Right now, what do you know?

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Right now, what do you know?

Postby silver surfer » Fri May 02, 2014 9:22 am

Gautama's teachings are not based nor built on belief systems (am I right on that?), and that's the reason I've become a buddhist. It's been a while, and I've been meditating since then.

Just this one thing, has started to give me doubts.

I often talk to buddhists, or zen masters, et cetera. They all tell me about reality, and how it all works, and what enlightenment is. But honestly, they all sound like they're telling me about their beliefs that are constructed in the mind, rather than direct knowledge. I mean, they sure don't sound like they're giving me direct knowledge, if you know what I mean. You can sense it when you hear someone speak about an idea, and you can tell when you hear someone speak their knowledge. They come out really different, the expressions.

So,

I was wondering if any of you, has direct knowledge, as the Buddha. Do you know samsara? Or you know the "idea" of samsara? And how can you define what you know? How do you know what you know is the reality? Do you know nibbana? Or you know the "idea" of nibbana? Do you know other physical realms? Or you believe in their existence? Do you have direct knowledge on your past lives? Or you have ideas on them?

The reason I'm asking this question is, I can't access anything, although it's been about 5 months with my meditation, I still don't know anything, nor have I attained anything. All I have is blank. I don't know samsara and I don't know nibbana. When I clear my mind, and focus on the now, and my breath, all I have is nothing. Is this the knowledge people talk about? I don't believe so. I have morals, but I've always had them. It's not something I gained via meditation. I have always been a thoughtful and a caring person.

I don't know what I'm doing wrong, and I'd really appreciate a little guidance in that regard as well. But my curiosity still goes, as I really want to hear about what you know, or what your direct experiences are.

To me, it feels like it's not possible to "not" desire sensual pleasures. I mean, even during meditation, I have to inhale fine air. And that is a sensual pleasure. Isn't it? I need a tranquil place and an appropriate temperature, and that is also a desire. They way I see, or feel it, if one truly attains nibbana, they can't be living in the body. It's just not possible, is it? Because as long as I'm human, I'll have physical needs, and attachments, and the other way round seems just about impossible.

So,

Please tell me all you know. That's the reason I've opened this thread. I want/need to hear about your own teachings. What do you know for sure? What have you seen, or directly experienced? How do you know what's inside your mind is not an idea, but knowledge?

Thanks so much in advance.
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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby indian_buddhist » Fri May 02, 2014 9:38 am

Firstly Buddhism:-

1. Does not ask you to give up sensual pleasures and Yes no matter what anyone says that includes sex. I just tells you that do not CRAVE for them.
2. Buddhism does not ask you to give up Good Desires. Good Desire like Love, Kindness, Compassion, Desire for Enlightenment should be cultivated. It asks to destroy Bad desires - Greed,hatred and delusion and their offshoots.

This is my view.
Identification with my country is one of my fetters.
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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Fri May 02, 2014 10:19 am

I am dying.

This I know for sure.

As for everything else, I merely absorb what I learn, practise discernment, adopt and practice what resonates with me as strong, true and reliable, with confidence.
I leave aside what I do not understand, or cannot absorb, because i am sure it will arise at some later point, when I may well understand it better.

And so it has definitely happened.

I regard the 4 Noble truths/Eightfold path as the most precious jewel i have ever had the good fortune to come across and guard and defend it with every fibre of my being; but am equally ready and prepared to relinquish hold of it as and when it will prove necessary, for whatever reason.

And last but not least, I have learned to play the lute.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


I would respectfully suggest you may consider doing likewise.

:namaste:
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby Dan74 » Fri May 02, 2014 10:31 am

Hi silver surfer! Your thread title caught my attention, because many years ago when I had just finished studying and came to Europe, I had a dream which started with this question, asked by a man dressed as an anagarika (a Buddhist novice monk in white). In many ways that was the start of my spiritual search in earnest and a short while later I went to my first even Zen meeting in Paddington.

What do I know right now? I know that I had too much to eat at my parents and my breath feels kind of constricted as I type sitting on my bed having just put the kids to sleep. Samsara is a sense of unease, a restless, right now.

