Advaita

Here’s a simple test.

“If it’s soothing or comforting, if it makes you feel warm and fuzzy; if it’s about getting into pleasant emotional or mental states; if it’s about peace, love, tranquility, silence or bliss; if it’s about a brighter future or a better tomorrow; if it makes you feelgood about yourself or boosts your self-esteem, tells you you’re okay, tells you everything’s just fine the way it is; if it offers to improve, benefit or elevate you, or if it suggests that someone else is better or above you; if it’s about belief or faith or worship; if it raises or alters consciousness; if it combats stress or deepens relaxation, or if it’s therapeutic or healing, or if it promises happiness or relief from unhappiness, if it’s about any of these or similar things, then it’s not about waking up.

Then it’s about living in the dream state, not smashing out of it.

On the other hand, if it feels like you’re being skinned alive, if it feels like a prolonged evisceration, if you feel your identity unraveling, if it twists you up physically and drains your health and derails your life, if you feel love dying inside you, if it seems like death would be better, then it’s probably the process of awakening” – Jed Mckenna

Karma in Advaita Vedanta

In the vedantic view, karma must be shunned to make way for knowledge. However, what constitutes karma is not outward action but the feeling of ‘doership’.

image by propertyroom.com

There is a common misconception about the view of Adi Shankaracharya and Advaita Vedanta on karma. People believe that Adi Shankaracharya equated moksha to a life of renunciation, a life of non-action, and that he suggested that one who is desirous of moksha or has achieved moksha should live the life of a sannyasi. This is not really true. Let us try and understand what Shankara really meant by first understanding the view of Vedanta itself on karma in relation to moksha.

The reader of this article will say, “I am reading this article”. He considers himself as the reader and he considers himself as separate from this article. However, in the vision of Vedanta, the reality is that it is only the body and mind which is engaged in reading, ‘I’ which is pure, unchanging, consciousness, is not at all involved in the process of reading. Rather, ‘I’, the consciousness, is that limitless reality on which both this article and the reader depend for their existence. This is the understanding of ‘I’ or ‘self’ in Vedanta.

According to Vedanta, ‘I’ or ‘self’ is not this ever-changing assemblage called body and mind. ‘I’ is pure consciousness and it is the truth of not just this one body-mind complex but of the entire universe. It is limitless. Everything depends upon it for their existence. However, it remains unaffected by the changes that happen to this one individual or the entire universe. It neither really causes anything, nor gets affected by anything.

Example: A clay pot depends upon clay for its existence. Even if the pot is broken, clay will still remain. Clay is unaffected by the coming and going of the pot. Clay was before the pot came into being, clay is when the pot is, clay will be when the pot is gone. Therefore, clay is the invariable truth of the pot. In fact, there is only clay. ‘Pot’ is only a name and form which has no existence independent of clay. When there is only clay, then there is no question of causing a second thing like a ‘pot’. So, clay neither causes, nor gets affected. Also, clay is the truth of not just that one pot, but of all the different pots and pans in the potter’s shop. The shapes of these pots may all be very different and their utility may also be very different but the reality is that they are all the same clay. Similarly, consciousness is the truth of the entire universe, all the diverse forms and names, and yet it is unaffected and unchanged by the goings-on of the universe.
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Vivekacūḍāmaṇi

ISBN: 9788175971400

By developing the quality of of discrimination, a power solely accorded to man, can one distinguish between the eternal and the temporal, which in turn opens the gateway to peace and happiness. Vivekacūḍāmaṇi, literally translated as the ‘Crest Jewel of Discrimination’ is a compendium of 580 verses on the ways to know, understand and reach Brahman, the Reality in us.

Composed by the Sage Śrî Ádi Śaṅkarācārya, Vivekacūḍāmaṇi is in the form of a dialogue between the student and the Teacher, with the latter guiding the student along the spiritual path. Swami Chinmayananda’s commentary on the same is the perfect companion for students walking the spiritual path in understanding its timeless wisdom.

It’s perfectly pointless

Maya (the dog)

‘Awakening to your true nature is like dying; it’s a certainty, inevitable. You’re going to get there no matter what you do, so why rush? Enjoy your life, it’s free. Cosmic Consciousness and Altered States and Universal Mind are the names of rides in this vast and fascinating dualistic amusement park. So are Poverty and Disease and Despair. Enlightenment, though, is not another ride. Enlightenment means leaving the park altogether, but why leave the park? In the park you can be a saint or a yogi or a billionaire or a world leader or a warlord. Be good, be evil. Happiness, misery, bliss, agony, victory, defeat, it’s all here. What’s the big rush? When the time comes to leave the park, you’ll know and you’ll go, but there’s certainly nothing to be gained by it.’ – Jed McKenna SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT: THE DAMNEDEST THING

There’s nowhere to go because there’s nowhere to be

“Evolution is just a name we give to the illusion of motion, and wisdom is just a mirage. Despite all the talk of journeys and progress and growth, no one has ever moved an inch. You appear in the amusement park and you play the games and ride the rides and when it’s over you go out the way you came in. There was never any chance of making a difference because you were as much an illusion as the rest of it.” Jed McKenna – Dreamstate: A Conspiracy Theory

In reality, there’s only one thing going on.

