2010.03.28 - Lojong 9 [Working With Distractions/5 Forces]

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    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Mitsu, Dao :))
    Dao Yheng: Hi Eliza!
    Eliza Madrigal: So nice to see you
    Eliza Madrigal: How was retreat?
    Dao Yheng: You too!
    Eliza Madrigal: Thanks :)
    Mitsu Ishii: it was great
    Dao Yheng: the retreat was very good, thanks!
    Dao Yheng: and how have you been?
    Eliza Madrigal: Very well, many thanks :))
    Eliza Madrigal: I have really looked forward to gathering again, am glad you guys remembered :)
    Dao Yheng: It's interesting, we discussed abhidharma a lot at the retreat -- many tie ins to what we're doing here
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah, really?
    Zen Arado: Hi All
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Zen :)
    Dao Yheng: Hi Zen!
    Eliza Madrigal: Can you say more about that Dao?
    Dao Yheng: I was just telling Eliza that we discussed abhidharma at the retreat Mitsu and I just attended
    Zen Arado: forgotten what abdidharms is
    Dao Yheng: we only got sort of the overview, but the idea of noticing different mind states, learning to see them more directly, feels very related to what we're doing here
    Zen Arado: it's supposed to be very advanced ?
    Eliza Madrigal: I'm only a bit familiar with abhidharma.. guess the first thing that comes to mind is karma/mind streams...
    Dao Yheng: I'm not sure if it's advanced or not -- the emphasis for us was to see it playing out in our lives
    Mitsu Ishii: it's not really "advanced" it is more like a system for identifying and understanding certain mind states
    Eliza Madrigal: I'm curious ... 'Mind states' is the part of our discussions I think I am least clear on
    Dao Yheng: little lists of mind states
    Eliza Madrigal: interesting.... is it like dormant seeds?
    Eliza Madrigal: that arise and frame things/tint them?
    Dao Yheng: it's presented in a very academic way in the lit, but I think it's pretty clear when you try to see it in your own life
    Mitsu Ishii: I'ts actually kind of a departure from the usual approach we take
    Mitsu Ishii: but I think that's why Steven decided to introduce it
    Mitsu Ishii: just to give us some tools to fill in things that we ordinarily don't cover
    Dao Yheng: anger could be considered a mind state, for instance
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah, the 'place' on acts from?
    Zen Arado: Steven?
    Eliza Madrigal: *one
    Mitsu Ishii: The idea isn't so much that the lists are all that profound, but just to start to think of mind states as things we can identify
    Eliza Madrigal: Zen, Stim (Steven Tainer) Mitsu and Dao are his students in RL
    Zen Arado: ah ok
    Mitsu Ishii: rather than saying "the world is terrible" or "this situation is doomed" we can say "this is mind state #14"
    Eliza Madrigal: /me smiles
    Eliza Madrigal: haha
    Eliza Madrigal: seems perfect for our technological age
    Dao Yheng: :)
    Zen Arado: neutrality in other words?
    Eliza Madrigal: Its a little like stating 'just the facts' then I guess.... with emotional charges being a fact... of sorts
    Zen Arado: instead of adding stoies about what happens
    Zen Arado: yes
    Eliza Madrigal: how defined is the system?
    Dao Yheng: there are many lists :)
    Eliza Madrigal: oh my
    Mitsu Ishii: in Buddhism in the old days there were many schools that emphasized lists of various kinds
    Mitsu Ishii: this is one of the sets of lists that has managed to survive the centuries :)
    Mitsu Ishii: frankly we don't know that much about it since we just started to study it. I mean I'd seen these lists before but hadn't paid much attention to them :)
    Eliza Madrigal: yes I've been interested lately in the logic systems... dharmakirti, nagarjuna... comparing a bit... at the beginnings though
    Eliza Madrigal: abhidharma seemed a little legalistic when I first saw it, at the beginning of things... but I think it is something that once you have other things to compare, can be useful/helpful
    Eliza Madrigal: so thanks for bringing it up... hadn't seen it as being part of the different minds discussion
    Eliza Madrigal: btw, I thought gaya would make it today but suppose not (waves to gaya from the log)
    Eliza Madrigal: :)))
    Dao Yheng: (hi gaya!)
