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  #21  
Old 28-10-2017, 06:47 PM
Darcy Darcy is offline
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Gem and naturesflow, your discourse has been engaging. Thanks for this discussion.

I don't understand Buddhism very well, except at an initial, intuitive level - it is something I am trying to learn more about. I recognize suffering/dukkha (not as the superficial interpretation I see frequently, but the concept behind it that is difficult to transcribe into language).

Meditative practice has never been something I connect to easily. The boy whom had the existential crisis, wondering if he really exists... I grew up with that intensity, had those sort of crises even younger than that. I felt I was walking a line between being and not being - my body was separate but not separate from matter, and I understood this acutely. It was painful but wonderful, and I would have moments of absolute awe of being small and aware. I suspect many children are vulnerable to that experience.

Morality as a focus for a foundation sidesteps what underlies the need for that morality, and it is a basic fear of loss of control. We learn as we get older to reign ourselves in, to respond to consequences, and to avoid pain. This is what prevents me from stillness or openness.

Only once did I allow myself to fully surrender to a "meditative" state. It was guided with a group of people. The purpose was to let go of oneself, to allow yourself to be, to quiet the mind - "let yourself fall away" for the purpose of relaxing. It appeared to be rejuvenating for the others, but it did not have that effect with me. I ripped myself away, and actually believed in my own death. The guide knew something went wrong because I had tears streaming down my face, could not speak for some time, and he didn't understand how it happened. It took me weeks to feel myself again.

I fear my own intensity - what lurks inside, what happens if I let go. Would a foundation be an act of control, or simply finding yourself in purged state where that intensity would no longer be there?

I also grew up in a Christian household and let go of that faith system as a teenager, without much conscious awareness until it was done, and so the awareness was sudden. For me, I didn't feel lost, but liberated. I no longer cared about reward or punishment, something so emphasized in the Protestant culture. Morality became more tangible because it allowed me to navigate my life instead of the promise of my afterlife.

In that sense, I have felt that morality is a tool to govern social behavior, and not a gateway to truth. Unless I am not understanding what the meaning of morality is supposed to be - I mostly hear it used in the context of a code of conduct.
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  #22  
Old 29-10-2017, 12:48 AM
Gem Gem is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darcy
Gem and naturesflow, your discourse has been engaging. Thanks for this discussion.

I don't understand Buddhism very well, except at an initial, intuitive level - it is something I am trying to learn more about. I recognize suffering/dukkha (not as the superficial interpretation I see frequently, but the concept behind it that is difficult to transcribe into language).

Meditative practice has never been something I connect to easily. The boy whom had the existential crisis, wondering if he really exists... I grew up with that intensity, had those sort of crises even younger than that. I felt I was walking a line between being and not being - my body was separate but not separate from matter, and I understood this acutely. It was painful but wonderful, and I would have moments of absolute awe of being small and aware. I suspect many children are vulnerable to that experience.

Morality as a focus for a foundation sidesteps what underlies the need for that morality, and it is a basic fear of loss of control. We learn as we get older to reign ourselves in, to respond to consequences, and to avoid pain. This is what prevents me from stillness or openness.

Only once did I allow myself to fully surrender to a "meditative" state. It was guided with a group of people. The purpose was to let go of oneself, to allow yourself to be, to quiet the mind - "let yourself fall away" for the purpose of relaxing. It appeared to be rejuvenating for the others, but it did not have that effect with me. I ripped myself away, and actually believed in my own death. The guide knew something went wrong because I had tears streaming down my face, could not speak for some time, and he didn't understand how it happened. It took me weeks to feel myself again.

I fear my own intensity - what lurks inside, what happens if I let go. Would a foundation be an act of control, or simply finding yourself in purged state where that intensity would no longer be there?

I also grew up in a Christian household and let go of that faith system as a teenager, without much conscious awareness until it was done, and so the awareness was sudden. For me, I didn't feel lost, but liberated. I no longer cared about reward or punishment, something so emphasized in the Protestant culture. Morality became more tangible because it allowed me to navigate my life instead of the promise of my afterlife.

In that sense, I have felt that morality is a tool to govern social behavior, and not a gateway to truth. Unless I am not understanding what the meaning of morality is supposed to be - I mostly hear it used in the context of a code of conduct.

In the simplest terms morality regards the how actions or inaction might result in benefit or harm, but in Buddhist philosophy there is no God that deems good and evil, so there is no 'obedience' that begets wrath or reward. If one undertakes the meditation in a formal setting, they are required to adhere to 'precepts', no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no lying, no intoxicants. These are stipulated because the 'frame of mind' or intent behind killing, stealing, lying and so forth is counterproductive or contradictory to meditation.

