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TOPIC: what else is there

what else is there 16 Sep 2011 23:08 #3789

An important thing to mention about the conversation I had with my friend: it was very spirited, very heated, very detailed, and, I think we both came away from it with way more clarity on how we looked at life and on what things may just be untested assumptions. It was nice.
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 23:10 #3790

How can a Choice A person get heated about anything?
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 23:12 #3791


How can a Choice A person get heated about anything? [image]

-cmarti

I think you are joking but I don't get the joke. Oh well.

And, I had to look up "interpolate" and I couldn't see that that is what I am trying to do.
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 23:17 #3792

I was joking. What I was getting at was this: If mind is everything why would anyone get upset about anything?
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 23:20 #3793

The MOST heated discussions we had were political. We were mostly on the same wavelength but, he kept talking about "richest one half of one percent" who had all the money in the US. These people were greedy and evil and always up to no good. While I agreed that they were greedy and were part of a system basically built on greed I said that they still wanted the country and it's people to prosper and be free, they didn't want to own some wasteland in which they lived in armed compounds while the rest of us were slaves in concentration camps ... or whatever, I was just kind of exaggerating for effect, I guess. but, he said, no, that is EXACTLY what they want. And, I was baffled and kept asking him questions about these horrible people and their evil goals and he stuck to his story and eventually got frustrated that I was so daft and went out in the backyard and got very loaded on the homegrown California weed he'd managed to score.
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 23:22 #3794

Sounds like a great way to avoid the discussion.
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 23:23 #3795


I was joking. What I was getting at was this: If mind is everything why would anyone get upset about anything?

-cmarti

that's a good point. and, I think Choice A can bring some relief from certain stresses and tension if one is living there, but, people can forget and, the mind is dealing with a body filled with desire (s) and needs and instincts.
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 23:24 #3796

You could actually do your practice from either perspective A or B, no? Either way you just watch shit happening, notice every experience, be mindful of every moment just as it is. Whether you believe in A or B doesn't really matter - the practice itself will lead you along. No?
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 23:32 #3797


You could actually do your practice from either perspective A or B, no? Either way you just watch shit happening, notice every experience, be mindful of every moment just as it is. Whether you believe in A or B doesn't really matter - the practice itself will lead you along. No?

-ona

Well, my question was "what is true" A or B, not which one do you "believe in." Does that distinction make sense? Now, of course, the answer can just be, I don't know enough yet to know which one is true. But, I think it was a wonderful learning for both of us to see how quickly he said B was definitely the truth and then as we explored it more and more see us realize how much of that certainty was just a preference, something he wanted to be true, or preferred to be true.

Also, though, I think many practice from neither perspective, right? just doing, as you said, watching shit happening and being open to discovering what is true.
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 23:47 #3798

You know, I guess personally I'm not into "true" versus "false" so much as "what seems to be true for me" versus "what doesn't". Neither A nor B seems *exactly* true to me, though B perhaps more than A. But I think the "is it true or not" question is simply not very important - in terms of how I live my life or my practice. All that matters is what I happen to be experiencing now. If what I am experiencing now happens to be the result of "just" brain function, that doesn't change how I experience it. If it is due to something more like B being true, that really in a way doesn't matter either.

How's that for not answering? :D
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 23:48 #3799

So yes, agreeing more with what you added after I already posted. :)
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what else is there 17 Sep 2011 00:28 #3800

Mike, whether I'm reflecting along the lines of A or of B I have to admit that both are just stuff I imagine about my experience to try to contextualize this present experience, you know what I mean? I think the more important thing is the way in which I relate to those kinds of possibilities, whether I allow them to seem to provide me with a "view" on things which goes beyond my present experience in a fundamental way, or whether instead there is a clear seeing of their nature as descriptions and commentary and projection.

