Saturday, 02/17/01 Highlights
From Siddhartha, A New Translation, by Sherab Chodzin Kohn, Shambala, 2000
Thanks again, Christiana.
Now he looked at people differently than he had before--less cleverly,
with less pride, yet more warmly, with more curiosity and caring. When he
took travelers of the usual kind across the river, child people--traders,
warriors, women--these people no longer seemed alien to him, as they once
had. He understood them, he shared their life, a life guided not by ideas and
insights but only by impulses and desires. He felt as they did. Although he
was nearer to perfection and bore his last wound, it nevertheless seemed to
him that these people were his brothers. Their vanities, appetites, and
absurd traits had lost their absurdity for him. These traits had become
comprehensible, lovable; he even experienced them as worthy of respect. The
blind love of a mother for her child, the ignorant, blind pride of a
conceited father over his only little son, the raw hunger of vain, young
women for jewelry and the admiring looks of men--all these impulses,! all
these childish qualities, all these simple and foolish but incredibly
powerful, intensely vivid, forcefully dominant impulses and cravings were no
longer childishness for Siddhartha. He saw that people lived for them,
achieve an endless amount for them, travel, wage war, suffer, and persevere
unendingly for them. And he could love them for that. He saw life, that which
is living, the indestructible essence, Brahman, in all of their passions, in
each of their deeds. These people were worthy of love and admiration in their
blind loyalty, in their blind strength and tenacity. There was nothing they
lacked. The wise man and thinker had nothing over them except one trifle, one
little tiny thing: the awareness, the conscious idea, of the unity of all
life. And Siddhartha even doubted many a time that this knowledge, this idea,
was so very valuable--was it not perhaps an example of the childishness of
the think people, the intellectual version of the child people? The people of
! the world were the equals of the sages in all else, were often far superior
to them, just as animals are often superior to human beings in their tough,
unerring accomplishment of the necessary.
There slowly bloomed and ripened in Siddhartha the realization and
knowledge of what wisdom, the object of his long quest, really was. It was
nothing more than a readiness of the soul, a mysterious knack: the ability at
every moment in the midst of life to think the thought of unity, to feel and
Re: Siddhartha Gautama was lucky
Siddhartha Gautama was lucky. He was lucky he only saw a sick man and
a dying man.
What if he had seen a child dying of AIDS? What if he had seen an
inconsolable child with 3rd degree burns? What if he was haunted by
all those pleading eyes following him in the children's wards? What
if he had witnessed the wretched condition of street children in
Would he have followed the path to Nirvana? Or would his anger have
exploded [with enough power to destroy a thousand worlds] at seeing
the dark side of God?
I am sure there is an explanation for all this! In the mean time let
me bury my head in the sand of mystical experiences. Hey! I did not
create this world! Enlightenment for the luckiest and let the devil
take the hindmost, right?
Don't get me wrong ... this a cry for help, for an explanation. It is
just that my ego likes to dramatize everything. [And I thought that I
had got rid of that idiot!]
At 17.02.01-09:32 AM, you wrote:
>Then he saw that he could not change the world, and he could notSeeker:
>change himself. Giving up utterly, he sat under a tree and "he"
>dropped away. The self that angered, the self that suffered, the
>self that experienced pleasure, that self dropped away.
I understand and agree with all that you say. If I were to examine my life
only I would say that God is fantastic!
However, what I do not understand is the suffering of innocent children who
die young. What purpose does it serve? Surely everything has a purpose? And
what about the genocides? What about Hitler's gas chambers? What is the
meaning and purpose for all that?
Of course, If I do not find the answers, I will give up and concentrate on my
I am a divided person. Even if I am extraordinarily integrated, I am
somewhere a divided man. Somewhere there is division that is not being
resolved. That division is the source of not only the evils you mention, but
of all good and all action.
All the ways in which I am divided have been written about in popular
psychology books and addressed by all spiritual systems.
Division within a person can be so painful that any solution is accepted,
even the killing of portions of humanity, if that action is seen to somehow
resolve the division. In a world where there is nothing but divisions and
solutions to resolving them, anything can serve as a solution. The death
penalty, suicide, nonduality. Life may be called the creation of resolutions
-- not one of which is acceptable -- to division.
As a seeker, I need to seek the ultimate division, the most minute barely
existing division, not for the purpose of resolving it, but for the purpose
of seeing it.
In moving toward that ultimate division or duality, it is possible to begin
to make sense of all the craziness that existence is. And somewhere in that
journey toward the ultimate division, in a gesture that is neither a gesture
nor not a gesture, in a way that is neither a way nor not a way, in a
movement that is neither a movement nor not a movement, one slips into an
interval, a space within that division, which is known by clarity, plainness,
homogeneity, and which has been called the enlightenment, nirvana, the
nondual moment, and all sorts of crazy things. It cannot be experienced or
The question to ask, for me, is not what the meaning and purpose of
extraordinary suffering is, but, What is the ultimate division that I harbour
and what are its manifold expressions and how are they reflected in the
universe? Before trying to explain what I see, I need to see what I see.
Some think that the only mechanism God can use to keep this universe
together without flying apart is "Randomness" through all the various
kinds of Probability Distributions. So the bad things you see are
the results of that which holds us together. So are the good ones.
Is that a purpose or what?
This may not sound satisfactory to you, and I understand if you don't
like it. It has been said that the key issue is identity. If you
identify exclusively with the particular, you will hate it.
The division will merely reflect conditioning and in my case, that was
regarding the "compromise" issue. When not alone, there is a kind of
unwritten law, to adopt one's behavior to those, stating to suffer from it.
