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Politics and the Awakened

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Politics and the Awakened
Answer
11/7/17 1:02 PM
The topic of political beliefs and Daniel's adding or not adding them to his video presentations intrigued me.

From this perspective, I can't imagine the point of getting involved in it. For me, lack of doership/agency is a common perspective, and available at any time, and having seen from the nondual "perspective" it seems obvious that any feeling of control of personal actions or world events, or a person to do them, is impossible, since what this is has no separate parts. I'm interested in other ideas from this perspective, and in hearing from others who have had their seeing similarly impacted by such an event.

RE: Politics and the Awakened
Answer
11/7/17 1:26 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
The topic of political beliefs and Daniel's adding or not adding them to his video presentations intrigued me.

I tend to agree to the of minimizing political opinion. 

I understand that it might be important in a country like the US (guns, Trump, etc.)  Perhaps luckily I'm not there.

Politics are so messy.

Why can't we just talk about meditation?

RE: Politics and the Awakened
Answer
11/7/17 3:01 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
My Guru said:

"Don't worry about a thing, every little thing is going to be all right" 

but he also said: 

Get Up, Stand Up, stand up for your right
Get Up, Stand Up, don't give up the fight


I have spent a lot of time trying to understand that paradox.   In my view, the human nervous system acts either out of anxiety or from love.  When you see you through anxiety, love remains.  That is what an awake mind is.   When confronted with delusion, suffering and and injustice a truly selfless human mind acts out of compassion even if it is irrational.   While there is no doer, that is what happens. 

RE: Politics and the Awakened
Answer
11/7/17 4:25 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
The way I see it, I have been very fortunate to have the resources and time and health to devote myself to dharma practice. 

Beyond dharma practice, I have been lucky to have an education, not be massively in debt, not be descriminated against and so on. 

Politics - the government- , though it may seem abstract, is really just the way we have of garunteeing similar rights to our entire populace.

As long as others are stuggling in an unfair system, it seems like the most compassionate and responsible course of action is to be politically involved.

RE: Politics and the Awakened
Answer
11/8/17 9:33 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
howdy sterling,
why didn't the buddha just kick back and enjoy his abiding, here and now, until his death?  why did he decide to mix himself up in the chaos of the world if it was not to share his perspective on things and to help remove some of the dust in real human beings eyes?

there is still the paradox of the "real world" after awakening and trying to change it was and is the task of us all awakened or not.

your view seems almost nihilistic. 'what does it matter', kind of thing.  or am I reading into your thoughts too much.

RE: Politics and the Awakened
Answer
11/8/17 10:18 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
I love the phrase "After the Ecstasy, the Laundry" for questions like this.

Yes, there is non-duality, lack of an agent, no-self, pervasive emptiness. And yet, there are things to be done and people to ineract with. That "and yet" is where the miracle of it all sits.

There is no doer, no one here, no thinker of thoughts, no hearer of sounds... and yet, if I do something that hurts someone, I am still responsible for that action, and the results. I think this is maybe the most important paradox of all the paradoxes we work with. I find it quieting, and awe-inspiring. People still do things, doer or not, and those things have results that affect the world around them.

This is interdependence, the important concept that separates emptiness from nihilism.

It's an axiom that we can expand to address whether or not there's any point in getting involved in politics. Most folks in the west live somewhere with some kind of democratic, citizen-engaged process. You can argue as much as you like about the degree to which a single individual can wield influence in the face of large corporations, wealthy people, focused lobbying groups. Some of the groups may be very corrupt. Still, the fact remains that the political process is how decisions are made in the communities (large or small) that many of us live in.

One can choose not to get involved, and write the entire endeavour off and hopeless and pointless. Even still, that person, and the world they live in, will be affected by actions taken by those who have gotten involved in that process. Or they can be involved, and influence the process, even if just a little bit, towards what they believe will help people and reduce suffering - what should be the goal of every awakened person.

Another way of looking at this is the duality between the "political" and the "apolitical" is an artificial one, like all dualities. There is no action that is 100% political or 100% apolitical. Each influences and is informed by the other. Even non-engagement in the process is an act that has political ramifications.

