No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Daniel M. Ingram 4/16/10 1:06 AM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Wet Paint 3/14/09 12:43 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Daniel M. Ingram 3/14/09 9:51 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing triple think 3/14/09 10:00 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing beta wave 3/15/09 12:34 AM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Wet Paint 3/15/09 9:21 AM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing tarin greco 3/15/09 9:39 AM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Daniel M. Ingram 3/15/09 10:13 AM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Wet Paint 3/15/09 2:39 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Wet Paint 3/15/09 4:39 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Daniel M. Ingram 3/15/09 5:18 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing tarin greco 3/15/09 10:32 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing tarin greco 3/15/09 10:38 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Wet Paint 3/16/09 1:26 AM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Trent S. H. 3/16/09 2:26 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Kenneth Folk 3/17/09 7:34 AM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Chuck Kasmire 3/17/09 12:13 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Kenneth Folk 3/17/09 12:57 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Trent S. H. 3/17/09 1:09 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Trent S. H. 3/17/09 1:18 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Wet Paint 3/17/09 2:10 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Kenneth Folk 3/17/09 3:11 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Wet Paint 3/17/09 3:26 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Trent S. H. 3/17/09 4:04 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Kenneth Folk 3/17/09 4:18 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Kenneth Folk 3/17/09 4:51 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Wet Paint 3/17/09 5:02 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Trent S. H. 3/17/09 5:53 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing tarin greco 3/17/09 8:25 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing tarin greco 3/17/09 8:55 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing tarin greco 3/17/09 9:15 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Chuck Kasmire 3/18/09 5:07 AM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Chuck Kasmire 3/18/09 5:38 AM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Nathan I S 3/19/09 6:38 AM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Trent S. H. 3/19/09 12:27 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Kenneth Folk 3/19/09 1:48 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Florian 3/19/09 10:28 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Trent S. H. 3/26/09 5:15 PM
RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing Trent S. H. 3/26/09 5:57 PM
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 12 Years ago at 4/16/10 1:06 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/14/09 10:19 AM

No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 3230 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Forum: No Dog, Some Dog, and The Simplest Thing

From the original essay on the original Wetpaint version of the DhO:

"No Dog, Some Dog, and The Simplest Thing
There has been a lot of reference to these three in various discussions, so I thought it might be good to have a page dedicated to exploring them. Please feel free to lend your thoughts.

No Dog is a term coined by Kenneth and used to describe a state that we consider trans-jhanic, in that all the other jhanas can move through it. It is a very different perspective on them, and gives the whole thing a very different feel. It is almost like a profoundly skillful dissociation, or another quantum level of equanimity, in that, when one is in No Dog, there is no investment in which jhana or ñana is manifesting, or, as the term implies, you have no dog in that fight. In this way, No Dog imparts a very high level of feeling one has transcended the ordinary fascination with cycles, states, stages, qualities of experience, etc. They cycle through, and we feel largely untouched by their coming and going. We use the term No Dog as it is as good as anything else we could come up with and because we do not see a precise correlate in the standard texts, sort of...

I remember the first time I chanced on to No Dog, and it happened to be just a few seconds after the Fruition that got me arahatship. When the mind flipped into that way of perceiving things, it was for me that that time everything I was looking for. As an anagami, I had become so sick of cycles and cycles and cycles that the transcendence of No Dog was absolutely amazing. Cycles occurred, and the only thing of relevance was staying in No Dog. I associated it with the term Wisdom Eye, and my whole goal at that point was keeping in that state. The only problem was it didn’t last...

No Dog would fade back into a state that we have come to call Some Dog, which is the default state for those who are not in No Dog. In Some Dog, one cares about qualities, even subtle qualities, and cycles, and stages, and states, and the specifics, whereas when one is in No Dog, No Dog is the best game in town and what cycle or stage or whatever happens to be going on within the framework of No Dog is basically irrelevant.

Thus, on that retreat, I would fade back to Some Dog, get frustrated by the cycles, realize this, find No Dog again, which was just a question of looking for it, and for a few hours would be ok, until Some Dog would set in again, and so forth and so on for about a week. The problem with No Dog is that it is conditioned, in that it comes and goes, I only found it after attaining arahatship, and thus, while amazing in its way, was not quite what I was looking for.

