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12:45 AM on 03/04/2011
really? Isn't the message clear from all religions, Love one another, be tolerate to others ideas and beliefs no matter what they are or who they are. strive to embrace and protect all that "GOD" has given us. Somewhere it has all been lost and because we do not strive to protect all that god has given us we will all lose in the end. greed, depletion of the environment, hatred of one another because of different belief will become our downfall, because we did not follow the simple rules that all have taught.
Soaring Eagle, soaring to Spirit from the ego self
12:20 PM on 03/04/2011
It is lost in the US, because it can only be YOU
01:38 PM on 03/04/2011
The truth always speaks in simplicity; Some people simply attempt to overthink their purpose, unfortunately. And it's usually because they hold their own intentions in contempt.
07:51 PM on 03/04/2011
"And it's usually because they hold their own intentions in contempt. "

11:15 PM on 03/03/2011
The bottom line to all of this is keeping the peace.
11:13 PM on 03/03/2011
Enlightment is surrender to reality, and defeat of illusion.
01:43 PM on 03/04/2011
Yet along the path you learn to defeat reality, and surrender to illusion. In a different sense, of course. But that is what the article here attempts to bring to the foreground. Enlightenment cannot be explained with a simple "it is this, and it is not that" for each path is different, as the buddhas was different from each of his disciples. Many people have forgotten this point, and have become attached to schools of teaching, rather than losing attachment to any preconcieved notions of enlightenment. Free your mind, and your body will be disciplined. Free your body, and you mind will be disciplined. In this way discipline and freedom go hand in hand; I believe that ignorance and enlightenment are the same way.
11:39 PM on 03/04/2011
"Yet along the path you learn to defeat reality, and surrender to illusion. In a different sense, of course."

I don't think so. Can't defeat ultimate reality. If we are talking about what I think is real, but it actually illusion, then sure, that can be defeated. And what I thought were illusions that turn out to be reality I can surrender to.
09:19 PM on 03/07/2011
One may err by letting the school speak for himself. Through mimesis one acquires knowledge which cannot substitute for wisdom. "When upon the road you see the Buddha . . ."
practical 1
Apply Truth liberally to the inflamed area
10:51 PM on 03/03/2011
I am a firm believer in Star Wars Taoism. Heaven's here on Earth.
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sic itur ad astra
06:15 PM on 03/06/2011
"Is this heaven?"

"No -- it's Iowa."
09:20 PM on 03/07/2011
Iowa means yes in colloquial Arabic.
Sanity Inspector
He who laughs, lasts.
10:21 PM on 03/03/2011
"I cling to my imperfection as the very essence of my being."
-- Anatole France
Soaring Eagle, soaring to Spirit from the ego self
12:23 PM on 03/04/2011
And would not not think it is about time you quit comparing yourself to others
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09:10 PM on 03/03/2011
I've got no problem with this. You should not be forced to join a union, and you should not be prohibited from joining a union.
Soaring Eagle, soaring to Spirit from the ego self
12:25 PM on 03/04/2011
Physician heal thyself
Using my head for something other than a hat rack.
08:37 PM on 03/03/2011
I don't think these stories are an either-or kind of thing. For me, they show that with self-confidence you open the door for some awakening and when you quit trying too hard, you achieve it. Ananda was putting all his effort into reaching Enlightenment, but that very fact is what kept him from reaching it. He tried so hard on method that he blocked his own insights. When he let go of forcing it, he relaxed and his own insight awoke. Buddha's Enlightenment came from the years he had wandered. He could accomplish all the methods that he came across, but again, he focused so much on method that he almost died. When he let go of method and allowed his own insights to awaken, he achieved what he had searched so hard for. In a way, both stories say the same thing. It's not learning some meditation method or following some ritual perfectly, that leads to Enlightenment. It's opening up to your own insights. In other words, don't get so caught up in the "right" way to do it, that you miss the whole reason you started down the Path to begin with.
08:54 PM on 03/03/2011
What is enlightenment?

Is it the completion of something or an achievement?

