I'm asking you, conceptually, how is it possible to speak of transcendence? — Agustino
In the Buddhist context, 'the Buddha' is one released from the cycle of birth, decay and death. That is what his 'awakening' consists of. Even though the Buddha's conception of Nirvāṇa is unique to him, it is arguably a form of what is called in Hinduism mokṣa, release or liberation, which is understood as the awakening from the spell of māyā and the realisation of the higher self.
The Buddha's awakening is expressed in verses such as:
Through the round of many births I roamed
seeking the house-builder.
Painful is birth
again & again.
House-builder, you're seen!
You will not build a house again.
All your rafters broken,
the ridge pole destroyed,
gone to the Unformed, the mind
has come to the end of craving.
What is 'the Unformed'? There is another verse, a doctrinal formulation of Nirvāṇa,
"There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated. If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated is discerned."
(Both translations from Access to Insight).
So in what sense is the transcendent a separate, instead of merely different, side of existence? — Agustino
Kant denied that 'knowledge of the transcendent' was possible, on the basis that knowledge is always structured according to the categories, intuitions, and so on, and so anything transcendent is by definition over our cognitive horizon or in some sense out-of-bounds.
Hegel's counter-argument to Kant was that to know a boundary is also to be aware of what it bounds and as such what lies beyond it – in other words, to have already transcended it.
Schleiermacher identifies a distinct mode of self-consciousness, one in which all attempts to make the self into an object of consciousness—that is, all attempts to come to know the self—are set aside. When the self is made an object of study it becomes a phenomenon, and as such is treated as something that it is not, i.e. as an object of experience. But it is possible to simply be
—to become quiescent, if you will - and simply be
what one is rather than attempt to know what one is.
And in this place of cognitive stillness, one discovers in a direct experiential way an ultimate reality that cannot be conceptualized or made into an object of study. This is the domain of mystical experience—and even though it is ineffable (that is, even if it cannot be made into an object of knowledge) it brings with it a kind of insight or enlightenment. One may not be able to adequately put this experience into propositional terms that can be affirmed as true, but that doesn’t mean one hasn’t in some sense encountered noumenal reality. One hasn’t encountered it as an object of experience (since that would turn it into a phenomenon). Rather, one encounters it in the way
The challenge, then, is to attempt to articulate this encounter in a way that is meaningful to us--in other words, in a way that our cognitive minds can grasp and affirm. The encounter itself is what Schleiermacher calls “religion.”( Eric Reitan
I would say that what John is referring to is this alternative 'way' of experience. That is something found in all kinds of literature, myth, allegory, and so on. Many of the Zen anecdotes signify awakening (satori) to this other cognitive mode (seeing the world anew, etc.)
Viktor Frankl's book, Man's Search for Meaning — Agustino
I admire Frankl, there was always a copy of that book in the home I grew up in.
- Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.
- Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life.
- We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience, or at least in the stand we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering.
The human spirit is referred to in several of the assumptions of logotherapy, but the use of the term spirit is not "spiritual" or "religious". In Frankl's view, the spirit is the will of the human being. The emphasis, therefore, is on the search for meaning, which is not necessarily the search for God or any other supernatural being. Frankl also noted the barriers to humanity's quest for meaning in life. He warns against "...affluence, hedonism, [and] materialism..." in the search for meaning.
I think Frankl's philosophy is implicitly spiritual, but that it is necessary to differentiate it from religion, because of the way religion is understood, defined and fought over in Western culture. To say something is 'religious' is to immediately embody it in a particular matrix of meaning with all of the associated baggage; he had to keep it out of that domain.