Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Clarification on three characteristics practice? Stickman3 1/29/24 6:50 AM
RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice? Bahiya Baby 1/28/24 3:54 PM
RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice? Stickman3 1/28/24 5:14 PM
RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice? Bahiya Baby 1/28/24 5:46 PM
RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice? Adi Vader 1/28/24 5:56 PM
RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice? Stickman3 1/29/24 9:33 AM
RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice? Sha-Man! Geoffrey 1/29/24 9:35 AM
RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice? Sha-Man! Geoffrey 1/29/24 10:11 AM
RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice? Bahiya Baby 1/29/24 5:17 PM
RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice? Dream Walker 1/29/24 5:26 AM
RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice? Sha-Man! Geoffrey 1/29/24 6:10 AM
RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice? Pepe · 1/29/24 6:17 AM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Ben Sulsky 1/29/24 9:46 AM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Chris M 1/29/24 12:09 PM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Jim Smith 1/30/24 2:17 AM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Stickman3 1/30/24 3:22 AM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Jim Smith 1/30/24 3:59 AM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Stickman3 1/30/24 5:29 AM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Sha-Man! Geoffrey 1/30/24 6:10 AM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Stickman3 1/30/24 6:26 AM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Sha-Man! Geoffrey 1/30/24 6:49 AM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Bahiya Baby 1/30/24 6:52 AM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Bahiya Baby 1/30/24 7:02 AM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Chris M 1/30/24 7:47 AM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Stickman3 1/30/24 7:54 AM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Chris M 1/30/24 8:10 AM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Stickman3 1/30/24 8:53 AM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Chris M 1/30/24 9:08 AM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Stickman3 1/30/24 12:09 PM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Chris M 1/30/24 12:08 PM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Stickman3 1/30/24 12:05 PM
RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice? Chris M 1/30/24 12:13 PM
Stickman3, modified 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 6:50 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/28/24 3:34 PM

Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/15/21 Recent Posts
What, really, is meant by observing not self as one of the 3 characteristics, as a practical practice?

I could, say, observe a feeling in my hand and mentally say "that's not self", but that wouldn't really be doing much apart from reciting a dogma - I think.

I could observe the feeling in my hand and note that it's not part of a self-fantasy such as thinking about going shopping etc.

I could observe a feeling in my hand and note that it's MY hand, and therefore part of myself.

I could observe a feeling in my hand and be neutral about it, construct no self-narrative about it being, or not being, a part of my self.

I could observe a feeling in my hand and regard it as separate from the observer which has more of a me-ness to it

I could closely observe the feeling and see it's made of components, flashes of nervous sensory input, lacking a coordinated whole identity

I could observe it wihout any sense of self, maybe as it arises in itself to no observer - much trickier at my level.

Most of those operate with a sense of self.
Which would be closest to an actual practice such as mentioned in MCTB, if any?

Thank you
thumbnail
Bahiya Baby, modified 2 Months ago at 1/28/24 3:54 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/28/24 3:52 PM

RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 461 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
In a sense it's just a view, just a way to frame a practice, as your practice deepens you'll start to explore and feel it deeper. 

The way the language sunk in for me with no self is: notice phenomena happen on their own without any input from you. Notice emotions and sensations and thoughts bubble forth. Notice you did absolutely nothing to bring that into being. You weren't in control, nobody asked your permission, nobody needed you to sign off on it. 

​​​​​​​Notice that there are vibratory phenomena sparkling all over your body and that you are not, on any level, the cause for that. It's not a mantra it's a noticing. In a sense it is a relaxing of control, a relaxing of the self position. In time it deepens and goes some pretty wild places. For now you can let it be just "huh" interesting. 

