THE IMPORTANCE OF SUFISM
The Sufi Path (tariqat) as a Method of Abidance.
In the current day of Spiritual Realization, a primary concern is Abidance, or "staying there".
Knowing about Spiritual Realization and even "tasting" Spiritual Realization may be and are common occurrences. Spiritual Realization is a popular and helpful subject of discussion among knowledge seekers, and practice classes (meditation, yoga, etc.) are full of people seeking the experience. But Abidance ("staying there", "keeping it") is impossible[*1] without dedication to it.[*2]
Ask anyone about it and you will be told of the difficulty and the desire.
Abidance is impossible[*3] without a convergence of The Three Manifestations of Truth referred to by the Buddhists - Buddha, Dharma, Sangha.
In English it means: Teacher, Teaching and Students - all the elements for Success in Community.
Let me elaborate on these three elements.
*1 unable to occur
*2 distraction and Abidance are mutually exclusive
*3 "unable to occur separately from"
Teacher, Teaching and Students, Part OneFirst, let us consider the Inevitability of a Teacher.
For example: what path is worth following if it does not lead to mastery and produce masters - exemplars who are manifestations of success in theirs lives and truthfulness in their teaching. Who would follow any path if it were not certain that it would lead to the desired destination? Who would follow any way if it were not proven to produce the desired result. Colleges are full of teachers. Why would you go to one if it could not deliver to you the requirements for your diploma with some degree of mastery in your chosen field? Is not Spiritual Realization a similar subject? As popular as it is and has been throughout the ages, should it not also have methods and degrees of attainment including mastery? Well it's quite obvious that it does. Jesus was a spiritual master and he stated plainly that it was not exclusive to him but universally available to everyone - in fact, a necessary prerequisite to living a heavenly life and the inevitable eventuality for all. But he also stated that ignorance was far from bliss and that avoidance would only lead to the continuation of suffering and that it was always and eternally our choice.
Abidance ("staying there", "keeping it") is the real goal of the knowers. It is virtually impossible without the presence of a living dedicated guide, and this is true for two reasons. The first is: you can't do it alone.
This does not mean that it is not a personal responsibility that only you can fulfill. It is.
But "you can't do it alone" means that you cannot prevent others from discovering and practicing also.
As a matter of fact, this realization is so popular (inevitable, I might add) that not only are many discovering it right now, but there have been and are many who have not only discovered it but perfected a (the) way to keep it and make it available to others who wish to apply themselves to it.
This 'method' or 'technique', if you will, is very popular among those who know about it, and it is referred to lovingly as 'the way (to go)'.
In ancient and contemporary China it is call the Tao (the Way) and is taught by Taoists.
In Sanskrit / Yoga/ Buddhism it is called Dharma (the Truth) and is taught by Dharma Masters,
In New Thought Christianity and A Course in Miracles it is called Salvation (the Reality) and is taught by New Thought Minister and 'Teacher of God', and
in Islam it is called 'Tariqat' (the Shorter Path) and is taught by Sufis.
** these words each a have a method, a meaning and a reality. int this case I'm referring to the method.
This latter is the subject I wish to dwell upon. And the practice of surrender (as explained later) is its essential element of them all.
And, since the point, aim and goal of all of these 'ways' is to produce mastery, it is inevitable that there are and will be masters. And since you cannot have this without the need and desire to share it, there will be teachers.
That is the first reason and now back to the original statement that Abidance ("staying there", "keeping it") is the real goal of the knowers, and that It is virtually impossible without the presence of a living dedicated guide, which is true for two reasons.
The second is: since you can't - and why would you want to - do it alone, and since you are not yet a master and therefore not the teacher, what common attraction will you have with other students if not a master willing to teach, i.e. a teacher? So rejoice in having found one and join in with the community of students. It make life much easier having something in common with like minded people. Why not take it the eay way and allow someone to show you?
Now, secondly, what do we mean by "Teaching"?
Teacher, Teaching and Students, Part Two
The word "teaching" implies the subject as well as the activity. The 'teaching' is the subject being taught, as in "the teaching today will be... ". The 'teaching' is also the activities, including the methods and devices of teaching. This is the second element in the Buddha's prescription for Success in Community.
And thirdly, what do I mean by Success in Community?
Teacher, Teaching and Students, Part Three
The Inevitable Necessity of a Community and what that means and does.