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TOPIC: Dependent Origination, Awareness, and Time

Dependent Origination, Awareness, and Time 06 Sep 2019 06:31 #111544

I found this Rob Burbea talk:
dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/11120/
2009-02-14 Dependent Origination, Awareness, and Time 68:01
that Shargrol kindly posted here: awakenetwork.org/forum/111-personal-prac...tice-thread?start=75
very interesting, so I thought it might be worth opening a separate thread.

For me, this is probably the part of practice I'm most interested in, and I'd like to explore it further. And I'd appreciate the help and suggestions of some of the fantastic people here. :)

Rob often says that the points he makes are to be used for practice, and so I wanted extract specific practices from what he describes.
For example:
1. He says that consciousness is dependent on objects, and that objects depend on consciousness. I figured that this clearly means that if there are no objects, there is no consciousness. If I observe an object until it disappears, then consciousness should disappear too; there'd be an absence of awareness for the absence of the object. So, this morning I experimented with a technique I think I've heard somewhere before, in which I followed the breath to the moment it disappeared, particularly at the end of the out-breath. I seemed to find that over the hour I sat, quite a few time at the end of the breath there was a disappearance a bit like falling asleep and waking up, but without the feeling of having sleep, more of suddenly reappearing. It seemed to me as if the consciousness dependent on the object that disappeared (the breath), also disappeared, until it appeared again dependent on other objects, perhaps closed-eye vision, awareness of the body, thoughts... This raises a few questions for me:
- Was the consciousness that depended on the breath and the one that appeared dependent on the other objects, the same consciousness?
- It feels the same, how can it feel the same? What is it that feels the same?
- [ETA] Are all objects not constantly disappearing, thus is this disappearance not happening constantly at every single moment (I'm not quite sure if there are one or many moments from what Rob says)?
- I should also ask just to make sure, although I'm convinced enough, did consciousness really disappear?
I'm also wondering what else there is to explore in this regard.

2. Rob says that Self, Things and Time, give each other solidity. This is reminiscent of the Theravada practices (as I've read them described by Daniel Ingram) of observing the Three Characteristics, and that doing this is enough. While it appears to me that both triplets can be equated and correlated, I'm wondering if there is some way to examine them, in particular time. (Maybe Noah, if you're reading, you might know from what you mentioned about Mahamudra?)

I hope some of that makes sense! :blush:
Last Edit: 06 Sep 2019 06:48 by Junglist. Reason: Addition
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Dependent Origination, Awareness, and Time 06 Sep 2019 07:50 #111545

We can experience these things for ourselves - the proof is there for us to uncover. Watch closely and explore your own experience.

Time and space and all the "stuff" we observe are constantly co-arising. Mind is creating this reality for us. That's what the practice we do is meant to reveal a way that we can see this clearly. For ourselves. No need to rely on someone else's word. Consciousness is dependent on the recognition of these things. That's why when a cessation/fruition occurs we lose all contact with our mind-constructed reality. And no, it's not the same consciousness that re-arises. Consciousness, being co-arising, is just as ever-changing as all other phenomena. The nature of our reality is clear - it's all dependent, all process, nothing permanent.

Or did you think the three characteristics only applied to some of the things you experience and not others? :P
Last Edit: 06 Sep 2019 08:33 by Chris Marti.
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Dependent Origination, Awareness, and Time 06 Sep 2019 08:47 #111546

Chris Marti wrote:
We can experience these things for ourselves - the proof is there for us to uncover. Watch closely and explore your own experience.

Time and space and all the "stuff" we observe are constantly co-arising. Mind is creating this reality for us. That's what the practice we do is meant to reveal a way that we can see this clearly. For ourselves. No need to rely on someone else's word. Consciousness is dependent on the recognition of these things. That's why when a cessation/fruition occurs we lose all contact with our mind-constructed reality. And no, it's not the same consciousness that re-arises. Consciousness, being co-arising, is just as ever-changing as all other phenomena. The nature of our reality is clear - it's all dependent, all process, nothing permanent.

Or did you think the three characteristics only applied to some of the things you experience and not others?

