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March 4, 2003
5:30 pm
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namaste, Tez.

'what variety of experiences would there be to be had if the ecstacy of nirvana, being the result of universal consciousness, was all that we knew?' you said.

but what variety of experience exists anyway in the universe of independent co-arising? aren't, at base, experiences all one as are the seemingly sentient beings which populate that universe? whether or not we are able to experience it as it is, isn't consciousness all there is? thus, it seems to me to all be a matter of perception.

if i perceive my misjudgements of self and others as having led me to suffering, can i not with practice come to see that, without the judgement, this universe of particulars is a truly wonderful and remarkable place? nirvana, if i will, is in every step i take. even here in this 'sandpit.' and i must smile at sandpit and the images is calls up for me. my five-year old adores sandpits. *smile*

i don't know much about bodhisattvas, master Tez, but i do love Quan-yin's compassion and fullness. and i do love the lord Krishna's gentleness and firmness. i cannot be them, only look and see what appeals to me there and what i find it possible to be if i practice. but, i fear that i shall always be deluded and unaware Nikka, but never again angry Nikka.

ah, Tez. I do so enjoy your thoughts. and my thoughts which bumble against yours. Many thanks.

March 7, 2003
4:28 pm
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Nikka

You said: "but what variety of experience exists anyway in the universe of independent co-arising?" Did you mean "in the universe of dependent co-arising" - is this a typo?

You also said: "aren't, at base, experiences all one as are the seemingly sentient beings which populate that universe?"

Not in my experience. It seems to me that you were right when you said "... it seems to me to all be a matter of perception." Because of my deluded mind, at times I perceive lack, loss or the threat thereof and I suffer. Equally at times, because of my deluded mind, I perceive being supported by objects, places and sentient beings; then I feel good. These, for me, are very real experiences of consciousness based upon my preconditioned, deluded mind which determines my perceptions. It seems to me that my false perceptions determine my samsara experiences, that are very real experiences within my unenlightened mind nevertheless.

It also seems to me that Buddha Dharma is about methods of breaking the shackles of preconditioning that 'torture' the mind; a mind that is alternatively pleasured and then pained by the false perceptions of 'gain and loss'. A deepseated belief in the existence of an independent and permanent self that maintains a some form of continuity throughout our life, despite the obviously very dependent arising and decaying of the body, would seem to lie behind our fears of 'losing' or 'not having' that which we deem essential to our wellbeing.

To me it seems that my 'self' is like a game of snooker wherein the cue ball hits a second ball that ricochets off a third ball etc. All the balls set in motion are consequences of the cue ball motion that was initiated by the cue, moved by the player. Would it be sensible to think that there was the existence of some permanent independent 'self' underpining the motion of the balls? Equally, would it be sensible to assume that the sequence of events was non-existent in any form?

Similarly, in regard to a sentient being of the human variety at least, between these two extreme views there would appear to lie a conscious awareness of a 'self' process. Somehow experiencing the 'self' at a deep level as having both 'emptiness' and 'form' would seem to me to be a prerequisite for the state of mind in which "... this universe of particulars is a truly wonderful and remarkable place ..." I'm not so sure about being able to have one foot in nirvana and another in samsara. However, I suspect that the unenlightened ones, such as I, can get short glimpses of that state of mind, called nirvana, between 'normal' samsaric consciousness states.

You said: "but, i fear that i shall always be deluded and unaware Nikka,..." I both hope not - I doubt that this will be so. And: "... but never again angry Nikka." Since hatred and anger are one of the three deadly poisons, conquering this emotion puts you a long way ahead of many of us. Being in an intimate relationship with another human being, I personally struggle with the poison of anger on a daily basis.

March 9, 2003
4:11 pm
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namaste, tez.

hmmm. angry is, indeed, a perception, a feeling which arises in the field of consciousness which my ego then attributes to 'my self.' since ego doesn't understand that consciousness is all there is, ego supposes that 'i' feel angry. one might liken that to the way an ice cube 'feels' cold? -- i suppose that is sorta getting at what i mean by 'never again angry nikka.'

i too have many relationships, some quite large, with other sentient beings: in fact, the one with my husband just about guarantees that anger will arise in me, altho with this practice, not so often it seems as once occurred. if that doesn't then the presence of our two sons does (still very lacking here in spite of the practice.) -- but, i am not angry, anger is merely one of the changing kaleidoscope of feelings that sift and move within consciousness and sometimes my ego 'feels' that emotion. but 'i' (consciousness) am not that. thus, i am not angry. (hair-splitting perhaps, but vedantins would, perhaps, understand some of that. altho i shall be the first to admit that i tend to invent my own religion and religious thought with not much care that i fall within a particular 'school,' etc. so vedantins and zen masters don't mean a lot to me in terms of a dogma, just likeable thoughts.

