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 Deifing the "still small voice" and intution

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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:01 am

http://edge.org/conversation/the-marvels-and-flaws-of-intuitive-thinking

So I am starting this new topic.... what is this "still small voice" that is often used in spiritual circles. How we deify, glorify "the still small voice," deciding that one of the voices in your mind is God, the Cosmic Buddha, the TRUTH.... and the practice of seeking out these inner voices and making that a focal point of your spiritual practice. This goes hand in hand with denying and even demonizing rational / logical thinking and analysis. And the excessive confidence we place in our inner stories that the mind constructs based on little or no evidence. People have great belief and faith based on little evidence. It is the suppression of all doubt, of all ambiguity, all rational thinking.

Certainly at Shasta, starting with Kennett's lotus blossom period, the emphasis on listening to "the still small voice" became a dominant aspect of the religious practice. This concept overwhelmed conventional Zen practice, creating what we have called the Church of Kennett.

The concept of "the still small voice" comes out of the Old Testament, the mythology / story of the ONE TRUE GOD who talks to his chosen people and they obey -- and the jewish prophets connect to this deity, they hear his voice and instructions and follow his words. This deity, God, Jehovah - is mostly related to as a voice, as instructions, as specific directions that must be followed. Yes, every so often there is a burning bush or a pillar of fire, but mostly this deity comes through as a voice. The Buddha, the Zen tradition, did not teach that we should find and listen to any voices in our minds. Just the opposite actually. It taught the end of all voices, all mind constructions, all projections, all stories.

Connecting to this "God", this divine, and listening to this voice - is a common practice in western religion as well as new age circles. Finding and connecting to this God, this deity, this higher self, that has a particular voice and point of view, channeling this voice, asking this voice questions and getting answers, common religious practice found all over the world. But what is it? We try to listen to our intuition, our inner knowing, but what is this?

There are so many current examples of this kind of religious thinking. There is a series of books -- Conversations with God -- great example. This fellow says he is talking to "God" and channels thousands of pages of dialogues with "God" and makes millions of dollars, selling books and giving workshops and seminars. Other people channel other divine entities, deities, angels, ascended masters, presenting these voices and dialogues as divine instructions. The new age section of the book store has literally hundreds of examples of people channeling divine beings and voices.

As I left Shasta, Kennett was dialoguing with the "Cosmic Buddha' dozens, hundreds of times each day, asking the "cosmic buddha" what truck to buy, who she should vote for, when she should go down to San Francisco, what to do - in literally every situation, even the most minor. And she asked that everyone around her also participate in this practice of asking this cosmic buddha, of listening to these voices, and making sure we all got the same "answer." Setting aside this extreme situation -- and it was extreme, even bizarre, we can reasonably ask what it means to make listening to the "still small voice" or the "voice of the eternal" the central aspect of spiritual practice. And what does this have to do with dharma, zen, the teachings of the Buddha?
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Oct 11, 2011 5:19 am

Before we start I have to get something off my chest and make a confession.

I had to take someone to Maudsley Hospital once, a violent schizophrenic who had been released form Wormwood Scrubs HMP. Of course he had big issues and was very difficult.

Whilst I was waiting for him to be assessed and admitted,

I saw a poster advertising a talk by an eminent shrink on schizophrenia .

I could not resist it I wrote on the bottom

' I have half a mind to go'

Another patient of RD Lang peddled 40 miles on a tricycle for a chat once. he was a nice guy and was labelled a schizophrenic. He actually started the chat by thumping himself very hard in his chest and stomach, saying 'Nothing will get past there'

I told him I would not even attempt it.

His life had been going OK until he had the voices; and they were religious voices, of God . One day God stopped loving him , and it all went very dark for him. I have never met anyone before, who I could loose touch and personal contact with, during a conversation. Very odd,but then he was.

About this time Eko was seeing himself as Jesus on the cross and I had a strange feeling I knew where it would all end up. The voices tend to lead one into strange places that one feels are the right places,duality leads duality, duality needs duality reinforced all the time
As you say Josh
The Buddha, the Zen tradition, did not teach that we should find and listen to any voices in our minds. Just the opposite actually. It taught the end of all voices, all mind constructions, all projections, all stories.



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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:41 am

Aren't the "still, small voice" and the "cosmic buddha" just other phrases for the Buddha Nature? Isn't listening to them just a way (in theory) of keeping the precepts and, so, acting with kindness? I agree though that there are potential dangers.

I don't mind people using a bit of metaphor for things that can't be explained very well. In some areas of life poetry is more accurate than science.

I personally like to pretend that there is an extra ventricle in our hearts that the biologists have not discovered yet. Inside the throbbing, [blooody] chamber is a garden where blackthorn blossoms throw a snow of petals in the wind, and where Kuanyin sits by her waterfall, weeping for the world.

I've been playing "lets pretend" since I was a kid.
It's a lot of fun.

I think the danger comes when we mistake the pretty pictures in our minds for the indescribable things they are trying to describe. And this is what happens when lying parents present the santa myth as fact to their children.


Chisanmichaelhughes: Did you actually know RD Laing? Because he was like totally awesome.


