So I've been reading Bill Bodri's What is Enlightenment and have just come away more confused. He says Enlightenment is realizing this Pristine Awareness (is this the same thing as what Tibetans call the Clear Light of Mind?) that never changes and is not different from the forms that come and go within It. Nothing is outside of It he says, nothing is other than It and this IT is what you really are when there is no more clinging.
Odd thing to me is that he sounds like he's positing some sort of Eternal Luminous Awareness. I'd swear that's exactly how he keeps phrasing it. I get the strong impression he's positing that there is this True...well Something I guess that never changes. Another thing...he's quit using a Buddhist framework to explain things and the book is full of things like this Empty Awareness is your True Self. He's using mostly Advaita terms but insists Advaita isn't teaching something different from Buddhism.
I read Bernadette Peter's explanation of "What is No-Self" and it sounds *nothing* like what True Self-ers (or Bill Bodri) describe. Bernadette says that the teaching of No-Self (which I take from her explanation of it she actually means it as "No-True-Self") is the major difference between Buddhism and Hinduism.
I then went back and read an old Xabir post and he pointed to a post on another board - something about a Senkya heresy (Xabir didn't actually make that post - he just merely linked to it as I recall). And for all the world the description sounds much like what Bill Bodri's book is positing is Enlightenment. Albeit Bodri did talk about how one has to discover the emptiness of phenomenon. Otherwise - he says until one discovers the emptiness of phenomenon then one still has subtle clinging going on.
But to me if the world is not other than this primordial awareness then duality (coming and going) is the very thing I am not "seeing" correctly. That there never has been a 'mirror reflecting" and there has never been a "Mind" in which all things are born or die and get reborn within again.
Does that make sense? I guess it's because I can come to no other conclusion upon reading the Heart Sutra. If things neither exist (permanence) nor don't exist (void) - then how can one posit a Mind that sits outside of time and space and acts like a big amphitheater for all the flux that goes on within it like what Bodri seems to keep implying? Then again - he seems to have shifted into using Vedantic terms to describe Enlightenment whereas his earliest books stuck strictly to a Buddhist framework. I wonder if this is because his original teacher, Master Nan Huai-Chin is now dead. BTW - can Enlightenment be described? I once read Master Nan Huai-Chin say it takes an incredibly vast accumulation of merit to be able to hear the very highest Dharma explained and yet experience no fear.
Like · · December 28, 2013 at 6:31am near Dallas, TX, United States
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Jaro Majer The problem most people have I think is with the language and misunderstanding the intention of the words used. As an example, one could say, in a Buddhist sense, that a person can have a constant realization of no-self and that in turn becomes the individuals constant, or permanent state of self reference... so in that sense, one can say, it is the "true Self" of all, without positing a self existing, eternal and transcendent cause of all. I'm merely stating that because all things have no-self as their true nature, that in turn is the Self of all, so in explanation it's going to sound a little paradoxical and it can be confusing, which is why all the great Masters say to rely on direct experience, not on discursive thought or written explanations. But, until that... of course we're going to have to try our best with discursive thought and written explanations. I hope this helps!
December 28, 2013 at 6:43am · Like · 2
Jaro Majer I'm not at all familiar with Bill's works, by the way.
December 28, 2013 at 6:48am · Like
Craig Nichols Re confusion are you looking for some kind of single highest and most correct Truth, perhaps with an assumption that if such Truth exists then everyone Truly Enlightened should agreed on what It Is?
December 28, 2013 at 9:21am · Like
Craig Nichols For me everyone has a somewhat different take on things, conditioned by their experience and learning. So each teacher is sharing their own form of Enlightenment unless they're in a formal teaching framework eg a form of buddhism (and even then to some degree). Look long enough in a particular way and you will come to see things that way. Which way is best? Each of us has to choose for ourselves. And that choice will likely change over time. So no highest truth and no single authority other than our own experience.
December 28, 2013 at 9:28am · Like · 1
Mr. J.C. The Buddhist view will get your further, for now. Later on, when you have realized all of this experientially, you'll see where the Advaita language comes from and how its not that bad.
December 28, 2013 at 10:14am · Like · 2
Serene Blue Thx Jaro - your answer makes a lot of sense.
December 28, 2013 at 12:39pm · Like · 1
Soh Bill bodri has always been speaking from one mind perspective. Anyway realization of Awareness is an important realization... though not an end. Mind is empty of mind but this fact does not deny the luminous clarity of Mind... that is the natural unfabricated pure knowingness and presence. One can realize Mind first then realize the empty nature of mind
December 28, 2013 at 12:48pm · Edited · Like · 4
Serene Blue If Mind is empty of mind then why bother calling it Mind? Is this Mind experienced? If it's experienced doesn't that mean discrimination is involved? If one experiences doesn't that mean there's still an idea lurking about?
