Agnostic Explains Nibbana

agnostic, modified 4 Months ago.

Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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<<Chris Marti here to explain what I've done with this thread -- I pulled these next few posts out of a different thread (Emil's practice thread) so that we can focus on the topic they represent without ruining another person's practice log thread.>>

Sorry to keep you waiting, I had to get the kids breakfast!

Ok, so nibbana is simply the absence of the craving for whatever experience you are having RIGHT NOW to be any different from the way it is.

The first important thing to note is that you can’t have an experience of nibbana at some point in the future - you can only ever experience it RIGHT NOW.

The second important point to note is that nibbana is not a special kind of experience - it is whatever experience you are having right now MINUS THE CRAVING FOR IT TO BE ANY DIFFERENT.

So, stop whatever you are doing and have a look around you. Take a minute to take it all in ...

That’s nibbana, right there.

Did you see it?

No? Ok, that’s because you were looking for something different, something special maybe. So try again, this time without looking for anything at all that is different from exactly what you see. Repeat as many times as is necessary until you get it.

The problem is not that you don’t see it, the problem is that you don’t recognize it because you are looking for something different!
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Ok, so nibbana is simply the absence of the craving for whatever experience you are having RIGHT NOW to be any different from the way it is.

"Simply"

This is like saying "Now, flap your arms up and down, fast!" as a way to describe the ability to fly, which could be described as "simply not having your feet firmly planted on something."

emoticon

agnostic, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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I was also going to add - notice any resistance you may feel to the suggestion that it could be this simple! emoticon
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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Joking aside...

This is so simple it's really hard. Resistance is just one of the hurdles. There are many more, and it most often takes a lot of time, and a lot of practice work, to overcome them.
agnostic, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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Chris Marti:
Joking aside...

This is so simple it's really hard. Resistance is just one of the hurdles. There are many more, and it most often takes a lot of time, and a lot of practice work, to overcome them.

I agree, it's a subtle mind trick which could be destabilizing if you are not ready for it. On the other hand, the more invested you become in getting ready to see it, the harder it is to let yourself see it ...
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Olivier, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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BS
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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I agree, it's a subtle mind trick which could be destabilizing if you are not ready for it. On the other hand, the more invested you become in getting ready to see it, the harder it is to let yourself see it ...

"Trick?"

Can you explain how you manage to keep yourself in this state? Seriously, a step-by-step description of the process involved would be interesting. I'm also interested in a detailed explanation of the state of nibanna you're talking about. What's it like? Just saying "It's like always, but without this or that part of mind being involved" isn't very useful. What is it that is missing, or dropped? How can you tell? Why is this so wonderful? Also, how do you avoid getting invested in anticipating this state and thus making it harder to see?

Please, and thank you.
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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Blip!
shargrol, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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Chris Marti:
Joking aside...

This is so simple it's really hard. Resistance is just one of the hurdles. There are many more, and it most often takes a lot of time, and a lot of practice work, to overcome them.

Yes. It's very important not to delude ourselves.

(I'm not saying anyone IS deluding themselves, I'm just giving the cautions that I've been given by my teachers.)

This insight ---  the nibbana-ing of experience in Theravandian terms or the insight into the self-liberating nature of mind in Dzogchen --- is a fractal insight. Beginners often "see" this and once they do, they know that there is something to meditation that offers a different way of mind-body change besides pure willpower and force. Because experience passes as soon as it arises -- it doesn't come from anywhere and doesn't stay anywhere -- suddenly we have a chance of being free of the oppressive wallowings of our own mind. This insight is prone to being fetishized and can even turn into a kind of eternalism about mind nature being luminosity and light and omnipotent.

The shadow side of this insight --- that nothing is certain, reliable, valuable, worthy of having --- can come out next, a kind of samsaric jhana of nihlism and moroseness where the "free" person suddently seems to prefer wallowing in misery (and other dark night flavors).

When these two flavors get balanced, then there is the first brush with true equanimity. There is flow without clinging, intimacy without clinging, emptiness without dispare or a sense of loss...

And even when this gets locked in, perhaps by Stream Entry, it's clear that this was still just a macroscopic version of the nibbana insight. There are a lot of even more subtle and pervasive fractals of that same insight. You could say SE is seeing the nibbana of the thought stream, subsequent paths are more focused on emotions, urges, and holdings in the body. And throughout this there tends to be periods of fascination and identificaiton with the nibbana-apsect and periods of morose fascination and identification with the samsara-aspect in more and more sublte ways.

The biggest danger is quitting too soon. If we settle for the first flavors of these insights, then we get trapped byt the three poisons and eventually life will show us what an idiot we are. Our clinging, aversion, or ignorance will seduce us, blind us, or allow us to stumble into a trap that was obvious if we were only paying attention. 

