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Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 12/16/14 11:52 AM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Jason Snyder 11/13/14 2:35 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/13/14 2:58 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Pål 11/13/14 3:10 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/13/14 4:33 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/13/14 3:54 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Daniel - san 11/13/14 7:44 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Nikolai . 11/14/14 1:32 AM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Pål 11/14/14 2:11 AM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Adam . . 11/14/14 9:49 AM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/14/14 11:07 AM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Pål 11/14/14 11:51 AM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Dream Walker 11/15/14 2:52 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/16/14 12:05 AM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Pål 11/16/14 7:08 AM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/16/14 5:16 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/14/14 7:54 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Small Steps 11/13/14 4:25 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Christian Calamus 11/14/14 1:50 AM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Jason Snyder 11/16/14 11:16 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/16/14 11:33 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Pål 11/17/14 6:44 AM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Jason Snyder 11/17/14 9:29 AM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Daniel - san 11/17/14 9:47 AM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/17/14 11:09 AM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Pål 11/17/14 12:42 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Psi 11/17/14 1:24 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/17/14 2:20 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Psi 11/17/14 2:41 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/17/14 3:15 PM
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RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/17/14 5:20 PM
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RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Bill F. 11/17/14 5:57 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/17/14 7:56 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Bill F. 11/17/14 8:19 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/17/14 8:34 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Bill F. 11/17/14 9:42 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Psi 11/18/14 2:48 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/19/14 8:32 PM
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RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/20/14 8:50 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Psi 11/21/14 9:08 AM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/21/14 3:33 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Daniel - san 11/17/14 11:45 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out J J 11/17/14 3:37 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/17/14 3:47 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Daniel - san 11/17/14 3:51 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Jason Snyder 11/17/14 5:57 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out (D Z) Dhru Val 11/13/14 8:33 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out J J 11/16/14 7:08 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Not Tao 11/16/14 10:31 PM
RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out Pål 11/17/14 3:26 AM
Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
12/16/14 11:52 AM
EDIT: My understanding of this has changed. This is just much better: http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5627205

In light of how simple and straightforward the idea in that link is, this whole idea is moot, really. I stand corrected gladly, since the practice presented here is desperately hard to do, and I'm not sure the outcome is the same.

EDIT 2: Further experience has shown me these things are very related.  There is a continuum between suppression and complete emotional balance.  I seems to go like this: 

Deep suppression (clenching) -> Mild suppression (wishing a feeling would change) -> mild expresion (feeling something painfully) -> Deep expression (feeling something pleasantly) -> serenity (the absence of feeling.  Complete open-ness.  A relaxed heart.)

So feeling a bad emotion deeply makes it pleasant (often in a brahma viahra kind of way) and by moving through it the heart relaxes and there is equanimity and then emotionlessness.  Feelings like universal compassion or love, I think, are caused by deep suffering that is finally accepted.  The acceptance "cools" the passionate quality until the object of suffering is seen without emotional objectification.

*****

If this doesn't make sense, best to just ignore it. emoticon

Whatever you are doing, thinking, feeling, needing, wanting, craving, or trying right now, just keep doing, thinking, feeling, needing, wanting, craving, trying it.

There is no method besides giving up completely. There is nowhere to run or hide. There is nothing you can let go of, nothing you can change, and nothing you can stop doing.

There is no free will, no power over reality, no escape, and no cure.

There is nothing to practice, no path, no attainments. There is nothing better you can experience right now. You are already experiencing right now.

There is nothing you can rely on. Better to have never heard of meditation in the first place. Just forget all of it.

Just be exactly as you are right now - you don't have to try to be how you are right now because you already are how you are right now.

If you feel effort, that effort is part of how you are right now.

If you feel frustrated, that frustration is part of how you are right now.

You can't let go of it. You can't escape it. You can't see through it. You can't not-self it. It's already here right now - this now can't change.

Why wait for happiness? Just allow everything with no hope for the future - this is the perfect stillness.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/13/14 2:35 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
If this doesn't make sense, best to just ignore it. emoticon

Whatever you are doing, thinking, feeling, needing, wanting, craving, or trying right now, just keep doing, thinking, feeling, needing, wanting, craving, trying it.

There is no method besides giving up completely. There is nowhere to run or hide. There is nothing you can let go of, nothing you can change, and nothing you can stop doing.

There is no free will, no power over reality, no escape, and no cure.

There is nothing to practice, no path, no attainments. There is nothing better you can experience right now. You are already experiencing right now.

There is nothing you can rely on. Better to have never heard of meditation in the first place. Just forget all of it.

Just be exactly as you are right now - you don't have to try to be how you are right now because you already are how you are right now.

If you feel effort, that effort is part of how you are right now.

If you feel frustrated, that frustration is part of how you are right now.

You can't let go of it. You can't escape it. You can't see through it. You can't not-self it. It's already here right now - this now can't change.

Why wait for happiness? Just allow everything with no hope for the future - this is the perfect stillness.

This is just more practice advice that requires the effort of no effort. Allowing everything with no hope for the future is not the default state for most people. Doing this requires intention and effort. Sorry but this advice is self contradictory without more context. 

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/13/14 2:58 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
If you feel the effort of no effort, just allow that too.  If you feel intention and effort, allow that too.  None of it is required - you are already doing what you are doing at this moment in time.

Consider this - what is the easiest thing you could do right now in this moment.  Giving up requires nothing extra added and nothing dropped.

"Let go" implies there is something to do - you have to release something.  This is wrong.

"Give up" implies there is something to do - you have to stop doing something.  This is wrong.

This takes no effort because you are already doing it - just keep doing what you are already doing right now.  If what you are doing changes, keep doing that.  If it stays the same, keep doing that.

If you didn't know you were supposed to do anything to meditate - if you had never heard of meditation - what would you do?

When you feel good, and there is nothing to challenge the feeling, what do you do?

If there is no control, no self, no center, then what is "doing" anyway?

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/13/14 3:10 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Whatever this is it can't be the teachings of the Buddha, right?

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.019.than.html

I do put an evaluation in that, but it's not like it matters, right? 

How did you come up with this and what's it's point? Sounds really chilled out and interesting emoticon

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/13/14 4:33 PM as a reply to Pål.
It's kind of hard to answer that, haha.

I can give an analogy like:
It works like pulling a drain in the tub. The water empties and the tub stays empty as long as you don't turn the water back on.

But, then if you practice it that way, you're just going to sit around hoping the water will empty - whatever the water might be.

It's basically just the end of craving and aversion. You don't have to attain anything or do anything to be without craving or aversion. The FEELING of craving, and the FEELING of aversion are not craving and aversion. There is only this uncontrollable unchangeable moment that you are already in. As soon as you approach this moment as something you can't change, can't escape, then you are there. It really is that easy.

Now, the first thing I would do after reading this would be to sit down and try to accept everything, or try to let go, or try to understand what I was holding on to that was causing my stress, or try to see why I wasn't already enlightened. All of this is wrong. And it's wrong because it's making something as simple as existing feel like something you need to do. There is nothing that is blocking the way, there is nothing that needs to be understood. Even the feeling that something is blocking the way is not blocking the way - just allow it. Even the feeling that something isn't understood is not a misunderstanding - just allow it.

