Third [Robin Woods] [MIGRATE]

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Third [Robin Woods] [MIGRATE]

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Third [Robin Woods]


Robin Woods - 2013-10-30 22:59:05 - Third

Relatively speaking, relatively speaking, this is the peace which passeth all understanding.

My 15 year struggle with chronic treatment resistant suicidal depression seems to have just turned a corner!!!

I have no idea anymore what's inside 'me' and what's outside 'me'. 

I couldn't even begin to thank you guys. and Daniel. Daniel. I know you were standing on that Sayadaw's shoulders. But Daniel.... 

Is Katy on the path?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0BWlvnBmIE

[for the sake of balance, first-path review nearly saw me headed for a padded cell]

XX

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Ian And - 2013-10-31 17:49:16 - RE: Third

Robin Woods:
My 15 year struggle with chronic treatment resistant suicidal depression seems to have just turned a corner!!!

I have no idea anymore what's inside 'me' and what's outside 'me'.

Congratulations! I'm happy for you.

But what has changed that you are able to make this statement? 

Just curious. I've been there and done that also. So, I'm interested to learn about your perceptions of this. That's all. 

Are you able to articulate about the process you've been through that has allowed you to express this? 

I ask this because if you are not aware of that process, then you are just as much in the dark as you were before, with the future possibility of returning to that dark place again if you aren't careful. 

Someone who has broken the chain of rebirths should be able to express how they know that, wouldn't you think (even though it may not make much sense to those who have not accomplished such, to those who have it will make sense).

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Robin Woods - 2013-10-31 19:44:17 - RE: Third

Oh Christ- I've really got myself into some hot water now with my stupid claims to 'attainments'...

How do I know? Because 'I'm' already dead? 

When I close my eyes now and there's silence, or birdsong, and I become the silence or birdsong, when I die - to the extent to which I've reidentified with the silence or birdsong - 'I' don't die? 

I hope I'm vaguely on the right tracks. I still have enough of an ego - even under a pseudonym- not to want to appear too foolish on the internets.  ;) 

Take it easy on me. I was just a desperate person who felt he had no other options. 

Xx

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Robin Woods - 2013-10-31 21:46:31 - RE: Third

Or to try and put it another way, it kinda just feels like being an animal without a concept of self getting in the way nearly so much?

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Pawe? K - 2013-10-31 22:38:38 - RE: Third

imho instead of trying to get rid of 'self' dwelling in some nonsense it would be better to just find what is wrong with it and start healing it right away

having self is not a problem and it never was, it is quite opposite, not having self is biggest issue

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Ian And - 2013-11-01 07:12:52 - RE: Third

Robin Woods:
Oh Christ- I've really got myself into some hot water now with my stupid claims to 'attainments'...

How do I know? Because 'I'm' already dead? ...

Take it easy on me. I was just a desperate person who felt he had no other options.

Relax. You're not in hot water "with claims to attainments."  Only you know what you've achieved, no matter what anyone else thinks. (Besides, my question was not meant as anything other than a simple inquiry about your perception of what it is that you have, in your mind, achieved. I'm not here to judge. Only to help you clarify your perception and view.) 

Robin Woods:

When I close my eyes now and there's silence, or birdsong, and I become the silence or birdsong, when I die - to the extent to which I've re-identified with the silence or birdsong - 'I' don't die? 

I hope I'm vaguely on the right tracks. I still have enough of an ego - even under a pseudonym- not to want to appear too foolish on the internets.  ;) 

Or to try and put it another way, it kinda just feels like being an animal without a concept of self getting in the way nearly so much?

Okay. These two examples are a good start. And you are "vaguely on the right track." 

However, in order to be clear about what you are aiming to achieve, it would be helpful if you were able to SEE the process involved which allows you to make the statement. Being able to see this process is also a part of what is meant by the term "self realization." To realize the process by which you create "a self" which you take (or perceive) to belong to an "I."  

I take it from your descriptions that you have not yet "seen the process" that your mind undergoes (such that you are able to resist it) which would have you identifying it (yourself) with a self that is at root the cause of dukkha

What I'm saying is, what you have described as having achieved is fine in its own right. It is a very significant achievement. But it doesn't indicate evidence of gnosis or knowingness about the potential source of a person's struggle to alleviate dukkha.  Once you attain that gnosis (or inner understanding), you will have severed the ties between this world and personal ignorance about/of this world. It is that ignorance that I am endeavoring to help you understand and to see. 

Now that you are able to achieve "silence" when you meditate (the mind is not constantly self-identifying itself over against other phenomena), you would be well served to take up a study and practice of satipatthana in order to solidify this most recent realization that you have accomplished. Doing so will only assist you in deepening your realization to the point of making it an established viewpoint, thereby crushing dukkha once and for all. 

