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A fresh look at the 3NT

Re: A fresh look at the 3NT

Postby Chrisd on Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:17 pm

fukasetsu wrote:
Chrisd wrote:Still it would appear some awakened people miss the reality of the brain.

remember Mind cannot be used to get something from mind. Don't make it a forwarding address.

No, our practise is to invite proper inquiry which cuts of the mind because it cannot be answered by mind, so it takes you beyond the mind, I believe it was Bodhidharma who said using the mind to look for reality is delusion, not using the mind to look for reality is awareness.

As said earlier you already have exactly what you need for realization, no need to seek external theories


Proper inquiry to me is following the inner light and following path that is laid out for us to the best of our ability.

What do you think about this one from Bernadette Roberts fuk?

Bernadette Roberts wrote:For the most part consciousness does not even realize its own limitations. Nor will it ever realize its limitations until the human experience has been stretched to its furthest potential, a potential no man knows ahead of time. There can be no falling away of self or consciousness until self or consciousness has been lived to the limits of its human capacity, which capacity is obviously its total fulfillment. To expect a kind of mystical demise of something we never really knew, or had never fully experienced or lived, is simply wishful thinking.


Shawn Nevins wrote:I think it is often beginners on the path who torment themselves the most about the ego of seeking, and thereby threaten to short circuit their quest. In their enthusiasm for identifying egos, beginners realize they've assumed a new pose—they are now spiritual seekers. As other egos diminish, the spiritual ego and pride grows. They determine that this ego is as illusory as the rest and must be eliminated.
That is not how the process of ego elimination works, though. We don't choose to give up or let go of egos. They wither as their painful ridiculousness causes us to turn from them and slowly cease giving them attention and life. Alternatively, egos are stripped from us when the sharp sword of psychological trauma leaves no other route of survival but the dropping of a pose in order to preserve the whole.
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Re: A fresh look at the 3NT

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:14 pm

Chrisd wrote:
fukasetsu wrote:
Chrisd wrote:Still it would appear some awakened people miss the reality of the brain.

remember Mind cannot be used to get something from mind. Don't make it a forwarding address.

No, our practise is to invite proper inquiry which cuts of the mind because it cannot be answered by mind, so it takes you beyond the mind, I believe it was Bodhidharma who said using the mind to look for reality is delusion, not using the mind to look for reality is awareness.

As said earlier you already have exactly what you need for realization, no need to seek external theories



The phrase "the reality of the brain" is ambiguous at best, and more generally a misnomer. Do you mean the appearance of the brain, the presence of the brain, the fact of the brain, etc." The term "reality" is a psychological term, that is, a term meaningful only within a psychological frame of reference, while the term "brain" is a materialist term within a physical frame of reference. The two terms, reality and brain, do not mix or merge.

The use of the word "mind" is also very ambiguous, as sometimes it is used to mean cognition, intellectual process, mentation, thinking, feeling, etc. As I use the term mind, there is no practice that takes us beyond mind. There is no practice that cuts off mind. It is the false conceptions of our bifurcated cognition that trick us into thinking we can be taken beyond mind or cut off mind. Each of us is exactly Buddha mind, and it is only our polarized and antithetical conceptions that prevent us from realizing our true nature.


Chrisd wrote:Proper inquiry to me is following the inner light and following path that is laid out for us to the best of our ability.

What do you think about this one from Bernadette Roberts fuk?

Bernadette Roberts wrote:For the most part consciousness does not even realize its own limitations. Nor will it ever realize its limitations until the human experience has been stretched to its furthest potential, a potential no man knows ahead of time. There can be no falling away of self or consciousness until self or consciousness has been lived to the limits of its human capacity, which capacity is obviously its total fulfillment. To expect a kind of mystical demise of something we never really knew, or had never fully experienced or lived, is simply wishful thinking.

Not bad for a Christian. Yes, mind and body do not fall off based on expectation and wishful thinking. My hesitation is always with the words, not the meaning. Here the words "lived to the limits of its human capacity" are ambiguous and seem to suggest some kind of temporal fulfillment, as if the reservoir of capacity can be filled to a limit. I take it that is not what she means, but it is what the words suggest. Self or consciousness just never can be lived to the limits of its human capacity, to that is not a valid precondition for falling away of self or consciousness. When the plus is expanded to its utmost, then the minus and contraction is manifested. When the minus contracts to its utmost, then the plus of expansion is manifested. At the still point of the utmost when plus become minus and minus becomes plus, there is dropping away of self and consciousness. This occurs continuously but we are too entranced and enchanted with the plus and minus to notice.

Shawn Nevins wrote:I think it is often beginners on the path who torment themselves the most about the ego of seeking, and thereby threaten to short circuit their quest. In their enthusiasm for identifying egos, beginners realize they've assumed a new pose—they are now spiritual seekers. As other egos diminish, the spiritual ego and pride grows. They determine that this ego is as illusory as the rest and must be eliminated.
That is not how the process of ego elimination works, though. We don't choose to give up or let go of egos. They wither as their painful ridiculousness causes us to turn from them and slowly cease giving them attention and life. Alternatively, egos are stripped from us when the sharp sword of psychological trauma leaves no other route of survival but the dropping of a pose in order to preserve the whole.

I follow Huangbo's teaching. Take refuge in Buddha without seeking Buddha. Take refuge in Dharma without seeking Dharma. Take refuge in Sangha without seeking Sangha.

In formal education, I have a psychological MA degree, so I object to the way people talk about "ego" as if it were a thing, and not a living mythic symbol. Yes, we can't choose to give up or let go of "egos" because egos are not things we have or hold. The idea of "ego elimination" is fraught with confusions. A ego can't be "stripped from us" in any literal sense. We have the ego complex of our psychological myth of our personhood. But even in trauma, the mind organizes its psychology with an ego complex. The modifications of the ego complex through trauma can be painful and disorienting, but the process and function of our ego complex of the 4th skandha is resilient and reasserts itself. Awakening happens in the interstices between ego formations, not in the permanent elimination of ego. If we eliminate the 4th skandha, then we have no consciousness. Thinking of no-thinking is the way. No-thinking is the thinking of suchness.


_/|\_
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Re: A fresh look at the 3NT

Postby Chrisd on Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:50 pm

Gregory Wonderwheel wrote:
Not bad for a Christian. Yes, mind and body do not fall off based on expectation and wishful thinking. My hesitation is always with the words, not the meaning. Here the words "lived to the limits of its human capacity" are ambiguous and seem to suggest some kind of temporal fulfillment, as if the reservoir of capacity can be filled to a limit. I take it that is not what she means, but it is what the words suggest. Self or consciousness just never can be lived to the limits of its human capacity, to that is not a valid precondition for falling away of self or consciousness. When the plus is expanded to its utmost, then the minus and contraction is manifested. When the minus contracts to its utmost, then the plus of expansion is manifested. At the still point of the utmost when plus become minus and minus becomes plus, there is dropping away of self and consciousness. This occurs continuously but we are too entranced and enchanted with the plus and minus to notice.


I think she meant that the usual self-referential responses, emotional, were almost non-existent in daily living for her at a point. Around that point, what she calls "self" dropped off entirely so he was left living without self. I don't know how this relates to your example. I'd need a visual picture to quite grasp it I think, I'm not big on the natural sciences. What I meant by the reality of the brain is that in cases the body has to learn to function without self-responses before it can dispense with the self-object identification entirely.

Bernadette Roberts wrote:Knowing self: a reflexive function that allows the brain (or mind) to bend on itself to thereby know itself. The senses look only outward, consciousness only looks inward. The reflexive mechanism is responsible for the subject-object poles of consciousness. Thus subject and object is one and the same self - the same subject knowing itself as object to itself.
As I see it, self is literally worn out in the living of it. Eventually the constant flow of life’s problems and crises become like water on a duck’s back, so that finally life can go on without all those usual responses of self, or without any response of self at all.


I don't think there's "one" enlightenment and process, the result and path is different in different cases http://happinessbeyondthought.blogspot. ... -very.html yet it's profound.
I'm for inventing a new terminology. I haven't found one expressing the different ones yet. Many people think they have "it" and close off to others. Way I see it, people have inborn capacity/interest to move in a certain direction... it's not useful trying to pull them in a direction that's not meant for them. You can find out by asking some questions and tests. Most people will never have a clue what Huang Bo is referring to but can do some other things that are appropriate for them.

