This is a product of their privileged socio-economic circumstances, but it does also demonstrate that there exists other ways of viewing the world that are not limited to the blinkering effects associated with capitalism. It is the system of economics that we inhabit that acts as an intermediary between individuals living within a society and the many levels of reality that science and philosophy state exist beyond our obsession with the outer layer of material reality.
For those living in ordinary society but wishing to practice the Dharma, the Buddha advocated that the desire mechanism be controlled rather than transcended. This ‘control’ centres around applying an appropriate sexual manifestation in society that is not excessive or that violates the social codes of the time. This is the practice of appropriate sexual discipline that allows the desiring mechanism to function through strictly defined parameters.
‘The nature of post-modern freedom, although equally applicable to all, does not necessarily mean that it is immediately perceivable to all those who exist within its condition. Its condition is the product, generally speaking, of advanced economic development, although on occasion such philosophies as Buddhism have been interpreted as being of a ‘post-modern’ nature. Obviously ancient India was not in the advanced economic state that western Europe is in today, but the Buddha’s philosophy marks a stark break with the traditions of his time, and represents a clear manifestation of one particular aspect of the post-modern condition, namely that of dismissing the long narratives of history that had previously dominated Indian philosophical and spiritual thought. West Europe, the United States of America and to a lesser extent the emerging central and eastern European states, are the product of hundred of years of economic development that has created nothing less than a revolution in the material structure of outward society that has seen the remarkable establishment of science and medicine over that of the theology of monotheistic religion. This state of industrialisation and technological development, regardless of its inherent inequalities has nevertheless created an extensive collective wealth that has raised the level of physical and psychological existence.’
‘In 1992 much of his output centred on the defeat of George Bush Jr, in the US Presidential elections following his successful invasion of Kuwait and southernIraqin the first Gulf War. Through such material Hicks described his political stance ‘as a little to the Left’. He says that he did not vote for Bush because the recent Republican administrations had sponsored genocide in South American countries – whilst the US media limited the issue to whether a new Democratic President would raise taxes. The natural Rightwing bias within theUnited Statessystem is so prevalent that any legitimate notions of Socialism are treated as if they are a crime of immense immorality, stupidity and the product of extreme mental illness. Hicks detested the mainstream media – and along with corporate advertisers – viewed it as a product of Satan’s seed. In this respect he could be very forceful in his opinions – surprisingly so when his style of delivery is taken into account. The passion manifests suddenly within a meandering narrative about this or that. Regardless of the raw human emotion, he never abandoned the principle of considered opinion gained through intellectual analysis. The intelligence of Hicks – and his intelligence was as able as any renowned thinker Western civilisation has produced – never abandoned an accompanying morality that moulded ideas and directed actions.’
‘Through austerity and meditation, and after leaving the world of plenty, the Buddha roamed from place to place with only his begging bowl and robe as possessions. After practicing austerity, he rejected this method as not being able to reach the highest enlightenment. He trained in, and fully mastered the meditative methods of his day, and despite achieving the highest state, rejected these paths as not going far enough toward the ultimate enlightenment. Having abandoned the conventional spiritual teachings, he embarked upon his own meditative practice, a practice that would eventually lead to a full and profound inner metamorphosis, more commonly known in English as ‘enlightenment’.’
‘Psychology in the West is a relatively new field of study. As such, there is no ‘one’ agreed approach to the theory of ‘mind’ in the Western tradition. Viewpoints vary from that of the neurologist, who views every attribute of human, conscious creativity as being nothing more than a mixture of chemical reactions and electrical impulses, to the psychotherapist, who works with the thought processes, so as to achieve a ‘balanced’ and culturally ‘agreed’ state of mind. Needless to say, virtually every other view of the mind fits somewhere inbetween these two broad perspectives. This dissertation will examine the many facets of the mind, as viewed from both the Western and Eastern traditions and the consequence of this combined knowledge for the modern and post-modern human condition.’