Warning!! Remember the Diamond sutra Warning!!.

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Understanding Threshold

Understanding the meaning of this threshold is developing.

What has taken me across it? This is very important because of the disturbance zandtao experienced when crossing it. What took him across was creativity – the search for the unknown. The final "stages" of how he reached the search for the unknown were described in Viveka-Zandtao and happened when he was studying Thay’s significant sutras in Awakening the Heart but was not because of the teachings. This creativity, quest for the unknown, is developing autonomy. It was autonomy that took zandtao across this threshold and not teachings, although for zandtao it coincided with prajna-paramitta. The teachings of prajna-paramitta might be a significant aspect of this threshold because zandtao has come from Theravada, but that has to be investigated as part of the quest.

The first sutra zandtao focussed on with regards to this threshold is the Diamond Sutra - discussed in Awakening the Heart. Whatever happens as you cross this threshold, hold strong to the dhamma practice that took you to the threshold. Viveka-Zandtao took zandtao as seeker into the unknown, it is necessary for zandtao to remain strong to what took him there – the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness (and related teachings) and the releases of his Seeker Story. For zandtaomed and his advice and zandtao as the seeker, the dhamma practice follows Buddhadasa with these 4 Foundations, follows development of Anapanasati Bhavana, Mindfulness with Breathing – MwB; this is the meditation method that Zandtaomed uses to prepare the vihara and build the faith that searches into the unknown. At the same time as part of his development it was necessary to release the attachments that arise through conditioning, zandtaomed advises doing this through his Seeker Story. There is a state, atammayata, in which conditioning does not affect the seeker, this state (translated as unconcoctability) means that your vehicle cannot be affected by conditioning in the search for the unknown; is atammayata the "beyond" of the Heart sutra? With the focus on this unknown there is a strong risk of intellectual proliferation if the vehicle is not prepared to resist conditioning, it is this lack of preparation that made zandtao's crossing of the threshold disturbing.

Because writings have happened across the threshold, zandtao has opened the Prajna portal as a symbol of this crossing. As you cross the portal there is the warning to hold to the Diamond sutra, and on each page there is the Diamond sutra marquee warning. In zandtaomed terms, be in a state of atammayata before studying anything in the portal, follow your dhamma practice.

At zandtao, there is the advice of zandtaomed to follow that can hopefully lead to atammayata. In the Pathtivist Trilogy there is the Treatise which discusses how the path affected daily life with the impact of upheaval – firstgrace, then in the Manual an examination of how the path could work with conscious activism concluding that path-activism (pathtivism) is the best way forward. In the second part of the Manual there were discussions of how certain practices helped in the release of conditioned egos, this became consolidated as an important part of zandtaomed's dhamma practice as the Seeker Story. In the Companion, the 3rd part of the trilogy, there is the meditation that helps towards the zandtaomed way of pathtivism – the method of MwB together with zandtaomed observations of the practice. The path as described in the trilogy together with the zandtaomed advice can lead to the state of atammayata, hopefully this advice is sufficient for you to begin to follow your path.

Does your path need to cross this threshold of autonomy? As a seeker the answer for that arises with your own search for the unknown. In Viveka-Zandtao zandtao developed that search for himself, if there is no search why go through the disturbance that the threshold can cause? For zandtaomed the path is described sufficiently in the trilogy – with zandtaomed advice to help.

Zandtao felt this disturbance at one other time – when Eckhart discussed the two mysteries of consciousness – consciousness and evolving consciousness. Now zandtao sees these two as only one mystery, consciousness – the mystery of what is consciousness and its evolving as one mystery. In seeking the unknown zandtao was seeking a greater understanding of consciousness. Through the unknown we expand awareness of consciousness – essentially evolving it if awareness becomes wisdom. The problem that arises with this seeking is truth. How do we know that the wisdom that our seeking develops is true wisdom? This is the essential cause of the disturbance, as zandtao crossed the threshold was this seeking true?

