Lost in Translation

Perfection is achieved when there is nothing left to take away

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Perhaps - but I am getting tired of the subject of enlightenment and the supposed superior knowledge and power that is associated with it. For a few Bums enlightenment experiences appear to have worked out fine. But for others their enlightenment experiences appear to have led to inordinate bragging and dogmatic preaching (spiritual arrogance) and/or serious psychological troubles (meditation sickness).

 

So I prefer more down to earth methods now, with some simple and moderate forms of meditation added.

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17 hours ago, wandelaar said:

I am getting tired of the subject of enlightenment and the supposed superior knowledge and power that is associated with it.

 

I tend to agree.

 

So often, when enlightenment is being talked about it is as if the enlightened are in possession of some special knowledge not accessable by others or requires some special technic or lineage ... not revealed ... that places them in a position of superiority over the common person.

 

I have come to believe that enlightenment in a general sense is not something special, that it is available to all. (I don't like the word believe because it is often taken to mean that there is no rational justification for the belief ... but a better word just doesn't come to mind.) I take enlightenment to mean that by some means one comes to view life differently than they had before. That through some experience one has a different, perhaps more balanced, perspective on life. Not that it endows one with special powers. But probably does endow one with a sense of ease ... acceptance ... satisfaction that alters how you play out your existence. That is enlightenment. It only has personal meaning. Superior? Only in the sense that when we meet such a person, we wish we could be as comfortable and assured them.

 

 

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I think that the enlightenment experience can be psychologically explained, and that the basic insight of the experience can also be reached by rational thinking. In my opinion evolution has equipped us with the basic perspective that our own survival (or that of our "clan") is all important. The contrary perspective that our own survival (or that of our "clan") is no more important than that of anybody else's, may be objectively more correct but that didn't have enough value for survival to become a mainstream thing. So our natural perspective on the relation of ourselves to the rest of the world has become heavily biased (in an egocentric way) because of our evolution. Now there are several means (such as drugs, sensory deprivation, etc.) to derange our sense of self to such an extend that our natural perspective of our own importance in opposition to the rest of the world (temporarily) looses its grip. This shift then leads to a truer (in the sense of more objective) perception of our place in the world (as just being part of the world and not really separate from the rest). How this unity-experience is interpreted afterwards and whether the experience leads to joy or fear depends on the person having the experiencing. Just my two cents. :)

 

Edited by wandelaar
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46 minutes ago, OldDog said:

I have come to believe that enlightenment in a general sense is not something special, that it is available to all.

 

What makes you think that?

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23 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

... sensory deprivation ...

 

Ha! Now there's a turn of phrase that conjures up all kinds of images ... tanks of water where a person is suspended and locked in where no light or sound can enter. Think Altered States!

 

Yet, is that not like what some meditation practices lead to? Rather than being deprived (as above) the state is self-imposed leading to an internal experience rather than a sensory experience. 

 

 

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26 minutes ago, freeform said:

What makes you think that?

 

Uh,oh. I knew someone would beg the question ... even as I was writing it ... because I saw that it could be taken as a denouncement of traditional approaches. Begging pardon if I offended.

 

I am certain that are traditional approaches ... lineages, if you will ... that can lead to enlightenment ... realization ... awareness. Where I depart is in the notion of the attainment being something achievable only through such things. I also believe (there's that "B" word again) that there are probably various levels awareness to be attained ... but that's a whole 'nother discussion.

 

I think the only thing that makes enlightenment special is that one must choose to pursue it ... expend some degree of effort ... to attain a different perspective ... awareness. 

 

But to your question.

 

I come to Daoism from Laozi and Zhuangzi. And as I see it, it's kinda like starting in the middle. If one goes forward in time from Laozi, by the time you get to the middle of the first millennium, many schools and lineages seem to be predominating the landscape. Buddhism begins to assert its influence, either directly (think Chan) or by challenging daoism competitvely to become Daojiao. These schools seem complex ... with diverse beliefs, rituals and practices ... exclusive. Going that direction becomes frustratingly complicated ... and increasing complexity seems counter-daoist ... adding more to rather taking away from ... if that makes sense.

 

Now, looking back in time from Laozi, there seem to be simpler more generic traditions leading up to what is expressed in Laozi and Zhuangzi. Much of it is lost to antiquity but traces of it occur in Guanzi, as expressed in Neiye. This seems to me to be much more straight forward ... and accessible ... on a broader scale. It represents a starting point for anyone willing to take the first step ... even an unguided step. 

 

At this point, we could leap off into discussion of levels of practice and enlightenment but ... for me, at least ... simple awareness is enough to validate the concept of Dao and provide balance to life and lead to the state of ease ... acceptance ... satisfaction with living. It helps balance out the perspective and guide actions in the world of myriad things. 

