Mod+ 266. RICK ARCHER, CAN CONSCIOUSNESS CHANGE CULTURE?

Enlightenment is not what most people think it is.

U Pandita was a highly enlightened teacher. Here are some quotes from one of his students:

https://eudoxos.github.io/cfitness/html/index.html
Once, I brought this up to U Vivekananda after a frosty encounter with U Pandita. The German monk said. “Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it.”​
...​
"My teacher there was the famous and cantankerous Sayadaw U Pandita, "​
...​
"Sayadaw U Pandita was living proof that this was not so; he displayed the whole range of emotion. Although he could at times be loving, kind, and supportive, more often he appeared angry, irritated, cutting and sarcastic. In short, he was a mean old man."​
Do you think these Gurus are based in ego & not spirit?
I don’t have much experience with Gurus thou I like eastern philosophy and have done Brahma Kumaris meditation. I think you have to admire a teacher to accept their enlightenment is real.
To me, the Dali Lama is the living embodiment of forgiveness and joy. My personal favourite is Ram Dass. He had said that we are here to learn to let go and not be reactionary. The challenge of enlightenment is to be your highest self even in the darkest of times. It’s amazing to meet people “almost” there.
 

Alex

Administrator
Do you think these Gurus are based in ego & not spirit?
I don’t have much experience with Gurus thou I like eastern philosophy and have done Brahma Kumaris meditation. I think you have to admire a teacher to accept their enlightenment is real.
To me, the Dali Lama is the living embodiment of forgiveness and joy. My personal favourite is Ram Dass. He had said that we are here to learn to let go and not be reactionary. The challenge of enlightenment is to be your highest self even in the darkest of times. It’s amazing to meet people “almost” there.
I've been slowly turning negative on the "sage on the stage" model... too many examples of abuse... and it just didn't seem necessary.
 
I've been slowly turning negative on the "sage on the stage" model... too many examples of abuse... and it just didn't seem necessary.
I have come to the opinion that the definition of enlightenment in common usage by Buddhists today is wrong. It is based on attainments in meditation not changes in character. It is not consistent with the teaching of the Buddha. Most of the people you hear on podcasts today who are said to be awakened aren't even close to what Buddha was teaching.

It's not because the modern standard is too low or because the original standard was too high, it is because modern people are not aiming in the correct direction. Meditation is a technique for rewiring your brain. When you meditate and practice mindfulness, your understanding of what you are trying to accomplish will influence how you perform the techniques. If people do not understand what they should be trying to attain they are unlikely to attain it. This is a fundamental part of the 8 fold path, right view, right effort. People can pursue whatever goals they want and use meditation techniques to accomplish it. But they should not make false claims about it.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/into_the_stream.html#character
Into the Stream​
A Study Guide on the First Stage of Awakening​
by​
Thanissaro Bhikkhu​
...​
Virtue, as practiced by the stream-enterer, is also a function of a deep trust in the principle of kamma, and of a sympathy for others that arises from that trust. Although stream-enterers may still break the minor rules of training, the depth of insight that informs their virtue ensures that their adherence to the basic principles of morality is unshakable.​
"There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones reflects thus: 'I love life and don't love death. I love happiness and abhor pain. Now if I — loving life and not loving death, loving happiness and abhorring pain — were to be killed, that would be displeasing & disagreeable to me. And if I were to kill another who loves life and doesn't love death, who loves happiness and abhors pain, that would be displeasing & disagreeable to the other. What is displeasing & disagreeable to me is displeasing & disagreeable to others. How can I inflict on others what is displeasing & disagreeable to me?' Reflecting in this way, he refrains from taking life, gets others to refrain from taking life, and speaks in praise of refraining from taking life. In this way his bodily behavior is pure in three ways.​
"Furthermore, he reflects thus: 'If someone, by way of theft, were to take from me what I haven't given, that would be displeasing & disagreeable to me... If someone were to commit adultery with my wives, that would be displeasing & disagreeable to me... If someone were to damage my well-being with a lie, that would be displeasing & disagreeable to me... If someone were to divide me from my friends with divisive speech, that would be displeasing & disagreeable to me... If someone were to address me with harsh speech, that would be displeasing & disagreeable to me... If someone were to address me with idle chatter, that would be displeasing & disagreeable to me. And if I were to address another with idle chatter, that would be displeasing & disagreeable to the other. What is displeasing & disagreeable to me is displeasing & disagreeable to others. How can I inflict on others what is displeasing & disagreeable to me?' Reflecting in this way, he refrains from idle chatter, gets others to refrain from idle chatter, and speaks in praise of refraining from idle chatter. In this way his verbal behavior is pure in three ways."​
— SN 55.7​
...​
Generosityis actually a characteristic that must precede stream entry. However, the attainment of stream entry gives generosity a distinctive integrity.​
...​
Discernment is the character trait of the stream-enterer that is most directly related to the cutting of the fetter of self-identity views. However, its implications spread to other facets of right view as well. In fact, "consummate in view" is one of the epithets for a stream-enterer. The impact of being consummate in view extends, not only to one's intellectual life, but also to one's emotional life as well.
...​
"Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones considers thus: 'Am I endowed with the character of a person consummate in view?' What is the character of a person consummate in view? This is the character of a person consummate in view: Although he may commit some kind of offence for which a means of rehabilitation has been laid down, still he immediately confesses, reveals, and discloses it to the Teacher or to wise companions in the holy life; having done that, he undertakes restraint for the future. Just as a young, tender infant lying on his back, when he has hit a live ember with his hand or his foot, immediately draws back; in the same way, this is the character of a person consummate in view: although he may commit some kind of offence for which a means of rehabilitation has been laid down, still he immediately confesses, reveals, and discloses it to the Teacher or to wise companions in the holy life; having done that, he undertakes restraint for the future.​
...​
— MN 48​
 
