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Daniel, could you say more about "everything is causal"?

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Daniel, one of word choices that I feel like I never quite understood was your use of "causal".

Could you say a few words on why you use the expresion "causal field of experience" or maybe say more about these few sentences from MCTB:

"The big, practical trick tounderstanding egolessness is to tune into the fact that sensations arise ontheir own in a natural causal fashion, even the intentions to do things."

"Whether or not these are “real” is a question that I am happy toavoid, though these experiences can be so extremely vivid that they canseem more “real” than the “real world.” Much more interesting thanthe question of what is real is the question of what is causal, i.e. whatleads to what."

"When we start playing around with intentions, extended sensaterealities and energetic phenomena, it can seem as if there are two worldsor fields of experience that interpenetrate each other, the ordinary one(“the real world”) and the magical one (“second attention,” “astralplane,” “spirit world,” etc.). Integrating these two perspectives into onecausal field without artificial dualities or boundaries is quite a project..."

Why the word causal? The sentences seem okay without that adjective, but the decision to use it seems important. What does it add?

Thanks!

RE: Daniel, could you say more about "everything is causal"?
Answer
5/19/14 1:50 PM as a reply to x x.
If I may hop on board with my own interpretation, when I see the word causal I immediately think of one thing following another in an interconnected way. I think it's important to see each sensation as seperate and leading to another to remove a sense of solidity and see the most fundamental aspects of our perception. (Remember his two-finger insight practice) That is, one sensation can not observe another, so who is observing these tiny sensations? This kind of breaking of self is only possible if you break apart the solidity that creates it. And then what is between the sensations? These insights need a certain speed of appreciation. Causal means one thing following another in an interconnected way.


RE: Daniel, could you say more about "everything is causal"?
Answer
5/19/14 10:04 PM as a reply to x x.
Hello X x

Sometimes the mind reacts to the body, sometimes the body reacts to the mind. The first insight stage is mind and body the second is cause and effect. Its said by attained teacher tha when one attains stream entry one learns to seperate the connection between mind and body. So even though mind and body is a very early stage on the path of insight, it is relevant throught out the development of the stages of insight.


In meditation we are becoming aware of how we are responding or reacting to cause chains of mind and body. Fro example: A pitiful thought makes dislike, this creates a pulling away a distancing, this is embodied in tension in the body around the neck or shoulders. It is an unpleasant feeling, the mind doesn't like this unpleasant feeling and takes it on and reacts with more averstion or dislike. And so it goes round and round in circles. What came first the chicken or the egg. Become aware of the 5 agregates, of Form (sensation), Feeling (the minds subtle yes no to all sensation), Perception (precognitive/thoughtless/wordless recognition that is known: i.e. there is a blue blue chair), Mental Formation (thoughts and emotions; self) Consiousness (bare awareness, obvious during periods of thoughtlessness)

So what is the question around this theme of causal awareness. Its not that complicated, percieve the aggregates clearly see the causal relationship between them; gain insight!

Good Luck, emoticon from neem.

RE: Daniel, could you say more about "everything is causal"?
Answer
5/19/14 10:47 PM as a reply to x x.
I would read the Dalai Lama's "How to see yourself as you really are".  The sense of "I" (like when you get angry at yourself) always feels separate.  Eg. "I am stupid for forgetting that imporant information".  The "I" is treated as if it's a separate object that is "stupid".   Everything goes through causes and conditions but we must see this in all aspects of our lives.  Thoughts in particular: Strategizing, analyzing, rehearsing, etc.  Everything can be broken down into cause and effect.  A "chooser/self/controller" is always a concept overlaid on top of experience.  Notice how intentions and the intention to pay attention follows the three characterisitcs.  You would get tired if all you did was act on intentions.  Ignorance in the Buddhist sense is being ignorant of dependent arising.  

The most important thing in working with emptiness is seeing all phenomenon as impermanent, stressful to cling to because it's impermanent, and therefore not your own.  The crucial result is the unfindability of the "self" in all experiences.  As long as consciousness or some other experience is treated as a controller/doer/self then a self is reified again and again.  All things and experiences are dependent on other things and experiences.  All things and experiences follow the 3 characteristics.

