Will an answer arrive...

Will an answer arrive... Mike Kich 2/13/11 9:10 AM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Tommy M 2/13/11 11:30 AM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Mike Kich 3/18/11 8:31 PM
RE: Will an answer arrive... . Jake . 3/20/11 11:07 AM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Bruno Loff 2/13/11 11:59 AM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Tommy M 2/13/11 2:37 PM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Mike Kich 2/13/11 4:14 PM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Bruno Loff 2/13/11 7:20 PM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Mike Kich 2/13/11 8:12 PM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/13/11 10:31 PM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Ian And 2/13/11 11:33 PM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/14/11 2:42 PM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Ian And 2/15/11 12:12 AM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Bruno Loff 2/15/11 4:35 AM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Nikolai . 2/15/11 8:37 AM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/15/11 10:06 AM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Ian And 2/15/11 11:55 AM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/15/11 4:17 PM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Mike Kich 3/10/11 6:26 PM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 3/10/11 6:58 PM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Mike Kich 3/11/11 6:44 AM
RE: Will an answer arrive... This Good Self 2/14/11 2:40 AM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Bruno Loff 2/14/11 4:44 AM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Mike Kich 2/14/11 1:34 PM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/14/11 2:47 PM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Tommy M 2/14/11 5:08 PM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Jackson Wilshire 3/10/11 10:21 PM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Dauphin Supple Chirp 3/22/11 10:15 AM
RE: Will an answer arrive... Sean Lindsay 3/22/11 1:36 PM
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Mike Kich, modified 11 Years ago at 2/13/11 9:10 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/13/11 9:10 AM

Will an answer arrive...

Posts: 170 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
to the question of how my being came to be confused into believing it was dual in the first place when I do attain stream-entry? This is a philosophical question that I've never understood how to answer. If I'm enlightened the entire time, as is every other being, how did it come to be that samsara exists at all? If Buddhism is based around cause and effect, and the experience of Enlightenment is permanent, how could all of us have lost that at some point in the infinite past?
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Tommy M, modified 11 Years ago at 2/13/11 11:30 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/13/11 11:30 AM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

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I'm no philosopher but I'd considered the same things in the past, and seen the subject discussed, albeit in coded and metaphoric terms, in much of the work of Aleister Crowley. I think the first thing to remember is that enlightenment isn't a state, it can't be considered permanent because it's not a thing, it can't really be described so drop any ideas as they will all be incorrect, it's a way of being which transcends rationality and can only be hinted at using language, which is not the "thing" itself.

How duality came to be? I believe it's possible to experience this moment through vipassana.

There's love, compassion and the joy of unity in that moment. From what I understand through practice, both meditative and magickal, and what I've read from others like Crowley, the image which represents something so undefinable is the kabbalstic tree, specifically Atziluthic worlds which I believe correspond to the 11th nana upwards. It's like a map of the this process. The absolute, Ain, reached out to experience itself by creating the point, Kether, from here this fixed point, so that it could experience further, became the line, Chokmah, at which point movement became possible. I could go on here but it'd bore you senseless and there's far better material available elsewhere on this interpretation which you may find interesting.

My only recommendation here would be that you avoid philosophical considerations and just practice, it's really the only way to understand these things. The metaphors and allegory are useful to a point, but experience of the fundamental cause of sufferring can't be put into words. Hopefully this will all become clearer to you as you go on, good luck and hopefully this response will be of some use to you.
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Bruno Loff, modified 11 Years ago at 2/13/11 11:59 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/13/11 11:30 AM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

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It seems to me you're only confused because of your mystical premises. (1) You're not enlightened the entire time, in fact you've never been since the moment you were born, a large number of changes need to happen in the way your brain works before you are enlightened; none of us have ever "lost" enlightenment! emoticon (2) The experience of enlightenment, even after it is attained, isn't permanent, because enlightened human beings eventually die.

As to how the mental construct of duality came to existence in our species, that isn't at all surprising, once you consider the theory of evolution, which is a terrific way of understanding "how" it came to be. The cause and effect aspect is easily taken care of through an evolutionary argument, which anyone can work out for themselves (but which I would be happy to discuss).

Really surprising is that the mental construct of duality, and in fact the basis of all phycological suffering, is fragile and mutable enough that it can be eradicated! Ain't that great?!

