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Equanimity as a Mind State?

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Equanimity as a Mind State? Bruno Ivan Amadori 1/26/18 8:39 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? seth tapper 1/26/18 4:21 PM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? Bruno Ivan Amadori 1/27/18 6:40 PM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? seth tapper 1/27/18 10:04 PM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? Noah D 1/27/18 10:16 PM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? seth tapper 1/27/18 10:20 PM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? Yilun Ong 1/28/18 1:14 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? seth tapper 1/28/18 1:51 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? Daniel - san 1/28/18 1:50 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? seth tapper 1/28/18 2:06 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? Yilun Ong 1/28/18 2:36 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? seth tapper 1/28/18 10:14 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? jonjohn 1/28/18 4:18 PM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? seth tapper 1/28/18 11:53 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? jonjohn 1/28/18 12:08 PM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? seth tapper 1/28/18 12:43 PM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? jonjohn 1/28/18 1:10 PM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? seth tapper 1/28/18 1:58 PM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? jonjohn 1/28/18 2:48 PM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? jonjohn 1/28/18 2:40 PM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? seth tapper 1/28/18 2:45 PM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? jonjohn 1/28/18 2:55 PM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? seth tapper 1/28/18 3:03 PM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? Daniel - san 1/28/18 4:57 PM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? seth tapper 1/28/18 6:27 PM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? Yilun Ong 1/29/18 4:02 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? seth tapper 1/29/18 7:05 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? seth tapper 1/30/18 12:28 PM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? seth tapper 1/31/18 11:09 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? curious 1/31/18 11:57 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? Yilun Ong 1/29/18 3:45 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? seth tapper 1/29/18 7:14 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? Daniel - san 1/30/18 12:02 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? shargrol 1/28/18 5:21 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? alguidar 1/29/18 11:13 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? curious 1/30/18 12:10 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? Yilun Ong 1/30/18 1:44 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? Yilun Ong 1/30/18 4:00 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? jonjohn 1/30/18 3:54 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? Yilun Ong 1/30/18 4:10 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? jonjohn 1/30/18 4:46 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? Yilun Ong 1/30/18 5:04 AM
RE: Equanimity as a Mind State? jonjohn 1/30/18 6:00 AM
Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/26/18 8:39 AM
Hello everyone! First post on the forum, sorry if it's not on the right place. I want to thank you for reading this post and for actively fuel and make this community possible.

My question is not oriented to uppekah (equanimity) as a stage inside the Progress of Insight, but to uppekah as one of the Four Sublime Mind States. I understand all mind states are bonded to the 3C, no matter how sublime or good they are. So even uppekah is transitory, and is futile to fantasize on it's eternality and unshakeableness on our life. Even uppekah eventually stops, evidencing dukkha (unsatisfactorieness).

I understand true uppekah should be something unconditional, some type of quality that accepts every mind state or experience no matter how harsh, blissful, painful or pleasurable. But in this case, uppekah would not be a mind state but something that is beyond mind states.

Maybe true uppekah is not a mind state but an insight? something related to the quality on the act of perceiving the mind states? Is possible to be truly equanimous to all things forever and ever and not "losing it" as happens with every kind of peak experience?

I hope this makes any sense to you. 

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/26/18 4:21 PM as a reply to Bruno Ivan Amadori.
Yes it is possible.  It is a lot easier to have moments in meditation or even entire meditation sessions free of delusion than to walk around awake, but eventually there just isnt any delusion left to arise.  I am not claiming it, but I can understand what that state is.   Imagine a sitcom where some people overhear a conversation and think it is about a plan to kill someone.  Very dramatic and scary and threatening.  Then it turns out they were rehearsing a play! - everyone laughs and everything is ok and it was just a misunderstanding.   A fully awake person always is aware that there is no real consequence and everything is ok and that all the drama and suffering is just a misunderstanding. 

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/27/18 6:40 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
Hmmmm... so it seems equanimity isn't a mind state but an attitude or wisdom that flourishes after the proper understanding of the 3C, or something like that.

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/27/18 10:04 PM as a reply to Bruno Ivan Amadori.
This is my understanding: 

Its all nonsense, no one is home and no one is in control and nothing is wrong and LOVE.  The mental gymnastics we are all engaged in is just self story telling.  It is not more important or meaningful than the mental gymnastics of squirrels or the gyrations of a gas nebula.  When you see that, what is there to suffer about?  It is just plain rational, logical ordinary truth, it is not supernatural or spiritual.  It does mean that we are all one universal undifferentiated perfect being.  

