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About stirling

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  1. Everything is perfect?

    It is worth mentioning that most (all?) Mahayana Buddhism emphasizes the possibility of awakening in THIS lifetime, since it is merely the recognition of something that is already true. There are those who have done so at practically every decent sized meditation center. It isn't nearly impossible, but just infrequent.
  2. eternity can't be....

    Absolutely! We can make up any stories we want about how "eternity" presents itself, but really it is NONE of those. It just as you describe here. It is now, where our delusions about the past and future are understood, and we can just drink in this moment. No cycles. "Time" is one of the three doors to non-dual understanding, the others being "self" and "space". All of them are conceptual designations we distort reality with by insisting what is real underneath be shoe-horned into their limited shapes.
  3. I have never said that enlightenment is commensurate with "perpetual bliss". It is your belief or assumption, not mine. They don't have concepts until WE supply them. They don't have those concepts themselves. The concepts are ours. As far as we know the balance of the animal kingdom interacts with objects all of the time using no known conceptual abstractions. Concepts have no reality of their own. There are many concepts that don't even have physical objects to go with them. Taxonomy is the practice of applying appellations to classified and labeled objects that are newly encountered. It uses the comparison with other things as its basis and many objects get reclassified more than once when new info became available. The things that are named are NEW to experience. The objects could be known before they were named. They could be handed back and forth, smelled, traded, bought and sold without having names. That isn't my experience. There are other ways to know than with the thinking mind. Are you a meditator? This would be a way into understanding what I am saying if you were curious. My experience is that they ARE. If you really wanted to understand it, I would suggest you consider exploring it for yourself. If you have made up your mind, I understand. That's OK too, but probably means that there isn't anything further for us to discuss, really. See above. I have attempted to explain it, yes, but if I had done a good job you would see what I mean. An explanation won't do it, either way. It is something you have to experience to understand, not read. I honestly don't know how else to talk about it. If it isn't interesting to you I'm fine with that. It surprises me that what I am saying seems less believable than downloads from mysterious other-worldly sources? I'm just suggesting looking at your own experience and taking it apart. Why do you assume I am somebody who is out to make fun of you or pretend anything? I am sorry that you have come to that conclusion. If you really feel that way I am happy to refrain from commenting on your posts. You seem like you have your own ideas about how things are, I am just answering your questions from my understanding and experience as plainly and honestly as possible. The word "contrived" is a commonly used Buddhist term. According to some online dictionary it means: This is what I am saying about our conceptual overlay of reality: We make it. It isn't naturally there.
  4. I agree with all of that, yes, though I might phrase it differently. Form and the formless are interwoven, and coexist (seemingly) so both are "valid", it is just that the formlessness is present and pervades all form; it is the omnipresent "quality" of all phenomena. The formless is extremely difficult to discuss in language. When broken down into conceptual ideas, the formless could be said to have certain qualities that it does not ultimately have. To express them is always inaccurate. I am not trying to be obtuse when I describe this for that reason. While they can be seen from either perspective, all objects are ultimately formless in nature. The substantiation would need to be in the form of training, if you to see what I mean. In same way that somebody can't read a book and suddenly ride a bike, play the drums, or dance ballet, having some experience of emptiness is necessary to understand what is being pointed to. A soul implies something with intrinsic reality. Have you ever experienced a soul? I haven't ever met anyone who has. To imagine a soul as having a form, or no form, or as existing at all is merely an act of imagination, isn't it? I only trust what I can experience. Conjecture is just a belief, in my opinion, not real knowledge of something. If you know of a way to experience a soul, I would be open to it experimenting with it. Enlightened mind sees both form AND emptiness (see Heart Sutra, quoted previously). Form never goes anywhere. I'm sorry if the words I have chose appear grandiose. Just trying to represent things as I see them. I have honestly tried to answer your question about bliss, but the question as phrased doesn't make sense from the absolute perspective. In its simplest terms, enlightened mind has insight into the underlying non-dual nature of reality and can permanently see it at any time. It isn't a state, in that states come and go. It doesn't have any qualities . If you ask me to tell you what its qualities are I will be telling you some concepts that are similar to how it is, but do not embody the truth of how it is. Reading Nagajuna here would be a recommendation: He is the Einstein of Buddhism. Even though his logic when talking about the Absolute is impeccable, he will still tell you that his ideas are merely a scaffolding - intended as a pointer to foster insight. I don't think it is a "state of perfect and perpetual bliss, attainable through diligent practice". To rephrase in a way I would say is more accurate from my perspective: there is nothing to add or subract to it, it is relaxing, and sometimes a relief when the turmoil of reality is seen through (like as glass of cold water on a hot day, as I think I previously said), and is completely unobtainable by a person, since its realization is the realization that the "self" as a separate thing in experience is an illusion. Is that your experience? My experience is that the unity is always present, and always has been, as is the constantly evolving form which arises from the unity. I am unsure how anybody could block seeing form, or hearing form, or escape form, but what CAN happen is seeing through the delusion of struggle, or suffering with it. Anybody who has attachment to bliss is stuck. I'd agree with that. Otherwise I'd have to say that my experience is different. Lifetimes? It is worth asking: How many lifetimes have you experienced?
  5. Everything is perfect?