Luckily that was not the end of the story. The retreat went on, and then this very strange convergence of things occurred. It was hard to explain, but during it, I realized something very important: Some Dog and No Dog are both of the same nature, both are conditioned, both are empty, both are just variations on the basic theme of perception, or manifestation, or luminosity, or suchness, or whatever you wish to call it...

The Simplest Thing is what it has been called here recently. The Simplest Thing is one way of saying those other things. I like the old line, “In the seeing, just the seen. In the hearing, just the heard,” etc. I think it makes its point very clearly and concisely. It doesn’t get any more simple that that, and that was what I realized on that retreat.

Now at times the mind inclines to No Dog and that is what shows up. At other times it inclines to Some Dog, and that is what shows up. These are conditioned phenomena, and they come and go.

There will likely be debate below about exactly when one can attain to No Dog and exactly when one can attain to The Simplest Thing. I suspect that those with a somewhat more Vedantic perspective will try to argue that The Simplest Thing is always available, which is sort of true. I suspect that there are those who will try to say that No Dog can be attained by those below arahatship, and perhaps it can, though I had not seen anything that had its complete set of qualities before that.

Those things said, I realized the deep truth of The Simplest Thing in all its ordinary glory when I got over my fascination with No Dog and my dislike of Some Dog and found that they are finally not the point. Noticing things as they are is the point, directly, clearly, completely and in a way that is not bound up in specific perspectives that are conditioned was what got me to the thing that has lasted for these nearly 6 years, and so I advocate simply giving No Dog its due, realizing that its true nature is the same as Some Dog, and finding that common ground that all things share.

I spent some time this afternoon checking both out, going back and forth from No Dog to Some Dog, from the transcendent to the immersed, and was pleased to come to the same conclusion: they are different, but both have their points, and neither has a more elevated place from the point of view of The Simplest Thing.

I am going to weigh in on when The Simplest Thing can be attained, and I will claim that really knowing it completely as one’s baseline is synonymous with The Goal, whatever you wish to call it. Thus, while aspects are obviously available at all times, really knowing it is the end of the path of insight.

I have debated the merits of taking No Dog as the path to The Simplest Thing, which has been talked about on the DhO. While fascination with No Dog is probably inevitable, and perhaps should be considered a distinct stage of development, beyond that, I don’t think that it is, in and of itself, the key to The Goal, except for seeing the common elements between it and Some Dog.

I do think that No Dog is a very important attainment, just like I like the Formless Realms, The Pure Land Jhanas and Nirodha Samapatti, and No Dog is even one better, but I think that one must finally come to a place where even that is seen as just one more variation or motif on the basic theme that phenomena manifest in various ways and realization must be found in a way that is not bound up in any specifics, and that includes No Dog."

While initially this may seem somewhat abstract, there are actually a few people here who are running into this stuff or hopefully soon will, so I thought it might be worth hashing out, as I have little doubt there will be some opinions of various sorts.
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 3/14/09 12:43 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/14/09 12:43 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: garyrh

Hi Daniel,
I find this interesting.

In consideration of your description of No Dog it seems a state in which there is no self identification with the cycles and insights of the cycles. Where as the simplest thing has no indentification with the illusionary self, "Seeing just seen, hearing just the heard...". So to arrive at the simplest thing there is an insight where an aspect of illusionary self is revealed in the process of cycling (as opposed to insight itself).

Have I got this right? I am trying to piece it together into a wider context (but maybe there isn't one).

Thanks
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 13 Years ago at 3/14/09 9:51 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/14/09 9:51 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

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I don't think that identification and investment are the exact same thing, though they may seem related. From the point of view of the Three Characteristics, investment (Some Dog) is empty, non-investment (No Dog) is also empty, turning to the specifics and cycles is empty, turning to the No Dog perspective is empty, and, of course, all the cycles are also empty. You could substitute luminous, causal, transient and the like for empty.
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triple think, modified 13 Years ago at 3/14/09 10:00 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/14/09 10:00 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