This moment that you are experiencing is it. That's all.

Can you stop existing? Do you have to try to exist and you will suddenly stop existing if you stop trying to exist? It just happens, like everything else. Just let everything happen.

EDIT: Even the things that I say are wrong here aren't wrong as long as you allow them to happen.  As always - allowing isn't something you do - it's just something that happens.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/13/14 3:54 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
How about this:
The end of stress is realizing everything is already effortless.  It is not about becoming effortless.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/13/14 4:25 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:

This moment that you are experiencing is it. That's all.


Very nice, and contradictory to your name, as this reads very much in line with the Tao... but then again, that which can be spoken of is not the real Tao, so... well done ;-)

One of the nicest things that has occurred through practice is a growing appreciation for contentment in a moment (and the next, etc). There's no doing required, everything is just realized to be "perfect."

Thanks for this thread.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/13/14 7:44 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
How about this:
The end of stress is realizing everything is already effortless.  It is not about becoming effortless.

It's funny the push back you've gotten on here about your ideas Not Tao as being Not Buddhist or Not Consistent 
Your description sounds a lot like Shinzen Young's teaching of Do Nothing to me, not that he is Mr Buddhist or anything emoticon
It also all aligns pretty well with my practice - I just call it Meditation, or Bare Awareness
A few years back I realized there was some stress being created when I meditated/concentrated, when I tried to focus on something, or tried anything
Some time after that I realized these were all just sensations, there was no need to change anything, balance the chakras, or construct a Rainbow Body - we are in reality now!
In the years since I gave up scanning the body and I just relaxed in meditation, then meditation started meditated me. My job was to keep relaxing and keep letting nature do her thing - dwelling in awareness is another phrase I like, maybe dwelling as awareness is more accurate
The result is a bit paradoxical I suppose - it leaves one suffused in contentment clarity and calm
Perhaps because of my years of training in Goenka style Vipassana the awareness tended to dwell on bodily sensation much of the time, but also to thoughts and subtle efforting, or wanting to change things, move toward something, get rid of something, prolong something, etc
But those are just thoughts and sensations - when you really look closely there's just no there there!
None of your ideas seem contradictory or non-Buddhist to me at all, or even out of the realm of Vipassana training
The meaning we give to various sensations is all imputation, as you say, the sensation of 'stress' is not stress, it is a sensation with a thought attached - that concept seems very Vipassana to me
Maybe it's Taoist too, not sure, you could have even stumbled into Dzogchen territory, from Wikipedia:

The main trekchö instructions in the Lamrim Yeshe Nyingpo state:This instant freshness, unspoiled by the thoughts of the three times,
You directly see in actuality by letting be in naturalness

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/13/14 8:33 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
I like it. Reminds me of updated version of the Mahmudra Dohas.


But I would add to the end - "This is perfect stillness" - "...and total exertion" emoticon

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/14/14 1:32 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:

The end of stress is realizing everything is already effortless. 


Perhaps if you approach any technique of practice with this notion above in mind, brain flips, blips and baseline shifts result.

Every flip I have ever had in the past 5 years has occured during moments of the above realisation, regardless of the technique that was being habitually put into practice.

Similar to this

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/14/14 1:50 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:


This moment that you are experiencing is it. That's all.


I agree, Tinkering with ones experience can become a serious addiction and cause a lot of stress. One can easily lose track of the purpose of it all. Here are some excerpts from a tantric poem about this same point:

Then there are the novices and bhikshus with the teaching of the Old School
Who renounce the world to be monks. 
Some are seen sitting and reading the scriptures, 
Some wither away in their concentration on thought.

Others have recourse to the Great Vehicle. 
This is the doctrine which expounds the original texts, (they say). 
Others just meditate on mandala-circles. 
Others strive to define the fourth stage of bliss.

With such investigating they fall from the Way; 
Some would envisage it as space, 
Others endow it with the nature of voidness, 
And thus they are generally in disagreement.

Whoever deprived of the Innate, seeks nirvana, 
Can in no wise acquire the absolute truth.

Whoever is intent on anything else, how may he gain release? 
Will one gain release, abiding in meditation? 
What's the use of lamps? What's the use of offerings? 
What's to be done by reliance on mantras?

What is the use of austerities? 
What is the use of going on pilgrimage? 
Is release achieved by bathing in water?
Abandon such false attachments and renounce such illusion! 

Than knowledge of This there is nothing else. 
Other than This no one can know.

It is This that's read and This that's meditated, 
It's This that's discussed in treatises and old legends. 
There is no school of thought that does not have This as its aim, 
But one sees it only at the feet of one's master.

the whole poem is here: http://www.american-buddha.com/saraha.treasury.htm



RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/14/14 2:11 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
This makes me really confused since I'm clinging so much to the words of the Buddha. He was free from suffering and laid out a path to the end of suffering, right? All of my practice is build upon this faith. If it's not true I don't know what I'm going to do and obviously we can't be sure about it wich calmly freaks me out haha
And what you're saying here really seems to differ from what he taught (and here I'm putting my faith to historians saying the suttas and agamas are a reliable source. Well ok some of my own experiences too since kind of following the suttas lead me to weird experiences):
What about right effort?? What you're saying breaks down the noble eightfold path... Well, it fits in with a few of the Buddha's instructions, like making it one's object to let go, but not at all with things like dividing thoughts into skillfull and unskillfull and actively try to make the unskillfull ones go away through methods.
Does your method have a different "goal" than that of the noble eightfold path?

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/14/14 9:49 AM as a reply to Pål.
Pal, eventually you have to realize that you can't set up everything perfectly on a speculative/intellectual level. The tendency is to want to figure out the whole path, "I am going to do this, then this, then this, while doing this, then I will get enlightened." That tendency itself isnt a huge problem, but what inevitably happens (in my experience) is that new information arrives and your view changes. As long as you were clinging to that previous view, you are gonna suffer. Remember the buddha said clinging to views leads to suffering.

Keeping that in mind, a better place to look for certainty is simply in the conditions of the present moment. When you are experiencing doubt you can't be certain that the doubt is valid and you can't be certain that the doubt is invalid, but you can be certain that the doubt is present. You can be aware - the mind is doubting, the mind is disturbed, the mind is contracted, the mind is experiencing an unpleasant but temporary mental state. This very awareness can become the foundation for peace. At that point you are taking refuge in mindfulness rather than refuge in an intellectual construct of what you think your future will be.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/14/14 11:07 AM as a reply to Pål.
I think you can concieve of any path like this:

If you experience any state that is free from suffering, in that moment you have "right view" - as in, you understand enough to be free from suffering in those specific conditions that are manifesting.  If you want to be free from suffering all the time, you can use that state and slowly expand it to involve other things until it is seen that everything is effortless and suffering doesn't arise. 

The Buddha's system of training is such where a monk strives to learn concentration and practice ethics in such a way that they attain the fourth jhana and see for themselves that there is freedom from suffering.  T his is setting up the easiest conditions in which to realize that effortlessness is freedom from suffering.  From there, the instructions are such that, as you go about your everyday business, you watch yourself for craving and aversion and attempt to drop it.  This expands the conditions in which the jhanic factors can present until, eventually, there is nothing "distracting" - you can just remain in equanimity all the time.

