2009.04.02 - Workshop 07

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    Note: there was no workshop the previous week as Stim Morane was on retreat.

    Directions for homework are given in four bold sections below.

    Mickorod Renard: I keep meaning to do the Time one
    Scathach Rhiadra: mmm, that is very interesting:)
    Stim Morane: Hi Storm!
    Mickorod Renard: I feel real anoyed after I remem i have forgoten
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Storm
    Stim Morane: :)
    Storm Nordwind: Hi Stim. Welcome back.
    Stim Morane: Thanks
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Pema
    Stim Morane: Hi Pema
    Pema Pera: hi everybody!
    Storm Nordwind: Hi Scáth
    Stim Morane: Hi Wester
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Wester
    Mickorod Renard: hi Webster
    Wester Kiranov: hi every body
    Pema Pera: Hi Vendy!
    Fefonz Quan: Hey Wester, Vendy :)
    Vendy Walpole: Hi ...though can't see anybody
    Pema Pera: Let me introduce Vendy:
    Fefonz Quan: well we can see you.. partly :)
    Pema Pera: she is from Macedonia
    Pema Pera: like Alexander the Great :)
    Storm Nordwind: Free chair to your right Vendy
    Scathach Rhiadra: :)
    Mickorod Renard: Hi Vendy
    Stim Morane: Hi Vendy
    Vendy Walpole: Hi to all :)
    Pema Pera: and she may not stay too long -- it is already really late for her
    Wester Kiranov: hi vendy
    Vendy Walpole: nice to see you
    Mickorod Renard: I think my ancestors were
    Vendy Walpole: Our Prime Minister would be happy to know for this advertising of Macedonia
    Stim Morane: :)
    Pema Pera: Renard is a Macedonian name, Mick?
    Vendy Walpole: for free :))
    Pema Pera: :)
    Mickorod Renard: no, but I have an odd name, that I dont even use in RL
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Scathach Rhiadra: :)
    Mickorod Renard: ;)
    Fefonz Quan: Hey Liza :)
    Stim Morane: Hi Eliza
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Fefonz, Hello all :)
    Mickorod Renard: Hiya Eliza
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Eliza
    Vendy Walpole: Hello
    Stim Morane: OK ...
    Pema Pera: Maybe we can invite your prime minister to the Kira Cafe, Vendy!
    Pema Pera: sorry, Stim
    Vendy Walpole: well, why not?
    Vendy Walpole: he is a smart person
    Stim Morane: :0
    Stim Morane: scary
    Stim Morane: Recently we participated in a short series centered around the use of a basic practice framed by three different views.
    Stim Morane: This was in keeping with my general preference for grounding discussion in practice and exploration, rather than in a quick exchange of already-formed and facile opinions.
    Stim Morane: However, I think it would be difficult to go much further with the approach I was taking, unless some way were found to do much more practice between our Cafe meetings.
    Stim Morane: If some of you are interested, we can try that at some point in the future. But that's probably not a Café event... it would fit more naturally in some sort of in-depth Kira curriculum, held elsewhere on the Kira campus.
    Stim Morane: Do any of you have comments on that, before I continue?
    Wester Kiranov: i would be interested
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes, me too
    Eliza Madrigal: (brb-apologies)
    Stim Morane: OK ... well, we'll see what we can arrange down the line
    Mickorod Renard: I would like to know more, and as such am keen to contine
    Fefonz Quan second that
    Stim Morane: Good ... it's just a question of how to best use SL, and I'm still learning re that
    Stim Morane: So for the moment I propose a different approach, one based on a particular use of simple precepts drawn from Buddhist ethics.
    Stim Morane: Ethics is a rather odd subject. It often seems very narrow or simplistic, or very abstract and philosophical, or merely a reflection of cultural and socially-based conventions... or again, of opinions.
    Stim Morane: I'm sure most of you have noticed what I mean.
    Stim Morane: However, contemplative traditions value ethical cultivation a great deal. They just have very different idea of what it involves--there's no emphasis on conventions or opinions or abstract notions. Rather, the emphasis is on what we do, as an entry into what we can learn ... and gradually, into what we can see directly.
    Stim Morane: In the contemplative use of ethics, the emphasis is iterally on "reality".
    Stim Morane: So ethical practice can indeed be a true and even advanced contemplative practice. Often the traditions themselves mention it as being just a prerequisite for more subtle kinds of meditation practice. But I want to claim that you can really do a great deal with this sort of approach.
