Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

Mike Smirnoff, modified 8 Months ago.

Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

Posts: 77 Join Date: 2/6/20 Recent Posts
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An Eternal Now, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

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Hi, not sure if you're aware of this map http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
An Eternal Now:
Hi, not sure if you're aware of this map http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html


This is fucking fantastic. Thank you. 
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Ni Nurta, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

Posts: 778 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Imho there is at least as much personal touch from people who wrote texts and places/times in which they wrote them as there is tradition which merely influenced these people in the same way, from contact with other people. In other words when reading about traditions other than words you get snippets of their souls or perhaps even coordinates to their souls which allows you to connect to them directly.

There is story of Amitābha who created his pure abode sukhāvatī for all who merely think of his name and it just works.

Differences between various types of enlightened people like eg. Arhat vs Buddha is that the latter understands that Dharma is something that needs to be created, not merely something that already exists and that need to be attained. I would also argue Buddhas have much easier time experiencing other people pure abode / dharmas exactly because they know how to register dharmas and thus where to look for them. This include all dharmas, not merely those that are supposed to be enlightened so all souls in general, including of beings which are not what we would call sentient.
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

Posts: 1858 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Ni Nurta:
Imho there is at least as much personal touch from people who wrote texts and places/times in which they wrote them as there is tradition which merely influenced these people in the same way, from contact with other people. In other words when reading about traditions other than words you get snippets of their souls or perhaps even coordinates to their souls which allows you to connect to them directly.

There is story of Amitābha who created his pure abode sukhāvatī for all who merely think of his name and it just works.

Differences between various types of enlightened people like eg. Arhat vs Buddha is that the latter understands that Dharma is something that needs to be created, not merely something that already exists and that need to be attained. I would also argue Buddhas have much easier time experiencing other people pure abode / dharmas exactly because they know how to register dharmas and thus where to look for them. This include all dharmas, not merely those that are supposed to be enlightened so all souls in general, including of beings which are not what we would call sentient.

all dharmas are conditioned...

dharma with a capital D implies the absolute, unconditioned, undiscriminated dharma, which is not created and has no origin or support...


"the one mind is rootless and foundationless..."


t
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terry, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

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Mike Smirnoff:
Thanks for your thoughts, Ni Nurta.

I learned something ... meaning what you wrote hit me somewhere ... exactly how, I don't know how to express in words ... something non-conceptual (or my lack of conceptual skills) ...



from "through the looking glass" by lewis carroll:


'It seems very pretty,' she said when she had finished it, 'but it's rather hard to understand!' (You see she didn't like to confess, even to herself, that she couldn't make it out at all.) "Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas — only I don't exactly know what they are!"
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terry, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

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Mike Smirnoff:
Thanks Terry for your thoughts!
Question still remains: where am I on the path?!
I try to not let it bother me much but it remains.

Mike. 


If you have to ask, you aren't on it.

t


from "the matrix":


Neo: 
Do you know what that means?

Oracle:
It means know thy self. I wanna tell you a little secret, being the one is just like being in love. No one needs to tell you you are in love, you just know it, through and through.
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Ni Nurta, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

Posts: 778 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
terry:
Oracle:
It means know thy self. I wanna tell you a little secret, being the one is just like being in love. No one needs to tell you you are in love, you just know it, through and through.

I love it emoticon
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

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Think not thinking.

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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

Posts: 4073 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I was using a Zen expression (from Dogen) to suggest that you may be overthinking things.
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terry, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

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Mike Smirnoff:
Noted your view, that "if I still have to ask, I'm not there."

Here's a thought experiment:

Consider an arahat who does not know that he is an arahat (such arahat's exist per Ingram's book and per Angana Sutta in Majjhima Nikaya). Now, according to what you say, to this arahat, the question of whether he is an arahat should never arise because if it arose, that implies, he is not there, that is, he is not an arahat. Now consider such an arahat is listening to a Dhamma talk.  According to your reasoning, to such an Arahat, still, the question of whether he is an Arahat or not will not arise.


Whether this is true or not, I don't know. Just pointing out what your statement implies.

   I don't see how you arrive at that implication. 

