Politics, God and Religion vs. Science


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Jun 16, 2013 - 12:12pm PT
In fact the “I” is simply the experience of observing, meaning there is watching, but no watcher in the normal, bounded sense of the word

Yes, this is exactly the sort of comment a follower of zen would offer, John. And it may be correct, but my own experiences indicate just the opposite. Jan and Tom and I have described "spiritual" adventures that encompass a larger set of possibilities, but these comments have gained no traction in an ongoing discussion strongly attached to zen.

My experiences - which were quite possibly purely mental phenomena - led me to the tentative conclusion that the "I-consciousness" is really all we have as humans. When I felt this entity separate from my inert body, and looked back upon that body as simply functional meat, I was overwhelmed with a sense of freedom, as if I were now a sort of embodiment of pure will. I was, seemingly, pure will, capable of a staggering array of actions in a world that resembled the world I normally inhabit.

The decisions I made while on this "astral plane" were - or so they seemed - entirely voluntary with not a hint of programmed predestination.

But, of course, I could be wrong. And I would hope that the protagonists on this thread would admit this as well.

We are all adventurers in a spiritual or mystical realm. But we don't have to confine ourselves to one particular brand of spiritual adventure when there is so much else available.

I have mentioned that bouldering was largely - for me - a moving meditation, wherein I became part of the process and was lost in the moment while doing circuits of familiar and not very difficult problems. But since I was not pursuing the pleasure of emptyness, this adventure is of little consequence in this discussion.

During the last twenty or so years of my climbing career, after putting aside my ropes except for an occasional bouldering top rope, I took these adventures to granite ridges and towers up to a thousand feet, feeling from time to time that I was weaving in and out of the rock.

I suppose what I'm saying is that there are a host of spiritual adventures rather than a few and that we should go where we wish and not necessarily be herded into the pen of zen.

I can't see that scientists are our best minds on the planet; instead they are some of the most highly institutionalized (indoctrinated--"doctoral") and narrowly focused people you can find. They have nothing to say about the broadest questions of being. They are hardly the torchbearers of humanity

I disagree, MikL. You cast your net far too widely. There seems to be an almost medieval disparagement of science on this thread. And as an old and retired mathematician, I am not a scientist. Although math is sometimes cast as "Queen of the Sciences", that is due to its necessary application in the practice of science.

Hebrews 1:3
Jun 16, 2013 - 01:36pm PT
How does Father God love us...

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Matthew 5:45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Matthew 5:48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

Matthew 10:32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 11:27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

Matthew 12:50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

Matthew 16:27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

Matthew 18:10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Matthew 25:34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Luke 1:17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Luke 1:32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.

Luke 6:36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

Luke 11:2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

Luke 12:32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

John 4:23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.

John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”

John 5:19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. 30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

John 6:37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

John 6:39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.

John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.

John 8:42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.

John 10:15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

John 10:29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

John 12:48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

John 13:3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God,

John 14:2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 14:7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

John 14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.

John 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

John 14:28 You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.

John 15:9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.

John 16:15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

John 16:27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.

John 17:1 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,

John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

John 17:24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

1 Corinthians 8:6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

2 Corinthians 6:18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”

Galatians 1:4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

Galatians 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

Ephesians 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,

Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Philippians 2:11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 4:20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

2 Peter 1:17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

1 John 2:23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!

Revelation 3:5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

...Happy Father's Day

Sport climber
Jun 16, 2013 - 01:51pm PT
"Holy ghost" I just told the cat. And the cat answered: ...arrf......
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Jun 16, 2013 - 02:03pm PT
A reminder if anyone missed it. Sam Harris on "free will" and hosted by Michael Shermer...


jogill, you might enjoy.

It's certainly a lecture that points the way to things to come.


There seems to be an almost medieval disparagement of science on this thread.

Hear, hear.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 16, 2013 - 02:07pm PT
I have mentioned that bouldering was largely - for me - a moving meditation, wherein I became part of the process and was lost in the moment while doing circuits of familiar and not very difficult problems. But since I was not pursuing the pleasure of emptyness, this adventure is of little consequence in this discussion.

