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Reading texts by enlightened people

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

I’ve been reading Dogen’s classic book Shobogenzo, and while it is interesting, I was also a little disappointed. At the beginning it goes on at some length about lineages and the silent transmission of the dharma from the Buddha to Mahakasyapa and on down, and it seems quite concerned with proving status. I’m going to continue reading a bit, but it wasn’t a good start. It’s also a big fat tome.

It’s interesting to compare it to other books written by great sages, like the Tao Te Ching or Sri Ramana Maharshi’s Words of Grace or Seng’tsan’s Xin Xin Ming. These are very slim volumes, but they give you a joy when you read them, they do something to you, and you can keep coming back to them, they have a certain dense-ness.

Recently I have been considering alternate ways of reading books. Rather than taking a great tome and filling my brain with it for hours and then watching the knowledge evaporate, im taking more care in what I read, I’m going slower. And I’m being more selective in what I chose to read.

Do you have particular texts that you keep coming back to? What books would you consider to have been written by enlightened people?

lobsterBunksShoshin

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Dense but not for the dense.
    Dip and mix.
    I'll join.

    1. Tao Te Ching
    2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Bulls
    3. https://www.sacred-texts.com/

    ... Soon I will be un-enlightened
    https://www.theschooloflife.com/thebookoflife/

    Bunks
  • BunksBunks Veteran Australia Veteran

    Lately I've been going back to the original teacher.....

    1. In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon (The Teachings of the Buddha) by Bhikkhu Bodhi

    2. Teachings of the Buddha (selected Suttas / Sutras from the Pali Canon and later Mahayana texts)

  • BunksBunks Veteran Australia Veteran

    I just re-read the name of this thread and started to wonder what kind of things an enlightened being would include in a text message?

    Lots of LOL's and ROFL's I suspect.....and some pretty cool emoji's o:) <3 :)

    TreeLuvr87
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `   South Carolina, USA Veteran
    edited January 7

    Particular texts? Moi? I would commend so many that I would not even know where to start. Yet Rumi never read, and I see no poverty in his spirit.

    (Depends what you mean by "enlightened?" Enlightened all the time? Is anyone? Has anyone been?)

    For me, (with my "loose" definition), lots of poets wrote under a spell of enchantment or enlightenment. Rumi, with his illumined zeal, is credited with the impetus for the conversion of Anatolia to Islam from Christianity. Rumi and his Sufism was the bridge. Whether it was Beauty or Truth, it moved Thousands upon Thousands.

    Hafiz and Kabir also come to mind. In fact, Kabir was unlettered, even though his poetry remains in such abundant substance. This is an unequaled achievement, I think, and speaks volumes to his enlightenment.

    Yes, the poets! So many poets!

    Bunkslobsterprimada
  • BunksBunks Veteran Australia Veteran

    I hate poetry @Nirvana (apart from the odd limerick) but I like your post 😁

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @nirvana I also like the Persian poets, Rumi, Hakim Sanai and others. I also keep coming back to Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. The question is, these things speak to you, but are the authors enlightened?

    Often poets have had a little glimpse of something, but they are not truly mystics or enlightened.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Do you have particular texts that you keep coming back to?

    I like to trace books all the way to their roots. I like to use them to sit on as a bum prop. I like reading trees and may start reading to them. I have a fossilised tree I visit ...

    What books would you consider to have been written by enlightened people?

    More interested in enlightened reading ...
    Did I go wrong again? :|

    BunksKerome
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    @Bunks said:
    I hate poetry @Nirvana (apart from the odd limerick) but I like your post 😁

    Just what are you hoping to find?
    To advance you must empty your mind
    There’s no need to search
    Or belong to a church
    Simply strive to be patient and kind

    https://kingoflimericks.com/limericks-about-buddha-and-buddhism/

    BunksNirvana
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `   South Carolina, USA Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    Often poets have had a little glimpse of something, but they are not truly mystics or enlightened.

