God/Spiritual Awakening/Nirvana/No Self
Growth is movement from
simple to complex. This movement begins with differentiation and then proceeds
to integration. First the cell divides and then the new parts learn to function
in a cooperative collection. Differentiation may also result in disassociation
or fusion. When the parts divide, each has a new individual nature. If this
nature is not coordinated with the other cells, then each individual cell does
it's own thing without coordination with the collective. Usually, this results
in failure of the system. Fusion occurs when differentiation fails. Cells fail
to maintain their individual nature and just stick together in a useless glob.
A person transforms in a
similar manner. From the solidity of infancy come the different parts: mind,
body and other. When integration occurs the person thrives, but if the parts
disassociate, the person suffers. In our culture disassociation is the norm. The
idea-mind is dominant to the point where body and other are turned into alien
objects. The purpose of Yoga or mindfulness training is the re-integration of
mind, body and other. Idea-mind is dominated by the creation of mental objects,
thought processing, with particular focus on the mental object of
self-permanence. Alienation from other denies the collective nature,
inter-dependence of all beings and disassociates man from man, woman from woman
and man from woman, the result is isolation, loneliness and objectification of
the world of the other. The result is spiritual desolation. When differentiation
leads to fusion, mind, body and other can longer perform their unique functions
and the system fails.
The Buddha appears to
have argued against the individual soul or unique self. For an individual soul
to be, there must be an individual. The no-self or the emptiness of objects
seems to negate that possibility. Emptiness is form and form is emptiness. Empty
does not mean nothingness in this formulation. It means that since all things
are without an individual, inherent reality that they are empty of unitary
existence, they are dependant instead on conditions of cause and effect. This is
the law of interdependent determination. We create form with our cognitive
framework, which results in a perspective of things having an inherent reality.
Another perspective might be no thing individual at all.
thought experiment: Things have no inherent reality. Imagine you place a ball in
empty space to answer the question is movement real. You push the ball with your
mind. Space is completely empty. There are no other objects. Does the ball move.
Could you prove it? You would need a stationary object to use as a fixed point
to measure the balls movement. There is no movement without the relationship
between stationary and moving. Either has no inherent reality without its
relationship to the other.
Imagine your experience
is like peering down a tube. At the end of the tube you can see only one
individual unit or node at a time. Your experience would suggest that things
come as separate units since only one unit at a time could be entertained. As
you see each unique unit, as a convenience, you provide that unit with a label.
This is a ball. That is empty space. Over there is a stationary object. In this
way, you organize the world. Now imagine that thru some miracle you are freed
from the tube. The limitation caused by the tube gives way to a new perception
of your experience. Now you realize that nodes can also be seen as
interconnected. In fact, nodes are interdependent. In the absence of this one
that one cannot exist. It is a web. This is movement. Not a one here and another
there, but one.
We begin with raw
experience -apperception- we either impose -conceptualize- over this raw
experience a simple low-resolution or complex high-resolution grid of concepts
(language matrix) to assist us in comprehending so we can describe and
manipulate (translate) our experience. The resolution will determine the
complexity of the grid. The more complex, the more detail, that the grid has,
the more accurate the representation but the less understandable and harder to
communicate the information. When the resolution is low (too simple) the raw
experience is more understandable but less accurate, more distant from the
reality of the original raw experience.
experience is like a stream. What happens down stream is influenced, determined
by what happens up stream. When the flow of water up stream strikes a rock, the
course of the water down stream changes. Conversely, if the flow of water is
blocked down stream, up stream swells in response. The past determines the
future and the future determines the past. The stream is a singular happening of
relationships. It is as it is. If you reach anywhere into the stream, you
will discover you cannot hold a handful for more than a moment before it is past
and gone. Each moment of the water is the result of the up stream and down
stream interconnectedness. Each moment of the water is our attempt at stopping
that, which cannot be stopped. There are no moments because there is no stopping
except when we turn the water, reality, into an idea. Ideas are substance less
ghosts of water.
Quote: Thus shall ye
think of this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lighting in a summer cloud;
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.
If the self is a delusion
then what carries the karma into the next life? No self, no karma. Individuality
is a delusion. When any object is examined, its essence, itís selfhood can be
seen to be a projection of the way the conventional mind sees. There is only the
undivided. There is only thus. There is nothing to acquire karma, nothing to be
reborn. The conventional self can act in its delusion and as a result of this
action create an effect. In the world of the conventional mind it is natural to
flow in a good orderly direction. An action that is counter to this natural flow
Our conventional mind
believes that there is a design. A piece of wood has a natural grain so if you
work with the grain the wood is smooth. Perhaps, we will say that this
directionality is good and to work against the grain is not good. This is
idea-mind imposing a conceptual framework on the wood e.g. seeing the wood as
being subject to a design. No-idea-mind, no grain.
