Understanding the Middle Way

Understanding the Middle Way

2021 Gathering, Part Eleven

We have a tremendous influence on each other. This is why the gathering together of a good group, like we have here, is a very positive thing.

Because everybody reinforces each other with positive judgment. I haven’t seen anybody criticize anybody else with any negative judgments since we’ve been here. It’s all been positive. We all think positive thoughts of each other, and all generating good karma, good feeling. And this is the way it should be.

And this is the way it should be in families. This is the way it should be in nations. Unfortunately, this nation is really falling off the cliff. We have conservatives and liberals judging each other as being servants of Satan. (laughter)

Both of them see the other side as being the devil himself. This is a very dangerous situation we’re in, where both sides see the other side as being evil. It’s kind of unfortunate.

But, on the other hand, it also presents an opportunity for a turning point. This point of tension can only go on so long. And there will be lot of people thinking, “this can’t go on. This has to change. We have to have goodwill. We have to promote good feeling toward each other. We can’t hate each other forever. 

Because somebody else thinks differently than me, doesn’t mean he’s evil. He may be misled. But being misled is not evil, and maybe I’m the one who’s misled. That’s what people need to ask themselves. Unfortunately, nobody asks themselves that. Maybe one out of a thousand people ask themselves, “Am I the one who’s misled?”

No, everybody is sure that they understand which is the right path. It’s the other guy who’s screwed up. They especially do this politically. Do you see anybody in politics who is asking, “Well, maybe I’m the one that’s wrong?” When have you ever seen a politician do that? Anybody? Anybody? Nobody raising their hand or heard any stories about that? I certainly haven’t.

But these politicians, they never ask that question. They never ask, “Well, what if I’m wrong?” They don’t think that at all. They never consider the possibility that they could be wrong. They think they are always right. Both sides are that way. They both think they’re right. Neither one of them asks if they could be wrong, and so they judge the other side to be in league with the devil himself.

This is a dangerous situation for a country, but it can only go so far, and once it goes so far, then the people in the middle start to wake up, and say, “This is crazy, you know. Let’s do something about it.” And this is what hopefully will happen. The people in the middle will wake up and say, “Hey, we can’t judge each other to be evil, maybe misled, but not evil.”

If two people disagree, one is misled and one is right, or they’re both wrong. It has to be one or the other. They both cannot be right if they diametrically disagree. Either one is right, one is wrong, or they’re both wrong.

This is what people have to come to realize. And then they have to analyze the people. And this has to be done by the people in the middle who are dispassionate. They have to look at these things and say, “What’s right and what’s wrong? And let’s make a judgment. Let’s make a judgment as to where the truth is.”

And this is the idea behind the middle way. It goes back to the story of the Buddha that we left off at. The Buddha was a person that was prophesied. His father was a king, and he ruled a great kingdom. And, if I remember right, there was a prophecy that a baby was going to be born. It was either going to be a great buddha or a great king.

So when the baby was born, the king decided he didn’t want him to be a Buddha. He wanted him to be a great king. To ensure that he didn’t take the path of the Buddha, the king commanded everybody that was in association with this kid, to make sure he didn’t see anything negative.

Everything he saw was positive. Every person he met was healthy. Everybody he met was happy. It was like he was living in paradise. The king gave orders to make sure the Buddha had the best, most luxurious, easy, pain-free life that was possible to have.

So, the Buddha grew up thinking that was normal – that everyone was healthy, happy, and everything was just peachy. Then one day, he decided he wanted to go outside the gates of the kingdom just to see what was there, so, he talked a servant into letting him out.

He went out into the world and saw that there were people suffering. There were poor and wretched people; there were sick people, and it startled him. He just couldn’t understand it. It just blew his mind. He didn’t realize this existed. “This is weird. I’ve got to find the answer to why is this happening. Why are these people suffering like this? I must go on a quest.”

He was married at the time and had a child, but he left his wife and child and went off on a quest to find the answer. Why is there pain and suffering, and what is the liberation from this? This can’t be right, he thought, it can’t be right that there’s all this pain and suffering. There’s got to be a way out.

And so he went and joined with a bunch of monks. They told him the way of liberation is to deny yourself of all luxuries and of everything associated with the physical body; and to negate anything in connection with it, including food as much as possible. And so, he deprived himself of everything to the point that they said if you touch his stomach, you could touch his backbone.

He was sitting under the bodhi tree meditating. And at that time, it was said he was living on two grains of rice a day. Can you imagine that, living on two grains of rice a day? He was near death.

A musical group came by, and they were singing this song. And the song was about tuning a musical instrument. The song stated that if you tune the strings too tight, then the sound would not be right. If they were too loose, then they would not be right either. To tune the strings correctly, would be the place in between the looseness and the tightness, where you would find a sound that would be just right.

Does anyone here play the guitar? Okay, Asaph, when you tune a guitar, how do you do it? You twist the instrument back and forth until what? Is there a black and white way to tell it’s tuned just right?

