RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Jojo S, modified 2 Months ago.

Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 10 Join Date: 8/1/21 Recent Posts
About my experiences:

My first contact with meditation was the usual western "mindfulness". It was followed some time later by a 10-day Goenka-retreat. During the retreat difficult emotions from things of the past came up; I cried a lot. I consider that to be normal and a process of "pureification". Other than that, I mostly learned to feel sensations in every spot in my body and to deal with the sitting-pain in a non-reactive way. I don't know If I got anything that is counted as "insight", but I definitly felt 'changed' in some way after the course. I think I was more equanimous and also hooked to this whole meditation thing. I remember it as a prominent and special life experience, which draws me towards it. I recently became more interested in Jhanas. But I am also considering if I should go on another Goenka-retreat.The thing is, even though now I am convinced that Buddhism has deep truth I am in doubt especially about modern vipassana and one thing: the anatta/anatman doctrin or doctrin of "no-self". I acknowledge that the Buddha thought of it as necessary for liberation and enlightenment, but at the same time I am rationally convinced that at least some versions of the anatta doctrine are plain wrong. This drives me in inner contradiction and poses a hinderance for me. I will go into detail:


No-self / anatta:

I have a very philosophical background and there the self is a focal topic – from the delphic aphorism "know thyself", through Descartes "cogito ergo sum", to Kants transcendental apperception.Moreover as I understand it, the notion of the self was always maybe the strongest hinderance to the doctrine of modern materialism – a doctrine which leads to nihilism and would also discredit all meditative experiences as merely some show produced by fireing neurons in the brain, a physical object. Materialism thus has its own version of no-self, that is: There are only some epiphenomenal experiences that creat the impression of a self, "you" the individual is really the brain. Or what is real is the body. Nowadays materialistic neuroscientists usup buddhism, claiming to find agreement.But a Buddhist would also have to say "I am not the body", "I am not the brain".

How is the anatta doctrine to be understood correctly? There seems to be two main directions. As far as I understood, "anatta" is an adjective. So it does not mean directly "the self does not exist", but everything that anatta is ascribed to is not self. This can also be expressed in the phrase "not me, not mine, not myself", so clearly there is a "me" that gets distanced or distances itself from something else. In this understanding anatta is akin to the via negationis, that is found in negative theology. But further it is often purported that the notion of a self is a mere illusion, a mistake, misconception and self does not exist. To evaluate these two understandings one also has to specify what is meant by "self".

First we have the substance-metaphysical understanding of self as a being thing imagined like other things. It is assumed to be 'in' the body, but immaterial and leaving the body after death. This is also often called soul and may be individualized, containing the personality, personal memorys etc.I am totally fine assuming that something like this is a misconception, cannot be found and does not exist.

Second we have the empirical self. This is the constantly changing social-psycho-physical bundle, containing all feelings, thoughts, sensual contents, decisions, self-images, social roles, outward expressions/appearances, personality, accomplishments, mistakes, belongings, virtues and vices and so on in its interconnections. All of this does exist of course, but nothing in it constitutes a permanent self. It is the realm of the finite and it is manifest, that identification with these things constitute suffering for oneself and others. So I assume this is the rightful target of "not me, not mine, not myself". Seeing the empirical self as the real self is the mistaken state most modern people live in and it is what creates the "ego-self" in one. But who is identifying himself with these contents and who can set himself free?

Finally, if we negate everything that is for us through abstraction "this is not me, this is not me, this is not me" etc., we eventually reach the notion of a completely empty self. In this isolation through abstraction, the empty self is the only thing that is there. But then one must realize that this object, that is for one, is not the whole self. Indeed the self cannot be an object, a thing. Rather the self is a relation, a movement or a "strange loop". It is the subject that separates itself from itself, so that it is for itself, and the object, that is only there to reflect back to the subject, so that both are one again. This relation I would call the pure self and it is always and in everyone the same form insofar that it is. Of course this self is the absolute point as prerequisite of calling anything "own" or "familiar", but itself is also "impersonal" in the ordinary sense, because it has nothing specifying, individualizing; so it is the possibility for building an "ego-self", but not the necessity. This pure self is actualised in individual humans and it fades when the individual dies. So it is not permanent in the sense that it would be somewhere and for an infinit long time. But I take it, that the later is bad metaphysics and a vulgar concept of eternity.
I think my view here is somewhat in line with Eckart Tolle:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPs510TWiOw

The Buddha asks us to investigate in all aggregates if there is a (or the) self. But if one could find something or see that is not there, one would have to know what "it" is, that he is searching. So it is presupposed that the investigator already knows what a self is. But knowing a self is nothing other than being a self, or the pure self is nothing other than the knowing of itself, pure selfreference. That means, a) it is logically impossible to find such a self in an aggregat, because the self is not an object, not a thing; the thing would have to be pure reflection, a mirror that is not to be seen, but only makes the investigator present for himself. But that he already is. b) The conclusion of the investigation cannot be: "a/the self does not exist". It can only be: "(in) no aggregat is the self", which is good as it deattaches/liberates the self from the aggreates.

So far I have described something that everybody can conceive in everyday life, we are familiar with it. It is just pure selfconciousness, selfawareness or conciousness of conciousness. But conceiving the pure self at the surface is a rather poor and shallow experience, as it is empty and one assumes it is just the form at the bottom on which run the externally given contents, and nothing follows from it alone. But one has to realize what this logical structure of the self truely is. In this sense I would speak of the "true self".
If one were to ask, what is the source, the ground of all-healing universal unconditional love, that is a very real and possible experience (assuming it is not a mere epiphenomenal illusion, a mere subjective feeling, but has a ontological structured cause), what would be the answer?I think the most reasonable answer is: it is the free or deeper "true self". More precisely, it is the self that has freed itself from its attachments (or shines through). The pure self as I described it, is a abstraction, it is only conceptively or imagined as pure, isolated from everything else through a mental act of negation. But this purification, freeing is not yet realized. That is also why it appears as empty and nothing following from it. But when it is actually freed from its attachments, it shows itself to be more than that.
Why do I think that? Because selfreference is the one necessary ingredient for an absolute, for something that is real in the highest sense. In terms of causation god was determined as causa sui in philosophy, so he has to be before he is, to be his own cause. He is closed on himself like a circle, the perfect geometrical figure, opposed to the open spiral of nature that never arrives at itself, always has a cause in something other and loses itself in something other, making everything dissatisfactory or dukkha. So actually Self is the only structure that is satisfied. Once it absolves itself from the entanglement in prevailing otherness, it becomes pure affirmation aka unconditional love or if one wills: god, his unseparated presence. This is realizing, what it already is.
So there you have, what I consider the highest truth at the moment.

In conclusion, at this point, I assume that what I called "pure self" either cannot be entirely dissolved or just as a result of a psychological disfunction. It is no misconception or illusion and it's not worthwhile attempting to see it as this, because it is actually that which connects us and leads to salvation. Now you should understand why I'd have a problem with a version of anatta which assumes otherwise.


Impermanence:


My issue with impermanence is rather than being mainly conceptual, more something that leads me to question the method of vipassana.As I learned it during the Goenka retreat I thought of impermanence as something akin to vanitas, that everything will pass eventually – and thus, concerning pain, anicca was mainly like a good thing to me, like a mantra allowing one to stay equanimous. I also didn't understand the three characteristics as something that central to the practice, one should actively try to see while doing the vipassana body-scan method, but as something that eventually will become clear as one does the work, just observing without intention and reacting while staying equanimous.
So recently I watched this video of this guy, saying otherwise:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdclnemZ4EU

He explains that impermanence is about seeing, that our perception is made out of individual frames without continunity like in a movie. I read the same on the forum here:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/401790

In my understanding discretion and continuity are both essential categorys of the intellect as well as fundamental aspects of quantity in the real world. I mean, even if I were to see, that perception consists of tiny arising and passing frames, what does that prove about the perceived world? It would only show something about the working of my perception of the world, not about the world itself. Likewise, that a movie is filmed with a certain amount of frames doesn't say anything about the nature of that, that was filmed, but only about the camera.
Furthermore, concering the method, if one has to train the mind to see everything as "dut dut dut dut dut" to realize impermanence: How can one be sure that one is really uncovering reality as it is, rather than training the mind to perceive it in a certain way through the specifics of the meditative practice?
If I force my mind to perceive everything as only discret, because thats what I presuppose, then well, maybe it will just do exactly that. (Maybe there are also some self-fulfilling prophecys involved with using maps, like scripting the later happening experiences beforehand).

My concerns arose when I read here, that people spend years (!) in states of quasi-psychosis as a result of their practition; my feeling tells me, that there is something off, there is something iffy. It seems to me, that this produces lots of scarred people, that try to convince themselves that the whole procedure was worth the result, if they make it past it. But those statements are never as enthusiastic as one would expect of attainments. Thats why I suspect some sunk cost bias at work.

I would never attempt a rapid noting practic (at least not until I mastered all the jhanas). Especially since I now read much about it from different sources and it seems that "MCTB stream-entry" is not (sutta) stream-entry and "MCTB 4th path" is not enlightenment (as in full liberation), and the Buddha never mentioned the dark night (as in distortion of perception and psychological coping mechanisms running wild). This path I do not want to take.
But my topic is mainly concerning Goenkas method.

