If it's any consolation to anyone, I found those videos posted to be very helpful. It's precisely the kind of thing I need to think outside the box.
asunthatneversets wrote:How we normally view things is due to ignorance or avidyā, which is predicated on habitual patterns and tendencies to reify a dualistic schematic of subject-object. This dichotomy is unreal apart from it's illusory nature, it has conventional value but apart from being a convention it is a fallacy.
It seems this ignorance you mention works on several levels. When we go, "there is a perception" in the first place, is that even accurate? It seems like perceptions themselves only exist in relation to other perceptions that constantly occur as a backdrop, so they too are subject to anatta. Kind of like seeing a mushroom pop up and being unaware of the whole network of fungus underground.
So I have ignorance of a perception arising separately, then I liberally misunderstand just what that perception says about the world, then react in accordance with habits and ideas without realizing that part, either. Sounds a bit discouraging! I suppose you can't work through ignorance without realizing how much you have to begin with.
asunthatneversets wrote:Suchness is a quality of what-is and is an extremely important pointer, but in this teaching and on one's path to posit any type of absolute truth can be dangerous, I would advise that it'd be beneficial to hold any conviction of absolute truth very lightly.
gregkavarnos wrote:Careful here! "Suchness" is not so much a truth standing in opposition to relative reality as a non-truth. "Suchness" is merely the way things exists at the ultimate level: ie that they are empty of own being and that they are dependently arisen. Relative reality is relatively true, it is not false. If I punch you in the head it hurts. All the actions and sensations involved may be ultimately empty and dependently arisen but that does not make them non-existent.
Thank you both for this reminder. You caught me again making a truth "out there" versus my silly false truth "in here". Gosh, these habits are sure hard to break. Suchness is there regardless of if I'm aware of what it is.
asunthatneversets wrote:Reality mirrors how it is perceived, if you perceive it as something separate it is that way
So in essence, we are a part of everything else. It seems obvious at first blush, but then it's kind of shocking how hard it is to live like this is true. It's very easy for me to accept ideas like my perception of a person is more shaped by my own mind than anything about them. But then you get into things like the double slit experiment, and it's like people (myself included) expect the "real world" to exist as wholly discrete from the subjective human reality. Seeing something as basic as an electron being affected by observation seems shocking. Self-grasping in another form, no?
I guess the challenge is not just reinterpreting this into more subtle terms of ego. It's not that I decide to perceive something a certain way, then it magically changes in substance to match my perception. That seems like the ultimate ego trip.
The barrier for me feels like a tidy little package of habits. Me vs. you, mind vs. everything out there. I feel very drawn to the ideas you've brought up, even though I can't understand them beyond a theoretical vagueness. I have a lot more groundwork to build
asunthatneversets wrote:and if you can get to the point where this perception is realized to be projection and it is discarded, then reality will reflect that knowledge. Experience has plasticity in this way, your projections shape and define it, it doesn't define and shape your projections(but of course it does shape you in a fundamental way, you being a projection yourself, and a natural formation or expression of it).
What does discarding projections mean? Is it similar to the bare awareness that is the goal of some meditations? It seems like it would be very, very easy to attempt to drop projections then in fact throw some others up without realizing it. "Look at me, I'm perceiving reality with no projections, woohoo!"
asunthatneversets wrote:The computer screen IS vision, the computer keyboard IS touch. And you ARE the vision, you ARE the touch.
Like you tell me later in your post, I'm my own worst enemy here. I'm having a hard time getting out of the way I've thought for most of my life.
For that reason, it seems like what you're saying IS dualistic. Things somehow only exist if I perceive them. More projection at work, I bet. How convenient that someone very learned shares the views I already have!
Would meditating specifically on emptiness help here? I know you're not preaching some capitalized Truth, more like giving road directions, but I can't even understand the directions yet.
asunthatneversets wrote:fighting against the "I" only strengthens the "I" because only the "I" would fight. Only the ego wants enlightenment or liberation and it will NEVER get it, enlightenment and liberation will come when the "I" that the whole process is dependent on is seen as false.
Is this your way of exhorting me to "come and see"?
This is all so tricky. I can see what you mean, I think. If we fight the "I" then we just make another "I" that has to somehow be better than the "I" we're fighting. And it can be even more dangerous if this new "I" is clothed in emptiness, non-self, and other Buddhist concepts. How wise the "I" now seems!
I take it the way to cut through all this is investigation, pure and simple?
I've found your posts so instructive and helpful, start to finish. Thank you for taking the time to write them and help me along. I'm very grateful
gregkavarnos wrote:Averaging out our relative experiences does not lead us to see the ultimate nature of existence, it just gives us an "average" relative view. It will just set up a pattern. For example: I have been bitten by five black dogs out of the nine I have encountered, thus black dogs bite me.
Thank you, this makes much sense.
gregkavarnos wrote:No, Arhats are free of the defilements of attachment, aversion and ignorance, their discriminating mind has been cleansed of karmic imprints so they actually experience phenomena as they actually are.
In retrospect, it's a bit silly of me to speculate on the end of the path when I'm still trying to discern the beginning parts. So I won't
Goal-mongering is one of the ego's favorite things, after all.
gregkavarnos wrote:Why? Because even if the "other" reacts negatively to our actions, at least our actions will not bring negative consequences to us. We perform the action because it is wholesome and because we know it is wholesome.
Perfect, this is just what I needed to hear. If I were to wait for some ultimate liberation before I could help anyone, A) no one would benefit, and B) I'd be waiting forever.
Last week, a Buddhist nun I met told me something like, "I can't stand when people dither during a ceremony, afraid to make a mistake. Make your mistake, and make it boldly." Seems applicable here as well
wisdom wrote:So if you see that someone is a liar, it may well be true, and even if you are not actively lying, the capacity to be like them, to lie and manipulate as they do, is still within you. This is also true of all the good qualities you observe in people as well.
I think "capacity" is the key word. I was getting very caught up on seeing literal quality X and having identical defilement X.
I don't feel like I'm putting the big puzzle together quite yet, but this thread has helped me find some missing pieces in the couch cushions
Very grateful to have found a place to discuss these things.