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The "Emotional Model" in MCTB

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The "Emotional Model" in MCTB
Answer
8/12/19 11:25 AM
Hey guys,

I'd really appreciate if you guys could offer me some clarity on this. So Daniel says awakening isn't about being able to maintain an imperturbable stoicism in the face of any situation - but my understanding is that any basically any negative emotion you feel can only come as a result of attachment, and according to the buddha attachment is the cause of suffering and liberation = letting go of attachment.

E.g. Daniel cites in his line of work (medical professional) that people get spat and screamed at - my understanding is that if any of this invokes a negative emotion within him in reaction to such an event, that can only be as a result attachment. Attachment to not being disrespected or attachment to his safety. I'm not saying either of these attachments are unreasonable to have, and i'm not saying in the face of these situations one should pretend to be imperturbed if they're actually not. But, unless i'm mistaken, my understanding is that enlightenment = letting go of all desires, letting go of wishing for anything to be different than it is, and if you're feeling negative emotions that can only be as a result of resitance to what is, i.e. attachment?

Thanks

RE: The "Emotional Model" in MCTB
Answer
8/12/19 12:40 PM as a reply to rohan.
rohan:
Hey guys,

I'd really appreciate if you guys could offer me some clarity on this. So Daniel says awakening isn't about being able to maintain an imperturbable stoicism in the face of any situation - 

I don't know the answer but I do have a question for you: What does it say in MCTB awakening is about?

There is another thread here where Keshin lu said that an arahant still has emotions, but they don't stick in the mind.
Would an arahant cry if hs wife died: https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/8209658
He has a few posts in that thread,...

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/8209658?_19_delta=20&_19_keywords=&_19_advancedSearch=false&_19_andOperator=true&_19_resetCur=false&_19_cur=2#_19_message_8997451
"Dukkha comes, dukkha goes, mean  sankara that results into emotion is felt in the body and the voices is raised. But still they are empty.  They talk and think but still they are empty. "

"they are empty." - I am not 100% sure of the implications, maybe it means they are not fooled by identity-view so even though they have emotions they feel like there is no (one there to experience) suffering?

Maybe what Daniel and Keshin are talking about are practical matters, what living people experience, I'm not sure if what they are saying would be true about actual nibbana. 

(I see you are interested in the context of MCTB, if you are interested in other system, I would have more to say).

RE: The "Emotional Model" in MCTB
Answer
8/12/19 3:31 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
maybe the buddha was wrong

or

maybe these issues are not so black and white

RE: The "Emotional Model" in MCTB
Answer
8/12/19 9:01 PM as a reply to rohan.
rohan:

...awakening isn't about being able to maintain an imperturbable stoicism in the face of any situation - but my understanding is that any basically any negative emotion you feel can only come as a result of attachment, and according to the buddha attachment is the cause of suffering and liberation = letting go of attachment.

Imagine that you are convinced that you a character called "rohan". "rohan" reacts to situations any number of ways, as emotions or thoughts or body feelings arise, elongating their initiial thought or sensation with an explanation about how or why that fills out this fictional character, carrying grudges, biases, tastes, favorites, etc.

One day, however, "rohan" "awakens" in a strange singular "moment" and sees that what "he" has always really been is the quiet awareness that he has encountered so many times in meditation... the awarenss that lies underneath his thoughts and feelings, and is present when techniques drop away and there is pervasive stillness. This "awakening" changes the way he understands "self", "other", "space", and "time" forever.

As the months after this "awakening" roll on there is no longer the compulsion to act on impulses of sudden anger, or sadness with a fictional set of follow-on antics that cement his identity as before... these events just arise and pass - like leaves fall from a tree, or a car passes on a street - because "rohan" no longer believes in the cobbled together feelings and emotions that he once thought of as "his" identiy.

