Attachment to a form of practice?

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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Queequeg
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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by Queequeg »

I don't know of any Buddhist path that teaches rejoicing in receiving emails. I do know of teachings that say you need to become disenchanted with samsara, and though I've never seen it specifically enumerated, I think disenchantment with emails would be included.
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, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by mikenz66 »

Hi Crown,
crown wrote: Thu Feb 20, 2020 3:29 pm ...
I couldn't help but think that there is something problematic in the statements he is making and maybe even a little bit comical. If checking your email once a day and making a phone call now and again is already considered a disturbance and possible cause for agitation then what would it mean to actually participate in the real world and actual 'real' work.
...
Sometimes i get the idea that there is still this very subtle attachment to certain meditative experiences and a subsequent possible aversion that arises when having to deal with things like email, phone calls etc. But we are also human beings that engage in the real world and shouldn't the practice help us navigate the world better without retreating from it? Otherwise it seems a bit backwards.
...
I finally found the time to listen to the part of Joseph's talk that you mentioned. My impression is that you are misinterpreting what he is saying. I think it's common to have that sort of experience on retreats - after several days of cultivating calm, one can perceive the disturbance that arises doing things that one would normally hardly notice one was doing (talking, reading, etc).

I don't think this is "attachment to certain meditative experiences". It seemed to me to be a realisation of how various things affect the mind. Realisations that are hard to percieve in everyday life. Such realisations can make one more aware and careful about how one approaches such things in the "real world", and therefore better able to act in the "real world".

:heart:
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Simon E.
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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by Simon E. »

:good:
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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by tkp67 »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:50 pm
tkp67 wrote: Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:34 pm One problem is the way Buddhism is represented by interpretation does not represent the true diversity in teachings that exists.

I don't believe it is so easy to put all living traditions into a simple set of categorical practices.
Renunciation of Samsara is a part of all Buddhist traditions. It's integral to Buddhism. Not just the doctrinal view, but the actual experience. What Goldstein describes is (to one degree or another) an aspect of that experience. The view of what constitutes renunciation can differ, as can it's position in the overall scheme of definitive vs. provisional teachings, but it is by definition a part of all Buddhist vehicles.

Again, in some traditions (not Goldstein's Theravada-inspired Buddhism at the time of the story I don't think) renunciation is simply a beginning step, but even in those it is a necessary one, and not that ever goes away, it simply changes context as one enters the Mahayana, etc.
In contrast with the OP where do you see renunciation being implicated?

I see meditation, retreats and other aspects of practice being mentioned and questioned. My point is simply the OP's interpretation may not reflect the diversity of reality.

I expand that point because it seems that often a user joins, is corrected and fades away. I think this is caused by correction without an accompanied road path to a greater understanding. Many people who initially investigate Buddhism have a skewed perspective. These perspectives are often skewed to particular aspects for which many traditions have a deeper focus. Why not investigate practice based on what appeals to the mind opposed to questioning the practices that do not appeal to the mind?
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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

I'm not "correcting" anyone, simply sharing my own opinion. It's an opinion produced by a fairly meager, limited intellect, but I've had good teachers, and lots of teachings on this subject. I'm just trying to share what I've learned, agreeing with it or accepting it is optional. I share this kind of stuff because I have ad many of the same thoughts as Crown, talked to teachers about this stuff, and I have some degree of certainty now that renunciation is indeed important.

The entire question of the thread is on renunciation, crown is seeing it "attachment to practice", but that's not what the Goldstein story is actually about, it's about revulsion with and renunciation of Samsara.

Granted the story involves only the most external level of renunciation, but that is often where people start, and it is a mistake to see it as "attachment to meditation". That would only be true if practice stopped there and was not part of a larger goal. In short, I would recommend that Crown read up on the various viewpoints on renunciation in Buddhism generally. That is the only way to contextually understand the Goldstein story. Trying to view it as he is right now is a kind of cleverness, but not a useful kind.

"Ahah you're attached to meditation/Buddhism/etc/etc..that's just as bad as attachment to Samsara" - this sort of idea.

