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Is Non-duality Amoral?

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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

I'm starting this thread to split the discussion Kenneth started about non-duality/rigpa/buddhanature/whatever off from "The Shadow Knows" thread.

To summarize what we have so far from there; I said you could hide a lot of your personal bullshit in non-duality. Kenneth said...some stuff about non-duality, rigpa and buddhanature that sounded to me like rationalizations for not being awake enough to deal with dualistic causalities.

Kenneth would like me to explain why I don't think getting rid of anger is impossible. I would like him to explain why he thinks it is impossible. As it stands, it looks like we are going to have to do this in terms of our, probably, highly contrasting takes on non-duality so since that really diverges from the thrust of "The Shadow Knows" thread I'd rather do it elsewhere and keep the shadow thread more practical. Non-duality is freaky, shadows are scary.

Go ahead and give us your take on non-duality again if you like Kenneth, mine is going to need some quiet time to cook before serving.

Anyone else who wants to jump in on this please feel free, it would take the heat off me a bit.
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/1/09 Recent Posts
From my vantage point of impregnable ignorance, it would seem to me that mental formations continue to arise and pass away for the enlightened. If so then anger, being one of the formations, also arises and passes away.
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
It would have been easier to just say, "I don't know." That's the KISS Principle - "Keep it simple stupid". Don't feel like you're the only one, that's about all the comfort I have to offer at the moment.
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
I've never accepted the idea that enlightenment would relieve me of my humanity. This is why I reject the limited emotional range model. Frankly, I don't expect to be fully enlightened any time soon. As a human being I have to live in duality. I can't imagine a situation or an outcome or a realization that could turn me into something else. Maybe I'm naive. Maybe I'm just not very smart. Maybe I don't care much or maybe I just never actually bought into the "remove all suffering" language we get from some folks. Anyway, I don't want to be anything else but human, so the idea that an arahat feels anger, jealousy, pain, and so on seems very okay to me.

Nathan, it seems you are taken aback by this. Am I correct?

Just for may part, I think the sooner we face the reality of what we're striving for the better off we'll be.
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
The interesting thing about this is that it's a self fulfilling prophecy, just like enlightenment. If you think you can do something, you've already started and won half the battle. Not believing it can be done makes it practically impossible.

Thus, the debate is really quite pointless from a pragmatic perspective, though most of us seem to love pointless debates! Those who believe it's not doable will never do it, and will prove to themselves that it is not doable. Those who believe it's doable can get down to work, and if they don't know how to do that, they can PM me or the other(s) who do. Those few people will do it and prove to themselves that it really was doable.

It is just like starting one's path to enlightenment. In the case of enlightenment, the person has no clue what awaits them or what is really possible. They just have to go for it and find out. You can't tell them "hey dude, the world is completely transitory and time doesn't even exist right now!" Because to them, the world is completely solid and time is so twisted up that they see the continuum quite clearly.

The same goes for the practices that rids oneself of self-emotions (in this case, anger). It sounds like nonsense until you do it. It would just not make sense if I said to you "peace is actually quite irritating and not nearly as peaceful as the sensations imply," because you can't know that if you don't do the work that allows you to see that.

In both cases, the believers and nonbelievers end up "right" in the end, but one smiles while the other gets pissed about it.

Best,
Trent
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Well we started with full awakening is a cup half full. Now it's half empty and evaporating fast. That you've transmuted the Buddha into 'some people' does seem like the logical next step. I say we change the name from Dharma Overground to Overground and we're about done, we can declare everyone enlightened and go get really, really drunk. Thank god, my ass is really sore from all that sitting! You're right it really is inhumane.

No dude, I'm not taken aback by it, I've been laughing my ass off at it all week. As for accepting the reality of what I'm striving for, I do that. It just may be that what I'm striving for is not what other people are striving for. But I see no need to fight about striving for different things particularly as we've been using the same language to talk about entirely different things for quite a while already.

I've seen all this 'happy stuff' a million times. If that is what people are willing to settle for, fine, I have no investment in other peoples choices. That's the beauty of the screwed up dualistic universe I live in. If I'm not willing to settle for it, then everyone else is free to either be happy or unhappy about that, as they please.

I do however, fail to see the utility of telling people that we are going to have a practical hands on discussion about meditative practices and experiences and then resorting to saying "and then it dawns on you that everything is just fine, and it is" but it isn't. That is what I call "bullshit". If that's too harsh a term for some people we could call it something else, I'm not attached to that particular term.
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

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

Hmm... interesting. Triplethink, compelling post. I wonder if you would like to condense your last post into a few essential thoughts so it is a little clearer to me exactly what you are saying terms of your reflection on recent events and the 'enlightenment project' generally?

