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Thread: Sufism

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Awani View Post
    You simply re-stated exactly what I had written.

    No, not really. I just added on with the islamic term and a "source" hadith.. repeating would have been something like.. 'The most excellent Jihad is that for the conquest of self.', which is actually my facebook intro i think

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Marcus View Post
    ...repeating would have been something like.. 'The most excellent Jihad is that for the conquest of self...
    If you see below it is the same... yes you quote a source, which is fine... the only reason I pointed the "sameness" out is that your post did not really add anything, and with new members I am always picky when they post a lot to rack up "posts"... rather than provide posts that have content.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awani View Post
    In Islamic Mysticism, Sufism, there is the concept of the greater Jihad, which is the struggle against oneself…
    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Marcus View Post
    When asked, 'What is the major jihad?' the Prophet (s) replied: 'The jihad of the self (struggle against self)'
    As for...

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Marcus View Post
    ...repeating would have been something like.. 'The most excellent Jihad is that for the conquest of self...
    No, it would be to repeat "struggle against self", which you did repeat. I don't mind if someone repeates something someone else has posted, as long as it is not the sole content of the post. It kind of makes the post irrelevant.

    So what do you - in your own words - think about Sufism?

    Donít let the delusion of reality confuse you regarding the reality of the illusion.


  3. #13
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    Without content?? lol. where has that happened? I'm looked through the forums, added posts to subjects that interested, and replied to replies to my posts. I don't care about fake internet points, whether it's upvotes, likes, or post count.

    Again, I added on with the actually islamic term, and a hadith that's a source.. both really handy if someone else reading this is interested in finding out more. There is a thread on here about the importance of citing sources.

    In general, my reply was a friendly expression of interest in this topic, and just dipping a toe in the water, seeing if anyone was still paying attention to this older thread.

    I find your negative response baffling, to be honest.

    If someone IS interested in this conversation, I could relate it to the "Conquerer/Conquering" mentioned in Buddhism:

    'The Conquerer who shall follow you as Buddha - what will he be like, and when is he to come?'

    'Long after me, at a time far distant in the future, there shall arise one in the world, a Tathagata named Maitreya (meaning Friend), an Arhat, a Perfectly Enlightened One endowed with wisdom and righteousness, a Sugata , a knower of all worlds, unsurpassed as a guide for mortals and men, a Perfect One, a Buddha even as I am now.'
    the 'conquering' I think I found in Revelations:

    'Let the one who has an ear hear what the spirit says to the congregations:

    To him that conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is the paradise of god. He will by no means be harmed by the second death. I will give him a white pebble, and upon the the pebble a new name written which no one knows except the one receiving it. And to him that conquers and observes my deeds down to the end I will give authority over the nations, and he shall shepherd the people with an iron rod so that they will be broken to pieces like clay vessels, the same as I received from my Father, and I will give him the MORNING STAR. He that conquers will thus be arrayed in white outer garments and I will by no means blot out his name in the book of life but I will make acknowledgement of his name before my father and his angels. I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God and he will by no means go out anymore, and I will write upon him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem which descends from my god, and tht new name of mine. To the one that conquers I will grant to sit with me on my throne even as I conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.'
    I'm aware of the eschatological interpretations of those types of passages, but I personally believe its speaking to that concept of jihad al-nafs, and that the reality of it is mental/spiritual. I would also add that Revelations features the "chymical wedding" of "Christ and his Bride", in reality Tiferet and Shekhinah of Kabbalah. That unity of opposites that leads to "the throne".

    I'm even silly enough to think that the pyramid texts might be reflecting these ideas in the following passage(s):

    Unas, the small orphan (tefen),
    went to law with the sister (Tefnet).
    The Two Truths judged [BALANCED], while Shu was a witness.
    The Two Truths have decreed that the thrones of Geb
    should come to him and that
    he should raise himself to what he wanted.

    In Sufism, one of the goals is accessing the alam al-mithal, the "imaginal" realm (something I saved from wikipedia awhile ago):
    'The imaginal realm is known in Islamic philosophy as alam al-mithal, the imaginal world. According to Avicenna, the imagination mediated between, and thus unified, human reason and divine being. This mediating quality manifested in two directions: on the one hand, reason, rising above itself, could attain to the level of active imagination, an activity shared with the lower hierarchies of the divine realm. On the other hand, in order to manifest the concrete forms of the world, divinity created a range of intermediate beings, the angelic co-creators of the universe.[1]:11 According to philosophers of this tradition, the trained imagination can access a 'nonspatial fabric' which mediates between the empirical/sensory and the cognititional/spiritual realms.[2]'
    Edit:
    And the Gospel of Philip:

    'Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way. There is a rebirth and an image of rebirth. It is certainly necessary to be born again through the image. Which one? Resurrection. The image must rise again through the image. The bridal chamber and the image must enter through the image into the truth: this is the restoration. Not only must those who produce the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, do so, but have produced them for you. If one does not acquire them, the name will also be taken from him. But one receives the unction of the [...] of the power of the cross. This power the apostles called 'the right and the left.' For this person is no longer a Christian but a Christ.'
    Last edited by Greg Marcus; 02-06-2019 at 05:31 PM.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Marcus View Post
    In general, my reply was a friendly expression of interest in this topic, and just dipping a toe in the water, seeing if anyone was still paying attention to this older thread.
    Fair enough. No damage done... you'd be surprised at some "new" people in the past so that is why I asked. Clearly this was not the case in this situation.

    As for the rest of your post: that is content

    I am glad I am not the only Sufi/Islam aficionado at the forums, because from my perspective I've been alone in this topic. What direct experiences do you have in terms of Islam? I am not aware of the Sufi presence, but the country where everything felt "sufi"-esque was Oman... I was only there for 10 days or so, pretty brief yet I thought the country had a very interesting culture that resonates with that inner peace of the Sufi path... as always hard to put into words.

    In Oman it is illegal to argue. I asked a taxi driver what happens "if" an argument does take place, because that can be hard to avoid in life. His reply was: "then we have a problem"

    And my brief experience in Oman was a very pleasant one. It was there where I had an almost transcendental haircut. This old guy cut my hair, which apparently also included a head massage... and shaving my face. This happened at the same time as the Call to Prayer echoed through the city. I had a non-sexual orgasm when this barber massaged and cut me to the sound of this holy prayer. It was awesome and again hard to put into words. At the end he asked for a few dollars, can't recall how much but it was nothing... he recieved a very BIG tip. Ever since then I am always so disappointed going to the barbers here in the west. What a fucking joke + expensive.

    Last edited by Awani; 02-06-2019 at 07:44 PM.
    Donít let the delusion of reality confuse you regarding the reality of the illusion.


  5. #15
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    My knowledge comes strictly from my own research and study. I haven't really been able to travel much as an adult.. there's places I'd like to see.. like Damascus, Jerusalem, etc.. but I doubt I'll ever make it. Besides, they've been busy trying to destroy most of the places I'd like to see during my lifetime. I wouldn't approach a local mosque in real life.. cause that's how you get on a watch list. I'm pretty sure I got door knocked just for communicating with this suspicious pakistani "sufi" on facebook. He was very intolerant and extreme in his views, for a sufi. Especially since Sufis are being attacked by that type of Muslim.

    I am not very interested in very much of anything that is "modern", and that includes Islam. What I am most interested in the beginnings and the "Golden Age of Islam", the collecting of old knowledge as they conquered the world, and the translation movements patronized by enlightened, educated rulers. They asborbed Greek, Hebrew, Indian/Hindu knowledge, translated it to Arabic, worked with it until they mastered it, and they made advancements in fields like optics, mathematics, astronomy, etc. And of course, alchemy. This is all while it was still "arabic" islam. Persia already had a rich intellectual history itself when it was added to the family.

    Basra and Baghdad were particularly important centers with large libraries and places of study. It gave birth to things like "Al-Mutazilah", a school of theology based on reason and rational thought (inspired by the Greeks).

    Around the same time and place, there were the Brethren of Purity (or Sincerity) (Ikhwan Al-Safa) {again something I saved from Wikipedia, when it has those square bracket footnotes its always from wikipedia}:

    The structure of this mysterious organization and the identities of its members have never been clear.[2][3] Their esoteric teachings and philosophy are expounded in an epistolary style in the Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity (Rasa'il Ikhwan al-safa'), a giant compendium of 52 epistles that would greatly influence later encyclopedias. A good deal of Muslim and Western scholarship has been spent on just pinning down the identities of the Brethren and the century in which they were active.
    I remember when I first got to the Brethren and started reading up on whatever was available, I thought.. this is the source/prototype of Rosicrucianism! I thought it was an original idea and I was gonna shout it from the mountaintops... but then I read a little more and found out people have come to this conclusion a long time ago.

