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Serpent and sword: the failure of many

ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer
edited March 1 in Buddhism Today

Sword and serpent: the failure of many the path of the serpent leads to nirvana. It goes from material to spiritual, manifest to unmanifest. It is the path self-realization, and introspection. The path of the sword leads to new Jerusalem. It's hilt is in nirvana, it's tip in samsara. It is the path of divine manifestation.

the problem western religions are of the path of the sword. But here in Buddhism many follow the path of the serpent, they seek to leave samsara and manifestation to arrive at nirvana. This is wrong, for the buddha dwells in both samsara, and nirvana. We must walk in the middle path, between the path of the serpent, and the path of the sword. The enlightened individual dwells in samsara, and nirvana. There must be a union between manifest, and unmanifest. There must be balance, yin, and yang.

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Comments

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    So you're saying that one should try to balance between nirvana and samsara rather than seek only nirvana?

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Jeffrey I thought it was about
    beheading imaginary snakes with a pretend dharma sword o:)

    Other than that - que?

    ShoshinZenSam
  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    @Jeffrey bassicly.

  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    @lobster that's a Hindu practice.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited March 2

    The path of Dungeons and Dragons? Call on teacher Gary Gygax?

    So serious question: is the union between manifest and unmanifest itself manifest? Or unmanifest? Or all at once or none at once?

    ZenSam
  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    @Jeffrey said:
    The path of Dungeons and Dragons? Call on teacher Gary Gygax?

    So serious question: is the union between manifest and unmanifest itself manifest? Or unmanifest? Or all at once or none at once?

    Both also neither. It's hard to understand. But mystical union is a common subject in philosophy, SO YOU BETTER UNDERSTAND!!! ;)

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    The metaphor of the sword makes some sense, at least I think I understand where you're coming from. It seems like you're pointing to something important, but I have a mind more for prose than poetry so I could use a more literal, direct explanation of the path of the serpent. Maybe the idea of the union of the two would make more sense to me too.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @Jeffrey said:
    The path of Dungeons and Dragons? Call on teacher Gary Gygax?

    Roll a wisdom check and add your ability modifier to see if you understand.

    Jeffreyadamcrossley
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    @person said:

    @Jeffrey said:
    The path of Dungeons and Dragons? Call on teacher Gary Gygax?

    Roll a wisdom check and add your ability modifier to see if you understand.

    I can't seem to find my character sheet! What's my wisdom anyhow? Does something bad happen if I roll a "1"?

    person
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited March 2

    @Jeffrey said:

    @person said:

    @Jeffrey said:
    The path of Dungeons and Dragons? Call on teacher Gary Gygax?

    Roll a wisdom check and add your ability modifier to see if you understand.

    I can't seem to find my character sheet! What's my wisdom anyhow? Does something bad happen if I roll a "1"?


    You read the ancient scroll attempting to interpret its hidden meaning, however you didn't sleep well last night and your rations are running low, its depth and complexity are well beyond your mental capacities at the moment. You collapse into a gibbering idiot and are incapacitated for the next 3 turns. ??

    Jeffrey
  • 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 got a 6 and a 1.... does that mean anything or should I roll again....?

    personLionduck
  • 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

    @ZenSam said:
    @Jeffrey bassicly.

    Basically..... typo there..... ;)

    ZenSam
  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    serpent or naga=wisdom
    sword=discernment

    another way of saying use whole brain of intuition and reason to have less stress,more happy.

    lobsterperson
  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    @paulyso said:
    serpent or naga=wisdom
    sword=discernment

    another way of saying use whole brain of intuition and reason to have less stress,more happy.

    I was actually using a metaphor from the Kabbalah, I come from Judaism and know a lot about our mysticism.

    lobster
  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    @ZenSam said:

    @paulyso said:
    serpent or naga=wisdom
    sword=discernment

    another way of saying use whole brain of intuition and reason to have less stress,more happy.

    I was actually using a metaphor from the Kabbalah, I come from Judaism and know a lot about our mysticism.

    that's cool.im unfamiliar with kabbalah.

    looking foward to learning from another zenist.im fake zen.

  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    @paulyso said:

    @ZenSam said:

    @paulyso said:
    serpent or naga=wisdom
    sword=discernment

    another way of saying use whole brain of intuition and reason to have less stress,more happy.

    I was actually using a metaphor from the Kabbalah, I come from Judaism and know a lot about our mysticism.

    that's cool.im unfamiliar with kabbalah.

    looking foward to learning from another zenist.im fake zen.

    Cool, I love zen. (and Kabbalah) =)

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @ZenSam said:
    I was actually using a metaphor from the Kabbalah

    Are metaphors useful? Often they seem just to confuse by saying ‘this is like that’ without applying proper constraints...

