Changing the world versus changing yourself!

GuruZero

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"The world will change when we all can transmute ourselves and see it as it REALLY is"
Many people, even so called spiritual people are very political. In the meditation group I'd visit there is constant fear of "what if Trump gets elected or what if...[imagine some political stunt] here...
This is the sure sign that your inner peace is a farce, when you think you are enlightened yet fret about election year!
There are many things I dislike about the world (social or political) but I cannot and I will not attempt to change them! I want to change me, first and then I'd hope many would do likewise and mind your own salvation. Do not worry about others, how they'd vote, what they eat, or believe in or they worship! Just mind your own business, then I can see you are advanced spiritually.
 

GuruZero

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It has always been a conundrum. Self enlightenment is (or should be) the goal. At the same time evil flourishes when good people do nothing.
There will be no light at the end of the tunnel when men of spiritual nature become advocates or activists! The two do not mix. I have no qualms of activist doing their stuff and spiritual men just gaze that navel :)
 

BigJoeNobody

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One thing that eludes me about the more "spiritual" forms of Hinduism is the lack of focus on this world. Regardless of what happens to you in the hereafter, I don't see how neglecting the needs of this world (arabic Dunya) is a good view. I'm not going to tell anyone who to vote for, nor even try to say whoever wins will do any better than the other, but I still feel an obligation to voice my concerns when society seems to be broken down. just because in the hereafter this world isn't as important, at least in my view, one must help this dunya to be as good as possible for the next generation...

If this is incomprehensible, I apologize, it has been a long day...
 

Craz

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One thing that eludes me about the more "spiritual" forms of Hinduism is the lack of focus on this world. Regardless of what happens to you in the hereafter, I don't see how neglecting the needs of this world (arabic Dunya) is a good view. I'm not going to tell anyone who to vote for, nor even try to say whoever wins will do any better than the other, but I still feel an obligation to voice my concerns when society seems to be broken down. just because in the hereafter this world isn't as important, at least in my view, one must help this dunya to be as good as possible for the next generation...

If this is incomprehensible, I apologize, it has been a long day...

Nice post,not at all incomprehensible.
Many people have the concept that being spiritual means "being in the world but not of it".
Having opinions on 'worldly matters'(and expressing them) does not make anyone less spiritual.
People who make this distinction are living in a false duality, that, in their own minds, sets them separate & above above everyone else.
Spiritual ego.

Just my 2 pence worth.(No cents and certainly no euros her in England:>))
 

GuruZero

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One thing that eludes me about the more "spiritual" forms of Hinduism is the lack of focus on this world. Regardless of what happens to you in the hereafter, I don't see how neglecting the needs of this world (arabic Dunya) is a good view. I'm not going to tell anyone who to vote for, nor even try to say whoever wins will do any better than the other, but I still feel an obligation to voice my concerns when society seems to be broken down. just because in the hereafter this world isn't as important, at least in my view, one must help this dunya to be as good as possible for the next generation...

If this is incomprehensible, I apologize, it has been a long day...

To answer; I have to quote from a book The Book of Secrets;
This sutra says that enlightened persons and unenlightened persons live in the same world. A Buddha and you both live and move in the same world – the world remains the same. The difference is not in the world, the difference happens in the Buddha: he moves in a different way. He moves among the same objects but he moves in a different way. He is his own master. His subjectivity remains aloof and untouched. That is the secret. Nothing can impress him; nothing from the outside
can condition him; nothing can overpower him. He remains detached; he remains himself. If he wants to go somewhere, he will go, but he will remain the master. If he wants to pursue a shadow, he will pursue it, but it is his own decision.
This distinction must be understood. By ‘detachment’ I don’t mean a person who has renounced the world – then there is no sense and no meaning in detachment. A detached person is a person who is living in the same world as you – the difference is not in the world. A person who renounces the world is changing the situation, not himself. And you will insist on changing the situation if you cannot change yourself. That is the indication of a weak personality. A strong person, alert and aware, will start to change himself... not the situation in which he is. Because really the situation cannot be changed – even if you can change the situation, there will be other situations. Every moment situations go on changing so every moment the problem will be there.
This is the difference between the religious and the non-religious attitude. The non-religious attitude is to change the situation, the surrounding. It doesn’t believe in you, it believes in situations: when the situation is okay, you will be okay. You are dependent on the situation: if the situation is not okay, you will not be okay. So you are not an independent entity. For communists, Marxists, socialists, and all those who believe in changing the situation, you are not important; really, you don’t exist. Only the situation exists and you are just a mirror which reflects the situation. The religious attitude says that as you are you may be a mirror, but this is not your destiny – you can become something more,
someone who is not dependent. " Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 2
 
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Senthil

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There is an old story that illustrates the non attachment to the world while still being active in the world.

Two monks of a strict order were walking the length of India when they encountered a raging stream. A small girl was weeping, worried at not being able to get home for fear of being swept away. One of the monks simply picked her up and carried her across to the other side, wading waist high to do it.

His brother monk looked surprised, as they had each taken the vows of not touching anyone outside the order, and especially females. Apparently his brother had forgotten, and broken the vow.

Three days later it all came rushing out, "Brother, I cannot believe you did that. You broke you vow back there, and I will now have to report you to the lama when we return. What a foolish thing to do! We're supposed to be detached.

The brother who had helped the small girl looked at him and said, "Brother, I carried her for 3 minutes. You carried her for 3 days."

So ... in Hinduism, if understood in the correct spirit (and I admit I've seen some people who haven't) it is the emotion that we dismiss, not the action of helping.