So, does anger still arise in "rohan"? To his girlfriend, "rohan" is calmer and less perturbed, but he may still have short outbursts to some degree or another. To "rohan", however, what arises is not something that he identifies with, or thinks is "self" any more than any other phenomena.

RE: The "Emotional Model" in MCTB
Answer
8/12/19 9:46 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
rohan:

...awakening isn't about being able to maintain an imperturbable stoicism in the face of any situation - but my understanding is that any basically any negative emotion you feel can only come as a result of attachment, and according to the buddha attachment is the cause of suffering and liberation = letting go of attachment.

Imagine that you are convinced that you a character called "rohan". "rohan" reacts to situations any number of ways, as emotions or thoughts or body feelings arise, elongating their initiial thought or sensation with an explanation about how or why that fills out this fictional character, carrying grudges, biases, tastes, favorites, etc.

One day, however, "rohan" "awakens" in a strange singular "moment" and sees that what "he" has always really been is the quiet awareness that he has encountered so many times in meditation... the awarenss that lies underneath his thoughts and feelings, and is present when techniques drop away and there is pervasive stillness. This "awakening" changes the way he understands "self", "other", "space", and "time" forever.

As the months after this "awakening" roll on there is no longer the compulsion to act on impulses of sudden anger, or sadness with a fictional set of follow-on antics that cement his identity as before... these events just arise and pass - like leaves fall from a tree, or a car passes on a street - because "rohan" no longer believes in the cobbled together feelings and emotions that he once thought of as "his" identiy.

So, does anger still arise in "rohan"? To his girlfriend, "rohan" is calmer and less perturbed, but he may still have short outbursts to some degree or another. To "rohan", however, what arises is not something that he identifies with, or thinks is "self" any more than any other phenomena.

If rohan didn't have a girlfriend or any friends and his life was hell because he suffered from anxiety and depression because of an organic biochemical disorder (not a cognitive disorder) would he think awakening had any value as he continued to experience the effects of his disorder after awakening? Would he even notice being awakened with all the emotional noise his brain was generating that was beyond conscious control?

(I am replying to Stirling but I am interested in other opinions as well).

RE: The "Emotional Model" in MCTB
Answer
8/12/19 10:02 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:

...

As the months after this "awakening" roll on there is no longer the compulsion to act on impulses of sudden anger, or sadness with a fictional set of follow-on antics that cement his identity as before... these events just arise and pass - like leaves fall from a tree, or a car passes on a street - because "rohan" no longer believes in the cobbled together feelings and emotions that he once thought of as "his" identiy.

So, does anger still arise in "rohan"? To his girlfriend, "rohan" is calmer and less perturbed, but he may still have short outbursts to some degree or another.
To "rohan", however, what arises is not something that he identifies with, or thinks is "self" any more than any other phenomena.
The part I put in bold is true for many people who meditate a lot. From watching the mind they understand emotions are not reality. They are not in the grip of their emotions. I would be interested reading your (and other folks') opinions on what is the incremental benefit from that last bit that you get from crossing the line into stream entry. 

And about this part: 
To "rohan", however, what arises is not something that he identifies with, or thinks is "self" any more than any other phenomena.

Is that something he felt intensly once and remembers every day, or does he feel it every day with the same intensity as the first time he felt it?

RE: The "Emotional Model" in MCTB
Answer
8/12/19 10:41 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim, IMHO the benefit as one gets SE and beyond is that this state becomes less conceptual and more 'realized.' If you were to compare it very roughly to, say, playing tennis, you would progress through generally knowing what a good serve looks like but being unable to serve well yourself, to sometimes getting lucky and getting a good serve, to being able to serve well if you really concentrate and conditions are right, to being able to analyze the finer points of serving and being able to get 'into the zone' somewhat regularly, to being able to serve effortlessly, being able to enter a state of flow without having to think and analyze at all because that becomes your baseline state of play. With insight you can start out understanding what needs to be done, but it takes mental and emotional effort and moment to moment focus. Strong attachments can still cause a chain of formations and dukkha before they are headed off by conscious effort. As you progress, these things start to lose their ability to hook you like that and become passing phenomena without the ability to cascade into formations. They die with 'you' in every moment.

RE: The "Emotional Model" in MCTB
Answer
8/12/19 10:39 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:

If rohan didn't have a girlfriend or any friends and his life was hell because he suffered from anxiety and depression because of an organic biochemical disorder (not a cognitive disorder) would he think awakening had any value as he continued to experience the effects of his disorder after awakening? Would he even notice being awakened with all the emotional noise his brain was generating that was beyond conscious control?

(I am replying to Stirling but I am interested in other opinions as well).

I won't speak for anyone else, but the day before "awakening" I took my daily modest dose of a strong, long lasting benzodiazapine, which I took every night before bed to treat diagnosed general anxiety disorder. I forgot to take the medication the day after "awakening" just due to the interruption of my routine from general incredulousness, and haven't taken it since. 

Imagine if if was clear to you that all perceptual phenomena were not "you" or "self", but just momentary sensations that arise and pass away without any permanence, including your thoughts, feelings and every else... this would include the objects of your depression and anxiety, and the iterative internal dialog that would accompany them. I am not suggesting it is impossible that depression or anxiety would continue, but I find it hard to fathom.

RE: The "Emotional Model" in MCTB
Answer
8/12/19 11:09 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:

From watching the mind they understand emotions are not reality. They are not in the grip of their emotions. I would be interested reading your (and other folks') opinions on what is the incremental benefit from that last bit that you get from crossing the line into stream entry. 

And about this part: 
To "rohan", however, what arises is not something that he identifies with, or thinks is "self" any more than any other phenomena.

Is that something he felt intensly once and remembers every day, or does he feel it every day with the same intensity as the first time he felt it?

When Dorothy realizes that the all powerful Wizard of Oz is just some guy behind a curtain, the illusion that he is something to fear or revere is forever broken.

Imagine your "problems" being seen through - your "self", your job, family, money, ad nauseum. It is the identity of them as having their own intrinsic reality that causes confusion and suffering. Speaking solely from my own experience, the insight was/is massive and unforgettable, and always present. It's like:



Each grass and each from itself is the entire earth. Each moment is the entire world. Reflect now whether any world is left out of the present moment. - Dogen

-


As in a dream, all the external objects perceived with the five senses are not there, but appear through delusion.



As in a magic show, things are made to appear by a temporary conjunction of causes, circumstances and connections.

As in a visual aberration, things appear to be there, yet there is nothing.

As in a mirage, things appear but are not real.

As in an echo, things can be perceived but there is nothing there, either outside or inside.

As in a city of gandharvas, there is neither a dwelling nor anyone to dwell.

As in a reflection, things appear but have no reality of their own.

As in a city created by magic, there are all sorts of appearances but they are not really there. 
 - The Eight Similes of illusion, Patrul Rinpoche-

Know all things to be like this:
A mirage, a cloud castle,
A dream, an apparition,
Without essence, but with qualities that can be seen.

Know all things to be like this:
As the moon in a bright sky
In some clear lake reflected,
Though to that lake the moon has never moved.

Know all things to be like this:
As an echo that derives
From music, sounds, and weeping,
Yet in that echo is no melody.

Know all things to be like this:
As a magician makes illusions
Of horses, oxen, carts and other things,
Nothing is as it appears. - Buddha
 _

Further reading:

https://terebess.hu/english/hsin.html#23

 

RE: The "Emotional Model" in MCTB
Answer
8/13/19 12:14 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:

...

I won't speak for anyone else, but the day before "awakening" I took my daily modest dose of a strong, long lasting benzodiazapine, which I took every night before bed to treat diagnosed general anxiety disorder. I forgot to take the medication the day after "awakening" just due to the interruption of my routine from general incredulousness, and haven't taken it since. 

