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Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom" [Omega Point] [M

Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom" [Omega Point]


Omega Point - 2014-04-14 16:56:29 - Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom"

http://www.scribd.com/doc/218157375/Imitating-Freedom-a-Buddhist-refutation-of-Actualism



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Imitating FreedomOmega PointOutline of ìActualismî"When one first becomes aware of something, there is a fleeting instant of the clean perception of sensum just before one recognizes the percept (the mental product or result of perception) and also before one identifies with all the feeling memories associated with its qualia (the qualities pertaining to the properties of the form) and this ëraw sense-datumí stage of sensational perception is a direct experience of the actual. Clear perception is in that instant where one converges oneís eyes or ears or nose or tongue or skin on the thing. It is that moment just before one focuses oneís feeling-memory on the object. It is the split-second just as one affectively subjectifies it ... which is just prior to clamping down on it viscerally and segregating it from the rest of pure, conscious existence. Pure perception takes place sensitively just before one starts feeling the percept ñ and thus thinking about it affectively ñ which takes place just before oneís feeling-fed mind says: ëItís a maní or: ëItís a womaní or: ëItís a steak-burgerí or: ëItís a tofu-burgerí ... with all that is implied in this identification and the ramifications that stem from that. This fluid, soft-focused moment of bare awareness, which is not learned, has never been learned, and never will be learned, could be called an aesthetically sensual regardfulness or a consummate sensorial discernibleness or an exquisitely sensuous heedfulness ... in a word: apperceptiveness. ì1 -Actual Freedom Trust webpage



    ìActual Freedomî or ìActualismî is a fringe quasi-tradition which asserts an attainment of the same name. It utilizes methods intended on pointing out or bringing about a condition it calls ìpure conscious experienceî or ìPCEî, while it asserts all other conditions to be altered states of consciousness. PCE is an apparently non-dual and non-conceptual condition initially occurring for a brief instance prior to perception where there is an uninterpreted moment of pure sense datum, where the experiential continuum isnít taken as an object nor are sense-objects being segmented and subsequently experienced as concepts, and where involuntary and recollective self-conscious memory imprints are not functioning, renewed, or newly created. During the course of repeatedly pointing out or bringing about such a condition (PCE qua path), the once brief instance is extended and then appears to stick (PCE qua fruit), and this apparently persisting condition is called ìactual freedomî. As implicitly implied by its name and by the terminology used, the quasi-tradition and its progenitor assert superiority and novelty over rigorously developed contemplative traditions such as Buddhism, referring to the Awakening found in Buddhism as mere ìspiritual enlightenmentî an ìaltered state of consciousnessî while branding itself as a ìthird alternativeî.2


The ìBase-of-Allî of Ati Dzogpa Chenpo Buddhism

    One of the greatest Dzogchen masters of the second millennium, Jigme Lingpa, predicted that the base-of-all states would often be mistaken for Awakening during our age.3 "Those who do not understand it in this way and take the base-of-all for the dharmakaya are like blind men without a guide, erring about in a desert. As they are deluded about the nature of the Base and the Fruit, the Path by which Buddhahood can be realized in one lifetime has been blocked. Samaya.î The ìneutral base-of-allî is a transpersonal condition where neither samsara nor nirvana are active. Neutral states having the experiential character of non-duality and non-conceptuality, and further, in which there is the manifestation of the first marigpa of the threefold classification, ìwhere that of the basic unawareness that arises when a contingent, beclouding element of stupefaction obscures rigpaís inherent non-dual self-awareness, preventing it from making patent its own face and hence from manifesting its all-liberating natureî and so the non-dual truth corresponding to nirvana or the state of rigpa is not manifest, though the second and third marigpa are also not manifest, where ìthat of the active delusion that consists in taking the insubstantial as substantial, the relative as absolute, the dependent as independent, what lacks value and importance as having inherent value and importance, the unsatisfactory as suitable to provide satisfaction and so on; and that consisting in the inability to realize that we are under delusionî and so samsara is said to be not active either. 
    The ìbase-of-allî or ìbasis-of-allî are the general terms that the Dzogchen teachings use to refer to the states where nether samsara nor nirvana are active. Phrases that include this term refer to some of the specific absorptions where the base-of-all is manifest, such as the ìdimension of the base-of-allî, ìprimordial, profound base-of-allî, "base-of-all carrying propensitiesì. Other examples of absorptions categorized as ìneutral base-of-allî include the nirodha-samapatti valued by the Hinayana; the nirvikalpa-samadhi valued by Vedantic contemplation; the samadhi where the blank condition that is similar to sleep yet different from it insofar as one is simultaneously fully awake is active, which is the supreme realization of PataÒjaliís Yoga darshana; the absorption in the ìinnerî luminosity of what Dzogchen calls the dang form of manifestation of energy known as tingsel; the various thought-free absorptions involving the sense-continuum, the dharmadhatu as in the space where all phenomena manifest, etc., yet in which specifically lack the experiential featuring of the subject-object duality or the singling out and recognition of sensations; in general in the non-dual luminosity manifesting in the chikhai bardo, such as the ìclear light of the voidî, which fails to recognize Rigpa and therefore is a non-actual clear light; and likely but not certainly due to their ambiguous definitions, the state of turiya-ananda described in the Upanishads (such as the Mandukya and Taittiriya), and in Shankaracharyaís Adwaita Vedanta. 

    The ìneutral base-of-allî doesnít solely manifest in absorptions like the ones referred to in the proceeding terms, as it ìrecurs again and again in normal, everyday human experience, in which, however, it usually goes unnoticedî. "Perception is always preceded by an extremely short instant of uninterpreted, pure sensation, which we are unable to reflexively remember insofar as it is an instance of the neutral condition of the base-of-all that as such does not involve the awareness (of) consciousness-of-an-object-perceived-in-terms-of-a-concept that is responsible for the production of a reflexive mnemonic imprintî ì...the condition of the base-of-all in which there is
awareness (of) the sensory continuum there is no reflexive awareness (of) consciousness of
object and hence whatever occurs in them cannot be reflexively rememberedî. This does not mean however that it is utterly beyond memory as there is functioning of the unselfconscious and non-reflexive memory. In such states the intentionality of mind does not yet operate, so it is equivalent to where the senses have not awakened to their objects, though not necessarily because the continuum of experience is absent as in the case of an asleep, unconscious person, or the nirodha-samapatti. What is critical ì...is that as yet there be no cognitive activity that may either take the sensory continuum as object, or actively function in order to single out segments of the continuum and perceive them as objects.... When the base-of-all manifests as a neutral condition, there is unconsciousness, not in the sense of lack of awareness, but in that of manifestation of a stunned condition involving the first type of avidya / marigpa posited in the Dzogchen classification ... and lacking reflexive awareness (of) being conscious of something and hence involving no knowledgeóin which therefore no reflexive mnemonic imprints are established. This condition manifests for a very brief instant between each coarse thought of the discursive kind and the next, and although it may be said to be unconscious in the sense just defined, its occurrence, rather than making us lose track of the relationship between the thoughts in question and fall into a stunned condition, has the twofold function of separating each thought from the preceding one, and of establishing the connection between thoughts that makes mental discourse possible."
    "In the operations that Sartre called bad faith, what has the effect Sartre attributed to an abstract ìnihilating power inherent in consciousnessî is the occurrence of an instance of the neutral condition of the base-of-all or kunzhi lungmaten more powerful and clear than the usual lapse between one discursive thought and the next, yet not as powerful and extended as the one occurring in the nyam called heddewa: this allows us to forget the aspect of ourselves we intended to elude, or elude both the object and the sensation of anguish, and by the same token forget we forgot somethingóthereby keeping the act of elusion, as well as whatever we intended to elude, outside our conscious awarenessî. Further, the base-of-all, ìbeside working as the interrupter of all that we intended to elude (including the act of elusion itself), works as the channel that carries the intention to invent and come to believe a tranquilizing myth, causing the first line of thought to manifest immediately after the condition in question to express the appropriate mythóor whatever it is convenient for us to look at after ìlooking awayî from what we intend to elude and, in the same operation, ìlooking awayî from our ìlooking awayî from it. Since the neutral condition of the base-of all left us with no immediate reflexive memory either of what we intended to elude or of the act of elusion, and since subsequently we become absorbed in the myth we want to believe, becoming unaware of everything else (including the fact that we are telling ourselves a myth), we automatically forget what we intended to forget and come to believe the myth enunciated by the new chain of thoughts (there being no need for us to elaborate the myth beforehand, for when the moment comes the spontaneity of awareness will do so in the most convenient wayî.

