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July 08, 2023


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Pas writes
"Yet the conviction that the universe is all "one" and the experience that it is comprised of many things have been an enduring conflict for humanity since its earliest days. "

Who says these views were ever in conflict? Indeed to experience these things is to transcend conflict and discover a natural harmony within ourselves, just as Pas wrote of his own experience of oneness.

Transcendance is a wonderful experience.

Buddha wrote about it.. As we rise beyond earth and water, beyond the stars, the moon and the sky and all things. In that place where nothing exists, with nothing there yet there is no darkness at all, only light. This is nirvana. This is freedom from pain and suffering, as Buddha defines freedom.

"'Bhikhus, Bahiya of the Bark cloth has attained final Nirvana.' Then on realizing its significance, the Lord uttered on that occasion this inspired utterance:
'Where neither water now yet earth
Nor fire nor air gain a foothold,
There gleam no stars, no sun she's light,
There shines no moon, yet no darkness reigns.
When a sage, a brahmin, has come to know this for himself through his own wisdom,
Them he is freed from form and formlessness.
Freed from pleasure and pain. '"
Bahiya Sutta of the Udana

" The opposite of one truth may not be false. It may just be another truth. "
Niels Bohr

Notice above Buddha says his student has reached 'final nirvana'.

We may experience transcendence and nirvana in this life at different times. But there is a final nirvana, permanent, final liberation from our condition imprisonment in these limited bodies and reactive, conditioned minds; a permanent liberation which his student has reached and is enjoying, teaches Buddha. A person may indeed reach and know this state for themselves, even living in their body and afterwards, claims Buddha. They can know this eternal state, live in it because it is beyond rebirth, beyond death. This is the oneness, without condition, without impression, without darkness.

“Yet, standing there, under the stars, I still felt that feeling that many humans have shared: that I was somehow one with the vastness beyond myself. “

……….I wouldn’t put too much stock into feelings, when it comes to arriving at factuality. People “feel” all kinds of things. By sheer chance some of them turn out right; while a great many of them turn out completely wrong. Looking up at the stars presents us with a sense of wonder, which is fair enough, and true enough. But to imagine that that sense of wonder somehow speaks to some kind of truth, some kind of factuality, that I’m extremely skeptical about. …But sure, as simply inspiration, that works fine! Inspiration, that is to be examined threadbare, to thereafter either accept or reject basis that threadbare investigation. That approach seems reasonable enough.

“This has a mind-boggling consequence. As I will argue in this book, once quantum mechanics is applied to the entire cosmos, it uncovers a three-thousand-year-old idea: that underlying everything we experience there is only one single, all-encompassing thing -- that everything else we see around us is some kind of illusion.”

……….I’m intrigued! Coming from you, Brian, I’m sure this won’t turn out to be some kind of woo-ridden nonsense couched in the outer garb of sciency-sounding obscurantism. It’ll be interesting to see what that’s all about! Looking forward to your next post/s about Heinrich Pas’ thesis.

Sounds suspiciously like Shankara’s Nirguna Brahman or the Angelic Doctor’s Ipsum Esse Subsistens .

Uh yeah, Dogen explained all this 900 years ago.

As for theistic or non-theistic ideals being distressing or depressing, I must admit that's something I've never heard before.

I have heard that the concept of eternity can be distressing. In fact I experienced it as a child. The idea of existing forever puzzled my soul. But this puzzlement is just another indication that putting stock in survival of the self is a self-defeating outlook.

“Burbea writes:
We humans seem to possess a hard-to-fracture clinging to the intuitive conviction that there really is something that exists in an independent way, and then want to know what 'really' is there.”

Isn’t this the crux of the human predicament? Never content with the reality of life as it is, we always seem to want more (and that doesn’t mean to say we should despair or be complacent and give in to every little problem that besets us). So yes, it is natural that we should take care of ourselves, but we have gone way beyond the physical to the point where we automatically feel we have to protect and maintain what feels like an independent self that – as Burea points out – poses as being something real and separate and something that we spend much energy trying to find out what this imaginary ‘something’ really is. In trying to satisfy the self’s basic insecurity we search in the world ‘outside’ for security perhaps taking the route of power, wealth, knowledge and also security through investing in established or promising be-lief systems.

The self seems to have weaved about it a whole host of psychological ploys, various needs and desires whose sole aim is to keep itself secure. Its modus operandi is not difficult to observe. Basically, it must always be right and as we know, being right is often accompanied by a sense of isolation, in that there is always a ‘me’ and a ‘you’, a winner and a looser, and them and us. We could fit in here the Buddhist’s primary aim of seeing and understanding the insubstantiality of the self as being the cause of suffering. If this is so then suffering (Dukkha) can be observed as stemming from the activities of a separative, isolated ‘self’, a self whose main desire is to maintain itself by any means.

Following this concept of Dukkha, the self’s reactive habits require to be thoroughly seen, not just casually acknowledged, but continually consciously responded to. No magical prescription to all this, just an open need to see how the separative ‘self’ causes suffering, conflict and discord. It’s may be a case (mentioned in previous recent threads), of being aware enough to respond to a situation, thereby creating new pathways in the brain rather than habitually reacting to situations at the dictates of the conditioned self.

As long as we think as we have been conditioned to think and perceive we will never see what it is they have been attempting to explain since probably thousands of years before Buddha.

The mind must come to a full stop, sort of jump the rails of relative conditioned thought processes, and in that instant, we may see what they mean about the way things really are.

We must drop the arrogance that the way we think, the way we perceive is the only way or the correct way and be receptive “open” to something outside the box of relative conditioned belief.

Words, being relative symbols of concepts, will never capture the non-relative undifferentiated state.

When we objectify what we are as subjective beings we are making 'selves' of what we are.

When this concept becomes automatic and reflexive, we are stuck in that pattern of conceptualization..... "I-me" here, the world of objects there.

Somehow this reflex will just drop away.

Then we may see that we are simultaneously individuated as well as being everything, and neither, because what we really are is no “thing” at all.

Not nothing. Rather no-thing.

At this point more questions and comments will arise in a circular pattern endlessly, until we jump off the bus and leave our baggage behind.

The Problem of thinking can't be solved with more thinking. Thinking is part of existing. And it is existing which is a cause of suffering.

So this effort to think differently isn't going to lead to liberation.

Any effort we make to invent some practice or way of thinking will be tainted, burdened with the flaw of our own thinking. That us doomed to fail, already fails from the start.

But following the directions of an enlightened teacher, we simply move through a natural transition that is already built into us. It doesn't need to be designed. It already exists. If it makes sense to us, that could be a red flag for another set of self-serving, self-justifying thinking.

Surrender to nature, submission to a superior wisdom, begging for help, relinquishing our notions, acknowldging our complete and utter failure, and placing ourselves at the feet of a higher, benevolent power, these are the tools to relinquish what Buddha called 'the conceit of' I am".

Any form of service to others done in secret and silence will also help free us of our conceited self.

"Surrender to nature, submission to a superior wisdom, begging for help, relinquishing our notions, acknowldging our complete and utter failure, and placing ourselves at the feet of a higher, benevolent power, these are the tools to relinquish what Buddha called 'the conceit of' I am"."

Sounds like a 12 step program.
Beware of 13th steppers.

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