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Essay on the hindrance of teachings

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Essay on the hindrance of teachings Ward Law 10/26/18 6:49 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings terry 10/26/18 10:27 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings curious 10/27/18 3:29 AM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings terry 11/3/18 5:33 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings curious 11/5/18 2:24 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings terry 11/6/18 3:16 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings shargrol 10/27/18 11:03 AM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings Chris Marti 10/27/18 10:56 AM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings terry 10/27/18 2:25 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings Chris Marti 10/27/18 2:39 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings terry 10/29/18 7:34 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings Chris Marti 10/30/18 7:56 AM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings Chris Marti 10/30/18 7:59 AM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings Tashi Tharpa 10/30/18 8:17 AM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings terry 10/30/18 1:10 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings Chris Marti 10/30/18 1:20 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings terry 10/30/18 4:59 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings curious 10/31/18 4:54 AM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings Chris Marti 10/31/18 6:56 AM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings curious 10/31/18 2:17 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings terry 11/2/18 4:23 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings terry 11/2/18 5:07 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings Chris Marti 11/3/18 8:15 AM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings terry 11/3/18 12:27 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings terry 11/3/18 2:54 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings terry 11/2/18 2:50 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings terry 10/30/18 2:36 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings terry 10/27/18 12:48 PM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings Nick O 10/27/18 10:01 AM
RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings terry 10/27/18 1:29 PM
Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/26/18 6:49 PM
Written by guru critic Jody Radzik, who refers to it as "The first draft of the first chapter of a book I'm writing called The Facsimiles of Enlightenment." I find his arguments compelling, so I just want to share this: 

https://medium.com/@kalieezchild/the-facsimiles-of-enlightenment-4fcd2fab07c3

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/26/18 10:27 PM as a reply to Ward Law.
Ward Law:
Written by guru critic Jody Radzik, who refers to it as "The first draft of the first chapter of a book I'm writing called The Facsimiles of Enlightenment." I find his arguments compelling, so I just want to share this: 

https://medium.com/@kalieezchild/the-facsimiles-of-enlightenment-4fcd2fab07c3
aloha ward,

   I don't usually follow links but I checked out this one because I wondered what a "guru critic" might have to say. Radzik's grasp of truth is scientistic and intellectual. Besides, buddhism long predates advaita vedanta. The buddha "turned the wheel of the dharma" by rejecting the whole superstructure of mundane religion as it existed in his time, brahman, indra, vishnu, kali, whatever, and revealing, as innumerable buddhas in the past and future had done, the true dhamma. The second and third turns of the wheel of the dharma, mahayana and vajrayana, similarly cleared away the intellectualism and polemics which had accreted over time and restored the original insight to purity.

   Radzik is a full time mara, from the standpoint of the dhamma. Spreading doubt and proliferating ignorance. Compelling, unfortunately, he may be. There is profit and fame in it.

   The hsinhsinming of seng tsan says: 

There is one Dharma, not many. 
Distinctions arise 
from the clinging needs of the ignorant. 
To seek Mind with the (discriminating) mind 
is the greatest of all mistakes.


   Meher baba is often quoted as saying (though he took it word for word from hafiz without attribution): "“O thou who are trying to learn the marvel of love from the copybook of reason, I'm very much afraid that you will never really see the point.” And those who are trying to obliterate the miracle of love are to be treated with compassion. Joanna macy tells a story about the experiences of tibetan lamas. They did not like to talk of the tortures, murders and destruction which occurred during the chinese takeover of tibet, but when pressed, would only say, "the poor chinese, creating such terrible karma for themselves." Another story of that time involves one of the worst of the chinese oppressors, from who many fled in fear. Coming upon another monastery to be destroyed, the chinese colonel was informed that one old monk was still in residence. Enraged, he sought out the monk in the dharma hall, and accosted him thus: "Don't you know who I am? I could sheathe my sword in your stomach without blinking an eye." The old monk looked serenely up at him and said, "And don't you know who I am? I could let you sheathe your sword in my stomach without blinking an eye."

   There are gurus - like rajneesh - and then there are gurus like naropa, marpa and milarepa, to name a few. True gurus only play the role until the aspirant can go it alone. Hui-neng's teacher (the fifth patriarch) insisted on rowing him across the river himself, though hui-neng was younger and stronger, and had offered. Zen masters and sufis often teach by performing an action. A guru is just a teacher; in hawaii we call them tutu as mentors or kumu as instructors. It is not hard to point out that "the teaching" is fundamentally inexpressible; the whole of mahayana revolves around "skill in means" (upaya). As is often said in zen circles, the understanding, awareness or discursive mind cannot grasp the absolute which contains it any more than the teeth can bite the teeth. What grasps cannot be itself grasped. Yet no magic trick or sleight of hand can make the spirit in which grasping takes place into a dualistic subject of analysis and reductionism.


terry


On a branch
floating downriver
a cricket, singing.

issa

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/27/18 3:29 AM as a reply to Ward Law.
Hey Ward, thanks for sharing.  And Terry - thank you for that lyrical reply.

I'll just add my 2c worth.  Reading the essay, I don't think the author quite gets it.  To me he is describing a stage on the road, but not the final destination. So all his analysis is a little bit off, I think. For me, I haven't reached the destination, but I think I can see it. So I will try to describe what I think I can see, using his kind of analytical terms.

The term phenomeonlogical envelope really appeals to me, so I will give Jody Ratzik that much. But I think the phenomenologial envelope is much broader than he thinks. It is not just a matter of shifting the locus of attention away from the body - rather it is understanding the construction of our whole universe. To borrow a metaphor from physics, it is like we each inhabit our own individual universe within a black hole, and these black holes float through space-time and interact a little bit, so they indirectly share some information and influence.  But we have no direct perception of what is inside the other black holes.  All we have is ourselves (our own universe, within our own black hole).  We constantly recreate our universe through the act of observation, it is identical to us, and it lives and it dies with us.

So to haul up the anchor of self as Mr Ratzik suggests, to change how attention is constructed around our identify, is certainly a stage of progress.  But the destination, as far as I can understand, is way beyond that.  The destination is to directly realise and live the fact that all the observed world (and ourselves) is just a hubbub of sensations - that there is nothing but the sensations within the 'black hole' of the observations of our personal universe.  Once you realise that and live it on an ongoing basis, it becomes bizarre to define some of those sensations as 'self' and some and 'other', or to believe some are harmful and some are good.  It all just is the experience of being, of self/universe. It just is. This is a huge phenomenological shift that goes well beyond what Jody Ratzik seems to be talking about.  

So most of the mystical statements seem to me to be understandable in analytical terms. Presence, the present, nothing, empitness, light and energy, oneness, divinity, higher self. They are all just recognition that through the act of being we dwell in a unique individual universe which is identical to the sum of our phenomenological perceptions. This is not to deny the existence of other people, or to deny the existence of a material plane.  But it is to say that we never experience those things directly and they only affect our own phenomological universe very indirectly.  All we actually do is experience our sensations. And as long as we form these sensation into concepts of self and other, and assign reactions to them, we create unnecessary stress.

I don't have any explanation for why bliss, compassion and love come along with these realisations, unless these terms are just another way of describing the absence of stress. 

These realisations come in stages. And there seem to be lot of different ways to make progress; but they are all just approximations - provisional but ultimately untrue theories designed to help, as we can seldom appreciate the truth of our existense all in one go. Hence the mystical explanations may be more useful than the rationalist explanations. But whatever the intermediate dharma, it is ultimately empty except as a crutch towards the final phenomological realisation of the true nature of our existence.

I think that Mr Ratzik has latched on to one small part of the intermediate dharma, and overanalysed it.  He doesn't seem to realise the final destination, or the empitness of the intermediate dharma. May he continue to make progress!

Metta

Malcolm

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/27/18 11:03 AM as a reply to Ward Law.
I'm not sure taking the neurobiology approach is helpful in this most recent essay by Jody, but his core statements about "the folk theorys of enlightenment" is right on. If people identify with one side of the spectrum of "enlighented identity" they fall into a big trap. Many people will talk about non-duality, but often you can hear in their language that actually they have fallen into the "I am everything" or the "I am nothing" identity. So Terry, Jody is actually _agreeing_ with you that "...no magic trick or sleight of hand can make the spirit in which grasping takes place into a dualistic subject of analysis and reductionism."

