We've all heard about Harris' scathing criticisms of religions of all flavor, including Buddhism. In this 2-part talk at You Tube he defends meditation and contemplation and criticizes the atheist community for throwing the baby out with the bathwater. In my atheistic mind this is indeed a step towards re-visioning the great traditions by nourishing the baby while also pulling the plug on the dirty bathwater.

Also of note is that he echoes kennilingus in claiming one must take up the injunction of meditation before one can criticize its phenomenal experience. He does qualify that one can certainly criticize based on reason alone the metaphysical accoutrements of those who have such experiences. Yet the experiences themselves cannot be refuted by reason alone. And that such experience must be translated into postmetaphysical terms shorn of religious dogma to be of pertinent use in today's world.

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Andrew, on the FB version of this site, someone called Edward on the relevance of 'political' posting on a 'spirituality' forum, and he made a good case for the relevance of political concerns for any healthy spirituality -- so I think you two are on the same page there.  On the other hand, though, there has been a tendency on this Ning forum especially to turn many discussions again and again into political discussions, regardless of the starting topic.  So, for that, I respect and support Edward's call for 'staying on topic.'  Every discussion here does not have to become a discussion of Western imperial powers, economics, etc.

Concur. This thread is not the place (sic).

No problem Bruce. Hooked into a hazard:) I'll keep the political mysticism to those threads!

I've been quite moody recently as I feel the weight of the horrors that are upon us all. Nevertheless, I took the time to read this thread from the beginning as sometimes coming in halfway through is like watching a TV show from  part way. Happily, I found that Sam does suggest to divorce meditation or contemplative  practice from eastern religion right from the get go; although I don't really know how successful he is in practice. It still sounds kind of like Buddhism to me, and it really not need be. 

I also thought that Kela touched upon something that I perceived and that is that WE might not really understand Islam at it's deepest most profound level. In saying that, I in no way mean any endorsement of it's obviously toxic content; but rather, in the context of letting that culture come to terms with its own tradition without undue entanglements and manipulations by our culture . Hence, the links I posted. 

Myself, I don't really see the utility or efficacy  of staying within these traditions when we can rewrite new ways to think about ___ ; ways that hopefully are much less loaded with baggage. I've suggested a non-dogmatic evolutionary panentheism along those lines. Previously, on the Noah thread, I offered up an alternative theology for western theism that was based on rational premises; and non-toxic doctrines, for those who may feel a need to still adhere to those beliefs; yet feel the need for a re-visioning, or re-interpretation, or alternate exegesis. I hold that part of my path very loosely ; but those experiences with a personal ___ are quite powerful . And I'm not talking about a ___ who cares who wins a sports competition. 

Lastly, I am becoming less fond of the word metaphysical; as whatever mysteries that life has left for us to discover are certainly, imo, intertwined with our own dimensions of being. 

peace-out homies:)

I'm with you on that agenda, though have a different flavor for my de/re. Same with the word metaphysical, so I now use paraphysical. Same with paratheory instead of metatheory. The prefix meta is tired. Para as prefix is used by Priest in describing a paraconsistent logic of the kind used by Nagarjuna, also (para)consistent with my applications. Also of note is the word paradox, literally "beyond belief." In a word then I am paraspiritual.

Cool! I think your heading in the right direction with those pre-fixes. I'll ponder them and add this one, too, as a possibility: 


Maybe, I'm an ultra-spiritulist? 

BTW., the reason  I keep hanging around this shady corner of the internet is because I truly agree that humans have been entering an Integral age. It's just that from my view, this age may take centuries to develop fully;and,  no one person or group should try to trademark it (silliness), own it, make personal claim to it, etc. I've also tried to be clear where I disagree with Kenny especially with his take on evolution and Christianity. 

Is it necessary or specially important to operate practices in connexion with "traditions"?  No.  It is aesthetically pleasing, ancestrally evocative or simply convenient for many people.  However we need to go farther than just understanding that practices have no special relationship to traditions.  We have to understand that these traditions don't really exist.  They are talking points.  They are received categories which, as often as not, do not distinguish one type of person and practice from another.  

So while we may cheer Harris for the degree to which he verbally supports meditation sans Buddhism -- we also have to move beyond thinking that "Buddhism" is a something.  