    Honestly, I always feel like I am trying to leave out all of the Buddhist terminology to make things easier to parse. Maybe not. I'm fine with "Self" where it pertains to the undivided everything that is experienced. Ultimately it is the same, though I think there are gradations to the depth of understanding. The Buddhist stuff is just more specific, which I find may or may not be necessary depending on who is listening. It's all Absolute... all Brahman, really. The mistake is ours. If there is no illusion one should be able to see Brahman experientially (enlightenment) as a quality of the phenomenal world in any moment, right?
  6. Everything is perfect?

    Definitely true! Nicely put. In the Heart Sutra: So the phenomenal world is entirely comprised of emptiness and yet still maintains its appearance of form, which exists as a subset of its absolute nature. We witness the procession of changing phenomena in the world, and yet all of these seemingly separate objects and events are mentally "cut" from the fabric of emptiness, having no real nature of their own. It is seeing things from two different perspectives, the relative and the absolute. They appear the same, and yet, once seen, it is possible to see the empty nature of reality at any time underneath the illusion of relative separateness. The pits are our tireless seeking and mental argument over how things are. The way out of the pits is to seek experiential, non-conceptual knowledge of the universe. I think we all want our doubts erased for sure. I believe it is easier than you'd imagine, but requires a receptive, kind, and genuine approach.
  7. Everything is perfect?

    Suffering (or struggle as I have recently read it re-translated) IS a relative truth, but not an absolute truth. The point of the 4 Noble Truths is that there is a path OUT of suffering. Right, though I would argue that the real issue is that it isn't UNDERSTOOD to be perfect. Seeing suffering means that ones perspective is distorted by the lens of delusion. When the reality of things is seen, it is realized that they simply are as they are.
  8. Everything is perfect?

