Archive for the epistemology Category

The Lion’s Roar: Cutting through illusion to the heart of the matter

Posted in analysis, books, common ground, consciousness, cosmology, empowerment, epistemology, freedom, inspiration, must-read, ontology, peace, philosophy, political philosophy, political theory, psychology, quotes, religion, religious philosophy, social theory, spirituality, truth with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2013 by jtoddring
“There is no difference between theism and non-theism, basically speaking. Declaring an involvement with any kind of ‘ism’ turns out to be a matter of self and other. In fact, the whole question of self and other can then become very important. But if you really pursue any spiritual path, you will discover, surprisingly, that self and other are one thing. Self is other, other is self.”
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Speaking of Silence

It is extremely rare to hear anyone speak of spirituality or philosophy who actually gets to the heart of the matter, and does not merely flit about the surface. Chogyam Trungpa and a handful of others are the exception to the rule. In a sea of noise and dross, confusion and illusion, such voices of basic sanity are profoundly refreshing to hear.

The atheists and the theists are both off the mark – the former probably more so than the latter, admittedly. But that is alright. They will figure it out sooner or later. Reality will dawn on all, eventually.

“The number of minds in the universe is one.” – Erwin Schrodinger

“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us “universe”, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” – Albert Einstein

More from Trungpa Rinpoche:

GREAT COMPASSION IS PAINFULLY REASONABLE

“With great compassion, because you have developed clarity, you do not have doubts and you are not unreasonable. You realize that the best way to be skillful is to be reasonable. When you are fully reasonable, actually reasonable—and to a certain extent, painfully reasonable—you begin to experience the genuineness of situations and act accordingly, in a way that is appropriate to the situation.”

—The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma, Volume Two, by Chögyam Trungpa http://www.shambhala.com/the-bodhisattva-path-of-wisdom-and-compassion.html

The second central truth to all authentic spiritual paths, is that, since self and other are intimately related, interconnected, interdependent, and in truth, one, therefore, love, kindness and compassion are not just nice, pleasant, virtuous or noble, but simply a matter also of enlightened self-interest.

If we are awake, then we will live with compassion. That is the central teaching of all the great religions. It is also the central premise of the Enlightenment – the central underlying value which underpins and is the foundation of the core Enlightenment values of liberty, equality, solidarity and democracy. This is the foundation for an enlightened life, and also, an enlightened society.

J. Todd Ring,
November 13, 2013

For further reading, see Ken Wilber, No Boundary; Alan Watts, The Book; Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy; Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe; Renee Weber, Dialogues With Scientists and Sages; Holgar Kalweit, Dreamtime and Inner Space; Joanna Macy, World As Lover, World As Self; The Diamond Sutra, The Heart Sutra, The Prajnaparamita Sutra, The Uttaratantra; The Tao Te Ching and Chuang Tzu; The Gospel of Thomas, Marvin Meyers Transl; Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Harvard Divinity School Address; and the writings of Chogyam Trungpa – as a good start.

The Key of Keys

Posted in analysis, books, Buddha, Christianity, common ground, consciousness, cosmology, empowerment, epistemology, freedom, inspiration, Jesus, must-read, Nag Hammadi, ontology, peace, philosophy, psychology, quotes, reading, religion, religious philosophy, resources, science, spirituality, theology, truth, wellness, world religions with tags , , , , , on September 18, 2013 by jtoddring

Egoless divine pride: the most glorious concept I have ever heard – from Tibetan Buddhism. The Uttara Tantra elaborates:

There once was a prince, who lost his memory and forgot who he was. Lost in forgetfulness and confusion, he wandered aimlessly, and became a homeless beggar. Years later, a minister to the king came across him, and recognized him in his dirty rags and filth. He exclaimed, “My prince! Your father has been worried sick about you! What are you doing? You must come home at once!”

The Upanishads tell a similar story. There once was a god who dreamed he was a pig. For years he wallowed in the muck and the mud, oblivious to who he was. After a long time, the other gods became pained by his confusion and his delusion, and called out to him: “You are not a pig – you are a god! Stop this madness, and remember who you are!”

Or again, from the Uttara Tantra: There once was a poor farmer, desolate in his impoverishment and despair. Daily he ploughed his fields, eking out a meagre existence, never knowing there was a great treasure buried right beneath his house.

Or as Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is within you.”

Or as Meister Eckhart, the 13th century German Christian mystic, the archetypal Western mystic said, “There is nothing I can point to that is not God. God is within me, and God is all around me.”

