is NO such "same highway", and there are NO "same sign posts".
Every experience and every path is unique and different... every "highway" is unique and different.
I repeat, there is NO such "same experience". And "they" are NOT "all hinting at exactly the same experience".
Anyone who thinks otherwise, has no real understanding or transcendental experience themselves.
Ashy (the individual who made those false assertions) is totally wrong...
And George (the individual who agrees with Ashy) is totally mistaken and mislead.
Neither Ashy nor George have any direct knowledge or experience. If either Ashy or George had one iota of real knowledge or direct experience, they would NEVER ever say:
"Plotinus or Lau Tzu, or Socrates, or Confucius, or Gautama Buddha, or Guru Nanak, or Maulana Rumi, or Ramakrishna, or Tulsi Das, or Soami Ji. They are all hinting at exactly the same experience [...] all pointing to the same sign posts along the same highway."
-- Those sages and spiritual teachers absolutely ARE NOT "all hinting at exactly the same experience"...
And they absolutely ARE NOT "all pointing to the same sign posts along the same highway".
Only those who have actually had an experience know that there is no one path or one experience. Those who have had an experience, will know the truth of what I say.
Posted by: tAo | April 01, 2009 at 03:28 AM
Yes your point on differentiating between the inner self and the divine is an interesting one, which I too am not clear on and hopefully wanted to thrash this out with those in the know.
However, lets forget the Divine and concentrate on say a less deist based religion or tradition like Taoism or even the martial art you practice Tai Chi, which i understood is predicated on the belief in some sort of underlying force or energy that pervades everything, and that one should try and still the mind and tune into or connect with this force (or unite with the Tao) in order to achieve harmony. One apparently can achieve this state by stilling the mind through meditation or performing other simple menial tasks.
So again, there seems to be alot of overlap to the 4 basic mystic tenets i have set out.
Taoism goal if anyhting seems more spiritual in that it appear to be to unite with this underlying force or Tao, rather than knowing thyself, which is the goal of the neoplatanists.
I think this is very interesting.
Posted by: George | April 01, 2009 at 03:31 AM
and actually a final point is the neoplatonic nature of the One, which coincides with the concept of Tao or an underlying creation force or energy pervading everything, the goal again i thought purportedly being too unite the inner self with the One and achieve oneness.
The way to achieve this practically is by stilling the mind and intellect with all its encrused egos.
As I say i dont know if i personally believe it per se, but again there appear to be striking commonalities.
Surely, the more practical question, i.e. how to achieve this unity with the One, is where these different traditions differ in their differnt rituals, meditation practices and means of foregoing the intellect to move into a more inuituitive state of consciousness.
Many different paths (religious manifestations) for arriving at the same destination (unity with the one).
anyway, apologies in advance for my ramblings on a subject which is fascinating for me.
Posted by: George | April 01, 2009 at 03:50 AM
Tao, you are far too literal and operating on a totally different pedantic plane to the answers i seek here, i am simply not interested in a tit-for-tat deconstruction of the english language until such a stage as to render it not only incomprehensible but distorted from its original meaning.
You have clearly got it into your mind that Ashy (and me as his disciple) are simply out to torture you and speak nonsense, so rather don't engage if our comments are that meaningless.
Ashy is obviously not a language pedant, he prefers to speak metaphorically, which you appear to castigate as being Sant Mat dogma. This may be possible, but its equally possible that someone who thinks in such an expressive and creative manner has indeed benefitted from some sort of experience.
You talk of 'one' experience, but that is even more limiting than Ashy. I don't believe he thinks that at all. I believe he thinks each personal is capable of arriving at a spiritual experience by many different traditions, but that the experience itself will defer depending on the individual and perhaps even the path/tradition taken to get their. But the undelying message is that he belives we are all capable of arriving at some sort of mystical experience and intuitive knowledge of the one, the word, the sound, the formless form, the tao, the chi, etc.
My understanding is that Ashy believes Sant Mat is the best, but not ONLY, way to achieve this experience and he believes that an experienced guru, that needs to be carefully selected using our thinking intellect and savvy, is the best way for achieving this experience safely.
This is my understanding and perception of what Ashy has said so far, which seems totally different from yours.
In any event, let us try and forego the pesonal battles, since this is a different topic and look at what does appear to be some sort of underlying basic mystic philopshy.
Posted by: George | April 01, 2009 at 04:10 AM
I am not one of the big guns but I have been
reading this blog almost from its beginning and have via the blog got to like and repect all who
post here.Sometimes the rhetoric is a bit hot but
I do feel the intent is coming from people who
genuinely have a true desire to help others and in a very unselfish way.
With regard to mystical experiences I can talk only
from what has occured to me during 35 years of
sant mat meditation and using also self inquiry.
tAo is right each and every individual is his own
teacher and his own knowledge.However just to reach
this understanding took me many years and it was not easy.
What you are doing is excellent you are investigating and exploring.Please do keep doing this.What you may find bits of information sticking in the mind.Follow these hints up and before you know it you will start to tread your own
unique path which only you will know .Having written all this,which is far more than I normally do,I do hope you will continue to visit here and post.
and I wish you only kindness
Posted by: Obed | April 01, 2009 at 08:14 AM
Thank you Obed, a very thoughtful piece.
Posted by: George | April 01, 2009 at 08:53 AM
George, you make good sense. And so does tAo. Don't worry about tAo's verbal style. The important thing is that the two of you, and me, and others, are engaged in a discussion around the same blog table.
I've got a conservative friend who I argue with regularly at a coffeehouse. Sometimes our debates get heated. Then we calm down, have another sip of coffee, and go on to another less controversial subject.
What bugged folks about Ashy is that he was like a guy who comes up your table at a coffehouse and says, "Hey, morons, you're wasting your time here. You should stop your useless talking and go do something useful."
The appropriate response would be to reply, "Well, thanks for your opinion. Now, why don't you either sit down and politely take part in our conversation, or go do something else yourself." Unfortunately, Ashy chose neither option, but wanted to keep standing at the table and screaming "You're all idiots!"
On the topic at hand...I agree with tAo that different meditation or mystic paths lead to different places and have different goals. To understand this, I guess it's necessary to have practiced several approaches and seen the varying results.
Regarding Taoism and Tai Chi, I've found that the appealing centerpiece here is relaxation, flowingness, sensitivity to what is right around you, acceptance of the present moment.
This is quite different, as I said in this post, from the notion in many faiths that it requires great effort to free the soul from the encrustations of ego that have accumulated over countless incarnations, and (usually) requires the hammer of a guru or savior figure to knock loose.
Yes, there is the notion of all pervading energy (chi, ki, shabd, sound current) in both Taoism and dualistic paths such as Sant Mat. But Taoism doesn't view the body or the physical world as a problem to be overcome, but as entirely natural and to be embraced.
Posted by: Brian | April 01, 2009 at 10:01 AM
Dear Tao, Tucson
I am curious about your opinion/answer to a question which Robert had in one of his comments as to how to achieve this unity with the One, where these different traditions differ in their different rituals, meditation practices and means of foregoing the intellect to move into a more intuitive state of consciousness. (without hanging to a Guru or institution)
Further whether Non-vegetarain food, alcholic drinks, life style and sex would be a hindrance in progress.
Posted by: Juan | April 01, 2009 at 10:33 AM
Brian, fair enough, perhaps tAo and i got off on the wrong foot, but i must also say that Ashy has imo made some very good points and posts on a number of threads which i've read. However, i take your point that one must try and stick to the thread topic and contribute meaningfully, rather engage in a stream of abuse, lol (tho Ashy was also not the only one in conflict).
there seem to be alot of very respectful knowledgeable posters on here and its not really my style to sow discord, but i will argue my point. If others make a better one, i'm happy to accept that too.
Thankyou for that point on Taoism and Tai Chi and how it compares, yes that does appear to be a difference. The acceptance of the present moment, and i assume a heightened appreciation of physical reality, nature, as opposed to a more spiritual bent.
However, the process of stilling the mind still exists in taoism, not so? and i thought the idea of this was to better connect or unite with the tao (underlying energy)?
Yes, Taoism does appear to be more about harmonising one's body with nation - i take those points on board, thanks.
Posted by: george | April 01, 2009 at 11:50 AM
I am no expert in mystical philosophies. I actually have only superficial knowledge about most of them except Sant Mat dogma which I know quite well. I think the kernel of Buddhism is quite simple, but people have created very ornate and complicated versions of it. Some of them quite distorted in my view.
The way I see it is that the primary illusion/question is not birth, life, death, space, time, enlightenment, liberation, God, but that of there being any objective entity to experience these conceptual occurances.
