Adyashanti and Francis Bennett – “The Embrace of Jesus and Buddha” Transcript

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Adyashanti and Francis Bennett – “The Embrace of Jesus and Buddha”

Rick Archer: My name is Rick Archer, and I’m the creator and host of the interview show Buddha, the gas pump, which is an online, video and podcast of interviews with spiritually Awakening people. I’m going to moderate tonight’s event with Adyashanti and Francis Bennett. The theme of the talk tonight will be the embrace of Jesus and Buddha. And I just discovered that my friend Francis, who I’ve been a dear friend for years, is an artist. He painted that picture there. I didn’t know that. He’s a musician. He he took ballet for 15 years is, as I just said a minute ago, a renaissance man. So it’s beautiful when something new every day, so I want to introduce the speakers briefly. Adi Shanti, is an American born spiritual teacher devoted to serving the awakening of all beings. His teachings are an open invitation to stop, inquire and recognize what is true and liberating at the core of all existence. I’ll give a little bit longer in Introduction to Francis because you’re probably less familiar with him than you are with Adria. In 2010, while in the middle of a church service in his monastery in Montreal, and Francis lived in monasteries for the better part of 30 years TRAPPIST and Benedictine, and in in the US, Canada and Europe. Anyway, well, in the middle of a church service, Francis suddenly experienced what he has come to call a radical perceptual shift in consciousness, in which he discovered the ever present presence of spacious pure awareness. He came to see that this awareness is actually the unchanging essence of who he really is, and always has been the Supreme Self, talked about by many sages and saints, for many spiritual traditions down through the ages. He also came to see simultaneously that this vast infinite sense of presence at the center of his being and at the center of the being of everyone else on the planet, is actually not at all separate from the presence of God, which he had been looking for during his many years as a monk and spiritual seeker. Francis is now living a quote, new incarnation as a spiritual teacher. He offers a blend of the Buddhist traditions he studied, he was an ordained Buddhist monk for two years, the contemplative Christian mystical tradition, which he lived during his many years in monastic life, as well as the Hindu Advaita Vedanta teaching a route of Sri Ramana Maharshi, who has had a profound influence on Francis. So again, the theme of tonight’s talk is the embrace of Jesus and Buddha. And I would like to ask Francis, first he is going to start with a chant. And then he will give us a synopsis of what is going to be discussed.

Francis Bennett: So the chat that I want to share with you is a chant that I did, when I was ordained in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, every day was part of our regular chanting We did. And it’s called the Namo Tassa, homage to the enlightened one, the worthy one, the fully awakened one. And then we took refuge every day in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. And tonight we’re talking about Jesus and Buddha, the embrace of Jesus and Buddha. And when we take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha, we’re really taking refuge in our own true nature, not necessarily even the historical Buddha, Gautama who lived in ancient India, but the Buddha nature within us our own Christ’s nature, our own Buddha Nature, which I think are really the same thing called by different names. So this little chant that I thought we’d start with and maybe we’ll end with a Christian Gregorian chant, just to round it out. So the first one is the Namo Tassa in the refuge. So we can chant that Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhassa Namo Tassa, bhagavato, Arahato Samma, some, some Buddhists. Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Whoo, some, some Buddhists budem, Suriname go Cha MI, da mom, Suriname, go Cha me, Sangha. Suriname Cha me

Rick Archer: you want to tell us what that means it will show you just stay with the sound of it,

Francis Bennett: it means a homage to the worthy one, the awakened one, the fully enlightened one. And then the The refuge is I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in the Dharma, I take refuge in the Sangha. So the Buddha, as I said, is our own true nature. The Buddha nature within all of us, the Dharma is the teaching of the enlightened ones, all those who have come to understand their true nature. And the Sangha is the community of enlightened ones, which includes all of us. So that’s the meaning of that.

Rick Archer: Now, why don’t you give us just a synopsis, as you we may veer off in other directions, and I’ll be asking questions, you’ll be asking questions. But as you anticipate it, what do you feel like we’ll be covering tonight, or you would like to cover?

Francis Bennett: Well, I guess the desire to do this came out of my own experience of Buddha and Jesus. As Rick said, this icon, I painted icons in the monastery. This is not a very traditional one, of course, because it’s Buddha and Jesus together. It’s based on an icon of St. Peter and Paul embracing. So I based the kind of positions of the figures in the icon on that, but I made it Jesus and Buddha. And the reason I did that was because they both been really archetypes and symbols of awakening, in my own life. And my sense, over time, as I’ve reflected on it, and reflected on my own life journey, is that the Buddha for me, in many ways, represents the transcendent awakening, the awakening up and out of the merely human kind of identity that we usually primarily identify with. So the Buddha represents that transcendent movement, up and out of, and then the Christ represents the imminent movement back down and into. So the Buddha transcend samsara, the kind of cycle of birth and death in this phenomenal world. And then the Christ actually enters back into samsara with a compassionate heart of mercy, and acting in the world in altruistic compassionate ways. So for me, both the Buddha and the Christ represent the full circle of awakening that’s has a transcendent movement and an imminent movement. So for me, both of them were really, really central figures in my life, and I feel a great love and appreciation for both of them. They’re both major teachers, for me, and maybe you have something to say about?

Adyashanti: Well, I think sort of parallel. One of the things that me and Francis share is from our different at least sort of early religious orientations. You know, part of Francis, even when he was in the monastery was also doing some very intensive and serious Buddhist meditation practice, with with with a number of really fantastic Buddhist teachers. And when I was in Buddhist Buddhism, when I was a Zen student, I, curiously enough, found myself at some point in there naturally, sort of reaching out into the Christian mystics, because they were providing something or I found something there that I couldn’t, I couldn’t find in a way that really was obvious and resonated for me. In, in, in Zen, and so, for me, it was really the discovery of sort of the spiritual heart. Of course, it is in Zen, but it’s an it’s an in sort of a different form. And so, and then it just sort of snowballed from there. As I’ve often said that strangely enough, I actually came to understand a lot of the Buddhist teachings through on through the study of some of the Christian mystics, actually. And so often it goes, it’s the other way around, you know, people are involved in Western religion, that they reach out to the east for something and I wasn’t an Eastern religion and reaching out to the West to sort of fill in a sort of what was for me a gap. And so we’ve both had this, we both, you know, Francis Coors Bina been a Christian monk for about 30 years and me and my Zen practice, and we both reached out into each other’s traditions for our own for our own reasons, but I think that’s kind of also where we’ve Where we’ve, we really meet, we really meet, it’s part of what I think formed our informed our friendship, which is, we both have such a profound love of both of these traditions that, you know, that we both participated in with some, with some depth. And as over the years we’ve known each other we’ve we’ve talked about, I think what you probably get into Rick to also is that is how I think they that they do sort of symbolize in a, in a, almost a mythological sense, kind of two different spiritual movements. And I think you said it very, very well, sort of the traditional transcendent movement, that Buddhism as a whole, you know, really is even the the image of the Buddha in a seated meditation posture is telling us something central about that tradition. And then, of course, in the Christian tradition, I also think of it as sort of a down in in transition. Tradition, even though it’s, sometimes I find people find that a little bit confusing, because a lot of Christian theology is very up and out very, very, very transcendent, which is actually an awful lot of Greek philosophy is actually informed that whereas Jesus in his life, in his teaching, the actual story itself, I think, is a very, very embodied form of spirituality, a way to embrace the saw the sorrows of the world, it’s almost like you overcome them by fully embracing them fully diving in. And so I think these two traditions sort of hold places for each of us individually that are very, very close and very dear. And I think they also hold the sort of almost mythologically they, they hold different, different places in the greater store story of spirituality. I think

Rick Archer: he kind of led into the question I was thinking, of which I don’t have either a Christian or Buddhist background, I have more of a, I guess he say, a Hindu one chakra charter tradition, but um, is from my uninformed perspective, there seems, you know, Buddhism seems to be about getting out of suffering once and for all. And Christianity seems to talk about suffering a lot. And some of the great Christian saints were suffered terribly and, and didn’t even reveal that they were suffering and actually almost seemed to say, Bring it on, give me more, because it’s this somehow purifies me or helps me or something. So would that relate to the up and out versus down in in thing that you were talking about? Or, or not?

Francis Bennett: Well, like God, you just said, my sense is that actually, both traditions have both the up and out in the down in in both have a transcendent kind of aspect or dimension to their path, and both have an imminent, kind of more embodied dimension. But in my mind, and heart, the Buddha is more of an archetype of transcendence, for me personally, in the Christ is more of a archetype of the imminent. You know, it’s interesting, though, because I think the truth, in general truth with a capital T is a subtle, nuanced reality, it’s a living reality. And it’s not just something that has a kind of black and white flavor to it, it’s, you know, often if you state something as a truth, you can see the kind of opposite side of that coin. In some way, the whole truth has various dimensions to it, almost like different facets of a diamond, you know that they make up the whole diamond. And for me, this whole theme of Jesus and Buddha, the embrace of Jesus, and Buddha, is essentially pointing to that reality. That truth about truth that truth is not just a one sided thing, it’s not an either or kind of proposition. It’s always both. And it’s always kind of including something that seems paradoxically, almost the opposite. And the more of my own clarity and awakening unfolds, the more I see that over and over again, I just see that, that the truth is not one dimensional. You know, it’s three dimensional at least, and maybe four or five dimensional. I don’t know. So for me, the whole image of Jesus and Buddha, kind of are symbols of that. You know, I used to be, I mean, I was raised in Irish Catholic I entered a monastic life at a very young age and And if you come across me in my early 20s, I would have seemed very clear about what I believed. And when I thought, you know, I thought I pretty much had it figured out. By the time I was 2324, I’d gone to college, I had a degree in philosophy, I’d studied theology, I gone through my religious formation, I thought I had it all kind of figured out. But the more the deeper, I went into this exploration of truth, the more I realized that I could say more about what I didn’t know than what I knew. And so I think that this topic of Jesus and Buddha, in a way, it’s just a symbol, it’s like a mythic symbol, almost you could say, of our own journey that I think does involve a transcendent movement, and a more embodied movement. So that’s where I thought it might be valuable to kind of reflect on that, and what does that look like in our lives? You know, rather than just think about the historical Buddha and Jesus, but, you know, how have we experienced that in our lives, this movement of transcendence in this movement of imminence?

