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Reader comment on Bhikkhu Bodhi's passage ...

Bridging The Spiritual and Mundane


On Jul 7, 2013 david doane wrote:

 My reaction is "Yes, but."  I guess I'm being what's called devil's advocate.  All three domains, the transcendent, the social, and the natural, are important, and I think it's extremely difficult for one person to do all three, and especially to do all three well.  I think a person can combine efforts in the social and natural domains without great difficulty.  I think it's particularly difficult to combine the transcendent domain with either or both of the other two domains.  The transcendent domain is a different reality/orientation/focus than the focus of the social activist and the nature advocate.  My concern is that trying to combine them and do it all will result in mediocrity in all three.  Analogously, it is very difficult for one person to be both mother and father, both nurturer and disciplinarian, both therapist and cop, particularly when issues are difficult and stakes are high.  That's why there are separate roles and responsibilities, and it's very difficult to combine them.  Walt Whitman said something like 'If you are the hammer pound, if you are the anvil bear.'  My concern is that in becoming more socially and naturally active, transcendence will be compromised and diminished.  I think it is important for the transcendent one to share his awareness such that those focused on social and nature activism are influenced by his or her transcendence -- I think it's too much for the transcendent one to also be the social and natural activist.  I think it is important for the social and nature activists to continuously keep contact with and be inspired and guided by the transcendent one.  Also, I don't think of the transcendent one as "just thinking about it."  I think of the transcendent one as being in a high level of consciousness.  My little bit of growth in the transcendent domain has resulted in my being more socially and cosmically aware and has positively affected my social and environmental behavior, and I am pleased about that, but I'm no social or nature activist.  I don't know if my increased commitment to social and nature activity would diminish my little transcendence -- I wonder.  To those who can do it all, I admire you. 


On Jul 9, 2013 colleen510 wrote:

I question whether  Bhikku Bodhi means that we should all become hammer, anvil and the material being shaped by them.  Perhaps he might say that if we feel drawn to the role of hammer, we could strive to be a spiritually-influenced hammer.  I think his vision may be one where our experiences of transcendence, whatever they may be, influence our daily lives as water feeds an estuary.   If people only opened themselves even a bit more to that influence, the world might possibly experience a surprising transformation. 

 

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