Mary Salegui introduces herself:
Hi, I'm Mary. I just joined and am questioning why I'm doing this. But first a
summary of my "evolution". I came from a
fundamentalist church, a small Russian sect in S.F.. Fast forward to college and
losing my faith in the God I grew up with.
Later at 49 or so I was introduced to Ramana Maharshi, Satya Sai Baba, Nisargadatta,
Ramesh, Lucille, etc. and ended up
with A Course in Miracles, which speaks to me. Now I question who is it that wants
to get involved (or maybe distracted?)
with this group? I feel drawn to check all this out, to connect with someone who
thinks like I do. I just discovered this
particular site a couple of weeks ago. I live in a rural mountain area and am not
around many like-thinkers. So, here I am.
Dan Lovecode tells his story:
Its wonderful to hear words of encouragement. But reading a posting about
the ego earlier I feel I must be lost again. As usual. I want to tell you
about myself. Cause I don't care somehow right now. And what does it matter
what anyone thinks. That was always my problem.
I have been living with my parents all my life. I am 46. My father is
still alive at 87 and living here with me. My mother had to be put in a
nursing home about 7 months ago. I have never wanted for anything cause my
mother gave me what I asked for since I could remember. Nothing extravagant
though. At about the age of 12 I started used drugs. It went something like
this. First Pot then LSD-speed-barbiturates-opium-heroin-methadone. Then a
steady diet of methadone lots of pills and pot for 24 years straight. I
included cocaine in this menu the last 7 years before I finally stopped
everything. Including cigarettes. My drug habit was supported by my mother.
She never wanted me to leave her sight. I was depended on her and she on me.
I was her little boy.
After I got clean or in the process of, She began seeing that I didn't need
her in the same way as before. I wasn't in my room nodding out with her
sitting there watching TV and that I didn't burn the house down with my
cigarettes or needing money for drugs. After going though withdrawal for a
year and a half. I began to feel an inner disgust with my mothers
overwhelming protective attitude towards me. Then slowly She started loosing
her mind so to speak. She had Alzheimer's, Dementia. It got worse and worse
until I couldn't do it anymore. Now my father is old and loosing it too. So
threes more work here to be done. (Thinking)... What am I looking for here
by telling you all this? Sympathy? Not sure. But I don't think so. Just
want you to understand where I came from so you might get a better picture as
to my feelings and the process or progress of my self inquiry.
So, I am not use to being around people much. Just not used to having friend
around. Believe me when I say I led a sheltered life here. Anyhow, When I
feel awkward and an unpleasant feeling comes up in association with that, how
am I supposed to handle it? I thought if I understood I wasn't the doer then
its ok to just let it come and go, So what! No? Or another example; I see
someone and thought goes though my mind saying; You should have said Hello to
that person. Not wait until they say something first. Now the opportunity is
gone. Brought up to have respect, have guilt, Italian, catholic! (lol)
Does this all make sense to you?
happens, sometimes it seems
to come from here. Let's
reserve "so very good" for
the real virtuosi among us
-- your neighbors, the
ospreys, for example. Would
that any of us could
communicate as surely and
naturally as an osprey
fishes, with no separation
between what we do and who
Thanks again -- Bruce
Lots of posts and essays on freewill:
The Buddhists emphasize free will a lot. Because this causes that, that
can be stopped by stopping this. Because clinging and craving cause
suffering, suffering can be stopped by stopping clinging and craving, to
put it somewhat crudely. I don't recall reading anything about free will
starting or stopping. Will seems to be related to want and it also has
the perspective of being somewhat outside the flow of events. Some would
say it is what makes people different from machines. What's wrong with
free will? I like free will. What are you people doing over there in
equally curious, Larry
... went to the beach this morning, just about to visit
a friend now, then going to a free latin american concert in
the park by the river this evening to picnic with other
isn't life hard? :-)
just doing whatever crops up (choicelessly :-)
Nothing to worry about so all is happy
Enjoyed your posting Larry. I enjoy laughing.
