A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
In another thread, EndinSight helpfully provided a link to the Bhante G chapter which has been compared with Richard's Apperceptiveness article and... has anybody actually stopped to compare the two? The differences are stark. I have bolded certain phrases that correspond to each other to emphasize the differences at times. I have also italicized the various words that Richard uses instead of mindfulness - thus it is clear mindfulness is neither attentiveness nor sensuousness nor apperceptiveness yet also not any combination of them, given the text of the articles themselves.

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Bhante G:
Nevertheless, Mindfulness can be experienced -- rather easily -- and it can be described, as long as you keep in mind that the words are only fingers pointing at the moon. They are not the thing itself.

Richard:
Needless to say, attentiveness and sensuousness can be experienced – rather easily – and along with apperceptiveness they can be adequately described, provided one keeps in mind that the words are not feeling-fingers ‘pointing at the moon’ ... they are never allusions to that ineffable ‘thing-in-itself’ of mystical tradition.

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Bhante G:
So, it is important to understand that everything that follows here is analogy. It is not going to make perfect sense. It will always remain beyond verbal logic.

Richard:
So, it is important to understand that whilst everything written here is both descriptive and prescriptive – thus it is going to make rational sense – the quality and condition will always remain inaccessible to insight, illation and divination ... it is inconceivable, unimaginable and unbelievable.

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Bhante G:
When this Mindfulness is prolonged by using proper techniques, you find that this experience is profound and it changes your entire view of the universe. This state of perception has to be learned, however, and it takes regular practice. Once you learn the technique, you will find that Mindfulness has many interesting aspects.

Richard:
This fluid, soft-focused moment of bare awareness, which is not learned, has never been learned, and never will be learned, could be called an aesthetically sensual regardfulness or a consummate sensorial discernibleness or an exquisitely sensuous distinguishment ... in a word: apperceptiveness.

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Bhante G:
When you first become aware of something, there is a fleeting instant of pure awareness just before you conceptualize the thing, before you identify it. That is a stage of Mindfulness.

Richard:
When one first becomes aware of something there is a fleeting instant of pure perception of sensum, just before one affectively identifies with all the feeling memories associated with its qualia (the qualities pertaining to the properties of the form) and also before one cognitively recognises the percept (the mental product or result of perception), and this ‘raw sense-datum’ stage of sensational perception is a direct experience of the actual.

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Bhante G:
It takes place just before you start thinking about it--before your mind says, "Oh, it's a dog."

Richard:
It is that moment just before one focuses one’s feeling-memory on the object.

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Bhante G:
Yet this moment of soft, unfocused, awareness contains a very deep sort of knowing that is lost as soon as you focus your mind and objectify the object into a thing.

Richard:
This moment of soft, ungathered sensuosity – apperceptiveness – contains a vast understanding, an utter cognisance, that is lost as soon as one adjusts one’s mind to accommodate the feeling-tone ... and subverts the crystal-clear objectivity into an ontological ‘being’ ... a connotative ‘thing-in-itself’.

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Bhante G:
It [Mindfulness] is, rather, the direct and immediate experiencing of whatever is happening, without the medium of thought. It comes before thought in the perceptual process.

Richard:
Apperceptiveness is the immediate sensitive discernment of whatever is happening without the medium of feeling – it comes before the feeling-tones in the perceptual process – and thought may or may not be operating.

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Bhante G:
If you are remembering your second-grade teacher, that is memory. When you then become aware that you are remembering your second-grade teacher, that is mindfulness. If you then conceptualize the process and say to yourself, "Oh, I am remembering", that is thinking.

Richard:
If one is futilely attempting a reverie of yesterday’s sensorial delight, that is feeling-thought memorialising the moment gone by. When one then becomes aware that one is remembering yesterday’s experience, that is attentiveness.

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Bhante G:
For example, suppose there is pain in your left leg. Ordinary consciousness would say, "I have a pain." Using Mindfulness, one would simply note the sensation as a sensation. One would not tack on that extra concept 'I'.

Richard:
Suppose there is a feeling of sadness. Ordinary consciousness would say, ‘I am sad’. Using attentiveness, one heedfully notices the feeling as a natural feeling – ‘There is human sadness’ – thus one does not tack on that possessive personal concept of ‘I’ or ‘me’ ... for one is already possessed.

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Bhante G:
Mindfulness is an extremely difficult concept to define in words -- not because it is complex, but because it is too simple and open.

Richard:
Attentiveness is extremely difficult to apply as a discipline – not because it is complex – but because it is too simple and open.

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Bhante G:
It [Mindfulness] is seeing how that thing makes us feel and how we react to it. It is observing how it affects others. ... Mindfulness is participatory observation. ... If one watches one's emotions or physical sensations, one is feeling them at that very same moment.

Richard:
This is because apperceptiveness is a non-feeling function and one can feel for its presence all day long and one will never come across it – one can never feel what it is – as it is a living experience.

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Bhante G:
Mindfulness reminds you of what you are supposed to be doing . In meditation, you put your attention on one item. When your mind wanders from this focus, it is Mindfulness that reminds you that your mind is wandering and what you are supposed to be doing.

Richard:
The activity of attentiveness reminds one of why one is doing this: in actualism, one puts one’s attention on being here ... now. When feelings cause one’s awareness to wander from actualism’s focus, it is attentiveness that reminds one that one’s mind is being manipulated ... and why one is doing this happening called being alive. It is attentiveness that brings one back to the object of actualism: apperception.

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Bhante G:
All of this occurs instantaneously and without internal dialogue. Mindfulness is not thinking. Repeated practice in meditation establishes this function as a mental habit which then carries over into the rest of your life.

Richard:
Awareness [Attentiveness] occurs without the delay of an internal feeling-dialogue ... repeated activation of attentiveness in actualism establishes this function as a cognitive habit which then carries on automatically for the rest of one’s ‘human’ life.

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Bhante G:
A serious meditator pays bare attention to occurrences all the time, day in, day out, whether formally sitting in meditation or not.

Richard:
A sincere actualist is attentive to feelings all the time, day in, day out, whether active or resting; whether in association or on one’s own; whether there is thinking as well as perceiving or not.

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Bhante G:
This [constant Mindfulness] is a very lofty ideal towards which those who meditate may be working for a period of years or even decades. Our habit of getting stuck in thought is years old, and that habit will hang on in the most tenacious manner. The only way out is to be equally persistent in the cultivation of constant Mindfulness.

Richard:
Apperceptiveness is a very actual goal and those who seek to actualise the pure consciousness experience (PCE) may be activating attentiveness for a period of months or even years. The human habit of getting stuck in feelings dates back to the dawn of human history – thus the habit will hang on in the most tenacious manner – and the only way through it all is to be equally persistent and diligent in the activation of constant attentiveness.

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Bhante G:
When Mindfulness is present, you will notice when you become stuck in your thought patterns. It is that very noticing which allows you to back out of the thought process and free yourself from it.

Richard:
When attentiveness is actual, one will notice when one becomes stuck in one’s feeling patterns; it is that very noticing which allows one to back out of the feeling process and free oneself from it.

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Bhante G:
Mindfulness then returns your attention to its proper focus. If you are meditating at that moment, then your focus will be the formal object of meditation. If your are not in formal meditation, it will be just a pure application of bare attention itself, just a pure noticing of whatever comes up without getting involved--"Ah, this comes up...and now this, and now this... and now this".

Richard:
Sensuousness returns one’s attention to its proper focus: if one is actualising a virtual freedom at that moment, then one’s focus will be the actual object of actualism. If one is not in virtual freedom, one’s focus will be just a straight-forward application of matter-of-fact attention itself, just a simple noticing of whatever comes up without getting possessively involved: ‘Ah, this feeling ... what is it ... where is it ... where did it come from ... what is it made up of ... what is it connected to ...?’.

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Bhante G:
Mindfulness creates its own distinct feeling in consciousness. It has a flavor--a light, clear, energetic flavor. Conscious thought is heavy by comparison, ponderous and picky.

Richard:
Apperceptiveness has its own distinct ambience in consciousness: it has a flavour – a magical, crystal-clear, scintillating flavour – whereas feelings are heady, magisterial and grandiloquent by comparison ... finicky and phantasmal and flighty and fantastical.

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Bhante G:
Conscious thought pastes things over our experience, loads us down with concepts and ideas, immerses us in a churning vortex of plans and worries, fears and fantasies. When mindful, you don't play that game. You just notice exactly what arises in the mind, then you notice the next thing.

Richard:
Emotive thought pastes feelings over one’s experience, loads one down with ideals and dreams and schemes, immerses one in a churning vortex of hopes and worries, fears and fantasies. When sensuously attentive, one does not play that game. When one is aware exactly what arises in the heart, then one is attentive to the next thing.

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Bhante G:
Mindfulness actually sees the impermanent character of every perception. It sees the transitory and passing nature of everything that is perceived.

Richard:
It is really very simple: attentiveness actually sees the illusory nature of everything that is felt.

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Bhante G:
Mindfulness] also sees the inherently unsatisfactory nature of all conditioned things. It sees that there is no sense grabbing onto any of these passing shows. Peace and happiness cannot be found that way.

Richard:
It [attentiveness] sees the transitory and delusory nature of every ideal and dream and scheme and – seeing the inherently unsatisfactory nature of all feeling beings – it sees that there is no sense grabbing onto any of these passing feelings as peace and harmony cannot be found that way.

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Bhante G:
And finally, Mindfulness sees the inherent selflessness of all phenomena. It sees the way that we have arbitrarily selected a certain bundle of perceptions, chopped them off from the rest of the surging flow of experience and then conceptualized them as separate, enduring, entities. Mindfulness actually sees these things. It does not think about them, it sees them directly.

Richard:
Attentiveness sees the inherent selfishness of all ‘being’ in that it sees the way that human beings have arbitrarily selected a certain bundle of tender feelings, chopped them off from the rest of the surging flow of savage feelings and then realised themselves as unitive and enduring entities swimming in the ‘Ocean Of Oneness’. Attentiveness actually sees these things ... it does not feel them out, it sees them for what they are.

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Bhante G:
When it is fully developed, Mindfulness sees these three attributes of existence directly, instantaneously, and without the intervening medium of conscious thought.

Richard:
when it is fully developed, attentiveness understands those factors detailed above intimately and without the intervening medium of irrational intuition and imaginative logic or prescient revelation.

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Bhante G:
Fully developed Mindfulness is a state of total non-attachment and utter absence of clinging to anything in the world.

Richard:
Fully developed sensuous attention is a condition of total non-grandiosity and utter absence of longing for anything in any ‘other-world’.

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Bhante G:
Mindfulness is non-superficial awareness. It sees things deeply, down below the level of concepts and opinions.

Richard:
Apperception is non-identity awareness that sees things clearly and cleanly and purely ... beyond the level of feelings and ‘being’ itself.

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Bhante G:
This pure and unstained investigative awareness not only holds mental hindrances at bay, it lays bare their very mechanism and destroys them.

Richard:
The pure and unstained lustrous awareness of apperceptiveness is not only devoid of affective indulgences, it lays bare their very mechanism by having had them eliminated coincidental to the self-immolation of identity in toto.

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Bhante G:
Mindfulness neutralizes defilements in the mind. The result is a mind which remains unstained and invulnerable, completely unaffected by the ups and downs of life.

Richard:
Apperceptiveness is the absence of the heart-felt corruption of the mind. The result is a brain which remains unstained and invulnerable, completely unaffected by the ‘ups and downs’ of life.

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Fun stuff!
- Claudiu
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

Posts: 282 Join Date: 9/11/10 Recent Posts
I think such comparisons are going ad nauseum..IMHO the question is - Has Bhante G ended his suffering ? Does Bhante G feel fear and anger and nurture and desire ? Even if Bhante G is not suffering , are there no monks alive which are free from suffering ? Unless we can have direct experiential account from a practising Buddhist , we will go on and on. Personally, no
amount of theory in Actualism and Buddhism is useful for me if it does not lead to the end of suffering.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 10/25/12 10:29 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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There are various things I thought to write, but I realized that there is this fundamental thing which underlies most of my thoughts on this subject, which I might begin to try to put into words like this.

Bhante G:
An example: There you are, sitting alone in the stillness of a peaceful night. A dog barks in the distance. The perception itself is indescribably beautiful if you bother to examine it. Up out of that sea of silence come surging waves of sonic vibration. You start to hear the lovely complex patterns, and they are turned into scintillating electronic stimulations within the nervous system. The process is beautiful and fulfilling in itself. We humans tend to ignore it totally. Instead, we solidify that perception into a mental object. We paste a mental picture on it and we launch into a series of emotional and conceptual reactions to it.


Suppose someone other than Bhante G (say, an actualist) was trying to explain what kinds of things their practice had led them to so far, and wrote this. Would you say:

1) Yes, it sounds like your practice is helping you understand what this is all about, and enjoy life!
2) Watch out, it sounds like you're getting lost in spiritualism!
3) What you wrote isn't sufficient for me to tell whether you're understanding what this is all about and enjoying life, or whether you're getting lost in spiritualism...so you may be treading dangerous ground!
4) (Something else?)

(I think Richard may have some issue with the word "beautiful", so check out the exact definition if you think something turns on that word: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/beautiful)
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 10/25/12 10:43 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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End in Sight:
There are various things I thought to write, but I realized that there is this fundamental thing which underlies most of my thoughts on this subject, which I might begin to try to put into words like this.

Bhante G:
An example: There you are, sitting alone in the stillness of a peaceful night. A dog barks in the distance. The perception itself is indescribably beautiful if you bother to examine it. Up out of that sea of silence come surging waves of sonic vibration. You start to hear the lovely complex patterns, and they are turned into scintillating electronic stimulations within the nervous system. The process is beautiful and fulfilling in itself. We humans tend to ignore it totally. Instead, we solidify that perception into a mental object. We paste a mental picture on it and we launch into a series of emotional and conceptual reactions to it.


Suppose someone other than Bhante G (say, an actualist) was trying to explain what kinds of things their practice had led them to so far, and wrote this. Would you say:

1) Yes, it sounds like your practice is helping you understand what this is all about, and enjoy life!
2) Watch out, it sounds like you're getting lost in spiritualism!
3) What you wrote isn't sufficient for me to tell whether you're understanding what this is all about and enjoying life, or whether you're getting lost in spiritualism...so you may be treading dangerous ground!
4) (Something else?)

(I think Richard may have some issue with the word "beautiful", so check out the exact definition if you think something turns on that word: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/beautiful)

I would say the 3rd heavily leaning towards the 2nd. The things I'd bring up are:
1) "Why do you say you launch into emotional reactions after solidifying into a mental object? It sounds like you do not understand that the feeling-being itself is the problem (which comes before thought), and without understanding that, you will never become actually free."
2) I'd ask if they experience or recognize pure intent, ask about whether they think the world exists, and other things like that.
and maybe
3) "What do you mean by 'beautiful'? An affective appreciation?"

This sentence is indeed the biggest indicator they are heading towards spiritual enlightenment and not to actual freedom: "Instead, we solidify that perception into a mental object. We paste a mental picture on it and we launch into a series of emotional and conceptual reactions to it." If you notice, differences of this sort are the ones that came up most in my comparison - note how often Richard replaces Bhante's use of thought/concept/conscious mind/mind etc. with feeling-related terms.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 10/25/12 11:10 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/25/12 11:09 AM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
1) "What do you mean by 'beautiful'? An affective appreciation?"


Does the dictionary definition not clarify things?

This sentence is indeed the biggest indicator they are heading towards spiritual enlightenment and not to actual freedom: "Instead, we solidify that perception into a mental object. We paste a mental picture on it and we launch into a series of emotional and conceptual reactions to it." If you notice, differences of this sort are the ones that came up most in my comparison - note how often Richard replaces Bhante's use of thought/concept/conscious mind/mind etc. with feeling-related terms.


How do you know that Bhante G's use of "mental" words are not indicating the same thing as Richard's use of "feeling" words?

In everyday English, people do this all the time. Ask someone about their opinion on an election, for example, and they may say: "I very strongly [think / feel / believe] that Candidate X is the one we should elect."

Ask someone about their "gut feeling" (feeling-word) concerning something, and they may say: "I just know that it's so." (mental-word) Or "I just know intuitively that it's so." (feeling-word modifying mental word?)

Long before I meditated or was interested in any of this stuff, I had found it perfectly satisfactory to mix these words up in this way...perhaps because ultimately, I regarded them as referring to the same stuff in many contexts. (Not that I regarded thoughts and feelings the same thing, but regarded certain instances of things to be adequately described as either."

Look how I can alter my sentence and not change its meaning in any strong way (apart from the second, which implies certainty, which is a separate issue):

"I regarded them as referring to the same stuff in many contexts."
"I knew they were referring to the same stuff in many contexts."
"I believed that they were referring to the same stuff in many contexts."
"I thought that they were referring to the same stuff in many contexts."
"I felt that they were referring to the same stuff in many contexts."
"I was satisfied that they were referring to the same stuff in many contexts."
"I had the intuition that they were referring to the same stuff in many contexts."
"I was not averse to [thinking / feeling / believing] that they were referring to the same stuff in many contexts."
etc.

There are surely more synonymous words and phrases, but this should do for now, I [think / hope / believe / pray / suppose / assume / feel / judge / etc.].

2) "Why do you say you launch into emotional reactions after solidifying into a mental object? It sounds like you do not understand that the feeling-being itself is the problem (which comes before thought), and without understanding that, you will never become actually free."


Looks like this leads back to the issue above.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 10/25/12 11:17 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/25/12 11:16 AM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
This sentence is indeed the biggest indicator they are heading towards spiritual enlightenment and not to actual freedom: "Instead, we solidify that perception into a mental object. We paste a mental picture on it and we launch into a series of emotional and conceptual reactions to it." If you notice, differences of this sort are the ones that came up most in my comparison - note how often Richard replaces Bhante's use of thought/concept/conscious mind/mind etc. with feeling-related terms.


To illustrate my point a bit further:

Bhante G:
We paste a mental picture on it and we launch into a series of emotional and conceptual reactions to it. "There is that dog again. He is always barking at night. What a nuisance. Every night he is a real bother. Somebody should do something. Maybe I should call a cop. No, a dog catcher. So, I'll call the pound. No, maybe I'll just write a real nasty letter to the guy who owns that dog. No, too much trouble. I'll just get an ear plug."


All the examples of "emotional and conceptual reactions" Bhante G gives are thoughts; where are the emotional reactions? That's strange, unless English blurs the categories of "thoughts" and "feelings" in some important way, in which case it would be so mundane and unremarkable that most readers would not even notice anything odd about the passage.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 10/25/12 12:49 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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At this point in the discussion, I'm very glad it began, because (if nothing else changes) it clarifies for me how Richard managed to produce his essay. I could not think of a reasonable way that Richard could have produced it without intending it to be an obvious case of plagiarism, and, for various reasons, I also didn't think that Richard would do such a thing. But now, one very reasonable and obvious-to-me possibility is simply that Richard has a particular jargon that he uses to talk about these things in, but doesn't realize the extent to which it's peculiar to him (as the thought / feeling dichotomy is fairly well "embedded" in western thought, as distinct from the normal use of language in the west); and so in many places where he thought he was making substantive changes to Bhante G's writing, many readers would not see any ultimate difference in meaning. This possibility escaped me pretty much up until now.

When I originally saw Bhante G's writing and recognized that it was similar to Richard's, naturally, I saw many instances where Bhante G talked about things in one way whereas Richard talked about them in another way. It never occurred to me that "these different words must be referring to different things!" Rather, it seemed more likely to me that the divergence could be due to an attempt to establish a certain "brand" with distinctive concepts, modes of speech, etc. behind it, or that Richard simply needed to modify the original essay in order to claim it as his own work, or both.
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 10/25/12 1:15 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Hey claudiu, do I understand correctly that your basic position is that mindfulness works to get rid of mental stuff which is overlaid on 'feeling' stuff and that it is inferior because, though it gets rid of one layer of suffering it fails to get rid of the deeper, feeling level of suffering?

this conflicts with my experience because if there is no concept of whatever object and no mental judgement and processing of it in a reactive way there is no way for affective feelings to arise. it seems clear to me that the mind has to understand what something is and whether it likes or dislikes something before a reaction of any kind can take place. given this model of feeling being at the root of all this stuff, what is your explanation for people who are not actually free in your opinion but who also report no affective feelings?
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 10/25/12 4:48 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/25/12 4:00 PM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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End in Sight:
At this point in the discussion, I'm very glad it began, because (if nothing else changes) it clarifies for me how Richard managed to produce his essay. I could not think of a reasonable way that Richard could have produced it without intending it to be an obvious case of plagiarism, and, for various reasons, I also didn't think that Richard would do such a thing. But now, one very reasonable and obvious-to-me possibility is simply that Richard has a particular jargon that he uses to talk about these things in, but doesn't realize the extent to which it's peculiar to him (as the thought / feeling dichotomy is fairly well "embedded" in western thought, as distinct from the normal use of language in the west); and so in many places where he thought he was making substantive changes to Bhante G's writing, many readers would not see any ultimate difference in meaning. This possibility escaped me pretty much up until now.

When I originally saw Bhante G's writing and recognized that it was similar to Richard's, naturally, I saw many instances where Bhante G talked about things in one way whereas Richard talked about them in another way. It never occurred to me that "these different words must be referring to different things!" Rather, it seemed more likely to me that the divergence could be due to an attempt to establish a certain "brand" with distinctive concepts, modes of speech, etc. behind it, or that Richard simply needed to modify the original essay in order to claim it as his own work, or both.



