Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

How we awaken

HamsakaHamsaka goosewhispererPolishing the 'just so' Veteran

I've been listening to Eckhart Tolle's first book "The Power of Now" for the first time (I downloaded it from Audible back in 2003 lol). This guy was apparently 'struck' with his awakening suddenly, after years of depression and what sounds like honest modern 'searching' among philosophies and religions. At the age of 29, after a long suicidal depression he woke in the middle of the night and had an epiphany:

I couldn’t live with myself any longer. And in this a question arose without an answer: who is the ‘I’ that cannot live with the self? What is the self? I felt drawn into a void! I didn’t know at the time that what really happened was the mind-made self, with its heaviness, its problems, that lives between the unsatisfying past and the fearful future, collapsed. It dissolved. The next morning I woke up and everything was so peaceful. The peace was there because there was no self. Just a sense of presence or “beingness,” just observing and watching.

Contrast this with the Buddha, who left his family at roughly the same age, sat beneath two powerful meditation masters and then lived as an ascetic for six years, abandoned that and finally received his epiphany. The Buddha is said to have worked very, very VERY hard to attain the purified state of mind with which to receive his awakening.

Apparently, you can work very hard to 'wake up' AND it can happen dramatically without a prescribed system of approach.

Seems like there could be serious issues with the sudden, dramatic version . . . a powerful unitive experience in unskillful hands could be disastrous. I'd wager it HAS been disastrous.

Imagine trying to make sense out of all that.

From our earliest 'religious' roots in shamanism, the leaders and healers used plant extracts to induce unitive experiences. I recently watched a documentary about a financial analyst and a naturopath who went to Peru for a ayahuasca ceremony. Normal everyday middle class educated Westerners. Their filmed experiences and reactions/responses were genuine, they weren't druggie losers trying to escape responsibility. I was intrigued.

It's too easy (and probably wrong in some fundamental way) to deny the veracity of one person's awakening versus your preferred method. I'd like to ponder this with an open mind. Anybody else up for it?

SkeeterkbShoshinStraight_ManToraldrispoptartyagrbookwormInvincible_summerCinorjerEarthninja
«1

Comments

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    Fight club! Never heard of it, oh the black eye; I get it, that's what you get for being insightful with this sight!

    Oops, there is no fight club... Just Hunger Games!

    lol

    Hamsakasova
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @AldrisTorvalds said: The reason that we can awaken is that there's something to awaken to, and that's the case whether teachings are available or not.

    Yes. Yes yes yes. There is something to awaken to . It's taken me ten minutes to write this because I don't think I've 'experienced' this in words before . . . and I keep . . .

    We have the Fight Club, the Hunger Games. You guys blow my mind :) I am going to go outside and find some duck shit to step in :)

    anatamanlobster
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    edited July 2014

    Just thought of something else I'd forgotten to include in the OP. On second thought, it would have been too top heavy, and it deserves its own focus.

    So I listened to "The Power of Now" and parts of a ten hour retreat Tolle did back when people were still making jokes about George W. Bush in office. I'd ALSO recently read some, erm, criticism against Tolle, which gave me a chuckle while listening to Tolle at his retreat. The criticism used a lot of great words like "twaddle" :D and you know, it's not hard to get that impression if you haven't been down THIS garden path.

    Tolle has apparently worked VERY hard to formulate a message about Presence that he can teach.

    But since he GOT THERE in a sudden way, unlike the Buddha who's progress to THERE was steady and merciless, Tolle's 'methology' is . . . I dunno . . . how could it NOT be a 'mishmash' as several critics sneeringly call it. I mean really, poor guy! YOU try and have your 'small self' collapse and encounter Nirvana and then compassionately reach out for your fellows and not just drool and blibber at them?!

    Not sure where or IF I'm going anywhere with this. Perhaps it is why I am being patient with Tolle's APPARENT 'twaddle' and 'mishmash' and 'eternalism' and all that. I'd like to see his critics do a better job unpacking it when THEIR Titanic sinks . . .

    anatamanbookworm
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran
    edited July 2014

    I went for a walk today in the country side with some friends. I really didn't want to go but the wife made me. She put on her stern face and I knew she was not going to take no for an answer.

    On the walk we did we went through some stunning wooded countryside and I thought I saw a small leaf jump across my path, but there was no wind. The baby frog that had appeared as a leaf was a pleasant surprise and when I picked it up to show the others it made all on the walk smile and chatter animatedly. It was a very pleasant walk.

    lobsterHamsakaCinorjer
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    I really didn't want to go but the wife made me.