When I first started to meditate, the first milestone was to begin to feel my body, to be aware of the physical me and the breath as it flowed through the body. To me, it seems a good idea to put a lot of ideas aside and just allow this awareness of the present moment to arise. And as it does, to gather the attention and listen. Maybe that's enough for now?

Come to think of it, now more than a decade later, it is still a good idea! Simply because there is just too much "I think" and too many 'ideas' at least in my case!! When I finally accepted that I didn't know jack sh&^&#, life became a lot easier. But the persistent notion that I know keeps coming back...
Last edited by Dan74 on Fri May 02, 2014 11:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby Coyote » Fri May 02, 2014 10:59 am

Silver Surfer, you might benefit from reading this:

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

I see conviction in the teaching as a process of learning from past mistakes. With wise attention (yoniso manasikara) you will get to the point where the teachings will have been seen for themselves, and doubt will have been crossed over. Until that point conviction can be useful as measuring stick to determine your real values and how far they are in line with the practice.

With metta,
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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby seeker242 » Fri May 02, 2014 11:20 am

silver surfer wrote:
The reason I'm asking this question is, I can't access anything, although it's been about 5 months with my meditation, I still don't know anything


FWIW, 5 months is a VERY, VERY, very, very, short time. What I know, from direct experience of practicing Buddhism and meditation for the past 20 years, is that it generally takes longer than 5 months to see some kind of attainment.

Also, It's quite possible that the only thing you are doing wrong is expecting attainments within the very short time period of only 5 months.

:anjali:
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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Fri May 02, 2014 11:33 am

Silver Surfer wrote: "Gautama's teachings are not based nor built on belief systems (am I right on that?), and that's the reason I've become a buddhist. It's been a while, and I've been meditating since then."


Gotama Buddha taught from his actual experience as a self attained Buddha (Samma Sam Buddha). We on the other hand do not as yet know from our own experience some aspects of his teachings. For example, while Post Mortem Rebirth may have been experienced by most of us, if not all of us, most of us do not remember as Buddha did. Buddha also knew about the past lives of others.

Sammā-sambodhi: 'Perfect Enlightenment', Universal Buddhahood, is the state attained by a Universal Buddha sammā-sambuddha i.e. one by whom the liberating law dhamma which had become lost to the world, has again been discovered, realized and clearly proclaimed to the world.

Now, someone, in things never heard before, understands by himself the truth, and he therein attains omniscience, and gains mastery in the powers. Such a one is called a Universal Buddha, or Enlightened One; Pug. 29.

The doctrine characteristie of all the Buddhas, and each time rediscovered by them and fully explained to the world, consists in the 4 Truths sacca of suffering, its origin, its ceasing and the way to its ceasing see: magga See bodhi.


source: http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... dic3_s.htm

Buddha was also reported to have certain mystical powers (walking in the sky, etc.), which most of us cannot do. Buddha was also able to pop in and pop out of different realms of the 31 Planes of Existence, which most of us cannot do, except perhaps in our imagination.... Soooooooooo, there are some aspects of what Buddha experienced and what was reported about his behavior and capabilities that would allow for some religious-like beliefs.

This is of course our choice. :popcorn:
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A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri May 02, 2014 3:41 pm

5 months is too short a time. Even the Buddha needed 6 years and that's working full-time 24/7 as an ascetic.

There will be all kinds of insights and progress to be seen, but it takes much time. When you sit, 99.9999% of the time, you will not attain any insights, but you will feel relaxed. You will come out with more relaxation and tiny increments of greater equanimity. It will most likely take decades of practice to attain even some small insights and jhana. In the meantime, you will feel better, more relaxed and this will translate to better life meditation, life practice. Keep expectations to a reasonable level.
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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby chownah » Fri May 02, 2014 4:12 pm

silver surfer,
Usually, but not always, the meditation which one does in the beginning is not directed toward gaining knowledge. It is directed toward learning to calm and focus the mind.....in my discipline long before I studied the buddha's teachings it was commonly expected that it would on average take about a year (some people more and some people less) to be able to develop strong mental concentration on a frequent basis and that it would take on average (some people more and some people less) about a year of practice with strong mental concentration to begin to notice the beginnings of what can be thought of as acquiring knowledge........all of this is assuming firm commitment and daily practice of adequate quality and duration without fail....or nearly without fail.

