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Where does a spiritual journey end

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran
edited April 10 in General Banter

I asked a friend today, what is the end of your spiritual journey? She said, to continue to transform and ascend until you are a planet or a star. 🧐 I tried hard (and succeeded) in not laughing.

But there are some interesting thoughts connected to this. New religious movements will find different carrots to dangle in front of potential followers, and always there is this trade off where the priests of the new movement will encourage you to think of a potential reward in the future in return for favours in the here and now.

Often these things are made to seem very unbalanced, such as everlasting bliss in heaven in return for a brief baptism and a few short prayers here on Earth. But what causes you to believe that such things are possible, where is the root of this idea in our experience of this world? Often when you examine things in this way, you find it is an idea that has been handed to you by other people.

So my friend, I knew she was into some off-the-beaten-track alternative ideas, involving a rather ditzy American online spiritual teacher, but I didn’t know she was this much of a new-age person... it was funny.

adamcrossleyRen_in_blackopiumpoetry
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Comments

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    I like the Pure Land practice. All we need to do is sincerely chant Namo Amituofo 10 times and we’ll be reborn in the Pure Land where enlightenment is guaranteed 🙏🙏🙏

    lobsterKeromeopiumpoetry
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Where does a spiritual journey end

    ... and more importantly, where does it begin?

    howShoshinFosdick
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    One well known Buddha refused to answer that question since he said this question did not actually pertain to suffering's cessation.
    but...
    Is there a Buddhist meditation that does not illuminate that spiritual beginnings and their endings, have only this one fleeting moment to ever share?

    lobsterShoshin
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    It ends the end of this breath?

    Shoshinopiumpoetry
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @person said:
    Practically speaking, I don't think it ever really does.

    I came across this website, spiritual teachers.org which is run by a man named Shawn Nevins. On it he provides a listing of spiritual teachers of his experience... the man has over the years become an aficionado of spiritual teachers. I wouldn’t want that to happen to me, i am much more interested in retaining the beginners mind without becoming an expert on such a range.

    It seems to me, if you have a spiritual practice that never ends, you want it to slowly deepen over time, you don’t want to wander from teacher to teacher looking for a master to fulfill you. I am sure there are other styles of never-ending spiritual journeys. I think it was Osho who called the relationship between a master and a disciple a love-affair, so if you can find one that suits you that is a great blessing.

    person
  • Ren_in_blackRen_in_black Georgia Explorer

    Any chance she was referring to the fact that we're made of star matter, that's where we began and that's where we will return eventually? Because I could get on board with that. :)

    On a side note, I find it interesting that when we talk about gods and angels, or even loved ones who have passed on, we tend to look to the sky and often speak in terms of them "looking down."

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Ren_in_black said:
    Any chance she was referring to the fact that we're made of star matter, that's where we began and that's where we will return eventually? Because I could get on board with that. :)

    On a side note, I find it interesting that when we talk about gods and angels, or even loved ones who have passed on, we tend to look to the sky and often speak in terms of them "looking down."

    All of my convict ancestors would be “looking up”!

    Ren_in_blackShoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Where does a spiritual journey end

    ...Some would say at the beginning ....

    person
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Ren_in_black said:
    Any chance she was referring to the fact that we're made of star matter, that's where we began and that's where we will return eventually? Because I could get on board with that. :)

    No I am afraid she meant the full-on transformation of mind post-death into an ascending entity which would by stages slowly reach the status of planetary overmind. And she let it be known that even though she had listened to a dhamma talk by Lama Surya Das the other day, there was no hope of ever convincing her to change her mind.

    Bunks
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    no hope of ever convincing her to change her mind

    That is the end of any hopeless case

    🧐 I tried hard (and succeeded) in not laughing.

    Sometimes that is compassionate, sometimes it may offer some service to others ... Many times we come across people who will tell us with certainty:

    • Jesus is coming
    • Allah wants us for a sunbeam
    • Astrology is a science
    • There is nothing higher than human 'rationality'
    • God exists/does not exist
    • Buddhism is [insert opinion]
    • It is a conspiracy

    What then?

    opiumpoetry
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited April 11

    @lobster said:
    Sometimes that is compassionate, sometimes it may offer some service to others ... Many times we come across people who will tell us with certainty:

    • Allah wants us for a sunbeam
    • It is a conspiracy

    What then?

    In her case I told her she was welcome to chat to me about her beliefs. I wasn’t going to do any research into ascension/dvd purchases/look into crazy guru people, but I was genuinely interested in what she believed and sometimes it helps to air that out, if she felt misunderstood by the world. Kind of a “be the listening ear” idea.

