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November 19, 2018


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The day, . . . the books stop. !

Zorba The Greek. (Played by Anthony Quinn) "What the hell do all these dam books tell you?" Then he burnt them all and danced and danced and danced!

Very much like this post Brian!
Thank you!

And I love to dance also..
and sing..It is all in the same way..Fairy..dust..:)
It's the ''game of love and life..''

There is a term in Sufism called gosha e tanhai. Living alone with no one around you. All kinds of thoughts and states will be experienced. Fears, Phobis, Thoughts of Anxiety, States of Anxiety and Depression, States of Happiness etc After living alone for one month or few months, being becomes stronger than thinking mind. When this happens, mind stops or becomes still and atomic energy realm opens up, in which sound current/atomic energy pervading the universe can be experienced. Religions are calling it trance/samadhi. Sufis call it the state of Jazb/ absorption in divine energy. With this method even mysticism becomes objective. Anyone can follow this method to experience trance. I know everything I say rubs salt on the wounds of atheists. Let it be so.

Yes Vinny

We have 7 chakras and they all are ment to be aroused
It's wonderful

Everybody knows and you don't even have to learn :

1) have a dormant desire
2) Trigger it
3) The itching feel starts
4) Eruptions occur

With exemption of the 1st & 2nd chakra
and the belly for food
the heart for being sentimental
the breath for treating all kinds ..................
we seem to need to know the functioning and precise semantics
of N° 6 & N° 7
before using them

Like refusing to take the train without the precise know-how
of all those inventors

I would say
"as long as nothing better is offered , take the SK train"


Hi Vinny

You wrote
"After living alone for one month or few months, being becomes stronger than thinking mind. When this happens, mind stops or becomes still and atomic energy realm opens up, in which sound current/atomic energy pervading the universe can be experienced."

That is Nirvana!


"Making itself intelligible is suicide to philosophy"
Martin Heidegger

This is why spirituality is superior to philosophy.

Sufi poetry for crooked atheists
Sahibey hosh vohi hai jisey hosh nahin
Zindagi khud hee ibadat hau magar hosh nahin

Connotation: Only that person has awareness of truth who has lost his worldly awareness in trance. Life itself is prayer what prayer people are talking about. People who have not done full efforts in the path of divine are confused because they have not led ascetic life, that was required to experience trance

full efforts in the path of divine are confused because they have not led ascetic life

Yes Brahm does that way

But the Saints do what They want
to start they take housemothers
next give them some Love which washes karmas away

They give beautiful life mixed with divine extase
They give everything for free to the willing
They first analyse how you want to be saved
They are the lovers of the SatGuru

Why wouldn't They do ?

If you meet people making jokes of the disciples who sucked the toes of Swami Ji

He had Diabetes and sous-pression adapted is very good against gangreen

( on FB they ask > How do you feel)
I feel happy that he told

I always enjoy Stephan Batchelors honest approach to Buddhism. I have read 'After Buddhism' and appreciate his take on Nirvana where being aware of reactivity (and therefore suffering) is a task most can undertake – and perhaps ease anxieties. I also like his translation of 'The Four Noble Truths' as the 'Fourfold Task'; ultimately simply described as Embrace life: Let go of what arises: See its ceasing; Act.

Batchelor talks of reactivity from the Pali texts as 'place' and 'ground':- "But people love their place: they revel in their place. It is hard for people who love, delight and revel in their place to see this ground: because of this conditionality, conditioned arising. And also hard to see this ground:the stilling of inclinations, the relinquishing of bases, the fading away of reactivity, desirelessness, ceasing, nirvana.”

He describes 'Place' as:- That which we are attached to and where reactivity arises. And 'Ground' as originality – before conditioning arises. Broadly speaking, suffering occurs when thought and action is the reaction of conditioning – nirvana being freedom from reactivity.

