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Empty Hands Florian 8/17/10 9:29 AM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 9/1/10 2:58 PM
RE: Empty Hands Steph S 9/1/10 8:19 PM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 9/2/10 7:14 AM
RE: Empty Hands Martin Potter 9/2/10 12:46 PM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 9/2/10 1:03 PM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 10/1/10 5:15 PM
RE: Empty Hands Pavel _ 10/1/10 8:04 PM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 10/20/10 5:28 AM
RE: Empty Hands boeuf f 10/21/10 10:53 AM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 10/21/10 2:29 PM
RE: Empty Hands . . 10/22/10 6:05 AM
RE: Empty Hands mico mico 10/22/10 7:46 AM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 10/22/10 4:09 PM
RE: Empty Hands . . 10/24/10 11:16 AM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 10/25/10 3:25 AM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 12/10/10 3:56 PM
RE: Empty Hands . . 12/10/10 7:57 PM
RE: Empty Hands tarin greco 12/10/10 9:23 PM
RE: Empty Hands Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 12/11/10 7:59 AM
RE: Empty Hands tarin greco 12/12/10 11:43 AM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 12/13/10 12:09 AM
RE: Empty Hands . . 12/15/10 8:21 PM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 12/21/10 3:35 AM
RE: Empty Hands . . 12/21/10 11:01 PM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 12/22/10 12:29 AM
RE: Empty Hands . . 12/22/10 3:53 AM
RE: Empty Hands . . 12/20/10 8:31 PM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 1/6/11 7:00 AM
RE: Empty Hands Trent . 1/6/11 8:21 AM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 1/6/11 8:46 AM
RE: Empty Hands Trent . 1/7/11 4:51 AM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 1/7/11 8:35 AM
RE: Empty Hands Trent . 1/7/11 10:48 AM
RE: Empty Hands . . 1/7/11 9:25 PM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 1/8/11 12:39 AM
RE: Empty Hands . . 1/8/11 8:48 AM
RE: Empty Hands . . 1/9/11 12:11 AM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 1/8/11 12:25 AM
RE: Empty Hands Eran G 1/8/11 1:09 AM
RE: Empty Hands Trent . 1/11/11 9:51 AM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 1/11/11 7:19 AM
RE: Empty Hands tarin greco 1/8/11 1:21 PM
RE: Empty Hands . . 1/8/11 4:34 PM
RE: Empty Hands Florian 1/11/11 7:26 AM
RE: Empty Hands tarin greco 1/11/11 5:24 PM
Empty Hands
Answer
8/17/10 9:29 AM
This is the continuation of a previous thread.

tarin greco:
Florian Weps:
An update is long overdue -

(...)

What's a bit of a surprise is what I call "tuning into not-self" during everyday life, which now increasingly often (several times a day) occurs on its own, not requiring my conscious intention to turn up, though I can also trigger it reliably by just looking at my hands, whether they are still or typing or chopping onions or whatever.


when the shift happens, do your hands wind up looking different?


Here's what happens:

There is what I originally (a few weeks ago) would describe as "a change in lighting", "seeing things in a different light", "less dazzling", but which, upon repeated observation, is more like just the absence of a soft-focus effect. I see every hair, crease, scar and mole, they are all familiar, but that familiarity is noticeably lacking a romantic component, since it's not "my" hand. Lots of associations just don't happen when I look at my hand, and that makes for a difference; not quite a visual difference, though, more a difference in seeing than in what is seen.

What's also interesting is the touch sensation - touching one hand with the other hand, for example. Here, the absence of soft-focus is if anything even more conspicuous. Funny how many associations go with a simple touch sensation, and most of them don't occur after the shift. I first noticed that when giving someone a backrub recently.

*


Tarin:
on that note, have you ever gotten the impression that what you're seeing 'out there' and the other place (in the non-visual space behind the visual field) were somehow trading places?

and have you ever gotten the sense that what you see (or otherwise experience) at any given moment is only different from anything else (which you could experience at any other given moment) because they are 'at different planes of focus'?


Trading places: hmmm. I've had dream experiences (A&P-esque) that could be described like that, but not for the last few months. I'll let you know if and when it happens.

Different planes of focus: I've been noticing what could be called planes of focus (or orders of magnitude), but haven't associated that with any sense of differentiating. Interesting, I'll see where this leads.

*


Tarin:
Florian Weps:

I'm not acutely aware of cycling, but the passes through the fear ñana are often very noticeable in everyday life, and present as strong and, well, fearful energy sensations in the chest area. On the subject of energy sensations: I regularly (but not always) get a "superconductor rod" energy sensation extending from the crown down to the abdomen -very solid, straight, smooth, and "bright", with "bright" in the energetic sensation sense, not visual at all.


do you notice any discernable movement along this 'rod' as you continue to cycle?



I only get this energy rod thing in meditation, if at all, and then I only begin to notice it in A&P. I do get moving energy sensations in various places associated with the traditional chakras, but they are more like whirring or fizzing, nothing like the solid sense of high conductivity. Think lightning-rod vs. placing your tongue across a 9V block battery's contacts.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
9/1/10 2:58 PM as a reply to Florian.
Update: recognition of not-self takes only slight effort, an inclination of the mind. A comment Vince made on the "Getting it done" Hurricane Ranch discussion really struck me: "Why does it take effort to notice emptiness" (quoted from memory).

When I do incline that way, it's so pervading, almost palpable, as to seem like a recently and abundantly added quality.

I think this impression is due to it pervading even my most private thoughts, even the inside of my skull from where I look out at the world, a bit like exposure, like hearing my voice on a recording or seeing a movie of myself.

The dot of attention vs. focus of perception thing is perceived with increasing clarity. In a way, these two are "endpoints" of a connection or tendril which samples experience, looking for reassurance that everything is still there. In a recent chat discussion with Tarin, he pointed out to me how sensations send a little energy surge through this probing tendril, and how it's different from the field of experience, and from the stillness in hearing, the transparency in seeing, and so on. I experimented with tuning into this stillness/transparency in sensations, both including and ignoring the probing thing which I tentatively identify with Daniel's "attention wave" and Tarin's "stir of passions". So far I've succeeded twice, for a few moments and a few minutes.

If the attitude regarding this thing makes all the difference between insight practice and AF practice, I can certainly see how the two lead in different directions: The energetic twangs of the attention-focus-tendril are highly unwelcome when tuned into the still transparency, but when humming along in concentration it is really amazing. It doesn't like to idle, it seems.

Comments, advice about sights to see, things to try, and traps to avoid are welcome, as always.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
9/1/10 8:19 PM as a reply to Florian.
Florian Weps:

The dot of attention vs. focus of perception thing is perceived with increasing clarity. In a way, these two are "endpoints" of a connection or tendril which samples experience, looking for reassurance that everything is still there. In a recent chat discussion with Tarin, he pointed out to me how sensations send a little energy surge through this probing tendril, and how it's different from the field of experience, and from the stillness in hearing, the transparency in seeing, and so on. I experimented with tuning into this stillness/transparency in sensations, both including and ignoring the probing thing which I tentatively identify with Daniel's "attention wave" and Tarin's "stir of passions". So far I've succeeded twice, for a few moments and a few minutes.

