Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:53 am

IanAnd wrote:Rather than putting the focus on the number of interpretations there are, I would highlight the discernment factor. By that I mean, a person having done the practice and gathered some experience in it, it is now up to the practitioner to determine (discern) what fits his (or her) perception of that experience. I would use these many interpretations to see where I agreed or disagreed with the interpretation, as well as to look deeper into the source of their origin. Following this procedure, I am more able to understand how the various interpretations came into being based upon the personalities involved who are proposing them.
You are making my point here. You are essentially offering a particular take on the jhanas, but others – based upon their experience - differ, and I do not see anything in what you are offering here that necessarily trumps any other point of view. This sort of thing can be argued back and forth endlessly without a firm conclusion.

And while the different methodologies for entering absorption might have their distinctive qualities, the end result seems to be a quality that everyone agrees upon is helpful in the pursuit of the cessation of dukkha.
Okay, but it depends, as always.

Ian wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:and what is more, the jhana experience easily can be colored by one's beliefs and expectations, which is why working with a teacher is not at all a bad idea and why not taking any of it too seriously is even a better idea. Mind you, I am not saying do not work with the jhanas; rather, I would say be mindful of their limitations and dangers, just as one should be aware of the dangers of attainment.

Yes, I would wholeheartedly agree with the two statements highlighted here. As for the middle statement about "not taking any of it too seriously," while there is some truth to that outlook, there is also a statement made by the Buddha in one of the suttas regarding those who don't consider absorption a worthy goal. He says that those who do not regard jhana as valuable also do not value concentration. (I've searched for the sutta but to no avail. If someone knows where the quotation I'm thinking about is, please mention it.) The only point being that it can be a useful tool on the path to liberation, a point on which we may all be able to agree.
I would not say that jhana is not valuable, but it depends upon what one means by jhana and in what context jhana is being cultivated.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby IanAnd » Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:08 pm

thereductor wrote:Hey Ian,

I was wondering what you meant by 'subject':
Yet, when one experiences the continuity of concentration (samadhi) within the context of absorption attainment and makes a slight averting of the mind from an object to a subject, then how is one to describe such an event?

Hello thereductor,

It's my understanding that one can concentrate on either an object, like the physical breath or the rise and fall of the abdomen or chest during breathing, or one can concentrate on a subject, generally a conceptual mental formation used in vipassana meditation, such as the five aggregates, dependent arising, or the three characteristics, such as in "the focus of my contemplation is the five aggregates." Focusing on a kasina disk, however, would be focusing on a mental object, an object created in the mind, as opposed to a conceptual idea or subject for insight exploration.

Does that make sense?

Best regards,
Ian
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby IanAnd » Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:18 pm

tiltbillings wrote:This sort of thing can be argued back and forth endlessly without a firm conclusion.

Only by people who are looking for something written in stone, which is the whole point of this thread. There is nothing that is written in stone concerning this subject. They (meaning the various absorption methods described) all work in one manner or another. How do I know? Because I've experienced them all. A person just has to try one and see how it works for them. If that one doesn't work, try another.

If people knew what they were talking about (meaning had experienced absorption), they'd be able to see this quite plainly. But instead, they are having to rely on concepts and ideas the reality of which they have not experienced. And therein lies the mind's doubt and confusion.
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:49 pm

IanAnd wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:This sort of thing can be argued back and forth endlessly without a firm conclusion.

Only by people who are looking for something written in stone, which is the whole point of this thread. There is nothing that is written in stone concerning this subject. They (meaning the various absorption methods described) all work in one manner or another. How do I know? Because I've experienced them all. A person just has to try one and see how it works for them. If that one doesn't work, try another.

If people knew what they were talking about (meaning had experienced absorption), they'd be able to see this quite plainly. But instead, they are having to rely on concepts and ideas the reality of which they have not experienced. And therein lies the mind's doubt and confusion.
Again, you are making my point. There is no reason to take you as the sole arbiter of these things because you claim this or that: that would be relying on your conceptual structure.

And you are stating the obvious: They (meaning the various absorption methods described) [i]all work in one manner or another. And how do I know? Personal experience. Is the emphasis in jhana necessary; is jhana necessary for insight? No. And how do I know? Personal experience. With the cultivation of insight, can jhana be more easily cultivated. Sure. And how do I know? Personal experience. Does one need to cultivate more than the "vipassana jhanas" Probably not. And how do I know? Personal experience. It is a matter of what works, as you have said, and that is, within a broad framework, going to vary.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby IanAnd » Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:25 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Again, you are making my point. There is no reason to take you as the sole arbiter of these things because you claim this or that: that would be relying on your conceptual structure.

