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Re: [dsg] welcome Mike B

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  • upasaka@aol.com
    Hi, Sarah - In a message dated 2/24/02 4:40:56 AM Eastern Standard Time, ... Howard: My welcome, as well, Mike B, from another list member. ... Yes, the Mikes
    Message 1 of 9 , Feb 24, 2002
      Hi, Sarah -

      In a message dated 2/24/02 4:40:56 AM Eastern Standard Time,
      sarahdhhk@... writes:


      > Dear Mike B,
      >
      > Thanks for indicating your presence and giving yourself the 'B' without
      > being asked;-)
      ------------------------------------------------------
      Howard:
      My welcome, as well, Mike B, from another list member.
      ------------------------------------------------------
      Yes, the Mikes are rapidly catching up with the Robs....>
      > though there's no sign of the original Mike just now.....;-((
      ------------------------------------------------------
      Howard:
      In that regard, Sarah, I wrote Mike N a few days ago to see how things
      are going, but I have not as yet rec'd a reply. Do you think you can reach
      him somehow?
      ------------------------------------------------------

      >
      > If I can encourage you to say a few words about yourself, your mindful
      > lurking or interest here, I know everyone would be very glad.
      >
      > Thanks again for 'breaking the ice',
      > Sarah
      >
      ============================
      With metta,
      Howard

      /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
      in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
      phantom, and a dream./ (From the Diamond Sutra)




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • mikebrotherto
      ... without ... how things ... reach ... mindful ... bubble ... lamp, a ... Greetings! May this find you all well and at peace. Since I am from Memphis,
      Message 2 of 9 , Feb 24, 2002
        --- In dhammastudygroup@y..., upasaka@a... wrote:
        > Hi, Sarah -
        >
        > In a message dated 2/24/02 4:40:56 AM Eastern Standard Time,
        > sarahdhhk@y... writes:
        >
        >
        > > Dear Mike B,
        > >
        > > Thanks for indicating your presence and giving yourself the 'B'
        without
        > > being asked;-)
        > ------------------------------------------------------
        > Howard:
        > My welcome, as well, Mike B, from another list member.
        > ------------------------------------------------------
        > Yes, the Mikes are rapidly catching up with the Robs....>
        > > though there's no sign of the original Mike just now.....;-((
        > ------------------------------------------------------
        > Howard:
        > In that regard, Sarah, I wrote Mike N a few days ago to see
        how things
        > are going, but I have not as yet rec'd a reply. Do you think you can
        reach
        > him somehow?
        > ------------------------------------------------------
        >
        > >
        > > If I can encourage you to say a few words about yourself, your
        mindful
        > > lurking or interest here, I know everyone would be very glad.
        > >
        > > Thanks again for 'breaking the ice',
        > > Sarah
        > >
        > ============================
        > With metta,
        > Howard
        >
        > /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a
        bubble
        > in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering
        lamp, a
        > phantom, and a dream./ (From the Diamond Sutra)

        Greetings!
        May this find you all well and at peace. Since I am from Memphis,
        Tennessee (Southern USA), we would usually say 'may this find ya'll
        well and at peace,' but I won't.
        I honor this group for its determination to penetrate the truth of
        realities through the path of knowledge. Traces of now still remain of
        the last 30 years in which meditation has arisen and fallen in this
        body/mind. Most of those moments were spent, however, ignorantly
        toying with energy - acheiving transcendental states, carelessly
        playing with kundalini ("thinking" it was spiritual). I naively, but
        sincerely, devoted myself to Swami Rama, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (now
        remarketed as Osho for you kids), and Da Free John (all of whom wrote
        ass-kicking dhamma but had a slight problem with that darn sex
        precept). Frank (I mean Da Free John) truly transmits incredible
        insight and I will always cherish that. Amazing - but during all that
        time I never understood that Buddhism was the foundation of it all.

        How strange!