In practicing satipatthana, you will confront the body or form (rupa), feeling (vedana), mind states (cittanupassana), and mind objects or mind phenomena (dhammas). Nupassana refers to "contemplation of." Therefore, cittanupassana is contemplation of states of mind such as lust (raga), anger (dosa), and delusion (moha). 

Ven. Analayo describes this in his book [url=]Satipatthana, The Direct Path to Self Realization, in this way:

Analayo:
It is noteworthy that contemplation of the mind does not involve active measures to oppose unwholesome states of mind (such as lust or anger). Rather, the task of mindfulness is to remain receptively aware by clearly recognizing the state of mind that underlies a particular train of thoughts or reactions. Such uninvolved receptivity is required because of one's instinctive tendency to ignore whatever contradicts or threatens one's sense of importance and personal integrity. The habit of employing self-deception to maintain one's self esteem has often become so ingrained that the first step to developing accurate self-awareness is honest acknowledgement of the existence of hidden emotions, motives, and tendencies in the mind, without immediately suppressing them.Maintaining non-reactive awareness in this way counters the impulse towards either reaction or suppression contained in unwholesome states of mind, and thereby deactivates their emotional and attentional pull.[7]

Footnote:
[7] Newman 1996: pp. 35 and 46. Cf. also A V 39, which explains that while unwholesome conduct by way of body or speech is to be overcome by adopting more appropriate ways of conduct, the proper approach for overcoming mental defilements is repeated wise observation. A clinical case supporting the ingenuity of this approach is documented by Deatherage 1975: p. 140, where a twenty-three-year-old male, hospitalized for extreme periodic aggressiveness and alcohol abuse, was cured within eight weeks simply by being taught to recognize and mentally name the emotions he experienced, without even knowing that what he was doing was related to "meditation." ...

Take a look at his book and see what you think. It should help you begin to put many things together in your mind about what it is that you are doing and practicing.

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Robin Woods - 2013-11-01 12:45:56 - RE: Third

Thanks Ian. I'm looking forward to studying what you wrote this weekend with care. I'm woefully ignorant of Buddhism. I just found that the noting practice temporarily stopped me suffering. So I persisted with it. Hour after hour after hour. Probably didn't even understand the implications of what I was doing. 

Just out of interest, what do you think happens when our bodies die? The only thought which causes me trouble at the moment is the very paranoid one(!!!) that this mindfulness is tampering with with Nature/God in some fundamental way and that it will result in some kind of 'punishment' after death. That Vipassana is a kind of Promethean arrogance and not to accept the 'normal' beer and titties pleasures of this world is to overreach oneself - which might lead to 'Hell'?  

I did warn you I was crazy!   ;-)

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Ian And - 2013-11-01 17:56:39 - RE: Third

Robin Woods:
Thanks Ian. I'm looking forward to studying what you wrote this weekend with care. I'm woefully ignorant of Buddhism. I just found that the noting practice temporarily stopped me suffering. So I persisted with it. Hour after hour after hour. Probably didn't even understand the implications of what I was doing.

Robin: "I'm woefully ignorant of Buddhism [i.e. the Dhamma]." Oh my. That's what I was afraid of. The good news is: this is a fixable deficiency. It just takes time and a dedication to practice and to learning everything you can about how your mind works and processes information. 

Robin: "Probably didn't even understand the implications of what I was doing."  Yes, you're not alone in this. Because of the questionable way in which much of this material has been taught in the past extending to the present, practitioners are not fully aware of what it is that they should be seeking to learn. There is no shortcut to learning about the Dhamma except to take it one step at a time. And after a period of time practicing and studying this, the concepts begin to fall into place within the mind and a realization occurs which is nothing short of profound! When this realization occurs, you  WILL know it! And what is more, you will know that you are free of the causes of dukkha (including mental dis-eases  such as depression) forever. 

By the way, here is a link to Analayo's book in PDF format (1.2 Mb) that you can download and read: Satipattana, The Direct Path to Realization.  There's a lot in this that presumes a reader's familiarity with the Dhamma, so take it slow and easy and look up any concept that you are unfamiliar with in order to become clear about its importance to your understanding. 


Robin Woods:

Just out of interest, what do you think happens when our bodies die? The only thought which causes me trouble at the moment is the very paranoid one(!!!) that this mindfulness is tampering with with Nature/God in some fundamental way and that it will result in some kind of 'punishment' after death. That Vipassana is a kind of Promethean arrogance and not to accept the 'normal' beer and titties pleasures of this world is to overreach oneself - which might lead to 'Hell'?  