But sorry, it's not. It's much better for one's spiritual well being to be attached to Buddhism and meditation than to Samsara, or rather to have an external form of renunciation (as limiting as that is) is always much better than no sense of renunciation at all, because something is happening. That's because in Buddhism the main value is liberation, not being right by pointing out contradictions, which exist in all affairs involving language.

Now there is a fault to truly becoming -attached- to meditation in the sense that meditation teachers always warn about, but what is being complained about here is that practice is being given priority over worldly nonsense. I believe there is a point for most practitioners where one actually has to make this decision, and the correct decision is that practice is in fact, typically more important than emails, and produces much better results. Ironically, enough practice can make it easier to deal with the emails, and eventually one can make the emails a part of their practice in the Mahayana and beyond. There are certainly approaches where we don't need to externally renounce our lives - but the thing is, even these approaches begin by making this exact same decision - that your daily life, worldly values and activities, and all the things that catch your mind day in and day out are mostly bullshit and are not worthy for you to take refuge in, which is exactly what we do in our normal habits.

This is the most basic decision one has to make in Dharma. It's the most uncool part of Buddhism, but it's serious biz, and a lot of what comes next hinges on it.

The story is not about that though, it is simply about revulsion with samsara, in it's simplest terms.
"...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."

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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by tkp67 »

For edification the correction comment was not pointed to a person but simply observant of the nature of these conversations with new members. It is not a critique either but commentary that the way our views (in this case OP or any person who is discovering Buddhism) can limit our perspective. Buddhism doesn't have to be defined by understanding this very phenomenon here are and now even though it might feel that way at the time. It is also an encouragement to engage practice in spite of difficulty by suggesting focusing on other aspects of practice.

Once again not for correction of any one specific but general encouragement for anyone going through processes that are commonly challenging.
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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by Simon E. »

mikenz66 wrote: Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:00 am Hi Crown,
crown wrote: Thu Feb 20, 2020 3:29 pm ...
I couldn't help but think that there is something problematic in the statements he is making and maybe even a little bit comical. If checking your email once a day and making a phone call now and again is already considered a disturbance and possible cause for agitation then what would it mean to actually participate in the real world and actual 'real' work.
...
Sometimes i get the idea that there is still this very subtle attachment to certain meditative experiences and a subsequent possible aversion that arises when having to deal with things like email, phone calls etc. But we are also human beings that engage in the real world and shouldn't the practice help us navigate the world better without retreating from it? Otherwise it seems a bit backwards.
...
I finally found the time to listen to the part of Joseph's talk that you mentioned. My impression is that you are misinterpreting what he is saying. I think it's common to have that sort of experience on retreats - after several days of cultivating calm, one can perceive the disturbance that arises doing things that one would normally hardly notice one was doing (talking, reading, etc).

I don't think this is "attachment to certain meditative experiences". It seemed to me to be a realisation of how various things affect the mind. Realisations that are hard to percieve in everyday life. Such realisations can make one more aware and careful about how one approaches such things in the "real world", and therefore better able to act in the "real world".

:heart:
Mike
Bump. :good:
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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

... shouldn't the practice help us navigate the world better without retreating from it?
The guy that was sent to teach meditation to us California hippies in the ‘70s had an interesting bio. In 1948 he was 17 and went into a lifelong group retreat. They were supposed to spend their entire lives there. Here was there for 11 years until 1959. At that point the Chinese attacked the monastery and they had to break down the door of their retreat and escape into the mountains. He ended up in California.
Otherwise it seems a bit backwards.
I guess that depends on your priorities.
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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by Queequeg »

Maybe it bears pointing out...

Samsaric existence is the problem. Awakened state is what Buddhists strive for.

When we employ Dharma to make us better at life, we are in effect turning Dharma into just another samsaric endeavor. And its actually not Buddhadharma anymore.

When we practice Dharma and make that the endeavor, then we transform samsara into the path.

