Defilements and projections onto other people

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Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby duckfiasco » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:28 pm

I've heard it said and read it many times that when we see qualities in other people we don't like, those are actually defilements in our hearts, and a representation of specific aspects in ourselves we don't like. I have a hard time seeing how this is in some instances, and would love to delve into this subject and learn more, if possible.

If I hear a political candidate say something then feel it's divisive, is it more that I'm clinging to a view of myself that someone has just disparaged (defilement), or is there some "divisive" quality about myself I need to be investigating (specific projection)? I suppose I'm wondering how narrowly I need to look. I can sort of see the process "unskillful habits -> negative reaction -> ignorance of cause -> projection". But it's hard for me to make the connection in real situations, or know how to address it.

Thank you all for your insight!
Please take the above post with a grain of salt.
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Re: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby Jesse » Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:27 pm

I don't think it's applicable in every situation, but for example when we see police brutality, and we find ourselves angry and maybe even thinking violent thoughts in response, how could this be if anger isn't a problem in our own mind?

Or when we see someone who is exceedingly arrogant, and we don't like them, how could we understand arrogance, or humility, or any other emotion-- unless they were also present in our mind? So when we encounter a person who invokes a certain emotional response in us that we dislike, it's because that emotion is also strong in us, and when it's invoked we say, I don't like that person.

If we're not drawn into our thoughts and emotions, they don't bother us, and we have no need to project our responses onto other people. Of course, this is kind of a simplification and doesn't always apply.
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Re: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:27 pm

One of the ways projection happens is the ego's (or thought based sense of identity) tendency to ensure it's own perfection and innocence by projecting problems and defilements onto the other/world as separate causes, as a victim of these causes. The ego does not like to admit wrong, or weakness or any personality trait/characteristic that is viewed as negative and will instead either outright deny these qualities or project them onto others as the other person's characteristics or defilements they inflict onto us.

Other times projections are the resurfacing of past instances of severe emotional trauma which have been suppressed. For example if one was abused as a child and obviously lived in fear due to not being able to control a clearly unfortunate situation, they may either 1) carry that mistrust they had in their abuser or situation forward and place it onto others (people/places) which share the same traits as the initial abuse. Or 2) will reenact the past abuse they suffered onto others because they can now be in control and that reliving of the situation (now at the polar opposite of the spectrum) serves as an emotional catharsis... but is never liberated through the actions.

The hardest ones to catch are the really subconscious projections in daily life which is what I think you're inquiring about... these are tough to spot sometimes, and it isn't an exact science, there has to be some very open inquiry into the possible causes. Sometimes it can be very simple, yet seem greatly obscured due to the ego going to great lengths to remain undefiled.

Something like feeling a statement by a political candidate is divisive is more-so clinging to a view of yourself which is mistaken as an inherent self-evident aspect of experience or reality. If you understand that all that is happening is a bunch of people are standing around spouting opinion and beliefs then it's usually disarmed. But if you want to spot the divisive quality in yourself; it will usually always be your attachment to that which is being contrasted by the other. Sometimes it can be something you want (either now or in the future) because you feel that is what will make you content, so if there is possibility of that being destroyed by another, then you will project an evil quality onto them.

This is why buddhism speaks of the middle way, you're eventually coming to the place free of these extremes and attachments. Because the extreme views and the attachment to these views creates this false sense of identity.

Other ways projections can occur is through expression, for instance in some cases when someone wears flashy clothes or drives a fancy car they may (more often than not) be compensating for insecurity within themselves. Also when you meet people who are egotistical, in that they exude a very pompous attitude appearing overtly confident, they are more often than not very insecure with themselves. When you encounter someone who likes to put others down, they are doing so to build up their own depleted sense of self. And then the same goes for those who would attack these traits I just listed, if someone were to put someone down for acting pompous and egotistical, this is a projection of theirs. If someone was to put another down for wearing flashy clothes or driving a fancy car it is because they, within themselves suffer from the same insecurity, only they compensate for it by demeaning others. I used to work for a distribution company which sold local rap and hip-hop music and we would have the artists coming into the office for business and such, and obviously some rap really glorifies a rough lifestyle and personality which was something expressed by those we dealt with. But I never forgot what my boss told me one day, which was the loud and tough guys who come in and try to act hard aren't the ones you need to worry about. The guys to worry about were the ones who came in quiet, composed, soft spoken and polite. Those had a past of being hardened criminals and such were extremely mild mannered and polite, they had nothing to prove. The others who acted the "gangsta" role were (more often than not) the insecure ones who were in fact the opposite of their projections.

