Message Boards Message Boards

Miscellaneous

Why so little talk of desire here?

Toggle
Why so little talk of desire here? Jinxed P 4/21/14 12:20 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? T DC 4/21/14 6:35 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Chris M 4/22/14 3:15 AM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? T DC 4/26/14 5:42 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Not Tao 4/26/14 6:58 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? T DC 4/26/14 8:17 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Not Tao 4/23/14 5:46 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii 4/24/14 1:15 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Not Tao 4/24/14 1:41 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii 4/25/14 5:55 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Not Tao 4/25/14 7:03 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Dream Walker 4/25/14 7:24 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Not Tao 4/25/14 8:40 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Psi 4/25/14 11:59 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Banned For waht? 4/25/14 9:03 AM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? T DC 4/26/14 5:32 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? J J 4/21/14 3:18 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? This Good Self 4/21/14 8:01 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii 4/22/14 5:01 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Jinxed P 4/22/14 7:41 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Laurel Carrington 4/23/14 9:16 AM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Not Tao 4/23/14 7:06 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Laurel Carrington 4/24/14 9:45 AM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Not Tao 4/24/14 1:22 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii 4/23/14 8:27 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Bruno Loff 4/24/14 4:19 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Not Tao 4/24/14 4:59 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii 4/25/14 6:17 PM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? An Eternal Now 4/27/14 2:23 AM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Bruno Loff 4/23/14 4:51 AM
RE: Why so little talk of desire here? Banned For waht? 4/25/14 8:20 AM
Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/21/14 12:20 PM
The first few noble truths state that the cause of unsatisfactoriness is desire/craving. And while people here make a great deal about nonduality I find little discussion on how nonduality relates to the cessation of desire (does it?).

From my understanding of buddhism it is the ending of desire that leads to nirvana. And while many here have claimed to have fully reached a nondual understanding, no one here claims Nirvana. Are we at the DhO community simply stopping at nonduality and not realizing the nondual implications for ending desire which in turn leads to the end of suffering?

What is the relationship between desire and nonduality? Between desire and the attainments you have reached?

How has a nondual understanding impacted desires for sex, good food, friendship, etc?

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/21/14 6:35 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
I think that a distinction should be made between desire in the context of that which is ended upon Nirvana, and desire such as for food or sex.

The desire which has cessation upon reaching nirvana is desire that is conditioned by the issue that nirvana solves. In essence nirvana is the antidote to this desire. This desire is craving, based on the dualistic belief that having what you want will make you full or whole, that the fulfillment of your desire will eradicate your suffering.

A different form of desire however, that is not eradicated upon nirvana/enlightenment, is the everyday desire for things which we perceive ourselves to need. For example one might desire food water and shelter. Even upon enlightenment, one must take care of immediate physical concerns.

Perhaps the desire for sex or something like that, upon enlightenment, is more questionable. However, as I have said elsewhere, upon enlightenment one does not lose their individuality. A persons individuality includes desire for sex, for love. People have a whole suite of desires which are intrinsic to them, and this is not wrong, it's just the way it is.

An enlightened person is not a perfect being in strict moralistic sense. And why should this be the case? What is the grand truth upon which a strict moralist, anti-desire (anti-sex) view point is based? Upon enlightenment one is simply who one most basically is, beyond such conceptual frameworks of good and bad.

I understand that this question comes from a basis of traditional ideas of enlightenment. However I would say that one need not desire simply based on dualistic-confusion, based on belief that the object of desire will make one whole. There is a deeper, natural form of desire, much as there is a deeper, natural self, beyond the 'ego' imposed by dualistic confusion.

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/21/14 3:18 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
A person who doesn't understand the type of craving that the Buddha talks about is liable to equate with something it is not.

It's a craving you feel, it's a deep thirst, the resolution of which is Nibbana. The commentators and Abhidhamma compilers directly after the Buddha directly equated desire with desire for "food, sex, sleep, fame, money" etc. And then compiled what they thought was a "technically" accurate Dharma.

But this is not possible, ehi passiko, one must come and see.

This is why I am reluctant to teach the Four Noble Truths, because no one will see them.

But after coming here, it is easy to realize what the Buddha meant by the five clinging aggregates, and how the letting go of craving, is in fact Nibbana.

In peace,

James

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/21/14 8:01 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
In non-duality you become everything. Hard to desire something if you're already it. (speaking from experience, of course emoticon).

There's a story of a woman who went to India and came across a holy man. She was quite impressed with him and so asked if he would come to visit her in London. She explained that it would be her pleasure to show him the all the wonderful places around town. He replied "Madam... I am London".

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/22/14 3:15 AM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
I think that a distinction should be made between desire in the context of that which is ended upon Nirvana, and desire such as for food or sex.

The desire which has cessation upon reaching nirvana is desire that is conditioned by the issue that nirvana solves. In essence nirvana is the antidote to this desire. This desire is craving, based on the dualistic belief that having what you want will make you full or whole, that the fulfillment of your desire will eradicate your suffering.

A different form of desire however, that is not eradicated upon nirvana/enlightenment, is the everyday desire for things which we perceive ourselves to need. For example one might desire food water and shelter. Even upon enlightenment, one must take care of immediate physical concerns.

Perhaps the desire for sex or something like that, upon enlightenment, is more questionable. However, as I have said elsewhere, upon enlightenment one does not lose their individuality. A persons individuality includes desire for sex, for love. People have a whole suite of desires which are intrinsic to them, and this is not wrong, it's just the way it is.

An enlightened person is not a perfect being in strict moralistic sense. And why should this be the case? What is the grand truth upon which a strict moralist, anti-desire (anti-sex) view point is based? Upon enlightenment one is simply who one most basically is, beyond such conceptual frameworks of good and bad.

I understand that this question comes from a basis of traditional ideas of enlightenment. However I would say that one need not desire simply based on dualistic-confusion, based on belief that the object of desire will make one whole. There is a deeper, natural form of desire, much as there is a deeper, natural self, beyond the 'ego' imposed by dualistic confusion.

T DC I'm not sure what version of Dhamma you are espousing, but it certainly is not Buddhadhamma. What you describe in the above post, and others of yours I have read, is not the goal of awakening of the Buddhist path. However, I can see you are resolved on believing that you have attained the final goal, so I am not going to try and convince you otherwise. This is more for the benefit of future readers of this forum, who maybe seduced and deluded into believing what you describe as full awakening.

Jinxed P, you are right to question these very salient points re non-duality verses desire, as it goes to the heart of the Buddha's teachings, the Four Noble Truths, which are not so much beliefs that we need to adhere to, but Truths to be comprehended & experienced:

This is the noble truth of dukkha
This noble truth of dukkha is to be comprehended
This noble truth of dukkha has been comprehended.

This is the noble truth of the origination of dukkha
This noble truth of the origination of dukkha is to be abandoned
This noble truth of the origination of dukkha has been abandoned.

This is the noble truth of the cessation of dukkha
This noble truth of the cessation of dukkha is to be directly experienced
This noble truth of the cessation of dukkha has been directly experienced.

This is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of dukkha
This noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of dukkha is to be developed
This noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of dukkha has been developed


The above is paraphrased for the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta the Buddha's first discourse.

Non-duality is not even a main preoccupation and goal of the Buddhist Path, it is the letting go of craving which ultimately leads to Nibbana. It is the actual letting go of that leads to cessation, not as you have described T DC: "In essence nirvana is the antidote to this desire."

You clearly have the cart before the horse here.

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/22/14 5:01 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
One thing I am surprised no-one here talks about is the insight into the illusory nature of desire, as separate from the insight into the illusion of self-as-doer (agent).
In my experience, this insight into desire (which occurred separately some time after I did MCTB 4th path) was a mighty sledgehammer blow into the foundations of the patterns of craving & desire.

Here is how I saw/see it.

Last September I had the insight into non-doership, meaning that self-as-doer, agent was seen through, which is one of the conditions that people in here call 4th path (MCTB 4th Path). Thoughts just appeared with no thinker, the body moves and reacts to various stimuli, and there is no single, controlling entity of my experience. This became my baseline state.

However at this point, my desire, lust, craving etc, were all still unattenuated in any way. I was suffering much less, confusion is significantly reduced but the same craving/fantasy patterns of thoughts, sensations and actions continued to occur, with no controller, no agent.