Might seem like a rather minor point, but its not. Has profound implications.
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, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by crown »

The entire question of the thread is on renunciation, crown is seeing it "attachment to practice", but that's not what the Goldstein story is actually about, it's about revulsion with and renunciation of Samsara.
Based on my very first post i can see how you can get that impression and I also did not give the retreat experience and what it entails in relation to renunciation enough consideration and respect. I nuanced my position later on but probably still not enough. I should have phrased that better in the beginning and its probably not attachment in his case or at least the point he is trying to convey in that talk at that moment has little to do with attachment to practice.The part where he was talking about completely inappropriate responses though does seem to indicate a level of agitation that seemed not entirely skillful. It’s a bit unfortunate that we got hung up and entangled to the degree that we did about the specific example at hand that is indeed more about renunciation and not really about attachment to practice.

I think my larger point still stands and has not been given the appropriate attention and something Goldstein himself emphasized as well and how important it is to be able to transition from these different states in a skillful manner and that attachment in THIS CASE can stand in the way of that. It is literally what he himself said and he was also specifically talking about about these deep states of meditation in a secluded retreat context where he would transition to engaging in a more ‘worldly’ activity, in his case a conversation. This is also what lead me to make the distinction between ‘formal meditation’ and other activities. It got pushed into the territory of making some sort of arbitrary distinction between ordinary and not ordinary but that is not where I was trying to go.
Now there is a fault to truly becoming -attached- to meditation in the sense that meditation teachers always warn about, but what is being complained about here is that practice is being given priority over worldly nonsense.
The first part of this response was indeed what i was more or less trying to get at but it got a bit obscured by the initial goldstein example. The latter part was meant to only hold true in the case of actual attachment to the practice to the point where it potentially would form a hindrance in the engagement of your worldly activities. Ill refer back to the answer I gave about goldstein in regards to making that transition.
That would only be true if practice stopped there and was not part of a larger goal.
Yes that is what i also alluded to and tried to clarify in my later post when i talked about it being a 'disturbance' in the context of a larger goal within this deep meditation practice and how it relates to renunciation.
In short, I would recommend that Crown read up on the various viewpoints on renunciation in Buddhism generally.
I will certainly admit i am not intimately familiar with all the various viewpoints on renunciation in buddhism and will try to update my understanding.
Ironically, enough practice can make it easier to deal with the emails, and eventually one can make the emails a part of their practice in the Mahayana and beyond.
Yes thank you. This was the point i was trying to get at. It almost seemed like the conversation was being directed towards this notion that it is an impossibility to engage in these activities without disturbance.

I think we actually agree more then we disagree but we got a bit tangled up and perhaps a bit lost in the way things were being worded. English is my second language so it’s a bit of a challenge at times and talking about inner experience in language in general can already be challenging in and of itself like you probably know yourself :)
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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

I can only relate this to my own personal experience.
For many years, I practiced as an unmarried, unburdened layperson, sometimes around monks and lamas, other times not. Living pretty much day to day doing odd jobs, moving from one cheap apartment to the next, usually with housemates. It was easy and wonderful. Being able to devote hours to meditation and various practices, that is a rare opportunity that anyone should “grasp” if they have the chance.

Then, I got married (not to a Buddhist) and gradually my “formal” meditation had to get integrated into the everyday routines. We got a house but my peacefully sparse meditation room soon got turned into a storage closet. We moved to another house with no spare room at all, just a shelf in a part of the basement that was “my area”. Currently, living in a house without even room for that. Where I once had a lovely shrine with images and stayed and bowls full of offerings and incense and candles, and a nice cushion for sitting, now just a small Buddha statue sits on the table next to the bed.

Why did I do that? Why give up so much? It was to accommodate the needs of others. Each time, just a little more. “It doesn’t matter all that much, and if it makes you happy...” —which of course many will tell you is a toxic rationale. Maybe yes, maybe no. Sometimes poison in very tiny doses is medicine.

And, looking back at what has now been more or less a 30 year process of whittling down, for me, it has been in this constant having to “surrender my Dharma practice” that I think I discovered why I practice. After all, the outward manifestations that we experience are one thing. But nobody can see or feel the blood going through their body keeping them alive. I think, ultimately, Dharma practice has to be like that, running through your veins, unseen, unfelt, not conceptualized at all.

