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“If you are seeking, we know that you cannot see.”

 
unsmoked
 
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14 January 2018 08:31
 

Related phrase:  “Without leaving wherever you are, there is constant clarity.”

(quotes from the book ‘ZEN LETTERS - Teachings of Yuanwu’ - translated by J.C. Cleary and Thomas Cleary

 
 
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16 January 2018 08:33
 
unsmoked - 14 January 2018 08:31 AM

Related phrase:  “Without leaving wherever you are, there is constant clarity.”

(quotes from the book ‘ZEN LETTERS - Teachings of Yuanwu’ - translated by J.C. Cleary and Thomas Cleary

“If you meet the Buddha, kill him.-Linji

 
 
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17 January 2018 13:07
 
ubique13 - 16 January 2018 08:33 AM
unsmoked - 14 January 2018 08:31 AM

Related phrase:  “Without leaving wherever you are, there is constant clarity.”

(quotes from the book ‘ZEN LETTERS - Teachings of Yuanwu’ - translated by J.C. Cleary and Thomas Cleary

“If you meet the Buddha, kill him.-Linji

I wonder if any other religion says such a thing about their founder?

[ Edited: 18 January 2018 10:17 by unsmoked]
 
 
sojourner
 
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17 January 2018 21:05
 

Another eastern philosophy paradox. If you are not seeking in the sense that you are sitting on your couch eating chips with eyes glazed over at the tv, you probably can’t see all that much either. So realistically, one must seek in order to not seek.

 
 
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18 January 2018 10:22
 
NL. - 17 January 2018 09:05 PM

Another eastern philosophy paradox. If you are not seeking in the sense that you are sitting on your couch eating chips with eyes glazed over at the tv, you probably can’t see all that much either. So realistically, one must seek in order to not seek.

Do you mean go in order to stop?

 
 
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18 January 2018 18:11
 
unsmoked - 18 January 2018 10:22 AM
NL. - 17 January 2018 09:05 PM

Another eastern philosophy paradox. If you are not seeking in the sense that you are sitting on your couch eating chips with eyes glazed over at the tv, you probably can’t see all that much either. So realistically, one must seek in order to not seek.

Do you mean go in order to stop?


Sort of. If you first reframe with the idea that all movement is relative and redefine ‘stop’ and ‘go’ accordingly.


I think of it this way. Imagine you are dreaming (or having a nightmare.) If you reach a state of total lucidity about this, then you will not be particularly ruffled by anything in the dream, positive or negative. So long as you are even a shade away from this total understanding, however, the contents of one’s dream continue to make a great deal of difference.


I think this ultimately boils down to the question of whether or not one can arrange dream contents in an enlightening manner, or if, ultimately, this is pointless, because “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” in a broad sense (i.e., dreams will only lead to more dreams). If you believe it is the latter, then this gets back to the idea of ‘only by the grace of God or the universe or whatever you prefer to call it.’

 
 
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19 January 2018 10:01
 
NL. - 17 January 2018 09:05 PM

Another eastern philosophy paradox. If you are not seeking in the sense that you are sitting on your couch eating chips with eyes glazed over at the tv, you probably can’t see all that much either. So realistically, one must seek in order to not seek.

“Yongjia said:  “Without leaving wherever you are, there is constant clarity.”

Yuanwu said, “Catch sight of it right where you are.”

Without seeking, could a person catch sight of themselves sitting on a couch eating chips, with eyes glazed over at the TV?  Would you say that is not an interesting or helpful observation?  Better to seek enlightenment?

(Yongjia and Yuanwu quoted from the book, ‘ZEN LETTERS - Teachings of Yuanwu’ - translated by J.C. Cleary and Thomas Cleary)

 
 
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19 January 2018 22:57
 
unsmoked - 19 January 2018 10:01 AM
NL. - 17 January 2018 09:05 PM

Another eastern philosophy paradox. If you are not seeking in the sense that you are sitting on your couch eating chips with eyes glazed over at the tv, you probably can’t see all that much either. So realistically, one must seek in order to not seek.

“Yongjia said:  “Without leaving wherever you are, there is constant clarity.”