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/27/18 10:16 PM as a reply to Bruno Ivan Amadori.
I don't have a source for this, it's my opinion.  That the Brahma Viharas in their true form are more like characteristics of reality themselves rather than conditioned phenomena which are subject to characteristics.  However, this is not relevant until it's relevant - meaning something which is accessible to maybe less than 1% of all meditators.

This reminds me of the idea of the 3 delusions: permanence, self & satisfaction.  When the 3 characteristics are understood at a sufficient level, the attentional clinging to objects (tsal) drops away.  Meaning, the physical senses & their mental impressions no longer contain an added layer of dualistic tension. 

Eventually on this path, the tension which is dropped becomes subtler & subtler.  An expanse of empty ground opens up in a stabilized way.  What was previously delusion is now seen to be the nature of experience: everything in this moment is permanent, it is you, it is satisfying (no matter what).

In some sense, this is upekkha abode right there.  A pervasive knowledge of conditions effecting each other in real time with nothing on any side to react.  Friendliness (metta) is also a stabilized quality of familiarity & warmth when these levels open up.  When relative human suffering enters into that abode, there will be compassion.  The flipside is joy.  And so it goes.

Edit: Also compassion enters in since consciousness is participating within itself by being localized to this body.  Part of that deal is the presence of push/pull.

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/27/18 10:20 PM as a reply to Noah D.
I believe it really feels more ordinary.  Like happiness.   An awake person is just not worried about anything at all, not even a little.  Becoming enlightened is not about achieving a mind state, but about realizing there is nothing to worry about in fact.   Watch the mind fabricate long enough and it becomes apparent that you are making everything up and you do not have to.  

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 1:14 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
Been meaning to ask you very respectfully in all seriousness, Seth, how did you get there and what do you think is the best method?

With Love... emoticon

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 1:50 AM as a reply to Bruno Ivan Amadori.
I think both you Bruno and also Noah are correct, in that equanimity is an attitude at the coarser levels of practice, but later experienced as a quality of awareness itself, and when stabilized what we call negative (dualistic, conflicted, coarser) energies can’t sustain or even form. Equanimity as attitude is more mind-based, whereas awareness exhibiting the quality of equanimity (aka fearlessness) naturally takes up residence in the entire mind/body system and it’s not intellectually based.
Even though it (life) as we know it is experienced as sensation, it’s not reducible to just that. That’s why I think Seth’s view that ‘it’s all nonsense’ is just that, another view, and one tending away from the a Middle Way toward nihilism. It’s incomplete, a model. You can say it’s all nonsense, but IMO that’s simplistic and obtuse. It’s life, it’s everything, it’s infinity and wonder and love and hate and nonsense along with the deepest of meaning too. It’s totally serious and a giant cosmic joke - it’s all there is and all we perceive it as (perhaps). Equanimity occurs on it’s own when we stop taking things personally, which happens by degrees as we awaken to the truth of anatta, in the myriad ways that insight reveals itself. Another two cents for you anyway emoticon

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 1:51 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
I have thought about it and I dont think my practice is really relatable to others - essentially crazy tantric tension release coupled with a rational analytical examination of reality and the mind.  Mostly what works is thousands and thousands and thousands of hours.  The human nervous system is just a big steaming pile of delusional nonsense and you have to figure out a way to sit through outgassing all of it.  I have had the money and support structure to do it full time for 4 years or so.   I am 100% sure there are better ways than what i have been doing.  

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 2:06 AM as a reply to Daniel - san.
When I look out at the world, I cannot know what is really there.  When i look at the contents of my own mind, I can see that I created it all.  All the meaning that I can comprehend is meaning that I made up.  I have thought about it pretty hard and searched my mind for a long time and I have become convinced of this.  Even my intuition and deepest sense of closeness to God is fabricated by my mind.  


What does apparently exist is existence.  I am a part of it and I imagine so are you.  Applying meaning I invented in my own mind to it leads me to love some of it and identify with some of it  and to Other some of it and hate some of it.  That meaning did not exist in nature, I created it.  If I stop creating it, then everything is the same, is perfect and I am it.     That is what I mean when I say it is all nonsense.  