If the attitude regarding this thing makes all the difference between insight practice and AF practice, I can certainly see how the two lead in different directions: The energetic twangs of the attention-focus-tendril are highly unwelcome when tuned into the still transparency, but when humming along in concentration it is really amazing. It doesn't like to idle, it seems.

Comments, advice about sights to see, things to try, and traps to avoid are welcome, as always.

Cheers,
Florian


This is fascinating. I've been trying to get more of a handle on the attention wave and how it directs one. I'm at a crossroads where I can tell my insight sensibilities are carrying over to my actualism practice... and realizing trying to practice insight along with actualism confuses things for me. Where do you perceive this attention wave tendril? From how you describe it, I imagine it being on either side of the inside of your head (since that's where the brain is).. and its endpoints probably where each ear is.

Could you provide more detail on what happened when you included the tendril and what happened when you ignored it? I can tune into the stillness and silence and when I do there's not being and centerlessness. Try seeing if you can notice the static quality of how physical objects in reality look, like those short films where the whole background is paused and the sound is muted, but the characters are still moving around. At the same time pay attention to the "sound of silence".. that hum at your ear drum (not the Simon & Garfunkle song... although I recommend that too.. haha). This is really fun practice.

Steph

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
9/2/10 7:14 AM as a reply to Steph S.
Steph S:
I've been trying to get more of a handle on the attention wave and how it directs one. I'm at a crossroads where I can tell my insight sensibilities are carrying over to my actualism practice... and realizing trying to practice insight along with actualism confuses things for me. Where do you perceive this attention wave tendril? From how you describe it, I imagine it being on either side of the inside of your head (since that's where the brain is).. and its endpoints probably where each ear is.


First off, that's just me saying "this could be what Daniel and Tarin are referring to". I'm fairly confident, but I may be way off.

So, how do I perceive this? Hm, this may be highly specific to my vipassana practice, so YMMV. First, let me define terms: "point of focus" is the place perception is focussed on, such as the spot my eyes are focussed on, or the location (direction, distance) of a sound I am specifically listening to by picking it out of all the sounds I hear. Or the spot on my skin I focus on when I feel a touch. That's what I call "the focus". That one's pretty easy to get, I was aware of it long before doing systematic vipassana.

Then there's a slightly more subtle point: the "dot of attention", the "place where the hearing is", the "place where the little listener homunculus sits" - I became aware of that only after doing strong noting practice for a few months. Initially, the "place where the hearing is" would be solidly located in the back of my head, between the ears, the "place where the seeing is" a bit behind the nose etc.

One of the surprising things that happened around the time of my stream entry was how this second location, this "dot of attention" became detachable. I could look at something (point of focus) and sort of move the dot of attention (place of seeing) out through the eyes, even up to the point of focus. When I did that, I noticed how an oscillation would develop between the two points, how they could collapse (fruition), and so on. If you like, you can think of them as "object" and "subject" of perception. Anyway, the two are obviously connected in some way, and here's the thing: the focus end of the thing, unless kept still in concentration, does this probing, groping motion ever so often, like an inchworm looking for the next leaf (a graphic description I stole off Ven. Thanissaro).

Okay. Can you relate to the description? I first noticed it in the visual field, thus my descriptions have a visual slant to them, but don't be too fixed on that, it works just like that for the focus and attention dot in all of experience, even thoughts or kinesthetic stuff).

Steph S:
Could you provide more detail on what happened when you included the tendril and what happened when you ignored it?


When I include the tendril, it runs the show. I can make it really rigid with concentration, freeze it into a jhana, for example. I (sort of) can collapse it into fruition. I can let it do its thing and be aware of that, noticing how it's related to the ñanas as they cycle by. It seems to have a strong relationship to the "energy" sensations, cakras, meridians, that stuff. Thus, I'm pretty sure of my identification with Daniel's "attention wave".

When I exclude or ignore the tendril, which I've only managed successfully twice, for a few moments, and later, for a few minutes, and listen to the stillness in sounds, look at the transparency I'm seeing things through, the focus of the tendril will still try to fasten onto some sound or sight, and upon doing that there will be a sense of a signal or jolt travelling through that thing to the dot of attention side. These signals have an "energy" flavor to them, related to the cakra/meridian energy. That's what I remember, at least.

Steph S:
I can tune into the stillness and silence and when I do there's not being and centerlessness. Try seeing if you can notice the static quality of how physical objects in reality look, like those short films where the whole background is paused and the sound is muted, but the characters are still moving around. At the same time pay attention to the "sound of silence".. that hum at your ear drum (not the Simon & Garfunkle song... although I recommend that too.. haha). This is really fun practice.


Yeah, that's how I experienced it. If by centerlessness you mean how the tendril doesn't have a special significance, nor does it assign a special significance to any sight or sound or touch, then yes, there was centerlessness.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
9/2/10 12:46 PM as a reply to Florian.
Brilliant descriptions Florian!

Only problem is now I can't stop thinking of it as a foreign tendril or worm groping about in my head emoticon


- Martin

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
9/2/10 1:03 PM as a reply to Martin Potter.
Hi Martin,

It's not foreign at all. It's not extraordinary at all (until the one end comes loose, that is surprising). It's just what happens between the place out there being looked at (or listened to...) and the place in here doing the looking, and awareness of this state of affairs.

But I'm glad you liked my descriptions.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
10/1/10 5:15 PM as a reply to Florian.
Since this thread has become a kind of practice journal, I'll re-use it instead of starting a new one.

So the past few weeks have been the most badass dark night I experienced ever since teen-age: worrying about all kinds of silly stuff, to the extent of waking up at night to the churning of anxiety in my stomach, starting to do noting practice, falling asleep again, waking up again, trying to get into jhana instead and falling asleep, waking up again, and so on. At other times, I went for cultivating felicitous feelings, but while I came to appreciate the jarring stuff in its own right, it wasn't really felicitous. (Tarin pointed out in a chat conversation how being gentle with oneself is necessary for feeling felicitous about the edgy stuff - don't know, sounds sensible, so I thought I'd share it here).

During the day, the anxiety was less noticeable, but there was other distracting dark night stuff going on, low-key self-defeating nonsense, old bad habits, and so on. At least I could reliably pop into jhana when half an hour of quiet time was available, which was a relief, but didn't seem to really do anything about it. Don't know, not enough distance yet, perhaps.

At least I was able to channel my renunciation impulse to give up on - caffeine! The withdrawal headaches were even satisfying in a weird way. emoticon

This cycle started on its own, and I didn't do much formal practice at all to get it started or progressing. I didn't notice a particularly spectacular A&P either, just an increase in energetic sensations a few weeks ago. Likewise, though I did a bit of formal daily noting practice once I figured out I was dark-nighting once again, it was nowhere as much as I did pre stream-entry, and still the cycle progressed.

