FW: [Buddha-l] Laughing at enlightenment

Richard P. Hayes rhayes at unm.edu
Fri May 6 20:50:12 MDT 2005

On Fri, 2005-05-06 at 00:47 -0500, Bruce Burrill wrote:

> Nondualism is merde, something one would rather not step in, but then there 
> those that swing that concept around like a battle axe.

Merde is especially hazardous in Buddhist settings, where people usually
walk around bare-footed. As for battle axes, we discourage them here on

I suppose the doctrine of non-dualism comes about as a means of trying
to give metaphysical or epistemological footing to the Buddha's
excellent advice to cultivate impartiality (upek.saa). Not preferring
one thing to another is an excellent antidote to the sanctimoniousness
that sometimes arises from spending too much attention to being
wholesome. In Jungian terms, impartiality is a way of keeping the shadow
at bay.

When people start waxing triumphalistic and begin denigrating the
achievements or preferences of others, the impartiality takes a beating.
And when this beating is given in the name of non-dualism, it is
especially absurd. But what the hell, eh? For some people it is very
important to think they have a deeper understanding than others. They go
around wanting to debate everyone. The only way to deal with them is to
introduce them to Br'er Rabbit's friend, the tar baby.

Thanks for sending the story of Nanda. Puts me in mind of A"svagho.sa's
wonderful rendition of it, the Saundaraananda.

Richard Hayes
Department of Philosophy
University of New Mexico

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