From ‘The Way of Liberation’, by Adyashanti

“As a guiding principle, to progressively realize what is not absolutely True is of infinitely more value than speculating about what is.

[…]

No spiritual teaching is a direct path to enlightenment. In fact, there is no such thing as a path to enlightenment, simply because enlightenment is ever present in all places and at all times. What you can do is to remove any and all illusions, especially the ones you value most and find the most security in, that cloud your perception of Reality.”

From ‘The Way of Liberation’, by Adyashanti

From ‘ A World without Substance or Essences’, by Richard Rorty (1994)

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“whatever sorts of things may have intrinsic natures, numbers do not – that it simply does not pay to be an essentialist about numbers. We antiessentialists would like to convince you that it also does not pay to be essentialist about tables, stars, electrons, human beings, academic disciplines, social institutions, or anything else. We suggest that you think of all such objects as resembling numbers in the following respect: there is nothing to be known about them except an initially large, and forever expandable, web of  relations to other objects. Everything that can serve as the term of a relation can be dissolved into another set of relations, and so on for ever. There are, so to speak, relations all the way down, all the way up, and all the way out in every direction: you never reach something which is not just one more nexus of relations. The system of natural numbers is a good model of the universe because in that system it is obvious,
and obviously harmless, that there are no terms of relations which are not simply clusters of further relations.”

From ‘ A World without Substance or Essences’, by Richard Rorty (1994)

From ‘Mysticism: Christian and Buddhist’, by D.T. Suzuki

 

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I wish to emphasise this idea of ‘seeing’. It is not enough to ‘know’ as the term is  ordinarily understood. Knowledge unless it is accompanied by a personal experience is superficial and no kind of philosophy can be built upon such a shaky foundation. There are, however, I suppose many systems of thought not backed by real experiences, but such are never inspiring. They may be fine to look at but their power to move the readers is nil. Whatever knowledge the philosopher may have, it must come out of his experience, and this experience is seeing. Buddha has always emphasised this. He couples knowing (ñana, jñana) with seeing (passa, pasya), for without seeing, knowing has no depths, cannot understand the realities of life. Therefore, the first item of the Eightfold Noble Path is sammadassana, right seeing, and sammasankappa, right knowing, comes next. Seeing is experiencing, seeing things in their state of suchness (tathata) or is-ness. Buddha’s whole philosophy comes from this ‘seeing’, this experiencing.

[…]

The one thing I wish to call to the readers’ attention is the term ‘wisdom’, pañña, or prajña in Sanskrit. This is a very important term throughout Buddhist philosophy. There is no English equivalent for it. ‘Transcendental wisdom’ is too heavy, besides it does not exactly hit the mark. But temporarily let ‘wisdom’ do. We know that seeing is very much emphasised in Buddhism, but we must not fail also to notice that seeing is not just an ordinary seeing by means of relative knowledge; it is the seeing by means of a prajña-eye which is a special kind of intuition enabling us to penetrate right into the bedrock of Reality itself.

From ‘Mysticism: Christian and Buddhist’, by D.T. Suzuki

From ‘Notebook of Errors and Absurdities’, by Beatrice Mendi-Otz

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“A million years from today, the sun will rise in the morning, and all my thoughts, endeavours, poor singing voice, pains and laughter will have been long forgotten. The mark of all my actions, legacy, deepest concerns and ideals will have faded forever. All the matter of my body – bones, brain and tears alike – will have become many different distant things: rocks and clouds, trees and fossils, other sentient beings and their own tears. The sun shall rise indifferent, illuminating all that, continuing the endless morning that has circled the Earth for over 4 billion years.

A further million years from then, the sun will rise still, the other morning long forgotten – if there is someone or something to do the forgetting.

But today… Ah, today I got worry!”

From ‘Notebook of Errors and Absurdities’, by Beatrice Mendi-Otz

From ‘Signs of the times: Rorty and Girard’, by Andrew McKenna

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Rorty’s “panrelationalism” issues not only from his acute sense of linguistic mediation, but also from the capaciously researched observation, in philosophy and the natural and social sciences, that “there is nothing to be known about anything save its relations to other things” (Philosophy 54). What holds for things holds no less for people, which is doubtless why he views the self, after Freud, Quine and Davidson, as a “centerless web of beliefs and desires” (Essays 1), as “a centerless bundle of contingencies, of the sort which both Foucault and Dewey shared with Nietzsche” (Essays 197). Such homely terms as bundles and webs seem hardly the stuff of a rigorously coherent anthropology, for which Rorty could conceive no need anyway, since what we gather from Freud’s legacy is “the increased ability of the syncretic, ironic, nominalist intellectual to move back and forth between, for example, religious, moral, scientific, literary, philosophical, and psychoanalytical vocabularies without asking the question ‘And which of these shows us how things really are?,'” without asking either “‘Which is my true self,’ or ‘What is human nature?'” (Essays 158).

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All this changes if we conceive of the bundles and webs mimetically and interactionally; if we acknowledge, as I think Rorty must, that our beliefs and desires must come from somewhere, and if not from some egologically centered self or the Mind of God, then from others, and from those around us more likely than from those in our remoter past, from our parents and neighbors rather than from Plato or Pascal. What contingency means in human relations, at least, is proximity, involving us inextricably with the doings of other human subjects who happen to be within reach of our attention, acts and utterances–intersubjectivity in a word. It is in just this sense that, in Je vois Satan, Girard states that we need to substitute “mimetisme itself” for the “human subject, which “does not grasp the circular process in which it is caught up” (112). In our “self/other-centeredness,” we are inextricably in-between self and other; our mode of being, or non-being, our non-entity, in sum, our essential eccentricity or relationality, is constituted by mimetic desire which binds our identity to desires, beliefs, and actions that others model for us.

 

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From ‘Signs of the times: Rorty and Girard’, by Andrew McKenna

From “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?”, by Martin Luther King Jr.

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photo by  DiliffCC BY-SA 2.0

“The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization […] The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.”

From “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?”, by Martin Luther King Jr.

From “The Talks of Instruction”, by Meister Eckhart

Start with yourself therefore and take leave of yourself. Truly, if you do not depart from yourself, then wherever you take refuge, you will find obstacles and unrest, wherever it may be. Those who seek peace in external things, whether in places or devotional practices, people or works, in withdrawal from the world or poverty or self-abasement: however great these things may be or whatever their character, they are still nothing at all and cannot be the source of peace. Those who seek in this way, seek wrongly, and the farther they range, the less they find what they are looking for. They proceed like someone who has lost their way: the farther they go, the more lost they become. But what then should they do? First of all, they should renounce themselves, and then they will have renounced all things. Truly, if someone were to renounce a kingdom or the whole world while still holding on to themselves, then they would have renounced nothing at all. And indeed, if someone renounces themselves, then whatever they might keep, whether it be a kingdom or honour or whatever it may be, they will still have renounced all things.

[…]
‘If anyone would follow me, he must first deny himself’ (Matt 16:24). This is the point which counts. Examine yourself, and wherever you find yourself, then take leave of yourself. This is the best way of all.

From “The Talks of Instruction”, by Meister Eckhart