Any state that seems to be free from suffering is just a state that is below your threshold for equanimity, and so equanimity presents.  ( Here I'm using equanimity to describe a neutrality that causes freedom from suffering.  It is both a feeling and a mindset together.)  Practice involves raising that threshold until you are simply always feeling equanimity.

The Budda's teaching on anatta always goes like this:  Does form/feelings/consciousness/etc change on you all the time?  Yes.  Is this changing something you can control?  No.  Well, then, just let go of trying to control it!

Maybe think of it like this.  When you have a negative feeling, you automatically want it to go away, right?  So the mind is perfectly willing to rid itself of problems without any effort.  If you allow yourself to experience the negativity completely, and then you allow your mind to desire it to go away completely, and then you allow your mind to drop it completely, then you didn't have to do anything in that whole process.  You can just kick back in your own mind and relax.

The PCE is a great preview to how this works, I think.  In the PCE, you have perfect equanimity - the threshold is raised very high temporarily, you could say.  So you start to look at things that were problems before, like things that make you angry or worried, and you realize there's nothing that presents emotionally.  It can be very strange, especially when you fall out of it for whatever reason and you experience those things again.  But I think this is why the visuddhimagga calls positive things like bliss and equanimity "corruptions of insight."  The insight that caused the good feelings was that you could let go of negativity (or allow negativity, or however you want to put it) and that would let the problem "self liberate," as the tibetians like to say. The corruption is that you now want to feel bliss, and you see that desire as something to persue.  The desire isn't bad, or even a block to progress - in fact, it's natural because it's what the mind wants from all the practice - but seeing the desire as something to persue, or maybe, seeing it as something you need to DO to accomplish the end result, is what makes more difficulty.  If you can just allow the good things to happen, and see that they were effortless to begin with, then the insight remains and the state renews itself each moment.

It was Mahamudra practice that gave me these ideas.  They have very intensive samatha practices in the beginning, and then once the tranquility is stabilized and the mind is very controllable, the meditator begins to add bits of "normality" back into the state, like some thoughts, then some moods, then stronger feelings, and eventually, the realization is that everything can be effortless and they're back to the everyday normal state - but now with the understanding that everything can just be left alone.  There is nothing they need to do.

What always used to confuse me before was how the Zen teachers would say enlightenment was just like ordinary reality.  What they're really saying is that it's so incredibly simple that you can't even point to a change happening.  You could really just say it all amounts to a change of opinion about how consiousness operates.  A person who is suffering believes they are in control and they have to do something to change it.  A person who isn't suffering believes they aren't in control.  By believing they aren't in control, the mind takes the fastest possible route through problems and never has a chance for cognitive dissonance.  A problem arises, the mind solves it, nothing is in the way and no tension develops.

Belief is a difficulty thing to wrestle with, though, which is why these things take time.  I can say I believe all this completely, since I've seen the mind self-liberate many times, but my mind still doesn't completely, which means I'm still suffering.  Maybe the flips and blips Nikolai is talking about is the mind saying, "Ohhh, ok, I get it."

BTW, anyone who likes what I'm saying here should go read Nikolai's posts on the Hamilton project - he's already talked about all this quite a lot. emoticon

EDIT:
I think my resistance to the concept of anatta, before, was this idea of non-dual consciousness and a lack of "being." For me, personally, this was a very misleading explanation because it seemed to imply that I suddenly wouldn't feel like I existed. It isn't existance that anatta points to, though, so much as control. This is where Actualist terminology was better suited to my disposition. Richard stresses watching how you feel and neither suppressing nor expressing the emotions. This is what has worked best for me.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/14/14 11:51 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
So you mean I would have an easier time understanding these things after hitting fourth jhana? So I'm justified in activily following a path until then? Thanks in that case, my exoteric side can relax and go read suttas and meditate etc. emoticon

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/14/14 7:54 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
I'm adding this because it fits so well (I can't take credit for the idea, though - as well as any of these ideas, I suppose, haha):

The suffering, craving, desire that is felt at any point is, itself, the desire to be well. Or maybe, all craving is a desire for relief from craving.  The part of the Actual Freedom method that involves looking at the cause of negativity and seeing it as silly is, I believe, an attempt to re-educate this misguided self-compassion.  I think that by giving the negativity permission to express itself (or, perhaps, neither express nor repress), it will move towards self-liberation through a kind of self-examination. By experiencing it clearly, it will understand itself to be misguided and stop generating the negative feelings.

I think one way to get stuck with this kind of direct practice is to assume that feeling good, or seeing a feeling self-liberate, means you did something wrong. Maybe this isn't the exact way we think about it, but the negative thought loops that can result from "trying" to let go are basically a mistrust of the relief that the practice brings. It's really the exact opposite of the intended result of the practice, which is for things to loosen up and become free in spite of the conventional problem (my car won't start, my back hurts, I'm late for work) still existing.

EDIT: And naivete seems to be a great escape from those negative loops. emoticon

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/15/14 2:52 PM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
So you mean I would have an easier time understanding these things after hitting fourth jhana? So I'm justified in activily following a path until then? Thanks in that case, my exoteric side can relax and go read suttas and meditate etc. emoticon

People here rarely qualify the proper audience for their advice. The more exotic/esoteric/advanced the teaching, the more people seem to freely sprinkle it about as if it would help clarify the natural state. (Dakpo Tashi Namgyal in Clarifying the Natural State does a good job of actually explaining this pointing out and why it is useless unless a student is ready)
Not Tao qualified his thread very nicely
Not Tao:
If this doesn't make sense, best to just ignore it. emoticon
I heartily agree....or if you resonate with it then dig in and start dropping down this very deep rabbit hole but otherwise stay with concentration and vipassana as is recommended as the first two practices in Clarifying the Natural State.
and remember - You can not do other than this right now....and this is empty  emoticon
~D

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/16/14 12:05 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
I only put that qualifier because I might not be very good at explaining the thing.  I used a lot of negatives and "can't"s and "impossible"s, and that's sure to turn some people off. I, personally, found that kind of language helpful for myself over the years. I don't think this is advanced, though.  It's difficult to figure out, sure, but it's what I've been doing from the very beginning.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/16/14 7:08 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Well it actually makes a little sense to me, it also sounds like what many buddhist teachers teach but at the same time it fight's againt my faith and what the Buddha taught (if you doubt this then I could just throw some suttas at you haha) according to the suttas so it makes me really confused. 

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/16/14 5:16 PM as a reply to Pål.
Pal, maybe this will help.  What I'm trying to explain here is my understanding of anatta.  Anatta is part of right view, but there are seven other folds of the path.  This understanding will help see the purpose of the other practices.

Consider this - at this moment in time, because you are already experiencing what is happening, you can't change NOW.  You are already here, now, and now is already happening, so you can't change it.  However, this does not negate the fact that there is volition fueled by dissatisfaction.  This dissatisfaction causes the next moment of experience to be different from the current moment of experience - cause and effect.  This is, IMHO, what the Buddha is referring to as fabrication.  So this means there is something that dislikes this moment, but this thing can't control this moment, so it uses its dissatisfaction as a guide to create a new self that it hopes will be better.  Then that new self is disatisfied, but can't change where it is, so it fabricates a new self.  On and on.

