Sunday, June 16, 2013

Examining The Nature of Thought

Jackson Peterson:
For Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:

Let's take a look at what two Dzogchen masters have to say, starting with Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and then Longchenpa.

He says in his book: Present Fresh Wakefulness:

"Basically and fundamentally, our mind is utterly empty, sheer bliss, totally naked. We do not need to make it like this; we do not need to cultivate it by meditating, to create this state by meditating."

"Give up thinking of anything at all, about the past, the future or the present. Remain thought-free, like an infant."

"Innate suchness is unobscured the moment you are not caught up in present thinking."

"That which prevents us from being face to face with the real Buddha, the natural state of mind, is our own thinking. It seems to block the natural state."

"Rigpa, the Natural State, is not cultivated in meditation. The awakened state is not an object of the intellect. Rigpa is beyond intellect, and concepts."

"This is the real Buddhadharma, not to do a thing. Not to think of anything. Like Saraha said, "Having totally abandoned thinker and what is thought of, remain as a thought-free child."

"Thinking is delusion."

"When caught up in thinking we are deluded. To be free of thinking is to be free."

"That freedom consists in how to be free from our thinking."

"As long as the web of thinking has not dissolved, there will repeatedly be rebirth in and the experiences of the six realms (of suffering)."

"The method: But if you want to be totally free of conceptual thinking there is only one way: through training in thought-free wakefulness. (rigpa)."

"Strip awareness to its naked state."

"If you want to attain liberation and omniscient enlightenment, you need to be free of conceptual thinking."

"Being free of thought is liberation."

"This is not some state that is far away from us: thought-free wakefulness actually exists together with every thought, inseparable from it... but the thinking obscures or hides this innate actuality. Thought free wakefulness (the natural state) is immediately present the very moment the thinking dissolves, the moment it vanishes, fades away, falls apart."

"Simply suspend your thinking within the non-clinging state of wakefulness: that is the correct view."

Lonchenpa said: "A Buddha with a thinking mind (sem) is an ordinary sentient being (unenlightened) , but a sentient being without a thinking mind(sem) is a Buddha."
Like ·  · Unfollow Post · May 11 at 10:52am
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Acharya Babananda and 4 others like this.

Din Robinson: it's all so terribly simple, just be what you are, and any need to understand or "get there", just see that for what it is
May 11 at 10:56am · Like

Acharya Babananda: Thanks for these 
May 11 at 11:13am · Like · 1

Kyle Dixon: "When you rest your attention in naturalness without thinking anything whatsoever and maintain constant mindfulness in that state, you may experience a vacant and blank state of mind which is neutral and indifferent. If no vipashyana of decisive knowing is present, this is exactly what the masters call 'ignorance'. It is also called 'undecided' from the point of being unable to express any means of identification, such as 'It is like this!' or 'This is it!' Being unable to say what you are remaining in or thinking of, this state is labelled 'ordinary indifference'. But actually, it is just an ordinary and nonspecific abiding in the state of the all-ground [Skt. ālaya, Tib. kun gzhi]. 

Although nonconceptual wakefulness has to be developed through this method of resting meditation, to lack the wisdom that sees your own nature is not the main part of meditation practice. This is what the 'Aspiration of Samantabhadra' says:

'The vacant state of not thinking anything
Is itself the cause of ignorance and confusion.' ...."

- Mipham Rinpoche
May 11 at 11:44am · Edited · Like · 6

Kyle Dixon: There's a difference between non-thought (or the suspension of thought) and recognizing primordial wisdom. Discerning vidyā and sems is a vital aspect of the teaching, however it's important not to fall into a trap where sems is rejecting sems (thought is rejecting thought), all that accomplishes is sustaining distraction (meaning breathing life into the delusion that a point of reference [subject] stands apart from thoughts [objects] which sequence consecutively in a given span of time and can be either accepted and/or rejected).
May 11 at 11:51am · Like · 3

Din Robinson: so how does the idea of present moment awareness fit in to this, since it's your nature as awareness itself that is present and still that notices all ideas and perceptions for what they are
May 11 at 11:53am · Like

Kyle Dixon: If awareness is held to be the 'stillness' which abides prior to (or behind) the 'movement' of thoughts, ideas, perceptions etc., then this is still upholding duality. Stillness and movement must be recognized to be non-dual, meaning awareness is only ever precisely the forms, thoughts, etc. 

There's no thoughts/forms that are the same nor different than awareness, and no awareness that is the same nor different from thoughts/forms.
May 11 at 12:01pm · Edited · Like · 6

Din Robinson: so how does the process (idea) of withdrawing identification with thoughts fit into this?

btw, the withdrawal of identification with thoughts is the same as withdrawal of identification with form, for me
May 11 at 12:09pm · Like

Din Robinson: Kyle wrote:

"If awareness is held to be the 'stillness' which abides prior to (or behind) the 'movement' of thoughts, ideas, perceptions etc., then this is still upholding duality."

if awareness is held to be anything other than "what is" then there may be some IDEA or PERCEPTION of what awareness is, and then there is identification with ideas about what awareness is and this movement in tandem with thought, is identification with thought, it is making the content of thought (the meaning of thought) reality, instead of what already simply "is"
May 11 at 12:23pm · Like

Kyle Dixon: It's a preliminary and tentative practice that aids in curbing habitual tendency. So practices like śamatha [shiné] help the individual to withdraw or 'step out' of the habit of identifying, grasping, clinging at thought. 99.999% of people are very caught up in thought and habits of grasping, so the withdrawal helps the individual to see that there is a wakefulness which is present whether the thought is there or not. It helps to begin the scrutinization of experience, evaluating the processes, cultivating discernment and discrimination. 

However the point isn't to cling to the wakefulness either, so after that wakefulness has been identified, it's important to evaluate and scrutinize that wakefulness too. The wakefulness (or awareness) is 'stillness' which appears to abide apart from the forms and thought which move before it. The thoughts and forms are the 'movement'. 

Once both stillness and movement have been successfully identified, it's then time to discover how stillness and movement are non-dual, by seeing how stillness and movement are imputations. If that is done correctly then the background substratum (stillness) is recognized to have been always empty, and the luminous forms of experience (movement) are also found to be empty. There is no duality, no dichotomy (apart from conventionality). Everything becomes the total exertion of the immediacy appearing to itself (not that there is an 'itself' the empty display is appearing to, 'appearing to itself' is just a way to designate the general state of affairs from the standpoint of that wisdom).
May 11 at 12:35pm · Like · 5

Piotr Ludwiński: "IDEA or PERCEPTION of what awareness is" and that is preciesly the case in way you reify stillness to be inherent awareness. "since it's your nature as awareness itself that is present and still that notices all ideas and perceptions for what they are". Reifying non-conceptual thought aka "crystal clear stillness" as "Awareness" is still ignorance from buddhist point of view.
May 11 at 12:41pm · Edited · Like · 1

