2009.10.26 07:00 - Theme Session: Advaita Vedanta

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Eliza Madrigal, filling in for Kallie. The comments are by Eliza Madrigal.

    Many thanks to Pema for setting up this very informative session with new guardian Bolonath Crystal!

    Bolonath Crystal: namaste pema :)
    Pema Pera: Hi Bolonath, Namaste!
    sophia Placebo: greetings
    Widget Whiteberry: good morning
    SophiaSharon Larnia: Good morning :0
    Pema Pera: Hi Sophias and Widget and Yakuzza and Eliza
    SophiaSharon Larnia: :)
    Yakuzza Lethecus: good morning everyone
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Everyone :)
    Bolonath Crystal: namaste sophia, widget, eliza and yak :)
    Bolonath Crystal: i mean both sophias, of course ;)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: :)
    sophia Placebo: ^^
    Pema Pera: This morning we are having a theme session, on the topic of Advaita Vedanta. As we usually do with theme sessions, for a little while two people speak and then everybody else joins in.
    Widget Whiteberry nods
    Pema Pera: This time Bolonath and I will start off, by me asking Bolo some questions about Advaita Vedanta
    Pema Pera: hi Pila!
    Bolonath Crystal: namaste pila :)
    sophia Placebo: hi pila
    Pila Mulligan: greetings everyone
    Pila Mulligan: shanti
    Bolonath Crystal: if you want i can give a little introduction to the matter


    Pema Pera: Bolonath, perhaps you can begin with a brief description of Advaita Vedanta, just in a few sentences, yes please
    Bolonath Crystal: sure :)
    Bolonath Crystal: strictly speaking advaita vedanta is not a religion but a philosophy. but indian philosophy is always religious as well
    Bolonath Crystal: india is very rich in philosophy, so i like to give you a short orientation
    Bolonath Crystal: there are two main streams, called 'astika' and 'nastika'
    Bolonath Crystal: in sanskrit asti means 'it is', nasti 'it is not'. this refers to the vedas, which are authoritative for astika, but not for nastika
    Bolonath Crystal: typical nastika philosophies are e.g. jainism or buddhist philosophies like yogacara ('all is mind') and nagarjuna's madhyamaka ('all is emptyness')
    Bolonath Crystal: in astika there are 6 major philosophies; one of them is vedanta
    Bolonath Crystal: vedanta itself has two main streams: the older dvaita and the younger advaita vedanta
    Bolonath Crystal: dvaita means 'split' or 'divided', a-dvaita 'not divided'
    Bolonath Crystal: that refers to our role as beings in relation to god
    Bolonath Crystal: in dvaita vedanta there is a clear separation between the 'true self' (atman) and god.
    Bolonath Crystal: for a dvaita vedantin (that is a follower of dvaita vedanta) the highest aim is to reach the realm of god. that's pretty similar to e.g. christianity. christians can go to heaven, but never become god
    Bolonath Crystal: so god and 'true self' are always and irrevocably parted
    Bolonath Crystal: in advaita vedanta this separation doesn't exist. an advaita vedantib can become entirely one with god - an incredible blasphemy in the eyes of a dvaita vedantin
    Bolonath Crystal: even more: in advaita vedanta the 'real self' already IS one with god and always was and will be. as unenlightened beings we simply just don't know it :)
    Bolonath Crystal: an advaita vedantin doesn't have to become anything. he merely has to find out what he already is
    Bolonath Crystal: the world - i.e. what we experience as reality - is only an illusion, a dream caused by karma (act or deed)
    Bolonath Crystal: to become enlightened means to free oneself from karma, to wake up from the dream and to realise our true, godlike nature (brahman)
    Bolonath Crystal: so advaita vedabnta can be summarized in three short sentences:
    Bolonath Crystal: i am atman. atman is brahman. so i am brahman
    Bolonath Crystal: any questions on that?


