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TOPIC: Pick up guitar, subtle smile

Pick up guitar, subtle smile 14 Feb 2019 17:23 #110408

I've mentioned music a bit recently, so I want to ask you guys' thoughts on this:

You might have heard the Zen story in which Buddha twirls a flower, before the congregation, and Mahakshapa is the only one that understands. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flower_Sermon)

Without words, music does of course have a lot to do with language, but also beyond it.

I don't know anything about transmission, but I've always imagined how cool it would be if you could give a performance and zap everyone with enlightenment. :lol:

Maybe the truest teaching might only be given in silence, but silence is the foundation of music after all.
Last Edit: 14 Feb 2019 17:24 by Junglist.
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Pick up guitar, subtle smile 15 Feb 2019 07:23 #110410

Music pulls us into the here and now and in that way it does enlighten us.
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Pick up guitar, subtle smile 15 Feb 2019 12:30 #110420

Junglist wrote:
I've mentioned music a bit recently, so I want to ask you guys' thoughts on this:

You might have heard the Zen story in which Buddha twirls a flower, before the congregation, and Mahakshapa is the only one that understands. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flower_Sermon)

Without words, music does of course have a lot to do with language, but also beyond it.

I don't know anything about transmission, but I've always imagined how cool it would be if you could give a performance and zap everyone with enlightenment. :lol:

Maybe the truest teaching might only be given in silence, but silence is the foundation of music after all.

This pricks up my ears because it reminds me of this question I've had for years, to what degree do you need to have the words, the conversation about awakening in your verbal brain to get it? Can you simply get it it without words? I think the flower point is that you don't need the words at all. But our word brain is so powerful and intrusive that teachers and students alike need to be there, go there because if you don't then you aren't gonna practice anything.

Goenka talks about impermanence but does not tell you to think about it while scanning, just notice sensations and your non-verbal brain eventually starts to get it (that sensations come and go) and suffering is reduced. I feel that if you practice and understand the difference between thinking about body scanning and actually body scanning, then 100 hours of scanning will re-wire your brain and your reactive nature will be reduced even though you still might furiously argue against the statement that everything is impermanent.

Ingram insists that you have really need to cue up attention to the 3C in order to notice what you need to notice. "that's why no one becomes enlightened by regular life"

Shinzen says that those people in that book with all those pictures are surely enlightened, [my voice now]:even though they probably never heard a dharma talk, they just suffered the slings and arrows of life to the point that their brains finally saw illusions for what they are.

I guess I wonder, would the best sniper in the world, killed 500 strangers, be less reactive to split milk? I assume yes. Would he be nicer to a stray cat? hmm

I'm not addressing the music point, the question about transmission. I don't think my contribution here is much, but I'm trying to lower the bar on my publish inhibitions.
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Pick up guitar, subtle smile 15 Feb 2019 13:38 #110422

I think the flower point is that you don't need the words at all. But our word brain is so powerful and intrusive that teachers and students alike need to be there, go there because if you don't then you aren't gonna practice anything.

Hi, Matt.

My humble version: We certainly need words to learn and to process information, to get around in daily life and to communicate with others, which includes instruction on what, and how, to practice meditation, however we do that. What we practice for is to know how we are experiencing the world, how our mind processes what we see, hear, touch, taste, smell and think. This understanding goes much deeper than words. We eventually get to the point that we realize that the word and the non-word versions of things are really experienced the same way, as odd as that may sound.

I hope that's helpful.
Last Edit: 15 Feb 2019 13:39 by Chris Marti.
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Pick up guitar, subtle smile 21 Feb 2019 04:59 #110529

We eventually get to the point that we realize that the word and the non-word versions of things are really experienced the same way, as odd as that may sound.

I like this, Chris! I'm not sure that for me that kind of view is constant though. But that's the direction where regular practice takes it seems.

I think all art forms have great potential to point toward subtler ways of experience what ever is happening. For me various forms of art were also a good way into a state where my personal identity or the future/past weren't issues in that moment. (I think Loch Kelly has a pointer like that btw: "What is here now when there's no problem to be solved on the level of identity?") Then again, walking in nature for example had a similar effect on me.