Imagine if if was clear to you that all perceptual phenomena were not "you" or "self", but just momentary sensations that arise and pass away without any permanence, including your thoughts, feelings and every else... this would include the objects of your depression and anxiety, and the iterative internal dialog that would accompany them. I am not suggesting it is impossible that depression or anxiety would continue, but I find it hard to fathom.

Was your system still flooded by high levels of stress hormones or did that stop after awakening?

I hope you don't mind if I ask a personal question, but were you born with the anxiety or is it something you "learned" later in life?

RE: The "Emotional Model" in MCTB
Answer
8/13/19 12:03 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:

Was your system still flooded by high levels of stress hormones or did that stop after awakening?

I hope you don't mind if I ask a personal question, but were you born with the anxiety or is it something you "learned" later in life?

I have never had my hormones examined or levels tested, so I can't comment on that. 

I always had some level of anxiety, off and on, as I recall. 

I still sometimes have the momentary body feelings that would lead to my anxiety. I used to observe this process when I would meditate, before awakening, and could sometimes short circuit it. An unsettled feeling would originate in the gut. I would notice it, then ask myself, "Why are you anxious?". I would then create the detailed story about my anxiety, my problems, my inadequacies, etc. solidifying both the anxiety story, and the "self" that it was about. This no longer happens because the sensations are just that, and the story of "self" no longer gets constructed in this way... or indeed any way.

RE: The "Emotional Model" in MCTB
Answer
8/13/19 1:36 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:

I have never had my hormones examined or levels tested, so I can't comment on that. 

I always had some level of anxiety, off and on, as I recall. 

I still sometimes have the momentary body feelings that would lead to my anxiety. I used to observe this process when I would meditate, before awakening, and could sometimes short circuit it. An unsettled feeling would originate in the gut. I would notice it, then ask myself, "Why are you anxious?". I would then create the detailed story about my anxiety, my problems, my inadequacies, etc. solidifying both the anxiety story, and the "self" that it was about. This no longer happens because the sensations are just that, and the story of "self" no longer gets constructed in this way... or indeed any way.


Sorry if you've been asked this before (I find it hard to search through old posts on this forum) if so could you point me to a link, ... could you describe how you meditate and what were the circumstances of your awakenkng? Were you meditating or doing something else when it happened?

Thanks

RE: The "Emotional Model" in MCTB
Answer
8/13/19 8:00 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:

...

One day, however, "rohan" "awakens" in a strange singular "moment" and sees that what "he" has always really been is the quiet awareness that he has encountered so many times in meditation... the awarenss that lies underneath his thoughts and feelings, and is present when techniques drop away and there is pervasive stillness. This "awakening" changes the way he understands "self", "other", "space", and "time" forever.

...

Is this "quiet awareness" something that if intentionally cultivated, dwelt in, by itself would lead to awakening?

Is there anything more you can say about: how to recognize it, what exactly is going on in the mind when one is aware of it, how to cultivate it?

Can you say something like: it's the feeling of being you get when you close your eyes and you feel like you are located somewhere inside your head behind your eyes, or it's the feeling you get when you exhale in that moment of stillness that occurs before you inhale? Or, it's consciousness when you are not thinking verbally or trying to solve a problem, or thinking about the past or future or anything else. Or it's the feeling you get when you ask yourself, "Who am I" and you don't know the answer. Is it like when you are watching the mind waiting for the next thought to arise and watching seems to drive thoughts away? Is it like when you try to see where thoughts emotions and impulses arise from and you realize "you" are not producing them you are only aware of them - they come from the subconscious or who-knows-where? Is it like when you are washing the dishes mindfully and you are not thinking just noticing movement, sound, color, sensations, (and the inevetable stray thoughts and emotions)? Something people can easily and unambiguously recognize and produce and experience?


