Agnostic Explains Nibbana

agnostic, modified 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 ...
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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BS
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Chris Marti, modified 9 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 9 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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Blip!
shargrol, modified 9 Months ago.

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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 9 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 9 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 9 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.
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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You fast posters ! 
agnostic, modified 9 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 9 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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No.
agnostic, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Emil's Practice Log

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Chris Marti:
No.

Oh ok, that feels a little weird
Olivier, modified 9 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 9 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 9 Months ago.

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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 9 Months ago.

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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 9 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 
Olivier, modified 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 Months ago.

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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 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Is there anything that's permanent, Papa?
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Steph S, modified 9 Months ago.

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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.
Olivier, modified 9 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 9 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.
Olivier, modified 9 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 9 Months ago.

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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 9 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 9 Months ago.

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Seeing these contradictions and juxtapositions simultaneously is something worth pursuing!
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Steph S, modified 9 Months ago.

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*thumbs up emoji* emoticon
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

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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 9 Months ago.

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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.
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

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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 9 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 ... 
Olivier, modified 9 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 9 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
Olivier, modified 9 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 9 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 9 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
Olivier, modified 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Don't know.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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. 
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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"All experience is non arising".
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Olivier:
"All experience is non arising".

Yes, exactly.
Tim Farrington, modified 9 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 9 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 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Yea, use it!
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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.
Olivier, modified 9 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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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Agnostic, can you please report on your door moments? 
agnostic, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Sure, I was going to write a detailed account in my log, but since you asked I'll just do it here. I started trying to do a step-by-step description of the process starting from a few weeks back, but I found I kept needing to go back further, so I’ll just start at the beginning. Apologies if you've heard most of it before.

When I was 5 I had an infinite space/consciousness experience which left a strong impression on me. Around the same time I started developing a lot of anxiety, fear and anger due to narcissistic parenting. I started to develop NPD myself when I was sent away from home to boarding school aged 8. I started getting interested in the BIG QUESTIONS of life - why are we here? what's the meaning of it all? - and I studied philosophy (& mathematics) in college. Around the age of 18-21 I got obsessed with advaita vedanta and started meditating and fantasizing about becoming enlightened. I had some powerful kundalini type experiences and renounced a bunch of stuff and planned to run away and become an ascetic. Eventually it wore off and I decided I needed to make my way in the world first. For the next 25 years I was a hard-driven work-obsessed narcissist. Between the ages of 35-45 I started to suffer from serious depressions. During all this time, the deep questions were never far away. I’ve always been someone who wanted to try a little of everything out of curiosity. Looking back, it seems that I needed to try all the usual shit and make myself unhappy enough before I was ready to tackle the big questions in earnest.

In summer 2018 I was more seriously depressed and started thinking about suicide. This shocked me enough that I started meditating again as a last resort, to try to figure out what was really going wrong with me. The depression lifted pretty quickly once I realized how much repressed anger I was holding onto. Around the start of 2019 I came across MCTB and it reignited my earlier interest in enlightenment. I quickly realized ‘wow, this can be done by someone like me right here right now without needing run away from my life’. I started gunning for it with intensive noting and started a meditation log in March 2019.

In April 2019 tried meditating in front of a mirror staring at my face until it dissolved into random visual wave patterns, which was a powerful experience. A couple of days after that I was meditating with eyes open and suddenly realized I couldn't tell whether I was watching the room or the room was watching me. The best way I could describe it was 'reality was watching itself'. It was very clear there was no observer in here and it was a powerful sudden experience which left a strong imprint on me. About a week later I read the Progress of Insight and decided to go for it. Before I knew it I was going through all the stages and hit something which was either a cessation or a near miss. I was very clearly cycling for the next couple of months and in June I had what seemed like a clearer cessation.

After that things started to get a bit “third pathy”, meaning the whole scope of my search widened out. No longer was it just about having powerful perceptual shifts on the cushion. It got really personal – who am I really in the context of the rest of my life and this whole search process? I was also having strong kundalini and did some work with a spiritually oriented therapist who helped me realign my life values. I quit my work in order to look after my kids and started to think about my life more devotionally.

In August 2019 I read Tony Parsons book The Open Secret which left a big impression on me because it exposed the origins and ultimate futility of the whole seeking dynamic. I started to watch a lot of his videos on YouTube. Looking back now I can see that his whole “no one exists” thing is a bit of a shtick, but at the time I recognized it as a powerful and uncompromising/challenging nondual teaching. It felt like I had decided to let him fuck with my mind a bit because I sensed that was the way forward for me at that time. In September I had a strong depersonalization episode where I woke up an hour after falling asleep and couldn’t remember who I was for several minutes. It seems likely this was triggered by the nondual contemplations and these episodes recurred for the next few months. I see these as extended nondual/anatta experiences which were particularly frightening for me because of my NPD (insecure attachment to an impoverished “true self”).