This is all because our sense of self and that which is other are intermittent states, they are co-emergent interdependent qualities. You can only know one, in the context of the other. There's a quote someone made I forget who which goes "If I am I, because you are you, then I am not I, and you are not you."

The most important thing to realize is that we are never experiencing a person or world separate from ourselves (on a few levels). Everything experienced is filtered through our own reference points. So instead of seeing the other person, you are seeing your translation of them, your interpretation. Or your view of the world socially, politically, economically, environmentally, also is being filtered through your point of view as interpretation. Nothing is ever experienced as it truly is separate from you, and this is because there is no way for this to happen, because in truth there is no thing anywhere that exists which is separate from you to begin with. We only perceive it to be this way because of our delusion. Our perceptions are illusory, falsehoods paraded as facts and inherent aspects of reality.... in truth there is no perception, only projection. So working deeply with projection isn't a process of accounting for these qualities within ourselves so that we can reach a point of understanding ourselves and others without the projections, the process should reveal that self/other are projections themselves, and that nothing exists apart from ideation, translation, opinion, belief... which are born of, and kept alive by habituated thought processes.

And because experience lacks inherent separation, our intentions and beliefs actually manifest and create what-is on a fundamental level.

This guy Dimitri Halley goes over projection very thoroughly and extensively in his videos... and how one can move from feeling you observe a separate reality to seeing that all that you view is a projection of your self unconsciously. So the process is bringing the subconscious (which is paraded as a separately existing world) to the surface, thus changing it to a conscious observation. From there, changing observation to see that which you observe and the observing itself are inseparable. And that you yourself are only these processes, completely absent apart from them.


Transcendence Series 1/5: "Beyond Observation"

direct link to video on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHOLnBftXGM

The Observation Problem 2/3: "Thinking about Thinking"

direct link to video on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-RPZ_8LGDA

Ask & You Shall Receive Series 6/12: "Hacking the Unconscious: Beliefs, The Secret & Mind Control"

direct link to video on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t27eEKnUbUM
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Re: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby asunthatneversets » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:04 am

ghost01 wrote:I don't think it's applicable in every situation, but for example when we see police brutality, and we find ourselves angry and maybe even thinking violent thoughts in response, how could this be if anger isn't a problem in our own mind?

Or when we see someone who is exceedingly arrogant, and we don't like them, how could we understand arrogance, or humility, or any other emotion-- unless they were also present in our mind? So when we encounter a person who invokes a certain emotional response in us that we dislike, it's because that emotion is also strong in us, and when it's invoked we say, I don't like that person.

If we're not drawn into our thoughts and emotions, they don't bother us, and we have no need to project our responses onto other people. Of course, this is kind of a simplification and doesn't always apply.


True but there are other levels to this still. And it gets more subtle. I would argue that it(projection) does always apply, in every situation, just not always overtly evident. You are a projection, the other is a projection, so the dance of accepting and rejecting persons, places, things, events, qualities, characteristics, traits, beliefs, opinions etc.. predicated on these illusory positions (self/other) is always rooted in projection. If one thinks any of these aspects are free-standing inherent qualities of experience they are in delusion.

You can't NOT be drawn to your thoughts and emotions because you ARE your thoughts and emotions... there's no one there apart from them. There is no thinker of thoughts, or one who feels the feelings, or 'has' emotions. Not being drawn to ones thoughts and emotions so that they don't bother us is a step in the right direction but if things are left here one remains lost.
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Re: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby Jesse » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:34 am

You can't NOT be drawn to your thoughts and emotions because you ARE your thoughts and emotions... there's no one there apart from them


I think we can avoid being drawn to our thoughts and emotions, but we can not stop them from happening. So we let the thoughts arise and return the mind to stillness, no?