And even if we reach a tipping point (for example, 4th path) years later, there will still be small unconscious pockets in your psyche of reactive clinging... and now you have all the power of a mostly awakened mind. Now all of that power is going to flow into those unconscious reactive patterns and they will become even more powerful. If you don't own clinging, aversion, or ignorance when it occurs in your life, you'll become trapped just the same as if you had never practiced in your life. A zen master's life is one mistake after another. So really, when do we reach the end of practice and insight?

It's terrifying to think about.
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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This comment from shargrol bears repeating:

Beginners often "see" this and once they do, they know that there is something to meditation that offers a different way of mind-body change besides pure willpower and force. Because experience passes as soon as it arises -- it doesn't come from anywhere and doesn't stay anywhere -- suddenly we have a chance of being free of the oppressive wallowings of our own mind. This insight is prone to being fetishized and can even turn into a kind of eternalism about mind nature being luminosity and light and omnipotent.

The shadow side of this insight --- that nothing is certain, reliable, valuable, worthy of having --- can come out next, a kind of samsaric jhana of nihlism and moroseness where the "free" person suddently seems to prefer wallowing in misery (and other dark night flavors).
agnostic, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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I thought in my case you would be highlighting the shadow side of nihilism, but I take your point. Samsara feels as close as ever, even closer really. I'll keep logging on here and see what shows up.
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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I thought in my case you would be highlighting the shadow side of nihilism...

I think you know what shadow side you're manifesting here.
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Olivier, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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You fast posters ! 
agnostic, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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Chris Marti:
I thought in my case you would be highlighting the shadow side of nihilism...

I think you know what shadow side you're manifesting here.

I'm not sure I do. Care to be more specific?
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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No.
agnostic, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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Chris Marti:
No.

Oh ok, that feels a little weird
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Olivier, modified 4 Months ago.

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agnostic:
Chris Marti:
I thought in my case you would be highlighting the shadow side of nihilism...

I think you know what shadow side you're manifesting here.

I'm not sure I do. Care to be more specific?

Perhaps check my post at the top of this page which got swallowed between other posts
agnostic, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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Sure, those are good questions, I will give a detailed response later when I have more time.
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Steph S, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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Serious question Olivier and anyone else - there are elements of Dzogchen that are reminiscient of the do-nothing attitude which gives me some pause - the resting in the "natural state" stuff particularly. What do you think? Feel free to prove me wrong on this as I don't have a definitive opinion on it yet or maybe I'm misinterpreting some things. To be clear, I'm not a fan of the do-nothing mindset. I can tell you for a fact the insights I've had were hard won with alot of joy, pain, bliss, and tears. There's no way I would have gotten anywhere just sitting on my butt, doing nothing, and thinking I'm already a Buddha. 
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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I can tell you for a fact the insights I've had were hard won with alot of joy, pain, bliss, and tears. There's no way I would have gotten anywhere just sitting on my butt, doing nothing, and thinking I'm already a Buddha. 

Yep, agreed. My opinion on the "do nothing" practice mirrors Olivier's response to agnostic in his "at the top of this thread" comment:  BS

It explains one potential result of long, hard practice. It is virtually worthless as a practice method.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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Chris Marti:
I can tell you for a fact the insights I've had were hard won with alot of joy, pain, bliss, and tears. There's no way I would have gotten anywhere just sitting on my butt, doing nothing, and thinking I'm already a Buddha. 

Yep, agreed. My opinion on the "do nothing" practice mirrors Olivier's response to agnostic in his "at the top of this thread" comment:  BS

It explains one potential result of long, hard practice. It is virtually worthless as a practice method.

Ok emoticon I'm actually right now in a position of deciding how to proceed with my practice. Part of me say Just Sitting and part of me Mahasi Noting. I guess just sitting would be do nothing and Mahasi more like do constantly. Is there a middle way to it? Just noticing? That would be rather like do nothing for me as it's impossible to just sit there and not be aware of stuff popping in and out emoticon I'm lost emoticon 
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Olivier, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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My current understanding is that "resting in the natural state" is something that only someone with high clarity and tranquility levels can do, because it involves recognizing that there is not really a difference between rest and the movement of appearances, emptiness and vividness. That's already a form of realization, I believe, this recognition, it's deep. Like, being able to meditate on the mindstream continually while also perceiving the whole background, kind off. Seems easy and natural after some point but that's something most people can't do.

(There's a subtle kind of understanding of "concentration" which is involved in trusting that the more open kind of awareness is not different from concentrating on the breath, and in trusting that the play of appearances, when seen clearly, is not in itself distraction, because there are not really individual things !)

