Doing some reflecting (inspired by Rixh's post "How to practise"), I think beings are in-part made of a unique identifying mixture of kusala(wholesome) and akusala(unwholesome) causes and conditions giving rise to an identity or ego. Determining the way out of samsara often takes different early forms for different beings due in part to this mixture. A simple example could be relating to role-models. Why one person listens to one role-model and not another is often because of relateability. If two beings look for escape from samsara they may have different role-models which they will be more or less attentive to due to likes and dislikes. Having a number of role-models reflecting different mixtures presents opportunity for the being to find the one they identify with best and follow until they can seat themselves on the way. (The sutta where monks go from one teacher to another until they find the one that speaks the message in a way which is right for that group.)
As beings in-part made up of kusala and akusala causes and conditions, volitions are also a mix of kusala and akusala when aggregates are still clung to as an identity. If such a being were to look for escape from samsara, what originates from them would also be a mixture, and a changing one at that as attempts to understand lead to change. It's my current theory that searching for progress along the way causes volitions which provide great opportunity when angle of volition meets angle of reflection in a relatable way such as a multifaceted gem reflects the sun into your eyes(or doesn't) as all the components move around in space.
It makes sense to me, but a lot of things make sense to me that sometimes don't make sense.
Is this view worth examining further? If it is, are any of you examining it? If so, in what ways? Thoughts welcome.
In terms of finding a way out of samsara, I think Osho’s discourses are an interesting pointer. For many years he spoke on many different traditions — Zen, sufism, hinduism, the Tao, and so on. When asked why he did this, he said that different people among his followers would resonate with the traditions and get something from it.
So relateability extends not just to different Buddhist teachers, but to the ‘flavour’ of entire spiritual traditions. A seeker may find himself wandering for years, searching among the different traditions for something that would resonate with him.
Progress along the way is a slippery concept. More often than not it is a gradual unfolding within until you are ripe for whatever existence has in store for you.
I find this a really interesting question as I have wandered a bit from Osho to Buddhism to Advaita Vedanta and back. My experience with Buddhism was that it brings a lot of quiet and peace, but if you’re not careful you can start missing a certain liveliness. And that is why I haven’t been able to settle with just Buddhism.
Osho I feel does have that liveliness, that celebration, but he doesn’t have the same emphasis on practice. You end up learning different things from different traditions that you have spent time with, and that is a good thing. The trick is to know when to move on, when you’ve achieved enough depth in a certain tradition that it’s time for something new. That’s just my method though.
And sometimes you come to a point where you just stop and drop everything.
That's certainly part of why I enjoy Osho as one of those role-models. It's hard to place him in any specific religion due to his ability to travel through them all with connecting themes such as love. I don't know him as well as I hope to in the future but what's been shared here has been quite inspirational. I often find myself feeling joy while listening and sometimes it catches me off guard because it's strong joy he invokes. Strong joy after a period of little to no joy can be a bit startling.
My understanding of desire from Buddhism is while desire is to be fully understood and let go of, desire for the path is a re-orienting maneuver which helps get one going that direction, to be in a position to understand and let go. When I find myself growing complacent, desire for the path is often missing. Osho knows how to splash you in the face with that desire like a bucket of refreshing cold water. Enough so that it may even stir a craving within to seek out more. And as the spectrum of seeking goes, that direction (toward love) tends better than many other directions.
With that in mind, @Jeroen I think you bring up a critical point here.
This reminds me the seeking can be just as distracting as any other attachment and Buddha spoke of transitioning from a running to walking to standing, sitting, laying down, a becoming still.
It reminds me of how last year I got myself a little Buddha statue and got some nice incense and some essential oil for a water diffuser because this was all the materialistic seeking to improve my meditation practice and connect. It felt good and brought some temporary materialistic joy but I can't say it fundamentally impacted my practice other than reflecting back on it like I am now and maybe pleasing-up the room a bit. Certainly better than spending the money on something like alcohol however. All just preferences. I think spiritual seeking takes on a similar form to material but in a more refined way and becomes a similar fascination. Ultimately if accumulating, the wholesome and pleasing is better than the unwholesome and displeasing.
I encounter this in my own practice. I have an affinity for the quiet solitude but used to have a much more lively life, and since studying Buddhism, an openness and allowance to explore that quiet solitude has come about. It gives opportunity to shed attachments and unnecessary mental, emotional occupations and views. I've never been big on responsibilities or obligations so to let them go is more than fine. To me, shedding the attachment doesn't mean it no longer exists but a "take it or leave it" approach and an understanding this is borrowed, not for keeps, and if I hold it too long it's going to become uncomfortable comes.
Osho feels at times quite complimentary to this. Becoming awake with the love of life, joining in the celebration, and releasing the self within it. When I'm sad, what he's said has brought joy. In that joy, silliness of the sadness comes about. I can let it go and move toward stillness.
