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  1. No one else can find answers to such questions for us. We need to find the answers ourselves. Questions (all questions) come out of a disturbed state of mind that is trying to find some answers, or trying to arrive somewhere. No external answer can convince a mind that is in such state of disturbance. As we expand, our clarity increases, slowly we begin to know more. The answers will reveal themselves, when the mind is calm, and when there is no hurry to find anything or go anywhere.
  2. If the universe were a puzzle or a game, it feels like different traditions or masters have explored and described different aspects. All of them very interesting in their own ways and in the context in which the teachings were shared. The what, or the process that leads to suffering Buddha asked questions like, what causes suffering and found the answers for that. His findings in my views throw some light on the details of the process. He identified accurately that the point at which a feeling turns into craving (Taṇhā) as the root cause of suffering. Now, what is the reason for this craving (Tanja), or why does feeling turn into craving. The answer Buddha came up was, Avidya or ignorance is the root cause of tanha (craving). Tanha is described and explained as follows in the four noble truths which are the basic pillars of Buddhist philosophy. "In the second of the Four Noble Truths, the Buddha identified taṇhā as a principal cause in the arising of dukkha (suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness).[8] The taṇhā, states Walpola Rahula, or "thirst, desire, greed, craving" is what manifests as suffering and rebirths.[7] However, adds Rahula, it is not the first cause nor the only cause of dukkha or samsara, because the origination of everything is relative and dependent on something else.[7] The Pali canons of Buddhism assert other defilements and impurities (kilesā, sāsavā dhammā), in addition to taṇhā, as the cause of Dukkha. Taṇhā nevertheless, is always listed first, and considered the principal, all-pervading and "the most palpable and immediate cause" of dukkha, states Rahula.[7] Taṇhā, states Peter Harvey, is the key origin of dukkha in Buddhism.[5] It reflects a mental state of craving. Greater the craving, more is the frustration because the world is always changing and innately unsatisfactory; craving also brings about pain through conflict and quarrels between individuals, which are all a state of Dukkha.[5] It is such taṇhāthat leads to rebirth and endless Samsara, stated Buddha as the second reality, and it is marked by three types of craving: sensory, being or non-existence.[9] In Buddhist theosophy, there are right view and wrong view. The wrong views, it ultimately traces to Taṇhā, but it also asserts that "ordinary right view" such as giving and donations to monks, is also a form of clinging.[10] The end of Taṇhāoccurs when the person has accepted the "transcendent right view" through the insight into impermanence and non-self.[10]" The 12 Nidānas: Ignorance ↓ Formations ↓ Consciousness ↓ Name & Form ↓ Six Sense Bases ↓ Contact ↓ Feeling ↓ Craving ↓ Clinging ↓ Becoming ↓ Birth ↓ Old Age & Death The above 12 Nidhanas are one way or perspective to look at or make sense of the world we live in. These steps describe a cyclical process, and the step where feelings transform into cravings, this is the root cause for the suffering. The why and the how This is all very interesting, but there arises the questions why and how. Why does feeling transform into craving? Is this like a fundamental flaw in the creation? Why should the sentient beings suffer, or how do they end up in the predicament where they find themselves as separate beings lost in the world of multiples? I find convincing answers to these questions, from a different perspective that is explained in Kashmir Shaivisim and some other tantric traditions. These traditions do not go into the microscopic level of details into the actual process like Buddha did, but they tell a different story of the components or how the world is made of. We come across the five acts of divine (Shiva) in Kashmir Shaivisim. They are, 1) Creation, 2) Sustenance, 3) Destruction, 4) Concealment/Maya/Veil and 5) Revealing/Anugraha/Divine Grace. The divine creates or forms the world in the first act. Everything is nondual and just awareness at this point. Through the 36 tattvas/principles, the awareness becomes everything in the world. The sustenance of the world is the second act. The world is always in a state of dynamic vibration, in a state of flux or movement, this is the second act. Everything that is created must come to an end at some point of time. Anything that is born invariably dies at some point. In order for the new things to appear, the old must give way, this is the nature. So, destruction is also one of the acts of the divine, to may way for the new, or for the universe to exist in a state of flux. The forth act of Concealment (Tirodhana), is a mysterious act of divine, which subjects the nondual awareness into the layer of Maya (illusion), and this results in the world of multitudes with the individual and separated (feeling) sentient beings or purusha + prakriti (Shakti at individual level). So, the process that Buddha described, where the feelings turn into cravings, it is not due to some accident or mistake in the creation. It is the act of divine, concealment, that makes us forget who we are and get caught up in the world, and thus we get lost in tanha (cravings). All of this is part of the leela, or the divine play. How do we root out the avidya/ignorance that makes the feelings turn into cravings in the Nidhanas? Until we are caught in the web of maya, it is simply not possible to come out of this ignorance on our own. The answer lies in how we got here in the first place, into this world of suffering as described by Buddha. It is by the acts of the divine (creation, sustenance, destruction and concealment), we got caught in (or lead to believe we are caught up) this cycle of births and deaths. By surrender and reaching out to the divine and through the fifth and final act of the divine, anugraha/revealment, we trace our way back and realize who we are -- who we were all the time even when we were immersed in the world!
