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July 06, 2023


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(Original Thread)

"Can your religion survive without supernaturalism? Buddhism can."

And now the Atheists finally agree that Buddhism IS formally a religion.

Now, with that part out of the way. Let's look at why a RELIGION may indeed need to survive on the 'unknown', or 'unseen', or 'supernatural'. Shall we?

First, I found a scientific study on the quest for The Elixir of Life:

I bring it up because this quest too doesn't need anything supernatural. But the end sought in this quest is 'immortality' and that would be a great scientific find! Almost great enough to be labeled 'super'. If science could advance the human species to forever control their lifetimes by the further study of planaria flatworms. That's remarkable, kinda 'ultra nature'. Yes, it fascinates me that such a study exists. But, it's also remarkable that the proven lifespan of these planaria parasitic worms is ≠ 1 year.

Take a look:

My point here being, that here is a non supernatural study to reach immortality which is 'much more than natural', using a specimen with the lifespan of less than a potato.

Second and finally, while scientific studies exist to out perform the unseen or supernatural. The religious believer may in the end find out that he invested his time in a more valuable and more worthy pursuit. Btw, real Buddhism not the new 2.0 atheist version has stories about the Buddha vanquishing demons, or agents of Kal and the such. Just the new mainstream version today doesn't know or even go by real Pali Canon holy scripture:

>> .... in order for its theology to work.<<

If you want that something becomes usable for a given group of people, you have to offer it to them in "their" language.

All those that in history that offered an new idea, concept etc to a group, did speak the language of the people they addressed.

Even training animals is based upon that principle.

If RSSB would have be "born"somewhere else, the narrative would have been completely different.

The Dalai Lama, made it clear also when he stated that tibetan busshism can not survive outside Tibet, because it has its conceptual roots in the mountains and the believe systems of the Tibetan from before the raise of Buddhism/ Bön religion

Otherwise all manipulations of the body [Meditation and other practices] cannot but have the same outcome

No bricks, no "house"
Bricks make no house.
What binds the bricks is the material and immaterial mortar.

Buddhism, could not be born in the modern world and certainly not where most of the readers of this blog live.
It is outdated by form and content and will disappear from the surface of the earth.
It has no eternal value and meaning and for that reason if will change and the change will ultimately consume the original content in such a way that only an empty shell remains.

Until then it will be a source of "pleasure" to people , each for their own reason.
my 10 minutes writing ... hahaha

Any subjective experience can be labeled supernatural so long as it hasn't been explored.

Buddhism doesn't solve that problem.

From above

"But it works equally well when those superstitions are got rid of: even without rebirth and planes of existence, these methods still help take us to realization of Anatta [non-self] and towards Nirvana."

Any explanation for Nirvana will do, without the actual experience and exploration of it.

You may label that in terms of physiology or religion or science. You can use any terms you like, any evidence to support your argument. Buddhism uses some of these, bound to the culture of the time of the writings. And it changes to adapt to the times.

But Buddhism isn't inherently Atheism. It must be bent to that purpose, not surprisingly, by Atheists.

Liberation is itself liberation. Satori is beyond explanation. But the cause of that liberation, Buddhism doesn't attribute. It isn't merely a matter of thinking your way out of suffering. That is cognitive therapy, not Buddhism. And it has limited results.

Buddhism goes way beyond what the mind can generate.

But that is only the view of those who have some transcendental experience beyond thinking.

It takes work. It can't be rationalized away.

Buddhism actually is as antithetical to Atheism as to religion or any conceptual notions. It is experiential not conceptual. In that way Buddhism, in its actual practice, circumvents explanations of any kind.

So long as Atheism is taken as a conceptual perspective, it is also a cause of suffering.

If it is taken as an experience of reality and a liberation from suffering it is not antagonistic to anything.

So long as any religion is understood only to be the basis of faith, and faith the label for dedicated practice of meditation, prayer and internal worship of the experience of nirvana, bliss, Grace, or "spirit", then Buddhism, any religion, even Atheism serves the same ends...

I’m not clear about the term “supernaturalism” in this context . For example , would idealism or panpsychism be classified as species of “supernaturalism”?