I've never claimed to be the the sole arbiter of anything. Only giving one opinion. And an experienced one at that. It is up to the individual to test and make up his own mind what is true for him. But if he never tries, he will never know.
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:47 am

IanAnd wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Again, you are making my point. There is no reason to take you as the sole arbiter of these things because you claim this or that: that would be relying on your conceptual structure.

I've never claimed to be the the sole arbiter of anything. Only giving one opinion. And an experienced one at that. It is up to the individual to test and make up his own mind what is true for him. But if he never tries, he will never know.
And that is a bit of a problem. You are giving an opinion, but claiming that it is an experienced one is just that: a claim, adding nothing of substance to the opinion given. Why do it?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby Reductor » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:21 am

tiltbillings wrote:And that is a bit of a problem. You are giving an opinion, but claiming that it is an experienced one is just that: a claim, adding nothing of substance to the opinion given. Why do it?


As far that I can tell, Tilt, Ian's posts have been balanced and of use to others here. So please don't run him down because he feels compelled to express his experiences and state his opinion of them, or because he is certain of himself.

Save the pointy words for those opinions that are materially contrary to the doctrine.

Thank you.
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: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby Reductor » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:36 am

IanAnd wrote:...
Does that make sense?

Best regards,
Ian


Hey Ian, thanks for the clarification.

Before I go on, I would like to address another part of your posts above. Namely about the unnecessary hostility expressed in that other thread toward Nibs, Clayton and others. My only valid complaint is that they lecture the Theravada from a markedly different perspective.

Having reflected on my own posts there I have concluded that they were made with some aversion, and as such they are not worthy of someone who wants to follow the path. At any rate, I do think we need to talk about what we experience, but not in a manor that devalues the doctrine. For me it is paramount that I always relate what I experience back to the suttas, and acknowledge that my understanding is incomplete.

Now, about the various modes of concentration, I will say this: the term jhana seems suitable for a wide spectrum of experience. So far that I can tell, the mind uses the same factors time and again in creating these experiences, but the manor in which they are applied varies.

The only useful test is in the results they bare: do they provided a clear platform from which to evaluate ourselves. If so, then continue with them, experiment with them, see what they show you, see how they work. Don't get bent out of shape if they do or do not meet official definition or not.

But if you do decide to pursue a particular definition of jhana, then keep in mind that the experience is much less important than seeing the 'how' and 'why' of its being.

:anjali:
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: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:47 am

thereductor wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And that is a bit of a problem. You are giving an opinion, but claiming that it is an experienced one is just that: a claim, adding nothing of substance to the opinion given. Why do it?


As far that I can tell, Tilt, Ian's posts have been balanced and of use to others here. So please don't run him down because he feels compelled to express his experiences and state his opinion of them, or because he is certain of himself.

Save the pointy words for those opinions that are materially contrary to the doctrine.

Thank you.
His posts have been of interest and informative, but the question is legitimate. He is offering a point view, an opinion. Is it better informed than any other offered here? Maybe, but claiming - or implying however indirectly - that, based upon experience, it is in any way better than any other holds no water, given that that experience cannot be verified or evaluated in any way. When talking about these things, it seems to be far better not to draw attention to oneself in that way. For me such attention vitiates the point made.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby Reductor » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:23 am

tiltbillings wrote:...When talking about these things, it seems to be far better not to draw attention to oneself in that way. For me such attention vitiates the point made.


Each member should evaluate the posts here on DW by considering its applicability to themselves, and not take something as being correct based on the supposed experience level of the poster. To accept something on an unverifiable claim of experience or authority is certain folly.

And to that end it is helpful to have members that will call BS when appropriate.

What I am more concerned with here is the manor, and not the intent, or your post, and so ask whether nor not it is possible to make your point more gently, thus avoiding a decent into harsher territory.

Anyway, sorry for turning this into a meta discussion, as I'd much rather it be a metta discussion.
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: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:29 am

thereductor wrote:. . .

Anyway, sorry for turning this into a meta discussion, as I'd much rather it be a metta discussion.
I understand your point, but if want to have a further "meta-discussion," please start a new thread.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby Reductor » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:41 am

tiltbillings wrote:
thereductor wrote:. . .

Anyway, sorry for turning this into a meta discussion, as I'd much rather it be a metta discussion.
I understand you point, but if want to have a further "meta-discussion," please start a new thread.