For zandtao there was a clear threshold as he became more aware of prajna-paramitta, but this threshold had more to do with autonomy than the particular teachings. There is the zandtaomed advice of the path, that is on the main zandtao site. This advice is based in Buddhadasa and the Theravadan "What the Buddha (Gautama)Taught". And then there is the threshold as zandtao enters the Prajna portal – the unknown at the moment. This unknown is where his autonomy took zandtao the seeker – it is not part of zandtaomed's advice. When zandtaomed is used in the portal, it is the advice according to the pathtivist trilogy of experience and meditation – in Buddhist terms the 4 Foundations, Theravada and Buddhadasa - as well as the Seeker Story. As zandtao the seeker, the journey will span this autonomy threshold. Please be assured that whatever is written is what is understood through experience. As zandtaomed advice follows the path leading to atammayata, with zandtao the seeker the writings still follow his path - his quest inot the unkn own. But heed the warning of the Diamaond sutra if you cross this threshold - hold to your dhamma practice.

Please be warned about the disturbance this threshold brought to zandtao and remember to hold to your own teachings and discipline as described by the Diamond sutra, or as zandtaomed advises with atammayata:-

Let me reiterate that there is no advice concerning your crossing your threshold of autonomy, it is your autonomy; you choose whether to cross it but if you do cross heed the Diamond Sutra warning and hold to your dhamma practice. Zandtao’s discipline can be summed up as atammayata, and is reflected in the 3memes:-

Across the threshold zandtao’s writings are not concerned with advising, they are concerned only with his autonomous-led discovery. For clarity consider Eckhart's "Awakening the Inner Light" discussed in this zandtaomed advice. As referred to above Eckhart describes two aspects of consciousness – consciousness itself (for zandtaomed the path of dhamma practice develops awareness of consciousness) and evolving consciousness itself; for zandtao this developing consciousness is occurring through the seeker's autonomy. When the seeker has reconnected with consciousness through their path then that seeker then develops consciousness through their creativity whilst always being mindful of their dhamma practice (Diamond Sutra warning).

In the discussion that sparked this latest consolidation of the understanding of the threshold of autonomy, zandtao’s
website was being described in this tour (LINK to be added). There is a hard delineation between the dhamma practice of zandtaomed - as represented by the teaching of the practice of meditation, zandtaomed advice, the pathtivist trilogy and viveka-zandtao, and the Seeker Story - and the Prajna portal of autonomy. On the website as you cross into the portal there is the Diamond Sutra warning before entering the portal. If a link is used to one of the z-quests (or reflections) that zandtao the seeker is engaged with, then there is the warning throughout. Such z-quests are there primarily because they are zandtao’s path – seeking into the unknown, it is the autonomy of the individual seeker – your choice if you read them; they are NOT zandtaomed advice. Whilst in daily life such delineations cannot be categoric, zandtao asks seekers to heed the Buddha’s warning given in the Diamond Sutra concerning the maintaining of dhamma practice.

The path started to cross this autonomy threshold when zandtao looked at the second mystery of Eckhart – the evolution of consciousness during path in Viveka-Zandtao (but because of disturbance at the time he focussed only on the first mystery). Later he completely crossed over when he studied Thay’s Awakening of the Heart. For zandtao this is a threshold that he has crossed as a seeker and zandtaomed has no intention of teaching people to cross.

Crossing the threshold his engagement with daily life got disturbed. Doing the best he can there is still “warts’n’all” – selves and egos that are still a part of my life. With meditation (MwB and Companion) taking him towards atammayata, these attachments are getting less and less, but once he crossed the threshold they exploded. To zandtao this is the danger of crossing the threshold. Based on this disturbance zandtaomed is limiting his teachings – what is accessible from the front page of his website; within the Prajna portal zandtao is a seeker questing into the unknown, zandtaomed teachings do not cross this threshold.

In Thay’s book "The Diamond that cuts through Illusion" he wrote:-

“What the Tathagata has called the highest, transcendent understanding is not, in fact, the highest, transcendent understanding. That is why it is truly the highest, transcendent understanding” [p62%]. Confusing but recognise a “highest transcendent understanding”.

“The fruit of the highest, most fulfilled, awakened mind is realized through the practice of all wholesome actions in the spirit of nonself, non-person, non-living being, and non-life span. Subhuti, what are called wholesome actions are in fact not wholesome actions. That is why they are called wholesome actions” [p64%] Perform wholesome actions.