Adyashanti: Yeah. I think that these two, these two sort of archetypes, because that’s how I kind of see them in a way they’re these, these two archetypes that they’re, you know, as are all archetypes really are pointing to sort of lived realities within us. And, you know, we all I think resonate with different things in different points in our journey, what we resonate actually tells us very much about where we are at, in our own in our own unfolding in our own in our own journey. And I think one of the reasons we like this sort of subject, though, is because it’s because both of these traditions like like, where, where one is, where one is a little weak, or the other is a little stronger, and where the other is a little bit weaker than another one’s, you know, really strong, even to the point of, you know, the Buddhist Buddhist teachings can read a bit, almost like a, like a doctor’s prescription, you know, what I mean? They’re, they’re very, very precise, very, very, very well thought out very, very repetitive. You know, there’s this whole way that it’s all sort of laid out, which is actually quite beautiful in its own, right, it’s in its sense, but the thing that I’ve liked also about the, what I always just call the Jesus story, is because stories themselves, I think, can live in us in ways that just straight doctrine cannot. You know, it’s in you, we everybody’s heard the story of Jesus or they’ve heard the story of Buddha, you know, these are just so well well known sort of iconic images and and yet, I think the it’s, it’s a story can convey things that a straight teaching cannot convey. You know, it just, it can bring things along, and which, I think is one of the things that in our modern day, also, we’ve kind of forgotten that, that, you know, we we think, oh, a myth is just means something that’s not true. Like equating, if somebody just tells you a lie, they’re telling you a myth, but they’re actually not a myth is sort of an encoded form of, of truth. And I think that there’s a reason why, say, either the Jesus story or the or the Buddha’s story, but they resonate with people, right, they touch something, that’s what these sorts of archetypal images, images do. And like I said, I think they are a corrective almost, you know, like in Buddhism, you can get so much about, you know, the, the, the ending of suffering, that you can actually start to make this mistake, I think what most people do, which is, spirituality is about the elimination of all forms of suffering. And that’s just number one. It’s just ridiculous. But that’s a that’s a very prevalent, you know, idea,

Rick Archer: speaking as someone who’s just recovering from a nasty flu.

Adyashanti: And, you know, and yet we all have that instinct to certainly at the very least minimize the unnecessary suffering. I think that’s really what wood is talking about, that there is this immensity of human suffering that is actually optional. I think Jesus story confronts us with and there is also suffering that is not optional. That’s an inevitable inevitable end. If you’re going to jump in and you are going to play this game. You can’t really play it well and play it, be in it in order to never suffer. Because to do that sometimes then we have to start Closing either our minds down or our hearts down and we got to start suppressing a little bit or, you know, and then you have the balancing image like a Jesus that just sort of, you know, fearlessly is just throwing himself into situations where he will suffer. You know what I mean? There’s there’s no attempt not to suffer. In fact, he doesn’t even really talk about, you know, the kingdom of heaven is a place where you’ll never ever, ever, ever have anything remotely like a bad day again.

Francis Bennett: Probably that day lacrosse was one of those times that wasn’t wasn’t five star.

Adyashanti: Certainly, I’ve often thought I wonder if anybody in fact, I’ve told rooms, I’ve questioned rooms that people this, I’ve put this question out there, if you could actually have whatever your version of total liberation is, except your life would have would look very much like Jesus’s life looked like, Okay, how many people would sign up for that? And I think it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it is kind of, you know, there’s something that’s humorous about it, but there’s also something that like, can get us to kind of reflect and go, like, what is my relationship to this whole thing? You know, is that the end? Is that the end all? And be all? Is that the? Is that really what this is simply about? Or is there something else? And of course, you know, gee, I can see Jesus and the Buddha, by the way, both whispering in someone’s ear, like, it’s also about love, or I can hear Buddha saying, don’t forget, it’s about compassion. It’s not only about you never have a bad day. You know, it’s about what does it mean to to, to what is a kind kind of realization that gives one the, the, the freedom and the confidence and the courage to throw themselves into life, rather than trying to look for an escape hatch from life, because there’s two different those are two different kinds of freedom. You know, there’s two different qualities I think of freedom.

Rick Archer: Francis was talking a minute ago about that we’re sort of would use the word multi dimensional are multifaceted that paradoxical truths, different levels of reality can be lived simultaneously. And in light of my, my former teacher was once being interviewed on the BBC alongside the abbot of downside, oh, Christian, as well, Hume, I don’t know who this is back in the 60s. And he, my teacher proclaimed, Christ never suffered. And the abbot of downside didn’t like the sound of that. But what he meant was that, you know, obviously, his body went through something horrific. But he said, If he was really Christ, if he was really established in the bliss of the self, and the Universal Spirit, whatever we want to call it, then it’s possible to be so established in that way that despite what’s happening to the body, you’re untouched by it. It’s being felt on some level, but simultaneously on some other level, somehow, one is not that universal. Consciousness is not touched. Is there anything in the your personal experience either both of you that, like you, when you just had the flu? Was there some dimension that didn’t have the flu? Shot?

Adyashanti: Yeah, sure. There is. And I say that I say that casually. Because it’s just, it’s just sort of the background of my life. So I’m not I’m not going through, like having the flu and going, Okay, now, let me see if there’s a part of me. That’s not

Rick Archer: we wouldn’t have to think about it, you know, I

Adyashanti: don’t know. It’s so it’s very, very sort of, you know, not reflective. I mean, it is not, I’m not sort of reflecting on on all of it, you know, if I do reflect on it, they’re sure there’s always something that’s, that’s, that’s okay. You know, that’s, that’s not affected, but I’m always, personally, I always hesitate. I always like, Okay. Am I ready to whatever be ready to sign on to the statement that your teacher made? I’m not so sure that I would, yeah, I think a lot of it is our degrees. You know, if if, if you take the most enlightened guy or woman’s in the world, and you know, you, you tie a tie, tie this hand and pull it in a direction and tie this one, and have two cars move in the opposite directions, pulling them apart. I don’t know that the person is going to be sitting there in a state of Nirvikalpa samadhi A while their bodies being torn to pieces, and they’re in a state where they’re very much untouched. So I think these things can be have a truth they’re pointing to a truth of theirs is something that’s always, always okay. Yeah. And yet I think Jesus would have definitely failed the test that your teacher gave him. Because even contemplating what he was going to go through was enough to make him sweat, two drops of blood and two drops of blood and be in tears and be begging his disciples for their support. You know, Can you can you stay with me? Can you be with me? I’m just about to go through, you know, this terrible, terrible, terrible thing. So I think sometimes when I hear phrases, you know what, that’s a good example. One, I always try to go okay. what are they pointing towards? What’s the point that’s been trying to be made? And is it necessary to take this as a as completely an absolutely literal? As much as human beings would love to take it as completely? And absolutely, literally, because human beings are sort of hooked up to not want to suffer? Yeah, you know,

Rick Archer: well, for instance, when Ramana was dying of cancer and screaming in pain, you know, his disciples are expressing their concern he verbatim what he said, but it was basically like, Don’t worry, I’m okay. And here, you know, there are external perception of him. And what they imagined they would be experiencing, they were going through what he was going through, were quite different than his subjective experience.

Adyashanti: Yeah, it reminds me of what students Shunryu Suzuki went when he was dying of cancer Zen masters started San Francisco Zen Center. And at one point when his cancer also as often is the case became very, very, very painful for him. And, you know, his students could see him struggling, you know, although he tried to function right up to the very end. But he told him, I think something that corresponds to what you said rec, and he says, if when you see me suffer, don’t worry about me, because it’s only Buddha’s suffering, which I thought, oh, you know, it’s, that was a really beautiful, like, a kind of choice of words, because he wasn’t the nine what he was experiencing, then it was very powerful. But it odd that that it wasn’t causing him to, to,

Francis Bennett: to fracture, to deny,

Adyashanti: to deny or to shut right or to shut down or to, you know, he could still be very much in touch with again, this is, okay, this is Buddha suffering.

Francis Bennett: I just recently had an interesting experience. I lost my brother, my brother died, we’re twins. And he’s the last he was the last family of, of, of, you know, person in my immediate family. So that was a big deal for me, you know, I never thought my brother would die in his 50s, you know, just didn’t, wasn’t in my plan, my life plan. But it happened. And I remember talking to you, the day he died, and saying to ADIA, you know, it’s funny, on one level, I am fine with this, he’s died. And I accept that. And that’s the way it is. And my heart is completely broken. And both are true. You know, I think, again, the human intellect, the human mind, we want it to be either or don’t we want to be either you’re completely untouched, or you’re absolutely overwhelmed with suffering. And I think what it is, is that when we awaken when we really come to understand who we really are on the deepest level, you know, who we are on the level of the Christ, who we are on the level of the Buddha we’re suddenly in a vast, spacious place that’s infinitely large. And it’s big enough to hold whatever comes, you know, but it’s absolutely and unconditionally open. So whatever comes, is embraced whatever comes is completely accepted unconditionally. And that in the human experience, in case you hadn’t noticed, includes pain, sorrow, heartbreak, tragedy, you know, disease, death, all those things. And I think we want it to be either or we will if you’re awaken that’s not going to touch you at all. You’re going to just be this stoical kind of person is going to rise above it all. And, you know, and that’s what this whole evening is really reflecting on is that, you know, we need the transcendence, we need to find that place of spaciousness. But we also need to be open to everything that life puts on our plate. You know, even when it’s difficult, you know, losing my brother was, I think, the most difficult thing I’ve ever experienced. I, I think it was more difficult than the loss of my parents. Because my parents were old. You know, I mean, I lost my parents, my mom, I was, you know, 40 5050 When she died, so, and she was 91. So I kind of expected to lose her, I didn’t expect my brother to die. You know, in his 50s. My dad also was in his late 80s. You know, but like you say, on one level, there was a place where I was at peace, there was a place where it was all fine. It was all okay. And on another level, my heart was completely broken. So, I think both are true.