Although my experience was centreless, and doer-less, just experience, happening all around, it seemed like there were pulls and pushes on experience, which were my latent desires, my karmic conditioning, which I decided needed to be dealt with, or allowed to self-liberate. It seemed certain objects had gravity (or repulsion) which pushed or pulled the mindbody system into conditioned responses. And in my new condition, I curiously had no more power than before over these cravings and aversions.

Then, by doing more insight practice specifically into desire/aversion I felt like I had a really really big liberating insight, and now patterns of wanting/aversion are starting to unwind frighteningly fast. For example romantic & sexual fantasy were really frequent and sticky, but now they are mostly dropped within a second or so.

The insight is very simple, it was simply seeing that the gravity of certain objects, and the "pulls and pushes" they cause are totally illusory. In short that desire is a total illusion.

The illusion of desire works in a similar way to the illusion of "do-er", but it is a little more subtle.

The illusion of do-er
1. a thought appears spontaneously e.g. "look, cake!"
2. another thing happens spontaneously e.g. the hand reaches for cake
3. a false interpretation is made that "I, the self, did that"
4. from this dumb interpretation, more erroneous thoughts can arise "Oh, I'm really bad for taking that cake"

The illusion of desire (even after the illusion of do-er is clearly seen through)
1. a thought appears spontaneously, with no thinker e.g. "thought of Person X"
2. another thing happens spontaneously e.g. sensations around the heart area
3. a very fast habitual false interpretation is made that "therefore there is still desire for person X playing out in this mindbody"
4. from this dumb interpretation, more erroneous thoughts can arise "hmm why do I still have desire for person X?"... suffering

The reality is that in direct sensate experience, it is not helpful to say that the thought (1) CAUSES sensation (2)... it is truer to say that one thing happens, then the other spontaneously, with no link whatsoever, for reason whatsoever, with no meaning whatsoever. Go there in your direct experience now, bring an object of aversion or desire to mind, and watch the play of sensations and thoughts. It appears to the untrained eye that they cause, that they push or pull each other, but look carefully and they are not linked in any way. One sensation cannot pull or push another sensation. It just is one sensation.

The fact that they might appear to be linked is a subtle illusion of self-as-desirer. So I did a lot of insight practice with strong objects of desire and the sensations and reactions and it is seen clearly that there is nothing that can be called desire, nothing that can be found to be lust, nothing that can be called karmic conditioning, experience is just one thing happening spontaneously, then another, with NOTHING in the gaps between... when this was seen clearly then fantasies just don't gain traction anymore, because the root of fantasies is the false interpretation at step 3.

This seems like an important insight post mctb 4th path and I believe is the basis for the therevada path 2 (weakening ill-will / sensual desire), but I have not seen anyone talk about it. It can only really be appreciated after seeing through self-as-doer/watcher (mctb 4th path) because prior to that, it is not possible for people to see that there is nothing in the gap, because they still believe in a nebulous selfy-continuity to the whole of their experience, so they can't see clearly that there really is nothing hiding in that gap which can possibly be their desire.

By the way this (doing insight practice on the strong desire-feeling-thought patterns) is I think the same method which Adyashanti describes in rooting out of thought belief patterns, and also I believe the same process as Byron Katie's the work. Basically you are just trying to see the patterns clearly, see that there is no you in them, no desire in them, then finally they can self-liberate. Prior to this, if you believe that there is some mysterious force of personal desire in there, then the patterns cannot self-liberate as they are being held in confusion.

Anyway just how things have panned out for me. would be interested to hear from other people...

Jinxed P:
The first few noble truths state that the cause of unsatisfactoriness is desire/craving. And while people here make a great deal about nonduality I find little discussion on how nonduality relates to the cessation of desire (does it?).

From my understanding of buddhism it is the ending of desire that leads to nirvana. And while many here have claimed to have fully reached a nondual understanding, no one here claims Nirvana. Are we at the DhO community simply stopping at nonduality and not realizing the nondual implications for ending desire which in turn leads to the end of suffering?

What is the relationship between desire and nonduality? Between desire and the attainments you have reached?

How has a nondual understanding impacted desires for sex, good food, friendship, etc?

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/22/14 7:41 PM as a reply to Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii.
Thanks for that post Sadalsuud. I too would be interested if any one else has similar experiences..

How would you say that seeing that desire is an illusion has effected you in terms of suffering and happiness?

also when you said that MTCB 4th path cleared up a lot of confusion..what did you mean by confusion?

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/23/14 4:51 AM as a reply to Jinxed P.
This has to do with the origins of the pragmatic dharma movement. Also with the fact that people here are almost all laymen, who still have sex, earn a living, etc.

Though people do discuss this issue, under the guise of different "models of awakening": different descriptions of what enlightenment is and what it means. You will find occasional mention of the "10 fetter model", which is basically the one you are referring to (a google search for "10 fetter model will give results).

One point is that models of awakening can get so implausible (perfect personality, total absence of pain, rainbow body, etc) that it is more productive to drop the most outlandish ones and try to attain those which are less ambitious first. I have seen that after attaining to some goal people invariably find that more can be done, and they move on.

Even within models people can keep moving the flagpost: you experience whatever it is you feel satisfies the requirements for the understanding of "the illusory nature of self" and you move on to understanding "the illusory nature of object" or "the illusory nature of desire" or whatever. Or upon attaining "complete freedom" you find that you still need to attain to "super-complete freedom". Or you are suddenly able to do all the jhanas as described in some specific book or framework, and you decide that you want to do jhanas in a different way, as taught by some other source (for example).

One problem is that many of these goals are very subjective. Someone claims that they have "seen the ultimate nature of reality" [1]... but have they? Or do they just believe and appear to have done so? What if someone claims to have "no sensual desire" but still has sex (maybe lots)? Maybe they do sex for different motives?! What if someone claims to have "no ill will of any kind" but other people still get hurt while interacting with this person (maybe often)? Maybe it is the other people hurting themselves (as people often do)?!

I am getting a bit off-topic here, but I think that this complication is part of the reason why people don't discuss certain models very openly.

[1] Swear to god, I sometimes have the feeling that people give pseudo-random names to whatever dramatic epiphanies or perceptional transitions they go through. To me, "seeing through the illusory nature of desire" reads like "Super-duper-level-7".

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/23/14 9:16 AM as a reply to Jinxed P.
I don't consider myself to be done yet, but I do seem to be getting deeper insight into certain patterns. For example, yesterday I had a strong craving for chocolate. I went to the campus hangout and got this thing that had the equivalent of chocolate frosting oozing out between two sweet crackers, and ate all of it. Then I felt sick. I noticed the sick feeling, and instead of tuning it out I let myself experience it fully. It continued far into the evening. I have also been having a strong aversion to my work. At the moment, there is a fair amount of it piling up. What I am seeing now is that this organism is tired, and these things are happening because of a need for rest. So instead of scolding myself for having no willpower, I have carved out some space this week to get some rest, eliminating non-essential activities.

This may not sound like deep insight, but it does take the onus off of a personal self that "should" be exercising executive power over craving and aversion. I would venture to say that the body and mind are going to be needing what they need even with further attainments, but perhaps craving and aversion can be seen as signals rather than orders to be obeyed. One more thing: in my tai chi class, I can tell exactly the point where my energy is exhausted, by the fact that I lose focus. Up until that point my concentration is strong. I can see that this body and mind need compassionate care, the same as one would give to a child. There is no sin or shame in any of this.

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/23/14 5:46 PM as a reply to T DC.
Thank you for making this post, Jinxed. I think you've helped me understand why I've been having so much trouble relating to MCTB and this community. The responses to this thread verify something I've suspected: the enlightenment talked about here just doesn't seem to have much to do with suffering. There is such a strong focus on anatta, and I kept trying to find out how this mindset people were straining to achieve related to removing stress, but it just never lined up. I mean, all the talk about cycling forever through dark nights, even after you've reached the end of the road, and once you get there you're still going to feel craving and aversion... I just don't understand the point. I mean that respectfully, too; I just really don't understand. I can't see any real benefit to removing a concept of a self if it doesn't mean the stress goes with it. I understand some people desperately want to know the truth about their existence, but even after years of practice and experiencing the feeling that there is no self, why do you believe it's true? It's possible for a concentrated mind to convince itself of a lot of things - maybe this whole path is essentially a self-indoctrination process. I don't really know. I'd really like to understand, but none of it makes much sense to me. If you'd like to answer this question directly I have another thread about it. I don't want to derail this one.

