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misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it

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misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/15/19 5:19 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it shargrol 5/15/19 5:55 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/16/19 4:59 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it An Eternal Now 5/15/19 9:17 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/16/19 5:10 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it An Eternal Now 5/16/19 9:53 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/16/19 5:38 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/15/19 4:16 PM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it svmonk 5/15/19 8:53 PM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/16/19 5:59 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it curious 5/15/19 10:59 PM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/16/19 6:09 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/16/19 6:23 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Chris Marti 5/16/19 6:34 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/19/19 7:38 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Nick O 5/19/19 8:14 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/19/19 8:56 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Chris Marti 5/19/19 9:28 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/19/19 9:44 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/19/19 10:00 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it curious 5/19/19 2:23 PM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/19/19 3:27 PM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it curious 5/19/19 6:26 PM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/20/19 1:10 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Nick O 5/19/19 8:08 PM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/20/19 1:22 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it An Eternal Now 5/16/19 9:54 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/18/19 2:21 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it An Eternal Now 5/18/19 1:43 PM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/18/19 4:31 PM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it curious 5/16/19 2:43 PM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/17/19 5:57 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it curious 5/17/19 6:23 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/17/19 6:44 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/19/19 9:24 AM
RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/6/19 3:53 AM
I know that it is very very rare to fully awaken, so it probably doesn’t even concern me, but still... Assuming that there is some form of rebirth going on, even if it’s only the karma and not anything personal - what’s the point of getting out of it? Why is that so good?

Fear number 1: Sure, there will be no more suffering, but there will also be no more experience, right? Or is that where fear is misleading me? It probably is. Because there is no me that is having experiences now either, so it doesn’t make any difference, right? It is only awareness that is aware anyway, and awareness will continue to be aware. Right?

Fear number 2: If karma is what shapes people’s lives and all arahants no longer produce karma and do not get reborn, then humanity is sort of doomed to be stuck with sleeping behavior, isn’t it? So humanity is screwed in that respect? As soon as someone finally gets it, that ”person’s” work is taken out of the equation. Or am I missing something?

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/15/19 5:55 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Life is still a mystery after awakening, it's just that you don't sleep through the mystery. You wake up to your life.

All those other concerns are more about an abstract and assumed self that wants to make sure it survives in the future. It's important to see how future oriented it is and how a fear of non-existance creates a sense of fear (suffering) in the present. This internal survival mechanism gets very hung up on ideas such as karma and humanity being doomed... And it is what drives humanity to do lots of stupid stuff to supposedly be safer.

The important thing to see is how unknown the future is and how interdependent we all are. That's the foundation for ethics. And it's the foundation for insight, because what >is< all this worrying about? What is this future self that we're attempting to protect. Is it really you or just an abstract and assumend idea of self?

So this squirmy fear isn't something to be talked out of, it is something to be investigated. It points right at the assumed self. 

How can you protect a future self? (There is actually an answer to this question.)

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/15/19 9:17 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I know that it is very very rare to fully awaken, so it probably doesn’t even concern me, but still... Assuming that there is some form of rebirth going on, even if it’s only the karma and not anything personal - what’s the point of getting out of it? Why is that so good?

Fear number 1: Sure, there will be no more suffering, but there will also be no more experience, right? Or is that where fear is misleading me? It probably is. Because there is no me that is having experiences now either, so it doesn’t make any difference, right? It is only awareness that is aware anyway, and awareness will continue to be aware. Right?

Fear number 2: If karma is what shapes people’s lives and all arahants no longer produce karma and do not get reborn, then humanity is sort of doomed to be stuck with sleeping behavior, isn’t it? So humanity is screwed in that respect? As soon as someone finally gets it, that ”person’s” work is taken out of the equation. Or am I missing something?

1) Your understanding of awareness is the I AM, there are further insights, check out http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html

2) As long as the written word of dharma remains, there will be awakened people.


0) From the traditional sutta's perspective, rebirth cycle is always
suffering. Therefore it's good to get out of the cycle of rebirth.