Many may not like Batchelor's translations of the Pali Texts (and other Dhamas) and his take on suffering and life's problems. We all have our own views and as long as they do not cause harm – okay. To that end I am often reminded of what Dustin Hoffman's character said to his son in The Reluctant Hero :-

“You remember when I said how I was gonna explain about life, buddy? Well the thing about life is, it gets weird. People are always talking about truth. Everybody always knows what the truth is, like it was toilet paper or something', and they got a supply in the closet. But what you learn, as you get older, is there ain't no truth. All there is is bullshit, pardon my vulgarity here. Layers of it. One layer of bullshit on top of another. And what you do in life like when you get older is, you pick the layer of bullshit that you prefer and that's your bullshit, so to speak.

Turan, thanks for sharing the place versus ground quotes. I enjoyed them. Makes a lot of sense.

Hi Brian
You wrote
"These observations fit nicely with the Buddhist notion that while we continue to react to what we're experiencing, it is possible to diminish the sense that someone inside our head is responsible for those reactions.

This allows us to gain a wiser perspective on reactivity. It isn't something to be done away with, but rather something to be accepted as simply as possible by lessening our reactions to our reactivity."

A 'wiser perspective'?

Can we really do this? Or are we just reacting to someone's philosophy about reacting?

Have we found truth or are we just replacing one urban myth with another?

What is the measure of progress?

Our own rubber ruler?

Do we really deal with truth or invent our own convenient truths?

We all are attracted to what we believe in, including atheists :)

Difficult to understand Buddhism, mostly it says the Buddha did not believe in reincarnation and yet doing some research came across this:

The Buddha taught that the self (or soul) was an illusion. But what many fail to realize is that until the illusion is seen for what it is, the cycle of birth and death continues. Just because the soul is an illusion doesn't mean there are not rebirths and deaths. Contrary, it is the failure to see the past the illusion of self that traps one in samsara (the cycle of births and death). Until one breaks free from samsara there continues to be the illusion of a soul. It may sound like I'm splitting hairs but it is important to understand the subtleties of Buddha's teachings. Even Buddha remembered his past lives back when he was still under the illusion of self.

The Buddha's remembrance of thousands of past lives during the first watch of the night he achieved omnipotent enlightenment gave rise to a vast body of Buddhist literature, in many versions, called the Jatakas or Tales of the Buddha's Past Lives. The Pali Jatakas record 357 past lives as a human, 66 as a god, and 123 as an animal. For Buddhists, the biography of the Buddha consists of not one but many lives.

In his first paean of joy, the Buddha says:"Through many a birth wandered I, seeking the builder of this house. Sorrow full indeed is birth again and again."

Funny, "there ain't no truth" is the essential worldview of the aspiring autocrat, Donald Trump.

Brian: "--Simply look for the subject. See if there is something to be found.
--Anything you can notice is not what consciousness is, since consciousness is
doing the noticing."

It seems to me that the last observation answers the apparent riddle implied by the first.

Alan Watts put it best with, "You don’t know yourself, because you never can. [Your self is] never an object of it’s own knowledge. Just as a knife doesn’t cut itself, fire doesn’t burn itself, light doesn’t illumine itself. It’s always an endless mystery to itself."

I've also used the metaphor of not being able to see your own eyes. An eye cannot directly see itself. It is an absolute impossibility.

A subject, should it exist, would never be found much like anything noticed by consciousness is not consciousness, since consciousness us doing the noticing. Likewise, anything noticed by the subject is not the subject, since the subject would be doing the noticing.

Consciousness (or the conscious function, for those so semantically inclined) is the subject. Alternatively, we could use the terms subjective-function or subjectivity to more accurately frame "the subject" in order to capture the dynamic nature of the activity.

You quoted Alan Watts
"Alan Watts put it best with, "You don’t know yourself, because you never can. [Your self is] never an object of it’s own knowledge. Just as a knife doesn’t cut itself, fire doesn’t burn itself, light doesn’t illumine itself. It’s always an endless mystery to itself."'

