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Path of Sila or Neurosis?

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Path of Sila or Neurosis?
Answer
5/31/11 4:01 PM
[upfront disclaimer: this is *not* a post interested in arguments for or against living a vegan lifestyle -- it's about discerning useful next steps along the path I'm on]

The gist of my questions are probably these: "Is there a way to enact in a dualistic world a path that enables seeing nonduality? Or is any dualistic manifestation that arises just grist for the three-characteristics-practice mill?"

The background for the question: on several occasions in the past several weeks, I've had several formations arise in consciousness that can be construed to point me toward a more vegan diet: dreams of catching fish with human faces, visions arising in meditation of animals' perspectives on prior events in my life, a perceptible-but-still-just-below-consciousness impulse to shift my diet, etc.

For me, making the shift to a vegetarian diet five or six years ago was a pretty important step away from a kind of willful blindness that I'd engaged in prior to that time. The deepening and development of my meditation practice arose shortly thereafter. It's never been clear to me whether the two events were related by one causing/enabling the other, by coincidence, or by a different cause that resulted in both of them arising.

So now I'm wondering whether the more recent events are indicative of a path I should follow or just a set of possibly related neurotic mind events whose occurrence and processes should be noted but whose apparent "content" or impulse are not usefully heeded.

Thoughts?

RE: Path of Sila or Neurosis?
Answer
5/31/11 7:25 PM as a reply to Sean Lindsay.
Hi Sean!

I would say, perhaps thoughts/mind events themselves are neither neurotic nor wise.

Rather, neurosis and wisdom inhere in our relationship to them: must we resort to layering controls over arising mindstates, or else blindly express them in word and deed (and proliferating narrativizations of them)?

Or do we have a degree of translucency, clarity and openness with regard to formations, which allows for a corresponding degree of freedom with regard to how/whether we express them in further thought or words or deeds, or instead allow them to pass away naturally?

So a good way to gauge whether these particular formations pointing you towards a more vegan diet are neurotic or wise is to honestly asses whether you feel compelled to express them in actions, or whether you instead feel like either way you will be defined by neither the presence or absence of these formations or their expressions in action.
--Jake

RE: Path of Sila or Neurosis?
Answer
5/31/11 8:29 PM as a reply to Sean Lindsay.
Hi sean -

The gist of my questions are probably these: "Is there a way to enact in a dualistic world a path that enables seeing nonduality? Or is any dualistic manifestation that arises just grist for the three-characteristics-practice mill?"

Would you clarify the meaning in "a dualistic world" above? Do you intend a (your) personal feeling of I and other (i.e., separation, e.g., "in a world of [separated-ness]?"

I think your clarification here will forward clarification, for me, into your second question, beginning "Or is any dualistic manifestation..." For example, perhaps you refer to the characteristics anatta and suffering and relation to creating [separation?] "a dualistic world"? (Keeping it simpler, no example needed)

"So now I'm wondering whether the more recent events are indicative of a path I should follow or just a set of possibly related neurotic mind events whose occurrence and processes should be noted but whose apparent "content" or impulse are not usefully heeded."

If I may borrow from the parable of the ox herder, what do you [seek to] retrieve/catch up to in following a/this path?

As to the "neurotic" mind, Jake:
Rather, neurosis and wisdom inhere in our relationship to them:...


Katy

[Strike-through edits above]

RE: Path of Sila or Neurosis?
Answer
5/31/11 9:59 PM as a reply to Sean Lindsay.
Hi Sean,

The fact you suspect neurosis (which I take to mean a set of irrational fears and thoughts) seems to point to fear. What do you read on the subject of vegetarianism?

It also depends on what type of meditation you are doing. In the style of the buddha or a hybrid?

Hallucinations when sitting should be ignored in my understanding. (I know I have enough of them!)

Sila in my opinion is best considered in relationship to human beings. If you master that then move onto the finer points of animal well fare. I'm pretty sure the karmic load is weighted in the human direction. Of course sadhu to you if you are infact at this point!

Love

Andrew

RE: Path of Sila or Neurosis?
Answer
6/1/11 6:22 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
Jacob Henry St. Onge Casavant:
So a good way to gauge whether these particular formations pointing you towards a more vegan diet are neurotic or wise is to honestly asses whether you feel compelled to express them in actions, or whether you instead feel like either way you will be defined by neither the presence or absence of these formations or their expressions in action.