-----

I would like to hear if you think that I have any rational errors in my views. If you do, please point them out to me. Maybe it can convince me otherwise.
Then, if you are a buddhist scholar, maybe you can give your view on how compatible my view on anatta actually is with the suttas or buddhism in a broader sense.
Lastly, I would like to hear from people who claim to have progressed in the path of insight, what it is like to "uncover the self as an illusion" directly. "Self" in which sense is affected? What changed? Do you see your experience as direct disproof of anything that I wrote?
A. Dietrich Ringle, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 882 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
I achieved stream entry through one of the three doors. I am trying to get better at aiding people who are headed for different doors other than anatta (the door I entered through). The impermanence door seems easy enough to get a handle on, except I am not wired that way.
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Zero, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

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What did your practice look like to help you cater towards the anatta door pre stream-entry? 
A. Dietrich Ringle, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

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Zero
What did your practice look like to help you cater towards the anatta door pre stream-entry? 

I trusted my feelings that I was an unique individual that didn't mind feeling psychotic once in a while (every day). I had a natural lack of common sense. My parents, who I lived with at the time, were not buying my practice. I did sell them on (my zen) the jhanas. Kenneth Folk laid out the following on one message I read of his: 1st jhana smells like baked bread, 2nd jhana tastes like garlic, third is chocolate, and 4th is like vanilla. This brought me up to the formless jhanas. The whole thing felt constructed. After that I felt psychotic, which I didn't mind. I took a walk. Being alone brings out a less troubled version of myself. Somehow my musings brought out anatta and dukkha at the same moment. This musing state has become more of the norm. Jhana continues to not lead anywhere.
A. Dietrich Ringle, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

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Also I am diagnosed with OCD so it's basically my job to go around and deal with freaky not-self phenomenon.

Edit. For me seeing impermanence is granted through me using big words from Pali or Sankrit, so as much as I like posting here, it is a double-edged sword.
Soh Wei Yu, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

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Jojo S
This pure self is actualised in individual humans and it fades when the individual dies. So it is not permanent in the sense that it would be somewhere and for an infinit long time. But I take it, that the later is bad metaphysics and a vulgar concept of eternity.
I think my view here is somewhat in line with Eckart Tolle:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPs510TWiOw

If you want to realise the True Self (I AM) like Eckhart Tolle, then Goenka is not suitable for you at least for now, as Goenka does not lead to I AM. You should instead take up the path of self-enquiry.

Realization of anatman will come later with further pointers and contemplation. Most people get stuck at I AM without further breakthroughs as they did not encounter the correct pointing.

See: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html

My AtR guide goes more in depth on self enquiry on that blog. An excerpt from that guide https://app.box.com/s/157eqgiosuw6xqvs00ibdkmc0r3mu8jg :

"On a related topic, John Tan wrote in Dharma Overground back in 2009,

“Hi Gary,

It appears that there are two groups of practitioners in this forum, one adopting the gradual approach and the other, the direct path. I am quite new here so I may be wrong.

My take is that you are adopting a gradual approach yet you are experiencing something very significant in the direct path, that is, the ‘Watcher’. As what Kenneth said, “You're onto something very big here, Gary. This practice will set you free.” But what Kenneth said would require you to be awaken to this ‘I’. It requires you to have the ‘eureka!’ sort of realization. Awaken to this ‘I’, the path of spirituality becomes clear; it is simply the unfolding of this ‘I’.

On the other hand, what that is described by Yabaxoule is a gradual approach and therefore there is downplaying of the ‘I AM’. You have to gauge your own conditions, if you choose the direct path, you cannot downplay this ‘I’; contrary, you must fully and completely experience the whole of ‘YOU’ as ‘Existence’. Emptiness nature of our pristine nature will step in for the direct path practitioners when they come face to face to the ‘traceless’, ‘centerless’ and ‘effortless’ nature of non-dual awareness.

Perhaps a little on where the two approaches meet will be of help to you.

Awakening to the ‘Watcher’ will at the same time ‘open’ the ‘eye of immediacy’; that is, it is the capacity to immediately penetrate discursive thoughts and sense, feel, perceive without intermediary the perceived. It is a kind of direct knowing. You must be deeply aware of this “direct without intermediary” sort of perception -- too direct to have subject-object gap, too short to have time, too simple to have thoughts. It is the ‘eye’ that can see the whole of ‘sound’ by being ‘sound’. It is the same ‘eye’ that is required when doing vipassana, that is, being ‘bare’. Be it non-dual or vipassana, both require the opening of this 'eye of immediacy'.”"
Jojo S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

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This is very interesting. I read a bit through it, it's lots of material to look into. It'll take some time. Thank you!
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Stefan R, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 176 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Relax on intellectualising. It's clear you're going to think circles around any idea that is presented to you.

Meditation isn't about ideas. It's about sensations and the way they present themselves. Sensations are the data for our investigation. And the 3Cs are see the way they truly present. 

Anatta/Shunyata (No-self/Emptiness) is simple:
  • No sensation is made of itself
The sensation of my arm as it presents itself to me is not made of the feeling of the arm itself, but rather tiny vibrations/pulses of feeling that radiate up and down the arm throughout awareness as attention moves. This starts at the fingers and radiates towards the elbow, and to the shoulder, and back-and-forth it goes. The mind assembles these vibrations/pulses into a gestalt, with a conceptual overlay "the arm". And so know I see my arm is not the arm itself, but the sensations caused by the arm and how it presents. 

Turn this same logic to the self: the sensations that make up the feeling of "you" are not "you" because they're an assembled gestalt, not a thing in itself. If you can locate that hidden feeling or idea or however it presents, really watch how it forms from sensations. 

PS: I think you're trying to square the circle with your philosophizing of the Self to True Self, etc... Basically, I'd say, observing the true nature of the self does not equal observing a true or "complete" self. But I can understand how one could reach that conclusion.
Jojo S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 10 Join Date: 8/1/21 Recent Posts
Anatta/Shunyata (No-self/Emptiness) is simple:
  • No sensation is made of itself
The sensation of my arm as it presents itself to me is not made of the feeling of the arm itself, but rather tiny vibrations/pulses of feeling that radiate up and down the arm throughout awareness as attention moves
So are the tiny vibrations made of themselves?


Turn this same logic to the self: the sensations that make up the feeling of "you" are not "you" because they're an assembled gestalt, not a thing in itself. If you can locate that hidden feeling or idea or however it presents, really watch how it forms from sensations. 
I'm wondering in what sense/context you are talking about the "feeling of you". If we take for example the feeling of "I am angry", I can understand this. There should be sensations of anger connected to sensations of "you" or that it is "I" that is angry. But there really is no real I that is angry. That is the illusion of the empirical self.
But if you are talking about the pure self, the conciousness relating to itself, selfconciousness, the task of finding that in feelings or sensations seems to me like searching something 3-Dimensional in the 2-Dimensional. Its a reductionism.
If you think this reductionism is possible, I'd like to aks you, what prevents you from believing in materialism?
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Stefan R, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

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So are the tiny vibrations made of themselves?
What do you think, based on what I've said?
Do you like Fibonacci Sequences? emoticon

>That is the illusion of the empirical self.​​​​​​​...But if you are talking about the pure self, the consciousness relating to itself...
There's no "pure self" to be found. Consciousness itself is an illusion. I say that with unshakable certainty. 
Consciousness is, as it phenomenologically appears to me, simply an "ordering" assumption to the experiences moment-to-moment. And it's an assumption that causes us a lot of suffering. 

>If you think this reductionism is possible, I'd like to ask you, what prevents you from believing in materialism?
Meditation is not a metaphysical project. It is phenomenological. 
Regarding my metaphysics, they are fairly null. I'm a materialist for a pragmatic purpose, and due to the fact that materialism as a foundation has answered more questions more productively than any other metaphysical position. However, I am not a reductionist (i.e. nondual) or at the very least, completely neutral on whatever the substances out there are that constitute reality. To me, the phenomenological is simply the "other side" of the coin, or another texture of reality -- if you will. The fact of the matter is that our brains are made of roughly the same substances that constitute all of reality (atoms/strings/quarks/whatever), and yet simultaneously create a phenomenological simulation of that very "outside" reality within it (i.e., "reality experiencing itself through itself"). In other words, inseparable, yet seemingly distinct. I think Frank Jackson's Mary's Black and White Room thought experiment showed that they're unique phenomena (emphasis on phenomena) in their own right, without reducibility. He was my professor in my undergrad days and we had many chats -- although he's a reductionist materialist nowadays, he's open to nondualism in which phenomenology is regarded as a semantic overlay. A good example of this would be in consciousness studies -- isn't it funny how, depending on our definitions of "consciousness" we can either find it, not find it, or believe it's too ephemeral to find in the first place? emoticon
But, for the most part my metametaphysical position is that of anti-realism; metaphysical questions are simply unanswerable to the degree of certainty that we're after. We simply have to live with the ambiguity and paradox of mind-body/consciousness/etc..
Jojo S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

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What do you think, based on what I've said?
Do you like Fibonacci Sequences? emoticon
An infinite regress? Do the vibrations get infinitly smaller?

There's no "pure self" to be found. Consciousness itself is an illusion. I say that with unshakable certainty. 
Consciousness is, as it phenomenologically appears to me, simply an "ordering" assumption to the experiences moment-to-moment. And it's an assumption that causes us a lot of suffering. 
How can there be any experience without consciousness? Can a stone experience anything? And what is connecting this experience and the next?