Last edited:
I have come to the opinion that the definition of enlightenment in common usage by Buddhists today is wrong. It is based on attainments in meditation not changes in character.
nice. Powerful on many levels. it's all about the fruit, eh? there's only one judge... It's you :)
You might like this article:

Warning: This post is likely to step on many people's toes, and really challenge some people's sense of spiritual identity: particularly those whose views on Buddhism are based in Theravada Abhidhamma/Visuddhimagga/Commentaries, some followers of certain strands of the Thai Forest tradition, perennialists/spiritual universalists, and those holding certain views in the pragmatic dharma community surrounding Arahantship and the fetter model. ...

He argues that what modern people (Asian and Western) are calling Arhats (fully awakened) are only Strem-enterers (first stage of awakening) when measured by the criterion laid out by Buddha in the early sutras. I believe he is correct.

(When I use the full url to the article, the forum software automatically embeds the entire article, I put it in a quote to shrink it down but be warned if you click to expand you get the entire very long article below.)
 
Last edited:
Wow. A lot of responses.


It may be that the physical universe is a farm... and us spirits find a sustenance here.

Feeding not on the actual physical energies or manifestations but on each others' resultant emotional responses.

That energy is the food the physical universe allows our creation of. And we feast.

So in this paradigm we find that sadness is a food. Pain reactions are a food. Love is a food. Hate is a food. Etcetera.

Is it that we find ourselves in the physical actually at a banquet place?
And would this be the reason the universe seems not to care what can happen here?

If a particular food is not to your taste, find another area where the food might be more to your liking (if you can).

And may I suggest you refrain from complaining that others (for now) actually can like what you find (for now) quite disgusting.

The farm is quite diverse.
To change the menu, consider to learn about the farming done here.
 
People might like to understand better what enlightenment is - but more importantly, if you understand what enlightenment is, you can pursue the same benefits in a gradual manner in proportion to the effort you put in. You don't need to wait for a "BIG CHANGE" to see the benefits in your life.

Our ideas about self and not-self, depending on what they are, have the potential to cause us suffering or to reduce our suffering.


When someone you dislike does something annoying, it could cause you to feel anger.

But if someone you love does the same thing, it might not bother you at all.

And if you did it yourself, you might not even notice it as a potentially annoying act.

We are tolerant of people we love because we think of them as "ours". Our friend, our child, our parent, our spouse.

We are very tolerant of "me" and "mine": our-self and things that belong to our-self .

We are less tolerant of things that are not "me" or "mine" of things that are not-self.


If you learned of property damage in some far away country or even if you heard about the death of a person you never met, It might not bother you much.

But if a friend or loved one was harmed, or your car was damaged, or you yourself suffered some physical harm, you would probably be upset.

We care about "me" and "mine".


This is how our ideas about self can cause us suffering: We are tolerant of self ("me" and "mine") and intolerant of not-self. We care about self and are much less concerned about not-self.

The way to reduce suffering is to reduce your attachment to self, to reduce your attachment to "me" and "mine".

