Your Life Begins When You Know Its Purpose

Seth on Buddhism

This compilation may only be used for private study, scholarship, or research.

The “Unknown” Reality, Vol. 1, From Rob Butts’ introductory notes, pg. xx-xxii.

In the Seth books we’ve deliberately refrained from commenting upon the similarities that exist between Seth’s ideas and those of various religious, philosophical, and mystical doctrines from the Near, Middle, or Far East. This approach fits our natures, of course. Jane and I know that such correlations exist – indeed, we’d only be surprised if they didn’t. Others have often mentioned them to us, and we’ve done a little reading on Buddhism, Hinduism, Zen, and Taoism, for example, not to mention subjects like shamanism, voodooism, and obeah. It’s obvious, we think, that a book could be written comparing the Seth material with other systems of thought, whether religious or not, but Jane and I, being individualists, have chosen not to concentrate upon those areas. Nor is what I’m writing here meant to be taken as an attempt to put down other approaches to “basic” reality.

Although there are similarities, then, in our view there are vital differences, too, between Seth’s philosophy and that of many other organized systems. Jane and I prefer to think about the unities we find in our world as including religions, not being defined by them, and we think Seth stresses this. We go along in our own stubborn ways, knowing that our outlooks are rooted in the Western traditions of the world, but also knowing that there exist all about us these numerous other philosophies or systems, some of them many centuries old, that the human race has created to help it explain reality. Yet we feel no compulsion to intimately know the details of, say, Sufism or Brahmanism. (A simile I often think of here compares Eastern and Western life and thought with the right and left hemispheres of the brain; they’re separate, yet united; each half performs functions that complement and to some extent overlap those of the other, and together they operate as a whole.) But we dislike the idea of nirvana in Buddhism and Hinduism, which calls for the extinction or blowing out of individual consciousness, and its absorption into a supreme spirit, usually after a series of lives. And we object to the notion that “nature,” in those terms of linear time, has so arranged things that the individual has to pay a karmic debt in one life as the result of actions in a previous one. Why should nature punish anyone if it doesn’t punish anything? The realities of nirvana and karma are not ones that Jane and I want to create.

We prefer instead Seth’s – as well as our own – concepts of the inviolate nature of the individual consciousness, before, during, and after physical existence, in ordinary terms, and whether or not any theory of reincarnation is involved. It may be natural enough for us in the West not to enjoy the idea of surrendering our individual natures upon physical death, even if intellectually we can understand, for instance, the Buddhist teaching that “perfect” joy can be found in the eventual, blissful surrender of the self to a supreme spirit – although I note with some humor that personally I’ve yet to determine how the self who surrenders knows it’s done so if it’s been so thoroughly absorbed.

I’m more inclined to agree with what Seth told us in the 590th session in Chapter 22 of Seth Speaks: “You are not fated to dissolve into All-That-Is. The aspects of your personality as you presently understand them will be retained. All-That-Is is the creator of individuality, not the means of its destruction.” And whenever I read about conventional Eastern conceptions of a supreme spirit, I remember what Seth had to say in the 596th session in the Appendix of Seth Speaks: “I have used the term ’expansion of consciousness’ here rather than the more frequently used ’cosmic consciousness’ because the latter implies an experience of proportions not available to mankind at this time. Intense expansions of consciousness by contrast to your normal state may appear to be cosmic in nature, but they barely hint at those possibilities of consciousness that are available to you now, much less begin to approach a true cosmic awareness.”

It’s plain that many arguments can be brought against all I’ve written in the last four paragraphs, I suppose, yet the material in them briefly approximates the ways Jane and I look at the Seth material these days in relation to other philosophies. Especially do I like the fact that Jane’s work, her contribution to our thought, comes out of her psyche unaided by laboratories, statistics, or tests. That is, our idea of real testing consists in watching to see how the Seth material can assist in practical, everyday living.