I also started doing some pretty hardcore “charnel ground” meditations by watching dissections and autopsies and other gruesome things on the internet. It was tough at first but eventually I got quite comfortable seeing the body being taken apart and decomposing. I started to be able to “see through” the body in real-time and accept that this was the fate of my own body and everyone I loved. There was a definite process of disidentification with my own body.

By early 2020 I realized that I needed to confront my NPD head on, so I started being much more open about it which helped to break down my basic psychological defense mechanism (although there were some narcissistic outbursts along the way). I got COVID pretty bad in March 2020 and developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which left me physically incapacitated for the next few months. I figured it was probably payback for all those years of hard living, but it had the effect of seriously lessening my attachment to my future life (goals, plans, dreams etc.) In April I played the role of Advaita protagonist in a charged thread on here which seemed to really solidify nondualismfor me, however I was running into a problem. Try as I might to convince myself that these powerful nondual states were THE ANSWER, I realized they were unsatisfactory because they were impermanent - they would come and go and vary in intensity.

I was also still prone to emotional blowups (exacerbated by being sick) and figured I needed to get to the root of it, so I started doing some realms/elements practice in September. This really helped to reduce my day to day reactivity and made dependent origination much clearer on a working basis (how I cycled through emotional states and “worldviews”). I started doing some very free meditations where I would just try to sink as deep as possibly into my subconscious and let my deepest fears bubble up - ‘I’m a terrible person, no one will ever love me for who I am’ (due to my impoverished sense of true self), deep fears of intimacy, existential terror, anxiety, fear of insanity etc. I also noticed that the past was losing its grip on me and I didn't spend so much time worrying about the future either.

About a month ago I read an old post of Kenneth Folk about all experiences having the same ontological status and it planted a seed in my mind I guess. Prompted by Chris, I started to really investigate and deconstruct space – the sense of the experience of the world around me being centered somewhere in my head. I used tricks like imagining the center being in my belly or in the corner of the room. I tried to visualize the back of the head or put myself in someone else’s head or ask myself ‘how do I even know I have a head?’ I realized that incoming sensory data have no a priori spatial distribution and the mind has to continuously work to create that sense of a spatial configuration. I would go into boundless space (fifth jhana) and notice the tension involved in maintaining the sense of space and watch how releasing that tension collapses space into awareness (sixth jhana).

The next stage was obviously to deconstruct awareness – the sense of being the one who is aware, the witness or the sense of there being a unified field of awareness. I had had these types of subjectless/nondual experiences before, but I was being much more systematic about it now and watching how sensations make contact and are known independently at each sense door without any need for an extra overarching thing called awareness. Practice was really accelerating at this point and I didn’t feel that I had much control over it – it just seemed to know which way to go next. I also had the feeling that I couldn’t really escape my experience any more – whatever I was doing – all day long. The concept of having a choice about what to experience didn’t seem to make sense any more – meditating or not. I felt overawed by the ‘thusness’ of experience.

In meditation I was getting into some pretty deep nondual states – no me, no defenses, no space, no awareness, no subject, no objects/things – just a primordial soup of undifferentiated sensations (ground of being, nothingness, seventh jhana). I realized that once I let go of the sense of nothingness then all that remained was pure statehood (eighth jhana, neither perception or non-perception). I started to think that deepening and prolonging these states might be THE ANSWER, however I noticed how they were always fluctuating in intensity and duration, causing a subtle sense of dissatisfaction. I didn’t spend a long time here, but it was enough to know that I could spend a lot more time trying and I would still be dissatisfied. I realized that this sense of dissatisfaction is intimately connected with the passage of time. There wasn’t much sense of time passing from within these states due to the absence of subjectivity and the fact that not much is changing, but I knew that I was fighting a losing battle with time simply because they were states and hence impermanent. Ok, I thought, I’ve reached the most basic state there seems to be and it’s still not enough. Now what?

Prompted by shargrol, I started to think about time. How do I know that time is passing? Because my experience is constantly changing. I realized that time, change and impermanence are essentially the same phenomenon. I realized that everything in life is just an experience arising briefly in the present before passing into the past and becoming just another fading memory, including all those deep meditation states as well as experiences of the so-called future such as expecting and planning. I realized that the personal sense of time is a complete fabrication - this sense of being on a hugely important search to find THE ANSWER, which involves having deeper and more rarified experiences in meditation, in order to get closer to THE ANSWER. I realized that this constant stream of ever more varied and deeper experiences was never going to lead me a single step closer to THE ANSWER, because the answer can’t be yet another experience.
 