Go to the land where the knives of judgment cut themselves...
And every position falls apart in neatly desicated peices..
Go to the kingdom where fire burns itself..
And all the neatly written complaints burn themselves to ashes..
The place where light eternally lights itself... And all things it lights become light...
Where the endless mystery has all the answers just by asking the question sincerely...
Just by sincere wonder... And thereby discover You.

Hi Jen

The first paragraph holds some great info. What is the source?

However, I believe the words we use can confuse particularly when it comes to notions of self and soul. I still think there’s a difference. Perhaps one way to look at it is ‘self’=illusory, ‘Self’ is more aligned with soul and relates more to totality of consciousness and ability to witness such (about the best I can do). Always wondered about this in light of one of the few sayings the current Dera Baba said that sticks in my mind ‘Soul is truth’.

It makes sense to me that if there isn't realisation that the self is illusory then why wouldn’t an associated belief system continue to reproduce itself in the realm of body/mind and time? What gets ‘reincarnated’ is essentially a bunch of tendencies, memories and beliefs that continue to be constructed by and contribute to, an illusory ‘I’ or ‘self’. Many mystics, sages and saints stress the importance (if we are still able) of being mindful of what one is thinking (or not), when death approaches. Strong belief can get ‘you’ reincarnated. That’s how I see it.

Nice post, Brian.

I just love how I can get a quick effort-free view into the very heart of all of these books that you discuss here, books that I’d myself probably never read, and that from a perspective that I closely resonate with. Give me your signature Church-of-the-Churchless book review any day, over reviews from more mainstream sources. Not that it has to be either-or, of course.

Reading what you’ve written here set me thinking:

Rooted in this “reactivity” is (the ultimate motivation for) every act that we perform, bar those that are absolutely and directly essential to our physical survival.

If this “reactivity” is fully understood, and if this understanding is actually internalized, then wouldn’t we cease doing most of the things we do?

After all the Buddha himself saw fit to renounce the world, and nor did he return to a normal ‘productive’ life after having (allegedly) seen the light. Wouldn’t clearly realizing this message that is held up here, as well as actually internalizing it, bring civilization itself -- civilization as we know it -- to a grinding halt?

After all, that is what actually did happen, in actual fact. My understanding is that that was one major argument that was leveled against Buddhism, a millennium or so after the Buddha delivered his very first sermon to those friends-turned-foes-turned-disciples of his.

To hark back to that earlier discussion of ours in that other thread, this would be, roughly speaking, a form of "anti-theism without necessarily being atheist" -- the argument that the Buddha’s “teachings” had ended up resulting in a negation of life as commonly lived, and were precipitating a breakdown of society itself, and therefore were a malign influence, wholly irrespective of whether those teachings were actually “true” -- and it is my understanding that this sentiment was one of the things (although obviously not the only thing, lots of other factors were involved) that led to the eventual eviction of the Buddha’s teachings, some 1½ millennia ago, from the land where they’d originated.

This consideration remains, in this day and age as well.

My personal answer to this question would be: No individual should be held to thoughts and deeds that are inimical to their intrinsic individual happiness and their personal individual choice. Absolutely: No civilization, no matter how benign, is reason to extort effort out the individual on false pretenses. And therefore the ganging up on the (mostly) harmless monks and lay followers, Theravadins and Mahayanists alike, by the reactionary Brahminical forces, was a sad and malign development.

But I realize that I say all of this while sitting, myself, in the lap of the luxury that civilization provides to me. I may make noises now about society and civilization being less important than the individual, but it is civilization that lets me make those noises in the first place. I realize that ultimately it is the cumulative effect of this misguided acting of people against their essential individual happiness, that allows me to sit here at ease and leisure on my ergonomically designed chair, wearing comfortable clothes, typing on my computer; and even the cup of coffee sitting on the side table by my desk is provided to me by that very civilization. So that speaking of the irrelevance of societal needs in the face of individual human happiness seems just a bit hypocritical on my part.