Of course, from anava (ego-attachment) excuses not to help often outnumber the creative ways to help. Still, often the bottom line is that it doesn't need fixing. This idea that the world needs fixing, that people are broken isn't as dominant in eastern ways.
 

EdgyDolmen

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"So which meaning does "brother's keeper" have in its original usage? The phrase comes, of course, from Genesis, chapter 4 -- God's devastating interrogation of Cain after Cain killed Abel out of rank jealousy. God asks Cain innocently, "Where is your brother, Abel?"

Obviously not only your interpretation but your religious conviction matters here. Yes?
 
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Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine

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I am not sure the two are as mutually exclusive as you suggest. Hopefully someone else will jump in with their thoughts. Hint. Hint.

Reminds me of a specific group honored by Yad Vashem: the Righteous Among the Nations. Many lost more by helping those in danger than if they had turned a blind eye to what was happening around them.

One of those included later became Pope.

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
 

Thomas

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Hi Senthil — one of my favourite reference tales.

There's a story from the Moslem traditions of Christ.

Jesus was brought to a holy man who He met a holy man and asked him, "What are you doing?" the man replied, "I have dedicated my life to God." Jesus asked, "who takes care of you?" "My brother looks after all my worldly needs," the man replied. "Then your brother loves God more than you do," Jesus said, and walked on.

There's another apocryphal tale. A 5th century Syrian monk had a dream. He was standing at the edge of a pit that led down into hell. Then he saw two men, fierce opponents of his with whom he had been contending over matters of faith. They were scrambling up the slope, but kept slipping back, and he delighted in watching their well-deserved fate overtake them. He kept kicking rocks down on them as they climbed up. Then a third man appeared, reaching out and pulling them to safety. The monk went over, to find out what the hell the man was up to. "What are you doing?"
The man hauling them out turned round. The monk saw it was Jesus. "I died to save these men from hell," Jesus said, "And you keep trying to push them in again."

Mister Eckhart, 'the Prince of Mystics', praised detachment above all the virtues. Without it, we can achieve nothing.

It's hard to comprehend just how much the contemporary western culture imbues us with a concept of self that is totally contrary to this virtue. Just look at the spirituality section of a modern bookshop, the appeal of Eastern traditions that are sometimes grossly mis-represented in and to the West.

During the 14th century, the most successful 'spiritual manual' was "The Imitation of Christ", which became a classic and was second only to the Bible for the number of languages it was translated into.

The post-Reformation Protestant communions outlawed the communities founded along its lines of simplicity. They continued in Catholic countries, but the emergence of secularism eroded its basic foundation, until today, when the simplicity of its message has become lost.

Today, in the West, 'spirituality' is largely about the feel-good factor and looking like a 'guru' with a handy-bag full of clever aphorisms from the popular traditions, notably Zen. Like 'entering prayer', modern spirituality is all about me.
 

Senthil

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Today, in the West, 'spirituality' is largely about the feel-good factor and looking like a 'guru' with a handy-bag full of clever aphorisms from the popular traditions, notably Zen. Like 'entering prayer', modern spirituality is all about me.

Beautiful lesson bearing stories. Thank you. As for this last part, I don't see it as wrong, just a stage in the grander scheme. One can choose to not live in that mindset.
 

Devils' Advocate

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Reminds me of a specific group honored by Yad Vashem: the Righteous Among the Nations. Many lost more by helping those in danger than if they had turned a blind eye to what was happening around them.

One of those included later became Pope.

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine

So the moral of the story is that you shouldn't help others because it 'might' makes things worse?
 

GuruZero

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I do not think that helping one another is bad. Helping one and other with the notion of YOU making a difference is BAD! It is our obligation to help but take your ego out of it! You are not really doing a thing that otherwise would not have been done (by , presumably someone else). If you live in the naive notion to make a difference or make this a better place, think again! More often than not it starts out beneficially and ends with self serving and filled with control. (just look at the Democrats in the US...are black people any better off, under their governance?)
 

Devils' Advocate

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I never suggested ego had anything to do with it. If everyone ignored a thing with the presumption that someone else would deal with it, well that would mean no one ever helped! It is not naive to think one can make a difference. We can make a difference. The best most of us can expect is to make a small difference. I cannot save all the dogs that are in the pound waiting to be euthanized. I can save a few and give them a lifelong loving home. That is the difference I can make.

Some people are capable of making a difference that is world wide. Gandhi was one. Hitler was another!
 

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine

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So the moral of the story is that you shouldn't help others because it 'might' makes things worse?

No. The "moral" of the "story" is to lend a hand to those truly in need of help because (to paraphrase the Talmud [I believe]): if you save one life, it is like you have saved the entire world. Yes, some of the Righteous had lost everything, but the people that were saved have helped others and so forth.

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
 

Thomas

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It is not naive to think one can make a difference. We can make a difference. The best most of us can expect is to make a small difference... Some people are capable of making a difference that is world wide. Gandhi was one. Hitler was another!
Oh, I agree!

The latter, of course, fall into the rare category of noticeable difference. How many people know of Adolf Hitler, and how many can say that the directly affected their lives? Not many, I would warrant, although he did.

And Tim Berners-Lee, I might suggest, is a reverse case, how many people know the name, and how many lives have been changed by the internet? And I don't mean by some internet miracle, simply by the fact that the internet has impacted on the world in which they live.

Every person changes the world, simply by their presence in it. (It's gotta be a quantum thing, surely?)
 
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