“There’s only one game being played in life, and these people have arrayed their mental and emotional forces expertly so as to convince themselves that they’re on the field in the thick of it while actually standing in line at the snackbar. The American dream of freedom and abundance is just a child’s rendering of true freedom and abundance, and serves only to convince people who haven’t gone anywhere that they’ve already arrived.” -Jed McKenna, Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment

SHIVOHAM SHIVOHAM

ISBN: 978-8192461274

“Who am i? What am i? What is the outline of my beingness? Spread in all direction, what is this manifested world? From the so called birth till the so called death, what is all this happening? Apart from these questions, who meditates? … And on what? How and why do thoughts, feelings, desires, lust, wishes etc. arise and make one a slave of them? Why the tendencies like fear, greed, sex, anger, attachment, jealousy and envy, do not stop chasing the seeker in spite of all his efforts? In search of answers to such question, these talks bring one to the peak of the conclusion, where remains only one’s beingness, pure existence; where all the otherness disappears and the duality comes to an end… and remains only and only subjectivity. As this subjectivity becomes obvious and intense by becoming one with that, the seeker spontaneously becomes ecstatic and starts swaying, dancing and singing: where my ecstasy has brought me, where there is nothing, other than me.” Shivoham shivoham – Whosoever

The Jiva

swami_dayanad_saraswati1

“himself, who is exploring, is a product of that ignorance, and he can not really arrive at the cause of ignorance. He need not, because we are not exploring to know what ignorance is, we are exploring what we are ignorant of.” – Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Tattvabodhah

Are you really seeking security or are you seeking freedom from insecurity?

“It is a very important question. Who wants crutches? Who is the person who wants crutches? The one who cannot stand on one’s own legs. As long as you are insecure on your legs, you want crutches, you need crutches. The one who is secure does not need them. Crutches are not a part of your outfit. You do not dress up nicely and don some crutches also! No. People need crutches only when they feel insecure on their own legs. The more you need crutches, the more insecure you feel. Tell me now, do you want crutches or do you want freedom from insecurity?

Nobody wants crutches. The more crutches you have, the more insecure you are. And there are many crutches. Finances are crutches, name is a crutch, fame is a crutch, power is a crutch, community is a crutch. All these are crutches. You want to become a member of a community so that you will feel good, which is why all cults will tell you, “You are special.” Somebody is there to keep you under their control, telling you that you are someone special, that it is you against many.

When we seek security, it means we feel insecure. There is nothing wrong or right here. We are only trying to understand what is going on. We are not making any judgement that this person is right and the other one is wrong. ‘Right and wrong’ is not the point. What we are trying to get at is, we feel insecure about ourselves. Being self-conscious, the human being is insecure. And there are definitely reasons for this sense of insecurity, but they seem valid according to the person.

We are going to analyse these reasons that seem to be very valid. We are going to question their validity by seeing thoroughly the fallacy of all those arguments that seem to support the sense of insecurity. If they do not have a standing, they fall apart; naturally, the insecurity also goes away along with them.

It is important to understand that you are not seeking security. You cannot stand being insecure. It means you are seeking freedom from insecurity. When you seek freedom from insecurity, should you seek security or should you question, “Why am I insecure?” When you seek security, you are taking youself for granted as someone who is insecure; you have already concluded that you are insecure.

Now, how real is this conclusion? What are the reasons for it? All these we analyse. That is the viveka here. “Am I really insecure, or is something else insecure which I take to be myself, and then feel insecure?”” – Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Tattvabodhah

‘Tattvabodha’ means knowledge, bodha, of reality, tattva.

“‘Tattva‘ means generally the ‘ness’, the essential nature of anything, the truth of it. Here it is used in the sense of the ultimate truth. When we say that tattva is the ultimate truth, there is a definitive meaning for it.

There is a truth, tattva, for everything. The pot has pot-ness as its truth because without the pot-ness there is no pot. And the pot-ness itself does not exist without a substantive, which, for a clay pot, is clay. So does the clay have pot-ness? Clay cannot have pot-ness as its truth; it can only have clay-ness. Therefore, pot-ness is an incidental attribute to clay. Clay-ness itself is an incidental attribute because clay cannot exist without being atoms. It being so, clay-ness is an incidental attribute to atoms, and those atoms themselves have atom-ness, which are incidental attribute to particals.

As we analyse the truth of something, we keep finding that it is not the truth of that thing. And if we arrive at a truth that is not an incidental attribute, which itself is the truth, then it would be the ultimate truth.” – Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Tattvabodhah

a relative puruṣārtha

“…freedom from limitation, freedom from insecurity, and freedom from being unhappy is the puruṣārtha. There is only one puruṣārtha that is sought after by all. Who is not seeking it? But there is no viveka. Even though everybody is seeking mokṣa, they do not know they are seeking mokṣa. And so, there is confusion.

