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Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass

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Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Chuck Kasmire 6/23/16 2:21 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Nicky 6/23/16 7:09 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Nicky 6/23/16 7:11 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Nicky 6/24/16 4:11 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Chuck Kasmire 7/13/16 6:05 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass svmonk 7/13/16 9:36 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Chuck Kasmire 7/14/16 12:51 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass David S 7/15/16 11:28 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Nicky 7/16/16 4:07 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Chuck Kasmire 7/16/16 11:19 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass David S 7/16/16 8:10 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass svmonk 7/14/16 10:07 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Chuck Kasmire 7/17/16 11:10 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass . Jake . 7/18/16 1:20 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass svmonk 7/18/16 9:00 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass . Jake . 7/19/16 11:45 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Chuck Kasmire 7/19/16 2:43 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass svmonk 7/19/16 11:33 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass David S 7/21/16 3:31 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Noah 7/21/16 10:35 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Nicky 7/22/16 6:04 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Chuck Kasmire 7/19/16 1:00 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass svmonk 7/19/16 11:17 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Chuck Kasmire 7/24/16 11:40 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass svmonk 7/25/16 8:41 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Nicky 7/16/16 3:39 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass David S 7/14/16 10:35 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass David S 7/14/16 11:16 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Chuck Kasmire 7/14/16 12:47 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass svmonk 7/14/16 9:49 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Nicky 7/17/16 12:27 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Daniel M. Ingram 7/16/16 4:03 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass David S 7/16/16 8:05 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Nicky 7/17/16 12:46 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Nicky 7/17/16 12:41 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass David S 7/21/16 3:28 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Nicky 7/22/16 5:09 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass David S 7/22/16 1:42 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Nicky 7/22/16 11:18 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Nicky 7/22/16 11:20 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass David S 7/23/16 12:52 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Nicky 7/23/16 4:06 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass David S 7/23/16 8:12 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass David S 7/22/16 11:18 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Nicky 7/22/16 11:25 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Chuck Kasmire 7/16/16 11:22 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass svmonk 7/17/16 8:36 PM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass CJMacie 7/16/16 7:41 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Banned For waht? 7/16/16 9:17 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass bernd the broter 7/18/16 10:39 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Nicky 7/16/16 4:03 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass David S 7/16/16 10:28 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Nicky 7/16/16 4:01 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Nicky 6/24/16 4:31 AM
RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass Nicky 6/24/16 5:15 AM
I have been reading some of this fellows(biography) articles and wanted to pass on some links to some of them.

Buddha’s Meditaton and its Variants” (2011). A daunting plethora of modern Buddhist meditation techniques has proved itself a source of bewilderment, doubt and contention.


Name and Form:  nāmarūpa in the suttas (pdf)
Abstract.
Name-and-form (Pali, nāmarūpa) is, according to what you are about to read, the richest part of experience. It is the subjective experience that plays out in each of the five material senses: for instance, that which appears as patterns of shapes and colors on the retina, as sound vibrations on the eardrum, as an aroma in the nose, as a stimulations on the tongue, or as local sensations anywhere in the body. It spans physical sensation and percept.

Name-and-form is further extended by consciousness, which locates the percepts as objects, typically giving them ontological status out there in the real world and establishing identities with previously encountered objects. In relation to consciousness, name-and-form designates of what is “out there.” Many consequences arise from the interplay of consciousness and name-
and-form.

This cognitive account is throughout motivated from earliest scriptural sources, the
nikāyas/āgamas. It is argued that the biological interpretation of name-and-form common in
later schools is derivative from the early understanding. The implications for meditation
practice are also reviewed

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
6/23/16 7:09 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
The bhikkhu is lost in the Brahministic meaning of 'nama-rupa' rather than the Buddhist meaning. 

The verse: "Where name-and-form as well as sense and designation are completely cut off, it is there that the tangle gets snapped” (SN 7.6) was spoken to a Brahman that had no knowledge of the Buddhist teachings thus 'nama-rupa' here retains its Brahmanistic meaning. 

In Buddhism (rather than in Brahmanistic creationism), the "tangle is cut-off" by ending craving, as taught in the 1st & 2nd sermons of the Buddha. 

The Great Causation (Mahānidāna) Sutta (DN 15) is another sutta that is not reflective of the Buddhist teachings but is part of a series of suttas obviously composed for propagation to Brahmans (at a time after the death of the Buddha). Numerous aspects of DN 15 contradict the scores of other suttas about Dependent Origination. 

To translate it more literally as the Brahmanistic 'name-and-form' rather than the Buddhist 'mind-and-body' or 'mentality-materiality' shows a disposition towards Brahmanism (creationism) rather than towards Buddhism (naturalism). 

By defining nama-rupa as 'mind-body', the Buddha debunked this central creationist idea of the Brahmanism religion. 

Nama-rupa is not mentioned in the first two sermons of the Buddha, which is why nama-rupa is not related to suffering or enlightenment. 

Yet the bhikkhu is emphasising the Brahmanistic creationist meaning, which is contrary to Buddhism. 


emoticon I love Brahma emoticon

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
6/23/16 7:11 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
The following is an illogical mistranslation:

So, there is this body and external name-and-form: thus this dyad. Dependent on this dyad there is contact. There are just six sense spheres, contacted through which – or through a certain one among them – the fool experiences pleasure and pain. (SN 12.19)

If name-form were "external", then what is the "subjective" internal (creationist) activity the bhikkhu keeps referring to as "name-form"? 

If there was a dyad of "this body and external name-and-form", how can a physical body by itself (without consciousness) experience sense contact? 

The proper translation of this verse as as follows:

So, there is this group ('kaya'; namely, the five aggregates) and external minds-and-bodies: thus this dyad. Dependent on this dyad there is contact. There are just six sense spheres, contacted through which – or through a certain one among them – the fool experiences pleasure and pain. (SN 12.19) 

The Pali word 'kaya', such as in the terms 'sakkaya' or 'Nikaya' means 'collection' or 'group'. In the context of SN 12.19, it refers to the five aggregates. 

Thus there is the (internal) five aggregates of "the fool" that has sense contact with the external bodies & minds of other people. The external experience here is not of the external five aggregates of other people (or things) since one 'person' cannot experience the consciousness of an external person. One person can only experience the outwards manifestations of another's body & mentality, such as when another person is angry at them or threatens them with physical violence or makes physically lustful advances towards them. 

The terms "internal" & "external" are found in MN 148 and don't mean what Bhikkhu Cintita is inferring. 

The Blessed One said: The six internal media should be known. The six external media should be known.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
6/24/16 4:11 AM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
More strange things:

(21) “What, bhikkhus, is old karma? The eye is old karma, to be regarded as fabricated (abhisaṅkhata) and planned by volition, as something to be perceived.” (SN 35.146) The same passage is then repeated substituting ear, nose, tongue, body and mind for eye. Now, if kamma is intentional action to which we are heir, old karma must be our inheritance, conditioned. 

The sutta does not state this. The sutta states: "The eye ought to be regarded as old kamma; something than can be conditioned & subjected to volition". 

What this means is the noble practitioner should not trace back to the past to old kamma & the present moment sense organs ought to be regarded as the 'oldest kamma', which can be conditioned (by ignorant mentality) in the present. 

Yet the bhikkhu appears to claim this verse is about reincarnation. emoticon

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
6/24/16 4:31 AM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Abstract. Name-and-form (Pali, nāmarūpa) is, according to what you are about to read, the richest part of experience. It is the subjective experience that plays out in each of the five material senses: for instance, that which appears as patterns of shapes and colors on the retina, as sound vibrations on the eardrum, as an aroma in the nose, as a stimulations on the tongue, or as local sensations anywhere in the body. It spans physical sensation and percept. Name-and-form is further extended by consciousness, which locates the percepts as objects, typically giving them ontological status out there in the real world and establishing identities with previously encountered objects. In relation to consciousness, name-and-form designates of what is “out there.” Many consequences arise from the interplay of consciousness and nameand-form. This cognitive account is throughout motivated from earliest scriptural sources, the nikāyas/āgamas. It is argued that the biological interpretation of name-and-form common in later schools is derivative from the early understanding. The implications for meditation practice are also reviewed.

Without commenting on its correctness in terms of cognitive science, the above abstract is unrelated to Buddhism since it is unrelated to suffering since the Buddha he only teaches about suffering & freedom from suffering (MN 22). The Buddha, i.e., in the enlightened state of Nibbana, still experiences vibrations on the eardrums, etc. 

As for the term 'identities', this does not correlate with the scriptures since the scriptures never state 'identity' or 'self' occurs at nama-rupa. The scriptures only state that one level (there are many levels) of feeling, perception, intention, contact & attention occurs at nama-rupa.  To believe 'identity' or 'naming' occurs with nama-rupa is Brahmanistic creationism. To quote the essay:
The expression name-and-form (nāma-rūpa) seems to have a pre-Buddhist origin in the Ṛg Veda and in the early Upaniṣads, and specifically in the brahmanic jātakarman ceremony, in which a father gives a name to his newly born son. Here form represents the outward appearance of the son, and name the father's designation for his son

The Pali scriptures state suffering can be cut after sense contact at craving. Since nama-rupa occurs before craving in the Dependent Origination sequence, it makes no sense to place 'identity' at nama-rupa. This would make the Buddha's teachings about ending craving invalid & ineffective. 

