I voice this podcast episode for Methods Podcast, which introduces the vipassana method of meditation.
In my paper "The Book of Mormon as Literary Alchemy: Joseph’s Magnum Opus and the Philosopher’s Stone," I suggested that the "gold plates" that Joseph Smith had in his possession were not actually made of gold, and did not actually contain ancient historical records like Mormons traditionally think. But that doesn't mean that there were not "gold plates" which were a kind of "hidden treasure" that Joseph really did discover within himself, which was the source of real divine wisdom, "ancient wisdom," and which he taught could be found within all people as well.
On my morning run I listened to this podcast with host Michael Taft of Deconstructing Yourself talking with Buddhist teacher Culadasa (John Yates), author of The Mind Illuminated. It was a great discussion of the deepest realizations that come through meditation, from a Buddhist point of view.
We see this theme repeated over and over again throughout religious history into the present day, from Judaism through Christianity, in Hinduism and Buddhism, in Islam, in Confucianism and Taoism, and even into modern day scientific studies, that the overcoming of "self" or ego is central to our flourishing in an abundance of Life and Love in the world, and in realizing higher Truths that go far beyond our typical everyday minds and consciousness.
In this post I'll discuss how the falling away of ego-self consciousness is present in the traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism.
I thought this short video was a beautiful summary and illustration of Buddhist philosophy from Dr. Daniel Brown, a Harvard Psychologist and Tibetan Buddhism scholar. I believe this philosophy may similarly be found in most of the world's religions, framed in a multitude of different symbols. This is perennial wisdom.
I suggest that the translation of the Book of Mormon was Joseph Smith's alchemical Magnum Opus, or "Great Work," a transmutation of his own base desires for materialistic gold and treasure into the highest spiritual realizations of human atonement in God consciousness, and a realization or awakening of eternal life in his Self, even theosis, which he continued to preach for the rest of his life.
I had a conversation on Facebook the other day about original sin and its relationship to non-duality. I thought it was a great discussion, and I thought I'd share it again here.
Sam Harris is a noted philosopher, author, and neuroscientist. He is known for often speaking quite negatively about religion, and has been called one of the "Four Horsemen" of the New Atheism, which also includes Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel Dennett. Harris has often spoken very harshly of modern Christianity, among other religions, particularly in his books The End of Faith, and Letter to a Christian Nation. What I find fascinating is where he has spoken positively about it, and Jesus in particular. This is may be a key where I think the discussion should take place for there to be a constructive dialogue between science and religion.
Happy Halloween! For many people, however, today is not a happy day, but it is the most disliked day of the entire year. This is when people seem to celebrate the death, the macabre, evil, darkness, the shadows, wickedness, perhaps even Satan himself. Those things are a big turn off for many people, particularly the most religious and devout.