And IMO again, the natural state and the recognition of it is some kind of peak insight which can truly come about only after a lot of "purification" and such have happened and some perceptual shifts/upgrades have occured, like panoramicity, clarity, etc. (we talked about this "filter coming off" in Linda's "phenomenological pointers to non-dual perception", Noah D calls it "luminosity shift"). Might also require some kind of pointing out.

I remember this luminosity thing vividly from the august 2019 dzogchen retreat, and from the month-long vipassana retreat that followed I remember precisely the time when awareness took on a much more wide and panoramic quality. These things settle but kind of become baseline.

However, something I've hypothesized, is that these instructions of just resting in the natural state, can also work before any of that other stuff happens, because they could be interpreted as : "establish access concentration and let experience unfold within a presence that neither clings nor grasps."

After all, seeing thoughts as thoughts, is the first ñana. Isn't that closely related to the classic instructions of mahamudra/dzogchen, "letting thoughts spontaneously liberate" and resting in that ? 

Why couldn't that actually take you all the way if you manage to follow these instructions closely without freaking out at ñanas, without getting confused by path moments, and perceptual transformations, and all that ? But maybe only a very diligent asian person could pull that off, most need much more guidance than that and frames of reference to try to make sense of what happens. Also, there will probably be, for most people, a lot of psychological/emotional work to be done to even be able to maintain that presence at all experiences...

And then, reading texts by masters and such is incredibly important too, for the worldview and conceptual aspects of practice, which is also fundamental. So...

Anyways, my guess is, the true natural state/pristine awareness recognition, comes from being able to "hold" everything in awareness and let all appearance spontaneously liberate, or, as they say, dawn as dharmakaya. I would imagine that most beginning meditators can't do that, but i don't see a theoretical reason why that might not be the case for the rare few ?

A bit like Mozart sonatas and scales...

Some prodigies can just play mozart at five you know emoticon For most others, it will take a lot of muscle work and practice to do something which is not in essence different from playing Au clair de la lune.
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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A bit like Mozart sonatas and scales...

Yes. I don't believe any of these meditation-based phenomena and experiences are easy to obtain for all but the most savant-like among us. It's just mind-numbingly hard to reorient the mind's processing to the extent required. It requires learning how to play the concerto from the ground up - sort of like Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000-hour rule.
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Steph S, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Olivier:
My current understanding is that "resting in the natural state" is something that only someone with high clarity and tranquility levels can do, because it involves recognizing that there is not really a difference between rest and the movement of appearances, emptiness and vividness. That's already a form of realization, I believe, this recognition, it's deep. Like, being able to meditate on the mindstream continually while also perceiving the whole background, kind off. Seems easy and natural after some point but that's something most people can't do.

Ah, yes. Elegant description. I like this. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Steph S:
Olivier:
My current understanding is that "resting in the natural state" is something that only someone with high clarity and tranquility levels can do, because it involves recognizing that there is not really a difference between rest and the movement of appearances, emptiness and vividness. That's already a form of realization, I believe, this recognition, it's deep. Like, being able to meditate on the mindstream continually while also perceiving the whole background, kind off. Seems easy and natural after some point but that's something most people can't do.

Ah, yes. Elegant description. I like this. 

Yes emoticon but is this state/recognition permanent? And if not what does one do then? 
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Is there anything that's permanent, Papa?
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Steph S, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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I'd say you can have experiences of it in practice... probably best off with a mix of shamatha/vipassana. It wouldn't become permanent until it was at the realization level. Experience = temporary glimpse or insight into something at a more basic or rudementary level, but the insight hasn't fully matured yet. Realization = final, irreversable insight about how something fundamentally works. If you haven't had the realization yet, you just keep practicing.
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Olivier, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Papa Che Dusko:
Steph S:
Olivier:
My current understanding is that "resting in the natural state" is something that only someone with high clarity and tranquility levels can do, because it involves recognizing that there is not really a difference between rest and the movement of appearances, emptiness and vividness. That's already a form of realization, I believe, this recognition, it's deep. Like, being able to meditate on the mindstream continually while also perceiving the whole background, kind off. Seems easy and natural after some point but that's something most people can't do.

Ah, yes. Elegant description. I like this. 

Yes emoticon but is this state/recognition permanent? And if not what does one do then? 

The recognition can be unshakeable, I think, and that's IMO one of the things that "realization" means. I realize that....

And perhaps, others will confirm or not, it can be forgotten sometimes... but the way I understand it these days, the kind of KNOWING that realization is, is a knowing of the BEING, a physical knowing, knowing you BECOME. Non-objective knowing : not something theoretical, not something you can put in a sentence or symbol, not a knowing of consciousness that you can see there while being here ; but incarnate knowledge, invisible knowledge.