    In the case of many transpersonal thinkers and pseudo-gurus, the base-of-all is mistaken for authentic Awakening, often leading to spiritual pride, to individuals setting themselves up as pseudo-gurus, and to false ideas of exceptionalness which serves to further mislead and delude others.4 The importance of this mistake cannot be understated, for it is possible to become established in the neutral base-of-all for extremely long periods of time, thereby squandering the precious human opportunity. It can become a comfortable jail where the progress along the Path is blocked and suspended. Freedom can be suspended, especially when the base-of-all leads to giving up the search to activate the awareness of Rigpa, and one can lack the proper responses to situations. It is compared to journeying to the mountain of absolute sanity and on the way finding a nice and comfortable place to stay and somehow mistaking it for the destination. "...the Dzogchen teachings compare dwelling in an absorption of this kind with ìcutting oneís own head,î for so long as one dwells in it one cannot advance on the true Path or attain Awakening, and hence is wasting oneís precious human existence.î5


ìActualismî is actually utilizing the ìBase-of-Allî


    After reviewing the criteria by which a manifest condition or state is to be evaluated as base-of-all, per definition it is apparent that ìactualismî is referring to and emphasizing instances of the base-of-all. The base-of-all and so that in which ìactualismî points to has the following defining characteristics:

    
  • occurring time and time again in human experience, often going unnoticed
  • is proceeding perception initially for a very brief instant of unintrepetation and this brief instant can be extended into progressively powerful manifestations
  • various manifest degrees can be taken as absorption and further one can become established in such 
  • does not involve the awareness of consciousness-of-an-object-perceived-in-terms-of-a-concept
  • the sensory-continuum itself isnít taken as object nor are segments actively singled out
  • the sensory-continuum itself isnít taken as object nor are segments actively singled out
  • does not involve the functioning, renewal, or creation of reflexive mnemonic imprints
  • is not utterly devoid of memory altogether, rather it corresponds to the non-reflexive and unselfconscious memory
  • allows the forgetting of aspects of oneself, ìaspects of our beingî, or ìaspects of the entity indicated by our nameî one intends on eluding
  • is experientially non-dual and transpersonal
  • is non-conceptual
  • samsara is not actively functioning
  • the awareness of nirvana is not actively functioning



So Is ìActualismî actually novel?

    In light of the aforementioned, in no meaningful way then can the claim of novelty on behalf of ìactualismî be justified. As shown above, it clearly has not discovered a new alternative condition or state, but rather it is merely another inscribed label on something known about and discussed for a long time before ìactualismî ever was. The extent to which ìactualismî has knowledge of the base-of-all cannot be justified as novel either, as it has failed in quantifying the potential problems of the base-of-all, and its schema insofar as the base-of-allís relation to samsara and the absolute sanity qua nirvana is ambiguous at best in the face of Ati Dzogpa Chenpo Buddhism. Actualismís inability to distinguish absolute sanity from the base-of-all indicates a fundamental shortcoming of its understanding of transpersonal contemplation (however even this error cannot be said to be novel) and of the base-of-all state it advocates. In fact, the primary distinction Actualism appears to try to draw, is based some affective structure underneath coarse and subtle thinking, however this is a major error in that the actualist consideration of thoughts apply only to the coarse and subtle levels, ignoring or mistaking the supersubtle thought-structures, those that Ati Dzogpa Chenpo primarily works with and considers of upmost importance, instead confusing those supersubtle thought-structures to be affective structures. However the supersubtle thought-structures are not inherently affective in of themselves, instead involving such only when they are valued or absolutized and so become emotionally charged (something that seems implicitly entailed and necessarily following from Actualismís position, but overlooked by its progenitor and its practitioners). One major problem is that actualists mistake a symptom for the cause, the cause being the valuation-absolutization of the supersubtle thought-structures, while the symptoms are what actualists call the ìaffective selfî, ìaffective feelingsî, and so on. Additionally,  an obstacle to making coherent the actualist position lies in the fact that it presumes the supersubtle thought-structures are fundamentally affective structures without clearly accounting for the blatant necessarily conceptual qualities of them, such as the fact that they seem to operate on binary distinctions (mentioned by Actualism when discussing how affective qualities seem unable to arise without their eventual ìoppositesî arising). Therefore, the claim to novelty and distinction is based on error and directly misunderstanding the phenomena in question.
    The methodology of ìactualismî canít be justified as meaningfully novel as it merely advocates directly pointing to the base-of-all. This direct-pointing can be accomplished with the aid of comprehending the definitional characteristics alone. So the additions, such as for example, of repeatedly asking oneself ìhow am I experiencing this moment of being alive?î are seen to be superfluous, for the actual direct-pointing is what is necessary, sufficient, and critical. Thus, the additions such as asking, are unreliable mechanisms, as such asking lacks the inherent capacity to provide or bring about the direct-pointing (any pointing ìaideî could accomplish the exact same thing). The direct-pointing itself is obviously completely untethered to the superfluous additions and moreover, without such additions like the aforementioned asking, the direct-pointing can be done so more rapidly and efficiently.6
    Some proponents of ìactualismî have alleged optimization insofar as ìactualismî taking the condition it points to as both path and fruit. This claim to novelty through optimization is unjustified as Ati Dzogpa Chenpo Buddhism takes Rigpa as path and fruit. In fact, the fundamental requirement for something to be considered a ìBuddhistî path is that its base, its path, and its fruit have the same nature, which is most fully realized and applicable in Ati Dzogp Chenpo as it is rooted in Rigpa qua base, Rigpa qua path, and Rigpa qua fruit. 
    The mistaken emphasis on feeling-tones doesnít justify the novelty claim of ìactualismî as there have been peoples who have posited feelings as the self since at least the time of Shakyamuni Buddha, for he directly addressed such assertions. Considering the base-of-all states that are being discussed are comprised of a pure-sensation/experience that is devoid of interpretation and taking place prior to perception, devoid of segmenting the continuum and experiencing objects as concepts, and devoid of reflexive memory imprints, any emphasis therefore on feeling-tones or any affective quality otherwise is completely superfluous. As the base-of-all is before the result of perception, not exclusively ìfeeling the result of perceptionî; before subjectifying and segregation, not exclusively ìaffective subjectifyingî or ìaffective segregationî; before the functioning of all self-conscious reflexive memory imprints, not exclusively ìfeeling memoriesî; and before the awareness of consciousness-of-an-object-perceived-in-terms-of-a-concept, not exclusively the ìfeeling-fed mindî or ìthinking about it affectivelyî, so to iterate, these additional specifications are totally unnecessary.7 Much of this is due to a misidentifying and misunderstanding, and thus such superfluousness serves to potentially complicate, mislead, and cause confusion.î8
    To claim that one is the body, like actualism does, amounts to a metaphysical position which in of itself isnít novel for there were peoples since at least the time of Shakyamuni Buddha took up such a position, as he also addressed such assertions. Withal, the metaphysical claim that one is the bodyís consciousness isnít novel in that it existed before ìactualismî across several continents. Furthermore, ìactualismî provides no rational justification for said claims, it merely states such positions as apparent, which reveals that these positions amount to mere non-investigated myths. Such myths are not self-evident from the states prescribed and held in high-esteem by ìactualismî, but rather are metaphysical positions merely tacked on without justification for doing so, and so they are necessarily superfluous.




A graduated schematic of consciousness and the relationship between ìBase-of-Allî and ìSamsaraî

  • base-of-all
  • consciousness of a pseudo-totality
  • consciousness-of-the-base-of-all
  • ego-centered consciousness/consciousness of the passions
  • consciousness of mental states and thought
  • sensory consciousness

    

    With the base-of-all, though the sense-data is there at any moment, there is no consciousness of it until consciousness emerges from the base-of-all, described in the above schema. Immediately preceding the base-of-all there begins a sort of ìspiral of pretencesî, first there is an arising consciousness of an indeterminate, apparently total object, the consciousness of a pseudo-totality. If this consciousness of a pseudo-totality is grasped at, it leads to a formless samsaric condition.
    After the consciousness of a pseudo-totality, there is the consciousness-of-the-base-of-all, where there manifests a preconceptual interest that drives the mental events to single out segments and figure structures within the every-changing sensory pseudo-totality appearing as object, taking such segments and figure structures as conserving their pattern within the total change of the totality of sense-data.9 In other words, when consciousness-of-the-base-of-all is grasped at, it leads to a samsaric condition of pure form, as there generally is the occurrence of taking a segment as having configuration continuity to such a sufficient degree that it is seen as a collection of characteristics corresponding to concepts and so an entity, thus making the segment stand as a figure against the rest of the continuum, which thereby falls into a sort of background awareness or ground; and as such, the experience has begun gradually solidifying into the subject-object dichotomy.10 This consciousness-of-the-base-of-all that involves the figure/ground distinction is a consciousness that at this point does not have concrete objects of the five senses presenting themselves as such, but there is a risen subtle cognitive capacity that tends to grasp its objects and has made itself ready in every respect to receive the impressions corresponding to the potential objects of deluded mind, considered like a mirror, so the eyes see color-forms, the ears hear sounds, the nose smells fragrances, the tongue tastes flavors, and the body has kinesthetic sensations. The consciousness-of-the-base-of-all is likened to ice on water, because grasping at its would-be object amounts to singling them out, which is compared to freezing segments of the ocean insofar as it causes the yet un-patterned to become configured. 
    After which, all subsequent stages of consciousness are no more than specifications or transformations of the consciousness-of-the-base-of-all. At this point there already has arisen a sense of being in some yet unspecified situation, following this, there is the ego-centered consciousness, also called the consciousness of the passions. This specific transformation of the consciousness-of-the-base-of-all takes the momentary flow of the consciousness-of-the-base-of-all, where tendencies of habituation are built up and discharged, to be enduring, substantial, and generally considered to be ìoneís own selfî; and so the basis of the delusive experience of ìme, myselfî results from this specific transformation of the consciousness-of-the-base-of-all, while the prior transformation was still ìanonymously functioningî and so a pre-personal, fundamental structuring of all experience.
    Finally, the consciousness of mental states and thoughts, as well as the consciousness of the senses, which consists of ego-centered perception by means of the six senses, where objects are fully solidified and experienced as concepts.11 12




Is the sustained ìBase-of-Allî/ìactual freedomî actually ìRigpaî?