   The presence of doubt implies the answer: there is no attainment. When you have arrived somewhere, the sense of there being a there there will be there.

   Which reminds me of a zen story. The master asked a monk if he had been to the top of the holy mountain. The monk replied that he had. The master asked the monk "was there was anyone there." The monk replied "there was not." The master said, "and to think I doubted this fellow." The monk retorted, "if I hadn't been there, how would I have known there was no one there?"


terry
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terry, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

Posts: 1858 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Mike Smirnoff:
Noted your view, that "if I still have to ask, I'm not there."

Here's a thought experiment:

Consider an arahat who does not know that he is an arahat (such arahat's exist per Ingram's book and per Angana Sutta in Majjhima Nikaya). Now, according to what you say, to this arahat, the question of whether he is an arahat should never arise because if it arose, that implies, he is not there, that is, he is not an arahat. Now consider such an arahat is listening to a Dhamma talk.  According to your reasoning, to such an Arahat, still, the question of whether he is an Arahat or not will not arise.


Whether this is true or not, I don't know. Just pointing out what your statement implies.

from "hafiz - thirty poems" trans john murray


LXXIV


(Since reason is of no use to the lover, he must abandon himself to
chance and to impulse. It lies in himself whether he shall prove
to be of the chosen few who may achieve that perfect union which
they seek.)


KNOWING love's ocean is a shoreless sea,
What help is there? - abandon life, and founder.

Bring wine; don't scare us with Reason's prohibition:
That magistrate has no jurisdiction here.

When you give your heart to love you make the moment lucky:
No need of auguries to perform good deeds.

Ask your own eye whose is the murderous glance;
0 friend, this is not Fate's crime, nor the stars'.

Pure eyes discern him like the crescent moon:
But not all eyes have scope to see that splendour.

Seize the chance offered by the drunkard's road:
Like the clue on the treasure-track, not all can find it.

You are not moved, witnessing Hafiz' tears ?
I cannot understand that heart, harder than stone.
agnostic, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

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Mike Smirnoff:
All done, nothing remaining to be done.
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terry, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

Posts: 1858 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Mike Smirnoff:
Further additions to the above:

As I let go of all my fears (the last remaining ones being: what if I don't attain Nibbana, what is the truth of re-birth, what if I'm reborn, what about the remainder of my life, and letting go of Nibbana itself), what I find is God sitting right in the center of my heart. There's a feeling of "All done, nothing remaining to be done. God's been found. Was right here." Rest of bodily functions, thoughts, emotions, urges, all seem to be just bodily processes right now, which just take the path of laws of nature. And there's a feeling of no more need of any more meditation practices.


Again, would appreciate it if some one would help me make sense out of all this.


Mike.

aloha mike,

   Now, why on earth would you want to make sense ot of all this?

   Now more than ever you need the discipline of practice.

   Hold on to your seat.

terry



from "the essential rumi," trans barks:



The Sunrise Ruby


In the early morning hour,
just before dawn, lover and beloved wake
and take a drink of water.

She asks, “Do you love me or yourself more?
Really, tell the absolute truth.”

He says, “There’s nothing left of me.
I’m like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, or a world
made of redness? It has no resistance
to sunlight.”

This is how Hallaj said, I am God,
and told the truth!

The ruby and the sunrise are one.
Be courageous and discipline yourself.

Completely become hearing and ear,
and wear this sun-ruby as an earring.

Work. Keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.

Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.

Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there.
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terry, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

Posts: 1858 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Mike Smirnoff:
More additions to this:


Every possible idea and every possible thought is now being let go of (or turned over to the Universe).


from "through the looking glass" by lewis carroll:


"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Mike Smirnoff:
Hi all,

I wanted to know similarities and differences between:


1) Dzogchen/Mahamudra
2) Vedanta (this is vast but let's say teachings of Ramana Maharishi and teaching of Aham Brahma Asmi -- there's an Indian book I can cite but it's in Hindi and likely not read by any here -- but I wish I could cite it here. Edit: On second thoughts, let me add an old text for which there is a translation available -- it's called Vedanta Sara -- a translation to English by Ballantyne is available online.)
3) Teachings of St. John of Cross on Union with God and Ladder of Love