To my surprise a similar experience ( albeit of much humbler provenance) was available to me a few days ago in , of all places , the climbing gym. Whereas I didn't find myself weaving in and out of the plastic I nonetheless reached that poetry of motion that has largely hitherto eluded me . How I wished I were on a rock at that moment.
My tour de force return to the climbing scene in 2010 had me tipping the scales at 214 lbs. (6 ft.) My plastic fluidity the other day was catalyzed by my new weight of 173 lbs., achieved over the last 3 years.
Finally I found myself capable of seamlessly linking one movement into its precedent and then its antecedent. A flowing motion. A body control that commanded and entrained my mind to follow its example.
It was at this moment that the loud music and the crowd sounds in the joint fell away and it became a joy to travel over the ugly and yet smoothly graspable landscape before me.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jun 16, 2013 - 02:21pm PT
y experiences - which were quite possibly purely mental phenomena - led me to the tentative conclusion that the "I-consciousness" is really all we have as humans.

We are not in disagreement in this. What happens in my tradition is when you get to that place you described, which is another way to say that you experienced that awareness is not exclusively local - normally called a boundary experience - the next step is to let go or your attachment with the "I," and then consciousness is that there is. Then pushing further, you delve into the void or "no-mind" realm from which consciousness arises and into which it falls back. That's when you realize that consciousness and no-thing or emptiness are exactly the same.

That's the basic Zen arc as I understand it, but there are "10,000 realms" out there . . .


Jun 16, 2013 - 02:39pm PT
I don't disagree, John. I do question the value of proceeding to that vacuous state, however. Nevertheless, you make a good point about your tradition.

How was reaching that vacuous state related to becoming a true Samurai, whose loyalty, whose soul, whose identity belonged to his master? But I'm injecting a question where I am not really familiar with the concept, so I may be way off track here.

By paying close attention to moment-to-moment conscious experience, Harris suggests, it is possible to make our sense of "self" vanish and thereby uncover a new state of personal well-being. Moreover, Harris argues that such states of mind should be subjected to formal scientific investigation, without incorporating the myth and superstition that often accompanies meditation in the religious context - Sam Harris

I am reminded of a story of an elderly monk who when approaching his end remarked to a younger monk "I've never heard of someone dying while in a headstand", whereupon he got into a headstand and died. It sounds like he was in a "new state of personal well-being."

Trad climber
Jun 16, 2013 - 02:48pm PT
quite frightening how basic zen is being conflated into support of libetarianism

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jun 16, 2013 - 03:18pm PT
How was reaching that vacuous state related to becoming a true Samurai, whose loyalty, whose soul, whose identity belonged to his master? But I'm injecting a question where I am not really familiar with the concept, so I may be way off track here.

This is tricky here. I did a lot of sitting under Japanese Masters but it was always understood that most us had no interest in Japan, per se, or their traditions. I always had a kind of samurai kind of approach but never looked at a master as anything but a teacher, and none of the ones I was around were looking to possess my soul or anything like it. That's sounds like cult stuff. Not interested. At all.

Harris is right in this regards. What's important is the practice, and what you get out of it, not how it is couched in cultural accretions. And if it takes on Libertarian shadings, that's just one more thing to let go of because true Zen can have no content and can belong to no one. And everyone by birthright.

So far as proceeding to the void, it doesn't occur like that IME. We're already made that way. We eventually just wake up to it. It's no place we go or have to seek out. Like most stops along the way, we can't understand the value till we're there.


Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jun 16, 2013 - 05:00pm PT
As far as I can make out, there are two distinct trends in spiritual/mystical experience. One is the trend toward nothingness which is promoted by Buddhism and the philosophy of Vedanta (Shankaracharya etc.), itself a Hindu reaction to Buddhism. Traces of it can be found in other mystical traditions. There are even a few Christian mystics who talk about the unknowable God behind the trinity (Meister Eckhardt; Jacob Boehm and in modern times Bernadette Roberts) etc.

The other trend is toward the retention of the personal "I" consciousness in relation to Ultimate Reality. This trend is exemplified by the devotional schools of spirituality, including Krishna Consciousness and the monotheistic religions, also one or two schools of Buddhism such as Amida,the most popular form in China and Japan.

Personally, I have experienced both, and so far I can not say one is superior to the other; they were all extremely intense in very different ways. I had assumed that the loss of discursive thinking and the feeling of being a tiny vortex for a universal consciousness which was my true and greater identity, was more advanced. I thought this because my Buddhist meditation director said so (he would!) and because it followed all the others in sequence.

Perhaps the most satisfying explanation is that of Vedanta which says Ultimate Reality can appear in either personal or impersonal form although they say that understanding it in the impersonal form is the final realization. Nowhere in any of the mystical literature have I encountered the kind of nihilism that MikeL is expressing, so I can only think that he is in a transitional state but I really don't know.

