The Denial of Death ...Accepted

Who was Joseph Campbell? What is a myth? What does "Follow Your Bliss" mean? If you are new to the work of Joseph Campbell, this forum is a good place to start.

Moderators: Clemsy, Martin_Weyers, Cindy B.

Locked
somehopesnoregrets
Associate
Posts: 266
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:01 pm
Location: Northern California

Post by somehopesnoregrets » Tue May 05, 2009 4:27 am

It’s the question of “Why” I think people struggle with. To which now I’m convinced that the answer was truly all along “Just because….”
So true. Getting entangled in obsessively asking ourselves "why, why, why?" is such a setup for suffering, isn't it? I like your answer "just because." Another answer that has been working in kicking me from self-righteous victim mode into distancing myself from the anguish and, slowly but gently moving through the grief of my disappointments (at Its own time, of course) is "well, why not?"
I’ll have to go back and re-read the prior posts, it sounds like we’re saying the same thing again and just using different terms. I remember you mentioning that in order to function in the world we are forced into a “dual” mode. Kind of like “being in the now” and also being aware of "clock time". I think we are of the same opinion here.
I agree that we seem to have huge philosophical and practice overlap but differences in terminology. I don't think we're being forced into duality, but do believe we all have a choice in the matter (and that there are plenty of times when it's a perfectly appropriate option). That conviction might be a form of superstition on my part, but I like it, because it gives me hope for mankind... and I like hope.
:-)
Not many people are capable of “Truethink”. (Buddha, Jesus, etc…). So there is a danger that acting on best of intentions may cause harm. I believe the key here is letting go emotional responses.
See, I'm such a stubborn optimist about people. I do think that Buddha and Jesus are prototypical wisdom models for all of us. Not out there somewhere in the Heavens but on earth, right here, right now. I believe that, whenever there is a moment you are fully present with your experience, here, now, without analyzing it, thinking about it, wondering about it, second-guessing it, just fully immersed into the flow of what is at the time, then you are having one of those Buddha/Jesus moments. Maybe it's only there for an instant, and then the layer of analysis kicks back in. And, as I said before, there's nothing wrong with analyzing situations, as long as we notice that this is what we're doing when we're doing it. We might only have Buddha or Jesus moments rather than long stretches, which are then again interrupted by selfish fears, but I trust and believe that we all have those moments. It's different what triggers them, I suspect, that's why different practices work for different people and why what is medicine for one person can be poison for another.

I might disagree with you about the "letting go emotional responses" part. It depends on what you mean with "letting go." I do believe that it is possible to have an emotional response but let it go without clinging, moving on from it, carried away by the stream of time. That is beautiful theory in my case rather than practical experience. I'm so not there, practice wise, at this point of my life. As anybody else, I'm work in progress, and this is one of the things I'm working on. I still spend a painfully disproportionate amount of time whining, worrying, raging, grieving, and being too much (for my taste) of a drama queen (most of it on my own and without causing damage to others... wrestling my demons, I guess). But more and more I am learning to simply consider that a constitutional tendency than to judge and beat myself up over it. It seems that I am wired to be a passionate person. So the idea of some older (Theravadan) Buddhist traditions to interpret the "letting go emotions" as an actual cessation of emotion and a state of ongoing perfect equanimity, doesn't seem realistic for somebody with a nervous system as reactive and fickle as mine. So, this might simply be my personal bias, but I am working on moving on from the emotion rather than trying to not have it at all, so if that is what you meant, then we're completely on the same page here. To me, trying for cessation of emotion seems as pointless as trying to stop pooping. Yes, poop stinks and might be annoying at times, but it fulfills a function and is part of a functional body. We all do it. I do believe that all emotions have important functions in social interaction (sadness can show us when we're overdoing it and need alone time, anger helps me locate an unrealistic expectation or boundary violation, etc.), that it is the attachment to emotion that can make it so destructive. I remember one of the teachers at my Zen center once saying, when I commented that being around her, I had the feeling she's keeping the demons away, that she doesn't keep them away, she simply made friends with them.
Still, in my experience, states of non-separation are NOT automatically pleasant.

