Qualities of Awakening - Adyashanti

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9 years 4 months ago #13685 by Ona Kiser
This was posted on another thread, but thought I'd reference it here since it's really good stuff. Adyashanti talks about the different qualities of awakening in nice detail:

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9 years 4 months ago #13687 by Russell
I havent listened to this in what seems like a year. I need to hear it again. Thanks to Eric for bringing it back up. Also, for anyone that is interested in talks. Gary Weber interview is up on BATGAP. I haven't listened to this podcast in a while and I saw his name and had to start this one.

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9 years 4 months ago #13690 by Laurel Carrington
Wonderful talk. I benefited a great deal from listening to it.

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9 years 4 months ago #13693 by Kate Gowen
I found myself so attentive I took notes; sharing here for the benefit of the less obsessive...

(How much of the ‘controversies’ on forums is the ‘mind-awake’ contingent digging themselves an entrenched position? )-- my own takeaway from listening.

MAIN POINT—ANY awakening, no matter how partial, always feels total. There is a great temptation to “plant the flag” after any spiritual experience, or even awakening—especially that on the level of mind.

Awakening can happen on the level of mind (identity as emptiness/ space/ open awareness)—awakening as the transcendent “I am.” The “neti, neti” inquiry process very likely to produce this awakening. (That is to say, Advaita.)

Or awakening can happen on the level of heart—awakening as intimacy, no-separation, a trans-rational “seeing through the veil” to the immanent. (A fuzzy, concept-driven approach to this is the New Age dictum about “oneness.”)

Or awakening can happen on the gut level—the fear-based “clench” of self can let go to the sense of “no-self.”

It can happen on more than one level at a time; it can happen in any order—and it can so disorder and frighten the individual that he or she wants to “go back to sleep.” And something like that can happen, temporarily, perhaps even permanently. Adya refers to “spiritual shipwrecks”-- the result of awakenings not carried through the process of adapting to the shift in identity. That shift entails an altered relationship to life.

Mature spiritual life “after the honeymoon of awakening” involves discovering how to sustain the ongoing process of identity-loss and realization of one’s own not-knowing. “Always being, always becoming” is how Adya renders “Gate, gate, parasamgate…”

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9 years 4 months ago #13694 by Colleayn
It's refreshing to listen to him lay out the facts and burst the all-to-common romantic bubbles that suggest enlightenment is a state of perfection, free from suffering. I still have to listen to the last 15 minutes, but he does not seem to be describing nibbana, does he?

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9 years 4 months ago #13695 by Kate Gowen
"but he does not seem to be describing nibbana, does he?"-- or not the romantic fantasy/ marketing copy of it. Don't the Theravadins ever mention the Heart Sutra? To me, that's the best thing in the whole canon.

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9 years 4 months ago #13697 by Ona Kiser

Kate Gowen wrote: (How much of the ‘controversies’ on forums is the ‘mind-awake’ contingent digging themselves an entrenched position? )


I can't find anything in my experience or my perception of others' reactions in which outrage, annoyance, anger, defensiveness, argument or irritation isn't fundamentally about defending an identity or avoiding a fear...

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9 years 4 months ago #13698 by Shargrol
The heart sutra isn't from the pali cannon (oldest texts) so probably most theravadins would see it as a mayayana add-on -- just a guess, I don't know.

Interestingly, I think he is describing nibbana --- three domains of nibbana. Nibbana is simply the "ending" or "cooling" of something. Mind identity, heart identity, and existential identity can all nibbana. His point, as I understand it, is that each of these experiences are so freeing/awakening that we might not realize that there is the other nibbana-ing possible.

Ona, I've been thinking about the outrage/argument hypothesis. There have been a few times you suggest that or implied it. I guess here's where I think the grey area is... and because I don't know the answer, I'll say it as a question:

Is all compassion fundamentally egoic?

Much of argumentation is egoic, but I think some argumentation is likely compassionate. However, there are some people that say that with anything short of complete awakening, compassion is actually egoic (motivated from a confused identity).

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9 years 4 months ago #13700 by Ona Kiser

shargrol wrote:
Ona, I've been thinking about the outrage/argument hypothesis. There have been a few times you suggest that or implied it. I guess here's where I think the grey area is... and because I don't know the answer, I'll say it as a question:

Is all compassion fundamentally egoic?

