1. London
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    09 Sep '05 12:03
    What are the basic tenets of advaita?

    The essential identity of the Atman and brahman is the most important tenet of advaita. brahman is the substratum on which all phenomena are experienced, and also the antaryAmin, the One Lord who dwells in all beings. The innermost Atman, the real Self, is the same as this antaryAmin, and identical to brahman. Liberation (moksha) consists in realizing this identity, not just as a matter of literal or intellectual understanding, but as something that is to be grasped by the individual in his/her own personal experience. Yogic practices help in the road towards such realization, because they help the seeker in practising control of the senses, and in directing the antahkaraNa (the 'internal organ' - consisting of the mind, intellect, awareness and I-ness) inwards. The practice of ashTAnga-yoga is recommended to seekers by teachers of advaita. The seeker has to be equipped with requisite qualifications - qualities such as patience, forbearance, ability to focus one's concentration in an intense manner, an ability to discriminate between the Real and the non-Real, dispassion, and a desire for liberation. However, it is important to remember that moksha is not a result of mere ritualistic practice. Being identical to brahman, moksha always exists. Ritualistic practices help only to the extent of achieving citta-Suddhi, and in developing the above-mentioned qualities.

    advaita is a non-dual teaching. When asked why duality is perceived in this world, advaita has a multi-pronged answer to the question. The world of multiplicity can be explained as due to mAyA, the power of creation wielded by the Creator, who is therefore also called the mAyin. From the point of view of the individual, the perception of duality/multiplicity is attributed to avidyA (ignorance) due to which the unity of brahman is not known, and multiplicity is seen instead. This is akin to the false perception of a snake in a rope. When the rope is known, the snake vanishes. Similarly, on brahman-realization, the world of multiplicity vanishes. This does not mean that the individual's ignorance creates the external world. However, the perception of multiplicity in the world, instead of the One brahman, is due to avidyA, i.e. ignorance. When avidyA is removed, the individual knows his own Self (Atman) to be brahman, so that there is no more world and paradoxically, no more individual. Here, the Self alone IS. Removal of avidyA is synonymous with brahman-realization, i.e. moksha.

    http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/avhp/ad_faq.html#3
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    09 Sep '05 13:51
    This is akin to the false perception of a snake in a rope. When the rope is known, the snake vanishes.

    So what does it take to see the rope, not the snake?
  3. Et in Arcadia ego...
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    09 Sep '05 13:57
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    [b]What are the basic tenets of advaita?

    The essential identity of the Atman ...[/b]
    Don't let Alfred know it's public knowledge... he'll be ever so miffed. :'(
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    09 Sep '05 14:00
    Originally posted by sjeg
    Don't let Alfred know it's public knowledge... he'll be ever so miffed. :'(
    Who's Alf, then, when he's at home?
  5. Et in Arcadia ego...
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    09 Sep '05 15:57
    Originally posted by widget
    Who's Alf, then, when he's at home?
    Sorry about this, but you did ask Widget:

    He's his butler at the Atcave!๐Ÿ˜€

    Again, my apologies...
  6. Hmmm . . .
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    09 Sep '05 17:26
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    [b]What are the basic tenets of advaita?

    The essential identity of the Atman and brahman is the most important tenet of advaita. brahman is the substratum on which all phenomena are experienced, and also the antaryAmin, the One Lord who dwells in all beings. The innermost Atman, the real Self, is the same as this antaryAmin, and identical to b ...[text shortened]... mous with brahman-realization, i.e. moksha.

    http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/avhp/ad_faq.html#3[/b]
    I am probably very close to the monism of Advaita Vedanta. However, Brahman always seems to be a bit "entropic" in that model. That seems to be the main difference between Vedanta and Kashmiri Shaivism. The Kashmiri Shaivites are very non-dualistic, but use Shiva as the archetype for an active, rather than passive "Brahman."

    For KS, the world of forms is maya, not because it is not "real," but because it is transient, and in our illusion we tend to see it as separate. The world is manifestation from Shiva (the "ground" aspect) via Shakti (energy aspect). The world is essentially spanda, vibrations of the Shiva-Shakti (sounds a bit like string theory?).

    The rising and movement and falling of forms is Shiva's dance (tandava) of creation/destruction.

    KS also "priveleges" consciouness over being--i.e., their formulation, rather than sat-chit-ananda (being-consciousness-bliss), would be chit-sat-ananda, as a description of the essential qualities of Shiva-Shakti-Spanda.

