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Was Gautama Buddha Enlightened?

 
SkyPanther
 
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18 February 2016 15:48
 
Niclynn - 18 February 2016 01:38 PM
SkyPanther - 18 February 2016 12:22 PM

Had an interesting experience during meditation today, I was meditating for about an hour, and heard something that sounded like a baseball bat hitting a ball, a distinct “crack”.

Then a few minutes later, all of a sudden, my body started vibrating, it felt as if electricity was running through it, a fast “hum”.  I also heard a sound; a vibrating hum of energy.  My body became stiff, distant and my hands felt warm, as this was going on and my mind became really focused (This was going on while I was also excited about what was happening because this was new).

I think the excitement disrupted my mindfulness because that feeling slowly became weaker and then went away, and I came out of the meditation; looking at how long I had been meditating, the Insight Timer said about 49 minutes.


My spiritual progress has been less dramatic. Today for example, I avoided punching a car technician who managed to keep my car all day, charge me $250, tell me they hadn’t found the problem with my car but they thought it would help if I drove it around for awhile, and informed me that if I brought it back tomorrow morning they might be able to start repairing it on Monday and get it back to me Wednesday but it would probably cost a couple of thousand dollars. The fact that I didn’t punch him is maybe not that impressive, because while I was trying to cultivate metta and all that, he was also much bigger than me and had access to multiple wrenches. But I think it is safe to say that possibly part of that conversation took place in another dimension, a dimension where questions like “Why can’t you start repairing it Friday if you want me to drop it off then?! How do you know it’s going to be that expensive if you don’t know what’s wrong with it, and how in gods name is my driving around going to help you diagnose the problem?!” made sense in the English language, so that part was kind of cool.


Sorry. I am a little preoccupied, obviously. But that sounds like a cool experience - I wish I could say something insightful here but I don’t really know much about such things and what significance if any that might have, but thanks for sharing. Hope your meditation is going well and you’re enjoying visiting some of the centers you mentioned.

Ouch, sorry to hear that.  Try taking it to a different mechanic? I usually go to the Toyota Dealership that has a service center (I have a Prius), and they usually give me really good deals, and a lot of stuff is covered under the warranty.

Sounds like the person is trying to gouge you.

 
sojourner
 
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18 February 2016 16:50
 
SkyPanther - 18 February 2016 03:48 PM

Ouch, sorry to hear that.  Try taking it to a different mechanic? I usually go to the Toyota Dealership that has a service center (I have a Prius), and they usually give me really good deals, and a lot of stuff is covered under the warranty.

Sounds like the person is trying to gouge you.


Yeah, one of those situations where you almost hope there’s sub context you’re not getting (like “Oh, he’s high as a kite” or “Wait, I think this store is actually a cover for a money laundering ring that operates on Fridays”,) or else it’s just possible to have entirely nonsensical conversations. (“Drop it off Friday morning and we’ll start repairing it Monday.” “Is there a line ahead of me?” “No.” “Do you need to order parts?” “I don’t know.” “Why can’t you repair it Friday?” “Repairs take a long time.” “Yes but it would take less long if you started Friday.” “It’s a long repair we’ll start Monday.” “But…”)


Anyways, I am glad your meditation is still going well (whatever that means). I miss that cloud nine feeling, I feel like I was ‘there’ more right after retreat but now I’m sick and it’s put me in a cynical and corporeal mood. I was so mad at myself last night, I came within millimeters of buying a giant cheeseburger (I’m a financial vegetarian, I will eat meat if it will otherwise go to waste but don’t buy it or have others buy it specifically for me - the latter being a little tricky because if you don’t draw that line in the sand then after awhile people worried about your protein consumption will just ‘happen’ to have ordered fried chicken when you’re around, but I got really unhealthy when I was full on vegetarian.) But they tell you in meditation to pay attention to how the world looks through different lenses and moods, and I think that’s really good, otherwise I start to feel like a wicked carnal failure whenever I get into those moods. Like, a week ago I was so sweet and having angelic thoughts, now I’m like “Screw you cow! I don’t care about your happy frolicking in fields and your great big sad brown eyes, I’m frigging sick and starving and anemic and I’d go out in the field with a fork and knife and start gnawing on your leg right now if I could!”. To be brutally honest, in those moments I look at meditation and think it’s a bunch of crap and doesn’t work and I’ve been fooling myself the whole time. I say that not to be discouraging but to let you know what my experience has been like after a few years - I am glad that teachers I’ve heard have always emphasized letting everything - from the transcendent to the bitingly cynical - come and go, because they’re all a part of being human. I find myself thinking blissfully sweet thoughts one day, then going “Oh gawd, would you shut up over there Pollyanna, you’re making me puke” the next. All part of being human, I guess.


