Is a more inclusive model possible?

Is a more inclusive model possible? Chuck Kasmire 10/31/09 12:34 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Chuck Kasmire 11/2/09 12:41 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? tarin greco 10/31/09 3:22 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Chuck Kasmire 10/31/09 6:21 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? tarin greco 11/2/09 5:48 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Chuck Kasmire 10/31/09 3:19 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Adam West 11/4/09 8:36 AM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Chuck Kasmire 11/6/09 10:32 AM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Chuck Kasmire 11/5/09 10:27 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? tarin greco 11/6/09 12:32 AM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Chuck Kasmire 11/6/09 11:57 AM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Kenneth Folk 11/6/09 10:34 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Kate Gowen 11/6/09 10:21 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Chuck Kasmire 11/7/09 2:31 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Kate Gowen 11/7/09 5:41 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Kate Gowen 11/8/09 1:18 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Eric Alan Hansen 11/7/09 11:41 AM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Kenneth Folk 11/8/09 5:45 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Eric Alan Hansen 11/8/09 4:34 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Eric Alan Hansen 11/8/09 4:46 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Eric Alan Hansen 11/8/09 5:20 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Chuck Kasmire 11/7/09 2:04 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Kenneth Folk 11/8/09 10:33 AM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? tarin greco 11/7/09 11:35 AM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Chuck Kasmire 11/7/09 4:18 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? tarin greco 11/8/09 1:02 AM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Chuck Kasmire 11/8/09 12:27 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? tarin greco 11/9/09 12:22 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Chuck Kasmire 11/9/09 10:45 AM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? tarin greco 11/9/09 1:31 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Chuck Kasmire 11/9/09 6:33 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Kate Gowen 11/1/09 7:12 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Chuck Kasmire 11/2/09 5:22 PM
RE: Is a more inclusive model possible? Kate Gowen 11/2/09 10:32 PM
Chuck Kasmire, modified 12 Years ago at 10/31/09 12:34 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 10/31/09 12:34 PM

Is a more inclusive model possible?

Posts: 559 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
A note on my own path through this stuff: I went through the first two stages outside of any Buddhist teachings while I was involved in internal Qi Gong practices. Very much process oriented without any concept of 'attainments'. The second two stages were within the context of Buddhist practices – but not a noting practice. Much more along the lines of the Thai Forest Tradition. So I am kind of a hybrid I guess.

Here is the model that I work with these days. I put this out there as a starting point. It is largely based on my own experience and that is not enough but as far as I can go unless I put it out there for comment. I think we can all agree that models are just that: A framework which provides guidance and context for the practices. It is in the end just a conceptual model.

I borrowed heavily from Reggie Rays 'Touching Enlightenment' book and the Suttas. I am trying to keep it simple and accessible – some things are not addressed like strata of mind, subtle energetic system, cessations, and anything that I don't have experience of or feel is irrelevant to the discussion. I know there is interest in these but the goal of this model that I am setting out here is to provide a context which is large enough to provide a framework that could work for a variety of practices. I don't address the ultimate nature of things - when someone asked Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche if Buddhahood was the end, he replied something like “No, its the beginning”. I try to keep all this in the 'not sure' category as suggested by Ajaan Chah.

The Model
To define some terms:
trauma – past experience which was never fully experienced – repressed.
sensations – vibrations, energy, raw sensate experience. Irreducible sensate experience. Cannot be broken down further.

The body holds all trauma through a pattern of tension. This tension is a kind of 'I am not ready for this' recoiling from experience. Changing conditions are constantly touching trauma – like hitting a string on a piano – each trauma has its own frequency or flavor. Trauma at its most fundamental level is experienced as sensations.

The Build Up
When these sensations are not recognized – perceived at the fundamental level – they begin compounding. The compounding takes place not in the body but in the mind and is caused by clinging/aversion. When, on a subconscious level, the mind does not want to experience a certain flavor of sensations – it blocks it. The body sensation is one of numbness or replaced by a mentalized compounded version (i.e. pain). The mind starts seeking to move away externally from whatever it perceives the source to be - usually the conditions that triggered the trauma release. When the mind wants more of a certain flavor of sensations – more than the body can deliver (more than what is being experienced) the mind starts seeking external sources to stimulate the body.

Clinging at the level of form creates the 'I am this', 'I am that' experience. At this point we are in samsara – identifying with various phenomena as constituting a separate self.

The Tear Down
With this model the way out is very simple: Keep carefully observing phenomena until you get down to the level of sensations and then stay there. By staying with sensations, trauma is released, and the pattern of tension – held in the body – is slowly released. The key is mindfulness.

Seen as process
As mindfulness proceeds, trauma is released. Awareness is no longer bound up in holding this tension – – the experience of which is a growing sense of expansiveness, peace, release, etc. In this model, when there is mental chatter this indicates a tension or repression at the body level. By definition, during gaps in thought – we are open to the totality. It is a gradual opening to the totality of experience which must also ultimately make space to include our trauma. This is a gradual process but there are some noticeable breaking points along the way.

Seen as stages
The first breaking point is identification with form as constituting self. Stuff like 'I am not this thought', I am not this body', etc. The second breaking point is along the lines of other. Stuff like 'I am not separate from other' . These breaking points may seem momentary but are more like the breaking-up of an ice sheet.

As mindfulness proceeds, a third break point happens where form is no longer seen as constituting a self in real time. What is left at this point is a subtler level of clinging to formless phenomena coupled with a subtle aversion of formless phenomena. This is tricky because it – by definition – can not be seen. Form does not mean physical but rather perceivable as an object here. At this point the experience is a subtle formless 'I' which has no location and no perceivable clinging. There is also a subtle other which is dumped into form. This is an extremely cool and pleasant space. There seems to be just a very pleasant emptiness which is aware of phenomena (perceivable form – remember this includes body and thoughts as well). As this process continues, there starts occurring periods of time where the 'formless I' starts dropping out of the picture. At first it just occurs occasionally but slowly happens more and more and it can be induced. The sense of it (in my experience) is that there is absolutely no me – just phenomena. I used to experience driving as 'The body drives the car – awareness is just watching it all happen without any involvement at all'.

A note on this third phase: If you consider that the only way we can know anything is to experience it through a sense door then when the mind is quiet there must be some bare sensate experience that informs us that we are feeling joy, emptiness, etc. By directing our mindfulness or attention at the sense of 'how do I know this is pleasant' or 'how am I liking this' we can spit the formless clinging from the bare sensate experience.

At a certain point, the fourth break occurs. The subtle duality that existed at three can no longer be kept going. What happens is totally unexpected. Now there is just one pot and everything is in it.

Integration:
I have no hindsight to offer here as this represents my current experience. I feel this experience might be understood or experienced in different ways based on which practices are used to develop mindfulness and what ones expectations are – but that is a guess. I feel that the more one has clung to ideas of enlightenment as some sort of saintly perfection or eternal bliss, the more intensely this phase will be felt. This should be followed up in a different thread that explores our collective experience and efforts to work with it.
Chuck Kasmire, modified 12 Years ago at 11/2/09 12:41 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 10/31/09 12:36 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Practices within the context of this model

Rigpa (as a practice). We agree that this is a mindfulness practice. I feel it is probably effective through all the paths and integration as well. My interest in all this stuff was sparked by noticing gaps in thoughts – but it also took quite a bit of focused effort to notice them – so it isn't easy.

Noting Practice. Noting practice seems to use our energy to 'do' something and turn it on our own experience. I think its strongest appeal will be for people who have very active minds and a strong need 'to do'. This effort is directed at noticing and staying with sensations. Noticing the 3 characteristics is a way of keeping attention at the level of sensations which is not always pleasant.

Broad energy practices. It works by focusing the mind on sensations – but experiencing them as a broad, open, fluid field of experience. Some Qi Gong and I believe Tantric practices. Sutta based mindfulness immersed in the body.

Focused energy practices. Some Qi Gong and Tantric. Some Thai Forest practices. Focus more on the subtle energetic system that I haven't included in this model.

Metta. I think this is a very powerful practice that is little appreciated. I hope in time to get more information up about it (first I better learn it).

Practices either try to cultivate qualities or analogues of the result (rigpa as experience) which you can think of as 'fake it 'till you make it' or they try to break the identification with phenomena – which gives more space for inherent qualities to express themselves. Each practice is stand alone but complementary. [Edit: I no longer feel the following is true - see Tarins post below: "Trying to do noting during metta practice would be like putting fruit salad in your samosas – doesn't work. But as complementary practices they would work well together" ].
Chuck Kasmire, modified 12 Years ago at 10/31/09 3:19 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 10/31/09 3:19 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Truly I am sorry about the length of this. This is a response to questions from Adam in the “RE: Again with the anagami, arahat, rigpa thing” thread. (Post date is 10/30/09 11:07 AM). Placed here so the model is easy to reference.

Hi Adam,

Adam: “Are the two models really presenting the same thing in terms of realization and process?”
“If we take a step back and look to the oral traditions involved, which amounts to accepted interpretations of primary texts by key historical and present day monks and practitioners, they seem to fundamentally disagree - both denying the other as a false or incomplete view”

Two considerations – everyone has their own experience and their own way of interpreting it. Models tend to color our experience and our descriptions. Practices train us to pay attention to certain aspects and not to others. I suspect conflict occurs much more among people at earlier stages. The high level ones probably just sit there with all the bickering and say “Oh God what did I do to deserve this”

Adam: “Here I am primarily interested in the question of fruit or realization, and not so much the processes, which, as I will show below, is becoming increasingly clear as distinct, and thus, not the same”

Leaving the mango tree simile for a moment - I believe the fruit is what you are experiencing right now. Any future fruit is simply conceptual. I think we probably agree on this. But the question is, I think, is the final result of these practices the same. This is where the qualities I mentioned earlier come in. There are many facets and how we focus on them and where we are at as far as them fully presenting themselves clearly will impact our experience of them.

My model suggests that prior to 4th path we are identifying with the blissful pleasant aspects of it. While after 4th (during the earlier part of integration) we are experiencing the 'in my face' more.

Adam: “That being said, I think development will necessarily follow where practice takes place or where Rigpa is frequently realized, since both will have a causal effect on the body-mind energetic circuitry.”

I agree and I think this is the key to bridging the two views.

Adam: “It may be that Dan has realized Rigpa, and thus, when he says it is the same fruit, different language and conceptual models, this may be true for him, but not the norm for others of that camp”

I spent several days with Daniel this last August. I am quite convinced we have been through the same experience. His way of expressing it will tend to come from his tradition and training just as my way of expression will come from mine. As for others (of both camps) I have recommended before and do so now that one should work with an experienced teacher in whatever tradition you prefer whenever possible.

