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Dialogue; Trungpa and Thomas Keating

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Dialogue; Trungpa and Thomas Keating
Answer
2/9/15 7:27 PM
The following is an interesting snippet of a dialogue between Father Thomas Keating and Chogyam Trungpa, it talks about no-self.

No-ego convo:




Non:



Without self:



Ordinary mind:



---

Trungpa mentions in his "Tantric Path of Indestructible Wakefulness" (which is really a compilation of his lectures, posthumously) that Christian mystics and contemplatives often see the truth of no-self or non-theism, but then have trouble reconciling it with their doctrine. I figure this is what happened to Bernadette Roberts, who practiced so assiduously that she eventually came upon the state of no-self, and then not being trained in non-duality, was unable to assimilate the experience into her Christian framework (or lack of a framework). He speaks much the same of Meister Eckhart.

For Trungpa's opinion on Gurdjieff and Ramana Maharshi see here:

http://www.chronicleproject.com/stories_468a.html

Trungpa also had opinions on Carlos Castaneda, but I am unsure what his opinion was.

Swag.

Edit: fixed image markup

RE: Dialogue; Trungpa and Thomas Keating
Answer
2/9/15 8:03 PM as a reply to Tar Filter.
Thanks, great stuff. Is this from a book or on line?

I’ve been putting together some stuff on Ajahn Maha Boowa to post soon and his writings have a similar ring - here's a bit:

When avijjã finally disintegrates [at the stage of the Arahant], being severed from the citta forever, total cessation is achieved. The citta is then free, vast and supremely empty, without limits, without bounds—totally expansive. Nothing encloses or obstructs it. All contradictions have been eliminated. When the citta knows, it knows only the truth; when it sees, it sees only the truth. This is true emptiness. ...Conditioned phenomena, such as thoughts, which are an integral part of the khandhas, continue to function in their own sphere but they no longer cause dukkha. Uncorrupted by kilesas, they simply give form and direction to mental activity.

RE: Dialogue; Trungpa and Thomas Keating
Answer
2/9/15 8:22 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Hello,

I pulled the images from my Kindle version of the book: "The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa: Volume Two"

If I can ever figure out a way to copy and paste the dialogue I probably will (unless it's like copyrighted or something), Kindle won't let me copy and paste, :p

About Ajahn Maha Boowa, he seems pretty cool, for some reason (and this is the case with most spiritual readings I partake of), I can never cognitively separate the doctrines, ex: it seems that what Maha Boowa posits (on his Wikipedia page) is eternalism, but it also, really ironically, seems that he knows what he's talking about

And when I read what he writes (or says) about citta, I feel it in my gut/heart, I reflect empathetically what he is saying, as true

I find this ironic, because; he's right, but I can't really reconcile what he says with the anatta doctrine

It's so funny because here we have people coming from a theistic doctrine (Christianity), positing things like "total nothing" (Meister Eckhart), while people coming from a "no-self" doctrine posit something that sounds like eternalism

Word.

RE: Dialogue; Trungpa and Thomas Keating
Answer
2/9/15 8:27 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
I'm gonna have to chew over that quote by Boowa a bit more though, thanks for posting it.

RE: Dialogue; Trungpa and Thomas Keating
Answer
2/9/15 8:56 PM as a reply to Tar Filter.
What is it about Bua's stuff in the Wikipedia article that seems like eternalism?

Is it the portions like this:
"Although Bua is often at pains to emphasise the need for meditation upon the non-Self (anatta), he also points out that the citta, while getting caught up in the vortex of conditioned phenomena, is not subject to destruction as are those things which are impermanent, suffering, and non-Self (aniccadukkhaanatta). The citta is ultimately not beholden to these laws of conditioned existence. The citta is bright, radiant, and deathless, and is its own independent reality"

"When the citta has been cleansed so that it is absolutely pure and free of all involvement, only then will we see a citta devoid of all fear. Then, neither fear nor courage appear, only the citta’s true nature, existing naturally alone on its own, forever independent of time and space. Only that appears—nothing else. This is the genuine citta."

RE: Dialogue; Trungpa and Thomas Keating
Answer
2/9/15 9:23 PM as a reply to Steph S.
Yeah, stuff like that.

RE: Dialogue; Trungpa and Thomas Keating
Answer
2/10/15 8:29 AM as a reply to Tar Filter.
Yea, I could see how it makes it seem like citta is a separate "thing", but I think it might simply be a way of trying to find conventional language or descriptors for something words can't really be applied to.  Deathless/unconditioned = empty, and emptiness is not a thing with form/shape/location, right?  It's not that citta is some eternal object or place that is a ground for something.  That it lacks any inherent qualities at all would mean it's neither eternal or temporal.  So I don't think he was trying to say that it's eternal, but that trying to apply descriptors of time or space to citta is essentially asking the wrong question.  Or said another way, he seems to say, don't even bother trying to figure out definable qualities for it because it can't be done.  It has to be a direct experience because all words/form applied to it are going to be off the mark.

Any thoughts on that interpretation, Chuck?

RE: Dialogue; Trungpa and Thomas Keating
Answer
2/10/15 9:03 AM as a reply to Steph S.
Hmm, cool! This kind of reminds me of the difference sometimes mentioned in Vajrayana between the scholars' way and the yogis' way of practice/realization.

For the former, getting the doctrine right is super important from the get go, that 'reality' is beyond the four extremes. Practically speaking this might mean a lot of philosophising and debate preceding deep yogic practice.

