forestofemptiness

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About forestofemptiness

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  1. My family is working through this free course on the Science of Well Being: https://www.businessinsider.com/coursera-yale-science-of-wellbeing-free-course-review-overview
  2. Dawg's Awakening

    Of course, the common shadow side of that equation is people tend to prematurely quit formal practice too quickly. According to some teachers, sitting or meditating is itself an expression of enlightenment.
  3. Dawg's Awakening

    The discussion on the presence/absence of thought occurs in the jhana sections, not the vipassana sections. The second jhana arises when the factors of applied thought and sustained thought drop off. One of the arguments in the Theravada community is how deep the jhana state needs to be. Teachers who support the Visudhamagga interpretation would certainly disagree with you, as according to them attaining jhana typically means the obliteration of any sense of body and mental talk. There are also people in the Tibetan tradition that follow the same trajectory (i.e. B. Allan Wallace). I learned a lot about this at Bhavana Society actually, and Bhante G was my preceptor into Buddhism. It has been some time, but by applying their teachings, many of us at their retreats were able to slow the mental process down to the point where you could watch a single thought arise and pass away. Of course, the issue as I stated is taking such things into daily life. I doubt it is possible to attain deep states of concentration outside of a retreat, which is why I tend to prefer the more open approach.
  4. Dawg's Awakening

    This is an interesting statement, and points to a fissure in meditation systems. While I agree with the caveat "at least not on the tantric and dzogchen paths," there are some Buddhist paths in which it is taught. The elimination of thought paradigm does have some basis in Theravada teachings, and also in Samkhya. If you look at some classic Theravada Abhidhamma based teachings, you will find references to eliminating thoughts as thoughts are karmic arisings triggered by craving/aversion/ignorance. In the modern day, Gary Weber has made a big deal about achieving a literal no-thought state. One of the earliest Buddhist blogs I found described a Thai technique in which monks basically tried to reach a thought free state, then attempt to extend it. In Theravada contexts, I have heard it taught both ways. Of course, there is another debate in the Theravada context as to what level of concentration is necessary to reach enlightenment (i.e. the Visudhamagga jhanas vs. Sutta jhanas). One thing that struck me about the Theravada/Samkhya type of meditation is that they are typically practiced by renunciants practicing very intense forms of formless samadhi. Most of that, in my personal opinion, is as applicable to the modern lay person. I think for most lay people, the more open, relaxed paths are the way to go.
  5. Finding a master or school

    What are you time a management secrets? I find I can only practice a few things, and I have little time for online posting. Do you have a job and a family?
  6. Thoughts on Energy Arts / B.K. Frantzis

    If anyone is interested, I did end up taking the course at the center. I'm still taking courses there about 6-7 months later. Bruce will start teaching next week, so I cannot speak about classes with him personally. But the classes with his instructors have been exactly what I was looking for. The instructors and long-term students are all fairly nice and down to earth which can be unusual in my experience. The teachings have been pretty open. Unlike other classes I have taken, they explain fairly well what you are supposed to be doing. In fact, the teachers will go out of their way to demonstrate exactly how the body should move. The mechanics of Tao Chi are starting to make sense to me physically, including the phrase "each part is connected to every other part." Dragon-Tiger did not strike me as a great set of exercises initially, but over time I have found that it generates a lot of qi sensation, calms the mind, and promotes energy. I can also clearly see how 99% of Western tai chi and qigong is just arm waving. The emphasis appears to be on meditation and healing rather than martial ability. It sounds like this is based on a conscious choice on Bruce's part. This may be a turn off for many, but not for me. I have been in two fights in my entire life, both as a teenager. I have gotten more pain and bruising from full-contact sparring than any actual in life violence. However, mental distraction and physical age-based deterioration are always ongoing problems, so this seems suited for those. This is probably the first time I have been to such a class where everything was explained in a way that is easy to understand, and the arts still strike me as having unknown depths yet to be uncovered. It also reminds me of how much I miss the the organic, fluid, relaxing, intuitive "feel" of Chinese based arts/philosophy/Ch'an. I will say I am genuinely surprised at how positive the experience has been, especially in relation to how turned off I was by his general website/advertising.
  7. Nature of God is also Sunyata?

