Message Boards Message Boards

Toggle
Cosmic Joke P A 3/24/18 11:20 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke Ward Law 3/24/18 12:36 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke rik 3/24/18 4:19 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Laurel Carrington 3/24/18 6:26 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Dom Stone 3/24/18 7:12 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Yilun Ong 3/24/18 9:15 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Laurel Carrington 3/24/18 9:18 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke P A 3/25/18 4:53 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke Ben V. 3/25/18 7:00 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke P A 3/25/18 8:44 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke Chris Marti 3/25/18 11:53 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke Lars 3/25/18 5:24 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Nick O 3/26/18 7:11 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke Jehanne S Peacock 3/27/18 3:14 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke D. 3/27/18 7:08 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Chris Marti 3/28/18 6:54 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke Yilun Ong 3/28/18 7:32 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke seth tapper 4/1/18 4:45 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke terry 4/2/18 4:58 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke seth tapper 4/2/18 5:55 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke terry 4/5/18 7:21 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke seth tapper 4/5/18 10:23 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke seth tapper 4/5/18 10:37 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Daniel - san 4/6/18 12:21 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke seth tapper 4/6/18 6:47 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke Chris Marti 4/6/18 7:21 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke seth tapper 4/6/18 10:31 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke Chris Marti 4/6/18 10:47 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke seth tapper 4/6/18 11:11 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke shargrol 4/6/18 11:22 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke Chris Marti 4/6/18 1:50 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Lars 4/6/18 11:45 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke Chris Marti 4/6/18 1:49 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke seth tapper 4/6/18 3:21 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Chris Marti 4/6/18 3:35 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke seth tapper 4/6/18 4:11 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Lars 4/6/18 3:42 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke seth tapper 4/6/18 4:15 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Konstantin Alexandrov 4/6/18 5:43 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Daniel - san 4/6/18 6:24 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Chris Marti 4/7/18 8:18 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke seth tapper 4/7/18 1:43 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Chris Marti 4/8/18 9:43 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke seth tapper 4/8/18 9:53 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke Chris Marti 4/8/18 10:05 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke seth tapper 4/8/18 10:27 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke Chris Marti 4/8/18 10:40 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke seth tapper 4/8/18 10:48 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke Lars 4/8/18 12:16 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Chris Marti 4/8/18 1:47 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Daniel - san 4/8/18 2:48 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Chris Marti 4/8/18 3:12 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Chris Marti 4/8/18 4:06 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke seth tapper 4/8/18 5:14 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Chris Marti 4/8/18 5:25 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke seth tapper 4/8/18 5:56 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke shargrol 4/8/18 6:47 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke terry 4/13/18 7:51 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Lars 4/8/18 7:03 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Yilun Ong 4/9/18 3:48 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke terry 4/13/18 8:32 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke terry 4/13/18 8:16 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Tashi Tharpa 4/14/18 8:28 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke Chris Marti 4/14/18 4:42 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Tashi Tharpa 4/14/18 6:13 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Chris Marti 4/15/18 8:09 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke Yilun Ong 4/15/18 9:56 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke seth tapper 4/15/18 10:12 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke terry 4/6/18 4:33 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Daniel M. Ingram 4/15/18 10:40 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke Daniel M. Ingram 4/13/18 10:19 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Ben V. 4/14/18 9:12 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke Daniel M. Ingram 4/14/18 10:21 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke Yilun Ong 4/14/18 10:33 AM
RE: Cosmic Joke P A 4/14/18 2:26 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke terry 4/20/18 5:51 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke curious 4/5/18 9:55 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke terry 3/30/18 9:05 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke terry 4/1/18 1:46 PM
RE: Cosmic Joke Missy Conant 4/6/18 2:22 PM
Cosmic Joke
Answer
3/24/18 11:20 AM
If it's all just a cosmic joke:
 1) Why bother?
 2) Is it funny?

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
3/24/18 12:36 PM as a reply to P A.
1) Because I can't stop bothering.
2) Not as long as I'm the butt of it.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
3/24/18 4:19 PM as a reply to P A.
It's a real knee slapper.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
3/24/18 6:26 PM as a reply to P A.
It’s very funny. 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
3/24/18 7:12 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Ha. Ha.


It's funny, but it has a certain.... je ne sais quoi...

Black comedy.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
3/24/18 9:15 PM as a reply to P A.
If I'm at the butt end of the joke, I can either join the party or sulk in a corner. The former is very appealing when you compare the choices... emoticon

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
3/24/18 9:18 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
We’re all the butt of the joke.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
3/25/18 4:53 AM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
But in all seriousness, listening to Kenneth Folk and Michael Taft talking about this on Deconstructing Yourself is rather uninspiring. If the punchline is being aware that an itchy nose was just an itchy nose all along, then I already get it and I'm sure I can find more worthwhile projects to devote my time to. 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
3/25/18 7:00 AM as a reply to P A.
Wouldn't it be amazing to experience an itchy nose as just an itchy nose, experience as just experience, without the heavy load of "self" and "mine" added on to it?
Seems like a worthwhile project emoticon

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
3/25/18 8:44 AM as a reply to Ben V..
Ben V.:
Wouldn't it be amazing to experience an itchy nose as just an itchy nose, experience as just experience, without the heavy load of "self" and "mine" added on to it?
Seems like a worthwhile project emoticon


No, I'm more ambitious than that. Again, to paraphrase Kenneth Folk: it's all very well having pleasant mystical states until you get kicked in the balls.

It's really only being kicked in the balls that I have a problem with and if the Cosmic Joke is that life is as much of a ball-ache after enlightenment as it was before, then the Joke is on all of us for devoting any energy to this stuff in the first place.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
3/25/18 11:53 AM as a reply to P A.
It's really only being kicked in the balls that I have a problem with and if the Cosmic Joke is that life is as much of a ball-ache after enlightenment as it was before, then the Joke is on all of us for devoting any energy to this stuff in the first place.

Consider that after awakening you'll still get kicked in the balls but you'll know so much about how that process works and feels that you'll easily move on to the next thing. "Oh, there's that shitty ball kicking again. Now what?"

It's a joke because you can laugh at it.


RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
3/25/18 5:24 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
It's a joke because you can laugh at it.


Mel Brooks once said: "Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die."

Perhaps enlightenment/equanimity is just being able to see the comedy even when WE fall into the open sewer (or get kicked in the balls). emoticon

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
3/26/18 7:11 AM as a reply to Lars.
I've had an inkling that if enlightenment is funny, death must be hilarious.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
3/27/18 3:14 AM as a reply to P A.
Ed C.:

It's really only being kicked in the balls that I have a problem with and if the Cosmic Joke is that life is as much of a ball-ache after enlightenment as it was before, then the Joke is on all of us for devoting any energy to this stuff in the first place.


My experience has been that pursuing this goal has definately lead to life being less of a ball-ache. But it's more subtle than simply being blissed out and not experiencing any punches from life.Yes it's still hard, yes I cry if people close to me die. But there is an element to all of that that makes it worth while and bearable, even pleasant, actually. My mother passed away recently and while I was grieving it never felt like it was too much to handle and now after the thing I feel actually happy about the whole experience. There is a strong sense of acceptance on the things you cannot change which feels good. I contrast this to some friends I know. I see their struggle and I see how I've avoided being pulled into the shit they are going through, because they have not had insight on to the workings of their mind. It's frightening to see just how much they can suffer due to their own delusions...

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
3/27/18 7:08 PM as a reply to P A.
I also had a similiar reaction when reading about Daniel Ingram suffering with lyme (I think?) disease. Even post-4th path, there was still extreme suffering to be found.

It was pretty disheartening, at first, and made me question the foundations of my movation. Why did I even do this shit, If I'll never get rid of this suffering for as long as I breathe?

The only real 'answer' that I've found, to keep on living in the face of that fact,  is that, while life may be a shit show, there are people out there that may need my help at some point or another. Even If I kill myself right now, I still leave behind a world full of troubles and suffering that I have still not made better in any way,shape or form.

So, I'll keep bearing the suffering and the injuries, because I now firmly believe it's my duty, as a human being, to at least do a few good deeds before being snuffed out.

And, enlightenment will likely at least reduce the 'excess' suffering a little, I guess.

Anyway, that's just my particular answer, to that conundrum, that I've found for myself, perhaps you'll find a different one(or none at all.)

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
3/28/18 6:54 AM as a reply to D..
 ... while life may be a shit show, there are people out there that may need my help at some point or another.

