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Posts Tagged ‘Goodness’

A useful site on Hindu teachings presents two analogies.

The first is the ‘drop and the ocean’ analogy in which

The soul is compared to a drop of water and liberation to its merging into the vast ocean which represents the Supreme Soul (God).
According to the advaita schools, the soul and God are equal in every respect, and liberation entails realisation of one’s Godhood. Thus, one’s mistaken sense of individuality is dissolved, and one merges into the all-pervading Supreme.

The second is the ‘green parrot analogy in which

The individual soul is compared to a green bird that enters a green tree (God). It appears to have “merged”, but retains its separate identity.

  • The personalistic schools of thought maintain that the soul and God are eternally distinct and that any “merging” is only apparent. “Oneness” in this case refers to:

unity of purpose through loving service realisation of one’s nature as brahman (godly) but maintenance of one’s spiritual individuality.

  • Liberation involves entering God’s abode, though many schools teach that those souls who have become free from material contamination are already liberated, even before leaving the material body

The two analogies are to help explain two views’ on the process of attaining ‘moksha’ a freeing or liberation from samsara, the endless round of repeating cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth (reincarnation);

practically all schools consider it a state of unity with God, the nature of such unity is contested. The advaita traditions say that moksha entails annihilation of the soul’s false sense of individuality and realisation of its complete non-difference from God. The dualistic traditions claim that God remains ever distinct from the individual soul. Union in this case refers to a commonality of purpose and realisation of one’s spiritual nature (brahman) through surrender and service to the Supreme Brahman (God).

REINCARNATION and ARE THE TWO VIEWS RESOLVABLE?

Firstly I should say that the conventional understanding doesn’t work for me. Instead I see reincarnation as every moment in which I prompt myself to return to the ‘body of my true Self’, away from any egoistic, lower self, attachment.

Oak trees produce acorns but the don’t become again the acorn from which they grew. Life is progressive in terms of the after-life. But in this world every time we repeat the same ego-driven mistakes we ‘reincarnate’ ourselves into our lower self.

In unitive meditation we merge with the Whole, but not as a co-equal partner with the Godhead – the finite cannot claim to comprehend the Infinite. That which we become at-one with is Creation not the Creator.

On this subject listen to the 8thC Chinese poet known as Li Po;

“The birds have vanished from the sky,

and now the last clouds slip away.

We sit alone, the mountain and I,

until only the mountain remains.”

If the ego is sufficiently quietened for us to be ‘absorbed’ it is a unity with Creation not the Creator.

To the Chinese poet I would add a Baha’i perspective the holds that in the afterlife we commune with souls with whom we have associated;

13. As to the question whether the souls will recognize each other in the spiritual world:

This fact is certain; for the Kingdom is the world of vision where all the concealed realities will

become disclosed. How much more the well-known souls will become manifest. The mysteries

of which man is heedless in this earthly world, those he will discover in the heavenly world, and

here will he be informed of the secret of truth; how much more will he recognize or discover

persons with whom he hath been associated. Undoubtedly, the holy souls who find a pure eye

and are favored with insight will, in the kingdom of lights, be acquainted with all mysteries, and

will seek the bounty of witnessing the reality of every great soul. Even they will manifestly

behold the Beauty of God in that world. Likewise will they find all the friends of God, both those

of the former and recent times, present in the heavenly assemblage.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Bahá’í World Faith, p. 367 –
This Baha’i extract is from Dr Bill Huitt’s excellent compilation HERE

IN CONCLUSION

The two views illustrated by ‘the green parrot’ and ‘the drop-ocean’ analogies are resolvable via this perspective. In so far as we mirror the higher Self and quieten the ‘chattering monkey’ of the lower self we attain Moksha, Nirvana, Heaven. This is a moment by moment switching until we are enabled to maintain a more constant connection with the higher Self. Experiences of unity are sublime, ineffable, bliss-full but we are not then at-one with the Godhead, just sufficiently ego-less to feel at-one with the rest of Creation! We get close to God in this limited sense through living a life that obeys the Covenant of eternal verities found in the mystical heart of all great faiths.

From Zen we learn

The great Master Dogen said,

“To study the Buddha Way is to study the self,

to study the self is to forget the self, and

to forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things.”