I have no idea what is wrong with free will. Ask somebody
who has some :-)
Lot of love
IMO, not being a scholar in the subject, the crux of Buddhist philosophy is
the observation called "dependent origination." Similar to the Hindu idea
of the "net of jewels," it implies a totally interconnected cosmos,
everything effecting everything else. In terms of "liberation," it means
that liberation (like everything else) happens in its own timeframe (not
"predetermined"); it happens when it happens. This idea can dovetail with
more religious concepts of surrender, acceptance, and so forth; and it is a
close cousin to the idea of Nonduality. Call it nonduality in motion.
Ultimately, Ramana Maharshi has it right in this bit Gloria quoted a couple of days
There is neither creation nor destruction,
Neither destiny nor free-will;
Neither path nor achievement;
This is the final truth. -Sri Ramana Maharshi
But in the meantime :^) ... Freewill is fundamental to Buddhism, determinism is called
an erroneous teaching. The assertion is made that people are not bound by causes, we
are free in the sense that all fetters are of our own making, and we are capable of
casting them off by ourselves. Not looking to anyone or anything external to myself.
This is where Sankara and Gotama disagree I think.
Thank you, Andrew. I was hoping Greg would say more to clear this up, too.
Sometimes in my inarticulate way, I seem to only further muddy the waters. I
think free will as an aspect of an ultimately mythical individual selfhood does
dissolve with death (in the meantime it is part of the" felt and existing"
samskaras) or "my will" is renounced prior by disidentification and surrender.
If and when one is able to perceive the Tao and be in harmony with it, one may
experience a relatively "choiceless awareness" of flowing and surrender to the
moment. This is beautiful to know as a perception of reality here and now.
(Hooray for Annie!) This assumes a lack of desire/aversion is happening. I have
known this grace at times, and no way do I want to rain on her parade.
However, to teach, as a doctrine, that man is or ought to be always passive
(especially before realization!) because he is totally 100% determined and has
no will..this leads to errors of thinking and practice. It may be a more subtle
and rarified response to overly cling to emptiness, but it is equally a negation
of truth. I cannot presume to speak for Buddhism or Ramana, but the phrase
"neither destiny" would seem to negate any concept of predestination. It is good
to recognize causes and conditionings as they do exist and occur, but to claim
that is "all there is" to the extent of actually eliminating oneself as an agent
of causation? This attributes power of causation to every "thing" except a human
being. Are we not included in this mutual arising of interdependent causation?
Where else is freedom to be found, if not on that razor-edge of
surrender/resistance within this moment? Yet what is possible here in this
moment, if not creation itself? To embrace emptiness to the extent of rejecting
or ignoring phenomenal existence is simply choosing one side of the duality.
Paradox may be useful for attempting to express such ideas as existence is
emptiness, emptiness is existence. To "be" a living paradox is to see and
experience the mutual coexistence between both. Even the experience of freedom
from ego depends on there having been ego, phenomenally speaking. What is one
dis-identifying with? Isn't my albeit temporary self equally a manifestation of
this emptiness along with the rest of existence?
The truth is more like that they cannot be separated, except hypothetically. The
error in practice occurs when the intellectual "fact" of emptiness is singled
out for emphasis, excluding "unwelcome" aspects like the ethical precepts or
right actions. Thus, particularly in the West, we get a form of "elite Buddhism"
which selects out meditation and "enlightenment" and ignores the basics like the
ethical precepts of the eightfold path. Realization becomes exclusively the
teaching of doctrinal thought without the values deeply embedded within the
Buddha's overall path. Knowing the concept of emptiness of self is not the same
as the experiential elimination of ego. Once one actually IS empty of ego, what
is the need for restraints on ego or one's will?