    To get back to OP, I've heard Buddhist teachers say that if God exists, then God is empty. I don't think that Buddhists (at least not all Buddhists) necessarily deny God, but rather the existence of nonexistence of God has no bearing on whether you suffer.
  8. Mantras

    It is fairly common knowledge in Vajrayana, and can be found in most beginner books and is often mentioned in live teachings. A simple Google search will produce a variety of sources, from Khenchen Thrangu to Tsongkahpha.
  9. Mantras

    You can practice it, but I imagine being a sutra method, the Vajrayana view would be that such practices would take three countless eons.
  10. Mantras

    The traditional explanation I have heard in Shaivite and Buddhist tantra is that one must receive the mantra in person from some one who has successfully “activated” the mantra—- i.e practiced it to fruition.
  11. Qigong techniques for better, longer, deeper sleep?

    Have you tried non-qigong techniques? Such as: limiting/eliminating caffeine; shutting down all electronics at least an hour before bed; adjusting the temperature of the room; meditating before bed, wearing an eye mask; etc.?
  12. Daoism as a Practical Philosophy

    For me, what distinguishes Daoism from other spiritual philosophies is the focus on the embodied aspect of the teachings. Understanding wu wei is one thing, but having a felt sense of wu wei in the body is another. The kicker is that wu wei is actually the only way to really go. Considering the cosmos as a vast and interconnected set of relationships, there is no way to resist that--- it is like a fly trying to hold back a Tsunami. Even more so, all the thoughts and impulses we have, including the thoughts and impulses to resist, spontaneously pop up on their own. We don't sit at a work bench and mold them like an artist might mold clay cups and vases.
  13. Chidabhasa

    I didn't say it was illogical. I said I couldn't make sense of it. In this case, I mean phenomenologically, i.e. as a matter of experience. Analogically, perhaps the best metaphor to use is space given it is unchanging, attribute-less, etc. It seems to me that the term "chidabhasa" can be applied differently: 1. To "pure awareness" or "pure consciousness," i.e. the unchanging, objectless, awareness that is ever present like a golden thread connecting all experiences, and yet never apart from any object or experience which arises; or 2. Some sort of object. This could be the mind, the "I am," the ahamkara, etc. My feeling is that it is pointing to #1 in an effort to reconcile our experience with the proclamations found in the Vedas. Our experience is never universal. For example, I may experience a waking state centered on my body-mind; a dreaming state centered on a fluid body-mind; or deep sleep that is not centered on any body mind. However, I never experience looking out from some one else's eyes. Nor have I ever had the experience of looking out through all body-minds. So I suppose I would say that it appears to be saying Brahman + upadhis = jivatman = chidabhasa. In other words, Brahman under the limitations of ignorance is not really Brahman (the sun) it is a pseudo-Brahman (the reflection). However, you all seem to be saying that it is pointing to a #2. Commendation
  14. Chidabhasa

    From time to time, I like to vary my learning up by learning about Advaita. Usually these days, this means listening to Swami Sarvapriyananda. One thing that has come up again that doesn't make sense to me is the idea of chidabhasa, reflected consciousness. The way it is described by Swami S is fairly in line with how it is presented by Swami Chinmayananda and Swami Dayandanda, and others. Basically, the idea is that the subtler part of the mind somehow "reflect" the universal consciousness. Swami S usually related the chidabhasa to "the awareness which we feel right now." The analogy is typically used on the single sun reflected in many pots of water. To me, this doesn't really make sense for at least a few reasons: we are using physical objects to stand in for a non-physical, non-object (a common issue); 2) it implies that our present awareness is somehow illusory; and 3) it would mean that our awareness somehow "changes" from what it presently is to something else later on. Thoughts? For some one interested but doesn't know what I am referring to, here is a fast outline. He talks about chidabhasa around the 6:25 mark.
  15. Thoughts on Energy Arts / B.K. Frantzis

    Well, I decided to take a chance. I just finished the first week. The other night, I came home fairly late. My wife asked how it went. "Well," I said, "It was something I haven't had at these classes for a long time." "What's that?" she asked. "It was--- fun," I said. "You never say that," she said. It's true. I have taken different MA classes over the years, and with the exception of a kick boxing class in college, none of them have been any fun. They may be fun at some parts, but certainly the entire experience is more work than fun. Some have been informative. Some have been useful. But none of them have been any fun. Usually, they are hard work. Or boring. Or a bit of both. It was also easy. They have obviously put in a lot of thought on how to teach people. And also multi-layered, with a heavy focus on meditation and mindfulness of the body. The teaching seemed pretty in line with what I have encountered at some other reputable schools. Obviously, it just started, but just thought I would share some of my initial impressions. I may have a different opinion in a few months.