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Daniel M. Ingram, 11 hours ago.

Liferay 7.3 Upgrade Done! Please us know in if it is working properly. Important

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Dear All,

The remarkable Manish has managed to upgrade Liferay, the platform the DhO runs on, to version 7.3! This is a remarkable accomplishment, as Liferay upgrades have proved mind-boggling difficult, with each one we have done taking teams of people over a year each with many errors and failures along the way. Many thanks to Manish! If you find any errors, glitches, problems, or areas for improvement, please let us know in the dedicated thread below "Liferay 7.3 Feedback." Thanks!

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Imagine

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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago.

Imagine

Posts: 3158 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Forum: Dharma Overground Homepage

Imaging a world where the dharma was just like anything else you wanted to learn, like playing piano or mathematics. You studied with people who were not afraid to tell you what they were capable of, you practiced techniques that everyone expected to work, you talked honestly with your fellow dharma adventurers about what was going and helped each other to progress, you attained to the expected results, and when you did so, you were not ridiculed or made to shut up about it, but instead were viewed as one more successful practitioner of the art who was there to support those coming up and also still learning from others. This is my vision of the dharma, and I know it could be like that because I have experienced it, just on limited scales with small groups of people. That's the kind of world I hope to promote, and this is one small step in that direction. I hope this site will facilitate the discussion of how to make that world a reality. -Daniel
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Imagine

Posts: 0 Join Date: 5/12/09 Recent Posts
"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." -- Neil Armstrong
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Imagine

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: khemadipa

i definitely share your vision. i would love to take part in a (for the want of a better word) movement to de-mystify the dharma (after all, isn't de-mystifying our conscious existence what dharma is all about?), pare down all the excesses of its manifestations, i.e., exhorbitant retreat fees, in-group/out-group mentalities, sectarian chauvinism, etc.
by the way, my name is khemadipa bhikkhu. i just came back from spending 9 years in burma, and now i'm back in the u.s. being a dharma-slut, attending mahayana and vajrayana retreats. i have lotsa photos and some posting on my facebook account (user name: 'laith naayem'). i look forward to connecting with serious dharmikas.
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hi Daniel,

>Imaging a world where the dharma was just like anything
>else you wanted to learn, like playing piano or mathematics...

I read (but I forgot the source) that 1000 years ago in Sri Lanka were a time where "the streets were full of Arhats". The knowledge (if its not only a legend) of their powerful techniques seems to be lost in time. But I think there is a good chance to realize it today again. Despite the fact that it will be temporary only, it is it worth.

Thanks to Gozen's nice motivating description too:
>Enlightenment is the treasure beyond price.
>To know with perfect certainty, with blatant obviousness,
>that one is fundamentally untouched by birth, death and every
>phenomenon in between is worth more than anything else,
>or everything else, in this world and beyond it.

Paticca
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: MikeTek

It seems that Western Buddhism may be ready to come into its own in a time of desperate need. There must be many right ways to help it emerge, and this forum is a worthy gift. Thanks.
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/25/09 Recent Posts
What if we stopped conditioning our children that identity is found in mind? And how much more attainable the dharma if we didn't program each young mind with "I think, therefore I am." It appears to be in the nature of the mind to repeatedly run its conditioning, but perhaps that conditioning doesn't need to include mistaken ideas about identity, and I can imagine that the mind could serve manifest reality with bigger, more subtle, complex ideas when relieved of the burden of creating the illusion of self. I haven't yet, but would like to imagine the culture, communities, and institutions that would arise. I also imagine the dharma taught more overtly from the perspective of celebrating being in the world, in seeing no conflict in the illusion being sacred, and for experiencing the manifest realm. I can imagine the fundamental dharma taught from the perspective of awakening, and instead of experiencing Suffering, Impermanence, and No-Self we'll experience Passion, Divinity, and Awareness.
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 3158 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
I like the spirit of that post, 2birds. There are actually traditions that are much more focused on those things, such as some of the Hindu guru traditions, though I think that in general this is a pretty passionate group with a good counter balance of living life well and enjoyably while also acknowledging and investigating the There Characteristics.