As to what I know right now.....I don't know anything for sure. Knowing is not a sure thing. Maybe that is why the Buddha taught that all views must be abandoned to reach the goal.
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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby g tee » Tue May 06, 2014 12:26 am

David N. Snyder wrote:It will most likely take decades of practice to attain even some small insights and jhana.


This is a limiting belief.

It is possible to have plenty of insights, big and small, with much less time than that. It's not even particularly hard if you know where to look for them.

Even though the Buddha spent many years as an ascetic, he deemed that time as being largely unfruitful. Once he started using practices that actually worked, he got enlightened much quicker. There are many accounts of people getting enlightened in years rather than decades, both in historical times and the present day.
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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby m0rl0ck » Tue May 06, 2014 1:59 am

In general, the longer i practice the less i have to say about it and the less vexed and anxious i am about myself, my world, my future and how others see me.
I generally have less to say about it because what you get from practice is not easily verbalized.
But you have to make a habit of it. I have been sitting on and off since the early 90's but more regularly the last 8-10 years. Its the source from which all else in my life springs and to which it all returns.
I seem to remember some teacher saying something like the best sutta is reading the "sutta of the heart" and that sutta has no words and no knowing that can be easily told. You have to read it for yourself.

Just my two cents.
There is no comfort without pain; thus
we define salvation through suffering.
-- Cato
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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby Ben » Tue May 06, 2014 2:03 am

Well said, Morlock!
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby Mkoll » Tue May 06, 2014 5:13 am

Right now, I know that asking myself what I know in some sort of ultimate sense is fruitless. And I know any other philosophical, ontological, epistemological, or metaphysical speculation is also fruitless. Please note that they're fruitless for me, at this stage of my life experience. I needed to ask those questions and do a lot of searching in the beginning. But a time came when I knew I had to drop it. It took me a long time to realize this. We each gotta walk our own path.

FWIW...
Peace,
James
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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby Crazy cloud » Tue May 06, 2014 8:39 am

What I know by now: It's no turning back ..

Be well and happy!

:)
your name Mori means forest like the infinite fresh green distances of your blindness
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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby JeffR » Fri May 09, 2014 3:00 am

I know that I don't know what I know.
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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby vesak2014 » Fri May 09, 2014 4:49 pm

Right now, I know (conceptually) :
- Nibbana
- Why the Noble 8fold Path is the way to Nibbana

That's all what buddhists who are serious in pursuing the Goal should know. Other stuff that are not related are only perks which is good to know.
Don't think about direct knowledge if you haven't know conceptually.

:anjali:
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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby ArkA » Fri May 09, 2014 5:25 pm

silver surfer, You admit that the Buddha has the direct knowledge, still often talk to a lot and complain, "they sure don't sound like they're giving me direct knowledge."

silver surfer wrote:Just this one thing, has started to give me doubts... I can't access anything, although it's been about 5 months with my meditation, I still don't know anything, nor have I attained anything. All I have is blank. I don't know samsara...

That doubt, stress, wanting, confusion. That is dukkha (suffering). You are in Samsara!

With a confused mind you will not see anything clearly, including Samsara. Just calm down. You more sound like forcing concentration, than Samadhi.
I'll restart my yearlong meditation retreat on 15th June 2014, hence will not be here.

"Bhikkhus, there are these three things that shine when exposed, not when concealed. What three? (1) The moon. (2) The sun. (3) The Dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Tathagata."
- Anguttara Nikaya, 3.131, Paticchanna Sutta

"Silence is the language of God; all else is poor translation."
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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby Viscid » Fri May 09, 2014 10:10 pm

Hi Silver Surfer,

It sounds like you have a decent head on your shoulders.

silver surfer wrote: I mean, they sure don't sound like they're giving me direct knowledge, if you know what I mean. You can sense it when you hear someone speak about an idea, and you can tell when you hear someone speak their knowledge. They come out really different, the expressions.


I think what you're trying to express is the perceptible difference between authentic and inauthentic insight. Most Buddhists are full of shit. Everyone wants to obtain privileged, esoteric knowledge about the world in order to become someone admirable and of authority. It is your responsibility to critically evaluate the content of what is said in order to determine whether it has any value to you.

When judging whether or not something is worthy of my consideration, I ask: Is it coherent? Is it relevant to my condition? Is it something I can act upon?
If not, then I don't worry about it and move on.

silver surfer wrote:So,

I was wondering if any of you, has direct knowledge, as the Buddha. Do you know samsara? Or you know the "idea" of samsara? And how can you define what you know? How do you know what you know is the reality? Do you know nibbana? Or you know the "idea" of nibbana? Do you know other physical realms? Or you believe in their existence? Do you have direct knowledge on your past lives? Or you have ideas on them?


I think we could use the word 'samsara' or 'nibbana' to each describe a plurality of ideas.. but I question whether having absolute certainty of knowledge about such concepts is truly necessary. Do you need to know what samara, nibbana or other physical/psychical realms are in order to practice? I think the only prerequisite knowledge for practicing Buddhism seriously is that of suffering: as long as you're cognizant of the discomfort inherent in living, then you can practice with the aim of being free of it.

silver surfer wrote:It's not something I gained via meditation. I have always been a thoughtful and a caring person.

I don't know what I'm doing wrong, and I'd really appreciate a little guidance in that regard as well. But my curiosity still goes, as I really want to hear about what you know, or what your direct experiences are.


Meditation's hard, and it's only part of the Noble Eightfold Path. It's not going to give you all the things you're looking for. It's not going to transform you into a more moral or compassionate person: that's just more bullshit deluded false expectations people are selling. Good meditation is a state of equipoise. If you can sit well, you know your entire practice-- your entire being-- is balanced and healthy.

silver surfer wrote:To me, it feels like it's not possible to "not" desire sensual pleasures. I mean, even during meditation, I have to inhale fine air. And that is a sensual pleasure. Isn't it? I need a tranquil place and an appropriate temperature, and that is also a desire.

There is NOTHING INHERENTLY WRONG WITH SENSUAL PLEASURE. What can cause suffering are the dependent habits which are sometimes (though not necessarily) formed when coming into contact with sensual pleasure. As long as you can pick things up and then let them go, you're okay. Your contentment should ideally not be dependent upon the availability of a particular state of affairs.

silver surfer wrote:How do you know what's inside your mind is not an idea, but knowledge?


What I find to be the most concrete knowledge is that toward which I cannot muster any criticism. Such coherence grants me strong conviction about its truth.. but we should always be ready to give up such acquired 'knowledge' or 'insight' in the face of contrary evidence.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby someguysomeguy » Mon May 12, 2014 9:03 am

Silver Surfer

Do not forever transgress those 5 precepts
1. Do not kill.
2. Do not lie
3. Do not steal
4. Do not take compounds which alter your consciousness (mental drugs,alcohol, recreational drugs, etc).
5. Do not indulge in Sexual misconduct (do not think about/have sex with girls protected by parents/brothers/wives/guardians/Husbands)

and then aim for purity.

By purity, I mean purity of mind (not just speech/action) - free from Hatred, free from Greed and free from Delusion.

I feel it is only by Purity that you can gain anything by meditation. If you are still impure in your thoughts then Meditation will serve no purpose.
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Re: Right now, what do you know?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Mon May 12, 2014 9:54 am

someguysomeguy wrote:Silver Surfer

Do not forever transgress those 5 precepts
1. Do not kill.
2. Do not lie
3. Do not steal
4. Do not take compounds which alter your consciousness (mental drugs,alcohol, recreational drugs, etc).
5. Do not indulge in Sexual misconduct (do not think about/have sex with girls protected by parents/brothers/wives/guardians/Husbands)


Amended order - correction :1, 4, 2, 5 and 3.
This is how they normally span.

Humbly, :namaste:
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
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