Hyper-In-Active

Sum Ergo Sum

Tag Archives: zen

Missing The Point Happens

If you want to learn how to miss points in arguments I recommend this text. It’s an email-debate on trad- advaita vs neo- advaita.

As in any academic dispute there is a lot of “misunderstandings” and “not adressing the critique”. It seems like the more advanced the converstion, the more likely people are to make simple errors in communication. That’s wierd.

So the question is – can you communicate the idea of nondualism in a way that is non-dual without leaving the listener, with it’s dualistic mind, in the middle of nowhere?
The answer is of course “yes but no but yes but no but that’s beside the point”. So as always we’re left with a sense of confusion and wasted time.

I won’t waste your time with a lengthy rambling on this, so here’s a short one:
The brain uses about 90% of it’s capacity on internal affairs and maintenance. That’s why we have the misunderstanding that we only use 10% of our brain power. That’s BS because the brain needs to keep this 90/10 ratio to work properly. The 10% we have for actually communicating with the environment “outside” the brain (rest of our body and everything outside of the physical body) is ideally kept open and ready for action. That is what a zen no-mind is about. That is the state of a flexible mind open for interaction with the world at hand. That is what non-attachment is about, not messing up the flow of interaction between our mind and the environment. A relaxed and alert mind has it’s 10% ready so it can respond directly and efficiently to whatever shows up.

Any practice or non-practice that enhances this readiness is a good practice as far as I’m concerned. Any practice or non-practice that claim part of the 10% is not so good.
It’s not hard to see why almost every instruction or teaching emphazises “letting go” and “non-striving” in order to facilitate progress.
The difference I see between spiritual schools is basically different perspectives on how to communicate this important notion of “relaxing your mind”. Some do it by saying you will not be ready for nirvana in many lifetimes so just keep on practicing with no hope of awakening or liberation. Fine, so you can let go. Mission accomplished. Others say the practice is nothing but a way to let go of your striving and efforts to become enlightened and when you finally give up, the light bulb goes on. Then we have those who say there’s no need for practice at all so you can start your way to liberation by giving up right away.

What all of these seemingly different teachings point to is a way to keep the alotted 10% of our mind open and ready for communication and interaction with our internal and external environment. It’s being decribed as “spontaneous action”, “being integrated with wholeness” or “the end of suffering”.
Bottom line is – if you somehow (by means of any practice as well as no-practice) can avoid having a mind that is like a locked closet full of janitors, then you will be fully functional and able to respond properly whenever reality comes-a-knocking on your sense doors. That’s the state of bliss. On the other hand, if your mind is cluttered with concepts, planning, analysing, memories and interpretations, there will be stress building up because there’s a sens of missing something important i.e. what’s actually happening. So you lose control over the situation at hand which adds to the stress. As stress builds the 10% shrinks and the 90% expands in order to keep track of the mess. You then experience something like a “burn-out” or the feeling of “losing your mind”.

Now, whatever the teaching or non-teaching is made up of, the important thing is communicating in a way that counter this internal stress. Different people may need different messages to get there. Therefore it is perfectly ok to have different styles and approaches to this.

Jeeez, that was NOT a short post and it’s still very vague and…well, a sitting duck as far as misconceptions go.

I’ll go wash my bowl.