Yuanwu said, “Catch sight of it right where you are.”

Without seeking, could a person catch sight of themselves sitting on a couch eating chips, with eyes glazed over at the TV?  Would you say that is not an interesting or helpful observation?  Better to seek enlightenment?

(Yongjia and Yuanwu quoted from the book, ‘ZEN LETTERS - Teachings of Yuanwu’ - translated by J.C. Cleary and Thomas Cleary)


If the logical endpoint of zen is that one should just sit on a couch eating potato chips with eyes glazed over, then I want no part of that particular style of mind training, and yes, I do think there are better things to do with your time.


Of course we could get into a long debate over whether or not this is actually the logical endpoint. I think it is not, really, as meditation tends to be rife with verbal paradoxes (“Each of you is perfect the way you are ... and you can use a little improvement.”) But if you want to get down to brass tacks and say “Ok, but hypothetically, say that was the logical endpoint, what then?”, I would say I’d find another philosophy, because to me that is not ‘right understanding’, that is nihilism.

 
 
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20 January 2018 10:26
 
NL. - 19 January 2018 10:57 PM
unsmoked - 19 January 2018 10:01 AM
NL. - 17 January 2018 09:05 PM

Another eastern philosophy paradox. If you are not seeking in the sense that you are sitting on your couch eating chips with eyes glazed over at the tv, you probably can’t see all that much either. So realistically, one must seek in order to not seek.

“Yongjia said:  “Without leaving wherever you are, there is constant clarity.”

Yuanwu said, “Catch sight of it right where you are.”

Without seeking, could a person catch sight of themselves sitting on a couch eating chips, with eyes glazed over at the TV?  Would you say that is not an interesting or helpful observation?  Better to seek enlightenment?

(Yongjia and Yuanwu quoted from the book, ‘ZEN LETTERS - Teachings of Yuanwu’ - translated by J.C. Cleary and Thomas Cleary)


If the logical endpoint of zen is that one should just sit on a couch eating potato chips with eyes glazed over, then I want no part of that particular style of mind training, and yes, I do think there are better things to do with your time.

Do you think it’s possible to ‘wake up’ or become enlightened while sitting on a couch eating potato chips with eyes glazed over?

“Leaping out of the pit.”

 

 
 
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20 January 2018 12:03
 
unsmoked - 20 January 2018 10:26 AM

Do you think it’s possible to ‘wake up’ or become enlightened while sitting on a couch eating potato chips with eyes glazed over?


No, I don’t.

 
 
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21 January 2018 11:56
 

topic title:  “If you are seeking, we know that you cannot see.”

Do you think it is the self that is seeking? 

 
 
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21 January 2018 15:16
 
unsmoked - 21 January 2018 11:56 AM

topic title:  “If you are seeking, we know that you cannot see.”

Do you think it is the self that is seeking?


If the self doesn’t exist it couldn’t possibly be seeking, so there’s no need to worry about it.


An aside on this very general topic (the idea of ‘practice’, which I assume you are interested in as you chat about it fairly frequently) - I recently did a two day yoga workshop, and I gotta say, I was quite surprised that this actually had a noticeable effect. This was all stuff that would normally not be a part of my practice (mudras, yoga poses, aromatic oil, visualization, that kind of thing - in my practice, I would normally have assumed those are too sensory-oriented, or involve too much ‘doing and thinking’, to clear the mind). There wasn’t the framing involving mindfulness and the nature of self that I’ve typically worked with on meditation retreats, and it wasn’t silent at all - quite the opposite! And yet when I left, I was like “Wow, I really am in my kinda ‘post retreat headspace’”.


I have no idea what to make of that, honestly, as again, some of those practices almost run counter to the more ascetic style I’ve gotten used to in secular Buddhism, so I’m mulling it over. I think perhaps there are some activities that are simply conducive to decreasing self-consciousness (in the Buddhisty sense of the word), which I find interesting.

 
 
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22 January 2018 10:12
 
NL. - 21 January 2018 03:16 PM
unsmoked - 21 January 2018 11:56 AM

topic title:  “If you are seeking, we know that you cannot see.”

Do you think it is the self that is seeking?