 

Sorry for the long drawn out response. It just seemed necessary in order to express a point of view.

 

 

 

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What would be taken away in order to achieve perfection? Perfection for me would possibly feel like isolation. But that is my human response. But if I were a perfect being, perfection might feel natural, it would be natural if I had something to compare it too. I also wonder if in the state of perfection if the need to compare would be necessary for my own self awareness. For instance, is Tao aware of itself? Is gravity aware of itself or how it is...gravity. Is a bird aware of its song because it hears its own song? Or is it just noise? Does it become a perfect song when there is a response from the community of birds of its kind? When a bird is geographically reassigned to a different location in this world and it sings without a response, does its song become imperfect because the utility of its song derives nothing, and therefore it perishes because of lack of community, resources and others modeling their protective skills of survival. 

 

Jim D.

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35 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

What would be taken away in order to achieve perfection?

 

Are we talking about perfection of the person or perfection as a state of being. The later I think ... hope.

 

Arguably, we are all ... birds included ... perfect expressions of ourselves as individualss. Thankfully, we can change.

 

But perfection, in terms of a state of being in a daoist sense means being in accord with nature and time. So, to achieve perfection, it would seem, that knowing/experiencing Dao on some level is important. That would seem to require some degree reducing ... taking away from ... decreasing ... complexity where ever complexity is found. In terms of experiencing and maintaining connection with Dao, at least intermittent periods of calming and quieting the heart-mind seems advisable ... taking away the busy thought, ignoring what the senses might be bringing in ... meditation. If one decides they would rather spend more time in that state than not, then moving to the country and living in a 12 foot square cabin might be the way to go. The beauty of daoism though is that such isolation is not necessay. Intermittent connection seems to be enough to allow someone to balance out their existence.

 

Too bad it's the midst of winter ... otherwise, I could use hearing a few birds.

 

 

Edited by OldDog
Grammar
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I think of water as being a state of being. Tao is a state of being of which we are component of.  Interruptions such as resentments disconnect us from being at peace and in the state of calmness and nothingness...wu wei. Yes, we can meditate all day but get nothing done. Once I get into action by living, then the nature of Tao will provide circumstances for me to adjust to or resist. My choice...

 

Jim D.

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Living a simple life definitely doesn't mean meditating all day but getting nothing done, one will still have a lot of daily work to do in and around the house, and maybe have a part-time job besides. It's not the rich man's paradise.

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This very lovely woman is married, and she says that she wishes wholeness now, where once she sought emptiness.
Yes she provides a rare example in this world.  To set up such a place does not seem straightforward, certainly not in the UK, but maybe we can begin approximately.

 

In relation to what I had said earlier on in this thread and that wasn't in keeping with that video; given the catstrophic society we live in then asceticism is definitely the medicine everyone needs, but if the medicine works you find that you don't want to die because life is very much worth living ... if you are not insane.

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I am perfectly happy with the entire world living exactly as it wishes, but I would live my life the way I wish, and I would have others know, not others who don't want to live this way, but others like the person I used to be when I didn't know there were any options - I didn't know there could be another way. I'm not trying to pursuade anybody of this life but I would offer it as an alternative to those who are hungry for it as I was hungry for something I couldn't identify.

 

-Diana Lorence

 

Taken from toward the end of the video.

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Is it possible for us to bring ourselves to perfection? Are we the ones who do it, as a result of our actions?

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3 hours ago, Fa Xin said:

Is it possible for us to bring ourselves to perfection? Are we the ones who do it, as a result of our actions?

 

We should first decide on what is meant by perfection. As stated, it would seem that it is some independent objective to attain to. But I doubt that we could all agree what that would be. It would need to be something that we all have in common. Then we would have to decide whether we have enough influence in the course of our lives to reach such an objective. 

 

Alternatively, It could be something that is done to us ... or the natural outcome of our lives.

 

 

Edited by OldDog
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11 hours ago, Lost in Translation said:

Taken from toward the end of the video.

 

There was something slightly consumerist about her statements that she is perfectly happy whatever happens.   She and her husband are rich enough to afford a fancy place in the woods where they can read books even though she had never heard of the word "Luddite".   Strange really.

And they also are not back to the landers, meaning they don't till the soil, they don't grow things, mostly they seem to be involved in cutting things off as a solution, like her hair.

I wonder where her money comes from ?

When you are rich and you don't want to exist, life is pretty easy isn't it.

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28 minutes ago, rideforever said:

And they also are not back to the landers, meaning they don't till the soil, they don't grow things, mostly they seem to be involved in cutting things off as a solution, like her hair.

I wonder where her money comes from ?

When you are rich and you don't want to exist, life is pretty easy isn't it.