​​​​​​​A lot of your examples are I will do this and see that it's that. But what I'm pointing to is that no matter what you do or don't do it's still just happening. No matter what your perceived sense of self happens to think about it. 
Stickman3, modified 2 Months ago at 1/28/24 5:14 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/28/24 5:08 PM

RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/15/21 Recent Posts
Well, thing is I would call that just observing, observing to the point of not thinking about it, or absorption.
The way it's put in three characteristics sounds like it's actively looking for something, something where you say "aha, that's no self", or even "you are not me, feeling of hand, you can't fool me!"

Self comes and self goes, in the process of observation, and I suppose maybe we won't really see true no-self until way down the path when subtle sense of ownership before conscious thought drops away.

One thing is thinking of mental activiy as being self, in which case you can either try and get mind to be quiet, upon which self goes away with it. Or see the no-self origination of thought, which is think is more realistic, but trickier as mental activity is very selfy.

Maybe a definition of self would be useful, to know what it is not. One is the mental self image. Another would be the subtle sense of being a whole being without necessarily thinking it.

So for instance, by the time you've observed the feeling in the hand closely enough to just feel a bunch of pixels of sensation - there's not much mental self image, and no narrative claiming the pixels as belonging to "me", but maybe still a sense of self in a subtle way, with maybe a sense of control, which I recognise as still something that could be let go of for pure agencylessness.

I've been super closely observing body phenomena like that for a long time, in various states of mental quietitude/jhanas, but I couldn't really say if I was obviously seeing no-self apart from various equanimities and non-dualities.
thumbnail
Bahiya Baby, modified 2 Months ago at 1/28/24 5:46 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/28/24 5:43 PM

RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 461 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
The way it's put in three characteristics sounds like it's actively looking for something, something where you say "aha, that's no self", or even "you are not me, feeling of hand, you can't fool me!"

The three characteristics are all, in their own way, invitations into deeper relaxation.

We see phenomena as impermanent, that they are not solid, have no substantiality and thus we can not attach or cling to them, nothing can be grasped and thus we relax our hold on them.

We see phenomena as disatisfactory, that they do not lead to lasting satisfaction, yet no matter how much we recoil or react we can not escape them, thus we relax our struggling with them.

We see phenomena as not self, that they arise without any direction from us and can not be known, claimed or clung to and thus we can relax any processes that monitor, conduct or report on them.

Each of those methods of relaxation are the "investigation" of the three characteristics. You're not looking for agencylessness necessarily. It's enough to notice a thought or a emotion has arisen, that you are not and never were or will be in control of that. 

Is there anything you can notice that it seems like you're in control of that you could recognise as being not actually self? Anything you are sad or angry about? Where is the sense of the self most active for you? What phenomena is the self most attached to right now? Can you see any of that as not self? If you audit your experience and find the location of "I", find the things "I" is doing with the least amount of depth, consciousness or awareness. can you see any of that as not self? 

The activity and processes that are trying to make sense of the three characteristics? Can you see any of that as not self? Can you see that there is no self that can actually know anything about it? 

No self has this sort of relaxing quality of being let off the hook. Like you had to host an event, you had no interest in and then everyone phones in sick. Like "Ahh, I have no responsibility over this anymore." 

You then can kind of surf that simple tacit recognition, combine and blend with other characteristics. Get SE, Master reality, Come back as a lich and terrorize the multiverse. It's really that simple.    
Adi Vader, modified 2 Months ago at 1/28/24 5:56 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/28/24 5:56 PM

RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 291 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
Rest your attention/awareness on a grounding object like the weight of your body, or touch of your hands. Reduce the effort required to keep attention steady.