    A little later on, the House of Wisdom:

    The House of Wisdom (Arabic: بيت الحكمة‎; Bayt al-Hikma) was a major intellectual center during the Islamic Golden Age. The House of Wisdom was founded by Caliph Harun al-Rashid (reigned 786Ė809) and culminated under his son al-Ma'mun (reigned 813Ė833) who is credited with its formal institution. Al-Ma'mun is also credited with bringing many well-known scholars to share information, ideas, and culture in the House of Wisdom. Based in Baghdad from the 9th to 13th centuries, many learned scholars including those of Jewish or Christian background[1] were part of this research and educational institute. Besides translating books into Arabic and preserving them, scholars associated with the House of Wisdom also made many remarkable original contributions to diverse fields.[2][3]

    During the reign of al-Ma'mun, astronomical observatories were set up, and the House was an unrivaled center for the study of humanities and for science in medieval Islam, including mathematics, astronomy, medicine, alchemy and chemistry, zoology, and geography and cartography. Drawing on Greek, Indian and Persian texts, the scholars accumulated a great collection of world knowledge, and built on it through their own discoveries. By the middle of the ninth century, the House of Wisdom was the largest repository of books in the world.[3]
    Fibonacci studied mathematics in north africa, from Muslim scholars. It's well know that our hindu-arabic numbers were transmitted to europe with the publication of his Liber Abaci.. There's evidence that the fibonacci sequence was first recorded by the Hindus and transmitted by muslims.

    One of my favorite books on this subject is 'The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance' by Jim Al-Khalili. He's an atheist who grew up in the muslim culture. He's a theoretical physicist, and frequent "presenter" of science-related BBC documentaries. "The House of Wisdom" was published in 2010, after he had hosted the BBC 3 part series "Science and Islam" in 2009.

    To bring it back specifically to sufism, this is my favorite quote from Idries Shah, who was one of my first sources of information. It's funny, it links it back to what you said in another thread about spiritual alchemy being "operative", i.e. active and not just passive:

    There is no simplified Sufism; yet it disappears from the area of cognition of such ill-defined minds as may be confident that they can understand it, penetrate anything 'spiritual' by virtue of what is truly a woolly, self-assumed perceptiveness. To the Sufi, such a personality, however vocal he may be (and he often is) hardly exists at all. Anyone who says 'It is all so indescribable, but I just feel what you mean,' is unlikely to be able to profit by Sufism. For Sufis are working, are carrying out an effort to awaken a certain field of consciousness by means of an approach that is specialized, no fortuitious. Sufism does not trade in airy-fairiness, mutual admiration, or lukewarm generalities. When the 'bite' disappears, so, too, does the Sufic element from a situation. The converse is also true. Sufism is not directed to a section of the community - for no such section exists - but to a certain faculty within individuals. Where this faculty is not activated, there is no Sufism. It contains 'hard' as well as 'soft' realities, discord as well as harmony, the sharp brightness of awakening as well as the gentle dark of a lulling to sleep.
    - 'The Sufis', Idries Shah.
    Of course, you could replace "Sufism" with a bunch of different terms, like alchemy, kabbalah, yoga, etc, and it's just as apt.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Marcus View Post
    I wouldn't approach a local mosque in real life... cause that's how you get on a watch list.
    That is a sign you must live in a fascist country. IMO.

    Modern mosques are no more interesting than modern churches. Might as well go study the architecture of an office landscape. However those ancient mosques that you find in the Middle East are truly works of art, and I would say that they far excel even the most spectacular churches built around Europe. There is an ignorant view of Islam that you cannot portray God, but if you visit those mosques "god" is portrayed all over the place in the best possible way. See below a few examples...





    See thread: Images of Allah

    God cannot be portrayed because, like the name of God amongst the Hebrews, it is because "it" cannot be portrayed, and the closest thing - in my opinion - is the portrayals seen above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Marcus View Post
    ...this is my favorite quote from Idries Shah.
    I love this one:

    "Everybody is in love with this word 'bravo'.
    They spend their lives trying to hear it called out to them: 'bravo, bravo'.
    Crowing comes from the rooster,
    morning comes from God."

    Shams Tabrizi
    Donít let the delusion of reality confuse you regarding the reality of the illusion.


  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Awani View Post
    That is a sign you must live in a fascist country. IMO.
    I should clarify, I mean attending a local mosque to talk to muslims about Islam. I'm in Canada, specifically Quebec, and we have several home-grown radicalized terrorists. Islamic 'converts'. Fortunately, there's only been a few lone-wolf low-tech attacks, and a few bigger plots disrupted before anything happened.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awani View Post
    Modern mosques are no more interesting than modern churches. Might as well go study the architecture of an office landscape. However those ancient mosques that you find in the Middle East are truly works of art, and I would say that they far excel even the most spectacular churches built around Europe.
    Definitely. I live in the new world where there is nothing "hoary with age". There are lots of mosques and temples I would like to see in the rest of the world though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awani View Post
    There is an ignorant view of Islam that you cannot portray God, but if you visit those mosques "god" is portrayed all over the place in the best possible way. See below a few examples...
    Geometry and proportion, is what I'd always heard. More recently I came across Cosmology and Architecture in Premodern Islam, An Architectural Reading of Mystical Ideas by Sammer Akkach.