Example of the suffering of samsara:

https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/SN/SN15_13.html

Thirty

Tiṁsa Sutta  (SN 15:13)NavigationSuttas/SN/15:13Now on that occasion the Blessed One was staying near
Rājagaha, in the Bamboo Forest, the Squirrels’ Sanctuary. Then thirty
monks from Pāva—all wilderness dwellers, all alms-goers, all cast-off
rag wearers, all triple-robe wearers, all still with fetters, went to
the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one
side.Then the thought occurred to the Blessed One, “These
thirty monks from Pāva… are all still with fetters. What if I were to
teach them the Dhamma in such a way that in this very sitting their
minds,
through lack of clinging, would be released from effluents?”So he
addressed the monks: “Monks.”“Yes, lord,” the monks responded.The
Blessed One said, “From an inconceivable beginning
comes the wandering-on. A beginning point is not discernible, though
beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating
& wandering on. What do you think, monks? Which is greater, the
blood you have shed from having your heads cut off while transmigrating
& wandering this long, long time, or the water in the four great
oceans?”“As we understand the Dhamma taught to us by the
Blessed One, this is the greater: the blood we have shed from having our
heads cut off while transmigrating & wandering this long, long
time,
not the water in the four great oceans.”“Excellent, monks. Excellent.
It is excellent that you thus understand the Dhamma taught by me.“This
is the greater: the blood you have shed from
having your heads cut off while transmigrating & wandering this
long, long time, not the water in the four great oceans.“The blood you have shed when, being cows, you had your
cow-heads cut off: Long has this been greater than the water in the
four great oceans.“The blood you have shed when, being water buffaloes,
you had your water buffalo-heads cut off… when, being rams, you had your
ram-heads cut off… when, being goats, you had your goat-heads cut off…
when, being deer, you had your deer-heads cut off… when, being chickens,
you had your chicken-heads cut off… when, being pigs, you had your
pig-heads cut off: Long has this been greater than the water in the four
great oceans.“The blood you have shed when, arrested as thieves
plundering villages, you had your heads cut off… when, arrested as
highway thieves, you had your heads cut off… when, arrested as
adulterers, you had your heads cut off: Long has this been greater than
the water in the four great oceans.“Why is that? From an inconceivable beginning comes the
wandering-on. A beginning point is not discernible, though beings
hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating &
wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain,
experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries—enough to become disenchanted
with all fabrications, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be
released.”That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks
delighted in the Blessed One’s words. And while this explanation was
being given, the minds of the thirty monks from Pāva—through lack of
clinging—were released from effluents.

...

https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/SN/SN15_3.html

Tears

Assu Sutta  (SN 15:3)NavigationSuttas/SN/15:3Near Sāvatthī. There the Blessed One said: “From an
inconceivable beginning comes the wandering-on. A beginning point is not
discernible, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by
craving are transmigrating & wandering on. What do you think, monks?
Which is greater, the tears you have shed while transmigrating &
wandering this long, long time—crying & weeping from being joined
with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing—or the
water in the four great oceans?”“As we understand the Dhamma taught to us by the
Blessed One, this is the greater: the tears we have shed while
transmigrating & wandering this long, long time—crying & weeping
from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what
is
pleasing—not the water in the four great oceans.”“Excellent, monks.
Excellent. It is excellent that you thus understand the Dhamma taught by
me.“This is the greater: the tears you have shed while
transmigrating & wandering this long, long time—crying & weeping
from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what
is pleasing—not the water in the four great oceans.“Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a
mother. The tears you have shed over the death of a mother while
transmigrating & wandering this long, long time—crying & weeping
from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what
is pleasing—are greater than the water in the four great oceans.“Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a
father… the death of a brother… the death of a sister… the death of a
son… the death of a daughter… loss with regard to relatives… loss with
regard to wealth… loss with regard to disease. The tears you have shed
over loss with regard to disease while transmigrating & wandering
this long, long time—crying & weeping from being joined with what is
displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing—are greater than the
water in the four great oceans.“Why is that? From an inconceivable beginning comes
transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered
by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering
on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain,
experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries—enough to become disenchanted
with all fabricated things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be
released.”See also: SN 56:35—36; AN 3:63; AN 10:61; Iti 24

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/16/19 9:53 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I know that it is very very rare to fully awaken, so it probably doesn’t even concern me

...

Sure, there will be no more suffering, but there will also be no more experience, right?

It is more common to be awakened than you think, so have more confidnece.

As for the post-mortem state of an arahant, there are two interpretations:

1) Theravada, based on sutta interpretation, says that an arahant ends rebirth and that's it. No post-mortem experience in any afterlife.

2) Mahayana and Vajrayana, based upon Mahayana sutras, says that an arahant enters cessation but is eventually roused by the power of a Buddha to continue the path to Buddhahood, a Buddha is able to make countless emanations for the benefit of sentient beings.

