Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago.

Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

Posts: 1330 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Seeing That Frees http://books.google.com/books?id=RS_uBAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false at google preview...it lets you read most of the book to see if you want to buy it.
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Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

Posts: 1330 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Richard Zen:
I just would like to add a blurb from Rob Burbea's book Seeing that frees on the dark night:
...the
anicca  practice, although enormously helpful, actually has limits
built into it, since through its very view it tends to reinforce a
subtle degree of reification - at least at levels of elemental,
momentary phenomena and of time. Such reification has significant
consequences. It will operate in this way of looking as one of the
factors that will keep fabricating, solidifying, and holding in place,
these particular levels of perception. And it will probably
contribute to delivering feelings like dread and disgust with regard to
things. Then for as long as they are being unwittingly fabricated thus,
these feelings, which are clearly dukkha, will without doubt continue to
arise.


It turns out, though, that the emptiness
practices which are not so based on anicca - for instance, the anatta
[not-self] way of looking and the second dukkha method , as well as many
others - for the most part do not issue in such emotions and
experiences. One of the main reasons for this is that since, as we shall
see, they more easily reveal the emptiness, the unreality, of all
phenomena, the fear and horror of endlessly losing seemingly real things is significantly undermined. Whether it is the self, a particular thing, or fleeting momentary phenomena in general, when we know that, really, nothing truly existent is being lost,
neither their apparent impermanence nor their dissolving in meditation
is felt as a problem. And when through practice we understand more just
how perceptions are fabricated, this too punctures the delusion that
keeps us in the grip of its spells that keep the recycling of this or
that experience in motion.

For insight, as we have defined it,
includes an understanding of how experience in general is fabricated.
Deep insight eventually reveals that all ways of looking are involved in
the fabrication of perception, and it comprehends well how different
ways of looking fabricate different perceptions and fabricate to
differing degrees. This, therefore, is what must be investigated. If the
way of looking or practicing itself is actually fabricating certain
perceptions and feelings, such as repeating cycles of difficult
experiences, a practitioner needs to find way sof realizing that this
fabricating is happening, and of understanding how it happens. Any map
of the progress of insight that does not address and include an
understanding of the dependent arising and fabrication of all experience
- and in particular an understanding of its own ways of looking as
fabrications that fabricate - is grossly incomplete.

Examples of other practices that can be done beyond just seeing vibrating impermanence:
  • Welcoming/allowing/relaxing subject and object relationships
  • Sustaining a view of 'not me, not mine, not myself' for the 5 aggregates
  • 7 fold reasonings
  • Seeing emptiness in space, time, and the intention to pay attention
  • Developing samadhi and metta to cushion fears as they arise
Of
course reading the book will give you scores of practice guidelines to
work with. It's nice to succinctly see how the dark night arises and
what I was doing wrong for so long, and that we don't have to get stuck
with poorly understood practices.
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Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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I moved the post here so as to not muddy the sticky thread.

The problem with his DN advice as well as others is thus - Stop practising what effectively moves you thru the DN stages and do something else that will stop your distress.....then they give no promises of getting thru any nanas cause they are so Mushroom culture.
I do not understand his reification comment
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Richard Zen, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Dream Walker:
I moved the post here so as to not muddy the sticky thread.

The problem with his DN advice as well as others is thus - Stop practising what effectively moves you thru the DN stages and do something else that will stop your distress.....then they give no promises of getting thru any nanas cause they are so Mushroom culture.
I do not understand his reification comment

If you let go of seemingly real things then the brain will have trouble parting with it. If you understand the unrealness of things it's easier to let go. Secondly if your senses are fading with the practicing of letting go then you are gaining the knowledge you need. If it fades all the way then you've gotten to stream-entry. You still need the understanding of course that consciousness is a consciousness-object and not a separate thing. Without that knowledge then fading is pointless. Even the Bahiya Sutta is not going to make much sense but when you have the description that consciousness doesn't have color, shape, or location and then read the Bahiya Sutta it makes much more sense.

Reification of time is what he's talking about. Learn more here:

http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/11929/
Time and emptiness of time - which is similar to watching "gones" in Shinzen's system but watching gones isn't good without the understanding of the lack of inherentness of time.

For the mushroom culture comment: He gives more practices for the 3 Cs and he's right that just looking at things vibrating doesn't give enough freedom. By being good at impermanence but also the dukkha welcoming practice and the anatta practice of the 7 fold reasonings the brain gets a better understanding. Then he says that after being good at all three you can let go easier with the knowledge of all three. This is before getting to higher level practices of letting go of space, time, the intention to pay attention and then letting go of insight practice itself. I'm sure he's seen lots of students get very little out of certain practices like watching vibrations for years or getting stuck at the mirror consciousness. He wants students to attack the problem from multiple angles. He even allows for those who don't fade their senses all the way (meaning those who don't want to meditate for huge stretches of time) to notice the freedom that is there which includes direct path practioners.

The best you can get by seeing gaps in vibrations is how the mind likes to cover over the gaps and solidify things. He uses an example of connecting the dots. Then this reification increases all the way up to temper tantrums and the like. The sense of self can be as small as "subject, object and time" up to rage.