Sometimes I thought I was just back-sliding, and had been fooling myself over stream-entry. But interesting enough, this doubt was dispelled whenever I looked at it - in a way, this doubt was self-dispelling, because it caused me to look at my experience closely, and all the things I've been describing above in this thread are still plainly and squarely there. So there really is something to the 10-fetter model, I'm convinced.

Anyway, I'm glad to report that I've made it through re-observation for the time being.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
10/1/10 8:04 PM as a reply to Florian.
I have no doubts that you can make it to second path in a few days or weeks, dont be surprised by how quickly and easily it happens, whether you practice much or little. Please keep on reporting, I very much enjoy your lucid way of writing!

All the best.

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
10/20/10 5:28 AM as a reply to Florian.
Recently, through "buddho" practice (mentally repeating the word whenever I remember to) and pondering the epithet of the Buddha, "seer/knower of the world" (lokavidu), it has become clear to me that there is a huge difference between the "sense of the observer" on one hand and the "knower/observer" on the other. I've known this intellectually for quite some time (the sense of observer, presenting as a set of sensations, can't observe/know anything, since no sensation can sense another sensation, while observation/knowing is not a sensation but how sensations present); what has become clear recently is how this difference unfolds in my experience.

To sum it up: the difference is control, or rather the illusion of control. The "sense of the observer" consists of a stream of comments on experience (not necessarily verbal comments). These comments imply control, because the comments can be controlled, while knowing/observation can not be controlled in this way: I can choose my comments about what I'm observing, but not what I'm observing while I'm observing it.

In this way, it's also clear to me why the sense of observer, implying control of experience, is so closely related to the sense of self. The illusion of control and the illusion of separation/self seem to have a really weird interrelationship. I'm not sure at all that they are the same, because "self" implies other things besides control, such as permanence.

Anyway, I thought I'd share this, in case it's useful to anyone else.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
10/21/10 10:53 AM as a reply to Florian.
Do you have any links for Buddho and Lokavidu practice(s)?

The insight about the sense of control defining the contours of self and setting out ground-rules for what is "this" or "that" has been particularly available to me lately. It's a bit of a wormhole since further investigation makes any sense of control seem dubious and the thread of inquiry simply continues to unspool. Everything seems conditioned. Except action, and even then...

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
10/21/10 2:29 PM as a reply to boeuf f.
Hi Bruno,

boeuf f:
Do you have any links for Buddho and Lokavidu practice(s)?


Here's a little treatise about "buddho" as a meditation word. I read it first years ago, and I've read it several times since; there is an entire little map of progress tucked away in it. As is typical for the Thai Forest Tradition, it's a mixed samatha/vipassana thing.

Ven. Ajahn Sumedho has a lot of good things about contemplation of the Buddha, "knower of the world", or "poo roo" in Thai. You can find some of his talks in book/pdf form; I particularly like his book "Intuitive Awareness". If you like listening to talks, the original talks can be found in mp3 form, for example at dhammatalks.org.

But apart from all this material, "buddho" simply is a meditation word: just repeat it mentally.

And contemplating the qualities of the Buddha, the Awakened One, Knower of the World etc, is about playing around with what it means to be awake, to be one who is awake, to be the knower, what knowing is, what it means to sit like the Buddha did - that's crucial, that last bit, to bring it into one's own experience.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
10/22/10 6:05 AM as a reply to Florian.
Thanks. I avoid noting for the reason you note (implication of self, controls). Oddly, there is a stream of commentary going on right now for me (clearly, a self-sustenance). Annoying but hopefully it will exhaust itself.

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
10/22/10 7:46 AM as a reply to . ..
k a steger:
Thanks. I avoid noting for the reason you note (implication of self, controls). Oddly, there is a stream of commentary going on right now for me (clearly, a self-sustenance). Annoying but hopefully it will exhaust itself.

Do you say 'oddly' because you think the commentary is a pseudo-noting?

But, it sounds like you are effectively noting the commentary: 'Annoying', 'hopefully it will exhaust itself', 'there is a stream of commentary'.

Have you tried just paying attention? These are your thoughts after all. My experience suggests that the only reason we sit around thinking rubbish is because we are not paying attention, and thinking rubbish is not something we naturally do. Try thinking stupid thoughts, it gets dull rather quickly.

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
10/22/10 4:09 PM as a reply to . ..
I'm not sure we're talking about the same thing here. Just to clarify:

Noting is just a technique; it can be used to bring the sense of observer (which consists of a stream of, for lack of a better word, "commentary") into focus. The important bit is noticing stuff; the choice of actual notes is not nearly as important.

An analogy (analogies can be clumsy, but I think this is a good one):

The sense of observer presents like a tv camera transmitting a sports event, projected onto a flat screen with someone babbling along about who is doing what, and subtitles, and all that.

But the players all know what they are doing regardless of what the tv is showing and the commenter is saying.

End of analogy. That's what I was getting at in my post.

Now noting technique can be applied to the image on the screen, the subtitles, the voice commentary, as well as the events on the playing field directly. (i.e. it's tempting to buy into this sense of knowing as something special, just as the camera/screen/commentary setup previously would strongly present as something special and extraordinarily important). This latter bit is what I'm at currently: untangling that sense of the knower. It's proving more tricky than I thought it would be.

Maybe that was too unclear or too tersely expressed in my previous post.

The annoying sense of self-sustenance: I'm probably not the best person to give recommendations here; but Tarin recently recommended being gentle with myself in such situations. It's really hard to cultivate felicitous feelings when tensed up with annoyance, so it's best to relax.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
10/24/10 11:16 AM as a reply to Florian.
Hi Florian,

You write:
The important bit is noticing stuff; the choice of actual notes is not nearly as important."

Ok. Yes, i find this to be true as well. I just do not do noting.

you write:
Maybe that was too unclear or too tersely expressed in my previous post.

this was certainly me. I read your post before bed and identified with your comments on observer sense, and what I was experiencing at the time, wrote quickly and deliberately wanted to be brief in your thread. Thanks for clarifying. I saw that this is a practice thread for you and didn't/don't want to disrupt it.

I think the analogy of tv commentator fits my 'fits': I found myself witness to arising commentaries up until Saturday morning, which commentaries tacked onto a moment of being sensate (i.e., just seeing trees in wind, followed by some useless commentary like, "there are trees in the wind" (Jody's Foster's Nell! ...ok, just joking, there was no 'tay in the wind' thought until now for silliness).

I was fine with the arisings until several days ago when 'i' started to get annoyed with them, not sure of their origination, but feeling like it had dark night attributes: nothing negative, but a self- originating thinking system with designs on perpetuating self...

Anyway, not sure if that makes sense, but the annoyance was not there Saturday morning. I think this has to do with public sharing frankly. I do not know why. I communicated the same in a private email, but then deleted the email thinking this is just goofy and needless to even give attention to the false fabric of annoyance/waste private email recipient's time... Apparently, it may not be useless to acknowledge it in sharing.

Thanks for the posts,
katy

Let me know if either comment should be removed from your practice thread and I will be glad to.

