"bowls" and "bowels" - what a howler!

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
being5
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:58 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: "bowls" and "bowels" - what a howler!

Postby being5 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:19 am

from the link Pannasikhara posted there is another link to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_linguistic_example_sentences
and a sentence with five ands is given there:
# For my sign, please put more room between the Smith and and and and and Sons. ("The 'Smith' and 'and,' and 'and' and 'Sons'.)

Mawkish beats this, however, with six ands in a row - so that's pretty clever.

Also on the original page is a link to 'semantic satiation', something I experienced whilst reading about the buffalos. Not for the first time, but I never knew there was a name for it!
Very reproducible. Pick any word, say it about 10 or 15 times and it just becomes meaningless.
If you keep going you can feel the language part of the brain click its off switch and sulk waiting for you to get sensible again.

If only the sankhara part of the brain could be subdued so readily!

being5

User avatar
Kim OHara
Posts: 3224
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: "bowls" and "bowels" - what a howler!

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:54 am

being5 wrote:from the link Pannasikhara posted there is another link to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_linguistic_example_sentences
and a sentence with five ands is given there:
# For my sign, please put more room between the Smith and and and and and Sons. ("The 'Smith' and 'and,' and 'and' and 'Sons'.)

Mawkishbeats this, however, with six ands in a row - so that's pretty clever.

Indeed! :toast:
Congratulations, Mawkish.

Myself, I was was going to cheat to make seven in a row by talking about a sign for 'Rowland and Anderson' or some such partnership, but I know I shouldn't ...

Also on the original page is a link to 'semantic satiation', something I experienced whilst reading about the buffalos. Not for the first time, but I never knew there was a name for it!
Very reproducible. Pick any word, say it about 10 or 15 times and it just becomes meaningless.
If you keep going you can feel the language part of the brain click its off switch and sulk waiting for you to get sensible again.
If only the sankhara part of the brain could be subdued so readily!
being5

This being, after all, a Buddhist forum, you shouldn't be surprised to find that comment making me think about meditation. I don't want to upset anyone, but there has just _got_ to be some connection between 'semantic satiation' and mantra meditation ...
:popcorn:

Kim

User avatar
catmoon
Posts: 368
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:59 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: "bowls" and "bowels" - what a howler!

Postby catmoon » Fri Dec 18, 2009 6:05 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:This being, after all, a Buddhist forum, you shouldn't be surprised to find that comment making me think about meditation. I don't want to upset anyone, but there has just _got_ to be some connection between 'semantic satiation' and mantra meditation ...
:popcorn:

Kim



There surely is. I began mantra work just a few months ago. The first thing I noticed was something I call "potato mind". I would quickly become so drowsy and so mentally sluggish that all I could do was take a nap, and even after an hours' snooze would wake up more or less impaired. For weeks I was limited to one or two rounds of the mala followed by a more or less involuntary snooze, and several hours after that, I would attain normal alertness again.

In time the mantras I use became grooved, in the sense that I no longer needed to think in order to remember them. I would simply call for one, and it would flow forth. Since my mind was no longer at all busied by the practice, it of course began to wander. So I found I had to take an object of meditation and keep returning to it, or else suffer the vagaries of wild monkey mind. It made sense to take an object associated with the mantra and so I did.

Now mantra work is very like a contemplation meditation for me.

Now the scientific part of my mind is quite unhappy about all this. I would have rationally predicted the kind of semantic saturation that occurs when you repeat a word over and over should occur, and that "Om mane padme hum" would take on the same sort of shapelessness that goes with repetition of any other word or phrase. But that never did happen, even when I was struggling with the heaviest forms of potato mind.

So it seems that rather than the mantra turning to meaningless mush with repetition, it is the mind that turns to mush. It is also apparent that that this mental mushiness is somehow associated with the effort of recalling the mantra correctly, since once the mantra can be recalled effortlessly, the mental mushiness ceases.

One meditator's experience of course, the usual caveats apply.

Paññāsikhara
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Contact:

Re: "bowls" and "bowels" - what a howler!

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Dec 19, 2009 6:50 am

Under you practicing mantra recitation under the guidance of a teacher?
Some of the comments make me wonder. :thinking:
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.

User avatar
Kim OHara
Posts: 3224
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: "bowls" and "bowels" - what a howler!

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Dec 19, 2009 12:25 pm

Paññāsikhara wrote:Under you practicing mantra recitation under the guidance of a teacher?
Some of the comments make me wonder. :thinking:

I'm not sure who you are talking to here, Paññāsikhara.
I actually haven't practised mantra meditation for years. I didn't mean to say that 'semantic satiation' and mantra meditation had any close connection, either - I was hoping for some discussion of the different outcomes of the two superficially similar activities.

:namaste:
Kim

Paññāsikhara
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Contact:

Re: "bowls" and "bowels" - what a howler!

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:44 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:Under you practicing mantra recitation under the guidance of a teacher?
Some of the comments make me wonder. :thinking:

I'm not sure who you are talking to here, Paññāsikhara.
I actually haven't practised mantra meditation for years. I didn't mean to say that 'semantic satiation' and mantra meditation had any close connection, either - I was hoping for some discussion of the different outcomes of the two superficially similar activities.

:namaste:
Kim


Sorry for the ambiguity, I was worried a bit about our Lunar Feline's "mushy" mind.

Mantra practice has it's stages, and one can see it in terms of a general samatha vipasyana format. In which, of course, one needs to over the five hindrances (avarana), the third of which being "dull / sluggishness", a lot like "mush (tm)". For any meditation practice, one needs to be clear, clear, clear.

The samatha aspect is pretty much the same for any of these mantras or other techniques, but the application of insight may differ. Mantras include those of buddhas, bodhisattvas, istadevata, and other awakened beings; but there are also mantra which are Dharma principles too. So, they are often worked with differently.
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.

User avatar
catmoon
Posts: 368
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:59 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: "bowls" and "bowels" - what a howler!

Postby catmoon » Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:23 am

The luminous mind has penetrated the situation accurately. Indeed I go forth mainly without instruction, and learn through perserverance. Da mush is almost completely gone now. I think I have found the way through, or something close to it. Numerically, my endurance is up from around 200 to a max of 1800 if there are suitable breaks.

I have also learned something about generating alertness. Remember what Buddha said about the lute? Well I can now tune a lute, though not terribly well. I found it to be something like learning to wiggle one's ears - you start with no idea whatsoever how to do it, and try and try until an ear twitches, and then develop that. Best of all, I managed to generate a smidgen of goodwill towards THE difficult person in my life, and learning to do that was a similar process to learning to tune alertness. So atm I have great hopes that I have put a tiny crack in the bodhicitta problem, and I hope that crack is expandable.

So this pot is boiling along satisfactorily, even if it does spit steam and hot water in the oddest directions from time to time. As of 3 weeks ago I am getting a little instruction once a week. But there is not much time for chatting, so potato mind has not come up for discussion. The class has been focussed on the earliest stages of bodhicitta. We also do a couple of short meditations each session.

Thanks so much for your concern. It's quite comforting to know yer keepin an eye on me.

-Namaste


Return to “Lounge”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 6 guests