"Looking" Within

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"Looking" Within

Postby Zenainder » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:42 pm

Good afternoon forum,

In my practice the question has occurred regarding an "inner eye" looking upon itself. What is the unenlightened eye that looks upon the dhamma within, i.e. the activity related to dependent origination? This may be a elementary question, but is it the mind observing itself with a certain degree of concentration? When we say to "look within" what is it that is "looking" (since there is no "self" that is present)? I realize there is a "dhamma eye" referred to in the suttas, but it would seem to me that is something that opens at stream-entry.

Any and all responses are greatly appreciated.

Metta,

Zen
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Re: "Looking" Within

Postby reflection » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:56 pm

Hi,

I'd say, yes, it is the mind looking at itself. When the 5 external senses shut down in meditation, that becomes quite clear. Then again the mind is no "thing", so it is just a process looking at itself.

The dhamma eye is a metaphor for seeing the dhamma, understanding the dhamma. It is not a real eye or something. The dhamma eye is said to be dustless, as a comparison with people who have dust in their eyes and don't see clearly the four noble truths.

Hope this helps.

:anjali:
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Re: "Looking" Within

Postby Justsit » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:58 pm

I had to smile when I read your post. I was at a teaching one time, and asked this very question. The translator translated for the teacher, and they shared some back and forth in the other language, and then both laughed heartily. The translator then replied to me, "The teacher says, 'You must answer that for yourself.' " Afterward I left still confused, and a bit peeved about their laughter, feeling embarrassed that I had asked a "stupid" question.

So now some time has passed, and I find that question is not only not stupid, but actually at the heart of understanding much of the Buddha's teaching. It is not elementary at all, but is in fact an excellent question. The answer may be very simple, but very difficult to ascertain. In this case, it is true; no one can answer it for you. Others can only point fingers.

I found it useful to begin my exploration with another question: What exactly is "mind?" And then: How can it look at itself? Can an eye look at itself? Is "mind" different from "self?" If so, how? And so on. Be very thorough and specific. Keep digging. You will develop clear understanding from this ongoing process. May your search be fruitful.
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Re: "Looking" Within

Postby no mike » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:14 am

This was a helpful post for me, thx :)
Last edited by no mike on Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Looking" Within

Postby SarathW » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:02 am

Hi Zen
If you are familiar with 17 thought moments you will have a clear understanding of this.
The way I understand, It is that the second thought process is evaluating the first thought process.

:)
See mind is in active and passive form in:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el322.html
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Re: "Looking" Within

Postby Zenainder » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:04 pm

reflection wrote:Hi,

I'd say, yes, it is the mind looking at itself. When the 5 external senses shut down in meditation, that becomes quite clear. Then again the mind is no "thing", so it is just a process looking at itself.

The dhamma eye is a metaphor for seeing the dhamma, understanding the dhamma. It is not a real eye or something. The dhamma eye is said to be dustless, as a comparison with people who have dust in their eyes and don't see clearly the four noble truths.

Hope this helps.

:anjali:


Reflection,

As always, your input is helpful.

Reading "The Abhidhamma in Practice" it mentions "awareness is the process of cittas experiencing objects." I am concluding this is the same awareness I regarded as the process of "looking within" I referred to. What makes understanding this hard is confusing it as a "self" or object (even in the most subtle way), when in reality (like everything else) it is a process; a flux. Relationally connected to the "self" delusion is "here" and "there", which likely convuluted my understanding in thinking there was "something" looking upon a process --- even itself.

If my understanding is to some degree accurate, then its of interests to practice awareness skillfully (mindfulness). And I circle back to the practice *sighs happily* welcome to Buddhism. lol. I've been drawing circles for a long time now, haven't I?

Consciousness has been a difficult topic to digest. Remaining open and refraining from confusing it with the modern ideal of consciousness which is more or less a soul. Dependent origination is certainly an engaging topic to study within and academically.

Thanks,

Zen
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Re: "Looking" Within

Postby Zenainder » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:08 pm

SarathW wrote:Hi Zen
If you are familiar with 17 thought moments you will have a clear understanding of this.
The way I understand, It is that the second thought process is evaluating the first thought process.

:)
See mind is in active and passive form in:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el322.html


SarahW,

Thanks for sharing that article. Good reading material.