        To make a short story shorter, conditions arose where I opened the
        eyes and found myself in Sangha here in Memphis of all places - the
        home of Elvis! I didn't have to go to Fiji to visit Frank (I mean Da
        Free John) after all. I take refuge in Sangha like a drowning mouse in
        a hurricane. We have a wonderful group here and practice has been
        fruitful. We spent a Day of Mindfulness yesterday in silent sitting /
        walking meditation.(It only took me about five hours for the mind to
        concede and find myself squatting in the grass looking at a pile of
        dogshit with all of these beautiful baby flies scooting about with
        gleeful abandon. There was such rapture, I wept. Truly an enlightened
        moment, which, seem to arise more and more frequently. I have finally
        remembered what I had been missing all these years - a virtuous life.
        I forgot after millions of births that it is simply a prerequisite. I
        had been putting effort into concentration without balancing it with
        insight. I now understand the absolute necessity of balancing the 8
        fold path to remain accessible to panna. Right view and right effort
        are so slippery. But yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, all
        there is - is now. What is one to do but sit?
        I will have the honor of being in retreat with Bhante Gunaratana next
        week in St. Louis, Missouri. In May, another 10 day retreat with
        Matthew Flickstein.I vow to remain present as much as possible in this
        lifetime. Who knows?

        I must say that the posts of this group keep me in a state of mindful
        presence. Although, I must admit, with utmost respect to all, that I
        wonder when some of you find the time to actually be still and let it
        be. Like my mama used to say 'you keep picking at that scab it's never
        going to heal'.
        Nina, especially, your work has been such an influence in creating
        appropriate conditions for mindfulness. I am learning Pali by studying
        your teaching and can follow you guys most of the time. May all y'all
        realize nibbana in this lifetime.

        With metta,
        Mike Brotherton


        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Sarah
        Dear Howard, ... Hmm......I think we re all up against the same problem in this regard...He returned to Seattle, as I understand, about a month ago now and was
        Message 3 of 9 , Feb 24, 2002
          Dear Howard,

          --- upasaka@... wrote: > Hi, Sarah -
          > Howard:
          > In that regard, Sarah, I wrote Mike N a few days ago to see how
          > things
          > are going, but I have not as yet rec'd a reply. Do you think you can
          > reach
          > him somehow?
          > ------------------------------------------------------


          Hmm......I think we're all up against the same problem in this regard...He
          returned to Seattle, as I understand, about a month ago now and was
          expecting a tough time finding work and so on after his other plans didn't
          work out as expected (do they ever?). Hopefully, when he's 'settled'
          again, we'll all be hearing good reminders from him here again.

          I'm only too aware of the attachment, expectations, concern (read worry
          and other dosa) and other unwholesome mental states as I write about a
          dear friend;-)

          Sarah
          ==============================================



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        • christine_forsyth
          Hello Mike B, Welcome and thank you for telling us a little about yourself. You ve certainly been travelling a long and winding road, but it s great that you
          Message 4 of 9 , Feb 25, 2002
            Hello Mike B,

            Welcome and thank you for telling us a little about yourself. You've
            certainly been travelling a long and winding road, but it's great
            that you eventually found the way home. :-)

            How fortunate to be able to have the opportunity to learn from
            Matthew Flickstein And Bhante Gunaratana ...... there are some
            disadvantages to living in the basement of the world down here - like
            distance from Teachers. Have you read Matthews' book "Swallowing the
            River Ganges"? If so, I'd be interested in your opinion and review.

