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I don't get the 3 Characteristics

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I don't get the 3 Characteristics Brandon Dayton 5/17/20 3:23 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Hibiscus Kid 5/17/20 4:38 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Papa Che Dusko 5/17/20 5:12 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Steph S 5/17/20 5:44 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Samvega 5/17/20 6:13 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Nikolai . 5/18/20 11:19 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Steph S 5/19/20 12:56 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Brandon Dayton 5/20/20 9:07 AM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Brandon Dayton 5/17/20 8:10 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Steph S 5/17/20 8:47 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Manuel 5/18/20 1:55 AM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Olof 5/31/20 1:45 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Sam Gentile 5/31/20 2:07 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Jim Smith 5/18/20 12:20 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics terry 5/18/20 1:27 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Matt 5/18/20 3:28 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Brandon Dayton 5/18/20 3:31 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Steph S 5/18/20 3:37 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics agnostic 5/18/20 8:23 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Nicky2 5/18/20 9:54 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics John W 5/19/20 12:22 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Nicky2 5/18/20 9:56 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Nikolai . 5/18/20 11:16 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Brandon Dayton 5/20/20 9:18 AM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics terry 5/20/20 12:18 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Chris Marti 5/20/20 2:34 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Brandon Dayton 5/20/20 3:51 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Ni Nurta 5/20/20 1:54 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Richard Zen 5/20/20 9:12 PM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Dream Walker 5/26/20 8:59 AM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics Joseph 5/30/20 12:56 AM
RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics shargrol 5/30/20 7:06 AM
I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/17/20 3:23 PM
I've heard quite a few people talk about the three characteristics as being a fundamental part of practice (including MCTB obv.). I have to admit that I completely and utterly don't get it when it comes to the 3 C's. Knowing they are suppossed to be important in practice I occasionally try to be aware of them and it grinds my practice down to a halt as I clumsily try to acknowledge the qualities in each sensation.

How do others approach the 3 C's in practice? How does the concept help you in practice? Are there any practices specific to understanding them? Do you actually note the characteristics? Does anyone else just basically ignore that whole concept? 

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/17/20 4:38 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Someone else came up with this analogy, but I found it helpful:

Imagine that you're looking at a tennis ball. The ball itself has a texture, a color, and a shape. When looking at the ball, you can choose to single out any single one of those qualities if you wish. Just by seeing the ball, you pick up on those qualities without having to necessarily search those specific qualities out, no?  

Don't overthink this - the understanding of the 3 charactersitics isn't supposed to be a conceptual or philosophical endeavor. Really, meditation is experiential. If you're able to stay with sensations as they arise and pass, that's good practice. Some sensations are really seductive, some are boring, some are interesting, some sensations suck - fine - but if you can just be with sensations from moment to moment regardless of how good/bad sensations are, that's good work.

There is a part of the mind that 'learns' and 'wires-in' the 3 characteristics, but that specific part of the mind can only teach itself as Shargrol likes to say. With regards to the 3 Characteristics, it's very true. Your job as the meditator is to put the mind in contact with sensations arising and passing so that the mind can learn, and that is a learning process that you're not in charge of. This takes time and patience. It's a rewiring of the brain and neurplasticity takes time, repetition, and persistence!

We can understand the 3 Characteristics conceptually (which is helpful in pointing us towards what to look for), but that does basically nothing to reduce our personal suffering... that's why the practice is so important. It's the experiential understanding that is gained through a mind that 'teaches itself' or 'wires-in' the understanding/view that reduces suffering.

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/17/20 5:12 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
I like what HK said above. 

I personally don't give a flying rats ars about pondering on 3C's while practicing. 
My only objective is noting 1-10 sensation a second, and acceptance of it all. 

Insight into all this stuff will come up on its own through uninterrupted observing of the stream of consciousness. 

Pondering about 3C's is noted as "intention" "desire" "thinking" or "inability to see" emoticon as that is what's happening right now. 

It's always good to look at all this stuff in terms of Aboutism vs Actuality. Let's just say the  Aboutism will not lead to awakening. It's ok for sharing, inspiring and pep talk but that's all it is. 
Actuality is the meat and bones feeding the awakening. 

My view of course and I might be wrong on all this.  

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/17/20 5:44 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
If you're perceiving sensations clearly and not getting wrapped up in a black hole of content, you are seeing the 3 characteristics, whether you think you are or not. Here are some really simplistic examples. There's more depth to it, but these are some very garden variety basics of how the 3 characteristics might manifest in a session. 

