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Practice advise by Kyle

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Practice advise by Kyle
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10/9/14 9:16 PM
I found this advise by Kyle Dixon to someone in 2012 which I think is well written. Posting this up with Kyle's permission. (More writing of his can be found in http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/sun-that-never-sets.html , http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2013/12/clarifications-on-term-rigpa.html)

.....

That experience was fairly spontaneous, if I was to try to pin point what brought it on exactly I'm not sure if I could. But for about a year on and off prior to that I'd been practicing samatha or shine meditation which pretty much consists of just sitting quietly, eyes open looking at an object or space and not doing anything at all. If a thought arose I'd just let it pass and self liberate immediately without following it. From doing that my clarity and presence increased a lot. I had two smaller non-self experiences before the big one during the time I was meditating regularly everyday. I also was doing a lot of self inquiry. The day that happened though I was doing some inquiry into thought related to the present moment which was actually very forced so I'm not sure how it brought that anatta experience about. I just focused strongly on the present moment and took the attitude that there was only right here, and right now, that only what was being immediately experienced existed and it was all that ever had and ever would (which is true but felt opposite of how I usually had functioned). So I focused on that every thought that arose was the only thought there is, none before, none after. And there could only be one thought in that moment. Since there was only that one it wasn't like there was a thought waiting to arise and/or one that had left, there was no coming or going, just was was here now. And for some reason the present thought just became noise that didn't mean anything, like gibberish and it was all of a sudden apparent beyond a shadow of a doubt that there had never ever ever been anyone here at all. Thought stopped and seeing was happening but no one seeing, hearing happening but no one hearing etc.. There was only experiencing and my absence felt like I had died, or it was just seen that I had never existed which was crushing and upsetting in a way but at the same time it was beautiful.

So it was weird because I had been forcing an inquiry but the experience came on spontaneously. I'd actually deviated from dzogchen a little time before that because until this point I hadn't had any substantial experiences to validate the teaching at all. Right around that time I had been reading a lot of this guy nisargadatta who isn't even a Buddhist teacher but speaks really well about the non reality of the self... But after that experience I got more into dzogchen then I had been before and that's because it wasn't just a theory or idea anymore I saw that it was real. And I saw that it wasn't just that experience but that's how reality manifests at all times.

As far as trying to create that experience that's the trouble, which it seems you already see... That any effort to "get there" is effort by the self and therefore spoils it from being seen. This is why dzogchen speaks of "doing nothing" or "effortlessness", so that meditation you're doing where you rest in awareness is good... and adding the insight of "in the seeing just the seen" etc.. Is good too. Adding the timelessness aspect to that is also key, (which is also effortless because it's always only now, but that isn't always apparent). The feeling that there's an individual that spans time is a big part of it. What helps is understanding that it's only thought that says "I".. The "me" is just a thought, the thought isn't commenting on a "me" which is actually present apart from the thought. It's just a thought. So unless a thought is arising to claim authorship, it's already just seeing, just hearing. And the seeing, hearing etc.. Isn't inside or outside, it's just present. Just 'right here'.. immediate. Experience is just that. Seeing doesn't see objects, the objects are the seeing. Hearing doesn't hear sounds, the sound is the hearing... no separation.

But in trying to understand it like that, it's still the same old problem of the self trying to get it. Any effort made is blocking it from being made apparent when set up as 'you' trying to 'get there' in time. And this aspect of the teaching is where (for example) Jax was right (although he took it to an extreme and I ultimately didn't agree with his view).

Understand that 'you' are just a thought. The self is merely thoughts commenting on each other but thought A is never there at the same time as B so there is no consecutive chain of thoughts.

So luckily being that the 'self' is only a thought(idea, concept), when thoughts aren't being reified as belonging to a self they are just merely thoughts.. Just noise.. No one is thinking them, they just appear and vanish in the same moment. And for this reason merely resting in "awareness" or your "wakefulness" is actually allowing these faculties to arise in their suchness. If you rest in that unfabricated and uncontrived natural wakefulness and allow everything that arises to self liberate, the goal is to see that there is only this flow of arisings. The second part of your meditation where that element of pre-conceived forcing of the no-self view is taking place can actually go either way. It is conceptual and can be a potential trap but it all depends on how it's related to; if as the meditation is going on and the "no-self view" is being forced the seemingness of the forcing comes across as "you" doing the forcing, then it becomes a trap.. because only "you" could force the view of "no-you"... it's a trick of the self and actually keeps the illusion of self solidified and alive through that forcing. On the other hand, if while the forcing is going on, a recognition that in the forcing the forcing itself is simply spontaneously appearing itself and is spontaneously self-liberated then that is maintaining the view. The relaxed aspect of dzogchen is very key and is meant to reveal that the sum of these "aggregates" don't create a self as an entity, but that the self IS simply these aggregates. I saw a talk the other day where someone put it like this; in a water molecule there is 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen. The atoms don't bond to form this 'thing' called a water molecule.. the water molecule IS these constituent atoms. I don't really do the analogy justice but here is a link to the mans talk http://www.ted.com/talks/julian_baggini_is_there_a_real_you