May I ask where do you consider yourself to be in the path of "spiritual development" or insight/enlightenment? And what do you think is the source of unconditional love, or don't you experience that?
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Stefan R, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

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>An infinite regress? Do the vibrations get infinitely smaller?
In a way. The point I'm making is that metaphysical questions are ultimately useless insofar as our direct experience is concerned. Direct experience is our dataset for meditation; sensations are the data we observe. Nothing more, nothing less. 

>How can there be any experience without consciousness? Can a stone experience anything? And what is connecting this experience and the next?
If you take consciousness as a premise for experience, then you end up with that question. Mind you, I said it was an illusion, not that it wasn't real. Illusions are quite real but have caveats. The caveats of an illusion? Despite our better knowing, despite measuring it all out, etc., the illusion still appears as such, no matter the knowledge around it. Meditation gets us intimate with the illusion of self, consciousness, etc... To see their fabricated nature. Once you're intimate with the illusion and know what it's like when it appears, you're no longer constrained to making decisions about your life based on the illusion, but rather, the deeper properties therein. 

>May I ask where do you consider yourself to be in the path of "spiritual development" or insight/enlightenment?
I think I'm relatively advanced. I think I have a path or two under my belt. Maybe more, maybe less. Not really all that concerning. What is of concern is conduct, intentions, honesty with ourselves, joy, humility, generosity, love, kindness, and wisdom. Deep insights into the mind/reality literally mean nothing unless they're used to recognise and cultivate wholesomeness. That's my personal take, anyways. That, and, words only get you so far in describing stuff. 

>And what do you think is the source of unconditional love, or don't you experience that?
I experience unconditional love all the time. What's its source? No idea. I'm just glad when it's there. And when it's not, I try to understand what led to things being that way and learn to navigate the mind back toward it. 
Jojo S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

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If you take consciousness as a premise for experience, then you end up with that question. Mind you, I said it was an illusion, not that it wasn't real. Illusions are quite real but have caveats. The caveats of an illusion? Despite our better knowing, despite measuring it all out, etc., the illusion still appears as such, no matter the knowledge around it. Meditation gets us intimate with the illusion of self, consciousness, etc... To see their fabricated nature. Once you're intimate with the illusion and know what it's like when it appears, you're no longer constrained to making decisions about your life based on the illusion, but rather, the deeper properties therein.
I don't take it as a premise, I can't comprehend how to stay logically consistent doing it away. What differentiates my experience of this moment and your experience of this moment from my experience of this moment and my experience of the next moment. The first two are not connected, not related at all, while the later two are connected. So there has to be something being the reason for or ground of that connection.

I experience unconditional love all the time. What's its source? No idea. I'm just glad when it's there. And when it's not, I try to understand what led to things being that way and learn to navigate the mind back toward it. 
This is not satisfying to me. I can't make a distinction between something "purely phenomenological" and the metaphysical realm. There is only one reality and a hermeneutic circle of understanding; understanding the whole from the parts and understanding the parts from the whole.

Comprehending something unconditional lead me to the structure of self. Because logically, if it were dependent on something other, it coulnd't be unconditional. So otherness has to be fully dissolved or integrated. Actually it was even the other way around: contemplating the structure of the self lead to unconditional love. I cannot comprehend how that could lead to suffering.
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Stefan R, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

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>I don't take it as a premise, I can't comprehend how to stay logically consistent doing it away. What differentiates my experience of this moment and your experience of this moment from my experience of this moment and my experience of the next moment. The first two are not connected, not related at all, while the later two are connected. So there has to be something being the reason for or ground of that connection.
It seems as if you're taking it as a premise, because earlier you asked, "How can there be any experience without consciousness?which is itself reveals that you believe consciousness is the resting ground of experience. That is, foundational, or a premise, in other words. But if you want to refine your take, I'm all ears!

The differentiation of our experience is the fact that you and I occupy different positions in space-time. This is the origin of so-called "qualia". You and I can occupy the same time or the same position in space. But never both. And because language is our only means of conveying experience, things always seem unique, because the experience of words (i.e., semantics) is itself subject to the same problem of space-time. This is one of the origins of the illusion of consciousness, in my humble opinion. It also neatly explains inter-subjectivity, which is how we can all approximately explain our lived experiences, while also keeping enough room for our uniqueness as occupiers of a portion of space-time exclusive to us. 

But this is all philosophy, all speculation. Just my opinion butting heads with yours. My opinion is mostly founded on direct experience, mixed in with some scientific, and philosophical knowledge to round out a paradoxically coherent worldview that disregards metaphysics almost entirely. Why? Because metaphysics is basically the philosophical equivalent of flushing an elephant turd in a human toilet. The toilet should ideally be bigger (limitations of human cognition and perception) or the turd should be smaller (the questions asked should be somewhat empirically verifiable). Metaphysics as a sub-discipline of philosophy has been largely discarded for these reasons. It's dead as disco!


>This is not satisfying to me. I can't make a distinction between something "purely phenomenological" and the metaphysical realm. There is only one reality and a hermeneutic circle of understanding; understanding the whole from the parts and understanding the parts from the whole.
Nothing is satisfying ;)

Purely phenomenological simply means how things present to ourselves. The metaphysical realm is largely inaccessible to humans, as discussed above. 

Yeah, I agree that there's only one reality. And I agree in understanding the parts from the whole and vice versa. However, this is from your POV. If you want to draw metaphysical claims from your POV, be my guest. But I'm not gonna buy the things you're selling.

You're trying to wrestle with the paradox of non-duality here. Metaphysics and phenomenology do overlap, appearing differently, textured differently. They're likely unable to be separated, so long as we're humans. Reality "out there" is simulated "in here" in the mind, yet both things are made of the same stuff -- they're totally inseparable, but appear separate. Thus, the illusion of it all. The problem is, the textures we can access reliably with our perceptions and cognitions are inhibited by the very body-mind that we have, which itself is part of the very reality it is trying to understand. Thus, why metaphysics is ultimately doomed as a project of any sort of pragmatic understanding of the world. 

>Comprehending something unconditional lead me to the structure of the self. Because logically, if it were dependent on something other, it couldn't be unconditional. So otherness has to be fully dissolved or integrated. Actually, it was even the other way around: contemplating the structure of the self lead to unconditional love. I cannot comprehend how that could lead to suffering.
The feeling of unconditional love is different from the actual conditions of its manifestation. You're trying to get metaphysical while I'm staying phenomenological. When people talk about unconditional love, it is usually directed at people or a person. But wait, that's a condition! Because that love is dependent on that person's or people's existence. Oh no! But the feeling of unconditionally remains. Because it's just a feeling, not reality -- as you've pointed out. It's empty, and an illusion. But it's a wholesome illusion. So we use this knowledge of emptiness to cultivate unconditional love for all beings. Or not, if you don't want to!

Overall, I'm going to give you a piece of metaphysical advice, philosopher-to-philosopher: be okay with the fact that this elephant turd cannot fit down human plumbing. Walk away from the toilet. Put the plunger down. And go outside and take a deep breath! 
Jojo S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

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Most of our metaphysical views are fairly implicit. Depending on them the so called direct experiences, that always have to be interpreted, could be understood vastly different, as you demonstrate for me. Even the view of the metaphysical realm as inaccessible is itself an assumption about the nature of metaphysical reality and its relation to us and our nature. So there really is no way out of metaphysics; that is a post-modern misunderstanding.
But I think I have gained something from our conversation, so thank you.
shargrol, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 1620 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Thanks for taking the time to write up such a well-spoken question

Jojo S
About my experiences:

My first contact with meditation was the usual western "mindfulness". It was followed some time later by a 10-day Goenka-retreat. During the retreat difficult emotions from things of the past came up; I cried a lot. I consider that to be normal and a process of "pureification". Other than that, I mostly learned to feel sensations in every spot in my body and to deal with the sitting-pain in a non-reactive way. I don't know If I got anything that is counted as "insight", but I definitly felt 'changed' in some way after the course. I think I was more equanimous and also hooked to this whole meditation thing. I remember it as a prominent and special life experience, which draws me towards it. I recently became more interested in Jhanas. But I am also considering if I should go on another Goenka-retreat.The thing is, even though now I am convinced that Buddhism has deep truth I am in doubt especially about modern vipassana and one thing: the anatta/anatman doctrin or doctrin of "no-self". I acknowledge that the Buddha thought of it as necessary for liberation and enlightenment, but at the same time I am rationally convinced that at least some versions of the anatta doctrine are plain wrong. This drives me in inner contradiction and poses a hinderance for me.
Yeah, it is kinda amazing how meditation "hooks" us. Even with all of the questions, there does seem to be something that calls us to the practices.
One way to think about this is that mediation puts us in touch with our basic sanity --- if we don't get overly confused by various doctrines, methods, philosophies, dogmas, orthodoxies, etc.  All of the ideas that surround meditation are there to support the practice, and the practice is to learn to soften our attachements to what appears in experience, while also learning how to think/intend/behave in a way that causes less needless suffering. 

So for us who have access to lots of teachings online and in books, all of it needs to be filtered through questions like "does this seem appropriate for me right now?" and "is this helping or hindering my actual practicing?". It can be very tempting to turn buddhism into an intellectual exercise and to try and figure it out... but really any benefit comes from investigating our own mind and noticing what helps and what doesn't.