If we clearly perceive the difference between direct intuition in whole-mind and relative comprehension by reasoning in mind divided into subject and object, all the apparent mysteries will disappear.
George posted what he views as common principles in mysticism. While they may be common, I don't think they are universal.
He wrote: "The principles common to mystical beliefs appear to be:
1) the existence of a Divine formless force underlying everything."
--It does not exist as an object that can be known by anyone.
"2) each person has a true inner self, kernel or spark surrounded by egos or wills clouding their perceptions and ability to know thy inner self and the Divine."
--None of these concepts exist as objective entities or "things"...if there is One then there are no things. Only the appearance of such in divided mind which is itself an illusory 'thing'.
"3) using meditation to allow connection or alignment of the inner self with the Divine and thus experiencing direct knowledge of the Divine, rather than thru the intellect with its egos which is inherently limited."
--There is no "way" to connect or align with that which is already the case. The seeker is the sought.
"4) our purpose is self knowledge of the inner self, to know who we are, to know thyself."
--Purpose implies a goal. Self knowledge implies a self that would know it. If there were an eternal self, then there would have to be an eternal non-self. In Reality neither can be found. There is no static goal. The "purpose" is This as it is unfolding now in this infinite moment. The only error is This objectifying itself and thus the accessory illusions of self, time, space, birth and death.
So, to answer Juan's question about how to achieve unity with the One I think I just answered it. You are doing it now. If there is a liking for meditation, abstinence from intoxicants, sex and meat, fine but none of that will take you any closer to what you seek than you are right now!
Posted by: tucson | April 01, 2009 at 11:52 AM
George writes to tAo:
"You talk of 'one' experience, but that is even more limiting than Ashy."
-- That not correct. That is not at all what I said, or meant. I did not indicate any such "one" experience. I said that every "experience" is unique and different. There is no "one" experience, or experience of "the One". There is no subject-obeject duality in the so-called "One"... and so I refrain from using the idea or term "the One". That imo is a false presumption made by people who are trying to describe non-duality in terms of duaslity. And so it is just a concept, a mental contruct that derives from duality. Non-duality is not an experience, not an object, not "the One". The "One" or "the Tao" etc, is just a concept. Non-duality is not "the One". God, "the One", the Tao etc etc etc are all just ideas and words attempting to point at something which is not an object.
I think Tucson has articulated this in a much simpler and more understandable way for you than I have. I tend to get easily frustrated with people who are not familiar with the study of consciousness, or who are simply not used to academic or intellectual rigor. But if you do wish to try to understand this subject matter on a deeper and more comprehensive level, then may wish to go study the papers that I provided links to (although again, if you have some hang-up or problem with intellect and intellectual rigor, then you may have difficulty understanding it).
"I believe he [Ashy] thinks each person is capable of arriving at a spiritual experience by many different traditions"
-- He may think that way, but that is generally not what he said here, not what I read. The only way to determine this is to go back and loacte his statements. There is no sense in bicering about this. Simply go locate what Ashy himslf said. I just don't believe that he said what George thinks he said. A review of Ashy's own words will reveal that. There is no point in debating 9or interpreting) this further.
"the undelying message is that he [Ashy] belives we are all capable of arriving at some sort of mystical experience and intuitive knowledge of the one, the word, the sound, the formless form, the tao, the chi, etc."
-- Well he MAY believe that, but thats not what I read him saying. I read him as saying that only Santmat will lead to some supposed goal, which you conceptualize as "knowledge of the one, the word, the sound, the formless form, the tao, the chi, etc." I don't find those objectified terms to be useful. Those concepts are obscurations. There is no goal apart from what is present (absent) or immanent. And even conceptually speaking, "the tao" is different than "the one", which is different than the so-called "word, the sound", which is different than "the formless"... and so on and so forth. The problem many people have is that they are stuck in the realm of concepts and objectivity and duality. There is no end to that. Those are arifactrs of seeking, of the search. Reality is presence/absence. It is not attained through seeking. It is not attained, period.
"Ashy believes Sant Mat is the best, but not ONLY, way to achieve this experience and he believes that an experienced guru, [...] is the best way for achieving this experience safely."
-- "Ashy believes Sant Mat is the best"... He may believe that. But as far as "an experienced guru" being "the best way for achieving this experience safely"... I do not agree at all.
There are several reasons why - several flaws in that rationale.
First is the assumption of "an experienced guru". Who says which particular guru is "experienced"? Ashy says? Who says any so-called guru is necessary at all? Ashy says? So you see this is all merely Ashy's opinion.
Second, in reality there is no such particular "guru", nor is any supposed "guru" necessary, nor can any so-called "guru" cause or bring about any "experience", nor are these so-called "experiences" of any ultimate meaning or lasting value. The so-called 'realization' or 'awakening'(for lack of a better term) into non-duality is not an "experience", not an object, not a state of mind, nor a goal to be attained by seeking or any type of strategy. Non-duality is prior to seeking and effort.
"This is my understanding and perception of what Ashy has said so far, which seems totally different from yours."
-- Yes, your perception (or your interpretation) of what Ashy has said is indeed different than mine. But you see George, I could not care less about what Ashy thinks or says. I have my own innate insight into reality. I have no use for the dualistic dogma and notions of people like Ashy. Ashy parrots dogma because Ashy has no direct insight, realization, or awareness yet. But this so-called "insight, realization, or awareness" is not something than is, or can be possessed or attained. Such is primordial, prior, innate, non-objective, self-liberated, self-perfected... always already the case.
"In any event, let us try and forego the pesonal battles"
-- Let us get something straight here: George, you were the one who said that I have nothing to offer you, and that you are not interested in anything I have to share. You were the one who called me an idiot. And you were the one who insisted that Ashy is not an RS fundmentalist (which he obviously is according to his own statements), and that Ashy's derogatory rants and spam contain "valid points" and valuble mystical insights. Well I absolutely disagree. And I don't think you have the broad spiritual perspective, insight and discrimative wisdom to determine that. Not only that, but your over-all reaction to me and to the honest attention and effort that I put forth, and the insight and conclusions that I have offered you, has been one of gross misinterpation and willful denigration. I don't appreciate that, and I think you are puffed-up and you think you are somehow smarter and better than others. Yoou would not even bother to read the scientific papers that I offered you. In my opinion, your attitude sucks. You make a pretense of being a respectful person, but only when it suits you or your opinions or your agenda. You've probably never met someone like me. Others here know me much better than you do. You rather foolishly trashed me (someone who has a scientific backgroud as well as forty years of philosophical study and experience and knowledge), and instead you chose the insipid nonsense, the dogma-parroting rants of some narrow-minded personally abusive blog-spamming RS fundamentalist poseur like Ashy. That isn't very intelligent of you imo.
Anyway, that is my feeling about you George. I am not against you or trying to criticise you, but I don't think you have a clue as to what this is all about, or what the real issues are here.
It seems to me that you've got a bit of tunnel-vision and you are fixated upon a light-weight like Ashy, and also upon proving some significance and validity to the notion, of Huxley's fabricated concept of the 'perennial philosophy'.
"this is a different topic and look at what does appear to be some sort of underlying basic mystic philopshy."
-- There is no actual discrete 'perennial philosophy' of mysticism as being some discrete thread running down through history. But there are many ancient traditions that go way back into the distant past such as the Naths, the Rishis, the Tantrics, the Siddhas, and the native Shamanic traditions. If you are interested in that, you may like to study the works of my old friend Terence McKenna (now deceased). There is indeed something (a kind mystical consciousness) that goes far back ten-thousand years or more to the plains of Africa, and beyond even to 100 thousand years or more. But it has been lost in this modern era (except for some revival within small pockets of tribal or sub-culture here and there).
Posted by: tAo | April 01, 2009 at 02:48 PM
You said & asked;
"how to achieve this unity with the One,"
-- I don't see any necessity to "achieve this unity with the One". I don't view "the One" as a separate object that one must become unified. There is no separation, so there is no "untiy" to be achieved. There is nothing apart from the so-called "One". No effort is needed. Effort is a sickness prediacted upon the illusion of duality. There is nothing to "achieve". Who would there be to achieve? ...and "achieve unity" with what?
"where these different traditions differ in their different rituals, meditation practices and means of foregoing the intellect to move into a more intuitive state of consciousness."
-- There are all sorts of stategies, but what is the point? You say: "to move into a more intuitive state of consciousness" ? Well if thats what you desire. Is more intuition what you desire?
"Further whether Non-vegetarain food, alcholic drinks, life style and sex would be a hindrance in progress."