Ultra: Beyond, On the Other Side; An position which goes so far it appears to lose its quality and become its opposite.

Meta:  After. Next. Whatever domain or infrastructure appears following a leap beyond the present context.

Para: Beside, Along With, Next To.

Each has its own uses.  We must be careful to avoid getting stuck in the hidden implications of popularized terminology AND to avoid the superficial trap of reacting to things merely because we hear a lot of them used in an imprecise or misleading manner.

Layman, I understand your point about traditions ultimately not being a "something" -- Buddhists themselves would challenge the intrinsic or self-existent "somethingness" of personal or cultural identities -- but at the same time, I still think it makes sense to refer practically to traditions in a general sense as generative (en)closures.  If you were to use this word, from your own understanding, how would you relate "traditions" and "generative (en)closures"?  

One option would be to replace "tradition" with "generative (en)closure" and look more at the autopoietic networks we discern (say, of documents, stories, practices, etc) -- drawing new (ever-evolving) 'lines' based on this.  I think we lose something, though, if we try to dissolve LL/LR 'entities' or 'systems' altogether, treating them as non-existent and totally negligible and arbitrary, and privilege instead only free-floating UL practices.

Yeah, when I say "aesthetics" and "ancestral evocation" and "convenience"... I am definitely pointing to an ongoing pragmatic utility.  For some people.  I think Trungpa is a great example of someone who was powerfully ambivalent about "buddhism".  

How would I relate received traditions to the concept of generative (en)closure?

By three devices:

1. Level-appropriateness.  This means that traditions are the normal forms of social and sacred generative (en)closure at the conformist/symbolic/ethnocentric/racial level of cultural and personal simplexity.  An integral analysis therefore maintains this appropriateness, specifies where it should obtain, notes how the subsequent level tries to take possession of it, and embeds all of this in the twin integral moves of "embrace the validities & assert the critical patterns of our new validity-scaffolding".

2. Active vs. Neutral.  This means that any communication (which reinforces a boundary by referencing it) might be vibrating with the freshness of new meaningfulness OR basically a mechanical reiteration.  The slogan "no one is neutral on a moving train" reminds us that non-progressive or non-resonant embodiments of zone-establishing signifiers quickly move from the status of placeholder to the status of underminer.  

3. Ghostbustin'.  Generative (en)closure obviously has a linguistic and symbolic component.  However we have to differentiate, in most common contexts, between acts which are producing the actual (en)closure and acts which are producing a socio-lingiustic phantom for use in conventional discourse.  Language acts and their supportive cognitive habits are ghosts in the system.  They are establishing an zone, yes, but not necessarily the zone to which they are ostensibly referring.  The reason that public figures are advised to "own" public misperceptions of themselves is that the sociological conversation is constantly trying to create some OTHER entity which has the same label as the figure... or as the lineage... or as the sacred cultural zone.  So basic we need to distinguish between overlapping enclosure-production activities which can operate via conventionally un-differentiated symbol sets.


At MOA-2 approaches we definitely want at least half our efforts to go into attempts to "zoologically" discern the organic, functional groups which are not necessarily anchored to received traditions.  But to play in that territory, to pass through MOA-1 the requirements are very minimal.  "Quotes" and "seems like" translate something in phenomenology and allow it to pass forward.  

A phrase like "the types of things people call Buddhism" is perhaps excessive, clumsy, slow, etc. but as a piece of cognitive scaffolding it allows us to keep a virtual tradition active in our self-consistent phraseology even while we begin to look for classification systems that are not based primarily or exclusively on confessed identity and the popular conversation habits of the last few centuries.

In the FB forum Balder noted that Harris makes mention of Dzogchen in his new book. We already have a good idea of what he'll say from this thread; he'll agree with mystical empiricism that the rigpa state is the bomb. This is confirmed in this recent interview where Harris talks about this state, noting its Vedanta, Zen and Dzogchen (shentong) inflections.

Can you remind me what part of this thread includes (previous) discussion of Sam's take on rigpa?  I skimmed back to page 8 and didn't find anything.

Not rigpa in name, just the concept of a generic non-dual consciousness. It's the same in the linked interview; he doesn't mention rigpa by name, just this generic ever-present, non-dual consciousness. He does though note it was enacted for him through Dzogchen practice.

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What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

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