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A Usable Map for Dependent Origination

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Dhamma Greetings to all.
It is my hope this will evoke a discussion on Dependent Origination and how it can be useful for a person's practice, a person's daily life when it comes to any tough emotional situation, and to demonstrate how a person can use this same understanding to open a doorway to PEACE that most of us may not have noticed before. the process leads to levels of enlightenment ( learning things you did not know before) and when fully understood it leads to seeing clearly the 4 noble Truths and Three Characteristics in a new and complete way.

First, the map and the precise working definitions must be introduced.

Before I try to lay this out, a note please:
In modern Buddhism, D.O is most often presented in the context of the map given in the main commentary (VM ) and in the frame of that map, it doesn't hit home how it can be useful for you in this lifetime. That would be the macro-cosmic presentation of it which some have pronounced moves over actual lifetimes and Big monks like AjBuddhadhassa pronounced not even Buddhist! OR, you may have briefly run into it before in it's microcosmic layout discussing how, because it happens so fast, as aj
Chah put it one time, "...one cannot see all the cycles of it as an apple falls from it's limb to the ground it happens so fast!" initially this is true! I agree that, although it IS possible to develop the ability to see that as it is happening, even that really doesnt matter in your and my life very much now, does it?

So upon launching this investigation into D.O. let go of all you have heard before. And for this discussion, just contemplate what you are going to see here, as a new idea of looking at this as it is and testing it ourt as we go too. in truth, this isn't new at all! It's very old).

This MAP is a phenomenological MAP to understand the impersonal process of Dependent Origination that was recovered fully by the Buddha which he understood before he awakened. To confirm his conclusions, he saw it for the first time on the night of his awakening!

Phenomenological means one event at a time. This map will examine the links by offering very simple workable definitions as we go along, AND, then we will look at one event such as arising ANGER to prove out the usefulness of understanding, playing with and then using this process in everyday life.


So first we have the MAP of 12 Links.

Lay them out on a paper left to right

IGNORANCE - by definition the pali texts say this always means "not understanding" (ignoring) the 4 Noble Truths. Because the 4 Noble Truths are inclusive in every link of the process of Dependent Origination, this also means ignoring this process of D.O. and by learning how to watch Dependent Origination, one continually witnesses the three characteristics, so, you could say it means ignoring them too.) Ignorance if cancelled out by "Knowledge and Vision" (knowing by seeing how things work.

FORMATIONS- There are three kinds of Formations: Mental Formations; Verbal Formations; and Bodily Formations. For our purposes of explaining this now, this link is a POTENTIAL link. It is the potential for arising formations at the sense doors.

CONSCIOUSNESS- This Consciousness link is the POTENTIAL link for the sense base consciousness which occurs during Cognition. Consciousness has it happens at each of the sense doors so you have i.e. eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, and mind consciousness which kicks in during cognition at each of the sense doors as contact is happening.

MENTALITY-MATERIALITY- This link has two aspects. MATERIALITY is the external aspect of cognition operation for the sense door and MENTALITY is the internal structural aspect of operation for the sense door during cognition.
i.e. MATERIALITY the eye sees outside of the body sights..... MENTALITY- the eye has the physical eye and eye-conscioiusness which operates during cognition. although we don't usually watch this link in our meditation, its there and it's IMPERSONAL.

SIX SENSE BASE- This is simply the human being or animal's Eyes, Ears, Nose, Tongue, Body and Mind, The first four are the external bases and Mind is the internal base. These sense doors are IMPERSONAL. When you get up in the morning and open your eye, you do not decide what the eye will see. Challenge yourself to play with all the sense doors and check this out.

CONTACT- Contact has three parts ffor it to occur. You must have a sense door + that sense door object must impinge the door + that sense door consciousness must arise for contact to happen . i.e. The Eye meets color and form and Eye-Consciousness arises. the meeting of the three is eye-contact.
This is the EYE + COLOR &FORM + EYE-CONSCIOUSNESS = Eye-Contact.
During this process Perception occurs and this is how we NAME a Blue vase, for instance.

with contact as condition
FEELING arises. - FEELING is always IMPERSONAL and there are three kinds.
Painful feeling, Pleasant feeling, and Neither Painful nor Pleasant.
With feeling as condition,

CRAVING arises- This is the first PERSONAL link! This is where personality first appears! CRAVING always manifests as tension and tightness in mind and in body. It is the "I" like it or the "I" don't like it mind arising.
With craving as condition,

CLINGING arises- Clinging is all of the stories, ideas, concepts, opinions, and views of WHY "I" don't like it or "I" like it. This is a PERSONAL LINK too.
With this clinging as condition, emotions start here. Emotions are not feelings.They are emotions ( anger, frustration, sadness, depression, happy, ) This is interesting....
With clinging as condition,

HABITUAL TENDENCY arises. This is a PERSONAL link too. This is your little private library of RE-ACTIONS that we have in our head. Each one of us is different and because we use this library unconsciously, we are actually not living and responding in life, but, rather we are RE-ACTING.
With habitual tendency as condition,

BIRTH OF ACTION arises. Remember we said this was about an event. And this is where after choosing the re-action to be used in a situation, the Birth of Action takes place. The Buddha said that action is always Physical, Verbal, or Mental action.
Usually it is a RE-ACTION as I said and the action which happens can be all three kinds happening on top of one another.
With the Birth of action as condition,

AGING AND DEATH arise and this is really a short form title.
What happens is you have the event Aging and Death work it's way through revealing all of the suffering in the form of Sorrow, Lamentation, Pain, Grief and Despair as it plays out.