As to the proposed questions: Is non-duality amoral? I would suggest in an absolute sense yes; in a conventional sense no. Is it impossible to be permanently free from anger? I have experienced periods of months where I was completely free from 'reactive' emotional responses of a crude self-referential kind like anger often is (but not always), due to existing more or less in a permanent state of immense open spaciousness, ease, bliss and clarity. However, it would seem one can have all the usual human psycho-emotional processes, and conditioning, just like the biological processes, continuing to function and one sees that, but is not identified with it. Awareness is untouched and unconditioned even as emotional energy may rage. For the most part though, the presence of happiness, bliss, clarity, ease, compassion and lack of self-reference precludes much reactive grasping and aversion. Not impossible, but their presence affect the cognitive process and protect against various risk factors which support the developmental pathways leading to anger.

[cont]
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

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

The important thing seems to be realization is not contingent or conditioned and thus is present in the mist of thoughts, emotions and behaviour. Our essential nature is that which sees the thoughts, emotions and behaviours but is not dependent on them; their presence or absence. So anger on the conventional level may flow through us as per healthy social conventions but the difference is the mind does not grasp and as the bird flies through the sky and leaves no trace, so does conventional psycho-emotional processes. Much of it would seem to depend on our conditioning. Most of us are not that free from that.

The phenomenon of self-fulfilling prophesy is well documented. Keep in mind, however, that beliefs are changing all the time, with a process of constant compensation for cognitive dissonance and schema re-formation being in effect. Much of the time reality does not conform to our beliefs, and our expectations fail to be met, although the less conscious of us often refuse to see that. More technically speaking there is a constant feedback loop between our belief-set or schema and our experiences of reality. Our experiences, their interpretation, and the meaning we ascribe to them constantly modifies our beliefs, and our beliefs affect our interpretation and experiences of reality. Over a life time the process is quite complex and chaotic and doesn't lend itself well to rigid binary dichotomies, of predictions; but I digress. ;-) It is highly likely we will all see things differently in ten or twenty years than we do at present, which will affect our behaviours and experiences thereof; and indeed the spiritual path we may or may not be on.

In kind regards,

Adam.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

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

Hi Adam,

I think if anything were removed it would subtract from what was being said. I have just thought about restating the post but I cannot say it any better. It seems you are missing some of the context or you have something else to say. Therefore it may assist if you could be more explicit. The post's context is in the start of the thread along with being tipped off by cmarti's comment (or was this well known to you).

I cannot conclude what is right or wrong here but I can certainly get the sentiment from both sides.

Gary
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

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

Maybe this is the shadow side of models.

For those that haven't heard how too train fleas. You put some fleas in a jar with the lid. The fleas will jump up and hit the lid. After a couple of days remove the lid, the fleas still jump up but not out of the jar. They act as though the lid were in place even though the are physically capable of jumping out of the jar.

Gary
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

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

Hey Gary,

I just like where Triplethink was going with his post - I like the 'keepin it real' kinda dharma talk. I am looking forward to him further developing his ideas and taking them to their logical conclusion; and then what follows from that. That's my idea of exciting stuff!! ;-P

In kind regards,

Adam.
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: msj123

I would highly recommend some familiarization with Madhyamaka philosophy. Confusing the levels of truth leads can lead to this frustration. I have been working on the two-truths theory for a while, and it is starting to make sense.

Is nonduality amoral? Ultimately, I would say yes, in that morality is a relative arising. What is moral or immoral to the sky or empty space?

Is nonduality moral? Conventionally, I would say yes, in that morality precedes the arising and deepening of nondual realization. There is no fruit without planting the seeds and cultivating it properly.

Regarding this last point, Chinul pointed out in his Secrets of Cultivating the Mind states that it is possible to attain realization but then fall back into confusion due to lack of effort. I wonder if this is true, and if so, it would raise the possibility that people who have attained realization may in fact no longer know it.
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
To attempt to answer the question posed by this thread, "Is non-duality amoral?", we need to clarify what we mean by non-duality.

Nathan, it seems as though you equating non-duality with a zoned-out, withdrawn mental state and a fatalistic sense that "all is right in the world" which encourages moral inaction, a lack of engagement in the world of duality, and a denial of the relative experience of being a human being.

The awakened mind, aka Buddha Nature, is a jewel with many facets. Yes, complete and total freedom from suffering in the moment is one facet. Another facet is deep inner peace. Another is true love. Another facet is boundless compassion. Another facet is emptiness proper.