1) Glad to hear we're recognizing Buddhism as a religion.
2) The core texts of every extant school of Buddhism recognize the supernatural. Theravada, Mahayana, and all the Tibetan schools recognize the reality of the supernatural. You can call these supernatural views "superstition," but you can't deny they're a part of all fundamental Buddhist scriptures.
3) The 2 people here making these comments about "real" Buddhism have never practice Buddhism in any serious way. They've just read books about Buddhism and apparently are attracted to it because they feel it appeals to their affinity for atheism (and their obvious deep aversion to theism, an antipathy that they are resistant to acknowledge let alone explore.) Therefore, their comments about what's essential and fruitful Buddhism seem rather speculative and polemical.
4) The "essential Christian project" actually isn't founded around original sin. That's a Catholic concept for sure, but the Orthodox churches represent the original Christian teachings that pre-date the Catholic view. What does that have to do with Buddhism? If we find the concept of original sin repellent, then how is the Buddhist view that our physical birth and life in this world is a mistake, a result of our karma, any better? The Buddhist texts states that there are thirty one planes or states of existence (loka) in the universe, including that of humans. Beings are born into a particular plane depending of their accumulated kamma.

Sounds a lot like Sant mat, huh? Except that in Buddhism, unlike Sant mat or Christianity, it's up to you to work your way out of this existential predicament. There's no love, no grace, just an eternity of trying to gain the elusive wisdom that will lead to nirvana.

Somehow to these 2, "nirvana" is a consummation devoutly to be wished, but Sach Khand is not. The Sikhs define Sach Khand as the ultimate state of human consciousness. It's a state of desirelessness, How precisely is Sach Khand different from nirvana? They'll never say.

Are they saying they've achieved selflessness and the end of suffering? Maybe they feel they have. I think rather they're arguing for a Buddhism of their own personal conception that's based on book larnin' and atheism and belief that materiality is all there is, where when you die that's it, and where mindfulness is just a modality to help people cope with stress as they await the next Amazon delivery. If that floats their boat, fine, but what they're talking about is a different animal from authentic Buddhism.

To be clear, there's no denying that authentic Buddhism does not regard the supernatural in the same way as do Western theistic religions. From my limited experience, Buddhism offers a radically different approach to religion (rel-ligio -- rejoining our source) than does many forms of Western religion where there are so many moving parts of endeavoring to appease angels, saints, church dogma and other deities. The practice of Buddhism cuts though all that as through a backdoor to spirituality, where devoted appreciation to the now, and to what's present, results in an experience of wholeness that's neither otherworldly, nor atheist, nor escapist, nor mired in theological theory, nor self serving. The entire world becomes the Pure Land, the "wonder, wonder, wonder hath achieved a form" that Shiv Dayal spoke of.

These other planes that Buddhism refers to, the devas, the Brahma realms -- I see these as good things, supportive concepts, and for all I know they're literal descriptions of reality. So apparently did the Buddha, his immediate followers, and Buddhists for the last 5000 years.

By contrast, I see a Buddhism that's based on materiality, where when you die that's it, as rather bleak. I'd say it's not Buddhism, and please stop calling your woke Buddhism Buddhism.

Why did the Buddha cross the road? Coz every fucker he sees tries to kill him.


Why do some folks prefer an intellectual answer, one that meets their criteria for reality, when, through a transcendent experience, the view of reality changes?

Why does the dreamer want things in the rules and laws they have been handed in their dream?

When they awake, the dream will be seen as a fabrication, though the laws and experiences there do indeed have a real basis.

It must be the conditions we create as barriers, filters, tests before we engage in practice. But practice is better. And so many different practices, engaged with complete devotion and discipline, will help awaken the dreamer. Faith. There is no substitute for it. Even faith in the reality of awakening.

Because those conditions for practice become an endless search into a two dimensional sheet of paper for the missing third dimension no sheet of paper, regardless of what's on it, can offer.

Practice and the fruit of practice is better. But that requires open-ended thinking, not conclusive thinking. That's what Zen really is...open, not closed, not conclusive. Once you have a conclusion, you've lost Zen.

Once you have excluded, you've lost Zen.

Hi Brian
You wrote
"If the RSSB guru is viewed as a mere fallible human being, the traditional RSSB teachings fall apart, because at their core is the assumption that the guru is divine and accompanies his disciples through higher regions of reality in various non-physical forms."

I'm not sure that "assumption" is the right word, when Baba Ji has actually called it "presumption" on multiple occasions and asked people not to take such writings at face value but to verify for themselves.

