Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts)

Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts) Aleksandar Bozic 12/20/21 6:33 AM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts Emil Jensen 12/20/21 10:28 AM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts Stefan Stefan 12/20/21 5:26 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts terry 12/21/21 7:50 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts Stefan Stefan 12/21/21 8:13 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts terry 12/22/21 12:34 AM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts Pepe · 12/20/21 9:25 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts Jim Smith 12/21/21 10:57 AM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts Pepe · 12/21/21 11:10 AM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts terry 12/22/21 6:37 AM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts Pepe · 12/22/21 8:43 AM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/21/21 6:17 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts Pepe · 12/21/21 8:53 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts Jim Smith 12/22/21 7:49 AM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts terry 12/30/21 2:34 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts Jim Smith 1/2/22 6:18 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts Jim Smith 1/3/22 5:23 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts terry 1/3/22 6:22 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts terry 1/6/22 11:08 AM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts terry 1/6/22 11:33 AM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts terry 1/6/22 12:15 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts Pepe · 1/8/22 9:45 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts terry 1/22/22 4:54 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts terry 1/3/22 10:52 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts X.O. Hologram 1/4/22 12:17 AM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts terry 1/5/22 11:26 AM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts Monsoon Frog 1/5/22 5:22 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts George S 1/5/22 7:42 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts terry 1/27/22 1:12 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts terry 1/27/22 3:44 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts Ni Nurta 2/8/22 5:02 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts terry 2/10/22 1:06 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts Papa Che Dusko 2/12/22 1:47 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts terry 2/12/22 1:12 PM
RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts terry 2/14/22 12:03 AM
Aleksandar Bozic, modified 9 Months ago at 12/20/21 6:33 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/20/21 6:27 AM

Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts)

Posts: 13 Join Date: 8/25/21 Recent Posts
Hello seekers,

First I would love to just give thanks to everyone here. Normalizing all these experiences and practices, grounding me when I go astray or panic, teaching loads of different techniques and in general the supportive yet critical vibe this forum has is amazing and I am deeply thankful to all of  you.

I believe I'm somewhere around second path (not sure whether I have attained it or not and at this point it kind of doesn't matter). I have worked the most with following the breath until attaining stream entry and then I have switched to a more shikantaza/do nothing or whatever else you want to call it style meditation.

I'm very thankful to our lord and savior Dan the man for explaining in such depth everything that is needed for the path. His book felt really like a recipe book and it gave a lot of perspective to what is happening. While I really loved everything in the book and regularly re-read parts of it as becomes useful to my path I feel like I'm moving farther from the technical style and moving into Zen-ish territory where I feel like what is happening is happening, insights will come as they come and in general I do not concern myself with the insights besides thinking most of them are really cool. Insights have become more of a talking point and interesting experience with my meditation friends instead of a huge deal. 

I would love to hear your opinions and maybe the experience of people further down the path and especially people using different meditation styles. While my friend is doing noting at an incredible rate and dissects his experience very deeply my insights were more esoteric I guess, or more vague. Kind of the magical/what is god/what is meaning type of insights where I don't necessarily know exactly what assumptions are being ripped apart but afterwards I do attain the knowledge that that insight brings. I have had insights just reading koans and I love the poetic aspect if you could call it that.

Does everyone experience impermanence constantly at some point in their journey (for me it's sometimes all bubbly energetic blips and sometimes it's the same as it was before I started meditating, kind of like an on/off switch)? How depersonalized or personal do you feel experience is for you? Am I potentially missing something by not doing anything besides Do Nothing meditation? How do you see the differences in styles of meditation and does it shape a different insights or do you feel like you get to the same insights with all styles of meditation? Do you attain the same amounts of precision with different styles at the end goal and does it matter at all? I realize this has a lot of assumptions and it's a lot to unpack but all of these are things I'm kind of asking myself and I would love to deepen my conceptual understanding as well emoticon
Emil Jensen, modified 9 Months ago at 12/20/21 10:28 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/20/21 10:28 AM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 319 Join Date: 7/16/20 Recent Posts
Haha, "our lord and savior" :p Good one!

I don't think I have anything too useful to share, but I can relate to what you say about naturally tending towards then zen-ish/do-nothing kind of practice.
For me that's been very natural. It's as if those subtle nuances that become clear, are not served by a stupid voice in the mind trying to come up with a name for it also. Noting is uncool imo (LOL!)

I was also wondering the exact same things as you are asking in your last paragraph. Dan the man! Shargrol the charcoal? Linda the splinter (in your mind)?
Someone will come to the rescue, I'm sure
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Stefan Stefan, modified 9 Months ago at 12/20/21 5:26 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/20/21 5:26 PM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 238 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
I'd imagine everyone is experiencing impermanence all the time whether they like to or not. Meditation isn't just about experiencing it, it's about making peace with the change and learning not to fight it.

Do you feel like you're missing out by doing Zazen? Why not try something new? How can anyone answer what you should be doing with your time?

Experience is very personal and impersonal, tracing a very neat line between both. There is no contradiction between the impersonal processes that make me up and the personal feeling that they are mine. Neither contradicts or interrupts the other. They simply flow. Once one learns how conditioning of phenomena work (the links of dependent origination of both suffering and liberation) then one can start effectively working to reduce suffering, re-wire the mind for positivity, and liberate from unwholesome conditioning. It reminds me of my favourite Tao Te Ching chapter: 
Do you want to improve the world?
I don't think it can be done.

The world is sacred.
It can't be improved.
If you tamper with it, you'll ruin it.
If you treat it like an object, you'll lose it.

There is a time for being ahead,
a time for being behind;
a time for being in motion,
a time for being at rest;
a time for being vigorous,
a time for being exhausted;
a time for being safe,
a time for being in danger.

The Master sees things as they are,
without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way,
and resides at the center of the circle.

This "residing at the centre of the circle" that's what it is like. Although it's a little poetic and betrays what's really happening (there is no centre), that's sorta what it is like. Equanimity is firmness and resolve in the face of turbulence, good fortune, bad fortune, change, and conditionality. The realisation of conditionality within leaves no trace of needing conditionality beyond the mind-body. 

Not all techniques have the same precision. But precision is only a tool we learn in order to actually get the good stuff. How you perceive things is irrelevant unless you can turn that into shutting off a fetter and hopping off the ride of samsara. The insights too are pretty irrelevant unless they're actually leading to a deeper appreciation for the noble 8fold path, 4 noble truths, and the links of dependent origination (not saying you have to know the links the Buddha made, but eventually, no matter what, I find most committed meditators have their own dependent origination mental model for how suffering arises and ceases). 

As for awakening, only you can honestly answer that. Or maybe your closest friends/family can too. Are you more relaxed, more put together, friendlier, less stressed, more resolute, more wholesome, and more satisfied with the inescapable yet ungraspable present moment no matter what it is presenting? If so, you probably have a path under your belt.
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Pepe ·, modified 9 Months ago at 12/20/21 9:25 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/20/21 9:25 PM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 600 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Hi Aleksanzar,

Here there are a few entries from a seasoned meditator (Shargrol) that could be of help:

Every yogi should have multiple techniques in their toolbox (both for SE and subsequent paths)
Alternating Samatha and Dzogchen
"Four Gears" of practice in Ken McLeod's Wake Up to Your Life

For a general overview of a Zen-like model, check John Tan's 7 stages of Enlightenment. It's a whole different model from Theravadish 4 Paths.
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Jim Smith, modified 9 Months ago at 12/21/21 10:57 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/21/21 9:32 AM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 1206 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Many of the techniques are really the same.

​​​​​​​Immersion in emotions and mental chatter are the biggest culprits in the formation of both suffering and the sense of self. Suffering and sense of self are like two sides to the same coin. What eliminates one eliminates the other.

Any type of meditation that changes the focus of your mind away from thoughts and emotions tells you about the source of suffering/self by what happens when it is removed, or you can study thoughts and emotions and learn about the source of suffering/self directly. 

The three characteristics are interrelated. If you study one you are studying all three. 

