482. Panel Discussions on Ethics and Spiritual Teaching

Ethics and Spiritual Teaching Panel at the Science and Nonduality Conference

  • Questioning whether higher consciousness and ethical behavior are tightly correlated.
  • The founding of
    the Association for Spiritual Integrity (formerly the Association of Professional Spiritual Teachers).
  • The attempt to formulate a code of ethics that might applyuniversally in the contemporary spiritual community and enliven anunderstanding of what may or may not be appropriate, giving students greaterconfidence in their own discernment and discrimination.
  • Ancient traditions held the teacher beyond reproach andstudents surrendered their own will. This may have worked in monastic settingsbut generally does not work today.
  • Preventative support so we’re not busy doing cleanup.
  • Power hierarchies should not be an essential part ofspiritual development and can lead to abuses.
  • Spiritual awakening does not necessarily qualify a person tooffer advice on relationships, finances, etc.
  • Ethical training of some sort is integral to most honoredtraditions.
  • The issue of sexism and patriarchy in spiritualorganizations.
  • Entering the teaching profession prematurely.
  • All too often, when teachers are challenged on theirbehavior, they ignore the challenger or become defensive.
  • How do we offer the possibility for redemption and atonement?
  • Moving away from a culture of competition to one ofcooperation.
  • The importance of humility.
  • The importance of teachers not identifying with their roleand thinking that students’ devotion is about them.
  • South Africa’s “Truth and Reconciliation” as a model.

Discussion of this panel in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Recorded October 27, 2018

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

A Discussion on Teacher-Student Romantic Relationships

  • The Association for Spiritual Integrity does not have a moralistic, judgmental orientation. It’s a community endeavor. We don’t agree among ourselves on certain points. We’re trying to balance our subjectiveperspectives with standards that fit our contemporary culture.
  • A key point of disagreement is the issue of teacher-studentromantic/sexual relationships. None of us are rigid or adamant in our opinions.We’re trying to work it out.
  • There are exceptions to every generality. In graduateschool, psychotherapists are taught that it will never be appropriate for therapistsand their clients to become partners.
  • Relationships tend to be the most challenging aspect ofpeople’s lives. These challenges shouldn’t bleed into a teacher’s teachingactivities.
  • When a teacher/student or therapist/client relationship transitions into romantic involvement, the potential for growth is undermined.
  • Sometimes “divine compulsion” arises in your spiritual path, shattering your conception of appropriate behavior.
  • The problem with teachers who haven’t transcended desire and explored their own shadow.
  • There can be a huge disparity between the apparent enlightenment of a teacher and their behavior.
  • Isolation and being closed to constructive criticism can be very dangerous for a teacher.
  • If a teacher doesn’t have friends other than his students, he might want to ask why. If he doesn’t have regular relationships and is always on a pedestal, he won’t get real-world feedback.
  • The culture is changing anyway. We’re just trying to give voice to values that are becoming lively in collective consciousness.
  • There can be a lot of practice involved in having your actions be a reflection of your deepest understanding.

Discussion of this panel in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Recorded October 26, 2018

Other BatGap episodes with these participants:

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

Recorded October 26, 2018

427. Panel Discussion: “Sudden or Gradual: Two Paths to Realization?”

SAND-PanelRecorded at the Science and Nonduality Conference.

There is a perennial debate in spiritual traditions regarding whether realization is direct (sudden) or progressive (gradual). But is this a false distinction? Realization is often sudden, no matter how many years of practice may have led up to it, and even after realization, most people find that refinement, clarification, and the working out of personal shortcomings continue indefinitely.

Who wouldn’t prefer direct realization to years of purification and practice? But how many examples of purely direct realization can we find? Can a path be both direct and progressive? Is it possible to have a taste of our true nature from the outset, and then spend a lifetime clarifying and embodying it? Also, is there one watershed breakthrough which can be universally agreed upon as final “Realization”, or are there many degrees and stages of realization, each of them important stepping stones in a never-ending journey?

Proponents of the direct path sometimes argue that if we regard spiritual development as progressive, we will forever be anticipating, never arriving. But some spiritual seekers, not appreciating the distinction between understanding and experience, mistake intellectual understanding with enlightenment, and consider themselves “finished” when they are just getting started.