If you noticed a sensation was there, and then it wasn't there - you understood impermanence.
If you noticed that you can't stabilize a sensation - you understood not-self.
If you noticed a feeling of annoyance because you can't stabilize the sensation that just happened - you understood dissatisfaction.
If you noticed that a sensation happens on its own, regardless of how you think you feel about it - you understood not-self.

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/17/20 6:13 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Dear Brandon,
The 3Cs arent supposed to be a conceptual exercise. Just soak your awareness into the sensations. The mind will automatically understand the 3Cs without having to think about it.

The sensations will be flickering, appearing, disappearing...(anicca)

The sensations do their thing and are not amenable to your will...(anatta)

For the above reasons, the sensations are not a source of lasting fufillment or lasting happiness (dukkha)

Peace to you

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/17/20 8:10 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Okay, this is all super helpful. 

I think my misunderstanding was I was thinking there was some sort of thing I needed to be doing, but if I understand correctly, they ought to make themselves manifest on their own. 

I don't think I notice them in every sensation, in every moment, but yeah, these are things I can see in my practice. 

This was particularly helpful:
If you noticed that you can't stabilize a sensation - you understood not-self.
If you noticed a feeling of annoyance because you can't stabilize the sensation that just happened - you understood dissatisfaction.
If you noticed that a sensation happens on its own, regardless of how you think you feel about it - you understood not-self.
Not-self is especially tricky for me to grasp, but the idea of not being able to stabilize a sensation is incredibly helpful. I was just reviewing MCTB on this point and he says it in a bit more techical way. This makes it a bit easier to grasp.

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/17/20 8:47 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Awesome. Glad it was helpful. Some more stsuff related to not-self and stabilizing sensations... there's no permanent entity that can do the stabilizing of sensations AND there's no permanent entity that sensations are happening to, so they can't be stabilized. There's not a permanent base or thing or self or background that sensations could stabilize onto, or be supported by. There's literally nowhere for sensations to rest so they can't be stabilized.

Sensations occur because a confluence of different things come together at one unique moment to make that sensation apparent. It's heady stuff and I understand that it's hard to figure out. I mentioned dependent origination in my practice log #2 today so that's why it's directly in my mind right now and why I'm about to bring it up... but dependent origination holds an explanation for why sensations come together and shine forth in experience. Here's a website with a good explanation of dependent origination. It's totally okay if alot of this is confusing right now, but read through it and see if any of it clicks. The portion on "contact" might be really helpful. Articles like this are something you can keep coming back to over time as you progress in your practice.

https://www.buddhistinquiry.org/article/dependent-origination/

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/18/20 1:55 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:

Not-self is especially tricky for me to grasp, but the idea of not being able to stabilize a sensation is incredibly helpful.

Not-self is probably the hardest one to start seeing clearly when you begin from scratch. Here's another way to approach it.

The idea is: it's objects of consciousness all the way down, there isn't a self at the bottom. Any content of consciousness is just an object, whether it is a bodily sensation or a mental event. That object becomes clear by having the light of attention shone on it. The object, upon being noted, may trigger further mental events - it may be recognised as something or other, it may trigger feelings, it may trigger thoughts. This recognition, the feeling, the thought are in turn just more mental objects. You can follow this chain, the whole process of perception - and you will find that there is nothing but objects. If you try to look for the self as the noticer, you will never find it - you will only find more objects, such as the intention to find him, or the intention to look, and such stuff.

Or you can investigate the process of attention itself. Attention can wander on its own - or maybe it is being directed. If it is being directed, then its movement is preceded by an intention (another mental object!). If you look for the self as the one who directs the attention, you will not find it - you will only find more objects: the intention to move attention, the contemplation of where to move attention, etc. - all of them mental objects.

This kind of looking for the self in various ways and finding that all you get is more objects, but never the self because it just isn't there, is how I first got not-self into clear view. Not-self is, in a way, just the object-ness of everything, so perceiving something as an object is ipso facto seeing not-self in it - but insight into not-self, I would say, is something slightly more, namely the visceral realisation that everything is object (ergo: not-self).

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/18/20 12:20 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
When I experience an unpleasant emotion that arises from thinking or circumstances (during meditation or daily life) I try to notice if it is caused by attachment to self, attachment to something that is impermanent, or craving for material goods or sensual pleasures. Doing this helps you understand the origin of suffering (2nd noble truth). It helps you maintain an attitude of being a detached mindful observer rather than being carried away by emotions. It helps you cultivate equanimity.