Much of argumentation is egoic, but I think some argumentation is likely compassionate. However, there are some people that say that with anything short of complete awakening, compassion is actually egoic (motivated from a confused identity).


It's something that's processing itself in my own experience, which is probably why I keep running into it, bringing it up, etc. I don't have an answer (which is probably why I keep poking around the subject), and I'm not sure I'd take as dogma anyone else's answer.

I keep thinking of the "no position to defend" - how big that is. How ungrounded, "unsafe", vulnerable, loose, slippery, fragile, free, open, etc. "no position to defend" is. I can't find anything in my own experience in which I *react* to something without it being "personal" in some way. If the knife clattering onto the kitchen counter irritates (not the same as an instinctive startle), it symbolizes something, means something. If another person's beliefs or political stance pokes at me, why? If I feel the need to justifying my own spiritual practices or preferences, why?

I feel like these conversations frequently end up going into the territory of: "But if you don't take some position, then the evildoers win and people kill kittens and you don't even care!" - I think that's setting up an extreme of passivity and not what I'm talking about. I don't need to believe nothing, feel nothing, react to nothing - that's in a sense not my business - those things will arise or not arise by themselves. But I am aware *constantly* and intimately of these beliefs, feelings, reactions arising from some personal conditions. Not trying to manipulate that - it doesn't need to be any certain way - just very aware of it in a way I wasn't before now. It seems to be the territory that's clarifying itself, thus kind of on the front burner for me.

If it is getting on everyone's nerves, sorry about that.

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9 years 4 months ago #13701 by Shargrol
It's cool. I've been noticing it, it has gotten on my nerves (which I recognize as MY nerves!), but I also appreciate how you are pointing toward the elusive cutting edge of wisdom, that dilemma/paradox. I have no position, yet I must act. I have nothing to say, yet I must answer the koan. The sins of omission vs. the sins of commission. I just think your pointing it out has also had a bit of the flavor of "making it personal". I really don't know a way around this issue, except as you said, making sure we don't fall into extremes yet letting each other explore where we wind up in these dilemmas/paradoxes.

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9 years 4 months ago #13702 by Derek

Ona Kiser wrote: I keep thinking of the "no position to defend" - how big that is.


Talking of Mahayana sutras ... I've always been fond of The Sutra of Seng-Tsan .

(Oops, I just expressed a preference! :ohmy: )

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9 years 4 months ago #13703 by Kate Gowen
"I have no position, yet I must act. I have nothing to say, yet I must answer the koan."

Maybe this is more a paradox than a real dilemma? We only think/ assume that to act requires a fixed, or predetermined position. The answer to the koan is being illuminated by it, not what we could expect to think or say.

Ngak'chang Rinpoche translates the realization stage of Dzogchen practice as "spontaneity" sometimes; "instant ordinariness" at others. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche answered the query "Who or what is a dakini?" with "One never knows!"

-- as for the annoyance or irritation, argumentativeness, etc.: I don't know that we have to take it too hard. It's a handy symptom that marks us as human beings-- who, as Suzuki noted, "still need a little work." Not really a problem-- except if we were expecting transcendence. Then it's kinda a poke with a sharp stick.

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9 years 4 months ago #13705 by Ona Kiser
It's not, for me, at the moment, an issue of how to act/react. Appropriate/inappropriate/skillful/unskillful action/reaction arises. It's about a level of existential fear arising from the perception that absolutely everything arises spontaneously. Of course, this too: Including the trembling impulse to hide from the fear, the desire to grasp at some sense of identity which feels burned to ashes and dust. To stand somewhere. To hold on to something. Sometimes all that feels liberating and wondrous, or isn't even noticed. At the moment it feels fucking terrifying. That's all.

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9 years 4 months ago #13709 by Russell

Ona Kiser wrote: It's not, for me, at the moment, an issue of how to act/react. Appropriate/inappropriate/skillful/unskillful action/reaction arises. It's about a level of existential fear arising from the perception that absolutely everything arises spontaneously. Of course, this too: Including the trembling impulse to hide from the fear, the desire to grasp at some sense of identity which feels burned to ashes and dust. To stand somewhere. To hold on to something. Sometimes all that feels liberating and wondrous, or isn't even noticed. At the moment it feels fucking terrifying. That's all.