There is vipassana in samatha and samatha in vipassana. When you try to concentrate in samatha everytime you get distracted it shows you the source of suffering and that thoughts are not yours, and even the "oberver" is not permanent, not you. To do vipassana you have to focus your mind on the object of meditation.

Self inquiry is studying the anatta characterisitc.
Emotional work (observing emotions and letting go / surrender / "gladdening the mind") is studying the dukkha characteristic. ​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​etc. etc.
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Pepe ·, modified 9 Months ago at 12/21/21 11:10 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/21/21 11:10 AM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 600 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Not that I disagree with what you wrote, but the insights to have/discover/tumble upon are different, plus at least initially you work with the flip side of the 3Cs: stillness instead of Anicca and Anatta, vividness and effortlessness instead of Dukkha. Kind of walking through the path of least resistance, or the sunny side of the street if you prefer.

(1) I AM: The permanent 'true-self'
(2) I AM Everything: The permanent 'true-self' is everywhere
(3) The Source: 'true-self' surrenders to the Source, and any conceptual investigation is considered a stumbling block
(4) One Mind - No Mind: now the formless background comes to the foreground, beginning realization of No-Self
(5) Vipasanna on the five senses starts in this stage/phase and onwards
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago at 12/21/21 6:17 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/21/21 6:17 PM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 6726 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I find that both the flickerings of impermanence and the stillness are present basically all the time, but sometimes I'm too narrowed down and foggy to remember to look. It's like there is absolute stillness in riding the wave of impermanence, if that makes any sense at all. When I really tune into the impermanence, there is nothing solid enough to have any duration whatsoever, so I'm not so sure that there is a difference between impermanence and stillness, but the emphasis definitely differs, and that produces different lenses. I think different people come from different directions and therefore are inclined to be helped more by some pointers than others. Hence all the different traditions and the great variety of methods. Personally, I seem to need triangulation between different approaches. That's not much of a choice, I think, just how the path is laid out for me. When I do a practice associated with one tradition, it typically manifests with some clear traits from another tradition, and vice versa, so from my own experience I can't really tell how something usually presents for people within that tradition, and I seem to need the contrasts (which aren't really contrasts) for things to fall into place. I don't think that's the path for everyone. It's probably one of the messier ones. It's just apparently what happens. 

If you are wondering specifically about the bubbliness and the blips, for me the degree to which it stands out varies over time. It's there any time I look for it, but not necessarily always as sharp. There also seems to be a continuum between blips and larger and larger waves (in fractal patterns), like the wave-particle thing. It doesn't really feel like it's any different from not seeing it, but more a matter of zooming in and out. It all feels normal. When I orient to an object as solid, it's solid enough. I can grab a pen and use it to write with. The flickering doesn't take away that. (I have heard that it can for some people occasionally, but problems related to it seem very rare - rare enough to be entertaining anecdotes). Therefore, I don't really think about it much. It has become the new normal. That new normal includes both the zooming in and the zooming out. 
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terry, modified 9 Months ago at 12/21/21 7:50 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/21/21 7:50 PM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 2196 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
for ss....


from thomas merton, the way of chuang tzu




THE PIVOT


Tao is obscured when men understand only one of a pair
of opposites, or concentrate only on a partial aspect of being.
Then clear expression also becomes muddled by mere wordplay, 
affirming this one aspect and denying all the rest.

Hence the wrangling of Confucians and Mohists; each
denies what the other affirms, and affirms what the other
denies. What use is this struggle to set up "No" against "Yes,"
and "Yes" against "No"? Better to abandon this hopeless effort 
and seek true light!

There is nothing that cannot be seen from the standpoint
of the "Not-I." And there is nothing which cannot be seen
from the standpoint of the "I." If I begin by looking at anything 
from the viewpoint of the "Not-I," then I do not really
see it, since it is "not I" that sees it. If I begin from where I
am and see it as I see it, then it may also become possible for
me to see it as another sees it. Hence the theory of reversal
that opposites produce each other, depend on each other, and
complement each other.

However this may be, life is followed by death; death is
followed by life. The possible becomes impossible; the impossible
becomes possible. Right turns into wrong and wrong
into right - the flow of life alters circumstances and thus things
themselves are altered in their turn. But disputants continue
to affirm and to deny the same things they have always
affirmed and denied, ignoring the new aspects of reality
presented by the change in conditions.

The wise man therefore, instead of trying to prove this
or that point by logical disputation, sees all things in the
light of direct intuition. He is not imprisoned by the limit-
ations of the "I," for the viewpoint of direct intuition is that
of both "I" and "Not-1." Hence he sees that on both sides
of every argument there is both right and wrong. He also
sees that in the end they are reducible to the same thing,
once they are related to the pivot of Tao.

When the wise man grasps this pivot, he is in the center of
the circle, and there he stands while "Yes" and "No" pursue
each other around the circumference.
The pivot of Tao passes through the center where all
affirmations and denials converge. He who grasps the pivot
is at the still-point from which all movements and oppositions
can be seen in their right relationship. Hence he sees the
limitless possibilities of both "Yes" and "No." Abandoning all
thought of imposing a limit or taking sides, he rests in direct
intuition. Therefore I said: "Better to abandon disputation
and seek the true light!
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Stefan Stefan, modified 9 Months ago at 12/21/21 8:13 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/21/21 8:13 PM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 238 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Thanks for sharing, Terry, I liked that quite a lot
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Pepe ·, modified 9 Months ago at 12/21/21 8:53 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/21/21 8:53 PM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 600 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Interesting Linda! Thanks for sharing
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terry, modified 9 Months ago at 12/22/21 12:34 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/22/21 12:34 AM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 2196 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
the whole book is wonderful...

but the pivot is my favorite

https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/MertonChuangTzu.pdf
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terry, modified 9 Months ago at 12/22/21 6:37 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/22/21 6:37 AM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 2196 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
not to disagree with what you said,

sunny side is the yang of it all, but then there is the yin of it all, without which there could be no yang...


from davis, Advaita Vedānta and Zen Buddhism:

(2) Negation (neti, neti). This method of indicating brahman is found throughout the Upaniṣads and such negative indicators of brahman are employed by Śaṅkara in Upad. 7, when he reminds his pupil that brahman is: ‘Not Thus! Not so!’ and, ‘This Ātman is [described as] “not, not”’ (Deutsch and Van Buitenen, 1971, pp. 125–126). These purely negative definitions of brahman are ‘intended to distinguish it from the known and limited referents of all words’, hence ‘the essential aim of the negative method is to deny all specifications which are the result of superimposition’ (Rambachan, 1991, p. 70).

Very often the negation employed by śruti is twofold. Contrary attributes are side by side negated in order that the negation of one attribute does not lead to the supposition that brahman is characterized by its opposite. In his interaction with the seeker of brahmajñāna in Upad. 7 Śaṅkara indicates brahman as: ‘[It is] not coarse, not fine’, and ‘This Brahman is without an inside and without an outside’ (Deutsch and Van Buitenen, 1971, pp. 125–126). Working with juxtaposing negations in this way serves to remove or lessen the inherent finite implications of words. For Śaṅkara, no single word can directly signify brahman but by moving the student’s attention from one negation to its opposite Śaṅkara indicates the singular status of brahman.
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Jim Smith, modified 9 Months ago at 12/22/21 7:49 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/22/21 7:49 AM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 1206 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
https://www.thedailyzen.org/category/zen-poetry/page/3/
Verses on the Faith Mind
by Chien-chih Seng-ts’an
Third Zen Patriarch [d. 606 AD]
Tr. by Richard B. Clarke
Zen teacher at the Living Dharma Centers, Amherst, Mass.
http://www.mendosa.com/way.html

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

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

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

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

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

Those who do not live in the single Way
fail in both activity and passivity,
assertion and denial.
To deny the reality of things is to miss their reality;
to assert the emptiness of things
is to miss their reality.

The more you talk and think about it,
the further astray you wander from the truth.
Stop talking and thinking
and there is nothing you will not be able to know.

To return to the root is to find the meaning,
but to pursue appearances is to miss the source.
At the moment of inner enlightenment,
there is a going beyond appearance and emptiness.
The changes that appear to occur in the empty world
we call real only because of our ignorance.
Do not search for the truth;
only cease to cherish opinions.