Adam: “ if 4th path is a permanent energetic completion, ...and we know that attainment of the permanent stabilization of Rigpa as a 24 hour, lucid, conscious realization through dreamless sleep is, for most,.., not common, except by the rare great practitioners, and those who realize Buddhahood, then it follows Rigpa and 4th path are not the same thing; as one is phenomenologically permanent - in terms of completion of the circuit, cessation of suffering, and the elimination of seeking, and the other is not (until Buddhahood), in terms of stabilizing Rigpa through the 24 hour cycle.”

As a shameless plug for my own model – it does explain both 4th path as an energetic completion and also continuing development toward 'Buddhahood' – and why that level is so rare. In order to do that in a more detailed fashion I would need to add the energetic plugin to my model. But in a general sense it goes like this: I define 4th path as no longer identifying with phenomena (form and formless) – thus the experience is non-duality. The trauma (term used in my model) is still present as physical sensations of tightness, vibrations, energy – whatever you want to call it. Though this is now felt all the time and there are still thoughts (occurring as a result of the mind being overwhelmed by some sensations – kind of skipping over them at the bare sensate level). As this trauma is released, there is a general trend toward an experience of greater expansiveness and stillness.

With regard to an energetic completion at 4th path. Just because I have hooked the two main cables up on my battery doesn't mean the wiring in the car is complete. It just means the system is powered up. Psychic channels may for example not yet be open. This accounts for the different types of arahats mentioned in the suttas. Does it account for the difference between arahats and Buddhas? Don't know – You'll have to ask a Buddha.

On dreaming: I feel that dreaming is a form of trauma release. A way of experiencing it similar to sensations. Your ability to be aware while sleeping is in direct relation to your ability to be aware of sensations (as defined in my model) in the waking state. This has been my experience.

So basically the entire process may be viewed in terms of mindfulness and the resultant release of trauma.

Adam: “[Can anyone realize rigpa] at any time regardless of what path they are on, or even if they practice or not, since it is our natural condition, and nature of mind; nothing need be changed or developed - the infrastructure was there all along, just went unnoticed.”

Yes, but without the release of trauma – the repression of which throws us into dualistic thinking – it cannot be stabilized for any length of time – and because of our existing trauma (awareness bound up) the experience of that state will be minimal with respect to the qualities mentioned earlier. This is why mindfulness must be applied.

I don't obviously see these as different (4th path and rigpa). 4th path may be viewed as a stage of rigpa (as a practice) if you want to look at stages. 4th path marks the point where the qualities of rigpa are accessible in their un-mediated form (un-mediated by duality). Something to consider is that Kenneth came to this practice after years of intense meditation. Perhaps the same is true for you. You have to consider that your meditation may have had a profound influence on what you experience in this practice. If a beginner feels a great sense of expansiveness or happiness is that the same as your experience or is it relative to their own prior experience of suffering in samsara. How can you tell without projecting? All I can say is that when I started out on this path 15 years ago when I noticed gaps between my thoughts – it was nothing like what I experience now in my everyday life.

And keep in mind that this experience requires you to go right through the heart of what ever trauma is being released in this moment, and this moment, and this one. Sometimes it's blissful and sometimes it isn't – but no matter what the experience is there is a sense of release and healing and growth that accompanies it. This is what I feel Daniel is addressing in his point #6 in the first post on the other thread. You cannot appreciate what he is saying there until after 4th path (my model explains why :-)

-Chuck
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tarin greco, modified 12 Years ago at 10/31/09 3:22 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 10/31/09 3:22 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Chuck Kasmire:
Trying to do noting during metta practice would be like putting fruit salad in your samosas – doesn't work.


hi chuck,

actually one of the u pandita tradition sayadaws told me that noting during metta practice works just fine, and in my experience it does. noting doesn't have to interfere with the waves of metta (or any other affective-sensation-energy-etc).. by tuning into and coaxing (rather than forcing) the existing sensations, noting encourages and amplifies their pulses, and you can get into some pretty serious metta-jhana that way. and as a bonus, you can use the noting to radiate the waves off the body and into the surroundings.. feels like cruising outward on a tide. psychic realms stuff lies just beyond these borders.

good topic btw and i dont want to derail it, just an aside.

tarin
Chuck Kasmire, modified 12 Years ago at 10/31/09 6:21 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 10/31/09 6:21 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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the prisoner greco:
actually one of the u pandita tradition sayadaws told me that noting during metta practice works just fine, and in my experience it does. noting doesn't have to interfere with the waves of metta (or any other affective-sensation-energy-etc).. by tuning into and coaxing (rather than forcing) the existing sensations, noting encourages and amplifies their pulses, and you can get into some pretty serious metta-jhana that way. and as a bonus, you can use the noting to radiate the waves off the body and into the surroundings.. feels like cruising outward on a tide. psychic realms stuff lies just beyond these borders.


Hi Tarin,
" by tuning into and coaxing (rather than forcing) the existing sensations, noting encourages and amplifies their pulses"
- I was just playing with your observation and I do believe you are correct. Thanks for the suggestion. I have always thought of the noting as kind of a catch up or tracking method (a fast one admittedly). Hadn't occured that it could be used as an amplifier. Have you considered putting up some metta directions? Or did you and I missed it?

-Chuck
Kate Gowen, modified 12 Years ago at 11/1/09 7:12 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/1/09 7:12 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Dan: "4) There are parallel or divergent tracks of awakening. I loathe this argument with the whole of my being, but admit the possibility and my possible inability to see it."

For what it's worth, let me suggest that the Vajrayana teaching about the different yanas is extremely helpful. Here’s a sketch and an analogy: first the sketch. Basically, a yana (usually translated ‘vehicle’—i.e., a mode of going somewhere) is defined as having ‘a base, a path, and a fruit’. The base is what and where you are at the outset; the path is your method of practice (and the principle of the method of practice); and the fruit is the resultant ‘attainment’, destination-- what and where you are as a result of practice. It is a sad misuse of the concept of ‘yana’ to regard it as some sort of ranking system for doctrines or practices or attainments. The ‘best’ yana for any given practitioner is the one that is accessible to him or her, that begins where the practitioner is and requires capacities the practitioner has—and help from others (teachers, sangha) who are available to the practitioner. The yana concept recognizes the reality that we have different skills, different understanding, different circumstances: that we don’t start from the same place, and that our journeys are going to look different in some ways.

‘How many’ yanas there are depends on the school of Tibetan Buddhism you ask: the Gelugs speak of Hinayana and Mahayana-- subdivided into exoteric and esoteric Mahayana; the Nyingmas say nine; Dzogchen teachers describe three: Sutrayana, Tantrayana, and Dzogchen. The base of Sutrayana is the human condition and having noticed that it is not entirely satisfactory; the path is renunciation; and the fruit is emptiness. The base of Tantrayana is having experienced emptiness; the path is transformation; and the fruit is realizing the nonduality of form and emptiness. The base of Dzogchen is having experienced Rigpa; the path is remaining in Rigpa; and the fruit is remaining in Rigpa.

Now, all this is tricky, equivocal, paradoxical stuff: at first glance, it looks like a progression from lower to higher. Except that the fruits are rather alike. What is different is the starting points and the methods. – Which brings me to the analogy: if we substitute ‘how do I get to Carnegie Hall?’ for ‘how do I get enlightened?’ the answer is going to differ depending on where you start from (Californians are going to have to travel 3000 miles, New Yorkers can get a cab.) It would be silly for the Californian to insist the right answer had to involve a transcontinental flight, or for the New Yorker to say that anybody who couldn’t get there in under an hour was just stupid and airplanes totally unnecessary. [Corny joke: of course the real answer to both questions is ‘Practice, practice, practice!’]

For a much fuller explanation of yanas, here is an audio teaching on the subject: http://arobuddhism.org/audio-teachings/the-yanas.html
Chuck Kasmire, modified 12 Years ago at 11/2/09 5:22 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/2/09 5:22 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Kate Gowen:
For what it's worth, let me suggest that the Vajrayana teaching about the different yanas is extremely helpful.


Hi Kate,
Extremely helpful indeed. Some thoughts on it all:

“Dzogchen teachers describe three: Sutrayana, Tantrayana, and Dzogchen”

(the following is some notes from the link in your post)
Sutrayana – content to emptiness (1). Principle is renunciation – attachment to form. We define ourselves as form. Goal is the experience of non-referentiality (emptiness) “I don't refer to anything in order to exist”
Tantrayana – emptiness (1) to non-duality (4). Base is emptiness. Principle is Transformation. Goal is non-duality. Unification of form and emptiness.
Dzogchen – Base is non-duality. Principle is 'of itself it liberates itself'. There is no method employed.

At first I was thinking of these as stages – which in a sense they are – but more importantly they define how we interpret any practice – or any experience really – it is how we relate to our experience. So a person at the Sutrayana level who takes up a Tantric or Dzogchen practice will understand it from a Sutrayana perspective. If a person at the Tantrayana level takes up a Sutrayana practice, they will take it up from a Tantrayana perspective?

Each yana has practices that are geared for it but could work at other levels. For example, Daniels focus on Noting Practice is probably geared at the Sutrayana level but if one at the Tantrayana level practices it they will automatically understand it and practice it from that perspective?

My own emphasis is on energy work and as such is from a Tantrayana perspective. But it also works on the other levels – just being understood in a different way?

Kenneth is presenting a Dzogchen practice but anyone at the Sutrayana level is going to interpret/understand it from a Sutrayana perspective?

Thoughts?
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tarin greco, modified 12 Years ago at 11/2/09 5:48 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/2/09 5:48 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Chuck Kasmire:


Hi Tarin,
" by tuning into and coaxing (rather than forcing) the existing sensations, noting encourages and amplifies their pulses"
- I was just playing with your observation and I do believe you are correct. Thanks for the suggestion. I have always thought of the noting as kind of a catch up or tracking method (a fast one admittedly). Hadn't occured that it could be used as an amplifier. Have you considered putting up some metta directions? Or did you and I missed it?

-Chuck


hi chuck,

i've never put up metta directions, no, as by themselves they're not something i've valued very much. but reflecting on it now, i can see how the proficiency i developed at it possibly lent itself to my later practice - being inclined to experience feelings as energy-sensations, including metta, led to the realisation of equanimity as (also) being an energetic state of affairs; such experience of equanimity revealed clear seeing; clear seeing caused dispassion/relinquishment, and consequently release. guess i'll try to write something up sometime.

tarin
Kate Gowen, modified 12 Years ago at 11/2/09 10:32 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/2/09 10:32 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Sutrayana – content to emptiness (1). Principle is renunciation – attachment to form. We define ourselves as form. Goal is the experience of non-referentiality (emptiness) “I don't refer to anything in order to exist”

[This is not quite spot-on: it’s more like “nothing proves that I exist”—turning Descartes on his head. NOT “I think, therefore I am”, but “I DON’T think/attach to thoughts (because I’m sitting in meditation) therefore… (what? Do the experiment and see!)]