Presumption of the Master as GIHF is actually forbidden in Sant Mat, therefore.Faith in the Master is a different matter.

Whatever one gains from any prayer or meditation practice is their treasure.

Many people pray for all sorts of things. But the effects of continuous prayer are the same: peace, happiness, insight. It really doesn't matter what silly notions we carry when the experience of continuous prayer and meditation becomes evident. All roads lead to Rome, physiologically.

As we've discussed earlier, any form of concentration, including athletics, can trigger some of the same neurophysiology of happiness, and therefore qualifies as an end to suffering.

Truth is a different outcome. Does Buddhism offer Truth?

(From your comment to me in the other thread, Dungeness.)

"The same objection applies to Buddhism though. Suppose a disaffected
Buddhist declared the goal of achieving satori to be a myth born of our
endless quest for an respite from earthly hardships. Therefore it renders
moot the notion of attaining a "cessation of suffering" which he also
opines is mythic since suffering is clearly a lifelong affliction."

...No, Dungeness. That's a very clear misunderstanding of what the Buddha taught. Achieving satori is NOT the point of Anapan and Vipassana, the methods that the Buddha himself used, and taught. The point is to understand the intransience of all phenomena, is all. Everything arises, and dissipates away, everything. All desire, and all aversion, is bondage. (Is not what I'm saying, it is what the Buddha taught, which is what we're talking about here.) True, all kinds of "experiences" arise, but none of them are to be sought, and none held on to, and none seen as any different from anything else. The most profound of experiences is no different from an itch in your groin --- it is simply to be seen, and observed with alertness yet detachment.

Makes zero difference whether "experiences", or satori, or jhanas, arise, or don't arise. That's the point of the Buddha's teachings.

And, like Brian spelled out here: This isn't about whether what the Buddha taught is objectively true or not. This isn't about whether his methods do indeed help alleviate suffering. That's a separate discussion. This was expressly about whether the superstitious elements are central to the fundamental "project" that the Buddha taught, and whether rejecting them invalidates those teachings. The answer is No, those superstitions, while present in the texts, are incidental to the central thesis that the Buddha taught. As I've gone some length discussing, in my two earlier comments.


"The benefits of mindfulness accrue to all serious practitioners whether
Christian, Buddhist, RSSB, etc. "

Eh what? See my comment again.

(1) You can't just baldly claim that. True, some benefits have been evidenced in mindfulness meditation. Whether or not those benefits are also seen when you practice the methods of Hesychasm, or Zikra and Murakaba, or Simran Dhyan Bhajan, that likewise is a matter for the evidence to show. Not something we can claim just like that.

(2) Regardless, that has nothing at all to do with the central focus of these religions.

By the way, I'm assuming that, by "benefits", you mean the incidental wellbeing benefits that accrue. If instead you're saying that just like Anapan and Vipassana and the rest of it takes us towards cessation of desire, and Nirvana, likewise Christian and Sufi and RSSB meditation also do that, well then, first, that needs to be shown not baldly claimed, and SECOND, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, EVEN IF THAT WERE TRUE, even if it were true that RSSB meditation and Christian meditation do lead to Buddhistic Nirvana, that still counts for nought, as far as the central "project" of these religions. Because while the end of suffering is the point of Buddha's teachings, they are NOT the point of Jesus's teachings, and they are NOT the point of RSSB teachings. This seems straightforward, and I won't go to any more length on this: maybe reread my earlier message in light of this. Whether Christian mystical and Sufi and RSSB meditation do fulfil the Buddhistic project does NOT speak to whether the fulfil the projects, the fundamental ends, these religions claim to address.

"Hi AR
You wrote:
" Even if both those were true, even then, should those superstitions not actually be true, should Kal and Sach Khand not actually exist, well then, surely that renders moot the whole basic fundamental point of RSSB meditation? "

You may have been misled. The point of RSSB is Shabd, Nam, the inner force of life that can be heard in deep meditation. Your teacher, the Master, is the way."

..........Spence, I'm no RSSB-er, nor am I an exer, but thanks both to what I've read here over the years, and the (admittedly far from extensive) reading I've put in, it is very clear, completely clear, that the point of RSSB is to take the spirit from the region of Kal to the region of Sach Khand. Yes, it is Shabd, Nam that takes you there; yes, your Master is the way (like Brian points out); but the way to what? The way out of the region of Kal, and the way to Sach Khand.