The Mahayana Bodhisattva vow - nice.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
3/28/18 7:32 AM as a reply to D..
I'm elated that you found the truth and joy in altruism, D. When I am not suffering with the 'I' to be enlightened where it is clear that all the unnecessary suffering comes from the I/me/mine, I find great joy in helping others where the I/me/mine is lost for those precious few moments. The connection - can't put a finger on it, seems to be an integral part of a human being? Perhaps we are learning to suffer less so that we can take more for others? Another cosmic joke this seems to be... What the heck are we really up to? Hahaha

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
3/30/18 9:05 PM as a reply to Ben V..
Ben V.:
Wouldn't it be amazing to experience an itchy nose as just an itchy nose, experience as just experience, without the heavy load of "self" and "mine" added on to it?
Seems like a worthwhile project emoticon


aloha ben,

   
  I've been thinking once again about the subject-object relationship. Clearly they arise together, the subject and the experience of objects: if something is happening, it must be happening to "me."

   The dhamma teaches that objects arise from ignorance. Ignorance of the fact that the universe is already perfect and cannot be improved by any contrivance of ours. Thinking arises when our desires need mediation or are frustrated. Objects in view represent what we want, or the means to obtain what we want. In all cases, a subject is invented to be "subject" to desires and perceptions, to the five skandhas.

   If you eliminate desire (the result of ignorance), you eliminate objects; without objects there are no thoughts, and no subject of thought or desire. Without desire, experience continues without an experiencer... then we say, 'wow, I just had a wonderful experience about not being an experiencer' and we are grasping at life once again, dissatisfied and ever ready to be deceived that somehow the next thing we try will help us get "there" (anything to fill the empty space we ironically are trying to embrace as empty, and which actually doesn't exist without objects to occupy it). By seeing that the self, the subject, is created by viewing the objects of desire, we can diminish the conditions for the arising of such objects, and thereby diminish the delusion of individual self. (In short, avoid temptation.) An individual self is pointedly at odds with the spiritual Self, such conflict being the source of all unhappiness. The objects of desire create greed, hatred and delusion; the more so the more we are attached to what we feel belongs to us (vs them). Generosity, selfless love and insight are the antitodes; aka the bv's - use them and they will not fail.  

   A "worthwhile" project indeed, to just drop it - the heavy load of desire (self) which is always misconceived. See through the emergence of objects and return to the natural state, the "uncarved block," the true human being as natural to the human environment as deer, fish and birds are to theirs. Seth pointed out recently that once we have eliminated misconceptions, only love is left, as we can't want to be rid of it too. (However much a misconception love may be as well, I might add.) Love may be experienced (perceived) as relationships, and not as objects (of desire). We  (as a society - not picking on anyone personally) constantly reify and quantize experience so as to cram more productivity into our days, in order to compete more effectively with our fellows for stuff we don't need or even want - because we are conditioned that way. We may want to de-reify and de-quantize; perceive relationships and qualities in preference to quick and inaccurate judgments that get us by and on to the next moment, though always behind and feeling guilty about it. Wanting to want less, to do with less, is a giant step out of the delusory games and into the clarity of on-going balance with life.

   As for jokes, there's the one about heaven and hell: heaven is an american salary, an english house, a chinese cook, and a japanese wife; hell is a chinese salary, a japanese house, an english cook, and I forget the last one...   heheh...


terry

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/1/18 1:46 PM as a reply to Ben V..
Ben V.:
Wouldn't it be amazing to experience an itchy nose as just an itchy nose, experience as just experience, without the heavy load of "self" and "mine" added on to it?
Seems like a worthwhile project emoticon


aloha ben,

   I was reading this morning joanna macy's "world as lover, world as self," and found this, p75-76:


quote:

*who is knowing?*


   Reality appears to be so organized that consciousness of it is hampered to the extent that the distinctions between knower and known are reified. Who then, is knowing? It is no entity that we can isolate, for as soon as it is distinguished, it is the known, not the knower. Unable to locate an agent, we are driven, in the last resort, to accord that function to the universe itself, which appears to be organized in ways that enable it to observe and know itself.

   In early Buddhist teachings, the mental distortions that obscure to us the nature of our being in the world are viewed in a merciless light. At the same time, the idea that we can eradicate and break free of them is proclaimed. Not only is this possibility affirmed, but the methods are set forth by which it can be achieved.

   In vipassana training, this is done by directing attention not to the things we see, but to how we see them - the co-dependently arising nature of feelings, thoughts, and perceptions. Thus can be gained the "eye of wisdom," that dissolves the hatred and greed we project upon the world. The knower, seeing with "the eye of wisdom," does not seek to extricate herself from the objects of her knowing, so much as to free them from the fabrications she imposes on them. As the object of knowing seems to disappear in the experience of cessation of perception, so now, with insight practice, the subject also seems to evaporate.

        "Then, Bahiya, thus you must train yourself: in the seen, there will be just the seen; in the heard, there will be just the heard; in the         sensed, just the sensed; in the known, just the known. That is how, Bahiya, you must train yourself. Now, when, Bahiya, in the seen will be just the seen; in the heard, just the heard; in the sensed, just the sensed; in the known, just the known, then, Bahiya...you will not be in it. And, when, Bahiya, you will not be in it, then Bahiya, you will not be 'here' nor 'there' nor 'midway-between.' This itself is the end of suffering." (Udana 8). 

   Both the "what" that is known and the "who" that is the knower are elusive. Neither can be fixed or pinpointed as static, self-existent entities. Shifting and dancing out of reach as we seek to grasp them, they suggest that there is not knower or known so much as "just knowing."

unquote


terry

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/1/18 4:45 PM as a reply to D..
Enlightenment is a permanent end to suffering.  None at all.   I enter states when meditating where it is apparent that suffering is just a mental/nervous system construct and the mind stops producing it.  Really, the mind stops labeling stuff it used to label as suffering as suffering. It is that simple.  I am trying to maintain that state all the time, but so far my mind keeps reverting to old habits. 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/2/18 4:58 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
Enlightenment is a permanent end to suffering.  None at all.   I enter states when meditating where it is apparent that suffering is just a mental/nervous system construct and the mind stops producing it.  Really, the mind stops labeling stuff it used to label as suffering as suffering. It is that simple.  I am trying to maintain that state all the time, but so far my mind keeps reverting to old habits. 



aloha seth,

   One of the hardest things for h. sapiens to realize is that whatever "truth" may be, it is ultra simple, unutterably simple. Next hardest is to hang on to that realization. Seung sahn says, words are medicine for word diseases. "Sick of being sick, the true person is not sick." (tao te ching)

   The reversion to old habits is because all of society is not liberated; liberate all of society, then rest in nirvana. Or, rest in nirvana and all of society is liberated, it goes both ways.

   Being it is so simple, I am not trying to tell anyone anything they don't know. Just dwelling in simplicity... Your "trying to maintain that state all the time" is the Way - the actual waying of the way, "how" we do this, can only be wayed, not understood.

   Hele on.


terry


here's some words from joanna macy that seem appropriate...


quote:

    scriptures do not specify a term for pure awareness or objectless consciousness. But they do make it clear that the polarity between subject and object can be transcended and that a consciousness can arise that is removed from sensory stimulus and concepts. The nature of such consciousness has puzzled many a disciple. "Could there be such an attainment of concentration," asks Ananda, "that the monk will not be conscious of earth in water, nor of water in water, ...and yet will be conscious?" The Buddha answered,

   "Herein, Ananda, a monk is thus conscious: "this is peace, this is excellent, namely, the calming down of all formations...the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, nirvana."

   Ananda then directs the same question to Sariputra. The eminent and enlightened senior disciple answers:

   "Cessation of becoming is nirvana; cessation of becoming is nirvana: thus, friend, one perception arises in me, another perception fades out in me. Just as, friend, when a pile of sticks is blazing one flame arises and another flame fades out, even so, friend, one perception arises in me: Cessation of becoming is nirvana, and another perception fades out in me: Cessation of becoming is nirvana. At that time, friend, I was conscious of this: Cessation of becoming is nirvana."

   According to the replies Ananda elicited, objectless knowing is still a series of momentary events; it partakes of the world of flux and is transitive in the sense that there is still an object of knowing, which is the very cessation of perception.

   There are two ways of understanding this kind of consciousness within the context of dependent co-arising; either as transitive (peace or cessation of suffering being the object of cognition) or, if taken intransitively, as a direct experiential validation of the interdependence of subject and object (where the "I" is no longer experienced, neither is the object).


unquote

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/2/18 5:55 PM as a reply to terry.
I kind of disagree with this way of looking at Nirvana.  It is always nirvana, no matter whether I think things are becoming or not.  I cannot create meaning with my mind and so whatever spasms it may go through are irrelevant to the nature of reality/This. 

It is pretty fucking hard to accept that my life story, my mind and all the things that I know are nonsense.  Once I do, even for a little while, everything that arises just makes me laugh.  It is all and has always been a self delusion fiesta in this skull.  