Stream entry only actually abates the construct of duality a bit, and maybe allows you to see what it is made of (craving, aversion, and misperception) --- it doesn't eradicate it fully, or explain conceptually how it came to be there in the first place.

In general, being down-to-earth about these issues really clarifies stuff. The mystics of all ages have really made a mess of things which are really much simpler.
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Tommy M, modified 11 Years ago at 2/13/11 2:37 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/13/11 2:37 PM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

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Really surprising is that the mental construct of duality, and in fact the basis of all psychological suffering, is fragile and mutable enough that it can be eradicated! Ain't that great?!


Nail. Head. Hit.
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Mike Kich, modified 11 Years ago at 2/13/11 4:14 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/13/11 4:14 PM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

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(2) The experience of enlightenment, even after it is attained, isn't permanent, because enlightened human beings eventually die.


This kind of thing is another point that makes absolutely no sense to me, even assuming I'm pondering it from the vantage point of a pretty paradoxical mindset. If it's a transient experience it's like anything else, and so enlightenment isn't something separate and eternal; instead that makes it sound like a transient state experience, like the samatha jhanas. Unless...unless what happens is that through the true realization of no-self, one seriously doesn't consider himself to exist anymore in a permanent sense and so there's nothing to enlighten or to be enlightened, but instead truly just looking at yourself as a compound being equally subject to reality as everything else in flux around you. Hmmm, well I'll find out for myself/notself eventually.
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Bruno Loff, modified 11 Years ago at 2/13/11 7:20 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/13/11 7:18 PM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

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Mike Kich:
(2) The experience of enlightenment, even after it is attained, isn't permanent, because enlightened human beings eventually die.


This kind of thing is another point that makes absolutely no sense to me, even assuming I'm pondering it from the vantage point of a pretty paradoxical mindset.


It's really simple Mike: Enlightenment is a bunch of changes in one's brain. Apparently these changes can't be reversed, so they last for the remainder of one's life. But obviously no more, because then one dies and that's it. A functioning brain can be enlightened, but that doesn't really apply to a dead brain.

What doesn't make sense to you?

Mike:

If it's a transient experience it's like anything else, and so enlightenment isn't something separate and eternal; instead that makes it sound like a transient state experience, like the samatha jhanas.


It's not the same kind of transience, since enlightenment lasts for the remainder of one's lifetime, a jhana lasts for a while (and enlightenment, by all accounts, is much better). What do you think enlightenment is, in order to even conceptualize it as something which could be separate (from what?) or eternal?

Don't go ontologico-mystical on us. Just use down-to-earth common sense. And don't listen to the "beyond the beyond" "your true higher self" "we're already enlightened" "divine love" dudes who get paid money, or social favor, or bodily ecstatic divine bliss, in order to sound super mysterious and saintly. They're all, quite literally, full of themselves [1].

Do practice, change brain, be happy. It's that simple.

Bruno

[1] And what is very funny is that this also applies to those who say they are empty, or emptiness, or the void, or whatever.
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Mike Kich, modified 11 Years ago at 2/13/11 8:12 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/13/11 8:12 PM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

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Mmmm, I just don't agree with that in general. There's nothing wrong with a dab of mysticism or heart in your practice, that's my gut feeling. The idea of hardcore dharma practice is lovely but that can also be taken a little too far at times, and saying that the experience of Enlightenment is in sum total as trivial as a set of neurological changes and implying that people are only the sum total of their grey matter is just not something I agree with. I think there's a middle ground between that and trying to con everyone into believing you're a blissed out enlightened superlord of desire. Thanks for the input though.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 11 Years ago at 2/13/11 10:31 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/13/11 10:31 PM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

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Mike Kich:
Mmmm, I just don't agree with that in general. There's nothing wrong with a dab of mysticism or heart in your practice, that's my gut feeling. The idea of hardcore dharma practice is lovely but that can also be taken a little too far at times, and saying that the experience of Enlightenment is in sum total as trivial as a set of neurological changes and implying that people are only the sum total of their grey matter is just not something I agree with.


What do you believe? I'm curious... what would it be besides some changes in your brain? You're implying the existence of a soul of some kind by that statement - is that what you're getting at? Even Buddhism, with its beliefs in karma and reincarnation, states there is no such thing as a soul. What you might call a 'soul' is just another configuration of phenomena that is impermanent, suffering, and no-self, even though it might be re-born several times. At least, that's my understanding, and someone correct me if I'm wrong since I'm not sure about it.
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Ian And, modified 11 Years ago at 2/13/11 11:33 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/13/11 11:33 PM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

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Beoman Claudiu Beoman:

Even Buddhism, with its beliefs in karma and reincarnation, states there is no such thing as a soul.