    But the way she holds onto that pseudo-scientific thinking definitely has a flavour of the way a conspiracy theorist holds onto his favourite beliefs. I know several from my volunteering work, where it is my job to talk to one regularly and try to motivate his thoughts into other, healthier channels, and they see things through this narrow worldview.

    I hope to encourage her critical thinking and eventually get her to see that the idea of becoming a planet is just that, an idea handed to her by other (profit-motivated) people which has no basis in reality. But she has to come to that realisation herself.

    lobsterpersonBunksFosdick
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    It was amusing, I tried talking to her about dukkha, that even a planetary mind would still have desires and goals and so be subject to dukkha, but she came up with the thought that it would all vanish during the transformation process. Hohum.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Is there a Buddhist meditation that does not illuminate that spiritual beginnings and their endings, have only this one fleeting moment to ever share?

    As a living planet and responsible for all realms, being Buddha takes all forms and a whole fleet/raft of companions ...

    or to put it another way ...

    Walker
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited April 12

    Where does a spiritual journey end

    When "I" end...

    WalkerjohnathanJeffrey
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    Where another begins.

    Shoshin
  • 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
    edited April 12

    Where does a spiritual journey end

    No full stop... No question mark.... seems it's left hanging, then... we drop off the edge, but it seems it has other ideas...

  • LionduckLionduck Veteran

    Short answer - It never ends. And that is wonderful.

    Peace to all

    lobsterDimmesdaleFeistyGibblets
  • DimmesdaleDimmesdale Illinois Explorer

    I'm a personalistic theist now, so I believe the end is.. when we are reciprocating love with a personal God. That's the goal, at least. That's the view I've come to. But we can associate with God here and now, since he is omnipresent. I believe everything is ultimately a part of God, and that when we keep silent and meditate, we are only experiencing one aspect of the divine (though an important aspect). We need to go deeper, and really it never ends, because while God is infinite, we are minute. We go on and on exploring and reciprocating, and love just keeps growing and growing endlessly.

    lobsterKerome
  • FeistyGibbletsFeistyGibblets South Australia Explorer

    @Kerome said:

    In her case I told her she was welcome to chat to me about her beliefs. I wasn’t going to do any research into ascension/dvd purchases/look into crazy guru people, but I was genuinely interested in what she believed and sometimes it helps to air that out, if she felt misunderstood by the world. Kind of a “be the listening ear” idea.

    Albeit a judgemental one.

    But the way she holds onto that pseudo-scientific thinking definitely has a flavour of the way a conspiracy theorist holds onto his favourite beliefs. I know several from my volunteering work, where it is my job to talk to one regularly and try to motivate his thoughts into other, healthier channels, and they see things through this narrow worldview.

    I hope to encourage her critical thinking and eventually get her to see that the idea of becoming a planet is just that, an idea handed to her by other (profit-motivated) people which has no basis in reality. But she has to come to that realisation herself.

    Why? Isn't it better to focus on your journey and the Dharma than to try to convert someone else which isn't, as far as I know, part of the Dharma practise? Her journey is hers, yours is yours. If it were all about being "right" then Buddhism would be exactly the same as all the other religions who say they are "The One True Way ™"

    BunksShoshinlobster
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    It's a good point you make @FeistyGibblets - a monk friend of mine told me he argued on line with a lady for years re: Theravadan vs Mahayana (which is the true path) until he eventually realised we're all on different paths and let it go.

    FeistyGibbletsShoshinlobsterperson
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    We iz on different paths going the same way? [lobster faints ... makes quick recovery] B)

    That means we can support as well as we are able:

    • The New Agey and New wagey Buddhists
    • Virtual Buddhists
    • Bon Buddhists (aka sweet hearts)
    • Heretical Buddhists eg. Christian or Jewish or Allah forbid Islamic Dharmaists
    • DJ Trump and other monstrosities
    • The anti-religious, the enlightened, the fake buddhists

    Everyone is on the path to Buddhahood ... even the cat I don't have?

    ⁉️❓ o:)

    BunksKeromeperson
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @FeistyGibblets said:
    Albeit a judgemental one.

    Also a rather judgmental statement. The point being, we are all judgmental on some level.