Nama-rupa can exist either polluted with the ignorant tendency towards becoming (identity) or exist without it. Identity is not related to nama-rupa. The scriptures state: 

The craving that makes new becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming: This, friend Visakha, is the origination of self-identification described by the Blessed One. MN 44

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
6/24/16 5:15 AM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
A primary reason for the phenomenological perspective is that the human condition arises in and through experience. The Buddha's interest lies fundamentally in epistemology, how we think we know what we do, rather than in ontology, what actually exists in the world....it is for the elements of experience that we develop mindfulness, it is the elements of experience that we examine with clear comprehension and into which we develop insight or see as they really are....the main principle to keep in mind in the phenomenological perspective is that the world “out there” – assuming it exists at all, which we can assume, but cannot prove – is beyond direct experience. When we think we see something “out there,” a cow, for instance, our experience is name-and-form, something more akin to an internal image

this is troublesome, which is a problem when Western philosophy is used as a benchmark for discussing Buddhism, as though Western philosophy is superior to Buddhism. 

1. if Buddhism was not about 'ontology;, i.e., what actually exists in the world "out there", how can we "see things as they really are"? "Things as they really are" must have an objective or ontological basis. To see experience as 'phenomenological' is not what 'seeing as they really is' is about. 'Phenomology' is not reality or how things really are. 

2. In Buddhism, the term "see things as they really are" refers to seeing things have the inherent characteristics of impermanent, unsatisfactory & not-self. These three characteristics the Pali scriptures state exist inherently & ontologically, even when they are not phenomenologically experienced (such as when no Buddha has appeared in the world) 

3. Again, the bhikkhu is explaining Brahmanist 'creationism' or 'subjective phenomology', as though the human mind is a 'creator god'.  

emoticon

Ontology

Monks, whether or not there is the arising of Tathagatas, this property stands — this steadfastness of the Dhamma, this orderliness of the Dhamma: All processes are inconstant. All processes are unsatisfactory. All phenomena are not-self. The Tathagata directly awakens to that, breaks through to that. Directly awakening & breaking through to that, he declares it, teaches it, describes it, sets it forth. He reveals it, explains it & makes it plain.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.134.than.html



Phenomology

'I, monk, am Brahma, the Great Brahma, the Conqueror, the Unconquered, the All-Seeing, All-Powerful, the Sovereign Lord, the Maker, Creator, Chief, Appointer and Ruler, Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be.'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.11.0.than.html


In the beginning, when God created the universe, the earth was formless and desolate. The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the Spirit of God was moving over the water. Then God commanded, “Let there be light”—and light appeared. God was pleased with what he saw. Then he separated the light from the darkness, and he named the light “Day” and the darkness “Night.” Evening passed and morning came—that was the first day.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+1


RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/13/16 6:05 PM as a reply to Nicky.
I found his series on nama-rupa very well done. His inclusion of how this relates to practice is uncommon in such discussions.

Nicky: The verse: "Where name-and-form as well as sense and designation are completely cut off, it is there that the tangle gets snapped” (SN 7.6) was spoken to a Brahman that had no knowledge of the Buddhist teachings thus 'nama-rupa' here retains its Brahmanistic meaning.

I don’t see anything in SN 7.6 indicating that this Brahman had no knowledge of Buddhism.  To conclude that a Brahman could not understand the Buddha simply because they are of a certain class is similar to saying a minister or priest can have no knowledge of psychology or medicine. The fact that he is carrying on a conversation with the Buddha and subsequently ordains suggests that he had some knowledge of the Buddha before hand and was open to what he had to say.

Nicky: In Buddhism (rather than in Brahmanistic creationism), the "tangle is cut-off" by ending craving, as taught in the 1st & 2nd sermons of the Buddha.

You have not defined what you mean by ‘creationism’ so can’t really comment on that. Samsara arises with nama rupa (name and form) being bound up with consciousness - the binding (glue) is craving.  The two statements are saying the same thing - just from a different perspective. It’s like saying the chair became unglued vs the chair fell apart.

Nicky: To translate it more literally as the Brahmanistic 'name-and-form' rather than the Buddhist 'mind-and-body' or 'mentality-materiality' shows a disposition towards Brahmanism (creationism) rather than towards Buddhism (naturalism).

It shows that we can read our own views into others statements :-)

Cintita: The Pali word nāma-rūpa is often translated as mind-and-body or mentality-materiality, but we will translate it more literally and neutrally as name-and-form.

I don’t see any sign of ‘creationism’ here. See below.

Nicky: By defining nama-rupa as 'mind-body', the Buddha debunked this central creationist idea of the Brahmanism religion.

The Buddha did not as far as I know speak English so he never defined nama-rupa as ‘mind-body’. Pali is a dead language and we have no native speakers to consult. It is unlikely that such terms from an ancient culture would directly translate into specific words in another language and culture. Name and Form are widely accepted by Pali scholars.

Cintita:  The position of this paper is that name-and-form is best understood in a cognitive function as the most immediate, intimate, rich and vivid part of conceptual sense experience. (my emphasis)

Now, these cognitive processes not only shape the content of name-and-form, the way they play out is the sense experience of name-and-form itself. Name and form are defined in terms of the factors just mentioned:
Name: feeling, perception, volition, contact, attention.
Form: earth, water, air, fire and derivatives thereof


Again, you don’t define what you mean by ‘creationist’ so it is hard to discuss - I don’t know what in the above quote implies ‘creationism’ to you.

Nicky: Nama-rupa is not mentioned in the first two sermons of the Buddha, which is why nama-rupa is not related to suffering or enlightenment.

Your reasoning escapes me. You seem to be suggesting that if a term is not used in the first two teachings that end up getting recorded from a teacher then such teachings are not relevant?  The guy taught for 40 some years - can’t he rephrase something? Come up with better ways of presenting his understanding? Is everything Einstein came up with after his first two papers irrelevant? Is everything after your first two math classes no longer ‘math’?

Nicky: If name-form were "external", then what is the "subjective" internal (creationist) activity the bhikkhu keeps referring to as "name-form"?

Ah - so I think when you are using the term ‘creationist’ you are thinking in terms of ‘the world is a creation of my own mind - there is nothing real out there’ - is this it? This is not what Cintita is talking about when he uses the term ‘internal’. See below.

Nicky: The external experience here is not of the external five aggregates of other people (or things) since one 'person' cannot experience the consciousness of an external person. One person can only experience the outwards manifestations of another's body & mentality, such as when another person is angry at them or threatens them with physical violence or makes physically lustful advances towards them.

I agree that one cannot know the mental qualities of another (short of some power I don’t seem to have) but this is not what Cintita is saying. One’s own internal ‘world’ - composed of beliefs, feelings, habitual patterns of behavior, etc. are unknowingly projected onto external phenomena/beings - imparting or coloring them with the product of ones own mind. This coloring or projection seems very real and very much ‘out there’ - such that these external phenomena really are good, bad, right, wrong beautiful, ugly, big, small, and so on.

Cintita is also pointing out that even what appears to be raw form - a ‘person’ for example - is actually the result of an internal image created by the mind based on raw sense data (that is not accessible to us) and then this internal image appears to us as if it is out there in our external world - as if it is a real object outside us and - as mentioned -  colored by our likes, dislikes, views, etc.

With regard to your example “another person is angry at them or threatens them with physical violence or makes physically lustful advances towards them” - this is a mix of the internally generated form image (from sensory data) along with projected mental qualities from the perceiver. For example: ‘Angry at them’ or ‘lustful advances’ are based on internal mental qualities (anger and lust). As you mentioned, we cannot know the internal mental states of another - so the source of these mental qualities must be the perceiver - nama (mental qualities) bound up with form and then externalized.

Nicky: Yet the bhikkhu appears to claim this verse is about reincarnation.

You have strong views on this issue of rebirth. What you don’t mention is that this very modern view is held by a very small number of scholars and adepts - while others still to this day - continue to go through the experience of seeing them (past lives) quite clearly. Should you have the experience, maybe you will change your mind.

Rebirth refers to an experience that one may have. Anyone that hears of it but has not had the experience will form a concept around it but that concept is not the experience and will always be false. It is this concept - this mental phenomena - which then becomes debated - as if it has some objective reality. Just more nama-rupa.

If I told you if you went to such and such a place you would find a cracked brick - you probably wouldn’t start debating as to whether there is or is not a cracked brick there nor arguing with others what the crack looks like. But if someone says follow this practice and you will know past lives -  that is something else - rather than actually following the practice - we debate whether we should believe it or not.

Strange. Do the practice or not - who cares.

Your rigid adherence to your views about what the Buddha taught regarding rebirth are another example of nama-rupa. At the heart of your beliefs about what Buddha meant by rebirth are thoughts - that’s all. You take your own mental qualities - these thoughts - and cling to them as being fundamentally true - that is you take your view and project it onto an internal image of Buddha that you have and that becomes for you a fact about a historical Buddha that existed 2,500 years ago.  A mind-made reality that you then defend at every opportunity. The only way that I am aware of that you could actually know what the Buddha taught is if you were to go back and listen to him. Dipa Ma claims to have done this - sorry, she didn’t mention anything about whether he taught rebirth or not as far as I know. Btw, the Physicist Thomas Campbell says this is possible to do - essentially tuning into and accessing a specific data stream.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/13/16 9:36 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Hi Chuck,
You have strong views on this issue of rebirth. What you don’t mention is that this very modern view is held by a very small number of scholars and adepts - while others still to this day - continue to go through the experience of seeing them (past lives) quite clearly. Should you have the experience, maybe you will change your mind.
On this particular point, I have to agree with Nicky. And, yes, I have had the experience of seeing past lives. My reflection on those experiences is that they are the ego's last carnival trick to try to convice you that there is some kind of continuity of the self after death. As with everything, I don't hold this view strongly, though. I'm certainly open to changing it if some contrary evidence comes along.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/14/16 10:35 AM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Chuck Kasmire:
Rebirth refers to an experience that one may have. Anyone that hears of it but has not had the experience will form a concept around it but that concept is not the experience and will always be false. It is this concept - this mental phenomena - which then becomes debated - as if it has some objective reality. Just more nama-rupa.

