The greatest danger of the spiritual path

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Post Reply
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:36 am

The greatest danger of the spiritual path

Post by Scott1989 » Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:47 pm

I've already talked about being aware of being aware in another topic. This practice can be helpful and seems to me to be the final key, but there is one great danger that comes with this kind of practice as well as with any other kind of practice.

Once you think you 'know' what to do, you will feel the need to remove everything that doesn't fit with what it is you think you need to do.

You will become afraid of being unaware and of delusion, or of doing something wrong. Clearly this will be an obstacle in your practice, because in order to reach freedom, you will have to lay down even your fear of ignorance.

If you are afraid of delusion and cling to your path, contemplation cannot be succesful. Problems can only be seen and recognized when they are allowed to exist.

What is the solution? Simply lay down EVERYTHING and be aware of the moment, but keep in your heart only a great doubt that is not mixed with thought. Just a pure and free doubt that you carry along with you like a sword at all times to cut down all delusion in your path, including the delusion of wanting to be free from delusion.

This is not the kind of doubt that is problematic. This is not a question that you are consciously trying to answer. This is not a doubt put down in words. This is accepting not knowing and letting that be what drives you forward.

Never put this down. Never become an expert. Never become enlightened. This is the path I have chosen.

(anyone who has been following my topics will see the irony in this post as I was continuously warned about talking too much and knowing too much, but for this reason I decided to add this topic to make my contribution more complete)

User avatar
James the Giant
Posts: 792
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2009 6:41 am

Re: The greatest danger of the spiritual path

Post by James the Giant » Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:01 pm

I really like that image of doubt, pure and free, being like a sword. That's a fine, crisp image.

Can you clarify what you mean by "Never become an expert." and especially "Never become enlightened."?
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11

Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:36 am

Re: The greatest danger of the spiritual path

Post by Scott1989 » Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:30 pm

Yes, we constantly interrupt our practice because we want to know something, or because we want to know if we are doing it right.

Or, we stop our practice because we think we already know.

If we wear doubt like an armor, we can no longer be interrupted by anything and no more questions will need to be answered.

If we feel like we know, we will no longer be open to new insights. Many people think they are enlightened or think that they are experts and because of this their practice will come to a halt and they will no longer be open to the teachings of others.

I have to add that saying to others that you know something is not the problem! Someone can claim to be enlightened and actually be enlightened. The thing is, you should never become an expert in your own eyes, because that would be ego talking.

Edit: to clarify what I meant by that last statement, you can be awake (consciously aware of what is going on) and say to someone that you are enlightened at the same time. You cannot be awake while telling yourself that you are enlightened and believing in this. As soon as you say this to yourself, in that instant you are not awareness, but thought. You have become identified with the thinking process.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Crazy cloud, DCM, dharmacorps, Goofaholix and 34 guests