Teaching children early sounds like a great idea, so long as those sorts of subtle concepts are presented in a way that works with how kids brains work and think, which is often somewhat magical and/or concrete, but that doesn't mean kids can't understand some amazing things. I remember the story of Punjaji, the "Buddha of Lucknow", who said he got enlightened at about age 6-7 and didn't even know he had done anything special and didn't even know what it was, but that didn't change the fact of his wisdom, or Christopher Titmuss' story of a young kid who would be playing with the chickens and the head monk would bring him up on the front cushion and ask him to teach, and when he spoke profound wisdom would gush forth, and then he would go back to playing with the chickens.
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Jack Kornfield wrote something about this once (though I can't find the reference... I think it's somewhere in his newer book The Wise Heart, but I can't find the reference). He writes about a woman who teaches a small class of young children. She teaches them simple meditations and also some basic yoga poses (the kids think the animal names are cool).

In one exercise, she has the kids lay down and imagine that they are water, deep down at the bottom of the ocean where it's still and peaceful. Than, she has them watch their thoughts, feelings, etc. as if they are fish that swim through this vast body of still water. She encourages them to observe the fish as they freely come and go. When the children are question after this exercise, the insights they learn are pretty impressive. I don't remember exactly how it went, but one of the kids told the teacher something like, "I don't like to let the mad fish swim by." When asked why, he said something like, "Cause if you let him in, he can make you do mean things."
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/25/09 Recent Posts
I think kids have a lot more subtle body experiences (especially around going to sleep and waking up) that in our culture they are taught are not possible, don't happen, and the rigid views of reality get formed. I bet kids would really get the teaching that we aren't just this body and mind, and be ripe for a deep, unfolding exploration of "what are you really" as they grow up, including the paths to experience this.
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
Hi Paticca,

I don't see any reason why the streets of the Dharma Overground can't be filled with arahats. It's not that big a deal, really. It just takes a lot of dedicated effort and the support of people who will look you in the eye and say, "This is possible. I am speaking from my own experience." If I could look you in the eye through the wires and fibers of the internet, I would say that to you now. Keep on. You can do this. I know this, in my own experience. (Never mind that what I have learned is that I am a fiction, ha, ha.) And the powerful techniques have not been lost; the techniques written about back in the day are still as effective as ever.

Kenneth
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
I once asked my mentor, Bill Hamilton, if he was frustrated by the fact that most people seem to have no interest in awakening. He said, "I feel as though I have a treasure of infinite value that I'm willing to give away for free... and very few people want it." He was but a lowly sakadagami at the time. :-)

On his deathbed, Bill told me that he was thinking about "coming out of the closet" with regard to his attainment. He let me know that he had attained arahatship. As it happened, Bill did not leave the hospital alive. We are fortunate that Daniel Ingram has been willing to take up the mantle and come out of the closet in Bill's stead. At the recent Alabama gathering, Vincent Horn told me that "a pioneer is the one with the arrows in his back." Now that Daniel has absorbed more than his share of the arrows, some of us who are more cautious by nature can feel safe to leave the closet behind. Consider me out. And consider me at your disposal, should you have any questions. (That goes for all of you.)

Kenneth
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Nice, I'm glad to see you out of the closet here Kenneth! You definitely have a vast amount of experience for all of us to draw on.

Best,

-Vince
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 0 Join Date: 7/26/09 Recent Posts
i can feel your glance on the back of my neck right now. thank you for making me more confident on the path emoticon
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
I am ever grateful for these words of encouragement. Something in me focuses on them. Thank you.
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Kenneth,

I am also very inspired and encouraged by these words. Thank you.
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 0 Join Date: 5/12/09 Recent Posts
Kenneth,
Thanks for coming out and volunteering yourself!

Hmmm...the word "yourself" is ordinary, conventional and necessary English, so we cannot help but use it. However, it contains the 2 of the 3 most misunderstood words: "you" and "self." And you wrote: "Never mind that what I have learned is that I am a fiction, ha, ha." The word "I" completes the set: 3 of 3.

The persona "Kenneth" (like the persona "Gozen") is a fictional "I" which is not a self. The "real you" ...owns no name...is undconditioned...is only free.

We are looking one another in the eye right now.

Gozen
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
@Gozen

Hello. I don't think these words are misunderstood at all. In my opinion, whether or not these words make sense is based on where you're speaking from; it is contextual. From the side of emptiness, they would be unnecessary, confusing, (or, in fact, absolutely non-existent and without reference).; from the side of form, they are absolutely necessary and good. Since emptiness is inseparable from form, these words themselves are necessary.

