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#3442 - Friday, February 13,
2009 - Editor: Jerry Katz
The Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights
Continuing from issue <http://nonduality.com/hl3435.htm> Greg Goode resumes his nondual emptiness teachings.
Also apparing is Candice O'Denver, a teacher I've known for several years. I hosted her first simple one page web page, which has since grown to an international presence with some 20 advanced students and trained teachers holding meetings around the world.
Both Greg and Candice are receiving some substantial inside buzz for their works and approaches.
Emptiness in Buddhism
According to Buddhist teachings, freedom from suffering dawns when we realize that we ourselves, as well as all things, are empty.
In Buddhism, suffering is said to come from conceiving that we and the world have fixed, independent and unchangeable natures that exist on their own without help from anything else. We expect that there is a true way that self and world truly are and ought to be. These expectations are unrealistic and prevent us from granting things the freedom to come and go and change. We like pleasant things to abide permanently, and unpleasant things to never occur. We experience suffering when we actually encounter comings, goings and change. Suffering often takes the form of anger, indignation, existential anxiety, and even a sense that, as they say in TV sitcoms, "something is wrong with this picture."
But when we deeply realize that we and the world are empty, we no longer have unrealistic expectations. We find peace and freedom in the midst of flux.
What Does Emptiness Mean?
What are things empty of? According to the Buddhist teachings, things are empty of inherent existence.
Being empty of inherent existence means that there is no essential, fixed or independent way in which things exist. Things have no essential nature. There is no way things truly are, in and of themselves. We will investigate the notion of inherent existence in more detail below.
Different Buddhist schools or tenet systems have different ways of characterizing emptiness; they have different ways of helping students reduce suffering. My characterization of emptiness adheres somewhat to the Tibetan Gelug-ba school of Prasangika or "Consequentialist" Madhyamika. The term "prasangika" is Sanskrit for "consequence." The "consequence" designation comes from this school's method of debate and refutation, which follows Nagarjuna's style in his Treatise.
Photo: Candice O'Denver
Candice O'Denver is receiving a lot of serious attention these days for her teaching, her students, and the offerings on her website,
Here are a couple excerpts:
We invite you on a marvelous adventure into a vast resource of wisdom, love, compassion and skill that exists within you. The Great Freedom Teaching provides a constant friend and guide along the way. We offer precise instructions and a global community of support for adopting the one simple change that makes life easy. Participating in the Great Freedom Teaching and putting its key point of restful awareness into practice will give you a life you never dreamt possible, no matter how good your life already is!
When starting out on a journey, it is important to know the language that will be used in the country we will be visiting. There is a simple language used throughout the Great Freedom Teaching that will be defined in the Introductory Teaching. It will give you fluency in the language that will be used on our journey together.
By repeating brief moments of awareness, many times, its obvious presence increases. More and more, we experience ease, compassion, a balanced outlook, creativity and an exceptional ability to solve problems. Our thoughts, emotions, speech and actions begin to spontaneously focus on the welfare and benefit of everyone, not just us.
Just relax and enjoy the discovery of mental and emotional stability and freedom that are naturally present in awareness. By the power of relying on the single practice of restful awareness, you will discover a treasure trove of strengths, gifts and talents for the benefit of all that have gone unnoticed.
Introduction to the Great Freedom
How to Rest Naturally: Freedom in Immediate Perception
We are aware. We come to see that the most important choice we will ever make is how we use our awareness. We come to understand what recognition and non-recognition of awareness is, as well as the nature of point of view. We are introduced to how to rest naturally as awareness through freedom in immediate perception, and the importance of relying on Great Freedom's Four Comforts: awareness, the teacher, the Teaching and the community.
What includes all points of view?
Action: We recognize all points of view as appearances of awareness.
In Inquiry One, we recognize that rather than relying on awareness, we learned to place primary emphasis on our thoughts, emotions, sensations and other experiences. In Inquiry One, we begin to see these points of view as appearances of awareness. We take responsibility for recognizing that points of view are appearances of awareness. We also give up the right to be a victim of our points of view. It is crucial to recognize that emphasis on points of view has distracted us from relying on awareness and affected our relationships. Recognizing the discomfort and tension caused by trying to control the flow of points of view motivates us to gain confidence in awareness. Confidence in awareness is gained by simply relying on awareness for short moments, many times, until it becomes automatic. By the power of awareness, our approach to life begins to alter immediately, and we start to experience increasing soothing energy.
What is a point of view?
Action: All points of view are the dynamic energy of awareness.
The key point introducedin Inquiry Two is that all points of view are the dynamic energy of awareness. In other words, all points of view are due to awareness only. Inquiry Two reaffirms that by the power of short moments of awareness, repeated many times, there grows to be complete mastery over all points of view.
Where and how do points of view appear in awareness?
