Spiritual Syncretism

Having studied and experienced many diverse spiritual paths for over 30 years, it is indeed amazing how one discovers similar threads running through each unique system, threads that convey the awe and mystery of the prior-animating force that gives birth to a majestic panorama revealing the full creative prowess of the Unborn. Sir Nisargadatta Maharaj was one such herald of the Unborn, although his path began by focusing on the consciousness-factor (the I Am) that miraculously appears on the face of the Unborn Essence, but then one day subsides and returns again to the primordial animating principle. In his later years he focused on always being “prior to consciousness” and awakening to the fact that You are That which is before all outflows—the Parabrahmin.

Pradeep Apte is one salient devotee of Nisargadatta, and his work offers a marvelous and concise synthesis of his gurus teachings. The following offers one such syncretic insight into the realization of the Unborn Principle.



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9 Responses to Spiritual Syncretism

  1. suki says:

    Beautiful! Enjoying your blog and your excellent Bodhichild video presentations on YouTube.

    Warm regards – Suki

  2. Bodhichild says:

    Dear Suki,

    Many-thanks for your comment. Wishing you well.

  3. Sansiddhah says:

    I was just reading this Korean text, which reminded me of Bodhichild’s “You” video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGVBEEYkRME ) – more beautiful syncretism:

    “Take a good look at yourself.
    You are already saved. You are originally Buddha.
    You are overflowing with happiness and glory. To talk of paradise or heaven is to be talking in your sleep.

    Take a good look at yourself.
    Transcend time and space, and you’ll see that you are eternal, you are infinite. Should the universe collapse and disappear, you would still be immovable. You are all forms and all formlessness in the universe, the universe itself. You are the twinkling stars and the dancing butterflies-you are everything.

    Take a good look at yourself.
    All truths are within you. To look for truth outside yourself is to search for water outside of the ocean.

    Take a good look at yourself.
    There is no death in eternity, but those who don’t know themselves worry about death. They fret about it, and they dread it.

    Take a good look at yourself.
    You are originally pure gold. But because you are blinded by personal profit and greed, you mistake this gold for alloy. Forget your selfishness and use all your energies to help others. If you remove all traces of greed and desire, the Eye of the Heart will open up and you’ll see yourself as you really are, as pure gold.

    Take a good look at yourself.
    Poverty and starvation are superficial realities; the poor and the starving are fundamentally noble and sublime. To feel sorry for people based on superficialities is a grave insult to them. We must learn to respect and serve everyone.

    Take a good look at yourself.
    This age of rampant materialism is harming you. You are the ocean itself, yet you are paying attention only to the spray from the waves. Dwell on the ocean, not on the spray.

    Take a good look at yourself.
    The Buddha did not appear in this world to save us. He came to teach us that we are already saved, originally saved. What a tremendous joy it is for us to live with this Truth-so let’s all bless everything together!”

    성철 / 性徹 / “Seongcheol”

  4. Bodhichild says:

    Beautiful, most moving text–thank-you much!

  5. suki says:

    Yes, very moving text indeed! Can you cite the source. I would like to research it a bit.

    Much thanks – Suki

  6. Sansiddhah says:

    Dear Suki, here is the source:


    (On the bottom you have more texts from this great modern-day Korean Master. -)

    During his tenure as patriarch of Haeinsa, the temple transformed into a training ground for meditation, sutra studies, and Vinaya studies, attracting monks from all over the country. The meditation center averaged approximately 500 monks per biannual retreat, which was unheard of since the days of Hui Neng and Ma Tzu.

    He was very critical of Japanese Zen (especially about studying many koans instead of just one), and stressed the importance of studying the hua t’ou (hwadu). For him, solving one gong’an was equal to enlightenment.

    He stated that attaining perfect enlightenment was equal to becoming a Buddha, and this was also equal to definitively solving the gong’an, remarking that this was not his unique teaching, but that of numerous masters including Huineng, Ma Tzu, all the way down to current masters.

    He set very strict criteria for enlightenment, – specifically that only when one can focus on the hwadu (hua t’ou) during deep sleep, then one is truly near enlightenment.