Do not remain in the dualistic state;
avoid such pursuits carefully.
If there is even a trace
of this and that, of right and wrong,
the Mind-essence will be lost in confusion.
Although all dualities come from the One,
do not be attached even to this One.

When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way,
nothing in the world can offend,
and when a thing can no longer offend,
it ceases to exist in the old way.

When no discriminating thoughts arise,
the old mind ceases to exist.
When thought objects vanish,
the thinking-subject vanishes,
and when the mind vanishes, objects vanish.

Things are objects because there is a subject or mind;
and the mind is a subject because there are objects.
Understand the relativity of these two
and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness.
In this Emptiness the two are indistinguishable
and each contains in itself the whole world.
If you do not discriminate between coarse and fine
you will not be tempted to prejudice and opinion.

To live in the Great Way
is neither easy nor difficult.
But those with limited views
are fearful and irresolute;
the faster they hurry, the slower they go.

Clinging cannot be limited;
even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment
is to go astray.
Just let things be in their own way
and there will be neither coming nor going.

Obey the nature of things
and you will walk freely and undisturbed.
When thought is in bondage the truth is hidden,
for everything is murky and unclear.
The burdensome practice of judging
brings annoyance and weariness.
What benefit can be derived
from distinctions and separations?

If you wish to move in the One Way
do not dislike even the world of senses and ideas.
Indeed, to accept them fully
is identical with true Enlightenment.

The wise man strives to no goals
but the foolish man fetters himself.
There is one Dharma, not many;
distinctions arise from the clinging needs of the ignorant.
To seek Mind with discriminating mind
is the greatest of all mistakes.

Rest and unrest derive from illusion;
with enlightenment there is no liking and disliking.
All dualities come from ignorant inference.
They are like dreams of flowers in air:
foolish to try to grasp them.
Gain and loss, right and wrong;
such thoughts must finally be abolished at once.

If the eye never sleeps,
all dreams will naturally cease.
If the mind makes no discriminations,
the ten thousand things
are as they are, of single essence.

To understand the mystery of this One-essence
is to be released from all entanglements.
When all things are seen equally
the timeless Self-essence is reached.
No comparisons or analogies are possible
in this causeless, relationless state.
Consider motion in stillness
and stillness in motion;
both movement and stillness disappear.
When such dualities cease to exist
Oneness itself cannot exist.
To this ultimate finality
no law or description applies.

For the unified mind in accord with the Way
all self-centered striving ceases.
Doubts and irresolutions vanish
and life in true faith is possible.

With a single stroke we are freed from bondage;
nothing clings to us and we hold to nothing.
All is empty, clear, self-illuminating,
with no exertion of the mind’s power.
Here thought, feeling, knowledge, and imagination are of no value.
In this world of Suchness
there is neither self nor other-than-self.

To come directly into harmony with this reality
just simply say when doubt arises, “Not two.”
In this “not two” nothing is separate,
nothing is excluded.
No matter when or where,
enlightenment means entering this truth.
And this truth is beyond extension or diminution in time or space;
in it a single thought is ten thousand years.

Emptiness here, Emptiness there,
but the infinite universe stands always before your eyes.

Infinitely large and infinitely small;
no difference, for definitions have vanished
and no boundaries are seen.
So too with Being and non-Being.
Waste no time in doubts and arguments
that have nothing to do with this.

One thing, all things;
move among and intermingle,
without distinction.
To live in this realization
is to be without anxiety about nonperfection.
To live in this faith is the road to nonduality,
because the nondual is one with the trusting mind.

Words!
The Way is beyond language,
for in it there is

no yesterday

no tomorrow

no today.


​​​​​​​
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Pepe ·, modified 9 Months ago at 12/22/21 8:43 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/22/21 8:43 AM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 600 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Terry,

I like very much Taoist's Yin-Yang view. Actually, I've been involved in taoist related practices for over 30 years and my first (and few) non-dual glimpses were result of them. But I know for sure that my present level of insights don't allow me to see "impermanence within stillness and stillness within impermanence" on-line real-time. But at least, knowing that stillness, vividness and effortlessness is kind of the flip side of the 3Cs, is somehow adopting this Yin-Yang view, isn't it? And trying to follow the 'path of least (psychological) resistance' by first seeing the permanent self before tackling Anatta, isn't that Wu-Wei?

Thanks again for recommending Davis' Advaita Vedānta and Zen Buddhism! I have read the intro so far, and it's quite good. Loved this phrase:

(Advaita and Zen) traditions posit an ontological quest through epistemological investigations based on a theory of (perceptual) error. The core operational assumption of both traditions is that our experience of reality is obscured or hindered by conditioned ontological boundaries and epistemological filters that we habitually mistake for reality itself.
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terry, modified 9 Months ago at 12/30/21 2:34 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/30/21 2:34 PM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 2196 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
clarke's translation has become ubiquitous...

dumoulin (history of zen buddhism) provides this translation of the final verses, worth comparing...



In the higher realm of true Suchness
There is neither "self" nor "other": 
When direct identification is sought,
We can only say, "not two."

In being "not two" all is the same,
All that is comprehended in it; 
The wise in the ten quarters,
They all enter into this Absolute Reason. 

This Absolute Reason is beyond quickening (time) and extending (space),
For it, one instant is ten thousand years; 
Whether we see it or not,
It is manifest everywhere in all the ten quarters.

Infinitely small things are as large as large things can be,
For here no external conditions obtain;
Infinitely large things are as small as small things can be,
For objective limits are here of no consideration. 

What is is the same as what is not,
What is not is the same as what is; 
Where this state of things fails to obtain,
Indeed, no tarrying there. 

One in All, 
All in One—
If only this is realised,
No more worry about your not being perfect!

Where Mind and each believing mind are not divided,
And undivided are each believing mind and Mind,
This is where words fail; 
For it is not of the past, present, and future. 




and for good measure, some discussion of hui neng from the same opus...


"To See into Ones Nature and Become a Buddha"

The title "Zen Master of the Great Mirror' which was bestowed on Hui-neng after his death, is indeed an apt designation of his genius. He experienced in sudden enlightenment and realized in daily life the mirror-nature of the mind and the spiritual nature of reality, which are the basic concepts of his metaphysics. All reality is Spirit (Mind). The mind is one and, like a mirror, is in motionless repose and yet perpetually active, for its brightness reflects continuously. To behold the mind, no special exercises of concentration are necessary. It is enough, rather, to be freed from all duality in order that the mind may
shine in primal purity. "The enlightenment is your own nature. Originally it was entirely pure. Only avail yourselves of this mind and you will immediately become a Buddha."  Original nature is inherently enlightened, it is wisdom (prajna) and "of itself in contemplation" (samadhi)." Contemplation is not
distinct from wisdom, and wisdom is not distinct from contemplation. They are related as the lamp is to its light; both are inseparable."  Therefore it is not necessary first to engage in contemplation in order to attain wisdom. Contemplation and wisdom are one and the same. 

The prerequisite for the  realization of this identity is the absence of passions, images, and thoughts. Originally self-nature is free from all duality. "It is like the Void—without limitation, also without angular or circular [form]; without greatness or smallness, neither blue nor yellow, red nor white; without an
above or a below, neither long nor short; also without vexation or joy, without yes or no, good or evil, beginning or end. All Buddha-regions are entirely like the Void."  
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Jim Smith, modified 8 Months ago at 1/2/22 6:18 PM
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RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

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Awakening is not a one dimensional phenomenon.*

Different styles of practice will emphasize and develop the various dimensions differently.

Ultimately each person crafts their own version of awakening by how and what they choose to practice.

​​​​​​​_________________
*"We would like to think that enlightenment is a unity that grows in a uniform way. But actually, it is a many-dimensional process. Usually growth in one dimension facilitates growth in the others, but not inevitably. Sometimes a person can become stunningly proficient with regard to certain dimensions of spiritual empowerment while under-emphasizing other aspects." - Shinzen Young, "The Science of Enlightenment"
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Jim Smith, modified 8 Months ago at 1/3/22 5:23 PM
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RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

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Jim Smith
Awakening is not a one dimensional phenomenon.*

Different styles of practice will emphasize and develop the various dimensions differently.

Ultimately each person crafts their own version of awakening by how and what they choose to practice.

​​​​​​​_________________
*"We would like to think that enlightenment is a unity that grows in a uniform way. But actually, it is a many-dimensional process. Usually growth in one dimension facilitates growth in the others, but not inevitably. Sometimes a person can become stunningly proficient with regard to certain dimensions of spiritual empowerment while under-emphasizing other aspects." - Shinzen Young, "The Science of Enlightenment"


And people become interested in meditation for different reasons: ending suffering, realizing anatta, sunyata, awakening, metta, oneness, serenity etc. What is right is different for different people.
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terry, modified 8 Months ago at 1/3/22 6:22 PM
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RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

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 pepe said:


Terry,

I like very much Taoist's Yin-Yang view. Actually, I've been involved in taoist related practices for over 30 years and my first (and few) non-dual glimpses were result of them. But I know for sure that my present level of insights don't allow me to see "impermanence within stillness and stillness within impermanence" on-line real-time. But at least, knowing that stillness, vividness and effortlessness is kind of the flip side of the 3Cs, is somehow adopting this Yin-Yang view, isn't it? And trying to follow the 'path of least (psychological) resistance' by first seeing the permanent self before tackling Anatta, isn't that Wu-Wei?

-------------------
   
   Knotty tangle.

   Threads, or more to the point, problematical statements...

1.  the taoists's yin yang view

2. nondual glimpses

3. present level of insights, can't see stillness in impermanence/impermanence in stillness

4. stillness, vivdness, effortlessness flip side of 3c's (3 marks?) is yin yang view

5. Self then not self path to non-doing (wu wei) - leaving out paradox of "trying to follow the path of least resistance," (yuk yuk)


   Let's start with 3, your present state of awareness not allowing you to see.

   Who are you? In this context, you are a person who is reading this, part of audience. I'm addressing you but consciously speaking also to anyone who cares to follow the discussion, as many as a few dozen, perhaps. Fellow meditators whose experiences you and I share to whatever degree we do. We few dozen speak a more or less common language, share a history and a culture, an origin and a destiny; and we share this to a degree with all of humanity and the entire biosphere and attendant universe.

  How does your present state of awareness not allow you to see? Solve this difficulty, "cleanse the doors of perception," and your eyes open and you can see. The sufis used to talk of collyrium, what collyrium may we use to clear up our sangha's vision of the present? Might take a little more than word medicine to cause sufficient shift in perspective. Might take practice.

   The buddha famously tailored his words to the level of practice of his audience, yet in each case we have his words and all may interpret them. So what we say must mean something to everyone with ears. Even so, ananda, we speak one on one, as 

self/self
self/Self
Self/self
and
Self/Self

   This is hermeneutics, to understand things on the level of the individual, reinterpret them on the level of the whole, then reinterpret them on the level of the individual, then the whole, back and forth until optimum understanding - an unruffled tacit knowing, prajna - is attained. As with texts, so with life, for life is narrative, and narrative is time.

   Anyone who really studies ancient greek thought is fairly quickly struck with how much more advanced it is than modern thought, the basic scientific facticity accepted as normal by the "they" we all bend towards. It takes real effort to escape the prison of customary thinking, and as soon as we engage in dialog we return to the cellblock and speak through the bars. Yet to engage in dialog with oneself is crazy, so we find sanity only in silence and in compassion. 

   The greeks, for example, understood the difference between timing (in the sense of a stopwatch measuring off fractions of the earth's rotation) and timing, the art of saying and doing things with ease, grace and effectiveness. They understood the difference between poetry and rhetoric, between accounting and eloquence. The interplay between the visible and invisible involved much of their thinking, where for us if spmething cannot be quantified, we ignore it.

  Really, books could be written within these broad strokes but I want to focus on time and the present in particular. We quantify time, call this clock time, a universal time composed of minutes and seconds of arc. We superimpose this "time" on the events of our lives for the convenience of manipulation but it is not the time in which we actually live. Again, who are we? We are characters in a story, a narrative. Remember the 3 and 4 year old, making up stories about all their toys, making up whole conversations and imaginary worlds in which complex relationships are maintained and then completely erased and on to the next diversion. Through creating these worlds the child learns to cope with complex realities that cannot be measured in blocks, and ties all her worlds together with stories, animations, metaphors and similarities.

   First step out of the naivete of the child, slave, employee, servant, disciple is to realize we are not a character in a story. This brings us to 5, Self vs not-self. Or, "fear of god is the beginning of wisdom." At some point in its development the young organism realizes it is not alone, and not the most powerful thing in the world. There is self and other. The range of "self" is from feeling completely powerless and suffering whatever comes down the pike to all-powerful and master of the universe, that is, "self/Self." We know ourselves to be conscious being, but have a variable sense of what it means to be being (Being).

   Knowing oneself as a "self" involves knowing that there is a corresponding Self which is all and everything to us, what we can comprehend and what we can't. Thus we have god, but the deal is that god is a result of "knowing oneself as a 'self'" - as soon as one realizes that the self is just a story, we realize that god is just a story too. There is only one self here, and it isn't us (Us) in any sense of the word.

   So we have non-self (retaining this in mind), and now we have impermanence, which is time. Time, again, is a function of narrative, of story. In augustine's seminal discussion of time in his confessions (bk 11), he speaks of remembering songs and prayers, and how to be recognized they must have a certain sequence of notes or phrases, and that these are remembered together, and so are events in time. As we have self in Self, we have characters in stories, and this is truly what time is all about for us. As we create space in which to enact/be enacted in our stories, so we create time in which events unfold, causes have effects.

   As dogen said, just as birds use all the sky they need and fishes use all the water they need, sentient beings create time and space as needed, and then we dissolve it as we go.

   So, as for 3, the "present" level of insights, it is this modern attachment to the present that might be the root of the problem, a broader view of time the solution: an hermeneutic middle way between timelessness and being confined to the fleeting present.

   As soon as one realizes one is caught up in a story one wants to escape, be the all-powerful Self, but that is just the pull of familiar samsara, of ego used to its ways and comfortable with them. There is no escape for the ego, the ego is a figment of the imagination, a character in a story. 

   Now, here's the fun part: you can pretty much write any story you want. One you quit struggling with phantoms, life is wide open, anything is possible. Every sentient being you meet has limitless potential.

   Seeing stillness in impermanence and permanence in stillness is not hard. Hui neng was the patriatch of the great mirror, realizing that buddha nature is still as a morror and constantly reflecting changing images. You, my fried pepe, and my audience, are entertaining stories and forgetting that you are the author of these stories and you are identifying with the characters, both good and bad. This is a blessing or a curse, as you like it. You want otbe free, be free. You want to mix it up, experience love and joy, heartbreak and sorrow, mix it up! But as they say, don't wobble. You won't successfully pin the tail on the donkey without renouncing the delusion that you can't see. So much for 3.

  Now to 2 and 1. "Nondual glimpses" are just another part of the story. Anything you imagine is "in the past" is absolutely a delusion, just part of a story involving a past and a future, an ephemeral collection of events created ad hoc for the purpose of excusing a lack of effort. Glimpse nondually now, or forget such wills o the wisp/flowers of air. Memories have a direct current use or are distractions and indulgences. 

   This brings us to "be here now," which badly needs deconstruction. "Here" in modern parlance is nowhere: there is no there there. "Now" is the nonexistent instant just passing: you missed it, you are late! We are just passing through "here and now," we are never there, never at rest. This is the precise opposite of what a modern needs to understand. And here is where the buddha had to speak to different people in terms of their understand. If you dwell in fantasy and wish fulfimmlment, escapism and deliberate delusion, intoxicating and overwhelming any sign of sanity or intelligence, present company of course excepted, then to try to hold on to common snese reality is a step up for you. For many people just being "normal" is a goal and an achievement. So, be "here now" is better than plain crazy. But for the "normal" person seeking insight into nondual reality, it is more about here and now "dropping off."