Now, lets see how ANGER could play out using this process.

1. Without knowledge of this process here is what happens.

A person yells at you. You hear the sound and a painful feeling arises and YOU don't like it! YOU immediately think about how much you dislike hearing this and how this person always acts like this and you reach into your habitual tendency library and pull out the card that says, I hate this, and it feels like it must be my fault and i should YELL BACK. What we see here is a WAR!

2. With knowledge of this impersonal process links however, things can change.

A person walks in and yells at you. You consider that hearing this is not personal and the feeling that comes up is only a painful feeling, not personal. So you don't think so much about it and instead decide to let it go. You see the person is in pain and with compassion, you listen but now you are not in the movie so to speak, but watching the frames go by! Interesting.
The entire perspective of the situation has changed from being personal, to impersonal and this leaves open a space for you to be compassionate and maybe offer some ice cream or coffee? Offer a comment of bad day, eh? or something like that.

so now we have moved to a new option. By understanding how things work, we can see how there could be a peaceful solution maybe....

So D.O, becomes VERY, VERY practical now in daily life.

Please comment on this. I am building a teaching module to help people by using this and it seems to work very well.

Metta and smiles.
Sister Khema
Affect the world around you; give your smile away.....

RE: A Usable Map for Dependent Origination
Answer
3/22/10 11:11 AM as a reply to Sister Khema.
I find this quite useful. It seems skillful to view dependent origination as a way of describing how the mind works on a short term scale. I don't know if it's what the historical Buddha meant when he described dependent origination, but it seems more useful to me than the literal interpretation of ignorance being a cause of rebirth in a metaphysical sense.

RE: A Usable Map for Dependent Origination
Answer
3/23/10 12:15 PM as a reply to Sister Khema.
Sister Khema:
So D.O, becomes VERY, VERY practical now in daily life.

I don't think you will find much disagreement with that statement here on this site - though the view that D.O. is relevant only on the macro level is pretty common in Buddhism.

A key aspect of this is your term 'knowledge'. In my experience, there are three kinds of knowledge that relate to my understanding of D.O. (as it relates to how we create our moment to moment experience):

1) intellectual knowledge - I hear a description of D.O. and reflect on it and come to an intellectual understanding of it. This is like a person who has never seen the surf before creating in their minds a mental image of what the beach and waves look like based on a description.

2) insight knowledge - path moments and certain other types of experience (on this site often refered to as A&P's) can give us a more direct, immediate understanding of D.O. This is like a person standing on a beach and looking at the surf.

3) knowledge gained through investigation - by becoming actively involved in not only watching the process but actually engaging in actions to see how we can change our experience and watching closely how this impacts our experience. To do this we have to pay close attention to how the mind and body interact in creating our experience. This is like getting out into the waves and learning to surf.

What is your personal experience of this process? For example, in your scenario with anger, I find that knowledge of type 1 (above) is not very helpful beyond a certain point. Whereas 2 and 3 are. 2 depends to a certain extent on grace (for lack of a better word), while 3 depends on how we practice.

-Chuck

RE: A Usable Map for Dependent Origination
depression dark night anxiety
Answer
3/24/10 5:26 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Dhamma Greetings Chuck,
I found your analogy of knowledge and the surf very nice.

You wrote:
"...
1) intellectual knowledge - I hear a description of D.O. and reflect on it and come to an intellectual understanding of it. This is like a person who has never seen the surf before creating in their minds a mental image of what the beach and waves look like based on a description...."

and this is synonomous to being taught the parts and working definitions of the 12 links of D.O. in preparation to practicing observing some of them during the meditation practice. One can observe the CONTACT < FEELING < CRAVING < CLINGING < HABITUAL TENDENCY < and BIRTH of action as they arise or take place.... and see for themselves how the SORROW, LAMENTATION, PAIN, GRIEF AND DESPAIR happen in an event. So by reading a clearly stated set of links with working definitions or hearing one present them in this way is where a person starts.

You said:
"...
2) insight knowledge - path moments and certain other types of experience (on this site often refered to as A&P's) can give us a more direct, immediate understanding of D.O. This is like a person standing on a beach and looking at the surf..."

and this is synonomous to a person who understands after watching it in meditation who "knows by seeing " which the buddha called Knowledge and Vision.

then you said;
"...
3) knowledge gained through investigation - by becoming actively involved in not only watching the process but actually engaging in actions to see how we can change our experience and watching closely how this impacts our experience. To do this we have to pay close attention to how the mind and body interact in creating our experience. This is like getting out into the waves and learning to surf...."

and to me this is like the texts when they say, Knowledge and Wisdom, when wisdom means literally "Buddhist Wisdom" which in turn means seeing of Dependent Origination. A person is moving into Knowledge and Wisdom when they begin noticing that D.O. is happening all around them all the time in ways that they can now see and understand. It's like discovering the matrix exists for real and you can see it!

