Jerry Katz
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Highlights #972

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Monday, February 11, 2002


Enlightenment? Is it so common?

Jody & Friends,

(E)> Ramakrishna didn't promote himself with
endless self advertising,
> pumping himself up all over the local media,
seeking people out for
> the sole apparent object of being rude to them,
and thus inflating
> himself.

(J) In fact he did. He claimed to his devotees that he was an
incarnation of God. This was clearly an act of self disclosure,
which is what the woman in question is doing.

(E) In fact, he didn't, but don't take my word for it (as if I
thought you would), check out any of a number of eyewitness accounts
of his life and activities. The most well known, accounted by many as
the most powerful spiritual document of our time, is "the Gospel of
Shri Ramakrishna" by M. M was a school teacher who was so magnetized
by Ramakrishna that by his second meeting he decided to try to take
down word for word everything that happened in his company on the 2
or 3 days a week when he could visit with him. He had a prodigious
memory for conversation as it turned out, and the fullaccounting of
these meetings has a remarkable cumulative effect. Each of his
entries is dated and all of the people cited are mentioned by name.
They were all real people, not anonymous medieval minstrels or monks.
Many, not surprisingly, were known only to their neighbors, but a
growing number, as Ramakrishna's reputation and accounts of his
effect on people spread, were famous public personalities with
sizable reputations to protect. M, the author, and all the people he
documented in his remarkable account were also real historical

(E) ParamahansaYogananda, whose book Autobiography of a Yogi is
pretty well known in these forums, met M (Mahendranath) during one of
his trips around India, and documented his meeting with him in a
remarkable account of M giving Yogananda, who was already a world
famous spiritual figure, his first taste of Bhava Samadhi merely by
touching him on the chest. Yogananda's description of what he saw
while under the influence of that singular state is one of the most
striking passages in his book. M claimed that he received this
ultimate gift from Ramakrishna in the few years that he knew him.

(E) Of course, Yogananda wasn't the only famous yogi to share his
Ramakrishna stories with the West. Many Westerners learned all their
basic information about the various yogas from Swami Vivekananda's
many books and transcribed lectures. Vivekananda was a strict
nondualist Advaitin, Jody, not unlike yourself, and I'd be surprised
if you weren't familiar with his major works on Vedanta. Most
Americans who came into personal contact with the Swami, including we
are told, Teddy Roosevelt, felt that they were in the company of a
spiritual genius. He literally took America by storm. But when he
spoke of spiritual genius, he spoke only of his Guru, Shri
Ramakrishna, who he frequently compared to Christ. He also frequently
commented on his humility.

(E) So, see if you can dig up any stories of egregious self promotion
in Vivekananda's accounts of his time with Ramakrishna, Jody, and
while you're at it, you should look up the relevant passages in M's
Gospel that deal with Ramakrishna's "claims" to be an incarnation. In
word for word transcriptions that you obviously accept, despite your
inability to remember them properly, you will see that Ramakrishna,
teasing his devotees, would ask them what they thought of him. On
different occasions, when one of them like Vivekananda, notorious
among the deciples for his uncompromising nondualism and inability to
accept the idea of a personal manifestation of God, would melt under
the torrent of spiritual emotion that surrounded Ramakrishna and
would confess that surely he (R) was the incarnation of God himself,
Ramakrishna would chuckle and say something like, "Well, if you think

(E) It was love play between a great Bhakta and his young devotees,
and part of his humorous commentary on their insistent nondualistic
denial of the personal incarnation of God. Just read it again, Jody,
and I think you will see that the dialogue is loaded with fun, a game
of badinage between a traditional Indian guru, in a country notorious
for it's love affair with it's incarnations, and his "sophisticated"
young, western influenced, college educated disciples.

(E) Try and get into the spirit of the thing, Jody. I think you'll
get it.

(J) However, your idea of our lady's "apparent object" is clearly
your projection and conjecture.

(E) The number of people she has mocked and finally dismissed from
her web site isn't my conjecture, Jody. Nor is it my projection that
she can be found frequently appearing on other peoples' web sites for
the exclusive purpose of putting herself and her own Eotr site over
to anyone who'll bite, which may account for the fact that her
appearances on sites other than her own are in one or two-off
appearances, and cease as soon as she's delivered her pitch.

(E) > You write as if all personal characteristics have the same weight
and moral valence. Where did you ever get this idea? Surely not from
the writings of anybody who has ever been acknowledged to be a sage or
a saint?

(J)I've come to depend on internal sources for my understanding,
as well as advice from good friends and mentors.

(E) If I were to tell you that Jerry can fly, and then under
questioning allow as how I rely on my "internal sources" for this
understanding, I have a hard time seeing you, Jody, the hard ass
skeptic who recently put Paul to the wall day after day for the same
kind of reasoning, buying it.