And hence the “conundrum”, in what would otherwise have been a straightforward decision. (Not that this “decision” itself amounts to anything more than impact-free armchair philosophizing.)

S. Batchelor talks of his translations of Gotama's Dhama regarding heaven and hell, death and rebirth and says:- “I take such utterances to be determined by the common outlook of that time rather than reflecting an intrinsic element of the dhama. I thus give central importance to those teachings of Gotama's dhama that cannot be derived from the world view of fifth century BCE India.”

Apparently, much in Buddhist texts reflects the cosmology and world view of ancient Hinduism and Jainism which I believe is why Batchelor prefers rebirth (something to be worked on) rather that reincarnation (something to believe in). He describes rebirth in secular terms :- “. . . where we remain locked into cycles of reactive behaviour.” Hence, reacting from our 'place' (conditioned behaviour) results in thinking and acting reactively. The 'Fourfold Tasks' then become a practical teaching (Dhama) that helps to see these cycles of reactive behaviour and to realise Nirvana.

For Batchelor, reactive behaviour is rebirth and The Fourfold Tasks (rather than The Four Noble Truths) enables an insight into this behaviour with the possibility of an end to the cycle of reactive behaviour – the cause of on-going rebirth and suffering.

Interestingly, in Son, Zen and Chan, meditation is mostly to do with just sitting, 'watching' the mind in action (thoughts, emotions etc.) and to be aware of their reactive habit. Perhaps the paradox of a Zen Koan is to exhaust the mind's assumed ability to solve life's problems through reactive thinking?

I once read a commentary (don't reminder where) that argued, rather persuasively, that "Nirvana" is best interpreted as cessation/extinguishment in the most literal sense— cessation of existence.

Apparently there have always been communities that interpreted Nirvana in this way, wherein suffering is only relieved through the total extinction of being (the final permanent Death). These were Buddhists that aimed for total obliteration of being.

Tiantai Buddhism, or sub-sects within it, has elements of this view. The Chinese monk Siming Zhili, was a seminal figure within this school and viewed existence as irrevocably and interminably Evil (Absolute Suffering). Realization consists in understanding that existence is only suffering and that only nonexistence is non-suffering.

For them, the drift of Being is towards its own annihilation.

Hi Tim,

You ask: "The first paragraph holds some great info. What is the source?"

The Reluctant Messenger

Buddha: Proof of Reincarnation

In his first paean of joy, the Buddha says: "Through many a birth wandered I, seeking the builder of this house. Sorrow full indeed is birth again and again."


"What becomes of such a person at death? It is in connection with final nirvana that problems of understanding arise. When the flame of craving is extinguished, rebirth ceases, and an enlightened person is not reborn. So what has happened to him? There is no clear answer to this question in the early sources. The Buddha said that asking about the whereabouts of “an enlightened one” after death is like asking where a flame goes when blown out.

The flame, of course, has not “gone” anywhere. It is simply the process of combustion that has ceased. Removing craving and ignorance is like taking away the oxygen and fuel which a flame needs to burn. The image of the blowing out of the flame, however, does not suggest that final nirvana is annihilation. The sources make quite clear that this would be a mistake, as would the conclusion that nirvana is the eternal existence of a personal soul.

The Buddha discouraged speculation about the nature of nirvana and emphasized instead the need to strive for its attainment. Those who asked speculative questions about nirvana he compared to a man wounded by poisoned arrow who, rather than pulling the arrow out, persists in asking for irrelevant information about the man who fired it, such as his name and clan, how far away he was standing, and so forth.

In keeping with this reluctance on the part of the Buddha to elaborate on the question, the early sources describe nirvana in predominantly negative terms. These range from “the absence of desire” and “the extinction of thirst” to “blowing out” and “cessation.” A smaller number of positive epithets are also found, including “the auspicious,” the good,” “purity,” peace,” “truth,” and “the further shore.”

