Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tribal Wisdom

File under: The Art of Guruing

Lately, we've been following the thread of an discussion about gurus on tribe.net. Today a gal named Fifi came up with this nugget:
A teacher of any kind who considers any questions about their beliefs and intentions as an attack upon themselves, is mistaking a belief system for themselves and essential being. This shows an attachment to a belief system that will override any ability to simply see what IS or to BE because all phenomena will need to be explained within this belief structure (or rejected) so that the adherent who mistakes his beliefs for himself can retain that identity. In the case of the guru who makes this mistake - and the student as well - this would mean giving up a sense of superiority, specialness, entitlement, group belonging, and rightiousness...and, of course, the false power that an aggrandising ego mistakes for true self empowerment.
We believe she captures the essence of the occlusion principal rather well, that tendency to mistake what one believes for who one is, and she's certainly nailed down the culprit who spreads the ignorance.

12 Comments:

At 9/14/2006 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A teacher of any kind who considers any questions about their beliefs and intentions as an attack upon themselves, is mistaking a belief system for themselves and essential being."

This statement is the opposite of what science (and common sense) tells us. I'm very surprised that you agree...

"It is because our brains and nervous systems constitute a belief-generating machine, an engine that produces beliefs without any particular respect for what is real or true and what is not. This belief engine selects information from the environment, shapes it, combines it with information from memory, and produces beliefs that are generally consistent with beliefs already held. This system is as capable of generating fallacious beliefs as it is of generating beliefs that are in line with truth."

http://www.csicop.org/si/9505/belief.html

Generating beliefs are an integral part of your brain function. To say that this is not "you" (or "essential being", whatever the hell that is) is to proclaim you are now a disciple of Descartes. Isn't the way that your brain works, the way that is interconnected, as deep a part of you as there can be?

Please expand on your concept of "essential being". I'm really curious if this is right in line with whatever a deeksha supposedly affects...

 
At 9/14/2006 9:25 AM, Anonymous .mistletoe. said...

so jody ! you seem to be chasing
'gals' these days !

Hmm.. you sure deserve a break after all the bashin' and bustin'....!

 
At 9/14/2006 4:50 PM, Blogger jody said...

Please expand on your concept of "essential being".

It's Fifi's concept, but I'm going to say that her 'essential being' is the same as jnana, that experiential understanding that dawns in a self-realized person. What that understanding brings is the sure knowledge that you are not the personality. So, if you appear to be offended by the pointed questioning of another, you are doing so as a personality. That's fine for most of us; but not for gurus, in my opinion.

 
At 9/14/2006 4:51 PM, Blogger jody said...

you seem to be chasing 'gals' these days !

I'm not chasing anyone, but I have been enjoying my correspondences with them.

 
At 9/14/2006 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

***So, if you appear to be offended by the pointed questioning of another, you are doing so as a personality. That's fine for most of us; but not for gurus, in my opinion.***

----

You used the word "appear". This is a key consideration. What if the person questioning uses a somewhat arrogant or slightly hostile approach (because s/he presumably, and possibly mistakenly, feels her/his sensibilities or notions of "what is right" have been offended)?

What if the guru "appears" to be offended, but is merely reflecting back the questioner's impudence and is actually untouched by the "challenge" thrown at her/him? Can't the realized guru also have a "personality"? Why shouldn't that kind of response be perfectly acceptable according to "Jody's Codebook of Ethics and Conduct of Gurus"?

 
At 9/14/2006 5:59 PM, Blogger jody said...

Can't the realized guru also have a "personality"?

Of course they can. But if they tend to get bent out of shape at pointed questioning, they probably aren't qualified to call themselves gurus, in my opinion.

Why shouldn't that kind of response be perfectly acceptable according to "Jody's Codebook of Ethics and Conduct of Gurus"?

Because if they get miffled, they're still too identified with their sense of individuality to call themselves gurus, in my opinion.