Eventually, all the
delusion will melt away into the undivided, unborn, and undying. It is the
destiny of all to see this, to become liberated from the delusion of the
conventional mind. No individual can be liberated because no unique self can be
found. There are however multiple points of view. There is the perspective of
the conventional mind and the perspective of the undivided, unborn, and undying.
While the conventional way of seeing is based on a delusion, it is, despite that
fact, useful. It can provide a temporary lily pad to help cross to the other
From the perspective of
the conventional mind, it makes sense that our energy should be devoted to the
liberation of all. To act in ways counter to the natural flow pollutes
conventional reality and behaves as a hindrance to liberation. Our purpose is to
turn our will and life over to the care of God as we understand Him e.g. to make
ourselves into an instruments of Godís will. What will that instrument do,
what will be its purpose. It is our purpose to carry the message to the still
suffering. If your hand hurts, you rub it with ointment. It is a part of you. If
your child cries you soothe her, she is a part of you. If your neighbor falls,
you pick him up; he is a part of you. No one enters the kingdom of God a lonely
individual. It is either all or none. Yes, all for one and one for all. Our vow
should be to stay, not cross over, until all beings are free.
Quote: The Brahman Dona
saw the Buddha sitting under a tree and was impressed by his peaceful air of
alertness and his good looks. He asked the Buddha:
"Are you a god?"
"No, Brahman, I am not a god."
"Then an angel?"
"No, indeed, Brahman."
"A spirit, then?"
"No, I am not a spirit."
"Then what are you?"
"I am awake."
Quote: our reality is all
form --- it is God that supplies substance, stands under what we see.
The use of the word God
is a prop. There is unborn, undying, unconditioned, omnipresent, omniscient, and
omnipotent. This has many names. God, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammad,
Nirvana--all are archetypes of ultimate reality. They are the images that we
give utterance to when we are trying to conceive the inconceivable. They are
representations that help in our struggle to know reality. God is real and real
is God. God is unconditioned, undying, omnipresent, omniscient, and
omnipotent. There is nowhere that God is not. This would mean that every
aspect of the material, every person, every object is in God. In this
formulation, there is no need for a non-material level of reality. If you
had a set of boxes of varying sizes, how would you decide on which box to affix
the following labels: God, heaven, earth, ocean, fish? One way you might precede
would be to put the God label on the biggest box. God would be the primary
category. Heaven would be a sub-category and so on like nesting Russian
Santaís. Everything is a sub- category of the God category so heaven, earth,
sea and fish are a categorical hierarchy with God as the super-category. This is
the unity of all things.
Due to inherent
limitations on our part, it is very hard to see the wholeness that is God
all around us. Suppose you are a blind person trying to understand reality. You
are examining an elephant. The elephant at first appears to be like a snake
because you have it by the tail. Another fellow examiner believes that the
elephant is a huge, rough wall and yet another a hard, bony spike because their
points of contact are the elephantís flank and tusk. None of the examiners
understand the elephant. Instead they have confused the parts for the whole. Now
imagine that the elephant is infinite in size but now you can see. You cannot
get far enough back from the elephant to appreciate its wholeness so you are
condemned to see the elephant as tail, flank and tusk. That does not change
things; you have still confused the parts for the whole. You could become so
lost in the parts that you would forget that you are dealing with a really big
It is our way to
disassemble reality so that it is easier to comprehend, but God is
everywhere. To be everywhere is to know all that can be known. To be
everything is to be the determining factor in all that is. God is implied.
Reality in this formulation becomes holy. Each face is God's countenance.
The earth is God as the platform of being. Everything that is seen as mundane is
holy and worthy of reverence. Each human being is God in skin. Jesus knew this
and elevated love, the ultimate expression of reverence, to the upper most
place in his preaching. To love your fellow is to love God. To protect the
earth is to love God. To heal the sick is to love God. To be a peacemaker
is to love God. To make dinner for your friends is to love God. In each and
every action you take; love God. The reverse is also true. To commit
an act of cruelty, to miss an opportunity to do service, to avert your eyes
from suffering, to not resist war, to be greedy at another's expense, is to
despise God. Quote:Ē God is in the rain."
Quote: Those who attain
perfect wisdom are forever inspired by the conviction that the infinitely
varied forms of this world, in all their relativity, far from being a hindrance
and a dangerous distraction to the spiritual path, are really a healing
medicine. Why? Because by the very fact that they are interdependent on
each other and therefore have no separate self, they express the mystery
and the energy of all-embracing love. Not just the illumined wise ones but
every single being in the interconnected world is a dweller in the
boundless infinity of love.
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