Monday, March 27, 2006

Unitive experience

Try to guess what tradition the person who wrote the following was a part of:
"Many times throughout my years of meditation, in coming out of a session with a group, my perception of others is dramatically altered. I notice something completely extraordinary. Rather than perceiving these people as completely separate from me, as I normally do, I feel that difference disappear; I realize that no differences exist between and among us, that we are united in a deeper, ineffable reality. Although I perceive us as distinct, all sense of separation is gone.

"Another way to express this perception is to say that distance is overcome. There is no real sense of distance between these people and me. Much of the separation that seems to exist is cultural and psychological, determined by our socialization. Time and space fold into unity, and I experience others -- and, I hope, they me -- in a timeless, spaceless now, an immediacy of the real ground of love from which we are always coming forth and to which we are returning. It is an incredible beautiful, organic, peaceful state."

So, what do you think?

Tibetan Buddhism?


Taoism maybe?


The quote comes from A Monk in the World (pp. 38) by the late Brother Wayne Teasdale, a Catholic mystic. Yet they could have just as easily been the words of a Ch'an (Zen, Soen, etc) monk, or a Tibetan lama, or a Nichiren teacher, or a Pure Land priest, let alone a Taoist sage. Formlessness giving rise to form, form melting back into formlessness, simulataneously and perpetually, ancient and new, always changing and forever the same. This same realization is of course expressed in Buddhism through the teachings of emptiness, no self, and dependent coarising, but as with all such teachings based on direct experience, it does not belong to any one person, or one group, or one tradition.

Have you ever known such a unitive experience?

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  1. Maybe this is totally off but this is moving into the arena of mysticism which I define as all religions coming together to embrace a greater Truth, a greater Unity.

    Have you ever read "The Life Divine" by Sri Aurobindo? Or the books by Dr. David R. Hawkins (not the scientist)?? They are great books on Mysticism. I like to call "myself" a "Buddhist Mystic."

    That "The Life Divine" is an EXCELLENT book but it is HUGE. I started in a couple years ago and am still wading through it. It's not the kind of book that you just read straight through. It takes reading segments then setting it down and contemplating/meditating upon what you just read. Anyway, I highly recommend it.

  2. I have read some selected portions of Meister Eckhart and Thomas Merton, the more mystical oriented stuff by contemporary Buddhist masters, and The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World's Religions by Teasdale in which the whole point is whatr you are kind of describing (he envisions all mystics as part of a universal order of sannyasa).

    I will have to add your recommendations to my "the next time I find time and money for leisure reading" list. :o) Thanks.


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