Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Krishnamurti and Other Treasures on Google Video

I've known about Google Video for some time, but I never truly appreciated just what a wonderful resource it is until yesterday when I followed someone's blog link to a two-part series on religion vs reason hosted by evolution theorist Richard Dawkins. I'll probably have more to say about that program in a future entry. But right now, I just want to mention that I found amazing free videos featuring great musicians, philosophers, scientists, sages, and martial artists.

One such
video featured the renowned scholar of comparative religion Huston Smith dialoguing with legendary sage Krishnamurti on whether it's possible to view life with total "lucidity." Krishnamurti defined "lucidity" as seeing and understanding reality not just intellectually but with all of one's being. When Smith asked him "how" one is to do this, Krishnamurti replied that it can't be done through any mechanical "method" or technique handed down by alleged authorities. It must simply be done directly, as in the Nike commercial "Just do it."

But how does one do it, asked Smith, to which Krishnamurti replied that he was asking the wrong question. A better question would be, What are the "obstructions" standing in the way of lucidity? The implication seemed to be that if we understood the nature of those obstructions, they would disappear and lucidity would be left in their wake.

When I was younger, I took this argument--advanced as it was by Krishnamurti, Alan Watts, and other sages I respected--very seriously and used it as a rationale for not engaging in any formal spiritual practice. But today, I'm inclined to take more seriously the arguments of people such as Ken Wilber that there are time-honored methods for progressing in spiritual realization and overall consciousness development, and that the vast majority of us have no hope of accomplishing this any other way. The kind of direct seeing that Krishnamurti advocated just won't work for most human beings.

Still, I found the dialogue intriguing, and I think it's wonderful that one can see videos of these celebrated figures free on demand and gain a sense of what they were like. There are numerous other Krishnamurti videos available that you might also want to check out.

Right now, I'm going to watch a great old
video on "the art of meditation" featuring Alan Watts talking over beautiful scenes from nature.


Anonymous said...

I'm going to take a look at these videos now. But Krishnamurti -- however sparse on actual, substantial content -- was right about this . . . . What is standing in the way, what keeps you from enlightenment? Remove these hindrances and you will uncover the state of perfect consciousness beneath it all.

dr.alistair said...

alan watts said that we tend to see things as bits, and bits of bits, and bits of bits of bits. this leads to confusion, laws, rules and chaos.
these constructs can be seen as barriers to lucidity,or enlightenment.

Nagarjuna said...

T: Yes, there are obstructions holding us back from "lucidity." But it still seems to me, as it did to Huston Smith, that most of us need to practice a method that helps us to remove these obstructions. Yes, there's the danger Krishnamurti speaks of that we'll become attached to the method or path in such a way that it becomes the biggest obstruction of all. Yet, if we spend our lives waiting to see the truth directly, we may never be "lucid." In fact, as Alan Watts was fond of saying, avoiding the use of a method is its own method--the method of no method--and can be just as misguided.

Dr. Alistair: Watts did warn against mistaking our conceptual constructs or representations of reality for reality. But it seems to me that he, like Krishnamurti, didn't go far enough in showing us how to see reality as it is and to harmonize with it.


dr.alistair said...

unattachment from outcome and a recognition of the divinity in all has been my centering. just allowing the feelings..........
certainly the map is not the territory. we are constantly negotiating who`s maps are more accurate, valid and true. it is the scientist in us that wants the prediction and control. it is the priest in us that wants the ceramic explanation for all this.
personally, i don`t need any other proof than being.