Certain passages suggest that nirvana is a transcendent reality which is unborn, unoriginated, uncreated and unformed. It’s difficult to know what interpretation to place upon such formulations. In the last analysis the nature of final nirvana remains an enigma other than to those who experience it. What we can be sure of, however, is that it means the end of suffering and rebirth."


@ Buddha - teachings are simple! This is a prison! Find a way out whilst you have a body! No need for intellectual clap trap which only seek to console your ego!

Find a way out before death or your brain becomes kebabbed due to old age and disease! Simples 😀

As he told a young girls - who asked Master how can we be happy? He replied “never be born”.

Buddha and an athiest blog - nows that’s entering some dodgy ground - the kind Trump dwells in lol.

Have fun 😀

Arjuna, this thread is called "Nirvana: the moment reactivity stops".

Sorry, you have just reacted so you are not enlightened.

Yes, Brian who is an atheist is talking about Buddhism.

"Nirvana is the highest state that someone can attain a statement of enlightenment."

Maybe Brian is enlightened and we will never know ?

Uh oh I am reacting so I'm also not enlightened, damn !

@ Jen 😀. I was being silly - I’m
Not enlightened! Don’t think we would be chasing shadows on blogs like this if we were or true seekers after scientific - spiritual truth.

Stay well and strong 💪🏾

Much love - A

@ Arjuna, I was also being silly lol 😉

Buddha and an athiest blog - nows that’s entering some dodgy ground - the kind Trump dwells in lol.

Ah, Arjuna, you've given me a flash of enlightenment.

When I stop reacting to Trump I will be on the road to
Satori ;)

I read this post again and I love it!!
I love Stephen Batchelor, Sam Harris and Allan Watts for the clear explanations about reactivity..Sigh..
It's comforting and very insightfull..
Relax about our own reativity..
I save this post.
Maybe I need sometimes to read it again..


Positivety about RSSB

Buddhism isn't Anti-theism.Buddhism isn't Atheism.

But because it rejects the human conceptions of soul and God, Anti-theists gravitate to it. They attempt to coopt it in Anti-theistic terms. They write books to re-write Buddhism, confusing people, so they must ask "what really is Buddhism?" and fuel demand for more books. And all this to serve the craving mind.

An Anti-theist looks at the world and their mind says "No God here." They see conclusive evidence of no God in every sunny day, every star filled night, and they resonate with the writings of other anti-theists. They feel validated by such works.

But everywhere I look I see God.
When it rains, with every blessed rain drop gently touching the roof, touching the ground, I hear God nurturing and feeding the earth, softly protecting me and wrapping me in His arms, whispering words of encouragement.

Protecting the Theist, the Atheist and the Anti - theist without a price tag, without complaint, whispering small words of love in the patter of the rain to anyone who takes the time to listen. Asking for no acknowledgement at all. Giving and giving all the time, continuously, in silent submission to all of us, and each of us.

Every cloudy day is the Lord covering the earth with a blanket like a mother draws up a blanket over their sleepy child.

God is the ultimate role model of selfless service to all, accepting all.

So, for that I'm thankful. I'm thankful for the Atheist, the Anti - theist, the mystic and the theologian.

I'm thankful for every child on the yellow school bus.

And for God who made the bus and drives us to school and give again, after having made and packed our lunches, and even picked out our clothes for today.

I don't reject anything. Because everywhere I look is something sacred.

The Anti - theist wants proof every day their is no God. They need it to feel whole. And a loving God, in silent submission to their child, gives them this evidence in overwhelming quantity.

What can compare to God's love?

On this day of thanks, I also want to thank the precious lord god for all of his selfless care. I want to thank him for all of the children that are dying of cancer and all of the parents that spend every moment with that pain, telling their child that "it will be ok" when they know everything isn't ok.

I also want to thank him for all of the children that have been slaughtered in one of the many genocides that are happening right now. Hell, throw in those born with birth defects and strange syndromes. This person I know with spina bifida thanks god everyday that he made him in such a special way. God loves his special babies.