Or as Lao Tzu phrased it: Return to the source – return to your original nature. There you will find peace, joy, liberation, the ultimate happiness, and your authentic self – your true nature.

Or William Blake: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is – infinite.”

This is the perennial wisdom. It has surfaced in all cultures in all times. It is the timeless wisdom. It is the voice of wisdom leading you home to yourself.

Know thyself. You are not less than you think you are, but inconceivably more. Your being is commensurate with the universe itself. Awaken!

Don’t be absorbed in yourself. Everyone has pain; everyone suffers. Life is full of suffering, as well as beauty and joy. Shift the focus from your own happiness to that of others. If you do, you will be surprised, maybe even amazed – and you will find happiness.

It is not always easy, no doubt: it takes effort, and practice, but it is worth it, and it pays off. And it pays off the most when you seek nothing and expect nothing. Love others, and peace and joy will come flowing in. It is a matter of a subtle shift of perspective – that is the entire answer to everything: a subtle shift of perspective. Parallax is the word. Shift the perspective, and everything becomes clear.

And remember, the yin – to use the Eastern terms  – that is, the receptive, is in certain important ways superior. The yang, the assertive principle, is useful, and also essential, vitally essential; but the yin is the foundation.  Knowing and opening to the yin, the receptive, will allow you to harmonize with others, and with life and nature: and that is the basis of relative happiness, ordinary happiness.

Deeply opening to the yin, the receptive, is the gateway to true knowledge, to prajna, to wisdom, to knowing who you are, and to returning to the source, the true nature of your own being.

Therefore, protect and nurture the yin, just as you respect and embrace the yang. Harshness will damage the yin, as the Taoists have rightly remarked. Beware of aggression, which is the exaggeration of the yang principle of assertion – either in others, or especially in yourself. Be gentle with yourself as well as others. There are times for firmness, and times even for fierceness; but gentleness is the best general rule.

With gentleness as the general rule, not only will you avoid harming others, not only will you avoid the blowback and negative repercussions that come from harming others, but you will avoid harming yourself – and avoid harming your vision, which is most important. To sow your own suffering is tragic, ill-advised and unwise. To cut out your eyes and perpetuate your own blindness, is worse by far.

Don’t rush, and don’t hesitate. Rushing is an imbalance toward the yang, and leads to aggression and strife, as well as stress, strain and exhaustion. Hesitation is an imbalance toward the yin, an excess of yielding or receptivity which creates a collapse into passivity, which leads to self-disempowerment and a loss of vitality, as well as a loss of satisfaction and joy. Find the middle way. Not too tight; not to loose. When in doubt, be gentle, and pay attention: the cues to action will reveal themselves in their own time.

Remember also, as the Zen saying goes: Before enlightenment, the dishes. After enlightenment, the dishes. The little things matter. Show care in all you do. And enjoy the journey.

Seek. Contemplate. Combine method and wisdom, effort with seeing – like the two wings of a bird, which give it flight. Then glimpse. Taste. Meditate. Know. Understand. Have confidence. And abide in your true nature, which is the infinite ground of being itself, commensurate with the entire cosmos in all its vastness, emptiness and glory. There is no more to be said. This is the key of keys.

J. Todd Ring

Sept 16, 2013

(See Lama Yeshe, Namkai Norbu or Sogyal Rinpoche for further reading, along with The Power of Myth, The Hero With A Thousand Faces, the Heart Sutra, the Diamond Sutra, the Prajnaparamita Sutra, the Uttara Tantra, The Mother of the Buddhas, The Gospel of Thomas (Marvin Meyers, transl.), The Perennial Philosophy, The Divinity School Address, Ken Wilber’s No Boundary, Michael Talbot’s The |Holographic Universe, Holgar Kalweit’s Dreamtime and Inner Space, Joanna Macy’s World As Lover, World As Self, and Alan Watts’, The Book: On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are.)

The greatest of dangers

Posted in analysis, anarchism, books, common ground, consciousness, democracy, empowerment, epistemology, Eric Fromm, freedom, inspiration, must-read, people's movements, philosophy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, psychology, reading, sociology, war on democracy on May 31, 2011 by jtoddring

The challenge is not to become a machine. The greatest danger is not from outside: the greatest danger is ourselves – that is, the greatest danger is losing touch with our own hearts and common sense.

Above all, strive to maintain compassion and presence of mind, along with a healthy dose of naturalness, lightness, wildness and play: these things will keep us sane, and help us through any ordeal or obstacle in our path. Trust yourself: be real, stay real.