I can super relate to this right now. It is very hard to explain or talk about though but I feel like I can't find myself but I am still searching for some reason. No, that doesn't sound right, but it is very freaky. Really, who am I? Wtf. I keep trying to reference something, someone but that person is long gone.

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9 years 4 months ago #13713 by Kate Gowen
"Wtf. I keep trying to reference something, someone but that person is long gone. "

Something like a phantom limb, maybe?

There may be something helpful about the befuddled forgetfulness that comes with aging... "Myself? Yeah-- wasn't it here a minute ago? What was it like, again? Oh, yes-- pie! Always a good idea, pie. Sure." :P

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9 years 4 months ago #13714 by Kate Gowen
"One time, during a sesshin in San Francisco, I experienced coming to the edge of the void where all self identity ceases. Panic propelled me off my cushion and down the halls. Though I had never thought of leaving in the middle of a session previously ,during the many I attended, such thoughts were now irresistible. I found myself running upstairs in tears to Suzuki Roshi’s room to say good-bye. Fear of complete annihilation of identity permeated my whole existence. But I could not leave without saying good-bye to Suzuki-roshi. I knocked on his door. Immediately he opened the door his look was vast and all-encompassing with a penetrating silent question that I felt said, "What is this?" Held within the limitless quality of his compassion I was instantaneously released of my fear. Suzuki-roshi asked me to sit down and we sat face to face while he told me of stories of Japanese soldiers facing death during the war. Though I was grateful to hear these stories, they were unnecessary, for the total dissolving of the fear of the death of the self had occurred in Suzuki Roshi’s one glance while opening the door." Rowena Pattee Kryder, quoted from David Chadwick's wonderful site, www.cuke.com/Cucumber%20Project/interviews/rowena.html

(Just because it seemed related, when I encountered it today. And because I love being reminded how we need those timeless Masters: they are truly lighthouses for the spirit.)

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9 years 4 months ago #13717 by Derek

Ona Kiser wrote: It's not, for me, at the moment, an issue of how to act/react. Appropriate/inappropriate/skillful/unskillful action/reaction arises. It's about a level of existential fear arising from the perception that absolutely everything arises spontaneously. Of course, this too: Including the trembling impulse to hide from the fear, the desire to grasp at some sense of identity which feels burned to ashes and dust. To stand somewhere. To hold on to something. Sometimes all that feels liberating and wondrous, or isn't even noticed. At the moment it feels fucking terrifying. That's all.


Ona, how does this fit for you?

"Even the movement toward awakening itself can, at times, generate fear. As people get closer to awakening, it is common for them to experience fear -- because awakening is the sudden releasing of this grasping in the gut. ... It is an irrational fear that arises through the system."

-- Adyashanti, The End of Your World, pp. 150-51.

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9 years 4 months ago #13718 by Ona Kiser

Derek wrote:

Ona Kiser wrote: It's not, for me, at the moment, an issue of how to act/react. Appropriate/inappropriate/skillful/unskillful action/reaction arises. It's about a level of existential fear arising from the perception that absolutely everything arises spontaneously. Of course, this too: Including the trembling impulse to hide from the fear, the desire to grasp at some sense of identity which feels burned to ashes and dust. To stand somewhere. To hold on to something. Sometimes all that feels liberating and wondrous, or isn't even noticed. At the moment it feels fucking terrifying. That's all.


Ona, how does this fit for you?

"Even the movement toward awakening itself can, at times, generate fear. As people get closer to awakening, it is common for them to experience fear -- because awakening is the sudden releasing of this grasping in the gut. ... It is an irrational fear that arises through the system."

-- Adyashanti, The End of Your World, pp. 150-51.


Seems to be common any time something is releasing, whether a big thing or a small thing. It's a familiar pattern! :D

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9 years 4 months ago #13722 by every3rdthought

Kate Gowen wrote: "Myself? Yeah-- wasn't it here a minute ago? What was it like, again? Oh, yes-- pie! Always a good idea, pie. Sure." :P


"Give that pie to me/ Or I will be so sad."

Baby Dee - The Pie Song

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9 years 4 months ago #13724 by Kate Gowen
Brilliant! Sounds like the 12-tone "Mary Had a Little Lamb," in some ways.

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