(E) (OK, OK, Jerry. Just kidding. I know you can fly.)

(E) > Haven't you noticed that, allowing for personal variables and
> cultural differences, all saints and sages share certain benign
> characteristics?

(J) Absolutely not. First of all, by the time the stories of the
saints get to us, they have been thoroughly and completely
disinfected and whitewashed of their humanity and historical
accuracy. The phenomenon is called hagiography, and it occurs
whenever a saint has a devoted following to carry on his/her
work after they leave the body.

(E) As I tried to point out with my Ramakrishna remarks, we aren't
talking about pre-Columbian mythic deities here, or 2000 year old
stories written by non traceable church fathers. We're discussing the
witnessed accounts of modern historical figures, with personal
histories known to hundreds of people: people who have frequently met
their parents, talked to their teachers and developed personal
relationships with their devotees as well as individually with them.
Please notice that I've purposely not mentioned beings like Shirdi
Sai Baba (the original Sai Baba) or the head of Yogananda's lineage,
Babaji. I have explicitly omitted them because the stories of their
miracles aren't the kind of thing that reliable witnesses can be
found to attest to. Their mythic stature can easily be interpreted as
merely modern myth.
(E)But Jody, let me ask you, have Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta
Maharaj "been thoroughly disinfected and white washed of their
humanity and historical accuracy"? How about Meher Baba and Annanda
Moyi Ma? Isn't almost everything we think we know about them based
on painfully complete transcriptions, question and answer sessions
and eye witness accounts?

(E) Much more to the point, is anyone asking us to validate any of
these people, as you validate J, soley on the basis of their
own "internal sources"?

(J) Secondly, there have been many, many more saints we know nothing
about because they didn't have a following, or at least one that
endeavored to keep their memory alive.

(E) But are there, that's the real question, isn't it? How do we
know about "many, many...saints" if no one remembers them or has even
bothered to create any record of their passing. Most people who think
they've encountered a real Saint can't shut up, and tell their
relatives and everyone they know about it in no time. Soon, groups
gather on weekends. Devotees and disciples emerge from people who
thought they were just coming over to see what all the fuss was
about. We all know how this kind of thing happens. After all, it's
happened to many of us.

(E) I mean, come on, Jody. If someone thinks a paint stain on a wall
looks like a portrait of Jesus, within days vast crowds, not to
mention the supermarket tabloids, show up and the police have to be
called in to restore order.

(E)> Haven't you noticed as well, that with the singular
> modern exception of Ramana Maharshi, that lineage and a realized
> teacher usually plays a significant part in the public acceptance
>of someone's claims to Enlightenment?

(J) No. I know of a number of individuals who've come to Self realization
without the benefit of an established lineage.

(E) OK. Prove it (just joking). Well how about putting up some kind
of reasonable argument for such a novel (and again, strikingly
personal) claim? After all, most of us attending this site have paid
attention to this kind of thing for the better part of our lives; we
read the books, we attend the lectures and satsangs, we major in
religion or philosophy at college, we go on the retreats; if we can't
come up with the names of much more than half a dozen uncompromised
living saints, and I mean world wide, how do you think we'll take it
if you claim to know " a number" of them? With envy, perhaps? Or,
maybe, with just a tad of skepticism?

(E) > Jody, I know that you are friends, at least literary friends, with
> many people on this list and others like HS, who are personally
> familiar with the lady in question. I suggest you try out your
> Ramakrishna comparison with off-line with some of them, and see
>what they think. It's my guess that you'll be met with howls of
>friendly mirth and sent back to your drawing board for another look.
>Equally, in the same line, if you ask them whether one of us is
>projecting, I don't think they will encourage you to think it's me.

(J) They might not all like her or agree with her methods, but those
I've come to respect as being in understanding can see that the
lady in question has indeed come to the same understanding.

(E) I assume that you're talking here about some of the same good
friends and mentors you mentioned above, or are these the same
individuals who have "come to Self Realization without the benefit of
an established lineage"? Because if they know "the lady in
question", and they know that you think her "understanding" is not
only equal to their own, but also, by your own admission, to that of
beings like Ramakrishna, Ramana and Nisargadatta, I've got to assume
that at least some of them are familiar with these large nondualism
forums, as well as the more modest ones like the lady's Eotr.

(E) Why then, don't you tell us who they are, Jody, so we too can
enjoy the obvious benefits of their acquaintance?

(E) I don't mind telling you, and I'm sure that everyone else here
would agree with me, that I would make extraordinary sacrifices to be
able to take the darshan of such spiritually accomplished beings,
assuming all you say about them is correct. Why keep us in the dark?
After all, Self Realization is why we're here.



