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Azidonis
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25/10/2011 11:12 pm  

I'm currently taking a course on Ancient Greek Philosophy. Right now we are discussing Socrates/Plato, and he makes the distinction between various stages of human evolution/incarnations.

One thing we discussed today is the capability for enlightenment. Surely, everyone is capable, but not all of them are aware of it in their current incarnations. Take, for example, Jessica Simpson's show The Price of Beauty. No, I don't/didn't really watch the show, but I do remember flipping channels at one point, and seeing her flip out when in contact with customs of another culture. One could argue that she has every right to flip out, etc. whatever. But simply put, she didn't open up to the idea or the culture at all. It's an example of closure, on purpose or accident, of one or more avenues that could help pave the way for enlightenment. This sort of closure eventually forms a sort of web that we commonly call the Ego, and is a bar to enlightenment. So whether or not she has the capability - of course overall she has the capability, but whether or not the capability will be realized, or even whether it can be realized, in her current lifetime is another story.

If you say that some people just aren't capable of enlightenment, then they are quite simply duds. It brings up the idea of reincarnation, in which eventually they will evolve to a point in which the capability is realized, and therefore they are not duds, but seeds that have yet to take root and grow.

There is no magical way to instantly make everyone realize their capability or become enlightened. It happens, gradually, over the course of time and experience. So unless it becomes a vital necessity that everyone is enlightened all at once within a certain human time frame, evolution would continue to take its course.

Humanity is very young in the overall course of evolution, anyway. It may take another 2,000 years or more before the goal of enlightenment is even remotely a consideration on the broad scale, as in everyone.

All this was said in another thread. You probably read it, or not. It doesn't seem to really fit there though, but I do think it may deserve a discussion.

So... do you think that everyone has the capability to become enlightened?

If so, how? I'm NOT talking about proselytizing. I'm talking about, if enlightenment is the ultimate form/goal of human evolution, there are many people who don't care, don't get the concept, etc. Do these people just miss out?

If not, does this imply the idea of reincarnation until enlightenment eventually becomes their pursuit, or that these people are quite simply "duds" in this regard?

How do these ideas fit in with the Boddhisattva Vows, or the Oath of the Magister Templi?

Note, the discussion originally developed out of the Phaedrus, as Plato was talking about "philosophy" (or enlightenment) being the highest state we can arrive at as human beings.


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 Anonymous
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26/10/2011 5:46 am  

Everyone is potentially capable of achieving enlightenment.

Only a tiny handful of people, relatively speaking, actually do.
In some cases, only 1 or 2 in an entire generation of humanity; at more auspicious occasions, several dozen.

But there is no such thing as a lost cause; though someone may spend lifetimes upon lifetimes without as much as glimpsing the concept of enlightenment.

Eventually, all beings will get there.

Swami


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Los
 Los
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26/10/2011 6:04 am  
"Azidonis" wrote:
Humanity is very young in the overall course of evolution, anyway. It may take another 2,000 years or more before the goal of enlightenment is even remotely a consideration on the broad scale, as in everyone.

Just as a quick note, evolution isn’t a process of advancing to a “better” or “higher” state. Evolution is nothing more than change over time. There’s no goal in evolution.

Now, if you’re using evolution metaphorically to refer to some kind of collective spiritual advancement, there’s no such thing. People as a whole aren’t getting “better,” the race isn’t becoming “more spiritual,” and we’re not at the dawning of some “New Age.” There’s no “goal” for the race as a whole, nor do we have any need to chase these silly pipe dreams.

So... do you think that everyone has the capability to become enlightened?

Becoming enlightened – and I’m going to take “enlightened” to mean “attainment” in the Thelemic sense of discovering one’s true will – is a skill like any other. And like other skills, there are some people who are naturally gifted at it and other people who will never be any good at it, no matter how hard they work.

It’s like learning how to repair a car or learning how to write well: in theory, anyone has the capacity to learn to do those things, but in practice, we all know that there are some people who are never going to be able to repair a car or to write a persuasive essay, no matter how hard they try. They might be able to get a little better at it, but they’ll never be all that good at it, and they’ll probably be more interested in doing other things that they are better at.

There’s no a priori reason to suppose that attainment is any different – or any better or any more necessary or any more the “ultimate goal of human evolution” – than any other skill.

I certainly don’t think that a majority of people attaining “enlightenment” would look anything like you’re probably imagining it, Azidonis. I don’t think it would produce some world that’s “better” than it is now – it would be the same old human world with conflict and problems and tensions. There would be no standard by which we could ever say that we arrived at the goal, even if we wanted to.

If not, does this imply the idea of reincarnation

No, and not only because reincarnation isn’t real. The notion that there are some people who just can’t do it just implies that there are some people who can’t do it. It can't logically imply anything else, in exactly the same way that the fact that some people can’t master the art of car repair or of writing doesn’t imply anything else.


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Azidonis
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26/10/2011 7:03 am  
"Los" wrote:
"Azidonis" wrote:
Humanity is very young in the overall course of evolution, anyway. It may take another 2,000 years or more before the goal of enlightenment is even remotely a consideration on the broad scale, as in everyone.

Just as a quick note, evolution isn’t a process of advancing to a “better” or “higher” state. Evolution is nothing more than change over time. There’s no goal in evolution.

Now, if you’re using evolution metaphorically to refer to some kind of collective spiritual advancement, there’s no such thing. People as a whole aren’t getting “better,” the race isn’t becoming “more spiritual,” and we’re not at the dawning of some “New Age.” There’s no “goal” for the race as a whole, nor do we have any need to chase these silly pipe dreams.

"Humanity is very young in the overall course of evolution, anyway."

Considering how old this universe actually is, in the grand time scale of evolution, the time period of humanity is but a grain of sand in the hourglass, if even that much.

Goal in the sense of Plato's words... I tried to do this without quoting Plato. I'll dig up his words tomorrow or something, and put them here, to provide context, in case there is any misunderstandings.

"Los" wrote:

So... do you think that everyone has the capability to become enlightened?

