ARE SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES BECOMING MORE COMMON?

A Review of an article in Psychology Today by Dr. Steve Taylor, author of the Leap: The Psychology of Spiritual Awakening.

MER’s review comments are in bold type:

What are spiritual experiences? I don’t think of them in religious terms. I see them as moments in which our awareness becomes more intense and more expansive than normal, so that the world around us becomes more real and alive, and we feel a strong sense of connection to nature and other human beings.

These attachments were not true of my experiences.

We might feel a sense of joy or inner stillness, and feel that somehow the world around us is “in harmony” or has a meaning that we find difficult to express.

Yes, but not just “the world”, everything.

If a person from a religious background has such an experience, they may well interpret it in religious terms. They might see it as a gift from God, and believe that the aliveness and harmony they perceive is a glimpse of the divine, or of heaven.

But if you’re not religious, there’s no reason to think in these terms. The experience is just a psychological one. It suggests that our normal vision of the world is limited and in some ways even aberrational.

In awakening experiences, there is a strong sense of ‘seeing more,’ of expanding beyond limits and perceiving a more authentic reality.

Yes! Very much so.

My research shows that awakening experiences are connected to certain activities and situations. They are associated with contact with nature, spiritual practices such as meditation or prayer, sporting activities (such as running and swimming), and sex. They are also strongly associated with states of intense psychological turmoil. That is, paradoxically, they often occur in the midst of stress and depression, or in relation to traumatic life events such as illness, divorce or bereavement.

None of my experiences of the mystical experience of Reality were associated with any of the activities and situations suggested here.

However, one of the most interesting things about these experiences is that they are apparently becoming more common.

In a 1962 Gallup poll, just 22 percent of Americans reported that they had “ever had a religious or mystical experience.” In 1994, 33 percent of people answered yes to the same question, while by 2009, the figure had risen to 49 percent.

Research by the Pew Research Center in the U.S. has shown a similar trend. In 2007, 52 percent of Americans reported that they regularly felt a “deep sense of spiritual peace and well-being.” In 2014, the figure stood at 59 percent. In 2007, 39 percent of Americans said that the regularly felt a “deep sense of wonder about the universe”—a figure which had increased to 46 percent in 2014.

Perhaps significantly, these increases coincided closely with a decrease in interest in organized religion.

In the U.K., the surveys of the Spiritual Experience Research Centre have had similar findings. In a 1969 survey, the question “Have you ever experienced a presence or power, whether you call it God or not, which is different from your everyday self?” was answered affirmatively by 29 percent of people.

In 1978, the figure had risen to 36 percent, and then to 48 percent in 1987. In 2000, there was a further steep rise to 75 percent—a 27 percent increase in 13 years (which was, coincidentally or not, exactly the same figure by which church attendance declined over the same period). (1)

A Collective Movement?

Why should spiritual experiences be more common now than they were a few decades ago? It could simply be that people are simply getting better at recognizing them, or are more open about discussing them.

A lot of historically known mystics had no choice but to keep quiet about their experiences or take the consequences from the brutal conventional religions of their day.

Now that there is more general awareness of spirituality in our culture, and concepts such as “spiritual peace and well-being” are a more common part of discourse, it could simply be that more people are describing their experiences in this way, when they might have described them in other terms in earlier decades.

Or perhaps it’s right to take the research at its face value. Perhaps spiritual experiences actually are becoming more common. This is the approach I take in my new book The Leap: The Psychology of Spiritual Awakening.

It is hard to tell if the good doctor is actually talking about mystics and the mystical experience of Reality that defines mystics as mystics.

I suggest that spiritual experiences are glimpses of a new state of being that is slowly becoming more normal to human beings. This is a higher-functioning state that I call “wakefulness,” in which a person feels an enhanced sense of well-being, clarity, and connection.

This is certainly a partial view of the traditional mystic experience.

They have a more intense awareness of the world around them, a greater sense of appreciation of nature, a broad global outlook, and an all-embracing sense of empathy with the whole human race. In many ways, it is a permanent, ongoing variant of the ‘awakening experience.’

Empathy with the human race is certainly not where my experiences have lead me. Humanity as a collective is at a very primitive state of Realisation (or cosmic consciousnesses).

I have found many examples of people who shift into this higher-functioning state in the midst of intense psychological turmoil – for example, bereavement, serious illness, or alcoholism—I describe some of these examples in The Leap.

