Here's a topic that I'm sure many here will be able to relate to. For a long time, I would characterize my way of thinking as non-dual. What seemed to
me to be the spiritual path was breaking down dualities. All dualities were a stumbling block towards the truth. One of these dualities to be broken
down was good vs. bad. I developed a dislike of any talk of morality or any such thing. Now I would still think of myself that, in terms of standard
dualistic thinking, I was a good person. If anything, in my life I have at times tended too much in that direction, if you understand what I mean, and
I think that may actually be part of what inspired my interest in this idea. Nonetheless, when I would read anything spiritual that spoke of something
about 'being good,' it made me un-interested.
Yet, having come down from the feeling of spiritual ecstasy that came with apparently dissolving dualities, I find myself coming back to this question
of goodness. I must admit to tending towards something like non-duality, or that at an ultimate level things can't be characterized in these sorts of
ways. Yet, I come time and time again in my reading to these ideas of goodness, and I find myself thinking about it. Certainly I have always had the
tendency towards being good, and towards wanting things to be good in general, for myself and others. This is kind of highlighted in a lot of Mahayana
Buddhism, where something like non-duality is espoused and yet at the same time there is so much talk of bodhicitta, loving-kindness and compassion
for all sentient beings, the tireless working for the liberation of all. So the question is a central one. If it's non-dual, then why is there this
call to be good? Or do you really believe there is no reason to be good?
There are two approaches that come to my mind on this issue. The first, is yes, all dualities we can conceive of are broken down. But what is left
after this, is not neutral, but some sort of limitless and transcendent good, which far transcends any conception of good we could have. The other is
that, there is this transcendent reality which truly is non-dual. And yet there is also this dualistic reality, and both are valid. Thus we seek to
understand and perceive this non-dual, which is perhaps 'ultimate,' and yet at the same time acknowledge the reality of the relative, and seek to make
it as happy and loving as you possibly can for yourself and others, because all living beings in the relative world desire happiness, and thus since
the relative world apparently exists at all we should strive for that happiness, in an unselfish way. Certainly a great part of all religion and
spirituality involves how we act in the world, which would fall under the category of cultivating goodness, even if I or others do not like this word
morality. Is this important, or just 'lower teachings?'
I've realized I didn't end up writing some particular viewpoint I wanted to impart to you...moreso just somewhat open-ended thoughts...I don't even
have a conclusion in mind, and to try to reach one would just make the thread insanely long, lol...so yea, there's some thoughts, maybe some
discussion can follow.
edit on 21-7-2014 by TheJourney because: (no reason given)