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/5/18 7:21 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
I kind of disagree with this way of looking at Nirvana.  It is always nirvana, no matter whether I think things are becoming or not.  I cannot create meaning with my mind and so whatever spasms it may go through are irrelevant to the nature of reality/This. 

It is pretty fucking hard to accept that my life story, my mind and all the things that I know are nonsense.  Once I do, even for a little while, everything that arises just makes me laugh.  It is all and has always been a self delusion fiesta in this skull.  


    Being as "nirvana" is just a word, one which we can't define in any case, perhaps we disagree, perhaps we don't. I don't know; you may be right.

   If we want to advance the discussion, however, let us take a look at the word. If nirvana refers to a state where attachment to desires is "extinguished," then if you still have attachments, you do not have the state of nirvana. This is the sense in which dogen uses the term. Nirvana as the result of enlightenment. Continuous enlightenment, moment by moment by moment results in the constant bliss of nirvana ("the cessation of perception" and thus of the perceiver). There is no permanence to this, of course. You must make the effort every moment, you need to be mindful, awake. When you find yourself attached, you make the effort, and return to Insight; the intervals of attachment grow smaller, nirvana comes more often. Even great insight has difficulty wth this extremely materialistic culture. It is really hard to be at peace among the shouting and confusion, and if we don't change our ways, we don't stay in nirvana much.

   Psychologists and cognitive scientists have long theorized that the mind is "blissful" in its basal state. Sages have said this for millennia. Arising instincts cause us to want to resolve the pain of the pressure of survival and reproductive instincts. We try to arrange our world to satisfy our instincts, and when this doesn't work, we get frustrated and unhappy. We keep trying though, being conditioned to do so.

  We find that we can change ourselves, our attitudes toward life and others, and relieve these pressures a great deal, if not completely. Like any animal, we are creatures of habit; it is painful to change our habits, but once changed, they stay changed with the same avidity. Training the mind in the buddha way is often likened to training an animal, which of course it is. The training is in "mindfulness," in being awake, the assumption being that the organism will self-organize correctly and harmoniously if the understanding is good. (Garbage in, garbage out.)

   There are a couple of important things to keep in mind, regardless of your view or practice. One is the pragmatic value of having a way of life which involves making efforts. The dhamma frowns on "sloth and torpor." The buddha insists on keeping the intention at all times of making energetic progress. The other is the emphasis on doing the right thing, being good, loving, kind, and so forth. No compromises with evil.

   Since it is a given that "right" understanding leads to right behavior and action, no action as such is required. We don't have to "do good" or perform actions, as long as we understand and do the best we can. These means that the method in the dhamma is to simply observe, "the body as body, the mind as mind," and so on. Careful observation and the energetic intention to bring into practice our insights is sufficent.

   We "do the best we can" by nature, so it is possible to adopt the view that we need make no effort. Unfortunately, our culture will make a determined effort to get us to care again, to take it seriously, to doubt, feel guilt, and submit to the unworthy. To get us to accept the delusion that it is ok to indulge oursleves, that it will make us happy this time, though it never has before. To attach us to the values and ideas of the pacified herd - dope, "religion, sex and tv" - (lennon), which promote and maintain the status quo, so desperately important to those who think they have it made. Mass media inflame desire until it is all we can think about and we are constantly dissatisfied; and all their remedies only inflame further, like drinking seawater when you are thirsty. With all this negativity, it takes great effort to maintain a nirvana-like detachment from the delusion that any of our thoughts and concepts "matter." We're all making this effort, as best we can - quite creditably, in my view.

   There is no doubt you are enlightened, brother, letting go the question of whether this is nirvana or not. I have no concern about telling you how it is. The concern is with the backsliding you complain about. I honor you for admitting it; along with the arrow in the chest, it is a universal problem, no matter how enlightened we make ourselves sound. (We simply don't have the cultural background and long years of study and meditation to be otherwise; yet.) If we can help others with it, it is because we have been there so often ourselves. If we can help others, it helps us.

   There are 80,000 dharma doors. Probably more: one for each dharma seeker. No one can tell you how to go, but we can help by sharing and understanding. Most people really don't want to wake up, so it can be painful and troublesome to point out what seems alarming to them at first. That's why sangha is so important. We can talk to each other without offense, I hope.

   This in mind, while you are enlightened, you are still striving for "every minute zen"  - there is a story in the reps collection by that name, about a zen master who couldn't remember where he had left his umbrella and realized he needed more work on being present all the time. Many of us are there, working on constancy of insight. It is not something to achieve "someday," the effort at constancy takes place right now, this moment, every moment. The thought that "the cessation of becoming is nirvana" arises; it passes away; it arises, it passes away; arises, passes away.

   It is not that such constancy is not effortless in itself. It is that we are conditioned otherwise, and breaking those habits, learned at mother's knee and cemented in, takes wakefulness, concentration and effort, all the time. It may be different for other cultures and in their scriptures, but we are lazy, entitled, overfed and kept constantly inflamed with desire. It takes a lot of real effort to try to dig out of such a deep hole. The lazy ego tells us to relax, no worries, everything takes care of itself: go back to sleep. Rule of thumb, if it wakes us up, it is good for us - if you think about it, this includes sufferings and irritations; especially them. Satisfaction puts us to sleep. If we achieve happiness, we want to stop right there, but of course we cannot, everything is impermanent. And waking up is always a bit of a shock, like a bucket of cold water.

   Even if we are doing our best, we can do better in the future, after growing in understanding by what we are learning now; or, in taoist terms, growing through unlearning our false conditioning and pointless knowledge. Moment to moment - I keep emphasizing this because of your resistance to "change." Perhaps I don't understand your view, which perhaps only appears to deny change. I would be happy to have you explain it to me once more, in more detail. 


terry



from anthony demello's "awareness: the perils and opportunities of reality":

 
The first thing we need is clarity of perception. One reason we don’t perceive people clearly is evident—our emotions get in the way, our conditioning, our likes and dislikes. We’ve got to grapple with that fact. But we’ve got to grapple with something much more fundamental—with our ideas, with our conclusions, with our concepts. Believe it or not, every concept that was meant to help us get in touch with reality ends up by being a barrier to getting in touch with reality, because sooner or later we forget that the words are not the thing. The concept is not the same as the reality. They’re different. That’s why I said to you earlier that the final barrier to finding God is the word “God” itself and the concept of God. It gets in the way if you’re not careful. It was meant to be a help; it can be a help but it can also be a barrier.










 
   
  

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/5/18 9:55 PM as a reply to P A.
I think that after finishing the path, physical pain can still occur, but that additional mental suffering is absent.  Many emotions would count as physical, so they still occur, but additional suffering in response to emotions does not.  Also, I read somewhere that once you finish the path you don't create new karma/samskaras, but you still have to deal with the residue of your prior problems from before enlightenment.

So perhaps enlightenment can be understood as (1) blissful flowing being, (2) the absence of suffering in response to events, and (3) non-becoming, in the sense that no new karma/samskaras arise in response to events.  Although I guess people who have finished would see these comments as an approximation for the reality of simple bare existence.  In that bare existence, 'becoming' is a property of the whole integrated sensate field, rather than the person.  Maybe?  I'm not sure.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/5/18 10:23 PM as a reply to terry.
This is a pretty important point.  Everything was perfect before we started pretending that is isnt.  Everything will be perfect in the very long run, no matter what we do.  The only flaws are our own neuroses.  If one looks at the fabricated world and see perfection, one is just being rational. 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/5/18 10:37 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
Trying to change the content of the mind to some other better contents is the whole problem in the first place. 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 12:21 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
Trying to change the content of the mind to some other better contents is the whole problem in the first place. 

Isn’t that some kind of circular logic or cosmic joke though seth? The whole experience of life isn’t just mind, there’s more to it, other chakras if you like. Depending on your definition of mind of course. But if nothing needs to be changed what’s with all this exploration, buddha dharma and talking to each other? Do you believe in development/enlightenment? I dig your zen view but it’s a view nonetheless, it’s a model, still partial, and seems borderline nihilistic. 

I prefer Shunryu Suzuki’s take:

Each of you is perfect the way you are ... and you can use a little improvement.”

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 6:47 AM as a reply to Daniel - san.
As far as I can tell, it isnt my view, its the truth.   Enlightenment should be called waking up.  Just as in when we wake from sleep, lots of stuff changes in our minds, but the "universe's" nature doesnt change.  When humans discovered the earth was round, the shape of the earth didnt change. 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 7:21 AM as a reply to Daniel - san.
The whole experience of life isn’t just mind, there’s more to it, other chakras if you like. 

Actually, it is.