I was in the basement getting something when THE ANSWER hit me like a ten tonne truck: no single experience – however deep or meaningful – is more or less privileged than any other. My whole life up to this point in time, every single experience – even when I was searching for the answer – was already a complete manifestation of THE ANSWER. My whole future life, every single experience – even if I should forget the answer and go looking for it again – is also already a complete manifestation of THE ANSWER. This realization felt weirdly like recognizing something I had always known, a sudden moment of complete recognition – outside of time because the whole axis of time (past & future) was laid out flat as if it was just another spatial dimension. My mind felt like it had been flipped inside out and over the next few days there was a lot of crazy energy released.

That was two weeks ago and since then I’ve been letting it settle in and going through it in review and trying to figure out the ramifications. The most noticeable effect is the almost complete reduction in craving for experience to be any different from whatever is arising in the present moment. For most of the last two years, whatever else I was doing I would almost always have rather been meditating (to get closer to the answer). Now it’s almost the opposite – most of the time I’m fine doing whatever needs to be done or responding to other people. The experiential hierarchy has gotten very flat – I’m just as happy having a cup of tea or doing the housework as getting high in the jhanas. When I do meditate I find myself going immediately into much deeper jhanas, but I feel the downsides of them more – the intoxication and ignorance – compared with just being lucidly aware in the present flow of day to day experience. Meditation seems to be more about observing subtle forms of craving, energy flows and the downsides of jhanas (if they show up) rather than trying to get anywhere anymore. But yeah I'm still curious about how deep the jhanas might go for me, so that's a definite fetter. Reality feels more vivid, like there is no filter anymore, and I can vary the intensity of this depending on how busy I am. But I wouldn’t say it is a single “wonderful” state all the time because it is really just all the same old states coming and going – the key difference is I don’t have the same craving and resistance I felt before. It’s a big relief feeling that whatever experience is arising is good enough and doesn’t somehow need to be made better.

I say almost complete reduction in craving because some minor craving does still arise, like if I’m getting tired doing something. I get that icky feeling of ‘oh no, maybe I’m losing sight of the answer, maybe I need to go find it again’. But as soon as give myself a minute to reflect I remember the answer and the craving is gone. So it’s a very direct real-time view of the connection between craving and dissatisfaction. That’s really what I’m talking about with the language of nibbana and samsara. As I see it now, samsara is the craving for the current experience to be different from the way it is (and that’s the origin of one’s “world” in the middle link of dependent origination). Nibbana is the relinquishing of that craving, which is what happened when I “saw through time” and realized that life is just a series of impermanent experiences over which I have no ultimate control and which is not going anywhere ultimately.

I have no idea whether this will last. I’ve been wrong before and I’m sure I’ll be wrong again. It was such an unexpected outcome – both profound and profoundly ordinary at the same time – that I’m curious to see in what ways I could be wrong about it or how it relates to a lot of the stuff that other people talk about. It does have a certain sense of irreversibility about it – having seen the answer laid out like that outside of time itself, it’s hard to imagine forgetting all about it for an extended period of time and going off looking for the answer again. But who knows, anything is possible. Of course I still have some preferences and self-initiated actions and maybe over time those get stronger and I could lose sight of the answer again. In many ways it feels more like a new beginning rather than the end. I’m genuinely curious to see how life plays out with less craving and resistance. It feels like much more of an open adventure now.

The other night I had another depersonalization experience but there was a new element thrown in which was that time was completely frozen. There was still changing experience but it somehow it felt that the future stretched out in the same way as the past so that the present moment really wasn’t moving anywhere at all. It seems that is related to the general sense of time having collapsed.

I wouldn’t say “I’m done” because of the obvious problems of what does the ‘I’ refer to and ‘being done’ is something that happens to a process within time whereas this nibbana/relinquishment thing is outside time (i.e. strictly within the present moment). I do have a newfound respect for the fetter model, because it makes a lot more sense to me now to see how losing sight of nibbana is craving which results in more ‘rebirths’ in this current life. I still have to work on my personality issues (NPD - maybe some soul making to beef up my impoverished true self) and energy imbalances (a lot of energy trapped in the head), so that is something that is clearly happening within the realm of personal time. But I used to feel that I had to get all of this stuff worked out before I could see the answer, whereas now I feel like it’s all going to happen in its own way anyway.

A big shout out to shargrol. Wherever I’m at, you’ve been the voice of sanity and reason, a guiding light. Plus you have superb pitch and timing. Thank you.