I want to thank god for watching over all if the families that got burned alive in this years wildfires just as he has done on the last. Ditto for watching over the hurricane victims. I want to thank him for the 2004 tsunami and the 230,000 people that got wiped off the face of the earth in one fell swoop. That just shows how much God values life.

That was a good job. High-five buddy!

Thanks you for this sacred world, full of sacred agony.

So, I want to thank God that I have the wherewithal to know that God doesn't exist.

I loved your prayer.

Unless there are folks who believe no one will come to help, who will help?

If there is a widow to be comforted, let us comfort her.
If there is a refugee seeking sanctuary, let us give sanctuary.
Is there is a child who is hungry, let us feed them.

You must believe no one else will help, to reach out and help. That's very good.

If not you, then who?
If not now, when?
If you are not for yourself who will be?
If you are not helping others, what are you?

Let mercy be your temple
And modesty your abstainance
Let this be your religion.

Let kindness be your holy scripture
And Truth your spiritual teacher
Let this be your religion.

Let good deeds be your chant
And understanding your practice.
Let this be your religion.

( paraphrased from Nanek)

Brian, is this really your experience:

"Answer: no one, since an unchanging self who sits in my cranium and observes what's going on in my consciousness doesn't exist. And naturally the same is true of you and everybody else."

If it is you are completely lost in your head, since there is a stable witness and being that has always been there and always will.

Joe, both Buddhism and neuroscience say that you are wrong. There is no witness inside our head. There's no thinker of our thoughts, not feeler of our feelings, no perceiver of our perceptions. What there is is simply what there is: thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and so on.

Sam Harris is both knowledgeable in Buddhism and neuroscience. He's correct when he says that the sensation of a witness inside our head is just another appearance in consciousness, like thoughts, feelings, and perceptions.

Yes, there does seem to be a stable sense of "I." But undoubtedly animals have this same sense, since consciousness can belong only to the entity the possesses it. Meaning, no one has direct access to consciousness other than us. Or, our dog, or the birds in our yard.

Memory is mostly what gives us the feeling of being "me." We can recollect what we did in the last moments, days, weeks, months, years. However, almost certainly there isn't a "self" within our head that watches when goes in our brain. That sense of self is just another part of the goings-on the brain.

Hi Brian
You wrote
"Joe, both Buddhism and neuroscience say that you are wrong."

This is not so. Neuroscience acknowledges they don't actually know what consciousness is, only parts of how it functions.

But people who use scientific results to make statements about spirituality (usually from the Anti-theist view) aren't reporting science. They are stating dogma.

As for having an experience of observing thoughts from an independent perspective, it's common, and more prevalent among long term meditators.

So there is the subjective experience of some reality we see through that subjective experience, and the partial objective physical reality that science can confirm (certainly not all of reality by their own admission).

Hi Jen

Thanks for the source info - quite a lot of stuff there! And after a quick look - a real mix of teachings with a sort of esoteric Christian overlay?

Best wishes

Hi Tim,

I didn't have a good look at the books mentioned in the margin, on the left side it appears to be about Children Who Remember Previous Lives and on the right Reincarnation in Christianity. Quite a lot to delve into. At the bottom of the thread I just checked out the link "Pope Arrested for Believing in Reincarnation".

"In the sixth century A.D., Emperor Justinian and Pope Vigilius disagreed on whether or not the teachings of Origen should be condemned as heresy. The Pope supported the teaching as being consistent with the teachings of Jesus the Messiah. The Emperor was determined to eradicate the belief even though the Pope and the church believed in reincarnation. The fact that the doctrine of reincarnation had been a part of Christian theology for over 500 years did not sway the Emperor.
Emperor Justinian wanted Origen’s writings and teachings to be condemned and destroyed but Pope Vigilius refused to sign a papal decree condemning Origen's teachings on reincarnation. As a result of his disobedience, the Emperor had the Pope arrested and put into jail."

Strange. Who to believe?

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