So when in a train, the windows have to be closed if a passenger is
complaining from draft - irrespective of temperature... When walking, one has
to slow down to the speed of the slowest one... When driving the car, the
issue of the open roof, the speed when taking curves... Etc. etc. etc.
Summarizing, two or more is to compromise as long as that condition of two
That conditioning is "the" conditioning that comes with the "deal" called
sentient life: when One, there is no compromise, no pain, no need whatsoever,
only joy... Without going into specifics, that is the "field" of what could
be called "extreme" nondualism.
Love, compassion, harmony, pain, suffering, these are based in sense
perception and the root is the awareness of physical sensations and the
aroused emotions caused by these sensations. When the physical sensations
have been "burned out" (the art of dying smart, the mind-body remaining
alive), the corresponding emotions (love, compassion, harmony, pain,
suffering etc.) no longer arise...
They have become concepts - mere words from the dictionary, no longer
connected to a seeming sense of logic, dictated by the former sense
perception - unless there has been a "practice" for these emotions, resulting
in the formation of behavioral habits. But without these habits, depending on
one's sense of humor, "world" suddenly becomes a kind of "Dexter's
laboratory" or "Cartoon Network" in general... That is the unexpected
"lighter side" of non-devotional, modern society regarding "extreme"
It serves the purpose of 'the way things are'. That is the one great
purpose! This moment, the way things are, is good.
That is not to ignore the suffering of innocent children who die
young, but let me ask you this: Other than "raging about it," what
are you doing about it? Have you donated your entire life savings to
help prevent children from dying young? Have you devoted every last
minute of your life remaining to solve it?
If not, then the 'raging' against it has accomplished exactly one
thing: Added to the total amount of suffering in the world by one
> Surely everything has a purpose?Only if looking for one. If you don't look for purposes, you would
see that essentially everything is chaos... but not in a 'bad way'.
What is, right now, is the way things 'should be'. But you have to
investigate who 'you' are first to see this. Investigate the
> And what about the genocides? What about Hitler's gas chambers?Over, in the past, in memory. Since you ask about purposes, what
purpose does it serve, exactly, to keep wondering and thinking about
Hitler and such?
> What is the meaning and purpose for all that?First, answer this question: Who is the person thinking of
themselves as a "seeker," wondering about this?
If you find out who you are (or IF you are), I promise the question
will be answered to your satisfaction.
> Of course, If I do not find the answers, I will give up andPlease do so. You will not find the answers in external
> concentrate on my own enlightenment!
things, "negative" or "positive." You might as well ask, "What is
the purpose of good things happening?" The same purpose as bad
things... because things so happened that way.
> Why call it dramatizing - it could also be a sign of increasingWell this is interesting, given that almost nobody on the list talks
> sensitiveness and that is encouraging. And forget those notions
> about ego and self: that will only add to the mental burden,
> called "conditioning" and there has to be too much of that
> already :)
about "I" and "No-I" and of the importance of the sense of "I" being
GONE (capitalization here is yours) more often than Jan B. does :-)
A casual observer, might even get the idea that you have an obsession
with the concept that "the I must be gone" (anatman).
And talking about the "I" (and lack of it) so often, it makes me
wonder (not necessarily in your case, but in general):
Could it be that the best kept secret hiding place of the "I" might
be its own idea of nonexistence?
It could be 'argued' (most effectively) that compassion is by no
means an emotion (in the same category with sadness, anger,
happiness, etc). It could be called a spontaneous stream of action,
or it could be said that caring itself is 'all there is'.
There is a common definition of "compassion" that is really not
compassion, but another ego-continuation strategy. One glaring
example just came up: "Raging against the injustices." All this does
is add to suffering... the one who rages suffers (and there is
a 'guilty pleasure' under the suffering), and nothing gets done at
all. Might as well take a nap, it's much more helpful than "raging
Research results are suggesting otherwise: with sensory deprivation
on the increase, compassion is decreasing. It is a feat of the
emotional brain, for instance reptiles are lacking in compassion
entirely whereas it can be shown to present in many, if not all mammals.
At 18.02.01-02:21 AM, Omkara wrote:
>That is not to ignore the suffering of innocent children who dieSeeker:
>young, but let me ask you this: Other than "raging about it," what
>are you doing about it? Have you donated your entire life savings to
>help prevent children from dying young? Have you devoted every last
>minute of your life remaining to solve it?
It is not as simple as that. What about 'duty'? My life is not my own, my
savings are not my own. About forty families depend on my work and savings.
In this 'non-duality' simplification where does 'duty' to dependants fit
in? Or is it okay to be selfish and think only of my own soul before others
stomachs because its all an illusion anyway?
In Africa anyone who is remotely related to you and has no job is dependant
on you. Here the unemployment rate is so high that it cannot be calculated.
If by some miracle you can start and maintain a business which employs
people, these employees become almost like your dependants! Only until
corruption and bad governance force you to file for bankruptcy. Sounds like
fun doesn't it?
You are in a unique position to transcend your circumstances. Those
in other "wealthier" areas tend to be lazy, there you are probably
facing challenges most others couldn't even dream of.
To transcend, just see that the 'raging' isn't helping you (it's
hurting you, in fact), and it isn't helping anyone else. Don't try
to stop the feelings of rage (that the world is the way it is), but
realize you are doing everything one person can do with limited means.
The "raging against the injustice" is in fact a worse problem than
the injustice itself, because it is adding to suffering, and creates
yet one more suffering being (you). Look into this. Instead of
looking for solutions, take a good look at the problem.
The problem is not the circumstances, but with your thoughts in
disarray from their effects, your ability to help is greatly
reduced. Who can help in a state of emotional turmoil? Peace starts
right here, right now with you. You can start the