Monday, 19 March 2012

Eastern Promise - Part I

Hi all, I have been very busy of late plunging in to the mysteries of consciousness. Of course, its all pretty weird and strange, there seems to be no answer to be found in analyses but I have learned a lot and hope fully this should translate in to some useful discussions soon. I have written a few blog pieces but I feel they are incomplete, so have neglected to post up any works in progress.

However, I am going to run a mini series of replies from questions that were posed to me by a critic. I had never really applied my own analysis to such questions, Ruthless Truth had previously provided the stock responses, but I believe these are pertinent questions that have never been fully addressed.

You asked me what I think you are doing.

I think you are going down the same route many Eastern philosophies are. You are trying to reach Nirvana by rejecting the 'I'. If this is indeed a faulty assumption on my part, then I am more than willing to be corrected.

Lets break this question in half. First of all I shall consider the Eastern route and see if I can draw any parallels and difference with what we are doing. I shall talk about the idea of nirvana and where we stand in relation to this concept, in next weeks article.

So lets begin by stating on the record we are not going down the same route as Eastern philosophies are. We have consistently denied this right from the start, since we do not follow with their metaphysical assumptions and dogma.

However, there are some striking parallels which we can draw and take a look at. In the beginning we believed that Ciaran had cracked enlightenment and whilst this was not the full picture, what he had discovered was undoubtedly the core component of enlightenment. 
It has been stated before that what we termed 'liberation' at the time was equivalent to enlightenment. It is worth asking in what ways is it equivalent? Let us first consider the teachings of the main schools of enlightenment.

Advaitans don't particularly like Neo – Advaitans, because they have stripped out all the scripture, in order to transmit the message to people in a rapid time scale. For those who don't know what Advaita is, there is plenty of info on the web but it is basically the Hindu brand of enlightenment. Advaitans have a hostility to Neo - Advaitans, I mean lets face it, you would be a little miffed if you had realised that someone had got enlightened in a short amount of time and it took you fifteen years to do the same. 

Here we have a little bickering war in the spiritual community where Advaitans seem to think they have an exclusive right to call themselves enlightened. I will not doubt that what they say is untrue yet, but we will appraise this claim in next weeks article.

The traditional conception of enlightenment in Advaita is to break down your conditioning which they call 'ignorance'. This ignorance merely translates as false beliefs and bad conditioning, of which we have been subject to. 
Once you have removed your ignorance, you are worthy to know the final truth which is basically what we call 'true self'. This is why you tend to have spiritual people banging on about an eternal self, and proponents of certain Indian philosophies who deny the no self idea.

There are a few ways of looking at this glaring contradiction. Basically the word self is taken to mean a variety of things, so we can construe whichever definition we fancy at the time. This however, is a simple category mistake due to generalised terminology, where accuracy has long been neglected. 
 We will highlight this thoroughly in due course but for now, we can simply say 'no self' as our terminology construes it, means in Advaitan circles there is a distinction between the false self and true self. (In next weeks article, these conceptions will be fully scrutinised).

This 'true self' then, is actually equivalent to 'no self' but with a different name. Whilst the Advaitans may have worked on the deprogramming of conditioning for a longer time, basically they have the same insight in to the self as Neo – Advaitans. Our Neo - Advaitan folk then, have not had the benefit of breaking down their conditioning, as their Advaitan chums have.

When we look at Buddhism, they recognise Buddha nature as our true being, and their doctrine is of 'anatta', or simply 'not self'. What they do is take the concept of no self (Anatta), and systematically chip away at their beliefs via the eightfold path and the noble truths of the Buddhist doctrine. Whilst there are various sects of Buddhism, the overall aim is to completely annihilate the false self.

This is achieved by meditating on various truths and over time, slowly undermining the premises on which the reality of the false self is based on, which in turn, eventually leads you to truth realisation. 
In Zen they use meditation on koans, which are basically riddles. Meditations proceed until these koans trigger the sudden realisation of no self. In that sense, Zen is the rapid enlightenment equivalent of Buddhism, so shares some attributes with Neo - Advaita, in relation to its parent religion.

So, these are the common all garden varieties of enlightenment schools, although this is not an exclusive list. There are other schools of thought, such as yoga and tantra to name a few, and this is merely a very brief glance at the main two religions.

Having outlined the basics of these schools of thought, we are in a position to look at some parallels and differences between their and our conception of no self...  


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