I don't understand what you mean by this:

Gregory Wonderwheel wrote:The modifications of the ego complex through trauma can be painful and disorienting, but the process and function of our ego complex of the 4th skandha is resilient and reasserts itself. Awakening happens in the interstices between ego formations, not in the permanent elimination of ego.
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Re: A fresh look at the 3NT

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:55 pm

Dear Chris,

I encourage you to look at everything, even the brain. :)

By the way, I hope you have 'hold of Dr. James. H. Austin, M.D.'s, massive book, ZEN AND THE BRAIN. He's a formal Zen practitioner (though we don't know to what extent), and a professional practicing-neuroscientist. The book is peculiar in many ways, but I think that's mainly because it is unique: I don't mean a criticism. Each of the hundreds of sections is a little essay, really. Very digestible!

I have an early review-copy of the book, but I think the published version is about as voluminous (weighs over a kilo... ) . :lol2:

He writes about various practice-states, and awakening, from personal experience, and brings in brain-science at every turn (at which he is EXPERT).

A word of caution: some of his own experience, I feel, describes preliminary states, prior to awakening. These are states and phenomena that I would normally call "purifications", while the body and nervous system are still rather imbalanced, and being encouraged to shift, via the practice, sometimes with rather a lot of force. Many people go through such purifications, but I think one must not generalize from Dr. Austin's experience of them to suppose that "one's own" will be just like that. I doubt it! (for instance... his were not like "mine"). I think we all have different hardened-skin to slough-off, and it manifests (the sloughing... ) in different, but necessary!, ways... in different surroundings and different conditions. Lots of differences, even in the same dojo. So, read judiciously... but appreciate! There may be juice in there.

The brain-science he taught me has not enhanced my Zen Buddhist practice. But I doubt it's hurt it.

Again, kudos on your curiosity and accomplishments. Wishing you many more.

As for "emotion", well, I can't comment, unless pressed. Perhaps your teacher can comment?

best,

--Joe :Namaste:

Chrisd wrote: I may be able to add to their knowledge a bit so they can help others and themselves better.
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Re: A fresh look at the 3NT

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:56 pm

chankin1937 wrote:As recommended in the last few lines of the “Surangama Sutra” (Page 72 of D T Suzuki's “Manual of Zen Buddhism”).it is recommended that we develop a “clear, logical, penetrating understanding” of why meditation works..

This is a bit of a misquote and misdirection of what Suzuki says. Suzuki's synopsis of that portion of the Sutra says "The Yogin must be philosophically trained with all his experiences and intuitions to have a clear, logical, penetrating understanding of the Essence."
Having "a clear, logical, penetrating understanding of the Essence" is a different proposition from having a clear, logical, penetrating understanding of why meditation works.
To practice meditation and have it work for us, is different from understanding why it works. Many people drive their vehicles without understanding why they work. We can drive the One Vehicle of Zen without knowing "why" it works.
chankin1937 wrote:Working from the premise that we have appetites which must be satisfied,

What is the basis for this premise? Assuming a false premise will result in a false conclusion.
The idea "that we have appetites which must be satisfied" is not a premise of Buddha Dharma.
It relates to the Second Noble Truth that our suffering arises from the conditions of appetites, thirsts, cravings, and our grasping attachments attempting to satisfy those "appetites." but it is contrary to Buddha Dharma to assume the premise that our appetites "must be satisfied." The idea of "must be satisfied" is exactly the wrong view that results in the Second Noble Truth's veracity.

chankin1937 wrote:two statements can be made:
A/ When an appetite is satisfied we abstain from the conscious mental activity required to accomplish it. The goal is reached. “Thinking” has done its job.
B/ When an appetite is satisfied we can normally expect to experience a degree of happiness.

