#1621 - Wednesday, November 19,2003
Nondual Highlights Issue #1621 Wednesday, November 19, 2003 Editor: Mark
- Editor's note: I'm not always sure how to deal with ongoing conversations in the highlights, especially when they extend over more than one day and involve multiple speakers. What I did here was the lazy approach. I posted just one message - number 79468, and I left it alone, hoping the reader will parse who said what and when.
> > "Gene Poole" >wrote:
> Hi Gene ~wonder: what is wrong with having preferences? Or with having no preferences?
If you are asking me 'what is wrong' with that, I must ask... did I say anything is wrong with it?
> > Being'without preferences' may also be
> > called 'abiding'... to setyourself into a
> > state that you recognize and to remain'there', no matter the changing of
> > circumstances. That is the (too)short
> > description.is the hardest work...
> > 'Without preferences'
> > but it is to remain faithful to the 'nodoer'
> > framework.'no doer' who sets oneself into any state? And yet,
> *****As there is
> sometimes, thesetting of oneself into a state does happen.
If you can find such a state, and practice
'being there' in that state, you will find
value... beliefs aside.
The issue of 'doer' abounds with theories
and beliefs... yet, only direct experience of
'having it done' will satisfy any questions
> > To get beyond the point of evenhaving
> > compelling thoughts... let alone speaking,acting, in reaction, is the point. At the
> > or
> > least, it is a rewardingpractice of 'working
> > on oneself'.reword the above as:
> *****I would
>about having compelling
> to get beyond the point of even caring
> thoughts is the point.On the contrary; we do this, because we
care, very much. Compelling thoughts may
lead to wrong action; creating the lead-time
to comprehend what is happening within oneself,
is a very useful, if not by certain criteria, 'spiritual'
> It's not as if we can control ourthoughts.
> Thoughts happen. Some are compelling; others not.Thoughts are part of what allows the dream to persist, for apparent
>action to occur. It is in the taking "ownership" of thoughts that
>suffering may appear.
I can only disagree with all statements in your
above paragraph, with the exception of the
'some are compelling, others not' statement.
We can control our thoughts; in fact, with practice,
you can learn to recognize the factors which
will eventually become thoughts; you can recognize
the emotions, as subtle as they are, which give rise
to thoughts; those thoughts usually being expressed
product of the static data-file which comprises 'identity'.
The best way to 'control' thoughts, is to allow them
to become extinct, before they are born.
> > In this practice, eventually, the most subtlearising-phase.
> > of emotions can be recognized early in its
> > So, it is to go beyond reaction to
> > events... and eventually to controllingreaction to even the most subtle of internal
> > This 'practice', once embedded at the
> > of habit, can then be called upon... it can beused or not, as one chooses.
>believing that there is *any* control and that
> *****A subtle "trap":
> there is a one who may doas he/she chooses. ;-)
Advaitin dogma aside, belief is not required; trial
and error will do to verify, if what I say is workable.
>*That* is what I see as the side-effect of engaging in
> any 'practice.'And yet, if one is drawn to practice, then one will
> practice. There'snothing to do about it.
Sometimes, it will occur that one who does not
practice, will have regrets as a result; and that
one may adopt practice, to avoid situations which
give rise to regret.
> > Ifone understands that 'truth is found only
> > inlanguage',
>submit that 'truth' can't be
> *****Without any challenge here, I would
> known or encapsulated in thought orlanguage. "Truth" is simply a
> thought. And there are a lot ofthem!
I stand by my statement; truth is found only
in language. 'Reality' is not truth; 'reality' may
be ineffable, but truth can be thought and spoken.
In fact... truth is only one degree from the lie/error
axis... which includes the subset known as 'delusion'.
> > and that language is among themany stimuli that we habitually react to,
> > one may also understandthat if the field is cleared
> > of reaction, that what remains, is thereality
> > which currently informs one'sawareness.
> *****Reactions occur. As long as there is a
> organism (not in deep sleep or a coma or adrug-induced haze),
> reactions happen through thatentity.
A Being abiding
Abides nonabiding Beings;
Nonabiding Beings do not abide
- From Nonduality Salon, Wednesday, November 19, 2003
1:1 Confucius said: "Isn't it a pleasure to study and practice what you have learned? Isn't it also great when friends visit from distant places? If people do not recognize me and it doesn't bother me, am I not a Superior Man?"
[Comment] Superior Man is a common English translation for the Chinese term chü n-tzu which originally means "Son of a Prince"- thus, someone from the nobility. In the Analects, Confucius imbues the term with a special meaning. Though sometimes used strictly in its original sense, it also refers to a person who has made significant progress in the Way (Tao) of self-cultivation, by practicing Righteousness, by loving treatment of parents, respect for elders, honesty with friends, etc. Though the chü n-tzu is clearly a highly advanced human being, he is still distinguished from the category of sage (sheng-jen), who is, in the Analects more of a "divine being, " usually a model from great antiquity.