Last edited by glorfindel on Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:43 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : bypass filter for adjective denoting something with blood on it)
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:26 am

Glorfindel yes I did know RD Laing. he had an amazing insight into possible reasons why people people had the problems they had. He saw people from all walks of life with wide ranges of problems. He was very funny and told fantastic stories and went into areas of life most of us do not know exist, and do not really want to
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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:52 am

Wow that's really cool.

I was reading "sanity, madness and the family", "the divided self", "self and other", etc just for fun when I was a teenager!

I've seen videos of him, he was such a good storyteller. And helped alot of people too, I bet. Definitely one of my heroes.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:56 am

He helped a lot of people rich and famous and simple people without any money
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breljo

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:34 pm

I always thought that the still small voice was much more like your inner intuition that you knew in your very heart of hearts to be true, but most often ignored and went against. One of the early teachings I received at the Santa Barbara Priory was of "being grabbed by the Cosmic Buddha". I never thought of equating Cosmic Buddha with the Christian Concept such as in the Abrahamic tradition but knew it was a metaphor for Buddha Nature. that which connects us all. the indefinable which cannot be put into words, as much as we might try, but which I thought can be recognized more easily within a practice of stillness and meditation. As is evident by reading the experiences of abuses and unkindnesses told of here, monastic practice isn't always all that helpful, you're better off in the long run living your life as it presents itsself, practicing the very simple concept of treating all as you yourself would like to be treated, and that is with kindness, dignity and a measure of respect, whether you are able to relate to them or not.
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:55 pm

Hey Chisan

"Loved your half a mind to go",...very funny!

This next bit is a bit weird and puzzling about the person RD Laing who's virtues both you and Gorfindel espoused.

Not knowing much about RD laing I googled him and was immediately immersed in public accusations by his own family and "friends" of his very disturbing behaviours that would make Eko look like a [banned term] cat. Have I got the wrong guy or do you just not give credence to all those accusations.

Howard
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:56 am

I believe you have the same Laing. He never pretended he did not have problems himself,or that he did not have issues with his own family. he was never regarded as a guru,simply as a man who did have an intuitive way of dealing with mental illness which was different from the ways of the time.
I remember being shown around an mental institute or really lunatic asylum in the early seventies,it was a lot like the cukoos nest one, quite brutal in its treatment of patients,quite limited in its approach to people.
people like Laing changed the way society thought about 'mad people' and what society could do to help. Most of the old style institutes closed, and small homes have been set up, patients were called residents, and by and large were looked after by very kind people that gave them a home,within society.
I do not want to defend Ronnies personal life style but he did pioneer a different approach, Why i got to know him was when I was in London we had an increasing number of people who were interested in religion and Buddhism, and had issues that I had no experience of.He did offer help for certain circumstances, his ability to see root causes of problems was greater than mine.As a zen Buddhist my practice is based on awareness I would personally treat blocks and confused thinking like any other mental activity and be aware of them arising and let go of attachments ,this is not a pratice that suits all people.Some people are not aware enough or ready enough to practice zazen. I believe that zazen would enable that which is not permanent to disperse of its own accord When one can not practice zazen because of high anxiety or severe mental issues or chemical imbalance, they have to be resolved medically.I am sure you feel the same Howard So Ronnie laing great pioneer ,helped a lot of people and debris in his own life
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:54 am

you're better off in the long run living your life as it presents itsself, practicing the very simple concept of treating all as you yourself would like to be treated, and that is with kindness, dignity and a measure of respect, whether you are able to relate to them or not.

Brigette when all the noise stops or quietens down I think your simple statement says so much about you and what your understanding of life and meditation is. As a quiet person who has brought up your children,and lived through the trials of that largely on your own I think you have great values,and learnt great lessons. I believe that when a teacher asks for the answer to a koan they may have a whole circus thrown at them, but your answer is the one they want
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:31 am

My parents told me there was a Santa, an Easter Bunny, and a Sandman. My mother also told me there was a God. I remember the day I learned there wasn't a Santa; I was in the kitchen with my mom. Right away I asked her, "Does that mean there's not a God either?" She looked aghast at me and said, "No, no dear, there's a God!" I just said "Oh." I completely believed her assertion despite the fact I'd been lied to about the various cultural myths. I remember later saying to her that there must be a God because of all the churches built by adults to worship him.

My parents did not go to church and never claimed to be Christians. I was an only child.
At a very early age I began attending church on my own, beginning with a United Church, because it was the closest to my house, then going on to a Baptist, since I found it not too far from home either and then ending up with an Anglican church since some family noticed me and offered to pick me up and drive me to church with their family every Sunday. By this time I was 7 yrs. old. I remember dressing up for the occasion and having one of those hats with a long ribbon at the back, along with white gloves.

I can't remember a time when I didn't believe in God, or a higher power, Great Spirit or whatever you want to call it.....Buddha mind. I tried very hard to question it in my early 20's; I read many books written by Jean Paul Sartre. No matter how I tried, I couldn't quit believing.
I've thrown everything but the kitchen sink, and then the kitchen sink too, and I have failed to extinguish this belief. Finally I gave up and just said to myself that I must have the religious gene and there's nothing that can be done about it.

