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Dealing with dualists….without dueling.

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Dealing with dualists….without dueling.

Postby Andrew » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:04 pm

This post arose from a conversation I had with Stan via private message. He asked that I take some of my experiences/observations and put them together for the benefit of the forum. So here goes…

About 20+ years ago, I had an encounter with a Jehova’s Witness. She arrived on my doorstep one fine afternoon, probably in the springtime as it seemed that the JW’s would canvas our neighbourhood the same time each year. She did the usual ‘pitch’ – asked if I thought about God, what were my views, would I be interested in some literature etc? I had heard this all before but she added some personal details. She explained that previously, she had lead a wanton, reckless life and indulged in plenty of drinking and fighting. However, upon being introduced to the JW religion, she became a reformed character. Although I had no interest in the JWs, I was genuinely pleased that she had opted for a more responsible, adult existence. What we folks here would call a dharmic life.

She once again offered the copies of Watchtower she was carrying to which I replied with a counter-offer. I said “I will take and read one of your magazines on the condition that you read at least one text from outside your religion.” It didn’t matter to me what it was. Read something about Buddhism or verses from the Koran or even something Christian but from another tradition. She hesitated for a minute and then said “I can’t do that”. Fine. No problem. I likewise, am not going to read your Watchtower either. She realized that we were at an impasse and wasn’t likely to make any further progress with convincing me of anything. She took her leave and I went back to whatever I was doing before the doorbell rang.

The JWs, like quite a lot of other religious denominations are monotheists that believe they have exclusive rights (rites?) of access to said deity. Not only that, all other belief systems are wrong (either just plain old misguided to outright evil depending on the level of crazy you’re dealing with) and that all those on the ‘outside’ need to be persuaded to change their ways. It’s for our benefit of course. If you take up the JW version you are effectively competing for a spot in an elitist country-club like heaven with a (hell)fire safety limit of 144,000 souls. Or if the Hare Krishna people are right, you do what they say to win Krishna’s love….whatever that means. Or hang out with Jesus or thwart galactic tyrant, Xenu etc etc

The thing with proselytizing is that it shows a fundamental dissatisfaction with one’s beliefs. The trouble with ‘one true way-ism’ is that those people are seeking one of two things. Either they want to feel validated by having you agree with them or they want the satisfaction of martyrdom. They want the validation of agreement “Yay, we’re on the same team!” or they want the validation of opposition “Ha! You don’t agree with me thereby proving the superiority of my position!” It lulls the person into thinking that they can have their theological cake and eat it too. They can’t be satisfied with the value of the teaching in its own right.

As non-dualists, we have no desire or need for anyone else to be like us – because there isn’t really a ‘them & us’. The dualist is looking either for followers or combat not realizing there is no opposition to be had. There is a quote from Swami Dayananda that I absolutely love and remind myself of frequently: “The extent to which you let others be what they are is the extent to which you are yourself free.”

It seems that these ‘one true way-ists’ would rather be ‘right’ than happy. If they could just drop their agenda for a moment and listen or better yet, ask a few sensible questions then they might actually learn something. Hell, maybe they might actually meet someone and gain a friend or two. If what they believe is really the SUPREME REALLY REAL TRUTH™, then it cannot, by definition, be harmed by something that is other. If you have to argue and figuratively (or literally) beat someone else over the head, then perhaps your ‘supreme teacher/teaching’ isn’t as obvious and self evident as you might think.

In closing, I will end with a quote from my friend’s millennial daughter:


“You do you, dude….just keep doing you.”
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Re: Dealing with dualists….without dueling.

Postby Mira » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:34 am

Thanks, Andrew. It was a great read. Funny, poignant and insightful.
I've never been proselytized to or tried to proselytize. However, sometimes I feel the urge to talk about Vedanta to my friends and how it can end their suffering. But I stop myself--none of my friends are terribly interested in spirituality and it would just sound silly to them.
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Re: Dealing with dualists….without dueling.

Postby Stan » Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:58 pm

Hi Andrew,

That was a great post I really enjoyed it. :-) you write so well and make your valid points with such good humour !

I often get accosted by Jehova`s witnesses as one of their senior ones lives a couple of houses away. He used to constantly send pairs of them round....despite being told not to come again. They said they wouldn`t...and they didn`t. trouble was, he kept sending new pairs who hadn`t been before. They never stopped until I said I was Jewish. not sure why that worked but, it did. I`m not sure what it is about people who think they have the right to interfere in your personal spiritual beliefs.

I recall an occasion when I was ill in bed with pneumonia.....temperature 105 c and rising. things were critical by the time the doctor arrived. No sooner had he made his way to my bedroom than he noticed a Buddha statue at the window.

He stopped and started into me about why don`t I stick to Christianity like most (normal) people do. why go Eastern and all exotic ?
It was a mistake on my part but, I took the bait. "What do you mean ? do you think Jesus was born in London !? ". He stopped opening his bag and looking pensive, he said ..... " Do you know, I had never thought of it quite that way !.... blah, blah, blah.....
"Aarrgh ! I had to almost shout at him to hurry up and medicate me. I was dripping in sweat and starting to lose consciousness. If I had the strength, I know I would have started to come over all aggresive. I can`t put my finger on this proselytising business but, I know a man who can. Our good friend swami Dayananda.
I loved that quote by the way !..... " “The extent to which you let others be what they are is the extent to which you are yourself free.”

Here is a link to him on the subject of Conversion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4sEMVJuDCY
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Re: I am Not Enlightened

Postby kpitsim » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:09 pm

To all:

I recently read a six page esatsang between Ramji and Frank entitled "I Am Not Enlightened. " I felt I wanted to extract the golden nuggets in that exchange by parsing it into a page and a half. I also read recently What is Self-Actualization posted by Ramji and wanted to also share part of that at the end.

First:

The page and a half parsing of a six page esatsang between Ramji and Frank from 3-13-17

Ramji: With the believe that Maya is real, we expect there to be some kind of experiential change in the Jiva as a result of self-knowledge. In fact the only thing that changes for the Jiva with self-knowledge is the idea that the world, meaning obstacles, is real.

Ramji: what I am saying is that if you are the self, then Maya is not Maya at all. It is you. If the world is you there is no Maya because it was only me, existence/consciousness. So the world is no problem as long as it is recognized as Mithya, or if it is recognized as you Satya. You can’t have firm self-knowledge if you think the world is in anyway real.

Note also that a satisfied doer does not do Nidiyasana because there is nothing to gain by it. Doing has been consigned to Isvara in the form of Parabdha karma. Committing to Nididyasana implies the need to change something. You can only be dissatisfied if you take Mithya to be Satya.

The correct understanding is that the obstacles are Mithya. The correct understanding removes Mithya and leaves you as Satya, as consciousness, free of knowledge and ignorance, not as a Jiva with “correct understanding”. There is no understanding for you. You are what stands under everything including knowledge and ignorance. Knowledge removes ignorance and then disappears, leaving you as pristine original consciousness.

Enlightenment sickness is the retention of the knowledge by the Jiva when the knowledge should negate the Jiva and once the Jiva is gone there is only you with nothing to do. By “gone” I don’t mean experientially absent, I mean present as a dream, a paper tiger.

If your doer thinks it is the knower of the self then you believe vigilant watchfulness is required until the time of death because you don’t know what’s the unconscious might bring up. But if you say you are the self and know what that statement means then how does Nidiyasana apply to you? It may be a comforting thought so far is you identify with Frank, but how real is it? Why do you take it seriously? Everything happens by the grace of Isvara and it’s all in good time. Who needs to question, re-question, pursue, manage persevere, etc. All this doing just keeps the spiritual samsara alive. Of course if you want to chip down there in the salt mines till the day you die, Might that not make you a dull boy? I quite chipping the day self-knowledge became firm almost 50 years ago and started to live the life I had been denied by all this seeking.

Who says the obstacles need to be appreciated or that we must mature spiritually by facing and clearing out more mistaken notion’s and believes. This just sounds like a party line and that you want to be part of a good cadre till you’re dying day. At some point you have to except yourself warts and all. While the Vasana theory has some truth it is not meant to be taken literally. The Gita says that for a Jnani the vedas are as useless as a puddle of water when the land is flooded. Flooded by what? By you. The obstacles, the Vedanta the doer are all you alone. There is nothing to do about them.

How can you grow? You are everything that is. What is real can’t grow and what is unreal can’t grow either. Take a stand in your true nature and dismiss this well-meaning doer. He sounds like an accountant or a Christian Saint worrying about his immortal soul. Frank is fine in every way. Take back and smell the roses. That can include studying Vedanta- it is a lovely samsaric bauble, endlessly fascinating, but don’t take it seriously. If you know who you are, it is just a hobby.

The peace of self recognition is not in anyway dependent on the absence of vasanas. That assumes that Mithya and Satya are in the same order of reality, that the absence of self recognition is due to the presence of vasanas. That eludes the essence of the teaching, i.e. Satya/mithya.

Frank: The other realization I had was that samsara cannot be fixed despite whatever we do. This is how it is, as it is. This is how Isvara wants it to be and it is fine as it is warts and all, the good, The bad, and the ugly. Nothing needs to be fixed. Solution? Jump off this Samsara chakra through self knowledge. There is no other way. Let the play continue… Ha Ha. It is fun watching the unconscious making itself known and rocking the boat. I am the observer of it all and free of the conscious and the unconscious movements.

Ramji: yes indeed! Trying to figure out anything in Mithya is a lot like trying to fall asleep. As long as you are trying, you can’t get to sleep. You have to let go of the “I want to sleep” for. It is that simp as identifying with the thought that is playing in your mind at the time. All thoughts are Mithya. They are not real. Problem solved.