I see aspects of my present experience which are utterly contingent, just arising and interacting patterns, and this body mind like other arising patterns arises, functions for a while, and passes away. Some of the stuff in this mind really seems like more than just images, concepts, words and feelings sometimes-- it feels like a personal self. Sometimes these same ingredients give rise to the sense of a more encompassing, impersonal Self or a more narrow-than-usual instinctual self, but regardless, within a basic clear seeing, all these mind-movements appear as they actually are: images, words, concepts feelings and so on, and just part of an integral field which includes sensations and (outer) perceptions as well.

In fact, when I drop from the level of categorized, recognized content to the level of self-organizing sensations what i find is that these self-organizing sensations swirl into various patterns some of which imply "out there", some "in here", some 'between"-- but all are actually none of the above, which is paradoxically demonstrated by the fact that they can arise and present as if all of the above! And these self-organizing sensations don't seem to have any beginning or end or borders, on the whole, even if individually they are short lived sparks. Yet there seems to be something palpably still and clear and free and open about this level of experience as well, something utterly still which is yet exactly present as each little leaping sensation/movement.

So it's interesting to me but no surprise that simply by checking with my present experiencing, it's very clear that something like "A" and something like "B" are both conceivable because of some aspect or other of present experiencing! And as you admit, present experience is what you're actually trying to articulate-- or more so, your insight into present experience. But I'm sure you'll agree that the way you prefer to describe your present experience to yourself (A) is not the same as that insightful present experience. So what would it be like to try to see other descriptions (like B) as just pointing at your very same insight into present experience as A? Does that even make sense? I'm just thinking out loud :-)
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what else is there 17 Sep 2011 00:59 #3801

One more thought before I go to bed. Lately one of my favorite reminders to use in meditation is one a heard a teacher use once: "What is true right now?" It's interesting how much the answer to this can change from day to day. At a basic level the raw sensory data is often "what is true right now." Now and then I might instead answer "everything" or "nothing" or "just this." Last Saturday the question seemed completely irrelevant, which was surprisingly novel. But whatever this moment's answer is, the question points to paying attention only to the moment, not the next layer up, where we start explaining the moment away with interpretations and stories and reasoning.
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what else is there 17 Sep 2011 01:55 #3802


One more thought before I go to bed. Lately one of my favorite reminders to use in meditation is one a heard a teacher use once: "What is true right now?" It's interesting how much the answer to this can change from day to day. At a basic level the raw sensory data is often "what is true right now." Now and then I might instead answer "everything" or "nothing" or "just this." Last Saturday the question seemed completely irrelevant, which was surprisingly novel. But whatever this moment's answer is, the question points to paying attention only to the moment, not the next layer up, where we start explaining the moment away with interpretations and stories and reasoning.


-ona

Yes, the stories are like putting up fences in open, rolling fields. The fields aren't broken by the fences. The fences are only possible because of the fields-- they would lose all meaning in an empty space. The words are like small cups filled with water, held up in display at the edge of an ocean. Yet they are meaningful, however insignificant in contrast with the unmeasured!I find that the stories can, in adding another layer, actually become significant openers of experience as well. The progress of insight and other maps are (and/or point to) contextual backdrops for the unique story you live through them, right?

Even a very simple story, such as 1) recognize & appreciate you're own nature 2) check if anything in present experience is other than that true nature 3) repeat whenever you notice that you're disturbed and/or confused (and this doesn't mean that anything has to happen or not happen to or with the disturbance and/or confusion) 4 enjoy the fruits of remembering to do 3 :-) And a dozen people could tell that story and agree that it's pretty accurate to their experience and yet be pointing to very different aspects of their experience with the "same" story!*

*edited to add: for instance, some may consider their true nature to be "annatta", some no-self, some empty impermanence, some primordial awareness, some atman, some spirit, some naked awareness, some is-ness, some a totally unique coalescing of bits and pieces with a definite lifespan (and nothing but that)...
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what else is there 17 Sep 2011 03:34 #3803

In my sketchy understanding, we are neurologically set up with two (among many) processes: the self-maker, whose job it is to generate a sense of self, I-ness, perspective; and the not-self maker, whose job it is to define the boundaries of self, to tell the body that the self ends at the finger tips, that other people and objects are not fundamentally unified with you. And when we disable that second process, chemically, neurologically, or through damage to the brain, the self-making process extends out further than we're used to, or out to encompass everything that we perceive, and we feel the sensation that we are components or facets of a totally unified living entity, that shares the characteristics of the human mind, because it is _our_ human mind, turned inside out.

