Place or mind state ?

Place or mind state ? Stick Man 6/8/16 7:21 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? neko 6/8/16 9:03 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? Stick Man 6/8/16 11:23 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? Chris M 6/8/16 11:20 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? neko 6/8/16 11:31 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? Stick Man 6/8/16 11:39 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? Chris M 6/9/16 8:20 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? Stick Man 6/9/16 7:00 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Chris M 6/10/16 7:43 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? Stirling Campbell 6/8/16 10:37 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? Mind over easy 6/12/16 12:22 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? Stick Man 6/12/16 6:31 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? Chris M 6/12/16 10:28 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? Mind over easy 6/12/16 2:41 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Stick Man 6/13/16 2:23 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Stick Man 6/13/16 2:25 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Mind over easy 6/13/16 6:54 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Stick Man 6/13/16 7:26 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Chris M 6/14/16 7:14 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? Noah 6/13/16 5:51 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Stick Man 6/13/16 7:19 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Mind over easy 6/13/16 11:38 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Mind over easy 6/13/16 11:48 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Stick Man 6/14/16 7:14 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? . Jake . 6/14/16 12:10 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? . Jake . 6/14/16 12:14 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Stick Man 6/15/16 3:28 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Noah 6/15/16 3:33 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Mind over easy 6/14/16 4:41 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Chris M 6/15/16 7:34 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? Stick Man 6/14/16 7:08 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? Stick Man 6/16/16 9:08 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? Mind over easy 6/16/16 6:25 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Stick Man 6/17/16 9:02 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? Mind over easy 6/17/16 5:32 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Stick Man 6/17/16 5:52 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Mind over easy 6/18/16 3:55 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? Stick Man 7/7/16 6:48 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Stick Man 6/17/16 9:26 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? Mind over easy 6/17/16 1:18 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Noah 6/14/16 2:13 AM
RE: Place or mind state ? Stirling Campbell 7/8/16 3:24 PM
RE: Place or mind state ? Banned For waht? 7/10/16 4:14 PM
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Stick Man, modified 6 Years ago at 6/8/16 7:21 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/8/16 7:21 AM

Place or mind state ?

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
The extended and transpersonal bliss of the A&P - why is it said to be impermanent, rather than something permanent that is visited temporarily ?

This particular experience seems to find a place of permanent but distant existance in many people's minds, calling it god, or great spirit, or a divine realm etc.

Why can't it be seen as a permanent or even eternal layer of the mind accessible to all - especially as it if felt to be all pervasive ?

Or is that in fact the buddhist view ?
neko, modified 6 Years ago at 6/8/16 9:03 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/8/16 9:03 AM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 756 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
John:
The extended and transpersonal bliss of the A&P - why is it said to be impermanent, rather than something permanent that is visited temporarily ?

What is the difference, in practice, between the two things? I suspect that there isn't one, and that your question is just a game of words ;) 
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Stirling Campbell, modified 6 Years ago at 6/8/16 10:37 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/8/16 10:37 AM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 605 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
I've only been looking at the "cycling" idea for not quite a year, but even looking back on things, all of the "A & P" events, or ones that I believe meet that criteria in a basic way, are significantly differently in content, tonality and flavor. I mean, what actions precipitate them, color them to be as they individually manifest, and what the hell do they mean, if anything? It IS interesting to wonder what makes them as they are, but as neko says, probably a bad idea to get too hung up on the questioning. Better, probably to just witness them as objectively as you can.
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Stick Man, modified 6 Years ago at 6/8/16 11:23 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/8/16 11:18 AM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
Well, for instance, the oceanic, ecstatic state that can be found in A&P, if it's taken to be impermanent then the temptation is to view it as a product of the individual mind - which leads to the conclusion that there are millions of oceanic experiences, with a seperate, fleeting ocean for each person - in which case it cases to really be an ocean - which goes against the direct transpersonal experience of it. That would be the position of neuroscientists who view it as an hallucination of the indivual's brain.

On the other hand if it's seen as one ocean then it could be said to be a permanent thing present in all times and places (disregarding things like long cosmic cycles ), which various people visit or even dwell in, or arise from - and that makes both the buddhist and neuroscientific views redundant, doesn't it - because those transpersonal realms are eternal rather than impermanent ?

If everything was impermanent, then super proificient meditators could one day find that they can't access all those different states they like to cycle through - because they disappeared - "where did my 4th Jhana go to, I can't find it any more ! ?"

I mean, they are sure spoken about as permanent things, nobody is saying "get to A&P as quick as you can because it's due to disappear by 2300AD" - except various types of New Agers.

Or have I got the wrong end of the stick here ?

What about those long cosmic cycles, and do we have a rough date for the disappearance of all these various things ?
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Chris M, modified 6 Years ago at 6/8/16 11:20 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/8/16 11:20 AM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 4417 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Switch ends of the stick.


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neko, modified 6 Years ago at 6/8/16 11:31 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/8/16 11:31 AM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 756 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
John:

"where did my 4th Jhana go to, I can't find it any more ! ?"

And then they will be wondering: Is it gone, or did we just misplace it? Does 4th jhana still exist even if no-one is in the forest to hear it fall? emoticon 
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Stick Man, modified 6 Years ago at 6/8/16 11:39 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/8/16 11:39 AM

RE: Place or mind state ?

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:-)

I need to take some time to read properly on buddhist cosmology, which is pretty interesting by the looks of it, and maybe then come back with hyper-caffeinated questions.

ta
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Chris M, modified 6 Years ago at 6/9/16 8:20 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/9/16 8:20 AM

RE: Place or mind state ?

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John, Buddhist cosmology is far more understandable as the instantiation of realizatons learned in meditation. It's not really very sensible (other than as a series of stories) otherwise. I would, in a most friendly way, urge you to practice - unlesss you just like the stories.


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Stick Man, modified 6 Years ago at 6/9/16 7:00 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/9/16 7:00 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
John, Buddhist cosmology is far more understandable as the instantiation of realizatons learned in meditation. It's not really very sensible (other than as a series of stories) otherwise. I would, in a most friendly way, urge you to practice - unlesss you just like the stories.


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..or would that be instantiations of my realizations ? That's quite a responsibility on my part, I'm not sure if I'm up to that :-)

So which came first, the meditator or the cosmos ?
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Chris M, modified 6 Years ago at 6/10/16 7:43 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/10/16 7:43 AM

RE: Place or mind state ?

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That's quite a responsibility on my part, I'm not sure if I'm up to that 

It's all about your mind, nothing else. You can do it.

So which came first, the meditator or the cosmos ?

Katz!


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Mind over easy, modified 6 Years ago at 6/12/16 12:22 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/12/16 12:14 AM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
I'll add my 2 cents and say, it is indeed just a transient experience that doesn't have roots in something that exists outside of your own perception, and speculating on whether or not it's some permanent place you're temporarily accessing is useless.

Food for thought: under the same logic, is the nana of 3 characteristics some permanent, distant realm that you happen to tap into sometimes, and in that realm, everybody's breathing is jerky and skin itches and everyone has a headache? Is the nana of disgust some permanent, distant realm where everyone is grossed out by their oily skin and painfully aware of their mouthbreathing and body odor? If the A&P gets to be its own special permanent realm, why not the nanas before and after it?

