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Switch to Forum Live View what is the use of "esoteric knowledge"?
6 years ago  ::  Jan 02, 2009 - 12:59PM #11
nnn123
Posts: 1,530
in a sense, there is no use for "esoteric knowledge."  As the Christian mystics say, "Love God, then do as you please."

So, in that sense, there is no need, per se, for knowledge, of any kind - if one's heart becomes that pure and can guide one's spiritual needs.

The problem is that only a handful of people...like the great saints, have that kind of purity of heart.

So, what about the rest of us?

We have a mind.  It is like a monkey, jumping from branch to branch.  How do we tame the mind so that the spiritual heart and the divine qualities can come forward?

One way is through meditation.  Since the mind has curiosity, we can take that curiosity and direct it toward the spiritual mysteries (rather than, say, the mysteries of how to cheat widows out of their savings).  So, the search for knowledge, in that sense, becomes a way of directing the mind toward spiritual things.

Even if the knowledge gained is not that useful, it helps keep the mind centered and focused on spiritual things, rather than negative and unspiritual things.

I believe this is the purpose of koan meditation in Zen Buddhism and other forms of, say, Jnana Yoga, or wisdom-based meditations.

gassho,

Jon
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 02, 2009 - 2:46PM #12
wonderment
Posts: 580

EyesoftheWorld wrote:

This reminds me of a Zen quote about the evolution of an individual's perspective as they enter and progress through their personal journey into esotericity:

First, mountains are mountains.
Then mountains are not mountains.
Then mountains are mountains again.

***
I can relate to that, but the "mountains again" of the third line are somehow not exactly the same as they were at "First", you know?



Hi Eyes, There is a good paragraph from Zen teacher Dainin Datagiri in "Each Moment Is the Universe" that speaks to this:

"In Buddhism we say there are three stages of understanding reality: form is form, form is not form, and form is form. The first stage is seeing things in the usual objective way, thinking that everything is separate and independent. The second is observing impermanence, realizing emptiness, and deeply understanding that everything is interconnected and nothing has its own solid form. The third is actualizing emptiness in oneness with the forms of daily life."

"Then mountains are mountains again" makes no sense intellectually until there is the realization that form is not form, that "mountains are not mountains". Once "impermanence is observed, emptiness realized, and it is deeply understood that everything is interconnected and nothing has its own solid form" the mountains are still very much the mountains but they, along with every single thing, including ourselves, are "seen" in a new light, a different way. The way things, all things, are related to and interacted with changes. Seen through the eyes of emptiness life transforms.

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6 years ago  ::  Jan 02, 2009 - 3:45PM #13
EyesoftheWorld
Posts: 1,707
Wow! thanks, wonderment, that's articulated very well!
What Fatal Flowers of Darkness Bloom from Seeds of Light!
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 02, 2009 - 9:12PM #14
williejhonlo
Posts: 3,444
[QUOTE=CommieJesus;991432]After we gain some knowledge that is rudimentary (and necessary) human nature tends to want more and more....and this is what can lead us astray. This is what I am talking about....some people will try to get into some things that are better left alone....sorry for the misunderstanding....

While my original post was not about this but an affirmation that all religions can lead us to Bliss, I want to say I am not against knowledge only excessive poking about the edges and getting lost in the details kinds stuff, that a seeker may or may not aspire to do...[/QUOTE] Yes, I agree with what you have said. I also think to some extent it depends on how much you are willing to give of yourself, in other words, how much do you open yourself to be part of other peoples lives. People of a more impersonal nature tend to gravitate toward approaching religion for its knowledge. People of a more personal nature tend to gravitate to a more " let me serve approach" those of the latter approach don't get lead astray.
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 02, 2009 - 10:27PM #15
Whisperingal
Posts: 25,009
CJ--Hi--

would you respond to my post?