@T DC: Your response doesn't make sense in the context of Buddhism, at least in my understanding of it. The buddha was looking for an escape from dukkha, which is what the ancient Indians believe kept a person in samsara. Dukkha means all attachment, in any form, for any reason - this is why the arahant has to give up attachment to the jhanas, otherwise he or she will be reborn in a heavenly or formless realm. Karma was considered a natural law, where, when a person/being died, whatever they were most attached to would lead them to be reborn in a realm that would suit their disposition. If a person dies with a heart full of anger, they'd be reborn as a demon. If a person was highly attached to sex, maybe they'd be reborn as a rabbit. In this kind of belief system, contemplatives out searching for liberation wouldn't be satisfied until they truly believed there was nothing left that would keep them in samsara. From this, if we believe the buddha really was liberated, as he said, we have to conclude that he felt no desire or attachment at all. There was nothing left holding him to the world except the life of his body, and once he died, he wouldn't be reborn.

I don't really put much stock in ancient Indian cosmology, myself, but it doesn't matter very much. Liberation from stress in this lifetime has it's own intrinsic appeal. There's no need to believe what the buddha believed to benefit from the methods.

One thing I am surprised no-one here talks about is the insight into the illusory nature of desire, as separate from the insight into the illusion of self-as-doer (agent).


This is very interesting to hear you say, to me, because you say you've completed the path presented here. If you think they're separate, that probably means this no-self path isn't going to be useful to me. I think you're mistaken in thinking you need to believe in an illusory self to see the nature of desire. I've been working on desire from the very beginning, and while I can't say I've made any changes in how I see the existence of my "self", I've had a number of insights into the link between stress, desire, and the emotions. Something to point out: desire doesn't have to be seen as an illusion to remove it or challenge it. The suttas give many techniques, including the jhanas and mindfulness, to cut desire at the root and achieve equanimity toward the five aggregates. Anatta (not-self) is one of the strategies that the buddha gave to remove desire - but I have yet to find any real talk of "no-self" in the suttas. There are a number of suttas that mention no-self as wrong view, though... I understand you guys aren't too concerned about where a strategy comes from, rather how successful it is, but from the talk I've seen from Daniel and Ken Folk, along with the other people around here claiming to be "fourth path" or what have you, this no-self strategy doesn't seem to be working. If you guys feel I'm wrong and can explain how following this path will lead to the ending of negativity in my life, please let me know! I'd really like to understand!

Even within models people can keep moving the flagpost: you experience whatever it is you feel satisfies the requirements for the understanding of "the illusory nature of self" and you move on to understanding "the illusory nature of object" or "the illusory nature of desire" or whatever. Or upon attaining "complete freedom" you find that you still need to attain to "super-complete freedom". Or you are suddenly able to do all the jhanas as described in some specific book or framework, and you decide that you want to do jhanas in a different way, as taught by some other source (for example).


But this is exactly what the Buddha was challenging with his whole system. The very definition of an arahant is "there is nothing left for this world." The arahant is someone who has finally dropped all desire and craving. To this kind of person, it doesn't matter what kind of signposts there are, who is achieving them, or why. They're free from all wanting, why would they try to achieve anything else? If someone says to an arahant, "I have a new system of enlightenment for you to try! There are 100 different blissful meditative attainments and it will lead to an understanding all of reality including quantum physics, knowledge of all the countless dimensions, godlike powers, and lordship over all of existence! You also get 1000 diva wives/husbands who have been training for 1000 years each in the kamma sutra!" The arahant would simply say, "That's nice, but I'm free. I'd rather just sit here on this tree root."

If you guys don't think this is possible, your practices must be leading you in a very different direction from what I seem to have found for myself after some simple practice and reading the suttas. The buddha tried all the big practices in his day including self-inflicted torture, and in the end he realized, "Oh, how silly I've been. I just needed to calm down and let go of all this wanting..." There isn't really much that we want in life. We just want to be content and satisfied. We get angry because we think other people are taking away things that lead to our satisfaction. We get sad because we don't have something that used to lead to our satisfaction. We are anxious because we believe something we rely on for our satisfaction is going to go away. You can approach it any way you like, but in the end the heart of buddhism is simple stopping in the middle of your desire and realizing there is nothing you really need to do. Just let go of all of it. That seems to be what he's saying. Why does it matter what self is, or if you can see everything as empty? How does any of that relate to lasting contentment?

One of the things that has confused me a lot is the way jhana is treated as a simple calming or mind strengthening exercise in Theravada. They say something like, "Learn jhana if you have trouble focusing, but it's not very important. Best not to waste time and do vipassana as soon as you can concentrate." In my experience over the last few months (an admittedly shot time), the jhanas are essentially a systematic training in letting go. This seems to be the very core of the Buddha's teachings. What could be more insightful than learning equanimity is a more pleasant feeling than bliss? This alone has transformed the way I see every emotion or desire. I spend a lot of time these days simply sitting and existing. It just feels nice just to let go and realize there is nothing you need to do, ever, to be happy. Ironically, the one thing on this site that seems to be the most Buddhist is the Actual Freedom stuff, and they have nothing but contempt for altered states of consciousness. I've read all the hate speech on their website, but that only served to make me more confused, since they are essentially preaching mindfulness training.

I know you guys get these sorts of posts a lot here, and everyone has their own strong opinions, but I've spent a lot of time trying to reconcile the buddha's teachings with the things people around the world are calling buddhism, and I've failed to come up with any great understanding. The teachings seem so simple to me until I read the commentaries and religious texts and traditions. I guess, end of the day, it's just another desire to let go of - the desire to understand.

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/23/14 7:06 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Jane Laurel Carrington:
I don't consider myself to be done yet, but I do seem to be getting deeper insight into certain patterns. For example, yesterday I had a strong craving for chocolate. I went to the campus hangout and got this thing that had the equivalent of chocolate frosting oozing out between two sweet crackers, and ate all of it. Then I felt sick. I noticed the sick feeling, and instead of tuning it out I let myself experience it fully. It continued far into the evening. I have also been having a strong aversion to my work. At the moment, there is a fair amount of it piling up. What I am seeing now is that this organism is tired, and these things are happening because of a need for rest. So instead of scolding myself for having no willpower, I have carved out some space this week to get some rest, eliminating non-essential activities.

This may not sound like deep insight, but it does take the onus off of a personal self that "should" be exercising executive power over craving and aversion. I would venture to say that the body and mind are going to be needing what they need even with further attainments, but perhaps craving and aversion can be seen as signals rather than orders to be obeyed. One more thing: in my tai chi class, I can tell exactly the point where my energy is exhausted, by the fact that I lose focus. Up until that point my concentration is strong. I can see that this body and mind need compassionate care, the same as one would give to a child. There is no sin or shame in any of this.


Hi Jane,

IMHO, this line was your biggest insight: "perhaps craving and aversion can be seen as signals rather than orders to be obeyed." The progress I've seen in my own practice revolves around this idea. The beginning of your story seems to have two kinds of craving in it. You wanted the chocolate, but you also wanted not to want the chocolate. After you ate the chocolate, you felt sick, and then you absorbed into this feeling - perhaps to punish yourself? This whole mass of stress you described could end at any point in its progression by realizing that a bad feeling doesn't have to end to be content. The craving for sensual pleasures (like chocolate) are not the true craving, but a mask for discontent. Discontent is simply the feeling of, "I need something besides what reality is right now to be satisfied." Next time you crave chocolate, look in your heart and ask yourself what you really want, it will probably be as simple as allowing that desire to continue on without fighting it. Simply say, "Ahh, this feeling is impermanent, as are the pleasant tastes that come with the chocolate. In the end, all I really want is satisfaction, and to be satisfied, I just need to stop wanting." Wanting to resist wanting, or wanting to make wanting go away, is still wanting. Let all of the wanting just be itself and watching without being too attached to what it does. Without any attachment, these things tend to fizzle out on their own in about a minute. Then, having seen how weak the feeling really was, the next time you feel it, you won't take it as seriously. Eventually it won't arise at all - you'll just be content already.

