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In meditation, we have the use of the term "staying centered" or "balanced" or "maintaining equilibrium". In taijiquan too we have the use of similar terms, or if we want to be more technical, "maintaining Zhong ding" or "being in Taiji". What does that really entail?

 

Is it a mental state? Or is it a state of energetic balance? Or is it a combination of both?

 

The best definition of "no-mind" I've come across is "The no-mind state is when the mind neither clings to anything, nor runs away from anything". 

This is where the key to remaining centered exists.

 

The nature of the mind is to process information, to think. So even when there is no need for thinking to occur, the mind tends to preoccupy itself with thinking. Processing events that have passed, and extrapolating and projecting into possibilities in the future. The resulting effect is one of distress, even though there might not be the recognition as such, of the effect, under "normal" circumstances. 

 

This is true for all serious meditation (imho). If your mind is constantly vacillating between past and future, there is no point of rest any longer. So then how do we stop vacillating between the past and future?  That is, in essence, the root of meditation. In order for that to be possible, first there must be total and complete recognition of our true nature and an understanding of what we are not. There are many ways to get there -- but the end result is a direct knowing of what we are not. What we truly are, cannot easily be grasped directly. Usually we have to go through the path of "neti neti" (or not this, not this), progressively and logically eliminating layers of not-self, until only the bare essence remains. Once we have spent time with the realization of our true nature as being that bare essence, then we can in earnest begin the process of 'letting go'. 

 

It takes a bit of effort initially, but to simply sit, without doing anything, is a good way to 'let go'. How do we let go of sand that we have held in our fist for a while? Just open the fist...and the sand falls out. Some grains still remain, just dust them off by rubbing the hands against each other. 

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Posted (edited)

This no mind thing is perhaps an error. We are rational beings, from reason comes all our power. Why eliminate this? We would become the weakest of animals. The job maybe is to improve our minds and reason, not this no mind mantra, which we don't even understand.

 

When after years we still don't understand a simple word it is probably because it doesn't mean anything at all. Words like "no mind" or "emptiness/void" are useless at the end of the day. It is an error not to be aware of this.

Edited by Toni

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26 minutes ago, Toni said:

This no mind thing is perhaps an error. We are rational beings, from reason comes all our power. Why eliminate this? We would become the weakest of animals. The job maybe is to improve our minds and reason, not this no mind mantra, which we don't even understand.

 

 

It is because we want something else, healthy, longevity, access to spiritual world, superpowers, knowing one's past karma.....

 

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You forgot inmortality and beatiful young women

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2 hours ago, Toni said:

This no mind thing is perhaps an error. We are rational beings, from reason comes all our power. Why eliminate this? We would become the weakest of animals. The job maybe is to improve our minds and reason, not this no mind mantra, which we don't even understand.

 

When after years we still don't understand a simple word it is probably because it doesn't mean anything at all. Words like "no mind" or "emptiness/void" are useless at the end of the day. It is an error not to be aware of this.

:)¬†did you read what I meant by ‚Äėno mind‚Äô? No mind doesn‚Äôt imply the mind disappears. It only doesn‚Äôt grasp at things.¬†

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Posted (edited)

Been going into this a bit more with some friends of mine (who I'm meditating with every day). As is expected, most of us have preconceived notions about our "true nature" and how complex or how simple "attaining/realizing that" would be. 

 

Because usually as beginners we start with a method, and then as time progresses, we go on to more methods (more in number, more in complexity, more in details), it is, therefore, natural to assume/expect that the "truth" can only be attainable by an immense feat of effort, which would entail some immensely complicated method (or combination of methods), and that, (methods and truth) are as of yet unattainable to us. 

 

The natural instinct is to think, "I'm not good enough for this...I don't deserve to know the truth, because I'm not disciplined enough/I've not put in enough time and effort into it yet/and or variations of such notions."

 

Also along with the above assumption, it is quite natural to expect that the Truth will be immensely complicated too. I mean, this is the truth behind our entire manifest universe of infinite complexity and variety...how can it less complicated than it's 'sum total'? It only has to be more. 