Everybody knows, theoretically, that there is no self. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lin-a2lTelg That's objective knowledge, intellectual understanding. Ob-ject : to be placed in front of. That's not what the recognition of the natural state/essence or mind/reality is : that, is a non-objective understanding. Also called : know-how. Also called : the knowledge of life. It transcends your individual mind, mental knowledge, and even consciousness.

It's beyond consciousness and is rooted in unconsciousness, as the zen people would say, but can be ex-pressed, can come out in the light of consciousness, be made conscious through reflection on the experience of the body mind which has been percolated by the realization. The realization can be mirrored and even be projected into thought and language but it has nothing to do with that.

That's the clearest way I can think of this. Some people call it GROK. :p Others, Wisdom.

In the summertime, onions sometimes grow thinner skin than usual. This indicates that the winter will be mild.  How does the onion know that the winter won't be cold ? 

How do baby humans know which sounds are language and which are not ?

I believe that points to the difference between regular knowledge, and prajña, the kind of knowledge that meditation produces. It's a blooming, an earthly knowing. Hence the notion of "bodhisattva grounds", hence the strange new depths of insight after path moments: transformation has occured, you are no longer the same. Like when you know how to play guitare : it's something you are. Except, prajña, is the know-how that knows who you are.
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Some people call it GROK. :p Others, Wisdom.

There is a way I've heard this expressed that I've always been enamored of - it's like walking for hours in a wet drizzly mist. One gets thoroughly soaked, but slowly. It takes time to get that utterly familiar, to take something in so that it becomes one with experience and is manifest deep, deep, deep in the bones.
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Olivier, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Metaphors and poetry again prove themselves to be the most precise forms of expression ... ;)
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Someone once wrote:

A pebble tossed into the pond rests on the sandy bottom
The battle rages and the battlefield is still

The windows are open and the wind howls through a quiet room

There is observation and participation

There is action and stillness

Self and no one

Separated by everything and nothing
The same but different


emoticon
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Steph S, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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emoticon

I just wrote this:

There is impermanence and timelessness
There is birth and death
The fettered one seeks death for stillness
And birth for action
But they are one and the same

Things are impermanent and permanent. A long time ago someone told me impermanence is a misnomer in a sense, which I'm seeing lately. It's hard to explain maybe, but I'll try. Almost like seeing through impermanence when you grok the timeless aspect of things. 
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

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Seeing these contradictions and juxtapositions simultaneously is something worth pursuing!
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Steph S, modified 4 Months ago.

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*thumbs up emoji* emoticon
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Olivier, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Nice poems, you guys. 

Also, chris, juxtaposing these perspectives. Sounds really cool, and like something i've heard Frank Yang the full natty arahat talk about recently.
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Almost like seeing through impermanence when you grok the timeless aspect of things. 

Yeah.

When this is seen there is a timeless perspective that manifests. I'm being careful to distinguish between calling the aspect "permanent" versus "timeless" as I believe those are different perspectives. When I see this in meditation it's always been accompanied by an infinite perspective stemming from the vision sense door, and when it otherwise happens it's from looking at a scene with vast perspective; mountains, long straight train tracks, clouds from an airplane window at high altitude.

There is a neurologist/MD, James Austin, who wrote a book called "Zen and the Brain" about his Zen practice in Japan as compared to his medical/physiological/neurological perspective, and he writes about this kind of experience in detail. I read this book at least fifteen years ago and it was a slog, but a worthy slog.
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Olivier, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Chris Marti:
Almost like seeing through impermanence when you grok the timeless aspect of things. 

Yeah.

When this is seen there is a timeless perspective that manifests. I'm being careful to distinguish between calling the aspect "permanent" versus "timeless" as I believe those are different perspectives. When I see this in meditation it's always been accompanied by an infinite perspective stemming from the vision sense door, and when it otherwise happens it's from looking at a scene with vast perspective; mountains, long straight train tracks, clouds from an airplane window at high altitude.

It's interesting because what I've come to know as my "luminosity shift" was brought about by contemplating the union of movement and stillness. It was preceded by such a timeless perspective which is still today a very moving and powerful memory.

The union of movement and stillness, is how shamatha is taught, in the dzogchen system that the PDF I uploaded yesterday refers to. 

And I do think this is akin to seeing through impermanence. That's the whole difference between mahayana and theravada actually, the later buddhists base themselves on texts which specifically negate the notion that impermanence is a characteristic of all existence : the heart sutra, the vimalakirti sutra, etc.

This shift of perspective totally fits my experience. During this whole retreat and after, I kept coming back to the notion that if everything is impermanent, truly, then it's logically necesary that NOTHING is impermanent, since the notion loses all meaning if there isn't an opposite against which to place it. Everything moves/changes constantly <=> The whole thing is unmoving.