-- No, none of those things are necessarily a hindrance or an obstruction. In fact they may even cause a release. It depends upon what you deem or feel is "progress". What is progrees to you? To abide in Reality, no kind effort is necessary... and effort is actually a hindrance, a sickness. Don't think that diet or drink or sex is going to get you anything other than better physical and sexual health. Those things have nothing to do with spiritual awakening or your so-called spiritual "progress".
Posted by: tAo | April 01, 2009 at 03:17 PM
about sex, it seems that attachment to people and emotional stability might be a problem. If you're having sex with many people, it seems likely that you might become emotionally attached to many people and this could create problems with finding some sort of equanimity...which I do think is essential for quieting the mind.
Posted by: Adam | April 01, 2009 at 04:21 PM
I can't say too much about attachment or emotions (because it depends on each individual), except than attachment may diminish clarity and presence. Emotions are actually not a problem just as long as whenever they arise, they are not suppressed and allowed to instantaneously self-liberate.
"finding some sort of equanimity...which [...] is essential for quieting the mind."
-- I myself do not agree or subscribe to that idea that the mind can be quieted, or even that it needs to be quieted. How are you going to quiet the mind? Moreover, there is simply no need to attempt to do so. There is no end to that strategy and effort.
All that is necessary is to relax into prior awareness, and all presumed duality (the mind) will self-liberate effortlessly.
If you attempt to quiet the mind, all you will do is exacerbate the problem by increasing tension and effort, which will further obscure the prior and innate and self-lberating primordial awareness.
Do not try to quiet the mind. If you do, you will become further caught up in its thrall.
The supposed mind (duality) will subside instantaneously and effortlessly as soon as you abandon all such strategy. It is the very attempt to quiet the mind, which will keep you trapped in the illusion of it.
The mind does not need to be quieted.
Effortless recognition of the primordial nature of awareness, is all that is needed.
Posted by: tAo | April 01, 2009 at 11:37 PM
Tao, again your arrogance shines through, how do you dare to presume to lecture me on consciousness and science, you have absolutely no idea what my background is.
Besides which if you had any academic standing in these disciplines there's no ways you'd claim academic rigour for these topics, especially things like consciousness. Real academic rigour and rational thought is preserved for the natural sciences and mathematics.
I simply do not recognise you as being an authority on science or consciousness, however you care to define it, you guys are operating at philosophical level, and even more simplsitically, at a language definition level to try to quantify terms/oblects which are not qunatifiable.
I am merely looking at a comparison of mystical beliefs to understand if they might have some set of universal principles, not the scientific validity thereof, you simply do not get it.
Just a whole lot of one-upmaship follows, and almost certainly you'll end up throwing a strop and swearing like some swaggering sailor from a bordello in Marseille. So much for the 40 years training in science, philosophy and india.
Still nothing about the original question that I have asked all along, and which is the subject of this post. Nothing at all apart from hot air.
Posted by: George | April 02, 2009 at 02:47 AM
Just a whole lot of wordy rubbish really, i mean what the hell is the 'primordial nature of awareness' - its absolute pseudoscience used to confuse ppl, absolute rubbish.
If you can't explain a concept clearly in simple terms then you clearly have not understood it.
This is where Dawkins excels, a perfectly clear mind.
Posted by: George | April 02, 2009 at 03:15 AM
Some airy fairy gobbledy gook expression defined by some self-proclaimed wise old man on a mountain-top in Tibet, and as true's bob, our resident expert in science and rational thought over here, who batters anyone else for airing their spiritual beliefs, swallows this rot wholesale.
The sheer hypocrasy is astounding.
One word, Insane.
Posted by: George | April 02, 2009 at 03:27 AM
May I change slightly the direction of things with regard to the perennial philosophy of Aldous Huxley and put "mysticism" in a more practical framework.
The question I would ask does the perennial philosophy help explain the role "mysticism" seems to play in creativity?
Many of the most creative of people exhibit a mystical ability.A good example is William Blake.
I am not sure if this philosophy can explain this but I would be happy to learn what you and others think.
Posted by: Obed | April 02, 2009 at 03:49 AM
Our expert on rationality and science, uses concepts from Tibetan Buddism to explain it all: "Effortless recognition of the primordial nature of awareness, is all that is needed."
lmao, what utter madness.
So Ashy is the lightweight heretic for airing his beliefs in Sant Mat, and yet tAo here who airs his beliefs in Dzogchen. No doubt, the difference in religious dogma will be made most clear to me, since at the moment am totally and utterly confused.
Perhaps this Dzogchen is in fact a scientific theory, which I have as yet not come accross.
In fact, reading up on Dzogchen, i notice one of its central concepts as explained in that wonderfully erudite source on the wiki is: "The essence of the Dzogchen teaching is the direct transmission of knowledge from master to disciple."
Well now is that not interesing, central to the concept is the idea of a master, could that not be regarded as even vagely similar to the idea of a guru in Sant Mat.
Seems like a severe case of selective spirituality and rationality when it suits, but no tolerance for the beliefs of others.
Posted by: George | April 02, 2009 at 03:51 AM
Of course, good idea.
That is a very interesting point, one which I have picked up on too.
It seems to me that there is a significant overlap between ppl responsible for really original thought or creativity and mystics or ppl that believe in some form of esoteric tradition.
Its also interesting to read the language and metaphor used by the ppl that have immersed themselves in these religions, which is often very poetic and sometimes even quite lovely.
The greek philosphers, Leibniz, Newton, shakespeare, dA vinci, tolstoy - there's a very long list of adherents to the mystic/esoteric tradition.
I am not commenting on the validity of such beliefs or not, merely that i too have picked up on what seems to be a more creative type of personality that correlate with such mystics, as you point out.
Posted by: George | April 02, 2009 at 05:17 AM
.. from War and Peace.
Below is I think a rather appropiate quote from War and Peace
"At this meeting Pierre for the first time was struck by the endless variety of men's minds, which prevents a truth from ever appearing the same to any two persons. Even those members who seemed to be on his side understood him in their own way, with stipulations and modifications he could not agree to, since what he chiefly desired was to convey his thought to others exactly as he himself understood it."
All the best
Posted by: Obed | April 02, 2009 at 07:36 AM
Search the Internet for topics like:
The Mind: Conceptual and Non-Conceptual mental activity.
These are intersting topics, imo.
I'm not trying to direct you, please understand that.
Posted by: Roger | April 02, 2009 at 07:50 AM
I will do so, but if you have a point to make on those topics in relation to anything i have said, please do so.
The search for knowledge is more than just terms and categorisation, its about applying those concepts into some sort of theory.
If anyone on here believes they have a scientific theory to explain consciousness, they could very well be headed for a nobel prize, but there's nothing even quite so remotely elegant as nearing the theory of relativity or evolution, etc.
Instead its a jumble of ideas ranging from neurology, phamracology, computer processing, AI, IN, psychology, psychiatry, philosophy, spirituality, religion and many more.
No-one knows, since no-one has been able to remotedly tame this beast from a scientific perspective. There is much we have recently discovred about the brain in the last 50 years or so, but huge amounts remain unknown, and that is just the hardware, the software is a different topic altogether.
When someone is able to create some apparatus that is able to objectively read what another person's mind is thinking then perhaps we can validate if that person's perception is reality or illusory, and discover something about mind, but we presently cannot.
These spiritual concepts are very interesting in their own right, but one must be very careful to confuse them with well understood science theory.
The consciousness is not well understood at all from a scientific basis. Terms have been created like voidness and awareness, but what do they mean?
I like to understand things from first principles, virtually anything that is really well understood can be explained simply and accurately without referring to suposedly highbrow principles which really are not that profound at all.
i always get slightly concerned when ppl point one in a particular direction, since they possibly percieve the topic is to complex for them to describe or they the person that they are speaking too does not understand much about the topic.
I'm afraid anything to do with the consciousness is so scattered and wooly that you need to collate these terms into some thought of theory and describe that in a basic form for examination, however rudementary that might seem.
For example, I could point someone to search the internet for:
But it really does not mean a thing unless its put into the context of a point.
Posted by: George | April 02, 2009 at 08:31 AM
String theory sounds interesting, thanks for the reference. However, no need for a context of a point. Likewise, no need to make a point. Further more, no need to point in a particular direction. On the other hand, I could use some help with a higgs bossom link. Please help in that topic.
Posted by: Roger | April 02, 2009 at 08:42 AM
If we aren't going to make any points, it might be a pretty cursory discussion. indeed, perhaps its better that nothing is said at all, but then one needs to question why a blog.
the higgs bossom link sounds a bit dodgy, but presuming thats just a typing error, its what cern is all about in switzerland. wiki invariably provides a pretty decent overview if its terms we are looking to define.