When you become less attached to self, you become less averse to not-self. The distinction between self and not-self is diminished. You become less concerned with personal loss and you become more tolerant of other people. You suffer less.

Some people may have a philosophical aversion to diminishing the attachment to self. That is their right. But others may want to try diminishing their attachment to self because they want to benefit from reduced suffering.

What can you do to change your ideas about self and not-self, what can you do to reduce your attachment to self?

There are several things you can do.

  • Observe in your own life how your ideas of self and not-self cause you to suffer. Most people should be able to do this: notice how you are less tolerant of people you don't like, and how you care more about yourself. When you are conscious of this, you start to recognize how your ideas of self and not-self are making you suffer. When you experience loss or when someone does something annoying, you recognize it is your ideas of self and not-self that are causing you to suffer. If you maintain consciousness of this over time, this understanding, reinforced by repeated observation, will cause you to become disillusioned with you attachment to self because you are constantly reminded of how it causes suffering for you. This disillusionment will tend to encourage you to begin to let go of your attachment to self.

  • Relaxation - Relaxation exercises (actually a kind of meditation) can help you relax and relieve stress. When you are relaxed, your stress levels go to zero. When you are stressed you are focused on yourself. Stress hormones cause us to be fixated on the source of the stress, we become fixated on "our" problem. When you are relaxed you are much less irritable, less self-centered. You are less attached to self.

  • Quieting the mind - Meditation quiets the turbulent mind. Thoughts of self and not-self are less frequent and less intense when the mind is tranquil. If we think less about self and not-self, our attachment to self is reduced.

  • Spiritual feelings - Certain meditation techniques can produce spiritual feelings such as compassion, forgiveness, goodwill, humility, equanimity, serenity, surrender, contentedness, joy, and connectedness. When we have these feelings we are much less attached to self. When you experience these emotions, either from meditation or in the course of ordinary life, you see how true it is that when you love others and aren't focused so much on yourself, you suffer much less. People don't bother you as much, and feelings of disappointment and loss are diminished. You understand the way to reduce your own suffering is to love others and let go of your own sense of self-importance. It might sound contradictory and impossible, but loving the people you "don't like" and stopping worrying about yourself reduces the suffering you experience. When you see this from your own experience, you will likely want to do it for your own benefit, letting go is a natural reaction. (Sometimes people think this means you should ignore your own needs or ignore that harm others may be doing - that is not what this means).
And these spiritual feelings are pleasant, we like to have them. When we notice what causes these feelings to dissipate (unpleasant emotions caused by attachment to self) we also become disillusioned with our attachment to self and begin to let go of it. In addition to the meditation linked above, samatha meditation and metta meditation can have a similar effect and are somewhat easier for many people to do.​

  • Seeing directly how the mind creates the separation between self and not-self. From doing a lot of meditation, it is possible to see directly how the mind creates the distinction between self and not-self. This distinction happens when your mind is aware of sensations (sight, sound, smell, etc) and it recognizes the objects they represent. The moment when that recognition occurs is when the mind makes the distinction of self and not-self. This happens so rapidly and so often that, just as the frames of a movie create the illusion of motion. it creates the illusion of a continuous self that becomes ingrained in our world view and is taken for granted. But when you see directly it is an illusion, the attachment to self becomes diminished.

It is rare for anyone to completely eliminate their attachment to self (to "me"and "mine"), but most people if they want to, can reduce the suffering they experience by reducing their attachment to self. This will not automatically make someone a better person or a nicer person if you don't want it to. But if you do want to experience those kinds of changes, reducing your attachment to self can help.
 
Last edited:
If you learned of property damage in some far away country or even if you heard about the death of a person you never met, It might not bother you much.

But if a friend or loved one was harmed, or your car was damaged, or you yourself suffered some physical harm, you would probably be upset

Yes. That is a natural and healthy attitude.

The doctrine of non-self is unnatural and detrimental to one's mental health.
 
People might like to understand better what enlightenment is - but more importantly, if you understand what enlightenment is, you can pursue the same benefits in a gradual manner in proportion to the effort you put in. You don't need to wait for a "BIG CHANGE" to see the benefits in your life.

Our ideas about self and not-self, depending on what they are, have the potential to cause us suffering or to reduce our suffering.


When someone you dislike does something annoying, it could cause you to feel anger.

But if someone you love does the same thing, it might not bother you at all.

And if you did it yourself, you might not even notice it as a potentially annoying act.

We are tolerant of people we love because we think of them as "ours". Our friend, our child, our parent, our spouse.