The final question is what does one do after final enlightenment, a very rare phenomonen while still encased in the human body, according to all the teachings. The answer in all traditions is that one returns to the world of normal human beings and tries to help them. Some do it more actively and expressively than others, but even the humorless and stern masters attempt to pass on their understanding with rare exceptions. As for those who remain blissed out in their caves, we have no idea of their realization because they choose not to share it, which brings us back to the importance of the discursive mind in carrying on the mystical traditions!

The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon and the discursive teachings of the Dharma are not personal realization. However, both are needed to point to the process, if not the goal.

Jun 16, 2013 - 05:18pm PT
although they say that understanding it in the impersonal form is the final realization.

That's incorrect.

There are many different women in the room. (impersonal)

But "Jan" (personal individuality) is speaking now.

The impersonal feature is not the final realization.

Due to not seeing past the effulgent bodily rays of the lord himself gives one the impression that he's ultimately impersonal.

Since the the lord is Supreme he does not reveal himself to the impersonalists.

Everyone has a father and mother and they all have their personal individuality.

Not that your mother is called mother only.

She has a name, personality, and individuality distinct from others.

Just as there are no two snowflakes alike.

When all snowflakes come together its seen as snow but on careful examination we still see individuality and personality in each individual flake.

Acintya-Bheda-Abheda-Tatva, simultaneous oneness and difference .....

Social climber
joshua tree
Jun 16, 2013 - 06:06pm PT

If you have a single scintilla of a doubt about consciousness, then knowledge of anything or any sort would be unavailable to you. Beliefs would be all you have. You know nothing whatsoever for sure.

Now, Now, let's slow down. There's no winners or losers here!

Remember,, baby steps.

I KNOW I went to work on Fri. and built part of a house. And stopped at JT health foods for some chicken and beets and kale. And yesterday my pooh was red. How could that not be Truth?? Tomorrow I'll go back and pick up right where I left off.

Sure, I can't say truthfully that the sun will rise tomorrow. But I can say it rose yesterday. Truthfully. Can't I?


Jun 16, 2013 - 07:41pm PT
simultaneous oneness and difference .....

A succinct statement of a larger truth. Neither a lumper nor a splitter be.


That should read: Both a lumper and a splitter be.

Jun 16, 2013 - 09:58pm PT
simultaneous oneness and difference .....

You struck gold, Bwana . . .

Jun 16, 2013 - 10:07pm PT
(You ARE saying that you know nothing, aren't you?)

Maybe. I'm not 100% sure.

I'm surprised that you called 1+1=2 a math question. What is the question?

Somewhere out there
Jun 17, 2013 - 06:44am PT

Because we all need to hear it everyonce in a while

Jun 17, 2013 - 09:32am PT
People, . . . please. Emptiness is not nothingness or vacuousness. Emptiness means that things manifest (they appear, they seem), but when attempts are made to grasp an appearance, nothing can be found, there's no final answer. You can see, feel, touch, hear, and taste it, but you can't grasp it, you can't get to the bottom of it, of anything. You can know and experience it, but there is no definable, graspable, definite existence to anything--not even your own consciousness. Impermanence and interdependence are often used to explain or buttress emptiness, but even those terms are misleading. (Words, terms, signs, always fail.) Emptiness presents a sort of abyss. It LOOKs empty, but what has to happen when on the edge of the abyss is to jump off. (Whatdayamean??) Jumping off means to let go. "Letting go" means to take your hands off the most obvious, gross controls that we all think we have over our lives and let the super-subtle interfaces and navigational controls begin to operate. You can't begin to see any of this until you give up being so heavy-handed with reality. Just relax. (All this probably reads incomprehensibly.)

Good writing, Jan!

This awakening stuff can be confusing depending upon where one is at in an unfolding. As one begins to unfold, there are mountains. This is where seekers start. There are worlds, universes, things, feelings, etc., and they all appear concrete, serious, and real. As seekers begin to get plugged in (as their consciousness begins to see itself and its processes), things (the universe) starts to become translucent, things become more difficult to "find," things increasingly begin to show themselves as constructions or as simple mental elaborations without any real substance. In time, things lose existence for a person even though things have appearance. This is the beginnings of enlightenment, Kensho, non-duality, pristine awareness, rigpa, etc. In other words, the mountain disappears; the mountain no longer exists.

Zen is one of the most successful practices producing realized beings of all. Among the most significant Zen dharma masters, the process to enlightenment could take around 7 years of intense earnestness (along with favorable karma). However, that process is not completed until (as Jan pointed out) the enlightened being returns to the place they began--only now with a fully assimilated enlightened view. Then the mountain is once again a mountain. Fully realized beings simultaneously see both conventional reality and ultimate reality. To everyone, externally, they look as normal as you or I. It's been said by fully realized beings that that process of full assimilation of realization takes a minimum of 3 years, but most usually 10-20 years to fully assimilate the realization of truth (actually, a realization of non-truth) so that all questions are answered.