At its essence, the experience of non-duality is a realization of this Buddha Nature; not in a conceptual way, but in such a way as it cuts through the dualistic mind so that one may finally rest in this multi-faceted jewel. One may discover one facet more directly than others, but fail to immediately recognize the other facets -- which is where I think many of us get our mixed-up view of what enlightenment is all about.

So, do I think that non-duality is amoral? No! Perhaps we could say it is trans-moral, or beyond moral, but even then I think we're missing the point. If our truest nature is compassion, peace, love, attentiveness, freedom, and interconnection, how can we dare to say that such a nature is "amoral"? What is amorality aside from being "that which lies outside the sphere to which moral judgments apply"? The definition of amorality is inherently dualistic.

Therefore, it is my understanding that non-duality both transcends and includes morality.

~Jackson

Edit: Much of this view comes from a podcast featuring Jack Kornfield... http://bit.ly/is8WM
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"I do however, fail to see the utility of telling people that we are going to have a practical hands on discussion about meditative practices and experiences and then resorting to saying "and then it dawns on you that everything is just fine, and it is" but it isn't. That is what I call "bullshit". If that's too harsh a term for some people we could call it something else, I'm not attached to that particular term."

Nathan, I actually like this comment. I do think, as Jackson has already eloquently said, we're kind of talking past each other. IOW, I don't think we're talking about different things but I cannot prove it. I feel at a deep, very intuitive level that everything is "okay" because I have seen something through a tiny knothole a few times. Is this full-on, unhindered, irreversable enlightenment? How the fuck would I know? I truly doubt it. I certainly don't feel like my journey/practice is anywhere near to being complete. It still feels like I'm in the beginning of the beginning, frankly.

In the end we all have to decide to seek what we believe we need to seek, and I agree that arguing about this is a total waste of time. Does this notion that one can see through this knothole something very profound mean that we can't have discussions about practical meditation practices? Absolutely not.

As I said in some other post on some other topic on some other day, there are many roads to the top of the mountain.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

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

Nice take on the title. So is it possible to have no anger arise?
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Though I realize this is a bit off topic, I'll attempt to answer your question by giving a breakdown of my view in four propositions...

1.) Enlightenment (whether dwelling in non-dual awareness or completing the developmental circuit of arahatship) gives way to a happiness beyond conditions.

2.) Emotions are phenomena, and are thus based on conditions. When the appropriate conditions arise, the corresponding emotion arises out of them.

3.) Being that the happiness of enlightenment is beyond conditions, it in no way interferes with the cosmic order of dependent origination from which all conditioned phenomena arise and pass away.

4.) Therefore, there is no way to guarantee that negative emotions will stop arising once and for all, regardless of one's level of attainment.
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

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Well done, Jackson!
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
As I have come to see it, after one has cultivated awareness of conditions (and the accurate assessment of conditions has been the primary focus of the DhO thus far) one has yet to examine the "causality" that binds up all of these conditions. That is to say; this and that condition are supports for this and that other conditions, these conditions lead to those conditions, etc., etc..

It's my thinking that this is what distinguishes stream entry from the later forms of sainthood. Thus, the fruit of stream entry comes with the understanding that it is an awareness of all of the conditions involved in one's conditional being and becoming that is of primary concern. The paths of once return, non-return, and arahatta pick up from there with an in depth examination of how these conditions are bound up in a network of mutual supports such that being and becoming is enabled to continue.

This is my take on what has been called here 'a limited emotional model'. I would agree that the model is not primarily concerned with emotions, what emotions arise or do not arise would be a useful gauge for determining which internal conditions have been successfully attenuated. The primary concern of these paths, as I see it, would be the examination of the causality that gives rise to various ongoing conditions and the attenuation of those conditions such that one is successively (again from gross to subtle) released from recurrences, permanently.

My faith is unwaveringly in the hands of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, because nowhere else do I find clear instruction regarding the examination and attenuation of causality.
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 5 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Here's my sense of it. Anger and compassion are essentially the same thing, a correcting-in-the-next-moment energy, except that anger is a reaction flavored by the small sense of me and compassion is flavored by the biggest sense of me. And the rest follows.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

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

I like the post it is well put. I do not find this off topic, so I'll stay in this thread correct me if I am wrong.

Why is there no way to guarantee that negative emotions will stop arising, after all it is phenomena dependant upon conditions and causes.
Maybe anger is dependent on phenomenial self, no phenomenial self equals no anger, well not at least in the form where there is a self that reacts. Maybe it goes deeper than this, but mind/body is not a machine that responds to stimuli in the same manner everytime, it learns.