If I am my thoughts and emotions, am I also the sunshine on my head, the wind on my face, the feeling of cold or warm on my skin? How are thoughts and emotions different from these perceptions?
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Re: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby asunthatneversets » Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:26 am

ghost01 wrote:I think we can avoid being drawn to our thoughts and emotions, but we can not stop them from happening. So we let the thoughts arise and return the mind to stillness, no?


You're right you cannot stop them from happening, but what does this fact imply? Why can't you control them? Inquire into the existence or nonexistence of this potential "controller".

Also as for letting the thoughts arise and then allowing the mind to return to stillness; It certainly appears this can happen, and these seeming processes are no doubt useful for navigating our apparent experiences and life in general on a relative level. However, though these processes are useful and appear to happen, they are in fact only useful due to their conventional nature. The "seeming" nature of their conventional appearance manifests because the conglomerate of senses(vision, hearing, touch, smell, taste and their respective "objective fields") combined with what is taken to be subjective inner-appearances(such as thought, emotion, memory) are merged to create the illusion of a substratum(or ground of being) which endures through time. That substratum is translated as "I" or "me" and appears to be separate from 'things' which arise and fall, as if it is an unmoving background which can watch them but remains untouched, like a witness. In truth however, this witness would require time and no time is ever experienced, only projected as existing via memory(past) and anticipatory-thought(future). No past or future are found in direct experience. Memory of the past, and thoughts about the future only ever arise in the immediacy. So there is no substratum("I" or "me") which endures through time, only presently and spontaneously manifested qualities which are of a single nature. That which is referred to as "thought" just appears and lacks a thinker, likewise the senses are self-manifested and lack an observer to observe them... it's even clumsy to use terms like "appears" and "manifest" because it implies time, but these terms are inescapable using language. It's all projection.

Attempt to locate the "I", "me", "you", "he", "she", "they" etc.. in experience apart from thought, or the story that thought tells.

ghost01 wrote:If I am my thoughts and emotions, am I also the sunshine, the wind on my face, the feeling of cold or warm on my skin? How are thoughts and emotions different from these perceptions?


Thoughts and emotions are no different from those perceptions, and in the theme of "projection" the thought IS the perception. And yes you are all of those things... minus the "you".... and minus the "you" who would believe these things to be true... it's always already the case.
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Re: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby Jesse » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:25 am

the thought IS the perception


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Re: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby duckfiasco » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:17 pm

I have to admit I'm a bit confused about how to use this information about observation, though I find it fascinating.

All this is diametrically opposed to how we normally view things so it's a bit of a mental wrestling match to make sense of it. Is this the gist of the idea in Buddhist terms?

There is an absolute truth (suchness), and we continue to perceive it on relative terms (subject-object) because we latch onto our aggregates as something wholly separate and unique. Ignorant of the existence of this process, we see exclusively our version of things, believing we have no part in creating what we perceive. There may be hints of what the actual thing or experience is if we try to average out many relative experiences. This may even be what science tries to do.

If you are enlightened or an arahant, then you have full knowledge of how your aggregates operate. Being a human living in society, an arahant is still subject to emotional responses and distortion via our sensory apparatus like everyone else, but the difference is they intuitively *know* what's going on and can see through their own crap, so to speak. In that way, they're able to know the absolute truth.

I'm still very much entrenched in a dualistic view of the world. When I first listened to those videos, it seemed very easy to interpret it as "there is the world out there, there is me in here, I create an illusion of what is out there in myself." Especially dualistic language like observer/observed can be a stumbling block.