I did warn you I was crazy!   ;-)

Robin: "Just out of interest, what do you think happens when our bodies die?" If you had had an opportunity to read the discourses (MN 72, for instance), you would know how Gotama answered such questions when he was asked. Many of these kinds of questions are answered in the discourses if people will just bother to read them. To speculate about that which one is uncertain of is to become involved in a thicket of views. That thicket of views can take one down many pathways, each one of which, out of fear, may lead to a falsehood and thereby be deceptive. 

When the body dies, the body dies. Awareness remains. What happens when you fall asleep at night each night? Is not your awareness of the body dropped? I am reminded by a quotation from Master Po in the television series "Kung Fu," who said: "Is your mind not free to seek its own course, to soar even to the heavens though you turn and spin within a prison [of the body]."  Stop and think about that the next time you are troubled by a vexing thought. What is it that hinders one from seeking satisfaction (the release of dukkha)? Answer: None other than oneself! 

Robin: "I did warn you I was crazy!"  Not crazy, just deluded. There's a difference. Delusion is easily cured by exposure to and realization of that which is true. Therefore, it is necessary to know that delusion can be (and ought to be) let go of. This is what the Dhamma teaches. Freedom from greed, anger and delusion. Is this not something that everyone seeks to achieve? 

Robin: "...that this mindfulness is tampering with with Nature/God in some fundamental way and that it will result in some kind of 'punishment' after death."  Those of us who grew up in the West and were raised with the fire and brimstone version of Christianity forced down our throats by do-gooder, well-intentioned people in our lives have been suffering under this psychological ball and chain most of our lives.  Yet, when one stops to take a step back and examine this paradigm, one finds that it is based upon a premise that, if it were true, would be contradictory of the whole of the teaching of Christianity.

Consider the wisdom of Master Po once again who said: "When the tiger and the man are two, he [the man] may die. Yet when the tiger and the man are one there is no fear, there is no danger. For what creature, one with all nature, will attack itself?" He prefaced this with the following: "When the heart knows no danger, no danger exists. When the soul becomes the warrior, all fear melts. That prevails which refuses to know the power of the other. Where fear is, does not danger also live. Where fear is not, does not danger also die."  

What Master Po is pointing at are phantoms created within the mind. Phantoms that have no other existence than that they were created in the mind of the observer.  When you know the truth, phantoms cannot invade your thought to distract you from what is true.

One last thought from Master Po to leave you with in regard to this view you have been incubating about mindfulness: 

"Seek always peace. Wear no path for the footsteps of others, unless the soul is endangered. We are all linked by our souls. To endanger one endangers all."
His use of the word "soul" is unfortunate (as far as the Dhamma understands this in relation to a permanent "self" or "soul" of which none can be found). Perhaps a better word might have been "spirit" (which if you bother to look it up in a dictionary, relates to the breath; and how synchronistic is that, as in "mindfulness of the breath" or anapanasati).  

spirit - [L. spiritus, breath, courage, vigor, the soul, life, in LL(Ec), spirit < spirare to blow, breath ...] 1 a) the life principle, esp. in human beings, originally regarded as inherent in the breath or as infused by a deity. b) soul (sense 1).

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Pawe? K - 2013-11-01 21:35:19 - RE: Third

When the body dies, the body dies. Awareness remains.

awareness is function of brain which is body so death of body automatically means death of awareness along with your petty meditation attainments. You don't have to imagine void that will be after death because you will never ever experience it, not even for a moment because without experience there is no experience

because death will never be experienced it is such a non-issue...

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Robin Woods - 2014-04-21 10:50:27 - RE: Third

Losing Control?:

Alright guys, I just wondered if you might help me out briefly again....

It's been apparent to me for a while that certain processes such as coughing and sneezing are not-self because 'I' don't consciously initiate them. In the same way 'I' don't grow my hair or beat my heart.

However, it's starting to become apparent in daily life that there are all kinds of habitual processes that I do - such as rubbing my face, itching my back, smoking, pulling up my trousers, turning over in bed etc - which seem to just happen by themselves. I don't choose to do them - or not - I just find myself in the middle of them happening.

This is a sign of 'progress' right? This is what's meant by a 'natural unfolding'? What should I look for losing control of next? Is there any way to particularly work with this in daily life beyond just trying to keep up the mindfulness and noticing it happening? 

I definitely didn't realize I'd end up losing my sense of free will when I signed up to my first MBSR course!

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. Jake . - 2014-04-21 13:07:42 - RE: Third

Losing your sense of free will or your sense of a 'you' that owns intentions? 

Phenomena influence each other in a web of interdependance, right? 