The fallacy in the conclusion that I am insecure is not discerned. That I am seeking freedom from insecurity is not discerned, and because of that, I seek security. That I am seeking freedom from being unhappy is not discerned, so I seek myself as the happy person by manipulating the world or manipulating the mind. Somebody manipulates the mind, somebody manipulates the world – both of them are saṃsārins. One tries to manipulate the mind, but in fact, the mind manipulates the person.That one wants to manipulate the mind is dictated by the very mind. The mind makes the person manipulate the mind, really.” – Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Tattvabodhah

The Basic Concepts of Advaita Vedanta

The Advaita Vedanta focuses on the following basic concepts: Brahman, atman, vidya (knowledge), avidya (ignorance), maya, karma and moksha.

(1) Brahman is the Ultimate, Supreme Reality. Brahman is eternal. Brahman is beyond words. It is beyond names and forms. Brahman can not be perceived nor could it be described by words. It is beyond senses and intellect. It is indefinable. However, if at all it has to be described; Brahman can be considered as Pure Consciousness.

In Vedanta philosophy, the svaroop of Brahman is referred to as Sachchidananda. Brahman is Sachchidananda i.e. SatChittaAnanda (Pure Existence-Pure Consciousness-Pure Bliss). Brahman is eternal, immutable, inexpressible and unthinkable pure-existence, but it is not the cause or the creator of the universe.

(2) Atman is the inmost Self or Spirit of man but different from the ‘empirical ego’. Atman is the fundamental, ultimate, eternal, immutable pure consciousness. Thus, it appears that Brahman is the ultimate reality behind all world-objects and Atman is pure spirit in all beings. Truly speaking, both Brahman and Atman are not different realities. They are identical. For practical purposes, they are referred to separately, which they are not. They are the eternal, all-pervading realities underlying all existence. They are two different ‘labels’ for one and the same reality behind all the objects, all matter, all beings of the universe.

(3) Maya is the unique power (shakti) of Brahman. Maya is trigunatmika; it has three gunas or attributes. But Shuddha Brahman is nirguna and is free from attributes. Shuddha Nirguna Brahman alone is the Supreme Reality. When Nirguna Brahman comes to acquiesce Maya and acknowledges the gunas of maya, it is known as Saguna Brahman. Saguna Brahman is God, the creator, sustainer and destroyer of the world. Saguna Brahman is Ishvara or a ‘personal god.’ Man worships gods in different forms and names.

(4) Brahman manifests itself in the world with the help of Maya. The world and the world objects come into existence due to the power of maya. Maya and its creation is termed illusory. It does not mean that the world is not real. Unreality and illusion are different. An illusion may not be an unreality for an illusion is grounded in reality. Reality is that which exists on its own. Maya is dependent on Brahman. Maya has created the world of appearances. So the world is illusion. But this does not mean at all that the world is non-existent. The Advaita Vedanta, with the help of the famous “rope–snake” illustration, maintains that ‘it is neither ultimately real, nor wholly unreal, illusory and non existent.’

(5) Avidya (ignorance) has its seat in the human intellect. Avidya means not only absence of knowledge, but also erroneous knowledge. A man trapped in Avidya does not know what is real and thinks that the appearances are real. An individual identifies himself with empirical self. He equates his existence with the physical body. Under the influence of Maya and Avidya, he dissociates himself from the Ultimate Reality. When the man acquires knowledge, the duality of the self and Brahman disappears. He realizes that the self is really one with Brahman. This realization of the self puts an end to the ignorance (avidya).

(6) Moksha is freedom from bondage of ignorance. Man suffers in the grip of incessant desires and ignorance. Upon realization of the self, one becomes free from the shackles of desires, aspirations, passions, karma and avidya. This is Moksha (kaivalya) or liberation. Moksha is to be attained here and now during this life-span only.

(7) Knowledge and truth are of two kinds: the lower one and the higher one. The lower, conventional knowledge and truth is referred to as vyavavahrika satya. It is a product of the senses and the intellect. The higher one is referred to the paramarthika satya. It is absolute. It is beyond words, thoughts, perception or conception. It is in no way, related to the senses and the intellect. It is non-perceptual and non-conceptual. It is a product of sublime intuition and “divine vision”. The higher knowledge and truth brings about radical transformation in an individual so it is soteriological.

(8) Advaita Vedanta recognizes the six pramanas (sources and criteria of valid knowledge) on the basis of the Mimamsa school of Kumarila Bhatta. They are as follows: (1) Perception (pratyaksha) (2) Inference (anumana) (3) Testimony(shabda) (4) Comparison (upamana) (5) Postulation (arthapatti) (6) Non-cognition (anupalabdhi)

Source: Indian Philosophy Simplified

An inquiry into the nature of the ‘seer’ and the ‘seen’

“Now is described the world-bound nature of the Atman as well as its associations with the three states, which are possible only when the ego identifies itself with the body: –

10. In the state of deep sleep, when (the thought of) ego disappears[1] the body also becomes unconscious. The state in which there is the half manifestation of the ego is called the dream state[2] and the full manifestation[3] of the ego is the state of waking.

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[1] Disappears- The ego merges itself in the causal ignorance which is characterised by the non-apprehension of empirical objects. This state in which there is no perception of duality is called the state of deep sleep. The ego in this state does not identify itself with the body. The result of past Karma, then, is not noticed. Therefore we become unconscious of our body in that state. Compare: “(Therefore he who has crossed that bank) if blind, ceases to be blind; if wounded, ceases to be wounded: if afflicted, ceases to be afflicted.”