{edit: for 4 minutes after post, for clarity}

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
10/25/10 3:25 AM as a reply to . ..
Don't worry about posting to this thread. I invited people to do so, after all. I value your comments.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
12/10/10 3:56 PM as a reply to Florian.
Update: after several months without fruitions, a few days ago what I first thought of as a review fruition occurred. Well, I put it off as a review fruition, but it seems to have had deeper significance. The reason for this re-evaluation was that in the following days, I found myself conceptualizing an insight which I am quite certain was produced by that fruition.

I mentioned this to Tarin the other day, and he encouraged me to write something about it - but here's the problem: Like most good insights, it sounds terribly cliche when put into words:

Not-self and the Golden Rule imply each other.

There. I could go on and on about this: how treat others as you would treat yourself is so problematic unless viewed in terms of anatta; how the Bodhisattva Vows seem even more sneaky (in a good way!) to me than ever before - I mean, all beings without number obviously includes the one taking the vow...; how I can clearly see most of my body as external to me as I view it through my eyes, and thus it's really another human being to be taken good care of, just like all the other human beings I can see around me...

And like all good insights, it's not constantly in the foreground of my mind, blinking or otherwise drawing attention to itself; but rather it's always there when I direct my attention to it, somehow plentiful but not intrusive. But I'm getting poetic in my descriptions, so it's definitely time to stop babbling about it.

As always, I hope this is useful to someone, and comments and advice are appreciated.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
12/10/10 7:57 PM as a reply to Florian.
Wep-wep-wep-wep,
(ref: helicopters)

Not-self and the Golden Rule imply each other.

yes

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
12/10/10 9:23 PM as a reply to Florian.
thank you for doing the writing.

what path are you on now?

Florian Weps:

Not-self and the Golden Rule imply each other.

There. I could go on and on about this: how treat others as you would treat yourself is so problematic unless viewed in terms of anatta; how the Bodhisattva Vows seem even more sneaky (in a good way!) to me than ever before - I mean, all beings without number obviously includes the one taking the vow...; how I can clearly see most of my body as external to me as I view it through my eyes, and thus it's really another human being to be taken good care of, just like all the other human beings I can see around me...


don't say that. for one who takes the body as external to him, he also takes the body as internal to him; he also takes the body as him and he exists in relationship to the body. taking the body and existing in relationship to the body, he suffers the body. for one who takes the consciousness as external to him, he also takes the consciousness as internal to him; he also takes the consciousness as him and he exists in relationship to the consciousness. taking the body and existing in relationship to the consciousness, he suffers the consciousness. for one who takes the perception as external to him, he also takes the perception as internal to him; he also takes the perception as him and he exists in relationship to the perception. taking the perception and existing in relationship to the perception, he suffers the perception. for one who takes the feeling as external to him, he also takes the feeling as internal to him; he also takes the feeling as him and he exists in relationship to the feeling. taking the feeling and existing in relationship to the feeling, he suffers the feeling. for one who takes the volition as external to him, he also takes the volition as internal to him; he also takes the volition as him and he exists in relationship to the volition. taking the volition and existing in relationship to the volition, he suffers the volition.

but for one who does not take the body as external to him, nor as internal to him, nor as in any other relationship to him, he does not take the body and does not exist in relationship to the body. not taking the body and not existing in relationship to the body, he does not suffer the body. for one who does not take the consciousness as external to him, nor as internal to him, nor as in any other relationship to him, he does not take the consciousness and does not exist in relationship to the consciousness. not taking the consciousness and not existing in relationship to the consciousness, he does not suffer the consciousness. for one who does not take the perception as external to him, nor as internal to him, nor as in any other relationship to him, he does not take the perception and does not exist in relationship to the perception. not taking the perception and not existing in relationship to the perception, he does not suffer the perception. for one who does not take the feeling as external to him, nor as internal to him, nor as in any other relationship to him, he does not take the feeling and does not exist in relationship to the feeling. not taking the feeling and not existing in relationship to the feeling, he does not suffer the feeling. for one who does not take the volition as external to him, nor as internal to him, nor as in any other relationship to him, he does not take the volition and does not exist in relationship to the volition. not taking the volition and not existing in relationship to the volition, he does not suffer the volition. for one who does not suffer the body, nor the consciousness, nor the perception, nor the feeling, nor the volition, suffering has been nullified, suffering has been voided; suffering does not come into existence.

if 'you' go out of existence, 'everyone' goes out of existence. no more external/internal. 'everyone' stops suffering.

tarin

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
12/11/10 7:59 AM as a reply to tarin greco.
tarin greco:

don't say that. for one who takes the body as external to him, he also takes the body as internal to him; he also takes the body as him and he exists in relationship to the body. taking the body and existing in relationship to the body, he suffers the body. for one who takes the consciousness as external to him, he also takes the consciousness as internal to him; he also takes the consciousness as him and he exists in relationship to the consciousness. taking the body and existing in relationship to the consciousness, he suffers the consciousness. for one who takes the perception as external to him, he also takes the perception as internal to him; he also takes the perception as him and he exists in relationship to the perception. taking the perception and existing in relationship to the perception, he suffers the perception. for one who takes the feeling as external to him, he also takes the feeling as internal to him; he also takes the feeling as him and he exists in relationship to the feeling. taking the feeling and existing in relationship to the feeling, he suffers the feeling. for one who takes the volition as external to him, he also takes the volition as internal to him; he also takes the volition as him and he exists in relationship to the volition. taking the volition and existing in relationship to the volition, he suffers the volition.

Heh very sutra-style writing. I don't know if this is a personal preference of yours, or if it becomes a natural way of speaking after AF, but I noticed it in a few of your others posts, too.

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
12/12/10 11:43 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Beo Beoman:

Heh very sutra-style writing. I don't know if this is a personal preference of yours, or if it becomes a natural way of speaking after AF, but I noticed it in a few of your others posts, too.

it's (just) a personal preference. in addition to the posts/emails/etc i've written in this format, i've also ended up speaking in this particularly simple and repetitive way on a few (specific) occasions. i have found its stripped-down format most efficient for conveying very detailed information about a particular subject 1- in that it articulates, through the various repetitions, the variety of ways the subject can be approached (from the experiential perspective of the one who is approaching it), 2- in that it does not come with much other somewhat-unnecessary information (both semantic and syntactic) that must be filtered through to arrive to the relevant meaning, and 3- in that does not have to 'unpacked' further in order to comprehend; if the reader/listener is paying attention, then what he reads/hears is what he gets (which, provided that he understands the terms used, can be put to direct, experiential, use - if he is paying attention in the right way already, it should be very plug-and-play). writing this way might be similar to writing a bit of someone's else code for them (and, in their running it, also teaching them a bit about how to investigate in this fashion themselves).

tarin

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
12/13/10 12:09 AM as a reply to tarin greco.
Hi Tarin,

What path? Don't know for sure, suspect somewhere late second or early third, judging from how emptiness is evident in anything I perceive, just by turning attention towards this evidence for emptiness / by acknowledging this evidence / "inclining the mind to emptiness". Also, the way cycles keep cycling, and occasionally fruitions and insights like the one about the Golden Rule accumulate significance and importance which then subsides again into a general recognition of how things are, seems to indicate 3rd path. Further, I experience a fairly constant, clean, quiet delight (not an emotional one) in visual shapes and forms and colours, and in the patter and fall of sounds, and in the smells and some other sensations, which is a bit like descriptions of EE or the Bahiya/Malunkyaputta Suttas.