Tantrayana – emptiness (1) to non-duality (4). Base is emptiness. Principle is Transformation. Goal is non-duality. Unification of form and emptiness.

[‘Unification’ suggests assembling separate things; considering form and emptiness separately is a way of trying to clarify their differences, but the whole point of the Heart Sutra is that these contrasting qualities are part of an indivisible whole. We just get kinda carried away with our hypothesizing and other cognitive tricks.]

Dzogchen – Base is non-duality. Principle is 'of itself it liberates itself'. There is no method employed.

[Actually, it’s more subtle than that: sometimes Dzogchen is called ‘the method of no-method’ (a bit like the Zen instruction to ‘think not-thinking’). There are three series of Dzogchen transmissions/instructions/methods: Sem-de (which has the most elaborated description/verbalized instruction), Long-de (yogic/energy practices), and Mengag-de (which is utterly cryptic, ‘self-secret’ in that it is incomprehensible—unless, for whatever reason and by whatever means, the one who hears it understands it.) There are practices within all these series.]

At first I was thinking of these as stages – which in a sense they are – but more importantly they define how we interpret any practice – or any experience really – it is how we relate to our experience. So a person at the Sutrayana level who takes up a Tantric or Dzogchen practice will understand it from a Sutrayana perspective. If a person at the Tantrayana level takes up a Sutrayana practice, they will take it up from a Tantrayana perspective?

[This is most astute: it is the ‘View’ that defines a yana, not the practices themselves: for instance, all three yanas utilize the practice of meditation.]

Each yana has practices that are geared for it but could work at other levels. For example, Daniels focus on Noting Practice is probably geared at the Sutrayana level but if one at the Tantrayana level practices it they will automatically understand it and practice it from that perspective?

[Here, I’d have to say, I’m not sufficiently schooled in either framework to do more than make a very tentative and general guess that practices change as one develops, in terms of the depth of understanding and pervasiveness in one’s daily life.]

My own emphasis is on energy work and as such is from a Tantrayana perspective. But it also works on the other levels – just being understood in a different way?

[This seems likely—to me, anyway.]

Kenneth is presenting a Dzogchen practice but anyone at the Sutrayana level is going to interpret/understand it from a Sutrayana perspective?

[Or you could say that a person with Sutrayana view is practicing Sutrayana, whatever the apparent form of the practice, or the accomplishment or intention of the teacher. Chogyam Trungpa is an example of a teacher who taught Sutra and Tantra from the View of Dzogchen; a subtlety that likely was lost on some percentage of his students, let alone casual readers.]

Thoughts? [Aside from my bracketed quibbles, opinions, and essays: that this is a useful exercise for me, to try to clarify my understanding in communication with others. So I thank you for your indulgence, sir.]
Adam West, modified 12 Years ago at 11/4/09 8:36 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/3/09 11:36 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Hey Chuck!

Chuck Kasmire:


So basically the entire process may be viewed in terms of mindfulness and the resultant release of trauma.



Great work in laying out a trauma-based process model, as a return to the simplest thing. I think there is much accuracy in what you have presented.

Chuck Kasmire:


Yes, but without the release of trauma – the repression of which throws us into dualistic thinking – it cannot be stabilized for any length of time – and because of our existing trauma (awareness bound up) the experience of that state will be minimal with respect to the qualities mentioned earlier. This is why mindfulness must be applied.



Indeed, however, as we have previously established, the persistent and frequent realization of Rigpa which brings automatic and effortless, uncontrived mindfulness will necessarily result in progressive traumatic release, or so I propose, if we accept what has been shown so far. So, Rigpa, or naked, non-conceptual awareness, that which apprehends whatever presents in awareness, including thought, will be as it is, as it always is, noticed or not, and it is the system as 'person' or the display that is simply and naturally noticed by awareness, that will be at play, as it progressively releases trauma. And since the individual is in Rigpa, they are untouched by this traumatic release - untouched by any dark-night of the soul - and thus, are perfectly placed to witness this traumatic release and return of the personal system to homeostasis and ease, as pristine flow of the Tao, and full integration with the natural state of things. So it is win-win! That is why, in Dzogchen, it is all about direct introduction to the state of mind, and one may work on stabilizing that, which is all one needs. All else will naturally, and without effort, follow. Additional practices may be applied to assist in the process, but are not needed per se.

Chuck Kasmire:


I don't obviously see these as different (4th path and rigpa). 4th path may be viewed as a stage of rigpa (as a practice) if you want to look at stages. 4th path marks the point where the qualities of rigpa are accessible in their un-mediated form (un-mediated by duality).



This is not clear to me, and its details are what we are exploring. So, I am very interested to delve into it. There are some on this list who appear not to recognize what is referred to by traditional pointing out and descriptions of Rigpa. However, to confound this evidence further, it is not clear to me that they have attained 4th path either.

There are examples of those who have attained a completion of the energetic circuit instantly, and as such, all seeking has been resolved. They may have been 3rd path at that time. Other examples were of those who were not seeking or practicing at all, and achieved instant completion. They may have attained 3rd path in a previous life. But generally, it appears clear path-movement takes much time and is an extended process. Rigpa, on the other hand, can be realized instantly, either accidentally, or via pointing out from a master. Furthermore, after Ken realized 4th path, he then realized Rigpa, as something additional and separate, or indeed, something simpler and more fundamental. Was it a real phenomological and existential shift or difference in realization or merely a shift in language and conceptual focus? It appears to be a genuinely distinct and different realization - not the same, as he presents it. So, he as a case study, and the above examples, appears to show that 4th path does not result in the recognition of Rigpa.

Chuck Kasmire:


Something to consider is that Kenneth came to this practice after years of intense meditation. Perhaps the same is true for you. You have to consider that your meditation may have had a profound influence on what you experience in this practice.



This is a good point. I have been practicing intensively several times a day since I was 14 years old, I am presently 31. It may be that I completed 4th path years ago, of which there are many candidate events that might represent that, and I since have access to Rigpa as a result. Since completing 4th path, I may have spontaneous realized Rigpa many times over the years, and yet did not recognize it for what it was. The later is common and likely. This may be so, however, at this time, I do not believe this - the attainment of 4th path, that is. I am not inclined to accept this hypothesis, however, I do not reject it either; I remain agnostic, and await further evidence.

From the little I know of Mahamudra, we all experience clear-light (Rigpa) daily, particularly as we move through the wake to sleep cycle, simply because it is the natural state of mind right now - no development required. And yet, most of us are not on any of the paths, particularly the higher paths; so here again, the two different traditional descriptions are inconsistent with proposed necessary conditions for realization. This does not, however, tell us if the fruit is different, just the paths and processes.

Chuck Kasmire:


If a beginner feels a great sense of expansiveness or happiness is that the same as your experience or is it relative to their own prior experience of suffering in samsara. How can you tell without projecting? All I can say is that when I started out on this path 15 years ago when I noticed gaps between my thoughts – it was nothing like what I experience now in my everyday life.



Right. So are you suggesting that Rigpa cannot be accessed prior to 4th path? Or perhaps, the conditions are such that it is less conducive and unlikely?

Chuck Kasmire:


And keep in mind that this experience requires you to go right through the heart of what ever trauma is being released in this moment, and this moment, and this one. Sometimes it's blissful and sometimes it isn't – but no matter what the experience is there is a sense of release and healing and growth that accompanies it. This is what I feel Daniel is addressing in his point #6 in the first post on the other thread. You cannot appreciate what he is saying there until after 4th path (my model explains why :-)

-Chuck


However, the Dzogchen tradition, is as I understand it, is unequivocal when it says that the realization of the nature of mind is not dependent in any way or manner whatsoever on conditions, display, presence or absence trauma, or development or lack thereof. It is literally, our natural state or condition of mind right now - our very essence, and that which is fundamental, unchanging, untouched, self-existent, and the simplest thing. As such, no development through the four paths or the release of trauma is a necessary condition for its recognition. Such conditions may make it easier to stabilize its recognition though, just not needed to realize it. And yet, it is clear and in fact a tautology, that one needs to complete the four paths of development, in order to compete and realize fourth path; that is, there is in fact a necessary condition or process that must be present in order to realize 4th path. Thus, fundamentally, as a matter of deduction, it follows they are two different processes - one a process, and the other a non-process. Are they different fruits, though? Alex has said no, as has Dan; ken says yes. I'm, at this point, inclined to the later also for previously stated reasons, in this post and in the other thread.

Perhaps the more relevant point is, not how we got there, rather, the fruit or realization? Does 4th path result in the same realization? Evidence suggests to me, as per those on this list, and Kenneth's testimony of their difference in realization - such that, after 4th path he did not recognize Rigpa, and later he did - then, it looks pretty clear on these grounds that they are indeed different.

I would personally like to believe that they are the same fruit, different processes, but that is, as yet, unclear to me. I hope we can explore the evidence and conceptual analysis further and come to a clear conclusion. :-P

I hope Ken will way in also. His often pithi observations may aid in bringing some clarity.

In kind regards,

Adam. edited for typos
Chuck Kasmire, modified 12 Years ago at 11/6/09 10:32 AM
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RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Hi Adam,

Adam: “However, the Dzogchen tradition, is as I understand it, is unequivocal when it says that the realization of the nature of mind is not dependent in any way or manner whatsoever on conditions, display, presence or absence trauma, or development or lack thereof.”

Agreed.

Adam: “It is literally, our natural state or condition of mind right now - our very essence, and that which is fundamental, unchanging, untouched, self-existent, and the simplest thing. As such, no development through the four paths or the release of trauma is a necessary condition for its recognition.”

Agreed.

Adam: “Such conditions may make it easier to stabilize its recognition though, just not needed to realize it.”

Essential for stabilization. For recognition no – it is not necessary.

Adam: “And yet, it is clear and in fact a tautology, that one needs to complete the four paths of development, in order to complete and realize fourth path; that is, there is in fact a necessary condition or process that must be present in order to realize 4th path.

Yes, mindfulness.

Adam: “Thus, fundamentally, as a matter of deduction, it follows they are two different processes - one a process, and the other a non-process.“

No, mindfulness is your intrinsic awareness. What else could it be?