To elaborate a little more on the Mahayana perspective: based on Lankavatara Sutra and Ghanavyūha Sūtra, the arahant and an 8th bhumi bodhisattva are equivalent in terms of eliminating the obscurations of afflictive emotions (basically the standard three poisons of passion, aggression, delusion), although the Buddha completely eliminates the cognitive obscurations in addition to the afflictive emotions being eliminated earlier (related: https://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Two_obscurations ).  However, in contrast to the arahant that enters cessation after physical 'death', someone practicing the Bodhisattva path sustained by the bodhisattva's vow and through the power of the Buddha does not enter into cessation after death even though they are no longer driven by afflictive karma into rebirth in the six realms. The 8th bhumi bodhisattva then re appears in the pure abode of Akanistha which is beyond samsara (it is not a brahma realm, it is not the pure abodes that anagamis get reborn to), is only accessible by an 8th bhumi and above, is beyond time and space, where they remain until full awakening. The Ghanavyūha Sūtra teaches that all buddhas attain buddhahood in Ghanavyūha. (Source: https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?t=26553&start=60 )

Again these are all quite theoretical and hypothetical until you get there, so pick your belief or lackthereof, depending on which path you choose to take. Obviously on this issue the Theravadins will never agree with the Mahayanist and Vajrayanist, and vice versa, although a dharma pragmatist might be less concerned over the hypothetical afterlife issues.

In any case, you can certainly attain awakening and liberation in this life, and by the time the truth of anatta totally sinks in you will have long dissolved the fear of death and the afterlife.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/15/19 4:16 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I appreciate your replies and will read them more properly tomorrow. I had a deadline today (scientific poster) and had errands to run after that as I’m going away for a few days to a workshop for autistic researchers. Still have packing to do, and some cleaning up and changing bed linen (for the cat-sitter who will be staying here), and preparing food, and now it’s almost midnight.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/15/19 8:53 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Hi there Polly E,

An Eternal Now summarized the scriptual support for the Bodhsattva Path upthread. I would say that the part about arhants being asleep to be awakened by a Buddha sometime in the future goes a bit far, sounds to me like some sectarian sniping, but who can say as none of us was around when those lines were written. Realistically, the Theravadan path and the Bodhisattva Path don't differ in their this-life, this-world aspects. Gil Fronsal, the resident teacher at Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, wrote a PhD dissertation comparing the two (unfortunately, I can't seem to find a link to an online version).

Where they do differ is in their philosophical positions with respect to emptiness and the individual's relation to it. Bodhisattva practitioners take the Bodhisattva Vow and don't practice for nirvana nor for that matter do they claim any attainments. They practice to liberate all sentient beings and they vow to continue to be reborn until all sentient beings are liberated. This view is very much tied up with the Mahayana view of emptiness, expressed succiently by the Heart Sutra. The Theravadan view realized experientally at 4th path is that emptiness extends to the individual, that there is no fixed or abiding self. The Mahayana view is that there is no fixed and abiding reality to anything. For me, the Mahayana view leads to a fluid sense of your experience in the world, while the Bodhisattva Vow orients that experience towards an intention to help others. Not that you always achieve that intention, of course, but it remains the guiding light.

Hope that helps.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/15/19 10:59 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
And just to add to the excellent replies so far ... what is it that you are assuming to be the self, and do not want to let go?

Is it form? Is it feeling?  Is it recognition? Is it urges? Is it divided knowing?  Divided knowing of the body? Eye? Ear? Nose? Tongue? Mind?

Which of these is the self that wants to cling to delusion?

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/16/19 4:59 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Life is still a mystery after awakening, it's just that you don't sleep through the mystery. You wake up to your life.

All those other concerns are more about an abstract and assumed self that wants to make sure it survives in the future. It's important to see how future oriented it is and how a fear of non-existance creates a sense of fear (suffering) in the present. This internal survival mechanism gets very hung up on ideas such as karma and humanity being doomed... And it is what drives humanity to do lots of stupid stuff to supposedly be safer.

The important thing to see is how unknown the future is and how interdependent we all are. That's the foundation for ethics. And it's the foundation for insight, because what >is< all this worrying about? What is this future self that we're attempting to protect. Is it really you or just an abstract and assumend idea of self?

So this squirmy fear isn't something to be talked out of, it is something to be investigated. It points right at the assumed self. 