Posted by: George | April 02, 2009 at 08:51 AM
Hopefully, you can help me with the "dark matter" of consciousness, in relation to the scientific theory of some apparatus that is able to objectively read what another person's mind is thinking.
Feel free to point me a particular direction. Direction pointing has it's benefits.
Posted by: Roger | April 02, 2009 at 08:53 AM
Wish I could, but the subtlety is that dark matter is not even well understood science and far from objectively provable.
Pretty much like the concepts of consciousness.
Posted by: George | April 02, 2009 at 08:57 AM
One of the most interesting books on consciousness is the book by James.E.Beichler.It is called "To Die For"and it explains his SOFT theory of consciousness.I have not bought it yet but it is on my buying list.
Another extremely good book and well researched is the book by Jenny Wade called "Changes of Mind"
and last but not least one of Brians favourite's Luther Askeland's "Ways in Mystery"
All the best
Posted by: Obed | April 02, 2009 at 09:03 AM
I'm afraid i often have an aversion for american scientists, who are often a little too loose and verbose when it comes to rational thought.
Not all, there are a minority of very good ones. But I unfortunately do prefer the oxbridge-educated British scientists and philosophers, what what.
Posted by: George | April 02, 2009 at 09:08 AM
"If we aren't going to make any points, it might be a pretty cursory discussion. indeed, perhaps its better that nothing is said at all, but then one needs to question why a blog."
---Tucson might agree that, "better nothing is said at all." Good point for non-dualism.
---Don't forget blogging is blogging. All kinds of nothing, as well as something, can be discussed.
Posted by: Roger | April 02, 2009 at 09:17 AM
Richard Feynman, now what was a great american mind and scientist.
but Wade's books looks interesting for what it is.
Read some of Ken Wilber, but its all just new-age twaddle, he is the kind of pseudo-scientish which is plain crap to be honest.
I think its one thing to be respectful of people's various religious beliefs, but quite another when these transpersonalists try mixing and muddying the concepts with proper, albeit cutting-edge, science. their aims are to shed light by supposedly embracing other areas of knowledge, but they incompatible, its hardly science, interesting as it may be.
Posted by: George | April 02, 2009 at 09:19 AM
fair enough, i personally don't mind what ppl discuss, pretty much like all blogging, but it would seem to me that the nice thing about this blog is that there's this range of ppl with different backgrounds who could potentially all make very interesting and different points, without having to go look after dry definitions elsewhere.
Posted by: George | April 02, 2009 at 09:23 AM
Have you tried J.W.Dunne.He is great favourite of mine.His books are no longer published but he was
great friends with Arthur Edgington.Dunne was in the Boer War in South Africa and the First World War.His theory is fascinating and his best known book is"An Experiment in Time"
You may enjoy his dry British humour.
All the best
Posted by: Obed | April 02, 2009 at 09:26 AM
I have not, you are a mine of information.
Churchill was also in the Boer War in South Africa.
I will look that up, thanks.
Posted by: George | April 02, 2009 at 09:28 AM
You are most welcome.J.W.Dunne was a great eccentric.Pity he is not around today.Beside being
a talented mathematician he designed planes,played several musical instruments and if that was not enough he was a very brave soldier in that horrible war in South Africa.
All the best
Posted by: Obed | April 02, 2009 at 09:40 AM
Yep, I too have a special penchant for the eccentrics, they make the world a more interesting place. very interesting.
yes, i suppose all wars are horrible, the american civil war had massive casualties, was reading the other day, astronomical figures. very interesting country the old big dog U S of A.
Posted by: George | April 02, 2009 at 09:48 AM
"These spiritual concepts are very interesting in their own right, but one must be very careful to confuse them with well understood science theory."
---Is this regarding Consciousness? What type are you referring to?
---Could you point me in the direction of a "well understood" science theory of this Consciousness? Is this a spiritual consciousness?
---If so, could you help me understand the difference between a spiritual concept and a well understood spiritual hypothesis?
Thanks for any help and clarification,
Posted by: Roger | April 02, 2009 at 10:16 AM
Has anyone else ever experienced "exploding head syndrome"? I know it sounds funny, but the sound is literally like hearing a bomb explode next to your head when your sleeping.
Posted by: DJ | April 02, 2009 at 11:49 AM
No its regarding spirituality not consciouness.
the type of spirituality is general wishy washy dogma, take your pick
sorry could not point you in such a direction, cos there is not one, thats my point.
i would say a spiritual concept is: the one, the sound, the tao, the transcental hogwash, the voidness, the primordial awareness, etc. you'd almost certainly no more about it than me.
i could'nt help you understand the diference between a spiritual this or a spiritual that, cos its mostly just crap subject matter and crap definitions. in other words, we might as well speak crap, or even better speak concepts without context.
Posted by: george | April 02, 2009 at 11:53 AM
oh sorry, where are my manners, thank you for your probing honest questions.
Posted by: george | April 02, 2009 at 11:54 AM
"Tao, again your arrogance shines through, how do you dare to presume to lecture me on consciousness and science, you have absolutely no idea what my background is."
-- You just can't seem to bury your hatchet and your uppity attitude George. I did not "lecture" you with "arrogance" at all. And it has nothing to do with your "background". You don't know my background as well, but that's not important either. I merely suggested that you may like investigate what I have to share regarding my research into "consciousness and science". So what is your problem? You seem awfully stuck up.
"Besides which if you had any academic standing in these disciplines there's no ways you'd claim academic rigour for these topics, especially things like consciousness."
-- And what makes you assume that?
"I simply do not recognise you as being an authority on science or consciousness"
-- Well I never claimed to be an "authority". I simply tried to share my own insights and research.
"however you care to define it, you guys are operating at philosophical level, and even more simplsitically, at a language definition level to try to quantify terms/oblects which are not qunatifiable."
-- Apparently you did not read my papers. Also, I don't know who exactly "you guys" refers to. There happen to be diverse commenters here. And finally, what are you doing here if you don't think there is anything of value?
"I am merely looking at a comparison of mystical beliefs to understand if they might have some set of universal principles, not the scientific validity thereof, you simply do not get it."
-- Then again, I suggest that you study Mircea Eliade.
"Just a whole lot of one-upmaship follows,"
-- Since you came here, there has been a considerable amount of one-upsmanship (if not the majority of) on your part. You literally exude one-upsmanship, in my observation of your comments.
"So much for the 40 years training in science, philosophy and india."
-- I find your personally demeaning attitude to be a rather bad vibe in general in this forum.
"Still nothing about the original question that I have asked all along, and which is the subject of this post."
-- That is also incorrect. I have already given you a fair amount of feedback.
"Just a whole lot of wordy rubbish really, i mean what the hell is the 'primordial nature of awareness' - its absolute pseudoscience used to confuse ppl, absolute rubbish."
-- No Dzogchen is not "rubbish" nor is it "pseudoscience used to confuse ppl". You are just terribly ignorant and uninformed about the teaching and meaning of Dzogchen, about its origin, development, practice, and import... and you are also narrow-mindedly derogatory towards people like myself (and Tucson) when you don't understand what someone is relating. You have a particularly narrow-minded condescending attitude that is not useful and does not belong in this forum.
"If you can't explain a concept clearly in simple terms then you clearly have not understood it."
-- It was explained quite simply and very clearly. All you are indicating here is that YOU have not understoood it.
"This is where Dawkins excels, a perfectly clear mind."
-- I believe Dawkins deals mostly with religion, not with the nature of awareness.
"Some airy fairy gobbledy gook expression defined by some self-proclaimed wise old man on a mountain-top in Tibet"
-- That is not at all what Dzogchen is, by any strectch of your nonsense imagination. You have no idea what you are talking about. You are quickly losing credibility with this type of ignorant comment.
"and as true's bob, our resident expert in science and rational thought over here, who batters anyone else for airing their spiritual beliefs, swallows this rot wholesale."
-- Dzogchen is not "spiritual beliefs", nor is Dzogchen "rot". You are clearly extremely uninformed and ignorant of the teaching, practice, and nature of Dzogchen.
"The sheer hypocrasy is astounding. One word, Insane."
-- Just more continuation of your derogatory and unreasonable assault against both me, as well as a subject about which you clearly have no basic understanding or knowledge.
"Our expert on rationality and science, uses concepts from Tibetan Buddism to explain it all: "Effortless recognition of the primordial nature of awareness, is all that is needed."