Any experience one can have can be wrapped with a concept. Experiences can be wrapped with strong feelings that lead to believing particular concepts. Some (temporary) experiences can be void of thought and feeling and can afterward lead to forming concepts about it.

What such experiences I have had mean to me is about how one's conscious experiences are constructed.

Even without having had any past life experiences I can see that these too are more like svmonk's description.

Additional thought: From my point of view, this is what name and form is about.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/14/16 11:16 AM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Sensations are very abstract in their intitial impression. There are no concepts, no greater form other than its intitial manifestion. How these jump in complexity to very highly constructed forms of experience is how the mind creates stability out of these changing phenomenal experiences.

The teaching about regarding all experience as having the qualities of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and non-self, when applied, is said to be applied to all experience, even those one may believe to hold special significance.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/14/16 12:47 PM as a reply to David S.
David S:
Sensations are very abstract in their intitial impression. There are no concepts, no greater form other than its intitial manifestion. How these jump in complexity to very highly constructed forms of experience is how the mind creates stability out of these changing phenomenal experiences.

The teaching about regarding all experience as having the qualities of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and non-self, when applied, is said to be applied to all experience, even those one may believe to hold special significance.


I don’t disagree with anything you have said here. I think my comment to Nicky regarding rebirth - that both you and svmonk refer to - has been misunderstood - so if I may clarify a bit:

First, it was a rather brief comment in reference to a comment he made tacked on the end of many other comments so I did not go into any great detail.

I see experience itself and what one concludes or construes based on that experience as two separate things. The experience itself is real (as real as anything else) while what one may construe, conclude, think, etc. based on that experience is not - it is in the realm of theory or opinion or just ‘thinking’ at the most basic level.

svmonk wrote: I have had the experience of seeing past lives [the experience itself]. My reflection on those experiences is that they are the ego's last carnival trick to try to convince you that there is some kind of continuity of the self after death [his reflection on that experience]. As with everything, I don't hold this view strongly, though. I'm certainly open to changing it if some contrary evidence comes along.

He makes the same distinction as well - that there is the experience and then there is the separate issue of what we think about it. Based on your comments, I think you probably agree with this as well. Similarly, I don’t draw any strong conclusions from my own experience. I think conversations about past life experiences often get confusing because we do not separate the raw experience from our beliefs about what such experiences may or may not imply.

If I understand Nicky’s position correctly, he is saying that the Buddha never spoke of having past life experiences - that these suttas were metaphorical and that when he speaks of recalling being this or that person with this or that name eating this or that food - these were all to be understood as him recalling experiences in his present life. Similarly, when Buddha speaks of old age, sickness, and death or a being entering into a mothers womb, being reborn in heavenly realms, hell realms, etc - all this is metaphorical and simply referring to momentary mind states in his present life.

So when I said to Nicky “ You have strong views on this issue of rebirth” - it was specifically with reference to this view of his that I was talking about.  Likewise, when I wrote “ Should you have the experience, maybe you will change your mind” I was saying that he would likely change his mind about the Buddha talking about experiencing past lives - simply because he had gone through that experience for himself - as I mentioned above, I distinguish between the experience itself and what one might come to believe based on that experience.

I think the reason why Buddha talked about the experience of past lives is because many on this path (including himself) did have or will have this kind of experience and he wanted to bring it up and talk about it - such that it could be placed in the greater context of the overall teaching.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/14/16 12:51 PM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
Hi Chuck,
You have strong views on this issue of rebirth. What you don’t mention is that this very modern view is held by a very small number of scholars and adepts - while others still to this day - continue to go through the experience of seeing them (past lives) quite clearly. Should you have the experience, maybe you will change your mind.
On this particular point, I have to agree with Nicky. And, yes, I have had the experience of seeing past lives. My reflection on those experiences is that they are the ego's last carnival trick to try to convice you that there is some kind of continuity of the self after death. As with everything, I don't hold this view strongly, though. I'm certainly open to changing it if some contrary evidence comes along.

Hopefully my response to David clarifies my statement.  It’s ok by me if you still want to run with Nicky’s views on this issue - and it is quite possible that I misunderstand Nicky’s thinking on this. I suspect he will let me know if that is the case.

With regard to my own experience, I was left with the sense that though I recognize these as past lives - there was also the knowing that I was none of them - that each life was separate and unique - a one time deal. What there was was a sense of recognition which provides a kind of continuity - similarly to if you were to look at some old pictures of yourself - there is a recognition ‘oh that was me when I was such and such in age’. Some, I suppose many, might conclude from that sense of recognition that there was some enduring ‘I’ that lived each life. Personally, I did not get that sense from the experience- there just wasn’t sufficient data - and I suspect there never can be. It remains a mystery.

Similarly, some people conclude from there experiences with mind-moments that there is no self in some ultimate way. I think this is a mistake as well as all the experience means is that the mind is capable of experiencing momentary awareness - there isn’t enough data to come to any conclusion beyond that.

I think the Buddha rather ingeniously side-stepped the issue of self or no self by simply positing an underlying assumption about the nature of perceivable phenomena in relation to a hypothetical self - if any phenomena were me or mine then I would be able to control it - and took it from there.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/15/16 11:28 AM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Hi Chuck,
Thanks for explaining more. Yes, we are aligned on the difference between an experience and its interpretation. And along the same lines, I am curious about your experience.

What I don't understand is the separation you have between the experience of recognition from that which did the recognizing. I was wondering if you could say anymore about this? In the experience was there a sense of identity that was witnessing these other lives? Or did the experience lack this sense, but in recalling it afterward you became more identified with the one who recognized these as 'their' past lives?

Let me same more simply, Did your experience lack a sense of self, but in describing it later you now have to say 'you' had an experience of past lives?

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/14/16 9:49 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Hi Chuck,

Right, I understand your point better now.

As I'm sure you know, experiences of rebirth in deep concentration meditation can be very powerful. I actually think the Buddha had these experiences and he by and large took them at face value, because the culture he came from didn't have a very sophisticated understanding of the physical world, and because the belief in rebirth was very widespread and I think the Buddha shared that belief. There are a couple cases in the suttas where a more nuanced understanding comes across, like the unanswer to the question  whether the Tathagata exists or does not exist after death.

And also, when others were involved, I think he discussed reborn persons as an expression of his compassion. Basically some villager comes to him and says "so-and-so relative has died, can you tell me about their rebirth?" So the Buddha goes off, meditates into deep jhana,  has an experience of the relative's new life, and comes back to tell the villager about it. If the relative was a good person and had a good rebirth, the villager goes away relieved that their reborn relative is doing well. If it is a bad rebirth, the villager goes away and vows not to end up like their relative and improves their sila. Now, I am not saying that the Buddha used these stories in a tactical way, or made anything up. I think he did have such experiences and simply related what he saw after the fact. Of course, he could have refused to say anything about it to people like he recommended about the siddhis, but I think he didn't do that because he realized it was more compassionate to tell them.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/14/16 10:07 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Hi Chuck,

Yes, thanx, and I hope my reply to your response to David clarifies my feelings on the matter.

With respect to my experiences of past lives, on reflection afterwards, it seemed as if my mind was making up a story to explain certain facts and also to reinforce my sense of their being something lasting, hence what I said in the first post about the ego's last carnival trick. My mind tends to make up stories all the time and it is a real struggle to get free of them. Particularly when I do deep concentration meditation, I need to be especially careful about this. Mostly the stories align closely with certain beliefs or tendencies toward beliefs that I hold (at the time, I either believed in rebirth or left open the possibility). In deep concentration, for me these kinds of deeply held views come out and start playing havoc. If I applied Occam's Razor to the facts, however, it became clear that the stories were just made up.

With respect to your point about not-self, I think the experience of mind moments does point up that the feeling of "self as thing" is a created phenomenon. It is more like "self as process". My experience is that emptiness is the true nature of things, that there is nothing that exists independently of anything else. I do think not-self, being one of the three marks of existence, comes out in the suttas (though I haven't time right now to go trolling through and looking for the reference). Emptiness comes more to the fore in the Mahayana, which is where alot of my formal practice is centered.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/16/16 4:01 AM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Chuck Kasmire:
I found his series on nama-rupa very well done. His inclusion of how this relates to practice is uncommon in such discussions.

Nicky: The verse: "Where name-and-form as well as sense and designation are completely cut off, it is there that the tangle gets snapped” (SN 7.6) was spoken to a Brahman that had no knowledge of the Buddhist teachings thus 'nama-rupa' here retains its Brahmanistic meaning.

I don’t see anything in SN 7.6 indicating that this Brahman had no knowledge of Buddhism. 

If the Brahman had knowledge of Buddhism, particularly the 4NTs, he would not have had to ask the Buddha the question he asked & then later gone for refuge. If the Brahman was already a Buddhist, there would have been no going for refuge & then ordaining.

Given your attempted refutation of my irrefutable posts is untenable, there is no point in my reading your entire post.


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RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/16/16 3:39 AM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
I have had the experience of seeing past lives. My reflection on those experiences is that they are the ego's last carnival trick to try to convice you that there is some kind of continuity of the self after death. As with everything, I don't hold this view strongly, though. I'm certainly open to changing it if some contrary evidence comes along.

The mind can only see sankharas (mental formations), such as when the mind creates images & stories when it manufactures dreams at night during sleep. There is no evidence what is experienced by the mind is a past life.

There are only five aggregates explained in Buddhism. Any mental pictures are merely sankhara aggregate, which the scriptures describe as having no substance; hollow & empty.

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RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/16/16 4:03 AM as a reply to David S.
David S:
The teaching about regarding all experience as having the qualities of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and non-self, when applied, is said to be applied to all experience, even those one may believe to hold special significance.

This is not exactly correct. While the 3 characteristics can be "applied" to all experience (when the mind is deluded), the 3 characteristics are the inherent nature of all experience, regardless of whether it is "applied" or not.