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Very much appreciated. Do you have the sense then that there are gradients and interrelationships between these puppies? I find my experience in this canine territory to be like that, at times more of this quality or and at another time more of that quality. I like this model loose but perhaps in the future I will be able to discern the distinctions better. Great pointer for future reference, the shifting back and forth. I also find that 'in the conditions, only the conditions' works wonders as a prime directive. Look forward reading the discussion. I don't think I have anything conclusive to contribute but I expect to gather some great insights from you and others. Thanks again Kenneth for also setting the wheel in motion on this one.
beta wave, modified 13 Years ago at 3/15/09 12:34 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/15/09 12:34 AM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

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More canine-ology for the thread. The last paragraph in "Cutting through Spiritual Matrialism":

"Finally Milarepa reached the "old dog" stage, his highest attainment. People could tread on him, use him as a road, as earth; he would always be there. He transcended his own individual existence so that, as we read in his last teachings, there is a sense of the universality of Milarepa, the example of enlightenment."

The page/thread is beyond me, but I can catch it's scent.
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 3/15/09 9:21 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/15/09 9:21 AM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: garyrh

One needs to realise No Dog is empty this is the point.
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tarin greco, modified 13 Years ago at 3/15/09 9:39 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/15/09 9:39 AM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

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i'll add something when i get my thoughts together better on the matter, but in the meantime, let's keep this thread down to earth, practical and related to practice please?
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 13 Years ago at 3/15/09 10:13 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/15/09 10:13 AM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

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Practically, No Dog itself, being able to be known, presents and presents and presents, and thus, one may see the Three Characteristics of even that, and this helps.
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 3/15/09 2:39 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/15/09 2:39 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: garyrh

It is the three characteristics right to the very end; this really is the simplest thing (pun intended). Practically, let's do it.
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 3/15/09 4:39 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/15/09 4:39 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: solxyz

So what other states or experiences might I be confusing with No Dog?
When I first heard Kenneth's description of No Dog, I recognized it immediately as something I sometimes experience. Or at least I thought I did, but Im nowhere near arhathood. Im probably a well-reviewed stream-enterer. Before I had heard of No Dog, I took this experience to be a manifestation of High Equanimity. Does that make sense?

Maybe this is just a rapture. Maybe I shouldnt worry about it. But No Dog still seems like a very close description of this experience, especially since I can usually find it just by looking for it, as you say. Then again that may just be a function of my current familiarity with my little patch of the dharma. (Before I could find it somewhat reliably, it would usually come to me when I was tired.) Currently my practice is not totally precise and up to speed, so I cant say definitely whether I can cycle through all the stages in this mode, but it feels like I could.
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 13 Years ago at 3/15/09 5:18 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/15/09 5:18 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

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If all the jhanas and insight stages can move through it and still have it as the overriding place of a very high level of not only dis-interest but non-investment in any of them, like the non-attention to diversity of Nothingness almost, except that the stages and states are still doing their thing in a way they never could in just one state, that could be it. It is at a whole different level beyond high equanimity, as high equanimity is just one of the stages that can roll through it. From that place, Re-observation, High Equanimity, Formless Realms: whatever, no dog in that fight, don't really even need to notice much about them, they roll through anyway. Paradoxically, here are days I think I am a faster and stronger insight concentration practitioner in No Dog, which is ironic, as it has nothing to do with those and in that mode I really could care less.
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tarin greco, modified 13 Years ago at 3/15/09 10:32 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/15/09 10:32 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

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i think it actually does look a lot like high equanimity, in that it has the same 'dont know dont care'ness to it, as well as the high level of transparency which allows the stages and cycles to move through without dropping you in to any of them. one benefit of learning to move through the cycles fluidly is that doing so naturally opens your mind up to the possibility of no-dog and gives you hints for how to look for it.
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tarin greco, modified 13 Years ago at 3/15/09 10:38 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/15/09 10:38 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
well i disagree with this.. while it looks like a different animal, i think no-dog is a natural culmination of insight and concentration. without sufficient insight (ability to see things as they are) and sufficient concentration (ability to see a lot), the 'centre' won't get seen through, investment will happen all over the place, and no-dog probably wont occur.
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 3/16/09 1:26 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/16/09 1:26 AM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: marinr

I've been thinking about The Simplest Thing lately, but I need some confirmation to be more sure.
This is my latest 'awakening' in daily life:

Build up:
- heart chakra works
- something big is happening

Entrance:
- "I have no basis on which to differentiate other's actions from mine"
- a very close previously unknown object enters into awareness

Possible descriptions:
- stoping intent, stoping action, stoping self-awareness
- no 'others'
- spherical perception
- cessation in daily life

Exit:
- "I'm going into cessation. Others will get worried."
- intention occurs and everything gets normal but a little different

Where would this be in the four paths? Is it related to the Simplest Thing?
Trent S H, modified 13 Years ago at 3/16/09 2:26 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/16/09 2:26 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

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This is just speculation.