Becoming enlightened – and I’m going to take “enlightened” to mean “attainment” in the Thelemic sense of discovering one’s true will – is a skill like any other. And like other skills, there are some people who are naturally gifted at it and other people who will never be any good at it, no matter how hard they work.

It’s like learning how to repair a car or learning how to write well: in theory, anyone has the capacity to learn to do those things, but in practice, we all know that there are some people who are never going to be able to repair a car or to write a persuasive essay, no matter how hard they try. They might be able to get a little better at it, but they’ll never be all that good at it, and they’ll probably be more interested in doing other things that they are better at.

Care to explain this statement in accordance with your understanding of the Bodhisattva Vow or the Oath of a Magister Templi, as mentioned in the original post?

"Los" wrote:
There’s no a priori reason to suppose that attainment is any different – or any better or any more necessary or any more the “ultimate goal of human evolution” – than any other skill.

Socrates apparently disagrees with you. Evolution, of course, in the sense that he seems to think that philosophy (et al) is the only pursuit really worthwhile, and the pursuit of that is an ongoing evolution, or series of events that bring both inner and outer change. It would be a goal in the sense of anyone wanting to become a philosopher (et al), in the sense of aspiration, desire, or even will.

"Los" wrote:
I certainly don’t think that a majority of people attaining “enlightenment” would look anything like you’re probably imagining it, Azidonis. I don’t think it would produce some world that’s “better” than it is now – it would be the same old human world with conflict and problems and tensions. There would be no standard by which we could ever say that we arrived at the goal, even if we wanted to.

I'm pretty sure I didn't say I was "imagining an enlightened world" in this thread, did I?

"Los" wrote:

If not, does this imply the idea of reincarnation

No, and not only because reincarnation isn’t real. The notion that there are some people who just can’t do it just implies that there are some people who can’t do it. It can't logically imply anything else, in exactly the same way that the fact that some people can’t master the art of car repair or of writing doesn’t imply anything else.

Again, would you care to explain these points in light of your understanding of the Bodhisattva Vow, and the Oath of the Magister Templi?

You obviously don't agree with Plato. I don't really agree with him either. But I will dig up some quotes or something, to give this thread a bit more context, so that my paraphrasing his works doesn't get misunderstood as my own thoughts on the matter (though, of course, as with any paraphrasing, it is simply my own understanding of Plato's pretty plain English, and of course, in the event one wants to have a conversation on these boards, one has to spell out everything very clearly and draw so many lines, so that no one gets the idea that I think I'm speaking for Plato).

"Swamiji" wrote:
Everyone is potentially capable of achieving enlightenment.

Only a tiny handful of people, relatively speaking, actually do.
In some cases, only 1 or 2 in an entire generation of humanity; at more auspicious occasions, several dozen.

But there is no such thing as a lost cause; though someone may spend lifetimes upon lifetimes without as much as glimpsing the concept of enlightenment.

Eventually, all beings will get there.

I agree.

Again, this thread is based on the idea that Socrates had of "philosophy", or attainment, or enlightenment, liberation, moksha, nirvana, freedom, liberty, etc. (whatever people want to call it), being a sort of pinnacle of human potential, and something that humans may in some way, at some point in time, strive for. Also, those same ideas in light of the Bodhisattva Vow and the Oath of the Magister Templi.


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 Anonymous
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26/10/2011 12:45 pm  

I think that a person cannot become truly enlightened unless they become truly incarnated. Although people commonly think that the process of incarnation is all over and done with at the moment of birth, this is not the case. Most people are not properly incarnated but only partially so, and it requires them to make another effort and choice towards conscious incarnation into the flesh as adults before they can be said to be enlightened.

An enlightened individual actually has no Crown chakra because it has fully descended to dwell fully incarnate with the vessel and it is then we can call a person enlightened. So - I think whether someone is able to be enlightened depends upon the willingness of the angel to fully incarnate, as well as the readiness of the vessel to receive the angel, and when the angel is ready it prepares it's vessel for this transformation.

All worlds are one.


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Los
 Los
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26/10/2011 2:56 pm  
"Azidonis" wrote:
Considering how old this universe actually is, in the grand time scale of evolution, the time period of humanity is but a grain of sand in the hourglass, if even that much.

Yes, that’s obviously true: I wasn’t disputing that part of your post. I was disputing this part: “It may take another 2,000 years or more before the goal of enlightenment is even remotely a consideration on the broad scale, as in everyone.”

The way you’ve phrased this makes it sound as if you think there’s some kind of “spiritual evolution” going on, in which each generation arise more possibilities for enlightenment.

If that’s what you mean, then I’m pointing out that there’s no such thing as spiritual evolution.

Care to explain this statement [that some people just can’t master the skill of attainment, in the same way that some people just can’t master the skill of auto repair] in accordance with your understanding of the Bodhisattva Vow or the Oath of a Magister Templi, as mentioned in the original post?

Part of the problem with this thread is that you – and here, for once, I mean “you” as in “you, Azidonis” – want to take a word (“enlightenment”) that has lots of very different meanings, which are historically determined, but you want to treat the word as if it’s some transhistorical real essence that all of these different thinkers have been talking about under different terms.

But what the Buddha meant by enlightened is not necessarily what Plato meant by it or similar terms, and neither correspond precisely to Thelema’s KCHGA.

At any rate, this universalist idea you seem to have accepted uncritically – that all “beings will attain enlightenment” (whatever “enlightenment” means in this context) – is just wrong. All beings die, and that’s the end of them. The only way this this universalist idea could be true is if you define “enlightened” to mean “dead.”

I'm pretty sure I didn't say I was "imagining an enlightened world" in this thread, did I?

When you (again, you personally) talk about the majority of people becoming enlightened – or, rather, having the realistic capacity to become enlightened – I assume that you’ve thought about the consequences of this world and what this world would look like (and it sounds to me like you think such a world would be a better world in some way).


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Azidonis
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26/10/2011 3:57 pm  
"Los" wrote:
The way you’ve phrased this makes it sound as if you think there’s some kind of “spiritual evolution” going on, in which each generation arise more possibilities for enlightenment.