There is a “gone, gone, gone beyond, totally gone beyond” quality (to paraphrase the heart sutra) that comes with giving up all that we think defines us as practitioners. It’s like, “whatever you won’t be taking with you when you die, set that aside for a moment, and whatever is left, use that as your shrine, your cushion, your bowl”.

However, I don’t think this would have been possible without the previous years which I didn’t realize were preparation. So, one isn’t better than the other. One is preparation for the other.
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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by SteRo »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Sat Feb 22, 2020 7:46 am I'm not "correcting" anyone, simply sharing my own opinion. It's an opinion produced by a fairly meager, limited intellect, but I've had good teachers, and lots of teachings on this subject. I'm just trying to share what I've learned, agreeing with it or accepting it is optional. I share this kind of stuff because I have ad many of the same thoughts as Crown, talked to teachers about this stuff, and I have some degree of certainty now that renunciation is indeed important.

The entire question of the thread is on renunciation, crown is seeing it "attachment to practice", but that's not what the Goldstein story is actually about, it's about revulsion with and renunciation of Samsara.

Granted the story involves only the most external level of renunciation, but that is often where people start, and it is a mistake to see it as "attachment to meditation". That would only be true if practice stopped there and was not part of a larger goal. In short, I would recommend that Crown read up on the various viewpoints on renunciation in Buddhism generally. That is the only way to contextually understand the Goldstein story. Trying to view it as he is right now is a kind of cleverness, but not a useful kind.

"Ahah you're attached to meditation/Buddhism/etc/etc..that's just as bad as attachment to Samsara" - this sort of idea.

But sorry, it's not. It's much better for one's spiritual well being to be attached to Buddhism and meditation than to Samsara, or rather to have an external form of renunciation (as limiting as that is) is always much better than no sense of renunciation at all, because something is happening. That's because in Buddhism the main value is liberation, not being right by pointing out contradictions, which exist in all affairs involving language.

Now there is a fault to truly becoming -attached- to meditation in the sense that meditation teachers always warn about, but what is being complained about here is that practice is being given priority over worldly nonsense. I believe there is a point for most practitioners where one actually has to make this decision, and the correct decision is that practice is in fact, typically more important than emails, and produces much better results. Ironically, enough practice can make it easier to deal with the emails, and eventually one can make the emails a part of their practice in the Mahayana and beyond. There are certainly approaches where we don't need to externally renounce our lives - but the thing is, even these approaches begin by making this exact same decision - that your daily life, worldly values and activities, and all the things that catch your mind day in and day out are mostly bullshit and are not worthy for you to take refuge in, which is exactly what we do in our normal habits.

This is the most basic decision one has to make in Dharma. It's the most uncool part of Buddhism, but it's serious biz, and a lot of what comes next hinges on it.

The story is not about that though, it is simply about revulsion with samsara, in it's simplest terms.
Great posting! Thanks.
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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

crown wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:20 pm
Yes thank you. This was the point i was trying to get at. It almost seemed like the conversation was being directed towards this notion that it is an impossibility to engage in these activities without disturbance.

I think we actually agree more then we disagree but we got a bit tangled up and perhaps a bit lost in the way things were being worded. English is my second language so it’s a bit of a challenge at times and talking about inner experience in language in general can already be challenging in and of itself like you probably know yourself :)
No, of course that's not impossible. The only people for whom that makes sense are literal renunciates - monks/nuns engaged primarily in meditation, yogis who have chosen to live in isolation etc.

Leaving behind wordly activities is not something everyone can or should do, but developing true renunciation involves not taking refuge in them in the way we have been doing habitually since beginningless time. It requires a strategy, not just willingness that we "bring our practice into our life" etc. etc. We have to know how blind we are before we can do anything else.

It's great to want to do that, but we are usually unable to tell the difference between "bring your practice into your life" and "keep doing exactly what you always have except now you're a Buddhist". That's why we need exactly this kind of discernment about what harms us and what does not. There are lines in the Dhammapada about this, the world sees what is harmful as helpful, and what is helpful as harmful. It's not about the activity itself, but the grasping of it.

This is the reason that (as one example) the Tibetan traditions begin with contemplation of the Four Thoughts, in other traditions you might contemplate the Three or Four Seals. It appears at the time to be contrary to later Mahayana instructions which might involve how to view phenomena, how to help sentient beings etc.