In the supreme vipassana, the 3 characteristics (like the supreme guru) apply themselves to the mind rather than the mind applies the 3 characteristics. This is why the supreme vipassana is called "enlightenment" or "awakening" to what is not previously known or seen.

When Christians believe Jesus forgives their sins &, as a result, feel unburdened & liberated, the liberating effect is based on the mental power of belief. The 3 characteristics are not like this. The 3 characteristics are not a belief but something already existing to be seen.

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RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/17/16 12:27 AM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:

As I'm sure you know, experiences of rebirth in deep concentration meditation can be very powerful. I actually think the Buddha had these experiences and he by and large took them at face value, because the culture he came from didn't have a very sophisticated understanding of the physical world, and because the belief in rebirth was very widespread and I think the Buddha shared that belief. There are a couple cases in the suttas where a more nuanced understanding comes across, like the unanswer to the question  whether the Tathagata exists or does not exist after death.

And also, when others were involved, I think he discussed reborn persons as an expression of his compassion. Basically some villager comes to him and says "so-and-so relative has died, can you tell me about their rebirth?" So the Buddha goes off, meditates into deep jhana,  has an experience of the relative's new life, and comes back to tell the villager about it. If the relative was a good person and had a good rebirth, the villager goes away relieved that their reborn relative is doing well. If it is a bad rebirth, the villager goes away and vows not to end up like their relative and improves their sila. Now, I am not saying that the Buddha used these stories in a tactical way, or made anything up. I think he did have such experiences and simply related what he saw after the fact. Of course, he could have refused to say anything about it to people like he recommended about the siddhis, but I think he didn't do that because he realized it was more compassionate to tell them.

The scriptures do not state the Buddha experienced his past lives. This is a mistranslation. Did I mention this before?

Also, in these passages that are translated incorrectly, no use of siddhis is mentioned to recollect 'past dwellings (adherences)'. Siddhis are only used to know the kammic consequences of other beings (by knowing their minds in the here-&-now).

As for these verses about disclosing the destination of deceased people, there is no evidence the Buddha actually spoke this. The scriptures are loaded with dodgy suttas & contradictions. This is why the Dhamma is exclusively defined as "realised by each observant person for themself".

Even if these verses are true, the Buddha, possibly merely disclosed their mental state at death, that is all.


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RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/16/16 4:03 AM as a reply to svmonk.
 I actually think the Buddha had these experiences and he by and large took them at face value, because the culture he came from didn't have a very sophisticated understanding of the physical world, and because the belief in rebirth was very widespread and I think the Buddha shared that belief.

The notion that a sophisticad contemporary material understanding of the physical world translates to any sort of understanding of consciousness, what it is, what creates it, where it comes from, how it actually works, or how this relates to questions of rebirth is quite a stretch.

We know basically nothing scientific about how materiality and mentality relate beyond the vaguest handwaving and speculation, all of which is profoundly unsatisfactory.

Past-life experiences are powerful. The notion that all Buddhist texts that talk about them are somehow metaphorical or referring only to some mind state at death is also really missing something and represents a view that I feel those with more personal experience with these things would be unlikely to hold with such force.


RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/16/16 4:07 AM as a reply to David S.
David S:
Hi Chuck,

What I don't understand is the separation you have between the experience of recognition from that which did the recognizing. I was wondering if you could say anymore about this? In the experience was there a sense of identity that was witnessing these other lives? Or did the experience lack this sense, but in recalling it afterward you became more identified with the one who recognized these as 'their' past lives?

Let me same more simply, Did your experience lack a sense of self, but in describing it later you now have to say 'you' had an experience of past lives?

Well-spoken. emoticon

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/16/16 7:41 AM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
re: Chuck Kasmire (7/14/16 12:51 PM as a reply to svmonk)

re: experience vs the mental activity  that tries to make sense of it…

Somehow, people have vivid experiences that don't seem to be in the in their own life-continuum, that have no discernable basis there. Put another way, experiences that would seem to be from some other life.

Example: I once (ca. 40 years ago) had a seemingly vivid experience of being something like amongst animals, lying on the ground/floor, like sheep or goats, inside somewhere, as if sharing the space and warmth with them, while stormy weather outside; noting the sounds, smells, etc.

As context, I was at the time of having this experience in my studio appartment, while stormy weather raged outside, which could be especially heard through the fireplace, i.e. the chimney. Also, it was at the tail end of an LSD trip, going in and out of sleep.

This was rationalized as something along the lines that my paternal grandfather, back in the "old country", before he emmigrated to the USA, worked as a shepherd; that some conditioned (via lived contact with him and others of the family) residue from that got activated – never having done such myself, but construing that shepherds might well take shelter with their animals in shed- or barn-like structures during foul weather. It was taken not as a "past life" of mine, but as an experience, unlike any from my life-time, from a life in the past.

That gets more currently intrepreted along the lines that I find a plausible take on "past lives"– namely that experiences can have a sort of life of their own, and recur to different individuals, and without necessarily I/me/mine-type ownership of them. Everyone's living is impacted by contact with other people's lived experience, especially in family settings, where children are exposed to parent's behavior and mimic it in socialization, inculturation, including elements from previous generations. For instance, elders noting how a grandchild exhibits mannerisms recognized from parents or grandparents, and possible without any first-hand contact. Patterns of behavior get passed down, and no doubt subjective aspects of the experience of them.

From the viewpoint of common "mundane" living (rife with personal identity bondage), it's understandable how such experiences can seem like somehow coming from "my" past this or that life. Now, after a 8 years or so of increasing familiarity with (Theravadan) Buddhist lore, (and a couple of decades of earlier exposure to the like from the study of a teacher – Stephen Levine on death and dying – who I didn't realize at the time had some depth of Buddhist influence), it's quite clear how life experiences can be perhaps better understood as essentially "impersonal" – they happen, independently of whether one colors them as "one's own" or not. And, btw, recalling a salient teaching from Stephen Levine at some point – that in a sense there's no experience one has that hasn't been experienced by umptine other humans umptine times down through the ages.

Lived experiences, given the conditioned constraints of human functionality, and genetic inheritance, and behavioral (s/t called developmental, as in "evo-devo" theory) inheritance, have a "life of their own". I experience them, but they're not exclusively, essentially "mine".

That all makes "rebirth", or call it perhaps re-instantiation, plausible: the impersonal, conditioned patterns of experience recur incessantly – no knowable beginning or ending. Each particular individual happens to "witness" them (with some degree of awareness, or not), in the sense that, despite appearances of authorship by "my" identity construct, as seen in the fact that, also despite an often deluded sense of "will", we really don't control that much of it.

This interpretation also contributes to "insight" practice of more closely watching how it all goes by, moment to moment, in one's own living; but also in observing other people's behavior, and by inference their mental experience (the "2nd knowledge" of the Buddha's reported awakening progression?).

Is this at all intelligible to anyone else?

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/16/16 9:17 AM as a reply to CJMacie.
There is no past lives, nor incarnation nor rebirth. There is no self to incarnate. Its a biological process.
When ancestors have killed someone, then there is a debt in that bloodline. Psychics are solving these misteries.

There are souls what incarnate, have rebirths. It is level beyond bloodline. You can aquire a soul into yourself as a master or higher level spirit, ghost can possess you.

We have lots of past lives(one life is like any other exprience). You can come up it even using logic from real evidence. Like you can't imagine anything what you haven't seen before.

We have even a guardian angel. Who helps if needed and can change your environment.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/16/16 10:28 AM as a reply to Nicky.
Nicky:
David S:
The teaching about regarding all experience as having the qualities of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and non-self, when applied, is said to be applied to all experience, even those one may believe to hold special significance.

This is not exactly correct. While the 3 characteristics can be "applied" to all experience (when the mind is deluded), the 3 characteristics are the inherent nature of all experience, regardless of whether it is "applied" or not.

Nicky, I was speaking only of the teaching being applied to all experience. I was speaking with the same understanding that the 3 marks are inherent qualities, but this was not part of my post because I was thinking of how any special state, even those can be regarded with the same teaching. I didn't need to state the rest.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
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7/16/16 8:05 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
The notion that a sophisticad contemporary material understanding of the physical world translates to any sort of understanding of consciousness, what it is, what creates it, where it comes from, how it actually works, or how this relates to questions of rebirth is quite a stretch.
Daniel, "...any sort of understanding...." Really?

There are many people studying the brain who have gained increasing knowledge about the formation of consciousness. This knowledge could never have come from insight practice, because insight practice is based upon firsthand experience, which relies upon a well functioning brain, so all experience has already been highly formed at that point. Studying damaged brains has revealed much about aspects of the formation of consciousness. There are many processes that no firsthand experience would ever be able to know.

Does this mean your belief is wrong? No. The science of consciousness has only just begun. The issue is how one studies consciousness and the limitations to their investigation by the tools one utilizes.

I do have a question that is in your expertise. Why take any experience for what it means to oneself at face value?

I've experienced a couple of, what people on this site call hard jhannas, and the first one had a rapturous abstract quality that left me feeling some sort of religious fervor. I'm an athiest so this is quite far afield. The other was stripped of all affective tones and was bereft of almost all input. Acting like bookends, these two showed me that the lingering religious fervor was an affect. So the sensations of any experience will effect how one views its meaning. But it is an artifact, not a fact.

And these, as any experience, are impermanent. So why identify with them? Seriously, why?

I have another question, why do you use the term jhanna to represent states that are not full absorptions? The pali texts do not seem to describe hard and soft versions. I find it a confusing use of the term. (I saw a video of Kenneth Folk doing an online chat with someone in England who closed their eyes and talked about entering the first jhanna, the second, the third... etc and Kenneth acted like this was all correct. I had to laugh because thinking and talking will get in the way of such, and will drop away. No talking is possible.)