Sure, the A&P can be great and a cool mystical experience, but I feel as though you're giving preference to those sensations that exist in that particular transient experience. Why does this potentially blissful and compelling nana seem more permanent and objectively existing than any of the other ones? Just because it's a more blissful and compelling one? I'd say, don't worry about the ancient Buddhist dogma, which is often times allegorical rather than literal, and rather, investigate whether or not you have a preference for bliss over any other sensations occurring.

I hope that didn't sound harsh. But that's my opinion!


Edit:
This post was made in light of the fact that many people will continue to obsess about the experience of the A&P, to the detriment of their furthering sensate investigation. It feels compelling but it's a half-baked apple whiskey pie, with a bad hangover (the dark night), again, in my opinion. Seeing the transience of all mental states, emotions, and sensations, on the other hand, is the gift that keeps on giving, and also helps you get to the root of seeing for yourself what the A&P really is and what it consists of.
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Stick Man, modified 6 Years ago at 6/12/16 6:31 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/12/16 5:47 AM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
Well put.
Is the nana of disgust some permanent, distant realm where everyone is grossed out by their oily skin
But this is a personal centred thing, rather than a transpersonal one, arising feelings and thoughts rather than something to do with boundaries ?

But we likely have to interact with people who hold one opinion or another over whether what we experience is a realm or a state. Maybe even a teacher of either buddism or science - and they likely hold conflicting views over this. Which is OK if you can just take a practical attitude and ignore the question (if your society is one that grants that much freedom), and all the debates around it, in favour of just practice what you enjoy.  But what happens when you take your neuroscience exams and you decide the brain isn't causative of anything ?

Most scientists definitely think there is a place, out there somewhere, that is a realm rather than a state, and often refer to the experienced product of our senses as if it is a realm, rather than simply a brain state.

Also, if it is all brain state, then the atheists are right, and what awaits at death is the ultimate void and oblivion and end of suffering - forever. No more jhanas or formless realms or anything. In that case, why bother with finding it during life, why not just leave it in it's natural place, post mortem, and enjoy whatever you want regardless of dukkha etc ? After all even experienced meditators seem to be unable to avoid all that - dark nights etc.
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Chris M, modified 6 Years ago at 6/12/16 10:28 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/12/16 10:07 AM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 4417 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Also, if it is all brain state, then the atheists are right, and what awaits at death is the ultimate void and oblivion and end of suffering - forever. No more jhanas or formless realms or anything. In that case, why bother with finding it during life, why not just leave it in it's natural place, post mortem, and enjoy whatever you want regardless of dukkha etc ? After all even experienced meditators seem to be unable to avoid all that - dark nights etc.

There very well may be some realm "out there" that is "real," but we don't experience that. What we experience is always mediated by mind. There is simply no excape from this fact. Buddhist meditation doesn't address the potential external "reality" that we might assume is "out there" that science makes inferences about. It's about how mind drives perception and experience. So... since everything is mediated by mind meditation helps us understand how that process works, how mind builds every experience we have, nanosecond by nanosecond. If we pay enough dedicated attention to how the process of perception plays out then we can gain a level of wisdom that we would otherwise not have, and would be left with the ignorance of the assumption that we are experiencing something that is not mind.

There is no need for nihilism (nothing matters - do whatever you want), but there is a need for wisdom in the buddhist sense.
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Mind over easy, modified 6 Years ago at 6/12/16 2:41 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/12/16 2:40 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
John:
Is the nana of disgust some permanent, distant realm where everyone is grossed out by their oily skin
But this is a personal centred thing, rather than a transpersonal one, arising feelings and thoughts rather than something to do with boundaries ?

Again, why are you assuming that these negative or mundane experiences are personal centered things, while claiming the bliss and experience of the A&P is somehow transpersonal? I want to know your assumption or justification for this.


But we likely have to interact with people who hold one opinion or another over whether what we experience is a realm or a state. Maybe even a teacher of either buddism or science - and they likely hold conflicting views over this. Which is OK if you can just take a practical attitude and ignore the question (if your society is one that grants that much freedom), and all the debates around it, in favour of just practice what you enjoy.  But what happens when you take your neuroscience exams and you decide the brain isn't causative of anything ?

All good and fair, but in the spirit of practice, I'm pointing out that science doesn't equate to your own direct experience. For exmaple, the idea: I'm typing this message, but I can turn around. Science dictates that my computer is still behind me, but in my direct  experience, the computer does not exist whatsoever. I can know that my computer is still there when I turn around, but for the sake of understanding the nature of my experience (NOT ultimate reality or the ultimate state of things), I see that in that moment, the sensations of the computer do not exist. The whole premise of insight meditation requires you to put aside the notion of an objective reality that exists outside your perception, and asks you to instead focus on ONLY what you can perceive for yourself, to ONLY observe the sensations that are available to you in real-time. Not make assumptions about their existence, which again, is counterproductive to gaining enlightenment, if that is what you're after.


Most scientists definitely think there is a place, out there somewhere, that is a realm rather than a state, and often refer to the experienced product of our senses as if it is a realm, rather than simply a brain state.

I'd welcome some substantiation for this claim. I was under the impression that scientists believe that we're only experiencing the electro-chemical signals in our brains. Meaning, we can't directly experience or ever prove the reality that exists outside of us, because our experience is reliant upon our brain making sense of the senasations that the body receives. So what scientific basis for such a claim can exist? Science doesn't prove the existence of an objective reality, science makes observations and correlations. Correct me if I'm wrong, but science can never prove 100% causation. Science can only make strong correlations. In light of this, even if scientists strongly believe something, it is simply speculation. They can't prove that the A&P land exists. Where our experience is different though, is that we can see and know for ourselves in real-time that the sensations of the A&P are transient, impersonal, and don't lead to a permanent happiness. Many people here have seen that for themselves. I welcome you to do the experiment and see for yourself, rather than running in circles speculating about something that you can't ever prove with facts or science, but CAN disprove with your own awareness. 

Also, if it is all brain state, then the atheists are right, and what awaits at death is the ultimate void and oblivion and end of suffering - forever. No more jhanas or formless realms or anything. In that case, why bother with finding it during life, why not just leave it in it's natural place, post mortem, and enjoy whatever you want regardless of dukkha etc ? After all even experienced meditators seem to be unable to avoid all that - dark nights etc.

I can definitely empathize with you on this point. However, personally, I disagree. So what if when we die, it's all over? I speculate that when we die, it's all over and that there's nothing more for me. But why does that mean I shouldn't get enlightened and enjoy a higher quality of life? If I'm going to die, why should I go out of my way to develop recreational skill sets like painting or hiking? To me, it doesn't make sense to give up on pursuing things that make you happy or increase your quality of life, just because we'll die eventually. So why should things like accessing jhanas or getting enlightened and having a more stress-free and happy life be out of the question as well? Why not eliminate dukkha so that your precious little time on this Earth is the happiest and most peaceful it can be? They're just more transient huaman experiences that are possible. I think the notion of death being the supreme end is actually a great motivator to live life to its fullest and explore all the avenues that can bring joy, satisfaction and peace, not to ignore them because it'll all be wiped clean when we die. Why play a game of chess if all the pieces are just going to be wiped clean from the board? Why play an instrument if after you're done playing the music, the instrument goes silent? Furthermore, what you do with your life continues to affect the rest of the world, even after you die. Nihlism need not come with despair. The sounds that my piano keys produce when struck are all meaningless and arbitrary, yet I take great enjoyment in taking inherently meaningless sounds and arranging them in a way I find to be beautiful and significant. It doesn't matter to me if that significance is fake or arbitrary, because from a pragmatic perspective, I'm getting the most enjoyment out of an otherwise meaningless piece of wood and metal. We can't avoid or eliminate death, we can't avoid or eliminate negative feelings, so we do the best with what we have and what we can, with what is within our means. 