Intentions are phenomena that have an awareness or understanding of this mutual influence built in, far as I can tell. They are still impermanent, empty of self, not owned by a self, and clinging to/resisting them as if they were permanent or i, me or mine sure is dukkha. But no need to intellectualize about free will vs. determinism, which again far as i can tell is more speculative and metaphysical than experiential. I am not sure that has anything to do with meditative insight so much as our current mainstream culture in the West. 

That said, sure, everything can be seen in that light of happening on its own if there is clear seeing. If you investigate the causes and conditions that lead to more stable, deep, spontaneous and bright clear seeing then you will likely experience more moments in which the spontaneity and selflessness of phenomena is evident. That's a natural part of the process for sure. Just wanted to point out that we don't have to pin it down intellectually as free will vs. determinism. I notice that sometimes tends to lead to doubts and/or overcertainty; also, confusing dissociation and depersonalization with insight into emptiness (they are two very different things in my opinion.....). Just my two cents however.

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Robin Woods - 2014-04-22 09:50:20 - RE: Third

Thanks Jake. Yes - I think I understand what you're saying. I guess I was a bit worried that it might be depersonalization rather than insight but it feels natural and surely represents a higher level of self-awareness into things I wasn't even conscious were happening previously....

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. Jake . - 2014-04-23 16:58:26 - RE: Third

Cool; then I would say trust your experience and the process. The deeper we let go into emptiness is the easier it should be to feel spontaneous joy and to engage in wholesome and beneficial actions. I know this is kind of a mahayana cliche and yet, it is really IME helpful for differentiating between authentic insight on the one hand and depersonalization or even a one sided, intellectual insight on the other. True insight should be a whole-being affair involving mind, body, heart, relationships.... Or at least there's another of my two cents for what it's worth ;)

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Robin Woods - 2014-04-24 11:45:24 - RE: Third

IAN!! 

I'm not sure if you'll see this but i think I just had the insight this morning whilst meditating into what you were trying to get into my thick head here. 

Any movement by the mind into 'selfing' (and away from peace/silence/nirvana) IS suffering/dukkha. 

It doesn't matter whether it's 'positive' fantasy or 'negative' self-recrimination. The very process of mind created 'selfing' is inherently painful when compared to stillness/silence/whatever you want to call it. 

That's why Daniel keeps banging on about the 3 characteristics and their interrelation!? The impermanent selfing processes of the mind ARE Dukkha?

That's why it's called 'insight' meditation? The interrelation of the 3C's literally comes as a flash of insight?

Wow - I'm dead.

Walking into work and my sense of self in relation to others was held in its proper proportion for the first time. There's no-one here to defend. 

Selfing is just a (painful) process which comes and goes right? It's not a 'thing'.

emoticon

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Ian And - 2014-04-24 18:05:09 - RE: Third

Robin Woods:
IAN!! 

I'm not sure if you'll see this but i think I just had the insight this morning whilst meditating into what you were trying to get into my thick head here. 

Any movement by the mind into 'selfing' (and away from peace/silence/nirvana) IS suffering/dukkha. 

It doesn't matter whether it's 'positive' fantasy or 'negative' self-recrimination. The very process of mind created 'selfing' is inherently painful when compared to stillness/silence/whatever you want to call it. 

Selfing is just a (painful) process which comes and goes right? It's not a 'thing'.


Robin, you've got it! 

Ian: "Therefore, it is necessary to know that delusion can be (and ought to be) let go of. This is what the Dhamma teaches. Freedom from greed, anger and delusion."

Freedom from greed, anger, and delusion is seeing this process at work within the mind and letting go of it! That is the basis for awakening that Gotama was speaking about. 

There is a section in Richard Gombrich's book What The Buddha Thought that expresses this idea of the mental processing that goes on in our thinking. It occurs in Chapter 8 at the heading "The Five Khandha Are Processes." You might want to pick up this book and slowly read through it as it may have the effect of setting off other realizations that are lying dormant with your awareness. This book can be found as a free PDF on the Internet; you'll have to research it though as I don't have a link to it.

I was first made aware of this insight in a previous book of his How Buddhism Began, The Conditioned Genesis of the Early Teachings, where it was mentioned in a single innocuous and innocent sentence: "The Buddha's interest in how not what, his emphasis on processes rather than objects, could be said to be summarized in his teaching of the paticca-samuppada, conditioned origination." From that simple sentence, I came to the realization! 