    As mentioned at the beginning of this text, no, a sustained instance of the base-of-all called ìactual freedomî by the actualists, is not an aspect of Rigpa. There is not a single description or explanation of actual freedom that indicates, hints, or implies that it is Rigpa, while all descriptions coincide on a virtually a one to one basis with the definition of the base-of-all. Simply put, actual freedom utilizes the base-of-allís capacity to allow the forgetting of an aspect of oneself that one seeks to forget (in this case, ìaffective feelingsî, or identifying with feelings); Rigpa though, is not merely the lack of ìaffective feelingsî. The base-of-all, and by extension ìactual freedomî, can bring about a total-relaxation, which makes it very easy to mistake with authentic enlightenment. However, Rigpa is a total completeness, a supreme satisfaction and happiness, a complete plenitude, and a total-relaxation. It lacks the unawareness of the true condition that is present in the base-of-all and so ìactual freedomî. In short, Rigpa is supersanity, and is dramatically superior compared to ìactual freedom"/base-of-all; in the face of Rigpa, ìactual freedomî is an ignis fatuus.13
    If there is a noticing of ìa sense of freedomî, ìa sense of liberationî, ìa sense of releaseî from the constriction of identifying with feelings or perceptual objects, then this is a ìmanifestation of the tight grip of delusionî. Not only does it give the appearance of being unconditioned and/or giving the false impression that one is or will be uninfluenced by arising phenomena, it also actively aids and abets myth-making and can directly hinder progress along the path to supersanity and true freedom, and so it is several-fold misleading. Rigpa on the other hand, is totally free from the subject-object duality, which is characterized by the automatic and spontaneous liberation of whatever arises. The sensory-continuum is manifest in the state of Rigpa, but there is no seeing, witnessing, or noticing; neither the continuum nor anything within the continuum are perceived. "If there were seeing or witnessing, this would be ìthe tight grip of ego,î rather than the condition of rigpa beyond the subject-object duality in which whatever manifests liberates itself spontaneously upon arising...î In Rigpa qua path, prior to the Rigpa qua fruit, when perceptions do arise, they are automatically liberated, ìlike drawings on waterî. Though Rigpa cannot be pinned down easily or described, what can be said are the experiences that are not Rigpa as well as the fact that there is the total and spontaneous liberation of whatever arises (not to be confused with merely not taking the sense data continuum as object or picking objects out of it).
    There are some that mistakenly draw an equivalence between the actualist PCE, an instance of the base-of-all, and Chogyal Namkhai Norbuís quote:

        ìThe awareness arising at the first sudden instant (of sense contact) is indeed that    pure presence which arises without correction (or modification) and which is uncreated (by causes). This very condition of existence which transcends the limitations of both subject and object is the authentic self-originated primal awareness of pure presence.î

During discussions with Namkhai Norbu and one of his students, it was made clear that he was referring to Rigpa and not the base-of-all. First, the subsequent section following the quote explains that the essence of this presence is the dharmakaya, which is lacking in the base-of-all, which by definition is beclouded by an unawareness, an element of stupification that obscures the awareness of Rigpa. Second, Namkhai Norbu explained that implicit in the base-of-all/PCE is the operation of the subject-object duality, despite it being generally non-noticeable from within the experience. This implicit operation is one of the reasons the base-of-all is so easily mistaken as an arrival point/refuge/enlightenment/"actualî freedom, for the state is transpersonal and there is the appearance of a non-duality of sorts, a deceptively subtle degree of duality. While again, the pure presence Namkhai Norbu was referring to is totally beyond the duality. 
    Furthermore, essential Ati Dzogpa Chenpo/Dzogchen practices are designed to rapidly interrupt and show the flaws of the base-of-all states. Teckho does so to a lessor degree, while namely Thogal, is renowned in its function of shattering the base-of-all. There is at-least one report of a contemplative being explicitly in the state of PCE and it ending upon a short Thogal retreat. If PCE was Rigpa, then it would be sustained and strengthened by Thogal, which has its primary purpose of bringing about and stabilizing Rigpa.14 The fact the PCE subsided in such a practice indicates that isnít Rigpa. Additionally, the practices related to PCE generally entail a contrived subtle directionality which is overcome in Rigpa and its practices.

    In conclusion, ìactualismî and its asserted freedom found in the the state of ìactual freedomî is not the true freedom of Rigpa, and it is devoid of meaningful novelty. It is evidently the base-of-all, providing no notable contribution to the science of contemplative theory or practice. Actualism tries to present itself as different, a third alternative, even an optimization, yet none of these claims have been demonstrated in the slightest. Actualism is a case of a distinction without a meaningful difference, and at that, a deluded path misinterpreting the base-of-all qua total relaxation, a path not capable of directly bringing about total freedom and even hindering the search and attainment of the freedom found in the supersanity of Rigpa qua fruit, the absolute total relaxation, the total completeness, the supreme happiness, ultimate satisfaction, and end to existential lack and thus a total plenitude. In the face of Rigpa therefore, it is a mere imitation of freedom.




Notes



1.    ìApperceptivenessî may partially correspond to Kantís ìtranscendental apperceptionî, by extension the Konigsberg ìempirical apperceptionî, and even partly to Sartreís ìSoiî and the Upanishadic sakshin, amongst others.

2.    Based on various errors of mischaracterization and misunderstanding. Such as the claim that enlightenment brings about a ìquantum leap to the heartî, where vibratory and somatic energies continue to coincide with discrimination. In Buddhism however, this is distinctly the opposite of enlightenment: "samsara, in which the true condition of the Base (qua active awareness of Rigpa/nirvana) is concealed and its spontaneously perfect functionality is impaired....two of the cornerstones of this delusion are, (1) the vibratory activity that seems to emanate from, or to be concentrated in, the center of the chest at the level of the heart (though in some cases some individuals might feel it more strongly in other focal points of experience), which ìchargesî thoughts with apparent value, truth and importance (even though in themselves these have neither neither value nor worthlessness, neither truth nor untruth, neither importance nor unimportance.), and (2) the fragmentary, limited and rather hermetic focus of consciousness that, upon apprehending a segment of the continuum of the ìenergyî aspect of the Base, plunges the rest of this continuum in some sort of ìpenumbra of consciousness.î The delusory valuation-absolutization of the super-subtle thought structure known as the ìdirectional threefold thought structureî gives rise to the delusory subject-object duality, while the delusory valuation- absolutization of subtle and coarse thoughts allows us to determine the segment of the totality appearing as object that is to be singled outóand, after it has been singled out, to know it as being inherently this or that entity. For its part, it is the fragmentary, limited and rather hermetic focus of conscious attention that makes it possible for us to single out that segment. Thus the former gives rise to the illusory subject-object duality, and the two of them together single out segments of the totality of sense data appearing as object, and give rise to the illusion that the singled out segments are inherently separate from the rest of the continuum of the energy aspect of the Base, and that they are self-existing entities.ì. Which "gives rise to the phenomenon of beingóthus generating the illusion that there is an experience-that-is, an experiencer-that-is and something-experienced-that-is.î Therefore what is considered to be enlightenment by ìActual Freedomî is precisely a cornerstone of the delusion of samsara according to Buddhism, and so a massive mischaracterization of Buddhist enlightenment on behalf of ìActual Freedomî and actualists. For the sensation qua vibratory activity cum tension usually predominant in the center of the chest at the level of the heart that accompanies every perception and can manifest with emotion or without as positive or negative feeling-tone (tibetan: tsorwa or tshor ba) as well as the feeling or perception of ìI amî ceases in Enlightenment and in many base-of-all states (base-of-all states are necessarily non-enlightened) it becomes undetectable.

3.    ìSince the states referred to by the term base-of-all are characterized by non-duality and non-conceptuality, Jigme Lingpai (one of the greatest Dzogchen Masters of the second millennium CE) prophesied that in our time many yogis will mistake them for the dharmakaya (the Mind aspect of Buddhahood, which, as noted above, is the first level of Awakening on the Path of Ati Dzogpa Chenpo).î

4.    "Many of those who have had experiences of any of the various kinds that Stan Grof subsumed under the category of transpersonalósuch as oneness with the universe, out-of-the-body experiences, the presence of immaterial guides or guardians, etc.óand who believe these occurrences to be high spiritual accomplishments, become possessed by what, in the context of the practice of Chˆc, is called the demon of complacence, conceitedly wallowing on such experiences for the rest of their lives, and very often trying to convince others that their experiences prove them to be spiritually extraordinary individuals. The dangers resulting from such deviations must not be taken too lightly, for quite a few of those who, after having had experiences of the kind and thereby having become convinced of their spiritual specialness and extraordinariness, in the short or in the long run have come to face psychological problems that caused them to land in the mental hospital or face other calamitous outcomes. And many of those who, after having had experiences of the kind, managed to convince others of their spiritual specialness and superiority, becoming renowned (pseudo-)gurus, haveóintentionally or notóseverely harmed others.î ì...falling prey to this confusion would involve the extra danger of self-infatuationówhich, what is worse, may turn into long term spiritual pride, taking those who indulge in it further away from authenticity and therefore from Awakening, and in some cases leading them to set themselves up as gurus and use disciples to exacerbate their conceit and unauthenticity, by the same token leading the latter along the misguided way they themselves trod.î - Elias Capriles 

5.    This section is derived from Elias Caprilesís works, and most of the quotes throughout the entirety of this short paper are also from his work. In later sections, quotes are not used as to not unnecessarily burden the reader.

6.    ....and in total these constitute examples of distinctions having little to no meaningful difference, different in name only.

7.    This also applies to the peripheral ìsweet spotî practices, as nearly all contemplative traditions recognize and utilize this in a variety of ways. In general Vajrayana for example, it is the navel wheel (not to be mistaken for the fire wheel) roughly four finger widths below the navel and two fingers above the root wheel. The ìsweet spotî methodology merely utilizes focus on the general area of this wheel to redirect the subtle dynamic psychophysical energy away from the heart wheel, and the associated somatic vibratory activity, to the navel wheel area. This assists a specific application of base-of-all eluding and forgetting particularly sought by ìactualismî. In the face of the efficiency of the highly developed practices involving this spot, the ìsweet spotî is neither novel nor a matured and fully realized method of utilizing the potential of this wheel. 