 

Quote

My husband is a private confidant and friend to people in public positions. Men come to him for the special kind of conversation he makes possible. Innermost House was built for us on the land of such a partner and friend. Many local building ordinances allow for small guesthouses.

 

https://dianalorence.com/words/

 

It appears the house was built on a benefactor's land. I don't get the impression that she or her husband are rich, but rather they are influential.

 

 

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On 09/02/2019 at 7:12 PM, OldDog said:

I knew someone would beg the question ... even as I was writing it ... because I saw that it could be taken as a denouncement of traditional approaches. Begging pardon if I offended.

 

[This was in response to me asking why OldDog thought that enlightenment is available to everyone and isn’t special...]

 

Not offended in the least. Just wanted to understand your perspective. (I still don’t quite.)

 

Do you think that being a surgeon is available to all? Do you think that being a stone mason is available to all?

 

What if you have no arms? 

 

What im getting at is that I don’t believe that any undertaking is available to all. Not even factory work. Let alone the absolute peak of human achievement.

 

And I’ll leave the thousands of years worth of accumulated knowledge on the (almost impossible) path to enlightenment out for now...

 

 

 

 

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Regarding a ‘simple life’.

 

What is that?!

 

Beyond the outer appearances.

 

We we tend to have a romantic notion about it, but if you really look closely and try to discern the reality of it, it’s never quite simple.

 

Ive spent time with people that seem to live a simple life. A mountain goat herder for example. If one was to make a film of his life you’d see him holding his staff, looking into the distance in beautiful scenery while his goats stroll chewing on shrubs. He chops wood and carries water. Has no tv. Doesn’t use facebook etc.

 

But if you talk to him you realise just how complex his life is. While he’s looking into the distance he’s not in a state of blissful calm - he’s there calculating the next grazing rotation for his goats. It’s not easy because the rains are late. The only land available is part of another shepherd’s patch. So he’ll have to bargain with him. But what with?

 

His wife has arthritis in her fingers and is finding it hard to milk the goats but his children are in school. Maybe he’ll need to take em out?

 

His land is slowly eroding in quality because of overgrazing. What to do?

 

The mountain road is cut off by a mudslide last month - no supplies until next summer - and the potatoe harvest is awful this year. He’ll have to harvest one of his goats (his family’s precious ‘bank account’)

 

etc etc etc

 

These are all conversations I’ve had with such herders.

 

I think only children have a simple life...

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1 hour ago, freeform said:

I think only children have a simple life...

 

Until they start to wonder what it's all about...

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Most posts in this topic are attempt to not consider the possibility of simplifying your life by slowing down and refusing some of the "blessings" of modern society. But whether anyone would want to simplify his/her life and to what extent, is anyone's own choice. It's a completely voluntary movement. People living in poverty because of external circumstances is a different subject.

 

The term "perfection" in the title of this topic isn't quite happy, but the video is clear enough. Living such a life will not be to everyone's liking but such a life will definitely have an impact on one's psychological state of being. Removing much of the hustle of modern life will make (more) space in one's mind to notice and appreciate the small things (such as watching and listening to the birds, or taking time to taste one's meal or cup of tea) that actually make life worth living. One doesn't have to be as radical of the people in the video to experience the difference, even taking a daily walk in the evening without your mobile phone or walkman can make a big difference. Or throwing out your television. The essential news can also be viewed on the internet. I personally am living without a television for many years now, and I never for a moment regretted this decision. On the contrary: when I accidentally happen to see some television program because of visiting somebody else's home I can hardly believe that this junk is watched by millions of people. But as I already said: let each choose his own way of life. It's enough when the option of simple (or simpler) living is widely known. 

 

Edited by wandelaar
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7 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

Removing much of the hustle of modern life will make (more) space in one's mind to notice and appreciate the small things (such as watching and listening to the birds, or taking time to taste one's meal or cup of tea) that actually make life worth living.

 

This is the main thing, I believe. Taking time to appreciate simple things with a quiet mind can drastically improve people’s life.

 

But it’s not modern life that stands in the way of this.

 

You can just as easily distract yourself with books and gossip and emotional reactivity in what seems a simple life.

 

Its simply a decision. ‘I decide that quietness of mind is more important than mental stimulation.’ And then you act accordingly.

 

And I’m sorry but this has very little to do with enlightenment. Except in that if you can't do something as simple as that, then enlightenment is out of the question.

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37 minutes ago, freeform said:

And I’m sorry but this has very little to do with enlightenment. Except in that if you can't do something as simple as that, then enlightenment is out of the question.

 

And happily so! Lao tzu had no problems with advising us to simplify our life, so I am in good company. I am sick and tired of this talk about enlightenment that may or may not happen and can even result in meditation sickness and/or spiritual arrogance. I don't need the first prize and would be quite happy with the second or third prize that are much easier to get. ;)

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