“Subhuti, a bodhisattva gives rise to virtue and happiness but is not caught in the idea of virtue and happiness. That is why the Tathagata has said that a bodhisattva does not need to build up virtue and happiness” [p64%]. Build up virtue and happiness.

“Subhuti, someone who gives rise to the highest, most fulfilled, awakened mind should know that this is true of all dharmas, should see that all dharmas are like this, should have confidence in the understanding of all dharmas without any conceptions about dharmas. Subhuti, what is called a conception of dharmas, the Tathagata has said is not a conception of dharmas. That is why it is called a conception of dharmas” [p64%]. Follow the Dhamma.

Basically this is whatever we have done in the past that has led to developing autonomy, in daily life our path remains the same – but without attaching to the path. Crossing the threshold our path has entered dangers because of daily life. Why bother with daily life when there are the teachings of Prajna-paramitta. This is bypassing, and it is not the meaning of the teachings; it is a danger. More than ever with Prajna there is a need for 100% engagement with daily life, this is the teaching as zandtao understands it. It sounds confusing and contradictory. But to develop Prajna we reinforce our commitment to engagement with daily life. With no self there is no danger, but can we ever say there is completely no self when we are alive? Through the wisdom Prajna perhaps we can, but on the way coping with self is harder; seekers need to be more committed to the path without any attachment. That sounds awful and comparative but in language that is maybe a way it can be expressed. Thay calls all this crypticness the “Dialectics of Prajnaparamitta” – making no sense but more sense.

The dialectics of prajnaparamita (as Thay calls them – explained later) are difficult. When I started studying the Diamond Sutra with him, I felt that I was moving forward; but they intentionally cast doubt especially with the conceptual mind. To deal with this requires skilfulness.

Consideration brought with it doubt, and it became more and more important to address this doubt. There was no doubt in the raft of the Diamond sutra, but the questioning was bidirectional – not only “questioning going forward” but because concepts were questioned also “questioning going backward”. What became a clear demand in “questioning going backward” was that of 100%-engagement. Zandtao resolved to maintain the engagement. My limited understanding of this sutra was that the conceptual mind interfered with actions yet wise actions need to just happen, that seemed to be formlessness. I implemented this formlessness in MwB as sampajanna-kaya, sampajanna-vedana and sampajanna-citta (see Appendix C); for my limited understanding that worked. But there were doubts, the more involvement with prajnaparamita the more concerns there were for engagement.

Throughout this change prajnaparamita felt right, but the change in engagement presented doubts. Was this a bypassing ego? For me the answer was unequivocally no. Why? Because Zandtaomed was teaching, getting into prajnaparamita Zandtao was seeking. But was it engagement in daily life? That was questionable. So that meant for me that prajnaparamita could open people up to spiritual bypassing; as a pathtivist that was a definite negative for me.

So I moved forward with this following warning. “Journeying through the book Thay improved my understanding of different aspects of Buddhadasa’s teaching through having a different view point – I don’t know enough about Buddhadasa’s teachings to say that what I got could not have been obtained through Buddhadasa’s books”; this applied to the learning mentioned in the intro. "For the earlier sections this is what I think of as the sword of difference, when we grapple with the teachings of different great teachers this throws light on what we have learnt so far. I also find this true of Toltec Wisdom as taught by Don Miguel Ruiz. In Viveka-Zandtao I have used the sword of different writers to add to my understanding of pathtivism, the Buddhist aspect of which is primarily the teachings of Buddhadasa”; again the earlier studies mentioned in the intro.

“But Thay takes me further, takes the seeker into prajnaparamita helping awaken my heart. Now I draw an important distinction, it hasn’t helped me awaken my heart it has however helped me further awaken my heart. And this distinction is the fundamental theme of this final section of Viveka-Zandtao – if you are following your path there is still the need to further awaken your heart”; this was when I was still considering this heart work as a section in Viveka-Zandtao. I wanted to talk about this because following the path is awakening the heart, awakening the heart does not begin with prajnaparamita.