Isa GucciardiIsa Gucciardi, Ph.D. is the Founding Director of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream, a school for consciousness studies in Berkeley, CA. Isa is also the creator of the spiritual counseling model, Depth Hypnosis, and author of two books, Coming to Peace and Return to the Great Mother. In addition to her teaching schedule that includes teaching classes in Applied Buddhist Psychology, Applied Shamanism, Integrated Energy Medicine and Depth Hypnosis, she has active practices in Depth Hypnosis and Applied Shamanic Counseling in San Francisco, CA. For more information, please see sacredstream.org.

David BucklandDavid F. Buckland has a graduate degree in Vedic Science and researches and writes on subjects related to the approach, shift, integration, and embodiment of the stages of enlightenment. This reflects a 40 year unfolding that has been prominent for much of his life. But with a more recent series of profound shifts, the exploration became the life itself. Under the pen name Davidya, he brings ancient teachings into modern life. After many years of research, he published the book Our Natural Potential: Beyond Personal Development, The Stages of Enlightenment in 2017.

Previous Batgap discussions with David:

Michael RodriguezMichael Rodriguez – Drawing always from his direct experience, Michael speaks with great clarity and compassion about the undivided nature of Life or Consciousness, pointing to reality in a way that is free from dogma, ritual, or adherence to any particular tradition. He also draws skillfully from the world’s wisdom traditions and integrates Jungian psychology, literature, music, and art into his work to address the full range of human potential. He offers meetings, retreats, and private sessions here in the United States and abroad.

Book–Boundless Awareness: A Loving Path to Spiritual Awakening and Freedom from Suffering

All his work, including his interviews on Buddha at the Gas Pump and Conscious TV, can be accessed via his website: www.BoundlessAwareness.org.

Previous Batgap discussion with Michael

Discussion of this video in the Batgap Community Facebook Group.

Recorded October 22, 2017

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

387. Mukti, Francis Bennett, Loch Kelly: “Emptiness is also Form” (Panel Discussion at the SAND Conference)

On 10/21/2016 at the Science and Nonduality Conference, Loch Kelly, Mukti and Francis Bennett discuss the paradoxical understanding reflected in the famous Heart Sutra’s saying, “Form is emptiness and emptiness is form. Form is none other than emptiness and emptiness is none other than form.” They have noticed that many people get caught half-way after an initial awakening in a kind of spiritual bypass: stuck in stillness, spaced-out, blissed-in or attached to the conceptual belief that “I am nobody.” What are the pointers and supports to realize the already manifest life arising out of the unmanifest awareness? They give examples of the fullness of waking-up from a limited sense of self to pure awareness, then also waking-in to our bodies and waking-out to relating and creating in the world. Loch, Mukti and Francis discuss the importance the dancing emptiness of embodiment and how to live from open-hearted awareness.

MuktiMukti, whose name means “liberation”, is a teacher in the lineage of Adyashanti, her husband. Together they founded Open Gate Sangha in 1996 to cultivate the awakening of consciousness in those who yearn for truth, peace, and freedom. In teaching, Mukti brings flavors of feminine quietude and nurturing as well as kinesthetic, visual, and precise pointers to Truth. Many speak of her being particularly gifted in her offering of guided meditations. Her keen interest as a teacher is in revelation of consciousness touching and transforming human experience. She is licensed in acupuncture and certified in yoga instruction. For sample teachings, audio clips and downloads, and further information, visit muktisource.org. Audio Book: The Self in Full Bloom

Previous BatGap interview with Mukti

Francis BennettFrancis Bennett entered the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemane in 1981 and in the 90’s subsequently lived at a “daughter house” of Gethsemane in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. Until recently, he was living in a small urban monastery in Montreal Quebec. He has been a “spiritual seeker” during all those years, practicing in the Christian mystical/contemplative Tradition and working deeply with teachers in both the Vipassana and Zen Traditions as well. In 2010 he experienced a profound perceptual “shift” in which he realized the ever-present presence of pure Awareness, which some would call, the Presence of God.

You may contact Francis by email, Skype (francisdale3), his Facebook page, or through his website. Francis’ book: “I Am That I Am: Discovering the Love, Peace, Joy and Stability of the True Self“.