The “Unknown” Reality, Vol. 2, Appendix 15 (for session 710), pg. 695-99.

Rob’s notes in parentheses.

(Today we read a long treatise on the “truths” advocated by “holy men” associated with various Eastern religious philosophies – Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and so forth. Jane’s quick and impassioned response through her own writing, as presented below, reflects feelings deeply rooted within her mystical nature, and also illuminates important aspects of the body and direction of the Seth material as a whole. Given those points, she’s bound to have differences of belief with other views of reality.

(Yet I think more is involved than choosing among the belief systems offered by Eastern or Western cultures, for instance – that is, in more basic terms each personality would make that kind of choice before physical birth, with the full understanding of the vast influence such a decision would have upon a life’s work. Obviously, in those terms of linear time, Jane and I each feel that we chose our present environments.

(Being individualists, then, as I wrote in the Introductory Notes for Volume 1, we don’t concentrate upon whatever parallels exist between Seth’s concepts on the one hand and those of Eastern religious, philosophical, and mystical doctrines on the other; while we know of such similarities, we’re just as aware of how different from them Seth’s viewpoint can be, too. I added that even though we have no interest in putting down other approaches to inner reality, still we’re firm believers in the “inviolate nature of the individual consciousness, before, during, and after physical existence, in ordinary terms.” (1) So, here, we leave it up to the reader to make the intuitive and overt connections between Seth’s philosophy and the material Jane wrote today. The interested reader will also be able to compare her composition with certain passages in her long poem, Dialogues of the Soul and Mortal Self in Time, when that work is published in book form in September 1975.

(Thus Jane demanded in her composition of this afternoon, October 7, 1974.)

“What is this passion for nonbeing, this denial of sensual life, that drives so many gurus and self-proclaimed prophets? They speak out against desire while propelled by the overwhelming desire to lose themselves. They luxuriate in a kind of cosmic masturbation, titillating their psychic organisms into pitches of mindless excitement; cavorting in orgasms of self-surrender. They bask in a sort of universal steam bath that drives all impurities of individuality or creativity from their souls, leaving them immersed, supposedly forever, in a bliss beyond description; in which, indeed, their own experience disappears.

“Thank God that some god managed to disentangle itself from such psychic oneness, if that’s what it’s supposed to be. Thank God that some god loved itself enough to diversify, to create itself in a million different forms; to multiply, to explode its being inward and outward. Thank God that some god loved its own individuality enough to endow the least and the most, the greatest and the smallest, with its own unique being.

“The gurus say: ‘Give it all up.’ One of those we read about today counsels: ‘When you want to do one thing, do another instead. Do not do what you want to do, but what you should do.’ Never trust the self that you are, the gurus say, but the self that you should be. And that self is supposed to be dead to desire, beyond wanting or caring; yet paradoxically, this nonfeeling leads to bliss. The gurus say that All-That-Is is within you, yet tell you not to trust yourself. If All-That-Is didn’t want appearances, we wouldn’t experience any! Yet appearances, the gurus say, are untruths, changing and therefore false. (2)

“Is my body an appearance, hence an untruth amid the truth which is changeless? Ah dear body, then, how lovely and blessed your untruth, which is sensate and feels desire through the hollowest of bones. How blessed, bodies, leaping alive from the microscopic molecules that combine to walk down the autumn streets; assemble to form the sweet senses’ discrimination that perceives, for a time, the precise joy and unity of even one passing afternoon. The body’s untruth, then, is holier than all truths, and if the body is an untruth then I hereby proclaim untruth, and truth and all the gurus’ truths as lies.

“God knows itself through the flesh. God may know itself through a million or a thousand million other worlds, as so may I – but because this world is, and because I am alive in it, it is more than appearance, more than a shackle to be thrown aside. It is a privilege to be here, to look out with this unique focus, with these individual eyes; not to be blinded by cosmic vision, but to see this corner of reality which I form through the miraculous connections of soul and flesh.