Anyways. I am glad and maybe jealous that you’re having cloud nine stuff going on right now, just an fyi not to get alarmed if it comes and goes. Maybe you’ll be lucky and it won’t, ha ha, but a heads up if things change - one of the biggest concepts in Buddhism, everything is always changing.

 
 
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18 February 2016 17:01
 
Niclynn - 18 February 2016 04:50 PM
SkyPanther - 18 February 2016 03:48 PM

Ouch, sorry to hear that.  Try taking it to a different mechanic? I usually go to the Toyota Dealership that has a service center (I have a Prius), and they usually give me really good deals, and a lot of stuff is covered under the warranty.

Sounds like the person is trying to gouge you.


Yeah, one of those situations where you almost hope there’s sub context you’re not getting (like “Oh, he’s high as a kite” or “Wait, I think this store is actually a cover for a money laundering ring that operates on Fridays”,) or else it’s just possible to have entirely nonsensical conversations. (“Drop it off Friday morning and we’ll start repairing it Monday.” “Is there a line ahead of me?” “No.” “Do you need to order parts?” “I don’t know.” “Why can’t you repair it Friday?” “Repairs take a long time.” “Yes but it would take less long if you started Friday.” “It’s a long repair we’ll start Monday.” “But…”)


Anyways, I am glad your meditation is still going well (whatever that means). I miss that cloud nine feeling, I feel like I was ‘there’ more right after retreat but now I’m sick and it’s put me in a cynical and corporeal mood. I was so mad at myself last night, I came within millimeters of buying a giant cheeseburger (I’m a financial vegetarian, I will eat meat if it will otherwise go to waste but don’t buy it or have others buy it specifically for me - the latter being a little tricky because if you don’t draw that line in the sand then after awhile people worried about your protein consumption will just ‘happen’ to have ordered fried chicken when you’re around, but I got really unhealthy when I was full on vegetarian.) But they tell you in meditation to pay attention to how the world looks through different lenses and moods, and I think that’s really good, otherwise I start to feel like a wicked carnal failure whenever I get into those moods. Like, a week ago I was so sweet and having angelic thoughts, now I’m like “Screw you cow! I don’t care about your happy frolicking in fields and your great big sad brown eyes, I’m frigging sick and starving and anemic and I’d go out in the field with a fork and knife and start gnawing on your leg right now if I could!”. To be brutally honest, in those moments I look at meditation and think it’s a bunch of crap and doesn’t work and I’ve been fooling myself the whole time. I say that not to be discouraging but to let you know what my experience has been like after a few years - I am glad that teachers I’ve heard have always emphasized letting everything - from the transcendent to the bitingly cynical - come and go, because they’re all a part of being human. I find myself thinking blissfully sweet thoughts one day, then going “Oh gawd, would you shut up over there Pollyanna, you’re making me puke” the next. All part of being human, I guess.


Anyways. I am glad and maybe jealous that you’re having cloud nine stuff going on right now, just an fyi not to get alarmed if it comes and goes. Maybe you’ll be lucky and it won’t, ha ha, but a heads up if things change - one of the biggest concepts in Buddhism, everything is always changing.

Yeah, I mean I have days when stuff does not go my way, but after I had my insight thing, there is now a gap between the cause and effect in my dealing with it.

Where I see “anger”... and the thought in my head “this is anger” and I just release it.  It kind of fades and I respond instead of react.  I also have that “content” feeling in the center of my chest, so I know I am feeling something else pretty fast, that feeling shifts.

You know that quote from Shakespeare “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players” that is how I feel now, more often than not.  Only I do not feel like I am an actor in the play, but observing how I, and other people act. And knowing what to look for (the five hindrances) I just label the unwholesome thoughts and release them. 

The anger, craving, Ill will, etc, is not me.  I know that sounds weird, but that is literally how I see things more and more.  So most of the time my mind is just “content”, even if someone said or did something that would normally upset me just a year or so ago. I do not feel the negative feeling anymore, or if I do, it comes up, I release it, and it fades.  No suppressing it, just accepting it, and letting it be… it goes away by it self.

 
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18 February 2016 18:15
 
SkyPanther - 18 February 2016 05:01 PM

Yeah, I mean I have days when stuff does not go my way, but after I had my insight thing, there is now a gap between the cause and effect in my dealing with it.

Where I see “anger”... and the thought in my head “this is anger” and I just release it.  It kind of fades and I respond instead of react.  I also have that “content” feeling in the center of my chest, so I know I am feeling something else pretty fast, that feeling shifts.

You know that quote from Shakespeare “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players” that is how I feel now, more often than not.  Only I do not feel like I am an actor in the play, but observing how I, and other people act. And knowing what to look for (the five hindrances) I just label the unwholesome thoughts and release them. 