            Look forward to any posts you care to write,
            Metta,
            Christine

            --- In dhammastudygroup@y..., "mikebrotherto" <mike@p...> wrote:
            > Greetings!
            > May this find you all well and at peace. Since I am from Memphis,
            > Tennessee (Southern USA), we would usually say 'may this find ya'll
            > well and at peace,' but I won't.
            > I honor this group for its determination to penetrate the truth of
            > realities through the path of knowledge. Traces of now still remain
            of
            > the last 30 years in which meditation has arisen and fallen in this
            > body/mind. Most of those moments were spent, however, ignorantly
            > toying with energy - acheiving transcendental states, carelessly
            > playing with kundalini ("thinking" it was spiritual). I naively,
            but
            > sincerely, devoted myself to Swami Rama, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
            (now
            > remarketed as Osho for you kids), and Da Free John (all of whom
            wrote
            > ass-kicking dhamma but had a slight problem with that darn sex
            > precept). Frank (I mean Da Free John) truly transmits incredible
            > insight and I will always cherish that. Amazing - but during all
            that
            > time I never understood that Buddhism was the foundation of it all.
            >
            > How strange!
            >
            > To make a short story shorter, conditions arose where I opened the
            > eyes and found myself in Sangha here in Memphis of all places - the
            > home of Elvis! I didn't have to go to Fiji to visit Frank (I mean
            Da
            > Free John) after all. I take refuge in Sangha like a drowning mouse
            in
            > a hurricane. We have a wonderful group here and practice has been
            > fruitful. We spent a Day of Mindfulness yesterday in silent
            sitting /
            > walking meditation.(It only took me about five hours for the mind
            to
            > concede and find myself squatting in the grass looking at a pile of
            > dogshit with all of these beautiful baby flies scooting about with
            > gleeful abandon. There was such rapture, I wept. Truly an
            enlightened
            > moment, which, seem to arise more and more frequently. I have
            finally
            > remembered what I had been missing all these years - a virtuous
            life.
            > I forgot after millions of births that it is simply a prerequisite.
            I
            > had been putting effort into concentration without balancing it
            with
            > insight. I now understand the absolute necessity of balancing the 8
            > fold path to remain accessible to panna. Right view and right
            effort
            > are so slippery. But yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery,
            all
            > there is - is now. What is one to do but sit?
            > I will have the honor of being in retreat with Bhante Gunaratana
            next
            > week in St. Louis, Missouri. In May, another 10 day retreat with
            > Matthew Flickstein.I vow to remain present as much as possible in
            this
            > lifetime. Who knows?
            >
            > I must say that the posts of this group keep me in a state of
            mindful
            > presence. Although, I must admit, with utmost respect to all, that
            I
            > wonder when some of you find the time to actually be still and let
            it
            > be. Like my mama used to say 'you keep picking at that scab it's
            never
            > going to heal'.
            > Nina, especially, your work has been such an influence in creating
            > appropriate conditions for mindfulness. I am learning Pali by
            studying
            > your teaching and can follow you guys most of the time. May all
            y'all
            > realize nibbana in this lifetime.
            >
            > With metta,
            > Mike Brotherton
            >
            >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Sarah
            Dear Mike B, Many thanks for all your fascinating background details. we look forward to any sharing from all your experiences and study. You raise a lot of
            Message 5 of 9 , Feb 27, 2002
              Dear Mike B,

              Many thanks for all your fascinating background details. we look forward
              to any sharing from all your experiences and study. You raise a lot of
              interesting points, but I'll just skip to the end for now if you don't
              mind:

              --- mikebrotherto <mike@...> wrote:

              >
              > I must say that the posts of this group keep me in a state of mindful
              > presence. Although, I must admit, with utmost respect to all, that I
              > wonder when some of you find the time to actually be still and let it
              > be. Like my mama used to say 'you keep picking at that scab it's never
              > going to heal'.

              This is quite amusing and I'm not sure how (on my behalf, let alone anyone
              else's;-)) to answer the question. Perhaps I should ask what it means to
              'be still' and 'let it be' first..... Can we determine the 'being still'
              by the 'activity', I question?

              > Nina, especially, your work has been such an influence in creating
              > appropriate conditions for mindfulness. I am learning Pali by studying
              > your teaching and can follow you guys most of the time. May all y'all
              > realize nibbana in this lifetime.

