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About Aaron

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  1. I don't know who I am

    You are the person breathing right now. You know you. Maybe you don't like the you you know and want to be someone different. In the end you will always be you, so embrace yourself and then you can see without ego who you are.
  2. What is a Daoist?

    A Taoist, by definition, is someone who identifies as a follower of Taoism, or follows the teaching of Taoism. It's nothing more than a title in the end and should not be deemed to certify someone as "in the know". There are a lot of Taoists who merely identify and have no understanding of the deeper meaning. Remember, "he who knows says little." edit- I should add, that's fine too. If that's what they need, then let them be.
  3. FWIW The Dharma Bums on sale

    If you want to learn about the person Japhy Ryder was based on, it was Gary Snyder, one of the early Western Zen Monks, who also is an amazing poet who helped bring Buddhism to main stream America. Ray Smith's character is based on Jack Kerouac himself, or maybe Neil Cassidy, I can't remember.
  4. Thank you for sharing, it was appreciated. I wish you well.
  5. The Tao of disappointment

    Your greatest gift is your ability to hear and then decide for yourself whether you agree or disagree with what you hear. My suggestion is listen to what people are saying, be as objective as you can, but don't blindly believe what people are saying, simply because they're "experts" or "been doing this a long time". When you have been doing this a long time you will have your own ideas of what is right and wrong, what is "taoist" and what isn't, however, at the risk of letting the cat out of the bag, there really is no such thing as a Taoist, unless you want to call yourself a Taoist, then there is such a thing. So to be a bit more pointed and empathetic, if you look at some of my earliest posts on this forum, I to was "seeking a pure Taoism" one that "was free from the taint of Buddhism" only to come to realize many years later that they are both amazing philosophies and the reason several billion people adhere to both is because they are symbiotic in many ways. One of the problems we have in the west is that we see things in black and white, good or bad, Buddhist or Taoist. This isn't really an Eastern way of thinking, they tend to see the gray, then the color. I think when you see the gray first, it actually helps you identify the color more clearly. P.S. Zen actually helped me understand the Tao more than Taoist philosophy did.
  6. It's been about a month since my mother passed away. It was surreal. I almost got killed the day after by an angry semi truck driver that tried to drive me off the road as I drove up to get her belongings from the nursing home. I had grown distant from my mother over the last few years, but a couple months ago I found out she was dying from cancer and reached out to her to make my own amends. I was able to do all of that, which made it that much easier when she finally did pass. So this is the thing, I don't believe in heaven or an "after life", nor do I believe we can without a doubt prove that reincarnation exists. I'm agnostic at best, maybe I lean a bit more towards the atheist side, however, I don't grieve for her. The reason being that I know, regardless, she's not suffering and she was suffering. People can argue the "sanctity of human life" but until you see someone suffering immensely you don't realize how much of a blessing death can be. My greatest and only regret, was not being there at the end. I didn't want her to be alone in that moment, not because I wanted to spend those last minutes with her, but because I didn't want her to die suffering and alone, I wanted her to know she had people that loved her at that time. Again that's my only regret, and If I could've been there I would've, however I had surgery the week before she passed and was still suffering from complications. The night I found out she had passed there was an odd peace. It's hard to explain, a bit of sadness, but more of an emotional silence. I loved my mother, but my time as a Taoist/Buddhist/hindi/etc. has taught me that even though I think she's gone, she's not really gone. She may very well never have been here in the first place, so putting the time and energy into grieving for her does nothing to bring her back and does nothing to ease my own suffering, nor does it somehow quantify how much I cared for her, so if I am truly being compassionate towards her and myself, then learning to let her go and let myself move on should be my goal. So, how was this different from my father's passing? Well he passed when I was much younger (twenty-one) and I had only just begun to read about Taoism. Attachment was the norm and compassion, especially towards myself, wasn't something I really understood. I was devastated when he passed. I had been living with him at that time and had actually argued with him the night before. My greatest regret at that time was that I thought he had died thinking I was angry or hated him. In retrospect I realize that he knew better. However the memory of those emotions, of that feeling of loss, comes back even now, which is strange, because he was also dying from cancer, he just never told anyone, and you would think I would feel relieved for his passing. So the difference, I guess, is that knowing my place in this world and my relationship to other people has allowed me to accept this as not a loss, but a blessing for my mother. Whereas my still undeveloped mind was unable to accept the death of my father, due to my inability to understand the nature of death at that time. Both deaths were blessings, and if anyone suffered from those deaths, it was not my parents, but their loved ones, and of course, me. Oh that's the other thing, both my parents passed away from lung cancer. You can guess what habit I gave up. I just thought I'd share, because this is one of those universal experiences and I thought maybe these observations might help someone else.
  7. The Cucumber Sage