This is where I would try to exercise compassion and loving kindness and not become drawn into the emotional state.
Exactly. There is still emotion, but we don't have to be overly dramatic or self-righteous about it.
Yes, if I substitute the word “dualism” with “metacognition” this paragraph works for me. I guess “thinking about thinking” is a “dualist” notion. Ego vs Self.
Actually, no. I consider all forms of thinking dualistic. In that regard, I don't think there is such thing as "Truethink," just more or less functional "think," guiding by our experience with the causes and karmic or other conditions of life (dualism) and monistic "NO-think." Both, thinking selfishly and thinking selflessly are dualistic in my usage of the word. But considering my needs more important than other people's needs (the unhealthy "us vs. them" attitudes that you mention) is in my eyes a kind of dysfunctional dualism, because it operates under the assumption that one can clearly separate self or other. Since I consider such separation between "self" and "other" a mental exercise rather than a reality, it's a simple misunderstanding. Unfortunately, it's not one that's clarified easily for most people, because it's such a big part of most human cultures. Dualism that is aware of its own nature is still dualism. It tends to be less destructive but it is still dualistic.

To me "thinking about thinking" is actually one entry way towards monism. When I think about my thinking, I no longer completely buy into it. For example, when I have the thought, "this is unfair, that person is an enemy" without questioning it, then that thought can cause damage to my peace of mind and relationship with that person. But if I think about that thought, and take a mental step back towards analyzing which events led to the thought (maybe I had an unrealistic expectation about that person's behavior, maybe we got too close to one another and violated some innate territorial instinct, maybe I haven't had any food in a while and am grumpy and hypoglycemic, etc. etc.), then I no longer need to take an aggressive stance towards that person but can actually choose what might be the most functional approach in meeting both of our needs (or creating the space necessary for turning a confrontational situation with potential for hurt into one that might be less confrontational and provide room for learning and cooperation). That is a laudable strategy, but it is still a strategy, an attempt at (more skillfully) control the universe and nudge it toward becoming a better place. That is NOT yet a monistic attitude. However, such skills can create the conditions for safely entering monistic states. If I sit down to sit Zazen and not do anything else at the time, that is a luxury, I feel. It means at that moment I'm neither starving nor being attacked by a ferocious beast, nor having my overreactive nervous system simulate either of the two when triggered by something I considered "upsetting." So, this "metacognition" could be one of many paths towards momentarily abandoning self into the ocean of One-ness, but that resulting monistic attitude itself is neither cognitive nor meta-cognitive, I believe. It just is. There might be thought, but that thought is no longer valued higher than for example a fart or a burp. Your colon sometimes produces farts. Your mind sometimes produces thoughts. Both have a function, but neither of them is what uniquely makes you "you." Both are simply parts of a more complete picture. I know this example sounds kind of weird, because growing up most likely both of us were taught to value thoughts so much higher than farts, but I don't see ultimate value in making such judgments, only relative, dualistic value.

I hope you don't think I'm toying with you. I'm not. I'm also not trying to argue with you, but am simply attempting to clarify the thoughts and ideas under which I currently operate. Sorry about being such a stickler for words... I sincerely hope that this discussion feels like a joyful unfolding to you rather than an ordeal.
I would say monism is an experience because of a mode of thought (metacognition or dualistic thinking).
Not in my experience. Any experience of true monism I've ever had (based on how I define the term) was immediately preceded by some kind of momentary mental silence. The triggers were different, sitting meditation, physical exertion, artistic flow, but the moments themselves would only truly reveal themselves when the inner chatter (and my chatter tends to be highly metacognitive) stopped for a moment. Then, instants later, ego usually pops up again in my case and I start picking apart what was happening, which destroys the experience. It's ok. As you say further above... "just because." What I just described reminds me of the following Emily Dickinson poem:
Split the Lark--and you'll find the Music--
Bulb after Bulb, in Silver rolled--
Scantily dealt to the Summer Morning
Saved for your Ear when Lutes be old.

Loose the Flood--you shall find it patent--
Gush after Gush, reserved for you--
Scarlet Experiment! Sceptic Thomas!
Now, do you doubt that your Bird was true?
In my understanding a beautiful description of the both deadly and lively relationship between experience of analysis and analysis of experience.

I like your waterfall.
:-) Julia
somehopesnoregrets
Associate
Posts: 266
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:01 pm
Location: Northern California

Post by somehopesnoregrets » Tue May 05, 2009 4:38 am

Dear BiggieDe;

I appreciate your kind words about my writing.
But truly, you obviously have a firm grasp on the ideas of unity and dualism and I thoroughly enjoyed encountering your take on them.
I hope that the grasp is not too firm, more like we hold a butterfly, with a slightly open hand, a joyful smile, and no illusions of permanent (or even temporary) ownership.
You've got a gift for mystery, I might even suggest a key to its lock.
Each time I find a key that fits, it simply reveals yet another lock it seems. It's still fun. I love the dive, the movement, the moments of touching "It" (whatever "It" may ultimately be), and I love that sometimes, when the time and inspiration are there to let the writing flow, this love shows in the words that emerge.

In deep gratitude for your insights and practice.
:-) Julia
Neoplato
Associate
Posts: 3907
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Virginia
Contact:

Post by Neoplato » Tue May 05, 2009 10:51 pm

Julia Wrote:
I might disagree with you about the "letting go emotional responses" part. It depends on what you mean with "letting go." I do believe that it is possible to have an emotional response but let it go without clinging, moving on from it, carried away by the stream of time. That is beautiful theory in my case rather than practical experience. I'm so not there, practice wise, at this point of my life. As anybody else, I'm work in progress, and this is one of the things I'm working on. I still spend a painfully disproportionate amount of time whining, worrying, raging, grieving, and being too much (for my taste) of a drama queen (most of it on my own and without causing damage to others... wrestling my demons, I guess). But more and more I am learning to simply consider that a constitutional tendency than to judge and beat myself up over it.
By "let go" I do mean catch the emotion as it's arising and "release it". And yes..I am far from perfect. I have gotten better though, but it takes so much practice. I am noticing that the more practice, the longer I can go without an "episode". And when I do have an "episode" I can release it quicker. Eckhart Tolle gave an example of ducks shaking their wings. Ducks will get "mad" shake thier wings, and let it go swimming off in peace.
It seems that I am wired to be a passionate person. So the idea of some older (Theravadan) Buddhist traditions to interpret the "letting go emotions" as an actual cessation of emotion and a state of ongoing perfect equanimity, doesn't seem realistic for somebody with a nervous system as reactive and fickle as mine. So, this might simply be my personal bias, but I am working on moving on from the emotion rather than trying to not have it at all, so if that is what you meant, then we're completely on the same page here.
To me, having it and removing it is just as affective as not having it at all. I'm somewhere in the middle. It depends what the subject is. I still show that "passion thing" in many of my posts. I'm actually calmer in social interaction. Work provides me with many opportunities to "practice".
To me, trying for cessation of emotion seems as pointless as trying to stop pooping. Yes, poop stinks and might be annoying at times, but it fulfills a function and is part of a functional body. We all do it. I do believe that all emotions have important functions in social interaction (sadness can show us when we're overdoing it and need alone time, anger helps me locate an unrealistic expectation or boundary violation, etc.), that it is the attachment to emotion that can make it so destructive. I remember one of the teachers at my Zen center once saying, when I commented that being around her, I had the feeling she's keeping the demons away, that she doesn't keep them away, she simply made friends with them.
To me pooping is a bodily function. (You have a knack for "colorful" terms). Sex is part bodily function and part desire and lust. I do believe I could remove the desire and lust from sex, but my body would still crave sex as a bodily function. I don't believe negative emotions are inherent to the survival of humankind, even sex is required.

I've often said I've made a truce with my "dragon", but that doesn't make me want to be rid of it.
I don't think there is such thing as "Truethink," just more or less functional "think," guiding by our experience with the causes and karmic or other conditions of life (dualism) and monistic "NO-think." Both, thinking selfishly and thinking selflessly are dualistic in my usage of the word. But considering my needs more important than other people's needs (the unhealthy "us vs. them" attitudes that you mention) is in my eyes a kind of dysfunctional dualism, because it operates under the assumption that one can clearly separate self or other.
We'll have to explore this one further. We still have a difference here. I believe "Truethink" is acheivable, and I don't equate monism with "no-think" since it was "metacognition" that lead me to monism. But that's for later....
To me "thinking about thinking" is actually one entry way towards monism. When I think about my thinking, I no longer completely buy into it. For example, when I have the thought, "this is unfair, that person is an enemy" without questioning it, then that thought can cause damage to my peace of mind and relationship with that person. But if I think about that thought, and take a mental step back towards analyzing which events led to the thought (maybe I had an unrealistic expectation about that person's behavior, maybe we got too close to one another and violated some innate territorial instinct, maybe I haven't had any food in a while and am grumpy and hypoglycemic, etc. etc.), then I no longer need to take an aggressive stance towards that person but can actually choose what might be the most functional approach in meeting both of our needs (or creating the space necessary for turning a confrontational situation with potential for hurt into one that might be less confrontational and provide room for learning and cooperation). That is a laudable strategy, but it is still a strategy, an attempt at (more skillfully) control the universe and nudge it toward becoming a better place.
And once again we agree here. It does seem we have more intersection points than separation. This is one strange "orbit" we're in.
There might be thought, but that thought is no longer valued higher than for example a fart or a burp. Your colon sometimes produces farts. Your mind sometimes produces thoughts. Both have a function, but neither of them is what uniquely makes you "you." Both are simply parts of a more complete picture. I know this example sounds kind of weird, because growing up most likely both of us were taught to value thoughts so much higher than farts, but I don't see ultimate value in making such judgments, only relative, dualistic value.
I agree here too. And believe me, the older I get the more my brain "farts". :D
Any experience of true monism I've ever had (based on how I define the term) was immediately preceded by some kind of momentary mental silence. The triggers were different, sitting meditation, physical exertion, artistic flow, but the moments themselves would only truly reveal themselves when the inner chatter (and my chatter tends to be highly metacognitive) stopped for a moment.
And my experiences have come through a highly intensive mode of critical thinking and analysis that usually result in a "aha" moment. However, I do enjoy the inner peace of true being. But these are two separate experiences for me.
I hope you don't think I'm toying with you. I'm not. I'm also not trying to argue with you, but am simply attempting to clarify the thoughts and ideas under which I currently operate.
No I don't think your toying with me. I really think we're having an intellectual discussion. Which is my purpose for being on this website. Thanks for indulging me. :wink:
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
User avatar
Samarra
MRT Leader
Posts: 85
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: Montes Carpatus
Contact:

God is Dead

Post by Samarra » Thu May 07, 2009 4:58 am

"God is dead."
-Nietzsche

"Nietzsche is dead."
-God

...not really on topic, but it just popped into my head as I was reading this thread...
Image
Neoplato
Associate
Posts: 3907
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Virginia
Contact:

Post by Neoplato » Thu May 07, 2009 11:20 am

And I am alive. :wink:
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
User avatar
Clemsy
Working Associate
Posts: 10645
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2002 6:00 am
Location: The forest... somewhere north of Albany
Contact:

Post by Clemsy » Thu May 07, 2009 11:46 am

Score: tie

God and Nietzsche cancel each other out.
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
Neoplato
Associate
Posts: 3907
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Virginia
Contact:

Post by Neoplato » Thu May 07, 2009 11:52 am

Does this mean I don't exist? (Again?) :shock:
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
User avatar
Clemsy
Working Associate
Posts: 10645
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2002 6:00 am
Location: The forest... somewhere north of Albany
Contact:

Post by Clemsy » Thu May 07, 2009 12:25 pm

Yes, I'm afraid so.

...But you're not alone. :lol:
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
BiggieDe
Associate
Posts: 185
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:00 am

Post by BiggieDe » Thu May 07, 2009 12:27 pm

The fact that your question was read, at least by a minimum of one person (me), in my mind means you exist, Neoplate. I'm happy about that as I bet you are. Imagine all those poor trees left standing in the forests contemplating their Fall and wondering if any of them will be heard? So, "reflect, relate, and relax," Neoplate. I heard you. Besides, Clemsy took a Higher Order police action and cancelled out Samarra's interjected questions. So, all mystery has been vanquished and the rules and the ruling can go on as before without any feather ruffling.
"Does this mean I don't exist? (Again?) :shock:
Think of it as temporary and transitory. Who knows, maybe you just got reincarnated? (Again?) :shock:
somehopesnoregrets
Associate
Posts: 266
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:01 pm
Location: Northern California

Post by somehopesnoregrets » Thu May 07, 2009 4:02 pm

"God is dead."
-Nietzsche

"Nietzsche is dead."
-God

...not really on topic, but it just popped into my head as I was reading this thread...
And yet, both are alive and well in our thoughts, hearts, and imaginations. A bit of a paler existence than blood, sweat, tears, and riotous laughter fleshiness, but still fun.

"Emptiness is form."
-Form

"Form is emptiness."
-Emptiness

The contemplation about dualism and monism is an old one. I wonder how much of our respective emphases comes from the philosophies that are dear to our hearts, Neoplato. The ancient Greeks saw meta-cognition as a way of beating ignorance. Zen Buddhism credits meta-meta-no-cognition-but-no-non-cognition-either with doing the same thing. I don't believe either is right or wrong, they simply look at the same dazzling complexity and beautiful simplicity from different angles. When we look at practices, we find some that are more dualistic and others that have a monistic emphasis. Neither of those practices are "not good" per se, but some might be a bad fit for some people. For example, Theravadan Buddhism, Calvinism, and ascetic practices look at personal growth as a path and the goal as something towards which we work, something that is separate from where we are now. If I am lacking self-discipline, then such a practice can be great for me, to help me develop this part of my character. If I am harshly disciplined to begin with or have tendencies towards self-loathing, then such a practice can be dangerous. In that case a monistic, "just be here and now and unconditionally love, respect, and curiously examine whatever comes your way" practice (such as some forms of Zen) might be a better fit. Not initially, of course, because it'll feel so contrary to what I know that I might shy away from it like the devil from the holy water.

The Buddhist teacher Sekito Kisen was asked the exact same question more than 1200 years ago: What is better, the Northern way or the Southern way? To those unfamiliar with the nuances of Buddhist traditions, the Southern way is the step by step, work your butt off instrumental approach of Theravadan traditions, the "schools of the elders," and the Northern way are the more mystical approaches that developed in China (Ch'an Buddhism) and later Japan (Zen). His answer was a beautiful poem, the "San-do-kai" (three Chinese characters that loosely translate to something like "the harmony between sameness and difference." Please find this poem's text below, for your enjoyment. Notice that he is using slightly different metaphors than what you might be used to from Western mystical Christianity, which tends to assign God/Oneness the light and dualistic approaches the darkness. Sekito Kisen instead considers trans-conceptual approaches that don't try to logically pick apart reality "darkness" (as in mystery, we don't label, name, or pretend to know what it is that we're seeing) and dualistic, everyday functionality "light." Please note that he doesn't judge or condemn either but considers both important in their own right:
Sandokai
Harmonious Song of Difference and Sameness

of Sekito Kisen Daiosho

The mind of the great sage of India
is intimately communicated from west to east.
While human faculties are sharp or dull,
The Way has no northern or southern ancestors.
The spiritual source shines clear in the light;
the branching streams flow on in the dark.
Grasping at things is surely delusion;
according with sameness is still not enlightenment.
All the objects of the senses
interact and yet do not.
Interacting brings involvement.
Otherwise, each keeps its place.
Sights vary in quality and form,
sounds differ as pleasing or harsh.
Refined and common speech come together in the dark,
clear and murky phrases are distinguished in the light.
The four elements return to their natures
just as a child turns to its mother.
Fire heats, wind moves,
water wets, earth is solid.
Eye and sights, ear and sounds,
nose and smells, tongue and tastes;
Thus with each and every thing,
depending on these roots, the leaves spread forth.
Trunk and branches share the essence;
revered and common, each has its speech.
In the light there is darkness,
but don't take it as darkness;
In the dark there is light,
but don't see it as light.
Light and darkness oppose one another
like front and back foot in walking.
Each of the myriad things has its merit,
expressed according to function and place.
Phenomena exist; box and lid fit.
Principle responds; arrow points meet.

Hearing the words, understand the meaning;
don't set up standards of your own.
If you don't understand the Way right before you,
how will you know the path as you walk?
Progress is not a matter of far or near,
but if you are confused, mountains and rivers block your way.
I respectfully urge your who study the mystery,
do not pass your days and nights in vain.
I (very dualistically) underlined my favorite part of the poem. It's such a great image, to look at dualism and monism as two feet walking. If we decide we prefer one over the other, we can't walk. We can hop, yes, but that's tedious and exhausting. Yet, so many people do hop and try to talk others into hopping, too. I stumbled across this poem in a Buddhist study group I participated in before the kids, and after one of those sessions, I drew a picture of my understanding of it. It is a figure eight lying on the side (the infinity sign), with a spiral emerging from its middle. There are arrow points pointing upwards on both sides of the figure eight, one symbolizing dualistic, painstakingly collected knowledge, the other spontaneous monistic wisdom experience, plus an arrow at the end of the spiral, symbolizing energy and growth and the effects we project "outwards" (whatever "outwards" may be at each moment, it changes depending on perspective, I found). I'm not sure how to load a picture into a post, otherwise I could show you. I guess whatever way you use to make the idea of such balance between the cosmic and the mundane your own (be it using a meta-cognitive philosophical, idealistic tradition with a good practical slant and the willingness to find such balance in the daily world's messiness even if that taints the ideals here and there or be it by fully immersing yourself into practical experience, while also honing your intellectual and spiritual skills but not considering either of them the most important part of what makes you "you") will be fine.

With a tremendous sense of love and appreciation.
:-) Julia
BiggieDe
Associate
Posts: 185
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:00 am

Post by BiggieDe » Fri May 08, 2009 3:12 pm

Hearing the words, understand the meaning;
don't set up standards of your own.
If you don't understand the Way right before you,
how will you know the path as you walk?
Progress is not a matter of far or near,
but if you are confused, mountains and rivers block your way.
I respectfully urge you who study the mystery,
do not pass your days and nights in vain.
Some 30 years ago now, I encountered a guy from Oklahoma, older than I was at the time by maybe 5 years or so. He too was a young man in his 20's but treated me as his apprentice in the trade of labor for pay. One thing he became famous for saying, by saying it over and over adnauseam was, "If a man doesn't know what he's doing, he oughtn't to be doing it." I remember at the time wondering, how is a man to learn anything new, by taking that kind of tact?

I humbly submit the answer is simple. A man ought to do many a thing he doesn't know, just so long as he knows he doesn't know. To know you don't know is, as the poem suggests, "to understand the Way right before you" and "how you will know the path as you walk."

I see "know" and "don't know" as just another example of a pair of opposites existing simultaneously and thereby providing answers to the questions we seek. The pure potentiality behind all creativity has to contain all pairs of opposites so it can engender the unlimited possibilities available to anyone. Monism and dualism are one more such pair, unimportant in themselves and only meaningful in union.

Great poem, by the way!
somehopesnoregrets
Associate
Posts: 266
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:01 pm
Location: Northern California

Post by somehopesnoregrets » Fri May 08, 2009 5:00 pm

Biggie Dee, I'm a quite excited about and fascinated by your post. Yes, so true! And what's more, this is where Neoplato's and my philosophies of origin might meet fully, I hope. Because in my eyes Socrates, Plato's teacher and the Neoplatonic inspiration, was a true Zen master, fully aware that the only thing we can truly know is that we don't know, a discovery that can result in utter frustration or a passionate resolution to teach each moment, with all the physical, physiological, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual effects it may tread loose, as a lesson to be fully attended to. This tends to result in minds, hearts, and arms that are truly open yet not drafty. Socrates' path converges in that regard beautifully with that of Japanese Zen thinkers like Ehei Dogen, who wrote pretty cool stuff about knowing our not-knowing, such as this piece:
To carry yourself forward and experience myriad things is delusion. That myriad things come forth and experience themselves is awakening.

Those who have great realization of delusion are buddhas; those who are greatly deluded about realization are sentient beings. Further, there are those who continue realizing beyond realization, who are in delusion throughout delusion.

When buddhas are truly buddhas they do not necessarily notice that they are buddhas. However, they are actualized buddhas, who go on actualizing buddhas.


From: Genjo Koan, written in 1233 by Ehei Dogen
There is no doubt in my mind that Dogen would have considered Socrates an actualized Buddha. If you want to see the full text, you can find one of many translations here:
http://genjokoan.com/

To people unfamiliar with a focus that bridges dualistic and monistic perspective with a joy- and mindful dance, his writing may seem strange and self-contradictory. But if you look at it in light of what we talked about in this thread, it makes lots of sense, because if you pay attention to his perspective, you can see that he skillfully switches back and forth between a dualistic and a monistic perspective, fully honoring both (from the same source):
As all things are buddha-dharma, there is delusion and realization, practice, and birth and death, and there are buddhas and sentient beings. [NOTE: This is the dualistic perspective, that sees a difference between enlightenment and non-enlightenment, and a path that needs to be walked in order to get from one to the other.]

As the myriad things are without an abiding self, there is no delusion, no realization, no buddha, no sentient being, no birth and death.
[NOTE: Here is the corresponding experience from the non-dualistic, radically monistic view. All is One, including sentience and buddhahood, birth and death.]