Adam: “Are they different fruits, though?“

Aspects of the Great Perfection (from 'Secret of the Vajra World' – Reggie Ray):

  • Vividness of Phenomena – things are seen precisely, beautifully, without any fear of launching into them.
  • Complete Ordinariness – fulfillment of a journey downward, from our lofty ideas about the ultimate to the raw truth and reality of our lives.
  • Ultimate Nakedness – this experience is somewhat irritating, or even highly irritating, because of its sharpness and precision. [The energies] are all so naked and so much right in front of you, without any padding... The nakedness is overwhelming.
  • Inescapable – when the world begins to become you and all these perceptions are yours and are very precise and very obviously right in front of you, you can't run away from it.
  • Youthfulness – eternally youthful because there is no sense of repetition. Every experience is new and fresh.
  • Great Bliss – You become the bliss rather than enjoying the bliss...it is the experience of tremendous spaciousness, freedom from imprisonment – measureless, unspeakable, fathomless. Self born. Innate.
  • Communicative Power of Being – there is energy, intelligence, direction, in our most ordinary experience as humans.
  • Magic of what Is – If we are slightly off the point, we get hit or pushed or pulled. We get constant reminders, constant help. It's that kind of sacredness.


What do the Suttas say about what one will experience after 4th path? Here are a few examples I found today:
“Consciousness without surface, without end, luminous all around”
“emptiness & freedom without sign”
“Here long & short, coarse & fine, fair & foul, name & form are all brought to an end. “
“Deep, Vaccha, is this phenomenon, hard to see, hard to realize, tranquil, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise.”
“deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the sea”
“Gone to the beyond of becoming, you let go of in front, let go of behind, let go of between.”
“calm”, “This is peace, this is exquisite”, “the foremost ease”, “the unexcelled safety”

Different?
Chuck Kasmire, modified 12 Years ago at 11/5/09 10:27 PM
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RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Hi Adam,
Here is more stuff!

Adam: “So are you suggesting that Rigpa cannot be accessed prior to 4th path? Or perhaps, the conditions are such that it is less conducive and unlikely?”

I am saying that the experience of rigpa and the practice of rigpa are as different as 'the difference between heaven and earth'. Can someone experience rigpa throughout the day – faced with all the difficult situations – all the suffering – all the desires and fears coursing through these bodies and minds? I submit that all this happens within true rigpa – not as some display that is witnessed – there is no witness. Until 4th path, you are able to create a witness that can stand back from it all – and that is ignorance – that is delusion. There is no witness – there is no place to hide.

Adam: “Ken realized 4th path, he then realized Rigpa, as something additional and separate, or indeed, something simpler and more fundamental. Was it a real phenomenological and existential shift or difference in realization or merely a shift in language and conceptual focus?”

I can't speak for Kenneth. What information was available in the Burmese tradition regarding post 4th path integration? Perhaps Kenneth started looking around for answers and found them in other traditions? I don' know.

Adam: “It appears to be a genuinely distinct and different realization - not the same, as he presents it. So, he as a case study, and the above examples, appears to show that 4th path does not result in the recognition of Rigpa.”

OK, I am another case study. My experience is that the qualities that I outlined earlier are there from 4th path onward. I wrote that “4th path marks the point where the qualities of rigpa are accessible”. This does not mean that they have been understood or integrated – only that they are available to us free from any dualistic distortion – which is there prior to 4th path.

Adam: “Perhaps the more relevant point is, not how we got there, rather, the fruit or realization? Does 4th path result in the same realization? Evidence suggests to me, as per those on this list, and Kenneth's testimony of their difference in realization - such that, after 4th path he did not recognize Rigpa, and later he did - then, it looks pretty clear on these grounds that they are indeed different.”

Or that 4th path marks the end of one process and the beginning of another (integration) the result of which is dwelling more and more in rigpa (unbound awareness). It may be that Kenneth didn't recognize these qualities because the tradition he was trained in did not address them. Again, would have to ask Kenneth about that.

As far as post 4th path, Buddha notes that there is 'remainder' and tells arahats to do jhana. Obviously, they were not using the Visudhimagga (which had not been written yet) as their guide but rather the Suttas. What would such practice lead to?

Lastly, I will just throw in some cool quotes from Ajaan Dune Atulo from the Thai Forest Tradition (numbers indicate section):


"Whatever level a monk has reached, as far as I'm concerned he's welcome to dwell there. As for me, I dwell with knowing.(102)"

"Knowing is the normality of mind that's empty, bright, pure, that has stopped fabricating, stopped searching, stopped all mental motions — having nothing, not attached to anything at all. (103)"

“Actually, arahants don't need to know much [my empasis]. They simply have to develop their minds to be clear about the five aggregates and to penetrate dependent co-arising (paticca samuppada). That's when they can stop fabricating, stop searching, stop all motions of the mind. Right there is where everything ends. All that remains is pure, clean, bright — great emptiness, enormously empty.(100)"

[aggregates - “Physical and mental components of the personality and of sensory experience in general, out of which one's sense of self is fabricated. Altogether there are five: form — physical phenomena; feelings of pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain; perception — mental labels and concepts; fabrications — thought-constructs; and consciousness of the six senses.”]
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tarin greco, modified 12 Years ago at 11/6/09 12:32 AM
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RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Chuck Kasmire:
Hi Adam,
Here is more stuff!

Adam: “So are you suggesting that Rigpa cannot be accessed prior to 4th path? Or perhaps, the conditions are such that it is less conducive and unlikely?”

I am saying that the experience of rigpa and the practice of rigpa are as different as 'the difference between heaven and earth'. Can someone experience rigpa throughout the day – faced with all the difficult situations – all the suffering – all the desires and fears coursing through these bodies and minds? I submit that all this happens within true rigpa – not as some display that is witnessed – there is no witness. Until 4th path, you are able to create a witness that can stand back from it all – and that is ignorance – that is delusion. There is no witness – there is no place to hide.



well said. prior to 4th path, a (seemingly real) place to hide gets created time and again, most of the time, and from there the difference between heaven and earth is (seemingly) viewed. after 4th path, there's just mindfulness (what else could there be?).

here's another issue: what would you call rigpa when fears and desires are not coursing through these bodies and minds? (suggestion: post-integration mindfulness?)
Chuck Kasmire, modified 12 Years ago at 11/6/09 11:57 AM
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the prisoner greco:
here's another issue: what would you call rigpa when fears and desires are not coursing through these bodies and minds? (suggestion: post-integration mindfulness?)


Hi Tarin,

Arahat, 4th path, non-dual.

In my experience, all the qualities of the great perfection are present at 4th path. What tends to stand out initially are the qualities of Nakedness and Inescapable. I think Integration is just Dark Night/Equanimity cycling (I believe Daniel also suggests this somewhere) where the habitual patterns of clinging and aversion are constantly being released. There are no qualities of 'fear and desire' here – just raw naked sensations coupled with no way to avoid them.

To those that may find this description not particularly appealing, I can say that there is a profound sense of healing in this experience. I am still very much in the integration phase so here is a quote from Reggie Ray:

In one taste, the ego is faced with a boredom of cosmic proportions, wherein nothing stands out …everything just is in a kind of empty meaningless way. ...It is as if the entire world of sense pleasures has been...drained of its life and reduced to a carcass.

If the experience of one taste is so devastating why would anyone want to pursue it? ….In spite of the bleak prospect this presents for ego, one taste represents a breakthrough to freedom. ...In one taste, we reach the point where we abandon the project of our own survival, and this releases the boundless compassion within.
- This comes from 'Secret of the Vajra World' – a book I highly recommend.

Another way to look at this is from the Gospel of St. Thomas (thanks to ccasey): "When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel"
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Kenneth Folk, modified 12 Years ago at 11/6/09 10:34 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/6/09 9:17 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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What is rigpa?

Rigpa is a word that gets bandied about quite a bit in Buddhist circles, so it would be nice to know what is meant by it. And because rigpa is a Tibetan word, the first place to look for a definition should be the Tibetans themselves. Rinpoche Nyoshul Khenpo, of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, has this to say:

“Buddha nature, the essence of awakened enlightenment itself, is present in everyone. Its essence is forever pure, unalloyed, and flawless. It is beyond increase or decrease. It is neither improved by remaining in nirvana nor degenerated by straying into samsara. Its fundamental essence is forever perfect, unobscured, quiescent, and unchanging. Its expressions are myriad.

“Those who recognize their true nature are enlightened; those who ignore or overlook it are deluded. There is no way to enlightenment other than by recognizing Buddha-nature and achieving stability in that, which implies authentically identifying it within one’s own stream of being, and training in that incisive recognition through simply sustaining its continuity, without alteration or fabrication.

“This recognition is the sole borderline between Buddhas and ordinary beings. This is also the great crossroads at which we find ourselves every moment of our lives. The illusory history of samsara and nirvana begins here and now; the moment of Dzogchen, the innate Great Perfection, is actually beyond past, present, and future—like a seemingly eternal instant of timeless time. This is what we call “the fourth time”; timeless time, beyond the three times, the ineffable instant of pure ecstatic presence or total awareness, rigpa.

“Rigpa—primordial being, innate awareness—is primordially awakened: free, untrammeled, perfect, and unchanging. Yet we need to recognize it within our own very own being if it is to be truly realized. Rigpa is our portion or share of the dharmakaya. Those who overlook it have forgotten their true original nature. Subject to suffering, karma, and confusion, we must recognize rigpa in order to actualize our own total potential, the sublime joy, peace, and freedom of enlightenment itself” (Khenpo, Natural Great Perfection, 69-70).

All right then, let’s have a little discussion on these points. Is Nyoshul Khenpo saying that rigpa is the recognition of buddha-nature? Yes. Is he saying that the essence of buddha nature is “perfect and unchanging”? Yes. Is he saying that the only difference between Buddhas and ordinary beings is rigpa? Yes. In fact he says so again on page 71: “Buddhas know and understand what ordinary sentient beings ignore, misunderstand, and overlook: the true original nature of one and all. That is the sole distinction between Buddhas and ordinary beings.”

Tulku Urgyen, of the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, says that “by recognizing the nature of the thinker, one realizes the fact that emptiness and cognizance are an indivisible unity. This fact is no longer hidden: it is experienced. When this actuality is allowed to be as it is, it is not contrived in any way whatsoever. Then the state of a buddha, the awakened state, is, right now, spontaneously perfected. All obscuration has dissolved” (Urgyen, Quintessential Dzogchen, 237, http://tinyurl.com/l5ej2t).

Rigpa is the recognition of buddha nature. It is not psychological or spiritual integration, nor is it the prize for a lifetime of meditation. You can’t earn it and you can’t get rid of it. It doesn’t get better as you get wiser. This isn’t about you anyway. Buddha nature is what is left when you stop adding yourself to this moment. It can’t be described or investigated. It is not a dead frog to be dissected in biology class. I don’t know what it is. You don’t know what it is. It is ineffable. Ineffable means it can’t be expressed. Granted, this is extremely threatening to the intellect. Fear arises. What will happen if I open to the possibility that I have no idea what rigpa is? What about my vaunted attainments and the adulation of my peers who depend on me for glib explanations of all things contemplative?

