The Mind Illuminated archive

Stronghold 12 December 2010


Sunday 12/12/2010

Automated transcription

period in practice. Coming day. As I try to relax to the object. Yeah. I I just... Couldn't I just disappear. Solid she like. You disappear. It feels like obviously... Like your sleep. U. But then I'm not really asleep by here when an instruction comes say hear. Mh. But I'm not I don't have this experience of documentation at I don't know. It? It it happens it's like whenever I try to go deeper, I just disappear something just And know how to distinguish whether it's just playing, you know, dull, or is it, you know a deeper state of non concept.

And that's that's an important thing to distinguish between, but because you need to do that to be able to know right to do it. So maybe you can tell me more about it. What are you using as your meditation object when you do this? When this happens? With any object. With any? Yeah. And what is your the quality of your perception of the meditation object on this up It's... See, I'm I'm I'm making this effort to get it good clear sharp perception. Yeah. And at this point as it get closer closer to the.

Mh. No searches Just and, it just... It's just almost like a an internal little boom. It's like I I go into a different step. And could, I just wanna sleep. I don't know the but but happens some often so many times now that I'm wondering if if if maybe it's something that I should not try to fight with. Well, yeah. It very much depends on it. So in that period, there's a you're getting closer and closer to the object? Well, at that point where you're getting closer, but you're not yet. There... Do you find that you are still aware of the sensations of your body and if there's any noises around or things like that.

That's already that's gone. If it's a guided meditation, for example that the soon as the leader would say something they able would, like, say over or not. Open your. Mh. I hear though. I can hear. Yeah. That that's that's after you've got already gotten into this state that there's the question about. But before you get to that state when you're approaching that state, already, there's an absence of sensation from your body, body's kind of awareness of the body's disappeared awareness of external sound.

So you're very single pointed focused prior to this happening. I know. Yeah. Let's see if you very single pointed focused. When this happens. Then it sounds like then it's very possible of what this is is an absorption. So And in which case if it's in a absorption? That's a good thing in that you sufficiently trained your mind and developing enough concentration that you can enter into searching. But now we talk about the nature of this absorption. You seem to at this point, I would guess you lose awareness of the object.

It says that you say it says if you go to sleep? Just no enough about the state of these thing. And is it... Do you have a sense a normal sense of the passage of time? Or is that altered? No. So it seems like maybe just a moment past, but you know, it must be hundred. You know how wear of ton. Okay. Clearly some an energetic shift. Mh. Shipped. And and then I I'm not longer very. I'm sure. Okay. And then when it ends, how do you feel? Do you have a feeling of heel eli? Happiness story, bliss. Okay.

And actually, this is definitely this is definitely an absorption. And so what you want to do is you want to be able to make a good use of this absorption, which means in your practice before you enter the absorption. Just to just to maybe speak in general terms here. No. These absorption are and extreme form of what every person experiences from time to time in different situations. It's where your mind becomes to completely focused on something to the exclusion of everything else. And when that happens, your mind is standard sort of state of unification.

In other words, normally there's many different things going on in our mind. But when they're all all the different parts of the mind are kind of doing the same thing at the same time. Then the scattered that we normally experience of the length disappears and it allows for an absorption, which can be very pleasant. And this is what happens when you're in en in something that you really enjoy a lot. You know, like I hey, everybody experiences this. Now these absorption, we can think of them being two kinds.

Those that are directed outward and those that are directed inward. Now what I mean by outward and work here is a subtle distinction. Think in terms of subject object. Self and either. Okay. So it's outward directed, you become absorbed in the object. And so matthew few... And most ordinary well, pretty much all the ordinary absorption that untrained people experience are outward directed or external absorption. And when you meditate, if you're focused very much on a meditation object and you come absorbed into the object, that would also be considered in external absorption.

What you want to achieve is an internal absorption for you're absorbed into a a pure awareness of the mind itself. And so as you what you do as you're approaching the absorption is to have an awareness of the like. So it was stepping back a bit. You said as you're approaching the absorption, you're already not aware of your body, and external sounds and things like that. So this means the mind is already withdrawn from the census in the ordinary right. And normally, we have this capacity to be focused on one thing and also at the same time have a broader awareness of other things.