This then can be translated experientially and vice versa...

Of course, neither perspective is quite true, but groking that kind of changes the way you conceive of meditation...

For those who are interested in making the connection with classical models and such :

From what I understand, this is actually described in the five mahayana paths. The end of the second path (path of action), is said to correspond to theravadin stream entry. Then, the path of vision begins. It ends with the realization/recognition of the essence of mind (natural state). I feel like this is connected with the shift of perspective we have been talking about here. One thus reaches the first bhumi. Then begins the path of meditation proper. One moves through the bhumis, until they reach the path of no more learning. 

I think that's not too far off the mark though probably somehow inaccurate. It fits my experience better than the 4th path model, actually.

Finally, one thought about shamatha : Dudjom Lingpa's dzogchen system approaches it through trying to achieve the union of movement and stillness. I feel like this is particularly conducive to kind of timeless experience we are talking about, and that this is fertile ground from which to cut through and get a glimpse of rigpa.

Well, the shamatha instructions in Mahamudra are also colored by the insight they are trying to get you to ; it's more about letting appearances liberate by themselves, and specifically, letting thoughts liberate themselves. This is conducive to realizing that actually, the stillness of shamatha is non other than the actualization and self liberation of appearances. And this seems conducive to less timeless experiences, but rather experiences of "completeness" and spontaneity. 

But regardless, there is a similarity there.

From my limited experience, that is, knowing that what one experiences also depends on causes and conditions a lot.
agnostic, modified 4 Months ago.

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If I may, I think you're on the right track with this timeless aspect both Olivier and Steph. If time is laid out flat and the past happened in the way it had to happen and the future will happen in the way it has to happen, then indeed impermanence somehow becomes permanent. Cool insight. Now all you have to do is turn that lens around and look at your own life and seeking narrative from that perspective ... 
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Olivier, modified 4 Months ago.

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The thing is, it's always radically creative and free. Not flat, but dimensional. The timeless thing sure lays things flat, but that's, also, impermanent, and not.

Thus, in the words of Ken Mc Leod : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2RyV1LN81I
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

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I think it's critical in this kind of discussion to be aware of "both" being true - things can't be pinned down like mind wants them to be, and that's because mind.

emoticon
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Olivier, modified 4 Months ago.

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Chris Marti:
I think it's critical in this kind of discussion to be aware of "both" being true - things can't be pinned down like mind wants them to be, and that's because mind.

emoticon


YEAH ! Learning nuance.
agnostic, modified 4 Months ago.

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Olivier:
The thing is, it's always radically creative and free. Not flat, but dimensional. The timeless thing sure lays things flat, but that's, also, impermanent, and not.

Thus, in the words of Ken Mc Leod : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2RyV1LN81I

YES it's radically free - like so free it could almost be said you don't have control over it 
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

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During this whole retreat and after, I kept coming back to the notion that if everything is impermanent, truly, then it's logically necesary that NOTHING is impermanent, since the notion loses all meaning if there isn't an opposite against which to place it. Everything is impermanent <=> Everything is eternal.

Interesting. I'd say that while everything is impermanent from one perspective (the construction of our experience) it's also true that time and space are constructed, so impermanence has a kind of "domain" that's related to how moment-to-moment experience is mind-created. At the same time, mind itself doesn't have a specific domain, attributes, or any definable characteristics. So mind, qua mind, is not impermanent. There is a timeless aspect to mind, and a space-less aspect to mind, and that's quite obvious once realized. So maybe we could say that the products of mind are impermanent but mind itself is not.

I'm just throwing spaghetti against the wall here while keeping true to my personal experience. This stuff is difficult to describe or define, but I'm willing to keep trying, however wrong I'll end up being  emoticon
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Olivier, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Interesting. It's about Nama, and Rupa. Rupa, our body, is actually the physical universe, and I wonder if that's not the true meaning of the "mind" as you are talking about it - ie, The unfindable creator of experience. Suggesting it might be eternal is dangerously close to being theology, man. :p

IMO, the two sides of the equivalence I just outlined, actually would correspond to the Nihilist VS Eternalist views, and the middle way would be, well...

-

Kind of related to this and kind of not : you know that in the gelug school, they think impermanence doesn't apply to concepts ?

And there we have ye olde quarrell of the universals ! 

Burbea seemed to actually start going in that direction too at the end of his life. His talk on "Practicing with death and dying" offers a very interesting perspective on the human person (the individual) as analogon of a more permanent, archetypal ... thing...
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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The unfindable creator of experience. Suggesting it might be eternal is dangerously close to being theology, man. :p

Maybe I'm just a heretic (Buddhist version) at heart.