In that ethics regards meditation, and indeed, is considered to be the foundation of the practice, the fundamental basis of ethics regards the truth of yourself and the sense of goodness itself. The greater good which transcends any personal desire, aversion or preference, as we already know that what might suit ourselves may not be 'for the best'.

In the meditation one has to 'face the truth'. In first instance pain and pleasure will arise in the sensation, and in second instance, the aversion and craving mind respectively. When we are compelled to act on the adverse and craven mental reactions to the sensation, we tend to selfish, harmful, hurtful thoughts words and deeds. Conversely, if we are not overcome with mental reactivity, but remain even minded regardless of the sensation, we tend to selfless, kind, beneficial thoughts words and deeds.

This implies that ethics regards the 'volition', so the philosophy of ethics in Buddhism isn't 'God-given' nor an exercise in reason, but rather, the awareness of 'volition'; 'volition' being any urge to move the mind.

I am not implying that a person should willfully control anything, as being willful is 'an urge to move the mind', and this suggests the subtle difference between 'I will do do what it takes' and 'I am willing to do what it takes'. The sort of control required to be 'willing' toward any sensation arising is completely different to the sort of control that urges you to 'do something about' the sensation which arises. The former 'willingness' is not inactive, however. It is more like 'I know just what to do' without any agitation disturbing the mind. The latter willfulness is 'I must do something' - which is born of aversion and desire in reaction to the sensation.

The mindfulness practice is the cessation of that tension between adverse and desirous reactivity. it is the ability to see 'what is' without any judgment. Hence ethics is not born of a 'judgmental God'. Quite the contrary. It comes from our peaceful 'true nature', which is not disturbed by the passing of experience.
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  #23  
Old 29-10-2017, 01:03 AM
blossomingtree blossomingtree is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darcy
Morality as a focus for a foundation sidesteps what underlies the need for that morality, and it is a basic fear of loss of control. We learn as we get older to reign ourselves in, to respond to consequences, and to avoid pain. This is what prevents me from stillness or openness.

Only once did I allow myself to fully surrender to a "meditative" state. It was guided with a group of people. The purpose was to let go of oneself, to allow yourself to be, to quiet the mind - "let yourself fall away" for the purpose of relaxing. It appeared to be rejuvenating for the others, but it did not have that effect with me. I ripped myself away, and actually believed in my own death. The guide knew something went wrong because I had tears streaming down my face, could not speak for some time, and he didn't understand how it happened. It took me weeks to feel myself again.

I fear my own intensity - what lurks inside, what happens if I let go. Would a foundation be an act of control, or simply finding yourself in purged state where that intensity would no longer be there?

My understanding is that whilst quietening the mind, letting yourself fall away, and letting go are all aspects of Buddhist meditation, one does not sit down with these expectations as yet.

One sits, initially, in order to sit. Cultivate the sitting, in breath, out breath, just so. Each breath is it. Keep an awareness of that breath. As emotions come, let them come and then let them go. Just so. As a thought comes, don't harbor it, back to the breath, just so.

Silence of mind and such things come later, over sustained years and decades of practice. So too letting go, peace, and things such as natural compassion.

The "foundation" is the ground that holds all opposites, including intensity and absence of intensity. I am afraid that one cannot expect one sitting to give you all the answers you seek, but if it is answers you seek, I believe that Buddhist meditation does yield them.

Seek out a real life Buddhist monastery if you are interested to pursue further.
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  #24  
Old 29-10-2017, 01:04 AM
blossomingtree blossomingtree is offline
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Hat tip, Gem, for imposing on your thread
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  #25  
Old 03-11-2017, 10:37 AM
Gem Gem is offline
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I don't know if people followed the thread, but things have to be established in virtue. I think human beings already have a sense for 'the greater good'. True some petty minded people are just out to get what they can for themselves, but generally speaking, people understand virtue. This is a Buddhist thread so I will list the 10 paramis (perfections):

Generosity
Morality
Renunciation (letting go)
Discerning in wisdom
Energy in vitality
Truthfulness
Patience
Determination
Loving kindness
Equanimity

No need for such a specific list in that virtue isn't exactly definable, it is more like a quality of being, like selflessness. For example in generosity one gives without expecting something in return. In truthfulness one is truthful for it's own sake, not because they get something out of it. In this way virtue comes from a sense of a 'greater good', which no one can explain.

In my case, I am not 'good' because I obey a set of moral rules. I am 'good' because there is a higher purpose that self satiation. I serve without need of appreciation. I tell the truth regardless of my losses or gains - and I have no defined reason for this conduct - but I am motivated by compassion and an undying wish for the happiness of all beings.