We are very tolerant of "me" and "mine": our-self and things that belong to our-self .

We are less tolerant of things that are not "me" or "mine" of things that are not-self.


If you learned of property damage in some far away country or even if you heard about the death of a person you never met, It might not bother you much.

But if a friend or loved one was harmed, or your car was damaged, or you yourself suffered some physical harm, you would probably be upset.

We care about "me" and "mine".


This is how our ideas about self can cause us suffering: We are tolerant of self ("me" and "mine") and intolerant of not-self. We care about self and are much less concerned about not-self.

The way to reduce suffering is to reduce your attachment to self, to reduce your attachment to "me" and "mine".

When you become less attached to self, you become less averse to not-self. The distinction between self and not-self is diminished. You become less concerned with personal loss and you become more tolerant of other people. You suffer less.

Some people may have a philosophical aversion to diminishing the attachment to self. That is their right. But others may want to try diminishing their attachment to self because they want to benefit from reduced suffering.

What can you do to change your ideas about self and not-self, what can you do to reduce your attachment to self?

There are several things you can do.

  • Observe in your own life how your ideas of self and not-self cause you to suffer. Most people should be able to do this: notice how you are less tolerant of people you don't like, and how you care more about yourself. When you are conscious of this, you start to recognize how your ideas of self and not-self are making you suffer. When you experience loss or when someone does something annoying, you recognize it is your ideas of self and not-self that are causing you to suffer. If you maintain consciousness of this over time, this understanding, reinforced by repeated observation, will cause you to become disillusioned with you attachment to self because you are constantly reminded of how it causes suffering for you. This disillusionment will tend to encourage you to begin to let go of your attachment to self.

  • Relaxation - Relaxation exercises (actually a kind of meditation) can help you relax and relieve stress. When you are relaxed, your stress levels go to zero. When you are stressed you are focused on yourself. Stress hormones cause us to be fixated on the source of the stress, we become fixated on "our" problem. When you are relaxed you are much less irritable, less self-centered. You are less attached to self.

  • Quieting the mind - Meditation quiets the turbulent mind. Thoughts of self and not-self are less frequent and less intense when the mind is tranquil. If we think less about self and not-self, our attachment to self is reduced.

  • Spiritual feelings - Certain meditation techniques can produce spiritual feelings such as compassion, forgiveness, goodwill, humility, equanimity, serenity, surrender, contentedness, joy, and connectedness. When we have these feelings we are much less attached to self. When you experience these emotions, either from meditation or in the course of ordinary life, you see how true it is that when you love others and aren't focused so much on yourself, you suffer much less. People don't bother you as much, and feelings of disappointment and loss are diminished. You understand the way to reduce your own suffering is to love others and let go of your own sense of self-importance. It might sound contradictory and impossible, but loving the people you "don't like" and stopping worrying about yourself reduces the suffering you experience. When you see this from your own experience, you will likely want to do it for your own benefit, letting go is a natural reaction. (Sometimes people think this means you should ignore your own needs or ignore that harm others may be doing - that is not what this means).
And these spiritual feelings are pleasant, we like to have them. When we notice what causes these feelings to dissipate (unpleasant emotions caused by attachment to self) we also become disillusioned with our attachment to self and begin to let go of it. In addition to the meditation linked above, samatha meditation and metta meditation can have a similar effect and are somewhat easier for many people to do.​

  • Seeing directly how the mind creates the separation between self and not-self. From doing a lot of meditation, it is possible to see directly how the mind creates the distinction between self and not-self. This distinction happens when your mind is aware of sensations (sight, sound, smell, etc) and it recognizes the objects they represent. The moment when that recognition occurs is when the mind makes the distinction of self and not-self. This happens so rapidly and so often that, just as the frames of a movie create the illusion of motion. it creates the illusion of a continuous self that becomes ingrained in our world view and is taken for granted. But when you see directly it is an illusion, the attachment to self becomes diminished.

It is rare for anyone to completely eliminate their attachment to self (to "me"and "mine"), but most people if they want to, can reduce the suffering they experience by reducing their attachment to self. This will not automatically make someone a better person or a nicer person if you don't want it to. But if you do want to experience those kinds of changes, reducing your attachment to self can help.
And yet, Jim, so many of those endless US wars were supposedly fought over concern for others. OK it is easy to say that the politicians that started them were doing it out of self-interest, but they had to get some level of public support by claiming to be killing people for altruistic reasons.

David
 
Top