I like to use the term: being "lucid", which I got from reading author Michael Singer's books. During an ordinary dream you think the dream is reality, but in a lucid dream you know you are dreaming. By having the attitude of an observer of your thoughts, emotions, and impulses, you understand they arise from the unconscious unasked for uninvited, they exist for a time, and then fade away. They have no independent existence, they are not real, they are not reality. This attitude helps you to maintain equanimity. You are not carried away by your emotions, thoughts and impulses, you don't automatically accept them as yours, or as reality, or as true or truth, so you don't overreact.

Trying to understand unpleasant emotions as arising from one or more of the three characteristics helps you to understand the origin of suffering which leads to detachment. It helps you cultivate equanimity, and non-attachment. It helps you to stay lucid rather than be carried away by and overreact to thoughts, emotions, and impulses.

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/18/20 1:27 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
When I experience an unpleasant emotion that arises from thinking or circumstances (during meditation or daily life) I try to notice if it is caused by attachment to self, attachment to something that is impermanent, or craving for material goods or sensual pleasures. Doing this helps you understand the origin of suffering (2nd noble truth). It helps you maintain an attitude of being a detached mindful observer rather than being carried away by emotions. It helps you cultivate equanimity.

I like to use the term: being "lucid", which I got from reading author Michael Singer's books. During an ordinary dream you think the dream is reality, but in a lucid dream you know you are dreaming. By having the attitude of an observer of your thoughts, emotions, and impulses, you understand they arise from the unconscious unasked for uninvited, they exist for a time, and then fade away. They have no independent existence, they are not real, they are not reality. This attitude helps you to maintain equanimity. You are not carried away by your emotions, thoughts and impulses, you don't automatically accept them as yours, or as reality, or as true or truth, so you don't overreact.

Trying to understand unpleasant emotions as arising from one or more of the three characteristics helps you to understand the origin of suffering which leads to detachment. It helps you cultivate equanimity, and non-attachment. It helps you to stay lucid rather than be carried away by and overreact to thoughts, emotions, and impulses.


   All true.

   I think of the 3 marks as a shredder, and my entire world as a piece of paper.

t

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/18/20 3:28 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Wow, I like all the replies I heard above!

Additional fragments:

At a point in my sitting practice, I saw that every single sense object that arose came about becuase some small part of my mind was some how in objection to a thing.  I saw this as direct evidence that suffering is present in all things, and that there is no accounting for a solid coherent 'self' in me, and that for sure experience just comes and goes and comes and goes.....

At a point in my daily life, I saw that the natural, precious, undeniably good urge I have for my childs safety was suffering and that I didn't really need that suffering to take good care of him.

For whatever reason, I never really spent much time wondering about the 3C, I just took it for granted that close investigation of present moment sensations was the right thing and I feel my time was well spent and I appreciate what has come out of that.

But, I do think that I would have been served more well by 'priming the pump' of skilled investigation with more wondering about 3C -off the cushion- than I have done over the years.

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/18/20 3:31 PM as a reply to Matt.
Wow, I like all the replies I heard above!

I'm bookmarking this.

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/18/20 3:37 PM as a reply to Matt.
Something you can do in both daily life or before a sit, is to keep one of the 3 characteristics at the forefront of your mind. That doesn't mean to constantly analyze and think about that characteristic as you go about it, but means that you kind of set the intent for more deeply noticing that aspect of phenomena. For example, you could begin a sit by saying a formal resolution along the lines of, "In this sit, I resolve to more thoroughly see the characteristic of annata in all phenomena that occur."  Or you could do it without the resolution, and just kind of casually let whichever of the 3 characteristics be the more dominant one you recognize. 

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/18/20 8:23 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Great answers above. I would just add that you can also see the 3 C's at a grosser more conceptual level, if that helps.

For example:- "my hand". Normally I assume it is a permanent part of me. But if I think about it, I could lose my hand in an accident and still basically be me. So the hand is impermanent, because it could be lost, not-self because I would still be me without it, and dukkha because if I lost it I would suffer to the extent that I identified with having my hand and felt that my life had been ruined by losing it. You can apply the same reasoning to a lot of body parts and start to wonder "what is my body really?"