My version of the riddle is just ‘samsara is nibbana and nibbana is samsara’. Nibbana is samsara because without samsara (craving) we would not recognize nibbana (stopping craving), i.e. samsara is the means by which we know nibbana. And samsara is nibbana because when we stop craving then we recognize that all experience is equally preferable - including the experience of craving! If I look closely enough at the middle links of dependent origination then I can indeed see that samsara is constantly nibbana-ing. Experiences arise and generate feelings which cause craving - the start of samsara. If I can catch that craving *right there* then it’s gone and nibbana is back. I can set up an alternating pattern: samsara -> nibbana -> samsara  -> nibbana etc. ‘This is not good enough’ -> ‘actually it’s ok’ -> ‘this is not good enough’ -> actually it’s ok etc. That’s the root of everything right there - the origination and vanishing of the world. If I play with it fast enough - alternating between craving and not craving - then it does actually seem like samsara and nibbana are indistinguishable on a momentary basis. I suppose that if your perception of impermanence was keen enough then all you would ever see are individual frames of experience arising and passing away and there would be no experience of either samsara or nibbana. Life would simply be a sequence of this, and then this, and then this etc. I have no idea if that is feasible and I do feel like the number of rebirths (within this life) is somehow karmically determined by all the prior experience and conditioning of this life.

I guess the final thing I’m having to let go of is the need for 100% certainty that this is the answer “at all times”. I tried that for a bit and it just caused stress and more samsara. Nibbana itself is clearly outside of time (in the eternal present moment), but it just seems for me right now that there is a certain amount of “wobble” between nibbana and samsara and it’s easier to accept that than try to fight it. So that’s another thing I’m curious about – how does that relationship change over time and does one get a deeper perspective on it?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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I still can't see any door moments in there. You're in God realm, man. Don't get stuck there. It's impermanent. 
agnostic, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Hehe, maybe you're right. I'm curious to see how things hold up, or not. emoticon
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svmonk, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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+1

Door moments happen when clinging to experience stops and experience collapses.
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Chris Marti, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Agnostic, wouldn't it be easier to just stop digging?
agnostic, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Chris Marti:
Agnostic, wouldn't it be easier to just stop digging?
??
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Jim Smith, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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https://www.dhammatalks.net/Articles/Bhikkhu_Buddhadasa_NIBBANA_FOR_EVERYONE.htm
NIBBANA FOR EVERYONE
by
Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

...
Any reactive emotion that arises ceases when its causes and conditions are finished. Although it may be a temporary quenching, merely a temporary coolness, it still means Nibbana, even if only temporarily. Thus, there's a temporary Nibbana for those who still can't avoid some defilements. This indeed is the temporary Nibbana that sustains the lives of beings who are still hanging onto defilement. Anyone can see that if the egoistic emotions exist night and day without any pause or rest, no life could endure it. If it didn't die, it would go crazy and then die in the end. You ought to consider carefully the fact that life can survive only because there are periods when the defilements don't roast it, which, in fact, outnumber the times when the defilements blaze.

These periodic Nibbanas sustain life for all of us, without excepting even animals, which have their levels of Nibbana, too. We are able to survive because this kind of Nibbana nurtures us, until it becomes the most ordinary habit of life and of the mind. Whenever there is freedom from defilement, then there is the value and meaning of Nibbana. This must occur fairly often for living things to survive. That we have some time to relax both bodily and mentally provides us with the freshness and vitality needed to live.

Why don't we understand and feel thankful for this kind of Nibbana at least a little bit? We're lucky that the instincts can manage by themselves. Conscious beings naturally search for periods that are free from craving, thirst, and egoism. We might call this natural urge "the Nibbana instinct." If there is unremitting thirst, life must die. Thus, infants know how to suck the breast and mosquitoes know how to buzz around sucking blood to sustain their lives until they are slapped to death. Our instincts have this virtue built in: they search for periods of time sufficiently free from defilement or free from thirst to maintain life. Whenever there is freedom and voidness there is always this little Nibbana, until we know how to make it into the lasting or perfect Nibbana of the Arahant.
agnostic, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Thanks for that Jim. It does speak to this recognition quality of nibbana (relinquishing craving) that I was talking about - like recognizing something you have always known but weren't ready to see yet. My guess is that as young kids - before we started searching for the answer - we had these moments of just being, and maybe sometimes afterwards, but we didn't know they were nibanna-ish. Then we got unhappy enough to dig into Buddhism and heard about this nibanna thing and started to imagine it was this special experience we had to go looking for, which turns the supposed solution into another facet of the problem. Having said that, after all this time being away from it, the experience of nibbana is not just a mild recognition, or at least it wasn't for me - it was a definite mind flip which blows the doors off and makes you go 'WTF was that just happened'. So I'm not suggesting that all of us here are already seeing this, although of course it is always right there a millimeter in front of your eyes and who knows what method is going to work best for each of us to enable the flip.
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Jim Smith, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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agnostic:
 My guess is that as young kids - before we started searching for the answer - we had these moments of just being, and maybe sometimes afterwards, but we didn't know they were nibanna-ish. 

