Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessation

Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessation Kelly Gordon Weeks 1/12/23 8:35 PM
RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa Jim Smith 1/13/23 8:31 AM
RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa Chris M 1/13/23 8:21 AM
RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa Kelly Gordon Weeks 1/14/23 11:51 AM
RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa Jim Smith 1/14/23 1:21 PM
RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa Kelly Gordon Weeks 1/20/23 11:00 PM
RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa Asaf M 1/15/23 2:26 PM
RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa Kelly Gordon Weeks 1/20/23 11:13 PM
RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa Kelly Gordon Weeks 1/23/23 9:13 AM
RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa George S 1/23/23 4:30 PM
RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa Kelly Gordon Weeks 1/24/23 3:44 PM
RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa Chrollo X 1/21/23 8:43 AM
RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa Asaf M 1/23/23 12:27 PM
RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa Asaf M 1/24/23 1:12 PM
RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa George S 1/25/23 4:32 PM
RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa Asaf M 1/26/23 3:54 AM
RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa George S 1/26/23 8:52 AM
RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa Kelly Gordon Weeks 1/27/23 8:46 AM
Kelly Gordon Weeks, modified 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 8:35 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 8:35 PM

Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessation

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/9/20 Recent Posts
Hi friends!

I'm interested in learning some new exercises and techniques for no self and suffering. I feel like I've done impermanence (rapid noting) ad nauseum and it's unclear if I can gain any additional insight from it.

I watch Daniel's video about the six sense doors. I've also read his book and applied numerous techniques over the past 5 years. 

Anyway, I'm curious to see what other techniques exist beyond just noticing no self. I've done plenty of looking for the self and emptiness of self meditations as well as emptiness of thoughts. I'd like to achieve a cessation with no self or suffering as I think that may help me let go of the "me" experiencing all these things.

Thank you for your input! 

​​​​​​​-Kelly 
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 1/13/23 8:31 AM
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RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa

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You can do this on the cushion or off.

Observe your sense of self.

Sense of self could mean different things, Sometimes we take on different persona's in different situations, at work, with family, with friends. It could be if you are experiencing your inner child, or your inner adult etc. If you are feeling a particular emotion, pride, anger, love, fear, we have different persona's or self images for those too. Do you see yourself as a parent of your children, the child of your parents, a student, an employee, a supervisor, someone who is driving a car, or who owns a house? A cat person or a dog lover? A sports fan? Are you just awareness observing mental activity? That is a sense of self too no different from the others. Even if you are too hot or too cold you might think of the self as relating to that. Where do all these feelings of self come from? Who creates them? 

Ultimately each moment of consciousness, each thought, emotion, impulse, sensory experience has a different feeling of self that arises unbidden from some unconscious process. Actually each self is identical with the moment of consciousness. The song of a bird gives birth to the self that perceives it - that self would not exist without the bird's song.

Anatta, means no permanent unchanging self. When you experience self as something that changes from moment to moment that you don't control it's harder to be attached to self because by the time you recognize dukkha arising, that self is gone and a new one is operating. All those selves coming and going, what do they have to do with you? What are you?

It's good to practice this while doing formal meditation because it requires attention and practice. But to have a useful effect you have to experience it in daily life. You can wait until you get so good at it from sitting meditation that it naturally carries over into daily life but you will make progress faster if you also try to be mindful of it in daily life.

And the practice should be done with a relaxed frame of mind, don't get too intense or let it make you tense. If you are tense you will be irritable and that is not what most people are looking for from their practice. Try to keep your body relaxed, your breathing relaxed, and your mind friendly, open, not defensive, not competitive, not craving, not averse, let go of those unhelpful attitudes, allow the mind to be relaxed.
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 1/13/23 8:21 AM
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RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa

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I feel like I've done impermanence (rapid noting) ad nauseum and it's unclear if I can gain any additional insight from it.


Kelly, JMHO but I don't think you're quite yet done with impermanence because... well,  the three jewels are actually aspects of the same overall nature of our experience. There is no not-self without impermanence. An impermanent sense of self, not-self, is not satisfying. Any one of the three jewels suggests the other two. Not-self can be realized when we see that manifestations of self are short-lived, dependently arising, and don't satisfy. These objects are not us. Every object in our experience, our sense of self included, has all three jewels embedded within it. So, as Jim suggests, I'd say you should take what you've realized about impermanence and focus that wisdom on the dependently arising sense of self. 
Kelly Gordon Weeks, modified 1 Year ago at 1/14/23 11:51 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/14/23 11:51 AM

RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa

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Thanks for these suggestions! 

What I'm currently experiencing on and off the cushion is this contraction and release of my mind around objects, thoughts, sensations, memories, projections, etc. My mind contracts around a thought for a moment and then I feel myself being released back into the present moment. It almost feels like a tug of war with myself. I notice this constantly throughout the day and it has an irritating or annoying feeling.

It's like my mind needs to narrate, characterize, and reify things over and over again. The voice in my head no longer feels like me, but an impression of the old me. The repetitive contraction around thoughts wears me out. I also feel like I'm on the verge of some shift in consciousness and this is what is in the way.

Last night I had a bit of insight while lying in bed. Instead of being annoyed or irritated with going unconscious and incessantly becoming a hostage to my mind, I decided the best thing to do is to treat my mind with compassion and kindness. I'm going to see if that helps to lessen the irritating feeling of my mind constantly budding in and stealing the spotlight.

Thank you for the suggestions! I realize that this is lifelong work. I have come a long way from where I started and still have a long way to travel.
 
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 1/14/23 1:21 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/14/23 12:44 PM

RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa

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Kelly Gordon Weeks
Thanks for these suggestions! 

What I'm currently experiencing on and off the cushion is this contraction and release of my mind around objects, thoughts, sensations, memories, projections, etc. My mind contracts around a thought for a moment and then I feel myself being released back into the present moment. It almost feels like a tug of war with myself. I notice this constantly throughout the day and it has an irritating or annoying feeling.

It's like my mind needs to narrate, characterize, and reify things over and over again. The voice in my head no longer feels like me, but an impression of the old me. The repetitive contraction around thoughts wears me out. I also feel like I'm on the verge of some shift in consciousness and this is what is in the way.

Last night I had a bit of insight while lying in bed. Instead of being annoyed or irritated with going unconscious and incessantly becoming a hostage to my mind, I decided the best thing to do is to treat my mind with compassion and kindness. I'm going to see if that helps to lessen the irritating feeling of my mind constantly budding in and stealing the spotlight.

Thank you for the suggestions! I realize that this is lifelong work. I have come a long way from where I started and still have a long way to travel.
 


Yeah, until you are perfect you have to accept your imperfections otherwise your practice is just another source of dukkha - attachment and aversion - increasing your imperfection - taking you away from your goal not toward it. Until you are perfected those contractions are the lessons that help you progress so people should not try to suppress them, they should try to understand them. Did something trigger it? What? Is there an underlying attachment or aversion involved? Does it relate to a sense of self (was a sense of self threatened)? What is associated with it? Emotions? Physical sensations accompanying emotions? Sometimes you have to dig through layers to understand what is really going on in your mind. Personally I don't really think perfection is realistic for me but I don't rule it out for other people. The problem for me is not what you call contractions, but "hot buttons" - things I can't easily let go of. Contractions are brief and not really a problem not a lot of suffering, the problem is the situations that cause suffering that continues, clinging. I find the way to stop clinging is relaxation.

It seems to me there is a common misperception that the technique is the goal. That perfecting the meditation technique (perfect attention, perfect mindfulness, or perfect concentration) is identical with, or leads to, or is necessary for, perfect awakening. I don't believe it is. I think you can get to a very advanced stage of awakening and still suck at the technique. What gets to an advanced stage of awakening is understanding your own mind. The technique is a means to an end it is not the end. Students should not be overly focused on whether they are doing the technique exactly right, they should be focusing on what the techniques are intended to reveal: the origin and fading of suffering. When you understand the problem you know how to use the tool. When you have a nail you know what to do with a hammer. When you have a screw you know what to do with a screwdriver. If you want to understand the origin and fading of dukkha the techniques are just tools to help you observe your own mind.
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Asaf M, modified 1 Year ago at 1/15/23 2:26 PM
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RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa

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Jim Smith,
I realy enjoyed your post.

