Archive for spirituality

Agony Amidst the Ecstasy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2015 by jtoddring

I think of my greatest heroes, the people I admire and respect the most – Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Voltaire, Thoreau, Emerson, Walt Whitman, Blake, Dickens, Shakespeare, Spinoza (who has been called, “The prince of philosophers”, and rightly so), Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Alan Watts, Peter Kropotkin, Thomas Merton, St. Francis, Jesus, the Buddha, Shankara and Lao Tzu, to name a few. What would they think about the society in which we now live? They would be thoroughly disgusted by it, and if they did not repudiate it entirely, they would be horrified by it. And they would certainly have some very strong words of reproach and correction to speak to it.

“It is the breaking of the root vow to refuse to give correction where correction is needed,
even if you can’t do it in the best possible way.”

 – The Bodhisattva Vows

I cannot keep pace with my fellow men, or women, because they are lost, and to keep pace would mean becoming lost with them. No, they must go their own way. I will go mine.

I will stay with the wisdom-holders of all time. That is my place. I have no place in this society; and the more I see of it, the less I want to have any place in it at all. Show me a ship, a horse, a sunset, or a dawn, and I will make my way, alone if need be, away from the madness that has become this world.

Nature is perfect in its simple majesty. Humankind has despoiled their nest, and is despoiling the rest; and it is a head-on collision course with reality which they are facing, though they have not the courage to admit it, much less deal with it, as would be prudent, and only sane.

If I cared about no one but myself, I would feel that my life is not only blessed, but beatific. I write, I study, I meditate, I pray, I have a beautiful little garden and place to live that I call home, and I have wonderful, loving family and friends. What more could I possibly ask for in this life? But I am tormented, anguished, overwrought, and utterly agonized, beyond all words, if not daily, then at least repeatedly, by the horrific state of the world, the suffering of my fellow living beings, and a deep and profound worry for them.

I have given my best, all my life, and will continue to do so, but I am painfully tempted to simply walk away, ride away, as Lao Tzu did, or sail away, and leave them to their madness, for they seem to have no ears to hear, and no eyes to see.

“Father please forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

JTR,
October 7, 2015

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.

Country life, and the glory of silence

Posted in philosophy, spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2013 by jtoddring

I say aloud to myself, “Ahh…it’s so quite here! Thank God I moved to the country!” And the words reverberate warmly through the room, their sound highlighting by contrast the rich, glorious silence which they flow through, like ripples on a shimmering lake, the glint of sunlight reflecting diamonds all around.

Not always am I able to see the majesty and peace that is within me and all around me. A quiet and peaceful place certainly makes it easier, I have found. Some days are stormy; others, serene; and some, simply blissful. Today, there is a quiet bliss – the joy of simply being.

As Voltaire said, “Paradise, is where I am.” It is where any of us can be, if we become inwardly still and present enough to see it. But we have to stop clutching at glass beads long enough to notice that richness and expansiveness of being which is eternally present.

East and West agree – or at least, the sages from both hemispheres are in full agreement. The ground of being is pure and empty – and rich beyond measure: and it is always present, within us, and all around us. Let those who have ears hear; let those who have eyes see.

As a dear and wise friend once said, “Be still, and seek the light.”

Nirvana and samsara are one. The kingdom of heaven is within you.

J. Todd Ring,
October 20, 2013

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