The whole, the entirety, the very essence, of your existence is mind. That's it. All the things, the experiences, the feeings, the thoughts, the energy you perceive, all of it, etc., etc., etc., are mediated by mind. There is no other way to have any other kind of experience of any sort.

This fact is a fundamental realization in the Theravada world and the very essence of Zen.

I prefer Shunryu Suzuki’s take:

Each of you is perfect the way you are ... and you can use a little improvement.”

Suzuki is saying the same thing here - we are perfect as we are but there's one thing we all need to see. There is nothing to change but the way you perceive how you perceive. Once you see how "all this" is put together. Nothing and everything changes. This seems like a contradiction but when it happens it's manifestly obvious.

A cosmic joke, indeed.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 10:31 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
IMHO Saying it is all mind is a bit inaccurate.   The word "mind" is a human concept and we imagine it as an empty thing with no love or goodness or joy in it.  Dr Spok.  When confronted with the idea that it is all mind, most people get scared of nihilism and anomic worthlessness. What is amazing, is that the primal understanding of everything that is good and perfect and God is what it all is.  The word mind is closer from a rational model than throughways, nuclear missles and the slums of calcutta, but I prefer the word love.  Absent a seperate self, meaning collapses, but love doesnt change. 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 10:47 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
In re "mind" --

I'm just using the terminology the most buddhists use and assuming that's the most relatable way to communicate this. Call it whatever you want. The fact of it remains - without the ability to process the multitude and various signals we receive, of many types, we have no experience what-so-ever.

BTW - every word is a human concept. This is why Zen folks do their best to get students out of the habit of thinking in words, interpreting their experiences in words and/or concepts. Yet, if we want to communicate with each other here words are the tools we've got.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 11:11 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I agree - I am not saying you are wrong, I just like the flavor of the word love to describe This more than mind because if it is all love, then folks find it easy to let go.  If it is all mind, then folks feel like they will lose love if they accept the truth.  You dont agree? 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 11:22 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
THE MAIN CASE
Damei once asked Master Mazu, “What is buddha?” Mazu answered, “Mind is buddha.”

WUMEN’S COMMENTARY
If you can at once grasp “it,” you are wearing buddha clothes, eating buddha food, speaking buddha words, and living buddha life; you are a buddha yourself. Though this may be so, Damei has misled a number of people and let them trust a scale with a stuck pointer. Don’t you know that you have to rinse out your mouth for three days if you have uttered the word “buddha”? If you are a real Zen person, you will stop your ears and rush away when you hear, “Mind is buddha.”

WUMEN’S POEM
A fine day under the blue sky!
Don’t foolishly look here and there.
If you still ask “What is buddha?”
It is like pleading your innocence
while clutching stolen goods.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 11:45 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
I agree - I am not saying you are wrong, I just like the flavor of the word love to describe This more than mind because if it is all love, then folks find it easy to let go.  If it is all mind, then folks feel like they will lose love if they accept the truth.  You dont agree? 

Since loving compassion is a natural attribute of mind, why would someone feel like they'll lose love by accepting that all is mind?

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 1:49 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
... if it is all love, then folks find it easy to let go.  If it is all mind, then folks feel like they will lose love if they accept the truth.  You dont agree? 

I really can't agree. I think it's best to be honest with people who are truly motivated to wake up, which I assume is the case for everyone here. I don't run into people who have that motivation who are afraid to investigate the fact that mind mediates everything we experience and perceive. Their investigation will lead them to that conclusion anyway. I think not to explain the facts as I see them would do them a disservice. People have to work their way through the process.

Also, I'm not sure how we get to this conclusion:

"If it is all mind, then folks feel like they will lose love if they accept the truth."

I'm honestly mystified by the comment. Can you explain why you're saying it but in more detail?


RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 1:50 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Commentary on the koan posted by shargrol:

Mind is Buddha

This is why the search for enlightenment or nirvana beyond this mind is impossible. There is nothing outside of it. That’s one of the most difficult things for us to realize, because we look outside without even knowing. As we are seeking outside ourselves for the answers, this turning away is so habitual and deeply conditioned that we don’t see it. From the moment we encounter the dharma, the moment we begin doing zazen, we are instructed not to look outside ourselves. We know this is true, we believe in it, but we don’t do it. We continually seek and reach outside, searching for that which is beyond our awareness. We may think we can find a buddha or enlightenment somewhere beyond this mind, we might think we can find serenity, clarity and meaning beyond this mind, but such a place does not exist. Everything that appears is this mind. But if it encompasses everything, how can it be seen? That which is seen is mind. That which is seeing is mind. Seeing itself is mind. So how can it be seen? Well, it can’t, and thus it must be realized.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 2:22 PM as a reply to P A.
Well yeah, there's a point to the Great Cosmic Joke, and that is:

1.) To get the Joke (the pun)
2.) To laugh at it

Or you could say

1.) To realize that the Ego leads to suffering.... surrender...... and experience Ego Death
2.) To be free from suffering and be much happier for it for a while (until due to your humanity you'll start building up another Egoic Identity)

3.) Repeat for many lifetimes, and try to "befriend" this process

emoticon    emoticon     emoticon 

Some might say that Enlightenment is just having a really good sense of humor. And also once you cultivate this sense of humor it's much easier to be compassionate to yourself and others. I think laughter is a transcendent experience, and what we're all here to do, really is move upwards and forwards on our path toward Enlightenment... I would say that the great cosmic joke is the fact that humans have Egos, and are continuously attached to the habitual process of identifying with the Egoic attachments, only to later have it all fall apart during Ego death and Dark Night of the Soul. You think you know who you are and what your place is in this world, and then guess what, joke's on you! And you suddenly enter EGo Death and Dark night of the Soul and feel as though your entire structured identity is slipping away from you and dissippating like mist and you're terrified and have no idea who you are, what meaning your life has, and if you even want to live. I do find it hilarious actually, especially when you look at how much mainstream society is based on the collective Ego, simply a simulation/illusion. Perhaps you could try taking some LSD or Magic Mushrooms. I pretty much guarentee that you would find the joke funny then.... Anyways, (and right now I'm paraphrasing Eckharte Tolle so I can't take credit) but there's a reason the term En-lightenment contains the notions of both "lightness" (as in, less heavy due to less materiality) and "lightness" in terms of being illuminated. When we drop our Egos, surrender attachments to materiality, and the "light" "illuminates" the illusions, so that we are no longer in the dark, that is a transcended experience. So you could say that when you laugh at a joke, or when you realize the Great Cosmic Joke, it's literally "lightening up".... Like, "Hey man, lighten up" emoticon

Taken from the Intro of Eckharte Tolle's 'A New Earth': 

"The Buddha is said to have given a "silent sermon" once during which he held up a flower and gazed at it. After a while, one of those present, a monk called Mahakasyapa, began to smile. He is said to have been the only one who had understood the sermon. According to legend, that smile (that is to say, realization) was handed down by twentyeight successive masters and much later became the origin or Zen."

"When you observe the ego in yourself, you are beginning to go beyond it. Don’t take the ego too seriously. When you detect egoic behavior in yourself, smile. At times you may even laugh. How could humanity have been taken in by this for so long? Above all, know that the ego isn’t personal. It isn’t who you are. If you consider the ego to be your personal problem, that’s just more ego."

"For a moment, I was able to stand back from my own mind and see it from a deeper perspective, as it were. There was a brief shift from thinking to awareness. I was still in the men’s room, but alone now, looking at my face in the mirror. At that moment of detachment from my mind, I laughed out loud. It may have sounded insane, but it was the laughter of sanity, the laughter of the big­bellied Buddha. “Life isn’t as serious as my mind makes it out to be.” That’s what the laughter seemed to be saying. But it was only a glimpse, very quickly to be forgotten. I would spend the next three years in anxiety and depression, completely identified with my mind. I had to get close to suicide before awareness returned, and then it was much more than a glimpse. I became free of compulsive thinking and of the false, mind­made “I.” "

"How do you go beyond a dysfunctional relationship with the present moment? The most important thing is to see it in yourself, in your thoughts and actions. In the moment of seeing, of noticing that your relationship with the Now is dysfunctional, you are present. The seeing is the arising Presence. The moment you see the dysfunction, it begins to dissolve. Some people laugh out loud when they see this. With the seeing comes the power of choice – the choice of saying yes to the Now, of making it into your friend."

"Even some comedy shows,   although   they   may   be   about   nothing   in   particular,   can   be unintentionally spiritual by showing a caricature version of human folly and the ego. They teach us not to take anything too seriously, to approach life in a lighthearted way, and above all, they teach by making us laugh. Laughter is extraordinarily liberating as well as healing. Most of television, however, is as yet controlled by people who are totally controlled by the ego, and so the TV's hidden agenda becomes control of you by putting you to sleep, that is to say,   making   you   unconscious.   Yet   there   is   enormous   and   still   largely unexplored potential in the medium of television."