              I know Nina will be glad to hear your comments. Sometimes I have trouble
              following 'us guys', so I may be asking you for the odd explanation too;-)

              Thanks for joining us and telling us more about yourself too (and for the
              nibbana good wishes;-))

              Sarah
              p.s hope you've just had or are having a good retreat
              =========================================



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            • mikebrotherto
              ... forward ... of ... don t ... mindful ... that I ... let it ... never ... anyone ... means to ... still ... Dear Sarah, Thank you for responding so kindly.
              Message 6 of 9 , Feb 27, 2002
                --- In dhammastudygroup@y..., Sarah <sarahdhhk@y...> wrote:

                > Dear Mike B,
                >
                > Many thanks for all your fascinating background details. we look
                forward
                > to any sharing from all your experiences and study. You raise a lot
                of
                > interesting points, but I'll just skip to the end for now if you
                don't
                > mind:
                >
                > --- mikebrotherto <mike@p...> wrote:
                >
                > >
                > > I must say that the posts of this group keep me in a state of
                mindful
                > > presence. Although, I must admit, with utmost respect to all,
                that
                I
                > > wonder when some of you find the time to actually be still and
                let
                it
                > > be. Like my mama used to say 'you keep picking at that scab it's
                never
                > > going to heal'.
                >
                > This is quite amusing and I'm not sure how (on my behalf, let alone
                anyone
                > else's;-)) to answer the question. Perhaps I should ask what it
                means to
                > 'be still' and 'let it be' first..... Can we determine the 'being
                still'
                > by the 'activity', I question?

                Dear Sarah,
                Thank you for responding so kindly. I can only speak for myself here
                but I imagine there are many who mindfully read Dhammastudygroup's
                posts but do not participate. For me, it is a bit intimidating
                because
                of the scholarly detail of most posts - the dissection of Pali, etc.
                It's hard to participate because the jist of the discussions are so
                cognitive and foreign to me at this time. In my first post, I was
                insinuating that the "top ten or so" posters of Dhammastudygroup must
                spend a lot of their day, well, posting. That, of course, is
                presumptuous on my part and apologize if there was any offense. My
                sense is that there are a number of you who are academics and do this
                for a livelihood. What a wonderful place to work with colleagues!
                Although I obtained a degree in Philopsophy of Religion many years
                ago, I have always 'hung around' those who practice "awareness" more
                than those who study the different connotations of a particular word.

                Nina's last post India Ch 4, no. 4, is probably the most appropriate
                response to my current point of view. ...Acharn Sujin"...However, we
                should first study and understand what citta, cetasika and rupa are,
                so that there are conditions for the arising of awareness. If someone
                says that one should just be aware from the very beginning without
                study of realities, without knowing about the conditions for sati, it
                is wrong."
                That pretty much sums up it up. I infer that if one only remains
                aware, one will not be able to recognize dhamma when it arises,
                because one doesn't know what one should be aware of. My point was
                that it seems like there is a tremendous amount of "study" clock-time
                on the site. When does one have time to sit and just be aware if one
                is studying all the time? I am sure that is not the case, though.
                I find the cultural differences of approaching Buddhism quite
                intriguing. Many of us in the U.S. who are "lay" usually get some
                watered down outline of the teachings and then are instructed in how
                to sit and meditate. The teachers that I know are concerned that no
                one will participate if the cognitive part of understanding is
                pressed
                to the level found in dhammastudygroup. Personally, I love it and
                study diligently. Most of my dhamma friends do not. Anyway, if there
                ever is an opportunity for me to participate meaningfully, I shall.

                With Metta,
                Mike B
                >.
                >
                > Sarah
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
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              • Lucy
                Hello Mike B Welcome! I m so glad you joined - being also a relatively new-to-the-list-er myself. ... Well put. That s how I feel too... but stay on, there s a
                Message 7 of 9 , Feb 28, 2002
                  Hello Mike B

                  Welcome! I'm so glad you joined - being also a relatively
                  new-to-the-list-er myself.