A is false. There is no abstinence in satisfaction. Abstinence is what is done against the flow of attempts to satisfy. Satiation is not abstaining. Satiation of appetite is a very temporary condition and the job that thinking does in that condition is to mislead us into thinking the state is permanent instead of temporary, thus, satiation is also a cause of suffering.
B is false, depending on what we mean by "happiness." The kind of happiness that makes B true, is the most superficial and artificial kind of happiness.
chankin1937 wrote: Because we are talking about the same mind at the same point in time and because statement A is the objective description of what happens when we satisfy an appetite (essentially fewer neurones fire) and statement B is what it feels like when this happens (the subjective description), we can derive a third statement from A and B above:
C/ Any increase in the level of happiness which we experience is the direct result of a reduction in the level of conscious mental activity in our mind.

The firing of neurons is a physical frame of reference, not a mind frame of reference. We talk about different minds, such as the desiring mind, the satisfied mind, but there is only one mind. Statement A is not an objective description of what happens when appetite is temporally satisfied. Statement B is not a subjective statement of what it feels like, unless happiness is used in the most trivial sense of the word. Statement C is a total non sequitur in relation to statements A and B. The level of happiness has nothing to do with the level of conscious mental activity of mind. This kind of misunderstanding is what make "quietism" a heterodox notion in Buddha Dharma.

chankin1937 wrote: Statement C describes the mechanism of happiness in creatures with our kind of nervous system. (Note that reducing conscious mental activity does not entail a reduction in the level of our awareness, which remains constant at an ordinary, every-day level.)

Statement C does not describe the "mechanism" of happiness. It is a tremendous mistake to take pleasure as the meaning of happiness. Pleasure and pain are how we experience our kind of nervous system. Happiness is not the state of pleasure without pain.
chankin1937 wrote: Now, if we extrapolate the relationship expressed in statement C to the extreme case, we arrive at the following statement:
D/ Perfect happiness is the total absence of conscious mental activity in the aware, alert brain of creatures with our kind of central nervous system.

This is exactly the kind of extrapolation that led to the necessity of the Mahayana as medicine to deal with the misunderstanding that said the Arhat achieves a nirvana that is the total absence of conscious mental activity.
chankin1937 wrote: It is my contention that the latter statement corresponds exactly in meaning to the statement made by Sakyamuni Buddha two and a half thousand years ago which has been translated as:
Nirvana is the extinction of desire.


The Mahayana does not see this as an accurate statement of what Buddha said. Buddha said "Nirvana is the extinguishing of dukkha" and there is a path to realize that extinguishing. It is wrong view to see Nirvana as the extinction of desire. That is as simple as I can say it, though we absolutely need to acknowledge that the points about "extinction verses extinguishing" and "desire verses dukkha" are very much more complex and nuanced.

chankin1937 wrote: Here we have, encapsulated in one short sentence the psychology of the common human goal - happiness
This understanding brings Buddhist practices into the realm of our everyday life. As we have to learn how to walk and talk, so we have to learn how to be happy.
We must limit conscious mental activity to its proper role in order to get our just and proper reward for successful action.

Real happiness has not been addressed in the one short sentence or in the various statements A, B, C or D. Happiness is not a Pavlovian reward. Happiness is more a process of unlearning than learning.

_/|\_
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Re: A fresh look at the 3NT

Postby Chrisd on Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:28 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:Dear Chris,

I encourage you to look at everything, even the brain. :)

By the way, I hope you have 'hold of Dr. James. H. Austin, M.D.'s, massive book, ZEN AND THE BRAIN.


Looks like a cool book Joe, thx ;)

From the preface :lol2:
Meanwhile, if we ever think we have Zen in our grasp, we are surely in error.
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Re: A fresh look at the 3NT

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:29 pm

Gregory,

Very balanced and clear, helpful, reasoning throughout the post. Thank you for it.

The little bit I quote reminds me of something I read in just the past two days. I read, "Happiness is wanting what we have." I was not too "happy" with this, although it's not too bad. I changed it, in my own appreciation, to, "Happiness is being satisfied with what we have".

I'd say that this is "ordinary" happiness, not "Dharma joy".

Well, happiness of any kind can be transient, too. Except when it isn't.