Still small voice? I never heard any voice busy, large, still or small. I didn't hear God calling me.
I don't really know why I have such a belief; maybe it's because my home was insecure and I craved a more peaceful home which was orderly. That's the only reason I can think of, which is a psychological reason for my belief. At any rate, I'm well into my 50's and the belief remains in tact. Meditation helped me feel grounded and stronger. So much for my two cents from the peanut gallery, bows, claire
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:16 am

For what it is worth bellClaire I think it is a good 2 cents worth
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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:23 am

Howard wrote:
RD laing I googled him and was immediately immersed in public accusations by his own family and "friends" of his very disturbing behaviours that would make Eko look like a [banned term] cat

Howard


RD Laing wasn't a monk Smile

He was a person.

He acted like most of the other rock stars out there. But his "rock music" was psychiatry.

While he was a person in this world (and, remember, he was up against some very horrendous psychological paradigms/practices):


He removed the desk from between the Psychiatrist and the "patient"

He demonstrated that the incomprehensible behaviour of madness sometimes made complete sense when studied within its familial context. Often revolving around people being put in untenable situations by parents, etc.

He set up safe houses where people could travel through the process of "madness". One woman used to paint the walls with her poop. They didn't stop the behaviour but gave her crayons to use instead. She went on to have a career as a respected artist...

I'm aware that one side of his family had a lot against him because he told his fatally ill daughter that she only had a short time to live. The family and doctors wanted the info kept from her. He told her anyway and, he claimed, she thanked him deeply for telling her the truth.

etc


About the "still small voice": I think its not supposed to be understood to be an actual voice but a feeling. Or am I wrong about that?





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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:33 am

Hi bellclaire Smile

Yes, santa: horrid stuff.

You mention your unshakeable belief in God. I'm wondering if you could describe What this thing is that you believe after the letters G-o-d get stripped away from it?

What is God?
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:35 am

glorfindel wrote:
About the "still small voice": I think its not supposed to be understood to be an actual voice but a feeling. Or am I wrong about that?

I find that how I interpret my experience of connectedness changes. More importantly I'd like to suggest that we stop reacting to Jiyu Kennett's excesses. Just because she sometimes had a need to exaggerate and required the rest of us to participate in her theater doesn't mean there is no validity to the experience of inner guidance.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:53 pm

Chisan, I have to say that all here will agree that you most of all have given an example of how to live life "as it presents itsself" with dignity and awareness. For myself I have to admit that most transformational awareness had to be learned the hard way, having to admit that I too am or have been capable of unkindness, disregard and even cruelty without being completely aware of it. I emphasize "completely" because shall I dare mention "the still small voice" or perhaps better put as "That Which Is Awareness Itsself" always knows. Love, Hate, Cruelty and Kindness, they all live so close together in this unfathomable experience called life, and as it says in the Sandokai, "within all light is darkness, but explained it cannot be by darkness that onesided is alone." So, we really should not be judging, and yet still have to do what we think is best to do next, that's all we can do, as I see it.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:08 pm

Hi Glorfindal,
To me, God is the essence of existence, a compassionate awareness which is everywhere. There is nowhere where God is not; God is the awareness wherein we have our being. Nothing is but a place where something is. God is the "I am".
This is how I see things now. I am perfectly fine with others having a different view.

I have plenty of questions around the subject of suffering. I think the Buddhas idea of dealing directly with the suffering we create is supremely practical and useful. We can change our own behaviour to be less greedy, less hateful, less deluded. We have moments when we feel perfection but they elude us most of the time, at least that is the way I experience training in Buddhism. I do not think I am a pure Buddhist; some Christianity for sure has influenced me and continues to do so. At least I have grown to where I can accept there is more than one way of looking at the elephant before us.

I do not mean to be overly bold. My faith is not unshakeable. When I see suffering or read about it, be it animals or human beings, every fibre of my being rebels and says, No! There are some kinds of suffering I do not know the reason for. It is easier to understand the suffering humans create than to understand the suffering of old age, disease and death. These shake me considerably; I am not comfortable with old age, disease or death. I believe God is still there, in the shadow of the valley of death, as the psalm says. Sometimes God seems absent and this is not something I know the reason for. Bye, bows, claire
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bellclaire



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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:29 pm

ps. from claire
To me God is neither male or female; our Western culture turned out to be paternalistic so God became a he.

To change the subject a bit: Twice last yr. I required emergency surgery. Both times I had extream pain and I had to be taken by ambulance to the E.R. The main thought in my mind was not about God or the after life or anything like that. All I could think of was, I hope I get a good surgeon!! I did not pray to have a good surgeon; I just hoped. I am still here thanks to 2 different surgeons and modern medicine.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:14 am

Breljo thanks for reply
And the great music you sent over to me is that restricted by itself?
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:41 am

Isan

experience of inner guidance

interesting phrase, I am not sure I have heard it before, I think you mean being guilded by ones thoughts,or do you mean being guided by the thoughts of something greater?
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breljo

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:25 pm

Chisan

I believe you must be referring to my reply some months ago to one of your posts in which you talked about Jamaican music? , and which had made me think of my favorite Cuban band, "Buena Vista Social Club" which in its original form is no longer in existence. I believe the band as it appeared in Amsterdam in 1998 and at Carnegie Hall was one of the greatest bands of Cuban Music of all times(pure Afro Cuban). I believe some of its original members still appear separately at this time, but I'm not sure what you mean by restricted by itsself? Much of the original is still on You Tube .
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:37 pm

Actually Bridgette I was talking about zazen,are we one with ourselves or do we restrict our selves
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:50 pm