Find out. Renounce your attainments and see what remains.
Kate Gowen, modified 12 Years ago at 11/6/09 10:21 PM
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RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Kenneth Folk:
What is rigpa?



Find out. Renounce your attainments and see what remains.



-- or let 'your' attainments renounce 'you'. You may find that they will, given half a chance. Nobody said that 'naked awareness' has to be a solemn and humorless affair! One of my teacher's best 'pith instructions' is a joke about a NY psychiatrist whose refrain is 'STAWP IT!'
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tarin greco, modified 12 Years ago at 11/7/09 11:35 AM
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RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Chuck Kasmire:
the prisoner greco:
here's another issue: what would you call rigpa when fears and desires are not coursing through these bodies and minds? (suggestion: post-integration mindfulness?)


Hi Tarin,

Arahat, 4th path, non-dual.

In my experience, all the qualities of the great perfection are present at 4th path. What tends to stand out initially are the qualities of Nakedness and Inescapable. I think Integration is just Dark Night/Equanimity cycling (I believe Daniel also suggests this somewhere) where the habitual patterns of clinging and aversion are constantly being released. There are no qualities of 'fear and desire' here – just raw naked sensations coupled with no way to avoid them.


hi chuck,

no fear or desire eh? no urges? no charge? none whatsoever - not a fleck, ever?

but apparently there is.. you call them 'habitual patterns of clinging and aversion'. about them, i say that these 'habitual patterns of clinging and aversion' ARE what fear and desire, pre-4th path, ever really were in the first place.

i regard the 'habitual patterns of clinging and aversion' as neither responsible for the existence of the body and mind, nor hardwired into it; that is, the somatic charge, and all feeling and being (and not merely becoming), can be totally absent without physical death.

my interest in asking my question ('what would you call..') was in developing terminology for communicating about such an experience wherein the 'habitual patterns of clinging and aversion' themselves are completely inactive (for however short or long a period). for the purpose of making a more inclusive model, i think its important to have such a term - i call it, using richard of the actual freedom website's phrase, 'pure consciousness experience'.

tarin
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Eric Alan Hansen, modified 12 Years ago at 11/7/09 11:41 AM
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RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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KF: So how is that different than the Arahant/Bodhisattva cruising through the Perfection of Wisdom and Formless States? I'm not seeing the difference or distinction here. Is it explainable?
p e a c e ,
e r i c "old-man" h a n s e n
p.s. - taking any and all answers, keeping the forum open -
Chuck Kasmire, modified 12 Years ago at 11/7/09 2:04 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/7/09 2:04 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Hi Kenneth,

Historically we have a really bad track record at being able to sustain a meaningful dialog between us. But here goes...

As to your description of rigpa (as experience) - ineffable as it is – I agree with you. Personally, I do not experience extended lengths of time that are thought free – but I do seem to experience short periods and they tend to lengthen seemingly as a result of the practices that I do. As far as the qualities of my experience that I mentioned in the other thread with Adam – in spite of the thoughts that often fill my head – those remain present. So when I saw Adam describing what seemed very similar I wanted to explore that. If he can engage me in this process in spite of my 'glib explanations' that would be great.

Kenneth: “Rigpa is the recognition of buddha nature. It is not psychological or spiritual integration, nor is it the prize for a lifetime of meditation. You can’t earn it and you can’t get rid of it.”

I agree - but I do see it as the result of a lifetime of meditation – which seems to be where we disagree - meditation being none other than “recognizing Buddha-nature and achieving stability in that” “which implies authentically identifying it within one’s own stream of being, and training in that incisive recognition through simply sustaining its continuity, without alteration or fabrication.”. Imho, the goal of all the practices of all the traditions is simply that and different practices suit the needs of different sorts of individuals.

As far as what the Tibetans did practice wise:

Rinpoche Nyoshul Khenpo (“[at] twelve, I began and completed the five hundred preliminary practices”, “shamatha meditation and vipassana meditation practice”, “ the renowned four yogas of Mahamudra-one-pointedness, simplicity, one taste”, “I mastered the three yanas, including both sutras and tantras”, “I did a one-year solitary retreat in a cave, practicing tummo (mystic heat yoga)” ) - and those are just some examples.

Tulku Urgyen (“He began meditation practice at .. four”, “In his youth he practised intensively, and stayed in retreat for a total of twenty years”)

Kenneth: “What will happen if I open to the possibility that I have no idea what rigpa is?”

Chuck: “I don't address the ultimate nature of things .... I try to keep all this in the 'not sure' category as suggested by Ajaan Chah.”...re: Integration “I have no hindsight to offer here as this represents my current experience.”...re: difference between arahats and Buddhas “Does it account for the difference between arahats and Buddhas? Don't know – You'll have to ask a Buddha.”. For over a year now I have been suggesting practices here that help us let go of dualistic thinking and rest in increasingly open, spacious states – the irony here does not escape me.

Kenneth: “What about my vaunted attainments and the adulation of my peers who depend on me for glib explanations of all things contemplative?”

The goal of this site is to create a space where we can be open about our experiences and support each other in practice. The goal of this thread was to explore models that would allow all of us – including you – to have a space that gave meaningful context to our different practices. It is hard to speak of possible models without speaking about the stages of the practice as they are experienced by our deluded non-existent selves. And ultimately I have only my own deluded experience and the writings of others (hopefully not so deluded) to rely on. If my peers 'adulate' me that is their problem. Same for any dependence on me for 'glib explanations' or anything else for that matter. I hereby admit to having countless faults, hang-ups, desire for recognition, etc., etc. If people have no interest in what I have to say then I can always go back to what I was doing before (part of which was learning mushroom cultivation – this irony does not escape me either).
Chuck Kasmire, modified 12 Years ago at 11/7/09 2:31 PM
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RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Hi Kate,

Kate: “or let 'your' attainments renounce 'you'. You may find that they will, given half a chance.”

True enough. They seem to at a certain point whether you give them a chance or not!

“Nobody said that 'naked awareness' has to be a solemn and humorless affair! “

I found it a bit overwhelming at first and this has been the experience of everyone I know of that has gone through this process. One reason I bring this up is that it seems like a useful marker. Sounds like it was not difficult for you – it would be interesting to hear your own experience of it – it could be helpful to others. As far as it being 'solemn and humorless' – sorry if I gave that impression - this is not the easiest medium to work with. All the other qualities were present also. A wonderment really - just pretty startling in the beginning.
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Kenneth Folk, modified 12 Years ago at 11/8/09 5:45 PM
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Eric Alan Hansen:
KF: So how is that different than the Arahant/Bodhisattva cruising through the Perfection of Wisdom and Formless States? I'm not seeing the difference or distinction here. Is it explainable?
p e a c e ,
e r i c "old-man" h a n s e n


Hi Eric,

My aim here is to clarify the language, as I see the word "rigpa" losing its meaning through over-generalization. "Over-generalization" is a term used in linguistics to describe the process whereby the meaning of a word starts out precise and becomes less so. There is a natural tendency for words to lose their specificity of meaning over time, becoming more general. This isn't inherently bad, it's just the way humans use words. An example is the English word "guy." Guy Fawkes, you recall, was part of the plot to blow up the English Houses of Parliament in 1605 (the Gunpowder Plot). Here's an excerpt from English Words, by Stockwell and Minkova:

"Guy Fawkes' infamous first name lost its specificity with the proliferation of November 5th effigies of the criminal; then guys began to be used of males of strange appearance, then it was broadened to refer to any males, and now it is generalized (especially in the plural) to any group of people, including groups of females" (155).

We have, in "guy," a classic example of over-generalization. It's interesting to note that this process can also happen in reverse; a word can become more specific over time. This is called "narrowing." But this is less common, and usually happens in a technical setting. Narrowing, then, tends to be a conscious re-definition of a word, where the task at hand requires precision of language. Examples are computer words like "desktop" and "icon," which have been deliberately narrowed in scope in order to fulfill a technical function. Narrowing is considered an "unnatural" change; without conscious intervention, words become broader, not narrower. The broadening of meaning can go so far as to result in "semantic bleaching," where a word has become so generalized that it has almost no descriptive value. Examples are "thing," "do," "nice," and "okay." I would argue that "God" and "love" also fit into this category. In Buddhist-ese, I deliberately avoid the words "mindfulness" and "emptiness" when possible, as they mean so many things to so many people that they tend to obscure rather than clarify. This is the context in which I am posting these comments; while the over-generalization of the "rigpa" word is perhaps inevitable, we at least don't have to hasten the process through confusion or deliberate attempts at redefinition.

Rigpa already has a technical meaning, as presented in my post above. That meaning is not related to attainment, personal attributes, or the daily experience of any individual. While it may be possible to find quotes from Tibetan masters to support virtually any interpretation of rigpa, I am suggesting that precise definitions are more useful than sloppy ones. For example, it is said that the "fundamental essence [of buddha nature] is forever perfect, unobscured, quiescent, and unchanging" (Khenpo). (Remember that rigpa is the act of noticing buddha nature.) If we say that rigpa also includes anger and lust, we have "bleached" the word. The word is no longer capable of pointing to anything because it points to everything. While you can make a legitimate philosophical argument that anger and lust are perfect, it's hard to deny that a word that simultaneously denotes perfection, purity, anger, and lust is a bleached-out word.

Rigpa, in its more precise sense, refers to a moment in which neither anger nor lust arise. This "ineffable instant of pure ecstatic presence or total awareness" (Khenpo) is prior to the arising of such complicated phenomena. It is prior even to the arising of the sense of self. The hallmark of rigpa is simplicity. Once we begin talking about some individual who has managed, through his own efforts, to re-integrate form and emptiness, we have added so many layers of complexity that we are already spinning in confusion. Even to posit an individual who feels integrated is too much.

Form and emptiness are integrated at the point where they have not yet separated. This is rigpa.

I do not want to give the impression that I don't value integration. I most assuredly do. At the relative level, which is where we (rightly) spend much of our day, nothing is more relevant than the integration of our meditative insights and our daily lives. We all have a lot of work to do to become the best human beings we can be. Please understand this. But do not confuse this with rigpa. Rigpa is the recognition, in this moment, that there is nobody here to improve, and that this moment, as it is, is immaculate.
Chuck Kasmire, modified 12 Years ago at 11/7/09 4:18 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/7/09 4:18 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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the prisoner greco:
my interest in asking my question ('what would you call..') was in developing terminology for communicating about such an experience wherein the 'habitual patterns of clinging and aversion' themselves are completely inactive (for however short or long a period). for the purpose of making a more inclusive model, i think its important to have such a term - i call it, using richard of the actual freedom website's phrase, 'pure consciousness experience'.