    Wot no chocolate?
    Flowers and mousse for the Wife Bodhi . . .

    anataman
  • poptartpoptart Veteran Veteran

    @Hamsaka said:

    But since he GOT THERE in a sudden way, unlike the Buddha who's progress to THERE was steady and merciless

    Was it so sudden? As I recall he had lived an unhappy life both in childhood and as a young adult. Who knows what process was going on inside him during that time, or what karmic influences led to his enlightenment? People are not always what they seem.

    The open hostility towards Tolle always baffles me. But I suppose all prophets are pilloried by some.

    Hamsaka
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Awakening or the realisation that one is awake and in a sense always was, is often sudden. The realisation or implications or 'so now what?' process takes longer. That is a bit like moving through the world with the blinkers removed. Tolle and others such as Shakyamuni are open about attainment. Others veil, ignore or say nothing about realisation. They may not care or know it has a name. Unfortunately if not prepared they are likely to teach, start cults, declare their divinity or otherwise behave prematurely. Mature realisation requires mellowing rather than meowing.

    This has to be contrasted with partial, temporary or other 'experiences'.

    One of the strangest things is how the sleeping insist they know your condition, whilst clearly asleep themselves. Sorry assessment not recognized. Be awake in yourself, for and from yourself.

    The spiritual path is walked by sleepers and the awake. Inspirational people may reach out from their dream realm with great qualities that are worthy of emulation, encouragement and accord with 'genuine' awake attributes.

    Mr Cushion any words of wisdom?

    HamsakaEarthninja
  • MeatballMeatball Explorer Explorer
    edited July 2014

    @lobster said:

    "> "

    Eating food like this regularly will super size anyone big time, I think.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    No; if you take food off someone else's plate it has no calories. True dat. Fact. :p .

    anatamanlobsterSarahT
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @poptart said:
    Was it so sudden? As I recall he had lived an unhappy life both in childhood and as a young adult. Who knows what process was going on inside him during that time, or what karmic influences led to his enlightenment? People are not always what they seem.

    The open hostility towards Tolle always baffles me. But I suppose all prophets are pilloried by some.

    Exactly, another 'point' I thought of but didn't end up in the OP. Was it really so sudden for Tolle? He admits he was depressive for YEARS, and his studies focused on philosophies, rather esoteric ones. It's likely he did his exploration of Buddhism, eternalism, modern Hinduism before his awakening, when his 'I' was swallowed whole so dramatically :) .

    Compare Tolle to the Buddha pre-awakening, and the Buddha was throwing himself uninhibitedly into the mystical practices of his time. It wasn't until he stopped doing anything and just sat there that he became Awake.

    Perhaps it is simply the kind of person Gautama was, a detail oriented logical teacher-type that gives the impression that once he saw the Four Signs, it was a years long concentrated effort toward that goal of Enlightenment -- a story he told in retrospect.

    The record the Buddha left of 'how to do what I did' is also detailed to the molecular level LOL not to mention explained in most contexts relevant to reach the peoples in his time.

    Tolle 'unpacks' his revelation differently, and doesn't give an exhaustive list of 'here's what to do' as the Buddha does. I've now listened to one of his retreats and he does not HAVE a technique :D at least in the manner we westerners tend to be familiar with. The Buddha's teachings are far more attuned to the western mind in comparison!

    Thank you for bringing this up Poptart. Any other thoughts about Tolle or the two teachers in comparison? If it weren't for Oprah, I wonder if Tolle would have the audience he does . . . might have succumbed to the naysayers a long time ago if it weren't for her?

    Jeffrey
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    edited July 2014

    @lobster said:

    Awakening or the realisation that one is awake and in a sense always was, is often sudden. The realisation or implications or 'so now what?' process takes longer. That is a bit like moving through the world with the blinkers removed. Tolle and others such as Shakyamuni are open about attainment. Others veil, ignore or say nothing about realisation. They may not care or know it has a name. Unfortunately if not prepared they are likely to teach, start cults, declare their divinity or otherwise behave prematurely. Mature realisation requires mellowing rather than meowing.

    I touched on this briefly, the 'awakening' in the 'wrong hands' has had some historically terrible consequences. There are self-made gurus running around honestly having identified their ego with . . . whatever it is, All That Is. Supposedly the people who looked upon the Ark of the Covenant burst into flames (the guys in the Indiana Jones movie certainly did). Nice metaphor for 'you had better be ready".