Eh. I was just saying that maybe eventually the wolves will out-number the sheep. Perhaps...

However, you have yet to say what you think about these matters as pertaining to the Bodhisattva Vow and the Oath of the Magister Templi.

"Los" wrote:
If that’s what you mean, then I’m pointing out that there’s no such thing as spiritual evolution.

"Evolution (or more specifically biological or organic evolution) is the change over time in one or more inherited traits found in populations of individuals. Inherited traits are distinguishing characteristics, for example anatomical, biochemical or behavioural, that are passed on from one generation to the next"

In the strict, dictionary sense, no. The idea that genetics has something to do with the awareness of an individual is absurd and unproven... or is it?

"Los" wrote:
But what the Buddha meant by enlightened is not necessarily what Plato meant by it or similar terms, and neither correspond precisely to Thelema’s KCHGA.

At any rate, this universalist idea you seem to have accepted uncritically – that all “beings will attain enlightenment” (whatever “enlightenment” means in this context) – is just wrong. All beings die, and that’s the end of them. The only way this this universalist idea could be true is if you define “enlightened” to mean “dead.”

This separatists idea that you seem to have that they were not, not only goes against studies in comparative religion, it has also been the cornerstone of war throughout human history, when each religion or philosophy thinks they are ultimately "the right, universal truth" and run around killing each other when the other party is talking about the same thing in a different language and culture.

Go ahead. Take every single attribution to Tiphareth, since that's where you seem to be stuck, from every culture imaginable, and then conclude that they all cannot possibly attributed to Tiphareth, and for that matter Thelema itself shouldn't use the Tree of Life, because it's a Jewish idea. Further, since meditation and prayer are two different things, they obviously cannot lead to a similar conclusion.

The road has four lanes that go to the same house, but only one road will take a person to that house. 🙄

"Los" wrote:

I'm pretty sure I didn't say I was "imagining an enlightened world" in this thread, did I?

When you (again, you personally) talk about the majority of people becoming enlightened – or, rather, having the realistic capacity to become enlightened – I assume that you’ve thought about the consequences of this world and what this world would look like (and it sounds to me like you think such a world would be a better world in some way).

You are just putting words where you think they fit.

Capacity - "a : an individual's mental or physical ability : aptitude, skill b : the faculty or potential for treating, experiencing, or appreciating "


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mika
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26/10/2011 7:04 pm  
"Azidonis" wrote:
I was just saying that maybe eventually the wolves will out-number the sheep. Perhaps...

I get where you're coming from and I also enjoy indulging in the fantasy that humanity is 'evolving towards a more enlightened state' and such things. It's much more pleasant than the reality of our domesticated primate existence. But it's just that - a fantasy - an imaginary ideal that doesn't exist. And even worse, it's based on the presumption that we know what's best for humanity (ie our personal definitions of what it means to be 'enlightened', as in, "if only everyone achieved this ideal state that I have defined in this particular way, then the world would be perfect!').

Besides - you know what happens when wolves out number sheep. All the sheep die then the wolves turn on each other.

Regarding your question about the Bodhisattva Vow and the Oath of the Magister Templi, from my perspective they are essentially the same concept within different contexts. But neither requires belief in reincarnation or even belief that everyone is capable of achieving that state. (Fixation on a goal is a distraction on any path. The path itself is the reward.)

Along these same lines - why would you think that people who don't care/don't get the concept 'just miss out'? Ignorance is bliss. Sheep are happy. It's the people who *do* get the concept but don't have the strength to deal with reality who get really screwed up.

"Los" wrote:
The only way this this universalist idea could be true is if you define “enlightened” to mean “dead.”

😀

Thank you thank you. I need that slap in the face every now and then.


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 Anonymous
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26/10/2011 8:10 pm  

Some say they will and some say they won't
Some say they do and some say they don't
Some say they shall and some say they shan't
and some say they can and some say they can't

All in all it's all the same
but call me if there's any change

Some say there's nothing and some say there's lots
Some say they've started while some say they've stopped
Some say they're going and some say they've been
Yes, some say they're looking and some say they've seen

All in all it's all the same
but call me if there's any change

- Keith Reid


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Azidonis
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26/10/2011 9:36 pm  

Some of you seem to think I have this pipe dream of one day every living being achieving enlightenment.

Personally, I'm not sure if such a thing is possible, and if so, it is very probable.

I continually ask what you all think of the idea of every being achieving enlightenment, in the light of the Bodhisattva Vows, and the Oath of the Magister Templi.

So, since apparently these oaths have nothing to do with the idea:

"The Bodhisattva is a being who has taken the Bodhisattva Vow to help save all sentient beings, before going into full Nirvana or enlightenment. There are in Mahayana Buddhist metaphysics a whole cosmology full of heavenly Bodhisattvas. The term is also used for human beings who have taken the Bodhisattva Vow to heart to such an extent that they will keep it, even in their next lives."

Taken from The Bodhisattva Vow. The site is also complete with many versions of the vow.

So, would you all mind explaining what this vow means to you? And how about this one, linked already...

"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
1. I, ............................................... [Motto], being of sound mind and body, hereby solemnly swear on behalf of the Whole Universe:
2. that I will lead a Pure Life, as a devoted servant of the Great Order of the Universe:
3. that I will Understand all things:
4. that I will Love all things:
5. that I will perform All things and endure All things for the Great Work of the Universe:
6. that I will continue in the Knowledge and Conversation of my Holy Guardian Angel:
7. that I will work without lust of result:
8. that I will work in Truth:
9. that I will rely only upon Myself:
10. that I will interpret every phenomenon as a particular dealing of God with my soul.
Witness my hand [Magister Templi Motto] ...........................................
Love is the law, love under will."


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amadan-De
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26/10/2011 10:58 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Just as a quick note, evolution isn’t a process of advancing to a “better” or “higher” state. Evolution is nothing more than change over time. There’s no goal in evolution.

