San Jose Webinar Discussion - Lesson 1

For registered CIF Vedanta students only. Post your queries and doubts arising out of the Foundation lessons and debate with other students from the world over. May be periodically moderated by an Acharya.
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For registered CIF Vedanta students only. Post your queries and doubts arising out of the Foundation lessons and debate with other students from the world over. May be periodically moderated by an Acharya.

San Jose Webinar Discussion - Lesson 1

Postby Padmaja » Thu Nov 12, 2015 2:05 am

Hari Om.

Please post your thoughts on any of the following -

1. Freedom is in knowing when and having ability to START and STOP
2. May my critic be my next door neighbor !
3. We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have !
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Re: San Jose Webinar Discussion - Lesson 1

Postby varsha » Fri Nov 13, 2015 1:32 am

We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have !

When we get something we don't have means that we fulfilled our desire(s). If we think of happiness as desires fulfilled / desires entertained and we understand that we don't increase our happiness by increasing the numerator. Because when we do that, more desires pop up. The idea is to reduce desires, which means being content with what we have and appreciating what we have. A man with no shoes sees a person in a wheelchair, realizes that it is blessing to have feet and that thought gives him happiness (peace) with what he has. This way the denominator doesn't increase and actually may decrease as his desire for shoes diminishes or reduces!

Hari Om
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Re: San Jose Webinar Discussion - Lesson 1

Postby girapandya » Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:27 am

Hari Om,

Om Shri Gurubhyo Namah!!

In the olden days, individuals were more free to choose in term of choosing the right path or materials for their lives. For example, underdevelop technology. They did not have that much varieties of food. People usued to eat more home cook food then outside food or junk food. However, now it is totally opposite. We have more materials and comforts in our lives. We have more veriety of foods, more technology, less physical, more fecilities to do daily rutines. Still, people are more unhappy today than in olden days. Pleople have more stress than earlier, and so on.
That is why, as our Guruji was saying in one of his lecture in Piercy, that find out your goal first, what do need, how much you need, then, work to get only that much. It is very true that we do have the freedom to find out how much we need, what do we need, etc. Once we find out these all, we should be able to make the decision that how much I should be working to get those things. Do not forget to ask yourself questions like, why? or Do I need that? how much? These questions will reflect back with the decision when to start and when to stop on all your activites in life.
I remember (from my reading session with Acharya Padmajaji), had discussion that the perfect example of this is sweet. You have to know when you can eat the piece of chocolate and how much. You have to know when to stop. Otherwise, no joy at all eating that.
Om,
Gira Pandya- The Webinar student
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Re: San Jose Webinar Discussion - Lesson 1

Postby ramaaravi » Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:46 am

Hari Om,

For this discussion I chose point 3. We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have !

This is very easy as I do tend to forget what I have in hand and look at others and feel upset at not having what the other has. Here is where this course asks us to practice gratitude and appreciating what I have. We take so many things for granted. The recent example that comes to my mind is when Meena Auntie brought the Livermore shelter person (I think his name was John) to our Saturday balvihar assembly to talk about how he and his wife are trying to help the homeless have some shelter in the church especially during the rainy and cold season and basic clothing like socks and toiletries. That’s when I realized I have been blessed with many things that I should be thankful for, rather than craving for more! Some of the simple things that gets overlooked, like being able to have a cup of hot tea in the morning and the many times during the day, being able to wear washed clothes are blessings indeed!.

Here is where Vedanta really helps me –
1) It takes me to the root and helps realize that even the object that I have in hand which is supposedly giving happiness is not worth it, as happiness does not come from the object but from within. That what I have is good enough by itself to achieve the human goal of realization provided I put it to good use. So I need to focus on what I currently have and how I am utilizing it.
2) That life is all about thanking and then being and being not just for ourselves but for any individual and sharing as best as we can with what we have. Which in a way circles back to appreciating what we have.

Hari Om,
Ramaa
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Re: San Jose Webinar Discussion - Lesson 1

Postby varshagokhale186 » Mon Nov 16, 2015 3:01 pm

Hari Om
The topic :May my critic be my next door neighbour.
If the critic is my neighbour and he goes on critising me
continuously it will help me in perfecting my personality.
A rough surface is essential for sharpening a blunt instrument
likewise this critic will take me to perfection because I will try to
convert the challenge of his criticism into an opportunity for
for my growth.
Of course in all this it is very essential that when
he or anybody for that matter criticises me I have
to introspect and see my own mistake and rectify it
or recognise where I can improve.
Om.
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Re: San Jose Webinar Discussion - Lesson 1

Postby Rajashree » Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:02 am

The rougher the circumstances more is the shine to a diamond. Same goes for the internal spirit of human beings. People who wear battle scars have lot to offer in terms of experience. Harsh experiences make us think about ourselves bringing good qualities to the forefront, and building resolve, appreciation for the good times, hence reminding us about daily gifts of happiness that we enjoy.

Reducing our wants is a matter of self image. Our need for many wants is in fact is to cover our own unfulfilled expectations from our own selves. So reducing our wants mean spending more time in selfintrospection, and reflection to bring our in herself to the glory that it really is.
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Re: San Jose Webinar Discussion - Lesson 1

Postby girapandya » Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:39 am

Hari Om.

Happiness does not come from outside. Happiness is our own true nature and it comes from within us. Indian spiritual leaders are saying that this is a big statement and we have to think how can we invert ourselves from the outer virjin. They are also saying that scriptures are the only support we have in this life to change ourselves. We should start recognizing what we have within us so that we do not crave something from outside. For example, we should be happy that we have two feet and so for this reason we should not crave for having many pairs of shoes. Because, what if Lord did not give us feet, then, what would we do with those so many of shoes.

In the life, we do not get everything that we ask for, but we get what we deserve. Whatever is happening with us is because of our past karmas which we can not go away from. In this case, let us not worry and just be happy. If you get this much knowledge, then, you will be free from all your worries and will begin to enjoy life. This state of mind will give us the true joy!!
Om.

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Re: San Jose Webinar Discussion - Lesson 1

Postby RamChinchali » Sat Nov 21, 2015 10:33 am

Freedom is in knowing when and having ability to start and stop
A discussion by Ram Chinchali
The essential nature of a human being is to be completely and absolutely free. Thus we tend to naturally resist and unanimously revolt against anything or anybody that prescribes or preaches self-restraint. We are under the false impression that if we continue to indiscriminately indulge in any perceived pleasure without any regulation or self-discipline, we will be free and happy forever. Little do we realize that this does not guarantee permanent happiness or satisfaction as our mind tends to be very fickle in nature. As soon as we obtain the “object” of our pleasure that we seek, our octane levels diminish almost instantly and we start feeling distressed and “empty” once again.
It is therefore extremely important that we understand freedom correctly and exercise freedom “intelligently”. This means that we should know when and how to exercise regulation on our freedom. This is what is prescribed in our scriptures and taught by our gurus. The scriptures provide the guidelines (rules and regulations) whereas our gurus through their vast experience show us how we can put this into practice to discipline ourselves, the manner we conduct ourselves with others or interact with nature.
This practice of “intelligent” freedom ultimately provides a path to spirituality which in turn leads one to realize life’s true potential allowing one to live life to its fullest capability. This is because when one realizes one’s potential, only then is his mind truly clear and un-cluttered. One is able to reflect “inwards” and is more “subjective” and not bound to material “objects” anymore, clearly distinguish between what is Truth and all that is Mitya (illusion). One senses of perception are greatly enhanced beyond the “gross” body allowing one to explore the vast cosmos and realize all possibilities. It is in this state of mind that one is able to truly find lasting happiness and eternal peace.
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Re: San Jose Webinar Discussion - Lesson 3

Postby varsha » Mon Dec 07, 2015 8:52 am

Hari Om

I would like to get further clarity on the Q&A question on distinction between Intellectual personality and Spiritual personality (Section 3.2)

Given : Animals have intellect but lack spiritual personality. This also means that spiritual personality is different for each individual (right?)
Section 3.3 : All creatures have Body, Mind, Intellect and Consciousness. This Consciousness is the same in all creatures.