Therefore, right view is: I will be free from stress when I am no longer dissatisfied in this moment.  However, I cannot change this moment, so I am never going to defeat this disatisfaction by getting what I want.  I only ever get what previous versions of myself wanted, which is usually dissatisfying.  By learning to let go of wanting, instead of trying to satisfy my wants, I will tame my dissatisfaction with this uncontrollable moment and suffering will be defeated.

Buddhism uses this viewpoint to its advantage.  In the methods the Buddha outlines, the practitioner attempts to create situations in which the mind can allow itself to let go into the moment.  Concentation is used to segregate the mind from negative thoughts that cause dissatisfaction.  Without dissatisfaction, the mind is willing to rest in this moment, which is a taste of enlightenment itself.  The ethical guidelines are meant to help the mind let go of hinderances that keep it from letting go completely, and eventually there is nothing in the way.

With all that in mind, sometimes a direct pointing can be very effective - there is a path to practice if you want to follow it, but all you really need to do is allow what is currently happening to continue happening.  If you can do that completely, so everything that is happening is felt to be OK (even things like worry or anger), there will be no desire to escape this uncontrollable now.  The current self is satisfied rather than attempting to fabricate a better future self.  That's what this thread is trying to point to.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/16/14 7:08 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
I really relate to this as of late, after having exhausted most of my effort, I find myself coming to a more and more effortless way of being. Which isn't obvious at first, but really is only obvious in hindsight. There's an element of creeping normalcy, wherein one looks back and see how far one has come.

There really is a point where you've reached the the most complete of the complete, the deepest of the deep and the most done of the done.

It's kind of like how: you've done your part, that's the most you can do, and grace takes over.

But trying to relax is another form of trying, and prior to actually doing any work it's actually disingenuous, I think it was UGK who said that no human change is necessary. He also claimed there were no problems.

I am inclined to agree with him. There's no need to change, at all.

"There are no problems at all." - UG Krishnamurti (source: http://youtu.be/iXyLbU1GGqU?t=19m29s)

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/16/14 10:31 PM as a reply to J J.
You never had anything you needed to do.  It was that easy from the very beginning, you just didn't believe it was.  If you qualify your struggles with, "it was necessary because it led me here," that puts you in danger of forgetting what this thing actually is.  What you call grace has always been there, and even from the very beginning all you've had to do is let go of control.

If you see the path as important, then you will always be following a path - you will always believe there is something more to do. It's like the Zen master who, on the day of his enlightenment, burned all of his books. The whole path is worthless struggle because all you ever have to do is stop struggling. Everything is effortless from the begining.

Why struggle to stop struggling?  Just accept this moment as it is, that's it.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/16/14 11:16 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
If you feel the effort of no effort, just allow that too.  If you feel intention and effort, allow that too.  None of it is required - you are already doing what you are doing at this moment in time.

Consider this - what is the easiest thing you could do right now in this moment.  Giving up requires nothing extra added and nothing dropped.

"Let go" implies there is something to do - you have to release something.  This is wrong.

"Give up" implies there is something to do - you have to stop doing something.  This is wrong.

This takes no effort because you are already doing it - just keep doing what you are already doing right now.  If what you are doing changes, keep doing that.  If it stays the same, keep doing that.

If you didn't know you were supposed to do anything to meditate - if you had never heard of meditation - what would you do?

When you feel good, and there is nothing to challenge the feeling, what do you do?

If there is no control, no self, no center, then what is "doing" anyway?
I think your pointing out instructions are incredibly useful. recognizing that reality is effortless is one of my major practices. But what I am saying is that, to give these instructions, without placing them within a larger framework of practice, one that emphasizes moral agency, effort given to gain concentration, the effort of labeling (fabricating) objects if one practices noting (which most here do), etc, is misleading and can be deeply frustrating and disempowering to somebody who doesn't get the context. Just read Daniel's epic rant against the "you are already there/there is nothing to do" schools of spirituality.  In a vacuum, what you are prescribing (to just keep on doing what you are doing right now), is exactly what 99.9999% of humanity is already doing anyway, and clearly it isn't working. There is volition and effort before there can be the true effortlessness and selflessness that you are talking about. It takes a thorn to remove the thorn. And to not acknowledge the larger framework of practice, one that got you to the point where you could truly let go, is smug and misleading. 

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/16/14 11:33 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Actually, I'd argue the exact opposite.  99.99999% of humanity is trying to escape what is happening right now.  Effort is being spent to try to escape.

Let's say a person is clinging desperately to the side of a cliff even though their feet are touching the ground.  Wouldn't it be correct to say that, if their hands are hurting from the strain, all they need to do is stop exerting effort and their hands will feel better?  They don't even need to take their hands off the side of the cliff, they just need to relax exactly as they are.

This is how I see stress working in my own life.  There isn't anything special to do, I just need to allow what is happening to continue happening.  It's very difficult to understand, though.  I'm definately not smug, I fail at it constantly, haha.  This is the same as saying I don't believe it all the time.

...Actually, this analogy is better than I thought.  There are two ways I use to get to this relaxation.  The first is to realize the squeezing itself is the suffering - which is the buddhist path - and the second is to realize the feet are already on the ground - which is the actualist path.

If I examine my worries, I can eventually see how they are silly and unproductive - which is actualism.  If I examine my situation, I can eventually see that it is out of my control - which is buddhism.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/17/14 3:26 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
You guys are starting to sound like christians. I wish I was a christian, it's such a chilled out religion - there's nothing I have to do, Jesus has already fixed everything. If I sin I can just ask for forgivness. And sacral music is awesome.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/17/14 6:44 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
You mean the eightfold path isn't complete?

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/17/14 9:29 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
Actually, I'd argue the exact opposite.  99.99999% of humanity is trying to escape what is happening right now.  Effort is being spent to try to escape.

Let's say a person is clinging desperately to the side of a cliff even though their feet are touching the ground.  Wouldn't it be correct to say that, if their hands are hurting from the strain, all they need to do is stop exerting effort and their hands will feel better?  They don't even need to take their hands off the side of the cliff, they just need to relax exactly as they are.

Right, but trying to escape what is happening is them being exactly as they are, there is a certain momentum to it. It requires volition and skill to stop exerting and skill to let go of the actual things that are binding them. Just speaking from my own experience, when I first heard the teachings that said: "just let go, stop exerting", they didn't make much sense because I didn't know what I was supposed to let go of - I didn't have the concentration or ability to let go of the right things - as opposed to just being apathetic. It was deeply confusing (and I exerted a lot of energy) to sort out that mess, to try and stop exerting even though I couldn't. Now - due to training in Vipassana - I have the framework and foundation, I am able to recognize in the first place the objects in consciousness that I can let go of. But I would say most people need something to DO to start with. They need to acquire a more subtle understanding of their subjective state. And the people who exert effort in order to climb the latter (the last step of which is to cease effort and let go) and then kick out the latter from the top and say, "oh no climbing is needed", are performing a disservice to most people. 

In your defense, you posted this on a forum of experienced practioners who are able to notice subtle objects in consciousness, for many of whom letting go and ceasing effort is the appropriate next step. 