If I become bad tempered or otherwise start to generate ill-will, that comes with an instability of the mind, so it's obvious that ways which are not virtuous are counter to mindfulness, perhaps born only in lapses of mindfulness.

So we might see how virtue is the foundation of mindful practice, and it is important to understand, because without understanding this foundation one will only meditate for 'something in return', and it becomes a labour in expectation of reward. IOW, an activity motivated by craving.

I think I'll leave off there. I hope it makes some sense.
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  #26  
Old 08-11-2017, 01:41 PM
catsquotl catsquotl is online now
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[quote=Gem]I don't know if people followed the thread, but things have to be established in virtue. I think human beings already have a sense for 'the greater good'. [ /QUOTE]

Following the thread with interest.
As for the title, Next to practicing Sila or virtue as a fundamental to mindfulness practices. I think it is one of the fundamentals, But only training your Sila there are the fundamentals of concentration and insight as well.

I quite Like what Daniel Ingram has to say about those in his mastering the core teachigns of the Buddha .

All three are needed it seems to come to fruition.

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  #27  
Old 11-11-2017, 02:21 AM
Gem Gem is offline
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We will caregorise it into three parts, only because that is way it is structured in Buddhism, and it is as good a way as any and a better way than most, but I will try not to become rigid in the dogma because to do so is only going to promote agreeability on the authority of Buddhist teachings, but this is the meditation in which one looks to see for themselves what is the true nature of things. It is not a mere exercise in double checking what is said against an authoritative source of knowledge.

I think enough has been said about the foundation of morality and virtue, so I'll move on to the second phase, the mindful practice, and due to this being a Buddhist forum, relate that to the 8 fold path.

The 8 path is about doing it 'right' (translated from the Pali, 'samma'). I found this explanation on http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/8foldpath.htm
Samma means 'proper', 'whole', 'thorough', 'integral', 'complete', and 'perfect' - related to English 'summit' - It does not necessarily mean 'right', as opposed to 'wrong'. However it is often translated as "right" which can send a less than accurate message. For instance the opposite of 'Right Awareness' is not necessarily 'Wrong Awareness'. It may simply be incomplete. Use of the word 'right' may make for a neat or consistent list of qualities in translations. The down side is that it can give the impression that the Path is a narrow and moralistic approach to the spiritual life. I use variant interpretations so you consider the depth of meanings. What do these things mean in your life right now?
The first part of the 8 path is centred in morality: 'right action', 'right livlihood', 'right speech' ect, and the second part is centred in mindfulness/meditation, 'right effort', 'right observation', 'right meditation'.

It basically means one has to get their house in order first. If there are things in chaos and degeneracy, these will occupy the mind, and so to make things orderly and organised frees the mind from so much trivia. For example, if you have a schedule you don't have to think about everything, you just follow the schedule. If you have a list of things to do, you don't have to remember everything, just follow the list. Being organised frees the mind from a lot (In this regard I should practice what I preach).

Ok I guess that's where it starts - it seems I'm saying what I need to do myself... and I might continue along that consideration
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  #28  
Old 11-11-2017, 09:20 AM
catsquotl catsquotl is online now
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I see.
In my case I found that the path is not so linear.
From meditation I often find answers that in turn help to get my house in order.
From Samadhi some sense of ease to do the work and from insight the task at hand.

So to me they interplay. A "holy" trinity if you will each in equal measure to accomplish the goalless goal.
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  #29  
Old 14-11-2017, 10:59 AM
Gem Gem is offline
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Originally Posted by catsquotl
I see.
In my case I found that the path is not so linear.
From meditation I often find answers that in turn help to get my house in order.
From Samadhi some sense of ease to do the work and from insight the task at hand.

So to me they interplay. A "holy" trinity if you will each in equal measure to accomplish the goalless goal.

Yep - interplay, but not all at once.
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Old 15-11-2017, 03:04 AM
Gem Gem is offline
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Let us just assume that there is no beginning to meditation, because we see there is a discussion on morality followed by a post about organising one's life to prevent 'nagging thoughts' from coming up. When we go toward a more moral life, we have to pay closer attention to what we think, say and do. It amounts to a greater depth and consistency in self-awareness. It follows that when we go to clear up all the 'nagging things', we have to be aware of what areas of life are disoganised and what sort of nagging thoughts tend to distract us. Hence it's not so much a preparation for something, but rather, it is something that has already begun - at least in a preliminary way.

As we do become more self-aware, and as we remove unnecessarily chaotic things from our lives, obviously the mind becomes more focused, a bit clearer, less distracted...
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