Nah. Meta threads are among the most volatile. :tongue:

Thanks for hearing me out Tilt.
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: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:44 am

thereductor wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
thereductor wrote:. . .

Anyway, sorry for turning this into a meta discussion, as I'd much rather it be a metta discussion.
I understand you point, but if want to have a further "meta-discussion," please start a new thread.


Nah. Meta threads are among the most volatile. :tongue:

Thanks for hearing me out Tilt.
Not a problem. I always stand to be corrected.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby Freawaru » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:19 am

Hi IanAnd,

thank you very much for the description of your experiences. They are very helpful to me. I guess lately I have spend a bit too much time with the Pure Insight Path, trying to understand some things. But in the end I am not a suddha-vipassana-yanika but a samatha-yanika and there are some experiences and insights on the Pure Insight Path I never had and will never have due to this fact. So it feels good to know there are others, whose experiences are more similar to mine. Maybe you can relate at least to some of them.

Like you I started with Hindu meditation (it was hatha yoga, though) more than 30 years ago. It was during my early teens and my practice duration was one to two hours every day. Guess, I was some kind of addicted to it. But it was so much fun and it was so fascinating to look into oneself, one's mind and body - go where one had not been before, if you know what I mean.

Concentration is like a muscle, the more one trains it the stronger it becomes. But when one lessens the training the muscles will become weaker, too. So at that time I spend much time on workout of this muscle - the pleasant sideeffect of increase of general concentration during every day life was only stimulating. However, after some time my mind spontaneously entered states of concentration I didn't know what to make of. I don't know for sure if one of them was, f.e. the infinite space jhana but some descriptions I find on jhana are close. In my experience (and it looks like we differ here) during this state of concentration there were no body sensations (no sounds, no tactile impressions, no smells, etc) nor thoughts, images and so on. The impression of, say, infinite space dominated the mind completely, suppressing everything else.

But then again there was something else, something new. For the first time I knew what was going on in my mind the moment it did. When the state broke and I was "Freawaru" again (and not infinite space) I could only see it in retrospect. And I realised that in general I could only see my mind and body in retrospect, too. I didn't like that. So, while I felt a bit scared of the states of concentration because I had never heard about them and didn't know what they were, I liked that Knowing. Sometimes on this forum the question arises "what is the difference between mindfulness and Insight?" - maybe it is more difficult to see for a suddha-vipassana-yanika but for me it is obvious: during these kind of states mindfulness was present. There was the ability to see the mind in the present, like an eye that was open or a light that shone. But that itself is not identical to Insight. Mindfulness is like a kind of tool and one has to use that tool to gain Insight. Insight requires not only mindfulness but also will, investigation, analysis, memory and a number of other faculties. And I couldn't access them during the states of concentration as they were suppressed. At least at first. Later there was something new and strange: there was will, investigation, analysis, memory and so on, but they were quite different than those of the Freawaru personality. I still don't know what to make of this.

And luckily I didn't have to. One day I returned from such a state of concentration and mindfulness didn't cease. I still knew what was going on in my mind (and also body, a new idea for me at that time) the moment it was going on. I stopped my practice of these states then: you might say I got what I wanted from them: mindfulness. For some years the states would still happen on their own now and then but without practice it became lesser and lesser.

Presently, I don't practice states of absorption. I limit myself to Insight (the reason why I investigated the Pure Insight Path). My main practice is to investigate the mind during every day activity like Bhate G suggests here:

You can be mindful while solving problems in intensive calculus. You can be mindful in the middle of a football scrimmage. You can even be mindful in the midst of a raging fury.
http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/min ... ish_16.php


However, even during these non-jhanic state I observe a change regarding the senses. Like you said when one is absorbed in a good book (or calculus, etc) the other senses lessen. So I investigate how they lessen, even become so suppressed that they are absent, and how they "return". Some time ago I tried anapana sati (the version of concentrating on one's tactile impression of the nostrils) and even though I stopped at access concentration (using the definition given here http://www.leighb.com/jhana2a.htm), analysing it I found out that I didn't experience any sounds or smells during this state (tactile impressions were still there, though).

I know there are several definitions of jhana and maybe my experiences of complete absence of the senses was not jhana but I think in the end this does not really matter. What matters - in my opinion - is that through them I gained that tool called mindfulness. Like you. :smile:
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:38 am

Greetings Ian,

I don't really have much to offer to the conversation other than thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

My meditation practices has lapsed over recent weeks, and reading this has encouraged me to try to get back on the bandwagon.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby IanAnd » Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:41 pm

thereductor wrote:Hey Ian, thanks . . .