RE: Politics and the Awakened
Answer
11/8/17 11:37 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
My Guru said:

"Don't worry about a thing, every little thing is going to be all right" 

but he also said: 

Get Up, Stand Up, stand up for your right
Get Up, Stand Up, don't give up the fight


I have spent a lot of time trying to understand that paradox.   In my view, the human nervous system acts either out of anxiety or from love.  When you see you through anxiety, love remains.  That is what an awake mind is.   When confronted with delusion, suffering and and injustice a truly selfless human mind acts out of compassion even if it is irrational.   While there is no doer, that is what happens. 

I understand the seeming contradiction of "everything works out fine" vs. "you must act". There is still the desire to act, and I wouldn't argue with doing as you are driven to do. The paradox exists as long as you believe you are a separate person that impacts separate things.

Stream Entry/Satori/Awakening/etc. is a perspective shift where the separateness of things is seen through as an illusion. It is understood in a timeless moment that what you/time/space/everything are is "not two" to borrow terminology from Advaita - or empty of separateness. It is seeing the always present reality of the nondual nature of things. While this seeing may not remain, the understanding of it, like a seed, does, and that understanding and how it impact how things are understood continues to deepen.

All of "this" is, as Taoism correctly implies, one thing, and it takes care of it's own balance. There is no "you" to act. Yes, you may find yourself writing a letter to your congressman, or marching in a picket line, but ultimately it isn't "you" that is doing it.

why didn't the buddha just kick back and enjoy his abiding, here and now, until his death?  why did he decide to mix himself up in the chaos of the world if it was not to share his perspective on things and to help remove some of the dust in real human beings eyes?

there is still the paradox of the "real world" after awakening and trying to change it was and is the task of us all awakened or not.

your view seems almost nihilistic. 'what does it matter', kind of thing.  or am I reading into your thoughts too much.

I wouldn't presume to second guess the Buddha, but I'm fairly certain that after enlightenment he knew he wasn't "doing" anything. Buddhahood is the stabilization of the seeing of what we are as not separate. 

After awakening, the paradox of the "real world" is dissolved -  it is understood to be nondual/"not two". It doesn't go anywhere, but it is understood that the separateness is illusory - the illusion is seen through. 

I am honestly not intending to come off as nihilistic, but I can understand how it could be construed that way if looked at from the perspective of a belief in free will or agency.

RE: Politics and the Awakened
Answer
11/8/17 11:37 AM as a reply to Ostaron.
Ostaron:

There is no doer, no one here, no thinker of thoughts, no hearer of sounds... and yet, if I do something that hurts someone, I am still responsible for that action, and the results.


Yes! Ultimately these things can be seen to happen entirely without intention or forethought, and are impacted by how that "self" sees reality. A "self" that has seen through separateness is unlikely to bother with pretending they choose, when it is seen that the balance will maintain itself, and the actions the "person" takes happen regardless.

One can choose not to get involved, and write the entire endeavour off and hopeless and pointless.

Ah... but one CAN'T choose. This is the illusion, right?

RE: Politics and the Awakened
Answer
11/8/17 4:45 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
I am on board with the no self thing.   The question is why do buddhas love everybody?  Why do they act, even just to teach?  Once the illusion of narrative, of change and of agency are seen through completely, why do they feel compassion? 

My answer is that is just what mammals do.   It happens, but there is no good reason for it. 

RE: Politics and the Awakened
Answer
11/8/17 5:36 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
I am on board with the no self thing.   The question is why do buddhas love everybody?  Why do they act, even just to teach?  Once the illusion of narrative, of change and of agency are seen through completely, why do they feel compassion? 

My answer is that is just what mammals do.   It happens, but there is no good reason for it. 

My guess only:

There is doing, but the doing is perfected by getting out of the way of "what is" and it's "happening". Actions are in the flow of things as they arise - naturally compassionate and blissful. Operating without agency has many shorter moments of this type.

RE: Politics and the Awakened
Answer
11/8/17 7:00 PM as a reply to Ostaron.
Ostaron:
interdependence


Yup.