    Rather than imagining that "perfect" indicates some sort of imagined ideal set of conditions, I have come to interpret this type statement as meaning that things could not be otherwise and are thus exactly as they should be. Buddhism would argue that what is happening in this moment is the result of the causes and conditions arising as we experience it. The problem, or "imperfection" in this moment is therefore supplied by US as an attachment to an idea of how we imagine this moment should be in our estimation, or as an aversion to how this moment actually is.
  9. Hello Michael! Very certainly Zen/Cha'n is one of my major influences, but I spent 20 years working in the Tibetan Nyingma tradition before that, so you could say Nyingma and Dzogchen are still very influential for me, and I teach some of those texts regularly. I honestly think most Buddhism in the West is experience based, though I don't know that much about the Nichiren or Pure Land schools. In all cases, though what I am saying does not particularly differ from what my teachers or primary texts might have said, what I am expressing is my personal understanding. I can see how: ...could be a provisional understanding used as a teaching scaffolding. My personal experience is that all abstractions such as realms or other worlds are empty of any reality of their own, incompatible with Nagarjuna's explanations of time, space, and self. My personal feeling is that Nagajunas explanation (most specifically the Shentong "emptiness of other" interpretation) is about as close as we are going to get to clear dialog about how "reality" is, though it is still flawed as he would have admitted. That may be true, but I can only see cosmologies as conceptual constructs, not really having any reality that we can truly experience ourselves. I love cosmology (the stranger, fancier, more arcane and ornate the better) but in terms of reality I only trust what I can experience. Having said that, the further you get on the this path the more strange and metaphysical what you encounter becomes. Even those experiences have a certain relative reality of their own, though it is advisable to hold what is "real" lightly and without reification. In my teens and twenties I was deeply interested in the supernatural and metaphysical. Buddhism (and "empty" reality) are FULL of such things and experiences. Experiencing them is the natural consequence of dropping tightly held beliefs and stopping the process of explaining them away. You can talk about it, but (as neo-Advaita chap Adyashanti says) you have intend to "fail well" in the best case scenario. It really isn't expressible, primarily because our language, which depends on subject/object relationships, is not suited to the task. It isn't a subject/object "thing" to experience. Oh, DEFINITELY. I think of them as different perspectives of the same thing seen through different facets of a prism. The same thing is looked at, but the descriptions will differ.
  10. I am sorry if I have come off in some strange way. Not my intention. What I said was: By "great respect" I mean "great respect". By "bravely", I mean one who is interested enough to ask the difficult questions with true curiousity and the intention to truly understand the topic. Your intial post seemed earnest, so I took it that way. I personally assume everyone is a friend until proven otherwise. I see seekers in two flavors: • Idealogues who have made their mind up about a particular constructed viewpoint • Seekers who truly wish to understand the nature of reality and are open to the possibilities I don't generally engage the former, but champion the latter. There is a receptivity, and genuineness in them. Someone who truly wants to know is someone I want to talk to. - It IS difficult, yes. I wouldn't personally believe anyone who told me about some "golden heaven" that exists somewhere else either. I am against beliefs... they just cause mental struggle. Beliefs are what we construct when we don't know through personal experience. If there is some benefit to a practice it should be something you can experience yourself. It should be transformative when practiced with openness. It should be do what it says on the label. I DID express my opinion earlier in the thread. As I said previously, I don't buy a perpetual "bliss" exactly, but do know that there is a pleasurable "relief" (for lack of a better word) where there is seeing things as "empty" that is pleasant in the same way that a glass of cold water on a hot day is pleasant. Another analogy might be when you wake up thinking it is Monday and you have overslept, but then realize it is Sunday. With some guidance, anyone who practices meditation with the intention of allowing the mind to become quiet will experience this within a week or so of sitting. I am a Soto Zen priest, but that doesn't mean I don't recognize the teachings of Daoism, Sufism, Hinduism, etc. as valid, AND that also doesn't mean that any of the above are a belief system for me. Understanding how things are doesn't require a massive crenellated concretion of beliefs, it just requires creating the space that allows the underlying nature of things to well up. Nothing to buy, nothing to believe, nothing to worship. You could decide that there are qualities of both agnosticism and gnosticism in this, but that isn't really important.
  11. This is an interesting point. What we are discussing doesn't exist conceptually, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. We have experience of knowing things all the time that aren't conceptualized. Any time the mind is quiet and we are present with what is happening there is knowing, but without the conceptual overlay. Many of these are non-dual experiences, though we don't have the realization to see what they are. In most of them we can see that time, space, and self are all missing from the moment of experiencing. I have successfully guided many people to notice how this is and point it out (commonly called "pointing out instruction" in the Tibetan Buddhist traditions). Gnosis is: refers to knowledge based,acquaintance with") the divine. Setting aside religion, mysticism, esotericism, and the divine for a moment, this connection with things being nakedly as they are is presence with the void, and reality as it exists as the basis for all contrived appearances. With insight into its nature it is seen always everywhere.
  12. Your statement is true about visualization and the Vajrayana practices. The primary difference between using the breath and a visualization is that the visualization includes a symbolic overlay, so can have another layer that can be more directed or specific in intent. Having said that, in the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition it is meditation WITHOUT an object (Dzogchen) that is the supreme practice. I don't honestly think that the object matters. Finding an object (when you are practicing with an object) that is inspiring or comfortable is more important. When you notice that the object has dropped away and the mind is quiet, just rest in that stillness.
  13. Buddhism isn't breaking its own rules in this case: in Korean Buddhism,-See also%3A Korean&text=The polarity of absolute and,realities%2C but interpenetrate each other. The understandings of impermanence and dependent origination are "provisional" truths, meaning that they are true when observed by unenlightened mind. They are provisionally true where the world is understood to be comprised of objects that have intrinsic reality of their own. Enlightened mind sees through both delusions. When enlightened mind looks at reality the quality of emptiness is ALWAYS there. It is omnipresent and eternal. Enlightenment does not come and go, it is an "ultimate" truth. Enlightenment contains but supercedes the relative. The world looks the same, but with something taken away. The relative is still seen, but understood to be a delusion. The pervasive quality that is perceived is its emptiness - the "own-being" quality of objects is seen through.
  14. If only cats were more adept at intuiting our ideas and typing them for us. Alas. My cat is a serial murderer and would easily slip into rodent genocide if it wasn't for the incessant and debilitating need to go in and out of the house every 10 minutes. She is most certainly no typist. Right on! Done properly, there IS no-one doing it. Indeed. It is absolutely correct, yes. Where there is shikantaza, space, time, and "self" drop out. This often happens during Zazen too, where the "doing" of whatever practice is your way in suddenly drops away. This is how you know the student is ready to stop preparing and just go ahead and actualize enlightenment. Yes, this sounds familiar. I'm seeing some refinement as this goes along. One thought: Investigate the idea that attention is actually ALWAYS taking place without direction. Keep at it!