No-self / anatta:

I have a very philosophical background and there the self is a focal topic – from the delphic aphorism "know thyself", through Descartes "cogito ergo sum", to Kants transcendental apperception.Moreover as I understand it, the notion of the self was always maybe the strongest hinderance to the doctrine of modern materialism – a doctrine which leads to nihilism and would also discredit all meditative experiences as merely some show produced by fireing neurons in the brain, a physical object. Materialism thus has its own version of no-self, that is: There are only some epiphenomenal experiences that creat the impression of a self, "you" the individual is really the brain. Or what is real is the body. Nowadays materialistic neuroscientists usup buddhism, claiming to find agreement.But a Buddhist would also have to say "I am not the body", "I am not the brain".
You're taking the philosophy too far. Anatta is more phenominological and is closer to saying "the things which appear in mind are not the same as the self". A very simple way to talk about this is with emotions: when I was 5 and got angry, I _was_ angry; but now that I'm adult, I _have_ anger but I am not 100% identified with anger when it appears. That's closer to anatta. And you can see how that supports practice. It doesn't matter how we philosophically think about experiences --- what matters is how we "hold" them in our mind, whether we identify with them, and whether we have any freedom in our response to events. 

Again, think of buddhism as basic sanity: we want to fully experience what occurs without psychological repression or distortion, and we want to be free to choose the appropriate and creative response to events to maximize the benefits of our actions for ourself and others. We can't do that if we're unconsciously reacting to everything emotionally and dogmatically.

How is the anatta doctrine to be understood correctly? There seems to be two main directions. As far as I understood, "anatta" is an adjective. So it does not mean directly "the self does not exist", but everything that anatta is ascribed to is not self. This can also be expressed in the phrase "not me, not mine, not myself", so clearly there is a "me" that gets distanced or distances itself from something else. In this understanding anatta is akin to the via negationis, that is found in negative theology. But further it is often purported that the notion of a self is a mere illusion, a mistake, misconception and self does not exist. To evaluate these two understandings one also has to specify what is meant by "self".

First we have the substance-metaphysical understanding of self as a being thing imagined like other things. It is assumed to be 'in' the body, but immaterial and leaving the body after death. This is also often called soul and may be individualized, containing the personality, personal memorys etc.I am totally fine assuming that something like this is a misconception, cannot be found and does not exist.

Second we have the empirical self. This is the constantly changing social-psycho-physical bundle, containing all feelings, thoughts, sensual contents, decisions, self-images, social roles, outward expressions/appearances, personality, accomplishments, mistakes, belongings, virtues and vices and so on in its interconnections. All of this does exist of course, but nothing in it constitutes a permanent self. It is the realm of the finite and it is manifest, that identification with these things constitute suffering for oneself and others. So I assume this is the rightful target of "not me, not mine, not myself". Seeing the empirical self as the real self is the mistaken state most modern people live in and it is what creates the "ego-self" in one. But who is identifying himself with these contents and who can set himself free?

Finally, if we negate everything that is for us through abstraction "this is not me, this is not me, this is not me" etc., we eventually reach the notion of a completely empty self. In this isolation through abstraction, the empty self is the only thing that is there. But then one must realize that this object, that is for one, is not the whole self. Indeed the self cannot be an object, a thing. Rather the self is a relation, a movement or a "strange loop". It is the subject that separates itself from itself, so that it is for itself, and the object, that is only there to reflect back to the subject, so that both are one again. This relation I would call the pure self and it is always and in everyone the same form insofar that it is. Of course this self is the absolute point as prerequisite of calling anything "own" or "familiar", but itself is also "impersonal" in the ordinary sense, because it has nothing specifying, individualizing; so it is the possibility for building an "ego-self", but not the necessity. This pure self is actualised in individual humans and it fades when the individual dies. So it is not permanent in the sense that it would be somewhere and for an infinit long time. But I take it, that the later is bad metaphysics and a vulgar concept of eternity.
I think my view here is somewhat in line with Eckart Tolle:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPs510TWiOw

The Buddha asks us to investigate in all aggregates if there is a (or the) self. But if one could find something or see that is not there, one would have to know what "it" is, that he is searching. So it is presupposed that the investigator already knows what a self is. But knowing a self is nothing other than being a self, or the pure self is nothing other than the knowing of itself, pure selfreference. That means, a) it is logically impossible to find such a self in an aggregat, because the self is not an object, not a thing; the thing would have to be pure reflection, a mirror that is not to be seen, but only makes the investigator present for himself. But that he already is. b) The conclusion of the investigation cannot be: "a/the self does not exist". It can only be: "(in) no aggregat is the self", which is good as it deattaches/liberates the self from the aggreates.

So far I have described something that everybody can conceive in everyday life, we are familiar with it. It is just pure selfconciousness, selfawareness or conciousness of conciousness. But conceiving the pure self at the surface is a rather poor and shallow experience, as it is empty and one assumes it is just the form at the bottom on which run the externally given contents, and nothing follows from it alone. But one has to realize what this logical structure of the self truely is. In this sense I would speak of the "true self".
If one were to ask, what is the source, the ground of all-healing universal unconditional love, that is a very real and possible experience (assuming it is not a mere epiphenomenal illusion, a mere subjective feeling, but has a ontological structured cause), what would be the answer?I think the most reasonable answer is: it is the free or deeper "true self". More precisely, it is the self that has freed itself from its attachments (or shines through). The pure self as I described it, is a abstraction, it is only conceptively or imagined as pure, isolated from everything else through a mental act of negation. But this purification, freeing is not yet realized. That is also why it appears as empty and nothing following from it. But when it is actually freed from its attachments, it shows itself to be more than that.
Why do I think that? Because selfreference is the one necessary ingredient for an absolute, for something that is real in the highest sense. In terms of causation god was determined as causa sui in philosophy, so he has to be before he is, to be his own cause. He is closed on himself like a circle, the perfect geometrical figure, opposed to the open spiral of nature that never arrives at itself, always has a cause in something other and loses itself in something other, making everything dissatisfactory or dukkha. So actually Self is the only structure that is satisfied. Once it absolves itself from the entanglement in prevailing otherness, it becomes pure affirmation aka unconditional love or if one wills: god, his unseparated presence. This is realizing, what it already is.
So there you have, what I consider the highest truth at the moment.
Sometimes it helps to think about what it would be like if we were still slightly imperfect, because it shows us a way that relates to practice. Imagine if we are 50% untangled and so only 50% with god... that means we need to still learn how to further untangle and further understand what is aligned with god. There is no way to jump past this stage to 100% perfection. So it's important to know that there will be a lot of uncertainity and trial and error until we get there.

In conclusion, at this point, I assume that what I called "pure self" either cannot be entirely dissolved or just as a result of a psychological disfunction. It is no misconception or illusion and it's not worthwhile attempting to see it as this, because it is actually that which connects us and leads to salvation. Now you should understand why I'd have a problem with a version of anatta which assumes otherwise.


Impermanence:


My issue with impermanence is rather than being mainly conceptual, more something that leads me to question the method of vipassana.As I learned it during the Goenka retreat I thought of impermanence as something akin to vanitas, that everything will pass eventually – and thus, concerning pain, anicca was mainly like a good thing to me, like a mantra allowing one to stay equanimous. I also didn't understand the three characteristics as something that central to the practice, one should actively try to see while doing the vipassana body-scan method, but as something that eventually will become clear as one does the work, just observing without intention and reacting while staying equanimous.
So recently I watched this video of this guy, saying otherwise:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdclnemZ4EU

He explains that impermanence is about seeing, that our perception is made out of individual frames without continunity like in a movie. I read the same on the forum here:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/401790

In my understanding discretion and continuity are both essential categorys of the intellect as well as fundamental aspects of quantity in the real world. I mean, even if I were to see, that perception consists of tiny arising and passing frames, what does that prove about the perceived world? It would only show something about the working of my perception of the world, not about the world itself. Likewise, that a movie is filmed with a certain amount of frames doesn't say anything about the nature of that, that was filmed, but only about the camera.
Yes, you are correct. Lots of people confuse "experiences" with "evidence of the ultimate nature of the world". Again, the idea of imperminance is designed to help meditation practice. It is a caution to the meditator that things change and don't stay the same, so keep looking -- in this moment -- at what is actually appearing. It's helpful because with practice our emotional and intellectual facilities become more fluid and more adaptable. Anger can flash up and resolve itself. A intellectual idea can come and go. On retreat this becomes very obvious. Again, we don't need to make a dogmatic philosophy out of it, we just need to find the benefit of the idea of imperminance to our practice.

Furthermore, concering the method, if one has to train the mind to see everything as "dut dut dut dut dut" to realize impermanence: How can one be sure that one is really uncovering reality as it is, rather than training the mind to perceive it in a certain way through the specifics of the meditative practice?
If I force my mind to perceive everything as only discret, because thats what I presuppose, then well, maybe it will just do exactly that. (Maybe there are also some self-fulfilling prophecys involved with using maps, like scripting the later happening experiences beforehand).
Yes, that's right. Every "framing" we have will change our experience to fit the frame, so we have to be careful about the ideas and practices we use in our meditation practice. It is best to remain skeptical and assume that no framework is 100% correct. The best way to think of it is we use scaffolding to build a house, but we don't need to keep the scaffolding after the house is build. In the same way, throughout our history of practice we can use different ideas and practice methods to help develop basic sanity, but that doesn't mean we need to always use these ideas or practices as we develop further. And also, our understanding/interpretation of imperminance (and not-self) will also change over time as we practice. 