Thanks for your advice on the internal/external thing. Reading it, at first I though, "well, by external I meant that visually perceiving my body is not different from visually perceiving anything else", but there is more to it, as you point out, a devious little peek-a-boo relationship shuffle pretending to be subtle, but actually quite banal. I'll be watching that one, see what happens.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
12/15/10 8:21 PM as a reply to Florian.
Hi Weps,

Not-self and the Golden Rule imply each other.


There. I could go on and on about this: how treat others as you would treat yourself is so problematic unless viewed in terms of anatta; how the Bodhisattva Vows seem even more sneaky (in a good way!) to me than ever before - I mean, all beings without number obviously includes the one taking the vow...; how I can clearly see most of my body as external to me as I view it through my eyes, and thus it's really another human being to be taken good care of, just like all the other human beings I can see around me...

And like all good insights, it's not constantly in the foreground of my mind, blinking or otherwise drawing attention to itself; but rather it's always there when I direct my attention to it, somehow plentiful but not intrusive. But I'm getting poetic in my descriptions, so it's definitely time to stop babbling about it.


I read your following words in the conventional sense :"how I can clearly see most of my body as external to me as I view it through my eyes, and thus it's really another human being to be taken good care of, just like all the other human beings I can see around me..."

I read your comments as quite true conventionally (i.e., there is a you and there are others, conventionally speaking). The golden rule is a usefully straight foward expression of conventional reality, which one can mimic on faith/'good' will or come to through an irrevocable realization.

And as an "insight", no matter how "banal", it seemed to me that you point to non-dualness nature of phenomena (including people, expressed in useful conventional terms); I am thinking of Maha Bua's description of distilling citta to its unencumbered state, motionless, not divisive.

Your point about a "sneaky little peak-a-boo" reminds me of Bua's description of finely defiled citta as "Its own intrinsic
knowing nature remains permeated by avijjã’s fundamental ignorance about its own true essence, and therefore, remains attached to itself" (p58, Arahattamagga).

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
12/20/10 8:31 PM as a reply to Florian.
Hi Weps -

Further to the golden rule/non-Self exploration raised (if this is what you raised): in my view, the golden rule expresses in many streams. For example, It seems to me that people who work their craft with a sense that they are conduit, versus a special-creator-in-chief (aka ego-obstacle syndrome), are often so enjoyable, mesmerizing. For example, the artist who works for her supplies (the linen cloth, the water color, the words) is the supplies/the curiosity/the revelation; the healer that does not need to be 'Healer'/is the patient; teacher that does not to be Guru/is always curious/is the student...etc. Anyway, golden rule, to me, expresses in many ways: both at a subtle meditative, consciousness level in the mind's exploration of arising and fading thought-form sprays, and, in exceptional actual people conducting their day-to-day lives and attention.

How are these related, golden rule and non-Self, practically (day-to-day)? If "I (need to be) the (A)rtist" then I serve "my self" and do to the supplies something indirect and twice/thrice/etc and am increasingly removed from the supplies, the characters, the revelation to be discovered/ painted/ written/ composed/ embodied.... If "I (need to be) the (H)ealer" then I do something to the patient which has to do with Me, not the patient. But if there is growing reduction of special-self-in-a-needy-me-me-vacuum, then there is growing ability to not obstruct existence/others in sprays of me-me Self-in-a-vacuum (and, personally, i can see how Brahmanic atta is as equally effective in alleviating a distorting Self as Buddhist anatta, as well as teachings in the monotheisms), and let conventional self be peer with/attentive/not separate from existence.

Bah! let me know if this is clutter in your practice thread and I will remove 'emoticon

- katy

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
12/21/10 3:35 AM as a reply to . ..
Hi Katy,

The Golden Rule has a lot of problems, because it is expressed in terms of like (in the Gospels) or dislike (in most other places) - how can I be sure the others like having done to them what I like having done to me? (If I like being hugged, should I really go and hug all people? If I like Dharma discussions, should I go and discuss the Dharma with all people?) On the other hand, the form of the Golden rule expressed in terms of dislikes, while less obvious, has problems, too. What if something is disagreeable to me, yet vital to others? (If I dislike being hugged, should I deny hugs to my child? If I don't like being served meat/alcohol/gluten/sweets/whole-grain..., should every guest I have for dinner be denied this food?) So conventionally, the Golden Rule is just a refined expression of greed and aversion, and the entire idea that greed and aversion can be refined is a bit deluded, isn't it? When it comes to conventional morals/sila/virtue, nothing beats honesty with oneself and others, a pragmatic attitude, and the willingness to see the other's point of view. Strict adherence to a rule, even the Golden Rule, simply won't work in the real world.

As a tool for investigation, on the other hand, the Golden Rule is quite useful, because it encourages one to be honest, pragmatic, and willing to see the other's point of view. Is that what you meant by mimicking the Golden Rule?

Alright, on to the insight part. I read and re-read that passage from Ven. Maha Boowa's book over the past few days. I'm not sure I really know what he's talking about; but maybe the difference in experience is that he was a master of samadhi at that point, and got into very refined mental states, and practised all day in a monastic setting, while I just hang around in jhana now and then (not cast-in-concrete hard jhana for hours, just the mental posture / stratum of mind). So his "pure citta" defiled by radiant avijja is not an experience I know. Actually, I'm a bit suspicious of mental states of great radiance or holiness, and while I enjoy them when they arise, they are disappointing in the long run because their afterglow doesn't last too long. (Maybe I just expect too much of them, hence my disappointment). While it lasts, of course, it's wonderful and refreshing and clear and useful all that. But I'm much more interested in gaining clarity in my ordinary mind states, and to be able to keep up a level of mindfulness during the day, than to "get my hit" of clarity after a day of muddled and reactive mind states. Don't get me wrong: cultivating jhana really helps maintaining mindfulness during the day. It's just that as a family man I can't do the kind of professional athlete jhana which monastics can do, and thus I run into different experiences.

Now, that relationship thing. Something I've been noticing for a few days now is that the "attention tendril" I mentioned at the beginning of this thread seems to be composed entirely of relationship-stuff "energy" (as in chakras/meridians). That's interesting, how attention sort of coagulates into relationship. Also, it's much easier to maintain mindfulness if I don't let attention to collapse into this mode. This is what I meant by EE/"Advice to Bahiya"-like experience.

Oh, and don't worry about posting to this thread, no, thank you for posting! If I just wanted to keep a journal for my own private use, I wouldn't be doing it in a public forum. I explicitly welcome comments to my posts.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
12/21/10 11:01 PM as a reply to Florian.
Hi Florian -

"Strict adherence to a rule..." Who said that! Boo and agreed. Even gravity and c could not be constant.