Piotr Ludwiński: Unfortunately these golden chains... I mean that imputation and reification of non-dual experience of stillness in thought realm into nonumenon/subject/static mirror makes one unable to truly realize "three marks of existence"; impermanence, selflessness, unsatisfactoriness. Why it makes one unable to realize them? Since as soon as imputation of "awareness" is projected upon crystal clear stillness it serves as condition for golden chains; clinging to it as self, permanent, satisfactory. This is just exchanging one bondage for another. That non-dual experience of thoughtlessness is mistakenly clung to as "stillness" due to dualistic framework. Conceiving reality in polarities (stillness vs movement) we reifiy it as unmoving point of reference for all experience... Due to inherent and dualistic framework it is reified into Divine Presence/God, unmoving witness/mirror etc... Whiile that experience of stillness is like flow of a river... Unsatisfactory... Selfless... Impermanent. // "Ananda, you should know that this state of clarity is not real. It is like rapidly flowing water that appears to be still on the surface. Because of its rapid speed, you cannot perceive the flow, but that does not mean it is not flowing. If this were not the source of thinking, then how could one be subject to false habits?"
May 11 at 12:53pm · Like · 3

Piotr Ludwiński: To sum it up: what is entirely conditioned and what is ignorance, imputation, an arrow in heart, cancer, bondage... is mistaken as unconditioned freedom. Sad situation; we are happy because we managed to exchange our rusty chains for golden ones! Identification/disidentification with thoughts is still in realm of dissociation and dualism, conceiving an agent, a being, self that is to identify or disidentify. Thoughts themselves must be embraced by vipassana and seen for what they are; substanceless self-aware activities without any observer, subject, agent, doer behind them. "Crystal clear stillness" too must be recognized as mere interdependently originated self-aware activity. In this way there is no more holding to stillness vs movement; "stillness" and "movement" are forgotten into naked non-dual experience without referencing to mirror /subject/source
May 11 at 1:01pm · Like · 3

Piotr Ludwiński: We were lost in delusion of "movement" for so long that as soon as non-dual experience of non-conceptual thought takes place we instantly grasp this delusion of "stillness" as purest state and "true nature". From one deluded polarity to another deluded polarity. That is the "freedom" of abiding as imputed mirror. From bondage of person/emotions/thought/little self to bondage of "the presence"/dissociation/non-thought/Self. I wouldn't call this false liberation "our true nature".
May 11 at 1:14pm · Edited · Like · 4

Din Robinson: yes, I see what you're saying Piotr, what our true nature is, is all of it, without any need to focus in on any particular aspect of it, nor needing not to, also!
May 11 at 1:21pm · Like

Din Robinson: Kyle wrote:

"Once both stillness and movement have been successfully identified, it's then time to discover how stillness and movement are non-dual, by seeing how stillness and movement are imputations. If that is done correctly then the background substratum (stillness) is recognized to have been always empty, and the luminous forms of experience (movement) are also found to be empty..."

I tend to describe things from my own experience using as few concepts as possible, so would you agree that i am saying the same thing when i say that seeing all my "imputations" or thoughts for what they are, that is bringing all previously unconscious beliefs/perceptions into the clear light of present moment conscious awareness, is their "release" and all that's left is "what is" without any definition or interpretations clouding the "view" 

or do you mean something different when you use the word "empty", because "empty" to me, just means "with no true reality to begin with"
May 11 at 1:43pm · Like

Jackson Peterson: It's important to realize as these Dzogchen masters point out: that the thinking process is itself ignorance. Realizing this breaks the back of reliance upon thought. As Norbu and Dudjum Rinpoche both point out, between thoughts, the Dharmakaya as rigpa is shining nakedly. Tulku Urgyen teaches the exact same as Choki Nyima in the OP. Samsara is thinking or conceptualizing. If there is thinking the split between subject and object are always split. In absence of conceptualizing all that remains is non-dual awareness. What is not understood is that all experience is pure awareness. Experience is empty. The essential nature of emptiness is pure awareness. Emptiness is pure awareness and awareness is luminous emptiness. Thinking is also empty, recognizing the empty nature of thinking, is pure awareness. There is only pure awareness appearing, hence all experience being known.
May 11 at 1:56pm via mobile · Like · 2

Jackson Peterson: Kyle Dixon, no one is recommended a "blank state". Chokyi Nyima is not advocating that at all. He is just pointing out the cause of samsara. Actually samsara is itself the thinking process. Outside of the thinking process there is no suffering or samsara. Samsara is a day dream, that's all.
May 11 at 2:07pm · Edited · Like

Din Robinson: Jackson wrote:

"In absence of conceptualizing all that remains is non-dual awareness."

all that remains before and after is "what is"

let's not put any other label on it other than that 

otherwise the mind (thought process) may come in and want to attach some other meaning on it 
May 11 at 2:09pm · Like

Din Robinson: trying to nail this down feels like a dog chasing it's own tail 
May 11 at 2:10pm · Like

Jackson Peterson: From the relative side as created by thought, we wake from the dream of thinking. From the absolute side there is nothing the matter, but then dualism has already vanished. The absolute is self-manifesting as the relative, and this is done via the thought process. The Buddha plays in the relative via thought. Without thought the samsara vanishes.
May 11 at 2:14pm · Like

Kyle Dixon: One's condition becomes afflicted with latent traces, karmic propensities and habitual tendencies which result from grasping and clinging. Imputation is indeed the third ignorance which forms the ālaya, however it takes the full force of authentic recognition to dispel that ignorance. Thought is only a support and driving force.
May 11 at 2:15pm · Like · 3

Kyle Dixon: The dharmakāya being the 'space between thoughts' is only a preliminary pointer which serves the sole purpose of engendering confidence in the practitioner that wisdom will not be found elsewhere. That being said, it's true the dharmakāya can be found there, but the illusion of space between thoughts is still the ālaya. That is why ignorance cannot be dispelled simply by suspending thought.

Thinking and conceptualization are driving forces behind delusion, however it is much more subtle than samsara simply being 'thinking and conceptualization'. 

Thinking does cause the subject-object dichotomy to arise, however in the absence of conceptualization that latent proclivity to grasp is still present. So even though 'non-dual awareness' is indeed one's basic condition, and therefore it's presence is implied in the absence of conceptualization, unless recognition of one's nature has occurred the 'underlying non-dual' condition is not fully apparent. Only prajñā can reverse or undo that affliction, without that wisdom, the mind's nature remains buried under subtle habits of perception and clinging even in the absence of thinking and conceptualization.
May 11 at 2:28pm · Edited · Like · 5

Din Robinson: Kyle, I just saw this comment on another thread and think it fits perfectly here with your idea of imputation being the third ignorance:

"It's so interesting how meditators spend so much time thinking about thought. I've heard that Gautam Buddha up in heaven wishes he had never brought it up. Everyone wants to transcend and somehow having no thoughts is a popular goal. If you ever really touch the Emptiness, then you'll see what the Buddha really meant, and it has nothing to do with what you thought. It's more akin to fairies and comedians than to the holy seriousness a lot of people have. Rodney Dangerfield is spying on you!"