Hmm. Just a quick note re your note... Even the most cursory of glances at a pop-culture 'accessible' presentation of Darwin's theory will show that the idea is that Evolution results in "Fitter" organisms for any given situation - some might read that as "better", certainly better placed to survive in/exploit the niche they are more fit to inhabit.
You might be thinking of Mutation which can be positive (unlikely), negative (likely) or irrelevant but certainly has no aim.


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mika
 mika
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26/10/2011 11:16 pm  
"Azidonis" wrote:
So, would you all mind explaining what this vow means to you?

Both vows or oaths relate to achieving and maintaining a particular state of consciousness. Yet, if one has achieved that perspective, the vow (either one) is unnecessary and irrelevant, as it's a commitment to do what you are already doing. And if one has not yet achieved that perspective, the vow then represents a goal or ideal, which is essentially a distraction. So I personally don't pay them much attention.

Regarding the distinction between the vows, the oath of the Magister Templii does not specify anything about responsibilities to other people. The only responsibility is towards ones own Great Work, whatever that may entail. The Bodhisattva Vow otoh expresses responsibility toward the rest of humanity, as a result of its foundation in the Buddhist religion.

The Bodhisattva vow seems to me to be more related to kabbalah than Thelema, as Hebrew (and some forms of Hermetic) kabbalah practice includes the concept of "Tikkun Olam", "repairing the world". However, due to the macrocosm/microcosm "as above, so below" perspective, Tikkun Olam can be interpreted as addressing the outer world through repairing the inner world, which would lead us right back to the Thelemic approach.


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amadan-De
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26/10/2011 11:46 pm  

Returns after contemplation and good food.

I might be wrong (it's not uncommon) but I think your (as in those debating in this thread collectively) issue might be one of a conflict of approaches.

Los and Mika have made it apparent on numerous occasions that they prefer to work with what I will call a reductionist and to certain degree mechanistic view of reality were everything that happens is explainable in terms of the results of processes defined by certain fundamental laws (what used to be called Processual in Archaeology). This view often carries with it a desire to avoid the 'unecessary' (or perceived as redundant) be it action, belief, whatever. From this perspective, and using Los' definition of enlightenment in this case, it could be said that certain individuals will have more aptitude than others and they could chose to pursue 'enlightenment' but it would be a waste of everyone else's time. The focus here is on arrival at a destination and if that is not highly likely (if not absolutely guaranteed) the journey is considered futile.

On the other paw there is the idea that 'striving for the Ideal' is the point in and of itself regardless of the chances of success. One hopes to arrive of course but the lack of guarantee is no excuse not to try. Mika's avatar features someone (Mika?) climbing a rock face, I know no climbers that climb because they know they can get to the top in every case. They climb to find out, they climb to climb. I personally (unless on someone elses deadline) dont consider a journey of any distance a proper journey unless I've got 'Lost' at least once or explored a variant route. I don't consider a walk of any sort (shopping, visiting, exercising) truly complete unless I find something intresting/pretty/useful/etc. on the way (the Archaeological 'eye' helps here - I can't walk around a large town without finding lost jewellery 🙂 ). Mika is precisely right that "The path itself is the reward" but I would add to that Roland Penrose's observation that "The Road is Wider Than Long".

As for philosophy...I'm with Oliver Edwards "I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher; but, I don't know how, cheerfulness was always breaking in."

edit - How nice to have my thesis illustrated by the previous post - Love it when a plan comes together


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 Anonymous
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27/10/2011 2:31 am  
"amadan-De" wrote:
Even the most cursory of glances at a pop-culture 'accessible' presentation of Darwin's theory will show that the idea is that Evolution results in "Fitter" organisms for any given situation - some might read that as "better", certainly better placed to survive in/exploit the niche they are more fit to inhabit.

That "some" may want to think again, then:

"A long-term medical study of a small town in Massachusetts, called Framingham, allowed him to look at the medical history of thousands of women going back to the middle of the 20th Century, and to calculate how the people that are having children differ from the population as a whole.

"It has left him in no doubt that people - at least in Framingham - are still evolving and in a surprising direction.

"'What we have found with height and weight basically is that natural selection appears to be operating to reduce the height and to slightly increase their weight'...

"...Stearns believes that rather than sheltering us from natural selection, the changes that we've made to the world may actually be driving our evolution."

- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-1253564 7"> http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12535647

Evolving to be more suited to sitting on your ass and eating potato chips may be "'fitter' for [that] given situation", but it's probably safe to expect a challenge if you attempt to characterise it as "better" or "higher".


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Azidonis
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27/10/2011 2:37 am  

Just a note,

"mika" wrote:
neither requires belief in reincarnation

"The term is also used for human beings who have taken the Bodhisattva Vow to heart to such an extent that they will keep it, even in their next lives."

I was fairly certain that the Buddha-Dharma included reincarnation as part of its doctrine.

Also,

"mika" wrote:
Regarding the distinction between the vows, the oath of the Magister Templii does not specify anything about responsibilities to other people. The only responsibility is towards ones own Great Work, whatever that may entail. The Bodhisattva Vow otoh expresses responsibility toward the rest of humanity, as a result of its foundation in the Buddhist religion.

See Arhat. If I understand it right, Mahayana Buddhists would say that the Bodhisattva is a "higher" form of an Arhat. Crowley also made reference to 8=3 and the Arhat somewhere.

Further, on the Magister Templi, from One Star in Sight, "His principal business is to tend his "garden" of disciples, and to obtain a perfect understanding of the Universe."


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Los
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27/10/2011 6:41 am  
"Erwin" wrote:
Evolving to be more suited to sitting on your ass and eating potato chips may be "'fitter' for [that] given situation", but it's probably safe to expect a challenge if you attempt to characterise it as "better" or "higher".

Precisely. People make the mistake of thinking that evolution is a “ladder” with goals in which species are moving toward “higher” states. It’s this kind of misunderstanding that leads to absurd questions like, “Well, if evolution’s true, then why are there still monkeys? When are they going to hurry up and evolve into humans already?!”

But the “spiritual evolution” idea is even worse. People take their poor understanding of biological evolution and metaphorically apply it to “spirituality,” and assume that the world is getting more “spiritual” with every passing generation and that, given enough time, we’re all going to evolve into praeternatural geniuses. Far out, man.