You asked:
"...
What is your personal experience of this process? For example, in your scenario with anger, I find that knowledge of type 1 (above) is not very helpful beyond a certain point. Whereas 2 and 3 are. 2 depends to a certain extent on grace (for lack of a better word), while 3 depends on how we practice...."

Well, type 1 is not a total loss. if you go into the Samyutta Nikaya to page 537 to the sutta 10 (10) (i. Origination) (using Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation please) you will find out how the Buddha figured out the links of Dependent Origination intellectually before he saw them during his awakening night. Also you will notice in MN-95 the Canki sutta, section 21-33 starts with " We ask master Gotam about the Final arrival at Truth." In this explanation you will find that "Giving Ear to the Dhamma" the voice of another is needed to reach Final Truth. In the way the Buddha taught it was really important for the monks to teach people D.O. because it takes the voice of another... this is also said in the texts and becomes obvious how this is important.

Type 2 is knowing by seeing the links after being told what you are trying to become aware of.
You can't catch a fish until someone tells you what a fish is, can you? Suppose you had never seen or heard of a fish?
In order to observe the links one must have a practice of observation that is obsering HOW mind's attention moves from one thing to another.... It isn't about why something pulls the attention away, but, rather it's about HOW this happens.... and it moves because of the links and you CAN learn to watch them.

Once you begin to practice in this way, then the habitual practice of this observation grows and expands wider.... and soon,,, you begin to see how things are happening at a deeper and deeper level...

i.e.
Once there was a a woman working in an office. She was responsible for filling out a report at the end of each week to be turned in each Monday morning to her boss. It reported on the past weeks performance. Every Monday morning he would arrive and wak over to her desk. He would pick up the report paper and look at it. As he read he got disturbed and it always ended in the same way. He would say something distasteful, even yell sometimes and then stamping his foot and huffing, he would walk out of the office and slam the door. Sometimes she would reflect his anger right back to him. Then, she always thought it was somehow her fault and disliked facing the man each Monday. She felt helpless to change the situation

So she went to a temple and asked about learning meditation to ease her tension. Gradually she learned about observation taught inside of the meditation and the D.O. links within her training. Her teacher kept giving examples of how a person could review events of a day in a deeper way at the end of a day to see how they actually worked. she began to do this.

she decided to do this with her office situation. So the next week, when her boss arrived to pick up the report she stepped out of the situation and watched it happening as if she were in an audience and not in the play anymore..

This is what she added up after the morning incident repeated itself.

A man walked in with a normal posture in the morning and said good morning.
He picked up the report and began to read it. His posture tightened up and his facial expression showed lines indicating tension.
As he read this increased and he then spoke with a changed voice and was gruff. He jerked the paper , stamped his foot and gruffly complained.
he left the room and it was over.

At a deeper level now what really happened?
A man who seemed physically at ease walked into the office.
With his eyes he saw her and verbally said "good morning".
She greeted him.
Then, he picked up the report.
When his working eye met the color and form of the paper, perception named it "report" AND eye-consciousness arose, the meeting of these three was eye-contact.
With eye-contact as condition, eye-feeling arose. in this case, the feeling was PAINFUL
With painful feeling as condition, CRAVING arose. This was the "I" don't like it mind!
With CRAVING as condition, CLINGING arose and this was where she saw his body tighten up more, facial expression change and his tenseness rise up as all his concepts, stories and ideas about WHY he disliked the report spun through his mind... she could see him running over how he hated this report .... in his body language of communication. She could see all the story of why he disliked this so much and was just sick of it.
WIth CLINGING as condition, HABITUAL TENDENCY arose and his tendency, as always, was to RE-ACT in the same way every time...
Then she saw him play out the BIRTH OF ACTION in this situation and he ended the event by going out of the room....

Phew! Wow!

But this time it didn't touch her. It wasn't hers. It did not belong to her. It was not her fault. She need not feel guilty because this was all an impersonal process she watched play out and she saw how this habitual reaction worked right in front of her. WOW. this was different..... So here she was and Buddhism suddenly became actively practical!

The next week after seeing this in her mind for awhile and watching the process work in herself and around she decided to break into the cycle and suggest a change AND simply because she was not disturbed by this action at all now, she was calmly able to suggest a change in her office.
This new knowledge had turned into Wisdom and her whole situation at work changed....
Her boss worked with her to make suggestions to change the report and a doorway to PEACE had been opened in the little office.

This scenario has happened in many situations now and is spreading.

Another situation is where a person uncovered the fact that "her depression" wasn't hers at all! It turns out it was an impersonal process going on and it was only a painful feeling arising which, if she knew the secret of this process, could be allowed to arise and pass away on it's own. By letting go of her depression, she was able to laugh again and play with her son and reduce her medicine slowly because she now had something she could do tohelp manage painful feelings when they arose...

and more and more things can be managed in this way....

hope this helps .
Sister Khema.