A few excerpts from that section in the What The Buddha Thought book: 

"I have mentioned above that the five khandha are the five sets of processes which fuel our continued existence in samsara because they involve grasping, appetite, thirst, desire, whatever you like to call it. I have also shown khandha to be a short form of aggi-kkhandha, a common Pali compound word meaning 'mass of flame.' So there are not just five heaps of fuel but five fires burning fuel. Like all fires, they are in a sense what they are made of; and this takes us back to the Vedic thought that fire is both object and subject. Moreover, they are not things but processes...."

And the real kicker: 

"Most important of all, he deduced something that I think was never explicit either in Vedic thought or in its Hindu descendants: that what we can experience is only process. This may be his most important philosophic idea. Our consciousness and its objects are like fire in that they are not things but processes, unceasing change. Something beyond this is perhaps conceivable, but the very nature of our apparatus for having experiences determines that if it does exist it must lie completely outside our experience. . . .

"Egotism and belief in an unchanging ego were the fires' essential fuel, so once they were gotten rid of, those fires would go out."

In peace,
Ian

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Psi Phi - 2014-04-25 00:44:48 - RE: Third

Yeah, that's cool, it is all processes, impersonal processes, if I might add.  Sorry to intrude, but it is all a process, fed by fuel, take away the fuel, the fire goes out, but one needs patience to watch a fire go out, and many other factors to not throw more fuel on the fire.

Going to contemplate on this....now

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Robin Woods - 2014-04-25 11:01:23 - RE: Third

Thanks Ian! I think I see it now.

'The habit of employing self-deception to maintain one's self esteem has often become so ingrained that the first step to developing accurate self-awareness is honest acknowledgement of the existence of hidden emotions, motives, and tendencies in the mind, without immediately suppressing them.'

Wow - that sentence, in particular, encapsulates my entire psychology. Mindfulness laid it all bare for me - in real time. Shadow. Projection. The whole thing.

haha - my parent's divorce and aftermath (my Big Issue) was never 'my' fault because I was never a 'thing' in the first place!!!

Quite a lot of disorientation today. All these patterns of accumulated muscular tension in my body that I've been holding for all these years - and no-one to hold them for!!

It seems obvious to me that this insight is what Shinzen calls stream-entry so I retract my claims to 'Third' (whatever that meant) above.

So whenever selfing/suffering arises you just drop it in favor of Peace? It doesn't even matter whether you note it as 'talk', 'noise', 'suffering', 'why' or whatever?

Now to begin the 'mental gardening' that Richard Zen and Thich Nhat Hanh talk about!

Thanks so much Ian for always being there when I needed someone!

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Dream Walker - 2014-04-25 15:49:52 - RE: Third

Robin Woods:
It seems obvious to me that this insight is what Shinzen calls stream-entry so I retract my claims to 'Third' (whatever that meant) above.

Could you possibly share with us what you mean by third path? Could you then explain why you no longer categorize yourself as such? Could you share the new Shinzen description and how it fits you?
Thanks,
~D

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Ian And - 2014-04-25 17:23:27 - RE: Third

Robin: "So whenever selfing/suffering arises you just drop it in favor of Peace? It doesn't even matter whether you note it as 'talk', 'noise', 'suffering', 'why' or whatever?"

No! You're not fully understanding this. It is not about always seeking peace. Peace is the logical outcome of wisdom! It's about "seeing things as they are" with wisdom! With true knowingness and knowledge about whatever circumstance one is viewing. 

Robin, Robin, Robin. You are regressing rather than progressing! You need to open up your mind and see the big, overall picture! Your current focus is too narrow. And that is, to a great extent, a result of the instruction you've been following, which has you focusing on a narrow window of reality. 

Forget about what you've been taught about "noting" as it is described here and elsewhere on the Internet. The purpose of that kind of noting was to put you into "present time" (i.e. to promote mindfulness or sati) so that you can see directly what is happening in the moment. Wisdom is developed when you are able to skillfully discern the truth and act accordingly. 

For example (and this is a very simplistic example which you need to use in order to see more complex problems that can arise): Let's say that you are a child who has never seen fire before. You see a fire and you want to touch it (as we know, children are always exploring physical phenomena in order to learn what it is all about because everything in this world is new to them).  So, you put your hand into the fire and experience a burning pain, and immediately withdraw the hand. Wisdom has just taught you that attempting to touch a fire is not a wise thing to do if you wish to preserve your physical health! So, from now on, you will be careful and cautious around fires. In this process, you correctly discerned the nature of fire (it is hot and destructive of the things it touches), and have come to the correct conclusion about it: fire can be a useful object to have, but one must be careful around it. One must respect what it can do.  

This isn't about the short term manipulation of your reactions just so you can "feel good" when something that you have previously viewed as being a negative is seeming to go against your "self." It is about seeing reality as it is! This means accepting reality with equanimity. And if necessary, figuring out how you are going to respond to this negative development without becoming distracted by totally breaking down emotionally. When you let your emotions become involved, sometimes, you stop thinking rationally. You stop seeing things as they are and figuring out how they got that way in the first place. See? 