    Stim Morane: Traditionally, some monastics and contemplatives didn't really do anything we would recognize as formal meditation practice. They actually just kept precepts of conduct, with an increasingly deep understanding over time.
    Stim Morane: So the key is to use an ethical precept as a lens... it really can help people to see.
    Stim Morane: Questions or comments before I continue?
    Stim Morane: Pila may be on his way ...
    Mickorod Renard: I feel that it will appeal to me Stim
    Pema Pera: if I may quote from a Play as Being session
    Pema Pera: in which Geo talked about his Franciscan background:
    Pema Pera: Geo Netizen: My discussion will flow from the Franciscan school.
    Geo Netizen: Fundamental to all Franciscan theology is the idea that the core nature of the divine is love and perfection; God is perfect love.
    Geo Netizen: All other attributes of the divine are root in, colored by and flow from this core nature.
    Geo Netizen: And all love which we experience, including eros, philia and agape, has its origin and source in the divine.
    Geo Netizen: With that background:
    Geo Netizen: Sin is a free act by an individual away from this love.
    Geo Netizen: I use the word act in a broad sense here which would include thoughts, words and deeds.
    Geo Netizen: We are called to act in ways that move us to embrace this love.
    Pema Pera: That seems to go in a similar direction as how you talked about ethics
    Stim Morane: Yes, I see. Oh, hi Pila!
    Stim Morane: Yes, it's related, Pema
    Pila Mulligan: greetings
    Stim Morane: Although I won't be invoking any notion of "sin" in this case.
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Pila
    Fefonz Quan: hey pila
    Mickorod Renard: Hiya Pila
    Vendy Walpole: Hi
    Stim Morane: Pila, we're just introducing the new series I'm proposing here
    Pema Pera: sure, I realize that -- it was fascinating to see for us how Geo reinterpreted sin that way
    Stim Morane: Yes, I agree
    Pema Pera: in a much more positive way than usually heard
    Stim Morane: Yes
    Pila Mulligan: sorry ot interrupt by being late, Stim :)
    Stim Morane: np
    Stim Morane: So ... I'm not proposing to ask you to be "good" in some simplistic sense. :)
    Stim Morane: But I will want to try using a simple set of traditional lay precepts as the basis for some experiments. Here's the traditional set, as stated by the historical Buddha:
    Stim Morane: Whoever destroys living beings,
    speaks false words, takes that which is not given to him/her, or goes with another's spouse, or takes distilled, fermented drinks — whatever person indulges thus extirpates the roots of him/her-self even here in this very world.
    Vendy Walpole: sorry, but I have to go to sleep, taher late for me, though this is very interesting :(
    Stim Morane: Sure, Vendy. Enjoy your rest!
    Vendy Walpole: Bye, thank you for invite me Pera
    Fefonz Quan: night Vendy
    Scathach Rhiadra: bye Vendy
    Vendy Walpole: waves to all
    Mickorod Renard: bye Vendy
    Pema Pera: now you know the way to find us, Vendy!
    Stim Morane: Put somewhat differently: no killing or violence, no lies, stealing, misuse of sexuality, or intoxication ... these are the traditional five precepts.
    Stim Morane: I propose working with only four: we can skip the one concerning sex, since that subject is seen in such a different way nowadays, and is also so controversial.
    Stim Morane: And of course you can always still have a drink here in the cafe, or the pub ...
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Pema Pera: :)
    Mickorod Renard: phew
    Pila Mulligan: ice cream is okay?
    Stim Morane: So hopefully you won't find this new series too painful. :)
    Stim Morane: oh, ice cream is always ok.
    Pila Mulligan: cool
    Scathach Rhiadra: :)
    Pema Pera: you can't steal here -- the drinks are free!
    Mickorod Renard: nice
    Stim Morane: I wish I could still eat it myself
    Fefonz Quan: intoxicated means no alcohol at all?
    Stim Morane: No, I won't ask that
    Stim Morane: We'll get to that one later, and it will be a bit modified
    Stim Morane: So hopefully you won't find this new series too painful. :)
    Stim Morane: All that I ask is that at least some of you make a serious commitment for one week to keep a particular precept from this list.
    Stim Morane: And I think we should start with the one about speech. So that would mean that starting today, for the next seven days, you commit to "no lies".