Years ago, I noticed a striking similarity between something Richard had written and something written by Alan Watts. My immediate thought wasn't plagiarism, but perhaps cryptomnesia. I thought he might have read Watts' book years earlier, and recalled certain words, phrases and images as if they were his own. When I pointed this out to Richard he (eventually, after seeming nonplussed) explained that he had often, over the years, responded to pieces of text given him by his wife for comment.. (ie. to elucidate exactly how his condition differs from the author's).

It seemed a plausible explanation to me at the time, and still does. I think it's very likely that the Bhante G / "apperceptiveness" article had the same genesis.

Nevertheless, it's still there on the AF website, and still imprinted with the copyright of the Actual Freedom Trust... even though it's clearly a derivative work. I personally don't care about either the content or the context (meta content?) of Richard's articles any more, but if I did I wouldn't be so thrilled about that.
Adam Bieber, modified 10 Years ago at 10/25/12 9:23 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/25/12 9:14 PM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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End in Sight:
It never occurred to me that "these different words must be referring to different things!" Rather, it seemed more likely to me that the divergence could be due to an attempt to establish a certain "brand" with distinctive concepts, modes of speech, etc. behind it, or that Richard simply needed to modify the original essay in order to claim it as his own work, or both.



So are you acknowledging a tangible difference between what Bhante G is promoting and what Richard is promoting, which would be Richard's assertion that feeling-tone (that is not addressed by Bhante G) must be eliminated?
Change A, modified 10 Years ago at 10/25/12 10:17 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/25/12 9:53 PM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Shashank Dixit:
Personally, no amount of theory in Actualism and Buddhism is useful for me if it does not lead to the end of suffering.


Right on, not just this -ism or that -ism but if any -ism does not lead to an end of suffering in myself, it is of no use to me. Personally speaking, Buddhism has helped me reduce suffering to a much larger extent than Actualism. To be more precise, Actualism hardly reduced any suffering in myself, probably increased it.

Also, if just reading the theory doesn't lead to an end of suffering (or in this particular instance gaining Actual Freedom), then those words are fingers pointing to the moon even if the writer states it to be 180 degree opposite.
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 10/25/12 11:18 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Change A.:
Shashank Dixit:
Personally, no amount of theory in Actualism and Buddhism is useful for me if it does not lead to the end of suffering.


Right on, not just this -ism or that -ism but if any -ism does not lead to an end of suffering in myself, it is of no use to me. Personally speaking, Buddhism has helped me reduce suffering to a much larger extent than Actualism. To be more precise, Actualism hardly reduced any suffering in myself, probably increased it.


Yeah, that happens. ;-)

For those who find Richard's critique of all spirituality (and normality) devastatingly effective, it can leave them with nowhere to go, nothing to go back to when their actualist illusions are eventually destroyed. A few people suffered quite badly from this. I myself didn't, mainly because I never invested very much in those particular forms of 'spirituality' in the first place, and Richard seemed not to know much about the kind of experience I was more interested in.

But I did suffer a helluva lot of confusion and frustration trying to reconcile some seemingly irreconcilable points of view. For example, what if you:

a) value happiness and harmlessness, but find some aspects of actualism/actualists untenable or unappealing? That's not supposed to be possible: within the actualist paradigm they should be mutually exclusive. Anything doesn't seem right about actualism or actualists? Well, there's a ready-made explanation: it's 'you' and 'your' survival instincts crying out against their own demise, rebelling against "what is actual". Such reasoning pre-emptively invalidates and sabotages any adverse assessment.

b) consider PCEs to be the summum bonum of human experience, but don't consider Richard to be the finest exemplar of what a human being can be? Well that too would be contradictory. If you're an actualist, there's no valid way to think of Richard other than as the magically-prodigious genitor of a wholly new mode of consciousness hitherto unknown to humankind, the best there's ever been. He's quite literally perfection personified.

If you can't do that, you're not a true actualist and never will be. (And actualism is an all-or-nothing proposition; you can't mix it with anything else without corrupting either or both of the ingredients. Either you're a full-on actualist or you're not an actualist at all. (So what are you?)

c) have PCEs, but don't believe it's an obvious, incontrovertible, experiential fact that the universe is infinite and eternal, that Einstein's theory of relativity is a work of imaginative fiction, that the Big Bang never happened, etc?. Not possible: those would be mutually exclusive too. If the PCE doesn't reveal this, it isn't a PCE. Indeed, a PCE (being the direct experience of the infinite, eternal universe) could not even occur if the universe were not infinite/eternal, etc.

d) Bah...

*

All things considered, I'm glad I encountered actualism, but wish had trusted my intuition and moved on sooner. I knew what's known as the "actual universe" long before it ever became entangled with Richardism, and I've had a helluva job trying to disentangle it ever since.

Cheers,
Jack.
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 10/25/12 11:36 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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d) Bah...


:] you seem a discerning guy when it comes to the mind its well-being, even Richard called you 'very sincere' or something like that. out of curiosity and a respect for much of what you say, do you still practice anything yourself? I apologize if I am mis-assigning this vague paraphrase but do you still think that buddhism and actualism highlight subtle aspects of suffering which would normally not be a problem unless they are made into one?
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 10/26/12 12:02 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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have PCEs, but don't believe it's an obvious, incontrovertible, experiential fact that the universe is infinite and eternal, that Einstein's theory of relativity is a work of imaginative fiction, that the Big Bang never happened, etc?. Not possible: those would be mutually exclusive too. If the PCE doesn't reveal this, it isn't a PCE. Indeed, a PCE (being the direct experience of the infinite, eternal universe) could not even occur if the universe were not infinite/eternal, etc.


I have both been in the 1). infinite universe/ eternal time PCE and also 2). the deathless state talked about in Buddhism.
There is somehow a much greater relief in the deathless state because it is
free from even ideas of infinite universe/ eternal time etc

What if an actually free person takes concepts about universe/time to be fabricated ? They may just enter the deathless
state..that said , I do not say these with absolute certainty..I'll let practise reveal more.
There is a reason why at the traditional 4rth path in Buddhism , even craving for formless jhanas drop and a greater
relief is reached.

Personally , for me the social identity aspect of investigation within the actualism framework has been pretty rewarding
but having entered the deathless(temporarily) , I consider forming concrete concepts of time and space to be delusional and a form of subtle
suffering. It is much better to be free even from such concepts.

Unfortunately , Richard has never gone and spoken to the accomplished masters in Buddhism(or the
other way round) and thats why all the confusion is occuring. I wish such an open discussion occurs some
day.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 10/26/12 7:03 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/26/12 6:15 AM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam Bieber:
End in Sight:
It never occurred to me that "these different words must be referring to different things!" Rather, it seemed more likely to me that the divergence could be due to an attempt to establish a certain "brand" with distinctive concepts, modes of speech, etc. behind it, or that Richard simply needed to modify the original essay in order to claim it as his own work, or both.


So are you acknowledging a tangible difference between what Bhante G is promoting and what Richard is promoting, which would be Richard's assertion that feeling-tone (that is not addressed by Bhante G) must be eliminated?


Explicitly, I understand now why Richard might have thought he made significant changes to Bhante G's essay; however, I don't think the changes he made are actually significant. Talking about feeling where Bhante G talks about mental stuff is a significant difference if you're using a kind of technical language that defines the two as quite different, but isn't a significant difference outside of that technical language: in normal English it's quite often possible to talk about the same states using feeling-words or mental-words, which people do all the time without a second thought or worry, and I would assert that the situation with experience (is the problem feeling? conceptualizing? objectifying? reifying? reacting?) is the same. This doesn't mean that everyone who talks about "conceptualizing" as a problem means the same thing as others who talk about "feeling"as a problem, but it does mean that if two people are talking about similar states (e.g. in which there is aesthetically pleasant hyper-lucid sensory perception), substituting feeling-language for mental-language in one person's description shouldn't be taken to result in a description of a totally different state, but still seems like a re-description of the original state.

Some other changes Richard made seem to be based on a misunderstanding of the original text. For example:

Bhante G:
When this Mindfulness is prolonged by using proper techniques, you find that this experience is profound and it changes your entire view of the universe. This state of perception has to be learned, however, and it takes regular practice. Once you learn the technique, you will find that Mindfulness has many interesting aspects.


Richard:
This fluid, soft-focused moment of bare awareness, which is not learned, has never been learned, and never will be learned, could be called an aesthetically sensual regardfulness or a consummate sensorial discernibleness or an exquisitely sensuous distinguishment ... in a word: apperceptiveness.


Richard thinks Bhante G is saying that the state of Mindfulness is learned (so he emphasizes that apperception is not), but it seems to me that Bhante G is saying that the state in which Mindfulness is prolonged (i.e. the state with mental proliferation suppressed) is learned.

A different quote by Bhante G clarifies this; it's the mental proliferation which is learned and then subsequently modified through practice:

Bhante G:
Our human perceptual habits are remarkably stupid in some ways. We tune out 99% of all the sensory stimuli we actually receive, and we solidify the remainder into discrete mental objects. Then we react to those mental objects in programmed habitual ways. An example: There you are, sitting alone in the stillness of a peaceful night. A dog barks in the distance. The perception itself is indescribably beautiful if you bother to examine it. Up out of that sea of silence come surging waves of sonic vibration. You start to hear the lovely complex patterns, and they are turned into scintillating electronic stimulations within the nervous system. The process is beautiful and fulfilling in itself. We humans tend to ignore it totally. Instead, we solidify that perception into a mental object. We paste a mental picture on it and we launch into a series of emotional and conceptual reactions to it. "There is that dog again. He is always barking at night. What a nuisance. Every night he is a real bother. Somebody should do something. Maybe I should call a cop. No, a dog catcher. So, I'll call the pound. No, maybe I'll just write a real nasty letter to the guy who owns that dog. No, too much trouble. I'll just get an ear plug." They are just perceptual and mental habits. You learn to respond this way as a child by copying the perceptual habits of those around you. These perceptual responses are not inherent in the structure of the nervous system. The circuits are there. But this is not the only way that our mental machinery can be used. That which has been learned can be unlearned. The first step is to realize what you are doing, as you are doing it, and stand back and quietly watch.


And of course Richard thinks the state in which apperception is prolonged is learned, directly analogous to what Bhante G said:

Richard:
When the original moment of apperceptiveness is rapidly passed over it is the purpose of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ to accustom one to prolong that moment of apperceptiveness – a sensuous awareness bereft of feeling content – so that uninterrupted apperception can eventuate.


Other changes Richard made I generally find insignificant, tangential, merely changes in emphasis, etc.


EDIT:

Bhante G:
You start to hear the lovely complex patterns, and they are turned into scintillating electronic stimulations within the nervous system. The process is beautiful and fulfilling in itself. We humans tend to ignore it totally. Instead, we solidify that perception into a mental object. We paste a mental picture on it and we launch into a series of emotional and conceptual reactions to it...

[NOTE: THIS IS THE VERY NEXT PARAGRAPH]

From the Buddhist perspective, we humans have a backward view of life. We look at what is actually the cause of suffering and we see it as happiness. The cause of suffering is that desire- aversion syndrome which we spoke of earlier. Up pops a perception. It could be anything--a beautiful girl, a handsome guy, speed boat, thug with a gun, truck bearing down on you, anything. Whatever it is, the very next thing we do is to react to the stimulus with a feeling about it.


Look how blithe he is about sometimes using feeling-words and sometimes using mental-words to describe the very same process!

(This is from Chapter 3 of Mindfulness in Plain English, by the way. Forgot to cite earlier.)
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 10/26/12 10:36 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam . .:
Hey claudiu, do I understand correctly that your basic position is that mindfulness works to get rid of mental stuff which is overlaid on 'feeling' stuff and that it is inferior because, though it gets rid of one layer of suffering it fails to get rid of the deeper, feeling level of suffering?

Yea essentially it leaves the root cause there (the feeling-being), although it does seem to seriously disarm it.

Adam . .:
this conflicts with my experience because if there is no concept of whatever object and no mental judgement and processing of it in a reactive way there is no way for affective feelings to arise. it seems clear to me that the mind has to understand what something is and whether it likes or dislikes something before a reaction of any kind can take place.

That's true, if you can't recognize something, then you can't react to it. So, what sounds more appealing to you: a process wherein you slowly become incapable of recognizing things in order to prevent you from reacting to them, or a process wherein you eliminate the root cause of suffering and are then freely capable of recognizing whatever and using your mental capacities to their fullest without harming that remaining peace one bit?

For example, I recall that on a recent DhO post Nikolai said his equanimity was disturbed (my words) around exam-time because he had to use more thoughts than usual. He also indicated a few times a preference of no thought, for example.

Adam . .:
given this model of feeling being at the root of all this stuff, what is your explanation for people who are not actually free in your opinion but who also report no affective feelings?

My understanding is they have seriously changed the way their brains work in a way that does make it impossible (or nearly impossible) for the usual affective feelings to arise, but they haven't eliminated the feeling-being, so their state is still fundamentally affective in some way. Being that the psyche depends on the feeling-being, this was a clear recent example Nikolai's state is fundamentally affective (given he can still manifest psychic phenomena), for example (from KFD):

October 4, 2012:
OWEN: Hey Everybody, I'd like to get a sense of how many of the folks here have reliable access to the PL jhanas. If you fit this, can you reply in this thread? Just curious.
NIKOLAI: I can sill fabricate them a will
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 10/26/12 11:09 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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End in Sight:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
1) "What do you mean by 'beautiful'? An affective appreciation?"


Does the dictionary definition not clarify things?

I meant, that is what I would ask the hypothetical actualist who would have written that to me. Dictionary definitions are useful starting points, but what's important is what the person really means when they use the word.

End in Sight:
How do you know that Bhante G's use of "mental" words are not indicating the same thing as Richard's use of "feeling" words?

There are various ways I can approach this question, but I don't think I can write it out in one post which will explicate it in precisely the right way for you to get what I am saying. If Richard's correspondence history is anything to go by, hardly any people at all got what he was saying via solely the written word using forums/emails. So I'll suggest again that we meet up in person or have a Skype chat or something as I think we'll be more likely to get something out of that.

You were quite insightful in pointing out that this was the fundamental thing, and we've made some progress in that you at least had the thought "these different words must be referring to different things!", but, this being the fundamental topic, I think we need a more interactive back-and-forth type format to make progress.
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago at 10/26/12 5:57 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Hey dude, sorry I haven't replied to your email yet but my interwebs were cut off till tonight. I'll reply to you properly via there but there's something I wanted to mention in the meantime regarding the word "fabrication".

OWEN: Hey Everybody, I'd like to get a sense of how many of the folks here have reliable access to the PL jhanas. If you fit this, can you reply in this thread? Just curious.
NIKOLAI: I can sill fabricate them a will

BC:
Being that the psyche depends on the feeling-being, this was a clear recent example Nikolai's state is fundamentally affective (given he can still manifest psychic phenomena)

Assuming that Nikolai is using the word "fabricate" (as well as "fabrication") in the same, specific way that I'd use it, and the way it appears to be used in the Dependent Origination and 5 Aggregates models, I wouldn't consider it to be related to "psychic phenomena" but I can see how it could be interpreted that way.

The word psychic is defined as: (adj) Of, relating to, affecting, or influenced by the human mind or psyche; mental: psychic trauma; psychic energy, as well as: 2.a. Capable of extraordinary mental processes, such as extrasensory perception and mental telepathy. b. Of or relating to such mental processes.

When I use the word "fabrication", I'm not talking about any of what's mentioned in that definition. It's true that spiritual or mystical experience is fabricated, but in the way I understand the word "fabricated", so is everything else since they're all built from the same five aggregates and are dependent on each other to be experienced at all. Long story, probably too Buddhisty...lol

Tommy:
This is where it gets a bit more difficult to describe 'cause what's required isn't really imagination, at least not in the sense it's used normally, but the ability to fabricate sensory experience. I don't really know how to describe it well enough yet 'cause I'm still getting used to it and getting to grips with the basics, but it's more about intent and malleability of mind as far as I can see so far.

Like I said, I'll reply to your email privately but I know you mentioned this quote and hope you don't mind my responding, in part at least, to something you asked which I think may be relevant to this discussion.

This isn't like imagining or visualizing something, and although concentration is required it's definitely not anything like hitting 4th jhana or getting into an altered state of consciousness in any way. It's really hard to describe without it sounding like something it's not, and I know that may seem like some sort of subtle attempt at avoiding a more detailed explanation but I can assure you it's not. What Richard has mentioned about exchanging or transferring heat with Vineeto (I can't recall where I read this now actually, but I definitely remember it being mentioned somewhere) sounds very much like an example of the sort of things I'm talking about when discussing tummo. I'd need to find the actual post or article where that heat-transference thing was mentioned before I could go into more detail.

Speak to you soon : )
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 10/26/12 6:20 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Tommy M:
Hey dude, sorry I haven't replied to your email yet but my interwebs were cut off till tonight. I'll reply to you properly via there but there's something I wanted to mention in the meantime regarding the word "fabrication".

No worries, thanks fer joining in!

It seems like we've got to get our vocabulary straight!
Tommy M:
When I use the word "fabrication", I'm not talking about any of what's mentioned in that definition. It's true that spiritual or mystical experience is fabricated, but in the way I understand the word "fabricated", so is everything else since they're all built from the same five aggregates and are dependent on each other to be experienced at all. Long story, probably too Buddhisty...lol

Well if everything is fabricated then the word 'fabricated' ceases to be very useful for communication, doesn't it? It no longer differentiates anything.

What Nikolai said in his post there is that he can enter a pure land jhana, which is not only an altered state of consciousness but also a relatively lofty one as far as these go in the KFD system, only attainable after much work with good levels of concentration. The way I was using the word 'psychic', I meant this ability to concentrate and to enter altered states of consciousness. As I understand it, both of those things are impossible without an affective faculty, because both of those (meditative concentration and the altered states one enters with it) are affective phenomena. I used Nikolai's quote as an example to show that although he doesn't report affective feelings anymore, his state of being is definitely affective in nature, albeit an affect of such a different quality that he has said multiple times that he cannot call it 'affect' any more.

Does that help clarify what I meant by 'psychic'? I didn't necessarily mean extrasensory perception or telepathy, although those are also psychic phenomena which concentration can help you attain. It would actually fit this part of the definition you gave: "influenced by the human mind or psyche".

Tommy M:
This isn't like imagining or visualizing something, and although concentration is required it's definitely not anything like hitting 4th jhana or getting into an altered state of consciousness in any way. It's really hard to describe without it sounding like something it's not, and I know that may seem like some sort of subtle attempt at avoiding a more detailed explanation but I can assure you it's not. What Richard has mentioned about exchanging or transferring heat with Vineeto (I can't recall where I read this now actually, but I definitely remember it being mentioned somewhere) sounds very much like an example of the sort of things I'm talking about when discussing tummo. I'd need to find the actual post or article where that heat-transference thing was mentioned before I could go into more detail.

I vaguely recall something like that, but wasn't able to find it quickly. If I recall correctly, though, Richard was talking about physical heat - as in, their bodies were warmer - whereas you seemed to be talking about a sense impression that did not correspond to your body actually being warmer, rather, just a sense impression arising in your mind. Did I misunderstand that?

However, as you say concentration is required, and as I understand it concentration is the basis of psychic power (I use the term loosely, including 'entering jhana' as a 'psychic power'), even if you're not entering a jhana, you're still doing something with your psyche, are you not? If the word 'psychic' is tripping us up then maybe we should stop using the word but come up with other words instead, because if we disagree about the definition then we'll spend time arguing about definitions instead of differences in what's actually happening.

Cheers,
- Claudiu
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 10/26/12 6:35 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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a process wherein you slowly become incapable of recognizing things in order to prevent you from reacting to them, or a process wherein you eliminate the root cause of suffering and are then freely capable of recognizing whatever and using your mental capacities to their fullest without harming that remaining peace one bit?


the second one sounds better, but the first is the most ridiculous strawman possible. it isn't that they lose the ability to recognize things, they've said over and over again that they maintain functionality, and i am sure you have seen this, and can only conclude that you are still totally unwilling to objectively discuss this stuff.
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago at 10/26/12 6:48 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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It seems like we've got to get our vocabulary straight!

Hell yeah! emoticon

Well if everything is fabricated then the word 'fabricated' ceases to be very useful for communication, doesn't it? It no longer differentiates anything.

Agreed. I'll have a think about a way to describe how it seems in my experience and see what comes of it.

What Nikolai said in his post there is that he can enter a pure land jhana, which is not only an altered state of consciousness but also a relatively lofty one as far as these go in the KFD system, only attainable after much work with good levels of concentration. The way I was using the word 'psychic', I meant this ability to concentrate and to enter altered states of consciousness. As I understand it, both of those things are impossible without an affective faculty, because both of those (meditative concentration and the altered states one enters with it) are affective phenomena. I used Nikolai's quote as an example to show that although he doesn't report affective feelings anymore, his state of being is definitely affective in nature, albeit an affect of such a different quality that he has said multiple times that he cannot call it 'affect' any more.

I see where you're coming from, yeah, and it'd be good if Nick could maybe comment on this as it could be useful. I'm just replying quickly here but, to cut to the chase, I don't consider jhana to be affective...more on this later.

It would actually fit this part of the definition you gave: "influenced by the human mind or psyche".

Oddly enough, I had actually written a paragraph on that very line but deleted it as I was going to leave it for when I mailed you. Basically, I think we need to really break down what we mean by "human mind" and consider that a "mind" experienced non-affectively might be better described in other ways. It's not that someone without affect is no longer human, obviously, but certain fundamental changes have taken place in the functioning of that persons brain which causes it to process information in subtly, and also not-so-subtly different ways to the average joe.

