Forgetting who you were

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

Forgetting who you were

Postby CoreyNiles92 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:51 am

I'm reading a new book on meditation, and I read that it is wise to let go of all past experiences, to bury them to be forever forgotten. Does this include all memories good and bad? Should we forget who we were, to become who we are? Is that the meaning behind the idea?
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Re: Forgetting who you were

Postby Dan74 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:32 pm

Hi Corey, I think it is wise not to hold on to the past, but we can't make ourselves forget it, or at least I don't know how.
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Re: Forgetting who you were

Postby Radman622 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:50 am

The past can bring with it either lessons to teach us, or attachments to bind us. Which we choose to accept is up to us. Focusing on the past prevents mindfulness, but forgetting it altogether risks losing the lessons learned and experiential wisdom.
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Re: Forgetting who you were

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:11 am

Is this a Buddhist book?
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Forgetting who you were

Postby CoreyNiles92 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:29 am

Brahm Meditation is the book.

So we should be mindful of the past as a memory comes into our minds, but not watch the memory? Just notice it and let it pass?
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Re: Forgetting who you were

Postby viniketa » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:33 am

CoreyNiles92 wrote: Should we forget who we were, to become who we are?


We already are who we are! ;)

Sometimes, though, it is helpful to forget the "feelings" associated with 'who we were' in order to recognize who we are...

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Forgetting who you were

Postby muni » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:00 am

When mindfulness/awareness is, is there clear present right now.
There is no mindfulness caught by the river of thoughts, travelling to past or future.

When there is focus on thoughts, mind is caught by them, the concept I arises and mindfulness is temporary lost. Then these thoughts become my thoughts and those are wandering to the past as memory or to the future as projection and the stream of thoughts its past-future movies roll. :tongue:

No problem, no worry, but then turn back to here and now, without forcing. If mind wanders, always gently bring wandering mind back. So is there been thaught, one example which can help us.

:namaste:
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Re: Forgetting who you were

Postby muni » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:20 am

viniketa wrote:
CoreyNiles92 wrote: Should we forget who we were, to become who we are?


We already are who we are! ;)

Sometimes, though, it is helpful to forget the "feelings" associated with 'who we were' in order to recognize who we are...

:namaste:


Feelings! Yes! :thumbsup: If we should hang all feelings outside in the open air like laundry in the sun, we shouldn't claim they are ours anymore. :tongue:

There is a wonderful exercise by Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche, it is a bit like this: gather all difficulties and all pain, obstacles, struggling, adversities in one breath and let them like a canon ball hit the feeling of I/ selfimportance/ idea of self, untill it crumbles like dust.

Then it becomes clear: there is no bigger pain then selfimportance or clinging to self.

Then enjoy freedom and lightness.


:anjali:
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Re: Forgetting who you were

Postby muni » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:04 am

Oops, I must add: from independent self, I, ego which we protect and please and which we are not, are deriving all suffering.

In so practicing right now simple aware without focus ( or some meditations are taking an object as focus as well, to help mind is not going to wander), is there thaught, is it becoming easier to not be caught by concept I and its stories.

Just two coins. But a teacher can help perfectly.

:smile:
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Re: Forgetting who you were

Postby oushi » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:05 pm

CoreyNiles92 wrote:I'm reading a new book on meditation, and I read that it is wise to let go of all past experiences, to bury them to be forever forgotten.

Job for a full time undertaker.
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Re: Forgetting who you were

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:27 pm

We remember not to remember.
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Re: Forgetting who you were

Postby Radman622 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:24 pm

That's very insightful, Tashi. :)
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Re: Forgetting who you were

Postby Yudron » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:47 pm

CoreyNiles92 wrote:I'm reading a new book on meditation, and I read that it is wise to let go of all past experiences, to bury them to be forever forgotten. Does this include all memories good and bad? Should we forget who we were, to become who we are? Is that the meaning behind the idea?


First, it looks like you have read a book by a Theravadin monk about meditation. If you want to know specifically about that specific system of meditation I would suggest the sister site dhammwheel.net.