The anger, craving, Ill will, etc, is not me.  I know that sounds weird, but that is literally how I see things more and more.  So most of the time my mind is just “content”, even if someone said or did something that would normally upset me just a year or so ago. I do not feel the negative feeling anymore, or if I do, it comes up, I release it, and it fades.  No suppressing it, just accepting it, and letting it be… it goes away by it self.


Ha ha, I will engage in sympathetic joy for you, because I myself am having a party with the five hindrances right now. Let’s see… want to stuff my face with comfort food… definitely, so there’s craving… general ill-will at feeling sick and like I can’t breathe… check… sloth and torpor, definitely check, restlessness and doubt, yep, they’re both there too. Soon all six of us will take some Nyquil and pass out, though, so don’t worry. wink  Tomorrow is another day!


Interesting that you use the word ‘content’. I remember the teacher at the last retreat I went to used that word a lot (she also talked a good bit about experiencing changing and fluctuations in experience from the sublime to the blah, which made me feel sort of assured because she has done ‘serious’ practice abroad and all that kind of thing so if it’s like that for her it seemed like sort of a green light that it’s ok if it’s like that for me,) and to me that word has negative connotations, like “settling for less”. That is probably more a statement on our culture than anything, but I see “contenting yourself with something” as sort of pacifying yourself with something, so that’s a case where I have to swap out vocabulary words. I guess for me the best match is ‘love’, although that’s also a tricky word. I mean the sort of love you might feel when snuggled up with a pet - there’s no sense of craving in that experience, really, no sense that it should be something else, it’s really an ends unto itself. But “love” obviously has many many meanings in our culture, so if you say that to another person (like “Well I try to love my experience in meditation”) it may take on a very different tone for them. I find that aspect of sharing introspective experience tricky, but I think I get what you’re saying.

[ Edited: 18 February 2016 18:21 by sojourner]
 
 
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18 February 2016 18:57
 
Niclynn - 18 February 2016 06:15 PM
SkyPanther - 18 February 2016 05:01 PM

Yeah, I mean I have days when stuff does not go my way, but after I had my insight thing, there is now a gap between the cause and effect in my dealing with it.

Where I see “anger”... and the thought in my head “this is anger” and I just release it.  It kind of fades and I respond instead of react.  I also have that “content” feeling in the center of my chest, so I know I am feeling something else pretty fast, that feeling shifts.

You know that quote from Shakespeare “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players” that is how I feel now, more often than not.  Only I do not feel like I am an actor in the play, but observing how I, and other people act. And knowing what to look for (the five hindrances) I just label the unwholesome thoughts and release them. 

The anger, craving, Ill will, etc, is not me.  I know that sounds weird, but that is literally how I see things more and more.  So most of the time my mind is just “content”, even if someone said or did something that would normally upset me just a year or so ago. I do not feel the negative feeling anymore, or if I do, it comes up, I release it, and it fades.  No suppressing it, just accepting it, and letting it be… it goes away by it self.


Ha ha, I will engage in sympathetic joy for you, because I myself am having a party with the five hindrances right now. Let’s see… want to stuff my face with comfort food… definitely, so there’s craving… general ill-will at feeling sick and like I can’t breathe… check… sloth and torpor, definitely check, restlessness and doubt, yep, they’re both there too. Soon all six of us will take some Nyquil and pass out, though, so don’t worry. wink  Tomorrow is another day!


Interesting that you use the word ‘content’. I remember the teacher at the last retreat I went to used that word a lot (she also talked a good bit about experiencing changing and fluctuations in experience from the sublime to the blah, which made me feel sort of assured because she has done ‘serious’ practice abroad and all that kind of thing so if it’s like that for her it seemed like sort of a green light that it’s ok if it’s like that for me,) and to me that word has negative connotations, like “settling for less”. That is probably more a statement on our culture than anything, but I see “contenting yourself with something” as sort of pacifying yourself with something, so that’s a case where I have to swap out vocabulary words. I guess for me the best match is ‘love’, although that’s also a tricky word. I mean the sort of love you might feel when snuggled up with a pet - there’s no sense of craving in that experience, really, no sense that it should be something else, it’s really an ends unto itself. But “love” obviously has many many meanings in our culture, so if you say that to another person (like “Well I try to love my experience in meditation”) it may take on a very different tone for them. I find that aspect of sharing introspective experience tricky, but I think I get what you’re saying.

Hmm yeah, I guess a better description would be “sublime joy” or “blissful happiness”, things just seem “alright”. And you are not stressed and feel “happy”.

 
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18 February 2016 20:06
 
SkyPanther - 18 February 2016 06:57 PM

Hmm yeah, I guess a better description would be “sublime joy” or “blissful happiness”, things just seem “alright”. And you are not stressed and feel “happy”.


