Being "in the thought"

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Johnny Dangerous
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Being "in the thought"

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Kind of a nit-picky question, but how would you explain the difference between being present "in" a thought in contemplation, vs. following a thought habitually?
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
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Re: Being "in the thought"

Post by javier.espinoza.t »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:09 pm Kind of a nit-picky question, but how would you explain the difference between being present "in" a thought in contemplation, vs. following a thought habitually?
thoughts in contemplation are like clouds, in distraction is like the only cloud.

a narrow attention is a mark of distraction.
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Re: Being "in the thought"

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Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:09 pm Kind of a nit-picky question, but how would you explain the difference between being present "in" a thought in contemplation, vs. following a thought habitually?
The locus of the subjective?

Maybe being in a thought is acknowledging that "I" is that thought itself - mind only analysis, basically. Whereas if I'm just habitually following a thought, I'm misapprehending the thought as an object distinct from myself.

Edit - oops. didn't see the subfora. Feel free to disregard.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Upaya Chapter

純一実相。実相外。更無別法。法性寂然名止。寂而常渉照名観。
There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
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Re: Being "in the thought"

Post by Xango »

javier.espinoza.t wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:35 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:09 pm Kind of a nit-picky question, but how would you explain the difference between being present "in" a thought in contemplation, vs. following a thought habitually?
thoughts in contemplation are like clouds, in distraction is like the only cloud.

a narrow attention is a mark of distraction.
Isn't this a panoramic like presence, where you don't fix on a particular object exclusively? So, not a contemplation actually, maybe a step towards it.
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Re: Being "in the thought"

Post by javier.espinoza.t »

Xango wrote: Tue Sep 24, 2019 8:33 am
javier.espinoza.t wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:35 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:09 pm Kind of a nit-picky question, but how would you explain the difference between being present "in" a thought in contemplation, vs. following a thought habitually?
thoughts in contemplation are like clouds, in distraction is like the only cloud.

a narrow attention is a mark of distraction.
Isn't this a panoramic like presence, where you don't fix on a particular object exclusively? So, not a contemplation actually, maybe a step towards it.
no, it is where you don't ignore nor cling to experiences.

point is not arriving somewhere, but, if you put it in those terms, it is realizing you are already there.

it's a creepy thing haha
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Re: Being "in the thought"

Post by Xango »

javier.espinoza.t wrote: Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:56 am
Xango wrote: Tue Sep 24, 2019 8:33 am
javier.espinoza.t wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:35 pm

thoughts in contemplation are like clouds, in distraction is like the only cloud.

a narrow attention is a mark of distraction.
Isn't this a panoramic like presence, where you don't fix on a particular object exclusively? So, not a contemplation actually, maybe a step towards it.
no, it is where you don't ignore nor cling to experiences.

point is not arriving somewhere, but, if you put it in those terms, it is realizing you are already there.

it's a creepy thing haha
.
No, I don't mean that. What I was referring to, is that if you see thoughts as clouds, than you are separate from them, so it is not contemplation, it is presence, or mindfulness. The only difference that it makes is that in the first case you are lost in one thought, and in the second you are at a distance from the thoughts and in a panoramic way. You are not clinging to them, but this doesn't make it contemplation, it makes it an experience, which is a step towards contemplation. If I understand it properly.
Last edited by Xango on Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Being "in the thought"

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Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:09 pm Kind of a nit-picky question, but how would you explain the difference between being present "in" a thought in contemplation, vs. following a thought habitually?
Following a thought habitually ≈ dreaming
Being present with a thought ≈ lucid dreaming

?
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...
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Re: Being "in the thought"

Post by javier.espinoza.t »

Xango wrote: Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:04 pm
javier.espinoza.t wrote: Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:56 am
Xango wrote: Tue Sep 24, 2019 8:33 am

Isn't this a panoramic like presence, where you don't fix on a particular object exclusively? So, not a contemplation actually, maybe a step towards it.
no, it is where you don't ignore nor cling to experiences.

point is not arriving somewhere, but, if you put it in those terms, it is realizing you are already there.

it's a creepy thing haha
.
No, I don't mean that. What I was referring to, is that if you see thoughts as clouds, than you are separate from them, so it is not contemplation, it is presence, or mindfulness. The only difference that it makes is that in the first case you are lost in one thought, and in the second you are at a distance from the thoughts and in a panoramic way. You are not clinging to them, but this doesn't make it contemplation, it makes it an experience. If I understand it properly.
presence isn't contemplation, but a natural aspect of contemplation. i couldn't put it more simple.
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Re: Being "in the thought"

Post by LastLegend »

It’s actually a tough question. But I am a Mahayana taliban can’t give my experience here.
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Re: Being "in the thought"

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I should have explained: This question is specific to Dzogchen contemplation, possibly Mahamudra instruction. So, it's not a general thing but pertains to specific meditation instruction.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
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Re: Being "in the thought"

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

javier.espinoza.t wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:35 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:09 pm Kind of a nit-picky question, but how would you explain the difference between being present "in" a thought in contemplation, vs. following a thought habitually?
thoughts in contemplation are like clouds, in distraction is like the only cloud.

a narrow attention is a mark of distraction.
By "being in the thought", you are narrowing your attention in some sense, though not the typical one. This is the conundrum. I feel like I know the difference in experience, but I can't put it into words.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
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Re: Being "in the thought"

Post by LastLegend »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:12 pm I should have explained: This question is specific to Dzogchen contemplation, possibly Mahamudra instruction. So, it's not a general thing but pertains to specific meditation instruction.
👍
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Re: Being "in the thought"

Post by LastLegend »

I’d say people trust their teachers more, so giving instruction by people on here is frown upon. But we can say: this is my experience and this is what I do and it’s helpful. Also we can compare similarities in this area of clarity from experience of different practitioners.
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Re: Being "in the thought"

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LastLegend wrote: Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:16 pm I’d say people trust their teachers more, so giving instruction by people on here is frown upon. But we can say: this is my experience and this is what I do and it’s helpful. Also we can compare similarities in this area of clarity from experience of different practitioners.
Anyone can answer, i'm not trying to exclude people per se.

The thing is, this is about a specific instruction within Dzogchen/Vajrayana. I don't doubt a similar instruction might exist in Chan or Zen, for instance, but I feel like it's probably hard for someone to get what i'm asking unless they've practiced with these particular instructions, or something very similar.

Even more specifically, this is something ChNN talked about, I have seen other Nyingma/Dzogchen teachers talk about it (Tarthang Tulku off the top of my head).
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
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Re: Being "in the thought"

Post by LastLegend »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:10 pm
The thing is, this is about a specific instruction within Dzogchen/Vajrayana. I don't doubt a similar instruction might exist in Chan or Zen, for instance, but I feel like it's probably hard for someone to get what i'm asking unless they've practiced with these particular instructions, or something very similar.
Got it.
Even more specifically, this is something ChNN talked about, I have seen other Nyingma/Dzogchen teachers talk about it (Tarthang Tulku off the top of my head).
That’s cool. I’d imagine something less verbal. Personal experience I get caught up verbally.
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Re: Being "in the thought"

Post by Misty »

I don't think this is nit-picky at all but something I'm keenly interested in exploring.

I think, by "being in a thought" in a typical sense, you have narrowed your attention by excluding all that does not fall within this habitually reduced range of observation. And i think the example the horse with blinders fits here.

I think, "being in a thought", in contemplation, is like seeing the full range (or maybe more commonly, a somewhat larger range) and selecting where you are going to focus for a time in order to understand something better, you are curious to see how something works, observe how it unfolds, examine what processes are engaged. There is a knowing that you are narrowing the range, you are examining something and at any time you can pull back and view a greater range to see how it all fits together.

So I can see how the dreaming and lucid dreaming comparison fits here.

I think dharma practice increases that "larger range", it grows our capacity to see a greater and greater range and at the same time grows our capacity to knowingly focus in on the places where we need to learn more in order access and put into action wisdom and compassion more readily.

An important note, I've not received dzogchen or mahamudra instruction so I would greatly and warmly welcome reliable correction.
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Re: Being "in the thought"

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Misty wrote: Tue Sep 24, 2019 8:38 pm An important note, I've not received dzogchen or mahamudra instruction so I would greatly and warmly welcome reliable correction.
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Re: Being "in the thought"

Post by PSM »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:09 pm Kind of a nit-picky question, but how would you explain the difference between being present "in" a thought in contemplation, vs. following a thought habitually?
Samsaric mind will do something with the thought, rather than leaving it alone, accidentally confusing itself as a consequence so that it seems as if there is a subject and an object. No habitual interference, no problem.

If you are a ChNNR student, this is what I think might be the most useful book on this question: https://www.ssi-austria.at/shop/chogyal ... light.html
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Re: Being "in the thought"

Post by Misty »

I often struggle to cope with all the suffering I see.
Does this kind of investigation and practice help with this?
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Re: Being "in the thought"

Post by Xango »

I think the only difference is whether you have recognition of the base or not while being in the thought. Not whether thoughts come and go by, as they do it anyhow, there is no thought that can stay there for even longer than few seconds. And if you see many or just one is just a matter of focus, not of recognition. And if you stay where you are without following them is also just a matter of focus, as soon as you don't exert effort you will lose this.
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