That being said, this does seem like a universal question. Sitting on the cushion, you are not replaying the past in your mind or anticipating the future. In basic calm abiding meditation you are focused on an object, such as the breath or sensations in your body. When thoughts arise you very gently, and without internal self reprimand, bring your mind back to the object of focus. I wouldn't call that "forgetting," but maybe someone else would.

When off the cushion, as Buddhists, we are constantly learning to take the story of who we think we are less seriously. So, one's personal history naturally becomes less and less fascinating, and there is more of a sense of humor about it. Less dwelling in the past or future, and even what is happening right now is not so much a big dramatic deal. Not "apathy," as one non-Buddhist author once put it. A relaxed and peaceful satisfaction--not feeling one has to strive to be happy. Just being happy.
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Re: Forgetting who you were

Postby Radman622 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:50 pm

Many of my friends and family members have mistakenly made this assumption, that Buddhism is equivalent to nihilism or apathy, but I think that it is simple acceptance. That in fact, one simply keeps things in proper perspective to realize the true significance they have. Apathy would be like... not valuing human life or not taking any action to better the world.
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Re: Forgetting who you were

Postby Adumbra » Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:05 am

Many believe that we are the sum of our experiences, which is why memories are worthless and only hold us back. They will die with our body and all we have experienced and learned in this life will come to nothing in the end. The past is dead. It is only a word, nothing more. Most of the stuff we think we remember never even happened and we can never prove that it did. All of our remembered experiences are simply fictions designed to keep us asleep. You yourself are only a fictional character with no more substance than Sherlock Holmes or Hamlet (and most people don't even approach that level of complexity, but are simply stereotypes taken straight out of cheap dime store paperbacks).

If you have any memories that seem precious to you, then write them down (even embellish them if you wish) and publish them in a book. Once they exist outside of you, then you have no reason to hold on to them. Why be somebody when you can be anybody? Only an uncarved block of wood is perfect.

Nothing exists but you. And you are but a thought—a vagrant thought, a useless thought, a homeless thought, wandering forlorn among the empty eternities!

-Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger
"The first thing you have to understand is that I don't believe in ANYTHING."
-Arahata Osho
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Re: Forgetting who you were

Postby lobster » Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:51 am

Adumbra wrote:with no more substance than Sherlock Holmes

Perhaps as Sherlock Holmes gets more letters than me and lives on a real street, he is more real . . . :thinking:
What you perhaps mean is our construction of self is a fiction, without any need for further embellishment . . .

The past is part of our being. Even if living in the moment, it is a moment dependent on where we have been . . . :yinyang:
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Re: Forgetting who you were

Postby Radman622 » Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:17 pm

I like how you put it, Adumbra, but I'm going to have to agree with lobster. While it is true that selfhood is a delusion, and while it is true that the past no longer exists, cause and effect still rules over the cosmos. The past formed the present. Certainly it is not "yours," nor does it still "exist."

But in my experience, the question is not "does it exist." The question is "what is existence?"

For example, you listed fictional characters, saying that past experiences are no more real than they. But what you are expressing is the simple fact that there is a kernel of truth to every fiction. Human beings, by their nature, cannot dream up anything really new, they just find new ways of looking at old things. Sherlock Holmes was based off a doctor that Conan Doyle knew who could diagnose a man's disease just by looking at him.

So you see, nothing is "untrue." But even if there were fiction that was pure "lies," then it would become real once it influenced real people, and the way they think. When a book of fiction deeply touches you, and changes the way you view the world, for you, it has become as true, as much a part of you as anything that has actually happened to you.

You stated this lack of distinction between the past and fiction in a somewhat negative light, that the past should be discarded. I would simply say you should not allow it to influence the way you look at the world any more than Sherlock Holmes does. If something in your memories touches you deeply, and changes the way you look at the world, it may be real for you.

This is because "mind" is the only thing that truly exists, so anything that enters into "mind" gains existence.

Or I might just be rambling and understanding myself in my head much more cohesively than I've written it out... XD
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