“But fundamental to this distinction is the caveat of the risk of spiritual bypassing. Is our path to go as far as possible with spiritual studies? Can we go “too far” leading to spiritual bypassing? If so, how do we measure this bypassing? 100% engagement. This engagement I have discussed as a theme throughout the Manual and specifically in this chapter of the Companion. In Viveka-Zandtao I have seen the importance of solitude (viveka) in my path throughout my life, but whilst this solitude has always been important it has been connected to following my path as engagement.

“With pathtivism I now recognise that following my path involves 100% engagement. So there is a question applied to spiritual studies:-

Does the study awaken the heart with 100% engagement?”

This is never an easy question to answer. From the outside any path of solitude can only be seen as an inner journey, but the reality could well be to go “inner” so that we are better equipped to be “outer”; that is the main theme of the Manual. Prajnaparamita brings my whole path of solitude into question – the whole book of Viveka-Zandtao; questioning but through the Diamond sutra not relection - follow the path without being attached.

The main theme of pathtivism is to promote following your path because the path is what nature intended. As discussed in the Manual, following the path would make activism more constructive. At the same time spiritual people need to be conscious of their responsibility to be engaged. Our world has become defiled, and the people with the egos of that defilement have power and are not responsive to the spiritual. It has reached the stage where humanity’s survival is threatened by the choices that have led to this defilement. Personally I have complete trust in nature and its paths but in terms of that survival egoic power is in the “ascendancy” frightening me for the future of humanity. Spirituality is the answer to this egoic power – as opposed to the emotion that dominates the egoic reactions of many, and this is why the ego of bypassing is so disappointing. Spirituality can see with clarity that our reactions to egoic power are failing, and through their paths can begin to redirect humanity towards survival. But instead spirituality for some turns to bypassing. Spirituality as reward for following the path brings with it the joys of phala (fruits - see dhammajati), bypassing essentially is seeking these joys rather than following the path. Individually those following the path having experienced phala indulge themselves trying to recreate those phala; this is not the path but ego – attachment to phala. When we study spiritually, we can get sucked into the bypassing ego. This cannot be judged from the outside, it can only be measured by the individual themselves. But there is a dilemma. Clearly current activism is failing, but if we focus on activism alone, there might well be no bhavana, no mental development, no awakening of the heart as stagnation is likely to take place. It is necessary for pathtivist meditation to be aware of this stagnation dilemma. There is a possible choice arising – pathtivism or taking awakening the heart further.

In terms of my own Buddhist studies prajna-paramita has been beneficial, but to be quite honest my pathtivism is now limited to Zandtaomed teaching (as mentioned above) – learning for teaching. My engagement is now limited to teaching through this website, hopefully the life and teachings in the Pathtivist Trilogy provide some guidance. As a seeker my journey continues to go spiritually deeper, but for younger people whose activism is necessary for nature do they need such depth? The answer lies in their path, and not in any form of imitation of the way of seeking of others. There are many spiritual seekers who have gone deeper, and there is much knowledge to be gained from them. But then some spiritual seekers have been accused of bypassing, and people who have followed such teachings have come to recognise that they have developed a bypassing ego. So in general within the spiritual community, there needs to be questioning of the ongoing dilemma between the need to develop awakening of the heart whilst practising 100% engagement.

The need to stress the importance of this dilemma developed when I began studying the Heart Sutra in Thay’s book on "Awakening the Heart", and Zandtao realised that this learning will go on until death. And ongoing learning could easily take seekers into bypassing. At this point I began a pathtivist review of Viveka-Zandtao, and once in review, awareness of the dilemma increased – pathtivism vs continued learning.

How did this review go?

Pathtivism recognises that the path is the way forward. In the Manual Zandtao looked at activism, saw how activism is failing, and pointed to the path as a way forward. Throughout the Treatise and the Manual Zandtao examined different ways to learn how to follow my path. At this point Zandtao began working as Zandtaomed, a meditation elder, using Buddhadasa’s meditation teachings of MwB together with Zandtaomed's own understanding in the Companion. This led to Zandtao's understanding the importance of solitude in his life and began Viveka-Zandtao looking at solitude beginning quest, developing faith in the path and then discussing that path. Throughout all of this heart was awakening, and then studying Thay’s book on Awakening the Heart took Zandtao further especially with prajna-paramita. But at this point the question arose - were the studies keeping 100%-engagement. Or more importantly was guidance becoming bypassing? This led Zandtao to insist on seekers questioning:-

Is your awakening of the heart still 100%-engaged?