How can you protect a future self? (There is actually an answer to this question.)


Life remaining a mystery actually gives me relief. When I was young I was terrified of the unknown in death, but I don’t really think I am anymore. It’s the known, predictable and certain that scares me most.

The first question pretty much involves clinging to some kind of awareness, I guess. It could be a completely different form of awareness for all I care, but certainty of no awareness ever again is still scary. But I guess no one can be certain anyway.

I’m not so sure that it’s that future oriented. It wouldn’t be my future, but somebody else’s now. As for protecting it, let’s just say that we haven’t reached consensus about that, me and the other me:s. I probably also should clarify that this is a very subtle fear. It just struck me that I need to deal with it anyway. Investigate it - yes. Will do. I was thinking that responses from others might trigger further reactions to investigate.

What kind of stupid stuff are you referring to?

When it comes to karma, I wouldn’t worry that much about having to deal with it myself. The thought of some innocent child having to deal with it scares me much more. Or maybe karma is just spread out among the population? Still, wouldn’t want others to suffer because of my unskillful conditionings. If they would at least inherit some more helpful conditionings too, that would make me less worried. But apparently all conditioning is unwanted?

What bothers me most about the idea of karma is that it seems to make people think that those who are suffering have themselves to blame. That legitimizes oppression.

At least parts of me are more worried about all sentient beings in this world than my ”self”. Is that bad?

How I can protect a future self? I don’t know. Which self? How?

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/16/19 5:10 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
I look forward to reading more about awareness, thankyou.

Yeah, the written word does make a difference, and that is also true for videos and podcasts. I guess karma is not the only possible influence. Good point.

You know, before stream entry I really wanted out. I was so sick of doing everything over and over again. It’s just... well, I kind of enjoy life now. Is life really that bad? Yeah well, I may change my mind again. This could very well be the ego fighting for survival. I’m not even sure that I have a problem with not being reborn. I really don’t know what would be preferable.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/16/19 5:38 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:

It is more common to be awakened than you think, so have more confidnece.

I’m not ruling it out. Just trying to not have my hopes set too high. What would be the right approach to it? Trusting that it will happen and yet not craving it? I don’t think I’m quite there yet.

As for the post-mortem state of an arahant, there are two interpretations:

1) Theravada, based on sutta interpretation, says that an arahant ends rebirth and that's it. No post-mortem experience in any afterlife.

2) Mahayana and Vajrayana, based upon Mahayana sutras, says that an arahant enters cessation but is eventually roused by the power of a Buddha to continue the path to Buddhahood, a Buddha is able to make countless emanations for the benefit of sentient beings.

To elaborate a little more on the Mahayana perspective: based on Lankavatara Sutra and Ghanavyūha Sūtra, the arahant and an 8th bhumi bodhisattva are equivalent in terms of eliminating the obscurations of afflictive emotions (basically the standard three poisons of passion, aggression, delusion), although the Buddha completely eliminates the cognitive obscurations in addition to the afflictive emotions being eliminated earlier (related: https://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Two_obscurations ).  However, in contrast to the arahant that enters cessation after physical 'death', someone practicing the Bodhisattva path sustained by the bodhisattva's vow and through the power of the Buddha does not enter into cessation after death even though they are no longer driven by afflictive karma into rebirth in the six realms. The 8th bhumi bodhisattva then re appears in the pure abode of Akanistha which is beyond samsara (it is not a brahma realm, it is not the pure abodes that anagamis get reborn to), is only accessible by an 8th bhumi and above, is beyond time and space, where they remain until full awakening. The Ghanavyūha Sūtra teaches that all buddhas attain buddhahood in Ghanavyūha. (Source: https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion?p_p_id=19&p_p_lifecycle=0&p_p_state=normal&p_p_mode=view&p_p_col_id=column-1&p_p_col_count=2&_19_redirect=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dharmaoverground.org%2Fdiscussion%2F-%2Fmessage_boards%2Fmessage%2F13392652&_19_messageId=13395648&_19_struts_action=%2Fmessage_boards%2Fedit_message )

Again these are all quite theoretical and hypothetical until you get there, so pick your belief or lackthereof, depending on which path you choose to take. Obviously on this issue the Theravadins will never agree with the Mahayanist and Vajrayanist, and vice versa, although a dharma pragmatist might be less concerned over the hypothetical afterlife issues.

In any case, you can certainly attain awakening and liberation in this life, and by the time the truth of anatta totally sinks in you will have long dissolved the fear of death and the afterlife.


