Nibbana tangent parts 1 & 2 (Agnosticism)

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 25, 2024, 20:49 (60 days ago) @ xeno6696

Matt: The other stuff, the deeper Buddhist stuff, not as important right now, but the "better" or "deeper" concept of myself is as this person in the here and now, capable of treading water on the river of my mind and myself, and when meditating, I dive under the water but instead of swimming against the current in the middle of the stream, I zigzag diagonals while avoiding all of the errant thoughts or pushes of ego to try and break through the experience.

Turell: DHW and I are close friends. He told me all of his plays and children's books were produced by this free-reign system, free from him.

Matt: You seem to be kind of holding your hand up here... not sure why.

I was fascinated by his description. The characters take over and write the story.

Part of DHW's comment before he left was in asking for clarification on what it meant to be "consumed by", in my context emotions, but it works for thoughts too.

Matt: It's clear that when you're writing, you have to engage in the content at least enough to be able to write it down, so there's a sense of self here. Nothing wrong with that. Where I would posit the "danger" would lie from the Buddhist perspective is fully immersing or "becoming" the characters, or interfering in some way. Just instead of characters in a story, substitute your own thoughts and emotions.

Especially when first sitting down to meditate, a very common problem everyone faces is that random thoughts hijack your attention. Suddenly, you're daydreaming, and you didn't ask for it, and you didn't realize you were doing it. In Zen they call this "waking up." This is the first skill we work on, and it takes a long time to make progress with it. Since switching to the Theravadan tradition I've found this much simpler. (Loving kindness, compassion, and tonglen meditations teach you to be kind to yourself AND others.) There has to be somewhat of a sense of self in order to do this, the first big lesson for me is that you have to be somewhat active mentally, If you try to just sit there and passively watch, you're gonna get hijacked all the time.

As I think about dhw's commentary, I think alot of this... "debate" isn't quite the right word, but I think it's saying something similar but with totally different terminology. I'm not at all familiar with dhw's usage.

At the same time at least when it comes to my own understanding of things in my own head, it's quite clear what the differences are between my attention (or bare awareness as I like to say) and then the mental processes that either try to force me to focus on the past or the future or what I'd like to have for lunch today. The part of Zen that still influences me and is still where most people get introduce to the ideas, is that whatever you're supposed to be doing right now, do that, allow distractions to fall away. Part of why I brought up Phineas Gage is that I could get damaged so badly, that all my memories about myself disappear. I would still have my attention, or my "bare awareness," but a big part of what I (used to) use to identify myself--would be gone. I hope that helps explain a bit more.

The Buddhist perspective--where it goes supernatural really--is that those memories still exist in my mind. They would be available to me if instead of relying on my brain I tapped into my mind which has a link to "whatever it is" in the universe where my memories are imprinted. This relates back to the Buddha's quote about self, mind, and body--which I will return to once dhw gets back.

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