Perspective: try always to gain and maintain perspective, and keep always a good heart and self-confidence. Clarity, confidence and compassion are the answer. Confusion, fear and narrowness are the only true enemies. Trust yourself, keep your heart open, and the path will unfold, naturally.

J. Todd Ring,

May 30, 2011

P.S.: For relevant readings, see: Eric Fromm, Chogyam Trungpa, Namkai Norbu, Lama Yeshe, Thoreau, Emerson, William Blake

The Kingdom of Heaven is Within You

Posted in Christian church, Christianity, epistemology, Gospel of Thomas, history of Christianity, Jesus, Marvin Meyer, ontology, philosophy, religious philosophy, Thomas Merton, world religions on March 14, 2008 by jtoddring

The Missing Scriptures: The Gospel of Thomas

It was from a reference by Joseph Campbell, whom I greatly admire, that I first heard of The Gospel of Thomas. Joseph Campbell’s quotation from the lost scripture made me rush out to order the book immediately.

I guess I was fortunate, because it turned out to be Marvin Meyer’s translation. It is wonderful.

I can’t put words to what this gospel says to me. It rings true in accordance with the writings of sages the world over, East and West, as well as with the generally ignored passage in the New Testament: “The kingdom of heaven is within you.”

It is not surprising that Emperor Constantine chose to crucify the Gospel of Thomas – worse, attempted to erase its memory by burning all copies he could find, and killing anyone who spoke of it – along with other scriptures he disliked: it leaves no need for a gatekeeper to heaven – neither emperor, as self-appointed ruler under God, nor church hierarchy – but only a direct communion with truth, through the wisdom of His words. Power seekers do not like to be left out of the loop.

The Gospel of Thomas is a revelation. Were it not for Emperor Constantine’s self-anointed appropriation of the position of God’s editor in the 4th century CE, we would have a very different, and expanded Bible. The Gospel of Thomas would certainly be one part of that more complete cannon. Only the most rigorously dogmatic can fail to recognize its authenticity.

Alas, such as these are always the ones drawn most to positions of “authority” within hierarchical social institutions, such as academia and the church. Jesus has a blunt retort to such men and women, recorded in the Gospel of Thomas: “The priests are like dogs that lay in the manger, for they do not eat, and they do not let the cattle eat.”

“I took my stand in the midst of humanity, and I wept for them, for they came into the world blind, and they seek to leave the world blind.” – Jesus, Gospel of Thomas. Who knew the church could be so afraid, even of the words of its root and inspiration? The door is now open, however, for all who “wish to see.”

“The kingdom of heaven is spread out upon the earth, and men see it not,” Jesus is recorded as saying in the Gospel. If we could begin to realize that, there would be a spiritual and social revolution on earth, and “on earth, as it is in heaven,” would not be mere words of piety, but actual visible fact.

Marvin Meyers translation, I later discovered, only through direct comparison to others, is by far the superior in the field, from the translations I have seen.

Do not miss this text. It is one of profound wisdom.

JTR

Writings of J. Todd Ring: The Kingdom of Heaven is Within You

Amazon.co.uk: The Gospel of St Thomas: Marvin W. Meyer:

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Thomas Merton: My Favorite Monk

Writings of J. Todd Ring: The Truth About Christianity: What Jesus Really Said

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Earth 101: Essential Reading

Amazon.com: A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Karen Armstrong: Books

Amazon.com: The World’s Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions: Huston Smith: Books

Amazon.com: The Power of Myth: Joseph Campbell,Bill Moyers: Books

Amazon.com: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth: Joseph Campbell (III),Bill Moyers: Movies & TV

Amazon.com: Varieties of Religious Experience: William James: Books

Amazon.com: Mysticism: East and West: Rudolf Otto,Bertha L. Bracey: Books

Powell’s Books – The Perennial Philosophy (Perennial Classics) by Aldous Huxley

Powell’s Books – The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan W. Watts

No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth (978-1-57062-743-9) – No Boundary

Earth 101: Essential Reading

Posted in alternatives, analysis, anthropology, books, cosmology, epistemology, history, ontology, philosophy, politics, psychology, reading, religion, resources, science, sociology, spirituality on April 13, 2007 by jtoddring

So many good books, so little time……..…but so few truly great books.

Here’s a short list – author’s picks: some of the best books and articles for both breadth and depth of awareness.

Essential readings for early 21st century human beings on this small blue speck in space.

38 books, 9 essays – one hell of a tour of human existence.

“Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.” – Henry David Thoreau

J. Todd Ring

April 2007

Links to all texts not online are listed below

Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau – full text

Necessary Illusions; Thought Control in Democratic Societies – Noam Chomsky

Year 501: The Conquest Continues – Noam Chomsky

The Dispossessed – Ursula Leguin

Stolen Continents: 500 Years of Conquest and Resistance – Ronald Wright

The Chalice and the Blade – Riane Eisler

The Ecology of Freedom – Murray Bookchin

Roads to Freedom – Bertrand Russell

Escape from Freedom – Erich Fromm

The Power Elite – C. Wright Mills

The Corporation – Joel Bakan

A History of God – Karen Armstrong

The Power of Myth – Joseph Campbell

No Boundary – Ken Wilber

Dialogues With Scientists and Sages – Renee Weber

Dreamtime and Inner Space – Holgar Kalweit

The Holographic Universe – Michael Talbot

Mysticism and the New Physics – Michael Talbot

World As Lover, World As Self – Joanna Macy

Buddha Nature: The Mahayana Uttaratantra with Commentary – Jamgon Kontrul and Khenpo Tsultrim Gyatso

The Mother of the Buddhas – Lex Hixon

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying – Sogyal Rinpoche

The Gospel of Thomas – Marvin Meyer, transl.

Tao Te Ching – Jane English, transl.

Chuang Tsu: The Inner Chapters – Gia-Fu Feng, transl.

Ralph Waldo Emerson – The Harvard Divinity School Address

Thoreau’s Walden

Tao: The Watercourse Way – Alan Watts

The Way of Zen – Alan Watts

The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are – Alan Watts

Psychotherapy East and West – Alan Watts

The Art of War – Sun Tzu (Shambhala Dragon Edition – translation matters!) The classic text on both strategy and conflict management: decidedly anti-war.

A Short History of Progress – Ronald Wright

Ancient Futures – Helena Norberg-Hodge

The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies – Richard Heinberg

Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance – Noam Chomsky

Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War – Christopher Simpson

The CIA’s Greatest Hits – Mark Zepezauer

The Threat of a Good Example – Chomsky Example Odonian

A Marxist Threat to Cola Sales?

Rollback

Drain The Swamp And There Will Be No More Mosquitoes – Chomsky

The Responsibility of Intellectuals

Scientific American Mind: The Samaritan Paradox

Their Libertarianism And Ours

Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior – Chogyam Trungpa

Where to find them:

full links below, or search with these tools

Powell’s Books

Alibris: Used, Rare & Out-of-Print Books

AbeBooks: New & Used Books, Textbooks, Rare & Out of Print Books

The Internet Classics Archive: 441 searchable works of classical literature

Internet Sacred Text Archive

Earth 101: Essential Reading

Who or what are we?

Cosmology, epistemology, ontology, philosophy
(don’t let the terms scare you)

Alibris: Dialogues with Scientists and Sages: The Search for Unity – Renee Weber

Amazon.com: Dreamtime and Inner Space: Books: Holger Kalweit

Amazon.com: The Holographic Universe: Books: Michael Talbot

Amazon.com: Mysticism and the New Physics (Arkana): Books: Michael Talbot

Amazon.com: World as Lover, World as Self: Books: Joanna Macy

Powell’s Books – The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

Powell’s Books – Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, the – Revised Edition: New Spiritual Classic from One of the Foremost Interpreters of Tibetan Buddhism by Sogyal

Buddha Nature

Amazon.com: Mother of the Buddhas: Books: Lex Hixon

The Gospel of Thomas – Marvin Meyer, transl.

Amazon.com: Tao Te Ching, 25th-Anniversary Edition: Books: Lao Tsu,Gia-Fu Feng,Jane English

Amazon.com: Chuang Tsu: Inner Chapters: Books: Gia-Fu Feng

Amazon.com: Tao: The Watercourse Way: Books: Alan Watts,Al Chung-liang Huang

Amazon.com: The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are: Books: Alan Watts

Amazon.com: The Way of Zen : Books: Alan W. Watts

Amazon.com: Psychotherapy East and West: Books: Alan W. Watts

Amazon.com: No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth: Books: Ken Wilber

The Harvard Divinity School Address, Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Amazon.com: The Portable Emerson: New Edition (Viking Portable Library): Books: Ralph Waldo Emerson,Carl Bode,Malcolm Cowley

Amazon.com: Walden: (Writings of Henry D. Thoreau): Books: Henry David Thoreau,J. Lyndon Shanley,John Updike

Amazon.com: A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Armstrong, Karen): Books: Karen Armstrong

Human Society: Understanding the Basics

Anthropology, social theory, political philosophy

Amazon.com: Civil Disobedience and Other Essays (Dover Thrift Editions): Books: Henry David Thoreau