Adyashanti: Yeah, certainly corresponds to my experience.

Rick Archer: aAdya  was, you’re talking about stories a little while ago. Excuse me. And we know that nothing much was written down about Jesus until several, I don’t know, 50 100, couple 100 years after his death

Francis Bennett: ad, not a couple 100. But yeah, yeah, a little bit a while at least

Rick Archer: a generation or two. And maybe I don’t know if the same is true of Buddha or not. And then in terms of the actual scriptures, you know, the canonical texts, it’s my understanding that there are many, many more than actually made it through all the all the screen cuts and all the edits, and with Council of Nicaea, and all that stuff. So we want you wonder, and again, I don’t know if there’s a corollary to that in Buddhism, but you wonder whether what we know of as Buddhism and Christianity, how much resemblance it has to what they’re actually teaching. And a little addendum to that question is, you know, if you got Jesus and Buddha together, and in a room like that your picture depicts and maybe added duty, you know, added Krishna and, you know, Mohammed and sorrow aster and few others for good measure. Would they all concur with one another? Yeah, we’re all talking about the same thing? or would there be differences of opinion?

Adyashanti: I, my guess is that we there would be, there would be differences. You think I’ve never bought, I’ve never bought into the idea that. I mean, we do this because and it’s generally a good thing, you know, that conferences get made. So So contemplated, can come together, put their hands around each other, have a kumbaya moment, and you’re not as bad as we thought you were. And we’re much more alike than we are different. And I think that that is one of the beautiful things that happened when people have deep inner work get together, there often is this sort of recognition that there are so there are more similarities than doctrine often makes it seem like there are. And yet, I think what sometimes gets lost in in the rush to that we all have a sort of wonderful unified moment, is sometimes we can lose what I think is the beauty of diversity, you know, that that the Buddha’s realization may have may have had very, somewhat different qualities than Jesus has had may have had a lot of similarities. But there may have been some really important differences, certainly as on a level of personality in the way they live their life, there were profound differences. I mean, you know, Buddha’s was what basically is setting up a spiritual elite. He was interested in monks and nuns and creating this thing and, and, you know, that’s kind of what he wanted to do. Whereas Jesus was almost just the opposite. He was sort of tearing down the walls of, of any kind of elite, including spiritual religious, and I think there was there’s a vision difference they’re seeing something that’s that’s a little bit mate complimentary, I think. Definitely. But I think that’s one of the that’s one of the beauties of the different religions is they they are reflecting different aspects of the same jewel.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that last bit helped wrap it up. Because if spirituality is really about coming to understand what reality is, and not just about the social or monastic structures are the sort of the more manifest aspects of the, of the of a teaching, then one would hope that, fundamentally, you know, there was a concurrence, like, you know, you could have different maps of North America. And you could have a topographical map and a roadmap and an aviation map and a map of all the gas pipelines or something. And they each have their utility, and they serve different functions for different people in different circumstances. But they all actually refer to the same territory, they just bring out different facets or bits of information about that very

Adyashanti: thing. They’re all in the same territory of consciousness. Yeah. They’re, they are all discovering the reality, the deeper realities that deeper potentialities and consciousness, in that sense, I would agree that they’re, you know, they’re all looking sort of at the same, the same thing, they’re all there, they’re plunging into the, you know, the same, the same reality of, of consciousness. And yet, you know, there are obviously some very, very different orientations, it’s hard for me to really to hear Jesus, you know, come in and go on. Well, you know, folks, the world is an illusion, it’s unreal, it doesn’t really matter Why get involved, because what’s going to happen is going to happen, no matter what you do on what’s what, and what’s not going to happen is not going to happen, no matter what you do, which we hear from a lot of, you know, other sort of sages, which that is a legitimate perspective, because that is, that is that is what that is a certain dimension of consciousness you can go to, and some people would bump into that and kind of go like, Okay, that’s it. That’s that that is the ultimate state. I don’t necessarily think Jesus would come in and go, yes, that is the ultimate state, I think he would have his own little different take. You know, they both may be sitting in California, having a different take on it. However, that’s that much. I would certainly grant.

Rick Archer: Let me just say one quick thing. And then Francis. Okay. Quick, there’s a quote that I heard you say, and years ago, in some talk, which I really love, which points to this is he’s Jesus said, you know, for the for the birds have their nests, and the foxes have their holes, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. And that, to me, this refers to what you’re saying here, which is that he had ultimately no fixed point of view, no sort of rigid thing. Well, so refers to what you were saying about the different dimensions and different levels, you have to sort of embrace them simultaneously and not fixate on any one or else you end up with sort of a lopsided or fundamentalist stick. perspective. I’m sorry, for you wanted to say something. So go ahead. Now, please.

Francis Bennett: Yeah, my sense. I mean, I think at different points in my life, I have thought, at various times that like Christianity had the whole truth somehow that, you know, the whole truth could be found in this one religion that I had embraced and really dedicated myself to. And that was where the truth lied. You know, many people would say the same thing about Buddhism or about Hinduism over about, you know, Judaism, or Islam or whatever. I’ve come to a point in my life, where I no longer think any religion has the whole truth. I honestly do not. I think that when we talk about the maps of consciousness, somehow have to agree, where we’re starting from this presumption that somehow or other, these maps of consciousness are complete. My sense is that none of them are complete. You know, for myself, I needed Jesus, I really needed Jesus in my life, I needed what he symbolized, I needed that archetype. To symbolize my own interior journey, in a certain direction. I also needed Buddha, I needed the embrace of Jesus and Buddha, and I think that part of the beauty of the embrace of Jesus and Buddha is that they’re, they’re both bringing different things to the table. You know, for me, my spiritual journey was completed by embracing what Jesus represented for me, and embracing what Buddha represented for me, and they didn’t represent the same thing at all. They represented different aspects of the Path of Awakening, you know, they, they represented different movements of it, both being perfectly valid. But like you said earlier, I think both kind of needing each other to balance each other out, which we, you know, you often see that in a married couple, you know, that my mom and dad were like that. I mean, they were married for 64 years. My dad was this very masculine, very kind of, you know, alpha male type guy very much in control. My mom was a very feminine very kind of open, compassionate loving person. Son, and they got together. And the odd thing to me was at the end of their life, they had beautifully balanced each other out. At the end of my dad’s life, he was very open, he was very receptive, he was a good listener, he would, you know, ask you how, you know, what are things, how are things going for you what’s going on in your life, and he’d sit there and just listen kind of seemingly passively. And my mom became kind of more of a go getter, more kind of directive more, you know, especially with my dad. And they kind of took on the polar opposite characteristics that each of them somehow embodied in their marriage, help them get in touch with that inside of themselves, you know, with my mom with her own kind of what we would traditionally think of as a kind of masculine energy, my dad, a kind of feminine, more receptive energy. So I think that this embrace of Jesus and Buddha is like that they each bring their own energy. And that doesn’t need to be exactly the same at all. You know,

Rick Archer: you sent me some notes that you had been thinking about along these topics. And here’s one that kind of relates to this, I think, he said, different masters meet the different needs of each age, there’s usually a resurgence or renewal of knowledge when society has become close to truth. And there’s a line that’s kind of like this in the Bhagavad Gita, where Krishna says when Dharma is in decay, and a Dharma flourishes, I take birth, age after age. So it seemed that, you know, there’s a cycle of loss and revival of knowledge somehow, and, but each revival is not necessarily going to be identical, because each age is different. But it’s interesting now, because we have communications and much clearer historical knowledge than most of these, you know, isolated cultures had one or 2000 years ago. And so we’re able to kind of make a stew of all kinds of ingredients that weren’t available in previous ages. I suppose this could be confusing for some people, and maybe some people really need to stick to the straight and narrow a particular teaching, but others might find it really enriching as you did to add various teachings to the to the mix.

Francis Bennett: You know, I was a monk of Gethsemane, which was the monastery of Thomas Merton, a very well known spiritual writer, who was very much a pioneer in the area of inter spirituality and inter spiritual dialogue and inter religious dialogue. And the whole time I was at Cause 70. I was involved in that there were Tibetan monks, there were Zen monks or Hindu monks that came in we would have what we called inner monastic dialogue. And I think that where was I going with that now? You’re

Rick Archer: multiple teachings and mixing? Yeah, yeah, kind of like a be going from one kind of flower to another? Well, what

Francis Bennett: I found the most valuable and I kind of think Merton was a model in this for me, was that I went very, very deeply into one tradition as deeply as I could. And then after I was kind of established in that, I noticed, interestingly, to me, the parallels I found in different paths in first of all, it was the parallels, and then eventually, going into the these other various paths, I found contrasts as well. But they were it was all very rich, like both both understanding and discovering the parallels. And understanding the contrast, which, which helped me balance out in a way that I couldn’t have done if I had just stayed in one line. But I do think that there is there is a point there, that’s a point that’s a good point, is that I think it’s good to take each of these traditions, kind of on their own terms and take them straight kind of, you know, and really get a sense of what they’re about. Before we add to the mix. And make a there’s a there’s a book called stages of faith that was often read in some of you, if you come from any kind of seminary or clergy background, you probably read stages of faith by Fowler. It’s a really popular book. And there’s a chapter in there, he talks about Sheila ism. And Sheila ism, he said, there’s this woman he met named Sheila, and was interviewing her and she said, what are your spiritual beliefs? And she said, Well, I started out as a Christian, kind of in the Presbyterian Church, then I became a Baptist, then I became a Hindu, and then I became a Buddhist. And so I just kind of threw it all in a pot and mixed up really good. And then I came out with my own religion that I call Sheila ism, which is a mixture of all these things. It’s like work for well on one level that you okay, that’s fine, you know, whatever, if it works for you, you know, God bless you. But on another level, it might be good for us to just take each of these things on their own. Take what we find good, but don’t like just make our own religion mix it all up. You know,

Rick Archer: there’s that old saying that, you know, it’s better to dig one deep well than 10. Shallow, right. But then somebody said, Well, how about using 10? Different tools to dig one deep? Well?