To be enlightened by the ten thousand things is to recognize the unity of the self and the ten thousand things.

A limited at-one-ness – through seeking the True Self within – and enjoying endless dualities of this world are the two wings through which we fly spiritually (including spirituality as intellectuallity).

It is certainly true that ‘all is God’ but our reality and our powers are devolved not co-equal.

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Go HERE
to visit the ISKCON site from which I took inspiration for this article.

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Interspirituality, the 21stC version of perennial wisdom, celebrates the Oneness behind the jostling exclusivist-ic world-views!

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Thanks for the discussion and your question about non-duality and teachers of non-duality.

From a quick listen to Rupert Spira so far it seems to be high quality teaching. The design of his site is exquisite! See HERE

As with other luminaries e.g Tolle and Wilber I would make the following comment;

In brief non-duality & duality are both gifts of life (God if you prefer or the Whole) – both are essential, both are ongoing. We need to work both wings in complementary harmony. The goal of life is not to eliminate duality, but to have strong, complementary synergistic experiences of duality and non-duality! Harmony requires diversity and vv.

The separate self is good – hallelujah! The small self is good – without it we would have no mastery of self. Without it no comedians would lift our spirits. Without it no artist would create.

As the great Zen Master Dogen said,

“To study the Buddha Way is to study the self,

to study the self is to forget the self, and

to forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things.”

To be enlightened by the ten thousand things is to recognize the unity of the self and the ten thousand things.

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This is an enormous field – see the work by Jerry Katz HERE (1000+ very long pages!) and HERE

I tried to build some of these ideas into the 60 Seconds Meditation (for galloping frenetically-busy people) – HERE

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Or as Stuart GuruStu Rosen HERE put it
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THE SCRIPTURAL TEXT

“Create in me a pure heart, O my God, and renew a tranquil conscience within me, O my Hope! Through the spirit of power confirm Thou me in Thy Cause, O my Best-Beloved, and by the light of Thy glory reveal unto me Thy path, O Thou the Goal of my desire! Through the power of Thy transcendent might lift me up unto the heaven of Thy holiness, O Source of my being, and by the breezes of Thine eternity gladden me, O Thou Who art my God! Let Thine everlasting melodies breathe tranquillity on me, O my Companion, and let the riches of Thine ancient countenance deliver me from all except Thee, O my Master, and let the tidings of the revelation of Thine incorruptible Essence bring me joy, O Thou Who art the most manifest of the manifest and the most hidden of the hidden!” – Bahá’u’lláh

(From album entitled – Luke Slott “Create in Me a Pure Heart”)
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The ‘One Garden’ – A General Introduction for newcomers to the One Garden Groups

GENERAL INFORMATION

Game, set & match! – If you have realized the Oneness behind the diversity you are already a ‘member’ of the ‘One Garden’ – welcome home!

AIM & PURPOSE OF THE ‘ONE GARDEN’ COMMUNITY – to celebrate, experience, explore & practice oneness/Oneness – from within the enlightenment teachings of great spiritual teachers – in a frame work of perennial wisdom or Perennial Philosophy (see below) context .

In our meetings we use mainly contemplative dialogue but start and end with short silent meditations. On a daily basis group members practice according to what they choose – some may still be happily within mainstream faith communities, some might be refugees from painful experience in mainstream religions, some have simply realized that behind the myriad world-views there is Oneness.

We see the overall spiritualizing process as 2 ‘wings’ that together enable spirituality.

i) All spiritually alive people use the first wing to stay connected to the Whole i.e.

– it requires that the ‘ego & mind’ be quietened, (this is our heart-centre & right-brain).

ii) The second wing with which we fly spiritually is dialogue (left-brain, head-centred).

We achieve a sense of connection with the Whole, (it ebbs and flows, unless you are one of the great masters), via mindfulness – or more correctly mind-less-ness!

The two wings need to be in harmony – if one wing is overdeveloped we flap and go round in circles and never fly upwards at all!

OUR MAP-MAKERS: As map-makers of the ‘territory’ we have Eckhart Tolle, Aldous Huxley, Wayne Teasdale & Ken Wilber – and for a popular historical perspective – Karen Armstrong.