8.    To preemptively address a couple potential mischaracterizations: The claim that after the brief flash of pure perception there is some type of feeling-tone segregation and ìfeeling memoryî, and then a subsequent secondary order of conceptual segregation and conceptual memory, fails to meaningfully contribute in that it is superfluous when considering that the pure perception precedes ìbothî claimed orders of segregation and memory. Moreover, this claim that there are two truly separate orders, and further that one arises before the other, is myth and myth alone, and so can be rejected on principle in that it does not derive from empirical observation. Several base-of-all states notoriously allow the perpetuation of a blind spot by which one fails to recognize that one is telling oneself a myth, further, the base-of-all then provides a type of myth-feeding illusory feedback whereas the myth and the myth-making is experientially covered, providing illusory reenforcement via feedback loops that assists in perpetuating the myth. There is actually one order in which the segregation and memory imprints arise with their qualities co-emerging. This order fundamentally entails the supersubtle ìdirectional threefold thought structureî, the thought structure subtler than coarse thoughts, subtler than mute thoughts and mute knowledge, and subtler than the subtle intuitive thoughts; meaning that the supposed feeling-tone segregation and ìfeeling memoryî necessarily require this super-subtle thought structure, as ìtheyî are the valuation-absolutization of it. A second and weaker mischaracterization would be the claim that the pure-experience of the base-of-all states is fundamentally different and arises before conceptual segregation and memory but not before feeling-tone segregation and ìfeeling memoryî, which fails in that the claim rests on violating the fundamental definitional characteristics of the base-of-all via the fact that the base of all is uninterpreted and no reflexive memory can form, functioning, or renewed, so the claim requires ignoring the definition of the base-of-all and has to go as far as misrepresenting and misdefining it.

9.    Consciousness-of-the-base-of-all in this case can also be referred to as consciousness of color-form.

10.    It should be noted that consciousness-of-the-base-of-all in of itself isnít inherently samsaric in nature, it not only is the root of samsara but also the source of a type of nirvana. The true nature of this consciousness and so the whole of reality is the absolute nature of thatness qua dharmakaya, but it goes unrecognized by normal beings. So when the purification of this consciousness has been had and it has been restored to its original simplicity, the radiant non-dual transparency in the absolute consisting in thatness becomes fully evident (this nirvana subdivides in terms of fruit posited by Shastra, as in the nirvana with some residue; the nirvana without residue, and the nirvana exclusive to Buddhas and so not attained by Hinayana arhats).

11.    Note: in the desire realm, the senses, mental forms, and so the passions are principal, where all else, such as the base-of-all and the consciousness-of-the-base-of-all are secondary. In the realm of form, the consciousness-of-the-base-of-all and the consciousness of the senses are principal, and all else are secondary. In the formless realm the base-of-all itself is principal and all else is secondary.

12.    Understanding this schema, especially within the context of this written work, should bring elucidation to the oscillatory nature of progressive ìactualistî practice and its stages, which in prior was rather vaguely explained by actualists and often overlooked by actualists themselves to the extent of ignoring, not-noticing, or implicitly claiming the non-existence of such nuanced stages. Often when trying to cultivate a strengthened consolidation of the base-of-all, by glossing over the differences between the various consciousnesses, there is decreased efficiency or even arrested development, such as through ambiguity and lack of identification as to how far one is progressing towards the base-of-all from the consciousness of the senses, and so lacking identification of potential ìsticking points"/obstacles, thus there can be confusion and lack of clarity as to the arrival point itself. For example, if an actualist is trying to take the base-of-all as an absorption, without clear knowledge of the various states, it could be easy to mistake the consciousness-of-the-base-of-all, the peaceful transpersonal condition of the consciousness of the pseudo-totality, or even the peaceful transpersonal condition of a formless samsaric state manifesting due to the consciousness of the pseudo-totality being subtly grasped at, as the very base-of-all itself. In this way they would mistake stagnation as progress (aside from the larger context of taking the base-of-all as an arrival point, where it serves as the ultimate stagnation). What one person might call the PCE, not having a figure-ground distinction and is more likely to be an authentic case of the base-of-all, another might take the consciousness-of-the-base-of-all that has the figure-ground distinction, as that same PCE. Some for example, under the impression that they have attained the ìactual freedomî, while still having experiences of objects with consistent patterned characteristics corresponding to concepts (like ìthe bodyî), are not experiencing actual freedom qua the base-of-all, but are likely experiencing an extended, extremely lengthy, and transpersonal samsaric state (it is an error to presume that transpersonal = non-samsaric) arrived at by implicitly grasping at the consciousness-of-the-base-of-all. The ambiguity and potential confusion that can lead to different states being called the same PCE or the same actual freedom, becomes even more nuanced when discussing the differences in base-of-all states themselves (which is something not done by this work and as far as I know is hardly, if it all, touched on by Actualism and the actualists themselves).

13.    This conclusion is drawn from both text and personal experience, having personally tasted PCE/actual freedom/extended and powerful base-of-all as well as Rigpa, without question Rigpa is superior and the truly unconditioned.

14.    This has been reported on dharmaoverground.org and also derives from personal experience.




A Selection of Works Consulted

This work is humbly derived from the many works of others, all the credit (save any errors) therefore should go to them.

    The Cycle of Day and Night, An Essential Tibetan Text on the Practice of Contemplation -Namkhai Norbu

    Approaching The Great Perfection, Simultaneous and Gradual Methods of Dzogchen Practice in the Longchen Nyingtig -Sam Van Schaik

    Ocean of Eloquence, Tsong Kha país Commentary on the Yogacara Doctrine of Mind -Gareth Sparham

    The Major Facets of Dzogchen -Alexander Berzin

    Impure and Pure Appearances According to Non-Gelug -Alexander Berzin 

    Alaya and Impure Appearance-Making -Alexander Berzin

    Fundamentals of Dzogchen Meditation; et al. -Alexander Berzin

    Treatise on the kun gzhi -Denma Locho

    Buddhist Thought and Applied Psychological Research -D.K. Nauriyal, Michael S. Drummond, and Y.B. Lal

    Beyond Being, Beyond Mind, Beyond History, A Dzogchen-Founded Metatranspersonal, Metapostmodern Philosophy and Psychology for Survival and an Age of Communion; Volume II: Beyond Mind: A Metaphenomenological, Metaexistential Philosophy, and a Metatranspersonal Metapsychology -Elias Capriles

    Ordinary Awareness & Pristine Awarenes: A Treatise on the Distinction -Karmapa Rangjung Dorje

    Wonders of the Natural Mind -Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

    Private communication with Chogyal Namkhai Norbu

    The Great Perfection, A Philosophical And Meditative Teaching Of Tibetan Buddhism -Samten Gyaltsen Karmay

    Beyond Being, Beyond Mind, Beyond History, A Dzogchen-Founded Metatranspersonal, Metapostmodern Philosophy and Psychology for Survival and an Age of Communion; Volume I: Beyond Being: A Metaphenomenological Ellucidation of the Phenomenon of Being, the Being of the Subject and the Being of Object -Elias Capriles

    Beyond Being, Beyond Mind, Beyond History, A Dzogchen-Founded Metatranspersonal, Metapostmodern Philosophy and Psychology for Survival and an Age of Communion; Volume III: Beyond History: A Degernerative Philosophy of History Leading to a Genuine Postmodernity  -Elias Capriles

    Private communication with Elias Capriles

    A Cascading Waterfall of Nectar -Thinley Norbu

    The Beyond Mind Papers: Transpersonal and Metatranspersonal Theory. Vol. II: Steps to a Metatranspersonal Philosophy and Psychology: A Critique of the Systems of Wilber, Washburn and Grof, and an Outline of the Dzogchen Path to Definitive True Sanity -Elias Capriles

    Buddhism and Dzogchen: the Doctrine of the Buddha and the Supreme Vehicle of Tibetan Buddhism; Part One; Buddhism: A Dzogchen Outlook -Elias Capiriles

    The Mother Tantras -Marco Alejandro Chaoul

    Unbounded Wholeness, Bon, Dzogchen, and the Logic of the Nonconceptual -Anne Carolyn Klein, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

    The First Four Themes of Klong chen país Tshig don bcu gcig pa -Daniel Scheidegger

    Eye of the Storm Original Perfection, Vairotsanaís Five Early Transmissions -Keith Dowman

    Old Man Basking in the Sun, Longchenpaís Treasury of Natural Perfection -Keith Dowman

    The Universal Great Perfection of Pure Mind, the Supreme Source -Adriano Clemente, Namkhai Norbu

...and others.


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Chuck Kasmire - 2014-04-14 21:16:28 - RE: Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom"

You must have studied Dale Carnegieís How to Win Friends and Influence People :-)

I know, itís the battle ground - sorry, not here to fight - though Iím sure others are sharpening their finger tips as we write.

Iím not up on all the Tibetan terminology you are using. This makes it a bit difficult to discuss these things. Iíll just ramble a bit and maybe we will find some common ground where we can have a bit of an exchange.

As far as Richards personal experience - itís not easy to say what that is just based on what he says on his site. All this can tell us is how he chooses to try to communicate it to others. I think you would have to spend some time with him to really get a true sense of him. Language is difficult. Created to talk about things - itís not great at communicating experience that is outside the realm of conventional ëthing typeí experience. 

