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InvisibleSinbad
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Dsitinctions of Higher and Lower
    #3628042 - 01/14/05 01:28 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Many religions and spiritual tradtions make distinctions as to higher or lower practices. MarkostheGnostic has made comments such as

"I agree with some of what you say (no offense taken), but even though I am not a mainstream Christian, I identify with Christian faith. The Gnostic Christians are more like Buddhists with regard to their insistence on having those high spiritual experiences themselves, but this identity can't help but remain elitest (a charge often levelled at Gnostics). For those humans who are not so blessed, they (the psychic Christians vs. the pneumatic Christians) must believe in the words of Christ as mediated by the scriptures. This is the Way of the average believer, and the hope is that it eventuates in the same 'Heaven' as the sanctified believer, the mystic, who is blessed with high transcendental experiences in this lifetime. It is not so different from the modern Mahayanists I've seen who 'pray' before statues of the Buddha and bring food and gifts to monks for spiritual merit.

Vajrayana Buddhists, like Gnostic Christians, both represent an esoteric elite within the respective religions. One must not be arrogantly dismissive of those who tread the mere foothills of what Thomas Merton called 'The Seven Storey Mountain.' It is only when some avowedly Christian individual sets his/her sites on me with the assumption that he is 'saved' and I am not, do I assert myself. This has happened, unfortunately, with my Lady's mother AND her stepmother. I do not wish to put either elder woman in her place, and the latter woman wouldn't allow herself to even admit that she HAS been put in her place. They are always going on about being 'washed in the blood of the lamb,' or praying quietly when we might listen to an Eckhart Tolle tape of 'The Power of Now.' To these people, their rigid doctrinal beliefs are used to judge our more sophisticated treatment of their own beliefs! They don't 'Realize' that what we are about is the advanced teachings of their own beliefs. They don't Realize that at higher degrees of understanding, their doctrines open up into a true universality, or rather, the universality of Truth, not simply remaining their own little provincial Christian church mentalities. Here then is where I take issue with the separation and imprisonment by people's beliefs. "


These distinctions can be in direct contradiction to the essence of religion which is and will always be compassion. As a practtioner if you make distictions between higher and lower of any religion, tradtion or practitioner within these religion, then distorted views can easilt arise such as "

"They don't Realize that at higher degrees of understanding, their doctrines open up into a true universality"

When you think these things, it maybe neccasery to look within and see if you can find a higher distinction within yourself that separates you from every other being. What makes your view higher than others. If indeed the underlying essence of religion is compassion, then how can such a distinction be made?

Practices are ofen labled as higher purely becuase they deal with ones capacity to comprehend a teaching. For example a teaching might be very simple such as "Love God!". To one person who has a much simpler outlook it may be quite easy to understand this statement and get into the essence of that teaching.

But for somebody who has a more complicated, intellecual mind they may think "This is very basic, im going to find a much higher teaching", then when they find such a teaching they maybe satisfied and think "i now have a much higher understanding then those people who recieved those 'simple' teachings". This may not be the case, once somebody has found that higher teaching they may it understand perfectly and also be able to get into the essence of that teaching.

One can make offerings to staues whilst beign in a state of God cant one Gnostic? Beware one can develop very wrong views and miss the essence!

To clear a few things up regarding buddhism!

Within a buddhist context, Vajrayana is just a continuation from Mahayana and is in no way meant to be thought of as a more advanced teaching. Instead it is veiwed as the path for one who has developed a wider capacity for the application of that teaching.

May the aggregates of pride and arrogance be transformed into the widsom of equinimity!

:heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart:


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Edited by Sinbad (01/14/05 01:53 PM)


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Offlinedeff
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Re: Dsitinctions of Higher and Lower [Re: Sinbad]
    #3628605 - 01/14/05 03:28 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

I find a common form of 'spiritual elitism' stems from the following-

If they were equal with others before, and they succeeded in spiritual self improvement, where do they now stand with 'others' who did not seek the same improvement?


But really, the higher and lower are just relative observations. There's no ground to stand on to claim one as higher or lower, so really one is eternally their own judge as to their own "level" (if they chose to subscribe to the belief of spirituality as a series of levels or whatever).

Many though do not view spirituality as something that can be 'advanced' per se, but only that our always present spiritual state can become more realized (through meditation, entheogens, fasting, ect..) This is where I stand myself :smile:


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Invisibleredgreenvines
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Re: Dsitinctions of Higher and Lower [Re: deff]
    #3628754 - 01/14/05 04:18 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

football teams and nationalism
nothing more.


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Dsitinctions of Higher and Lower [Re: Sinbad]
    #3628966 - 01/14/05 05:27 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Certain metaphysical assumptions are irreducible, like the 1 John 4:8 assertion that "God is love." It is like a primary number, irreducible. The Buddhist Yab-Yum [Yang-Yin] symbol of Compassion and Wisdom, Karuna and Prajna, being the Highest Truth, expressing both Oneness and duality is another irreducible metaphysical assertion.

