December 31, 2012

The Modern Distortion of Fake Spirituality and Forgiveness

If you've ever attended any Tibetan Buddhist talks it's likely you've heard the spiel on the "three bowls." The bowls represent problems with the mind that make it incapable of holding deeper knowledge. One bowl is turned over and closed, another is cracked and leaks, one is poisoned, one already filled. The point is, our mind is a bowl-like container, but it can't hold pure knowledge because it's defective.

It is a modern man problem in particular, our "bowl" is cracked and leaking, full to the brim of quasi-spiritual toxins and leaving little room for learning anything new. What we do learn is ruined by the poisonous belief systems.

The ability to absorb deep spiritual teachings can only occur after an eliminating the fake spirituality or morality.

Here's a fine example of this fake spirituality, in an essay by Theodore Dalrymple: Sentimentalizing Serial Murder. It's a brief commentary on two people's reactions to murder: one self-centered in quasi-spirituality and the other, braving the healing by way of straight talk.

It is the goal in the Lotus to teach the profound esoteric teachings of Buddha, Christ and Tao. But that can't learned by a mind full of insipid fluff.

You can read the essay here at the City Journal. Here is one interesting statement, which I expect real spiritual aspirants to be able to discuss. What elements are incomplete in this teaching from a Buddhist?:
Here is a lesson she learned from a Buddhist teacher: “To be grateful for whatever life brings, especially to those who cause you pain or humiliate you.” In short, the abduction, rape, torture, murder, dismemberment, and burial of Lucy Partington was a sovereign opportunity for Marian Partington’s personal growth, so that she could learn to be compassionate toward herself (and therefore, as a side effect, toward others).
What is the rest of the teaching? What is the "Buddhist teacher" (or the student) missing here?


December 20, 2012

Chapter 28: How Bodhisattvas Build Great Goodness Without Noticing –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

 “Subhuti! Say that a person of integrity fills universes with the seven precious treasures, as numerous as the particles of sand in the Ganges River, offered in support of all enlightened buddhas. Say instead they saw the inconceivable nature of all phenomena, thereby attaining bodhisattvahood. The field of goodness would be so much, outrageously and incalculably greater this way!

    “However, Subhuti, to be more precise: those bodhisattvas, by what they do, won’t really be building vast fields of goodness! 

    Subhuti replied, “But, World-Honored One, I was under the impression that bodhisattvas earned vast fields of goodness?”

    The Buddha responded in saying, “Without a doubt, humongous amounts of goodness would be created. But bodhisattvas wouldn’t bother to notice! And so, when you hear of the 'bodhisattva’s refusal of gifts,' it’s referring to this kind of indifference.”  

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

Chapter 27: Clearing Isn't the Enlightenment; Bodhisattvas Aren't Nihilistic –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

    “But then, Subhuti! What about when bodhisattvas speak of the ‘exhaustion of phenomenal characteristics’? They may seem to be implying that buddhas attain liberation by dematerializing their characteristics. A void created by the dissolution of thirty-two buddha characteristics is not itself a source of unexcelled perfect enlightenment!

    “Folks on their way to bodhisattvahood teach of the ‘exhaustion of phenomenal characteristics,’ but that doesn’t mean they think that the lack of characteristics is itself important. People on their way to becoming bodhisattvas don’t cling to ideas of clearing or voidness as meaningful in and of themselves.

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda