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To: K-list
Recieved: 1999/12/17 11:58
Subject: Re: [K-list] Re: Suffering as lllusion?
From: Gcwein1111

On 1999/12/17 11:58, Gcwein1111 posted thus to the K-list:

In a message dated 12/15/99 9:59:19 PM Eastern Standard Time, CKRESSATnospamaol.com

 Some people extract perceptual realities from one level and try to impose
 them on another. It's analogous to an adult declaring to an infant, "Hey,
 quit laying around helpless in your crib and go get a job. I did it, and so
 can you." Or someone in peak condition in their twenties marching into a
 nursing home and prevailing upon the elderly residents to cast aside their
 wheelchairs and start training for the Olympics. Well intentioned, perhaps,
 but really badly-timed advice. You can spend your life leaning over the
 exhorting to the fish: "Gills are history. Grow lungs!" Unless their
 biological clocks are geared to >>
 l think this is an accurate characterization of the nature and impact
of the "suffering is an illusion" message. Maybe it is accurate on one level
of reality, but in most respects this is not the level at which life is lived
on this planet. The mark of true spiritual development and maturity consists
not of making glib statements like this, but in being able to open one's
heart to others with genuine compassion and understanding. Mother Teresa
didn't stand over the suffering masses of Calcutta and condescendingly
explain to them that they weren't really suffering after all. She opened her
heart and offered them her life, and in essence became one with those who
were suffering. Jesus' words would not have been remembered if he hadn't - by
taking his place on the cross- joined humanity in fully experiencing
suffering. l don't know what Jesus said while on the cross, but l've never
heard that he shrugged off the pain.
  Of course, it is always important to know that we do have the
power to help alleviate our suffering; that pain and suffering are not
necessarily synonymous, and that resistance to pain can both cause and
increase suffering. But that is a far cry from dismissing suffering as an
illusion. The only thing l would state differently from El would be to say
that the teachers from eastern traditions whom l've followed have not done
this. l never heard Jack Kornfield (or other vipassana teachers) discuss or
respond to suffering in this way. Gandhi, who modeled his life after the
teachings of the Gita, certainly didn't, nor has the Dalai Lama or countless
others. When His Holiness greets the refugees who've managed to survive their
harrowing escape over the Himalayas, he opens his arms and comforts them,
offering his compassion. He doesn't tell them their suffering is all an
illusion. The primary thrust of all the Tibetan lamas l studied with (or
read) was the emphasis on compassion, not that suffering is an illusion.
    Now, l'd like to try to minimize any
suffering l've caused by this post (LOL!): l don't mean to be putting
William or anyone else down. l have no way of knowing what another's
experience or even true meaning or intention is. l only know how the
"suffering is illusion" message comes across, and that even if it is true on
one level, this is not the message the world needs to hear. lt has its
place, but as a mantra it gets old fast - especially to someone who's


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