   Nondual reality is not an obscure place. Trungpa spoke one time of how ordinary was his monastery in tibet, how year after year the monks would meditate, light incense, chant sutras, eat austerely, do life's ordinary repetitive chores in a particular and mindful way. Inside the monastery this was quite normal and taken for granted. But then he would go away to america, and teach, and come back a year or two later and how wonderful, how uplifting, how profound!

   So, friend pepe, you live in a story where you (imagine that you) are bound to the present and can't comprehend yin and yang at the same time. The taoist yin yang view involves the simultaneity of opposites. As dogen says, when you see something, you only see its front and not its back, so you don't really know it. To really know something requires circumspection. Not seeing with the eyes, seeing with the mind, bringing all to bear.

   You have all of time, all of space, in which to soar and swim. We are Echos of the Great Song. All of history and all of the future belongs to us, and it bears on us now.

   And as for god, from man's point of view, the supreme being has a pretty poor resume; god feels the same way about man. Think the cistine chapel pointing fingers at each other. As omar khayyam had it:


LVIII.

 Oh Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
 And who with Eden didst devise the Snake;
   For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man
 Is blacken'd, Man's Forgiveness give—and take!


   The moral of the story... 

...

(tell me a story, put me to sleep...)


terry



paul ricouer, time and narrative:


(T)he heroes of stories reckon with time. They have or do not have time for this or that. Their time can be gained or lost. 1t is true to say that we measure this time of the story because we count it and that we count it because we reckon with it. The time of the story retains this reckoning at the threshold of measurement, at the point where it reveals our thrownness, by which we are abandoned to the changing of day into night. This time already includes the sort of reckoning used in dating events, but it is not yet the time in which the natural measure of "days" is replaced by artificial measures, that is, measures taken from physics and based on an instrumentation that follows the progress of the investigation of nature. In a narrative, the measuring of time is not yet released from time reckoning because this reckoning is still visibly rooted in preoccupation. It is as true to say of narrative as of preoccupation that the "day" is the natural measure and that "Dasein historizes from day to day."

For these reasons, the time of a narrative is public rime, but not in the sense of ordinary time, indifferent to human beings, to their acting and their suffering. Narrative time is public time in the same sense that within-time-ness is, before it is leveled off by ordinary time. Moreover, the art of storytelling retains this public character of time while keeping it from falling into anonymity. It does so, first, as time common to the actors, as time woven in common by their interaction. On the level of the narrative, of course, "others" exist: the hero has antagonists and helpers; the object of the quest is someone else or something else that another can give or withhold. The narrative confirms that "in the 'most intimate' Being-with-one-another of several people, they can say 'now' and say it 'together.' ... The 'now' which anyone expresses is always said in the publicness of Being-in-the-world with one another" (being and time p. 463).

This first side of public time is, in some sense, internai to the interaction. But the narrative has a second relationship to public time: external public time or, we might say, the time of the public. Now a story's public is its audience. Through its recitation, a story is incorporated into a community which it gathers together. It is only through the written text that the story is open to a public that, to borrow Gadamer's expression, amounts to anyone who can read. The published work is the measure of this public. But even so, this public is not just anyone at ail, it is not "they"; instead, it is they lifted out of anonymity in order to make up an invisible audience, those whom Nietzsche called "my own." This public does not fall back into they-in the sense in which a work is said to fall into the public domain-except through a leveling off similar to that by which within-time-ness is reduced to ordinary time, knowing neither day nor hour, recognizing no "right" time because no one feels concerned by it.

A final trait of within-time-ness is illustrated by the time of the narrative. It concerns the primacy of the present in preoccupation. We saw that for Heidegger, "saying now" is interpreting the making-present which is accorded a certain preference by preoccupation, at the expense of awaiting and retaining. But it is when within-time-ness is leveled off that saying "now" slips into the mathematical representation of the instant characteristic of ordinary time. "Saying now" must therefore continually be carried back to making-present if this abstract representation is to be avoided.







Thanks again for recommending Davis' Advaita Vedānta and Zen Buddhism! I have read the intro so far, and it's quite good. Loved this phrase:

(Advaita and Zen) traditions posit an ontological quest through epistemological investigations based on a theory of (perceptual) error. The core operational assumption of both traditions is that our experience of reality is obscured or hindered by conditioned ontological boundaries and epistemological filters that we habitually mistake for reality itself.
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terry, modified 8 Months ago at 1/3/22 10:52 PM
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RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

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thinking about ricouer and time brings bergson to mind...


from  https://philosophynow.org/issues/48/Henri_Bergson_and_the_Perception_of_Time


(Henri Bergson’s) doctoral thesis was on Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness (1889). Here Bergson distinguished between time as we actually experience it, lived time – which he called ‘real duration’ (durée réelle) – and the mechanistic time of science. This, he argued, is based on a misperception: it consists of superimposing spatial concepts onto time, which then becomes a distorted version of the real thing. So time is perceived via a succession of separate, discrete, spatial constructs – just like seeing a film. We think we’re seeing a continuous flow of movement, but in reality what we’re seeing is a succession of fixed frames or stills. To claim that one can measure real duration by counting separate spatial constructs is an illusion: “We give a mechanical explanation of a fact and then substitute the explanation for the fact itself”, he wrote.

His next major work, Matter and Memory (1896), was an essay on the relation between mind and body. In his preface, Bergson affirms the reality of mind and the reality of matter and tries to determine the relation of the one to the other by the study of memory, which he saw as the intersection or convergence of mind and matter. He regarded the brain as an organ of choice, with a practical role. Its main function is to filter mental images, allowing through to consciousness those impressions, thoughts or ideas that are of practical biological value. (Time and Free Will, p.181)

He spent five years researching all the psychological, medical and other literature then available on memory. He focussed in particular on the condition known as aphasia – loss of the ability to use language. The aphasiac understands what people are saying, knows what he or she wants to say, suffers no paralysis of the speech organs, and yet is unable to speak. This, Bergson argued, shows that it is not memory as such that is lost, but the bodily mechanism that is needed to express it. From this observation he concluded that memory, and so mind, makes use of the physical brain to carry out its own purposes.

Clearly there is vastly more in a given occasion of consciousness than in the corresponding brain state. This is surely a perfectly natural, normal, everyday part of human experience – a common-sense, empirical fact of life. We don’t really experience life as a succession of separate conscious states, progressing along an imaginary line. Instead, we feel time as a continuous flow, with no clearly demarcated beginnings and ends. We should not therefore confuse an abstract, arbitrary notion of practical convenience with the underlying truth that is continuously confirmed by our own experience.

Bergson uses one of his musical analogies to make the point: “As the symphony overflows the movements which scan it, so the mental/spiritual life overflows the cerebral/intellectual life. The brain keeps consciousness, feeling and thought tensely strained on life, and consequently makes them capable of efficacious action. The brain is the organ of attention to life.” (l’Energie Spirituelle 1910, p.47)

In his best known work, Creative Evolution (1907), Bergson made it clear that he accepted evolution as a scientifically established fact. He was born the year The Origin of Species was published and Creative Evolution adds a vital missing dimension to Darwinian theory. He believed that the failure to take into account the real time underlying the whole process results in the failure to appreciate the uniqueness of life. Bergson proposed that the evolutionary process should be seen as the expression of an enduring life force (élan vital), that is continually developing. Evolution has at its very heart this life force or vital impulse.

In An Introduction to Metaphysics (1912), Bergson expands on the central role of intuition. The true purpose of knowledge is to know things deeply, to touch the inner essence of things via a form of empathy: “A true empiricism”, he wrote, “is that which proposes to get as near to the original itself as possible, to search deeply into its life, and so, by a kind of intellectual auscultation, to feel the throbbings of its soul.”

Auscultation is listening to the internal organs through a stethoscope. Just as the physician does this to find out what is happening within the patient’s body, so the metaphysician practises a mental equivalent of auscultation to apprehend the inner essence of things.

- -  -

Bergson believed that mental and spiritual aspects of human experience were greatly neglected as a result of focussing so single-mindedly on the physical and material. He once speculated on how things might have developed had modern science devoted more attention to exploring the non-material realm. He believed that we would by now have had a psychology of which today we can form no idea, any more than before Galileo people could have imagined what our physics would be like. A biology quite different to ours would also have emerged: “A vitalist biology which would have sought, behind the sensible forms of living beings, the inward invisible force of which the sensible forms are the manifestations. On this force we have today taken no hold precisely because our science of mind is in its infancy ...” He went on to say: “Together with this vitalist biology there would have arisen a medical practice which would have sought to remedy directly the insufficiencies of the vital force: it would have aimed at the cause and not the effects, at the centre instead of at the periphery ...”