  7. suki says:

    Thank you, Sansiddhah.

  8. Kinshi says:

    Perfect enlightenment, means anuttarasamhyaksambodhi.

    Anyone achieving this immense feat is a Tathagatha. Son, do you know what a Tathagata is? For a human to claim that by the mere cracking of a single koan (evenif it is done during REM or even deeper sleep) and declare hmself or any other a bodhisattva beyond 8th bhumi or even a Tathagata, is the height of arrogance and slander of the dharma.

    It seems to me you havent read the sutras like the Lotus sutra or the entire avatamsaka sutra or even sri mala or you would not equal an arrogant baldie from Korea to a Tathagata/Buddha (which is what one is achieving perfect enlightenment). If he was a Tathagta (which I know he claimed while running around in his rags in korea during the 60-80:s after his initial enlightenment (unaware of Buddhas warning of the 50 false states of enlightenment) he would possess, like Buddha Sakhyamuni did, following powers:

    • Perfect Insight Knowledge
    • Mind-Made Body (Manomakaya)
    • Multiplying the body into many and into one again
    • Invisibility
    • Passing through solid objects as if space
    • Ability to rise and sink in the ground as if in the water
    • Walking on water as if land
    • Flying through the skies
    • Touching anything at any distance (even the moon or sun)
    • Traveling to other worlds (like the world of Brahma) with or without the body
    • Telepathy
    • Super-Hearing
    • Divine Seeing
    • Seeing Past Lives
    • Ending of all outflows (the greatest siddhi and mark of a true Buddha)

    Do you truly believe this korean wannabe have these powers? Not even Hakuin or Lind Chi dared make some claims. Are you that stupid?

    Is this the kind of ” Buddhism” you offer on this site?

    Son, you seem like a tiny little eager beaver. Eager to show off the little insight you have gained from some years of a superficial study of Buddhism and “old masters”. I suggest that next time you do some real sutra study before proclaiming Buddhahood to any Lee, Chun and Mao in asia, whom by some virtue might have solved a simple koan.

  9. Sansiddhah says:

    Kinshi, thank you for warning us against identifying the initial states of enlightenment with “perfect enlightenment”.

    I think that a good cultivation of Zen studies is to find the right balance between the Tathagatagarbha and the Prajnaparamita Sutras.

    The Zen linage, of which you probably know more than me, judging by your domesticity with the Sutras, has placed a great amount of importance on the Diamond Cutter of Doubts.

    The Korean lineage is named after Hui-Neng, who got his spiritual breakthrough by listening to that sutra, even if he was illiterate himself. It’s possible the Sixth Patriarch didn’t even read all the stuff you read!

    Your style of writing reminds me of a person I used to correspond with – “Azanshi” – a very interesting fellow, who told me something very wise that helped me immensely in my amateur Sutra studies: that it’s Mind literature and should be read as such.

    So, to conclude, certainly a Korean shaveling couldn’t walk through wallls, but for some reason I think also Shakyamuni couldn’t. Or even if he could – who cares? “Miracles” are there to impress the rabble.

    But if we inquire on all those marvelous qualities, what is it that can perform them? It is nothing but Mind!

    This mind can make bodies, multiply them, travel immeasurable distances, travel to different worlds, “touch” anything at any distance (including the stars), and so on. This “mind” which is inherent in all of us – and of which the Korean guy wanted to point to – is capable of performing all those “miracles”; and is performing them as we write these comments!

    Just like one can read about Buddha walking upon birth proclaiming to be alone the world-honoured one metaphorically (as “mind literature”) or in a vulgar fashion (Buddha the demi-god, the magician) – so we can do the same with Christianity.

    After our mindset changes, all literature changes at once, and we can read all these texts without being enchanted by these grand claims and phantom entities. So we can repose in the truth of the unborn. And then everything teaches and expounds the Dharma. Once we go into that mindset, I think, everyone and everything becomes a Dharma teacher.

    The same Korean guy said: it is from inanimate objects that we learn the greatest Dharma. It is when we can listen to them, that the true teaching starts. A fascinating thought indeed! A miracle above all miracles!

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