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 2:36 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:

What does apparently exist is existence.  I am a part of it and I imagine so are you.  Applying meaning I invented in my own mind to it leads me to love some of it and identify with some of it  and to Other some of it and hate some of it.  That meaning did not exist in nature, I created it.  If I stop creating it, then everything is the same, is perfect and I am it.     That is what I mean when I say it is all nonsense.  

I've explored this in my very unenlightened mind and had the question,"What if love, compassion and equanimity are also creations/conditioning of the mind?" Do you guys know for a fact that what exists after clearing the junk is the Brahma Vihara's?

This also makes me wonder if much of the teachings are modelled after what the enlightened teachers experiences when awakened; many of the teachings do resemble reverse-engineered "fake it till you make it" models. (Not saying that doesn't work, am trying Mahamudra now)

Reading UG Krishnamurthy (supposedly enlightened) deeply disturbed me on this point:
What I am saying is that all this sweet talk of peace, compassion, and love has not touched man at all. It's rubbish. 

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 5:21 AM as a reply to Bruno Ivan Amadori.
To draw a parallel... Just like how there can be a moment of nibbana that is an insight into the truth that the world is nibbana-ing, there can be a state of equanimity which is an insight into the ongoing suchness of the world. A lot of confusion comes from using the same word in both places but once you see the pattern it's usually easy to figure it out. 

States of X are usually the precursors and necessary doorway into the full understanding of X.

Hope this helps.

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 10:14 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
The less I seperate stuff the less aversion I have to stuff.  In my experience, what we call love is a state of non aversion, of just being.  So I would say the ground state of the mind is the same as what we call requited love.  Think a dog and a cat snuggled up with each other filling existence.  

I think the more interesting question is whether that is experiencing just mental fabrication of perfect unity or actually experiencing some kind of cosmic perfect unity.  The answer, in my view and upon reflection, is yes. 

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 4:18 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
Hi seth tapper, may i ask you something? Do you have any preferences, and if so, in what ground are they supported if all as you say is equally nonsense? An other thing is, does this equanimity you describe looks more like the first or like the second picture? 



Because i  DO  think there is a ground in which these differences lie, and for example you can differentiated one emotion from an other, one love from an other, one equanimity from an other. The same ground that the enlightened master with the fackedup psyche finds preferable to be an alcoholic: he tries to alleviate something, doesn't he? He is fucking miserable. So what is the end of suffering and emptiness and bullshit they are talking? 

The depersonalised emotional world is totally different from it's opposite (the... ultimately healthy one) and when all our world is painted with dull colors, with time we may end up with a world that lacks vividness and emotional colouring and taking it as the "true nature" of the world. 
Something similar happens with all the "sankaras cleansers", that clean and clean and clean and clean and clean.... NOOO.. you are doing WRONG, you are MISGUIDED, you are CLEANING NOTHING.  It's like the orthorexics that the more they get sick from their diet the more they think that they detox.  Sad stories....

How does the end of suffering feels like? I mean in the walking life, not the special meditating moments. Is it really naive to expect from the supposedly full health of enlightenment something more than an ordinary and trivial semi-ok existence?  I don't think so, at all.  Enlightenment should be something truly exceptional and sublime. 

Questions mixed with comments as you see. Only the questions are directed to you personaly and the others are only general speaking of course, and is not in any way about you.  Feel free to respond if and how you want. Thank you

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 11:53 AM as a reply to jonjohn.
I had a hard time following you comment, sorry for not being able to respond precisely.   I have preferences, I like bacon and hate broccoli.  I can see that those preferences are conditioned and have no actual basis. 

One way I have been thinking about what I am feeling is like watching my daughter in a play.  When I go see a play I judge it on how good it is and how well acted and the sets and I set a pretty high bar to actually enjoy it.  When my daughter is in it, none of that matters at all.  What ever happens is beautiful and perfect and I love it.   The world looks empty of meaning to me, but my daughter is in it, so it doesnt matter. 

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 12:08 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
EDIT

But the very same prefrence is the actual basis, isn't it? For why to chose what you prefer and not the other?

And the same goes for your daughter. What difference does she make? If it's all nonesence... 

It's exactly the SUFFERING that brings the meaning in the world, by just presenting it self, and thus pointing by its very nature to the oposite direction. That's where our prefrences are grounded.

