Joseph Maynor

Joseph Maynor's Monthly Personal Development Journal: A Philosopher's Dream

619 posts in this topic

GET ACQUAINTED WITH THE ANCIENT GREEK CYNICS -- YOU GOTTA WATCH THIS!

Just watch from 48'50' to 57'20'.  This is where the Cynics are discussed.

The Ancient Greek Cynics, 2,500 years ago, saw through culture; culture in the sense of established ways of doing things and believing things.  They got back to a simple kind of existence without the trappings of culture.  They believed the problems we have are the result of culture not nature.  In contrast -- we tend to believe that we have a problematic nature that needs to be saved by culture -- which is the other way around from what the Cynics believed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisthenes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diogenes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynicism_(philosophy)

Diogenes of Sinope living in a bathtub in Athens with his dogs:

diogenes-of-sinope.jpg

Edited by Joseph Maynor

  • Detach from all impermanent things.  Rest as the unchanging Self.  Bask in the magic of reality.
  • Be the person who has seen too much to believe too much.  Don't get caught up in the trappings of culture, the trappings of beliefs.
  • Nature needs to save you from culture.  You probably currently believe that culture needs to save you from nature.  That's backwards.

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MARCUS AURELIUS IS AN INTERESTING WESTERN THINKER

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Aurelius

0150changed.jpg

Edited by Joseph Maynor

  • Detach from all impermanent things.  Rest as the unchanging Self.  Bask in the magic of reality.
  • Be the person who has seen too much to believe too much.  Don't get caught up in the trappings of culture, the trappings of beliefs.
  • Nature needs to save you from culture.  You probably currently believe that culture needs to save you from nature.  That's backwards.

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SENECA IS AN INTERESTING WESTERN THINKER

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seneca_the_Younger

why-do-you-talk-so-much-b-009.jpg?w=426&

Edited by Joseph Maynor

  • Detach from all impermanent things.  Rest as the unchanging Self.  Bask in the magic of reality.
  • Be the person who has seen too much to believe too much.  Don't get caught up in the trappings of culture, the trappings of beliefs.
  • Nature needs to save you from culture.  You probably currently believe that culture needs to save you from nature.  That's backwards.

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WERE THE ROMAN STOICS AND SKEPTICS INFLUENCED BY INDIAN THINKERS?

Check out these resources:

http://www.westernbuddhistreview.com/vol5/roman-buddha.html

https://buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/2801/is-there-evidence-of-a-buddhist-influence-on-greek-stoicism

Apparently Pyrrho traveled to India:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrrho

Edited by Joseph Maynor

  • Detach from all impermanent things.  Rest as the unchanging Self.  Bask in the magic of reality.
  • Be the person who has seen too much to believe too much.  Don't get caught up in the trappings of culture, the trappings of beliefs.
  • Nature needs to save you from culture.  You probably currently believe that culture needs to save you from nature.  That's backwards.

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ENLIGHTENED PEOPLE AREN'T TRYING TO BE LIKE JESUS 

People think Enlightened people are like Jesus or something.  That's false.  The point of Enlightenment is to free yourself from all ideologies.  Reality is not like Jesus.  Jesus is a story, a set of beliefs, a set of visualizations that we've been culturally programmed with.  Jesus is a fantasy of the Mind.  So, Enlightened people transcend value categories and aim to transcend them.  Reality is what it is outside of the cubby-holes that the Mind desires to fit reality into.  We think that the virtuous person is someone who tries to fit themselves into the virtue cubby-holes.  That is a problematic paradigm though.  It's unrealistic, in a word.  It's all Egoic fantasy about trying to control reality to fit into a thought about reality.  And we don't realize that this is impossible.  Most of us don't realize it.  So -- no -- Enlightened people are not necessarily goodie-goodies.  They're not trying to be goodie-goodies.  They're real.  Goodie-goodie can be a byproduct of Enlightenment, but it's not an expressed goal to be achieved.  Enlightened people have accepted their shadow-traits and have re-integrated them to a greater or lesser extent.  And they are conscious of their shadow-traits.  They understand how all of this works, how Ego works, etc.  Enlightened people aren't trying to be like anybody; not like Jesus; not like anybody.  That would be an Egoic type of quest, right?  Reality is what it is.  So, the Enlightened person rests as reality, warts and all.  Reality doesn't rely on our Egoic preferences one whit.  I would say that Enlightened people strive to be real much more than to be good.  Trying to be good is Egoic.  An Enlightened person might act like Jesus, but they're not trying to be like Jesus.  They aren't trying to control reality -- they're just being reality.

