awakening myth?

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daniel p
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Re: awakening myth?

Postby daniel p » Fri Sep 10, 2010 5:25 am

mikenz66 wrote:
daniel p wrote:No one here from Christchurch?

Yes, see: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=5536

Mike


Well it looks like your arguments are on shaky ground!

(I'm sorry, I've been dying to use this joke)

Hope you are well.

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Re: awakening myth?

Postby Ben » Fri Sep 10, 2010 5:46 am

Hi daniel,
daniel p wrote:I am happy to rely on those teachings which are consistent with my own experience. But I feel it is my duty to proceed with caution regarding other aspects that fall outside my experience.

Keep in mind that our own experience, or more correctly one's perception of one's experience, on its own is not the most reliable of arbiters. We should examine our own experience with the same objective and critical analysis that we might also extend to the teachings.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: awakening myth?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Sep 10, 2010 5:48 am

daniel p wrote:Well it looks like your arguments are on shaky ground!

(I'm sorry, I've been dying to use this joke)

:jumping:

Watch it, I'll start on the Auckland jokes... :stirthepot:

Things are OK for me here. No house damage, some water damage at work, but it could have been a lot worse...

Mike

daniel p
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Re: awakening myth?

Postby daniel p » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:01 am

So the consensus would seem to be that, because it is near impossible to draw a conclusion in the absolute sense, one should make a projection based on ones experience, bearing in mind the limitations of ones own perception. And that is all one can do.

Does this seem like a reasonable summation?

I always feel more at home with vaugeness and uncertainty anyway.
Really, I view strongly held opinions with deep suspicion!

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Re: awakening myth?

Postby ground » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:09 am

daniel p wrote:I always feel more at home with vaugeness and uncertainty anyway.


Personally I prefer unshakable certainty because this causes effort and joyous perseverance.

Kind regards

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Re: awakening myth?

Postby Ben » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:16 am

Hi daniel

The problem with our experience, or what we think our experience is, is that it is often mediated through a matrix of conditionings influencing our perception of what is going on.
When you engage with practice, you begin to look at reality in a radically different way. Slowly and sporadically at first, you begin to see things outside of the context of your own baggage. As this happens, insights start occuring with regards to the nature of experienced reality. But sometimes, those meditative experiences can be misinterpreted.
Practicing Dhamma and coming to awakening is an iterative process. Yes, experience is important as is verifying the teachings with one's own experience. But we also need to keep a very open mind with regards to the nature of our experience and be mindful that it is, quite often, not what it seems. We need to also verify our own experience with the teachings and to a lesser extent with the wise counsel of teachers and kalayaanamittas (good friends in the Dhamma).
kind regards

Ben

Hi Mingyur
Personally I prefer unshakable certainty because this causes effort and joyous perseverance.

I disagree. I think its highly problematic.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: awakening myth?

Postby ground » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:17 am

Ben wrote:Hi Mingyur
Personally I prefer unshakable certainty because this causes effort and joyous perseverance.

I disagree. I think its highly problematic.
kind regards

Ben


You mean you prefer something else. How could you disagree that I prefer what I prefer? :smile:

Kind regards

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Re: awakening myth?

Postby Ben » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:19 am

TMingyur wrote:
Ben wrote:Hi Mingyur
Personally I prefer unshakable certainty because this causes effort and joyous perseverance.

I disagree. I think its highly problematic.
kind regards

Ben


You mean you prefer something else. How could you disagree that I prefer what I prefer? :smile:

Kind regards


I disagree with your contention that unshakable certainty causes effort and joyous perseverence.
My apologies I wasn't clearer.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
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Re: awakening myth?

Postby ground » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:22 am

Ben wrote:I disagree with your contention that unshakable certainty causes effort and joyous perseverence.
My apologies I wasn't clearer.


Okay. If understood as a general contention. But of course everybody can only speak from the perspective of their own personal experience.

And of course also the context is relevant here. What is the object of certainty? I understood the object to be both the path and the goal.

Someone else would perhaps prefer to replace "unshakable certainty" by "faith". But "faith" appears to be too indefinite and ambiguous.

Kind regards

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Re: awakening myth?