Richard has made a number of statements on his site about the various stages he has been through as well as general statements about his current experience from which I have concluded we have been through a very similar experience. The difference being that I was not out on my own and so my own experience is grounded through working with others that have been through it.

Richard seems to have this theory that others can avoid the whole enlightenment thing and go straight to AF. But what he has described as enlightenment is (IMO) just the last vestiges of ëselfí - formless as it may be (he recognizes this also but doesn't seem to think that others might have gotten past that point as well). Without it, the sense of being a thing among things (ego) would have no foundation. There is no shortcut. Wasnít for him and wonít be for anyone else. We have to separate AF (as in Richards subjective experience) vs AF as a theoretical approach/training that may lead to the ongoing experience that Richard describes.

Hey, who were those Hinayana anyway? And what is a Hinayana Arahat? From Vajrayana texts it would seem that they must have been some Buddhist group that based itself on the early commentaries - around 300 AD maybe? There is often the assumption that it also refers to Theravadan Arahats - neglecting the fact that this is a very sweeping statement taking in a number of diverse traditions and practices with seemingly quite different results.

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James Yen - 2014-04-14 22:01:06 - RE: Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom"

I have to agree here, there is a trend that what Richard is talking about may be legitimate.

The goal is singular, which is the point I think we're making, there is only one Awakening, and Richard calls it extinction. The question is whether or not Richard's followers are accurately replicating his experience.

Which is something I doubt. Because there is only one Awakening, and one path to Awakening, it is probably the case that the people that got mixed up in the AF thing, somehow genuinely believed there was another "thing" and another "way".

Which is false, there is only one thing and one way.

The irony is that many of his followers began to believe that he had bypassed that "one thing" and then started to fool themselves into thinking that they had too. Which is probably why no one has replicated his state.

On the other hand we have several successful people here replicating his state (who he refuses to acknowledge) such as me. I believe the irony is that many people were fooled into thinking there was a shortcut, when really the hard work Richard did was all not in vain.

This also eliminates the notion that anyone could go far on this path and then somehow backtrack, both Peter and Vineeto bypassed Awakening, but when they reached the out-from-control stage, merely pleasantly went bye bye (extinct). Their in-control freedom was essentially them fooling themselves. Similarly this applies to the case of UG Krishnamurti and Ramana Maharshi, who are both anomalies. It is likely they are all experiencing the same thing.

This is essentially rules out anyone who takes what Richard says seriously as an AF clone, while the people who see what he means, are in fact doing the good work.

-James

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Chuck Kasmire - 2014-04-15 03:42:21 - RE: Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom"

James Yen:
The goal is singular, which is the point I think we're making, there is only one Awakening, and Richard calls it extinction. ... Because there is only one Awakening, and one path to Awakening,

This is not the point I am trying to make actually. How do you know there is only one Awakening? Only one path? I donít. Not sure how one would arrive at this view. Iím just saying that the meta model - the series of stages that he describes going through over 25 years or so is quite similar to what I have gone through - as well as the general day to day quality of his experience - though not the various views he has about his experience - which to me seem rather rigid and a bit odd. I make no claims to being awakened - just looking at my experience over the past 20 years and comparing it - mostly - to early Buddhism (pre-theravada) - though also to vajrayana and taoism.

On the other hand we have several successful people here replicating his state (who he refuses to acknowledge) such as me.

Well, as the guy behind the definition, that is his perogative. Do you describe what you have been through - and the current nature of your experience anywhere?

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James Yen - 2014-04-15 04:48:07 - RE: Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom"

This is not the point I am trying to make actually. How do you know there is only one Awakening? Only one path? I donít. Not sure how one would arrive at this view. Iím just saying that the meta model - the series of stages that he describes going through over 25 years or so is quite similar to what I have gone through - as well as the general day to day quality of his experience - though not the various views he has about his experience - which to me seem rather rigid and a bit odd. I make no claims to being awakened - just looking at my experience over the past 20 years and comparing it - mostly - to early Buddhism (pre-theravada) - though also to vajrayana and taoism.


Ok.

Well, as the guy behind the definition, that is his perogative. Do you describe what you have been through - and the current nature of your experience anywhere?


Actually no, in short: I touch the deathless with my body.

I claim the state of a trainee, I touch the deathless with my body, which is essentially jhana. In Theravada lore I would be a body-witness (kaya sakkhi).

I am not yet completed though.

It feels deeply satisfying, but as of now I do not touch the completion of the indriya with the body, which I define as adepthood.

Does that help?

-------------------

Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem - 2014-04-15 16:46:56 - RE: Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom"

Hi Omega,

ìActualismî is actually utilizing the ìBase-of-Allî

    After reviewing the criteria by which a manifest condition or state is to be evaluated as base-of-all, per definition it is apparent that ìactualismî is referring to and emphasizing instances of the base-of-all. The base-of-all and so that in which ìactualismî points to has the following defining characteristics:
Let's take a look. 

* occurring time and time again in human experience, often going unnoticed
Check.

* is proceeding perception initially for a very brief instant of unintrepetation and this brief instant can be extended into progressively powerful manifestations
I don't know about "progressively powerful manifestations". Apperception is an on/off switch, there aren't degrees of more apperception or less apperception. An almost-but-not-quite PCE is called an Excellence Experience and there isn't apperception going on in an EE, just felicity. 

As to the "very brief instant" approach, I have found it doesn't work that way in practice. The best way to experience a PCE isn't to repeatedly point it out or try to get to a clean selfless perception, but rather to be felicitous. 

* various manifest degrees can be taken as absorption and further one can become established in such
Again see about apperception being an on/off switch.

* does not involve the awareness of consciousness-of-an-object-perceived-in-terms-of-a-concept
If I understand you here, I think I agree. In a PCE you perceive objects in terms of the five senses, while concepts are experienced via thoughts. You don't experience an object as a concept.

* the sensory-continuum itself isnít taken as object nor are segments actively singled out
Yees, *but*, keep in mind a PCE is consciousness-without-a-subject, not consciousness-without-an-object [link].

You quoted ì...the condition of the base-of-all in which there is awareness (of) the sensory continuum there is no reflexive awareness (of) consciousness of object and hence whatever occurs in them cannot be reflexively rememberedî. This is just not the case for what a PCE and actual freedom actually are. Though no objects are 'singled out' in the same sense as with regular consciousness, one is still perfectly capable of delineating objects, remembering things about them based on intentions, dealing with them, remembering one's interactions with them in the past, etc. It is far from being a stupefied state. Have you ever read a description of a PCE before? Here is one from Richard (from before he was actually free obviously):
Richard:
Howsoever, what has these days become known as the actualism method ñ asking oneself, each moment again, how one is experiencing this moment of being alive (the only moment one is ever alive) ñ had by now become a non-verbal approach to life, a wordless attitude towards being alive, and all-of-a-sudden, whilst standing there with my hands in the sink being anywhere but here, at anytime but now, it was a delight and a joy to be doing exactly what it was I was already doing anyway ... standing in the golden sunlight with hands immersed in delicious, tingling-to-the-touch, hot soapy water.

I find myself looking at what the hands are feeling (the hot soapy water) and become aware I have never seen hot soapy water before ñ have never really seen hot soapy water before ñ and become fascinated with the actuality of what is happening: it is as if the hands know what to do without any input from me; they are reaching for a plate, they are applying the scourer appropriately, they are turning the plate over, they are applying the scourer appropriately, they are lifting the cleaned plate out of the washing sink; they are dipping it into the rinsing sink; they are placing it in the rack to drip ... and all this while they are feeling the delicious tingling sensation of hot soapy water as it strips-away the grease and other detritus.

I am not required at all; I am a supernumerary; I am redundant; I can retire, fold in my hand, pack in the game, depart, disappear, dissolve, disintegrate, vamoose, vanish, die ñ whatever ñ and life would manage quite well, thank you, without me ... a whole lot better, in fact, as I am holding up the works from functioning smoothly.
ëIí was not needed ... ëmyí services were no longer requiredí

Does this sound like a description of a state in which "intentionality of mind does not yet operate" and in which "whatever occurs in them cannot be reflexively remembered" or in which nothing can "actively function in order to single out segments of the continuum and perceive them as objects"? 

Here is a link with more descriptions of PCEs.

* does not involve the functioning, renewal, or creation of reflexive mnemonic imprints
I'm not sure what you mean by "reflexive mnemonic imprint" is - please clarify - but I think the above addresses this point.

* is not utterly devoid of memory altogether, rather it corresponds to the non-reflexive and unselfconscious memory
Memory does indeed still operate. But what do you mean by "non-reflexive" memory in particular? I think the following quote refutes this point:
Richard:
Here all can be described cleanly and with clarity ... and with no ambiguity whatsoever. Here thought and thinking, knowledge and knowing, seeing and understanding all have their place because the ëthinkerí has vanished ... not thought. Thus it is entirely possible, throughout the vast majority of oneís time, for there to be no thoughts running at all ... none whatsoever. If thought is needed for a particular situation, it swings smoothly into action and effortlessly does its thing. All the while there is an apperceptive awareness of being here ... of being alive at this moment in time and this place in space. No words occur in the brain ñ other than when necessary ñ for it is a wordless appreciation of being able to be here now. Consequently, one is always blithe and carefree, even if one is doing nothing. Doing something ñ and that includes thinking ñ is a bonus of happiness and pleasure on top of this on-going ambrosial experience of being alive and awake and here on this verdant earth now.

That is, there is still "thought and thinking", "knowledge and knowing", and "seeing and understanding". It is a wide-awake state full of understanding, not a half-asleep state in which several important functions are severely stunted.