Going through the book here's the list of practices from beginner to advanced so people can decide if they want the book as a reference or not:
  • Challenge beliefs
  • Investigating hindrances
  • Notice contractions of space when clinging
  • Staying at contact
  • Questioning abstractions and generalizations
  • Bare attention
  • Choosing a simpler object of attention
  • Dot-to-dot
  • Ending blame through recognizing the confluence of conditions
  • Examining, and loosening, self-definitions
  • A skillful tolerating of craving
  • Focusing on vedana to temper the force of craving
  • Noticing the sense of self
  • Awareness of change at an everyday level
  • Attending to anicca moment to moment
  • Viewing experience from the perspective of death and vast time
  • Viewing phenomena as dukkha from moment to moment
  • Relaxing the relationship with phenomena
  • Seeing what is external as 'not mine'
  • Regarding the aggregates as anatta, moment to moment
  • A vastness of awareness
  • No difference in substance
  • Attitudes to using thought and concepts in meditation
  • Sevenfold reasoning in meditation
  • No preferences
  • Seeing dualities as empty because fabricated
  • Seeing dualities as empty because mutually dependent
  • Viewing phenomena as 'empty' because they fade dependently
  • Directing love towards phenomena
  • Contemplating the emptiness of clinging
  • The emptiness of parts and wholes
  • Neither one nor many
  • Analysing walking and finding it empty
  • Deepening metta and compassion by fabricating less self
  • Searching for the object of negative feeling
  • Using the aggregate to recognize commonality
  • Viewing the object of love and compassion in different ways
  • Exchanging self and other
  • Meditating on the mutual emptiness of consciousness and perception
  • This moment is neither one nor many
  • Diamond slivers - this moment does not truly arise
  • Approaches to emptiness of time
  • Meditating on the voidness of attention and of the elements of mind
  • Meditating on the mutual emptiness of subject, object, and time
  • Contemplating the dependencies of sankhara and consciousness
  • Meditating on the emptiness of insight
  • Viewing appearances, knowing that avijja is void
  • Meditating on the emptiness of fabricating
Now some of you may be arhat aces and have done all this but it's easily many more practices than I have been using. I find the book so useful that I donated that crappy pedantic tome of Shaila Catherine's Wisdom Wide and Deep. emoticon There's enough up above for years of fine tuning practice. Like the Kornfield blurb on the back it can help practioners deepen their practice. I could easily do Shikantaza for years and get nowhere. I can easily note everything and still attach to noting (all stuff I've done before) so I'm grateful I can reduce my dharma book collection down to something smaller. Rob's book isn't much of a jhana book but I'm sure there are others that can fit along side it. My dependent origination book is pretty much unintelligible for most westerners so I can get rid of that. I still like Analayo, Moonlight Mahamudra, and Clarifying the Natural State for helping me with Right Effort and working with thoughts on top of many great practice ideas from posters on this forum.
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Jason Snyder, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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I have listened to a bunch of his talks - I think he's brilliant - I have not heard anybody talk about insight practice and theory in such a comprehensive yet precise and skillful way. Thanks Richard for the practice points above - I also recently ordered the book. 
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Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Alright, I gotta finish my fiction book and go back to plowing thru that one....By the list it looks like Rob isn't really leaving any stone unturned for anyone else to write about...lol

The advice I look for dealing with the Dark night nanas is not things that suppress it and stop progress. I look for things that make it faster and easier to get thru step by step. Avoiding it or accentuating it seems unskillful...just move thru each nana as elegantly as possible and quickly preferably thru the uncomfortable ones; and hopefully keep it from spilling off the cushion and into your life.. If that is what he is doing...then awesome. I'll have to read it....but if he knows about the progress of insite and is hiding this....more mushroom culture...sigh
~D
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Richard Zen, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Dream Walker:
Alright, I gotta finish my fiction book and go back to plowing thru that one....By the list it looks like Rob isn't really leaving any stone unturned for anyone else to write about...lol

This is pretty much how I felt reading it. Looking at my dharma book collection it's almost like other books don't explain much about how the word emptiness is used in an ultimate vs. conventional way. Rob's book reduced the confusion better than other books I've read. 

The advice I look for dealing with the Dark night nanas is not things that suppress it and stop progress. I look for things that make it faster and easier to get thru step by step. Avoiding it or accentuating it seems unskillful...just move thru each nana as elegantly as possible and quickly preferably thru the uncomfortable ones; and hopefully keep it from spilling off the cushion and into your life.. If that is what he is doing...then awesome. I'll have to read it....but if he knows about the progress of insite and is hiding this....more mushroom culture...sigh
~D

His advice on the dark night is similar in that developing concentration and metta help to reduce the fear. Ultimately if people start off in the practice believing in inherent existence of objects and then see their impermanance even in a slight way (through fast noting) they will go into that fear. This is because they are letting go of their favorite things. With this book they can read it to the end and see where it's heading (non-inherent existence), understand the non-inherence of their favorite things, and then do other practices (beyond concentration and metta) like welcoming and the 7 fold reasonings to to balance their 3Cs practices. It's very easy to do vibrating impermanence in a lopsided way and go into fear and disgust and develop little wisdom. I never understood what time meant ultimately to Buddhists until I listened to Rob's dharma talks and got unstuck. Even just looking at the present moment and realizing the brain is clinging subtly to subject, object and time was enough to reduce some hidden stress.