Like, right now you're aware a lot of other things even though you're listening to me. And this is the normal way of the mind works. So what's happening now you're going into the absorption where all the power of your consciousness is becoming concentrated on the object. And so that broader field of awareness is contracting and disappearing. You know, the mind withdraws from normal sensory information. What you want to do is instead of having it contract and disappear completely. You wanna shift it so that you're focused on the object and you're aware of the mind itself that knows the object.

You're that you have that kind of peripheral aspect of awareness. But now it's totally on on the mind itself on the consciousness that is focusing on the object and meditating and so forth. If you do that, when you enter into the absorption, you will have an internal absorption. And the way to think of what I'm talking about is it's it's really you you you try to get the point where the mind is as fully attending to the meditation object as ever, but the the the conscious awareness is really of the mind that is doing this rather than...

So that when you go into the absorption, instead of absorbing into the object, you absorb into the mind itself. Okay? And that's a that's a really powerful absorption. So but I don't think from the sounds of it, I don't think you need to be concerned that this is the this is installment. And if you do this, I'll just point out one of the differences here. When you absorb when you're totally focused into an object, and your mind reaches a certain state of stillness, it's as though everything stops.

And you're not even you know, you're you're not even sure whether you're conscious or not. Right? When the mind absorbs into the mind itself, and into the the activity of no. If you know what I mean that word diagnosis. Yeah. And you absorbed that. The difference is is is that there is just consciousness. You know, it it is there's nothing no contact but it's brilliantly clearly aware. Yes. It is it's very very joyful produces nice lingering bliss and and we what you probably experienced too, you get up from meditating it everything.

So clear visually, the colors and the sounds and it's just really intensely sudden. Yeah. So but that's that's good. Congratulations. I Well? You would just have it. Yeah. There's just it's a not it just happens and And the... you know, it happens and then it it it happens more easily. It's it's like you're your mind has learned how to do this and it becomes easier and easier to do. Christian. Yes. About the rest realization. Mh So my what I read, it seems that Well if you think they experience it most necessarily that you ready.

And sometimes you don't think you're an the experience that you do. So. How can this tel outside tell if you edit or? Well, Repeat that question for the. Yes. Okay. With questions with regard to the direct experience emptiness and you understand that person can think that they had that experience when they actually have it, and that's very true. And they can have that experience and not realize that they have and that. And so... And this is this is an issue that has received a lot of attention That often gets met by very simplistic answers, but I'm not going to give you that.

No. You see If you keep in mind, that The mind is in the presence of and experiencing apt emptiness all of the time. The the difference between what's happening when we're totally lost in our delusions, and what's happening when you have a direct experience of emptiness could be described as really involving the the temporary cessation of the mine's projections that obscure what was always obvious. Right? And so even without intensive training, people you know, sometimes have this experience. Now yes.

If you're seeking this experience, if you read about a study then there are a lot of things that the mind does. That can lead you to believe that this is a direct experience of that. Whereas it's actually just another very sophisticated projection of the mine. But it's also the case that People have this experience and and don't don't know it or don't recognize where it is, and it happened spontaneously. So now one of the things, you know, one of the simplistic things that said is, well, if it if it is a genuine, direct experience of empty Martin is called them the different traditions.

That You will definitely and absolutely be transformed by that experience. And when that explanation is given, it's usually followed by if you're not... The only way that you can know for sure that you had a genuine experience. Is to observe over the next weeks and months and years, and have you has your mind indeed undergone the transformation? That this that this brings about, which is described you know, as a stream entry, to realization of that a personnel itself is an illusion and a loss of attachment to rights and rituals and magic and the certainty of the validity of the pal.

These are transformations that happen and the individual as a result of it. The reason refer to this as a simplification is because it actually seems that people can have this experience and do have this experience and not undergo that transformation. So what lies behind the simplification is just simply it doesn't matter whether you had a direct experience in Empty or not. If it didn't happen in a way to produce the transformation the major stream metric, you might as well not have. So it shifts the emphasis away from the experience.