When you can see a mental reaction pattern that devolves into negative thinking patterns and fault finding, you stop looking for practical solutions to the matter and become engulfed in your own self imposed suffering (dukkha!). Your mind focuses solely on this negativity, causing you to suffer. See? And what you want to do is to see the truth about what is occurring so that you can react skillfully, becoming empowered by your own ability to correctly discern the truth. 

Robin: "haha - my parent's divorce and aftermath (my Big Issue) was never 'my' fault because I was never a 'thing' in the first place!!!"

This is a perfect complex problem with which to view with wisdom. While the conclusion you draw above may be correct as far as it goes, what it fails to take into consideration is that your "Big Issue" was an issue that you yourself created within your mind without any objective evidence that it was true! Why you took your parent's divorce personally only you can say. What you took to be objective evidence was only your personal reaction (the ego's response) to the situation of your parents not being able to get along with one another, which likely didn't involve you directly, but was more likely based on misunderstandings they had with one another and an inability or unwillingness to change.  

Do you see this yet? You need to use your deductive and inductive reasoning processes in order to see the situation as it is with wisdom, not as you "think" it is! This is what Gotama was teaching through the use of meditation in order to calm the mind so that it could more easily gather true insight (i.e. not based upon prejudice or speculation) about reality. He taught people how to see things as they are, not to buy into illusions or delusive thinking about things. 

In peace,
Ian

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Robin Woods - 2014-04-26 07:12:43 - RE: Third

I thought I'd had a very clear insight into 'no-self-as-thing' which he defines as 'classical enlightenment' or 'stream-entry'. That is, when no feel-image-talk (or default mode network or whatever you want to call it) is arising, then 'I'm' not there. Real time awareness of my sense of self waxing and waning, coming on and off line. So that as 'stream-entry' rather than completing one progress of insight cycle. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQrUx010gvI

But I'm probably just kidding myself...

I was taking 'third' above to be significant baseline mental quietening and non-duality in daily life. But like Ian implies below, I'm obviously still not getting this!

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Robin Woods - 2014-04-27 20:55:42 - RE: Third

haha - shit. Back to the drawing board!!

I hope I think I see what you're trying to say though...

Firstly, I need to develop equanimity towards whatever is arising in the field of awareness rather than trying to aggressively cut-off 'unpleasant' mental arisings by noting them away - right? I'll re-read the chapter in the book you suggested above on 'feelings' and try and develop more mindfulness of neutral-pleasant-unpleasant. And mind-states? Need a better understanding of the Four Foundations. (And the rest of Buddhism!)

Secondly, now that mindfulness has brought all of the (previously unconscious) processes of mind (that still remain) into the light of day, I presumably have some work to do in terms of figuring out with a rational mind what faulty assumptions about my 'solid' self are still giving rise to the negative mental patterns/habits above. Presumably starting with the ludicrously erroneous notion that I was somehow responsible for my parent's divorce! I'm now the only one who's in a position to try to understand (or care about!!) the workings of my own mind? 

Thanks again for all your help! emoticon

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Ian And - 2014-04-28 04:36:09 - RE: Third

Robin Woods:

I hope I think I see what you're trying to say though...

Firstly, I need to develop equanimity towards whatever is arising in the field of awareness rather than trying to aggressively cut-off 'unpleasant' mental arisings by noting them away - right? I'll re-read the chapter in the book you suggested above on 'feelings' and try and develop more mindfulness of neutral-pleasant-unpleasant. And mind-states? Need a better understanding of the Four Foundations. (And the rest of Buddhism!)

Well, sort of. True equanimity (the kind that lasts and cannot be taken away from you) is developed through the process of gaining wisdom (i.e. knowing what is going on and not being phased by it). But yes to the second part of your statement. 

It's not about developing more mindfulness of pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral feeling just for the sake of it; although that in itself is not a bad thing. It's about seeing the origination of whatever quality of feeling arises and understanding from whence it has arisen. When you see what causes the pleasant, unpleasant or neutral feeling to arise, then you have the key that is driving your volition (sankhara, or reaction pattern). 

It's about seeing these processes in real time arise and pass away, and using that information to understand why you react (what triggers the reaction) in the way that you react. When you know how the mind is being manipulated through the aggregate of feeling (vedana), that knowledge (wisdom) helps you to defuse the reaction pattern (as in knee jerk or subconscious reactions) through the development of equanimity toward formations. The equanimity many times comes from seeing that whatever it was that you feared (or whatever) was not as bad as your mind had imagined. Or from accepting the truth of whatever situation it is that you are observing. Acceptance "of what is" has a lot to do with alleviating dukkha and allowing you to better deal with whatever situation is confronting you. 