Thanks, Jake. This is a useful approach. FWIW, there is no sense of compulsion that's reached awareness so far -- more like a mild sense of regret that current actions continue to cause unnecessary harm, a mild tendency to turn away from the details of the conditions that give rise to the regret (aversion, delusion), and a meta-concern that if I turn away from those details, I'll wind up in a version of the willful blindness that characterized my approaches to such matters before I went veg in the first place.

RE: Path of Sila or Neurosis?
Answer
6/1/11 6:29 PM as a reply to . ..
Thank you for your questions. They have shown me the outlines of doors I hadn't previously seen in the walls I thought were around me.

katy s:
Would you clarify the meaning in "a dualistic world" above? Do you intend a (your) personal feeling of I and other (i.e., separation, e.g., "in a world of [separated-ness]?"


Yes. That.

katy s:
If I may borrow from the parable of the ox herder, what do you [seek to] retrieve/catch up to in following a/this path?


Less suffering for other sentient beings, less derivative suffering for myself, and reduction of the aversion that seems to arise with regard to causing unnecessary suffering.

RE: Path of Sila or Neurosis?
Answer
6/1/11 6:38 PM as a reply to Andrew ..
Andrew Jones:
Hi Sean,

The fact you suspect neurosis (which I take to mean a set of irrational fears and thoughts) seems to point to fear. What do you read on the subject of vegetarianism?


Thanks for this clarification. I may have misspoken in using the term "neurosis." I was not aware that the term embedded an element of fear, as I'm not aware of experiencing fear in connection with these matters. As I note above in response to Jake's reply, there is some aversion and some concern that it may give rise to delusion. I suppose that the concern of potential delusion could be construed as a kind of fear, but it doesn't bodily feel like fear.

Andrew Jones:
It also depends on what type of meditation you are doing. In the style of the buddha or a hybrid?


Buddhist practice -- vipassana 90% of the time, breath concentration (anapannasati) 10% of the time.

Andrew Jones:
Hallucinations when sitting should be ignored in my understanding. (I know I have enough of them!)


My practice has been to note the visions when they arise, note them while they sustain, and try to note as they subside. I often miss noting the subsiding part, as the mind tends to focus on what arises to replace the prior (subsiding) mind event. I've not tried to ignore them completely.

Andrew Jones:
Sila in my opinion is best considered in relationship to human beings. If you master that then move onto the finer points of animal well fare. I'm pretty sure the karmic load is weighted in the human direction. Of course sadhu to you if you are infact at this point!


My present interactions with other humans are more equanimous than they have been in the past, but they're hardly perfect. Still, something (karmic) seems to be arising with regard to these present questions, so I'm noting them and trying to decide how to act in light of the presence of those arisings.

Thanks for your thoughts.

RE: Path of Sila or Neurosis?
Answer
6/2/11 11:32 PM as a reply to Sean Lindsay.
Sean Lindsay:
Jacob Henry St. Onge Casavant:
So a good way to gauge whether these particular formations pointing you towards a more vegan diet are neurotic or wise is to honestly asses whether you feel compelled to express them in actions, or whether you instead feel like either way you will be defined by neither the presence or absence of these formations or their expressions in action.


Thanks, Jake. This is a useful approach. FWIW, there is no sense of compulsion that's reached awareness so far -- more like a mild sense of regret that current actions continue to cause unnecessary harm, a mild tendency to turn away from the details of the conditions that give rise to the regret (aversion, delusion), and a meta-concern that if I turn away from those details, I'll wind up in a version of the willful blindness that characterized my approaches to such matters before I went veg in the first place.


Sorry, I didn't read this carefully enough. I think you are answering your own question here. Get your Vegan on my friend!

Sila is about the conscience firstly, so if it is bothering us, we should deal with it. But what bothers us is not universal amongst people. Awareness of that is important; one man's meal is another man's crime scene! That is why I asked how much you are reading about vegetarianism. These things go to shape our conscience along side our natural tendencies IMO.

I'm all for a vegetarian world myself, but so far it has not been a conscience issue for me, so I don't pursue it myself. (that is i'm not vegetarian!) Your post has made me think of decreasing meat intake just to see what happens!

Metta to you Sean

Andrew

RE: Path of Sila or Neurosis?
Answer
8/16/11 9:24 AM as a reply to Sean Lindsay.
Trust your intuition. If it is inconsistent and goes away quickly, most likely hallucinations worth discarding. If they remain consistent to some degree then head it as a hallucinatory vision and follow what you are being told accordingly.