However, if you do eat the chocolate next time, you can use this same method on any feelings of self-retribution you might have. They're just as hurtful and stressful as any other craving, and spending the whole night carrying them around isn't going to make the desire for chocolate go away. In the end, all it takes is letting go.

You might like this story: http://users.rider.edu/~suler/zenstory/obsessed.html

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/23/14 8:27 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
@Jinxed & @NotTao - seeing the illusory nature of desire has caused the collapse of a lot of desire related patterns of thoughts and emotions, which has hugely reduced suffering for me. For example, I am no longer suffering much from romantic and sexual fantasy, which was strong and painful previously.

In my experience so far, the lessening of suffering is exactly a side effect of deepening insights into anatta (non-self), and not "a goal". Well, we are playing with words here, but it's a shift in perspective. You start out saying "I want to suffer less" and you solve the problem by removing the "I" at various depths, which crushes the patterns which cause suffering.

@Bruno
sorry to add labels to insights in a manner which you perceive as un-needed. I feel that one of the strong points of DhO-like forums is that the use of very precise and technical language can help point people to genuine insight. For example, in this case I wanted to lessen my desires and recursive thinking, and a teacher told me - don't aim to do these things, they will happen as insight into anatta deepens. But gave no pointers at all on how or where to deepen the insight. Eventually someone else pointed me to exactly this place (illusion of self-as-desire), and I found it pragmatically worked a treat. So this is my attempt to maybe help anyone else out. If you feel the description is needless then either you totally get both the insights already and it's trival to you, fair play to you. Or if you don't see the 2 insights as distinct at all then I suggest you check it out, as I believe that there is a valuable suffering-lessening thing in there.


to no-one in particular, but addressing a DhO way of speaking:

I would like to say that although it definitely feels true at one level, I think it can be misleading to say that insights into non-self end at mctb 4th path. For example the AF stuff, in a way is exactly just having more insights into no-self. It could be described as being about breaking the illusion of the subtle subjective quality of moods, which when done, leaves thoroughly no-one at home to even perceive anything (happy harmless apperception).


Jinxed P:
Thanks for that post Sadalsuud. I too would be interested if any one else has similar experiences..

How would you say that seeing that desire is an illusion has effected you in terms of suffering and happiness?

also when you said that MTCB 4th path cleared up a lot of confusion..what did you mean by confusion?

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/24/14 9:45 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:


Hi Jane,

IMHO, this line was your biggest insight: "perhaps craving and aversion can be seen as signals rather than orders to be obeyed." The progress I've seen in my own practice revolves around this idea. The beginning of your story seems to have two kinds of craving in it. You wanted the chocolate, but you also wanted not to want the chocolate. After you ate the chocolate, you felt sick, and then you absorbed into this feeling - perhaps to punish yourself? This whole mass of stress you described could end at any point in its progression by realizing that a bad feeling doesn't have to end to be content. The craving for sensual pleasures (like chocolate) are not the true craving, but a mask for discontent. Discontent is simply the feeling of, "I need something besides what reality is right now to be satisfied." Next time you crave chocolate, look in your heart and ask yourself what you really want, it will probably be as simple as allowing that desire to continue on without fighting it. Simply say, "Ahh, this feeling is impermanent, as are the pleasant tastes that come with the chocolate. In the end, all I really want is satisfaction, and to be satisfied, I just need to stop wanting." Wanting to resist wanting, or wanting to make wanting go away, is still wanting. Let all of the wanting just be itself and watching without being too attached to what it does. Without any attachment, these things tend to fizzle out on their own in about a minute. Then, having seen how weak the feeling really was, the next time you feel it, you won't take it as seriously. Eventually it won't arise at all - you'll just be content already.

However, if you do eat the chocolate next time, you can use this same method on any feelings of self-retribution you might have. They're just as hurtful and stressful as any other craving, and spending the whole night carrying them around isn't going to make the desire for chocolate go away. In the end, all it takes is letting go.

You might like this story: http://users.rider.edu/~suler/zenstory/obsessed.html


Thanks for the feedback! At first I found your descriptions of wanting this or that to be confusing, but I think I'm on my way to sorting it out.

So what happened is that I just plain decided to go with the desire for chocolate to see what would happen. And I decided to stay with the sick feeling not as a punishment, but to let it in, see what it was like. As a result, I had the insight that eating the chocolate failed to end in satisfaction. The illusion that it would was punctured. And as I let unpleasant sensations in, I was able to experience other sensations as well, such as fatigue. Which means that yes, I really was desiring something else--I was desiring rest. In fact, I recognized that as a need, and took measures to fulfill it.

I have to be honest: I wanted not to want the stuff. I let that in as well. And I was thinking about the punishment motive when I started feeling sick, but realized that it just didn't make any sense, so I dropped it.

Right now there's a task I need to do and I'm feeling aversion. The aversion leads to a belief, that I won't be able to complete the task successfully, with bothersome results (I'm looking for documents and worried I won't locate them). So I am avoiding, pushing off the task, by being on this website, which is a lot more fun than facing the possibility that these documents are not accessible. What to do? Investigate the fear of the sensations of frustration. Investigate the fear of being criticized, and the potential for sensations associated with self-reproach and blame. Investigate the fear of inconvenience, the sensations of being unable to control my space and what it contains. Break it all down. Who or what am I trying to protect?

Again, possibly these aren't the deepest insights, but they are where people live a lot of the time. Can I let these things be and still be okay? Of course. So, on with the search!

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/24/14 1:15 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Hi NotTao,

Sorry I didn't see you had addressed this at my quote. You are asking some interesting questions and I will try and answer a bit. I think you are mixing up what you think is the pragmatic scene with a general buddhist approach to development. Maybe these explanations might help?

1. Traditional hardcore real-deal Buddhism:
0. goal - let's try and eliminate suffering.
1. do some basic training in morality and concentration so you can meditate well
2. now you're lead a more harmonious life and can meditate well, start doing strong insight practice to realise anatta
3. realise anatta. don't make a big deal of this though. It's just the beginning, like taking the stabilisers off your bike.
4. with the insight into anatta, all belief systems are begun to be let go of, both the obviously bad ones but also all the 'good' ones which helped you so far.
5. All patterns of selfish behaviour can liberate themselves at their root, if faith is there. This now happens much much much faster and efficiently than pre-anatta insight. It is like the difference between using a dustpan and brush to clean up your neurotic stuff VS a vacuum cleaner. Also a vacuum can get stuff out of some cracks in the floorboards that a brush simply cannot.
6. all neurotic patterns of craving/desire/aversion are gone. All belief systems, all moral frameworks, are gone. No suffering at all. Enlightenment.


2. Traditional softcore Buddhism aka self-improvement
0. goal - let's try and eliminate suffering
1. do some basic training in morality and concentration so you can meditate well
2. you become kinder, more in control of desires, have insights about all psychological stuff and generally become a better person. Wow, Buddhism is great.
3. Do not believe in all the devotional, mystic or anatta stuff, or non-dual realisation stuff, because you can see that your interpretation of Buddhism is working just fine, you have made leaps and bounds, and you don't need all that mumbo jumbo. The buddha simply logically describes a path of psychological self-development.
4. Build up a view of what you think is good and moral behaviour (skillful) VS unskillful. Build up a view of how your thought/desire patterns work. As time goes by you do more and more skillful stuff, suffering less and less.
5. Lead a very good conventional moral life, according to certain rules and frameworks. Suffer a bit.


3. Your impression of the Pragmatic Dharma scene
0. goal - let's try an eliminate suffering
1. get obsessed with maps, technical practice and the nature of the illusion of self
2. do loads of dry insight practice which basically leads you to misery and depression for some months or years
3. realise anatta to some degree. go totally fucking nuts, claim you have "done what had to be done", describe yourself as enlightened and build a huge identity around the idea of no-self
4. Deny that it is possible to eliminate sensual desire or ill will, hence causing yourself to be stuck, not practising wholeheartedly to eliminate them, hence creating a self-affirming loop that it's impossible
5. Retain your stuckness by creating more and more models or paths that focus on technical aspects of non-duality or meditation, rather than allowing the ego to totally surrender to truth
6. continue suffering


It sounds from your post like you are currently in mode 2, because mode 3 does not appeal. My opinion is that without anatta, buddhist practice is de-fanged, limited. With overemphasis on anatta Buddhism is also limited - people get stuck in the transcendent aka 'stink of zen'. Many great teachers have warned on both these sides.