Amazon.com: The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future: Books: Riane Eisler

Amazon.com: The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy: Books: Murray Bookchin

Amazon.com: Roads to Freedom: Socialism, Anarchism & Syndication: Books: Bertrand Russell

Amazon.com: Escape from Freedom: Books: Erich Fromm

Ancient Futures


Understanding Human Society – part two:

History, sociology, political economy

(The categories over-lap of course, both within these sections and between sections: phenomenon are non-dual, interdependent – categories are a function of thought, not actual boundaries in reality. “Naming is the mother of the ten thousand things.” – Lao Tsu)

Amazon.com: Year 501: The Conquest Continues: Books: Noam Chomsky

Amazon.com: Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies: Books: Noam Chomsky

Amazon.com: The Dispossessed: A Novel (Perennial Classics): Books: Ursula K. Le Guin

Amazon.com: The Power Elite: Books: C. Wright Mills,Alan Wolfe

Amazon.com: The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power: Books: Joel Bakan

Amazon.com: The Art of War (Shambhala Classics): Books: Sun Tzu

Amazon.com: Stolen Continents: 500 Years of Conquest and Resistance in the Americas: Books: Ronald Wright

Amazon.com: A Short History of Progress: Books: Ronald Wright

Amazon.com: The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies: Books: Richard Heinberg

Amazon.com: Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance (The American Empire Project): Books: Noam Chomsky

Amazon.com: Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War: Books: Christopher Simpson

Amazon.com: The CIA’s Greatest Hits (The Real Story Series): Books: Mark Zepezauer

Amazon.com: Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior: Books: Chogyam Trungpa

A "Must-Read" Short List: Author’s Picks Necess…

Posted in anthropology, books, Chomsky, consciousness, ecology, environment, epistemology, history, must-read, political economy, political theory, politics, psychology, social theory, sociology, spirituality on December 2, 2006 by jtoddring


A “Must-Read”
Short List:
Author’s Picks


Necessary Illusions; Thought Control in Democratic Societies – Noam Chomsky

Year 501: The Conquest Continues – Noam Chomsky

The Dispossessed – Ursula Leguin

Stolen Continents: 500 Years of Conquest and Resistance – Ronald Wright

The Chalice and the Blade – Riane Eisler

The Ecology of Freedom – Murray Bookchin

The Power Elite – C. Wright Mills

The Corporation – Joel Bakan

Escape from Freedom – Erich Fromm

Roads to Freedom – Bertrand Russell

The Spectrum of Consciousness – Ken Wilber

A History of God – Karen Armstrong

A Short History of Progress – Ronald Wright

The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies – Richard Heinberg

Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance – Noam Chomsky

Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War – Christopher Simpson

The CIA’s Greatest Hits – Mark Zepezauer

Drain The Swamp And There Will Be No More Mosquitoes – Chomsky

Rollback

The Responsibility of Intellectuals

The Threat of a Good Example – Chomsky Example Odonian

A Marxist Threat to Cola Sales?

Scientific American Mind: The Samaritan Paradox

Their Libertarianism And Ours

Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau – full text

Posted in anthropology, books, Chomsky, consciousness, ecology, environment, epistemology, history, must-read, political economy, political theory, politics, psychology, social theory, sociology, spirituality on December 2, 2006 by jtoddring


A “Must-Read”
Short List:
Author’s Picks


Necessary Illusions; Thought Control in Democratic Societies – Noam Chomsky

Year 501: The Conquest Continues – Noam Chomsky

The Dispossessed – Ursula Leguin

Stolen Continents: 500 Years of Conquest and Resistance – Ronald Wright

The Chalice and the Blade – Riane Eisler

The Ecology of Freedom – Murray Bookchin

The Power Elite – C. Wright Mills

The Corporation – Joel Bakan

Escape from Freedom – Erich Fromm

Roads to Freedom – Bertrand Russell

The Spectrum of Consciousness – Ken Wilber

A History of God – Karen Armstrong

A Short History of Progress – Ronald Wright

The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies – Richard Heinberg

Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance – Noam Chomsky

Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War – Christopher Simpson

The CIA’s Greatest Hits – Mark Zepezauer

Drain The Swamp And There Will Be No More Mosquitoes – Chomsky

Rollback

The Responsibility of Intellectuals

The Threat of a Good Example – Chomsky Example Odonian

A Marxist Threat to Cola Sales?

Scientific American Mind: The Samaritan Paradox

Their Libertarianism And Ours

Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau – full text