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  1. I think both Vincent. “Complete” is a word that always brings problems. The best word I have found so far is “optimal”, which of course is subjective.

    So I decide at this moment to be as open, clear, emotionally honest, quiet inside, and sincere (I best not lie to myself) as I can ( paradoxically forgiving myself if I don’t try very hard, or even give up on the entire enterprise).

    After this moment there will be a few more moments today in which I will probably try to do the same thing. (This effort best be out of curiosity, not out of any “shoulds.”)

    In my case, by following this general recipe, over the years, I seemed to have become more satisfied with each moment. Or maybe I have become better at deluding myself. Either way, I am happy with the result.

    1. You know, once you see the ox’s tail, it changes you forever. You never labor under the thought that you need to be any certain way. That’s why optimal is good, but maybe that’s too much. Forget conditions. Just see this! see your true nature and the heck with any of this other stuff. See that you could never be any other way but complete at home and soaked through and through.

  2. I agree with Raymond wholeheartedly.

    But Raymond, are you suggesting that sincerity, complete open mind, clarity and inner quiet are pre-requisites for our journey?

    Or are they the journey’s goal?

    Suddenly, I’m not sure!

    1. OK–perhaps a dash of these qualities is helpful, no need to be preoccupied developing an endless refinement of clarity. There is no end to that. Simply a little quiet may be helpful. The again, crisis can crack the ego’s hold, so who’s to say?

  3. I agree and disagree with Vincent. I follow Blake:

    “If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.”

    Have a plan, don’t have a plan, I can succeed or fail with either approach. But there is a mechanism within all of us that seems to lead us well if we are sincere and completely open-minded.

    “Qing jing wei tian xia zheng.” “With clarity and inner quiet all things under heaven fall into place.” Laozi

    1. And I agree with you too! (I simply can’t take sides here because they both are true). Yes, meditation can be goal-less, open, choice-less and free, revealing a core-less, open and already perfect is-ness. And quiet is good. Thanks, Raymond!

  4. If one is to root out a subtle pervasive fundamentalism, one might go even further. If you are going to say “Who cares what worked for the Buddha?” one could take the next step and abandon the notion of a mapped path altogether.

    A mapped path is one already travelled by someone else who comes back, as it were, and tells you about it, with a little (or much) guidance: “This worked for me.” I see many problems in this model, but they won’t be relevant to the seeker who is drawn by an inner compulsion which at some point fixes on a particular way. But when you do that, it is trial and error, and you have to accept that your path may go in circles or hit a dead end, and one day you may need to start again “sadder, yet wiser”.

    There are cooks who follow recipes. I think in the end every good cook sees that a recipe book leads him into error. He will have to judge the quantities and times for himself. When he is no longer conscious of measuring anything, but just does it, he can cook. Then he tries to teach someone else, so he may think of writing a recipe book. But it won’t work, because he himself doesn’t work that way.

    I wouldn’t recommend anyone to follow a path or a given practice. I’d simply say do what you want. I might hint more than that, but only if they asked.

    1. This works for you! And I am sorry to bring this up, but it has not been ruled out that the previous 30 years (or however many years they were) of meditation did not have some sort of purgative effect perhaps, or in some way made a pathless path the only sane alternative. I do appreciate the point that a mapped path is only a path mapped out by someone else. Thanks, again, for the insightful comments.

      1. Indeed Tom, and no need to apologize for bringing it up. The meditation was a kind of thralldom, I think, somewhat like a psychosomatic illness. A displacement activity, an escape from myself, a way of not progressing, an addiction, a stasis, a defiance of life, a mimicking of death.

        Yet I could not suggest to anyone a better alternative, if that is what they want to do. I just hope they wouldn’t waste as much time on it as I did!

        One benefit is to no longer venerate gurus.

      2. Tom, I’m delighted to see you talking about interspirituality. This is very close to something we examine in a modern version of the emptiness teachings. I call this interspirituality-style investigation “going wide,” as opposed to “going deep.” Most of the time people go deep, burrowing into whatever they are doing, trying to get closer to its core insights. The is true of emptiness teachings too.

        But one of the liberating things you can do is look at other paths, or at paths in general. This is part of going wide. It can help with the path you are on. For someone doing the emptiness teachings it’s very liberating to see paths (even one’s own) as empty of inherent existence. Realizing that one’s path is empty but still liberating is a core realization of emptiness. It soothes a major sort of spiritual uneasiness about being on the right path. And for someone who feels sure they are already on the right path, it can removes the sense of privilege or fundamentalism.

        When most people look at the spiritual marketplace they see lots of paths, no-paths, and teachings out there. Are they really different from one another? Are they really the same? Which one is the best? As modern practised consumers, most people are used to regarding some products as being “better” than others. So of course when they discover the spiritual marketplace, they want to know! And it can create some anxiety.

        In the interspirituality/going-wide approach, this anxiety can be looked at. The anxiety is seen as related to the belief that things exist inherently, that there is an objective, pre-existing correlation between words and things, including “enlightenment.” If you have different teachings, like “Atma” vs. “anatta” or “All is the Self” vs. “There is no Self,” it can make a person really wonder about which to choose. In my observation, this is one reason that so many people ask about the best path. Because they don’t want to go wrong, practicing and getting to the “wrong” destination. They’d rather get in on the ground floor of the best, cool, objectively, accurately TRUE path!

        It’s as though you’re in one of many rooms in a large spiritual mall. You are doing some intense practice when you hear the people in the next room laughing and cheering. “Whoa! I’m in the wrong place! Let me get over there!”

        By seeing words, things and paths as empty, this can be pacified. You can be laughing even when they are laughing!

        So I’m glad you are encouraging interspirituality!

        –Greg Goode

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