[2] Dream state- In the dream state the ego does not perceive any object external to itself. The seer, the objects seen and the act of seeing which constitute the dream experiences are only the mental modifications of the ego. Compare: “There are no (real) chariots in that state, no horses, no roads (but he himself creates chariots, horses and roads).” The dream experiences, though they appear during the dream state as outside the body of the seer, are known to be only modifications of the mind from the standpoint of the waking state. Therefore from the waking standpoint the dream state is only a partial manifestation of the ego.

[3] Full manifestation- In the waking state the ego experiences the gross external objects by means of its internal organs. The ego and the non-ego which constitute the entire world of experience are both cognized in the waking state. In dream it is the mind alone of the sleeper which appears both as the ego and the non-ego. Therefore the full manifestation of the experience covering both ego and non-ego is seen only in the waking condition.” dRRig-dRRishya-viveka – An Inquiry into the Nature of the ‘Seer’ and the ‘Seen’ 1931, with English translation and notes by Swami Nikhilananda, Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, 1976. ISBN 090247927X.

The truth is not out there

9781905047611

Back to the Truth : 5000 Years of Advaita
Paperback English
By (author) Waite Dennis
ISBN13 9781905047611

Advaita is a spiritual philosophy based on the Upanishads, older than most other religious systems we know about but also the most logical and scientific in its approach. The literal meaning is “Not two”. There is only one truth – but, it has to be said, there are many teachers. So how is a “seeker” to choose between them? This book is a systematic treatment of Advaita which demystifies it, differentiating between approaches and teachers, enabling you to decide which approach is most suitable for you. It compares the scriptures of traditional Advaita with the words of contemporary sages and neo-Advaita. Should we ignore the mind? Is the world real? Is there anything we can do to become “enlightened”? These questions and many more are addressed, with explanations given in their own words from those who discovered the truth. This is a massively comprehensive, definitive work.

Reviews and extracts here: http://www.advaita.org.uk/

Tattvabodhah

TattvabodhahSwamiDayanandaSaraswati
ISBN: 978-9380049434

“‘Tattvabodha‘ means knowledge, bodha, of reality, tattva. ‘Tattva’ means generally the ‘ness, ‘the essential nature of anything the truth of it. Here, it is used in the sense of the ultimate truth. When we say that tattva is the ultimate truth, there is definitive meaning for it. Tattvabodha helps you appreciate the beauty, profundity and vastness of the vision of Vedanta. Trust this will suffice.

I teach Tattvabodha as an introductory text in a long-term study program of Vedanta. With pithy definitions, the text completely covers the various terms and topics. As a book of Vedanta also Tattvabodha is an eye-opener in terms of human problems and their solutions” – Swami Dayananda Saraswati

Enlightenment – What it is not

“The enlightened person is wise (as pointing in the direction of being omniscient or at least able to know the world of another person’s thoughts), gentle, patient, tolerant. Not prone to addictions, not obese, able to meditate for hours, the spirit rules the body, able to heal.”

“Having attained enlightenment, everything is finally alright. One is in a permanent state of meditation. The mind is totally silent. One no longer cares about the body, but it is highly sensitized, since all energy moves toward higher things. Of course one has supernatural powers; one is able to read thoughts etc. One no longer sleeps, nor does one dream any longer.”

“The enlightened person is a sort of Übermensch – better, more dignified and sitting atop of the summit. Loves me and wants to help me grow.”

“Enlightenment
… is something one can create or obtain, an achievement
… is a spiri-award
… makes immortal
… brings lasting happiness, joy, wealth.”

“An enlightened person knows everything, sees through everything and everyone, never makes mistakes, and is always happy. He is being served and revered, because he is busy working with people at a more subtle level day and night, helping them and healing the world. He has to be protected from the world, because he is totally open and aware of everything.”

“One can no longer live independently and is in need of someone to prepare one’s food.”

“Enlightenment is only something for very holy people. Enlightenment makes immortal, one becomes one with the source.”

“If a person is enlightened, he no longer needs anything, but he receives everything. One has transcended sex and lives constantly on a cosmic high. Thus one is beyond hunger, thirst, the temperature of the surroundings etc. If the enlightened person falls ill, it is only because he has taken over other people’s karmas, in order to alleviate their fate. He knows all past lives, his own as well as those of others.”

About the moment of enlightenment
“As we consist of a male and female energy and have been born into life because of it, I can imagine that this melting also comes with an orgasmic sensation. I don’t how overwhelming this feeling is, but it may be frightening, since the “drop” disappears or dies. Opening toward the vastness of the ocean truly implies courage. One may also die of it.”

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Stillness

“Even though for Advaita Vedanta stillness is not an ultimate goal, it nevertheless has a value in the sense of the purified mind. If the mind is free of identifications, misunderstandings and lacks of clarity, it is still automatically. Hence Advaita Vedanta aims at a purified mind; it does not aim at stillness. This purified mind is actively worked for; in fact on the path of knowledge the seeker is primarily busy clearing away all identifications, misunderstandings and lacks of clarity about the true nature of man, god and world.

