April 24, 2005 at 3:12 am #5035
I’d like to address the idea of what it is to experience the root of awareness or mind in relation to nomenclature–in other words, in relation to the words one uses to relate to the idea of getting at the root of one’s own experience, or, in relation to the idea of enlightenment; which are things that might be intimately related.
The idea of ‘nothingness’ has come up as an apparently buddhist idea of the hub or central axis of enlightened experience.
Looking at the idea of buddhist enlightenment, we can see that the notion of a foundation of experience, where the formulation,
’emptiness is form, form is emptiness’,
is a key notion.
This is not exactly ‘nothingness’, because nothing can come from nothingness–philosophically, logically, this is just an untenable idea, so in terms of defining one’s terms, it is common in buddhist thought, and in philosophical thought in general, to use alternate, more ‘pregnant’ terms for the ‘ultimate’, like for example ‘pure being’, or ‘god’, or ‘the dao’, where these terms can further be carefully qualified, so that people are not left hanging there thinking, ‘well, it sounds very impressively mysterious, but there seem to be significant problems with that line of thinking… but maybe I shouldn’t say anything in case I offend him, or in case I get tortured and killed by the inquisition…’
In buddhism, IMO, properly understood, that subtle basis of reality/experience pointed at by the formulation ’emptiness is form, form is emptiness’, is demonstrated admirably in zen, by such instances as this story where a skeptical student appears at the monastery and confronts the teacher, saying,
‘I don’t think there really is any such thing as buddha nature–that’s just a fairy tale, isn’t it?’
The teacher says ‘What did you say? I can’t hear you. Come closer!’
So the guy comes closer and repeats his question.
‘What? Sorry, my hearing is failing me, could you come a little closer and repeat that?’
He does so.
Finally, the teacher says, ‘Did you understand me when I asked you to come closer to me and repeat your question?’
‘That’s buddha nature’
That ineffable situation/creative, dynamic intelligence, before verbal thought, that is the basis of mutual understanding, and of any action or ‘being’ at all, is buddha nature, or the dao, and no one is entitled to give you an enlightenment license to notice that in any initiation ceremony dreamed up by anyone pretending to be the gatekeeper of anyone else’s spiritual unfoldment; that is, pointing out the way, offering helpful and skillful means, is a blessed thing, whereas claiming that you are indispensable to someone’s enlightenment scenario is mighty suspicious.
Sakyamuni warned against what I just named as ‘mighty suspicous’ very clearly in his deathbed speech to Ananda.
In any case, I just wanted to say that the aim of daoism and buddhism, in terms of their pointing to the basis of reality/personal experience, is not a ‘nothingness’ in the strict sense of that term, but rather is the dynamic, creative basis for anything happening at all (be it ‘subjective’ or ‘objective’), and so the skillful meditation methods involving ‘not suppressing yet not elaborating’ are about tuning into this brilliant source of being.
SimonApril 27, 2005 at 5:16 am #5036
I appreciate the clarity of your thinking.
words have meaning, even if they cannot convey spiritual reality.
Some folks get attached to the idea of Nothingness, and to the process of dissolving, which is simple. Its the beginning of alchemy. This leads to Yin Body development, even though certain posters pretend they know something about Yang Body.
Its easy to talk about. The purpose of having a language of yin, yang, and yuan is to help adepts distinguish between different states and avoid illusion obtained by sudden experiences that don’t re-shape one’s jing level.
The words don’t make the shift, the awareness does when properly harnassed to substance.
Anyone who has achieved Yang Body, I invite to materialize in my living room as proof.
If unable to do so, I suggest blowing hot air elsewhere.
MichaelApril 27, 2005 at 4:42 pm #5038April 28, 2005 at 4:59 am #5040
–“The purpose of having a language of yin, yang, and yuan is to help adepts distinguish between different states and avoid illusion obtained by sudden experiences that don’t re-shape one’s jing level”
This makes a lot of sense to me and sounds familiar. In Mahamudra developing knowledge of contrasting states of mind, and deliberately bringing them into contrast, is a key element.
Lately I’ve been calling the three factors that come up in many traditions, or rather their actual skillful application in meditation practices, the ‘triangulation of consciousness’, you know, like pinpointing a geographical location.
