Looks like somehow I posted this one on the wrong blog. Here’s an old one, reposted to the Gaeng Pad series.
““Although we have learned to regard some kinds of knowledge as immutable, even the most fundamental aspects of the knowable are bound to a specific time and place. For example, cosmologists agree that during the first few moments of the universe, time and space themselves may have ‘acted’ in unimaginable ways… On the far smaller scale of a human lifetime, the styles of thought and action we follow and the customs we take for granted change from year to year and decade to decade.”
Tarthang Tulku, The Range of the Knowable, Love of Knowledge
This quote makes me think about how realization and freedom have to happen in the midst of culture, and what a challenge this is. What we know, what we’ve been programmed to react to, and what we’re programming ourselves to do, are all bound up with culture, and any images of enlightenment, peace, happiness, kindness, that we have are all also bound to culture.” Intro to TSK
Trungpa Rinpoche, in Transcending Madness, responded to a student’s question by saying that meditation the “technique of infiltration.” He stated that he was attempting to “infiltrate American karma.”
How he did this, and is still doing it is an interesting point.
However, this idea of infiltration is really fascinating to me. The way that yoga classes have spread throughout the US, and are infusing US culture with both Hindu spirituality, and some more New Age offshoots, is really inspiring and exciting to me. Who would have thought 20 years ago that a Hindu/tantric body practice would be incredibly popular in the states, influencing the entire culture? In a way, the subtlety of it is what works. People just take yoga, they relax, they destress, and they see that it can work. If the deeper practices and concepts never appeal, fine. If the depth of it does take root after someone has studied yoga for ten years, so much the better. I think there’s a compatibility of Hindu theism with Christianity that has a lot of interesting possibilities too.
Knowledge can seem immutable, and it can seem totally bound to time and space, or to specific circumstances.
Being able to be yourself enough to not be bound by your culture, your time and place, is a good goal, I think. It seems almost impossible to be totally beyond your time and place. I think if it is, then that would be enlightenment, or being completely present. That’s a good long term goal, I think, but a short term goal would be being more awake. I think part of this means being involved in culture, and having some (small) effect on one’s culture. How you do that, though, is tricky.