The Eastern Orthodox Church Espouses EMPTINESS Cultivation
I’ve just been reading The Monks of Mount Athos by M. Basil Pennington, which is about the Greek Eastern Orthodox Christian monks and their practices on Mount Athos.
In reading this book, once again the non-denominational nature of the path is made clear … including in the Greek Orthodox Eastern Church of Christianity. Yes, even Christianity talks about emptiness, inner silence, poverty of thoughts, humbleness (no self), annihilation of thoughts as THE WAY. They say it is the way to God, or the way to Christ, but it is basically the way to samadhi and then the Tao. That’s why ALL genuine religions and spiritual paths espouse this, but each wraps this with its own peculiar religious garbs and coloring.
Of course these Greek Orthodox monks don’t know that, but see all things through the eyes of Christianity, and yet everything they say speaks of the same practice methods and common stages of the cultivation path:
"Keep your mind free from colors, images and form; beware of the imagination in prayer"
"So as not to fall into illusion while practicing inner prayer, do not permit yourself any concepts, images or visions."
"The aim of every monk and the perfection of his heart tends to continual and unbroken perseverance in prayer — an immovable tranquility of mind–lasting an continuous calmness"
Thoughts are enemies who are bodyless and invisible, malicious and clever at harming us, skillful, nimble, and practiced in warfare… A person whose mind is caught in thoughts is distant from Jesus; a person with a silent mind is with him."
[The Monks of mount Athos, M. Basil Pennington, Skylight Paths Publishing, Woodstock: Vermont, 2003, quotes from pages throughout].
I love that one quote — "A person whose mind is caught in thoughts is distant from Jesus". Do you see how it’s done? The path is to cultivate no mind, emptiness, silence, absence of discriminative thoughts, etc while retaining awareness. But you phrase the target in terms of Christ, Allah, Brahman, Jehovah or whomever you wish to choose.
Get over your clinging to sects and denominations and religions. The TRUE path is all about cultivating empty mind, or however you wish to word it. That’s the state closest to"God."
Here are the stages of the path when you do that, which explains almost all forms of spiritual gongfu at the lowest stages of the path recorded of Christian saints.
Cultivate emptiness and then your chi comes up and your chi channels open. When that happens you get gongfu. If you continue with detachment from thoughts and detaching from the sensations of the body and physical transformations occurring from y our progress, you attain samadhi. If you attain stability of empty mind through prolonged cultivation of samadhi …. and then abandon clinging to that …you can attain the Tao.
If you keep working hard once you get the Tao and don’t retrogress, you can climb the Bodhisattva bhumis and fathom the nature of the cosmos. If you tread the path completely you attain full enlightenment, called Buddhahood.
Ponder it. Ponder the path. Every religion - it’s all the same thing but wrapped in different words of that particular creed. How could the end result be different? How could the stages of the path be different? If a Jewish man lifts weights his muscles will get stronger and bigger. If a Christian does so the same will happen. If a Muslim does so the same will happen. If a Chinese Taoist does so the same will happen. If a Malaysian Buddhist does so the same will happen. If a Hopi Indian or Eskimo or Japanese Shintoist does so the same will happen.
The same in cultivating empty mind. Whoever cultivates it will reach the same levels of attainment. They are nondenominational stages of the path.
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