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Happy Thanksgiving!

This week on Integral Spiritual Center

Seals of the View - Patrick Sweeney
IS Call on Integral Post-Metaphysics - Cameron Freeman/Ken Wilber

To all of our American friends, a very happy Thanksgiving weekend!  We wish you every blessing....

Seals of the View (video)

The goal of Buddhadharma, says Patrick Sweeney, is to transform ourselves into what we really are.  Far from pumping ourselves up to obtain some egoic goal, the Buddhist path leads us in precisely the opposite direction–to dismantle the ways we defend against what we always already are.

This path by which this goal is accomplished is the unfolding of prajna.  But what is the starting point?  The basic Buddhist view is contained in the teaching of the “four seals of the view.”  As Traleg Rinpoche teaches, it is difficult to overstate the importance of right view.  With right view, one has a cognitive frame that tends toward realization, toward evolution of consciousness, and toward the deepening of state-stage experience.  Without right view, the process of overcoming ignorance becomes very difficult, and more or less hit and miss.

The four seals of existence are impermanence, selflessness, suffering, and nirvana.  Basically:

   1. all compounded things are impermanent
   2. all phenomena lack self-nature
   3. all dualistic emotions and experiences are intrinsically painful
   4. nirvana alone is peace, and is beyond concept.

These four seals of the view define all of Buddhist practice.  They describe the truth of the actual situation that we find ourselves in, what happens when we contract against it, and what happens when we relax into it.

In truth, Buddhism maintains, the outer world is impermanent.  The tradition provides extensive explanations of the manner in which different aspects of the world are changing.  There is gross impermanence: the physical cosmos, the solar system, and the earth are constantly changing.  There is subtle impermanence:  we come together as a result of our parents’ union; we experience an outer world—and inner selves—that are continuously changing. Most of us have gone through several complete revolutions within our own lives.  Within and without, we are constantly seeing this truth.

The Buddha taught that not only is the body changing; not only is the outer world changing; but, in truth, there is no permanent witness to these events.  When we look at experience closely, we don’t find a permanent ego; we don’t find something independent from experience.  There is nothing that stays the same through our experience, nothing unitary or of one nature, nothing special that is the center of the universe.

And yet, we behave precisely as if that were the case!  As if “me” existed independently from the world.  As if “me” was permanent.  As if “me” was one thing….

Our experience now is different than, for instance, when we were twelve.  Are we the same?  Or are we different?  The right answer, of course, is both.  Reality is constantly showing us that our emotional reaction to reality is based on an imputation that simply isn’t true.  Emotionally, we tend to behave as if we are the center of the universe, as if we are special, as if our needs, desires, goals, dreams and visions are more important than those of any other.  When in fact, they are pretty much identical to everyone else’s….

IS Call on Integral Post-Metaphysics (audio)

One stunning implication of Ken Wilber's thought as expressed in Integral Spirituality is that the meaning of a statement is the means of its enactment.  But Australia's Cameron Freeman asks whether the 3 strands of valid knowing, which are so crucial in establishing scientific knowledge, are equally applicable to spiritual knowledge.  Or is requiring people to perform certain actions in order to gain a level of realization just repeating the mistakes of mythic-membership religion and its reliance on external observances, albeit on a deeper level?
Published Saturday, November 24, 2007 11:03 PM by rollie



ravinathan said:

The integral post metaphysics call does not stream.  Please fix.
December 1, 2007 4:11 PM
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