Gary

[edit] path attainments are part of the mind / body learning process.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
"Nathan, it seems as though you equating non-duality with a zoned-out, withdrawn mental state and a fatalistic sense that "all is right in the world" which encourages moral inaction, a lack of engagement in the world of duality, and a denial of the relative experience of being a human being."
~Jackson

Well, there you would be mistaken.

"...we need to clarify what we mean by non-duality."
~Jackson

I wholeheartedly concur, for the sake of anyone/everyone who looks to this site for a measure of clarity.

I am going to point out, as clearly as possible, without belaboring it, that I am not an advaitist or mahayana practitioner. I practice a very classical Theravada approach. As such there is no resort to anything such as non-duality or Buddha nature. As I see it classical Theravada thinking describes all of this as subtle conceits and self delusion. That said I am intimately familiar with non-duality, have spent years wandering around in that state with absolutely no self concept whatsoever (believe me, you folks have not see the half of it) and I can say with absolute certainty that it is medically/pharmaceutically untreatable. I do however think you can 'get over it' and get on with your life or continue on with the path.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Hi Nathan,

I fully respect your approach to Buddhist practice. We obviously see things quite differently, and are communicating through very different conceptual biases.

Forgive me for misrepresenting your position. Though, I'm still unsure of your particular understanding of what the experience of non-duality is. Up to this point, you've only stated that you "spent years wandering around in that state with absolutely no self concept whatsoever." Based on that, I don't know that we writing about the same thing. Realizing primordial awareness is not simply experiencing selflessness. I think there's more to it than that.

To conclude, you may see non-duality as a cop-out. I do not. As Hokai so eloquently stated in response to your Dances with no-wolves thread: "Awakening to primordial awareness seems like a good starting point, and finding out that this awareness was never about staying out of the game is the realization." For me, this realization is the starting point of all other types of development. It is not some autistic, inward looking escape from my dark stuff. If anything, deepening this realization has given me the self confidence to dive head first in to my dark stuff, as I know my essential nature cannot be scathed by the perils of the journey.

~Jackson
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Hi Gary,

When it comes to causes and conditions, there are things we can do and things we can't. Sure, we can intend and act in a way which produces positive outcomes, and we get to enjoy the corresponding wholesome manifestations.

But we don't cause everything. There's a lot more going on than my intentions and actions. To think that we can systematically (or magically) remove all such conditions by sheer act of will is absurd.

The way I see it, each one of us will continue experience negative emotions as long as we are human beings with a pulse and a functioning brain and nervous system. Much of this is out of our hands. Our goal (in part) is to simply not make it worse.

~Jackson
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
I fully respect your approach to Buddhist practice.
~Jackson

Likewise, and with all due respect to Hokai as well, and everyone participating here for that matter.
-n

We obviously see things quite differently, and are communicating through very different conceptual biases.
~Jackson

There's no need for a conceptual bias of any kind. There's a need for discipline. The discipline to simply continue to pay attention and take action in keeping with the Buddha's comprehensive instructions, that's my bias. It could be called conceptual except that in keeping with this particular traditional approach all concepts, all conclusions, anything whatsoever that can be grasped at pushed on or held gets closely scrutinized as to where it came from, where it is going and then it gets thrown away unless you are forced for the purpose of survival and the continuance of the work to hang on to it for the time being. Concepts are pretty crude constructs anyways, made out of constellations of associative thoughts. I think we are talking about forms of awareness that are quite rarified when we talk about things like primordial awareness, non-dual awareness, Buddha Nature, et al.

cont. ->
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Yes, you can strip awareness right down to some very fine conditions, even one condition or another and then you can blow it out in every direction as far as Pluto, or further, if you like. But you would be wise to consider that you are still clinging to consciousness and you are still grasping at one or another conditional form of it and concluding that 'this is it, now I am "done".' So from yes 'a very old school POV' you have been suckered again.

As far as I am concerned everyone can just carry on like this, now and for the rest of their lifetimes and for the next million, billion years. It's not up to me and I have no interest in telling anyone else what to do. I will however take issue with it being considered equivalent to arahatta magga in the context of the original transmission. It's not.