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 12:43 PM as a reply to jonjohn.
I am sorry I do not follow your point.  Can you try and restate it? I am interested in the conversation. 

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 1:10 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
I had a hard time following you comment, sorry for not being able to respond precisely.   I have preferences, I like bacon and hate broccoli.  I can see that those preferences are conditioned and have no actual basis. 

One way I have been thinking about what I am feeling is like watching my daughter in a play.  When I go see a play I judge it on how good it is and how well acted and the sets and I set a pretty high bar to actually enjoy it.  When my daughter is in it, none of that matters at all.  What ever happens is beautiful and perfect and I love it.   The world looks empty of meaning to me, but my daughter is in it, so it doesnt matter. 

You say the world is empty of meaning but then you go on to say that a part of the world, you daughter, has meaning. What do you mean? 

I mean that when you have prefrences, to fulfill these prefrences is meaningful by definition, and therefore it is wrong to say that all is nonesense

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 1:58 PM as a reply to jonjohn.
I seem to have two categories of "preferences".  One category is clearly conditioned and requires me to believe that there is a real difference between say "broccoli" and "bacon".  Of course I can see that those two things are just categories I make up - it would be truer to look at both broccolu and bacon as clouds of particles or patterns in the neural network of my brain.  What is really happening is that I have aversion to some sensations that arise in my mind and nonaversion to other sensations.  When I meditate, I can see that they are all just sensations and I go through periods in which I am not averse to any of them.  My daughter is someone I love unconditionally and with out limit.  I know that she is also a category that I create in my mind.   When I am rational, I love everything unconditionally and with out limit because they are all the same as her.  Beyond reason, I am unconditional love without limit because I am not seperate from the love that i feel. If I let it, the mind will accept that this is all love, that it always has been and always will be and the rest is nonsense.  I have been trying to let it completely accept that for some time, unfortunately I keep getting lost in narratives and aversion as they arise.  I have no control at all, but the water keeps getting clearer.  

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 2:48 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
Yes but experience is not "just" networks, and it is loaded with "taste". The fundamental taste... Suffering. So either you will say that suffering is in some way non existent, and you will then be unable to differentiate for example  between the experience of being burned alive and the experience of  living happily with your beloved person, or you will have to accept the truth of suffering and the preferences that follow from this.

Either suffering and meaning and preferences or no suffering and no meaning and no preferences.  You can't have them both. 

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 2:40 PM as a reply to jonjohn.
Until suffering is transended in complete enlightenment, whatever this means and whatever the possibilities it implies, it is useful to be guided by happiness and not try to trick ourselves in to an analytic mind game that this was supposedly a meanigless matter out of our concern. It is not, and it is obviously not. Suffering is real. True happiness is also real. And the same goes for equanimities as well, both the "fake" depersonalised version and the really happy one, Both are real with their real consiquenses. And we have to chose towards which are we practice to proceed 

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 2:45 PM as a reply to jonjohn.
I am not preaching here, just telling you what I understand and what arises in my mind.  If it doesnt seem helpful to you, just ignore me.  That said, I choose no preferences, no meaning and no suffering.  I know that what I used to call suffering and feel meaningful to me has turned out to be a complex structure of sensations and thoughts that my mind used to construct an experience I called suffering. 

So yes - I think eating an ice cream cone and being burned at the stake are the same thing.  Can I stay mindful while being burned at the stake? Nope.  But it is just a matter of hours on the mat.  Eventually, If I keep at it, I would be able to and so would you. 

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 2:55 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
Yes of course, sorry if sounded annoyed, we just have a nice conversation and i don't have anything with you. 

Ok one question. What about the suffering of the others. Is it too nonexistent? 

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 3:03 PM as a reply to jonjohn.
That was a huge hinderance for me.  Compassion feels so true - beyond reason true - so a rational explanation that excludes the reality of the suffering of others felt wrong at a deep level.  Once I really accepted that i have no control, I am just a lava lamp I stopped worring so much about it.   Reason still tells me that the suffering of others exists as a biochemical reaction in their physical brains and that it has no intrinsic importance or meaning or existence as such.  And yet - compassion arises stronger the less I believe in it.  Go figure.  

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 4:57 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
It seems with all these discussions there are two parallel topics going on. One, what is one's direct experience and two, what is one's view/model/philosophy concerning that direct experience.

