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TOPIC: The world is only thought?

The world is only thought? 05 Sep 2015 19:52 #100323

Kenneth Folk wrote:
shargrol wrote:
Kate Gowen wrote:
ITSELF

that's my new favorite one word pointer! :)

I don't understand. Shargrol, what does ITSELF point to for you?

itself (of course) :)

edit: ugh, sorry about that. Itself just points back to the question as a question. Or the object as the object. Or the emotion as the emotion.

What is the meaning of life? Questioning the meaning of life.
What is the self? The self.
What is making me feel bad? Feeling bad.

In other words, so much of so-called spiritual questioning is a subtle form of avoiding, so ITSELF points right back to where the attempt to avoid begins.
Last Edit: 05 Sep 2015 20:12 by shargrol.
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The world is only thought? 05 Sep 2015 21:03 #100325

every3rdthought wrote:
How can we know for sure that we can't know for sure?

Sounds like you're saying we can't be sure of anything. Which, if I understand correctly, is also what Shargrol is saying. I agree with both of you.
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The world is only thought? 05 Sep 2015 21:05 #100326

shargrol wrote:
Kenneth Folk wrote:
shargrol wrote:
Kate Gowen wrote:
ITSELF

that's my new favorite one word pointer! :)

I don't understand. Shargrol, what does ITSELF point to for you?

itself (of course) :)

edit: ugh, sorry about that. Itself just points back to the question as a question. Or the object as the object. Or the emotion as the emotion.

What is the meaning of life? Questioning the meaning of life.
What is the self? The self.
What is making me feel bad? Feeling bad.

In other words, so much of so-called spiritual questioning is a subtle form of avoiding, so ITSELF points right back to where the attempt to avoid begins.

Ha! Lovely. Thank you.
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The world is only thought? 06 Sep 2015 17:26 #100337

shargrol wrote:
How would you define awakening?

The thing I was wanting to point to is that while most Buddhist traditions would see awakening as the experiential realisation of not-self (i.e. no subject) many nondual and/or Vedic-origin traditions would see awakening as the realisation of the Self (universal subject).

I'm probably not hugely interested in trying to put a finger on my own single definition of awakening, ask me any given day and you'd get a different form of words - for example, realising that everything without exception including what I thought of as my self is undifferentiated God, a tipping point at which the dropping away of trying to resist anything (or even thinking that this was possible) had its own momentum, no longer being a seeker and feeling that my search was fulfilled though deepening does not end, the descent of God's grace as foundational knowledge of truth and the realisation that it is not bestowed from externally, etc etc
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The world is only thought? 06 Sep 2015 17:54 #100339

"ITSELF--

that's my new favorite one word pointer! " (Shargrol)

Funny you should have seized on that word. I have two random associations for you: 1) Rang-drol: Tibetan dharma word that Ngak'chang Rinpoche explicates as "self- liberation; in the sense of 'of itself, it liberates itself.' Liberation requiring no agent, no object and no special action.

2) A line for a poem I haven't been able to finish for 16 years-- "... you are, in yourself, the occasion of joy..."

( I had in mind that Catholic line about "avoiding sin and the occasion of sin"-- but turned inside out.)
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The world is only thought? 07 Sep 2015 08:05 #100342

every3rdthought wrote:
shargrol wrote:
How would you define awakening?

The thing I was wanting to point to is that while most Buddhist traditions would see awakening as the experiential realisation of not-self (i.e. no subject) many nondual and/or Vedic-origin traditions would see awakening as the realisation of the Self (universal subject).

I'm probably not hugely interested in trying to put a finger on my own single definition of awakening, ask me any given day and you'd get a different form of words - for example, realising that everything without exception including what I thought of as my self is undifferentiated God, a tipping point at which the dropping away of trying to resist anything (or even thinking that this was possible) had its own momentum, no longer being a seeker and feeling that my search was fulfilled though deepening does not end, the descent of God's grace as foundational knowledge of truth and the realisation that it is not bestowed from externally, etc etc

I'm very sympathetic to not wanting to singularly define it. Actually, that's my preference, too. What amazes me is how the experience seems to resolve so much "problemness", regardless of the practioner's particular definition of their problem.

