So much of what we do is controlled by our subconscious, the feelings we have, the decisions we make, the way we live our life.
I think true enlightenment is the merging of our conscious and our subconscious. A perpetual awareness of what we do and why we do it, the real mastery of our live.
This is our purpose as humans, not mastery of the world, mastery of ourselves.
@martijn, The way I look at it, all human beings are constantly seeking. The object of search might differ from man to man – one man is striving for profit while another is seeking enlightenment. The two ends, to me, aren’t different. What every man is looking for is really a sense of fulfillment, spiritual ecstasy, enlightenment, emptiness (in zen) or absolute (in advaita) so he can finally say I’ve arrived. It’s the big goal of perfection. This topic was about enlightenment, so here, that is what I mean by arriving at the absolute truth.
I’m not ecstatic about getting into discussion over different religious and spiritual beliefs because I don’t see Christianity as separate from Islam, or Buddhism as separate from Hinduism. The separation is something we made up, completely conceptual. The fuel of each religion, if you dig through all the layers of junk (some religions have more than others) is the search for the ultimate truth, God, or enlightenment.
@martijn, If every man and woman would be on the journey of self discovery you would not need to debate anything. But since most people seem to indulge in their dreams you reach these conclusions that you have to do stuff and take care of a dream. Ask yourself if you would know for real that you are trapped in a dream would you not try as hard as you could to wake up?
@lesterxp, If every man and woman would be on the journey of self discovery you would not need to debate anything.
I think this is a very over-romanticized idea of human nature. Some of the worst crimes have been committed in the purest sangha’s. Self-discovery is not self-evident, the knowledge you use to debate me has been gathered over thousands of years, and this knowledge is only yours when it is completely embodied. And a fundamental aspect of this is debate. It is also naive in my opinion that we think we already reached the top, and there is nothing to learn.
Ask yourself if you would know for real that you are trapped in a dream would you not try as hard as you could to wake up?
How do you know, for real, that you are trapped? Who is that is trapped? How do you know it is possible to wake up? What would waking up look like then?
@martijn, Some of the worst crimes have always been committed in the name of love, in the name of God, in the name Allah in the name of whatever justification a mind can find for its actions. As long as we fill the mind with systems and values and truths that are not our own the circle of suffering is not broken. Of what knowledge do you speak? I know nothing about ancient knowledge. All I know is that I know nothing of anything. Sacred texts, wise words, fundamental books… opinions of people, not mine. I enjoy reading and often I see a semblance like a confirmation that this mind can be made silent and drop all opinions for none are real. Of what top do you speak? Who said anything about climbing? If you imagine a way of climbing in order to reach a top of whatever pleases you then it is your own effort to climb. You can just as well go round the mountain or just stand in front of it. The highest high and the lowest low are the same. And learn more about the dream? Your parents and the others around you have already took care of it. You know all you need to know about this world you live in. Your human nature can take care of itself. No one is ever trapped in this dream. It is the refusal to look at things as they are that creates the illusion. You can see both the dream and reality at the same time and chose to experience only the latter. The self is not dormant or dreaming it pervades all and only the mind can obscure the self but the mind can be made silent and self will reveal and all it is seen as it is without opinions and labels highs and lows good or bad. Let words go. Let mind go. There is no meaning, no cause and effect. Debate on the edge of the precipice on how deep it is? Only one way to find out. Jump.
@aneesh, I do feel the objects of the search are fundamentally different. I don’t think the perfect embodiment of capitalism, the wall street banker for instance, are really looking for emptiness.
I do understand that every religion is at its core the same drive, the Will to Truth. But to say that they all arrive at the same conclusion is oversimplifying their differences (and these differences are fundamental, I believe). If they did, they would preach the same truth. But they don’t.
I also believe there is no fundamental truth, no absolute perspective where you see the same as God. I believe we will always be bound by culture and day and age. We have to find our own personal truth, and that is for everyone different.
@martijn, Of course. The objects of desire differ from person to person, there is no denying that. But isn’t freedom from that desire the ultimate goal, in the end? A wall street banker works hard his entire life to make the money that he can eventually retire with, no longer in need of profiting. Full satisfaction would be a better way of putting it than the word emptiness. After all, few of us strive just for the sake of striving. There’s always a result in mind, a vague imagination of the future, which we hope will solve our problems and will reach perfection. Consciously or unconsciously we are searching for an absolute.
For the average person, death is that absolute. No man ever looks forward to it. But an enlightened person or Buddha who perceives through the eyes of what they might call the universal consciousness, no longer bound by the confines of an ego-personality, doesn’t see death as the end at all. He just sees that as slight shift, a change in transportation. That’s the appeal, at least for me, of enlightenment. To reach that goal, naturally you will start to break down concepts and ideas, social conventions and knowledge, to try and see through the whole game of life. Questioning everything is, I think, very important.
I agree with your last point (not to say I have disagreed with anything you have said). To say there is no fundamental truth is a very wise thing to say. It doesn’t go against Hindu philosophy to say that because, and this will sound contradictory, Hindus believe that the absolute truth is unfathomable.. At least by the human mind. It can’t be perceived. So in a way, you have arrived at the same conclusion! Only that Hindus and Buddhists will say that there is a way out of this finiteness, of pain and suffering, life and death.
@aneesh, Great reply, I enjoyed reading it, thank you.