Edited by Joseph Maynor

  • Detach from all impermanent things.  Rest as the unchanging Self.  Bask in the magic of reality.
  • Be the person who has seen too much to believe too much.  Don't get caught up in the trappings of culture, the trappings of beliefs.
  • Nature needs to save you from culture.  You probably currently believe that culture needs to save you from nature.  That's backwards.

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DEEP WISDOM

  • Reality is never puzzled.  
  • You're gonna die before you get all the answers -- the Buddha
  • Every belief about reality leads to contradiction -- Nagarjuna
  • If you meet the Buddha, kill him -- Zen Master Linji
  • Open mouth, already a mistake --  Zen saying
  • Don't identify with the turnings of thought and memory -- the Yogis
  • Western Philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato.  And it's all culture, not reality.
  • Indian Philosophy is a series of footnotes to the Vedas.  And it's all culture, not reality.
  • Chinese Philosophy is a series of footnotes to Confucius.  And it's all culture, not reality.
Edited by Joseph Maynor

  • Detach from all impermanent things.  Rest as the unchanging Self.  Bask in the magic of reality.
  • Be the person who has seen too much to believe too much.  Don't get caught up in the trappings of culture, the trappings of beliefs.
  • Nature needs to save you from culture.  You probably currently believe that culture needs to save you from nature.  That's backwards.

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TWO APPROACHES TO LIFE / REVISED KEY DEFINITIONS / ATMAN = BRAHMAN

A.  Two Approaches to Life: 

  1. The Surrender Paradigm -- Accept reality as it is.
  2. The Level-Up Paradigm -- Try to improve reality.

B.  Revised Definitions of Terms:

  • Maya = Ego = Clinging to beliefs about reality.
  • Atman = The unchanging Self.  Sometimes I call this the unchanging Soul, but I think I like the unchanging Self better.
  • Brahman = reality.

C.  Atman = Brahman:

So, if we apply the Atman = Brahman insight, we get the following:

  1. The unchanging Self = reality.
  2. Reality = The unchanging Self.

//

Read about the Rinzai Zen School -- it's pretty cool.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rinzai_school

Edited by Joseph Maynor

  • Detach from all impermanent things.  Rest as the unchanging Self.  Bask in the magic of reality.
  • Be the person who has seen too much to believe too much.  Don't get caught up in the trappings of culture, the trappings of beliefs.
  • Nature needs to save you from culture.  You probably currently believe that culture needs to save you from nature.  That's backwards.

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ON ENLIGHTENMENT -- SOME GOLDEN NUGGETS

  • Pure consciousness is Brahman, beyond any names and forms.
  • The highest truth is beyond words.
  • Enlightenment is simply realizing what's already been true all along.
  • Enlightenment doesn't bring any new knowledge, it doesn't really change anything at all.
  • Enlightenment is not a gaining of anything, it's a letting go.
  • You're not going anywhere.  That's the wrong kind of metaphor.
  • Enlightenment is allowing yourself to be yourself.
  • You are all that.
  • What is Enlightenment?  It's a word or vocalization.
  • All Karma is bad Karma.  There's no good quality to any action.
  • All one has access to is one's sense data -- the Buddha
  • Ego just is the bad habit of clinging to beliefs about reality.
Edited by Joseph Maynor

  • Detach from all impermanent things.  Rest as the unchanging Self.  Bask in the magic of reality.
  • Be the person who has seen too much to believe too much.  Don't get caught up in the trappings of culture, the trappings of beliefs.
  • Nature needs to save you from culture.  You probably currently believe that culture needs to save you from nature.  That's backwards.

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THIS IS SUCH A GREAT ALBUM

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackie_Lawless

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Holmes_(musician)

Edited by Joseph Maynor

  • Detach from all impermanent things.  Rest as the unchanging Self.  Bask in the magic of reality.
  • Be the person who has seen too much to believe too much.  Don't get caught up in the trappings of culture, the trappings of beliefs.
  • Nature needs to save you from culture.  You probably currently believe that culture needs to save you from nature.  That's backwards.

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I found this too good, i'm staying tune for more content of yours in the future


My life purpose is to achieve my engineering career and get actualized

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MY NOTES ON THE SAMKHYA AND YOGA PAIR OF SCHOOLS

These two schools work together with Samkhya providing the theory of reality and Yoga providing the corresponding theory of action.

This system proposes a dualism between Spirit and Matter.  Now, Spirit not mind.  Mind is contained in the primordial Matter as part of the Body-Mind.  Spirit is Awareness.  So, what we have is a duality between Awareness and Matter basically.  Indian Philosophers don't consider mind to be Spirit like we tend to do in the West.  Mind is part of the changing world, part of of the Body-Mind or primordial matter.  So, thoughts are Matter.

Spirit is called Purusha and Matter is called Prakriti.