So, as Dan keeps pointing out, when a person is experiencing suffering..to
diagnose to them that it's all their fault because they have failed to eliminate
ego or to prescribe to them all is empty so there is no one actually
suffering..is not only useless, but unkind. The use of "truth" as a weapon is a
misuse. Compassion begins with the acknowledgement of suffering in life. Truth
without compassion is a very incomplete wisdom. Knowing where one is on this
pathless path seems quite crucial to communication.
I am very happy for all of you who are past this experience of ego struggles in
your awareness. I love to read all the descriptions here, so keep 'em coming!!
Maybe choicelessness is the driving force in some species of
non- relative consciousness such as the vegetable and animal
kingdoms and has its divine place. But Will beyond emotion
does not seem to appear very often at this stage in
humankind's time *as we know it* and lies latent except in a
few, we have goodwill emotionally, but it does not have the
concentrated power of the Will required to make the Great
free will is, i believe, an illusion.Before realization, before
enlightenment,awakening we are just machines. Slaves to all the
conditioning of our lives.To say nothing of the karma carried over and the effects of
the planets.No choice, no free will, totally
mechanical.Not unlike a coke machine, push the button and get a response.After the
experience of realization, enlightenment,
awakening we are still slaves but this time to somehting higher or bigger than our
puny little selves..It is a matter of going from
one master,(ego) to another, (god, the divine, Self,whatever you call it).
But either way, there are no choices, there is no no free will.Usually we have this
idea that upon awakenig we will suddenly be
free and have all sorts of options and choices available to us that werent before.But
that is not enlightenment.Awakening is
Slavery. No choice but to Serve,ie: to provide food for that which is higher up on the
evolutionary scale than we are.That is the
Obligation taken on when one wakes up.
Identification with body starts with the sensation of hunger
which is overpowering. From then on, sensations are
interpreted as "something has to be gratified" which isn't
exactly free will. Interpreting that someone else was more
successful in granting his/her desires sets off the desire for
"more and better" and a never ending chain of sensations and
gratifying desires takes off. What else does "free will"
relate to but a one-dimensional dance of gratifying feelings
in the marginality of the material world?
The mind is full of subtle tendencies and (not so subtle)
thoughts; thinking goes on at least three levels. Anything
that "pops up from the crowd" has become a force one cannot
stop by any means: that would mean to stop thinking (or
interpreting) at any arbitrary moment.. The thoughts that one
becomes conscious of could be compared to a waterfall; what
one doesn't see is the big lake feeding it. When the waterfall
runs dry, meaning the lake has been emptied, it is seen that
"will" is nothing but the self-expression of a tendency so the
adjective "free" doesn't apply :). Only the Self is free, even
from the tendency to "gain" freedom :)
In the aspect of "right view" in Buddhism there is only talk about
suffering and the complete cessation of suffering. There is no mention of
the person who suffers, or of the person who extinguishes suffering. As
regard to Dependent Origination (Paticcasamuppada) there is no leaning to
the view that there is a self and there is no leaning to the view there is
no self because the middle path is clearly seen, which is to say, the flow
of Dependent Origination is seen. That flow consists of the conditionality
expressed by the phrase "because there is this, that exists; because this is
not, that does not exist." There is nothing which is the self or a person in
any sense, even if you talk about heaven and hell. This view point is
called the real middle way because it doesn't at all lean towards either
eternalism or annihilationism.
As far as Buddhism goes, mind has the option of making right choice and
right effort, which means directing itself on to the path which leads to
freedom from suffering. Suffering is actually the foundation and condition
of faith (with faith arises joy, with joy arises rapture, with rapture
arises tranquility, with tranquilty arises happiness and so on ) If we
didn't suffer we wouldnt run for refuge.