* allows the forgetting of aspects of oneself, ìaspects of our beingî, or ìaspects of the entity indicated by our nameî one intends on eluding
It's not that it allows one to forget certain things, it's that those things disappear entirely (or almost entirely) and they can't be accessed anymore while in the PCE. It's impossible to remember an emotion - what it affectively feels like - while in a PCE. And once one is actually free they are totally eradicated since actual freedom is the removal of the entire affective faculty (along with the psyche). That is - it's impossible to meditate once one becomes actually free.

* is experientially non-dual and transpersonal
It isn't non-dual, you might like to look at this link:
Richard:
Here in this actual world neither duality nor non-duality have any existence.

EDIT: Here is a page where Richard treats the topic of how actual freedom isn't non-dual more thoroughly: link.

Not sure what you mean by "transpersonal". Wikipedia defines it as "a phenomenon or experience "in which the sense of identity or self extends beyond (trans) the individual or personal to encompass wider aspects of humankind, life, psyche or cosmos"" If this is what you mean by transpersonal, that's inaccurate. Firstly there's no identification or identity or self at all, rather what one *is* is:
Richard:
R: What I am is these eyes seeing, these ears hearing, this voice talking, these fingers touching, this brain thinking ... and so on. [link]

Further he doesn't state he is the universe, or that he is the universe experiencing itself - he particularly states he is the universe experiencing itself as a human being. So he is not and does not consider himself to be any wider aspect of humankind, the psyche, life, or the cosmos. Plus the psyche is entirely gone along with the real world.

* is non-conceptual
Well apperception is not a concept, it's an experience. However one can still readily deal with concepts and thoughts while apperceptive, and it doesn't interfere with the apperception at all. See above quote about thought operating when needed.

* samsara is not actively functioning
It's not that "samsara is not actively functioning", it's that what Richard calls the "real world" completely disappears. The 'real world' entails identities, selves, emotions (both good ones and bad ones and felicitous ones), etc. The actual world by contrast entails things, flesh and blood bodies, the meaning of life, etc. I would not equate samsara with the 'real world'...

* the awareness of nirvana is not actively functioning
... nor would I equate nirvana with the 'actual world'. However, full and unmediated and impossible-to-stop awareness of the actual world is indeed actively functioning, unimpeded.

---

Based on the above, actualism is *not* utilizing the base-of-all, nor are either PCEs or actual freedom base-of-all experiences. Rather, they do have certain similarities but on the whole are rather fundamentally different. Thus your refutation is invalid.

(EDIT for clarity: ) One thing is for certain, though: actual freedom is certainly not Rigpa, and the actualist path does indeed " the search and attainment of the freedom found in the [note: so-called] supersanity of Rigpa qua fruit". There is no contest there. The reason for this is not, however, that actual freedom is a base-of-all experience, but that actual freedom is indeed novel.

-------------------

Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem - 2014-04-15 16:49:17 - RE: Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom"

Hi Chuck, 

Just a brief note here. You said:

Richard seems to have this theory that others can avoid the whole enlightenment thing and go straight to AF. But what he has described as enlightenment is (IMO) just the last vestiges of ëselfí - formless as it may be (he recognizes this also but doesn't seem to think that others might have gotten past that point as well). Without it, the sense of being a thing among things (ego) would have no foundation. There is no shortcut. Wasnít for him and wonít be for anyone else.

But several people have become actually free without being enlightened, see here: Peter, Vineeto, Pamela, Grace.

-------------------

William Golden Finch - 2014-04-15 22:54:14 - RE: Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom"

Hi Chuck,

       Because I'm a sucker for anyone whose development brought them to a different place than me, and one with potentially less tension, I am curious if you have notes anywhere detailing your experience. If not, would you be able to describe the specifics of your current experience and the methodology that led there? Thanks.

Bill

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Chuck Kasmire - 2014-04-16 18:43:15 - RE: Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom"

William Golden Finch:
Hi Chuck,

       Because I'm a sucker for anyone whose development brought them to a different place than me, and one with potentially less tension, I am curious if you have notes anywhere detailing your experience.


Hello Mr. Finch,

I have left many bits and pieces regarding my practice and experiences scattered around this site and on Kenneth Folks old site but havenít put it all together in one place. Nor have I really described much about my current ongoing experience. 

I think it might be helpful to put all that together.

If not, would you be able to describe the specifics of your current experience and the methodology that led there?


Yes, let me put some stuff together and I'll start a separate thread.

-------------------

Matthew Horn - 2014-04-16 19:13:08 - RE: Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom"

Chuck, I've been hoping you'd discuss the character of your experience too.

Omega Point, can you recommend any resources for understanding how the bio-energetic system of meditators change as they progress through the various bhumis? I'm curious about lasting changes in energy center activity and interconnections, and how these changes match up to the shifts in the meditator's conscious experience.

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William Golden Finch - 2014-04-16 22:51:05 - RE: Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom"

Chuck: Sounds great. I look forward to it. Thank you.

Bill

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Nikolai . - 2014-04-16 23:52:21 - RE: Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom"

William Golden Finch:
Hi Chuck,

       Because I'm a sucker for anyone whose development brought them to a different place than me, and one with potentially less tension, I am curious if you have notes anywhere detailing your experience. If not, would you be able to describe the specifics of your current experience and the methodology that led there? Thanks.

Bill


In this old kfd thread chuck posted as chelek. He talks about his practice.

Nick

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William Golden Finch - 2014-04-17 00:09:09 - RE: Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom"

Thank you, Nikolai. That's helpful.

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Chuck Kasmire - 2014-04-17 23:14:12 - RE: Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom"

Hi James,

On the ëone awakening, one pathí thing - I think we probably share similar views on this - just that wasnít what I was trying to show and I find that view (just one awakening) unprovable even though I do feel that itís probably the case. At the very least, the guy that coined the terms was speaking of his specific experience so in that sense that sort of sets the bar - or gold standard as Daniel might say.

With regard to the path: I think it can be described in such very different ways as to appear as separate paths. 

Actually no, in short: I touch the deathless with my body....
I claim the state of a trainee, I touch the deathless with my body, which is essentially jhana. 

Does that help?


Sort of - but how would you explain what you do and what it feels like to the guy at the grocery store? Thatís easier for me to understand  - as Iím often not sure how people use various terms.

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Chuck Kasmire - 2014-04-17 23:15:39 - RE: Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom"

Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Hi Chuck, 

Just a brief note here. You said:

Richard seems to have this theory that others can avoid the whole enlightenment thing and go straight to AF. But what he has described as enlightenment is (IMO) just the last vestiges of ëselfí - formless as it may be (he recognizes this also but doesn't seem to think that others might have gotten past that point as well). Without it, the sense of being a thing among things (ego) would have no foundation. There is no shortcut. Wasnít for him and wonít be for anyone else.

But several people have become actually free without being enlightened, see here: Peter, Vineeto, Pamela, Grace.


Hi BCDEFG,

I think I would have to hang out with them for a while to hear their stories and see what their day to day life is like before agreeing with you or Richard. I find the site really difficult to spend time on - so if you can point me to specific statements or how this was determined, Iíll take a look at it.

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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem - 2014-04-18 13:46:17 - RE: Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom"

Chuck Kasmire:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Hi Chuck, 

Just a brief note here. You said:

Richard seems to have this theory that others can avoid the whole enlightenment thing and go straight to AF. But what he has described as enlightenment is (IMO) just the last vestiges of ëselfí - formless as it may be (he recognizes this also but doesn't seem to think that others might have gotten past that point as well). Without it, the sense of being a thing among things (ego) would have no foundation. There is no shortcut. Wasnít for him and wonít be for anyone else.

But several people have become actually free without being enlightened, see here: Peter, Vineeto, Pamela, Grace.


Hi BCDEFG,

I think I would have to hang out with them for a while to hear their stories and see what their day to day life is like before agreeing with you or Richard. I find the site really difficult to spend time on - so if you can point me to specific statements or how this was determined, Iíll take a look at it.

Sure, here is Peter's Report of becoming actually free, and here is Vineeto's Report. You might also like to go through every single one of the Direct Route Mail-Outs. To explain the latter: for 30 days Peter, Vineeto, and Richard answered questions regarding Peter and Vineeto having just become actually free, since it was quite the long-awaited event.

As to "how it was determined", keep in mind that ultimately it's up to Peter to determine whether he is actually free, and Vineeto to determine whether she is actually free. There is no ultimate arbiter of such things. But I gather that from their ongoing interaction with Richard and each other and the other actually free people, their notes all match up for now.

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Omega Point - 2014-04-23 09:09:43 - RE: Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom"

Hi Good Friend,


ìI don't know about "progressively powerful manifestations". Apperception is an on/off switch, there aren't degrees of more apperception or less apperception. An almost-but-not-quite PCE is called an Excellence Experience and there isn't apperception going on in an EE, just felicity.î


 You agree that it occurs time and time in human experience, often going unnoticed. Which means that there are degrees of it, such as when it is implicit and unnoticed, when it has become blatant, and when it is apparently sticking and persistent. So, ìprogressively powerful manifestationsî applies. Furthermore, if you agree that it occurs time and time again in human experience, often going unnoticed, then this undermines your position that it is actually an ìon/off switchî.

At the very least, your counter is a distinction without an essential difference, instead merely a difference in name-only (semantics).