The buddha way is, basically, leaping clear of the many and the one;
[NOTE: Again, monism.]
thus there are birth and death, delusion and realization, sentient beings and buddhas.
[NOTE: And, in the same sentence, yet another switch to dualistic reasoning...]

Yet in attachment blossoms fall, and in aversion weeds spread.
[NOTE: ...followed by a warning that the real danger is NOT the dualism but how we cope with our tendency to prefer some experiences over others, our attaching to parts of our experience and running from other parts.]
Great poem, by the way!
I wholeheartedly agree. And it's such an honor, pleasure, and privilege to be able to share the writings that touch my mind and heart with you.

Gratefully yours,
:-) Julia
BiggieDe
Associate
Posts: 185
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:00 am

Post by BiggieDe » Fri May 08, 2009 5:58 pm

Yet in attachment blossoms fall, and in aversion weeds spread. [NOTE: ...followed by a warning that the real danger is NOT the dualism but how we cope with our tendency to prefer some experiences over others, our attaching to parts of our experience and running from other parts.]
This is key. If I could only do this as a rule, attach myself to the parts of my experience that are disagreeable or painful, I would wake up to so much more. There must be suffering for life to come into the materiality of space/time. We are taught by Buddha to embrace the suffering along with the joy as two sides of the same coin.

"Yet in attachment blossoms fall," that's such a beautiful way of saying it.

"In aversion weeds spread," is reminding us that one of two opposites cannot exist without the other opposite existing as well.

Wow! I suppose it's only fair to set things up that way? Who knows? Maybe God flipped a coin and said, "Heads it'll be monism for the world. Tails, it'll be dualism." And, the coin landed on its edge?
Scarlett
Associate
Posts: 282
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2002 5:00 am

Post by Scarlett » Fri May 08, 2009 9:30 pm

Hello somehopes, BiggieDe, Neo, and others,

I'm just peeking in to say I like the way this conversation is turning!

I was pondering something JC said in his lecture on the thread, Symbolism and the Individual.

http://www.jcf.org/new/forum/viewtopic. ... c&start=45
Recognition of identity (with the divine) vs. discovering a relationship

How do you bridge the gap? Is it possible?

Is that were mysticism comes into play?

--Scarlett
Recognition of identity (with the divine) vs. discovering a relationship -- two ways of experiencing the Sacred -- yet so different. Your conversations about dualism and monism have been very enlightening.
When we look at practices, we find some that are more dualistic and others that have a monistic emphasis. Neither of those practices are "not good" per se, but some might be a bad fit for some people.

--somehopesnoregrets
Yes! For myself, I am moving deeper into my Christian roots, guided by other "Ways" -- moving and flowing into a deeper understanding/experience of the world (All the while understanding that "my" way is not the only way.) I am finally coming to peace with the fact that it does take two feet to walk -- as mentioned -- on our spiritual journey.

Yes and I love the poem too somehopes! (I've noticed you've been posting more poems lately -- I like it!)
"Yet in attachment blossoms fall," that's such a beautiful way of saying it.

"In aversion weeds spread," is reminding us that one of two opposites cannot exist without the other opposite existing as well.

Wow! I suppose it's only fair to set things up that way? Who knows? Maybe God flipped a coin and said, "Heads it'll be monism for the world. Tails, it'll be dualism." And, the coin landed on its edge?

--BiggieDe
Nice summary! I envision a coin spinning round and round on a table, until a little hand smacks it down, only to spin it once again!

Keep up the interesting discussion, I'll be looking forward to it!
That is why poetry has been the favorite instrument of true friends of nature, and the spirit of nature has shone most radiantly in poems. When we read and hear true poems, we feel the movement of nature's inner reason and, like its celestial embodiment, we dwell in it and hover over it at once...

--Novalis (From The Novices of Sais)
--Scarlett
Neoplato
Associate
Posts: 3907
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Virginia
Contact:

Post by Neoplato » Fri May 08, 2009 10:38 pm

I see you guys have ran away without me. How am I ever going to catch up?

BiggieDe, My existence is a running joke on the website. I'm glad that you confirmed my existence (for the third time). As for who I was....not sure. Once the water gets dumped back into the well, who knows what water is drawn in the next bucket. :wink:

I'm not sure I follow the entire conversation. Too much and too little time for me to contemplate.

Help! Can someone get me on track? :(
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
Locked