The first basket deals with wisdom. You wouldn't argue with someone that you are reading words on a screen right now because you know it's true, it's not even worth debating. The second regards what Yilun referred to as faking it until you make it, the various ideas we have regarding those direct experiences. The 'it's all nonsense' view or the modern scientific pragmatic dharma view are just views, not to diminish the factual basis of one view over another, some ideas are certainly more true, relatively.

But no idea you can come up with is totally true, because they are all models of life, not the real thing. Life is true, everything else is an approximation, or some kind of diminishing of the truth, like saying it's all biochemical reactions or what have you. I'm not buying that either, I believe in magic. 

So for the question about the reality of equanimity, and whether or not it is conditioned, I'm sure Buddhist texts have various things to say about this, and they may not all agree. However the question pre-supposes that some ground of objective reality exists, and I understand there is debate about that. I'm on the side that this is a choose-your-own-adventure life we're living and objective reality is not an actual thing. 

So what to do. I think the answer is personal, and it comes back to your own intentions for engaging with spirituality/self-improvement/wisdom practices to begin with. My own intention was not a grand search for truth or the meaning of life, but to be a better person, a more joyful and compassionate person that can have that same effect on others. Because fear is an uncomfortable sensation for me, I choose equanimity and expansiveness (not sure if I'm really choosing though) and the same can be said for choosing love over hate, joy over depression and compassion over cruelty. It's deeply related to pain and pleasure and seeking not just pleasure, but fulfillment.

So I would cultivate equanimity as a manufactured mind state, but also rest in the so-called uncontrived ground of awareness which has equanimity as a feature. Because deeper releases into effortlessness naturally produces equanimity, joy, love and compassion, I would lean toward those expressions being non-manufactured, and naturally occurring. But that's another view, and in the end everything is naturally occurring so...

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/28/18 6:27 PM as a reply to Daniel - san.
For me, the question of what to do next is the key question.  Every moment I must decide what my next action should be and it creates stress and worry and fear and suffering.  Upon investigation, I have determined that I have no control over anything and there is nothing that needs to be done.  Any model that is both non falsifiable and comes to the consclusion that I am not in control and that there is nothing that needs to be done, I see as a functional model of reality.  In my view, a person who has replaced their disfunctional model of reality with a functional one, is what we would call enlightened.  In reality, it doesnt seem to happen like a light switch. The maharishi talked about it like slowly dying cloth and that more closely matches my experience. 

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/29/18 4:02 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
For me, the question of what to do next is the key question.  Every moment I must decide what my next action should be and it creates stress and worry and fear and suffering.  Upon investigation, I have determined that I have no control over anything and there is nothing that needs to be done.  Any model that is both non falsifiable and comes to the consclusion that I am not in control and that there is nothing that needs to be done, I see as a functional model of reality.  In my view, a person who has replaced their disfunctional model of reality with a functional one, is what we would call enlightened.  In reality, it doesnt seem to happen like a light switch. The maharishi talked about it like slowly dying cloth and that more closely matches my experience. 
How can the underlined be true? I am sure I misunderstand what you mean but if that is true, there is no need for anyone to pursue enlightenment/purification through cleaning their act up, meditating to achieve stillness and exploring the falsehoods and dispelling them thru personal experience?

Perhaps the perpetually drunk/druggies are living it right then? <- UG said it isn't wrong... Argh.

Edit: My true Real-Life Scenario: My dad (passed away) was a heroin addict. My brother is in a vegetative state (drug OD). Now I very well can tell myself that I have no control, submit to those that offer me heroin although I have resisted even trying it just once. Should I just screw it all and submit to my biological no-control-ness and go for it? At those times, the free will is real and pulls me from both ends, or is that an illusion that I have a choice?

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/29/18 3:45 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
 In my view, a person who has replaced their disfunctional model of reality with a functional one, is what we would call enlightened.  In reality, it doesnt seem to happen like a light switch. The maharishi talked about it like slowly dying cloth and that more closely matches my experience. 
You seem to be practicing Mahamudra? The same issue I face with attempting it is for e.g. anger: obviously the heart rate increases along with temperature increase in the body, the mind is affected as in it is kind of like tunnel-visioned amongst other coloured stuff. So I assume the practice says to see that the mind (which certainly looks like it is refering to awareness - am I mistaken?) is still aware emptiness. Now that is achievable and true in a very limited sense (by refering to mind as awareness), but it ignores what is occurring in the mind/body as mentioned above during anger. [The practice is to stay in awareness watching awareness mode, no matter what happens on the mirror? - Can someone enlighten the correct way?]