    Stim Morane: The point here is not just to avoid something (lies). It's to use that commitment as a way to notice what actually happens, and with what consequences. There are many levels in such an investigation ... what some schools called "inner, outer, and secret". And I look forward to discussing them with you, based on your own insights and experientially-based reports.
    Stim Morane: Success in keeping this commitment may or may not be revealing... but your resistance to it and your lapses in keeping it almost certainly will be. So it's extremely important not to simply become discouraged or "down on yourself" if you make a misstep. Rather, try to see what happened --- what sort of mind was present there? What type of sense of self? What view?
    Stim Morane: It's an experiment. All the data counts. So take a few notes, without editing or picking and choosing.
    Stim Morane: Comments?
    Stim Morane: As Storm pointed out previously, there are various forms of lies ... some, for instance, would be "to one's self"
    Scathach Rhiadra: how does avoiding saying anything in order not to offend with the truth fir in, if I may ask?
    Stim Morane: So many things count here.
    Stim Morane: what do you think?
    Pila Mulligan: cool
    Stim Morane: Sorry ... Scathach, do you have an answer?
    Fefonz Quan: continuing Scath, is not saying all the truth lying?
    Stim Morane: Again, I'm interested in what you actually find
    Fefonz Quan: (i would say no, but that's me)
    Scathach Rhiadra: oh, I think it is ok, depends on intention
    Stim Morane: you cannot become committed to the truth without growing in your perception to reality, to what is true.
    Stim Morane: Yes, intention will be crucial in our little exploration
    Wester Kiranov: you can never say ALL the truth anyway
    Fefonz Quan nods
    Wester Kiranov: so I suppose it depends on what you omit
    Stim Morane: the precept is about what you say, but the emphasis will be on what your mind is doing
    Stim Morane: and your connection to reality
    Stim Morane: yes, you can't say all the truth
    Stim Morane: ... about anything, perhaps
    Stim Morane: :)
    Stim Morane: anyway, it's a simple-seeming experiment
    Pila Mulligan: being polite includes having discretion, I think few paths would ask for anything less
    Stim Morane: yes. The idea in the tradition includes that emphasis, Pila
    Stim Morane: If this experiment seems too easy to you, or unlikely to yield traction in some ways, you can make it a little more challenging: a related precept in the tradition extends the interpretation of "false speech" to include frivolous or out-of-control speech, or speech that is harsh or disturbing or discordant to no good purpose.
    Stim Morane: So if you want to commit to that version, great.
    Stim Morane: You'll trip the alarm more times, and thus get more data
    Stim Morane: Our discussion will be based primarily on what you bring back
    Storm Nordwind: It seems we will have a mass of data, too much to present here. Where shall we record it for others to peruse?
    Stim Morane: Suggestions?
    Fefonz Quan smells another wiki site sneaking in...
    Stim Morane: how are those working out?
    Scathach Rhiadra: or google group?
    Fefonz Quan: or both :)
    Fefonz Quan: it's a site where everyone of the group can write reports
    Storm Nordwind: They work well, giving (amongst other things) a sense of cohesion to each group
    Stim Morane: I see
    Pema Pera: unless you write things that are too spooky . . .
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Stim Morane: OK, well that's an action item, then.
    Scathach Rhiadra: :))
    Wester Kiranov: :D
    Stim Morane: yes, no spooky stuff
    Stim Morane: it's ethics!
    Stim Morane: :)
    Fefonz Quan: no spooky stuff and admitting our practice this week might contrast :)
    Pema Pera: Does anyone volunteer to set up a wiki?
    Pema Pera: Stim probably won't have time for doing that
    Pema Pera: nor experience
    Stim Morane: :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: I would if I knew how:)
    Pema Pera: Fefonz may be able to tell you, Scathach
    Fefonz Quan: no i can't, never did it :)
    Eliza Madrigal has no idea either
    Stim Morane: is a wiki better than a google group?
    Pema Pera: who set up the Time wiki, Fef?
    Fefonz Quan: Lia
    Pema Pera: ah!
    Pema Pera: It depends on the function, Stim
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes Stim, a wiki is better
    Pema Pera: Would you like people to post their reports?
    Pema Pera: If so, a wiki is better
    Fefonz Quan: i surprised to be blamed on having such a knowledge ;-)
    Pema Pera: too confusing by email and too much volume
    Stim Morane: It's OK with me ... if the public posting doesn't make people reluctant to be forthcoming.