Experience of inner guidance- I procrastinate all the time and decisions at times for me are difficult, so I find I hold back a lot. People talk of gut feelings, that doesnt work for me. So what seems to work is a kind of listening to the body, the mind, and trying to get a sense of whats required. Its more of a testing the water approach, and looking at the bigger picture. At times, I do see it in some way as being guided, but not by a thing. More of senseing the appropriate. But I dont feel I get it right at the time its more looking back that things seem to have their place/purpose. There are times when something jumps out and helps, and I think yes its HIM, and ponder over the form and creation within that moment. Maybe there is an inner compass, and if it doesnt get stuck points us to goodness. John
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:07 pm

john wrote:
Experience of inner guidance- I procrastinate all the time and decisions at times for me are difficult, so I find I hold back a lot. People talk of gut feelings, that doesnt work for me. So what seems to work is a kind of listening to the body, the mind, and trying to get a sense of whats required. Its more of a testing the water approach, and looking at the bigger picture. At times, I do see it in some way as being guided, but not by a thing. More of sensing the appropriate. But I don't feel I get it right at the time its more looking back that things seem to have their place/purpose. There are times when something jumps out and helps, and I think yes its HIM, and ponder over the form and creation within that moment. Maybe there is an inner compass, and if it doesn't get stuck points us to goodness. John

John, your description resonates. I often feel like I'm moving in the dark, trying to notice what is beyond my opinions and expectations. It's not a grandiose process, and when in doubt I just put aside my intimations and defer to common sense. As you say, over time when you look back you can sometimes see how zigging when you might have zagged made a difference, but most of the time I don't know probably because it's "need to know" and I don't :-)
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:25 pm

Chisan, glad you clarified that, because I thought any time Lise would restrict me to another thread. My answer to your question then , if I am able to articulate it at all somehow, would be to say that within Zazen there is no "struggle", no "restriction" no this nor that and as I was about to say perhaps some sort of "assurance"?, no, there is not even that, somehow sitting Zazen being complete by itsself in itsself. Zazen is not like prayer, yet somehow, an innocence, an innocent trust that nothing lacks, and all is well and complete and the self rests within the Self
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:09 am

The still small voice was part of Jiyu's church talk. Yes it had Anglican overtones but it mostly came from her intent to personalize and transplant an eastern religion to the West.

I think it might of been easier and less controversial had she moved more slowly in that regard but she was going to be roundly criticized for changing anything whether quickly or slowly.

How do you tell folks that beneath their dominant wants, desires, cravings, aversion, fears, conditioning, confusion and complacency is an accessible truth that is worth watching out for and that it usually requires the lessening of our hold on identity creating phenomena enough to notice truths subtle whisper over our ego's stentorian song.
Jiyu's teaching of "the small still voice" was to aid in this.

One of the things I liked about Jiyu's still small voice teaching was it had the potential of helping folks drop off their long held angst or guilt laden burdens and just attend to being open on the path. I thought folks could endlessly ruminate and dissect burdens that were never really theirs to carry, or they could be attentive to the possibility of a small still voice and move on to the deeper subtler truths that underpin all religious experiences.

I think the small still voice can be both a spiritual compass and a wider awareness of heart that transcends the limitations of our own Ego's reality.

Unfortunately I think I also saw this term used defensively in regards to the questionable actions by Seniors who implied deep spiritual connections (the small still voice) as the unassailable answer to any questioning by juniors. One of the saddest outcomes of "Shasta Speak" (Shasta's spiritual short hand) came when the religious phraseology of liberation was co opted by the fearful as a manipulative tool of control.
So in the end, like everything else, the term was only ever as meaningful as the intent of its user.

Cheers All


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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:47 am

Nicely said Breljo
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:56 am

Well said too Howard, I feel the problem with the still small voice is it actually takes one away from Zazen, It appears to be a practice of leading the self somewhere else...Maybe to a religious experience, or better place, maybe to spiritual training.
Maybe this can help and maybe it creates a religious ego.
The bell goes and we go to the zendo, the bell goes we sit. The experience is zazen here now.
We create our own division of me and the world ,body and mind,zazen allows the division to disperse because it does not exist.
To me the still small voice as nice as it sounds,creates another layer of secret ego,which is not found in the posture and practice of pure zazen
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:01 am

An interesting perspective Chisan.

Allow me to present another late night possibility to ponder.

For the Zazen purist, the deliberate attempt to listen for "the still small voice" while in formal zazen, is not zazen but just another party snack for the ego.

No argument there between two zen hard asses.

But then we get up from the zabuton and enter the free for all, called life.

The important part of the "still small voice" has always been the "still". I hear the "small voice" part as just the easiest way to turn the "still" into a usable verb.

It represents a meditative truth that beneath our identities clinging chaos is a wide fathomless accessable stillness. Stillness in activity and activity in stillness is not something to be looked for in formal zazen but it has much value to be open to in the zazen of daily life.

The illumination that one carries from formal Zazen into active life can be described as a stillness within activity.

or stillness as a verb.....or sometimes.... The still small voice.

??????

Before you consider agreeing with me, better watch out for all those zealots with torches and pitch forks looking for the dude that basterdized their , not so still, not so small voice.