ìAs to the "very brief instant" approach, I have found it doesn't work that way in practice. The best way to experience a PCE isn't to repeatedly point it out or try to get to a clean selfless perception, but rather to be felicitous.î


Thanks for sharing your personal anecdote, however that is irrelevant and doesnít constitute as a counter, as the fundamental point remains un-addressed. There is no mention of an approach, the wording is merely a consolidated description for the sake of streamlining bullet-points, which has the rest of the paperís descriptions implicitly behind it, and so based off the other instances of the base-of-all mentioned it should be very clear that the point in question in no way technically hinges on the actual ìextentionî of a brief instant. In other words you are mistaking semantic formatting for a technical phenomenological claim. Additionally, this point should be driven home by earlier posts I had made, when I blatantly mention other methods for inducing PCE, such as viewing all as if seeing it from oneís deathbed soon before death, this it should be abundantly clear that ìthis brief instant can be extendedî is not the actual substance of the bullet-point in question. The PCE/base-of-all is proceeding perception for a very brief, often implicit, instant initially, and with practice of some sort or another, more blatant and extended instances manifest.       

Secondly and an aside, it is quite interesting that you think the best way (for you) is to not repeatedly point the thing out itself, but instead through apparent causes that constitute something ìother thanî, which seems to subtly, but rather directly, work against your point that there are not ìdegreesî (as such ëthe degree present when directly pointing out the thing itself, and which is not something other than the very thing, is less so than the degree present when ìbeingî felicitousí). 




ìAgain see about apperception being an on/off switch.î


Again friend, that doesnít address the point nor constitute a counter. Generally the PCE manifests for increasingly prolonged periods of time (read: absorption and becoming established in it) and eventually sticks as the apparent arrival point of actual freedom (read:established). Aside from what I see to be apparent contradictions in your position concerning ìon/off switchî, if we were, for the sake of discussion to admit this slight change in wording, it in no way undermines the essential meaning of any of the bullet-points, instead it would merely entail minor changes in wording (so again, no meaningful difference, just difference in name-only). Such changes though, like discussing extended absorptions of it being on and so on, seem superfluous (and arguably entail less consistency and explanatory power).




ìIf I understand you here, I think I agree. In a PCE you perceive objects in terms of the five senses, while concepts are experienced via thoughts. You don't experience an object as a concept.î


In the PCE there are not perceptual objects, which is how ìobjectî is being used here. The clean perception of sensum is just before the percept (perceptual object). You must be careful here with your language on this point, as the sense-data stream continues, however the direct experience of what you call the ìactualî lacks percepts (percepts entail the perceptual partitioning of the sense-data stream). You are confusing and/or conflating sense-data or sense-data stream with perceptual objects/precepts. Or you are mistaking your ìPCEî, which is an instance of the base-of-all, for an instance of the consciousness-of-the-base-of-all, where there is a manifesting preconceptual interest driving and singling out segments and figure structures within the sensory pseudo-totality appearing as object. In an instances of this, there can be the situation where there are objects but they are not experiences as concepts, the more fundamental PCE however, entails the ìraw sense datumî prior to recognizing percepts, which Richard apparently points to as the direct experience of the actual. Either way, whether you or both you and Richard are actually speaking of PCE as a mere instance of the consciousness-of-the-base-of-all and not the base-of-all, doesnít matter in the slightest, as the fundamental argument of the paper stands strong (however it would necessarily mean that Richard had made additional errors and was even more unclear). 




ìYees, *but*, keep in mind a PCE is consciousness-without-a-subject, not consciousness-without-an-objectî


Aside from the possibility that this may be in fact an incoherent statement, Richard seems to define PCE as consciousness-without-a-perceptual-object, a percept is a perceptual object, which is how ìobjectî is used: "clean perception before recognizing the percept... the raw sense datum stage of sensational perception is a direct experience of the actual... it is just before one starts feeling the percept and thus thinking about it affectively... a moment of bare awareness". As mentioned, if we are to give Richard the benefit of the doubt, then we are to assume he is discussing bare-awareness and not merely misidentifying it, which means awareness prior to percepts. Even if he has made a major mistake and not actually uncovered bare awareness, that being the base-of-all, and instead is referring to the consciousness-of-the-base-of-all, where there can still be percepts, then this makes no fundamental difference insofar as the strength of the paperís arguments, it simply entails more error on behalf of actualism. To iterate though, when you mean object, I am going to assume you mean that the stream of sense data or the sense-data continuum is still present, which is made clear in the paper and it also means there is no dispute to be found here.





ìThis is just not the case for what a PCE and actual freedom actually are. Though no objects are 'singled out' in the same sense as with regular consciousness, one is still perfectly capable of delineating objects, remembering things about them based on intentions, dealing with them, remembering one's interactions with them in the past, etc.



Friend, though it may be an issue with reading comprehension, this is again a distinction without a difference. One is still perfectly capable of understanding objects, remembering them and things about them, and dealing with them, etc. There is no dispute, you are describing the base-of-all. The sense-data dream continues, there is no need for percepts for one to do everything you mentioned, if you claim otherwise then you claim the very state that Richard describes, that of clean perception being before the recognition of the percept, to be a highly handicapped state.



ìIt is far from being a stupefied state.î


In context it is, in that is entails the unawareness of Rigpa. Which if you notice, is the context used in the paper in reference to stupefaction.




ìHave you ever read a description of a PCE before? ì


Of course, further, as I have mentioned in earlier posts, I have experienced extremely long instances of PCE/base-of-all.





ìHere is one from Richard (from before he was actually free obviously):î


Though that ìdescriptionî isnít really filled with detail, just irrelevant prose, it does sound like a base-of-all or consciousness-of-the-base-of-all, and in no way presents a single word which describes anything to the contrary.




ìDoes this sound like a description of a state in which "intentionality of mind does not yet operate" and in which "whatever occurs in them cannot be reflexively remembered" or in which nothing can "actively function in order to single out segments of the continuum and perceive them as objects"?î



Yes it does. Maybe you are simply not used to this type of phenomenology (or meta-phenomenology). The ìintentionality of mindî refers to the process of recognizing percepts and portioning up the sense-data continuum, to not automatically ìaffectivelyî responding to a snake on the ground, to subjectifying it (and so getting self-consciously involved îit is as if the hands know what to do without any input from meî) etc. ìWhatever occurs in them cannot be reflexively rememberedî, is made pretty clear in the paper, as it is contrasted to non-reflexive non-self conscious memory. Memory of course still persists, but you would say it is contrasted with ìfeeling memoriesî or ìfocusing oneís feeling memoryî. Pretty simply, there is a difference between reflexive self-conscious memory and non-reflexive non-self-conscious memory. Lastly, I donít know where you are getting this ìnothing canî, as that surely wasnít in the paper, but you mistakingly twisting the context; with that said, ìactively function in order to single out segments of the continuum and perceive them as objectsî has been pretty much covered by earlier responses: we are talking about perceptual objects, which by definition are called percepts. Without percepts, the sense-data continuum continues, and so one is totally capable of describing ìthe golden sunlight with hands immersed in delicious, tingling-to-the-touch, hot soapy waterî.

To iterate, not a single word of Richardís description is contrary to that in question.




ìI'm not sure what you mean by "reflexive mnemonic imprint" is - please clarify - but I think the above addresses this point.î



To simplify, this is precisely referring to what you call ìfeeling memoriesî and imprints of such, and the focusing of oneís feeling memory on an object, clamping down on it viscerally... As mentioned there is a difference between reflexive self-conscious memory and non-reflexive self-conscious memory.



ìMemory does indeed still operate. But what do you mean by "non-reflexive" memory in particular? I think the following quote refutes this point:î


In no way does that quote even touch on the point. In context, non-reflexive can be summed up by Richardís experience with the snake, lacking the reflex of ìaffectiveî self-conscious memory and so the reflexive ìaffectiveî response.


ìThat is, there is still "thought and thinking", "knowledge and knowing", and "seeing and understanding". It is a wide-awake state full of understanding, not a half-asleep state in which several important functions are severely stunted.î


Yep. Especially in the context by which you refer to these things, they are of course entailed in the state that I call a particular instance of the base-of-all that you call PCE.

 As an aside, I notice you mention half-asleep, I will take this as an opportunity to clear up another potential issue with reading comprehension. As my paper demonstrates through example, that though all authentic PCE instances will be instances of the base-of-all (or for the sake of discussion, potentially instances of the consciousness-of-the-base-of-all) not all instances of the base-of-all will be PCE. As mentioned the base-of-all definition extends to when the sense-data continuum persists AND the absorptions where the sense-data continuum itself is totally absent, and of course the other example of nirvikalpa-samadhi, where it is ìthe blank condition that is similar to sleep yet different from it insofar as one is simultaneously fully awakeî. With this in mind, I am not exactly sure how you were able to misrepresent the state in question as a ìhalf-asleep state in which several important functions are severely stuntedî.
With that in mind, please specifically list what these so-called important functions are that are ìseverely stuntedî.  





ìIt's not that it allows one to forget certain things, it's that those things disappear entirely (or almost entirely) and they can't be accessed anymore while in the PCE. It's impossible to remember an emotion - what it affectively feels like - while in a PCE. And once one is actually free they are totally eradicated since actual freedom is the removal of the entire affective faculty (along with the psyche).î



Distinction without a difference. Your wordplay doesnít counter the point, it simply rewords it; and with that said, I reject that actual freedom is a truly unconditioned and permanent state. I do accept that it can last extremely long periods of time though, long enough to allow the misconception of permanency to sink in for some. 
With that said, you have no way to distinguish the ìtotally eradicatedî from the ìperpetually forgottenî, which means your position is bordering on a metaphysical one that isnít necessarily rationally justified.



