Selected Correspondence Peter
RESPONDENT No 6: Now, my question to whoever wants to answer is: Shouldn’t we go back someday to where ‘civilization’ is, I mean, where the ordinary life is? How much are we embracing the truth while we live ‘impeccably’ in a monastery and ignore the rest of the world? How much are we actually living this life while we stay away from any sort of relationships? Are we living life or just passing by it? No attachments ... except for the attachment to the monastery and its philosophy, correct? Yes, definitely impeccable behaviour.
And so what? What is the great contribution to the world if one is never coming back to it?
RESPONDENT: When we deny who we are we find discord as we struggle against the force of nature that has placed us where we are for the purpose of enlightenment.
PETER: The ‘force of nature’ – God by another name – has literally thousands of faces on earth. Those who are placed on earth for the purpose of enlightenment are those who follow Eastern Religions, perhaps a quarter of all the people on the planet. What is the fate of those born into monotheistic religions where it is deemed impossible to become God-realized for they passionately believe in the truth of a One and Only God and He/She/It lives in Heaven? Or were you just born especially chosen? How does your teaching explain this anomaly or do those unfortunates billions have to wait for another lifetime?
RESPONDENT: This is why the ancient Vedic teachings indicate that of the two lifestyles (recluse or householder) the recluse lifestyle is the longer path to enlightenment. The householder path, the path of direct engagement and experience when performed with devotion (non attachment) is the intensive course. How elating it was to discover this powerful teaching after years of refusing to deny my own common lifestyle and struggling to understand the value of changing diapers to the process of enlightenment.
PETER: I don’t seem to be able to find any mention of a two lifestyle approach in the Vedic teachings. In Hinduism, which grew out of the ancient Vedic teachings, three paths or means to salvation are generally accepted, though with differing emphasis according to the particular tradition: (1) the path of ritual or disinterested action (karma-marga); (2) the way of true knowledge (jnana-marga); and (3) the method of bhakti, or intense devotion to God. Are you confusing the ancient Vedic teachings with Buddhist teachings perhaps?
The ancient Vedic teachings are of a polytheistic sacrificial religion. Vedism involved the worship of numerous male divinities who were connected with the sky and natural phenomena. The priests who officiated at this worship were known as Brahmans. The complex Vedic ceremonies centred on the ritual sacrifice of animals and with the pressing and drinking of a sacred intoxicating liquor called soma. There is speculation that human sacrifice was also used, as it was common to most religions in ancient times. The god of highest rank was Indra, a warlike god who conquered innumerable human and demon enemies and vanquished the sun, among other epic feats. The Vedic teachings had many other lesser deities, among whom were gods, demigods, and demons. The ancient Vedic teachings are about as relevant to modern everyday life as smoke signals are to modern communication.
RESPONDENT: The achievement of excellence in service to others is usually best served by us fulfilling our dharmic duties whilst we address karmatic issues.
PETER: The principle of dharma, the religious and moral law governing individual conduct is inseparably entwined with the Hindu caste system that arose from the ancient ideological division of society into four classes – priests, warriors, agriculturists / traders and servants. Many, though not all, Hindus acknowledge the supremacy of the Brahman (priestly) class as the highest representative of religious purity and knowledge, and many support the notion that social and religious duties are differently determined according to birth and inherent ability. The idea of dharma, a duty or moral obligation of ritual, principle and strictures is a religious/ cultural imposition and restriction – the antithesis of an autonomous freedom.
I always found the principle of karma, the law whereby acts produce future good or bad results to be remarkably similar to the monotheist ‘You will rot in hell if you don’t ...’ admonition. The Eastern version is that you will remain trapped in the karmic wheel of endless rebirth into earthly suffering. This is just goodness maintained by the threat of damnation for one’s soul, or goodness rewarded by eternal life for one’s soul. Does this not mean that the ‘service to others’ that is espoused in religious teachings is ultimately ‘self’-serving – ‘I’ do it to escape from suffering and damnation and to feel sanctimonious and achieve salvation? This ‘service to others’ is hardly a free and extemporized consideration for one’s fellow human beings.
RESPONDENT: Since everything eventually causes us to discover what we need for our freedom there is no right or wrong way to proceed. The question becomes: Which methodology within the infinite realm of possibility will serve to discover enlightenment in my life in the most efficient way possible? The answer is to take the most intensive course we can handle that is conducive to Harmony within our lives. This naturally points us to experience our ordinary life in extraordinary ways.
PETER: I am always amazed that many spiritual teachers say there is no right and wrong way and then immediately proceed to point to a right and wrong way or a good and bad way. If everything eventually causes people to discover what they need for their freedom, why are you talking about the need to fulfill dharmic duties and address karmic issues? The very notion of dharma duties implies right and wrong, good and bad and this duty, or imposition, is maintained by the carrot and stick heavy-duty threat of karmic damnation or salvation. This duplicity of Eastern spiritual teachings is what prevents most seekers, who think they are into something new, from seeing that they but entrapped in nothing more than old-time religion.
RESPONDENT: Some conceptual structures, of course, refer to God as Sat-Chit-Anand [Being – Consciousness – Love/Bliss] as I understand it, and this has helped me to personally stretch my intellect a bit ...