There's nothing wrong with it, I know how happy and aware and pleasant and delightful it can be, I'm intimately aware of that. I'm just not into continuing on with it, I want entirely OUT, and that's my choice. If you were in my shoes you wouldn't feel any different about the situation but you aren't so carry on. It's not a problem as far as I can see. If, at the end of the day all we end up with is a billion Bodhisattvas that can't possibly be a bad thing.

cont. ->
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Non-duality is, (no matter how you cook it up) as you so eloquently stated, a cop out, from the classical Theravada POV, & (and I really, really tried my best to keep this to myself) from my pov. From the Mayahana POV it is just one more way to be a better dancer, I get it, enjoy, make the world a better place, why would I want to discourage anyone from doing that?

I think it's important to make clear that I am not challenging or questioning the 'attainments' of anyone here at DhO. What people have achieved, what they are, aren't, etc. is none of my business. If someone says they are an Arahat then I'll refer to them as an Arahat, it's not my concern if they are one or not, that is their concern.

I also think that these forms of awareness have utility, I would just like to see that subject treated with clarity and precision. After you survey the length and breadth of your being and then let go of all of it at once it is simply impossible to have a self conception, you know for a fact that there is no such thing. Identification then becomes a matter of choice. To be more precise, a combination of past and present conditioning. Other people may be on autopilot in that regard and they have my deepest sympathy, but it is not my problem.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Well, we're in agreement on this one. I do not believe that realizing primordial awareness is equivalent to having attained arahatship, as arahatship appears to be a developmental attainment. I do not consider myself a arahat, and I don't think anyone else would either.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
Hey Nathan, it really would help if you could expand on your description of non-duality. You claim something greater that a "rigpa"-like experience. What is it like?
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
I really think it wouldn't help. This is not the 'nathan show', I think it's time for me to take a week or three off from DhO. Just to put the question to rest, what would be bigger than the non-duality of my own body/mind? A non-dual awareness that goes well beyond this mind and body.

When I first read MTCB I found it refreshing. Daniel's was capable and honest voice speaking to the nuts and bolts of direct samathavipassana meditative work and experience. So far as it went, it corroborated, for probably the first time ever, a good portion of that part of my experience and quite a few of my conclusions. So I wrote Daniel an email and he responded saying, basically, "go f__k yourself", which I also thought was a good indication that he was on the right track.

So as far as his book goes and so far as it has been apprehended by those in this forum I've found all of this to be a very beneficial exercise. Still, I think these findings need considerable further testing. Just like drug studies. I think the findings have to be replicated and re-verified by a great many more people before anyone can just take all of this for granted.

I have some points of disagreement and I have considerable direct experience that lies outside of the mandate of this forum, so I've done my best to keep all of that to myself.

With the additions of various mind states termed non-dual, states such as Rigpa and Buddha Nature to the mix I've become increasingly concerned that the clarity and precision that might be applied to the minutia of direct experience regarding samathavipassana is not being applied to to these states of mind. Can it? If it can, then lets do so. If not, then I think we should make that very clear.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

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

Hi Jackson,

To clarify, I made no mention of intention or acts of will as valuable as this function maybe. My point was broader, that is I see nothing now about the system that suggests it is hardwired. Do you know for a fact that where there is a pulse, functioning brain and nervous system there must be negative emotions? If there is nothing else to go into the mix, why is there variation between individuals with regards to negative emotions? Maybe the Buddha's moral instruction with meditation have more wisdom than we imagined.

Your goal to simply not make something worse is the outcome of an assumption this part is hardwired. Better to not go with the assumption this is all hardwired and have a goal to fix it, and if in the process we only make it better we have a better outcome.

If you can demonstrate there is nothing we can do fair enough, but lets not put a limitation that may not exist.

Gary
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
"With the additions of various mind states termed non-dual, states such as Rigpa and Buddha Nature to the mix I've become increasingly concerned that the clarity and precision that might be applied to the minutia of direct experience regarding samathavipassana is not being applied to to these states of mind. Can it? If it can, then lets do so. If not, then I think we should make that very clear."-triplethink

No, vipassana cannot be applied to rigpa. This is why an ardent vipassana practitioner can look forever and not recognize buddha-nature. Rigpa is uncompounded. That means that any effort to analyze or to find anything will not reveal it. Rigpa is what happens when you stop doing anything and rest in pure being. This is a crucial point, so I'm glad you brought it up. To re-emphasize the point: vipassana will never lead to rigpa. If you want to re-discover your true nature, you must abandon all attempts to do or to find out. You are already buddha-nature. If you simply rest in what you already are, buddha nature is revealed. This is what is meant by rigpa. Anything added to this is not rigpa.

This can be very frustrating, I know. But that doesn't make it less true. In order to recognize the uncompounded you must stop compounding.