Are your studies leading to bypassing?

Through this section on doubt Zandtao questions his own seeking.

It is for the mindfulness of the seeker to judge. In the Pathtivist Trilogy of Treatise, Manual and MwB & Companion, the emphasis is on the path and its engagement. Throughout the Treatise my life moved inner and outer, a balance between personal enquiry and engagement, in Viveka-Zandtao I have recognised the importance of solitude in this balance of development and engagement. For a pathtivist finding their path and finding the balance between spiritual development and 100%-engagement is essential. For each person their path is different. And how they actuate their engagement whilst developing spiritually is essential. Yet it is a dilemma – the dilemma of bypassing. It is conceivable to live a life through a spiritual ego, and yet be convinced it is a path.

As Zandtao in the seeking the line of the bypassing ego has to be drawn, as a seeker you must do the same. But please don’t stagnate in activism that can be equally as egoic. Be conscious of the bypassing dilemma, continue to awaken your heart and avoid stagnating egos either bypassing or unaware activism without path.

Throughout your own studies on the path be conscious of your own bypassing line and whether there is 100% engagement. Throughout Buddhism, throughout studies on the path in general, there is proliferation (of sankhara). The path is not academic, it is beyond conditioning. There is an oft-used analogy for the teachings, that of the raft – Stephen Batchelor used it as does Thay. The raft is the teachings and it takes us to the next riverbank, but once there the raft becomes a burden; if we have to carry the raft it hinders progress. On the path for teachings to be understood we must first conceptualise the teachings, internalise the concepts, and then let them go. Once let go these taught concepts have become wisdom – hence prajna-paramita, the ongoing perfection of wisdom.

For all these rafts there are teachings, teachings on teachings and discussions of teachings on teachings, proliferation of teachings. It is not the quantity of teachings but their quality that matters. When we look at Buddhism there is a proliferation of teachings. This is not a criticism of a particular school or a tradition – just an observation of Buddhism in general.

Zandtao website adds to this proliferation, and if the process of learning is to go on indefinitely all these proliferations will just expand (nowadays there is not only a proliferation of written teachings but also a proliferation of audio-visual material.); Zandtao hopes that the website can provide help. It is not proliferation for Zandtao - there is meaning. Crossing into the Prajna portal, the writing has an increased chance of proliferation because it is unknown, but there would not be the writings if they were not path; hopefully Zandtao will deal with the dilemmas. The journey is inner – go inner and question how to follow your path whilst living a good life. Whilst this is not simple to do, the teaching is - go inner and question how to follow your path whilst living a good life. Proliferations abound because people have insights whilst following their path, seekers have sought clarification of these insights, or seekers have needed help overcoming obstructions on their journey; sadly also teachers have needed to make a living.

Yet at the same time we have come from an education system that promotes more is better. To be successful in academia we write more books, articles in periodicals and journals, personal promotional appearances; this begins in schools with more reading and references. In schools are we taught to go inner, are we told that proliferation is detrimental? If one teaching is important we don’t go inner and develop that teaching further for ourselves, but we seek equivalent teachings or more and more and more. But accumulating contents of consciousness does not lead us to following the path, it only shows that we can talk about more people who have followed the path. So instead of perfecting wisdom we accumulate more rafts. How much of the bypassing ego is accumulation of rafts?

Go inner and question how to follow your path whilst living a good life.

What could constitute a raft of teaching? In terms of Buddhism my answer would be Buddhadasa – MwB and his teachings. But even that raft is too large – he has many talks and books. Begin with two books – Handbook for Mankind and Mindfulness of Breathing – a theory book and a book on how to practice meditation. That is enough – then go deeper and ask questions of yourself and develop an understanding of your path; that understanding is inside you. Of course there is a proliferation of materials you could read, but if you spend time on your inner journey and asking yourself questions maybe there is no need for any other studies.