I think children may have good instincts that we somehow lose as we grow up.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.036.than.html
Maha-Saccaka Sutta: The Longer Discourse to Saccaka
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

"I thought: 'I recall once, when my father the Sakyan was working, and I was sitting in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, then — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful mental qualities — I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Could that be the path to Awakening?' Then following on that memory came the realization: 'That is the path to Awakening.'

I had a similar recognition, before I ever read this sutra, that a certain way of relaxing I used to do as a child was the correct state in which to meditate. Soon after I recognized that, I started to experience the jhanas. At the time I knew nothing about the jhanas I only learned the word when I started to do research to see learn more about what I was experiencing.

It's kind of hard to explain and I don't know if it will make any sense to anyone else but it is what I used to do when, as a child, I was playing at being asleep and making funny snoring noises. I was aware of my breathing breathing and relaxing and that is really similar to what I discovered leads to the jhanas. I find that observing the breath and breathing in a relaxing way produces the jhanas.
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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In your writing, Agnostic, you clearly outline the different moments and phases and kinds of works you've been doing since you were five, in order to get to the understandings now available to you. Thus, by exposing this chronologically with a definite logic of one thing leading to the next, you're acknowledging that there was a lot of work to do and levels of understanding in this process.

Otherwise, why would you mention that ?

Picture a piano teacher, who can play a Mozart sonata. One of his students is training hard on some easier pieces, maybe doing scales, maybe ear training, whatever. Teacher, smug, comes up and says, "hey, look, i'll show you how to play Mozart". Student eagerly looks up : teacher proceeds to playing sonata, and finishes with "see, it's easy. It's right here, right now, a hair's breadth away. The piano is there, your fingers are there, the music exists : just play it. Stop the silly exercising... They only prevent you from being able to play the sonata..."

What is the effect of such instruction on the student, inspired by the cool teacher's playing but perplexed by the ambiguous intention that emanates from the guy ?

Well IMO these instructions are basically a way to make sure the student never succeeds im playing Mozart sonatas. 

Being aware for yourself, that you've had to do a lot of practice to understanding even one small bit of everything you wrote there, why are you telling people who are doing the work, that they don't have to do it ? What does that achieve ?

On top of that, you've read the chapter of MCTB I quoted, man, haven't you ?

Dan Ingram is more abrasive about this than most of us here emoticon :
The “nothing to do school” and the “you are already there school” are both basically vile extremes of the same basic notion that all effort to attain to mastery is missing the point, an error of craving and grasping. They both contradict the fundamental premise of this book, namely, that there is something amazing to attain and understand and that there are specific, reproducible methods that can help you do that.

[...]

Some defenders of these spiritually harmful views will claim that they are the most immediate, most complete, highest, most special, most profound, and most direct teachings available. I will claim that they do not lead to much that is good that cannot be attained through conceptual frameworks that are not nearly so problematic or easily misconstrued.

[...]

First, these notions encourage people not to practice anything. The defenders can say what they like, but again and again I see people who subscribe to these sorts of notions resting on their cleverness and grand posteriors and not actually getting it in the same way that my accomplished meditator friends get it. It seems so comforting, this notion that you are already something that in fact you are not, or that there is nothing that you could do that would be useful.

[...]

It would be like saying, “You are already a concert pianist, you just have to realize it,” or “You are already a nuclear physicist, you just have to realize it,” or “You already speak every language, you just have to realize it.” It would be like saying to a two-year-old, “You already understand everything you need to know so stop learning new things now.” It would be like saying to a severe paranoid schizophrenic, “You are already as sane as anyone and do not need to take your medications, and go ahead, feel free to just follow the voices that tell you to kill people.” It would be like saying to a person with heart disease, “By all means, just keep smoking three packs a day and eating fried pork rinds and you will be healthy.” It would be like saying to an illiterate person who keeps having a hard time navigating in daily life and is constantly being ripped off, “You don’t need to learn to read, write, and do math, you are dandy just the way you are.” It would be like saying to a greedy, corrupt, corporate-raiding white-collar criminal, fascist, alcoholic, wife-beating pedophile, “Hey, Dude, you are, like, a beautiful perfect flower of the now moment, already enlightened [insert toke here], you are doing-and-not-doing just fine, like wow, so keep on, like, just being you, maaaan.” 

Would you let a blind and paralyzed untrained stroke victim perform open-heart surgery on your child, based on the hopefully by now obviously flawed notion that they already are an accomplished surgeon but just have to realize it? Would you follow the dharma teachings of people who feed other people this kind of complete madness? Those who imagine that everyone somehow in their development already became as clear and perceptive as they could be just by being alive are missing something very profound. Do they imagine that you can just remind people of these things and suddenly all wisdom and clarity will suddenly appear? This is mind-bogglingly naive and some of the worst form of magical thinking out there.


