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 Post subject: Analysis of 'presence'
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:39 am 
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Buddhism isn't about understanding the mind or even the nature of mind. When it is presented like that then it becomes a huge project that actually makes it also more mystifying. We think we are looking for something illusive that is hidden or we want to polish something to make it shine. This just isn't possible.
Buddhism is very simply an analysis of 'presence'. Of what constitutes 'presence' and what 'presence' is like. That 'presence' seems to be here but is not. That we seem to inhabit 'presence' but do not. That suffering is taken to exist but exists only as a quality of 'presence'. That 'presence' is fresh and energetic but can't be seen. That 'presence' has no realization it can sustain. That 'presence' contains everything that can be contained and is pervasive, but at the same time contains nothing at all. That everyone experiences 'presence' in the same way shows that it is not created by causes. That in 'presence' actually things taste the same in that they have no essential flavor apart from 'presence'. 'Presence' being empty of other is what logicians aim to get. 'Presence' being the foundation for creation and completion stages is what union means.
Study as much as you like but in the end unless you meet a teacher who points out this 'presence' to you, you will always be struggling. And when this is pointed out you can integrate with 'presence' - not with higher mysterious mind.
Buddha didn't mean for the dharma to be difficult to understand. He didn't mean that the dharma should become a PhD program, with meditating in caves being the practical. He presented the truth that we take 'presence' to be the five aggregates and cling accordingly when in fact there is no self in 'presence'. That we crave continuation or success or pleasure or achievement when in fact in 'presence' none of these fit. That when we understand the nature of 'presence' we can easily turn away from the misunderstanding that takes 'presence' to be a self with duration. And that all of the 'right' things to do are a consequence of an understanding of the nature of 'presence' and don't move from an understanding of just 'presence'.
But of course no one will believe this because they think I'm debating something. Or trying to be better than them. Or they may be worried that their path was not taken seriously enough. But really it's very simple.

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The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:24 am 
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Andrew108 wrote:
Buddhism isn't about understanding the mind or even the nature of mind....

In your humble opinion of course.
Quote:
But really it's very simple.

If it's that simple you should be Enlightened already. Are you? If not why not?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:56 am 
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Andrew108 wrote:
Buddhism isn't about understanding the mind or even the nature of mind. When it is presented like that then it becomes a huge project that actually makes it also more mystifying. We think we are looking for something illusive that is hidden or we want to polish something to make it shine. This just isn't possible.
Buddhism is very simply an analysis of 'presence'. Of what constitutes 'presence' and what 'presence' is like. That 'presence' seems to be here but is not. That we seem to inhabit 'presence' but do not. That suffering is taken to exist but exists only as a quality of 'presence'. That 'presence' is fresh and energetic but can't be seen. That 'presence' has no realization it can sustain. That 'presence' contains everything that can be contained and is pervasive, but at the same time contains nothing at all. That everyone experiences 'presence' in the same way shows that it is not created by causes. That in 'presence' actually things taste the same in that they have no essential flavor apart from 'presence'. 'presence' being empty of other is what logicians aim to get. 'presence' being the foundation for creation and completion stages is what union means.
Study as much as you like but in the end unless you meet a teacher who points out this 'presence' to you, you will always be struggling. And when this is pointed out you can integrate with 'presence' - not with higher mysterious mind.
Buddha didn't mean for the dharma to be difficult to understand. He didn't mean that the dharma should become a PhD program, with meditating in caves being the practical. He presented the truth that we take 'presence' to be the five aggregates and cling accordingly when in fact there is no self in 'presence'. That we crave continuation or success or pleasure or achievement when in fact in 'presence' none of these fit. That when we understand the nature of 'presence' we can easily turn away from the misunderstanding that takes 'presence' to be a self with duration. And that all of the 'right' things to do are a consequence of an understanding of the nature of 'presence' and don't move from an understanding of just 'presence'.
But of course no one will believe this because they think I'm debating something. Or trying to be better than them. Or they may be worried that their path was not taken seriously enough. But really it's very simple.

"Presence" is not the only term for it, you know. "Presence", "nature of mind'', whatever it is called, can be quite hidden and elusive to our grasping mind. I understand that ultimately it is all rather simple and obvious, but that we have to work at realising it.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:55 am 
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Tilopa wrote:
If it's that simple you should be Enlightened already. Are you? If not why not?

Because there is no enlightenment that can be achieved or sustained. Tilopa said there is nothing to teach.