I vaguely recall something like that, but wasn't able to find it quickly. If I recall correctly, though, Richard was talking about physical heat - as in, their bodies were warmer - whereas you seemed to be talking about a sense impression that did not correspond to your body actually being warmer, rather, just a sense impression arising in your mind. Did I misunderstand that?

Yeah, you've misunderstood but I should have made it clearer anyway. What I described as having experienced the other night was very much a physical heat, but with a different sort of quality to it which I can't describe without it sounding like something else. My trousers were noticeably warmer as if a warm iron had been placed on them and the area from the "sweet spot" to just below my stomach was warm to the touch. I'm open to the possibility that it may have been imagined or that I may be deluding myself here as I wasn't able to have someone else objectively verify whether or not there was actually a change in heat, but all I can say is that this is very much a physical experience.

...if we disagree about the definition then we'll spend time arguing about definitions instead of differences in what's actually happening.

Totally. Good to see you back on the boards, broseph!
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 10/26/12 6:53 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam . .:
d) Bah...


:] you seem a discerning guy when it comes to the mind its well-being, even Richard called you 'very sincere' or something like that. out of curiosity and a respect for much of what you say, do you still practice anything yourself? I apologize if I am mis-assigning this vague paraphrase but do you still think that buddhism and actualism highlight subtle aspects of suffering which would normally not be a problem unless they are made into one?


Well... not exactly, but it touches on something I do believe is true. I think in the realm of the mind & heart, what we find is often an artefact of the way we've chosen to look. If it's not actually created by the looking process, it's inextricably linked with it and conditioned by it. Once clued in to this, you can consciously experiment with what was previously only implicit... and that becomes a form of practice in itself. Views can be used creatively, and implicit ones can be recognised and deconstructed... for effect ... rather than being assumptions about 'The Way Things Actually Are'. That's what I believe "skillful means" is really all about.

So ... yes, I do still practice... although it's more of a general orientation than a fixed set of specific, precisely targeted techniques. (I have nothing against the latter though; they certainly have their place).

Cheers,
Jack.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 10/26/12 6:55 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam . .:
a process wherein you slowly become incapable of recognizing things in order to prevent you from reacting to them, or a process wherein you eliminate the root cause of suffering and are then freely capable of recognizing whatever and using your mental capacities to their fullest without harming that remaining peace one bit?


the second one sounds better, but the first is the most ridiculous strawman possible. it isn't that they lose the ability to recognize things, they've said over and over again that they maintain functionality, and i am sure you have seen this, and can only conclude that you are still totally unwilling to objectively discuss this stuff.


Hmm, I wasn't making a straw-man, I was just referring to something you said: "it seems clear to me that the mind has to understand what something is and whether it likes or dislikes something before a reaction of any kind can take place." From the way that was phrased, it seemed to me that you were advocating preventing the mind from understanding what something is so that it's then impossible for a reaction to take place. I wasn't referring to anyone in particular when I made that statement. Maybe we should start over?
Adam Bieber, modified 10 Years ago at 10/26/12 7:01 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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End In Sight,

yes, I see your point. Thank you.
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 10/26/12 9:51 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Ok, i guess i can see how you would have assumed that... but I didn't say a word about soteriology, just the mechanism by which suffering arises.

I'll try again. There has to be understanding prior to 'reaction,' after the raw, meaningless sensation there has to be some understanding, processing and judgement. If there is a mental judgement that something is bad, then there arises a feeling in the body. It wouldn't make any sense whatsoever to argue that somehow the conscious experience of affect occurs before one even knows how one is going to react. Do you agree with this so far? In summary: one has to know what something is, and also, based on instinct and memory judge it as good as bad before a reaction of desire and aversion in the body can occur.

Given that "I am my feelings" this must mean that "I" arises after or as this process of mental judgement. Now, unless you believe that there is a ghost who falls out of your ear once you become actually free, getting rid of the "I" means getting rid of the mental function of (emotional) judgement.

Hey claudiu, do I understand correctly that your basic position is that mindfulness works to get rid of mental stuff which is overlaid on 'feeling' stuff and that it is inferior because, though it gets rid of one layer of suffering it fails to get rid of the deeper, feeling level of suffering?


Assuming that you still agree with the above quote, what exactly is mindfulness getting rid of and what exactly is it leaving in the process of reaction as described above?
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 10/26/12 10:13 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam . .:
Ok, i guess i can see how you would have assumed that... but I didn't say a word about soteriology, just the mechanism by which suffering arises.

Alrighty. I do try to be reasonable ya know! But I am not infallible. Glad we are continuing to talk.

Adam . .:
I'll try again. There has to be understanding prior to 'reaction,' after the raw, meaningless sensation there has to be some understanding, processing and judgement. If there is a mental judgement that something is bad, then there arises a feeling in the body. It wouldn't make any sense whatsoever to argue that somehow the conscious experience of affect occurs before one even knows how one is going to react. Do you agree with this so far? In summary: one has to know what something is, and also, based on instinct and memory judge it as good as bad before a reaction of desire and aversion in the body can occur.

Ah this might be an important point. As far as I can tell, the mental evaluation of a situation only occurs after the affective reaction has already begun. That is, it is a delayed reaction. Firstly there is the raw sensory input. Secondly there is the subconscious/intuitive irrational non-mental affective reaction. Thirdly there is the mental evaluation of the situation, which by then is already heavily gripped by the affective reaction. Thus, you do not know what something is intellectually, in a capacity to make a reasonable judgement, until your emotional self has already begun reacting to it. That is an instinctual reaction, though. The instincts judge the stimulus pre-cognitively. This is precisely what Richard went to great lengths to emphasize in his rewrite of Bhante G's article, as Bhante G does not make this important distinction, but rather blurs the line between mental intellectual judgement and emotional instinctive judgement.

You can see this in your own experience easily. Ever been startled by something? Your heart rate is pumping before you even know what happened. This has also been apparently verified experimentally Joseph LeDoux, but I haven't verified that for myself, only read the report on the AFT about it (for example, as seen here).

Adam . .:
Given that "I am my feelings" this must mean that "I" arises after or as this process of mental judgement. Now, unless you believe that there is a ghost who falls out of your ear once you become actually free, getting rid of the "I" means getting rid of the mental function of (emotional) judgement.

Ha, that is precisely what happens. Being that affect arises pre-cognitively, this "I" (the feeling-being) arises after this process of mental judgement. When you become actually free, this feeling-being disappears entirely - a ghost falling out of your ear, so to speak. You don't get rid of any mental (cognitive) function, here, only an affective one. Mental judgement continues perfectly unimpeded, going by Richard & Vineeto & others' reports, anyway.

Adam . .:
Hey claudiu, do I understand correctly that your basic position is that mindfulness works to get rid of mental stuff which is overlaid on 'feeling' stuff and that it is inferior because, though it gets rid of one layer of suffering it fails to get rid of the deeper, feeling level of suffering?


Assuming that you still agree with the above quote, what exactly is mindfulness getting rid of and what exactly is it leaving in the process of reaction as described above?

It is leaving in the affective feeling-being, but suppressing it via very intense, diligent and painstaking practice. Thus any time it would arise and proliferate wildly, instead one's mind is trained to watch it and drop it immediately. This isn't perfect, though, and requires a lot of attention, which is why thoughts apparently mess with that state to some degree - hence Bhante G describing the ideal state as one of no thought.

Does that help to clarify things?
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 1:01 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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You are splitting the functions of the brain/nervous system into two parts - the "mental" and the "affective," correct? In your description of what happens, the brain takes in raw sensation, processes it, and reacts to it, after this reaction the processing which has already occurred is made conscious and then intention comes into the picture and we have some means to think about and respond to a situation though we are already emotionally reacting. If this is the case, and affect arises entirely through processes outside of conscious control, how could one begin to alter those processes? I think you weaken Richard's argument here. He describes the processes of his own mind differently as illustrated by this quote

These eyes instantly shift from admiring the dun-coloured cows in a field nearby and are looking downward to the front and see the green and black snake, coiling up on the road in readiness to act, which had not only occasioned the abrupt halt but, it is discovered, had initiated a rapid step backwards ... an instinctive response which, had the instinctual passions that are the identity been in situ, could very well have triggered off freeze-fight-flee chemicals.

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/abditorium/autonomicreflexes.htm

Ok, so clearly there is some operation of the brain here that caused Richard to abruptly halt, he didn't even discover this until after he had done it. The brain had to have subconsciously recognized that it was a snake, and accessed his memory (baby Richard probably wouldn't have known to move back). The difference between what he did and what most people do then, must be an absence of some process of the brain which normally occurs between startle response and rational understanding. This process seems to be the target of both actualism and buddhism, it is a belief or set of beliefs of some kind which conditions the brain's processing, probably ignorance of the fact that a separate identity (which must be preserved) doesn't exist.

It is leaving in the affective feeling-being, but suppressing it via very intense, diligent and painstaking practice.


Does this seem to match anyone's experience at all? We should avoid Nikolai as an example, because he doesn't claim that he is not finished with his path, but people such as Tarin, who you have previously said you think is not actually free, doesn't report that any effort whatsoever is required to maintain his state and that he has not noticed a single affective experience since he became actually free.

John Wilde's comments make me think that perhaps this is unclear and I didn't spend enough time on it, Claudiu if you don't understand what I am getting at, let me know and I will rewrite this.
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 10/26/12 10:39 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Ah this might be an important point. As far as I can tell, the mental evaluation of a situation only occurs after the affective reaction has already begun. That is, it is a delayed reaction. Firstly there is the raw sensory input. Secondly there is the subconscious/intuitive irrational non-mental affective reaction. Thirdly there is the mental evaluation of the situation, which by then is already heavily gripped by the affective reaction. Thus, you do not know what something is intellectually, in a capacity to make a reasonable judgement, until your emotional self has already begun reacting to it.


In Buddhism , this process is already mentioned in the 12 links of DO

Phassa > Vedana > (1)Tanha > Upadana > (2)Bhava > Jati
(1)(Richard's "my feelings") (2)(Richard's "I" or "me" making)

Buddhism just says that "I" am dependent on "my feelings" which I think is much more logical
rather than directly asuming that "I" am "my feelings"

Richard assumes that because "my feelings" are present , so "I" is present and when "my feelings"
are absent so "I" is absent , so this means "I" am "my feelings. This has a fundamental mathematical
flaw - Just as when there is light, there is shadow and when there is no light, there is no shadow,
this does not mean light = shadow and similarly, just as when there is "my feelings" , there is "I"
and when there is no "my feelings" , there is no "I" , this does not mean that I = my feelings.


Shadow is dependent on Light.
I is dependent on my feelings.
Shadow is not equal to Light.
I is not equal to my feelings.
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 12:05 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam . .:
You are splitting the functions of the brain/nervous system into two parts - the "mental" and the "affective," correct? In your description of what happens, the brain takes in raw sensation, processes it, and reacts to it, after this reaction the processing which has already occurred is made conscious and then intention comes into the picture and we have some means to think about and respond to a situation though we are already emotionally reacting. If this is the case, and affect arises entirely through processes outside of conscious control, how could one begin to alter those processes? I think you weaken Richard's argument here. He describes the processes of his own mind differently as illustrated by this quote <snip>


I think snake example might muddy the waters a bit because the startle response is controlled by an even more primitive pre-affective part of the brain. The difference between Richard and a normal person in this (special) case was not the absence of something intervening between the startle response and the action, but rather the absence of an affective response that would normally come after the startle response.

In other words, the startle reflex is a special case: it does precede affect.

Cheers,
Jack.
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 12:02 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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No matter whether affect precedes cognition in the raw perception process, I'd wager that the vast majority of actual suffering and strife between people is based more on the cognitive appraisal of a situation than the immediate affective responses following sensory perception. After the initial split second of perception, affect and cognition are feeding back into each other continually.

Either eliminating affect or changing some aspect of the cognitive response would (in theory) end the suffering and strife. The affective solution is radical and takes away a great deal (empathy, imagination, the whole spectrum of emotion, possible transpersonal aspects of mind, the entire collective psyche), but is permanent and (in theory) requires no maintenance thereafter. The non-affective solutions are less radical but (in theory) more fallible; they leave your ordinary human faculties intact, but they (probably always) require some maintenance (morality, mindfulness).

To my mind, there's no single best choice for everyone. The ways of the latter are manifold, but they all depend on how well one can identify and deal with whatever makes us (automatically, pre-reflectively) appraise situations in ways that cause suffering. If it can be done effectively without taking out large parts of our psychic / intuitive / affective / imaginative capabilities, to me that's better than the erasure / deletion of large parts of our humanity.

Work in progress ;-)
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 12:57 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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John I think you misread me

what i said:
The difference between what he did and what most people do then, must be an absence of some process of the brain which normally occurs between startle response and rational understanding.


I said what you said, that the missing aspect was between the startle response and the rational thinking about the event. (thus after the startle response and before rational thought)

what you said:
but rather the absence of an affective response that would normally come after the startle response.


Right. startle -> affect -> rational thought
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 12:57 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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To my mind, there's no single best choice for everyone. The ways of the latter are manifold, but they all depend on how well one can identify and deal with whatever makes us (automatically, pre-reflectively) appraise situations in ways that cause suffering. If it can be done effectively without taking out large parts of our psychic / intuitive / affective / imaginative capabilities, to me that's better than the erasure / deletion of large parts of our humanity.


This is somewhat aside from the question at hand of whether or not buddhism and actualism are the same, you seem to have assumed that they are different in your response.

The non-affective solutions are less radical but (in theory) more fallible; they leave your ordinary human faculties intact, but they (probably always) require some maintenance (morality, mindfulness).


You seem to have implied that buddhism is the less radical, more fallible method and that it requires morality and mindfulness to maintain it. This doesn't seem to fit with the pali suttas, where the precepts (which are arguably not treated as intrinsically of moral worth) are suggested as a way to maintain mindfulness for those on the path, which isn't a way of maintaining a certain way of being but achieving the permanent riddance of the defilements and an irreversibly different way of being.
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 1:19 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam . .:
John I think you misread me

what i said:
The difference between what he did and what most people do then, must be an absence of some process of the brain which normally occurs between startle response and rational understanding.


I said what you said, that the missing aspect was between the startle response and the rational thinking about the event. (thus after the startle response and before rational thought)

what you said:
but rather the absence of an affective response that would normally come after the startle response.


Right. startle -> affect -> rational thought


OK, with you now.
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 1:53 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam . .:
To my mind, there's no single best choice for everyone. The ways of the latter are manifold, but they all depend on how well one can identify and deal with whatever makes us (automatically, pre-reflectively) appraise situations in ways that cause suffering. If it can be done effectively without taking out large parts of our psychic / intuitive / affective / imaginative capabilities, to me that's better than the erasure / deletion of large parts of our humanity.


This is somewhat aside from the question at hand of whether or not buddhism and actualism are the same, you seem to have assumed that they are different in your response.

The non-affective solutions are less radical but (in theory) more fallible; they leave your ordinary human faculties intact, but they (probably always) require some maintenance (morality, mindfulness).


You seem to have implied that buddhism is the less radical, more fallible method and that it requires morality and mindfulness to maintain it. This doesn't seem to fit with the pali suttas, where the precepts (which are arguably not treated as intrinsically of moral worth) are suggested as a way to maintain mindfulness for those on the path, which isn't a way of maintaining a certain way of being but achieving the permanent riddance of the defilements and an irreversibly different way of being.


OK, to be more explicit: Yes, I am assuming that actualism and buddhism are different. Whether I look at living exemplars or look into the pali suttas, I see marked differences between them.

I do agree that buddhism aims at the permanent riddance of defilements and an irreversibly different way of being, and I know it's capable of inducing such changes. But I don't have good reason to believe (either from living examplars or from the suttas) that buddhism deletes exactly the same things that "actual freedom" deletes. To my mind, they're different paths to a different end.

My comments about requiring maintenance were based on the difference between any cognitive-affective solution (whether buddhist or other) and a no-affect solution to the problem of suffering and strife. My own view is that the vast majority of suffering can be eradicated without eliminating the capacity for affect; but on the other hand I have to acknowledge that while ever there is the capacity for affect there is the potential for trouble. (Not meant as any sort of absolute truth, just a pragmatic, down-to-earth observation that's likely to be true for most of us).

Cheers,
Jack.
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 3:41 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Ok jack, I disagree about difference between the two, but me and Claudiu can have that particular discussion assuming you are disinterested in going further! Really I am becoming less and less interested in either ism and am really just interested in clean-perceptionism.

As for the comment about 'the vast majority of suffering' I'd say you are probably right in one sense, it all depends what the person involved wants. I am personally not willing to accept anything less than perfectly clean perception and I can think of nothing I wouldn't sacrifice for it. Most people are content with what they have and who is to say they are 'wrong' really.

I think their opinion is derived from an ignorance of what is possible or an unwillingness to acknowledge the precarious nature of their own state. As I think you were alluding to in your previous post, it has a lot to do with what one chooses to label as a 'problem.' If you label something as a problem it may cause suffering, but that is not to say that the thing being labeled isn't intrinsically painful. People thus, out of ignorance of what is possible will minimize their suffering by trying to not label it as a problem, but it is still intrinsically painful. Another way to look at it though is as a dependable in addition to merely potent form of happiness which changes the equation a bit, and drastically more so if you believe in rebirth. Anyways good luck with your practice/ non-practice!
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 4:03 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 4:01 AM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam . .:
Ok jack, I disagree about difference between the two, but me and Claudiu can have that particular discussion assuming you are disinterested in going further! Really I am becoming less and less interested in either ism and am really just interested in clean-perceptionism.

As for the comment about 'the vast majority of suffering' I'd say you are probably right in one sense, it all depends what the person involved wants. I am personally not willing to accept anything less than perfectly clean perception and I can think of nothing I wouldn't sacrifice for it. Most people are content with what they have and who is to say they are 'wrong' really.

I think their opinion is derived from an ignorance of what is possible or an unwillingness to acknowledge the precarious nature of their own state. As I think you were alluding to in your previous post, it has a lot to do with what one chooses to label as a 'problem.' If you label something as a problem it may cause suffering, but that is not to say that the thing being labeled isn't intrinsically painful. People thus, out of ignorance of what is possible will minimize their suffering by trying to not label it as a problem, but it is still intrinsically painful. Another way to look at it though is as a dependable in addition to merely potent form of happiness which changes the equation a bit, and drastically more so if you believe in rebirth. Anyways good luck with your practice/ non-practice!


Thanks Adam, and good luck with your clean-perceptionism ;-)

It's perhaps not surprising, given the company I keep online, that so many conversations over the years have ended up in precisely this place. Essentially it comes down to this: Q: Does feeling per se constitute suffering? A: Me: No. Other person: Yes. Or: Q: Does freedom from suffering necessarily entail absence of all potential for feeling? A: Me: No. Other person: Yes.

Each to his own, I guess!

Please forgive me if I'm misunderstanding or misrepresenting or exaggerating your position; it's just the inference I draw from expressions like "[nothing] less than perfectly clean perception" and "intrinsically painful". I know many people in this forum can relate to what you're saying, but somehow I can't .... because for me feeling and suffering are two very different things, albeit related in some ways.

What I most definitely can relate to, though, is something Jill wrote (which Stian, I think, quoted the other day), about "perception [having] cleared up in the way that I always wanted it to".

Here's to all flavours of clean-perceptionism! ;-)

Cheers,
Jack.
Change A, modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 11:04 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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John Wilde:
I think snake example might muddy the waters a bit because the startle response is controlled by an even more primitive pre-affective part of the brain. The difference between Richard and a normal person in this (special) case was not the absence of something intervening between the startle response and the action, but rather the absence of an affective response that would normally come after the startle response.

In other words, the startle reflex is a special case: it does precede affect.


I think that the snake example clears the water rather than muddle it. This example clearly shows that Richard still gets startled and so Actualism practice isn't potent enough to do anything about it. On the other hand Vajrayana practices are potent enough to stop the startle reflex as evidenced by the tests conducted on Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard. And Ricard considers himself just an average practitioner whereas Richard considers himself as the progenitor of Actualism.

In your earlier post, you said that affective solution is more radical than non-affective solutions. But startle solution is even more radical than an affective one.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 12:12 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Change A.:
John Wilde:
I think snake example might muddy the waters a bit because the startle response is controlled by an even more primitive pre-affective part of the brain. The difference between Richard and a normal person in this (special) case was not the absence of something intervening between the startle response and the action, but rather the absence of an affective response that would normally come after the startle response.

In other words, the startle reflex is a special case: it does precede affect.


I think that the snake example clears the water rather than muddle it. This example clearly shows that Richard still gets startled and so Actualism practice isn't potent enough to do anything about it. On the other hand Vajrayana practices are potent enough to stop the startle reflex as evidenced by the tests conducted on Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard. And Ricard considers himself just an average practitioner whereas Richard considers himself as the progenitor of Actualism.

In your earlier post, you said that affective solution is more radical than non-affective solutions. But startle solution is even more radical than an affective one.

What I find interesting about those two is that in Matthieu's case, he did not have a physical startle reflex (he didn't flinch), yet his blood and heart rate still spiked as if he was startled (fight-flight-freeze chemicals still were pumped into his body), whereas in Richard's case, he had a physical startle reflex (he did step back), yet his blood and heart rate did not spike (no fight-flight-freeze chemicals were pumped into his body).
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Bruno Loff, modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 12:31 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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In mathematics there is this concept called isomorphism. One says that two structures are isomorphic if they are equal up to a re-labeling of the objects. If this happens, then the functional relationship among the various objects that compose the structure is the same, and hence the two isomorphic structures can be thought of as being the exact same thing.