'independent' wasn't a typo, tex, but a mistaken memory of my own. yes, dependent co-arising would be what i should have typed. as far as experiences are concerned i believe that the ego does perceive those as separate, but like the balls on the billiards table (or electrons in space-time), what affects one, affects all. thus, experiences 'seem' unique and discreet to a single 'ego' and are, perceptually. but since consciousness is all there is, then the experience is, again, a kaleidoscopic-like sifting and turning of consciousness' perceptions. therefore, all experience is one.

as for the practice of nirvana/samsara one does simply as the old chinese monk once said, 'one should draw water when drawing water.' his point, i think, is that if one stills the mind t hen one always does 'right action' for most, however, action is only a thing vaguely paid attention to by a mind that is full of a myriad other thoughts and very little mind-energy is spent on just 'being present.'

again, i don't know alot about buddhism and much of what i do know is only the things i felt that i could subsume into 'nikka's religion,' a sort of caserole made of vedanta, wicca/paganism/shamanism, buddhism, and islam/christianity/judaism/ba'hai. and i still feel unclear when trying to explain sometimes. but the comments about 'deluded and unaware nikka' i truly do believe.

thanks for the chats, tez. may the australian portion of this universe of dependent co-arising be felicitous for you and your partner.

March 10, 2003
2:03 pm
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Nikka and Tez, I bow to the light that is within both of you. I suppose IM one of those ignorant posters that you mention because at times I feel lost in some of your writings because I fail to understand alot of it. I can read them over and over and most of the time do understand but sometimes its like being in a maze and trying to find my way out. 🙂

IM not complaining or whining just stating a fact. I do enjoy reading your posts and others but do feel at time infurior and I know by not fault of your own. Why is that do you know? Why can some people retain more information and store it in their memory than others? Why can others explain themsevels so easily and others stumble over their own words as I do???

Bel

March 10, 2003
8:26 pm
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namaste, bel.

people are simply who and what we are. among other things you have a talent for loving your grandson. you have a talent for caring and loving. you have a talent for silence and thinking about what you say before saying it.

we are all, i think, aspects of that great field of consciousness, but we are not all the exact same aspect. people bring different gifts to the kaleidoscope. your gifts are most welcome. when will you come to appreciate those gifts, dear bel?

you are always welcome to post, and read as well, nothing private in what i write here.

but for all the negative evaluations you seem to make about yourself, bel, i always hear thoughtfulness and i have never had trouble either reading or understanding what you have written. as i said above, perhaps you will find a way to appreciate the gifts that are your unique contribution to the world we live in.

March 10, 2003
11:31 pm
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Hello Nikka,
Thank you for responding to my email and you have taught me something today. IM sure I have heard it before but never thought about it much until now.

I never thought of those things you point out as being talents. I can remember asking my mother what talents do I posess? I guess those are some of my talents....Thank You

I have always been a very negative person, IM always the first one to put myself down and I dont know why I do that. I guess it stayed with me from childhood and its hard to shake.

I love myself for who and what I am. A kind, caring, quiet and happy person. It has taken me a long time to really believe that.

Yes your right everyone here has always been kind and thoughtful and very encouraging to me and I do apprieciate it very much.

I find myself coming here on a daily basis and more, not because I have to but because I want to see how everyone is doing and what I can add or share with all of you. Its nice to know Im know here and liked and thought of in a good way.

Looking forward to talking with you again sometime.

Take Care
Always Bel

March 12, 2003
5:33 pm
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Nikka

You said, "... angry is, indeed, a perception, a feeling which arises in the field of consciousness which my ego then attributes to 'my self.' "

I agree ...feelings of being angry are, I believe, working memory's conscious awareness of emotional arousal either prior to an attack response or as an endeavor to frighten a boundary 'transgressor' away. Either way an unconscious mental process has come to a conclusion that the opponent is not of superior power and can be either bluffed into submission of if that fails overwhelmed by one's own superior physical or mental power. Otherwise flight, appeasement or immobilization responses would be chosen.

For anger to exist, a perception of a threat of damage to the wellbeing of the 'self' would seem to me to be a sine qua non prerequisite. That is, for anger to occur unconsciously we would seem need to perceive a transgression of some mentally defined ego boundary. Thus the perception of demarcation lines between self and other must exist within the subject/object mental formations of mind. An interesting exercise is to clearly define for ourselves where these ego boundaries lie at any given instant. When driving our automobiles this boundary seems to lie within a few feet of our vehicles. Yet depending upon the varying levels of our anger threshold, a blasting horn may or may not to penetrate this precarious boundary and rupture our serenity. At home the 'boundaries' then seem to widen to the fence lines. During a heightened orgasm with that very special person, the boundaries momentarily explode to include the universe. All of these boundaries seems to hinge on our perceptions of the independent existence of a self, separated from the other by these same extant boundaries.

