Evolutionary Buddhism

Our simple seeker was puzzled with the
seemingly contradictory and mutually
exclusive (from her albeit limited
understanding) terms of evolutionary
Buddhism rolled in together.

What seems to be the problem?

Buddhism and evolution together?

Everything is together.

But, spirituality should be forever.

It is.

But not necessarily as it was
or may yet be?

Exactly.

Then how can anyone …

Which anyone?

This anyone, me. How can I ever understand
something that keeps developing, when it
isn’t what it was and may not be what it is?
I need stability.

There isn’t any.

Then what is there to hold onto?

In what way?

In thinking.

You could try holding onto the concept of
endless change.

That would be easy if I was looking
out of a high window at traffic below.

We are doing just that.

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Female Personification of Eastern Wisdom

Our simple seeker was deeply engrossed in reading
Terah Kathryn Collins’ The Three Sisters of the Tao.

It is possible to read with much less intensity.

Perhaps, for some, if what they are reading
is for casual entertainment.

Even some serious students allow themselves
a certain distance from the subject of the text.

Yes, it is as a text, with an important difference.

And the difference is?

Personal experience.

How can you be sure?

My own personal experience supports the author’s
general conception of bringing otherwise dry
ancient wisdom …

Can ancient wisdom be dry?

Yes, if it is presented in an overly intellectual
manner.

So, ancient wisdom needs an infusion of emotion?

I think so.

And your own personal experience confirms the
author’s truth?

What does that term mean?

What term?

The author’s truth.

What does it mean to you?

To me it means the author is expressing
her understanding of the subject she has
chosen to share with her readers;
an understanding she has developed from
personal experience as well as from
dedicated study.

Is that all?

Is it possible for her truth to mean more?

Yes.

What?

His truth.

The author is female.

Yes.

If They Have Eyes To See

Our simple seeker was enjoying, admiring,
and envying Dan Millman and his “The Law
of Spirit”.

He obviously shared a high quality
relationship with an awakened spirit
being.

Are we jealous?

Perhaps a little.

Why?

He is so much more …

Intelligent?

I can’t know that for sure, but ..

Then, what?

He seems to be so much more
comfortable with openly sharing
his relationship with a spirit
teacher than I am.

Why?

Perhaps he has more self-confidence.
After all, he is …

Male?

That helps, but also he earned
general admiration and respect
in his personal life.

Is his relationship with spirit
not also personal?

Yes, of course, but he was a
world class athlete before
he shared his spiritual wisdom.

His?

Well, it is his now.

How so?

Anything we learn from whomever
or whatever personal experience
becomes our own wisdom or
understanding, at least until we
begin to doubt it or to believe
there may still be more to learn.

Where do I fit in to this personal
philosophy of yours?

Is it a personal philosophy?

Yes, and we each possess one.

How can we know what our personal
philosophy is?

We each know, whether we claim to
or not. But, others may be
more aware than we ourselves are,
if they have eyes to see.

Projection and Rejection as Intrinsically Connected

Our simple seeker was meditating on the concept
of projection and rejection as being one and
the same.

One and the same what?

Perhaps not exactly one and the same, but ..

But, what?

Perhaps they are the same whatever, from
a different perspective.

What different perspective?

You’re asking me?

Yes. If you have an idea then you owe it
to yourself to at least attempt
to express it, if only to yourself.

But, isn’t just toying with an idea
the same as expressing it?

Not as long as it is too vague
to take any recognizable shape.

Then, rejection as a form of projection.

Yes?

With photography we necessarily
reject what we do not plan
to project our focus on.

Yes, but that wasn’t ..

I may have forgotten …

I don’t think so.

Then, what?

You were stepping into thoughts
too deep for your comfort zone.

About rejection being
a twisted form of projection?

I think it goes the other way,
and not twisted.

Then?

An unhealthy mental attitude.
When we project our shadow,
to use Jungian symbolism
in referring to aspects
of our personality that we
would prefer to deny
ownership to, we are tempted
to project them onto
someone else. We then think,
or pretend to, that we are
free of our rejected emotions
or thoughts.

Self-delusion?