The same can be applied in regard to a personal persona-- there is very much a separate you, conditioned by causality and your life. To deject or altogether reject form is the same as rejecting the unconditional freedom. They are not separable, they are both "you," although that does not quite tell the whole story.
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 0 Join Date: 5/12/09 Recent Posts
Hi Yabaxoule,
You may not think those words are misunderstood, but I don't think you understoond my meaning in using them.

To say, as you did, "there is very much a separate you, conditioned by causality and your life" is to fall for the dualistic notion that somehow that apparent one or self or being is one reality, while on the other hand there is some THING you refer to as emptiness, which is another reality. Reality is one and indivisible. Apparent duality arises from mistaken belief -- or as I would prefer to phrase it, from the process of self-identification gone awry.

Be careful not to reify (make into objects) ideas that only point to something which cannot be spoken.

Gozen
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Gozen,

Although I respect your view, I stand by what i said =p.

I think this is very much based upon perspective. Although a view as radically relative as the one I'm assuming here may be a problematic from a moral standpoint, we're not talking about a moral issue; we're talking about a self perspective. Ergo, the truth from my perspective is just as much the truth as that of an arhat, and his perspective is just as much the truth as the every-day person going about their business.

I mean that quite literally, not in any sort of spiritual context. If you walk up to someone on the street and tell them "all you are is empty, devoid of meaning," they will give you all sorts of reactions indicating that you are the crazy one, not them. And they would be just as valid as you-- empathize with their perspective and you see that their form of truth is just as true as yours.

Whatever someone validates to be true in their mind is true for them, and these truths can be contradictory. Thus, I can assume the view that I possess a self from one view, that I am a process of infinite becoming from another, or perhaps that I'm purely empty from another, and so on. None of these are inherently more truthful than another, they are just different hats to wear. Some are more appropriate for some contexts, some perhaps rare and unusual, some lack any sort of suffering and some are steeped in various types.

So again, from the perspective of society, you certainly have a self, and nothin' you can do will get rid of it.
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 0 Join Date: 5/12/09 Recent Posts
Hi Yabaxoule,
So what you're saying here is that everyone has their own "truth" and everything is relative?

Is that what you actually believe? <={0

Let's take this one step at a time. You wrote:
"If you walk up to someone on the street and tell them "all you are is empty, devoid of meaning," they will give you all sorts of reactions indicating that you are the crazy one, not them."

And they would be correct! The true meaning of the Buddhist term "emptiness" is not "devoid of meaning." Every person is valuable. Every life has meaning. Foisting Buddhist terminology on the man on the street would be presumptuous, insulting and counterproductive. To do so would be an act of egoic self-importance devoid of wisdom and compassion.

And you said:
"Whatever someone validates to be true in their mind is true for them."

It is true, but only in the sense that it is what they experience and believe. Their interpretation of it, and their claims about its actual nature, may be far from reality.

Finally, you said:
"So again, from the perspective of society, you certainly have a self, and nothin' you can do will get rid of it."

Society does not make reality. There is nothing – no self, no "thing" -- to get rid of. This is something I sincerely hope you will discover.

Here is what I claim: Every one of us is born with a single super-power -- the power to fool ourselves.

The work of Dharma practice is to learn how NOT to use that super-power. The super-power will wither away through disuse. By working through the Three Trainings of morality, concentration and wisdom, we can learn to view things as they really are, to know who we really are, and to become a benign influence in the world.

Gozen
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
this might be tangential, but but when someone presents a point of view that is so radically different from mine, and wishes me to share it, it strikes me as more interesting to ask why is this what they want to believe?

personally speaking, i find that watching the process of how my mind concocts and validates things is fascinating, and validates yabaxoule's claim that 'whatever to be true in [my] mind is true for [me]' on a very thorough and inescapable (but why would i want to?) level.
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 0 Join Date: 5/12/09 Recent Posts
Hi Tarin,
You said:
"...when someone presents a point of view that is so radically different from mine, and wishes me to share it, it strikes me as more interesting to ask why is this what they want to believe?"