 

To exacerbate this, we also have an ecosystem around the spiritual teachings, being passed down through time which romanticize the truth as being a earth-shattering, sky-exploding fruit of extreme valor/labor/effort/etc etc. The truth is indeed is earth-shattering and world-exploding, but not because it is complicated. It is so because it is so simple, so simply ordinary that we never consider it as being the truth.

 

So when a friend of mine objected to the notion that we are all, already the truth (Self) and no effort is needed to "become" that, I had to ask this oft-repeated question. "How far do you have to travel, to become your Self? How long do you have to try, in order to become your Self?" 

The Self/True Nature/etc etc is right here and right now. There is no where to go, nothing to do to attain it from outside. All we have to do, is let go of the concepts and labels we cling to, and we'll find ourselves resting in our true Nature. 

Edited by dwai
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22 hours ago, dwai said:

Been going into this a bit more with some friends of mine (who I'm meditating with every day). As is expected, most of us have preconceived notions about our "true nature" and how complex or how simple "attaining/realizing that" would be. 

 

Because usually as beginners we start with a method, and then as time progresses, we go on to more methods (more in number, more in complexity, more in details), it is, therefore, natural to assume/expect that the "truth" can only be attainable by an immense feat of effort, which would entail some immensely complicated method (or combination of methods), and that, (methods and truth) are as of yet unattainable to us. 

 

The natural instinct is to think, "I'm not good enough for this...I don't deserve to know the truth, because I'm not disciplined enough/I've not put in enough time and effort into it yet/and or variations of such notions."

 

Also along with the above assumption, it is quite natural to expect that the Truth will be immensely complicated too. I mean, this is the truth behind our entire manifest universe of infinite complexity and variety...how can it less complicated than it's 'sum total'? It only has to be more. 

 

To exacerbate this, we also have an ecosystem around the spiritual teachings, being passed down through time which romanticize the truth as being a earth-shattering, sky-exploding fruit of extreme valor/labor/effort/etc etc. The truth is indeed is earth-shattering and world-exploding, but not because it is complicated. It is so because it is so simple, so simply ordinary that we never consider it as being the truth.

 

So when a friend of mine objected to the notion that we are all, already the truth (Self) and no effort is needed to "become" that, I had to ask this oft-repeated question. "How far do you have to travel, to become your Self? How long do you have to try, in order to become your Self?" 

The Self/True Nature/etc etc is right here and right now. There is no where to go, nothing to do to attain it from outside. All we have to do, is let go of the concepts and labels we cling to, and we'll find ourselves resting in our true Nature. 

 

As you know, this is also essentially my view and practice - dzogchen.

 

And yet I think it is extremely important to recognize and acknowledge that this approach simply doesn't work for everyone.

In fact, it works for a very small number of individuals based on their karma. Others may never get this view throughout their lifetime. One of the reasons that dzogchen has traditionally been highly secretive is someone not karmically connected to this view and teaching can find it confusing, frustrating, even harmful. They may denigrate the teaching or it may lead to reckless behavior, or loss of confidence in the dharma. I've seen that happen. In the history of Buddhism there are countless criticisms and arguments against the dzogchen view by highly accomplished masters, it's not just a matter of laypeople "not getting it." It is a precious and priceless teaching but just sharing it with people is no assurance they will "get it."

 

So I say all this because while some are extremely fortunate to have connected with this view, there needs to be a degree of sensitivity that many people will not connect, maybe never. When they do not connect, those continuing to espouse this view can come across as arrogant or demeaning. It can be frustrating and painful to listen to others proclaim how simple and effortless it all is when to any given individual, it may not feel at all simple or effortless. We see that here from time to time. For this reason in both Buddhism and Bon there are many other paths - sutra, tantra, all the causal paths of Bon; all of which are there to allow those who cannot connect to the simple path to find a way forward, a way out of confusion and suffering.

 

I post this not to be critical but to be supportive of those who may be interested in this type of view but not be able to connect with it yet. Not being able to connect with this, or any other, view does not mean the view is not correct; nor does it mean that we are lesser practitioners or mistaken. It simply means the view is not correct for ME at this moment in my life due to the complex interaction of causes and conditions that are my karma. I can, and hopefully will, remain open to the possibility that I may "get it" at some point in the future but I may need to go through other things before that occurs - life experiences, practices, receiving of blessings, etc... I think that's a valuable way to approach anything we don't understand - remain open and it may become more clear at some point in the future. This is far better, IMO, than shutting it out and labeling it "wrong."

