(water lily. Nicte Ha in the Mayan Language, flowers at night)
jeudi 20 février 2014
WE ARE ALL LOOKING FOR A BETTER LIFE ...thoughts of Eastern Philosophers
We are all looking for a Better Life!
I spend time thinking about the three different philosophies that I have become interested in over the years: The Yogic philosophy of Patanjali, the Buddhist philosophy and that of the Native Americans.
At times, I am amazed, even though I should not be, of the similarities between the three different branches of the same tree. And after that, when I read Jiddu Krishnamurty, I feel that here is a man who has managed to merge all that into a humanitarian philosophy.
All talk about the hypocrisy of the outer world, and our eagerness to join it for morsels of happiness on an uneven basis and pathways of sacrifice within oneself to attain a greater contentment within. Another thread connecting all these ancient philosophies is social characteristics, which brings happiness to individuals and countries.
We don't think of countries adopting social attitudes that benefit humanity as a whole, starting with their own inhabitants. Bhutan and Cuba are two countries, which have taken Compassion, Solidarity and Relationships to a newer level over cross sections of their societies. Gross National Happiness in Bhutan and Solidarity in Cuba are two expressions of that national attempt at the betterment of its populations.
Buddha had explained that SUFFERING is the result of CRAVING through three poisons
If you look at the Kleishas or Structural defects of the Mind, delineated by Patanjali
Greed corresponds to ATTACHMENT
HATRED, to AVERSION
And DELUSION to IGNORANCE.
Yoga now in the west and emerging countries synonymous with EXERCISE, MEDITATION and RELAXATION, not to mention the entry of the train of charlatans, such as Hot Yoga among others.
The philosophy behind YOGA is much more than all these but as Patanjali had said: Yoga is complete control of human personality. It is a complete control over our whole personality: the body, the mind and more.
In search for a Better Life, we study, then study some more, to acquire knowledge to gain employment, we migrate, reassure ourselves of the reasons for doing so, we seek self purification through religion and its rituals. We are after that elusive SUCCESS which would then define ourselves in the societies we live in.
Most people in this world, alas, including the billion or so who scrape a living have no luxury over the poor objective of physical survivor. In this our minds are similar to the instincts of our mammalian ancestors.
When this survival attitude survives through the economic betterment of people’s lives as has happened in Malaysia and Singapore, the society tends to suffer because of the ignorance about the deep values of human existence. Greed, Hatred and Delusion are carried into the comfort of their new homes and relationships. Ignorance prevents them to examine the superficialities of their life.
Success is always measured in quantitative terms of the very same things that stand in the way of self-realizations
Career and Work
Relationships, personal as well as with the Society
And other societal forces
All the above stand in the way of success as a human being, we celebrate just one aspect of our lives: Work and Money.
Alain de Botton, the British philosopher talks of success in relative terms. American Indians would take a universal and spiritual view of what they consider to be success, where collective values supersede individual values. What you do for others is the measure of success in that society. Botton argues that you cannot be successful in everything, more successful in some and more unsuccessful in other areas, all measured values.
What is missing is the Gold Standard, as the Yanks would say or Yardstick as the Brits would say, how to measure our “success” through life. One such yardstick has been mentioned in connection with small tribal societies: you are successful if you do more for others.
In the absence of a yardstick or ignorance of such, life becomes a wanton waste in search of pleasures and false concepts which makes us go further in search of such pleasures or deep into false concepts.
In the words of a rich Asian, spending 1000 USD for a bottle of wine while having no taste for it, eat and Drink, since life has no meaning, you get old, get fat and die anyway. No need for discretions, caring of your mind or body.
When I was thinking about these matters this morning, I am once again amazed, even though I shouldn't be, at the similarities between the Philosophy of Patanjali and that of the Buddha.
I shouldn't be, as they are both products of similar milieu, 2500 years ago, in what is now North India. Both philosophers stress the capacities of ones mind to save oneself, not salvation though religion or God Figures. Buddha was never elevated to the status of a God, as happened to Mohammed or Jesus. Patanjali was all but forgotten during the long reign of Moslems over Northern India, followed by the British rule, until India became an independent country in 1948. The western Interest in Yoga has revitalized to some degree an interest in its philosophy. Westerners are also attracted to the Buddhist philosophy, as they become disillusioned with religious practices incompatible with greatly improved intellectual capacities, and a stagnant and non-evolving belief system out of touch with the modern world.
Whereas this modernity makes us search for an answer and both Patanjali and Buddha offer us the tantalizing possibility of a higher objective- a chance for ourselves to gauge our spiritual, physical and mental progress through life, without extracting any mental, spiritual, emotional cost from other human beings.
(I feel grateful for my long association with American Indians)
But most of us are happy to be attached to the colourful imitation of a pure consciousness, which we term EGO.
This is what makes the world a place of misery, says Patanjali. Buddha talks of the suffering in this world. The attachment to this outer world causes pain and suffering, according to both Patanjali and Buddha. Do not look for perfection in an imperfect outer world, that would be an illusion, but Patanjali takes us on the path to a higher consciousness through his Yoga Sutras, the philosophy of Yoga, more than exercise, more than meditation, much more than relaxation.
Dalai Lama talks repeatedly about the fallacy of thinking that the material world would bring you happiness. He stresses, if you want to make another person happy, be compassionate; if you want to make yourself happy, be compassionate.
Those who like Eastern Philosophers, the name of Jiddu Krishnamurthy is familiar. Here is one quote from him, relevant to this discussion.
Now, what is it that makes the mind superficial? Please don't merely listen to me, but observe, be aware of your own thinking when a question like that is put to you. What makes the mind superficial? Why cannot the mind experience something that is true, beyond its own projections? Is it not primarily the gratification that each one is seeking that makes the mind superficial? We want at any price to be gratified, to find satisfaction, so we seek methods to achieve that end. And is there such a thing as gratification, ever? Though we may be temporarily satisfied, and change the object of our satisfaction depending on our age, is there satisfaction at any time? Desire is constantly seeking to fulfill itself, so we go from one satisfaction to another, and getting caught in each new satisfaction, with all its complications, we again become dissatisfied and try to disentangle ourselves. We cling to persons, pursue teachers, join groups, read books, take up one philosophy after another, but the central desire is always the same: to be satisfied, to be secure, to become somebody, to achieve a result, to gain an end. Is not that whole process one of the primary causes of the mind's superficiality? - Krishnamurti, The Collected Works "Krishnamurti" by Pupul Jayakar