“Cherish the gifts of the gods. Don’t be so anxious to throw your individuality back into their faces, saying, ‘I’m sick to death of myself and of my individuality; it burdens me.’ Even one squirrel’s consciousness, suddenly thrown into the body of another of its kind, would feel a sense of loss, encounter a strangeness, and know in the sacredness of its being that something was wrong. Wear your individuality proudly. It is the badge of your godhood. You are a god living a life – being, desiring, creating. Through honoring yourself, you honor whatever it is God is, and become a conscious co-creator.”

NOTES: Appendix 15

1. In Volume I of “Unknown” Reality, see the material on Jane, mysticism, and religion in the Introductory Notes, the 679th session, and Appendix I for that session. In that first appendix, the notes on Jane as an “independent mystic” (despite her denial that she even thinks of herself as a mystic), are especially appropriate here.

2. From any of Seth’s books – let alone Jane’s – I could cite a number of comments that question much of the thinking behind different Eastern systems of religious thought. Seth, for example, in the 642nd session in Chapter 11 of Personal Reality: “You will not attain spirituality or even a happy life by denying the wisdom and experience of the flesh. You can learn more from watching the animals that you can from a guru or a minister – or from reading my book. But first you must divest yourself of the idea that your creaturehood is suspect. Your humanness did not emerge by refusing your animal heritage, but upon an extension of it.”

For ourselves, and even considering Seth’s concept of “camouflage” (in Volume 1, see Note 3 for Appendix 11), Jane and I certainly believe that our physical existences and mental experiences are quite “real” in themselves. We could easily take a book to present the reasons for our particular beliefs, examining them in connection with both Eastern and Western religious philosophies. A good general question, we think, and one we’d like to see discussed with our own ideas of the inviolate nature of the individual in mind, has to do with the prevalence of ordinary, daily, conscious-mind thinking and perception throughout much of the world. In historical terms this situation has always existed for the human species; and we think it applies almost equally in Eastern lands, especially among the political leaders and ruling classes within them.

Yet Buddhist belief, for instance, maintains that our perception of the world is not fundamental, but an illusion; our “ignorance” of this basic undifferentiated “suchness” then results in the division of reality into objects and ideas. But why call our generalized awareness an illusion, instead of regarding it as one of the innumerable manifestations that reality takes? No one is free of certain minimum physical needs or of self-oriented thought, I remarked to Jane recently, and each nation strives to expand its technological base no matter what its philosophy may be. Would a widespread use of Eastern religious doctrines be more practical on our earth today, or the kind of self-knowledge Seth advocates? Even given their undeniable accomplishments, why didn’t the Eastern countries create ages ago the immortal societies that could have served as models for those of the West to emulate – cultures and/or nations in which all the mundane human vicissitudes (in those terms) had been long understood and abolished: war, crime, poverty, ignorance, and disease?

Certainly the species must be putting its conscious activities to long-term use, however, even with the endless conflicts and questions that grow out of such behavior. During the many centuries of our remembered history, those conflicts in themselves have been – and are – surely serving at least one of consciousness’s overall purposes, within our limits of understanding: to know itself more fully in those particular, differentiated ways.

The Early Sessions, Book 2, Session 81, pg. 309-10.

“Now. Prayer once enabled the intelligent man to focus his psychic abilities, because the hard fact, taken for granted by all in Western civilization, was the belief in such a God. The so-called hard fact has changed.
The truth behind the myth still exists. Mankind has been engrossed in dreams of a god who is like himself, except that he was considered to be superior and possessed of the highest qualities that man admires in himself.

(With the last two words of the above sentence Jane’s voice suddenly broke out loud and strong again. For a few moments it remained so, then began to quiet again.)

“The God myth enabled him, man, to give his higher so-called instincts an objectivity, and the God concept represented and still represents a link with the inner self.