 

I feel that this is important to mention during any public discussion of the "absolute view."

I'm posting simply as a member, not as a moderator. 

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By being an undisturbed reflection, without effort, and without clinging or aversion, ‚Äúothers‚ÄĚ may come to see ‚Äúthemselves‚ÄĚ - sometimes they see the created self, and react or respond accordingly, and sometimes they see the uncreated, unborn, etc. etc. and blah blah blah.

 

The mirror doesn‚Äôt change, doesn‚Äôt dwell on ideas of good or bad or wisdom or ignorance. The reflections arise, and fall away, and according to it‚Äôs nature the mirror simply ‚Äúallows‚ÄĚ the play of reflections to unfold.

 

Hi Dwai, interesting thread,¬†to me the idea of mirror like wisdom points nicely towards ‚Äúno mind,‚ÄĚ and provides me with invaluable reminders of when I am not quite ‚Äúthrough the door.‚ÄĚ

 

As a mildly humorous aside, the back of my foot is healing nicely after rather forcefully attempting to close a door I wasn’t quite through, while juggling myriad objects. I didn’t drop a thing, and injured myself while attempting to hold to much.

 

 

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In traditional Shaiva tantra, and in some schools of Buddhism, the most direct, simplest techniques are traditionally given first in the event that a person has high capacity (due to cultivation in prior lives). If it doesn't take, then one goes a bit less simple and more complicated until the methods match the person. That is to say, that the quickest method for some isn't necessarily the simplest or least complicated, depending on the person.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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22 hours ago, dwai said:

So when a friend of mine objected to the notion that we are all, already the truth (Self) and no effort is needed to "become" that, I had to ask this oft-repeated question. "How far do you have to travel, to become your Self? How long do you have to try, in order to become your Self?" 

The Self/True Nature/etc etc is right here and right now. There is no where to go, nothing to do to attain it from outside. All we have to do, is let go of the concepts and labels we cling to, and we'll find ourselves resting in our true Nature. 

 

 

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Another tendency I've observed (including in myself) is that we tend to gravitate towards a binary logic filter. I attribute it to our modern propensity for things digital.

 

In a binary logic filter, if "A" is true, then "B" is not true. A and B are mutually exclusive. 

Binary logic doesn't work very well with things spiritual, where we frequently encounter paradoxes.

So is saying "The Truth is simple and no effort is needed to remain as the Self" the same as meaning any effort is not required? Of course not. Effort might be required to realize that no effort is required :D 

As @steve points out, that might indeed be the case for the majority of us. 

 

So Self-realization and Effort are not mutually exclusive. Effort is needed until it is no longer needed. Takes me back to the question @forestofemptiness asked me on another thread, wrt. whose side do I take on the Zen Poetry faceoff...I support both. :) 

 

Maybe I can reword this better later...but that's all I have right now. 

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On 6/3/2020 at 10:43 PM, dwai said:

Remaining Centered - Simply Be

 

Hi dwai,

 

Just for sharing.

 

I prefer 'returning to the center' to "remaining centered".

 

Why? The former is...

(a) more human(e) and less stressful

(b) more dynamic

(c) more learningful

 

- Anand

 

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1 hour ago, dwai said:

Another tendency I've observed (including in myself) is that we tend to gravitate towards a binary logic filter. I attribute it to our modern propensity for things digital.

 

In a binary logic filter, if "A" is true, then "B" is not true. A and B are mutually exclusive. 

Binary logic doesn't work very well with things spiritual, where we frequently encounter paradoxes.

So is saying "The Truth is simple and no effort is needed to remain as the Self" the same as meaning any effort is not required? Of course not. Effort might be required to realize that no effort is required :D 

As @steve points out, that might indeed be the case for the majority of us. 

 

So Self-realization and Effort are not mutually exclusive. Effort is needed until it is no longer needed. Takes me back to the question @forestofemptiness asked me on another thread, wrt. whose side do I take on the Zen Poetry faceoff...I support both. :) 

 

Maybe I can reword this better later...but that's all I have right now. 