    Dao Yheng: how has distraction been treating you this week?
    Zen Arado: she is waving from the future :)
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Sweetness
    Zen Arado: Hi Sweetness
    Sweetness Delwood: Hello Zen, Eliza, All
    Eliza Madrigal: This is a weekly workshoip "Ways of Knowing".... http://ways-of-knowing.wik.is/
    Eliza Madrigal: I think you were here once before, but just in case :)
    Zen Arado: I wrote a bit about the distractions of modern life
    Sweetness Delwood: thank you
    Zen Arado: more persistent dustractions
    Zen Arado: ways we distract ourselves
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Bleu :))
    Bleu Oleander: hi everyone
    Zen Arado: Hi Bleu :)
    Bleu Oleander: sorry i'm late
    Mitsu Ishii: hello Bleu
    Dao Yheng: no prob, hi!
    Eliza Madrigal: Let me give you a link to the wiki so you can catch up a bit. We're just coming out of a small break, so not too structured today http://ways-of-knowing.wik.is/
    Dao Yheng: it is a weird feature of modern life that we seem to like to remove ourselves from our lives
    Dao Yheng: (@ Zen)
    Bleu Oleander: ty
    Zen Arado: yes we fill our live with distraction
    Mitsu Ishii: Yes, Dao and I were away at a retreat and before that I was at SXSW... just getting back in the groove
    Dao Yheng: a really strong emphasis on separation seems to be part of it?
    Zen Arado: people scared of silence
    Eliza Madrigal: /me nods, and yes, connection/vulnerability
    Dao Yheng: Hmm, yes -- fear of not having something to do!
    Zen Arado: of boredom - the worst possible thing !
    Dao Yheng: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: I find that I'm sometimes more afraid of others judging my boredom, than the boredom itself... labeling it
    Sweetness Delwood: or perhaps fear of having something to do
    Dao Yheng: a psychologist friend once mentioned that as human beings having not enough to do is as stressful as having too much
    Eliza Madrigal: oh indeed
    Bleu Oleander: /me rarely feels bored
    Eliza Madrigal: I think of boredom as an inbetween place....
    Eliza Madrigal: a place of potential to sit with
    Eliza Madrigal: maybe restlessness is a better term?
    Zen Arado: are we too work ethic conditioned?
    Bleu Oleander: boredom feels anxious to me
    Eliza Madrigal: hm, there is often a confusion about it
    Zen Arado: I sometimes sit with it - investigate it - what is it exactly?
    Bleu Oleander: peacful reflection vs boredom
    Mitsu Ishii: so, when it comes to practicing while distracted, there are a couple of ways to see this
    Zen Arado: a kind of dissatisfaction with life?
    Zen Arado: yes Mitsu?
    Mitsu Ishii: you can see it in terms of: the distractions themselves, do we have too many distractions? but I think the more interesting aspect is: even when distracted, is it possible to apply practice?
    Zen Arado: how can you tell what is a distraction?
    Mitsu Ishii: ordinarily the distractions totally fill up our mind space
    Eliza Madrigal: yes, distractions as material
    Zen Arado: is sitting here a dsitraction?
    Eliza Madrigal: could be
    Eliza Madrigal: or rather what is going on while you sit here
    Eliza Madrigal: ?
    Dao Yheng: probably! :)
    Bleu Oleander: are distractions places of attention
    Mitsu Ishii: well, let's say you think of practice as having to do with that sort of clarity we all sometimes get while sitting
    Mitsu Ishii: or doing some other meditation
    Zen Arado: should we just give uo everything and devote ourselves to meditation etc?
    Dao Yheng: Just noticing that we do like to distract ourselves, noticing that feeling of disconnection is an important first step for me
    Mitsu Ishii: so then it seems as though when we don't have that clarity, we're agitated or involved with some worry or busy, that practice isn't possible
    Bleu Oleander: why would you do that Zen?