If, on the other hand, the focus is on achieving stillness, one will be satisfied with mere states of stillness, which are pleasant, but have to pass over and over again and then need to be produced once more. Moreover, those who want to feel satisfied with mere states of stillness are likely to experience an unpleasant surprise sooner or later: while for some time stillness may go on deepening and pleasant states may increase, at a certain point the whole process turns around. All of a sudden, or bit by bit, the initial stillness turns into a virtually depressive dejection, which overlays the beauty experienced thus far.

This is not always the case, but if it happens, it is because with the fixation on stillness, the buddhi loses its job, which consists of removing lacks of clarity. If there are no lacks of clarity or all lacks of clarity are removed, the buddhi is quiet anyway. However, as long as lacks of clarity exist, it will urge to clear them. If, instead, it is expected to keep still, it will lead to increasing discontent.” – Sitara Mittag

Read more Essay 10/2013 The Heart

Shravanam – Hearing

“Shravanam means exposing myself to the scriptural teaching handled by a competent guide. Because it is unlike the study of another objective literature. If we study the scriptures by ourselves, we end up in information – experience dichotomy. Eternally we would be trapped in search of either information or experience. Therefore if you should not be trapped in this, this teaching should be handled by someone who knows expertly how to handle and remove the orientation of information experience and gives self-knowledge removing self ignorance.

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Therefore Shravanam is exposing myself to the systematic teaching or handling of the scriptures done by an expert guide and for a length of time – because orientation breaking takes time. The study has to be systematic because it is a gradual build-up from beginning to end. It should not be a stray study of unconnected topics. It should be systematic in the sense that between one topic and another, there should be a gradual build-up with a connection. It is like building a house where a number of bricks are arranged in an orderly manner well cemented. Only then it becomes a house that can be occupied. But the same number of bricks dumped in one place cannot become a house and we cannot live in that house. And the bricks will be more of an obstacle than a useful thing. Similarly gathering stray ideas by reading books here and there, without building up gradually and without connecting the topics, then our brain will be full of piled up ideas like the piled up bricks and they will be cluttered in the brain. It will not be of any use and will create more problems than benefits. Similarly Vedāntik study will be beneficial only when there is a systematic study.

The study should be continuous. Even in the case of laying bricks, before the cement hardens we should lay the bricks and then some more cement on it and then more bricks before the cement hardens. The whole process should be continuous without gaps and for a length of time.

This Shravanam has to continue for a length of time during which time no questions are allowed. We have to get the comprehensive teaching from all angles in all aspects in its totality. And this process is called Shravanam. Even if you are not able to accept a part of the teaching or have a doubt regarding a particular aspect of teaching, you are allowed to keep aside those questions and doubts and listen with an open mind. You are free to disagree with the teacher. Be patient. Shravanam requires a lot of patience. Never be judgemental or critical.” – Swami Paramarthananda, Introduction to Vedānta (Tattvabodha)

Frustration Competence

“Most Western spiritual seekers are part of an affluent society, which means that they are spoilt. The older ones, born between the 50’s and 70’s, witnessed how the material situation continuously improved during their childhood and youth. At the same time, they often suffer from a lack of actual love and warmth. This combination of material wealth and lack of love is particularly difficult, because some simply cannot stop demanding compensation for that lack of love. Demand from whom? From everything and everybody. The younger ones, on the other hand, do not feel the lack of actual care as much, however their demand to be pampered by life is a lot stronger, because many of them did not lack anything at all. In the end it comes down to the same thing for everyone: a lack of frustration competence.” – Sitara Mittag

Read More Essay 8/2013 Frustration Competence

But then where do I fit into all of this?

“So, Swami-ji, what would you say that Advaita is?” The eager young woman crossed her legs and sat expectantly, pencil poised above a pristine pad of paper.

“It simply means ‘not two’ – the ultimate truth is non-dual,” replied the Sage, reclining in a large and comfortable-looking armchair and not sitting in an upright lotus position, as he ought to have been, for the sake of the photograph that she had just taken, if nothing else.

She continued to wait for further elucidation before beginning to write but it soon became apparent that the answer had been given. “But is it a religion? Do you believe in God, for example?”

“Ah, well, that would depend upon what you mean by those words, wouldn’t it?” he responded, irritatingly. “If, by ‘religion’, you mean does it have priests and churches and a band of followers who are prepared to kill non-believers, then the answer is no. If, on the other hand, you refer to the original, literal meaning of the word, namely to ‘bind again’, to reunite the mistaken person that we think we are with the Self that we truly are, then yes, it is a religion. Similarly, if by ‘God’ you mean a separate, supernatural being who created the universe and will reward us by sending us to heaven if we do what He wants, then the answer is no. If you use the term in the sense of the unmanifest, non-dual reality, then yes, I most certainly do believe in God.”

The pencil raced across the paper, recording the answer for the benefit of the magazine’s readers but, as the words clashed with previous ideas in her memory, the lack of a clear resolution of her questions was reflected by an increasing puzzlement in her expression.