My concerns arose when I read here, that people spend years (!) in states of quasi-psychosis as a result of their practition; my feeling tells me, that there is something off, there is something iffy. It seems to me, that this produces lots of scarred people, that try to convince themselves that the whole procedure was worth the result, if they make it past it. But those statements are never as enthusiastic as one would expect of attainments. Thats why I suspect some sunk cost bias at work.
Yeah, just like any philosophy or religion or therapy... There are people that don't keep exploring, become stagnant, and get imprisoned by the very thing that they hoped would give them freedom. That's why being honest about your actual thoughts, feelings. and judgements are so important. If we lose that critical thinking and exploration, we'll become trapped. We need to be responsible for our practice and OWN our practice. Honestly is very important for basic sanity.
I would never attempt a rapid noting practic (at least not until I mastered all the jhanas). Especially since I now read much about it from different sources and it seems that "MCTB stream-entry" is not (sutta) stream-entry and "MCTB 4th path" is not enlightenment (as in full liberation), and the Buddha never mentioned the dark night (as in distortion of perception and psychological coping mechanisms running wild). This path I do not want to take.
Well, be careful here and don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. You don't need to agree or do everything in MCTB but it's really important to understand the warnings are quite accurate. Anyone going through therapy is going to have times when they struggle with their mindset, become confused and frustrated, and feel discomfort as their old self transforms into a new self. And this is also very very true of meditation, regardless of the method. So my advice would be to read MCTB (free at https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/ and table of contents here: https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/) and use it as just one other view on meditation.  It's going to give you some honest thoughts about meditation that you won't hear from other sources. 
But my topic is mainly concerning Goenkas method.

-----

I would like to hear if you think that I have any rational errors in my views. If you do, please point them out to me. Maybe it can convince me otherwise.
Then, if you are a buddhist scholar, maybe you can give your view on how compatible my view on anatta actually is with the suttas or buddhism in a broader sense.
Lastly, I would like to hear from people who claim to have progressed in the path of insight, what it is like to "uncover the self as an illusion" directly. "Self" in which sense is affected? What changed? Do you see your experience as direct disproof of anything that I wrote?
The best metaphor for how the self changes is that the self is like water, but water can be like ice, water, or steam. The more the energy of attention gets applied to seeing the nature of the self, the more it heats up and becomes less like ice and more like steam. So there is more dynamic and flexible potential when all of the fixed views and emotional solidifications of self are matured. 

I actually recommend reading this book [url=http://www.cook-greuter.com/Cook-Greuter%209%20levels%20paper%20new%201.1'14%2097p%5B1%5D.pdf]http://www.cook-greuter.com/Cook-Greuter%209%20levels%20paper%20new%201.1'14%2097p%5B1%5D.pdf
to better understand how children mature into adults and adults mature into wise adults. Then it becomes more obvious how mediation can help support this process. 

​​​​​​​Best wishes for your practice!

Jojo S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 10 Join Date: 8/1/21 Recent Posts
@shargrol
Thank you for your kind reply. I think your usage of anatta and impermanence is really healthy and in those contexts I can totally accept them. It is only with stuff like trying to locate the (pure) self in sensations, when my toenails start rolling.

"Sometimes it helps to think about what it would be like if we were still slightly imperfect, because it shows us a way that relates to practice. Imagine if we are 50% untangled and so only 50% with god... that means we need to still learn how to further untangle and further understand what is aligned with god. There is no way to jump past this stage to 100% perfection. So it's important to know that there will be a lot of uncertainity and trial and error until we get there."
Yes, I absolutely don't claim to be 100% in union with god, but I had glimpses of it. And what I saw each time was this: The shrouded One, the infinite subject and the fallen Separate, the finite object and me not observing this process of the two (thus not having it as an object), but being in it, going through it, carrying it out directly, thus realizing the inseparability of the two and their union.

This led to the latest paradigm-shift in my life: there is nothing to be achieved out there, nothing to be built, losing is winning and the poorest are the richest, everything will crumble again and again, let go, the only truth can be, that perfection is already present, always was and always will be, god is present and the passing finite is not forsaken and in vain. This is only to be realized; the structure of the way being laid out in the experience.

But I see now, that my aversion to anatta seems to be in part new clinging; fear to have been wrong and falling back where I was before, walking the path of meaninglessnes and nihilism again, that I walked a long period of my life, trying to find meaning and clinging to things I thought I could grasp it in them; until the dualism between meaning and meaninglessnes got solved in the described event.

Yet, one has to decide what to do with his life. That is a question of directions, thus confusion is the natural result with me seeing contradicting directions of the path to the "good" (or the absolute as in occidental thinking, which I was socialized in (main problem being, that it is not mystic by default), when buddhism seems to claim that there is no absolute as telos). I don't want to accidently turn away from the good due to a misunderstanding or maybe even an error in traditions or modern versions of it, leading to lots of thinking and intellectualizing.
I guess I always had the longing for the transcendent, the infinite, thinking if I can decide, why not aim for the highest, aim for god? Adding my recent experiences and ongoing practition however, I see (buddhist) monastic life as a very real possibility of my future. You see, I feel a kind of coinciding of my old and new ways, just the actual conciliation is not yet present.

"You don't need to agree or do everything in MCTB but it's really important to understand the warnings are quite accurate."
I do regard them as accurate. Thats exactly why I'm shunning away from modern dry vipassana (attributing at least part of the extreme undesirable results to the method), even questioning if I should continue the Goenka-path.
George S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 2064 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
(sorry shargrol for jumping in)

Yet, one has to decide what to do with his life.

True realization of anatta obviates the need to decide what to do with the rest of one's life. One just does whatever needs to be done in the moment according to one's karma (causes & conditions).

I guess I always had the longing for the transcendent, the infinite, thinking if I can decide, why not aim for the highest, aim for god?

The transcendent is a false refuge of the self. Nirvana is fully imminent, always whatever is arising right here right now (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, body sensations, thoughts). Of course a thought of god could arise, but that is not seen to be "higher" than any other sensation.
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 4073 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
True realization of anatta obviates the need to decide what to do with the rest of one's life. One just does whatever needs to be done in the moment according to one's karma (causes & conditions).

No. This is clearly a point of confusion for you - people still plan their lives, make decisions about future courses of action, and so on. Just because that deliberation takes place in the now doesn't mean deliberation and planning doesn't take place.
George S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 2064 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
No confusion, I still make whatever decisions are necessary. I was talking about that weighty problem of having to decide what to do with my life, which is what the OP was referring to I think. 
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 4073 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
No confusion, I still make whatever decisions are necessary. I was talking about that weighty problem of having to decide what to do with my life, which is what the OP was referring to I think. 

Are you saying you don't plan what to do with your life? Have you given that up?
George S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 2064 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I don’t have significant personal plans like I used to regarding work, lifestyle and non-essential activities. Most significant planning revolves around the needs/preferences of my wife and kids. How about you?
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

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I have significant stuff to do with my job, at which I'm responsible for about 30 people; among them are developers, consultants, help desk, and some admin people. I have a lot of planning, deliberating, and deciding to do at work. My kids are grown and out of the house, and my wife and I are empty-nesters, so not so much on the home front.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

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"My kids are grown and out of the house"

emoticon That sounds like music to my ears emoticon My oldest is only 5 now so ... ... how long do I have to wait until I can say that same lovely sentence?  emoticon 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 2173 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
"I have significant stuff to do with my job, at which I'm responsible for about 30 people; among them are developers, consultants, help desk, and some admin people. I have a lot of planning, deliberating, and deciding to do at work"

For some reason I imagine you working on Wall Street emoticon not sure why as you seem a decent lad emoticon 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl4wkIPiTcY
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 4073 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
... you seem a decent lad emoticon

I'm probably twice your age. Show some respect, Sonny  emoticon


... how long do I have to wait until I can say that same lovely sentence?

As long as they want to be there with you?  emoticon
Jojo S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 10 Join Date: 8/1/21 Recent Posts
True realization of anatta obviates the need to decide what to do with the rest of one's life. One just does whatever needs to be done in the moment according to one's karma (causes & conditions).

Is that your own experience? Decisions are based on reasons, I assume even with anatta the throught-process is not to be skipt, so the reasons can unfold themselves. Anyway, as I haven't true realization of anatta at the moment, I need to decide.

The transcendent is a false refuge of the self. Nirvana is fully imminent, always whatever is arising right here right now (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, body sensations, thoughts). Of course a thought of god could arise, but that is not seen to be "higher" than any other sensation.
But for the not-awakened Nirvana is still transcendent. Same as for the believer who is not in union with god. God is just the epitome of highest reality and good.
George S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 2064 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Interestingly, union with god is not the end of the story. Bernadette Roberts’ The Experience of No-Self is a good account of what happens to the god-self union upon realization of not-self.
shargrol, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

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here is a better link for the cook-greuter pdf, it's down on this page:

https://www.sloww.co/ego-development-theory-cook-greuter/
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the page also gives a good overview of the stages of adult development
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Ni Nurta, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 774 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Views on self/no-self are caused by multiple factors.
On one side we have questions like we always have related to what is this world and what are we in it. Do we have soul or are we just body, etc.
On other side we have more practical issues like dukkha caused by something which usually feels like related to sense of self.

Since this is pragmatic dharma forum I will keep divagation to the second issue even though imho first is more interresting. It is also less practical and you need to be ready for actual answers. You won't be ready until you know how your mind works.