PETER: Yes, God has a multitude of confusing and bewildering names in Eastern religion. So much so that when I was on the spiritual path, I was so confused by the language used that I failed to recognize that I was just being a faithful follower of ‘old time religion’. I was seduced by the poetry, platitudes and the overwhelming feelings into abandoning any common sense and adopting a cynical view of human life on earth – that human psychological and psychic suffering is essential and can never be eliminated.
RESPONDENT: And all I can say about the ‘Who am I?’ question, is that it led me personally to an experience BEYOND the intellect and all other conceptions, to a place where there was not any personal ‘I’ that could be called a ‘who’ ... the experience was more like an enormous ‘IS!!!!!’ with lots of exclamation points, in caps of course, with something I experienced very briefly in a way my mind wanted to call Light.
PETER: All of these religious experiences are culturally, socially and generationally predisposed. One invariably finds exactly what one is seeking – one is looking for God or Salvation, one is seeking the Light, one is desperately looking for the Meaning of life. This is not beyond intellect – this is merely following fashion, firmly locked into thinking and feeling exactly what every other human being who has sought freedom has found. Despite all these common-to-all adaptable inner experiences, the human condition is still epitomized by malice and sorrow and peace on earth is nowhere to be found.
RESPONDENT: Human-ly, of course, this perhaps like when Lao Tzu referred to The Way as being beyond words and then – as one of his followers quipped – proceeded to explain that Way in 5,000+/- words...
PETER: And you have explained the experience very well. There are thousands of sites on the Net with millions of words describing these same experiences. God is indeed ‘other-worldly’, as in non-existent in the actual physical world where we flesh and blood human beings live, but ubiquitously affective God-experiences have captivated Humanity for millennia and have always served to hijack every quest for genuine peace and happiness – up until now.
RESPONDENT: I truly am becoming partial to the many and varied perspectives of ‘ya’ll out there.
PETER: Have you ever stopped to wonder why there are so many varied perspectives of the Truth, of God and of the feeling ‘we are all one’? Why is it that there is so much confusion and contradiction, deception and duplicity in the spiritual/religious world? If those who have seen the Light and have the Answer, then manage to have so ‘many and varied perspectives’ – and this is only one of hundreds of mailing lists, and only one of thousands of religious groups and followings – how can there ever be peace and harmony in the world? Does this not make you just a wee bit suss of the veracity of spiritual Truth?
I always used to wonder about that spiritual psittacism that ‘we are all Gods, we just have to realize it’. I would wonder what it would be like living in a world of 6 billion people, all acting as Gods. Who would worship who, who would follow who, who would drive the buses, who would farm the land, who would sit in the Masters chair, whose photo would be on the wall?
If everyone became a God then there obviously would be no Evil left in the world, and no-one left in ignorance to feel compassion for ... so why would then everyone need to be God at all?
If everyone became a God, there would obviously be no more re-incarnation because there would be no bad karma to work off and no souls returning, and with celibacy rife, the human race would quickly become extinct ... and everyone would be living in peace ‘somewhere else’ ... and thus, the spiritual dream would be truly realized?
PETER: You don’t really know me and yet you constantly relate everything I say to ‘Eastern religion’ This is the Big Lie technique. Repeat a lie enough times and it becomes true. As it happens I have no time for Eastern Religion, the New Age and so called Alternative Therapies, I think your difficulty is that you do not see how this is possible.
I do find it difficult. For me, once I saw that Sannyas was nothing other than Eastern religion, I found it increasingly difficult to maintain my state of denial of what I had got myself into. This practice of denial of the world as-it-is, and the acceptance of ‘me’ as-I-am, is common in Eastern philosophy and religion and I have written of it extensively, particularly in my review of Paul Lowe’s book ‘In Each Moment’.
You do seem to have some wobbles however, for you have said in a previous post – ‘I ‘think’ if you examine it again you’ll see that those of ‘my’ religion (do I own this religion?)...’ This is a sign of someone who is at least willing to toy with the idea of not denying and maybe beginning to question. But here again you lapse back into defensive mode and retreat even further from questioning and back into even more trenchant denial.
PUBLISHER No 1: I believe that I’ve never (since I was a child) been a believer in anything much. There are many things I don’t know – I’ve no idea what happens when we die and not much interest. I’ve no idea about god or god men and no beliefs around these ideas – again you don’t see how this is possible. I’ll find out one day about death etc, but for the moment it’s irrelevant. The only things I believe in general are those things which I’ve experienced and tried out for myself. If I haven’t tried it out for myself then I don’t know and it’s as simple as that.
PETER: ‘Not knowing’ is highly venerated in the East – where ignorance is bliss, thinking for oneself and questioning of one’s faith is actively discouraged – for the very reason that facts and common sense are anathema to beliefs and impassioned imagination.
Thus it is that people are encouraged to ignore what the ‘mind-fuckers’ are saying – ‘you are in your head and not your heart’ is a common spiritual put-down. One is encouraged to go by one’s own ‘experience’ by which they mean go by one’s own feelings for the spiritual world is but a world of feeling and imagination.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.