Yoga is the untangling of Prakriti from Purusha by becoming aware of a clear distinction between them through Meditation and Mindfulness.

JM Notes.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purusha

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prakṛti

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samkhya

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga

Edited by Joseph Maynor

  • Detach from all impermanent things.  Rest as the unchanging Self.  Bask in the magic of reality.
  • Be the person who has seen too much to believe too much.  Don't get caught up in the trappings of culture, the trappings of beliefs.
  • Nature needs to save you from culture.  You probably currently believe that culture needs to save you from nature.  That's backwards.

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MY NOTES ON NAGARJUNA

Philosophical analysis is pointless to explain reality.

One should meditate and experience the Void directly.

Here's my full notes in PDF:

Nagarjuna.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagarjuna

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madhyamaka

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratītyasamutpāda

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_truths_doctrine

Edited by Joseph Maynor

  • Detach from all impermanent things.  Rest as the unchanging Self.  Bask in the magic of reality.
  • Be the person who has seen too much to believe too much.  Don't get caught up in the trappings of culture, the trappings of beliefs.
  • Nature needs to save you from culture.  You probably currently believe that culture needs to save you from nature.  That's backwards.

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THE VAISHESHIKA AND NYAYA SCHOOL PAIR SEEMS TO BE THE MOST WESTERN-LIKE OF THE ANCIENT INDIAN PHILOSOPHIES

Vaisheshika provides the metaphysics and Nyaya the epistemology, so they work as a pair.

This is the most Western looking of the Indian Philosophies I've seen!  Friggin' amazing.  Nobody ever learns about this stuff in the West!  I have a degree in Philosophy, and I was never taught about any of this in school.  What a shame.  These guys were secular in the sense that they took the Vedas to have authority only because they contain truth.  So truth or Dharma is held as the highest value, higher than faith or religion.  Now that sounds very Western -- very secular.  Very modern, even though kinda Aristotelian metaphysically.  The presence of Epistemology up front like this is very modern.  

JM Notes 2.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaisheshika

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyaya

Edited by Joseph Maynor

  • Detach from all impermanent things.  Rest as the unchanging Self.  Bask in the magic of reality.
  • Be the person who has seen too much to believe too much.  Don't get caught up in the trappings of culture, the trappings of beliefs.
  • Nature needs to save you from culture.  You probably currently believe that culture needs to save you from nature.  That's backwards.

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WHY THE MIMAMSA AND VEDANTA SCHOOLS ARE OFTEN PAIRED TOGETHER, ALTHOUGH THEY'RE POLES APART 

The Mimamsa School is concerned with the interpretation of the Vedas (the earlier works), while the Vedanta School is concerned with the interpretion of the Upanishads (the later works).  This explains why these two schools are often paired together, even though they are poles apart.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mīmāṃsā

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedanta

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaimini

Edited by Joseph Maynor

  • Detach from all impermanent things.  Rest as the unchanging Self.  Bask in the magic of reality.
  • Be the person who has seen too much to believe too much.  Don't get caught up in the trappings of culture, the trappings of beliefs.
  • Nature needs to save you from culture.  You probably currently believe that culture needs to save you from nature.  That's backwards.

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THE NEO-CONFUCIAN PHILOSOPHERS ARE WORTH LOOKING INTO -- CHINESE PHILOSOPHY IS AMAZING

Zhu Zi is pretty interesting.  See my notes attached:

He's trying to justify the Confucian Ethics on a Metaphysical Foundation.  I see a resemblance to Plato in that sense.  An attempt to ground an ideal set of virtues, which is what Plato tries to do.  It's a belief like -- reality is rational in a sense, and we can use our reason to determine it's foundation and it's principles.  We can know reality and its virtues.  It's an optimism trying to justify itself in a sense.  Buddhism influenced Chinese Philosophy because of it's elaborate foundations.  So, Confucian Philosophers, who are notoriously cautious about metaphysics and very practical -- finally attempted to do some systematizing during the Neo-Confucian period.  Also, the Neo-Confucians synthesized the three faiths in China -- Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism.  So, in this sense, they are kind of like Adi Shankara or Immanuel Kant.  They are synthesists.  So, this is a high water mark in Chinese Philosophy just as Shankara's Advaita Vedanta is in Indian Philosophy.

JM Notes 3.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhu_Xi

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo-Confucianism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_(Neo-Confucianism)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qi

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Yangming

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mencius

The Three Vinegar Tasters

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinegar_tasters

thevinegartasters.jpg

Zhu Zi

Zhu_xi.jpg

Edited by Joseph Maynor

  • Detach from all impermanent things.  Rest as the unchanging Self.  Bask in the magic of reality.
  • Be the person who has seen too much to believe too much.  Don't get caught up in the trappings of culture, the trappings of beliefs.
  • Nature needs to save you from culture.  You probably currently believe that culture needs to save you from nature.  That's backwards.