And Malcom, can you see that your view expressed in this quote  ---- " Once you realise that and live it on an ongoing basis, it becomes bizarre to define some of those sensations as 'self' and some and 'other', or to believe some are harmful and some are good.  It all just is the experience of being, of self/universe."    ----  is the "I am nothing" view? The buddha was very good at pointing out that the wish to not-exist is still a form of clinging. It's really important to see that. It's perfectly fine to have concepts of self and other. Concepts were never the problem. The problem is clinging to views, including self and other, in a fixed an unchanging way. "No self and no other" is a view which is perfectly appropriate at times, but it isn't one to cling to. 

I think this article lays out his views more clearly:
https://medium.com/@kalieezchild/the-folk-theory-of-nondual-enlightenment-explained-e48083283077.





And while it's very easy to justify the "idea" of a guru or to pick and choose a few examples that worked well as teachers for specific people -- wow, be careful. It so rarely turns out well. 


For what it's worth, here is the conclusion at the end of the article I linked to:

"Concepts of nondual enlightenment may work against us in much the same way. If we don’t know what we’re looking at, it’s easy to mistake the counterfeit for the real. This is exacerbated by the fact that there is no point of comparison from which we can discriminate nondual awareness against that which we know as our everyday awareness. Throw in the idea that we need to get somewhere else (the top of the mountain,) or become someone else (a powerful, perfected divine being) in order to know nondual truth, and we’ve just displaced our perception of nondual awareness topographically, temporally and qualitatively.

I’m not suggesting that occlusion is the only reason that folks don’t appear to be noticing their own nondual awareness in an experientially authentic way, but I’m convinced it may bear at least some of the responsibility in some, if not most cases.

So, I just told you that by thinking of an elephant, you’re not likely to see the elephant. How do you go about not thinking of the elephant? There aren’t many options here, but there are a few approaches one can take.

One is to give up the search. Please note: this isn’t saying give up meditation or whatever spiritual practices you might be engaged in. But it is saying to forget the goal of your practice. The Bhagavad Gita says, “those who are motivated only by desire for the fruits of action are miserable, for they are constantly anxious about the results of what they do.” If you have the goal of nondual enlightenment, you’ve just precluded the recognition of your immediate nondual awareness as it exists within the moment you are considering it as a goal. You can still enjoy all the benefits of meditation without that goal in your day-to-day life, and by not having your enlightenment as a goal, you might bring its ever-present reality that much more into your field of understanding.

Another potential avenue is mindfulness. This is primarily a Buddhist practice, although Vedanta provides something similar, albeit in the form of negation. Mindfulness is simply watching the mind without attachment or reaction. That’s the hard part, not reacting. But if you do it enough you’ll get pretty good at it. That’s going to foster a certain clarity of insight. The more you know about yourself, the more you’ll know about yourself, and since nondual enlightenment is the ultimate knowing yourself, it makes sense that there’s a viable path to be trod in knowing yourself as much as you are able. Mindfulness is a simple (although initially difficult) way to arrive at self-knowledge of any kind.

Finally, there is the application of attention to imaginal ideas of God. In this, the goal is a state of surrender to whatever idea of God one might hold dear. Ramakrishna said, “bhakti (devotional yoga) is the easiest path,” for just this reason. For a sincere devotee, the will of God is paramount, and a surrendered devotee isn’t going to be asking for enlightenment, they are going to keep asking for more surrender to the will of God. In this way, you aren’t searching for anything, you are striving to be in ever more complete states of surrender. What those are will be completely self-determined, but since your mind is off nondual enlightenment, it might just sneak up on you and present itself unexpectedly. It’s certainly happened before."

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/27/18 10:01 AM as a reply to Ward Law.
The idea that views of concepts can be a hinderance to awakening is obvious (at least to most of us here). He may go a little too far out on a limb to demonize concepts, at least for your average DhO reader. After all, we have to say something about our experience but there's nothing wrong with his "simple awareness" model. 

This article does bring up a question I ocassionally ponder on: If I (or anyone), at the beginning of my meditation journey, was to have the intuition to do meditation practices without being previously exposed to dharma concepts, books, scriptures, forums, etc, how would I have described differently the resulting experiences? For example, I had a taste of deep "emptiness" early on in the journey, but it was before I stumbled upon any ideas of "non-self". Looking back at the experience with this concept of "non-self", I find idea "applicable", but probably would never had described it that way without exposure to insight teachings.             

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/27/18 10:56 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Yes. Reading the article I came upon this:

But since what is sought as spiritual enlightenment is within our own PE, any concept we attend to can only not be it. And if the recognition of simple awareness apart from compound awareness is a kind of attentional skill, filling your head with ideas aboutsomething that cannot be conceptualized in any way to any degree due to its essential aconceptuality seems the epitome of unhelpful, yet this is the primary activity of the teachers and gurus who are currently transmitting the contents of SEC!

Says a lot, IMHO.

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/27/18 12:48 PM as a reply to shargrol.
[quote=shargrol

The buddha was very good at pointing out that the wish to not-exist is still a form of clinging. It's really important to see that. It's perfectly fine to have concepts of self and other. Concepts were never the problem. The problem is clinging to views, including self and other, in a fixed an unchanging way. "No self and no other" is a view which is perfectly appropriate at times, but it isn't one to cling to. 
]
aloha shargrol,

   The buddha was even better at pointing out that "self, personality, ego, or liver-of-life" was a delusion. That is, something one clings to. A "core teaching of the buddha" is the non-self character of reality, one of the three marks of existence. Anatta (non-self), anicca (impermanent), dukkha (inherently unsatisfactory). All objects are objects of desire, including any sense of individual self. It is one thing to play the part, another to be deluded into believing one is the part. This appears as a duality but playing a part is actually quite automatic and doesn't require any sort of commanding self. Another core teaching involves seeing the apparent self as the five skandhas, just a bunch of automatic processes which proceed of their own volition. We only imagine there is some sort of self in control and responsible. We create a narrative for ourselves which is new/old every moment, and we do it automatically. The delusion involves identifying with any of it. 

   Anthony demello contrasts the different attitude of the scientist studying ants, with no idea of altering their behavior, to that of the dog trainer who wants the animal to behave in certain ways. The ego standpoint is going to fundamentally interfere on the basis of ignorance with the directness and purity of one's true nature. The non-ego standpoint, undeluded, sees clearly, as though through still water.

   Dogen liked to say, "an foot of water, a foot of wave." This refers to the nature of water, which is the absolute, the One Brilliant Gem, and the nature of wave, which refers to the worlds of human social conditioning which provide the context for skill in means and for he liberation of all beings, which actually liberates no one because there are no individual beings, only the One Pearl. All distinction and differentiation involves automatic processes. All these meaningless details certainly "exist" in a sense but they don't need to be identified as "mine." Anything that apparently exists has been ripped (more or less violently) out of the One Without a Second, out of nonduality, and subjected to delusion.

   Consider the way we see the world: all in the mind. If you look through a lens, say binoculars, and swing from side to side, all the images will blur. Swing your eyeballs, which are lenses, and no blurring takes place. We see ony what we believe is "out there," and are looking at a virtual reality construct, a panorama, in our minds.  I became viscerally aware of this when I had a stroke a couple of years ago and lost vision in the upper temporal quadrant of the left eye and the upper nasal quadrant of the right eye for some six weeks. I couldn't make a left turn to save my life, but I was completely convinced I could see the full range of vision, even though the upper left seemed unaccountably dark and my left turns nearly caused accidents, This didn't stop me from driving; I truly believed I could see and that the darkness was "out there" somehow. The illusion was perfect. But the cat scan said stroke and vision tests proved I could not see in those quadrants.

   Please don't think I am patronizing you, my friend: I'm sure you are completely familiar with the core teachings of the buddha. I'm trying to put them in a certain consistent perspective. As much for me as for anyone. There is in fact nothing in the quoted statement I disagree with.


terry


All the time I pray to Buddha
I keep on 
killing mosquitoes.

issa

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/27/18 1:29 PM as a reply to Nick O.
Nick O:
The idea that views of concepts can be a hinderance to awakening is obvious (at least to most of us here). He may go a little too far out on a limb to demonize concepts, at least for your average DhO reader. After all, we have to say something about our experience but there's nothing wrong with his "simple awareness" model. 

This article does bring up a question I ocassionally ponder on: If I (or anyone), at the beginning of my meditation journey, was to have the intuition to do meditation practices without being previously exposed to dharma concepts, books, scriptures, forums, etc, how would I have described differently the resulting experiences? For example, I had a taste of deep "emptiness" early on in the journey, but it was before I stumbled upon any ideas of "non-self". Looking back at the experience with this concept of "non-self", I find idea "applicable", but probably would never had described it that way without exposure to insight teachings.             

aloha nick,

   My initial experience with nonduality occurred when I was twenty, and I had no knowledge whatever of buddhism or any other wisdom tradition, and thought of myself as a disinterested atheist.