Before I go on, I would like to address another part of your posts above. Namely about the unnecessary hostility expressed in that other thread toward Nibs, Clayton and others. My only valid complaint is that they lecture the Theravada from a markedly different perspective.

I agree with your thoughts regarding the second highlighted passage. And I saw nothing untoward in any of the questions you were asking Nibs to respond to.

With regard to the first passage, what may have seemed like "lecturing" (in Nib's case in particular) may be a valid point. But I saw no evidence on Clayton's part at any attempt to lecture. He was simply presenting some information in a respectful manner; yet the beating that he took at the hands of some members here was uncalled for, and was, in part, a catalyst for the reason I decided to compose and post this thread, in order to help perhaps clear the air and to further explore people's differing perceptions and opinions of subtle experiences like absorption.

thereductor wrote:. . . I do think we need to talk about what we experience, but not in a manor that devalues the doctrine. For me it is paramount that I always relate what I experience back to the suttas, and acknowledge [when] my understanding is incomplete.

I think that that is a fair assessment of the practice of many of the members here who appreciate the discourses for the information they provide on practice. That is certainly the way in which I have used the discourses.

thereductor wrote:Now, about the various modes of concentration, I will say this: the term jhana seems suitable for a wide spectrum of experience. So far that I can tell, the mind uses the same factors time and again in creating these experiences, but the manor in which they are applied varies.

The only useful test is in the results they bare: do they provided a clear platform from which to evaluate ourselves. If so, then continue with them, experiment with them, see what they show you, see how they work. Don't get bent out of shape if they do or do not meet official definition or not.

But if you do decide to pursue a particular definition of jhana, then keep in mind that the experience is much less important than seeing the 'how' and 'why' of its being.

Now we're getting into the heart of the matter I wanted to highlight and discuss by starting this thread.

Occasionally while on this path (i.e. the practice of meditation in general) I've been told to "expect this or that result" as a consequence of the instruction I've been given to practice. And quite often I've come to learn from my direct experience that either the power of suggestion was at work in what I was "told to expect to occur" and that expectation was met, or that what I experienced totally abrogated the expected result and something different occurred which may have contradicted what I was told would occur.

I think it is important that people be informed about these two contradictory outcomes and situations so as to be aware how vulnerable the mind can be to "suggestion" (or preconditioning) when it comes to subjective practices like meditation in general, and subtle mind states like absorption in particular.

While, in general, I may pay attention to "official definitions" of this or that, I also endeavor to practice with an open mind and to let whatever does happen to occur in whatever way it may occur. In other words, I endeavor to be as unbiased and mindful of what is taking place such that I might be able to "see" the experience "for what it actually was" as opposed to seeing it as I may have been told it would be. This all comes back to being able to hone and sharpen our discernment, which is one of the important components we are training for in the first place.

All I wanted to point out is that to blindly accept and expect to be able to live up to "official" or "traditional" pronouncements about anything (especially delicate subjective areas of experience like meditation) can be fraught with disappointment when what we are told to expect does not meet with our experience, and thus, in some cases, the person could become disillusioned and quit the practice because what they are expecting to achieve is too difficult (or maybe even impossible) for them to achieve. The whole point of a person's becoming involved with the practice of the noble eightfold path and the Buddha's Dhamma is to be able to take practical steps toward ending the personal suffering and dissatisfaction that they experience in life. If, on the other hand, we are telling them that this practice is difficult (which it is) and that it is unlikely that you will be able to reach your goal within this lifetime, then that seem to me to be a particularly negative development which might cause the person to give up. While such a circumstance might have been avoided if the person had been given a more realistic picture going in, rather than a dogmatic approach which espoused "you can achieve this or that, but not this other."

I've probably not made myself very clear about this. There is more that can be said about these matters, but that will have to wait until later, when I have more time to compose.
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:17 pm

IanAnd wrote:
With regard to the first passage, what may have seemed like "lecturing" (in Nib's case in particular) may be a valid point. But I saw no evidence on Clayton's part at any attempt to lecture. He was simply presenting some information in a respectful manner; yet the beating that he took at the hands of some members here was uncalled for, and was, in part, a catalyst for the reason I decided to compose and post this thread, in order to help perhaps clear the air and to further explore people's differing perceptions and opinions of subtle experiences like absorption.
Just be careful you do not turn this into a meta-discussion, on the edge of which you seem to be skating.