This is the end of the "summary". There is so much in this and thought to share it in this way. I was especially blown away by the above paragraph:

"Who says the obstacles need to be appreciated or that we must mature spiritually by facing and clearing out more mistaken notion’s and believes. This just sounds like a party line and that you want to be part of a good cadre till you’re dying day. At some point you have to except yourself warts and all. While the Vasana theory has some truth it is not meant to be taken literally. The Gita says that for a Jnani the vedas are as useless as a puddle of water when the land is flooded. Flooded by what? By you. The obstacles, the Vedanta the doer are all you alone. There is nothing to do about them."

I know that context is very important, and to whom and for whom a reply is crafted. I am also here reminded of a recent esatsang by James : What is self-actualization (Nididhysana)? which appears to be an article by Swami Paramarthananda on the Purpose of Nididhysana.

That article includes getting rid of the idea that qualifications are necessary for moksha, as persisting with that idea is tantamount to identifying with the doer. But at the same time and very importantly not giving up sadhana,( which I assume is the term for cultivating the qualifications,) as it is the best publicity for Vedanta and is a blessing for the world, and is the best gift you can give Isvara for bringing you to Vedanta.

Anyway, hopefully the above hodgepodge will be useful on this board, and look forward to what it brings up for others.

Bob
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Re: Dealing with dualists….without dueling.

Postby Stan » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:25 am

Hi Bob,

Thanks for that resume of the Ramji / Frank satsang entitled " I am not awareness".

I really appreciate your making the effort of extracting the essence of that teaching and posting it for us. it was a joy to read !

When I was in the zen monastery, we recited a teaching daily by Master Dogen called Zazen rules". It begins like this .....

" Why are training and enlightenment differentiated since the Truth is universal ? Why study the means of attaining it since the supreme teaching is free ?
Since Truth is seen to be clearly apart from that which is unclean, why study the means of cleansing it ?
Since Truth is is not separate from training, training is unnecessary. However, the separation would be as that between heaven and earth if even the slightest gap existed.
There is normaly a strike of the bell here to emphasise that point !
It continues ... "When the opposites arise, the Buddha mind is lost". and so it goes on .....

Looking back over the many years since my time in that monastery, it never ceases to amaze me how the nub of our spiritual problem is simply not understanding that we are whole and complete, non-dual awareness. that`s it ...nothing else !
No matter what terms you use, what teachings you follow, there is always that point where the satya / mithya teaching has largely done it`s work. The self is known but that "slightest gap" can still remain. We still harbour some slight and subtle doubts.

We are then asked to take on the teaching that karma `still in the pipeline` is playing out. we fall for that one too, and continue Inquiry and find that the prarabdha karma is just another object....again. what has it actually got to do with us apart from scaring us into believing we have to be perfected in some way so as to be safe, to finaly make it ! it is still desire / fear playing out on a subtle level.

As Ramji said " At some point you have to except yourself warts and all. While the Vasana theory has some truth it is not meant to be taken literally. The Gita says that for a Jnani the vedas are as useless as a puddle of water when the land is flooded. Flooded by what? By you. The obstacles, the Vedanta the doer are all you alone. There is nothing to do about them."

So long as we cannot bring ourselves to fully accept our `apparent` imperfections ie, not knowing that they are all Isvara, we cannot know " The peace of self recognition is not in anyway dependent on the absence of vasanas. That assumes that Mithya and Satya are in the same order of reality, that the absence of self recognition is due to the presence of vasanas. "

Why can`t we just accept the very simple truth that we are perfect just as we are ? "warts and all" as Ramji puts it. Why do we seek to close "even the slightest gap between us and enlightenment" ?

How can we even really `self actualize` ourselves as that act implies that we know who we are in the first place ? The ground of ignorance gets cut away beneath our feet all the time until we end up unsupported...by ignorance. we end up standing in the self as the self because there really isn`t any real alternative.
What a blessed wonderful relief ! every time, the teachings end up as `you are the self, there is nothing more, you are whole and complete`. how simple and wonderful !
All objects including Maya....every kind of obstacle, have always been just me. I was never them.

These are the thoughts that came up for me having read that wonderful post of yours Bob. Thank you.

By the way, do you go on our facebook site ? whould you re-post your article there ? If you`re not a facebook user, would you mind if I posted there for you. I`m sure it would be appreciated.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/FriendsofJamesSwartzVedanta/
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Re: Dealing with dualists….without dueling.

Postby kpitsim » Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:00 am

Hi Stan

Glad you enjoyed the posting. Very much enjoyed yours too. Your zen prayer is entirely consistent with the email exchange between ramming and Frank. Please feel free to share the posting on Facebook.

That also reminds me that I read the journal that is written by Bede Clifford. Four parts so far. Maybe you want to see whether that might be scared on the discussion board.

Thanks again for your illuminating response.

Bob
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