There's a legend somewhere, I can't find it, that when Siddhartha (Buddha) sat in meditation under the Bodhi tree, when he finally reached enlightenment he threw up his head and laughed. So you could say, he finally got the Great Cosmic Joke. 

Also, part of the path to enlightenment is just that... it's a path, a process, a practice, not a destination. Even Arhats and the Buddha and Enlightened Monks are still moving toward Ego Deaths. There is no magic solution or permanent state of Enlightenment, because it there was, you wouldn't be human anymore because you would have been released from the "Chain of Fools" or the Karmic chain of reincarnation, having obtained the ultimate goal, which is to transcend humanity completely. Feel me?


~Missy aka MissChiViss......





Maybe you might wanna read or re-read the book I got these quotes from, especially the chapter on Ego. Link here: A New Earth by Eckharte Tolle












RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 3:21 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
In my experience so far , the project of waking up is the project of letting go of false beliefs and the suffering that those seem to create.  One fundamental false belief that underlies all the suffering the mind experiences is that there is a seperate self that is experiencing things.  Usually people have millions of selves, each with a different agenda and set of concerns.  These selves are similiar and we call the constant switching from self to self that goes on in the mind one unified self.  These hot swapping selves are illusions created by evolution and the less we think they are real and critically important, the happier we can be. 

In my experience so far, I cling to these selves because they feel like me and I am scared to let myself go.  The only thing I care about is love and I am scared to let go because I feel like in losing myself I will lose love.  I am pretty sure my mind works like all mammals minds. 

When you see that all is mind, it makes it harder to cling to these selves because they have no ground to stand on, but the mind still hangs on to these selves like life preservers because it still desires love and feels like these selves are the only vehicle to get it.  When you see that all is love, there is no reason to cling anymore.  

That is why I suggest that calling this Love is a more skillful means of communicating. 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 3:35 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
I think calling it love instead of mind is bound to confuse people, but maybe that's just me. Love is a subset of what mind is capable of. It's a nice and natural subset, but it's not mind.

emoticon

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 3:42 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
In my experience so far, I cling to these selves because they feel like me and I am scared to let myself go.  The only thing I care about is love and I am scared to let go because I feel like in losing myself I will lose love.  I am pretty sure my mind works like all mammals minds. 


The word selfish has self as the root for a reason, and selfish behaviour is not exactly equated with being loving. Wouldn't it follow that letting go of the self would lead one to be more loving? To be clear, are you afraid of losing the feeling of being loved, or the capacity to feel love for family etc?

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 4:11 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I guess we crash upon differing meanings for love and mind in your mind and mine!  I am thinking of it in the way that devotion practices think of it or as we do in metta.  a love supreme. 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 4:15 PM as a reply to Lars.
I am talking at a pretty deep level, I think.  I mean that my most basic intuition is to love and to try and feel love.  This primary need drives all of the fabrication of my mind.  When it fabricates selves, it does it to try to love or be loved at the deepest level.  The entire churn is self delusion chasing what I already am.  

The answer - it is all love - is a very satisfying one and completely true.  Why settle for cheap substitutes ? 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 4:33 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
Trying to change the content of the mind to some other better contents is the whole problem in the first place. 


Aloha seth,

   Even truth can be a barrier to progress; the devil loves to quote scripture.

   One may recognize that the contents of the mind are painful, and reflect ignorance and suffering. Having tried, we know that grappling with these contents piecemeal, or "trying to change the content of the mind" by suppression and substitution, crude and direct methods, is futile. We may look for other methods, which may serve.

   I'm not sure the attempt by the self to change the self is in fact the real problem. Once we set the self against the self, once "I" begins to examine "me," a fuse is lit that can't be extinguished.

   I have the great good fortune to be able to observe my lovely grand-daughter grow, she is four now. And I observed my own sons growing up. They are born perfectly human and degenerate through cultural conditioning into creatures who can cope with society as it is. In reversing this conditioning, we reverse the degeneration of the human race. We can be regenerate and still cope, unlike our perfect babies, who do need to learn to cope. Hopefully we can leaven the mass of dough. And one day perhaps ascend to the sorts of cultures that existed in america prior to 1492, that black year. (I just read "american holocaust" by david stannard, a compendium of horror which still reveals the beauty of humanity in contrast to the "white devils.") 

   Just as "trying to change the contents of the mind" doesn't work, so trying to change society is even less successful. The koran says that fools cause more damage than evil people, and there is the proverbial road to hell. Yet through practice we change, our mental contents change, and society also changes.

   When we engage with family, friends and acquaintances, we immediately understand their thoroughly corrupt views and reply in kind; otherwise we sound perfectly crazy, and end up engaged in all sorts of irrelevant considerations. To be able to do this while maintaining nirvana or even detachment is rare indeed. We can reverse this to some degree, and teach our intimates to accept our apparent insanities as at least  harmless and even conceivably of some merit. There are many techniques for maintaining an independent, higher consciousness, but the mass of ignorance inexorably brings us down; the lotus, though it floats on top, nonetheless rises and falls with the level of the water. We are not allowed to speak of what is real and true to us, it is too different and not accepted. That's why I love you people, and sangha/fellowship generally; these things can be said and shared, with live people (or at least virtual people).

   I spend at least half of my life in solitude, these days. It really helps.  :-) 


terry



"Rags upon rags,
tatter is my life.
I pluck my food on a country path.
My hut is buried in a tangle of weeds.
Looking at the moon, I hum all night;
deluded by blossoms, I forget to return.
Since leaving the monastery,
what a fool I have become!”

~ryokan

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 5:43 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
Seth I couldn't resist to bring this piece to my Facebook timeline, with your reference of course, and that wasn't the first time :-) Hope you don't mind.

seth tapper:
In my experience so far , the project of waking up is the project of letting go of false beliefs and the suffering that those seem to create.  One fundamental false belief that underlies all the suffering the mind experiences is that there is a seperate self that is experiencing things.  Usually people have millions of selves, each with a different agenda and set of concerns.  These selves are similiar and we call the constant switching from self to self that goes on in the mind one unified self.  These hot swapping selves are illusions created by evolution and the less we think they are real and critically important, the happier we can be....

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/6/18 6:24 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
The whole experience of life isn’t just mind, there’s more to it, other chakras if you like. 

Actually, it is.

The whole, the entirety, the very essence, of your existence is mind. That's it. All the things, the experiences, the feeings, the thoughts, the energy you perceive, all of it, etc., etc., etc., are mediated by mind. There is no other way to have any other kind of experience of any sort.

Well mind certainly likes to argue (mine is no exception ;)
Even in spiritual terminology mind does have different definitions, i.e. Big Mind v. thinking mind, I was referring more to the latter. By other chakras, I mean heart, which many refer to as mind - so yes, words and definition speaking past each other maybe. 
But the thinking mind, there's certainly more to life than this, and I'm thinking generally about pleasure and pain. These things come prior to (thinking) mind - they exist, maybe not in the way we mostly perceive, but nonetheless. I see a tendency to discount the existence of pleasure and pain, or life, and I believe that to be nihilistic. Thoughts don't make fire painful and a loving embrace pleasurable, you may think about these experiences later, and thought may cause attachment - the root of the problem, but these energies exist nonetheless.
The good discussion between seth and terry was what I was getting at, and I resonate with both, but my view is more aligned with terry's. This was the contradictory quote (cosmic joke) about being perfect snowflakes yet also having room for improvement. I think the fine line in walking the path is to know the truth in each (perfection and imperfection). 
These philosophies and ideas are great, and we're all walking the path (whether we admit it or not). But how many of these no self ideas hold up under pressure, intense pain and intense loss? I'm interested in the path that makes us more human, larger vessels for the blissfulness and excruciating pains in life, not transcendent to them. Just a thought emoticon

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/7/18 8:18 AM as a reply to Daniel - san.
But the thinking mind, there's certainly more to life than this, and I'm thinking generally about pleasure and pain. These things come prior to (thinking) mind - they exist, maybe not in the way we mostly perceive, but nonetheless. I see a tendency to discount the existence of pleasure and pain, or life, and I believe that to be nihilistic. 


Yes, this can get confusing. Nihilism is something altogether different from awakening to the fact that your experience is mind. Not the small mind but the mind that is the generator and arbiter of all perception. Pleasure and pain, love and hate, all things we know exist within mind. The entire universe.... I'm sure you get the point.

Maybe what you're reacting to is the tendency of meditators who claim to want to get rid of the pleasure and the pain, or the few who claim they have no more pain (a very few have made this claim only to recant later). That's all a trap. We can't lose our emotions even if we wanted to. These are precious human traits. They come with being human and no matter how awake we may become (whatever that means) those things remain within us. Awakening shows us just how beautiful being human really is, with all its pain and pleasure. We should want to fully realize being human, not try to rid ourselves of our humanity.