I agree that it can seem here that anatta is overemphasised. But do not let what you perceive here put you off the idea that anatta is v important. Pretty much every type of Buddhism has some kind of training to point people toward realising anatta. It IS in the suttas, the buddha famously uses the analogy of a cart to demonstrate the emptiness of self. And he talks about anatta in terms of lack of agency (control) in the Anattalakkhana Sutta. Therevada has insight practice, so does all the Tibetan buddhism, Zen has koans.

My own journey within this ---- I was stuck in mode 2 for a couple of years. Then very gratefully I found the pragmatic scene and had some realisation of anatta. Then decided that practice needed to continue in ways that are not discussed a lot here, for various reasons as discussed above and in this thread. But that does not invalidate the importance of what the perceived angle of practice is in the pragmatic scene. It is beautiful, invaluable, vital.

go well. I enjoyed writing this from the hammock I now have in my room, & the sun is coming through the window... emoticon



Not Tao:

One thing I am surprised no-one here talks about is the insight into the illusory nature of desire, as separate from the insight into the illusion of self-as-doer (agent).


This is very interesting to hear you say, to me, because you say you've completed the path presented here. If you think they're separate, that probably means this no-self path isn't going to be useful to me. I think you're mistaken in thinking you need to believe in an illusory self to see the nature of desire. I've been working on desire from the very beginning, and while I can't say I've made any changes in how I see the existence of my "self", I've had a number of insights into the link between stress, desire, and the emotions. Something to point out: desire doesn't have to be seen as an illusion to remove it or challenge it. The suttas give many techniques, including the jhanas and mindfulness, to cut desire at the root and achieve equanimity toward the five aggregates. Anatta (not-self) is one of the strategies that the buddha gave to remove desire - but I have yet to find any real talk of "no-self" in the suttas. There are a number of suttas that mention no-self as wrong view, though... I understand you guys aren't too concerned about where a strategy comes from, rather how successful it is, but from the talk I've seen from Daniel and Ken Folk, along with the other people around here claiming to be "fourth path" or what have you, this no-self strategy doesn't seem to be working. If you guys feel I'm wrong and can explain how following this path will lead to the ending of negativity in my life, please let me know! I'd really like to understand!

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/24/14 1:22 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Jane, I think your response points to the fundamental difference between two paths. You've helped me sort out some thoughts I've had about these practices, so thank you!

I think I've been trying to make sense of two methodologies that seem similar on the surface, but are actually leading to different results. In the situation you described, what I'd be looking for was where the stress was, and how the desires I had caused it to continue rather than dissipate. I would feel successful when I could see clearly what caused the stresses to cease in relation to what desires I let go of. This is why I gave you the advice I did, I was assuming you were attempting to see through the desire and how it led to suffering. Specifically, what I would find as the culprit would be the desire to control the urge to eat the chocolate. This desire for control is specifically what I've found to prevent control in similar situations of my own experience. Once I've let go of this desire to control, or the desire for the emotion itself to change or go away, I have been able to see that the emotion itself doesn't have much to it and tends to dissolve quickly on its own if I place my attention on other things. With this practice, I attempt to strike at the root of the emotion itself so it is weakened or won't arise again in the future.

The way you approached the situation (this will be my interpretation, so feel free to correct me), you were looking at the stress, specifically, as an illusion caused by an interaction between a "doer" or a "self" that felt the emotion, and the emotion in its raw form. You were attempting to use the strong emotions to understand the illusion so that, next time you felt those emotions, you would be able to tolerate them more easily.

Or, maybe a better way to put it, the eventual goal of your practice (or, if I may be so bold, the practice presented in MCTB ) is the ability to withstand any emotion that arises. The goal of my practice (perhaps a more AF type thing) is to prevent the arising of unpleasant or stressful emotions.

This may actually be a deeper divide in Buddhism in general. Zen seems to lean towards withstanding emotions, whereas Tibetan Buddhism seems to work on preventing them. In Theravada, the Burmese methods aim towards withstanding, and the Thai forest tradition aims towards preventing.

Perhaps you could diagnose a tradition by the importance they place on the jhanas. If withstanding all emotions is the goal, the jhanas, at best, would be seen as practice for dissociating from pleasant emotion, and at worst a fundamental trap that will lead you astray. If removing all stress is seen as the goal, the jhanas would be seen as an essential tool for learning how to release said stress and abide in a stress-free lifestyle.

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/24/14 1:41 PM as a reply to Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii.
LOL Sadalsuud that really cracked me up - especially part 3. ^^

I think you're right about my impressions, but I'm definitely not in mode 2. I've actually read a large number of the suttas and I haven't found anything that I disagree with on a fundamental level. In the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta especially, I see the buddha as describing a very effective strategy that leads to dispassion.

Bhikkhus, form is not-self. Were form self, then this form would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.' And since form is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.'


This is a sound logical argument that describes a logical way of relating to phenomena that will lead to dispassion, the ending of craving, and thus, stress. The way I've often seen anatta described in the pragmatic scene is that it is a truth that needs to be realized, and by seeing that truth due to some mystical mental events (fruitions) you will magically let go of cravings because...idk voodoo. emoticon This is the main problem I seem to have. The whole goal, as I see it, is dispassion towards things that you can't control, not the visceral annihilation of the sense of self.

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/24/14 4:19 PM as a reply to Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii.
Un-needed is probably not the right idea I was trying to convey.

My general impression about a lot of the "meditation is about trueself/noself" approach is that the language they use is far from technical.

What someone might call "seeing through the illusion of desire as self" (IDS) might not mean the same at all for someone else using the same nomenclature. Because the matter of whether you see IDS or not is ultimately a matter of you deciding you see it.

That said, I am not saying that your realization / perceptual transformation is not genuine, that is not the point at all. I totally believe you when you say you have had some transformation that lessened suffering after someone told you to see IDS. But I tend to believe that if someone had told you to see "the illusion of agitation as self" or some other nomenclature, you would have gone into your meditation with the added attention/concentration/ardency to have the exact same breakthrough, and today you would be giving it a different name.

Because while you praise the DhO for its use of technical language, my impression is that things like "illusion of self" and variants thereof are far from technical.

This is in contrast, for instance, with "staying with the meditation object uninterruptedly for 30 minutes", or "sustain a panoramic focus", among other measures of progress in meditation, which are far more objective, and can be assessed far less arbitrarily.

My impression when people say "saw the annatta of whatever" is basically that they had some epiphany (a genuine one), and they phrase it in the cultural lingo they are used to hear surrounding these things.

Granted, it could be just me who doesn't get it. I started having this impression after the "ruthless truth" people interacted with DhOers a few years ago.

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/24/14 4:59 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Haha, maybe this is why the Pali canon has 99 examples for every possible thing that could happen in any way, and it repeats all of it 99 times.

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/25/14 8:20 AM as a reply to Jinxed P.
edit: This is actually BS and decided to delete previous post.

Arahat is desireless. Fetters model is correct.

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/25/14 9:03 AM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:


An enlightened person is not a perfect being in strict moralistic sense. And why should this be the case? What is the grand truth upon which a strict moralist, anti-desire (anti-sex) view point is based? Upon enlightenment one is simply who one most basically is, beyond such conceptual frameworks of good and bad.

I understand that this question comes from a basis of traditional ideas of enlightenment. However I would say that one need not desire simply based on dualistic-confusion, based on belief that the object of desire will make one whole. There is a deeper, natural form of desire, much as there is a deeper, natural self, beyond the 'ego' imposed by dualistic confusion.


Not having a desire for sex is better than having a desire for sex.
This is like if you have had something without you knowing what is to be without it and when you give it away you realize that existence without it seemed unimagineable but now what the heck i was thinking all the time (y'll get the point).

we just don't know what is to be desireless, thats why we aren't Arahants.

There was a top dog in the village, bang every female dog and bite everyone else. One day its balls were cut, now he sits home and very friendly towards strangers, but still it didn't happened overnight, it took time to old habits completly disappeare.