If true, such descriptions would make their “experiences” suspect, very anthropological, not mystical experiences of Reality at all.

This shift is quite common, and can be seen as a variation of “post-traumatic growth”—I sometimes refer to it as “post-traumatic transformation.”

There are also hundreds of millions of people around the world who are gradually cultivating wakefulness by following spiritual practices such as meditation and service, or spiritual paths such as Buddhism, Yoga, or the Kabbalah.

The mystical experience of Reality cannot be evangelised or experienced from books or religions. The ancient and modern records of the phenomena of MER suggests the experience is caught, not taught. That’s certainly my experience.

A constantly increasing interest in self-development, spiritual practices, and traditions is one of the most significant cultural trends of our time.

Beware of such cultural “trends”. Reality is not interested in human “culture” if my experiences are anything to go by.

It seems to me that there is a collective moment towards awakening, which is manifesting itself in a variety of ways—one of which may be the increasing frequency of spiritual experiences.

(1) I am grateful to my fellow author Jules Evans for bringing my attention to this research.

Steve Taylor PhD is a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University, UK. He is the author of The Leap: The Psychology of Spiritual Awakening.
Source: Psychology Today

“CLEVER” MER IS NOT A SCIENCE

 

The mystical experience of Reality is not a human science. It isn’t reproducible, as science demands. It does reproduce, but not by human will or experimentation.

For some as yet unknown reason the phenomena is guarded by a ‘key’ made only available to some humans throughout human history who seem not to have any discernible qualification to experience this increasingly scientifically studied phenomena. (Eg., over six thousand case histories were archived by Oxford University and are now archived under a Templeton grant at Wales University). This ‘key’ is: The Mystical Experience of Reality (MER), the EXPERIENCE being the ‘key’

The Experience seems to be fully guarded by the absolute necessity to experience It. Clever.

Everything else but this personal experience is a distraction, a contaminant, I.e.: Conjecture, experiment, logic, reason, books, courses, lectures, studies, practices, religions, foolishness, mythomania, charlatanry and dogma, even being sincere though sincerely wrong.

There is much confusion between understanding the difference between the human spirit and the Ultimate Spirit of Reality. Each are entirely different in my mystical experiences. In many ways the human spirit spins the veils between the two.

Some think that on the growing evidence, the human condition is getting more spiritually evolved as intended. So will science eventually join the exterminated by then anyway?

Mysticexperiences.net

ULTIMATE REALITY – male or female?

 

In my 15 years of experiencing the mystical experience of Reality, (MER), several times a year I never came across anything masculine or feminine in the experiences – there were no names in this simple perfection – everything just was and I was that.

There was nothing hermaphrodite in my experiences either, though that too, like gender, is a real material condition here on earth.

So my impression is that neither gender, sex nor even being human have anything to do with the Mystical Experience of Reality as I experienced It, not even with the human adulterated word, “spirituality” in all its forms.

Mysticexperiences.net

THE SECRET PASSWORD TO MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE

The most secret password in the known Universe is needed to reveal the mystical experience of Reality (MER).

This password is: “EXPERIENCE”.

That’s the good news. The bad news is:

The password is caught, not taught, not given nor bought. You can’t achieve this state of being, this state of Reality beyond the merely human, without it being caught). And no cryptologist in the world can crack the code!

Why is the experience of Reality hidden?

Presumably because most humans don’t have the attributes that qualify them to receive it yet. Or perhaps they’re unaware of this unrealised power they have? Maybe humans can’t be trusted with this Apple? Or their current state of development is too primitive for them to understand, or have any use to developed Reality yet?

The good news:

Mystics aver every human has a profound yearning for the infinite joy and acceptance that is the core of the mystic experience of reality (MER). It expresses itself strongly or weakly but irresistibly like a plant growing through concrete … It can be recognised when it surfaces in Seekers and Mystics. Otherwise it lies dormant or unrecognised, unacknowledged, never sleeping!

If you Google ‘Mysticism’ the historical and current references from all over the world seem to never end, that’s how pervasive this fundamental aspect of the human condition is, compared to human science, history, psychology, religion, medicine, literature or ideologies, isms and politics – all extinguishable as the Reality of the mystic experience never is, guarded as it is by the most secret password in the known Universe …

Mysticexperiences.net

THE SILENT BUDDHA

A pratyekabuddha or paccekabuddha (Sanskrit and Pali, respectively), literally “a lone buddha”, “a buddha on their own” or “a private buddha”, is the so called “silent buddha” who does not try to share his realization with the world.

