why put up with pain in the first place

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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

why put up with pain in the first place

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: thorjackson
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

It has always bugged me why so many people think you have to meditate in the sitting position. To me the hole thing is about bypassing the senses to experence your true self. So if your sitting in a position that your not use to generally due to are culture (arm chairs ), then your going to get pain in your limbs which will distract you from what your trying to do. I meditate in the lying down position. I know some warn against it because its easy to fall asleep but I never really had that problem. Providing you've had sufficient sleep and/or have enough resolve it shouldn't happen. Incidentally I always choose the rising and falling of my abdomen to rest my awareness on because I feel that, due to the fact that this area has the most concentration of the nervious system, if relaxation is to be really achived deeply then thats the place to do it.
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: why put up with pain in the first place

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Hi Thor,

Ok, a couple things: 1) You don't have to meditate in the sitting position, though it has it's advantages. That being said it's very much not true (so far as I can tell) that meditation is "about bypassing the senses to experience your true self." Perhaps concentration practice could be described that way, though even that sounds far too life-denying to really be a good description of concentration practice. And with regards to insight, much of the investigation happens at the level of the senses. One investigates the three characteristics of experience (impermanence, suffering, not-self) of their phenomonal experience (a large part of which are the senses). Insight practice is not about avoiding pain, or trying to some true self that's detached from the body, rather it's about coming to understand the nature of one's experience. That includes being willing to experience and explore pleasure & pain. The posture doesn't so much matter, as long as one can stay focused on the investigation, but I would definitely suggest you examine your assumptions about meditation, as your current framework will almost by definition not allow you to make progress on the insight front.
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: why put up with pain in the first place

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Ok, 2) The abdomen is a fine place to place the attention, and can lead to deep concentration, but it's also true that the tip of the nostrils is often to said to be a place where people can develop deep samadhi as well. The fact that it's a smaller area, in some cases, makes it a better object for deepening concentration. That being said, there are many objects of attention one can explore doing concentration practice. And as Daniel mentioned in another post, once concentration has been established, then it can be used to do the investigative work of insight practice. Just as when a telescope has been built, it can be used to explore the stars above. You don't have to do it that way, but insight is what leads to enlightenment. emoticon

Best of luck moving forward!
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: why put up with pain in the first place

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

hello vince nice to meet you,
first of all i didn't say people "had" to meditate in the sitting position, that was my point, maybe you missed it. I would like to here your advantages of the sitting position as you know them. Meditation IS about bypassing the senses because are true self cannot be percived through the senses. Once we eleminate the senses then we are left with are true self. We concentrate on the senses to investigate them and to realize they are a hinderence. It's certainly not life denying it's, habit denying. We are conditioned to percieve through the senses for are life affirming continuity. Pleasure and pain is only experenced thourgh the senses, if you bypass them there is no one to experence either.
As far as the abdomen or tip of the nostrils is concerned the sensation of the nostrils disappears long before the sensation of the abdomen, if the breath is subtle enough. Insight is about freedom and what it takes to get you there. Understanding the nature of ones experience ( ie. the hinderence of the senses ) is a steping stone along the way. Then again maybe im just full of s**t !
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: why put up with pain in the first place

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Hi Thor,

Nor was I saying that people had to meditating in a sitting position. I was essentially agreeing with your point that the sitting position isn't essential. The advantages, as I've experienced them, have to do with the level of energy that is brought forth in that position. It raises one's energy to sit without any back support, and for those that are naturally sleepy, or going through sleepy periods, it's often quite helpful in counteracting the laxity. That seems to be the primary benefit so far as I can tell.

As far as your other arguments go, I think my main question would be whether or not this is a philosophical position that you hold, or something that you've discovered in your actual experience. For me, the path of awakening has revealed a greater and greater integration of form and emptiness and though there were times in the 1st dark night that I felt the desire to escape the world and try to get to a place "beyond the senses" that never materialized. Instead, the problem of the dark night was resolved through the 1st stage of enlightenment and through fruition. I'm not sure I would call that the true self, but it was my first true glimpse of the first meaning of nirvana. Since getting 3rd path, the paradox between this moment of nirvana and all other experiences has been solved, on a direct and experiential basis. Pleasure and pain were never the problem at all, rather it was the mis-identification with them. This isn't philosophical at all, but is as present now in my experience the air I breath. What you are describing as elimination of the senses sounds far more like concentration states than it does with enlightenment proper. Concentration states may provide brief periods of seeming freedom, but they aren't the same as enlightenment. Not at all.
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: why put up with pain in the first place