    Eliza Madrigal: yes @ Dao... that's what I've noticed.... it really is not what is going on around but the 'way' we are with ourselves
    Mitsu Ishii: but the interesting thing to me is finding a way to have some degree of awakeness no matter what is happening --- right, as you mention Eliza
    Zen Arado: well - it might be what I am avoiding with distractions?
    Zen Arado: avoiding the kind of intense practice that is necessary
    Zen Arado: taking a lesser path?
    Zen Arado: just worries I have
    Mitsu Ishii: right, that's one angle on it, Zen. but another might be, if we say, I want to stop distracting myself, are we avoiding seeing what the distraction itself is?
    Dao Yheng: Hmm, yes, I feel that too Zen
    Zen Arado: we can practice with everything in our lives after all
    Eliza Madrigal: yes!
    Dao Yheng: right, and why don't we?
    Mitsu Ishii: worry seems like a disconnection but it is also that we don't really see worry for what it is
    Bleu Oleander: are some distractions useful and even welcomed?
    Zen Arado: if we could see clearly the right path then we would know when we are indulging distractions?
    Eliza Madrigal: I'm reminded of a favorite quote (apologies if I've shared it before) "If the meditator is able to use whatever occurs in his life as the Path, his body becomes a retreat hut." Jigme Lingpa
    Dao Yheng: true, distractions can be useful too -- a form of openness to the unexpected
    Mitsu Ishii: we talked about this a lot recently. there are different approaches. one is to simply try to limit or tone down distractions (which in fact can be useful)
    Zen Arado: yes Eliza !
    Mitsu Ishii: but another is --- to be able to have presence even while distracted, so that one can have presence no matter what
    Bleu Oleander: like that quote Eliza
    Zen Arado: so we can still have fun ?
    Zen Arado: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: perhaps a base of getting out of distractions long enough to taste a kind of peace.. then getting into distractions and working with them from that peaceful place...
    Mitsu Ishii: when distractions themselves can be seen as presence, then we have something that cannot be dislodged easily
    Bleu Oleander: yes!
    Mitsu Ishii: yes, Eliza, I think that is a good approach
    Eliza Madrigal: Mmm, distractions as presence... that's lovely
    Zen Arado: too many things though - too much multi-tasking
    Mitsu Ishii: it's difficult to practice while distracted, but I like that line from the Lojong very much because it's so important
    Zen Arado: why do we complicate our lives ?
    Mitsu Ishii: Yes, Zen, I think it makes sense sometimes to just limit distraction, if that helps
    Mitsu Ishii: or go on retreat
    Bleu Oleander: because we can
    Eliza Madrigal: something to do... heheh
    Zen Arado: :)
    Dao Yheng: there is a sort of machismo in juggling lots of things at once :)
    Eliza Madrigal: true!
    Eliza Madrigal: a charge
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Rhiannon :)
    Mitsu Ishii: but it is also important to realize that no matter what there is still original mind, which is the basis of everything, whether distracted or not
    Rhiannon Dragoone: hi Eliza
    Zen Arado: Hi Rhiannon
    Rhiannon Dragoone: hi Zen
    Rhiannon Dragoone: The topic is the origins of knowledge?
    Eliza Madrigal: We are talking about working with distraction :) Here's the link to the workshop: http://ways-of-knowing.wik.is/
    Eliza Madrigal: For the last several weeks we've been discussing "Lojong" slogans
    Zen Arado: Suzuki quote - Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.