Then you can apply 3 C's analysis to the constituents of your mind. Take a recent memory:- it could be forgotten (impermanent) and you would still be you without the memory (not-self) and you are dissatisfied to the extent you attach to the memory as pleasant (darn it's over) or painful (darn I wish that hadn't happened). You can do that with most of your memories, thoughts, feelings, plans, fantasies etc. So what is your mind really?

Finally you can apply 3 C's to external world objects. E.g. the computer I'm working on. Normally I assume it is a solid thing, but one day soon it will break or need replacement (impermanent) and I will be dissatisfied with it. It's not-self because it's only a computer in so far as I perceive it as such. Really it's just a certain arrangement of plastic, silicon and metal. A dog and a fly would have a completely different experience of "the computer", as would a human who had never seen a computer before. So what is the real external world?

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/18/20 9:54 PM as a reply to agnostic.
Great answers above. I would just add that you can also see the 3 C's at a grosser more conceptual level, if that helps.

Since "seeing" is not "thinking", it appears unlikely you can "see" the 3 C's at a grosser more conceptual level. Your post sounds like psychoanalysis or psychotherapy. 

Then you can apply 3 C's analysis to the constituents of your mind

Interesting intellectual or indoctrination exercise but I doubt it works for enlightenment but might possibly send the mind into a type of short term annihilating supression .

I will be dissatisfied with it.

The characteristic of "dukkham" is unrelated to a personal mental reaction to an impermanent phenomena. The characteristic of "dukkham" is found within the impermanent phenomena. For example, a cloud or leaf is "dukkham" because there is no quality in that cloud or leaf than can bring lasting true happiness. The cloud & leaf itself is dukkham. This link might help: 
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5857566


emoticon

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/18/20 9:56 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Yes. You should not be concerned with the 3 characteristics and just focus on developing a clear & calm mind (called concentration). 

When the mind is clear & ready, it will naturally by itself see the 3 characteristics in various meditation objects, such as the breathing. 

Vipassana is a fruit of practice rather than a practise in itself. 

Its like growing a fruit tree. You do not grow the fruit directly. You grow the tree (by watering the tree roots, applying fertilizer to the soil, etc) and the fruit grows by itself. 

As posted by Samvega: 
The 3Cs arent supposed to be a conceptual exercise. Just soak your awareness into the sensations. The mind will automatically understand the 3Cs without having to think about it.

emoticon

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/18/20 11:16 PM as a reply to Nicky2.

Ths is the way I did it myself, taken from my blog.

Anicca (Impermanence) 

Whatever phenomenon is being observed, it is cognised with the notion and actual seeing in real time in the forefront of the mind that it is changing, morphing, shifting about, never staying static, always dynamic, always showing some manifestation of the ever changing flow of impermanence. Even a gnarly sensation in the chest that seems like it just wont go away does not stay the same quality of 'gnarly' even for one moment. There are ever changing degrees of sensations that can be extremely sublte to perceive by an unconcentrated mind. 'Gnarly' or 'shitty' or any quality assigned to sensations may entail a variety of differing textures, shape and tone of sensations from moment to moment. They shift about and do not stay in the one localized spot but move perhaps beyond the perceived (fabricated?) borders. Paying attention to this dynamic dance of impermanence is how I've practiced discerning the perception  of impermanence. This notion of 'never staying the same' is kept in the forefront of the mind so it informs how phenomena are being cognised. It adds curiosity where there was previously an old automatic deeply engrained way of reading and reacting to phenomena. A curiosity that fuels a practice leads to more discernment, wisdom and freedom than one without such fuel.

If one gets interested in seeing how any experience is never static, never permanent (as permanent would mean a sensation would never shift about, change in level and intensity, texture, quality, nor stay put in one marked location and not move over the borders the mind has fabricated for it), curiosity towards that cognised flow of change is cultivated. With a mind curious as to how phenomena is never staying the same and actually cognising all phenomena like so (as all phenomena is like so), there is room for the mind to develop dispassion towards phenomena and shift the automatic deeply engrained habit of having the mind lunge and react towards it all with craving and clinging, to a view that now counteracts such a deeply engrained mental habit. The inherent stress of such a habit arises when the mind is ignorant of (not aware of in real time) the perception of all phenomena experientially  as impermanent. 