For instance, duck could replace a certain "word X" in this sentence with the word 'duck', and duck would be sure that most people reading it would have no problem knowing which word duck replaced. If duck had taken someone else's text, and replaced every occurrence of "word X" with the word 'duck,' and if someone were to paraphrase both texts phrase by phrase, claiming that they are very different because whenever "word X" appears it has been replaced by "duck," then one could simply point out that both texts are, in a certain sense, isomorphic, and hence just basing on the text alone one could not possibly discern any difference.

Hence whichever difference exists in between Bhante's and Richard's doctrines, it can not possibly be discerned through this text alone. One would need to actually know both of these people, in order to discern how their behavior and atitudes differ and how that relates to the doctrine of each, and then one might have a chance at really understanding whether they are talking about the same thing or different things. In order to discern which of their doctrines is superior, duck things that it would be necessary to know both of these men, and know them very well, as well as many people whom have followed each doctrine.

Of course, if one has already made up one's mind before seeing the evidence, or if one is willing to forgo evidence altogether (*wink* *wink*), then it becomes much easier to "see" whatever one already decided must be the case. Without a scientific attitude, the way we view the world is merely a reflection of our worldview.
Change A, modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 12:43 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
What I find interesting about those two is that in Matthieu's case, he did not have a physical startle reflex (he didn't flinch), yet his blood and heart rate still spiked as if he was startled (fight-flight-freeze chemicals still were pumped into his body), whereas in Richard's case, he had a physical startle reflex (he did step back), yet his blood and heart rate did not spike (no fight-flight-freeze chemicals were pumped into his body).


You are talking about the open-state test where his blood pressure and heart rate did spike. In the one-pointed concentration, there was a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure.

Richard wasn't wired to any apparatus which would measure his facial muscles, heart rate or blood pressure. Neither is he willing to undergo any testing which would confirm any of his unsubstantiated claims. He just gives a stupid reason for it that he doesn't want to be a guinea pig.

Also, Richard has been observed to panic among a large crowd. He has also been reported to be lot more imaginative whereas he claims otherwise.
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 1:52 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 1:25 PM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Here are some somewhat related thoughts:

John Wilde:
No matter whether affect precedes cognition in the raw perception process, I'd wager that the vast majority of actual suffering and strife between people is based more on the cognitive appraisal of a situation than the immediate affective responses following sensory perception. After the initial split second of perception, affect and cognition are feeding back into each other continually.

Either eliminating affect or changing some aspect of the cognitive response would (in theory) end the suffering and strife. The affective solution is radical and takes away a great deal (empathy, imagination, the whole spectrum of emotion, possible transpersonal aspects of mind, the entire collective psyche), but is permanent and (in theory) requires no maintenance thereafter. The non-affective solutions are less radical but (in theory) more fallible; they leave your ordinary human faculties intact, but they (probably always) require some maintenance (morality, mindfulness).

(...)

Work in progress ;-)

I like this work-in-progress model. I agree with one caveat: going by my reading there seems to be states and stages that are utterly beyond the scope of pragmatic buddhism. I don't know much about this, but these states and stages seems to transcend 'normal' human experience to mind-blowing degrees and goes way beyond 'merely' no-affect. Not something I care to investigate too deeply at the moment - the PCE (or whatever it is that I sometimes experience) is Good Enough(tm) for me.

---

Here's something I wrote a little while back:

Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
(from the thread Attentiveness to Sensuousness)
Consider this crude model:

Sensing -> cognition -> affection -> ...

I think this is the model most of us are currently operating by, either consciously or unconsciously. From the conversation with Claudiu, and reading up on it on the AFT site, it is clear to me that Richard operates with a different model:

Sensing -> affection -> cognition -> ...

Considering only this, it is clear that the two models calls for different approaches for ending suffering.

Actualism, as I now understand it, is about engaging the affective faculty to it's fullest in a felicitous way. And it is NOT about sensory clarity, though that seems to be the result of the practice.


---

Here's an excerpt from recent notes:

Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
Actualism prescribes felicity while Buddhism[1] prescribes equanimity. Both practices 'bootstrap' the liberation process with an approach aimed at relating to experiencing in a specific way rather than naked experience. A parallel to this would be "using words to point beyond words". AF happens when one transcends the prescribed means - when purposely generated affect is left behind in favor of non-affect.

See that last sentence? What happens if you swap "AF" with "Enlightenment", "affect" with "equanimity" and "non-affect" with "non-fashioning" (see this link, especially paragraph 8, 9 & 11)?

EDIT:
I'm not suggesting Actualism == Buddhism, AF == Enlightenment, affect == equanimity or non-affect == non-fashioning.

Many reactions to Actualism comes from believing that "feel happy, as much as you can" is an unwise thing to do. Why, really, is that an unwise thing to do? In fact, when you look at what I commented above, it is clear that Buddhism[1] is advocating the same kind of attitude! Actualism says: "when you feel bad, stop that, and feel good instead". Buddhism says: "when you feel bad or good, stop that, and feel equanimous instead". They are both suggesting that one stay somewhat 'untrue'[2] to what is actually appearing in experience (most importantly the reactionary parts) - not as the end itself, but as a means to the end. Not to mention all the different synonyms for joy and pleasure mentioned in lists like "Factors of Enlightenment" and similar requirements and lists.

Have a good look at the last link and especially that whole "relying on this, to give up that"-thing.


[1] I don't really know what to write instead of Buddhism, though it's clear to me that I am making a great, sweeping generalization here.
[2] I'm sure I'm gonna get some flak for this. What I mean here is that from a practical down-to-earth perspective something should be done about our current sufferful situation.
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 9:38 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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One would need to actually know both of these people, in order to discern how their behavior and atitudes differ and how that relates to the doctrine of each, and then one might have a chance at really understanding whether they are talking about the same thing or different things. In order to discern which of their doctrines is superior, duck things that it would be necessary to know both of these men, and know them very well, as well as many people whom have followed each doctrine.


100 thumbs up to this Bruno !..this is what I've been saying all along..the proof of the pudding is in the eating..without
directly interacting with these 2 people , we will just be theorising forever
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 11:01 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 10:22 PM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Shashank Dixit:

100 thumbs up to this Bruno !..this is what I've been saying all along..the proof of the pudding is in the eating..without
directly interacting with these 2 people , we will just be theorising forever


Even then, a lot depends on the nature and duration of the interaction.

I do think it's possible to distinguish between what people are teaching if you compare a large enough body of their works. Taking a few suttas and actualist articles in isolation might create impressions of a significant overlap, or even equivalence, but if you look at the larger body of work you would (I think) find more differences than similarities.

Aside from all that: I think if your own development depends very heavily on what another person is or is not, or whether that person's claims about his or her experience are true and accurate, or how that person interacts with other people, it's a pretty good indication that you're going in the wrong direction anyway. Advice is fine, techniques are fine, but the real test is how any practice or attainment manifests in your own life, and how the people around you are affected by it.

[Edit: using 'you' in the general/impersonal sense, as a substitute for 'one'].
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 10:45 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 10:45 PM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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John Wilde:
Shashank Dixit:

100 thumbs up to this Bruno !..this is what I've been saying all along..the proof of the pudding is in the eating..without
directly interacting with these 2 people , we will just be theorising forever


Even then, a lot depends on the nature and duration of the interaction.

I do think it's possible to distinguish between what people are teaching if you compare a large body of their works. Taking a few suttas and actualist articles in isolation might create impressions of a significant overlap, or even equivalence, but if you look at the larger body of work you would (I think) find more differences than similarities.

Aside from all that: I think if your own development depends very heavily on what another person is or is not, or whether that person's claims about his or her experience are true and accurate, or how that person interacts with other people, it's a pretty good indication that you're going in the wrong direction anyway. Advice is fine, techniques are fine, but the real test is how it manifests in your own life, and how the people around you are affected by it.


I already know from my own practise that Actualism and Buddhism are different.
When I say interact with these people , I mean directly getting point blank answers from them regarding
this question :- Are you suffering ?

Unfortunately Bhante G (and all monks) will not directly talk about his own experience(due to Patimokkha rules)
while Richard will admit he is not suffering. This is precisely where all the confusion is happening. Unless we
can hear directly from a practising Buddhist about his experience , we will never be able to settle the differences
between Actualism and Buddhism..without actual stats its all useless comparison imho

So in the end , yes you're right - its all about your own practise..rest all theory is useless if it does not make one
happier.
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 10:54 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 10:52 PM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Shashank Dixit:

When I say interact with these people , I mean directly getting point blank answers from them regarding
this question :- Are you suffering ?


And even then, you'd have to assume that the person is actually the best judge of their own mental state and motive, which isn't always the case.... especially when we're talking about radical shifts in mental functioning, major loss of faculties, and highly uncommon/idiosyncratic brain states, with definite psychiatric and possible neurological abnormalities underpinning or accompanying them.
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 11:04 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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John Wilde:
Shashank Dixit:

When I say interact with these people , I mean directly getting point blank answers from them regarding
this question :- Are you suffering ?


And even then, you'd have to assume that the person is actually the best judge of their own mental state and motive, which isn't always the case.... especially when we're talking about radical shifts in mental functioning, major loss of faculties, and highly uncommon/idiosyncratic brain states, with definite psychiatric and possible neurological abnormalities underpinning or accompanying them.


Indeed , you always have to take some things with a degree of 'faith' and then let the practise tell you whether
it holds.
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 11:07 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/27/12 11:07 PM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Shashank Dixit:

Indeed , you always have to take some things with a degree of 'faith' and then let the practise tell you whether
it holds.


Yes, I agree: you can provisionally accept it and treat it as a hypothesis to be tested... but only make the really big decisions based on what you know for sure from your own experience.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 12:02 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 12:02 AM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam . .:
You are splitting the functions of the brain/nervous system into two parts - the "mental" and the "affective," correct? In your description of what happens, the brain takes in raw sensation, processes it, and reacts to it, after this reaction the processing which has already occurred is made conscious and then intention comes into the picture and we have some means to think about and respond to a situation though we are already emotionally reacting. If this is the case, and affect arises entirely through processes outside of conscious control, how could one begin to alter those processes? I think you weaken Richard's argument here.

I don't think so. It is pretty evident, both when observing others and oneself, that emotions have a powerful influence on our thinking, but also that our thinking definitely has an influence on our emotions, albeit a less immediate/powerful one. If you are angry and you realize it's a good idea to calm down, you can do it, though it might take a while. There is a feedback mechanism back from the higher-level functions to the affective ones. Otherwise, you're right, it would be impossible to alter that process. Hey, meditation does this, too. The way emotions manifest in long-time meditators can be very different than in regular people. That's all a result of conscious effort undertaken intentionally.

Adam . .:
Ok, so clearly there is some operation of the brain here that caused Richard to abruptly halt, he didn't even discover this until after he had done it. The brain had to have subconsciously recognized that it was a snake, and accessed his memory (baby Richard probably wouldn't have known to move back). The difference between what he did and what most people do then, must be an absence of some process of the brain which normally occurs between startle response and rational understanding.

Yes, that seems accurate.

Adam . .:
This process seems to be the target of both actualism and buddhism, it is a belief or set of beliefs of some kind which conditions the brain's processing, probably ignorance of the fact that a separate identity (which must be preserved) doesn't exist.

The two paths do seem similar, at first. They do both talk about an 'I' that supposedly doesn't exist in some manner and that must be removed. It is a different 'I', though. In Bhante G's writing, for example, he instructs the reader to notice that you will notice feelings and emotions but you can't find an 'I' there. The 'I' is entirely a mental construct, in Buddhism. They don't realize that there is an affective identity underlying that one as well, 'me' as soul, which is left even if one destroy the 'me' as ego (mental construct). There is a good reason that meditation-related instructions and writings such as Bhante G's here tend to focus on mental objects/objectification/conscious thought/thought/objectification etc. being the problem, something that must be stopped, as opposed to feelings/emotions exclusively, and it's not just a matter of choice of language - the words mean different things.

Another distinction becomes apparent when you notice that Bhante G never says he is his body. Rather, he says there is also no 'I' to be found in the physical body or in bodily sensations... and this holds true after one has reached the goal he describes. It is wrong view, in Buddhism, to think or know that you are your body, yet this is precisely what one is, in fact (but this is only apparent sans identity). The fact that enlightened folk do not take themselves to be their bodies is indication enough that they have some fundamentally affective identity extant.

Adam . .:
It is leaving in the affective feeling-being, but suppressing it via very intense, diligent and painstaking practice.


Does this seem to match anyone's experience at all? We should avoid Nikolai as an example, because he doesn't claim that he is not finished with his path, but people such as Tarin, who you have previously said you think is not actually free, doesn't report that any effort whatsoever is required to maintain his state and that he has not noticed a single affective experience since he became actually free.

True, maybe "suppressing" is the wrong word. Something dramatic has definitely happened to people claiming AF and it is self-described as requiring no effort to maintain. Tarin did report that; however, he also reported that he no longer knows what Richard means by "actual freedom". Why would that be the case if actual freedom was about eliminating the feeling-being and Tarin had eliminated the feeling-being?
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 11:21 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 12:05 AM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Bruno Loff:
In mathematics there is this concept called isomorphism. One says that two structures are isomorphic if they are equal up to a re-labeling of the objects. If this happens, then the functional relationship among the various objects that compose the structure is the same, and hence the two isomorphic structures can be thought of as being the exact same thing.

For instance, duck could replace a certain "word X" in this sentence with the word 'duck', and duck would be sure that most people reading it would have no problem knowing which word duck replaced. If duck had taken someone else's text, and replaced every occurrence of "word X" with the word 'duck,' and if someone were to paraphrase both texts phrase by phrase, claiming that they are very different because whenever "word X" appears it has been replaced by "duck," then one could simply point out that both texts are, in a certain sense, isomorphic, and hence just basing on the text alone one could not possibly discern any difference.

Hence whichever difference exists in between Bhante's and Richard's doctrines, it can not possibly be discerned through this text alone. One would need to actually know both of these people, in order to discern how their behavior and atitudes differ and how that relates to the doctrine of each, and then one might have a chance at really understanding whether they are talking about the same thing or different things. In order to discern which of their doctrines is superior, duck things that it would be necessary to know both of these men, and know them very well, as well as many people whom have followed each doctrine.

Well, if thoughts are the exact same things as feelings in every possible way, then your argument holds.

EDIT: I thought I'd expand my argument a bit, here. I understand what an isomorphism is. However, you are ignoring how people actually use language. For example, take two passages:

(1) "I went to the zoo yesterday. It was wonderful! It's truly amazing what nature can do. I had a lot of fun talking to the trainers about how they take care of the zoo and what they study and it was all quite fascinating. I will be going back in the future."
(2) "I went to the aquarium yesterday. It was wonderful! It's truly amazing what nature can do. I had a lot of fun talking to the trainers about how they take care of the aquarium and what they study and it was all quite fascinating. I will be going back in the future."

They are isomorphic between the words "zoo" and "aquarium", but you can certainly discern a difference between what the two passages mean, without any outside text, because the words mean different things.

However I will grant that part of what makes it so straightforward to see the differences Richard is pointing out is a good amount of experience with reading about and practicing both meditation and actualism.

Bruno Loff:
Of course, if one has already made up one's mind before seeing the evidence, or if one is willing to forgo evidence altogether (*wink* *wink*), then it becomes much easier to "see" whatever one already decided must be the case. Without a scientific attitude, the way we view the world is merely a reflection of our worldview.

Have you completely forgotten the fact that I thought Buddhism and Actualism were pointing to the very same thing not 7 months ago, and had been for many months at that point?
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 12:07 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Shashank Dixit:
Shadow is dependent on Light.
I is dependent on my feelings.
Shadow is not equal to Light.
I is not equal to my feelings.

You can have light without shadow. Simply remove that which the light hits to cause the shadow, and you have unobstructed light. You cannot have feelings present without a 'me', however. Those feelings themselves are a 'me', even if it is a centerless/impersonal 'me'.
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 2:14 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 1:39 AM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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There is a good reason that meditation-related instructions and writings such as Bhante G's here tend to focus on mental objects/objectification/conscious thought/thought/objectification etc. being the problem, something that must be stopped, as opposed to feelings/emotions exclusively, and it's not just a matter of choice of language - the words mean different things.


If you will see the Second Noble Truth , it is craving that is considered as the cause of suffering and removal
of this is the ending of suffering.
and what is this craving ?
It is nothing but the instinctual passions that Richard talks about.
Instinctual passions are the instinctive push/pull mechanism that Richard talks about
Craving is the instinctive push/pull mechanism that Buddha talks about.
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 1:43 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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"beoman":
If you are angry and you realize it's a good idea to calm down, you can do it, though it might take a while. There is a feedback mechanism back from the higher-level functions to the affective ones.


Right, and the very mechanism for awakening as described by the buddha is to consciously recognize the drawbacks of fabrications (including emotions) such that one stops fabricating them.

"beoman":
The two paths do seem similar, at first. They do both talk about an 'I' that supposedly doesn't exist in some manner and that must be removed. It is a different 'I', though. In Bhante G's writing, for example, he instructs the reader to notice that you will notice feelings and emotions but you can't find an 'I' there. The 'I' is entirely a mental construct, in Buddhism. They don't realize that there is an affective identity underlying that one as well, 'me' as soul, which is left even if one destroy the 'me' as ego (mental construct).


I simply haven't seen evidence for this being true, and I think there is strong evidence that buddhists recognize the 'affective I.'

In buddhism there is bhava which is what constitutes the ongoing imagination/fabrication of a self which is translated variously as 'being' 'feeling' 'mood' etc.

From Bhante G (mindfulness in plain english):

The ego sense itself is essentially a feeling of separation -- a perception of distance between that which we call me, and that which we call other.


Greed and lust are attempts to get 'some of that' for me; hatred and aversion are attempts to place greater distance between 'me and that'.


Greed, lust, hatred, and aversion basically are a reformulation of Richard's description of the affective processes a person has. The fetters of 'sensual desire' and 'hatred' and 'restlessness' are clearly pre-thought.

And in the midst of all this ceaseless movement, there is no watcher, there is only watching.


No experience of an affective but thoughtless watcher as Richard claims.

Similarly, under the penetrating gaze of mindfulness, the feeling of self, an 'I' or 'being' anything, loses its solidity and dissolves.


Richard critiques people like ramana maharshi with his sense of pure "i am" and seemingly lumps anyone who happens to come from India and meditate, such as the buddha, in with him.

"beoman":

Another distinction becomes apparent when you notice that Bhante G never says he is his body. Rather, he says there is also no 'I' to be found in the physical body or in bodily sensations... and this holds true after one has reached the goal he describes. It is wrong view, in Buddhism, to think or know that you are your body, yet this is precisely what one is, in fact (but this is only apparent sans identity). The fact that enlightened folk do not take themselves to be their bodies is indication enough that they have some fundamentally affective identity extant.


When Richard says he is the body and the sensations, he is saying it in comparison to what existed before, the sense of self as something 'behind' the body and sensation. He uses the word "I" in these two different ways, there is the illusory "I" as something illusory and 'hiding' and instinctual and equivalent to the manifestation of emotion. In Buddhism, what is gotten rid of is "i-making" which is equivalent to states of being/becoming or "bhava" (which is commonly translated as mood, emotion, feeling) .http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhava.

So, they have gotten rid of "I" or "i-making" which is equivalent to feeling. Clearly Richard's "I" and buddha's i-making are the same. The question then is why does Richard say he is the body and sensations whereas the buddha says that no "i" can be found? Because the buddha was talking about Richards first usage of "I", the illusory "i" the "i" which is an imagined/fabricated independent identity behind the scenes. The buddha points out that it is not any of the khandas to help you realize that the illusory "i" is merely a play of the imagination, it isn't 'actual.'

The buddha doesn't use multiple "i"'s, he only talks about the illusory one, so it is fallacy to ask why the buddha doesn't say he *is* the body. Richard and he both agree about the imagined, fabricated, and equivalent to one's feeling/way of experiencing, and he simply doesn't include Richard's non-illusory "i" in his descriptions of the world, preferring to just talk about the "5 aggregates." The essence of the buddhist path is to observe your state of becoming and to replace it with more skillful ones, which is the same as asking "how am I experiencing this moment of being alive" your way of experiencing is your state becoming. Ultimately one is seeing that these states are "silly," and why does Richard say they are silly? Because they are painful and unnecessary, again agreeing with the buddha. Through seeing that they are silly, one gains dispassion for fabricating them.
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 1:45 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Shashank Dixit:
Shadow is dependent on Light.
I is dependent on my feelings.
Shadow is not equal to Light.
I is not equal to my feelings.

You can have light without shadow. Simply remove that which the light hits to cause the shadow, and you have unobstructed light. You cannot have feelings present without a 'me', however. Those feelings themselves are a 'me', even if it is a centerless/impersonal 'me'.


Point very well taken..thanks Claudiu !
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 11:17 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam . .:
The ego sense itself is essentially a feeling of separation -- a perception of distance between that which we call me, and that which we call other.


Greed and lust are attempts to get 'some of that' for me; hatred and aversion are attempts to place greater distance between 'me and that'.


Greed, lust, hatred, and aversion basically are a reformulation of Richard's description of the affective processes a person has. The fetters of 'sensual desire' and 'hatred' and 'restlessness' are clearly pre-thought.

And what does Bhante G say of love and compassion and humility and all the 'good' feelings?

Adam . .:
And in the midst of all this ceaseless movement, there is no watcher, there is only watching.


No experience of an affective but thoughtless watcher as Richard claims.

Yea but aren't 'emotions' some of the things which are being watched (albeit with no watcher)?
Bhante G:
You find thoughts but no thinker, you find emotions and desires, but nobody doing them. The house itself is empty. There is nobody home.
(Chapter 16)
If "there is no watcher, there is only watching", yet there are "emotions and desires, but nobody doing them", that means an affective identity is extant (by virtue of emotions and desires happening in the first place), because 'I' am 'my' feelings and 'my' feelings are 'me'.

