Why does sense of space ease suffering, if "awareness" doesn't exist?

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Griffin, modified 1 Year ago at 11/29/22 2:01 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/29/22 2:01 PM

Why does sense of space ease suffering, if "awareness" doesn't exist?

Posts: 272 Join Date: 4/7/18 Recent Posts
MCTB: …“ground of being”, awareness is sometimes described as permanent and unchanging (…) That said, you can’t find any awareness that is different from phenomena. (…) there isn’t anything permanent that can be found, but merely a repeating quality that presents again and again when sensate information is happening. (…) finally we have to come to something that is actually much simpler than the term “awareness” generally implies, nothing more than just the sensations themselves

From this perspective, how do awareness-based techniques actually work? When I tune into this feeling that there is an “eternally pure, still space of awareness untainted by any suffering that arises in it”, there is a sense of relief. If this awareness doesn’t truly exist, and there are just sensations themselves, what is the source of this relief? And what is the “repeating quality” Daniel mentions?
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Griffin, modified 1 Year ago at 11/29/22 3:51 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/29/22 3:51 PM

RE: Why does sense of space ease suffering, if "awareness" doesn't exist?

Posts: 272 Join Date: 4/7/18 Recent Posts
An obvious answer: suffering seems comparatively smaller when held in larger container of space. But I sense like there is more to this... What is this "eternal stillness" that seems to exist "parallelly" with everything else but is tranquil, equanimous, "untainted" ("awareness of awareness", "still point", "the Watcher" etc.)?
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 11/29/22 4:01 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/29/22 4:01 PM

RE: Why does sense of space ease suffering, if "awareness" doesn't exist?

Posts: 5269 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Griffin, in my experience this feeling of stillness comes by way of comparison to our everyday busy mind's activity. It is a presence by way of absence. It's a contrast, like white to black or silence to noise. It is not easy to get to this place, this state, and when it arrives, it feels like a kind of magic.

From my old practice log for how it appeared to me:

Apr 29 2010, 5:00 AM EDT

A pebble tossed into the busy pond rests on the sandy bottom
The battle rages and the battlefield is still
The windows are open and the wind howls through a quiet room
There is observation and participation
There is action and stillness
Self and no one
Separated by everything and nothing
The same but different
The world
Martin, modified 1 Year ago at 11/29/22 4:18 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/29/22 4:18 PM

RE: Why does sense of space ease suffering, if "awareness" doesn't exist?

Posts: 873 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
 If this awareness doesn’t truly exist, and there are just sensations themselves, what is the source of this relief?

If this awareness does truly exist, what is the source of this relief? Is there a difference in effect depending on the ontological status? 
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 11/30/22 1:05 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/30/22 1:00 AM

RE: Why does sense of space ease suffering, if "awareness" doesn't exist?

Posts: 1750 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Griffin
MCTB: …“ground of being”, awareness is sometimes described as permanent and unchanging (…) That said, you can’t find any awareness that is different from phenomena. (…) there isn’t anything permanent that can be found, but merely a repeating quality that presents again and again when sensate information is happening. (…) finally we have to come to something that is actually much simpler than the term “awareness” generally implies, nothing more than just the sensations themselves

From this perspective, how do awareness-based techniques actually work? When I tune into this feeling that there is an “eternally pure, still space of awareness untainted by any suffering that arises in it”, there is a sense of relief. If this awareness doesn’t truly exist, and there are just sensations themselves, what is the source of this relief? And what is the “repeating quality” Daniel mentions?


When you tune into the "eternally pure ..." is it permanent relief? Relief is a feeling just like any other feeling or sensory experience.

The repeating quality is the quality of sensation, the repeated experience of awareness. The repetitions create a false impression of continuity like the frames of a movie. He is not saying awareness doesn't exist, he is saying it cannot be separated from phenomena. It is not continuous and separate.

You have a desire for understanding. This is also a kind of dukkha. Think about the feeling of understanding. What does it feel like to understand? What does it feel like to not understand. If those feelings would go away the question would be irrelevant and uninteresting. You will get more benefit from looking into your own mind for the source of those feelings than you will from seeking the answers to your questions through reason.

