2009.07.02 - Workshop 20

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    The following is the transcript of the workshop for July 2nd 2009

    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Stim!
    Gaya Ethaniel: Hello Scath and Stim :)
    Stim Morane: Hi Scathach
    Scathach Rhiadra: Gaya!
    Stim Morane: Hi Gaya
    Gaya Ethaniel: How are you both?
    Stim Morane: fine thanks
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: fine too, thank you:)
    Stim Morane: and you?
    Gaya Ethaniel: Me too thank you :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: Hello Eliza, Fefonz and Wester :)
    Wester Kiranov: hello everybody
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Eliza, Wester, Fefonz
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Gaya, Stim, Wester, Scath, Fef
    Fefonz Quan: Hey Scath, Gaya, Eliza, Wester, Stim
    Stim Morane: Hi Eliza, Wester, Fefonz
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Ara
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Ara
    arabella Ella: Hiya Stim, everyone!
    Stim Morane: hi arabella
    Fefonz Quan: hi Ara
    Gaya Ethaniel: Hello arabella :)
    Stim Morane: one more minute ...
    Scathach Rhiadra: :)
    Stim Morane: hi Mick
    Fefonz Quan: hiya Mick
    Gaya Ethaniel: Hello Mick :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello mick
    Stim Morane: So ... before I forget ...
    Mickorod Renard: Hiya Stim,
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Pila, Mick, Storm
    Gaya Ethaniel: Hello Pila, Storm :)
    Fefonz Quan: hey Pila, Storm
    Mickorod Renard: Hi scath gaya
    Stim Morane: Hi Storm, Pila
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Storm, Pila
    Pila Mulligan: greetings
    Mickorod Renard: Pila
    Stim Morane: I would like to thank Scathach for her work on the wiki, and for everyone who has taken the time to compose homework essays and post them there.
    Mickorod Renard: hey wester
    Stim Morane: yes
    Eliza Madrigal: Yes, thanks Scath
    Mickorod Renard: Eliza ;)
    Stim Morane: i understand there are homework meetings now, associated with this workshop? Is that correct?
    Gaya Ethaniel: Thank you Scath :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: yw:)
    Stim Morane: :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: Sort of Stim, informal and optional.
    Scathach Rhiadra: well informal meetings..
    Stim Morane: I see
    Stim Morane: so is that approach helping to digest the material?
    Gaya Ethaniel: Yes and ... naturally throw up questions as well. I've found it encouraging too to keep going.
    Eliza Madrigal: It helped last week when I was able to attend
    Mickorod Renard: I have done some in a group,,but have to appologise for having a maniacal busy week in rl
    Stim Morane: OK, sure
    Stim Morane: so ... anything to report re homework?
    Gaya Ethaniel: I've added on wiki just before meeting - sorry for cutting too fine.
    Stim Morane: I saw your report, Gaya ... thanks
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah ok :)
    Stim Morane: But i wasn't actually sure when yours and the other "18's" were written.
    Stim Morane: Do they precede for follow last week's meeting?
    Stim Morane: *or
    Gaya Ethaniel: Mine is here - http://ways-of-knowing.wik.is/3Reports/Gaya_Ethaniel/Report_19 - following last week's workshop 19
    Pila Mulligan: before, mine
    Scathach Rhiadra: I think the 18s are last weeks, only gaya has a 19:)
    Eliza Madrigal: I posted a 19, but prob. in the wrong spot... was just after the last meeting though
    Eliza Madrigal: Will pay more attention next time :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: I read it Eliza thanks :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: http://ways-of-knowing.wik.is/index.php?title=3Reports/Eliza_Madrigal/Eliza%27s_Public_Intoxication_Workshop_12/Report_19
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah...see it is connected to the intoxication from week 12
    Gaya Ethaniel: I moved it under your name now - Scath can add link on your page I think :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Thanks very much
    Scathach Rhiadra: will do:)
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Stim Morane: thanks for the reports
    Stim Morane: both are certainly understandable in the context of our focus here
    Stim Morane: I know this kind of investigation is difficult
    Stim Morane: it's important not to become too narrowly focused on your experience
    Stim Morane: otherwise this kind of investigation will burn you out
    Stim Morane: I think you've already seen that
    Fefonz Quan: (now you tell us.... cleaning the ashes :))
    Stim Morane: :)
    Stim Morane: I think it goes without saying that all practice should be accompanied with enjoyment
    Stim Morane: but I'll say it anyway
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Stim Morane: if the point is to relax, we have to approach the whole thing with some degree of relaxedness, at least some times
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Fefonz Quan: a good point to remember
    Wester Kiranov: whew
    Stim Morane: you can't grip meditative methods in a tight way as part of an approach to relaxing
    Stim Morane: "tight" meaning "samsarically tight"
    Stim Morane: focus without stress
    Stim Morane: anyway, comments or questions re the homework?
    Gaya Ethaniel: Who is seeing 'going' goer' or 'gone to' Stim?
    Stim Morane: you will find a seeing self lurking around, Gaya.
    Stim Morane: That's another thing that has to be critiqued ... or relaxed
    Stim Morane: :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: dang ...
    Gaya Ethaniel: Stim ... I was afraid you'd say that.
    Stim Morane: it seems like an endless hall of mirrors for quite a while
    Stim Morane: but this is only because we have an entrenched habit of bringing in these structures
    Fefonz Quan: those selfs are like babushkas, there is always another one inside...
    Stim Morane: it seems that way
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Stim Morane: but with patience and clarity, gradually there is just seeing
    Stim Morane: this seeing is intimately "you" in a nice way, and also free of the usual limitations that go with "me me me"
    Fefonz Quan: and this eer is not the thinker, is it?
    Fefonz Quan: seer*
    Stim Morane: well, they're related, obviously
    Stim Morane: our existence is usually bunch of fragments, posited out of habit, but not fundamentally real
    Stim Morane: at most, only codependently real
    Stim Morane: we can let go of all that
    Stim Morane: in fact, the investigative critique I've mentioned most recently eventually becomes sheer insight, without effort or contrivance
    Stim Morane: so then the usual limited structures that pop up are self-critiqued
    Stim Morane: there is no need to critique them
    Stim Morane: this is the point of the 2nd approach I've mentioned so far
    Stim Morane: the very way that they are is the way that they aren't (independently real)
    Stim Morane: one form of self-liberation
    Stim Morane: So ... let's do one last overview here.
    Stim Morane: My objective in this particular series has been to provide a brief overview of a number of different understandings of "codependent arising".
    Stim Morane: So far, we've only considered two, drawn from the traditional schools of Buddhism: the first centered on getting one's life into focus... the Buddha basically thought that we were unaware of the basic issues, the most important issues and factors, involved in life. So he drew particular attention to Samsara, the endless round or cycle of false identifications and inappropriate actions that ultimately derive from not seeing things clearly.
    Stim Morane: So he essentially said "this is all Samsara, and here are the elements that constitute it and that we need to see more clearly so that we don't become attached to them or enmeshed in them. And on the other side there is Nirvana, our true nature and spiritual home... something which must be carefully distinguished from the factors leading to Samsara."
    Stim Morane: The first approach to codependent arising that we've discussed in this workshop was one that formalized an account of the elements or factors ("dharmas") mentioned above. Because we don't see them clearly, we get caught by them and pulled helplessly from one to the next. That is, we are enslaved by their codependence, understood as each leading to the next, etc.
    Stim Morane: The second approach to codependent arising was quite different... offered by Nagarjuna in the first century CE, it was meant in part to be a corrective to the first approach. Nagarjuna used some very sharp critiques to free contemplatives from an inappropriate reification of these Samsara to elements or factors, and even from an overly literal or opaque understanding of meditation and realization --- even of Nirvana itself.
    Stim Morane: Nagarjuna seemed like a heretic to many people of his time and several later generations, but his view was echoed in a whole class of literature that sprung up to articulate the new "Mahayana" Buddhist orientation. Here is a quote from one of these sutras, the Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita sutra (sutras are held to be based directly on some of the Buddha's teachings, at some point during his life):
    Stim Morane: "if a person who belongs to the vehicle of the bodhisattvas does not seize on past, future and present dharmas, does not mind them, does not get at them, does not construct or discriminate them, does not see nor review them, if he considers them with the conviction that all dharmas are fabricated by thought construction, unborn, not come forth, not come, not gone, and that no dharma is ever produced or stopped in the past, future, or present; if he considers those dharmas in such a way, then his jubilation is in accord with the true nature of those dharmas, and so is his transformation (of the merit) into full Enlightenment."
    Stim Morane: So the idea here is not to set up even samsara or nivana ... don't avoid the one or go to the other. They are both usually set up by codependent arising of a specific kind which Nagarjuna pointed out: heedless "thought constructions", discriminations ... what we've been calling "posits".
    Stim Morane: are you with me so far?
    Wester Kiranov: yep
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Scathach Rhiadra nods
    Fefonz Quan nods
    Gaya Ethaniel nods.
    Mickorod Renard: yes
    Stim Morane: or yawns, I know ...
    Stim Morane: :)
    Pila Mulligan: but happily so
    Stim Morane: ok
    Fefonz Quan: though it is a little strange if he goes against the first approach totally
    Stim Morane: he intended a critique of a mistaken use of the 1st cycle of teaching, not a rejection of it
    Stim Morane: So in this emerging new tradition of Buddhism, one respected the earlier school’s notion that it is good to learn about the dharmic factors constituting Samsara and leading to Nirvana, but one was also careful not to set up a new set of notions. True contemplation, awakeness, is beyond all constructions, and Nirvana is everywhere and nowhere. True liberation is beyond all projects and preferences.