Another thing that I noticed in your message above is where you're saying that the 5 senses produce their respective objects without a self to be found. This statement is actually stacking too much on top of the natural state as it is... if you can notice in immediate experience; the 5 senses as faculties are not present... the '5 senses' designation is merely a convention, which is useful for communication but lacks existence apart from it's conventionality... likewise objects are designations implemented merely for conventional purposes(not to be denied, but seen for what they are as merely conventions). You're already stepping toward trying to see the absence of the self in experience, but it would be helpful to see the senses and objects as empty as well. So what this means is that in your immediate experience there is no evidence of the self and there is no evidence of the senses and their respective objects. In immediate experience it is "just this" no self, no senses, no objects, just the natural state which is beyond designation. If you try to hard to "see it", this is again the self trying to "see it", it needs to be understood that it is already always the case. The senses don't apprehend objects... the objects ARE the senses, the senses ARE the objects, and they are not two... but even this is saying too much.... it's just BOOM right there, happening now. In the seeing just the seen, doesn't imply that there are "things" which are seen... it just implies that it all contracts into a zero dimensional suchness... there's no objective happening... it's full union.

Now as for the "awareness"... the awareness aspect can be solidified as a substantiated 'thing-ness' as well... which was my beef with Jax's insight again to use an example. The problem with the awareness is that due to certain kinesthetic sensations approximate to what we take as our body, we feel that awareness is seated 'here' experiencing surrounding phenomena. So awareness is considered to be stationed or localized 'here' instead of 'there'. But this feeling of 'hereness' is just this kinesthetic sensation coupled with the illusion of time. In truth the feeling of looking out from the vantage point of 'here' is just a non-local "presence", there is no here or there... here and there are merely thoughts. When the feeling of presence is felt, it doesn't claim to be here or there or anywhere... if this can be intuitively understood then it can be seen that what appears, appears to itself and no distance from itself.

Coming back to the stabilization of "thought-flow" and clarity in samatha or shine meditation... this stabilization reduces the projection of designations by thought so experience can be rested in nakedly without too much distraction and for this reason it is very helpful. From there, resting in this "presence" you see that the "presence" IS the "appearances" and vice versa. Also, mere mindfulness will help stabilize this, even if it's contrived or forced.... just remain present at all times... ChNN says to do it like you're driving a car... just remain aware and focused at what's happening around you, just be here. Even if it feels like there's a "you" attempting to "be here" just let it be. In time this will also dawn true insight and the point is to have that innate and true insight apart from all of this intellectual crap i'm talking about... in just remaining present the meditation will start to work for itself and true insight will dawn on it's own accord... so try not to be distracted, and practice that non-distraction like you're doing it to save your life... like if you become distracted you'll be killed, make it of utmost importance... maintaining that flow. Now when ChNN and dzogchen talk about remaining undistracted they don't mean merely remaining present, they're talking about not separating from the non-dual natural state once that becomes apparent. But luckily since the self and the senses and objects are mere imputed conventions, in the act of remaining present, the natural state is already implied... and the contrived mindful presence will just strengthen the connection with the natural state... it's also almost like a process of reconfiguring, removing habits and tendencies to reify dualities which make a subject-object experience seem real. In time with being present, it will just happen... the feeling of being a subjective entity will just go. The "all-ground" or feeling of substantiated awareness happening here will melt into the natural state. Don't be too contrived in your mindfulness, just be present, be relaxed, allow appearances to self-arise and self-liberate and remove the notion of time and space, know that this is indeed it right here, right now, but "feel" that... don't convince yourself intellectually, be in the flow, be the flow.