Francis Bennett: Yeah, okay, there you go.

Adyashanti: Smart.

Francis Bennett: That’s awesome. Good. Not Sheila’s Americanism.

Adyashanti: Yeah. But I think there’s a really important thing in that, because, I mean, in our own different ways, when we, when we had when we did borrow from other traditions. I mean, Francis, obviously, in me, we really threw ourselves in, you know, I didn’t read a couple of books on Christian mysticism, you know, I read a couple of 100. And did the spiritual, many that practices that were in those books. You know, and so I think there is there is, this is something that we all face nowadays, that we all have so much exposure, right to a million in one teachings. And it is there is always the danger, it is easy to kind of lose yourself, lose your I mean, this is all about discovering something here. And sometimes if it’s, you know, if we’re too much in tune, at the same time we can we lose connection with what it’s what it’s really, really, really about. And yet, we are in the world that we’re in, and we have lots of exposure to a lot of things. So I think that puts the kind of responsibility back on each of us. That, you know, for Spirit, if we’re serious about these things, there’s a time when we’re dabbling, to see what’s there and what resonates. But when we’re serious that we, that we really, if we’re going to utilize something that we really do dive into it so so that we aren’t just creating something that fits us almost because you can, you can create something very easily, that fits you in such a way that you’re nice and conveniently unchallenged. Right? By it, you’ve got rid of all the elements that sort of challenge the ego, and leave the elements in that make it feel comfortable. So I think that I think we’re all well served that whatever any teaching, we utilize that we do it with great honesty and, and, and depth

Rick Archer: was that playwright that wrote The Importance of Being Earnest.

Francis Bennett: Oh, right. Oscar Wilde.

Rick Archer: And that just came to mind, I was gonna actually quote Nisargadatta, who said, it’s earnestness is really important. And then I thought, Well, does it play by that name? But um, I think that that might be something that would tie some of this together. Because regardless of what you do, whether you’re kind of sampling a smorgasbord a little bit, or totally, you know, have the blinders on, you’re totally focused on one one teaching or one tradition. I think earnestness is the key element for success.

Francis Bennett: Well, and I think that earnestness is certainly quality that you see, in different ways in both Jesus and Buddha, ya know, and I think the important thing isn’t so much you were talking earlier about the historical Jesus, you know, there’s been a whole controversial kind of focus for the last probably 80 years or more of the historical Jesus, who is the historical Jesus. And I think really, in all fairness, you could say the same thing about the Buddha, you know, it’s, you know, you got a kind of oral tradition. First, you’ve got the teacher that just says certain things and gives a teaching, then you’ve got an oral tradition of that, that goes on for usually 50 to 100 years or more, and then they write it down. So between the words that came out of the mouth of Jesus, or Buddha, and the or in the written down tradition, there’s this passing down of oral stuff. And I know in a class that I took in seminary, once we had a thing where somebody started with a statement, and we had a room of a circle of people, and they whispered in the person’s ear next to them, and then they whispered in the next person’s ear, and we got around, and then we got to the end. And the person said, Okay, what was the statement at the beginning, they said, you know, the roses are red or whatever. And then the last person said, you know, red is, red is distorted. Yeah, red is blue or something. It just, it just went around and kind of lost something in the translation. And I think that, in a way, you know, I know that I had a little dialogue with what’s that guy? You interviewed him and he wrote a book about Jesus being a meth or something. Oh, Tim, freak kit. Yeah, Tim Timothy freed. And Ghandi wrote the it’s not a new idea. I mean, this has been been been thrashing around for 100 years, like I say, and now they’re basically saying that Jesus will wasn’t even a historical person. Right?

Rick Archer: And he quoted, I mean, he cited all sorts of references from other civilizations, Egyptian and all sorts of other things. And a couple dozen different points in the Jesus story that are also in those traditionals. Yes.

Francis Bennett: And I think you know, now most historians most kind of current academic store to work on this level is saying no, there was a historical person named Jesus, you know, whether or not our attitudes and thoughts about him and impressions of him are accurate to the historical person is another question. But you could say the same thing about the Buddha, I think, but in a way, at this point, it doesn’t really matter. I think I think what they represent now is more about our own inner journey. It’s like you were talking about myth earlier. And Joseph Campbell wrote this, this book about myth and did a whole study on it. And he talks about the hero’s journey, and Buddha and Jesus are really representatives of the hero journey, but we’re all called to make the journey, you know, we’re all called to embrace the kind of life that Jesus and Buddha embrace. And part of it as you just said, is to go all in that, you know, it really requires earnestness, it requires a kind of commitment that involves, like Jesus said, you know, giving up everything, and coming and following in. We don’t like to hear that sometimes.

Adyashanti: Yeah, yeah. But I think that’s, that’s, that’s part of the archetype to its be and also not only that they were tremendously devoted and committed. But I think there’s something else about special about these two characters that resonates in the human heart. And I think it’s something about they did something that’s very, very unusual to do very rare, both and both of them did it in their own ways to me, they, they. They stepped, they definitely stepped off of the path Well, trodden. They, they kind of stepped out there were nobody else was going eventually. And there wasn’t a whole lot of signposts. And there wasn’t a whole, everything wasn’t really well defined. And not only, you know, did they come to their own spiritual liberation in their own right. But I think there’s also something that I’ve always thought that intuitive resonates for people without them even knowing it, or being really conscious of it, is that it’s almost like now there’s an actual, autonomous human being, there’s somebody who’s not looking around going y’all like it? Is it okay, if I’m this way? Does it fit into the program does it you know, they’re very autonomous human beings, which, you know, true, true, deep autonomy, is, is not an easy thing to achieve. Right. And I think both of them are sort of hallmarks of people who did that, and they did what it takes to do that, which you can’t just be sort of following safely along. And whatever herd you might be in autonomy is usually it’s, it’s a hard one, it’s, you kind of got a scrape and claw, your way to find out what’s really, really authentic within, you know, within within you, what’s really real, what’s really authentic, and I think that’s part of what resonates for people too, they can feel that’s a kind of freedom to, you know, it’s not just an inner, like, I feel really spacious and open and free, as wonderful as that is, but it’s also a freedom to actually be who they are. Come what may, you know, they both have their sort of human missions and life to be who I am. Come with may, you know, and I think that’s also part of that part of both of their characters that are actually very, very similar. You know,

Rick Archer: looking back to the map metaphor for a minute. We might call it pardon the what mid map metaphor and math, Na Ma P. O map in that math. We had what we might call Christian cartographers of consciousness, we had, you know, Teresa of Avila and Jhana the cross and maybe Meister Eckhart who think Teresa wrote the interior castle. And she spoke with the seven dwelling place which was union of the soul with God. And it seems to me that from again, a outside perspective on Christianity and Buddhism, that the the mystics in Christianity were more fewer and farther between then in Buddhism Buddhism seem to more explicitly tell straight into inner experience. And yet, in Christianity, it’s all about God. There’s all this talk of God and experience of God, not just a concept or belief. Whereas to my understanding, correct me if I’m wrong, the Buddha hardly talked at all, if at all about God, and God isn’t really mentioned in Buddhism. So I wonder why that is? Is it? Is it possible that the tools of Buddhism were not capable of taking people to the they stopped at a certain point and were not capable of taking people to the experience of God? Or is there some other reason for this discrepancy?

Adyashanti: Well, as Buddha said, I’ll just get it started. And then I’d be interested, as the Buddha said, on the whole issue of God as a whole whole bunch of other things. I think he would put that in what he called the list of imponderables, which is basically as he defined what his spirituality was for him, which was, you know, about suffering and the alleviation of suffering. And he said, there’s a whole lot of things, a whole lot of metaphysical speculating that, according to him, was he says, This is what we’re about all this, all this metaphysical speculation isn’t going to serve this end. So basically, I’m not going to talk about it. And I won’t even I won’t even entertain it, because it doesn’t have anything to do with, with the with the ending of suffering. So that’s, I think, one of you know, his, one of the reasons that he didn’t he didn’t get into sort of the god question or any number of questions that are more metaphysical in nature.

Rick Archer: But there have been many saints and traditions which talk of God consciousness, and which is people who say, that God has becoming a living a living experience. So one man’s metaphysics may be another man’s actual experience. And right, so that’s why I kind of was wondering whether Buddhism or even the Buddha’s own experience might have only gone so far. And that a richer, more nuanced, perhaps more highly evolved, if I can be so blasphemous level of development would render God a living reality, rather than just a metaphysical concept or belief.