Just look at these two questions. Question 1: Why would someone follow the methods that the Buddha taught? The answer is, because it will lead to end of suffering. That is what the Buddha taught, that is the point of Anapan and Vipassana.

And Question 2: Why would someone follow the methods that RSSB teaches? Nam, Shabd, the Master, sure, agreed; but WHY? For what reason? What's the big deal about Shabd, Nam? The answer is, as taught in RSSB, to enable you to leave the region of Kal, and accede to the region of Sach Khand.

Buddhism originally promised freedom from Transmigration, the greatest source of suffering Buddha identified. By identifying with these temporal bodies, we form attachment, and we are bound to return to them over and over. Those are Buddha's original teachings.

Modern Atheists have changed this to a new version, simply freedom from suffering without freedom from death and rebirth. But without liberation from death and rebirth, what is really being promised?

Does this version of Buddhism deliver anything at all?

If not, then can it survive without the supernatural?

You asked
"Why would someone follow the methods that RSSB teaches? Nam, Shabd, the Master, sure, agreed; but WHY? For what reason? What's the big deal about Shabd, Nam? The answer is, as taught in RSSB, to enable you to leave the region of Kal, and accede to the region of Sach Khand."

Isn't this just another way to say liberation from suffering into bliss?

Why Shabd? If you haven't experienced it, how can that be a compelling reason?

If you have experienced it, no other system holds any interest. And if you have experienced it, the explanations don't really matter, right? Practice continues from within, the pull within, not any theology. What good is a road map if you aren't taking the trip?

All road maps aren't worth the paper that are printed on without transportation and movement.

But if you are on the way, they become invaluable. If you are pulled by Shabd naturally only those teachings about Shabd have any value for you.

If not, of course those claims seem meaningless. Entirely understandable.

Also, AR

The point about the Master and Shabd, like the point about Jesus or the Prophet, is this idea that we can't save ourselves. We don't have the power to eliminate the real sources of our suffering. That liberation is a gift of the most powerful force in creation: the greater consciousness that created it.

So long as a person believes they can do anything at all on their own, by their own will alone, what use do that have for the Father? Not only will spirituality seen ignorant and insipid to them, they will be unfit for it.

But if one realises, if one awakens to the realization that they are entirely powerless to alleviate their own suffering, unfit for this world, then all that is left is to beg, to submit, in obedience, in the desire to obey the greatest power of love and Benevolence, knowing we are too stupid to understand.

Supernatural? Yes, in a sense. But pure nature, the source of nature and reality, in another sense.

But in all events, not by our puny ability.
So that depends upon one's own personal maturity and understanding.

@ AR [ No, Dungeness. That's a very clear misunderstanding of what the Buddha taught. Achieving satori is NOT the point...]

If you look again, you'll see I didn't make that point. The hypothetical
Buddhist did. So shame on him! Whoops, maybe he meant it was just
his personal goal as it is for multitudes of other Buddhists. Maybe they
yearn for experiences -however transient- that'll ease or hasten the end
of their suffering. Maybe they know deep down, they'll never find those
answers thru intellect but only by experience within. Maybe they know
that our own moth-eaten attention and distractability and puniness
won't help deliver what he wants so badly. They've long stopped looking
to parse what is superstition and whether it taints "project" goals. They
are now on the right track in my opinion.

As the thrust of this tread is: - “Can your religion survive without supernaturalism? Buddhism can,” I find these comments of Stephen Batchelor quite pertinent to Brian's and A.J.’s premise: -

“Some time ago I realized that what I found most difficult to accept in Buddhism were those beliefs that it shared with its sister Indian religions Hinduism and Jainism. Yet when you bracket off those beliefs, you are left not with a fragmentary and emasculated teaching, but with an entirely adequate ethical, philosophical and practical framework for living your life in this world. Thus, what is truly original in the Buddha’s teaching, I discovered, was his secular outlook.”
‘Enlightenment,’ therefore – though I prefer the term ‘awakening’ – is not a mystical insight into the true nature of mind or reality (that always weirdly accords with the established views of one’s brand of Buddhism), but rather the opening up of a way of being-in-this-world that is no longer determined by one’s greed, hatred, fear and selfishness. Thus, awakening is not a state but a process: an ethical way of life and commitment that enables human flourishing. As such it is no longer the exclusive preserve of enlightened teachers or accomplished yogis.”
“Likewise, nirvana – i.e., the stopping of craving – is not the goal of the path but its very source. For human flourishing first stirs in that clear, bright, empty space where neurotic self-centredness realizes that it has no ground to stand on at all. One is then freed to pour forth like sunlight.” - S. Batchelor.