    Storm Nordwind: A wiki is better for holding transcripts and setting out explorations too. And a glossary of ideas... etc.
    Stim Morane: This is a bit of a concern for me in this context
    Pema Pera: no reason to make it public, Stim
    Pema Pera: we can keep it only readable for participants
    Stim Morane: be right back
    Pema Pera: so Scathach, Lia can help you then
    Pema Pera: shall I send an email to both her and you, to let her help you to set it up?
    Scathach Rhiadra: ok, I will ask her and get to work on it:)
    Pema Pera: or more likely, to let her set it up and hand it over to you?
    Pema Pera: okay, will do so right away
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes please Pema, that would be great
    Stim Morane: back ... sorry, it's tax time and I got diverted
    Pila Mulligan: welcome back
    Stim Morane: anyway, it looks like we need a wiki.
    Stim Morane: I don't want to keep you long today ... the idea was just to set up the rest of the series, and then begin in earnest next time.
    Stim Morane: Are there other things we need to consider now?
    Stim Morane: I think you will find this sort of practice/experiment somewhat surprising.
    Stim Morane: Precepts are framed in terms of negatives: don't do x.
    Stim Morane: But the real emphasis is on surprises.
    Stim Morane: You find things in yourself that you didn't know were there.
    Stim Morane: This is true in both "positive" and "negative" directions.
    Stim Morane: Ultimately, this is a way to find some truly important features of reality, as seen as the ground of our existence and being.
    Stim Morane: It also provides a basis for seeing contrasts etc between contemplative views of reality and more contemporary ones
    Stim Morane: I expect that sort of discussion to be central after the first few sessions.
    Stim Morane: Any q's or comments?
    Stim Morane: OK ...
    Fefonz Quan: 'don't lie' is a very ancient commendment in other religions to
    Stim Morane: Yes.
    Mickorod Renard: would you have an example of the last thing you said Stim?
    Pila Mulligan: but this is don't even fib :)
    Pila Mulligan: a small lie
    Stim Morane: But Fefonz here the emphasis is on what happens when you do
    Fefonz Quan: fib?
    Stim Morane: Mick ... what you find in doing this kind of practice is "what you are being conditioned by"
    Fefonz Quan looks for surprises in teh shape of lightnings from heaven ;-)
    Stim Morane: And from there you can see more and more of "what you are"
    genesis Zhangsun accepted your inventory offer.
    Stim Morane: This converges on reality issues. "What is the true 'human nature'"?
    Mickorod Renard: yes, I think I have a strong concience, so do self analyse a bit
    Stim Morane: This view can be seen in contrasts to other angles provided by science
    Fefonz Quan: does sciece has anything to say about humna nature?
    Stim Morane: Contemplatives see ethics as an expression of truth, a convergence on that. But what kind of truth or reality is it?
    Stim Morane: Science is uncomfortable with that term nowadays
    Stim Morane: but it's implicit in various fields, and we can discuss that
    Fefonz Quan: that was my point
    Stim Morane: Yes
    Pila Mulligan: but sceince is a human endeavor, despite the discomfort :)
    Stim Morane: but to take an example, evolutionary theory provides a diff view than the one we will discover directly ... sometimes.
    Stim Morane: Sometimes they overlap
    Stim Morane: Yes, Pila. Of course, that may change in the future.
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Wester Kiranov: values in a world of fact - i think that was the theme of one of the first kira summer schools
    Stim Morane: But the future is Pema's thing.
    Stim Morane: Yes
    Stim Morane: this "world of facts" is something I want to look at in the light of this new series.
    Stim Morane: Anyway, you get the idea ...
    Stim Morane: Other q's?
    Fefonz Quan is prohibited to respond to the 'got the idea' sentence...)
    Stim Morane: My primary concern is that this helps you find yourself and a better basis for living.
    Stim Morane: Prohibited so soon!
    Stim Morane: :)
    Mickorod Renard: I guess not giving a response to a question is not acceptasble either?
    Stim Morane: we're just getting started
    Fefonz Quan: why not mick?
    Fefonz Quan: the buddha liked that too
    Mickorod Renard: well, its like avoiding lying
    Pila Mulligan: silence can be truthful
    Scathach Rhiadra: 'noble silence'?
    Fefonz Quan: yes indeed :)
    Mickorod Renard: depends in what context its used
    Wester Kiranov: I think we will just have to try it out
    Pila Mulligan: if it is your CPA and the question if 'any more sources of income' -- you shold answer :)
    Stim Morane: Let's see what we think after trying the practice for a week.