“Now. As far as hard facts are concerned, there is no God as mankind has envisioned him, and yet God once existed as mankind now envisions him.

(Jane smiled.)

“What he is now is not what the religious think he is. Yet once he was only what they think he is now. For in fact he did evolve, and was not complete, but represented – (Louder, briefly.) – a supreme will to be from the beginning.

“He is not human in your terms, though he passed through human stages; and here the Buddhist’s myth comes closest to approximating reality. He is not one individual, in your terms, but is a psychic gestalt, an energy gestalt.

“If you will remember what I have said about the way in which the universe expands, that has nothing to do with space, then you may perhaps perceive, though dimly, the existence of a psychic pyramid of interrelated, ever-expanding consciousness that creates simultaneously and instantaneously universes and individuals that are given, through the gifts of personal perspectives, duration, intelligence, psychic comprehension, and eternal validity.

“It is this that your God concept hints at.

“Now. This absolute, ever-expanding, instantaneous psychic gestalt, which you may call God, if you prefer, is so secure in its existence now that it can constantly break itself down and rebuild itself.

“Its energy is so unbelievable that it does indeed form all universes; and because its – (Again louder, briefly.) – energy is within and behind all universes and all planes and all fields, it is indeed aware of each sparrow that falls, for it is each sparrow that falls.

“This does not deny the free will of man, which is indeed misinterpreted.

“That supreme energy does indeed fight for existence in whatever form it shows itself; and justice, for your information, is only a human term, shortsighted at best. You would both do well to remember this.

“I suggest your break.

(Break at 10:30. Jane reported that she was fully dissociated – far out, as she puts it. She recalled parts of the material she had delivered, but was unaware of her surroundings, whether she smoked or not, etc. She had smoked, but coughed only a few times. She resumed in a normal voice at 10.32.)

“I am not going to keep you much longer. Nor have I any intentions of starting a new religion. I am, however, trying to tell you the truth, and this material is perhaps the most important of any so far, in that comprehension of it will allow the intelligent man to avail himself of energies and abilities once utilized in prayer.

“Prayer is now shunned. Why pray if there is no one to listen?

(Again louder and deeper, briefly.)

“The prayer contains within it its own answer, and if there is no white-haired, kind old Father God to hear, then there is instead the initial and ever-expanding energy that forms everything that is, and of which every human being is a part.

“This psychic gestalt may sound to you impersonal, but since its energy forms your person, how can this be?

“If you prefer to call this supreme and absolute psychic gestalt God, then you must not attempt to objectify him in terms of material, for he is the nuclei of your cells, and more intimate than your breath.

“I know this much and no more. He is not human. He is not ‘he,’ if you are thinking in terms of sex. Nor is he ‘she.’ Such separations and designations are merely arbitrary in your field. He is individual in the term that many energies are focused into one; and indeed there is one infinite personality, but it is a gestalt.

“There is, then, truly no beginning or end, because we are speaking in terms of an expansion that has nothing to do with space or time, an evolution in dimensions of which you and your kind have not yet even dreamed. As an idea expands, changing a world but taking up no space, and unperceived by your scientific instruments, so does the ultimate and instantaneous absolute gestalt, which you may if you prefer call God, exist and expand.

“There are those who will say that such a concept represents an escape from reality. These men, however, follow their outer senses slavishly. They ignore and fear the inner reality, and the inner ideas and dreams which have actually formed the reality of which they are so proud.”

The Early Sessions, Book 4, session 177, p.191-2

“We will initiate a thorough study of the God concept, which will be begun the next time these friends are present, and will be continued when they visit us at other sessions. That is, whenever they attend a session for a while we will concern ourselves with the God concept and all of its implications.

“There is some material that has already been given, and our friends should read it as a preliminary to our own study. We will therefore be concerned with the pyramid gestalts of which I have spoken, and it will be to our advantage to have this as a unit.