The part about 'The song of a bird gives birth to the self that perceives it - that self would not exist without the bird's song.'
Reminded me of something I was doing a few weeks ago whie listening to music. I notived that a melody very much has a self like aspect to it.
I was playing around with seeing how arbitrary the sense of self is. I tend to assosiate it with the intenral dialogue, though I could just as well assign it to some other thing that can be perceived as having a self-like nature, like the melody. This helps to unstick the sense of self from the usual place that its stuck on, helps to break down the illusion of permanence.

Kelly, Here are few more thigns that I used recently to see through the self-construct.

I found myself looking at candle, seeing the parts of it, the wick, the red tip at the wick, the flame, a self could be imagined into the cancle as well.
By consrtructing a self like thing out of some innanimate object, seeing though that self construct helps to do the same with the self that we consturct from the five aggregates.

See, hear, feel technique. using 'hear' on the iternal dialogue, treating it like a radio running it the background, seeing how thoughts arise on their own, not though an act of will, reveals their non-self nature.

Fill in the blank invesitgation: one of my favotires. I tend to do this as part of every sit these days.
__ is anata / is non-self
mental formations are anata / sakhara anata
feeling are anata. / vedana anata
I tend to go through the five aggregates in pali or english this way.
The big beauitfull one is: 'conciousness is not self' that one feels really liberating to notice.
As others have mentioned in this post, seeing the other two characerists amplfiies the ability to see the non-self characteristic.
Seeing conciousness as transient, subject to cessation, helps to dis-indentify with conciosuenss. I get the sense that seeing this is coducive to inviting cessation to occur. Seeing that conciosuness arises and passes away, seeing that it generaly only arises together with some sort of transient sense contact, helps with reaching a totality in the seeing of non-self, as indentification with concisouss is perhaps the sublest sense of self that could still be lurking in the backround as we dis-identify with mental formations and feelings.

seeing body as non-self - helps to perceive to body the way one might perceive a lucuid dream body in a ludic dream.
I have also worked quite intensively at times, and contitnue to devote some time here and there to doing  '32 parts of the body' type contenplation to break araprt the sense of body as self. Ajhan martin is big on this topic, you can check out his youtube vidoes. he has guided sessions on this.
The body is a huge part of our sense of self. We protect it, fear damage to it, experience pain through it. 
Visually taking it apart, especiall the bones, help me. Also, visualizing how the body hair just grown on its own, oozing out, of its own accord, of this lump of flesh, bones, and skin called a body, helps me see the non-self aspect of it. Hair grows out of it the way grass grows out of the ground.

Perceptions - these are probably easiest to see as non self. though there could be subtle self-image perceptions to be noticed.
I suppose the image of our face the way it appears in a photograph or mirror is one place where perception is taken on as being self.
Kelly Gordon Weeks, modified 1 Year ago at 1/20/23 11:00 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/20/23 11:00 PM

RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa

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Thanks Jim!

I've been meaning to respond to this but I got busy!

What you say makes sense. The technique is a tool to understand your mind. Thank you for illustrating this for me! I've been finally attuned to introspection over the past 3 weeks and making a habit of really trying to observe everything on the sensate level while off the cushion. When I'm on the cushion it's my happy place. I feel that I have great control over what I'd like to "work on." So, I think the work needs to be done during active hours while not sitting. 

The contractions happen all the time. Something occurs, I feel anger or irritability, my mind replays the event, more irritability, my mindfulness kicks in and tries to rescue me before it worsens. Then it's a tug of war for several minutes. I guess that I'm just an irritable person! I feel like I'm being annoyed constantly by my family. This isn't something new either and I don't think it is path related. I began my practice 5 years ago, so I have about 35 years of thought processes not working in my current "desired" framework. 

I have had major breakthroughs/insights because of meditation I now I have a clear model of what I would like to represent. Compassion, kindness, and gratitude. I try to cultivate those things in my practice in hopes that they spill over into my daily life. Unfortunately, I still feel the pull away from mindfulness by things that slowly chip away during the day. A temper tantrum from my child, my wife running the car down until the gas light is on, 14 inches of snow that need to be shoveled or else it will turn into solid ice, etc... 

It may just be that I need better self care, more sleep, or less caffeine. 