The ‘end of desire’ idea makes sense to me, at least it did for over two years. Lately I have been doubting it. First, is it possible to be human and not desire? I feel like desire is a drive that can over-shadow other, just or more so important drives, which you can spot at the typical banker. (And I don’t want to personalize this, I don’t think the banker does anything bad per se, just that he embodies a system that pushes him that way, which in some ways is a bad system/capitalism). But I don’t think having no desire, at all, could ever work, while still stay interconnected with others. No man is an island.
Second, I do feel there are a lot of people striving for strivings sake. I;ve been a poker professional for three years, it almost completely parallels banking, and while money played a big role, the game itself was reason number one for doing it. It was playing for playings sake.
Third, this giving up of the desire presupposes an agent that is capable of giving up something that constitutes this agent. In other words, I don’t believe the rational mind is master in it’s own house. Therefore the paradox of the desire of giving up all desires still manifests desire. Hence, I stopped thinking/needing/desiring ‘enlightenment’ since it’s impossible.
Correct me if I am wrong, but Hindus still believe in an absolute, do they not? They use a absolute frame of reference to decide what is moral and what is not, what happens to us when we die, what reality really is? I am of the opinion, and probably here we differ, that this absolute is not in reality, out there, independent of our own minds, but is itself empty. Without the social constitutive constructs, nobody would think of it like that, but now they do, it still works as an absolute to them. It doesn’t exist, yet it moves people.
@martijn, Oh no, an enlightened man is still bound to desire! The Guru, who speaks from the standpoint of pure universal consciousness (in other words, he identifies himself with the entire universe, not just his own body) is still prone to basic desires, like sex and food. Only he’s no longer a slave to them. He no longer identifies with them. So when the Guru says ‘I am free from desires,’ he isn’t saying that he doesn’t have any desires at all, what he’s really saying is that he is actually free from them, no longer feeling compelled to act on his desires or experiencing the pains of it. For him, they’re just clouds in the sky, while he remains unaffected. His sense of identity is very different from ours.
As a poker professional, you might do it for the love of the game, and that is definitely a greater motive. But ultimately you play to eradicate the desire to play in the first place, don’t you? You love and want to play but you wouldn’t play forever, because you still retire to your bed every night to get a good sleep. That’s the gist of the Hindu philosophy on desire. The illusion is that we are playing for the sake of playing while the reality is we are looking to win the game and call it a day, if not for a moment.
Supposing there’s a shopper who sees an advertisement for some product on the TV. She (or he) manifests a desire for the object being advertised and suddenly things aren’t quite right, she’s not quite happy until she makes that purchase. So she goes out and buys it, coming home feeling a momentary sense of fulfillment. She’ll soon forget about whatever she bought, and in time it will make its way to the trash can, so what compelled her to go through the effort? The momentary emptiness – not wanting – freedom from the desire itself. That was the whole pleasure of it, all along.
There are many many schools of Hinduism that talk about different things and I’m not even minutely aware of all of them. The talk of morality is in all religions, no doubt, but only for the people who won’t be willing in this life to dedicate themselves to a search for enlightenment. Still bound by desires and fears, not even looking for a way out of suffering, they’re bound to try and fix things up with concepts like right and wrong. The enlightened person doesn’t see the need in differing right from wrong because he identifies himself with the entire universe and therefore feels immense love and compassion towards all beings. Personal gain is useless if you are free from desire!
@mercurial, Haha. You’re entitled to your opinion, buddy.
Just because someone doesn’t believe in right or wrong doesn’t mean they can’t feel love and compassion toward others. When you fall in love with someone, do you do it because it’s the ‘right’ thing to do? Even if you could determine what is right and what is wrong, you’d still have trouble implementing it! Why is that? Why do I talk about right and wrong, and enlightenment? Because the majority of the world can’t keep up with their own morality let alone YOUR idea of right and wrong! Many of us know what is wrong, yet we still continue to do it. We’ll say killing is wrong, but did that stop any war from taking place?
Like chasing the tail. I have lost interest. I read this whole thread and took nothing out of it. Maybe I’m the confused one, and yeah I have my personal problems of non-motivation, addiction, and complacency, stuff I need to man up and grow out of. But I feel like I understand what you’re all talking about and I more or less approach life with this understanding but it yields no fruit until I have balanced the notion of emptiness, silence, stillness (female side of the coin) with the masculine, aggression, anger, action. It’s what I’m missing out on I feel and it’s the void I see everywhere I look. There is only defunct masculinity. Tools. It’s heavily apparent in females too. They repulse me and lead me to focus on the feminine aspect of life.
I know not one man. I know not one woman.
@mercurial, Burning plastic produces pollution is a fact to just you only. It isn’t the truth, it is just the truth to you as long as you believe it.
Having said that, you can easily argue and show me evidence and scientific articles that burning plastic does produce pollution, but this is just now their truths and your truths, as long as you believe it.
Imagine a baby born with a mutation where the carcinogens of burning plastic cure him of all illnesses, then your truth isn’t fact, it only implies to you. Hence Perception.
@mercurial, Maybe you’re just not ready to understand it yet.
Take peanut butter. It is truth to say peanut butter is yummy. But it is also truth to say peanut butter tastes bad, depending on individual perception. So then what is the truth, does it taste good or does it taste bad?
Lets take poison. To the majority of people it will kill you, therefore “poison is bad” is the truth for the majority of people, but to a being that doesn’t get affected by this poison, his truth is different.