   At the time I was overwhelmed with a sense of the meaninglessness of phenomena. I was looking at a bush on a dune at pokai bay on oahu, and thinking that the bush was totally meaningless. That I could blot it out if I chose. It was so meaningless that when I blotted it out, there would be no blackness behind it, just a complete Void. At that moment I felt an overpowering, uplifting Joy, and an accompanying fear. I was presented with a choice, to return to the company of my fellows and believe as they believed, or to live free and independent. It came to me that I could now "paint the world in any colors I chose" and so I chose to be free. I felt completely at one with the universe, my body continuous with the air and sunshine and sky. After that I was unconscious for a month or so, though I continued to do my job adequately (apparently). When I emerged I asked my friends what I had been saying while I was "out" and they told me I kept telling them that everything was perfectly fine and not to worry about anything.

terry


Even with insects— 
some can sing, 
    some can’t.

issa

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/27/18 2:25 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Yes. Reading the article I came upon this:

But since what is sought as spiritual enlightenment is within our own PE, any concept we attend to can only not be it. And if the recognition of simple awareness apart from compound awareness is a kind of attentional skill, filling your head with ideas aboutsomething that cannot be conceptualized in any way to any degree due to its essential aconceptuality seems the epitome of unhelpful, yet this is the primary activity of the teachers and gurus who are currently transmitting the contents of SEC!

Says a lot, IMHO.


aloha chris,

   What is sought is not within one's own "PE."  As joyce said, this is a realm "where the hand of man has never set foot." Or in the gospel of thomas (almost the same wording is found in islamic hadith):

(17) Jesus said: I will give you what no eye has seen and what no ear has heard and what no hand has touched and what has not entered into the heart of man.

   I cannot testify as to the "primary activity" of current teachers as I don't personally know any, but if they are real teachers - like seung sahn or the late shunryu suzuki - they are pointing to what is beyond individual personal experience.

(my personal regards, brother)
terry



the heart sutra
(trans thich nhat hanh)

"Avlokiteshvara
while practicing deeply with
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore,
suddenly discovered that
all of the five Skandhas are equally empty,
and with this realisation
he overcame all Ill-being.

“Listen Sariputra,
this Body itself is Emptiness
and Emptiness itself is this Body.
This Body is not other than Emptiness
and Emptiness is not other than this Body.
The same is true of Feelings,
Perceptions, Mental Formations,
and Consciousness.

“Listen Sariputra,
all phenomena bear the mark of Emptiness;
their true nature is the nature of
no Birth no Death,
no Being no Non-being,
no Defilement no Purity,
no Increasing no Decreasing.

“That is why in Emptiness,
Body, Feelings, Perceptions,
Mental Formations and Consciousness
are not separate self entities.

The Eighteen Realms of Phenomena
which are the six Sense Organs,
the six Sense Objects,
and the six Consciousnesses
are also not separate self entities.

The Twelve Links of Interdependent Arising
and their Extinction
are also not separate self entities.
Ill-being, the Causes of Ill-being,
the End of Ill-being, the Path,
insight and attainment,
are also not separate self entities.

Whoever can see this
no longer needs anything to attain.

Bodhisattvas who practice
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
see no more obstacles in their mind,
and because there
are no more obstacles in their mind,
they can overcome all fear,
destroy all wrong perceptions
and realize Perfect Nirvana.

“All Buddhas in the past, present and future
by practicing
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
are all capable of attaining
Authentic and Perfect Enlightenment.

“Therefore Sariputra,
it should be known that
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
is a Great Mantra,
the most illuminating mantra,
the highest mantra,
a mantra beyond compare,
the True Wisdom that has the power
to put an end to all kinds of suffering.
Therefore let us proclaim
a mantra to praise
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore.

Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!”


(the following translation is from tibetan teacher dan brown)

From the end of the Heart Sutra:

Gate, gate – beyond thought
Paragate – beyond personal identity
Parasamgate- beyond constructions of Time
Bodhi – awakened awareness gone beyond individual consciousness
Svaha – ohh, ah, wow!

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/27/18 2:39 PM as a reply to terry.
What is sought is not within one's own "PE." 

Did you read the whole article, terry? I think you'd probably agree with it.

I cannot testify as to the "primary activity" of current teachers as I don't personally know any, but if they are real teachers - like seung sahn or the late shunryu suzuki - they are pointing to what is beyond individual personal experience.

Can you elaborate on this, please? If what we seek can't be experienced by a human being then how do we even know it exists? In all the reading and studying I've done about Buddhism it has never addressed something that cannot be experienced. What Buddhism seeks, at least in my view, is that which is beyond words and concepts, yet experienced by all humans. The trick is to recognize the difference between that and what we normally see.

In fact, a famous one of the Buddha's quotes in the suttas, describing exactly this says, "In the seen, only the seen. In the heard, only the heard..."

The Heart Sutra is describing this same thing. Emptiness in Buddhism isn't "not experienced." It's emptiness of meaning, of permanence. We can certainly experience that, right?

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/29/18 7:34 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
What is sought is not within one's own "PE." 

Did you read the whole article, terry? I think you'd probably agree with it.

I cannot testify as to the "primary activity" of current teachers as I don't personally know any, but if they are real teachers - like seung sahn or the late shunryu suzuki - they are pointing to what is beyond individual personal experience.

Can you elaborate on this, please? If what we seek can't be experienced by a human being then how do we even know it exists? In all the reading and studying I've done about Buddhism it has never addressed something that cannot be experienced. What Buddhism seeks, at least in my view, is that which is beyond words and concepts, yet experienced by all humans. The trick is to recognize the difference between that and what we normally see.

In fact, a famous one of the Buddha's quotes in the suttas, describing exactly this says, "In the seen, only the seen. In the heard, only the heard..."

The Heart Sutra is describing this same thing. Emptiness in Buddhism isn't "not experienced." It's emptiness of meaning, of permanence. We can certainly experience that, right?


aloha chris,

   Thanks for asking, brother. Elaborate I can. The distinction may seem like a subtle one and so please bear with me if I repeat some of points from different angles.

   I read enough of the article to know that I do not agree with the guy.  Shargrol pointed out that the man's conclusions were not inconsistent with my expressions on the intellectual level. If my work is read entirely on "the intellectual level" nothing I say will have any useful effect. My "teachings" are the buddha's teachings. None of it is meant for the intellect. Quite the reverse: the intellect needs to be put to sleep. Using powers only confirms oneself in ego.

   The whole thrust of the man's argument is to cast doubt on the way people express the dhamma. He tars the whole gamut of wisdom teachers with a broad brush. It does not matter what his conclusions are. He casts doubt as his primary consideration. Even a bad guru can transmit the truth to a receptive soul. Dylan said "private reasons/ great or small/ can be seen in the eyes/ of those that call/ to make all that should be killed to crawl/ while others say don't hate nothing at all/ except hatred." Radzik's aims are "private" and personal, he's making his living - his aim is not to further the dhamma. In My Humble Opinion. Really bad teachers should be "killed" at one level (this one); really good teachers should also be "killed," at another level. The best teachers often get killed anyway. Middling teachers we may take case by case; with tolerance and compassion and love for all of them. Guru critics, on the other hand, take it upon themselves to undermine the efforts of many sincere people whose thoughts and words often help and rarely do significant harm.
 

The devil can cite scripture for his purpose
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!”


― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

also,

Mark 3:28-30: "Truly I tell you, all sins and blasphemes will be forgiven for the sons of men. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin. He said this because they [the Pharisees] were saying, 'He has an evil spirit'."



   As for experience, bra, Experience requires an Experiencer. Nonduality, aka "the Truth," or "The Teaching" - dhamma - is not experienced because there is no one to experience it.  Simple as this is, it is not obvious. Or, not obvious to most people; why is that?

   Science and philosophy generally - though not at its higher reaches - adopt as a basic premise the ego standpoint. This is due entirely to social conditioning (aka doing as "they" do). The gospel of thomas says:

(4) Jesus said, "The man old in days will not hesitate to ask a small child seven days old about the place of life, and he will live. For many who are first will become last, and they will become one and the same."

The tao te ching similarly refers to the "child of seven days who has not yet learned how to smile" as an exemplar the wise turn to for insight. What does this infant know that we do not, or have lost? It has no sense of separation, no sense of individuality: it is one with the world. And so are we all. There are "not two" of us, brother. Every life that ever was, is or will be is your life. Nietzsche's concept of "eternal recurrence" involves the insight that every life is the same life. Born, fruit, flower, decay, die. Rinse and repeat. Learn to love it; don't identify, don't separate. Compassion is not a practice - there is no one to practice - caring for the world is like caring for your limbs or senses.