I am not aiming to be confrontational, only express some thoughts and understand what you think. (Same for my previous posts to Chuck. I really am interested to hear if you identified those lives as your own during the experience, or if that came later.)

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/16/16 11:19 AM as a reply to David S.
David S:
Hi Chuck,
...What I don't understand is the separation you have between the experience of recognition from that which did the recognizing. I was wondering if you could say anymore about this? In the experience was there a sense of identity that was witnessing these other lives? Or did the experience lack this sense, but in recalling it afterward you became more identified with the one who recognized these as 'their' past lives?

Let me same more simply, Did your experience lack a sense of self, but in describing it later you now have to say 'you' had an experience of past lives?
Hi David,
Yes, I'll try. As this thing (awakening experience) has unfolded in me over the years - there have been times when consciousness unexpectedly opened up to encompass vast stretches of time and space - at times seemingly transcending them entirely. There is no sense of personal identity as such within these experiences that tells me ‘I am Chuck’ - that is completely absent - yet mind is aware - intensely aware. During these experiences a tremendous amount is known - the mind is incredibly vast, powerful, and capable of immediately comprehending huge amounts of information. This information is not intellectual knowledge - it is just understood or ‘grocked’.

So the past life experience was one of this vast awareness simply seeing a chain of lives - like a string of beads - each bead was unique, an individual life - never to be repeated. It was obvious to me (this awareness) that I was not any of these ‘beads’ but rather the thread of awareness upon which these beads were strung - but this was not something thought out or speculated upon - it was just seen.

The only specific details of any of these beads was of the last one - a boy of 8 or ten years of age - that was in the process of being gassed to death with a group of other people in a large concrete structure. I fully experienced this boys last minutes of life - all his thoughts, feelings, fear, and the process of death and release from that body. At that point I could ‘see’ that some of the people that had been involved in killing him were still alive and tortured by what they had done. I remember feeling sorry for them - it was all over in a few minutes for me yet for them they had to live on with their actions for years. I knew that I was currently experiencing the life of ‘Chuck’ who was at his home sleeping in his bed. I then just opened my eyes and as I did that the vastness of awareness collapsed back to normal waking consciousness.

With these kinds of experiences, there is always the difficulty of sort of unpacking what is known and repackaging in everyday language. Lots gets lost as there just isn’t any language or shared experience that enables one to describe it.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/16/16 11:22 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:

We know basically nothing scientific about how materiality and mentality relate beyond the vaguest handwaving and speculation, all of which is profoundly unsatisfactory.

Very well said!

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/16/16 8:10 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Thanks a lot Chuck. I think all experience can be talked about and you did a fine job. This site is one place where people are comfortable exchanging thoughts on their experiences, and it is why I am drawn here. I get that words can only paint a rough picture of experience, but yours were helpful in answering my question. Thanks.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/17/16 12:46 AM as a reply to David S.
David S:

The science of consciousness has only just begun. The issue is how one studies consciousness and the limitations to their investigation by the tools one utilizes.




When u refer to 'consciousness', what exactly is being referring to? In original Buddhism (rather than in the later additions), consciousness merely referred to sense awareness via the six senses, that is all (such as the reflective capacity of a mirror).

For example, the original teachings do not contain the idea of 're-linking consciousness'.

Consciousness ('vinanna') did not refer to the thinking & intelligence functions of the mind (which are other aggregates or, relevant to this thread, collectively called 'nama').

Original Buddhism has words such as mano (intellect), citta (heart), nama (mentality) & vinnana and only 'vinnana' is consciousness in Buddhism.

For example, Mahayana sects have the idea of 'storehouse' consciousness' but, in reality, like a mirror, consciousness cannot 'store' mentality. It is the citta that stores defilements (emotions, conditioned motivation, etc).

...

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/17/16 12:41 AM as a reply to David S.
David S:

I've experienced a couple of, what people on this site call hard jhannas, and the first one had a rapturous abstract quality that left me feeling some sort of religious fervor. I'm an athiest so this is quite far afield. The other was stripped of all affective tones and was bereft of almost all input. Acting like bookends, these two showed me that the lingering religious fervor was an effect. So the sensations of any experience will effect how one views its meaning. But it is an artifact, not a fact.


If you want to reconcile experience with the suttas, in the Anapanasati Sutta, in the 7th & 8th stages, rapture is called the 'citta sankhara' or 'mind conditioner' (not 'mental condition or fabrication' as generally wrong translated).

Your post is an excellent example of this 'citta sankhara' in action.

...

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/17/16 8:36 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel,
The notion that a sophisticad
contemporary material understanding of the physical world translates to
any sort of understanding of consciousness, what it is, what creates it,
where it comes from, how it actually works, or how this relates to
questions of rebirth is quite a stretch.

My point was not that the modern sophisticated understanding of the physical world translates automatically into an good understanding of consciousness, but that it raises some fundamental questions about the mechanism of rebirth. When I say "mechanism", I mean how the nonform skandas get from a one-mind-moment-away-from-death person to a fertilized embryo in a completely other place (or, if you are willing to grant other realms, then whatever form the to-be-born creature of that realm takes...but lets just stay with the embryo for a moment). The orthodox Therevada notion is that the last mind moment of the previous life forms the bhavanga of the next, but that leaves open the question of how the bhavanga gets from A to B, and how it is supported on an embryo. In other words, how does consciousness get from thought to meat, and from here to way over there? There is just too much left open in this explanation to be satisfactory.

The mechanism of rebirth was, in fact, even a problem classically. All Buddhist schools have some different story about it. As mentioned, the Therevadans have the bhavanga, the Tibetans have the bardo (which, to my mind, seems less likely but more cool emoticon), Zen basically doesn't say anything about mechanism, and in fact many Zen masters basically say that there is no rebirth. If I recall correctly (and unfortuantely, I can't provide any references and don't have the time to track them down), the Vedantists used the lack of a coherent mechanism in arguments against Buddhists during the early part of the last millenium in debates in India.

Perhaps rather than an understanding of physical reality, I should have said an understanding of causality. I think our modern understanding of causality is considerably more sophisticated than it was in ancient India, yet causality still remains a slippery subject. Similar to Nagrajuna's metaphor likening reifying emptiness to grasping a snake by its tail: it is likely to swing around and bite you.
We know basically nothing scientific about
how materiality and mentality relate beyond the vaguest handwaving and
speculation, all of which is profoundly unsatisfactory.
Well, sure. FMRIs just give you nice pictures of brain regions, and longitudinal studies of meditators are subject to all the confounding effects of other kinds of medical/sociological studies. It will likely take many years to sort out.
Past-life experiences are powerful. The
notion that all Buddhist texts that talk about them are somehow
metaphorical or referring only to some mind state at death is also
really missing something and represents a view that I feel those
with more personal experience with these things would be unlikely to
hold with such force.
I've actually had some personal experience around this, and such experiences are indeed powerful. In one, during concentration meditation I experienced the past life of another person, as a Jewish child dying in the gas chamber in Nazi Germany. I could see the whole thing, people screaming and choking, the gas hissing out of the showerheads. It was pretty horrible. I've also had a few past life experiences of my own life, and they were no bowel of cherries either.

Nevertheless, I feel that the jury is still out on past and future lives. "Self as process" leaves little space for a mechanism whereby citta here can translate to meat there upon death. Having some confirming evidence would make me more inclined to view the rebirth hypothesis favorably, even perhaps the evidence of seeing what happens when I die. Beliefs are, after all, just strongly held views, so in the spirit of practicing well, they should be held lightly rather than clung to.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/17/16 11:10 PM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
Hi Chuck,
...
With respect to your point about not-self, I think the experience of mind moments does point up that the feeling of "self as thing" is a created phenomenon. It is more like "self as process". My experience is that emptiness is the true nature of things, that there is nothing that exists independently of anything else. I do think not-self, being one of the three marks of existence, comes out in the suttas (though I haven't time right now to go trolling through and looking for the reference). Emptiness comes more to the fore in the Mahayana, which is where alot of my formal practice is centered.

I have never experienced mind moments, have you? I would like to be able to speak with someone who has experienced these things.  In pondering them, it seems to me there must be an awareness of these moments which is not momentary in order to recognize their arising and passing - that is, the observer must be aware in between moments in order to know there are moments. This non-momentary awareness must also know that these moments have a certain continuity - that they are happening or being experienced in sequence. I am quite curious about this.

What later becomes known as the three marks of existence is first developed here.  I find this an interesting read because the way it is presented is quite different from later understandings. Here, he points out that phenomena are subject to change (impermanent) and suffering arises if one clings to them as if they were not (as if you had control of them). Because phenomena can change at any time, he recommends that we regard these phenomena as not-self. And by doing this you would develop dispassion for them. So initially it is presented as a form of practice as opposed to some kind of ultimate truth.

Sujato, in this article, posits 5 marks of existence -  impermanence, suffering, not-self, emptiness, and weirdness.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/18/16 10:39 AM as a reply to CJMacie.
CJMacie:
re: Chuck Kasmire (7/14/16 12:51 PM as a reply to svmonk)

[...]
Is this at all intelligible to anyone else?
I consider this to be completely obvious.

But for some reason, even the more sophisticated Buddhists (Bhante Sujato et al) seem to have this irrational need to find rebirth plausible.

I have difficulty to understand what happens in their heads. It must be similar to this:
"Hm, let's look at the evidence for rebirth. There is:
1) People remember weird experiences which are not obviously from their own life.
2) The Buddha said it's true.
Yeah, I guess this is good enough for me. Rebirth is the most plausible hypothesis. It's so obvious."


In contrast, the idea that memories can simply jump around in space, with or without an obvious explainable mechanism, is brushed off as an absurd, far-fetched alternative.

