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4th path?
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10/18/14 4:39 PM
Could 4th path (and maybe anatta in general) be defined as "effortlessness?"

RE: 4th path?
Answer
10/19/14 6:36 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Speculation is welcome, haha.  I'm just trying to understand better.

RE: 4th path?
Answer
10/19/14 6:02 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Yes, but this does not stop "effort" from arising.  This is where "effort" might be described as a lot of different kinds of sensations that make up the "feeling of effort."  For example, mental sensations of intention along with the physical sensations that make up feelings of "trying." 

However, these sensations arise and vanish in the same manner as any other sensations.  They arise causally without an agent and therefore perhaps the phrase "effortless effort" will describe it..

Helpful?

RE: 4th path?
Answer
10/21/14 3:37 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
I suppose I meant the whole feeling of effort.  In taoism they talk about wei wu wei, "action without action" which I might use to describe what happens when effort is dropped.  Things are still done, but there is no attempt to control them.  For me this brings on a very peaceful state of mind.

RE: 4th path?
Answer
10/21/14 4:05 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
I suppose the whole "feeling of effort" doesn't arise that often, but there are some pretty obvious times when it does.  For example, if I'm at the gym and I'm lifting weights then it is pretty apparent that there is some effort involved in that.  If I'm swimming in a pool and trying to swim as fast as possible then there will arise physical and mental sensations of effort.  However, these sensations arise effortlessly.

RE: 4th path?
Answer
10/22/14 5:29 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
I'm not implying I have attained 4th path, I'm still just trying to see if the pragmatic dharma definition of anatta has any bearing on my practice.  So far, not really, but I thought this might be a hook for my brain to get behind.

RE: 4th path?
Answer
10/22/14 5:55 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
I'm not 4th path either but it does occur to me that "no-self" might have some bearing on this. If there is no self, can "effort" be said to arise at all? Effort implies purpose, direction, (planning?) All of which require "self" to have any meaning. One definition of 4th path is that the abiding sense of self disappears, maybe effort does too.

RE: 4th path?
Answer
10/22/14 7:05 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Daniel Ingram's take on this is found here in regard to a discussion on the nature of intrinsic awareness:

(You can read the entirety of it on Kenneth Folk's old website archived by the way back machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20121110162810/http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/thread/3329416/Impermanence,+No-Self+and+Suffering ).

I agree with Daniel when he states the following:



If one chooses effort, one must stay with what is arising as the basis of investigation, which means one must surrender to what is. Thus, from the point of view of effort and investigation done really well, one must surrender.

If one surrenders, one must realize that when effort arises, effort arises, and surrendering to the arising of effort is required to really surrender if effort is what is arising, and thus, from the point of view of surrender really done well, it must also include surrendering to the arising of effort.

Ultimate reality has no problem with effort or surrender.

If one looks carefully enough at the Three Characteristics, one will move through the paths and insights, at which point the other points made by the Mahayana and Vajrayana and Vedanitic become obvious, though having them pointed out is helpful.

If one looks at Awareness or Luminosity with sufficient ability to attain the paths, one also realizes the Three Characteristics, as are described ad nauseum in the Mahayana and Vajrayana and Vedantic literature despite them emphasizing the other sides of the coin and other focuses, and they actually use the Three Characteristics in their teachings and practices.

In the end, the thing realized is the same, though different techniques and emphases lead to different qualities to practice and to the specifics of what happens later and how it is described, thus the controversy is more one of method and skillful means and how best to describe the thing for whose trying to realize the thing, as the thing is the thing is the thing, or it wouldn't be Ultimate Reality, by definition.

RE: 4th path?
Answer
10/22/14 7:58 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Surrendering to the feeling of effort instantly removes effort, though.  This is why I have a hard time understanding how negativity could still arise.  I feel, instinctually, that there is something wrong with the idea.  Maybe the effort I'm talking about is different somehow...