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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:11 am

Some short reactions. From what I saw, Kennett's emphasis on "the still small voice" was much more literal - it was not a metaphor. It was not part of her attempt to adapt Buddhist teachings to the west. A "voice" is not a concept -- it is a voice, a particular voice, it speaks, it says stuff, it has a personality

As Kennett went through her lotus breakdown phase, she became deeply confused. She lost her compass and desperately searched for a way to do the "right" thing and not make any mistakes and wanted the Cosmic Buddha to tell her what to do. She then identified one of the voices in her head as the voice of God, the Lord of the House, that would tell her specifics on everything and then began asking this voice, this persona, questions about every decision.

This is a very Christian / western thing to do. You start channeling this voice.. And, let's be clear, this wasn't just one voice in her head. It became the voice of THE LORD. And everyone around her needed to get the same answers, make sure their inner voices corresponded to HER inner voice.

Western religion is filled with people who seek the divine through hearing and following voice, divine instructions. How do you know which voice is God and which voice is not?

When the Shasta theology began to go in this direction, things were far away from what the Buddha taught. Did the Buddha teach that people should try to hear his voice? Nowhere. Never. All voices are just more mind chatter. All voices should be equally questioned.

Actually, the Buddha was totally rational. His teaching was NOT about abandoning logic or the rational mind and relying on inner voices. The Dharma is the opposite of that.

When I decided to leave Shasta and walk away from Kennett's teachings, I was not receiving these instructions from "the Lord of the House" or "the cosmic buddha." I was relying on my own intelligence, insight, experience, logic, and so on. If you want, you can say I also relied on my inner sense -- but I don't consider that "divine" or "mystical'. There is no need to dress this up in golden robes.

I think teachings on the still small voice are frankly highly dualistic, and can be actually quite confusing and harmful, can make some people even schizophrenic, deeply split, as they desperately try to define the voices in their head - the good voice from the bad voice, this voice is "mara" and that voice is the LORD OF THE HOUSE. Words have power, concept have power, beliefs have consequences. Congresswoman Michele Bachman prays to God and God tells her to oppose gay marriage. God tells Sarah Palin to run for president. This "god" tells Joan of Arc to kill the British. Jehovah tells the Jews to slaughter all their enemies including children and promises them the land of Israel. These are the "voices' of various deities. These voices are not metaphors. They are voices and they instruct, people hear them and then believe them and even become slaves to their inner voices.

Do I think that these folks are actually talking to a deity, a god. No, I think they are talking to themselves. But they don't know it, they project and concretize these voices as divine, as not themselves and follow along. They hear what they want to hear.

So you pray to a "god" or a "cosmic buddha" -- and ask his blessings, ask for the right answers, and then demand that your followers do what this deity says. What does this have to do with Dharma? This is old time religion. And unfortunately, that's precisely where Kennett wandered during her lotus period -- and if Shasta and her acolytes adapted and promoted the theology of seeking and listening to "the still small voice" -- that has serious long-term consequences.

Huge thunder tonight in new york city. enough of my babble for now.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:46 am

I agree

The is a difference ( ultimately I guess not) between being in a practice temple and not.

Practice temples are zazen based and when one gets up from a zafu the structure is still meditation or zazen based through daily practice. The practice of Bendowa really helps zazen through daily life.

I personally think at certain points, one is better off not being in a temple,that time is pretty close to when one is practicing zazen . Life away from a temple throws up problems and difficulties that really test ones resolve and practice,in a very relevant way.

I actually think Mike Little will benefit more from a one to one sexual relationship , than he did at Shasta, an odd thing to say, but relationships which are normal throughout the world, are demanding and testing. His relationship with with the world will test him too,going to work mixing with different types of people.



As a hindsight Shasta would have benefitted I think from limited stays , even for monks, perhaps a period in society, living in an outside temple, and then a flat in society to see what one had learnt. The difficulties of life can bring out the best of people that meditate.



It may take time but a zen Teacher would want to know how you sit, how you practice without any help or guildance of a temple. It is a tough teaching, but it is a tough world.



Quietness and stillness, lovely aren't they. I'll send you some flowers
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john

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:28 am

The difficulties of life can bring out the best of people that meditate- I like that. It does offer hope in a confusing world and says something of why we meditate. Chisan, I agree quietness and stillness can be lovely and can allow for renewal of body and mind, but I think I will forgo the flowers for when I truely become nothing.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:42 am

Ha ha

I will get some anyway in case 'you' reappear
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mstrathern
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:06 pm

Howard, "Stillness in activity and activity in stillness is not something to be looked for in formal zazen"...why not?

Josh "This is a very Christian / western thing to do. You start channeling this voice..", I know a lot of Christians who would not agree. They would point to the 'Cloud of Unknowing', aka 'the Dark Night of the Soul'. I remember a fine Trappist monk saying, 'Ah! the presence of God, it's like going into a silent, dark room and knowing that you aren't alone, that there is someone else in there too.' Of course if the other guy had a 'still small voice' he could have announced his presence properly! Still, I often think that the 'still small voice', especially when it is the voice of conscience, does serve a useful function by allowing one to own up to something that one is not capable of truly facing yet. But yes I totally agree it is not a form of Cosmic Wikipedia, infallible or otherwise.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:45 pm

Yet again the plot thickens
We have Belclaire say her God is neither male nor female, the Trappist saying God is 'someone' else
JK having conversations with the Cosmic Buddha.Mia read somewhere "Meditation kick-started my sex life"
I suggest £20 in an envelope each, send to me I will,with pleasure, pass on to RD Laing for first installment ,for talking it over
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:49 pm

Hi Mark,

" agree it is not a form of Cosmic Wikipedia, infallible or otherwise.".