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/17/14 9:47 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
[quote=Jason Snyder
]In your defense, you posted this on a forum of experienced practioners who are able to notice subtle objects in consciousness, for many of whom letting go and ceasing effort is the appropriate next step. 
You took the words out of my mouth Jason - the DhO isn't 99.999% of people, that's for sure emoticon 
Realizing the agency-lessness of the present moment (and the fact that it is just is as it is and can't be changed) as well as the perfection of the Now (hopefully in ever-growing glimpses strung together) is not outside the intellectual or intuitive capacity of many here
Not Tao qualified the thread at the beginning to say just to ignore it if it doesn't resonate
There's also something interesting to the proposition that reaching EQ is a prerequisite to understanding bare awareness practice (or whatever you want to call it). I'm not sure if that's true, but I will say that I exerted myself rather harshly for a couple of years on retreat and daily practice, and I think it was necessary to realize effortless effort in the first place. I agree that for many, without burning up the karma of constantly seeking and being dissatisfied with the present moment, these instructions may sound lackadaisical
Dwelling as awareness itself is a phrase I like - but there are lots of words to use I suppose
This essay, referenced already, does it all quite brilliantly:
http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2011/10/yogi-experiment-riding-wave.html

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/17/14 11:09 AM as a reply to Daniel - san.
I can understand all of what you guys are saying, but there is something important (actually, the whole point of the thread) that I think you are missing.  I hope I don't sound smug or conceited saying that.  Let me try to explain again here.

What you're missing is that the very feelings you are talking about as a reaction to the ideas - those feeling are not in the way.  There is actually nothing to see through, nothing to get over, nothing to work towards.  Think of it like this - the very idea that there is something to do or something to work for is the ONLY THING that is in the way.  If you simply drop all goals, all effort, all trying, and give up completely - then you are here now and that's the end.  Don't read this as anything mystical, it's just a very blunt conventional truth.  Whatever you are feeling is in the way of your contentment right now - whatever you believe needs to change - that belief is, itself, the only thing blocking your way to perfect serenity.  So the most direct cure is to allow that wanting to go on unfulfilled - to realize it never will be!

So maybe it takes years for you to allow yourself to forget about goals and paths, but then what you're going to realize is that all of it was useless.  Eventually you just have to accept being here now as it is, no?

In my personal opinion, the most direct pathway - other than just letting everything be right now - is to examine, specifically, what about this moment you wish would change.  When you identify the cause (for me at this moment it's that my car battery is dead) and you let go of it (it's silly for me to worry about a car battery.  I can fix the problem without the worry), then you can allow yourself to drop the feeling.  This creates a state where it is very easy to let go of control and be here now.  The next time I feel that way, I might not even need to use the logic step - I could just accept the feeling and be done with it.  If not, there's a direct way to stop the problem so I can go back to allowing everything and stay that way as much as possible.

So if there is any pathway at all you're following, I think it's important to understand that the only reason the path is there is to make the transition to just accepting everything more gradual so it isn't such a shock and you don't have to deal with dramtic mood swings as you adjust.  The funny thing is, you argued that vipassana is a gradual path.  Vipassana is direct - especially noting.  The goal is to just let everything happen, isn't it?  This is why there's a dark night - you're using brute force to just accept things!

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/17/14 12:42 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Omg Not Tao, you might just have solved the riddle of why there's no mention of Dark Nights and A&Ps in the suttas, but lots and lots about jhanas and bojjanga and stuff like that! Vipassana leads to DN:s and possibly to awakening but it's not the path that the Buddha taught. The Buddha taught the more gradual and concentration-based path (?).

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/17/14 1:24 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
[quote=Then this is tha path of no path, and an effort of no effort. Reminds me of, "If you choose not to decide , you still have made a choice."

But, I get what you are sayin', just Bustin' on ya...

But, I agree with Jason also:

 Most of the world would read this and say, "Cool, I can do whatever I want, even if someone gets hurt, I don't have to worry about it, not my problem. Besides, who cares, as long as my life is carefree, the Universe just rolls along. Nothing to do , nothing to work for, just let it be.  No goals, no progress, no improvements, no effort, no problem.  Say what I want, do what I want, be how I want, eat what I want"

But , that's probably how the normal person would read this as a philosophy.

But, again, I get what you are sayin'.

Peace

My own view is kinda different, though, I know from experience, as I am sure you do to, that sustained effort /action produces real causes and effects, even science has pretty much proven that meditation changes the density of grey matter in the brain, and meditation masters are recorded way beyond normal human abilities as far as gamma waves go, not to mention this can all be seen for one's own self.  It also seems that a wisdom path can carry one alot farther in life that a goalless happenstance existence, though really, Where is there to go?  All roads lead to our demise....  No Escape.

emoticon

Psi

P.S.  But to sum up, it seems that what your are truly saying is that one can efficiently operate within the world and get things done, just without the added mental frustrations we add-on to our daily situations.

Nip Craving in the bud, and one nips Dukkha in the bud.  Craving is the wanting and wishing things are different, drop that and....just be.....free....














]

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/17/14 2:20 PM as a reply to Psi.
Increased grey matter and higher gamma waves are due to increased concentration.  Increased concentration affords greater control of the mind.  A concentration meditator can decide what to keep in their mind and what to abandon - and this is a skill that progresses in a linear fasion just like learning to play the piano.  The ultimate goal of this kind of path, though, is not to become so skilled that you can concentrate all the time - just as the goal of morality and ethics is not to be good or holy.  The point is to find a state of mind where it is possible to let go completely.  Once this is achieved, the concentration and ethics can be released gradually until all states are equally let go of.

This is certainly a skillful way to approach things - and a good way to stay sane - but it is not a path that leads anywhere.  The goal is to let go - to lose everything.  You don't attain enlightenment - you give up on the ego.  Complete enlightenment is complete loss.  You can do this from the very beginning.

EDIT: "No goals, no progress, no improvements, no effort, no problem. Say what I want, do what I want, be how I want, eat what I want."

These two sentences are completely opposite - this is the heart if the issue! emoticon If you really live with no goals, no improvements, no effort, then there is no wanting. If, when you feel, "I want to eat... I want to do... I want to say..." you simply allow the want to go on, then there is no feeling that these desires need to be fulfilled. You are simply at peace with the ego's wanting. Or, you might say, you realize that what you want now can only be fulfilled by a future self - thus there is no desire that can be fulfilled right now, and satisfaction can only ever be found within the ego's dissatisfaction, which is a constant.

The lovely thing is, by giving up on the ego's desires (by staying peacefully within the dissatisfaction), there is a fulfillment and satisfaction beyond what the ego can imagine.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/17/14 2:41 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
Increased grey matter and higher gamma waves are due to increased concentration.  Increased concentration affords greater control of the mind.  A concentration meditator can decide what to keep in their mind and what to abandon - and this is a skill that progresses in a linear fasion just like learning to play the piano.  The ultimate goal of this kind of path, though, is not to become so skilled that you can concentrate all the time - just as the goal of morality and ethics is not to be good or holy.  The point is to find a state of mind where it is possible to let go completely.  Once this is achieved, the concentration and ethics can be released gradually until all states are equally let go of.

