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Stephan Schumacher

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Becoming or being? - Religion/Spirituality as a trap that can keep us from "God-Realization"

((How to listen))

(Exoteric and esoteric definition of "Zen")

When the great master Bodhidhama first met the Emperor Wu of Liang, the Emperor asked, "I have built temples and ordained monks; what merit is there in this?"
Bodhidharma said, "No merit."
The emperor asked, "What is the highest meaning of the holy truth?"
Bodhidharma said, "Vast emptiness, nothing holy."
The Emperor asked: "Who is it in front of me?"
Bodhidharma said: "Don't know."
The emperor did not grasp his meaning.
– Biyanlu, case 1

Is the ultimate goal of the spiritual path to become one with God?

creativity |?kr?-??tivit?|
noun
the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.

(Dictionary)

"You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea."
– The Bible, Exodus 20.4

"I must first explain the basic premise of sorcery as Don Juan presented it to me. He said that for a sorcerer, the world of everyday life is not real, our out there, as we believe it. For a sorcerer, reality, or the world we all know, is only a description... He pointed out that everyone who comes into contact with a child is a teacher who incessantly describes the world to him, until the moment when the child is capable of perceiving the world as it is described. From that moment on, the child is a member. He knows the description of the world; and his membership becomes full-fledged, when he is capable of making all the proper perceptual interpretations which, by conforming to that description, validate it..."

((MEMBERSHIP))

"For Don Juan, then, the reality of our day-to-day-life consists of an endless flow of perceptual interpretations which we, the individuals who share a specific membership, have learned to make in common... The reality of the world we know is so taken for granted that the basic premise of sorcery, that our reality is merely one of many descriptions, could hardly be taken as a serious proposition."
– Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan

Consensus trance - An automated state of consciousness; actually the normal consciousness, based on the premise that people believe what they are told to be true as opposed to what they have themselves realized to be true.
– Charles Tart

((REMEDY?))

Don Juan stated that in order to arrive at « seeing » one first had to « stop the world » … a state of awareness in which the reality of everyday life is altered because the flow of interpretation, which ordinarily runs uninterrupted, has been stopped …<br/>

– Carlos Castaneda, op. cit.

"Complete flatness as of the bottom of a blackened cast iron skillet. ... this black has nothing to do with either the colour or light as such but the concept that God has no unevenness so gives forth no particular contrasting images, nothing to enable any comparison. " 

Personality ... needs to be  ‘squashed’ into a faceless portion of Reality. ... All this cannot be achieved without a form of discipline ... not self-discipline ... the sort of discipline which would be built on Perfection.

– Don Stevens

Not built on perfection: 

The human being as a "fallen", sinful creature far away from paradise (original One-ness) that must work on himself (self-discipline) to overcome original sin and become one with God (or live in "paradise") in the hereafter. --- Compare Huangbo: "If one thinks that the Buddha is clean, bright and liberated and that sentient beings are dirty, dark and entangled in samsara, and, further, if one also uses this view to practice, then even though one perseveres through kalpas as numerous as the sand grains of the Ganges, one will not arrive at Bodhi (elightenment or realization)."

Built on Perfection:

According to the Kegon(Hua-yen)-Sutra at the moment of enlightenment the Buddha spontaneously cried out: "Wonder of wonders! Intrinsically all living beings are  Buddhas (enlightened beings), endowed with wisdom and virtue, but because men's minds have become inverted through delusive thinking they fail to perceive this." ...

Yes, how truly marvelous that all human beings, whether clever or stupid, male or femal, ugly or beautiful, are whole and complete just as they are. That is to say, the nature of every being is inherently without a flaw, perfect ... This first declaration of of Shakyamuni Buddha is also the ultimate conclusion of Buddhism.

Yasutani Hakuun Roshi

All the Buddhas and all sentient beings are nothing but the ONE MIND, beside which nothing exists. This MIND, which is without beginning, is unborn and indestructible. It is not green nor yellow, and has neither form nor appearance. It does not belong to the category of things which exist or do not exist, nor can it be thought of in terms of new or old. It is neither long nor short, big nor small, for it transcends all limits, measures, names, traces and comparisons. It is that which you see before you – begin to reason about it and you at once fall into error. It is like the boundless void which cannot be fathomed or measured. The ONE MIND alone is the Buddha, and there is no distinction between the Buddha and sentient beings, but that sentient beings are attached to forms and so seek externally for Buddhahood. By their very seeking they lose it, for that is using the Buddha to seek for the Buddha and using mind to grasp MIND. Even though they do their utmost for a full aeon, they will not be able to attain it. They do not know that, if they put a stop to conceptual thought and forget their anxiety, the Buddha will appear before them, for this MIND is the Buddha and the Buddha is all living beings. It is not less for being manifested in ordinary beings, nor is it greater for being manifested in the Buddhas.<br/>

Huangbo Xiyun

((DIS-COVERY))

In pursuing knowledge, one accumulates daily.