This may be a small point but where do you find evidence that "Buddhism" teaches "belief" in anything? I'd be interested to know the sutta citation which states this.

Beoman Claudiu Beoman:

What you might call a 'soul' is just another configuration of phenomena that is impermanent, suffering, and no-self, even though it might be re-born several times. At least, that's my understanding, and someone correct me if I'm wrong since I'm not sure about it.

What you refer to as "just another configuration of phenomena that is impermanent, suffering, and not-self," Gotama called the five khandhas or the five aggregates. One is better off focusing on gaining insight into the khandhas and their influence on personality view in order to attenuate and eventually let go of their influence on one's perception of phenomena.
This Good Self, modified 11 Years ago at 2/14/11 2:40 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/14/11 2:40 AM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

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Maybe God broke itself into a squillion little independent entities purely for the pleasure of watching them re-discover their unity.
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Bruno Loff, modified 11 Years ago at 2/14/11 4:44 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/14/11 4:36 AM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

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C C C:
Maybe God broke itself into a squillion little independent entities purely for the pleasure of watching them re-discover their unity.


Yes, and maybe little green men actually did the breaking, and it is the taint of these little green men that causes suffering in our piece-of-god souls!

After having spent a some time entertaining this sort of thought (I once considered that I was part of an eternal dance between shiva and shakti), and realizing that it led nowhere and was completely based on imagination (either mine or of those whose books I'd read), I tried to base my opinions in fact, rather than fiction.

The way it works is simple: you "feel" that something is true. It's just a feeling: "It feels right", or "I feel that there is more to it than that," or "I feel that I am the silence in between things," or "I feel that phenomena are an act of divine love," or "I feel enlightened," "I feel insulted," "I feel good", "I feel bad", etc etc etc...

And all of these are pure imagination.
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Mike Kich, modified 11 Years ago at 2/14/11 1:34 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/14/11 1:34 PM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

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Well then we can agree to disagree.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 11 Years ago at 2/14/11 2:42 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/14/11 2:41 PM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

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Ian And:
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:

Even Buddhism, with its beliefs in karma and reincarnation, states there is no such thing as a soul.

This may be a small point but where do you find evidence that "Buddhism" teaches "belief" in anything? I'd be interested to know the sutta citation which states this.

Ah that's just me using imprecise language, thanks for calling me out on it. Equally imprecise would be 'Buddhism states'... it's not like Buddhism is a thing.

Ian And:
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:

What you might call a 'soul' is just another configuration of phenomena that is impermanent, suffering, and no-self, even though it might be re-born several times. At least, that's my understanding, and someone correct me if I'm wrong since I'm not sure about it.

What you refer to as "just another configuration of phenomena that is impermanent, suffering, and not-self," Gotama called the five khandhas or the five aggregates. One is better off focusing on gaining insight into the khandhas and their influence on personality view in order to attenuate and eventually let go of their influence on one's perception of phenomena.


Can you recommend some good suttas to read about this?
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 11 Years ago at 2/14/11 2:47 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/14/11 2:47 PM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

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Mike Kich:
Well then we can agree to disagree.


I would recommend only looking into this stuff insofar as it helps you practically... to that end I like Trent's description of karma, which doesn't talk about multiple lives or souls or Souls or Super Selves or Pieces of God or whatever:

Trent:
Hi,

Here’s an interpretation, which I put forth because it is actually practical (can be personally applied right this moment), makes sense (does not presuppose odd metaphysical views), and jives with the traditional texts more so than other interpretations I’ve seen (which makes it useful for understanding the context of other practical discourses). I am not proposing this is necessarily the “correct reading,” so I won’t respond to any critiques of that nature.

The “cycle of rebirth” pertains only to the moment-to-moment rebirthing (arising & passing) of a ‘self.’ Let’s say a person is in a situation in which an identity is triggered. It (past karma) arises (accompanied with a feeling-felt stress): “wow, it is awful that you don’t believe in God.”[1] This is said to arise due to "past karma" because the identification was created in the past (perhaps it was originally handed down from parent to child in this case, then built upon from there-after [2]). This iteration of the cycle can go one of three ways:

(1) The identification is entrenched more deeply by obsessing about it ("but God has to exists, he answers my prayers!"), justifying it with new evidence ("see, page X of the bible says Y!"), or by adding new layers to it (such as unforgiving indignation toward the supposed offender: "I don't like John-Doe very much"). This specific part of the cycle has not been uprooted and additional karma has been added to the cycle.