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

vince,
It's hard enough for people to understand this stuff, without you making grammatical mistakes, if it was a grammatical mistake? but in your last post you stated "It raises one's energy to sit WITHOUT any back support" but you were trying to describe SITTING, which, ENTAILS back support. As far as your main question goes, its not a philosophical position, it is definitely something I have discovered in my actual experience. Also as you say, "concentration states may provide brief periods of seeming freedom, but they aren't the same as enlightenment" of course they won't, it's the repetition of that "feeling" that produces total enlightenment.
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: why put up with pain in the first place

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
I can already see this isn't going to go anywhere helpful for those reading this, so this will be my last response. I fundamentally disagree with you that the reptition of getting into concentration states produces total enlightenment. Enlightenment comes through the combination of insight and concentration, through the investigation, penetration, and acceptance of all experiences that arise. It comes through understanding how duality is formed on a second-by-second basis. What you're describing isn't it my friend, that or it's just a terribly life-denying model that I will strongly argue isn't useful for awakening or life-serving in pretty much anyway.

Best,

-Vince
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: why put up with pain in the first place

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

By observing the 3 characteristics of our sensate reality (5 senses + thoughts) in vipassana leads to insight, clear seeing, causing dispassion which then causes cessation/Nirvana.

Nirvana is not attained by entering concentration states/absorptions/jhanas, what is essential is insight. If you read Daniel's book you should know the differences.

Excerpt:

Concentration practices (samatha or
samadhi practices) are meditation on a concept, an aggregate of many
transient sensations, whereas insight practice is meditation on the many
transient sensations just as they are. When doing concentration
practices, one purposefully tries to fix or freeze the mind in a specific
state, called an “absorption,” “jhana” or “dyana.” While reality cannot
be frozen in this way, the illusion of solidity and stability certainly can be
cultivated, and this is concentration practice.

Insight practices are designed to penetrate the Three Illusions of
permane nce , sati sfactorines s and separate self so as to attain
freedom. (N.B., the illusion of satisfactoriness has to do with the false
sense that continuing to mentally create the illusion of a separate,
permanent self will be satisfactory or helpful, and is not referring to
some oppressive and fun-denying angst trip). Insight practices (various
types of vipassana, dzogchen, zazen, etc.) lead to the progressive stages
of the progress of insight. Insight practices tend to be difficult and
somewhat disconcerting, as they are designed to deconstruct our
deluded and much cherished views of the world and ourselves, though
they can sometimes be outrageously blissful for frustratingly short
periods.
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: why put up with pain in the first place

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

Next, you said 'Once we eleminate the senses then we are left with are true self.'

This implies that there is a true self that is a transcendent element, a background Witness to phenomena, and is 'who you truly are'.

However, this notion is false... but it is a common notion even among those with some meditative experience, especially when they experience the luminous aspect of Mind, the meditative experience of the Knowingness Presence. It creates the impression of Certainty, Absoluteness and Realness. It creates the impression that we have touched the innermost reality of our own core being where thoughts play absolutely no role in that moment of experience. This is a very unique and sacred experience but is a double edge sword. It must be cleansed with the Emptiness truth otherwise there will always be separation.

This Knowingness Presence always becomes misunderstood as an Eternal Watcher, as a limitless background container where sense objects and thoughts arise from and return to, while the void transcendent substance/Witness itself remains unchanged. That is an illusion.

In actuality, all thoughts and sensation is a 'knowing' or 'luminous' phenomenon. All along the transience rolls and knows; no watcher is real or needed. This thought, and another thought, and another thought, each thought and sensation is a complete and luminous manifestation of Buddha-Nature. There is no Eternal Witness, Buddha-Nature is not a Watcher, for that implies separation.

Do also read my friend's 'Six Stages of Experience' (from the I AM/Witness to No-Self and Emptiness): http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html

Also highly recommended is Daniel's article on No-Self vs. True Self: http://web.mac.com/danielmingram/iWeb/Daniel%20Ingram%27s%20Dharma%20Blog/The%20Blook/43A2B845-873D-499C-A021-25B91A0ABCA0.html
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: why put up with pain in the first place

Posts: 559 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Well, for one thing, there may come a time in your life when you cannot bypass pain (as in old age, sickness, and death) simply by changing positions. It may be much more skillful to understand pain at a deep level before such unfortunate events overtake you then afterwards. You have done quite a bit of reading. Do you feel that Buddha found his 'true self''? A number of Suttas point out that he dealt with a great deal of pain at times. If you feel that you have found your 'true self' and that it allows you to bypass the senses it might be helpful to test this idea out. Just whack your thumb with a hammer and see what happens. Who knows, maybe you are on to something. Let us know!

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