Nowadays, when discussion about rebirth come up, I usually feel the appeal to shoot myself in the head.
Listening to people for just a few sentences reliably reveals their blatant ignorance concerning even the basics of logic and philosophy. Nothing to see here emoticon

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/18/16 1:20 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
That Sujato essay is great, thanks for sharing emoticon

On the topic of the three marks as ontological truths vs a practice method, I'll just say I find this very interesting in my own experience. While there are ways of looking at/investigating experience that seem to disclose suffering as a characteristic of phenomena per se (just at subtler and subtler levels) there are other ways of looking at/investigating experience which seem to reveal that suffering is indeed what you get when you look at phenomena as if they were self and stable, and is relieved when seeing phenomena as interdependant and impermanent.

Again, I can find both these versions of the three marks in my own experience, which suggests to me that how phenomena appear is contingent on how they are apprehended (i.e., with what assumptions- such as permanence and mineness/meness-- they are apprehended, or what lack of assumptions). The fact that experience as suffering per se, vs experience as suffering *when aprehended with the assumption of lasting inherant existence*, are themselves apparently contingent (non essential) and fleeting experiences seems relevant in itself.

Sujato may be doing something seemingly of little consequence or even flippant by adding the fifth mark of 'weirdness' but I think he may actually be onto something profound there.

-Jake

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/18/16 9:00 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Hi Chuck,
I have never experienced mind moments, have you? I would like to be able to speak with someone who has experienced these things.  In pondering them, it seems to me there must be an awareness of these moments which is not momentary in order to recognize their arising and passing - that is, the observer must be aware in between moments in order to know there are moments. This non-momentary awareness must also know that these moments have a certain continuity - that they are happening or being experienced in sequence. I am quite curious about this.
Yes, I experienced mind moments in a retreat last year, but it took a great deal of concentration/vipassana practice to come to that point. It's kind of a flashing on and off of awareness. The mind moments flash out of emptiness and disappear into emptiness. This is also btw. the second of the Four Recognitions in Mahamudra, recognition of mind as emptiness. As for whether awareness exists between, it's kind of like a video or film. In the context of the video, what exists between the frames?

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/19/16 11:45 AM as a reply to svmonk.
Right but here again with the mind moments as with whether suffering characterises every single experience or not, don't you find that how your mind appears is partially contingent on what method/view package you are applying?

In other words, how do we know, when having the mind-moment experience of experience flashing in and out of blankness, that this experience is not an artifact of that way of looking? [ETA: it occurs to me actually that the experiences of phenomena being inherantly dukha, mind moments, and cessation have been linked in my experience. And when viewing the mind as more of a continuum and suffering as alleviated by dropping control/resistance/attachment, I don't seem to have or at least notice cessations nearly as often as when there are very distinct mind moments appearing, if at all.]

There is an interesting section in the book Transformations of Consciousness which contrasts the progressive experiences of hindu and buddhist advanced meditators. The hindu adepts eventually see 'mind' in an analog fashion as a continuously oscillating wave of information, while the buddhist adepts see it as particles, mind moments, which flash forth fully formed and then disappear completely.

I would be kind of surprised if Chuck had never had the experience that we are labeling 'mind moments' as it seems like many meditators have experience both of the wave and particle versions of consciousness, though their respective traditions may emphasize one or the other experience when they build their models of what consciousness is and how it relates to reality.

Chuck, are you saying you've never had that experience of experiences flashing forth and then dissapearing completely, or are you saying that you don't conclude from this experience that the mind is actually structured this way?

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/19/16 1:00 PM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
Hi Chuck,
...Yes, I experienced mind moments in a retreat last year, but it took a great deal of concentration/vipassana practice to come to that point.

Cool - I have been looking for someone like you. I got some questions...

svmonk: It's kind of a flashing on and off of awareness. The mind moments flash out of emptiness and disappear into emptiness.

How do you know there is flashing in and out if awareness is going on and off? Maybe we use ‘awareness’ and ‘mind’ differently? From your description, it sounds like it is a sort of flickering cognizance? or put differently flickering perception of something?

I am comfortable with an experience of awareness while not aware of anything - awareness of empty void. I would still consider this as ‘mind’ though.

This is also btw. the second of the Four Recognitions in Mahamudra, recognition of mind as emptiness.

Any articles you can refer to that discuss those?

As for whether awareness exists between, it's kind of like a video or film. In the context of the video, what exists between the frames?

Awareness of ‘no frame’? Awareness of gap? But awareness nevertheless (at least as I use the term) - otherwise there could be no knowledge of ‘frame’. It seems to me that ‘mind’ is being used to describe the ‘frame’ part - implying that during the gap there is no mind. I would describe this more like “frame = consciousness bound up with or noticing phenomena” while “gap = consciousness not bound up with any phenomena”.

As I remember, the sv stands for silicon valley? If I were to make use of a digital sampling oscilloscope as an analogy would that make sense?

Maybe get your thoughts on all this before continuing....

Thanks, this is helpful
-Chuck

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/19/16 2:43 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
. Jake .:
...Chuck, are you saying you've never had that experience of experiences flashing forth and then dissapearing completely, or are you saying that you don't conclude from this experience that the mind is actually structured this way?

It is difficult to compare subjective experiences - especially when people come from different view points/belief systems - these influence not only the language we use, but how we attend to phenomena in the first place - what is important and what isn’t.

I have experienced awareness that is simply aware but not aware of any thing (including time and space). I would still consider this awareness ‘mind’ - that may be a different use of terminology. This was not a momentary experience though - but as the description implies - I can’t say how long it went on for - but nothing like film frames. That being said, one time I did have an experience of awareness which was like being in a dark tunnel (a void) and streaming up out of the tunnel was an extremely rapid stream of ‘thought fragments’ - which could be described as film like. Trying to attend to any of the thought fragments - to try to look at them in detail - led  to large gaps in experiencing the flow of fragments - in other words in order to ‘stay with the flow’ I had to drop any kind of attention to any of them. But I would consider the thought fragments not as mind moments but rather ‘fabricated bits’ - simply because they are seen to come and go (arise and pass away).

On the Sujato link: You’re welcome. I like his sense of humor - I think he is trying to make a serious point - while keeping it light.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/19/16 11:17 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Hi Chuck,
How do you know there is flashing in and out if awareness is going on and off? Maybe we use 'awareness 'and 'mind' differently? From your description, it sounds like it is a sort of flickering cognizance? or put differently flickering perception of something?
Because there's a gap in your perception (visual, auditory, somatosensory, etc.) between time A and time B. Actually, the first time this happened there was an even larger gap and the gap only happened once (well twice, once and then about a month later). It was after a retreat about 6 months before the one I described above. I drove out of the retreat grounds after the retreat to get gas, planning to then drive back to join a small group of the other retreatants for dinner. I pumped the gas, went in and paid the attendant, then went back to my car and placed my hand on the door handle. The next thing I remember is being inside the car sitting at the wheel.

This isn't so surprising even from a scientific standpoint. There is a lot of processing that goes on without your conscious awareness. Experiments from about 10 years ago show that people react in certain ways (you can tell from looking at brain scans) then make up later an explaination of why they did what they did. The NYT had an article yesterday exploring some of the consequences for philosophy:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/18/opinion/why-you-dont-know-your-own-mind.html
I am comfortable with an experience of awareness while not aware of anything - awareness of empty void. I would still consider this as mind though.
You mean the "neither perception nor non-perception" jhana, one of the arupha jhanas?

Any articles you can refer to that discuss those?
Try the Wikipedia web page on Mahamudra for basic orientation, then Khenpo Rimpoche's book Stars of Wisdom. Khenpo Rimpoche was the teacher of my Mahamudra teacher Ari Goldfield who translated the book.
Awareness of ‘no frame’? Awareness of gap? But awareness nevertheless (at least as I use the term) - otherwise there could be no knowledge of ‘frame’. It seems to me that ‘mind’ is being used to describe the ‘frame’ part - implying that during the gap there is no mind. I would describe this more like “frame = consciousness bound up with or noticing phenomena” while “gap = consciousness not bound up with any phenomena”.
You're looking at this from a person outside the video. Think of it as if you were a person inside the video, like you're Humphery Bogart in Casablanca. That's what I meant by "in the context of the video".
As I remember, the sv stands for silicon valley? If I were to make use of a digital sampling oscilloscope as an analogy would that make sense?
It's something like digital sampling. Frames in compressed video. But you're perception is inside the frame.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/19/16 11:33 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
Hi Jake,

I think there is some truth to your point if I understand it correctly, that how we experience mind depends on what we look for. That would explain the different results for different traditions, analog for Hindu, digital for Buddhism. Christian and Islamic/Sufi meditation traditions have a completely different experience, basically something like a jhana with love as the middle point if I understand their reports correctly. Being a digital guy, I guess I have more affinity for the Buddhist view. emoticon

For myself, I have only rarely experienced dukkha directly in meditation,  more often anatta and anicca, but that might be because most of my formal training has been in Mahayana traditions (Zen, now Tibetan) though I used the Mahsi Saydaw noting technique for about 25 years. The Mahayana traditions don't emphasize seeing dukkha in meditation, they are more focused on sunyata, which is seeing anatta in the world around you as well as you. I've experienced minor incidences of flashing consciousness over the years, but the only longer term cessations were last year during the retreats I mentioned upthread.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/21/16 3:28 PM as a reply to Nicky.
Nicky:
David S:

I've experienced a couple of, what people on this site call hard jhannas (...)


(...) in the Anapanasati Sutta, in the 7th & 8th stages, rapture is called the 'citta sankhara' (...)

Your post is an excellent example of this 'citta sankhara' in action.

The anapanasati sutta is not about jhanna. Anapanasati is about a willful directed use of one's mind, whereas in the jhannas I experienced my will was not in control of the experience itself, and in the second experience 'I' was not present to direct anything within the experience while experiencing it.

In my second experience there was no experience of a separate self that was witnessing nor directing. There were no perceptions of the body. There was no space. The best way to describe it is that there wasn't much 'input'. And what was being percieved, just the sound of the breath (although it was not perceived as 'the breath' since the perception of the sound was all that there was) (and it was loud and coarse), there was only an abstract notion of how this sound went from louder to softer, and all this was stripped of other qualities such as imagery. There was no imagery of anything. Time passed without feeling it pass. When I exited this state an hour had passed and I was surprised because I did not percieve its passing.

The transition into jhanna was a drastic change from willfully directing the mind onto the object, to an experience of 'going into' the sensation, while consequently the sense of willful directedness reversing roles, to one of being 'taken over' by this movement and being pulled into the sensation.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/21/16 3:31 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
. Jake .:
Right but here again with the mind moments as with whether suffering characterises every single experience or not, don't you find that how your mind appears is partially contingent on what method/view package you are applying?


Hi Jake. I share your line of thinking about how the different methods lead to particular states and one's views lead to particular interpretations of them. One way we could contribute to investigating this would be for everyone to speak of what exactly their experience was after practicing in any particular method in a descriptive way, as closely as possible, describing only what was perceived in the order it came in the experience. I've found that how I view certain states is not how they are traditionally described in Buddhism. And by seeing how they were described I can see the underlying views behind their descriptions.

In the two jhannas I experienced (hard jhannas) there were two differing qualities of peacefulness, which could likewise be described as lacking the experience of dukkha. The first was rapture the second more void of 'input'. The rapture 'swirled' in intense euphoric feelings the other was 'still' and lacking any emotional feelings. Interestingly, the second in lacking 'input' was more peaceful.

What this means to me in reflecting on this is how all the 'input' that comes to form any perception is filled with a level of agitation. Whatever moves is not still. The mind likes stillness. Maybe this is where the idea of dukkha being all pervasive came from. Then in trying to formulate a manner of living aimed towards this a conceptual explanation of a chain of perception came about. Followed by where in this chain one could intervene, from which came the practices of mindfully disengaging from reactivity and the personalization of experience.

In Buddhist writings the jhannas are sometimes thought of as different realms. I think of them as parts of conscious processes going into abeyance (going 'offline'). Very different views over what are similar experiences.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/21/16 10:35 PM as a reply to David S.
David S:
What this means to me in reflecting on this is how all the 'input' that comes to form any perception is filled with a level of agitation. Whatever moves is not still. The mind likes stillness. Maybe this is where the idea of dukkha being all pervasive came from.

I really like this idea.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/22/16 5:09 AM as a reply to David S.
David S:
Nicky:
David S:

I've experienced a couple of, what people on this site call hard jhannas (...)


(...) in the Anapanasati Sutta, in the 7th & 8th stages, rapture is called the 'citta sankhara' (...)

Your post is an excellent example of this 'citta sankhara' in action.

The anapanasati sutta is not about jhanna. Anapanasati is about a willful directed use of one's mind, whereas in the jhannas I experienced my will was not in control of the experience itself, and in the second experience 'I' was not present to direct anything within the experience while experiencing it.

In my second experience there was no experience of a separate self that was witnessing nor directing. There were no perceptions of the body. There was no space. The best way to describe it is that there wasn't much 'input'. And what was being percieved, just the sound of the breath (although it was not perceived as 'the breath' since the perception of the sound was all that there was) (and it was loud and coarse), there was only an abstract notion of how this sound went from louder to softer, and all this was stripped of other qualities such as imagery. There was no imagery of anything. Time passed without feeling it pass. When I exited this state an hour had passed and I was surprised because I did not percieve its passing.

The transition into jhanna was a drastic change from willfully directing the mind onto the object, to an experience of 'going into' the sensation, while consequently the sense of willful directedness reversing roles, to one of being 'taken over' by this movement and being pulled into the sensation.


All feelings (vedana) such as rapture are the 'citta sankhara' (mind-conditioner) regardless of jhana or not. It was previously pointed out that it is rapture, which can be a factor of jhana, that conditions the mind (citta) into cravings of 'religious fervour'.

That said, the Anapansati Sutta is not necessarily about directing willfulness. For example, when rapture arises on the level of Anapanasati, it is not related to exercising the will. How can the will directly cause rapture to arise (unless practising 'laughing yoga', which is not Anapansati)? Rapture arises in Anapanasati the same as it arises in jhana, namely, due to tranquilisation of the nervous system.

Also, if there was no "seperate self", was there, in its place, a Unified Self, such as Brahman? In the experience of deep meditation, there is simply no self, per se. The self-thought-formations & tendencies simply disappear.

Also, there is no sensation or sound of breath in 'hard 1st jhana'. The scriptures only list 5 factors of experience. If the breath can be discerned in anyway, this is just Anapanasati, that is, 'soft jhana' or 'neighbourhood concentration'.

The very fact it was claimed "my will was not in control" & "I" exited jhana shows there was no true enlightened state. For example, the suttas report when the Venerable Sariputta entered, remained & emerged from jhana, the thought did not arise in the mind of Sariputta that "I" had entered, abided & exited jhana.

In summary, the above post only discribes sensations, like being stoned or tranqulized on a drug. Since the nimitta was not mentioned (which consumates ekaggata) , it does not appear to be hard jhana.

While volitition may have been lost & another 'force' taken control, the scriptures describe 3 shared factors of the 1st & 2nd jhana, namely, rapture, happiness & ekaggata.

emoticon

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/22/16 6:04 AM as a reply to David S.
David S:
. Jake .:
Right but here again with the mind moments as with whether suffering characterises every single experience or not, don't you find that how your mind appears is partially contingent on what method/view package you are applying?

In the two jhannas I experienced (hard jhannas) there were two differing qualities of peacefulness, which could likewise be described as lacking the experience of dukkha. The first was rapture the second more void of 'input'. The rapture 'swirled' in intense euphoric feelings the other was 'still' and lacking any emotional feelings. Interestingly, the second in lacking 'input' was more peaceful.

What this means to me in reflecting on this is how all the 'input' that comes to form any perception is filled with a level of agitation. Whatever moves is not still. The mind likes stillness. Maybe this is where the idea of dukkha being all pervasive came from. Then in trying to formulate a manner of living aimed towards this a conceptual explanation of a chain of perception came about. Followed by where in this chain one could intervene, from which came the practices of mindfully disengaging from reactivity and the personalization of experience.

In Buddhist writings the jhannas are sometimes thought of as different realms. I think of them as parts of conscious processes going into abeyance (going 'offline'). Very different views over what are similar experiences.

The word 'dukkha' has three primary meanings: (i) painful feelings (dukkha vedana); (ii) the unsatisfactory characteristic of impermanent & conditioned phenomena (dukkha lakkana); and (iii) the mental torment & neurosis of attachment, i.e., 'suffering'.

Therefore, what pervades all conditioned experience, including jhana, is 'unsatisfactoriness' (rather than 'suffering').

For example, if the mind is wise, it will discern in jhana that true satisfactoriness, freedom & peace (the Unconditioned Nibbana) is from the state of letting-go or non-clinging (rather than the conditioned feelings of rapture or equinimity). The experience of stillness or non-movement is not Nibbana.

The quote below may help untangle two of the meanings of dukkha.


emoticon

'Sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā' ti yadā paññāya passati. Atha nibbindati dukkhe esa maggo visuddhiyā.

"All conditioned things are unsatisfactory" — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.

Dhammapada 278

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/22/16 1:42 PM as a reply to Nicky.
Nicky:
Also, there is no sensation or sound of breath in 'hard 1st jhana'. The scriptures only list 5 factors of experience. If the breath can be discerned in anyway, this is just Anapanasati, that is, 'soft jhana' or 'neighbourhood concentration'.

The very fact it was claimed "my will was not in control" & "I" exited jhana shows there was no true enlightened state. For example, the suttas report when the Venerable Sariputta entered, remained & emerged from jhana, the thought did not arise in the mind of Sariputta that "I" had entered, abided & exited jhana.

In summary, the above post only discribes sensations, like being stoned or tranqulized on a drug. Since the nimitta was not mentioned (which consumates ekaggata) , it does not appear to be hard jhana.

Once again Nicky you read into my words what you thought, not what I wrote. Have you ever experienced (hard) jhana? I've never seen you speak of it. You quote suttas with your posts and you seem to have an idealistic book sense of these states.

"Jhana is a meditative state of profound stillness and concentration in which the mind becomes fully immersed and absorbed in the chosen object of attention." Sounds like what happened. If the object of attention was the breath then this would be experienced as being absorbed into this sensation. The breath wouldn't be mentioned in the suttas because it would depend upon which object one is concentrating upon. The suttas are stating the unifying qualities.

"...the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation" Sounds like what I experienced the first time. I didn't mention that in my first experience I could think during the experience, whereas in the second there was no thinking, only the experience by itself.

"...the second jhana: rapture and pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought and evaluation." The combination of these two doesn't fit for either experience.

Jhanas 1-4 describes the continuing experience of the body, so those don't fit my second experience. Only those following the fourth are said to trancend the perception of physical form. These sound closer to my second experience. But the first listed has the experience of space, but I did not. Then infinite consciousness, this doesn't fit either. The third in this series is the experience of nothing, now that sounds like what I experienced.

But since it included the sound of the breath, maybe these maps are in an idealised form and so they don't account for mixed experiences. I've never come across any descriptions of access concentration that sound like what I experienced in these two experiences. The experiences I had were obviously absorptions. Again, Nicky, in the second experience there was nothing but the breath and there was no 'I', nor anything separate from the experience, but upon exiting or transitioning out 'I' returned.