1. Every time awareness moves, notice that it moves - on its own. 

2. Every time awareness takes its object, notice that it does so on its own

3. Notice that experience is the dyad of awareness taking its object. The flow of experience is a sequence of such discrete dyads. Many such dyads form with awareness taking meaning based self referential thoughts loaded with affect, sprinkled across the flow of experience

4. Notice that you dont choose the object, ownership accompanies the choice

5. Notice further refinement. Awareness or vijnana is impinged upon by sensorial materiality or rupa. This happens on its own

6. Notice that which carries sensorial materiality (including thoughts) is identified and interpreted or 'samjna' is done. This happens on its own

7. Notice that every interpretation has a feeling tone or 'vedana'. It arises on its own

8. This process involving a sequence of dyads, each dyad with sub components happening on their own, has clear patternp. A dyad involving awareness taking a dog's bark is followed by awareness taking the flinching of the body. Many such patterns may emerge and they are/may be consistent. Notice the patterns and their consistency, notice that you didnt choose these patterns. 
thumbnail
Dream Walker, modified 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 5:26 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 5:26 AM

RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 1687 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Stickman3
What, really, is meant by observing not self as one of the 3 characteristics, as a practical practice?
You could start out with Googling - site:www.dharmaoverground.org 3 three characteristics
Then you might possibly read the many many many many many many posts regarding that topic. Or you could just ask the same question again as no-one seems to want to do research themselves.

Which would be closest to an actual practice such as mentioned in MCTB, if any?
As mentioned? You might re-read it and see. Or ask a more direct question about what is written. Perhaps even copy and paste the part you are referring to.

Thank you
You betcha,

My short 2 cents, as I've written this over and over - (see searching tip above)
Find a sensation that feels like you. That would involve INVESTIGATION as to whether a sensation is MORE or LESS like you than the other ones that just happened (repeat until you can discriminate by DOing)
Permanent, satisfactory, do those too.

Good Luck!  emoticon    (smiles)
~D
thumbnail
Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 6:10 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 6:05 AM

RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 358 Join Date: 10/30/23 Recent Posts
I'm an ML programmer by trade, so bear with me for a second. Let's say you want to program a robotic arm. You want it to move, grasp something, and then move it back, and let go. The arm may have 4 motors in it and the hand may have another say 3 motors in it. So what you do is you chop these 7 (4+3) inputs across time into the tiny sections. So let's say every millisecond the computer is sending 7 commands to the robot. Furthermore you need to do some actual complicated math to do path planning, since you basically need to simulate how each of the motors movements will effect another one, and since there are 7 it gets hairy pretty quickly. Okay got it?

Now go watch yourself drink from a glass of water, and notice you're not doing shit to make that happen. You're not constantly thinking about how to adjust all the micro movements of your arm or your hand or do any path planning or whatever. It just happens. Voila! 
thumbnail
Pepe ·, modified 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 6:17 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 6:17 AM

RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 715 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Stickman,

Daniel Ingram's MCTB2 provides precise pointers on how to work with the Three Characteristics. Here you have one-page summaries on instructions for each: Impermanence, Suffering and No-Self. 

The easier connections usually are body sensations with Impermanence (but start/ending of thoughts works too), emotions and urge with Suffering (but usually are triggered by body sensations and thoughts) and thoughts with No-Self, in particular “planning thoughts”, “remembering thoughts”, “worrying thoughts”, “doubting thoughts”, etc. You'll find tonnes of pointers in Shargrol's posts compilation, start with Shargrol’s Structured Noting Practice Sample.  
Stickman3, modified 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 9:33 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 9:33 AM

RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/15/21 Recent Posts
"1. Every time awareness moves, notice that it moves - on its own."

I mean, I try, but generally I don't see that. I can tell myself that it moves on it's own according to buddhist theory, but the actual thing is a bit more elusive - as things stand.
thumbnail
Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 9:35 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 9:35 AM

RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 358 Join Date: 10/30/23 Recent Posts
Okay, then try not moving awareness for a whole sit. See how far you get 
Ben Sulsky, modified 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 9:46 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 9:46 AM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 170 Join Date: 11/5/19 Recent Posts
when you're noticing sensations, you'll find that they arise, get clung to, and pass away all on their own without anyone in the center calling the shots.  do this practice about a zillion times
thumbnail
Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 10:11 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 10:11 AM

RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 358 Join Date: 10/30/23 Recent Posts
Or in general, try a shikintaza style where you set out to do-nothing, and see all the doing that just happens!
thumbnail
Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 12:09 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 12:09 PM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Stickman3, you seem to be trying to start a practice in the middle - so the best advice you've received, at least in my opinion, was this comment. Do the basics first - notice what it's like to just sit and observe:

... ​​​​​​​try a shikintaza style where you set out to do-nothing, and see all the doing that just happens!
thumbnail
Bahiya Baby, modified 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 5:17 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/29/24 5:17 PM

RE: Calrification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 461 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 2:17 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 1:10 AM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 1682 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Stickman3 What, really, is meant by observing not self as one of the 3 characteristics, as a practical practice?
...
Which would be closest to an actual practice such as mentioned in MCTB, if any?

Thank you


https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-i-the-fundamentals/5-the-three-characteristics/

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-v-awakening/37-models-of-the-stages-of-awakening/a-revised-four-path-model/

What I do is to first prepare by relaxing and quieting my mind with samatha type meditation. Then I observe the activity of my mind. I notice I don't control thoughts, emotions, impulses etc. I don't see where they arise from or how they are formed. Thoughts arise to distract me when I try to concentrate, I have unpleasant emotions even though I don't want them. I don't plan to have impulses, so anything I do is really not something I choose. I might just feel like an observer but that feeling of being an observer is not different from any other bit of mental activity. All the things I might identify as "me" arise from various unrelated unconscious processes, different areas of the brain control different intellectual activities, and different bodily functions and physical functions, different neurotransmitters and hormones control emotions. The body gets sick, and changes as we age - these effects are beyond our control - they happen intentionally. There isn't a unified thing that can be identified as self.  These processes are not controlled by a unifying entity, different processes contradict each other - we have tells when playing poker, we might lie badly, we might unconsciously undermine our actions because we are afraid of success, we say one thing when happy and other things completely different when we are unhappy, we might continue to binge on a food even if we are trying to lose weight or are binning to feeling sick from overeating. What happens is that thoughts, emotions, impulses, sensory experiences, feelings of self and no self all arise from different unconscious processes but they form an image of a self, like pixels form an image - but the pixels don't have the characteristics of the things portrayed in the image. Observing anatta is looking closely at the pixels that create the image of a self but are in reality produced by unrelated unconscious processes. This shows you why you feel like you have a self but it also reduces your attachment and aversions to thoughts, emotions, impulses etc and to the image of the self - so you suffer less.

While you are doing this notice how the other characteristics are related. Try to notice how most dukkha has the sense of self, the ego, intertwined. The sense of self is changing constantly, from situation to situation, our idea of our role relative to other people changes (student, worker, parent, child, friend, sports fan etc), our idea of our qualities change (happy, sad, proud, humble, competent incompetent, etc etc)  and how it feels to exist changes as we experience different sensations.

You probably already know most of what I wrote but it doesn't sink in - which is just another example of the lack of any unifying coordinating process. To make it sink in, you have to spend a lot of time watching it happen. You can do this sitting in meditation and in daily life.
Stickman3, modified 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 3:22 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 3:16 AM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/15/21 Recent Posts
"I notice I don't control thoughts, emotions, impulses etc. I don't see where they arise from or how they are formed. Thoughts arise to distract me when I try to concentrate, I have unpleasant emotions even though I don't want them. I don't plan to have impulses, so anything I do is really not something I choose."

If you can do that then you don't have a self anymore and you're enlightened aren't you?

It seems like the practice is predicated on already being at the end of the path. If you can see non-self then there's nothing more to be done, you're there.

Yeah I think that's one of the things that's been bugging me about this - if you can see non-self then that's the end of it, but it's spoken of as a beginners warm-up practice. Sort of keep seeing no-self then one day in the future you'll see no-self, which doesn't make massive sense unless it's thought of as letting go of the unenlightened moments in between.