Again, I appreciate your time and thoughtful response.  
Kelly Gordon Weeks, modified 1 Year ago at 1/20/23 11:13 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/20/23 11:13 PM

RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa

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There is some great stuff here! This is going to take me a while to digest. Thank you for taking the time to write it. I'll check out Ajan Martin and see if that helps as well. 
Chrollo X, modified 1 Year ago at 1/21/23 8:43 AM
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RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa

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You can check out Angelo Dillulo and his Simply Always Awake YT channel. He has an online retreat starting today actually: https://simplyalwaysawake.com/retreats/
Kelly Gordon Weeks, modified 1 Year ago at 1/23/23 9:13 AM
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RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa

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"Fill in the blank invesitgation: one of my favotires. I tend to do this as part of every sit these days.
__ is anata / is non-self
mental formations are anata / sakhara anata
feeling are anata. / vedana anata
I tend to go through the five aggregates in pali or english this way.
The big beauitfull one is: 'conciousness is not self' that one feels really liberating to notice.
As others have mentioned in this post, seeing the other two characerists amplfiies the ability to see the non-self characteristic."

Wouldnt it be the opposite in that the 5 aggregates suggest a sense of self? When we experience occurrences the mind is recreating the illusion the illusionof self. So how does one say this is not self, by simply reminding oneself each time we see or hear something?

I feel like I'm almost there, but what is confusing is that everything is reinforcing the idea of self, so to say there is no self is like saying a solid brick wall isn't solid, it's atoms moving very fast giving the appearance of something permanent and solid. It makes sense but it takes a lot of language to remember why it's not solid. 

Thanks! 
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Asaf M, modified 1 Year ago at 1/23/23 12:27 PM
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RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa

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the buddha taught sometign about 'not holding to fixed views'

we use vies to counteract otehr views.

so, we use the non-self view to counteract the stubbern self identification.
we focus on the non-self aspect, because doing so is helpfull. we can also focus on the transient aspect, and the unsatisfactory aspect.
all three help to undo this clinging, this bewilderment that we have with the construct we have crrated and idenfified with.

Who clings? what is it which clings?
is the the aggreates clinging together, llumping together to create this sort of illusion?

If we insit on investigatign heavily using symbolic thought (language) we may think ourselves into a hole.
The idea is to experience insight, direct knowlege.

We can just observe sense phenomena, see it arising anf passing away, see the non-self aspect of it, withouth verbalizing too much.
Without trying to grab ahold of a non self view. without trying to make that no-self view concrete, tangible, permanent.
just seeing the no-self angle of things, like holding a prism up the light, seeing the colors that differentiate out of whilte ligth via the prism,
we examine the charactersics of whatever comes up in the mind ,seeing the no-self aspect fo it, seeing the transince of it.
The no-self view itself is transient. The desire to realize non-self bring tension, dukka. It fluctuates. This very desire is non-self. it comes and goes, waxes and wanes.
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 1/23/23 4:30 PM
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RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa

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Certainly the 5 aggregates are always suggesting different senses of self, it's just that they are temporary identities, often running on loosely related tracks, and arising & passing according to the impersonal forces of karma & dependent origination rather than any overarching personal identity. Such senses of self are unsatisfactory if you expect them to form a stable permanent identity, but there is nothing wrong with them when you see them for what they are.

But you're right it can be confusing because the supposed meditator identity under which the insight practice is taking place is also dependently originated and not-self, e.g. Mahasi talks about ‘the noting mind’. At this point it's common to evoke "consciousness" as a stand-in for a sense of self, but as you say consciousness is also not-self. That's a very interesting place to look, seeing how moments of consciousness co-arise with individual sensations and have no independent existence in the absence of individual sensations. It's hard (impossible?) to intentionally unreinforce a sense of self, but if you push insight deep enough and/or spend enough time letting go in jhanic states, then not-self realization(s) should happen automatically.

Also, it's not like you need never see the brick wall as being solid again. It’s a function of circumstances. If you sit and meditate in front of the wall then it might disappear, but if you find yourself about to walk into it then you will probably change course instinctively.
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Asaf M, modified 1 Year ago at 1/24/23 1:12 PM
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RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa

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Hi George,

Its wonrdefull to read your reply here.
Just the other day Dreamwalker directed me to reading your posts on jhana related matters, and now, here you are.

I particularlty connect with this statement: 
seeing how moments of consciousness co-arise with individual sensations and have no independent existence in the absence of individual sensations. 
Seems that by seeing how sensations strobe in an out of existence, and with these, concoiusness itself is arising and passing away with them, we find ourselves in the vicinity of cessation. concoiusness being perhpas the most rarerified, subtle, last-to go hiding place of self-identity that we let go of.
It seems that the order in which the five aggregates are listed, is from coarse to sublte: body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, conciousness.