   The error which occludes our vision also has to do with the delusion that consciousness itself, or "bare consciousness," is somehow central, basic and self-like. This is very far from the case. What we are most involved in, quite tangibly, has little to do with consciousness. In the west this was discovered by heidegger (and of course freud on the biological level), who draws a distinction between the equipment which we are using which has disappeared from consciousness, and the equipment which is broken, and thus appears to consciousness. Our conscious world is one of broken tools, aka dukkha.

   The conscious person is hardly aware of the constant act of coping that is being performed. We transit from a series of environments or worlds, our home, our car, the roads, our workplace, the stores, starbucks, post offices, hospitals, airports, and so on. We have learned through imitation and conformity - most of it unconscious - how to act in each of these environments. What we are familiar with and practiced in comes readily to us without any need for conscious awareness. We can drive, post a letter, go to the doctor, shop, labor at our jobs, and virtually sleep through the entire process. At least it should be obvious that most of our everday coping is done quite unconsciously in the grip of habit. Like any other animal.

   What has become habitual to us is comfortable, almost effortless, and unconscious. We are aware of - and uncomfortable in - new environments. We are unsure, hesitant and think and move awkwardly, aware of every detail that catches our attention. This is unpleasant for us human animals and our fellow creatures and we tend to stick to "what we know." That is, we stick as closely as we can to going through life as an unconscious - but comfortable - being. Ignorance as "bliss."

   Human beingts are toolmakers and every thing we surround ourselves with is a tool. If you don't spend much time exposed to nature your life is almost entirely artificial. Everything is artifice: the computer, the couch, the house, the road, the car, every destination we go to - all of it is equipment and it is our socio-physical world, alienated from nature; the real (natural) world can be accessed directly only without tools. Like, from "inside," as all-of-a-piece, inside/outside same same.

   Our consciousness is happy to automate by habit all of our coping skills/mechanisms with all of our environments, or "worlds." Thus we are unaware of what is functioning normally. We brush our teeth and are unaware of our hands performing the familiar activity. We take a shower and find ourselves done before we know it, scrubbed and shampooed. For those who make a point of going from one familiar activity to another, life seems very short, as they are aware of very little. 

   Consciousness wakes up when it perceives something wrong. This expletive computer isn't doing what I expect and desire of it. Or, what is the matter with my foot all of a sudden. Or, I need to get this item fixed. Or, so-and-so is a jerk. And on and on. Consciousness becomes a continuous litany of insults and breakage, as what works smoothly is ignored and taken for granted. Every thing we are conscious of is dukkha.

   Our world is very limited, we live within these various social walls, as unconscious of our environments as a fish is of water, or a bird of the air. Dogen spoke of a man out at sea looking around and seeing only the flat horizon, though he knows that somewhere there are cities and mountains and rivers. He spoke of a man in a boat on a river, seeing the scenery going by and thinking he himself is fixed and the scenery is moving. When he looks directly at the boat (yana, vehicle; tools, equipment) he sees that it is he that is moving, and the boat is an integral part of this movement.

   The buddha was an impressive man. When people saw him they were awed. They asked him, are you a god? No, he said. An angel? No, he said. Then what manner of being are you? I am awake, he said. What did he mean? He specifically was not referring to "ordinary" consciousness; in the suttas the buddha distinguished between ordinary men and "true aryans." There was birth-and-death consciousness, and then there was (birthless) nibbana.

   Is nibbana a state of consciousness? This is the question, no? I am saying nibbana is the end of ego-consciousness, that is, the end of consciousness as we know it. "Consciousness" (of objects and subjects, aka dualism) is pathological. The idea that individual consciousness is a genuine self, that is, involves an "experiencer," is very essence of delusion.

   Nonduality is full of paradox; it is paradox itself. Nibbana is a superconscious state in which ordinary consciousness is obliterated. Any of us who have had a real taste of nonduality cannot deny these truths. However briefly, many of us posting here have escaped once or from time to time the dissatisfaction of ordinary, unawake "consciousness." 

   A zen master once asked a monk if he had attained to the peak of the mountain of illumination. The monk replied that he had. The master then asked, and did you find anyone there? The monk replied, no, there was no one. Then the master said, and here I had thought that you had not actually been there. The monk responded, if I had not been there, how would I have known there was no one there?


  Lastly, the heart sutra does not speak of experiencing. It says:

Bodhisattvas who practice
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
see no more obstacles in their mind,
and because there
are no more obstacles in their mind,
they can overcome all fear,
destroy all wrong perceptions
and realize Perfect Nirvana.

Though he speaks of bodhisattvas as "they" as though they were doers, "they" are actually not two, "because there are no more obstacles in their mind." TNH refers specifically in this sutra to "mind" in the singular.

   And in "Perfect Nirvana" there is "no more coming to any state of being." The inner dialog just stops, the narrative stops being generated, and we begin to cope without effort or learning or conformity, without ego consciousness and the uphill, sysiphean effort to alter the nature of things. When one no longer desires alteration, things ("obstacles") disappear. A blank is not really a blank, thus it is truly a blank. A horse (a particuar horse, like seabiscuit, or mr ed) is not a "real" horse (the word "horse" is generic and refers to a universal horse, the Form of a horse), therefore it is truly a horse (in suchness the individual horse is the current face or a glint of light of the One Brilliant Gem). "First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is."


from the shorter discourse on the lion's roar:


17. "Bhikkhus, when ignorance is abandoned and true knowledge has arisen in a bhikkhu, then with the fading away of ignorance and the arising of true knowledge he no longer clings to sensual pleasures, no longer clings to views, no longer clings to rules and observances, no longer clings to a doctrine of self. When he does not cling, he is not agitated. When he is not agitated, he personally attains Nibbana. He understands: 'Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of being.'" 

   To dwell in the true dhamma, in nibbana, the ego has to die, so to speak: be seen through as delusion, and then the raft of "seeing through" is itself dropped. Observe the consistency and unanimity of the defense, how the teachings of the buddha are combined to save us from abandoning ego, and the birthing of a bodhisattva. The last thing the self-identified ego wants is to be free. All teachings are diverted to make the ego more comfortable in the saddle. "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

terry



Writing shit about new snow
for the rich
is not art.

issa



The crow  
walks along there
as if it were tilling the field.

issa



Don't worry, spiders,
I keep house
casually.

issa

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/30/18 7:56 AM as a reply to terry.
 As for experience, bra, Experience requires an Experiencer. Nonduality, aka "the Truth," or "The Teaching" - dhamma - is not experienced because there is no one to experience it.  Simple as this is, it is not obvious. Or, not obvious to most people; why is that?


Hello, terry.

Yours is a very literal interpretation of what the self might actually be. While there is indeed no permanent self, as the Buddha and those of us who practice the teachings know, it's simply not true that there is no self at all. The human array of senses still work to produce signals that are then interpreted by the human brain and mind to create the experiences we have. There is no denying that this process occurs, no way around it, and those experiences are not just the core and essence, but the literal reality we human beings experience.

We can argue about who experiences this 'til the cows come home and the sun sets in the east, but it's quite clear from my experience, and from what the Buddha taught, that there is a vast, uncrossable chasm between not-self and no-self at all.

The difference is between focusing on the impermanent "experiencer" part of this as opposed to the "experience" itself, which while impermanent is a real thing - we all have experiences.

Thank you for your very detailed reply  emoticon



RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/30/18 7:59 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Further thoughts on the not-self vs. no-self issue:

This is a discussion that comes up over and over and over again on DhO. It's an easy leap into the "there is no self at all" mode of thinking. It's a simple construction from the confusion some dharma translators and dharna teachers create. "No-self" is bandied about and substituted for "not-self" on a regular basis, leading practitioners to adopt the language and the concept. Problem is, the concept doesn't square with what we find from pursuing a diligent practice. There we find how the mind processes information and creates our reality, and that reality includes the naturally arising notion of "I/me/mine." That naturally arising phenomenon is a chimera and we make the conceptual leap to conclude that there is a permanence to the self (I/me/mine) that simply does not exist. But... the processes that support its arising are real, and undeniable.

So if we're to address the fitness of dharna teachers, I see this as one very effective way to find out if a teacher knows what they're talking about from experience, or if they're just talking philosophy and metaphysics from reading stuff and thinking about it, or taking someone else's word for it.