    What is 'ready'? Jesus said "Except ye become as little children"; in context to mean humble, open-minded, 'beginner's mind' -- this kind of 'ready', perhaps. In the west, the graduate of years of psychotherapy with a healthy ego, good relationships, high self trust and confidence :D without hubris and a thirst for power -- this kind of ready :) .

    The Awake experience apparently happens whether one is ready or not. Perhaps for Gautama the Buddha he had 'prepared himself' to such a favorable degree that he was able to leave, as his legacy, 'here's how I did it' that has survived 2600 years of human nonsense (among the genius).

  • Woah93Woah93 Veteran Veteran

    @Hamsaka
    Shamanism is the oldest religious practice. The fact that they have to explain their use of nature like Ayahuasca to some western thinkers is very sad indeed... Traditional Shamans tend to give away their life for the good of the people. They experience all kinds of spiritual phenomena. You can think of them as being the punching bag for a realm we don't yet understand, schizophrenia, which by the way, in their culture is thought of as a positive thing and it means involvement of spirits. People with schizophrenia also thrive and recover in those cultures, instead of the drug induced dampening of everything which conflicts with general reality like we do in the west, they view it as a sign that the person must use his life given for a specific goal.

    Anyway, awakening is very easy. Try opening your eyes ;)

    From the time you are awake you can tell, as it will feel as if you are starting your 2nd life, at the age of 0. Rediscovering everything and constant awe and amazement!

    You can also tell by how people respond to you. Some people won't get you/understand you, others will. But you might find that close friends of yours might not be a good match anymore. You experience emotions differently, you don't resist them, and what comes up is accepted as a temporary thing, good or bad. Things like that, insults will be meaningless as people do it out of fear or ignorance, so defensive response starts to disappear. You will, of course also notice the taboo, surrounding sharing the fact that you have awakened, in that perspective society is exactly the same as portrayed in the bible.

    Buddhism gave me a good view on life and convenient practices and teachings of the mind, but the detailed "how to do what i did" did not do it for me.

    Following a path based on your own values with complete disregard of how many others walk it tends to lead you further and further away from the main road. Until you then suddenly realise you have got yourself into some veery weird territory. It is in those weird territories combined with buddhism that I awakened, for walking such a path, requires no judgement, no ego, strong intention, inquisitive nature and openness to new experience. It is these ingredients that spawned awakening for me

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @Woah93, yeah, some time ago I did some reading on shamanism and it makes sense that it is the 'oldest' or mother of all human religions -- and that most shamans used some kind of plant extract to induce visions, or mind altering activities like extreme physical endurance, asceticism, isolation, etc. The Delphic Oracle in ancient Greece is a more 'western' kind of shamanism, kind of like glue sniffing for fun and profit.

    When one goes off on 'their own' it is especially dangerous, as our ego or small self is SO clever and dishonest. This is pretty much why I haven't gone off on my own -- lack of trust in my ability to be honest, plain and simple :)

    The 'awakening visions' people have via ayahusaca or MDMA or whatever are, for all I know, legitimate glimpses. To have a genuine glimpse of Reality is not that difficult or unusual. The relative value of the awakening experience seems to be 'not much, unless . . . '. You give a lot of examples of why that is.

    It seems as though Tolle and the Buddha had a significant thing in common -- they could induce awakening (to various degrees) just by their presence. Who did Buddha hand the flower to? He was suddenly enlightened. Tolle focuses more on 'this' while the Buddha delineated teachings; for Tolle it is the power of 'presence' and 'stillness'. People want to just sit in a room quietly with Tolle. The same for the Indian gurus that are so famous. There is a hugging guru, Amma Amritanandamay, who people get in line to have her hold them in her arms for a few minutes. I'd get in line for that, and would much rather put my grandchildren in HER lap than Santa Claus.

    People tend to 'flock' to someone who puts out some kind of energy, an extreme charisma. Hitler had millions of devout Catholics buy into his homicidal insanity, so that 'energy' can be used for ill as well as good. Jim Jones is another example, and whoever leads the 'Moonies' cult, Fred Phelps (wonder where he went :D ), Warren Jeffs of the FLDS.

    How do you know what is in the heart of a person with such a powerful charisma, if it is for good, ill, or just to line their pockets with money?