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The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:33 pm 
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Andrew108 wrote:
Because there is no enlightenment that can be achieved or sustained.

OK so you're not enlightened. I thought that was probably the case but thanks for the confirmation.
Quote:
Tilopa said there is nothing to teach.

He taught a bit about Mahamudra and the result of practice is...you guessed it.... enlightenment!

Gazing intently into the empty sky, vision ceases;
Likewise, when mind gazes into mind itself,
The train of discursive and conceptual thought ends
And supreme enlightenment is gained.

Song of Mahamudra


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:27 pm 
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O.k so the thread continues here. Replace the term 'mind' with the term 'presence' and things become much clearer. When you understand presence you understand it as a fact which is somewhat impersonal and it's obviously not something you need create or achieve. It's self-arisen. Whereas mind will always be part of the 'inner aggregates' and considered as being mine. We are always inferring with mind - creating.
From Nagarjuna:
''When one stops thinking of the inner and
outer aggregates as being 'me' or 'mine'
All wrong views disappear,
And once they have disappeared, birth in
the cycle of existence stops.''

So there is a need to depersonalize or objectify our understanding and we do that by looking at 'presence' rather than mind. Inner aggregates here refers to body and mind.
And then if you think that really there is a mind and we need to train it or transform it in order to become enlightened, Milarepa sang this:

''No meditator and no meditated,
No paths and levels traveled and no signs,
And no fruition bodies and no wisdoms,
And therefore there is no nirvana there,
Just designations using names and statements.''

So what are we left with? A mind that we have to train? A future enlightenment to look forward to? Flying in the sky and performing miracles? Becoming a saint? Being a hero and saving people? No, because all of these are inferred through mind. So we have to look at what is self-arisen rather than inferred. That's why it is better to look at 'presence' rather than 'mind'. Because no matter what you do you are always inferring with mind, but with recognition of presence there is no inferring going on and there is no self there.

_________________
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:04 pm 
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Is this 'presence' vegetarian or omnivore? Does this 'presence' sleep at night? Is it heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, or asexual? And if these are irrelevant questions, what is 'presence' good for?

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"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:14 pm 
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Astus wrote:
Is this 'presence' vegetarian or omnivore? Does this 'presence' sleep at night? Is it heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, or asexual? And if these are irrelevant questions, what is 'presence' good for?

:smile: Well the shocking thing is is that presence is empty of presence of course. Which makes all distinctions seem rather funny and strange. But nonetheless something appears even though 'presence' has no abiding nature.
When we think of this in terms of mind then there is a very subtle attachment to a personal state of realization. When we think in terms of understanding 'presence', even though we can contrive it a bit, we get a glimpse of something 'self-arisen' and not created by ourselves intentionally. It's almost like being a scientist having to deal with seeming fact of experience and not being able to find anything there.
I'm sure you know all this and I'm just pointing out the obvious. There's nothing special except that with 'presence' you see and with 'mind' you look.

_________________
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:29 pm 
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So, how can one perceive personally this 'presence'?

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"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:36 pm 
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From what source do you get this term 'presence' from?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:17 pm 
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Astus wrote:
So, how can one perceive personally this 'presence'?

It's more like the fact of perception rather than an object of perception. It's not an object to be perceived.

_________________
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:22 pm 
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I don't know man! Presence, true nature, Buddha Nature, mind, suchness, thusness, true self, Bodhi, Bodhi mind... it all sounds like the same thing, just using different words. :smile:

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:29 pm 
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dharmagoat wrote:
From what source do you get this term 'presence' from?

From the dictionary. :-) Actually in Mahamudra its called ordinary mind. In Shentong it's called empty of other. The point is not the term exactly but what it represents. The teacher points it out. It's the thing which is not dependently arisen.
Originally this thread was part of another thread that got split. I didn't mean to start a new thread about this topic, so it's a bit out of context. It seems that I'm trying to promote the idea when in fact I was replying to someone in the previous thread.

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The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.


Last edited by Andrew108 on Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:43 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:30 pm 
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seeker242 wrote:
I don't know man! Presence, true nature, Buddha Nature, mind, suchness, thusness, true self, Bodhi, Bodhi mind... it all sounds like the same thing, just using different words. :smile:

True. Use which works best for you.

_________________
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:18 pm 
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Andrew108 wrote:
I didn't mean to start a new thread about this topic, so it's a bit out of context. It seems that I'm trying to promote the idea when in fact I was replying to someone in the previous thread.