-- That is correct. That was a very simple description of Dzogchen, the self-perfected state. But fyi, dzogchgen is not originally derived from Tibetan Buddhism at all.
"what utter madness."
-- That may be what you think in your ignorant stupidity, but it is not what the tantrik mystics, adepts, and sages have said.
"So Ashy is the lightweight heretic for airing his beliefs in Sant Mat, and yet tAo here who airs his beliefs in Dzogchen."
-- Dzogchen is not a belief, a cosmology, a theology like Sant mat. Dzogchen means, is all about the innately self-liberated self-perfected state. If anything, it is a direct recognition, not a "belief". I don't hold any such "beliefs in Dzogchen". And you obviously have NO understanding of dzogchen. Otherwise, if you had any comprehension of dzpgchen, you would not react with such contention and ridicule.
"No doubt, the difference in religious dogma will be made most clear to me, since at the moment am totally and utterly confused."
-- I don't know what you mean to say by that.
"Perhaps this Dzogchen is in fact a scientific theory, which I have as yet not come accross."
-- It is not scientific theory at all.
"In fact, reading up on Dzogchen, i notice one of its central concepts as explained [...] is: "The essence of the Dzogchen teaching is the direct transmission of knowledge from master to disciple."
-- That not quite correct. It is somewhat misinterpretive and misleading. Your source is apparently not so well informed. I would suggest that you go study the subject and meaning of dzogchen from a highly regarded expert on dzogchen like Choegyal Namkhai Norbu (who is my own teacher).
"Well now is that not interesing, central to the concept is the idea of a master,"
-- That is incorrect. The "idea of a master" is not "central" at all. Dzogchen means the self-liberated / self-perfected state. There is no "master" as in Santmat. A dzogchen teacher is simply one who 'introduces' an aspirant to the simple recognition of primordial awareness. There is no "master" cult about it at all. So again, you are ill-informed and you are making false conclusions based on faulty information.
"could that not be regarded as even vagely similar to the idea of a guru in Sant Mat."
-- (see my preceding comment)
"Seems like a severe case of selective spirituality and rationality when it suits, but no tolerance for the beliefs of others.
-- The issue here has nothing to do with "selective" anything. Nor is it about "tolerance". Dzogchen is a recognition and a state of being, not a belief. And I have great tolerance and no problem with the beliefs of others, just as long as they don't try to self-righteously impose and inflict their beliefs and dogma upon me. People can believe whatever they like, just as long as they don't criticise or fault me for not believing as they do. This is the issue, this is the problem that people like Ashy represent. Otherwise, I am quite tolerant and don't care what others may believe, as that is entirely their own business. And Brian feels the same way about that that I do. So frankly, your implication towards me in this respect is entirely incorrect.
In conclusion, I think that you would do well to investigate a subject (such as dzogchen) more thoroughly, before you go making such premature, presumptious, faulty, and derogatory conclusions. Its not very 'enlightened' to make such derisive ridicule as you have, when you are so extremely un-informed about the subject matter.
Posted by: tAo | April 02, 2009 at 06:00 PM
You ask: Has anyone else ever experienced "exploding head syndrome"?
This may be a joke but I will respond anyway ;)
Yes I have had this experience a couple of times, almost like a gun shot going off inside the head while asleep. Didn't seem to bother me much at the time but then being an 'eccentric' I rather enjoy my little experiences of being visited by astral forms, seeing auras etc. I do take into account that these are probably hallucinations but if they are pleasant enough I just go with the flow and find them interesting.
Posted by: zenjen | April 02, 2009 at 06:46 PM
Perhaps the irony is lost, so I just want to clear up a few things that appear tremendously hypocratical:
i) you and many others have absolutely lambasted Ashy's beliefs as being some sort of irrational Sant Mat fundamentalist.
Yet the best of the lot is that you appear to be a believer in such mystics too. You say about dzogchen "If anything, it is a direct recognition, not a "belief". What do you think Ashy has been saying about his experiences, he does not believe they are beliefs either but supposedly direct knowledge, precisely what you are saying.
Yet you critise him and get into semantics about his definitions for objects which dont exist, etc, etc.
You both believe in different spiritual dogmas, neither of which are scientifically provable, but are simply slightly different tenets laid down by ancient mystics.
I am interested in both your beliefs systems since there appears to be alot of wisdom there.
ii) you specifically seem to have an issue with Sant Mat for its 'guru' concept. Yet as I have shown above, the excerpt from Wiki makes it quite clear: "The essence of the Dzogchen teaching is the direct transmission of knowledge from master to disciple."
You say this is not quite correct, but that is what it says, it describes it as the essence of Dzogchen. Now maybe you have developed your own form of Dzogchen selecting the parts you prefer, but thats what the belief system is about.
I personally see no problem with a valid guru or master in any discipline who is able to guide beginners. Indeed, Ashy made it quite clear that one needs to be very careful when selecting such a guru.
iv) After I attacked Dzonchen for its irrationality and mumbo-jumbo dogma in much the same way as you attacked Ashy's Sant Mat, your response was: "That may be what you think in your ignorant stupidity, but it is not what the tantrik mystics, adepts, and sages have said."
Who says I believe in anything the tantrik mystiks, adepts and sages have said. It could all be absolute garbage, since there is no way of testing its validity or not.
but thats not even the real point, the real point is that if a mystic tradition like Sant Mat is just a whole lot of bullshit dogma, please explain how you would distinguish these mystics from others? that is what i mean by selective spirituality.
v) Dawkins is a scientist, a proper cold hard scientist. Its true, recently he's written books criticising religion, but you can be sure mysticism falls squarely in that bracket of irrational thought and superstitious dogma.
I too think its exactly that, but I am trying to keep an open mind and be tolerant of what some like Ashy has to say, and also of what you have to say, but my whole argument with you is that you seem to disown Ashy as being some sort of fundamentalist, when your positions are probably closer together than mine is to either of you.
Posted by: George | April 02, 2009 at 10:56 PM
"These spiritual concepts are very interesting in their own right, but one must be very careful to confuse them with well understood science theory."
---So what would be an example of a "well understood" science theory of Spirituality?
---The statement is yours. Nothing crappy about it.
---If you don't have an example, just say so. No harm done.
Posted by: Roger | April 03, 2009 at 08:27 AM
I stated nothing of a well understood science theory of spirituality. It would be impossible for me to do so.
- In fact, my statement does exactly the opposite in distinguishing between 'spiritual concepts' and 'well understood science theory', since they incompatible.
- Already given examples of well understood science: relativity, evolution, etc.
- Already given examples of spiritual concepts: tao, the one, the divine, Dzonchen, etc. I'd probably lump your vague 'voidness' into this category too, if it apparently did not mean so little.
Thanks again for the honest probing enquiry.
Posted by: george | April 03, 2009 at 08:48 AM
So spiritual concepts are crappy? A spiritual concept, I could find interesting, nothing more. Again, conversation is conversation, no harm is such.
In addition, a "well understood" science theory, I would find interesting too.
The "well understood" makes me giggle.
Do you think "scientific" theory is crappy too?
Posted by: Roger | April 03, 2009 at 09:34 AM
No spiritual concepts are ... well spiritual, what can you say about them? Nothing really.
i have nothing against stream of consciousness type arbitary conversation or spiritual concepts, but they're not science.
As a man who seems easily amused, let me try amuse you further. 'Well understood' could for example mean an all-encompassing mathematical proof or something like darwin's bioligical theory of evolution. These, concepts are often very cleanly put, without any strange terms like voidness or primordial awareness, rather simple language with meaningful concepts formed into a context; to form one of the most elegant profound models to describe our natural reality that man has ever created.
Its all largely relative Roger, but this is the stuff that actually works. Its why Dzogchen, Wilbers AQAL mindmap, Star Wars' Force, and the Voidness are not really widely accepted, logical or meaningful to anyone other than a community of well-meaning flakes or hippies.
That is not to say hippies are bad, far from it, imo the world would be a better place with these lovely gentle folk.
Posted by: George | April 03, 2009 at 10:53 AM
You stated, or copied and pasted,
"Well understood could for example mean an all-encompassing mathematical proof or something like darwin's bioligical theory of evolution. These, concepts are often very cleanly put, without any strange terms like voidness or primordial awareness, rather simple language with meaningful concepts formed into a context; to form one of the most elegant profound models to describe our natural reality that man has ever created."
---Sounds like a descript from a romance novel. However, nothing crappy about the statement.
---So, voidness or primordial awareness have evolved from crappiness to strange terms. Is this a scientific theory of evolution?
