Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Polishing the Mirror

Machiel van Dijk
Don't pollish a non-existing mirror. Just curious what you think of this :)
Ruthless Truth: The Flavour Of The Real
Like · · Unfollow Post · Share · 12 hours ago

    Seen by 47
    Soh: It's a good article, but the only thing I do not agree is this part:

    "It's what a lot of people teach. They might (well, there's no 'might' about it actually) dress this process up in fancy clothes, make it sound really pretty and use big words and bright smiles as they do it, but cleaning your mirror – wiping the mind free of thought – this is basically the centre of what most Eastern approaches to the end of suffering are actually teaching, when you really break it down."

    There is actually ample warning in all traditions not to take meditation and practice as a way to achieve no-thought. In Dzogchen, Mahamudra, there are warnings not to be attached to stillness or voidness and distinguishing this from true recognition/rigpa/etc, in Zen too (including Platform Sutra he quoted from), in Theravada too - there is emphasis in the difference between samatha and vipassana.

    It seems then, the 'most Eastern approaches' certainly does not include Buddhism. So although there are people who teach "no thought meditation" it is by no means representative of any major traditions, in Buddhism at least.

    "It is a little bittersweet that the standard Eastern response to the terrible mess this makes is, as serenely as possible, to smile and say “it takes many lifetimes.”"

    All Buddhist traditions including the earliest - Theravada - teaches that awakening and full liberation can be attained in one life, and there were thousands of arahants in Buddha's days
    3 minutes ago · Edited · Like · 2
    Soh: As I read more, there's more I will comment:

    "Now the thing is, Buddha recommended long, long meditation. Hui Neng didn't. He saw something else, and this is what made his work (in my opinion) such an incredible advance beyond Buddha."

    However, his approach worked - much better than anyone else since. For example, thousands of people attained arahantship or complete liberation - not just seeing through the illusion of self but completely putting an end to the ten fetters.

    It may not require much meditation work to achieve the ending of the first three fetters, but for the elimination of the rest of the fetters, you need to combine vipassana with samatha.

    In Buddha's days, those guys were sent to Sariputta first to train on insight (analysis of the dharmas) in order to achieve Sotapanna/stream-entry. Those stream entrants already had clear experiential insight that there isn't any self within or apart from the five aggregates, that only the aggregates are arising and passing. Next they were sent to Mogallana who was in charge of training those sotapannas to Arahantship by training them on deep meditation so that the stream entrants who had removed the first 3 fetters can furthermore remove the remaining 7 fetters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fetter_%28Buddhism%29).

    We should judge them by their results. Obviously, Buddha had better efficiency and success than anyone else - having thousands of stream entrants, thousands of once returners, thousands of non returners and thousands of arhants, it cannot be that his approach is any less effective than Hui Neng.

    The next thing is, Buddha certainly did not teach meditation as just 'no thought meditation'. He taught meditation as a way to gain insight and deep tranquil samadhi states... however the main point is still to gain deep wisdom and release from afflictions.

    I, and Buddha, are certainly not advocating deep samadhi over wisdom and insight. In fact as I explained above, people are usually sent to train on insight first to achieve the initial awakening before training on deep meditation.

    Now you may wonder, if Buddha was so successful, why does Theravada not produce the same success now? First of all, there are many success cases... You just need to look around, they don't usually advertise their attainment (except some 'who goes against orthodoxy/taboos surrounding proclamation of enlightenment' like Daniel M. Ingram - even though I do think he has over-estimated his attainment and I think he knows that by now). Secondly, we don't know what was Buddha's success formula in training his disciples, and maybe there's something missing these days that was present in the past... who knows. It's been 2500 years and there are bound to be corruptions and deterioration in the way the teaching is being taught... however it does not mean the original Buddha was to blame or that his approach is flawed. His approach worked perfectly in his days.

    In http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.094.than.html the Buddha taught that one who has not yet attained insight but tranquility of awareness should learn from one who had attained insight, one who has attained insight but not tranquility of awareness should learn from one who has attained tranquility of awareness, one who has attained neither should learn from one who has attained both, and one who has attained both, "his duty is to make an effort in establishing ('tuning') those very same skillful qualities to a higher degree for the ending of the (mental) fermentations."
    Fetter (Buddhism) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    In Buddhism, a mental fetter, chain or bond (Pāli: samyojana, saŋyojana, saññoja...See More
    a few seconds ago · Edited · Like · 2 · Remove Preview
    Soh: Oh gosh I sound like a Buddhist apologist. Anyway I've posted my comment to Ciaran's blog (awaiting approval)
    2 hours ago · Edited · Like · 2
    Elena Nezhinsky: cool stuff, Soh
    30 minutes ago · Unlike · 1

No comments:

Post a Comment