Having strong equanimity can really make you stop the practice and not look further. His descriptions of intentions to pay attention were better than anyone elses's nama-rupa explanations. To see consciousness as not a static, placid, and a peaceful mirror or container but instead an active process really helped. Because the intention to pay attention includes the practice itself it feels wholistic and complete. I know Dan has been talking about this in many posts but the way Rob explains it, it becomes much easier to understand. I'm sure you've seen many posters on here asking "do I note the note?" The answer in a way is yes but not literally. You want to see the insight practice itself as empty so you don't attach to it.

The best part is that the right views are supported in the practice instructions which improve the quality of the meditation but believing in those insights are shown to be not enough. The experience and views support each other. This makes the practice instructions so much better, than let's say a Joseph Goldstein book (sorry Joe!), or a typical Dalai Lama insight book. Pointing instructions by themselves aren't good enough but if you practice with the knowledge of pointing instructions you can keep practicing until the view is supported.

You can even use the book to supplement your nana focus without it doing harm. I'm sure Dan's new book will go over it in more detail

To Jenny: The next book I'm anticipating is MCTB 2"The HARDCORE User Friendly Dharma book" to see how instructions can improve in the new addition. 
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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To Jenny: The next book I'm anticipating is MCTB 2"The HARDCORE User Friendly Dharma book" to see how instructions can improve in the new addition. 

Richard, Part I is author-approved, printed out, and on my lap now for final quick proofread. emoticon 
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Richard Zen, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Jenny:
To Jenny: The next book I'm anticipating is MCTB 2"The HARDCORE User Friendly Dharma book" to see how instructions can improve in the new addition. 

Richard, Part I is author-approved, printed out, and on my lap now for final quick proofread. emoticon 


Thanks for donating your editing skills! It takes so long doesn't it?
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Richard:

Thanks for donating your editing skills! It takes so long doesn't it?

Yes. It has taken almost precisely the amount of time I predicted, but it takes authors a while to see and accept the amount of time and back-and-forth required if the edit is going to be a thoroughgoing revision and not merely a copyedit. And scheduling around our jobs, families, and other duties has, of course, been challenging, but well worth the effort and challenges, I feel.

The work has been intense but really my pleasure and my privilege to have been able to enjoy these conversations with Daniel in the margins and around the edges. I learned a lot. I hope what I learned as a stand-in for the community of readers, as well as an editor, will increase the book's benefit for everyone. The working relationship has been extremely positive, I'm happy to say, at least from my point of view.

More specifics soon, from Daniel, I'm sure. Now to return this thread to that other author. . . . 
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Richard:
Time and emptiness of time - which is similar to watching "gones" in Shinzen's system but watching gones isn't good without the understanding of the lack of inherentness of time.

Well, this would explain why I was so sure, though without being about to articulate why, that my entry into cessation was emptiness, not impermanence. I was watching arisings and "gones," and I suddenly realized that those "gones" weren't "really" gones but a type of reification (via time). Four moments of seeing that clearly . . . and poof, as if I collapsed into whatever was not there and was not merely-by-contrast-across-time "gone"! Wow. Makes sense now.

One of my friends at work has been on mahamudra retreats that featured Emptiness-of-Time practices. I've been meaning to look into what that was about.
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Nikolai ., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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I bought it a week or so ago and am half way through it. It is my current opinion that it is the best dharma book I've read in a very long time and a must read for anyone post-path, definitely post 4th, as talked around here. 

Nick
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Jane Laurel Carrington, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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I just put it on my wish list over on Amazon, and gave it my highest priority, above the long underwear (and that's saying a lot for someone in Minnesota!). emoticon
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Alan Smithee, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Nikolai .:
I bought it a week or so ago and am half way through it. It is my current opinion that it is the best dharma book I've read in a very long time and a must read for anyone post-path, definitely post 4th, as talked around here. 

Nick


My copy is set to arrive tomorrow.  Hopefully it also has a lot to offer post-A+P/Equanimity residents.  I wanna try to make it happen this summer during my school break.  I'm pretty excited to give this thing a read.  It is suprising, for all the meditation manuals out there, how few are actually helpful. Mushroom culture ain't dead yet, but there are some cracks in its stem...
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Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Nikolai .:
a must read for anyone post-path, definitely post 4th, as talked around here.
I was thinking the same stuff....Looking at the list I was excited to read about exercises that I thought to myself would be useful post 4th. I then started to question which practises were valid for which path level; which would help and what would be a waste of time or beyond the abilities of practitioners. You have given me advice several times that was frankly just beyond where I was at the time. When I stumble upon them again later I kinda laugh and go ...oh ya....
So I wonder about peoples opinions on instructions tapered to the audiences' path level and abilities.....This book seems to have a lot of this....whatcha think?
~D
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Richard Zen, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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There's plenty of beginner practices at the beginning of the book even to the level of basic cognitive therapy. It's made with the attitude that you can skip parts you already understand and then start to where you are at.
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Nikolai ., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Dream Walker:
Nikolai .:
a must read for anyone post-path, definitely post 4th, as talked around here.
I was thinking the same stuff....Looking at the list I was excited to read about exercises that I thought to myself would be useful post 4th. I then started to question which practises were valid for which path level; which would help and what would be a waste of time or beyond the abilities of practitioners. You have given me advice several times that was frankly just beyond where I was at the time. When I stumble upon them again later I kinda laugh and go ...oh ya....
So I wonder about peoples opinions on instructions tapered to the audiences' path level and abilities.....This book seems to have a lot of this....whatcha think?
~D
Save from actually hearing and knowing all your experiences from each sit, your conditioning factors, leanings, personality strengths and weaknesses, life situation, way of being, understanding and thus practicing, I can only give advice that I relate to myself, not being a professional meditation teacher with all the mentioned knowledge. All we can do here is share and hope that someone gets benefit, if not you then someone reading your thread and my advice. And later on, it made sense to you, so it may well have added to progress in someway, who knows, perhaps it acted as a trigger to drop asking for advice and just sit with what is arising? I know this happened to me many times before.