    We've developed an instinctual negative response to such charisma out of sheer self defense, I think, which is why we joke if Jesus Christ did return, he'd be locked up in a psych ward or publicly mocked. We have gotten burned and ought to be very wary indeed.

    lobster
  • Woah93Woah93 Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2014

    For me awakening is the zooming out of your view of the world. Instead of narrowing it down to the personal, the possessions, the intention or any other you see from a distance the whole of the experience and how things are connected.

    Well, if you don't take a path because you don't have trust in your ability then where will you get the actual practice or experience to gain that trust :) I don't think it's a straight climb until you are "awakened". So why not enjoy the mistakes so to speak.

    You can't really tell how credible a person is only on the vibes they put out I think. As people can methodically cultivate such energy to manipulate and gain power, I'm pretty sure that if you want to be a leader of some sort this is one of the most important things to posses.

    I suggest looking at what a person is really actually saying. What is he actually promoting and what does he stand for, if those idea's resonate with you then I would say it is trustworthy. People can also genuinely radiate good vibes, just notice when you're particularly happy, people light up around you, when you're in a bad place, you push people away, like attracts like, bad attracts bad, watch out for people who are just generally convincing without being good or bad, really pay attention to what they say.

    I think the difference is subtle in that Hitler had a way of "convincing" people to follow his way's, and the genuinely happy person won't need to do any convincing as you will feel it is the right thing to do, regardless of strong leadership :)

  • octinomosoctinomos Explorer Explorer

    sounds more like he LOST his mind...

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran Veteran

    Here is another story of awakening. It brings to mind the zen koan - "What was your face before you were born?"

    Here it was, this superb scene, brightly shining in the clear air, alone and unsupported, mysteriously suspended in the void, and (and this was the real miracle, the wonder and delight) utterly free of "me", unstained by any observer. Its total presence was my total absence, body and soul. Lighter than air, clearer than glass, altogether released from myself, I was nowhere around.

    Yet in spite of the magical and uncanny quality of this vision, it was no dream, no esoteric revelation. Quite the reverse: it felt like a sudden waking from the sleep of ordinary life, an end to dreaming. It was self-luminous reality for once swept clean of all obscuring mind. It was the revelation, at long last, of the perfectly obvious. It was a lucid moment in a confused life-history. It was a ceasing to ignore something which (since early childhood at any rate) I had always been too busy or too clever to see. It was naked, uncritical attention to what had all along been staring me in the face - my utter facelessness. In short, it was all perfectly simple and plain and straightforward, beyond argument, thought, and words. There arose no questions, no reference beyond the experience itself, but only peace and a quiet joy, and the sensation of having dropped an intolerable burden.

    http://www.headless.org/on-having-no-head.htm

    EarthninjalobsterHamsakaJeffrey
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    I was thinking about awakening and this came to mind:

    Was I awake when I was practicing to be awake when I was driving my daughter home from school?

    Was I also awake when I was walking my dog and she chased a squirrel up the tree and made the little child jump?

    Was I awake when I awoke this morning?

    Will I be awake when I go to sleep?

    What is it to be awake?

    Am I being ridiculous and petty asking such questions?

    Are you awake when you read the crap I post?

    Mettha

  • upekkaupekka Veteran Veteran

    @Hamsaka said:

    apparently 'struck' with his awakening suddenly,

    there is a possibility he and other people mentioned in this thread might be a stream entry or once-returner in their previous life

    Hamsaka
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    That would make sense within the Buddhist cosmology. Perhaps what does persist from one birth to the next is some quality of 'awakening'. I respect these items of Buddhist doctrine, they make up a beautiful kind of cosmology.

    bookworm
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    edited August 2014

    He was probably stream winner or once returner most likely. Like I mentioned before.

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    @Hamsaka said:
    That would make sense within the Buddhist cosmology. Perhaps what does persist from one birth to the next is some quality of 'awakening'. I respect these items of Buddhist doctrine, they make up a beautiful kind of cosmology.

    That's an interesting thought, I wonder about that as well.

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    edited August 2014

    Any enlightenment that doesn't allow you to see Dependent Origination and the 4 Noble Truths isn't real enlightenment in my book.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Very good post from @Cinorjer. Gurus of which ilk the Buddha belonged, should ideally be awake to a greater rather than lesser degree. I have visited quite a few teachers, gurus, monks, holy men, teachers etc. Surprisingly even some of high repute are still z z z . . .