Yes.

Then, photography does express
the concept of both projecting
and rejecting our focus on
some aspect of the same background?

Yes.

There Is no Self to Focus On

Our simple seeker was struggling with the concept
of lack of faith, which didn’t seem to make sense
to her.

What seems to be the problem?

Lack suggests not enough.

Yes.

That would suggest that it would also be possible
to have too much faith, or more than enough.

More than enough faith in what, or whom?

More than enough faith in You, for instance.

Before you could have more than enough,
you would first have to have some.

Yes.

Do you?

I don’t know.

Perhaps you have more than you feel comfortable
acknowledging, even to yourself.

Then, lack of faith in myself would, or could
be my problem.

Why would it be a problem?

I want to develop more confidence in myself.

More suggests that you do do have some.

Yes, I do, I guess. But, I want more.

Why?

Why would I not want as much confidence
in myself as possible?

Too much might be as self-destructive
as too little.

How?

It tends to focus on self.

At the expense of others?

No.

Then, what?

It distorts your focus from the reality
that there is no self to focus on.

Unconditional Love has no Direct Object

Our simple seeker was contemplating or
meditating on unconditional compassion
when a thought dropped, or was dropped,
into her mind.

However, she lost track of the thought
when she stopped to wonder how it was
possible for it to just pop in
without being invited.

One doesn’t invite thoughts.

Or feelings?

Or feelings.

Then, where do they come from?

Not, how do they get into your mind?

That, too.

What were you thinking about?

Unconditional compassion.

It doesn’t exist

Why?

Why doesn’t it exist or why is it
impossible for it to exist?

If it doesn’t exist…

And it doesn’t.

Then, why is it impossible to feel
unconditional compassion?

Why would you want to?

I’m developing a capacity to feel
unconditional love …

I’m impressed with your progress
in that area of spiritual development.

So, why can’t I feel unconditional
compassion?

Toward what or whom? And, would it be
in addition to or instead of feeling
unconditional love?

Can I feel both?

As an out to choosing which?

No.

Then, the answer is no.

Can I feel unconditional love
and compassion?

Yes.

What is the relationship between
love and compassion?

Unconditional love and compassion?

Yes.

Unconditional love has no direct
object. It is a quality of the soul.

And, compassion requires someone
or something to feel concern for?

Yes.

There is More than Feeling Involved

Our simple seeker was meditating on the duality
and yet the necessary connectedness of all
relationships.

How is it possible not to be attached to
what one is connected with?

Be specific.

Relationships in general and you in particular.

There are at least two separate issues involved
within your problem.

Issues of what?

Issues of discussion.

Okay, then, relationships in general.

What about them?

If each is as all the others, which,
of course they are not, except in essence …

No. You were and are vague in your vision.
I was and am, clear in mine.

I’m not going there.

Where?

Into one of your intellectual traps.

You will.

How can we be in a relationship
to anyone or anything without
attachment?

It is not possible.

And, how can we not be interconnected
with who or what we relate to?

It is not possible.

Then, why do the wise teachers since
ancient times encourage us to detach.
Have they missed something?

No. You have.

Then, please explain.

Explain what?

How can I not be attached to anyone
or anything that I feel connected to?

There is more than feeling involved.

What more?

Being.

We Each Have Our Own Style

Our simple seeker was meditating on the lesson
Krishna gave to Arjuna on Karma Yoga.

Can you accept that all output of time and
energy is an investment in some future event?

Yes. I’ve recently been there and done that.

Was it worth it?

Very much so, looking back from a safe
distance from the disastrous outcome.

Krishna spoke of sacrificing the results.
Was that part of your experience.

Krishna would have meant in advance.
I didn’t do that. I’m not that noble.
Besides, I think in today’s world,
the very concept of sacrifice is
considered sanctimonious and exhibiting
a holier than thou attitude.

Or, in simple terms, an ego trip?

Yes.

Then, in today’s language, how would you
describe the final outcome?

I was able to let go.

Of the outcome?

Much more than that.

Then, what?

Are we reversing roles?

We have no iron-clad roles.

That realization was part of
the unexpected outcome.

