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Aversion, Death, Rebirth, Vanity                        
 
AVERSION, DEATH, REBIRTH & VANITY

 

 

9. SHAWN NEVINS

 

Shawn Nevins runs spiritualteachers.org and poetryinmotionfilms.com.  He's trying to write this bio in the third person, but not having much luck.  Suffice it to say that writing, talking and otherwise communicating about the spiritual search is his passion.  He lives in the San Francisco Bay area.  Perhaps after he gets his teeth whitened, he will release a publicity photo. 

 

 

 

 


 INTERVIEW

NDM: What do you think about these questions?

  

Shawn Nevins: Frankly, I think only one of these questions is truly important, and that is, "at the point of death and the breakup of the body, what happens to the mind?"  My answer to that isn't important.  What is important is that you find the answer, in your own experience not adopting someone else's answer, but discovering for yourself.  That is what enlightenment is: the discovery of what we really are. 
 
The personality may change radically, moderately, or not at all.  Such personality quirks may make it impossible for a enlightened person to be a teacher, or even a friend.  If you are looking for a teacher, find someone you can respect, who has the capacity for friendship, and who resonates with something deeper than your personality. 
 
Who wouldn't lose their temper and drink alcohol if they were alone in the jungle with shark-eating spiders?   
 
NDM: What about "Dhutanga", a number of specialized ascetic practices and monks like Ajahn Mun, to have overcome their deepest fears while living in the jungle and regularly encountering wild tigers, elephants and other potentially deadly animals? 
 
 

Shawn Nevins: I have engaged in ascetic practices and found them to be useful in turning the attention from the distractions of daily life.  That is very different from thinking fearlessness is a prerequisite to or symptom of enlightenment.  The problem I see with formalized instructions such as Dhutanga, are that they treat everyone the same (i.e. we are all going to do "this" and it will yield "that").  That is as narrow-minded as Western medicine, which for years said "give this pill for this symptom."  Just as the concept of "personalized medicine" is slowly taking root, we also need a personalized spirituality. 
 

NDM: What about jokes, would somone who is enlightened make jokes about other teachers like this?

 

Shawn Nevins: Again, this returns to personality.  Unless you hypothesize that enlightenment changes the personality so that it is non-offensive to every creature in the universe, or enlightenment first requires that one become non-offensive to every creature in the universe, then these questions about would an enlightened person do "X" have no practical basis.  I do hypothesize that enlightenment requires a moment of complete and utter honesty and reaching that moment may take one down many paths.  Those paths may change the personality, and enlightenment itself may change the personality, but there is no set change that must occur.   

 

NDM: Would an enlightened person be able to tell a deliberate lie, or deliberately mislead others for their own selfish gain?

 

Shawn Nevins: This is the same question dressed in a different suit.  Short answer, yes. 
 

 

END OF INTERVIEW