Have you noticed that there is a temptation to approach the proces of enlightenment as a mechanic? To take a sutra from here or there, to distill a lesson from it, to try to apply that lesson to your internal state, and then to see each of those as a step on a long ladder towards the goal? It feels like enlightenment by tinkering, by following some technical manual for how the mind should look on the inside.
Its quite a modern way of thinking, to even assume that enlightenment can be reduced to a process, or that the mind can be tinkered with by training it. But the noble eightfold path does seem to imply that something of the sort is possible...
Do you do this, or do you take an entirely other approach to sutra’s?
I've studied Buddhist texts, and Hindu texts, and Pagan texts.
Sometimes I find myself looking for short-cuts. Sometimes I find myself thinking that somebody else has the answer.
Mostly I seem to do best when I trust my instincts, and have some confidence in my own insights.
I don't know of any other way.
Every spiritual path, including Sufism, New Wagers (like new agers but they make a living from it), Favours and flavours of Dharma, Mystical Judaism, Gnostic Christianity, Church of The Spaghetti Monster ... and life experience humanism. All of it. All tinkering.
... And [spoiler alert] none of it will lead to enlightenment unless we change to an enlightened template and tinkered being. When we are changing and refining (stream entrant in Buddhism) sooner or later we began to understand the mechanics behind the machinations of the mind ...
Perhaps not all quite similar tinkering though. The sufi’s talk a lot about love, the kabbalists like their diagrams and mystical signs, while the Church of the Spaghetti Monster enjoy the ridiculous. It’s only the Buddhists who actually go in for mind training as a species of tinkering.
All of it seems to rely on our minds being under constant observation, that as we make changes within so new aspects of enlightenment come to visit us. I’m not so sure if I believe to quite that extent in the pervasive presence of gods and buddha’s.
Freedom from stress comes in several forms, I find it interesting to observe how the mind creates stress and tension from very minor things sometimes. It is an interesting topic to meditate on.
I don't know if that's a modern development. Practicing with traditional Asian Buddhists that seems to be the way many of them do it too.
I'm thinking maybe certain schools of Zen and the Nyigma and Kagyu schools of TB maybe go against that with an "all in" approach rather than something incremental.
With the wording I was implying that certain modern advances in process-based thinking could apply here as well. I suppose I could have made that clearer
Osho also goes against it, where he says that enlightenment is something that comes from beyond the mind. In a way he has some similarities with Zen.