After your recovery?

Perhaps I was never very graceful in
situations of emotional crisis. But,
it was as if a time bomb blew up
in my mind. It was a wake-up call
such as I have rarely experienced.
A cherished illusion had burst.

But, later;?

I’m now able to accept personal
responsibility for setting myself up.

For inevitability?

Yes. My cherished illusion exploded.

And the others?

No big deal. They were pretending to be
in a relationship that didn’t exist.
I was pretending to pretend, while
at some level knowing it wasn’t real.

You needed the relationship more
than they did.

I guess.

They didn’t have a balloon that burst?

That was the tragic comedy part of
the ending that even Shakespeare
didn’t think of. My guests went home with
all the beautiful balloons. I was left
with the exploded illusion.

Do you have regrets?

Not now, now that I have recovered, but,
I suspect that you set me up, in a much less
gentle manner than Krishna would have.

We each have our own style.

Choosing to do Nothing is still Choosing

The air was damp but her new patio chair was so very
comfortable that our simple seeker was wandering away
without moving from her closeness to the one thousand
shades of dripping green leaves weighted down
by the soft but steadily falling rain, just beyond
her partially protected patio.

Raindrops seemed to slide from some leaves more
willingly than from some others. Why?

For many more reasons than one, perhaps.

How can that be?

Shapes, textures, angles of incline, location, ..

Yes, some are more exposed to …

A direct hit?

That would suggest that the rain was attacking.

And, a victim mentality?

Where are you going with that?

Cause and effect is simply a sequential order
of events.

My lost tooth?

It wasn’t lost.

Why did you let it fall out?

It was ready to go. No need to blame me.

But, you could have prevented it.

Why would I interfere with Nature?

I do it all the time, in the garden.

You interfere with Nature’s way?

Only when her way differs from mine.

Why?

It’s my garden.

And, it’s your tooth.

But, I couldn’t save it without your help.

And, I have nothing better to do with my energy
than to interfere with Nature in such a
small consequential situation?

It isn’t small for me.

Was it a large tooth?

You know it was small.

And, so was the issue.

What lesson could I learn from your behaviour?

What did I do?

Nothing.

Yes.

The Middle Way is not Halfway Between Extremes

A simple seeker of enlightenment had studied
and thought deeply about possible meanings of
the images portrayed on Tarot cards. She had
pulled a card from somewhere near the middle
of the pile and was now contemplating the
possible personal message expressed by the
Two of Pentacles (or Coins).

A juggler or clown seemed to have stopped
tossing two large discs, and was staring at one,
as if it represented, after deep reflection,
the chosen option between two lifestyles.

At the same time, a stormy sea behind him
also seemed to have stopped tossing two ships
One was atop a high wave and the other seemed
to be slipping into a deep trough. The boats
seemed as much at the mercy of the sea as
the discs were, in the hands of the juggler.

But, why did he stop and why did the storm
seem to have ended, and was now preparing
to ease its demonstration of power over
those who dared to risk its instability?

Why call the ocean unstable?

It can be.

Then it has potential to become, or
to appear to be more or less unstable.

What about the juggler?

What about him, or her?

The two large disks seem frozen in time;
one high and the other low.

Which is the object of focus?

The lower one, why?

Why what?

Why do you ask?

To focus your attention on the relative
positions of the disks, and how this might
express a personal psychic message for you.

Wow!

Yes. You were looking at details and not
at the general picture and the message
it might offer.

But, there is no steady middle point
in juggling, or in a stormy sea.

Nor is there any middle way to travel
through life.

Then, why do the wise ones speak of
a middle way?

They do not mean neutrality, as might seem
to exist between positive and negative ..

Or between good or bad?

Yes.

Then, what does the term ‘middle way’ mean?

The true middle way is always on the side of …

Transcendence and truth?

Yes, but neither rigidly nor casually.

The middle way as relaxed awareness,

acceptance, and commitment?

Yes.

Then, the middle way resists both neutrality
and self-righteousness?

Yes.

Then, how can a pendulum ever settle near
midway point on the positive side of its swing?

A perennial problem.