As I see it, it all comes down to experimenting for ourselves with what works and what doesn't for our own conditioning. Each of us is conditioned differently by a lifetime of habit, even when we claim the same contemplative/meditative territories. Hit and miss advice is what you get without the up close and personal one on ones, unless you get lucky and someone can read your mind like an open book.

Same goes for reading this thread's book reccomendation. Insight matures when it's ready to. Better to read/experiment as much as possible to up the odds of baselines shifting even if it seems not to make sense. The exploring leads to lots of 'giving up' and 'letting go' which is usually when the good stuff happens.

Nick
Edited x 2
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. Jake ., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Just cracking my copy. Amazon Prime rules (says my inner materialist lol). Looks like an excellent practice manual; I'm looking forward to trying some experiments. 
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Pablo . P, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Richard Zen:
Time and emptiness of time - which is similar to watching "gones" in Shinzen's system but watching gones isn't good without the understanding of the lack of inherentness of time.

Thanks Richard! I'll order the book.
Blue Jay, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Hi.

I recently discovered that if I focus on the arising aspect of impermanence, its impact is a lot less painful. When we see impermanence we tend to see the end of every thing. And this causes a lot of pain. But if we watch the arising of everything what this causes is a sense of futility. Both these aspects are necessary for insight, as they are aspects of the true nature of reality. But observing the constant arising in addition to the constant fall, is much more ballanced. And if someone is too troubled by impermanence I would suggest that it's best to focus on the arising part.

(I hope I'm not saying something already discussed. I did not read the whole thread.)

Best wishes.
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. Jake ., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Hmm, I find focusing on the arising aspect of impermanence to give rise to a sort of effervescent quality along with a sense of abundance, like phenomena bubbling up or overflowing. Why futility out of curiosity?

On the thread topic, I have my copy and it's great. I am finding some really interesting stuff about the emptiness of awareness and time towards the end of the book. I finally zipped back to the beginning of the book for the first time and I can see that there is stuff there that folks who have maybe never meditated once could relate to and work with. It's a really comprehensive book. Also enjoying the sound files from the Emptiness retreat (which it appears cover very similar territory to the book?)
Blue Jay, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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. Jake .:
Hmm, I find focusing on the arising aspect of impermanence to give rise to a sort of effervescent quality along with a sense of abundance, like phenomena bubbling up or overflowing. Why futility out of curiosity?

Because, even though the constant arising seems like a very positive experience, the things that arise will end anyway. So the constant arising assures us that there will always be something new and fresh. But it's futile to pursue it anyway because, in the back of our minds, we know it will end. I find it's a matter of emphasis. But, in my experience, it's a very different feeling. And it's a lot more tolerable.
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Pablo . P, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Blue Jay:
Hi.

I recently discovered that if I focus on the arising aspect of impermanence, its impact is a lot less painful. When we see impermanence we tend to see the end of every thing. And this causes a lot of pain. But if we watch the arising of everything what this causes is a sense of futility. Both these aspects are necessary for insight, as they are aspects of the true nature of reality. But observing the constant arising in addition to the constant fall, is much more ballanced. And if someone is too troubled by impermanence I would suggest that it's best to focus on the arising part.


I would say just the opposite. I first tried focusing with arisings, and that brought lots of trouble. Then, I focused on passings, and that ended the problems. Passings have a restful quality that allows to deal with craving/aversion. It simply let things go. On the contrary, arisings boost the craving/aversion, unless you're able already to laid back and watch all that mental fermentation happen. IME, focusing on arisings are handy only when I'm drowsy or obsesive with a though/emotion.
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. Jake ., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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So, this little mini-convo about impermanence and what it 'means' ties in nicely with a lot of what Rob Burbea is talking about as 'emptiness'.

What phenomena (or their arising, or their passing) 'means' is not objective but rather dependant on the mind that apprehends that arising and passing.  The bare arising and passing have no inherant meaning. On a deeper level 'arising' and 'passing' themselves are fabrications, are projections, are meanings, and are similarly dependant on a mind operating from the basis of many assumptions to project them. 

Conventionally a  meditator sees impermanence as a phenomenon (say a sound) arising, interacting with other phenomena, and passing. On a deeper level a meditator can see how each of those phases is itself marked by flux (i.e., arising, functioning and passing are each fluxing). Thus 'arising' arises, functions, and passes. Functioning arises, functions and passes. Passing arises, functions and passes.

Oh wait.... !?!  

So arising and passing are empty and dependantly arisen? Huh, cool.

Which is all to say how arising or passing 'feels' to 'me' is an incredibly flexible thing evidently.

