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The Reasons for Maya - Transience Divine
November 19th, 2009
09:53 am


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The Reasons for Maya
I think I've found religion. For years, I thought that it was impossible for a codified religion to express my spirituality and my beliefs about the cosmos. Flame and I started visiting different religious services, but more as an exercise in comparative diversity than a hope for a new home. We'd also started holding our own Full Moon services, where we sing and pray and study together, and I did New Moon services where I prayed and studied alone. Two nights ago was the New Moon, and I took a little booklet with me, Essence of World Religions, composed by a friend of a Jain friend of mine, and studied the first section: Hinduism.

It turns out that I am a Hinduist! I completely grok their belief in a pervasive God which is the universe and also is us, but also of their multitude of gods and openness to all spiritualities, and their concepts of Karma and reincarnation and the unendingness of existence and the illusion of the world. I particularly approve of their four-fold approach to nirvana, by any or all of yoga and meditation, love and devotion, selfless service, and knowledge and wisdom.

What I do not understand is why we want to escape Maya and samsara, the illusion of the world and the cycle of reincarnation.

We have each in fact gone through considerable effort to create Maya, and for very good reasons:
  • To Keep us Entertained: We will exist forever. Let's have something to do.

  • For Aesthetics: Because simplicity mixed with complexity is more beautiful than simplicity alone.

  • As a Moral Playground We want a world, so we can do good and be confronted with moral dilemmas.

  • To Explore the boundaries of our own minds and learn from others.

Maya is the natural overflowing of the potential we have as God, and while it alienates us from God and each other, it also makes it possible to use that potential. Specifically, each of the reasons that we created Maya matches up with an approach to nirvana: the practices of the world keep us entertained, and practice in spirituality is called yoga; the beauties of the world open our eyes and minds to love; the moral conflicts of the world give us opportunities to do good; and learning and exploration are the roads to knowledge and wisdom.

That is, we created Maya in order to forever seek enlightenment. Let's focus on the process and not the product, and forget about trying to get rid of the best game ever invented.

Current Mood: rejuvenatedinsight

(3 comments | Leave a comment)

Date:November 20th, 2009 09:43 am (UTC)
hmm, interesting perspective! though I'm not sure how well it resonates with my own. I am not so sure that playing with human agency is a sufficient reason to avoid nirvana.

interestingly, my first and thus far only contact with the concept of "maya" (outside of your post here) was from the Mountain Goats song "You're In Maya". it's the story of the singer being beaten by his stepfather and then running off to play pinball and get drunk. all presented through the lens of the Irish drinking song. here are some lyrics, for what they're worth. it's also track 9 on this live recording.
Date:November 20th, 2009 09:46 am (UTC)
that was prematurely posted, but basically all I had left to post was: "isn't it interesting to think of what, if anything, this song has to do with maya?" this is one reason why it's fun to listen to bands which give things esoteric names.
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Date:November 20th, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC)
I feel like the song title is scoffing at the reality (Maya-reality though it may be) of the man's situation. Maya is the illusion that surrounds us of the world, that we create, Buddhist claim is characterized by suffering. So here's a man in pain, running away from his suffering, and the song title seems to be saying, "It's all an illusion, man; just relax." Not only is that disrespectful to whatever the guy is going through; it doesn't recognize the depth on which we're trapped in Maya. Death is the only "escape", and it's a temporary one.
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