Golden rule: I had not thought of the militant application of El GR-do. Good point, a discursive good point.
___

I am curious about your attention tendril. Is this a distracting form to which you've become attracted (the way bliss states can be addictive and apparently conclusive)? I do not wish to offend or belittle here, just being direct. Tendril even sounds attractive.

Your concentration seems adequate in view of your writing. I wonder if you are getting stuck on this tendril, thinking it leads to an answer in its own right?

Here is what I don't understand:
Now, that relationship thing. Something I've been noticing for a few days now is that the "attention tendril" I mentioned at the beginning of this thread seems to be composed entirely of relationship-stuff "energy" (as in chakras/meridians). That's interesting, how attention sort of coagulates into relationship. Also, it's much easier to maintain mindfulness if I don't let attention to collapse into this mode. This is what I meant by EE/"Advice to Bahiya"-like experience.

Are you saying not to let attention collapse into this tendril? Then I would almost agree, but for the insinuation of 'opposition to'.


Curious, thank you.
:0)k





____________
*
A longer sitting for me is 90-120 minutes, and often I will sit with my legs out, relaxed, back straight (not rigid) against a cushion, against a wall. (I sit all day in a chair and think it's generally unhealthy for me to come home straight to a pretzel position).

In this position, I can be still and straight (key) but not unnecessarily pained/inducing a stroke, putting all effort into seeing the mind's sprays that interrupt, honoring none of them, especially not bliss - though that is tempting (and for which placidity Chah and Bua are thanked for their warnings). In this position somewhere b/w 45 - 75 minutes there have been just a few seconds of empty field, where ideas arise similar to shadows and/or sparks, but are dwarfed by quiet empty.

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
12/22/10 12:29 AM as a reply to . ..
Hi Katy,

Attention tendril - that thing is interesting and fascinating, and thus I'm investigating it a lot, trying to figure out how it works and what it does. Maybe you're right and I'm stuck on it. OTOH, I'm doing mostly a "in the seen only the seen" kind of practice currently, and there this attention tendril is a nuisance - which is how I found out about it's make-up from relationship "energy".

So for the purpose of keeping attention on the seen, heard, smelled etc, not letting it collapse into a conduit leading from "here" to 'there", forming a relationship (including opposition) is a prerequisite.

---

A long sit for me is 60+ minutes - I have no trouble with Burmese style posture, but I often sit on a chair or recline on a sofa, as well (though I can't be too tired when reclining... or else I'll fall asleep). Mostly, when I sit, I sit for about 40 minutes, which allows me to dip into whichever mental state I want to.

Avoiding bliss: I wouldn't do that. There's this weird guilt thing about pleasure in our western culture. Are you familiar with Duncan's essay on The Gesture?

And it's entirely possible to become an emptiness junky... emoticon (But do explore that empty space, and notice how you know that it's space, and empty - those are sensations, after all)

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
12/22/10 3:53 AM as a reply to Florian.
I read the Gesture when you mentioned it earlier. Useful to read again. Include sleepiness. Indeed.

True about emptiness junky. That empty field is ok, and I could become a junky thinking, "people sustain this for hours?!?"

Understood about your practice, thanks for re-stating. See is see, hear does not see...

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
1/6/11 7:00 AM as a reply to Florian.
Has anyone else noticed how the sense of self and the sense of time (past and future) are really strongly related?

Examples:

Memories of what happened to me, how I was (memories kind of yank the sense of time into reverse)

Plans of what I'll do, how I want to be (these yank the sense of time into fast forward)

When paying attention to what is happening here and now, the sense of time (past/future) as well as the sense of self get toned down
- what is happening right now is just happening, without my planning, or remembering adding anything to it.

Also, the sense of time is accompanied or heralded by energy sensations (in the spiritual "energy" sense - meridians and kundalini and so on), just as the sense of self is.

The sense of time seems to be taking the sense of self as a reference point ("I" am "then"), and vice versa, a funny circular thing.

Strange and interesting.

Comments?

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
1/6/11 8:21 AM as a reply to Florian.
Hi,

Florian Weps:
Has anyone else noticed how the sense of self and the sense of time (past and future) are really strongly related?


Yeah, hence the actualism method "how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?" and comments such as [1]:

Tarin:
in evaluating one's emotional reactions: one reflects on one's evaluation of oneself in remembering such past moments (or conceiving of such future moments), and feels, through such reflection on those evaluations, one's intuition of oneself.


*
No matter how sensually attentive one is, it's impossible to see what will come next. It is quite fascinating to marvel at being alive right now (especially when it's noticed that now is happening all the time), isn't it?

Trent

[1]http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/1191336

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
1/6/11 8:46 AM as a reply to Trent ..
Ho Trent,

Heh, now I can appreciate this subtle twist. "How am I experiencing this moment..."

Thanks!

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
1/7/11 4:51 AM as a reply to Florian.
Hi,

Sure, no problem.

What do you think of this? I added some punctuation and emphasis for clarity, see below for the link to the source.

He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of 'village' are not present. Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of 'human being' are not present. There is only this modicum of disturbance: the singleness based on the perception of wilderness.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is empty of the perception of 'village.' This mode of perception is empty of the perception of 'human being.' There is only this non-emptiness: the singleness based on the perception of wilderness.' Thus he regards it as empty of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, & pure.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.121.than.html

Trent

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
1/7/11 8:35 AM as a reply to Trent ..
Trent H.:
Hi,

Sure, no problem.

What do you think of this? I added some punctuation and emphasis for clarity, see below for the link to the source.

He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of 'village' are not present. Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of 'human being' are not present. There is only this modicum of disturbance: the singleness based on the perception of wilderness.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is empty of the perception of 'village.' This mode of perception is empty of the perception of 'human being.' There is only this non-emptiness: the singleness based on the perception of wilderness.' Thus he regards it as empty of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, & pure.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.121.than.html

Trent


Yeah, I recognize the emphasized bit. That's a lot like the mode of experience I can access with a minimum of effort, and which, based on such descriptions, I identify as "emptiness" in one of the senses used around here on the DhO (the center-less-ness and self-evidence of perceived phenomena, and what I guess is also referred to as "luminosity"). Which is nice, except for the following:

There is only this non-emptiness: the singleness based on the perception of wilderness.' After all, this is a distortion, an impurity, a point of reference, an apparently special thing, a non-emptiness (incidentally, this seems to be the reason why it takes effort at all to perceive like this - I keep wondering, like Vince in that old Hurricane Ranch recording, why it takes effort at all).

Last week-end I was visiting my grandmother. We were sitting in a cafe, eating cake, talking about family matters. As she was talking, while looking at her face, I inclined toward this emptiness. And while I perceived the sight of her face, and the sound of her voice, with great clarity and immediacy, there was this odd striation in the perception, almost like looking through a n old window pane with flow-marks in the glass, or with water streaming over it somehow, streaking the perception somehow. This was as close to a visual effect as it gets without actually being a visual effect (I noticed it in the hearing as well). It had this distinctly impure quality.