These philosophies and ideas are great, and we're all walking the path (whether we admit it or not). But how many of these no self ideas hold up under pressure, intense pain and intense loss? I'm interested in the path that makes us more human, larger vessels for the blissfulness and excruciating pains in life, not transcendent to them. Just a thought emoticon

Bingo! But I'm not talking about philosophy. I'm explaining my actual experience as a long time practitioner. We're walking the same path - keep going!


RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/7/18 1:43 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris, 

That hasnt been my experience.  When my mind stops making up selves, it is beyond emotion.  There is definately a state of the human nervous system that no longer participates in its own drama. I still cant sustain it, but when I pass through it is seems absurd that I would ever identify with a "sufferer" again. 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/8/18 9:43 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
When my mind stops making up selves, it is beyond emotion... I still cant sustain it, but when I pass through it is seems absurd that I would ever identify with a "sufferer" again. 

Seth, we all have those moments, sometimes even extended periods where we seem completely in sync with things and the universe just flows without any stickiness or clinging. We feel totally at peace. The caution is that these moments are states. They will come and go. The key phrase in your comment is "... can't sustain it." As with any other state, these times are impermanent, not us and when gone cause a form of suffering I'd call "longing for more of that."

When that becomes permanent, not a state, please let us know.




RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/8/18 9:53 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I'll send you a text.  

But seriously, I have no more doubt that a permanent shift away from the production of self myths is possible.  The buddha was right.  It isnt a supernatural state of achievement, it is just being sane and rational.  Why not be happy? The answer always has a story and the story always features a character or characters and those characters are always fictional.  The only reason we are ever unhappy is because we care about these characters as if they were real. It is like being miserable because the Yankees lose and arguing that no one could ever be happy with the Yankees so bad. 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/8/18 10:05 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
I have no more doubt that a permanent shift away from the production of self myths is possible. 


I agree with this - but it's not what you seemed to be saying earlier. You seemed to be making the claim that you could eliminate emotions. Emotions continue to flow after awakening. They're just not perceived the same way as they are before awakening. They're recognized as just what they are.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/8/18 10:27 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
In my mind, an emotion requires an entity to be having the experience. When I am not identifying with a supernatural entity - instead of self lets call them leprechauns - I am just a pile of plant material.  When I stop making up leprechauns,  stuff is just meaninglessly occurring - even when I am playing chess or snuggling my child.  At this point leprechaun production only happens when I am not mindful and some sensation set arises that sucks the mind into a story.  These episodes are gradually, but steadily, becoming less frequent and shorter and my rational mind's conviction that they are empty and useless is growing.  It is like learning the piano.  If you stick with it, the mind gets the hang of it, but it takes thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of practice.  One day, I will just be able to play the way I can just walk. 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/8/18 10:40 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
When your mind stops creating objects please let us know  emoticon

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/8/18 10:48 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Let me know when it happens for you too! 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/8/18 12:16 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
Does it even matter if emotions continue to arise, as long as there's no clinging/aversion to those emotions to cause suffering?

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/8/18 1:47 PM as a reply to Lars.
Does it even matter if emotions continue to arise, as long as there's no clinging/aversion to those emotions to cause suffering?

Nope. If that's happening it's called waking up.

emoticon

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/8/18 2:48 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Does it even matter if emotions continue to arise, as long as there's no clinging/aversion to those emotions to cause suffering?

Nope. If that's happening it's called waking up.

emoticon

There's actually some disagreement on this as many here know (imagine that ;) but it's all just theoretical.
I think it's good to define 'emotions' however so that we're not speaking past each other. I define emotions as thoughts (mental talk and images) that produce a bodily sensation in one or more of the energy centers in the body (chakras) or reactive sensations that begin without thought (mugger jumps out at you) which then causes the mind to spin in neurosis/thought after the fact.
If emotions are simply thoughts and sensations, then the elimination of one or the other would be an elimination of emotions. And I agree with Chris, that most people here on DhO have experienced the temporary cessation of one or the other - or even both. But they come back.
A number of years ago there was a huge movement here called AF (Actual Freedom) and practitioners were very involved in cultivating PCEs (Pure Conscious Experience) to remind oneself what it is like to be completely free of emotive response, or AF (Actually Free) not just the mental/clinging aspect of the mind, but also the adrenaline chemical production in the body - the lizard brain (they were also super keen on acronyms). Search 'PCE' here and specifically check out Tarin's stuff for brilliant (and sometimes creepy) explanation.
As far as I know there were a handful of people that claimed absolute freedom for a while but most (or all?) recanted those claims of attainment after some time. I find this subject fascinating, as I believe it is the main impetus why the vast majority of people begin spiritual practice in the first place, and then they encounter Buddhism which says realization of no-self leads to this, and then they get sidetracked on philosophy and views and thinking that realization of anatta is perfection of awakening. I disagree (more views).
In MCTB Daniel poo poo's the models of emotional perfection, and this is exactly what AF was on about, and that was it's draw and promise to many, including Daniel. Too bad there was something a bit off about it's stereo instructions-like presentation and the vocab and (seemingly) emotive delivery of a supposedly non-emotional attainment came off as weird or culty (to me anyway), but I'd like to know where all of that ended up. 
Does anyone have other definitions or ideas about emotion/practice/the point of all this? Anyone know what happened to the AF movement and if any credible practitioners out there actually claiming anything like full release from the ten fetters? This was what the Buddha was on about after all, and he identified these fetters (emotions) as suffering that can be totally eliminated. The third and fourth Noble Truth specifically promises freedom from murky mind states, that they will not arise anymore, not just non-clinging to them. That is the practice, as I understand, for the rest of us until we're fully Enlightened however (if you believe in that sort of thing) emoticon

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/8/18 3:12 PM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Daniel-san, there's no longer much, if any, disagreement among the practitioners here or elsewhere about this stuff. It's more or less old news now and I don't know of anyone who makes the claims made by the Actual Freedom folks from several years ago. I was around and participated in the AF and related brouhaha at the time. The AF folks disappeared from DhO and any other online forum I'm aware of after recanting their claims. That was a fairly long time ago. It was vogue for a while but now it's gone. Of course, a new set of practitioners may come along to re-enact these things periodically, so maybe we're entering Phase 2.

emoticon

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/8/18 4:06 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Coincidentally and just today, here's a related conversation on Twitter between my friends Kenneth Folk and Vince Horn, both experienced and accomplished meditation teachers:

https://twitter.com/KennethFolk/status/983067133096742912

Kenneth Folk:
A useful heuristic for evaluating the competence of your Buddhist teacher is how literally he interprets the "ten fetters" model, and how much he clings to the hope that he will eradicate the fetters, or the belief that he already has.

The "fetters" include things like anger and sensual desire. In other words, the belief is that you won't get angry, horny, or even hungry if you get enlightened enough.

If a teacher is talking about the ten fetters with a straight face, he may be useful as an inspiration or a religious leader, but he will not be effective in helping you with your own practice.

You, like everyone else who has ever walked upon the Earth, will fail to eradicate your anger and desire. If you want to wake up, avoid teachers who believe (or profess to believe) things that aren't true.

If you want to know what's true, look around you and see what you see. Then look within you and see what you see.


Follow the link for more.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/8/18 5:14 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I will again state that I am sure this is a fallacy.   You really can be completely free.  It is really really hard.  It isnt a spiritual achievement.  It is just not being a self important fantacist. 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/8/18 5:25 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
Let us know how it goes.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/8/18 5:56 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I kind of want to have this fight, because I think it is a really important point.  I apologize if this seems like beating a dead horse. 

Whether or not I ever am able to face my own insignifigance with 100% clarity, the thing is possible.  The buddha wasnt kidding around. 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/8/18 6:47 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
All of this reminds me of a story...

I think it was Peter Ralston (http://chenghsin.com/chenghsin-main.html) telling a story about a friend of his, maybe Robert Nadeau?? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Nadeau_(aikidoka)) that actually trained with the founder of Aikido (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morihei_Ueshiba).

Supposedly Eushiba was enlightened and undefeatable. While he was there, Robert got to see him do amazing things, like fight entire groups of real martial artists, not in some staged demonstration, but real fights with the old man completely dominating >everyone<.  

Anyway, he had been there for a year or so, he saw O Sensei trip on his futon. O Sensei was getting up in the morning and he tripped.

And Robert was beside himself and almost left. O Sensei wasn't perfect afterall. Why would anyone practice with someone that wasn't perfect?

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/8/18 7:03 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
I'm reminded of this exchange from the Sutra of Hui-neng:

Wo-lun:

Wo-lun has ways and means,
to insulate the mind from all thoughts.
When circumstances don't react on the mind,
the bodhi tree will grow steadily.