[...]

Regardless of any possibly kind intentions, the teachings of these schools take a half-truth that seems so very nice and seductive to us neurotic practitioners who can barely stand another achievement trip and have such a hard time with self-acceptance, and turn that distortion into sugar-coated poison. There is no need to tie the three useful concepts of: 1) no-self; 2) self-acceptance in the ordinary sense; and 3) the notion that the sensations that lead to understanding if clearly perceived a sufficient number of times and to sufficient depth are manifesting right here and right now, to such a perversely twisted yet seemingly benign concept and its offshoots as the ones these schools unfortunately promote.

agnostic, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Olivier:
In your writing, Agnostic, you clearly outline the different moments and phases and kinds of works you've been doing since you were five, in order to get to the understandings now available to you. Thus, by exposing this chronologically with a definite logic of one thing leading to the next, you're acknowledging that there was a lot of work to do and levels of understanding in this process.

Otherwise, why would you mention that ?

Picture a piano teacher, who can play a Mozart sonata. One of his students is training hard on some easier pieces, maybe doing scales, maybe ear training, whatever. Teacher, smug, comes up and says, "hey, look, i'll show you how to play Mozart". Student eagerly looks up : teacher proceeds to playing sonata, and finishes with "see, it's easy. It's right here, right now, a hair's breadth away. The piano is there, your fingers are there, the music exists : just play it. Stop the silly exercising... They only prevent you from being able to play the sonata..."

What is the effect of such instruction on the student, inspired by the cool teacher's playing but perplexed by the ambiguous intention that emanates from the guy ?

Well IMO these instructions are basically a way to make sure the student never succeeds im playing Mozart sonatas. 

Being aware for yourself, that you've had to do a lot of practice to understanding even one small bit of everything you wrote there, why are you telling people who are doing the work, that they don't have to do it ? What does that achieve ?

Yes the seeking drive was very strong in me for about 40 years and I put a huge amount of work and effort into it - enough to make me suicidally depressed and cause a serious health crisis. I'm talking about seeking in its widest sense here, not just intellectuality, philosophy, spirituality and meditation, but also all the worldly kinds of seeking which are close cousins - sex, drugs, music, travel, culture, socializing, status, networking, career, money, power, love, children, family. The way I see it, a lot of this kind of restless seeking behavior comes from the same basic drive - the need to feel whole again following the sense of separation which develops when the child has to separate from the primary caregiver and form a personal and social identity. Love, children & family are about as good as it gets, but even (especially?!) those can be hard work and stressful.

The way I see it, in very general terms, we each have a finite amount of "seeking fuel" which is some function of how much of a sense of separation we feel. The more separated we feel, the further we stray from the fold and the more unhappy we become. Those who have the healthiest upbringings are generally the least unhappy and feel the least need to seek far and wide for some kind of overarching solution to life's inevitable difficulties, although of course everyone feels a certain basic level of dissatisfaction with life. An interesting thing about this is that the most unhappy people, although they have the furthest distance to travel back to the fold, also have the most impetus to make the journey. They know only too well that their coping mechanisms and worldviews don't work, so they also have less opportunity cost to letting go of them. I say this as encouragement to those of you who feel (as I did two years ago) that they are completely broken and worthless and have completely fucked their lives up. Seriously, what do you have to lose in letting go of whatever it is that you are clinging to?

Anyway, I say all this to emphasize that when I started meditating two years ago it was the inevitable culmination of a lifetime of seeking and it was a life and death matter to me to find THE ANSWER as soon as possible. I had literally tried everything else I could think of and none of it had provided lasting satisfaction and most of it had made things worse. I agree that hard work and dedication are very important and I carried that attitude into my practice. I noted like a man possessed and was immediately impressed by the powerful results it produced. I agree 100% that the "do nothing" and "you are already there" schools are a recipe for disaster and lead to all sorts of craziness. There are lots of stories of people who have sudden awakenings, but when you look carefully enough you usually find that there was some kind of deep emotional and/or psychological developments leading up to it. And of course if they don't practice after that then that also often leads to crazy stuff.

However, beyond a certain point I've noticed that pure effort starts to yield diminishing returns. It's very hard to say where that point is, it's probably some function of seeking energy already expended which is unique to each practitioner. I observed that Emil seems to be a strong beginner who has put a lot of energy into his noting practice and weathered some tricky stuff skillfully. There are plenty of people on here who will advise you to keep noting (which is generally good advice), so why not offer a practical tip from an alternative perspective which had worked for me at a similar point in my practice? It's not "do nothing, you are already there" advice - it's a concrete method which can be used to trick the mind into experiencing nibbana (relinquishing craving for a different experience). He's free to ignore it or try it and if it doesn't work then go back to noting. I'm not saying that doing this exercise will definitely make you experience nibbana and you are already enlightened. I probably should have added this disclaimer: if the experience doesn't blow your doors open and make you go 'WTF was that' and do some serious rewiring in your brain then it's not an experience of nibbana.