As for whether full realization is personal or impersonal, it's like everything else in reality: not one, not both, neither both nor not-both. It's all very confusing until you see it in any form. (This is where words and labels don't work.) For example (as Jogill may have pointed out in his climbing reference), when you're "in the zone" (flow) when climbing, oneself and the rock are not different, but not the same. (Flow is not the same as non-duality, but it's something that most climbers have experiences of, and is kinda similar.) When the perceiver and perceived drops off in those rare moments of unity, lucidity, openness, and 'emptiness,' then what's left is perception alone. "Perception of what?" you might ask. Perception of being? . . . No, even that's too much said.

I disagree, MikL. You cast your net far too widely.

Science is no more noble than any other activity, John. No one gets to be more privileged than any other. Not Christ, not the Buddha, not the rapist, not the scientist. Everyone is in the same boat, and everyone is going to the same place. Folks here on this thread rightly (IMO) show a lack of respect for "the truth" of myth in religion. I'm saying that positions of privilege (political, intellectual, moral, etc.) are all false, constructions, and lead to delusion.

If you believe that, for example, evolution is an operational process / theory that represents the truth of the way the world is, then why not fully invest in it, and eschew things like materialism, morality, intellectualism, political stances, etc.? Evolution, cause-and-effect, pragmatism, practicality will all work themselves out for "the best" in the end, won't it? Isn't that how the theory works? What you, I, Largo, Werner, the U.S., or scientists do will make no difference whatsoever in the grand scheme of things.

Quit evaluating. It's a useless activity, and it's an obstruction to seeing how things really are. No thing is real. Relax. As Tony Soprano said in every episode: "Hey! Take it easy!"

I also said what I said about scientists (academics who supposedly are oriented to Truth) because I've now worked at 6 different institutions (most you would have heard of) in three different countries over the past 30 years, and I've seen what the Practice of Science looks like. It's just a business. It's as much of a racket as automobile assembly, the military, investment banking, consumer goods, teaching, or the clergy. None of it is wrong or bad. None of it is right or good. It is what it is.

The important thing is to see what IT is. Do that, and all evaluations become meaningless. (You can call the nihilism if you want, Jan, but it's not even that.)

Jun 17, 2013 - 09:45am PT
I forgot to say . . . .

We can argue about which sacred teacher said what with regards to what another spiritual teacher (perhaps that's Dawkins, or a physicist, or Sri Nisargadata, or Christ, or the Buddha, for you), but teachers are like diving boards. They mean to show you the water. The point is not to hang out on the diving board. The point of having and listening teachers is for you to jump in. It's up to you. That's how everyone learned to swim.

Jun 17, 2013 - 09:48am PT
That's a wonderful evocation, MikeL. We know that words are poor vehicles but we make what use of them we can. You should seek your version of what is good. Everyone should. You can tell others they should stop evaluating and that such-and-such is useless but let it remain a suggestion. It is far more powerful to show by the example of your actions in daily life (or inaction if you prefer).

Jun 17, 2013 - 11:23am PT
Fully realized beings simultaneously see both conventional reality and _ultimate_reality

I repect your position, Mike, but I fail to see how you conclude what you have experienced is ultimate reality if you also conclude nothing is real or true. Isn't it possible your epiphany was a delusion, like so much else you have encountered?

Have these experiences brought you peace and comfort? Do you greet every new day with a fresh and open spirit - everything new and wonderfully challenging? The staleness of tedious repetition vanished? If so, then you are certainly blessed.

Your comments about the world of science are true to a certain extent. I was in the research game (lightly) for a number of years and there most surely are unpleasant competitive aspects quite similar to being in the climbing "first ascent" game - trying to get there before others. It's a strange mix of support and competition - like watching competitive gymnasts helping each other before competeing against one another.

But now that I am no longer part of that process, I have come to truly appreciate the guidance
and intellectual pointers given me, allowing me to continue to play with abstract math ideas and create (or discover) new theory. I could be carving wooden ducks in my old age, but instead I am able to produce (very modest) mathematics. It's a joy, and I am thankful for being able to participate in explorative intellectual adventures. I get a little thrill every time I discover something new, no matter how trivial. I have never regretted becoming a math professor.

Thus my career in its modest way has opened my eyes to wonders - much as you describe your attainment of ultimate reality.

There are many paths . . . none better than the other.
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