Hearing this, the patriarch said "This stanza indicates the writer has not yet fully realized the essence of mind, to put its teaching into practise would gain no liberation, but bind oneself more tightly." Thereupon Hui-neng showed the following stanza of his own.

Hui-neng:

Hui-neng has no ways and means,
to insulate the mind from all thoughts,
Circumstances often react on my mind,
and I wonder how can the bodhi tree grow?

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/9/18 3:48 AM as a reply to Lars.
Love that piece, Lars! Any practice that results in letting go, is correct. - Ajahn Chah

I was getting caught beating myself up over crave/cling of food. Man is it a tough one. I guess I should just let that one slide until I have no other defilements to work on. But that is my major shortcoming if it is considered one as some seem to say it isn't?

AND keep up the good fight, Seth!!! emoticon

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/13/18 7:51 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
All of this reminds me of a story...

I think it was Peter Ralston (http://chenghsin.com/chenghsin-main.html) telling a story about a friend of his, maybe Robert Nadeau?? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Nadeau_(aikidoka)) that actually trained with the founder of Aikido (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morihei_Ueshiba).

Supposedly Eushiba was enlightened and undefeatable. While he was there, Robert got to see him do amazing things, like fight entire groups of real martial artists, not in some staged demonstration, but real fights with the old man completely dominating >everyone<.  

Anyway, he had been there for a year or so, he saw O Sensei trip on his futon. O Sensei was getting up in the morning and he tripped.

And Robert was beside himself and almost left. O Sensei wasn't perfect afterall. Why would anyone practice with someone that wasn't perfect?


aloha shargrol,

   Ramakrishna might say, if you drop a piece of muck into a glass of murky water it won't make much difference, but if you drop it into a glass of clean water, it will make a great deal of difference.

terry

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/13/18 8:16 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Coincidentally and just today, here's a related conversation on Twitter between my friends Kenneth Folk and Vince Horn, both experienced and accomplished meditation teachers:

https://twitter.com/KennethFolk/status/983067133096742912

Kenneth Folk:
A useful heuristic for evaluating the competence of your Buddhist teacher is how literally he interprets the "ten fetters" model, and how much he clings to the hope that he will eradicate the fetters, or the belief that he already has.

The "fetters" include things like anger and sensual desire. In other words, the belief is that you won't get angry, horny, or even hungry if you get enlightened enough.

If a teacher is talking about the ten fetters with a straight face, he may be useful as an inspiration or a religious leader, but he will not be effective in helping you with your own practice.

You, like everyone else who has ever walked upon the Earth, will fail to eradicate your anger and desire. If you want to wake up, avoid teachers who believe (or profess to believe) things that aren't true.

If you want to know what's true, look around you and see what you see. Then look within you and see what you see.


Follow the link for more.


aloha chris,

   In my view, any "teacher" of buddha dhamma who doesn't encourage you to eliminate anger "will not be effective." It is rather the same as telling people that suffering can be eliminated, according to the dhamma. I believe it because I have eliminated a lot of suffering, and a lot of anger. Not all of it, and it would be unrealitic to imagine I will never be angry or frustrated ever again, or to encourage others to think they will be free of these vices any time soon through "my" teaching. It is the intention, the continuous effort, that is transformative; one's actual practice. 

   I have faith that it is humanly possible to completely master desire and to live in nirvana. At least, I think I do; that is my view. There is no reason I can see why words like the following of bankei's written a few hundred years ago, wouldn't apply today:

(from 'the unborn; the life and teachings of zen master bankei')

quote:

You certainly must cherish your illusions dearly for you to change the Buddha-mind into them just so you can be deluded. If you only knew the great value of the Buddha-mind, there's no way you could ever be deluded again, not even if you wanted to be. Fix this clearly in your head: When you are not deluded, you are a Buddha, and that means you are enlightened. There is no other way for you to become a Buddha. So draw close and listen carefully and be sure that you undertand what I say.

You create your outbursts of temper when the organs of your six senses [vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and faculty of mind] are stimulated by some external condition and incite you to oppose other people because you desire to assert your own preciously held ideas. When you have no attachment to self, there are no illusions. Have that perfectly clear.

All your parents gave you when you were born was a Buddha-mind. Nothing else. What have you done with it? From the time you were a tiny baby, you've watched and listened to people losing their tempers around you. You've been schooled in this, until you too have become habituated to irascibility. So now you indulge in frequent fits of anger. But it's foolish to think that's inherent. Right now, if you realize you've been mistaken and don't allow your temper to arise anymore, you'll have no temper to worry about. Instead of trying to correct it, don't produce it in the first place. That's the quickest way, don't you agree? Trying to do something about it after it occurs is very troublesome and futile besides. Don't get angry to begin with, then there's no need to cure anything. There's nothing left to cure.

unquote


terry

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/13/18 8:32 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
I kind of want to have this fight, because I think it is a really important point.  I apologize if this seems like beating a dead horse. 

Whether or not I ever am able to face my own insignifigance with 100% clarity, the thing is possible.  The buddha wasnt kidding around. 


aloha seth,

   Absolutely 100% wholeheartedly agree. The fact that we can do it from moment to moment proves it can be done indefinitely. We simply have to keep at it, and be satisfied with the best we can do.


terry

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/15/18 10:40 AM as a reply to D..
Hey, I don't have lyme disease and never have: no idea where you might have gotten that one, but the internet is a strange place.

Why do this? Well, the fundamental suffering caused by not perceiving sensations as experiences in some bizarre way does all sorts of unfortunate things to the mind and the way we perceive reality, and the righting of that, such that we perceive experiences as experiences, feels vastly better and so is positively globally transformative.

Take time: if you actually perceived all thoughts as experiences, you can't have a true sense that time is actually real, as all sensations of past and future occur now, and, being perceived as experiences, are known to occur now and not actually be time in any real sense. This is transformative.

Take agency: by actually perceiving experiences as experiences, such as intentions to do things being perceived clearly as experiences, it becomes clear that they all arise on their own naturally, causally, without anyone to create them, just part of the process, and this immediate felt experience of natural unfolding beats the crap out of the way in which somehow there is the notion that we are doing things.

Take perception: when everything just perceives itself as it is, where it is, on its own, with each sensation simply representing itself, this is vastly better than the mode of perception in which we believe that some vague sensations that are crude impressions in the general area of the head are the perception of other sensations that already occurred. This is a vastly upgraded way of perceiving experience and highly recommended.

Take thoughts: when we perceive thoughts as the experiences they actually are, we notice that thoughts are these small subtle sensate experiences in space. Seriously, now troubling can the actual experiences of thoughts be? They are so subtle most of the time, a very small percentage of what is actually occurring, and that proportionality makes thoughts assume their proper sensate place in experience, and this is vastly more manageable and easy to handle than when we contract into thoughts and lose the rest of the framing experiences that give them proportion.

Take pain: when we perceive pain exactly as it is, where it is, in the context of the rest of our sensate world, perceiving it as experiences in space along with the other sensations, perceiving it clearly to arise and vanish, perceiving it to be in proportion to its actual size and intensity and proportion of the wide world of sensations, allowing it to stand for itself, this is vastly better than the previous way where we would be reacting to pain long after it is gone and blowing it way out or portion in comparison to how much of experience it actually takes up.

Take desire: when no patterns of sensations are extrapolated to be some thing that could get closer to other sensations, that sense of bending, of pull, of drawing, of aching to get closer: this weird pulling of some illusory cluster of sensations to get towards some other cluster of sensations stops when we actually perceive sensations as clear experiences. When all of those sensations are clearly noticed to just be sensations, then such a weird illusion simply can't occur. The same happens with aversion. It is not that preferences can't arise, or that emotions can't arise, but that weird mental pull-push that occurs when some sensations are taken to be some self and some sensations are taken to be some stable thing that the pattern of sensations taken to be self could have some push-pull relationship to are known as they are, that push-pull part of the pain vanishes. Further, emotions, being perceived as part of this wide-open, proportional, transient flux of natural experiences, are given the same clarification as pain, and so the bodily sensations that that typically make emotions troublesome are perceived proportionally, and the thoughts that cause such difficulty when exaggeratedly perceived instead are noticed to just be the little decorations of space that they are.

Take ignorance: it actually takes all sorts of processing power to maintain a sense of a reference point between some pattern of sensations taken to be a self and all other sensation, as the brain has to keep up this strange moving dance, carefully ignore that sensations are the experiences they are, and then generates all sorts of additional mental complexity related to this elaborately crafted, processor-intensive illusion it has created, all of which is useless, delusional, and painful. The stopping of this painful process that happens when sensations that were thought to be self are just noticed to be more experiences marks a vast upgrade to the operating system and this beneficial upgrade is very palpable in this body-mind.