I was also just speaking with Nikolai today about notng is like scaffolding thart we use to get into the vicinity of cessation, from there, we drop that scaffolding, going into high frame rate noticing without verbal noting for the final release.

Then ther's the whlle thign about setting resolutions and releasing them... seems to galvinize the mind in some way. Sets a casual chain in motion.
If we don't make a resoltion we may progress in our practice towards just hovering around in amphorous equanimity. If we we make a resolution and hold on to it, we cat get stuck there, fixated, creating tnesion that hinders the process.
Making a clear resolution, then letting it go and minding our own business, the business of noting, etc... seems to foster the right conditions for the amazing stuff to happen.

What I write here is just how things seem to be from the place I am at now. I hope its usefull in some way.
I feel that we are all in big adventure together. Travelers leaving notes behind for other traveles to pick up. Fascinating stuff.
Kelly Gordon Weeks, modified 1 Year ago at 1/24/23 3:44 PM
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RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa

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Hi George,

Beautifully written and informative. 

I had ventured away from insight meditation over the past 6 months because I had done it for years and my practice had become stale. I decided to spend some time doing Tonglen and manifesting. Since last week, I have returned to 60 minutes of insight meditation per day, and holy smokes what a difference it is making now. I think something needed to become unstuck and my suspicions were right, I was becoming identified with thoughts. I think it goes to show that the work needs to be done both on and off the cushion.

I'm going to go off on a tangent here since I have your attention! =)I still haven't experienced cessation in a long time. I know that it's not necessary, but I'm left wondering why. Perhaps I'm missing them as the jhana states I enter into are so deep that thought, dream, and consciousness can sometimes not be distinguished. Imagery that is forgotten as soon as it's perceived. I often feel sudden jerks in my visual field as though I'm suddenly sliding very quickly a few feet in a certain direction. I also get this interesting analog tv screen effect of static, like a tv being turned off. Probably nothing significant but very trippy regardless.

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I'm going to meditate on this for a couple weeks and see what happens. 
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 1/25/23 4:32 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/25/23 4:26 PM

RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa

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Seems that by seeing how sensations strobe in an out of existence, and with these, concoiusness itself is arising and passing away with them, we find ourselves in the vicinity of cessation. concoiusness being perhpas the most rarerified, subtle, last-to go hiding place of self-identity that we let go of.
It seems that the order in which the five aggregates are listed, is from coarse to sublte: body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, conciousness.

That’s a good point, I haven’t thought about it like that before. If you look at the definition of sankhara (eg MN 44) there are actually 3 kinds of sankhara, also listed in increasing order of subtlety:

- kaya sankhara: body conditioner, in and out breath (more broadly any physical formations)
- vaci sankhara: speech conditioner, ie thoughts (also applied and sustained concentration in jhana)
- citta sankhara: mental formations = feelings + perceptions (although I do wonder about the repetition here, sankhara is such a tricky word to decode, it has multiple senses)

The most subtle sankhara I find are raw sankhara (sensory quanta? raw data? nerve signals? dare I say neurons?) before any perception has started creating more complex objects out of them. These can be at any sense door (e.g. proto-thoughts) although as the resolution increases I find it hard to distinguish which sense door I’m actually inspecting. This is indeed cessation territory …
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Asaf M, modified 1 Year ago at 1/26/23 3:54 AM
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RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa

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fascinating sutff george. Especially the part about 
 as the resolution increases I find it hard to distinguish which sense door I’m actually inspecting.
this, and the part about neurons, reminds me of a time when on a sadaw-style retrat, I could not resist the urge to notice suble sensations above the upper lip. These separated out into what appears to be individual neurons firing, like sparks, it was no longer breath. the exeprience became one of golden tingly sparks, quite spaced apart.
A deep, heavy peace followed this biref moment.
Has not occured since. At the time I fugured it was access concentration, bordering on first jhana, using strick pa auk sayadaw criteria for definining jhana.
I believe what led this to occur was not trying to make it hapen, just indulging in it momentarily as I was supposed to do some other exercise.
Regarding sankhara: yea, this word has many uses.
Goenka uses it one way. His use of the word seems to overlaps with the concept of kilesa in thai forest buddhism.