~John Levin
May 11 at 2:26pm · Unlike · 2

Din Robinson: great comment Kyle 

you wrote:

"Thinking does cause the subject-object dichotomy to arise, however in the absence of conceptualization that latent proclivity to grasp is still present."

yes, the need to grasp or grasping itself needs to leave the shadows of the unconscious and be seen in the clear light of conscious awareness, this is how prajna arises

is it not?
May 11 at 2:31pm · Like

Kyle Dixon: Jackson, I wrote this before in a different thread on here in response to this same conversation:

That assumes that thoughts sequence consecutively in a linear fashion and that they arise and fall. The gap isn't Dharmakāya. Dharmakāya is recognizing the non-arising of thoughts and gaps.

Achieving a stable śamatha is important to sever (or decrease) the compulsory habit of conceptualization, but simply increasing that space between thoughts is nothing more than a stable śamatha. Yes you marry the śamatha with vipaśyanā but whether it is wisdom or ignorance makes all the difference. The true vipaśyanā is resting in vidyā (as you know because I've seen you mention it).

Thoughts sequencing consecutively with gaps in between is still a subtle structuring of ignorance. The illusion of a space abiding between apparent occurrences is partly responsible for the idea of an entity (or capacity) which exists in time and is subject to experiences in the first place. When mentation is recognized to be the immediate and disjoint clarity itself, then it's suddenly realized there was never a space between thoughts (beyond conventionality) and the foundation for the chain of conceptualization and cyclic existence is undone. Only then does the primordially non-arisen display of wisdom become fully apparent.

"Were that which is apprehended through the intoxicated conceptual-constructions of sentient beings factually true, then they would be on a par with the liberated Arhats who conceive not of this 'Existence.' Since, however, they are tormented by suffering and slain by time, it is obvious that they are [caught up] in something false."
- Mañjuśrīmitra
May 11 at 2:32pm · Like · 3

Kyle Dixon: Din, I agree with that John Levin quote, although I would say it does have to do with what we think, it's just that what we think isn't the entire crux of the issue. It gets subtler, but addressing thinking and conceptualization is important.
May 11 at 2:34pm · Like · 1

Din Robinson: the way i see it Kyle, is that if we never touched another thought, we could laugh our way into eternity 
May 11 at 2:39pm · Like

Kyle Dixon: Right but what is it that would never touch another thought? This whole issue comes about because thought is objectifying thought, so if we say never touching another thought would resolve the problem, this still assumes there is something that can accept or reject thought. The idea is to see that 'thought objectifying thought' is the culprit, along with the various implications, tendencies, proclivities, habits, propensities etc., which arise as a direct result of that error.
May 11 at 2:43pm · Like · 5

Jackson Peterson: Kyle thought is the manifestation of karma,and karma is the result of thought, its a loop. Thinking is the software language of samsara. Without thinking, the software can't function. Rigpa or the Original Mind is the operating system.
May 11 at 2:45pm · Edited · Like

Din Robinson: Kyle, I really like your last post, it shows that my personal experience is still just a "story" being told, and that "what is" is totally free whether i realize it or not
May 11 at 2:47pm · Edited · Like

Din Robinson: no matter how hard i try, i still feel better not doing anything at all, it just feels right!
May 11 at 2:48pm · Like

Kyle Dixon: The underlying substratum that seems to abide apart from thought is actually an illusion created by the supposition that thoughts are relating to each other in time. So thought B is supposing that it follows thought A etc., and then thought B will even suppose it can refer to thought A, but by the time that's occurring it's thought C. None of them ever touch, no two thoughts are ever present together in the immediacy, so a thought isn't referencing anything, it's an illusion. Even the idea that there is more than one thought! That very idea creates the notion that there is a space between them etc. Only ever the immediacy, the thought phenomena is the full exertion of clarity in the moment and is never located anywhere.
May 11 at 2:51pm · Like · 2

Din Robinson: "This whole issue comes about because thought is objectifying thought, so if we say never touching another thought would resolve the problem, this still assumes there is something that can accept or reject thought. The idea is to see that 'thought objectifying thought' is the culprit, along with the various implications, tendencies, proclivities, habits, propensities etc., which arise as a direct result of that error" 

is this your own experience Kyle?
May 11 at 2:51pm · Like

Din Robinson: btw, i really like this:

"The idea is to see that 'thought objectifying thought' is the culprit, along with the various implications, tendencies, proclivities, habits, propensities etc., which arise as a direct result of that error"
May 11 at 2:53pm · Like

Kyle Dixon: Din, it's everyone's experience, it just isn't apparent. The line of reasoning behind that is what I just wrote above though, with the thought A, B, C, and how they are creating the illusion of time and an enduring substratum etc. Time itself is one of the thoughts, but more so than an imputing thought (i.e. concept), 'time' is an illusion supported by the phenomena we'd refer to as 'memory' as well. So our notion of time also depends on memory, or thought-images, (I'd say mental images but there's truly no psyche or mind that these are belonging to, they themselves create the illusion of psyche and mind).
May 11 at 2:58pm · Edited · Like · 2

Jackson Peterson: What is being ignored in your model Kyle as described is brain function and how thoughts connect through various neural pathways in the brain and how these pathways become patterns of thought and behavior. Every thought has a corollary in brain activity. Our actions originate in subconscious processes that "reveal" the intention in consciousness along with the soft-ware program that makes the surface consciousness believe it is "originating" or "thinking" these thoughts and intentions itself. No one is choosing thoughts or actions to do or not do. Its all just happening without a "controller", based on conditioning and sensory perception being driven by the overall urge to survive and reproduce. There is actually a very complex "mind" in place that operates through many hierarchies of programming. Its called the human brain.
May 11 at 3:19pm · Edited · Like

Kyle Dixon: Din, These types of subtle evaluative gymnastics are actually what brought about one of my more intense peak experiences which revealed anatta. That is why (in addition to being a proponent of non-analytical meditations) I'm a big proponent of analytical investigations, because they too can bring about cessation. And the thing is that dzogchen is as well, if you read some of the main texts that are implemented such as the Yeshe Lama etc., attempting to pinpoint the place of arising, abiding and ceasing of a thought is one of the practices taught to induce recognition of the mind's nature. 