Yeah, that’s the thing, isn’t it, to manage to see that side of things overlaid with relative life, where our stance is often, in the words of Third Eye Blind “I want something else, to get me through this life”. It seems to me that life must necessarily be equated with movement towards “something else” - be it the next breath or the next bite of food - or it would end quickly in death. Take away all craving and you’d take away all life. And yet mystics for eons have been saying experiencing a sort of dual vision of realms (“one in essence and undivided”, in Christian terminology) is entirely possible.

[ Edited: 18 February 2016 20:14 by sojourner]
 
 
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18 February 2016 21:11
 
Niclynn - 18 February 2016 08:06 PM
SkyPanther - 18 February 2016 06:57 PM

Hmm yeah, I guess a better description would be “sublime joy” or “blissful happiness”, things just seem “alright”. And you are not stressed and feel “happy”.


Yeah, that’s the thing, isn’t it, to manage to see that side of things overlaid with relative life, where our stance is often, in the words of Third Eye Blind “I want something else, to get me through this life”. It seems to me that life must necessarily be equated with movement towards “something else” - be it the next breath or the next bite of food - or it would end quickly in death. Take away all craving and you’d take away all life. And yet mystics for eons have been saying experiencing a sort of dual vision of realms (“one in essence and undivided”, in Christian terminology) is entirely possible.

Yeah, that was why in an earlier post I was a bit apprehensive.

When you start feeling disenchanted with material “stuff” and your sex drive goes to “low”, in this day and and age most people see that as a “problem”.

But it’s all with a sense of peace and sublime joy.

You don’t miss it, and that, I think, is what’s a bit worrying.

 

 
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18 February 2016 23:14
 
Niclynn - 18 February 2016 01:38 PM
SkyPanther - 18 February 2016 12:22 PM

Had an interesting experience during meditation today, I was meditating for about an hour, and heard something that sounded like a baseball bat hitting a ball, a distinct “crack”.

Then a few minutes later, all of a sudden, my body started vibrating, it felt as if electricity was running through it, a fast “hum”.  I also heard a sound; a vibrating hum of energy.  My body became stiff, distant and my hands felt warm, as this was going on and my mind became really focused (This was going on while I was also excited about what was happening because this was new).

I think the excitement disrupted my mindfulness because that feeling slowly became weaker and then went away, and I came out of the meditation; looking at how long I had been meditating, the Insight Timer said about 49 minutes.


My spiritual progress has been less dramatic. Today for example, I avoided punching a car technician who managed to keep my car all day, charge me $250, tell me they hadn’t found the problem with my car but they thought it would help if I drove it around for awhile, and informed me that if I brought it back tomorrow morning they might be able to start repairing it on Monday and get it back to me Wednesday but it would probably cost a couple of thousand dollars. The fact that I didn’t punch him is maybe not that impressive, because while I was trying to cultivate metta and all that, he was also much bigger than me and had access to multiple wrenches. But I think it is safe to say that possibly part of that conversation took place in another dimension, a dimension where questions like “Why can’t you start repairing it Friday if you want me to drop it off then?! How do you know it’s going to be that expensive if you don’t know what’s wrong with it, and how in gods name is my driving around going to help you diagnose the problem?!” made sense in the English language, so that part was kind of cool.


Sorry. I am a little preoccupied, obviously. But that sounds like a cool experience - I wish I could say something insightful here but I don’t really know much about such things and what significance if any that might have, but thanks for sharing. Hope your meditation is going well and you’re enjoying visiting some of the centers you mentioned.

I’d get a second opinion.

 
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19 February 2016 06:31
 
SkyPanther - 18 February 2016 09:11 PM

Yeah, that was why in an earlier post I was a bit apprehensive.

When you start feeling disenchanted with material “stuff” and your sex drive goes to “low”, in this day and and age most people see that as a “problem”.

But it’s all with a sense of peace and sublime joy.

You don’t miss it, and that, I think, is what’s a bit worrying.


Not to be all TMI, but the completely renunciate side of spirituality is something I have no plans to get into in this lifetime, as I’m what they would call a “householder” in some traditions and I have commitments to things like a healthy marriage (Ha ha, trying to imagine that talk: “Honey, surprise!!! I have become an ascetic! Aren’t you just soooo lucky, are you totally looking forward to picking up on the sublime spiritual vibes I will bring into this household?”).