Or, if you can see non-self momentarily, then you're enlightened momentarily, and those are moments of nirvana.
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 3:59 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 3:57 AM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 1682 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Stickman3
"I notice I don't control thoughts, emotions, impulses etc. I don't see where they arise from or how they are formed. Thoughts arise to distract me when I try to concentrate, I have unpleasant emotions even though I don't want them. I don't plan to have impulses, so anything I do is really not something I choose."

If you can do that then you don't have a self anymore and you're enlightened aren't you?

Sorry I can't tell if you are being sarcastic because it seems like this would be obvious to anyone without needing to meditate. I don't really understand the question if it is serious. I stared meditating when I was 11 or 12 years old so maybe I have a distorted view of what normal is.

What I am suggesting is that to understand anatta, watch the activity of your mind, and you will see what I described. Notice thoughts, emotions, impulses, sensory experience, and the sense of self, arising and fading in your mind. Do you notice the process by which they form - I don't think you will. Can you concentrate without distraction. Probably not. Do you only have emotions you want and like? Probably not. Notice dukkha and ego are intimately related. Notice this stuff happening.

You don't get a strong sense of anatta, disenchantment, non-attachment, from knowing this, you get it from living it - noticing in meditation and daily life.

When things are goring wrong, when your thougths are driving you crazy, when you have horrible emotions that you can't control, that's when it makes the most sense, but that's the time when we are least likely to be paying attention.


It seems like the practice is predicated on already being at the end of the path. If you can see non-self then there's nothing more to be done, you're there.

Yeah I think that's one of the things that's been bugging me about this - if you can see non-self then that's the end of it, but it's spoken of as a beginners warm-up practice. Sort of keep seeing no-self then one day in the future you'll see no-self, which doesn't make massive sense unless it's thought of as letting go of the unenlightened moments in between.

Or, if you can see non-self momentarily, then you're enlightened momentarily, and those are moments of nirvana.
Stickman3, modified 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 5:29 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 5:00 AM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/15/21 Recent Posts
Jim Smith
Stickman3
"I notice I don't control thoughts, emotions, impulses etc. I don't see where they arise from or how they are formed. Thoughts arise to distract me when I try to concentrate, I have unpleasant emotions even though I don't want them. I don't plan to have impulses, so anything I do is really not something I choose."

If you can do that then you don't have a self anymore and you're enlightened aren't you?

Sorry I can't tell if you are being sarcastic because it seems like this would be obvious to anyone without needing to meditate. I don't really understand the question if it is serious. I stared meditating when I was 11 or 12 years old so maybe I have a distorted view of what normal is.

What I am suggesting is that to understand anatta, watch the activity of your mind, and you will see what I described. Notice thoughts, emotions, impulses, sensory experience, and the sense of self, arising and fading in your mind.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
For example in MCTB observing three characteristics is at the beginning then there is a story going through jhanas, nanas, fruition events etc, then eventually you end up at fourth path where you fully understand anatta.

What you're saying sounds like all that long story of experiences is unnecessary because understanding anatta is at the beginning.

The path through the jhanas produces quietitude, but is that quietitude necessary for seeing anatta - because you might as well be seeing trauma come and go as well as peace and happiness. In which case it wouldn't matter about whether there are emotional poisons present or not. Which I suppose would be the  traipse trough the dark night.

Yet the practitioners seem very big on being free of emotional poisons. There seems to be two different things here - seeing anatta, and producing a quiet emotional mind, and the two don't necessarily converge.

Which I think is what Dan said in another post.

Being free of emotional poisons doesn't necessarily involve seeing anatta, you could have catharsis, therapy, social changes, medication etc.
But understanding anatta seems to cut out a lot of the emotional stuff and by 4th path most of it isn't showing up.

I've done plenty of fine grained observation of inner pixels, non-dual experiences etc., I'm not naive about it.

