Experiencing Annica

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Experiencing Annica

Postby rachmiel » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:48 pm

A-nicca means (accd. to Wikipedia): "the absence of permanence and continuity." It asserts that "all of conditioned existence, without exception, is in a constant state of flux."

It's one thing to learn about anicca from sources you consider reputable and then to, in effect, "believe in it." But it's an entirely different thing imo to experience it firsthand.

There are some things whose flux is detectable by our senses, therefore experienceable: water flowing down a stream, wind blowing through the leaves of a tree, the variation in timbre of a blue jay's call, etc.

But there are many things that are not detectable/experienceable: the gradual breakdown of a rock into dust, the brownian motion of elementary particles in a piece of plastic, changes in wavelength of light beyond the limits of our vision, etc. Say I go for a walk in my neighborhood. Even if I bring all my detection tools to bear, 95% of what I sense seems NOT to change. I could impute annica to these things, but that would be an act of thought, conceptualization. Most of what I experience is (apparently) concrete, fixed, unchanging.

However ... there is one thing that I can observe that is always always in flux: my mindstream. So I'm wondering if annica is best (most directly) experienced by observing one's mindstream? I mean, when it comes down to it, what else CAN one observe but one's mindstream? Everything that happens "out there" actually happens "in here." Right?
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:52 pm

i think you are missing the point if you think you should be able to detect the molecular change of rocks, or the 95% things you experience when you walk.

the point is to realize and understand the impermanent nature of all phenomena. it doesnt matter if you cant witness it with your senses. if you can realize it in your mind then you have realized and understood it, and the effects of realizing impermanence is a beneficial and positive boost to dharma practice, morality, ethics, and general conduct, not to waste time, not being lazy, not to procrastinate and so on.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby futerko » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:53 pm

rachmiel wrote:Most of what I experience is (apparently) concrete, fixed, unchanging.


Do you experience smell, taste, touch, and sound as unchanging?
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby invisiblediamond » Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:04 pm

rachmiel wrote:A-nicca means (accd. to Wikipedia): "the absence of permanence and continuity." It asserts that "all of conditioned existence, without exception, is in a constant state of flux."

It's one thing to learn about anicca from sources you consider reputable and then to, in effect, "believe in it." But it's an entirely different thing imo to experience it firsthand.

There are some things whose flux is detectable by our senses, therefore experienceable: water flowing down a stream, wind blowing through the leaves of a tree, the variation in timbre of a blue jay's call, etc.

But there are many things that are not detectable/experienceable: the gradual breakdown of a rock into dust, the brownian motion of elementary particles in a piece of plastic, changes in wavelength of light beyond the limits of our vision, etc. Say I go for a walk in my neighborhood. Even if I bring all my detection tools to bear, 95% of what I sense seems NOT to change. I could impute annica to these things, but that would be an act of thought, conceptualization. Most of what I experience is (apparently) concrete, fixed, unchanging.

However ... there is one thing that I can observe that is always always in flux: my mindstream. So I'm wondering if annica is best (most directly) experienced by observing one's mindstream? I mean, when it comes down to it, what else CAN one observe but one's mindstream? Everything that happens "out there" actually happens "in here." Right?


In Vajrayana practice the meditation on impermanence is mostly about contemplating death, that everyone is subject to it. In Theravada, the meditation on impermanence takes the form of observing the arising and passing away of phenomena, which is internal. So you are right. But in Vajrayana one gets into the Buddha nature and the internal reality of the kayas. So meditation on anicca gets demoted big time.
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby rachmiel » Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:09 pm

KonchokZoepa wrote:the point is to realize and understand the impermanent nature of all phenomena. it doesnt matter if you cant witness it with your senses. if you can realize it in your mind then you have realized and understood it, and the effects of realizing impermanence is a beneficial and positive boost to dharma practice, morality, ethics, and general conduct, not to waste time, not being lazy, not to procrastinate and so on.

But if I can't experience it, can't directly know it to be true (or false), all it can be is a belief to me, an acceptance of dogma. And isn't acceptance of belief/dogma utterly antithetical to liberation of mind?
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby rachmiel » Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:19 pm

futerko wrote:
rachmiel wrote:Most of what I experience is (apparently) concrete, fixed, unchanging.

Do you experience smell, taste, touch, and sound as unchanging?

No.

Vision is how I detect most of the objects around me: trees, houses, squirrels sitting quietly on a lawn, etc.