Experiment: Shitty sensation in the chest? Push and pull of negative thoughts? Agitation? Simply become aware of how it never stays the same. Get curious as to how it never stays the same. Allow curiosity for whatever is arising to show how it never remains the same. If it seems like some aspect of experience is 'not' changing, shift the way 'change' is conceptualised. Perhaps there are varying degrees of 'sameness' or 'gaps' in that shitty sensation in the chest or flow of agitation. Is it a continuous flow? Or are there momentary 'gaps', where perhaps it's a split second of the eyes seeing, or a sound diverting attention. Get curious about the 'gaps'. That is perception of impermanence too. Get curious to see how nothing stays the very 'same' even for a split second  but may change in varying degrees of intensity, drop away suddenly to create a 'gap', or suddenly drop away to be replaced by differently 'evaluated' and 'named' phenomena.


Annata (Not of self) 

Whatever phenomenon is cognised from moment to moment is cognised with the experiential understanding that 'I' (a tangibly felt sense of being a 'self') have no control over the arising of any phenomena. It is all arising without 'my' help. This notion, cognised in real time, informs how phenomena is related to by the reactionary part of the mind. Instead of attaching to the notion that this or that phenomena are  'me' or 'of me', they are seen not to be in 'my' control and thus not really 'mine' nor 'me' at all. Do this for all phenomena of mind and body; all sensations, thoughts, images, sound, taste, touch, smell; and there will be no more room for 'me' to manifest in experience.  If 'I' seems to be manifesting in experience, pay close attention to what aspect/s of the field of experience are being mistaken for 'self' until it is seen to be completely out from 'my' control. When there is no 'self' seen in any and all phenomena, what tangibly felt experience of 'self' will there be to manifest? Others may disagree with this take, but for practice reasons I have found it extremely helpful to always be curious as to why a tangibly felt sense of 'me-ness' still arises in experience. I found that it only arises, whether as a sense of solid or transient 'self, 'being', exisitence, sense of location or 'presence', because some aspect/s of the field of experience are being misread as a compounded experience of 'me-ness' or existence or presence etc. There is something not discerned clearly for it to take shape. If 'I' is taking shape within experience, there is a lack of discernment. When there is clear discernment, the field of experience is seen as it is; there is no 'you' when there is the experience of just the seen, heard, sensed and cognised. The flow of becoming that takes the 'shape/s' of 'you' is illusory and not really a 'you'. But it still arises. Why? It has a cause. Cultivate dispassion for the phenomena being overlayed with a mental 'shape' of 'you'  (by discerning the anicca and anatta of phenomena in real time) and one can then discern how such 'shapes' (fabrications of mind) show their cessation. All of this can lead on from perceiving the ever-changing nature of phenomena (anicca). That ever-changing nature is beyond anyone's control. 

This is a great way to de-grasp, drop, let go of phenomena, to cease giving weight to phenomena as part and parcel of 'I', of 'me'. The ever-flowing flow of impermanence is seen simply with the notion at the forefront of the mind that it is arising and passing without 'I' having any control over it. Change manifests without help.  If it were 'self', then 'I' would be able to control it. 'I' cannot control it therefore 'I' suffer for that lack of control. So one shifts this 'view' to the opposite. 'I' have no control over the arising and passing of sensations perceived. This can lead to a very quick surrendering of that illusory control and can free up the flow of the field of experience and lead one through to much higher and more refined altered states of consciousness (11th nana for example) where the mind can become more pliant and malleable in order to discern cause and effect at a much subtler level. Experiment: Is there a feeling of existing as a felt sense of 'being', 'presence', identity, having a location in the world, a sense of 'inner' and 'outer' world, or any tinge of 'me-ness' in one's ongoing experience? Investigate the phenomena being overlayed with such an mental overlay. See the sensations, thoughts, sights, sound, taste, touch, smells and images that make up the field of experience as they arise without any help nor control by 'you'. What happens to the actual experience of 'you' when all phenomena is simultaneously cognised like so?


Dukkha (Unsatisfactory/Stressful/Disappointing)

I would simply recall the two perceptions above (anicca and anatta) and ponder how when any phenomena is grasped at, hung onto, craved, averted from, lunged onto by a hungry mind, that because of the lack of the two perceptions above, suffering and mental stress ensues. With this notion in the forefront of the mind, that grasping at such phenomena in any way regardless of being pleasant, unpleasant or neutral is inherently stressful, phenomena is cognised. This will lead to de-grasping, letting go of, becoming dispassionate for all phenomena that makes up 'the field of experience', and the craving and the aversion will lose its fuel and thus strength and begin to fade. The dark night will fly by when this is done correctly, because if it isn't, phenomena will be reacted to as if 'permanent', 'of the self', and with ignorance of the very fact that the mind creates it own fabricated madness by grasping at impermanent and not of self phenomena. 