    Am still reading about KS, but Shiva for them seems to be more of an archetype than a "personal God." Still they use the term Ishvara, and may have some bhakti (devotional) practices--but then, so did Ramakrishna, who was a vedantist and follower of Shankara.
  7. London
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    13 Sep '05 14:53
    Originally posted by vistesd
    I am probably very close to the monism of Advaita Vedanta. However, Brahman always seems to be a bit "entropic" in that model. That seems to be the main difference between Vedanta and Kashmiri Shaivism. The Kashmiri Shaivites are very non-dualistic, but use Shiva as the archetype for an active, rather than passive "Brahman."

    For KS, the world of fo ...[text shortened]... votional) practices--but then, so did Ramakrishna, who was a vedantist and follower of Shankara.
    *Bump*
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    13 Sep '05 16:21
    Originally posted by sjeg
    Sorry about this, but you did ask Widget:

    [b]He's his butler at the Atcave!๐Ÿ˜€


    Again, my apologies...[/b]
    Ar, ar , ar... funny shagger...

    Moving right along, however...

    I repeat: "What does it take to see the rope and not the snake?"

    Or, stated less metaphorically: How do you live this belief?
  9. Hmmm . . .
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    14 Sep '05 02:381 edit
    Originally posted by widget
    Ar, ar , ar... funny shagger...

    [b]Moving right along, however...


    I repeat: "What does it take to see the rope and not the snake?"

    Or, stated less metaphorically: How do you live this belief?[/b]
    Or, stated less metaphorically: How do you live this belief?

    A valid question and difficult to answer. Others may be better able to do it than I, since I don’t claim to be a Vedantist per se. However, as I said, I am close to it (I would probably be a heretic anywhere, anyway). It is an understanding that is found in all the major religions, with different permutations.

    For me, understanding that I am manifest from the cosmos or Brahman or the ground of being, and that when I die I will simply return, be dispersed, whatever, takes a lot of pressure off. My favorite, though obviously limited, metaphor is that I am like a wave thrown up by the ocean; I exist for a time; and I will collapse back into the ocean from whence I arose. A natural process. The form (figure) arising from the ground, and receding.

    Now, one could say that, given such a viewpoint, I could do anything I want in this existence. But the truth is that I recognize that everyone else is in the same boat. And we are all connected to the same ground of being—call it Brahman, call it Tao, call it God. That recognition causes me to have at least some moral regard for others. There is also the question, I suppose, of what we become according to how we live our lives. Hindus and Buddhists call that karma; some believe that we carry that with us when we fall back into the ground. I don’t know. Maybe it could be thought of as “cosmic pollution,” if we live out our lives in cruel and evil ways.

    There is of course, what we regard as cruelty in nature—the hawk taking the rabbit from the field, for example. But seldom, it seems to me, cruelty for cruelty’s sake, seldom the desire to cause pain and suffering. If we observe that nature is fundamentally harmonious, as opposed to chaotic (even if particular events arise randomly), then recognizing our fundamental connection to the ground of it all can help to live in more harmonious ways.

    Whether our singular (ego) consciousness continues—beliefs vary; I tend to think not. But perhaps how we live our lives affects the whole of the “ocean.” So much for moral considerations.

    As I may have indicated in my prior post, I am not in any way “Pollyanna” in my sense of this world as “maya” (illusion). It seems real enough to me, and I don’t try to escape from it or wish it away. When I have a toothache, I have toothache, dammit, and thinking of it as an “illusion” does not make it go away. But, then again, it is not a “sign from God” either. It’s just a toothache, and it too will pass. Nor, on the other hand, do I live a passionless life, floating in some pseudo-nirvana. I try to live with natural passion, and serenity, in full measure both (the Greek word eudaimonia comes to mind).

    For me, there is something naturalistic and easy about the whole thing. No big theological or soteriological issues, really. And those two things: (1) the naturalistic sense of it, and (2) the recognition that others come from the same ground, affect how I go about my daily life. With some more ease, perhaps with some more grace, and hopefully with some more compassion.

    For me, it is not so much a belief that I have chosen or adopted, but an understanding I have come to.