    Rhiannon Dragoone: I work with distraction all the time; the key is to focus, re-focus, and focus again
    Rhiannon Dragoone: A kind of de-focues concentration, though, Zen is
    Mitsu Ishii: The approach I have taken is something like what Eliza just wrote, above
    Mitsu Ishii: So we take a step back and remove some distractions for a while, i.e., sitting meditation or going on periodic retreat
    Mitsu Ishii: but then go back into life and try to find some flavor of clarity even while distracted
    Zen Arado: soon as get back fro a retreat I am back into my usual distractions though
    Mitsu Ishii: I like to think of it as a sort of double exposure; there's the distraction, but then a hint of clarity in the background. over time, it grows
    Zen Arado: suspect Facebook and Twitter are unnecessary distractions
    Rhiannon Dragoone: I thought the point of Zen was to completely be in the world; don't allow the Ego to disrupte what ur doing
    Mitsu Ishii: right, that's the problem, Zen. when clarity seems to be separate from distraction then distraction can just wash away clarity
    Rhiannon Dragoone: Zen, lmao
    Zen Arado: yes Rhiannon
    Mitsu Ishii: but it is possible to bring clarity into distraction so they are co present
    Eliza Madrigal: Well, zen anything can and can't be.... facebook, for instance, allows me to quickly check in with a family member or send a pic, rather than talking on the phone for 2 hrs....
    Mitsu Ishii: that is actually tricky, and difficult
    Zen Arado: another Suzuki quote: When you do something, you should burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.
    Mitsu Ishii: That Suzuki quote reminds me of a Zen joke
    Rhiannon Dragoone: Zen, i like that one
    Mitsu Ishii: there was a Zen abbott who used to say "When you read, read! When you eat, eat!"
    Mitsu Ishii: then one day his students caught him reading while eating.
    Rhiannon Dragoone: Mitsu, yes!
    Mitsu Ishii: So he exclaimed "When you read and eat, read and eat!"
    Zen Arado: yes :)
    Eliza Madrigal: hehehehe, love that
    Rhiannon Dragoone: /me claps with one hand at that
    Eliza Madrigal: /me believes in mindful multitasking...
    Zen Arado: :)
    Dao Yheng: :)
    Dao Yheng: Hm, so what is leaving the traces when looking at facebook?
    Mitsu Ishii: the point is that when we distract ourselves it is not just the distraction but the way we get lost while distracted.
    Rhiannon Dragoone: mindful mutli-tasking; i like that
    Zen Arado: so...distractions aren't really distractions then?
    Mitsu Ishii: as we get more deep into presence and familiar with it, less and less can actually dislodge presence, so it becomes possible to do more and more without being totally upended
    Zen Arado: depends on the way we do them?
    Rhiannon Dragoone: Zen, I think they are, unless u focus on them completely too
    Eliza Madrigal: Dao, maybe if we step on the train... go from looking at facebook to getting pulled to the next thing, then the next...?
    Mitsu Ishii: distractions can be distractions, or they can be fundamental being
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Betz, Welcome :) http://ways-of-knowing.wik.is/
    Zen Arado: Hi Betz
    Betz Darwinian: Morning. sorry i am late.
    Eliza Madrigal: /me nods @ Mitsu... The Ground itself
    Mitsu Ishii: hello Betz, welcome
    Eliza Madrigal: No worries at all, Betz :)
    Mitsu Ishii: Even clarity can become a distraction, if we turn it into an achievement and attach to it
    Zen Arado: yes Mitsu
    Eliza Madrigal: tell me about it... ;-)
    Zen Arado: hundred poot pole?
    Zen Arado: foot :)
    Mitsu Ishii: yeah exactly :)
    Rhiannon Dragoone: Yes, any ambition, like Master Po's ambition to be treated like anyone else; leading to Kane's killing the imperial nephew
    Rhiannon Dragoone: uh, if u've seen Kung fu, that is
    Dao Yheng: :)
    Mitsu Ishii: good old kung fu!
    Rhiannon Dragoone: well, i thought the pilot was like Taoism/Buddhism 101
    Eliza Madrigal: I want to bring up, before we're too late into the session, that Calvino has asked to work with the "Five Forces" before we move on from lojong. Perhaps we can take that as this week's homework?
    Rhiannon Dragoone: /me hopes they don't think she's a complete bubblehead now
    Zen Arado: ok sure
    Eliza Madrigal: Not at all Rhi :)
    Zen Arado: not at all Rhiannon
    Rhiannon Dragoone: /me smiles in relief at Eliza and Zen
    Dao Yheng: You'd have to be a deep thinker to get something out of TV :)
    Eliza Madrigal: hehehehe
    Rhiannon Dragoone: Dao, hee, hee.
