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Friday, March 31, 2006

The Logic of the Present Moment

The Logic of the Present Moment.

Conventional, Space-Time, logic looks for causes and finds the corresponding results.

Dhamma, or Present Moment, logic looks at the current results or conditions and then looks for what these are causing.

In the absence of this clarity the outcome is conditioned, Dukkha. In the presence of this clarity the outcome is the unconditional basis, or environment, for the development of the Path.

A very simple logic, but it is all that is needed to maintain an interest in and for a steadily consistent growth in the Dhamma.

Different Kinds of Opportunity in this Hi_Tech Jungle

Fragment from a recent letter:
"...Perhaps there are different kinds of opportunities to practice in this hi_tech jungle? My meditating friend PR shows how it is possible...''

Your meditating friend PR makes me think of some Oriental people that I have briefly known in London & Watford. Particularly nurses, who would show impressive skill & patience during incredibly long shifts. The significance of this was not appreciated until, here at Wat Pa Baan Taad, I met a Bhikkhu ordained just for the rains (LTMB never normally allows this). He is a nurse of Commodore rank in the Thai navy. He told me that they routinely worked, between actual duty & voluntary projects, something like 20hrs a day, i.e. four hours sleep was quite normal for him too.
A further observation at Wat Thai, Wimbledon, several years ago. For the whole Summer, visiting almost every Sunday morning, I was able to observe the enthusiasm of many of the children, perhaps 6 to 12yrs old, as they went to meditation lessons held especially for them by senior Bhikkhus.
So, where this is all leading to is a scenario that goes something like this:
A Thai or Chinese child starts meditating at about the age of say six (I've been told that children of this age learn it very easily). By the time they are twelve they are quite skilled at it. They then go through secondary & higher education well equipped to deal with all it's stresses. They can then enter a profession, such as the medical, & give to it a commitment worthy of the 'monastic' traditions. The final result is a highly accomplished being. But the best part of it is that they can spot another meditator a mile away: something I noticed very early on in my practice.
Not that I want to detract from the Bhikkhu life: the responsibility of the Sangha is to ensure that the Dhamma is passed on to the next generation with it's vitality & relevance intact.

Further on Kilesas

Further on Kilesas
To fully understand Kilesas, so as to defeat them, it is important to remember to include any reflections on Dhamma that are non-mindful, mindless, proliferation. That is to say, not "mapping" a reflection to actual phenomenal manifestations in the present moment, not investigating them. Anything that is propounded as some kind of a view to an imaginary audience or a rehearsal for some future hypothetical examination, etc. all this is also Kilesa. Learning to recognise them with clarity develops it's own momentum.

A skilful Kilesa to develop is to keep coming back to the Knowing in the present moment and developing that momentum.

One Hundred and Eighty Degrees

One Hundred and Eighty Degrees

Phenomena arise in the present moment and the practitioner looks for causes: Kilesas. Later, the practitioner may find it more useful to turn through a hundred and eighty degrees and look for results caused by things presently arising: Outflows.

He may then dwell on just this Knowing.

Six and Two Threes

Six and Two Threes

Intellectuals, hate types, prefer void (annihilationist) views. Faith, greed types prefer cosmic (eternalist) views.

Six of one and half a dozen of the other: both are wrong. But, non the less, both will get the practitioner to the point where the last attachment is a Kilesa Raft built around either of these favoured views: to be let go of at some suitable Kammic window of opportunity.

No Right Self View

No Right Self View

One can't say that the Knowing is identical with phenomena. For if the Knowing is phenomena, then what is it that knows this?

One can't say that the Knowing is embedded, immersed or enmeshed in phenomena: for it is clearly detached from them.

One can't say that the Knowing owns phenomena, for it can do nothing with them. Nor can one say that phenomena own the Knowing, for neither can they do anything with it.

Nor can one say that the Knowing is detached from phenomena: clearly it isn't, for how could it know them?

But, then again, what is it that knows all this?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Untouchable

The Untouchable
The Knowing is not touched by anything at all. Greed, lust, hatred, jealousy, disgust; non of this can touch the Knowing. The Knowing can know itself, but even this doesn't touch it and it knows this too. It is a bit like a camera that can't photograph itself, yet knows of it's own existence in the sense that when it malfunctions it's photos are correspondingly affected.

Similarly, when the Knowing is affected by delusion it's view of the world is correspondingly affected. But as soon as it knows this this knowing arises and is completely untouched by it: in this sense it can be said to be always fresh.

Anything coming from delusion is knowable in a detached way, it can be investigated and described, but the Knowing can only be known. The practitioner may talk about this, but as soon as he does so the knowing seems to disappear, becomes obscured, only to return to view as soon as the dissertation stops and a resumption of the knowing is effected.

All else can be said to be a mirage, it only exists while it is not scrutinised: the knowing however, holds steady, unchanging and untouchable whilst under the closest scrutiny, but nothing can be done to it, with it nor be said about it.

White Noise II

White Noise is a technique for causing a clinical, anaesthetic effect, and has been used in minor surgery and dentistry. The patient listens to a generator of all the audio frequencies of the human ear.

The analogy with Kamatana meditation is quite useful. The noisy mind producing an effect such that the sensations associated with the Heart, at the centre of the chest, are quite unobservable, just as though it were under a kind of local anaesthetic. But as attention is directed at the spot, the mind quietens, the white noise subsides and the sensations within the heart gradually become clear and the practice of mindfulness can continue.

Investigation as proliferation

Investigation as a proliferation of Delusion or Becoming.

Developing skilful Kilesas, which in the absence of mindfulness, give rise to Dukkha & attachment.

All this results from a flow of unquestioned assumptions that current phenomena are the same as, or not changed from, associated memories. This includes the possibility that these memories are inaccurate.