The five utterances on the Buddhas awakening were to do with conditionality and dependent arising. issue more to do with the everyday settings of life rather than issues such as the unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned etc.- and no mention of transmigration – rebirth yes, but that issue takes some unpacking.

Basically, on this little planet we live on, apart from the usual pains and pleasures that beset us, the main issues that arise for us are the ones that we create from our own store of conditioned thoughts, opinions, concepts, beliefs and theories – all the mind made abstract stuff.

To take a conscious walk in a garden, park or countryside and the whole world of nature en-countered reflects none of these mind-made unnatural problems that plague us – until that is, perhaps out of fear, insecurity, desires or confusion, we superimpose our fragile and illusory sense of self onto the simplicity of life, and instead of just being part of the life that surrounds us, we overlay with our ‘self’ centred ‘selves’

Not sure what you're saying, Dungeness. What hypothetical Buddhist? Why hypothetical? And what shame, why?

I gather you're saying that it's a matter of having given up on extravagant experiences and, of necessity, settling for the mundane. If that's what you're saying, then no, that's not the case.

...But maybe you could just clarify, in clear unambiguous terms, and in light of these two or three comments of mine, what exactly you're saying here? That might be better than my trying to guess at your meaning!

Interesting that you bring up Jainism, Ron. That's something we haven't discussed here, that I recall. Elsewhere on Brian's blog, I mean.

I know a bit about it, but only a bit. On one hand its practices seem kind of sort of similar to Buddhism's (the original teachings, not the later additions). On the other hand, Jainism seems focused on superstitions. Not like Christianity, not as bad as that. More subtle, but fundamentally focused on extravagant cosmologies nonetheless. Kind of like RSSB, is my (tentative) take.

In the utterings attributed to Buddha, the Udana, when Buddha arose from under the Bodhi tree he described the cause of suffering. It isn't merely thinking. And the answer isn't conceptual. Thinking of any kind is just part of what creates suffering. The senses, this existence, our own will which arises out of ignorance, and our birth, pain and death are all the mass of suffering. Thinking itself is also the result of awareness, of action and sensation. And it is part of suffering.

Suffering starts with existing, with acting out of ignorance, acting therefore from our own will, and thus becoming conscious of our own actions; having five senses and a mind, contact with the world, emotions, craving, grasping from which we exist as separate beings, and being, we are then born again.

Being conscious isn't liberation. It is part of our suffering. But that consciousness is of our actions, limited, and our actions arise out of our will which arises from ignorance.

The birth Buddha describes is a birth that arises as the product, the result of existing, sensing, feeling, acting.

Our suffering doesn't begin with birth. Birth is just a part in the middle of the process of suffering, resulting from our prior existence with senses, consciousness, willfull actions. And so birth is rebirth. Transmigration.

"This is the cause of this whole mass of suffering." 1.1

"With ignorance as a condition, volitional activity comes to be; with volitional activities consciousness comes to be; with consciousness as condition, name-and-form comes to be; with name-and-form as condition, the six fold base (senses and mind) come to be; with the sixfold base as condition contact comes to be; with contact as condition, craving comes to be; with craving as condition grasping comes to be; with grasping as condition being comes to be; with being as condition birth comes to be; with birth as condition aging and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and dispair come to be. This is the origin of this whole mass of suffering. "
Pathamabodhi Sutta 1.1

Thinking alone doesn't cause suffering. Physical existence does. And thinking differently is no liberation. Ending rebirth is liberation. Cessation of birth is the answer, according to Buddha.

" From the cessation of being, birth ceases; from the cessation of birth aging and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair cease. This is the ceasing of this whole mass of suffering."
Dutiyabodhi Sutta 1.2

The end of suffering isn't by thinking differently. The end of suffering is to cease the rebirth that causes suffering.

Buddhism isn't cognitive therapy. It's liberation from rebirth, and that includes liberation from the body, senses, the ignorance that creates our will, and thinking, all of which cause rebirth.

How can Buddha claim that consciousness, activity, senses, mind, craving and grasping all lead up to and cause birth? That is rebirth. The entire process constitutes what Buddha called the entire mass of suffering. To end suffering, rebirth must end.

