No Short Cuts to Enlightenment

No Short Cuts to Enlightenment

Art of Meditation: The Rubbish Series: 

A single Shakyamuni Buddha, a Lord Jesus Christ, a Saint Mahavira, a Lord Krishna, a Mahayogi Pantanjali, a Guru Nanak have a massive lasting impact on the whole of humanity, so tell me something, if there was a school, institute, program or person with a short cut solution for pumping out enlightened folks by the dozens would not humanity be in better shape than it is?  Would not the message of love and peace spread and penetrate society at least to a larger extent than today, where it seems to be almost non-existent?  OK, forget that argument, think about this, would not this saint-producing factory have a line twenty miles long outside of aspirants and be all over the news?  This is the Internet age, the age of information, a time where multiple 24/7 news channels thrive, where small news in a remote corner of the world shows up at your doorstep almost instantly.  So given that, would not this incredible nirvana factory be the talk of the town?  Wouldn’t all the spiritual junkies be flocking to it?  But the last time I tuned into CNN, the news was still who just died, alas… I might have missed the grand opening.  OK, forget that argument, think about this, the monks and yogis of old retreated to the mountains and forests for decades to practice meditation.  Were they mad, incompetent, or masochistic?  Were they just plain dumb and clueless to the fact that there was a quick fix available?  Could it be that these potent, massive human beings just all kept missing the short cut?  These fellows have practiced meditation for thousands of years and all of them never discovered the short cut!  No, sorry my friend there is no short cut, but if you are still not convinced I will continue with some more reasons below. 

Let’s look at life.  Getting in shape takes hard work, mastering an art can take a lifetime, learning a science, skill or language can take years, but you figured that the greatest art of all, the highest accomplishment possible to man, would be made possible via a 20 minute CD!!  Sorry, it will not be handed to you on a silver platter no matter what the salesman says.  And speaking of salesman, that is probably the best clue of all that something is amiss.  The one trait that is common across all the definitions of enlightenment is compassion.  Does it really make sense that a fully awakened enlightened person, who is supposed to be completely free, full of joy, bliss and compassion, decides he would rather be a businessman and only help you if you pay him?  He decides to rake in the cash to buy his third BMW since he is just not quite satisfied with having a Buddha Mind?  If the source feels more like a business than a genuine place to help guide you, be warned – you are about to be conned.  No, my friend, don’t waste your money, there are no short cuts and I will tell you something else, it is not ever possible to have one. 

Enlightenment cannot be brought about through any act of will.  It comes on its own and goes on its own.  No formula can produce it, no method can create it, and no path can take you to it.  Any effort on your part to bring about enlightenment only strengthens the noose of desire and perpetuates self-centered activity, so no outside solution can possibly work for this condition. To illuminate this point the following traditional example is often used…

Think of your life as a movie.  Reality is what is happening on the screen, everything that takes place is in the movie; the Truth is the screen itself.  It is forever hidden by the images moving on it.  It only becomes visible when the movie stops playing.  Any willful attempt to stop the movie just adds another theme, another story line and the show goes on.  Any angle you undertake is another scene in your movie.  This movie has to stop itself and when it does the Truth becomes visible.  All you can do is watch the movie.  As you watch and study the movie you start to see its monotony and meaninglessness.  You start to see the pettiness of being endlessly drawn into your self-centered drama.  This is the beginning of the end.  Keep watching carefully, meticulously, and diligently. This watching leads to the movie ending itself.  Then you may be blessed with the Truth.  So next time someone comes up to you and tries to sell you magic beads of enlightenment, politely show them the garbage can.

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9 replies
  1. Heidi
    Heidi says:

    Hi Anmol, do you have scientology (paying for enlightennment -of sorts!) so you can provide this free serrvice? Its spooky seeing them here, makes me nervous! I dont trust this institution! p.s do i have to visit your site to see if you replied, or do i get a note in my email? With thanks, Heidi

    Reply
  2. Kaushik
    Kaushik says:

    Hey, what about the offer for enlightenment for $19.95. But wait, there’s more!

    Agree with you, this is not an easy road. It isn’t terribly difficult either; most people have done something that’s more difficult, run a marathon, got a master’s or phD, had kids. It’s certainly less effort than living a life swung by fear and desire. It’s a delicate process and after some initial effort, the effort drops away.