There is also the definiton of 'volitional formations'
I tend to use the definiton of mental formations/volitional formations.
Mentral formations have a voltional aspect. They certainly have an involuntary aspect as well.
This leads to the free will/causality paradox. Some things are like this: not one way or the other, somewhat both. Like wave particle duality of light.
With languge it seems paradoxical yet with direct insight it all settles in well and fits in nicely.
The whoel universe, really, is like shrodinger's cat.
Could be everythgn or nothign, non-existence contains this potential energy of sorts, and appears to have a tendency to lean towards existence.
This fractal continues on and on.
A Mass of hyrogen in space.. it could colapase into a star, it could lean in that direction. the balance often tips in that direction.
Then we have a supernova
Heavier elements are generated via repeated cycles fo nuclear fusion.
These elements organize together to form organic life forms
Eventualy developing vision, becoming self aware. Looking up at the night sky, discovering physics, and understanding that we are make of startdust.
Now , Through us, stars recognize themselves shining in the night sky.
And here theyt are, these stars, re-assembled,  using the written engligh language to marvel at all of this, to go on a wild tangent about it on an internet forus of thier own creation.
Trippy. And this is our actual experience in this moment.
Then it gets overwhelming. There is dukkha in having one's mind blown in this way.
So one seeks nibaana, seeks rest from all of this.  Exitement is dukkha.

It appears that the mind has passed from A&P though dukkha into desire for deliverance, is now in review, and headed into eqanility.
All in the space of writing a forum post.
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 1/26/23 8:52 AM
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RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa

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I know some people translate sankhara generally as volitional formations or choices, but I find that too narrow. All formations definitely have a karmic component (cause & effect, or dependent origination/co-arising) but intention (cetana) is actually a specific kind of sankhara which is included within nama (mentality) along with attention (manasikara) at stage 4 of DO. The way I see it, all sankhara are involuntary, but we carve out a small subset using perception (sanna) and label them as voluntary or choices or directing our attention. Studying volition is definitely interesting. You can study the urge to swallow or breathe and see how volition is like a potential wave which converts into action when the pressure crosses some hard-to-see threshold. Or you can study sankhara in the absence of volition (although you are still using volition to conduct that study!) and watch how karmic seeds grow into trees on the threshold of perception. I find it worth maintaining the distinction.

Kilesa is another interesting concept with multiple definitions, although I don't see much overlap with sankhara (except in the trivial sense that everything is a sankhara). The simplest definition seems to be kilesa := attraction (raga) + repulsion (lobha) + delusion (moha). Delusion is often used interchangeably with ignorance (avijja) or indifference. That plays a key role in step 8 of DO (craving), because attention is attracted to pleasant feelings, repelled by unpleasant feelings and unconcerned with netural feelings. That is the root of all macro-level dukkha right there. And of course if you rewind, avijja is also the very first step of DO preceding even sankhara. I interpret that as the kind of micro-level dukkha you experience when you are observing sankharas with a very calm mind. So long as you remain equanimous towards the sankharas they stay bubbling inside the volcano, but as soon as you get attracted by one, or repelled by another, or try to ignore one you should be paying attention to ... then the volcano erupts! And then you have jhana, which is like a supreme form of ignorance where the mind has become completely fixated on a single kind of sankhara (light, bliss, space etc.)

Energy, polarities and fractals is exactly right. Like the Buddha said, one who sees DO sees the dharma, and one who sees the dharma sees DO. And whenever I think I am finally getting somewhere understanding DO, I like to remind myself what the Buddha told Ananda!

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was living among the Kurus. Now, the Kurus have a town named Kammasadhamma. There Ven. Ananda approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "It's amazing, lord, it's astounding, how deep this dependent co-arising is, and how deep its appearance, and yet to me it seems as clear as clear can be."

[The Buddha:] "Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Deep is this dependent co-arising, and deep its appearance. It's because of not understanding and not penetrating this Dhamma that this generation is like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond transmigration, beyond the planes of deprivation, woe, and bad destinations.
Kelly Gordon Weeks, modified 1 Year ago at 1/27/23 8:46 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/27/23 8:46 AM

RE: Looking for “On the cushion” techniques for No Self and Suffering Cessa

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/9/20 Recent Posts
I'm clearly out of my depth here gentlemen! 

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