This is certainly a skillful way to approach things - and a good way to stay sane - but it is not a path that leads anywhere.  The goal is to let go - to lose everything.  You don't attain enlightenment - you give up on the ego.  Complete enlightenment is complete loss.  You can do this from the very beginning.
So, a completely enilightened person with an untrained mind, could play a piano, it just wouldn't sound good (or wouldn't have any control of mind), and they wouldn't have any morals?  This sounds like the "Enlightened" , but have work to do camp, but not really Enlightened Enlightened camp.

But isn't Concentration letting go of all hindrances? and Morality letting go of all that is unwholesome? 

But if there is nothing to have ever had,

what is there to let go of?  Who is letting go?  Where is this "you" that gives up on an "ego" ? How can someone have a complete loss of something that was never really there?

If there is nothing here to have anything, what is there to lose?  What if one loses nothing, what have they lost?

How can one have a goal to let go, if there is no goal?  How can one lose everything when one can't really have anything anyway?

Or , is all this just words?

And how are you?  I hope you have been well and things are okay, things are okay here , for now...


We're just two lost souls 
Swimming in a fish bowl, 
Year after year, 
Running over the same old ground. 
(Pink Floyd)

Psi

Leggo of my ego .....

Ah, the non-clingng mind, the mind that let's go by non-grasping... that's the nature of it,  Like water drops on a duck's feathers....

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/17/14 3:15 PM as a reply to Psi.
I think the "enlightened but have work to do" camp are those who rely on a view to establish themselves in this idea that there is nothing they need to do.

An example: If the view is that there is no self, and this is "given the reigns," so to speak, then a person will have liberation by sacrificing a part of their perception - the part that is a self.  This part of the perception will not be liberated and will continue to cause problems, namely the belief that a person can't change in a conventional sense, all is cause and effect, the emotions are still there and just not a part of me, etc.

Another example: If a person believes that liberation only exists in concentration, or that states of samadhi are the goal, then they may succeed in establishing themself as the awareness - all is bliss, all is god, I am everything, etc.  This is a kind of liberation, but it comes by sacrificing ordinariness, gentleness, and the ease of letting go and being yourself.  It is not complete.

Freedom that results from a change is incomplete - it is freedom that relies on something. If you travel a path, and that path has changed your perceptions, you're only going to be liberated when you've finally dropped the path and the attainments as well.

Everything means everything. When there is nothing left to be, to hold on to, to become, to change, to attain, to drop, to fix, to assemble, to work on - that is nirvana.  Nirvana is just allowing everything to happen.  You don't need a view or a perception or an attainment to do that.

EDIT: You misunderstood my point about learning to play the piano.  Concentration practice is like learning to play the piano, a skill.  Enlightenment is like making a piece of music, you don't need to know anything at all about music theory to do it.

When the mind is at rest there is no need for concentration or morality.  The mind is perfectly at ease, there are no hinderances to avoid or control.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/17/14 3:51 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
What you're missing is that the very feelings you are talking about as a reaction to the ideas - those feeling are not in the way.  There is actually nothing to see through, nothing to get over, nothing to work towards.  Think of it like this - the very idea that there is something to do or something to work for is the ONLY THING that is in the way.  If you simply drop all goals, all effort, all trying, and give up completely - then you are here now and that's the end.  

I'm not missing this basic point if you were resonding (at least partially) to me. But in a way there certainly is something to see through, you refer to it above as the ONLY THING. That must be seen through and some (like me) can't do it off the bat. I would suspect the same was true of you when you began your practice and didn't have these insights. Or maybe Not. This is the spiritual paradox. Shunryu Suzuki put this sentiment beautifully to his students: "Each of you is perfect the way you are ... and you can use a little improvement."

So maybe it takes years for you to allow yourself to forget about goals and paths, but then what you're going to realize is that all of it was useless.  Eventually you just have to accept being here now as it is, no?

I disagree that years 'efforting' were useless. This is what I meant about burning up karma of striving. You could have given me these instructions at the beginning of my practice and I wouldn't have understood them - I needed to strive at the time because it's all I knew, I was striving everywhere in both gross and subtle ways - I had to discover effortless effort and I think many people (even here) still don't get it. I agree with Jason that these Dzogchen instructions (they say pretty much the same thing) don't make sense to a lot of people that haven't practiced or haven't turned these ideas around in their minds and hearts for some time. Most people think they are relaxed and natural but they're still unhappy. Ask them to just accept their depression or guilt or anger and they are still dissatisfied. The only point of disagreement that I think you and I have is that I believe your Pointing Out to be an extremely subtle teaching that 99% or more of people wouldn't be able to put into actual practice. I don't think it's mystical, just relatively advanced. Give yourself a little credit for being different, and don't discount everything it took for you to arrive at these insights. All the stuff you (or anyone) did to arrive at these realizations wasn't wasted time, from a karmic point of view, it was necessary 

So if there is any pathway at all you're following, I think it's important to understand that the only reason the path is there is to make the transition to just accepting everything more gradual so it isn't such a shock and you don't have to deal with dramtic mood swings as you adjust.  The funny thing is, you argued that vipassana is a gradual path.  Vipassana is direct - especially noting.  The goal is to just let everything happen, isn't it?  This is why there's a dark night - you're using brute force to just accept things!

There is a paradox here Not Tao that I think you're brushing over and it has to do with an Unconditioned View versus a Relative View. Our culture operates pretty much all the time in the relative and doesn't have a lot of wisdom about the Ultimate. In the ultimate sense, there is no path and if you don't get it now, you'll never get it. In the relative, the moments of total acceptance and contentment (which neither of us experience 100% of the time by both of our admissions) become more and more stable - through practice. There is a training and a path. The path doesn't exist only to lessen the shock to your system by changing long-standing habits of grasping (I have those shocks anyway in the form of kundalini/dark night symptoms and I'm not sure it's all due to jhana/efforting) but it's to train the mind to string together more and more of the contented peaceful acceptance moments. One needs to work through all their subtle unconscious karma/drama to be able to do that in every scenario - to be able to not grasp even when you're grasping. That is subtle. I'm sure you could think of much more intense situations besides your car battery being dead where you may vascillate between Buddha Nature (total acceptance/non-grasping) and the old grasping/dissatisfied habit pattern of the mind. You could decide like Nisargadatta to perceive everything from the Ultimtate perspective all the time as you hint at by saying a path is unnecesary, but the relative viewpoint has utility, in a major way. To me, one view is not really better than the other or even more true, they are both just perspectives

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/17/14 3:37 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Hey Not Tao,

Just so I can get some clarification, would you say that anyone, (as in take anyone and put them in a vacuum) would have less problems if they completely let go of effort?

Because I completely disagree, not only is that faking it, it is disingenuous and does not apply to someone who has not had a breakthrough yet. It doesn't work.

Now, I do resonate with your insights, but that's because I've come as far as I have, e.g:

1) Looking back, I see how the previous worries I had were not worries.
2) Looking back, I can't see what the fuss was about.
3) I lose the distinction between myself and others.
4) Post-awakening, looking back, whatever you did doesn't seem relevant.

I get that, but those insights are only applicable to someone who is here, not someone who pretends to be here and applies your advice.

Make sense?

