Friday, February 20, 2009

The Dark Side of Pluto

*For those interested also in the teachings of radical eastern spiritual leaders, this article blends Buddhist and Zen or Taoist-like awareness as it is in the nature and power of Pluto.

Perhaps others (if only for a moment...) have questioned the appropriateness or delicateness of certain postings written in the recent past. Particularly regarding Kingston New York where I presently reside, and issues of greed, violence, dark capitalism, etc, and how Black Friday (for example) brings all of this right to the surface in unneccesarily tragic events. Part of the reason is because I do believe SOMEbody should bring up these issues.... the dark side of Pluto is the dark side of the human mind, manifesting in society and the world at large. In Jungian terms, if we choose to discard or disown this side of consciousness, leaving it unexamined and unhealed, it will continue to strike back as "my own worst enemy". This taking manifestation first in the Eighth House (Naturally Ruled by Pluto) and eternally brewing in the deep dark human subconscious of the Twelfth House (Esoterically Ruled by Pluto).

J.Krishnamurti and Chogyam Trungpa (whom I just found out on youtube had a dialogue back in Februrary 72') are/were two eastern teachers of spirituality considered radical, for Trungpa it was "Crazy Wisdom" and for Krisnamurti "The Awakening of Intelligence". Though religiously a Buddhist Trungpa began a whole new lineage, Shambhala Buddhism, within the Buddhist tradition. Krishnamurti was considered head of the New World Order (or some title of this nature...) and declined it, along with all notions of spiritual authority and over-identification with anything religious in the group sense of the word. Both teachers emphasize that we are to look at ourselves, examine the unregenerate human nature that brings about all the misery and suffering that is this world. Trungpa referred to this in his book "Meditation in Action" as "the manure which is first collected then scattered over the field of Bodhi".

One need not have access to any eastern spiritual teachers or books to awaken to the whole of life, which includes the bad and the ugly as well as the good. Self-honesty, humility and a lack of denial are all that is needed to shine the light of consciousness within. On this level I can look at myself directly, with some humility, and dissolve or transform whatever is the issue at hand... usually of form of dark resistance which requires only light, acceptance and letting go.

I admit to having issues myself regarding others, individuals and society, and with as much "moral relativism" as I can muster, I believe in the force of evil (the devil) and evil beings all the same. So where Mahayana Buddhists speak of "enlightenment and happiness for all beings" I vary from this in wishing all evil beings to burn in hellfires. I believe that maybe these spiritual people are conscious on a level that I cannot grasp. I watch a lot of mob movies (and the sopranos) and notice the seamy side of Pluto manifest in realities that many people will never let themselves see or be exposed to in any way. At worst most of us face sickness, tragedy, loss and death, inevitably... but these films emphasize it to a heightened degree of sociopathic mental illness. Human life in the mafia is so very cheap, dispensable and disposable... unless you become an 'untouchable'.

In feeling the tragic nature of existence on this Earth, it gives me all the more conviction and hatred for bad people... I don't ever want them to be happy or enlightened, at least not without first going through hundreds and thousands years of hellfire first. It is the Law of Karma makes sense, even when not apparent on the surface and knowing life definitely is not fair. Here is where my limit to compassion is and knowing my limits, as both Saturn and Pluto teach us (via the Moon), I can choose to emphasize the positive truth, that I care about my close inner circle of friends and family, friendly acquaintances, colleagues and coworkers and that aspect of humanity which/whom I believe to be genuinely good (with or without a million flaws).

Be kind to others (as often as possible..), live your truth with conviction and aspiration, and know your limits and boundaries which keep you alive. This is an immediate, down to earth and not so religiously decorated (aka Plutonian) way to evolve personally, individually and spiritually...

From Darkness back into Light



Joel D Zenie said...

The Following Comment is an emailed response from a friend, and further back and forth comments to follow...

"For all your study of various religions, it seems your judgmental catholic past comes to the fore when you say you wish evil beings to burn in hell. The point I would like to make to you is that it makes no difference for them actually if you wish that. They WILL go to the hell realm if they don't purify their karma. The person it DOES make a difference for is you. You accumulate negative karma for yourself with such wishes. Conversely, by wishing for the positive evolution of all beings, including evil ones, you create the conditions in your mindstream for your future enlightenment. Harmful wishes create a serious obstacle to your own enlightenment. So you could say that the benefit of yourself (which I hope you're concerned about) and others is actually convergent.