(2) Shortly after being triggered, an identification of ‘higher priority’ arises and so the other temporarily passes (immediately preceding the new arising). This specific part of the cycle has not been uprooted, but little to no additional karma has been added.

(3) The identification is seen through in some way—as silly, or delusional, or stressful, or not-self, or impermanent, or whatever [3]-- and is thus released. This specific part of the cycle of rebirth has ended; it has been uprooted entirely, and no further karma can come from it.

Now consider that ‘beings’ in general cling tightly to a myriad of identifications and are consciously or unconsciously creating more of them all the time. Further, 'beings' typically cycle through several different identifications at a time; sometimes rapidly, sometimes slowly, some in the foreground, some in the background. Hence: a perpetual cycle of ‘me’ being 'reborn' all the time, a cycle of 'me' justifying ‘my’ existence. This is why an arhat (using the 10 fetter model definition) is said to have ended the cycle of rebirth itself, as there is no more self, no more identification, no more being, no more stress, etc; there is no ‘me’ to arise: “Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world.”

Helpful?
Trent

[1] What is perceived to be “good” (“bright”) or “bad” (dark) is self referencing (inherited from institutions, culture, some are inborn, etc) and does not specifically reference some universal set of dogmatic principles (unless those dogmatic principles have been adopted as identifications / have been incorporated into one’s self). And so it is amorality which leads to ending the entire mess: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.235.than.html

[2] Humans are born with instinctual identifications, and from the moment they're able to take on new ones / build upon the inborn, they do so (blindly). This may provide some clue as to the seemingly-literal statements about rebirth, as all 'selves' are fundamentally the same (and so any passing on of 'you' to 'another' is also just 'you' passing on to another 'you').

[3] It doesn’t matter how or why a bit of the self is eliminated, because none of it actually fundamentally exists anyway (hence ‘delusion’). A contemplative simply has to sincerely decide to eliminate whatever mental defilement arises. Perhaps one reason for this mention: (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.077.than.html).
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Tommy M, modified 11 Years ago at 2/14/11 5:08 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/14/11 5:08 PM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

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Yes, and maybe little green men actually did the breaking, and it is the taint of these little green men that causes suffering in our piece-of-god souls!


You been reading L.Ron again?! emoticon
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Ian And, modified 11 Years ago at 2/15/11 12:12 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/15/11 12:10 AM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

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Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
Ian And:
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:

Even Buddhism, with its beliefs in karma and reincarnation, states there is no such thing as a soul.

This may be a small point but where do you find evidence that "Buddhism" teaches "belief" in anything? I'd be interested to know the sutta citation which states this.

Ah that's just me using imprecise language, thanks for calling me out on it. Equally imprecise would be 'Buddhism states'... it's not like Buddhism is a thing.

I know it's awful tempting to use imprecise language when answering someone's questions in fora like this, and that sometimes it gets downright frustrating when you can't come up with the right choice of words to describe the idea you'd like to get across. But you are better off taking the time to get it right rather than to risk misunderstanding from your readers because you were too lazy to be precise. Expect the best out of yourself at all times, and you might just surprise yourself at how well you can actually do toward achieving that!

Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
Ian And:
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:

What you might call a 'soul' is just another configuration of phenomena that is impermanent, suffering, and no-self, even though it might be re-born several times. At least, that's my understanding, and someone correct me if I'm wrong since I'm not sure about it.

What you refer to as "just another configuration of phenomena that is impermanent, suffering, and not-self," Gotama called the five khandhas or the five aggregates. One is better off focusing on gaining insight into the khandhas and their influence on personality view in order to attenuate and eventually let go of their influence on one's perception of phenomena.


Can you recommend some good suttas to read about this?

I can do better than that. There's a whole volume in the Samyutta Nikaya that addresses the khandhas. It's called the Khandhavagga ("The Connected Discourses on the Aggregates") and makes up a section in the third volume of the Samyutta (SN 22.1-159). If you have the Wisdom books edition of Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of the Samyutta, it's between pages 853 and 983.