Edit:

Just to throw some more into the mix, the Zen master Hakuin was very, very, against the philosophy that you're currently espousing, which is essentially: nothing to do, already complete, Do-Nothing Zen.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/17/14 3:47 PM as a reply to J J.
The end is, itself, completely letting go of effort.  This is something anyone can do.  In fact, the people who have enlightenment experiences out of the blue (like I did a year ago) generally are suffering some horrible stress and anxiety and their last resort is complete surrender.  If you surrender completely, the result is instant and complete, there is simply nothing else that needs to be done.

I think the only misunderstanding is what "completely letting go of effort" actually means, and understanding it is the path.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/17/14 3:53 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:

Everything means everything. When there is nothing left to be, to hold on to, to become, to change, to attain, to drop, to fix, to assemble, to work on - that is nirvana.  Nirvana is just allowing everything to happen.  You don't need a view or a perception or an attainment to do that.
And, as a side note , things will happen whether you allow them to or not.  Allowing things to happen sounds like a delusion, Who is the allower?And what is one actually allowing? One could also state it as , "phenomenon occurs", but , probably just words...
EDIT: You misunderstood my point about learning to play the piano.  Concentration practice is like learning to play the piano, a skill.  Enlightenment is like making a piece of music, you don't need to know anything at all about music theory to do it.
Really?  Guess, I've just practiced letting go, I don't really know what Concentration practice is then, reminds me of Math Classes.  But, then again, I can't play a piano either.  And if I try to make music on a piano, it sure don't sound like music, or music theory, because I've never practiced.  And one can't just "allow" themselves the skill of playing a piano.  

And who ever said Samadhi was Enlightenment anyway?  I can't recall anyone anywhere, ever making such a claim,  in my whole life.  Or even that Samadhi was a total path to Enlightenment, never heard anyone ever say that either, not one person, anywhere.

When the mind is at rest there is no need for concentration or morality.  The mind is perfectly at ease, there are no hinderances to avoid or control.
Right, that's called tranquility, Concentration is just a bad translation.  When the mind is perfectly at ease, there are no hindrances to avoid or control, one has completely let go, that's Samma Samadhi, but Tranquility isn't Enlightenment, is it?

But, I think there is always a need for morality, along with wise reflection, responsible actions, and accountability in the world, if this isn't present, it sounds more like a strong dose of Indifference.  Maybe this is all a test.  

Fart.

Zsi

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/17/14 5:20 PM as a reply to Psi.
Would you be willing to look over my previous few replies again Psi?  I don't think you really saw what I was saying. I never compared enlightenment to playing the piano, for example, so I feel like you made me sound kind of stupid in your last post, haha.

@Daniel: Sorry I didn't see your post. This thread is actually about my very first (and last, I guess) insight. I hadn't done any meditation in my life before I saw it, my understanding was completely philosophical from having read the tao te ching and enjoying the message. I had done a lot of thinking about things before it happened, but my understanding was purely intellectual - which is why I felt this thread might actually be valuable. I had grappled with anxiety for a long time, sure, but that didn't give me much insight into anything. One night I was anxious, I decided not to fight with it, and I was suddenly just okay with it. About six months later, the same thing happened, except it went all the way. One moment I was horribly anxious, the next, completely at ease with waves of bliss. The bliss faded and I spent the rest of the day completely free from any kind of unpleasantness.

All of my struggles in understanding what people have been saying about no-self, non-duality, changes of perception, etc. have been because I always saw this as something very simple (albeit very difficult to accept, sure). If this doesn't make sense in practice fairly quickly, then there's no point in trying to do it directly until later, but it's not difficult to understand, and to realize that this is the goal from the beginning has a sobering and calming effect on the idea of attainment and practice. There is nothing to attain or practice, you just need to let go. Practice to understand that, don't practice to realize no-self or reach some level or some change in perception, you know? The before and after is completely the same, the only difference is that before there is effort, and after there is effortlessness.

It has nothing to do with abiding in a relative or ultimate view. There is no paradox. It's simply relaxing, letting go, allowing, whatever you want to call it. I don't subsribe to no-self or higher self or non-duality to explain it. The world is exactly the same before and after, the only difference is stress. If there is stress, it is caused by dissonance. When you allow everything, there is no dissonance and no stress. That's really the sum of it.

The point of this thread is show how easy it is to escape - not to downplay anyone's suffering. If it doesn't seem easy, whatever you are trying to do is not correct, so there is no need to continue it. By process of elimination, letting go of every method or attempt that is difficult, you will eventually just do the easiest thing you can - stop trying completely. Then you will be at peace.

Everyone in the world who is suffering is trying equally hard to escape their current situation. The search for enlightenment is not exempt from this struggle. Those who meditate are no closer to liberation than those who aren't doing anything - liberation is instant, simple, and available from the very start. It is not an attainment or a goal, it is something you are either doing or not doing at any time specifically.

Now, that's not to say meditation is worthless, but it should always be kept in mind that it has no real connection to the goal, other than creating favorable conditions in which to allow it. A happy or relaxed person is more willing to let go than an unhappy person - but both can let go just as easily.

EDIT: Maybe by advanced you just mean difficult.  It IS difficult, for sure, and often times the difficult practices aren't really worth it since there are easier ways.  The buddha said to do jhana and practice ethics, which support this way of being and make it easier to accept.  Actual Freedom practice says to dig up the roots of the problems and figure them out this also does that.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
Answer
11/17/14 5:17 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
Would you be willing to look over my previous few replies again Psi?  I don't think you really saw what I was saying. I never compared enlightenment to playing the piano, for example, so I feel like you made me sound kind of stupid in your last post, haha.
Sorry, I do respect you and your intelligence, I am just messin, with ya mostly.  I know what you are saying, and know what you are getting at.  You are describing "it" fairly well.  In my view, you are describing  what "bare attention" is....  mostly , haha

You are a good person, I just like discussing philosopical stuff sometimes, do I have to let go of this too?



Psi

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
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11/17/14 5:57 PM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Kenneth Folk's 3 speed transmission model is apropo here. The highest gear is what you are talking about: surrendering to what is. Some people can start with that and its all they need. But many people can't get traction with it, for them it is appropriate to shift down to self inquiry and/or Vipassana, and then shift up later when they have some momentum. 

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
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11/17/14 5:57 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
I think there is real value to approaching one's life or practice or experience from the point of view of stepping out of the way, or rather, recognizing that life is always arriving in wholeness regardless of what we project onto it.

My own experience, and the experience of many others, is that practicing consistently over a period of time does lead to insights beyond this. These insights do transform perception in ways that make life much richer, more interesting, and do reduce the suffering of fighting reality in a considerable way. Though there are a lot of different ways people approach meditation (I am in agreement that bare knuckling is not useful), people who consistently practice letting go of their preconceptions in order to experience reality clearly are not in the same place as those who don't so the assertion that they are one and the same does not align with my own experience and those of others I know well. My experience of the illusion of a separate, consistent identity in the early days of practice compared to the experiential, repeated and clear comprehension of it in real time in high equanimity phase were not at all similar in terms of depth of understanding, clarity of understanding, and the release of tension resulting from that understanding. They do not even feel related though in the early period of practice I thought I understood it well. In my experience insights must be experiential to really reveal the depth of their meaning. 