ETA: personally I find the experience of clearly seeing that 'arising' and 'passing' are concepts projected onto (?)  really fascinating. Emptiness applies to the three characteristics, according to this insight, which is pretty far out, huh?
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Pablo . P, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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. Jake .:
So, this little mini-convo about impermanence and what it 'means' ties in nicely with a lot of what Rob Burbea is talking about as 'emptiness'... Emptiness applies to the three characteristics, according to this insight, which is pretty far out, huh?
Thanks Jake! That's fascinating, though I'm far from being close to grasp that insight. I'll re-read your words in the future!
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. Jake ., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Pablo . P:

. Jake .:
So, this little mini-convo about impermanence and what it 'means' ties in nicely with a lot of what Rob Burbea is talking about as 'emptiness'... Emptiness applies to the three characteristics, according to this insight, which is pretty far out, huh?
Thanks Jake! That's fascinating, though I'm far from being close to grasp that insight. I'll re-read your words in the future!



Cool!
Actually I think what I'm pointing to comes clear in lots of circumstances many folks may experience.... High EQ for instance seems to lend itself to seeing clearly the emptiness of the three characteristics, suchness, or whatever you want to call 'it' when 'it' explicitly exceeds characterization.

The operation of mind to encapsulate this glimpse of emptiness into a story, theory, structure, whatever is like the swift instinctual darting of an attacking snake; the trick is 'catching the snake by the neck', which requires discovering and developing an alertness that SEES this existentially predatory gesture of mind

(predatory? because this aspect of mind wants to 'eat' whatever it sees, metabolize experience into something it can use to perpetuate itself...)
Blue Jay, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Pablo . P:

I would say just the opposite. I first tried focusing with arisings, and that brought lots of trouble. Then, I focused on passings, and that ended the problems. Passings have a restful quality that allows to deal with craving/aversion. It simply let things go. On the contrary, arisings boost the craving/aversion, unless you're able already to laid back and watch all that mental fermentation happen. IME, focusing on arisings are handy only when I'm drowsy or obsesive with a though/emotion.


I wasn't expecting that! emoticon

I guess each person will have to focus on the perspective that helps the most. To me, impermanence causes too much despair. I found that shifting more towards the aspect of arising, instead of passing, smoothes the negative impact in the DN.

Nevertheless, I think it's useful if people realise that even within impermanence there are different strategies that may ease the DN pain.

And with this I leave this thread. I thought this was entirely on topic, but it isn't. Sorry for the inconvenience.
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Droll Dedekind, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Looks interesting.. going on my wishlist. I have a few criticisms, but I don't know if they're valid without reading the whole book. So, I'll just put them out there and maybe someone with the book can comment --

It makes sense to me that understanding (to some extent) the lack of inherent existence of any phenomena could help one minimize the DN. It also makes sense to me that overly forceful, anicca-focused practice could exacerbate the DN. But, I'm skeptical that the DN can be avoided entirely. When you factor in the nice, friendly tone of the book I could see people getting unrealistic expectations about the path. Maybe this is my own stuff showing, but I prefer the Ingram, Jed McKenna approach.

Is there any mention of any other tradition besides Buddhism? Is it really the case that traditional Buddhist frameworks are ideal for enlightenment? Seems unlikely to me.
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Richard Zen, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Droll Dedekind:
Looks interesting.. going on my wishlist. I have a few criticisms, but I don't know if they're valid without reading the whole book. So, I'll just put them out there and maybe someone with the book can comment --

It makes sense to me that understanding (to some extent) the lack of inherent existence of any phenomena could help one minimize the DN. It also makes sense to me that overly forceful, anicca-focused practice could exacerbate the DN. But, I'm skeptical that the DN can be avoided entirely. When you factor in the nice, friendly tone of the book I could see people getting unrealistic expectations about the path. Maybe this is my own stuff showing, but I prefer the Ingram, Jed McKenna approach.

Is there any mention of any other tradition besides Buddhism? Is it really the case that traditional Buddhist frameworks are ideal for enlightenment? Seems unlikely to me.
This is less framework dependent. It's more practicing to get you to let go more and see deeper levels of insight. It's like taking dependent arising seriously and using it in practice. It doesn't have other approaches beyond Buddhism and dependent arising, but to me dependent arising is the weakest link of most dharma books so it's refreshing.

I think his approaches (which really aren't his but his communication style explains it well) will reduce the DN for people. I can't say it will reduce it to zero since I've been through the DN many, many times already. I think his approach feels smoother to me because view and pointing is included in each instruction so any practice you follow has a point to it. It looks very cause and effect based. I'm going to update my jhana thread because I'm already getting some benefits. I think the book is a wonderful guide that can be used like a ladder. You would look at each practice and see "Did I do this practice and did I understand the point of it?" If someone wants the Ingram approach (which is still Buddhism) I don't see how the book couldn't supplement it. I can easily say that MCTB in it's current form is woeful for Dependent Arising descriptions compared to Rob's book and I wouldn't be exaggerating. I'm very eager to see MCTB 2 and will include whatever added insights because it's not really a competition. It's just that some books explain things better than others because of their writing skills. It's all Buddhism and the same territory but whatever speaks to you and gets you to practice better will be what you respond to.

MCTB got me to early equanimity, and I still use some noting to this day. Shinzen's descriptions of Shikantaza got me to let go of the "meditator", Greg Goode got me to the mirror consciousness and Rob is getting me to understand dependent arising and introduced me to Nagarjuna and helped me to understand how Buddhists treat Time.

Try things out but if it doesn't resonate then let it go and use what works for you. I abandoned Shaila Catherine with a giggle. I'm sure these Dharma gurus can take it.emoticon
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Droll Dedekind, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Thanks for the detailed response.

