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Re: [dsg] Re: Bagels, Forest & Happy Walks

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  • sarah abbott
    Hi AL, Here’s my delayed post on this topic. Awareness & Spotlights ================== You asked for an example of how awareness can arise. Let’s say
    Message 1 of 62 , Sep 1, 2004
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      Hi AL,

      Here’s my delayed post on this topic.

      Awareness & Spotlights
      You asked for an example of how awareness can arise. Let’s say we’ve just
      read the exerpt Larry posted about seeing consciousness which cognizes
      visible object with eye-sense as a necessary condition. If wise
      considering and awareness have been accumulated, such further reading or
      reflecting can be a condition for awareness to arise and be aware right
      now of seeing or visible object or any other dhamma appearing. This is not
      by ‘yearning’ or shining a spotlight on these or any other realities. If
      there is no detachment or patience with regard to what is conditioned, but
      instead there’s wishing or focussing on another object, then awareness is

      Reflections & Cool :0)
      By reflections on cittas, cetasikas and rupas, I don’t mean just thinking
      and trying to see or know them. I mean really beginning to understand what
      is being experienced now, conditioned by having heard, read and considered
      about these dhammas. We wish to develop awareness, but it begins to
      develop when there’s no wishing and so the ‘cool’ quality is in the giving
      up of the wishing and not expecting any special results or non-results :0)

      Seeing the truths expounded in the texts....
      Yes, if there isn’t any appreciation or ‘click’ factor in what we hear or
      read from the texts, right understanding cannot develop.

      Mentality-Materiality aka nama-rupa
      Just as you say, the clear knowledge of nama and rupa is the first stage
      of insight knowledge. It is cultivated by clearly understanding and being
      aware of namas and rupas over and over again when they appear, clearly
      understanding them as dhammas, not self. You mentioned you are interested
      in studying the Vism in this regard. Pls join in any of the present Vism
      extracts Nina and Larry are posting. We think that we see objects, but
      there is merely seeing consciousness which sees visible object. At the
      moment of seeing, there is no other world....no hearing, no
      thinking....just seeing. Awareness can be aware of any reality now,
      depending on understanding.

      A ‘feel’ for Posture
      We all know that postures seem real, but it’s only a kind of thinking. No
      reality is known at the moments when postures seem real, but the thinking
      can be known. No need to try to do anything special, AL. You’ll find
      awareness develops very naturally when this tangle of concepts and
      realities is sorted out.

      Nimitta and signs
      In the development of vipassana, the characteristic of the present reality
      is the nimitta or sign. There is no question of needing any special
      ‘breath nimitta’ or using ‘concentration even for other bodily movements’.
      Again, this is thinking, prompted by ideas of self and controlling
      dhammas, rather than the development of detachment.

      Solid Practise
      You mentioned that you are waiting before beginning ‘my solid practise’.
      There’s no need for waiting and awareness arises when it’s time regardless
      of any ideas about waiting. Whilst thinking about waiting or focussing or
      concentrating, awareness can be aware of the thinking and view at these
      times. I don’t think practise (patipatti) is ever solid or fluid;-) It
      just refers to moments of satipatthana which accumulate and develop
      naturally. The most important thing is to understand any wrong views
      arising, otherwise they keep taking us off-track.

      Walking Meditation
      Momentary concentration is always arising as I said and as we’ll get to in
      ch6, ‘Cetasikas’. It won’t be the ‘walking meditation’ as such that
      culminates in insight, but rather any moments of satipatthana arising and
      developing whilst walking, whilst eating, whilst washing, whilst writing
      and so on. The activity is a concept. The cittas and mental states arising
      during the javana process after seeing, hearing and so on, are what will
      make the difference.

      You asked about switching between knowing feelings and other namas and
      rupas. It’s not a matter of switching so much as just understanding
      momentarily what is appearing, or what is the object of awareness at
      anytime without preference. Nowhere in the Satipatthana Sutta or elsewhere
      is there any suggestion of ‘practising them (the four foundations)
      concurrently’. Again and again we read there is one citta at a time only,
      taking one object.

