Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Wet Paint 8/14/09 11:29 AM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Wet Paint 8/14/09 1:06 PM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Florian 8/15/09 4:07 AM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Daniel M. Ingram 8/15/09 8:52 PM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Wet Paint 8/16/09 2:26 AM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Chris Marti 8/16/09 3:55 AM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Daniel M. Ingram 8/16/09 5:51 AM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Tom O. 8/16/09 7:24 AM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? lena lozano 8/16/09 7:43 AM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Chris Marti 8/16/09 9:10 AM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Tom O. 8/16/09 11:16 AM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Nigel Sidley Thompson 8/16/09 8:13 PM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Nigel Sidley Thompson 8/16/09 8:25 PM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Nigel Sidley Thompson 8/16/09 8:32 PM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Chris Marti 8/17/09 2:36 AM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Amr El-Nowehy 8/17/09 4:17 AM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Chris Marti 8/17/09 6:04 AM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Wet Paint 8/18/09 6:24 AM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Amr El-Nowehy 8/18/09 6:58 AM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? beta wave 8/18/09 8:04 AM
RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations? Chris Marti 8/18/09 11:14 AM
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 8/14/09 11:29 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 8/14/09 11:29 AM

Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: telecaster
Forum: Daniel's Practice Hut

This is one of those things that I've heard again and again and assumed I understood. But now, I'm not sure if I do.
I understand noting sensations as they arise and end. I understand the concepts of the Three Characteristics.
But, is there a certain technique for seeing the 3 Cs in the sensations? Do I just keep noting the sensations and the three characteristics will start to become clear just from strict noting, or, does one actually use some kind of method to examine each sensations in light of each characteristic?

Do you see the distinction? I think at first I just assumed it was the former, but now I'm wondering about the latter since there is just so much emphasis on this to gain insight.
Thanks, Mike.
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 8/14/09 1:06 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 8/14/09 1:06 PM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

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

This, something I've read many times, helps:
http://web.mac.com/danielmingram/iWeb/Daniel%20Ingram%27s%20Dharma%20Blog/The%20Blook/28A35449-618D-4C9B-98EF-D6AF1659B26F.html

But, vibrations. These are perceived by noting a sensation and then sticking with it, right? Lately I have all different kinds of sensations: just random feelings of pain, tickle, itch, chill, touch (like being aware of my butt on the seat or the feeling of my hands on something or the feeling of my clothes on my skin, etc.) and these can sometimes come rapidly from all areas of my body, but never really get to the level of vibrations unless I hone in on one sensation and stop paying attention to the other ones arising constantly.
Make sense?
So, to really get a sense of the vibrations should I stop and focus on one sensation no matter what is happening elsewhere in my body?
Thanks, Mike.
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Florian, modified 13 Years ago at 8/15/09 4:07 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 8/15/09 4:07 AM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Mike,
Noting is a great technique, an immensely useful tool. I've found that whenever I use it with an inquisitive stance, the results on the insight front are better than if I use it mechanically, clockwork-like, because that tends to push me into tranquility, I tend to tune into the rythm and forget to be curious.

For example, giving the notes a questioning tone has been helpful for me. "Pain? Pain?".

About vibrations: Me, I started noticing vibrations when I turned my noting on to slow-changing things like slow breath, or the slowly undulating, high-pitched "inner sound" I perceive in quiet surroundings. Staying with such a slow phenomenon, and noting it at intervals, checking if it has changed in the meantime, I started to notice faster frequencies superimposed on it.

Whether it's better to focus narrowly or broadly depends on the situation. Experiment. If a narrow focus bogs you down, or if you can't stay with a narrow focus, fan out. If you tend space out in broad focus, narrow it down. Don't switch to run away from difficulties, but don't be too bloody-minded about it, either.

Cheers,
Florian
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 13 Years ago at 8/15/09 8:52 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 8/15/09 8:52 PM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Posts: 3231 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Sound advice, Florian. What he said.
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 2:26 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 2:26 AM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

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

Thanks.
I'm finding that while I don't seem to have any problem accepting statements/claims about all of your practices, for my own I am very skeptical.
For example, I really doubt that I am noticing "vibrations" yet in the way many of you describe and talk about them.
What I get sometimes now seems more like a "pulse," that beats in time to my heartbeat. So, what I think I am feeling is just my blood pulsing in my body, which is something I've noticed on and off all my life.
The vibrations you all talk about seem to be something else, something more subtle, and not related to my pulse/heartbeat at all.
I think I have another layer or more of reality to uncover before I'm noticing these vibrations.
Right?
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Chris Marti, modified 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 3:55 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 3:55 AM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Posts: 379 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
Howdy, Mike. Maybe you should pay very, very close attention to just one thing. Body sensations were easiest for me at first. They seem to have a lower frequency and a lower "noticing" threshold, which is perfect for getting the hang of what it is you're looking for. I used to sit for an hour or so and try like hell to notice the vibrations in my thumbs or fingers. An alternative that I sometimes used was the sensations created in the tip of my nose as the breath entered and left that area.