He registered this with compassion and held out his hand towards her. “Give me a piece of paper from your pad.”
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MoonBlog 30.2 Pragmatism

You know that moment, at the end of the night and u wake up, knowing, determent, clearheaded, when u realise things fall back into place, yes fall back into, as u come back to knowing that u realise stuff, more, when information has made sense. As the wind gently howls across the building in late autumn.

I was so stuck and fucked up just a few months ago, and clearly needed some kind of help, support, guidance perhaps, as I had wiggled my way into distress and mental suffering through reading stuff way over my head, trying to get things that one might not get from just reading, from reading someone else’s experience even, it simply does not always work that way.

WhenYouBeginToSeeWhyYouDidNotSee

So I guess I sort of booby trapped myself in my own process, and was reading both ‘The Experience of No-Self‘ by Bernadette Roberts as well as the very dark ‘Brahma’s Long Night‘ by Ra Uru Hu in the Rave Cosmology Teacher Training right after having finished the fucked up ‘The Nature and Mechanics of the Rave (2027)‘ semester which really did not make things any lighter, and it just fucked me up, big time. And here is the kicker, I got what was said even, that was tough to swallow, I got what was said, what was meant, I could follow this experience of Bernadette, but I could not possibly also share her experience or recognize it in my own life, my own perception of what she was sharing about. And so I came to a grinding halt

Zoned out and outshined

So I stopped, I stopped reading Bernadette while gently continuing Rave Cosmology, but giving myself some space and time, knowing I got fucked up, knowing I needed to take a breather, a step back, unwind the tension just a bit, and reorient myself. But first, just back off a bit, simply ease off, and not push myself over this edge of not understanding, of not having the same experiential knowing, and allow for that.
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What is meant by Moksha

“Moksha is freedom from bondage or dependence. This bondage is caused by the first three Purushārtha namely Dharma Artha Kāmaha. Any thing or being in the creation can cause bondage. What type of bondage is this ? Bondage is of two types :

– When an object is present – The presence of objects causes a bondage called Bhāraha. The stress or strain of handling the object or person. Handling the object or person or relationship itself especially if it is a human relationship, that itself becomes a very big Bhāraha. In fact when many people face problems, it is the stress and strain caused by human relationship.

– When an object is not present – This creates another problem called emptiness or loneliness.

So I am not sure whether I want them or I don’t want them. When I don’t have them I crave to have them and once I have them, I crave for freedom. Either way, I am in a soup. This is called Ubhayataha Pāshā Rajjuhu. And by Moksha we mean, I am free from this problem caused by the world. This means the presence of objects will not cause strain in me if I am a free person and the absence will not create emptiness in me. The presence of people will not create the strain of relating and the absence of people will not create loneliness without companion. So if I can have Dharma Artha Kāma when they are there and I can be happy even if the Dharma Artha Kāma are not there, either way I am fine – this is called Freedom. With objects or people I am fine, even without objects or people I am fine. And this Freedom is the result of self-knowledge. This inner freedom expresses in the form of threefold virtues which are very useful for human life.” – Swami Paramarthananda, Introduction to Vedānta (Tattvabodha)

Right Attitude

Swami Paramarthananda

“I love everything that I do and accept all experiences in life because they are Īshvara Prasādaha which will lead to Samattvam. Samattva Bhāvanā is the result of Īshvara Arpana Prasāda Bhāvanā. These two put together will lead to very fast spiritual growth. This is called Chitta Shuddhihi.

Chitta Shuddhihi can be put in the simplest context as – I can understand that all my problems in life are not caused by the world, but are caused by my wrong handling of the world because of my ignorance. So the ignorant I handles the world wrongly, and hence I suffer. If I become the wise I, I know how to handle the world which is Nandanavanam – Sampūrnam Jagadeva Nanadanavanam. So ignorant-I is the problem and wise-I is the solution – this diagnosis is the result of Karma Yoga which is otherwise called Chitta Shuddhihi.” – Swami Paramarthananda, Introduction to Vedānta (Tattvabodha)

The need for a solid foundation

Even though Western Advaita seekers do not follow a certain methodology to prepare themselves, those who find themselves unable to realize Truth, will readily admit something like „I don’t think that I am advanced enough“. So they do acknowledge that a certain maturity is needed in order to be able to recognize ones true nature.[1] Yet, no-one seems to know what this maturity may consist of, let alone a definite way to obtain it.

What is a mere notion in Westerners, is taken for granted in traditional Advaita Vedanta: of course the seeker needs to be prepared for knowledge to dawn! As preparation is taken to be indispensable, Advaita Vedanta provides a whole lot of clues and tools to further it.

This is in stark contrast to Western Advaitins who kind of wait for the right moment to miraculously arrive one day. Not that they are idle – no, they will try meditation, affirmation, chanting, reading inspiring books, psychotherapy, mental coaching, to name but a few methods. Many of those can be useful, the problem is not so much with the method as such but with the lack of methodology. Most Westerners are seeking on their own. They visit the Satsangs of their preferred Satsang teacher or teachers, read their books as well as a lot of others and follow the various recommendations of other seekers. They do not commit to one teacher and most Satsang teachers do not encourage them to commit.