Adam . .:
When Richard says he is the body and the sensations, he is saying it in comparison to what existed before, the sense of self as something 'behind' the body and sensation. He uses the word "I" in these two different ways, there is the illusory "I" as something illusory and 'hiding' and instinctual and equivalent to the manifestation of emotion. In Buddhism, what is gotten rid of is "i-making" which is equivalent to states of being/becoming or "bhava" (which is commonly translated as mood, emotion, feeling) .http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhava.

So, they have gotten rid of "I" or "i-making" which is equivalent to feeling. Clearly Richard's "I" and buddha's i-making are the same. The question then is why does Richard say he is the body and sensations whereas the buddha says that no "i" can be found? Because the buddha was talking about Richards first usage of "I", the illusory "i" the "i" which is an imagined/fabricated independent identity behind the scenes. The buddha points out that it is not any of the khandas to help you realize that the illusory "i" is merely a play of the imagination, it isn't 'actual.'

This is what I initially thought, too. Yet Buddha says that he himself (the Tathagata) is not the body (form).

Anuradha Sutta:
"What do you think, Anuradha: Do you regard form as the Tathagata?"

"No, lord."
[link]
Buddha uses "the Tathagata" to refer to himself, not to the illusory identity that it is the goal to eliminate. He clearly says "the Tathagata is not form" - that is, "the Tathagata is not the body" - thus he is saying that what-he-is himself (and not this illusory 'i') is not the body.

Likewise with the other four aggregates - so he isn't feeling or consciousness, either. He also isn't "in form" or "elsewhere than form" or "form-feeling-perception-fabrications-consciousness" or "without form". What on earth could he be, then, given he is obviously sitting there as a flesh and blood body and saying he isn't, but an affectively based identity, for what but an affectively based identity could sincerely (and accurately) say they are not their body?
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 12:18 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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And what does Bhante G say of love and compassion and humility and all the 'good' feelings?


He doesn't really say much about them when one is enlightened. He mostly talks about developing them as helpful along the path, Richard says that there are emotions which are helpful along the path as well.

However, since Bhante G doesn't fully share his thoughts on this issue, here is another buddhist who says:

"transcribed from a thanissaro bhikkhu talk":
... It's still possible to act on compassion, it's still possible to act on empathetic joy, without passion. You have these motivations because they're the right thing to do, you have compassion, and this is where english plays a trick on us, "compassion" means you feel the same thing or you feel with somebody else when somebody is suffering, compassion usually is a painful emotion. You feel part of their pain as well. And for most of us we live in a state of obsession with our pleasures so only when we feel somebody else's pain will we help them, but a mind that's free from passion doesn't need that pain.

http://dhammatalks.org/Archive/100115%20Passion,%20Dispassion,%20Compassion.mp3

We also have the records of the many meditators around here who went beyond the good feelings, I don't think that the "love agape" argument is a good one at all these days with all their evidence against it.

Yea but aren't 'emotions' some of the things which are being watched (albeit with no watcher)?


no, because your next quote was hilariously out of context, if you had included the very next line it would not have supported your conclusion.

You find thoughts but no thinker, you find emotions and desires, but nobody doing them. The house itself is empty. There is nobody home.
Your whole view of self changes at this point.


He was very obviously not talking about enlightenment but a stage along the way, otherwise he wouldn't have said "at this point" which plainly implies a path not fully walked.

He goes on to say, a few sentences down, as he moves farther up the map of the path:

You experience these things so graphically that you suddenly awake to the utter futility of craving, grasping and resistance. In the clarity and purity of this profound moment, our consciousness is transformed. The entity of self evaporates. All that is left is an infinity of interrelated non-personal phenomena which are conditioned and ever changing. Craving is extinguished and a great burden is lifted. There remains only an effortless flow, without a trace of resistance or tension. There remains only
peace, and blessed Nibbana, the uncreated, is realized.


Buddha uses "the Tathagata" to refer to himself, not to the illusory identity that it is the goal to eliminate. He clearly says "the Tathagata is not form" - that is, "the Tathagata is not the body" - thus he is saying that what-he-is himself (and not this illusory 'i') is not the body.

Likewise with the other four aggregates - so he isn't feeling or consciousness, either. He also isn't "in form" or "elsewhere than form" or "form-feeling-perception-fabrications-consciousness" or "without form". What on earth could he be, then, given he is obviously sitting there as a flesh and blood body and saying he isn't, but an affectively based identity, for what but an affectively based identity could sincerely (and accurately) say they are not their body?


He is saying that "the Tathagata" is not an organic unity, or a substratum, or a summation, or part of any or all of the aggregates. Notice how he only says what the 'tathagata' isn't, never what it is. This is simply a different system than Richard's, he does not talk about multiple "I"s, just the one "I" which he constantly points out what it isn't to show that it is a fabrication. You implied that he talked about another form of "I," where is the evidence that he talked about multiple types, some of which existed and some of which were illusory?

Your statement "He is obviously sitting there as a flesh and blood body" has some serious philosophical issues. If he is nothing other than his flesh and blood body how can he sit there as his flesh and blood body? Notice that Richard also says he is the universe experiencing itself as this flesh and blood body. Richard is clearly not using "I" in the common sense when he talks about his 'actual I.' The common use of "I" is as something ephemeral which stands behind all of the aggregates (though most people wouldn't call them aggregates). People say 'my foot' or 'my body.' The Buddha is pointing out that there is nothing 'behind' that there is only the aggregates, when he says isn't form nor outside of form he is effectively saying that this 'behind the scenes' "I" simply doesn't exist, all that exist are the aggregates.

This is basically identical to what Richard is saying, he says that the 'behind the scenes' "I" doesn't exist, that there is just 'the scenes' just the body and its sensations. If the Buddha had simply said "I am not form" then perhaps you would have grounds for suggesting that what he was talking about a 'behind the scenes' "I", but he also said that he isn't outside of form, which wouldn't make sense for an affective identity.
Change A, modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 1:06 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 1:06 PM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam . .:
He was very obviously not talking about enlightenment but a stage along the way, otherwise he wouldn't have said "at this point" which plainly implies a path not fully walked.


Good point Adam. Most of Richard's objections stem from his nitpicking something along the path and trying to present them as the result. Claudiu tried to do the same thing here.
An Eternal Now, modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 2:15 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 2:06 PM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam . .:
He is saying that "the Tathagata" is not an organic unity, or a substratum, or a summation, or part of any or all of the aggregates. Notice how he only says what the 'tathagata' isn't, never what it is.
Yes, and that is because there isn't any Tathagata that can be pinned down and established as 'it is'. Same goes for 'self'. In other words, 'Tathagata' is a mere convention that does not have any inherent existence in the same way the word 'Weather' is conventionally imputed on some everchanging clouds, rain, lightning, wind, but no inherently existing 'Weather-ness' of 'Weather' can be established in or apart from those phenomena - 'Weather' being a purely man-made conventional imputation upon a conglomerate of seamlessly interdependent yet everchanging and ungraspable process of phenomenality. Likewise there isn't any ghostly 'Self' entity or inherent substance to be pinned down in or apart from the five aggregates, that would be a mere fabrication, a delusion. Realizing the falsity of such mental constructs is essential. But using words like 'Self' and 'Tathagata' and 'Weather' and 'Chariots' etc are completely fine as long as we understand them to be of purely conventional nature for the purpose of communicating.


As I wrote in 'Actual Freedom and Buddhism' - http://www.box.net/shared/sbyi64jrms -

Excerpts from Buddha's teachings - http://www.accesstoi...2.086.than.html

..."What do you think: Do you regard the Tathagata as form-feeling-perception-fabrications-consciousness?"

"No, lord."

"Do you regard the Tathagata as that which is without form, without feeling, without perception, without fabrications, without consciousness?"

"No, lord."

"And so, Anuradha — when you can't pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality even in the present life — is it proper for you to declare, 'Friends, the Tathagata — the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment — being described, is described otherwise than with these four positions: The Tathagata exists after death, does not exist after death, both does & does not exist after death, neither exists nor does not exist after death'?"

"No, lord."...

Notice that the Buddha specifically said that you cannot find the Tathagatha inside nor apart from the five skandhas (there is no formless Tathagata to be pinned down as a Truth or Reality). This means, as explained earlier, the so called 'self' actually cannot be found or located just as the word 'weather' cannot be found or located as something inherently existing - it is merely a convention for a process of self-luminous but empty phenomenality, in which no truly existing 'weather'/'self' can be found within nor apart from them.

And all the great Buddhist masters from the past have said the same things:

As Chandrakirti states:

"A chariot is not asserted to be other than its parts,
Nor non-other. It also does not possess them.
It is not in the parts, nor are the parts in it.
It is not the mere collection [of its parts], nor is it their shape.
[The self and the aggregates are] similar."

And Padmasambhava states:

"The mind that observes is also devoid of an ego or self-entity.
It is neither seen as something different from the aggregates
Nor as identical with these five aggregates.
If the first were true, there would exist some other substance.

This is not the case, so were the second true,
That would contradict a permanent self, since the aggregates are impermanent.
Therefore, based on the five aggregates,
The self is a mere imputation based on the power of the ego-clinging.

As to that which imputes, the past thought has vanished and is nonexistent.
The future thought has not occurred, and the present thought does not withstand scrutiny."

And Nagarjuna states:

“The Tathagata is not the aggregates; nor is he other
than the aggregates.
The aggregates are not in him nor is he in them.
The Tathagata does not possess the aggregates.
What Tathagata is there?”
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 6:06 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam . .:
And what does Bhante G say of love and compassion and humility and all the 'good' feelings?


He doesn't really say much about them when one is enlightened. He mostly talks about developing them as helpful along the path, Richard says that there are emotions which are helpful along the path as well.

True, we have to make distinctions for what is along the path and what is at the end of the path. But note that the Brahamviharas are explicitly considered useful to the Buddhist path, yet explicitly considered detrimental to the Actualist path. Why would this be the case if the paths lead to the same goal?

Adam . .:
However, since Bhante G doesn't fully share his thoughts on this issue, here is another buddhist who says:

"transcribed from a thanissaro bhikkhu talk":
... It's still possible to act on compassion, it's still possible to act on empathetic joy, without passion. You have these motivations because they're the right thing to do, you have compassion, and this is where english plays a trick on us, "compassion" means you feel the same thing or you feel with somebody else when somebody is suffering, compassion usually is a painful emotion. You feel part of their pain as well. And for most of us we live in a state of obsession with our pleasures so only when we feel somebody else's pain will we help them, but a mind that's free from passion doesn't need that pain.

http://dhammatalks.org/Archive/100115%20Passion,%20Dispassion,%20Compassion.mp3

He isn't being explicit, so just from that text alone, I could gather that one can still feel compassion and act on it without it being painful, versus not feeling compassion at all. If it's a 'different' (non-emotional) compassion at the end of the path then on it, then why is that distinction not made explicit?

Adam . .:
We also have the records of the many meditators around here who went beyond the good feelings, I don't think that the "love agape" argument is a good one at all these days with all their evidence against it.

It only applies to certain types of spirituality, yes.

Adam . .:
Yea but aren't 'emotions' some of the things which are being watched (albeit with no watcher)?


no, because your next quote was hilariously out of context, if you had included the very next line it would not have supported your conclusion.

You find thoughts but no thinker, you find emotions and desires, but nobody doing them. The house itself is empty. There is nobody home.
Your whole view of self changes at this point.


He was very obviously not talking about enlightenment but a stage along the way, otherwise he wouldn't have said "at this point" which plainly implies a path not fully walked.

He goes on to say, a few sentences down, as he moves farther up the map of the path:

You experience these things so graphically that you suddenly awake to the utter futility of craving, grasping and resistance. In the clarity and purity of this profound moment, our consciousness is transformed. The entity of self evaporates. All that is left is an infinity of interrelated non-personal phenomena which are conditioned and ever changing. Craving is extinguished and a great burden is lifted. There remains only an effortless flow, without a trace of resistance or tension. There remains only
peace, and blessed Nibbana, the uncreated, is realized.

Yes, I read the entire thing as well. You're right that he was only talking about a stage, there, but he does not say that emotions are eliminated. He says there is an "infinity of interrelated non-personal phenomena" and an "effortless flow, without a trace of resistance or tension". Yet he just earlier said that emotions are also non-personal phenomena. So perhaps emotions are still left, but they are just automatically seen to be non-personal phenomena, without a trace of resistance or tension? Without him being explicit, one can't be 100% certain from that snippet alone, but he certainly doesn't go out of his way to draw these distinctions if he did mean them.

Adam . .:
He is saying that "the Tathagata" is not an organic unity, or a substratum, or a summation, or part of any or all of the aggregates. Notice how he only says what the 'tathagata' isn't, never what it is. This is simply a different system than Richard's, he does not talk about multiple "I"s, just the one "I" which he constantly points out what it isn't to show that it is a fabrication.

But the Tathagatha is not a fabrication, is it? "Tathāgata (pronounced [t̪əˈtɑɡət̪ə], Devanagari: तथागत) is a Pali and Sanskrit word that the Buddha of the Pali Canon uses when referring to himself." (Wikipedia). He can't possibly be referring to an "I" that does not exist, when saying Tathagata, because he explicitly uses that term to refer to what he is, himself, at the time of uttering it - already a supremely enlightened one.

Adam . .:
You implied that he talked about another form of "I," where is the evidence that he talked about multiple types, some of which existed and some of which were illusory?

Well he doesn't state the Tathagata exists or is illusory or either or both, but that is a term he uses to refer to himself, and it is explicitly stated that he is neither the body nor not-the-body nor within-the-body, etc. This is in stark contrast to Richard plainly stating "I am the body."

Adam . .:
If the Buddha had simply said "I am not form" then perhaps you would have grounds for suggesting that what he was talking about a 'behind the scenes' "I", but he also said that he isn't outside of form, which wouldn't make sense for an affective identity.

He makes himself out to be something that cannot be pinned down in terms of the body (among other things). Only an affective identity could say this, because with no affective identity, it is obvious that you are just the body (and not "neither body nor not-body nor within-body" etc).
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 7:20 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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True, we have to make distinctions for what is along the path and what is at the end of the path. But note that the Brahamviharas are explicitly considered useful to the Buddhist path, yet explicitly considered detrimental to the Actualist path. Why would this be the case if the paths lead to the same goal?


Equanimity and good will seem like they'd be considered beneficial on the actualist path. Actualists say to be "blithesome and benign" which are basically equivalents of equanimity and good will. I'd say that there is some difference in the emotions that are suggested, but there are many different fabrications suggested in buddhism, and all of them are eventually dropped. For example in theravada you might do practices such as contemplation of the repulsiveness of the body to specifically counter another fabrication, in soto zen however you simply create no fabrications relying purely on shikantaza which is exactly what Richard talks about here:
Fully developed sensuous attention is a condition of total non-grandiosity and utter absence of longing for anything in any ‘other-world’. If one can maintain this condition, no other method is needed to keep oneself free of obstructions and to achieve freedom from the human condition via apperceptiveness.


There are many paths one can fabricate/not fabricate to achieve the end of fabrications. Richard uses some fabrications such as felicity and naiveté as well as the non-fabrication of 'sensuous attention' in which one is simply aware of sensations without viewing them through a lens. One might rely purely on lots of fabrications and only at the very end of one's path use sensuous attention/pure meditation.

He isn't being explicit, so just from that text alone, I could gather that one can still feel compassion and act on it without it being painful, versus not feeling compassion at all. If it's a 'different' (non-emotional) compassion at the end of the path then on it, then why is that distinction not made explicit?


It is made explicit in that talk, I just thought what I posted was enough. Further on into the talk:

you don't need the same play of emotions, the same play of feelings to get your mind to do the right thing.


So perhaps emotions are still left, but they are just automatically seen to be non-personal phenomena, without a trace of resistance or tension? Without him being explicit, one can't be 100% certain from that snippet alone, but he certainly doesn't go out of his way to draw these distinctions if he did mean them.


Okay... but he just talked about fear, greed etc. as forms of resistance and tension. Which he says is absent in nibbana.

But the Tathagatha is not a fabrication, is it? "Tathāgata (pronounced [t̪əˈtɑɡət̪ə], Devanagari: तथागत) is a Pali and Sanskrit word that the Buddha of the Pali Canon uses when referring to himself." (Wikipedia). He can't possibly be referring to an "I" that does not exist, when saying Tathagata, because he explicitly uses that term to refer to what he is, himself, at the time of uttering it - already a supremely enlightened one.


Yes, the Tathagatha is a fabrication, as is every single object in the world. He uses it to refer to what he is, himself, because in the sense which he is talking about identity it doesn't exist and is a fabrication.

Well he doesn't state the Tathagata exists or is illusory or either or both, but that is a term he uses to refer to himself, and it is explicitly stated that he is neither the body nor not-the-body nor within-the-body, etc. This is in stark contrast to Richard plainly stating "I am the body."


As I said before this is because he is talking about identity in a different way.

He makes himself out to be something that cannot be pinned down in terms of the body (among other things). Only an affective identity could say this, because with no affective identity, it is obvious that you are just the body (and not "neither body nor not-body nor within-body" etc).


Note how you say "just the body" because you are doing what I previously said Richard was doing. Your idea of identity contains within it the understanding that you previously believed the identity to be something behind the scenes. I would argue (as the buddha did) that the entire concept of identity is necessarily a fabrication, you decide what you regard as self.

Clearly nothing is intrinsically self, for example is my body "self" is your body "self" is Richard's body "self?" Which one is intrinsically self and which one isn't? There is such thing as intrinsic selfhood, what is self changes from different perspectives.

Here's a question to demonstrate this: if you (or Richard) cut your fingernails, are they "you" not just yours but actually "you"? If the fingernails fall into the ground and are taken up in part by plants and the cow eats the plants, are you those atoms of the cow which originally were part of your fingernail? Do you realize that your cells are constantly dying, being shed and replaced? Where is the actual "you"? You might share a couple atoms of the buddha, are you the buddha? I can understand what Richard and you mean by "I am the body" or "I am these sensations" which is that you mean that the sense of self 'behind the scenes' has disappeared and now there are only the 'scenes.' But which are you? the sensations or the body?

The conception of identity Richard uses is very particular and unusual, it will never be very convincing except to a very casual reader to compare what he calls "I" to what others call "I" as they mean very different when they describe something as "self."
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 9:45 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Richard says this often :-
But refrain from possessing it(actual world) and making it your own ... or else ‘twill vanish as softly as it appeared.


Since the actual physical flesh and blood body is also a part of the actual world , he was already trying to de-cling
to the flesh and blood body. This is what the Buddhists also do.

It is a known fact in Buddhism that even the wholesome mind states are to be ultimately given up at later paths in
Buddhism. They are mere tools along the way just as how naivete, felicity is in Actualism.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 9:01 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Before going further, can you clarify what you mean by 'fabrication'? It is a common translation of the term 'sankhara' - is that the way you are using it? Because, if so, what you say here is incorrect:

Adam . .:
Yes, the Tathagatha is a fabrication, as is every single object in the world. He uses it to refer to what he is, himself, because in the sense which he is talking about identity it doesn't exist and is a fabrication.

Because in that same sutta I quoted, Buddha explicitly states it is correct to not regard the Tathagatha as sankhara.
Anuradha Sutta:
"Do you regard fabrications as the Tathagata? ... Do you regard the Tathagata as being ... in fabrications?... Elsewhere than fabrications?... Do you regard the Tathagata as that which is ... without fabrications ... ?

"No, lord."

"Very good, Anuradha. Very good."


Are you referring to multiple things when you say 'fabrication'?
Fred none, modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 9:12 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 9:12 PM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Richard
When this body is in deep sleep or under anaesthesia, there is no awareness of consciousness ... yet the body is still breathing, pumping blood, etcetera. Being alive and the awareness of being conscious of being alive are not necessarily the same thing ... which is confusing to the uninitiated. I am this sensate and reflective body, yet when this body is unconscious, there is no awareness that this body is alive. So, strictly speaking, what I am is this body’s apperceptive consciousness – I am the awareness of being here now – and I am very much dependent upon the body being alive and awake to be conscious. When the body dies, this body’s apperceptive consciousness disappears … just as in deep sleep. To take consciousness as being ‘who I am’, independent of the body, is clearly a misconception ... and a belief. The belief in Immortality is a denial of death ... which is tantamount to saying that what is universally actual is, somehow, wrong!
Fred none, modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 9:33 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 9:33 PM

RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Shashank Dixit:
Richard says this often :-
But refrain from possessing it(actual world) and making it your own ... or else ‘twill vanish as softly as it appeared.


Since the actual physical flesh and blood body is also a part of the actual world , he was already trying to de-cling
to the flesh and blood body. This is what the Buddhists also do.



I think you have misunderstood that Richard's quote, and it is very clear when it's quoted in full, especially the part before when he says ... and one is the experiencing of what is happening.
Fred none, modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 9:38 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Richard
Delight is what is humanly possible, given sufficient pure intent obtained from the felicity/ innocuity born of the pure consciousness experience, and from the position of delight, one can vitalise one’s joie de vivre by the amazement at the fun of it all ... and then one can – with sufficient abandon – become over-joyed and move into marvelling at being here and doing this business called being alive now. Then one is no longer intuitively making sense of life ... the delicious wonder of it all drives any such instinctive meaning away. Such luscious wonder fosters the innate condition of naiveté – the nourishing of which is essential if fascination in it all is to occur – and the charm of life itself easily engages dedication to peace-on-earth. Then, as one gazes intently at the world about by glancing lightly with sensuously caressing eyes, out of the corner of one’s eye comes – sweetly – the magical fairy-tale-like paradise that this verdant earth actually is ... and one is the experiencing of what is happening.