Now even neuroscience is challenging the existence of such an independent entity as 'the self'. Dr. Joseph LeDoux (2002), a neuroscientist from NYU Labs, has written a fine book called 'The Synaptic Self - How our Brains Become Who we Are.' In it he says: " That the self is synaptic can be a curse - it doesn't take much to break it apart. But it is also a blessing, as there are always new connections awaiting to be made. You are your synapses. They are who you are." LeDoux(2002, p 324)

The question remains: Is there an underlying dimension to consciousness that can be analogously thought of as a stream; a karmic stream upon which all of these synaptic connections depend for their patterns of connectivity? Buddhists seem to believe in the existence of such very dependently co-arising, waxing and waning streams of consciousness as opposed to a belief in the existence of independent 'selves'. It seems that Buddhists believe that the sequential - but very complex - cause, effect and conditional interactions are somehow continuous, with death itself being only an imaginary demarcation line constructed as a mental formation of a deluded mind. Thus the Buddhist concept of 'reincarnation' differs markedly from that of Hinduism and other religious systems of belief. According to the Buddhist doctrine there is no self or soul to reincarnate, only a continuous process of karmicly preconditioned consciousness that continues to time 'travel' through this earthly existence in different 'forms'. Buddhists seem to believe that all change involves suffering either directly or indirectly and that mental cravings ensure that both suffering and the cycles of birth and death continue.

You also said: "if one stills the mind then one always does 'right action' for most, however, action is only a thing vaguely paid attention to by a mind that is full of a myriad other thoughts and very little mind-energy is spent on just 'being present.' " Yes ... true. But who is the 'one' who is stilling the mind? Is it not just another action of the 'ego' - that is the perception of a separate self - in trying to exert control over 'one's' mind; another subject/object relationship? Any words that we write us give away, don't they! 🙂 Even the word 'we' that 'I' just used implies that 'I' perceive a collection of separate 'I's existing. Subject/object relativity seems to permeate everything that we write. Meditation states seem to hold the answer to altered consciousness states in which the very concepts of 'self' and 'non-self' dissappear from consciousness. In such a state, I once saw 'absolute reality'. Since this state is beyond being beyond all preconditioned concepts, it is of little wonder that I can recall nothing of the experience other than I had it and that it was wondrous beyond belief. If only I could replicate that which I did to arrive at that meditation state, at will. Of course this wishful craving is a huge obstacle in the way of same. 🙂

So it seems that we need to somehow transcend even LeDoux's trilogy of emotions, cognitions and motivations in order to realize the absolute reality and therein go beyond.

March 12, 2003
5:38 pm
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Bel.

Ditto to what Nikka wrote to you in her post of 10-Mar-03.

Keep the ole pekker up.

March 13, 2003
10:46 am
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Thanks Tez.

March 18, 2003
9:12 pm
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namaste, master tez.

i have thought a bit about your last long post. i shall think more. i actually made a response five days ago and had it zapped by my timer before i could post it. (despise these provider timers for peak hour usage!) so this time shorter and maybe i can get it on the board.

i like to follow the analogy of consciousness as the ocean. the part of consciousness which inhabits me might be thought of as the wave. the wave thinks of 'itself' as somehow different and separate from all the other waves it 'sees' around it. but if the wave can contemplate its own manifestation and 'see' what is there, the wave will 'see' ocean, and in seeing will also come to understand that it, along with all the other waves and the currents beneath and the poo;s and estuaries and lagoons, is ocean and, thus, one with ocean and all that makes up ocean.

yet, in the manifestation of ocean called a wave, that wave is manifestly different, separate, discreet. without being so 'really.' this is 'one.' one, or one's bit of the ocean, must work to see what is truly there. thus, if i can accept that anger might be a mental formation effectively 'human,' and that in my manifestation as 'human' i must contain as a sine qua non, anger, then i can learn to integrate anger as a part of me, like i easily integrate green eyes as a part of me. for whatever reason though, our egos, good tools but horrible mistresses, wish to perceive only that separation we find in manifestation of consciousness. thus, what 'one' works at is seeing the reality of 'One.' in order to succeed in that i must find ways to 'see' (cellular seeing) what and who i am.

i am she/he/it/that (consciousness) as are you. words are indeed tools not meant to express the ineffible and the inexpressible. i too have had those oceanic experiences, but find them repeatable. i do not require the creation of the exact circumstances involved in the previous experience. i simply sit and meditate and the new-but-repeated experience comes. as these states occur more often i find my anger becoming more like my green eyes: they are characteristic, but nothing special, something that is there, but doesn't 'run the show. and i am also wondering if the more those experiences occur the less painful and harmful my anger is as well. a thing which arises and then passes away and if i do not give vent to it, it serves its purpose and passes away without trmendous effects on other 'waves.'

i hope you will gift yourself with another experience like the one you cannot describe. (again, the nature of language cannot reach about the circumference of the experience to express it, but can form a vague outline, a finger pointing toward the moon. if i can understand that i am not to look at the finger, but at the moon, then i might find the experience repeatable at some point other than the one which has already passed away in the space/time continuum.

master, tez. i do indeed imagine that you are onto something in thinking that the craving may be damaging the chance of the experience returning. as the buddha said: three things cause suffering: false knowing, unbridled craving and anger.

sorry for the time i have waited to mail this response. just for the record it is different from the one i had written that was zapped by the timer. of course, in this space/time world movement is all and i am unable at present to stop in a moment and spend eternity. ah, well. keep practicing i shall.

nikka

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