Mark Foote

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About Mark Foote

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  1. Non dual Buddhism

    I can't speak to the Tibetan heritage, but hopefully there are some things that are present in all the traditions (out of India). I wrote an "About" page for my own website recently, that refers to a three-some that seems to recur: "Making self surrender the object of thought, one lays hold of concentration, one lays hold of one-pointedness of mind. (SN V 200, Pali Text Society V 176) (The three-some is) how the experience of one-pointedness of mind takes place, how a person “lays hold” of one-pointedness of mind, and how the elements Gautama made the object of his thought belong to self-surrender. " Dogen put it this way, in "Genjo Koan": When you find your place where you are, practice occurs, actualizing the fundamental point. When you find your way at this moment, practice occurs, actualizing the fundamental point… Although actualized immediately, the inconceivable may not be apparent. And I would describe it like this: "what remains (when volition and habit in the movement of breath drops away) is one-pointedness of mind, centrifugal and centripetal force at the location of mind, and the action of inhalation or exhalation." The source of the centripetal force is in all of the senses, including equalibrioception, graviception, and proprioception, and also in what lies beyond the boundaries of the senses. What lies beyond can only be accessed by extending the mind of friendliness (compassion, etc.) beyond the walls, and around the world. "The Vimalakirti Sutra says, ‘Suddenly all at once, we return to original mind’. And the Bodhisattva Precept Sutra says, ‘Our original nature is pure’. Good friends, see the fundamental purity of your own nature. Cultivate and put to work for yourselves the Dharma body of your own nature." (“The Platform Sutra–The Zen Teaching of Hui-neng”, translated by Red Pine 2006) That would be, realize one-pointedness of mind and lay hold of it, inhalation to exhalation and exhalation to inhalation. When what's beyond the walls is involved in laying hold of it, it's the "dharma body of your own nature" that acts. Still, there is the spirit in the movement of breath, the inconceivable that may be actualized immediately. Another way of saying it, that seems to be helping me along.
  2. Non dual Buddhism

    The fundamentals of experiencing one-pointedness of mind, as described by koun Franz: "Okay... So, have your hands in the cosmic mudra, palms up, thumbs touching, and there's this common instruction: place your mind here. Different people interpret this differently. Some people will say this means to place your attention here, meaning to keep your attention on your hands. It's a way of turning the lens to where you are in space so that you're not looking out here and out here and out here. It's the positive version, perhaps, of "navel gazing. The other way to understand this is to literally place your mind where your hands are--to relocate mind (let's not say your mind) to your centre of gravity, so that mind is operating from a place other than your brain. Some traditions take this very seriously, this idea of moving your consciousness around the body. I wouldn't recommend dedicating your life to it, but as an experiment, I recommend trying it, sitting in this posture and trying to feel what it's like to let your mind, to let the base of your consciousness, move away from your head. One thing you'll find, or that I have found, at least, is that you can't will it to happen, because you're willing it from your head. To the extent that you can do it, it's an act of letting go--and a fascinating one." “No Struggle (Zazen Yojinki, Part 6)”, by Koun Franz, from Koun’s “Nyoho Zen” site: https://
  3. A Dao Bums Retreat?

    I've been up Snowden, but I think I'd have been better off at Cae Mabon. There's Yokayo Ranch outside Ukiah, California, though I've never stayed there. Hmmm, lots of wedding stuff on the website, but the biodynamics people convene there too: Fun to phantasize. I'm just over the hills at Clear Lake:
  4. Haiku Chain

    brought to light again the cycle of the rice flies all along the lake
  5. Haiku Chain

    me, with feet of clay like Chinese terra cotta brought to light again
  6. Haiku Chain

    strung on heaven's strings all the stars in the night sky me, with feet of clay
  7. Dharma in the time of COVID

    As I understand it, karma is the consequence of the intention there was in an action. Doesn't so much matter whether the intention was good or bad, just that there was intention. If there is no intention, then there is no karma. Where there have been deeds, Ananda, personal weal and woe arise in consequence of the will there was in the deeds. Where there has been speech–where there has been thought, personal weal and woe arise in consequence of the will there was in the speech–in the thought. Either we of ourselves, Ananda, plan those planned deeds conditioned by ignorance, whence so caused arises personal weal and woe, or others plan those planned deeds that we do conditioned on ignorance, whence so conditioned arises personal weal and woe. Either they are done deliberately, or we do them unwittingly. Thence both ways arises personal weal and woe. So also is it where there has been speech, where there has been thought. Either we plan, speaking, thinking deliberately, or others plan, so that we speak, think unwittingly. Thence arises personal weal and woe. In these six cases ignorance is followed after. But from the utter fading away and cessation of ignorance, Ananda, those deeds are not, whence so conditioned arises personal weal and woe. Neither is that speech, nor that thought. As field they are not; as base they are not; as wherewithal they are not; as occasion they are not, that so conditioned there might arise personal weal and woe. (SN II text ii, 36 “Kindred Sayings on Cause” XII, 3, chapter 25, “Bhumija”; Pali Text Society SN Vol II pg. 31-32) A clockwork universe of cause and effect, until ignorance (and with it, willful or habitual activity of speech, body, and mind) ceases. Basically, we go in circles until the "unexpected happens and time unfolds", as here: "In work published last December in Physical Review A, Gisin and his collaborator Flavio Del Santo used intuitionist math to formulate an alternative version of classical mechanics, one that makes the same predictions as the standard equations but casts events as indeterministic — creating a picture of a universe where the unexpected happens and time unfolds." ( I would say we are only beginning to see the consequences of the ignorance and intentional actions of humankind. The only way out, as always, is to trust the force and take a shot.
  8. Haiku Chain

    seamlessly perfect the cat launches to the desk looks without seeing
  9. Haiku Chain

    to the precipice and back again, just a look spring snow, melting fast
  10. Mahayana vs Theravada