The character of the Superior Man, in contrast to the sage, is being taught as a tangible model for all in the here and now. And although many descriptions of the requirements for chü n-tzu status seem quite out of our reach, there are many passages where Confucius labels a contemporary, or one of his disciples a "Superior Man, " intending a complement. Thus, the categorization is not so rigid. One might want to compare the term "Superior Man" to the Buddhist bodhisattva, in that both are the models for the tradition, both indicate a very high stage of human development as technical terms, yet both may be used colloquially to refer to a "really good person."
- Excerpt from the Analects of Confucious, translated by Charles Muller
Student: If someone is determined to reach enlightenment, what is the most essential method he can practice?
Bodhidharma: The most essential method, which includes all other methods, is beholding the mind.
Student: But how can one method include all others?
Bodhidharma: The mind is the root from which all things grow if you can understand the mind, everything else is included. Its like the root of a tree. All a trees fruit and flowers, branches and leaves depend on its root. If you nourish its root, a tree multiplies. If you cut its root, it dies. Those who understand the mind reach enlightenment with minimal effort. Those who dont understand the mind practice in vain. Everything good and bad comes from your own mind. To find something beyond the mind is impossible.
Student: But bow can beholding the mind be called understanding?
Bodhidharma: When a great bodhisattva delves deeply into perfect wisdom, he realizes that the four elements and five shades are devoid of a personal self. And he realizes that the activity of his mind has two aspects: pure and impure. By their very nature, these two mental states are always present. They alternate as cause or effect depending on conditions, the pure mind delighting in good deeds, the impure mind thinking of evil. Those who arent affected by impurity are sages. They transcend suffering and experience the bliss of nirvana. All others, trapped by the impure mind and entangled by their own karma, are mortals. They drift through the three realms and suffer countless afflictions and all because their impure mind obscures their real self.
-excerpt from the Breakthrough Sermon from The Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma, translated by Red Pine.
Patanjali's Yoga has essentially to do with the mind and its modifications. It deals with the training of the mind to achieve oneness with the Universe. Incidental to this objective are the acquisition of siddhis or powers.
The aim of Patanjali Yoga is to set man free from the cage of matter. Mind is the highest form of matter and man freed from this dragnet of Chitta or Ahankara (mind or ego) becomes a pure being.
The mind or Chitta is said to operate at two levels-intellectual and emotional. Both these levels of operation must be removed and a dispassionate outlook replace them. Constant Vichara (enquiry) and Viveka (discrimination between the pleasant and the good) are the two means to slay the ego enmeshed in the intellect and emotions. Vairagya or dispassion is said to free one from the pain of opposites love and hate, pleasure and pain, honour and ignominy, happiness and sorrow.
The Yoga of Patanjali is Ashtanga or comprised of 8 limbs.
They are :
7. Dhyana and
Ahimsa (non-injury), Satya (truth), Asteya (non-covetousness), Brahmacharya (continence) and Aparagriha (abstinence from avarice) come under Yama.
These five austerities are universal and absolute. Under no condition should they be deviated from. A Yogi must not cause injury or pain to another in thought, word or deed, One must not hurt even in self-defence. This is Ahimsa.
Truth is concurrence between thought, word and deed. it must be true to fact and at the same time pleasant. If by speaking the truth, another is hurt it ceases to be truth and becomes himsa. There is a story which illustrates this point.
In olden days there was a sage renowned for his austerities and observance of the vow of truth. It so happened that once when he was sitting by his little hut, a frightened man with a bundle ran past him and disappeared into a cave nearby. a couple of minutes later there came a band of fierce robbers with gleaming knives, apparently looking for this man. Knowing that the sage would not lie, they asked him where the man with the bundle was hiding. At once, the sage, true to his vow of not uttering falsehood, showed them the cave/ The cruel robbers rushed into it, dragged out the scared man, killed him mercilessly and departed with his bundle. the sage never realised God in spite of his austerities and tenacity for truth for he had been instrumental in the murder of a man. This is not the kind of truth that yoga requires. It would have been better if the sage had remained quiet for that would have saved the poor man. Great care is therefore to be exercised in speaking and each word must be carefully weighed before it is uttered.
Yoga shows us all happiness is within our selves and trying to quench desires is like pouring ghee on fire which only makes it blaze more instead of putting it out. So with desire, It is never satisfied. yoga shows us that happiness for which we are eternally searching can be obtained through non-desire.
To achieve a state of non-desire, the mind must be trained to think clearly.
-An excerpt from An Introduction to Yoga on the IndiaExpress Network.
Meditation isn't really about getting rid of thoughts, it's about changing the pattern of grasping on to things, which in our everyday experience is our thoughts.
The thoughts are fine if they are seen as transparent, but we get so caught up judging thoughts as right or wrong, for and against, yes and no, needing it to be this way and not that way. And even that might be okay except that is accompanied by strong, strong emotions. So we just start ballooning out more and more. With this grasping onto thoughts we just get more caught, more and more hooked. All of us. Every single one of us.