What you will probably find is that once you "see" them, vibrations will be all around you. That doubt you're having is very natural and we all go through it. It'll disappear one day soon, replaced by confidence.

BTW - I'm familiar with your pulse/heartbeat issue. Keep in mind that your pulse/heartbeat is also vibrations. Vibrations are not separate from what you experience all the time. They ARE what you experience all the time.

Hang in there - your concern is a mark of your desire and will to succeed.

- Chris
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 5:51 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 5:51 AM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Posts: 3231 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Right on, Chris.

There is nothing subtle about this. All sensations arise and vanish, and whether or not you perceive them as vibrations is not as essential as that you notice them all come and go. Certain stages, emphases and degrees of concentration make them more predominant as the sort of stable, regular, pulse in one place kind of thing, but all reality, obviously, directly, on its surface is arising and vanishing, and noticing that again and again, regardless of what they are, as all of them have these marks, is key. Notice things arise and vanish. That is the fundamental instruction in this particular style of practice and is good advice in general for those seeking fundamental wisdom.

It really is that simple. Keep it that simple. Practice without doubt or see that doubt is manifesting the Three Characteristics also. The first basis of reality is what we experience. Clearly no sensations last. How can there be confusion when it is that straightforward? Avoid dismissing what you experience: it is the experience. Avoid thinking that impermanence is a layer beneath the layer of impermanent sensations you currently see. Those are the sensations. They are impermanent. That is all.
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Tom O, modified 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 7:24 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 7:24 AM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Posts: 124 Join Date: 7/19/09 Recent Posts
I am feeling the same as telecaster on this one, admittedly as a very newbie. I too can feel my pulse when I am very still. But while technically this is "arising and passing", is there some deep insight I am supposed to gather from my pulse...pulsing? Or another physical sensation I am noticing at this early stage is the raggedness of my breath, or the ever so slight quivering of my fingers. Both are no doubt due to the "simple" physiological process of slow/fast twitch muscles moving my diaphragm and rib cage (in the case of my breath) or holding my hand in a mudra (in the case of my fingers). Simple. Obvious.

I take Daniel's point that we might not want to overanalyze things, but when all you can see is the obvious, it is hard to appreciate (or understand how) there are more subtle things that *will* give some useful insight.

But the message is "hang in there", so I will, however frustrating it may be to a beginner.
lena lozano, modified 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 7:43 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 7:43 AM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Post: 1 Join Date: 9/7/09 Recent Posts
for me the first place i felt vibrations was right below the nostrils after enough concentrating on that area with the touch of the brieth as it goes in and out of the nostrils.try-might help.and it may be not what we think vibration is at least in the beguinning-some sutlle activity that previously was unnoticed goes constantly on and later braiks into vibes
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Chris Marti, modified 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 9:10 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 9:10 AM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Posts: 379 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"I take Daniel's point that we might not want to overanalyze things, but when all you can see is the obvious, it is hard to appreciate (or understand how) there are more subtle things that *will* give some useful insight."

There is nothing to observe what you observe. It IS that obvious. Very obvious. That sounds trite, yes, but stop trying to make the stuff you experience into something else. That's conceptualizing, and that's not observing your fundamental experience. Try this: when you sit and feel your hands and fingers, what's going on in your mind? How fast is it happening? When you sit and feel your hands and fingers, how often do you actually feel them as opposed to visualizing/conceptualizing them? Do the feelings and the visualizations occur together, or at different times? Do they alternate, or do they do something else? Examine closely how it all works together to form -- what? Your fingers and your hands, right? Is this what you always thought were your hands and fingers? Or is this new experience of them different, deeper, more subtle?
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Tom O, modified 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 11:16 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 11:16 AM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Posts: 124 Join Date: 7/19/09 Recent Posts
Thanks, Chris, and so to answer your questions I just spent an hour with my fingers. I got really still, and made sure my hands were not placed in such a way as to be moved by my breathing. As a result, all I could feel was tingling and pulsing. Since my hands were not moving, even the points of contact were not really felt since there was virtually no pressure where they touched.