Given that this is a mental formation, a sensation which can be effectively turned on and off with entheogens or brain damage, why should we spend much time at all arguing over whether it's a real quality of the universe? Talking about pre-object permanence, it makes as much sense as arguing over whether walls are really breathing all the time, a fact that we can only discern on mushrooms—or indeed, over whether things really are exactly like, in their material fact, the way they are perceived by the human sensory apparatus.
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what else is there 17 Sep 2011 05:35 #3804


"Choice A: We are all just a collection of sensations that our minds
constantly make sense of and creates a continuity from and
all perception and awareness is located in each of our brains and it is
only through our brains that we are aware of and conscious of moment to
moment life. Our senses and our brains are the creator of all things.
And, once we die, it will all go away. No more person. No reincarnation,
no heaven, no hell.


Choice B: There is a huge all pervading primoridal awareness or God or
Buddha Mind or something like that that is alive and pulsating and
intelligent and we are all connected to and mannefestations of this
wonderful creative force. We, like this force/thing are infinite, never
ending, and all powerful and the source of all things. We never die but
just change shape within this primoridal awareness thing."


This appears to be a choice of answers to a question; I'm not entirely sure what the question is:

Is it 'What else is there besides the 3 characteristics?' Is it 'IS there anything else but one's own corporeal being and one's experience and interpretation of it?' Is it 'What is objectively true about our existence? Is it 'Does God [or whatever word you want to use for an infinite being] exist?' Is it 'What's it all about, Alfie?'

If you're more invested in discovering an answer than just enjoying philosophizing and constructing a logical proof-- really honing the question is going to be important: it will suggest how the investigation could proceed-- for you. This nagging question business is really an entry into 'inquiry practice.'

I wouldn't say my own question was very well articulated-- certainly not to the point of there being only two possible answers. It was something along the lines of 'what's it all about?' or 'how does this living a human life work, exactly?'

I tried that old standard question: 'Who am I?' a couple of times when it felt like an authentic question; then it morphed into a more nebulous, 'What IS this?' and was more a feeling of being alert, wanting to know, on the lookout for an answer. Which was kinda novel, because I was always the annoying girl in class whose hand was shooting up: I know, I know! So being willing to wait for something uncertain that might or might not come, in its own good time, trusting that when and if it showed up, I'd recognize it-- that was a practice in itself.

When the answer did come, there was no doubt about it-- also no god or other previously unknown being-- it was more akin to suddenly achieving depth perception. There was a difference to EVERYTHING, not a difference between one thing and another. So I understand 'primordial awareness' to mean awareness functioning 'up to its potential' rather than hampered by the 'give it gas and ride the brake' mode that is usual. 'Primordial awareness' is just that ordinary awareness that sees objects and hallucinations, constructs stories about them and inferences about itself-- opened wide enough to let everything in. What it 'sees' is what is there-- all of what is there, the objects and the ground and their relationship to one another. What it feels like is intimacy-- that extra-aliveness at the interface between 'inside' and 'outside', 'self' and 'other,' seer and seen.

On the other hand, some people aren't interested in inquiry; their practice is keeping company with angels... They don't HAVE any questions!
[This may be an incomprehensible excursion way beside the point on my part; if so, sorry. I may be up past my bedtime.]
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what else is there 17 Sep 2011 10:45 #3805


Well, my question was "what is true" A or B, not which one do you "believe in."

-michaelmonson
The are both untrue in that they are both incomplete. Truth (not just "a truth") is simple and doesn't have to account for special cases.