Chakra system: its seccond and first? chakra is about desires but it is completely done if one reaches 6th chakra and pass over 2nd subchakra(chakra within 6th), maybe

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/25/14 5:55 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Hey Not Tao,

I am enjoying our exchange. Don't take anything too personally I am just enjoying freestyling out some thoughts emoticon

It seems to me that you are seeing this game as a logical self-development sort of thing. e.g. a you, develops dispassion to things, and becomes liberated.
This is just one lens of looking at it. Another lens is that the universe realises that it is in fact the boundless universe, and that laughably, there was the appearance of a totally illusory individual self, which had some sort of agenda or any sort of beliefs in anything, and along with this joke was also the fictional appearance of suffering. In reality there is actually, clearly no suffering at all, never was. The universe is totally incapable of suffering. Both of these lenses are as true as each other.

re: idk voodoo, "mode 2"
Dharma requires more than to read, analyse, agree, disagree. If you believe in the Dharma, then you are doing it wrong. The Dharma requires you to totally give up the ability to believe or not-believe anything. It requires a total surrender of the entire rational intellectual function, so that the unimaginable can happen. Now you can believe these words or not, I don't mind. But unless you surrender to the voodoo, then you are deffo in mode 2. This is ok too, I also don't mind. But is misleading to say it is the same path as the one the Buddha walked. The Buddha had no idea what enlightement was, or if it even existed, but he made a vow to not get up, even if he died, until he found it, and sat there for 49 days without eating or drinking looking for it... so the myth goes. But for me the most beautiful thing about the story is - can you throw away your life, pour every passion of your being, to the search for something indescribable that you actually have no idea exists or not... this is a far cry from the attitude of a "logical path to logical ways of relating to phenomena that lead to the end of stress"

ps - the whole dramatic portrayal of anatta insight, fruitions, and exactly how that leads you to magically less craving (as I described in the earlier post) seems totally logical and rational to me, as logical as basic algebra.

hope you're well and enjoying the show

Not Tao:
LOL Sadalsuud that really cracked me up - especially part 3. ^^

I think you're right about my impressions, but I'm definitely not in mode 2. I've actually read a large number of the suttas and I haven't found anything that I disagree with on a fundamental level. In the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta especially, I see the buddha as describing a very effective strategy that leads to dispassion.

Bhikkhus, form is not-self. Were form self, then this form would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.' And since form is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.'


This is a sound logical argument that describes a logical way of relating to phenomena that will lead to dispassion, the ending of craving, and thus, stress. The way I've often seen anatta described in the pragmatic scene is that it is a truth that needs to be realized, and by seeing that truth due to some mystical mental events (fruitions) you will magically let go of cravings because...idk voodoo. emoticon This is the main problem I seem to have. The whole goal, as I see it, is dispassion towards things that you can't control, not the visceral annihilation of the sense of self.

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/25/14 6:17 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
thanks for the this Bruno I get what you're saying. I still think the lingo is useful - how else is one supposed to try and describe an insight other than "I saw clearly the empty nature of thing x, which had previously been supporting illusion y in this manner..."

I think surely some kind of map of anatta of XYZ map for this sort territory is useful... there aren't that many things to have anatta insights into!

how about

1. insight into emptiness of some kind of external phenomena - the A&P
2. insight into emptiness of self - Stream Entry
3. insight into emptiness of self as watcher, doer, centre - Daniel's most quoted defn of MCTB 4th path
4. insight into emptiness of all gross objects - 2 fold emptiness (thusness 7 stages)
5. insight into emptiness of causality or desire/aversion - aka Maha experience (thusness 7 stages)
6. insight into emptiness of all the subtle subjective qualities of moods - Actual Freedom (or total arahantship).

that's only 6 anattas of whatever... are we allowed them?

ps I would love to have a model of attainment called "The 6 (or 93) Anattas of Whatever". The name cracks me up.

Bruno Loff:
Un-needed is probably not the right idea I was trying to convey.

My general impression about a lot of the "meditation is about trueself/noself" approach is that the language they use is far from technical.

What someone might call "seeing through the illusion of desire as self" (IDS) might not mean the same at all for someone else using the same nomenclature. Because the matter of whether you see IDS or not is ultimately a matter of you deciding you see it.

That said, I am not saying that your realization / perceptual transformation is not genuine, that is not the point at all. I totally believe you when you say you have had some transformation that lessened suffering after someone told you to see IDS. But I tend to believe that if someone had told you to see "the illusion of agitation as self" or some other nomenclature, you would have gone into your meditation with the added attention/concentration/ardency to have the exact same breakthrough, and today you would be giving it a different name.

Because while you praise the DhO for its use of technical language, my impression is that things like "illusion of self" and variants thereof are far from technical.

This is in contrast, for instance, with "staying with the meditation object uninterruptedly for 30 minutes", or "sustain a panoramic focus", among other measures of progress in meditation, which are far more objective, and can be assessed far less arbitrarily.

My impression when people say "saw the annatta of whatever" is basically that they had some epiphany (a genuine one), and they phrase it in the cultural lingo they are used to hear surrounding these things.

Granted, it could be just me who doesn't get it. I started having this impression after the "ruthless truth" people interacted with DhOers a few years ago.

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/25/14 7:03 PM as a reply to Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii.
This is just one lens of looking at it. Another lens is that the universe realises that it is in fact the boundless universe, and that laughably, there was the appearance of a totally illusory individual self, which had some sort of agenda or any sort of beliefs in anything, and along with this joke was also the fictional appearance of suffering. In reality there is actually, clearly no suffering at all, never was. The universe is totally incapable of suffering. Both of these lenses are as true as each other.


This is fine in theory, but I'm not very interested in philosophy, TBH. I've seen this argument a number of places, but I can't relate to how it works. Are you claiming to experience this in real time? If so, please explain phenomenologically how it works. For example, "I feel the physical sensations that are accompanied by stress, but they don't seem stressful anymore because of...voodoo." emoticon If not, consider what you're saying. Just because the universe is experiencing itself doesn't mean that the universe couldn't feel stress. If you are the universe experiencing itself after enlightenment, you are the universe experiencing itself before enlightenment as well, so what exactly is different that made the stress go away? If stress is an illusion, then what is the illusion that is seen through?

The way I see it, the buddha never said any of this. Instead he told people, "There is stress, there is an end to stress, and the way to remove it is dispassion." Dispassion towards all ideas of a self is a skillful way of removing the cravings that lead to discontent. Turning anatta into a religion or philosophy, though, takes the teeth out of it. Suddenly it's a truth rather than a practice, and realizing anatta takes precedent over removing stress. It seems to have gotten to the point in some traditions where removing stress isn't even seen as the goal (or possible), and instead realizing anatta is the goal.

It's kind of like if a person said, "Driving a car skillfully takes good coordination." While this is true, if a person were to spend all of drivers training juggling balls and walking a tightrope, they wouldn't be any more skilled at driving coming out than they were going in. Maybe they hit a point where juggling balls was effortless, and they knew a strange and interesting truth about how the arms move automatically when concentrating. But none of that has anything to do with driving a car.

The goal, in my mind, is to end suffering. Anatta is a strategy towards understanding that, not the goal. Consider that the buddha put "identity view" as one of the fetters the stream-enterer has cut. This doesn't make much sense if anatta was going to solve the problem of suffering.

P.s. I also think these conversations about anatta are overly abstract. What exactly is the self anyway? I've experienced a lot of interesting shifts in "where" or "how" my "self" exists. I can't tell how any of these relate to non-duality or emptiness (which are also abstract words). If the fruition is just a moment where you suddenly realized you lost a few seconds of time, how does this produce any kind of insight, aside from realizing you're capable of blacking out, and thus, your perception and consciousness is impermanent.

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/25/14 7:24 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
I also think these conversations about anatta are overly abstract. What exactly is the self anyway?
I've experienced a lot of interesting shifts in "where" or "how" my "self" exists. I can't tell how any of these relate to non-duality or emptiness (which are also abstract words). If the fruition is just a moment where you suddenly realized you lost a few seconds of time, how does this produce any kind of insight, aside from realizing you're capable of blacking out, and thus, your perception and consciousness is impermanent.