In my case and in the case of most others answers were sought in other ways, more of Buddhadasa’s books, more writers, more talks, more monks, more teachers etc. We have proliferation. But reading a book, watching a clip, does not mean we are following our paths, we could just be deluding ourselves. To understand we must understand for ourselves, and such understandings don’t have to be a quote from our favourite teacher. In the end the seeker must be their own guide, the path that is followed must be determined by the seeker, and awakening the heart must be an ongoing process of that path. Be discerning about possible proliferation. Is there a need to study or a need to go inner in order to awaken the heart? We always need to be considering whether we are following our paths and whether we are 100% engaged in daily life. This is the line of bypassing we try not to cross. Yet our daily life activism must be based on the path and not an egoic need for activism – develop sampajanna, one of the 4 Dhamma comrades that arise in MwB.

Following my path with heart-awakening and perfection of wisdom is Zandtao's purpose. MwB is part of pathtivism, and in this practice Zandtao is looking at two things - building the vihara and faith. With an unconditioned vihara Zandtao can use the magnetism of faith to join with the light of consciousness. At this stage with the quest into the unknown Zandtao has recognised faith and this faith is part of awakening the heart. In Viveka-Zandtao Zandtao's path is solitude. Whilst in solitude there is not engagement, that solitude can lead to the clarity of the path that is then engaged. Trust in the path and engagement will arise. But solitude is not the objective, the path and its engagement is.

Do further studies keep Zandtao engaged? There is a firm yes. But if the study does not remain engaged it becomes bypassing. As an elder-seeker Zandtao is comfortable with this activism dilemma because physically age now limits activism. Whilst this age generalisation works for me, as in all of spirituality there are no hard and fast rules – the path is individual and the individual chooses; this is not an observation that says young teachers must stop and pick up placards. But when we step back and SEE, activism is failing and our world is moving further and further into defilement. This can only mean we collectively are not following our paths as nature intended. Be conscious of the doubt that arises when we are not 100%-engaged – when we are possibly bypassing; be certain if your path is taking you into the second mystery - the perfection of wisdom – prajnaparamita.

Recently, before Prajna, Zandtaomed met this disturbance Zandtao the seeker has warned about in the Prajna portal, that was when considering the Faith Process and Eckhart’s Awakening the Inner Light. Because in this advice Zandtaomed examined Eckhart’s talk in detail, to read it all is very long. Here is what Zandtao wants to discuss now. “Towards the end of my work on this advice I have felt an increasing sense of irritability that I usually associate with poor meditation. …. I recognised that there was kilesa causing this irritability, and overnight I realised that kilesa was delusion.” This is the same irritability that was the disturbance crossing the threshold, but in this case it was concerning Eckhart’s two mysteries - Zandtaomed was trying to delude myself that the two mysteries were true when he didn’t have faith in that delusion. Mystery 2 is Eckhart’s mystery that we are here to evolve consciousness, and Zandtaomed decided “Mystery 2, however, is new to me, and as such I need to evaluate the teaching, what Eckhart says about the teaching, and decide whether I have faith in it. Just accepting and believing this teaching has led to the irritability that I eventually realised was the kilesa of delusion.” Deciding what Zandtaomed was to have faith in was called faith process in this advice.

As the seeker crossing the threshold Zandtao has accepted Eckhart’s 2nd mystery, but in the 18 months since writing the advice neither as Zandtaomed the elder nor as Zandtao the seeker has the 2nd mystery been consciously considered. Faith has developed which accepts Eckhart’s 2nd mystery. In fact in Real Love bell talks of love as a mystery, yet in that z-quest love is taken as consciousness. These 3 mysteries are part of the mystery of consciousness – Zandtao now sees this as one mystery of consciousness.