Hi Mike,

You certainly came to the right place to talk about the translations and cross-mappings between Dzogchen/Mahamudra, Vedanta, and John of the Cross, in the lingua franca of MCTB! I am in the John X lineage myself, cleared to do the dishes in the monastery kitchen, and have spent a lot of the time over the years in recurrent work on trying to reframe what I know of that path into the vipssana mapping(s) that Daniel Ingram offers in MCTB. It seems like you may have your grounding in some kind of God-language (you seem pointed pretty deeply toward "Thy will be done" as a rough sketch of the fruits of all this labor), and are fearless enough (and, I would suppose, advanced enough in the fundamental Dark Night schooling of "God taking away our notions of 'God'") to consider a wide variety of approaches that are pretty much guaranteed to bring you relatively quickly to a point where you would be burned as a heretic for most of the so-called Christian era. So let's thank God with all due paradoxical humility that we live in a time when we are less likely to die for considering the fathomless abyss in which soul and God dissolve, or even just saying the wrong damn thing. (The general shut-down of the Christian contemplative tradition, in the west at least, post-Reformation, when faced with dungeons and pyres for "praying wrong", is one of the main reasons that turning east for meditative nuance, specifics, techniques, maps, and sheer breathing of fresh air, has been such an obvious move for so many of us on the way.)

You mentioned John of the Cross's Ladder of Love specifically, which is right at the end of The Dark Night, Book II, chapters 19-20. He is riffing on the line in his "Dark Night" poem that goes "by the secret ladder, disguised": "The secrecy of this ascent is evident since ordinarily the losing and annihilation of the self, which brings the most profit to a man, will be considered the worst for him . . ." (DN, II, 18:4) The ladder riff is actually the furthest consideration of the entirety of the path to union with God that you will find in either the Dark Night or The Ascent of Mt. Carmel, which are both structured as extended exegeses of the dark night poem and are both spectacularly unfinished. The Spiritual Canticle and The Living Flame of Love both manage to have a beginning, a middle, and an end, for those who like their maps that way. I'm not sure whether you're "moving on" from John X language, or considering his specific path among other options, or what, so I won't presume to offer any more here, but I did want to put the blip on the radar since you mentioned John X specifically. And as always, it comes down to practice, practice, practice, the basics of time spent in the fire of the living flame, ever more effortful and specific efforts at the effortless. God bless you, amigo, and, to paraphrase Meister Eckhart, may God take you beyond 'God'.
Tim Farrington, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Mike Smirnoff:


I started meditating in a Buddhist tradition at age 20 or so (before I left for US) and possibly crossed over the dark night. Then in US, then back from US, and when nothing was making sense, for some reason, Dark Night of the Soul made sense to me. I still had no idea of the Buddhist maps at that point but his description of what's happening made sense for me to have some faith in whatever is going on (I did not have this verbal language then -- it's all in hind-sight). It all made much more sense when Ingram's book came along in 2019 -- and my attraction to various religions -- all started fitting into place. 



Hi Mike, glad that i didn't misread you on vocabulary. It's a treat for me too to let some of my native God-talk rip, though my accent by now is totally weird, given all the other languages i've spoken or tried to speak or mis-spoken. (lol)

We are so kin, on the precise point of finding John X to be making sense to us at points where everything else, east and west, didn't. I was in a Siddha Yoga ashram when i first found my way to his Dark Night of the Soul, reading it in a tiny library full of works on Vedanta and Kashmir Shaivism (in 1983, I think, which dates me as a very long-time Dark Night Yogi, lol). And I had the same exact reaction as you to Ingram's book, the first edition for me, in 2011, that his approach meshed and made sense, and his treatment of the Dark Night, the jhana and sub-nanas of the Knowledges of Suffering, also made sense.

Glad you're here, is what I'm saying, my brother.
Tim Farrington, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Mike Smirnoff:


Many of the questions I raised in this post have since, left me -- I don't know how and why -- but out of curiosity, the following questions remain:

1. What is the correlation between Buddhist stages of insight and Ladder of Love of Saint John, if any?
2. Theravada Buddhism offers a 4 path model -- does it correlate with the Ladder of Love?