    Zen Arado: cultivates 'beginner's mind'
    Rhiannon Dragoone: Yes, the lessons from King of Queens, for instance
    Dao Yheng: :))
    Mitsu Ishii: The Five Forces is a kind of very compact summary of the Theravadan aspect of Buddhist practice
    Eliza Madrigal: Oh?
    Rhiannon Dragoone: Mitsu, thanks, that was my next question
    Mitsu Ishii: * Work with the Five Forces. The Five Forces are:

     1. Be intense, be committed.
     2. Familiarization – get used to doing and being what you want to do and to be.
     3. Cultivate the white seeds, not the black ones.
     4. Turn totally away from all your ego trips.
     5. Dedicate all the merits of what you do for the benefit of others.
    Rhiannon Dragoone: I've read Suzuki and Allan Watts, and some Buddhist scriptues, but i have never hearf of the Five Forces
    Mitsu Ishii: we're talking about Lojong
    Mitsu Ishii: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lojong
    Mitsu Ishii: The Five Forces are a part of that teaching
    Zen Arado: http://www.lojongmindtraining.com/
    Eliza Madrigal: I wonder why they are grouped this way?
    Rhiannon Dragoone: thank you
    Rhiannon Dragoone: Does the grouping matter, as long as u do the practice?
    Mitsu Ishii: I can only speculate, but my guess is because he sort of wanted to summarize that cycle of teaching together
    Dao Yheng: You'd have a include a comment about ego trips when encouraging someone to work hard?
    Mitsu Ishii: i.e., the Five Forces reminds me of Theravadan techniques, which I am not that familiar with as it isn't what my sangha emphasizes, but that's how it appears to me
    Eliza Madrigal: Rhi, its just a curiosity because of the long list of slogans, with these clustered as if a pointer... hm,,, okay thanks
    Eliza Madrigal: How so, Dao?
    Rhiannon Dragoone: /me nods at Eliza
    Zen Arado: "The five strengths are instructions on how to live and how to die." Pema chidron
    Zen Arado: Chodron
    Zen Arado: a pretty broad categorization !
    Eliza Madrigal: wow yes
    Dao Yheng: If you are going to suggest to someone that they work hard, make distinctions between "black and white" seeds, etc, you'd also need to include a comment about not attaching to the results / ego?
    Rhiannon Dragoone: Well, to apply to all humans, they would have to be broad
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah, yes... we expect 'returns' for our investments....
    Eliza Madrigal: so maybe why it ends with dedication of merit...
    Dao Yheng: yes
    Rhiannon Dragoone: Well, isn't the ego here the nagging little voice that says "You're not doing it right; you're a slut; your'e a whore; you're stupid?"
    Mitsu Ishii: yes, it's crucial to let that go!
    Dao Yheng: yes, that too!
    Zen Arado: see it as just thoughts
    Eliza Madrigal: not louder than anything else
    Mitsu Ishii: of course, elsewhere in the Lojong are admonitons to abandon hope of results, and to accept yourself
    Zen Arado: not easy - we get caught so easily
    Rhiannon Dragoone: yeah, accept what u gotta do
    Mitsu Ishii: acceptance of course doesn't mean just going along with your habits. it just means not beating yourself up because of anything you may see in yourself, whether "positive" or "negative"
    Bleu Oleander: (c u all later, getting too many rl distractions :) )
    Mitsu Ishii: bye Bleu
    Eliza Madrigal: Bye Bleu, thanks
    Zen Arado: bye Bleu
    Rhiannon Dragoone: CU Bleu
    Dao Yheng: Bye Bleu
    Dao Yheng: Are there other slogans that people want to put on the list?
    Eliza Madrigal: yes, and in that acceptance perhaps there is less energy drain keeping one from making needed changes ...
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah, good question Dao
    Zen Arado: there are 4 there though
    Zen Arado: should be enough for nex week?
    Eliza Madrigal: afraid of homework zen?