And, just for the record, skepticism and doubt are really important parts of the path. The path is meant to be discovered by each of us, one by one, as we pursue it. It's not an exercise in belief. It's a "bottom up" process as opposed to a "top down" belief system.


emoticon

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/30/18 8:17 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Further thoughts on the not-self vs. no-self issue:

This is a discussion that comes up over and over and over again on DhO. It's an easy leap into the "there is no self at all" mode of thinking. It's a simple construction from the confusion some dharma translators and dharna teachers create. "No-self" is bandied about and substituted for "not-self" on a regular basis, leading practitioners to adopt the language and the concept. Problem is, the concept doesn't square with what we find from pursuing a diligent practice. There we find how the mind processes information and creates our reality, and that reality includes the naturally arising notion of "I/me/mine." That naturally arising phenomenon is a chimera and we make the conceptual leap to conclude that there is a permanence to the self (I/me/mine) that simply does not exist. But... the processes that support its arising are real, and undeniable.

So if we're to address the fitness of dharna teachers, I see this as one very effective way to find out if a teacher knows what they're talking about from experience, or if they're just talking philosophy and metaphysics from reading stuff and thinking about it, or taking someone else's word for it.

And, just for the record, skepticism and doubt are really important parts of the path. The path is meant to be discovered by each of us, one by one, as we pursue it. It's not an exercise in belief. It's a "bottom up" process as opposed to a "top down" belief system.


emoticon
Very true. A huge red flag for me is when teachers seem to think that their own introspection has given them a lock on what ontological Reality actually is.
That's not what we're doing here, and it wasn't even the focus of the Buddha of the suttas, who for the most part refused to go there.

  

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/30/18 1:10 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
 As for experience, bra, Experience requires an Experiencer. Nonduality, aka "the Truth," or "The Teaching" - dhamma - is not experienced because there is no one to experience it.  Simple as this is, it is not obvious. Or, not obvious to most people; why is that?


Hello, terry.

Yours is a very literal interpretation of what the self might actually be. While there is indeed no permanent self, as the Buddha and those of us who practice the teachings know, it's simply not true that there is no self at all. The human array of senses still work to produce signals that are then interpreted by the human brain and mind to create the experiences we have. There is no denying that this process occurs, no way around it, and those experiences are not just the core and essence, but the literal reality we human beings experience.

We can argue about who experiences this 'til the cows come home and the sun sets in the east, but it's quite clear from my experience, and from what the Buddha taught, that there is a vast, uncrossable chasm between not-self and no-self at all.

The difference is between focusing on the impermanent "experiencer" part of this as opposed to the "experience" itself, which while impermanent is a real thing - we all have experiences.

Thank you for your very detailed reply  emoticon



aloha chris,

   In duality denial is always there. The human mind in ignorance interprets sensual inputs as individual experience, or in enlightenment does not interpret - there being no one to interpret - and thus there is nibbana. This "whole mass of suffering" cut off at the root: "gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, svaha bodi" as translated by alan ginsberg: "Gone gone totally gone totally gone over the top, wakened mind, So, ah!"

   You will, of course, have it your way. May you always be happy.

   You're welcome. Thanks for considering what I had to say.

terry



from seng tsan's hsinhsinming:

Words!
The Way is beyond language, 
for in it there is 
no today
no yesterday 
no tomorrow 

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/30/18 1:20 PM as a reply to terry.
Hi again, terry.

The human mind in ignorance interprets sensual inputs as individual experience, or in enlightenment does not interpret - there being no one to interpret - and thus there is nibbana.

I can agree that there is no permanent person/identity, but there is interpretation. How else do you navigate the world?

Another misconception that we see a lot -- somehow folks believe there are two distinct and separate realities, one that is comprised entirely of ignorance, and one that is comprised entirely of non-dual nirvana. But that's not what we learn from our practice and it's not what the Buddha taught. Nirvana is not a separate existence. That would be heaven. Nirvana is the realization, in real time, of how our experience is constructed such that we can see how ignorance is created and avoid its grasp.


RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/30/18 2:36 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
from what the Buddha taught, that there is a vast, uncrossable chasm between not-self and no-self at all.



aloha chris,

   Vast it may be, but not uncrossable, bra...there is the 8fold path...the Great Way..."gone beyond" physics and metaphysics....

   "The way up and the way down are one and the same." (heraclitus)

terry


this from tricycle's website, the green koans section:


CASE #32: The Buddha’s Mission

A sutra teaches:

As long as selfish and defiled minds create their own worlds and circumstances, there will be no end to the Buddha’s mission.

BACKGROUND:
Their own worlds and circumstances     A core teaching of Buddhism, found in numerous Mahayana sutras, states: “If a person’s mind becomes pure, his surroundings will also become pure.” Naturally, the obverse is also true: If a person’s mind is impure, his surroundings will be, too. That seems to be the meaning here.

COMMENTARY:
Why does a buddha appear in the world? Because deluded beings create their own world, separate from all that is. And not just one world. Around each deluded thought another and another world appears, until eventually there is a multiplicity of worlds. Flowers go unnoticed. Species come and go. Whole epochs pass while we wander from one world to another, looking for the one that is real.

Into this situation steps the Tathagata, or “Thus Come One.” Where does he come from? It’s the wrong question. The world of Nature doesn’t come or go.

VERSE:
Buddha once held up
A flower for all to see.
Who knew a blossom
Could contain every being
Ever born into this world?

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/30/18 4:59 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Hi again, terry.

The human mind in ignorance interprets sensual inputs as individual experience, or in enlightenment does not interpret - there being no one to interpret - and thus there is nibbana.

I can agree that there is no permanent person/identity, but there is interpretation. How else do you navigate the world?

Another misconception that we see a lot -- somehow folks believe there are two distinct and separate realities, one that is comprised entirely of ignorance, and one that is comprised entirely of non-dual nirvana. But that's not what we learn from our practice and it's not what the Buddha taught. Nirvana is not a separate existence. That would be heaven. Nirvana is the realization, in real time, of how our experience is constructed such that we can see how ignorance is created and avoid its grasp.



aloha chris,

    How do I navigate the world? I don't. Chuang tzu tells a story about a snake, who inquired of the millipede, how do you manage all those legs? The millipede replied, I don't manage them. When I try I just get all tangled up. If I let them manage themselves, I get around all right.

   You are of course right there are not two worlds. There is only nibbana, which dualistically appears as insight or delusion, and nondually has no appearance, only presence. 

tao te ching, trans feng

chapter one

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. 
The name that can be named is not the eternal name. 
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth. 
The named is the mother of the ten thousand things. 
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery. 
Ever desiring, one sees the manifestations. 
These two spring from the same source but differ in name; this appears as darkness. 
Darkness within darkness. 
The gate to all mystery.

and

Dogen, shobogenzo, from "the issue at hand," trans cleary:

"When all things are Buddha-teachings, then there is delusion and enlightenment, there is cultivation of practice, there is birth, there is death, there are Buddhas, there are sentient beings. When myriad things are all not self, there is no delusion, no enlightenment, no Buddhas, no sentient beings, no birth, no death. Because the Buddha Way originally sprang forth from abundance and paucity, there is birth and death, delusion and enlightenment, sentient beings and Buddhas. Moreover, though this is so, flowers fall when we cling to them, and weeds only grow when we dislike them.

  "Acting on and witnessing myriad things with the burden of oneself is "delusion." Acting on and witnessing oneself in the advent of myriad things is enlightenment. Great enlightenment about delusion is Buddhas; great delusion about enlightenment is sentient beings. There are those who attain enlightenment on top of enlightenment, and there are those who are further deluded in the midst of delusion. When the Buddhas are indeed Buddhas, there is no need to be self-conscious of being Buddhas; nevertheless it is realizing buddhahood - Buddhas go on realizing.

   "In seeing forms with the whole body-mind, hearing sound with the whole body-mind, though one intimately understands, it isn't like reflecting images in a mirror, it's not like water and the moon - when you witness one side, one side is obscure.

   "Studying the Buddha Way is studying oneself. Studying oneself is forgetting oneself. Forgetting oneself is being enlightened by all things. Being enlightened by all things is causing the body-mind of oneself and the body-mind of others to be shed. There is ceasing the traces of enlightenment, which causes one to forever leave the traces of enlightenment which is cessation.

   "When people first seek the Teaching, they are far from the bounds of the Teaching. Once the Teaching is properly conveyed in oneself, already one is the original human being."


