18 May 2016
Alan continues the teaching on the four greats by venturing into Maha Mudita, Great Empathetic Joy. In the Mahayana Buddhist context, reaching the path of accumulation entails the achievement of shamatha and bodhicitta, and then sealing it with insight into emptiness – there is no going back from there. Alan comments that Buddhism is not evangelical. Moreover, there are many paths from all wisdom traditions, and the book by Aldous Huxley’s entitled “The Perennial Philosophy” he read many years ago, provides the idea that all these paths point in a similar direction to the ultimate ground of reality. Consummate scholars of comparative religion such as Huston Smith and Ninian Smart endorse the idea of the perennial philosophy. Maha Mudita then becomes the wish and the resolve that all people of all wisdom traditions find the path within their own tradition. Alan continues that also science could become a genuine path for which we can express the resolve of Maha Mudita. Alan quotes William James to suggest that philosophy can also be a path itself, where philosophy and science complement each other as when knowledge becomes consensual it moves from the discipline of philosophy to science. In each case, as demonstrated by the Galilean revolution, a strategy for developing and entering the path of inquiry is needed. This is evident in the modern ‘philosophy of mind’ where the nature of consciousness is not being properly addressed due to the path being the prevailing burying of heads in the sands of scientific materialism. An authentic path is thus critical, and we can express the aspiration that all people enter the path of their own wisdom tradition. Alan also comments on the power and blessings of devotion to Amitābha and the aspiration to enter Sukhāvatī. Alan continues commenting with examples on the lack of consensus in philosophy after more than 2000 years, and the dominance of modern science, and says there is a need for a revolution in the mind sciences to overcome the prevailing paradigm of scientific materialism to promote genuine well-being for all. Alan says the Tuscany retreat and potential Contemplative Observatory is in the right neighborhood for such a revolution, given the scientific revolution began in Galileo’s Pisa and the Renaissance in Florence. A renaissance in contemplative inquiry of all the paths of world religions is necessary so that all beings may never be parted from genuine happiness free of sorrow. For any of these to be a path, we need to explore the nature of the mind and the observer. We need to achieve shamatha, which is pure technology.
The meditation is on Great Empathetic Joy.
Following the meditation, Alan comments on the current prominence of movements throughout the world of religious fundamentalism and scientific materialism.
The meditation starts at 1:00:00
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