If one were to have this philosophy ingrained in a deep way that would be wonderful, and would negate the need for practice, but I am skeptical of how many out there could actually do that in a way that the change would be consistent and substantial. In the interest of disclosure it was not the path I took so I do not know exactly what it would look like, and may be projecting ideas about it that are not there, but having practiced with others for years and seeing how scattered people often are in the beginning I am dubious that it would be useful and stick the way that would bring about change.

Metta-Bill

P.S: I peeped Daniel's writing on much of this that a poster upstream referenced. While I do not agree with everything he does illuminate some of the pitfalls.  

 http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/MCTB+The+Nothing+to+Do+and+You+are+Already+There+Schools

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
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11/17/14 7:56 PM as a reply to Bill F..
I should also say again that I'm not very skilled at this whole thing myself. It was probably presumptuous of me to make a post about it, haha.  emoticon  In spite of that, I always like how you guys challenge me here.  It helps point out the flaws in my own understanding of things.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
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11/17/14 8:19 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
It seems people got something useful from it so that's good. I did not intend to criticize so much as to share where my own experience differed because I think a variety of view points is a good thing. My guess is we probably agree on that.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
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11/17/14 8:34 PM as a reply to Bill F..
I'm curious, what path did you end up taking?

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
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11/17/14 9:42 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
It probably sounds cliche, but my path for some time has been to experience the immediacy of my human experience. If there's any particular sect that it aligns most closely with it would be buddhist tantra, but I do not feel particularly buddhist. It is just the organization with which I find myself and the one whose techniques are most compatible with my desire to channel the energy I feel. My current teacher (Reggie Ray) is a tantric teacher, but I've also worked closely with a zen teacher (David Loy) and a Theravadan teacher (Vince Horn) so I've had a good deal of exposure to the different strands of Buddhism. Currently my practice involves somatic metta meditation and mahmudra teachings. I use them to the extent that I feel they bring me deeper into the intimacy of what it is to be human. A good deal of my practice is just the recognizing of how everything is already immediate. As far as techniques there have been many. For the first four or so years I practiced it was mainly anapanasati. Then I started working with Vince, practicing noting, and things really began to develop in interesting and remarkable ways that they had not since my initial opening in practice several years before. I kept a journal while moving through the paths at the old Pragmatic Dharma site, but that has since been taken down and I don't know if it's archived. I also journaled for a while at Kenneth Folk's old site and some of the different practices I did can be seen here:

http://awakenetwork.org/forum/kfd-archive-wetpaint/12961-bill-s-notes

http://awakenetwork.org/forum/kfd-archive-v2/13325-bill-s-notes-ii

Edited to add the following link: David Chapman's description of "Buddhist Tantra"    http://meaningness.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/reinventing-buddhist-tantra/

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
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11/17/14 11:45 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
It has nothing to do with abiding in a relative or ultimate view. There is no paradox. It's simply relaxing, letting go, allowing, whatever you want to call it. 

I guess the paradox I was referring to Not Tao is that, in the ultimate sense, as you say, there is no path and no practice - when we allow in the present moment completely that is all. That said, when viewed through time (the relative perspective) improvements can be seen, such as deeper releases, smaller/less gaps of clinging/unconsciousness, the ability to abide peacefully in more intense 'painful' states, more of one's life spent in PCE's, Buddha Nature, however you term the perfected content state. Also, generally it seems, the more we allow and the greater our capacity for effortlessness in any pleasurable or painful scenario, the better life gets, the happier we get (or peaceful/contented if 'happy' doesn't do it for you), and the less energetic blockages there are or sensations of stress. IME the closer one looks at any teaching/practice, eventually a paradox appears at the center. I'm sure there are exceptions to these rules. More paradox : )

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
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11/18/14 2:48 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
I should also say again that I'm not very skilled at this whole thing myself. It was probably presumptuous of me to make a post about it, haha.  emoticon  In spite of that, I always like how you guys challenge me here.  It helps point out the flaws in my own understanding of things.
I just want to add, that what you wrote in your opening post is a big, big chunk of this whole thing.  Which, if I read you right is your description of Pure Mindfulness of the present moment, as I currently understand it, and this would be the "lead horse", a foundation upon which to build upon.  But, you see this way of mind as the finality of it all, and could this be?  There really is no more than just being here in the moment?  This is true indeed, but also there is no other moment to change the body/mind complex.  And the state of just being as you describe does make changes on the body/mind complex, one will become more and more what they are doing/practicing or not practicing.  So what is wrong with making changes to the body/mind that we are born with, and trying to improve what exists here and now?  Even if there is really nothing to do or anything worth striving for, why not just play the game, see what happens.  But of course, without all the craving and wanting and needing the change, just a path of changing for the sake of changing, perhaps for the benefit of those we come in contact with.

Pondering

Psi

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
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11/19/14 8:32 PM as a reply to Psi.
The big paradox, or zen koan maybe, for me is: how do I accept this moment in order to improve myself?  It seems like to only way to accept everything is to give up on improvement, haha. You can't accept something and hope it will change at the same time.

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
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11/19/14 8:55 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
The big paradox, or zen koan maybe, for me is: how do I accept this moment in order to improve myself?  It seems like to only way to accept everything is to give up on improvement, haha. You can't accept something and hope it will change at the same time.


Accepting Reality as it is in every present moment, is the improvement.

And in that moment, as you said there is no goal, no path , no wish, etc, there just is.  And then the next moment arises....

Now wouldn't it be funny, we may finally agree on something 100%, and it would just happen to be a paradox, haha  emoticon

Psi

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
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11/20/14 8:50 PM as a reply to Psi.
I believe I've figured out a way to state all of this positively (as in, something to DO) without any mystical sounding yadda yadda.

Whenever there is a lunging, whenever there is a tension that says, "I need to do this and that," drop it.  Stop doing it.

For me this is something very physical, like a physical tension that suddenly happens and I have direct control over.  This lunging seems to be the cause of all the negativity.  I notice it very strongly when I see something I don't like or am afraid of.  It's like a clenching and a cringing, like my heart wants to leap out of my chest and run away.

I think Shinzen says it well - I just remembered this quote from a long time ago: "Whenever you notice the intention to direct the attention, drop that intention."

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
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11/21/14 9:08 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Yes, that's it exactly, I've noticed this especially when watching a movie or playing a Video Game, alot of tensing reactions, automatic and impersonal,  I just let go of the tensing, and the mind returns to "at ease", it's all connected.  Strange "tensionings" also, like the neck area will tense up on it's own, I relax it, then next thing you know, it's tensed up again, I relax it.  Can't find the root, but think the conscious "untensing" practice eventually weakens and abandons whatever causes this tensing phenomenon.  That way, one can just "be".

Psi 

RE: Not Tao's Pointing Out
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11/21/14 3:33 PM as a reply to Psi.
I might start a new thread about this.  It's actually very simple!  I think this tensing up, or cringing away, is precisely what's being referred to as the identity by Richard (actual freedom).  By being attentive to the emotional state, you can really catch this thing right when it starts.  It's kind of amazing, by stoping it the emotional reactions are lessened a great deal.  It's like peeling away one layer and then a more subtle layer is there underneath, and you can search out those tensions and unclench them.

EDIT: Hey, maybe this is the "calming bodily fabrications" step of the anapanasati sutta.