    SophiaSharon Larnia: well, In dvaita vedanta, what is thought to create the seperation from god? as a created being?
    Bolonath Crystal: it is karma
    Bolonath Crystal: maybe i should explain the karma concept briefly?
    Pema Pera: sure!
    Widget Whiteberry: please do
    Bolonath Crystal: karma has a double meaning: it is action, but at the same time it is also the effect of action
    Bolonath Crystal: when we act, we are planting a karma seed. when we have an experience we are harvesting a karma fruit
    Bolonath Crystal: so all our reality is merely a big number of karma fruits, which we planted in the past (maybe even in a former live, to use this picture)
    Bolonath Crystal: when we identify ourselves with this karmic body and mind we call our 'self', we forget about our 'true self', which is brahman
    Bolonath Crystal: that state of mind we call 'unenlightened'
    Bolonath Crystal: so our main mistake is the wrong self identification because of karma
    Bolonath Crystal: does this answer your question, sophiasharon?
    SophiaSharon Larnia: yes, I'm trying to understand
    Bolonath Crystal: it is a little confusing in the beginning :)

    tat tvam asi

    Pila Mulligan: would you comment please on the phrase ... tat tvam asi (if I understand it correctly it appears in PaB sessions in disguise sometimes)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: :) the reason why we feel this seperation, why it exists
    Pila Mulligan: oops.pardon
    Pila Mulligan: not to interrupt
    Bolonath Crystal: the separation is a self made one. we are dreaming and got lost in the dream
    Bolonath Crystal: tat tvam asi is a help to find the way out
    Bolonath Crystal: tat tvam asi means 'that is you'
    Bolonath Crystal: 'that' is everything
    Bolonath Crystal: 'you' means the true self
    Bolonath Crystal: we are everything. not just a body, mind and soul
    Bolonath Crystal: the world is our own creation
    Bolonath Crystal: part of this creation is projected 'outside' to form the outer world. another part is projected 'inside', forming our "dream self"
    Bolonath Crystal: but both is part of the 'real self'
    SophiaSharon Larnia: thank you Bolonath :)
    Bolonath Crystal: the phrase tat tvam asi is a citation from the vedas, from chandogya upanishad
    Bolonath Crystal: yw, sophiasharon :)
    Bolonath Crystal: in this upanishad a teacher shows the whole world to his pupil, ending each lesseon with the words : that is you, tat tvam asi
    Pila Mulligan: PaB sesssions somewhat frequently seem to drift toward not only why we feel seperation, but also does it really exist and if so what does it signify :) we seem to address the atman question here in one form or another fairly often
    Bolonath Crystal: yes, thats also my opinion, pila
    sophia Placebo: this is lovely session bolonath , im afraid i have to leave , thanx !
    Eliza Madrigal: Bye sophia :)
    Bolonath Crystal: thank you for coming, sophia. om shanti
    Bolonath Crystal: atman, not knowing to be brahman, feels separated from the oneness of the world. but this is a mistake. we are all always connected with everything