Robin Woods:

Secondly, now that mindfulness has brought all of the (previously unconscious) processes of mind (that still remain) into the light of day, I presumably have some work to do in terms of figuring out with a rational mind what faulty assumptions about my 'solid' self are still giving rise to the negative mental patterns/habits above. Presumably starting with the ludicrously erroneous notion that I was somehow responsible for my parent's divorce! I'm now the only one who's in a position to try to understand (or care about!!) the workings of my own mind?

Now you're back on track, Robin (regarding the emboldened comment in the above quote of yours). 

And, yes, to the question you asked next. 

In peace,
Ian

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Robin Woods - 2014-05-06 17:02:57 - RE: Third

Ok - obviously more study and reflection needed!!

That said, very briefly, this does feel like a totally new shift:

Thoughts without a thinker. After being puzzled by this for years, it's immediately apparent what this means now. The thought IS the thinker right? There's no 'me' hiding in my body somewhere(?) 'behind' the thought. The thought is simply the thinker process activating?

My sense of self also seems to have become 'elastic' for want of a better word:

One minute I'm the ambient sounds of a train station. The next I'm me and a tree. The next my old(?) self has come full-force back online 'cos of something at work. 

I also can't seem to find myself when I look inside. I find a foot sensation. a passing visual memory. Never any essential, core 'thing'. 

Not sure the best words are coming out; and apologies if all this is obvious. 

Bit confused about maps now too. Is there any way to map this shift in perspective on the MCTB model?

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Dream Walker - 2014-05-06 18:53:53 - RE: Third

The predominate aspect of third from my experience was the change in proprioceptive selfing processes.  The selfing process that created an illusion of a center point in my body (behind the eyes, chest, stomach) stopped. The same with the outside limit at the skin as well as the personal bubble.  The sense of possession/ownership/me-ness relating to these ended.
The other aspect was that the panoramic viewpoint was now the natural state without effort like second path. Let go of thought and focus and you slide naturally into the panoramic viewpoint/awareness.
Link Looking for help getting to 3rd path
Good luck,
~D
Robin Woods, modified 8 Years ago at 5/8/14 10:49 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 5/8/14 10:49 AM

RE: Third [Robin Woods] [MIGRATE]

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Reply to DW (not sure how this new system works....)

aha - I thought the proprioceptive thing came quite a lot later than 3rd path? i.e at Kenneth's (retracted?) stage 7? Is that the 'centre-point' then?

I realise I was basing 'Third' above on the Hurricane Ranch transcript as the MASSIVE shift in baseline mental quietning/non duality over what used to be normal in daily life. 

It's started to become apparent to me that what Daniel calls fourth path is way 'beyond' what the KFDers mean. It's like at the end of Kenneth's 8 stages (but without the emotional transformation?). Is that right? (From the HR transcript it seems like they're all on the same page about the stages). 

God this stuff is confusing; but it's nice being happy for the first time since I was about 12! emoticon
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 8 Years ago at 5/9/14 12:23 PM
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RE: Third [Robin Woods] [MIGRATE]

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I will leave off comparing things to KFD, as the personal politics for me is so complex on that front, but I will address the issue of emotional transformation.

It is not that there hasn't been emotional transformation, as there has been a ton of emotional transformation, but it just doesn't quite line up with the standard dogma of the 10-Fetter Model, nor has it totally eliminated any category of emotion, at least for me, though lots of things about the way emotions operate, how long they last, what triggers them, how they are perceived, and the relationship to them (actually the lack thereof, as it takes two things to form a relationship, and there ain't two things anymore) have all really made a remarkable difference in what might in relative terms be called my emotional life.

If you notice in MCTB1, it actually says this, but somehow nobody notices it.

I was actually just writing something related to this in MCTB2 last night (which is actually very nearly done! Yeah!) on Dependent Origination.