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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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What occurs to me is how weirdly intertwined mind (consciousness) is with matter (experience). Without matter/experience, mind/consciousness cannot find expression. Without mind/consciousness, matter/experience cannot find expression. Experience appears to come from nothing, but is it really nothing? The source is mind, which cannot be observed or explained. This leaves we human beings with a mystery that we "solve" by ignoring, at least for the most part, and certainly in our day-to-day meanderings. Then science comes along and says mind/consciousness is caused by matter. But spirituality comes along first and says mind/consciousness causes matter/experience. So who's right?

Both?

Neither?

emoticon
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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This leads us to one place - that place where we throw our hands up in utter despair, with no hope of ever knowing, of ever finding a satisfactory answer to the ultimate question thus posed. Which is, in another weird conjunction of the dissimilar, what finally liberates us. It's the ultimate koan. We're always falling. It's turtles all the way down. There's no beginning and there's no end. We're doomed to exist in this odd, wonderful, undefinable, uncapturable "now," with no possible escape lest we die (or so we think) - and yet there is no safe haven there, as death, too, is yet another unknown.
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Don't know.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Chris Marti:

Don't know.

There is always the bikeshedding! emoticon
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J W, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Chris Marti:
What occurs to me is how weirdly intertwined mind (consciousness) is with matter (experience). Without matter/experience, mind/consciousness cannot find expression. Without mind/consciousness, matter/experience cannot find expression. Experience appears to come from nothing, but is it really nothing? The source is mind, which cannot be observed or explained. This leaves we human beings with a mystery that we "solve" by ignoring, at least for the most part, and certainly in our day-to-day meanderings. Then science comes along and says mind/consciousness is caused by matter. But spirituality comes along first and says mind/consciousness causes matter/experience. So who's right?

Both?

Neither?

emoticon
If we substitute "matter/experience" with namarupa, the sheaves of reed discourse I think provides one answer for this:

"It is as if two sheaves of reeds were to stand leaning against one another. In the same way, from name-&-form (namarupa) as a requisite condition comes consciousness, from consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form."
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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It's the unknown cause aspect that's most interesting. This is required for that, but that is required for this. Each contains the seed of the other, neither can manifest without the other.
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Steph S, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Chris Marti:
What occurs to me is how weirdly intertwined mind (consciousness) is with matter (experience). Without matter/experience, mind/consciousness cannot find expression. Without mind/consciousness, matter/experience cannot find expression. Experience appears to come from nothing, but is it really nothing? The source is mind, which cannot be observed or explained. This leaves we human beings with a mystery that we "solve" by ignoring, at least for the most part, and certainly in our day-to-day meanderings. Then science comes along and says mind/consciousness is caused by matter. But spirituality comes along first and says mind/consciousness causes matter/experience. So who's right?

Both?

Neither?

emoticon
Gahhhh. Yea, this is kind of what I was trying to get at. Mind and appearances can't be separated, right? In Olivier's practice thread there was that reply about seeing the reflections of the mirror - the reflections being the apperances - and the only way you know there's a mirror is through deduction.

editd to add; So in sensing the timeless aspect of mind, you can sense the timeless aspect of apperances too, I suppose... or is it vice versa? Or both?
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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So in sensing the timeless aspect of mind, you can sense the timeless aspect of apperances too, I suppose... or is it vice versa? Or both?

Don't know  emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Steph S:

Mind and appearances can't be separated, right?


This makes me think of how the sense of an observer falls away when the sense of an object falls away, and how ultimately that leads to cessation. It also makes me think of how reality sort of turns inside out and loses the sense of there being no ”real” separation while still being diverse.

Gotta say that I love it that we don’t know. It leaves an openness. I think I prefer that to being convinced of anything.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Chris Marti:
During this whole retreat and after, I kept coming back to the notion that if everything is impermanent, truly, then it's logically necesary that NOTHING is impermanent, since the notion loses all meaning if there isn't an opposite against which to place it. Everything is impermanent <=> Everything is eternal.

Interesting. I'd think say that while everything is impermanent from one perspective (the construction of our experience) it's also true that time and space are constructed, so impermanence has a kind of "domain" that's related to how moment-to-moment experience is mind-created. At the same time, mind itself doesn't have a specific domain, attributes, or any definable characteristics. So mind, qua mind, is not impermanent. There is a timeless aspect to mind, and a space-less aspect to mind, and that's quite obvious once realized. So maybe we could say that the products of mind are impermanent but mind itself is not.