Pratyekabuddhas are said to achieve enlightenment on their own, without the use of teachers or guides, by “dependent origination”.

Traditionally, Paccekabuddhas give moral teachings but not enlightenment.

I believe this describes my state.

See Wikipedia for more on the subject.

Mysticexperiences.net

ENIGMATIC GURUS – a boon?

 

Why are gurus of mysticism sometimes so enigmatic?

The older generations of gurus seem to be more enigmatic than some of the later gurus. Perhaps this was because the older generation had to be more circumspect about the hostile religious situations of their cultures. (Some wax poetic about “bread” and “wine” and “The Friend” but that’s not what they’re talking about).

Apart from that, there is also the inherent difficulty in the absence of a human language that can describe the mystic experience.

Then of course mystics are concerned about giving away too much to charlatanous wannabes.

Mainly though, being enigmatic is a strong way of making the truly called pause, focus on that moment, centre themselves, think, contemplate, meditate their way through the enigmatic challenge.

Being enigmatic sorts out the called from the merely curious.

Used deliberately by a mystic, being enigmatical is a powerful teaching entrancement, a boon to the committed Seeker.

Mysticexperiences.net

“YOU ARE NOT YOUR BODY, YOU ARE NOT EVEN YOUR MIND?”

“Not only can matter not account for the mind, but mind is needed to account for matter.” – Leibniz

An email reply to a friend/Follower:

Thanks, Barb.

“You are not your body, you are not your mind” is a mantra that came up in the last three years of my blog. Can’t remember its provenance.

Some science seems to be coming to the conclusion human evolution will certainly dump body and mind eventually. That is a Sufi tradition too. It’s certainly validated for me by my own experiences.

Humans and their minds have always been a spiritually poisonous distraction in the mystical experience of Reality. Just look at how the human mind created the diversion of religions from the purity of MER (Mystical Experience of Reality).

Our understanding of brain, mind, intellect and consciousness, especially MER, has undergone a considerable worldwide development since the days of Leibniz’s metaphysics I think.

Thanks again, Barb, you always stimulate …

A MYSTIC’S RULES FOR LIFE?

In MER, Mystical Experience of Reality, there are no rules. In Reality all is as it should be. There, mystics are safe. In fact, they’ve probably merged into Reality so no longer exist. Reality doesn’t know what a mystic is. Mystic is a human word.

However, in the mystic’s human state, there are observances a mystic might find useful:

  1. Pragmatic defensiveness using avoidance and silence help deal with the generality of humanity, even if you’re in a caring profession.
  2. Being decent – doing no harm, spiritually, physically, mentally or emotionally to any part of the creation, is basic, and also a good defence whilst marooned here,
  3. Being legal, wherever in the babble of human cultures and tribal instincts, institutional taboos and mythomanic attachments you may find yourself, will usually keep you safe,
  4. Being honest will commend you to the generality of humans – if applied with discernment and discrimination, as not all humans are equal. (Warning: They think they are),
  5. Generally, avoid human expectations as you would untimely death,
  6. Hone your mystical invisibility to maintain your centre of content and spiritual focus in your temporary human state,
  7. By all means, be sympathetic and empathetic in thought, word and deed when faced with human predicaments, but do not believe or infer to others you can be of much real help. There is a difference between true, correcting and lasting help and selfish interference. (We see this in the separating evils of religions, politics, and passive/aggressive egos – all of them strong, human mind-conditions you’ll stumble across often).

Basically, just escaping into contemplative remembrance of your MER(s) until you regain your mystic equilibrium will meet most of the problems of your developing calling whilst here.

Keep heart, you’ll never again be as far from Reality as you are now …

Onwards and upwards. All Is Well.

Mysticexperiences.net

FREE WILL? HERE MAYBE, DEFINITELY NOT THERE

 

Throughout this Blog there are references to free will. Does the human race have it?

From my experience of pure consciousness in my mystical experiences of Reality there was no need for such a human concern as free will. It did not exist there.

In Reality, everything just is, in one satisfied determination, without further necessities.

Consideration of free will is only a human occupation. It does not need to exist in Ultimate Reality, where there are no names even, where nothing outside Itself exists, where everything in Itself is in place and All Is Well.