    I guess it all depends on what your definition of enlightened is…

    I believe there are several currents in BuddhaDharma (especially Zen ones) that don't mystify "Enlightenment" as some ultimate achievement. And then, you have in Sanatana Dharma ideas such as Ramana Maharshi's and those such as ones propounded in the Astavakra Samhita —that suggest that many of us are realized beings already, but unknowingly want to one-up ourselves spiritually. (But the question remains, in such spiritual narcissism might we be losing sight of something that's really important?)

    Also in Christianity, Jesus teaches that the Kingdom is already among us, but people just don't see it.

    I realize, though, that there are cultural differences. For instance, in classical Christianity, you can't rise much higher in the general scheme of things than sainthood. I guess you can be a god or goddess or even an Avatar in Sanatana Dharma, aka Hinduism by some. Yet in BuddhaDharma, nibbana (just being blown away not to be any more) has its concomitant end to the cycle of birth and rebirth. But that is a cultural paradigm not easily appropriated by others.

    _ _ _ _ _ later, a little

    lobsterFosdick
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `   South Carolina, USA Veteran

    someone waxing so hierarchical:

    Often poets have had a little glimpse of something, but they are not truly mystics or enlightened.

    I don’t know how you can say that poets (those that are truly poets) are not mystics nor are they enlightened.

    I mean, as Shelley wrote in his essay, Poets are the Legislators of mankind. They are the Seers. What the ancient Rishis saw informed the Hindu Saints. Poetry is largely about the journey from happenstance to the Truth… Often from Darkness to the Light (Indeed, in the Epics, from Death to Immortality) The ancient Rishis ("Seers") of India —were they not Poets? And are their works not seen as Scripture, as Veda?

    My own take is that since humankind is primarily a hierarchical species, it is very difficult for some not to mystify those with spiritual prowess. But at some point, at least to my mind, it becomes ridiculous to create categories or hierarchies for people who are such rarities in the first place. So why do it? Of course we do it, because we’re human, and human beings create hierarchies wherever they go.

    However, the idea of a Pie-In-The-Sky Transcendent state that certain people ascend into and others are kept out of unless and until they cross a magical-mystical finish line? That just isn’t real. Nor is it the case that any of us remains in the same states of consciousness all the time. I am truly sorry for people who have never had mystical experiences or been caught up into bits of heaven: which thought brings to my mind another point:

    We call these "enlightened people" enlightened because of things they did or said in their enlightened moments. So here's a double-standard perhaps? A poet writes their poetry in their enlightened moments (which might go on for days or weeks on end), but they don't belong to our particular sect. So how could that poet be enlightened —or even a mystic?

    I think the whole point of living is to enjoy it and enjoy the companionship of others. So why let a trumped-up idea get in the way of living your life to its fullest, if this Enlightenment thing is in any way a hang-up for you?

    lobsterFosdickhow
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    I think
    I am
    a sear
    or at least a roast prawn on the barby
    a deer hart of passion

    Tee hee, poetry has many layers and meaning just like alchemy/rasayana and egg yogi/yoke. We have to flex our minds/emotions/bodies so they are the opposite of dogmafried, dharma blocked or cocked up by bald twats in weed suits.

    In other words become the poem

    and now back to the listings:

    learning-how-to-learn
    https://idriesshahfoundation.org/books/learning-how-to-learn/

    incomplete collaborative book
    https://en.m.wikibooks.org/wiki/Buddhist_Philosophy/Introduction

    best of blog eg.
    https://newbuddhist.com/bestof/everything

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    @Kerome

    I get the potential disappointment you can get with some of Dogen's works.
    It's often a strange mix of ethereal insights, inter spaced with his distracting contempt for any of his local religious contemporaries of the day.

    For me, Dogen's works can best be appreciated when sipped in small doses and filtered through a serious sandwiching of shikantaza periods.

    lobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I’ve switched tracks and left the Shobogenzo for a while, and instead I am reading Freedom from the Known by Jiddu Krishnamurti. It’s been very good so far, my best contact to date with JK’s thinking.

    I also came across a site called holybooks.com, where they have lots of out-of-copyright texts available for download.

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