    Stim Morane: Note that what Nagarjuna was drawing attention to, should not be narrowly characterized by phrases like "thought constructions". Even the latter is just a notion, not to be taken too literally or in too limited a way. Our whole ordinary existence, even our physical existence, is actually given over to these “constructions”.
    Stim Morane: So, it's not just a matter of getting rid of thoughts or not being too influenced by thoughts... look and see for yourself what the issue really is, and how pervasive it is.
    Stim Morane: That could be your homework for a lifetime! It looks like a kind of philosophical analysis, but it could also be understood to be a profound meditation, a profound freedom from meditation, a very powerful form of yogic practice includes the body as well as the mind, many things. It's not about what you think, consciously or even unconsciously, it's about the way that you "are"!
    Stim Morane: I will be happy if you are simply able to see the difference between the two approaches mentioned so far, and to benefit a little bit from each of them in your own lives.
    Stim Morane: without frying ...
    Stim Morane: :)
    Stim Morane: Questions?
    Pila Mulligan: not a question, but a comment: the organization and progession of the topics in these workshops has been really elegant, Stim -- thanks for your skill as a teacher
    Stim Morane: gosh
    Fefonz Quan: so it's a little like the first one says: 'look, you are in a rollercoaster train', and the second one says 'there isno train, maybe brain, and even that might not be'
    Stim Morane: )
    Stim Morane: yes, sort of, Fefonz
    Stim Morane: we have to be honest about what we can handle at a given time
    Stim Morane: the first approach doesn't really require fine detail in our scrutiny of our life
    Stim Morane: maybe we couldn't handle more than just noticing "we're on the train"
    Stim Morane: but eventually, we can ... precisely because the first approach has done its job, perhaps
    Fefonz Quan: sounds like to handle the first its enough to be a 'good phsycoligist', for teh second you need to be a wizard
    Stim Morane: maybe
    Stim Morane: the way I learned the 2nd was to do some form of meditation practice, in daily life just walking around etc, and more formally.
    Mickorod Renard: It helps me some,,I have become more redy to challenge preconceptions in my mind
    Stim Morane: And at unpredictable moments, during that practice, I would suddenly notice the fine detail
    Stim Morane: Good, Mick
    Eliza Madrigal: Also it seems that once you see the patterns, there is a bit of 'aha' in that, and a temptation to then 'work' with them/create projects, etc. Hard to let that go :)
    Stim Morane: I think if youtrue, Eliza
    Stim Morane: sorry, I meant to say "true"
    Stim Morane: there are many subtle traps
    Gaya Ethaniel: Can you explain a bit more about 'focusing with stress' Stim?
    Stim Morane: focusing without stress
    Stim Morane: yes
    Stim Morane: awareness without making it into a project
    Stim Morane: the samsaric mind is the project mind
    Stim Morane: the "need" mind
    Stim Morane: can we be keenly aware without the "need", the project?
    Stim Morane: if there is need, projects, there is reaching, grasping. Samsara.
    Fefonz Quan: playfully aware? ;)
    Stim Morane: Samsara just leads to more of the same.
    Stim Morane: Sure, playfully aware
    Pila Mulligan: cogitate vs contemplate ? :)
    Stim Morane: good be, Pila
    Stim Morane: both cogitation and contemplation are good, if free of grasping
    Stim Morane: like I said, eventually, the very way our habits of mind arise is the way they are self-critiqued, opened up or relaxed
    Eliza Madrigal nods... the projects seem a step up from unconsciousness, but still miss ...still leave seeds?
    Stim Morane: yes, it could leave its own very problematical seeds
    Stim Morane: so we have to "play" a bit with it
    Fefonz Quan: i find myself strobing around the second approach, getting a glimpse here and there, but always finally crashing into the brickwall of the 'physical'
    Stim Morane: not be too desperate
    Stim Morane: yes, fefonz, I expected that
    Stim Morane: start elsewhere
    Stim Morane: it's too soon for you to tackle the "physical"
    Stim Morane: :)
    Fefonz Quan: yes, hard for a physicist... :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: How would I 'play' with it Stim?
    Stim Morane: we don't need to walk through walls, we just need to not imprison ourselves
    Stim Morane: use the approach, but lightly, Gaya.
    Stim Morane: use it vigorously, even fiercely, but also put it down ... let it go
    Stim Morane: sometimes
    Stim Morane: gradually you will find the natural way to apply it
    Stim Morane: the whole point is naturalness, not contrivance
    Gaya Ethaniel: ok
    Stim Morane: am I making sense?