Previous BatGap interviews involving Francis:

Loch KellyLoch Kelly, M.Div., LCSW is the author of, Shift into Freedom: The Science and Practice of Open-Hearted Awareness. He is an educator, licensed psychotherapist and recognized leader in the field of nondual meditation who was asked to teach Sutra Mahamudra by Mingyur Rinpoche and nondual meditation by Adyashanti. Loch has worked in community mental health, established homeless shelters and counseled family members of 9/11. He is the founder of the non-profit Open-Hearted Awareness Institute. Loch collaborates with neuroscientists at Yale, UPenn and NYU to study how awareness training can enhance compassion and well-being. For more information, visit lochkelly.org.

Previous BatGap interview with Loch.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

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

jesus-buddha-paintingAdyashanti and Francis Bennett in a public dialog about the parallels and differences between Jesus and the Buddha, as two complimentary yet very different models of awakening. Where the Buddha emphasized inner peace and the transcendence of samsara, Christ emphasized embodying divine humanity in the midst of samsara, embracing the human condition in order to serve those who are lost in ignorance.

Adya came to a deeper appreciation of Jesus by way of his study of Zen, while Francis ─ a former Trappist monk turned non-dual teacher ─ came to Buddhism by way of immersion in mystical Christianity.

“The Christ comes to disturb, to stir up the pot, to descend to the chaotic earthly realm, and to get people to move out of their limited comfort zones and indifference toward others and life in general: to help us transform and transmute the personal and social dimension of what it means to be a human being in a human society. The Buddha comes to bring inner peace by awakening us up and out of our over-identification with the personal, and help us to realize who we are in transcendence, who we are as “trans-personal” persons. You need both approaches. They are opposite sides of the one “coin” of awakening.” — Francis Bennett

AdyashantiAdyashanti, is an American-born spiritual teacher and author 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. Asked to teach in 1996 by his Zen teacher of 14 years, Adyashanti offers teachings that are free of any tradition or ideology. “The Truth I point to is not confined within any religious point of view, belief system, or doctrine, but is open to all and found within all.” He teaches throughout North America and Europe, offering satsangs, weekend intensives, silent retreats, and a live internet radio broadcast.

Previous BatGap posts involving Adyashanti:

Website: adyashanti.org

Francis BennettFrancis Bennett entered the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemane in 1981 and in the 90’s subsequently lived at a “daughter house” of Gethsemane in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. Until recently, he was living in a small urban monastery in Montreal Quebec. He has been a “spiritual seeker” during all those years, practicing in the Christian mystical/contemplative Tradition and working deeply with teachers in both the Vipassana and Zen Traditions as well. In 2010 he experienced a profound perceptual “shift” in which he realized the ever-present presence of pure Awareness, which some would call, the Presence of God.

You may contact Francis by email, Skype (francisdale3), his Facebook page, or through his website. Francis’ book: “I Am That I Am: Discovering the Love, Peace, Joy and Stability of the True Self“.

Previous BatGap interviews involving Francis:

Recorded 10/25/2016 at the Santa Cruz Open Circle.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

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371. Adyashanti and Susanne Marie on the Falling Away of Self

adyashanti-susanne-marieJoin Susanne Marie and Adyashanti in an exploration about an often misunderstood subject. Beyond the traditional landing places that mind creates (commonly discussed in non-dual circles), lies an indescribable landscape of living as pure, direct experiencing. Prior to this opening, the habitual subjective filter creates a veil of separation of which one is not even aware. This is true even within expanded, unified states of consciousness. Once this filter falls away, life is experienced directly, as itself, without any intermediary.

Adyashanti, is an American-born spiritual teacher and author 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. Asked to teach in 1996 by his Zen teacher of 14 years, Adyashanti offers teachings that are free of any tradition or ideology. “The Truth I point to is not confined within any religious point of view, belief system, or doctrine, but is open to all and found within all.” He teaches throughout North America and Europe, offering satsangs, weekend intensives, silent retreats, and a live internet radio broadcast.

Previous BatGap posts involving Adyashanti:

Website: adyashanti.org

A lifelong spiritual explorer, Susanne Marie offers teachings in support of freedom, meeting in sacred mutuality, and celebrating our common essence of Love and Unity with all life. Her work is transformational and empowering, as she points to the remembering of That which we have always been, allowing truth to become ever more conscious of Itself through a human life. Susanne, the mother of two teenagers, lives in Northern California and works with individuals and groups, offering spiritual mentoring to those who feel called to work with her. She is available for Skype and phone sessions as well as open to invitations to share with groups.

Website: susannemarie.org

Previous BatGap posts involving Susanne Marie:

Transcript of this discussion.

Interview recorded October 23, 2016.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

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