Over the past twenty or thirty years, there has been an ever-increasing growth in demand for many varieties of alternative healing, some of which are becoming part of medical practice, the development of psychosomatic medicine and many different therapies. Quite apart from the efficacy of any given remedy or therapeutic technique, this growth represents a widespread revolt against reductionist, materialist, mechanistic fundamentalism.

Terms such as ‘life force’ and ‘vital energy’ are now back in general usage. Recent advances in the new physics and cosmology have also led to a radical reappraisal of old ways of thinking about time and causality, subject/object, observer/observed.

Bergson is sometimes claimed to have anticipated features of relativity theory. He wrote a paper on ‘Duration and Simultaneity with regard to Einstein’s Theory’ (1921). In the public debate between the two, it was generally held that Einstein ‘won’. But there aren’t really winners or losers in any debate about time.

The way we perceive time is surely a core perception, which affects all other perceptions. It determines our philosophy of life, matters of war and peace, how we perceive work and the amount of quality time we devote to the people and things that really matter.

-  -  -

Our deeper needs are vitally real – not at all the same thing as contrived wants. One of our deepest needs is to find and express that vital creative spark that lies somewhere in all of us. If we saw ourselves as potentially creative artists of one kind or another, if this was the main view of ourselves and each other, we would spend more time creating our own images, writing our own stories, rediscovering our own myths. The artist is not a special kind of person. Every person is a special kind of artist.

In a society that put greater emphasis on creation than production, boredom would not even be an issue. Instead of fearing time and thinking of it as an endless space that has to be filled in, we would value it more and make sure we had time to express our own particular form of creativity, time to dream, time to do nothing in particular, to have a fallow period, time to sit silently, or walk mindfully.

In The Rebel (l’Homme Révolté, first published in 1951), Albert Camus observed that the society based on production is only productive, not creative. We’ve grown so used to living in a society ruled by production that we can barely even imagine one ruled by creation. Bergson enables us to envisage a society based more on creativity than the soulless, mechanistic, produce consume model. His philosophy offers a more integrated view of life, where science, technology, art, economics, politics and spirituality can all work together.

You do not need to subscribe to any kind of religious faith, or belief in the supernatural, to stand in awe at the creative beauty of the evolutionary life force in all its incredibly varied and wonderful manifestations. This sense of wonder comes as naturally to a person of scientific inclination as it does to an artistic or spiritually-minded person. Bergson’s philosophy has the effect of opening doors in the mind, enabling us to think more deeply about the nature of time and how we, in our western culture, perceive it – or rather, misperceive it. Above all, his philosophy provides a basis for a more creative, revalued and revitalized general outlook.

© John-Francis Phipps 2004
XO Hologram, modified 8 Months ago at 1/4/22 12:17 AM
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RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

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Greetings, 

Your path sounds wonderful and I hope you continue!

In my experience, I have found that Noting brings about rapid and thorough progress. In case you need a reference for this technique or you haven't tried it, here is a link to Mahasi Sayadaw's book that describes how to do it: https://www.bps.lk/olib/bp/bp503s_Mahasi_Practical-Insight-Meditation.pdf

Shenzhen Young categorized the experience of impermanence in three general groups: 1) undulatory flow (like waves over the body) 2) vibratory flow (like "champagne bubbles" or electric currently through the body), and 3) expansion and contraction. He refers to these experiences of impermanence as "flow". 

The experience of impermanence, or flow, is usually sense in body sensation first. But it can also be sense in all of the senses (including the mind). I have personally found that to observe this sensation of flow not only in the body but in the other sense once the mind becomes aware of them is very beneficial. When I meditate now (within the general guidance of Noting), I observe flow wherever it arises and do not react to it. 

​​​​​​​Blessings, X.O.
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terry, modified 8 Months ago at 1/5/22 11:26 AM
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RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

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An Irish Airman foresees his Death
BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
(1918)
​​​​​​​
I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.
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RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

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An aside ...

Stefan Stefan wrote:
It reminds me of my favourite Tao Te Ching chapter;
Do you want to improve the world? I don't think it can be done.

That brings to mind the book title of the avant-garde music composer John Cage's diary (he was a Zen practitioner and had studied with D.T. Suzuki):
How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)

Cage has a remedy for writer's block that has always impressed me: throw a large ball bearing far into the woods and then go find it.
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RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

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Reminds me of Nisargadatta:
​​​​​​​
Q: Is there no salvation for the world?
M: Which world do you want to save? The world of your own projection? Save it yourself. My world? Show me my world and I shall deal with it. I am not aware of any world separate from myself, which I am free to save or not to save. What business have you with saving the world, when all the world needs is to be saved from you? Get out of the picture and see whether there is anything left to save.

Also the Diamond Sutra:

The Buddha said, “Subhuti, if any bodhisattva should thus claim, ‘I shall bring about the transformation of a world,’ such a claim would be untrue. And how so? The transformation of a world, Subhuti, the ‘transformation of a world’ is said by the Tathagata to be no transformation. Thus is it called the ‘transformation of a world.’
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terry, modified 8 Months ago at 1/6/22 11:08 AM
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RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

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"He who knows himself, knows God."
~the prophet muhammed
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RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

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"Without the Way, there is no going,
Without the Truth, there is no knowing,
Without the Life, there is no living."

~thomas a kempis
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"The Master came at his right time
Into the world. When his time was up,
He left it again.
He who awaits his time, who submits
When his work is done,
In his life there is no room
For sorrow or for rejoicing.
Here is how the ancients said all this
In four words:
'God cuts the thread.' "

​​​​​​​~chuang tzu
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Pepe ·, modified 8 Months ago at 1/8/22 9:45 PM
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RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

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Terry, 

Read it a few times, and it's really really good. Thanks for taking the time to write that up. And you're spot on about me not letting dropping off to happen. Related to what you said somewhere above, I did have to work hard just to be a "normal" guy, and so those life victories are kind of a burden for these matters.       
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terry, modified 8 Months ago at 1/22/22 4:54 PM
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RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 2196 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
aloha pepe,

   Being a normal guy is a large part of the problem. You participate in your own imprisonment. In "one flew over the cuckoo's nest" macmurphy was amazed to find that some of the inmates were "voluntaries." Souls sold for pottage.

   You have a fine mind, much unencumbered. You are still using it analytically, still figuring it out from a point of view. That is what needs to "drop off," this "preoccupation" with where and how you fit in, which ends up pandering to the expectations of others, against your better judgment.

   It's a paradox, to tell you to trust yourself and let your self drop off. One leads one's self up to the edge of the cliff and gives it a shove.

   The wise, dogen says, live in the mountains. "Mountains" are sitting meditators; this forum is "in the mountains." The lowlands are where deluded and ignorant people pursue sense pleasures, self-glorification and dominance.

   Confucius was famous in his day for "correcting" a history of earlier times known as "the spring and autumn annals." Through a method known as "the rectification of the names" he would correct passages which noted that the king had summoned a sage to his court, and rewrote it to say that "tyrant" had gone to visit a "prince." "Living in the mountains" in dogen's sense requires a reorientation of thinking such that the humble sage of no apparent power or influence becomes the prince of the world, to whom all things bend in adoration. The narrative that power, influence and neat stuff are emblematic of the good life is revealed as the ghastly empty pretense of exhausted late capitalism on the verge of collapse. The sufis liken the glamor of the world to a beautiful woman that suddenly turns into a smelly toothless old hag. The unsustainablilty and ephemerality of constant growth and pursuit of power has been evident since civilization first took hold, and becomes ever more difficult to ignore. And what is true on the macro level is even more true on the micro: the inevitability of old age,sickness, and death.