You can't think your way to end suffering.

1. Did (Buddha) have Master?

“Why Shabd? If you haven't experienced it, how can that be a compelling reason?

If you have experienced it, no other system holds any interest.”

..........Hi, Spence!

I’d left off responding to these comments of yours yesterday, because I wanted to go to just a bit of detail discussing this, and lacked the time yesterday to do that. So, here goes now:

Despite my put forward my argument as clearly as possible, you seem to have, once again, managed to miss the point, and to segue off into some tangentially related non sequitur. Assuming the misunderstanding is sincere, I thought to try one last time to explain, drawing on an analogy.

What we were discussing is what might be the central project of RSSB. Which, in my understanding, is leaving behind the region of Kal, and ascending to Anami Lok, Sach Khand, whatever. Whereupon you “corrected” me that the central project is Shabd and Nam, and the Guru. So then I tried to explain myself a bit more, by saying that while Shabd and Nam and the Guru are indeed essential to RSSB, but they are the means to the end. Why Shabd, after all? The answer is, to take you from the mortal region of Pind Lok, up unto the region of the spirit. …At which point, you said the above, that I’ve quoted here. “Why Shabd? If you haven’t experienced it, how can that be a compelling reason?”

Now that I’ve clearly recounted our full conversation, maybe you see the incoherency of your position? You’re essentially saying that Shabd is to be sought, but you’ve no clue why. …You do offer a kind-of-sort-of reason, though, when you say, “If you have experienced it, no other system holds any interest.” That suggests to me that you’re saying that the sheer pleasure, the bliss, of attending to Shabd, itself becomes its rationale.

At this point, I’d like to put this in terms of an analogy. Of something you’re trying to sell. “Sell”, not in the negative connotation that word sometimes carries, but literally, in the positive sense of the word. Say, in your own field, you’re trying to sell some particular formulation, some drug. Obviously you’ll need to address, first and foremost, what that drug is for. What it’s core purpose is. That is the first point you’ll have to address, and address coherently.

When it comes to the Buddha’s teachings, the Buddha is crystal clear in his formulation. What is he selling, exactly, that is to say, for what purpose, towards what end? And the answer, very clearly laid out, is this: ‘Life is suffering. That suffering can be brought to an end. What I teach is how to end that suffering.’

(Incidentally, a correction here, to what you’d said above. Small point, but it shows that you actually haven’t properly understood the Buddha’s message. You’d suggested that the Buddha shows us how to go from suffering on to bliss. Not true. You end suffering, is all. He hasn’t talked about bliss, or at least that isn’t central to his message. His message is simply the end of suffering. Thought I’d throw that minor correction in, within parentheses, because it’s kind of …important?)

Now you may take issue with everything the Buddha says, sure. You may question whether life indeed is suffering. You may question whether, should life indeed be suffering, that suffering can indeed be brought to an end. You may question whether his methods, that he’s selling, does actual deliver on that promise, whether his methods do indeed end suffering. You may question whether there might be other, more efficacious means of doing that. But the point is, the Buddha is very clear indeed about what it is he’s selling you.

What about RSSB, now? What’s RSSB selling, what’s its product in aid of, what purpose does it serve? You say Shabd. Nope, Shabd is, kind of, the product itself, or at any rate the means. The question still remains, why Shabd? To say, as you do, when you’re out trying to get approval for a new product or drug your firm has produced/formulated, and when asked what your product does: “If you try it out, then no further reasons will be needed. And if you don’t try it out, then no words can explain to you why.” Hopefully by aid of this analogy you might recognize how incoherent that sounds?

Now coming to second part, where you say, “If you have experienced it, no other system holds any interest”. You’re basically saying, when you put it in terms of the what-you’re-selling thing, that what you’re selling is bliss, pleasure, the sheer absorption into and pleasure of Shabd. Heh, that sounds like a recreation drug! Which is fair enough, lots lots lots of products are sold primarily for exactly that kind of reason: alcohol, large swathes of literature and movies et cetera, you name it. It’s a valid enough reason. But surely you see that to present the RSSB “project” in terms simply of selling something ineffably pleasurable and blissful, while that’s perfectly valid, but it simply isn’t what RSSB is actually doing. My admittedly sketchy familiarity with RSSB is enough to tell me otherwise; and others, better informed than I am, can quote chapter and verse to argue this out if they like.