As both the seeker and the elder there is faith in the path, sunnata as path, consciousness:-

So why is there disturbance now? It concerns faith in the heart sutra itself. When Buddhadasa talks of sunnata he describes it as void of self – discussed in the above Zandtaomed advice. In crossing the threshold Zandtao met with the Diamond sutra and the Heart sutra, and in the Heart sutra Zandtao was asked to accept “quite a lot” and this caused disturbance. Quite rightly, reading it and accepting it because Thay wrote about it is not wise. Whilst Zandtaomed and Zandtao trust both Buddhadasa and Thich Nhat Hanh, that trust does not extend to faith in their teaching; mindfulness has to grapple and accept the teaching or in this case the faith process must develop an acceptance of the wisdom in the Heart sutra. Now that faith is not there. But to be honest, having faith in the suttas or sutras has not been part of Zandtao's learning or Zandtaomed practice, it has been coming to terms with wisdom provided by trusted sources such as Buddhadasa or Thich Nhat Hanh - finding those sources for the Heart sutra is the next step, probably Thay.

Through Buddhadasa there is faith in sunnata. But here sunnata is void of self. Whilst the Heart sutra includes void of self, it includes more that Zandtao does not have faith in. Faith needs to be developed before Zandtao can be sure in Prajna.

What is interesting is that faith has developed in Eckhart’s 2nd mystery. The question that matters is how did that faith develop? To be quite honest, there is no answer. To hazard a guess, it simply came through following the path of perfecting the vihara and using that faith in the path. Will the Heart sutra become a part of this faith?

Only time will tell but my trust in Thay will lead me to studying the Heart sutra and see what happens. Tinna Tinh’s chant on the Heart sutra helps here.

Part of the irritability I felt with this second mystery was because I was trying to intellectually understand consciousness as evolution, thus creating an intellectual ego. One way of coming to terms with the word “mystery” is that it is beyond intellect. At the same time I was trying to believe Eckhart, and belief is not part of understanding or faith – discussed in the long Advice; belief is the clinging of ditthupadana. Once we have such an ego in play there is the risk of bypassing, egoically exploring spiritual belief becoming disengaged.

When crossing this threshold and trying to intellectually understand the Heart sutra, the same disturbance occurred; the same intellectual ego was in play – trying to intellectually understand the Heart sutra which can only be felt by faith and grappled with by mindfulness. Intellectually trying to understand emptiness that lacks the logic of intellect is disturbing, and again we have the disturbance that risks bypassing intellectually exploring spiritual belief.

The counter to this potential bypassing is engagement, engagement that comes with the existing practice advised by the Diamond sutra – engagement as advised by Zandtaomed as atammayata, as a pathtivist 100% engagement with daily life yet with complete disenchantment. With crossing the threshold the risk of bypassing increases, so Zandtao, as the seeker, must be more determined with the MwB practice or risk intellectualism in trying to understand emptiness and that ego taking Zandtao into bypassing. Crossing the threshold opened Zandtao up to Prajna, and the discussions concerning the crossing of Prajna-Zandtao. But then followed two z-quests – Zanshadtao and Real Love (both ongoing). Bypassing is very much part of the shadow of spiritual life, and Zanshadtao recognises the need for engagement. With Real Love there was the spirituality of love with Sharon’s pragmatic practice Sharon’s 4 Brahma-Vihara meditations, with the second part being about love as engagement with daily life through bell hooks. Interpreting the Diamond sutra we practice atammayata and be 100%-engaged with daily life without attachment to either as we develop our faith in sunnata through understanding the Heart sutra.

Now the people who are mostly concerned about spiritual bypassing fall into two categories:-

The Young
Those who have unconsciously lived in the bypassing ego

For the young I should say “not old” or better “not elder”. Undoubtedly age has an impact on what your path is, there is absolutely no point now in my trying to engage with daily life and use energy to try to change teaching – I’d die from a heart attack. Yet earlier in my life that was my path (not dieing from a heart attack ), without being conscious of the term I was 100%-engaged in daily life when following my path; during my second childhood I was 100% engaged in daily life even if I wasn’t always following the path. In retrospect I could have been more fruitful, I could have been more focussed on my path – more dedicated to my path; but that was my path at the time – a path that was engaged. However I retired early, and became more involved in understanding path. This led to my path as a writer – eventually writing about the path and pathtivism. Pathtivism is concerned with the first mystery – consciousness and the engagement of consciousness in daily life. It is about the “not elder”, it is about the path of the “not elder” – recognising that activism in daily life needs to be concerned with following the path. And especially not being an emotional reaction to the system of the defiled world. At some point pathtivism, the activism of the “not elder”, changes to the path of the old.