   Once we have thrown normality overboard, we can deal with the real problem. Note well that most people (well, everyone, present company of course excepted) are only concerned with getting along better in society, even if only a society of their fellow meditators and spiritualists, and not concerned with really overcoming the burden of ego. The very ubiquity of this clinging makes it hard to step out of line, to stop caring about the approval of others. Chuang tzu speaks of fish caught in the shallows, moistening each other with spit and slime, while the natural fish swims freely and independently in an endless ocean. 

   The people whose approval you need should be treated, as the yi jing says, as "concubines and servants," in line with the rectification of the names. You are the sage who lives in the mountains, among the wise, and your activities and meditations sustain the world. The entire world is giving you every assistance in accordance with your needs, as all created beings worship and praise their creator.

   This is in no way an exaltation of the ego, which is a product of self-reflection and self praise/damnation. There is a recogniton that the selfishness of individual beings is juvenile, foolish or reprehensible, and should be treated accordingly. Not with disdain but with withdrawal. Non-identification, detachment; keeping at a distance, going out. Freedom means you can walk out at any time.

   Inner detachment becomes outer detachment, without forcing. The world reforms itself in accordance with your natural course. The path of least resistance is not interfered with. The water fills in the low places before overflowing and passing on.


   What I was getting at in the long post you read several times was a way to live in more abundant time, more freely. The quotes were important too.

   The one idea I would like to emphasize has to do with ricouer and heidegger's expanded idea of time.

   One finds oneself, anytime one reflects on ones situation, thrown into a full blown, complex world which seems to require navigation and immediate attention. Rather like waking up to a constant emergency. We are "in time" and a character in a story, waking up to an identity which seems real but is remarkably shifty (proust). We have obligations, needs, desires, demands on our time. We feel guilty, anxious, depressed, angry, elated, happy, joyful, etc, all involved in our story and its outcomes.
This what heidegger calls "preoccupation," and we are occupied with this stuff willy nilly, before we have even had time to think about it, so to speak.

   In preoccupation, we focus on "presenting" as opposed to "retaining and awaiting."

   
Just think about that. Imagine focusing on retaining and awaiting, which is making past and future part of an extended present. An extended present! Extended far enough, we approach the timeless.

   People talk about being a buddha as though that were a character they could play. Being a buddha is just having that independence of mind that does not differentiate, hence to be a buddha is not to be a buddha. Thus one is a buddha.

   The eye is a metaphor for the I, the consciousness. The eye lets in light. It has two ways of doing so, peripheral vision and macular vision. Peripherally we see movement exceptionally well and have a global awareness. With macular vison we focus on individual objects and ignore everything else. You have these two modes operating at all times. You can pay more attention to global awareness and forgo the preoccupation with individual objects. Or at least achieve a more harmonious balance.

   Anyhows, bra, you can't please them all. You can please god, who always cares for you and judges you with mercy and compassion. Once you and god (individual mind and universal mind) become buds (syzygy) no more worries about being normal (no desire for approval/ fear of disapproval, or concern with social standards of behavior) and your development can proceed without glitches. My daddy was in the elevator business, and when people would ask him how business was going he would tell them, "It isn't the ups and downs that bother you, it's the jerks." When ones own ego diminishes, all egos diminish.

   Egos are preoccupied.

terry



from the zen teachings of rinzai, trans irmgard schloegel
​​​​​​​

11.a. 

The master said: Today's students of the Buddha-Dharma need to look for genuine insight.
 
If you have genuine insight, birth and death will not affect you,
and you will be free to come and to go.

Nor do you need to look for worthiness; it will arise of itself.

Followers of the Way, the old masters had ways of making men. Do not let yourselves be deluded by anyone; this is all I teach.

If you want to make use of it (genuine insight), then use it right now without delay or doubt.

But students nowadays do not succeed because they suffer from lack of self-reliance. Because of this lack, you run busily hither and thither, are driven around by circumstance and kept whirling by the ten thousand things.

You cannot find deliverance thus.

But if you can stop your heart from its ceaseless running after wisps of the will, you will not be different from the Buddha and patriarchs.

Do you want to know the Buddha? None other than he who here in your presence is now listening to the Dharma. Just because you lack self-reliance, you turn to the outside and run about seeking.

Even if you find something there, it is only words and letters and never the living spirit of the patriarchs. Do not be deceived. Venerable Zen students, if you do not meet Him at this very moment, you will circulate in the Three Worlds for ten thousand Kalpas and a thousand births. And, pursuing agreeable situations, you will be reborn in the wombs of asses and cows.

Followers of the Way, as I see it, you are not different from Shaka (the Buddha).

Today in your manifold activities, what is it that you lack? The flow of the Six Senses never ceases. Who can  see it like that is, for all his life, a man who has nothing further to seek. 
   


   
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terry, modified 8 Months ago at 1/27/22 1:12 PM
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RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 2196 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
husserl, the phenomenalogist and student of defrocked priest brentano, was another who took augistine's ideas on time and ran with them...

I hesitate nowadays to qualify science in any way, as common sense has been thrown out the window by so many that downing science brings ready assent...many scientists are deceivers of one sort or another but where over 95% agree on something they are not all lying...nonetheless it is very true that trends in science are driven by culture which is driven by the means of production...

in the case of time, deeply bound up with memory, husserl the philosopher contributed the notion of short term and long term memory to the scientific lexicon...

and husserl was heidegger's teacher, though in their later years they thumbed their noses at each other...

one of heidegger's more useful ideas involved the creation of a mental "clearing" in which one could think...one creates a sort of time bubble not by attempting to opt out of ordinary reality but by a new inclusive perspective, deliberately defocused from the world of individual objects...plato's plane of pure ideas is just another jhana along the way...

anyhows I thought pepe might find the following discussion interesting...

(btw, "artificial neural nets" are created by growing brain cells in vitro from human stems cells, aggregating them and then "teaching" them things, the whole science of which is somewhat frankensteinian and ethically challenging but interesting in a creepy mengelian way...)



from “stanford encyclopedia of philosophy: husserl, the brain and cognitive science”


Husserl’s tripartite conception of the (Retentionalist) specious present has been influential, and in recent years there have been a number of attempts to incorporate his insights into neurobiology and cognitive science.

1. Varela and van Gelder: retention without representation

Seeking to build bridges between the cerebral and the phenomenal, Varela has proposed that there may be important analogies between the dynamical behaviour of neural cell-assemblies and Husserl’s tri-partite conception of the phenomenal present. More specifically, he suggests that these neuronal ensembles can become synchronized for periods lasting around 1 second, and these transient periods of synchrony are the neural correlates of present-time consciousness (1999: 119). Husserl himself did not suggest that the 1 second time-scale is privileged in any way, and it is not immediately apparent what Varela’s neuronal ensembles might have in common with time-consciousness as described by Husserl. Matters become clearer with Varela’s claim that retentions may be ‘dynamical trajectories’, although this takes a little unpacking. (See Thompson 2007 chapter 11 for a sympathetic exposition.)

Neural networks are often assumed to be instances of the sort of chaotic (or non-linear) systems whose behaviour has come under increasing scrutiny in recent decades. Although such systems can react in difficult-to-predict ways in response to the smallest of stimuli, they often have a certain number of favoured states – states they are more likely to enter into – and these correspond to the ‘attractors’ in the abstract phase spaces used to describe their behaviour. The behaviour of a dynamic system from one moment to the next depends on several factors: the system’s current global state, its tendency to move along certain preferred trajectories through its phase space from any given location, and external influences. So at any given point, a system’s behavioural dispositions are determined by its precise location in its phase space, and its current location in its phase space is a function of its previous locations. For this reason a system’s current phase-space trajectory can be viewed as reflecting its past: ‘in its current point in time a dynamical system has no “representation” of its past. But the past acts into the present … The present state wouldn’t be what it is except for its past, but the past is not actually present … and is not represented’ (Varela 1999: 137). Husserl’s contention that the present contains remnants or retentions of the past can seem puzzling, even paradoxical. How is it possible for experienced succession to be generated by contents that exist only in the momentary present? But if a system’s present state can reflect the recent past without actually or explicitly representing it, the problem of how presently occurring representations can perform the functions Husserl ascribes to them is solved, or at least that is what Varela maintains.[37]

Van Gelder is another advocate of this geometricization of retention. Commenting on how an artificial neural net can be taught to recognize sounds, he writes:


How is the past built in? By virtue of the fact that the current position of the system is the culmination of a trajectory which is determined by the particular auditory pattern (type) as it was presented up to that point. In other words, retention is a geometric property of dynamical systems: the particular location the system occupies in the space of possible states when in the process of recognizing the temporal object. It is that location, in its difference with other locations, which “stores” in the system the exact way in which the auditory pattern unfolded in the past. It is how the system “remembers” where it came from.” (1997: §38)

Van Gelder goes on to outline a number of other respects in which the workings of dynamical (in this case, connectionist) systems correspond to what Husserl had to say about the structure of temporal awareness. 