But to save you some time, I wrote an essay a few years ago discussing the five aggregates, how Gotama defined them as well as the role they play in personality view. In it there are quotes from a few of the suttas, but one in particular stood out to me and allowed me a glimpse of insight into the heart of the matter with regard to the khandhas. The following is a section taken from the essay with the very quote in it that spurred the insight I had into the nature of the khandhas:

IanAnd:
The whole of life’s activities, what most beings take to be life’s significant activities, arise and pass away based upon the conditions which constantly arise, endure for a while, and ultimately pass away. Beings are made aware of these conditions based upon which sense organ is contacted and becomes conscious of the activity. When the condition ceases, passing away, it creates a change in the life continuum, and consciousness of that condition also ceases. Something new, though, may arise to take the previous condition’s place and thus create a new condition with new elements to confront and of which to be conscious. Thus what we call life and consciousness is based upon this ever changing panorama of altering conditions and their impact upon our sense faculties. What the Buddha realized and declared in no uncertain terms was that consciousness, the fifth aggregate, depends on matter, feeling, perception, and mental formations, and that its existence independent of these factors is not possible.

He stated (at SN 22.53; III.53): “Consciousness may exist having matter as its means, matter as its object, matter as its support, and seeking delight it may grow, increase and develop; or consciousness may exist having feeling as its means . . . or perception as its means . . . or mental formations as its means, mental formations as its object, mental formations as its support, and seeking delight it may grow, increase and develop.

“Were a man to say: I shall show the coming, the going, the passing away, the arising, the growth, the increase or the development of consciousness apart from matter, feeling, perception, and mental formations, he would be speaking of something that does not exist.”

The greater implication here is that all life, and thus all consciousness, arises in dependence upon and in relation to all other life and consciousness. And because all life is a reflection of arisen conditions, both physical and mental, all life and consciousness is conditioned in one manner or another. In order to reach the exterior infinitude of the Unconditioned, i.e. Nirvana in the world, one must be able to let go of all conditions, of all preconceptions, to stop clinging to anything whatsoever and float in the ever changing here and now, simply observing whatever is happening, with neither liking nor disliking in one's heart. This is the path to the cessation and relinquishing of suffering. When this is seen and fully comprehended, then the truth of the Four Noble Truths is seen and comprehended, as well as that of the Three Characteristics of Existence. In other words, the whole essence of the Dhamma is comprehended in one act of realization.

Attached is the essay I wrote:
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Bruno Loff, modified 11 Years ago at 2/15/11 4:35 AM
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RE: Will an answer arrive...

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Smart guy, Siddharta emoticon
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Nikolai , modified 11 Years ago at 2/15/11 8:37 AM
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Really good essay Ian! Thanks!! Do you have anymore accessible stuff you have written?

Nick
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 11 Years ago at 2/15/11 10:06 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/15/11 9:10 AM

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Awesome, thanks! I'll have to read the essay later when I can pay it more attention. Definitely, reading and reflecting on these things is easier/makes a lot more sense now than it did a year ago when I had almost no meditative experience. Also I can see why attaining NS is so beneficial, as it demonstrates this point (no consciousness without the aggregates) directly.
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Ian And, modified 11 Years ago at 2/15/11 11:55 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/15/11 11:51 AM

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Nicholai H.:
Really good essay Ian! Thanks!! Do you have anymore accessible stuff you have written?

Nick

Not that much at present. I would like to write more, but I simply do not have the necessary free time to be able to devote to this effort, which takes a great deal of concentration and few distractions in order to accomplish. Since I presently don't wish to burden people by soliciting donations in order to carry on this work, I have been endeavoring to fund it myself.

Toward that endeavor, I'm putting all my effort at present into setting up an affiliate business online so that I may be able to support myself financially and thus to afford the time necessary in order to write more extensively on these issues. There is much I have to share, yet I simply am not in a position to be able to do this full time at the moment. The goal is to eventually be able to devote more time to exploration of the suttas (kind of along similar lines to that of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's efforts in recent years) in order to bring out more fully the insights contained in them. I find that there is a qualitative difference in one's understanding and appreciation of the Dhamma when one can relate to it from direct personal experience. And this condition of realization, among other things, is what the suttas attempt to help the reader bring about.