How does the consciousness relate to the spiritual personality? Are these same? If so, there is contradiction with my first statement.

Thanks
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Re: San Jose Webinar Discussion - Lesson 1

Postby Padmaja » Sat Dec 12, 2015 1:13 pm

Hari Om Varsha

Consciousness is the illuminator and enlivener of four personalities (physical, emotional, intellectual and the spiritual). Four Personalities take part in each experience. Consciousness does not take part in any experience. It just illumines experiences (just like how a theater light illumines singing and dancing on the stage when the play is on, and also an empty stage before and after the play; but never takes part in the play.)

Spiritual Personality is "Subtle Intellect" which has capacity to discriminate between spirit and matter. It is not same as Consciousness.
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Re: San Jose Webinar Discussion - Lesson 1

Postby maneesha06 » Sun Dec 13, 2015 5:09 am

Hari Om.

Since Padmaja ji invited me to participate in the discussion of this thread, I thought of taking the opportunity to revisit the Foundation Vedanta concepts that I had learned earlier. Hope it is okay with you all.

My thoughts on Padmaja ji's questions on Lesson 1 -


1. Freedom is in knowing when and having ability to START and STOP
Currently our understanding about freedom is ‘having the ability of doing whatever we want to do’. We often mistake licentious behavior for freedom.

For example: Maybe I am driving one of the fastest cars in the world on a road that allows me to drive at a very high speed. However, while driving if I see road construction signs or road barriers, I should lower my driving speed even if I don’t see any signs to reduce the speed. It is in my and society’s best interest to reduce the speed just in case people are working on the road or road is damaged to avoid any kind of accident. Thus freedom is in not only following the traffic rules but if a situation requires, apply my knowledge to control my vehicle speed as appropriate. Although I am using the best car and the fastest road to travel, it is my responsibility to exercise an informed choice.

2. May my critic be my next door neighbor!
Usually, it is hard to find some of our faults by ourselves. We don’t even realize that certain traits of our personality could be seen as faults by others. We can fix those aspects of our personality only when they are brought to our notice by others. Criticism is always unpleasant to deal with; however, constructive criticism provides opportunity to improve upon our faults (it is like participating in a competition – your work will be critically analyzed. And any feedback given by the judges will provide you an opportunity to improve). Rather than getting emotional, we can give a thought to what our critics say. In case of valid arguments, we can try to improve our personality and bring about positive changes within ourselves or in case of invalid (idle) criticism, we will be forced to investigate into the points the critics made – that will not only help us know validity of their points but in the process we will learn some more things that we would not have learned otherwise. One additional thing we will be learning in this process is not to make the mistakes that our critics have made.

It is only when a student knows that his knowledge will be tested, he will do his best to learn a subject and not just focus on the areas that he likes. He will be forced to understand and study the areas of the subject that he is weak at. This way, he will not only gain full knowledge of the subject but will also learn that he has capacity to understand even the difficult concepts which seemed intimidating at first. Similarly when we know that our critics are going to challenge us, we will be more alert and forced to do right things – which will sharpen our personality.

3. We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have!

An example: “It was hard to pedal a bike, so I bought a motorcycle. It was not convenient to ride on the motorcycle, so I bought a car. Now I have gained too much of weight, hence, doctor advised me to join a gym. When I joined the gym, my instructor asked me to use an exercise bike!”
Earlier I was sweating on road, now I am sweating in an air-conditioned gym. Suffering comfortably!

As mentioned in the Lesson 1 Happiness is a state of mind – agitated mind creates unhappiness, whereas tranquil mind gives happiness. In the example above, I had a desire of making my life comfortable by using a motorcycle and then car – that created agitations in the mind which gave me unhappiness – to become happy I worked hard to buy motorcycle and then car. Owning vehicles gave me temporary happiness; but soon I lost my good health. Material objects cannot bring us happiness; in fact they can make us more miserable. Each desire fulfilled has the capacity to create more desires (or needs as mentioned in the example – going to gym/reducing the weight is a need now…). However, being grateful for what we have can give us permanent happiness.
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