Keep in mind the following, Jamesh: Generally speaking, when it comes to people making declarations about spirituality, religion, spiritual values, etc., it is often not enquiry or continued enquiry or desire to learn or desire to have something revealed, but more that they have arrived at a premise and grab and use anything that supports that premise. I suggest that one of the chief characteristics of the style of thinking (perceiving, understanding) that is demonstrated here, and especially by Sri You-Know-Who, is not really inquisitive thinking but stark concluding. I also suggest that this style of thinking is perfect for men who are beginning a process not of opening themselves up (the idea is too feminine
, like a woman opening her legs), but of shutting themselves down and closing themselves off. If this is so, it pretty radically conditions the notion of 'enlightenment' and also the notion of 'delusion'. After all, what exactly is 'delusion'? Who perceives it as such? Who defines it?
"I have cast fire upon the world, and see, I am guarding it until it blazes."
This is a quite interesting parable, in the midst of a group of parables in Luke. This particular one does not, as I recall, appear in Mark (from which Luke derived much) and so they propose that it may have come from another document of 'sayings' that was circulating not too many years after the death of Jesus. They assume that this roving preacher did no writing himself, and that the people around him did little or no writing, and they also assume that he likely worked with short, pithy, memorable sayings and parables on top of which he built his preaching content. This saying, in fact, is regarded by scholars as being likely attrributable to the historical figure Jesus, and not like much of John a concocted 'christological' (and 'novelistic) personage and doctrine. The saying in and of itself is rather compelling because it is open to many different levels of interpretation, but so were almost all the parables. You could take it out of the context of that group of parables in Luke and juxtapose it with any other sayings (say from Buddhism) and simply by recontextualizing it, dramatically reinflect the meaning, which is open.
Obviously, Sri You-Know-Who does exactly this. The 'goal' of spiritual life is preestablsihed and predefined. 'Rationally'. Then one works backward as it were into and through any other text, from any other tradition or time, to 'enforce' on those texts contexts the meaning one has preestablished. I suggest this is a pretty sad way of working, and is pretty terrible 'philsophically'.
But if one starts with 'an open mind' (and I know there are truly terrifying associations here with 'open vagina' and 'flouncy femininity', but lets not get pinned down under that) and says 'I don't know what this means' or 'I don't know what was meant', it leads into a project of learning, considering, reading and thinking. The 'fire' being spoken of becomes then something to be discovered. And it might fit into considerations of other pithy phrasings that have similar 'inner dimension' and open up into perceptions and ideas not immediately obvious. It stands as possible that they do not have to do with the preestablished Sri You-Know-Who meanings, and they might not be as linked as one assumes to Buddhist notions or Zennish notions. It stands as a possibility that they have their own, unique meaning and message. How would one dig into that different area of possible meaning? I suggest: by sincerely making enquiry within the context.
Jamesh wrote: The Buddha I think was past this stage - a bit more like David here. David values truth above everything else but no longer has the strong emotional insistence that it is absolutely necessary to impart this truth to others - he could take it or leave it, but as he has built his life around truth, he continues to promote these truths. It is a Why Not, rather than a Must Do.
'The Buddha' is far more of a construct than even the christological Jesus. That is the first problem. If it is hard to get to the 'historical Jesus' (the man), it is impossible to get to 'the Buddha'. So when you say 'beyond this stage' you are referring to a long historical and cultural process that culminates in a group of ideas about life, and a way to deal with living. It cannot be attributable to one man, it seems to me.
And though it is attractive to see the Indian 'culmination' (in Buddhism) as dealing with 'absolute truth' or an absolute foundation of all possible truth-telling, and then drop Judeo-Christianity into this picture, like into a vat of acid, to see what remains and what compares (and surely some things must...), still this is a reductive methodology for reasons that should be obvious.
