Maps and pointers

 

Here is a nice overview from Shinzen Young on six things to look out for on the spiritual path.

These six stories can be taken in a literal way and may be very helpful for some people in some situations. But they will have limited usefulness just for that reason. And if taken as beliefs, these six stories can become pitfalls in themselves.

It can be taken as more universal, applicable to many paths and situations in life.

More simply, it can be taken as a pointer for what is here now. These stories can be taken as a mirror of what is already here now. As a question and an invitation for inquiry.

And finally, if we are used to noticing symptoms of beliefs and inquiring into those beliefs – in whatever way seems most helpful to us – these six pointers are not even needed. Life itself will show us. Chances are, we will already have noticed most or all of them as they show up in many different ways in daily life, in whatever situations we are in.

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outline….

– can be taken in a literal and limited way, helpful for some in some situations (although can also be less than helpful)
– can be taken in a more universal way, applicable in many situations
– can be taken as a pointer for what is here now, even more helpful
– and may not even be needed, if notice symptoms of beliefs

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  • maps and universal pointers
    • not only in buddhism or “spiritual” context, but more universal
    • and can notice through the usual symptoms of taking a story as true
    • all that is needed is noticing symptoms, find the story, inquire into it
    • maps can be helpful pointer, but not necessary

– can be taken in a literal way, limited usefulness (a disservice to make it appear just about “enlightenment”, way too narrow)
– used as pointers, find here now – more helpful
– or less/not needed if notice symptoms of beliefs, the stories behind, and inquire into

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– maps, pointers for what to look out for in a particular terrain
– more importantly, use as pointers for what is here now
– even more helpful, notice symptoms of attaching to a story as true, find the story, inquire into

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– notice symptoms, find story, inquire into
– use maps as pointers for what is here now

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Shinzen Young outlines a few common “pitfalls on the way to enlightenment”.

But these are not only found in a Buddhist context, or even a spiritual context. They are more universal. And we can notice them through the usual symptoms of taking a story as true.

All that is needed is noticing the symptoms, find the story, and inquire into it. Maps such as these can be helpful pointers, but they are not necessary.

They may even lead us to think that these “pitfalls” only happen at certain phases and under certain circumstances, while – in reality – they are right here now.

Maps are most useful when used as pointers for noticing here now.

……..

Maps are most useful when we remember that they are projections of what is right here now, and used as pointers for noticing here now.

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It can be taken in a limited and literal way, as about people on the “spiritual path” and at different phases on the path.

It can be taken in a limited and literal way, as about some people at some phases on the “spiritual path”. As something “out there” which we may or may not happen upon at some point. That can be helpful for some in some situations, but can also be less than helpful – if it is seen as just that. Taken too literally, and especially if taken as a belief, these six stories can become another pitfall.

…..

These stories can be taken as a mirror for what is here now, or

……….

It can be taken in a limited and literal way. These six stories can be seen as about some people at some phases on the “spiritual path”, as something “out there” which we may or may not happen upon at some point. That can be helpful for some people in some situations, but it can also be less than helpful – if seen as just that. Taken too literally, it is applicable in only some situations. And if taken as a belief, these six stories can become another pitfall.

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