Interesting! Thankyou!

The bodhisattva path seems interesting. I’m not sure if I believe in any views held by humans, though. Language and conceptual thinking seem to screw things up. At least parts of me still like the idea of having it both ways - reaching awakening and continuing to care about humanity. Some part of me is sceptical, though, and wonders if that’s a binding contract for the rest of the eternity. If humanity is still a beautiful mess after eons of eons, then maybe it’s not so fun anymore. I feel selfish for ”having” that thought, but that doesn’t really make sense. How could it be selfish to let go of every sense of self? Language really isn’t suited for dealing with this. The mind doesn’t seem to be suited for it either.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/16/19 5:59 AM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
Hi there Polly E,

An Eternal Now summarized the scriptual support for the Bodhsattva Path upthread. I would say that the part about arhants being asleep to be awakened by a Buddha sometime in the future goes a bit far, sounds to me like some sectarian sniping, but who can say as none of us was around when those lines were written. Realistically, the Theravadan path and the Bodhisattva Path don't differ in their this-life, this-world aspects. Gil Fronsal, the resident teacher at Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, wrote a PhD dissertation comparing the two (unfortunately, I can't seem to find a link to an online version).

Where they do differ is in their philosophical positions with respect to emptiness and the individual's relation to it. Bodhisattva practitioners take the Bodhisattva Vow and don't practice for nirvana nor for that matter do they claim any attainments. They practice to liberate all sentient beings and they vow to continue to be reborn until all sentient beings are liberated. This view is very much tied up with the Mahayana view of emptiness, expressed succiently by the Heart Sutra. The Theravadan view realized experientally at 4th path is that emptiness extends to the individual, that there is no fixed or abiding self. The Mahayana view is that there is no fixed and abiding reality to anything. For me, the Mahayana view leads to a fluid sense of your experience in the world, while the Bodhisattva Vow orients that experience towards an intention to help others. Not that you always achieve that intention, of course, but it remains the guiding light.

Hope that helps.


Thankyou!

This actually gave me some subtle anxiety. I should investigate that.

Hm. I don’t know what it was. The decision-making part, probably. Vows and intentions. How could I make up my mind about something that I cannot comprehend? Who is it that forms these intentions that you mention? Is there a choice to be made, or is it already settled?

Intetesting, anyway. I will read those links, thankyou.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/16/19 6:09 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
And just to add to the excellent replies so far ... what is it that you are assuming to be the self, and do not want to let go?

Is it form? Is it feeling?  Is it recognition? Is it urges? Is it divided knowing?  Divided knowing of the body? Eye? Ear? Nose? Tongue? Mind?

Which of these is the self that wants to cling to delusion?



I don’t mind letting go of self per se. It’s awareness that I cling to. I guess there is some sense of self hidden in that, though, as I still want to be able to experience awareness. And yet when I meditate I don’t think of the awareness as mine. Awareness just is. Also, I don’t mind having cessations. Not at all. If one of those cessations were to last forever, I wouldn’t even know it. The clinging doesn’t make sense.

There is no specific part that does the clinging. The clinging just is. The clinging does the clinging.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/16/19 6:23 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
How about I just continue to trust that the process knows the way? Just surrender?

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/16/19 6:34 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
My hypothesis: clinging to awareness is clinging to existence - to a self that is believed to be permanent. We all do this. Mind knits a thread of reality together that seems continuous - but it's not continuous. We have a story that starts and never ends. It survives a million rebirths (moment to moment), it survives sleep, it survives, we hope (cling), forever. We don't want the story to end. It's the narrative, the story of "me."

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/16/19 9:54 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
curious:
And just to add to the excellent replies so far ... what is it that you are assuming to be the self, and do not want to let go?

Is it form? Is it feeling?  Is it recognition? Is it urges? Is it divided knowing?  Divided knowing of the body? Eye? Ear? Nose? Tongue? Mind?

Which of these is the self that wants to cling to delusion?



I don’t mind letting go of self per se. It’s awareness that I cling to. I guess there is some sense of self hidden in that, though, as I still want to be able to experience awareness. And yet when I meditate I don’t think of the awareness as mine. Awareness just is. Also, I don’t mind having cessations. Not at all. If one of those cessations were to last forever, I wouldn’t even know it. The clinging doesn’t make sense.

There is no specific part that does the clinging. The clinging just is. The clinging does the clinging.