Hi again, Mike--- i haven't mastered the art of responding to longer posts by having boxes inserted at the appropriate spots in the dialogue, so i just take it one box at a time, and basically creating mini-sub-threads instead, for individual points.

I'm going to quote from my first reply to you here, because it's the jump-off point for these questions: 

You mentioned John of the Cross's Ladder of Love specifically, which is right at the end of The Dark Night, Book II, chapters 19-20. He is riffing on the line in his "Dark Night" poem that goes "by the secret ladder, disguised": "The secrecy of this ascent is evident since ordinarily the losing and annihilation of the self, which brings the most profit to a man, will be considered the worst for him . . ." (DN, II, 18:4) The ladder riff is actually the furthest consideration of the entirety of the path to union with God that you will find in either the Dark Night or The Ascent of Mt. Carmel, which are both structured as extended exegeses of the dark night poem and are both spectacularly unfinished. The Spiritual Canticle and The Living Flame of Love both manage to have a beginning, a middle, and an end, for those who like their maps that way.


Oh shit, I just learned how to insert a box! Side benefit of our conversation, a giant breakthrough for me, thank you!!

anyway, Daniel specifically mentions "the Ladder of Love" when he mentions John and the Dark Night in MCTB2, but the ladder of love is a bit of a red herring, in John of the Cross, as maps go, in my humble opinion. I have put most of my own cross-mapping energy from John X to the Progress of Insight stages into John's "Spiritual Canticle." There is an older post on this--- https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/16761328 --- and i'm quoting now from something i said there:

The Spiritual Canticle is the most schematically clear run-out that I can find in John X, and in my tentative cross-mapping of the forty stanzas of that poem (each with its exegesis, as is John's method), I think he starts the poem already in the active dark night of the senses--- seeking, seeking, working very hard, and this phase runs through the first five stanzas, ttransitioning to the passive night of sense with the onset of acknowledged helplessness in stanza 6 and grinding seriously through the abrupt (and initially terrifying) breakthrough experience in stanza 13. I tend to read this transition as what he calls "betrothal" of "spiritual espousal," and it's an open question to me at this point whether it constitutes "stream entry" and attainment of the first path or not. John X speaks of the "state of the proficients" and an illuminative phase in other places (DN 2, 1:1, for instance), and has a substantial period of time pass in this before entry into the active night of spirit, but in the Canticle, it seems to me that stanzas 14-18 are all about this subtler but distinctly active work at the deeper level, with, again, a transition to the end of the soul's efforts, the move into the passive night of the spirit, in stanza 19, running through stanza 21. And then the good stuff, the "spiritual marriage," from stanza 22 on.

Oh man, I love this new quote-box siddhi!

So now you know as much as I do on this!

Tim Farrington, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Mike Smirnoff:

3. How does Fruition (no more mentality-materiality in subjective experience though objectively speaking, everything is still happening) correlate with Union with God, if at all?

 




Exactly! That's the question, all right, that's what sends me back to the mat, every time.
Tim Farrington, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Mike Smirnoff:


 Please also tell me more about Meister Eckhart -- I've found his name often enough but never read anything by him.



Meister Eckhart is very deep 14th-century waters, and gnarly as fuck, and fantastic, and has warning labels stuck all over him, like everyone---- he is an acquired taste, for me, John X speaks to me directly, Meister E makes tons of vague mystically intuitive sense to me but is spectaculalrly foggy in many ways, and dishearteningly Scholastic in others. His works break down naturally into sermons in German and scholarly treatitses in Latin, which is pretty much the first sort on his writings, and he says shit in the sermons that almost got him burned at the stake, while he covers his ass in the treatises in incredible fine detail, presumably in part to avoid getting burned at the stake. He is STILL controversial, across the board. Bernard McGinn is one of the best scholars and interpreters of him, and the Classics of Western Spiritual Series volume, "Meister Eckhard: Teacher and Preacher," will probably give you as much Eckhart as you can stand. I love the guy, personally, but he is very heady. 

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