It is beautiful that there are Advaita seekers, Traditional as well as Western, who do wake up to what they really are. But as most of them know: this is not the end. For Westerners, though, the only way to proceed from here is “wait and see”. While this may work out sometimes, traditional Advaita Vedanta provides an answer, which is more definite and more practical. Someone who has truly recognized his nature and still states: “No, there must be more, I have not arrived” often lacks, as Swami Paramarthanandaji put it, a solid foundation described in Chatushtaya Sampatti.

Traditionally the nine virtues of Chatushtaya Sampatti should already be part of the seekers make up before he even introduces himself to a Guru. Yet, even amongst traditional seekers this is merely an ideal and in most cases the work on developing those qualities will last till the search is complete.

Sadhana Chatushtaya Sampatti comprises:
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The lost one who knows his position

“Does he need energy work? Feng Shui? Or mental training? Maybe he should buy a pendulum? Should he turn to light work or rather make contact with elementary ghosts? Buddhist writings are very inspiring, the Talmud is great too, but somehow both do not seem to be effective. Maybe completeness is hidden in one of those many alternative healing methods or rather with channeled beings? How about angels? Even better, archangels! One could also try out magic or simply ask the tarot cards. Meditation is quite soothing but probably before really getting results one has to have a go at more meditation methods – Sufi Whirling for example, or contemplating the question „Who am I?“ Actually it has been a while since the last Satsang, quickly check the Internet which spiritual teacher will pass through next. But probably first, one has to simply create a healthy foundation; a sturdy psychotherapy, that would be it, wouldn´t it! Primal work and later tantra to improve the relationship. Indeed, it certainly won’t work if, on top of it, one does not also learn how to forgive, do a family constellation and investigate one’s own past lives. Psychodrama also is supposed to be very good. Then, of course, quantum healing, the newest hit. Yesterday’s night session with chanting mantras and quotations from the Upanishads was very uplifting, but maybe skilful affirmation would do the job too? Did not a new book come out about it? Unfortunately, next week-end’s vision search has been cancelled. Well, maybe the monastery vacation on Corsica will pull it off. This would also be an opportunity to experiment with the Tibetan death meditation.” -Sitara Mittag

Read more: Essay 10/2012 The Spiritual Search

What you take to be the “I” in the “I am” is not you.

Nisargadatta Maharaj

“To know that you are is natural, to know what you are is the result of much investigation. You will have to explore the entire field of consciousness and go beyond.

A general longing for liberation is only the beginning; to find the proper means and use them is the next step. The seeker has only one goal in view: to find his own true being.

The idea of enlightenment is of utmost importance. Just to know that there is such possibility changes one’s entire outlook. It acts like a burning match in a heap of saw dust. A spark of truth can burn up a mountain of lies. The very hearing of it is a promise of enlightenment.

For self-realization you need a well-ordered and quiet life, peace of mind and immense earnestness.” Nisargadatta Maharaj

Blues for Buddha

Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail;
whether there be tongues, they shall cease;
whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come,
then that which is in part shall be done away.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood
as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became
a man, I put away childish things.
1 Corinthians 13

BEING CRITICAL OF BUDDHISM ISN’T EASY. Buddhism is the most likable of the major religions, and Buddhists are the perennial good guys of modern spirituality. Beautiful traditions, lovely architecture, inspiring statuary, ancient history, the Dalai Lama; what’s not to like?

Everything about Buddhism is just so—nice. No fatwahs or jihads, no inquisitions or crusades, no terrorists or pederasts, just nice people being nice. In fact, Buddhism means niceness. Nice-ism.

At least, it should.

Buddha means Awakened One, so Buddhism can be taken to mean Awake-ism. Awakism. It would therefore be natural to think that if you were looking to wake up, then Buddhism, i.e., Awakism, would be the place to look.

THE LIGHT IS BETTER OVER HERE
Such thinking, however, would reveal a dangerous lack of respect for the opposition. Maya, goddess of delusion, has been doing her job with supreme mastery since the first spark of self-awareness flickered in some monkey’s brainbox, and the idea that the neophyte truthseeker can just sign up with the Buddhists, read some books, embrace some new concepts and slam her to the mat would be a bit on the naive side, (as billions of sincere but unsuccessful seekers over the last twenty-five centuries might grudgingly attest).

On the other hand, why not? How’d this get so turned around? It’s just truth. Shouldn’t truth be, like, the simplest thing? Shouldn’t someone who wants to find something as ubiquitous and unchanging as truth be able to do so? How can anyone manage to not find truth? And here’s this venerable organization supposedly dedicated to just that very thing, even named for it, and it’s a total flop.

So what’s the problem?
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Spiritual Enlightenment by Jed McKenna

http://www.wisefoolpress.com

From a Spiritual Master Unlike Any, A Spiritual Masterpiece Like No Other

AUTHOR, TEACHER AND SPIRITUAL MASTER Jed McKenna tells it like it’s never been told before. A true American original, Jed succeeds where countless others have failed by reducing this highest of attainments — Spiritual Enlightenment — to the simplest of terms.

Effectively demystifying the mystical, Jed astonishes the reader not by adding to the world’s collected spiritual wisdom, but by taking the spirituality out of spiritual enlightenment. Never before has this elusive topic been treated in so engaging and accessible a manner.