The thing is, before you can bring your practice to samsara, you have to understand what samsara is. It can't just be a concept or some words, you have to understand the actual visceral experience of it and develop revulsion for it. All the stuff where we bring our practice to our life hinges on this. If our practice is not built on this, it is basically a form of psychotherapy - trying to strategize all these improvements for what (from a Buddhist perspective) has no real fix. That's not bad at all, it's helpful, but it's not quite Dharma practice.

To me, that is the importance of the Goldstein story.
"...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."

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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by SteRo »

Very wise things said.

But what is the perfect practice?

It is the practice where there is no practitioner and no object of practice. Thus it is non-practice.
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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

SteRo wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:43 pm Very wise things said.

But what is the perfect practice?

It is the practice where there is no practitioner and no object of practice. Thus it is non-practice.
Yes, but there are some definite ways to get to this point, for the vast majority of practitioners. Trying to "non-practice" without the proper teaching and preparation is literally just sitting there "like a marmot on a rock" and is a downfall warned about in many Buddhist traditions, and many places. In the larger context of the OP, trying this without having renunciation to begin with is just taking refuge in Samsara while thinking we are engaged in Dharma practice.
"...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."

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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by crown »

If all you're looking for is a way to cope and be a "better" participant in "ordinary" society.If you think that what you are looking for is the point of Buddhism, i'm afraid you are profoundly mistaken
Not what I am saying in the way you are framing it. Regarding the ‘coping’ part I actually said it earlier in a more direct way regarding the abiding in the changing nature of reality. I was not trying to make any definitive claims about the point of buddhism or anything of that sort although I recognize in that instance it may have come across that way and I probably should have been more careful there. My intention was for it to be phrased in a more open ended manner although I get a bit of a feeling that you think I came here to make absolute definitive statements about buddhism, as evidenced by you inserting that buddha quote regarding jumping to conclusions. This is absolutely not my intention
You're taking these rather coarse activities that are part of our daily modern lives and without any real justification suggesting that these are essential human activities and then a step further suggesting that when we neglect them, we're somehow doing life wrong.
Again disagree with the framing. I am not saying these are essential and I am most definitely not trying to give a justification. I am also not saying that you are doing life wrong, at all.
"They're doing it wrong; they're just attached,"
I’ll refer to my reaction to Johnny dangerous regarding attachment to avoid talking past one another.
To appreciate attachment at subtler levels of the mind that are very much at play in even the slightest activities of your mind, let alone in feeling compelled to answer the phone or respond to emails
Not the point I was trying to make and not something I necessarily disagree with.
Its clear that you do not have much experience with contemplative practice. You will be enlightened on the subject if you undertake contemplative practice and gain some personal, subjective experience with it.
It’s probably wise if you would tread a bit more careful here because you run the risk of overstepping and more importantly your assumption about what constitutes contemplative practice may differ quite significantly from mine.

I can understand your reasoning if it is viewed from the position you seem to hold where the assumption is that I don’t know what renunciation means and I mistakenly view it as attachment to practice so therefore I do not have experience with these very subtle states of mind because if I did I would not even ask this question and I would be aware of all these subtle attachments and contractions and movements of the mind on an experiential level and how that relates to the discussed activities or ‘disturbances’ and also in the context of a retreat.

I can also understand you got that impression from my initial post but I cleared that up to a hopefully somewhat satisfactory degree in my reaction to Johnny dangerous.

However don’t mistake my lack of knowledge on the various viewpoints about renunciation within a buddhist framework and retreats and scripture etc for lack of intimate experience with the phenomenon of what is being called renunciation and these subtle states of awareness you are describing and contemplative practice in a more generous sense of the word. In a way analogous to a child that has no ‘knowledge’ about mindfulness but in all likelihood is ‘more mindful’ than your average practitioner of mindfulness.

If you think contemplative practice and these states you are talking about are limited to the cushion then I am afraid it is you who is profoundly mistaken. There are innumerable ways of getting intimately familiar with one’s own mind.