Yes you are still having self-view on Awareness. Actually in my path it is important to directly realize and experience Awareness. Just that its non-dual, anatta and empty nature must later be realized, then there will be no traces, grasping, identity involved. Awareness is first realized for me in the I AM phase but experienced most directly and intensely after anatta.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/16/19 2:43 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
curious:
And just to add to the excellent replies so far ... what is it that you are assuming to be the self, and do not want to let go?

Is it form? Is it feeling?  Is it recognition? Is it urges? Is it divided knowing?  Divided knowing of the body? Eye? Ear? Nose? Tongue? Mind?

Which of these is the self that wants to cling to delusion?

I don’t mind letting go of self per se. It’s awareness that I cling to. I guess there is some sense of self hidden in that, though, as I still want to be able to experience awareness. And yet when I meditate I don’t think of the awareness as mine. Awareness just is. Also, I don’t mind having cessations. Not at all. If one of those cessations were to last forever, I wouldn’t even know it. The clinging doesn’t make sense.

There is no specific part that does the clinging. The clinging just is. The clinging does the clinging.

What are the characteristics of the clinging?   How many and of what kind? 

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/17/19 5:57 AM as a reply to curious.
When it comes back to the surface I will look into it. Right now it’s not there.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/17/19 6:23 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
When it comes back to the surface I will look into it. Right now it’s not there.

Oh well, keep at it!  emoticon  I had to evaporate myself eight or ten times before it stuck.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/17/19 6:44 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
When it comes back to the surface I will look into it. Right now it’s not there.

Oh well, keep at it!  emoticon  I had to evaporate myself eight or ten times before it stuck.

Oh, I don’t doubt at all that I will need that, too. Frustrating, sometimes, but even the frustration is a delusion (and that can be frustrating per se).

Thanks for sharing! I appreciate it. It’s a relief not to be alone in it.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/18/19 2:21 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:

Yes you are still having self-view on Awareness. Actually in my path it is important to directly realize and experience Awareness. Just that its non-dual, anatta and empty nature must later be realized, then there will be no traces, grasping, identity involved. Awareness is first realized for me in the I AM phase but experienced most directly and intensely after anatta.

I get glimpses of something that seems to match the description, but I don’t know if it’s the same thing. My brain isn’t exactly normal, so maybe I experience things differently.

What/when is the I AM phase? What do you mean when you say ”after anatta”?

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/18/19 1:43 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
An Eternal Now:

Yes you are still having self-view on Awareness. Actually in my path it is important to directly realize and experience Awareness. Just that its non-dual, anatta and empty nature must later be realized, then there will be no traces, grasping, identity involved. Awareness is first realized for me in the I AM phase but experienced most directly and intensely after anatta.

I get glimpses of something that seems to match the description, but I don’t know if it’s the same thing. My brain isn’t exactly normal, so maybe I experience things differently.

What/when is the I AM phase? What do you mean when you say ”after anatta”?

The I AM phase corresponds to stages 1 and  2, anatta is 5: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html

I'm writing a guide, but it's still being edited and not complete yet: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xCaHV3T7LMNvuLew3eg-Vgjc_Q2tm6vnw7Yuy_Pv67Y/edit?fbclid=IwAR1t-p0YpRxX8DkgiZCSSmvflMuLVwb_FVKDES_ep_7JhsgBrXFP99uBQSg#

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/18/19 4:31 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
Wow, what a resource! Thankyou!

I have had experiences (glimpses) of non-division between subject and object. That’s what led to most of my fruitions. I was investigating that particular phenomenon. Those glimpses were very short, because of course there is no such experience as long as there is a sense of someone doing the investigation. There were moments where I forgot myself and the doing and had that subject-object division collapse. I have also rested for longer periods in nothingness, just because I needed the rest.

I never saw any of that as making an effort. Sometimes I had no intention to meditate. I intended to sleep, but meditation happened anyway. Sometimes I woke up in the midst of meditation. Sometimes I just happened to meditate 12 hours in one day without planning it or making any effort. It just needed to be done, and so it happened. I surrendered. That was the least effort. Not meditating would have been a huge effort. Before I had those glimpses, I spent whole nights having all my senses turned inside out, one at a time (that’s the best way I can explain the experience). After stream entry, in review, I had all senses turned inside out at the same time, and I never intended to do it. It just happened as soon as I relaxed.