    I have also come across people of no status as gurus, no spiritual pedigree, no interest in Dharma who are awake.

    This is why it is important to know and head in a direction, to enter a beneficial raft such as Dharma.

    Most people are hypocrites, they wish for entertainment and pleasant dreams. They wish to be roused gently, not have cold water thrown in their face . . .

    What is needed is insight into our true nature. What qualities does real being have? Wisdom and compassion? Of course.

    We always know where the exit from samsara and dream world is . . . or part of us does . . .

    CinorjerhowHamsaka
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    edited August 2014

    @Cinorjer and @Lobster, thank you very much, I hadn't thought about 'what is a guru' and 'what is a Buddha', or the comparison. It seems silly for us, supposedly not nearly as realized as they are, to be judging their relative value -- or not silly, if I consider in a universe one atoms width away where I share that 'awakening' already . . .

    I've spent a lot of time with both The Power of Now and his second book, which goes a lot more into what Cinorger said:

    he is trying to put his experience into words people in the secular world will listen to, and some people are listening and it's helping them in their lives.

    It is a good book, for sure, and has very useful wisdom in it -- and the specific teachings tell a lot about the general 'student' of Tolle. He attempts to 'explain' what is behind women's experiences of premenstrual syndrome, and calls people otherwise called sociopathic as having 'particularly dense pain bodies". So he's gone off on some weird little explanations of his own, aimed at his audience, and it's clear he is up to his eyeballs with people who are barely beginning the 'journey' as it were.

    What is it in our awareness that judges his (or any guru) teachings as those of a mere guru rather than the teachings of a Buddha?

    I'm with you two, I agree with the distinctions you make, in other words I sense the truth. So what is doing the sensing, eh? What is comparing the guru and the Buddha?

    Cinorjer
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran
    edited August 2014

    @Hamsaka I love Eckhardt Tolle but I don't t> @Cinorjer said:

    What's the difference between a Guru and a Buddha?

    The Gurus of the world have always fascinated me. How many Gurus, both East and Western versions, have come and gone in just the past century? Some held themselves up as Avatars: Maitreya or Messiah or whatever. Some claim only that they achieved a new way of thinking and looking at the world, something deep and profound and outside normal human experience. In every case, they preach or lecture or write books, collect a few disciples or draw an audience, and in the end...

    People listen, and applaud, and are distracted from their boring lives for a while, and eventually the next Guru catches their attention. In the meantime, the seekers manage to live their lives as everyone does, sometimes struggling and occasionally finding moments of joy and satisfaction.

    You see, none of the people who listen to the Guru believe for one moment they can become whatever that Guru is or claims to be. They can live in the Now for a year and be no closer to inner peace. Oprah, even she finds Tolle's teachings helpful, is not going to give away her fortune and go sit on a park bench for a year. The Guru, after his story is stripped down, drastically changed his life and began all over again, and that's too high a price for people.

    "Now" is over-rated. A sadist or rapist is totally focused on the "now" as he watches his victim suffering. "Now" is important, but it isn't everything. So you've learned to focus on the present moment. So what now? All I'm doing is seeing the world with a clear mind. My world is still screwed up. You look to the Guru to see why this isn't enough, and find out this is it.

    The difference between a Guru and a Buddha is a Buddha teaches and lives the Dharma. Sometimes that teaching is only through living it, for whatever example and help you can give. The Dharma is a roadmap that seeks to include every part of your life. Just when you think that you've reached some destination, you discover it's only peeled back another layer of onion and now the real work begins. So you learn to live in the "Now"? Good for you. Now cultivate Metta to go along with that clear mind and see what happens.

    I've nothing against Tolle. The interviews and such I read seem to indicate he is trying to put his experience into words people in the secular world will listen to, and some people are listening and it's helping them in their lives. But you can't be another Tolle. You can be another Buddha.

    
    

    That seems a sweeping generalization(s) @Cinorjer. The role of the guru is to point out the method for overcoming attachment to peace, pleasure, and lifetime. Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism follows that and I assume the other Tibetan schools. An entire chapter of the Jewel Ornament of Liberation (Kagyu text) discusses the guru. So it is indeed sectarian to criticize the establishment of gurus though in this case I understand that a few bad apples (gurus) spoil the bunch, though that can be overcome by scrutinizing your guru. It is as sectarian as if I were to poo poo the use of koans.