The call of intuition in seeking understanding.

I sometimes see it as being lost in a great jungle. One stops as a direction
out is unknown. Further movement when lost is pointless. Hence the " Still" aspect.

As one is lost, The nearby surroundings are showing no obvious route out of
jungle. One has to seek more subtle and distant clues. The direction of the
sun, faint footprints, distant noises, Difficult to discern. Hence the " Small" aspect.

Any of the discerned clues as to the direction out of the jungle or what to do
next is the " Voice".

The onus being on putting oneself into stillness , stopping one`s own noise
and having faith in the clues. All this whilst recognising that one does not
know what the final outcome will be. So yes, No " Cosmic Infallible Wikipedia".

It would be wonderful to have one of those " Cosmic Wikipedias". !

Owning up to " something that one is not capable of truly facing yet" is indeed
"a useful function". Such as one does not have all the answers nor, knows
what to do next.

As RM Jiyu used to say..." The truth, the whole truth,...and anything else that
works."

I hope you`re keeping well.
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:23 pm

On hearing the still, small voice, Josh said: "Do I think that these folks are actually talking to a deity, a god. No, I think they are talking to themselves. But they don't know it, they project and concretize these voices as divine, as not themselves and follow along. They hear what they want to hear."

I agree with Josh. I think what happens when we hear a "still small voice" telling us what to do is actually a subconscious, often lightning-speed mental process whereby our brain picks up visual and other signals, logic and experience kick in, and suddenly we hear a "voice" telling us what to do. The fact -- to me, anyway -- that this isn't "God" or some "Cosmic Buddha" talking to us doesn't make these intuitions any less valid.

The inner "voice" can lead us to take a practical, desirable course of action or it might lead us into some kind of disaster. The guy who shot 8 people in a beauty salon in California a couple of days ago no doubt heard a "voice" telling him this was a good thing to do.

But to me the fact that our brain/mind works the way it does is something that in most people can be cultivated and trained for good. If we practice as Michael says kindness and we gently let go of the anger and ego-driven greed that brings us all so much misery, then we can count on these intuitions or inner "voices" leading us in the right direction. If we nurture anger and greed and let the poisons fester and boil in ourselves, these "voices" will surely lead to disaster.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Oct 14, 2011 9:09 pm

Stan ... " The truth, the whole truth,...and anything else that works.", yes one of Jiyu's frequent quotes; from the end of a Perry Mason TV episode, a favourite show of hers at the time. But a double edged sword, and often one without a handle.
Mike, you won't get £20 out of me that easily! Yes I new Ronnie too, and I think that his contribution to psychiatry was important but like the man himself rather lopsided and flawed. There is no doubt that he helped a number of people I new, but equally there is no doubt that he harmed, or at the very least blocked the progress of a few too.
As to 'the still small voice' if it helps people towards the point where they can see clearly enough to choose great. But again your right, as with all these things it is something that all too often is elevated to a position where it becomes 'important' and hinders rather than helps. Occasionally taking over and becoming another bit of the candy-floss of Mara.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:10 am

Closer and closer to our core beliefs.
Hiding behind Images and sayings of this God or that god, enables us to feel right about our understanding, our direction, even our ability to be absolutely nasty to other people. As Carol says the voices told the guy to kill people at the hair dressers,Our criminal institutes are fairly full of people who heard the voice of God.
My friend Mark Gajardo,blown up by religious fanatics who thought it right to kill as many westerners as possible.

I believe Zen gives us the opportunity to let go of the idea of faith,to let go of every idea and preconceived idea about religion and zazen itself.

The simple act of sitting without direction or commentary from ourselves allows to be who we are. Our practice is here and now, there is nowhere else.

By trusting and letting go of our thoughts of our religious practice, we become closer not further from the here and now. The spirituality that is sought through words and silence is not gained or taught it is realized.

We were not unconnected in the first place,if voices or thinking allows one to trust in this big faith that by letting go of our rational habitual ways and thinking ,and that maybe we can enter spiritual practice by some other route to what we assumed to be normal, (Simply by being here and now) . If we trust that by letting go of our mental attachments we might find freedom from the hindrances to realization that we have actually created ourselves

I do not believe personally that we sit and allow Buddhism to manifest,the depth of Buddhism,Spirituallity is already here and now
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sat Oct 15, 2011 3:22 am

Hello Mark

Howard, "Stillness in activity and activity in stillness is not something to be looked for in formal zazen"...why not?

Well to this zafu pilots view, the act of looking for something in formal zazen is an oxymoron.

If you were going to give instructions to someone on how to do zazen, what would you suggest they actively look for while doing zazen?

Stillness in activity and activity in stillness can be observed in formal zazen but to actively look for them in formal zazen is to have already left formal zazen.

While a wide range of active sense gate explorations (like looking for things) can be called meditation, I think formal zazen differs in that it is simply a practise of not feeding such habitual behaviours.