You mention Vivekananda, Ramakrishna, Shirdi Sai Baba, and Yogananda. You mention their fame, the
reverence accorded them, as well as certain energies that crop up around them. They are all impressive
figures in the history of Indian spirituality. But even if none of it were exaggeration, it's still not what Jody is
talking about.

Let me ask you something - is it your goal to have the same worldwide renown and influence as these men
have? Or to have the same energies related to the subtle body so as to be able to induce samadhi in
others? If so, then your best chance at these accomplishments would be the following: find a really good
guru, do intense meditation, yoga, devotion, and the other various spiritual practices. Who knows how
many lifetimes it might take?




Dear Brother Greg,

I don't think that Eric has those goals that you suggest he has. I
doubt that Eric needs to find a really good guru, and spend life
times in exercising and dieting, and avoiding eating potatoe salad

Eric is actually a deeply experienced and wise person and does not
feel the need to cater to the usage of particular combination of
words and nondual lingo.

I respect Eric for that. For those who don't know, Eric is a very
decent and good hearted person.

Eric is making distinctions between people as they appear to him and
he has every right to.

Nondual bullying is the best! :-). I love you guys.

Love to all


Hi Matthew,

You have an uncanny and unique way of going to the heart of the matter!!!!
"What is Jody talking about??"

Jody, please correct me if I make the wrong attribution here! Jody he seems to be
talking about something that Judi talk a lot about too. I'll put it in terms of
entities. The Understanding is a kind of apperception, a deep, immediate, global,
non-intellectual intuition that things or entities are not. Are not what? Are not
independent, are not solid, or self-standing, or truly existent. Now this doesn't
mean that there's an apperception of entities that they are the opposite, that is,
non-existent or dependent, effervescent, dependent on other things, etc. It's
rather that psychic, emotional, intellectual reliance on entitification seemingly
melts. Not just "one's own" entity, but all entities, even the cup of tea.

Now of course this is the entire paradox. The entitification or solid thing-ness
can't really melt away, since it never was. It was neither present before, nor
absent now. Does a round square exist, or is it the subject of a quality such as
non-existence? In terms of the either/or thinking behind this question, the round
square would have to exist for it to not exist!! Entitification, essentialism,
nihilism, voidism -- they all hang together. It's this very kind thinking that
becomes pacified.

It's not that things and people exist or non-exist. Rather, they have no where to
stand. This includes the seeing of them. In terms of Consciousness, they are
nothing other than Consciousness. In terms of Presence, there is only here. In
terms of dependent arising, things are empty of independence of all kinds. So
what happens is not that things are seen absolutely to not exist. Rather that the
subject/object, yes/no, light_on/light_off kind experiencing does not take place.
The binary model loses its grip, because it is part and parcel of this solid

Two points about this Understanding. One point is that this Understanding has
no place to stand either. This is why Understanding cannot really be had by
anyone, even though it is spoken of as though it is had by this person and that
sage. Understanding has no before or after. One could say that everything IS this
Understanding. One could also say:

Before this Understanding, it seems like this Understanding happens to a
particular person at a particular time, but after this Understanding, it no longer
seems like that :-) .

The other point is one that Dan and Eric and I were talking about in this thread:
I'm not sure whether Eric agrees with this, but this kind of Understanding is not
accompanied by any certain set of behaviors. You can be a nice, generous person
and lack it, or be a rude scoundrel and have it. WAIT A MINUTE!! Did he say
HAVE THIS UNDERSTANDING?!!? Yes I did, but this is off-hand talk, the kind
of talk where a body/mind can have this intuitive Understanding in the same sense
as we can have a cup of tea. And it is in this sense that Judi speaks on her list
about getting serious and taking a look at what one is doing.

See ya!


So, for Greg, who has this Understanding,
there is no one who isn't it.
So he's not concerned with having it or
not having it.

For Schlamozzel, who doesn't have this
Understanding, Greg seems to be one of
very few people who Schlamozzel believes has it,
because Greg acts like everyone already is it.
Schlamozzel doesn't act like everyone already
is it, particularly Schlamozzel,
so he concludes that Greg probably has
it, whereas he, Schlamozzel doesn't.

Judy rudely tells Schlamozzel to take a good look,
and Schlamozzel knows that Judy can't possibly
have this Understanding, because she is rude,
and doesn't act like everyone is it.

But, does Judy actually have the same Understanding
that Greg has, that there is no one who isn't it?
Can she be rude, and still have
it, because she knows that no rudeness
on her part prevents it from being the case?

If so, then isn't Schlamozzel actually
it the whole time, pretending he doesn't know
who he is, as if being it were something that could be
forgotten, when it is always already the case?

Is Schlamozzel to be thanked for playing this part,
for providing drama, and sometimes comic relief,
for giving Greg an audience and Judy someone
to rudely tell to take a look?