  • upekkaupekka Veteran Veteran

    @Cinorjer said:

    The Dharma is a roadmap that seeks to include every part of your life. Just when you think that you've reached some destination, you discover it's only peeled back another layer of onion and now the real work begins.

    no one can say Tolle or others are going back to their old life and not working on real work

    anybody can see their outside, like they go to same work as before, continuing the social commitments etc. but no one can see their mental state when they attending their usual work as before

    it is said that until one becomes Non-returner one can live a lay life

    if one becomes an Arahant when in one's lay life one has to enter into Ordination or otherwise one would live only 7 days in a lay life as an Arahant

    there are reasons for these 7 days limitation

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    My 'take' on Cinorjer's post was more to note the distinction and recognize gurus are, like you said @Jeffrey, helpful and necessary for us -- thought NOT a buddha (awakened one) in themselves.

    Tolle seems to regard himself as enlightened, and Tolle himself uses the term 'enlightened' in a more generous and less formal way than is done in Buddhism. I listen to Tolle with an 'ear' for his use of language, but I listen to all teachers with that 'ear' for how they use certain words. It's been important to me to learn what there is to learn about Tolle's earlier life before his 'awakening' moment, and then to learn what he's done since. I am very interested in knowing what he's doing with the money he makes that is not necessary to maintain his teaching schedule, video production, travel expenses, time, and so forth. So far, I haven't found anything.

    He does a monthly "Tolle TV" thing you can pay $99 US for a year's subscription. Oh, really? I can't help but compare that with the Buddist teachers (monks and laypersons) who provide free audio downloads or streaming. I put monks in a different class as it is against precepts for them to make or handle money, so of course much of their writings are free or if there is a charge, it goes to suppport the monastery.

    In the current culture, if you don't pay out the nose for something, you didn't GET anything worthwhile. I'm speaking to those who seem to gather around people like Tolle and Adyashanti, or those who spend tens of thousands of dollars on retreat after retreat, book after book.

  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran Veteran

    I didn't mean to disparage Tolle or the others like him. I only tried to point out the difference between what they teach and the Dharma. Yes, they both use the same language of enlightenment, to one degree or another. It's just lacking the fullness of the Dharma, the 8-fold path and Noble Truths, in my opinion.

    Hamsaka
  • upekkaupekka Veteran Veteran
    edited August 2014

    first 'awakening' by a lay person and first 'awakening' by an Ordained person is two different things

    Ordained person already given up (Let Go) of lay life and lives only with the offering of food, clothes, medicine and a living place (present days monasteries and earlier days forests and caves)

    at 'first awakening' one sees how one has been deluding with self view up to that moment

    this is what Lord Buddha called getting the Right View or Stream entry

    reading a book written by some one who 'suddenly awaken' from the delusion of self-view without prier knowing Buddha's Teaching

    or

    listening to a talk given by someone who suddenly awaken from the delusion of self-view without prier knowing of Buddha's Teaching

    would not help 'Many of us' to have that experience suddenly, because our mind set is not such sharp

    but

    there may be 'Some - a very few' would get help from listening to such talks or reading such books

    'many of us' have to calm our mind (tranquil meditation) and investigate the Teaching with such a clam mind (wisdom/insight meditation) using our own six sense bases and get the gradual awakening

    then again it is the skillfulness of the person who has the 'first awakening' decides whether to continue the lay life and walk the path slowly

    (lay person has to earn a living, they are not offered food, clothes, medicine and a place to live but Dhamma should be delivered free of Charge

    however, there is cost involve in printing books and conducting retreats)

    or

    Ordained and walk the path quickly with the gained Right View to reach Full Enlightenment (liberation of all suffering/unsatisfactoriness/Dukka)

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Waking up and staying awake is a constant. Many tactical methods. For example:
    en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hua_Tou

    The willingness and discipline has to be in place. Formal meditation is an example or template of constant awareness that we implement eventually in our every day being, with experience and maturing quite naturally.

    The experience 'in the head' does not mean we are physically and emotionally enlightened. The body and the emotions can have strong urges, as can our habitual ignorance. Do we continue? Each person has to find out how enlightened they wish to be.