For the yogis' way it seems like a provisional view that appears eternalistic (pointing out the deathless nature of mind) can be a fine start, and gradually all attempts to reify that are deconstructed in direct experience, by actually investigating that nature of mind in real time, and seeing it is not a 'thing' that could be subject to cessation (impermanent) or a thing that is not so subject (permanent).

But meanwhile the yogi's practice is based on 1) returning to that state of freedom and 2) seeing the difference between conceptual views *about* true nature vs. simply recognizing 'it'.

Because the 'nature of mind' or deathless pure chitta is not a 'thing', it is not something that comes into being and passes away. Because it is not a 'thing' it is also not an eternal substance. Yet.. it 'is', and it is the nature of what is.

There is a difference between timelessness as a direct experiential quality and 'eternalism' as a conceptual view about 'reality'.

P.S. I am responding to the conversation in the thread, not the initial quotes unfortunately, because they are not appearing on my work computer. OK, back to work!

RE: Dialogue; Trungpa and Thomas Keating
Answer
2/10/15 9:33 AM as a reply to Tar Filter.
Thank you so much for posting this, Tar Filter. From what I know of Kindle, it allows for no cutting and pasting.

There is another Christian mystic, Marguerite Porete, who was burned as a heretic in 1310 (it figures). She went the distance of claiming that the soul loses its identity completely through union with God. Her book is called "The Mirror of the Simple Soul." Worth checking out.

RE: Dialogue; Trungpa and Thomas Keating
Answer
2/10/15 9:34 AM as a reply to Tar Filter.
Tar Filter:
Hello,

I pulled the images from my Kindle version of the book: "The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa: Volume Two"

If I can ever figure out a way to copy and paste the dialogue I probably will (unless it's like copyrighted or something), Kindle won't let me copy and paste, :p


I do it like so:

Use highlighting and then go to your https://kindle.amazon.com/ page and paste from there.

best of luck

RE: Dialogue; Trungpa and Thomas Keating
Answer
2/10/15 9:41 AM as a reply to Tar Filter.
More on christian mystics. Late father William Johnston.  Lived in Japan and worked on Christian-Buddhist dialog.
Died in 2010. Had a big influence on Shinzen Young who studied in his library.

http://www.amazon.com/William-Johnston/e/B001ILIAE8/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

RE: Dialogue; Trungpa and Thomas Keating
Answer
2/10/15 2:56 PM as a reply to Tar Filter.
Tar Filter:

I find this ironic, because; he's right, but I can't really reconcile what he says with the anatta doctrine

It's so funny because here we have people coming from a theistic doctrine (Christianity), positing things like "total nothing" (Meister Eckhart), while people coming from a "no-self" doctrine posit something that sounds like eternalism
Thanks for the reference. I have Reggie Rays book on the Vajrayana and he quotes extensively from him - I like Trungpa Rinpoche's style and clarity.

Terminology in Buddhism has become a rats nest in my view. We have different words from different languages referring to the same thing and then we have the same word (often Pali words found in the suttas) given different meanings depending on a given schools focus or interpretation.

anatta is one of those. In the west this is probably most thought of as meaning there is no self - I don't know the history of this interpretation. In the suttas, it clearly means something like ‘you should regard all phenomena as not-self because if you cling to these there will invariably arise stress and suffering - because they are subject to change’. It is describing a form of practice - not some ultimate truth. There is nothing in the early teachings to suggest that there is either a self or no-self in some ultimate way. Rather, because the Arahant no longer conceives of a self as existing in relation to phenomena, they can’t be defined in any way using conventional language and so terms of self and not-self no longer apply.

Boowa often uses the term avijjã (ignorance) in his talks. The absence of ignorance is vijjã/vidya - experienced by the Arahat - and was translated into Tibetan as rigpa. So when Boowa says ‘When avijjã finally disintegrates...’ it is the equivalent of “With the dawning of rigpa..” - which sounds much more Tibetany.

Are you familiar with Matthew Flickstein's film With One Voice? He interviews various mystics from different religious and non-religous persuasions as to the nature of their experience.

RE: Dialogue; Trungpa and Thomas Keating
Answer
2/10/15 3:05 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Laurel Carrington:
There is another Christian mystic, Marguerite Porete, who was burned as a heretic in 1310 (it figures). She went the distance of claiming that the soul loses its identity completely through union with God. Her book is called "The Mirror of the Simple Soul." Worth checking out.

Thanks Laurel. I like the Christian mystics - especially the ones the Church wanted to torture or burn. Sadly, the church probably killed off its most spirtually awakened members. I'll have to take a look at her book. As I recall, they also wanted to toast Meister Eckhart but they couldn't get at him.

RE: Dialogue; Trungpa and Thomas Keating
Answer
2/10/15 3:07 PM as a reply to Steph S.
Steph S:
Yea, I could see how it makes it seem like citta is a separate "thing", but I think it might simply be a way of trying to find conventional language or descriptors for something words can't really be applied to.  Deathless/unconditioned = empty, and emptiness is not a thing with form/shape/location, right?  It's not that citta is some eternal object or place that is a ground for something.  That it lacks any inherent qualities at all would mean it's neither eternal or temporal.  So I don't think he was trying to say that it's eternal, but that trying to apply descriptors of time or space to citta is essentially asking the wrong question.  Or said another way, he seems to say, don't even bother trying to figure out definable qualities for it because it can't be done.  It has to be a direct experience because all words/form applied to it are going to be off the mark.

Any thoughts on that interpretation, Chuck?

Hi Steph,
Yes, this is very much how I understand it as well.