    I'm wondering whose instructions on meditation you were following? I think there are several different strands of Theravadin teachings circulating these days: Goenka's teachings Thai teachings, like those of Ajahn Chah Western teachings, like Jack Kornfield's at Spirit Rock Offshoots like Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) I think they all emphasize what is now called "bare attention", to one extent or another. It's true that Gautama emphasized self-reliance, but he also recommended a particular meditation as the means to that self-reliance: 33. "Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge. "And how, Ananda, is a bhikkhu an island unto himself, a refuge unto himself, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as his island, the Dhamma as his refuge, seeking no other refuge? 34. "When he dwells contemplating the body in the body, earnestly, clearly comprehending, and mindfully, after having overcome desire and sorrow in regard to the world; when he dwells contemplating feelings in feelings, the mind in the mind, and mental objects in mental objects, earnestly, clearly comprehending, and mindfully, after having overcome desire and sorrow in regard to the world, then, truly, he is an island unto himself, a refuge unto himself, seeking no external refuge; having the Dhamma as his island, the Dhamma as his refuge, seeking no other refuge. ( Turns out it was the expansion of the version of the practice given above that was described in Anapanasati Sutta that constituted Gautama's own way of living (not the one in Satipatthana Sutta). Even so, the practice is mostly obscured by the commentaries, as far as I can tell. Not a source of happiness, to try to do too much. I suppose that's why many Zen teachers just instruct their students to be aware of their breathing. Of course, the basis of Anapanasati Sutta is the distinction of the breath in and the breath out, with the accompanying awarenesses, in a cross-legged posture. Then there's this: "When you sit, the cushion sits with you. If you wear glasses, the glasses sit with you. Clothing sits with you. House sits with you. People who are moving around outside all sit with you. They don’t take the sitting posture!" (Kobun Chino Otogawa, “Shikantaza”) One could say that Buddha and the bodhisattvas are moving around outside, and maybe that enables the experience of what is outside the boundaries of sense in the distinction of the breath in or the breath out (along with a feeling of compassion). I would guess that chanting is an excellent way to focus on the distinction of in-breathing and out-breathing, albeit somewhat unconsciously. Whatever works, but as you can tell I am looking for the science of why it works, to the extent possible.
  11. Mahayana vs Theravada

    lost a post, sorry about that. If anyone got emailed a copy of the full post, please forward it to me at [email protected] Thanks.
  12. Mahayana vs Theravada

    (wow, gremlins in the Dao Bums software! my apologies)
  13. Haiku Chain

    except maybe bolt the door, if grandma's coming where were we?--oh, yes!
  14. Mahayana vs Theravada

    “I know that while my father, the Sakyan, was ploughing, and I was sitting in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, aloof from pleasures of the senses, aloof from unskilled states of mind, I entered on the first meditation, which is accompanied by initial thought and discursive thought, is born of aloofness, and is rapturous and joyful, and while abiding therein, I thought: ‘Now could this be a way to awakening?’ Then, following on my mindfulness, Aggivissana, there was the consciousness: This is itself the Way to awakening. This occurred to me, Aggivissana: ‘Now, am I afraid of that happiness which is happiness apart from sense-pleasures, apart from unskilled states of mind?’ This occurred to me...: I am not afraid of that happiness which is happiness apart from sense-pleasures, apart from unskilled states of mind.’” (MN 1 246-247, Pali Text Society Vol I pg 301) There are cessations associated with the four rupa jhanas: 1st) cessation of dis-ease 2nd) cessation of unhappiness 3rd) cessation of ease apart from equanimity (with respect to the multiplicity of the senses) 4th) cessation of happiness apart from equanimity (with respect to the multiplicity of the senses) What it means to me: My sitting is largely a matter of realizing a spontaneous breath in the midst of activity. I don't know about anybody else, but for me that requires a recognition that I am staying out of suffocation, while relinquishing control of the precariousness of posture. I know that the alignment of the spine affects my ability to feel. The spaces between the vertebrae allow the nerves that exit the spine to relay feeling from the various parts of the body to the brain, in a dynamic that changes as the alignment of the spine changes. The more I discover relaxation in the face of the suffocation response and calm in the face of the precariousness of posture, the more the things that come forward for me in sitting reflect a timely ability to feel. Lately I tend to emphasize the relaxation of activity when I experience discomfort, and the calming of the senses that coordinate the placement of awareness when I experience unhappiness. That I can experience ease and not experience happiness, I think is an oddity of human nature. ( More on "the senses that coordinate the placement of awareness": In modern neurobiology, there’s a recognition that dysfunction in any of the senses connected with balance (equalibrioception, proprioception, graviception, and oculoception) can result in an out-of-body experience, and that the precise nature of that out-of-body experience will depend on exactly which sense is dysfunctional. In some out-of-body experiences, the feeling of place associated with awareness occurs in two locations at once. Such a duality is a particular cause of distress to those who experience it, because the self is so closely identified with a singular feeling of place in awareness. Our most intimate feeling of self, then, is a coordination of particular senses that gives place to awareness, and like the involuntary activity in the body that comes forward as I relax through the suffocation response, the involuntary activity of the particular senses involved in the experience of place comes forward as I find calm in the face of precariousness. (Ibid)
  15. Haiku Chain

    run through the jungle head toward the river bend paddle out at dawn