---"all-encompassing mathematical proof" again more romance. There are mathematical proofs, that just prove a series of mathematical equations can end in a particular result. Nothing more. One that I did enjoy was the calculation for the Energy of a Hydrogen Atom.
---"......to form one of the most elegant profound models to describe our natural reality that man has ever created." Ok, George, when is the Knight in Shining armour going to run off with the Princess?
Posted by: Roger | April 03, 2009 at 11:37 AM
--Indeed, it is romance, i am in love with science and the rational mysteries of the universe. Thanks.
--Voidness and Primordial Awareness could probably be referred to as either crappy or strange, tho crap is substantial, so probably a poor choice of words.
-- You don't get closer to reality anywhere in the universe from any perception than mathematics, be it in the depths of the earths ocean or the heights of olympic mons. more romance, just for you.
-- Its true, science is full of natural beauty, wisdom and romance, i confess.
Big up to you Rog.
Posted by: George | April 03, 2009 at 12:02 PM
"Its why Dzogchen, Wilbers AQAL mindmap, Star Wars' Force, and the Voidness are not really widely accepted, logical or meaningful to anyone other than a community of well-meaning flakes or hippies."
-- To lump all those very different and disparate things together is meaningless. There is a vast dissimilarity and difference between:
a) Ken Wilber's elaborate theories
b) a fictional sci-fi movie concept
c) the buddhist term "voidness" (emptiness)
...and NONE of those three are even anywhere remotely related to or similar to the nature and teaching of Dzogchen.
As for George's rather misgided notion that Dzogchen is "not really widely accepted, logical or meaningful to anyone"... well, that is just incredibly uninformed and baseless.
Dzogchen (or atiyoga) happens to be quite widely recognized and accepted, it is the highest teaching of the entire Buddhist tantra, it has been held in utmost esteem and profound meaning by buddhist scholars, the teaching of dzogchen has been preserved and transmitted for more than two thousand years, and it is deeply founded in logic.
George, it is becoming increasingly apparent that you have incredibly little, if any familiarity with, or comprehension of dzogchen. But that is not the fault. The fault is in the fact that you jump to such baseless conclusions and even outright ridicule of the teaching of dzogchen, of which you are so lacking in understanding.
Some basic info:
Chogyal Namkhai Norbu:
Dzogchen from wikipedia:
Dr. Alexander Berzin dzogchen archives:
Keith Dowman dzogchen articles:
Posted by: tAo | April 03, 2009 at 11:38 PM
Chogyal Namkhai Norbu:
Posted by: tAo | April 03, 2009 at 11:44 PM
i plead culpable to being fully ignorant of Dzogchen, but it remains a tenent of a mystical tradition, however important you personally consider it to be.
My point was quite simple, which is if you consider this tenent to be important why cant ashy consider Sant Mat tenents to be important?
You may conisder certain mystic traditions to be better than others, but that is a subjective viewpoint.
As for those links, why post the wiki reference, this was where i got the quote from which read: "The essence of the Dzogchen teaching is the direct transmission of knowledge from master to disciple."
I thank you for your more calm thoughts, but i guess link posting is the way to go until i reach some salutary heights, bit of a shame. I think this is why i prefer Brian's style, since he posts very honestly and very clearly, he starts from first principles, so everyone can follow his thoughts logically, even non-mystics. Its what makes a good writer too.
Posted by: George | April 04, 2009 at 01:22 AM
"i plead culpable to being fully ignorant of Dzogchen, but it remains a tenent of a mystical tradition"
-- Dzogchen is not actually "a tenent". A 'tenet' is a doctrine, or principle held as a being true by or within an organization. A tenet is a principle typically advanced by a religious group, such as a doctrine, a dogma, or a belief. Dzogchen may appear that way to you, but dzogchen is simply about awareness, and is not a dogma or a belief. Dzogchen simply means the great perfection, or the self-perfected state. It is a direct recognition of the nature of ones own existence, not some "tenet".
"however important you personally consider it to be."
-- This is not about what may or may not be important to me.
"My point was quite simple, which is if you consider this tenent to be important why cant ashy consider Sant Mat tenents to be important?"
-- Again. dzogchen is not some sort of "tenent" (tenet) or dogma. It is simply a recognition of the prior nature of awareness.
"You may conisder certain mystic traditions to be better than others, but that is a subjective viewpoint."
-- I am not arguing pro or con any such "mystic traditions" whether it be dzogchen or anything else. YOU are arguing about the similarities or differences or comparisons of so-called "mystic traditions". I am simply pointing out that your definition and over-all view of dzogchen is faulty. Dzogchen is not any sort of dogma or belief system as you seem to think. If and when you gain a better comprehension of dzogchen, you will then understand that.
"As for those links, why post the wiki reference, this was where i got the quote from which read: "The essence of the Dzogchen teaching is the direct transmission of knowledge from master to disciple."
-- Yes I know that, but just because that one particular statement is prone to misinterpretation, it does not mean that the other information on that page is not helpful.
"I think this is why i prefer Brian's style, since he posts very honestly and very clearly, he starts from first principles, so everyone can follow his thoughts logically"
-- On the contrary, I beg to differ with you. My "style" is very honest, clear and and direct, and well articulated and easy to understand. You are looking to find faults instead of being receotive and communicating, and I am weary of your contentious attitude. I don't see you as being a very harmonious and open-minded individual. You have alot of preconceived notions and myths about spirituality and mysticism. You also jump to premature conclusions quite easily, and you do so with little or no adequate knowedge and understanding of the subject matter or of the person that you are reacting to.
You haven't heard or understood anything that I've communcated to you... and especially in regards to the sbject of dzogchen. You've got your rather narrow mind already made up, and so there is no point in my going any further with you. So I have nothing more to discuss with you.
I find you to be a bit of a drain, and that even goes back to your intitial support for that blatant troll and preacher of cult dogma, Ashy. So no matter what you pretend, I don't think you are really here for any rational open-minded discussion. You have some other agenda... and I am not interested in dealing with whatever that agenda is.
Cheerio and Adios
Posted by: tAo | April 04, 2009 at 12:52 PM
"Dzogchen simply means the great perfection, or the self-perfected state. It is a direct recognition of the nature of ones own existence, not some tenet".
But what is this 'great perfection' you speak of? Is such a thing actually capable of even existing? By direction recognition, this imediately limits oneself to a subjective personal viewpoint.
I honestly believe that you are engaging in semantics. Dzogchen is merely a philophical statement or principle, which is not objectively provable as to its validity or not, it therefore bears the same objective value as any other philosophical principle or mystic tenent.
Whatever my understanding of Dzogchen is or is not, we both agree it is not a scientific concept. Its validity cannot be objectively validated. It therefore falls into the category of philoshopical knowledge of which ancient wise mystic traditions and even fantasy are capable of forming part.
You talk about 'awareness' and the primordial or prior knowledge of such a state, but these concepts are so vague and unscientific as to border on meaningless. What do you mean by 'awareness', you seem to take it for granted that everyone objectively recognises a clear valid meaning for this.
"I don't see you as being a very harmonious and open-minded individual. You have alot of preconceived notions and myths about spirituality and mysticism."
Well the only thing this indicates to me is how clearly your intuition is plain wrong, since just a few days ago, you were almost certain I was from the other end of the spectrum, in being some sort of Sant Mat fundamentalist.
The reason i seem contentious to you is a very simple one, which is that you seemed contentios and narrow-minded of other people spiritual views, namely Ashy and Sant Mat. If anyone is quick to jump on preconceived opinions about other ppl it is yourself, since i have clearly set up extreme identies to try and show how intolerant and inconssistent you are when dealing with other peoples views.
There are many people that I am likely to share a most harmonious and humble experience of open-minded learning with, but for some reason I don't like arrogance and intolerance of other views, with those individuals i am indeed likely to become contentious, since imo they try to impose their own faulty unreal will on others.
I thought we were getting past all this, but obviously your ego cannot let it go, which to me simply says that i've struck on something that resonates with your ego deeply.
Posted by: George | April 05, 2009 at 02:44 AM
Here’s what I consider to be a fairly original piece of thinking, which will almost certainly get lost amongst all the 1-upmaship and link posting, sorry for the length:
Yung and Freud believed in man’s psyche as comprising an unconscious basic, instinctive and primordial side - which was largely veiled by man’s conscious thought process, intellect and egos.
I agree with this and further believe in an evolutionary-type of layering development of the human psyche in much the same way as the physical brain itself has evolved over time.