Action: We rely on awareness.
In Inquiry Three, we see that our tendency is to collapse people and circumstances, including ourselves, into a point of view. This collapsing happens so fast it becomes hard to see. Almost immediately, and certainly over time, points of view become the entire focus of attentionthe reality we seem to know. This limits what is possible in life, robbing us of recognition of awareness and much of our joy, effectiveness and capacity to contribute to family, community, and the world. When we rely on awareness instead of focusing on points of view, we discover that much of what we considered already determined may in fact not be that way. Situations that may have been challenging or difficult become fluid and open to change. We find ourselves no longer limited by a finite set of points of view and able to rely on awareness with ease and enjoyment.
What about us has no belief systems and assumptions?
Action: We make a written and thorough examination of our principal points of view.
In Inquiry Four, we review principal points of view that are the basis of lack of confidence in awareness. We get clear on how emphasizing points of view limits recognition of awareness. We have learned to emphasize points of view rather than awareness; it is important to see that this is a learned habit. By recognizing our emphasis on points of view and its costs, we commit to the benefits of the power of relying on awareness.The thoroughness mandated in Inquiry Four is the foundation for easily gaining confidence in awareness. Without it, we may never move beyond a mental understanding of awareness. Confidence in awareness will likely be difficult without the clarity developed in Inquiry Four.
What about us is all-inclusive?
Action: We admit principal points of view.
Inquiry Five asks us to take another action relative to what we are learning about the power of relying on awareness, by sharing our principal points of view with others.
Until we complete Inquiries Four and Five, awareness may seem intermittent, unstable or non-existent. In others words, in these Inquiries we take the blinders off.
We clarify that our emphasis on points of view has caused us to be unable to rely on awareness. We come to see that focusing on points of view has affected all of our relationships. The misunderstanding that caused us to emphasize these points of view cannot be clearly seen until they are delineated, written and openly considered. Without this, points of view remain a source of confusion. Examination of viewpoints makes it easier to gain confidence in awareness.
What is undistracted?
Action: We become entirely ready to let point of view be as it is.In
Inquiry Six, we become ready to let all our
points of view be as they are. Fear, anger, points of view about
work, relationship, money, food and sex continue to arise and
flow on by. It is important to know that the arising of these is
evidence of awareness. We increasingly understand and recognize
that all points of view are awareness only.
What is absolutely reliable?
Action: We rely on awareness to let point of view be as it is.
In Inquiry Seven, we see that it is important to rely on awareness to let point of view be as it is. There is no need to indulge, renounce, transform, refine or analyze points of view. Simply let them flow on by. Rely on awareness rather than trying to alter the course of points of view. It is awarenessthe source of the dynamic energy of points of viewthat is emphasized. Nothing need be done about the points of view.
What about us is entirely free as body and mind?
Action: We make a list of avoided relationships and become willing and committed to harmonizing these relationships.
In Inquiry Eight we become willing and committed to relying on awareness in all relationships. It is important to stop avoiding relationship as a means to achieve well-being; our commitment to this must be unshakable. We face everything and avoid nothing. We rely on awareness, let viewpoints flow on by and allow the natural perfection of awareness to bring harmony to all situations. By the power of relying on awareness, we no longer avoid relationships.
What has no other?
Action: We harmonize relationships.
Inquiry Nine is an action Inquiry in which we rely on awareness enough to verbalize appreciation for our relationships and make changes in the relationships that we have avoided. Feeling sincerely sorry for avoiding relationship is only a starting point. It must be followed up by the harmonious action that is natural to awareness. As long as we are blaming someone or something for our points of view, we are not relying on awareness.
What is uncompounded?
Action: Awareness clarifies all daily activities.
Inquiry Ten supports us in keeping the principles of the previous Inquiries alive on a moment-to-moment basis by the power of relying on awareness. To maintain our commitment to awareness, we continue to watch for avoided relationships and to make direct changes when necessary. We rely on awareness and come to see all thoughts, emotions and experiences as naturally perfect.
What is always present?
Action: We rely on awareness for the solution to all problems, personal and collective.
In becoming certain of the power of awareness, there is a deep sense of relief and well-being. Compassion is natural to this certainty. We increasingly have harmonious relationships. We can accept that each time we rely on awareness and feel even slightly more compassionate, it is a direct result of our commitment to awareness.
What is indestructible?
Action: We empower others with the balanced view of awareness and demonstrate its power to create world unity and peace.
It is through awareness that we find a completely ordinary dignity as a human being. Emphasis on points of view is replaced by the balanced view of awareness and its natural integrity that is focused on the unity of all. Relying on awareness has moved beyond being a personal accomplishment. We care deeply about life and about our own effect on the world. We realize that all is united in the balanced view of awareness.
Lots more on Candice's website at http://www.greatfreedom.org/index.html
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