Good question. Maybe they're trying to fool you, to exploit you, to get something from you. Or maybe they're acting out of compassion based on what they have discovered to be of value. How can you tell which it is?

You went on:
"personally speaking, i find that watching the process of how my mind concocts and validates things is fascinating, and validates yabaxoule's claim that 'whatever to be true in [my] mind is true for [me]' on a very thorough and inescapable (but why would i want to?) level."

Does that validate his claim? Or does it support my claim about our one super-power? How can you tell?

Bottom line here: Suspect yourself. Don't fool yourself -- because you (not you personally, but anyone referring to oneself) are the easiest person to fool. Test your beliefs.

Gozen
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
you might have misread my sentence, which did not contain a typo - i meant 'why is this what they want to believe?', as i wrote, not 'why is this what they want *me* to believe?'

in any case, it could be either exploitative or compassionate, or both, but none of those means i will necessarily have use for it. otherwise i would have probably become a mormon many times over by now..

and i find my observation of concoction supports both claims (except i wouldn't go as far as to say that it's my only super-power).
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Gozen,

Yes that is what I believe. I think believing otherwise would be narrow-minded. A perspective is like an opinion, it's "true" for someone whether they're right or wrong. Acting in the world in such a way is deeply compassionate and humble.

Secondly, I would have to disagree again and say that society DOES make a reality. But not "all" of reality, just "one" of the possible realities out there. And the reality it makes is basically inescapable. The stance you are taking is akin to some sort of ethnocentrism, where only the empty, impermanent, no self views are taken to be valid; this is sheer silliness on many levels.
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
A similar debate must have taken place prior to the writing of the Heart Sutra.
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Interesting discussion, and one I've recently had with a friend who's been building an elaborate, all-encompassing world-view and wanted very much to share his discoveries.

I've been re-reading Daniel's book (finally got the bound volume delivered!) and in the chapter on the psychic powers he makes a point relevant to this discussion:

"Much more interesting than the question of what is real is the question of what is causal, i.e. what leads to what."

There certainly is a lot of causal cross-talk between the different "realities" out there, and in here.

Cheers,
Florian
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 0 Join Date: 5/12/09 Recent Posts
Hi Yabaxoule,
Thanks for your reply. I think a lot of our disagreement centers on the word "reality." While you are using it to mean a world-view imposed by society, or an individual's perceptual and mental "point of view", I reserve the word reality for something beyond alteration, fundamental and ultimately true.

My favorite definition of it is this: "Reality is that which, whether you believe in it or not, won't go away."

So I am not arguing, as you suggest that I am, for some sort of ethnocentric point of view. Far from it.

The "no-self" view happens to correspond with reality, like it or not. However, as I think you would quickly see if you met me in person, I am not some sort of "no-self ascetic" who sits zazen all day and doesn't "have a life." I carry out my responsibilities, love my family, and teach. I use the first-person singular (obviously). What I don't do is ascribe anything ultimately real to the persona associated with all of that. The true identity of this one is neither nameable nor definable. For lack of a better term, I have called it "the feeling of Being."

You may deem my point of view to be "sheer silliness on many levels" and I'm sure you would not be alone in holding that view. Being thought silly has never stopped me from saying and doing what I, on the basis on my own practice and understanding, have found to be valid, wholesome and worthwhile.

I trust you are doing the same.

Gozen
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Fair enough, Dharma brother. I would be interested to hear more about the reality "that won't go away," and what your "feeling of being" is, and any other similar thoughts you have. Perhaps you could post a new thread? If you're up for it, of course.

Best,
Trent
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
@Gozen I like that definition a lot - it's by Philip K. Dick, isn't it?

http://deoxy.org/pkd_how2build.htm

Cheers,
Florian
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 0 Join Date: 5/12/09 Recent Posts
Yes, thanks Florian!

I myself could not remember where I'd first read that definition. But I read a lot of Phil Dick's writings in the 1970s and 1980s. His VALIS trilogy may have been where I got it from.

Gozen
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: bobdurkin

Hello friends.

