Reply To: cheng yen and tzu chi

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Thanks for your reply.

So meditating has caused you to be awakened? If so, why do you continue to meditate? And if not, then perhaps you should try a different raft. Surely, once awakened, you want to be out in the world performing boundless loving kindness. What value to the world are you sitting on a cushion?

And what is this awakening? I think we should talk about that more. I believe that inner turmoil and suffering offer opportunity for psychological transformation. Yet people beaten down with inner suffering cannot believe that transformation is possible, and perhaps think that a sufferers’ support group is enough. Authentic talk and sharing of spirit nourishment is what’s needed.

Of course meditation can be great in many different ways, but I it’s more authentically done in solitude. As a group thing it seems less so. Why would you want to meet in a group and waste the opportunity to talk? I think meditation has come to be overvalued for historical reasons. The buddha had no choice but to adopt a band of celibate followers to spread his message…there being no Facebook in those days. Perhaps for monks, meditating to suppress lust sometimes created turmoil that opened them to transformative experience. But meditating monks contribute nothing to society, which perhaps explains why buddhism fell out of favour. And these days I think there’s danger that the practice merely dulls and suppresses the inner life of turmoil, thereby missing the potential for awakening.

For what it’s worth, Cheng Yen talks of living meditation…when every action and thought in everyday life is done in meditation. She’s an inspirational woman. Sadly, she’s fettered by reincarnation belief.
I interpret the raft metaphor as saying that all teachings are disposable. They are simply attempts to communicate the uncommunicatable.

Each of us has a little of spirit within us. When we realise that, it becomes our responsibility to nurture it and care for it, for the good of the world. Only though our actions can we express our spirit. There are countless examples of great courage all around the world. Take heart from them. Have courage to be true to your authentic spirit, and it will reward you. As the buddha said in his final words, “go by the light of your own lamp”.

Finally, apply the CIA test: is this a practice that the CIA would be happy to support? And if so, are you happy with that?

Comments gratefully received. Best wishes…