I myself actually followed what Greg Goode, had suggested with evaluating thought. His line of reasoning went like so: if there can only ever be one thought at any given moment, then there cannot be two. If there cannot be two thoughts in any given moment, then how can there even be one? I grokked that deeply and in addition to understanding that there was no thinker of thoughts, no feeler of feelings etc. And by the good graces of other merit I had been accumulating through regular practices at the dzogchen center I go to, and regular śamatha along with the blessings of my guru Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche and guidance of my mentor Rangjung Rigdzin, plus Greg for that investigative practice... I was fortunately able to bring that recognition about.
May 11 at 3:18pm · Like · 6

Kyle Dixon: Jackson, I don't put too much weight in the whole 'brain' and neural pathway model, it's a little too materialist for me, but if it works for you then that's wonderful!
May 11 at 3:19pm · Like

Jackson Peterson: Your brain did it Kyle... with a little help from your friends...
May 11 at 3:21pm · Like

Jackson Peterson: We can't ignore the brain model when we see how certain drugs can completely effect our thought processes, moods, actions or brain injuries or tumors.
May 11 at 3:23pm · Like

Jackson Peterson: The real practice of becoming free of thinking is simply seeing the emptiness of thoughts as they arise, that emptiness is itself the Nature of Mind.
May 11 at 3:46pm · Like

Joel Agee: Kyle: "I myself actually followed what Greg Goode had suggested with evaluating thought. His line of reasoning went like so: if there can only ever be one thought at any given moment, then there cannot be two. If there cannot be two thoughts in any given moment, then how can there even be one? I grokked that deeply . . ." -- I don't get this. Can you help me understand it?
May 11 at 8:51pm · Like · 1

Kyle Dixon: Joel, for me it had to do with examining the immediate moment very thoroughly and keeping a steady focus on the immediate now, now, now, and what constitutes the immediacy. So the direct experience of the moment is only ever precisely what is immediately apparent. The notion that anything did (or didn't) come prior is only ever a thought in the direct immediacy. Likewise the notion that anything does (or doesn't) come after is only ever a thought directly occurring. The thought which is directly occurring never points outside of itself, it may appear to suggest any number of things, but in truth the thought is precisely what is occurring now and the now is not different than the thought. 

So if the thought is only what is occurring now, and now is only the thought, the immediate thought has no access to any other thoughts, because there are none, nothing is occurring except for what is presently occurring and since the present is only exactly what is occurring, it cannot get outside of itself. In order for a thought to be a thought (a singular entity) it would need a reference point to gauge it against and it would need multiple manifestations or versions of itself for it to be established in anyway. But that is impossible due to the fact that the full exertion of the direct immediacy is only the immediately apparent thought. The immediate thought may point to (or suggest) the existence (or non-existence) of other thoughts, but in truth, because no two thoughts ever meet in the immediacy, the present thought which suggests the existence of another thought, points nowhere and to nothing, not even itself. 

If there can't be two thoughts in the immediacy, because of the fact that thought never sequences in a consecutive line of thoughts, the immediate exertion can tentatively be treated as the only occurrence, nothing has ever come prior, nothing ever comes after, there is no history, there is a thought that is simply primordial exertion, there is primordial exertion that is simply a thought. For there to be one, there must be more (or less) than one, but there is no reference point. For the syllables which even create the idea of 'one' meaning 'one' or 'thought' meaning 'thought' another thought must be referenced, but the 'other' thought which is referenced is nowhere because it is precisely the immediate exertion. 

So the phenomena which is thought then says nothing, the sound is a series of syllables, they signify nothing, they point to nothing, no more meaningful than any other sound, if the thought speaks, the car door shutting speaks, if the thought communicates, the white noise of the fan in the background communicates. Where is 'one'? Where is 'two'? The totality of the timeless immediacy never reaches outside itself, and within it's unborn exertion nothing ever occurs. 

There's a book by Mark Twain called the Mysterious Stranger, which explores the experience of Satan. And there is a quote by Satan that is very fitting to this:

"Life itself is only a vision, a dream. Nothing exists except empty space and you, and you, are but a thought."
May 11 at 9:45pm via mobile · Edited · Like · 7

Soh: This discussion is much to my liking so I'm going to post it in my blog I hope you guys won't mind?
May 11 at 11:07pm · Edited · Unlike · 2

Joel Rosenblum: I remember having the realization, while attempting to find the beginning to samsara, that the beginning was thought. And thought was like a an explosive virus. However, Buddha was right to admonish against such investigations, because it did drive me temporarily insane.
May 11 at 10:36pm · Like · 1

Joel Rosenblum: Kyle, I never had a class in logic and if I had I probably would have failed it, but the very fact that I don't have the working memory space to understand what you are saying seems to disprove your point that only one thought can exist in consciousness at a time. Psychology has proven that we can hold an average of 3-4 thoughts in consciousness simultaneously. If you could only hold one thought at a time you would not be very functional. But perhaps I misread you.
May 11 at 11:16pm via mobile · Like

Serge Sönam Zaludkowski: @Joel, "Psychology has proven that we can hold an average of 3-4 thoughts in consciousness simultaneously"
That's not what Abhidharma says. I would be curious to have a short explanation about the way to hold more than one thought at the same instant? There is only one continuum.
May 11 at 11:39pm · Like

Jackson Peterson: The Dalai Lama commented recently that "Brain science has proven that the descriptions in the Abhidharma are wrong. We have to be open to what science teaches as the Buddha would recommend."
May 12 at 1:06am · Like

Jackson Peterson: During a thought, there is always something present beyond the thought itself. The total exertion is not just the thought being presented, but rather an open or empty cognitive aspect from which the exertion is itself just a representation. Missing the depth of that cognitive aspect is to assume there are just "thoughts happening in emptiness" which is a nihilistic view. When that open emptiness is fully explored it is known to be the Ground of Being that can't be reified beyond our "current thought" which is itself empty.
May 12 at 1:12am · Like

Kyle Dixon: What aspect of brain science is proving what aspect of abhidharma wrong? That begs the question though of what suppositions or paradigms may be influencing that notion? Brain science as a science does nothing to explain how consciousness functions, if anything brain science is restricted to the confines of the brains functioning as it's interpreted within the mechanical paradigm that dominates science this day in age. Abhidharma in and of itself has never claimed to be an exact concrete science, it's merely a methodology which has been formulated around the efficacy of the dharma and it's goal of liberating beings. I don't see how the two could even begin to conflict. And further, since the dharma is constructed to self-implode it leaves no residue other than liberation, emptiness is empty, nothing's left to hold onto. If you lay that aside and decide modern western science is going to somehow compensate for that (or improve upon it) you are most likely selling yourself short in my opinion. Science is a great supplement, but can't be a replacement.
May 12 at 1:19am via mobile · Like · 5

Kyle Dixon: Jackson, if that's the interpretation you came away with after reading that explanation; (thoughts happening in emptiness at the expense of cognizance), then you've completely misunderstood.
May 12 at 1:28am via mobile · Like

Greg Goode: Joel writes, "Psychology has proven that we can hold an average of 3-4 thoughts in consciousness simultaneously."

Joel, you also mention logic, and yes, what Kyle is talking about here is the process of a few logical grokkings. It is powerful for those with affinities to this approach. But it certainly isn't everyone's cup of tea. Isn't it good that there are many other ways to come to peace?

Anyway, in psychology, the mental activity is divided into several supposedly simultaneous thoughts based on the supposed simultaneous presence of different objects of thought. 

For example, it seems like you can see something, hear something and smell something at the same time. It seems like the objects are all out there, sending signals, and the data is streaming in over 3 or 4 different channels into the central receiver at one time. 