    I've also read alot about Islamic geometric art/patterns.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awani View Post
    See thread: Images of Allah
    I've never seen that first one with the "4 petals". That's pretty cool. Looking quickly through the thread is seems some of it touches on what is discussed here.



    Quote Originally Posted by Awani View Post
    I love this one:
    I noticed your mentions of Rumi and Tabrizi. I misspoke when I said Idries Shah's The Sufis was my first source of Sufism. In my very beginning I worked my way through Will Durant's multi-volume History of Civilization and had taken notes on the Islamic/Sufi section of the Our Oriental Heritage volume. Sure enough, Tabrizi was mentioned although I took no notice at the time:

    Jalal ud Din Rumi (1201 73) was a native of Balkh. but lived most of his life at Konya. A mysterious Sufi, Shams i Tabrizi, came there to preach, and Jalall was so moved by him that he founded the famous order of Mawlawi, or Dancing Dervishes, which still makes Konya its capital. In a comparatively short life Jalal wrote several hundred poems. The shorter ones, collected as his Divan or Book of Odes, are marked by such depth of feeling, sincerity, and richness, yet naturalness, of imagery as place them at the top of all religious poetry composed since the Psalms. Jalal's main work, the Mathnawi i Ma'nawi (Spiritual Couplets), is a diffuse exposition of Sufism, a religious epic outweighing in bulk all the legacy of "Homer." It has passages of great beauty, but a thing of beauty, laden with words, is not a joy forever. The theme again is universal unity.
    For a long time I was familiar with exactly 2 of Rumi's writings, from the same chapter:

    One knocked at the Beloved's door, and a Voice asked from within, "Who is there? " and he answered, "It is I." Then the Voice said, "This house will not hold Me and Thee," and the door stayed shut. Then went the Lover into the desert, and in solitude fasted and prayed. After a year he returned, and knocked again at the door. And again the Voice asked, "Who is there?" And the Lover said, "It is Thyself!" And the door was opened to him.

    I looked about me to find him. He was not on the Cross. I went to the idol temple, to the ancient pagoda; no trace of Him was visible there.... I bent the reins of search to the Kaaba; He was not in that resort of old and young. I questioned Ibn Sina [Avicenna] of His state; He was not in Ibn Sina's range. I gazed into my own heart. There I saw Him. He was nowhere else.
    and

    Every form you see has its archetype in the placeless world;
    If the form perishes, no matter, since its original is everlasting.
    Every fair shape you have seen, every deep saying you have heard -
    Be not cast down that it perished, for that is not so....
    While the fountains flow, the rivers run from it.
    Put grief out of your head, and keep quaffing this river water;
    Do not think of the water failing, for this water is without end.
    From the moment you came into the world of being
    A ladder was placed before you that you might escape.
    First you were mineral; later you turned to plant;
    Then you became animal; how should this be a secret to you?
    Afterwards you were made man, with knowledge, reason, faith....
    When you have traveled on from now, you will doubtless become an angel....
    Pass again from angelhood; enter that ocean,
    That your drop may become a sea....
    Leave aside this "Son"; say ever "One," with all your soul.

    Nowadays it seems I have a pretty good collection of Rumi, but I admit with some shame I've done nothing with it.

  8. #18
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    I don’t talk to Muslims about Islam no more than I talk with Christians about Christianity. I am only interested in a direct experience with what is essentially the same thing in my view. All religions are only - to steal from Terence McKenna - a kind of cultural furniture.

    Although I must admit that I have had better talks with Muslims than with Christians, and I don’t have the experience that either is anymore fundamentalistic than the other. And if I look at it from a ”sport” perspective I prefer to root for the underdog.

    As for the local attacks you speak of I bet at least 50% is false flag/black ops. Although the trend is turning. Muslim bad guys are going out of style, and they are slowly bringing back the Russians.

    Donít let the delusion of reality confuse you regarding the reality of the illusion.


  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Awani View Post
    Although I must admit that I have had better talks with Muslims than with Christians, and I don’t have the experience that either is anymore fundamentalistic than the other. And if I look at it from a ”sport” perspective I prefer to root for the underdog.
    It's been my experience, especially when dealing with immigrants, that they tend to be more disciplined and educated than the average local Christian.. even when they are pretty much secularized and non-fundamentalist.

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