Rigpa is not an imprecise term. It refers to a very specific and unique situation. You will know it when you "see" it, because it is the happiness that is independent of conditions. The ability to see it, or rather to "be" it on a regular basis, colors the experience of your everyday life, so that unconditional happiness becomes your daily reality. There is nothing superior to this. Rigpa is your birthright and your true nature. As one great sage put it, "The only thing standing between you and enlightenment is the thought, "I am not enlightened."

Best,

Kenneth
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
hi Kenneth

"Vipassana cannot be applied to Rigpa", and that doesn't make you the least bit suspicious? Does nobody here ever study the Pali Nikayas?

I understand and agree with your description of this 'un-condition' Kenneth. I've also been aware of it for a long time and can advert to it at any time. At the same time I'm also highly suspicious of it and I think there is another way to consider it.

I'm going to put it this way, in the context of an entirely other old school context. In an effort to avoid initiating any sort of a Theravada vs. Mahayana contest or controversy or anything else like that:

Luke Chapter IV Verses 4:1 - 4:13
http://www.awitness.org/biblehtm/lu/lu4.htm

Which is to say, all this and more Mara/Satan/the devil/subtle forms of delusion can provide at no cost whatsoever in exchange for ongoing consent to participate in existence. All free, to enjoy and delight in, particularly if you do not believe in 'superstitious nonsense' like maras/devils, rebirth, hells, heavens and so forth. After all, we are so sophisticated and advanced now that we couldn't possibly be so easily fooled by this sort of thing if it weren't 'genuine enlightenment'.

Thanks for making the distinctions Kenneth. Do you equate non-duality, Rigpa, primordial awareness and Buddha Nature as one and the same or do you make distinctions and if so what would these be?
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
"Do you equate non-duality, Rigpa, primordial awareness and Buddha Nature as one and the same or do you make distinctions and if so what would these be?"-Nathan

Hi Nathan,

Buddha-nature, in this context, refers to the essential nature of everything. When buddha-nature is recognized, that is rigpa. Our basic nature is prior to the arising of discriminating mind, so we have left rigpa once we create concepts like good and evil. All of this happens from the level of delusion. Whether you have recognized buddha-nature in yourself is not for me to say, but it is worth asking if we are talking about the same phenomenon, so I appreciate that you are seeking to clarify the language.

Rigpa is self-verifying. It isn't possible to be "suspicious" of it in real time, as it is prior to the arising of any judgment. This isn't a debatable point, it's simply built into the definition of rigpa as I am presenting it here. Of course it is possible to be suspicious of anything once it is reduced to a concept, and this very act of reducing reality to a concept is the only Satan worthy of our fear.

I'd like to follow your lead in side-stepping a Theravada/Mahayana debate, but I will briefly mention Buddhism in my next post on the way to making a larger point.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
Whatever is true must be true, irrespective of what you or I think. The simplest truth is prior to the arising of dualistic thought. But verbal communication, as we are doing here, is squarely in the realm of dualistic thought. And in the kingdom of dualistic thought, some things are logical fallacies. The idea that something must be true because the Pali scriptures say so is a fallacy of logic. The Mahayana and Vajrayana scriptures, which also claim to be the teachings of the historical Buddha, seem to contradict the Pali scriptures. It should be obvious by now that, even assuming there was an infallible being known as the Buddha, we don’t know exactly what he said. We are cast back upon our own devices.

(continued below)
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
(continued from post #33)

Luckily, there is some very good advice in the Pali scriptures to address this problem. The Buddha, when asked, “Why should we believe you?” is alleged to have said, “Don’t believe me. Don’t believe anybody. Come and see.” That’s where we find ourselves now; we must see for ourselves. The question of whether “non-duality” is amoral is valuable only as a goad to encourage us to discover what is true in this moment. You could just as reasonable ask “Is intelligence amoral, or vision, or rocks, or trees, or beauty?” These are all nonsense questions. To reduce the basic essence of all things to a concept (“non-duality”) and then operate on it with the dualistic mind is just piling one layer of ignorance upon another. The only way out of this hall of mirrors is to stop grasping at ideas for a moment.

Now would be a very good moment to do this. Whenever we let this moment be as it is, without adding anything extra, there is the possibility of sanity. Basic sanity doesn’t require anything extra from us. It is our basic nature. Ignorance cannot be defeated by piling one misconception on top of another. To imagine that there is some “I” that needs to be perfected or protected, or to insist that there is some “I” that has the capacity to discover the truth through its diligent effort...all this is only compounding the ignorance. The intelligence that knows about this moment is complete. It does not need your help to be as it is. This basic intelligence, which is dharmakaya, or primordial awareness, is unstained, uncompounded, and unchanging. The very intelligence that is looking out of your eyes and listening out of your ears in this moment also gives rise to and is not other than the entire manifest universe. You can’t fix this. You don’t have to. Let it be, and know the happiness that has no opposite.