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Stick Man, modified 6 Years ago at 6/13/16 2:23 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/13/16 2:23 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
Mind over easy:
John:
Is the nana of disgust some permanent, distant realm where everyone is grossed out by their oily skin
But this is a personal centred thing, rather than a transpersonal one, arising feelings and thoughts rather than something to do with boundaries ?

Again, why are you assuming that these negative or mundane experiences are personal centered things, while claiming the bliss and experience of the A&P is somehow transpersonal? I want to know your assumption or justification for this.

Because it feels and looks transpersonal, whereas oily skin is of the body. Do all stages have to be of the same character - they are either all transpersonal or all personal ? Any state that has your own energy system as a character is plainly of the individual, as is anything to do with your own body.
Also, are not the disgust and fear nanas based on experience of the material world ?

Why is the material world held to be a permanent state, perceivable by all indivuals, when there is even less consistency as to how it is perceived than in those accessing higher more abstract states in which one person's experience is identical to another's ?

If the material world is solely an individual creation, of yours, then I should expect to be annihilated when you die, along with everything else. Your death will in fact be The Apocalypse. Have you got some bad news for me on this front ? emoticon

What is the difference between two empty boundless spaces with no location ? If there is no difference, then are they not one and the same ? There's no name tag in the bottom left corner of each separate boundless infinite space is there ?

But we likely have to interact with people who hold one opinion or another over whether what we experience is a realm or a state. Maybe even a teacher of either buddism or science - and they likely hold conflicting views over this. Which is OK if you can just take a practical attitude and ignore the question (if your society is one that grants that much freedom), and all the debates around it, in favour of just practice what you enjoy.  But what happens when you take your neuroscience exams and you decide the brain isn't causative of anything ?

All good and fair, but in the spirit of practice, I'm pointing out that science doesn't equate to your own direct experience. For exmaple, the idea: I'm typing this message, but I can turn around. Science dictates that my computer is still behind me, but in my direct  experience, the computer does not exist whatsoever. I can know that my computer is still there when I turn around, but for the sake of understanding the nature of my experience (NOT ultimate reality or the ultimate state of things), I see that in that moment, the sensations of the computer do not exist. The whole premise of insight meditation requires you to put aside the notion of an objective reality that exists outside your perception, and asks you to instead focus on ONLY what you can perceive for yourself, to ONLY observe the sensations that are available to you in real-time. Not make assumptions about their existence, which again, is counterproductive to gaining enlightenment, if that is what you're after.


Seems liek it doesn't really matter what I believe, then, whether they are states or realms, so I'm free to take them as states.

Most scientists definitely think there is a place, out there somewhere, that is a realm rather than a state, and often refer to the experienced product of our senses as if it is a realm, rather than simply a brain state.

I'd welcome some substantiation for this claim. I was under the impression that scientists believe that we're only experiencing the electro-chemical signals in our brains.

And they assume there is a causal material world out there, which they are constantly hunting for. Few scientists are materialists. I've done science at school and college, at no point did any textbook or tutor say the universe was all mental, and they couldn't care less about the Hard Problem.

Meaning, we can't directly experience or ever prove the reality that exists outside of us, because our experience is reliant upon our brain making sense of the senasations that the body receives. So what scientific basis for such a claim can exist? Science doesn't prove the existence of an objective reality, science makes observations and correlations. Correct me if I'm wrong, but science can never prove 100% causation. Science can only make strong correlations.

I tend to agree.

In light of this, even if scientists strongly believe something, it is simply speculation. They can't prove that the A&P land exists. Where our experience is different though, is that we can see and know for ourselves in real-time that the sensations of the A&P are transient, impersonal, and don't lead to a permanent happiness. Many people here have seen that for themselves. I welcome you to do the experiment and see for yourself, rather than running in circles speculating about something that you can't ever prove with facts or science, but CAN disprove with your own awareness. 


Also, if it is all brain state, then the atheists are right, and what awaits at death is the ultimate void and oblivion and end of suffering - forever. No more jhanas or formless realms or anything. In that case, why bother with finding it during life, why not just leave it in it's natural place, post mortem, and enjoy whatever you want regardless of dukkha etc ? After all even experienced meditators seem to be unable to avoid all that - dark nights etc.

I can definitely empathize with you on this point. However, personally, I disagree. So what if when we die, it's all over? I speculate that when we die, it's all over and that there's nothing more for me. But why does that mean I shouldn't get enlightened and enjoy a higher quality of life? If I'm going to die, why should I go out of my way to develop recreational skill sets like painting or hiking? To me, it doesn't make sense to give up on pursuing things that make you happy or increase your quality of life, just because we'll die eventually. So why should things like accessing jhanas or getting enlightened and having a more stress-free and happy life be out of the question as well? Why not eliminate dukkha so that your precious little time on this Earth is the happiest and most peaceful it can be? They're just more transient huaman experiences that are possible. I think the notion of death being the supreme end is actually a great motivator to live life to its fullest and explore all the avenues that can bring joy, satisfaction and peace, not to ignore them because it'll all be wiped clean when we die. Why play a game of chess if all the pieces are just going to be wiped clean from the board? Why play an instrument if after you're done playing the music, the instrument goes silent? Furthermore, what you do with your life continues to affect the rest of the world, even after you die. Nihlism need not come with despair. The sounds that my piano keys produce when struck are all meaningless and arbitrary, yet I take great enjoyment in taking inherently meaningless sounds and arranging them in a way I find to be beautiful and significant. It doesn't matter to me if that significance is fake or arbitrary, because from a pragmatic perspective, I'm getting the most enjoyment out of an otherwise meaningless piece of wood and metal. We can't avoid or eliminate death, we can't avoid or eliminate negative feelings, so we do the best with what we have and what we can, with what is within our means. 

I think there is some good sense there, thanks for the empathy. You have a good life lad.
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Stick Man, modified 6 Years ago at 6/13/16 2:25 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/13/16 2:25 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
Sorry about the quotes mess I'm not geek enough for this forum system.
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Chris M, modified 6 Years ago at 6/14/16 7:14 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/13/16 4:44 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 4417 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
And they assume there is a causal material world out there, which they are constantly hunting for. Few scientists are materialists. I've done science at school and college, at no point did any textbook or tutor say the universe was all mental, and they couldn't care less about the Hard Problem.


That's right. And I for one would never assert that the universe is "all mental." It's not make believe. It is, however, experienced only through the mind. Those scientists you mention would no doubt agree.


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Noah, modified 6 Years ago at 6/13/16 5:51 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/13/16 5:51 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 1467 Join Date: 7/6/13 Recent Posts
@OP/General Discussion:

The Buddha definitely had an answer to the topic being discussed: the question is irrelevant.  Aka, he considered it an imponderable (see "the four imponderables").  There is also a further, advisable step, which is to look at how the process of asking questions such as these, is intertwined with stress, before, during and after.  A helpful lens to take is to imagine being without the need to answer this question- perhaps one would feel lighter, more joyful??