   I won't comment further on these core teachings and values of buddhism. If the fundamental standpoint from which all ideas are evaluated is that of an (dualistic) experiencing ego, explanations can only focus on that sticking point. The real point is to go deeper. Buddhism is not metaphysics, it is soteriology.


terry



In these latter-day,
Degenerate times,
Cherry-blossoms everywhere!

issa

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/31/18 4:54 AM as a reply to terry.
Aloha terry, your perspective seems like a bit of a riff on the abidharmic / burmese / MCTB approach.  Do you mind if I ask how you practice?  Or how you have practiced since your big non-dual experience in your youth (assuming you are no longer in your twenties ...)  Asking for a friend.  emoticon 

Seriously, I get the impression that while there are many doors to the dharma initially, things tend to converge at least a bit later on, and I would be really interested to hear more of the practicalities of your perspective.  Chris has really generously shared his amazing practice logs elsewhere, so this question is not intended to be picking between perspectives. Just hoping to fill out the picture.

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/31/18 6:56 AM as a reply to curious.
It's easy to read terry's comment that says "I don't" navigate the world as a negation of existence. I don't think that's what terry is actually saying. I think what terry means is that there is no permanent "terry" and that "terry" has no agency or control over his experience. In classic Zen fashion, terry is probably pointing. In classic vipassana/Theravada fashion, I'm describing the detail of the mind processes involved.

Language and terminology disconnect!

emoticon

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
10/31/18 2:17 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Thanks Chris!  Really helpful.

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
11/2/18 2:50 PM as a reply to curious.
curious:
Aloha terry, your perspective seems like a bit of a riff on the abidharmic / burmese / MCTB approach.  Do you mind if I ask how you practice?  Or how you have practiced since your big non-dual experience in your youth (assuming you are no longer in your twenties ...)  Asking for a friend.  emoticon 

Seriously, I get the impression that while there are many doors to the dharma initially, things tend to converge at least a bit later on, and I would be really interested to hear more of the practicalities of your perspective.  Chris has really generously shared his amazing practice logs elsewhere, so this question is not intended to be picking between perspectives. Just hoping to fill out the picture.


aloha curious,

  
   You are asking about nearly fifty years of practice, and I have led an eventful life, the whole of which was practice.

   Born in nyc, raised on long island, I went to college in upstate ny (where I met my wife; we were 19), majored in psychology. By my second semester I had figured out that none of the profs knew anything about psychology despite their talk; they were in fact the craziest people on campus. I dropped out of college knowing that the war would take me. I joined the navy initially in order to minimize the dangers of combat. I got a draft notice while in boot camp, but the navy kept me. I actually volunteered for viet nam, but being the military they sent me to hawaii. Shore duty; in two plus years in the navy I never set foot on a navy ship. My then girlfriend and wife of 49 years joined me on base at nrs lualualei. I was the base clerk - readers of catch 22 know that the base clerks actually run the military, and network to increase their power. I was also the only non-commissioned man on base with a live-in girlfriend. Among my hats was the designation of "petty officer in charge of new personnel indoctrination." Every new guy on base came over to my off-base apartment and smoked a joint for lunch on their first day (my roomate was their direct supervisor, how could they refuse?). After a couple of years the base was entirely radicalized. At one point the wearing of shaggy mustaches became a badge of rebellion. The mustang commander ordered all men on base to shave their mustaches. I alone refused. The commander told the bosun to write me up for refusal to obey a direct order. The commander did not know that the bosun was functionally illiterate and depended on me to write things up for him; no worries, boats, I'll take care of it for you. So I wrote myself up for "failing to obey a lawful order or regulation" which sounded ok to the local brass but actually meant a traffic ticket. I insisted, as was my right on any charge, not being at sea, to a court martial. Paperwork was sent to pearl harbor and the legal office declined to prosecute; this was 1969 and they weren't taking any more mustache and haircut cases to courts martial. When the paperwork came back to my base (to me) I asserted to all that the case was declined because the order had been illegal, and so I could keep my mustache. So for a year I grew out mustache and sideburns luxuriously and was the only one who dared. I was never inspected anyway, as it was my job to follow the commander during inspections and record his criticisms. I used to make faces at my friends to try to make them laugh as they were being inspected. I enjoyed my time in the navy for the most part, but felt guilty about my part in the war effort. I used to meet soldiers on r & r in honolulu and drop acid or mescaline with them. They were supposed to be meeting wives there but half the time the wives wouldn't show up or were a sham. Most of these guys were survivors - the good people were dead - and many relished talking about setting ambushes and taking trophies. Typically they would identify a moment of compassion as the time they got wounded.

   There was a group of us sailors determined to make our way out of the navy before our time was up, so as to actualize our rejection of the war. By various methods we succeeded. I managed to get an honorable discharge - I was an exemplary base clerk - while finally being recognized as "psychologically unsuitable for military service." 

   Before my descent into meaninglessness and subsequent nondual nuking, I was part of a close group of friends, who never abandoned me. After three or six weeks in unconscious satori, I was with four or five guys hanging out, and one of them said to me  - the first thing I remember - "That's ok for you but the rest of us don't feel that way." I woke up and asked him blankly what he was referring to, what had I been saying? They told me I had been saying  everything was perfect and all our concerns were going to work out fine.

   To make a long story short, we all got out of the navy and a half dozen or so of us and some other friends off of the uss coral sea (homeported in sf) formed a commune in california. In san rafael we rented a one bedroom apartment; carol and I slept in the bedroom and ten men slept in the living room. Soon we found a five bedroom farmhouse outside petaluma  on the road to bodega bay, and settled in, joined with female counterparts, became vegetarians, took drugs, and studied eastern religions. Hung out wth the doobie brothers and other musicians, among many others.

   500 or 1000 psychedelic trips later, we settled in oregon, called ourselves "the family" and had innumerable adventures, travelling for months at a time, going as far as oaxaca where we stayed for months, taking psilocybe mexicana, the best of the mushroom psychedelics, and smoking the finest sin semilla. I learned many skills and read many books. None of us worked more than a few months out of the year. Those who didn't work took loving care of those who did; wage workers had no other chores. We lived twelve to fifteen people in one house and because we really cared each for all we had very little trouble getting along. In this manner we could get by only making two or three thou a year each and live very well. We put all we earned into a sugar bowl, from whence whoever needed money took what they needed - this worked for fifteen years without an abuse. Eventually, my son blake was two and carol was pregnant with neal, and the numbers whittled down. Carol and I ended up on our own; I went back to school and graduated college (bs in bio) in denver as a medical technologist (clinical laboratory scientist). I worked in oregon and then we returned to hawaii in 1989, to kauai.

   I studied meditation but did not seriously practice it, all those years. We called our group a "sane asylum" and I would study texts and expound on them at the big table (we used to put a ping pong top on the big table, use fluorescent balls under a black light, and play real stoned). Marijuana and coffee were our staples, but a friend would bring us thousands of dried mushrooms from the washington coast every season for some years and we liked those.

   Once back in hawaii my life slows down and I work in hospitals for fifteen years. I had long since memorized the yi jing and I used to jingle coins in my pocket all the time, take out a 18 coins and rapidly construct a hexagram in my head, with its changes. I kept the world in this (confucian, family-oriented) perspective and myself essentially separate from the social construct. After working in lihue kauai for a couple of years and for kaiser in kona for a year, plus another couple of years in waimea and honokaa, I ended up at kohala hospital and carol and I bought a house in hawi (1995) and raised our two boys, the house we still are in today, though I spend half of my time in my shop in ocean view. Besides my shop/studio apartment I built a "meditation hall" whose sole appurtenance is a regulation pool table. It gets a lot of use: observing the tendency to be elated at a good shot and deflated at a bad one makes for a useful practice. Idries shah points out that, if you want to know if you are deluded, just ask within if you feel good about yourself.

   You asked about practice and I give you my autobiography. This is because my life is my practice, and my art. Meditation is a remedy. Our real practice is 24/7 living the life.

   Truth is, the whole raising of a family thing is more or less extraneous to practice. I was willing to sacrifice for my family, both my health and my life. There is a story about the life of milarepa, how he was a highwayman to support his family, with their tacit approval. When milarepa told marpa that he robbed and killed for the sake of his family, marpa took him to them and asked his family if they approved of milrepa's depredations, and they all expressed horror and disavowed any complicity in his acts. This opened milarepa's eyes. The family claimed they never asked him to sacrifice for them or do anyone harm, that everything he did was on his own head. This is the householder's situation: a beast of burden. Making a living is just maintaining, reproducing. There is no dignity or self respect involved. It is not the same as real work. My big impact as paterfamilias - attachment to which was abetted by the yi jing's profoundly confucian orienttion - 'did slowly go by.' The adjustment has given me a lot of time to meditate. This is very very much as it should be. Everything works out perfectly fine, as I knew when I was 20, if unconsciously.