(Seth has actually dealt with the God concept fairly often. This would involve such related matters as the soul, energy transformation, cycles on our plane, spirituality, the ‘source of the source,’ the Crucifixion, beginnings and endings, prayer and the will to be, etc. Among others see the following sessions: 3, 24, 27, 31, 51, 62, 66, 81, 95, 96, 97, 115, 135, 146, 147, 149, 145, 151.)

“I may suggest therefore Joseph [Rob] that for convenience’s sake the next such session simply be labeled A along with your usual designation, the next B and so forth. For your records this will allow you to refer to those sessions in a simplified manner.

“It is natural then that such a study will involve us in many allied matters. I may say that Buddhism does indeed come closer in essence to reality than other religions. However, the Buddhists either have not gone far enough, or have gone too far, according to your viewpoint.

“If they have gone too far, then they have been so concerned with inner reality that they have become too tolerant of physical disease and disasters. If they have not gone far enough, then they have not followed through sufficiently so that these physical disasters could truly be suffered without pain.

“They have the knowledge to a very large degree, but they have fallen short. It is one thing to realize that all physical matter is camouflage, and they know this. But this camouflage can be most disastrous if it is not manipulated correctly. You are in no position to ignore it. You are in a position to understand it and to use it.

“It is all very well for monks to utilize astral projection. It is all very well for them to skitter through space as if they were on pogo sticks; their knowledge is fundamental and good. The fact remains that millions of human beings who follow and practice Buddhism are told, as many religions tell their followers, ‘Better worlds are to come, so ignore this agony, and this hunger, and this pain, and the murder in the streets. Be in ecstasy while your belly bloats.’ This is not human, and it is _far_less_ than godly.

“There is a unity and there is a joy and there is an exaltation in _all_ aspects of life and consciousness. It is not to any religion’s benefit that people starve.

“There is nothing wrong with using spiritual knowledge in practical manners.

“Fulfillment, value fulfillment, implies fulfillment of _all_ abilities and _all_ potentials, including quite physical potentials. The pyramid gestalts of which I have spoken have experiences far beyond those of any human being. Yet they are concerned with the least, with the existence of the least among you.

“The fullest potentialities cannot be developed unless the physical aspects are also developed. Your job is to manipulate as well as you can within the physical universe, and to develop within it religious leaders of any denomination. _Any_ leaders who restrict development along one level for the sake of development along other levels, betray their followers.

“I could indeed continue this discussion, and wear you all out. However, I will now let you take a break, or Joseph if he prefers may end our session.

(“We’ll end it then. Good night, Seth.”)

The Early Sessions, Session 203, pg, 35-7.

“Your Christ had abilities which I still do not have… and he did appear in your form, but he was not of your form… Your people saw but a small fragment that they could understand… a fragment that was part of a larger reality they could not understand…

“We have discussed this to some degree in our sessions… I speak of psychic gestalts. You see but portions of these pyramids of intelligences… what we are able to see at any one time.

(See the following sessions for material on the God concept, psychic and pyramid gestalts, and related questions: 51, 81, 95, 97, 115, 135, 146-9, 151, 177, among others, in Volumes 2, 3, and 4.)

“There will be a change in 100 years… when you will be able to see more… You will see through a growth of ability and consciousness… an enlargement… that has been growing for 500 years… the change began in the Middle Ages, existed briefly, died, then began again…

“It will involve an expansion of consciousness, not physical knowledge… You will directly and simply perceive more… I cannot make Ruburt [Jane] find all the words. Your God is part of a larger reality. We see what we can see… This larger reality is also a part of our dreams: it is more important and vital than breath, for you are all part of this individually. There is a give and take between you and the stars on a physical basis, just as there is also a connection between selves and what you call a god.

“There is no real division between you and God and I… only a unity that you cannot as yet understand.