Should we be hung up on this in the hopes by letting go of our obsession we become enlightened?
Using my head for something other than a hat rack.
09:58 PM on 03/03/2011
It's neither. And both. Actually it is the subtraction of defilements: hatred, anger, jealousy, envy, and so on. And if you are hung up on it, you haven't reached it.
09:55 AM on 03/04/2011
goal/no-goal. :)
05:55 PM on 03/03/2011
Once, when I was in school, I wracked my brain over an algorithm I had to develop to solve a problem in the least steps possible. Every time I thought I had the solution, I found another way to remove a step or combine steps. I didn't know what the final solution was and it drove me crazy. I had a week to work on I put it aside to take a break. A few days later, when I wasn't even thinking about it, the solution just popped into my head. Bing! There it was. A single line of code. Something I never expected or tried. This is how I try to approach my Buddhist practice. If I ever happen upon "enlightenment", it may be something I never expected, or may be something that was there all along, or maybe it is "just this"...or nothing at all. I don't know. And that is OK.
08:55 PM on 03/03/2011
01:55 PM on 03/04/2011
05:48 PM on 03/03/2011
On one hand you have 'this is so' (Buddha), and on the other you have 'I give up' (Ananda). Both ways are said here to lead to enlightenment.

The above illustrate that without self interest, there would be the absence of a 'goal of enlightenment'. Without a goal, without the 'me', this kind of other state of mind is possible. If so, I agree. Have I misunderstood him?

I trust that this isn't just another 'how to become enlightened', kind of article..
10:15 AM on 03/04/2011
Non-dualist thinking:

goal/no-goal. Two parts of the same thing.

"this is so"/"i give up"
01:57 PM on 03/04/2011
There is no such thing as a "how to become enlightened" article, in my opinion. Sure, there are guidelines, and I believe all of them should be discussed, and even debated, for the benefit of everyone involved. As long as hatred doesn't exist between two men, it is as two swords sharpening themselves. I'm not sure if you've misunderstood him or not; could you explain further?
02:50 PM on 03/04/2011
Well, I wasn't exactly sure what was behind the idea of this article. I was wondering if the author was pointing out 'two ways to enlightenment' - or 'enlightenment tips' to put it in another less positive way. I sense that the author wasn't intending to offer a tip here or anything and that he would agree, as I do, with your comment that 'there is no such thing (as being able to tell another how enlightenment can be arranged).

I'm a bit sensitive to the notion that enlightenment is something we should aquire. It suggests more ego, more aquistion, - what is the term - 'spiritual materialism'?
05:22 PM on 03/03/2011
"Man more than anything is looking for that eternal fountain of youth!"

I doubt most buddhists are looking for an eternal fountain of youth. I think there is an inner desire; a longing for this essence, oneness, absolute, infinite, isness, ok God. The God of the christian bible is often made in the image of man and in that sense I suspect some followers of this man made God is looking for this eternal physical youth body.

the evolution of the soul is more about a evolution of consciousness process and attaining greater awareness than eternal youth. the christian bible is full of wisdom; that the materialist misses but it is also full of man's ignorance and the materialists point that out all too often.

may want to meditate on that. or not. :-)
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04:48 PM on 03/03/2011
The multiplicity can exist in one person, too. Newton found the law of gravity when an apple hit his head, but he had to give up on financial markets after he gambled away large parts of his fortune.

Or maybe he had simply used up his enlightenment quota.
04:36 PM on 03/03/2011
“All of these disciples are arahants, fully enlightened beings, except for Ananda, who had followed the Buddha since his enlightenment.”

I find this hard to believe even from the Buddha. It is the “all” word in this statement. So called enlightenment cannot be given out like candy or just effort or whatever. Besides what is enlightenment? It is not all knowing, it certaintiy does not give one the power of a god.

I think one must walk and act very careful with those that promise enlightenment. Usually they want something from you. Ie $$$$$$$$$ or I have noticed they want guru status. Ie feels good. Ie ego thing.