When life first began it seems that the first animal brains were crude nervous systems with the simple purpose of automatically regulating the life-support functions of living body (this was done at an unconscious level). As time progressed, the nervous system tended to become more complex forming brains that gave animals instincts and urges in a biological arms race for survival that could quite possibly have been associated with their body type, predators being equipped with hunting or aggressive instincts, etc. As time progressed further the first early humans came into being who over time developed the ability of speech and communication.
The power of speech massively accelerated and contributed to our conscious abstract thought processes. Along with speech, these appear to be uniquely human traits. Our consciousness was massively expanded in that through communication we were able to perceive, albeit through second-hand communication (and hence a degree of transcription error), how another person subjectively feels or their experiences. This expanded our own personal range of feelings and emotions such as empathy and love hugely - but also expanded our thoughts through experience and knowledge.
This would become the intellect – man’s prized possession, which appears to put him at the top of the food chain so to speak.
Many modern scientists like Dennet and Dawkins like to use a computer analogy that distinguishes between the hardware (brain/body) and software (mind/intellect). The above description of mind postulates in basic stages the development of the software in combination with development of the hardware. While the mind or intellect is intangible and thus difficult to track its evolutionary fossils; the hardware of the brain actually seems to contain these stages in evolutionary brain development starting from our basic automotive functions built into the brain stem, connected to our primordial lizard aggressive forebears and finally more recent modern physical layers.
As humans continued to evolve socially, we moved off the land from smaller rural communities into larger urban civilizations, where they were overwhelmed with a variety of ppl all with very different outlooks, backgrounds and experiences. Such experience assaulted our consciousness and built it up even more tending to more complexity. Successive inventions like books, media and finally the internet sped up and exponentially enlarged this concept of communication – we are simple overflooded with experiences and knowledge in modern life.
All the time this has contributed to the massive growth of a complex consciousness, possibly also an over-reliance on it – but along with all this complexity, we have developed psychological problems, which include egos, complexes and neuroses that split off from the intellect and create inner conflicts just beneath our consciousness and therefore seemingly inaccessible but that often cause great angst and suffering.
Eastern religions, neoplatonic philosophies, mystic traditions and even modern psychotherapy appear to have something in common - which is they try delve beneath the surface of the consciousness, to know the inner self, and hopefully get back to a simpler state or relieve the mental conflict or suffering.
So yes I would say there are some universe principles, in fact I would say there is a striking and massive overlap here. I would probably refine the principles above to exclude the presence of a Divinity or supernatural force, and rather replace it with some thing far more plausible and explainable.
That is, I would equate this underlying Divine force with what Jung called a ‘collective unconscious’, what the neoplatonists called the ‘One’, what different eastern philosophical traditions term the ‘mindstream’ and what others have interpreted as ultimate reality, chi, tao, etc.
For us to tune or connect to this collective unconsciousness these traditions again appear to require us to enter an altered state in which the intellect is stilled whether by meditation, dreams, tai chi, chop wood carry water, etc.
This altered more natural state has many names such as dzogchen, awareness, awakening, enlightement, etc
Brian asked above a question that I too wanted to know the answer to which is it the mind of Divine we connect to? I think it’s the inner mind, which has been given Divine supernatural qualities, such is its awe, complexity, majesty and breadth – that it perhaps seems otherworldly. Though in truth, since no-one even understand the inner mind or unconsciousness, there might very well be a Divine component through which this inner mind is the portal to, i.e. droplet of the ocean, spark of the flame, etc.
All of these traditions seems to have as their goal or purpose the ability to look into the inner mind, past the intellect, and thereby experience a return to the childhood purity of our supposedly inherently simpler state. In such a state in which we have connected with our deep inner self or our collective unconsciousness, its possible that such a person does feel a sort of kindling or a euphoric blissful state of oneness. Indeed it may even be intensely practical and of benefit to connect with our inner child so to speak, and to see if one can get a more clear understand of self and the psyche of which damaging egos might be identified.
Posted by: George | April 05, 2009 at 08:29 AM
"Though in truth, since no-one even understand the inner mind or unconsciousness, there might very well be a Divine component through which this inner mind is the portal to, i.e. droplet of the ocean, spark of the flame, etc."
---How do you know, "in truth, sense no-one even understands the inner mind or unconsciousness...." So where is this truth published, or backed up?
---How did the "unconsciouness" become such a big deal, assuming there is no scientific theory to back it up?
---Where did you come up with, "Divine component through which this inner mind is the portal to, i.e. droplet of the ocean, spark of the flame, etc." Is this your romantic side working? Again, nothing crappy or wrong with mentioning the Divine. The analogy of, "droplets of the ocean," could use further explaination.
Posted by: Roger | April 05, 2009 at 12:42 PM
I think modern quantum theorists and evolutionary scientists as well as perhaps modern psychologists and neurologists view this incomplete picture from the bottom up, that is from the distorted and limited view of the upturned ice berg from the upturned tip of it. With the rather limited frame of references and apparatus available the by now seemingly 'evolved' sapient species has determined this theory of evolution to be absolute fact, when it could perhaps be only a very small and inaccurate account of the full picture or absolute reality of who we are, where we hail from or where we going.
Darwin, Jung, Freud, Einstein etc. worked within their given tenets and conditions to determine their theories and then went about proving them through and via the lenses or frames of references that other like minded and equally attuned intellects could grasp and reflect on. Could it possible be that those very lenses and frames of references are in fact limited or flawed with only a minute level of conscientious capacity of vision or conscious insight available to them?
From another or different, or some may consider a higher perspective, it could be inferred or considered that this individual sapient being is in fact in a cyclical wheel of devolution as well as evolution, we do not even know at what point in proceedings or in the total cosmic evolutionary/devolutionary cyclic phase we exist at present, i.e. are we at point A,B,C or Z?
The Quantum astronomers have since recent discovered we are all product of the Big Bang, an astrophysical catastrophe that purported to occur 13 or 14 billion years ago, and we are currently at present still expanding away from the core or epicenter of the enormous explosion. Yet they are as yet still unsure as to what exists or occurs on the other side of the black holes or dark matter vortexes that appear as large as life in their exponentially focused lenses of perception, their well trained sonar and solar and Hubble telescopes.
So I guess the questions become legion from this limited vantage point, like what before the Big Bang, what is the energetic force that instigated this magnificent creative explosion, what lays behind or beyond the dark matter vortexes or black holes, and who is this sentient salient being that is witnessing and experiencing all of this creative catastrophic showdown?
I guess we could try and stretch our limited finite frames of references, our finite lenses of perception, our limited envelopes of material existence and imaginations and try and guess or theorize what goes on behind those veiled curtains of mysterious experience, or we can hearken to what those who have been there, done that and worn the T shirt of such exponentially expansive consciousness have to say about it, and imbibe their understandings, follow their courses of intuitive initiations, and try by means of a different set of visionary principles and spectacles to view, experience, understand and traverse the available avenues of the transported consciousness to determine for ourselves, just who we are, where we have come from and where we are heading to.
It is in these elevated teachers hands to grant us the opportunity to make the discovery real and perceptively visible and personally experiential, and it may or may not be in our hands to grasp such experience and opportunity in both our hands, and eat of the divine feast of this understanding, but the cosmic dance and play of creation will continue with or without our exponential awareness of it, we will either continue to be the subjective subject matter of its regurgitation and consumption, or we get to penetrate and pierce its cyclical evolutionary / devolutionary awagawan, the endless eon's of comings and goings, and get through the vortexes or eyes of the needles and witness first hand the epitome and magnificence and mystery of it all.
Posted by: ashy | April 05, 2009 at 12:46 PM
I think that perhaps you are looking at the minutiare of my language and have missed the meaning of the paragraph.
I postulated a theory based on jung's concept of an unconscious part of the psyche, but what i meant by the paragraph you chose to examine is that the unconscious is indeed so little understood that its quite possible that the mystics are right and that there is a Divine component involved, i dont know if i believe that but my higher point is the universal principles. it takes a bit of thought.
There alot of food for thought there. I also fully agree with you that our rational or scientific perspective is in all likelihood the very tip of the iceberg. I believe our consciousness is actually very limited, but that it might be getting closer to modelling reality, tho the unconsciousness might also represent a different version of reality that needs to be tapped into for a fuller perspective.
Jung's work, for example, dealt alot with dream interpretation as shadows of the uncosnscious. He believed that the unconscious psyche was comprised of different archetypes and that these were described in symbolic language and metaphor. Again there seems to be overlap with the mystic traditions that place alot of emphasis on metaphorical and poetic language to try and convey reality.
perhaps we are devolving, but it seems to me everything in the universe in expanding and tending from simplicity to complexity.