But mostly if you asked whose pixels are coming and going in experience, I'd say mine. It's the sensation, in my hand, not yours and not nobody's. I couldn't tell you the cause of them coming and going, that's a science question, but I can tell you it's in my hand and not my neighbour's. The self is predicated in the advice to, say, observe your hand, rather than nobody's hand.
At least at one level.
Then you deepen into concentration and self identity starts to be forgotten, like in a trance, focussing on one thing precludes others - such as self identity. You forget your self like when you're reading a book or doing something intense.
Then I think at some level exactly the same stuff goes on that appears to be bound to self, but really isn't. And people walk and talk like they are still selves, say this is me and this is mine, but they're not experiencing it like that - the lights are on but there's nobody home.

Not sure what's bugging me about this, feel like I kind of get it, and kind of don't.
thumbnail
Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 6:10 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 6:10 AM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 358 Join Date: 10/30/23 Recent Posts
If you can do that then you don't have a self anymore and you're enlightened aren't you?

what a good question smuggled there in the middle of a big discussion. The answer is it depends on who you ask. A dzogchen person might say to realize all of this in a given moment is to be enlightened in that moment, but you need to come back and recognizing it again and again (hence why they like to call their style "the direct path").

My Theravada answer is this. When you start to meditate, there are things that are obviously "not you" like  the birds chirping, and things that seem like a "you", your body, your feelings, your thoughts.  They have a phenomenalogical sense of solidity and permanence (and are usually connected to suffering...). It's this phenomenonal difference that makes them seem weird. Well what exactly is that difference? That my friend is attachment. And what happens as we meditate? Well, gradually over time, as we mindfully attend this solidity, our mind will drop it and those same things will now feel light, flowy, and "part of the world". And that is how we deconstruct the self.
Stickman3, modified 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 6:26 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 6:24 AM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/15/21 Recent Posts
Sha-Man! Geoffrey
If you can do that then you don't have a self anymore and you're enlightened aren't you?

what a good question smuggled there in the middle of a big discussion. The answer is it depends on who you ask. A dzogchen person might say to realize all of this in a given moment is to be enlightened in that moment, but you need to come back and recognizing it again and again (hence why they like to call their style "the direct path").

My Theravada answer is this. When you start to meditate, there are things that are obviously "not you" like  the birds chirping, and things that seem like a "you", your body, your feelings, your thoughts.  They have a phenomenalogical sense of solidity and permanence (and are usually connected to suffering...). It's this phenomenonal difference that makes them seem weird. Well what exactly is that difference? That my friend is attachment. And what happens as we meditate? Well, gradually over time, as we mindfully attend this solidity, our mind will drop it and those same things will now feel light, flowy, and "part of the world". And that is how we deconstruct the self.
++++++++++++++++++++++++
right
So is that what dzogchen teachers do say?

and one of those awkward, riddlesome, non-duality teachers may say there is no you and there is no hand and there is no self, but for now I want you to look at the sensation in what appears to be what you call "your" hand and your self, but don't think anything will happen because nothing ever really happens and "you" will never get it. :-)
thumbnail
Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 6:49 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 6:49 AM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 358 Join Date: 10/30/23 Recent Posts
It's what Sam Harris says at least, but perhaps it is a bit of a caricature. 

But what I said is hinting at the different levels of seeing through a self. There is a momentary version where you can see things unfolding by themselves, and which you stickman can do right now (and this would involve look at things that seem to be you), and there is the more gradual insight that arises where things flip to the other side, and it becomes patently obvious it wasn't you (it feels like the birds chirping).
thumbnail
Bahiya Baby, modified 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 6:52 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 6:52 AM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 461 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
I do get a subtle sense that you may be trying to intellectually figure out something that fundamentally can't be understood. You can perhaps come to know it in an intuitive embodied kind of way but that's a different thing. 