RE: Politics and the Awakened
Answer
11/9/17 10:32 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
This is the right answer

RE: Politics and the Awakened
Answer
11/9/17 3:44 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Angra Mainyu:

FYI
technically nothing about sense of self, agency, etc. is destroyed upon enlightenment
one just know where these are applicable and where they are not and would be unskillful
normally sense of self is ruled by phobia it must be always there or else... <strong feeling something bad will happen>
then it is replaced by confusion it must be non-existent which is as stupid if not more stupid
enlightened approach is more fluid, flexible and organic and without any grand no-self experiences
that is to say all suffering associated with sense of self is eliminated and also all suffering associated with sense of no-self or lack of sense of self

I definitely can't comment on what happens upon enlightenment - that's well beyond my pay grade. emoticon

I can see how the sense of self/agency aren't destroyed - but they are seen as illusory, yes? So you are saying there is the choice to adopt them, or not? What do you consider self? Is choosing coffee over tea the act of a self, if there is no thought process?

RE: Politics and the Awakened
Answer
11/9/17 3:24 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
If I may step in, it seems that there's some conceptualization of "politics" that makes it seem different from eating an apple.  I've never heard anybody express any problem with the fact that awakened people eat apples.

Why should working as a state repreesntative be any different? 

This seems to me what Krishna was saying to Arjuna, who was taking would might have been the "nondual" position for his time, though clearly Krishna saw through the rationalization, and told him outright, "You're just being a coward, get up and fight."

I've always found Sri Aurobindo's example inspiring - he was arrested as a terrorist for fighting the British, and continued to provide advice to india's leaders even after his "retirement" to the Ashram. There are long accounts of conversations he had with various friends about events in the world. John Kennedy, in the early 1960s, saw a statement Sri Aurobindo made about the USSRs intentions in Korea. Kennedy originally assumed the statement was made after the Korean war. When told it was made by a man in South India who had not left his room for years, he was astonished at its prescience.

At the local level, here in Asheville, NC, where we have many nondual folks who regularly say there is nobody doing nothing, there are people active in local politics who are familiar with nonduality but don't see it as contradicting their work in the world. Seems to me if they did, that would be a dualist view. 

RE: Politics and the Awakened
Answer
11/9/17 3:55 PM as a reply to don salmon.
don salmon:
If I may step in, it seems that there's some conceptualization of "politics" that makes it seem different from eating an apple.  I've never heard anybody express any problem with the fact that awakened people eat apples.


Not saying that at all. If there is a loss of agency, either doing "politics" or doing "eating an apple" happen and are observed.

My point is, when it is seen that separateness and agency are illusions, I would expect to see less involvement in politics, or the diet of others, from the illusory "individual".

I guess it's just me. emoticon

RE: Politics and the Awakened
Answer
11/11/17 7:29 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
I suggest sitting on your butt, spend an hour listening to this, laugh your ass off and maybe rethink the thought of saving the world... emoticon

Pawel, I think you will love this guy, he's hilarious too!

http://futurethinkers.org/enlightenment-vinay-gupta/#play


 P.S. Any enlightened pilots here? emoticon

RE: Politics and the Awakened
Answer
11/14/17 12:12 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
S.

But again on the flipside, I think the highly purified individual operating from a deep place of luminosity, emptiness, and love working with transparency and feedback may get their sila game very strong as nibanna permeates some of their behaviors and the fetters drop away. Whether they want to or not. I'm not super saintly IMO, but I've definitely both had the impulse and circumstances to spontaneously promote the dharma at times (like meeting a friend's friend with a group over dinner who then drops they ran away from a Shinzen retreat after getting into complex territory) and also (I think) become a better and less reactive person on the whole. 

First, just to say that I greatly appreciate your post. It is very much the perspective this question arises in for me.

I think the ingredients for some political action are, as you suggest: "impulse and circumstances", but the perspective, for me anyway, is that what we are looking at here is ONE thing that I am not separate from. I feel comfortable that if there is a moment in the future where I need to act, the impulse and circumstances will be present and I will do so, so I don't really need to worry about it all in THIS moment.

So... to recap, I think there is (often) one result of the same de-conditioning process that can push the enlightened to "care" about fewer things and another pattern that can purify their activites into compassionate behavior anyway.

Reminds me of a Ramana Maharshi quote, when he was asked why he didn't do anything to fix the world or reach more people with teaching:

First, how do you know that I am not? Your judgements are based on physical appearances only. And secondly, why do you assume that there is something that needs to be done, that the world needs helping, or that people need to hear a teaching?