Azidonis:

I continually ask what you all think of the idea of every being achieving enlightenment, in the light of the Bodhisattva Vows, and the Oath of the Magister Templi.

I don’t think very much of it. Mika already answered this well, but I’ll put it in my own words. Basically, the problem is that you’re talking about a few different things here and just assuming that they have anything at all to do with each other.

One iteration of “Bodhisattva Vows” is that one vows to keep incarnating, again and again, forgoing whatever post-mortem “rewards” that may be waiting for one until all beings attain “Buddhahood.” As I already noted, this is silly, not the least because “all beings” die and cease to exist.

There are other versions of the Bodhisattva vow that involve “attaining enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings”: this version is vaguer, and I guess we could twist it to mean something a little more in line with Thelema, but why in the hell would we want to?

Thelema is just not about attaining enlightenment for the “benefit” of others. Sure, you can try to plead “enlightened selfishness” and “helping others is really helping me, oh, aren’t I clever? See? We really should be nice to everyone and sing folk songs….” But at the end of the day, these “enlightened selfishness” arguments are usually a bunch of crap that people use so that they can hold onto their moral values of being nice to everyone while still calling themselves “Thelemites” and feeling oh so badass because they’re following “The Beast 666” and listening to all kinds of bad music and isn’t that so cool….

But really, Thelema’s got pretty much squat to do with attaining for the benefit of others.

And that brings me to the “Oath of the Magister Templi”: it says absolutely nothing about benefiting other beings. Now sure, one’s own personal work might well include teaching others, but it also might not, and there’s nothing about the oath itself that makes it in any way comparable to the idea of the Bodhisattva vows, the idea that everyone can (or should) attain “enlightenment,” or anything else you’ve been talking about on this thread.

Amadan-de:

From this perspective, and using Los' definition of enlightenment […]The focus here is on arrival at a destination and if that is not highly likely (if not absolutely guaranteed) the journey is considered futile.

I’m not really sure where in my posts you’re getting this from because it’s just about the opposite of my “definition of enlightenment.” I might even go so far as to define enlightenment as “dropping the idea that any particular state or outcome or is a destination or a goal” because dropping that idea will put an individual well on the path to acting out of his or her nature.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
27/10/2011 9:37 am  

"There is no magical way to instantly make everyone realize their capability or become enlightened"...unfortunatly,you are probably right.
"It may take another 2,000 years or more before the goal of enlightenment is even remotely a consideration on the broad scale, as in everyone. "
yep,right again.but.optimism is contagious.with the abundance of information currently being made available to people on a global scale (right now ther are parts of the us excited about finally getting the internet,etc,etc) i honestly believe that awareness could possibly inncrease,but 2000 years might be shy a zero or two.first us humans will have to learn to coexist peacefully,which wont happen in our lifetimes unfortunatly.reminds me of a chapter in magick without tears when the question is asked,more or less,is EVERY man and woman a star?it also reminds me of a timothy leary book "musings on human metemorphasus."
these duds will hopefully aquire enlightenment by the time our planet is gone.if not would it be possibly for them to incarnate on different planets or universes.or does it have to be earth?i hope that dosnt stray too much from the topic and it helps contibute in some way(


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amadan-De
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27/10/2011 1:43 pm  
"Erwin" wrote:
"amadan-De" wrote:
Even the most cursory of glances at a pop-culture 'accessible' presentation of Darwin's theory will show that the idea is that Evolution results in "Fitter" organisms for any given situation - some might read that as "better", certainly better placed to survive in/exploit the niche they are more fit to inhabit.

That "some" may want to think again, then:

"A long-term medical study of a small town in Massachusetts, called Framingham, allowed him to look at the medical history of thousands of women going back to the middle of the 20th Century, and to calculate how the people that are having children differ from the population as a whole.

"It has left him in no doubt that people - at least in Framingham - are still evolving and in a surprising direction.

"'What we have found with height and weight basically is that natural selection appears to be operating to reduce the height and to slightly increase their weight'...

"...Stearns believes that rather than sheltering us from natural selection, the changes that we've made to the world may actually be driving our evolution."

- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-1253564 7"> http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12535647

Evolving to be more suited to sitting on your ass and eating potato chips may be "'fitter' for [that] given situation", but it's probably safe to expect a challenge if you attempt to characterise it as "better" or "higher".

OK. You are using the particular to measure the general. Considered in their specific context this particular set of humanity are evolving to better fit the (largely anthropogenic) niche in which they live. In general (natural?) terms the changes are not pro-survival at all but as the BBC story you link to makes quite clear the argument is that humans are now in some cases evolving to fit an environment that is largely artificial (in the fullest sense of the word). This is not a new idea nor a surprising one. Measuring the 'fitness' of a specific sub-group against a general model or contrasting two groups from different environments is a bit of a soft option really - you should hear those polar bears dissing sunbears for being thin-skinned wimps that can't take the cold.

"Los" wrote:
Amadan-de:

From this perspective, and using Los' definition of enlightenment […]The focus here is on arrival at a destination and if that is not highly likely (if not absolutely guaranteed) the journey is considered futile.

I’m not really sure where in my posts you’re getting this from because it’s just about the opposite of my “definition of enlightenment.” I might even go so far as to define enlightenment as “dropping the idea that any particular state or outcome or is a destination or a goal” because dropping that idea will put an individual well on the path to acting out of his or her nature.

So "an individual...acting out of his or her nature" would be the goal in your philosophy. Your definition of enlightenment and the consequent approach I was refering to was expressed by you above as

"Los" wrote:
I’m going to take “enlightened” to mean “attainment” in the Thelemic sense of discovering one’s true will – (this) is a skill like any other. And like other skills, there are some people who are naturally gifted at it and other people who will never be any good at it, no matter how hard they work.