Sorry, long comment! All of that was in aid of, for one last time, making an attempt to show you the completely obvious, that you seem unable to see so far. That the central project of RSSB is to enable the individual Jivas or spirits to leave the region of Kal, and ascend the region of Spirit (Anami, Sach Khand, whatever).

You wrote
"Now that I’ve clearly recounted our full conversation, maybe you see the incoherency of your position? You’re essentially saying that Shabd is to be sought, but you’ve no clue why. …You do offer a kind-of-sort-of reason, though, when you say, “If you have experienced it, no other system holds any interest.” That suggests to me that you’re saying that the sheer pleasure, the bliss, of attending to Shabd, itself becomes its rationale.

" At this point, I’d like to put this in terms of an analogy. Of something you’re trying to sell. “Sell”, not in the negative connotation that word sometimes carries, but literally, in the positive sense of the word. Say, in your own field, you’re trying to sell some particular formulation, some drug. Obviously you’ll need to address, first and foremost, what that drug is for. What it’s core purpose is. That is the first point you’ll have to address, and address coherently."

My failure to sell, as you put it, presupposes an effort to do so. But you can't understand nor be expected to understand what is outside your experience, interest and conditioning.

That's why I wrote

" All road maps aren't worth the paper they are printed on without transportation and movement.

" But if you are on the way, they become invaluable. If you are pulled by Shabd naturally only those teachings about Shabd have any value for you.

"If not, of course those claims seem meaningless. Entirely understandable."

I accept that you will not be able to understand Shabd. I'm learning about it still. And have no adequacy to express in words what it is. My knowledge is experiential only. However I don't want to pretend it doesn't exist. That would be less than honest.

Therefore you need not accept what I wrote for you. Of course if I wanted to convince you I would need to do things that are well beyond my capability.

I accept this.

But it is often the case we must accept people for who they are even if we cannot fully appreciate or understand. That itself, that capacity to be inclusive, it's a muscle worth developing.

We don't get truth handed to us in a way that is digestible unless we are only consuming someone else's pre-digested truth.

But to confront the mystery of reality where it is seen but not entirely understood is a wonderful challenge. The first step is to accept that it is a part of our reality, to accept it, to spend time with it, and to allow understanding to emerge from within us in it's own time as our relationship to it develops, and as we develop.

If all things are made of Shabd it is not only intermediary, but our reality and our destination. The whole, even our Master, is Shabd.

Gods above. Can't you, for once, read for comprehension?

YOU aren't selling anything. It isn't yours to sell. RSSB is selling it, much as the Buddha's selling his product. And selling, like I clarified, as clearly as can be clarified, not in the negative sense of the word, but the positive: selling, in the sense of clearly explaining what the product does, and why exactly someone might want to try to out, for what purpose.

You wrote earlier..
"You’re essentially saying that Shabd is to be sought, but you’ve no clue why"

Absolutely. It can't be helped.

Maybe I can use what Buddha taught as a way to think about this.

Buddha wrote, as quoted above, that thinking itself is a cause of suffering. It creates ripples. The end of suffering is the end of those ripples.

Shabd is the lake.

And attending to shabd, placing our attention on shabd, all ripples end. Without shabd to attend to we only substitute a new set of ripples, thoughts, for the old ones. But the lake itself isn't the ripples.

Or, think about gravity waves. They pass through everything. Nothing exists without gravity waves passing through. Even empty space. They are detected in matter in one location, and show up a fraction of time later elsewhere in matter a great distance away with nothing detectable between.

Even the empty space is part of the reality and all subject to gravity waves passing through. But the matter isn't gravity. Gravity, mass and time are qualities of matter.

Now imagine a world where matter was entirely invisible. People only see the ripples, and not the matter itself.

Shabd is the matter, the unseen reality. Thoughts are the seen curtain of reality created by senses and mind. If you had access to see reality as it is, and not the projected image of reality, you would be perceiving truth. But since you are also matter, apprehending that reality would be oneness but entirely outside normal perception. In normal perception there is object, observer and intermediary.

In apprehension of reality directly, merging in shabd, these distinctions don't exist. You are observer, observed and intermediary, you are zero, nothing, empty and all light.