Interesting book on the self...The Ego Tunnel. It might un-abstract it for you.
After fruition certain aspects of the self seem to be deleted. Aspects that are only noticeable/comparable after it is deleted as you can not usually perceive them before the fruition.
Check out the book and see what you think...

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/25/14 8:40 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Ok, so what is deleted, why do you think it is, and how does it relate to craving/desire and stress? Maybe talk about how it feels in sensory terms. Can you relate the fruition moment to what the Buddha described as nibbana?

EDIT: I watched Metzinger's Ted talk. These ideas are fine, but it still doesn't address the abstract nature of the idea. Stress and suffering are visceral phenomena. "Being" is a visceral phenomena. "No-self" must also be a visceral phenomena, otherwise it's just a philosophical idea and couldn't end any stress besides existential angst. What is this phenomena exactly? If a person "experiences emptiness" as they say, what exactly is happening when you look out and see a drinking glass in front of you? What if the drinking glass breaks and cuts your hand? How does this no-self make decisions and move around?

It's my suspicion that all of this actually relates to something closer to the nature of identification. If a person trains themselves to disassociate completely, there is still something experiencing that disassociation, and therefore, there is still a self. Removing the idea of self would then be a hindrance to understanding suffering because you wouldn't see where the suffering was happening. There is a paradox at the very core of the idea. How can "no-self" be a living experience? If it is experienced, what is experiencing a lack of self. If there is still something experiencing, then there is still something that can suffer, no? So even if no-self is true, and this truth is realized, how does it end suffering?

The heart sutra "in the seeing, just the seen" is maybe the best attempt at an explanation, but it still involves seeing. What if there is pain? What if there is anxiety? "In the anxiety, just the anxiety" doesn't sound like a very nice outcome from years of hard work and effort. On the other hand, being without desire sounds lovely. That's the definition of contentment.

P.S. I've been posting a lot on this thread. I hope I'm not hijacking it... These ideas are just very interesting to me.

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/25/14 11:59 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:


EDIT: I watched Metzinger's Ted talk. These ideas are fine, but it still doesn't address the abstract nature of the idea. Stress and suffering are visceral phenomena. "Being" is a visceral phenomena. "No-self" must also be a visceral phenomena, otherwise it's just a philosophical idea and couldn't end any stress besides existential angst. What is this phenomena exactly? If a person "experiences emptiness" as they say, what exactly is happening when you look out and see a drinking glass in front of you? What if the drinking glass breaks and cuts your hand? How does this no-self make decisions and move around.

.


Person A. (Thinking thoughts in mind, hey a glass, looks interesting, hmmm... I sure as hell am thirsty, ...I'm gonne get a drink, yumma, mind anticipates cool, sweet drinking sensation, loves, no LOVES cold soda, mmmmmm.) Person A verbalizes "Mmmmmmm" Grinning in anticipation, Person A reaches out, greedy eyes wide open, (glass breaks, cuts hand)
Eye sensation, cut hand , blood dripping, skin/nerve endings start sending pain signals, Minds freaks out hits the adrenaline panic button, painful sensation panic sensations mind is in a fast swirl, instinctive reactions activated, Mind thinks "who the F,,ck made this glass, I'm gonna f,,ing kill the sunuvva biatch,, ZGrrrr Grrrr, feet stomp, throws glass across the room, glares like a Maddened Bull, testosterone raging) Person A Wishes to never have gone into such a restaurant, and is ever gonna sue the sumba guns for every last damnable Penny!

Person B. Mind in silence mode, no stray thought arising, can think what one wants at any time, it's just that thought are not always needed.
Sight sensation of a glass, thirst sensation. Person B takes glass, glass shatters. Person B , registers the phenomenon, cut hand, feels the cut hand sensations, grabs the dinner napkin wraps the hand, Reviews what may have been done different to prevent this from occuring, tries not to drip blood all over the restaurant. Person B finishes meal, or goes to a doctor for stitches depending on severity of wound.

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/26/14 5:32 PM as a reply to Banned For waht?.
The point I was making is that while we might think desire for sex is bad and should be eliminated, what is the basis for this? Who are we to say we would be better off without desire for sex? Who are we, as unenlightened individuals, to say that desire for sex is ended upon enlightenment?

I understand that the sutras say enlightenment is the end of desire. What I am saying is that the desire for sex is different from that desire which is eliminated upon enlightenment. Enlightenment eliminated desire is the desire for experience based on the view that such experience will utterly fulfill one and end one's seeking (duality).

However, enlightenment does not make one a passive observer, or turn one into a stone. Upon enlightenment, you lose nothing but your preexisting misapprehension of the world that caused you to see everything as separate. The unique individual 'you', who is experiencing all this, and was formerly suffering from dualistic misapprehension, continues to function in the world, unchanged, unimpeded. Now you just realize that a. all is one, b. the nature of reality is love itself, c. you are love itself, along with everything else, and d. thus clearly you are not a bad person for having sex, it's just a natural occurrence.

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/26/14 5:42 PM as a reply to Chris M.
Chris M - The goal of Buddhism is most clearly to overcome dukha/ suffering. From wikipedia, Dukha means 'a general sense of unsatisfactoriness'. In conventional terms this means wanting more, not being content, ceaselessly striving for more..

Enlightenment as I have defined it is the end of this suffering. Thus I an actually entirely inline with what the Buddha apparently taught.

I seem to be confusing you by saying that something remains upon enlightenment, and that this something can be characterized as emotion, such as desire. As one proceeds upon the path, false claims in teachings are seen as such, and the elimination of all desire upon enlightenment is one of these false claims. Duality is eliminated, all the rest remains.

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/26/14 6:58 PM as a reply to T DC.
This page might interest you:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca1/dukkha.html

"Birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, death is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair are dukkha; association with the unbeloved is dukkha; separation from the loved is dukkha; not getting what is wanted is dukkha. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha."


Access to Insight is the wikipedia of buddhism. :3

I think it's important to remember that the buddha didn't teach "enlightenment", rather he taught "nibbana", which is the ultimate cooling of all passions, desires, and clinging. Nibbana is freedom from samsara - or becoming. Becoming is defined as becoming ANYTING at all. An arahant is "fully blown out" - meaning they have nothing else they feel the need to do. This isn't a false claim, it's the whole premise of the sutta pitaka, which is the oldest surviving documentation of what the buddha said. Enlightenment implies knowledge - like the knowledge of no-self, as you defined it. Nibbana is simply the ending of desire. Your version of enlightenment might lead to nibbana, but it should be thought of as a strategy, not the goal itself in my mind. If you feel happy with that attainment, then great! But telling people nibbana is impossible is kind of silly. You can't prove something doesn't exist - and you're only going to discourage the more sensitive people who have that as their goal.

It might be useful to you to read back over your post and try to see the dogma in it. Don't you think those opinions will hold you back later if you find yourself unsatisfied after having attained your goal? Ending desire doesn't sound so far-fetched to me - especially when considering the other attainments people are talking about here. We can soar on the wings of jhana out of our bodies and into mind-bending new ways of perception, we can learn to turn off our consciousness at will, and bring our minds to states of such complete serenity that staring at a wall for hours at a time is no problem - but learning to prevent ourselves from wanting? Naw, that's just too hard. I won't believe it!