Btw, by the Ingram, Jed McKenna approach I meant frank, frank disclosure about how painful the path can be. I agree with Ingram and McKenna that most spiritual books are too flowery and friendly. Idk about other people, but my path has been flowery and friendly maybe 5%-20% of the time (though it's been compelling, fascinating, and engaging 70%+ of the time). And, I imagine that if people have the impression it should only be flowery and friendly, and that this is all about avoiding suffering and blissing out then they'll never be able to realistically face the harsher side of life, their shadowside, etc.

Dependent Arising never really struck me as essential, and the skandhas always struck me as unwieldy. I always saw DA as just a corollary of the admittedly complex topic of causality. How does DA help practice for you?

Also, Shaile Catherine and Pa-Auk Sayadaw's jhana standards are absurdly high. One could get SE with a fraction of those mad jhana skillz, and get an instant boost to their concentration practice. Seems the better strategy to me.
Andreas, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Droll, never heard of jed before but when reading the negative reviews for his books I fail to see whats good about him. He seems egodriven selfish, uncompassionate. Why anyone would strive towards what he describes is beyound me. He doesnt seem to make to compelling case for enlightenment. Epicurianism seems more promising.
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Richard Zen, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Droll Dedekind:
Thanks for the detailed response.

Btw, by the Ingram, Jed McKenna approach I meant frank, frank disclosure about how painful the path can be. I agree with Ingram and McKenna that most spiritual books are too flowery and friendly. Idk about other people, but my path has been flowery and friendly maybe 5%-20% of the time (though it's been compelling, fascinating, and engaging 70%+ of the time). And, I imagine that if people have the impression it should only be flowery and friendly, and that this is all about avoiding suffering and blissing out then they'll never be able to realistically face the harsher side of life, their shadowside, etc.

Dependent Arising never really struck me as essential, and the skandhas always struck me as unwieldy. I always saw DA as just a corollary of the admittedly complex topic of causality. How does DA help practice for you?

Also, Shaile Catherine and Pa-Auk Sayadaw's jhana standards are absurdly high. One could get SE with a fraction of those mad jhana skillz, and get an instant boost to their concentration practice. Seems the better strategy to me.

Well each to their own. I did also have a harsh path along the way as well and some wicked dark nights but I also knew lots of people who didn't so I'm open to the possibility that my concentration practice wasn't up to snuff. Dependent origination is difficult because it's treated as linear conventionally and then we have to abandon that as not even arising but instead treat it as scaffolding that's supporting experience. To simplify: The demarcation between vedana and clinging doesn't inherently exist. How it's helped me is to look at everything as very quick cause and effect which makes dealing with difficult mind-states with more skill. I don't have to wrestle with things (what you resist persists) but I can start putting transcendental DA in place to start moving in the right direction.

Rob's way of practicing is more about getting the consciousness to fade and to see dependence + the relief so that dependent origination is understood in experience. There's also an emphasis on the unfindability of consciousness which is a common practice. Until I finish all the main practices I'll probably still be working with DA.

I think the best way to look at Rob's book is to see for yourself if he's trying to avoid pain. To me it's more like each practice points to a certain insight and you have to keep practicing until you experience that insight. If you succeed and it hurts less along the way there should be no guilt. Also the letting go should create some renunciation or it's not working.

I'm aware that the amygdala does shrink with people who have a long-term practice and it's possible that new wiring might hurt and certainly I did go through that but I was also doing a dry noting practice during this time.

The one area that Rob would agree with you on is that you can use insight practices to boost your jhanas. In fact that's what happens to many insight practioners when they see new strata of mind by accident and then they solidify it into a jhana.
: ladyfrog :, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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For me I was tremendously helped by Rob Burbea's gentleness, his lack of pushiness in presentation (until this book i have been listening/re-listening to his dharma talks so most of my vibe on him is from that), and the gradated levels he teaches on (which i see in his book thus far).  My conditioning has set me up so that it isn't lack of clarity in perception, or drive, or concentration… instead it has been fear.  I have benefited from some instances of "pushing through" both driven by teachers and my own gut… but a lot of my grunt work has been coaxing, embracing, stabilizing, and soothing my "self" along as needed.  I don't have a flowery, mushroomy agenda - its just that my most frequent limiting factor has been fear so soothing is on the table.  When i work with that - either through samatha practice, or in ways that might seem even baroquely mushroomy and psychological to some (yeah, i will do journaling) I can release and push on again.  At many points in dark night phases I really have just needed to hear "it's ok" from someone who has gone further.

There is a big difference between saying the end-game is a soothed, peaceful, blissed-out self and saying that ripping the bandage off is the only viable approach.

Another point that I think is relevant is that you can't see it until you can see it, nor want it until you want it. The way that Rob Burbea teaches seems to me to be that he offers truth, but often gives an "out" at the same time.  Not to accommodate, but to be realistic about what a given mind/ego can even hear.  This seems very skillful to me - here i really am speaking to his talks. An example is when he teaches about the subtle body he says something  like "Now, you may or may not find this paradigm helpful… " as a preface.  If I had no context for working/experiencing the subtle body, I could sort of drop what he was going on about and tune back in later, but stay in the room, so to speak.  And down the line, there is crumb dropped in the trail of one's mind, and one can come back and go deeper. .  I feel like he kind of "invites" one out of the fuzzy haze of the mushroom culture when one is able, and I find that quite refreshing. The "hardcore" I seek relates to the over-arching trajectory.  Regarding pitch and intensity, I think it falls into different strokes for different conditioning.
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Jason Snyder, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Still waiting for the book in the mail but have started reading the google preview. He sets up the book by making a strong case for using insight as a means, a strategy, and not just a hoped for result. For those who say that this is fabrication, that one should just be mindful of 'things as they are', he says this:

(note I skipped a lot - whole paragraphs, I highly recommend reading it directly starting on page 32 http://books.google.com/books?id=RS_uBAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

"To some, this second mode of insight practice, where liberating ways of looking are intentionally cultivated and sustained, may initially sound unattractive...[reasons] may involve a belief that 'being' and 'doing' are really different...'just being' is regarded as preferable or somehow more authentic...it turns out, though, that whenever there is any experience at all, there is always some fabricating, which is a kind of 'doing'...in states of 'just being' which we might image are devoid of self, a subtle self is actually being constructed anyway...What seems like 'just being with things as they appear' will undoubtedly involve all kinds of views and assumptions, mostly unrecognized, about what is perceived. Thus it is actually a way of looking; or, more likely, it will subsume, at different times, relatively diverse ways of looking...My experience in my own practice, in teaching, and in talking and listening to others, is that meditations using only the first mode of insight - that is, relying mostly on insight as a 'result' - will very probably not be enough on their own to overcome the force of deeply engrained habitual delusion that perceives and intuitively feels things to have inherent existence. As we have said, some element or aspect of a phenomenon will remain reified if it is not consciously and profoundly seen into. The overwhelming tendency is to unconsciously impute inherent existence to things, not to see emptiness. We need, therefore, to practice views that actually dissolve or remove this illusion of inherent existence."
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. Jake ., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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: ladyfrog ::
The "hardcore" I seek relates to the over-arching trajectory.  Regarding pitch and intensity, I think it falls into different strokes for different conditioning.

That's really well put! Reading your response that was exactly what I was thinking when you semi-self-deprecatingly admitted to journalling. In the context of a clear purpose towards awakening (and then deepening and stabilizing awakening) all tools can be of use. Hardcore is for me more of a mindset of being committed to awakening and liberation, and isn't tied to a particular tool like noting or whatever.

It isn't even tied to breaking experience down into tiny vibrating bits-- there are many approaches, and my sense is different approaches produce results with different aesthetics.
: ladyfrog :, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Thanks Jake!  Sorry to be off topic but I'd like to add that, despite my take on what might be some differing approaches appropriate for some, that I am very grateful to Daniel, his book, and the many sage posts and posters I have been helped by on this board (particular thanks to Nikolai).  It has been a great resource for me over the past few years, and I have gotten a ton of crucial info and insight that have really helped me sort things out over time.
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. Jake ., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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I agree, me too!
I think there are lots of folks who participate here who appreciate a variety of methods, including Daniel and Nick emoticon
I'm enjoying the book, it really seems to be chock full of solid practice approaches. Good stuff! I needed an injection of fresh perspectives.
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Jason Snyder, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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I am surprised that this book hasn't gotten more attention in the pragmatic Buddhist universe. There are no interviews with the author online, no book reviews (except for 1 on Amazon), etc. This seems to be a very well kept secret, unfortunately. What's going on?
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Psi, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Jason Snyder:
I am surprised that this book hasn't gotten more attention in the pragmatic Buddhist universe. There are no interviews with the author online, no book reviews (except for 1 on Amazon), etc. This seems to be a very well kept secret, unfortunately. What's going on?


Few and far between Jason, few and far between.......

Psi
Mark, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Jason Snyder:
I am surprised that this book hasn't gotten more attention in the pragmatic Buddhist universe. There are no interviews with the author online, no book reviews (except for 1 on Amazon), etc. This seems to be a very well kept secret, unfortunately. What's going on?

Hi Jason. Could I ask where in the Buddhist universe you might normally expect to find info on new books? I've been helping Rob to get this book published, and we're still working on getting reviews into the various Buddhist magazines etc, but might you have other suggestions? We didn't go down usual publicity routes I guess just because this is a bit of a niche book, not your usual bedside-table dharma..

And thanks for your review on Amazon - you capture the book perfectly!

Kindly,
Mark
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Jean B., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Mark:
Could I ask where in the Buddhist universe you might normally expect to find info on new books? I've been helping Rob to get this book published, and we're still working on getting reviews into the various Buddhist magazines etc, but might you have other suggestions? We didn't go down usual publicity routes I guess just because this is a bit of a niche book, not your usual bedside-table dharma...


Maybe you've already considered it ,but you should try advertising on social networks (Facebook?) and other ads networks like Google Adwords. You can target very specific audiences which might be very potent for a niche approach.
Mark, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Jean B.:

Maybe you've already considered it ,but you should try advertising on social networks (Facebook?) and other ads networks like Google Adwords. You can target very specific audiences which might be very potent for a niche approach.

Thank you Jean, that's really helpful. I quit FB a number of years ago so I'll have to ask someone else to look into that. I'll take a look at Adwords etc though, that's great.
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Jean B., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Mark:
Jean B.:

Maybe you've already considered it ,but you should try advertising on social networks (Facebook?) and other ads networks like Google Adwords. You can target very specific audiences which might be very potent for a niche approach.

Thank you Jean, that's really helpful. I quit FB a number of years ago so I'll have to ask someone else to look into that. I'll take a look at Adwords etc though, that's great.