Here is a Mahamudra poem by Je Yanggönpa I memorized to weave into my visualizations that sums up the Mahamudra approach:
“The importance of meditation lies in understanding one’s inner identity through fleeting thoughts; this serves as the entrance way to mind’s abiding reality.
By looking at one’s inner face, one may harmonize it, with oneself…
See if mindfulness, and fleeting thoughts, exist apart from, oneself.
This will unify the fleeting thoughts, with the settled mind.”
It seems very simple, but I believe it is very profound.
To those who may be new to such ideas, this poem assumes that you have already developed ‘mindfulness’–the developed-through-practice faculty of continuously being aware of what your mind is up to, which ultimately begins to become, more subtley, mindfulness of that which is being mindful…which is where the poem’s message kicks in…
Incidentally, to be forthright for my part about my ‘dematerialization stories’, this kind of meditation can and has led to ‘dematerializing lamas’–which just means that they become transparent so that you can see through to whatever is behind them, for the time that they are in the ‘mahamudra state’. I do not think this is very impressive though–just a special (side) effect, not more impressive than having cream turn into whipped cream by whipping it. A friend swears he could see through me one time while I was meditating across from him, a friend who had not heard of the above lore (nor had I at the time). I was not intending to achieve such an effect (also, my friend may have been seeing things!), nor did I give it much thought at the time–it didn’t take either of us long to reach the ‘shoulder shrugging’ attitude toward it.
At a Tibetan settlement (Le Bost) in Southern France, where I went for three summers consecutively to a ‘buddhist university’ at another Tibetan settlement nearby (Dhagpo), they had a framed photograph of the 16th Karmapa on the wall across from a wall of books. Particularly his upper body was semi-transparent, so that you could see through to the other side, to the back of his chair. Oooooooh, spooky! Well, it’s alchemy. Breath slow, mind slows, vice versa, etcetera. But then, this is a very particular kind of effect–upon coming out of it the meditator will still have that bad knee etc. It seems to be what Sri Auorobindo talks about–that an isolated yogic suspension of laws is not the same as deep transformation of matter itself, so that the change sticks.
To support what you say about jing level change from a Tibetan buddhist perspective, it is said in the mahamudra tradition that achieving the enlightenment aimed at by mahamudra does not (necessarily) lead to mastery of tummo (Tibetan qi gong) and it’s corresponding desirable physical effects, and vice versa (that’s why you can be a black magician, or a naive white magician, or a sickly buddha whose siddhis are confined to the emotional and information levels). If you want to get good at Spanish, you have to get involved with Spanish–enlightenment will only make it easier and facilitate psychic cheating.
SimonMay 4, 2005 at 10:03 am #5042
Maybe you people should try falun gong ( law wheel chi kung of the budda school )
Falun dafa’s xing xing ( mind nature ) contains the budda school’s emptiness and the tao school’s nothingness. ( from zhuan falun )May 4, 2005 at 4:21 pm #5044
I think you may have misunderstood the intent behind the message you just replied to.
I wrote it to clarify a term that was being used a lot and in a way that implied it was being used in the buddhist context, a context I have studied thoroughly and continue to study. However, I do not identify myself as a buddhist; I am more interested in the idea of alchemy understood as a way of embracing and digesting many approaches. I am here because I am interested in Michael Winn’s take on daoist practice and because of the openness of this forum to multiple points of view, within reason, and within a relatively courteous context.
Thanks for the suggestion though.
SimonMay 20, 2007 at 2:16 am #5046
it’s best to check out the books of falun dafa yourself instead of taking anything i ( facelessmage ) wrote as being absolutely true of falun dafa.
some of what i said was intended to be specific viewpoints but as it turned out – the effects seemed to not be good as it sounded like i was saying bad things about falun dafa which i don’t want to do
again- read the falun dafa books, they’re free on the website — http://www.falundafa.org
the truth of Falun dafa the teachings can only be grasped if one studies falun dafaJune 8, 2008 at 1:19 pm #5048
what i posted was ONLY my understanding of things, it doesn’t represent the teachings of falun dafa, you can check it out on the website http://www.falundafa.org it’s FREE on there.
here;s the post i was talking about :
Maybe you people should try falun gong ( law wheel chi kung of the budda school )
Falun dafa’s xing xing ( mind nature ) contains the budda school’s emptiness and the tao school’s nothingness. ( from zhuan falun )
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