Too late now.

Andrew108 wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:
From what source do you get this term 'presence' from?

Actually in Mahamudra its called ordinary mind.

I have just recently been re-reading "Mahāmudrā: The Quintessence of Mind and Meditation" by Takpo Tashi Namgyal. On page xxxix of his introduction the translator Lobsang P. Lhalungpa writes about 'ordinary mind':
Quote:
For the contemplative traditions of Kagyüpa and Nyingmapa the ordinary mind’s vision of the clear and valid perception is not only the right approach but a reliable aperture to the dawn of insight. The ordinary mind and the worldly mind are the two aspects of human consciousness. The one is inherent and pure, the other acquired and impure. These conflicting inner realities can be differentiated in terms of the two truths. The ordinary mind, as a valid sensory perception, consists of a mirror-like clarity and an awareness with an insight into its innate simplicity. The perceptive clarity, being conditioned, is on the level of apparent reality. The awareness of the innate simplicity, being unconditioned, is on the level of the ultimate reality. The two are compatible and, in fact, nondual. However, the worldly mind, being deluded, perceives reality in a distorted way. It cannot, therefore, be identified with any valid perception of an ordinary mind. The deluded mind and its distorted view of dualism represent the false nature of the apparent reality. Through each valid perception the ordinary mind reveals its primordial state and its intimate link with the ultimate reality. This is the reason why the ordinary mind is looked upon as natural enlightenment. However, such understanding and insight cannot automatically come to untrained minds. Only to an experienced meditator will the ordinary mind manifest itself as pure and simple but at the same time profound and transcendental.

Hopefully this can shed some light on the present discussion.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:33 pm 
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Andrew108 wrote:
It's more like the fact of perception rather than an object of perception. It's not an object to be perceived.


How come then that someone called 'teacher' can point it out for another?

Would you say that it's the presence of perception? The fact of being conscious? It is basic to all living beings. If there is nothing to be perceived about it, what do you call an analysis here?

_________________
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:19 am 
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That quote posits a duality
state... not state.
Seems logical til you unpick it.
At each point the argument stems from an intellect. State is intellectually perceived thus not state is likewise intellectually deduced.
Now can that hold water in any Buddhist school?
Maybe yes, in the sense of Chinyono's bucket it does.
But meaningfully we're tripartite.
Intuition
Intellect
Instinct
The quote engages the latter two.. instinctively and intellectually it sounds about right. But meditation is intuitive when and if it works and we engage buddha nature on the intuitive level having hopefully transcended our base instincts and moved beyond and above the intellect/mind.
The 'teacher' appears to be imparting an intellectual knowledge devoid of any intuitive knowing.
That happens a lot in some schools.

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http://bemindful.co.uk/

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:56 am 
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Andrew, Presence is good. So is awareness and just being, not this or that but just be.
The trouble is we can't just be. The latent tendencies and emotional thoughts come bubbling to the surface so 'presence' is obscured but not lost.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:11 am 
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greentara wrote:
The trouble is we can't just be. The latent tendencies and emotional thoughts come bubbling to the surface so 'presence' is obscured but not lost.


Which is why they are called the four floods (ogha) of sensuality, becoming, wrong views and ignorance. A insufficiently calm mind gets swept away before we "just let it be".

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If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:29 am 
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Astus wrote:
How come then that someone called 'teacher' can point it out for another?


Conventionally it seems that there is a teacher but really there is just the natural state and that's what we are exposed to.

Astus wrote:
Would you say that it's the presence of perception? The fact of being conscious? It is basic to all living beings.


Yes. But then it's a little bit more and a little bit less at the same time. Let's say that it's more than being a brain-based experience - although it includes that. 'Presence' in this sense is what the brain feeds from. Without presence the brain would have nothing to do. And yet we know that presence is not brain-based or made by something because there isn't really anything in presence. So....no words I'm afraid can get to it. Also whilst we experience everything with our body and mind both of these are not separate from 'presence' whilst at the same time 'presence' is not caused by body and mind. When we look at karmic experiences in this way then they are always super fresh and in actuality 'unborn' in that they are not separate from 'presence'.

Astus wrote:
there is nothing to be perceived about it, what do you call an analysis here?


Right. It's not an object or even something to be reified like a type of emptiness. It's just what it is. There isn't really any analysis that needs to be done. The natural state brings with it all the knowledge we need. Actually right now we have all the knowledge we need.

_________________
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.


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