Experiment: You are meditating for a reason. There is some mental stress of some degree that one wishes to deal with/put to rest for you to be reading this blog (or the DhO), right? Pay attention to that sense of unsatisfactoriness in whatever manifestation it has taken (i.e. agitation, restlessness, seeking etc.). Let your awareness become as diffuse as possible, till the notion of 'diffuseness' loses all meaning, and that sense of unsatisfactoriness is cognised within that 'beyond diffuseness yet with blurry undefined 'borders'. Contemplate how that unsatisfactoriness is simply unsatisfactory because the phenomena being given 'shape' and 'name' (e.g. unpleasant shitty sensations in chest), is unsatisfactory because it is being given 'shape'  and 'name' and thus gains mental 'weight'. It is dukkha to attach 'weight' to compounded phenomena. All fabrications of mind are dukkha. Allow this notion to trigger dispassion for such compounding phenomena, dispassion which leads to ceasing the compounding of such experiences.


2 cents
Nick

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/18/20 11:19 PM as a reply to Samvega.
Samvega:
The 3Cs arent supposed to be a conceptual exercise. Just soak your awareness into the sensations. The mind will automatically understand the 3Cs without having to think about it.

Hmm, I beg to differ.

So remember those three perceptions. And that's what the Buddha called them, "perceptions": the perception of inconstancy, the perception of stress, the perception of not-self. He never called them characteristics. He never talked about three characteristics. You do a search for the term, "three characteristics" in the Pali Canon, and you're not going to find it. The Buddha's talking about a way of perceiving that helps you see through your attachments, that helps you see through your delusions about where you can find happiness, so that the question that lies at the beginning of wisdom — What when I do it will lead to my true long-term welfare and happiness?" — finally gets its answer in the skills you've developed. And part of the strategy in mastering those skills is to master the tasks that are appropriate to the four noble truths. That's what we're doing: We're working on those tasks so that we can handle them skillfully. We want to skillfully comprehend stress and suffering, so we can understand why it is that we keep feeding on these things, even though they ultimately lead to disappointment. That helps us develop dispassion for the craving that keeps pushing us in that direction, so that we can let it go. At the same time, we're developing the path that puts the mind in a position where it can do this without feeling threatened, until it no longer needs that particular position, that particular center. Then you can take that apart as well. Thanissaro Bhikkhu


RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/19/20 12:22 PM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
Great answers above. I would just add that you can also see the 3 C's at a grosser more conceptual level, if that helps.


Agreed... and to add, though I'm not sure how 'technically' helpful this way of thinking is during a meditation, but the 3 C's can be applied at a macro level on the largest scale you can think of.  The rising and falling (impermanence) of societies, norms, peace/war, the sufferings or temporary relief that they bring (dukkha) and how they are for the most part outside of our control and also separate/detatched from our own personal experience (non-self), also when things don't go the way you think they were "supposed to", another lesson in non-self.  At least for me I feel like thinking about global affairs in this way helps me to understand equanimity on a personal level, it's also just kind of comforting.

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/19/20 12:56 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Sage advice from the Jedi Nick. Do yourself a favor and just go read - and put into practice - his entire blog.

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/20/20 9:07 AM as a reply to Steph S.
Steph S:
Sage advice from the Jedi Nick. Do yourself a favor and just go read - and put into practice - his entire blog.

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com

Thumbs up.

A lot to digest from this thread.

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/20/20 9:18 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..

Nikolai
when any phenomena is grasped at, hung onto, craved, averted from, lunged onto by a hungry mind, that because of the lack of the two perceptions above, suffering and mental stress ensues


Is this true of all sensations? Is there a quality of dukkha in everything that is sensed? I ask this because sometimes the dukkha is clear, and other times it is not.

For example, I was practicing this morning and noticed that my feet felt good on the carpet, but I can't say I felt any grasping with that. Could that sensation have happened dukkha free, or is it happening at a more subtle level (and thus the need for all this practice)?



RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/20/20 12:18 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:

Nikolai
when any phenomena is grasped at, hung onto, craved, averted from, lunged onto by a hungry mind, that because of the lack of the two perceptions above, suffering and mental stress ensues


Is this true of all sensations? Is there a quality of dukkha in everything that is sensed? I ask this because sometimes the dukkha is clear, and other times it is not.

