lessons - 2

Charles Wikner WIKNER at NACDH4.NAC.AC.ZA
Thu Mar 26 03:00:27 CST 1998

On Mon 23 Mar 1998, Gregory Goode wrote:

> I don't think the finer understanding exlcudes the smaller circle
> of free will.

The larger understanding encompasses the lesser: we agree on that.
How do these circles become separate points in the next sentences:

> There is a reference point according to which there are strong
> experiences of freedom of will.  There is also a reference point
> according to which these experiences are understood in a way that
> doesn't necessitate or imply free will.

The first "point" seems to be the familiar ego; the second sounds
like a demonic divorce of sattva from rajas and tamas.  Would you
please describe or illustrate that second "point".

> To say that this is not a teaching for everyone is not to say
> that it is an elitist view.

Okay, but I am not happy with the word `teaching'.  A teaching
is systematic and comprehensive, whereas you are offering a
rather singular belief.  But lets not quibble over terminology.

> No teaching will resonate with everyone, no teaching is
> equally useful for everyone.


> Hence the variety of teachings.

This is not a variety show but a forum for the discussion of
Advaita Vedanta.  Free will is an aspect of the Advaita path;
the denial of free will is not.  I'm being pedantic: skip it.

> With respect to this one teaching on free will, I have seen
> this teaching be received by people who then experienced profound,
> liberating shifts away from identification with the ego.

The attractiveness of the belief is clear, but it looks like a trap.

Please explain the last phrase: I equate identification with ego;
what do you understand by ego in your statement?

> With other people, I have seen the teaching recieved with profound
> confusion.  People who, as Swami has said, heard this while they
> were on a path.  Hearing this teaching, they become confused and
> start to try to work this teaching into their world view.

I can understand that: it doesn't fit on any useful path.

> They FEEL like they are the do-ers, they FEEL the activity of a will,

That's the ego, the first of your reference points.

> but this conflicts with the teaching from a teacher they respect.
> So there's cognitive dissonance.

As a logical consequence.

> So in this, I agree most respectfully with the Swami, who said,
> > > But it is dangerous (for most) to say, I have no choice. Unless
> > > one is already a great devotee and set firmly on the path, one
> > > will use this as an excuse to follow the dictates of the mind.

Your actions belie your words: if you agree that it is dangerous
(and have seen that it can be "received with profound confusion"),
how are you able to continue to disseminate that belief on this list
(where you cannot see the resultant harm)?

That was a serious question (not a charge): how (not why).
Are you viewing (what others see as) Greg's actions as somehow
separate from Greg himself?  This would seem to accord with
your two "reference points" given above.  Do please explain.

Dear Greg, in the past I have expended much heat in defending free
will, but at last a little light is beginning to shine through.
The situation is rather like seeing pornographic magazines in a
bookshop: there is an attraction for it, but also a vague knowledge
that it would be wrong to indulge.  So long as the knowledge remains
vague, it is only heat (blind dogma) that keeps one away from it;
but as the knowledge becomes clearer, so that one can express it
in one's own words, then the heat turns to light and one is free of
even the attraction.

Returning to the topic of free will, it is becoming clear that, in
general, the diffence is merely terminological, but nonetheless one
that should be resolved for clarity of communication.  However, the
position that you seem to be taking on free will really is harmful,
to you as well as others, and I would welcome discussing it further.

Regards, Charles.

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