But refrain from possessing it and making it your own ... or else ‘twill vanish as softly as it appeared.


http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/aprecisofactualfreedom.htm
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 9:47 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Jan Rob Wantok:
Shashank Dixit:
Richard says this often :-
But refrain from possessing it(actual world) and making it your own ... or else ‘twill vanish as softly as it appeared.


Since the actual physical flesh and blood body is also a part of the actual world , he was already trying to de-cling
to the flesh and blood body. This is what the Buddhists also do.



I think you have misunderstood that Richard's quote, and it is very clear when it's quoted in full, especially the part before when he says ... and one is the experiencing of what is happening.


..and yet that cannot occur without de-clinging to the actual physical flesh and blood body(as the flesh and blood body is also
actual) or else "one is the experience of what is happening" will vanish
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/12 9:52 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Are you referring to multiple things when you say 'fabrication'?


Yes, as does the pali canon. There are 'fabrications' which are an aggregate, i.e. bodily (in&out breath), verbal (directed thought and evaluation) and mental fabrication (perception and feeling). This is what the tathagata isn't, isn't without etc.

The other way "fabrication" or "fabricated" is used is to describe anything co-arisen, which includes all 5 aggregates and everything else in the world.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/khandha.html
Fred none, modified 10 Years ago at 10/29/12 1:55 PM
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Shashank Dixit:

..and yet that cannot occur without de-clinging to the actual physical flesh and blood body(as the flesh and blood body is also
actual) or else "one is the experience of what is happening" will vanish


May I ask is this your factual experience?
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 10/29/12 9:26 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Jan Rob Wantok:
Shashank Dixit:

..and yet that cannot occur without de-clinging to the actual physical flesh and blood body(as the flesh and blood body is also
actual) or else "one is the experience of what is happening" will vanish


May I ask is this your factual experience?


Before that, may I ask , where I am going wrong in my assessment ? If the actual body is also part of the actual world - which Richard says not to make one's own , then he is trying to make the body not his own too...in other words de-cling to the body..
in other words this is what the Buddhists do too.

and yes, this has been my experience in both Buddhism/Actualism...cling/grasp to anything and the experience vanishes.
My intent is not to marry Actualism and Buddhism because they are indeed different practise but I strongly think that they
both lead to end of suffering albeit with a slightly different flavour..
Unlike others, who only want to find the differences between the two , I am trying to find what is common between Actualism/Buddhism and thus gain more confidence to use that particular aspect of practise.
Fred none, modified 10 Years ago at 10/30/12 9:21 PM
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Shashank Dixit:

Before that, may I ask , where I am going wrong in my assessment ? If the actual body is also part of the actual world - which Richard says not to make one's own , then he is trying to make the body not his own too...in other words de-cling to the body..
in other words this is what the Buddhists do too.


You're practically saying that Richard is something, dare I say an impersonal/personal Being/identity in an any form watsoever, trying to make the body not his own or not clinging to the body.
This is in stark contrast to what Richard reports.

Shashank Dixit:

and yes, this has been my experience in both Buddhism/Actualism...cling/grasp to anything and the experience vanishes.
My intent is not to marry Actualism and Buddhism because they are indeed different practise but I strongly think that they
both lead to end of suffering albeit with a slightly different flavour..

To me it's still clear you have misunderstood what Richard says.

Shashank Dixit:

Unlike others, who only want to find the differences between the two , I am trying to find what is common between Actualism/Buddhism and thus gain more confidence to use that particular aspect of practise.


Oh, I see. I was on the assumption that you practised the actualism method exclusively.
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 10/30/12 9:56 PM
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You're practically saying that Richard is something, dare I say an impersonal/personal Being/identity in an any form watsoever, trying to make the body not his own or not clinging to the body.


I never said any of that. Are you saying that Richard became free while still clinging
to the body ? Can any person who practises Actualism become free while still clinging to the body ?

To me it's still clear you have misunderstood what Richard says.


This means you have understood what both Richard and maybe what Buddism says. Please enlighten me about that emoticon

Oh, I see. I was on the assumption that you practised the actualism method exclusively


Indeed , until I realized that I could not appreciate this moment of being alive when in a disease/physical pains and
consider the universe to be benevolent in the same case.
So back to noting while I retain the investigation of
social identity aspect from Actualism. Works much better for me.
All this may change at the drop of a hat though.
Change A, modified 10 Years ago at 10/30/12 9:53 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Shashank Dixit:
Indeed , until I realized that I could not appreciate this moment of being alive when in a disease/physical pains and consider the universe to be benevolent in the same case.


This aspect of Actualism suffer from the same difficulty which religions face. Basically universe has been given similar features which theists give to God. So copying doesn't just end with the apperceptiveness article, it goes above and beyond.
Fred none, modified 10 Years ago at 10/31/12 3:34 PM
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Shashank Dixit:
You're practically saying that Richard is something, dare I say an impersonal/personal Being/identity in an any form watsoever, trying to make the body not his own or not clinging to the body.


I never said any of that. Are you saying that Richard became free while still clinging
to the body ? Can any person who practises Actualism become free while still clinging to the body ?


We are going around in circles here.


To me it's still clear you have misunderstood what Richard says.


Shashank Dixit:
This means you have understood what both Richard and maybe what Buddism says. Please enlighten me about that emoticon


I have really never had the inclination to actively participate in public forums that's why my writing has been very sporadic here. I can only suggest you thouroughly read Richard's site and further research Buddhism.
Anyway, that's all from me and I sincerely wish you the very best of luck with your health.
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 10/31/12 8:38 PM
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Jan Rob Wantok:

I have really never had the inclination to actively participate in public forums that's why my writing has been very sporadic here. I can only suggest you thouroughly read Richard's site and further research Buddhism.
Anyway, that's all from me and I sincerely wish you the very best of luck with your health.


..and for your own good, I suggest not to make such sporadic comments without having a solid experiential understanding..I speak from direct experience..not from what is written in the books..my health is just fine thanks emoticon
Fred none, modified 10 Years ago at 11/1/12 8:53 PM
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Shashank Dixit:

..and for your own good, I suggest not to make such sporadic comments without having a solid experiential understanding..I speak from direct experience..not from what is written in the books..


I would finally like to point out that this is only your assumption.
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 11/1/12 9:56 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Jan Rob Wantok:
Shashank Dixit:

..and for your own good, I suggest not to make such sporadic comments without having a solid experiential understanding..I speak from direct experience..not from what is written in the books..


I would finally like to point out that this is only your assumption.


Then please clarify what is my assumption..I presume you mean that you have direct experience of both Actualism and Buddhism so please share..I am genuinely interested..and like I said before I'll drop things at the drop of a hat..anything
that leads to end of suffering permanently.
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Jon T, modified 10 Years ago at 11/2/12 10:08 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam . .:
\There are 'fabrications' which are an aggregate, i.e. bodily (in&out breath),


I understand that this is indicated in the pali canon. I don't understand it, though. Can you explain why involuntary bodily movements are called fabrications? Is the heart beating a fabrication as well?

thanks,

jon
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Jon T, modified 10 Years ago at 11/2/12 10:33 AM
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Shashank Dixit:
..and yet that cannot occur without de-clinging to the actual physical flesh and blood body(as the flesh and blood body is also
actual) or else "one is the experience of what is happening" will vanish


Shashank Dixit:

Indeed , until I realized that I could not appreciate this moment of being alive when in a disease/physical pains and
consider the universe to be benevolent in the same case.
So back to noting while I retain the investigation of
social identity aspect from Actualism. Works much better for me.
All this may change at the drop of a hat though.



The universe is only benevolent in regards to itself. It neither favors you nor acts in your best interest. Nor does it ever consciously work against you. You are simply not important enough to be dignified.

There is no need to de-cling to the actual body. With an actual body, the universe can see itself and live as a human being. This stands in contrast to 'you' which has a past and future and has it's own agenda. The actual body has no such things.

Noting may lead to discoveries which will put one on the path of self-immolation or enlightenment. But noting itself cannot do that. (my opinion only-without any experiential or scholastic data to back it up). Discovering pure intent is said to also lead to self-immolation or enlightenment. Noting may or may not lead to pure intent. What is the synonym for pure intent within the buddhist lexicon?
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 11/2/12 11:42 AM
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The aggregate type of fabrication would be the voluntary breathing I think. The non-aggregate use of the term includes everything including the body and its parts and stuff... That aspect is probably only useful if you believe in all of dependent origination including ignorance leading to (physical) rebirth.

I don't think this necessarily means that each moment we are intentionally causing our heart to beat, but maybe it isdepending how you interpret. If you think that what actually exists is just "suchness" then maybe we cause our heart to beat by perceiving this conceptless emptiness as a heart beating or something like that.

But i think the fabrication aggregate is intentional breathing, thinking, and emoting.
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 11/2/12 9:36 PM
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The universe is only benevolent in regards to itself. It neither favors you nor acts in your best interest. Nor does it ever consciously work against you. You are simply not important enough to be dignified.


I dont mean to be personal but if you are practising Actualism , can you please tell me how you deal with
a disease or physical pain ? Just curious here.

There is no need to de-cling to the actual body


As "I" am "my" body , so "I" should let go of "my" body to end "me"...in other words remove attachment/clinging to it ?

Noting may lead to discoveries which will put one on the path of self-immolation or enlightenment. But noting itself cannot do that. (my opinion only-without any experiential or scholastic data to back it up). Discovering pure intent is said to also lead to self-immolation or enlightenment. Noting may or may not lead to pure intent. What is the synonym for pure intent within the buddhist lexicon?


I already have stream-entry via rigorous noting and yes noting alone is not enough...you need sila practise to back it up.
Concentration builds along the way via rigorous non-stop noting of the present moment.
Pure intent is indeed not the goal of noting and marrying Buddhism and Actualism is not a good idea imho and yet
picking up what is surely common between the two can be very beneficial (and so far I've found that staying in the
present is that common factor)

I wonder if Mahasi Sayadaw himself had any suffering left emoticon..I doubt that a person of such calibre and experience would lie
and teach a false technique which doesn't come from experience..Monastic standards are very high and I don't
think Mahasi Sayadaw would lie otherwise they can be expelled from the order.
Change A, modified 10 Years ago at 11/2/12 10:04 PM
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Jon T:
The universe is only benevolent in regards to itself.


How can an unconscious thing be benevolent? Or do you think that the universe is conscious and hence it can be benevolent to itself? Do you think that universe has a self?

Jon T:
With an actual body, the universe can see itself and live as a human being.


What? The universe can see itself and live as a human being? Really? So right now, the universe can see itself and live as two distinct human beings, Richard and Vineeto? And in the future, it will be able to see itself and live as many human beings (number equaling those who are actually free and alive)?

Jon T:
What is the synonym for pure intent within the buddhist lexicon?


Can you define pure intent in the way you understand it?
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Jon T, modified 10 Years ago at 11/3/12 4:05 AM
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I dont mean to be personal but if you are practising Actualism , can you please tell me how you deal with
a disease or physical pain ? Just curious here.


I don't suffer from any chronic pain. I deal with everyday pain by observing the pain itself and my feelings towards it. I remember that the feelings are lies i tell myself to feel special and important. I then observe pure intent. And to which degree i am not fabricating and simply living or else fabricating skillfully (felicity) the pain diminishes.

As "I" am "my" body , so "I" should let go of "my" body to end "me"...in other words remove attachment/clinging to it ?


I'm not sure what the website says. But the identity is not just the body. It is a slew of other things, all of which are fabrications. After the identity is gone then only the body is left.

I wonder if Mahasi Sayadaw himself had any suffering left


I don't know either and i don't think it's possible to know. But suffering is a fabrication. Is it not? So if he no longer fabricated than he no longer suffered. If he did lie to himself on occasion then that would cause him to suffer.

Change A.:


How can an unconscious thing be benevolent?


An unconscious thing can't express goodwill in language though it can perhaps in action. It would have to have an intent before it could have goodwill. The intent of a rock is to be a rock. Is that intent good? It is certainly favorable to life. If there wasn't life then the intent would simply be neutral. For us it is good and we are the ones who invented the word 'good.' And before language we felt the feeling which the word 'good' is intended to convey. And after feeling, we still use 'good' to describe an action which is beneficial. In this way, the universe is characteristic of goodwill: It's actions are beneficial to us for the mere fact we are alive.

Another synonym of benevolent is 'charitable'. Again, the universe is charitable as far as we are concerned. Without it, there could be no life. However, some individuals suffer terribly. Some of whom choose an early death. Clearly they don't feel the universe to be charitable. They may describe it as cruel. Absentmindedly, they have chosen enslaved suffering over freedom. And the universe allowed those conditions for such a choice to be present. Did the universe intend this? Yes. In those cases, it's intention is to choose suffering. Is it for satisfaction that the intent of this universe is to suffer? No. Is it for profit? No. The intent of the universe to suffer is totally pure: There is no reason for it other than the suffering itself. What can be made of that? it must be in the fabric of the universe. If that is so then how can i claim that the universe is benevolent in regards to itself? It must not be.

Or do you think that the universe is conscious and hence it can be benevolent to itself? Do you think that universe has a self?


I know i am conscious of the universe. And i am not separate from the universe (though most of the time i feel myself to be). I don't think the universe has a self. It doesn't fabricate a past and future or a personality or goals or anything of the like. I fabricate those things and i am the universe. but when I fabricate those things, the fabrication is a 'me' separate from the universe. That fabrication, therefore, is a very real part of the universe. So the universe does fabricate but only through self-aware individuals. There is no centralized fabrication.

Are you, in effect, asking if the universe remembers it's past and/or anticipates a future? I don't know.

What? The universe can see itself and live as a human being? Really? So right now, the universe can see itself and live as two distinct human beings, Richard and Vineeto? And in the future, it will be able to see itself and live as many human beings (number equaling those who are actually free and alive)?


Yes. Why not?

Can you define pure intent in the way you understand it?


An intention devoid of malice or greed, an actual intent.
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Jon T:
Change A.:
How can an unconscious thing be benevolent?


An unconscious thing can't express goodwill in language though it can perhaps in action. It would have to have an intent before it could have goodwill. The intent of a rock is to be a rock.


Perhaps? So you are not sure? Did rock chose himself to be a rock? If not, then he didn't have any intent before it became a rock or after.

Jon T:
Is that intent good? It is certainly favorable to life.


Can a rock's intent be favorable to life?

Jon T:
If there wasn't life then the intent would simply be neutral.


Are you saying that without a rock's intent, there would be no life? Or are you implying that rock is also the universe experiencing itself as a non-sensate rock?

Jon T:
And the universe allowed those conditions for such a choice to be present. Did the universe intend this? Yes. In those cases, it's intention is to choose suffering.


So universe can choose either good, neutral or bad (suffering)? Why would in those cases universe's intention is to choose suffering?

Jon T:
Is it for satisfaction that the intent of this universe is to suffer? No. Is it for profit? No. The intent of the universe to suffer is totally pure: There is no reason for it other than the suffering itself. What can be made of that? it must be in the fabric of the universe. If that is so then how can i claim that the universe is benevolent in regards to itself? It must not be.


So sometimes the universe is benevolent and sometimes it is not?

Jon T:
I know i am conscious of the universe.


Which part of the universe are you conscious of? The whole of universe? Or the part of universe you can see, smell, taste, touch, and hear?

Jon T:
I fabricate those things and i am the universe. but when I fabricate those things, the fabrication is a 'me' separate from the universe. That fabrication, therefore, is a very real part of the universe. So the universe does fabricate but only through self-aware individuals. There is no centralized fabrication.


Ok, the universe does fabricate only through self-aware individuals but not through those who are not self-aware?

Jon T:
Change A.:
What? The universe can see itself and live as a human being? Really? So right now, the universe can see itself and live as two distinct human beings, Richard and Vineeto? And in the future, it will be able to see itself and live as many human beings (number equaling those who are actually free and alive)?


Yes. Why not?


Supposedly if one body moves to the left and another to the right, then the universe is simultaneously experiencing itself to be moving to the left and right? Or if one body looks to the left and another to the right, then universe simultaneously looks to the left and right?

Can you define pure intent in the way you understand it?


Jon T:
An intention devoid of malice or greed, an actual intent.


So you don't think of pure intent as a physical thing?
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Jon T, modified 10 Years ago at 11/3/12 4:37 PM
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Perhaps? So you are not sure? Did rock chose himself to be a rock? If not, then he didn't have any intent before it became a rock or after.


No. I'm not sure. It's intent is manifest not fabricated. There is no regard to past or future though there may be memory and cause and effect rational analysis when biology allows.

Can a rock's intent be favorable to life?


Yes.

Are you saying that without a rock's intent, there would be no life? Or are you implying that rock is also the universe experiencing itself as a non-sensate rock?


The latter.

So universe can choose either good, neutral or bad (suffering)?



It does so simultaneously.

Why would in those cases universe's intention is to choose suffering?


It has no rationale.

So sometimes the universe is benevolent and sometimes it is not?


Yes. To a gazelle being eaten by a pride of lions, the universe feels painful and lonely. And the gazelle operates instinctively. It is entirely self-centered. To the lions, the universe feels perfect and fulfilling. They too are entirely self-centered. The universe experiences both pov simultaneously. But the universe's intent is pure.

Why would in those cases universe's intention is to choose suffering?


idk.

Which part of the universe are you conscious of? The whole of universe? Or the part of universe you can see, smell, taste, touch, and hear?


Only the parts i am aware of.

Ok, the universe does fabricate only through self-aware individuals but not through those who are not self-aware?


No. All emotion is a fabrication. A pig isn't self-aware but it does fabricate. A tree doesn't fabricate.

Supposedly if one body moves to the left and another to the right, then the universe is simultaneously experiencing itself to be moving to the left and right? Or if one body looks to the left and another to the right, then universe simultaneously looks to the left and right?


yes.

So you don't think of pure intent as a physical thing?


No. I have not felt it at the sensate level. I had forgotten about this description of pure intent. Thanks for reminding me. The closest I have come to is a sense of the obvious but never have i felt it to be like a silky nectar.
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Jon T:
It has no rationale.


Jon T:
No. I have not felt it at the sensate level. I had forgotten about this description of pure intent. Thanks for reminding me. The closest I have come to is a sense of the obvious but never have i felt it to be like a silky nectar.


Thank you for answering the questions as best as you know.

This has shown me that Actualism has no rationale.
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 10 Years ago at 11/3/12 9:41 PM
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I don't get it, Aman/Change A. What do you want?
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Bhante G.: An examination of this material leads to total freedom.

Richard: .. an examination of this material leads to an actual freedom.

The above does sound like Actualism is 180 degree opposite to freedom that Bhante G. is talking about as Bhante has written 'total freedom' and Richard has written an 'actual freedom'.

Bhante doesn't go on to talk about his total freedom whereas Richard doesn't lose any opportunity to write about it again and again ad nauseum in order to convince others that he is the first one to have achieved freedom.
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Jon T:
Change A.:
Can a rock's intent be favorable to life?


Yes.


How can a rock's intent be favorable to life?

Jon T:
Are you saying that without a rock's intent, there would be no life? Or are you implying that rock is also the universe experiencing itself as a non-sensate rock?


Can you explain how a rock can be the universe experiencing itself as a non-sensate rock?

Jon T:
Which part of the universe are you conscious of? The whole of universe? Or the part of universe you can see, smell, taste, touch, and hear?


Only the parts i am aware of.


An actually free person can only be conscious of the part of the universe he can see, smell, taste, touch, and hear. So how can he be the universe experiencing itself as a sensate human being when at the sensate level, he is aware of the tiniest part of the universe? Isn't it dumb to claim otherwise?

Jon T:
So you don't think of pure intent as a physical thing?


No. I have not felt it at the sensate level. I had forgotten about this description of pure intent. Thanks for reminding me. The closest I have come to is a sense of the obvious but never have i felt it to be like a silky nectar.


As you now remember that pure intent is supposed to be a physical thing, beware that your mind can manifest it as a silky nectar or any other description that you might have read or heard about.
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Richard also didn't take the perfect opportunity to get tested when there was an open invitation around here with expenses covered. Earlier he had come up with an excuse that he can't be running around the country with his back pain condition but then later on he could hop on an airplane to go to another country. So he could have easily hopped on an airplane to the USA to get tested.

This is interesting, right?
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Beoman:

Adam . .:
one has to know what something is, and also, based on instinct and memory judge it as good as bad before a reaction of desire and aversion in the body can occur.

Ah this might be an important point.


for me, this is the most important point in experientially discerning the difference between the practice of buddhism and actualism.

Beoman:

As far as I can tell, the mental evaluation of a situation only occurs after the affective reaction has already begun. That is, it is a delayed reaction.


yes, the "mental evaluation" in this context refers to what actualists call as the social identity which is an automatic ethical/moral evaluation/reaction forming a feedback loop. as wilde commented somewhere above, the social identity constitutes a large of chunk of human suffering.

as for "affective reaction", i have used words like "instinct" or "gut reaction" or "initial affect" to describe the experience preceding this mental evaluation/ social identity or the attendant physical symptoms.

also, my investigations constantly reveal that "identity" has got more to do with this initial affect than the surface social identity. "i" am here almost constantly, navigating space and time, giving forth to various instincts/feeings to which "i" react with moral evaluation .. all happening so instantly!