Personally I have found unusual techniques and tricks to be quite powerful, because they create a sense of dislocation and uncertainty which causes the mind to abandon its conventional frames of reference momentarily. So much of the practice is about rooting out psychological defense mechanisms that if the practice becomes too comfortable, stable, interesting or enjoyable then it's probably stopped working and progress stagnates. When I got stuck I also learned a lot from putting myself in uncomfortable situations on here and letting people like Chris, Malcolm and Nicky mess with me a little and make a complete idiot of myself.

One of the things which really struck me about this latest realization involving the levelling of the experiential playing field was this - I realized that my whole life and seeking process basically had to happen the way it did given my initial life conditions and the amount of separation I felt and seeking energy I had accumulated. Not in the cheap sense of scientific determinism, but in the sense that on some level I knew the answer all along and was merely playing a game of hiding it from myself. Of course it didn't feel like that while I was still fully invested in the meaningful progressive narrative of my life, but in retrospect I can now see that's what was happening. The explanation which feels right to me is that the experience of nibbana (absence of craving for a different experience) is familiar from early childhood and the psychological defense mechanisms in response to separation are layered on top of that and create the seeking narrative. When that narrative runs out of fuel (due to hard practice!) then we finally give up and let ourselves experience nibbana, which is why it feels so familiar and like something we always knew all along. It's not a "do nothing message" - it's "do whatever you've got to do until you don't". But we can't know in advance when a big moment of relinquishment will happen and it's always lurking right around the corner, waiting to surprise us once our conventional frames of reference are loose enough, so why not remind ourselves of this from time to time?

Re. states like panoramic awareness, luminosity, radiance, clarity, natural mind, wholeness, oneness, thusness etc., I'm sure that many of you have much more depth of experience in these than me. I dabbled a little and it was enough to sense they wouldn't be ultimately satisfying due to the impermanence/time factor, which is what really triggered the insight that all experiences are equally preferable otherwise there is subtle clinging and consequent dissatisfaction. Maybe I didn't go deep enough and if I had I would have come to a different realization. What I can tell you is that since the big flip, these experiences are more accessible and deeper than they were before, but also I can see their downsides and the subtle clinging much more clearly. I can feel the samsaric pull, straight into god realm. Maybe if you are a cave yogi or on permanent retreat you can sustain that for the rest of your life, but if not then at some point you have to come down off the cloud. I see really clearly in my life that god realm and human realm don't mix. I've tried doing family life while seeing everything enveloped in shimmering luminous radiance and it just gives off a detached superior vibe which rightly pisses people off. The "natural state" as far as I can see is to be a human in human realm and hang out in god realm if you like on your time off but don't get stuck there!

Sorry I'm tired and probably started rambling there a bit. Hope I addressed your questions but happy to discuss further.
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Ni Nurta, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Siddhartha Gautama meditated under a tree and pondered about problem of all suffering and his quest to find solution to it. Issue to tackle was sufficiently hard and he had a lot of time and good spirits so all was good. One thing irritated him though, he had to from time to time correct his location under the tree as shadow he hid in was moving away from him. He had a thought: "Maybe if I manage to solve issue of this mundane suffering then I will get insight how to handle ultimate suffering!" and with full enthusiasm he stopped moving and sat firmly in one spot.

After few hours delirious Gautama heard Bodhi tree asking him Why did you stop moving?
I am seeking better solution to suffering from sun's heat... Gautama barely replied. Then he heard I am really sorry, my roots unfortunately prevent me from moving and Sun rumors has it did the same routine every day since dawn of time so it is highly unlikely it will stop now... That day Gautama became Buddha and never had issue with sun burning his skin during meditation.

As always true story emoticon

ps. Rumor has it that Bodhi got reborn as Willis Carrier and invented air-conditioning emoticon
George S, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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Ni Nurta
Siddhartha Gautama meditated under a tree and pondered about problem of all suffering and his quest to find solution to it. Issue to tackle was sufficiently hard and he had a lot of time and good spirits so all was good. One thing irritated him though, he had to from time to time correct his location under the tree as shadow he hid in was moving away from him. He had a thought: "Maybe if I manage to solve issue of this mundane suffering then I will get insight how to handle ultimate suffering!" and with full enthusiasm he stopped moving and sat firmly in one spot.