Asaph: No.

JJ: How do you tell when it’s tuned just right?

Asaph: I listen to the overtones. You put your finger at the place where you can hear the overtones of the string and compare it with the string you tuned earlier.

JJ: And would you say, when you finally get it right that it’s a judgment call?

Asaph: Sure. Yes.

JJ: Yeah, that’s a judgment call, isn’t it? You tune it looser then tighter then looser then tighter until it sounds just right. There’s really no black and white way to find that point of being just right. You listen, and it’s a judgment call. Something inside of you can tell when that tuning is just right. Same thing with a piano tuner. He tunes it, and he listens, and he can tell when it’s just right.

Same thing happens with any musical instrument. It’s not a computer program where you punch a button and get it tuned just right. They may come up with that someday. But right now, you have to listen when you tune a guitar string. And when you pluck it, and it’s just right, it just feels right.

Now if you start when the string is really loose, then you have to tighten it a lot. If you start, when the string is way too tight, then you have to loosen it a lot. But the important point to understand the lost key of the Buddha, is the point where it’s tuned just right is not exactly in the middle.

If the string is very loose, then the correct place may be octaves away. If it’s very tight then it may be octaves in the opposite direction. The point is that the right place, right tuning, is not exactly in the middle. It may be up here or down here or right here, depending on how loose or tight the musical string is when you begin tuning. You just never know when you start to tune it. And so you have to make a judgment call.

And the mistake the followers of Buddism make, is they believe the Middle Way is pretty much right in the middle. So they miss the second key, which is the Key of Judgment. They miss that completely. There is no judgment in the Middle Way in the Buddhist religion. They leave that out. And that’s why my book is called the Lost Key of the Buddha. They missed that key of judgment. They think the middle way is just not being too far on the left or right.

Now they also have other explanations for the middle way. They think, “the teachings of the Buddha are just the Middle Way.” And that’s not what the Buddha said the Middle Way is. Some of the teachings of the Buddha point to the Middle Way. But it’s just not “all the teachings of the Buddha are the Middle Way.” That’s not what the Middle Way is.

The Middle Way is to look at everything on the right and everything on the left, and then make a judgment somewhere in the middle. And you cannot make that judgment using any scientific formula. It has to be done by looking at the data, the information on the right and the information on the left, and then making that judgment of where the point of truth is in the middle.

This is why we have so many problems in politics. They don’t understand the principle of the Middle Way. They’re black and white. They think, “Well, here’s what the left says and here’s what the right says, and it’s right in the middle, or it’s right where we are, or it’s right here.” They leave out the Key of Judgment. Both the liberals and conservatives leave out this Key, where we look at both sides and we make a judgment, which is somewhere between both sides.

Now let’s suppose we have a bunch of policies on the right and a numerous ones on the left, and they oppose each other. Where is the truth? The truth isn’t necessarily right in the middle. Sometimes it will be. But sometimes it will be close to the far right and sometimes it will be close to the far left. It will be somewhere in between. Not necessarily right in between, but somewhere in between.

Where is that? And how do you find it? What do you think one of the missing ingredients is to finding the truth in the middle? Any ideas on this and how to go about it?

Rebecca: I have a thought. I always thought it was sort of the thing that will give you the best outcome in the situation at hand. The best thing at the right place at the right time.

JJ: Yeah, for politics that would be true. The best occurrence. What would produce the highest good? That would be the answer.

But on the other hand, we look at the arguments of the Democrats and the Republicans . . . they both think that their position will be the highest good. The Republicans think the highest good will be to completely eliminate Obamacare. And the Democrats think it would be to make Obamacare completely workable. And so which one? Maybe neither one.

Asaph: You must use principles.

JJ: Yeah, so it’s very difficult for people to see to see that highest good. How do we see that highest good? Yeah, Asaph?

Asaph: Principles. You must use principles.

JJ: Right. We must use principles. That’s important.

There’s an important key to look at here, to find the highest good. Who knows the highest good?

Susan: I think you have to follow the highest that you know. See what the fruits are and adjust.

JJ: Okay. Susan says follow the highest that you know. But that doesn’t always work.

Asaph: She said see the fruits and adjust.

JJ: Right. That’s an important point that takes us toward that middle way. There’s one way to get their instantly. What’s the way to get to that Middle Way instantly?

RuLeena: Soul contact.

JJ: Wow. Smart little lady we have here. Does the Soul know the point of truth between the two extremes?

Audience: Yeah.

JJ: Yes, the Soul does, doesn’t It.

If we don’t have sure soul contact then we need to use the highest intelligence we know. On the other hand, sometimes we reach a dead end. We go as far as we can on our own. Then if we’re willing to turn everything over to our own souls we say, “I’ve gone as far as I can. What is the highest good? What is the highest judgment I can make? Where is the truth between the two extremes?”

And your soul knows what that is. The god within you knows where that point of truth is.

And this is what 99 percent of the people out there do not understand, and do not realize, and they will reject.

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