    Maybe someone else on here (like Metamorphosis or bbarr) will be able to address your question with more specifics.
  10. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    14 Sep '05 05:30
    Originally posted by vistesd
    For me, it is not so much a belief that I have chosen or adopted, but an understanding I have come to.
    I find that my "understanding" tends to inform my response to any situation...some sort of feedback...like I'll be dealing with people and a "graceful" outcome offers itself rather than my usual anti-social snarling...if that makes sense...

    Vistesd I wonder if LH is going to reply to your post on the enlightenment & creative reason ๐Ÿ™‚
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    14 Sep '05 06:13
    Originally posted by vistesd
    For me, it is not so much a belief that I have chosen or adopted, but an understanding I have come to.

    Maybe someone else on here (like Metamorphosis or bbarr) will be able to address your question with more specifics.
    How can anyone else possibly answer the question of how you live your beliefs - even if you try to dismiss them as "understanding"?
  12. Hmmm . . .
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    14 Sep '05 18:271 edit
    Originally posted by widget
    How can anyone else possibly answer the question of how you live your beliefs - even if you try to dismiss them as "understanding"?
    No, I was only thinking that someone who might see themselves as more in the Vedantic tradition than I am might be able to talk about how they "live their beliefs" in a way that would shed more light on Vedanta itself.

    My use of the word understanding was not intended to be dismissive, but to derail any notion that I first make up or adopt a belief, and then try to live my life according to the contours of that "map," no matter what the "territory" itself turns out to look like.
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    15 Sep '05 16:27
    Originally posted by vistesd
    No, I was only thinking that someone who might see themselves as more in the Vedantic tradition than I am might be able to talk about how they "live their beliefs" in a way that would shed more light on Vedanta itself.

    My use of the word understanding was not intended to be dismissive, but to derail any notion that I first make up or adopt a belief, and ...[text shortened]... to the contours of that "map," no matter what the "territory" itself turns out to look like.
    Still trying to demythify the philosophy and turn it into action, I discovered this today at

    http://www.tricycle.com/issues/editors_pick/877-1.html

    What makes for a meaningful life? I consider each day, not just the life as a whole. I look at four ingredients. First, was it a day of virtue? I’m talking about basic Buddhist ethics—avoiding harmful behavior of body, speech, and mind; devoting ourselves to wholesome behavior and to qualities like awareness and compassion. Second, I’d like to feel happy rather than miserable. The realized beings I’ve known exemplify extraordinary states of well-being, and it shows in their demeanor, their way of dealing with adversity, with life, with other people. And third, pursuit of the truth—seeking to understand the nature of life, of reality, of interpersonal relationships, or the nature of mind. But you could do all that sitting quietly in a room. None of us exists in isolation, however, so there is a fourth ingredient: a meaningful life must also answer the question, “What have I brought to the world?” If I can look at a day and see that virtue, happiness, truth, and living an altruistic life are prominent elements, I can say, “You know, I’m a happy camper.” Pursuing happiness does not depend on my checkbook, or the behavior of my spouse, or my job, or my salary. I can live a meaningful life even if I only have ten minutes left.
  14. Hmmm . . .
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    15 Sep '05 16:36
    Originally posted by widget
    Still trying to demythify the philosophy and turn it into action, I discovered this today at

    http://www.tricycle.com/issues/editors_pick/877-1.html

    What makes for a meaningful life? I consider each day, not just the life as a whole. I look at four ingredients. First, was it a day of virtue? I’m talking about basic Buddhist ethics—avoiding harmful behav ...[text shortened]... use, or my job, or my salary. I can live a meaningful life even if I only have ten minutes left.
    Still trying to demythify the philosophy and turn it into action

    Yeah, me too. Trying to grapple with your question was helpful in that regard--I was probably "talking to myself" as much as anything, using the writing of the post to grapple with my own thinking, even though the question was directed at the original Vedanta post. It was one of those damn good questions that we all too often forget to ask, and when somebody else does, we go, "Oh, yeah...Is there a connection here or am I just thinking through my hat--again?"

    Thanks for the link too. ๐Ÿ™‚
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    15 Sep '05 17:48
    Originally posted by vistesd
    [b]Still trying to demythify the philosophy and turn it into action

    ...one of those damn good questions that we all too often forget to ask, and when somebody else does, we go, "Oh, yeah...Is there a connection here or am I just thinking through my hat--again?"

    Thanks for the link too. ๐Ÿ™‚[/b]
    Some of us are out here with serious intent...

    It's not all slagging and pulpit-bashing... Your welcome!
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