(Bill asked Seth what he thought of the direction in which the writings of Father Teilhard de Chardin led, and Seth enthusiastically agreed these writings are valid. Jane, her eyes open, looked at Peggy sitting quietly on the couch.)

“Our cat lover is so silent.

([Peg:] “I don’t understand enough about it.”)

“Your finger is a part of your physical organism… It does not know what your brain is doing. Prayer is very important… Your toenail is also a part of you… In the same way we are related to God.

“You are part of God in that you are part of the consciousness that is, but you are not apart from a god who looks down on you and speaks… There is indeed as you conceive of it no hell or heaven. These ideas have been distorted through the ages… You could call hell a separation from the main stream of consciousness called God, but this is impossible actually…

(Peggy asked Seth what religion, in his opinion, came closest to God as defined by Seth.)

“I do not want to puncture idealistic balloons. Buddhists are perhaps closer, but no religion comes close really… The man or woman feeling identity with each day that passes comes close.

(In the following passages Seth hit his high point as far as feeling and emphasis are concerned. At times his delivery became passionate. I did not get it all down. Jane spoke from her position on the, floor; with her eyes closed, her voice strong but not shouting.)

“Sentiment is practical. The idea of birth and death each day is close. Those who cry when they hurt a flea come close… Those who appreciate the consciousness in every rock, tree, bird… come close. Fools and idiots are often wiser than the wise man. Hatred is death. All things are sacred, and every thought is a reality and has its own potential for creation and destruction.

“Experiencing every moment comes close. I myself am not known for humility. Nevertheless my existence is dependent upon many things of which I know not. I learn through many existences, but I do not set myself up as many of you set yourself up, and I do not determine what shall be destroyed or who or what shall remain… Such actions… are based on cowardice… Any idea of a God, no matter how distorted, will triumph, for He exists in everything that you know. And when you kill so much as an ant, so do you kill part of Him in most practical terms.

“When you kill in thought, you kill indeed.”

(End at 11:06. Jane had been well dissociated. Her eyes had remained closed during the last part of this delivery; her voice had strengthened considerably and she had become quite impassioned . She said she “gets embarrassed when Seth talks like that.”)

From Jane Roberts’s E.S.P. Class, January 30, 1973

Cindy read Pete’s paper on beliefs, and Sumari came through with a song to Pete. There was discussion of the song, and then, after a class break, discussion on Sumari in general. Paul, a visitor for the evening, spoke of a group to which he belongs in Chicago. He remarked that, like others, they were looking for the “perfect view.” Seth entered the conversation:

To Paul: “They do not have the perfect view, my dear friend – and welcome – because there is no perfect view. You will interpret the information that you receive largely through the structure of your own beliefs. The information will try to lead you out of that structure and enlarge your consciousness. But in many cases, the personality that is involved will fight all the harder to the beliefs that are familiar, and so will more and more project that information through that structure. Structures are dandy things.

“Schools are useful; they are not very enjoyable. This plane of existence is not a school, nor even, though I may have used the analogy to make you creatively uneasy, a kindergarten. It is, instead, a joyful dimension of existence. It is not to be frowned upon in any of its aspects.

“They know, all of them, what I am going to say. They have heard it before!

“You are blessed because you are alive. There is no ‘descent’ into physical reality in those terms. You are not guilty because you are alive, and doomed either in original sin, nor bound by a karma. There is no karma in terms of guilt unless you believe in guilt. Your lives exist at once. They are open-ended. That is the answer to several of your questions. And as they each know, spirituality need not wear a sober face.

“And as all of you should know, in those terms, you are as ghostly as I; you simply sport a body and call it your own, while I borrow one on an occasion. You borrow one for 60 or 70 or 80 years and pretend that it is you.

“What joy there is in your own being! Even as in mine! What vitality rings through your own foot! Quiet is not necessarily good. Noise is not necessarily bad. If you could listen to the thunderous, multitudinous sounds within your body from a different viewpoint, you would appreciate that joyful thunder!”

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