ìThat is - it's impossible to meditate once one becomes actually free.î


This is a laughable, such a bold assertion resting on such thin semantics, please define ìmeditationî, because implicitly and required by your definition, you must define it as some affective phenomena, which is extremely fringe and so can be rejected just as quickly on principle. This mistake is due to a fundamental misunderstanding of the super-subtle thought-structure that you either have misidentified as inherently affective or identified the delusory valuation-absolutization of it as inherently affective.
With that in mind, the third series of Ati Dzogpa Chenpo teachings, which are the ones in question in the discussion in this paper, entail non-meditation. Thogal is non-meditation, so I am not sure what your attempted point here is.


ìIt isn't non-dual, you might like to look at this link:
Richard:
Here in this actual world neither duality nor non-duality have any existence.î


Parroting Richard doesnít make it true, Richard blatantly misdefines non-duality as the union of two polar opposites, which is more akin to the non-duality described in Hinduism and which is explicitly rejected in Ati Dzogpa Chenpo Buddhism. In this same manner, Ati Dzogpa Chenpo has mentioned 'neither or beyond duality and non-duality' when discussing non-duality in this ill-defined context. Beyond this, non-duality ìhaving any existenceî is incoherent on its face. Furthermore, he attempts to misdefine non-duality as something that a identity can be in, which he again mistakes as a ìunionî, however this just shows his clear misapprehension and lack of clarity concerning non-duality to begin with. In other words, he makes a critical mistake in assuming that there needs to be an identity for non-duality to qualify (which isnít surprising considering his extremely limited notion of non-duality entailing union, especially of îtwo polar oppositesî).

Thanks for the chuckle, but no, that Richard quote doesnít counter the point, as he is talking about something else. By the way, that second link you posted is not much better, just a lot of claims, many of which are lacking rational justification, again though, it does support my point though, that he is defining non-duality in very narrow terms that are more akin to Hinduism, but in some respects, a misunderstanding or purposeful misrepresentation of what he quotes.



ìIf this is what you mean by transpersonal, that's inaccurate. Firstly there's no identification or identity or self at all, rather what one *is* is:î


An even remotely sensitive reading of the paper or the slightest nuanced understanding of Buddhism makes perfectly clear that transpersonal being used here is not referring to the sense of identity and self being being grossly expanded and glorified to to the point of encompassing more. Interestingly, even the definitions of transpersonal states of awareness provided by Grof, some of which are on that same wiki but not those you referenced, have been indirectly severely criticized by Capriles on behalf of Buddhism. For feeling a sense of release from the small mind, small body, or thinking that one is one with everything or all is oneself, is the tight grip of the ego and considered delusion or at the very least an unawareness. As even in the paper it mentions a distinction between states which people like Grof  subsumes (mistakenly) under the category of transpersonal, such as oneness with the universe or out of body experiences.
 Furthermore, in note 2, when I am addressing some of Richardís and actualismís major errors of misrepresentation concerning Buddhism and enlightenment, at the end it says ì...as well as the 
feeling or perception of ìI amî ceases in Enlightenment and in many base-of-all states 
(base-of-all states are necessarily non-enlightened) it becomes undetectable.î
This coupled with the explicit and implicit points in the paper, I have to question how you could possibly take the wiki definition as pertaining to how transpersonal is used.

Trans meaning beyond or on the other side, or even in transcending; and personal as in individual, pertaining to self-conscious being. Transpersonal then refers to, to use your words, ìno identification or identity or self at allî. As mentioned in the paper, there is a very subtle distinction sought in the apparently transpersonal and the actually transpersonal, which isnít made obvious until directly glimpsing Rigpa.





ìWhat I am is these eyes seeing, these ears hearing, this voice talking, these fingers touching, this brain thinking ... and so on.î



How Buddhist.




ìFurther he doesn't state he is the universe, or that he is the universe experiencing itself - he particularly states he is the universe experiencing itself as a human being.î


 That line, which is partially ripped from Watts, really isnít essentially different than a statement such as ìhe is the universe experiencing itselfî. However, this statement of yours is unrelated to the paper and its arguments.



ìWell apperception is not a concept, it's an experience. However one can still readily deal with concepts and thoughts while apperceptive, and it doesn't interfere with the apperception at all. See above quote about thought operating when needed.î



Yep, same with the base-of-all and the consciousness-of-the-base-of-all.


ìIt's not that "samsara is not actively functioning", it's that what Richard calls the "real world" completely disappears. The 'real world' entails identities, selves, emotions (both good ones and bad ones and felicitous ones), etc. The actual world by contrast entails things, flesh and blood bodies, the meaning of life, etc. I would not equate samsara with the 'real world'...î


Doesnít actually address the point. You try to distinguish what Richard calls the real world, and then create a duality based off this (real world/actual world), which doesnít support your claim that ì itís not that samsara is not actively functioningî. Most of your statement entails a fiction I donít accept, full of conceptual elaboration and dualities which are pretty superfluous. In fact, it is just a conceptual position tacked onto the state itself, and doesnít derive from the state. It is bordering on a faith-religion or faith-position, as you surely donít rationally justify the claims, and as stated, they do not derive from the state in of itself. Unless you are claiming that samsara is actively functioning? It is one or the other, and relaying a myth you and Richard happen to believe isnít really relevant. Not that it matters, as I donít care much about the tacked on fictional dualities you appear set on superfluously superimposing, but do you consider these ontological categories? How do you rationally justify not equating samsara with the ìreal worldî end of your myth-dichotomy? 


ì. nor would I equate nirvana with the 'actual world'. However, full and unmediated and impossible-to-stop awareness of the actual world is indeed actively functioning, unimpeded.î


Doesnít matter if you do equate them. You still do not address the actual point. Do you assert that nirvana is actively functioning? It is one or the other.


ìBased on the above, actualism is *not* utilizing the base-of-all, nor are either PCEs or actual freedom base-of-all experiences. Rather, they do have certain similarities but on the whole are rather fundamentally different.î



Based off the fact that your points hold no water and seem to mostly derive from errors in reading comprehension or straying off topic, your claim that they are ìfundamentally differentî falls away in that you have thus far totally failed to rationally justify your claim. 


ì The reason for this is not, however, that actual freedom is a base-of-all experience, but that actual freedom is indeed novel. ì


You havenít justified these claims in the slightest.
 To abridge your statement ìThere is no contestî. 
Thanks for your time and I wish you the best!

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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem - 2014-04-30 21:55:48 - RE: Imitating Freedom, a Buddhist critique of "Actual Freedom"

Hello good sir,

You will have to bear with me as I am indeed not familiar with many of the terms you use. As such I'll try to reply to just a bit at a time for now so we can be on the same page before proceeding. As such I hope for a more interactive discussion. 

Omega Point:
ìDoes this sound like a description of a state in which "intentionality of mind does not yet operate" and in which "whatever occurs in them cannot be reflexively remembered" or in which nothing can "actively function in order to single out segments of the continuum and perceive them as objects"?î


Yes it does. Maybe you are simply not used to this type of phenomenology (or meta-phenomenology). The ìintentionality of mindî refers to the process of recognizing percepts and portioning up the sense-data continuum, to not automatically ìaffectivelyî responding to a snake on the ground, to subjectifying it (and so getting self-consciously involved îit is as if the hands know what to do without any input from meî) etc. ìWhatever occurs in them cannot be reflexively rememberedî, is made pretty clear in the paper, as it is contrasted to non-reflexive non-self conscious memory. Memory of course still persists, but you would say it is contrasted with ìfeeling memoriesî or ìfocusing oneís feeling memoryî. Pretty simply, there is a difference between reflexive self-conscious memory and non-reflexive non-self-conscious memory. Lastly, I donít know where you are getting this ìnothing canî, as that surely wasnít in the paper, but you mistakingly twisting the context; with that said, ìactively function in order to single out segments of the continuum and perceive them as objectsî has been pretty much covered by earlier responses: we are talking about perceptual objects, which by definition are called percepts. Without percepts, the sense-data continuum continues, and so one is totally capable of describing ìthe golden sunlight with hands immersed in delicious, tingling-to-the-touch, hot soapy waterî.


In the paper you wrote:

In such states the intentionality of mind does not yet operate, so it is equivalent to where the senses have not awakened to their objects [...] What is critical ì...is that as yet there be no cognitive activity that may either take the sensory continuum as object, or actively function in order to single out segments of the continuum and perceive them as objects.... When the base-of-all manifests as a neutral condition, there is unconsciousness, not in the sense of lack of awareness, but in that of manifestation of a stunned condition involving the first type of avidya / marigpa posited in the Dzogchen classification ... and lacking reflexive awareness (of) being conscious of something and hence involving no knowledgeóin which therefore no reflexive mnemonic imprints are established.


I don't quite understand what you mean that there are no perceptual objects (percepts), yet one is capable of describing objects (such as sunlight, hands, soapy water, etc). What do you call that object that one is delineating and describing if it isn't a perceptual object?

Further the quote describes that the state involves "no knowledge". I again don't fully understand what is meant by "reflexive mnemonic imprint" - please elaborate, perhaps along with some examples of both reflexive and unreflexive mnemonic imprints? - but if one were to be living in such a state 24/7, would one not be incapable of learning anything new? Yet Richard is indeed capable of learning new things, and using what he has learned in the past to accomplish tasks, etc. And indeed he's capable of remembering what happened to him even before he became actually free, as evidenced by his many posts describing those things. 



Omega Point:
ìWhat I am is these eyes seeing, these ears hearing, this voice talking, these fingers touching, this brain thinking ... and so on.î

How Buddhist.

How is this Buddhist? In Buddhism isn't rupa not-me, sanna not-me, vinnana not-me, etc.? Here Richard is saying he *is* the body, or more precisely, the pure (as in non-affective) consciousness the body generates.