For me the hard thing is kind of toggling between seeing things in the world as a means vs. an ends. I think wherever there is craving there is means-based thinking, even if it’s very subtle craving like “I want this person to like me, or to be happy, or to perceive me in a certain way.” And so much of that is unavoidable in day-to-day life, at least in some sense, if you want to have a job and get along in the world and all that. So like that scene in Wayne’s World (maybe before your time?) where he’s going “Camera one, camera two, camera one, camera two”, for me I’m kind of in “one mode or the other”, I don’t really have the “effort without attachment” thing down yet. Then later I look back at myself and I’m like “Ugh, I didn’t even realize it at the time because I was in another ‘mode’, but I was actually being kind of fake in that situation”, etc. I think it’s easier to get out of that mode on retreat because you have to ‘get’ so little - I mean you have to remember to not walk off a cliff and to show up at mealtimes and to breathe, but that aside, other people are taking care of everything there. ‘Real’ world, not so much. We have to ‘manipulate’ circumstances a lot in the real world - not in a negative way, but simply for the sake of living life - I obviously can’t go to work and just “say whatever’s on my mind”, or give up the desire to pay my bills on time. Unless you’re a wandering monk or nun, day-to-day life is necessarily framed by all kinds of circumstances that have to “be a certain way” - I think navigating that and keeping a sort of baseline “everything is already an ends” way of thinking in mind is tricky.

 
 
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19 February 2016 09:33
 
Niclynn - 19 February 2016 06:31 AM

Not to be all TMI, but the completely renunciate side of spirituality is something I have no plans to get into in this lifetime, as I’m what they would call a “householder” in some traditions and I have commitments to things like a healthy marriage (Ha ha, trying to imagine that talk: “Honey, surprise!!! I have become an ascetic! Aren’t you just soooo lucky, are you totally looking forward to picking up on the sublime spiritual vibes I will bring into this household?”).

That is kind of the interesting part.  I had the same kind of understanding of renunciation. That someone essentially denies themselves things. That is not how it appears to be.  Your craving/clinging goes as you progress, and as that happens, the habitual tendencies (of dependent origination) of “I want xyz” or how you re-act to stimuli goes with it. In effect you are releasing habitual actions of how you react to anger, love, etc, etc. 

That is the thing that is making me a bit apprehensive, if I were a monk, this would be great.  But I am not…  but I could see myself doing exactly that (renonciation) without much “problem”.

Niclynn - 19 February 2016 06:31 AM

For me the hard thing is kind of toggling between seeing things in the world as a means vs. an ends. I think wherever there is craving there is means-based thinking, even if it’s very subtle craving like “I want this person to like me, or to be happy, or to perceive me in a certain way.” And so much of that is unavoidable in day-to-day life, at least in some sense, if you want to have a job and get along in the world and all that. So like that scene in Wayne’s World (maybe before your time?) where he’s going “Camera one, camera two, camera one, camera two”, for me I’m kind of in “one mode or the other”, I don’t really have the “effort without attachment” thing down yet. Then later I look back at myself and I’m like “Ugh, I didn’t even realize it at the time because I was in another ‘mode’, but I was actually being kind of fake in that situation”, etc. I think it’s easier to get out of that mode on retreat because you have to ‘get’ so little - I mean you have to remember to not walk off a cliff and to show up at mealtimes and to breathe, but that aside, other people are taking care of everything there. ‘Real’ world, not so much. We have to ‘manipulate’ circumstances a lot in the real world - not in a negative way, but simply for the sake of living life - I obviously can’t go to work and just “say whatever’s on my mind”, or give up the desire to pay my bills on time. Unless you’re a wandering monk or nun, day-to-day life is necessarily framed by all kinds of circumstances that have to “be a certain way” - I think navigating that and keeping a sort of baseline “everything is already an ends” way of thinking in mind is tricky.

Doing this makes it impossible to progress past a certain point.  You take the five precepts, for instance, not so much for the “morality” of it (though that is a big part, because they tie in with Kamma) But because they (by breaking them) cement the hindrances.  If your mind is full of regret, guilt, anger, etc, it is really hard to still it.

In IMS/IMC they have yet to bring up why the precepts are important, or why the hindrances stop you from progressing in meditation, or how all of that ties in with Dependent Origination. And all of those things are really important to the teachings of the Buddha. “Whoever sees dependent co-arising sees the Dhamma; whoever sees the Dhamma sees dependent co-arising.”

Here is a good Dhamma talk from Bhante Vimalaramsi about why the Five Precepts are important:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7zjMAB9Oxs

You have to be mindful at all times, not just during meditation, or retreat, etc. That is when you start noticing “oh, anger!”  and it is actually a lot easier when people are mean to you, because the hindrances come up and you have a field day releasing them till you get to serene again.