What I like to do sometimes is just pick an aggregate like a thinking sensation and only note when that happens.  Try and note only the intention to pay attention.  You can also just note actions you take.  As you get better at it you can find the causes and conditions that lead to the intentions or actions via dependent origination.  Look at how your environment affects you.  Look at how past likes and dislikes have formed habits.  Notice that doing differently than your habits is unpleasant and will likely push you back to your old habits.

Seriously the book is really deep and reading that along with the Precious Garland by Nagarjuna will give you plenty to chew on for years.

RE: Daniel, could you say more about "everything is causal"?
Answer
5/20/14 2:17 AM as a reply to x x.
Things happen due to conditions.

Intentions cause actions.

Sensations cause mental impressions.

Start with those. Notice them again and again and again, thousands of times, arising causally, lawfully, with conditions leading to more conditions that lead to more conditions.

It is that simple, but beyond the theory, you have to get good at seeing it in real-time, in your field of experience, in your body, in your mind, and, when you get really good at that, it is clear: intentions arise causally, lawfully, not due to some self. Mental impressions arise lawfully, causally, not due to some self. All is seen as it is, happening naturally, based on the laws of reality, not on the whims of some imagined independent entity that is somehow outside of lawful causality. This is a transformative insight.

Helpful?

Daniel

RE: Daniel, could you say more about "everything is causal"?
Answer
5/20/14 8:22 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Thanks for the replies. I think everyone has painted the spectrum of possible meanings... and it strikes me that this is the fundamental paradox, so even the contradictions above aren't necessarily contradictions.

Daniel, maybe the future-pointing tense of the word "causal" might be what is giving me difficulty? (It begs the question, causal of what?) Lawfully seems to makes more sense, with a meaning like "caused-and-causing".

The tricky thing for me is there (seems to be) the seeing of my self-arising intentions, but I identify with the knowing or seeing of that, so while in one respect, the sense of self is very thin (experience is caused, it isn't a self), it has also become very big because of identification with knowing.

It's difficult to know where to go from that "view". "Needing to know" seems like it might be an interesting sensation to look at...

RE: Daniel, could you say more about "everything is causal"?
Answer
5/21/14 12:53 AM as a reply to x x.
Actually, by simply noticing intentions arise on their own before actions and noticing the mental impression of things arise after sensations, many of the great paradoxes resolve if this is done well. It just takes repeating this many, many times so it becomes clear.

RE: Daniel, could you say more about "everything is causal"?
Answer
5/21/14 8:21 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Thanks! I often need reminders to keep it simple. emoticon

RE: Daniel, could you say more about "everything is causal"?
Answer
5/21/14 1:57 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Actually, by simply noticing intentions arise on their own before actions and noticing the mental impression of things arise after sensations, many of the great paradoxes resolve if this is done well. It just takes repeating this many, many times so it becomes clear.


Would you consider "the mental impression that follows sensation" to be the skandha of perception then? Basically a mental representation of a patch of sensations that simultaneously (and generally, unconsciously) attruibutes unquestioned qualities such as solidity, continuity, etc to the supposed 'thing'? Subjects and Objects basically?

RE: Daniel, could you say more about "everything is causal"?
Answer
5/21/14 2:35 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
The mental impression itself is more qualities and textures and colors of shifting space, so if the experiences of the sensations of the mental impression are directly perceived where they are, then no such trouble arises from them, which is exactly and precisely the point.

RE: Daniel, could you say more about "everything is causal"?
Answer
5/21/14 4:31 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Right, I was just wondering if you considered that (the mental impression) the perception skhanda, as it seems to me that the interaction of feeling and perception produces 'dukha' although it is not necesary to suppress either in order to cut off dukha but rather see them as they are, even when they weave those fantasy webs ;)

 Seems to me that seeing whatever arises as it is means (in one sense) seeing it as sensations doing their thing spontaneously so I follow what you're saying. Even the presumptions of false qualities like solidity etc. are composed of sensations which directly display transparency and impermanence so when seen as-is are no problem for sure. That's generally the tack I take rather than trying to supress the arising of false qualities. 

I find it interesting (and even useful sometimes lol) to see how the skhandas interact, so I was wondering how you would categorize the mental impression in terms of that schema. My sense is that 'mental impression' = perception and the more complex mental-emotional formations are compounded from perceptions, feelings and intentions. 