I would be interested in hearing from others who have experience with the hard jhanas what you think of mixed experiences, or anything else you think.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/22/16 11:18 AM as a reply to Nicky.
As for a nimitta, well that is usually associated with a visualization object. And if one does not utilize that method then what would be a nimitta of the breath? It is possible to attribute the exagerated form it took in my experience.

Your points on dukkha are good. What I think may have happened in the development of the Buddhist framework is that aspects of jhana became imbedded into the conceptual framework, even if it did not become the goal.

Aside: For everyone reading, Nicky and I have had many conversations before on the SBA website. 

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/22/16 11:18 PM as a reply to David S.
David S:


Once again Nicky you read into my words what you thought, not what I wrote. Have you ever experienced (hard) jhana? I've never seen you speak of it. You quote suttas with your posts and you seem to have an idealistic book sense of these states.



Either Nicky 'read into' some words of a post or, otherwise, the post was articulated poorly by the writer.

Further, it is the mind that experiences soft jhana, hard jhana, etc. Therefore, it is doubtful 'Nicky' has ever experienced soft jhana, hard jhana or anything else at all.

As was stated, when the Venerable Sariputta experienced hard jhana, there was no "I" in that experience.

emoticon

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/22/16 11:20 PM as a reply to David S.
David S:

"Jhana is a meditative state of profound stillness and concentration in which the mind becomes fully immersed and absorbed in the chosen object of attention." Sounds like what happened.


The quote above appears incorrect since objects of attention that occur in hard jhana are obviously not 'chosen'.

This also contradicts the claim that the 'personal will' ceased to operate because only the will choses an object of attention.

Therefore, it does not sound like what happened.

The scriptures explain hard jhana occurs when the five hindrances, including doubt, dissolve. If there is the slightest doubt about if hard jhana occurred or not, it cannot be hard jhana.

Also, in hard jhana, there is no active thinking in the 1st jhana. The words 'vitakka' & 'vicara' translated as 'directed thinking & evaluation' do not have their ordinary meaning of 'thinking' in the context of jhana. They refer to subtle 'movements' of mind that still occur (even though ekaggata has become fixed on the nimitta).

Regards emoticon

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/22/16 11:25 PM as a reply to David S.
David S:

Your points on dukkha are good. What I think may have happened in the development of the Buddhist framework is that aspects of jhana became imbedded into the conceptual framework, even if it did not become the goal.

Aside: For everyone reading, Nicky and I have had many conversations before on the SBA website. 

Thank you

All of my posts are good & contain no contradictions (as your 1st post on this forum unapologetically alleged).

I must confess, I wishfully imagined you were the other David S, the Dhamma Police, who believes he was born a Sammasambuddha.

Oh well. The fun stops now. emoticon 

Welcome, btw. I don't post so much here; mostly on threads such as Bhikkhu Cinitita's Brahmanism. emoticon

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/23/16 12:52 PM as a reply to Nicky.
Nicky:

The quote above appears incorrect since objects of attention that occur in hard jhana are obviously not 'chosen'.

This also contradicts the claim that the 'personal will' ceased to operate because only the will choses an object of attention.

Therefore, it does not sound like what happened.

The scriptures explain hard jhana occurs when the five hindrances, including doubt, dissolve. If there is the slightest doubt about if hard jhana occurred or not, it cannot be hard jhana.

Also, in hard jhana, there is no active thinking in the 1st jhana. The words 'vitakka' & 'vicara' translated as 'directed thinking & evaluation' do not have their ordinary meaning of 'thinking' in the context of jhana. They refer to subtle 'movements' of mind that still occur (even though ekaggata has become fixed on the nimitta).

Nicky,
I don't understand why you put so much effort towards arguing against what I experienced as being jhana. We have been through this argument before, yet you continue to actively try to deny what I say. But I can only share what occurred. I try to give you sutta quotes because that is what you rely upon.

Your arguments are not based upon experience. You simply take lines of text and twist them into other shapes to fit your desired goal. You and I are not in a competition Nicky. I described the lack of 'I' in the second experience, but you simply ignore it and oddly continue arguing over this issue. Now, you mistakenly consider the statement which speaks of choosing an object to focus upon as being incorrect, because you think it is a decision that occurred in jhana, when it is obvious to me that the statement was a general description and was speaking of chosing an object upon beginning the meditative practice itself, long before entering jhana. These arguments are based upon either misunderstandings on your part, or upon a game of twisting words in order to dismiss.

What you said about thinking in the first jhana may be correct. I may have misunderstood it (as you pointed out) and how it occurred in the experience.

In the first experience the sequence of events occurred like this: sitting in meditation, a deep feeling of releasing into the sit, focusing on the breath at the nostils, feeling a swirling sensation in my forehead (like a finger inside moving in a small circle), letting my attention move from the breath to this sensation, the sensation shifted from a willful directed attention to being 'taken over' and 'pulled into' the sensation, an imageryless space of undulating, circling euphoric feelings / a sense of wonder / expansiveness / without objects, then recognition that this was occuring while meditating, then thinking beginning to start back up, then the disappation of the state back to normal awareness. But there was a mixed period in this where it was possible to think, whereas in the second it was not possible to think. And before entering both, thinking had gone into abeyance.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/23/16 4:06 PM as a reply to David S.
"You" didn't experience hard jhana. The scriptures state that a "you" or "who" do not experience sense impressions, which include jhanas, since jhanas are also ontological sense impressions (rather than phenomological 'self' impressions).

As for the 'external nama-rupa' (conventionally labelled by the world as 'David S'), it did not exerience hard jhana also. Although the posts by 'Nicky' were mistakenly made to the other David S, 100% of the contents of the posts were not mistaken.

In summary, in MY opinion, there is no hard jhana described in your posts. The experience described was,imo, a temporary release & unifying of mind (rather than an unmoving ekkagatta lasting for many hours). That said, I am not so interested in discussing the hard jhana claims of David S from S(lol)BA.

Imo, you should start a seperate thread about your personal jhana experiences under the 'Claims to Attainment' category becaue this thread is about the Brahmanistic (phenomological) views of Bhikkhu Cintita rather than the Brahmanistic (self) views of David S.

Similar to David S, the Bhikkhu Cintita asserts 'self-views' are manufactured phenomologically at nama-rupa where as the Lord Buddha (quoted below) explained there was no self-view before sense contact; that the manufactured 'self' is created at 'becoming'.

Kind regards emoticon

~"Who, O Lord, has a sense-impression?"

"The question is not correct," said the Exalted One.

"I do not say that 'he has a sense-impression.' Had I said so, then the question 'Who has a sense-impression?' would be appropriate. But since I did not speak thus, the correct way to ask the question will be 'What is the condition of sense-impression?' And to that the correct reply is: 'The sixfold sense-base is a condition of sense-impression, and sense-impression is the condition of feeling.

SN 12.12

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/23/16 8:12 PM as a reply to Nicky.
Nicky, I have been responding to others' ideas in my posts. Unfortunately. I've also responded to your ideas and this has carried on for too long now, and it has been a diversion from this thread's intention and my own. Conversations can meander as they do. My posts were not simply about my experiences, but how these experiences are interpreted, which was a topic a while back. This is an interesting topic to discuss and my experiences were pertinent in this regard. Other people also talked of their experiences in this thread. It has been just a conversation.

Nicky said: "You" didn't experience hard jhana.

All persons who experience jhana have a memory of it. This is just a silly pointless game you play to dismiss everything I say. You are a smart person which perplexes me as to how you can resort to such misinformed retorts. I'll refrain from engaging in any further exchanges with you.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/24/16 11:40 AM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
Hi Chuck,

I am comfortable with an experience of awareness while not aware of anything - awareness of empty void. I would still consider this as mind though.
You mean the "neither perception nor non-perception" jhana, one of the arupha jhanas?

It wasn’t during any formal sort of practice - my mind would just drift into stillness. This has happened on several occasions. One time I remember sitting with a friend having lunch. After lunch, I turned my head to look out into the dessert - everything became quite still, then no awareness of body, sights, sounds, thoughts, etc. When I turned back to my friend - it seems like it was maybe only a couple of minutes but he said I was ‘gone’ for about 15 minutes. There was a very subtle sense of awareness throughout the process. I don’t know if that was one of the jhanas or not - could be.

svmonk: You're looking at this from a person outside the video. Think of it as if you were a person inside the video, like you're Humphery Bogart in Casablanca. That's what I meant by "in the context of the video".

OK, I think I get it. The flow of experience is jumpy - but no awareness of a specific gap - the jumpiness tells you there was a gap. Does that make sense? I haven’t had that kind of experience.

Your nazi death camp experience sounds very similar to my own. Jim Tucker -  the psychiatrist that researches children’s past life memories - says that in the 3,000 or so cases they have, about two thirds involve violent deaths. I wonder if this would also be true of adults.

RE: Bhikkhu Cintita - Through the Looking Glass
Answer
7/25/16 8:41 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Hi Chuck
OK, I think I get it. The flow of experience is jumpy - but no awareness of a specific gap - the jumpiness tells you there was a gap. Does that make sense? I haven't had that kind of experience.
Yes, that's right.
Your nazi death camp experience sounds very similar to my own. Jim Tucker -  the psychiatrist that researches children's past life memories - says that in the 3,000 or so cases they have, about two thirds involve violent deaths. I wonder if this would also be true of adults.
Remember my experience wasn't of my own past life, but rather of someone else. I talk about it more in my memoir, Silicon Valley Monk. My predialection is to be careful not to simply take the experience at face value (though I did that for a number of years) despite the extreme emotional content, for the reasons I cited in my response to Daniel upthread (primarily the difficulty of working out a believable causal chain). It's kind of like the sun coming up in the east and going down in the west. Although it looks like that's what the sun is doing if you take it at face value, it's really the rotation of the Earth that's causing the appearance of movement. I naturally respect other's beliefs in this area and am willing to admit my view is incorrect if solid evidence surfaces of a causal chain.