There is Nothing to Do After Coming Home :-)
Thanks for your timely words and concise quote.
It reminds me of conversation I had after I became aware that there had been a 'shift' in my perspective - from identifying as David - to seeing I was not David, but something else- let's say the Observer.
One cranio-sacral practitioner who I assume is a Sogyal Rinpoche student - recommended I go to the Lama for a chat. Something which I might do if I could easily connect up with him but Rigpa tell me that he is not on email - yet!
It seems a particularly Buddhist thing to talk of stages: Awakening to Nirvana (The A-Zen of Enlightenment). I hear John de Ruiter may be making a similar distinction, and that so far he has only found one in the last stage - himself. Fair enough! :-)
I recently shared my perspective in Glastonbury - the UK's New Age Mecca like Sedona to the US-A or Byron Bay to Astralasia. There I met with an old friend, an ex-Iskcon (Hare Krsna) devotee, and a wicked kirtan player who knew me previously only as "Oshana the Stand Up Comedian" (a very occasional, voluntary contribution to weddings and funerals!).
Buddhists, like all schools have a particular view on Reality. My Iskcon friend discovered God, in the form of Krsna and this turned his life around as a teenager. Ramana Maharshi, I assume, would hold that that was just a vision. I would too. But who am I to deny someone's experience? So we just agree to disagree about Reality. Also, I hear, Ramana would talk to people using their own understandings. That is very good.
I had sensuous experiences of what I believed could be 'God' in my teens. However, I never took a firm position because I felt that the experiences could have come from within me - a deep place perhaps - but not from outside (says Cloud Nine or Mars Sector 7) nonetheless.
I now see such experiences as secondary to who I am. I still love to sing all sorts of bhajans which my Hare Krsna friend finds positively interesting. However, I am not singing to find God. My search is over. It is impossible to search because, from where I stand, I am at home.
I accept that after 'my' Awakening, that the manifested personality can be fined tuned to be nicer and nicer and nicer...ad infinitum. But that is just a social thing and has nothing to do with 'Being at Home'.
I do find now that I am naturally compassionate. The compassion goes around, not through, my personality. I am sort of embarrassed to admit that I probably have not manifested such strong compassion and openness since I was a charity worker over 15 years ago.
The Royal's Buddhist quote asserts that: "Supreme Enlightenment (i.e., to be rid of all afflictions, to discard all sediments) ... Only then can he completely trust his mind and actions."
This is an interesting and worthy issue for enlightenment analysts . Briefly, I'd say that I just do what I do, and in doing that I am just as much pleasantly surprised by what happens as anyone else (perhaps more so). I give up!
For me any tendencies to do an inappropriate thing is taken care of for me. So I don't feel that "I" need to be vigilant. It just happens.
I am considering my opinion on so-called 'crazy wisdom' teachers. Could they be Liberated? Certainly they and their students might appear `liberated from social etiquette'. However, if abuse is a small or large part of their teaching method, then it stands in contrast with my experience of compassion which manifests itself as gentleness when I share my perspective in public Dialogues.
Love Light and noodles,
Re: Can Enlightenment be Deepened or Lost?
It is my understanding that enlightenment is a process by way of which the soul may achieve Nirvana. On the path, it is possible to regress, until the soul becomes one with Divine Consciousness, at which point there is no going back. I found a definition in a glossary of Buddhist terms and provide it for your contemplation.
'Awakening vs. Enlightenment A clear distinction should be made between awakening to the Way (Great Awakening) and attaining the Way (attaining Enlightenment). (Note: There are many degrees of Awakening and Enlightenment. Attaining the Enlightenment of the Arhats, Pratyeka Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, etc. is different from attaining Supreme Enlightenment, i.e., Buddhahood.)
To experience a Great Awakening is to achieve (through Zen meditation, Buddha Recitation, etc.) a complete and deep realization of what it means to be a Buddha and how to reach Buddhahood. It is to see one's Nature, comprehend the True Nature of things, the Truth. However, only after becoming a Buddha can one be said to have truly attained Supreme Enlightenment (attained the Way). A metaphor appearing in the sutras is that of a glass of water containing sediments. As long as the glass is undisturbed, the sediments remain at the bottom and the water is clear. However, as soon as the glass is shaken, the water becomes turbid. Likewise, when a practitioner experiences a Great Awakening (awakens to the Way), his afflictions (greed, anger and delusion) are temporarily suppressed but not yet eliminated. To achieve Supreme Enlightenment (i.e., to be rid of all afflictions, to discard all sediments) is the ultimate goal. Only then can he completely trust his mind and actions. Before then, he should adhere to the precepts, keep a close watch on his mind and thoughts, like a cat stalking a mouse, ready to pounce on evil thoughts as soon as they arise. To do otherwise is to court certain failure, as stories upon stories of errant monks, roshis and gurus demonstrate.'
[Source: Oshana Mailing List]