The “not elder” are clearly concerned about spiritual bypassing because consciousness that is meant for daily life is being used by the spiritual ego in bypassing. For the “not elder” consciousness is intended for engagement in daily life, yet the ego of bypassers use it for their own spiritual indulgence. Quite rightly spokespeople for the “not elder” such as Teal Swan are demanding that the “not elder” spiritual use their development for improving daily life, demanding that paths be concerned with activism – pathtivism.

At some point “not elder” become elder. This changes their focus in two ways. The most recognised way is that they focus on passing on wisdom to the young – “not elder”. In indigenous culture this elder process is formally recognised, in the defiled world this natural way has mostly been lost. The wisdom of elders is not recognised. Our world leaders are mostly older men lacking energy yet active in daily life, and younger people act as advisors – upside down. Leadership should be through integrated teams where the wisdom of the elderly guides the energy of youth for positive change. And those young should slow down for the elderly wisdom.

Spiritually the path changes when we become elders. Firstly the focus of the path changes from activism to teaching in terms of pathtivism. Consciousness needs the elderly wisdom to direct the young in their activism. This is the focus on the first mystery of consciousness, the path actuating consciousness in daily life.

But there is the second mystery of consciousness – conscious participation in the evolution of consciousness, that the purpose of humanity is to evolve consciousness; it is elders who can have the time and wisdom to focus on evolving consciousness. Life and elders advise the young whose path is concerned with 100%-engagement in daily life, hopefully the young will make time for this advice. At some point seekers become elders, pass on their wisdom to the young, and develop their own wisdom for the evolution of consciousness. At this point the development of wisdom is not bypassing, these elders have fulfilled their engagement with daily life (or not) and their path is both teaching and the development of wisdom.

Those who have unconsciously lived in the bypassing ego

And this brings me to the second category of bypassers - those who have unconsciously lived in the bypassing ego. These are the bypassers who have focussed on the development of wisdom applying their path and consciousness to this wisdom rather than to daily life. Because of their emphasis during their lives they feel unbalanced, because in later years at the time more suited for developing wisdom they lack the experience of path-engagement. In criticising bypassers it is these people the “not elders” need to target. However as with youth naturally there is a focus on their own activism, and sweeping criticism is applied to all including elders. This is because balance has been lost, activism of youth needs to be guided by elderly wisdom. This imbalance leads to the elderly being too focussed on being active instead of guiding activism through pathtivism etc., and it also leads to the lack of effort in the second mystery – consciously participating in the evolution of consciousness.

The elder’s path is perfection of wisdom – conscious participation in the evolution of consciousness, and this requires engagement. I want to draw an arbitrary boundary between these two mysteries because in doing so I am clarifying the path of activism and the path of wisdom – for Zandtao Prajna-Zandtao. For Zandtao the path of Prajna-Zandtao is still solitude but the emphasis of that path is now prajna-paramita – the evolution of consciousness. Solitude can still be a path of engagement when it is not the elder’s path, solitude can be a pathtivist’s path when it leads to engagement. For pathtivism the emphasis is on the vihara and reclaiming faith to rejoin with consciousness – Viveka-Zandtao, in Prajna-Zandtao the engagement is with the elder’s perfection of wisdom. Viveka-Zandtao is about the path and activism – 100%-engagement. When the heart is awakened in Prajna-Zandtao, there is evolution of consciousness when the heart rejoins.

Next:- Intro / Doubts/

Zandtao Meditation page Advice from Zandtaomed

zandtaomed:-Viveka-Zandtao/Treatise, Pathtivism Manual, Pathtivism Companion
zandtao:- Real Love/ Secular Path?/Zanshadtao Will this happen?
Prajna:- Prajna, Reflections
Wai Zandtao:- Wai Zandtao Scifi
Matriellez:-Matriellez Education.
Blogs:- Zandtao, Matriellez, Mandtao.