Sacred Theatre and Self-Delusion
Rob Schmidt and Stuart Goodnick, Tayu Meditation Teachers
Original date: Thursday, November 15, 2007

Download MP3 Audio File Here (14.2 MB)

If you want to become a saint, act like one. This "Acting As If" principle of spiritual practice, known in some traditions as Sacred Theatre, is an aspect of what Buddhists call Right Effort. We seek to make our own energetic vibrations emulate the vibrational tone of those we revere. To do this effectively, we must first become intimately familiar with the vibrational tone we currently embody. Although it sounds easy, this is actually an extraordinarily difficult task. One of the principal obstacles to this process is something we can call "Pretending As If". Pretending As If is an interior process whereby the ego attempts to convince itself that it is already saintly. When we identify with this erroneous view, we sabotage further efforts to embody saintliness in our lives moment-by-moment. In this talk we will examine the sometimes subtle distinctions between acting like a saint both internally and externally, and the pretense of saintliness—between Acting As If and Pretending As If.

Rob Schmidt, Ph.D., has been spiritual director of Tayu Meditation Center (owner of Many Rivers) since the death of founder Robert Daniel Ennis in 1998. Stuart Goodnick has studied Tayu meditation since 1985, and has taught since 1993. He is vice-president in a software startup, and plays the shakuhachi, the Japanese bamboo flute. Rob and Stuart are co-founders of Many Rivers.

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