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Gender: Male
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Home country: USA
Member since: Wed May 28, 2008, 03:30 PM
Number of posts: 785

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The Problem for Teachers of Advaita is How to Say Something About Nothing.

With Advaita, there is no dogma to learn or believe. The task for teachers of Advaita is to find ways to point as directly as possible at “that which has no name”.

Although nameless, many names or attributes have been given to “it” such as: God – Void – Emptiness – Consciousness as-it-is – Consciousness without an object – Pure Subject – Clear and open, Cloudless Sky (Dogzen) – Clarity – Capacity (Douglas Harding) – I Am – I Am That I Am – Tao – Awareness – Awareness of Awareness – Awakeness – Mindfulness – Bare Attention --No-Mind – Unborn – the No-Thing – Changeless, Infinite and Undivided (John Dobson) – the Unseen Seer – and many many more.

None of these names or attributes is “It”. They are just pointers to direct the attention of the seeker to look for what they are pointing to. This No-Thing is what mystics “see” when they are meditating. It is “That” in which all things appear and yet, when looked for, all that is “seen” or “experienced” is Nothing/Void/Empty/Clear and Open Space. THAT ART THOU.

Any teaching beyond this No-Thing [such as Karma, Reincarnation, angels, demons, etc.] are but ideas which come and go.

The mind (which is just an idea/thought indicating the presence of ideas/thoughts) hates the void, but the Void is the only thing that is real/Constant/Changeless. Everything else comes and goes, appears and disappears. The Void is “there” before, during and after everything else comes and goes. THAT ART THOU.

So simple, yet so easy to overlook or miss (i.e., “sin” as in “missing the mark”).

Compare the definitions of "consciousness" and the traditional religious definitions of "God" and

you'll find a lot of commonality. This is not a coincidence...it's SERENDIPITY!

The View from Now Here

Just as the ancients had a geocentric view of earth’s place in the cosmos, we naturally tend to have an egocentric view of our place in the world.

Two views:
What we can see is all there is.
There is more to it than what we can see.

The astrophysicists tell us that what we can see is barely 5% of what is “out there” (the rest they call Dark Matter and Dark Energy – invisible but very much there and measurable).

The Quantum-physicists tell us that the basis of matter is made up of teeny tiny strings of “stuff” separated by relatively vast distances of apparently empty space (actually, it’s much like the universe except we can see stars and galaxies).
Yet we must be very careful when attributing motives and personality onto “what-is”. It’s called “anthropomorphism” – the tendency to attribute human characteristics onto animals, plants, stones, rivers, mountains, natural phenomena and forces like lightning, earthquakes, etc. etc. This is all projection.

Religion/theology is the projection of human characteristics upon “what-is” and then to call it “God”.

The Lure of Ideology

Let’s face it, humans are run by faith (ideology) rather than facts. While we have some information from the past that allows us to have some confidence in predicting the future, that “confidence” is based on the faith (ideology) that things will continue to unfold in a way that is consistent with how they have unfolded in the past. However, from experience, we know that this is not always the case.

Understandably, we humans react to this fact as an existential threat and have developed “coping mechanisms” (religions, philosophies, social and political “systems”) to help us deal with this threat. These ideologies do not really help us deal with reality better, but they do help us deal with the terror we would otherwise have to continually endure without them.
Here is something to consider: Do you know what you will be thinking 5 minutes from now, or even one minute from now? No, you don’t. Are you certain that you will still be alive tomorrow? You can have faith and hope (ideology) that you will still be alive tomorrow, but that’s it. No certainty.

Let’s face facts: None of us (collectively or individually) are in control of our lives…and we never have been. Thus, the lure of ideology. It provides some comfort from the terror we would otherwise have to face.

God Did Not Write or Inspire the Bible

Here's my argument: Most modern theists believe that God either wrote or inspired the Bible. I don't accept this. Notice that nowhere in the Bible does God condemn slavery, misogyny, or war. In fact, He allowed all of them and even encouraged them.

Nowhere in the Bible does God encourage or even suggest democratic values, representative government, gender equality or other values that are important to modern Americans. Did these things never occur to the Supreme Deity? Apparently they did not.

I submit that the answer is obvious. God did not write or inspire the Bible. The Bible was written by humans, all of them males. The thinking of these males reflects the prevailing patriarchal culture in which they were born and grew up.

So, unless you want to believe that slavery, gender inequality, and non-representative government are God-approved eternal values and that democracy, representative government, and gender equality are modern innovations that are contrary to God's will, I suggest you discard the idea that God wrote, inspired or even approved the Bible.

The American Dream has become, at best, an illusion; at worst, a Nightmare.

The presumed goal of Capitalism is to accumulate capital. Instead, it has become a system wherein one accumulates debt. There is little difference between a “wage-slave” and a “debt-slave”. They are both forms of slavery.

Colonial American was built largely on the labor and sweat of African slaves and indentured servants from England. Today, we are building a whole new class of servants/slaves… they are indebted slaves.

For all the “talk” about the need for an “educated workforce” (let along an educated electorate), college tuition has been allowed to rise much faster an inflation (similar to medical costs, not incidentally), which means that students, unless they come from rich families, must take on more and more debt in order to get a college education. So, if you get sick or want to increase your chances of getting a “good job”, you are forced to take on more and more debt so that you are further enslaved to our capitalistic system.

In spite of all the jingoistic rhetoric about “freedom” coming from our “political leaders”, what we really have is just another Capitalist system of “slave-making”; both individually and as a Nation. [“I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.”] How is indebted servitude any better than indentured servitude?
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