    _The Old Woman’s Rice Cakes

    Deshan Xuanjian was a great scholar of the Diamond Sutra, but he was not a Chan practitioner. He was traveling south in search of the dharma, carrying his commentaries on the Diamond Sutra with him. In the course of his travels he came across an old woman on the roadside selling tea and rice cakes. He asked her, "Who are you?"
    She responded, "I am an old woman selling rice cakes." When he asked if he could buy some refreshments from her, she inquired, "Venerable priest, what are you carrying in your bag?"
    He said, "I am a scholar of the Diamond Sutra, and here I have all my notes and commentaries."
    Hearing this, the old woman said, "I have heard that, according to the Diamond Sutra, past mind is ungraspable, present mind is ungraspable, and future mind is ungraspable. So where is the mind that you wish to refresh with rice cakes, oh scholar? If you can answer this, you may buy a rice cake from me. If not, you’ll have to go elsewhere for refreshment.”
    Deshan was unable to reply. The old woman then directed him to a Chan master nearby.
    Deshan burned all his notes and commentaries the next day.
    _

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @Cinorjer said:
    I didn't mean to disparage Tolle or the others like him. I only tried to point out the difference between what they teach and the Dharma. Yes, they both use the same language of enlightenment, to one degree or another. It's just lacking the fullness of the Dharma, the 8-fold path and Noble Truths, in my opinion.

    This 'question' was why I started this thread. I didn't have the clarity to know that at the time, it occurred to me reading your post. What is the difference between what is taught by what I'll call 'well respected and time tested gurus' like Tolle, those well known Indian gurus I can never remember the names of, and the Buddha's teaching, which I too regard as the Dharma (most comprehensive).

    Tolle's awakening (as described in Power of Now) and his last book A New Earth are different, in that A New Earth is directly addressing the common pitfalls of 'selfing' and generalized delusion that plagues us as human beings. A lot of what Tolle teaches in the second book is so basic it ought to be part of parenting children.

    What though does Tolle teach that in any way compares to the Dharma? I can't say it is 'less' than the Dharma, now that I know so much more about what he DOES teach -- besides the fact that I can't say I comprehend the entire Dharma enough to make the comparison. For all I can tell, with whatever it is I am telling from, Tolle's teachings are a subset within the greater set of the Dharma taught by the Buddha. Tolle uses similar terms to 'ours' but uses others in his own way.

    It's an ongoing exploration, and the parallels between the Buddha's teachings and Tolle's are strong, illuminating the Dharma in ways for me I hadn't had done before.

  • poptartpoptart Veteran Veteran

    Quibbling about gurus and Buddhas is a bit like arguing whether to use an ordinance survey map or satnav. As long as you reach your destination, it doesn't matter.

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    The reading and listening I've done with Tolle are a little more reassuring. Without using the term 'mindfulness' (I wonder how careful he's been to avoid using that word?) he describes the major techniques and it is well integrated in his teachings, in general. Many teachings are quite similar, if not the same, as the Buddhist teachings I've read or listened to especially from western teachers, and that is I believe because the concepts and language are the same. I may sound like I'm defending Tolle, you may sound like you are hard on him -- but I'm with you in being 'hard' on anyone who puts these teachings in pretty packages and markets them or insists they have a new 'angle'.

    I'm surprised that I haven't tossed Tolle out to join my other tossers :D . Honestly surprised.

    If I was suspicious at all he was all about 'peace and happiness, baby' I'd have ignored him from then out.

    I can accept teachings from imperfect teachers with confidence that I can discern between the good and the baloney. I also find certain teachers more helpful at certain times of my life and then not at others.

    There IS a 'just wake up!" component to the Dharma, that's the thing. Whether Tolle considers this the be all end all "arrival" doesn't matter to me, because I know it is not 'all'. I can't discern that he does believe that anyway, apparently for several years after his mid-night 'awakening' he continued with his life exactly as it was, nothing changed at all. It was only when this relief and 'bliss' began to wear thin that he renounced his life. It was years before (so he says) that he had any idea what had happened to him. He needed to study the wisdom traditions in order to put it in any kind of context. Sounds pretty reasonable and 'normal' human development to me :) .

    I do appreciate any and all challenges or the like, the Dharma is implacable and what is not the Dharma is not worth my time and effort.

    ToraldrisCinorjer
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    It was years before (so he says) that he had any idea what had happened to him. He needed to study the wisdom traditions in order to put it in any kind of context. Sounds pretty reasonable and 'normal' human development to me.

    Breaking apart and reassembling the context in alchemy, is known as 'coagulate and dissolve'. In dharma we have the context of the three jewels to solidify around and eventually gain mature independence from. Some never wish to free themselves from a form because they have the maturity to recognise the need for reminders, affirmation, good company, alignment etc.

