Mark Foote

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About Mark Foote

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  1. Actually, I feel it before physical contact, and try to balance what I'm experiencing in contact with an awareness of it. Something like that. Dancing when contact is possible inspires me to stretch and breathe as naturally as possible, and more so dancing with contact that is spontaneous and continuous (good god!). Many nights staggering the mile home past midnight, many good friends and some total strangers that I feel I share something special with. The dark sun part has only entered in on the dance floor so far, probably because of the extent and duration of the simultaneous stretch and relaxation. Not there in the five day sesshin I did last fall, but the lotus is where I learn how to make changes that bring less exertion and more relaxation. Reminds me of something Kobun Otogawa said in response to a question one time--something like, "when we get up from sitting, that's all for fun!" Dancing is sure like that for me, almost like a place where I can put the pedal to the floor with everything I've experienced on the cushion and leap beyond. May I offer a song!
  2. I think this is the passage that the author of Lankavatara was paraphrasing: Monks, there are these two views: view of becoming, and view of annihilation. Monks, whatever recluses and Brahmins adhere to the view of becoming, have come under the view of becoming, cleave to the view of becoming, these are obstructed from the view of annihilation. Monks, whatever recluses and Brahmins adhere to the view of annihilation, have come under the view of annihilation, cleave to the view of annihilation, these are obstructed from the view of becoming. Monks, whatever recluses or Brahmins do not comprehend as they really are the rise and fall of, and satisfaction in, and peril of these two views and the escape from them, these have attachment, these have aversion, these have confusion, these have craving, these have grasping, these are unintelligent, these are yielding and hindered, these delight in impediments, these are not utterly freed from birth, ageing, dying, grief, sorrow, suffering, lamentation, despair--these are not utterly free from anguish, I say. But whatever recluses or Brahmins comprehend as they really are the rise and fall of, and satisfaction in, and peril of these two views and the escape from them, these are without attachment, these are without aversion, these are without confusion, these are without craving, these are without grasping, these are intelligent, these are unyielding and unhindered, these do not delight in impediments, these are utterly freed from birth, ageing, dying, grief, sorrow, suffering, lamentation, despair--these are utterly free from anguish, I say. (Culasihanadasuttsa "Lesser Discourse on the Lion's Roar", Pali Text Society MN I pg 87) Gautama continues the analysis in this vein: Monks, there are these four (kinds of) grasping. What are the four? The grasping of sense-pleasures, the grasping of view, the grasping of rule and custom, the grasping of the theory of self.... Looks like the author of Lankavatara summarized "escape from them" in Gautama's treatment with "in either case they imagine emancipation where there is no emancipation." I feel a little better about Lankavatara. Thanks, Tom.
  3. Believe I misquoted David-Neel. In "Secret Oral Teachings", she gives "extinguished" as the literal meaning of nirvana. I think I got "blown out" from "The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary" (Rhys Davids and Stede, pg 362): Nibbana--Etymology. Although nir+va "to blow" is already in use in the Vedic period, we do not find its distinctive application until later and more commonly in popular use, where "va" is fused with "vr" in this sense, viz. in application to the extinguishing of a fire, which is the prevailing Buddhist conception of the term. Only in the older texts do we find references to a simile of the wind and the flame; but by far the most common metaphor and that which governs the whole idea of nibbana finds expression in the putting out of fire by other means of extinction than by blowing, which latter process rather tends to incite the fire than to extinguish it. ... I continue to like thinking of nirvana as a state of being where the fires are "blown out" by wellness in the natural movement of breath. Also, I should clarify that although Gautama never expressly coupled the setting up of mindfulness with the attainment of the meditative states, he did say that he himself could intentionally induce all the states (sorry I don't have the reference on that). I'm guessing that doesn't apply to the final cessation of perception and cessation, the attainment synonymous with Gautama's enlightenment, which cessation involves the realization that all that is constructed or thought out is impermanent. I apologize for my mischaracterization of the teaching, saying that "he never expressly stated that the meditative states can be attained by any intentional activity". I do think it's a case of aiming at one thing in order to bring about another, as when he associates "making self-surrender the object of thought" with "laying hold" of concentration. He also speaks of the extension of the mind of friendliness, of compassion, of sympathy, and of equanimity, saying that the "excellence of the heart's release" with regard to each of the latter three corresponds with the induction of the first three of the immaterial meditative states. I would say he exercised his faculties and the activities ceased, so he did have some intent there, but not specifically for the attainment of meditative states. I gotta say, words put into the mouth of Gautama by later authors are not actually the words of the one traditionally regarded as "Buddha". Picky, picky, picky. Gautama would usually add in the cases of "both being and non-being" and "neither being nor non-being", in such a discussion--but I can't cite chapter and verse.