-- Dan


I don't know -- we'll have to see what Schlamozzel says about it...


For the American Yiddish
impaired, a "schlamozzel"
is a hapless person, one
often suffering indignities
at the hands of foolish or
incompetent people, who are
in turn referred to with
terms like "schmuck" and
"putz," both of which are
(coincidentally?) slang
terms for the business end
of the male genitalia.

Just to be a shmuck, let me point out that it should
technically be something more like "shlimazel", since
it actually means "bad luck" (Yiddish-Hebrew), which
is appropriate. There is a classical explanation of
the shlemiel, the one who drops his tray of cafeteria
food... on the shlimazel. And then the nebbish comes
by for no apparent reason and cleans it up.
Stan (not usually a shmuck, but I guess I qualify as
nebbish in this case).


Thanks Eric-ji,

Yes, you probably did make your point very clear, I might not have been paying good enough
attention. I respect the way you are going about all this, as well as the way you talk about it!

You know Eric, I actually agree with you in an important way. This particular thread has
contained both the words Understanding and Enlightenment. I wrote a lot about Understanding
and how it doesn't necessitate any particular character attributes.

But as for enlightenment, I didn't say too much about that! I much prefer the Mahayana
Buddhist notion of enlightenment that you find in the Middle Way Schools (Ge-Lug-Ba in Tibet
and the Three Sastra School in China). It is downright supernatural, and no human qua human
has achieved it. It comes many kalpas after the stage in which one is free of cyclic existence,
afflictions and suffering. At that stage, if one chooses to continue to help others, and not remain
in solitary realization of the lack of inherent existence of things, one becomes a Bodhisattva.
The Bodhisattva wants to achieve enlightenment only to skillfully assist others in ending their
suffering. The Bodhisattva continues to practice for as many incarnations as it takes to attain (i)
full omniscience which assists (ii) the fully developed abilities to skillfully assist all sentient
beings end their suffering. That is enlightenment, that is Buddhahood,according to the
Mahayana paths. At that point, Buddhas can assist each being in the way best suited for that
being. Omniscience is spoken of like this: all thoughts and all senses and even all pores in the
skin are simultaneously aware of all truths, past, present and future. Of course, Buddhas have
only positive, kind, helpful character attributes!

As notions of enlightenment go, it's the most grandiose I've ever seen, and certainly keeps ya
humble :-) ....



Dan asked: "If you say there is such a thing as
nondependent X, then how could you possibly know?"

Perhaps you could ask his or her tax accountant. (I
suppose if it were XX, you would know if it's her or
him.) (chromosome joke) (although even then...) Well,
perhaps I ought not to mention XXX.

LOve, Mark
ps I hope Jerry has a nice trip, although why he wants
me to post, I sure don't know.
pps My cup of tea just melted, so I gotta go hang up
my pants. see ya. (Judi DID tell me to watch what I
was doing, but did I listen? NOOOOOOOOO!)
ppps Oh, I just reread Dan's question and I see that
another plausible answer is "I heared myself say it."
pppps or, you could ask her hairdresser. (only her
hairdresser knows for sure... try to keep up, okay?)
ppppps Okay, that's enough of this nonsense for now
pppppps Didjamissme?
Hi Gang,

Please ignore the previous post by markwotter704, as
it was typed in by a thousand monkeys typing randomly
for a thousand years. (and edited by Shakespeare
funnily enough...) What I really MEANT to say was that
I was enjoying the thread and also enjoying the
associative memory of this silly sketch, which I'm
pleased to see exists on the internet so I don't have
to search through my albums, which are in storage and
more than likely on the bottom in the back in
nondescript boxes just like everything else I
purportedly own, and listen to the damned thing again
to transcribe it, which I probably would have done
because I'm a complete idiot with no priorities
whatsoever. (except of course for the one priority of
devoting every single waking, dreaming, and probably
every deep sleep moment (although I seem to have
misplaced my notes) to MYSELF, whether or not it
exists.) Whew. I needed that.

Enjoy the Monty Python thing. I do. Almost as much as
sex. (Well, probably more frequently, but that might
actually NOT be something I want to brag about.)
Hmmm... perhaps it's time to be quiet a moment...


non-dependent entities can only be implied by human concepts which seem to
point to but do not therefore establish them.

the ego is such an entity which is merely implied but not therefore
established by any number of thoughts *about* it.

thoughts themselves merely flash and fade like dust motes in the sunbeam of
awareness with no substance apart from the borrowed light in which they

awareness is the currently operating experiencing of all and it has no other

if there is any "you" or "I" we are that awareness and as such have always
been perfectly liberated from the implied drama of a person who was merely
implied by thoughts but who never in fact existed (apart from those very


P.S. forgive the pseudonym but it's shorter than anon and conveniently
describes my whereabouts on the internet...

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