Now what is the sense of self anyway?
It is bunch of experiences of body + some story mind creates of ourselves. We confuse it for the cause for actions and then wonder why using it in this role causes suffering. When we test it if we can defined as sense of self can move hand it will be moving but that is just an illusion we bought in to because it seems to be true. This would not be such a bad issue but believing false things of course leads to issues. One issue is bothering it with every single thing that we do which leads to abusing part of the brain which generates this sense of self. Other than that even though decissions 'we make' are already made there is a chance sense of self might decide differently than what body/mind actually does and this causes conflicts. Actually there is always some difference and this from point of view of nervous system is additional noise. Another issue is that we start to identify with self and take these experiences way too seriously. Anything happens we check how we feel and this is an issue because again we are abusing neurons and then obviously they will feel bad because they are tired and we freak out but then we still think we are this sense of self through we do everything and in order to solve issue with something we need to observe it which is even more activity there... and that is how you get impression sense of self is the worst thing ever and one needs to get rid of it... and people do and this solves this issue but then they lost sense of self which is an issue in itself.

In dharma circles you not only have issue with self but also with no-self. People thinking that their realizations of no-self being valid is the same kind of issue that it was when they thought they have self. Nothing in the univere is as simple to make statement like humans like to do and it being valid emoticon

The way out of issues is actually very simple: observing mind and figuring out what does what and what the actual issues are. Also important thing is not to confuse things by linking them. If you analyze mind then define what you now analyze and what you do not analyze and be consitent. If you analyze how mind relates to body do not throw your emotions in any other way than how emotions play out in the body. If you analyze some higher spiritual things then do not confuse them with what comes purely from the body eg. you can easily overload neurons with activity which will cause dukkha and if you analyze something at this time you might get all sorts of wrong impressions and can make a lot of conclusions which are just plain wrong. Same goes with solutions. Divide and conquer rather than spread out and get confused about what you are doing and why. This is general advice, not necessarily in relation to your post. I do get impression that you tackle a lot of topics so my advice is just to be aware those are different topics.

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J W, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 521 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
My concerns arose when I read here, that people spend years (!) in states of quasi-psychosis as a result of their practition; my feeling tells me, that there is something off, there is something iffy. It seems to me, that this produces lots of scarred people, that try to convince themselves that the whole procedure was worth the result, if they make it past it. But those statements are never as enthusiastic as one would expect of attainments. Thats why I suspect some sunk cost bias at work.
Is the Dark Night really exclusive to one specific type of meditation? Is it even exclusive to meditation?  

More generally speaking, why is a contradication (or a 'paradox') a hinderance in the first place?  

Of course, as shargrol said, every system has its limitations.  Who is it that does not recognize this, who does not know this?
A. Dietrich Ringle, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

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Sunk cost bias, yet practical for ultimate matters, such as death. It's a personal choice I suppose.

Edit. The more I am around the more I feel that meditation is something to do for a healthy lifestyle, and that is it!
Jojo S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 10 Join Date: 8/1/21 Recent Posts
Anatta is killing me. It's making me feel miserable. Now every meditation sitting chatter about anatta is coming up and up and up...

What do you guys think of the fact, that the Buddha never stated "there is no self"?
https://tricycle.org/magazine/there-no-self/
Soh Wei Yu, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 42 Join Date: 2/13/21 Recent Posts
Jojo S
Anatta is killing me. It's making me feel miserable. Now every meditation sitting chatter about anatta is coming up and up and up...

What do you guys think of the fact, that the Buddha never stated "there is no self"?
https://tricycle.org/magazine/there-no-self/


Thanissaro Bhikkhu is wrong. I wrote an essay in 2011 Anatta: Not-Self or No-Self? , a very short excerpt from the whole article that I recommend others to read in full, "From Bhikkhu Bodhi's endnote to the sutta:
  • We should carefully heed the two reasons the Buddha does not declare, “There is no self”: not because he recognizes a transcendent self of some kind (as some interpreters allege), or because he is concerned only with delineating “a strategy of perception” devoid of ontological implications (as others hold), but (i) because such a mode of expression was used by the annihilationists, and the Buddha wanted to avoid aligning his teaching with theirs; and (ii) because he wished to avoid causing confusion in those already attached to the idea of self. The Buddha declares that “all phenomena are nonself” (sabbe dhammā anattā), which means that if one seeks a self anywhere one will not find one. Since “all phenomena” includes both the conditioned and the unconditioned, this precludes an utterly transcendent, ineffable self."
"

Also, Anatta directly realized and experienced correctly leads to unimaginable bliss: http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2019/08/the-incredible-bliss-of-anatta.html

​​​​​​​
Also, as Kyle Dixon (Krodha in reddit) wrote:


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krodha
· 4dAnātman does indeed mean there is no self.
The Buddha noted that all things are impermanent. Because all things are impermanent, any change in them will result in suffering. Because all things are impermanent and suffering, they are not fit to be regarded as "mine" or "myself". Positing that a self exists, that a self doesn't exist, that a self neither exists nor doesn't exist, or that self both exists and doesn't exist, are all categorically wrong view, per SN 44.10
This is why the answer lies in understanding non-arising [anutpāda].
As far as questions regarding the existence of a self, answering those would not be in line with carrying out the teachings, and would result in a stance in either eternalism or annihilationism, and would thus result in suffering.
If left as a conceptual, inferential conclusion. That however is not the goal.
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Op · 4dtheravadaHow do you respond to this?"Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: "Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?"When this was said, the Blessed One was silent."Then is there no self?"A second time, the Blessed One was silent.Then Vacchagotta the wanderer got up from his seat and left.Then, not long after Vacchagotta the wanderer had left, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "Why, lord, did the Blessed One not answer when asked a question by Vacchagotta the wanderer?""Ananda, if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism [the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?""No, lord.""And if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'"
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krodha
· 4dThe Buddha intuited that Vacchagotta would incorrectly understand anātman and instead wrongly adopt a conceptual position of ucceda, or annihilationism, where he thinks a presently existent self ceases to then exist. Bhante Sujato writes about this.It is unjustified to conclude that the Buddha was deterring Vacchagotta from anātman altogether, especially given that the Buddha repeats that all dharmas lack a self repeatedly in the Pāli literature.
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Op · 4dtheravadaBut friend, the Buddha, in this very sutta stated that saying there is not a self would be in line with the doctrine of annihilationism.The Buddha also states that saying there is a self would also be in line with eternalism.You have also stated that there is a true self, in Buddhanature. If Buddhanature is self, would that not be subscribing to the doctrine of eternalism?
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krodha
· 4d
But friend, the Buddha, in this very sutta stated that saying there is not a self would be in line with the doctrine of annihilationism.
The Buddha said if there is a self that exists and then ceases to exist, that alone is annihilationism [uccedavāda].
You have also stated that there is a true self, in Buddhanature.
While that is true I have not said that today.
If Buddhanature is self
Tathagātagarbha is not an ātman. There are sūtras which nominally refer to tathagātagarbha as an ātman in the specific context of the four pāramitās of nirvāna, but this is a subversive rhetorical device.Incidentally those same sūtras state the following:The Laṅkāvatāra sūtra discusses the difference:
"Similarly, that tathagatagarbha taught in the sutras spoken by the Bhagavan, since the completely pure luminous clear nature is completely pure from the beginning, possessing the thirty two marks, the Bhagavan said it exists inside of the bodies of sentient beings. When the Bhagavan described that– like an extremely valuable jewel thoroughly wrapped in a soiled cloth, is thoroughly wrapped by cloth of the aggregates, ayatanas and elements, becoming impure by the conceptuality of the thorough conceptuality suppressed by the passion, anger and ignorance – as permanent, stable and eternal, how is the Bhagavan’s teaching this as the tathagatagarbha is not similar with as the assertion of self of the non-Buddhists?
Bhagavan, the non-Buddhists make assertion a Self as 'A permanent creator, without qualities, pervasive and imperishable.'
The Bhagavan replied:
'Mahamati, my teaching of tathagatagarbha is not equivalent with the assertion of the Self of the non-Buddhists. Mahamati, the Tathagata, Arhat, Samyaksambuddhas, having demonstrated the meaning of the words "emptiness, reality limit, nirvana, non-arisen, signless", etc. as tathagatagarbha for the purpose of the immature complete forsaking the perishable abodes, demonstrate the expertiential range of the non-appearing abode of complete non-conceptuality by demonstrating the door of tathagatagarbha. Mahamati, a self should not be perceived as real by Bodhisattva Mahasattvas enlightened in the future or presently. Mahamati, for example, a potter, makes one mass of atoms of clay into various kinds containers from his hands, craft, a stick, thread and effort. Mahamati, similarly, although Tathagatas avoid the nature of conceptual selflessness in dharmas, they also appropriately demonstrate tathagatagarbha or demonstrate emptiness by various kinds [of demonstrations] possessing prajña and skillful means; like a potter, they demonstrate with various enumerations of words and letters. As such, because of that, Mahamati, the demonstration of Tathagatagarbha is not similar with the Self demonstrated by the non-Buddhists. Mahamati, the Tathagatas as such, in order to guide those grasping to assertions of the Self of the Non-Buddhists, will demonstrate tathagatagarbha with the demonstration of tathagatagarbha. How else will the sentient beings who have fallen into a conceptual view of a Self, possess the thought to abide in the three liberations and quickly attain the complete manifestation of Buddha in unsurpassed perfect, complete enlightenment?"
The Laṅkāvatāra also states:
O Mahāmati, with a view to casting aside the heterodox theory, you must treat the tathāgatagarbha as anātman.
and, also states that tathāgatagarbha is a synonym for the ālayavijñāna:
Tathāgatagarbha, known as “the all-base consciousness” [ālayavijñāna], is to be completely purified.
In the Saṃdhinirmocana sūtra the buddha states that the ālayavijñāna / tathāgatagarbha is a subtle concept that can be easily misunderstood:
The ālayavijñāna [tathāgatagarbha] is deep and subtle, all its seeds flowing like a river. Because it might incorrectly be conceived as a self, I have not taught it to the ignorant.
Finally from Bhāviveka:
The statement "The tathāgata pervades" means wisdom pervades all objects of knowledge, but it does not mean abiding in everything like Viśnu. Further, "Tathāgatagarbhin" means emptiness, signlessness and absence of aspiration exist the continuums of all sentient beings, but is not an inner personal agent pervading everyone.