This is not to say there is not a tremendous amount to be learned and I am sure you have much wisdom to share and that is exactly the reason why I’m here. Meditation for me has taken on different kinds of forms throughout my life often shaped by unique circumstance.

Maybe I’ll share my spiritual journey later when I get the chance on here to create perspective. It’s been an unusual journey and one that is born out of the extraordinary hellish depths of human suffering.
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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

crown wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:29 am
Not what I am saying in the way you are framing it. Regarding the ‘coping’ part I actually said it earlier in a more direct way regarding the abiding in the changing nature of reality. I was not trying to make any definitive claims about the point of buddhism or anything of that sort although I recognize in that instance it may have come across that way and I probably should have been more careful there. My intention was for it to be phrased in a more open ended manner although I get a bit of a feeling that you think I came here to make absolute definitive statements about buddhism, as evidenced by you inserting that buddha quote regarding jumping to conclusions. This is absolutely not my intention
Your whole post is querying whether the story you mention is an example of "attachment to practice". You've been given (I think) some very good explanations of why that point of view is mistaken, or at least very limited. Rather than endless meta-discussion, it might be good to address the things people are saying to you directly.

I’ll refer to my reaction to Johnny dangerous regarding attachment to avoid talking past one another.
To be honest, your writing style is a little confounding to me, we aren't getting what you are saying because you are spending so much time trying to re-explain your intention. We don't know your intention, and are just addressing your words.
Its clear that you do not have much experience with contemplative practice. You will be enlightened on the subject if you undertake contemplative practice and gain some personal, subjective experience with it.
I can also understand you got that impression from my initial post but I cleared that up to a hopefully somewhat satisfactory degree in my reaction to Johnny dangerous.
Your lack of directness makes it hard to not have misconceptions, since you won't specify what you disagree with, or really address the points being made to your original argument at all.
However don’t mistake my lack of knowledge on the various viewpoints about renunciation within a buddhist framework and retreats and scripture etc for lack of intimate experience with the phenomenon of what is being called renunciation and these subtle states of awareness you are describing and contemplative practice in a more generous sense of the word. In a way analogous to a child that has no ‘knowledge’ about mindfulness but in all likelihood is ‘more mindful’ than your average practitioner of mindfulness.
Great, it's not a credentials contest, we are all just doing what we can. What's being pointed out is that your post seems to evince a lack of experience of (for instance) long term practice which results in the sort of experiences Goldstein reports. This sort of experience is not particularly unusual, and I would guess that many forums member have experienced something similar. From a Buddhist standpoint your criticisms of it fall short, for the reasons already given.
If you think contemplative practice and these states you are talking about are limited to the cushion then I am afraid it is you who is profoundly mistaken. There are innumerable ways of getting intimately familiar with one’s own mind.
This is a Buddhist site. More specifically a Mahayana forum. As such, the methods of "getting intimately familiar with one's mind" that are seen as
definitive are Buddhist ones. From this perspective, not all meditation is equal, by a long shot.
Maybe I’ll share my spiritual journey later when I get the chance on here to create perspective. It’s been an unusual journey and one that is born out of the extraordinary hellish depths of human suffering.
Cool, I look forward to reading it.
"...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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LastLegend
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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by LastLegend »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:26 pm

Why did I do that? Why give up so much? It was to accommodate the needs of others. Each time, just a little more. “It doesn’t matter all that much, and if it makes you happy...” —which of course many will tell you is a toxic rationale. Maybe yes, maybe no. Sometimes poison in very tiny doses is medicine.

It’s not poison. You have been aspiring the Bodhisattva path without knowing. An open mind is one not wrapped by skandhas (we can all relate to this). Pretty darn sure people in North Korea suffer more than we do.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
SteRo
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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by SteRo »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:13 pm
SteRo wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:43 pm Very wise things said.

But what is the perfect practice?