I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Thanks.
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2009 - 9:19PM #16
CommieJesus
Posts: 276
Hi Wisperigal,
Book knowledge for "knowledge sake" is exercise in futility. Cosmic knowledge is gained by enlightenment and enlightenment is never gained by book knowledge but by practice.
There is nothing "right" or "wrong" in this, only to help in gaining Bliss or hindering. Just my 2 cents....
[QUOTE=Whisperingal;989096]Hi CJ--I think you may be equating "book knowledge" with the timeless knowledge of the Universe.

If that knowledge brings us closer to  Creator/Spirit/God/The Universe--who are we to say it is "wrong"?



Also your post seems to assume that such knowledge is aimed at puffing up the ego.
What if that's not true?

Just a riff on your OP.

Sending good thoughts for you.[/QUOTE]
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2009 - 9:19PM #17
CommieJesus
Posts: 276
Hi Wisperigal,
Book knowledge for "knowledge sake" is exercise in futility. Cosmic knowledge is gained by enlightenment and enlightenment is never gained by book knowledge but by practice.
There is nothing "right" or "wrong" in this, only to help in gaining Bliss or hindering. Just my 2 cents....
[QUOTE=Whisperingal;989096]Hi CJ--I think you may be equating "book knowledge" with the timeless knowledge of the Universe.

If that knowledge brings us closer to  Creator/Spirit/God/The Universe--who are we to say it is "wrong"?



Also your post seems to assume that such knowledge is aimed at puffing up the ego.
What if that's not true?

Just a riff on your OP.

Sending good thoughts for you.[/QUOTE]
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 05, 2009 - 1:46PM #18
RaymondSigrist
Posts: 578
[QUOTE=CommieJesus;994864]Hi Wisperigal,
Book knowledge for "knowledge sake" is exercise in futility. Cosmic knowledge is gained by enlightenment and enlightenment is never gained by book knowledge but by practice.
There is nothing "right" or "wrong" in this, only to help in gaining Bliss or hindering. Just my 2 cents....[/QUOTE]

Hi Commie Jesus

        And so would you say, "There is nothing at stake except happiness at this moment." ?

ciao,
Raymond
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 07, 2009 - 6:03PM #19
Whisperingal
Posts: 25,009
CJ--Hi.

You say--
"Cosmic knowledge is gained by enlightenment and enlightenment is never gained by book knowledge but by practice"

Not challenging you or trying to start any sort of argument--

--but I know a number of people for whom some form(s) of enlightenment (to use your word) came from knowledge acquired of and in and from the physical world--and the world of ideas.

I don't think we should be so quick to gainsay how others receive enlightenment just because we ourselves may only know one or two ways it has come to us.
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2009 - 8:06AM #20
Hatman
Posts: 9,634
Knowledge can certainly be a dead end, especially if one becomes "puffed up" by it, pretending that they are superior.

Ignorance, however, is just as deadly; it is NOT true that "what you don't know won't hurt you."  In fact, what you don't know often will KILL you, or leave you maimed, which is arguably worse.

But the "mountain" reference reminded me of an old Donovan song:  "First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is."

I think he's getting at the "is-ness," for want of a better word, the Omnipresence of the Infinite Being.  I have personally grown a great deal by reading(and re-reading):
Brilliant Disguise: Light, Matter, and the Zero Point Field.

Of course, having the knowledge that "This is God, in whom we live and move and have our being"(Acts 17:28) helps a good deal, too; how He is hidden from us yet is all around, in, through, over and under us is explained well, I believe, in the above-linked article.

IIRC, "Gnosticism" means "Knowledge of God," but not just head-knowledge---experiential knowledge.  A poor analogy might be to go and read all the books you can on how to ride a bike, get advice from dozens of people on how it's done, it's joys and dangers, watch videos of people riding bikes, etc.---yet until one actually RIDES a bike, their knowledge is fairly useless.  It's like the aphorism "Knowledge is power."  Not true.  Applied Knowledge is Power. 

Warmest regards-

Hatman
"History records that the moneychangers have used every form of abuse, deceit, intrigue, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance."
-- James Madison(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
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