Here's an example of how a bad guru deals with questions that annoy them:

The Spiritual Guide IS. And the way IS manifests should not be put up for trial against the jury of the student’s conceptions and confusions. To do so is irrelevant and a way of avoiding doing one’s own inner work. The only way to be in relationship to one’s teacher is to be grateful for whatever the Master reflects towards you, about you or irregardless of you.

 
At 9/15/2006 7:48 AM, Anonymous meira said...

Anon said: Why shouldn't that kind of response be perfectly acceptable according to "Jody's Codebook of Ethics and Conduct of Gurus"?

Mistletoe said: you sure deserve a break after all the bashin' and bustin'....!

I notice some of the people on this site really have a problem with ethics and conduct. Lets just throw away those concepts and see how barbaric society can actually get.
But I suppose you all will come up with some really good spiritual rationalization for your ideas.

 
At 9/15/2006 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meira:

You're an idiot. With my half-joking "codes and conduct" remark, I was not condoning immoral or unethical behavior or any kind of gross violation of the sanctity that is always supposed to exist in the relationship with guru.

I was simply speaking about a guru using some "verbal tough love" sometimes to get the desired result. In a regular family context, it is called "good parenting".

In my own personal experience around guru, there is never a trace of anger when strong words are used. If people have such thin skins, perhaps they are not ready for the "trial by fire" that true awakening often entails. Love it or leave it.

The traditional guru assumes responsibility to a great extent for your growth, no matter what it takes. However, s/he will never trespass your boundaries or your impinge upon your freewill, nor force any actions or behavior on you.

 
At 9/16/2006 1:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, definetly you must know a lot about being an idiot.

 
At 9/16/2006 9:14 AM, Anonymous meira said...

Anon said: You're an idiot. With my half-joking "codes and conduct" remark, I was not condoning immoral or unethical behavior or any kind of gross violation of the sanctity that is always supposed to exist in the relationship with guru.

Anon, excuse me for misinterpreting your comments.
I do not have enough time to sit around and detect the nuances of humor in everyone’s comments. I mostly get on this site for fun when I am taking a break from work. I just happened to notice that a lot of commentators seemed to take offence at Jody’s opinions about ethical implications of actions of gurus and spiritual teachers, which I thought was weird. And I do not know much about the behavior of traditional Indian gurus. My only experience is with a few spiritual teachers.
My opinion, though, is that any kind of guru or spiritual teacher needs to be very careful with words and reactions. They can be very destructive when not used properly. In the Jewish tradition, deeply offending, or hurting another with words is considered to be akin to murder. Of course this is an exaggeration, but the teaching is there so that people become more aware of how they use them.
I have had a few experiences where a spiritual teacher got offended by something I said and lashed back in a way that was way out of proportion. It was one of the worst things I have ever been through and was not enlightening.

 
At 9/16/2006 9:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meira:

I'm sorry I was rude, and sorry about your experiences with your teacher.

This is the problem: The very word guru has been abused of its sanctity, and for every one real guru who can truly be a "dispeller of darkness" (no mean feat, BTW), there are literally thousands of half-baked teachers who mislead people since they are as unenlightened as the students they gather around themselves. The blind leading the blind - ultimately both fall into a ditch.

 
At 9/17/2006 9:31 AM, Anonymous meira said...

Anon said: The very word guru has been abused of its sanctity, and for every one real guru who can truly be a "dispeller of darkness"there are literally thousands of half-baked teachers who mislead people ....

So who do you consider to be a real guru? I remember reading somewhere that thich Nhat Han said that he thought the next guru would be a community. I like the idea of community enlightening itself without the need for a guru/self proclaimed enlightened person to be somehow above it. That sufi teacher Murat Yagan also says that the teacher is community: "Go hunting with like people. When you find it, organize youirselves. And that is the teacher. And the teacher is in you". He also says it helps tremendously to have a "master gardener".

 

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