I'm guessing the simplest thing is consciousness, luminosity, the light of knowing, pick your fave. Hence something that "pervades all of this, is not all of this, and is utterly beyond all of this; permanent yet not findable, empty and yet aware." It is not bound up in cycles or states, it's there if you can know anything, and it would be "Samsara and Nirvana," as the two would be inseparable.

Consider that consciousness consists of 3 inseparable "parts." A sense + an agitation of the sense; the contact of both = consciousness. It's as though one must not allow a single sensation to come into being without it's "conscious part" being recognized as such; thus, seeing consciousness as a continuous stream. (Think about how noting fits in here.)

Lastly, it would make sense as to why the recommendations for flipping the final switch are what they are. This seems to make sense in the context of the "technique" Daniel and Kenneth were using at the time (noting every sensation as they arise, exactly as they are). It would also validate the reason high concentration is advised, as this is REALLY intense to actually put into practice; especially for any reasonable duration of time.

Or maybe it's something entirely different and I'm on a wild goose chase. I wouldn't doubt that either!
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Kenneth Folk, modified 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 7:34 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 7:34 AM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

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While the no-dog is not limited to any state, it may be that, at least at first, it is easier to access when in high equanimity. But I would recommend that you immediately challenge the notion that you have to do anything or get to any state in order to see it. In other words, is it not here now? We know that awareness is here, as awareness is necessary to have any experience. So, let awareness be aware of itself. Yes?

The no-dog was the first spiritual experience I ever had. It happened in the same sitting with my first A & P. So it certainly doesn't require any attainment beyond itself, i.e. it is its own attainment. I have spoken to dozens of people who could clearly describe the no-dog before attainment of First Path. This makes sense, of course, because if this were not the case, the no-dog could not be the primary tool in the advaita vedanta toolbox. The advaitists exhort students of every level to realize the "I AM," and then cultivate it until it becomes stable. Eventually, even this transpersonal experience is seen through, resulting in the simplest thing.

The simplest thing, however, in which there is no subject/object duality, is not emphasized in advaita. It is mentioned only occasionally. The no-dog is celebrated and insisted upon, with the understanding that although the simplest thing cannot be taught, the no-dog can. And the no-dog is the "stick that stirs the fire and is eventually consumed by it." In other words, identification with the transpersonal Self is a self-correcting problem.
Chuck Kasmire, modified 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 12:13 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 12:13 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

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Seems to me that prior to third path what one has access to is a witnessing awareness. My guess is this is what is being called 'no dog' here. This is very useful and widely recognized as a useful tool. It is rooted in duality as there is a sense of 'I' that is just present (and somewhat point like) and not involved and the 'Not I' (everything else). At third path there is a spacious awareness that becomes available but it is quite different at least in my experience from the witnessing awareness. It is also dualistic but the 'I' now identifies with spaciousness and the 'Not I' is all that time/space bound-up stuff that I can just kick back and observe. In this sense it is kind of like an inside-out version of the witness but much more cool. Then after fourth path, one keeps trying to avoid all that time/space bound-up stuff just as before but without a subtle duality it doesn't work. Every time you try to get away from something it comes around and slaps you in the face. Which forces one to simply accept 'the simplest thing'.
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Kenneth Folk, modified 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 12:57 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 12:57 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

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Chuck, while I agree with much of what you've said here, especially the part about getting slapped around whenever you try to "get away from something," I don't think we're talking about the same experience with regard to no-dog. The most notable feature of the no-dog is that it looks the same every time you see it. It looked just the same the first time I saw it as it does now. It has to, by definition, as it is timeless. It's the one thing that doesn't change. This changelessness, although difficult to reconcile with Theravada doctrine, is what allows one to find the no-dog.