Mysticexperiences.net

WRONG ASSUMPTIONS?

 

MER seems to have its own as yet unknown purpose and only reveals proof of itself to individuals.

In the many ancient and new books and papers on mysticism I’ve tried to comfort and validate myself with over the years there seem to be two underpinning assumptions that are aggravatingly wrong:

  • The mystical experience of reality (MER) exists solely for the benefit of mankind;
  • MER can be induced by humans.

If my direct experiences of MER several times a year from the age of about 15 to late 30’s are anything to go by, those two conclusions are wrong, because:

  • MER does not exist to make better human beings, (ignoring for the moment the ever changing historical notions about what being acceptably ‘better’ is anyway …)
  • Nor is there any evidence MER can or has ever been induced by human beings (though the experiment that produced Krishnamurti might be worth rigorous modern examination …).

Again, MER seems to have its own as yet unknown purpose and only reveals proof of itself to individuals. So all that can be suggested about MER’s contact with humans is that it appears to be addressing individuals exclusively, not even human groups, ideologies or nations, only individuals.

MER does not seem to be interested in, nor respond to any collective human interaction. It seems impervious to evangelism, nationalism, tribalism, culturism, religions, prozelizations, logics, reasons, politics, governances, moralities or ethics etc.

Some scientific books and papers make their spiritual errors of collectivism, communalism and socialism despite more vigorous applications of unbiased scientific endeavours elsewhere, particularly in the fields of physics.

These other, more neutral scientific fields seem to be inching their way by pragmatic experiment to a convergence of scientific method and mystical experience without unsupported worldly assumptions.

For instance, some scientists are already saying there is mathematical indication the human race is going to turn into something beyond our present understanding of the human race, when most of our social assumptions will be long gone. Non religious Sufism claims to have known that for thousands of years.

Raymond Kurzweil, described as “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal, said in a Closer To Truth video interview, “humans will transcend their biology”. He is an influential American best selling author, computer scientist, inventor, futurist and Google executive.

Dr. Owen Gingerich, is professor emeritus of astronomy and of the history of science at Harvard University and a senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. He said in a similar interview on Closer To Truth, there will be no more humans eventually.

He said species are changing because of rapidly developing consciousness and that we’re changing every year.

Professor Donald Hoffman, Cognitive Science, University of California, says the physical world isn’t final reality. He suggests natural selection drives our perceptions to extinction.

My very personal perspective is that we’re outrunning impoverished worldly assumptions such as religions, monetarised gurus, new agers, hippies and the latest establishment of social mythomanias. Is spiritual consciousness being asserted?

If so, that leaves us with scientific physicists. They are the ones left with the perennial need to scratch the human itch to know the Whats, Where’s and Why’s of human existence.

In the meantime what about mystics, you may ask.

What about them? If my situation is anything to go by, mystics only know Reality, not what Reality’s about.

The only good news mystics bring to humans is confirmation that another, non-ending Reality actually does exist.

This Reality is not merely a subjective experience. It is benign, loving beyond human experience, caring, imparts a joy otherwise unknown to us, gives a certainty that we are a part of it and that All Is Well – societies or no societies, books or no books. Maybe even humans as they are now wont be around in future and need to get over themselves?

Mysticexperiences.net

WHAT IS A QUIETIST?

 

I am often asked what Quietism is, presumably because it’s one of the descriptions I gave of myself in this blog’s ABOUT page.

I’m also asked why Quietism is frowned on by religionists (obviously by a questioner who has done some research on the subject).

Basically, Quietism is a description of how some who have had the mystical experience of Reality (MER) become “in the world but not of it” whether they like it or not, who thirst after righteousness to the exclusion of human interference.

I didn’t like it a bit from a human point of view when it happened to me because despite the joy and understanding and other fruits MER brought it was progressively, alarmingly alienating at the time. I kept it secret for over 50 years. Even now I haven’t told everything.

You could say MER ruined my life, and I thank MER for that …

I didn’t fit in. Quietism made me feel like one of philosopher, writer, lecturer Colin Wilson’s Outsiders. That was the name of his first book he wrote at the age of 24 that made him famous worldwide and is still in print since 1956 in over 30 languages.