Thanks

RE: The "Emotional Model" in MCTB
Answer
8/13/19 4:44 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:



One day, however, "rohan" "awakens" in a strange singular "moment" and sees that what "he" has always really been is the quiet awareness that he has encountered so many times in meditation... the awarenss that lies underneath his thoughts and feelings, and is present when techniques drop away and there is pervasive stillness. This "awakening" changes the way he understands "self", "other", "space", and "time" forever.


Is that how noting works? It causes you to consider everything that comes into awareness (thoughts, emotions, perceptions, impulses) as separate - helping you to recognize that bit of awareness as what you really are?

Because that is what I find myself doing - trying to experience being just that bit of awareness - by identifying everything that awareness is aware of (and therefore all the things which that bit of awareness is not). That is the essence of noting right?

RE: The "Emotional Model" in MCTB
Answer
8/13/19 4:46 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:

Sorry if you've been asked this before (I find it hard to search through old posts on this forum) if so could you point me to a link, ... could you describe how you meditate and what were the circumstances of your awakenkng? Were you meditating or doing something else when it happened?

Thanks

Feel free to message me - my practice history, etc. are probably off topic for this thread, but I'd be happy to bore you individually. emoticon

RE: The "Emotional Model" in MCTB
Answer
8/13/19 5:14 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:

Is this "quiet awareness" something that if intentionally cultivated, dwelt in, by itself would lead to awakening?


Most Mahamudra traditions include this as a critical element, including the two I have worked in. 

Is there anything more you can say about: how to recognize it, what exactly is going on in the mind when one is aware of it, how to cultivate it?

Mind is quiet and sharply aware:

"The practical training of the Dzogchen path is traditionally, and most simply, described in terms of View, Meditation and Action. To see directly the Absolute state, the Ground of our being is the View; the way of stabilising that view, and making it an unbroken experience is Meditation; and integrating the View into our entire reality, and life, is what is meant by Action.

Imagine a sky, empty, spacious, and pure from the beginning; its essence is like this. Imagine a sun, luminous, clear, unobstructed, and spontaneously present; its nature is like this. Imagine that sun shining out impartially on us and all things, penetrating all directions; its energy, which is the manifestation of compassion, is like this: Nothing can obstruct it and it pervades everywhere." - Sogyal Rinpoche, Tibetan Book of Living and Dying



Can you say something like: it's the feeling of being you get when you close your eyes and you feel like you are located somewhere inside your head behind your eyes, or it's the feeling you get when you exhale in that moment of stillness that occurs before you inhale? Or, it's consciousness when you are not thinking verbally or trying to solve a problem, or thinking about the past or future or anything else. Or it's the feeling you get when you ask yourself, "Who am I" and you don't know the answer. Is it like when you are watching the mind waiting for the next thought to arise and watching seems to drive thoughts away? Is it like when you try to see where thoughts emotions and impulses arise from and you realize "you" are not producing them you are only aware of them - they come from the subconscious or who-knows-where? Is it like when you are washing the dishes mindfully and you are not thinking just noticing movement, sound, color, sensations, (and the inevetable stray thoughts and emotions)? Something people can easily and unambiguously recognize and produce and experience?

It is clear, spacious, luminous, empty, awareness. Thoughts and emotions arise and pass, just like all other phenomena. As I heard Robert Thurman say in a lecture, (paraphrasing) "It is actualizing enlightenment in this moment."

RE: The "Emotional Model" in MCTB
Answer
8/13/19 5:18 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
Is that how noting works? It causes you to consider everything that comes into awareness (thoughts, emotions, perceptions, impulses) as separate - helping you to recognize that bit of awareness as what you really are?


I can't say... noting has never been a serious part of my training or practice. It does seem to have the effect of underlining what isn't "self". This practice is more about observing what isn't self silently. 

Because that is what I find myself doing - trying to experience being just that bit of awareness - by identifying everything that awareness is aware of (and therefore all the things which that bit of awareness is not). That is the essence of noting right?

Again... not a practice I have that much real experience with.