Hmm yes, Osho doesn’t put the emphasis on desire being a bad thing, but there is a real freedom in his teaching. He did speak on clinging, and said that the Buddha was right to call it a key factor of samsara. But Osho is more about living this life meditatively, than trying to achieve nirvana. Did I mention that I grew up in Osho’s communes and was initiated as a sannyasin by him at age 6? So I am not entirely unbiased.
From my perspective, when I read Ajahn Chah and later Bikkhu Bodhi on detachment, I had this deep-seated reaction that pursuing detachment was not my path. Peace and stillness and a connection with silence are a blessing, but renunciation, dropping all attachments just went too far for me. I’m too much of a heart person for that, and there are other paths to enlightenment that suit me better.
So in a way, finding the right conditions for one’s personal growth is first about knowing oneself, and then knowing that there are a variety of paths out there, and then knowing a little bit of all the various paths so you can find what resonates.
I’m sure @lobster might have a few things to say about this, he’s been around in a few places.
In a sense you don't find it,...it finds (what makes up) you...and tweaks it...so to speak...
Awareness is fundamentally non-conceptual before thinking splits experience into subject and object...It is empty and so can contain everything including thought...It is boundless...And amazingly it is intrinsically knowing...
By just sitting...
It's nothing special....
Thus have I heard...Patience is the companion of Wisdom
The past decade or so I've had a hard time finding role models that speak to me. The early part of my Buddhist life I was a pretty devoted Tibetan Buddhist. I didn't really examine and question things the way I do now, it was pretty easy to eat it all up and immerse myself.
Since, I've become disillusioned with some of what I've come to see there and moved away looking for a new home. I went to a modern Theravada sangha and I found much of that sort of western skeptical, pragmatic attitude missing in TB. But the broader culture became off putting to me, ultimately they weren't my people either.
I don't really feel much at home with most teachers and teachings, there's always something that feels off, from my perspective. I kind of have the Rhinoceros mentality at the moment and am trying to muddle my way through a mish mash of various teachers that each speak to a part of me. I like Gil Fronsdale, Dan Harris, Joseph Goldstein, Josh Korda (Dharma punx NYC), as well as the psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman.
The Rhinoceros sutra
Thanks for your input @person there is a lot there that I sympathise with. Luckily there are a lot of individual teachers in the US now so that you don’t have to associate with a community if you find you don’t connect with the culture.
In a way spiritual seeking is kind of connected to culture, it depends a lot with what kind of people you feel at home. If you feel deep down that the Sangha you are trying to be part of is too different from you it’s hard to see yourself making a home there permanently.
If you listen to a lot of these teachers stories like Jack Kornfield, you hear that they went to a Theravada community to study, and in a way brought what they had learnt back to the American culture. Some people are going to find it difficult to connect to a Thai forest monastery which has been transplanted to California, but may still get something out of Jack Kornfields teachings, who actually studied under Ajahn Chah in Thailand.
In a way Osho’s communes were unique in that there were people there from all over the world, and so there was no dominant culture that you didn’t feel at home with. Americans would rub shoulders with Germans and Italians would sit next to Columbians. It was a giant melting pot of diversity, a very rich experience.
It's a tough question. People have different goals, different aspirations, and stop at different places along the way for different reasons.
Meditative living, a relatable community, a loving family, an ethical career, is more than enough for some people to find that peace they're seeking.
For some others the search continues where more letting go might be necessary.
I believe I may end up falling into the latter camp as much as I'd prefer to be of the former.
Pulling apart the magic trick may spoil the illusion but that's precisely the way some become magicians.
Yes, it is a difficult question, but only if you try to understand it in the mind.
What you really need to know is where your heart tells you to stop and change direction. That requires occasionally clearing the decks, telling the mind to be quiet and then listening very carefully to your feelings.
The perfect teacher/teaching requires perfect students/students. Do you know any are you One? Tsk, tsk.
We just have to muggle/muddle along, sometimes inspired, sometimes in good company, sometimes ... [insert present state]
What are we to do? Answers of profound insight only please ... and if not available ... more opinions and inspiration. Many thanks
The conditions for our own personal growth
Finding a teacher
Ninety-nine percent of teachers have limited personal experience, and know things mostly from books. If you can find one in whose presence you feel something special, then you may have found someone who can help you.
My heart is my teacher
Paying attention to your feelings tells you much about the situations you are in, and much about yourself also. Accept, observe, don’t judge, don’t try to change. Often people say ‘the world is my teacher’ but to say ‘my heart is my teacher’ is closer.
Being surrounded by good influences
Good people, pictures and books of the Wise, meditative surroundings, flowers, art. These things speak to us on a deeper level. You can bring these things into your space, create a flourishing.