The Outsider examines the human psyche through the lives and works of notables such as Nietsche, Gurdieff, Hesse, Kafka, Sartre, Blake etc. It studies the effects of their “dislocation” from the human condition, their need for transcendence, the effect these Outsiders had on society and society’s effects on them. Unfortunately I never read the book fully because it seemed at that period of my understanding to be too human oriented, too human polluting of my MER experiences.

There are, on the other hand, others who have had the experience of MER who are not affected by Outsiderism. They engage in human affairs.

For instance, some Buddhist schools recognise the phenomena of quietism in their description of The Silent Buddha: a pratyekabuddha, or paccekabuddha, the so-called “realised, silent buddhas” who do not share their Realization with the world. Traditionally, it’s said, Pratyekabuddhas give moral teachings but not enlightenment.

Like my spontaneous personal MERs, pratyekabuddhas are said to achieve enlightenment on their own, without the use of teachers or guides. (See fuller descriptions in Wikipedia).

Deepak Chopra says in his book, The Book of Secrets, “. . . there are a few people who enjoy stillness more than activity, and they dive as deep as they can to find where the water stops running, a point so still and deep that one isn’t touched by the surface waves at all. Having found this stable centre they experience themselves(?)* to the maximum and the outside world to the minimum.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, said “the better part” of the religious life is the one of direct experience (MER).

Carl Jung, the father of psychology, and a proponent of mysticism, is well known for his clear distinction between the superior values of the individual compared to the inferior not to say dangerous values of the collective.

My personal experience is that Quietism is a fruit of MER and like MER is caught not taught – you can’t decide for yourself that you’re going to be a Quietest.

So why have the religionists historically taken such violent, extra judicial, not to say genocidal, even murderous views of individual mystical experience in general and Quietism in particular?

The Catholic Oganisation dictionary has this to say:

“Spiritual knowledge. In a valid sense it is the knowledge of divine mysteries possessed already in this life, though darkly as a “hidden wisdom” (I Corinthians 2:6-16). In a heretical sense it is the recurring error of those who claim to have knowledge of divine things exclusively from their own religious experience and even in contradiction to the Church’s teaching authority.”

Generally, religions are those human organisations that have conceptualised their notion of their original founders’ spiritual experiences into merely human moralities, dogmas, taboos and ethics, creating a lack of distinction between the generality of the lesser human spirit and the superior, focused, individual spirituality of Ultimate Reality that embraces everything known and as yet unknown and is indescribable, unteachable and unpreachable …

So what is the Quietist’s view of humanity?

My conviction is that humanity is a profound spiritual distraction.

The individual is more important to human development than any collective, is at a higher stage of knowing than the popular delusion that the needs of the many come before the needs of the individual.

Human collectivism is cosmically counter productive, a negative, evolutionarily destructive, malignant weed in the cultivation of Reality’s perfection.

Fortunately, collective totalitarianism does seem to be disappearing under the weight of its own irreality as an inconsequential sideline in humanity’s history.

The biblical example of Christianity’s failed attempt to establish communism is in the story of Ananias and Sophira, or more currently, the USSR, China, Cuba, Venezuela, Vietnam, Cambodia are all striking examples of the violent, inhumane failure of collectivism.

Spiritually, there is nothing of lasting value to be learned from studying the human race. Only individually experienced MER presents knowledge of the cosmic permanence from which all existence, including human existence, flows. And this cosmic source is all powerful, totally benign, loving. There is literally infinitely more than just being human, thankfully.

Mysticexperiences.net

* No! In my experiences of MER, if that’s what Dr. Chopra means, Revelation is received from an “outside” completely independent of the self or anything human. Hence the inescapable, unbidden cosmic gift of the spiritual hunger that produces Quietists presumably …

 

TWO SERIOUS OMISSIONS? A REVIEW OF ‘THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT OF LIFE’

Five traditions of mysticism.

Mystical approaches to life.

In Review: The Greatest Achievement in Life by R.D. Krumpos © 2012. 

COMMENTARY BY MYSTICEXPERIENCES.NET

The greatest achievement in life? Living in conscious oneness of ultimate reality, found in Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Kabbalah, Sufi, and comparative mysticism. This ebook summarizes many similarities among those five traditions and outlines mystical approaches to life.

It states science has only addressed five per cent of ultimate reality.

The book was impressively inspired by the author’s meetings with 19 mystics in 12 countries*.

The author says the manuscript was sent to 10 religious leaders/scholars of the five faiths and 10 professors who teach comparative mysticism across the U.S.A. Their suggestions led to many revisions prior to posting on the Internet.

