Shinzen Young - The Source

Richard B, modified 9 Years ago.

Shinzen Young - The Source

Posts: 1629 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
I'm not sure if this is posted elsewhere but this is what I'm doing now:

Shinzen Young - The Source

Focus Method 1: Note Vanishings
The categories you can note are classified into active states, (i.e., Touch, Feel), restful states (i.e.,
Relaxation, Peace), and Impermanence states (i.e., Flow, Vanishing).
For all categories other than vanishing, “to note” is described in terms of:
“Acknowledge, soak in and open up.”
For vanishing, “to note” takes a simpler form, just:
That’s because if you take Nothingness to be your focus space and Noting States to be your focus method,
then the only state you can note is “Vanishing.” The relevant instructions would then be:
1. You don’t need to position your attention in any particular way.
2. Every time you are aware that something has vanished, note “Gone.”
3. The thing that vanishes could be simple or complex, intense or subtle, well-defined or ill defined.
The vanishing may be dramatic or subtle. Either case is fine. “All nothings are
uncreated equal.”
4. It is not particularly important that you have a clear sense of what has vanished. Your interest
is in the “going” rather that the “what.”
5. After each note, just hang out until something else vanishes. The wait for the next vanishing
may be short or long. Any pattern is fine.
Thus, it is possible to incorporate “noting nothingness” into our standard repertoire of procedures by
following the above instructions.

Focus Method 2: Do Nothing
How about “even coverage of nothingness”? This certainly would seem to be impossible! How can you
cover something with awareness if it is not extended in space and does not last through time? Well, let’s
look a little more carefully at the exact wording in the definition of “even coverage.”
1. Spread your attention over as much of the focus space as possible without straining.
2. Beyond that, do nothing intentionally.
Clearly part 1 is not relevant to experience nothingness, but part 2 is very relevant!
If your focus space is Nothingness, then “cover and do nothing intentionally” is reduced to “do nothing
intentionally.” The relevant instructions would then be:
1. You don’t need to position your attention in any particular way.
2. Let whatever happens happen, but as soon as you notice that you are doing anything
intentionally, stop.
We’ll refer to this process as “Doing Nothing.”
The second part of the instruction requires some clarification. We will define “intentional” to mean
something you can voluntarily control, meaning you have total control over initiating and stopping the
action –like raising or dropping your arm. Therefore, by definition, you can always stop an intentional
act. So if you cannot stop doing something, it is not really intentional and you don’tneed to stop. The
instructions are very clear; only stop doing what you easily can stop doing. Let anything else happen as it
Examples of things that you can stop doing are:
 Intentionally thinking (as opposed to thinking that just happens to you)
 Trying to focus on a certain thing
 Trying to have equanimity
 Trying to keep track of what’sgoing on
 Trying to meditate
Thus, amazingly, it is actually possible to explore Nothingness using the two standard focus methods as
long as you realize that in this special case:
 Note States reduces to “just acknowledge each vanishing”and
 Even Coverage reduces to “do nothing intentional.”
Although “just acknowledge each vanishing” and “do nothing intentional” may seem to be very different
procedures, they lead to similar experiences.
Two other methods that will lead you in the same direction are the method of “Not this, Not this” (neti
neti) and the practice of Self Inquiry (constantly asking who is experiencing). If you find either of those
approaches useful, you can consider them to be “special exercises”to be used in addition to or instead of
the standard two methods described above when your focus space is “Nothingness” (True Self, No Self,
Source of Thought, etc.)

Also adding what Nick says it would also be good to notice any arisings that happen after a vanishing.
 Tarver , modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Shinzen Young - The Source

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
I am also zeroing in on these two practices, so to speak.

Any thoughts on whether they are insight, concentration, both, or neither? I can think of arguments all around the square, and that is a big part of what makes them so fascinating.
Richard B, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Shinzen Young - The Source

Posts: 1629 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
Shinkantanza to me allows me to enter the jhanas faster, which is something I didn't expect but the concentration appears without effort. When I first started meditating in 2007 I would not be able to do that. Doing this practice makes sense when you're ready. The reason that it works is that when you discover that papanca hurts (or dissatisfies) then the brain naturally ignites the amygdala to let you know because you've done the work during the dukka nanas. By allowing the brain to get lost on thoughts on its own it naturally wants to come back to the present moment because it's more peaceful. Also meditation on "gones" helps deal with what I haven't labeled consistently yet so I know which hangups I still have. For me that would be mind states and thoughts. I need to note them more consistently.

I think noting gone and "do nothing"/Shinkantanza are final insight practices because if you're enlightened then you don't need to be in any altered state to function. The brain has to be able to think and get lost in thoughts in order to communicate and think deep with lots of processing power. The difference is that it doesn't hurt after equanimity is a baseline and therefore is not a problem anymore. Reactivity is impersonal and no repression will deal with it. Deep acceptance of the 2nd law of thermodynamics (entropy) allows problems to be either solved with thinking and doing or accepted because nothing can be done.

I'm also doing "no-self"/2nd gear practices and trying to find the "self" throughout my cranium so I can watch it move location and hopefully it will dawn on the brain that there is no self. Shaila Catherine says the brain has to go to cessation on its own like a bird flying off a ship to land. When it finds land it won't come back.

So to me it's a combo of insight and concentration even if the concentration isn't as forced.

I would have to ask a 4th pather if they concentrate without much effort to sustain and if their thinking process always ends in clear awareness as a baseline. Do they have to meditate anymore or is it just for fun?