All of this reminds me of building a vessel by meditation, prayer or other means. When you're ready every experience has the same potential of realizing emptiness/interconnectedness/compassion. I remember a spiritual friend saying: "For an experienced yogi going to the opera is no different than going to the bathroom." The same realization can be found in both was the point I think. :)

All this said, this is similar to what I've been thinking about lately. I'm currently composing 4 pieces of secular, sacred music for solos/duos. I've thought about what makes music "sacred" in my mind and maybe it is this potential for settling down to just listen for a moment. It's exactly the same effect that a walk in the nature might have or spending time with loved ones. I think music can offer a place where it is easier to just be. I wrote down some reference compositions by great masters for the musicians who will perform the pieces. Here's a list if you're interested. :)

Morton Feldman: "Rothko Chapel"

John Luther Adams: "Become Ocean", "Everything That Rises"

Toru Takemitsu: "Rain Spell"
Last Edit: 21 Feb 2019 05:00 by Kalle Ylitalo.
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Pick up guitar, subtle smile 28 Feb 2020 11:33 #112132

This awakening business sure is cognitive. I doubt I have a chance to awaken if sedated or if in deep sleep. Maybe if a Zen Master smacks me with a Kyosaku just as I wake up might do the trick? Or while asleep and Master smacks me hard that coming to consciousness tips that point? Dunno.

Folks have heard Buddha talk (if we choose to believe the Suttas) and attained to Arahatship. No Path, no decades of sitting meditation no nothing but “getting the joke” as Kenneth Folks puts it.

Maybe there is no need for words to get it. Maybe one can get it through any sense, like the tactile sensation of a cool breeze on the skin, or sun shine or moon shine (I mean no alcohol here :D ) ... but in any case those 5 senses in and of themselves can not awaken. What is awakening is that 6th sense, Mind. That which knows it all. That which exclaims “Ah ha!” when it gets it.

Can music awaken the Mind. Let me check (there is music playing in a kid’s TV show) listening, listening, pleasant, gladness, gladness, pleasant, listening, listening, ... yeah, sure thing it can! As Buddha the man said “In hearing the is only the heard, in cognized only the cognized, in seeing only the seen , in ... referring to no one”. Awakening can not be anything other than THIS. Many call this “in the Now” and other words. It is exactly as it IS.

I could say “bullshit :D , you are doing nothing else but basic noting, that can’t be Awakening/Enlightment!”

This brings us to the notion (personal or mushroom cultural) that Enlightement/Awakening/Getting the Joke must be some special blissful, joyful, all wise state that is solid and constant. (And my farts will smell of Jasmin too) :D

This brings me back to Goenka (not familiar with his technique) saying “keep noticing that Anicca!” Yeps! I think the man is right on the money! It’s very easy to see Anicca and how it unfolds, fidgeting in and out. When deeply engaged in seeing Anicca one clearly sees Suffering being than not being. Also in that very engaged mindfulness there is no sense of Self. There you go; All 3 C’s are there! Both Ingram and Goenka seems to be spot on :D

But is this the “a-ha I get it” point? Those are just the 3 C’s we might say. Still I feel no Awakening!
Indeed. Because It can’t be any other than This (whatever that might be).

Edit; forgot to mention the main point; is it possible that Enlightenment itself is subject to Impermanence?

Sorry for all the smilies :D can’t help it!

Btw, I play guitar. Only original music. Would be great if we could start a collaboration here and create some fine grooves :D I’m up for it!
Last Edit: 28 Feb 2020 11:35 by Dusko.
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Pick up guitar, subtle smile 28 Feb 2020 13:19 #112133

It's funny, I often find music very distracting, rather than drawing the mind to the here and now. In a concrete way I remember frequently listening to music while working, walking, etc in the past, whereas in the last few years I have preferred silence. I rarely listen to music now except to study a particular piece, or occasionally in the car on a long drive, but even then it quickly seems to be 'information overload', preventing the mind from remaining settled.

I enjoy singing by myself, or with a few chill friends, but really prefer that even without instruments, just simple melodies and harmonies. I've been training some Bach for a spring concert (virus permitting), and it's been a battle to get used to having a harpsichord, violin and cello playing while I sing. I was not used to the many other sounds coming in my ears and it's enormously distracting for a while. But it's starting to make more sense with more rehearsals. My real pleasure right now is learning to sing the Divine Office, something I've worked on slowly over the years. I just found a book with the chants for the night prayers, so I'm practicing those right now.

I had an interesting conversation with a friend who is deaf once. She has a cochlear implant, but the 'resolution' of sound isn't enough to allow her to enjoy music. She used to play bluegrass when she was a teen, but then lost her hearing in an accident and spent a long time without the implant before receiving it in later life. Ever since when she listens to music she finds it intensely noisy and can't separate out the parts to feel the detail in it. So she never listens. But one day I sent her a Gregorian chant recording, and to her astonishment it was super pleasant and clear - because it is just one voice, sung in unison and without rapid ornaments and without instruments. That was an eye opener for her and she later learned some other kind of chant and started writing her own solo songs to sing (which she sang a touch off key, but really enjoyed the self expression and conquering such a painful obstacle of being estranged from music for so long.)
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Pick up guitar, subtle smile 28 Feb 2020 17:19 #112134

Ona Kiser so you sing :) I can see an Awakenetwork Band forming here soon :D
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