My pleasure. If you need any help or support, let me know.
(sorry for digression)
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Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Is it just me or did google shut off the preview?
~D
C P M, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Dream Walker:
Is it just me or did google shut off the preview?
~D

Yes, looks like the preview is gone. My order is going to take a while to arrive to.  emoticon
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Jason Snyder, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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I just read the section on seeing from the perspective of impermanence, and one of the things he suggest is noting "impermanence" directly (e.g. noting "anicca" instead of noting "itching"). He also recommends using the noting sparingly to keep rapid noticing on track, but without getting distracted by the noting itself. This seems to be rather different then what MCTB recommends for noticing impermanence- noting as quickly as possible the objects in consciousness, while at the same time keeping in mind their impermanence.

For a while now, I have found the MCTB approach difficult. Trying to note very quickly and, kind of as a separate task, keeping any of the 3 characteristics in mind, has always seemed to be too complicated. But by noting the 3 characteristics directly and more sparingly in order to facilitate rapid noticing seems to be more streamlined - like "cutting out the middle man". Thoughts?
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Richard Zen, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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As long as there is clear knowing I think his approach is better. Of course noting what something is can help when dealing with subtle movements of the intention to pay attention, and rehearsing, analyzing and strategizing. Some people note slower but also note the detail. I think you could incorporate anicca into the noting practice but instead of noting "anicca" all the time you might do it once in a while. The idea is to get good at the 3 C's (noting, welcoming, 7 fold reasonings etc) and then note only "empty" with those understandings. Eventually you want to note "space" and see how time can't be measured as having inherent existence. 

Subject, object and time needs to fade towards cessation. Anicca might reify time without those understandings.

http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/11929/
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Simon T., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Richard Zen:
As long as there is clear knowing I think his approach is better. Of course noting what something is can help when dealing with subtle movements of the intention to pay attention, and rehearsing, analyzing and strategizing. Some people note slower but also note the detail. I think you could incorporate anicca into the noting practice but instead of noting "anicca" all the time you might do it once in a while. The idea is to get good at the 3 C's (noting, welcoming, 7 fold reasonings etc) and then note only "empty" with those understandings. Eventually you want to note "space" and see how time can't be measured as having inherent existence. 

Subject, object and time needs to fade towards cessation. Anicca might reify time without those understandings.

http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/11929/

I find this avenue interesting, and the similar "gone" noting from Shinzen Young. If I note the sensation itself, the mind tend to stay on that sensation, make it solid, even if I use fast noting with "beep". If I take a main sensation and note every time this sensation isn't there, things are more free flowing. On the other hand, I find it hard to maintain the practice for a long time and integrate it in everyday life. Still, this point to something unsettling. It point to that that we refuses to accept. I cannot say that it make me progress in anyway and it has more the effect of making me feel dizzy than anything so far but maybe I should persist with the practice. I also wonder how of the usefulness of the practice related to the stages of insights. I also wonder how it relate to dzogchen practice, which is said to be more about saying emptiness. Joseph Golstein and Sam Harris recently posted a conversation their had on the matter. Harris was making the point tht Dzogchen was pointing directly at what need to be pointed, while Vipassana has the drawback of doing somewhat the opposite.
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Richard Zen, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

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Dzogchen do a pointing practice so that you know the ultimate as best as you can in a conventional way, and you continue with a gradual practice further (because habits are still there).

Ultimate: Because time has no permanent unit and any measurement can be broken down into fractions to infinity there is no inherent existence of time. If things are interdependent on time then everything lacks inherent existence. Remember inherent existence is a belief that things exist without a cause and effect and that they can't be broken down into smaller parts. Eg. A car versus all the subatomic particles that make it up. Consciousness/knowing has no inherent existence because it's interdependent to objects.

This is why it's good to read the book to the end before practicing because doing practice involves the intention to pay attention so practice itself lacks inherent existence. Any Buddhist concepts also lack inherent existence. Delusion as a concept lacks inherent existence. The concepts point to something non-conceptual. The book even shows subtle clingings like clinging to cessation and being dualistic about experience vs. cessation. I guess that could be a kind of "insight disease" trying to go out into cessation for longer and longer periods of time to avoid experience. The goal is to let go of attachment while still having experience. He's really in line with the nirvana and samsara being two sides of the same coin Nargajuna style. He of course still wants people to fade senses to see the fabrication of subject, object, and time but doesn't want people to attach to it and reify the "unconditioned."

He's really tough on disenchantment and just looks at that as aversion. That was probably the biggest shake up for me from the book. I always was under the impression that disenchantment and dark night withdrawal symptoms as a sign of success. lol!
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Jason Snyder, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Rob Burbea - Seeing That Frees -book

Posts: 186 Join Date: 10/25/13 Recent Posts
Richard Zen:
As long as there is clear knowing I think his approach is better. Of course noting what something is can help when dealing with subtle movements of the intention to pay attention, and rehearsing, analyzing and strategizing. Some people note slower but also note the detail. I think you could incorporate anicca into the noting practice but instead of noting "anicca" all the time you might do it once in a while. The idea is to get good at the 3 C's (noting, welcoming, 7 fold reasonings etc) and then note only "empty" with those understandings. Eventually you want to note "space" and see how time can't be measured as having inherent existence. 

Subject, object and time needs to fade towards cessation. Anicca might reify time without those understandings.

http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/11929/
Thanks Richard, this is really helpful. 

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