While, in general, I may pay attention to "official definitions" of this or that, I also endeavor to practice with an open mind and to let whatever does happen to occur in whatever way it may occur. In other words, I endeavor to be as unbiased and mindful of what is taking place such that I might be able to "see" the experience "for what it actually was" as opposed to seeing it as I may have been told it would be. This all comes back to being able to hone and sharpen our discernment, which is one of the important components we are training for in the first place.
This is not unreasonable, but there is a reason for working with a teacher and for working with the traditional take on things, and there is a reason, which has been illustrated all too graphically here, for sharply questioning one's own conclusions about one's own experience, never resting content with such conclusions.

All I wanted to point out is that to blindly accept and expect to be able to live up to "official" or "traditional" pronouncements about anything (especially delicate subjective areas of experience like meditation) can be fraught with disappointment when what we are told to expect does not meet with our experience,
And the flip side of that is rejecting the traditional understanding in favor one's own take on things, which - at its worst - is essentially redefining the Dhamma to fits one's needs, to fit one's experience.

It is, of course, a balancing act. So, what are you recommending?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby Kenshou » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:49 pm

Without trying to turn this into a meta-discussion, the funny thing about this is that the sort of thing that you have just said, Ian, has been said by many other people in support of many extremely different views. My point being that in a long-term practice, all sorts of "stuff" is liable to happen, and so there are many little side paths to go down and funny things to get caught up with. There is a lot of "territory" and without a guide or at least a few pointers and warnings things could get strange.

But I don't disagree, per say, with what you've said, I myself am fond of keeping things simple and natural and seeing what happens without too much expectation. I believe you have expressed in the past that the suttic literature has acted as your primary "guide", right? So then you are by no means divorced from tradition entirely, but don't get me wrong, as far as texts go that's source #1, imo, a pretty reliable source to weigh experiences against. Perhaps there is a specific tradition(s) that you are criticizing here, it might make what you are saying a little clearer if it were put in context more directly. Though I suspect what that thing is, you've said that you plan to clarify, so I'll stop blabbing.
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:50 pm

Hi Ian,
IanAnd wrote:Occasionally while on this path (i.e. the practice of meditation in general) I've been told to "expect this or that result" as a consequence of the instruction I've been given to practice. And quite often I've come to learn from my direct experience that either the power of suggestion was at work in what I was "told to expect to occur" and that expectation was met, or that what I experienced totally abrogated the expected result and something different occurred which may have contradicted what I was told would occur.

That's one of the reasons I'm uneasy about some things that are posted here or elsewhere. The teachers I've trusted just tell me to do this and watch that. Several I've then experienced something and had the following sort of conversation:
"I see X, am I imagining it?"
"Hmm, do you also see Y?"
"Yes"
"OK, that's good, keep going, and try Z"

Also, my personal experience, and listening to the reports of other yogis, is that many of the things people find interesting, intriguing, and exciting, especially in the first few days of a retreat, are just random stuff coming out as the mind is settling down. That this random stuff is coming out is a good sign - the mind is tidying itself up. But the content is mostly irrelevant. And different people will have different random stuff. It takes some time to figure out what is "random stuff" and what is something ultimately more interesting. It could be very time-wasting to fixate on the former.

I do think it's useful to hear about the experiences of others. But unless they are my teacher I don't take any of it particularly seriously.

:anjali:
Mike
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby IanAnd » Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:17 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Ian,

I don't really have much to offer to the conversation other than thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

My meditation practices has lapsed over recent weeks, and reading this has encouraged me to try to get back on the bandwagon.

Glad this could be of assistance in reigniting your passion for the fruits of meditative practice. There's a lot to be gained (at least in my experience) from this practice that can be used in conjunction with academic study and contemplation. And I've not even begun to touch the surface of some of those wholesome abilities which occur with me on almost a daily basis.

The practice is, of course, much more than just that (meaning the achievement of certain abilities and such). But, stay on the meditative path and work through the grind, so to speak, as you can go along for a long time and not experience any of these delightful side benefits and then wonder why you are putting yourself through this. Yet, if you stay with it, one day just everything happens to "click," and suddenly you begin to realize three dimensionally the truth you've been reading about and practicing about all these years. That's when you know that you know, and can corroborate the teaching directly.

Freawaru is next, but I need some time to think about her post and respond. She's brought up some important points.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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