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Chapter 2

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Kenneth Derry

Chapter 2: Hinduism What People Want Pleasure (Path of Desire) o According to India, there is nothing wrong with pleasure, as it is one of the four legitimate ends of life. o Small immediate goals must be sacrificed for long-range gains and impulses that would injure others must be curbed to avoid antagonisms and remorse. o Hedonism: the pursuit of pleasure. o If pleasure is what you want, do not suppress the desire; seek it intelligently. o Everyone eventually comes to the discovery that pleasure is not all that one wants because it is too trivial to satisfy ones total nature (bottomless ocean of pleasure, one pleasure drags another after it). o Pleasure is essentially private and the self is too small for perpetual enthusiasm. Worldly Success with Wealth, Fame and Power (Path of Desire) o Successs satisfaction lasts longer because it is a social achievement as it involves the lives of others. o Limitations of Worldly Success: Wealth, fame and power are exclusive, as they do not multiply when shared, they cannot be distributed without diminishing ones own portion. The drive for success is impossible to satisfy, which leads to greed, as people can never get enough of what they do not really want. Worldly success is identical with hedonism, as it centers meaning in the self, which proves to be too small for perpetual enthusiasm: everyone wants more from life than wealth, fame and power. Successs achievements are temporary, as it goes away when we pass and it can be taken away. Community or Duty (Path of Renunciation) o Renunciation: life holds more than one is now experiencing; an attempt to make the best of personal defeat. Hinduism draws distinction between chronological and psychological age; two may have the same chronological age but one person may have a psychological age of a nine year old (wanting pleasure) while the other one is an adult. True religion begins with the quest for meaning and value beyond self-centeredness; it renounces the egos claims to finality. o Community is an obvious candidate for something greater than ourselves; the person has transferred allegiance to it, giving its claims priority over their own. This produces the religion of duty after pleasure and success. This transforms the will-to-get into the will-to-give and the will-to- win into the will-to-serve. Duty, like pleasure and success, also yields notable rewards, only to leave the human spirit unfilled (one earns self-respect and respect from others). What People Really Want Being: everyone wants to be rather than not be because nobody wants to die. Know: we are insatiably curious. Joy: a feeling tone that is the opposite of frustration, futility and boredom. People really want infinite being, infinite knowledge and infinite bliss. Liberation or Moksha (Path of Renunciation): what people really want is the release from the finitude that restricts us from the limitless being, consciousness and bliss our hearts desire. The circuit of what people want and think they want: pleasure, success, responsible discharge of duty and liberation. Atman: the hidden self. Brahman: the Godhead. A human self is not completely accounted for (unlimited or infinite) until all three are noted: body, personality and Atman-Brahman. We dont feel infinite because the Eternal is buried under the impenetrable mass of distractions, false assumptions and self-regarding instincts that comprise our surface selves. The Beyond Within Three Strictures or Restrictions on our Joy: o Physical Pain: least troublesome of the three. As pains intensity is partly due to the fear that accompanies it, the conquest of fear can reduce pain concomitantly. Pain can be accepted when it has a purpose. In cases of useless pain, it may be possible to anesthetize it through drugs. o Psychological Pain: arises from the thwarting of specific desires. Each thwarts an expectation of the individual ego; if the ego were to have no expectations, there would be nothing to disappoint. Detachment from the finite self or attachment to the whole of things can reduce psychological pain. o Ignorance or Boredom with Life: Hindus claim this to be also removable. People who could identify with being as a whole would be unlimited. Hinduism posits an extensive self that lives successive lives in the way a single life lives successive moments. We are fixated on our present life span; if we could mature completely, we would see that lifespan in a larger setting is actually unending. Hinduism sees the minds hidden continents as stretching to infinity. What the realization of our total being is like must be experienced; people who have made the discovery are wiser, have more strength and joy and seem freer. Four Paths to the Goal Yoke: to unite and to place under disciplined training. Yoga: a method of training designed to lead to integration or union of the human spirit with the God who lies concealed in its deepest recesses. Four Basic Spiritual Personality Types: o Reflectiveo Emotional o Active o Experimentally Inclined For each of these personality types, Hinduism prescribes a distinct yoga that is designed to capitalized on the types distinctive strength. All four paths begin with moral preliminaries. o People must be first cleansed of their gross impurities. o The first step of every yoga involves the cultivation of habits as non- injury, truthfulness, non-stealing, self-control; cleanliness, contentment, self-discipline and a compelling desire to reach the goal. The Way to God Through Knowledge Jnana Yoga: intended for spiritual aspirants who have a strong reflective bend; the path to oneness with the Godhead through knowledge (not factual information but an intuitive discernment that transforms) the guiding image was of an infinite sea of being underlying the waves of our finite selves. Discrimination: the power to distinguish between the surface self that crowds the foreground of attention and the larger self that is out of sight. Cultivating this power proceeds through three stages: o Learning: listening to sages, scriptures and treatises on the Summa Theologica, the aspirant is introduced to the prospect that her essential being is Being itself. o Thinking: intensive reflection; the yogi must turn her awareness inward, she must pierce the innumerable layers of her personality until she reaches the anonymous, joyful unconcerned actress who stands beneath. o Shifting Self-Identification to Abi
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