This may seem like it's going into the realm of pointless mental gymnastics, but it feels crucial to understand... I was even wondering how we can tell when to help people and what they need if everything we perceive is ultimately our own view of reality. Someone who appears to need our help or compassion may not need it at all, and vice versa. Basically, how can we know anything if all we know is our side of things? I presume this is why meditation is so crucial... to get to know how you're perceiving so you can even begin to understand what's really being perceived. I can feel my own dualistic view warring with what I'm trying to understand :rolleye:

Sorry to ramble. Anyone ever feel almost crushed by their own ignorance? I have a bit of that going on now :lol:

Anyway, thank you all for your thought-provoking comments. :) I feel like I'm almost beginning to understand something, but the pieces aren't quite in place yet.
Please take the above post with a grain of salt.
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Re: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby Jesse » Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:14 pm

Anyone ever feel almost crushed by their own ignorance?


Every day my friend, the biggest problem I perceive in my own practice is letting go of intellectuality and concept, because... that is the only way of perception we really know. Letting it go is very difficult.

If there's only one thing I've learned thus far it's, sit, breath, and learn to laugh.

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Re: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby asunthatneversets » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:04 pm

duckfiasco wrote:I have to admit I'm a bit confused about how to use this information about observation, though I find it fascinating.

All this is diametrically opposed to how we normally view things so it's a bit of a mental wrestling match to make sense of it. Is this the gist of the idea in Buddhist terms?


It's completely natural to be confused but that's good you find it fascinating! Some would say your fascination signifies that you're karmically predisposed to this knowledge and are ready for it. All of it is undoubtably diametrically opposed to, and surely contrasts how we normally view things but that is the point. 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.

duckfiasco wrote:There is an absolute truth (suchness), and we continue to perceive it on relative terms (subject-object) because we latch onto our aggregates as something wholly separate and unique. Ignorant of the existence of this process, we see exclusively our version of things, believing we have no part in creating what we perceive. There may be hints of what the actual thing or experience is if we try to average out many relative experiences. This may even be what science tries to do.


Being able to experience reality in it's suchness is the doorway to liberation, although labeling suchness as an absolute truth in-and-of-itself would ultimately be a misnomer. 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. We have to use labels and words to communicate, but ultimately any label, idea, concept etc.. is going to be a projection. This goes for aggregates as well, aggregates is useful in seeing that "things" and experience itself are product of constituent parts but again, to hold this as a truth is only going to serve as a block.

"Just as the Buddhas have spoken of
"I" and "mine" for a practical purpose;
Likewise they spoke too of "aggregates",
"Elements" and "sense-fields" for a practical reasons.

Such things spoken of as the "great elements",
These are fully absorbed into consciousness;
Since they are dissolved by understanding them,
Are they not falsely imputed?"

- Nagarjuna: excerpt from his 60 Stanzas


So seeing that "we see exclusively our version of things, believing we have no part in creating what we perceive" is also important insight to gain because it starts to disarm the notion of taking our perceptions as king. We start to see the relativity of any opinions, beliefs and ideas we hold onto about 'things' and this is a step in the right direction because it allows us to unlatch from our projections in that way. This unlatching starts to bring projections from a level of subconscious imputation paraded as inherent truth, to a new level of 'conscious knowing' that our ideas are merely implementations of conventional language for communication purposes. But this is the catch; this realization of relativity in our notions and ideas is absolutely necessary, but if it's left here then one remains in avidyā. This is because to conceive that it's possible to identify "hints of what the actual thing or experience is if we try to average out many relative experiences" is assuming that there is a 'actual thing' 'out there'. This definitely is what science tries to do, although newer schools of thought such as quantum physics and such are starting to deviate from the old paradigm, the old paradigm still subtly reigns supreme in dominating understanding. That Dimitri Halley guy touches on this in one of those other videos where one of C.G. Jung's successors is being interviewed and is explaining something in the context of comparing something psychologically to known science, with the reigning scientific paradigm being used as the fundamental inescapable absolute truth to make the comparison against... making a comment such as (and I paraphrase) "mythology is always present, that's like asking 'is matter always present in todays world?' and the answer is of course, yes" to which Dimitri replies(again paraphrased) "there is no matter, that is the illusion". (Mind you I'm not continually going to or quoting this Dimitri guy as some kind of great guru who has all these answers or anything. It just naturally fit the conversation at hand.) But it is inescapably true; this is the scientific process this day in age, and is considered the scientific process. To gain the 'true' knowledge of some 'thing' by using experimentation or deductive reasoning etc... and as I said they're getting closer and closer, but the duality of the 'thing' in question, being an object, will have to be removed before the reality of experience can shine in it's true form. And sadly this cannot be done if it is continually approached from a dualistic perspective, because the dualistic perspective becomes the confines that the experiment dwells within. Reality mirrors how it is perceived, if you perceive it as something separate it is that way, 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).

The point being that there is no 'thing' beyond the projection of a 'thing'. There is no way to know something in it's true form apart from your projections about it. There are no hints of the actual state of affairs or the thing in it's actuality. The 'thing' cannot be known apart from your knowledge of it, and the thing is in fact your knowledge itself and inseparable from that-which-you-are. To put it another way, as you stare at this computer screen, you feel as if when you get up and walk away from this computer it is somehow still existing 'over-there' or 'in the other room' or something of that sort, but what needs to be fundamentally understood is that the 'thing'(computer screen) is the experiencing of it. The computer screen IS the visual seeing of it, and the tactile touch sensation of it(I have to again clumsily say 'of it' as if there's something the vision or touch is objectively contacting). The computer screen IS vision, the computer keyboard IS touch. And you ARE the vision, you ARE the touch. Merge with the senses, the subject and the object coalesce to create a continuum, this is your true state. But this must be actualized experientially, apart from intellectual understanding.

duckfiasco wrote:If you are enlightened or an arahant, then you have full knowledge of how your aggregates operate. Being a human living in society, an arahant is still subject to emotional responses and distortion via our sensory apparatus like everyone else, but the difference is they intuitively *know* what's going on and can see through their own crap, so to speak. In that way, they're able to know the absolute truth.


Yes but why settle for being an arhat? You are only your own worst enemy in this... if you remain open and earnest and ferociously inquire into why this is, you will traverse this path swiftly. Being a 'human' is a projection as well, your true state has existed since beginningless time, ever shining, ever present... it's only obscured by our habitual tendencies and presuppositions(projections). This is why you hear of gurus saying 'let go of everything, let go, let go' because when you drop the projections, the true state of affairs becomes self-evident.

duckfiasco wrote:I'm still very much entrenched in a dualistic view of the world. When I first listened to those videos, it seemed very easy to interpret it as "there is the world out there, there is me in here, I create an illusion of what is out there in myself." Especially dualistic language like observer/observed can be a stumbling block.


Ah but you see this is how we become our own worst enemy! By saying "I" am still very entrenched in a dualistic view... "you" can ONLY ever be entrenched in a dualistic view, because "you" imply "not you"... there must be a keen investigation into the nature of this "you" or "I"... if you see through this sense of a subjective self you'll see through the sense of an objective world, the two go hand in hand, but mind you 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.

Your insight into "There is the world out there, there is me in here, I create an illusion of what is out there in myself." is one level of it, and must be actualized. From there attempt to see through the projections of externality(world) and internality(me in here) they're only projections, the problem is that the projections are believed to be true. Dualistic language like observer/observed can be a stumbling block to some, for them taking the middle ground of simply 'observing' may be beneficial, but each person requires different insight and realizations.

duckfiasco wrote:This may seem like it's going into the realm of pointless mental gymnastics, but it feels crucial to understand... I was even wondering how we can tell when to help people and what they need if everything we perceive is ultimately our own view of reality. Someone who appears to need our help or compassion may not need it at all, and vice versa. Basically, how can we know anything if all we know is our side of things? I presume this is why meditation is so crucial... to get to know how you're perceiving so you can even begin to understand what's really being perceived. I can feel my own dualistic view warring with what I'm trying to understand :rolleye:

Sorry to ramble. Anyone ever feel almost crushed by their own ignorance? I have a bit of that going on now :lol:

Anyway, thank you all for your thought-provoking comments. :) I feel like I'm almost beginning to understand something, but the pieces aren't quite in place yet.


To truly help others you need to be beyond the need for help yourself. But always help others who turn to you and confide within you, love everyone like you love your own family. A good quote by Bodhidharma comes to mind "If you can understand the mind, everything else is included. ... Those who don't understand the mind practice in vain." much like the aphorism "know thyself"... if you understand yourself, you understand everyone else, if you understand the inner workings of your own mind, what causes you to suffer, the results of action based on acceptance or rejection then you understand the inner workings of everyone else's minds. Strive for wholeness and peace within yourself and there's no way you can miss the mark in helping others, but always help others in any circumstance, unless you are being taken advantage of, never allow your kindness to be taken as a weakness.

You hit the nail on the head with "I presume this is why meditation is so crucial... to get to know how you're perceiving so you can even begin to understand what's really being perceived" but meditation isn't merely sitting in a lotus posture and visualizing or chanting mantras... it is an all inclusive delving into the depths of your mind at all times, and watching your reactions to events and people, noticing your projections, your judgements, your interpretations, understanding that you are the power behind and the cornerstone of every experience, that you create what you experience on the level of perceiving, projecting, in every shape, way and form.
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Re: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby Aura » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:30 am

Excellent posts and links, asunthatneversets,
thank you very much!

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Re: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:44 am

duckfiasco wrote:IThere is an absolute truth (suchness), and we continue to perceive it on relative terms (subject-object) because we latch onto our aggregates as something wholly separate and unique. Ignorant of the existence of this process, we see exclusively our version of things, believing we have no part in creating what we perceive.
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.
There may be hints of what the actual thing or experience is if we try to average out many relative experiences. This may even be what science tries to do.
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.
If you are enlightened or an arahant, then you have full knowledge of how your aggregates operate. Being a human living in society, an arahant is still subject to emotional responses and distortion via our sensory apparatus like everyone else, but the difference is they intuitively *know* what's going on and can see through their own crap, so to speak. In that way, they're able to know the absolute truth.
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.
When I first listened to those videos...
Dimitri Halley is a new age psychologist/psychotherapist, not a Buddhist, thus it comes as no surprise that the videos confused you.
I was even wondering how we can tell when to help people and what they need if everything we perceive is ultimately our own view of reality. Someone who appears to need our help or compassion may not need it at all, and vice versa. Basically, how can we know anything if all we know is our side of things? I presume this is why meditation is so crucial... to get to know how you're perceiving so you can even begin to understand what's really being perceived. I can feel my own dualistic view warring with what I'm trying to understand.
We can't really tell, only a Buddha can clearly see the true outcomes of any action. That's why the Noble Eightfold Path is necessary as a basic guideline for our actions. 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. If we do not react negatively to the reaction of the other (in the case of blame or judgement) and/or we do not anticipate a reward (such as praise and eulogy) then the action will not negatively effect our mind stream (if it is wholesome).

If we act in a wholesome manner and without expectations, then there will be no problem (at least for us).
:namaste:
"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: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby wisdom » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:37 pm

Whether or not what you see is actively causing negative actions within you, you can only see in others whats within you. 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.

Of course someone might *experience* being lied to by someone, and come to learn to see them as a liar. However, thats different than observing them and realizing "This person is a liar and manipulates people" without direct experience of seeing that person lying to someone.

The risk of it being active in you increases with how quickly you are to judge it. If you see a bad quality in someone and immediately feel repulsion, rejection, and judgement towards them, there is a good chance that either that negative quality 1) Wants to come to the surface in you, 2) Is active within you, 3) Was recently active in you.
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Re: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby asunthatneversets » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:16 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Dimitri Halley is a new age psychologist/psychotherapist, not a Buddhist, thus it comes as no surprise that the videos confused you.


Firstly, his question was about projection. Not Buddhist projection, not non-Buddhist projection. Anything this Dimitri guy is saying applies to the basic function of thought (and our relation to thought in general), and it correlates with the dharma just fine. I wouldn't link up some bullish*t and lead people astray. Nor would I share something if i was unsure of what i was attempting to convey and/or my points were based on elementary notions/conjecture. I'm not here to waste anyones time let alone my own.

Secondly, with all respect, how on earth would you know if this Dimitri guy is or isn't a full blown dharma practitioner? Do you know him? For all we know he could be a seasoned practitioner. He certainly speaks of the dharma in high regard and uses Buddhism as an example of a tradition which hasn't strayed into delusional dogmatic religion and still maintains it's roots as a genuine vehicle for soteriological fruition. I know this board is no stranger to a plethora of different people, and some here and there who make unfounded statements, don't mistake me for one of them.

That being said, I appreciate your opinion and I'd love to hear you further explain and specify how these basic aspects of thought contrast and/or deviate from the dharma.
Last edited by asunthatneversets on Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby asunthatneversets » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:33 pm

Speaking of "new age" teachers; anyone interested in more projection themed discourses and teachings should check out Byron Katie, all of her work is based on projection. She has a simple 4 step process for identifying projection and turning it around to reveal the source within yourself. She calls it "The Work". And she is "Dharma certified".
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Re: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby Jesse » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:38 pm

Buddhist, not Buddhist, Dharma, Not Dharma.

It's what we do with it, not what it says, .. at least that's what I tell myself.. :group:
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Re: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:01 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:Firstly, his question was about projection. Not Buddhist projection, not non-Buddhist projection. Anything this Dimitri guy is saying applies to the basic function of thought (and our relation to thought in general), and it correlates with the dharma just fine.
Firstly this is a Buddhist forum and the question was posted in the section "way of the bodhisattva" subsection "exploring BUDDHISM". Buddhism has Abhidharma to explain the workings of mind (basic function of thought), it does not need Jungian psychoanalysis.
Secondly, with all respect, how on earth would you know if this Dimitri guy is or isn't a full blown dharma practitioner? Do you know him? For all we know he could be a seasoned practitioner. He certainly speaks of the dharma in high regard and uses Buddhism as an example of a tradition which hasn't strayed into delusional dogmatic religion and still maintains it's roots as a genuine vehicle for soteriological fruition.
Rajneesh and a whole host of other new age guru types also spoke of the dharma with high regard and saw the monetary profit that could be made off it. That does not make them Dharma teachers. Anyway if he was a full blown Dharma practitioner I am sure it would have been pasted all over his facebok account and his blog profile and...
That being said, I appreciate your opinion and I'd love to hear you further explain and specify how these basic aspects of thought contrast and/or deviate from the dharma.
I am not interested (and this thread is not the place) in discussing how anybody's theories contrast/deviate from Dharma. I am interested in Dharma. There's more than enough of it to learn without having to contrast it to the half baked theories of the unenlightened (including myself). I tend to take my Dharma as original as possible, once I fully understand and realise it then maybe I can start to produce my personal take of it. Until then, just call me a fanatic!
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Re: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby MrDistracted » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:14 pm

The reason I can't take teachers who mix up Dharma with other stuff seriously is simply because if they did understand Dharma as well they claim, they would understand and appreciate that it is complete and whole in itself ; there is nothing that needs adding whatsoever. That's my personal feeling anyway.
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Re: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby Aura » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:25 pm

It was all too easy to attempt to discredit valid observations sincerely made by individuals
by simply accusing those individuals of being "communists" in the 1950's...
just as it is all too easy to attempt to discredit valid observations sincerely made by individuals
by simply accusing them of being "new agers" in the present day.
Sigh.

Likewise, in a world where Bodhisattvas are spread about the earth and go unrecognized in all cultures and religions
and where many "non-practitioners" have amazingly been observed to adhere to both precepts and path
more closely than many avowed "practitioners"...
one might hesitate before attempting to discredit another as "not a Buddhist!"

There was a wonderful bumper sticker on a passing car this morning.
It read:

REALITY. IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK.
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Re: Defilements and projections onto other people

Postby duckfiasco » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:38 pm

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! :lol: :lol:

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 :D

Very grateful to have found a place to discuss these things.
Please take the above post with a grain of salt.
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