Finally, you and 'you' must immediately knock David off of his self-subscribed dais. You must do this as a favor to him. He has no qualifications nor any 'right' to make any assumptions about 'enlightenment' and is in many ways (though a decent bloke and likable) a sham-artist who has got people dancing to his tune. His ideas about himself are destructive to himself, and the ideas he defines about religion and spirituality are disturbingly narcissistic. Knock him off the throne and force him continue to work as we all must work!
Jamesh wrote: "Like many young catalysts, Jesus was stupid and impatient enough to let himself be killed. Unlike Buddha and India, there were plenty of hotheads around, the human outcome of consistent regional wars, to do that for him. Were he actually truly wise, rather than reactive, then he would have been able to work out a way to live longer. I do not accept he let himself be killed as a result of his own youthful actions so that the positive afteraffects of his martyrdom would be more pronounced. He prolly had the same “it won’t happen to me” attitude as a young smoker or drink driver might have."
One recognizes, immediately, the logical imperatives that you are using. To propose a 'historical man' (a preacher, a sage, a troublesome thinker) one has to place him in a truly human frame, and for you, above, that is youthful impetuousness. And by proposing that, you propose there is another 'method' that would have been 'better' or should have been applied. Naturally, your presuppositions takes none of the metaphysical aspects into account, likely because you don't or can't think in those terms (the necessaity of dying so as to 'save'), nor is there in your presuppositions any link to the historicity of this Jesus-figure in the sense of connection to the evolution of the prophetic message, nor to the sense (or 'delusion') of 'God's involvement in the world'. What you have done is...rather strange in fact. I am not saying 'wrong' but I will say limiting. Even at the most basic level, to understand Christianity (Paul's message in the Gentile world) you have to at least take into consideration what the story meant
to these people. For it was on the basis of the content of the Story (this peculiar area where reality and an inner, imaginal, 'novelesque world' has its 'existence') that the meaning penetrated into the culture and had the effect it did, which is considerable, and more: it is part of the basis of Western culture and how our very 'self' has been constructed.
I think therefore that what you have written is really not that useful for analysis.
Whatever happened in the Occidental world, whatever has been 'our' motion and quest, it simply cannot be compared to Indian history. Or if it can I do not see how, nor the utility of it. How people in the Alexandrian-Judean-Hellinistic-Roman world made use of ideas about God, salvation, social organization, worship, present and future, value and any number of different things, are unique to that context. If one wishes to 'regress' through a Buddhist lens and sort of revision all life and all history, well, what can one say? Have at it! Enjoy! But it won't necessarily lead to much understanding of 'who we are' and also 'who YOU
But it has to be stated: The Q-R-S project is a radical, radical project defined by itself. It has no need to conform to anything but what itself defines and insists as 'valuable' or 'important' or 'necessary'. That is, I have found, the 'style of thinking' that is done here. And I have certainly explained myself at length and why I think it is 'bad thinking'.
"His disciples seemed like twits, who just didn’t get enough of it – in the same way that few become enlightened nowadays even with all the resources for truth that are now around to help dispel delusional thinking."
But of course you could
say that 'no one' or 'few' are getting 'the message' nor even know what it is or how to define it. You could
say that the 'message' is not at all easy to get. You could
say also that the 'message' has ever-opening-outward levels of meaning that have to be thought through with new methods and means. And then you could
say [but I am being didactic and leading...] that there is a 'fire' operating in this plane of existence that is only smoldering and is only being tended until it can actually 'blaze'. But then you'd have to say, hmmmm, I just don't know what any of that means
But then, of course, you'd have to go back through all those words and try to attach meaning and value and sense to them...and if this
context decides anything, you can be sure that will never happen. ;-)
Finally, isn't it interesting to consider what happens when I [someone] says in such direct terms:
'You' are not 'truth-tellers' nor are 'you' interested in 'the truth', but rather 'you' are accomplished deceivers and liars who oppose 'truth' and meet to rehearse your lies.
I find it so interesting this inversion! And then to note all the defensive actions which must occur when it is stated. But this is a much better position from which to enter into these bullshitty discussions that occur so often around here. What do you think?