"Let what comes come.
Let what goes go.
Find what remains."
- Ramana Maharshi

The way to find the no-dog is just to realize that everything that moves is not it. It's interesting that although this eternal witnessing phenomenon is so highly emphasized in some traditions, it is barely mentioned in others. It's clear that people are getting enlightened without it, or at least without picking it out from the many experiences that can happen to a human.
Trent S H, modified 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 1:09 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 1:09 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

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No-dog is interesting and all, but from a pragmatic perspective, it seems like just another place to get stuck. This seems especially true because of its unconditioned nature, the peace that wells up, and so forth. With that in mind, is no-dog useful in and of itself; or is it basically an enlightenment marketing tool? At best, it seems like a good pointer for inquiry and perhaps it can help a person to temporarily shift into a place which fosters insight.

I guess my point is: no-dog sees a whole lot of hype around here and although I definitely dig it, I can't say it seems all that practical. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the implications of the state?
Trent S H, modified 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 1:18 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 1:18 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

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Also, because of how tricky relativity is (especially with states of equanimity), I am going to bet that a LARGE percentage of folks who think they've been no-dogging it have not been. If I would have ran into these descriptions several months ago, I know I would have pointed at high equanimity and said "yep, that was no-dog." However, the real deal did not show up until early/mid-anagami and blew the others out of the water. The problem is, I would have had no basis to know that, because the highest equanimity a person has felt IS IT for them.

This sort of fits in with my last post-- what exactly is the practical implications behind no-dog?
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 2:10 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 2:10 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: garyrh

I think Daniel is saying if you do chance it (and there reasonable prospect you will) recognise it for what it is. It is a heads up. Alternatively seek out No Dog and investigate like any other state.
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Kenneth Folk, modified 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 3:11 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 3:11 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

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It would be good for all of us to take a wide view of what enlightenment might be. If we look through, for example, the Theravada Buddhist lens, we will want to apply vipassana to every phenomenon. There is nothing wrong with this, as far as it goes, and it would result in arahatship, which is a wonderful thing. But lets not ignore the fact that entire traditions are built upon Realization of what is always already the case. The no-dog is central to that endeavor. To dismiss the no-dog as just another phenomenon to be seen through is not entirely accurate.

What I'm saying is that it's unwise to look at one tradition through the lens of another. If you do, you will never really understand what's being pointed to. And since Realization and development are two very complimentary sides of the same coin, I recommend taking each on its own terms. If you really want to get no-dog, you have to stop doing vipassana for a moment and give yourself over to the experience. It has nothing to do with the three characteristics. It's a complete practice unto itself, with a different set of assumptions. Most importantly, it performs as advertised, which is all we really need to ask of any enlightenment modality.

Simply dismissing anything that is not vipassana is sectarianism, and will never lead to a complete understanding of what awakening is.

In fairness to you, Trent, you asked a legitimate question, and left open the possibility that you might be missing the practical implications. The practical implications of no-dog cannot be overstated. See, for example, the Zen, mahamudra and dzogchen traditions within Buddhism, which are entirely based upon non-dual Realization.
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 3:26 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 3:26 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

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Author: garyrh

Daniel chanced No Dog - how can the first No Dog experience be cultivated?
Or will this question be answered by looking into Zen, mahamudra and dzogchen traditions.
Trent S H, modified 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 4:04 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 4:04 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

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Kenneth,

I am in no way dismissing direct realization teachings, for I personally feel like they're among the most powerful tools available. I'll try to rephrase what I'm asking. With all ontological claims about no-dog aside, assumed to be a trans-jhanic state; "THE state", how are discussions regarding qualities of the state itself (or abiding within) an assistance to discovering phenomenological existence as what it is?

My concern is that I have seen half a dozen conversations reduced to "this is no-dog" and closed cold-case style, which to my knowledge, does nothing to help actually cultivate the state itself or further realization of any kind. I see the same thing in almost every discussion or post which contains anything about no-dog-- a reference to something that folks are supposed to want, approach, and cultivate, but very little on how to actually DO that. In a similar vein, trying to explain it rationally to anyone who hasn't experienced it is practically tantamount to lying to them, as it is not going to mean a single useful thing to them in the context of what they've experienced.