Take that signpost over there, the same one I've seen every day for the last four years. If I approach it, the actual image conjured up by my brain changes, gets bigger. But thanks to visual constancy, my brain understands that it is my perspective of the sign that is changing, not the sign itself. So I do not impute "change" to the sign, rather to my mind's visual interpretation of the sign. I would have to make a leap of conceptualization to think/know that the sign is constantly changing.
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby rachmiel » Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:24 pm

invisiblediamond wrote:In Vajrayana practice the meditation on impermanence is mostly about contemplating death, that everyone is subject to it. In Theravada, the meditation on impermanence takes the form of observing the arising and passing away of phenomena, which is internal.

The Theravadan approach makes sense to me, because it is direct subjective experience of arisings and decayings.

The Vajrayana approach makes less sense, because it is an act of conceptualization, storytelling. And engaging in stories for their metaphorical/instructional value is imo a slippery slope ... it's way too easy to reify the stories, mistake them for reality. (No disrespect intended for Vajrayana or any other form of Buddhism.)
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby invisiblediamond » Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:29 pm

rachmiel wrote:
invisiblediamond wrote:In Vajrayana practice the meditation on impermanence is mostly about contemplating death, that everyone is subject to it. In Theravada, the meditation on impermanence takes the form of observing the arising and passing away of phenomena, which is internal.

The Theravadan approach makes sense to me, because it is direct subjective experience of arisings and decayings.

The Vajrayana approach makes less sense, because it is an act of conceptualization, storytelling. And engaging in stories for their metaphorical/instructional value is imo a slippery slope ... it's way too easy to reify the stories, mistake them for reality. (No disrespect intended for Vajrayana or any other form of Buddhism.)


Anicca is kind of a main practice in Thera. For Vajra it's only a preliminary practice. Vajrayana uses thinking. It's part of our condition of embodiment.
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby rachmiel » Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:36 pm

invisiblediamond wrote:
rachmiel wrote:
invisiblediamond wrote:In Vajrayana practice the meditation on impermanence is mostly about contemplating death, that everyone is subject to it. In Theravada, the meditation on impermanence takes the form of observing the arising and passing away of phenomena, which is internal.

The Theravadan approach makes sense to me, because it is direct subjective experience of arisings and decayings.

The Vajrayana approach makes less sense, because it is an act of conceptualization, storytelling. And engaging in stories for their metaphorical/instructional value is imo a slippery slope ... it's way too easy to reify the stories, mistake them for reality. (No disrespect intended for Vajrayana or any other form of Buddhism.)


Anicca is kind of a main practice in Thera. For Vajra it's only a preliminary practice. Vajrayana uses thinking. It's part of our condition of embodiment.

Does "condition of embodiment" mean something that is part of our human experience of having a body-mind?

Btw, the notion of using thinking as a tool to move towards realization is quite thrilling to me. As is clear from my postings here, I'm a contemplator. It's my most natural-feeling way to meet the world. Much moreso than direct experience, from which I tend to shy away. Often, the value of experience is as a kind of proof of concept for me. Strange, right? ;-)
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:19 pm

rachmiel wrote:
KonchokZoepa wrote:the point is to realize and understand the impermanent nature of all phenomena. it doesnt matter if you cant witness it with your senses. if you can realize it in your mind then you have realized and understood it, and the effects of realizing impermanence is a beneficial and positive boost to dharma practice, morality, ethics, and general conduct, not to waste time, not being lazy, not to procrastinate and so on.

But if I can't experience it, can't directly know it to be true (or false), all it can be is a belief to me, an acceptance of dogma. And isn't acceptance of belief/dogma utterly antithetical to liberation of mind?


this sounds very ignorant to me. if you cant logically come to a conclusion that this material world is impermanent, then good luck trying to work with your mind.

i repeat, the point is to realize and understand the impermanence and come to a conclusion that '' aha, this material worlds, stones, rocks, our body indeed are impermanent''.

if you wish to observe the molecular change of your body with like a super uber magnifying glass and of the stones and all the rest. i recommend changing species into something else that have the sense faculties to accomplish that.

but we can see something, we can see that rocks change theyre shape, they are all round and smooth on ocean beaches. it is scientifically proven that the andi's mountain used to be the bottom of the ocean.

our skin drops of, our nails grow, our hair grows, look at the picture of yourself as a child and now and see if you are permanent and if things are permanent.

it is not a dogma and it is not to be taken as a dogma or a belief, like i said in my first post that it is to be realized. to come to understand.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:20 pm

rachmiel wrote:

Take that signpost over there, the same one I've seen every day for the last four years. If I approach it, the actual image conjured up by my brain changes, gets bigger. But thanks to visual constancy, my brain understands that it is my perspective of the sign that is changing, not the sign itself. So I do not impute "change" to the sign, rather to my mind's visual interpretation of the sign. I would have to make a leap of conceptualization to think/know that the sign is constantly changing.



you say youre a contemplator, i dont want to sound harsh or rude but this seems a bit like over analyzing to me, and is without any essence, just samsaric jibberish.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby rachmiel » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:00 pm

KZ, you're not reaching me or teaching me anything. Your postings come off more as self-serving rants than thoughtful responses.