Francis Bennett: You know, in the Christian mystical tradition, there are two contrasting kind of approaches that are often talked about, and the terms that are used or that the Cata fatik, which means the way of Light the Way of affirmation, the way of definition, almost you could say, and the apophatic, which is the way of darkness, the way of unknowing the way of sort of, yeah, darkness, you know, and both of those paths, again, we keep coming back to this, that there are kind of complementary things that both work together, in, in the life of a human being, the spiritual journey of any of us. There are times in our life, when our the revelation that’s given to us the clarity that comes to us is absolutely clear. It’s absolutely kind of affirming, we can state very definitely, I know this to be true, you know, I see this, it seems true, it feels true. It’s true. When I put it into practice, it works for me, and so on. That’s the way of light. And then there are other times there are other, you know, seasons in our journey, our spiritual journey, which are darkness, which is the path of darkness, the path of unknowing where we know through unknowing, you know, and that’s a that’s a theme that arises again and again, in the Christian contemplative tradition is this, this path of unknowing that God, what we call God, that mystery, that some of us call God is absolutely beyond any concept. It’s absolutely beyond any definition. And unlike in the, in the, in the 14th century, classic, the Cloud of Unknowing, he says, All we can do is sit before this reality. And, and, and with a with a blind stirring of love, you know, we can come to it, we can contemplate it, but we can’t grasp it. You know, we can’t define it, we can’t get a hold of and say, Here it is, you know, and I think there are times in our life, when we do need clarity, we do need, like, kind of definite sort of affirming principles or statements about the spiritual reality we’ve seen. And then there are other times when that just doesn’t do the trick, you know, and we have to admit, okay, you know, this is in the realm of unknowing. This is this is beyond the conceptual sort of intellectual, doctrinal kind of level. Does that make sense? So I think you kind of need both. Again, it’s keeps recurring tonight, but it’s not like one is true and one is halls, like in Buddhism, okay, he’s not affirming the word God, and he’s not talking about God. But he talks about nibbana. He talks about the deathless Nirvana, he talks about the cessation of suffering. So in Christianity, they might say, Oh, the reality you’re looking for, is this God, the spiritual reality was the Buddha says, No, it’s the it’s it’s the, it’s the the end of suffering. So he’s defining it but in a negative way, you see, rather than in a positive way, I’m not so sure that the that the truth they’re pointing to is absolutely mutually exclusive. Nor am I sure it’s absolutely the same thing. But I think there’s probably but it may be

Rick Archer: stage we’re talking

Adyashanti: about to, you know, because there’s clearly some very, you know, quite advanced Christian mystics, that basically, are still in a relational relationship with God. Then there’s Christian mystics, who also themselves have gone right beyond any relation to union. What’s that to union with God yet? Beyond union? Yeah, I mean, Meister Eckhart makes it very, very clear. This is this is not this is not union, this is this is beyond Union. This is beyond God. III went so far as to say of God, I am the Cause. Yeah. As a way of, of, I think, trying to be as clear as he can, could, and you know, no. I mean, that’s a statement that would get most people in your church today, to blush quite hard. You know, if someone

Rick Archer: said that it got people killed, and

Adyashanti: yeah, yeah. Well, he had the good sense to die before they could kill him for it. You know

Francis Bennett: what he was? He was posthumously excommunicated,

Adyashanti: right. He was excommunicated, and then kind of reimbursed? He was Yeah, yeah. So yeah.

Rick Archer: We’ll take questions pretty soon. I know, I know, a lot of you probably have questions. I was writing down with a friend and we were talking in the car. And he has a lot of a lot of study of Christianity, and degrees and doctorates and all that stuff, but. And he said, you know, what evidence do we have that Jesus was actually self realized? The terminology is not used in the Bible. So can we actually can we safely assume that he was self realized in the way that we’re describing here the way the Buddha might have described, although he didn’t use that term? Or could he have been, you know, some other type of being altogether who wasn’t enlightened in the conventional sense? Any thoughts? Or is that too speculative to even consider?

Adyashanti: I mean, we could say, I think, if we’re going to, you know, speculate, we have first thing we have to admit is we actually know very little very little about either one of these two people, you know, I mean, Buddhism has as much mythology around the Buddha’s life, as Christianity does around Jesus’s life. I think at the end of the day, at least for me, the end of the day is, number one, how far am I going to speculate on it with something that I literally can never know? Yeah. If I can’t know, what am I wasting my time with? Do you know? And even more than that, I think at the end of the day, to us, you know, what’s important is, is this is this teaching useful? In what way? Is this really useful for me? Because I can’t actually know, you know, I can’t sit down and talk to the historical Jesus or the historical Buddha, and, you know, and try to rank them on the hierarchy of, you know, realization. I’m not even so sure it’s that relevant. Yeah,

Rick Archer: kind of seems like a dumb question. In retrospect. No offense to my friend, you could say

Francis Bennett: that you could say the same thing about anybody today that’s living today. Yeah. Any teacher, anybody, you know, me or audio or Ramana? Or anybody, or anybody living or dead? You could say, well, how do we know that this person is realized? How do we know that this person is enlightened or whatever, but Jesus himself had a kind of at least a in a saying that’s attributed to Jesus, since we’re going this historical critical kind of route, that where he says, By their fruits, you will know them? Yes. And my sense is that anything we do any teaching, we follow any practice we do, any teacher we listen to, we can judge the value of it based on what fruit does it bear? Does it help me to become more loving, more compassionate, more wise, more understanding? Or not? And that’s a pretty simple breakdown, you know?

Rick Archer: And he also said things that really seem to point to his object, subjective realization, experience and realization such as I am my father of one and Whatsoever you do unto the least of these you do unto me. Things like that kind of unit of experience. what about the whole issue of me miracles, I mean, miracles play big in the Bible. There’s all kinds of stuff. And, and I don’t know a whole lot about Buddhism again. But as I understand it, all kinds of amazing things were attributed to the Buddha as well. Do you think this is just sort of embellishment that took place over time? Or do you think that these beings were at a level in which they were actually capable of doing such things they were doing it, I don’t know, to impress to convince people that they had something extraordinary. And her what would you what would you care to say about that topic?

Francis Bennett: You know, often in the in the Gospel accounts of Jesus doing miracles, He would heal somebody or other of something. And then you’re gonna say, Buddy, don’t tell anybody. Just keep this to yourself, you know, keep it kind of, what’s that on the download? You know, let’s not Yeah, let’s not let’s not, you know, advertise this, in my own sense is that. And this is also based on my own experience, frankly, that, that whenever anybody comes into a sense of realization, a sense of clarity about life, it opens us up to different dimensions, it opens us up to a kind of whole new reality, which I think often does include what many people would term miracles? You know, on the other hand, like that attitude Jesus had I can I get that? You know, I understand it, because my own sense is just like what the Buddha said about what’s really necessary, what’s really helpful. You know, I look at miracles and cities and things like that, you know, they are real. I mean, I think there’s no doubt about it, they are definitely real. They happen in the lives of realized beings. Are they really that important? I would say, No, I don’t think they’re that important. I think they’re almost like side effects of awakening, rather than the main thing. And the Buddha has a beautiful passage in one of the Pali scriptures, where he says, see this huge forest with all these leaves, you know, he was at some big deer park, forestry, had a, he had a Vihara, dwelling amongst see this big forest amongst, you know, he’s always addressing the monks. All the leaves on all these trees are all leaves, they’re all alive. They’re all valid as leaves, but see the leaves in the palm of my hand. He said, this is like the teachings and the truths that exist in the world. There is countless as the leaves on the trees, but what you need to awaken is equal to the number of leaves in the palm of my hand. So you don’t need all that stuff to awaken. And the most important thing is wake up.

Adyashanti: Yeah. And most most, I know, the Christian tradition puts an emphasis the Buddhist tradition puts in heavy emphasis, most esoteric traditions put an emphasis when it comes to sort of the spiritual powers or cities or clairvoyance, lots of things that can come as part of the package, they all have, have had this very traditional attitude, which is basically don’t pay any attention. Okay, if it shows up, it shows up fine. But you know, don’t get don’t get involved. We’re not trying to create magicians here. You know, notice there’s something and and there’s a reason for that, is because when those sorts of power start to come on online, if we grasp about them, and it starts to become about that we actually stunt our development, we will stop right there, we may stop in a pretty extraordinary place. But that’ll be it. And I think that’s the reason why sure these things can happen. But the council across world religions has been, you know, don’t make a big deal of don’t make a big deal.

Rick Archer: Really big deal. But Jesus said, Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, right? And then all else should be added unto thee. My teacher used to use this analogy of capture the fort is this big territory. It has all kinds of diamond mines and gold mines and things like that. You might want to go out and start exploring those and mining for gold. But if you don’t own the territory, you’re on shaky ground. So capture the fort, and then see what’s what.

Adyashanti: That’s what I what I liked. what drew me to Zen when I first got into it, because it was in its traditional sense. It’s the hot and narrow pursuit of Enlightenment. And that’s pretty much it. Yeah. And very little consolation prizes along the way. You’re

Francis Bennett: stuck getting hit by stuff,

Adyashanti: except getting hit by sticks, if that’s what does it for you, you know, hey, work for me. But you know, so, because yeah, because when we’re going into when we’re doing any sort of contemplative practice, what we’re what we’re engaging in is the vast potentiality of human consciousness, which is extraordinary. And so because it’s extraordinary, you know, it’s it is relative, it can be kind of easy to get kind of like, sidetracked into this little cul de sac of potentiality. And it’s not that any of those are inherently sort of wrong. It’s just that you know, if you want, if you really want the the ultimate truth, then that’s that’s where the council comes. Don’t don’t waste too much time in the cul de sacs.

Francis Bennett: There’s a beautiful story in the Gospels. That’s called the story of the Transfiguration, where Jesus is with the disciples, and he’s on this mountain. And suddenly Moses and Elijah appear in a vision of light. And Jesus is communing with Moses and Elijah, and they’re all their garments are as white as snow, and there’s shining like the sun. And the disciples are like beholding this amazing site. And Peter, who was this brash guy that was always making funny kind of suggestions, and a lot like maybe a lot of us or at least like me, and he says to Jesus, oh, Lord, it’s good that we are here. Let us build tents, one for Moses, one for Elijah, and one for you. And we’ll just stay here the rest of our lives, you know, and Jesus says, you know, No, Peter, that’s not the idea, we got to go down the mountain back into the valley, and face life, you know, but that’s, I think, often what happens with those kinds of things is, we can become so enamored of the the kind of fascinating quality of powers and healing and visions and so on, that we can just really get sidetracked and just be in a, you know, like you say, a coldest sack, and not move forward at all.