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/27/14 2:23 AM as a reply to Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii.
Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii:


1. insight into emptiness of some kind of external phenomena - the A&P
2. insight into emptiness of self - Stream Entry
3. insight into emptiness of self as watcher, doer, centre - Daniel's most quoted defn of MCTB 4th path
4. insight into emptiness of all gross objects - 2 fold emptiness (thusness 7 stages)
5. insight into emptiness of causality or desire/aversion - aka Maha experience (thusness 7 stages)
6. insight into emptiness of all the subtle subjective qualities of moods - Actual Freedom (or total arahantship).
/quote]
I now generally live a life free of passionate and emotional feelings, but this is not due to any inquiries on feelings. As Thusness told me in 2011:

(3:28 PM) Thusness: so it is simply the 'insight' of anatta
nothing to do with 'feelings'
get it?
for till now u have not practiced anything relating to inquring about 'feelings',

yet under normal conditions, there is effortless pce that is free from 'passion and feelings'
has is this so?
also, u experience lessening thoughts or no thoughts
just luminous manifestation
or non-conceptual thought
does that mean u have to practice no-thought?
or having no-thought is 'key'
so the primary cause is due to the arising insight
u can have other supporting conditions
like practicing bare attention


That being said, I certainly do not think that AF has to do with Arahantship. An Arahant or Anagami in the Suttas sense do not have sexual relations however a stream enterer and once returner can have (this is stated explicitly in a number of suttas). I consider for example Richard's active sex life, smoking habit, and so forth, as examples of a conditioned tendency towards sensual pleasures, something which would be absent in suttic Arahantship and Anagami. This is so even if that person experiences no libido, fantasies, and so forth. (Note: I do not claim to be a suttic Arahant or Anagami)

Also I do not think AF is the result of seeing the emptiness of feelings or whatsoever, from the articles I read on AFT site there is nothing about emptiness or emptiness of feelings. Richard explained that the so called freedom from emotions is the result of 'self-immolation'*, i.e., the complete dissolution of any sense of self/Self leading to that pce-quality of experience becoming permanent (at which point the term PCE no longer apply because pce refers to a peak experience which has entry and exit and the sense of self is still latent and ready to come back). But it is not so much about emptiness or anatta realization. AF may be in some sense similar to Thusness Stage 5 in terms of experience but in terms of realization/insight of anatta I do not see much of it being expressed in AF and for Stage 5 the emphasis is on the realization (and the experience naturally comes with the realization).


*"Often people who do not read what I have to say with both eyes gain the impression that I am suggesting that people are to stop feeling ... which I am not. My whole point is to cease ‘being’ – psychologically and psychically self-immolate – which means that the entire psyche itself is extirpated." - http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/aprecisofactualfreedom.htm



........


My experiences are the result of insights. The 'Thusness Stage 5' realization of anatta that in seeing just the seen, no seer (and this has always been the case), and everything is experienced centerlessly as gapless (no subjective observer and observed division), self-luminous (self-aware experience instead of experienced as if from a vantage point of a perceiver), disjoint (there is no linking co-ordinator or self or ground) spontaneous/self-arising manifestation (of all senses and mental experience). (also there is the aspect of gapless self-luminosity that was more prominent for me before the disjoint groundless aspect that came for me a few months later, corresponding to the second and first stanza of anatta by Thusness) It is also at this point that one sees a general falling away of passion/emotions/etc but that is rather a side-effect of actualizing insight and letting it settle down or stabilize. But if one were to think that one has overcome all fetters then it would be another delusion. Be mindful of any attachment to a piece of memory, to body, to relationships, to possessions, etc. Emptying the 'I' does not mean emptying the 'mine' and this is equally important. Also afflictions and delusions may seem to be gone in waking state but may surface in sleep, which shows latent tendencies at a subtler level of consciousness. However at certain point one's wisdom and actualization also enters into sleep and dissolve any afflictions (including fears, etc) and sense of self in dreamless sleep, or dreams, or sleep paralysis, and only self-less, center-less and boundless transparency/clarity/bliss is experienced. This can be experience as pure contentless bliss consciousness without any subject/object in dreamless sleep or it can be experienced as the centerless and boundless display/awareness in sleep paralysis or dream (and in the case of dreams there will be no karmic contents or stories or sense of self/Self, only images and bliss). The amazing thing about sleep paralysis is that in the few times I have experienced it in the past 2 years, in each of those times it becomes amazing bliss, boundless and centerless clarity with no fear or sense of self (whereas previously it could have turned out to be one of the most terrifying experience in life filled with monsters, dread, and what not).

I am not sure how you link Maha to 'emptiness of desire/aversion'. Also: Maha is not about realization of emptiness, be it emptiness of causality or emptiness of desire/aversion, but rather it is directly realized/experienced due to the realization of anatta + realization of Dependent Origination. However this Maha actualization will release traces of I and mine. This is the +A aspect of Dependent Origination. Secondfold emptiness - Stage 6 realization is the -A aspect, which realizes the very non-arising of pure sensory experience [as opposed to conceptual imputation] and is not the result of deconstruction of gross objects [which is a conceptual imputation] or any form of deconstruction at all. (It does not mean nothing is arising, but that while everything is seemingly arising they do not amount to or create anything, like no matter how many things are dependently-arisen in a mirror, they are no more than illusory reflections that do not amount to an actual arising/abiding/cessation) When this Emptiness is directly realized, one realizes the empty nature of all and every phenomena without exception.

RE: Why so little talk of desire here?
Answer
4/26/14 8:17 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
"Birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, death is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair are dukkha; association with the unbeloved is dukkha; separation from the loved is dukkha; not getting what is wanted is dukkha. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha."


I believe someone posted a link in this thread to a teaching called 'How the Buddha suffered'. To counter somewhat the quote above, clearly the Buddha suffered both old age and death. So, perhaps it is not too much of a stretch to say a Buddha could also suffer sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair.

Not Tao:


I think it's important to remember that the buddha didn't teach "enlightenment", rather he taught "nibbana", which is the ultimate cooling of all passions, desires, and clinging. Nibbana is freedom from samsara - or becoming. Becoming is defined as becoming ANYTING at all. An arahant is "fully blown out" - meaning they have nothing else they feel the need to do. This isn't a false claim, it's the whole premise of the sutta pitaka, which is the oldest surviving documentation of what the buddha said. Enlightenment implies knowledge - like the knowledge of no-self, as you defined it. Nibbana is simply the ending of desire. Your version of enlightenment might lead to nibbana, but it should be thought of as a strategy, not the goal itself in my mind. If you feel happy with that attainment, then great! But telling people nibbana is impossible is kind of silly. You can't prove something doesn't exist - and you're only going to discourage the more sensitive people who have that as their goal.


I hope the sensitive people will forgive me, but I will refute you. So as you say nibbana is the end of becoming, becoming anything. To be fair you did not define becoming very well, using the word to explain itself. I did some research, (on access to insight, thank you for the link!) and as well as I can make out, becoming is analogous to the process of creating a fixed identity in relation to the surrounding world. The basic reason a person does such a thing is due to dualistic misapprehension, an underlying belief of being inherently separate from the world. (Such a perspective is common in Tibetan Buddhism, with which I am most familiar.) Thus it follows that in order to combat becoming, one must combat the underlying false belief, which I have been calling 'duality'.

To a great extent our argument here is ridiculous. Nibbana different from enlightenment? The end of desire vs the end of the self? Are you aware what a crucial teaching that of no-self is? Insight into no-self is the very basis of the path! If you dispute this, I don't know really know what to say.

I am aware that you are an actual freedom practitioner, and as such I am assuming you abide by the opinion that emotions can be fully ended. So perhaps you are trying to reduce emotions without focus on overcoming the self? It doesn't matter what you are doing, because all thoughts are imbued with one's level of dualistic belief, for whatever level of attainment one possesses. Grasping at thoughts based on dualistic notions is the basic issue.

Not Tao:

It might be useful to you to read back over your post and try to see the dogma in it. Don't you think those opinions will hold you back later if you find yourself unsatisfied after having attained your goal? Ending desire doesn't sound so far-fetched to me - especially when considering the other attainments people are talking about here. We can soar on the wings of jhana out of our bodies and into mind-bending new ways of perception, we can learn to turn off our consciousness at will, and bring our minds to states of such complete serenity that staring at a wall for hours at a time is no problem - but learning to prevent ourselves from wanting? Naw, that's just too hard. I won't believe it!


Fine, don't believe me. I'm not expecting people to believe me, and frankly they don't have to. Every has the free will to figure out the issue of enlightenment for themselves in their own time. What I am trying to do is basically give some clear standards as I see them as to what is and is not achievable.

In regard to your last paragraph, you have presented many different spiritual type accomplishments and used this as the basis for positing that unlimited accomplishment of whatever one may desire is possible. However, these different spiritual attainments do not just exist in free space, they must be viewed in context. These are interesting accomplishments people have achieved, however they are temporary state that do not combat the reality of suffering, they are merely sideshows on the greater path. That they exist in no way proves the end of emotion possible, in fact these two things are unrelated.

What I suggest is that if you experience attainment, you will experience it as I experienced it , and you will never come to fully destroy your emotions. Instead, you may come to appreciate them and facts of life which can suck at times, despite their occurrence in an enlightened being.