I know Tarin. I think that the AF discussion deserves space here on this site and I have contributed my observations on it. I don't feel a need to try to include it in this model for two reasons: first, Richard claims that AF has nothing to do with the Awakening experience – that it is a complete bypass to some super ultimate. So what I am trying to do here – to create a model that gives space for a number of different practices – so they do not appear in conflict with each other or confuse people – does not relate to Richards goal. Secondly, Richard is not here to present his views directly and I don't see how it would be useful to have someone else represent him (no offense – but we could spend lots of time on that only to have old Richard show up and say “no that's not right at all”).

There may seem some similarities with what Kenneth is saying but I think there are some big differences: Kenneth trained for years with some very well known teachers. He has been a major contributer to this site. He backs up his current views with numerous quotes from very accomplished teachers. I am not quite sure yet if we even disagree in the first place. If what he is saying is that 'attainments' are not something that some ego 'attains' – I agree. I don't like the word myself. I see them as markers or stages of letting go of clinging to phenomena as constituting a separate self and that is about it.
Kate Gowen, modified 12 Years ago at 11/7/09 5:41 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/7/09 5:41 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Chuck:

“Sounds like it was not difficult for you – it would be interesting to hear your own experience of it – it could be helpful to others.”
Do you mind if I take that as an invitation to share a couple of things?


Whatever will we do
with Kate, when she’s beside
herself, when she’s beside the point,
when it’s clearly a fictitious name
we call Something Else by?—A
pseudonym, a nom de plume, for
a mere feather on this great wind
roaring through. That means (make
no mistake) to scour and harrow:
that means to leave an utterly
changed landscape—if any—behind.

[©Kate Gowen 2001]


-- this is one of the impressionistic attempts I made to put things into words for the very few friends who seemed at least likely to be interested. At the time I was pretty much on my own to try to find language for 'what had happened' and 'how things appear now'; my inadequacy at that task is what has fuelled my wide-ranging and idiosyncratic (and serendiptous) study since.

It has seemed likely to me, on reflection, that it was my ignorance and naivete that potentiated the Whatever. I'm not sure that, if I'd had as much technical information as has come my way after the fact, I'd have been propelled past my sense that any accomplishment was out of reach for the likes of me. But there was a local teacher (with whom I no longer study) who claimed that Enlightenment was possible here and now for ordinary people. Now, I might think it was marketing hype and be impervious; at the time, it lit a fire. And somehow, meditation seemed like the thing to do; study seemed like the thing to do; and an organic process that organized my ragbag of remembered reading, experiences, and inspirations over 30-whatever years since my student-days practice of Transcendental Meditation-- a self-guiding process took hold, however unlikely a candidate I seemed to myself or anyone else.

(I'll continue this later, unless requested to cease and desist. I'm off on errands for now.)
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tarin greco, modified 12 Years ago at 11/8/09 1:02 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/8/09 12:53 AM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Chuck Kasmire:

I know Tarin. I think that the AF discussion deserves space here on this site and I have contributed my observations on it. I don't feel a need to try to include it in this model for two reasons: first, Richard claims that AF has nothing to do with the Awakening experience – that it is a complete bypass to some super ultimate. So what I am trying to do here – to create a model that gives space for a number of different practices – so they do not appear in conflict with each other or confuse people – does not relate to Richards goal. Secondly, Richard is not here to present his views directly and I don't see how it would be useful to have someone else represent him (no offense – but we could spend lots of time on that only to have old Richard show up and say “no that's not right at all”).


well, i am neither talking about AF (actual freedom) nor am i representing richard (presenting his views for him). i am talking about an experience which i personally know (with which i have firsthand experience and from which i write), which is defined well on the actual freedom trust website as 'pure consciousness experience' and which can be defined using the terms you present in your inclusive model. using those terms, pure consciousness experience would be experience without any trauma/clinging/aversion.

you write above, in your first post, that 'Trauma at its most fundamental level is experienced as sensations'. do you also think that all sensations are fundamentally, necessarily, expressions of trauma? because if so, i can understand a reason you would want to omit pure consciousness experiences from your model - they would be impossible, as the absence of trauma would necessarily be the absence of sensate experience.

btw, if you think richard is using the term 'pure conscious experience' to mean something else, or if you just don't like it for some other reason, we can call it something else, but i find it valuable to at least have a term for 'experience without any trauma/clinging/aversion'. what do you think?

Chuck Kasmire:
There may seem some similarities with what Kenneth is saying but I think there are some big differences: Kenneth trained for years with some very well known teachers. He has been a major contributer to this site. He backs up his current views with numerous quotes from very accomplished teachers.


what, specifically, are you comparing to what kenneth is saying? and what meaning do his credentials, contribution history, and quotation habits have in the context of this discussion?

Chuck Kasmire:

I am not quite sure yet if we even disagree in the first place. If what he is saying is that 'attainments' are not something that some ego 'attains' – I agree. I don't like the word myself. I see them as markers or stages of letting go of clinging to phenomena as constituting a separate self and that is about it.


kenneth seems to be saying that rigpa is not an attainment, nor is it any stage of letting go to clinging to phenomena as constituting a separate self. i think he's pretty adamant that it's the recognition of something that is prior to a self that could cling to phenomena (and in which such self - and therefore such clinging - is necessarily absent).

in his reply to eric hansen above, kenneth claims that rigpa is an experience in which no anger or lust arises. i would like to know more about the specific moments or periods of rigpa (recognising buddha nature) he experiences - such as, what he is physically doing (is there anything he cannot do?), how he experiences the world around him (what does he notice, if anything, differently?), and what feelings (if not anger or lust), if any, he has observed arise during what he experiences in the absence of a sense of self. this would be interesting to read about, and may address what practical value rigpa (recognising buddha nature) has for human beings.

tarin
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Kenneth Folk, modified 12 Years ago at 11/8/09 10:33 AM
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RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Chuck Kasmire:
As to your description of rigpa (as experience) - ineffable as it is – I agree with you. Personally, I do not experience extended lengths of time that are thought free – but I do seem to experience short periods and they tend to lengthen seemingly as a result of the practices that I do.


Hi Chuck,

The first thing I want to say is that I don't know what buddha nature is. I can't form a concept about it or talk about it in a way that comes close to doing it justice. And yet, it's right here. As you and I enter this discussion, I try to keep in mind that people who have no direct experience of rigpa will read our words, and our first responsibility is to "do no harm." This is why I usually try to do more pointing than describing. If I point enough, there is the possibility that someone will look in the right direction and see what has always been right in front of them. If I describe, though, I'm creating yet another concept that can get in the way. Rigpa is what happens when the mind doesn't take an object. (At least that's my latest concept about it.) Understanding this, it's easy to see why this simplest of "things" can be so elusive; we are addicted to objects. One of my favorite Buddha quotes is that the mind "has a tendency to stick to an object the way meat sticks to a hot plate." We just move from one sticky object to the next, without noticing the teflon awareness that is always present. Nothing sticks to buddha nature. Everything arises from it and disappears into it, leaving it pristine and untouched. It's the most wondrous thing... but already I've said too much. I've painted a picture, which is a concept, to which the mind will stick like meat to a hot plate.

When you talk about brief moments that are thought free, you are also describing my own experience. It doesn't take long for the mind to find an object. Whenever the mind is focused on an object, it is distracted from the simple perfection of buddha nature. This is natural and right. We have lives, and dualistic thinking is necessary and useful. Tulku Urgyen and Tsoknyi Rinpoche talk about "small moments, many times." This, for me, is the right approach. There is no limit to how many times one can notice the perfection in the course of a day. And it happens so quickly and so seamlessly that the natural flow of daily life is not impeded. At this stage of my practice, stability is more about the ability to recognize buddha nature whenever I remember to do so, rather than spending long minutes or hours free of thought.

Chuck Kasmire:
Kenneth: “Rigpa is the recognition of buddha nature. It is not psychological or spiritual integration, nor is it the prize for a lifetime of meditation. You can’t earn it and you can’t get rid of it.”

I agree - but I do see it as the result of a lifetime of meditation – which seems to be where we disagree - meditation being none other than “recognizing Buddha-nature and achieving stability in that” “which implies authentically identifying it within one’s own stream of being, and training in that incisive recognition through simply sustaining its continuity, without alteration or fabrication.”. Imho, the goal of all the practices of all the traditions is simply that and different practices suit the needs of different sorts of individuals.


This is the trickiest and most subtle of points and is at the heart of many contentious debates. As long as we see enlightenment as a goal, we are conditioning ourselves to think in terms of time and attainment. Attainments can only be made by individuals. There is nothing wrong with this view, and it is one key to success in developmental meditation. But there is another view, equally valid, that requires momentarily abandoning all ideas of time and success: It's already done. I can never get to anything better than this. From this new point of view, rigpa is effortless. When I just stop spinning on the rat wheel of my life, buddha nature is what's left. It's such a blessed relief. :-) With regard to your observation above that thought-free moments "tend to lengthen seemingly as a result of the practices that I do," I say... maybe so. On the other hand, I don't want to give people the impression that they have to wait to see buddha nature. I know people who are not yet 1st Path in the Theravada system, and yet can confidently and matter-of-factly point to rigpa; it's so important to let people know that you don't have to earn what you already are.

Chuck Kasmire:
Kenneth: “What will happen if I open to the possibility that I have no idea what rigpa is?”

Chuck: “I don't address the ultimate nature of things .... I try to keep all this in the 'not sure' category as suggested by Ajaan Chah.”...re: Integration “I have no hindsight to offer here as this represents my current experience.”...re: difference between arahats and Buddhas “Does it account for the difference between arahats and Buddhas? Don't know – You'll have to ask a Buddha.”. For over a year now I have been suggesting practices here that help us let go of dualistic thinking and rest in increasingly open, spacious states – the irony here does not escape me.


Point taken. Nicely said.

Chuck Kasmire:
Kenneth: “What about my vaunted attainments and the adulation of my peers who depend on me for glib explanations of all things contemplative?”

The goal of this site is to create a space where we can be open about our experiences and support each other in practice. The goal of this thread was to explore models that would allow all of us – including you – to have a space that gave meaningful context to our different practices. It is hard to speak of possible models without speaking about the stages of the practice as they are experienced by our deluded non-existent selves. And ultimately I have only my own deluded experience and the writings of others (hopefully not so deluded) to rely on. If my peers 'adulate' me that is their problem. Same for any dependence on me for 'glib explanations' or anything else for that matter. I hereby admit to having countless faults, hang-ups, desire for recognition, etc., etc. If people have no interest in what I have to say then I can always go back to what I was doing before (part of which was learning mushroom cultivation – this irony does not escape me either).