                  > I must say that the posts of this group keep me in a state of
                  > mindful presence

                  Well put. That's how I feel too... but stay on, there's a lot that can be
                  applied here & now, you'll see. Don't let the scholarly detail deter you,
                  just pick what is clear for you now and test it - at least that's how I
                  cope. You can always go back to read the rest in the archives later. And
                  don't be shy about asking questions - it also benefits many of us (the
                  non-scholarly majority) to read answers to newcomers' questions.

                  >. Many of us in the U.S. who are "lay" usually get some
                  > watered down outline of the teachings and then are instructed in how
                  > to sit and meditate.

                  Not only in the US! That's my experience too (in the UK) - isn't cyberworld
                  wonderful?

                  Best wishes
                  Lucy
                  (working her way backwards through a few hundreds of messages)
                • Sarah
                  Dear Mike B, ... I’m quite sure this is right (and know of a few of them). I’m also quite sure that many will be sharing your same impressions and
                  Message 8 of 9 , Feb 28, 2002
                    Dear Mike B,

                    --- mikebrotherto <mike@...> wrote:> Dear Sarah,
                    > Thank you for responding so kindly. I can only speak for myself here
                    > but I imagine there are many who mindfully read Dhammastudygroup's
                    > posts but do not participate.

                    I’m quite sure this is right (and know of a few of them). I’m also quite
                    sure that many will be sharing your same impressions and appreciating your
                    comments below:

                    >For me, it is a bit intimidating
                    > because
                    > of the scholarly detail of most posts - the dissection of Pali, etc.
                    > It's hard to participate because the jist of the discussions are so
                    > cognitive and foreign to me at this time.

                    Understood and I think Lucy made some very helpful comments in this
                    respect.... it’s probably better to just go slowly and not try to follow
                    every thread in the beginning.

                    >In my first post, I was
                    > insinuating that the "top ten or so" posters of Dhammastudygroup must
                    > spend a lot of their day, well, posting. That, of course, is
                    > presumptuous on my part and apologize if there was any offense.

                    I don’t think this is presumptuous or offensive at all. I think it’s right
                    that for some (like myself), dsg has become an integral part of daily life
                    and a wonderful opportunity to consider the dhamma more with friends (old
                    and new) with respect and consideration for different viewpoints.

                    >My
                    > sense is that there are a number of you who are academics and do this
                    > for a livelihood. What a wonderful place to work with colleagues!

                    Yes, it would be quite nice if this were one’s livelihood too..
                    <sigh>....the reality, however, is that I’m pretty sure that none of the
                    ‘top ten posters’ do this for any kind of livelihood and we mostly have
                    very busy lives and demanding other livelihoods to take care of;-)

                    > Although I obtained a degree in Philopsophy of Religion many years
                    > ago, I have always 'hung around' those who practice "awareness" more
                    > than those who study the different connotations of a particular word.

                    It may surprise you to know that I think we’re all in the same camp here.
                    I don’t think anyone here is very interested in ‘different connotations of
                    a particular word’ just for the sake of it or for an academic exercise.
                    Take the Pali word ‘jhayanti’ that was being discussed by a few people
                    yesterday; it makes quite a difference to how one’s ‘practice’ is
                    understood if one thinks one is being told to develop jhana, to meditate
                    (i.e. ‘sit) or to develop understanding of samatha and vipasana. So a few
                    ‘key’ words will be considered in more detail.

                    > Nina's last post India Ch 4, no. 4, is probably the most appropriate
                    > response to my current point of view. ...Acharn Sujin"...However, we
                    > should first study and understand what citta, cetasika and rupa are,
                    > so that there are conditions for the arising of awareness. If someone
                    > says that one should just be aware from the very beginning without
                    > study of realities, without knowing about the conditions for sati, it
                    > is wrong."
                    > That pretty much sums up it up. I infer that if one only remains
                    > aware, one will not be able to recognize dhamma when it arises,
                    > because one doesn't know what one should be aware of.