You get to a point where meeting “disagreeable” people is actually really helpful, you thank them, and send them love and kindness, because they show you which hindrances you still have left to work on.  You stop taking things personally.  Anger(or any emotion really, which is why equanimity is the final state of mind) is not self. wink

[ Edited: 19 February 2016 11:04 by SkyPanther]
 
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19 February 2016 20:39
 
SkyPanther - 19 February 2016 09:33 AM

That is kind of the interesting part.  I had the same kind of understanding of renunciation. That someone essentially denies themselves things. That is not how it appears to be.  Your craving/clinging goes as you progress, and as that happens, the habitual tendencies (of dependent origination) of “I want xyz” or how you re-act to stimuli goes with it. In effect you are releasing habitual actions of how you react to anger, love, etc, etc. 

That is the thing that is making me a bit apprehensive, if I were a monk, this would be great.  But I am not…  but I could see myself doing exactly that (renonciation) without much “problem”.

.........

Doing this makes it impossible to progress past a certain point.  You take the five precepts, for instance, not so much for the “morality” of it (though that is a big part, because they tie in with Kamma) But because they (by breaking them) cement the hindrances.  If your mind is full of regret, guilt, anger, etc, it is really hard to still it.

In IMS/IMC they have yet to bring up why the precepts are important, or why the hindrances stop you from progressing in meditation, or how all of that ties in with Dependent Origination. And all of those things are really important to the teachings of the Buddha. “Whoever sees dependent co-arising sees the Dhamma; whoever sees the Dhamma sees dependent co-arising.”

Here is a good Dhamma talk from Bhante Vimalaramsi about why the Five Precepts are important:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7zjMAB9Oxs

You have to be mindful at all times, not just during meditation, or retreat, etc. That is when you start noticing “oh, anger!”  and it is actually a lot easier when people are mean to you, because the hindrances come up and you have a field day releasing them till you get to serene again.

You get to a point where meeting “disagreeable” people is actually really helpful, you thank them, and send them love and kindness, because they show you which hindrances you still have left to work on.  You stop taking things personally.  Anger(or any emotion really, which is why equanimity is the final state of mind) is not self. wink


I do get the fundamentals of ‘practice’, since I’ve been involved in it to varying degrees for a little over four years now. I think I’m just in a different place with it now - for me, the practices you’re describing were really cool stress reducers and helped with a lot of ‘surface’ stuff for awhile, like letting go of little things in day-to-day life (I joke about stuff like the car guy, but for the most part I’m much better, if not perfect, at letting stuff like that go now.) I think what’s confusing for me is that most of what I see referencing ‘mindfulness’ in a pop culture way kind of talks as if this is the beginning middle and end of the process - people continue with their lives and jobs and friends as usual and cheerfully note “I was so much less stressed when the girls showed up 15 minutes late for our lunch date!”. That hasn’t been my experience - for me I feel like I’m in a strange twilight zone with meditation and practice. I feel like the process is somewhat akin to peeling back layers of an onion, and sometimes it’s smooth sailing and sometimes it’s intense. Right now it’s a little more intense for me because the conditioning that kind of ‘comes up’ for me now (often, struggling to let go of anxiety over what others think of me,) is more deeply rooted than the stuff I dealt with at the beginning (Oh, that jerk cut me off in traffic! Ok, anger, ok, really noticing that, etc.)


So I think there are levels you go through with these things. At the deepest levels I guess you have sages who blissfully walked on coals without feeling any pain and that type of thing, and there are a lot of layers in between. I think everyones practice unfolds differently and yours will likely be rather different than mine, as you started off with a very strong experience that I’ve only had glimpses of, so in some sense you’re working in reverse, ha ha! And if you already had a good sense of who you were and all your ducks are sort of in a row that way, it may be smoother sailing for you - but again, just a word of advice not to get frustrated if that’s not the case. Sometimes I think it’s like spring cleaning - you take everything off the shelves and out of the closets first and for awhile your house looks way messier than it did before you started cleaning, and yet if you trust that this is a part of the process you end up with a better result in the long run.

 
 
SkyPanther
 
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29 February 2016 11:01
 

Had an interesting experience today;

For the first time, I stopped feeling part of my body after about 9 minutes (the last few times it happened, it took about 40+ minutes), or so. The mind became very clear, awake, I was not happy, or joyful, just seemingly peaceful and content.

I noticed that I could think, and this did not knock me out of the state I was in. So I started thinking about Dependent Origination, and had a dream like vision come up of me standing in front of an open refrigerator full of food.

And I noticed that just by looking at it, the eyes themselves had craving. Just by opening them, there is subconscious craving. And that this is true for all the other six sense bases. (though I only experienced the eyes directly). Even when we do not want anything “consciously”, subconsciously craving is always there with the six sense bases.

Not sure what Jhana this was (or if I was even in a Jhana) but it was a pretty interesting experience.  I meditated a total of 1 hour and 30 minutes.