I’m not worried about being stuck in any phase, because I only started my daily practice on September 20th last year, and I started with 20 minutes per day. It took me exactly 6 months to have stream entry, with support from Michael Taft. I can’t complain. Things have happened really fast, so maybe it’s not so strange that sceptical thoughts sometimes pop up. I will keep going anyway, because the process seems to have made up its mind. I don’t think I have much of a say in it.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/19/19 7:38 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
My hypothesis: clinging to awareness is clinging to existence - to a self that is believed to be permanent. We all do this. Mind knits a thread of reality together that seems continuous - but it's not continuous. We have a story that starts and never ends. It survives a million rebirths (moment to moment), it survives sleep, it survives, we hope (cling), forever. We don't want the story to end. It's the narrative, the story of "me."



I have no problem with discontinuity and impermanence. I have a problem with permanence. The Theravadan view seems to be a view of permanent non-existence. Or have I misunderstood it?

Then again, since time is but a construction, maybe the question is irrelevant.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/19/19 8:14 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Chris Marti:
My hypothesis: clinging to awareness is clinging to existence - to a self that is believed to be permanent. We all do this. Mind knits a thread of reality together that seems continuous - but it's not continuous. We have a story that starts and never ends. It survives a million rebirths (moment to moment), it survives sleep, it survives, we hope (cling), forever. We don't want the story to end. It's the narrative, the story of "me."



I have no problem with discontinuity and impermanence. I have a problem with permanence. The Theravadan view seems to be a view of permanent non-existence. Or have I misunderstood it?
How can a quality such as "permanence" be applied to "nothing" (non-existence)? emoticon

You're still assuming there's something lose its existence. (a self) 

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/19/19 8:56 AM as a reply to Nick O.
No. I’m pointing out that such descriptions - which I have seen at the forum - do not make sense. You assume that the assumption comes from me. It doesn’t.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/19/19 9:24 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
As you all know, emotions and thoughts are impermanent. They never were continuous. The fears disappeared as quickly as they arose. Just because the words can still be read here, that doesn’t mean that the person who wrote them still exists.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/19/19 9:28 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
No. I’m pointing out that such descriptions - which I have seen at the forum - do not make sense. You assume that the assumption comes from me. It doesn’t.

These descriptions of experience aren't based on philosophy and commentary but on observation. Our practice is what leads us to conclusions about impermanence and not-self, not the words of others. We have to see and experience these things for ourselves before we "grok" them fully.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/19/19 9:44 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
No. I’m pointing out that such descriptions - which I have seen at the forum - do not make sense. You assume that the assumption comes from me. It doesn’t.

These descriptions of experience aren't based on philosophy and commentary but on observation. Our practice is what leads us to conclusions about impermanence and not-self, not the words of others. We have to see and experience these things for ourselves before we "grok" them fully.



As I said, I don’t have a problem with impermanence. I have experienced that myself. I have a problem with descriptions that sound like there is permanence to non-existence.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/19/19 10:00 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
If anybody actually has experienced permanence of non-existence, I would love to see the phenomenological description of that. I have a hunch that it won’t happen, though. emoticon

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/19/19 2:23 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
If anybody actually has experienced permanence of non-existence, I would love to see the phenomenological description of that. I have a hunch that it won’t happen, though. emoticon

Here you are, courtesy of Sid Gotama.

Where water, earth, fire, & wind have no footing:
There the stars don't shine, the sun isn't visible.
There the moon doesn't appear. There darkness is not found.
And when a sage, a noble through wisdom, has realized for herself,
then from form & formless, from bliss & pain, she is freed.


The talk of permanence of non-existence is a kind of short-hand. To be entirely accurate, you would say permanence and impermanence do not apply. The clinging self that created these distinctions is blown out, like a candle flame. The candle remains, but doesn't burn. But until you really understand and see for yourself, in the way Chris described, these ideas in their raw form are kind of incomprehensible.  So saying non-existence is permanent is really a short hand for something else, rather than a literal description.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/19/19 3:27 PM as a reply to curious.
For me it is much more comprehensible and much less fear-inducing to say that time-based concepts do not apply to non-existence than saying that they do. I really don’t see how that would be a short hand, but maybe it is to normal people. I wouldn’t know.

That text makes sense, but it’s not an observation of permanence.

How do you mean that you have seen for yourself that non-existence is permanent? How do you even know that time is linear and one-directional? It would have to be for the concept of permanence to be at all relevant, and if I understand correctly, the latest science says that it isn’t.  Rather, everything exists at the same time in an infinite now. Also, neither of you have yet died as arahants.  