Here is a sneak peak at MCTB2:

"Note: MCTB1 got criticized for not explicitly mentioning Dependent Origination, and it was a totally valid criticism. Thus, based on that useful feedback, here goes…
    Directly related to the Four Noble Truths is a fascinating and relatively complex teaching called Dependent Origination. You can find it in its original form in such places as DN 15, the Maha-nidana Sutta, the Great Discourse on Causality/Origination. There are long books and essays that go way into the depths of the thing, so if you want something at that level, look there, not here. In an ultra-simplified nutshell, it lays out a chain of causality in which each thing is caused by something else until we get to the root cause, and then posits that if that root cause is removed, then the great chain of causality collapses.
    Starting at the top, we have the obvious and undeniable fact that sickness, pain, old age and death are dependent on birth. That is a really important thing to notice. If you were born, you will age, have pain, get sick and die. Makes sense.
    Then things get a bit odder: Birth is based on Becoming (also translated as Existence). Here we have to suddenly dive into the world of ancient India and Nepal and a working paradigm that envisioned beings being born into countless lives again and again based on their karma. I am going to skip over the complexities of this and move on (such as there being no transmigrating consciousness or soul posited in Buddhism and yet there is the relative teaching of rebirth), as it is actually not terribly important to the main points I wish to make here, as this whole thing actually makes great sense once you get sufficiently enlightened and doesn’t at all depend on having any belief in the dogmas of rebirth. Whew! All you scientific materialists can suddenly relax your sphincters! Yeah!
    Becoming is based on Clinging, in that we cling to existence. This Clinging is based on Craving for experience and for being. This craving is based on Vedena (usually translated as “Feeling”), meaning things being pleasant, unpleasant and neutral. Vedena arises dependent on the Contact (between objects and the sense doors), and thus Contact depends on the Six Sense Doors. These Six Sense Doors are themselves dependent on Name and Form (Mind and Matter). Name and Form are themselves dependent on Consciousness. Consciousness is dependent on Volitional Formations (Saṅkhāras in Pali, as word that is often used to mean multiple different things, just to make it more confusing. The Pali word is included so that you can look all this up yourself). And, lastly but not leastly (book editor, please don’t take that one out!), Volitional Formations are based on Ignorance.
    Ok, bear with me here. Each of those terms is complicated, and their very specialized meanings and implications are complicated. The translation makes it worse. Having a totally different working paradigm set from ancient India and Nepal doesn’t help at all. However, a few salient points can be made from all of this.
    First, the elimination of ignorance means elimination of lack of direct knowledge of the Three Characteristics, meaning a highly-developed degree of awakening to the basic truth of things. In this way of perceiving things, reality is no longer broken up at a core perceptual level into Subject and Object, into Perceiver and Perceived, into Doer and Doee, into This and That. Nor is anything taken to be stable and continuous in time at a perceptual level. Thus, nothing makes or forms or fabricates the illusory sense of a self, of a volitional self, of a doer, of a this, of a separate, permanent, split off, centrally-perceiving Consciousness, Subject or Watcher. Further, it no longer splits reality up artificially into Name and Form or Mentality and Materiality, as the field itself is just directly and clearly the field of experience, of manifestation itself, undifferentiated, free of artificial divisions.
    This then has profound implications for the sense of the Six Sense Doors, as now there is, for lack of a better way to put it, only one wide-open, volumetric sense door and it is sensing itself. Thus, there is really no Contact, as there is no sense of anything split off that would be contacting something, there are instead just the qualities and textures of transient space. As there are just the qualities and textures of transient space, it can no longer be said that the qualities and textures that make up Vedena belong to anyone, nor is there some sense in that undifferentiated field of a split-off this side that could try to move closer to pleasant sensations, move farther away from unpleasant sensations, and tune out to boring sensations, this being the basic implication of Craving. Thus, there is also no solidification of anything, as the whole transient field directly knows its own utter transience, and so the sort of Clinging referred to here is rendered perceptually impossible. Without any possibility of habitual solidification, the special type of Becoming and Existence referred to here can’t happen, as it is directly known that nothing transmigrates, nothing remains, nothing makes up some stable core of perpetuating consciousness or self.
    That is all so far so good, as it goes. In fact, if you do insight practices well enough, you too will come to see that all of that abstract-sounding theory suddenly describes reality to a tee!
    However, finally, in the last two links, we have a problem, that being the fine print regarding the end of suffering promised by the Buddha. As clearly demonstrated by the Suttas, and as should be really, really obvious, a body was born, and it will get sick, feel pain and die. Thus, while the body lives, there will be pain, aging, sickness and finally death. In short, it is only at the death of a highly enlightened being that the whole thing finally ends. Those who try to spin it some other way are clearly selling something. I will refrain from some further discussion of the endless debates that go on between the Mahayana and the Theravada on this point, as it gets really old really quickly, but instead will move on to the method to make all this good stuff happen and to eliminate fundamental ignorance and other other forms of suffering can be eliminated while a body still lives."
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Dream Walker, modified 8 Years ago at 5/9/14 7:28 PM
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RE: Third [Robin Woods] [MIGRATE]

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Thanks for sharing....can't wait to read it....until then I still need to read "Clarifying the Natural State" by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal