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See spot post!

Postby spot dawa » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:10 am

Hi I am spot dawa.

I am living as a karma yogi, since that is the best description I have found for what I have been doing for five years. I put lovingkindness, compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity into my physical work, most often by the practice of tonglen. This experience has been transformative, for even though there is no cultural equivalent in America to the work and role of a "karma yogi", the discipline of generosity as a basis for work has many hidden advantages and protections!

I am a renunciate, but I have no guru or lineage, so even if I am enlightened I have no dispensation to teach Dharma. Still I am open to talking about it!

For example, I am pondering the Greater Discourse on Craving, in which Buddha describes the Twelve Steps of Dependent Origination, in which: with ignorance as condition, formations arise; with formations as condition, consciousness arises; with consciousness, mentality-materiality arises; with mentality-materiality, the six bases of contact arise; with the six bases as condition, contact arises; with contact, feeling arises; with feeling, craving arises; with craving, clinging arises; with clinging as condition, being arises; with being as condition, birth; with birth as condition, arises death and old age, the whole mass of suffering.

That being said, how can ignorance be said to go before consciousness?! Unless in fact we are ignorant even before we are conscious ... which on reflection, seems true!

There is in any case, no foundation for the self to claim any inherent existence. How from this realization arises the compassionate heart? A wonderful mystery! :consoling:
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Re: See spot post!

Postby lobster » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:25 am

:hug:

Thanks for being here :twothumbsup:
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Re: See spot post!

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:36 am

Welcome spot!

I can think of two ways to your dilemna:
1. The teaching on Dependent Origination describes a cycle. Where, in a circle, is the beginning and the end? Ignorance is taken as a starting point because it is the only factor in the cycle that one can actually deal with, here and now. It is the only point in the cycle that can be changed.
2. At a more "basic" level: how many times (have you noticed) a moment of consciousness arising that is based on ignorance? It happens all the time to me. Actually the poison of ignorance is always present. It is the basis upon which anger, jealousy, desire, etc... arise. It is samsara. If we take the arising of a moment of consciousness as the point at which we are (dualistically) conscious/aware, then obviously consciousness arises from ignorance.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: See spot post!

Postby spot dawa » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:35 am

Yes Greg, I agree with your second point right away. It took me many years to understand that the mind and mental objects are also a channel of sense pleasure, for example in my love for mathematics. "Love" as in, attachment to the feeling of "getting it." Addiction to pleasure, very simple. But because it was a pursuit based on "the mind" or what I thought of as the mind, I felt that it was superior to other sense pleasures! Certainly this was a point of view based on ignorance...even while I believed that I was becoming more knowledgeable and conscious! Formations, indeed.

As for the first point, I am not certain that the beginning of that circle -- yes, certainly it is the wheel of samsara -- but the beginning is perhaps not the point at which to break the chain, only to understand it? I have heard one venerable person describe the point to break this cycle in a given lifetime is at the point of "contact." This stops feeling, stops craving, stops clinging, stops birth and death. And then of course, ignorance is eliminated and the rest of the chain. But you are correct in any case, this is the way that cessation of craving is described. Hm, maybe another clue, in that it is called "cessation of craving"?

The sutras talk about the meditative attainments, but those are dependent upon first abandoning the hindrances, becoming "quite secluded from sensual pleasures" as a condition to entering the four jhanas. It seems there is not much discussion along those lines in circles I have been in. But withdrawing from ones' sense of "contact" does seem to me to be a good place to start in breaking the cycle of craving. "Meditate, don't hesitate or it will be too late!"
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Re: See spot post!

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:46 am

Hi Spot Dawa - that is indeed a perplexing question. I don't think we really know the meaning of 'ignorance' until we're truly beyond it, and I know I'm not. I get momentary insights into aspects of the chain of dependent origination but it it is like glimpses of the moon on a cloudy night. But keep contemplating and practicing and hopefully the clouds will part more often.

I love the dog pic but then I'm a sucker for dogs.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: See spot post!

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:51 am

spot dawa wrote:I have heard one venerable person describe the point to break this cycle in a given lifetime is at the point of "contact." This stops feeling, stops craving, stops clinging, stops birth and death.
Impossible. You cannot stop contact, even if you were to put all your senses on hold, including your mind, your mind still functions. Even if you were to "freeze" your mind, all that happens is that you extend the period of a single mind moment, there will be a subsequent moment of mind. It is minds nature to dance and move. Dealing with ignorance is the ONLY way to stop the cycle.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: See spot post!

Postby spot dawa » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:15 am

According to the sutras, it is possible to abandon the fetters, and that is what is meant by cessation of contact. Yes a person that has abandoned sense pleasures still has the six bases for contact, and still experiences the world in that way. But as I understand it, to voluntarily withdraw your attention from these bases is possible and means to enter through the meditative absorptions, the four jhanas and the four bases. Of course this must be done with the the elimination of ignorance in the first place, so you are undoubtedly correct on that point. Still overcoming ignorance does not lead to cessation of formations, consciousness, mentality-materiality, the six bases directly. Only in a lifetime can one break the chain of craving, by removing the points of contact. Stop listening to music for a few days, and you will see what I mean! At least for me, I have learned that music saturates your emotions, drawing them all over the world through every kind of emotional experience. It is addicting, until you ease your contact. Then your feelings are left alone, and the craving, clinging can depart. That is what it seems like.

I have to go back to your original point, though. None of this is quite "automatic" unless you enter the world as a bodhisattva, so the way to cessation, the path itself, is the removal of ignorance first of all.
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Re: See spot post!

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:36 am

spot dawa wrote:...and that is what is meant by cessation of contact.
No it is not. Contact is when a sense organ, the conditions for sensation (light, for example, when we are talking about the eye) and a sense object come together. One can still have contact with a sense object but not fall into the trap of aversion-attachment if they have overcome ignorance. You are not talking about (phassa) contact , you are talking about (tanha) craving and (upadana) clinging.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: See spot post!

Postby spot dawa » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:01 am

Thank you Greg!
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Re: See spot post!

Postby Jikan » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:44 pm

Hi Spot! Welcome to DharmaWheel.

Love your avatar by the way.
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Re: See spot post!

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:42 pm

Welcome to Dharma Wheel!

:popcorn:
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