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...
As they should. They should also disagree with Thanissaro since this is a novel assertion of his own that is inaccurate as a blanketed statement.But the truth is evidently even different than I thought when it comes to this assertion by Thanissaro...Incidentally, someone posted a talk by Thanissaro in this subreddit a week or so ago, and he admits in the talk that he says this as an upāya, or skillful means because he feels it is confusing to beginners. Thus Thanissaro downplays the emphasis of anātman in the beginning, but does admit sabbe dhamma anatta is a categorically true statement regarding the nature of phenomena that is to be ultimately discovered experientially at some point on one’s path.I still feel the initial lack of emphasis is somewhat cumbersome and results in more confusion than it should because we see a lot of people who just parrot this mistaken idea, but it is refreshing to know that de-emphasis is merely an upāya, or skillful methodology, that is not intended to be sustained.The truth of the matter is not only did the Buddha say there is no self, but he says there is no self to be found anywhere at all in any conditioned or unconditioned dhamma or phenomena.

....


We have sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā, sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā, sabbe dhammā anatta.Saṅkhārā means conditioned phenomena. The first two use saṅkhārā. The last, for anatta, does not use “saṅkhārā” but rather “dhamma.” This is done intentionally, because it is not only conditioned phenomena that lack a self, it is all phenomena, both conditioned and unconditioned. The only unconditioned dhamma in the Pāli literature is nibbana. Thus all phenomena are selfless, and there is no self to be found anywhere, as conditioned and unconditioned dhammas cover all phenomena.

...


It is a negation of ontology, and a call for an epistemic insight into that negation. Thus it is indeed an ontological claim of sorts.
Also, form is not referring to external forms, it's referring to internal perceptions associated with the body.
Depending on context, “form” [rūpa] either refers to (i) the material aggregate, or (ii) an object of the eye, something perceived visually. Thus it does indicate external appearances.In the Udānavarga 2.18 it is clear the Buddha is addressing the nature of external phenomena:
He who has perceived that this body is (empty) as a vase, and who knows that all things (dharma) are as an illusion, does thus destroy the chief of Māra's flowers, and will no more be seen by the king of death. He who has perceived that this world is like froth, and who knows that all things are as an illusion, does thus destroy the chief of Māra's flowers, and will no more be seen by the king of death. He who has perceived that this body is like froth, and who knows that all things are as an illusion, does thus destroy the chief of Māra's flowers, and will no more be seen by the king of death.

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...
[Quoting Geoffrey]
Here is an explanation.The Recognition of Selflessness (Anattasaññā) PART 1
Look at the world and see its emptiness Mogharāja, always mindful,
Eliminating the view of self, one goes beyond death.
One who views the world this way is not seen by the king of death.
— Sutta Nipāta 5.15, Mogharājamāṇavapucchā
The contemplation of selflessness is given in AN 10.60 Girimānanda Sutta:
Now what, Ānanda, is the recognition of selflessness? Here, Ānanda, a monk, gone to the wilderness, to the root of a tree, or to an empty place, discriminates thus: ‘The eye is not-self, forms are not-self; the ear is not-self, sounds are not-self; the nose is not-self, odors are not-self; the tongue is not-self, flavors are not-self; the body is not-self, tactual objects are not-self; the mind is not-self, phenomena are not-self.’ Thus he abides contemplating selflessness with regard to the six internal and external sensory spheres. This, Ānanda, is called the recognition of selflessness.
In practice, we need to be able to recognize this absence of self in our immediate experience: When seeing, there is the coming together of visible form, the eye, and visual consciousness. When hearing, there is the coming together of sound, the ear, and auditory consciousness. When touching, there is the coming together of tactual sensation, the body, and tactile consciousness. When thinking, there is the thought, the mind, and mental consciousness. These processes arise simply through ‘contact.’ When a sense faculty and a sensory object make contact, the corresponding sensory consciousness arises. This entire process occurs through specific conditionality (idappaccayatā). There is no independent, fully autonomous agent or self controlling any of this.An independent, autonomous self would, by definition, be:1. permanent
2. satisfactory
3. not prone to dis-ease
4. fully self-determining (be in complete autonomous control of itself)Thus, what is being negated is a permanent, satisfactory self which is not prone to old age, sickness, and death. As SN 22.59 Pañcavaggiya Sutta (abridged) states:
Monks, form, feeling, recognition, fabrications, and consciousness are not-self. Were form, feeling, recognition, fabrications, or consciousness self, then this form, feeling, recognition, fabrications, and consciousness would not lead to dis-ease.
This criterion of dis-ease is the context for the following statement that:
None can have it of form, feeling, recognition, fabrications, or consciousness: ‘Let my form, feeling, recognition, fabrications, or consciousness be thus, let my form, feeling, recognition, fabrications, or consciousness be not thus.’
By engaging in sustained, dedicated contemplation we find only impermanent processes, conditionally arisen, and not fully self-determining. First we clearly see that all conditioned phenomena of body and mind are impermanent. Next we come to see that whatever is impermanent is unsatisfactory in that it can provide no lasting happiness. Then we realize that all impermanent, unsatisfactory phenomena of body and mind are not-self — they can’t be the basis for a self, which by definition would be permanent and (one would hope) satisfactory. This relationship between the recognition of impermanence, the recognition of unsatisfactoriness, and the recognition of selflessness is illustrated in the following diagram.With the recognition of selflessness there is an emptying out of both the “subject” and “object” aspects of experience. We come to understand that “I-making” and “mine-making” with regard to the mind and body as well as all external representations is deluded. When the recognition of selflessness is fully developed there is no longer any reification of substantial referents to be experienced in relation to subjective grasping. Whatever is seen is merely the seen (diṭṭhamatta). Whatever is heard or sensed is merely the heard (sutamatta) and merely the sensed (mutamatta). Whatever is known is merely the known (viññātamatta). This is explained in Ud 1.10 Bāhiya Sutta:
"Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."
When there is no self to be found one’s experience becomes very simple, direct, and uncluttered. When seeing, there is the coming together of visible form, the eye, and visual consciousness, that’s all. There is no separate “seer.” The seer is entirely dependent upon the seen. There can be no seer independent of the seen. There is no separate, independent subject or self.This is also the case for the sensory object. The “seen” is entirely dependent upon the eye faculty and visual consciousness. There can be no object seen independent of the eye faculty and cognition. This is the case for all possible sensory objects. There is no separate, independent sensory object.The same holds true for sensory consciousness as well. “Seeing” is entirely dependent upon the eye and visible form. There can be no seeing independent of the eye and cognition. This is the case for all possible sensory cognitions. There is no separate, independent sensory consciousness.It’s important to understand this experientially. Let’s take the straightforward empirical experience of you looking at this screen right now as an example. Conventionally speaking, you could describe the experience as “I see the computer screen.” Another way of describing this is that there’s a “seer” who “sees” the “seen.” But look at the screen: are there really three independent and separate parts to your experience? Or are “seer,” “sees,” and “seen,” just three conceptual labels applied to this experience in which the three parts are entirely interdependent?The “seer,” “seen,” and “seeing” are all empty and insubstantial. The eye faculty, visible form, and visual consciousness are all interdependent aspects of the same experience. You can’t peel one away and still have a sensory experience — there is no separation. AN 4.24 Kāḷakārāma Sutta:
Thus, monks, the Tathāgata does not conceive an [object] seen when seeing what is to be seen. He does not conceive an unseen. He does not conceive a to-be-seen. He does not conceive a seer.
He does not conceive an [object] heard when hearing what is to be heard. He does not conceive an unheard. He does not conceive a to-be-heard. He does not conceive a hearer.
He does not conceive an [object] sensed when sensing what is to be sensed. He does not conceive an unsensed. He does not conceive a to-be-sensed. He does not conceive a senser.
He does not conceive an [object] known when knowing what is to be known. He does not conceive an unknown. He does not conceive a to-be-known. He does not conceive a knower.
Sensory consciousness can’t be isolated as separate and independent. Nor can any of these other interdependent phenomena. Even the designations that we apply to these various phenomena are entirely conventional, dependent designations. But this doesn’t mean that we should now interpret our experience as being some sort of cosmic oneness or unity consciousness or whatever one may want to call it. That's just another empty, dependent label isn’t it? The whole point of this analysis is to see the emptiness of all referents, and thereby stop constructing and defining a “self.”
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krodha
· 7mThe Recognition of Selflessness (Anattasaññā) PART 2The purpose of correctly engaging in the contemplation of selflessness is stated in AN 7.49 Dutiyasaññā Sutta:
‘The recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, monks, when developed and cultivated, is of great fruit and benefit; it merges with the death-free, has the death-free as its end.’ Thus it was said. In reference to what was it said?
Monks, when a monk’s mind frequently remains acquainted with the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, his mind is rid of “I-making” and “mine-making” with regard to this conscious body and externally with regard to all representations, and has transcended conceit, is at peace, and is well liberated.
If, monks, when a monk’s mind frequently remains acquainted with the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, his mind is not rid of “I-making” and “mine-making” with regard to this conscious body and externally with regard to all representations, and has not transcended conceit, is not at peace, and is not well liberated, then he should know, ‘I have not developed the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, there is no stepwise distinction in me, I have not obtained the strength of development.’ In that way he is fully aware there. But if, monks, when a monk’s mind frequently remains acquainted with the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, his mind is rid of “I-making” and “mine-making” with regard to this conscious body and externally with regard to all representations, and has transcended conceit, is at peace, and is well liberated, then he should know, ‘I have developed the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, there is stepwise distinction in me, I have obtained the strength of development.’ In that way he is fully aware there.
‘The recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, monks, when developed and cultivated, is of great fruit and benefit; it merges with the death-free, has the death-free as its end.’ Thus it was said. And in reference to this it was said.
Here we get to the heart of the matter, which is one of the most subtle aspects of the Buddhadhamma. Simply stated: when ignorance ceases, belief in self simultaneously ceases. And when there is no self to be found, then there is no self to die or take birth. This right here is “death-free.” And it is precisely this that the Buddha is declaring when he says to Mogharāja:
Look at the world and see its emptiness Mogharāja, always mindful,
Eliminating the view of self, one goes beyond death.
One who views the world this way is not seen by the king of death.
When one completely abandons the underlying tendencies which give rise to mistaken apprehensions of a self — any and all notions of “I am” — then there is no self to die. This stilling of the “currents of conceiving” over one’s imagined self, and the resulting peace that is empty of birth, aging, and death, is straightforwardly presented in MN 140 Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta:
‘He has been stilled where the currents of conceiving do not flow. And when the currents of conceiving do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.’ Thus was it said. With reference to what was it said?
Monk, “I am” is a conceiving. “I am this” is a conceiving. “I shall be” is a conceiving. “I shall not be” ... “I shall be possessed of form” ... “I shall be formless” ... “I shall be percipient” ... “I shall be non-percipient” ... “I shall be neither-percipient-nor-non-percipient” is a conceiving. Conceiving is a disease, conceiving is a cancer, conceiving is an arrow. By going beyond all conceiving, monk, he is said to be a sage at peace.
Furthermore, a sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die. He is unagitated, and is free from longing. He has nothing whereby he would be born. Not being born, how could he age? Not aging, how could he die? Not dying, how could he be agitated? Not being agitated, for what will he long?
So it was in reference to this that it was said, ‘He has been stilled where the currents of conceiving do not flow. And when the currents of conceiving do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.’
Truly, “a sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die.” In this way, when ignorance ceases, the entire complex of conditioned arising bound up with dissatisfaction also ceases. When all traces of “I-making” and “mine-making” are abandoned through the fully integrated threefold training of ethical conduct, meditation, and discernment, just this is dispassion (virāga). Just this is cessation (nirodha). Just this is extinguishment (nibbāna). Just this is without outflows (anāsava). Just this is not-born (ajāta), not-become (abhūta), not-made (akata), not-fabricated (asaṅkhata), endless (ananta), indestructible (apalokita), and yes, death-free (amata). It is freedom (mutti).The Recognition of Selflessness and the Seven Factors of Awakening (Satta Bojjhaṅgā):Sustained, dedicated practice of the recognition of selflessness will gradually create the optimal conditions for the arising of all seven factors of awakening. SN 46.73 Anatta Sutta (abridged):
Here monks, a monk develops the awakening factor of mindfulness accompanied by the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of dhamma-investigation accompanied by the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of energy accompanied by the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of joy accompanied by the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of tranquility accompanied by the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of meditative composure accompanied by the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of equanimity accompanied by the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go.
It is in this way that the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory is developed and cultivated so that it is of great fruit and benefit. It is in this way that the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory is developed and cultivated so that one of two fruits is to be expected: either final gnosis in this very life or, if there is a residue of clinging, the state of nonreturning. It is in this way that the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory is developed and cultivated so that it leads to great good. It is in this way that the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory is developed and cultivated so that it leads to great security from bondage. It is in this way that the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory is developed and cultivated so that it leads to a great sense of urgency. It is in this way that the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory is developed and cultivated so that it leads to dwelling in great comfort.