For example, I was practicing this morning and noticed that my feet felt good on the carpet, but I can't say I felt any grasping with that. Could that sensation have happened dukkha free, or is it happening at a more subtle level (and thus the need for all this practice)?



aloha brandon,

   As soon as you distinguish good from bad: dukkha. Grasping mind prefers good, averts bad. Withount grasping: equanimity. It's all good.

   Yes, it all happens at a subtle level. Grasping mind is accepted, taken for granted, cultivated. Meditation practice dispenses with it. It resists, and persists, out of habit and ignorance.

terry



from the hsin hsin ming, seng-tsan, trans clarke:


The Great Way is not difficult
for those who have no preferences.
When love and hate are both absent
everything becomes clear and undisguised.
Make the smallest distinction, however,
and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.

If you wish to see the truth
then hold no opinions for or against anything.
To set up what you like against what you dislike
is the disease of the mind.

When the deep meaning of things is not understood
the mind's essential peace is disturbed to no avail.

The Way is perfect like vast space
where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.
Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject
that we do not see the true nature of things.
Be serene in the oneness of things
and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.

When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity
your very effort fills you with activity.
As long as you remain in one extreme or the other,
you will never know Oneness.

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/20/20 1:54 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Sensations have many interesting qualities about them and I personally think that focusing on these three characteristics more than others is really not the point.

Let's look how mind works. Each sensation presentation is the result of neurons which are at this time firing in your mind. So if you experience any specific characteristic to given sensation it means something must have fired to generate this specific characteristic. When things fire together they become more linked in your brain and are more likely to fire together in the future.

By observing any quality/characteristic of sensations specifically you must have parts that generate this quality/characteristic active in your brain otherwise you could not do comparison, could not check if this sensation have this sensation had this quality/characteristic or not. This constant activation and comparing will be enough to make these things fire together more and more and eventually you will experience these qualities/characteristics in everything.

I think that the best approach is to test these characteristics and what they do short and long term and then eventually use them or not depending on their usefulness for getting desired outcomes. It is true for every quality, every characteristic and even things which are there active but maybe shouldn't and aren't but should. Mind when you come down to it is pretty reconfigurable. By playing with shaping sensations by activating and not activating other sensations at the same time you will learn to pretty much make your mind the way you want.

While at it just think about what is it that you think will happen when somehow go through with these Vipassana practices and observing 3C, what you expect what will happen. From this maybe, just maybe you could take what you want that somehow must have been already there for you be able to compare your current experience to it and experience it with all sensations and at the same time remove all what is not useful for you like eg. qualities that make you suffer because you think you somehow still miss what you want. Yes, this is that simple.

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/20/20 2:34 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.

Is this true of all sensations? Is there a quality of dukkha in everything that is sensed? I ask this because sometimes the dukkha is clear, and other times it is not.


Yes, it's true and it can be extremely subtle. You may have to work for a long time to pick up on the most subtle indications.

And... don't mistake what you think of as "good" feelings for not being unsatisfactory. Any clinging/desire to keep it around is dissatisfaction because guess what? Impermanence.


RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/20/20 3:51 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.

Yes, it's true and it can be extremely subtle. You may have to work for a long time to pick up on the most subtle indications.


Okay, that makes sense. Since it's tied to perception of self it makes sense that it would take just as long to really see in all of its subtleties.


RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/20/20 9:12 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
I guess I'm late to the party, but the 3 Cs for me are 3 co-arising angles to experience that point to a particular experience: Self-ing. Watching Anicca with neutral things won't be as illuminating as watching someone you love die. Their impermanence (Anicca) means that I won't be able to enjoy their company again (Dukkha), and that I have no ownership/control over the situation (Anatta). 

Another way to look at it, is that the self is involved in all three situations.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrNBLR4djB7F5k-hRZGS3oQr2OvVqVyut

Practice can provide relief when one actually tries to find a concrete self, when there is pain. Noticing only vibrations and a tension with self-preoccupied thought, tends to diminish the stress. It's because we are trying to protect a conceptual ego. When the body vibrations are okay, we are medically okay. The emotions lose their pushing and pulling because of how unnecssary it is.