The sutta seems to imply that this singleness based on the perception of some object is of no consequence for the entry into emptiness, but to me it is a bit puzzling at the moment, since it seems like quite a big deal. Either the sutta is referring to something entirely different, or I'm making a fuss over something that is to be disregarded - maybe the action is somewhere else, and I'm missing out due to my preoccupation with this distortion?

There is an old thread in the archive here at DhO about this sutta. I'll have to re-read that.

What are your thoughts on MN 121?

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
1/7/11 10:48 AM as a reply to Florian.
Hello,

Florian Weps:
Yeah, I recognize the emphasized bit. That's a lot like the mode of experience I can access with a minimum of effort, and which, based on such descriptions, I identify as "emptiness" in one of the senses used around here on the DhO (the center-less-ness and self-evidence of perceived phenomena, and what I guess is also referred to as "luminosity"). Which is nice, except for the following:

There is only this non-emptiness: the singleness based on the perception of wilderness.' After all, this is a distortion, an impurity, a point of reference, an apparently special thing, a non-emptiness (incidentally, this seems to be the reason why it takes effort at all to perceive like this - I keep wondering, like Vince in that old Hurricane Ranch recording, why it takes effort at all).


Yes, it does sound like the “emptiness” used around here, but I think this refers to something else; e.g. emptiness.

What is being alluded to by that portion of the text is nibbana, which is itself purity personified. The “singleness” is referred to in other (similar) ways in other suttas[1].

Do you think that the effort to perceive “like this” implies that there's a fundamental issue with the perceiver? Have you ever noticed that “the cessation of perception and feeling” is not called “the cessation of perception, feeling, and consciousness?”

Florian Weps:
Last week-end I was visiting my grandmother. We were sitting in a cafe, eating cake, talking about family matters. As she was talking, while looking at her face, I inclined toward this emptiness. And while I perceived the sight of her face, and the sound of her voice, with great clarity and immediacy, there was this odd striation in the perception, almost like looking through a n old window pane with flow-marks in the glass, or with water streaming over it somehow, streaking the perception somehow. This was as close to a visual effect as it gets without actually being a visual effect (I noticed it in the hearing as well). It had this distinctly impure quality.


What do you think is the cause (?) of the effect (the impurities)? Have you ever tried ignoring the striations, the flow-marks, etc. with the intent to perceive only what is beyond the pane?

Florian Weps:
The sutta seems to imply that this singleness based on the perception of some object is of no consequence for the entry into emptiness, but to me it is a bit puzzling at the moment, since it seems like quite a big deal.


What seems to be implied is not actually being implied-- there is no delineated object. The passage states the lack of an "external perception" and the lack of an "internal perception" (respectively). Viz.: 'Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of 'village' are not present.’ (...) ‘Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of 'human being' are not present.’

Without the perceiver, the attention is no longer able to take an object in the way you allude to and thus “defaults” to all what remains. Viz.: “(…) that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.” Such is what is left after the self vacates the body (emptiness does not refer to "nothing at all.")

Florian Weps:
Either the sutta is referring to something entirely different, or I'm making a fuss over something that is to be disregarded - maybe the action is somewhere else, and I'm missing out due to my preoccupation with this distortion?


I think that it may be the fuss you’re making over anything at all which is causing the distortion. Though, a preoccupation with such distortion is part of what is necessary to discover and subsequently uproot the cause.

Florian Weps:
What are your thoughts on MN 121?


I think it’s worth thinking about, and I think there’s probably a better translation than this one.

Trent

[1] (I recommend ignoring Thanissaro’s confusion ridden commentary): http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.023.than.html

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
1/7/11 9:25 PM as a reply to Trent ..
Ven. Bhikku Bodhi's translation (looks the same) is here:
http://www.vipassana.com/canon/majjhima/mn121.php

Both teachers make sure the reader knows that "perception" may also be translated as "mental note".

MN121:
After monk realizes he is taking pleasure/indulgence in infinite space, infinite consciousness, nothingness, even perception and non-perception (totally beyond me unless I read this as "mental note" where "note" is not necessarily literal "noting"), then theme-less concentration of awareness, and finally knowledge of the effluent, only then there is release.

"
(Theme-Less Concentration)

"Further, Ananda, the monk -- not attending to the perception of the sphere of nothingness, not attending to the perception of the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception -- attends to the singleness based on the theme-less concentration of awareness. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its theme-less concentration of awareness.

"He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances would exist based on the perception of the sphere of nothingness are not present. Whatever disturbances would exist based on the perception of the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception, are not present. And there is only this modicum of disturbance: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is empty of the perception of the sphere of nothingness. This mode of perception is empty of the perception of the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception. There is only this non-emptiness: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.' Thus he regards it as empty of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, & pure.


(Release)

"Further, Ananda, the monk -- not attending to the perception of the sphere of nothingness, not attending to the perception of the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception -- attends to the singleness based on the theme-less concentration of awareness. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its theme-less concentration of awareness.

"He discerns that 'This theme-less concentration of awareness is fabricated & mentally fashioned.' And he discerns that 'Whatever is fabricated & mentally fashioned is inconstant & subject to cessation.' For him -- thus knowing, thus seeing -- the mind is released from the effluent of sensuality, the effluent of becoming, the effluent of ignorance. With release, there is the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'

"He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances would exist based on the effluent of sensuality...the effluent of becoming...the effluent of ignorance, are not present. And there is only this modicum of disturbance: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is empty of the effluent of sensuality...becoming...ignorance. And there is just this non-emptiness: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.' Thus he regards it as empty of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, pure -- superior & unsurpassed.


Thus, the last disturbance recognizes that even "this themeless concentration of awareness" is an "effluent" - an outflow (streaming from a headwaters (self)) and such effluent will always contain its originating disturbance (self, originating ignorance). The recognition that precedes entry into emptiness (which accords with actuality) is discernment* of present. Release is not discernment of present; release results from discernment of present-no-longer-based-on-effluent.

This opens a subtle (or not so subtle) question about awareness - is it an effluent of self, or a sensory limb functioning in its capacity to aggregate the present as registered by the other five sense doors (which awareness could no more be removed of this capacity than a thumb of its feeling without some surgical intervention)? Notice that the MN does not say 'empty of senuality', rather it clearly states "empty of the effluent of sensuality".


Clearly, here in MN121, awareness is deliberately carved out from any fabricated separate entity which entity would concentrate on xyz. Here, clearly, awareness now enters what is actually present**, not originating any effluent (which effluent would assert itself into/against present/grandma weps/snow shoveling/friend talking,etc...). (I initially visualized the effluent like a tide flowing into/against (the) present).

So, this discernment of present, no longer based on effluent, is release, (followed by***) entry into emptiness.

To summarize:
1. Even theme-less concentration of awareness is an indulged object of mind;
2. Realizing this, a person discerns that concentration of awareness is fabricated & mentally fashioned
3. Whatever is fabricated & mentally fashioned is inconstant & subject to cessation.
4. Thus knowing, thus seeing this (item #3), there is release from the effluents of sensuality, becoming, and ignorance
5. [Item #4 is not a release from sensuality, becoming and ignorance themselves: hence, there is no cessation of actual senses, no cessation of actual continuous change, no resulting omniscience]
6. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.'
7. And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality


Shorter:
"effluent of"
gone,
thus
empty
present
actual




_________

*mental ability to understand

**present: first "he regards it as empty of whatever is not there", then upon entry into emptiness, where present "accords with actuality"

*** "followed by": the text does not say, 'his entry into emptiness follows the discernment', though the narrative provides this physical layout: 1. discernment, then 2.released, then 3. entry into emptiness.