    Why? Isn't it better to focus on your journey and the Dharma than to try to convert someone else which isn't, as far as I know, part of the Dharma practise? Her journey is hers, yours is yours. If it were all about being "right" then Buddhism would be exactly the same as all the other religions who say they are "The One True Way ™"

    Well, then do you think there is no point in ever trying to help anyone? The whole point with conspiracy theorists is to help keep them from becoming narrow-minded obsessives.

    I know we are all headed down our own paths, but she is a good friend, one I have known for a long time, and she deserves something better than to be spoon fed over-the-top alternative teachings by some dubious teacher. Trying to force her to do anything would be pointless, but I will encourage her to find a better way.

    Shoshinperson
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited April 14

    @lobster said:

    • Heretical Buddhists eg. Christian or Jewish or Allah forbid Islamic Dharmaists
    • DJ Trump and other monstrosities
    • The anti-religious, the enlightened, the fake buddhists

    But can we support all these as walking the same path to buddhahood? If Donald Trump is on a path to buddhahood I will eat my hat (which is a safe bet seeing as I don’t have one). Which is a rather extreme example. The thing is, these people too have a precious human life and can learn the dhamma or other wholesome paths. That doesn’t mean that they are on them right now. Some of them are caught in heavy delusions, caught in the travails of confidence tricksters, stuck in a habit pattern.

  • 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
    edited April 14

    @Kerome said:

    @FeistyGibblets said:
    Albeit a judgemental one.

    Also a rather judgmental statement. The point being, we are all judgmental on some level.

    Yes, but it depends how you transmit that judgement, if at all.

    Well, then do you think there is no point in ever trying to help anyone? The whole point with conspiracy theorists is to help keep them from becoming narrow-minded obsessives.

    It depends. Did they ask for your help? Have they sought your assistance in seeing things form a different angle?
    She may be listening with her cup already full, but it sounds to me as if you are too... Remember the adage: Would you rather be right, or would you rather be kind?

    I know we are all headed down our own paths, but she is a good friend, one I have known for a long time, and she deserves something better than to be spoon fed over-the-top alternative teachings by some dubious teacher.

    You are casting judgements all over the place here. Primarily on her intelligence. Because you imply she is more naive, dense, and unintelligent than you. She must be, if she gives credence to who you perceive to be a 'dubious teacher'. To you, maybe. To her, it may be precisely what she needs at this time.

    I once put a vast amount of faith in crystals, Reiki and Spirit followers.
    While I have "outgrown" such enthusiasms, and don't feel I need them any longer, because I have progressed, I still respect the steps I took with them, which brought me to where I am today.

    She may move on. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Maybe she will go places with what she believes, maybe she won't, maybe she will change path, maybe she'll remain on the one she's walking.
    Unless she reaches out to you for this 'help' you think she needs, then leave her alone.
    Be happy that she has found a vocation and calling that brings her comfort, well-being and serenity.
    Nobody appointed you her Advocate, least of all, her....

    Trying to force her to do anything would be pointless, but I will encourage her to find a better way.

    ...Is probably precisely what she's thinking about you...

    FeistyGibbletsperson
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited April 14

    While I appreciate the attempts to give good advice, I’m actually ok with being a friend-with-an-agenda in this case. I don’t think it will get in the way of continued friendship, as long as I’m diplomatic and don’t let it dominate the discussion.

    Also, I’m not sure you are appreciating how kooky these people are, I would consider reiki and spirit followers as eminently sane by comparison. Here is the website of her teacher, I will leave people to make their own minds up about how they would choose to react if a good friend revealed her fervent belief in these teachings.

    https://www.arhayas.com/

  • 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

    Unless she begins to self-harm, or harm others, it's none of your business.

    FeistyGibblets
  • 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

    @Kerome said:
    While I appreciate the attempts to give good advice, I’m actually ok with being a friend-with-an-agenda in this case.

    Shed the Agenda. Accept things as they are. Let go, and let be.

    Also, I’m not sure you are appreciating how kooky these people are, I would consider reiki and spirit followers as eminently sane by comparison. Here is the website of her teacher, I will leave people to make their own minds up about how they would choose to react if a good friend revealed her fervent belief in these teachings.

    https://www.arhayas.com/

    See my previous post/comment.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited April 14

    @federica said:
    Unless she begins to self-harm, or harm others, it's none of your business.

    Hmm, last I checked people were still free to hold whatever opinions they liked, and argue that as well as they fancy. That goes for her, and for me too, and for you. But I don’t see why I should pay any attention to what you say if the argument is as poorly constructed as that.