We can say "look for no-dog" a million times, but WHY would that be favored over discussing a Ramana Maharshi teaching or something similar? I guess my point is this: has the discussion about the attainment of no-dog been exhausted so perhaps the community can focus on the particularities of actually attaining no-dog?
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Kenneth Folk, modified 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 4:18 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 4:18 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

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I found it fascinating to learn that Daniel happened onto no-dog for the first time only after attaining arahatship. Daniel was a very dedicated vipassana practitioner and did not practice non-dual techniques as far as I know. We can make two tentative assumptions based on his experience: First, if you don't actively cultivate no-dog, it might not show up until very late in your practice. Second, no-dog is part of an arahat's default repertoire of experiences.

As far as how to cultivate no-dog all along the way, check out Tilopa's Mahamudra Instructions to Naropa:

http://www.keithdowman.net/mahamudra/tilopa.htm

or Ramana Maharshi's self-enquiry technique:

http://www.realization.org/page/topics/self_inquiry.htm

Also, Nisargadatta's masterwork, *I Am That.*

As you read these various sources, let go of any preconceptions you might have about vipassana or three characteristics. Just hear what the advocates of these practices say in their own words. Occam's Razor applies here (My version of Occam's Razor is "Thou shalt not needlessly multiply assumptions.") There is no need to formulate any grand hypothesis about what all valid enlightenment modalities must have in common. Look at everything with fresh eyes and see what happens.

Finally, bear in mind that applying vipassana directly to the no-dog makes the no-dog invisible, which, although not a problem from a vipassana point of view, is the opposite of non-dual practice.
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Kenneth Folk, modified 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 4:51 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 4:51 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
LOL. Good points, Trent! I'll temper my enthusiasm for the no-dog and we can get back to the business of discussing practice.

:-)
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 5:02 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 5:02 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: xsurf

Here's some useful writings from Ken Wilber: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/05/some-writings-on-non-duality-by-ken.html

The first article contain pointers to notice one's witnessing awareness, and later progress to realise non-dual.
Trent S H, modified 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 5:53 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 5:53 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Kenneth! I daren't try to pen your no-dogs, I just think that all the talk has made everyone hungry for no-dog food!
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tarin greco, modified 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 8:25 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 8:25 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
interesting that you say, because one of the biggest chances i noticed after getting path, and then 2nd, is the form of witnessing awareness. whereas before witnessing awareness would be open, but required directed attention to really take on that quality of spaciousness, now it is spacious, and directed attention brings on the quality of positionlessness, and it is substantially easier to hold (more jhanas and cycles move through rather than displace). which leads to what trent was saying.. more on that below.
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tarin greco, modified 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 8:55 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 8:55 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
perhaps that's a good definition of no-dog then - 'the highest equanimity a person has felt [and has access to]'. the advaita teachers certainly couldn't be asking any more of someone than to go with the most that they have and to push forward on that front.. and from that perspective, it makes total sense, as something is 'trans-jhanic' only when a cycle isn't stuck to it like glue. the moment you notice sticky ones, the identification drops, the investment drops, and off they go to the land of who could care less.

i mentioned in my last post directly above that my own relationship with no-dog has changed over time and has made it easier to access and hold, and has made my default states more similar to it. i think that may be indicative of something. i can't speak with authority here because i did a bunch of of other practices (primarily vipassana) all along the way, but if the advaita teachers who advocate this and only this as a practice, as well as kenneth, are to be believed, then dwelling in this awareness would have been sufficient to cause this change.
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tarin greco, modified 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 9:15 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/17/09 9:15 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
as i alluded to in my last post, proponents of this method would say that no-dog is a good and useful place to get stuck because it has a self-correcting tendency built in, both in the sense that you cant stay stuck in no-dog forever, but in the meantime, staying stuck in no-dog reveals all these other places to be stuck so they can show up and drop away.