Beoman:

Firstly there is the raw sensory input. Secondly there is the subconscious/intuitive irrational non-mental affective reaction. Thirdly there is the mental evaluation of the situation, which by then is already heavily gripped by the affective reaction. Thus, you do not know what something is intellectually, in a capacity to make a reasonable judgement, until your emotional self has already begun reacting to it. That is an instinctual reaction, though. The instincts judge the stimulus pre-cognitively. This is precisely what Richard went to great lengths to emphasize in his rewrite of Bhante G's article, as Bhante G does not make this important distinction, but rather blurs the line between mental intellectual judgement and emotional instinctive judgement.

You can see this in your own experience easily. Ever been startled by something? Your heart rate is pumping before you even know what happened. This has also been apparently verified experimentally Joseph LeDoux, but I haven't verified that for myself, only read the report on the AFT about it (for example, as seen here).
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 11/6/12 9:48 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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srid ᠎:

as for "affective reaction", i have used words like "instinct" or "gut reaction" or "initial affect" to describe the experience preceding this mental evaluation/ social identity or the attendant physical symptoms.

also, my investigations constantly reveal that "identity" has got more to do with this initial affect than the surface social identity. "i" am here almost constantly, navigating space and time, giving forth to various instincts/feeings to which "i" react with moral evaluation .. all happening so instantly!


Yep. And this is one of those areas where the standard terms, although not inaccurate, might contribute to some misunderstanding.

I think most people use the word 'identity' to refer to what you're calling the "social identity" (the personally identifying characteristics, the beliefs, the values, the affiliations, the habitual reactions, the patterns of responses to life that constitute a personality). Prior to that there's something more fundamental and less visible, something that's less likely to be recognised as identity, and also less likely to be recognised as affective in nature.... because what most people recognise as affect (felt emotion) often occurs some way downstream from this initial intuitive appraisal.

By default, it manifests as an implicit sense of being someone or something that's finite; it's the inherent vulnerability which (by default) lies right at the heart of virtually all of our thinking, feeling and acting. And it's often painful and seldom perfectly peaceful. To my mind, the best way to characterise the difference between 'actualists' and 'others' is that 'others' try to erase or ameliorate the felt sense of finitude (in myriad ways), while actualists are prepared to eliminate the felt sense of anything and everything in the quest for perfection.

Much depends on where you really think the root of suffering (or, better still, highest value in life) is located. Is it in the presence or absence of certain phenomena? Or is it in your relationship to them? And how radical a solution do you want w.r.t. suffering? If you amputate a leg, you can be sure you won't have an in-grown toenail. But unless the whole leg is rotten, it might not be the best solution.

[Edited to add: But life's not just about suffering and its cessation. I find the aim of "ending suffering" (per se) a little lackluster somehow. It's not that I'm a fan of suffering or a believer in suffering, it's just that the aim seems so morbidly negative and lacking in vitality. And I have to say, in fairness to actualism, that's not what what actualism is really about either; it's more about attaining the greatest joy, the greatest perfection available... something that doesn't seem to gain as much traction here as "ending suffering", for some reason].

Cheers,
Jack.

[Edit: The above is written with the charitable assumption that "an actual freedom from the human condition" is exactly what it is/was advertised to be. I no longer believe that, however].
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 11/6/12 5:46 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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I'm a bit less interested in discussing these things at the moment, but figure I'll try moving the conversation forward a little. I think we are reaching the end of this forum's usefulness though, in terms of being able to continue to communicate effectively. By that I mean I already notice the number of topics proliferating and it gets difficult to keep track of it all.

But, anyway: can you make the case that when the Buddha says "Tathagatha", he is not referring to what-he-is, but rather, to a supposed 'identity' that doesn't exist - that somebody takes himself to be until he becomes Enlightened? Because I don't think I've ever seen suttas saying that run-of-the-mill people think they are Tathagathas and this illusion is dispelled when they become enlightened, as they sometimes do with the Self (taking form to be Self, etc). It seems to me that Tathagatha explicitly refers to the Buddha (or anyone as Enlightened as the Buddha was), and that it refers to what-he-is.

This is where we seem to disagree, currently. If Tathagatha does indeed refer to what-the-Buddha-is, then I will be pretty close to showing the Buddha was not actually free and we can stop our discussion soon. If it does not then we will have to explore some of the other topics.
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 11/6/12 8:15 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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I don't see any problem with the form of our communication, it seems fine for what we are discussing.

But, anyway: can you make the case that when the Buddha says "Tathagatha", he is not referring to what-he-is, but rather, to a supposed 'identity' that doesn't exist - that somebody takes himself to be until he becomes Enlightened?


no, but I don't need to, I just have to make the case that he uses "tathagata" as a convention without thinking of it as a truly established entity which is separate from the aggregates. He frequently mentions that he has abandoned the conceit "I am" so how do you justify that he he believes that *he is* the tathagata? I never said that people take themselves to be the tathagata then realize that they aren't. They believe that they are independent entities which they might use various conventions to describe, the difference between an enlightened person is that they are under no illusion that the convention is a reality.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 11/6/12 8:37 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam . .:
But, anyway: can you make the case that when the Buddha says "Tathagatha", he is not referring to what-he-is, but rather, to a supposed 'identity' that doesn't exist - that somebody takes himself to be until he becomes Enlightened?


no, but I don't need to, I just have to make the case that he uses "tathagata" as a convention without thinking of it as a truly established entity which is separate from the aggregates. He frequently mentions that he has abandoned the conceit "I am" so how do you justify that he he believes that *he is* the tathagata?

I meant simply that he refers to whatever he is by the phrase "Tathagata", much like in other places he might use the word "I". For example, in the Ariyapariyesana Sutta he says: "I, too, monks, before my Awakening, when I was an unawakened bodhisatta [...]". There it is obvious that when he says "I" he is referring to himself. Now, are you making the case that when he says "Tathagata" he is not referring to himself? Or do you agree that when he says "Tathagata" he is referring to himself?
An Eternal Now, modified 10 Years ago at 11/6/12 9:20 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Adam . .:
But, anyway: can you make the case that when the Buddha says "Tathagatha", he is not referring to what-he-is, but rather, to a supposed 'identity' that doesn't exist - that somebody takes himself to be until he becomes Enlightened?


no, but I don't need to, I just have to make the case that he uses "tathagata" as a convention without thinking of it as a truly established entity which is separate from the aggregates. He frequently mentions that he has abandoned the conceit "I am" so how do you justify that he he believes that *he is* the tathagata?

I meant simply that he refers to whatever he is by the phrase "Tathagata", much like in other places he might use the word "I". For example, in the Ariyapariyesana Sutta he says: "I, too, monks, before my Awakening, when I was an unawakened bodhisatta [...]". There it is obvious that when he says "I" he is referring to himself. Now, are you making the case that when he says "Tathagata" he is not referring to himself? Or do you agree that when he says "Tathagata" he is referring to himself?
He is refering to himself only in a purely conventional sense (not refering to an actual substance or entity whatsoever - there is no real self). Basically - Tathagata is just as conventional as Beoman and Adam and AEN and Richard (etc).

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/jootla/wheel414.html#ch2

Would an arahant say "I" or "mine"?

Other devas had more sophisticated queries. One deva, for example, asked the Buddha if an arahant could use words that refer to a self:

"Consummate with taints destroyed,
One who bears his final body,
Would he still say 'I speak'?
And would he say 'They speak to me'?"

This deva realized that arahantship means the end of rebirth and suffering by uprooting mental defilements; he knew that arahants have no belief in any self or soul. But he was puzzled to hear monks reputed to be arahants continuing to use such self-referential expressions.

The Buddha replied that an arahant might say "I" always aware of the merely pragmatic value of common terms:

"Skillful, knowing the world's parlance,
He uses such terms as mere expressions."

The deva, trying to grasp the Buddha's meaning, asked whether an arahant would use such expressions because he is still prone to conceit. The Buddha made it clear that the arahant has no delusions about his true nature. He has uprooted all notions of self and removed all traces of pride and conceit:

"No knots exist for one with conceit cast off;
For him all knots of conceit are consumed.
When the wise one has transcended the conceived
He might still say 'I speak,'
And he might say 'They speak to me.'
Skillful, knowing the world's parlance,
He uses such terms as mere expressions." (KS I, 21-22; SN 1:25)
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 11/6/12 10:00 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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An Eternal Now:
He is refering to himself only in a purely conventional sense (not refering to an actual substance or entity whatsoever - there is no real self). Basically - Tathagata is just as conventional as Beoman and Adam and AEN and Richard (etc).

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/jootla/wheel414.html#ch2

Would an arahant say "I" or "mine"?

Other devas had more sophisticated queries. One deva, for example, asked the Buddha if an arahant could use words that refer to a self:

"Consummate with taints destroyed,
One who bears his final body,
Would he still say 'I speak'?
And would he say 'They speak to me'?"

This deva realized that arahantship means the end of rebirth and suffering by uprooting mental defilements; he knew that arahants have no belief in any self or soul. But he was puzzled to hear monks reputed to be arahants continuing to use such self-referential expressions.

The Buddha replied that an arahant might say "I" always aware of the merely pragmatic value of common terms:

"Skillful, knowing the world's parlance,
He uses such terms as mere expressions."

The deva, trying to grasp the Buddha's meaning, asked whether an arahant would use such expressions because he is still prone to conceit. The Buddha made it clear that the arahant has no delusions about his true nature. He has uprooted all notions of self and removed all traces of pride and conceit:

"No knots exist for one with conceit cast off;
For him all knots of conceit are consumed.
When the wise one has transcended the conceived
He might still say 'I speak,'
And he might say 'They speak to me.'
Skillful, knowing the world's parlance,
He uses such terms as mere expressions." (KS I, 21-22; SN 1:25)

Thanks, AEN. Yes, I agree that this is how the Buddha used the word "I" or the word "Tathagata". Adam, do you agree as well?
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 11/6/12 10:34 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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He uses it conventionally. Therefore you can not reasonably extrapolate anything whatsoever from it regarding his believing in some sort of self. Clearly in his conception of self there is no self as the one who has abandoned ignorance abandons "I am." So no, he does not use it to refer to what he is, he uses it without any actual (independently existent) reference point for pragmatic purposes.
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 11/6/12 10:59 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Right Adam and AEN - he uses it conventionally. When Richard uses "I am this flesh and blood body" he uses it in
terms of his identification in the world..which means that if his photograph is taken , his physical body will show up
and this can be used to differentiate him with other physical flesh and blood bodies - the Buddha will obviously not
deny this
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 11/6/12 10:50 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam . .:
He uses it conventionally. Therefore you can not reasonably extrapolate anything whatsoever from it regarding his believing in some sort of self. Clearly in his conception of self there is no self as the one who has abandoned ignorance abandons "I am." So no, he does not use it to refer to what he is, he uses it without any actual (independently existent) reference point for pragmatic purposes.

Okay. He uses it conventionally. So if he were to start talking about properties of "the Tathagata", would it be accurate to say that those properties are properties he applies to himself (understanding that Buddha does not believe in a self and has abandoned the "I am" and is not refering to any independently existent reference point, etc.)?

For example, in that same sutta I quoted, the Buddha says: "So I said to them, 'Don't address the Tathagata by name and as "friend." The Tathagata, friends, is a worthy one, rightly self-awakened." Would it be fair to say that the Buddha is thus saying that he is a "worthy one, rightly self-awakened" (again, understanding that the Buddha has abandoned "I am" and is not referring to an actual independently existing reference point)?

If not, then how would you describe what the Buddha is saying when he says "The Tathagata, friends, is a worthy one, rightly self-awakened."?
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 11/7/12 1:15 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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You are asking me to talk about the Buddha's views on self when he himself always says he has self-view, I really don't know how to make it clearer than that. Every time he seems to be talking about self it is clear he is talking about it conventionally, referring to a certain group of aggregates in the same way that Richard does when he talks about the 'other I'.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 11/7/12 1:35 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam . .:
You are asking me to talk about the Buddha's views on self when he himself always says he has self-view, I really don't know how to make it clearer than that. Every time he seems to be talking about self it is clear he is talking about it conventionally, referring to a certain group of aggregates in the same way that Richard does when he talks about the 'other I'.

You misunderstand me. I'm not asking whether he's talking about 'self' or 'Self' as a concept. When I ask if he is describing himself, I don't mean "his Self" or whether he has self-view, I'm just using the word "himself" conventionally (grammatically).

It would help if you answered this question: How would you describe what the Buddha is saying when he says "The Tathagata, friends, is a worthy one, rightly self-awakened."? Would the following be proper rephrasings: "Buddha is describing himself as a worthy one, rightly self-awakened", or "Buddha considers himself to be a worthy one, rightly self-awakened?" If not, why not? Feel free to add in all the qualifications you want to make sure that I am not implicitly saying something that you disagree with.
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 11/7/12 1:56 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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When the buddha says "tathagata" he is referring to a collection of aggregates which do not form an organic unity. He might also conventionally refer to these aggregates as himself. This seems analogous to Richard's use of the word "I" when he talks about his body.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 11/7/12 2:17 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Adam . .:
When the buddha says "tathagata" he is referring to a collection of aggregates which do not form an organic unity. He might also conventionally refer to these aggregates as himself. This seems analogous to Richard's use of the word "I" when he talks about his body.

Yes, I agree with that. It is indeed analogous. Now, look at the different ways in which the Buddha describes himself with this conventional usage, and how Richard describes himself with this conventional usage.

Buddha:
[...] any physical form by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned [...] Freed from the classification of form, Vaccha, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the sea. 'Reappears' doesn't apply. 'Does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Both does & does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Neither reappears nor does not reappear' doesn't apply. [...] "Any consciousness by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned [...] Freed from the classification of consciousness, Vaccha, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the sea.
[Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta]

vs.:
Richard:
A million dew-drenched spider-webs danced a sparkling delight over the verdant vista and a question that had been running for some weeks became experientially answered: without the senses I would not know that I exist as this flesh and blood body. And further to this: I was the senses and the senses were me. [link]

Richard:
I exist *as* a flesh and blood body, in time and space, being apperceptively aware.[link]

Richard:
Only when I am me as this flesh and blood body can I say that I know the actual. [...] Whereupon, finally I am me as this flesh and blood body only. [link]

Richard:
I am this sensate and reflective body, yet when this body is unconscious, there is no awareness that this body is alive. So, strictly speaking, what I am is this body’s apperceptive consciousness – I am the awareness of being here now – and I am very much dependent upon the body being alive and awake to be conscious. [link]


Based on these quotes, is it not safe to say that the Buddha considers himself to be something very different than what Richard considers himself to be?
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 11/7/12 4:20 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Your quote comparison still seems somewhat inconclusive. "Tathagata" is apparently referring conventionally to an enlightened 'person' without being too specific about what a 'person' is. This 'person' apparently does not identify itself with any aggregate, however I believe that what the buddha thinks of as identification is different from what Richard thinks of as identification. Shashank put it nicely with the example of the picture, one could identify a picture as being a certain person, and you would be able to match up different pictures with different people. This is different from the Buddha's idea of identification which is that one feels an attachment, is obsessed with, clings, and craves a certain thing which he takes to be belonging to or part of some sort of unchanging independent entity.

So when he talks about "tathagata" he is simply conventionally referring to a person who doesn't have a sense of being an unchanging independent entity and who doesn't crave or cling. Now, there is as you pointed out a different in the way the two guys make this conventional reference. Richard refers to the aggregates as being what this person is because he is emphasizing that they aren't some 'self' behind the aggregates. The Buddha basically refers to this person as something which has no essential existence at all but can still be conventionally understood to be a separate thing.

Faced with this quandary of how to refer to a self conventionally while expressing that there is no true "self" both guys have different strategies for conventional reference for pragmatic purposes. Richard takes the approach of emphasizing that only the aggregates remain, the Buddha chooses to emphasize that whatever this 'person' is (and he never actually says that it is anything), it isn't any of the aggregates, so in both cases, what is being expressed is that there are aggregates but no independent entity. Richard takes a positive approach and the Buddha takes a negative approach.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 11/7/12 4:46 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Hmm, I still don't see the two as talking about the same thing in different ways.

Adam . .:
Richard takes the approach of emphasizing that only the aggregates remain, the Buddha chooses to emphasize that whatever this 'person' is (and he never actually says that it is anything), it isn't any of the aggregates, so in both cases, what is being expressed is that there are aggregates but no independent entity.

Yes, but in the case of the Buddha, he is saying that what remains - using the word "Tathagata" to refer to himself in a conventional manner - is not any of the aggregates (including consciousness). Yet in the case of Richard, he is saying that what remains - using the word "I" to refer to himself in a conventional manner - *is* something, specifically, the apperceptive consciousness being generated by the body. It seems in both cases they are referring to what remains for someone who has completed their respective paths, and they are describing this what-remains as two different things.

In the Buddha's case it seems he's making the case that he isn't form, nor is he without form; he isn't consciousness, nor is he without consciousness; rather, he is this thing that you can't pin down in this life, so you also can't pin it down in the next life (in answer to whether he exists after he dies). In Richard's case he is simply stating that he is the apperceptive consciousness the flesh and blood body is generating and he definitively states he won't exist when he dies. I can see the Buddha agreeing that his body would rot away when he dies, for example, but he wouldn't say that the Tathagata no longer exists after death - because he says there is no relation between form (an aggregate) and the Tathagata (the word he uses to refer to himself in a conventional sense).
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 11/7/12 7:53 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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In the conventional , actualism sense Richard is right - that he is the apperceptive awareness - yet at another place
he says that consciousness is that very neuronal activity and neurons..in other words ultimately he is those neurons
,neural circuits etc...yet in the ultimate reality even this is a false perception..if these neurons etc are seen under
a microscope , where can you see an I or me or Richard printed on them ? A neuron is just a neuron..It might as well be replaced by a similar neuron etc from another person...this is where the Buddha went deeper and said that in the ultimate reality one is not
even those neurons because there is no self-hood in the neurons either and hence
Tathagata is none of the aggregates too...yet one does have to use I , me etc for conventional reasons to refer
to a particular collection of aggregates so that it can be differentiated with other collection of aggregates..just
as Richard uses the body to differentiate with other bodies..
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 10 Years ago at 11/8/12 11:51 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Hey Claudiu and Adam emoticon

I've had several thoughts to comment on your discussion, and finally decided to jump in. Hopefully this might add something useful to the discussion.

Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
In the Buddha's case it seems he's making the case that he isn't form, nor is he without form; he isn't consciousness, nor is he without consciousness; rather, he is this thing that you can't pin down in this life, so you also can't pin it down in the next life (in answer to whether he exists after he dies) (emphasis added).

It puzzles me that you would formulate this like so.

I think I detect a fundamental difference in world view here. Something deep down in our sense-making frameworks.

One way to make sense of the world is to solidify and impose borders on the (quite literal) flow of the universe. This leads to the emergence of things - clearly defined, separate things. This is very practical because language is dependent on pinning something down and calling it by name. If I experience pain and I want to direct attention to where the pain is felt for me, I can say "my leg" because we have agreed to call that *points to my leg* "my leg". But, what we call "my leg" does not exist as a static, solid, separate, differentiated, ontological object - unless we pretend so and temporarily "fabricate" it, freeze it, and call it by name. (This is a mostly unconscious process)

There is no intrinsically meaningful distinction between my leg and the air surrounding it. Or the air and the ground. (Or the ground and the ocean, etc.) So from this perspective, my leg == the ground (or the ocean, etc.). They're the same thing, existing as the-universe-as-a-whole. But we can, of course, choose to play-pretend and delimit and separate the atoms of my leg from the atoms of the air and the ground, thereby creating an illusory separation between the leg and everything else.

This is what the Buddha is thinking about when he gets all negàtive (negation), and it is completely logical. But every logical deduction needs a premise, and what is the Buddha's premise?

When Richard says "I am this body's apperceptive consciousness", he's locking down a part of the fluxing soup of universe which is actually undifferentiated and non-static. He's putting borders on some phenomena of the universe and saying "this is apperceptive consciousness" and implicitly he's also saying "anything else is not apperceptive consciousness". But the Buddha knows that "apperceptive consciousness" as defined by Richard does not exist in a vacuum, or as a thing-itself; It exists only as a coming together of causes and effects. And even that is saying too much about it, because even those causes and effects exists only as a coming together of other causes and effects, etc.

In more practical terms, "apperceptive consciousness" is not different from (ie. separated from (ie. existing independently of)) the gulf stream or an iPhone or Saturn.

They're both quite right, I think, but they're operating within different paradigms or idioms.

I believe this reasoning is what's called emptiness (at least one of them) and dependent origination. But where this gets incredibly interesting and where one can can start to see the logic in the Buddha's negation is when this thinking is applied globally, ie. to all things and phenomena. Suddenly it's overly obvious that of course the Tathagata is neither of these:
X,
not X,
X and not-X
X nor not-X
No thing truly exists as whatever you might call it, unless you pretend so. But we do pretend, almost exclusively.


Here's the real important point:

I'm not really saying either idiom is "Truth" (though you'll find people on both sides doing so), I'm simply saying that this mode of understanding is available to any one of us, and that I believe this is the frame of reference from within which what the Buddha said is to be understood. It's easy to understand actualism from a spiritual framework, yet it would be a mistake to do so. Likewise, what the Buddha said should not be understood from within a actualist paradigm.

EDIT:

Shashank Dixit beat me to it emoticon

EDIT2:

Ultimately, nothing exist as whatever you might call it (weather, cup, pain, self, etc.), but only as constituent parts. And those parts exist only as ever-more constituent parts. The magic happens when one realizes that this doesn't end - when this is applied globally. Then everything becomes transparent and lighter (as in weight).