RE: Daniel, could you say more about "everything is causal"?
Answer
5/26/14 8:27 PM as a reply to x x.
I'm still confused.  Is this similar at all to the 'you make your own reality' type of concept so advice would be to understand as best you can what's going on in the inside because that is what you will perceive as being on the outside as well? 
-Eva
 

RE: Daniel, could you say more about "everything is causal"?
Answer
5/26/14 11:27 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Specifically when doing insight practices, the working assumption is that getting to know your sensate reality really clearly helps, and thus noticing things like the intentions that preceed actions and the mental impressions that follow sensations can help debunk the general illusion that there is some separate you that is in control, as, when intentions are clearly perceived, it is noted that they arise on their own naturally, thus cutting through the sense that effort is created by some central self, and also by seeing the mental impressions of phenomena arise as more sensations naturally, this cuts through the illusion that there is some separate, central perceiving entity. Helpful?

Daniel

RE: Daniel, could you say more about "everything is causal"?
Answer
5/27/14 8:30 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Eva, one way to categorize this type of advice is... it is a "if you look closely at experience as it is, you can notice it has already happened" teaching. This is more of a practice pointer, rather than an absolute truth or belief. But the benefit of taking that viewpoint as a practice approach is you see how things arise and pass on their own, which means that on one hand, you can't control it --- which can sometimes be seen as a negative, but... --- on the other hand, you don't NEED to control it either --- which can be quite a relief. So sitting becomes a process of welcoming the experiences that are already happening and getting used to dropping resistance to them. The big insights happen when you realize the resistance is actually pretty futile and basically a source of needless work and suffering.

 

RE: Daniel, could you say more about "everything is causal"?
Answer
5/27/14 4:29 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
"Specifically when doing insight practices, the working assumption is.." 
Seems like a bit of a redirect in the answer.  Is this a thing where you try to focus thought/practice more towards where it is suspected would be the best for that person according to where that person might be at that time? 

"debunk the general illusion that there is some separate you that is in control" 
Now for this one, I don't think I understand for sure the illusion that one is attempting to debunk.  I don't really know how other people think and conceive of things.  It might be the same as me but I don't want to assume without checking.  The way I see it, there are thoughts and sensations that if you notice and try to track them, then you can't find the ultimate origin.  Sometimes or often, they may be associated with other thoughts, happenings, sensations, and/or memories but if you keep following them back along the chain, there is only so far you can trace before it's like blackness you can't see past. 

And there is a conscious 'you,' which is the "I" that types these words, that does the looking and tracing, but that form of me that types these words can't see where the stuff (sensations, feelings etc) ultimately comes from originally.  That me likes to think it is in control but it can't account for where stuff comes from so control is limited or I think Buddhism would say there is no control, just illusion of control or something like that. (but if time and space is an illusion, well then one could make a point that whole concepts like control, luck, beforeandafter, etc are all mistaken assumptions based on ignorance and just don't exist and you can't truly make your own reality because everything is already done and/or exists eternally and then your brain gets tired thinking about it and so you go and eat some ice cream..)  Anyway, so the conscious I that types these words doesn't know/can't see where stuff comes from so where does stuff come from?

One could assume there is another me or part of me that is behind the blackness that is involved with the origins of that stuff.  If there is such a part of me, the way I see it, that part would likely (or really just has to be) be very different than this me that I can easily notice but that does not originate things.  It's nature is very different such that it's hard for this me to understand it, if at all.  But perhaps popularly called the subconscious mind or somesuch.  Is it that buddhism says that the origins of the thought/sensations are not another me or part of me and there is no other me that is in 'control' but it's more like 'the field' or something like that?  Is that the other 'you' that Buddhist practice is attempting to debunk the concept of?
-Eva

RE: Daniel, could you say more about "everything is causal"?
Answer
5/27/14 4:40 PM as a reply to x x.
Ok, the idea there is from the observation that you can't ever seem to notice something inside you before it happens, you only notice it after it is already in progress, obvious assumption being that you that is observing did not create it because you did not know about it beforehand.  Correct?  Even how my fingers get directed to the correct typewriter key and how words are strung together and spoken can't be seen by the I that I can see, even as I say I type words, I can't say how I get it done because I don't know.  It's just happens as if another creature is doing it for me.  The you that observes may however, still think it is in control of things becuase it can seem to create some things, like it can decide to take a hammer and break some glass and thus create broken glass, but on closer observation, where did the idea to break the glass come from originally?  (and where did the hammer and glass come from.. )
-Eva