It's as if you had vast, unlimited space- complete openness, total freedom, complete liberation- and the habit of the human race is to always, out of fear, grasp onto little parts of it. And that is called ego and ego is grasping on to the content of our thoughts. That is also the root of suffering, because there is something in narrowing it down which inherently causes us a lot of pain because it is then that we are always in a relationship of wanting or not wanting. We are always in a struggle with other people, with situations, even with our own being. That's what we call stress. That's what we experience as continual, on-going stress. Even in the most healthy, unneurotic of us, there's some kind of slight or very profound anxiety of some kind, some kind of uneasiness or dissatisfaction.
When Trungpa Rinpoche came to the West and was teaching in the early days in Vermont at what used to be called Tail of the Tiger (now Karme Choling), he used to tell the students: "Just sit and let your mind open and rest-- let yourself be completely open with an open mind, and whenever you get distracted and find yourself thinking-- in other words when you are no longer fully in the present and are carried away-- simply just come back again to resting your mind in an open state."
But when he began to realize is that for most people it was just chatter, chatter, chatter constantly, and there was no openness or stillness. We were practicing with our worries and concerns about our jobs and relationships and everything. And the average experience was of no openness at all, just a lot of noise. So we sat down and rested our minds in talking to ourselves. . . The instruction wasn't doing what it set out to do. It was actually a more advanced instruction than we were capable of following.
So Rinpoche drew from the tradition and gave us more of a form than just this "Open your mind and let it rest there." He said, "Relate to the breath; go out with the outbreath." He gave us an object of meditation. It's very significant that it's only the outbreath that we attend to. This isn't easy to say that we don't breathe in and out. We do, of course. But what it's like saying is more like: get the sense of emphasizing the outwardness, because that's as close as you can come to just resting your mind in its natural state, since the breath naturally goes out and dissolves into space.
I was reading an article recently on meditation which he had written in the early days, which is kind of transitional instruction. In it he told us to start with attending to breathing in and out, but he said, "The key thing here is, try not to watch the breath, but try feeling in go in and out, so you feel one with the breath. Just see if from the beginning you can minimize that sense of heavy-duty watching it, and just feel the breath going in and out." And then he said, "Then start to emphasize the outwardness and the space that the breath goes into, and emphasize that more and more. And then just see if you can let that sense of outwardness and space begin to pervade the whole practice more and more."
Once I was describing this technique to a friend of mine in another Buddhist tradition which emphasizes a strong focus on mindfulness of the breath, and I said, "We emphasize the outbreath, and then we're told to just wait. As the breath is coming in we are told to just wait, and then go out again, and then wait again and then go out again." She said, "No, that's impossible." And I said, "Why?" And she said, "Well because there's a whole part of meditation there where you don't have an object-- there's nothing to concentrate on, there's a whole part there where the point is nothing to be mindful of." And then I realized that was the point. I had never before realized so clearly that that was actually the point.
This space between outbreaths is sometimes called the *gap.* It points toward some gap in the internal chatter, some experience of spaciousness. It may take quite a long time for the beginning meditator to have an experience of that gap or space, and that's okay. That is why the other part of our meditation instruction is to label any thoughts we have as "thinking" and just let go of them and come back to the outbreath. That instruction encourages us to interrupt the constant barrage of talking to ourselves. And even if we do that only once *there is already some kind of gap which underlies remembering to come back to the sense of the outbreath going out.* We may not be aware of it as "gap," but it is already there as the basis of the process of remembering to label thoughts thinking and come back home to the present moment.
Trungpa Rinpoche used to say, "The technique leads us towards opening and doesn't have any hang-ups of something we have to undo later." With this technique you can't get attached to having something to hold on to all the time. You could say it's sort of a *death* there the breath goes out, and then what? Then the breath goes out and out and out and then what? Sometimes people will panic when their breath goes out because of the fact that there's nothing to hold on to. We don't want to encourage panic, but when that happens I always know that the person has actually connected with what it's all about.
This open state which we connect with is the true nature of mind and is often described as like the big sky. It is described this way in both the Mahamudra and Dzogchen traditions and is similarly described in the Zen tradition. The true nature of our being is not really so much this embodiment, this corporeal form which is transient and is always in a a state of changing and decaying. From the moment of birth to the moment of death it's going through a process of wearing out. But what is always accessible to us in any moment as our birthright is actually the completely open and vast nature of our mind. And what we call ego is narrowing it down and grasping on to small parts, which is our personal experience is saying, "I want this and I don't want that," "I like this and I don't like that." We are grasping onto our limited thinking instead of staying with what's really possible for us.
So I think it's helpful to know that the history of the technique because it clearly points to the true nature of mind, which is unobstructed and really vast. And that is the true nature of all reality. But we have a very strong habit of always wanting to hold on to things, even if we label it "mindfulness." We want ground under our feet. This technique is weaning us from that towards a much more liberated and vast way of living and being. It also isn't getting rid of thoughts so much as letting thoughts play in the vast space of which we are a part, if we could only realize it.
- Pema Chodron on What is True Mindfulness?