   I had back surgery, retired at 55 on disability, while carol continued to teach, 20 years in the same classroom, kohala elementary kindergarten. Years go by, the back doesn't improve, for ten years I take narcotics and continue to work at crafts (silver jewelry) and study, this time western philosophy and psychology, from an eastern perspective. And grew top grade medical marijuana. Then I find myself in atrial fibrillation and tachycardia and get short of breath, thus having to stay on the couch for extended periods. I had to take powerful heart drugs which helped little and caused years of continuous nausea and frequent vomiting. Carol is a wonderful cook and enjoys it, but I would encourage her to cook and then refuse to eat, getting upset with her for not understanding that being unpredictably nauseous was not my fault. Tachycardia with a fib made me cranky and prone to exaggerated reactions to minor annoyances. I didn't like myself, either, and despite my illnesses bought some land in ocean view and with the help of my nephew built the cabin I am staying in now (I alternate with my home in hawi, more or less weekly). The time on the couch and the measured efforts of building healed my back and built it back into good shape. I had an operation in palo alto by the best guy in america for cardiac catheter ablations and am now in sinus rhythm and my a fib/tachycardia is presumably cured. I have been able to give up entirely both the narcotics  and the heart drugs and now have good digestion and an appetite, which pleases my wife. A normal heart rate enables me to be my normal sweet self, to the relief of those who know me. A new lease on life.

   The above is to explain about my meditation. I only seriously got into meditation when I found myself getting red in the face and nearly apoplectic at major annoyances and reacting in an exaggerated manner to minor ones. Then I actually did have a stroke that fortunately did little damage (I think). It was clear major changes were called for if I was to survive. I built the cabin and took up meditation. I was already very familiar with buddhism, advaita, you name it; I just hadn't practiced more than occasionally. Now I really needed some equanimity and peace, in fact I needed it desperately. 

   I started with fifteen minutes, staring out the window, trying to stay awake. I did this for months, generally doing a lot of nodding off. Eventuall I was able to stay awake and extend the time to an half hour, using a meditation object, such as a sitting buddha, and closing my eyes. I started to read a couple of suttas from the majjhima nikaya before each meditation and went through the fat valume 2 and 1/2 times. It is easy for me to "drop off the body" while thinking; I do it all the time. The second jhana, dropping the body while the mind is thoughtless, I can sometimes do frequently, and sometimes I have periods where no trance occurs and thoughts arise and pass away. I found thirty minutes insufficient, as I knew too readily when thirty monutes would end. I have done forty five the last year or two, twice a day most days. I credit this meditation practice with saving my life, as it made me far less cranky and potentially apoplectic. It was far more effective than the drugs: if I never took a single drug for my heart I would have been better off and had a much better quality of life for those years. If it weren't for my heart I might not have taken up meditation, but once having gotten used to it - a long process - I have found great benefits from the practice in clear mindedness and the feeling of a direct connection with Reality unmodified by consciousness.

   I took lsd for the first time in forty odd years a few weeks ago, to celebrate being in sinus rhythm - nothing like the return of health to embolden a man. It was very peaceful, not like I remember; no great insights, just peace and slow time, and the pool balls glowed in bright colors.

   The very first thing about buddhism is the insight that individual life involves suffering, as in birth, sickness, old age, and death. In our culture we shuffle the dead, the sick, and the old off into institutions so that no one has to look at them, and can ignore the inevitabilities of life. I talk to people about the 4NT's and they generally tell me, yeah, I'll get old, but not for a long time, so I don't need to worry about that now. But the life of a busy householder goes by in the blink of an eye. For the meditator who practices mindfulness, aka being awake, time hardly seems to pass at all. And for us older types, sickness, old age and death seem far more tangible. Never too late to get right with life.

   So, I have only actually practiced meditation with some constancy for a few years. But I have been thinking and talking about these things for a half century.

   That's my story, bra. You can pass it on to your friend if you like. I'm actually very forthcoming about my life, having no shame, so if you read my previous posts there is lots of personal detail.


terry


in my life
(lennon mccartney)

There are places I'll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I've loved them all
But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more
In my life-- I love you more

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
11/2/18 4:23 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
It's easy to read terry's comment that says "I don't" navigate the world as a negation of existence. I don't think that's what terry is actually saying. I think what terry means is that there is no permanent "terry" and that "terry" has no agency or control over his experience. In classic Zen fashion, terry is probably pointing. In classic vipassana/Theravada fashion, I'm describing the detail of the mind processes involved.

Language and terminology disconnect!

emoticon


aloha chris,

   My way amounts to such pointing, yes, thank you for the kind observation. I feel no disconnect with "vipassana/Theravada fashion." One turn of the wheel is the same as another.  As monkey (of the eponymous classic chinese tale) used to say, "It's all one to me." We monkeys sing and dance in delight at any evidence of Truth; as the trees sway and the grass bends, all in Delight. All buddhas reside in nibbana/nirvana. Same same (as the filipinos say). The Tao. Allah. YHWH. The Kingdom of God. 

   I'm glad you are still seeking an accommodation between our views. All men of good will can eventually come to agreement if they keep trying, I have always been convinced.

   The contrast and exchange of views in dialogue - sincere dialogue betrween persons of good will - is more instructive than monologue. Dialogue necessarily takes place in the present.

terry


from the gospel of thomas:



These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke and which Didymos Judas Thomas wrote down.


(1) And he said, "Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death."

(2) Jesus said, "Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All."

(3) Jesus said, "If those who lead you say to you, 'See, the kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty."

(4) Jesus said, "The man old in days will not hesitate to ask a small child seven days old about the place of life, and he will live. For many who are first will become last, and they will become one and the same."

(5) Jesus said, "Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing hidden which will not become manifest."

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
11/2/18 5:07 PM as a reply to terry.
a couple of stories from thomas merton's "the way of chuang tzu":

(available here: https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/MertonChuangTzu.pdf)



WHEN THE SHOE FITS

Ch'ui the draftsman
Could draw more perfect circles freehand
Than with a compass.
His fingers brought forth
Spontaneous forms from nowhere.
His mind
Was meanwhile free and without concern
With what he was doing.
No application was needed
His mind was perfectly simple
And knew no obstacle.
So, when the shoe  fits
The foot is forgotten,
When the belt  fits
The belly is forgotten,
When the heart is right
"For" and "against" are forgotten.
No drives, no compulsions,
No needs, no attractions:
Then your affairs
Are under control.
You are a free man.

Easy is right. Begin right
And you are easy.
Continue easy and you are right.
The right way to go easy
Is to forget the right way
And forget that the going is easy.




WHEN KNOWLEDGE WENT NORTH

Knowledge wandered north
Looking for Tao, over the Dark Sea,
And up the Invisible Mountain.
There on the mountain he met
Non-Doing, the Speechless One.
He inquired:
"Please inform me, Sir,
By what system of thought
And what technique of meditation
I can apprehend Tao?
By what renunciation
Or what solitary retirement
May I rest in Tao?
Where must I start,
What road must I follow
To reach Tao?"
Such were his three questions.
Non-Doing, the Speechless One,
Made no reply.
Not only that,
He did not even know
How to reply!
Knowledge swung south
To the Bright Sea
And climbed the Luminous Mountain
Called "Doubt's End."
Here he met
Act-on-Impulse, the Inspired Prophet,
And asked the same questions.
"Ah," cried the Inspired One,
"I have the answers, and I will reveal them!"
But just as he was about to tell everything,
He forgot all he had in mind.
Knowledge got no reply.
So Knowledge went at last
To the palace of Emperor Ti,
And asked his questions of Ti.
Ti replied:
"To exercise no-thought
And follow no-way of meditation
Is  the  first step toward understanding Tao.
To dwell nowhere
And rest in nothing
Is the first step toward resting in Tao.
To start from nowhere
And follow no road
Is the  first step toward attaining Tao."
Knowledge replied: "You know this
And now I know it.
But the other two,
They did not know it.
What about that?
 Who is right?"
Ti replied:
Only Non-Doing, the Speechless One,
Was perfectly right.
He did not know.
Act-on-Impulse, the Inspired Prophet,
Only seemed right
Because he had forgotten.
As for us,
We come nowhere near being right,
Since we have the answers.
"For he who knows does not speak,
He who speaks does not know"
And "The Wise Man gives instruction
Without the use of speech." 
This story got back
To Act-on-Impulse
Who agreed with Ti's
Way of putting it.
It is not reported
That Non-Doing ever heard of the matter
Or made any comment.