  4. I think Alexandra David-Neel translated "nirvana" as literally meaning "blown out". I like her translation because it intimates the role of breath in the process. On dependent causation: “Birth is anguish, old age and decay, sickness, death, sorrow, grief, woe, lamentation, and despair are anguish. Not to get what one desires is anguish. In short, the five groups based on grasping are anguish.” (AN I 176, Vol I pg 160; Pali “dukkha”: “anguish” in MN, "ill” in AN original above) So dependent causation ends in grasping after self in the five groups, and that is identically to suffer. As far as I can figure, the ignorance that gives rise to intentional activity of speech, body, and mind can only be said to have ceased when intentional activity of speech, body, and mind cease as a consequence. The meditative states Gautama described are states where intentional activities cease, and he specified that activities with regard to speech cease in the first of the material states, the activities with regard to the body (with regard to inhalation and exhalation) cease in the fourth, and the activities with regard to the mind (with regard to perception and sensation) cease after the fourth of the non-material states. He never expressly stated that the meditative states can be attained by any intentional activity, what a surprise. The passages regarding discrimination from Lankavatara--I guess the idea is to encourage people to somehow kick it up a notch? I think I prefer the Zen notion of the person of no rank, going in and out of the gates of the face--at least that emphasizes a selfless process, along the lines of Gautama's way of living. Linji addressed the assembly, saying, "There is a true person of no rank. He is always leaving and entering the gates of your face. You beginners who have not witnessed him: Look! Look!"Thereupon a monk asked, "How about this true person of no rank?"Linji got down from the seat and grabbed him. The monk hesitated, and Linji pushed him away, saying, "This true person of no rank; what a shit-stick he is!" (from here)
  5. five-seven-five here a rule to be broken, sure-- the weeds bright green, spring
  6. you'll find you are more when death is a given, like five-seven-five here
  7. Equanimity the wind is howling, stars bright will we see morning
  8. I can't say I have any experience with chakras. Here's Gautama's short advice on developing psychic powers: So he abides fully conscious of what is behind and what is in front. As (he is conscious of what is) in front, so behind: as behind, so in front; as below, so above: as above, so below: as by day, so by night: as by night, so by day. Thus with wits alert, with wits unhampered, he cultivates his mind to brilliancy. (Sanyutta-Nikaya, text V 263, Pali Text Society volume 5 pg 235, ©Pali Text Society) If you're interested, you can read my expansion here. The last line in particular I think might be relevant, particularly as the whole methodology is being prescribed as a means to develop psychic power. This is some of what I had to say about it in my expansion: “Thus with wits alert, with wits unhampered, he cultivates his mind to brilliancy”: Gautama explained that a monk “cultivates his mind to brilliancy” when the monk’s “consciousness of light is well grasped, his consciousness of daylight is well-sustained.” As to the “consciousness of light” or of “daylight”, the gland which is perhaps most responsive to daylight in the body is the pineal gland (the pineal produces melatonin), and the gland is supported by a bone in the interior of the skull (the sphenoid) that flexes and extends with the rhythm of the cranial-sacral fluid. The bases of psychic power were desire, energy, thought, and investigation (together with the co-factors of concentration and struggle), and they were to be cultivated by the use of the four-part method described in Gautama’s stanza. Whether or not there is a way to perform miracles and see the past lives or karmic fate of others, I can’t say; that there may be a way to bring about psychic experience through a “consciousness of daylight”, and possibly the occurrence of consciousness at the place where daylight most affects the endocrinology of the body, I would guess could be (although the precise nature of that phenomena may not be what it was thought to be in 500 B.C.E, as for example, the miracle of “handling and stroking the sun and moon with the hand”).
  9. Back at you. I wasn't talking about the tango, the waltz, or the polka. Free-style freaking in my experience is not about learned dance moves, it's an ability to feel someone on the inside. It's two people falling upright, together yet the effort is individual. Sometimes when I have been really close to someone this way, I have felt like there was a dark sun that happened to be inside me, but inside someone else too simultaneously. Seemed like the dark sun I felt might be related to the light under discussion here, but I have no idea.
  10. Can I gain karma? good and evil aside, no. my head is tilted
  11. A dark sun, maybe?--I've felt something like that sometimes, dancing with a partner.
  12. I'm Apocalypse meet my four horsemen--or not the weeds bright green, spring
  13. It's pretty funny to watch myself stumble over my own two feet--last time I did that, I rolled out of it, but I received a bone bruise from the pressure cooker (with the potluck pasta) in the process. Maybe it's only three balls at a time, in the air. That's all I can do, anyway.
  14. then hop skip and jump over and back again, 'til you can hardly see