[ Edited: 29 February 2016 11:28 by SkyPanther]
 
sojourner
 
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29 February 2016 13:19
 
SkyPanther - 29 February 2016 11:01 AM

Had an interesting experience today;

For the first time, I stopped feeling part of my body after about 9 minutes (the last few times it happened, it took about 40+ minutes), or so. The mind became very clear, awake, I was not happy, or joyful, just seemingly peaceful and content.

I noticed that I could think, and this did not knock me out of the state I was in. So I started thinking about Dependent Origination, and had a dream like vision come up of me standing in front of an open refrigerator full of food.

And I noticed that just by looking at it, the eyes themselves had craving. Just by opening them, there is subconscious craving. And that this is true for all the other six sense bases. (though I only experienced the eyes directly). Even when we do not want anything “consciously”, subconsciously craving is always there with the six sense bases.

Not sure what Jhana this was (or if I was even in a Jhana) but it was a pretty interesting experience.  I meditated a total of 1 hour and 30 minutes.


It’s interesting to watch this with children. A couple of months ago, when she was smaller and my brother (her dad) would lean over my niece’s face and make the kind of silly noises that one does at babies, she would get wide-eyed, look perplexed for a moment, then do this move where she seemed to unhinge her jaw like a python, grab his head and try to shove half of it in her mouth. Like “I want to be closer to you in some way but I don’t have a lot of choices for interaction so I guess I’ll try to eat you”. Kind of how the idea of “wanting” (in that case, in a pretty healthy way - children should desire interaction with their parents) manifests before it has much expression. Or my little nephew - when he was about 2-3 years old, he used to follow my dad around going “Jiddy Jiddy Jiddy Jiddy Jiddy Jiddy Jiddy” on repeat, like his own little song (Jiddy is what he calls my dad, his grandad). Like, this word is so pleasant that I’m just gonna say it again and again and again!


Again, I think that kind of ‘wanting’ is very healthy in the relative world, but it really interested me to see how early that orientation towards things that are pleasant, loved, preferred, etc., kicks in, before children really even have a way of expressing it much. So, long way of saying cool insight!


You know, one thing I did on my last retreat that I thought was kinda fun was trying to pinpoint where desire meets volition. I don’t think I really got it, but it was like a fun game. So for example, if I was walking outside, I knew at some point I needed to take a next step. I had a basic desire to do that. So I’d notice wanting to take a step, but then I’d try to see, what shifts when “I” actually decide to take a step and do it, versus simply wanting to? Or I would try to do things like in Libet’s experiments, if you’re familiar with those, where I’d start to take a step and then go “Psych! Just kidding” a few times, and then actually do it and try to see if I could feel what was different. Like trying to find the subjective experience of the “self” that actually makes decisions, I guess.


Anyways, glad you had another interesting meditation! smile

[ Edited: 29 February 2016 13:22 by sojourner]
 
 
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29 February 2016 13:33
 
Niclynn - 29 February 2016 01:19 PM
SkyPanther - 29 February 2016 11:01 AM

Had an interesting experience today;

For the first time, I stopped feeling part of my body after about 9 minutes (the last few times it happened, it took about 40+ minutes), or so. The mind became very clear, awake, I was not happy, or joyful, just seemingly peaceful and content.

I noticed that I could think, and this did not knock me out of the state I was in. So I started thinking about Dependent Origination, and had a dream like vision come up of me standing in front of an open refrigerator full of food.

And I noticed that just by looking at it, the eyes themselves had craving. Just by opening them, there is subconscious craving. And that this is true for all the other six sense bases. (though I only experienced the eyes directly). Even when we do not want anything “consciously”, subconsciously craving is always there with the six sense bases.

Not sure what Jhana this was (or if I was even in a Jhana) but it was a pretty interesting experience.  I meditated a total of 1 hour and 30 minutes.


It’s interesting to watch this with children. A couple of months ago, when she was smaller and my brother (her dad) would lean over my niece’s face and make the kind of silly noises that one does at babies, she would get wide-eyed, look perplexed for a moment, then do this move where she seemed to unhinge her jaw like a python, grab his head and try to shove half of it in her mouth. Like “I want to be closer to you in some way but I don’t have a lot of choices for interaction so I guess I’ll try to eat you”. Kind of how the idea of “wanting” (in that case, in a pretty healthy way - children should desire interaction with their parents) manifests before it has much expression. Or my little nephew - when he was about 2-3 years old, he used to follow my dad around going “Jiddy Jiddy Jiddy Jiddy Jiddy Jiddy Jiddy” on repeat, like his own little song (Jiddy is what he calls my dad, his grandad). Like, this word is so pleasant that I’m just gonna say it again and again and again!


Again, I think that kind of ‘wanting’ is very healthy in the relative world, but it really interested me to see how early that orientation towards things that are pleasant, loved, preferred, etc., kicks in, before children really even have a way of expressing it much. So, long way of saying cool insight!