Your habit of quoting fragments creates different meanings to those originally intended, from my perspective you are arguing with yourself more than me. Also it might be considered polite, and potentially more fruitful in the long run, to discuss what an agreed shared definition of contentious terms like 'enlightenment' might be before simply plowing on regardless. Arguing the toss based on completely different definitions of terms is pointless and will never acheive anything other than further fossilising the mutual opinion that the other party doesn't "understand".

Anyway. This was fun but not particularly enlightening. Please enjoy your paradigm.
Oh yeah, very minor detail but it's amadan-De and always has been - funny how people tend to perceive things in terms of the 'rules' they assume are universal isn't it?


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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27/10/2011 4:02 pm  
"Azidonis" wrote:
Some of you seem to think I have this pipe dream of one day every living being achieving enlightenment.

Personally, I'm not sure if such a thing is possible, and if so, it is very probable.

I continually ask what you all think of the idea of every being achieving enlightenment, in the light of the Bodhisattva Vows, and the Oath of the Magister Templi.

So, since apparently these oaths have nothing to do with the idea:

"The Bodhisattva is a being who has taken the Bodhisattva Vow to help save all sentient beings, before going into full Nirvana or enlightenment. There are in Mahayana Buddhist metaphysics a whole cosmology full of heavenly Bodhisattvas. The term is also used for human beings who have taken the Bodhisattva Vow to heart to such an extent that they will keep it, even in their next lives."

Taken from The Bodhisattva Vow. The site is also complete with many versions of the vow.

So, would you all mind explaining what this vow means to you? And how about this one, linked already...

"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
1. I, ............................................... [Motto], being of sound mind and body, hereby solemnly swear on behalf of the Whole Universe:
2. that I will lead a Pure Life, as a devoted servant of the Great Order of the Universe:
3. that I will Understand all things:
4. that I will Love all things:
5. that I will perform All things and endure All things for the Great Work of the Universe:
6. that I will continue in the Knowledge and Conversation of my Holy Guardian Angel:
7. that I will work without lust of result:
8. that I will work in Truth:
9. that I will rely only upon Myself:
10. that I will interpret every phenomenon as a particular dealing of God with my soul.
Witness my hand [Magister Templi Motto] ...........................................
Love is the law, love under will."

To be clear, either of those vows are utterly meaningless, of course. No one can just sign a piece of paper or make a promise and become enlightened. Even (especially) those who would really want to.

So, recognizing that these things are useless for what most people conventionally think of them for, the question becomes what was their real, rather than stated purpose?


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Azidonis
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27/10/2011 4:07 pm  
"Los" wrote:
One iteration of “Bodhisattva Vows” is that one vows to keep incarnating, again and again, forgoing whatever post-mortem “rewards” that may be waiting for one until all beings attain “Buddhahood.” As I already noted, this is silly, not the least because “all beings” die and cease to exist.

There are other versions of the Bodhisattva vow that involve “attaining enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings”: this version is vaguer, and I guess we could twist it to mean something a little more in line with Thelema, but why in the hell would we want to?

Another example, the Bodhisattva Vow of the 14th Dalai Lama:

"With a wish to free all beings
I shall always go for refuge
To the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha,
Until I reach full enlightenment.
Enthused by wisdom and compassion,
today in the Buddhas' presence I generate
the Mind for Full Awakening
For the benefit of all sentient beings.
As long as space remains,
As long as sentient beings remain,
Until then, may I too remain

And dispel the miseries of the world.
"

Don't forget about those that have both components. More often than not one will find both components. Also, Rebirth (Buddhism). Did I already mention that this is an established part of Buddhist doctrine and practice, so it really goes without question, even in examples of vows where it is not explicitly stated?

"Los" wrote:
Thelema is just not about attaining enlightenment for the “benefit” of others. Sure, you can try to plead “enlightened selfishness” and “helping others is really helping me, oh, aren’t I clever? See? We really should be nice to everyone and sing folk songs….” But at the end of the day, these “enlightened selfishness” arguments are usually a bunch of crap that people use so that they can hold onto their moral values of being nice to everyone while still calling themselves “Thelemites” and feeling oh so badass because they’re following “The Beast 666” and listening to all kinds of bad music and isn’t that so cool….

"4. that I will Love all things:
5. that I will perform All things and endure All things for the Great Work of the Universe:"

Benefiting others is not a part of "all things"?

Let me give another example:

"Every accretion must modify me. I want it to do so. I want to assimilate it absolutely. I want to make it a permanent feature of my Temple. I am not afraid of losing myself to it, if only because it also is modified by myself in the act of union. I am not afraid of its being the "wrong" thing, because every experience is a "play of Nuit," and the worst that can happen is a temporary loss of balance, which is instantly adjusted, as soon as it is noticed, by recalling and putting into action the formula of contradiction." - MWT Ch. XII

The Arhat reaches more advanced stages of enlightenment, but does indeed cross the Abyss. The Bodhisattva crosses the Abyss as well, but in an act of compassion, agrees to forego enlightenment until all sentient beings have attained, in which case it is implied and understood that this takes more than one lifetime. How long did the Buddha say it takes to reach true Buddhahood?

The Master of the Temple, relinquishes all he has and all he is upon crossing the Abyss, quite similar to the Bodhisattva. S/he then takes the vow, containing the words, "I will interpret every phenomenon as a particular dealing of God with my soul". The word "my" here is a literary convenience, as s/he has already relinquished the idea of Self.

"Thou shalt mingle thy life with the universal life. Thou shalt keep not back one drop.
Thou hast wealth; give it unto them that have need thereof, yet no desire toward it.
Thou hast health; slay thyself in the fervour of thine abandonment unto Our Lady. Let thy flesh hang loose upon thy bones, and thine eyes glare with thy quenchless lust unto the Infinite, with thy passion for the Unknown, for Her that is beyond Knowledge the accursèd one.
Thou hast love; tear thy mother from thine heart, and spit in the face of thy father. Let thy foot trample the belly of thy wife, and let the babe at her breast be the prey of dogs and vultures.
For if thou dost not this with thy will, then shall We do this despite thy will. So that thou attain to the Sacrament of the Graal in the Chapel of Abominations.

