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    I've been thinking a bit about '8 winds' because I think it holds some keys about the sense of self. I think they are explicitly linked to self, how one's sense of self is created and reinforced etc. As per the last workshop:

    Stim: note that even traditionally-prescribed practices for cultivating one's sense of things like aliveness can be part of a dead approach ... pleasure is great. It's the grasping for pleasure that is distinctly unpleasant.

    Some definitions found online:

    1. "A truly wise man will not be carried away by any of the eight winds: prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering and pleasure."

    2. Praise; Ridicule; Suffering; Happiness; Benefit; Destruction; Gain; Loss.

    3. His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

    • Attachment to getting and keeping material things;
    • Aversion to not getting material things or being separated from them;
    • Attachment to praise, hearing nice words, and feeling encouraged;
    • Aversion to getting blamed, ridiculed, and criticized;
    • Attachment to having a good reputation;
    • Aversion to having a bad reputation;
    • Attachment to sense pleasures in general;
    • Aversion to unpleasant experiences.

    As well as being a continuous homework, I think this week's "have a life" assignment can be seen as an opportunity for each of us to assess our lives as now and in relation to what we've learnt from the workshop so far. I think this "having", "enjoy" or "celebrate" or "be grateful for" is a way to building up "a thread connected to the rest of what we are, where the latter is intrinsically participatory, connected, to the world, other beings, the arc of life, etc."

    I've typed up some of what Stim says re: "8 worldly conditions/concerns" from the audio files in regards to meditation. "The Chinese translates this as 'winds' to describe their driving forces => motivation":

    "[these] refer to preliminary things ... naturally you're going to want to look into basic considerations about human life and come to a certain conclusion about them first before you do this training [meditation] because if you don't, you'll just get hooked by the 8 worldly concerns. You will lose your [contemplative] practice pretty fast because you haven't come to any decisive conclusions about what your motive is, "what do you really want", "what are you doing this [meditation]?", "what are you up to in life?", "what is making you take up something and stick with it?", "what are the factors that are really big for you?"

    8 worldly concerns refer to the factors that usually loom very large for us. I'd like you to see how large they are for you. They are kind of simple things but it's worth looking into them. For instance, acting to get what you want, perform an action to ensure what we don't want happen to us. So gain and loss, gain what you want and avoid loss, we act to get praise and act to avoid blame, fame and obscurity, pleasure and pain. It may actually be the case that everything you do in your life is pretty much just an attempt to maximise your track record with these 8 worldly concerns.

    Traditions like this [contemplative traditions] is actually concerned with something else. It's not just the 8 worldly concerns. So you might say "well, is there something better than the 8 worldly concerns?" That's not quite the point if you're looking for something better. Then you're just looking for another gain thing again, "what can I get even better than ..."

    So you have to do some soul searching, "what am I really doing in my life?", "what makes me tick?", "what am I seeking and why?" If everything you're seeking is variances of these 8 worldly concerns then coming to [meditation] classes like this and maybe go home and practice [also means you're trying] to get more pleasures, avoid more pain, get more things, avoid more obscurity, get more gain, avoid more loss, that kind of thing ... [really need to] think about things, "what are we picking up this for?", "who are we really?" If you are a creature of being that is just defined by those concerns then that's all you are.

    So traditions always say you should investigate first "what are you up to?", "what are you looking for?", "why are you doing this [practice]?". This is not philosophical question. Seeing really what you're doing, why you are doing, what gets in the way, looking into that mind, who you think you are ... is an important meditation practice with profound consequences."

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