I'm just throwing spaghetti against the wall here while keeping true to my personal experience. This stuff is difficult to describe or define, but I'm willing to keep trying, however wrong I'll end up being  emoticon
I like this description. That's the sort of thing I have been so interested in seeing you describe from your experience. I find that is often lacking in people's descriptions here at DhO whereas others such as Michael Taft and Dzogchen teachers emphasize it, and I have been wondering if those different groups are even talking about the same reality. For the last year or so, that's what my own glimpses (and gradually more than glimpses) have led me to investigate: how this all fits together phenomenologically in our ongoing experience. It sure is hard to put it into words, and even harder to compare with others. I appreciate your spaghetti throwing. I think that's what we need to do if we are to talk about this kind of stuff. Playing it safe just won't do the trick. 
shargrol, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Chris Marti:

So maybe we could say that the products of mind are impermanent but mind itself is not.

I'm just throwing spaghetti against the wall here while keeping true to my personal experience. This stuff is difficult to describe or define, but I'm willing to keep trying, however wrong I'll end up being  emoticon

It's tempting to say mind is imperminant or perminant, depending on the aspect that is being pointed to, but then the experience of cessation throws yet another wrench into this metaphysics. Clearly mind goes away and yet comes back(!) And there is the strong suspicion that death is the mind going away once and for all(!!) 

So there is this sense that mind is imperminant, permanent, and conditional! emoticon emoticon emoticon
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Yep, that's what we've been bantering about - it's all conditional, and yet from another perspective none of it is.

I'm tempted to argue that cessation is proof that mind, qua mind, simply cannot be perceived. Without experience, we (blip!) drop into the void, and mind cannot be seen. But mind can conjure existence. So (bam!) we come back online from the nothingness.
shargrol, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Chris Marti:
Yep, that's what we've been bantering about - it's all conditional, and yet from another perspective none of it is.

I'm tempted to argue that cessation is proof that mind, qua mind, simply cannot be perceived. Without experience, we (blip!) drop into the void, and mind cannot be seen. But mind can conjure existence. So (bam!) we come back online from the nothingness.

I tend to agree.

And I agree with JW's statement upthread about dependent origination, how mind and mind's object require each other to define each other. The metaphor of the two sheaves of reed discourse is a very helpful way to conceptualize it. (I have a fond memory of this metaphor being explained to me by a monk who trained under buddhadasa... it really helped me loosen my quest for pure experience, eg. pure mind, pure body, etc.  Dependent orgination is a very powerful explainer... even if it doesn't make conventional sense.) 

But I don't know. emoticon

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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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And I agree with JW's statement upthread about dependent origination, how mind and mind's object require each other to define each other.

Yes, absolutely. As I had already posted:

What occurs to me is how weirdly intertwined mind (consciousness) is with matter (experience). Without matter/experience, mind/consciousness cannot find expression. Without mind/consciousness, matter/experience cannot find expression. 

emoticon

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Steph S:
emoticon

I just wrote this:

There is impermanence and timelessness
There is birth and death
The fettered one seeks death for stillness
And birth for action
But they are one and the same

Things are impermanent and permanent. A long time ago someone told me impermanence is a misnomer in a sense, which I'm seeing lately. It's hard to explain maybe, but I'll try. Almost like seeing through impermanence when you grok the timeless aspect of things. 
Beautiful. I find that there is stillness in the infinite now that rides the wave of all occurrings, where arising is the passing away. 
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Olivier, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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"All experience is non arising".
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Olivier:
"All experience is non arising".

Yes, exactly.
Tim Farrington, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Steph

There is impermanence and timelessness

There is birth and death
The fettered one seeks death for stillness
And birth for action
But they are one and the same

" . . . and there was a silence in heaven for the space of half an hour."
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Tim Farrington:
Steph

There is impermanence and timelessness

There is birth and death
The fettered one seeks death for stillness
And birth for action
But they are one and the same

" . . . and there was a silence in heaven for the space of half an hour."

Ya! Me likey this! Lyric stuff for a new DhO Band song???! emoticon 
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Steph S, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Yea, use it!
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Steph S:
Yea, use it!
That some hardcore awesomeness emoticon i can imagine these words being sung on a stage someplace somewhere to a crowd not entirely sure what just hit them emoticon A Dhamma Train!!! emoticon 

Must get me matey Tim work out a few more verses! Maybe you care to join us in writing this one some more?! emoticon ya? Why not emoticon
Tim Farrington, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Papa Che Dusko:
Steph S:
Yea, use it!
That some hardcore awesomeness emoticon i can imagine these words being sung on a stage someplace somewhere to a crowd not entirely sure what just hit them emoticon A Dhamma Train!!! emoticon 