It is the practice where there is no practitioner and no object of practice. Thus it is non-practice.
Yes, but there are some definite ways to get to this point, for the vast majority of practitioners. Trying to "non-practice" without the proper teaching and preparation is literally just sitting there "like a marmot on a rock" and is a downfall warned about in many Buddhist traditions, and many places. In the larger context of the OP, trying this without having renunciation to begin with is just taking refuge in Samsara while thinking we are engaged in Dharma practice.
Yes. The tricky thing is the conceit 'I am' which often lurks subliminally. Therefore a clear-cut model of the path knowing what is progression and knowing what is regression or standstill is necessary. This might seem to be contradictory but is only contradictory inasmuch the two truths are contradictory which in reality aren't contradictory at all.
crown
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Re: Attachment to a form of practice?

Post by crown »

Your whole post is querying whether the story you mention is an example of "attachment to practice". You've been given (I think) some very good explanations of why that point of view is mistaken, or at least very limited. Rather than endless meta-discussion, it might be good to address the things people are saying to you directly.
Forgive me but i have to note the irony here because that is exactly what i feel i have done but perhaps i am mistaken. I'll copy what i said to you earlier:

'Based on my very first post i can see how you can get that impression and I also did not give the retreat experience and what it entails in relation to renunciation enough consideration and respect. I nuanced my position later on but probably still not enough. I should have phrased that better in the beginning and its probably not attachment in his case or at least the point he is trying to convey in that talk at that moment has little to do with attachment to practice.'

I fail to see how this is not an answer? I am basically agreeing with the fact that that view is mistaken but that the confusion arose due to me not taking into account the context of a retreat and what the larger goal is and also in relation to renunciation and that we got needlessly hung up in regards to that example and the whole ‘attachment to practice’ misunderstanding which prevented us from getting past it and moving on to talk about what you yourself already described as truly being attached to practice in a way teachers often warn about.

Still confusing?
Great, it's not a credentials contest, we are all just doing what we can.


It has little to do with credentials. If you make a claim about my experience which is not a trivial thing, and a wrong one at that, based on limited information available my response is valid and to be expected.
What's being pointed out is that your post seems to evince a lack of experience of (for instance) long term practice which results in the sort of experiences Goldstein reports.
Here you are simply reiterating what it is being pointed out. There is no confusion about that on my part.

I then proceed to explain that I understand why he would come to that conclusion in the first place, although as referenced in the post that the conclusion that was being drawn, at least in large part, was most likely born out of a misunderstanding regarding the 'attachment to practice' issue because that is what he continually kept coming back to and making references about. If this was clear from the start we probably would not even have this conversation in the first place and even if we would, ultimately that is not relevant for the point at large.

The point being that one should exercise caution about making claims about another one’s experience in contemplative practice and states of subtle awareness because I am making the claim that these two things do not belong solely to the domain of buddhism and that knowledge or lack thereof within a buddhist framework is not to be mistaken for lack of intimate experience with said phenomenon and i explained why that is.
This sort of experience is not particularly unusual, and I would guess that many forums member have experienced something similar.


Sure could be but not really relevant to what i'm saying.
From a Buddhist standpoint your criticisms of it fall short, for the reasons already given.
Where do i criticise buddhism itself? My criticism stems from the notion that the phenomena that were at the heart of the discussion, contemplative practice and subtle awareness, don't belong exclusively to the domain of buddhism.

Are you implying that they are? Well then it just circles back to the entire point of the conversation about how i fundamentally disagree with that but then you still haven't given me any reasoning why they would be exclusive in that regard.
This is a Buddhist site. More specifically a Mahayana forum. As such, the methods of "getting intimately familiar with one's mind" that are seen as
definitive are Buddhist ones.


Now you are more or less repeating what you said but in a slightly different manner that is not really helpful and misses the point. You are phrasing it in a way I can only assume means that you are under the impression that what I said about ‘getting intimately familiar with one’s mind’ to mean the ‘complete purification of beings’. The latter one we can leave for another time.

There is a lot of room in between complete purification and being intimately familiar with one’s mind. In much the same way that a yogi can engage or have experience in the matters discussed but in an ultimate sense not being ‘complete’ or perhaps as you put it ’definitive’.

I’m hoping we are not going to steer into the direction that there are no other disciplines of the mind or activities or life circumstances that can give you definitive intimate insight into your own nature? That seems like a completely untenable position including in how that relates to the phenomena discussed.
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