  • FeistyGibbletsFeistyGibblets South Australia Explorer
    edited April 14

    Hmm, last I checked people were still free to hold whatever opinions they liked, and argue that as well as they fancy. That goes for her, and for me too, and for you. But I don’t see why I should pay any attention to what you say if the argument is as poorly constructed as that.

    Wow, such a Buddhist-centric viewpoint there Kerome....

  • 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
    edited April 15

    @Kerome said: Hmm, last I checked people were still free to hold whatever opinions they liked

    Hmmm...Last I checked we were advised to a actually let go of our opinions. They don't so much construct who we are but they perpetuate the Self and root the Ego...

    and argue that as well as they fancy.

    Arguments are not conducive to a calm interior, nor are they skilful.Perhaps debate might be a better concept...

    That goes for her, and for me too, and for you.

    It makes for an interesting and enjoyable journey, certainly. We shall have to agree to disagree which of course goes for both you and her too...

    But I don’t see why I should pay any attention to what you say if the argument is as poorly constructed as that.

    Well that borders on rudeness, @Kerome and is uncalled for... don't disguise an insult by passing it off as discussion...

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited April 15
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @FeistyGibblets said:

    Hmm, last I checked people were still free to hold whatever opinions they liked, and argue that as well as they fancy. That goes for her, and for me too, and for you. But I don’t see why I should pay any attention to what you say if the argument is as poorly constructed as that.

    Wow, such a Buddhist-centric viewpoint there Kerome....

    What did you expect from a Buddhist then? Not saying that I am one, but just accepting other people’s standpoints which are presented as an ‘argument from authority’ (“you should do X because I said so”) is also not at all Buddhist. A Buddhist thinker would verify the teachings, would be prepared to go his own way if the viewpoint presented to him made no sense.

  • 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

    @Kerome said:

    @FeistyGibblets said:

    Hmm, last I checked people were still free to hold whatever opinions they liked, and argue that as well as they fancy. That goes for her, and for me too, and for you. But I don’t see why I should pay any attention to what you say if the argument is as poorly constructed as that.

    Wow, such a Buddhist-centric viewpoint there Kerome....

    What did you expect from a Buddhist then? Not saying that I am one, but just accepting other people’s standpoints which are presented as an ‘argument from authority’ (“you should do X because I said so”) is also not at all Buddhist. A Buddhist thinker would verify the teachings, would be prepared to go his own way if the viewpoint presented to him made no sense.

    Yes, but your good friend is not a Buddhist thinker, so you cannot presume to impose your 'help' if none is asked for. If she stubs her toe, you cannot change the pain she feels. She has to feel it for herself. And by all means give her a walking stick. But only if she asks for one.

    FeistyGibblets
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I wouldn’t want to impose anything, but I’m happy to help expose her to the relevant Buddhist teachings if the opportunity arises. The Kalama Sutra has much to say on the subject of how to choose a teacher which can benefit you on any path, for example.

  • 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

    To suggest or push one's ideals onto another is not the Way. The Buddha taught nothing unless asked to do so, and he was quick to include his own teachings as questionable.
    If she seeks instruction, that is one thing. But if she does not, it's best to leave well alone; unless you have a mastery of Buddhism, it's not skilful as a Buddhist, to seek to change the course of another's stream of thought.

    FeistyGibblets
  • Ren_in_blackRen_in_black Georgia Explorer

    @Kerome said:
    Here is the website of her teacher
    https://www.arhayas.com/

    Interesting, with no About section or something similar, I cannot make heads or tails of this website or what their beliefs even are.

    Makes me ever more grateful that the plain-spoken work of Thich Nhat Hanh made it to the States and is popular during my lifetime.

    I have to catch myself a lot, because "This is the way" feels better in the moment than "Is this the way?"

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited April 15

    It’s something to do with a planet Keylontia in another solar system, some kind of science they have there, the astral plane, gates of power on Earth, and a kind of ‘meditation’ called “journeys” from what I’ve been able to gather.

    I suppose the more interesting question posed by this thread is, is there a religious path that you’d consider so deluded that you’d want to rescue someone you cared for from it ;)

    Ren_in_blackFeistyGibblets
  • Ren_in_blackRen_in_black Georgia Explorer

    @Kerome said:
    is there a religious path that you’d consider so deluded that you’d want to rescue someone you cared for from it ;)

    My gut reaction is to say all but one. :D (Or two...maybe Taoism?)

    But there are few things in the New Testament that I still carry with me, and one of them is this: "First take the log out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to take the speck from your brother's eye."