  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    @Kerome term would have been a better word, or concept. It is a metaphor in the since there aren't snakes literally going through the path of the snake. I thought I explained it okay it the actual post.

  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer
    edited March 2

    @person said:
    The metaphor of the sword makes some sense, at least I think I understand where you're coming from. It seems like you're pointing to something important, but I have a mind more for prose than poetry so I could use a more literal, direct explanation of the path of the serpent. Maybe the idea of the union of the two would make more sense to me too.

    The path of the serpent is the path a individual makes towards "liberation" from the material, not a bad thing. Taking it to the extreme is. After all, divinity manifests to be expressed. The material world is one level of manifestation. I already delt with the whole union thing in another comment. :)

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited March 2

    After all, divinity manifests to be expressed.

    It do?

    I think I read on a fortune cookie that it was inexpressible?
    Manifestation happens as we actually know.
    'Shit happens', as @Shoshin might say ...

    Which Buddhists follow the unrighteous/wrong serpent path?

    And now back to dung eons and drag ons . . .

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @ZenSam said:

    I was actually using a metaphor from the Kabbalah, I come from Judaism and know a lot about our mysticism.

    Shalom alecheim from a fellow Yid
    ????

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited March 2

    @federica said:
    I got a 6 and a 1.... does that mean anything or should I roll again....?

    I appreciate the effort we love having new players. Ability checks are done on a 20 sided dice, if you don't have a set yet I'm sure someone has extra they can share. ??‍♂️⚔?

    lobster
  • I used to play a lot of Dungeons and Dragons... It’s an amazing channel for one’s creativity.

    As for the original comment, I guess it depends on your understanding of Nirvana. For many Buddhists, there is no Nirvana apart from Samsara.

  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    This is a abomination, runequest is way better than DnD

    adamcrossley
  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    @lobster said:

    After all, divinity manifests to be expressed.

    It do?

    I think I read on a fortune cookie that it was inexpressible?
    Manifestation happens as we actually know.
    'Shit happens', as @Shoshin might say ...

    Which Buddhists follow the unrighteous/wrong serpent path?

    And now back to dung eons and drag ons . . .

    Divinity cannot be expressed without manifestation. And now for some Jew-talk, eyn sof is inexpressible so it thus emanated (in luria's system he also emanated out of divine catharsis) the ten sfiroth after the divine contraction tzimtzim. The sfiroth can then be arranged in a geometrical pattern known as the tree of life. There are many ways up and down the tree, in some traditions there are the way of the sword and the way of the serpent.

    Also the way of the serpent isn't wrong, it's extremes are, and only focusing on it is, you must follow the path between .

  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    Here is one proof that divinity can express itself through manifestation. Must of us believe the ultimate is pantheistic. Well a logical deduction would be that we are expressions of the ultimate. Theres more but I don't want to write a whole book

  • 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

    @person said:

    @federica said:
    I got a 6 and a 1.... does that mean anything or should I roll again....?

    I appreciate the effort we love having new players. Ability checks are done on a 20 sided dice, if you don't have a set yet I'm sure someone has extra they can share. ??‍♂️⚔?

    It's not 'a 20 sided dice'. It's 'a 20 sided die.'
    'Dice' is plural.

    image

    You're welcome...

    personVastmind
  • 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

    @ZenSam said:
    Here is one proof that divinity can express itself through manifestation. Must of us believe the ultimate is pantheistic.

    Speak for yourself, not 'most of us'. I for one, do not subscribe to such an idea..

    Well a logical deduction would be that we are expressions of the ultimate.

    Really? I have never considered myself in that way...

    There's more but I don't want to write a whole book

    There are probably a few of those in print already anyway... ;)

  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    @federica okay who cares if your not pantheistic, this proof is for pantheists not you. There are proofs for you( I do consider pantheism necessary for a buddhist to be a Buddhist but I ain't gonna say you aren't one) and I doubt anyone casually thinks to themselves "ah yes, I am a manifestation of the absolute" but I don't tend to casually think about complex theology. YA STUPID GOY!!! ;)

  • 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've been a student and follower of Buddhism for over 20 years and this is the first time I have ever come across anyone or anything suggesting Buddhists are Pantheists.
    I don't think you'll find many - if any - on this forum, either.

    Watch your mouth, newbie. That's a good way of getting my back up.

    ;)

  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    @federica and what do say about everything else i said??

  • 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'm still trying to understand exactly what your point is, if I'm honest.

  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    Read the original comment again.

  • 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

    Well, as you're using metaphors from the Kabbalah, and you're into Judaic Mysticism, I'm afraid you've lost me; I unlike you, am not a student of either, so it's all Greek to me.
    If you'll pardon the phrase.

  • 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'm sure @Kundo would be most interested though.
    Maybe.