    Eliza Madrigal: heheh
    Dao Yheng: right - for future reference then?
    Zen Arado: sorry 5
    Eliza Madrigal: Didn't you want to tackle jealousy, Zen?
    Zen Arado: yes :)
    Eliza Madrigal: /me finds that one daunting
    Zen Arado: sure sometime
    Rhiannon Dragoone: jealousy come from attachment; if we get other attachments, we won't be jealous
    Zen Arado: or did we do that as part of anger?
    Rhiannon Dragoone: Won't matter if he goes home to his wife
    Eliza Madrigal: it seems a different category to me... and jealousy isn't just romantic... maybe it is a sense of loss and comparing with others
    Rhiannon Dragoone: Jealousy is attachment
    Zen Arado: yes it is big problem sometimes
    Dao Yheng: it could be a good one -- I find it coming up for me a lot when hearing about other people's sexy meditation experiences for instance :)
    Eliza Madrigal: so seems much to work with, yes.... indeed attachment
    Eliza Madrigal: /me smiles @ Dao
    Eliza Madrigal: spiritual materialism ... relate :)
    Zen Arado: yes
    Dao Yheng: another one for the list -- maybe tonglen practice itself? As you breathe in, take in and accept all the sadness, pain, and negativity of the whole world, including yourself, and absorb it into your heart. As you breathe out, pour out all your joy and bliss; bless the whole of existence.
    Zen Arado: yes - a great practice
    Eliza Madrigal: MMM, yes.
    Mitsu Ishii: yeah, that is a very good one to actually do
    Dao Yheng: that one also feels like it could be challenging for me :)
    Zen Arado: yes practical - not just theory
    Eliza Madrigal: /me nods
    Eliza Madrigal: and also something one can do anywhere... amidst distractions...
    Zen Arado: yes
    Eliza Madrigal: circling back into the rest of our discussion
    Dao Yheng: yes!
    Zen Arado: :)
    Zen Arado: neat Eliza :)
    Mitsu Ishii: we had said we wanted to do a practice element each week
    Eliza Madrigal: true
    Mitsu Ishii: do we want to try Tonglen as a practice element?
    Eliza Madrigal: I do
    Eliza Madrigal: why not have that *with* the topics for the next few weeks?
    Mitsu Ishii: perhaps based on Pema Chodron's instructions
    Mitsu Ishii: http://www.shambhala.org/teachers/pema/tonglen1.php
    Zen Arado: ok
    Mitsu Ishii: okay, let's do that
    Zen Arado: sure
    Eliza Madrigal: thanks for the link
    Dao Yheng: k, sounds good
    Zen Arado: better go
    Mitsu Ishii: all right everyone great to see you as always
    Eliza Madrigal: :)))) So happy to meet with you guys again
    Zen Arado: thanks for discussion all
    Dao Yheng: great to see you all again!
    Rhiannon Dragoone: thank you all for a good discussion
    Mitsu Ishii: eliza you are looking spectacular again
    Eliza Madrigal: Thank you very much
    Rhiannon Dragoone: Glad i could make it this morning
    Eliza Madrigal: /me smiles!
    Eliza Madrigal: Yes, nice that you came, Rhiannon
    Betz Darwinian: thanks
    Rhiannon Dragoone: /me smiles at Zen, Dao, and Eliza
    Zen Arado: smiles back :)
    Mitsu Ishii: thanks for coming Rhiannon and Betz
    Eliza Madrigal: Bye Betz :),Sweet
    Rhiannon Dragoone: The homeowrk will be posted?
    Dao Yheng: :)
    Mitsu Ishii: Yes
    Eliza Madrigal: yes... right no the site.. prob by the end of the day
    Rhiannon Dragoone: yay
    Eliza Madrigal: *on=no
    Zen Arado: bye
    Rhiannon Dragoone: well, hopefully see u all next week
    Rhiannon Dragoone: bye, bye
    Eliza Madrigal: Bye for now all :)
    Dao Yheng: bye all!
    Rhiannon Dragoone: /me waves
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