One other piece I wrote several years ago was based on an insight I had about the role that "feeling" (vedana) plays in our daily conscious and unconscious actions and reactions to phenomena. The following attachment is that essay on "Contemplating the Truth About Feelings." It is rather crude in is construction, but it still make several good points applicable even today.

Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
Also I can see why attaining NS is so beneficial, as it demonstrates this point (no consciousness without the aggregates) directly.

It can be beneficial, yet it is not a necessity in order to make good progress on the path. What I learned from the experience was as you stated, that it is possible for the mind to shut down and to become oblivious to sensory input, and thus to create an imitation of nibbana. Had I not had that experience, I might have never been aware of this faculty (or ability) of mind. Yet this (and other such experiences), in and of itself, should not be mistaken for the end of the road.

Just as important, and more to the point, were the insights I gathered from having read and contemplated Bhk. Nanananda's book Concept and Reality in early Buddhist Thought. When you become aware of the source for the creation of thought and its conditioned nature, it becomes easier to let these things go just in the course of seeing them as they are.

Attachment follows:
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 11 Years ago at 2/15/11 4:17 PM
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RE: Will an answer arrive...

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Very nice essay! Some thoughts:

The first half might well have been on the AF site. The essay differs only in the method applied to do something about the feelings. A pretty marked difference at that - the essay says to never think "I feel" or believe in a self that 'has' these feelings, while the Actualist method says to always think "I feel", to own up to the feelings, realize that they are who 'you'/'your' self is, and to get a grip on them that way. Interesting how "there is no real self that is feeling these things" and "the self is these feelings; 'i' am 'my' feelings and 'my' feelings are 'me'" can be talking about the same thing (as far as I can tell; I may just be twisting definitions to suit what I think is right, but I feel like both approaches attempt to make the same point - that the self is a figment of one's imagination).
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Mike Kich, modified 11 Years ago at 3/10/11 6:26 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/10/11 6:26 PM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

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I'm not sure anymore if it was in this thread, but I just came across a quote in one of the suttas, the Vatthupama Sutta, which made me chuckle at the truth of Florian's statement to me at one point:

"It is here, brahmin, that you should bathe,
To make yourself a refuge for all beings.
And if you speak no falsehood
Nor work harm for living beings,
Nor take what is offered not,
With faith and free from avarice,
What need for you to go to Gaya?
For any well will be your Gaya."
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 11 Years ago at 3/10/11 6:58 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/10/11 6:58 PM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Mike Kich:
I'm not sure anymore if it was in this thread, but I just came across a quote in one of the suttas, the Vatthupama Sutta, which made me chuckle at the truth of Florian's statement to me at one point:

"It is here, brahmin, that you should bathe,
To make yourself a refuge for all beings.
And if you speak no falsehood
Nor work harm for living beings,
Nor take what is offered not,
With faith and free from avarice,
What need for you to go to Gaya?
For any well will be your Gaya."
which statement? florian seems to have not posted here
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Jackson Wilshire, modified 11 Years ago at 3/10/11 10:21 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/10/11 10:19 PM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
I'm late in answering this question, but I'll offer one perspective worth looking at...

The philosophy of Functional Contextualism led to the development of Relational Frame Theory (RFT) by the same psychologist who developed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT, pronounced as a word, not as initials). RFT is a theory of language and cognition based on empirical studies on derived stimulus relations (more information at ContextualPsychology.org/rft).

One of the six core processes of ACT is "Self as Context" which is described as:

"... a result of relational frames such as I versus You, Now versus Then, and Here versus There, human language leads to a sense of self as a locus or perspective, and provides a transcendent, spiritual side to normal verbal humans. [...] In brief the idea is that “I” emerges over large sets of exemplars of perspective-taking relations (what are termed in RFT “deictic relations”), but since this sense of self is a context for verbal knowing, not the content of that knowing, it’s [sic] limits cannot be consciously known. Self as context is important in part because from this standpoint, one can be aware of one’s own flow of experiences without attachment to them or an investment in which particular experiences occur: thus defusion and acceptance is fostered. Self as context is fostered in ACT by mindfulness exercises, metaphors, and experiential processes." (http://contextualpsychology.org/the_six_core_processes_of_act)

In short, according to RFT, the "sense of self" is a learned behavior based on perspective taking relations. These occur naturally as one learns to interact with their immediate environment (i.e. context). Various contextual cues are given, like when someone says "I love 'you'" or "This is 'mine', 'yours' is over there". We learn the "self" the same way we learn that a bunch of chopped up vegetables on a plate are a "salad". It's functional and contextual... until it's not.