The mystics tell us it is letting go of the self, the false self. Then they see and feel themselves as one with the Infinite. Enlightenment is not the end of the road. It is a step in the road. It means no rebirth unless one comes back for a mission of service to others.

The universe has planes of existence (often called dimensions) and enlightenment puts that entity on a higher plane: (vibration levels). Enlightenment can be many things; I see enlightenment as the ability to see the underlying reality of appearances and seeing/experiencing the oneness of all that is.

I personally see a reality with all levels of “enlightenment” some more advanced than others. Realizing that the origin of suffering is ignorance is one form of enlightenment. Not knowing about something but realizing it; world of difference.
Jay Patel
05:00 PM on 03/03/2011

You are absolutely right that enlightenment is not given out like candy. But the Buddha never promised to hand it out like candy. I don't know how you remotely arrive at that conclusion. Spiritual masters are simply guides and teachers who have travelled the path and can show others how to reach the path themselves. What is the logic behind attributing such a cynnical motive to all spiritual masters? There are people who have reached enlightenment and they most definitely can be guides for others. Its no different than a teacher in class teaching students on any subject. Thats the way it is. And eventually the student becomes a master him/herself.
I don't ever remember reading Buddha asking for donations or wanting any status. There have been countless enlightened masters who have taken on students with the aim of cultivating the possibility within them.
09:10 PM on 03/03/2011
you missed my point or I did not make it clear enough. it was the all word that I felt was in error. no spiritual master has the capablity to enlightened all of his or her followers.

also your response shows you have emotional ties to this religion or to the buddha. enlightenment is not taught like a subject. knowledge can be taught, realization cannot be taught.

now one can create an environment that may be helpful for one's attaining enlightenment but only knowledge can be taught not realization.

world of difference between knowing and a knowing beyond knowing. many who claim enlightenment only have a knowing.
09:02 PM on 03/03/2011
There is a reality beyond appearances?

How can one be so sure?

What if rebirth is a necessary condition unavoidable even to the one who is enlightened?

Maybe the enlightened one understands the inexorable chain of rebirths as being inescapable. She merely understands and awakens to that selfsame comprehension within each birth.
Jay Patel
02:03 PM on 03/03/2011
There is a story of Ibn Arabi, the muslim mystic who acheived enlightenment before puberty who said I knocked on the door and silently waited for a response. This story reminds me of the fundamental precondition of emptying oneself of even the desire for enlightenment as Ibn Arabi's story of silence indicates. As the saying goes the desire for enlightenment is the greatest impediment to enlightenment.
Spiritual practices also have to corrospond to an internal state of detachment. One must become a "void" or as Meister Eckhart put it, "For God to get in, the person must get out."

Another very significant point here is that no person acheives enlightenment by ones own effort, no matter how hard or long one may practice or travel on the path. The "Reality" which is reveals itself to the receptacle. The effort on the human prat is to make the conditions right within ourselves for that possibility, but it is never the person who actually "becomes" enlightened. That is important to remember because of the nature of the ego and because there are so many
pseudo-gurus out there promising enlightenment like it were a happy meal given out at a fast food spirituality joint at the drive through window. I would like to supersize my enlightenment please:)
09:06 PM on 03/03/2011
Are you enlightened?

How would you know if you were enlightened?

What are the signs of this enlightenement?

Is reliance on others accounts sufficient to define enlightenment?