First observation: if hard pressed, I might be able to come up with "10", but since not all fingers tingled with the same intensity, counting them was really really hard. I guess this is a direct observation of the "if it ain't sensate, it ain't there" concept from MCTB p17.

Next observation: there is no way to tell the shape of my fingers, because what I feel gives absolutely nothing away. The pulsing and tingling suggest length, because they are not localized to a pinpoint, but how long, whether they are flat, round, or square is unknown.

I tried to get a sense of simultaneity, but the sensations were too much to figure if there were ever two that happened at exactly the same time. But related to that, if I tried to really get close to a single sensation, it seemed to disappear. It was as though I needed to step back to see the sensations as a collection, as opposed to an individual tingle.

Interesting.
Nigel Sidley Thompson, modified 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 8:13 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 8:13 PM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Posts: 14 Join Date: 8/26/09 Recent Posts
I *think* this might be helpful. If it is not, you know what to do.

It can help to remember that reality is virtual. Reality (i.e., your experience of it) is being actively generated.

That (generation) is actually the hardest part. It's the power in the equation. And it's already being done.

If you're aware of people, of things, of objects and concepts, then you're already doing the hardest part. We are taught, and we're wired, to take all of these for granted and to treat them as completely external. So it's easy not to be aware that they are generated. As we get older and the body breaks down, sounds grow dimmer, edges blur, and so on. Then it gets a little easier to see how much we were contributing to the whole thing.

So the biggest part, the most miraculous part, the magical part, is actually all of that stuff that you're worrying about not being able to get past--the experience of a solid, stable world. It's generated! That's actually the hardest part. Now all you have to do is watch it being generated.

'The World' is generated experience. That's already the case and that's why all of this works. That's the hardest part and it's already done. In other words, you don't have to first change the world from non-generated to generated.

It is already generated—already virtual—by nature. Now you can just relax into (the effort of) watching it be generated....with the faith that fundamentally it *is* generated.

Sometimes a tough part of practice can be believing that there's any special experience to be had (i.e., faith). ‘I followed all of the instructions and 'nothing special happened'’. So what I'm saying is that the most special thing is already accomplished. You're already mentally generating the experience of an entire complex Cosmos.
Nigel Sidley Thompson, modified 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 8:25 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 8:25 PM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Posts: 14 Join Date: 8/26/09 Recent Posts
The problem is that, in mentally generating all of this, ‘you’ have (really, 'mind has') gone overboard. The experience is so realistic that its fundamental ‘mental’-ness and ‘generated’ness (i.e.,the three characteristics) are no longer apparent. It just looks like a world. It just feels like a self. It all feels solid, permanent, and utterly believable. Good job!!! (I’m not being facetious. It’s amazing to have been able to do that.)

Now, imagine a priceless football-sized gemstone. It looks just like a gemstone, but when you touch it you find that it is very cold. As you hold it, you find that it begins to melt a little. By applying the method--holding it in your hand-- you have discerned two of the fundamental characteristics of ice. It is actually a masterfully crafted ice-sculpture!

As you remember that experience is something that the mind is generating, and you watch it closely using the methods, it will become apparent that it is being generated. That is the discernment of the three characteristics: the tell-tale qualities of any reality that is mentally generated.
Nigel Sidley Thompson, modified 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 8:32 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 8/16/09 8:32 PM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Posts: 14 Join Date: 8/26/09 Recent Posts
That subjective experience is mentally generated is now to the point of being almost straight-forward, if we just review basic neurophysiological principles. (‘What exactly is the brain doing?’). (Imagine having to believe all of this stuff without the benefit of what we’ve learned so far about the nervous and endocrine systems. I mean back in the pre-EEG/f-MRI, pre-computers/Artificial Intelligence eras. Now that would have taken real faith!) Nowadays, we could just accept these things as facts and enjoy them that way. The way most people enjoy the facts of UV rays, the roundness of the earth, the possibility of a 4-minute mile. But then you wouldn’t get the benefits of direct experience. (One of the greatest benefits being that all of your future perceptions and developments are now firmly integrated with what you have experienced directly.)

