liberation, "do what thou wilt"

So I'm thinking about this upcoming stay at the Zen center. Zen is a way of liberation, which raises the question - liberation from what? The thing is, we're already free, Buddha-nature permeates everything.

This is easy for even a child to say, but hard for even a wise elder to practice.

Similar is Crowley's "Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." That leaves only two minor questions - "Who are you?" and "What do you want?" - to be investigated. (I wonder if JMS thought of it this way?)

The Wiccan version to this, "An it harm none, do as thou will," misses this point. What if someone comes to me and says, "What I really want to do, is hurt people, so there!"?

What I really want, is to stop people from being hurt. And I believe that most people are happier when they are not hurting others. So I would try to convince this person that no, hurting others isn't truly what they want, by showing them that:

1) compassion expands the self and so brings relief from our own suffering, therefore it should be cultivated by refraining from harming, and by actively helping, others; and

2) doing harm to others has practical consequences that increase our own suffering, i.e. gets us beat up, jailed, or killed, or at the very least uninvited to the good parties.

And what if someone ignores this, and goes on hurting others? Not just in a minor way, being generally mean, but in a murderous way?

Then "Do as you will" doesn't mean that I won't do as I will. What I will is to stop them by any means necessary, wielding the live-giving sword.

There are occasional wackos out there, very rare Charles Manson broken-brained types, who (absent major medical breakthroughs) are not going to be converted into peace-loving types by any argument or prohibition. Telling them "do as you will" is not going to make them any more dangerous, psychopaths don't need encouragement. But most of us need liberation from that little voice inside that says "you can't do that, you're no good, what will the neighbors think".


Every statement about Japan should probably be followed by "except where it isn't" or "except where they don't". In Osaka, on the escalator the stand to the right and pass on the left. In Nagoya it was the other way around. In Kyoto I've seen it both ways! I'm not quite sure how that works out.

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Comments

I and Thou

As soon as you seperate yourself from others, do as thou wilt, doesn't work. It only works if we are all one (which, of course, we are). The problem begins when we think of someone, or a group of people, as other. When we talk about "them", we're doing it. If we can recognize ourselves, or Life, or God in others, then we can do what we want. To hurt another would be to harm oneself and yet at the same time hurt another. It would be almost impossible for someone to do that. Like you said, easy to say, not so easy to practice.

Do What Thou Wilt

Doing what thoug wilt is the road to darkness. Only God wills. Acquiescence is the key to true enlightenment.

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