Relatively, we can choose to stop at a certain magnitude/magnification, a certain density and say: from this perspective (or with these parameters), that is "me" (or "weather", etc.). But this freezing (which leads to what's called "dualistic fixation") reflects only a temporary, fleeting construct with no intrinsic truth or meaning. When we start to believe that this universally arbitrary[1] and temporary distinction is 'real', we suffer. As an analog, we start believing the dream is real and it devolves into a nightmare.


[1] The distinctions we make of hot/cold, bright/dim, long/far, hard/soft, my leg/not my leg, me/not me, etc., are all predicated on our particular and peculiar human sensing capabilities. We fall prey to believing that what we experience is universally true, because it's the only thing we experience, when in fact it is only relatively true - relative to us as humans.
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 11/7/12 8:21 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Shashank Dixit beat me to it


haha I read your words as if coming out of my own head..really I totally agree to what you've said and nailed well
when you say :-

They're both quite right, I think, but they're operating within different paradigms or idioms.
Robert McLune, modified 10 Years ago at 11/7/12 8:48 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:

One way to make sense of the world is to solidify and impose borders on the (quite literal) flow of the universe. This leads to the emergence of things - clearly defined, separate things. This is very practical because language is dependent on pinning something down and calling it by name. If I experience pain and I want to direct attention to where the pain is felt for me, I can say "my leg" because we have agreed to call that *points to my leg* "my leg". But, what we call "my leg" does not exist as a static, solid, separate, differentiated, ontological object - unless we pretend so and temporarily "fabricate" it, freeze it, and call it by name. (This is a mostly unconscious process)

There is no intrinsically meaningful distinction between my leg and the air surrounding it. Or the air and the ground. (Or the ground and the ocean, etc.) So from this perspective, my leg == the ground (or the ocean, etc.). They're the same thing, existing as the-universe-as-a-whole. But we can, of course, choose to play-pretend and delimit and separate the atoms of my leg from the atoms of the air and the ground, thereby creating an illusory separation between the leg and everything else.

I like that a lot. I reach the same thinking via a physics-based analytical route. One of the things that intrigues me about Buddhism is that it seems to offer a method of reaching it via an alternate, experiential route.

How do you reach it?
An Eternal Now, modified 10 Years ago at 11/7/12 10:01 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Hmm, I still don't see the two as talking about the same thing in different ways.

Adam . .:
Richard takes the approach of emphasizing that only the aggregates remain, the Buddha chooses to emphasize that whatever this 'person' is (and he never actually says that it is anything), it isn't any of the aggregates, so in both cases, what is being expressed is that there are aggregates but no independent entity.

Yes, but in the case of the Buddha, he is saying that what remains - using the word "Tathagata" to refer to himself in a conventional manner - is not any of the aggregates (including consciousness). Yet in the case of Richard, he is saying that what remains - using the word "I" to refer to himself in a conventional manner - *is* something, specifically, the apperceptive consciousness being generated by the body. It seems in both cases they are referring to what remains for someone who has completed their respective paths, and they are describing this what-remains as two different things.

In the Buddha's case it seems he's making the case that he isn't form, nor is he without form; he isn't consciousness, nor is he without consciousness; rather, he is this thing that you can't pin down in this life, so you also can't pin it down in the next life (in answer to whether he exists after he dies). In Richard's case he is simply stating that he is the apperceptive consciousness the flesh and blood body is generating and he definitively states he won't exist when he dies. I can see the Buddha agreeing that his body would rot away when he dies, for example, but he wouldn't say that the Tathagata no longer exists after death - because he says there is no relation between form (an aggregate) and the Tathagata (the word he uses to refer to himself in a conventional sense).
it is not "he is this thing that cannot be pinned down". It is that there is no he to be pinned down as anything.

Just like the word "weather", "tathagata" is a pure conventional designation, a mere name and not an entity or reality.

Weather is imputed on ever changing clouds, rain etc but there is in reality no actual entity called weather as such. Since there is no weather, the whole question of identity and difference with the aggregates is moot. It is not about identifying himself with aggregates or separating himself from aggregates. It is merely a seeing through of reification, then naturally experience becomes direct, gapless and releasing (in the seen just the seen, in the heard just the heard, etc)
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 11/7/12 10:12 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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An Eternal Now:
it is not "he is this thing that cannot be pinned down". It is that there is no he to be pinned down as anything.

Just like the word "weather", "tathagata" is a pure conventional designation, a mere name and not an entity or reality.

Weather is imputed on ever changing clouds, rain etc but there is in reality no actual entity called weather as such. Since there is no weather, the whole question of identity and difference with the aggregates is moot. It is not about identifying himself with aggregates or separating himself from aggregates. It is merely a seeing through of reification, then naturally experience becomes direct, gapless and releasing (in the seen just the seen, in the heard just the heard, etc)

I might be being a bit sloppy with my language. But you agree, then, that the Buddha doesn't take himself to be the body, or consciousness, as Richard does in a straightforward manner?
An Eternal Now, modified 10 Years ago at 11/7/12 10:41 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
An Eternal Now:
it is not "he is this thing that cannot be pinned down". It is that there is no he to be pinned down as anything.

Just like the word "weather", "tathagata" is a pure conventional designation, a mere name and not an entity or reality.

Weather is imputed on ever changing clouds, rain etc but there is in reality no actual entity called weather as such. Since there is no weather, the whole question of identity and difference with the aggregates is moot. It is not about identifying himself with aggregates or separating himself from aggregates. It is merely a seeing through of reification, then naturally experience becomes direct, gapless and releasing (in the seen just the seen, in the heard just the heard, etc)

I might be being a bit sloppy with my language. But you agree, then, that the Buddha doesn't take himself to be the body, or consciousness, as Richard does in a straightforward manner?
There is no "himself" in reality, only the body, consciousness, and so on, and then those are conventionally designated as "tathagata" by convention. A conventional imputation has no reality. There is no self/himself/tathagata in reality apart from a mere conventional imputation. Identity and difference would imply a real self that is identical with or different from aggregates, but this wont apply when no real self or tathagata could be established. Richard does not seem to be expressing this point or it isn't clear in his statement. He seems to be collapsing self into objects. But Buddha does not collapse self into object (actualism?) nor object into self (advaita?) but merely puts an end to false reification, then the experience is naturally direct, gapless and releasing just as described in the bahiya sutta. Anatta is thus not just non duality even if no subject-object duality is already Implicit when false reification of self is seen through.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 11/7/12 10:57 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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An Eternal Now:
There is no "himself" in reality, only the body, consciousness, and so on, and then those are conventionally designated as "tathagata" by convention.
Right, so as there is no "himself" in reality, then there is no way he could be body or consciousness etc. The statement "he is body/he is not body/he is consciousness/he is not consciousness" doesn't even make sense.

An Eternal Now:
Richard does not seem to be expressing this point or it isn't clear in his statement. He seems to be collapsing self into objects.
He doesn't express this point, as far as I can tell. I don't think he is collapsing self into objects, just stating that:
1) universe exists
2) flesh and blood body exists
3) flesh and blood body generates apperceptive consciousness, which is without any entity (self or Self etc.)
4) he is that apperceptive consciousness - he is the sensations he experiences
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 11/7/12 11:49 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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4) he is that apperceptive consciousness - he is the sensations he experiences


he is also the universe experiencing itself..so he is 2 things :-

1). apperceptive awareness and
2). universe experiencing itself

so the apperceptive awareness is the universe experiencing itself and so where is the he now ?

The answer is obvious :- There is no "he" in the ultimate reality..

Richard uses "he" merely for his *identification in the world*..it is with this sense he uses "he"
while the Buddha was speaking in ultimate terms :- ultimately , "he" is just a convention..just as a "car" or a "chariot"
or as AEN says "weather" is...the Buddha will obviously *identify* himself in his photograph but thats a convention..
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 11/7/12 11:57 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Shashank Dixit:
4) he is that apperceptive consciousness - he is the sensations he experiences


he is also the universe experiencing itself..so he is 2 things :-

1). apperceptive awareness and
2). universe experiencing itself

so the apperceptive awareness is the universe experiencing itself and so where is the he now ?

The answer is obvious :- There is no "he" in the ultimate reality..

He isn't the universe experiencing itself. He is the universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood body - as an apperceptive awareness generated from said body. It's just another way to phrase the same thing.

Shashank Dixit:
Richard uses "he" merely for his *identification in the world*..it is with this sense he uses "he"
while the Buddha was speaking in ultimate terms :- ultimately , "he" is just a convention..just as a "car" or a "chariot"
or as AEN says "weather" is...the Buddha will obviously *identify* himself in his photograph but thats a convention..

No, Richard says he is that apperceptive consciousness, whereas the Buddha said he is not consciousness (nor is he without consciousness, etc.) If you asked the Buddha to identify himself in a photograph he'd say "that one", but if you then asked "so, given that you pointed yourself out, you are that body/you identify with that body?" he'd say "no, that's just a convention", whereas Richard in the same situation would say "yes/i don't identify with that body, i am that body".
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 11/8/12 2:55 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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He isn't the universe experiencing itself. He is the universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood body - as an apperceptive awareness generated from said body. It's just another way to phrase the same thing.


where is this "he" in the actual world when there is only apperceptive awareness ( comprising of actual neurons etc ) generated from the actual body ? there is nothing apart from the apperceptive awareness/body..the "he" is just a
concept that does not exist in the actual world..

No, Richard says he is that apperceptive consciousness, whereas the Buddha said he is not consciousness (nor is he without consciousness, etc.)


Thats because there is no "he" in the actual world and thats why calling the consciousness as "he" or anything else is an
ignorant view in ultimate reality..

If you asked the Buddha to identify himself in a photograph he'd say "that one", but if you then asked "so, given that you pointed yourself out, you are that body/you identify with that body?" he'd say "no, that's just a convention", whereas Richard in the same situation would say "yes/i don't identify with that body, i am that body".


conventionally the Buddha will still say that "yes I am that one in the photograph" but in the ultimate reality there is neither a
"he" nor a "me" nor a "mine"..
they are merely conventions used for smooth functioning in the world..imho both Richard and
Buddha are correct but one has to know the context or the sense in which it is been spoken about..one has to know
if it is spoken conventionally or ultimately..for example Richard himself says something like "while it is useful to use things
such as fairness and justice for everyday usage , it is useless to apply such concepts to the universe" or for instance he
says "ultimately nothing matters because we are all going to die one day"..so even though ultimately he knows nothing matters , there are still things which matter conventionally for him..

There is clearly a conventional reality for smooth functioning and an ultimate
reality for liberation..
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 11/8/12 9:19 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Shashank Dixit:
There is clearly a conventional reality for smooth functioning and an ultimate
reality for liberation..

Yes, except the "ultimate reality for liberation" is a delusion, according to Richard. He explicitly rejects it.
An Eternal Now, modified 10 Years ago at 11/8/12 11:46 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Buddha does not talk about an ultimate reality.

In the Abhidhamma and much of Theravada tradition however, they posit that all dharmas have sort of atomic reality, so each sensation for example is an ultimate reality in contrast to conceptual objects (e.g. some texts would suggest that vipassana is taking ultimate realities, e.g. all actual dharmas such as a tactile sensation of heat and cold, as object, in contrast to shamatha which take conceptual objects such as an imagined kasina or a conceptual thought of 'in' and 'out' for meditation, see http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Other/Anapana/anapana.html). So for example - the idea 'the monitor screen' is actually a conceptual imputation superimposed on the tiny ultimate realities of millions of elemental pixels flashing in and out every moment, so only the pixels exist and not 'one big thing called monitor' (a fabricated concept). Likewise, 'self', 'in and out', etc are all fabricated superimpositions upon the actual/ultimate realities which are the sensate realities flashing in and out, and apperceptively experienced, each moment. So Shashank may be coming from this perspective, i.e. a fabricated or conceptual object such as a 'self' is superimposed onto the 'ultimate realities' or the sensations that arise and pass from moment to moment. I don't think Shashank is implying some Big Self or Brahman as ultimate reality which Richard is always fond of rejecting.

The Mahayana teaching of Prajnaparamita/Madhyamika/etc would reject however even an atomistic view of an inherent 'little atmans' of 'elemental objects', so it rejects all views of reality/ultimate reality. This, I think, is closer to the Buddha's view even in the Pali texts. All dharmas, be it samsara or nirvana, are empty (not only of a soul or subjective self as taught even in Abhidhamma, but also empty of inherent 'little atmans' of objects). This is not at all a denial of dharmas, or the sensate reality as we experience them, but only a rejection of an inherent view about reality.

But I guess this is off-topic...
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 10 Years ago at 11/8/12 11:44 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Thanks AEN. That's very clear to me. You just explained to me the difference between two views which I have been mixing up and been confused about: the view that sensations are atomic: "small mini atmans", and the more thoroughly empty view: "no small mini atmans whatsoever".

This does seem somewhat off-topic (which is a shame - I find it very enlightening). Or maybe it isn't - I think we're trying to clarify an important issue that has arisen in the discussion that has unfolded in this thread.
An Eternal Now, modified 10 Years ago at 11/8/12 12:33 PM
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Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
Thanks AEN. That's very clear to me. You just explained to me the difference between two views which I have been mixing up and been confused about: the view that sensations are atomic: "small mini atmans", and the more thoroughly empty view: "no small mini atmans whatsoever".

This does seem somewhat off-topic (which is a shame - I find it very enlightening). Or maybe it isn't - I think we're trying to clarify an important issue that has arisen in the discussion that has unfolded in this thread.
emoticon

Prajnaparamita and secondfold emptiness teaching is simply extending the 'no self in soul/person' (as already taught in Abhidhamma) to 'no self in dharmas'.

Also, for example, this is the Abhidhammic view of conventional vs ultimate reality: http://www.thisismyanmar.com/nibbana/mtinmon1.htm

Nagarjuna would say even the elemental dharmas are conventional, being that they are dependently arisen mere-appearances and fundamentally empty of any substantial core or inherent existence... and not posit any ultimate realities.

Still, the 'elemental dharmas' view is a great insight as it is related to the direct insight of anatta, which deconstructs the view of an inherent self - it destroys the delusion of a subjective self, person, agent (seer/feeler/controller/etc), soul, atman, etc.
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 11/8/12 8:28 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Yes, except the "ultimate reality for liberation" is a delusion, according to Richard. He explicitly rejects it.


This is obvious because he has no meditation experience nor has he spoken openly to the revered , venerable
Buddhist masters.

So Shashank may be coming from this perspective, i.e. a fabricated or conceptual object such as a 'self' is superimposed onto the 'ultimate realities' or the sensations that arise and pass from moment to moment. I don't think Shashank is implying some Big Self or Brahman as ultimate reality which Richard is always fond of rejecting.


Indeed , when I talk about ultimate reality , I talk about the pure sensate world..the apperceptive actual world as Richard
might put it.

The Mahayana teaching of Prajnaparamita/Madhyamika/etc would reject however even an atomistic view of an inherent 'little atmans' of 'elemental objects', so it rejects all views of reality/ultimate reality.


The distinction between the two truths (satyadvayavibhāga) was fully expressed by the Madhyamaka-school. In Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā it is used to defend the identification of dependent origination (pratītyasamutpāda) with emptiness (śūnyatā):

"The Buddha's teaching of the Dharma is based on two truths: a truth of worldly convention and an ultimate truth. Those who do not understand the distinction drawn between these two truths do not understand the Buddha's profound truth. Without a foundation in the conventional truth the significance of the ultimate cannot be taught. Without understanding the significance of the ultimate, liberation is not achieved." [1]

[1] Nagarjuna, Mūlamadhyamakakārika 24:8-10.
Jay L. Garfield|Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way: pp. 296, 298
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 11/8/12 9:34 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Shashank Dixit:
This is obvious because he has no meditation experience nor has he spoken openly to the revered , venerable Buddhist masters.

So you agree then that Richard is saying something different than the Buddha did (i.e. according to Buddhism, Richard is saying something that is incorrect)? That is all I set out to do with this thread, not to show that one is better than the other.
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Shashank Dixit, modified 10 Years ago at 11/8/12 11:37 PM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Shashank Dixit:
This is obvious because he has no meditation experience nor has he spoken openly to the revered , venerable Buddhist masters.

So you agree then that Richard is saying something different than the Buddha did (i.e. according to Buddhism, Richard is saying something that is incorrect)? That is all I set out to do with this thread, not to show that one is better than the other.


It is quite the opposite - it is Richard who rejects and considers Buddhism as incorrect without any experience in it.

This is what I've written above in one of the posts :-

My intent is not to marry Actualism and Buddhism because they are indeed different practise but I strongly think that they
both lead to end of suffering albeit with a slightly different flavour..
Unlike others, who only want to find the differences between the two , I am trying to find what is common between Actualism/Buddhism and thus gain more confidence to use that particular aspect of practise.


I say this again, in the Buddha's style - emoticon

Both formerly and now I say that Actualism and Buddhism are different practises but they both lead to complete un-clinging
and un-craving ( ending of instinctual passions) and hence end of "bhava" or "becoming" or "me-making" or "being" and hence suffering - but most likely with a different flavour because of the conditioning done by the
differences in the practises.

---
Several EDITS : Sorry , was in a rush !
An Eternal Now, modified 10 Years ago at 11/9/12 2:52 AM
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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Shashank Dixit:
Yes, except the "ultimate reality for liberation" is a delusion, according to Richard. He explicitly rejects it.


This is obvious because he has no meditation experience nor has he spoken openly to the revered , venerable
Buddhist masters.

So Shashank may be coming from this perspective, i.e. a fabricated or conceptual object such as a 'self' is superimposed onto the 'ultimate realities' or the sensations that arise and pass from moment to moment. I don't think Shashank is implying some Big Self or Brahman as ultimate reality which Richard is always fond of rejecting.


Indeed , when I talk about ultimate reality , I talk about the pure sensate world..the apperceptive actual world as Richard
might put it.

The Mahayana teaching of Prajnaparamita/Madhyamika/etc would reject however even an atomistic view of an inherent 'little atmans' of 'elemental objects', so it rejects all views of reality/ultimate reality.


The distinction between the two truths (satyadvayavibhāga) was fully expressed by the Madhyamaka-school. In Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā it is used to defend the identification of dependent origination (pratītyasamutpāda) with emptiness (śūnyatā):

"The Buddha's teaching of the Dharma is based on two truths: a truth of worldly convention and an ultimate truth. Those who do not understand the distinction drawn between these two truths do not understand the Buddha's profound truth. Without a foundation in the conventional truth the significance of the ultimate cannot be taught. Without understanding the significance of the ultimate, liberation is not achieved." [1]

[1] Nagarjuna, Mūlamadhyamakakārika 24:8-10.
Jay L. Garfield|Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way: pp. 296, 298
Yes, I forgot to mention something Thusness mentioned a few times I think: In Buddhism (or at least Mahayana/Madhyamika), there is no Ultimate Reality, only an Ultimate Truth. That ultimate truth is emptiness (or the union of luminosity and emptiness). Emptiness here not as in a 'void' but as in the twofold emptiness of self and dharmas.

He also put a warning a few times, for example in one of his blog comments he said, "It is better not to treat sensation as 'real' as the word 'real' in Buddhism carries a different meaning. It is rather a moment of vivid, luminous presence but nothing 'real'. It may be difficult to realise why is this important but it will become clearer in later phase of our progress."

Even in Dzogchen teachings, as Loppon Malcolm has pointed out before, everything from top to bottom, even 'basis' and 'rigpa' are considered as illusory and unreal.

"The mind that is the all-creating king, as Norbu Rinpoche makes clear, is the mind that does not recognize itself, and so enters into samsara, creating its own experience of samsara.

All conditioned phenomena are a product of ignorance, according to Dzogchen view, and so therefore, everything is not real. The basis of that ignorance is the basis, which is also not established as real.

In Dzogchen, everything is unreal, from top to bottom. The basis, in Dzogchen, is described as being "empty not established in any way at all". If the basis is not real, then whatever arises from that basis is not real.

In Dzoghen, dependent origination begins from the non-recognition of the state of the basis, when this happens, one enters into grasping self and other, and then the chain of dependent origination begins."


In the Mahayana Prajnaparamita sutra, it states, "Subhūti said, "0 dear gods, if there were something that was more superior even than Nirvāṇa, I would still say that it is like a dream and a magical delusion. 0 dear gods, there is not the slightest difference between Nirvāṇa and dreams and magical delusions."


And in the Pali suttas, we have plenty of suttas like the Phena Sutta which talks about this.
An Eternal Now, modified 10 Years ago at 11/9/12 4:15 AM
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http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2009/02/madhyamika-buddhism-vis-vis-hindu.html

Quote: "I am aware that reality also connotes ‘fact’ i.e. truth and with such a meaning could be used in Buddhism to mean Ultimate Fact/Truth. But as one of its connotations is ‘existing’, it is hazardous to use the words ‘Ultimate Reality’ in any Buddhist context and it is always safer to use the words ‘Ultimate Truth’ instead. Some English translations of Dzogchen, Mahamudra etc. have used the words ‘Ultimate Reality’ for Co-emergent Wisdom (Skt. sahaja jnana / Tathagatagarbha) rather indiscriminately without the authors even realizing that the use of such lax wording brings them not only dangerously close to Vedantins of one form or another, but also they are actually using Buddhist texts to validate the Vedantic thesis. If some of them object that their ‘Ultimate Reality’ is empty while the Hindu ‘Ultimate Reality’ is not; the Hindus can ask, “then how is it an Ultimate Reality in the sense of Ultimate Existing”? To avoid this confusion, it is safer and semantically closer to the Buddhist paradigm to use only ‘Ultimate Truth’." - Archaya Mahayogi Shridhar Rinpoche
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RE: A Comparison of Apperceptiveness Article & Bhante G's Chapter

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