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Steve Hagen | Buddhism | On Reincarnation

hagen_97x120The Wisdom of Seeing

Author Steve Hagen invites us to experience the truth that lies before us, but eludes the thinking mind.

Interview by Lisa Schneider

Excerpt: On Reincarnation:

“Reincarnation implies the persistence of a self. And this goes to the very heart of the Buddhist insight. There isn’t any persistence of any kind whatsoever. Everything is fresh, new in each moment. Already you’re not the person who called me a few moments ago. Already your mind is different, new thoughts have entered into it. Your feelings and emotions have changed.

Within a few months virtually all the material of our bodies will be exchanged with other material that’s now disbursed in the environment. This is a continuous ongoing flow. Even the electrons, the electrical exchanges between the materials in our bodies and the cabinet, the floor, or anything else that’s around you is in continuous flow and flux and change. Nothing is holding still.

So within this kind of world of total impermanence, where do we find permanence? We don’t find it anywhere. But that’s what would be required for the standard understanding of reincarnation: that there’s something called me, an “I” that will persist.

Well we can believe this and of course this would be one of those form things: something that we think, something that we believe. But as I understand the Buddhist teachings, the awakened wouldn’t buy this. They would go with what is actually experienced directly. What is experienced directly? Total flux and change, impermanence. So impermanent that we actually don’t find a thing there to be impermanent, such as a self.”

To read the complete interview please follow the link below:

http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Buddhism/2003/11/The-Wisdom-Of-Seeing.aspx?p=1

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Sri Ramana Maharshi | Who am I? Enquiry | Meditation

Ramana Maharshi and a way to awake.

Who Am I ? Enquiry

“For all thoughts the source is the ‘I’ thought. The mind will merge only by Self-enquiry ‘Who am I?’ The thought ‘Who am l?’ will destroy all other thoughts and finally kill itself also. If other thoughts arise, without trying to complete them, one must enquire to whom did this thought arise. What does it matter how many thoughts arise? As each thought arises one must be watchful and ask to whom is this thought occurring. The answer will be ‘to me’. If you enquire ‘Who am I?’ the mind will return to its source (or where it issued from). The thought which arose will also submerge. As you practise like this more and more, the power of the mind to remain as its source is increased.”

What is the nature of the mind?

What is called ‘mind’ is a wondrous power residing in the Self. It causes all thoughts to arise. Apart from thoughts, there is no such thing as mind. Therefore, thought is the nature of mind. Apart from thoughts, there is no independent entity called the world. In deep sleep there are no thoughts, and there is no world. In the states of waking and dream, there are thoughts, and there is a world also. Just as the spider emits the thread (of the web) out of itself and again withdraws it into itself, likewise the mind projects the world out of itself and again resolves it into itself. When the mind comes out of the Self, the world appears. Therefore, when the world appears (to be real), the Self does not appear; and when the Self appears (shines) the world does not appear. When one persistently inquires into the nature of the mind, the mind will end leaving the Self (as the residue). What is referred to as the Self is the Atman. The mind always exists only in dependence on something gross; it cannot stay alone. It is the mind that is called the subtle body or the soul (jiva).

More  about Sri Ramana Maharshi at: http://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/index.html and

http://www.arunachala-ramana.org/publications/who_am_i.html

Twitter | Is it a Fad?

Spammers abound in most social networks and Twitter is no different. Only a few of my contacts actually communicates.  Should I stay or should I go? I found an interesting article about Twitter and here is an excerpt. To see the whole article go to www.computoredge.com  

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

“Some call Twitter a “fad,” and it’s uncertain how the model can turn a profit. An April 2009 Nielsen report, “Twitter Quitters,” found that “more than 60 percent of U.S. Twitter users fail to return the following month.” In a June 10, 2009 blog post, Nine Inch Nails lead singer Trent Reznor announced that he’s “out” of the social networking game. Reznor said that the noise outweighs the benefits. Since that post, Reznor continues to contribute, but no longer accepts RTs (return tweets).

While there is some obvious fall-off, Neeman said that the audience is there, and the high amount of active users proves it. “If the audience is well read, technologically savvy and connected to the social media,” Neeman said, “Twitter is great.”

While there may be some changes in store for Twitter, Toliver thinks the concept will remain. “All these sites will evolve. I don’t think there’s any going back, though,” Toliver said. “Now that it’s here, we’re all too curious to see what other people are doing at any given time. I know several people who admit to being addicted.””