And behold! if by stealth thou keep unto thyself one thought of thine, then shalt thou be cast out into the abyss for ever; and thou shalt be the lonely one, the eater of dung, the afflicted in the Day of Be-with-Us." - Liber 156

Those that hold back unto themselves are labeled Black Brothers, not Masters.

"Los" wrote:
But really, Thelema’s got pretty much squat to do with attaining for the benefit of others.

And that brings me to the “Oath of the Magister Templi”: it says absolutely nothing about benefiting other beings. Now sure, one’s own personal work might well include teaching others, but it also might not, and there’s nothing about the oath itself that makes it in any way comparable to the idea of the Bodhisattva vows, the idea that everyone can (or should) attain “enlightenment,” or anything else you’ve been talking about on this thread.

I don't guess you got the part where the Master of the Temple, "will Love all things, and " will perform All things and endure All things for the Great Work of the Universe"?

It doesn't say anywhere that a person has to go out an teach. In none of these vows, or oaths, or any of that, does it say one has to go out and teach. In fact, part of the Oath states, "6. that I will continue in the Knowledge and Conversation of my Holy Guardian Angel: ", ie. one's True Will, whatever that may be.


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Azidonis
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27/10/2011 4:08 pm  
"Swamiji" wrote:
To be clear, either of those vows are utterly meaningless, of course. No one can just sign a piece of paper or make a promise and become enlightened. Even (especially) those who would really want to.

So, recognizing that these things are useless for what most people conventionally think of them for, the question becomes what was their real, rather than stated purpose?

What is the purpose of a Motto?

Book 4, Part II, Chapter 6, The Wand


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
27/10/2011 4:11 pm  

Biological Evolution is, by itself, not progressive, as it has been pointed out already.

However, the human being started taking control of his own evolution the second our first common ancestor figured out how to make a spear out of flint and stick. Since then, and at an ever increasing pace, we have been gaining more and more control of our environment and becoming more and more connected to our technologies (and EVERYTHING we produce is "technology", including the clothes we wear, the chairs we sit in, the food we process, the writing system we write with and the words we speak; and magick, too!).

So while biological evolution has no intelligent direction, HUMAN evolution is being directed, and ever moreso, by ourselves. We are the intelligent designers.


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amadan-De
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27/10/2011 4:29 pm  

🙂
Designers certainly but...intelligent? Most of the artefactual/artificial factors affecting us are put in place with little or no intentional evolutionary component or direction other than (these days) "Give me Convenience" (see Erwins example above).
Many birds (especially the corvids) make quite startling use of tools that are often made for quite specific purposes - are they also in control of their evolution? (Apes do too but as an example might simply be dismissed as 'failed' hominans -wrongly in my opinion).


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 Anonymous
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27/10/2011 4:59 pm  

Biological evolution tends towards complexity.


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mika
 mika
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27/10/2011 6:02 pm  
"amadan-De" wrote:
From this perspective, and using Los' definition of enlightenment in this case, it could be said that certain individuals will have more aptitude than others and they could chose to pursue 'enlightenment' but it would be a waste of everyone else's time.

How would one person's choice to pursue 'enlightenment' waste "everyone else's time" (or even a single other person's time)?

"amadan-De" wrote:
The focus here is on arrival at a destination and if that is not highly likely (if not absolutely guaranteed) the journey is considered futile.

That's certainly not my perspective, and I doubt it's Los' either. Whether or not a destination is guaranteed (which none are, anyway) or is even at all likely is irrelevant to the choice of going on the journey. Which you get into below. I don't see where the above point came from.

"amadan-De" wrote:
I know no climbers that climb because they know they can get to the top in every case. They climb to find out, they climb to climb.

Climbing has provided excellent practical experience of these ideas. Intellectually, it's obvious, life is about the journey not the destination. However, when you're halfway up the side of a rock wall and despite every best attempt cannot progress any further, the frustration and depression can't just be mentally dismissed. Because even if you're climbing for the sake of climbing, you're still working on a project that has an established goal. Climbing has given me a fresh appreciation for sports and the opportunities they provide to learn how to completely commit to something yet at the same time maintain detachment.

The photo is from Smith Rock, Oregon.


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Azidonis
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27/10/2011 6:44 pm  

It's important to note that one doesn't necessarily have to be a magickian, or a mystic, or religious, or spiritual, or a scientist, or any number of things in order to be enlightened. One can be a regular person, just going along one's path in everyday life, and indeed, be enlightened. The greatest "karma yogi" I've ever known, for instance, didn't really know or care about all the various religions, mystics, paths, and so forth, but this person exhibited what may have been called the pinnacle of a karma yogi in both thought, word, and deed in his daily life.

Note: Enlightenment
1: the act or means of enlightening : the state of being enlightened
3: Buddhism : a final blessed state marked by the absence of desire or suffering

Also, since some prefer Crowley's term "attainment":
Attainment
1: the act of attaining : the condition of being attained
2: something attained : accomplishment

Definition of attain
transitive verb
1: to reach as an end : gain, achieve
2: to come into possession of : obtain
3: to come to as the end of a progression or course of movement
intransitive verb
: to come or arrive by motion, growth, or effort —usually used with 'to'

Compare with Liber LXV, Chapter II
"17. Also the Holy One came upon me, and I beheld a white swan floating in the blue.
18. Between its wings I sate, and the æons fled away.
19. Then the swan flew and dived and soared, yet no whither we went.
20. A little crazy boy that rode with me spake unto the swan, and said:
21. Who art thou that dost float and fly and dive and soar in the inane? Behold, these many æons have passed; whence camest thou? Whither wilt thou go?
22. And laughing I chid him, saying: No whence! No whither!
23. The swan being silent, he answered: Then, if with no goal, why this eternal journey?
24. And I laid my head against the Head of the Swan, and laughed, saying: Is there not joy ineffable in this aimless winging? Is there not weariness and impatience for who would attain to some goal?
25. And the swan was ever silent. Ah! but we floated in the infinite Abyss. Joy! Joy!
White swan, bear thou ever me up betwen thy wings!
26. O silence! O rapture! O end of things visible and invisible! This is all mine, who am Not."