    "Allow him sixteen hours of sleep daily and provide him with lots of pickled cucumbers and Wu-Ming will always be happy. Expect nothing of him and you will be happy."
  8. Are Dreams Perception?

    I believe dreams were the key to the rise of non-duality, an understanding that perception doesn't necessarily equate to reality and that reality may be something greater than what our physical senses can perceive. To say that dreams are not perception is like saying there is no sound because you are deaf and can not hear it. If you're deaf that may be true for you, but the majority will tell you otherwise, just as the dreamer will tell you that while they were dreaming it was quite real, even if it was all but a dream. In the end perception is the key, when we can escape perception and live in the moment, then the necessity of perception as a means to understand what is, is left behind and we can finally become free. Eternity exists within each moment.
  9. Beautiful

    One man's beauty is another man's ugliness, literally. Worrying about subjective qualities isn't necessarily a good thing. For a long time I've lived by the rule, does it harm me? Does it harm someone else? Then what's the harm in it? Live and let live. Don't covet thy neighbor's wife and all that. In the end we will find that purity is an illusion and beauty never lasts, so stay with the baggage wagon and don't worry so much about the party happening somewhere else.
  10. What does everyone practice :)

    When I was young(er) I was quick to tell everyone what I was. As I got older I realized that most people wouldn't understand anyway or they would judge me based on their misconceptions, so I've learned to be what I am and leave my personal beliefs and practices to myself. As far as the (relative) safety of this forum goes, I would say I'm an open minded person who practices Taoism, Vedanta, and Buddhism to varying degrees. I pick and choose, because I can and no one can stop me.
  11. This world is not real

    This is it in a nutshell, we are all the universe, but only in the sense that the bacteria in our stomach that we use to help digest food is also us. We are tiny, minuscule, but arguably a necessary part of the universe, because without one of us, the universe (everything) would not not exist anymore. To say that we do not have free will is something we can't answer, because if it was true, how would we ever know?
  12. Genetically we find that the Indians in Northern India are genetically descended from Middle Easterners, whereas the Indians in Southern India (and Sri Lanka) are a distinct people. So there could be an argument for an invasion, but it would also have to define what constitutes an invasion of India since the southern half of India apparently escaped it. However keep in mind a united India was only a recent idea and historically it was separated into many different kingdoms.
  13. To answer your question, no. And you will die trying.
  14. Alan Watts

    His "The Book:On the Taboo of Knowing Who You Are" is one of my favorite books period. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about Vedanta.
  15. The Perils of Meditation

    Enlightenment doesn't free one from the obligations of daily living. A schizophrenic who achieves enlightenment is still a schizophrenic. I've met many schizophrenics who are wonderful loving, wise, and knowledgeable individuals. I had a lengthy conversation about Vedanta with a schizophrenic friend and their reply, as if it was a matter of fact, was, "Well that makes sense, doesn't it?" No argument, no questions about self or the id and ego. We stigmatize people without knowing them and in the end it causes us to forget that each of us is each of us, and one is all and all is one.