 

I've put in a hell of a lot of effort to find effortlessness...

:lol:

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50 minutes ago, Limahong said:

 

Hi dwai,

 

Just for sharing.

 

I prefer 'returning to the center' to "remaining centered".

 

Why? The former is...

(a) more human(e) and less stressful

(b) more dynamic

(c) more learningful

 

- Anand

 

 

If you're away from the center, you must return.

If you are centered, you remain...

 

Three steps in practicing meditation for me -

- notice when I am disconnected

- reconnect (return)

- continue (remain)

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7 minutes ago, steve said:

 

I've put in a hell of a lot of effort to find effortlessness...

:lol:

I only really embodied it, when I finally grew utterly exhausted from all the effort in trying to manufacture and maintain it...

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4 minutes ago, silent thunder said:

I only really embodied it, when I finally grew utterly exhausted from all the effort in trying to manufacture and maintain it...

 

We have a specific practice for that.

Our teachings tend to divide practices such that they address body, speech, and mind.

In this practice we exhaust the activities of body, speech, and mind.

We reflect on activity of the body going back as far as possible, recalling and embodying the feeling of all of the endless physical activity we've engaged in since our earliest memories. 

We sit with that and really bring it alive internally.

If done right you can really feel the exertion and exhaustion.

Once we've stayed with that for a time, long enough to really feel the immensity of it all, we take a slow deep breath, exhale, and let all of that go completely.

Once we let go we simply rest in that openness and presence that was filled with activity.

We rest there for as long as it is uncontrived and fresh and open.

It is generally done in a sitting posture but the feeling is as if we've come home from an extremely long and tough journey or difficult day at work. We imagine lying down on our bed or sitting in our favorite chair and letting it all go...

AAAAAHHHHHHHH........

The same is done with the activity of speech, both the external and internal stories of our lives and beliefs, all of the talking to ourselves and others, etc...

Then we do it with the activity of mind/heart - emotions, images, memories, thoughts, etc...

It's a fantastic exercise to help recognize effortlessness and distinguish that from the subtle efforts we exert in our meditative practice.

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52 minutes ago, silent thunder said:

I only really embodied it, when I finally grew utterly exhausted from all the effort in trying to manufacture and maintain it...

I had to follow a similar course of action as well. Funny thing is, it happened quite suddenly but I over-thought it and seemed to fall out of it. Then the struggle to 'regain' followed, and a subsequent exhausted letting go, and boom! it was always there :D 

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38 minutes ago, steve said:

 

We have a specific practice for that.

Our teachings tend to divide practices such that they address body, speech, and mind.

In this practice we exhaust the activities of body, speech, and mind.

We reflect on activity of the body going back as far as possible, recalling and embodying the feeling of all of the endless physical activity we've engaged in since our earliest memories. 

We sit with that and really bring it alive internally.

If done right you can really feel the exertion and exhaustion.

Once we've stayed with that for a time, long enough to really feel the immensity of it all, we take a slow deep breath, exhale, and let all of that go completely.

Once we let go we simply rest in that openness and presence that was filled with activity.

We rest there for as long as it is uncontrived and fresh and open.

It is generally done in a sitting posture but the feeling is as if we've come home from an extremely long and tough journey or difficult day at work. We imagine lying down on our bed or sitting in our favorite chair and letting it all go...

AAAAAHHHHHHHH........

The same is done with the activity of speech, both the external and internal stories of our lives and beliefs, all of the talking to ourselves and others, etc...

Then we do it with the activity of mind/heart - emotions, images, memories, thoughts, etc...

It's a fantastic exercise to help recognize effortlessness and distinguish that from the subtle efforts we exert in our meditative practice.

There is a Vedantic meditation on the "Om" which follows a somewhat similar course. Om is made up of "A', "U" and "M" sounds, followed by silence. So the practice involves prolonged chanting of "Ommmmmm". "A", "U" and "M" correspond to waking, dreaming, and deep sleep states. As we transition from the "A" sound to "U", we capture the sum total of our feeling of the entire waking state (as much as we can gather in our mind) and let it go. As we transition from "U" to "M" sound, we capture the sum total of our dream experiences (as much as possible) and let that go. And then as we transition from the "M" sound to silence, we drop even the deep sleep state. What remains in silence -- aware of the silence/stillness, that we abide in/as. 

