Teachings

 

Spiritual teachings are maybe most helpful when they become an invitation for inquiry, for exploring what is already here, alive in immediate awareness. In this case, teachings become pointing out instructions and a guided inquiry.

Adyashanti is a master of this form of teaching, even if his talks may take the superficial form of just regular talks. And Genpo Roshi, with his Big Mind process, explicitly and more formally makes his talks into a process of inquiry, allowing the talk to be woven from the inquiry of everyone participating.

They can also be helpful if they inspire to practice, although in this case, they often point to something that appears to be somewhere else, and they may use strategies such as fear and hope to inspire practice, and all of this has its own problems.

This is something we find in more devotional traditions, and for instance also sometimes in Tibetan Buddhism.

Teachings can also be basic and practical information, offering suggestions for practice and some maps to help orient and navigate the terrain. These teachings can be very helpful, in the right context and moderate amounts.

If the teachings become overly abstract, they tend to just remain in the realm of ideas and thoughts. And if they are used by the teacher mainly for entertaining him or herself, or worse, for propping up certain beliefs and fixed viewpoints, they may be even less useful. Although they can, if the recipients take it that way, become mirrors for seeing in oneself the tendency to get lost in and intoxicated by the realm of ideas, and for seeing in oneself the way we use beliefs to prop up other beliefs and fixed viewpoints.

Then there are the expressions of what is alive here now, which may inspire others to look for themselves, and also offer some suggestions for how and where to look. These are often accidental or unintentional teachings, but can still be helpful for others.

Poetry, for instance that of Hafiz and Rumi, is an example of these immediate expressions which may also serve as a pointer, reminder or inspiration.

And finally, as these writings, there are accounts of explorations somewhere on the path, which can also be helpful for others for any of the reasons above, and maybe for a sense of being on the path together.

Deep time & Big Mind

 

I have been reminded of deep time this last week, from attending the archeology film festival, reading an article about the life and death of the solar system, to watching some snippets from Cosmos online. It is a revisiting of an interest I have had since childhood in these themes which are, in some ways, next door to Big Mind.

Deep time, the long now, infinite causes and effects, evolutionary spirituality, the universe story, the epic of evolution, the great story… all of these are in many ways one step away from Big Mind, they can lead us into it from the form and emptiness sides.

From the form side, contemplating the evolution of the universe and our place in it, almost requires shifting into Big Mind to hold it all… And from the emptiness side, realizing the utter impermanence of it all is an invitation to a shift into emptiness, the void, which is what is left when everything else is gone.

To really grasp for instance the universe story requires a shift into Big Mind, and to really grasp the impermanence of it all requires finding ourselves as the void. At least to some extent. It requires dipping into it, tasting it. And is an invitation to explore it further.

I am actually surprised not more Buddhist teachers use the universe story (and deep time, the long now, etc.) in that way… as a nudge, an invitation into Big Mind and finding ourselves as the void. It seems like a perfect teaching vehicle.

I would have jumped on it right away if I was in their position, and I guess many will in the future… maybe through a combination of multimedia and experiential activities such as the practices to reconnect and the Big Mind process.

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Radio Adyashanti!

 

Adyashanti

Here is an opportunity to hear Adyashanti live (there is also audio/video from his talks on his website and YouTube).

Dear Friends of Adyashanti,

We are happy to announce the premiere of Radio Adyashanti on the internet. This will be a live broadcast beginning with a talk by Adyashanti followed by call-in questions from people around the world. Please join our beta test of this exciting new offering.

Radio Adyashanti
6-8pm Pacific Time
Thursday, April 26, 2007

If you live in the US, call 1-800-997-7182.

If you live outside the US, please call 408-938-0476.

If you would like to email a question for Adyashanti, please send it to radio@adyashanti.org. Please limit your question to 2 or 3 sentences.

Radio Adyashanti is just one part of a whole media site called Café Dharma—dedicated to offering immediate access to Adyashanti’s teachings.

During the beta test of this radio program, you’ll have access to the radio show and also to the audio download area of Café Dharma. You will notice that we also have video and podcast areas—these will be activated in the future.