btw has anyone noticed how 'no-dog' (sans caps, with hyphen) has become the new standard form? 4th jhana meta-pwn!
Chuck Kasmire, modified 13 Years ago at 3/18/09 5:07 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/18/09 5:07 AM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 559 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
" the real deal did not show up until early/mid-anagami and blew the others out of the water. "
Trent:
There is an experience that tends to happen around mid third-path called 'The Terror'. The experience tends to be scary for most as it feels like you just sort of disappear all of a sudden and maybe won't come back (kind of like losing your mind). There is just a sense of boundless awareness present with phenomena (including your body and what it is doing). It comes and goes and is not at all subtle. It can happen at any time – not just in meditation and does not interrupt what ever is happening (like driving). Over time you get used to it. Don't know if this fits but you are in the right stage for it.
Chuck Kasmire, modified 13 Years ago at 3/18/09 5:38 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/18/09 5:38 AM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 559 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
prisoner: This is not what I was calling 'witnessing awareness' (but is a perfectly good term for what you are describing – just not what I meant). As I used the term, it is a skill of mindfulness present at a certain stage of insight where one can step back and simply observe from a position of non-attachment. It does not require stream entry.

I don't have a term for what you are talking about but pretty sure I know what you are describing. I first noticed it after 2nd path. In an earlier discussion with you I likened it to standing with your back to a still lake. You could sense the stillness or vastness but it was in the background – sort of a ground of being. As I have experienced this process, it is that vastness that deepens and takes center stage at third path (with duality in a subtle supportive role). Finally, the subtle duality starts blinking in and our of existence ('The Terror' that I mentioned to Trent) until at 4th it is gone once and for all.

I am becoming aware of how easy it is to misinterpret others experience and also how easy it is to project my own experience onto others. It is a tricky business. Anyway, I have tried to put some overall perspective on that experience to give it more context.
Nathan I S, modified 13 Years ago at 3/19/09 6:38 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/19/09 6:38 AM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/26/09 Recent Posts
bwwaaaghh, this is what confuses me to no end. t's fair to ask for some conceptual framework. I mean, practically speaking, you can't no-dog and vipassana at the same time because if you are actively stabilizing the no-dog in your experience that is the primary part of attention. I have been trying the no-dog in my spare moments and finding that it's like trying to take and object while cutting away and short-circuiting that tendency, and that process itself slips back into subject-object quite frequently.

In other words, it's a lot for a mind to do, just like shamatha or vipassana might be.

which is part of the reason i don't like the "vipassana"-based tendency to not consider some things vipassana and some not. What did Sidd say? "Practice jhana, monks. Don't be heedless." What did he say before he died? "Practice jhana." Related, I've passed the A&P in dreams with no intention of doing so.. Which is my circuitious way of saying, this discrete "vipassana" is kind of misleading.

But where that gets me is to asking for a conceptual framework. Because the Three Characteristics "are" "absolute", but "No-Dog" is a "noumena" that "is" almost absolute, like a ring of necessary manifestation around the absolute void?
Trent S H, modified 13 Years ago at 3/19/09 12:27 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/19/09 12:27 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Chuck,

I think I have an idea what you mean by "the terror," which only first showed up 3 days ago through the opening I mentioned in Jackson's thread about emptiness in real time. I don't feel like I'm actually afraid, but there is a definite fear-like reaction in the stomach, as if part of my being just does not think it's cool yet, haha. That shift also crushed duality in a big way. Closing my eyes triggers the fear reaction now because everything instantly shatters into a symphony of vibrations, including me, my mind, the outside, inside, here, over there, and so on. I absolutely love the feeling, especially the "pureity" felt through each sense door, but alas, it'll need to blink some more before it can be accepted at a deep level.
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Kenneth Folk, modified 13 Years ago at 3/19/09 1:48 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/19/09 1:48 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
Nathan, I feel your pain. A couple of thoughts: I agree that you can't no-dog and do vipassana at the same time; there would be no inclination to do so, as the no-dog is complete unto itself. In that moment, you don't need anything, so the last thing you are going to do is some project designed to get you enlightened. You just let what comes come. Anyway, remember that after a certain point, viz. high equanimity, vipassana and samatha are merged. Vipassana always happens automatically.