Other great teachers: Thich Nhat Hanh, Christian Contemplatives, Shaikh Kabir Helminski, Abdu’l-Baha,, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Quaker Universalism, Deng Ming-Dao, Albert Einstein, Prof John Miller (great champion of Holistic Education) – and ‘wonder-full’ poets & philosophers!

All are ‘gate-keepers’, or pointers as Buddhist teachers say, to realizing ourselves in the ‘One Garden’!

If you like reading see suggested reading list below

WEEKLY – BUT NO NEED TO ATTEND EVERY WEEK – each session is ‘stand alone’. You don’t have to buy books or read lots – materials provided.

WHO IS IT FOR?: For all on a path to realizing their true self .

HOW’S IT WORK? – each week we have a topic/question: One way we work is simply to put ‘spiritual jewels’ next to each other e.g. by juxtaposing these two pieces by Rumi & Abraham Joshua Heschel;

1 Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing – by Rumi

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing,

there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,

the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase each other

doesn’t make any sense.

AND

2 Concepts & Amazement – a quote by A J Heschel

“Concepts are delicious snacks with which

we try to alleviate our amazement.”

Abraham Joshua Heschel – Who is Man p.88

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EXAMPLE TOPIC: Being at-one

EXAMPLE QUESTION: Where & how and through what are we one?

DEVISING THE AGENDA: One way we use is following a short period of silence and a short introduction including quotations the group, we work in pairs, and consult to generate the questions that will make up the agenda for the main group dialogue. Sometimes we have free-flowing dialogue or ‘rounds’.

THE PERENNIAL PHILOSOPHY

“Most of the great wisdom traditions agree on an age-old model which says about both the Cosmos and about our human nature:

1. Spirit, by whatever name, exists.

2. Spirit, although existing “out there,” is found “in here,” or revealed within to the open heart and mind.

3. Most of us don’t realize this Spirit within, however, because we are living in a world of sin, separation, or duality-that is, we are living in a fallen, illusory, or fragmented state.

4. There is a way out of this fallen state (of sin or illusion or disharmony or non-integration), there is a Path to our liberation.

5. If we follow this Path to its conclusion, the result is a Rebirth or Enlightenment, a direct experience of Spirit within and without, a Supreme Liberation, which

6. marks the end of sin and suffering, and

7. manifests in social action of mercy and compassion on behalf of all sentient beings.”

The above is KW’s model of The Perennial Philosophy.

RP’s shortest model = ‘Awaken: Detach: Serve’

Namaste & all good wishes – Roger

NB We contribute a minimum of £3.00 where a room is hired – OR just £1.00 toward running expenses handouts, MeetUp fees, travel etc. – thanks.

More ‘One Garden’ quotes HEREhttp://universalistspirit.wordpress.com/quotes/nonduality-flavoured-quotes/

The Perennial Philosophy model

a) Shortest version (RP) = Awakening:Detachment:Service

b) A Christian-Buddhist comparison (Very short version)

  1. There is something bigger than us – the Mysterious Whole

  2. We either are (West), or seem to be (East), separated from it (Victims?)

  3. Through various means we can become reunited with it (or realize that we already are).

  4. Once the separation is overcome, we will lead larger, richer, fuller lives.

In Christian terms, the four steps are:

  1. God

  2. Sin

  3. Faith (or works)

  4. Salvation

In Buddhist terms:

  1. Nirvana (the state of the Absolute)

  2. Illusion or Ignorance

  3. Practice (devotion or meditation)

  4. Enlightenment

TO COME AND ENJOY THE DISCUSSION IN THE ‘ONE GARDEN’ GROUPS YOU DON’T HAVE TO READ – I PROVIDE ALL THAT IS NEEDED AS A HANDOUT

If you prefer videos check out the stunning range on YouTube by Tolle, Teasdale, Wilber, Thich Nhat Hanh, Karen Armstrong & especially the dialogue between Wayne Teasdale and Ken Wilber

BUT IF YOU LIKE READING:-

On my personal journey I wanted a heart connection with those who both described the territory of the One Garden and those who lived it as well as taught it. Below are those who became my ‘gatekeepers’ to the One Garden – the map-makers and the teachers.

a) THE MAP-MAKERS OF THE TERRITORY OF THE ONE GARDEN

First I strongly recommend you read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now – that is enough!