These people freely gave the author their advice, time, erudition and experience. As a result, the author has made this important, seminal review of contemporary mysticism free of charge.

Download the ebook

However, in a serious omission, nowhere is there mention of mysticism being a spontaneous life-changing mystical experience of Reality.

Throughout this otherwise excellent book, the assumption is that it can be achieved by human effort, though this is never stated explicitly.

All my experiences of MER (the mystical experience of Reality) were spontaneous. I have never come across evidence that it can be produced by human effort or ability, however saintly.

My experience suggests MER comes from outside, not inside humans. As Dr. Deepak Chopra says, it is not a human invention. Others agree, like St Francis of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesuits, and Professor Puri of Sant Mat in his book on Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. Even the biblical “Jesus” says it comes and goes, from and to where, nobody knows.

Another issue that arises is the author’s apparent dislike that “a few” mystics don’t care to share with other humans.

Buddhists understand those particular mystics who feel humanity is a distraction from their path to Nirvana. They call these enlightened ones, pratyekabuddhas, or paccekabuddhas, the so-called “silent buddhas” who do not try to share their realization with the world.

Pratyekabuddhas are said to achieve enlightenment on their own, without the use of teachers or guides, by “dependent origination”, (spontaneous rebirth?).

Traditionally, Paccekabuddhas give moral teachings but not enlightenment. (See unedited descriptions in Wikipedia).

In my experience of MER there is nothing to be learned from the study of human beings. Deus sufficit. Or, in mystic parlance, Ultimate Reality is enough.

Despite those two caveats, this book delighted me, not only for its clarity and English but for having what Jan de Hartog wrote in another context: “… the indescribable but undeniable presence …” of Reality.

Mysticexperiences.net

 


*Those mystics interviewed were: A Nobel astrophysicist in Chicago, a Vedanta scholar/spiritual director and the chairman of a global bank in New York, a professor of philosophy in Kyoto, a Zen abbot and a Cistercian monk on Lantau, a Quaker missionary in Victoria, Hong Kong, a Therevada monk at Nakhon Pathom, a Hindu priest on Bali, a Vajrayana abbot in Kathmandu, a sadhu/scholar in Lucknow, the Vice President of India in Delhi, a Sufi shaykh in Teheran, a professor of political science (and shaykh) in Cairo, a member of the Knesset, a professor of history and a Greek Orthodox monk in Jersusalem, a retired police inspector in Copenhagen, and an Anglican bishop in Bath, England.

EMERGENT SPIRITUAL PROPERTIES “Not Invented by Human Beings”?

Some scientists wrong?

Dr Deepak Chopra has identified what it is like to be spiritual in his new book The Book of Secrets as follows:

Clarity of awareness
Knowingness
Reverence for life
Absence of violence
Fearlessness
Nonattachment
Wholeness

Dr Chopra says, “True transformation, in my view, depends on the emergence of these properties as your personal experience. They are primal qualities embedded in awareness; they weren’t invented by human beings …”

Dr Chopra is expressing one of the profoundest spiritual discoveries of MER (Mystic Experiences of Reality), that the experiences are from OUTSIDE all human experience – are beyond anything humans can invent.

MER is from Ultimate Reality, of which humans are as yet just an insignificant part, despite some scientists who insist all mystical experiences are human creations.

See also Maslow’s famous Characteristics of Self Actualized People.

 

Mysticexperiences.net

TIBETAN MASTER PATRUL RINPOCHE OUTLINES THREE UNIQUE PATHS TO ENLIGHTENMENT

By: Lama Lhakpa Yeshe, Tricycle.org

The great Tibetan lama Patrul Rinpoche was a widely revered and much-respected teacher, and people gathered around him to receive his wisdom and insight. His teachings were simple, direct, and profound, and in one way or another the essence of his discourse always led to the practice of compassion.

One day he said to a small group of his students: “The purpose of life is to help all sentient beings to be free from suffering. In order to do this, you need to cultivate unconditional, unlimited, and pure compassion toward all, without any exception.”

Patrul Rinpoche always encouraged discussion, debate, and dialogue, so after making this all-encompassing statement, he asked, “Do you understand?”

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“So follow whichever way comes naturally to you. It is not the external form of practice that matters, it is the inner spirit, the pure mind, that we need to pay attention to.”