Another way of summarizing all this is that such statements boil down to your non-recognition of the fact that samsara is an illusion. The compassion of bodhisattvas is always connected with realizing this, and in particular that evil actions stem from ignorance, both of the karmic consequences of such, and of the lack of recognition of samsara's dream like-quality altogether. So you could say that beings commit evil actions due to not seeing the illusory nature of samsara, and other beings generate anger and ill-will towards them for the same reason. By generating such ill-will, we are drawn into their evil world. We think their samsara is real, based on thinking our own samsara is real. And around it goes. Generating compassion for evil beings is not a matter of moral relativism, but more based on an understanding of the nature of ignorance."

Joel D Zenie said...

Thanks for this clear and thorough reply... much of which confirms what I've heard or know already but haven't fully grasped. Perhaps you could say it I know much of this intellectually already but struggle with it existentially...

With all of the below in mind, much of the confusion and illusion you speak of regarding samsara relates to emotions. Perhaps it is ignorant, illusory, and very imperfectly human, but it is not just about the Catholic Church. In the old days people would get a thrill out of sseing a convicted man hung... especially those who were the most hurt by the individual. Now if somebody were to kill one of my parents or somebody I care very deeply about, I would want very much to make that person suffer... because my feelings for the victim are THAT strong.

This being a purely hypothetical situations, I love and care for this victimized person so much that I want nothing but the absolute worst for the individual who performed such a hideous act. Wouldn't you? Maybe samsara is illusory but my feelings (so far as I am concerned) are so very REAL. This is the point, I cannot seem to get beyond.... and if I do ever children I can see myself being like that Lion who protects his cubs (or is that the female?).

Joel D Zenie said...

After a bit more reflection, the thoughts that remains now on this dark subject are:

That you are right in saying I am it makes no difference to the other person... their karma is their business, and nothing I think about it will make a difference, it will only hurt ME to harbour such negativity.

Yet in the spirit of Trungpa, Krishnamurti, and others who speak of man's basest nature (aka the 'manure' described in chapter 1 of "Mediatation in Action") is the very stuff that is the essence of the bodhi, the awareness of "samsara and nirvana as inseperably of the same essence"... So if I don't question NOW these deep seeted vindictive emotions I remain forever susceptible to a bad karma that is already in me (as psychic demons). I can examine all of this without making statements about "burning in hell", which are toxic, though perhaps (subconsciously) I did this time in hopes of receiving a clarifying response.

I think where I differ from the adept Buddhist practitioner is that I do value and cherish those who important to ME, egocentric as this is, and that I will protect, preserve and support those in my life who are MY friends and family before the rest of the world, and kill in self-defense if absolutely necessary. I don't have equal vision... otherwise I'd be in Buddhist Monk robes or living monastically in general. Still, I have enough concern to help a total stranger on the street, or make new friends almost instaneously.

Joel D Zenie said...

DM (friend speaking):
"Your spiritual honesty will be helpful in the long run. After your initial message I reflected on how special the outlook of bodhicitta is and how rare it is to really find it. There is a prayer that is part of the bodhisattva vow that goes:

Bodhicitta is precious
For those who haven't developed it, may they give rise to it.
For those who have developed it, may it never deteriorate,
But increase more and more.

I think if we are too perfectionist about engendering bodhicitta, we may expect too much at the beginning. We have to start the bodhisattva path as ordinary beings, with ordinary emotions. Bodhicitta starts out as an aspiration, one that is grounded in philosophic understanding, as I mentioned in my last message, but it's really an intention. It's unrealistic to think that at first we'll never get angry at bad people, or in practice have an easier time caring about people we know and like. In fact, there are traditional exercises in Buddhism where you start by generating compassion for someone you know and like very much, then generate compassion for a neutral person, someone you don't know at all, then finally working to generate compassion for someone who's bad. So this issue you've raised is quite normal actually, and by being honest about your doubts or hesitations, you will, as you say, come to a more genuine resolution of the question than if you accepted everything without reflection. The way you're doing it is actually the way the Buddha taught us to study the Dharma."

Joel D Zenie said...

.... "One more thing: I actually HAVE had a situation where someone committed a heinous crime against someone I love. This was about 15 years ago. I went through a lot of anger and thinking about killing the person etc. But even then my feelings were not mostly about revenge and making the person suffer, but just protecting the world from this person. That is still my outlook, and with time I have been able to add the aspiration that this person change and eventually be freed from their evil tendencies. And by the way, taking action, even violent action, in self defense is not necessarily a contradiction of compassion. There is a story from one of the previous lives of the Buddha where he killed someone preemptively, because he knew the person was going to kill a bunch of people. And HH Dalai Lama has said that violent action against, say, terrorists, is justified".