Here comes the confusing part: You are not supposed to use this as an antidote, which means if you used it to dismiss anything, you are not there yet. From "Clarifying the Natural State" Page 31: 
Someone may say, "When I look directly into a thought or perception , it dissolves and becomes an aware emptiness." This is a case of not having established certainty about thoughts and perceptions, but rather of using the idea of aware emptiness against them.
So my question is, if dismissing it is wrong; seeing and calling awareness the mind (wtf), whilst denying the changes that happen: is this some magical technique or self-hypnotization? 

Not directed at anyone, I am confused by the Mahamudra technique and quite doubtful of its effectiveness haha. Any pointers are most welcome!

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/29/18 7:05 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Yilun, 

I likely have no idea what I am talking about.  

I am not a believer in merit or that meditation is needed in someway to perfect things.  I imagine that my mind is like a small boat in a great storm.  The wind and the waves push it around violently.  Sometimes it is at the top of the crest and can see forever and some times it crashes to the bottom and I can see only turmoil.  At every moment I am terrified of being thrown from the boat.  

Meditation has calmed the sea and shown me that no matter how violent its action, I cannot be actually harmed.  It is effective and leads to happiness, eventually, but the earth would keep spinning if I had never started and will spin on when I die or if I give up or fall off.  I do not think I am more useful than a squirrel or mullet.  

Heroin addiction is a big family burden.  I have my own, but they do not really compare.  I think you have seen that that path doesnt lead to happiness so it seems like you have made good choices to me. 

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/29/18 7:14 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
I am not in a position to give advice on meditation technique.   When I sit, I attempt to just let the mind and body churn on with out identifying with it or being averse to any of it.    When I am trapped in narrative or identified - I am in emotional or physical pain - my rational mind kicks in unbidden and talks me out of it.   When it is really effective, the self talk is about how the whole category of mental phenomenon are empty and not about how to get rid of this particular experience.  Eventually I am out and the sensations are just sensations, the sounds just sounds, etc. 

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/29/18 11:13 AM as a reply to Bruno Ivan Amadori.
excelent thread!

love readind seth, yilun and everyone! 

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/30/18 12:02 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Hi Yilun,

I’ve studied more Dzogchen than Mahamudrah, but they’re similar. This is from ‘The Royal Seal of Mahamudra vol.1’:

Generally, it is said “rest without modifying, sustain without wandering.” This is the crucial, quintessential point. What is a modified mind? The mind is modified when we have many thoughts of the three times, such as “I have done that before; I am doing this now; I now think that it is like this.” Also, in terms of the meditation, to think along the lines of “I must tighten up; I must loosen up.” Or else, in terms of blocking and pursuing, to think, “Will I have some stillness? If only there wasn’t any thought movement.” Also to have thoughts of hope and fear, such as hoping for meditation to happen or fearing it will not. When you think like that, you are modifying or fabricating the mind. Nonmodification is to rest comfortably and at ease in the true nature of your mind without thinking in any of the above ways at all, remaining in the continuity of the unfabricated natural flow, free of a lot of stirring thoughts. 

I would say, don’t try to do anything, don’t try to see anything or not see anything. Allow openness to the moment as it is. Bare detached awareness will allow you to see and feel what was once subconscious in all it’s painful blissful overwhelming glory. Even allow grasping and mental churning, it will all settle down eventually. All of this is purification and the brahma viharas will reveal themselves naturally, like the sun coming out from behind the clouds, burning hindrances up. Shinzen Young calls this experience the ‘taste of purification’

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/30/18 12:10 AM as a reply to Bruno Ivan Amadori.
Yeah, great thread.  Really enjoying reading what people have to say.  Here is my 2c.

Rightly or wrongly, I think the essence of equanimity is the non-reaction to external events, so that they do not create or reinforce any karma.  Tranquility is the non-arising or non-reaction to internal events, so that they do not create or reinforce any karma.  When you have equanimity and tranquility, the natural state of the mind seems to be joy and love. The boat metaphor really speaks to me - it is great being at the top of the wave, with a clearsighted view but most of the time I am in the spray, or at best rolling through a gently rocking swell. So I both know equanimity, and aspire to more of it.

