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Radical empiricism in meditation AKA actually doing what MCTB says

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Hi all,
Just wanted to express my enthusiasm after a three hour sit where I actually got it into my skull to follow a suggestion from Daniel's MCTB that I had never tried before. As it can happen, I reread the section on the Three Characteristics a few times this last week and it connected in a new way with me. But what I actually only just remembered to do today in this three hour sit, was this:

"Thus, the gold standard for reality when doing insight practices is the sensations that make up your reality in that instant. Sensations that are not there at that time are not presumed to exist,  and thus only sensations arising in that instant do exist, with “exist”  clearly being a problematic term, given how transient sensations are. In short, most of what you assume as making up your universe doesn’t  exist most of the time, from a purely sensate point of view. This is exactly, precisely, and specifically the point. Knowing this directly  leads to freedom."

Most of you will probably go 'well duh', but I wanted to mention that this had the effect of helping to drop a lot of conceptualisation that I normally would not have dropped implicitly. When I would hear one of my co-meditators make a throat noise, or something, I attempted listen to it as pure sound, instead of the attached 'he's making a throat noise' and attach the mental image of this other person sitting there. When a car passed in the street, I attempted to listen to the pure car sound, without letting the mental imagery of the car develop, etc. - and what I realised (again, obvious to people here) is that the same goes for the body. They are sensations, why assume there is a body there? There are the sensations associated with the sense of self, but why assume that there is even the need to conceptualize a sense of self there that is to be deconstructed? Etc.

I think that what really helps here is that the chapter says - sure, for every day life such assumptions are important, but we can approach things differently while practicing - making it clear that the practice is an experimental space.

Cool stuff! That's all, just an enthusiastic post. Let's see where it goes emoticon

RE: Radical empiricism in meditation AKA actually doing what MCTB says
Answer
11/15/19 1:38 AM as a reply to Joost.
Yay! Reading your post was a great way of starting the day. It made me very happy.

RE: Radical empiricism in meditation AKA actually doing what MCTB says
Answer
11/15/19 1:40 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Hah! Great to hear Linda!

It's very much a post written out of empowered and amazed cheerfulness emoticon Glad it comes across as such. Have a wonderful day!

RE: Radical empiricism in meditation AKA actually doing what MCTB says
Answer
11/15/19 1:44 AM as a reply to Joost.
By the way, I should add that I'm aiming to observe all of this with 1. great speed and detail in an unforced manner and 2. great equanimity.

I'm sitting in a zen setting here in Kyoto, where equanimity is a big part of it all,  and the zen teacher told me to work with a koan that would function as a tool of surgical precision to surface assumptions about my experience in great detail. Combining 'what is this?' with the above MCTB instruction works pretty well, it seems!

RE: Radical empiricism in meditation AKA actually doing what MCTB says
Answer
11/15/19 2:28 AM as a reply to Joost.
Cool. I think koans would be a difficult approach for me. They might trigger more analytical patterns for me, which would be very counterproductive. Maybe the response they are supposed to trigger happens for me in other ways, though, as I'm used to the world being paradoxical because my functioning is a bit different. Have a wonderful day! And thankyou!

RE: Radical empiricism in meditation AKA actually doing what MCTB says
Answer
11/15/19 3:23 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I can imagine, Linda. For me, koans such as 'what remains?' and 'what is this?' helped create a questioning gaze inward with a different angle than something focused on the self/world duality.

By the way, I've been reading Three Pillars of Zen based on a recommendation from someone here and all the personal stories of people (in the 50s!) struggling with the koan 'what is mu' (and eventually breaking through it!) are at once amazing and also hilarious emoticon Since 'mu' is such a seeming wall of pure nonsense that foils any attempts to do anything rational with it!