I have some pretty detailed experiments about this in my book called The Direct Path, including what happens when you are sitting down drinking coffee while watching a fireworks display. In direct experience, what is really happening?

That exercise takes place in the book after it is already deeply understood that there are no "external" objects whatsoever directly experienced to exist apart from awareness. And there are no sense organs to serve as conduits of transmission either, since they are merely additional physical objects. 

When that is the case, then it makes no sense to individuate thoughts by the external objects they supposedly have. In the direct path, a thought is never experienced to have a true object. (a thought may claim that there are objects, but separate objects are never experienced.) It's quite radical - the very idea that vision sees something external such as a color is itself merely a thought. But in direct experience, it is not that way. You never have independent access to any color apart from seeing. And yet you would need independent access in order to certify that vision is actually "seeing" the object. Otherwise, how can you be sure that vision, and the object, are matching up the way we think? We never have more than a thought that says so. We can't stand between vision and colors and prove the link.

So then the question becomes, 

Is it four simultaneous thoughts? 


One thought claiming "four simultaneous objects"?
May 12 at 1:39am · Unlike · 5

Serge Sönam Zaludkowski: Impression of simultaneity is not simultaneity. If you (are able to) isolate "instant", only one thought take place in it ... but instant after instant may let the impression of simultaneity.
@Jax, dont throw the water with the baby, SSDL did'nt say precisely to do so.
May 12 at 3:05am · Edited · Like

Jackson Peterson: Kyle Dixon, HHDL didn't expound further...
May 12 at 3:02am · Like

Jackson Peterson: I think for balance, it is good to not be too focused on just the phenomena of thought as being THE hot topic regarding liberation and insight etc. The nature of the cognitive presence ever-present is really most important, don't you think?
May 12 at 3:05am · Like

Serge Sönam Zaludkowski: it happens so ...
May 12 at 3:06am · Like

Jackson Peterson: Kyle Dixon, you are creating an unnecessary dichotomy between the mind and the brain. Slight changes in brain chemistry or through magnetic resonance, can inhibit the ability to think, to think clearly or to be inundated with overwhelmingly strange thoughts and hallucinations. We also know through MRI that there are approx. nine typical centers in the brain that simultaneously become active and inter-communicate during the sense of "egoistic selfing". Interrupting that pattern effects the degree of sense of self present. So the brain is involved with all cognitive processes. We need to realize that the Dharmakaya expresses what we are through the dependently arisen electro-chemical changes in the brain. However there is an even higher functioning brain within the brain. I call it the quantum brain. It is this mind that interfaces between the classically functioning brain and the spiritual dimension as concretely experienced as ESP: telepathy, clairvoyance and radical moments of synchronicity on the macro level. The quantum brain most likely is embedded in the brain tissue, within cell structures within each neuron known as micro-tubules. Each brain cell has over a million of these. Research is showing that "quantum" processes are involved in how certain processes like information sharing required during mitosis occur. Further, cells throughout the body may be co-communicating via this quantum signaling completely outside of neural pathways. Japanese researchers have found that certain hair-like cilia in lung tissue may actually be acting as antennae for sending and receiving these quantum signals. These quantum antennae may even receive quantum signals from other organisms. 

It is through the quantum brain the brain signals are converted into what we call conscious thoughts and come into "consciousness" through the main quantum brain system: our chakra system and Light Channels. By enhancing and activating the chakras and "inner lamps", we completely transform our consciousness into the non-local quantum state and likewise download quantum signals downward into the physical brain hence modifying its operating system. When we die the quantum system detaches from the physical brain and we enter the non-local quantum dimension that some call the bardo. You know the rest of the story. Do understand the role of the brain, its hugely involved in all conscious and subconscious processes.
May 12 at 6:06am via mobile · Like

Joel Rosenblum: I just want to know Kyle how you can explain that only one thought can be attended to or "known to exist" at one time and yet explain working memory. I think you are looking at the attentive process in a limited way. True, you can do vipassana and notice the "mind moment waves" one at a time, but here we are producing the effect by our will. Just as in the dual nature of light, so too are all things both discrete and continuous depending on how we choose to perceive them. When you perceive each mind moment individually, disjoint from all other mind moments, you gain dispassion for identifying with the mind stream's moments. But you aren't very functional within duality unless you can also see the mind moments as fluid and grouped.
May 12 at 5:12pm via mobile · Edited · Like

Greg Goode: Joel, you ask how Kyle (or anyone?) can explain functional memory if it's only one thought at a time. Or how a person can function... Kyle's model comes from the direct path. These things aren't explanations or theories according to the direct path. They are a matter of direct experience, which is global awareness itself. In fact, when ex platoons and persons have been seen through and experienced for what they really are, then explanations are no longer needed, and no longer possible either. Functioning is better than ever before. I was able to learn to ride a brake less bike in the city, and rollerblade with no brakes also - after these deep insights. And this is saying way too much, because this sounds like an explanation and it's not.

In fact, one of the most powerful realizations in the direct path is that memory is absolutely unverifiable. 

But this deep realization does not prevent one from going along with psychological theories in the collegial sense. Just like Sri Atmananda had no belief in events or people or laws, but he functioned in law enforcement by say and taught the direct path in the evenings. 

There is no necessary problem unless a thought says so.... And even then, it's just the claim of a thought....
May 12 at 6:31pm via mobile · Like

Greg Goode: iPhone autocorrect. - not ex platoons, but explanations!
May 12 at 6:32pm via mobile · Like · 1

Joel Rosenblum: Greg, your post itself is interesting because you talk about how great your functioning is now that you are awake and yet you fail to directly address the question that you at first seemed to be attempting to address. So although you may be more functional in some ways, the way I see it, you are not fully integrated. And of course what I say may sound equally absurd to you. But since you and Kyle are both trying to awaken others, and to teach awakening, it may be useful for you to consider how what you say is perceived by those you are trying to teach. I understand that reality is infinite paradox. Adyashanti says that one can gauge one's level of awakening by the degree of comfort they have with paradox. Perhaps my role here in this convo was simply to offer the other side of things, the dualistic side, to remind you that dualism is just as real as non-dualism. Can you dig that or does it make you uncomfortable?
May 12 at 7:25pm via mobile · Like

Greg Goode: I can dig it, and love paradox. I would be the last to try to privilege one way or view over another. If it comes across that way, I apologize! Can you ask your question again in a different way?
May 12 at 7:28pm · Like

Joel Rosenblum: Well, honestly when I re-read my question it almost sounds like I am just trying to pick a fight. Perhaps it is I who needs to let go here. I don't like to read what I consider nonsense (ie we can ONLY hold one thought at a time), but then again, this isn't about me. If you believe you we can only hold one thought at a time, why should I argue? Probably I am making you and Kyle into straw men, anyway. This is all so tangential. Sorry.
May 12 at 7:42pm via mobile · Like

Greg Goode: You know, there is one interesting thing about this "one-thought" idea that I find a bit remarkable. Advaita and Buddhism when they get into their psychology and stuff actually agree about one-at-a-time. In the midst of disagreeing about so much else! 

But then they go deeper into their inquiries, and neither path really maintains a serious commitment to thought. It is sort of left behind by their realizations. Thought is seen through as anything that happens in an objective, truly real way. So their teachings about thought functioned at a stage of explication only.

Other teachings have other things to say about thought.

These days, more Buddhists and a few Advaitins seem to be talking to psychologists and brain scientists. People seem open to learning from each other. I like this, and if folks don't end up in agreement and there seems to be incommensurability and paradox, that is OK too. I find a sort of pluralistic joy in that diversity.....
May 12 at 8:55pm · Edited · Unlike · 6

Kyle Dixon: Joel, I can dig it too, I enjoy the skeptic approach and I enjoy my point of view being challenged, evaluated, taken apart etc., so kudos to you. And see it's hard for me to grasp how there could be more than one thought at a time so I find the proposition intriguing.

The last thing I want is for someone to agree with me though, I value the diversity in views. And there's so many great ways to approach these topics how can we ever insist one way is the 'truth'? The teachings need to be flexible to work with the individual. Formulating a rigid structure and insisting that's the only way is a death sentence for these teachings. Not everyone is the same. If clothing or shoe companies only made one size for everyone they would fail, it's the same with these practices and teachings, the route needs to match the capacity, interest, passion of the individual otherwise the passion will die and the interest will be lost.
May 12 at 8:36pm via mobile · Edited · Like · 4

Joel Rosenblum: Amen, Kyle and Greg. I bow to you. 
May 12 at 9:33pm · Like · 1

Ville Räisänen: Good thread! isn't this one-thought-at-time a matter of concentration? I remember that in my zen days (that might not be over) I used to count breaths and watch the other thoufhts same time? And I didn't loose the count. Then I asked about this for the teacher and there was no real understanding. So if you concentrate to have only one thought, you can find it. Where it leads? To one-pointed samadhi. Otherwise there actually can happen simultaneous thoughts that can be regocnized like "brain acts like different windows in your computer screen".
May 13 at 5:40am · Like

Ville Räisänen: Not brain. maybe say consciousness or awareness that regocnizes.
May 13 at 5:41am · Like

Jackson Peterson: When we realize the empty nature of thoughts we realize no single thought or multiple thoughts have ever arisen. The single thought is beyond thought and contains the totality of experience. The luminous nature has no edge or border, and cannot be divided up in any way anymore than we can divide the sky or space into this single space and that multiple space.
May 13 at 6:30am via mobile · Like · 2

Ville Räisänen: What is the single thought beyond thought? makes no sense to me at all

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May 13 at 2:59pm · Like · 2 · Remove Preview

Jackson Peterson: This "single thought" is symbolic of all appearance.
Tuesday at 4:45am · Like · 2

Viorica Doina Neacsu: Great thread! Thank you 
Tuesday at 6:45am · Like · 1

Joel Agee: Kyle, thanks a lot for your very clear explanation regarding Greg’s “never-more-than-one-thought” experiment. I contemplated it in a sustained way during a long flight from L.A. to NY, and have done it again in shorter sessions several times since. I can see how keeping it going would result in a profound release of the habit of “thought reifying thought.” 

You ended your post with the words of Mark Twain’s Satan: “Life itself is only a vision, a dream. Nothing exists except empty space and you, and you are but a thought.” Maybe I’m missing something, but to me, the exercise reveals life as a constant flashing-forth of vital unforeseen instants, disjoint in their particularity, yet miraculously coherent and ordered. If the last were not the case, Greg wouldn’t be able to sail through New York City traffic on brakeless rollerblades -- as a body, not just a thought -- and you would not be able to write such a lucid series of sentences.
Tuesday at 3:14pm · Like

Greg Goode: Who says that Greg or Kyle are really doing that stuff??  What is "really" going on - that's precisely part of the point... How can any description or object be taken wholly literally, even for things with high degrees of "reality effect" such as streets and rollerblades? The "thought" discourse is self-deconstructing, it's a teaching device which doesn't make the final cut....
Tuesday at 3:30pm · Edited · Like · 1

Joel Agee: I understand that Greg and Kyle aren't doing that stuff. I'm just saying that that stuff is not adequately described by "empty space and an I-thought." Again, am I missing the point? Sorry I'm so dense!
Tuesday at 4:27pm · Like · 1

Greg Goode: Well Joel Agee, there are a few steps in between ! The lvicabulary of space and thought doesn't have the purpose of adequately describing the actives of everyday life. For that kind of adequate description, we have the vocabulary of ... everyday life!

That brings up the question, "OK, so how does one come to experience (what some people call) rollerblading as nothing other than awareness?

That's what the direct path is so good at doing. One proceeds openly, sincerely, via direct experience. One looks at a set of rollerblades, or a teacup, or the hard, asphalt street, and comes to experience deeply that there is no street present apart from an exapnse of color and a feeling of hardness or whatever sensations seem to represent a street. Apart from the sensations, there is no street directly experienced.

Here is a radical realization: because there is no getting between the sensation and the street to see that one points to the other, one realizes that there is no sense in which one is sensing the street. That street-object is simply not present in direct experience.

Similarly for the texture, hardness and color. They are not experienced directly apart from the modalities of touch and vision. So there is no experienced separate object that vision SEES. Vision isn't directly experienced as having an object.

Then for vision itself. Vision is never experienced independently from witnessing awareness. There is no other access to vision. So it isn't directly experienced that we witness vision. Vision IS witnessing awareness.

One does this for each sense in turn, then for supposed combinations of senses, then for movement, then for different objects, then for other "body"-type physical objects, then one's "own" body.

After this is thoroughly investigated, there is no more independent physicality. No more material with which to separate or partition bubbles of awareness. 

Then one begins to look at the mind and the subtle worlds...

You see where this is going - to awareness, the sum and substance of all experience. 

This becomes one's living experience. This is why it isn't so simple to conclude that One is rollerblading!
Tuesday at 5:33pm via mobile · Like · 4

Kyle Dixon: Joel, and the other half of that investigation would be what Greg is discussing here. You would turn to the rest of experience and evaluate it the same way you did thought. And in addressing experience you may take each sensory experience gradually, for example; object-to-sensory modality, the sensory modality-to-awareness. Or you may not it just depends. You may be able to intuit how the display is the full exertion in the immediacy.

In evaluating phenomena, see that objects are merely shape, color etc., as Greg mentioned, and that those shapes and colors do not actually create anything apart from appearance. Coupling that with the insight you gain from the thought-investigation, you'll see that there is no object which endures through time, simply an empty display which is only ever the exertion of the immediacy. We conventionally attribute origination and substance to the display as objects etc., but upon scrutiny they are unfounded. So full exertion, nothing coming nor going, in being disjoint; spatiality, distance, movement etc., are simply translating fluctuation in pattern etc., nothing underlies the sheer appearance.

