Hi guys. Thanks so much for your posts.
My view is that when the mind is calm and clear and has equanimity, then awareness and wisdom in connection with exterior situations are more likely to be present. Clear seeing is there when we're free from attachment, judgemental thoughts and papanca. Meditation and post- meditation begin to merge and become one.
Yes! That sounds right.
To comment on clinging I will try to examine it in the context of a meditator's mind, a mind that is (at least momentarily) free of craving and aversion but not free of delusion. As I understand the Buddha's teaching, when the mind is clinging to one or more of the aggregates as I, me or mine then, in that way and in that moment, that subtle attachment is one's 'ground of being' and therefore also for further becoming.
In the process of developing insight one can free the mind of the delusion that the body, senses, feelings and thoughts are I, me or mine and one can calm the mind until it is very clearly and accurately reflecting what is arising and passing from the mind's attention.
This i have observed and can understand. It seems to relate to what Ajahn Chah said here:
Ajahn Chah said:
As long as we are still unenlightened all this may sound strange but it doesn't matter, we just set our goal in this direction. The mind is the mind. It meets happiness and unhappiness and we see them as merely that, there's nothing more to it. They are divided, not mixed. If they are all mixed up then we don't know them. It's like living in a house; the house and its occupant are related, but separate. If there is danger in our house we are distressed because we must protect it, but if the house catches fire we get out of it. If painful feeling arises we get out of it, just like that house. When it's full of fire and we know it, we come running out of it. They are separate things; the house is one thing, the occupant is another.
We say that we separate mind and feeling in this way but in fact they are by nature already separate. Our realization is simply to know this natural separateness according to reality. When we say they are not separated it's because we're clinging to them through ignorance of the truth.
But the next part is not something i've been able to observe, or observed without being aware of what was happening, so my understanding is sketchy.
It can be more difficult to take this a step further and take the same approach to consciousness itself. I think this is where much of the difference of opinion and thinking comes from.
When consciousness is bare, free of craving and aversion, calm and attentive, one may then conclude that a consciousness like this which clearly notes only the seen in the seen, the thought in the thought, the felt in the felt and so on has arrived at the end of what can be observed. There is more insight that can yet be developed however by then turning consciousness back upon itself and observing how this clear and spacious consciousness itself is also conditional, dependent, inconstant and not I, me and mine. That subtle clinging, to a calm, clear and spacious consciousness is also a kind of obscuration of the true nature of consciousness as also anicca, dukkha and anatta.
If one pursues this further and develops insight to fruition and then experiences cessation one will discover that in the absence of all aggregates there is a bliss that is completely incomparable and indescribable and consciousness may then cling to cessation in the same kind of very subtle way that it can cling to a consciousness that is entirely clear, calm, spacious and attentive. In that kind of a way even cessation can effectively be a 'ground for being and becoming'.
I think this is why it is taught that it is very subtle kinds of conceit that are last to be overcome by the Arahats and why it is that there is so much disagreement about these things amongst very advanced practitioners and many different views about the nature of nibbana.
As I see it the Buddha makes various attempts to clear this up by pointing out that for the Arahat there is no ground of being, not in the aggregates, not in a purified consciousness and not even in cessation. It is a subtle clinging, the very subtle persistence of some kind of a ground of being, a persistence that for many may remain below the threshold of their perception which leads to the various kinds of confusing statements that we hear from those who are very advanced in practice and are doing their best to communicate the best of their insights.
I think this is way beyond where i am with my practice. I guess it relates to this...
So the Buddha told us to meditate. This practice of meditation is very important. Merely to know with the intellect is not enough. The knowledge which arises from practice with a peaceful mind and the knowledge which comes from study are really far apart. The knowledge which comes from study is not real knowledge of our mind. The mind tries to hold onto and keep this knowledge."
Definitely! Thanks for these insights, nathan...