Postby Reductor » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:32 am

daniel p wrote:Really, I view strongly held opinions with deep suspicion!


Especially amongst Buddhists.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72


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Re: awakening myth?

Postby Ben » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:38 am

TMingyur wrote:
Ben wrote:I disagree with your contention that unshakable certainty causes effort and joyous perseverence.
My apologies I wasn't clearer.


Okay. If understood as a general contention. But of course everybody can only speak from the perspective of their own personal experience.


Now you're qualifying my understanding? I disagree with your contention, period! One can have the unshakable certainty that one is a sotapanna, sakadagami or arahant, when one is not! I see it everyday.
One can have the unshakable certainty that burning copies of the Koran is going to be a great thing and an affirmation of one's Christian faith. One can have the unshakable certainty of a genocidal Hitler, how does that cause effort and joyful perseverence, let alone any thing conducive to awakening? If we have unshakable certainty, then I think we need to seriously re-examine ourselves. Unshakable certainty, I believe, is more conducive to delusion than awakening.
Everything we experience is conditioned and constantly changing and our experience is conditioned in-part by our perceptions and past conditionings.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

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Re: awakening myth?

Postby ground » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:50 am

Ben wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
Ben wrote:I disagree with your contention that unshakable certainty causes effort and joyous perseverence.
My apologies I wasn't clearer.


Okay. If understood as a general contention. But of course everybody can only speak from the perspective of their own personal experience.


Now you're qualifying my understanding?

No. I just tried to state a common fact valid for everybody. No offence intended.


Ben wrote:I disagree with your contention, period! One can have the unshakable certainty that one is a sotapanna, sakadagami or arahant, when one is not! I see it everyday.
One can have the unshakable certainty that burning copies of the Koran is going to be a great thing and an affirmation of one's Christian faith. One can have the unshakable certainty of a genocidal Hitler, how does that cause effort and joyful perseverence, let alone any thing conducive to awakening? If we have unshakable certainty, then I think we need to seriously re-examine ourselves. Unshakable certainty, I believe, is more conducive to delusion than awakening.
Everything we experience is conditioned and constantly changing and our experience is conditioned in-part by our perceptions and past conditionings.
kind regards

Ben


Pardon, but every statement has its own context.

TMingyur wrote:And of course also the context is relevant here. What is the object of certainty? I understood the object to be both the path and the goal.

Someone else would perhaps prefer to replace "unshakable certainty" by "faith". But "faith" appears to be too indefinite and ambiguous.



And of course speaking of "unshakable certainty" does not necessarily mean permanent "unshakable certainty". But even moments of "unshakable certainty" may enhance effort and joyous perseverance reaching even beyond these moments simply due to the capacity of remembrance.


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Re: awakening myth?

Postby daniel p » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:33 am

TMingyur wrote:
daniel p wrote:I always feel more at home with vaugeness and uncertainty anyway.


Personally I prefer unshakable certainty because this causes effort and joyous perseverance.

Kind regards


The point I was tring to make was that as I have become more uncertain about the world around me it has actually been liberating to let go of firmly held views. I have come to notice that my own views and opinions are transient anyway, according to conditions.

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Re: awakening myth?

Postby Dan74 » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:08 am

It can be dangerous to let go prematurely - the old nihilism trap. Watch out for apathy, lack of vigour and indifference.

A deep letting go of views is beneficial once one has established a strong motivation to practice and a solid ethical foundation, I think.
_/|\_

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Re: awakening myth?

Postby ground » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:32 pm

daniel p wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
daniel p wrote:I always feel more at home with vaugeness and uncertainty anyway.


Personally I prefer unshakable certainty because this causes effort and joyous perseverance.

Kind regards


The point I was tring to make was that as I have become more uncertain about the world around me it has actually been liberating to let go of firmly held views. I have come to notice that my own views and opinions are transient anyway, according to conditions.


I see. Although it may seem that old views have been replaced by new views like e.g. "... my own views and opinions are transient anyway, according to conditions". Which may not be a problem at all since the effective problem may be the "firmly held" in the context of "firmly held views".

Kind regards

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Re: awakening myth?

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:15 am

daniel p wrote:Is awakening (in the Buddhist sense) a myth?
It is assumed that many great teachers were awakened. But were/are they really? One is generally discouraged from making enlightenment the focus or goal of one's practice. But occasionally we find ourselves questioning why we are even practicing.There may be some benefit, but if there is no enlightenment then why practice? Why even consider the teachings? Or to phrase it another way, does the path leading to the cessatation of dukkha actually lead to the cessatation of dukkha?


I know quite a few dedicated meditators who have glimpsed total cessation of all phenomena -hence unsatisfactoriness (ie nibbana) at the point of completing all 16 vipassana knowledges. There is a path which leads to that- and it works. This is beyond doubt.

As for your friend- being a monk doesn't guarantee anything. You should get your advice from a meditating monk in a monastary and find out why they are still meditating.

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Re: awakening myth?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:34 am

Dan74 wrote:It can be dangerous to let go prematurely . . . .
One can imagine that one has let go. One can understand that letting go is the appropriate thing to do, though one has not done so, but the understanding of the need can change one's relationship with what one is holding onto, making it a part of the practice. One can have have a jhana type experience that simulates letting go, but the stuff does comes back. Really letting go is a matter of insight, some which comes from meditative experience of the three marks and some of which comes from life lived in terms of the precepts and compassion and giving.

But to try to force letting go because that is the holy thing to do, is a way of leading one's self down the garden path. One should cease to cherish opinions, but that does not you should not have opinions or that opinions cannot be useful. Basically, we have to work with what we have, starting from where we are.
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Re: awakening myth?

Postby Shonin » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:39 pm

I must say that I can't fully make sense of the idea of 'complete, perfect and permanent awakening' (and why should I be able to?). I have met people who strike me as profoundly awakened, however I have never met someone who struck me as completely, perfectly and permanently awakened. There may be such a thing, but it is out of the range of my experience. And even if it does exist it is likely to remain out of the range of my experience.

What I do know, what I can confirm, is a slow, ongoing, unfolding process (sometimes shaky, sometimes stop and start, sometimes more 'backwards' than 'forwards') of dropping delusion, craving and aversion and waking up to a deeper appreciation of this very life here and now. There is always work to be done so I just keep going.

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Re: awakening myth?

Postby 5heaps » Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:02 am

Shonin wrote:And even if it does exist it is likely to remain out of the range of my experience.

why say that? its just a shift in the mind, not in some room in your house, or some building near by, or anything else.

all of our ordinary experiences are constructed with something at its foundation. that something appears to be substantial. it turns out to be totally void of such substantiality. thats all. the only requirement for this is a lot of analysis.
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Re: awakening myth?

Postby Dan74 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:34 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote:It can be dangerous to let go prematurely . . . .
One can imagine that one has let go. One can understand that letting go is the appropriate thing to do, though one has not done so, but the understanding of the need can change one's relationship with what one is holding onto, making it a part of the practice. One can have have a jhana type experience that simulates letting go, but the stuff does comes back. Really letting go is a matter of insight, some which comes from meditative experience of the three marks and some of which comes from life lived in terms of the precepts and compassion and giving.

But to try to force letting go because that is the holy thing to do, is a way of leading one's self down the garden path. One should cease to cherish opinions, but that does not you should not have opinions or that opinions cannot be useful. Basically, we have to work with what we have, starting from where we are.


Yes, yes!

Basically, we have to work with what we have, starting from where we are.


To expand on this, I would say this also includes our delusions, eg self! To put it to good constructive use is much preferable to being in denial and sweeping it and all the stuff that comes out under the carpet. A teacher once told me that before one is ready to let go of self, one should have a strong functioning self.

As for the OP, believing that complete enlightenment is impossible seems to me to be equivalent to believing that ignorance is permanent. And while none of us have probably experienced a complete cessation of ignorance, I am sure we've all see its waxing and waning (and hopefully diminishing in the long term). So it doesn't seem such a long stretch to me to believe the possibility of insight that dispels ignorance once and for all.

Perhaps some further cultivation and refinement may be necessary but that's another topic (and probably not for this subforum).
_/|\_


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