After few hours delirious Gautama heard Bodhi tree asking him Why did you stop moving?
I am seeking better solution to suffering from sun's heat... Gautama barely replied. Then he heard I am really sorry, my roots unfortunately prevent me from moving and Sun rumors has it did the same routine every day since dawn of time so it is highly unlikely it will stop now... That day Gautama became Buddha and never had issue with sun burning his skin during meditation.

As always true story emoticon

ps. Rumor has it that Bodhi got reborn as Willis Carrier and invented air-conditioning emoticon

Hey Nin, I think I might have got this one ... the only way one can avoid casting a shadow is by being in a bigger shadow?
Tim Farrington, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
lol, definitely hitting on all cylinders here! The only way to be in a bigger shadow is to keep moving your ass! Nirvana has it made in the shade, but the shade is moving!
George S, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

Posts: 2062 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
or find a bigger tree emoticon
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Angel Roberto Puente, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

Posts: 281 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
These discussions are very interesting.  I can't help but notice that (except for what Olivier just mentioned) there is no mention of the role the body plays in all this.  Consider the effect of sitting straight, of calming the breath, of calming the body.  Of how all this is conducive to the meditative absorption that is instrumental in producing insight.  Furthermore, consider how the integration of practice into daily life is dependant on maintaining the meditative absorption and that this maintenance is tied to posture, calm breathing, and calm body.  After dealing and cleaning up all the mind-stuff that comes up in a controlled setting like sitting, ( we can speculate as to how the numbing of the body in prolonged sitting contributes to this), comes the real stuff, life.  I believe that the embodied side of practice comes to the foreground when the rubber meets the road.
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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I always wonder why people separate the mind and the body in discussions like this. I find these apparently distinct parts intertwined, interdependent and interoperable. They act as one. They are one.

EDIT: Just to add another wrinkle...
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Angel Roberto Puente, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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True.  But yet, only the mental fireworks are mentioned.  The propensity to get bent out of shape, physically, is never considered.  Or that if you maintain some standard physical minimum you can extend sitting into everything you do.
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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...only the mental fireworks are mentioned.

Yes, and this is, I believe, a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of what we are and how we operate. It's part of the ignorance (Buddhist version) that we live with habitually. 
Olivier, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

Posts: 742 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
It's funny, when you write your answer it says "body" emoticon

What do you guys think about dead people then ?

​​​​​​​I once had an interesting energetic moment looking at a xiith century relic, a piece of Saint Bernard de Clairvaux...
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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What do you guys think about dead people then ?

Olivier, are you delving into the mind is/is not embodied, is/is not material conundrum? Death is outside of my experience, so I'm not sure I'll be able to weigh in.
Olivier, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

Posts: 742 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Yeah, if there isn't a distinction between body and mind, then... it would make sense to keep relics and such... Which i tend to feel makes sense...

​​​​​​​I sometimes wonder if death is really outside of our experience ?
George S, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

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It's in our experience even if not my experience?
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

Posts: 4073 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
​​​​​​​I sometimes wonder if death is really outside of our experience ?

​​​​​​​Well, I was in the room when my father passed away, holding my hand to his forehead. Death is not a rapid transition from being alive to being not alive. That's how I experienced his passing that day. It took a while as measured in minutes, not seconds. I'm not going to go into all the details but after some time it was just obvious he was gone. Before that point, I could make the case that he could experience... things. They say hearing is maybe the last sense to fade. After that point, I don't think he was experiencing.

'Course, this is all conjecture on my part and the bottom line is... I just don't know what comes next, if anything. And I'm happy with "I don't know." I've got enough to do here and now, in this life  emoticon
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Angel Roberto Puente, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

Posts: 281 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
I´m with Chris on this, how do we really know?  Unless you're of the "I see dead people" school. emoticon  But there is a basis for speculating about this.  I remembered something Michael Taft wrote, "The centrality and—once you see it—almost shocking totality of awareness makes it particularly prone to being reified. That is, we tend to make it into an object; into a “real thing.” It’s ironic that once we see all over things to simply be appearances in awareness, and they lose their thingness, we transfer all of that thingness onto awareness. Awareness becomes things like God, Universal Consciousness, Self, and so on." https://deconstructingyourself.com/empty-awareness-aware-emptiness-nondual.html
It's difficult to avoid this mistake. We can automatically shift the vision to explain the "profound truths" of whatever tradition we have accepted.  The more difficult path is to accept the unknowable because it makes us feel up in the air.  To play with ideas is not intrinsically bad, as long as we know that we are playing.
George S, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Agnostic Explains Nibbana

Posts: 2062 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
+1 That was a big one for me, seeing the reification of awareness. Awareness seems so profound and majestic when you are in awe of it, and the reification seems to obvious and tacky once you figure out what you are doing to yourself. emoticon

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