I have a new way of thinking about my practice recently.  I'm working with the idea that all negativity is caused by mental dissonance - where one part of the mind wants to stop another part of the mind from imagining or thinking about something.  By allowing the emotions to come through and letting them have their say, the thought behind them no longer has the negative emotion attached to it.  I've noticed that doing this seems to stop the negativity from arising in the future.

So the idea is that you aren't surrendering to the sensations just for the sake of surrender, you're doing it to unify the mind and the thoughts so there is no conflict and the negativity doesn't arise again. I've found this to resolve a lot of the weird issues around radical acceptance practice - like the idea that you can't want a certain state to happen. The desire for contentment becomes the life-giving force behind the practice, rather than something to be avoided or surrendered to in turn.

The idea of effortlessness, then, is that it implies the mind is working effortlessly without conflicts.

RE: 4th path?
Answer
10/22/14 9:09 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Surrendering to the feeling of effort instantly removes effort, though.  


Effort is not removed, effort does not exist.  Effort is composed of whatever sensations arise and vanish when the body/mind is in a state of exertion which is that actual exertion itself without existing as some independent thing called exertion.  The bare noticing without something external doing the noticing that these sensations arise and vanish is surrending to them.  I suppose you could phrase it as saying that noticing that these sensations are utterly transient and fleeting is "removing" effort, but technically it is not correct since there is nothing substantial there to "remove" in the first place nor any agent to act out the process of "removing" anything.

RE: 4th path?
Answer
10/22/14 9:21 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
If there is nothing there from the beginning, why is there a difference in the experience between how I am now and 4th path?  What, exactly, is confused if there is nothing there?

Also, you can argue that, to recognize the agency-less nature of existence, you need to accept the feelings of effort, but once it is seen through completely, why would the feeling of effort even arise?  It seems like if there was knowledge present that there was nothing there, the mind would have no reason to create the feelings of effort (or the afflictive emotions as well).

RE: 4th path?
Answer
10/23/14 12:54 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
If there is nothing there from the beginning, why is there a difference in the experience between how I am now and 4th path?  What, exactly, is confused if there is nothing there?


Pre-path is a position that intrinsically takes a position of "point-of-view" from which things are controlled and observed, but this is false.  In addition to this there are also large patterns of sensations to which the imaginary "I" has taken ownership, labeled as "mine," and then cuts an arbitrary boundary and says that everything other than those sensations is "not-mine." 

The confusion comes from these large patterns of sensations intriniscally assuming that this is true when it is not.  This results in all kinds of unnecessary suffering

However, I have no idea WHY this is the case.  It is mysterious indeed.

Also, you can argue that, to recognize the agency-less nature of existence, you need to accept the feelings of effort, but once it is seen through completely, why would the feeling of effort even arise?  It seems like if there was knowledge present that there was nothing there, the mind would have no reason to create the feelings of effort (or the afflictive emotions as well).


If you're defining "effort" as a sort of straining to try to control reality, then yes "effort" in the context of those sorts of sensations would (eventually) not arise in the context of trying to control experience which is why the sensations that constitute "effort" do not arise as often as before.  However, it might arise in other contexts such as lifting something heavy.

RE: 4th path?
Answer
10/23/14 12:56 AM as a reply to Howard Maxwell Clegg.
Howard Maxwell Clegg:
Effort implies purpose, direction, (planning?) All of which require "self" to have any meaning.


No, they don't. You think Daniel can't make plans or take action with purpose and direction? All those things happen without a separate self, just as they always have.

RE: 4th path?
Answer
10/23/14 3:28 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Howard Maxwell Clegg:
Effort implies purpose, direction, (planning?) All of which require "self" to have any meaning.


No, they don't. You think Daniel can't make plans or take action with purpose and direction?

I don't know, I'm not Daniel.

All those things happen without a separate self, just as they always have.

Indeed.

You said.

"Effort is not removed, effort does not exist.  Effort is composed of whatever sensations arise and vanish when the body/mind is in a state of exertion which is that actual exertion itself without existing as some independent thing called exertion."

I agree, I was just trying to put a different spin on it.

Peace