You're a hard man not to like, Chuck. It's a pleasure corresponding with you. :-)

Kenneth
Chuck Kasmire, modified 12 Years ago at 11/8/09 12:27 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/8/09 12:27 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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the prisoner greco:
kenneth seems to be saying that rigpa is not an attainment, nor is it any stage of letting go to clinging to phenomena as constituting a separate self. i think he's pretty adamant that it's the recognition of something that is prior to a self that could cling to phenomena (and in which such self - and therefore such clinging - is necessarily absent).

in his reply to eric hansen above, kenneth claims that rigpa is an experience in which no anger or lust arises. i would like to know more about the specific moments or periods of rigpa (recognising buddha nature) he experiences - such as, what he is physically doing (is there anything he cannot do?), how he experiences the world around him (what does he notice, if anything, differently?), and what feelings (if not anger or lust), if any, he has observed arise during what he experiences in the absence of a sense of self. this would be interesting to read about, and may address what practical value rigpa (recognising buddha nature) has for human beings.


Hi Tarin,
The above seems directed to me regarding Kenneths experience – which I can't speak to of course. What I can do is simply respond to the issues you bring up from the context of my own experience.

My experience cannot be called an attainment by some ego – rather it is the absence of one. Yet there continues something which has always been there – I see this clearly – but it was also somehow 'fused' to 'something' that is no longer present – that we call small-self or ego ('the thing that is missing'). I am not some amorphous nothingness. I didn't like country music before this experience and I still don't. I know which body is mine and which car is mine in the parking lot. I have my humanness but I don't hold it tightly. When I use the words 'I have my' I am aware that that conveys the idea of ego or small-self – but such is the nature of language. I have thoughts about things and I can express them while at the same time know that they are just concepts.

I do not experience anger or lust. I experience thoughts and associated sensations that 'the thing that is missing' used to compound into those. These are not specific moments – it is continuous. Sometimes those sensations and thoughts can get intense – that is just what is happening. Sometimes its very quiet and still. I prefer the latter over the former and to what extent 'I can create' (there is that horrible language limitation again!) conditions that encourage the latter – that is what 'I do' (and again!). What I notice differently is that there is no separation between awareness and that which it is aware of. These are fused and there does not seem to be any separate observer – yet the essential humanness or innate nature or whatever is present – somehow an aspect of the experience itself. The value of what I experience for anyone that has not gone through this is that we keep the essential and discard the compounded – and that is relief.
Kate Gowen, modified 12 Years ago at 11/8/09 1:18 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/8/09 1:18 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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(Given the pragmatic 'objective' slant of this forum, my attempt to indicate the perceived texture of the event of understanding may seem like a scruffy stray dog... or a scruffy stray no-dog. Or not. I don't know you guys very well yet.)

There have been a lifelong series of small and not-so-small events that have seemed, even at the time, to be broad winks and nudges toward my abject confession of the truth. You know, the classical formulation: All this is That. In my own mode of denial, I have been keenly sensitive to seeing all the lights flare on inside of flowers, trees, bodies of water moving and still, animals domestic and wild, sky phenomena, works of art, apt performances, expressions of emotion … the wide, wild world of Phenomena. And somehow all the while I maintained the one exception: ‘I’—the eye of the beholder, the self that got lost in wonder or the baroque cleverness of the Joke.

The perfect setup, in other words, for the event of tripping into the rabbit hole, the ‘event’ of the death of plausible deniability. There had been a confluence of coincidences: the meditation group I had recently encountered, the reading I was doing at the time, a couple of dreams I had had, a visceral sensation of something effervescing away in the depths, noticing that there was some sort of very matter-of-fact, extremely lucid real-time internal commentating I’d ‘overhear’ sometimes: “The first principle of spiritual life is ‘It takes one to know one.’” The voice didn’t seem to be someone else’s, but I seemed to be directly perceiving someone else speaking rather than conceiving thoughts.

I was staying home from work because I was coming down with a sore throat, and the flu had been going around. I generally make myself a hot lemon-and-honey concoction at such times; I never before thought that a stiff shot of brandy would improve the effect. But this time, despite my aversion to alcohol, I dosed myself generously. I did my morning meditation, sipped my remedy, picked up one of the books I’d been reading and opened it at random to this:

“If the Friend rose inside you, would you
bow? Would you wonder where that one

came from and how? If you say, ‘I will
bow,’ that’s important. If you answer,

‘But can I be sure?’ it will keep the
meeting from happening, as busy people

rush there and back here murmuring, Now
I know; no, I don’t know now…”

That pretty much did me in: that was the empty mirror in which I saw my own face. And knew that I’d never seen anything else anywhere else. I glanced out the window, feeling indescribably intimate with the text, with Rumi who wrote it, with Coleman Barks whose translation it is, with the texture of the ink and the paper of the book, with the homely mess of my living room, with my boozy lemonade, with the tangle of electric and telephone wires, rooflines, bare plum branches, and grey sky visible through the window—and even more, indivisible with the crystalline clarity of perception itself, both sensory and conceptual. There was more than a lifetime’s implicit teaching focused into the moment of knowing that the empty mirror reflected an empty mirror in which an empty mirror flashed back, in an infinite regression that plumbed the depths of reflective surface.

I spent some time oscillating between hilarity over the obviousness and unlikelihood of it all and attempting to talk myself out of it; this endeavor in itself was riotously funny. I imagined trying to tell my meditation buddies about this ‘event’ and found myself resorting to a kind of Valley-Girlesque contentless gestural language: “And I’m all, like, DUH! WhatEVER!” I remembered a story about Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet setting a trap for the Heffalump, and Piglet stuttering hysterically to Christopher Robin:

“Heff… a Hell—a Heff—a Heffalump.”
“Where?”
“Up there,” said Piglet, waving his paw.
“What did it look like?”
“Like—like—It had the biggest head you ever saw, Christopher Robin. A great enormous thing, like—like nothing. A huge big—well, like a—I don’t know—like an enormous big nothing.”

This event was exactly like that: a huge, big, great, enormous-- nothing. And, to put the final cap on it: this ‘nothing’ was not some romantic, mystical, soft-focus, accompanied-by-swelling-strings Nothing! It was the same old, same old, pedestrian, everyday nothing that had been there all along!

I’d just misunderestimated it. I’d just thought the Old Masters had a more high-powered, state-of-the-art Nothing than mine. I reeled around, laughing, in a state of lucid shock for a couple of weeks. Since then, ‘nothing’ has changed; well, it was bound to.
© Kate Gowen 2001
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Eric Alan Hansen, modified 12 Years ago at 11/8/09 4:34 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/8/09 4:34 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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KF - Thank you for your detailed reply. I did not know the origin of the word 'guy' and it did illustrate the etymology of certain terms which was one of my points about "rigpa" certainly. So the more precise definition of rigpa you have provided can serve as a springboard for me - for example I can ask how it is different from "cessation of mental effluents" in the typical Theravada definition of Nibbana, or "Form is Emptiness and Emptiness is Form" of the Heart Sutra. The AF PCE is also comparative, but it seems more logical to compare between the 3 major yana, vehicles of Buddhism. I believe there could be essential differences in not only the definitions but also in the experiences of different "Ultimate Realities" (although this makes no rational sense). The fact of the matter is all branches of Buddhism never conform to an ecumenical whole, no matter how hard we try. In a sense it is easier to speculate theoretically or philosophically rather than insult the intelligence of the practicioners who have much at stake and much invested in their individual experiences and differences. This is an ideal approach to investigation, however, maybe not so easy to get at.

There are always gaps of pure consciousness between the objects, or addammas, and certainly practice in some kinds of meditation widens those gaps, making the seeing of pure consciousness possible, well, the alternative object, nibanna, which is like a non-object, is present. This can present itself in several forms as it can be experienced in several states of consciousness, the meditation experience, during normal waking state daily activity, or during dreaming, or during deep sleep. Another possibility would be during an out of body experience. Texts in Tibetan and Sanskrit list a few others, like mind-altering drugs or during the transition to death of the physical body. A comparative of historical description of perceptions into Ultimate Reality from Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana could be explored from any of these states of consciousness as could, the traditions which are syncretically linked to them such as Taoism, yoga, Tantra, Shinto, or Bon, or other schools of Shamanism. The map would look like a vast algorithm - this could be quite appealing as a historical study but would form a kind of perceptual nightmare is one tried to experience each option, it wouldn't make any sense in that context.
H
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Eric Alan Hansen, modified 12 Years ago at 11/8/09 4:46 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/8/09 4:46 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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Taoists, for example, believe that they attain immortality, whereas Shamans believe that the entirety of the universe is not only sentient, but is populated by a vast spectrum of invisible sentient beings at all levels. You can see strains of these 2 theories in Buddhism as well. Especially in that aspect of the formless jhanas where time/space is transcended. This is an archetypal form of immortality in a sense. The perception of Buddha-nature or Buddhakaya, that form is emptiness as much as emptiness is form is also much in line with the idea of mindedness entities of shamanism. It tends to be historically stronger where there is cross-pollination with shamanism, such as the Japanese conception of vast Buddha-fields being literally, a vast field of Buddhas, which are none other than the reincarnation of Shinto kamis, that occupy all space. I am not adverse to such ideas, I think it is a valid expression of the universe. But as far as the nuts and bolts of what is actually required to get libeartion, moksha, I can't understand the necessity. We tend to see this as the gold standard in Buddhism, just the minimal "get to nirvana" approach, but it is obvious that not all Buddhism confines itself to that, in fact Buddha changed his mind about the necessity of remembering past lives as a prerequisite during the course of his teaching, so I am told, as is recorded in the texts.
p e a c e
"Old Man" Hansen
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Eric Alan Hansen, modified 12 Years ago at 11/8/09 5:20 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/8/09 5:10 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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My aim, or goal, is to be able to teach what is really necessary, I feel I owe that back to the universe. And to be in keeping with the original Sangha, we do teach each other, to the best of our ability. I think we do a pretty good job of that here online in these various sites. I think that teaching requires a certain structure, a scaffolding, so that it can be seen what the bigger picture is, where learning can comprise working on several different parts of the canvas at once. I have a few questions in my mind about taking the mindfulness out of Buddhism, whether that is really effective, just to teach mindfulness as an non-sectarian mental process, not because we have stripped away the mythology which is the context, but because mindfulness is really not such a complete practice in the first place. It is only the root practice, the mulakammatthana. It is the square one of "grand, successive distinctions" but ultimately a technique can only achieve so much, it is only a technique. The technique can't make you make a choice which may be either life-affirming or life-destructive. it can give you tools to look at that choice, but one must make bold descisions on one's own. This is kamma - - and one also chooses how highly prized metta, mudita, karuna, etc. are. Whether one has a path with a heart, or whether persists in practicing devotion even when no object of devotion is possible. These are personal choices. "Seeing Buddha Nature" may well be the way to build a scaffolding around these issues. It is worth investigation certainly.
p e a c e
h
Chuck Kasmire, modified 12 Years ago at 11/9/09 10:45 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/9/09 10:45 AM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

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the prisoner greco:
you write above, in your first post, that 'Trauma at its most fundamental level is experienced as sensations'. do you also think that all sensations are fundamentally, necessarily, expressions of trauma? because if so, i can understand a reason you would want to omit pure consciousness experiences from your model - they would be impossible, as the absence of trauma would necessarily be the absence of sensate experience.