Stalking Castaneda | Excerpt | Castaneda’s Legacy

. . . and in case you don’t know Castaneda, I’ll tell you a little about his work as I go along, for it was a great help in my search for the eye of the dragon. I will also be comparing it with other works that have also been helpful. I won’t delve into any of these works; that is unnecessary. I will just say that their main and recurring theme is our destructive egomania, and I’ll let my own experience illustrate. It behooves you to do your own research and confirm the damaging effects of the ego, for being the bane of humankind its study is worthy of our consideration. Consider this:

     In an article I once came across in a monthly magazine, I read about a six-year-old boy who died after breaking his neck under an extremely heavy load, too heavy for the child to carry. The article also said that he had been a slave all his life. The author knew this because archeologists are trained to read bones. And the child’s bones, together with other bones (a mass grave for slaves) had been found while excavating somewhere in New York City (of all places) to lay the foundation for a new building. His bones not only told this archeologist how he had died but also how he had lived. They told him that he had been overworked all his life, that he had been malnourished, that he probably never had a loving arm around him. His bones told him that that heavy load killed him at the tender age of six years old.

    Should I ever feel sorry for myself? But actually, a more pertinent question would be, should I ever be sorry for that little boy? For just like that little boy I am going to die, and although longer, my life might well end up being much more miserable than his was. For only by reducing my self-importance to the lowest can I claim to be different from his captors and murderers; there is such a thing as a collective responsibility, a social contract. We all endorse a social contract that thrives in egomania, an egomania that causes the suffering of humanity.

Carlos Castaneda is dead now, but his controversial legacy remains.

Regina Brett | Andrew Perri | Lessons

My friend Andrew Perri sent me the 45 lessons life taught Regina Brett, the senior metro columnist of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio.  Some of her columns have been nominated for the Pulitzer Price.  She has a book based on her 50 life lessons coming out in April of 2010. She is not 90 years old. She is a wise spring chicken.

“To celebrate growing  older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the  most-requested column I’ve ever written.”–Regina  Brett

I picked my 14 favorites but you can see all of them at:  http://www.reginabrett.com Enjoy!

1. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
2. Make peace with your  past so it won’t screw up the present.
3.  Don’t compare your life  to others. You  have no idea what their journey is all about.

4. Whatever doesn’t kill  you really does make you stronger.
5.  Burn the candles, use  the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
6.  No one is in charge of  your happiness but you.
7.  Forgive everyone everything.
8.  What other people think  of you is none of your business.
9.  However good or bad a  situation is, it will change.
10.  Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
11.  Your children get only  one childhood.
12.  Get outside every day.  Miracles are waiting everywhere.
13.  Envy is a waste of time.  You already have all you need.

14.  When it comes to chocolate,  resistance is futile.

“A holy man was having a conversation with God one day and said, ‘ God , I would like to know  what Heaven and Hell are like.’
God led the holy man to two  doors.
He opened one of the doors  and the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table  was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man’s mouth water.
The people sitting around  the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished.
They were holding spoons  with very long handles, that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful.
But because the handle was  longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their  mouths.
The holy man shuddered at  the sight of their misery and suffering.  God said, ‘You have seen Hell.’
They went to the next room  and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one.
There was the large round  table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man’s mouth water.
The people were equiped with  the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished  and plump, laughing and talking. The holy man said, ‘I don’t understand..’
It is simple,’ said God .  ‘It requires but one skill.
You see they have learned to  feed each other,  while the greedy think only of themselves.'”

A loving heart is the truest wisdom.–Charles Dickens

On Reincarnation | Sri Ramana Maharshi

I found this website: http://www.hinduism.co.za/ and a really good interview with Sri Ramana Maharshi on reincarnation. Excerpt below: (The site is hard to navigate: Go to “Hinduism and Quantum Physics” and look for “Reincarnation”)
Sri Ramana Maharshi: Reincarnation exists only so long as there is ignorance. There is really no reincarnation at all, either now or before. Nor will there be any hereafter. This is the truth.

[Note: Comments by David Godman: Most religions have constructed elaborate theories which purport to explain what happens to the individual soul after the death of the body. Some claim that the soul goes to heaven or hell while others claim that it is reincarnated in a new body.

Sri Ramana Maharshi taught that all such theories are based on the false assumption that the individual self or soul is real; once this illusion is seen through, the whole superstructure of after-life theories collapses. From the standpoint of the Self, there is no birth or death, no heaven or hell, and no reincarnation.

As a concession to those who were unable to assimilate the implications of this truth, Sri Ramana would sometimes admit that reincarnation existed. In replying to such people he would say that if one imagined that the individual self was real, then that imaginary self would persist after death and that eventually it would identify with a new body and a new life. The whole process, he said, is sustained by the tendency of the mind to identify itself with a body. Once the limiting illusion of mind is transcended, identification with the body ceases, and all theories about death and reincarnation are found to be inapplicable]

Question: Are the past and future mere imagination?

Maharshi: Yes, even the present is mere imagination, for the sense of time is purely mental. Space is similarly mental. Therefore birth and rebirth, which take place in time and space, cannot be other than imagination.

Memorable quote: “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”–Woodrow Wilson

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