Thanks for your reply Chris – I'm not sure if I was clear enough about wanting to extract specific practices from what Rob described. I don't think I made it clear that my questions were points to explore, rather than to be answered. I found it interesting in the talk the way that reasoning seemed to direct practice/investigation, which in turn informed reasoning and further practice. I'm not quite sure how I might go about exploring time other than just to sit with all I think I know about time and examine it. Which is of course good, but it seems like it would be easy to get lost in thought and miss how things really are.
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Dependent Origination, Awareness, and Time 06 Sep 2019 08:55 #111547

I guess I missed that part. Sorry.

Anyway, I always used plain old vipassana practice to explore these things, some of it was directed and intentional but most of the insights just happened on their own. There are specific practices in Dzogchen aimed at revealing the nature of space and time. I'll try to find some references to post here.
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Dependent Origination, Awareness, and Time 09 Sep 2019 10:23 #111555

Junglist wrote:
Rob often says that the points he makes are to be used for practice, and so I wanted extract specific practices from what he describes.
For example:
- Was the consciousness that depended on the breath and the one that appeared dependent on the other objects, the same consciousness?
- It feels the same, how can it feel the same? What is it that feels the same?

This was incredibly deep for me, especially the "It feels the same... what is it that's the same as it was when I was a child?". I was not doing any specific practice at the time, but was simply reading this post, when I had a clear, visceral, down-to-the-bone knowing of what the "it" was for me. The understanding has continued to deepen and develop over the last six years. The experience was unasked for and unintentional, but I can't imagine living without this knowing.

See my first few posts here on Awake Network to see how this developed for me initially: http://awakenetwork.org/forum/111-personal-practice-diaries-logs-comments-questions/8887-andy-s-journal

Traditionally, the practice for this recognition is inquiry, eg. "What knows this?", or "What knows this experience?" a la Ramana Maharshi or Adyashanti. Most recently, I've been working productively with Loch Kelly's glimpse practices from his book "Shift Into Freedom". I find it useful to not do active practices such as vipassana or concentration during the same practice session. Working in short bursts seems more effective for me. If I lose stability during inquiry, I'll do some gentle resting practices to settle back into it.
Last Edit: 09 Sep 2019 10:25 by Andy. Reason: moar bettr werds
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Dependent Origination, Awareness, and Time 10 Sep 2019 18:02 #111564

Rob also has a book with these and other meditations on emptiness and dependent originination: Seeing That Frees


Random thoughts:
From the Mahasi perpsective, the view is that the object and the conciousness of the object are indeed disappearing continually and if you use the fast noting approach this becomes very apparent in Dissolution when the object and the following conciousness seem to be almost snatched away as fast as they arrive.

The end of the out-breath is a common trigger point for fruitions/cessations for me. Also when doing inquiry practices there are often shifts into openness that seem to be triggered at the same point.

Investigative thoughts - How can I be eperiencing time, i.e. what makes something the past and something the present? Is it that we're just comparing memory with experience. Is all experience just passing memory? When does the current experience become a past experience? Can I sit and watch it happen? What does 'When' even mean in that context?
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Dependent Origination, Awareness, and Time 10 Sep 2019 21:11 #111565

I'll try to find some references to post here.

I found the practices I used in this book:

Time, Space and Knowledge
A New Vision of Reality
by Tarthang Tulku
Last Edit: 10 Sep 2019 21:18 by Chris Marti.
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Dependent Origination, Awareness, and Time 11 Sep 2019 13:29 #111567

Philip wrote:
The end of the out-breath is a common trigger point for fruitions/cessations for me. Also when doing inquiry practices there are often shifts into openness that seem to be triggered at the same point.

As an interesting curiosity... when I was working toward 4th path, my teacher had me take a deep breath, hold it, and then exhale strongly all-at-once. There is something very deep about the tonality of the body at the end of an exhale that seems to point to nibbana.
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Dependent Origination, Awareness, and Time 13 Sep 2019 07:23 #111573

This is all very interesting stuff! Thanks for all your suggestions!
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