Greg has said that the direct path does allow awareness to self-destruct after one has reached that point, allowing for a total collapse. But whether it collapses via it's own accord or you take a different route it must be addressed in one way or another. If an alternate route is implemented, it is important to be sure that awareness is approached the same way as thought and other phenomena. Recognize that it cannot be found or located apart from the empty display of the immediacy's exertion. It's important to allow for a freedom from extremes, so no remainder should be left over. No awareness is established within or beyond the display.

And so therein lies the metaphor in that quote. In the absence of extremes and reference points, when the entirety of the moments timeless display is unable to reach beyond itself. There is an ungraspability, no way to cling or pin anything down. In the absence of extremes there is no coming nor going, here nor there, up nor down, and then the emptiness of even those extremes just mentioned. Just like space. So there is empty space and you, and 'you', 'I', 'me' etc., is just a thought, so not even that applies beyond conventionality.
Tuesday at 6:35pm via mobile · Edited · Like · 3

Greg Goode: One more thing - the direct path works best if it is done in order, from the gross to the subtle. People love to begin with thought ane feeling. But if one enters there before investigating the body, then it will be felt as though thoughts are arising in the body. This will place a stumbling block in the way of realizing the higher witness and later nondual awareness, since it will seem as though awareness is limited to this body only. That is where you get lots of the psychology-sounding nondual teachings. The insight and discourse is stuck at the "mind" level and has no way of transcending that implicit, unacknowledged, separative and dualistic structure.

So in all my years of helping people with the direct path, I've found the investigation into thought to be much easier and straightforward for people than the investigation into physicality and the body. It's only the body or something very like it that could serve as an imagined container or separator for awareness. Even the mind is usually understood in subtle physical and spatial terms most of the time. One must get past this in the inquiry. So even if one deconstructs thought into awareness but hasn't deconstructed physicality, then one doesn't really transcend solipsism. And that can be a very frightening and nihilistic place. I'm afraid that a lot of awareness-style nondual teachings end up there.....
Tuesday at 7:14pm · Edited · Unlike · 6

Jackson Peterson: I really like that Greg Goode, what a great summary! I am going to share that! However, I fear what Kyle added may be misunderstood that only a "thought" of a "me" is what defines what "you" actually are, that appears in empty space. We can come to a "non-being" as actually an imputation stemming from "no self" insights, especially intellectually. This is a type of "nihilism" which in itself is an "extreme". 
Rather I have found that, that "space" is itself "Being", the Being of Non-Being. Being and Non-Being are always one reality. When the exertion of Non-Being moves in the bias of "Being" it can easily evolve into "being a something". If right at this point the "exertion" self-releases its materializing dynamic, a relaxing back into the bliss of Non-Being occurs and the transparent unity of Being as Non-Being comes into balance energetically. This release of the materializing dynamic exertion, is the result of the awareness present as Being, self-recognizes its "empty nature" as Non-Being. To get to this level of very subtle practice one first passes through the lower harmonic of realizing "no-self" and the unity of self and no-self as both being empty. A huge and vast openning can occur at this point that reveals the higher harmonic of Being in Non- Being. But the error can occur where the aspect of "Non-Being" can be latched unto. In such a case one feels the only possible "beingness" would be simply a thought of "identity" as a "me" or an "I" appearing in the empty space of Non-Being. When seen fully we see that "awareness" is itself the Light of Being/Non-Being, not something that can be further deconstructed.
Wednesday at 2:19am · Edited · Like

Kyle Dixon: I clearly said a freedom from extremes, and you therefore misinterpreted what I wrote. As for the rest, you're substantiating and clinging to awareness as usual and your argument doesn't make sense.
Wednesday at 2:30am · Edited · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Kyle Dixon, my argument doesn't make sense to you because its not yet seen that the primal Clear Light state is a condition of Being/Non-Being in total transparency and that the vividness of experience is itself awareness self-shining as the experience. This is the dynamic exertion of Being/Non-Being as Clear Light Awareness and is what is "Knowing". That ever present "Knowing Awareness" is the "Being" side of emptiness and is irreducible as basic Luminosity Clarity. You can't deconstruct it! That very effort at deconstruction is the action of "Knowing Awareness" itself. Not knowing this you miss the whole point of the Third Turning of the Wheel and reduce Dzogchen to a hinayana attachment to a nihilistic "no self" view.
Wednesday at 2:38am · Like

Kyle Dixon: It actually doesn't make sense because it's just word salad about 'being' and 'non-being'.
Wednesday at 2:45am via mobile · Like · 1

Kyle Dixon: Emptiness isn't a capacity, or a something which 'knows' or has 'a being side'. Knowing and 'having a being side' are empty, and emptiness is empty.
Wednesday at 2:48am via mobile · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Yes, indeed Kyle Dixon, it is just "word salad" until "Seen" and that "Seeing" only is served after the salad and main course, as the dessert. It seems you are still nibbling on "word salad" instead of seeing that what you think is just the salad, is actually already the "dessert"! 
Wednesday at 2:48am · Like

Kyle Dixon: Your argument is simply reifying awareness and then sticking an 'unestablished being/non-being' label on the package in hopes that people will buy it.
Wednesday at 2:50am via mobile · Edited · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: More "word salad" Kyle... you have to actually have the full insight dawn before what I am sharing will be clear. Its a completely non-conceptual and irrefutable for oneself. Perhaps a little "non-conceptual" salad dressing on your "word salad" might just add the right missing flavor!
Wednesday at 2:53am · Like

Jackson Peterson: Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:

"Being the Knowing

It is also important to extend from the objective realm to the
subjective one and to the quality of knowing. Various masters
in Thailand, such as Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Buddhadaμsa, and Ajahn
Brahmamuni, as well as other leading meditation teachers,
would often talk about letting go of the objective realm altogether
and just being the knowing. 

In Thai, there’s an expression,

“yoo gap roo,” which literally means “there with the knowing.”

It seems that the practice of rigpa deals with something very
similar. It includes a specific turning away from the object. We
deliberately do not pay much attention to it. Instead we put most
of our attention on the nature of the subject. There is an inclining
away from the seductive pull of the senses and a focus on,
and a nonidentification with, the subject.

Similar to the Thai forest teachings, rigpa is ultimately about
emptying out both the subjective and objective realms. The aim
of the practice is subjectless, objectless awareness.

The heart rests in rigpa, the quality of open, spacious knowing and there is the recognition of the mind’s own intrinsic nature: it is
empty, lucid, awake, and bright. 

The Thai people love alliterations,
and Ajahn Buddhadaμsa and Ajahn Chah used to use the
phrase “sawang sa-aht sangoup” to speak about this quality.
Sawang means “radiance” or “bright light.” Sa-aht means “pure.”
Sangoup means “peaceful.” Sawang sa-aht sangoup: radiance,
purity, and peacefulness."