    Mickorod Renard: sounds good to me
    Stim Morane: I should note that some of these precepts will be "neutral" to some of you ... for a while, anyway.
    Stim Morane: But others will bite hard.
    Stim Morane: That's normal.
    Stim Morane: Ultimately, they are all the same
    Stim Morane: Shall we stop now and pick up next time?
    Fefonz Quan: sounds good to me
    Wester Kiranov: Yes, let's do some soulsearching
    Pema Pera: Stim, you will make the chat log available on the Kira web site, right?
    Mickorod Renard: ok
    Pema Pera: for today?
    Pema Pera: would you like anybody to help you with that?
    Stim Morane: I will prevail upon someone's generosity to post several chat logs later today, Pema
    Stim Morane: :)
    Pema Pera: do you have somebody for today?
    Pema Pera: or should we ask for a volunteer?
    Scathach Rhiadra: and if Lia agrees to set up a wiki, I will add everyone here ?
    Stim Morane: any volunteers?
    Storm Nordwind is now taking over the Kira Website and all logs for the website should now be sent to him, not genesis. But putting them all on a Wiki is far better.
    Stim Morane: OK
    Pema Pera: would you like to take the log then, Storm, for today?
    Storm Nordwind: I can for today, sure. Thereafter they can go to the Wiki.
    Stim Morane: OK, thanks!
    Pema Pera: but someone will have to take them
    Pema Pera: to get them to the wiki
    Pema Pera: who will do that in the future?
    Scathach Rhiadra: I will do that
    Mickorod Renard: like in P a B?
    Pema Pera: thank you very much, Scathach!
    Stim Morane: Yes, thanks!
    Pema Pera: yes, Mick
    Stim Morane: OK, so last thing:
    Mickorod Renard: well I will help if in dificulties
    Stim Morane: If you're going to really do the experiment here, you will need to keep reminding yourself about it.
    Pema Pera: thanks, Mick! Always good to have a backup
    Scathach Rhiadra: ty Mick:)
    Stim Morane: Traditionally, every day one would refresh the commitment
    Storm Nordwind: WokiWiki?
    Scathach Rhiadra: :)
    Mickorod Renard: that sounds good Stim
    Mickorod Renard: I do that in RL now
    Stim Morane: I suggest you try that. It will help the mind to consider new angles, as well as simply remembering old ones
    Stim Morane: that's it for now ...
    Pila Mulligan: thanks Stim
    Mickorod Renard: thanks
    Fefonz Quan: thanks Stim
    Eliza Madrigal: Thank you Stim, and All :)
    Wester Kiranov: thank you!
    Scathach Rhiadra: thanks Stim, bye
    Pema Pera: thank you Stim!
    Stim Morane: thanks, everyone! Have fun with "ethics"
    Fefonz Quan: just don't be funethics :)
    Mickorod Renard: I may have problems covering next tuesdays P a B
    Pema Pera: lol, Fef!
    Wester Kiranov: unspooky ethics - how much fun can that be? ;)
    Scathach Rhiadra: :)
    Fefonz Quan: yep!
    Pema Pera: oh, it will become spooky quickly, Wester!
    Mickorod Renard: yes, sometimes fun acan tread on ethics
    Pema Pera: just you wait
    Fefonz Quan: hey Gen, didn't see you :)
    genesis Zhangsun: hey I snuck in :)
    Mickorod Renard: Hi GEn
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Gen:)
    Wester Kiranov: hi gen
    Pema Pera: hi Genesis!
    Fefonz Quan: yep you did, and a nice springy dress :)
    Pema Pera: bye everybody!
    genesis Zhangsun: thanks :)
    genesis Zhangsun: bye!
    Mickorod Renard: bye Pema
    Scathach Rhiadra: bye Pema:)
    Wester Kiranov: I think I will go and get some sleep now. bye all!
    genesis Zhangsun: bye Wester
    Mickorod Renard: yea..me too
    Fefonz Quan: (hopefully it is spring in SL, till yesterday they still had the snowy welcome window)
    Scathach Rhiadra: bye wester, sleep well
    Fefonz Quan: i'll be gone too, good by friends
    Scathach Rhiadra: Must go too, Namaste
    genesis Zhangsun: bye everyone!
    Mickorod Renard: bye everyone, thanks for a nice evening

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