So just as people build spectrographs to actually observe the UV rays, or build satellites or rockets to observe the Earth’s shape, or train to run a 4 minute mile, you apply the method to observe the mind giving rise to experience.

This is all rehashing some well-hashed hash.
But it can be a useful reminder to keep in mind while minding.
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Chris Marti, modified 13 Years ago at 8/17/09 2:36 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 8/17/09 2:36 AM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Posts: 379 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"First observation: if hard pressed, I might be able to come up with "10", but since not all fingers tingled with the same intensity, counting them was really really hard. I guess this is a direct observation of the "if it ain't sensate, it ain't there" concept from MCTB p17.

Next observation: there is no way to tell the shape of my fingers, because what I feel gives absolutely nothing away. The pulsing and tingling suggest length, because they are not localized to a pinpoint, but how long, whether they are flat, round, or square is unknown.

I tried to get a sense of simultaneity, but the sensations were too much to figure if there were ever two that happened at exactly the same time. But related to that, if I tried to really get close to a single sensation, it seemed to disappear. It was as though I needed to step back to see the sensations as a collection, as opposed to an individual tingle."


Congratulations!!!

You're now clued in on what you used to think of as a mystery. Now all you have to do is keep going, just like you are, to uncover all kinds of other surprises that await. Read carefully what Nigel just posted: your entire universe is like what you just discovered about "your" fingers. Always.
Amr El-Nowehy, modified 13 Years ago at 8/17/09 4:17 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 8/17/09 4:17 AM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Posts: 25 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
Hi Mike,

It seems that the experienced vippassana yogis don't see importance in the vibration sensation in particular. When I first sensed the vibration in the 10 days retreat and told the teacher assistant about it he made a point that it's just a sensation like any other to be observed.

On the other hand, I know how it's to have a nagging question and may be getting a straight forward answer will help to settle your mind.

I experience vibrations most of the day especially when I rest. And when I say vibration I'm talking about something like the cell phone when it's on a vibration mode. As a matter of fact, when I carry my cell phone on my belt, many times it happens that I think it's s vibrating when it's my body's vibration or I dismiss the phone vibration thinking it's my body vibration. It's this kind of vibration.

Sometimes it's fast sometimes it slow. But it's vibration as you know it from your daily life.

I hope that helps.

Amr
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Chris Marti, modified 13 Years ago at 8/17/09 6:04 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 8/17/09 6:04 AM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Posts: 379 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
Yes, it's always nice to have validation that you are on the right track. As I said earlier in this topic, I had the same questions about vibrations, what they were and if I was feeling them or not. It's good to be able to place the sensation with the name of the sensation. Progress in your practice also comes with the realization that Nigel posted. Whether we call what we're feeling vibrations or not, those sensations that you feel are what make up your sensate reality - as opposed to your conceptual reality. It is within and between that difference that wisdom lives.
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago at 8/18/09 6:24 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 8/18/09 6:24 AM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

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

Okay, here is what I get from all this:
The practice is to note sensations that are actually happening rather than looking for some certain sensations that I am expecting because of something I've read or heard about or made up in my imagination.
Amr El-Nowehy, modified 12 Years ago at 8/18/09 6:58 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 8/18/09 6:58 AM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Posts: 25 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
Yes, I think so. And in case you still have doubts, expectations, frustration..etc. don't forget Daniel's advice:

"Practice without doubt [expectaions, frustration, ..etc] or see that doubt [expectations, frustrations, ..etc] is manifesting the Three Characteristics also"

In other words, just observe your doubts, expectation, frustrations, ...etc. You can't fail if you remember to do that. But somehow our minds repel against that idea and we still tend to forget.

Amr
beta wave, modified 12 Years ago at 8/18/09 8:04 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 8/18/09 8:04 AM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Posts: 5 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Right. You don't look for experiences that match your idea of where you think you are in the maps. You don't look for experiences that match your idea of where you think the next step/stage is on the maps. You just note what is actually occuring right now.

It's funny, it took me a long time to figure that out. Hope it helps.
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Chris Marti, modified 12 Years ago at 8/18/09 11:14 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 8/18/09 11:14 AM

RE: Noticing the three characteristics in all sensations?

Posts: 379 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"The practice is to note sensations that are actually happening rather than looking for some certain sensations that I am expecting because of something I've read or heard about or made up in my imagination."

Well said, Mike. That's exactly what we should all be doing. Let the sensations you have - right now - be what you work with.

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