PS
did you know there are 44 and 77 cases of knowledge too taught by the Buddha? Some fun!
SK



at first she just continued her job. But

RE: A Usable Map for Dependent Origination
Answer
3/25/10 12:46 PM as a reply to Sister Khema.
Sister Khema:
hope this helps


No offense but no, I was interested in your own experience of it. I like bringing things into our own experience which was why I asked.

I have developed a practice over the past few years that I use to investigate this topic when speaking with others. So, what I notice is that when I am around other people having a conversation I get very wrapped up in what is being said and tend to lose mindfulness. So in these situations I sometimes practice listening as a way to tune into what is going on internally with regard to mind/body interactions which is getting right into the D.O. process. First thing I notice is that there is this sort of desire-tension (it is a desire in that I really want to say something - it can be very strong and hard to stay with but it is also clearly a physical tension). Now if you can just stay with the listening - anchoring your awareness in the listening - then you can watch this process unfold over and over again and start catching this desire earlier in the process. It comes and goes without even saying anything during the course of a conversation. Most people don't notice my silence as they really enjoy talking and love to finally have someone that is listening to them. Have you tried anything like this?

-Chuck

RE: A Usable Map for Dependent Origination
Answer
3/26/10 1:11 AM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Dhamma Greetings Chuck.
What you wrote about listening and the urge to talk is a good example of sensing arising and lowering of tension and the tightness caused in the mind and body as this urge arises and passes away.
What you seem to be doing is practicing a pure form of Right Effort here.. the 4 steps in the texts... of recognizing the unwholesome; letting it go; and then bringing up a wholesome ( which would be your listening skills) ; and keeping that going...
This is really very pure and neat.

I suffered a stroke and was left with an unusual short term memory loss challenge. When a person talks to me and they don't know about my brain operation, if they keep on talking, I loose the beginning as it falls away before they can reach the end and this is a really cruel joke for me to deal with and frustrating for them.

These days, whenever I work closely with people, I need to politely let them know I will have a pen and pad for meetings where others may not, or ask them to use brief periods of time to talk that can be considered one at a time. I don't work in offices anymore as this completely drives people up a wall. And I do understand this. it can be a real handicap. I used to own a personnel agency and place people in good office and administrative positions, and , today, i wouldn't hire me because of this little challenge....

I really like how you have been able to detect the arising CRAVING link of "I" want to talk, and you let go. Really nice. A very good thing to use as an example for students to discover the pressure of arising desire to speak....

The anger scenario is something many students and myself have used in various situations. When it involves two people, understanding the links changes everything; even if only one person knows this, it can change the outcome. It opens up a pause where a RESPONSE can take place instead of reaction. This is what I keep seeing as being the doorway to peace.

The Buddha pointed out that what is needed in the training of Dependent Origination is "the voice of another" and that is what I keep trying to get closer to writing down all the time. By learning the links and then watching for them in various situations, we begin to see them everywhere and slowly we can notice how they happen on more microscopic levels and how fast this is really going on.... and it's very interesting.

Each time we live without the "I" "ME" "MY" or "MINE" in a situation we are practicing Anatta perspective/ the impersonal perspective and practicing the consequence of living without a self/selfish aspect present. Sister Khema

RE: A Usable Map for Dependent Origination
Answer
3/26/10 1:24 AM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Hi chuck.
Other examples are when a person drives a car and someone cuts in front of them.
Seeing this impersonally or just what is essentially happening, instead of reading the unessential part of it and acting on that.
1. You are driving the car and no one is in front of you; 2. someone cuts in front of you and 3. now there is a car in front of you. That't it. There is nothing personal about it. This is just as it is when it happens.


Getting stung by a hornet.
Sitting on a lawn mower you drive by a nest and a few of them come out and sting you.
As they do, it immediately computes as, oops, this is my fault not theirs. i didn't think about the vibrations the mower were eminating as I passed the nest.
Send loving kindness into the painful sting, forgive it because it has a cause and this is the truth due to be there rightly, and let go of hating the situation, replacing it with forgiveness, love and letting go of tension....
Also ice!! but let it go and it heals really fast... instead of jumping up and down, screaming, and heating up really badly over it... etc.


Having a tree fall on my head.
When you go down when it happens, laying on the ground and reviewing the situation for what it really is and not reading other things into it.
Watching how mind just loves to jump into the future with projection: what if I broke my neck? What if I can't walk? What if I can't get up here in the woods? letting go of ALL fear and lovingly accepting whatever is here in the moment as it is and being in complete observation mode during an accident..... without pulse increase or nauseousness etc... makes the whole experience more like an adventure...

These are just a few... and all of these can use D.O. over and over again to live in what is real instead of imaginary...
and experience it with more selflessness.... living Anatta....
is this what you mean about experiences..?

Metta
Sister Khema

RE: A Usable Map for Dependent Origination
Answer
3/27/10 12:45 PM as a reply to Sister Khema.
Sister Khema:
is this what you mean about experiences..?

Yes, this is more of what I mean by 'experiences'. Particularly when you speak from your own experience.

I like your examples - showing ways we can back away a bit from our experience - not holding it so tightly. Still, there is a deeper aspect of this that shows up in practice and I think you are alluding to it when you said "slowly we can notice how they happen on more microscopic levels and how fast this is really going on".