Want more – then read The Mystic Heart by Wayne Teasdale or Aldous Huxley’s The Perennial Philosophy

Then Ken Wilber and Karen Armstrong

b) THE ‘GATEKEEPERS’ WHO POINT TO THE ‘ONE GARDEN’, AND THEIR SUGGESTED KEY BOOKS

COMMUNITY TEACHER BOOK TO START WITH

Taoism Deng Ming-Dao 365 Tao

Hinduism Ved Vyasa The Bhagavad Gita

Buddhism Thich Nhat Hanh Happiness

Judaism Abraham Joshua Heschel Who is Man

Christianity Wayne Teasdale The Mystic Heart

Sufism (Islam) Shaikh Kabir Helminski Living Presence

Baha’i Abdu’l-Baha Paris Talks (I will put together a compilation)

HUMANISTS – see HERE

Aldous Huxley The Perennial Philosophy

Albert Einstein (A compilation – see online)

All seem to me to point to the One Garden, and the books listed provide a gateway into the One Garden.

You might like to start with the tradition with which you are most familiar.

As a first step in reading, if you want, I suggest you reread The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

I know there are more teachers – but the above is all I can handle – along with some extracts from from poets and philosophers!

IF YOU WANT TO PRACTICE: Listen to Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh: “ Smile, Breathe, Go mindfully.”

His teachings on practices from over 60 years are gathered into one book ‘Happiness: essential mindfulness practices.’

Eckhart Tolle’s book on practice is called Practicing the Power of Now

There is also a summary of practices taught by ET – see HERE

If you a) practice – Smile, Breathe, Go mindfully” – and b) read and the bell hasn’t rung – practice some more – or worst case scenario – take up fishing!

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OUR THREE WEB-SITES

1) ”One Garden’ – dedicated site for the, ‘One Garden’ groups – is HERE

2) Soul Needs: peace through realizing oneness = celebrating the human spirit via;

i) THE ARTS – especially (street) photography,

ii) PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT & human-centred studies,

iii) SOCIAL JUSTICE ACTIVISM,

iv) INTERFAITH inter-spirituality & Perennial Wisdom, including the ‘One Garden’ project.

v) WHOLE-PERSON LEARNING, radical renewal of child education + healing for adults – (via a) to d)!) – –

vi) THE NEW PROJECT – ‘HEALTH MATTERS’ – surviving IPF as long as possible!

NB Usually posts for all ‘6 Projects’ start or end up on the ‘Soul Needs’ site – RP

3) The ‘Quotations Treasury’ – just quotations – http://quotationstreasury.wordpress.com/

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Ikkyu – see HERE

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I was so happy that my friends at A Circle of Friends an Interspirituality site – HERE– sent out this quotation;

“Studying texts and stiff meditation can make you lose your Original Mind.

A solitary tune by a fisherman, though, can be an invaluable treasure.

Dusk, rain on the river, the moon peeking in and out of the clouds.

Elegant beyond words, he chants his songs night after night.”

~Ikkyu~

to put alongside this;

The great Master Dogen said,

“To study the Buddha Way is to study the self,

to study the self is to forget the self, and

to forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things.”

To be enlightened by the ten thousand things is to recognize the unity of the self and the ten thousand things.

and this;

“Tao gives birth to one,

One gives birth to two,

Two gives birth to three,

Three gives birth to ten thousand beings.

Ten thousand beings carry yin on their backs and embrace yang in their front,

Blending these two vital breaths to attain harmony.”

along with this;

 

“Every being in the universe

is an expression of the Tao.

It springs into existence,

unconscious, perfect, free,

takes on a physical body,

lets circumstances complete it.

That is why every being spontaneously honors the Tao.

 

“The Tao gives birth to all beings,

nourishes them, maintains them,

cares for them, comforts them, protects them,

takes them back to itself,

creating without possessing, acting without expecting,

guiding without interfering.

 That is why love of the Tao is in the very nature of things.”  