While these analogies are certainly noteworthy, there is a significant difficulty with the central claim. Dispensing with anything resembling an explicit representation of a system’s prior states in its present state may make life easier, but for Husserl the whole mystery or ‘wonder’ of time-consciousness consists in the way the past lives on in the present. Van Gelder recognizes that there is nothing resembling a ‘perception’ of the past in his model, but he presents this as a positive: he suggests Husserl’s talk of perceptions of the past is confused and unnecessary, and that he only used such formulations because ‘he had no better model of how something could “directly intend” the past’ (1997: §40). Whether Husserl would have agreed with this verdict is debatable.
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terry, modified 8 Months ago at 1/27/22 3:44 PM
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RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 2196 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
from michel foucault, hermeneutics of the subject:



We will call, if you like, "philosophy" the form of thought that asks, not of course what is true and what is false, but what determines that there is and can be truth and falsehood and that one can or cannot separate the true and the false. We will call "philosophy" the form of thought that asks what it is that allows the subject to have access to the truth and which attempts to determine the con­ditions and limits of the subject's access to the truth. If we call this "philosophy," then I think we could call "spirituality" the pursuit, practice, and experience through which the subject carries out the necessary transformations on himself in order to have access to the truth. We will call "spirituality" the set of these pursuits, practices, and experiences, which may be purifications, ascetic exercises, renunciations, conversions of looking, modifications of existence, etcetera, which are not for knowledge but for the subject, for the subject's very being, the price to be paid for access to the truth.
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Ni Nurta, modified 7 Months ago at 2/8/22 5:02 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 2/8/22 5:02 PM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 931 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Jim Smith
Suffering and sense of self are like two sides to the same coin. What eliminates one eliminates the other. 
I disagree with that notion. Mind when it has coarse perception of itself can see all sorts of things which appear scary and bad while other things which are actually scary might appear docile and lead you to fields of dukkha but not sooner than until you loose track of what you did and what led to what. In this hell you can find many facts like the one you present and some might even seem to make experiential sense but in reality be false.

In either case if you believe self is dukkha then you know what you should do... Yes, not avoid it but penetrate it, penetrate self. This is the way that Buddha gave us, method to solve such issues. Knock yourself with it.

In either case if you feel good as you are now then this is not as important to act in this way. Everyone needs vacations from time to time and no-self vacation are quite fun, I have great memories of no-self states myself. Ultimately unbalanced mind is unsustainable and suffering can creep in through back doors if you do not do anything to know your mind well. To know your mind both self and no-self need to be penetrated, known intimately, brought together, made superior version of itself, made what they always were supposed to be, what they always were and you will remember them when you experience yourself in full your glory, filled with brilliant light of self and cooling vastness of nibbana, balanced, gone and yet reborn from ashes again and again.
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terry, modified 7 Months ago at 2/10/22 1:06 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 2/10/22 1:06 PM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 2196 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
interesting that I rarely agree either with ni or jim, and in this disagreement I agree with both of them...

like jim says, self and suffering go together like spam and rice...

and like ni says, ones own highest self is worthy of praise and worship...

jim's is the absolute truth, baldly stated...like stalin said, 'death solves all problems: no man, no problem'...

ni speaks of the dialectic, the sublation of polar opposites, "becoming one" while being implicitly one (with some eloquence and sympathy and intimacy, hear hear)

and while I would not have disagreed with the way jim put it, it is too glib, too blithe, too far out to be really useful and can obscure more genuine paths to self realization...an ideal...

the self is what we have to work with, like it or not...one cultivates ones garden or lets it run riot, take the vaccine or put your hope in natural immunity...either way one reaps the result...

with all the work you do on yourself, poof it is gone in an instant, whereas nature proceeds grandly on its way...we may identify with self, nature, both, or neither; nagarjuna's classic tetralemma...

to progress or not to progess...as suzuki roshi used to say, "everything's perfect, but there is a lot of room for improvement"...

(and the moral of the story is: go your own way)


terry


YOU'RE STILL GONNA DIE
(shel silverstein)

So you're takin' better care of your body
Becoming more aware of your body.
Responding to your body's needs.
Everything you hear and read about diets,
Nutrition and sleeping position and detoxifying your system,
And buying machines that they advertise to help you exercise.
Herbs to revitalize you if you're traumatized.
Soaps that will sanitize.
Sprays to deodorize.
Liquid to neutralize acids and pesticides.
Free weights to maximize your strength and muscle size.
Shots that will immunize.
Pills to re-energize you.

But remember that for all your pain and gain
Eventually the story ends the same...

You can quite smokin', but you're still gonna die.
Cut out cokin', but you're still gonna die.
Eliminate everything fatty or fried,
And you get real healthy, but you're still gonna die.
Stop drinkin' booze, you're still gonna die.
Stay away from cooze, you're still gonna die.
You can cut out coffee and never get high,
But you're still gonna, still gonna, still gonna die.

You're still gonna, still gonna, still gonna die.
Still gonna, still gonna, still gonna die.
You can even give aerobics one more try,
But when the music stops playin', you're still gonna die.
Put seat belts in your car, you're still gonna die.
Cut nicotine tar, you're still gonna die.
You can exercise that cellulite off your thigh.
Get slimmer and trimmer, but you're still gonna die.
Stop gettin' a tan, you're still gonna die.
You can search for UFO's up in the sky
They might fly you to Mars where you're still gonna die.

You're still gonna, still gonna, still gonna die.
Still gonna, still gonna, still gonna die.
And all the Reeboks and Nikes and Adidas you buy
You can jog up to heaven and you're still gonna die.

Drink ginseng tonics, you're still gonna die.
Try high colonics, you're still gonna die.
You can have yourself frozen and suspended in time,
But when they do thaw you out, you're still gonna die.
You can have safe sex, you're still gonna die.
You can switch to Crest, you're still gonna die.
You can get rid of stress, get a lot of rest,
Get an AIDS test, enroll in EST,
Move out west where it's sunny and dry
And you'll live to be a hundred
But you're still gonna die.

You're still gonna, still gonna, still gonna die.
Still gonna, still gonna, still gonna die.
So you'd better have some fun
'Fore you say bye-bye,
'Cause you're still gonna, still gonna, still gonna die.
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terry, modified 7 Months ago at 2/12/22 1:12 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 2/12/22 1:12 PM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 2196 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
​​​​​​​For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

matt 13:12




BASO said to a monk, "If I see you have a staff, I will give it to
you. If I see you have no staff, I will take it away from you.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 7 Months ago at 2/12/22 1:47 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 2/12/22 1:47 PM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 2459 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
" ooooh ohh, everybody's going to die ... but we are feeling alright!" emoticon 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaMH-ha3Lbc
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terry, modified 7 Months ago at 2/14/22 12:03 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 2/14/22 12:03 AM

RE: Differences in paths and techniques (I would love to hear your thoughts

Posts: 2196 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
this and the one above from koan riddles of the zen masters, peter pauper press...


WHEN Yamaoka was a brash young student, he visited the master
Dokuon. Wanting to impress the master, he said:

"There is no mind, there is no body, there is no Buddha. There is
no better, there is no worse. There is no master and there is no
student; there is no giving, there is no receiving. What we think
we see and feel is not real. All that is real is Emptiness. None
of these seeming things really exists."

Dokuon had been sitting quietly smoking his pipe, and saying
nothing. Now he picked up his staff, and without warning gave
Yamaoka a terrible whack. Yamaoka jumped up in anger.

"Since none of these things really exists," said Dokuon, "and all
is Emptiness, where does your anger come from? Think about it."

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