Has one ever entertained the possibility that having others speak for themselves in the form of quotes or paraphrases constitute an impediment towards personal growth?
Jay Patel
10:13 AM on 03/04/2011
You have asked some very deep questions and I hope you explore them deeply as they simply cannot be answered on this board. One way to do it would be to study the saints of many or even one of the spiritual traditions of the east or the west. I don't know if you are part of one of the spiritual traditions of the world but questions like yours are very profound and the answers can come from the saints and spiritual masters. I pray you reach that supreme realization yourself one day!
Conveying wisdom by quoting other masters is in no way an impediment. Who said that one cannot communicate wisdom to others??
01:40 PM on 03/03/2011
Is Buddhism really a faith?
Jay Patel
02:36 PM on 03/03/2011
That is a very complex question. Not that there isn't an answer but the word "faith" isn't as simple to define as it has been made out to be. Huffpost message board may not be the best place to explore such a deep issue:)
The more important thing to remember is that Buddhism is a spiritual tradition whose end goal and destination is One and the same as the monotheistic traditions though outwardly they seem to appear so vastly different, the inner essence is One and the same.
09:12 PM on 03/03/2011
Faith here it taken in a different light. It is not a creed neither is it a profession. One does not profess credal doctrine. It is however trust that a specific approach ( encompassing a teacher, teaching and community of like minded disciples) just might facilitate an ever deepening understanding of things. And that through this trust commitment to a particular sadhana is strengthend and in return strengthens trust. We have here a veritable feedback loop. That is faith.
03:38 PM on 03/03/2011
Essence sounds great but still it is only a feeling. The God of the Bible, has all the essence anyone needs. And a promise of perfect health for eternity -- under His eternal ruler for everyone ccepting the shed blood of our Savior Jesus Christ (Messiah)!

The God of the Bible created all things -- why go to find essence somewhere else that leads you nowhere? Man more than anything is looking for that eternal fountain of youth! And the God of the Bible is offering exactly that, for those thirsting for truth and righteousness. Please mediate on what I just said!
There is no spoon
05:28 PM on 03/03/2011
I have and you are not right. To each his own. Budda taught that we must not simply accept blind faith but to discover for ourselves the truth, If your truth is the God of the Bible, then you have found what you need and I applaud you. However, you cannot suggest that your way or truth is right for everyone, neither can Buddhism.
05:45 PM on 03/03/2011
Why must you criticize things that you know nothing of? You make your beloved faith--Christianity--look very bad by your incapicity to appreciate, or even begin to understand, other spiritual approaches. That kind of blindness and intolerance is very unattractive.

Open your eyes and your heart; you might even find that it deepens your own faith.
01:38 PM on 03/03/2011
You seem to have hit a point that many people disregard entirely in the modern world; One person can call Nirvana God, and another can call God Nirvana, and both opinions, in the correct respect, will be as true as uttered speech ever is. Buddha sought fervently to rid mortal men of our attachments, just as Jesus sought fervently to rid the Jewish community of their attachment to ritual. Both men knew that the ordinary things that people consider holy, were merely ordinary things. Both men understood that Nirvana/God was everything, and that each one of us faces a different path in coming to this realization. You said this as well, and I wholly agree with it. Both men also insisted that now was the time for this realization, as a human body gives us a unique opportunity to seperate reality from illusion, perspective from omnipresence, Enlightenment from ignorance, and pit the realm of one against the realm of infinity; In the end we understand that they are the same, as both men clearly pointed out. But in the process we inevitably discover something wonderful about ourselves; something that brings us to a certain way of life that at the onset of our journey seemed highly unlikely. Something that we cannot express directly to anyone else, but can only allude towards in poetry, or hint at in riddles. Our lives become quite still, but to those who live beneath silence, ours lives seem to pronounce our seemingly endless joy.
09:15 PM on 03/03/2011
What is nirvana? Extinction like the putting out of a flame. Where then does the flame go once it ceases to be a flame?.
12:57 PM on 03/04/2011
In this regard, extinction is both a noun and a verb. Nirvana seems to become both the action and the state of extinguishing a fire. But where else could this fire arise but from nirvana? As this is true, so is the fact that once a fire loses fuel it may no longer burn. The fuel was not born to become fuel, but became a victim of circumstance. Namely, the earth, and our bodies. Thus does desire feed on our lives as our lives feed on it. But I think nirvana may be the air in this metaphor; It gives the fire life, and urges it to burn, but with the mind that one day it will burn itself out. Too much air, and not enough fuel, destroys the fire. A little air, and a lot of fuel, smolders, and allows for it to survive. Where did the intial spark come from, I wonder?