Rick Archer: Jesus and Buddha were, obviously both men. And Buddha set up monasteries full of men, and Christ, 12 apostles were men. Of course, there was, you know, Mary Magdalene, and Jesus mother, and so on and so forth. And to this day, the Catholic Church doesn’t allow women to be priests, I think would be interesting to touch upon the whole issue of the divine feminine, and the, the importance of perhaps a greater balance between the feminine and the masculine and the world. And perhaps the necessity of something that’s more than these old traditions had to offer, if they’re really so male, dominated as they seem. Any comments about that?

Adyashanti: Sure, I’ll take a shot at it and the feeling, I mean, both of these people for their for their time, and their culture and their culture. They were pretty, pretty free thinking when it came to when it came to men and women. You know, they both had women, you know, I mean, Buddha, certainly. You know, I think I’ve I often thought like, what was the appeal, for God’s sake, you know, to go around and say, Nirvana, which basically means sensation, okay, that’s your big payoff, and no self is your doctrine. And I used to think, now, how did this catch on but historic, historically, a big part of the reason that it caught on is because he was one of the very few people that, that that spoke out against the caste system. And, you know, it’s basically you know, you you can become what you make of your life, you don’t need to be defined by the role you’ve been or your gender or anything else. And, you know, for today, that was quite extraordinary. You know, Jesus had some quite extraordinary relationships with women in, in the Bible. You know, one of my favorite parts of the whole Jesus story is when Mary Magdalene comes in at that dinner table, and she’s, you know, she’s weeping at Jesus’s feet and just basically kind of falling apart and gets chastised by the main guy that was there, you know, how dare you do this? And, boy, did Jesus have some harsh words for him? You know, she just sent me immediately stopped the whole the whole proceeding and had some a very harsh rebuke. So in that sense, I think they both they both were we’re certainly far advanced of the day, how they related but one other little bit different entry point for me is when I said you know, my Christianity sort of helped me a very significant part and it really was the feminine aspect, because then in its traditional enters in. It’s a very masculine sort of religious setup. And there’s a beautiful, there’s a beauty with to go with that starkness and all the rest of my mother used to call it Buddha bootcamp. Every time I go off to retreat, she’d say, you’re going off to Buddha boot camp, because it very much is very much like a bootcamp almost. Curiously enough, the thing that really, that was, initially the most transformative part of reaching into Christianity was when I found that little diary from St. Teresa of Lisu. And, and she was, you know, this, this, this, this st. Woman, saint who died very young, I think, in her 20s 2323. And she was, you know, over the top sort of pious and and she just had a huge love of Jesus, and, you know, all these things that, you know, when I looked back, sometimes I that what did I see there, because it’s so, so almost a different time and, but something about what I was at the age that I encountered that diary that she had written shortly before she died. And there was something about that. And it was a woman, I think, which was a really important part to, and the way that she talked about this, and how relational and warm it was, and almost childlike in her in the simplicity with which she approached her relationship with Christ. And it really just reading this thing, I found myself captured, and I literally felt, I was like about 23 or 24 years old, and I felt like I was like, 15 years old, in my first romantic love affair. And it’s with this dead saint, you know, from a, from a, from a tradition that wasn’t my own.

Francis Bennett: But she was cute, though. She,

Adyashanti: yeah, she was pretty hot. But there was something about that about it was a real it was, it was something very feminine approach. And it literally just lit my heart on fire. And so that’s in the effect of it was, was literally going around, like when you feel like your first love affair, you know, you just walk around in this intense, emotional, open environment of love and intimacy. And that’s the effect it had on me. And that was a really feminine, you know, very much of feminine, feminine effect. For me, it was it was very, very, very important. And so I had this intimate relationship with a dead Saint for about a year it burned very, very hot. And then when the heart was really open, it’s like, that moved on. And then I could then then that openness was mine. And then I could start to see it. Oh, the bodhisattva compassion. Okay, now I can start to relate. Before I couldn’t, I think I needed a very strong, feminine view of all this, that woke up something that just wasn’t happening any other way. So I think,

Rick Archer: incidentally, when Francis and I first proposed that I moderate this, this discussion, the organizer said, Do we really want three middle aged, middle class white guys on stage? well taken, we should have a woman be the moderator. And I said, Yes, I agree. But I would like to bring this discussion to 10s of 1000s of people, not just to a couple of 100. And so for that reason, I’d really like to moderate it and get it on my show. And we went back and forth for a while, but it was It wasn’t point well taken. And I think, at the sand conference, this has been an issue too, you know, that seems to end in kind of contemporary non dual spirituality, there just seems to be this little bit of a predominance of male teachers. And what we try to do with that gap is really make it 5050. Now, okay, we have a man, let’s have a woman and, you know, keep back, keep it balanced, because they’re, you know, some of the most enlightened people I know, happen to be women. And I really don’t I think we should do what we can to dispel the stereotype if there is one, that it’s a male oriented kind of thing. Yeah.

Adyashanti: And women, I mean, somebody who can’t do all the little math in my head right now, but I think I’ve asked to teach more women than men. It’s, at the very least it would be equal. And I think there’s still more women that I that I’ve asked to teach. And I mean, there’s not a particular reason for that, but there is an observation that I definitely have seen that, that women bring something different to the table. They just they bring something different to the table. That’s a very, really, really, really important and I think, really, really necessary. And I think that that’s one of the things that’s heartening about current time. Yes, we need more really, really talented women spiritual teachers out there, but it’s, it’s growing, I think quite rapidly. And I think it’s very, very important just because they, there’s there is that there’s not not that all women have the same perspective, any more than all women, men have the same perspective. But there’s something that’s definitely different that they tend to bring to the table and embody.

Rick Archer: Let’s open it up for questions. Somebody has a mic, and Ben has a mic.

Fran/Adya Audience Member 2: I’m so glad to have both of you in a room together to ask a question. In my experience, I started my spiritual journey and Christianity grew up in a household, went to a mission trip, was a very good church kid for a long time. And one of the main things that drove me out of that into more open, integrated spirituality that I seek now is guilt. And, since I have RJ here, and I have you, Francis, I just want to know your perspective on guilt and Christianity, because it has a big name for that religion, and then your perspective as well on the role that it plays in our life and our spiritual journey.

Adyashanti: That guilt plays. Okay.

Francis Bennett: You know, my own sense, to be honest with you, is that the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. You know, it’s an old adage, I think there’s a lot of truth to it. And when I was a Buddhist monk for a couple of years, I actually traveled a little bit in Southeast Asia. And we seem to think we in the West, you know, we’ve been raised with Judeo Christian ethics and sensibilities, and many of us have gone to churches or synagogues or whatever. And we very much rejected that, in some ways, a lot of people are turning to the east and rejecting the West and, and having a kind of perception that, that guilt was a big part of their heritage in that and perhaps it was, and that’s something that, you know, I would never deny if that was a person’s experience. That wasn’t my experience, frankly, but, but it was many people’s experience. But the thing is, I think Christianity has no corner on the market of guilt. I mean, all the religions are pretty have that pretty well covered, including Buddhism, including Hinduism, and you know, all of them. I mean, I think a lot of times in the West, we romanticize the east, and we think, Oh, they’ve got it all figured out. And they’re all walking around enlightened. But go to the east, you know, I would invite you, I went to Buddhist countries, and I found all the kinds of things that all the kinds of aberrations that we find in Christian churches have of guilt and, and weird ideas about sexuality and all that they’re all alive and well in Southeast Asian Buddhist culture, you know, so, but I think it is true that we do need to get to a point in our lives, where we can really look at the spiritual heritage we’ve been given the things we’ve been taught, and really say, you know, this is helpful. This is not so helpful. You know, this, I can embrace this, I think I need to let go of, and be honest about it, and just let go of it and move on. Does that make some sense?

Adyashanti: Yeah, it does. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, obviously, me, me and Francis talked about this. Before we we both did admittedly get kind of lucky in our religious formation. Like I said, You didn’t end up with a big guilt complex growing up Catholic, like, you know, some, some do and well, I didn’t grow up with a whole heck of a lot of organized religion anyway, until I started my own sort of quest. However, I grew up in a family although I absolutely love my my route family and feel extremely also lucky to be part of it, but also part of what the underlying dynamics in the family were was guilt not in the same sense that you might think about it, you know, if you come from the traditional idea of sort of the Catholic guilty person or something, but there’s sort of this undercurrent that no that wasn’t spoken, but even very young, I could see like, oh, I can see how guilt is actually has everybody you know, even at a subtle level, and it’s an it’s an I could see it from a very young age, how it played itself out and at a certain point in my early teens, I don’t know how I did this. Even my mother has asked me because she she’s like, How did you escape the guilt thing? How did you do it? I don’t know. But at about 13, I just looked and I thought, that doesn’t work very well. That’s just a lot of energy churning away at feeling, you know, fat. And somehow, I don’t know why that was enough for me. It just disconnected me from unhealthy guilt. You know, I do think that there is, however, there is that we do have, which is a very good thing. And it’s its own journey to find a conscience that is not culturally manufactured, you know, because you can have a conscience that’s actually belongs to your culture rather than to you. But I think we also do have a kind of conscience, it’s our sort of that, that that North Pole thing inside of ourselves, that the more quiet we get, and the more listening we are, to one of the things we have to, we have to account for, because that will hold us to its own, the standard of our own integrity and our own honesty. And I think that, that version of it can feel good and empowering, because we want to have that resource of truth and integrity. And we want to have something inside of us letting us know, when we start to lose our way, you know, we really need that. But what we really don’t need is this big cultural bag baggage of, of guilt that some people, you know, quite a few folks, I think it’s one of the things that also is heavy in this culture. Now, having travelled around the East, I’m not so sure. But you know, we were and it’s not just a Christian thing. I mean, you know, I’ve done this for 20 years, and I find guilt runs rampant everywhere. If you’re a Christian, you haven’t in a Christian context. If you’re an atheist, and you just you feel guilty in an atheist context, you know, it’s, it’s nobody has a but I think it’s if anybody feels that, I think sometimes it is good. Before you even try to get rid of it, to almost like, step back in into yourself and just see like, Okay, how does this really work for me? Is this really work, or what part of this does work, and tied in with my own innate sense of truthfulness, and integrity, and what part of this really doesn’t work? You know, just disempowers me and makes me always doubt myself. And you know, curiously enough, I read many, many years ago, or somewhere where Ramana said, the last thing to go is doubt. And I think a lot of people get guilt going around doubts. They, the two kinds of things can world swirl together, I thought it was really interesting that he’d said, the last thing to go is a kind of, you know, doubt, because, and I think it has to do with this, finding our real autonomy, you know, as I like to think, I think is spirit, one of the most important jobs of a spiritual teacher, is to immediately begin establishing with anybody who’s with them, helping them to see what they can trust in themselves, and what’s not so trustworthy in themselves, because you’re basically then you’re empowering somebody. And then the teacher isn’t basically just used as the sole reference for what’s true or real or useful. But the teachers actually helping you find that out within yourself. And I think it’s one of the very first things that really should be happening. And however, I often find that it’s the last thing that does happen, if at all, if at all right, because it can be very alluring for the teacher to just remain as the sole repository of truth. You know, it’s a very alluring illusion,