In practising Dao, one loses daily.

Lose and lose and lose, until one reaches Non-action.

Non-action, yet there is nothing left undone.

– Laozi, 48

This is the exposition of Yoga :

Yoga is the stopping (cessation) of the revolving of thoughts (gyrations, movements of consciousness).

Then consciousness (the « seer ») stands (abides) in it’s self-nature (essence).

Otherwise the seer identifies with the revolving of thoughts.

The stopping of the revolving of thoughts is achieved through practice and dispassion.

?    Pantanjali, Yoga-Sutras

To study the buddha way is to study the self [personality, ego]. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be  actualized [enlightened] my myriad things [all phenomena]. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others [nonduality !] drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.

– Dogen Zenji, Genjo-Koan

((ERASE CERTAINTY))

The monks gathered in the hall to hear the great master Fayan give Teisho ((a dharma discourse or presentation of the Truth of Buddha's teaching)) before the midday meal. Fayan pointed to the blinds. At this two monks went to the blinds and rolled them up in an identical manner. Fayan said, "One has it; the other has not."

– Wumenguan (Mumonkan), case 26

"If Dharma students wish to know the key to successful cultivation, they should know that it is the mind that dwells on nothing."

– Huangbo

Blessedness opened its mouth of wisdom and spoke: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." ... Now there exist two kinds of poverty: an external poverty, which is good and is praiseworthy in a person willing to take it upon himself or herself through the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, because he was himself poor on earth. Of this poverty I do not want to speak any further. For there is still another kind of poverty, an inner poverty, by which our Lord's word is to be understood when he says : "Blessed are the poor in spirit."

First, we say that one is a poor person who wills nothing. ... If someone asks me what a poor person is who wills nothing, I answer and say: So long as a person has his own wish in him to fulfil even the ever-beloved will of God, if that is still a matter of his will, then this person does not yet possess the poverty of which we want to speak. Indeed, this person then still has a will with which he or she wants to satisfy God's will, and that is not the right poverty. For a human being to possess true poverty, he or she must be as free of his or her created will as they were when they did not yet exist. Thus I say to you in the name of divine truth, as long as you have the will, even the will to fulfil God's will, and as long as you have the desire for eternity and for God, to this very extent you are not properly poor, for the only one who is a poor person is one who wills nothing and desires nothing. ...

Second, a poor person is one who knows nothing. ... Whoever achieves this poverty must so live that they not even know themselves to live, either for oneself or for truth or for God. One must be so free of all knowledge that he or she does not know or recognize or perceive that God lives in him or her; even more, one should be free of all knowledge that lives in him or her. ...

Third, one is a poor person who has nothing. Many people have said that perfection consists in people possessing none of the material things of the earth. And indeed, that is certainly true in one sense: when one holds to it intentionally. But this is not the sense that I mean.

True poverty of spirit consists in keeping oneself so free of God and of all one's works that if God wants to act in the soul, God himself becomes the place wherein he wants to act - and this God likes to do. For when God finds a person as poor as this, God operates his own work and a person sustains God in him, and God is himself the place of his operation, since God is an agent who acts within himself. Here, in this poverty, people attain the eternal being that they once were, now are, and will eternally remain.

This is why I pray God to rid me of God. ... In the breakthrough, where I stand free of my own will and of the will of God and of all his works and of God himself, there I am above all creatures and am neither God nor creature. Rather, I am what I was and what I shall remain now and forever. Then I receive an impulse which shall bring me above all the angels. In this impulse I receive wealth so vast that God cannot be enough for me in all that makes him God, and with all his divine works. For in this breakthrough I discover that I and God are one. There I am what I was, and I grow neither smaller nor bigger,* for there I am an immovable cause that moves all things. Here, then, God finds no place in people, for people achieve with this poverty what they were in eternity and will remain forever. Here God is one with the spirit, and that is the strictest poverty one call find.

– Meister Eckhart

see Huangbo: "This Mind is the Buddha and the Buddha is all living beings. It is not less for being manifested in ordinary beings, nor is it greater for being manifested in the Buddhas."

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Next story:  Valerie Quinlivan
All religions share the power of story, a narrative that shapes our understanding of ourselves and our relations with our creator.

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