This one lives in El Paso, Texas, and organized groups are few and far between.
So YES I can imagine with world Daniel started this with. Definitely.
In fact I have been looking for you folks! Thanks for being here!

bob in el paso
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Ryguy913

I agree with Daniel that the question of reality is not the most pressing one, and I would add to his statement: stress is causal, and that what we might concern ourselves with as meditators is what stress leads to more stress, and what stress leads to the ending of stress? That's the way I've heard some in the Theravada tradition put it, and if others find the word stress confusing, please offer your own word, because that might be more accessibile to more people. Another way to phrase this is, what is appropriate attention, yoniso manasikara for those who like Pali, and what is ayoniso manasikara, or inapproriate attention?

What can we pay attention to that will end suffering, what can we do to gain wisdom and peace and freedom? What kinds of attending are we doing that is blocking wisdom, peace and freedom?

As much as I love a good intellectual and speculative conversation, another suggestion I would make for all readers here is to follow the advice of many and touch the Dharma with your body. Make practice observational and intentional more than speculative. Keep being curious and adventurous, but bring Dharma practice into your body, and let it do the work there. See what that does to your understanding of stress, ignorance, craving, cessation, etc.
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Ryguy913

I'd like to correct something I wrote above.

Rather than, "bring Dharma practice into your body, and let it do the work there," I ought to have written, "bring Dharma practice into your body, and work with it there." In other words, we won't get anywhere by being passive, and I advocated that view wrongly. Paradoxically, we work with volition to live without stress, even though stress is what causes volition.
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Welcome, Ryguy913

You'll find that there is a very large emphasis on practice here on the Dharma Overground. Can you tell us more about your way of directing appropriate attention to the body? Feel free to start a new thread, maybe in the "practical Dharma" section, or in one of the new "venues".

Cheers,
Florian
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Ryguy913

Thanks for welcoming me! I appreciate the practical focus of many threads I've found on the site, but some of this discussion seems to have gotten caught up in concepts and speculation about "self." As far as I can tell, the Buddha never came down on one side or the other about the reality of a self, and in fact that was part of his point. Many suttas discuss how clinging to a view of no-self is in fact a subtle form of self.

What I find far more helpful (and practical) than worrying about whether or not "I" exist, is to simply work on dukkha and the ceasing of dukkha.

Ven. Thanissaro's translation of the Sabbsava Sutta may be helpful here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/wings/part2.html#passage-51

Where is there stress, and how can it be relieved? In other words, where is there clinging, in the body and in the mind? Appropriate attention, in this framework, is directing the mind back to the meditation object, which in my case means the breath. This is appropriate, in my understanding, because body and mind meet at the breath, thus we can work on releasing clinging of both body and mind at the same time by making the breath more calm and clear. When doing so, simply observe sensations, acknowledge the three characteristics -- if necessary, and then apply the Dharma however one deems appropriate.

It might be helpful for me to note that I see the path as a combination of what someone on another thread called Vertical Enlightenment (unconditional happiness) and Horizontal Enlightenment (Insight into the True Nature). Or put differently, it seems to me one needs both in order to have either one in full. How could one experience the truth (go beyond suffering) and be unhappy? Negative/positive emotions (stresses) are nothing but past karma coming to fruition. How could one be truly happy (content and free) without having experienced the Truth of Nature?
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: understandingcat

Does sound like a nice worl to be in. Wouldn't it be a world filled with enlightened beings? If so, would Dharma be relevant then?
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RE: Imagine

Posts: 118 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Gozen and Yabaxoule:

Please consider the following perspective:

An unenlightened person experiences the five aggregates, and infers (either consciously or subconsciously) that there is an enduring entity (the "self") which exists *in addition* to the these and experiences them.

An enlightened person sees only the five aggregates (and their conditioned nature), and says that no additional entity exists which experiences them.

However, the enlightened person could, instead of denying the existence of the self, merely re-define it as being identical with the five aggregates. Then these terms, "I", "you", "me", "self", etc., can be used in the same way, only he understands them to refer to the five aggregates, and not to an entity which exists in addition to them. Agreeing upon such a definition, we can avoid any disagreements about the use of such words.

Incidentally, it would probably be useful to have two separate words for these. The self-as-separate-entity, i.e. the opposite of anatta, could be referred to as the spirit, say, and the self-as-five-aggregates could be referred to as the "conditioned self" or the "conditioned being". The meaning of the word "self" would have to just be taken from context, since we'd never be able to get people in general to agree on using it only with one of the two specific definitions in mind (confusion would certainly ensue).

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