Many of our activities throughout the day involve no need for self-preoccpuation, so the dukkha can be unnecessary and breathing with continuity can help to catch those unconscious pushes and pulls, which are very habitual. For me, there are a lot of rehearsal habits, defenses, and useless stories that are begging to be interrupted. You begin to preserve peace and ask "why leave the sensations to go after that?"

Then the hardest for me is Anicca, which is to be able to find the gaps in experience restful. It's only true when the push and pull subside. The prior two exercises help with that, but Anicca for me is usually boring or annoying to follow. There has to be some form of rest/reward to make that a therapeutic practice.

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/26/20 8:59 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
The 3 delusions make more sense.....cause thats where yer at til it gets fixed

Is this sensation ME?
Is this sensation permanent?
Is this sensation satisfying?

latch onto one of these and make it your object til it gets broken apart/empty
repeat til awakened!
Good Luck
~D

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/30/20 12:56 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
I believe investigations plays an important role here. Are you really curious enough during meditation? Do you want to understand? 

from my own practice I've noticed how being curious and doing inquiry can create big shifts and clarity. Tejaniya places great important on investigations for our practice (hence the title of one of his books 'Awareness alone is not enough') 

sitting long enough will maybe cause the mind to see 'it' (3cs), but why just sit there and wait? Why not give it a little help by asking questions like:

- did I create this sensation?
- did I just make it disappear?
-  is it worth clinging to? 
etc 

challenge your view of the present moment experience by being a skilled investigator. This way of practicing has helped me a lot in seeing the 3cs.

This is also what I get from Nicks and dreamwalkers post. 

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/30/20 7:06 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker:
The 3 delusions make more sense.....cause thats where yer at til it gets fixed

Is this sensation ME?
Is this sensation permanent?
Is this sensation satisfying?

latch onto one of these and make it your object til it gets broken apart/empty
repeat til awakened!
Good Luck
~D

Really well said.

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/31/20 1:45 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
Okay, this is all super helpful. 

I think my misunderstanding was I was thinking there was some sort of thing I needed to be doing, but if I understand correctly, they ought to make themselves manifest on their own. 

I don't think I notice them in every sensation, in every moment, but yeah, these are things I can see in my practice. 

This was particularly helpful:
If you noticed that you can't stabilize a sensation - you understood not-self.
If you noticed a feeling of annoyance because you can't stabilize the sensation that just happened - you understood dissatisfaction.
If you noticed that a sensation happens on its own, regardless of how you think you feel about it - you understood not-self.
Not-self is especially tricky for me to grasp, but the idea of not being able to stabilize a sensation is incredibly helpful. I was just reviewing MCTB on this point and he says it in a bit more techical way. This makes it a bit easier to grasp.

Hey Brandon! Sam Harris has an app called Waking Up. His meditations/instructions are focused alot on understanding the not-self and many of these meditations really helped me out in this aspect. One common instruction during his meditation sittings is "look for your self". Or "look for your head". After a while, with a bit of luck and a little tradining, we find that there is a lack of controller (i.e.we see the automaticity of all things happening by themself. Even your intentions).

Take care and keep up the good work!  

RE: I don't get the 3 Characteristics
Answer
5/31/20 2:07 PM as a reply to Olof.
Olof:
Brandon Dayton:
Okay, this is all super helpful. 

I think my misunderstanding was I was thinking there was some sort of thing I needed to be doing, but if I understand correctly, they ought to make themselves manifest on their own. 

I don't think I notice them in every sensation, in every moment, but yeah, these are things I can see in my practice. 

This was particularly helpful:
If you noticed that you can't stabilize a sensation - you understood not-self.
If you noticed a feeling of annoyance because you can't stabilize the sensation that just happened - you understood dissatisfaction.
If you noticed that a sensation happens on its own, regardless of how you think you feel about it - you understood not-self.
Not-self is especially tricky for me to grasp, but the idea of not being able to stabilize a sensation is incredibly helpful. I was just reviewing MCTB on this point and he says it in a bit more techical way. This makes it a bit easier to grasp.

Hey Brandon! Sam Harris has an app called Waking Up. His meditations/instructions are focused alot on understanding the not-self and many of these meditations really helped me out in this aspect. One common instruction during his meditation sittings is "look for your self". Or "look for your head". After a while, with a bit of luck and a little tradining, we find that there is a lack of controller (i.e.we see the automaticity of all things happening by themself. Even your intentions).

Take care and keep up the good work!  

I can second the recomendation for Sam Harris' Waking Up app, which has these kind of instructions. It is the app that I use daily.