(edit: spelling & grammar)
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

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

As I understand it, the Tibetans make use of two different types of Vipassana. Shamatha Vipassana (as practiced in the Theravada traditions) and 'pure' or formless clear seeing as in Dzogchen and Mahamudra. Then there is simultaneous Shamatha-Vipassana and nether Shamatha or Vipassana nor not Shamatha or Vipassana which is in a sense an ultimate Vipassana or absolute clear seeing in its natural 'uncontrived' state. The point is Rigpa is not realized with Shamatha style Vipassana where the sense of doing remains; for where there is doing there is a subject that does which obscures realization of the natural state.

In kind regards,

Adam.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

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

Hi Kenneth!

I just wanted to thank you for the masterful last few posts of yours. They cut to the essence of it and really brought clarity to this discourse.

Wonderful!! :-P

In kind regards,

Adam.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: msj123

I disagree. This may be true of Mahasi or DhO style vipassana. Shinzen's technique is designed to return to the source and students have reported success with his approach. I myself have practiced skandha-based vipassana. By tracing back the arising of phenomenon, one will inevitably reach the unborn.

Based on Kenneth's criticism, when DhO talk of reaching fruition, they are not seeing through to their ultimate nature, and are therefore not cutting through the 3 fetters, and are therefore not actual stream enterers.

One of the reasons I appreciate Zen is that it does not stop at any final answers. I doubt there are final answers.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
path-moment is path-moment, and the 3 doors are the 3 doors, achieved by whichever method. if your concentration is high enough when dropping into a fruition, you'd see that that's what happening (seeing through to ultimate nature, auto-cut 3 fetters) *whenever you´re going through one of the 3 doors (which is why it helps to pay extra-careful attention to those moments for attaining the higher paths)*

edit: added last bit when i noticed i was missing a whole sentence section
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Even according to old school, Theravada Buddhism (Pali canon style), no one is completely released from the fruit of residual kamma until after death...

"[O]ne who has attained nibbana with residue continues to possess the five senses and to experience both pleasant and painful sensations...

...The state of sopadisesa nibbana... is nibbana with residue in the sense that subtle kamma still remain. These kamma are not strong enough to propel the arahant into another rebirth, but merely sufficient to maintain the life process. Liberated persons cease to produce further kamma, for the kamma-process (kammabhava) has been eradicated. Thy have eradicated all kamma-results (kammavipaka) that may lead to another life, but must still reap some subtle kamma-results in this life...

Nirupadisesa nibbana, on the other hand, is "nibbana without residue" in the sense that all kamma have been completely eradicated and, consequently, no fuel remains to perpetuate life... The state of nibbana without residue is beyond mind and matter and no different from the state of nibbana that the Buddha attained AT THE MOMENT OF DEATH." (emphasis mine)

The Five Aggregates, by Mathieu Boisvert, http://bit.ly/ybNbt

Negative emotions arise due to causes and conditions, e.g kamma. This comes directly from our oldest recorded teachings of the Buddha and their most venerated commentaries. Therefore, NO ONE can guarantee that negative emotions will no longer arise as long as they have a body -- arahant or otherwise.

~Jackson
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"The Mahayana and Vajrayana scriptures, which also claim to be the teachings of the historical Buddha, seem to contradict the Pali scriptures. It should be obvious by now that, even assuming there was an infallible being known as the Buddha, we don’t know exactly what he said. We are cast back upon our own devices."

I think this is critically important. As I reflect on my own practice I believe that the bedrock of my practice is what I can vouch for from my own experience.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Here you are conflating sensations and emotions. That is not necessary. Particularly in regards to things such as anger, etc., which are clearly reactions to not examining these distinctions between the sensations, the identifications, and the generation of responses by means of mind and body. All of this can be distinguished in great detail just as everything else we have been discussing in terms of vipassana and samatha practice. Which is why I take issue with just chucking that process in favor of an easy bake enlightenment. But as I say, people can do as they please.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
I agree, when I practice various forms of abiding in non-duality it is like a never ending acid trip, ok way better, but still, entirely, as Kenneth admits, out of control and can only be subjected to analysis by adverting to it later from some other state.