It almost makes the term "attainment" a misnomer, and "enlightenment" much more appropriate.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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27/10/2011 7:42 pm  

Um... There are various incompatible elements to this discussion so far, I think, that are just sort of being heaped atop one another without explanation. (I just reread the thread.) Basically, Thelema is being lumped in with certain Thelemic Orders. In Thelema, "Do what thou wilt," is the only constant. In certain Thelemic Orders, fraternity is emphasized, something that is not necessarily required in Thelema in general, and is entirely subject to true Will. In other Thelemic Orders, progress requires bringing up another behind you. Some Thelemic Orders concern themselves, in the higher levels, with service to the Order and/or service to humanity at large. All of this is fine, of course, but probably ought to be more clearly distinguished. Just sayin'...


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amadan-De
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27/10/2011 9:07 pm  

Briefest of clarifications;

"mika" wrote:
"amadan-De" wrote:
From this perspective, and using Los' definition of enlightenment in this case, it could be said that certain individuals will have more aptitude than others and they could chose to pursue 'enlightenment' but it would be a waste of everyone else's time.

How would one person's choice to pursue 'enlightenment' waste "everyone else's time" (or even a single other person's time)?

"If an individual has an intrinsic natural aptitude for it pursuing 'enlightenment' may produce a result, if one does not have this intrinsic natural aptitude the pursuit would be a waste of ones time." (Perhaps typing 'anyone' rather than 'everyone' would have helped but was typing as if speaking, apologies).
Note: not actually my opinion but a caricature of my impression of Los'.

After thought - can I waste someone else's time without their willing participation? I think we can only waste our own time really, and I must now go waste mine elsewhere..


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Azidonis
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27/10/2011 11:15 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
Um... There are various incompatible elements to this discussion so far, I think, that are just sort of being heaped atop one another without explanation. (I just reread the thread.) Basically, Thelema is being lumped in with certain Thelemic Orders. In Thelema, "Do what thou wilt," is the only constant. In certain Thelemic Orders, fraternity is emphasized, something that is not necessarily required in Thelema in general, and is entirely subject to true Will. In other Thelemic Orders, progress requires bringing up another behind you. Some Thelemic Orders concern themselves, in the higher levels, with service to the Order and/or service to humanity at large. All of this is fine, of course, but probably ought to be more clearly distinguished. Just sayin'...

It's a good point to make, Cam, especially here on the internet where everything has to be spelled out so as to avoid any possible misinterpretation or confusion, and so that people can read such distinctions in the text instead of realizing them on their own.

My apologies for not making this distinction clear at the outset. Thanks for pointing it out.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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28/10/2011 1:43 am  
"Azidonis" wrote:
"Camlion" wrote:
Um... There are various incompatible elements to this discussion so far, I think, that are just sort of being heaped atop one another without explanation. (I just reread the thread.) Basically, Thelema is being lumped in with certain Thelemic Orders. In Thelema, "Do what thou wilt," is the only constant. In certain Thelemic Orders, fraternity is emphasized, something that is not necessarily required in Thelema in general, and is entirely subject to true Will. In other Thelemic Orders, progress requires bringing up another behind you. Some Thelemic Orders concern themselves, in the higher levels, with service to the Order and/or service to humanity at large. All of this is fine, of course, but probably ought to be more clearly distinguished. Just sayin'...

It's a good point to make, Cam, especially here on the internet where everything has to be spelled out so as to avoid any possible misinterpretation or confusion, and so that people can read such distinctions in the text instead of realizing them on their own.

My apologies for not making this distinction clear at the outset. Thanks for pointing it out.

No problem, Az.


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gurugeorge
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28/10/2011 8:58 pm  
"Azidonis" wrote:
So... do you think that everyone has the capability to become enlightened?

"Enlightened" is a big word with many meanings, we might not be speaking about the same thing when we use it, but with that caveat, in terms of my understanding of the word, yes the capability is there in everyone.

"Azidonis" wrote:
If so, how? I'm NOT talking about proselytizing. I'm talking about, if enlightenment is the ultimate form/goal of human evolution, there are many people who don't care, don't get the concept, etc. Do these people just miss out?

Yeah, they miss out. But in a sense it doesn't matter in the big picture.

"Azidonis" wrote:
If not, does this imply the idea of reincarnation until enlightenment eventually becomes their pursuit, or that these people are quite simply "duds" in this regard?

"Duds", but again it doesn't really matter.

"Azidonis" wrote:
How do these ideas fit in with the Boddhisattva Vows, or the Oath of the Magister Templi?

Those are specific oaths in specific teaching traditions, I'm not sure they're relevant.

"Azidonis" wrote:
Note, the discussion originally developed out of the Phaedrus, as Plato was talking about "philosophy" (or enlightenment) being the highest state we can arrive at as human beings.

Again, I don't think you can really equate the two, especially with Athenian philosophy - maybe with the Eleatic tradition (Parmenides, Empedocles), but not with the Athenian tradition. The Athenian tradition is the beginning of philosophy as discussion and reasoning, taking it somewhat away from anything to do with direct insight.

It's a good question. On the one hand it seems somehow "harsh" to say that some people will die never getting it; but then on the other hand, how important is it to be "enlightened"? What are they really missing out on?

I look at it this way, "enlightenment" is only really important from the human point of view, but since "enlightenment" is seeing things from God's point of view, at that point it's totally unimportant whether anyone is ever "enlightened" or not.

Meanwhile, to us human beings, it's important - it's important that we have a civilization that fosters human flourishing, achievement, etc. It's important that people be given as much opportunity as possible to attain "enlightenment". These are the "point" of all this spiritual (and scientific, and political, and artistic) activity. But you can only do so much, it's really up to the individual. You can lead a horse to water ...

And if they don't get it - well, back they go to the substratum, another failed experiment. But who cares? Ultimately, all is good. Ultimately, everything is already "enlightened", or "enlightenment itself".


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 Anonymous
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28/10/2011 9:39 pm  

Good to read you here, George.


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