P.s.- I'm not trying to passively dismiss the thread.  Its good to replace the energy being put into the question with another, more helpful and active process of questioning.
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Mind over easy, modified 6 Years ago at 6/13/16 6:54 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/13/16 6:54 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
I'll respond to your post a bit later when I have some more time. I'm enjoying the discussion though!

Just wanted to let you know that I'm also struggling with the forum. Trouble copying and pasting, trouble getting quotes to work right, trouble using a quote and then being able to respond outside of it, etc... very tough to get it to work the way I used to be able to. Maybe the new update will help this. 
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Stick Man, modified 6 Years ago at 6/13/16 7:19 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/13/16 7:11 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
Well, reading Leigh Brasington's book on Jhanas...
"Sometimes people want to make the immaterial states into an experience of tapping into an ontologically existent infinite space, infinite consciousness, realm of nothingness, and/or realm of neither perception nor nonperception. It's true that in later buddhism, there cam eto be the understanding that these states were a visit to 4 of the 31 realms of existence. and in pre-buddhist Brahmanism, tis seems to be the assumption, given the Buddha-to-be's comment in the Ariyapriyesana Sutta. But the early sutta understanding is not that these states corresponded to any ontologically existent realms - the buddha of the early suttas is portrayed as a phenomenologist, not a metaphysician.... He refused to give an answer to any of these questions, saying they were not conducive to Dhamma, not a way to embark on the holy life."

Thing is - it's too late, I've already asked the questions, and the old Buddha hasn't been around to give me a short cut by not thinking about it. If the universe is a product of my mind, then why can't I make time for myself for this ? After all, if only my consciousness is in charge, then there is no god or external buddha that can lay down the law and cut short the time I need for tooling around with such questions, or tell me I won't get enlightened if I don't do such and such or hold this or that opinion.

I know there is a radical sense of responsibility and self reflection that comes with that, that I created this story of the buddha as a way to lead back into myself - my own breadcrumb trail as it were, like an ourobouros I'm eating my own tail. But I get that with other teachings too - the uncanny sense of teaching myself, and all being a self reflection of my own self knowledge, that others telling me this or that wisdom are simply myself telling myself through another apparent mouth.

Crazy solipsim or wisdom ?
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Stick Man, modified 6 Years ago at 6/13/16 7:26 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/13/16 7:26 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
I've been reading books by John Lilly (explorer of isolation tanks) and he debated exactly the same thing with himself - is this all in his head or not ? He kind of couldn't decide either but thought they probably both worked practically the same way.
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Mind over easy, modified 6 Years ago at 6/13/16 11:38 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/13/16 11:37 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
My question is: why does it even matter? Sure, the speculation is fun, but presumably you're interested in getting enlightened, correct me if I'm wrong here. I feel like the pragmatic question is, what are you hoping to get from this line of inquiry?


You have the possibility that maybe you're right about that, which goes against the teachings of impermanence and no-self. On the other hand, you have the community of practitioners who are explaining how they got enlightened in plain-speak and explaining that observation of impermanence and no-self are the tools used to get enlightened, and the assumptions that one should make until one sees for theirself. But to follow the line of inquiry you're on and to justify it with ideas such as "it feels more transpersonal than other stuff" and "there are some sources out there that seem to agree with me", nurturing the idea in your head that there is something permanent and that there is some "you" to experience it, you're going against the grain of the whole premise of what you're supposed to investigate to get enlightened. Enlightenment isn't a game of speculation and philosophy, it's a practice of directly observing the sensations of your reality until you, like many others have done, can see for yourself that nothing is permanent, there is no "you", and that to assume otherwise provides the basis for a fundamental type of suffering.

So again, my question is: why does it even matter? The techniques to answer your question and disprove the existence of anything permanent and any "you" are available and being used and verified by many people, whereas the philosophical questions you're asking have never produced a solid answer. So what is even the point? What is there to gain? Why do you want to entertain this line of philosophy when there is a practice right under your nose that can lead you to your own direct knowledge of whether or not there is anything permanent?

Plenty of people spend all their time asking these questions and philosophising without ever cutting through to direct knowledge from perception of the sensory field. And I don't think it really does jack shit for them. They can spend their whole lives wondering, asking, running around in circles speculating and never getting an answer to it. To me, it's no different than hunting Santa down your whole life. You'll never find him, and I can't disprove his existence to you right now but it's still stupid to go looking for him. The difference between Santa and a permanent, objective reality of any sort anywhere, is that you can observe your perception and see that it's all just instant sensations, there then gone. Of course, you'd have to do the practice to see this for yourself. On the other hand, you can keep asking philosophical questions and remain in the dark to the obvious truth of sensate reality, which is right under your nose, and be satisfied to run circles with your mind.

Again, sorry if this seems harsh. I just truly and genuinely don't see what you'd have to gain from trying to answer unanswerable questions, but on the other hand, entertaining these ideas is just a roadblock to actually looking at your sensate world and just seeing for yourself whether or not there is anything at all that is permanent and if there is any "you" at all. 

So, from the philosophical point of view: Who really knows and who really could know?

From the pragmatic point of view: Why do you care and how will this help you get enlightened, if that is something you're still interested in doing?
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Mind over easy, modified 6 Years ago at 6/13/16 11:48 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/13/16 11:45 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
To me, trying to practice vipassana and entertaining the idea you're trying to entertain is like showing up to a NASA meeting to discuss methods to quantify the circumference of Earth, then speculating on whether or not Earth is flat. They truly seem incompatible to me. 

edit:

Again, I'm sorry if I'm coming off as harsh. To me, it's just in the spirit of this forum, which I see as a place where people are trying to work towards enlightenment, and encouraging the practices and discussions that actually lead to enlightenment. Not that I think it's wrong at all to be having this discussion! But in the spirit of practice and getting closer to enlightenment and actual realization about the truth of self and the nature of experience... I truly think it's a worthless debate in terms of how it could get you any closer to enlightenment.
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Noah, modified 6 Years ago at 6/14/16 2:13 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/14/16 2:13 AM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 1467 Join Date: 7/6/13 Recent Posts
John:
Thing is - it's too late, I've already asked the questions, and the old Buddha hasn't been around to give me a short cut by not thinking about it. If the universe is a product of my mind, then why can't I make time for myself for this ? After all, if only my consciousness is in charge, then there is no god or external buddha that can lay down the law and cut short the time I need for tooling around with such questions, or tell me I won't get enlightened if I don't do such and such or hold this or that opinion.

Blah blah blah.  I have been here many times brotha, and can relate to the energy your mind is expressing right now.  I think when the dust settles, you will find that there has been subtle tension in this inquiry the entire time.  Pragmatically, the point is that you will feel better if you are able to tolerate ambiguity.  A useful lens on Buddhist morality teachings which ask us to give things up (i.e. the imponderables) is that nothing is sacrificed without gaining some better feeling thing in return.

I wish you joy in stillness.
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Stick Man, modified 6 Years ago at 6/14/16 7:08 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/14/16 7:08 AM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
Mind over easy:
My question is: why does it even matter? Sure, the speculation is fun, but presumably you're interested in getting enlightened, correct me if I'm wrong here. I feel like the pragmatic question is, what are you hoping to get from this line of inquiry?

You have the possibility that maybe you're right about that, which goes against the teachings of impermanence and no-self. On the other hand, you have the community of practitioners who are explaining how they got enlightened in plain-speak and explaining that observation of impermanence and no-self are the tools used to get enlightened, and the assumptions that one should make until one sees for theirself. But to follow the line of inquiry you're on and to justify it with ideas such as "it feels more transpersonal than other stuff" and "there are some sources out there that seem to agree with me", nurturing the idea in your head that there is something permanent and that there is some "you" to experience it, you're going against the grain of the whole premise of what you're supposed to investigate to get enlightened. Enlightenment isn't a game of speculation and philosophy, it's a practice of directly observing the sensations of your reality until you, like many others have done, can see for yourself that nothing is permanent, there is no "you", and that to assume otherwise provides the basis for a fundamental type of suffering.

So again, my question is: why does it even matter?
Because I don't want to follow wrong teachings aiming at a wrong goal and say wrong things.


The techniques to answer your question and disprove the existence of anything permanent and any "you" are available and being used and verified by many people,
Do they answer the question ? That's a definitive statement, not the ignoring of the issue that the historical buddha professed and recommended.

whereas the philosophical questions you're asking have never produced a solid answer. So what is even the point? What is there to gain?
Then what's the point of anything ? It should be obvious what the point of questioning scriptural dogmas is.

Why do you want to entertain this line of philosophy when there is a practice right under your nose that can lead you to your own direct knowledge of whether or not there is anything permanent?
Because to decide it's a question not worth pursuing would be coming to a conclusion before the practice reveals it. That would be faith based dogma, not revelation via method. You are in short asking me to be dogmatic and faithful.

Plenty of people spend all their time asking these questions and philosophising without ever cutting through to direct knowledge from perception of the sensory field. And I don't think it really does jack shit for them. They can spend their whole lives wondering, asking, running around in circles speculating and never getting an answer to it. To me, it's no different than hunting Santa down your whole life. You'll never find him, and I can't disprove his existence to you right now but it's still stupid to go looking for him. The difference between Santa and a permanent, objective reality of any sort anywhere, is that you can observe your perception and see that it's all just instant sensations, there then gone. Of course, you'd have to do the practice to see this for yourself. On the other hand, you can keep asking philosophical questions and remain in the dark to the obvious truth of sensate reality, which is right under your nose, and be satisfied to run circles with your mind.

But again, just because you have an insight of impermance, doesn't mean you disregard the ongoing reality of this world you live in. Your house didn't suddenly dissapear did it ? You're not the only one looking at the sky are you ? It's definitely shared with other beings, and I don't see why the higher states cannot be too. And, of course, this world is impermanent long term, the Earth is slated for destruction in the future. Likewise this is supposed to be true for higher planes. So you get your shared realms AND impermanence. Win-win !

Again, sorry if this seems harsh. I just truly and genuinely don't see what you'd have to gain from trying to answer unanswerable questions, but on the other hand, entertaining these ideas is just a roadblock to actually looking at your sensate world and just seeing for yourself whether or not there is anything at all that is permanent and if there is any "you" at all. 

It would be harsh if I saw you as an authority, but you're just another human who doesn't have all the answers, like me and everyone else.


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Stick Man, modified 6 Years ago at 6/14/16 7:14 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/14/16 7:14 AM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
Mind over easy:
To me, trying to practice vipassana and entertaining the idea you're trying to entertain is like showing up to a NASA meeting to discuss methods to quantify the circumference of Earth, then speculating on whether or not Earth is flat. They truly seem incompatible to me. 

edit:

Again, I'm sorry if I'm coming off as harsh. To me, it's just in the spirit of this forum, which I see as a place where people are trying to work towards enlightenment, and encouraging the practices and discussions that actually lead to enlightenment. Not that I think it's wrong at all to be having this discussion! But in the spirit of practice and getting closer to enlightenment and actual realization about the truth of self and the nature of experience... I truly think it's a worthless debate in terms of how it could get you any closer to enlightenment.
Well, I don't know what the spirit of the forum is. I see that even the founder of it goes and experiment with Actual Freedom - and a whole load of other stuff, because the teachings of the buddha weren't enough ? Seems to me like there is a whole smorgasbord of stuff round here, and that is the point. I'm happy he did that, it illustrates that it's not absoute dogma that matters.
I guess you're heading towards squeezing me out because I don't tow a group line on dogma. I'll remember you with affection anyway emoticon
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Jake , modified 6 Years ago at 6/14/16 12:10 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/14/16 12:09 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 695 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
I'm pretty sure no one wants to squeeze you out.

In reading this thread (and I've not given it a ton of time because I'm at work, so I admit I skimmed a bit) the impression I'm getting is that you are trying to resolve a metaphysical question of dogma (is the world real or is it all in my head?) which several experienced and at least somewhat awakened meditators are telling you from their own experience (not dogma) is simply beside the point, if the point is awakening and liberation.

So what's the point? Honestly, pragmatically, we all act as if the world was more or less stable and shared and the other people we encounter have their own unique perspective on a basically shared world. This goes for coarse experiences like typing on a keyboard as well as subtler experiences like the nanas and jhanas. So we operate pragmatically on that assumption and it seems to matter little to awakening whether one believes this or is a solipsist since awakening isn't to do with getting the correct metaphysical/doctrinal beliefs but rather is to do with being attentive to the actual flow of experience, which can result in insights into the empty impermanent nature of experience, which can lead to profound changes in how experience feels and functions especially in the realm of identity (including identifying whether the world is real or just in my head.. ;) ).

In short, it looks like folks are advising you to just practice (sometimes) and keep practice (bare attentiveness to the sensate actuality of experiencing here and now) as segregated from metaphysical speculation as you can (which you can even do by invstigating the sensate actuality of speculative philosophizinh here and now when such phenomena are arising, rather than repressing such phenomena). Then when aving your morning coffee or walking around or whatever go ahead and wonder about the nature of things and what is really real. There's nothing wrong with that, there are even traditions in which such speculation/questioning when conducted with rigor and disciplne can be part of the process of awakening. Read different phiulosophers takes on these big questions, east and west, why not? That is totaly valid.

it's just that that is different from meditation (understood as attentiveness to the sensate actuality of experiencing).

And this forum is definitely more committed to supporting direct contemplative/meditative inquiry into the actual processes of experiencing than it is in any particular objects of experience or their metaphysical status. Does this make sense?

Hopefully you feel welcome here! And hopefully my post clarifies a bit for you what the culture of this community is about (primarily and ideally).You have actually gotten a lot of great feedback about meditation practice, what it takes, what it is, where it can take you. But if you are looking to settle points of metaphysical doctrine about the ontological status of the world, you will just get a bunch of opinions, and people may or may not agree with you.
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Jake , modified 6 Years ago at 6/14/16 12:14 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/14/16 12:14 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 695 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
One final point about the difference between philosophical positions and meditative insights: I have friends who hold very different metaphysical views than I do (or who would describe 'reality' in very different ways) yet who share similar if not identical phenomenological insights into experience which have resulted from similar meditative practices and lead to similar changes in our lives, sense of self, relationships, etc. So evidently we are talking about two different (even if, in some ways related) domains-- descriptions of reality vs transforming our baseline experience of things.
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Mind over easy, modified 6 Years ago at 6/14/16 4:41 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/14/16 4:41 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
I should clarify... I'm not trying to tell you shouldn't be here! I didn't want to make you feel unwelcome. I was just trying to give you my own opinion on what it is I feel the whole point of being here, which I believe is to get enlightened. And from the mouth of the Buddha, paraphrased, impermanence and lack of agency are the things to be observed in order to get enlightened. My personal opinion is that the questions you're asking, while not sinful or wrong to contemplate outside of the context of meditating and doing the practices that are said to lead to enlightenment, are actually an impediment to getting the thing done. 

You're worried about having wrong view, yet people have already pointed out that the question you're asking is an imponderable, according to the Buddha, an impediment to reaching enlightenment. I'm not trying to tell you what you have to do. I'm just giving my opinion on why your question is unanswerable and doesn't do anything for you in terms of actually making progress. You're free to question, I'm not at all saying that it isn't allowed. But I'm claiming the pragmatic thing to do is practice and see for yourself. The dogmatic thing to do is, well, speculate about the dogma and ask what dogma is ultimately correct, at the expense of doing a practice that can get the thing done (and provide a satisfactory answer or resolution to the questions you're asking).

Is your aim enlightenment? Given that there are plenty of people here doing it, getting it done, and providing many techniques that you can verify through your own practice, what is the pragmatic thing to do? The speculative armchair is fun to sit in, but to answer the questions you have and come to a point where you have the ability to answer these questions for yourself through direct experience. Is obsessing over the dogma of claims of others pragmatic? Is urging you to use well-tested and self-verifiable practices to get enlightened dogmatic? Perhaps everything I'm saying is B.S. but I don't really think so. But until you engage those practices and examine your own direct experience, all you can do is concern yourself with the dogma. And that is what I consider to be the very definition of being dogmatic.

I don't want you to feel unwelcome whatsoever. I just want to give my opinion. No one is trying to say we can't have this discussion. But I can still explain why I think it's not a productive line of inquiry. I respect you and your thoughts, I'm simply sharing my own.
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Chris M, modified 6 Years ago at 6/15/16 7:34 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/14/16 6:17 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 4417 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
But I can still explain why I think it's not a productive line of inquiry.

Okay, so the historical Buddha said this is not a worthwhile line of inquiry. I say he was off a bit on that. He did live, after all, in a time well before there was a popular, western materialist world view based on the scientific method. It IS a worthwhile line of inquiry because it stymies folks in their quest to understand spirituality and buddhism and how those things might relate to typical, pervasive western metaphysics. It's perfectly fine to ask or to debate whether or not there is a "real" world that is external, something that can be verified as being beyond human perception. It's perfectly fine to seek answers in both meditative and scientific realms, even simultaneously. One simply has to be able to have a little flexibility and be comfortable with some uncertainty.

Personally, as I have already stated, I beleive there actually is a real reality "out there" but that we cannot ever experience it directly. I did not always believe that but my meditation practice has caused me to realize that what I experience is mind mediated. It's not direct. I can't change that and neither can anyone else.
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Stick Man, modified 6 Years ago at 6/15/16 3:28 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/15/16 3:01 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
Brasington says the immaterial realms/5-8th jhanas might be later textual inserts from a different tradition with a different agenda. Clearly I need to have a look at buddhist texts a bit more. Do we know he really said it was an irrelevant question ?

Is it just these jhanas that are supposed to be isolated products of the individual mind, or all the other metaphysical realms too - the gods, hells, bardos &etc ?

If they have no existence other than the individual, then their only continuity is by cultural transmission, as fantasies, and all the teachings about negotiating and avoiding these are rendered obsolete just by not believing any of it, rather than by purification or skill. There would be no rebirth because there is no after death process - ony oblivion follows death - the Dawkins approach. And all those titles like once returner are pointless, because there is nowhere to return from.

I started meditation in a philosophy that's much more leaning towards separate eternal realms, but with methods pretty much the same as most buddhists, and with - as far as I can tell - results that can be placed on the Theravadan map as discussed here. So I know that practice and overarching philosophy are irrelevant bedfellows to some degree.

I know that people claim from texts that various kinds of reincarnation exist, as well as no reincarnation happens because there is no soul - the usual scriptural confusions..... I think I need to read a bit more about eastern philosophies.

Edit: the wikipedia entry on Anatta is the most confused thing I have ever read - it all just makes me want to sit down and watch my breath... emoticon
cheers.
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Noah, modified 6 Years ago at 6/15/16 3:33 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/15/16 3:33 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 1467 Join Date: 7/6/13 Recent Posts
John:
Edit: the wikipedia entry on Anatta is the most confused thing I have ever read - it all just makes me want to sit down and watch my breath... emoticon
cheers.

Victory to stillness!  *applause*
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Stick Man, modified 6 Years ago at 6/16/16 9:08 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/16/16 9:02 AM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
"presumably you're interested in getting enlightened, correct me if I'm wrong here."

To investigate, because I don't hold any single picture of enlightenment to be the correct one, and there is a role for rational analysis. I think most people are not purely investigating, but hold a hope that things will turn out to be exactly as Buddha reported them to be regardless of whether it makes sense or not. I get that meditation should abandon rationality, going places where thinking can't go. But abandoning thinking altogether just because something is tricky isn't just dedication to meditation, it can also be cop out, fear or laziness.
That's a massive accusatory finger! emoticon hehehe. You get the point I'm making, though, I'm sure, because we know there are millions of people stuck in all sorts of crap groups, or winding up doing all sorts of dumb things because they lose confidence in thinking when they really should have a good think about what they're doing. Points at self... emoticon

Talking of pointing at self - I pointed to a lamp post, and suggested to a muslim man I was chatting with that sometimes the sense of self can be malleable enough to make the lamp post into me - as part of a spiel about sufism that he should think about.

The look of confused horror on his face.....
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Mind over easy, modified 6 Years ago at 6/16/16 6:25 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/16/16 5:51 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
First off, I don't view Buddhism as the ultimate standard of truth and the ultimate guide to getting enlightened. I think the Buddha was a pragmatist. When talking to people from Vedic traditions and mindsets, he framed teaching in terms of Vedic ideas that they would be able to relate to (reincarnation, heavens and hells, etc.), but in other places, refutes the idea of there being any self, thereby contradicting himself. But I think the context is important. He wasn't dropping the full dharma-bomb on everyone, as some people were probably not inclined to receive his teachings in a form that were completely divorced from their previous Vedic beliefs. This is similar to Jesus, who often taught his message in a way that was friendly and compatible with the Old Testament, though it was clear that Jesus was refuting much of what those old scriptures and teachings contained. We can conclude that Buddha either contradicted himself, or that he was confused himself/changed his positions and beliefs, or that he was framing his teachings in a different way depending on the audience. I find the latter to be the most likely. 

I'm not suggesting Buddha as the ultimate authority. It really doesn't make much of a difference to me, as I don't even know the language his teachings are recorded in, and we're relying on the translations of scholars, some who never practiced and only had a theoretical understanding of his teachings, and by transmission of information, from thousands of years back. Talk about a long game of telephone. Some people will hold the word of the Buddhist scriptures as absolute truth. Some of these people have attained enlightenment, many have not. Most people will suggest using the tools and pointers in the Buddhist scriptures as just that, tools and pointers to do the experiment and see for yourself. 

I disagree that meditation should abandon rationality. I think the premise of the meditation that is commonly talked about here, usually some form of insight meditation, is quite rational in it's basic form: look directly at your experience in meditation, and try to discern what is actually happening in the field of experience. Many people have come to the conclusion that there is no separate self or agent, and that all sensations are ephermal, impermanent, fleeting. This has been my own experience as well, with my limited success. No one is asking you to believe these things, or to put your own rational investigation aside forever. The thing that is being suggested is: during meditation (!), the point is to be observing sensations and to be looking to find out the truth of those sensations, find out how your reality functions, and see for yourself where this experiment can take you and what you can learn from it. 
But abandoning thinking altogether just because something is tricky isn't just dedication to meditation, it can also be cop out, fear or laziness. 
That's a massive accusatory finger! 

The practice of meditation itself, during the sits and practice times, should absolutely abandon thinking as a vessel, because the technique itself requires 100% dedication to being aware of your sensory experience and trying to observe the truth of it. I'm not saying you should be a mindless non-thinker 24/7, or that thinking and speculating outside of the context of meditation is bad. But from a pragmatic perspective, yes, during practice, you have to put aside the process of thinking, not because it's inherently bad or someone said you can't do so, but simply because during that time, the whole point is to give yourself completely to the task at hand: observing the sensations of your experience and discerning what is actually going on with them. Of course, this is just one method of practice, but you'll get an abundance of confirmation on the point of: during meditation, you shouldn't be caught up in thinking and ideas. You should be observing everything dispassionately, not trying to force your mind to do anything but the task at hand: observing sensations. You can speculate all you want, but the time to do so isn't during meditation, at least, not if you want to be scientific and perform the experiment in the way that it has been done before to produce the results many people report getting.

Again, I'm not trying to attack you and you're a free person who can do whatever you want. All I'm saying is:

1. The points I'm making are based on the premise that you can get enlightened, and that you don't have to rely on your own conceptions about the universe or what any historical or modern figure has to say about ultimate reality to do so,

2. there is a specific way to meditate which many people can confirm (in plain English and modern day terminology) will reliably and fairly reproducibly lead to enlightenment, if done following the instructions,

3. The questions you're asking, while not wrong or illegal to think or ask about, are, in mine and many other people's opinion, counterproductive to being able to progress towards enlightenment, particularly during a meditation sit


You've crossed the A&P, and in mine and many other's experience, dissolution and the dark night lie ahead, which, with dedicated practice and diligence, could be a cake walk, but are also detrimental and damning for others. Many people, after crossing the A&P, get caught up in philosophies, preoccupations with what reality is, preoccupations with experiences during the A&P, the sense that the truth was there in the A&P, the sense that the A&P is in some way special or transpersonal. None of these things are illegal, banned, or inherently wrong. But from a pragmatic view, if you view your experience in terms of the A&P, why would you get caught up in trying to intellectually determine the truth of these questions at this point rather than continue the push to Stream Entry and beyond, where many people including myself are saying you can have a better and satisfying resolution to your questions? And risking being a chronic dark night yogi until you finally get over the internal dialogue and make some actual, direct experience progress? 
To investigate, because I don't hold any single picture of enlightenment to be the correct one, and there is a role for rational analysis. I think most people are not purely investigating, but hold a hope that things will turn out to be exactly as Buddha reported them to be regardless of whether it makes sense or not.

Careful, this is an assumption and you putting words in people's mouths. It may seem that way to you, and it may or may not be true for some. But you certainly aren't speaking for me here. Asides that, pure investigation applies to everything, all thoughts, all emotions, all ideas, all concepts, all experiences. They can all be observed dispassionately. To have a thought does not preclude investigating that thought without holding it to be truth. Thoughts are fleeting and don't represent the ultimate truth of who someone is. On the other hand, to let thoughts prevent one from dispassionate observation, now that is where pure investigation is dammed. Does that distinction make sense? Dispassionate and thorough sensory investigation can and should be applied to everything in experience, including thoughts and hopes. But when thoughts and hopes prevent someone from dispassionately observing the nature of the sensations that make up those thoughts, then progress is prevented. I don't know what your practice is, but that's basically the whole crux of why I want to be part of this discussion.

I don't knw what your practice is or what your ultimate aim is, but if your aim is to make progress towards enlightenment, I'm just urging you, ask yourself honestly if you're holding onto your thoughts and refusing to dispassionately and rigorously investigate what they consist of because you're holding out for them to be true. Your thoughts and feelings may or may not correspond to what reality is. But reality isn't going to change, and the nature of what makes up your experience won't change. By dilligently, dispassionately, and rigorously observing the sensations of all your thoughts and feelings, no matter what they are, you can KNOW for yourself, actually SEE for yourself whether or not there is anything you can call "you", or whether or not there is anything that permanently exists, anything you can see that doesn't change from moment to moment. The answers for your questions about self and ultimate reality are directly dealt with by direct knowledge through direct observation of your sensate reality.


You can speculate and think and question and maybe all these things are healthier than I give them credit for. But the moment you hold onto a notion, a thought, an emotion, or an experience, favoring these things over direct observation of sensations, you're, in my humble but confident opinion, damming yourself from progress, and ironically, damming yourself from ever getting the chance to get a satisfying and doubtless understanding to the questions you're asking, and preventing yourself from experiencing the benefits that not only the Buddha, but many normal, modern-day humans are reporting from enlightenment. No one needs to be ultimately right or wrong about what reality is, but the pragmatic point is: enlightenment is an experiment being performed today, and many people are corraborating the reported results of the experiment. Be speculative and skeptical and hypothesize all you want, but what I'm recommending as a fellow meditator, human, and curious person is: do the experiment and see it out all the way to the end, if you want to see the results of that experiment and agree/disagree with the results and conclusions others have come to. Otherwise, you're just stuck in the speculative phase, which while not inherently evil, illegal, or wrong, is simply not the end of the experiment, and prevents you from truly coming to your own satisfactory conclusions.
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Stick Man, modified 6 Years ago at 6/17/16 9:02 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/17/16 8:43 AM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
"But from a pragmatic perspective, yes, during practice, you have to put aside the process of thinking"

What about thoughts like - "I will now move to 4th jhana", or, "I will now stop concentrating and move to insight so that I can move towards the great goal"?

How does one move from thoughtless absorption to thoughtful insight practice without a thoughtful intent appearing as if from nowhere ?

How does one decide to do that, if one has just quietened the decider ?

And if the decider was put on hold for a while, what is putting it on hold but your mind - which must have been active all the time - keeping track of what's happenning, when you thought it was inactive ?
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Stick Man, modified 6 Years ago at 6/17/16 9:26 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/17/16 9:26 AM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
So, does it matter what your world view is, as long as you see it in the correct way and appreciate impermanence ?
You could believe that you are The Great Wahooni, with simultaneous existence in twenty different planes and forty universes at once, with one hundred different energy bodies two hundred chakras - and as long as you saw your impermanance and emptiness, and didn't waste time questioning your Great Wahoonie status - you would be enlightened ?

Isn't it possible that lots of people say they are this that or the other, and are held to be unenlightened by buddhists, but they actually are because they perceive their own nonsense in an enlightened way  - but never say they do ?

Why would the fully enlightened have to be honest and publicly announced ?
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Mind over easy, modified 6 Years ago at 6/17/16 1:18 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/17/16 1:18 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
I'll admit that I'm not interested in this discussion much further, because it seems like you're not interested in a premise by premise discussion of the points I made, instead choosing very small bits of my message to respond to and then proceeding to ask thousands of speculative questions, most all concerning dogma, and refusing to address my criticism of why they are just that, dogmatic and irrelevant questions in terms of actually making progress.

1. You can't possibly know what enlightenment is or does before it happens to you, you're just speculating and trusting on the words of others. So, naturally, I suggest: go do it on your own and just find out for yourself.

2. Thoughts and ideas are not bad, but thoughts, ideas, emotions, hearing, seeing, smelling, EVERYTHING must be analyzed and scrutinized in terms of sensations, what is happening in perception. 

3. I'm not saying that everything you think is true or everything you think is false, it does not matter. You observe the sensations of your experience until it becomes clear what their nature is. Whether or not you believe whatever thing is irrelevant to the practice. But...

4. What is relevant to the practice is deciding that while you are doing insight meditation, you don't hold on to metaphysical or dogmatic ideas about the truth value of anything. You don't have to give them up forever or believe in anything. The point is simply that while you're doing insight meditation, the point is to 100% do the technique. If you have thoughts, rather than hold them to be truth, you analyze them too, in terms of their sensations. This includes intentions such as "I will enter X'th jhana" and thoughts such as "I'm permanent" or "there is a permanent jhana-land out there". Thoughts still occur; you don't decide what you believe when you meditate: you just impartially examine the sensations that make up those thoughts. 


The meditation that leads to enlightenment is not an armchair speculative or philosophical sport of deciding what dogma you believe in. Do the practice of impartially observing all sensations in your awareness and set aside your worry about what is true and false. You don't lose yourself by setting those things aside for a second.

If you want to continue this discussion, so we can better decide on "we just disagree on this" or whatever, rather than come up with new questions, as you've brought up more than I can possibly address, let's do it in a premise-based way. 

1. Do you want to get enlightened, and if so:

2. How do you plan on getting enlightened

3. What is your meditation technique (or what are your techniques)

4. What do you hope to attain, meditation-wise? What are your goals?

5. Do you believe that the many reports of people doing insight meditation and getting enlightened are true?  Do you believe enlightenment exists?

6. If you don't, are you willing to do insight meditation?

Revving the wheels and burning rubber is fun but I tend to think towards real progress and pragmatic steps I can take to make progress happen and satisfy my own curiosities. So if you want to continue this discussion, please answer these questions so we can at least come to some common ground, and have the chance to say, "I think you're wrong" or "we're not even looking for the same thing" or "our premises are different". Otherwise we're just going to continue to have a useless discussion where I suggest pragmatic approaches to getting closer to enlightenment, and you ignore them and pump out infinite dogma questions instead.
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Mind over easy, modified 6 Years ago at 6/17/16 5:32 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/17/16 1:27 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
When I said put aside the process of thinking, I really should have said- put aside the process of making assumptions about truth values. Your point about the intent to do practice related stuff is valid. Sorry and I hope that it's more clear what I meant. 


Edit: I should apologize for seeming so reactive and emotional about this conversation. To tell you a little about myself and to put my desire to voice my opinion on the matter... The first time I crossed the A&P, it was like a whole new spiritual world was available to me, and as Daniel Ingram said often happens, my ability to "philosophise" went through the roof. I was like a madman; I felt like suddenly I understood everything, and my slightly manic state led me to come off as a bit insane to a lot of people. I engaged people in my daily life in a way that was uncomfortable to them and made an impression of myself based on a very temporary and exhalted, mania-like state. And I was embarrassed for doing so, but moreso, my ruminations and flights of fancy with hyper-philosophising were not only a cause of subtle stress and tension, but most importantly, acted as an impediment to continuing on the path of insight. I later went on to attain stream entry, where a lot of the ideas and problems in my thoughts and reasoning were clarified and put to rest, in a really great way that made life much better and clearer. I'm not saying you shouldn't be free to propose your ideas here, and I ought to say again, feel completely free to do so! You are a free person and this is a pretty cool and understanding community for the most part. Sorry I'm being a hard-ass. I'm kind of just trying to convey to you what I feel would have helped me save face in my personal life and make progress with more dilligence. I don't claim to know you and where you're at, besides knowing that it seems you've crossed the A&P and are experiencing some of the classic symptoms of doing so. For me, the dark night was a serious kick in the ass and fucked up my life in a lot of ways, and had I simply been dilligent and continued practicing within the instructions I had, I could have more smoothly gotten through the insane high that the A&P was and the insane low that the dark night was. This was just my experience though, and I'm not saying that it has to directly apply to you. There are patterns though, that seem decently consistent when one engages in insight practice. Consistent enough to be a working model for self-diagnosis and healthy self-guidance through the progress of insight. So don't take it personally if I'm seeming really vocal or like a negative nancy. This is just my opinion on the matter, and you are absolutely free to have your own opinions, thoughts, and ideas, and I fully respect you as a human being to express those things. 
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Stick Man, modified 6 Years ago at 6/17/16 5:52 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/17/16 5:52 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
Well, actually I feel honoured that you say those things to me.
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Mind over easy, modified 6 Years ago at 6/18/16 3:55 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/18/16 3:55 AM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
Hey, no problem, man! emoticon

I don't mean to come off as authoritarian either. I don't really claim to have the answers to what is right and wrong and what's true or not true, in the end. I only have my limited perspective and experiences, and I'm just one person out there. Take it all with a grain of salt!
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Stick Man, modified 5 Years ago at 7/7/16 6:48 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 7/7/16 6:40 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 396 Join Date: 9/23/14 Recent Posts
Still fairly stuck on this, probably a hang over from the Barry Long teaching, in which it was important to view - for example - the black space seen with closed eyes as the eternal mind which is common to all beings - and identical with the emptiness of outer space. A unity of inner and outer.

I would have thought that to deny that sort of unity was to ruin any outlook of buddhism that holds being and consciousness to be One. By which I mean that if you practicing as a buddhist then you will end up experienceing inner and outer space as one anyway, just as Long said, so what's the difference ? Why deny what seems to be direct experience ? I do find the ambiguity held by buddhists towards this interetsing, though I can see the practical aspect of being non-commital about it, I think.

Looking at the theravada map there are a whole range of states in which there is just One intellect or being - so I don't see any conflict between what Long said and what is standard for the folks here. So I wonder at what point the Long map, and the one that is being developed by y'all, part company ? What is the limit of Long that stopped him from full realisation - or were the buddhists and Long saying the same things just in different ways and I don't recognise it ?

yeah ... I know... speculation...  impractical... emoticon

But I would like to make a comparison if someone could show where they think he was at on the path - his books had some explicit diagrams of his map, which I could stick online.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 5 Years ago at 7/8/16 3:24 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 7/8/16 3:24 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 605 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
 If the universe is a product of my mind, then why can't I make time for myself for this ? After all, if only my consciousness is in charge, then there is no god or external buddha that can lay down the law and cut short the time I need for tooling around with such questions, or tell me I won't get enlightened if I don't do such and such or hold this or that opinion.

It's not YOUR consciousness. YOU aren't creating anything. There IS no you. emoticon

You'd be better off asking who "you" are than going down this rabbit hole. It will answer both of these questions.
Banned For waht?, modified 5 Years ago at 7/10/16 4:14 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 7/10/16 4:14 PM

RE: Place or mind state ?

Posts: 500 Join Date: 7/14/13 Recent Posts
you need ap, to become introspective. Till you found things again interesting around you, like nature. and then you will have ap again.