Make sense?

Jackson
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Mike Kich, modified 11 Years ago at 3/11/11 6:44 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/11/11 6:44 AM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

Posts: 170 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
You can move it or delete it, either way it's ok. I just felt like sharing that, because it seemed suddenly very relevant as I was just finished reading it. I couldn't find Florian's original post in which he said that, so I just picked the one which seemed closest. I didn't intend to clutter things up.
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Mike Kich, modified 11 Years ago at 3/18/11 8:31 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/18/11 8:31 PM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

Posts: 170 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
Another interesting side-question just occurs to me: how is it that Zen Roshis, for example, can test people's Kensho to verify that they're actually enlightened? If Enlightenment isn't a thing, a state, and certainly not a word(s) or even a way of saying said word(s), then it's of course totally subjective, and...how would anyone have a clue whether you are or not? Unless they're testing to see if the student's in a state of being absolutely delighted that they've had the experience...I dunno, it doesn't make very much sense to me, like so much else. I'm just using Zen as a convenient example, but the same question arises in every other lineage too. Daniel said at one point in a Buddhist Geeks podcast that they don't let the Tibetan Lamas and Rinpoches wear the funny hats unless they're enlightened, and yet when I actually ask myself I can't fathom how anyone would test Enlightenment.
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Jake , modified 11 Years ago at 3/20/11 11:07 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/20/11 11:07 AM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

Posts: 695 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
Mike Kich:
Another interesting side-question just occurs to me: how is it that Zen Roshis, for example, can test people's Kensho to verify that they're actually enlightened? If Enlightenment isn't a thing, a state, and certainly not a word(s) or even a way of saying said word(s), then it's of course totally subjective, and...how would anyone have a clue whether you are or not? Unless they're testing to see if the student's in a state of being absolutely delighted that they've had the experience...I dunno, it doesn't make very much sense to me, like so much else. I'm just using Zen as a convenient example, but the same question arises in every other lineage too. Daniel said at one point in a Buddhist Geeks podcast that they don't let the Tibetan Lamas and Rinpoches wear the funny hats unless they're enlightened, and yet when I actually ask myself I can't fathom how anyone would test Enlightenment.


hi Mike! Consider this-- just because "enlightenment" isn't a thing or a state doesn't mean it is a completely abstract thing or state somehow totally separate from concrete things and states, which seems to be the concept implied in your question. In other words, how we (in a mundane mode) actually understand and relate to things and states will influence our activity and give our social presence a quality, right? So a radical shift in how we understand things and states from an ignorant to a more awake mode will tend to present in the quality of our social presence, our behavior, and so on, right, just like other more convoluted and driven modes of understanding/relating to states and things? That's not to say that "Roshis" can "test peoples' kensho"-- that's maybe painting with too broad a brush, you know? Too abstract. I can imagine lots of roshis missing a student's kensho and lots of roshis seeing a kensho that wasn't there. Same with the Tibetans with funny hats. Sure, the idea is that they're enlightened, and yeah there are all sorts of social processes embedded in that society to bring that about, but alongside those are also processes like nepotism and so on which place plenty of funny hats on plenty of heads, and have for as long as there have been monks in Tibet.

--Jake
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Dauphin Supple Chirp, modified 11 Years ago at 3/22/11 10:15 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/22/11 10:15 AM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

Posts: 154 Join Date: 3/15/11 Recent Posts
Mike Kich:
Will an answer arrive to the question of how my being came to be confused into believing it was dual in the first place when I do attain stream-entry?


I believe when you attain stream-entry, this question will no longer bother you.

Let's say you enter a big, confusing city without a map, get lost, wander back and forth all day long trying to find your way back to the hotel, but seem to keep going in circles. You might ask, "If I get a map, will an answer arrive to the question of how I got lost in the first place?"

Technically the map will not provide that answer, just like stream-entry did not provide me with the answer to how the concept of duality originated.

I second the advice to meditate first and philosophize later. Stream-entry will be way better than just getting your question answered.
Sean Lindsay, modified 11 Years ago at 3/22/11 1:36 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/22/11 1:36 PM

RE: Will an answer arrive...

Posts: 46 Join Date: 11/3/09 Recent Posts
Dauphin Supple Chirp:
Stream-entry will be way better than just getting your question answered.


QFT