I've also tried to explain it holographically. In every point of perception all layers and perspectives can be seen at once and are contained in that. The deeper you look the more is there. And attending to the whole, it becomes less and less complex, until every point is just the same one.

You see, I have failed miserably. My only perspective has zero perspective.

It can indeed be helped. RSSB books HAVE done that. JJ's book has done exactly that. One other book of RSSB I've read, whose name I forget, has done exactly that. No doubt plenty others, as well, that I haven't read, have done that.

The most you can say is that YOU can't, or won't, commit to explaining why, in RSSB terms, Shabd is to be sought. Which is fair enough, that's your call entirely. No more need be said, in that case: you can't discuss something if one side refuses to engage. No issues.

...By the way, apologies for losing patience back there, and snapping out! There was no call to do that. Although, heh, maybe you can see why, the losing patience part not the snapping part.

You wrote
"The most you can say is that YOU can't, or won't, commit to explaining why, in RSSB terms, Shabd is to be sought. Which is fair enough, that's your call entirely. No more need be said, in that case: you can't discuss something if one side refuses to engage. No issues."

How can there be seeking at all? Shabd isn't sought. It can't be sought. If you are connected to it you develop your relationship to it by attending to it. If you have no perception of it, what is there to seek or attend to? Nothing you can anchor your attention to..

That's why we are helpless. Helpless to seek, and once connected, helpless to explain it.

Being helpless, we beg for help from our teacher.

I like that subsequent comment of yours, Spence. I don't agree with it, but I sincerely enjoyed your way of explaining that.

That opens up interesting possibilities one might explore, in terms of what that might mean --- provided it were true.

Nevertheless, in this context that's wrong, in this context that's irrelevant. Because that is categorically not what the Buddha taught. Not just basis his words, but also his methods.

Also, while Theravad does not use Shabd, but Vajrayana does, or some denominations of it do. And they don't see Shabd, or Light, in those terms. To them, inner light and inner sound are no different than an itch in your crotch: to be alertly yet detachedly observed, as they arise, and then, inevitably, subside. Same as everything else.

(By the way, the itch thing wasn't snark. That's actually what's taught, that's literally how it's conveyed. No putdown intended there!)

The Shabd is the lake thing, I mean to say.

Sorry about the staccato comments, btw. Am traveling, and am reduced to fat fingering away, painfully slowly, on my phone.

You wrote
"to be alertly yet detachedly observed, as they arise, and then, inevitably, subside. Same as everything else."

Observer, intermediary, observed. But when you are pulled into that sea of life, light and sound, when you are pulled up?

What happened to observer, observed and intermediary? They never were.

"Then, on realizing it's significance, the Lord uttered on that occasion this inspired utterance:
Blissful is detachment for one who is content,
For one who has learnt Dhamma and who sees;
Blissful is non-affliction in the world,
Restraint towards living creatures;
Blissful is passionlessness in the world,
The overcoming of sensual desires;
But the abolition of the conceit "I am" -
That is truly the supreme bliss. "
Nucalinda Sutta, Udana

note: the first three are the names of the devil






note: AKA





Nameless One

The day that Gurinder Singh Dhillon dies will be the happiest day of my life.

Any religious organization that has a manta that contains three names of Satan/the negative power/devil that members are supposed to chant 24/7 should seriously be questioned.

It’s asinine.

For starters , Jot Niranjan literally translates as “light of the Devil”.

All I can say, if. You’re a satsangi doing that and you wonder why your life is full of anxiety, then you need to have your IQ checked. The answer is OBVIOUS.

I think for the most part, RSSB is made up of ignorant, unintelligent, uninformed individuals.

Very sad.

And that’s why the Sikhs hate the Rhadasoamis to this day. The Sikhs do not use the three names of the devil as part of their meditation.

The Sikhs aren’t perfect but they’re light years more enlightened than RSSB.

Jaimal Singh was a poor lost “student” who meditated on free (haunted land) for 17 years in a cave and got so lost spiritually that he began to believe every lie the devil (negative power) told him.

Such a waste of time. So sad. Tragic.

Never had there been a darker time in human history than when Jaimal Singh got lost spiritually. Just look at what happened next… WWI… later WWII.

The rhadasoamis brought so much darkness into the world. It was as if the book of Revelations was right when it predicted that the Devil would be cast down to earth during the last days to play out the rest of his existence in human form.

And the warning is clear, “Get out off her, my people or you will suffer her sins.”

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