Yes, I suspect that this is true – can't say for sure. Trauma being defined as holding back from experiencing the totality of our experience in the moment. So in a pure consciousness experience you have no sensations? Sight? Sound? Taste? Etc? Not sure how you are defining 'sensations'.

the prisoner greco:
btw, if you think richard is using the term 'pure conscious experience' to mean something else, or if you just don't like it for some other reason, we can call it something else, but i find it valuable to at least have a term for 'experience without any trauma/clinging/aversion'. what do you think?


Any term I could come up with would be the result of conjecture and I am not interested in this. Obviously I have more than a difficult time just trying to describe present experience.

To follow up on my previous post:
I could have also responded that I have desires, fears, imagination, dreams, emotions, all that stuff that everyone else has but I don't identify with any of it and that is relief. 'Everything changes, nothing changes' as they say.

4th is nothing you can do. In my experience there must be some deep willingness to simply let go of anything that you think you 'are' or 'are not'. And that is not something that 'I' can 'do' because that is another act of holding on. 'Easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get into heaven' captures this ('rich man' symbolizing someone that clings to phenomena as constituting a self 'I am this or that').
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tarin greco, modified 12 Years ago at 11/9/09 12:22 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/9/09 12:22 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
Chuck Kasmire:
the prisoner greco:
kenneth seems to be saying that rigpa is not an attainment, nor is it any stage of letting go to clinging to phenomena as constituting a separate self. i think he's pretty adamant that it's the recognition of something that is prior to a self that could cling to phenomena (and in which such self - and therefore such clinging - is necessarily absent).

in his reply to eric hansen above, kenneth claims that rigpa is an experience in which no anger or lust arises. i would like to know more about the specific moments or periods of rigpa (recognising buddha nature) he experiences - such as, what he is physically doing (is there anything he cannot do?), how he experiences the world around him (what does he notice, if anything, differently?), and what feelings (if not anger or lust), if any, he has observed arise during what he experiences in the absence of a sense of self. this would be interesting to read about, and may address what practical value rigpa (recognising buddha nature) has for human beings.


Hi Tarin,
The above seems directed to me regarding Kenneths experience – which I can't speak to of course.


nor could i (speak to it), when you wrote, earlier in this thread:

Chuck Kasmire:

'I am not quite sure yet if [kenneth and i] even disagree in the first place. If what he is saying is that 'attainments' are not something that some ego 'attains' – I agree. I don't like the word myself. I see them as markers or stages of letting go of clinging to phenomena as constituting a separate self and that is about it.'


and so i replied in kind by offering commentary based on what i find of interest in what he has written.


Chuck Kasmire:

What I can do is simply respond to the issues you bring up from the context of my own experience.


i appreciate that, as i have found such discussion which is informed by the experience of the interlocutors more helpful than discussion based largely on speculation.


Chuck Kasmire:

My experience cannot be called an attainment by some ego – rather it is the absence of one. Yet there continues something which has always been there – I see this clearly – but it was also somehow 'fused' to 'something' that is no longer present – that we call small-self or ego ('the thing that is missing'). [emphasis added]


given that description and nothing else,
i know exactly what you are talking about,
as i experienced that 'something' that is no longer present go missing around the end of may this year,
revealing what had all along been 'fused' to that 'something'.

that 'something which has always been there' is now a matter of great interest to me.. but perhaps thats another topic, for another thread, another time.


Chuck Kasmire:

I am not some amorphous nothingness. I didn't like country music before this experience and I still don't. I know which body is mine and which car is mine in the parking lot. I have my humanness but I don't hold it tightly. When I use the words 'I have my' I am aware that that conveys the idea of ego or small-self – but such is the nature of language. I have thoughts about things and I can express them while at the same time know that they are just concepts.


what are you exactly? (you have ruled out 'some amorphous nothingness')


Chuck Kasmire:

I do not experience anger or lust. I experience thoughts and associated sensations that 'the thing that is missing' used to compound into those.


we either have a different definition of 'anger or lust', or of 'the thing that is missing' then, because i find that 'the thing that is missing' is not necessary in order to experience what i call anger or lust - these feelings do not require a 'small self'. i suspect it's the feelings, rather than state of being, we define differently. lets find out though:

do you, aside from not experiencing anger, also not experience any irritation or agitation or frustration?
do you also, aside from not experiencing lust, not experience any craving or greed or libido?
do you experience any disquietude, uneasiness, nervousness, nervous tension, or apprehension .. to name a few other things?

i ask because find these things to be of the same quality as anger and lust, that is, the quality of affectation, which, in my experience, involves experiencing distortion, which the absence of the 'small self' does not eliminate (the trauma/craving/aversion are still there, however uncompounded or uncomplicated, they now are).


Chuck Kasmire:

These are not specific moments – it is continuous. Sometimes those sensations and thoughts can get intense – that is just what is happening.


do you know if kenneth (whose description of rigpa was the basis of this discussion involving anger and lust) would also state that he, continuously, does not experience anger or lust? i get the impression that he wouldn't, as he also wrote, 'At this stage of my practice, stability is more about the ability to recognize buddha nature whenever I remember to do so' ... which recognition he defined as rigpa ('Rigpa, in its more precise sense, refers to a moment in which neither anger nor lust arise').


Chuck Kasmire:

Sometimes its very quiet and still. I prefer the latter over the former and to what extent 'I can create' (there is that horrible language limitation again!) conditions that encourage the latter – that is what 'I do' (and again!).


no quotation marks are necessary; the meaning is quite clear.


Chuck Kasmire:

What I notice differently is that there is no separation between awareness and that which it is aware of. These are fused and there does not seem to be any separate observer – yet the essential humanness or innate nature or whatever is present – somehow an aspect of the experience itself. The value of what I experience for anyone that has not gone through this is that we keep the essential and discard the compounded – and that is relief.


life is certainly simpler without the 'compounding factor', isnt it?

and yet i wonder if there isnt something to be said for also discarding the essential in a whole 'nother way completely.. but thats possibly a whole 'nother topic.

tarin
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tarin greco, modified 12 Years ago at 11/9/09 1:31 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/9/09 1:14 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
Chuck Kasmire:
the prisoner greco:
you write above, in your first post, that 'Trauma at its most fundamental level is experienced as sensations'. do you also think that all sensations are fundamentally, necessarily, expressions of trauma? because if so, i can understand a reason you would want to omit pure consciousness experiences from your model - they would be impossible, as the absence of trauma would necessarily be the absence of sensate experience.


Yes, I suspect that this is true – can't say for sure. Trauma being defined as holding back from experiencing the totality of our experience in the moment. So in a pure consciousness experience you have no sensations?


no; in a pure consciousness experience, i experience sensations.. sight, sound, taste, etc.. including thoughts and reflections at times. what is thoroughly absent, rather, is being (the sense of presence), and passions/feelings (the somatic charge/emotions). because there is no being (which is the swirl of those passions themselves), there is nothing that causes craving or aversion (and hence, no affect - no feeling - occurs).

i do not think that sensations are fundamentally, necessarily, expressions of trauma. experiencing the totality of our experience in the moment, sans trauma, is necessarily a sensate one.

Chuck Kasmire:

the prisoner greco:
btw, if you think richard is using the term 'pure conscious experience' to mean something else, or if you just don't like it for some other reason, we can call it something else, but i find it valuable to at least have a term for 'experience without any trauma/clinging/aversion'. what do you think?


Any term I could come up with would be the result of conjecture and I am not interested in this. Obviously I have more than a difficult time just trying to describe present experience.


ok, let's stick with 'pure conscious experience' then. 'pure consciousness experience' is hereby a term for 'sensate experience that does not contain any trauma/clinging/aversion' .. unless you do not accept that, due to suspicion (though you cannot say for sure) that all sensate experience is an expression of trauma.

Chuck Kasmire:

To follow up on my previous post:
I could have also responded that I have desires, fears, imagination, dreams, emotions, all that stuff that everyone else has but I don't identify with any of it and that is relief.


i can understand, and relate to, that much better than i can to 'i do not experience anger or lust'.


Chuck Kasmire:

'Everything changes, nothing changes' as they say.


'everything changes, nothing changes ... hey, something's changed'


Chuck Kasmire:

4th is nothing you can do. In my experience there must be some deep willingness to simply let go of anything that you think you 'are' or 'are not'. And that is not something that 'I' can 'do' because that is another act of holding on. 'Easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get into heaven' captures this ('rich man' symbolizing someone that clings to phenomena as constituting a self 'I am this or that').


in my experience, getting 4th path came with seeing that what i used to think i was looking through is part of what im looking at. i kept almost-seeing this repeatedly, through late 3rd path, relentlessly (like inhabiting an escher etching), until i noticed that the seeing itself was it. 'seeing the seeing' ended the dualistic confusion.

i think the camel and eye of the needle saying captures this quite well, as well: hold the needle up really close, look through its eye, and watch a camel (or anything else at a sufficient distance) walk right through. for me, it was more of a matter of the right perspective enabling the shift.. the deep willingness was already there.

tarin

[edit: added a few sentences (about the escher etching metaphor) for clarification]
Chuck Kasmire, modified 12 Years ago at 11/9/09 6:33 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/9/09 6:33 PM

RE: Is a more inclusive model possible?

Posts: 559 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Tarin: “in a pure consciousness experience, i experience sensations.. sight, sound, taste, etc.. including thoughts and reflections at times. what is thoroughly absent, rather, is being (the sense of presence), and passions/feelings (the somatic charge/emotions)”

A few years ago I experienced something that kind of sounds like this on several occasions. I will describe it and see if it seems similar to you: There would be these periods of time when any sense of I or me would totally disappear – it would just sort of drop away. There was just presence that was aware of sights, sounds. Awareness was very still and silent though I could create thoughts. As far as sense of the body – no physical sensations that I remember – but could have been – I don't recall paying attention to that. It was more like a presence watching the body go through its motions – walking, looking, whatever. It seemed to be able to operate totally on its own.

As to the term somatic charge – I think we use it in different ways. In my use of it, it refers to vibrations or energy. Bare sensate experience. There is no passions/feelings quality to it nor emotions. So maybe this is an area where we are getting confused. The reason for the term is that it refers to a flare up of sensations when conditions change. Maybe someone challenges me for example. There is a flare up of these bare sensations (there can also be a sense of tension) and then after a while they quiet down again. Somatic referring to body as opposed to mind, charge as in like an explosion or burst.

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