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WHAT ARE BELIEFS?

Beliefs are thoughts taken to be true.  This is why Western Philosophers came up with the concept of propositions, although that is a kind of secondary belief.  The first statement that beliefs are thoughts taken to be true can point to real things in reality.  Notice when you perceive a belief.  It's always a thought taken to be true.  You can see that empirically.  Propositions are a secondary kind of theory that is intended to model certain aspects of a belief using another thought -- namely a proposition.

So, beliefs are not propositions and propositions are not beliefs.  Belief is a word, a vocalization, but it refers to things in reality, namely thought that is taken to be true.  Now, what does it mean to take something to be true -- well, again, that's a secondary sort of consideration.  You don't need any philosophy to understand that you have beliefs (or that beliefs are being held).  And you don't need to know what beliefs are to understand that you hold beliefs (or that beliefs are being held).

So, the safest way to define belief using language is as a pointer as follows -- beliefs are thoughts taken to be true.  Notice how I'm avoiding defining it as beliefs are thoughts taken to be true about reality.  That over-complicates it.  We don't need that part!  My intent in using the language is not to define beliefs, but to point out that they are real thoughts with a certain kind of feature; namely, that they're taken to be true, or held to be true in some manner in some context.  So, we use language pragmatically and don't confuse the words with the real phenomena that we're using the words to point to.  This is something I want to stress moving forward, this kind of pragmatic understanding of language and theories.

Edited by Joseph Maynor

  • Detach from all impermanent things.  Rest as the unchanging Self.  Bask in the magic of reality.
  • Be the person who has seen too much to believe too much.  Don't get caught up in the trappings of culture, the trappings of beliefs.
  • Nature needs to save you from culture.  You probably currently believe that culture needs to save you from nature.  That's backwards.

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THIS IS SUCH A GREAT ALBUM

Like Saxon and Iron Maiden had a baby.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feel_the_Fire_(Overkill_album)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overkill_(band)

Edited by Joseph Maynor

  • Detach from all impermanent things.  Rest as the unchanging Self.  Bask in the magic of reality.
  • Be the person who has seen too much to believe too much.  Don't get caught up in the trappings of culture, the trappings of beliefs.
  • Nature needs to save you from culture.  You probably currently believe that culture needs to save you from nature.  That's backwards.

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IS THIS ENLIGHTENMENT TEACHING GOOD OR BAD?

I guess the relevant question here is what does a person need to become sustainably Awake?  That's probably what's at issue with all teachings that purport to be a self-sustaining curriculum, teaching, school, method, etc.

Would the Enlightened Taoists agree with the Enlightened Advaitans or the Enlightened Zen Buddhists?  These schools differ so much in teachings -- but are the ends really that different?  The end seems to be the same, right?  You are deprogrammed from culture -- beliefs -- in some sense in all three of those teachings.  And in that you discover that reality was not what you thought it was.  That's awakening.  There's more than one path.  But I think getting up under cultural beliefs is the common denominator in all of them.

Shankara was right, Moksha (Enlightenment) is the result from the eradication of ignorance.  And ignorance is either clinging to the wrong beliefs or failing to cling to the right ones (if any).   But if you study the Taoists and Zen Buddhists they imply the same thing, just in a different way.  If you study Taoism, you'll be amazed!  I'm doing that now.  Zhuang Zhou and Nagarjuna both thought that messing around with categories and forming beliefs from them about reality is a foolish quest -- that language and theory is a trap in this work.   And that mentality informs the Zen Buddhists from its Chinese heritage.  

You can read Zhang Zhou here.  His book is called the Zhangzi.  I recommend it.  After the Tao Te Ching, it's the classic Taoist text.

https://ctext.org/zhuangzi

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhuangzi_(book)

//

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adi_Shankara

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhuang_Zhou

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagarjuna

Edited by Joseph Maynor

  • Detach from all impermanent things.  Rest as the unchanging Self.  Bask in the magic of reality.
  • Be the person who has seen too much to believe too much.  Don't get caught up in the trappings of culture, the trappings of beliefs.
  • Nature needs to save you from culture.  You probably currently believe that culture needs to save you from nature.  That's backwards.

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THIS IS SUCH A GREAT VIDEO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwan

Edited by Joseph Maynor

  • Detach from all impermanent things.  Rest as the unchanging Self.  Bask in the magic of reality.
  • Be the person who has seen too much to believe too much.  Don't get caught up in the trappings of culture, the trappings of beliefs.
  • Nature needs to save you from culture.  You probably currently believe that culture needs to save you from nature.  That's backwards.

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