Reader comment on Andrew Cohen's passage ...
On Nov 6, 2010 Chris wrote:|
Very grateful for the recap of Bhikkhu Bodhi's talk, thank you Somik. I didn't get to attend myself, but I did happen to serendipitously see Bhikkhu Bodhi speak the following night. He joked that the very act of thinking can sometimes seemed to be discouraged within Buddhist circles -- "just thoughts arising and passing away" :) -- but that coming from a Western Philosophy background himself, he is prone to big-picture thinking. :) Along those lines, one thing in particular stood out to me. He stressed the need for balance between upward and downward pulls in one's spiritual approach. Especially for meditation-heavy practices, transcendence is often stressed above all. To stay connected to the real world which we inhabit in the here and now, Bhikkhu Bodhi said that ought to balance this with a descendent path of spirituality -- one which focus on practical, down-to-earth service. He cited the "four immeasurables" as qualities that help us stay grounded and serve in tangible ways that makes this world better: loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy for others, and equanimity (or impartiality as he said it might also be translated). The "earth scholar" Thomas Berry expressed a similar sentiment when he stressed the need to not be carried off one's feet by the transcendent path or sink into the ground via the descendent path, coining the term inscendence.