My Understanding of MU

Who should practice the MU-koan?
No

What’s the purpous with MU?
No

How can you understand it?
No

Seems rather ridiculous, right?
No

Why has it been around for so long?
No

Is every answer a negative?
No

So what’s an affirmative answer?
No

Is the point to bore you with your own questions?
No

Is MU representing The All?
No

What can possibly come out of this?
No

So “No” is all what it is?
No

Dang it, I’ll go back to counting breath!
No

Whaddya mean “No”?
No

Hey, I’m talking to you…
No

This is just my thoughts
No

I’m tired
No

Ah, I see. When…
No

Wait a minute
No

This is so cool
No

I say “No” to everything!
No

I say “No” to every-THING
No

I should stop this, right?
No

But if “No” is all I get..
No

…then I know the rest of this
No

So I should just keep at it?
No

OK, so I’ll quit right here?
No

This if freakin’ useless
No

This gives no insight whatsoever
No

Luckily, there’s only five minutes left ’til the gong
No

Whaddya mean “No”, it is!
No

Shut Up!!!
No

You just won’t cave will you?
No

You’ll always be here?
No

Two minutes left…
No

YES IT IS!
No

?
No

You wait and see
No

I’ll just relax for now
No

Oh yes, I’ll abide in…
No

So it’s impossible for me to relax?
No

Aha, I must let go of trying to relax
No

I gotta let go!
No

You are so wierd
No

When is that bloody gong?
No

GONNNNGGGGGG

Yessss!
No

You can’t fool me to go on with this
No

That’s right, I win
No

________________________________________

Ok, so that’s how I see it. No matter what I come up with, the response is the same. It’s reliable and solid as a rock. It tells me that there’s no “I” to make up all those questions and in the end “I” will understand that and the real I will shut up. It’s also “No” to all of concepts, rationalizing, analysing and effort to “understand”.
I’ll just sit with it and that will arise in me.

-How about that Joshu?

-No

The inner workings of Ultimate Reality, sort of…

Consider the figure as a picture of the relations between Forms and Emptiness. Books on this has never pictures in them to go with the message which to me is surprising. Well, there’s always the Bodhi Tree, the Mountain and the River and whatnot, but they all say the same thing;
-This Is The Truth, This Is Reality, Open Your Eyes And Realize That The Answers To All Of Your Questions Are As Simple As This. Fair enough, but I’m trying to paint a picture of the actual confusion that makes me blind and keeps me asleep. Naturally this will not be beautiful at all. It’s not a beautiful thing to paint. It’s abstract, heady, rational and by default confusing. I find it impossible to paint a not-confusing picture of confusion, so here we go.

To be Form there only need to be One Form. There would be no one to recognize it so in essence it would be unknown. Therfore we can leave that hypothetical argument aside. It’s irrelevant.
To be unconscious Forms there need to be at least two of them and there need to be Emptiness in-between. In fact, there could not be two forms without some space in-between.
To be self-consious Form, which is the Form you and I are most interested in, there need to be one Form that consider itself differentiated from other Forms. As with unconscious Form, we need also Emptiness.

So, in the picture You are the red dot and Ground is the black circle. In reality Other Form is not one circle but millions because You are constantly encountering a lot of Forms simultaneously (chair, animal, sun rays, airwaves etc). The circle is better thought of as a ball of threads/forms that swirls around you. Sometimes you bounce onto the ball, sometimes the ball contracts and bounce on you. There’s a constant dynamic in this relation and it can’t be avoided. You are 24/7 100% in relation to other form whether you like it or not.

Allright then, our mind can only deal with differentiation, duality that is. We cannot think of Emptiness as a Form. Our mind tells us that Emptiness is defined by the abscence of Form. It is Nothing. So from a minds perspective there’s no point in looking into Emptiness. It will find Nothing. So if you’re not looking for anything take a look at Emptiness, right?
Well, when meditating we’re looking for something, so we go elsewhere. We’re looking for our True Self.  Ok, says mind, then we’ll look at what is You and compare it to what is Not You. That’s the only thing your mind can do, and it is pretty good at it.
Problem is that the mind can only find the Formal aspect of You and that’s not the whole picture. As we’ve seen, the red dot can only exist when together with Other Form and Emptiness. The missing part of your True Self cannot be found within yourself and definitely not inside Other Form. It has to be within the empty space that makes different Forms possible. So mind has to be dismissed when searching for the missing part. It cannot relate to Nothing. So how do we look? The answer is; we don’t! If the only way to consciously look at reality is by using our mind, then we cannot find any part of reality that resides in Emptiness.
This is where the Zen concept of No-Mind come into play. It sounds stupid, but in this perspective it is totally rational. When we come to this point, it is best to say – “Nevermind” to our mind.
But we must be careful not to jump to conclusions here. When we realize that the True Self is not to be found in our physical form with all it’s content of thoughts, feelings, attitudes, memory and awareness, we might think – Oh well, my True Self is Emptiness then. Very not so! If we do that, we forget that we’ve already found a big part of what is our True Self, our physical Form that is. Going back to the picture, if no red dot then there’s no one to conclude – I am Emptiness. So we have to embrace that part of True Self which is Form and then move on with it. There’s no escape from the reality of Form. Therefore there’s no point in trying to deny it. If you look for your True Self without your Form (which in practice is impossible), you’ll only find fragments of the self bouncing in Emptiness. How sad.
So we take our My Form on a mindless tour around the empty space between that and other forms. It is there we can find the missing pieces. Our mind cannot find them because it sees nothing in Emptiness. They have to be experienced mindlessly so to speak. Therefore, those parts of True Self cannot be talked about directly. That would be “minding” them and as soon as that happens, they’re gone. Remember, mind can only grasp Form.
To sum it up; True Self is partially Form, but not entierly so. It isn’t Emptiness either because Emptiness is …well, “empty”. Rather,  my True Self is My Form plus what happens in the space of Emptiness when My Form interacts with Other Form. That means, if there’s any sense in it, impermanence is of two distinct qualities. One obvious where My Form is in constant decay, and one less obvious. The slippery one is to be found in Emptiness where part of my True Self is in constant change due to the dynamics in relations between Forms. That part is in every moment both created and lost and thus impermanent in a circular fashion. In that perspective it would be possible to say that my True Self is in constant decay as well as constantly reborn and killed. You are the one walking the ground as well as the walking itself, and the walking is in itself made up of you and the Ground. Without this relation between you – ground there would only be Emptiness. But instead of Emptiness there is a relation in action and that relation contains equal parts of your form and the ground’s form. Part of the True Ground is thereby found in part of your True Self. Those parts are found within Emptiness, but they are not Emptiness. They are Oneness residing within Emptiness but inherently empty without the duality of different forms.
That is the Ultimate Reality.