So, please, stop posting here. I do not welcome any further contribution from you on this subject.
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby rachmiel » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:06 pm

That said, I DO welcome responses from other members of the forum.

Specifically, how can these be reconciled:

Annica is one of the main foundations of Buddhism.
Much of external* change is not directly experienceable.

* As I said earlier, internal change is a different thing entirely; a great deal of internal change (mindstream) can be experienced firsthand.
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby smcj » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:14 pm

However ... there is one thing that I can observe that is always always in flux: my mindstream. So I'm wondering if annica is best (most directly) experienced by observing one's mindstream? I mean, when it comes down to it, what else CAN one observe but one's mindstream? Everything that happens "out there" actually happens "in here." Right?

Right.
But if I can't experience it, can't directly know it to be true (or false), all it can be is a belief to me, an acceptance of dogma. And isn't acceptance of belief/dogma utterly antithetical to liberation of mind?

Wrong. Accepting something as a working hypothesis isn't dogma. It is how you go about starting the experiment, your practice. You get to "know it to be true for yourself" at the end of the experiment.

I have a buddy that was a child prodigy in math. He told me that 2+2=4 is actually taking something on faith, that addition is just assumed to be valid. It is only in the post-graduate levels of math that one is able to actually prove that addition, as well as other functions, are valid. But you're going to have a hard time getting to the post-graduate level if you refuse to accept 2+2=4 as a working hypothesis!
A-nicca means (accd. to Wikipedia): "the absence of permanence and continuity." It asserts that "all of conditioned existence, without exception, is in a constant state of flux."

Absence of continuity? Somebody go change the Wiki article.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:31 pm

KonchokZoepa wrote:
rachmiel wrote:

Take that signpost over there, the same one I've seen every day for the last four years. If I approach it, the actual image conjured up by my brain changes, gets bigger. But thanks to visual constancy, my brain understands that it is my perspective of the sign that is changing, not the sign itself. So I do not impute "change" to the sign, rather to my mind's visual interpretation of the sign. I would have to make a leap of conceptualization to think/know that the sign is constantly changing.



you say youre a contemplator, i dont want to sound harsh or rude but this seems a bit like over analyzing to me, and is without any essence, just samsaric jibberish.


i take my thoughtless words back on this one, sorry. but the other post, if it doesnt ring a bell about impermanence then you live in a permanent world. and also impermanence cant be a belief or a dogma since it is a fact that everyone experiences and can agree on.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby smcj » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:33 pm

...impermanence cant be a belief or a dogma since it is a fact that everyone experiences and can agree on.


Well, in my personal life yes, but I'm still waiting form somebody to explain to me how black holes are impermanent.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:50 pm

if they are dependent arising, they too must be logically subject to change and transformation. like everything else. only your concept and image of a black hole seems to be permanent because it is fixated towards a certain perception or belief of it.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby smcj » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:52 pm

KonchokZoepa wrote:if they are dependent arising, they too must be logically subject to change and transformation. like everything else.

Well they can certainly grow. But in order for them to end the stuff inside would have to exceed the speed of light to escape, which probably would not happen anyway.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby justsit » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:59 pm

So do you believe everything you think? (addressed to OP)
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Re: Experiencing Annica

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:02 pm

who knows, many things are unimaginable to our minds like buddhahood, doesnt make it impossible though. anyway, i guess :focus: annica.

a thought came to me, i will take back some of my words, because just that ''doesnt make it impossible though''.. it could be that the most subtle impermanence is perceivable, maybe not true the five senses, but through the sixth sense, requiring nevertheless the achievement of shamatha and the higher four absorptions, to be able to see the conventional aspect of reality, its impermanence as it actually is, even in molecular level. even if it would be so i would not personally find this specific quality worth aiming for. as a side result i would be happy to have that perception but not as a goal.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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