December 28, 2013 at 12:54pm · Like
Soh No Mind should not be mistaken as denying the luminous depths of Mind but rather is pointing out the emptiness of inherent existence and dualities
December 28, 2013 at 12:56pm · Like · 3
Soh Mind can be directly realized but only in the absence of all discriminations and conceptualizations
December 28, 2013 at 7:43pm · Edited · Like · 2
Serene Blue Then my next question is - the very thing we experience - that is >CHANGE< - this Changing in fact does not change (things neither arise nor disappear) but it's the thinking/experiencing it as change that makes it 'delusion' or 'ignorance'.
December 28, 2013 at 12:59pm · Like
Serene Blue Hmm...upon re-reading the above I'm not sure if I'm stating my question clearly. It's kind of hard to get across what I'm getting at.
December 28, 2013 at 12:59pm · Like
Albert Hong The delusion is the whole structuring and appearance of change.
For instance we usually say the tire is changing. A tire is undergoing erosion via use hence changing. So a thing is changing. There the entity and it is changing. See how the noun and verb seem
The delusion is the inherently existent tire. What's left is the fluxing of clarity, which doesn't
Amount to anything because it is the exact of itself with nothing prior or during it.
So most of dharma is trying to see through these reference points that we impute.
December 28, 2013 at 6:05pm · Unlike · 2
Albert Hong An obvious example is these characters on facebook. They aren't inherently anything within themselves but are intimately linked with how we interpret and impute.
So we can step back a little and defocus and its all just black shapes meeting a white background. These words don't actually formulate something or a complete existent picture. Just symbols relating to symbols but again you have to interpret that view within the context of all symbols.
Or just step back. Colors, visual field, expanse of colors meeting other colors.
Step back more and forget about colors, forget about really anything. Just mystery.
What about location? Gone. What about thingness? Gone. Relationships between other aspects? Gone.
See how far experientially you can go with that.
Then do the exact opposite. Fabricate experience and concepts together. See what occurs then. Oh this is an iphone and it has this and this history.
Its my iphone, i bought it. And i am typing this out and using these signs which in turn allows me to converse with others.
See and feel how perception is weaves energetically by the patterning of how concepts frame reality. Especially the bond of i am and the bond of independent existence for objects.
Its magical how it works, how strong the illusion is.
December 28, 2013 at 6:16pm · Unlike · 7
Soh Well said!
December 28, 2013 at 6:25pm · Like · 1
Albert Hong I love how the diamond sutra approaches this whole dilemma. The tree is not a tree,
Hence a tree.
That requires quite the journey.
Mountains are seen to be actually empty of mountainness. Hence they are called mountains.
We look at a mountain and we see that alright this is a visual appearance. It is dependent upon the condition of a working eye and sense object. Then we have the visual consciousness. On the basis of all that we say mountain. So from that we can easily see that the mountain is a built appearance arising due to certain conditions.
At the same time the mountain is free from being a mountain. One can look at it as earth, or rocks, or pebbles. The mountain is infinitely divisible into infinite parts over and over again. We can see how the mountain on all aspects is dependent upon other things that are not the mountain.
In each case we are loosening this intuition we have about the mountain. That there is an independent, singular, inherently existent mountain that would be there if you took everything away.
But we easily can examine that not to be the case. With every fiber of our beingness we examine the mountain. Where is it???
And we recognize oh yes its a convention on the basis of certain experience lining up.
Alright something to ponder over.
December 28, 2013 at 6:26pm · Unlike · 5
Soh Mind too is such a convention.. to answer sereneblue
December 28, 2013 at 6:37pm · Like
Thomas Arta Really appreciate the clarity Albert, thanks!
The idea of fabricating and exaggerating what we are trying to see through I have found very helpful in enquiry. What is a sense of inherency? What is a sense of ultimacy? Can I really get a feel for this so that I can sensitize to its arising and fluctuation? These can be really profound doors of enquiry. Cheers!
December 28, 2013 at 6:41pm · Like
John Tan That is a very good presentation, Albert. Notice also how the mind is able to release and relief itself not from being non-conceptual but by seeing through "thingness" and realizing dependencies.
December 28, 2013 at 7:26pm · Unlike · 4
Amir Mourad "Nothing is outside of It he says"
That is true, but only as far as one's experience is concerned. And the universe is not centered around human experience anymore than it is centered around the Earth.
"nothing is other than It and this IT is what you really are when there is no more clinging."
Ultimate reality is inseparable from one's own consciousness, yet it is also inseparable from one's own unconsciousness. It is inseparable from suffering, and it is also inseparable from liberation. It is impossible to escape from the inescapable.
But - some people are so desperate that ultimate reality has to fit into human understanding, that it is very common to become blinded by the idea that it is equivalent with your own awareness.
December 28, 2013 at 7:26pm · Edited · Like
Jackson Peterson Yes, indeed... the mountain can't be identified. Where does the "mountain" begin? The foothills and terrain leading up to the "mountain" have no line of demarcation or sign that says "here is the beginning of mountain". If we notice, this is true of all appearances... they have no independent point of description.
December 28, 2013 at 7:34pm · Like