****Partner says "effluent" makes him think of sewage, sort of adds a gross visual to self...

[lots of edits, record-breaking, keyboard should have a taser]

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
1/8/11 12:25 AM as a reply to Trent ..
Hi Trent,

I've tried (and succeeded, to a point) in ignoring the distortions, but the quality that results is not one of "beyond the pane", but rather the distortion gets pushed aside, to the periphery somehow. The thing is, I've had a bit of success with this initially, ignoring what was back then the attention mechanism of focus and attention, described earlier in this thread. It seems that with the attention mechanism accounted for, now the more subtle billowing striation thing pops up in its place. So I'm not sure this is the way to go, because the pattern seems to be, something new and interesting pops up, I get engrossed in investigating it, playing with it, and then something new and interesting pops up... That doesn't seem right, somehow.

You're probably right, and I should relax.

Oh, question - "purity personified?"

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
1/8/11 12:39 AM as a reply to . ..
Hi Katy,

Thanks for your comments. I'll have a look at the translations of M121 available to me. There's certainly good stuff in there, but the "modicum of disturbance" remaining after release is a bit confusing. Well, such are old texts. Maybe I will after all have to dig out that Pali grammar I printed out years ago, and have a look at the actual phrasing in the Sutta.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
1/8/11 1:09 AM as a reply to Florian.
Hey Florian,

You may want to check out this guided meditationnby Gil Fronsdal. It is based on the practice that the Buddha is outlining in MN 121: http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/74/talk/10883/.

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
1/8/11 8:48 AM as a reply to Florian.
I left out key sentences in the cut-paste above which describe emptiness.

From the 'preamble' (buddha replies to ananda):
"He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of village are not present. Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of human being are not present. There is only this modicum of disturbance: the singleness based on the perception of forest.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is empty of the perception of village. This mode of perception is empty of the perception of human being. There is only this non-emptiness: the singleness based on the perception of forest.' Thus he regards it as empty of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, & pure.


At the end of each section:
"And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, pure -- superior & unsurpassed."

The last line of the Cula-suññata Sutta is
"Therefore, Ananda, you should train yourselves: 'We will enter & remain in the emptiness that is pure, superior, & unsurpassed."


I find those sentences surreal, unhelpful.
Interestingly for me, then, french wiki on Śūnyatā excerpts Edward Conze directly in relation to MN 121 immediately after MN 121's sentence "...you should train yourselves 'We will enter & remain in the emptiness that is pure, superior, & unsurpassed.":
"Emptiness is not a theory, but a ladder that reaches out into the infinite. A ladder is not there to be discussed, but to be climbed.... It is a practical concept, and it embodies an aspiration, not a view. Its only use is to help us to get rid of this world and of the ignorance which binds us to it. It has not only one meaning, but several, which can unfold themselves on the successive stages of the actual process of transcending the world through wisdom." *


I am interested to know what you learn. Thank you for calling attention to this discourse.


________________

*Selected Sayings from the Perfection of Wisdom (Boulder: Prajna Press, 1978), passage cited on French Wiki entry for Sunyata, as well as, in original english, on Professor Andrew Wilson's Formless, Emptiness, Mystery in the World Religions webpage.

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
1/8/11 1:21 PM as a reply to Florian.
Florian Weps:

Last week-end I was visiting my grandmother. We were sitting in a cafe, eating cake, talking about family matters. As she was talking, while looking at her face, I inclined toward this emptiness. And while I perceived the sight of her face, and the sound of her voice, with great clarity and immediacy, there was this odd striation in the perception, almost like looking through a n old window pane with flow-marks in the glass, or with water streaming over it somehow, streaking the perception somehow. This was as close to a visual effect as it gets without actually being a visual effect (I noticed it in the hearing as well). It had this distinctly impure quality.


here's a thought: could what you seem to be looking through be what you're looking at?

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
1/8/11 4:34 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
Tarin, Florian -

This reminds me of when I have been in vast and remote wildernesses alone (i.e., on the bering sea board, in the chugach or wrangells) and I cannot "consume" the experience. I feel separate, unable to truly be of that experience and moment.

I remember driving into work months ago, when you first worked with me on actualism in my early thread, Tarin, and feeling the shocks and eventually the "satisfaction" of being of/as the moment/experience.

I really appreciate that you've raised, what seems to be a related (or maybe same) point, Florian: some slight separation/distortion/disruption/impurity from who/what is in the current actual experience.

???


anyway, appreciate the topic

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
1/9/11 12:11 AM as a reply to Florian.
I do not see the modicum of disturbance remaining after effluent. I see that this phrase is repeated, but that it is dropped after its first reference in the final para. I feel certain the key to this discourse regards the departure of "effluent of".

Hmmm.

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
1/11/11 9:51 AM as a reply to Florian.
Hi,

Florian Weps:
That doesn't seem right, somehow.


What gives you that impression?

Florian Weps:
Oh, question - "purity personified?"


Figuratively referring to the fact that this universe we live in is of a quality which (when directly experienced) is experienced as the epitome of purity. Literally pointing out that we are all actually that pure universe experiencing itself as a person, hence: innocence.

Trent

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
1/11/11 7:19 AM as a reply to Trent ..
Hi Trent,

Trent H.:
Florian Weps:
That doesn't seem right, somehow.


What gives you that impression?


Good question. I was going to reply, "because that would be endless", but then I realized that this would be talking about a purely imaginary occurrence, nothing happening right now, delusion, etc. What's happening right now, on the other hand, is what is happening right now, and "seems right" or "doesn't seem right" don't apply in a meaningful way. Thanks a lot!

Trent H.:
Florian Weps:
Oh, question - "purity personified?"


Figuratively referring to the fact that this universe we live in is of a quality which (when directly experienced) is experienced as the epitome of purity. Literally pointing out that we are all actually that pure universe experiencing itself as a person, hence: innocence.

Trent


Okay. Just checking.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
1/11/11 7:26 AM as a reply to tarin greco.
Hi Tarin,

tarin greco:
here's a thought: could what you seem to be looking through be what you're looking at?


Is that the same as saying, "... what I'm looking with"?

Is this yet another "existing in relationship to" / split thing?

Thanks for the hints.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Empty Hands
Answer
1/11/11 5:24 PM as a reply to Florian.
Florian Weps:
Hi Tarin,

tarin greco:
here's a thought: could what you seem to be looking through be what you're looking at?


Is that the same as saying, "... what I'm looking with"?

yes, to the extent that 'what you're looking with' is 'what you're looking at'.


Florian Weps:

Is this yet another "existing in relationship to" / split thing?

if i understand your question correctly, yes.