 

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I don't think there's anything wrong with it. The problem with spiritual forums is that it is always easy to say "not it, not it" because nothing really captures it. There's always another side, like with the Zen poems. 

 

As always, there is a Zen story for this:

 

Layman Pang was sitting in his thatched cottage one day when some one asked whether Zen was difficult or easy. "Difficult, difficult," he said; "like trying to scatter ten measures of sesame seed all over a tree." "Easy, easy," Mrs. Pang said; "like touching your feet to the ground when you get out of bed." "Neither difficult nor easy," their daughter, Ling Zhao said; "on the hundred grass tips, the Great Master's meaning."

 

4 hours ago, dwai said:

Maybe I can reword this better later...but that's all I have right now. 

 

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3 hours ago, dwai said:

I had to follow a similar course of action as well. Funny thing is, it happened quite suddenly but I over-thought it and seemed to fall out of it. Then the struggle to 'regain' followed, and a subsequent exhausted letting go, and boom! it was always there :D 


‚ÄúEnlightenment is the exhaustion of error.‚ÄĚ

 

If I am remembering the quote correctly, exhaustion may be much more literal than one may believe upon first hearing it. :lol:
 

 

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19 minutes ago, ilumairen said:


‚ÄúEnlightenment is the exhaustion of error.‚ÄĚ

 

If I am remembering the quote correctly, exhaustion may be much more literal than one may believe upon first hearing it. :lol:
 

 

Reminds me of a saying I heard only relatively recently...

 

A Master is one who has failed more times than the Student has attempted.

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This is a beautiful exchange between David Godman and Papaji (https://www.davidgodman.org/summa-iru-keep-quiet/2/)

I've added a brief excerpt below 

 
 
 
 
2
Quote

David:¬†If one has the absolute conviction ‚ÄėI am free,‚Äô then the conviction becomes experience. Is that what you are saying?

 

Papaji:¬†No, not ‚Äėexperience‚Äô. Freedom is not an experience. Experiences are always with something else. The desire for freedom will finally vanish, leaving freedom itself. When freedom knows itself, it alone will remain. Right now, you are busy with other desires. When they have all left you, it, freedom, will remain and reveal itself to you.

 

David: Papaji, you say that enlightenment is a very easy thing to discover and yet I have heard you say many times that the number of people who have fully woken up to their own Self can be counted on one’s fingers. If it is so easy, why do so few succeed?

 

Papaji: It is so easy because you don’t have to work for it. It is so easy because you don’t have to go anywhere to get it. All you have to do is keep quiet. Attaining freedom is therefore a very easy thing. People say that it is difficult only because their minds are always engaged with something else. Freedom itself is not difficult. It is giving up the attachment to other things that is difficult. Disengaging yourself from attachments may be difficult. You have to make a decision to do it. You can decide now or put it off till your next life.

 

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Posted (edited)

What a wonderful excerpt. I wrote two poems on this matter, one which many of you might have already seen.
 

Quote

 

Fly Freely

You who has ripped your wings,

bound your legs,

dulled your talons,

and covered your gaze

 

You who has,

tied those chains,

grasped those acids,

and drawn those covers

 

You who,

captured that desire,

tainted that beauty,

and accepted that darkness

 

You,

the infinite,

the unchanged,

and the omnipotent

 

 

Quote

Grand Forest

What is created,

Flowing from a source,

Flowing within the source,

Flows without

 

What is found,

Outside amongst the world,

Inside amongst the heart,

Inherent amongst

 

What is gained,

Obtained from action,
Obtained through action,
Obtained without

 

What is,

Always flowing,

Forever illuminated,
Eternally held

 

I find what these poems illustrate for me, is that freedom/completion/satisfaction is not to be gained, it is inherent! Then perhaps the journey towards enlightenment is simply letting go of the all the attachments that dispute this fact.

Edited by Mithras
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13 hours ago, silent thunder said:

A Master is one who has failed more times than the Student has attempted.

 

Life-long learning by the Master ahead of the Student?

 

We learn more from failures?

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Find your objections to the notion that you are already the Self and remove them, see what remains.

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