A masterpiece of illuminative writing, Spiritual Enlightenment is mandatory reading for anyone following a spiritual path. Part exposé and part how-to manual, this is the first book to explain why failure seems to be the rule in the search for enlightenment — and how the rule can be broken.

Says Jed:
The truth is that enlightenment is neither remote nor unattainable. It is closer than your skin and more immediate than your next breath. If we wonder why so few seem able to find that which can never be lost, we might recall the child who was looking in the light for a coin he dropped in the dark because “the light is better over here”.

Mankind has spent ages looking in the light for a coin that awaits us not in light and not in dark, but beyond all opposites. That is the message of this book: Spiritual Enlightenment, pure and simple.

Interview with Jed McKenna

The truth is that enlightenment is neither remote nor unattainable. It is closer than your skin and more immediate than your next breath. If we wonder why so few seem able to find that which can never be lost, we might recall the child who was looking in the light for a coin he dropped in the dark because “the light is better over here.” – Jed McKenna, Spiritual Enlightenment, the damnedest thing

Living Realization a Conversation with Adyashanti and A.H. Almaas

Many people have experienced some form of realization, such as dissolution of or dis-identification with body or ego and are beginning to recognize themselves as awareness. However, a fully embodied, lived, and expressed realization is another step altogether, and many seekers experience difficulties bridging this gap. What does it take for our understanding to fully penetrate body and mind and to be lived as a permanent reality wholly expressed in the world? How do our ideas of what it means to live life from one’s deepest realization get in the way of actually living it? Which difficulties do we encounter, which delusions and misunderstood ideas, and how do they limit realization itself? Are there useful descriptions of stages to realization, or do they actually hinder the spontaneous unfolding of presence?
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I make coffee

“We prepare a tray with cups and cream and sugar and some sweet stuff and carry it all back to the couch in the living room, which is positioned to provide an unobstructed view of the turbulent clouds through large west-facing windows.

This conversation is more interesting to me than many because I’m clarifying it for myself as we go along. When the topic is enlightenment, I can speak with the perfect authority of a true master and my only real challenge is how to transmit thoughts and ideas more succinctly. But when the topic is the nature of delusion, the ego, false constructs, and human nature, I’m just a guy with a little experience, a lot of interest, and good seats. Yes, I’ve gone through the transformative process and yes, I remember a good deal from my own before and during periods, but whereas enlightenment is exactly the same for anyone, anytime, anyplace, the journey to it is as unique and varied as there are people to make it.
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In the Ward of Fevered Minds

Bed after bed, child after child.
Some calm, some thrashing.
Some laughing, some wailing.
Calling for mommy.
Calling for God.

One sits up, eyes open, asking.
I go to him, sit, answer.
He nods, falls back, gone again.

I was once in a bed like them—fevered, deluded.
Now I’m in a chair—I suppose it’s better.
A roomful of loonies.

I return to my crossword puzzle
Until the next one sits up, asks.
– Jed McKenna, Spiritual Enlightenment, The Damnedest Thing

Arthur tells me he wants a technique.

Rather, he wants the technique. I really only have one technique and everybody who comes to the house soon learns what it is from other students, but, oddly, nobody seems to practice it until they receive it from me. I’ve laid it out many times and tried to put it in the public domain for the use of whoever wants it, but it has remained strangely proprietary, as if the only way it can work is if it comes directly from me. There’s really not much to it, but I guess there’s not much to closing your eyes and repeating a mantra or counting your breaths either.
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What do you want?

I look at her, trying to gauge the intent of the question. Seeing my confusion, she holds her notes up for me to see. “Right there, question fourteen; ‘What does Jed want?'”

It’s still not clear to me what she means, but the answer is probably the same no matter how the question is interpreted. “I don’t want anything. I don’t want.”
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Inspiration

A.H. Almaas http://www.ahalmaas.com/
Adyashanti http://www.adyashanti.org/
Jed McKenna http://www.wisefoolpress.com/
Osho http://www.osho.com
Ra Uru Hu http://www.jovianarchive.com
Richard Rudd http://www.genekeys.com
Wayne Liqourman http://www.advaita.org/
Sitara Mittag http://www.astro-sitara.de/engl_advaitavedanta1.html
Jordan B. Peterson https://jordanbpeterson.com/

Spiritual Disclaimer

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN: BY CONTINUING BEYOND THIS POINT, the reader acknowledges and agrees that the state of Spiritual Enlightenment discussed herein conveys upon the seeker-aspirant-victim no benefits, boons, blessings, or special powers and bears little or no resemblance to assorted New Age or Eastern varieties widely dispensed under the same name. Orgasmic euphoria, orgiastic bliss, obscene wealth, perfect health, eternal peace, angelic ascension, cosmic consciousness, purified aura, astral projection, pan-dimensional travel, extra-sensory perception, access to akashic records, profound wisdom, sagely demeanor, radiant countenance, omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence and opening of the third eye are not likely to result. Tuning, harmonizing, balancing, energizing, reversing or opening of the chakras should not be expected. The kundalini serpent dwelling at the base of the spine will not be awakened, poked, prodded, raised, or otherwise molested.
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