--Joe

Gregory Wonderwheel wrote:Real happiness has not been addressed in the one short sentence or in the various statements A, B, C or D. Happiness is not a Pavlovian reward. Happiness is more a process of unlearning than learning.
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Re: A fresh look at the 3NT

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:38 pm

Chris, I'd say the feller's right, in the Preface. Zen is not grasped. Neither is it not-grasped. It's embodied. Or not. Practice is aimed at uncovering it, so it can be embodied, unimpeded, and without much intermittence. It's a slippery eel that MUST keep slip-slidin' away, or it becomes hidden again. Some say, "a black canon ball flying through the night". Some say, "White bird must fly, or she will die... ". ;)

--Joe

Chrisd wrote:From the preface :
Meanwhile, if we ever think we have Zen in our grasp, we are surely in error.
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Re: A fresh look at the 3NT

Postby fukasetsu on Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:50 pm

Gregory Wonderwheel wrote:There is no practice that cuts off mind.


Yes that was the point, "non-dwelling is bliss"
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Re: A fresh look at the 3NT

Postby fukasetsu on Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:52 pm

Chrisd wrote:What do you think about this one from Bernadette Roberts fuk?

It's in the scope of maturity for mankind, there are errors in there but only if one complicates the matter and corresponds it to one's own angle of vision, so the quote is fine to raise our kids so to speak.
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Re: A fresh look at the 3NT

Postby chankin1937 on Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:59 pm

Hsi Yun (a Zen Master who lived about 840 A.D.) had this advice to give:
" ...To make use of the mind to think (in the ordinary sense of the
word) is to leave the substance and attach yourself to forms....
The pure mind, the source of everything, shines on with all the
brilliance of its own perfection, but the people of the world do not
awake to it, regarding only that which sees, hears, (feels?) and knows as
mind. Because their understanding is veiled by their own sight, hearing,
feeling and knowledge, they do not understand the spiritual brilliance
of the original substance. If they could only eliminate all analytical
thinking in a flash, that original substance would manifest itself like
the sun ascending through the void and illuminate the whole universe
without hindrance or bounds....
Neither hold to them (sight, hearing, etc.), abandon them, dwell in them
nor cleave to them, but exist independently of all that is above, below
or around you...."

CH...and what then remains? Awareness of how happy/contented you are. Awareness of
the physical condition of the resting brain; and if data processing has been,
after long practise, reduced (by abstaining from it) to zero then that condition will be
Nirvana.
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Re: A fresh look at the 3NT

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Mar 01, 2015 5:07 pm

And so we practice: to uncover and open to this "Original", and to maintain its unhindered operation and expression, for ourselves and others.

best,

--Joe

ps what of the missing Truth of the FOUR Noble Truths? Still missing? ;)

chankin1937 wrote:"If they could only eliminate all analytical
thinking in a flash, that original substance
would manifest itself like the sun
ascending through the void
and illuminate the whole universe
without hindrance or bounds.... "
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Re: A fresh look at the 3NT

Postby chankin1937 on Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:44 pm

Michaeljc wrote:Hi Chankin

I feel that there is some validity in your hypothesis. The cessation of thought is well accepted as part of the process. Yet, IMO, this happens on multiple occasions throughout our day. Meditation may get much of its power by prolonging this state.

What's more difficult to explain is the abrupt explosion resulting from what has been described as the collapse of all concepts and conditioning. This cannot always be described as happiness.

One way of explaining it may be that each of our brains are born with certain attributes. Through these tendencies and specific characteristics of our environments, capabilities and action develop the individual brains in a certain way - just as a weight lifter develops different muscles to a dancer. Behind all this there may be capabilities (eg the capacity for instinctive creation as an artist) that are suppressed.

The 'abrupt awakening' may be the liberation of un-utilised capacities in the brain. This may explain the common shock related to awakenings and why the flavour of an awakening cannot be anticipated.

It is important to consider that brain conditioning over extended periods of time is normally required. Multiple awakenings of different flavours and intensities are the norm under prolonged meditation training. Years are usually required.

I believe that these changes are driven by identifiable physiological processes. Many see this approach as too clinical - excluding anything 'spiritual'. Spirituality relies on a degree of mystery. Humans feed off mystery as a form of reassurance.