Soh Wei Yu, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 42 Join Date: 2/13/21 Recent Posts
Now having read the above, you should also read this because this means nothing is lost from the realization of anatta:

Again, short excerpts from an article I think you should read in full: 

http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2019/01/no-awareness-does-not-mean-non.html


Geovani Geo to me, to be without dual is not to subsume into one and although awareness is negated, it is not to say there is nothing.
Negating the Awareness/Presence (Absolute) is not to let Awareness remain at the abstract level.  When such transpersonal Awareness that exists only in wonderland is negated, the vivid radiance of presence are fully tasted in the transient appearances; zero gap and zero distance between presence and moment to moment of ordinary experiences and we realize separation has always only been conventional.
Then mundane activities -- hearing, sitting, standing, seeing and sensing, become pristine and vibrant, natural and free.” – John Tan, 2020

...

Session Start: Saturday, 27 March, 2010

(9:54 PM) Thusness: Not bad for self-enquiry
(9:55 PM) AEN: icic..
btw what do u think lucky and chandrakirti is trying to convey
(9:56 PM) Thusness: those quotes weren't really well translated in my opinion.
(9:57 PM) Thusness: what needs be understood is 'No I' is not to deny Witnessing consciousness.
(9:58 PM) Thusness: and 'No Phenomena' is not to deny Phenomena
(9:59 PM) Thusness: It is just for the purpose of 'de-constructing' the mental constructs.
(10:00 PM) AEN: oic..
(10:01 PM) Thusness: when u hear sound, u cannot deny it...can u?
(10:01 PM) AEN: ya
(10:01 PM) Thusness: so what r u denying?
(10:02 PM) Thusness: when u experience the Witness as u described in ur thread 'certainty of being', how can u deny this realization?
(10:03 PM) Thusness: so what is does 'no I' and 'no phenomena' mean?
(10:03 PM) AEN: like u said its only mental constructs that are false... but consciousness cant be denied ?
(10:03 PM) Thusness: no...i am not saying that
Buddha never deny the aggregates
(10:04 PM) Thusness: just the selfhood
(10:04 PM) Thusness: the problem is what is meant by 'non-inherent', empty nature, of phenomena and 'I'

2010:

(11:15 PM) Thusness:    but understanding it wrongly is another matter
can u deny Witnessing?
(11:16 PM) Thusness:    can u deny that certainty of being?
(11:16 PM) AEN:    no
(11:16 PM) Thusness:    then there is nothing wrong with it
how could u deny ur very own existence?
(11:17 PM) Thusness:    how could u deny existence at all
(11:17 PM) Thusness:    there is nothing wrong experiencing directly without intermediary the pure sense of existence
(11:18 PM) Thusness:    after this direct experience, u should refine ur understanding, ur view, ur insights
(11:19 PM) Thusness:    not after the experience, deviate from the right view, re-enforce ur wrong view
(11:19 PM) Thusness:    u do not deny the witness, u refine ur insight of it
what is meant by non-dual
(11:19 PM) Thusness:    what is meant by non-conceptual
what is being spontaneous
what is the 'impersonality' aspect
(11:20 PM) Thusness:    what is luminosity.
(11:20 PM) Thusness:    u never experience anything unchanging
(11:21 PM) Thusness:    in later phase, when u experience non-dual, there is still this tendency to focus on a background... and that will prevent ur progress into the direct insight into the TATA as described in the tata article.
(11:22 PM) Thusness:    and there are still different degree of intensity even u realized to that level.
(11:23 PM) AEN:    non dual?
(11:23 PM) Thusness:    tada (an article) is more than non-dual...it is phase 5-7
(11:24 PM) AEN:    oic..
(11:24 PM) Thusness:    it is all about the integration of the insight of anatta and emptiness
(11:25 PM) Thusness:    vividness into transience, feeling what i called 'the texture and fabric' of Awareness as forms is very important
then come emptiness
(11:26 PM) Thusness:    the integration of luminosity and emptiness


(10:45 PM) Thusness:    do not deny that Witnessing but refine the view, that is very important
(10:46 PM) Thusness:    so far, u have correctly emphasized the importance of witnessing
(10:46 PM) Thusness:    unlike in the past, u gave ppl the impression that u r denying this witnessing presence
(10:46 PM) Thusness:    u merely deny the personification, reification and objectification
(10:47 PM) Thusness:    so that u can progress further and realize our empty nature.
but don't always post what i told u in msn
(10:48 PM) Thusness:    in no time, i will become sort of cult leader
(10:48 PM) AEN:    oic.. lol
(10:49 PM) Thusness:    anatta is no ordinary insight.  When we can reach the level of thorough transparency, u will realize the benefits
(10:50 PM) Thusness:    non-conceptuality, clarity, luminosity, transparency, openness, spaciousness, thoughtlessness, non-locality...all these descriptions become quite meaningless.
Jojo S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Questioning Vipassana (no-self, impermanence, Goenka)

Posts: 10 Join Date: 8/1/21 Recent Posts
Thank you again. I don't know if I understand all of this correctly yet, probably not. But still I feel like it is helpful for me.

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