This is a very common situation in life. We think the situation is the problem when the problem is really our feelings, dukka. When we end dukkha the problem goes away. That doesn't mean we ignore "sutuations" it means we can react to them through compassion and reason rather than through out of control emotions.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 12/1/22 6:07 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/1/22 6:01 AM

RE: Why does sense of space ease suffering, if "awareness" doesn't exist?

Posts: 2523 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
A reply to Griffin:

​​​​​​​Another way to think about it is that suffering is empty (a vivid but non-tangable mind state) and this is what gets realized. There may be difficult sensations, emotions, and thoughts... but when deconstructed this way, there isn't a "thing" called suffering. Suffering is what happens when individual sensations and emotions and thoughts get lumped together and psychologically avoided. Suffering is some dreaded thing over there that we don't want to experience. Extended awareness of suffering helps lead to this insight.

Awareness itself is similar to suffering. It doesn't exist as a "thing". If you look at awareness, what you see are actually vivid self-arising displays of sensations (and smells and tastes) and emotions and thoughts. Even if you go into jhana, you enter mind-states with particular qualities/bandwidths of experience, but not awareness itself. The name of the last jhana, neither-perception-nor-not-perception, gives a hint that even this experience isn't pure awareness nor pure nothingness -- even in this refined state awareness itself is a slippery idea and can't quite be grasped as a "thing".

Rather than saying that suffering and awareness don't exist, it's better to say that they are empty or "vividly spaceous". And really every thing is like this, all experiences both exist in some way (they are a vivid experience) and don't exist in some way (they are just a mind display). Emptiness doesn't mean non-existance. It means that the thing is not the same as it appears, nor is it unrelated to how it appears. Suffering, for example, is not really the "thing" that we initially see, but it also isn't completely unrelated to the discomfort, pain, anquish we experience. 

Liberation is possible because it is possible to deconstruct suffering through investigation, but compassion is necessary because suffering does display itself and create disturbances in beings. If you just seek liberation without compassion, is is a kind of repression/denialism:""suffering isn't real so I don't have to care about it. I'm in pain but it doesn't matter. Others are in pain but that's because they are stupid" -- that sort of thing. If you just go the route of compassion without liberation, then you are solidifying the idea of suffering as a real thing, which is a kind of eternalism (and a subtle sense of greed for suffering because you need the suffering to have the compassion). A balanced approach is having compassion for suffering while also being free/liberated from the apparent perminance/eternallness of suffering in this world.
  
Soh Wei Yu, modified 1 Year ago at 12/1/22 7:50 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/1/22 7:50 AM

RE: Why does sense of space ease suffering, if "awareness" doesn't exist?

Posts: 75 Join Date: 2/13/21 Recent Posts
Hi

Do check this out, I feel this is relevant to you:

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

http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2007/03/mistaken-reality-of-amness.html
Adi Vader, modified 1 Year ago at 12/1/22 8:38 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/1/22 8:38 AM

RE: Why does sense of space ease suffering, if "awareness" doesn't exist?

Posts: 318 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
Sankhara upekkha nana - Affective resistance to sankharas or hidden conditioning that drive behaviour of the mind in the moment and the personality across a life time is gone. We are indifferent to our sankharas. The feeling is like - fuck it boys go ahead and do what you want I aint objecting. Anuloma nana - the mind engages with Anicca or dukkha or Anatta or a combination. Gotrabu, Marga, Phala nana - Pure pristine awareness which does not contain anything, which has no object

This awareness is so rarified and so unique that new convoluted lingo has to be created to describe the profundity - "The lokuttara citta takes nibbana as an object" lokuttara means otherworldly - beyond this mundane world.

So "awareness doesnt exist" this is a highly debatable topic. 
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 12/1/22 1:28 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/1/22 1:28 PM

RE: Why does sense of space ease suffering, if "awareness" doesn't exist?

Posts: 2722 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
It eases suffering because space is unlimited - my mind automatically creates all the space it needs. There is still some residual suffering associated with the fabrication process - assuming that space "really exists out there". When you let go of fabricating space then that's like transitioning from fifth to sixth jhana and now becoming fascinated in how "awareness eases suffering" ... until you notice that awareness is also fabricated ...

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