From a pure meditative advice point of view. I would take whatever's bugging you about this and investigate that. Are you choosing to be bugged about it? Or do the thoughts arise on their own?

And 

​​​​​​​What if you can't figure this out? What if there's no answer? What if there never will be one? What does that feel like? 
thumbnail
Bahiya Baby, modified 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 7:02 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 6:59 AM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 461 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Geoffrey made a point about attachment that's important. 

We can point at anything and label it as me or not me. Who cares. 

When the birds chirp do you feel attachment to that? 

When thoughts arise do you feel attachment to that? 

What do you and don't you feel attachment to? 

Where do you suffer? What phenomena arise with suffering? What don't? 

​​​​​​​What phenomena arise with pleasant sensations? How do we feel when those pleasant sensations waver or leave us?

It might be easier to understand where you're coming from if you say for an hour, did nothing and reported back on the experience. 

​​​​​​​I know you have experience with this stuff. Sometimes it's just easier talk meditation with someone when they've shared some of their practice. 
thumbnail
Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 7:47 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 7:47 AM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Stickman3, can you please describe your practice? What style and method do you practice? How often? This will help everyone to give you cogent responses to your questions.
Stickman3, modified 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 7:54 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 7:51 AM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/15/21 Recent Posts
I listen to spiritual teachers and vibe with what they say.
I started here, but then did other stuff, and now I just sort of try and tune in.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJFfdyjKBjc
thumbnail
Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 8:10 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 8:10 AM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Is it fair to say that you don't have a formal sitting practice? This would explain the nature of your questions. Are they serious questions, or are you just having fun?
Stickman3, modified 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 8:53 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 8:43 AM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/15/21 Recent Posts
Chris M
Is it fair to say that you don't have a formal sitting practice? This would explain the nature of your questions. Are they serious questions, or are you just having fun?

I feel like I've done enough sitting. Started in 1992, did it for years. A&P breakout in 1993ish. I sit in front of a desk. My legs are atrophying. Enough sitting. If sitting was essential to awakening secretaries would all be enlightened.

What's the problem with fun - explain how you see the difference between serious and fun. I've never seen Gotama depicted looking serious. No frowns there, no stony faces, just a range of expression from mild smile to roaring laughter. Could be just the artist's rendering, but still, that's all I've seen.
thumbnail
Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 9:08 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 9:00 AM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
The problem is this - you're taking advantage of people's good nature and their time. They think you're seriously looking for practice advice, but you're really just entertaining yourself. Trolling, it's called. As a moderator here it's incumbent on me to point this out. Maybe then they can make a more informed decision about whether to engage with or ignore you.
Stickman3, modified 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 12:09 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 11:34 AM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/15/21 Recent Posts
Chris M
The problem is this - you're taking advantage of people's good nature and their time. They think you're seriously looking for practice advice, but you're really just entertaining yourself. Trolling, it's called. As a moderator here it's incumbent on me to point this out. Maybe then they can make a more informed decision about whether to engage with or ignore you.[]/quote]

Nope. Read all the advice, don't necessarily take it. And if I don't take it, somebody else might because I'm not the only reader and it's there forever - nothing wasted.
Stickman3, modified 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 12:05 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 12:05 PM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/15/21 Recent Posts
..or you could say I try and figure out if spiritual exercises are a waste of my time. Given the amount of time I've spent sitting and practising umpteen techniques, and the amount of guff teachers can come out with that I spent so much time wading through, I don't think my output is the only time waste on this planet. Given that most spiritual seekers seem to die unenlightened, maybe including me, most of it seems a bit of a waste of time, though they might lighten their load on the way.
thumbnail
Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 12:08 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 12:05 PM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Nice try, but no, there's no excuse for trollling folks here. Please heed this warning. It's the last one.
thumbnail
Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 12:13 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 1/30/24 12:13 PM

RE: Clarification on three characteristics practice?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I'm freezing this topic now.
​​​​​​​

Breadcrumb