Rick Archer: to actually notice that sometimes when people leave a spiritual organization that they’ve been in for years or decades, they have an awakening shortly thereafter, it’s sort of they’re able to drop a lot of baggage or something or reassess their deeply ingrained assumptions that they had taken for granted for so many years. And just that little bit of liberation on that level, kind of triggers a deeper realization in consciousness.

Adyashanti: That’s an interesting perspective. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Say, for instance, or should we take another question? Let’s take another question. Thanks.

Fran/Adya Audience Member 1: Hi, I’m scared. When you first started talking, I’m trying to return page there, we were talking about suffering and some suffering being optional. And that the richness of life also, and embracing a richness of life also involves actually feeling suffering of a different nature than optional suffering. And that was my understanding of what you said. And that, that, that it gives a broad range of experience. And tied in with there not being, you know, black and white, but in embracing of every color that you spoke of early on. And this the topic went into an acceptance and being an acceptance of, of, you know, what is coming, you know, what it is. And on a personal note, I am struggling with a disease that, that I’m having to both witness and not want to be in acceptance with that my outcome is inevitable. And so I’m fighting, but also trying to hold that the acceptance of that this is, is there too, and I have a I’m trying to find that path of being in acceptance and fighting it at the same time. Is that clear? The question

Adyashanti: that is to me,

Fran/Adya Audience Member 1: okay. Can you help me on that?

Adyashanti: Well, number one, I can sympathize with you. Because I guess what I have my own sort of disease, I guess they would say that causes pain as people know. And so I’m pretty much in pain, most all the time, to some degree just varies during the day from, from a little bit too catastrophic. That’s, that’s fair. And it’s, it’s, it’s a it’s a good, it’s a very good and ruthless teacher. And talk about starting to inquire in about what is optional, and not optional suffering, you know, is what it’s what it has really, you know, shown is the absolute necessity of not going into time. And that may sound abstract. But by that, I mean, whenever we’re dealing with difficulty, one of the things that can make it so difficult, is we’re in time like, Oh, God, can I survive this tomorrow? And will I have this forever? And will I you know, and so we take pain, and then through our mind, which is usually fear, fear of our pain, and how long it might last? Then we go into this sort of secondary narrative. That’s, that’s optional. That’s the good news. Like that whole movement of suffering is optional. It may take some real awareness and some real practice. So work with that narrative stream that goes, which I think, always begins with realizing where it comes from so many of our painful narrative ways we talk to ourselves are coming out of fear. Like I said, How long will this last? Will I ever get over this? So to me, acceptance is also not something I think of in terms of time, like, I’ll accept and that means it will be this way forever. It just means no, right now, in this moment, what feels better to fight what I’m experiencing, or to accept it? Just right now. And if I accept it, does that mean nice can’t there still try to treat it or help myself? No, you can still treat, treat and do everything you can for your body or whatever it might be, you can still do all of that, with while at each moment. Having that almost become a its own kind of practice, that each moment I can either accept this moment, and what it entails as it is I can see how that what that feels like to do that. Or I can go into my fearful thoughts about that. You know, and then you really start to see. And it takes, it’s when you have something physical that you’re dealing with, it takes the abstraction out of it. You know, you see very, very quickly if you’re starting to go into a spin around your physical discomfort, or if you’re the discomfort is accepted, like, yes, okay, this is it. So, that’s, that’s what I’ve seen. And it sounds, I may be making it sound overly simplistic, but I think this is actually the level at which it can be worked with and worked with very, very, very effectively, you know, that to really make that discrimination between pain and the suffering that my mind is imposing upon Me. Because it’s spinning, you know, and scaring itself.

Fran/Adya Audience Member 1: Can I can I reflect back? Thank you said, Yeah, are how I heard was that to, to be in the moment and to hold a center, while watching the abstraction of the mind. traveling towards fear. And still maintaining a course of treatment for what the ailment may be, yeah, but don’t download, spice it with the mind abstractions. J basically,

Adyashanti: that’s the, that’s the key. Got it. You know, because our minds like our minds, like security, right? They like knowing what’s going to come as long as what we think is going to come as good. So that’s the way they’re hooked up. Third, third, security, survival, all those kind of instincts are part of the structure of, of the mind. And however, even though that is the structure of the mind, that the mind can actually be shown that there’s a whole different way to relate with. Challenge with difficulty with discomfort. Yeah, yeah. And again, I always think, take this all this as as a question, rather than something you’re trying to impose upon yourself. So in other words, you could go okay, I heard I just say, I’m gonna try to be in the moment with what’s happening, and you’re trying to be and it hurts and you’re like, and you know, you’re trying to impose this idea. And it’s like, Oh, crap, I’ve heard it a million times, and it’s not working. And, you know, all that kind of stuff can easily happen. Rather than even approaching it that way, flip it over, and approach it like a question. I wonder what would happen right now, I wonder? Let me find out. If I could accept my discomfort, let’s say physical discomfort, just right now. Just for a moment, 30 seconds, I can change if I want to, but can’t what what would it be like if I was to just accept this moment? Can I accept this moment the way it is? You see? So it’s a question? Then you’re involved? You’re right there, the question is actually leading you in rather than an idea you’re trying to impose upon yourself called Be in the moment. Right? Instead, you’re like, let me see what it’s like to be in the moment. For me, right now. You know, it is fine. It’s makes it much easier to deal to approach all this stuff, when you approach it with a little bit of curiosity. And, you know, and

Francis Bennett: to is that in my life, and in my teaching, I think surrender is for me, the primary practice I really think it is I think meditation, in a way is a preparation for surrender. Because meditations I often call it surrender on a cushion. It’s learning to just be with what is in a very controlled environment. But surrender takes that out into the world. And actually, in situations where we’ve been told, okay, I have a disease I have to deal with. I have this situation that I don’t particularly like or find pleasant, you know. And I think that there’s a lot of misunderstanding about the practice of surrender, I think many times we feel, again, it’s the minds tendency to be this either or kind of thing, either you’re absolutely completely wrong. resigned to what happens in some very extremely passive way. Or you’re fighting for all your worth, and you’re opposing what is in some really aggressive sense. And I think the reality of it is more, as the Buddha would say, it’s a middle path between those two extremes. It’s where we say, okay, we start with a ground of absolute acceptance, we start with this ground of surrender. And the wonderful thing about it is that we don’t have to work ourselves up into surrender, we don’t have to somehow manufacture it. When I, when I do a guided meditation on surrender that I often do with people, the words that I ask people to repeat, as a way of accessing something along these lines is, there’s a place in my heart that allows this, there’s a place in my heart that accepts this, you know, and if we go deep enough, there’s a place in my heart that even loves this simply because it is not because of any quality, it holds or anything. And if we can turn within and find that place in our heart, we can bring that to our engagement with life. And that doesn’t mean at all that were passive. That doesn’t mean that we don’t treat the illness, it doesn’t mean we don’t respond. In fact, we respond from this ground of absolute unconditional openness and acceptance. And then the response is extremely skillful. Because it’s not it’s no longer motivated by this sort of desperate thing. This should not be, you know, there’s this ground that yes, this is not pleasant. I don’t like it, but it is, and therefore, maybe I should do this, you know, again, just like experiment, what would it be like if I did that? You know, so I think it’s not this sort of either or thing either. We’re completely surrendered and utterly passive, and we just lay down and let life roll over. It’s like a steamroller, or we’re aggressively fighting life at every turn. It’s kind of finding that razor’s edge that we can walk where there’s this ground of surrender, and then there’s action that arises out of that ground. And it’s particularly skillful, but it may be very active, it may be very decisive, it may be very strong action, you know, does that make some sense are

Fran/Adya Audience Member 1: very clear. Thank you.

Francis Bennett: Good.

Rick Archer: Who has a questions?