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
11/3/18 8:15 AM as a reply to terry.
Aloha to you, terry. Thanks for posting your history. It's very interesting.

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
11/3/18 12:27 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Aloha to you, terry. Thanks for posting your history. It's very interesting.


de nada

a dios


aloha,
t

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
11/3/18 2:54 PM as a reply to terry.
from the way of chuang tzu, trans merton:



from 'leaving things alone':


You train your eye and your vision lusts after color.
You train your ear, and you long for delightful sound.
You de­light in doing good, and your natural kindness is blown out of shape.
You delight in righteousness, and you become righteous beyond all reason.
You overdo liturgy, and you tum into a ham actor.
Overdo your love of music, and you play com.
Love of wisdom leads to wise contriving.
Love of knowledge leads to faultfinding.
If men would stay as they really are, taking or leaving these eight delights would make no dfference.
But if they will not rest in their right state, the eight delights develop like malignant tumors.
The world falls into confusion.
Since men honor these delights, and lust after them, the world has gone stone-blind.

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
11/3/18 5:33 PM as a reply to curious.
curious:
Hey Ward, thanks for sharing.  And Terry - thank you for that lyrical reply.

I'll just add my 2c worth.  Reading the essay, I don't think the author quite gets it.  To me he is describing a stage on the road, but not the final destination. So all his analysis is a little bit off, I think. For me, I haven't reached the destination, but I think I can see it. So I will try to describe what I think I can see, using his kind of analytical terms.

The term phenomeonlogical envelope really appeals to me, so I will give Jody Ratzik that much. But I think the phenomenologial envelope is much broader than he thinks. It is not just a matter of shifting the locus of attention away from the body - rather it is understanding the construction of our whole universe. To borrow a metaphor from physics, it is like we each inhabit our own individual universe within a black hole, and these black holes float through space-time and interact a little bit, so they indirectly share some information and influence.  But we have no direct perception of what is inside the other black holes.  All we have is ourselves (our own universe, within our own black hole).  We constantly recreate our universe through the act of observation, it is identical to us, and it lives and it dies with us.

So to haul up the anchor of self as Mr Ratzik suggests, to change how attention is constructed around our identify, is certainly a stage of progress.  But the destination, as far as I can understand, is way beyond that.  The destination is to directly realise and live the fact that all the observed world (and ourselves) is just a hubbub of sensations - that there is nothing but the sensations within the 'black hole' of the observations of our personal universe.  Once you realise that and live it on an ongoing basis, it becomes bizarre to define some of those sensations as 'self' and some and 'other', or to believe some are harmful and some are good.  It all just is the experience of being, of self/universe. It just is. This is a huge phenomenological shift that goes well beyond what Jody Ratzik seems to be talking about.  

So most of the mystical statements seem to me to be understandable in analytical terms. Presence, the present, nothing, empitness, light and energy, oneness, divinity, higher self. They are all just recognition that through the act of being we dwell in a unique individual universe which is identical to the sum of our phenomenological perceptions. This is not to deny the existence of other people, or to deny the existence of a material plane.  But it is to say that we never experience those things directly and they only affect our own phenomological universe very indirectly.  All we actually do is experience our sensations. And as long as we form these sensation into concepts of self and other, and assign reactions to them, we create unnecessary stress.

I don't have any explanation for why bliss, compassion and love come along with these realisations, unless these terms are just another way of describing the absence of stress. 

These realisations come in stages. And there seem to be lot of different ways to make progress; but they are all just approximations - provisional but ultimately untrue theories designed to help, as we can seldom appreciate the truth of our existense all in one go. Hence the mystical explanations may be more useful than the rationalist explanations. But whatever the intermediate dharma, it is ultimately empty except as a crutch towards the final phenomological realisation of the true nature of our existence.

I think that Mr Ratzik has latched on to one small part of the intermediate dharma, and overanalysed it.  He doesn't seem to realise the final destination, or the empitness of the intermediate dharma. May he continue to make progress!

Metta

Malcolm

aloha malcolm,

   I meant to get to this analysis at some point. Not to deconstruct or criticize your deconstruction; I agree pretty well with it. Thank you for your prose.

   My basic perspective is not burmese abhidhamma mctb, btw. One might say it is taoist in bad times, confucian in good times. I would tolerate confucius as a strict old uncle, but now, chuang tzu! - he is on my short list of people I would not mind being the reincarnation of (first choice: diogenes of sinope).

   There is the "black hole" idea, as though we were separate, and not created by each other as social constructs. Fundamentally we are one without a second. Phenomenally we are dream people in each others dreams. The same spirit - the same black hole, if you will, the same empty wheel hub - is at the center of all apparent beings. The stars, the mountains, the sea, you and me, all one Being. Thus we can know each other intimately, from the core. It is from here that "bliss, compassion and love come along." You are my parent, my child. Joanna macy, proud mother of three, had a favorite story from her decades with the lamas. There was a old nun who explained to her that since we had lived innumerable lives over many eons, each sentient being that we met was once our mother, and should be treated with the love and deference we would (should) treat our parents. In the same vein vimalakirti explains his continued thirst for existence (as a bodhisattva) as like that of a parent who could not help but care for a sick child.

  Taoism teaches that the "Way (as a path to be trodden), the Way (-farer), and the Way (as a destination) are One Way, nameless in essence.  The Path, the Sage, and the Goal are One. The first line of the tao te ching reads in chinese, "way way not way" meaning: "The way that can be trodden is not the true way." You have an analytical approach to these texts, think this through with me, if you will.

   I once knew an enterprising young sage who created a computer program that would substitute  a random noun into the formula, "The (noun) which is a (noun) is not the true (noun)." For example, "The horse that is a horse is not the true horse." He would play with this program over and over, substituting different nouns, and laugh. The tree that is a tree is not the true tree. The human being that is a human being is not the true human being. What is unique is One (one of the 99 divine names of allah is "the Unique)." What is generic is essentially a distortion created by taking language as the measure of oneself. (consider protagoras)

   "The horse (an actual living horse that is thought of as a "horse") that is a (generic concept of a) horse (and thus not seen in its actual living reality and true nature as dependently co-arisen) is not the real horse (that an awake person - a child or horse dealer, say - would have seen to begin with)."  What is before our eyes is the real deal if we can see through our habitual (and generally unconscious) desire to master objects for social purposes (individual gain), and use them as tools. A baby sees a bunch of flowers and a bag of gold sitting on a table; the child finds the flowers more interesting. As they are.

   We can train ourselves to see what is before our eyes, if we can avoid being distracted by individual (social) concerns. The theravadan suttas speak of the deer which get caught by the hunter; the ones who escape go deep into the woods, where the hunters can't get at them. Chuang tzu speaks of big fish, who die in the shallows but swim freely and effortlessly in deep water; and of great birds which fly too high to be brought down.

   You are right too when you speak of the fact that mystical utterances are meant to be understood rationally. Dogen extensively criticizes zen teachers who claim that koans are not to be understood, and he explains many. If a you don't understand a koan, it is often because the references are obscure and the context even more so. Which makes the ones we do understand all the more valuable. What seems obscure can at times crack us wide open, but often enough it is a sideshow.

   Regarding the relationship between the absolute and the phenomenal, blake mystically uttered (from "the proverbs of hell"): "Eternity is in love with the productions of time." From the same black hole, the same dream.

   Lastly, while I understand that such words as "stages" and "progress" are technical terms and not to be taken literally, It never hurts to remember that what is sought is right here all the time, right now. Our true being is doing and saying nothing right now; yours, and mine. 


terry


from seng tsan's hsin hsin ming:


Do not search for the truth; 
only cease to cherish opinions. 
Do not remain in the dualistic state. 
Avoid such pursuits carefully. 
If there is even a trace of this and that, 
of right and wrong, 
the mind-essence will be lost in confusion. 

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
11/5/18 2:24 PM as a reply to terry.
In response there is nothing to say, and everything.  Thank you terry, for sharing your dreaming.  

RE: Essay on the hindrance of teachings
Answer
11/6/18 3:16 PM as a reply to terry.
THE SMILE

BY WILLIAM BLAKE


There is a Smile of Love 
And there is a Smile of Deceit 
And there is a Smile of Smiles 
In which these two Smiles meet 

And there is a Frown of Hate 
And there is a Frown of disdain 
And there is a Frown of Frowns 
Which you strive to forget in vain 

For it sticks in the Hearts deep Core 
And it sticks in the deep Back bone 
And no Smile that ever was smild 
But only one Smile alone 

That betwixt the Cradle & Grave 
It only once Smild can be 
But when it once is Smild 
Theres an end to all Misery