    There is no reason to pay $2500 to learn meditation. There are resources on this site, and as well as many good books, and also organizations that run on donations which provides free guidance.

    Reply
  3. Rod
    Rod says:

    Anmol, thanks for the reply.

    I think you heard right about TM. What the cost appears to cover is some fairly intensive 1-to-1 instruction of a sort not readily available elsewhere (and of course the whole organization that provides the service).

    The advantages would seem to be that you
    a) learn a method widely reported to have beneficial results for everybody
    b) learn the method as a whole family (assuming they agree to it), and
    c) the ‘investment’ makes it harder to just give it up later.

    At the moment I’m doing 20 minutes of zazen at home every day (on a guerrilla basis), and fortunately there’s a zazen group in a temple in town that I go to every Sunday morning for an hour or so. I also checked out the SM program which I intend to try when my zazen practice is coming along (which it is now, especially since I stopped counting my breaths and started just concentrating quietly).

    But getting my wife and son involved in this unstructured and very personal practice is not going to be easy. My son is showing the same spineless passive resistance to study that I showed at the same age, wasting loads of time unhappily and driving his mother insane as I drove mine insane. I think some meditation might do them both good, hence the sense of urgency.

    I’ll try to get them to go to the TM introductory meeting and see whether it still appeals.

    Thanks again.

    Reply
  4. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hey Rod,

    I think I read $2500 for the course! The technique, although not explicitly mentioned, I believe is Mantra Repetition. You can find such a meditation here…

    So Hum Mantra Meditation:
    http://anmolmehta.com/2007/05/16/so-hum-mantra-meditation-technique-free-guided-meditation-book-for-daily-practice/

    Another vehicle, which I strongly recommend you use as an object of concentration to build mental focus, stress reduction, etc, etc. is

    Zazen: Zen Breath Meditation:
    http://anmolmehta.com/2007/04/18/free-online-guided-meditation-book-zen-meditation-technique-ch-1/

    BUT for enlightenment, if you are serious. I think you have a thoughtful approach and clear logical systems, you should move to the highest form of insight meditation. You will not find this explained many places, as not many people can do it… thus not many enlightened people in our mix. Here is that meditation… I suggest you try to summon the horse power for this technique…

    Silent Mind Meditations:
    http://anmolmehta.com/2007/01/25/silent-mind-meditation-the-sm-meditations-chapter-12/

    In fact you may wish to check out the Silent Mind Meditation Program.

    I think my opinion is kind of hidden in my response here… if not clear hit me again and I will be more explicit :-P

    Reply
  5. Rod
    Rod says:

    This is a very topical article for me at the moment. The ‘Meditation for Dummies’ book that I started off with talks about Transcendental Meditation (TM), and I followed up by reading the Wikipedia article and the TM website. Today I also emailed the local Maharishi Research Station or whatever it’s called. They seem very well organized – I got a phone call soon after and an invitation to attend an introductory meeting. I also thought I’d best look at my friend Anmol’s site to see if there was anything about TM, and to get a second opinion.

    Well there’s nothing specific here about TM, but this article seems to be … a warning of some sort. To be sure TM seems to be business, and indeed, it’s a multinational corporation by the looks of it. And the lessons don’t come cheap. But as I weeded my okra today, I thought about this point and it occurred to me that if you can actually provide a decent living to a few people in each region of the world who will teach a valuable method to other people who are prepared to pay for it, then why not? Of course in this paradigm, the medium is not the message, but if the message won’t get across much otherwise…

    Another argument in favour can be found in the Buddhist scriptures where the Buddha advises a married couple that they can be together in the next life if they learned their method of enlightenment in the same way, and practiced it in the same way (actually I found this a somewhat pointless and incongruous story, but not to worry). TM offers a family program, and by highlighting the youth-retaining benefits of meditation, and the academic reinforcement available, I might just be able to lure other family members into going along with it (including the Minister of Finance, the sine qua non in this case).

    So I wonder, do you have any advice about this Anmol? Were you by any chance warning specifically about anything here? Do some of your readers have any experience with TM?

    Reply

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