Must get me matey Tim work out a few more verses! Maybe you care to join us in writing this one some more?! emoticon ya? Why not emoticon
She wrote that on the spot, Papaji. Write a few more "verses", Steph, seriously. I thought immediately of music with the poem as well. This could bust open the Neo-Sutra genre!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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Steph S:
Serious question Olivier and anyone else - there are elements of Dzogchen that are reminiscient of the do-nothing attitude which gives me some pause - the resting in the "natural state" stuff particularly. What do you think? Feel free to prove me wrong on this as I don't have a definitive opinion on it yet or maybe I'm misinterpreting some things. To be clear, I'm not a fan of the do-nothing mindset. I can tell you for a fact the insights I've had were hard won with alot of joy, pain, bliss, and tears. There's no way I would have gotten anywhere just sitting on my butt, doing nothing, and thinking I'm already a Buddha. 
I find that it is helpful to sort of work hermeneutically with it - the resting illustrates what work still needs to be done, because that pops up as barriers. The effortful work, on the other hand, often leads to times of doing nothing - partly because it becomes available when barriers are deconstructed and partly because I have to surrender for a while to regenerate, and the surrendering opens things up. I have had doing nothing as an integrated part of my practice the whole time, but that's not the same thing as saying that there's nothing to do. There's lots to do, lots of hard work, but I need the space inbetween the work because the space makes it all more endurable, allows things to integrate and opens up more possibilities. I find that realizations often come while I'm doing nothing, but the hard work is what makes things ripen enough for realizations to be possible. However, I'm now at a point where I find that stopping to "do nothing" many times per day, both in formal sits and while doing something (hehe) is what does the most difference, because I seem to have a tendency to keep my mind too busy.

Dzogchen is considered the highest teachings not because it is better than the other teachings, but because it tends to require other work first. 
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Steph S, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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Thanks for this, Linda. Yea totally, I get that. The doing nothing in between practice allows insights to integrate... a period of letting the pot simmer instead of boil so all the flavors come together.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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Steph S:
Thanks for this, Linda. Yea totally, I get that. The doing nothing in between practice allows insights to integrate... a period of letting the pot simmer instead of boil so all the flavors come together.

They really do come together too. emoticon
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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"Now all of that power is going to flow into those unconscious reactive patterns and they will become even more powerful. If you don't own clinging, aversion, or ignorance when it occurs in your life, you'll become trapped just the same as if you had never practiced in your life. A zen master's life is one mistake after another. So really, when do we reach the end of practice and insight?

It's terrifying to think about."

emoticon I really appreciate when "awakened" folks express the dirty side of this awakening business emoticon instead of the "oh it's all so winderful 24/7" version emoticon 


Thank you! 
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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Papa, the path is painful. Life is painful... and wonderful. It's all of a piece. You can't have one and not the other. As our shared teacher Kenneth Folk tweeted just the other day:

Don't be satisfied with dreams of transcendence. Practice happens here on the ground where bodies sweat, pain is real, and people bleed and die. If you've been thinking of awakening as something that will get you out of this... I invite you to step up to a new level of maturity.

So here's a way to spot a dharma scammer - they only ever talk about how great this stuff is. Their story will be full only of that transcendence stuff, not the pain of getting there, and of what it truly means to be human.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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"Don't be satisfied with dreams of transcendence. Practice happens here on the ground where bodies sweat, pain is real, and people bleed and die. If you've been thinking of awakening as something that will get you out of this... I invite you to step up to a new level of maturity."

Ha! He never fails to put a huge grin on my face with his views emoticon Gotta love that guy! emoticon 

Thanks for the reply Chris! Much appreciated! I love the view of all this remaining in the human realm with all its joys and hemorrhoids emoticon 

agnostic, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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shargrol:

This insight ---  the nibbana-ing of experience in Theravandian terms or the insight into the self-liberating nature of mind in Dzogchen --- is a fractal insight.

This is suddenly making a lot of sense to me. Nice to see different traditions pointing to the same thing.
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Olivier, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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Even better : "Playing Mozart is easy, look. You just have to get it right !" Is that helpful ? Is it true ?

There are a bunch of body-mind transformations that need to happen for the arising of this certainty to even be possible. Psychological stuff purification, energetic balancing, development of emotional and observational skill, making conscious and playing with worldviews, actual perceptive upgrades... Probably a bunch of physiological changes underlying the thing too. Which means that the experience is actually different at the time the higher fetters can be removed, or rather, seen for what they are.

If I lost the faculty of vision, I would be living in a qualitatively different world from the one before. 

It's not 1 or 0.

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-v-awakening/37-models-of-the-stages-of-awakening/the-nothing-to-do-and-you-are-already-there-schools/

 You've asked us to call you out on this stuff agnostic so, i am. What are you trying to achieve there, looking cool ?

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