If the self doesn’t exist it couldn’t possibly be seeking, so there’s no need to worry about it.

If the self doesn’t exist, who is seeking?  Is it the eyes looking for themselves?  Basic mind looking for basic mind?  Maybe continuation of the self in the guise of self-improvement?

 
 
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22 January 2018 18:30
 
unsmoked - 22 January 2018 10:12 AM

If the self doesn’t exist, who is seeking? Is it the eyes looking for themselves?  Basic mind looking for basic mind?  Maybe continuation of the self in the guise of self-improvement?


If you really believe the self doesn’t exist, this is a nonsensical question. If selves don’t exist, who are you talking to right now? Are you speaking to no one and waiting for a response from something that doesn’t exist?

 
 
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24 January 2018 12:02
 
NL. - 22 January 2018 06:30 PM
unsmoked - 22 January 2018 10:12 AM

If the self doesn’t exist, who is seeking? Is it the eyes looking for themselves?  Basic mind looking for basic mind?  Maybe continuation of the self in the guise of self-improvement?


If you really believe the self doesn’t exist, this is a nonsensical question. If selves don’t exist, who are you talking to right now? Are you speaking to no one and waiting for a response from something that doesn’t exist?

Can you quote me where I say the self doesn’t exist?  Are you saying the self doesn’t exist?  How would you define your self?  What is it?

 
 
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24 January 2018 18:03
 
unsmoked - 24 January 2018 12:02 PM
NL. - 22 January 2018 06:30 PM
unsmoked - 22 January 2018 10:12 AM

If the self doesn’t exist, who is seeking? Is it the eyes looking for themselves?  Basic mind looking for basic mind?  Maybe continuation of the self in the guise of self-improvement?


If you really believe the self doesn’t exist, this is a nonsensical question. If selves don’t exist, who are you talking to right now? Are you speaking to no one and waiting for a response from something that doesn’t exist?

Can you quote me where I say the self doesn’t exist?  Are you saying the self doesn’t exist?  How would you define your self?  What is it?


I’m not following you. To summarize…


You said: “If the self doesn’t exist, who is seeking?”


I said: “If you really believe the self doesn’t exist, this is a nonsensical question.”


Maybe my use of the word ‘you’ was the cause of confusion, in which case, apologies, I meant universal ‘you’, not ‘you, personally’. Put another way, it would be like if you said “If words don’t exist, who is speaking?”, and I said “If words don’t exist, you can’t really ask the question regarding whether or not words exist by using words, so it’s not an answerable question.”


That aside, regarding the rest of your question about ‘self’ - I don’t claim to know for sure, but my intuitions align more or less with the idea of layered consciousness described in Buddhism. Maybe I just like Buddhism so I thought “Hey, sure, that works for me,” but at least in some ways, this idea makes sense to me. Look at things like the “cocktail party effect”, where you can tune out a room full of conversation to focus on the person you’re talking to; and yet immediately hone in on it when the person behind you mentions your name. Or the ability of the mind to waken from deep sleep, when one’s perceived experience during deep sleep is without sensory input… and yet the mind still alerts and responds to sensory input, like an alarm clock, when it appears. Clearly there are aspects of our conscious minds (layers, I would say) that continue to run behind the scenes entirely outside of our awareness at such times, and I would say the composite of all of these systems is an ethereal ‘self’.


I should note here that while my knowledge of Buddhism is eclectic and probably a hodgepodge of many different schools, the person I have probably read and listened to the most is the Dalai Lama, and in Tibetan Buddhism there is a ‘self’ of sorts that accrues karma and whatnot, and there is a relative world that is ‘real’, albeit not in the way we generally think it is at first glance. Aside from that, the Dalai Lama really doesn’t exude a “Just let it all go to be Free” messaging - to the contrary, his advice to people often seems to be “Study, study hard”, when talking about the practice. I now have his app (yes, he has an app,) on my phone and I’m surprised to see how busy his schedule is and how extremely involved his practice actually is. So the idea of ‘sudden enlightenment’ that seems to feature in zen koans and such doesn’t really resonate as much with me, but if you find it helpful, I think that’s great.

 
 
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