I sort of almost completely agree with Seth about non-meaing.  But the way I see it is that events do occur, but they are just (say) 1% some unknowable external event in the 'real' world, and 99% our conditioned reaction to sense stimulus related to that event. So I think if you are really enlightened, eating an ice cream and being burned at the stake are not quite exactly the same, but they are (say) 99% the same.

On Yilun's point ... I have wondered about this too!  Does imitation train the mind and help it to be ready?  Or is it just a kind of bogus sympathetic magic (similar to if I dress like an elk, an elk will come by and I can shoot it and eat it).  I don't know.  But I do find that a lot of stuff makes sense after insight in a way that it didn't before insight.

What then about loved ones?  Again, they are 99% our conditioned reaction ... but  not entirely.  There are dimly percieved other beings who lie behind our mental fabrications.  And those beings are not really separate from us - we are all part of the same network of causality/karma. The closer the relationship, the more we generate karma for each other. So love reduces our suffering when we give it, it reduces the suffering of the dimly perceived other being when they receive it, and reduces our suffering again when they reflect it back to us. So loving those close to us is also loving ourselves.  It feels good, and it is good.  We want to make sure we have a nice house, and nice habits.  Make sure you have nice relationships too, particularly with those who are the closest participants in your life.

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/30/18 1:44 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:

On Yilun's point ... I have wondered about this too!  Does imitation train the mind and help it to be ready?  Or is it just a kind of bogus sympathetic magic (similar to if I dress like an elk, an elk will come by and I can shoot it and eat it).  I don't know.  But I do find that a lot of stuff makes sense after insight in a way that it didn't before insight.


Can someone answer this?! I hate barking and worse up the wrong tree. With this Mahamudra technique of summoning all kinds of stuff and positing that they are the same, feels like I am not ready for it (what is the prerequisite?) or it really is The Great Pretender method that works.

Thanks Daniel, you seem to really understand me, know what I need.. and thinking back, you were to first to reply my first post here. Were you the one that sent me the Kundalini stuff? emoticon That was beautifully written, BTW! *Saved for future reference*

On a more serious note, yes I have been practicing "Do Nothing" but wandering mind decided to try Mahamudra for kicks or to trace it back to its source - craving/greed for enlightenment. I have investigated this many times and although I am in a most wonderful place (mind/body), and there are no Needs for the Big E along with no justifiable Wants for it, the mind simply wants to have a problem to solve or somewhere to get to other than where it is Now - I suppose. Such a trap and I still cannot walk away from it totally...

Dear Seth
, your words have made me wonder in frustration often but also they ring of truth and reeks of your compassion\love although one needs to smell deeper to get it. You are one unique, lovable Dolphin with 2 thumbs up!

I feel an affinity to this weird sangha that is hard to describe, so Love to All! emoticon

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/30/18 4:00 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Yilun Ong:

With this Mahamudra technique of summoning all kinds of stuff and positing that they are the same, feels like I am not ready for it (what is the prerequisite?) or it really is The Great Pretender method that works.


Edit: Found this that seems to answer my wrong understanding, not sure though but frankly I am detecting an addiction to cognition - so goodbye to practicing "Clarifying the Natural State" <- When that becomes suffering, it is best to go back to "Resting in the Natural State": Abide naturally with whatever little real equanimity I have, watch whatever nonsense the mind throws at me, keep equi-distance without engaging, be mindful of it sliding the craving/aversion bar and enjoy whatever this concept is called for living my life (until I get caught in trying to be funny again)...

https://www.amazon.com/The-Royal-Seal-Mahamudra-Realization/dp/1559394374
For us, who have been in beginningless samsara all our lives due to very strong habits formed long ago, there is no way for thoughts of passion and aggression not to arise; these thoughts will no doubt occur! Determined not to slip into delusion, you must identify these thoughts and let go directly on them. Rest in the state of knowing the nature of the very thoughts of attachment and aversion. 

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/30/18 3:54 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Yilun Ong:
curious:

On Yilun's point ... I have wondered about this too!  Does imitation train the mind and help it to be ready?  Or is it just a kind of bogus sympathetic magic (similar to if I dress like an elk, an elk will come by and I can shoot it and eat it).  I don't know.  But I do find
that a lot of stuff makes sense after insight in a way that it didn't before insight.