    Widget Whiteberry: hmm, connected could be visualized in different ways
    Widget Whiteberry: am I connected to the whole through my connections to one or more parts?
    Eliza Madrigal: yes and it seems similar to buddhism's un-atman which also is a completeness?
    Widget Whiteberry: for instance, I know Pema and Pema knows you. You know Eliza so through my connecrion to Pema I know Eliza
    Widget Whiteberry: that kind of connection?
    Widget Whiteberry: degrees of separation?
    Bolonath Crystal: very similar, eliza. in fact advaita vedanta is heavily influenced by buddhist philosophy
    Bolonath Crystal: widget, i try to answer this with a metapher
    Bolonath Crystal: imagine you are dreaming
    Bolonath Crystal: in your dream you meet many people
    Bolonath Crystal: in your dream you think that these people are 'someone else' and you are separate beings
    Widget Whiteberry nods
    Bolonath Crystal: but when you wake up you see, that all these people (including your dream self) are all products of your own mind
    Widget Whiteberry: yes!
    Bolonath Crystal: so the dreamer can be seen as the 'true self' of all of these dream people
    Bolonath Crystal: there is no bolonath, no widget and no pema. there is only an enlightened being having a dream :)
    Widget Whiteberry: ☆smiles☆
    Pema Pera: and the dream, too, is part of Being, not something outside Being
    Widget Whiteberry: ty, Bolo
    Bolonath Crystal: that's the way all is connected
    Bolonath Crystal: yw widget
    Widget Whiteberry: so do I need to be aware of something to be connected to it? I suppose not...
    Bolonath Crystal: well, there is a form of advaita vedanta, called the new advaita. there people have the opinion that it isn't worth to do anything to reach enlightenment, because actually we already are enlightened
    Bolonath Crystal: in my point of view it is a good idea to become aware of one's true self to be aware of everything
    Bolonath Crystal: even death then turns out to be illusion
    Eliza Madrigal: This makes sense to me in many ways Bolo. I wonder how you answer those who ask why would God choose to dream terrifying things?
    Bolonath Crystal: *gg* i would probably ask back: 'wha don't you ask yourself? you are the one who is dreaming'
    Bolonath Crystal: why*
    Eliza Madrigal smiles. Yes I do ask that question :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Try
    Bolonath Crystal: while we are identifying ourselves as separated beings, we are often acting selfish. and so we are hurting our true self by hurting the 'others'
    Bolonath Crystal: it is as jesus said: whatever you do to anyone, you are doing to me
    Pema Pera: may I ask, Bolo, how you discovered Advaita Vedanta?
    Pema Pera: how it spoke to you at first?
    Bolonath Crystal: hm... it was by chance, more or less
    Bolonath Crystal: i thought to have some pretty neat ideas and later found out, that somebody had them before
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: I do seem to be looking for a r:)
    Bolonath Crystal: so i already was an advaita vedantin, before i knew about advaita vedanta
    Pema Pera: :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: oops, a reason, like being is playing in eternity
    Bolonath Crystal: brahman has no boundaries, so maybe it was simply inevitable for the dreamworld to pop up in mind
    Pila Mulligan: not to be too personal, Bolonoath, but did you then join with any particular lineage or guru's teachings?
    Bolonath Crystal: yes, i had an initiation to the sivananda yoga tradition
    Pila Mulligan: oh, how nice
    Bolonath Crystal: :)
    Bolonath Crystal: that's where my name comes from
    Eliza Madrigal: yes?
    Pila Mulligan: I've had several freinds also followiong Swami Sivananda

    Master of Movement

    Bolonath Crystal: in hinduism all aspects have a symbol in form of a deva. the one who is able to destroy all illusion, is shiva. bolonath refers to shiva's way of moving, so it can be translated as "master of movement"
    Bolonath Crystal: happy to hear that, pila :)
    Bolonath Crystal: sivananda is well known in india, but not in europe
    Bolonath Crystal: in america there is a number of sivananda ashrams, founded by his pupil swami vishnu-devananda
    Bolonath Crystal: also in canada
    Pema Pera: We are approaching the end of the hour. Thank you so much, Bolonath!
    Pema Pera: That was a great overview, stimulating and inspiring
    Bolonath Crystal: yw :)

    To be continued...

    Pema Pera: shall we continue this at another session?
    Bolonath Crystal bows
    Widget Whiteberry: thank you everyone
    Pema Pera: perhaps at 1 pm some day, to allow others to participate who can't make it on a 7 am time?
    Pila Mulligan: ;)
    Eliza Madrigal waves to Widget :)
    Widget Whiteberry: bye all!
    Bolonath Crystal: that's a nice idea, pema :)
    Pema Pera: Do you have a day that is best for you, Bolo?
    Pema Pera: perhaps next week?
    Pema Pera: or later this week?
    Bolonath Crystal: mom, i have to look at my time table
    Bolonath Crystal: thursday would be possible this week, as we still have school holidays and i don't have to give lessons
    Pema Pera: okay, let me see
    Pema Pera: That is Storm's session, I'm sure that's fine with him.
    Pema Pera: Okay, we'll continue Thursday, October 29, 1 pm!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: :0
    Bolonath Crystal: great :)
    Pema Pera: And thank you all for joining in the dialogues!
    Eliza Madrigal: Thanks Bolo and Pema, that is wonderful to hear. : )
    SophiaSharon Larnia: :) * even
    Pema Pera: bfn
    SophiaSharon Larnia: brn!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: bye all, it's past my bedtime, sweet dreams all :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Sweet dreams SSharon :)
    Bolonath Crystal: nite all :) om shanti
    SophiaSharon Larnia: laughs
    SophiaSharon Larnia: waves thank you!!!
    Eliza Madrigal: Nite Bolonath. Om Shanti :)
    Bolonath Crystal: i'm off, too. cu next time
    Pila Mulligan: thanks -- bye for now
    Eliza Madrigal: What a great session... fantastic way to start a Monday :)
    Pila Mulligan: :)

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