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October 26, 2019

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Spirituality, if it can be translated into non - metaphysical terms, is the pursuit of understanding.

And that requires dissipassion, focus, acceptance, attention, calm awareness, inquisitiveness.

To see beyond today's understanding we must be comfortable with not knowing and looking and listening.

Enlightenment is then, learning. It never ends. We live in a layered mystery. Our learning continues in steps and stages. The rules we learned that worked in our Newtonian childhood are giving way to the life that is opening up as we enter our Einsteinian adolescence. And those will change again as we see past the veils into the adult reality that runs on the rules of Hawking.

Our judgment should improve, our discrimination become finer, our actions based on our judgment less harmful and more helpful, if we are growing in our understanding (spirituality) not become weaker or more ignorant, or adding and abetting harm to anyone.

But of course all personal growth rests upon the practice giving up a favorite opinion when facts prove otherwise.

"This requires suspending the default habit of seeing the world as being hostile, desirable, or boring."
"It's much easier to be around someone loving and happy than someone angry and sad."

What a challenge it must be for someone living in a strife torn country to not feel that the world is hostile and expecting that there can be no anger or sadness and all is loving and kind.

The Buddhist way, simply observing and watching thoughts and feelings when they arise without judgment is a constant practice and probably takes a lifetime but there can be times when there is a feeling of peace and contentment, detachment and at the same time caring for others with compassion.

Most of these new interpretations of Buddhism seem like self help for people standing in the ruins of culture. A place where things like tinder and facebook exist.

The only Buddhist I've cared to listen to in years is this guy, and he mostly repeats himself and quotes his own translations of Pali writings- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEnb2cFWKBs

"Are they honest, compassionate, loving, truthful, caring, generous, and so on?"

Maybe we need to reject those values and collectively aspire to bring more Loki's into this world. Maybe we need more pain, disruption, fraud and tragedy. Where I live everyone is nice, and we're getting taken advantage of. Everyone smiles, but we're vulnerable and weak.

Nice, empathetic, vulnerable, weak people pave a path to many smiling Buddhas. Corruption and controlled social demolition is the way of the future.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smiling_Buddha

"What a challenge it must be for someone living in a strife torn country to not feel that the world is hostile and expecting that there can be no anger or sadness and all is loving and kind."

Jen, spirituality as we know of it today is a bourgeois leisure activity. A way to sniff our own farts and ponder on our own awesomeness. A redirection of boredom into the least challenging activity- thinking "how can I be more likeable and happy?"

All over the world, even today, war and pain are so common that fighting was always presented as having a spiritual aspect. From Rawandans dancing in front of incoming enemy gunfire with their magical (and ineffective) bullet-stopping amulets, to Islamic terror and everything in between, the idea of fighting has always been considered one of many paths to "god" or what have you. Dying in an honorable battle was never frowned upon. Cultures celebrate their martyrs as having been of invaluable service to both the community and their god, and people seek that honorable death in lieu of having a local ashram and starbucks to provide them with modern human values.

Later Sikhs didn't sit and focus on their breath or repeat mantras, but they trained in how to chop someone's head off in a spirit of devotion to Akal. Both Sikhs and Hindus today do "shastar puja" aka weapon worship, and in the Buddhist sphere it's common for Monks to train in Muay Thai or other fighting arts.

Not that there's anything intrinsically wrong or bad about slowing down our mind to become "better" people, but it's certainly a modality not suited for most environments. We just happen to be "lucky" or "severely cursed" to have been born today, and in the rich decadent west.

Spirituality for me is being peaceful inside and being a good person outside.

As Guru Nanak Said
Naam Japo - See God in every thing/every one and be at peace
Kirat Karo - Work honestly
Wand Chhako - Help others

Lust. Greed, Anger, Ego. Attachments should be restrained in order to be peaceful. The degree to which we are able to implement this is the degree to which we are spiritual.
Your own peace of mind should be your milestone and not trying to hear horns, drums and guitars inside.
The only Guru needed is one which is already inside you which you keep looking outside.

Don't waste time in endless and unnecessary superstitions and theories

It's not always better/nicer to be around'' happy not sad or angry people''..imf(in my feeling)
What I like is to be around' real people'..
No masks just ''being as they are''..
Then, one both can ''be'' as they/we are.
I like Sam Harris and Stephen Batchelor.
They are very honest seekers I red their books.
I did also a lot of vipassana and still do that often.
It's a way of life, I love.
Because one has not to ''believe'' but to ''be'' and ''undergo''..
Very fine very ''mindfull''..

Hi Jen
You wrote
"What a challenge it must be for someone living in a strife torn country to not feel that the world is hostile and expecting that there can be no anger or sadness and all is loving and kind.

" The Buddhist way, simply observing and watching thoughts and feelings when they arise without judgment is a constant practice and probably takes a lifetime but there can be times when there is a feeling of peace and contentment, detachment and at the same time caring for others with compassion."

This is brilliant. You have encapsulated life. Because whether nation in strife, family in strife, job in strife or inner life in strife, we find ourselves without escape during various chapters of our life in strife.

And the answer I've found, like you, isn't to paint the world over as black or white, but to see it and accept it as it is, as well as myself... And that isn't a moment of acceptance, but a lifetime of quiet, active mindful observation.

Setting aside judgment is a constant process for me, for an active individual because, the mind of a doer is constantly judging by habit. It's a flow of judgments, when I step back to watch. And that leads to error daily.

But active people are also non - judgmental of most things outside their sphere because life demands their focus on their own work.

Then, we make up rules, we add conclusions to suit what we think we need to do. When we judge outside our active sphere, generally our judgment, because we aren't in the place to test it, becomes poor.

But time and again we must put that aside, and like a compass, reorient to the real world as a member, as a functioning part. For that, there is observation, acceptance, no judgment.

You've boiled it down beautifully, Zen Master Jen. And like a true Master you constantly take the role of student, not teacher.

Because of what you wrote, I must conclude that what I've written about Gurinder is from a very far distance, based on information I can't actually test, and is more likely inaccurate.

It is more important to learn than to conclude.

Hi Spence,

Such a nice comment from you and yep, still a student battling along.

Thank you, very much appreciated :)

Been reading Batchelor on and off for a couple of years, which has been like breathing fresh air in comparison to trying to untie Plotinian metaphysical knots.

Your observation seems correct, for Batchelor there's no end to suffering, but there are several dharma gates to help alleviate it. Treading the path with care is the goal itself. His emphasis is on ethics, yet contemplation & philosophy are equally important to him. ‘The primary frame of which to contextualize the core of dharma practice is ethical.’ You hit the right combination of balls. If we get the foot work down then the dance will follow. In other words there is no flight of the alone to the alone. “Just as the dawn is the forerunner of the arising of the sun, so true friendship is the forerunner of the arising of the noble eightfold path.” – The Buddha

Glad you brought Sam Harris into the mix; I've been wondering who else might be out there who could give secular buddhism a fair shake.

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