Cheers

H
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bellclaire



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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sat Oct 15, 2011 3:53 pm

Hi Howard.
Exactly; you've described zazen very well. The attitude of mind must not be grasping after anything or pushing anything away. This simple act of sitting has been immensely helpful to me. Bye, claire
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:10 pm

Sorry Howard I misconstrued your 'looked for' as referring to appearance rather seeking.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sun Oct 16, 2011 2:13 am

bellclaire wrote:

To me, God is the essence of existence, a compassionate awareness which is everywhere.

The essence of existence is aware? How do we know that?

I really want what you say to be true but I can't help thinking, "maybe people just make that stuff up in their minds."

Just like with Santa Claus. (I really wanted him to be true too Sad )


I would worry that, if I believed the essence of existence was aware (and compassionate), I might not be correct.

I really really REALLY want it to be true because I'm actually very scared of death. I would love someone to prove it to me.



Concerning RD Laing: I notice he is still being mentioned a bit. Don't worry I don't put him on a pedestal or anything. I don't think he was right about everything! But he seemed to have the courage to question what was going on around him and come up with something different. I was just a bit influenced by his books when I was very young. There is this thread here if anyone wants to know more:



http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/t379-who-is-your-favourite-psychiatrist-and-why-is-it-r-d-laing

I wonder how many other cool people all you granpas and granmas used to know! Did anyone know John Steinbeck? Cuz he really is my hero! (as a writer, not as a person).
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sun Oct 16, 2011 3:58 am

glorfindel wrote:
The essence of existence is aware? How do we know that?

Glorfindel, this is the question that I think, for many, lies at the heart of it all.

Science has not yet been able to offer a hypothesis for explaining consciousness or awareness. It does a fairly good job of describing the nature of physical existence, as a field of space-time-energy-mass, which arises from (what some physicists have referred to as) the Void.

Empirical measurement, the methodology of science, is helpless, and inherently unable to probe beyond physical existence itself. It is therefore unable to address the question of how the universe arises--or (I would assert) the nature of awareness itself.

The mystical traditions, on the other hand, share an astonishing degree of consensus (expressed in a wide variety of different ways) that the ground of awareness is empty, unborn, undying--and the source of existence itself.

Mystical experience however does not, and cannot, tell us anything about the fabric of physical existence.

It would therefore seem that the only way for you to answer your question would be to integrate an understanding of basic physics (which you may already have), with a direct experience of the ground of awareness.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:40 am

A typical Kozan answer 'the profound put very simply'
May I add absolutely nothing to it
Sit in the correct posture knees on floor if possible, triangular base if possible, back pushing upwards ; relax; be aware of your breathing in you abdomin, your body breath and mind are one. In Japan they say think the unthinkable, really this means allow the thinking process to drop away;be your posture, your breath . Don't gauge what you are doing or look for results. If you do this for some time your own treasure house will naturally appear and you will enjoy it fully
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sun Oct 16, 2011 1:56 pm

Hi Glorfindel,

I`m wondering if your " Essence of existence is aware ? How do we know that ?"
is a rhetorical Forum type of question or a personal one from the heart.

Knowing you a little from your forum postings, I wonder if you really anticipate
someone to "prove" that question of yours. I may be wrong.

Any proof would have been derived by someone else and so can never be relied
on fully `at the death` so to speak. Proof needs to be owned by you 100%.
Zero doubt if it`s going to nail it.

I see two conflicting positions here.
1. That you are by your own words `very scared of death` and..
2. Having the knowledge that `the essence of existence is aware` would
resolve the fear of death. This by virtue of a once cold impersonal awareness
now being seen as the essence of life itself.

You now `ratchet` up the conflict by saying that you "really" want it to be
true that the essence of existence is aware but dare not. You dare not
commit without proof.

If you risked taking this view and later it proved to be untrue, you would then
have even more ground cut away from under you. The floodwater of doubt
would rise nearer and nearer to neck level.

What to do ?

As Kozan said, a direct experience of the ground of awareness or your true
nature would clear away all doubt and also bring peace to heart and mind.

When you have run out of choices and have to know the truth above anything
else, including life and death, you will be delivered quite naturally to the place
where you can jump `beyond all fear`.

You are already taking `baby trial jumps` all the time as witnessed by your " I
really, really, REALLY, want it to be true".

It may take enumerable small jumps or one mighty ` go for it` jump. It doesn`t
matter. It depends on your need to know.

All the teachers and books say it can be done as you will know. The knowledge
has to be at your core though.
You have all you need. You don`t need the books, the teachers or the zazen
in the end. There isn`t a method.

The eyes have to leave the end of the finger and travel through empty space
till they see the moon.

All of existence always was `compassionate awareness` because there is no
separation. We all share the same universal awareness. There is only one
essence of existence and not a separate one for each of us. It has been
waiting for you with `open arms` long before you even knew of it.

It can all seem such a mighty problem. Looking back, it can be viewed as a
simple confidence issue. Embarrassing almost.

The very fact that you can say out loud that you "are actually very scared of
death" is admirable. We all have or have had this `dirty little secret` and
almost never come near to truly facing it. I imagine a lot of teachers would
smile with satisfaction at how well things are going for you.

Whichever way your question was intended, I wish you the best of luck. Not
that I think you`ll need it !

I truly hope you don`t find all this `teachy,preachy`. It`s not my intention.
I hope you know me better. It`s just my style. I can`t help it. I heard your
question.