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/19/19 6:26 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Dear Polly, death doesn't apply, arahant doesn't apply. I guess we are back at what Chris said:

"These descriptions of experience aren't based on philosophy and commentary but on observation. Our practice is what leads us to conclusions about impermanence and not-self, not the words of others. We have to see and experience these things for ourselves before we "grok" them fully."

Something you might find helpful at this point is Frank Jackson's thought experiment of Red Mary.  She is a scientist who knows everything there is know about the colour red, but has never seen it.  She is stuck in a room and has no direct experience, no  'qualia', of the colour red.  Now it is extremely useful, even vital, to to have some science - some knowledge, some study of dharma.  But there comes a point at which you have to stop trying to understand the qualia through analysis, and instead just step outside and experience it.  At that point you will find some of the dharma you think you know has another layer of meaning.  It's not that it is hidden, so much as that it is hard to fully understand until you have the experience for yourself. So ... 

You can't eat through your ears,
You can't hear with your eyes,
You can't think your way to liberation.
Just step outside, and look at the colours.   

With the qualia of love

Malcolm
 

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/19/19 8:08 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
No. I’m pointing out that such descriptions - which I have seen at the forum - do not make sense. You assume that the assumption comes from me. It doesn’t.

My permanence of non-existence question was more of a riddle than a rational question asking for a rational answer and I asked it because maybe I did assume the assumption in question. I suspect that permance of non-existence doesn't make sense unless impermanence (and no self) is understood to a high degree. Then one may see the "slight of hand" as curious put it. But these are just words! emoticon

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/20/19 1:10 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
Dear Polly, death doesn't apply, arahant doesn't apply. I guess we are back at what Chris said:

"These descriptions of experience aren't based on philosophy and commentary but on observation. Our practice is what leads us to conclusions about impermanence and not-self, not the words of others. We have to see and experience these things for ourselves before we "grok" them fully."

Something you might find helpful at this point is Frank Jackson's thought experiment of Red Mary.  She is a scientist who knows everything there is know about the colour red, but has never seen it.  She is stuck in a room and has no direct experience, no  'qualia', of the colour red.  Now it is extremely useful, even vital, to to have some science - some knowledge, some study of dharma.  But there comes a point at which you have to stop trying to understand the qualia through analysis, and instead just step outside and experience it.  At that point you will find some of the dharma you think you know has another layer of meaning.  It's not that it is hidden, so much as that it is hard to fully understand until you have the experience for yourself. So ... 

You can't eat through your ears,
You can't hear with your eyes,
You can't think your way to liberation.
Just step outside, and look at the colours.   

With the qualia of love

Malcolm
 


I know that it’s not a person that wakes up. Words are inadequate.

Your wordings now are more helpful to me than the wordings that are apparently helpful for others at this stage of the process, so I’m grateful for that. I find many of the wordings frustratingly misleading, so I’d rather have no words for it than approximations based on what most people find helpful. ”Death does not apply” acknowledges that the words are insufficient. That helps. I don’t need to have the answers now. Confirmation that the approximations are misleading is sufficient. Earlier, it sounded to me like people were saying that those approximations were indeed correct and that I would understand that eventually, but that was probably also a case of words being insufficient, and so we talked past each other. Understandable but frustrating.

Thanks everyone!

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
5/20/19 1:22 AM as a reply to Nick O.
Nick O:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
No. I’m pointing out that such descriptions - which I have seen at the forum - do not make sense. You assume that the assumption comes from me. It doesn’t.

My permanence of non-existence question was more of a riddle than a rational question asking for a rational answer and I asked it because maybe I did assume the assumption in question. I suspect that permance of non-existence doesn't make sense unless impermanence (and no self) is understood to a high degree. Then one may see the "slight of hand" as curious put it. But these are just words! emoticon



I see. Thanks for that context! Yeah, words are so limited and limiting. I think I’ll just ignore wordings and trust the process. The process doesn’t scare me. Not now anyway. The words do sometimes, because they make it all sound so futile and small, or even like a grande escape. I’m done escaping.

RE: misleading fear of nirvana - talk me out of it
Answer
6/6/19 3:53 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Hey, I found the answer I needed to the second question in MCTB2, the chapter on immortality models: casuality does continue indefinitely. The ripples from awakening continue to spread. I’m content with that.

And the answer to the first question comes in the next chapter about extinction models. Yay! I love this book.