I can see the elements of truth for most metaphors/definitions of awakening. I think the metaphor we use is an interesting double edged sword. It can tend to augment one's sense of importance or help reduce a sense of pride. And it's not like any metaphor/definition is above being turned from one to the other.

For example, it seems like many theistic definition/metaphors (god, spirit, or a particular diety) are used to emphasize the sense of humility, appreciation, and non-control over one's life, but for other's the god metaphor becomes a prideful statement and sounds like god is directing them in a special way that's different than the way god is directing an earthworm.

Same thing with "not self". It can point toward a sense of humility and acceptance... or it can be a statement of one's ability, how something that was conquered and transcended, and now the person is beyond and greater than non-awakened selfs.

"Consciousness" or "mind" has the same potential range of flavors.

I can see the temptation to "sell" the tradition or experience by suggesting all of the more achievement-oriented and special flavors of whatever definition/metaphor one uses. This seems to be particularly common in the religious rituals of traditions, sort of emphasizing the "goodies" to build interest in the tradition, exault the historical leaders/figures of the tradition, emphasize the gap between clergy/monastics and lay populations, etc. etc. It also shows up in cults, where they start creating their own idealized form of the spiritual process and create huge shadow sides within the groups psychology.

But at the end of the day, it seems like the experience seems to resolve a lot of personal problems by resolving an hidden tension between the individual and the world. Perhaps even that is saying too much.

Thanks for the good conversation!
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The world is only thought? 07 Sep 2015 21:02 #100345

shargrol wrote:
..it seems like many theistic definition/metaphors (god, spirit, or a particular diety) are used to emphasize the sense of humility, appreciation, and non-control over one's life, but for other's the god metaphor becomes a prideful statement and sounds like god is directing them in a special way that's different than the way god is directing an earthworm.

Same thing with "not self". It can point toward a sense of humility and acceptance... or it can be a statement of one's ability, how something that was conquered and transcended, and now the person is beyond and greater than non-awakened selfs.

"Consciousness" or "mind" has the same potential range of flavors.

I can see the temptation to "sell" the tradition or experience by suggesting all of the more achievement-oriented and special flavors of whatever definition/metaphor one uses. This seems to be particularly common in the religious rituals of traditions, sort of emphasizing the "goodies" to build interest in the tradition, exault the historical leaders/figures of the tradition, emphasize the gap between clergy/monastics and lay populations, etc. etc. It also shows up in cults, where they start creating their own idealized form of the spiritual process and create huge shadow sides within the groups psychology. ...

I am not sure quite what to do with what seems to be a huge chasm between how religion(s) view the world on their own terms, and a worldview which says that to take a religion on its own terms is rather Bad.

If, in other words, the things a religion actually posits as true and upon which religious people structure their lives and spiritual practices (human beings have a special relationship with God that is different than that of earthworms; God actually exists and the sole purpose of our existence is to love him; you have one chance to get stream entry or you will reincarnate for a very, very, long time in crappy existences; there is a literal bardo or judgment process after death which impacts what happens next; you have a soul; initiatory and sacralizing rituals have supernatural efficacy; or whatever other things may be part of a particular tradition) are all dumped in the "bad things" box, then there's really no conversation to be had. I find that both interesting and kind of sad (for me, at least, as a human being who sometimes misses feeling at home in her old community).

But I'm wondering if it might be the case that it flies below the radar. That is, I grew up in a culture (college town) where the prevailing atmosphere was "whew, good thing we live in this island of intelligence and high culture amidst a sea of idiot rednecks." It never occurred to me to consider that those people with all the bad ways of living (loud cars, religions, too much television, fast food, bad fashion, bad music, etc.) were human beings of infinite value, and that their way of life was just as rich as mine. I know a great number of traditional Catholics who have very deep and rich contemplative lives and a great deal of humility (far beyond my own, certainly!!) - but who have never been taught that their practice can only lead to wisdom and transformation if they embrace secularism, relativism and modernism and progressive politics, for instance.

Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there. I'm not sure I've said it very well, and it really may be of no relevance or interest to anyone else. But there ya go.
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The world is only thought? 07 Sep 2015 21:48 #100347

"But I'm wondering if it might be the case that it flies below the radar. That is, I grew up in a culture (college town) where the prevailing atmosphere was "whew, good thing we live in this island of intelligence and high culture amidst a sea of idiot rednecks." It never occurred to me to consider that those people with all the bad ways of living (loud cars, religions, too much television, fast food, bad fashion, bad music, etc.) were human beings of infinite value, and that their way of life was just as rich as mine. I know a great number of traditional Catholics who have very deep and rich contemplative lives and a great deal of humility (far beyond my own, certainly!!) - but who have never been taught that their practice can only lead to wisdom and transformation if they embrace secularism, relativism and modernism and progressive politics, for instance."

Funny that someone as disinclined to belief, beyond a bare minimum -- moi, that is-- should agree substantially with you, my friend. There is one thing that I have learned these months of sojourn on the right coast; I am a really bad fit for the air, the water, the grit, the unfamiliar folkways, the food, the patois. Most of it, in fact. That doesn't really imply any absolutes about one side or the other. And it is mildly interesting, this mis-fit.

"...secularism, relativism and modernism and progressive politics" are as worthy a belief system as any other to use Occam's Razor for a close shave. On this coast, a great swath of Philly is gearing up for Pontiff-visit hysteria; me, I have belatedly taken in most of David Simon's TV series, most recent (Show Me a Hero) to earliest (The Wire). Who knows what any of it means? Grist for the mill.
Last Edit: 07 Sep 2015 22:24 by Kate Gowen. Reason: typo
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The world is only thought? 07 Sep 2015 21:55 #100348

Ona Kiser wrote:
I am not sure quite what to do with what seems to be a huge chasm between how religion(s) view the world on their own terms, and a worldview which says that to take a religion on its own terms is rather Bad.

If, in other words, the things a religion actually posits as true and upon which religious people structure their lives and spiritual practices (human beings have a special relationship with God that is different than that of earthworms; God actually exists and the sole purpose of our existence is to love him; you have one chance to get stream entry or you will reincarnate for a very, very, long time in crappy existences; there is a literal bardo or judgment process after death which impacts what happens next; you have a soul; initiatory and sacralizing rituals have supernatural efficacy; or whatever other things may be part of a particular tradition) are all dumped in the "bad things" box, then there's really no conversation to be had. I find that both interesting and kind of sad (for me, at least, as a human being who sometimes misses feeling at home in her old community).

I think I'm putting those in the "posited" box.
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The world is only thought? 08 Sep 2015 02:40 #100349

Kate Gowen wrote:
. On this coast, a great swath of Philly is gearing up for Pontiff-visit hysteria; me, I have belatedly taken in most of David Simon's TV series, most recent (Show Me a Hero) to earliest (The Wire). Who knows what any of it means? Grist for the mill.

I'm so sorry. lol. Delighted to ignore that hysteria myself!!!
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The world is only thought? 14 Sep 2015 20:33 #100443

Came across an apropos story in 101 Zen Stones:

76. The Stone Mind

Hogen, a Chinese Zen teacher, lived alone in a small temple in the country. One day four traveling monks appeared and asked if they might make a fire in his yard to warm themselves.

While they were building the fire, Hogen heard them arguing about subjectivity and objectivity. He joined them and said: 'There is a big stone. Do you consider it to be inside or outside your mind?'

One of the monks replied: 'From the Buddhist viewpoint everything is an objectification of mind, so I would say that the stone is inside my mind.'

'Your head must feel very heavy’, observed Hogen. 'if you are carrying around a stone like that in your mind.'

Emphasizes the trap of attaching to "the world is only thought" view. In my opinion, the issue here is that the monk claims that the stone is in his mind. In whose mind is the stone? __/\__
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