I have only been aware of "thought moments" in an abstract way in my practice day to day and, through your sharing, am now aware there is an academic source regarding them. This will definitely be of help!

Thanks,

Zen
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Re: "Looking" Within

Postby Zenainder » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:23 pm

Justsit wrote:I had to smile when I read your post. I was at a teaching one time, and asked this very question. The translator translated for the teacher, and they shared some back and forth in the other language, and then both laughed heartily. The translator then replied to me, "The teacher says, 'You must answer that for yourself.' " Afterward I left still confused, and a bit peeved about their laughter, feeling embarrassed that I had asked a "stupid" question.

So now some time has passed, and I find that question is not only not stupid, but actually at the heart of understanding much of the Buddha's teaching. It is not elementary at all, but is in fact an excellent question. The answer may be very simple, but very difficult to ascertain. In this case, it is true; no one can answer it for you. Others can only point fingers.

I found it useful to begin my exploration with another question: What exactly is "mind?" And then: How can it look at itself? Can an eye look at itself? Is "mind" different from "self?" If so, how? And so on. Be very thorough and specific. Keep digging. You will develop clear understanding from this ongoing process. May your search be fruitful.


Justsit,

Thanks for sharing and for being so encouraging!

Would you say what is "looking within" is a form of cognition, which one the six "external" forms is mind objects and at the point of contact with these as they arise consciousness awareness occurs? Instead of the usual consciousness that arises with mental objects that follows as feeling -> suffering. Of course, this consciousness awareness can occur via contact with the 5 sense gateways. Since there is cognition in the process of awareness, is my line of thinking regarding it as a moment to moment consciousness-awareness?

If I am correct, what sankhara conditions this consciousness-awareness? Insight and dhammic teachings?

Zen
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Re: "Looking" Within

Postby reflection » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:47 pm

Zenainder wrote:
reflection wrote:Hi,

I'd say, yes, it is the mind looking at itself. When the 5 external senses shut down in meditation, that becomes quite clear. Then again the mind is no "thing", so it is just a process looking at itself.

The dhamma eye is a metaphor for seeing the dhamma, understanding the dhamma. It is not a real eye or something. The dhamma eye is said to be dustless, as a comparison with people who have dust in their eyes and don't see clearly the four noble truths.

Hope this helps.

:anjali:


Reflection,

As always, your input is helpful.

Reading "The Abhidhamma in Practice" it mentions "awareness is the process of cittas experiencing objects." I am concluding this is the same awareness I regarded as the process of "looking within" I referred to. What makes understanding this hard is confusing it as a "self" or object (even in the most subtle way), when in reality (like everything else) it is a process; a flux. Relationally connected to the "self" delusion is "here" and "there", which likely convuluted my understanding in thinking there was "something" looking upon a process --- even itself.

If my understanding is to some degree accurate, then its of interests to practice awareness skillfully (mindfulness). And I circle back to the practice *sighs happily* welcome to Buddhism. lol. I've been drawing circles for a long time now, haven't I?

Consciousness has been a difficult topic to digest. Remaining open and refraining from confusing it with the modern ideal of consciousness which is more or less a soul. Dependent origination is certainly an engaging topic to study within and academically.

Thanks,

Zen

Hi Zen,

Glad to be of help.

I don't know any Abhidhamma, that needs to be said first. Not saying it is wrong or right, but I simply never needed it in my practice.

But yes, it is hard to see and accept there is no duality between the looking and the looked at. In other words, hard to see and really feel that there is no "something" that looks on, that there is no "self" there. So hard that in my eyes entire branches of Buddhism rely upon one or the other form of this wrong perception.

And so yes, that's why practice is important. That's why I referred to the meditation. A thing like this is hard if not impossible to understand and embrace from an external point of view. However, if we have the right information and the right courage we get from meditation, the mind may be able to see through this delusion.

People have different views on jhana as you probably know, but in my view, in jhana the 5 senses are not there, the mind goes inward and 'looking' and 'looked at' blend together. There, it can be seen it is all emptiness. It can be seen that if the object would disappear, so would consciousness, because they are the same. If you are interested in understanding it like this (I'm not saying there is another way or not), then I think you can, but yes, only through practice. I don't think it is beyond any serious practitioner's ability.

Hope this can help you a bit.

:anjali:
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