What i agree with you on is that unless I have personally tried to do what others have done and try to follow a spiritual or mystic path in trying to achieve some sort of mystical experiemce, this direct intuition or knowledge that you speak of, well then this is all still conjecture on my part, a rationale explanation for what you say cannot be explained intellectually.
This maybe so, but one should remember many religions have said that about topics that science went on to explain very clearly. I believe there will always be massive holes and limits to our understanding, but there is no need to give up for that reason. It is simply astounding what humankind has achieved in a few centuries of scientific thought.
Posted by: George | April 05, 2009 at 01:46 PM
in any event, i am all for trying to achieve such an awakened state, its a matter of trying to ascertain which mystic tradition or meditation path might be the best to get one into such a state.
the idea of a guru is a difficult one for me to stomach, since while masters in any discipline should be respected, i find it hard to believe someone knows all the answers so completely and it seems the devotion one needs to give to someone so completely, to almost fall in love with guru, then renders one open to the power of suggestion and illusion, which my skeptical mind won't really allow.
i would prefer to try experience or delve into the unconscious on my own, tho perhaps that is also rash and dangerous, perhaps what these gurus really do know is the unconscious mind (whatever they've perceived that to be in the terms and tenets of their own particular religious tradition) - i will need to think about it.
Posted by: George | April 05, 2009 at 02:12 PM
"But what is this 'great perfection' you speak of? Is such a thing actually capable of even existing?"
-- There is no such object.
"By direction recognition, this imediately limits oneself to a subjective personal viewpoint."
-- No, it is simply recognition.
"Dzogchen is merely a philophical statement or principle, which is not objectively provable as to its validity or not, it therefore bears the same objective value as any other philosophical principle or mystic tenent."
-- Then you don't understand dzogchen. It is not a belief that is meant to be "provable". Dzogchen is simply recognition of what is always already the case.
"Dzogchen [...] Its validity cannot be objectively validated."
-- Its validity can be, is validated. You are awareness, are you not?
"It therefore falls into the category of philoshopical knowledge of which ancient wise mystic traditions"
-- Dzogchen is not "knowledge". It is awareness.
"You talk about 'awareness' [...] but these concepts are so vague and unscientific as to border on meaningless."
-- Meaningless to YOU perhaps. But not to everyone.
"What do you mean by 'awareness', you seem to take it for granted that everyone objectively recognises a clear valid meaning for this."
-- You are aware, are you not? You have awareness, do you not?
"this indicates to me is how clearly your intuition is plain wrong, since just a few days ago, you were almost certain I was from the other end of the spectrum, in being some sort of Sant Mat fundamentalist."
-- You were supporting a fundamentalist position and attitude.
"The reason i seem contentious to you is a very simple one, which is that you seemed contentios and narrow-minded of other people spiritual views, namely Ashy and Sant Mat."
-- I am not narrow-minded with resoect to Santmat. I know a great deal about Santmat. And I have no problem with Ashy's personal preference and belief in Santmat. The problem I have (as does Brian) with Ashy, is Ashys self-righteous judgments and criticism towards those who have left Santmat or who are critics of Santmat.
"If anyone is quick to jump on preconceived opinions about other ppl it is yourself, since i have clearly set up extreme identies to try and show how intolerant and inconssistent you are when dealing with other peoples views."
-- Incorrect. I have no problem with other peoples views except when they judge me as wrong for not believing in their views.
"for some reason I don't like arrogance and intolerance of other views, [...] since imo they try to impose their own faulty unreal will on others."
-- Then you you should really look at yourself.
"I thought we were getting past all this, but obviously your ego cannot let it go"
-- Incorrect. I already told you (at least twice before) that I have no interst in pursuing this debate with you, but yet YOU continue and refuse to let it go. So look to your own ego and your own arrogance, and why you insist on perpetuating this.
Posted by: tAo | April 05, 2009 at 02:17 PM
fair enough, lets simply not reply to one another. as you say its getting draining and boring.
Posted by: George | April 05, 2009 at 02:31 PM
"the idea of a guru is a difficult one for me to stomach, since while masters in any discipline should be respected, i find it hard to believe someone knows all the answers so completely and it seems the devotion one needs to give to someone so completely, to almost fall in love with guru, then renders one open to the power of suggestion and illusion, which my skeptical mind won't really allow. i would prefer to try experience or delve into the unconscious on my own"
-- Now that is a wise perspective. And I would encourage you to proceed in that direction, not gurus. I would recommend to avoid involvement with gurus or following gurus. A teacher is fine, but not blind devotion to a supposed guru/savior. Thats why I suggested to you to look into the orientation of Dzogchen (or even advaita vedanta), as dzogchen is more similar to Ch'an (Zen)... rather than the guru-cultism of Santmat.
Posted by: tAo | April 05, 2009 at 02:32 PM
your recommendations simply do not count for me, i was responding to Ashy, since he has been open-minded enough not to get involved in a war of words, despite my position differing from his quite substantially.
as i say, let us rather agree to disagree and not communicate with one another.
Posted by: George | April 05, 2009 at 02:35 PM
Well thats fine with me George, because I DO very much DISAGREE with you on several accounts... but then don't just continue to make more cheap and baseless criticisms of me, implying that I am not open-minded. There are others here on this blog that know that is not true.
Also don't try to pretend that you're open-minded, or rather that Ashy "has been open-minded", when in fact it is quite clear to myself and to others that this is not the case at all.
Moreover George, you and Ashy seem to think and present yourselves as if you are some kind of authorities around here - you in regards to science, and Ashy with regards to mysticism and Santmat savior-gurus. Also, you seem to that this blog somehow revolves around your views.
You are the new guy on the block, so just who do you think you are kidding? I think you have a lot of nerve coming off so arrogant and self-assured, all the while ignoring the blatant fact that Ashy is still preaching and parroting the rhetoric of religious authoritarianist dogma.
Here are just a few obvious examples out of many of Ashy's blatant dogmatic authoritarian rhetoric and presumptions:
"It is in these elevated teachers hands to grant us the opportunity to make the discovery real and perceptively visible and personally experiential, and it may or may not be in our hands to grasp such experience and opportunity"
"or we can hearken to what those who have been there, done that and worn the T shirt of such exponentially expansive consciousness have to say about it"
"with spirituality I don't reckon it works quite that way, because maybe we may think we have the overriding veto as to what works for us and what don't when in fact that is possibly furthest from the truth."
"Sant Mat is by no means unique, every teaching since time immemorial has taught the identical same tenets and realities, whether it be Zoroaster, Buddha, Christ, Lao Tzu, every Sufi mystic that attained the still Oneness within, the journey as well as the attainment is identical"
"Find a teacher, whoever grabs your fancy, and try deduce if he is qualified to take you to the highest realm, once the deduction is acceptably made, stick with him through thick and thin, because alone you have no means of exponential awareness to verify the voracity and qualification you may meet along your unfolding path to discovery."
"The path to becoming or being single or at one with oneself [...] can only become fulfilled when one in fact loses oneself"
"It is only by means of losing the ego, losing the identity, [...] becoming the other being [...] only then when we can die to ourselves, when we can die to the thought or attachment of our separate identity"
"And for this we need an object or focal point of devotion, without love there can be no unity in fact, without losing ourselves to another we can never become whole, just like two lovers seeking the immersing of each others persona in blissful unity of expression of oneness, the act of becoming null and void, of becoming the other being, this is the easy or only path to becoming at one with Love, at one with God at one with the absolute elevated Self."
"for this we would need a kindling [...] by one who holds the candle of love"
Posted by: tAo | April 05, 2009 at 06:55 PM
lol, i have presented nothing of the sort, nor do i feel the need for reverence to anyone who swears like a trooper because of a disagreement in a viewpoint.
let us simply ignore one another.
Posted by: George | April 06, 2009 at 12:52 AM
"let us simply ignore one another."
---Interesting statement from an Internet blogger.
---Still, need a clarification of, "droplets in an Ocean" with regards to the Divine component through which this inner mind is the portal to.
---Again, an interesting and non-crappy statement.
Posted by: Roger | April 06, 2009 at 07:58 AM
Posted by: George | April 06, 2009 at 09:42 AM
"nor do i feel the need for reverence to anyone who swears like a trooper because of a disagreement in a viewpoint. let us simply ignore one another."
-- how typically evasive.
Posted by: tAo | April 06, 2009 at 05:02 PM
Dear Tao & Tucson
Thanks a lot for your answers, since you know about Sant Mat did you find anything good in it, if so what?
Posted by: Juan | April 08, 2009 at 03:22 PM