Craig Holliday: I have a question, Rick. Oh, sorry. Hi, Greg. Hi. So I have a question for Francis as my friend, and audio as my teacher. Through a number of years, you know, as a child, I always had this deep connection with Jesus, even as I walked in here this evening, feel this descent of grace, this huge love in my heart. But through MIDI new audio, I was able to keep that connection, all the way up through the unit of state. But at some point, I found when you guided me beyond the unit of state, that this deep connection with Grace began to fall away. And you know, it’s something I haven’t quite reconciled yet. Yeah. You know, and so, in my experience, I tend to go back and forth between feeling, in a sense, this great nothingness and great experience of say, Bennett being in a place of non reflection, where everything is here is this. And there’s no more. And that will happen, say, for a season or a period of time. And then there’ll be this other thing that comes forward in a different season of again, this descent of grace, and this open hearted love you know, throughout my experience, and, and it’s interesting to is because I can have a whole season of this experience of no self. When I go forward and teach and meet with another. This Grace pours through me and there’s this transmission. And there’s almost just like this great sense of joy and happiness in my heart of you. Oh, yes. I’m so happy to have this again. And then, you know, I wake up the next morning and, you know, there’s this experience of, you know, almost like nothingness. So my question to you and you know, to you Francis and you are just my teacher, is at some point to these to reconcile did a fall into one or The other Oh, I see or, you know, is it? Is there also a possibility? You know, because I think we have this assumption that no self cessation nirvana is is actually the end of the journey. But is there something that perhaps is beyond that to where the two come together?

Adyashanti: Yeah. Yeah, well, there’s always something beyond, yeah, I can no longer relate to ends of journeys, you know, I’ve gotten to the end of the infinite, I’m not even sure what that would possibly mean. But I think there’s something that you spoke of, that’s, it’s very caught my attention. Because we are like every other as human beings, right, we are also just like any other part of nature. And we all we all have our seasons. And I don’t mean, just in the big sense, we usually think that, but I’ve certainly noticed, I have noticed and continue to notice that there are, there’s just sort of these seasons internally, that that a go through, they’re almost predictable, now that I, you know, gotten to know that season is certain certain, I almost think like certain elements of reality, are highlighted and highlighted. Sometimes it’s emptiness, that no selfs part of you part. And then other times like this a much richer, more intimate, you know, closeness, you know, thing will, will, will start to be highlighted. And so at least to begin with, the response is, I think this movie, this is undulating seasons, like we have is very natural, you know, it’s a very natural thing. I think the more we mature, they there are certain elements that kind of do come to get start to come together. But there are also certain things that we that we there are certain things that are pleasant, that some some some really pleasant things we outgrow, like, when I was talking about how I felt when I discovered St. Teresa, you know, and that how important and absolutely vital that was for me. And yet, I couldn’t get that, that to that experience. Now, if someone put a gun to my head, there’s no, there’s no, I would have no no way to recreate it. Because it was it was right way to relational, in a certain sense, not that I’m not relational, but it was it’s just it was just a different, a different quality, as beautiful as it was. It’s, it’s not like that love has disappeared, it’s just continued to grow and change. And it’s like, well never throw in the same way that you know, we won’t throw it back throw our life in reverse. And go back to you know, well I never had a high school love affair, but you know what I’m talking that’s, you know, the that’s the point is isn’t to continue to go back to those really really pleasant places but there is there is points of of our own real realization where in the same way that seeing the world with some of the old eyes, we might have seen it with it a certain point it’s just no longer optional, it just doesn’t work for us, we almost can’t get back to seeing life and the way we might have seen it before. I think even in the realms of spiritual experience that that there are experiences that that we either leave behind or they mature so much that they look very very different, almost unrecognizable tour how they began you know and so I don’t of course, if it was only emptiness and you never had any intimacy of the heart, then that would be lopsided.

Craig Holliday: Yeah and beyond say it just been a pleasant experience. But what I’m speaking about more so is the direct experience of divinity. Yeah, flooding into you as you it’s not always you know, some pleasant blissful, you know, love affair, like you’re speaking about just a very deep and profound personal relationship. You know, with the divine because you know, what I’m experiencing is yes, absolutely. A personal God. And yes, absolutely. A completely non personal, non relationship With God, almost like you were saying that God disappears. And there has been times when, you know, I could almost, you know, curse, the fact that I met you and say, excuse my language, but you know what the fuck out of my relationship with God to be worth it disappeared so deeply. But then, you know, like I was speaking, you know, sometimes I’ll go to teach or I’ll meet with someone and then this thing comes through. Yes. And then that heart lights up again. And there’s a sense of Oh, yes. And so yeah, you know, the question is, you know, in your direct experience, you know, if you come to a place where it completely falls away, and is it appropriate to think of either or this or that, were more just open and see what happens? I would Oh, because that’s

Adyashanti: choose the open and see what happens. Yeah. I mean, if I was to tell you totally, completely honest, honestly, I am in no way capable of having personal relationship with a god. It’s gone. Hasn’t been here for a long, long, long, long time. Something better took its place. Not like, it’s not like, I feel that that’s a, you know, that’s really necessarily a loss. You know, that’s, that’s as honest as I could be about it. You know, I feel

Craig Holliday: and see a part of me friends, but And see, that’s what’s deeply interesting, to me is oftentimes, you know, say what, if I follow this path to the end, it seems to take one there. And there seems to be the assumption that that is the final resting place. But then I’m also curious if Nirvana, if cessation is the final resting place, or if that continues to deepen, in a way, you know, like you’re describing that, I think becomes it comes deeply. Yeah. more profound and inclusive instead of either or? Yeah, I mean, there have been a lot being lost there.

Adyashanti: Yeah. For me, what what replaced that sort of that sort of, relational aspect of with God, let’s say, not that I don’t have a problem having a relational aspect with you right now with my wife, or I don’t mean to imply that. But I think I do think that it’s much healthier, just to if we just forget about ultimate endpoints, it’s one of the biggest stumbling blocks and all spirituality, you know, that the Infinite is going to be indicated by some definitive sort of endpoint, which I don’t think it is, but so are my experiences however, is that the relational sort of emotion let’s say like, love or even the experience now is just that that of my favorite way of putting it it goes back to a long ways to a guy named Dogan famous and teacher who talked about it as an absolute intimacy with the 10,000 things. And to me, there’s a there’s almost like, A, there’s an intimacy that’s, that’s that’s how do you even talk about a feeling of tremendous intimate intimacy, which is a grace it’s the experience of a kind of grace, isn’t it? That that’s not relational. And in that way, you know, but nonetheless is very profound, very intimate, very close, no distance, not hanging out in just interstates of emptiness not you know, not any of that. I do think everything comes together at a at a little higher level although we do definitely go through periods I think of, of you know, losing sometimes those purse that that more personal kind of experience, even with the divine. Do you know, and again, not that we’re making it as a goal to do that. Just I’ve just seen this trajectory over so many people, I can’t even count them anymore. You know that and at any point yes, you could stop and sort of the emptiness of no self and put down a camp and go Well, that’s it. It’s sounds like the text, you know what I mean? But I think if we’re if we don’t use all the outside references to tell us to tell us everything. We have this into who’d have sense? Do we not have when there’s seems to be just an inherent something that doesn’t feel complete? Or, you know, there’s there’s another, there’s a door that could just maybe open, open up somewhere inside, I think we can feel these things. And we can sense. We can sense when they’re when some other doors is opening. Anyway, I don’t want to know, we’re probably in for time, I don’t know. It’s a big subject. It’s a really, really

Craig Holliday: see where my heart goes is to that place that No, there isn’t an endpoint. But it seems like sometimes colleagues or friends or fellow teachers try to press that, oh, no self is the endpoint. And to me when I hear that, and in my direct experience, it just seems as if it’s missing something, or it’s not fully inclusive. I think I’m working against that bias of Yeah. Oh, yes, in point. And to me, there’s always been this sense of ever evolving into God, forever and ever, and ever. Yeah. Contrary to what folks around me have been, you know, saying pushing. So thank you,

Adyashanti: I think the leaving is much safer, much more real. And, and also, there’s always the whole other subject of a lot of what I hear when I hear folks talk or even teach about no self, a lot of it just does not ring true to me. To be totally honest, it does does not ring true. I’m not saying it’s not all true, you know, by any stretch of the imagination. But, you know, those intuitions that we again, that we have, like, Hmm, does that feel complete? To me? Does that feel that it’s holding the sort of integral place in me? Or does there seem to be some way of having sort of landed or claimed a sort of inner territory, and that’s it. And, you know, I’ve arrived and you know, all that kind of stuff, which is antithetical, I think, to all,

Craig Holliday: and that’s why it hurts so much is because within me, there’s always a sense that, to claim an endpoint is to deny the evolutionary nature of God to deny them the movement of life. And it seems to hurt when my mind tries to go there and say, Oh, do I have to land here or there? Yeah. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Well, evolution may not have an endpoint, but I believe this meeting will have one. And we’ve just about reached it. So it would be fun to sit here for another hour and take more questions. But I’m afraid we can’t. I’m sure they have to close the church up and everything. So I want to thank you all for coming. And thank our wonderful speakers for being here. At the risk of well, any short final comments or anything? Show Oh, Francis, your chat something at the end of Christian chat. That’d be a nice way to end it. Okay. Yeah.

Francis Bennett: This chant we chanted every night before we went to bed, in the monastery. And it’s a hymn to the Divine Mother, which in our case, was married, but doesn’t have to be married could be any divine mother you like. And you can put that in and I’ll just do it in Latin. And you could just feel the, the energy of it, you don’t have to necessarily know the words of it. what saying, but I always thought like in the monastic life could be a kind of very masculine place, sometimes especially in the TRAPPIST, which were very rigorous and independence and into suffering and into, you know, the hard ascetic kind of qualities. But then at the end of the day, we’d sing this hymn to the Holy Mother, you know, and it had a kind of soft, feminine and a feel to it. So we started out with a Buddhist chant the whole thing was the embrace of Jesus and Buddha. So maybe we’ll end with this Christian chant to the Divine Mother and might be a nice way to end the end our evening solve a Regina ma TT M is airy Cordy feet her to chi to add spaz nostra saw our take la mom who knows? Zhu this field the odd su speed moves Jim Mendez said Flynn two days in Hawk la creme our room the air go od vo kata nostra II those two those misery code is or Gu those are no scone the ADA su Ben Edik Doom fructose fructan vantrease to we know be these post hog eggs in the austere Oh OPOOOG Cheese. There go Maori