                    Exactly so. We hear many people talking about being aware, but if there is
                    no understanding as to what the nature of awareness really is, what the
                    objects of awareness are, or if it’s all being taken for ‘my awareness’,
                    it may have little or no reference to the development of satipatthana.
                    When A.Sujin encourages ‘study’, she is not just talking about book study,
                    but the beginning to understand realities (directly) while reading,
                    writing, sitting or working.

                    >My point was
                    > that it seems like there is a tremendous amount of "study" clock-time
                    > on the site. When does one have time to sit and just be aware if one
                    > is studying all the time?

                    Hmm..Now we’re both clocking up some “study” on the site. Does this mean
                    there cannot be any awareness now I wonder? Does it mean that we have to
                    wait until we are no longer writing, reading, considering, seeing sights,
                    hearing sounds? Does it mean there would be more awareness if we were
                    sitting in another position, in another location, focussing on different
                    objects? I think that only sati(awareness) and panna (understanding) can
                    know...

                    > I am sure that is not the case, though.
                    > I find the cultural differences of approaching Buddhism quite
                    > intriguing. Many of us in the U.S. who are "lay" usually get some
                    > watered down outline of the teachings and then are instructed in how
                    > to sit and meditate. The teachers that I know are concerned that no
                    > one will participate if the cognitive part of understanding is
                    > pressed
                    > to the level found in dhammastudygroup. Personally, I love it and
                    > study diligently. Most of my dhamma friends do not.

                    I think we all have very different lifestyles, inclinations and interests.
                    Sometimes I find I need a ‘break’ from dhamma texts, my livelihood work
                    and other ‘cognitive’ processes. So I’ll go off for a walk or do some
                    exercise but often find myself considering or even having a little
                    awareness of dhammas even at these times. Sometimes it may just be
                    considering a word or a phrase such as ‘ayatana’ (sense-field), but I find
                    it more helpful than thinking about other subjects or concentrating on any
                    particular object. You’ll find many different viewpoints here, but for a
                    few of us, we consider any ‘practice’ should be very natural and not
                    forced at all.

                    >Anyway, if there
                    > ever is an opportunity for me to participate meaningfully, I shall.

                    You are already and it will be much appreciated by many.

                    Glad you found us, Mike. I appreciate your comments and sincere interest
                    here. Please feel very free to ask anything else;-)

                    Sarah
                    ==========================================


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                  • Jonothan Abbott
                    Mike B Welcome to the list from me, and thanks for your comments. Just a thought to take with you on your retreat. ... The Buddha’s description of
                    Message 9 of 9 , Mar 1, 2002
                      Mike B

                      Welcome to the list from me, and thanks for your comments. Just a thought
                      to take with you on your retreat.

                      --- mikebrotherto <mike@...> wrote:

                      > I will have the honor of being in retreat with Bhante Gunaratana next
                      > week in St. Louis, Missouri. In May, another 10 day retreat with
                      > Matthew Flickstein.I vow to remain present as much as possible in this
                      > lifetime. Who knows?

                      The Buddha’s description of ‘remaining present’ involves, as appears in
                      the passage quoted recently by Nina, the *awareness or understanding of a
                      present dhamma*. This should not be taken as precluding the *thinking
                      about* the past or the future, to my understanding. Such thinking is the
                      ‘present dhamma’ of the moment it occurs and can be the object of
                      awareness or understanding.

                      I believe that even the arahant conceptualises about the past and the
                      future, and must do so constantly in order to relate to the world at
                      large. But he/she does so without, in the words of the passage,
                      ‘following after’ the past or ‘desiring’ the future.

                      Even for us worldlings, there can be momentary absence of such following
                      after or desiring whenever there is awareness or understanding of a
                      present dhamma.

                      Jon

                      Bhaddekaratta Sutta of Lomasakaògiya
                      “The past should not be followed after, the future not desired.
                      What is past is got rid of and the future has not come.
                      But whoever has vision now here, now there of a present dhamma,
                      The unmovable, unshakable, let him cultivate it.”


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