Of late within quantum mechanics it has been scientifically proven that one object can be in two physical localities at a given time. Likewise, science is suggesting that everything is comprised from one energy source. A seemingly impossible connection between self and other is a common realisation associated with abrupt awakenings. Meditation may work through liberating brain functions that already know of such matters - or by being in another place at a given time - or by being receptive to other from a different place and/or time - or by being receptive to what has always been there, hidden.

Its all possible

Cheers

Michael

Hello Michael,
First an apology. It is in fact the 4NT.
We all experience degrees of happiness but few have any familiarity with the extreme condition. There are no words for it. When we leave the tight confines of the brains operating system and "collapse" as you put it into the boundless whole mind we experience something that seems totally different. But it is simply the extrapolation to the extreme case of that ordinary happiness. I believe meditation does remove the random and habitual undercurrent of thoughts that plague the untrained mind and so improves everyday levels of happiness. Thomas Merton the Jesuit mystic reports that some meditators are put off by the extreme experience and abandon the quest. To be quite clear about this, I have had only the most fleeting of experiences with the extreme condition and that many years ago. But that brief insight gave me understanding and changed my life.I have a web page which explains my position in depth. If you feel up to it google my name and search through the obituaries of my name sake you will find "The Theory of Meditation". (Non of the contact information works nowadays. Please don't send any money. :-) )
Colin Hankin
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Re: A fresh look at the 3NT

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:54 pm

Colin,

If you're interested, you can edit the Subject Line of any of your most recent posts in this thread, or in a brand new post in the thread, and the modification will then propagate to all the posts in the thread (that is, all posts in the thread, retrospective, current, and forthcoming, will then carry the changed text of the Subject Line, though you've changed it only in one).

It may be possible for other Members to do that to any thread's Subject Line, but I don't know (kind of don't think so... ), and I don't dare try it. I HOPE it's true that only the original post-er has "ownership" over that, else, there could be mayhem run amok. ;)

Greetings,

--Joe

chankin1937 wrote: It is in fact the 4NT.
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Re: A fresh look at the 3NT

Postby Michaeljc on Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:46 am

Hello Michael,
First an apology. It is in fact the 4NT.
We all experience degrees of happiness but few have any familiarity with the extreme condition. There are no words for it. When we leave the tight confines of the brains operating system and "collapse" as you put it into the boundless whole mind we experience something that seems totally different. But it is simply the extrapolation to the extreme case of that ordinary happiness. I believe meditation does remove the random and habitual undercurrent of thoughts that plague the untrained mind and so improves everyday levels of happiness. Thomas Merton the Jesuit mystic reports that some meditators are put off by the extreme experience and abandon the quest. To be quite clear about this, I have had only the most fleeting of experiences with the extreme condition and that many years ago. But that brief insight gave me understanding and changed my life.I have a web page which explains my position in depth. If you feel up to it google my name and search through the obituaries of my name sake you will find "The Theory of Meditation". (Non of the contact information works nowadays. Please don't send any money. :-) )
Colin Hankin


Hi Colin

I feel it is a mistake to associate an abrupt awakening (as defined in Zen practice) as happiness. There are very powerful and sudden states of bliss associated with Zen practice that do not constitute an awakening. IME sudden realisations do not have a 'happiness' component. Most other disciplines probably value the bliss (happiness) experience highly. Zen does not

According to my understanding up to now

m
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Re: A fresh look at the 3NT

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:21 pm

Colin,

I'd add my voice to Michael's, and say that I feel it is (perhaps some of) the preliminary, enabling, purifying states prior to awakening which may have a bliss or "Dharma Joy" component. Another reason one needs a teacher! One REALLY doesn't want to stay in those preliminary states. I mean, not REALLY! Caution! The teacher can help un-stick you from them, and help you settle (I use the general "you", nothing personal).

At awakening, one may be instantaneously surprised or shocked (and I hope so!), but, I'd say, NOT emotional. The emotional states, if any, have been gone through in the days preceding. Now, one has stabilized, ...and IS stable. And awake.

(One can still laugh, etc. And maybe employ the appearance of emotion expediently in daily-life).

As ever with Humans, there may be variations to note if you have a large sample.

best!,

--Joe

chankin wrote:Hello Michael,
Michaeljc wrote:
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