    A writer or teacher may have a useful function for us. Ideally we will go to our limits and beyond those of the teacher . . .

    The Buddha did this with his teachers. However premature independence is the mark of the deluded, visionary and frankly 'spiritually arrogant'. Humility before the wisdom of people with years of study, practice and even on occasion enlightenment is something we can apply. Eventually we have the humility to learn from ants, children and a simple cushion [yes I really iz proud of my humility] . . .

    The important thing is we have to move from 'know it all' to 'knowing it in all'.

    That be my plan.

    :buck: .

    CinorjerHamsaka
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @poptart said:

    I don't agree that "The power of now" was well-written since it contained too much new-age style jargon, too many words starting with capital letters which are never properly explained.

  • poptartpoptart Veteran Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I don't agree that "The power of now" was well-written since it contained too much new-age style jargon, too many words starting with capital letters which are never properly explained.

    What do you mean by "new-age style jargon"? I don't remember words starting with capital letters which are never properly explained. Perhaps you could provide examples.

  • mettanandomettanando Veteran Veteran

    As a general rule I do not think we need ' Dhamma plus ' anything.
    There are books and teachers whose content and/or teachings are clearly derived from the Buddha. They are more than enough for twenty lifetimes.

    lobster
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited August 2014

    @poptart said:
    What do you mean by "new-age style jargon"? I don't remember words starting with capital letters which are never properly explained. Perhaps you could provide examples.

    For example:
    "Truth"
    "Now"
    I'm sure there are others but it's been a while since I read the book.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @mettanando said:
    As a general rule I do not think we need ' Dhamma plus ' anything.
    There are books and teachers whose content and/or teachings are clearly derived from the Buddha. They are more than enough for twenty lifetimes.

    I also think there are different degrees of awakening. Comparing Tolles awakening to the Buddha's awakening is IMO a bit tenuous.

    lobsteranatamanHamsakaupekka
  • poptartpoptart Veteran Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I'm sure there are others but it's been a while since I read the book.

    What is it about Truth and Now that you need explained?
    I'm sorry Spiny, but I find your reasoning a bit suspect.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @poptart said:
    I'm sorry Spiny, but I find your reasoning a bit suspect.

    Tolle uses these words in rather mysterious and pseudo-mystical way but doesn't explain what they actually mean.
    "Now" seems to be something more than just experiencing the present but it's far from clear what.
    And what on earth does "Truth" mean? It's about as meaningful as "God".

    What do you think they mean?

    Cinorjer
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I often capitalise words if I need to make a distinction between something 'ordinary' and something 'Dhammic' for example suffering and Suffering, ignorance and Ignorance, compassion and Compassion... the ones with capitals at the beginning denote something specific and scriptural, defined by Dhammic teaching. The ones with lower-case initials are terms I would use to denote ordinary, everyday situations or circumstances....Unless context is specified, @SpinyNorman, I would suggest this is Eckhart Tolle's motive as well. It would help to quote short passages, or expand on what you mean.

    lobsterHamsaka
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @federica said:

    SpinyNorman, I would suggest this is Eckhart Tolle's motive as well. It would help to quote short passages, or expand on what you mean.

    I just mean that Tolle uses made-up jargony words without clearly explaining them. I think this is a bad habit in any context.

    Cinorjer
  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran
    edited August 2014

    I don't really recall made-up jargony words when I read Tolle (though his concept of the "pain-body" is a new one), and I've read three of his books (and listened to some lectures besides). He uses "Presence" a lot, alternatively "Stillness" or "Being", but he does explain these as you continue reading. Really he doesn't talk about much else; everything ties back to what I'd recognize as cultivating "mindfulness". In Buddhism I think everything ties back to the Four Noble Truths, so I wouldn't necessarily consider Tolle to be teacher of Buddhist doctrine. Still I've found what he does teach to be quite recognizable (in my own experience). There were times reading the Power of Now, back in the day, when I had moments of stunned silence and deep recognition of something that I couldn't express in words. He's definitely speaking from that place.

    I think he can sound superficially new-agey if you don't read much from him, or perhaps it only really hits home when you hear him speak for a couple of hours. He's definitely no Deepak Chopra. He might invoke Christian concepts along with Buddhist concepts, but he doesn't sound insane going on about quantum theory. ;)  

    Hamsaka
Sign In or Register to comment.