  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    @ federica The main point is Buddhist and I explain the symbolism, the main idea is that both nirvana and Samara are good but only one isn't. The enlightened person seeks balance between them. The Buddha dwells in both

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited March 2

    One interpretation of some parts of the Jewel Ornament of Liberation near the beginning we could say we (us sentient beings) are manifestations of Dharmakaya which is one of the 'bodies of Buddha'.

    It's in the section explaining we all have enough of a connection to the Buddha to practice the path to become a Buddha. So several reasons are given for that. One reason is that we all have dharmakaya radiating to us whether we are a high or low being. Whether we are young or old or good or bad we all have the dharmakaya radiating on us. Another reason given is that we are all of one of the five families of Buddhas so there is another connection. I think it is an interpretation/commentary that we 'are' manifestations of dharmakaya and it is not in the actual text said directly. And that text (JOoL) sometimes things are said in a way so that they are compatible with various different views on emptiness. In other words sometimes things are said so that people with various views can understand and appreciate rather than arguing heavily for one particular perspective. So finding common ground.

    The Jewel Ornament of Liberation is a foundational text in one school of Tibetan Buddhism and it was written by Gampopa who understood both the Sutrayana and Tantra enough so that he could lay this foundational text that is consistent with both Sutrayana and Tantra.

  • 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

    Many roads lead to Rome....

  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    @Jeffrey wow thats interesting.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @ZenSam I think it would do this thread good if you could try to explain in more depth what these things (sword and serpent) mean in Kabbalah and how you see that relating to Buddhism. We haven't had much exposure to Kabbalah so it is a bit confusing.

    On a personal advice note, this is a diverse forum with different views of what Buddhism means so it is helpful if you preface your ideas as being what you think or what certain interpretations mean to you rather than assuming everyone thinks that way.

    Shoshinadamcrossley
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Jeffrey
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @ZenSam said:
    @ federica The main point is Buddhist and I explain the symbolism, the main idea is that both nirvana and Samara are good but only one isn't. The enlightened person seeks balance between them. The Buddha dwells in both

    I did recently come across someone who argued that Nibbana as the Buddha reached it in his enlightenment was only partial, since the Buddha still had a body and could feel old age, sickness and pain as forms of suffering, and that final extinguishment only happens at death.

  • adamcrossleyadamcrossley Veteran
    edited March 3

    @Kerome, isn’t there Nirvana and Parinirvana? And I’ve heard the latter called “Complete Nirvana”. I know very little about this though, just thought it was pertinent.

    And I’d just like to raise the point again, that not all Buddhists make a clear distinction between Nirvana and Samsara like this, as though the former is a mystical far-off place, or a different plane of existence. Living in Samsara in a perfectly integrated, compassionate, skilful way—that could be seen as Nirvana. Is that partially what you’re saying, @ZenSam?

  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    @adamcrossley yeah pretty much, the big thing is many People view samsara as bad and when it's good. Only living in samsara isn't good, but only living in nirvana isn't either. I'm going to make a new post in clearer language so all can understand my point. This thread is now useless. I will answer anymore questions on this thread.

  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    My point was samara is actually good. Living in only samsara is bad but living only in nirvana is also bad. I explained why so look at the old thread for that. Seeking balance between samsara and nirvana is ideal. Living in samsara minfully, peacefully etc is like nirvana. Its a balance. This is different from the way of the sword (see first thread). Because you are lifting yourself unto divinity not the other way round.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited March 3

    I wouldn’t say it is useless, but to come with a spiritual approach drawn from the Kabbalah and to try to apply that to Buddhism in a Buddhist forum doesn’t sound like you’ll immediately get loads of people saying “I know what that’s about” or even “that sounds true to me”.

    While there are some Buddhist streams that say both nirvana and samsara are present in this world, most would say you are in contact with one or the other, depending on how enlightened you happen to be.

    If you say samsara is good, then perhaps you could explain? In Buddhist terminology samsara stands for the suffering of the world, dukkha.

  • adamcrossleyadamcrossley Veteran
    edited March 3

    I think that gets to the heart of it, @Kerome. I also think saying this is the failure of many Buddhists is kind of unfair. A central image in Buddhism, from the beginning right through the Mahayana and Vajrayana, is that of the lotus, which has its roots in the mud (Samsara) but it’s petals in the sunshine (Nirvana). This has always been important to Buddhists.

    Jeffrey
  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    @kerome when i say samsara i use it to mean the cycle of reincarnations and the material manifested world. Please look at the new thread i made. Its in simpler language.

  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    I am simply talking about my beliefs, i could care less if everyone disagreed or agreed.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @ZenSam said:
    I am simply talking about my beliefs, i could care less if everyone disagreed or agreed.

    If you don’t care if people agree with you, then what is your reason for writing to us about this belief? You haven’t asked a question so you are not trying to improve your knowledge, and not caring what others believe means you are not trying to “teach” your vision. It makes me wonder, that’s all...

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