In my experience with western Buddhism this seems to be an almost taboo subject. Why? Buddha spoke of it often and used it as an important tool of the path. I don't feel that when Buddha used the term for 'breath' that he had in mind the 21st century western meaning of the word. Probably much more like 'prana' or 'chi' both of which imply not only breath but spiritual wind or energy. I suspect there are many other terms also inadequately translated - so we need to put this stuff to the test and look at results.

Further, my experience on this site is that by openly discussing this phenomena and sharing various techniques for discovering it - it becomes much more accessible to others. And this is true for all aspects of the path. So if you are experiencing these 'microscopic levels', feel free to discuss this and what methods you are using - this is an open source site and the Buddha was an open source guy - might as well follow his lead. What do you think?

-Chuck

RE: A Usable Map for Dependent Origination
Answer
4/5/10 12:44 AM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Dhamma Greetings Chuck
Thank you for helping me to express myself more clearly in this place.
Everything I am talking about is coming from personal experience because this is the only way a person can come to understand this for sure. This was given to us also by the Buddha expressing to us that this cannot be understood by intellectual powers of reasoning. It can be framed as a hypothesis but it cannot be proven out until it is personally seen.

So where do you think this discussion should be located?

What I am most interested in is sharing how I was trained to understand the real gift of the Buddha which was the Cessation of Suffering. One must learn fully the Impersonal process of Dependent Origination, the 4 Noble Truths and the Three characteristics by observing them in action. This personally opens the doorway to TRUTH.

i agree with you that Western investigation of Dhamma often does not come to the point the Buddha intended. He certainly did not intend it to be a long ongoing discussion without personal verification. Recently we found out that the audience most interested in what has been put together here is an Asian audience. This was kind of a surprise because this was not our original target audience for sharing the approach to the meditation when presenting it in the US.... but hey, who ever is ready to receive it will get some... it's great stuff. In only 2 days now we watch seasoned Asian meditators shift slightly there angle of meditation, tweaking it you might say, and they have gotten really excited about how clear everything can become when following the precise instructions in the text without skipping any steps, without adding any other ingredients into it.

A good place to start is to learn to rely fully on the 4 Step Investigation pattern the Buddha left us which is precisely using the steps given within the 4 Noble Truths. What is "X"; what is the cause of "X", what is the cessation of "X", and what is the path to achieving this...

It has taken me nearly 10 years of practice, investigation and careful research and examination to begin to talk about what the Buddha was up to and how he then trained his original group of monks to teach others.

See, the idea is this.
You want to be able to see clearly what suffering is and what the cessation of suffering is.
To see suffering clearly one must learn how to observe very closely as it is arising from it's root components. you have to "see' what those root components are first.
You have to become a specific kind of observer. You have to develop a special skill of observation and learn what it is you are attempting to see! if no one tells you what a fish is, you cannot go to the river and get one to bring home! First you must know what a fish is. The buddha gave us specific information about what we were going to do in meditation and what the outcome results should be if we continue to practice. See MN21 for example of desired outcome.

Now, we cannot expect to see what is happening without learning what the links of D.O. are because these are what we are going to learn to observe.... like the frames of a movie film.... So properly one must learn the "simplest operating definitions" for the links and know that certain ones can be observed during the meditation. We need to clearly understand which ones are personal and which are totally impersonal! This helps us reach our goal of full knowledge.

One cannot initially observe the earliest links in the D.O. chain of events.... one can understand what ignorance is ( not knowing the 4 noble Truths or understanding the process of D.O. exists ). Formations, Consciousness, and Mentality/Materiality are not seen so much as understood (in the beginning) but later one can come to see these also.

First, one must learn to understand and observe the 6 SENSE DOORS and how CONTACT actually happens; how FEELING arises; and THEN how CRAVING kicks in ( what is that makes Craving so you can notice the move from FEELING into CRAVING... ) stuff like that... Take a LOT of observation time and practice.... all the time during the day too even when not doing sitting meditation...

At first one cannot separate the CRAVING and CLINGING links. they are so close they can be gravely mistaken as one link and renamed Grasping and if this happens, we loose a great opportunity to let go) . but with proper definitions and commitment to the practice of relaxed close observation, one can begin to see the difference between CRAVING link and CLINGING links just as the Buddha did.
One can observe the HABITUAL TENDENCY link and how it is fetched into play, and witness the BIRTH of action within a situation or interaction....

This is key.

At first we study in terms of understanding, in the same way the Buddha did, intellectually grasping through reason that such a chain of links possibly existed. but then,
then we began to observe for ourselves Contact, Feeling, Craving, Clinging, Habitual Tendency links and relate to what he left us in various suttas. We continue to repeat his drills as his monks did to see what will happen next.

We begin to note that all birth of action is habitually always our RE-ACTION instead of RESPONSE!

Even realizing this is a magical experience as you prove it for yourself.

When we realize this, we become more curious and begin to open our eyes to see around us that D.O. is going on all the time in life. It isn't only found within human cognition!

We begin to experiment with sights, sounds, odors, tastes, and the body tangibles....and we watch other animals in the forest do the same thing....