If all this seems a load of BS, don’t blame me.
You did it.

The Light of Enlightenment Explained

Given two theoretically “perfect” mirrors facing each other, the only thing reflected would be light. In the absence of friction or other interference, the light would travel infinitely and eternally. If one were able to look directly at this, one would literally just see light, as far as the eye could see. 

The above is from wiki.answers and I have not checked the scource or accuracy of this answer to the question – What does a mirror reflect facing a mirror? Given that this is a correct answer I play with the idea that this has something to say about enlightenment.

In meditation we practice looking into our minds with our minds. We have no other instrument at hand but ourselves, right. One could restate the assignment as – Trying (ooops) to have consciousness looking into itself. Now, it is proposed by J.R. Searle, and I agree on this, that consciousness is nothing but a reflection of more basic processes. It adds all available information as to “make sense of it”. In itself it is just a material based (as in the physical brain) event with the function of a mirror. It can reflect sensations like pain but also the occurence of memories and thoughts. This is not to be regarded as either “physical” or “psychological” because they are all physical as stated above. Usually we accept without hesitation the “physical” part while we seldom notice the “psychological” one. We are, so to speak, in our heads without knowing where we are.

In meditation we address this by taking the observers perspective on thoughts. Our consciousness is therby made to observe our thoughts. Cool, but immediately we ask ourselves – who then is watching the observer? If we could answer that, next question woud be – who is observing the watcher observing our thoughts and so on ad infinitum. Where does this infinite regress come to an end. Where do we end up in our search for the Ultimate Observer or the Highest Consciousness?
I have no deeper knowledge of buddhist thinking since I’ve just started to practice/learn, but maybe we could name it The True Self or Your Original Face.
Well, if consciousness has the function of reflecting physical events while being a physical event in itself, it’s easy to conclude that we’re talking about a mirror reflecting a mirror. If so, then “Enlightenment” may be a very apt description of what happens when we finally get our mind to reflect itself “In the absence of friction or other interference”. Meditation practice is, in that perspective, a way of clearing the mirror from interference so it can produce an accurate image of itself. When it does, and it can easily do that if it wasn’t for the friction/stains of exernal events, then we have, tada, infinite light.
Since I made up this Theory of Consciousness on my way home from work, there might be a bit of fine tuning left to make it waterproof and ready for the Nobel Pize. Like finding out that this is an idea as old as it is buried or that my train of thought derailed off the bat or that the wiki.answer was from a witty porn surfer filling dead time between downloads.
One thing I’ll ask my wife is how One Mind can split into Two Mirrors.

If nothing else, it was fun making it up. I’m surprised by the effect a whole weekend of meditating seem to have on my little mirror. Feels like it’s dancing on the green grass after a long cold winter in Head Quarters.

Side note: The zen story on the mirror and the bohdi tree states that ther is no mirror since all is void, but I think that is getting the concept of “void” wrong. I read in some buddhist text that “void” is referring to how things are when stripped of all our mental projections. That should read “void in relation to how we normally percieve them” and not “void in themselves” because if they were, there would be no form. And there is form, right? And therefore, everything is at the same time just as we percive them and nothing like we percive them.

Tomorrow I will explain why, contrary to common belief, being absorbed in activities like gardening and cross words are the opposite to meditation, unless you’re already awake or at least getting out of bed. When awake, every action is per definition mindful as we all know.