So when I undertake various Mahayana, etc. practices I get all sorts of highly subjective experiences which I find questionable and yet difficult to properly examine whereas no matter how far I pursue the Theravada practices in keeping with the instructions given in the Tipitaka all I find are verifiable facts. So in the long run Theravada is kicking Mahayana's butt when it comes to being a solid science of the existential condition, but when it comes to having fun, it's no contest, Mahayana all the way.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Just to clarify once more, I don't think that realizing non-dual awareness is the same thing as attaining arahantship. I don't know anyone who thinks that rigpa is some kind of easy-bake-arahantship. I am of the opinion that practicing non-dual awareness will lead to arahantship, just as samatha-vipassna does. I know that we disagree on this point. Que sera, sera.

It seems as though the long, difficult route is being glamorized for no reason other than the fact that it's long and difficult. I can't imagine anyone giving me props if I, rather than drive my car home from work, hopped on one foot the whole way. Getting home is the point, right?
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Well, for me to comment on anything along the lines of transformations such as those considered equivalent to 'a limited emotional model' would be to run up against the preconceptions of the site, it's founder and his close personal friends and that seems a lot like shooting myself in the face. So why don't I just give you this one.

As an aside, I've driven from the nearest town to the monastery I frequent many times. The other day I decided to walk the 50km and there is absolutely no comparison, the superior quality of taking the ten hours to walk was well beyond the capacities of a 300 char. post limit.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
No one here has said anything about "just chucking" any process. I'm not sure why that keeps coming up because it's not supported by anyone's comments. And, like Jackson, it would appear that difficulty is being deified for difficulty's sake.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
No one said anything had to be 'difficult' either. As far as I've seen Jackson is the first person who has clearly not equated the attainment of arahatship with these other states. This is why I would like to see some clarity on a great many of these matters. An increasing number of issues are becoming very murky, not in my mind, but in the discussions overall.

We really need some well written pages providing this clarity - from those who have the greatest insight into these matters along with the confidence of the participants - to bring that much needed clarity or we are going to continue to have a lot of rambling dialog that continues to generate various degrees of at least the perception of confusion and conflict.

Personally, I feel just fine and wish everyone well.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"As far as I've seen Jackson is the first person who has clearly not equated the attainment of arahatship with these other states."

Nathan, several of us have said this. We haven't all used the same words but the meaning was clear to me. I'm sorry it's getting lost here. I'm not very bright about what appears to be an emerging rift on DhO, or at least that's what appears to be emerging, so maybe I should chill for a while and let things be. I wish you well in your practice, Nathan.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Likewise. I don't know anything about an emerging rift or about any of the supposed interpersonal jazz. I was away for a month or two so maybe I missed something. I didn't expect to be online again for another year or two but things have changed a bit so for the time being here I am.

I like the group at DhO and I like most of what I have read here so any political stuff is stuff I am completely oblivious to and it will stay that way because I don't care about that kind of stuff. In the short time I've returned to reading and posting here I've noted some new issues arising and I've done my best to respond to that in what I hope is a healthy and positive way. But it has taken me beyond the bounds of the mandate, not because I want to go there but because other people are not thinking through their questions and statements with that in mind. So until that mandate is modified in some way I would rather return to completely respecting it. I would rather play by the rules, whatever those may be, like it or not.

I think that perhaps the thread "No one goes unchallenged at DhO" opened the doors to a lot of questioning. That could be a good thing or it could be a bad thing, it depends on the maturity of everyone involved. Like everything else, writing and posting online is a learning curve. It's probably for the best to accept that we all make mistakes until we master a new skill, be charitable and forgiving with each other and move on.
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RE: Is Non-duality Amoral?

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
"...the Tibetans make use of two different types of Vipassana."-Adam

"Based on Kenneth's criticism, when DhO talk of reaching fruition, they are not seeing through to their ultimate nature, and are therefore not cutting through the 3 fetters, and are therefore not actual stream enterers."-msj123

Thanks for bringing up these points, Adam and Matt. This is a matter of defining terms, and we'll need some serious disambiguation in order to make sense of all this. Two words in particular are problematic as they are used very differently in different traditions. The two words are fruition and vipassana.

Fruition, as defined by the Burmese Mahasi school, means cessation of the mind/body process. They also call this Nibbana. It is a non-experience, a winking out of consciousness. It is nonetheless, very blissful; upon emerging from this state, you know you were someplace very nice, you just can't say where. It is this cessation that marks the Path moment and permanently changes your experience of the world and your meditation practice, as many here at DhO will attest.

(continued below)

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