Then we may examine MIND as mind objects (thoughts) are arising....

there are many exercises to repeat that are found in the texts while examining things around during this methodical experiential practice.

One such drill is to experience any arising sound as "This is not ME", "This is not MINE", "This is not MY SELF", this is just a sound. Thus we are re-emphasizing during an experience and observation the impersonal nature of an arising formation instead of accepting any personal aspect within the experience and the experience continues on... ( this ia open examination and realistic proclamation of anatta vs the atta perspective... ( the realization of the impersonal nature versus taking everything in our experience personally! This is quite a relief.

Then there is gradual experimentation of the impersonal nature of certain links and those which are personal in the chain.... i don't know if I already examined each one yet. We can if you want to do this.

using this kind of investigative practice, in this way the chain of links in the impersonal process of Dependent Origination take on a more meaningful role in our experiential cognition of existence as random sense door experiences are looked at more closely.....

The idea of all of this practice is to
see how suffering happens and
how a cessation can be achieved and
precisely how to achieve and experience the cessation.

If we know these three things, then we know how purification of MIND takes place.
This is conditional on what practice one follows. Does the practice lead you to observe these thing? Does it allow you to see them clearly for yourself?

Once you KNOW the cessation is real, then believe me, you will get excited! You will say, "If I can see this brief cessation so clearly happening within the practice, then, there is no question that cessation of suffering is a real state and it can be achieved for more than a brief period of time!"

Because of this realization, the possibility of the equanimity the Buddha taught about and the more advance state of an Imperturbable mind becomes possible to you!

At the point you discover this, you KNOW the Buddha found a DIRECT ROUTE to cessation of suffering.
You also know that this cessation can be achieved "in variable degrees" useful to layman and that this will make life far easier.

It turns out that Knowledge and Vision leads to clear observation of D.O. and then to achieving Knowledge and Wisdom! With this comes complete understanding of the 4 Noble Truths and the three characteristics which have been seen through this practice thousands of times, over and over again.

You begin to understand that what the Buddha tried to do was to leave us the PRECISE STEPS TO TAKE in order to SEE CLEARLY FOR OURSELVES HOW EVERYTHING ACTUALLY WORKS by learning to watch this process closely.

As it turns out,it is the TRUTH THAT SETS YOU FREE!
Ironic! Wasn't that is Western Philosophy too somewhere?
This is because MIND after proving out the truth of how things work, then gives up all tension and tightness and .... What a relief!

How am I doin so far.... ? hope this is helpful for others....

Let me know where you want to put this up. I don't know much about how to place things around here.... but be sure to write to me and let me know if we move it... Ok?
Then I can continue on to get more into what happens if we specifically follow the meditation instructions found in the texts which lead us to see more clearly the truth the Buddha uncovered....

Metta and smiles.
Sister Khema






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RE: A Usable Map for Dependent Origination
Answer
4/22/10 4:38 PM as a reply to Sister Khema.
Hi chuck. Got an email from someone asking for help and thought of you asking for applicable examples in life using D.O. for solution. Here is the letter to me and the answer that was sent out....--

1. the letter:
Dhamma Greetings Sister Khema,

I'm sure you get tons of e-mails so please forgive me for writing, but I just wondered if you have any brief insights or suggestions concerning an issue I've recently faced: I live in Chicago and attend Wat Phrasri (where I've seen you but unfortunately didn't have a chance to meet you; please come back!), and there's a nightly meditation with the monks that's nice to attend.

But there's one person who's always there who, afterwards, always ends up talking my ear off and who is extremely negative, self-centered, judgemental and criticical towards my and everyone else's practice, etc., etc. It's hard to get away from him, and while I don't argue back and try to just be polite and leave, I still end up leaving with just kind of a bad feeling. It's hard to leave a meditation with such a negative energy.

So I guess the question is, any strategies for dealing with negative and difficult people within the practice?? I realize that if I'm weighted down with this and "taking on" his traits as my own, then there's obviously some craving in me that I need to look at; and I also try to feel metta towards him, but it's honestly difficult. I try!

I think what's hard is that I (and I think a lot of people) long for more wise spiritual friendship and a feeling of Sangha, so it's hard to go to a meditation only to end up encountering the most toxic and difficult person I've dealt with all day...and I try to focus on myself, leave another's practice and kamma to them, and feel metta, but it's not easy sometimes...

Any suggestions??emoticon emoticon Thank you!

With Metta, M


2. AND THE ANSWER that was sent out:

Dhamma Greetings M,
You have the right idea about how there is some craving on your part too and what you should be doing. Maybe it would be good to look a little bit more into how this is all happening, eh?

I will take your last comment first here. We could really, really use the physical help here at this time! If you want to come down here on a work/study exchange, I would like to see that happen for awhile. We really need physical strength to help out right now and the more people coming in to help, the easier the solutions will come for all that is needed to be done. We can help each other!
You are welcome to come down and study with us here and help with cleaning up the new building and surrounding forest from last year's storm. there is lots of wood to move around. The newest building is an old Saw Mill we will be converting into a space for all kinds of cottage industry ( sharpening service for one man to run; a pottery shop for another person to run; an art studio for painting and sculpture works; a wood-shop for carving and making wood furniture and other things like doors and maybe windows etc for the place.
This is the beginning of the Dhamma Village . In the future, people will be able to build small log cabins near this building on a new section of land devoted to this Village project and live part of the year or year round here. We will build this Dhamma Village and that will eventually help support the monks and nuns at the monastery and the monastics will teach the Dhamma to the people and offer emotional support in life......

