The 7 Factors for Awakening — Waypoints on the Journey to Enlightenment (part of the 7 Sets series)

English: Paticcasamuppada (In Pali), life Cycl...

Paticcasamuppada (Pali), life cycle wheel of beings, good to use for Vipassana mediators and important to understand.

The 7 Factors for Awakening set is a kind of a road map toward Enlightenment. (7 Sets main) These are the steps to take to become enlightened.

1. Mindfulness
2. Insight (or Analysis of Qualities — the behavior of insight)
3. Persistence
4. Rapture
5. Serenity
6. Concentration
7. Equanimity

The last four are the four Jhanas, which we’ve talked about.  These are levels of attainment achieved in sequence. One attains the Jhana of Rapture before one attains the Jhana of Serenity, and so forth.

Mindfulness and Analysis of Qualities probably do not need to be attained in that sequence. Rather, these are preliminary tools. Persistence clearly is necessary throughout.

I have seen Buddhism divided into three basic parts:

  • Vipassana — Insight into the nature of things.  This is the contemplation of what is true.  It is more intuitive than what we normally call “theology,” but constitutes a deep awareness of transcendent truths, and therefore might be considered metaphysical in nature.
  • Samatha — quiet mind.  This is the meditative version of what for a hypnotist is command of trance state, also called state control.
  • The Jhanas — the levels to Stream Entry.  These are enduring states of the psyche, or foundational changes in one’s spiritual body.
The 7 Factors for Awakening are these three, plus persistent effort.
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God’s Love Is Unconditional

 

God’s love for humanity is unconditional.  We’re his children.  He does not love me more than you.  He does not love Jesus more than Hitler, does not love you less than Jesus or the Buddha.  God is well pleased with Jesus, and doubtless he is displeased with Hitler.  This is because of how they related to God’s other children.

In cultivating unconditional love for humanity, I am seeking to make myself more Godlike.  I did not understand that until I was well on my way.  I just decided it was what I wanted to do, not for religious reasons.  In fact, I was an atheist at the time.

I don’t think much of sympathy.  I live in a sleeping bag under a tarp.  I break into out of the way places when it rains sometimes. Sometimes when I beg for money people see me and flinch and look away, because seeing a beggar makes them feel pain.  I myself do not hurt. I don’t feel pain at begging for money and it doesn’t harm me.  I kind of want to tell them I’m doing fine and there’s no reason for them to hurt, but it’s a long conversation.

I talked to a Christian woman once who felt pain at the thought of the damned.  She cried while she talked to me.  I told her the same thing I’d like to tell those people who flinch when they see me and look away:

Sympathy is an inherently evil emotion.  Get rid of it.  Cultivate compassion instead.  It’s much better, much stronger stuff.

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