Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Jains

Sunday, May 02, 2010 and decending by date;
Today I went to the Jain Temple in South Phoenix and came away from the experience AWED by what seems to be people who I can't help but respect. They are so non-violent that they don't eat anything that grows in the ground because it might kill something in order to dig it up. Their whole faith is built on non-violence and they even believe if you think it, you have already done harm that is part of your karma. We compared notes on the eightfold path and their precepts and they are pretty much the same. I am trying to register as a Jain Schollar and will read everything I can about them. I will write more later, I am tired and hungry right now.
Monday, May 3rd, 2010. The idea that anyone anywhere can understand all the things in the Universe makes me hesitant to believe anyone anywhere can know all that. We as human beings have a discovery to make that each of us have to make for ourselves. I have a friend whom I love dearly and is has been a real helpful force in my life but I hear him say things that worry me. He says things while talking about others like, "Then they launch into SGI speak." But then he says things like, "...enlightenment is happiness." When I know that is SGI speak, that bothers me. If being happy were a sign of enlightenment, explain how the guy who is mentally deranged, sitting in a mental hospital, tells us that he is happy after he just chopped someone's body up? How is the homeless wino who eats other people's garbage, sleeps on garbage, and has built a life around being surrounded by garbage happy? Some would tell us that is delusional. Isn't becoming happy just becoming delusional and believing that we are having a good time despite what else happens around us? I was also raised by people who, upon their death, some of my family members said, "They set the bar high for all of us...", and some people, like myself at times, sees that as NEVER BEING HAPPY WITH ANYTHING YOU DO. Because when it came to their closest friends and relatives, then never set a bar, they were just happy with whatever that person accomplished.
Let's look at what the divinely celebrated masters, the exalted honored ones, who said to us in writing or speeches what the true meaning of enlightenment is. The early founding fathers of this country had their own idea and collected the different parts of the definition down to a science. One of them, Peter Gay said: "The philosophy of the Enlightenment insisted on man's essential autonomy: man is responsible to himself, to his own rational interests, to his self-development, and, by an inescapable extension, to the welfare of his fellow man. For the philosophes, man was not a sinner, at least not by nature; human nature -- and this argument was subversive, in fact revolutionary, in their day -- is by origin good, or at least neutral. Despite the undeniable power of man's antisocial passions, therefore, the individual may hope for improvement through his own efforts -- through education, participation in politics, activity in behalf of reform, but not through prayer." [Peter Gay] More Later, Monday, May 3rd
From WikiPedia, the definition of Bhagavad Gita:
"...The Bhagavad Gita (Sanskrit भगवद्गीता, Bhagavad Gītā, "Song of God"), also more simply known as Gita, is a sacred Hindu scripture, considered among the most important texts in the history of literature and philosophy. The Bhagavad Gita comprises roughly 700 verses, and is a part of the Mahabharata. The teacher of the Bhagavad Gita is Krishna, who is revered by Hindus as a manifestation of God himself, and is referred to within as Bhagavan, the Divine One.

The content of the Gita is the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna taking place on the battlefield before the start of the Kurukshetra war. Responding to Arjuna's confusion and moral dilemma about fighting his own cousins, Krishna explains to Arjuna his duties as a warrior and prince and elaborates on different Yogic and Vedantic philosophies, with examples and analogies. This has led to the Gita often being described as a concise guide to Hindu theology and also as a practical, self-contained guide to life. During the discourse, Krishna reveals His identity as the Supreme Being Himself (Svayam Bhagavan), blessing Arjuna with an awe-inspiring vision of His divine universal form.
The Bhagavad Gita is also called Gītopaniṣad, implying its having the status of an Upanishad, i.e. a Vedantic scripture. Since the Gita is drawn from the Mahabharata, it is classified as a Smṛiti text. However, those branches of Hinduism that give it the status of an Upanishad also consider it a śruti or "revealed" text. As it is taken to represent a summary of the Upanishadic teachings, it is also called "the Upanishad of the Upanishads". Another title is mokṣaśāstra, or "Scripture of Liberation".
Fundamentally, the Bhagavad Gita proposes that true enlightenment comes from growing beyond identification with the temporal ego, the 'False Self', the ephemeral world, so that one identifies with the truth of the immortal self, the absolute soul or Atman. Through detachment from the material sense of ego, the Yogi, or follower of a particular path of Yoga, is able to transcend his/her illusory mortality and attachment to the material world and enter the realm of the Supreme.
Krishna does not propose that the physical world must be forgotten or neglected. Rather, one's life on Earth must be lived in accordance with greater laws and truths, one must embrace one's temporal duties whilst remaining mindful of timeless reality, acting for the sake of service without consideration for the results thereof. Such a life would naturally lead towards stability, happiness and, ultimately, enlightenment. ..." And so enlightenment is, once again, inside us but we need to find the way to reach the inner awakening. And as Krishna and others pointed out, happiness is a level along the path to enlightenment.
So, in the Soka Gakkai dictionary of Buddhism, the definition of enlightenment is defined in twenty six manners, stating each stage of enlightenment. Being the picky kind of guy I am, I searched through all of them until I found "unsurpassed enlightenment" to go right to the most desired form and it says:
"...unsurpassed enlightenment
[無上菩提] (Skt anuttara-sambodhi; Jpn mujo-bodai )
Also, supreme enlightenment or supreme perfect enlightenment. The enlightenment of a Buddha. The Sanskrit anuttara means "unsurpassed." A Buddha's enlightenment is so called because it is the highest and supreme among all levels of awakening gained through Buddhist practice. Bodhisattvas make four vows when they first resolve to embark upon the Buddhist practice. These four vows are known as the four universal vows, one of which is to attain unsurpassed enlightenment. ..."
So, in all these definitions there is only one path, do you get the feeling sometimes that Buddha had a weird sense of humor or that people just didn't write everything down? The four Bodhisattva vows as stated on WikiPedia about the Zen Tradition are: "...
I vow to liberate all beings, without number 眾生無邊誓願度
I vow to uproot endless blind passions 煩惱無盡誓願斷
I vow to penetrate dharma gates beyond measure 法門無量誓願學
I vow to attain the way of the Buddha 佛道無上誓願成

And iin the Brahman tradition it says that Bodhisattvas are not to do these things:
"... Not to kill any living creature
Not to steal anything
Not to engage in any form of sexual misconduct
Not to lie or use false speech
Not to consume or distribute intoxicants
Not to discuss the faults and misdeeds that occur by any Buddhist
Not to praise oneself or disparage others
Not to be stingy or abusive towards those in need
Not to harbor anger or resentment or encourage others to be angry
Not to criticise or slander the Three Jewels

And if anyoone doesn't remember the three jewels, they are the spiritual entities that we "take refuge in".
1) The Buddha
2) The Dharma
3) The Sangha (the community)

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