I think a useful question could be, "which one will encourage a person to stop fooling themselves?" And that will probably vary from person to person. For someone entrenched in B, considering A might be a good start. For someone thinking A is some kind of "right answer to a question", B will provide a lot of additional questions to chew on, if they examine their experience honestly.

Cheers,
Florian
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what else is there 17 Sep 2011 12:40 #3806

Yeah, a feeling of dilemma usually leads to a lot of work clarifying how to articulate the dilemma... then the realization of the truth of the pieces and understanding (at some level) of the truth of the paradox.
I don't know if we ever get a final answer to whether life is... : Material or non-material? Easy or hard? Good or evil? Individual or collective? Liberation or noticing more suffering? etc.
I have an intuition that there is primoridial awareness, but it "isn't" too, otherwise it would be a sensation that falls under category A. That's my guess at where practice so-to-speak is leading... and I'm happy this thread led me to recall that.
It's another of those paradoxes: I believe the "answer" will be found by being very clear about sensations and tangible experiences, but the "answer" can't be found in sensations or such experiences. To look but not cling or control...
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what else is there 17 Sep 2011 13:10 #3807


'Primordial awareness' is just that ordinary awareness that sees objects and hallucinations, constructs stories about them and inferences about itself-- opened wide enough to let everything in. What it 'sees' is what is there-- all of what is there, the objects and the ground and their relationship to one another. What it feels like is intimacy-- that extra-aliveness at the interface between 'inside' and 'outside', 'self' and 'other,' seer and seen.

-kategowen
This is really good Kate, thanks!
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what else is there 19 Sep 2011 17:56 #3808


"On the other hand, some people aren't interested in inquiry; their practice is keeping company with angels... They don't HAVE any questions!

-kategowen

I think that is true of many spiritual/mystical humans. For Rebecca, she just kind of knows that her idea of the cosmology of the universe is true and real. So for her there are no questions, really, she just lives life so confident that she is in tune with what God/Jesus wants for her that she spends a huge amount of her life just letting go. She senses the presense of angels (including deceased relatives) and of Jesus but doesn't make a big deal out of it.

(One result of this that I've noticed is that she spends almost no energy creating drama in her life. And, when drama finds her somehow and she can't avoid it (work/family crises, etc.) she does as little as possible to add any negative energy to the situation.

In contrast, I've noticed that when there is nothing going on outside of me that I can get excited about, angry about, etc. then I'll very quickly find something to fill the void.)
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what else is there 19 Sep 2011 18:37 #3809



...
(One result of this that I've noticed is that she spends almost no energy creating drama in her life. And, when drama finds her somehow and she can't avoid it (work/family crises, etc.) she does as little as possible to add any negative energy to the situation. ...


-michaelmonson

kinda nice, that! not always easy to do.
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what else is there 16 Feb 2019 16:33 #110431

Resurrecting a blast from the past -- from 2011, a lengthy conversation about "stuff" featuring some of the original posters on this site, known back then as the "Dharma Refugee Camp Forum." Please enjoy... and feel free to comment!
Last Edit: 16 Feb 2019 16:35 by Chris Marti.
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Kacchapa

what else is there 17 Feb 2019 11:37 #110459

The original post on this topic, by Ona Kiser:

I swear this topic has come up half a dozen times before on this forum - whether there is "anything else" beyond conditioned phenomena. I didn't find one of the old threads to revive, so started a new one. I don't recall why exactly the subject was controversial, though perhaps it is, or maybe the discussion was more about what one has/has not (yet) perceived.

I stumbled on this article, via twitter, that seemed to address the subject usefully:

zennist.typepad.com/zenfiles/2009/04/bey...the-three-marks.html

Thoughts?
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what else is there 17 Feb 2019 15:10 #110461

I went back and re-read the Zennist article and some of his comments, as I have an odd feeling I knew him personally or he was a friend of a friend online or something? Does someone here know him?
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