Princeton scholar of religion Elaine Pagels wrote a book called 'The Gnostic Paul.' It illustrates the crux of the problem here. An entire body of believers who were eventually overshadowed by a theology at once more extroverted and more mythic than this introverted minority of Gnostics, still had a coherant theology based on the Pauline writings. The introverted, Gnostic, esoteric interpretation of the very same words has a very psychological bent to it. If you want to identify those people of any era with a greater degree of psychological insight, and perjoratively call them elitest, then that's your problem. I am, by that definition, elitest, because I have an introverted, introspectionist nature which has been trained and sharpened by a number of disciplines, some of which can be found in my profile. Gnostic Christians, like Kabbalistic Jews and Sufi Muslims, Hindu Yogis and Buddhist monks, Taoist Alchemists and MesoAmerican Curanderos have long been treated as the depth-psychologists they often are within their respective cultures. People do still speak to their clergy for guidance, and many clergy have become licensed pastoral counselors. So within their Christian community, you could say that they constitute an elite within the Body of Christ insofar as counseling is concerned.

A secular example. On my job, when adolescents have 'he-says-she-says' problems, they usually go to one of 4 guidance counselors. When, as was the case this week, one 13 year old thought she was pregnant, and another came to confide that she'd been gang-banged by 3 guys, but her mother thought that she got pregnant from a boyfriend - those girls come to me. Why? Because I am 'superior' to the guidance counselors? No. I have no idea how to schedule classes or even know the minutiae of the things they do. I have experience in crisis intervention, in addictions counseling, in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. These are my areas of specialization, so certain types of problems get sent my way. BUT...we are all one student-services team, and we all divide the labor according to specialty areas. There is only one person per school with my job title, and we are "Specialists," among the much greater majority of guidance counselors. Are we Specialists like our titles read, or should we be regarded as elitest because our training and experience and strengths are different?

I'll tell you this - when a really serious problem occurs to an adolescent, the form of Compassion they seek out many times is not the usual warm-fuzzies that some of my colleagues often employ. Those acts of affection are important, but here a plan of action is being sought. What to do first, where to go for a pregnancy test for example. How to obtain a termination with or without parental consent. Help deciding whether the pregnancy resulting from rape should be kept or terminated. Doesn't seem Compassionate to some, seems wrathful like a Tibetan deity waving a sword - a wrathful embodiment of Compassion. THIS, my friend, is how distinctions in Compassion are made. One cannot simplify Compassion - it is irreducible, but the Wisdom of Discrimination that is wedded to Compassion is never to be forgotten and must be wielded skillfully. So, yesterday, when even the Compassion of a frightened mother over her potentially pregnant daughter fell short of Knowing what to do, they both sat with me and I did my best to settle their fears while hooking them up with a clinic. The pregnancy test proved negative, Mom called me up to thank me for my assistance. Was 'my' form of Compassion 'superior' to the child's mother? Of course not, but in that instance my 'Skillful Means' was 'superior.' Does that make me essentially a 'superior' individual. Hell no.
In the Christian terminology, we are all like 'different members in the Body of Christ.' I hope the parallels here are discernible.


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


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Offlinezahudulallah
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Re: Dsitinctions of Higher and Lower [Re: Sinbad]
    #3629032 - 01/14/05 05:41 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Gnosis is the key to the kingdom. The knowers are friends of the King.

Don't like it? You are always free to find a key in the deepest house of time.


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InvisibleSinbad
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Re: Dsitinctions of Higher and Lower [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #3629121 - 01/14/05 06:06 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Of course one can simplify compassion, compassion whether active or passive can never be based on presumptions of superiority, you of all people know full well that young people are generally extremely critical of anyone who attempts to over shadow, and talk down from their level with some vague notion of compassion, try that out on one of your patients and you ll see an instant reaction!

I'm sure you know very well the true nature of compassion, and how the wisdom of right action can spontaneously manifest from that state of detached equanimity. We can not bear to see another being suffer!

Skillful means does require that we think about the best course of actions for ourselves and others. But when the the circumstances call for active compassion to be present, its just their! It is an instantaneous action in accordance with the needs of others. I understand that in your work and practice, it is not always possible to be this way, and this is why Skillful means have to be applied. Hell its the same for all practitioners but we dint call ourselves 'elitists'!

In fact if we are truly practicing skillful means we are attempting to see others as equal to ourselves, we no longer have an introverted view, instead we are seeking a middle view and are observing closely our actions and the actions of others to more clearly see what would be most appropriate to apply to the situation at hand.

Discriminating Wisdom is also spontaneous in nature, as soon as we understand the essence of compassion, we instantaneously know what to take up and what to abandon, their is no holding of a view nor anything to forget. Everyhting flows our of this state.

In short whilst integrating the essence of practice into your daily life, all actions become spontaneous and effortless!


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InvisibleSinbad
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Re: Dsitinctions of Higher and Lower [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #3629215 - 01/14/05 06:33 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

You can quote as many people as their are teachers on this planet, but i appreciate you sharing your experinces with regard to working with others. Im sure that you are a good person who is capable of benefiting beings and does his best to do so!


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