Take clinging: when experiences are clearly perceived as being the experiences they are, it is impossible for any clinging to occur, as the natural perception of the natural transience of experiences is just hardwired into the fact of noticing naturally that experiences are all transient, so what could cling to anything, and what could be clung to? Clear perception of sensations reveals that clinging can't possibly occur when experiences are actually known as they are, as their transience is instantly known by the nature of sensations being what they are.

In short, learning to perceive thoughts as thoughts, intentions as intentions, and other sensations as other sensations can, if done well and thoroughily in a way that brings all of these into clear experience, can make every moment of experience significantly better than it is perceived the other, dualistic way that misses that experiences are actually experiences.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/13/18 10:19 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Seriously, just saying this is about nose itching being noticed as nose itching is really missing many huge points about why one would do this and the benefits of making experiences that were previously subtle and prone to being misperceived into simply straightforwardly clear experiences that all auto-liberate themselves, as the Tibetan kids might put it.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/14/18 8:28 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
"If a teacher is talking about the ten fetters with a straight face, he may be useful as an inspiration or a religious leader, but he will not be effective in helping you with your own practice."

Isn't this statement rather dogmatic? Pretty one-or-zero, don't you think?

If one were to take the time, I'm guessing it would be possible to find humane and reasonable talks on the Ten Fetters by teachers like Jack Kornfield, Gil Fronsdal or Shaila Catherine here and there--talks that aren't particularly dogmatic and one-or-zero but that point to the potential to gradually let go of or release attachments over time. By the statement above, though, these teachers are utterly useless for helping people with their own practices. Really?

There's something grandiose and uncharitable about the statement, seems to me.    

  



RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/14/18 9:12 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hello Daniel and all,

Daniel, thanks for this detailed explanations of the results of practice! I was wondering, are the results you mention possible after 1st path or is this a post-4th path result description? 

On another note, just in case my comment on nose itching may have been perceived as making common place of the practice, it wasn't. I was seriously saying that such simple practice as observing experience as experience without tagging on it a solid continuous self-entity is a worthy enterprise. Observing an itch as itch has given me A&P-like experiences, and made me intuit or have faith that this simple practice is the heart of the Buddha's practice and path to awakening. 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/14/18 10:21 AM as a reply to Ben V..
That is explicitly a fourth path description, the "In the hearing, just the heard. In the seeing, just the seen. In the thinking, just the thought..." etc. level. However, it does get better by stages and degrees, with each level being an improvement over the previous one and providing pieces of the puzzle that eventually come together to complete the result.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/14/18 10:33 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Thanks Daniel! Your contribution made this my current all-time favourite thread. _/ \_

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/14/18 2:26 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
That is explicitly a fourth path description, the "In the hearing, just the heard. In the seeing, just the seen. In the thinking, just the thought..." etc. level. However, it does get better by stages and degrees, with each level being an improvement over the previous one and providing pieces of the puzzle that eventually come together to complete the result.


Thank you Daniel. Do you regard Mahasi style Vipassana as a means of emulating "in the hearing, just the heard etc." in order to hardwire it, or simply one of many possible rafts that can ferry to that shore before being discarded?

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/14/18 4:42 PM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
I'm guessing it would be possible to find humane and reasonable talks on the Ten Fetters by teachers like Jack Kornfield, Gil Fronsdal or Shaila Catherine here and there--talks that aren't particularly dogmatic and one-or-zero but that point to the potential to gradually let go of or release attachments over time.

Sounds like a great hypothesis. Maybe, as an experiment to help prove or disprove it, you can find those talks and link us to them them here!

emoticon



RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/14/18 6:13 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
With a quick Google search, I see Ten Fetters talks by Ajahn Sumedho, Gil Fronsdal, Bhante Gunaratana, Shinzen Young (a reinterpretation of the model, to be sure) and Ayya Khema. So Ayya Khema, Leigh Brasington's teacher, was unable to help people with their practice? Wasn't she synonymous with guiding people through the jhanas and teaching them how to practice insight meditation well? I don't believe in eradication, but I also don't believe that good teachers should be written off simply for working with the model. Kenneth is an awesome teacher. I'd be just as impatient with a fundamentalist dismissing Kenneth because he does not buy this particular doctrine.  

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/15/18 8:09 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Yep, YMMV.

Knowing Kenneth, I'm pretty sure he was being overly dramatic to make a point. That said, I'm also sure he believes what he said at some level. I've seen Kenneth go through quite a number of variations on his teachings, including a period in which he was trying very hard to rid himself of all emotion. He failed, thus his current POV.

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/15/18 9:56 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
All I know is that believing in a closer, easier goal simply makes it impossible to know the possibility of a higher goal. Believing in people (especially the special me) who failed is so comfortable... Why not just be comfortable? I don't see anything wrong with that unless we are forcing our views on others. emoticon

I don't think we will start seeing people who achieved 10 fetters elimination come out and proclaim it. That itself says they aren't? Hahaha...

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/15/18 10:12 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
I think the idea that a person overcomes some set of things is an entirely unskillful way of looking at it.  They just wake up and stop believing in what is objectively false.  I am not scared of ghosts and it doesnt make me special.  The whole thing is to just stop believing you are some kind of spirit that exists and interacts and start believing in stuff just happening to no one.  When you really really change your model of reality completely - the ten fetters are patently absurd.  That said, it is very fucking hard to do because everyone else is terrified of ghosts and our entire species spends all of its time talking about and planning for ghost attacks.  Our minds are designed to pick up on what others believe and believe it too.  Spend a decade in Boston and you will like the scum sucking Celtics. 

RE: Cosmic Joke
Answer
4/20/18 5:51 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
[quote=Daniel M. Ingram


]Take time: if you actually perceived all thoughts as experiences, you can't have a true sense that time is actually real, as all sensations of past and future occur now, and, being perceived as experiences, are known to occur now and not actually be time in any real sense. This is transformative.



aloha daniel m. ingram,

   I don't disagree with this, but to me it begs the question of how you explain change or impermanence given the unreality of time. Not to mention how you might allow for karma.

   The term "actually real" also presents problems. We haven't begun to mine the "really real" yet. What, my friend, is "real"? One answer, to paraphrase prudhon: "reality is theft." Reality has a shadow side, an "unconscious." To speak of what is real invites this 'geist' to the table.

   Feel free to expand (and engage); or, not. It's all good.

terry



"Hyakujo's Fox" - mumonkan case #2


Whenever Hyakujo delivered a zen lecture, an old man was always there with the monks listening to it: and when they left the Hall, so did he. One, day, however, he remained behind, and Hyakujo asked, "Who are you?"

The old man replied,”Yes, I am not a human being, but in the far distant past, when the Kashapa Buddha (the Sixth Buddha of the Seven Ancient Buddhas) preached in this world, I was the head monk in this mountain area. On one occasion a monk asked me whether an enlightened man could fall again under the law of karma (cause and effect), and I answered that he could not. Thus I became a fox for 500 rebirths and am still a fox. I beg you to release me from this condition through your Zen words.”

Then he asked Hyakujo,”Is an enlightened man subject to the law of karma?” Hyakujo answered, “No one is free from the law of Karma.” [Another translation: "He does not ignore causation." Another: "The law of karma may not be obscured."]

At the words of Hyakujo the old man was enlightened, and said with a bow, “I am now released from rebirth as a fox and my body will be found on the other side of the mountain. May I request that you bury me as a dead monk?”

The next day Hyakujo had the Karmadana, or deacon, beat the clapper and he informed the monks that after the midday meal there would be a funeral service for a dead monk. “No one was sick or died,” wondered the monks. “What does our Roshi mean?” After they had eaten, Hyakujo led them to the foot of a rock on the furthest side of the mountain, and with his staff poked the dead body of a fox and had it ritually cremated.

In the evening Hyakujo gave a talk to the monks and told them this story of the law of Karma. Upon hearing the story, Obaku asked Hyakujo, “You said that because a long time ago an old Zen master gave a wrong answer he became a fox for 500 rebirths. But suppose every time he answered he had not made a mistake, what would have happened then?” Hyakujo replied, “Just come here to me, and I will tell you the answer!” Obaku then went up to Hyakujo – and slapped the teacher’s face. Hyakujo, clapping his hands and laughing, exclaimed, “I thought the Persian had a red beard, but here is another one with a red beard!”

Mumon’s Comment:

“The enlightened man is not subject to Karma.” How can this answer make the monk a fox? “The enlightened man is not free from the law of karma.” How can this answer release him from his fox’s life? If you have one eye in regard to this, then you understand Hyakujo’s (the old man’s) dramatic 500 rebirths.

Free from karma or subject to it,
They are two sides of the same die.
Subject to karma or free from it,
Both are irredeemable errors.