You know, one thing I did on my last retreat that I thought was kinda fun was trying to pinpoint where desire meets volition. I don’t think I really got it, but it was like a fun game. So for example, if I was walking outside, I knew at some point I needed to take a next step. I had a basic desire to do that. So I’d notice wanting to take a step, but then I’d try to see, what shifts when “I” actually decide to take a step and do it, versus simply wanting to? Or I would try to do things like in Libet’s experiments, if you’re familiar with those, where I’d start to take a step and then go “Psych! Just kidding” a few times, and then actually do it and try to see if I could feel what was different. Like trying to find the subjective experience of the “self” that actually makes decisions, I guess.


Anyways, glad you had another interesting meditation! smile

Interesting, I think the question of when “desire” and “volitional action” meet is a good one.

From reading some of the Sutta’s and a booklet by Bhikkhu K. Nanananda, called “Concept and Reality”, as soon as you have the “I”, you have the desire.

Or, as soon as you have desire, you have the “I”. (i.e dependent origination) Because as soon as you want to move, or will to move you are getting into the “I like it/I do not like it” mind.  You are moving because something either hurts or feels good, or because “I want” something, either material, or immaterial.

Some of these things are actually “fine” because you need “Right Action and Right effort” to progress in the Noble Eightfold path. It just depends on if it is “wholesome or unwholesome”  or “skilled or unskilled” action/desire.

As long as you remember to let go of even this when you get far enough on the path. (that the attachment to Dhamma should also be let go as the last step)

This is from “Concept and Reality”:

The expressions, delighted in,’ ‘asserting’,
and ‘clinging to’, correspond respectively to taõhâ (craving), mâna
(conceit) and diññhi (views), bound up with the notions of ‘I’ and
‘mine.’ This marks the intrusion of the ego into the field of sense
perception. In fact, from the worldling’s point of view, it is no
intrusion at all, for the subject-object relationship is regarded by him
as of the very essence of cognition.

[ Edited: 29 February 2016 13:45 by SkyPanther]
 
sojourner
 
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29 February 2016 18:36
 
SkyPanther - 29 February 2016 01:33 PM

From reading some of the Sutta’s and a booklet by Bhikkhu K. Nanananda, called “Concept and Reality”, as soon as you have the “I”, you have the desire.

Or, as soon as you have desire, you have the “I”. (i.e dependent origination) Because as soon as you want to move, or will to move you are getting into the “I like it/I do not like it” mind.  You are moving because something either hurts or feels good, or because “I want” something, either material, or immaterial.


Yes, see this is what I find interesting. Desire and a sense of “I” obviously interact, but they are not one and the same. And I think looking at situations of strongly felt volition or desire vs. very low level ones really highlights this. My cat, for example, has learned a neat new trick where she will yowl in a manner that suggests she is being slowly murdered, sometimes by the one sink she will drink from, upstairs, and sometimes by her food dish, downstairs (my cat, if I’m being entirely honest, is kind of a jackass, but she looks like an fuzzy animated teddy bear so she makes it work). I am trying to de-condition her out of this habit and yet I find myself bolting when I hear that yowling noise (at best, I can restrain myself long enough for a few minutes of ridiculous negotiating with the cat - “It’s ok baby! You still have food in your dish, I promise I’ll fill it soon! I’m right upstairs if you need me! Right he… oh, never mind, coming down for the eighth time today.”)

On the other hand, for a very low level desire like “When will I move my foot forward to take the next step?”, there’s seemingly more of a division between self / desire. I mean, it’s not like I’m going to stand in the woods all day, but the exact point that I choose to do it is neither here nor there. There has to be enough desire to finally compel the action, but it has a more arbitrary quality. And it interested me to realize that I couldn’t really feel the point of decision, as a different subjective experience, no matter how carefully I paid attention. I had done some of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s “self inquiry” practice before and thought I was ok at locating the sense of “I”, but that little exercise made me realize it’s probably much much subtler than I’d realized even with a lot of mindfulness and self-inquiry practice. After I took a step there was a definite sense of “I made a decision and I did something”, but that sense only seemed evident in hindsight. 

This is from “Concept and Reality”:

The expressions, delighted in,’ ‘asserting’,
and ‘clinging to’, correspond respectively to taõhâ (craving), mâna
(conceit) and diññhi (views), bound up with the notions of ‘I’ and
‘mine.’ This marks the intrusion of the ego into the field of sense
perception. In fact, from the worldling’s point of view, it is no
intrusion at all, for the subject-object relationship is regarded by him
as of the very essence of cognition.


I like those last two lines especially, I’ve never seen the concept phrased that particular way but that’s really cool.

[ Edited: 29 February 2016 18:38 by sojourner]
 
 
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