This choice seems to be an act of will but down the path a bit there is a
point after intense practice and study that willing goes no further, and at
that point an uprising of insight and the dropping away of all baggage
occurs in its own good time- we've all read many personal descriptions of
this spontaneous happening or state of Grace which seems to be the opposite
of willful practice. Some fortunates have experienced this who havent
pracrticed at all. From my experience, Buddhism, Christianity, a taste of
Hinduism teach various forms of busyness that help tame and calm mind and
help us to keep raging selfishness in check - all activities based upon the
will - but at a point - heart ,devotion, love of God, love of Guru, the
passionate practice seems to take over our rational mind and then theres no
more will - one can only fling that small thing of mind into some great THY
will be done, and wait in the moment, that great unknowing. Sometimes
patiently, sometimes not. Beyond this point its hard to write about - except
perhaps with the poetry. Everthing learned, everything shared through words
is but the finger pointing - although I like it when people write of their
time when Grace came to them as I get a whiff of the perfume.
There could be a rather simple reason why in in Buddhism "free
will" is taught: suffering could be defined as "condition of
pain, putting one in a deadlock as to effectively disable one
from gaining insight into one's situation". In other words, a
condition where the tamas guna prevails to such an extent that
only "action" will be accepted as relief. "Action" requires
"doership" which in turn requires "free will" and in the
course of events this has to be "corrected" as all doership
results in karma instead of dissolving it. The insight for
proper action (causing relief from suffering) was never
missing but the identification "I am suffering from....",
comparing to others with an assumed "better" fate and similar
thinking patterns ("why me?" is such a one) was causing the
deadlock, preventing insight how to respond to the situation.
From another perspective, spiritual life could be called "the
supreme art of dying while remaining alive" and then,
suffering is the unartful way of (partly) dying - because
insight is missing. With the insight, suffering stops being
From still another perspective, there seems to be the choice
between giving in to what could be called "whims of the mind"
(default) or surrender to one's real nature ("do nothing" or
give up). With the proper insight, it can be seen that
surrender to "whims of the mind" will bring suffering, which
leaves surrender to one's real nature as the only choice which
isn't a choice (as there isn't a comparable alternative) so
there can't be a free will.
If all separation is an illusion, then any further talk about an
illusory self having a "free will" or not would be as useless as arguing
about the probable water temperature of a lake mirage out in the desert.
Just like there's no REAL lake out there to be having a water temperature,
there's also no REAL "separate self" actually present to be having (or even
to be NOT having) a so-called "free will." The illusion of choice
remains only as long as there continues to be any belief in a separate
"doer-of-the-doing." However, there's a paradox: Although there's no
free will as such, it still seems that it's somehow very important to
continue PRETENDING that there is.
Since all manifestation is ultimately illusion, maya, the question isn't whether I
have free will or not in reality. The question for the human being is whether to live
AS IF there is free will, or AS IF there is destiny... or to hold on to neither. Free
will and destiny are names.
Reality has no name.
Jan on experienced physical effects of samadhi:
... Samadhi won't change
mind/body but beginning with factual nonduality (no more "I"
), there are changes regarding memory, the ability to endure
pain, basal metabolism (will decrease quite a bit),
respiration (slow down). Then there are changes like dwindling
feeling of gravity and tiredness (btw very pleasant), to
mention a few and these are a different chapter altogether.
Christiana quoting Daan Dehn:
"I'm talking about
the realization, the total disorientation, the complete amnesia that
comes with realizing that I really don't know who, what or where I am.
Oh yes, dark days, bardo states.......been a hell of a few months........but
coming out of it now......still don't know who I am.....but now it makes me
laugh.....until I remember to be afraid and then descend into virtual
madness and kicking and screaming I WANT TO KNOW....then surrender and
laughter....peace...Now, looking back and still knowing that I'm not yet
quite done with these cycles, I recognize the great courage it takes not to
just run right back to the world of personalities and places and things and
say the heck with this whole thing - although that probably would have
served the same purpose ultimately.......since God is seeking us and our
seeking him is mostly tail chasing.....but tail chasing at least teaches me
what I don't want.
It all doesn't need to make sense, and so gloriously does, Love, Kristi
Just don't ask who created God.
Wouldn't dream of it.
I wouldn't get an answer.
There's nothing that isn't
therefore there's no creation.
-- Love --