If you can come down this summer, you can donate a little bit into the pot and we will share housing, and food, and meditation training and you can help with what has to be done to help with this place. If interested, please write me back.....

But One thing! AND THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Please only come if you are willing to immerse yourself in using this practice as you work and study with us which means sitting together early every morning, hearing Dhamma talks nearly every night and checking in with the teacher every day..... ok?

About your situation with "negative man".

When a person begins to talk presenting negative things, and overall criticizing etc, this is a perfect opportunity for you to examine more closely the true nature of how everything is actually working in this situation at the deepest level.

As most of us who are untrained do, we listen using a personal perspective, which means 'hearing everything as having a personal nature', i.e. taking it personally, and this is 'ATTA' becoming outwardly active within you! This is taking what is said to the 'self', as some call it, and 'negative man' is aggravating 'your self' because you unconsciously and unknowingly are taking personally what you are hearing. This causes difficulties for you. It causes suffering because of ignorance, which is not understanding the Four noble Truths.

To begin with one must see
1.what the suffering actually is
2. what is the cause of the suffering
before you can move on to seeing how
3. there can be a cessation of that same suffering
and
4. any step you can take to help this cessation happen; a path leading to it.


Let's break down a little bit what is really happening now, sort of like using a lens on a microscope to see more closely what is going on for you in this very situation. OK?

Consider this before considering any other perspective and solution:
Right now,
1. Your body has an ear sense door so 1) there is a working ear sense door.
The ear meets 2)a sound, and 3)ear consciousness arises. With the meeting of these three
2. There is EAR-CONTACT. With contact as condition;

3. FEELING arises. Remember that FEELING is always Painful, Pleasant or Neither Painful-nor-Pleasant. In this case, it is a painful feeling! With painful feeling as condition;

4. CRAVING arises. Craving always manifests (shows up first) as tension and tightness in mind and in body. ( if you observe carefully what is happening when this person approaches you and begins to speak, tension and tightness will shift in your body and mind.... try to notice this change and tightening as it is beginning to happen. This is the arising of CRAVING which is the "I" don't like it mind!
Immediately after this happens, with this craving as condition;

5. CLINGING arises! Clinging happens very fast and if we are not taught about precisely what clinging is, then we could easily assume that craving and clinging are happening together. But they are not! They are two separate links which happen within this impersonal process. Clinging is the story, opinion, views, idea, concepts of WHY YOU personally don't like it.

EX. When this guy comes up to you, mind goes from "I" don't like this into " I REALLY don't like this because WHY? BECAUSE I know he is going to talk and talk and talk, and it urks me and it makes me feel negative and he is sooooooooooo opinionated etc. etc etc. and so forth and so on........ " This is CLINGING..... and
with clinging as condition;

6. HABITUAL TENDENCY arises. This is also called 'being' or 'existence' by some translations. What is it? Actually it is YOUR arising personal library of RE-ACTIONS which you always act out in life whenever a particular thing is happening.

With HABITUAL TENDENCY as condition;

7. BIRTH of action now occurs in this situation and this is where YOU personally take some kind of action because of what you are hearing.

For instance, in this situation,
a. you immediately turn inwards taking very personally what he is saying and then you personally feel bad from it..........

b. Perhaps you stand there and just continue listening, trying to send metta to him but still, because you are taking it personally, this is affecting inside like you say; OR

c. Maybe you just walk away and ignore what is said but, because of this personal aspect, you feel down because of his negative thrusts;

At any rate, there you are! His CRAVING which is his personal dislike of what's going on, is triggering your own CRAVING which is your personal dislike of his opinions.

Do you see the personal perspective (ATTA) popping up here for both of you in this situation? It's really an interesting example.


Actually there is a choice being made here. This choice is VOLITION. POINT OF CHOICE. FREE AGENCY. Whatever you want to call it.
TO CRAVE or NOT TO CRAVE! That is the question isn't it?

Whatever re-action happens, remember that Action is always Mental action, Verbal action, and or Bodily Action. These are the three kinds of action that occur and they can overlap each other too.

Usually, one unconsciously and very quickly, chooses to carry out the chosen Habitual tendency card you pulled out of your personal library and then follows through with one or more of the above actions described. But the action is a re-action NOT a response. it happens very fast.
With birth of action as condition;

8. Aging and Death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair happen in this event and then the event Ends and another one begins......!


Of course, this is disturbing for you mostly because it steals away from you your own present moment of spontaneous living, doesn't it? It is stealing your energy or calm too because you are taking it personally.

What to do?

So far, you have been given some knowledge about how this interaction is actually working right now for you. Now,let's investigate how you can change, experiment with shifting the situation, so there might become some room to respond and not have it bother you so much.
The question is, how can you turn the table on this situation, eh?