      Elements, Nama and Rupa
      AL: > One thing I'm not clear on and still having some difficulty with:
      > when the wind hits my skin, and I contemplate on the Earth element in
      that contact, isn't that softness experienced through the body sense, so
      it's nama too, not rupa?
      S: The softness experienced through the body sense is rupa. The
      experiencing of it is nama. The subsequent contemplating about it is nama.
      What is contemplated, i.e the thought is a concept, not a reality.
      AL:>Or is the contact phassa, therefore nama?
      S: Yes. It’s one of the universal cetasikas accompanying all cittas
      including these ones, helping the cittas and other cetasikas to ‘touch’
      their objects.
      AL: > And then feeling is also nama, even though it feels like it's
      being experienced outside of mind?
      S: There is the feeling (nama) accompanying the body consciousness citta
      which experienced the softness and there are further feelings accompanying
      the other cittas in both the sense door and mind door processes (also
      namas). So, like phassa, vedana (feeling) accompanies each citta to
      ‘taste’ the object, whether it be softness or a subsequent concept of
      Awareness and LSD trips
      Awareness or satipatthana has to be accompanied by understanding which
      knows directly the reality being experienced. The awareness you describe
      as associated with a trip is not accompanied by understanding and doesn’t
      have realities as objects.

      Like in a dream or trance when the conceptual world seems so very real,
      but actually its one’s imagination and the fantasy world, the awareness of
      one’s surroundings, the being in tune with nature and so on is not arising
      as the result of developed wholesome states, but as a result of ignorance
      and attachment. Hence the end of trip blues. Satipatthana and all
      wholesome states are light and calm and don’t bring any blues. Don’t
      confuse them or crave the latter;-) There’s only one way....

      Cetasikas and Practise
      AL: > OK. Hope I can read cetasikas and gain some understanding on it to
      apply to practise.
      S: Looks like it’s going very well.


      p.s Give my best regards to Anders too..... I always enjoyed and
      appreciated my discussions with him - another very bright and sincere
      young man.

      p.p.s. General Post # 35725
      S: You mentioned that you were going to ‘take less drugs N.Y. state
      mandates...’. Al, I sympathise, but please coordinate with the minders
      rather than taking the question of prescriptions into your own hands with
      side-effects and withdrawal problems etc.....I think the trust and honesty
      would be more in line with the Dhp verse below, but we can discuss it
      further if you like. Also, no need to make any fixed rules about keeping
      ‘absolutely quiet in real life’. That concerns me rather. I once had a
      student who refused to talk at all in school. It’s very unnatural and
      causes great concern to those around.

      A: >Dhammapada says, "Better to do nothing than to
      do what is wrong, for whatever you do, you do to yourself"

      >Now some borderline worries/concerns , all in line with Dhammapada

      >- The person who lives carelessly jumps from lifetime to lifetime like
      a monkey in a mango tree. - I've been living carelessly but it's never
      too late to stop it, right? This is why I want to do good. So my
      next life is good.
      - The Kashta reed dies when it bears fruit.
      So the fool, Scorning the teachings of the awakened, Spurning those
      who follow the law, Perishes when his folly flowers.

      >Similarly with a verse I'm paraphrasing "All feel the touch of death,
      but while fools lies slain by their folly, the sage is forever

      >Well I have felt the touch of death while being caught up in mischief
      and folly. I want reassurance that I can still follow the way and do
      good work to bring me good results in the next life.
      S: These are all wise reflections and developing understanding is the
      highest good of all. As far as I can see, you’re on a very fast learning
      curve and doing fine, AL;-). I’m very impressed by your honest reflections
      and questioning.

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    • nina van gorkom
      Dear Al, ... N: Some chapters, but what about one sentence and then ask questions about it. Some chapters I think are too much now. I call that a lot. You
      Message 62 of 62 , Sep 16, 2004
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        Dear Al,
        op 15-09-2004 21:25 schreef Andrew Levin op andrewlevin@...:
        > but I don't think you're correct....
        > I have read some chapters from Abhidharma in Daily Life
        N: Some chapters, but what about one sentence and then ask questions about
        it. Some chapters I think are too much now. I call that a lot. You still
        seem to want to read too much at a time, and then you get needlessly
        AL:My salvation may come from one practise guide I have, if I can manage to
        carry it out.
        N: Better to very gadually develop your own understanding instead of
        following a practise guide. Can we be sure the guide is the right one?
        AL: Well the Tathagata has arisen in the world, I have just yet to
        understand his dharma.
        N: Hey, that is true for all of us!!!
        You expressed that very beautifully, we can frame it and hang it up as a
        <Well the Tathagata has arisen in the world, I have just yet to understand
        his dharma.>
        Very nice. In fact, I printed it out for myself as a reminder.
        AL: As it is, frankly, my mind-stream will be sinking down into the lower
        > realms if nothing changes.
        N: If you tell yourself this all the time it will work out in a negative
        way. Do not think of what will come, nor of the past, only the present
        counts. Let us understand just that.
        May we all have more understanding of the present moment!
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