    FeistyGibbletsperson
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran

    Let's not forget> @Ren_in_black said:

    @Kerome said:
    is there a religious path that you’d consider so deluded that you’d want to rescue someone you cared for from it ;)

    My gut reaction is to say all but one. :D (Or two...maybe Taoism?)

    :o looking for the wtf button @federica are they working on it yet?

    lobster
  • 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

    @johnathan said:
    Let's not forget> @Ren_in_black said:

    @Kerome said:
    is there a religious path that you’d consider so deluded that you’d want to rescue someone you cared for from it ;)

    My gut reaction is to say all but one. :D (Or two...maybe Taoism?)

    :o looking for the wtf button @federica are they working on it yet?

    Tbh, I very much doubt any such emoticon will be introduced as not really being in keeping with the general required tone of a Buddhist forum.

    Besides, why make more work for me...?

  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran

    I was only joking @federica
    We dont really need a what's this for button... not sure why that's not in keeping with Buddhist tone though :-)

  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran

    Lobster got my joke! My point was not really a wtf button but to point out Shock that Ren_in_black thinks that Taoism is a religion/world view that someone would need to be save from. Coming from Taoism before Buddhism and seeing the many similarities, I found it an odd comment to make.

  • 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

    @Kerome said: I suppose the more interesting question posed by this thread is, is there a religious path that you’d consider so deluded that you’d want to rescue someone you cared for from it ;)

    Unless the person or those close to them, were suffering real and purposeful harm, then no.
    How dare I presume such a thing?

    You know it really is quite an egoic thing to want to rescue someone from something that brings them enjoyment, peace of mind and fulfilment.
    I mean, really, why?
    What gives you the right to be so presumptuous as to assume you know what's good for them or otherwise? And to call them deluded? You care for them, yet call them deluded... I can't figure that one out at all...

    Tell me how you would feel if a close personal friend wanted to 'rescue' you from Buddhism.

    I mean, how stupid can you be to follow a religion that has no god, deity or eternal maker, but gives you a short fat guy to pin your beliefs on? And all he talks about, is suffering!
    And aren't you a vegetarian? And why haven't you shaved your head, isn't that what Buddhists do?
    (incidentally, this is all from a good Catholic friend of mine, whose ideas of Buddhism these were.)

    You know how I responded? I didn't. Haven't spoken to her for over 10 years.
    Take care you do not reap the same reward from this someone you claim you care for.

    johnathanFeistyGibbletslobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    I suppose the more interesting question posed by this thread is, is there a religious path that you’d consider so deluded that you’d want to rescue someone you cared for from it ;)

    Umm..well perhaps the ones where a permanent sense of a self is involved ...can't get more deluded than that...

    I guess Bodhisattvas have got their work cut out for them...

  • FeistyGibbletsFeistyGibblets South Australia Explorer

    @Kerome said:
    I suppose the more interesting question posed by this thread is, is there a religious path that you’d consider so deluded that you’d want to rescue someone you cared for from it ;)

    But you didn't ask that, you just denigrated the beliefs of a "friend"....

  • Ren_in_blackRen_in_black Georgia Explorer

    Just to clarify, I quoted Kerome's question about a religious path being so deluded that a person needed rescuing from it.

    I responded that, for me, it would be all of them BUT one (meaning Buddhism, since that's why we're here) and maybe a second, Taoism.

    Or to put it another way: definitely Buddhism and probably Taoism are the two religious paths that I would consider NOT to be delusional.

    Regardless, it was meant lightheartedly. Hence the second part of my comment, Matthew 7, was meant to illustrate that, in a more serious discussion, I couldn't flippantly dismiss all other religious paths--the Abrahamic ones, the other Eastern ones, and even the spaceship ones--because of the proverbial log in my own eye.

    Shoshin
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran

    Sorry @Ren_in_black

    Totally read that wrong.

    Ren_in_black
  • Ren_in_blackRen_in_black Georgia Explorer

    @johnathan said:
    Totally read that wrong.

    No worries, glad I could see where the misunderstanding was. Whereas, just a click of the WTF button would have gone over my head. :D

    Bunks
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Lionduck said:
    Short answer - It never ends. And that is wonderful.

    Peace to all

    Beautiful. <3

    Who thinks enlightenment is the end?
    Wrong!
    Just a good beginning ... Now you know.

    Buddha sits quietly. Perfect enlightenment (fairy tale dharma) and returns as a perfect bodhisattva for years of sangha dispersement. Somebody has to do it ...

    Luckily 'the hills are alive ...'

    FosdickRen_in_black
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