First, consider what it would be like if you shifted your perspective (your view) in this situation. Practicing the shift from the personal perspective into an impersonal perspective is your first exercise.. Become aware of the difference and then try it out for awhile.

What if this entire interaction was viewed from an impersonal perspective?
How could the event shift to a different outcome?

Well lets' look at this.

1.the ear hears in the same way described above and then

2. Contact happens. But this time, you have chosen to consider what you heard in an impersonal way! As you RECOGNIZE the arising tension and tightness shifting in mind and body, you know this is the arising of

3. CRAVING, you now know about so you can now use this tension to trigger a RELEASE step. Just let what you heard come in as 'just a sound'. LET IT GO! LET IT FALL AWAY and then right following this, RELAX. By doing this, you are letting go of any personal view or opinion and your "I" don't like it mind that was catching you before is let go of. Without this opinion jumping up you now give yourself space to not fall directly into;

4. CLINGING. Remember Clinging is where mind obsesses on how much you dislike what is going on instead of being able to live in the present moment.

This time, you CHOOSE to bring up a more wholesome aspect which is the RELAX and SMILE steps, smiling inwardly to yourself. ( not recommended to smile into the person's face , haha. cause they might take it wrong... so just smile in to yourself...) If you do this, then what you heard does not deflate your calm or steal your energy so much. WHY? Because now you know a secret! What secret? You understand HOW this process is actually working, ...... step by step... link by link....., which means you have a choice what to do or not to do! you are armed now with Knowledge.

5. Because you do not cling, you do not slip into your old HABITUAL TENDENCIES of RE-ACTING when handling things. Instead, now, you have created for yourself SPACE to RESPOND in a more PEACEFUL way.
In a sense, you could say you have found a doorway to PEACE.

This time, you choose to activate impersonally sending out METTA and KARUNA into this situation. Remember the definition for KARUNA? (COMPASSION?)

COMPASSION is "allowing the person the space to have their pain and loving them unconditionally anyway".
This interaction is now changing into an act of loving kindness and compassion on your part.

When you RELAX and SMILE inwardly, you then RETURN to a wholesome object of meditation which is actually the sending out of the COMPASSION and METTA towards this person, wrapping them in a blanket of Loving Kindness, Patience, and understanding..

You are now involved in an act of Compassion.

If you have an opportunity to speak at all when this person does this every time in teh same way, perhaps, you can very gently smile at them and ask them "How has coming to meditation helped them in life?", or ask them "what is it that is positive about the meditation for them or listen to what do they feel is missing for them in the practice you are doing?"

At this point, if you are more present in the situation and aware of how this is working, then you begin to understand how this person is suffering somehow. They are in pain in life somehow and they may be 'venting' like this to let out their pain. YOU see now a human being in pain instead of negative man getting on your nerves?


If they are having a tough time in life right now, like so many people are, they can perhaps learn how to practice right effort in a similar way using these steps. This is what we are talking about with the 6 STEPS we use in the 6Rs....
1. Recognize unwholesome thoughts, (like the complaining, the suffering, and the negative things)
2. Release the unwholesome thoughts and Relax the tension in body and mind;
3. Smile and Return your mind to a wholesome, ( like one little thing that went well for them this past week?) and smile, or taking time with the meditation (which is most wholesome) and then ....

4. Repeat the wholesome smiling and letting things go, keep that going.... and know this is a form of meditation in itself.


See? Right now, so many of us are going through such tough times, embracing the practice of Right Effort which is the four steps above, can help us to pull out of negative thoughts and actions and bring us around to a more positive perspective and keep that going which will create more positive things in the future for us!

People are wearing themselves out right now with worry, thinking about what might happen, thinking about what has happened before, etc that they are exhausted and without energy for living here and now. The Past and Future is stealing the Present from them and this is causing a lot of suffering.

Forgiving everything for a few days is an excellent exercise and laughing when we are caught by the tension and tightness of what's happening in the world. Let go and LIVE!
Also, helping another person, and passing that on to others is what is needed most today.... If we are stuck without a job, then we have time to see how we can help out in our communities, help the elderly, help our neighbors, help the poor build a better neighborhood etc and so forth. People can work together, it is a part of our nature sorely neglected these days.

Even though we are out of work, we do not need to be unoccupied ... we can help one another. Especially out here in the country.

Of course i am giving you these examples, when, in fact, I do not know whether the practice you are using where you are is able to shift into life like this so easily or not. But anybody can pick up on the practice of Right Effort in this way using the 4 steps I mentioned and this will help alleviate problems.

You just need to understand what is happening first at the core of the interaction. The personal aspect is most of the problem. Remember the impersonal process going on. Go in there and check where it is in the process you are personally caught the most, then, let go!

With proper knowledge and personally watching this, you will come to know it is knowledge that can set you free. That is, the knowledge and vision that the Buddha was teaching. Knowing by seeing is what is meant by 'vision'. Knowledge and Vision was the Buddha's recipe for training and then using the practice in life.

Hope this helps some.
Please let me know how working with this turns out.

Metta and smiles.
Sister Khema







M