    Fefonz Quan: on the interpersonal level, i see it is very interesting and insightful, mostly for me shifting the view from 'people' to 'interactions'
    Mickorod Renard: yes Stim
    Eliza Madrigal: Yes
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes
    Gaya Ethaniel: Yes ... how to do that in practice, I will need to think about it more Stim.
    Stim Morane: Gaya, what I'm suggesting is just to try it ... sometimes.
    Stim Morane: I think gradually you will find your own balance
    Gaya Ethaniel: Be a spiritual slob for a break?
    Fefonz Quan: yah, good one!
    Stim Morane: it's important to have slack, yes
    Stim Morane: otherwise we become meditation slaves
    Stim Morane: what a drag that would be
    Stim Morane: Nagarjuna's point was to not set up anything
    Stim Morane: but to see everything, without an "act of seeing"
    Stim Morane: this is beyond understanding of the ordinary mind, I know
    Eliza Madrigal: What is strange to me is that everything is so clear and then (at least my) samsaric mind says "This is too clear" and undoes things :)
    Stim Morane: but it is still natural!
    Stim Morane: :)
    Stim Morane: Eliza, the ordinary mind is very funny
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Stim Morane: we have to become patient with it
    Stim Morane: like a loving parent
    Stim Morane: the poor thing needs some help
    Eliza Madrigal: hehe
    Stim Morane: but we should also understand that the ordinary mind will never "become" the insight mind ... not in the ordinary sense of "going to an improvement"
    Stim Morane: we can just let the ordinary mind be what it is
    Stim Morane: that is much of what I'm saying
    Stim Morane: and Fefonz, i will talk about "physical" stuff ... later.
    Stim Morane: I know you need this bit addressed.
    Fefonz Quan: yeah, though have anough to work with way before that
    Fefonz Quan: (spelling for example :))
    Stim Morane: basically, the idea is not to walk through walls, but to not be stuck with the self that is itself a wall, and that is obstructed by walls from being satisfied spiritually.
    Stim Morane: "walls" of a certain sort ... but we could include the physical stuff too, to some extent
    Stim Morane: people always want superpowers
    Stim Morane: what they really need is to find their own integrity, "home"
    Fefonz Quan: (ah, so no didging bullets here.... :)
    Fefonz Quan: dodging*
    Gaya Ethaniel: Was there anything you wanted us to focus on or suggestions for the informal gathering Stim?
    Stim Morane: Gaya, you could see if the "mind" seems to be itself something that is posited.
    Stim Morane: That is, is it more fundamental that "its" thoughts, or is in codependent with thoughts?
    Stim Morane: *it
    Stim Morane: this is the entry to the next level of teaching re cod
    Stim Morane: codependent arising
    Gaya Ethaniel: This mind is not samsaric mind Stim?
    Stim Morane: yes, that mi
    Stim Morane: mind
    Stim Morane: is it more fundamental than thoughts?
    Stim Morane: see what you can find re this
    Stim Morane: sorry, gotta go!
    Eliza Madrigal: Thank you, Stim.
    Gaya Ethaniel: ok thank you Stim :)
    Wester Kiranov: thank you stim
    Fefonz Quan: Thanks Stim!
    Scathach Rhiadra: bye Stim, thank you:)
    arabella Ella: thanks Stim
    Stim Morane: thanks for your patience and insightful experiments
    Pila Mulligan: thanks, and bye Stim
    Stim Morane: Bye!
    Gaya Ethaniel: We meet at 2 pm SLT on Sun. Hope to see you there. Will send notice. Thank you everyone.
    Mickorod Renard: bye Stim
    Fefonz Quan: So the homework for next time: mind<-->thoughts entanglement?
    Scathach Rhiadra: bye Gaya, see you sunday:)
    Fefonz Quan: Good night Gaya
    Gaya Ethaniel: I took it as mind exists or not
    Pila Mulligan: bye Gaya
    Scathach Rhiadra: looking into the nature of mind?
    Gaya Ethaniel: Anyway, feel exhausted ... good night everyone
    Eliza Madrigal: Thanks Gaya, Nite
    Wester Kiranov: I have to go too. (I probably won't be back for about two weeks). Bye all.
    Fefonz Quan: when was the meeting set Scath?
    Scathach Rhiadra: bye Wester:)
    arabella Ella: bye wester
    Fefonz Quan: Bye wester, enjoy the summer break
    Wester Kiranov: namaste
    Scathach Rhiadra: for Sunday, 2 pm SL time
    Fefonz Quan: ok cool
    Eliza Madrigal takes note
    Eliza Madrigal: Internet and family allowing I will be there :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: good night all, namasté
    Eliza Madrigal: Night Scath :) Namaste
    Pila Mulligan: bye Scath
    arabella Ella: nite scath

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