Tuesday, March 13, 2018


There is a paradox in the seeking in the spiritual life. In the Buddhist tradition you look inwards, but to see guidance outside yourself, you can get support. We don't always assess things properly, don't necessarily see when we're snookered. You can get dramatic and say kill the Buddha. Being too self reliant, you might not hear the teachings that you need.

There's another paradox in syncretism. Do you seek the path that is pointed to by all the traditions? Is it fair to co-opt tricks and turns from traditions that have different goals? Is heaven and grace here and now a kind of enlightenment?

Find the Seeker takes a syncretic approach by looking at Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Stoicism, mystical and metaphysical poets, New Age gurus and Christianity. It has me asking these questions.

There is a part of me that wonders if Buddhism needs other ideas. I don't have a problem with people enjoying other traditions to enhance a Buddhist project. I don't have people who don't want to define things and put them in boxes. I don't have a problem with people enjoying traditions outside Buddhism. You own your path. I just wonder if I need anything else besides the Buddhist teachings. I certainly read other things, but it's just a matter of exposing myself. Perhaps I'm afraid it's not all contained in Buddhism. I want to make sure. Usually I find that I don't need anything besides Buddhism. I don't like it that I'm wary of some teachers, their reputation isn't that great. Perhaps some found good. I'm not against anyone finding good in a teacher. I sometimes wonder if some teachers just tried to churn out stuff to get a following or to maximize their sexual partners or to feel grand, but I didn't really know them, and I shouldn't comment not knowing. I can only go on what seems to me, and I try to have a sense of how well I know things. We have to be superficial because we can't be interested in everything. We have limits. Some books just somehow raise my hackles. Am I just too comfortable with my teacher? One talk I listened to discussed how you should absorb yourself in a tradition quite a while to give it a fair chance. Some people are more faithful and some people are more promiscuous with a tradition or traditions.

I feel like there is a saturation in spiritual books. We're chock a block with them. Some people are into The Secret. Or A Course Of Miracles. I've had lovely conversations based on these books though I have not read them myself. I like Marsha Linehan. There's an intersection between psychology and spirituality. I used to encourage people to explore their spiritual life.

I ask for people to send books to me, and then I get a big pile of books that I don't want to read once I read a few pages. Then I go months and months. I can't seem to control the flow of books, too much for a time, to little for a time. I haven't been reading as much as I used to. I gobbled up books there for a while and I've reread and reread quite a lot of books. Certainly I've missed a lot in gluttony and indigestion. Nowadays books tend to lose me in the introduction. I've been reading a lot of novels instead. I try to push nonfiction but it grates on me at times. You have to give library books back, even though modern apps allow for easy renewal. I've got a list of books I can get out of the library and continue to read. Every once in a while I pick up a book I was reading and finish it and wonder why I quit reading it. I must be currently in the process of reading about 40 books. I read a Mary Oliver poem almost every day.

I hate to sound like a psychoanalytic wonk but I like formulated experience, describing inner experience in it's rich flora and fauna. Sometimes I can't fall asleep because ideas are swooshing around my mind. I remember taking up 2 days contemplating an offense on a retreat. It's hard not to be precious and self obsessed examining your experience to try and transcend it.

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