Can someone answer this?! I hate barking and worse up the wrong tree. With this Mahamudra technique of summoning all kinds of stuff and positing that they are the same, feels like I am not ready for it (what is the prerequisite?) or it really is The Great Pretender method that works.


From Bhikkhu Bodhi's "The Noble Eightfold Path"

"The love involved in metta, in contrast, does not hinge on particular relations to particular persons. Here the reference point of self is utterly omitted. We are concerned only with suffusing others with a mind of loving-kindness, which ideally is to be developed into a universal state, extended to all living beings without discriminations or reservations. The way to impart to metta this universal scope is to cultivate it as an exercise in meditation. Spontaneous feelings of good will occur too sporadically and are too limited in range to be relied on as the remedy for aversion. The idea of deliberately developing love has been criticized as contrived, mechanical, and calculated. Love, it is said, can only be genuine when it is spontaneous, arisen without inner prompting or effort. But it is a Buddhist thesis that the mind cannot be commanded to love spontaneously; it can only be shown the means to develop love and enjoined to practice accordingly. At first the means has to be employed with some deliberation, but through practice the feeling of love becomes ingrained, grafted onto the mind as a natural and spontaneous tendency."

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
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1/30/18 4:10 AM as a reply to jonjohn.
Thanks John!

I really should stop philosophizing but it is possible that no one will be able to answer what is real or cultivated. I am not going to care, these are good stuff to have, so I am going to let go of trying to know. 

Wishing all who need more EQ, more EQ emoticon

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/30/18 4:46 AM as a reply to jonjohn.

Repression is to be avoided, not training and directing the mind. And these two are different. You can see it this way schematically: if effortlessness leads to more repression and tension than its deliberate alternative, then we have to pick the second. But as the time and practice go on we abstain from more and more tension, and so our effortlessness leads to relaxation and happiness. 

Everything is "cultivated", both the bad patterns that were instilled in our youth and the hopefully better ones that we practice now. It's not about real or not..., it's about tension or not, repression or not, it's about suffering or not. The question is not "is this real?" but "is this suffering?". 

Our most strong impulse in life, our most natural tendency, is abstaining from suffering. When the mind faces a happiness greater than another, this inclination to pick the first and reject the second, is the solid base from where you can undermine your doubt.




  

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/30/18 5:04 AM as a reply to jonjohn.
Our most strong impulse in life, our most natural tendency, is abstaining from suffering. When the mind faces a hapiness greater than another, this inclination to pick the first and reject the second, is the solid base from where you can undermine your dought.

Thanks again John. I agree that is a great marker and I have made a mental resolution to be extra mindful of that. In retrospect, that happens pretty often!

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/30/18 6:00 AM as a reply to jonjohn.
Even birds cannot fly without some environmental influence, whould we say that flying too is unnatural for them? More so for all these tender human minds that their rich potential is wasted by being upbrought and conditioned in patterns of insecurity and hatred and fear and abuse....  So we begin the process of exposing the self, to the healthier patterns of abiding. It is exactly presenting the positives, and realizing how by their very nature they are preferable. And this is the opposite of faking it or pretending. It is axactly naturalness and truth. 

Best wishes  Yilun, be well

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
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1/30/18 12:28 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
I have been thinking more about this boat analogy.  

" I imagine that my mind is like a small boat in a great storm.  The wind and the waves push it around violently.  Sometimes it is at the top of the crest and can see forever and some times it crashes to the bottom and I can see only turmoil.  At every moment I am terrified of being thrown from the boat.  

Meditation has calmed the sea and shown me that no matter how violent its action, I cannot be actually harmed." 

What I am scared to really confront is that my task is to destroy the boat.   To stop making it.  To let myself be the sea permanently. 

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/31/18 11:09 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
I watched a show about hermit crabs.  I think that is a great metaphor for what my mind has been up to since I began this journey.  I kept shedding a smaller shell and scurrying into a bigger roomier one with maybe a few moments naked and exposed to the world.  Each new shell is so much better than the last that I could look back and scoff at my earlier shell and feel like I am making real progress.   Eventually I will have a shell as big as the sea itself!

The whole project was supposed to be dropping the whole shell thing in the first place.  All these progressively roomier shells have been delusion.  Facing the sea exposed is still so scary, though, but less than yesterday. 

RE: Equanimity as a Mind State?
Answer
1/31/18 11:57 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
I love your metaphors Seth.