RE: Practice advise by Kyle
Answer
10/9/14 7:32 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
Oops! I didn't paste it completely. In continuation:

Coming back to the stabilization of "thought-flow" and clarity in samatha or shine meditation... this stabilization reduces the projection of designations by thought so experience can be rested in nakedly without too much distraction and for this reason it is very helpful. From there, resting in this "presence" you see that the "presence" IS the "appearances" and vice versa. Also, mere mindfulness will help stabilize this, even if it's contrived or forced.... just remain present at all times... ChNN says to do it like you're driving a car... just remain aware and focused at what's happening around you, just be here. Even if it feels like there's a "you" attempting to "be here" just let it be. In time this will also dawn true insight and the point is to have that innate and true insight apart from all of this intellectual crap i'm talking about... in just remaining present the meditation will start to work for itself and true insight will dawn on it's own accord... so try not to be distracted, and practice that non-distraction like you're doing it to save your life... like if you become distracted you'll be killed, make it of utmost importance... maintaining that flow. Now when ChNN and dzogchen talk about remaining undistracted they don't mean merely remaining present, they're talking about not separating from the non-dual natural state once that becomes apparent. But luckily since the self and the senses and objects are mere imputed conventions, in the act of remaining present, the natural state is already implied... and the contrived mindful presence will just strengthen the connection with the natural state... it's also almost like a process of reconfiguring, removing habits and tendencies to reify dualities which make a subject-object experience seem real. In time with being present, it will just happen... the feeling of being a subjective entity will just go. The "all-ground" or feeling of substantiated awareness happening here will melt into the natural state. Don't be too contrived in your mindfulness, just be present, be relaxed, allow appearances to self-arise and self-liberate and remove the notion of time and space, know that this is indeed it right here, right now, but "feel" that... don't convince yourself intellectually, be in the flow, be the flow.

RE: Practice advise by Kyle
Answer
10/9/14 9:04 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
Very good description of perception/recognition:
You can play a game with this by touching something and rubbing it lightly, if you shift attention to the object then the sensation becomes the touching and feeling of the object, if you shift attention to your finger the sensation becomes the feeling in your finger, there is only one touch sensation, the shifting of attention and intention creates the nature of the sensation via imputation. Or another one; if you rub your thumb and pointer finger together, shifting attention to the thumb it's your thumb doing the touching, shift your attention to your pointer finger and it's your pointer finger doing the touching, in truth neither are touching, a tactile sensation simply appears in awareness, and the sensation is in fact awareness itself. 

RE: Practice advise by Kyle
Answer
10/10/14 1:13 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
AEN, do you think that if something like this is your practice, concepts like anatta can get in the way?  This sounds very similar to what I was doing before, and, like you said, even if it's a bit forced at first, it will eventually smooth out into that effortlessness (it usually took me about two hours in the morning.)

When I read descriptions of rigpa, or other "natural state" type things, they seem completely different from what I experienced - incredibly convoluted and philosophical - but then I read how people get there and it's often identical.

Also, is the goal of this practice to remain in rigpa all the time?  That seems contrary to the "don't look for a state" thing I hear so often.

RE: Practice advise by Kyle
Answer
10/10/14 1:34 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Anatta at the beginning remains as an intellectual concept. But the realization of anatta is something direct, experiential, non-conceptual. However there must be ongoing contemplative practice -- that is, directly experiencing one's sensate reality, and contemplating/challenging any sense of a self/agent/seer/perceiver/etc behind/within/in-between them. Until there is direct realization that there is no self, seer, or even a 'seeing' located in and of itself behind, within, in between the seen. The seen alone sees, no seer. After this the experience of No-Mind becomes very effortless. It certainly does not take 'two hours' to get into some state, it is right now naturally manifested in direct experience here without any effort -- just this typing, these words on the screen manifesting as total clarity without any self/Self behind/within/in-between in relation to 'just the seen/just the action'.

As Thusness wrote before in http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com.au/2008/01/ajahn-amaro-on-non-duality-and.html :

At first 'effort' to focus on experiencing on the vividness of 'sensation' in the most immediate and direct way will remain. It will be 'concentrative' for some time before it turns effortless.

There are a few points I would like to share:

1. Insight that 'anatta' is a seal and not a stage must arise to further progress into the 'effortless' mode. That is, anatta is the ground of all experiences and has always been so, no I. In seeing, always only seen, in hearing always only sound and in thinking, always only thoughts. No effort required and never was there an 'I'.

2. It is better not to treat sensation as 'real' as the word 'real' in Buddhism carries a different meaning. It is rather a moment of vivid, luminous presence but nothing 'real'. It may be difficult to realise why is this important but it will become clearer in later phase of our progress.

3. Do go further into the aspect of dependent origination and emptiness to further 'purify' the experience of anatta. Not only is there no who, there is no where and when in all manifestation.


After realizing anatta one must still continue contemplation until realization of twofold emptiness. Then what follows is just actualization.

'Rigpa' as such is not a state, it is not a peak experience but simply the actualization of insights, living it out in real-time. (There are however different levels and modes of rigpa, rigpa means 'knowledge')

For example, when drinking hot tea, whole body is just that burning! Just hot, no trace of you, whole universe is hot. And this dynamic exertion/becoming never 'becomes' or amounts to anything, an unborn, shimmering and illusory display.