(Stephen Mitchell’s interpretation of chapter 51 or the Tao Te Ching talks of the ongoing relationship between Tao and

the ten thousand things – SOURCE )

 

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‘ONE GARDEN – Masters of Wisdom’ – Session 5 – 5th Feb 2013 Cafe Coho 10am – updated

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Two juxtaposed passages today, one from Hinduism, one from Baha’i – plus links to other great sources. I consider myself a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Jew, a Christian, a Moslem and a Baha’i – and a Humanist and sometimes even an a-theist! See my One Garden videos course on a page – HERE

In Sufism, or Islam generally, or Hinduism or Buddhism – in fact in all of the great faiths there are descriptions of the stages of spiritual development. These are the way-stations on our spiritual journey. For the true, sincere & committed seeker these describe the challenges through which the seeker can achieve her or his desire to reflect the name, attributes and qualities of God.

*HINDUISM – The Bhagavad Gita is one such piece of scripture – text & chanting in English HERE My favourite passage from the Bhagavad Gita as many of you know is this;

“Like two birds of golden plumage, inseparable companions, the

individual self and the immortal Self are perched on the branches of the

self same tree. The former tastes of the sweet and bitter fruits of the

tree; the latter, tasting of neither, calmly observes.

“The individual self, deluded by forgetfulness of his identity with the

divine Self, bewildered by his ego, grieves and is sad. But when he

recognizes the worshipful Lord as his own true Self, and beholds his

glory, he grieves no more.”

It’s my favourite because it encapsulates a complete answer to the question that I laboured so long to answer, “What is it to be fully & positively human?” My 80,000 answer, a doctoral dissertation, is HERE (Ahhh the joys of brevity!) It also answers the question, “What is reality?” AND provides the heart of The Perennial Philosophy/the mystical core of all of the great faiths traditions.

BUDDHISM – I suspect that 8 and four etc are more the stages in Buddhism – but what joy there is in the pure forms of its teachings – see HERE on mindfulness.

JEWISH – with Abraham Joshua Heschel as the ‘gate provider’ – see HERE

SUFI – For a fascinating way into a Sufi presentation of 7 stages see HERE

CHRISTIAN – Haven’t yet found a really good co-equivalent from within Christianity – but I suggest you explore this fascinating site – HERE

*BAHA”I – SUMMARY OF THE SEVEN VALLEYS

1 The Valley of Search The valley of search is described as the first step that a seeker must take in his path. Bahá’u’lláh states that the seeker must cleanse his heart, and not follow the paths of his forefathers. It is explained that ardour, and patience are required to traverse this valley.

2 The Valley of Love – The next valley is the “Valley of Love” and in this valley the seeker is compared to a moth who has found a flame. Bahá’u’lláh writes that the heart of the seeker is touched, and the seeker has fallen in love with God.

3 The Valley of Knowledge – The knowledge referred to in this valley is the knowledge of God, and not one based on learning; it is explained that pride in one’s knowledge and accomplishments often disallows one to reach true understanding, which is the knowledge of God. It is explained that the seeker, when in this valley, begins to understand the mysteries contained within God’s revelation, and finds wisdom in all things including when faced with pain and hardship, which he understands to be God’s mercy and blessing. This valley is called the last limited valley.

4 The Valley of Unity

The next stage is the valley of unity, and it is explained that the seeker now sees creation not by its limitations, but sees the attributes of God in all created things. The seeker, it is written, is detached from earthly things, is not concerned with his own self and has no ego; instead he praises God for all of creation.

5 The Valley of Contentment

The next valley for the seeker is the valley of contentment, where it is explained, that the seeker becomes independent from all things, and even though he may look poor or is subjected to suffering, he will be endowed with wealth and power from the spiritual worlds and will inwardly be happy. Happiness is explained to be the attribute of the true believer, and it cannot be achieved by obtaining material things, since material things are transitory.

6 The Valley of Wonderment

In the valley of wonderment the seeker, it is written, is struck dumb by the beauty of God; the seeker becomes conscious of the vastness and glory of creation, and discovers the inner mysteries of God’s revelation. Being led from one mystery of creation to the next, it is explained that the seeker continues to be astonished by the works of God.