Small Boat, Great Mountain
Wednesday at 3:24am · Like

Malcolm Smith: Jax, hhdl wad only commenting on third chapter of abhidharmakosha, not all abhidharma.
Wednesday at 8:41am · Like

Jackson Peterson: Thanks Malcolm Smith, I didn't hear that... We're you there? I only saw the video.
Wednesday at 9:06am via mobile · Like

Serge Sönam Zaludkowski: I also listen to (all) videos and he only spoke about things like Mt Meru. He did'nt say that abidharmakosha was all wrong, and certainly not regarding thinks like only one thought at a time and others of the kind.
Wednesday at 10:20am · Edited · Like

Greg Goode: Jax has said a few times that HHDL said that modern science has proven abidharma to be wrong. Is there more info on what the HHDL said about that?
Wednesday at 10:40am · Like

Serge Sönam Zaludkowski: never heard that HHDL rejected abhidharma ... but it's an allegation of Jax, so he has to give us sources.
(btw, I did'nt want to speak much on the subject, but I would be interested to know from which sources he took the "idea" that thigles from thödgal practice were first black, then latter colored)
Wednesday at 2:01pm · Edited · Like

Joel Agee: Kyle and Greg, thanks! 

Is it possible, in your opinion, to have a direct intuitive understanding and experience of the direct teaching at its result level—the realization of pure awareness as the sum and substance of all experience—in one fell swoop, so to speak, without having gone through the step-by-step analysis? I’m asking this because the description Kyle gives of the result state feels intimately familiar and obvious to me. Not all the time, and I’m sure not with the thoroughness and analytical clarity and virtuosity in action that a methodical inquiry would produce, but I think I do grokk it.

Twain’s sentence still feels incomplete to me as a metaphoric summation. It reduces “life” to a meaningless “nothing but” kind of illusion and declares empty space to be the only reality. This Satan is a nihilist. Why would you, Kyle, take such care in explaining something for the benefit of a person you have never met and any number of other people who will read your words, if empty space and the nullity of pronouns were the only reality? 

Yes, in the clarity of pure awareness there is boundless space, no coming or going, no “you” or “I” except as thoughts. And yet this emptiness is alive and brimful of activity, intelligence, and generosity. It appears as a world, is in fact indistinguishable from the world as it appears.

So in the end, after the thorough deconstruction of the “language of everyday life,” isn’t it important to reaffirm the existence of a cup as a cup and a person as a person? Otherwise, how does compassion function?
Wednesday at 12:03pm · Edited · Like · 1

Greg Goode: Can one have this understanding at one fell swoop? It's not logically impossible. But it wasn't possible for me. I was very "realist" about certain kinds of objects, such as cause and effect, reason, physical objects, and also about free will. They needed to be treated separately for me. 

But if you look at the teachings in the direct path, they do not proceed as if one fell swoop is the normal way it goes. Instead, they emphasize different kinds of activities. Inquiry, contemplation, meditation, body-sensing, time spent with a living teacher, etc. 

As far as the normal language of everyday life goes, yes, I agree. This is gone in some detail at the end of my book - it's often not dealt with at all in these teachings. The new, unclinging embracing of vocabularies is covered under what I call "joyful irony."
Wednesday at 12:09pm · Edited · Like · 1

James O'Neill: The Dali Lama said that if science [neuro science ] proved conclusively that some of the teaching is incorrect, i,Buddhism should be open to changing that part of the teaching --- this can be found in the discussions in Alan Wallaces two books ---Contemplative Science and Embracing Mind [The common ground of science and spirituality ]
Wednesday at 12:06pm · Like

Greg Goode: Thanks, James, I've heard that. Such a small word, that "if."
Wednesday at 12:10pm · Like

Joel Agee: By the way, Greg, I have experienced the delusion of solipsism, and it was terrifying.
Wednesday at 12:13pm · Like · 1

Serge Sönam Zaludkowski: Yes James that "if" he says and he repeated it recently ...
Wednesday at 12:18pm · Like

Malcolm Smith: All the Dalai Lama said was that the cosmology section in chapter three, was inadequate. It is however a primary source for the Sarvastivada/Sautrantika debate about dependent origination, the bardo (antarabhava) and so on. But the cosmology section of the Kosha is a late addition to Abhidharma/Abhidhamma and does not exist in the earlier literature and it is not very important. We can understand this too because the cosmology presented in Mahayana, Kalacakra, and so on are also quite different than Abhidharmakosha.
Wednesday at 12:22pm via  · Unlike · 2

Greg Goode: Joel, I had one student who experienced this as well. He had had abandonment issues in his family and in his romantic relationships. There were parts of the teaching that brought up some of those same resonances, so he had a hard time at one stage. He was married at the time he was working with me. He didn't want to do so much inquiry that he would lose his wife. Even Douglas Harding made a joke about that at one point. About 15 years ago, he got married. He was already at a ripe and joyful old age. He once said, "I love her so much that I have become a dualist!"
Wednesday at 12:24pm · Like · 1

Wayne Yap Sin Wei: mount meru represent the center of a world system, and what's in the center of a galaxy or milky way, a black hole. 
Wednesday at 12:29pm via mobile · Like

Din Robinson:

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Wednesday at 12:45pm · Like · Remove Preview

Joel Agee: I just read a report about recent atrocities in Syria. The display, the exertion, takes every possible form, including that of sheer horror.
Wednesday at 1:55pm · Like

Jackson Peterson: Malcolm Smith, the video I saw had the Dalai Lama discussing the brain aspects regarding consciousness and neuro-science, and said something like"... as I have now learned, the Abhidarma is not correct regarding this..." I don't remember him saying anything about "cosmology", where did you get that from? Did you have a link to the video?
Wednesday at 3:01pm · Like

Malcolm Smith: Hi Jax:

IN several places, but notably in Tuscon AZ in 2005. In any event, Abhidharma is a lower tenet system, lots of opinions in the Kosha are "wrong" from a Mahāyāna POV. But this does not mean that we toss out Abhidharma, anymore than we toss out Euclid when it comes to the study of geometry.
Wednesday at 3:47pm via  · Like

Jackson Peterson: Even Nagarjuna was motivated because how he saw the Abhidarma being a reification of "atoms" or some such... no?
Wednesday at 3:51pm · Like

Malcolm Smith: Nagarjuna was motivated to write by what he perceived as a reification of realism in the Buddha's teaching of dependent origination by Abhidharmikas of various schools. But Nagarjuna did not reject the the five aggregates, the twelve links of dependent origination, karma and so forth, merely certain ways of explaining it.
Wednesday at 3:53pm via  · Like

Jackson Peterson: Wasn't there a thing about Abhidarma conceiving of "atoms" as irreducible? Or am I mistaken?
Wednesday at 3:55pm · Like

Malcolm Smith: That is a Sarvastivada Abidharma opinion, rejected by Sautrantikas [i.e, their opponents]. The Abhidharmakosha consists of two parts, the Kosha, and its auto commentary, In the first part, Vasubandhu presents the tradition of the Kashmiri Sarvastivadins, in the auto commentary he presents the refutations of those positions.
Wednesday at 3:58pm via  · Like

Jackson Peterson: I see, thanks Malcolm Smith! I am off to bed... be well my friend!
Wednesday at 4:01pm · Like