Thursday, September 30, 2010

Christianity, Buddhism, & Integral Yoga

Comment posted by: Anonymous Re: Sraddhalu Ranade writes to Manoj Das
The majority of the population here in America is held captive by the prison of the Christianity that I described. … While I am aware that "Yoga cannot be spread by external means", I feel a great urge to see something done in the way of making visible the writings of SA and the Mother for the sake of those in the depths of confusion here in the West and elsewhere. …
But what I would like to know is this: What, if anything, is to be done to cast the illumining light of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's knowledge upon such terrible falsehood and darkness? If only someone had pointed me in the direction of SA and the Mother when I began seriously inquiring about the "big questions" I would not have had to pass through Hell before finding my answers. Overcoming my own indoctrination was an insurmountable obstacle until I discovered SA and the Mother. There are scores of others out there unsuccessfully seeking answers. …
After having emerged somewhat from such falsehood at dire cost to my life and body, it pains me to no end to witness the utter cluelessness and fear with which my countrymen, and no doubt those of many other nations, continue to approach the spiritual and the occult. 

Rick Lipschutz reflects on the continuum which stretches from religion to spirituality. Drawing on the Mother's distinction between spiritual realization, spiritual philosophy, occultism and religion and her perception of a complementarity in their workings, the author calls for a more integral understanding of the yoga and its stages and processes.
There are different approaches than his to the Veda, Gita, Upanishad and all forms of Indian spirituality; but I think that as he has perceived it, in a remarkably clear way, there is a directly spiritual Veda, Gita, and Upanishad that is much more universal than the Western approaches, the Western faiths. It is simply part of the common spiritual heritage of humanity. That explains why Westerners who want a direct experience, a realization or a series of them culminating in a fully dynamic yogic life in the world, seem to have to turn to the East. Where else to turn? And for an affirmative spirituality, a “proactive yoga,” where better to turn than to Mother and Sri Aurobindo? Westerners may have something to add, also, with their kind of religious approach to living ideals in the practical life — but we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater. We can collapse all religious and spiritual expressions into some oozing equality where they all express the same monotonous dichotomous homogeneous religious mess; lump in “Hinduism” indiscriminately massed with anything else. But this is not true to the massive reality and even the history of Indian spiritual practice. We have to respect this most diverse gene-pool of Indian spirituality & will fail to put spirituality into practice if we hack away its foundation. Sri Aurobindo can help us here, so can Mother; Nolinida but also Sastriji and M.P. Pandit and Amal Kiran and the list goes on. And really, if we are looking for truth, we must develop each one our own truth-sense, our own truth-bell; our instruments: our mental sentinel and “clear austerity of the mind,” work diligently for the transformation of our vital ego into the true vital (not easily done), and the aspiration of our physical body and entire physical consciousness to participate, as it can and must. If we do this, we might find some truth we need to progress by a casual remark from a passing stranger, learning to read life even as we read Sri Aurobindo. [Seven Dedicated Lives Sunayana Panda - Jul 2009, The Golden Path: Interviews with Disciples of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville Anie Nunnally - Jan 1, 2004, Breath of grace Madhav Pundalik Pandit, How they came to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother: Twenty-nine true stories of sadhaks and devotees Shyam Kumari

From Bikash Rath bikash1968@gmail.com to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com cc Paulette paulette@auroville.org.in date 30 September 2010 10:51 subject Re: Sri Aurobindo Ashram: “Paradise on Earth”
Dear Paulette,
Seeing your sharing today feels like regaining something lost, and refreshing with that eternal air of sanctity which your golden experiences correspond to. Thanks to the Master that after a long war of suffocating exchanges we could have this.

You have already emphacised on the kingdom within, so I need not add anything unnecessary. The only thing I would like to share with you that I have reasons to believe that the Master has always people to continue his yoga, though they might not surface sufficiently. It is also likely that some of them want to come out for external leadership simply because they feel that the Master has given them that strength & vision, but they have not done it due to want of permission. And, the difference between them and those who appear to be the leaders(of war) now is that with the former confusion(if any) melts into vision whereas the opposite appears with the latter. Best regards. Bikash Rath

In my metaphysics courses, I am currently teaching Buddhist thought. I find Buddhism powerfully attractive due to its emphasis on living a life characterized by non-hurtfulness, compassion, and the diminution of suffering. While one might be able to do all sorts of conceptual contortions to show that such concepts are present throughout the history of Western thought, it’s my view that these concepts are almost entirely absent. The closest one comes is the thought of the Epicureans and the Stoics, yet even there, while we get an emphasis on diminishing suffering (though not in that language), we don’t encounter much in the way of discussion of anything resembling a discussion of either compassion or non-hurtfulness. And here it should be understood that the diminution of suffering, and the pursuit of compassion and non-hurtfulness is restricted not simply to the human, but to existence in general. In my view, we need to make a place for these values. This is the way it is with most ethical philosophies: They boil down to the exhortation or imperative “don’t be an asshole!” It’s a shame that generally moralists are the biggest assholes of all. So it goes with the narcissism that ethical thought often invites despite itself.
Now, I’m just easing my way into various strains of Eastern thought (I’m nearly a complete virgin), so please go easy on me. However, my hunch is that the ethical system of Buddhist thought follows almost directly from the metaphysical of conditioned genesis. What, then, is conditioned genesis? The term “conditioned” should be understood, I think, as a verb, “to condition”. Something conditions something else when it affects that way through some sort of action. “Genesis”, of course, refers to the production of something. Thus, for example, when you cook dinner at night, you are engaged in an act of genesis that produces a meal. When the two terms are put together, you get the thesis that all entities are a product of their interactions with other entities. Contrast the wine grape approached in an Aristotlean manner from the wine grape approached in a Buddhist way. The Aristotlean would focus on the qualities of the grape: it is purple, round, has such and such a taste, etc. The Buddhist wouldn’t reject these qualities, but rather than drawing our attention towards the object taken in isolation would instead direct our attention outward, focusing on the relationships and interactions of the grape. Hence the Buddhist would attend to the soil conditions, the sunlight, the weather conditions, the other plants in the region, the smog of California, the animals and the insects that contribute to producing these particular qualities.

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