  3. While I agree with most of what you have described, I feel it depends entirely on where a person is. The Dzogchen teaching is wise, but I feel it may not be the right answer to everyone universally. This is why in Kashmir Shaivisim they propose 3 paths depending on where a person is and how much they can absorb. There is also a fourth way in KS that is similar to what you described from Dzogchen that transcends all the others. But, it is not a path advocated for everyone. The first path sambhavopaya in KS involves the shaktipat or anugraha from a divine being, which lifts an aspirant to the state of higher clarity shared by the divine. Only those who are ready succeed only by this. As per the sutra, 'Udayamo Bhairava:', the aspirant gets lifted to the state of the master in one rising scoop. The second path is the sakthopaya, those who are not able to reach that state in one push or thrust, go through this path. In addition to the divine help, this path starts an energetic transformation in the aspirant that eventually lifts them to the clarity or the state of the master. Not everyone succeed in this path also. Those who do not succeed in this path, go through the 3rd or final method, the anavopaya. This method in addition to divine help & possible energetic transformations, involves practices like yoga, pranayama and meditation practices to make an aspirant ready for the 2 higher paths. In this philosophy, no one solution works universally for everyone. What is the perfect solution for one can possibly be a hurdle to another. This is what I like about this philosophy, the practical acceptance that different people need different things that can work or help them depending on where they are.
  4. Agree with the precision from Iyengar yoga. I leaned some basics in Dallas Iyengar studio about 15 years back. I was impressed. It was very helpful, not just as a yoga practice, but from learning how to stand when idle (foot posture, evenly distributing body weight etc) to various other things to be mindful through the day and night. The basics of asanas/yoga, tai chi should be taught in the primary and high schools. This can help children grow into a healthier lifestyle and avoid so many diseases and ailments.
  5. Wise words. Having done moderation, I can say it will be challenging especially with political topics. Most people that participate only in political discussions are not exactly Buddhas or Gandhis. The minimal or no moderation may sound good at the start, but it will not be practical if the forum becomes popular with regular visitors and guests. There are going to be all types of characters pushing all types of boundaries and making the staff work hard depending on how busy the site is. There can be bitterness at times with members taking different sides and finding fault with the staff no matter what they do (even if they don't do). I do not agree with minimum or no moderation and neither do I agree with excessive moderation by going through every single post like some sites do. Being prepared will be good. Initially one admin may be enough and even a good thing as david pointed out. Later, if you can have one or two in staff who have done moderation or admin work in other forums before, it may be helpful. Like every other work prior experience can be helpful at times in dealing with conflicts. Right candidates can also learn quickly. There should be a balance in moderation in order to create a forum where spiritual conversions can thrive in harmony and independence. For those who keep crossing the line warnings and few temporary suspensions with increasing time periods should be considered before banning. Good luck with the new site. I will check it out soon.
  6. Insightful. Thanks for sharing. Maintaining inner silence and to be in equipoise through any type of social interaction seems to be way more challenging than achieving or maintaining inner silence during other day to day activities. I guess it is so, because the energetic interaction with others unearths or brings dormant issues to the surface which otherwise may be hidden in isolation.
  7. I invited Pilgrim in an IM yesterday. Not sure if he is still checking the IMs in the other site. It would be nice to have some of these members here.
  8. S1va


    I believe Jesus is talking about immortality. The death also does not indicate permanent perishing. Even if it is not rebirth, Bible talks about heaven/hell and continuation in some form after the body perishes. The complete dissolving of sentient beings is not a generally advised concept in most religions. The arhat in some Buddhist descriptions can be equated to complete dissolving of the individual after attaining Nirvana. By these definitions, unlike a Buddha, the arhat does not stay to help others in a light form. They dissolve into emptiness. It is prudent to take precautions and even defend oneself against harms in the outer world which operates in duality at practical levels to function. The inner world is little different. There is nothing that separates each one of us from other. Until a person reaches certain state where the nondual is realized, they reside or are constricted by the local body and mind. At this level, shielding, protecting oneself etc. may sound reasonable and it is understandable. After one truly realizes they are one with everything, there is nothing to shield or to be cautious with energy. When Jesus talks about good or evil, many times it is metaphorical and refers to the good and evil that is inside each one of us in different proportions. This is what Jesus discriminated against. He did not discriminate actual people saying this person is good or entirely evil. I doubt Jesus would have ever refused to help or associate with someone because they had negative or evil energy, or he ever had to shield or block and shut out people.
  9. Yes, ironic. The ability of the human mind to forget the past events is an asset and without which it will be hard to live mired in the events of the past and caught up in the past emotions. But, it is not wise to forget the lessons we learned from the past.
  10. That is a wonderful response to the situation presented. It is true that we may never know if there was a genuine need. Nevertheless scanning is not the right way to go. But flipping it this way is good from the standpoint of the one giving (or gave).
  11. I am a fan of the simple stories and parables Ramakrishna often used to narrate to his disciples and friends. Enjoyed most of the other videos/music posted here. Especially the ones posted by Trish and Aetherous. Lately I find the white noise from a fan or other machines that make a background white noise to take me to just a residing meditative state quicker than any chants or music, when the mind is caught up with the worldly stuff and thoughts. I read some types of white noise are used to reduce stress and even used as treatment modalities in some places.
  12. I like the personal forum area also. May be in future as Karen says. Not sure how much of an initial effort it would be to setup something like that. Plus there is some work for the moderators when members make requests each time. This forum seems to run the same base software.
  13. Yes, it can be frustrating and not a pleasant experience. But it is also a good opportunity to observe what happens within us. Watch the anger rise, observe the effects on the body. When we fully focus on the emotion and it's effects internally without identifying fully with the thoughts and the mind storyline, we may notice a tightness or a block somewhere (generally in the chakra 1-3 area for anger). By such constant observation and being present without the stories or associated thoughts of the mind, we can notice the tightness or block dissolving, rising and leave. We do this time and again with all emotions just observing when we can. This is the gist of the 'The Presence Process'. It can work very well if done right.
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