Practically speaking, here's what I do when I sit:

Ask "who?" This is a pointer that leads immediately to the no-dog. I become absorbed in that. Jhanas begin to arise, in order, beginning with the first. They are seen to arise in the background, while no-dog goes on in the foreground. Each jhana comes, stays for a few minutes, then gives way to the next, sometimes with a little rough patch in between. Then I just watch this arc of jhanas as it goes up and then down again, i.e. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1. Jhanas nine and ten are what I think of as the anagami and arahat jhanas, respectively. Throughout this process, the focus will change at times, so that sometimes the foreground is no-dog, sometimes it's jhana, sometimes it's primordial awareness, without a localized witness. At any rate, there is never any conscious effort to do vipassana or to investigate anything. Mind you, I'm describing my own practice; I'm not giving practice instructions in this moment. For a yogi who is in the early nanas, working toward a Path, I recommend doing very systematic vipassana, as described in Daniel's book.
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Florian, modified 13 Years ago at 3/19/09 10:28 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/19/09 10:28 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Kenneth,

Thanks a lot for this clear statement. This issue has been confusing my model- and process-mongering mind to no end. Actually, I think these two sentences would be worthy of addition to your part three "progress of insight" page.

Funny how intellectual clarification of points like this will increase my confidence or "faith". It was almost as if I'd lost quite a bit of trust in the process because I couldn't figure out the samatha/vipassana relationship as it presents in equanimity, which is obvoiusly stupid, but still what was happening. Balancing out the five spiritual faculties and all that.

Cheers,
Florian
Trent S H, modified 13 Years ago at 3/26/09 5:15 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/26/09 5:15 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hello,

After a convo with Daniel, some meditation and a bit of reflection, I have had a big breakthrough in my understanding. It seems worth sharing in case it helps someone else. I think it fits in this thread relatively well.

I use to hear "seeing the stream" and imagine an actual stream of water. I do think that is probably still the case when it is said that way, but I realized that there is an analogy for this that makes much more sense to me. In light of all the computer geeks chillin around here, I think it might be useful.

Instead of thinking of the stream as a river, think of the stream like how computer data is streamed off of the net. It has to come down the pipe binary style-- 1's and 0's, one at a time. It comes in so quickly that you can stream a virtual reality with sound, feedback mechanisms, etc and have a very coherent "reality" right in front of you. Thought of in this way, we can see that each bit (a single 1 or 0; a "vibration") is empty of intrinsic meaning and is only meaningful after there are other bits to form a concept (such as a letter on the screen). Similarly, we can see causality in the ultimate sense, in that no two bits can stream at once. It streams sequentially, one bit after another. Lastly, each bit (sensation) is processed and vanishes utterly, with no hope of lasting (ultimate impermanence).

Think about databases and how your mind compartmentalizes data, think about how all of those databases are just streams of 1s and 0s feeding through your processor. Think about how two programs can interpret each other and seem "separate" even though it's all just one stream. Vibration after vibration, bit by bit, one after another: empty, causal, transient.

You can play with this analogy all day long and find remarkable parallels. Just take this analogy and imagine that you are a computer program.

Have fun.
Trent S H, modified 13 Years ago at 3/26/09 5:57 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 3/26/09 5:57 PM

RE: No Dog, Some Dog and The Simplest Thing

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
This is too fun for me, so I am posting more :].

-Fruition is like rebooting a program. If you pay attention when a program comes back online, you can see the subroutines begin starting up, "talking" to each other, reforming the system (duality).

-A mind has many "strata," layers, as does an operating computer. Hell, you can even parallel some of the jhanic states to certain layers of an operating system.

-Programs are limited in their ability to "know" whatever they know, as are we. Knowing those limitations can be very important. An example of this is metaphysical "realms"-- a program can't suddenly begin knowing of things it's not coded to be able to know; it just can't know about something unless the program has causal processes in place.

-How does a program separately "do" itself? How does a program step back and "watch" itself? Perhaps the doer/watcher sensations are aggregates that we could parallel with subroutines.

[Edit] An important one not to leave out: some programs have added functionality, such as interaction and/or integration with an entire operating system, which may not ever come online, or may only come online after certain things happen. In other words, just because you see what you think might be a boundary real, doesn't necessarily make it one. Who knows how you're programmed? I put this in here as a check against my zealousness-- to say "don't let this be an excuse for anything, only let it be a pointer for curious inquiry."

So I can get a bit obsessed with analogies. What of it?!

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