Stan.
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sun Oct 16, 2011 2:26 pm

Kozan and Glory,
I would have to somewhat disagree with you, Kozan. I think we can give Glory a scientific basis for essence of existence being aware, or more accurately put: awareness. As this may be breaking news, I will try to present this hypothesis as coherently as possible. Please note, Lise, if the media gets hold of this, please maintain my anonymity. I like to lead a quiet and humble life and fear for what the bright lights of fame and fortune may do to my obscure, but contented existence.

My understanding is that science has pretty much established that matter is merely a form of energy. Matter, essentially, when looked at as the subatomic particles that make it up, is almost completely void. Subatomic particles themselves are not even looked upon as solid in any way, but more as a condensed form of energy. So what we percieve as solid is not solid at all. What keeps two solid objects from merging is not their solidity but the energy in the atomic and sub atomic particles that repels those things outside its sphere.

So when we look at the essence of existence, it is energy, which itself--in its smallest manifestations, as far as science can tell at this point--arises and passes back into the Void (sound familiar?). But as people we do not experience experience existence at this level; we usually experience it at the level of solidity. What is this experience of solidity then, other than consciousness? Isn't it consciousness that takes a swirlying mass of energy and organizes it into discrete objects. People are energy and our environment is energy, and it is all porous and swirling about together in a cosmic dance. What separates it off into self and other? What perceives the arising and passing of energy into and out of the void as patterns--such as people, mountains, and rivers? These patterns, though to us having duration and a discrete existence are, in cosmic terms, too brief and too porous to be seen as separate entities having physical existence.

As far as I can tell, what does all that is consciousness. Without consciousness what would transform these swirling endless patterns of energy (whatever that is) into discrete objects: people, worlds, galaxies? So the existence of the physical universe, which is extrapolated from energy, is done so through the alchemy of consciousness. Existence--that which exists--is a function of consciousness. Without it there would be only a chaotic (whose judgement is that?) arising and passing of particles made of energy (whatever that is) into and out of the Void. Given all that, it seems to me that to say the essence of existence is aware (or awareness or consciousness) seems to have a very firm footing in science.

If any of this ad hoc treatise has any merit, I would like take full credit for it myself. If there are any flaws in the reasoning, I would like to blame Howard, since all I've written here was simply a private message I received from Howard put through my Turn It Into The Opposite software, then copied and pasted above.
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sun Oct 16, 2011 2:42 pm

Stan,

Yes you do sound a bit preachy. I'm very glad your enlightenment has resolved the issue of the fear of death for you. I for one don't know what will happen when I face death in the face. Perhaps it will be long, horrific one, where unable to breath at times I will be quite fearful; perhaps even terrified.

It is my sincere hope that you haven't been hanging around monks too long. Unfortunately, many of them feel the need to attribute feats of prowess that they may or may not have achieved, Eko being an excellent case in point. I think this comes from devoting your life to something truly extraordinary (the Dharma) and feeling like you have to be better at it than others, like myself, who have idled away the years having sex, farting around on the internet, and studying a profession apart from Buddhist teachings.

Let me get a bit preachy myself, Stan: On the bus of life, we truly don't know who is the biggest Bozo. (Though my best guess is it's Howard).


Last edited by Henry on Sun Oct 16, 2011 2:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sun Oct 16, 2011 2:48 pm

Stan Giko wrote:
The eyes have to leave the end of the finger and travel through empty space till they see the moon.

Stan.

In other words "kensho smensho". Seriously, it is unfortunate that "seeing into the true nature of things" has been equated with perfecting the personality, or worse "fame and gain". This nonsense has caused a backlash where some people think such experiences are without merit or even worse than useless within the context of spiritual practice, and that just compounds the delusion. To see the moon you have to want to see it, but to the extent possible you have to keep in mind what it is not. If you want to be a rock star buy a guitar.
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sun Oct 16, 2011 3:49 pm

I smells a sacred cow, my precious, I does!

Glorfindels
The essence of existence is aware? How do we know that?

We don't but religious experiences from all directions manifest as the same answer to that question.
Those answers always match the fashions of ones particular religion which should be reason enough to question it
but for some reason this sacred cow runs on ground too hallowed to play on.
The most common answer to this question from any devotee who has spent serious effort within a religious field is, "Well I've experienced it". Find it yourself! What seems like a reasonable answer to a question is really a " one day you too will experience it" but I don't think that's really the answer to your particular question because you are already questioning the validity of that answer.

In the end, the difference between believing (experiencing) it or not, only dictates the validity and size of your tribe.
Those with big tribes (universal) feel more connected and inclusive to others than those with tiny tribes. (Henry)

As said in the final words of one of my favourite movies, "The adventures of Buckaroo Banzai",.... Big Deal!

or.. one could steadfastly meditate (in the manner of one's choice) and eventually see the boundaries between yourself and every thing else fall away as the only construct that ever limited the realm of awareness. Of course at that point it's not your awareness, anymore than the Internet is your computer.

Good on you for the question, Glorfindel, while many consider it too hallowed a ground to walk through, it's really just a pen of our own making filled with religious droppings where sacred cows have been cooped up far too long.

Knowing is largely over rated compared to luxuriating supine within a limitless question.

Cheers All


Last edited by Howard on Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:01 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : not so much of a correction as a release while I was on the henry.)
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