7 The Valley of True Poverty and Absolute Nothingness

The final valley is the valley of true poverty and absolute nothingness and it is the furthermost state that the mystic can reach. The seeker, it is explained is poor of all material things, and is rich in spiritual attributes. It is explained that it is the state of annihilation of self in God, but not an existential union: the essences of God’s self and the mystic’s self remain distinct, in contrast to what appears to be a complete union in other traditions.

The sentence underlined is the Baha’i argument – the finite cannot apprehend the infinite.This is the best overall plain language model I’ve found so far. If you find others let me know! NB The above summary is to be found on WikiPedia

FULL TEXT of THE SEVEN VALLEYS (+ The Four Valleys) –

the above is only a ‘cold’ summary – read the real thing online –

full text HERE

NB The introduction is long – I suggest you go straight down to the ‘Valley of Search’

* PSYCHOLOGY OF RELIGION including Fowler’s Stages of Faith

Faith is seen as a holistic orientation, and is concerned with the individual’s relatedness to the universal. Fowler defines faith as an activity of trusting, committing and relating to the world based on a set of assumptions of how one is related to others and the world.

  • Stage 0“Primal or Undifferentiated” faith (birth to 2 years), is characterized by an early learning of the safety of their environment (i.e. warm, safe and secure vs. hurt, neglect and abuse). If consistent nurture is experienced, one will develop a sense of trust and safety about the universe and the divine. Conversely, negative experiences will cause one to develop distrust with the universe and the divine. Transition to the next stage begins with integration of thought and languages which facilitates the use of symbols in speech and play.
  • Stage 1“Intuitive-Projective” faith (ages of three to seven), is characterized by the psyche’s unprotected exposure to the Unconscious.
  • Stage 2“Mythic-Literal” faith (mostly in school children), stage two persons have a strong belief in the justice and reciprocity of the universe, and their deities are almost always anthropomorphic.
  • Stage 3“Synthetic-Conventional” faith (arising in adolescence; aged 12 to adulthood) characterized by conformity to religious authority and the development of a personal identity. Any conflicts with one’s beliefs are ignored at this stage due to the fear of threat from inconsistencies.
  • Stage 4“Individuative-Reflective” faith (usually mid-twenties to late thirties) a stage of angst and struggle. The individual takes personal responsibility for his or her beliefs and feelings. As one is able to reflect on one’s own beliefs, there is an openness to a new complexity of faith, but this also increases the awareness of conflicts in one’s belief.
  • Stage 5“Conjunctive” faith (mid-life crisis) acknowledges paradox and transcendence relating reality behind the symbols of inherited systems. The individual resolves conflicts from previous stages by a complex understanding of a multidimensional, interdependent “truth” that cannot be explained by any particular statement.
  • Stage 6“Universalizing” faith, or what some might call “enlightenment“. The individual would treat any person with compassion as he or she views people as from a universal community, and should be treated with universal principles of love and justice.

CONCLUSION: Whether the stages are 7 or 8, or any number, the stages go through Awakening: Detachment from ego & Service – & the final stage is always ‘no-self’. There are many paths to the top of the mountain but reality at the summit is One.

SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTIONS

Have you found what you are looking for?

How do you know? – what are your criteria to know that you have found what you are looking for?

Do you recognise any stages in your journey so far?

Do you recognize your journey in any of the models you have so far seen?

How far and it what ways do you need to a) have a satisfactory notion of what it is to be human, b)

Please add any other questions you feel the group should discuss?

Namaste – Roger

TABS: spirit, spiritual, spiritual progress, personal development, Sufi, sufism, Islam, Baha’i, perennial philosophy, search, love, knowledge, unity, contentment, wonderment, true, poverty, absolute nothingness, no-self, the void, spirit and form, formlessness, mysticism, mystical oneness, oneness, One Garden, One summit, reality, ultimate reality, awe, wonder, wonderment, happiness, joy, God, truth, beauty, goodness, service, attachment, detachment, awaken, awake, awakening, awakened, heart, journey, seeking, changeless faith of God, the mystic, mystical bond, infinite, finite, infinite God, Bible, Koran, Bhagavad Gita, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Sufi (Islam),

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