Was january? Was this the real Mccoy was this the thing? To what is really more important. Did it produce the transformation and the way your mind functions and the way you behave in the world way you respond to suffering or not. And so it's a very valid shift. But if we're speaking from a strictly, you know, more analytical and intellectual point of view. That's not that's not totally true. Because people have this experience that does not produce a chance for measurement. So comes back to the question of how can you tell or how can somebody else spell?

Well you see how the simple idea provides it Very straightforward answer. You think you may have had this experience. What transfer formation did it producing in particular? Are you subject to the same degree of... Are are you subject to suffering to the same degree. Or when you experience suffering, do you have a realization that oh I know better this. I I don't have to let this continue and are you able to let it go. Do you find yourself in deeply ent by self absorbed behaviors or when every you becomes self absorbed, the same thing, do you realize it i'll you know, I I don't need to do this.

I know better than this. And you come out... If you find, you know, you out to habit of mine and ego, we can engage in behaviors that are disturbing a harmful to ourselves or other people. If if the transformation has occurred, as soon as you become aware of the negative impact that that your actions are producing, then you pull yourself back and you you try to make preparations. So if these things that happen in a person, if they no longer attached to the personality view. You know, if if they manifest these changes, then you can say, well, definitely, you know, they they they have had an experience of ultimate reality which has altered the way the mind and relative reality works.

And has produced the desired beneficial effect. So this is this is the useful answer. You think you've had this But you watch your mind and you watch your behavior and and then you will come to know. How does another person determine? Basically usually it's the same thing. They have to observe the behavior. Now there's an advantage somebody else who has undergone this transformation it's like, you know, so recognition that which we all have. We we we read each other's people. So we read out people's minds all the time.

Who we're dependent upon our own experience to accurately read somebody else's night. If you had the same experience yourself and you examine the behavior someone else, you know, or observe observe the behavior of someone else. As you start recognizing that, oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. This person person's actions and then their reactions and then the way they modified those reactions and so forth you recognize the pattern because you've experienced it in yourself. And then you can say certainty. Well, this person, this person is undergone a chain.

But sometimes it can take a long time. And people have different personalities and have cultivated different ways of behaving. So even even even somebody in the position of a teacher who has had the experience or of themselves, may have difficulty saying for certain without, you know, a substantial amount of time and observation going by. You can mis. You can encounter somebody and they present you with basically, what they do is a act according to everything that they've heard or read that a person who's had this experience to that.

And they you can be deceived by it up to a point. But eventually, eventually something won't match up. And eventually it'll all fall apart and you realize it, okay. This person is you know, they they're doing their best to behave like they're an enlightened being, but they're not really. Okay? But it can take a long time to see that, and it can not be obvious at first So this is how another person can go. If you haven't had this experience yourself, And what you're doing is going by what you've read and heard that enlightened person behaves by.

And you can say well, you know, they behave like that. So maybe they are. But you could be wrong. Or on the other hand, you could have a very romanticized and overly fabric fabricated view of how an enlightened person behaves. And you might indeed encounter somebody who has awakened. But because you have a lot of unrealistic expectations, you say, oh, well, no. If they're really. Right they wouldn't be like that, you know, and be wrong. So that's why they say, you know, it's really all who has achieved that that same particular path or a higher path.

That can ever really reach a point of a high degree of certainty. And even with them, it's not like soon as they meet you they know. No. Don't have to observe. So does that answer your question? Way not in the way. You you were hoping that there was some really simple. But the the key thing that I'm telling you in this answer is that that gives them at least you know, if this this and this... Mh. You sell them certain the length of time and you convinced that this became characteristics. Because be then you would be able to say yes.

But I don't not. That what you say that basically you can. Well, know what I'm saying is not fight. You can't. I'm saying there is a list. You know. And you'll find us. But if is this and this and this in this, then it's not certainly. It's this this then maybe. And if there's been this and this in this consistently the longer it is consistently that way, then it remains maybe more likely. So it's not quite. You can't tell, but it's... Yeah. It's not the that's simple Oh, yeah. That's it. So... And the other thing too, already that is that This awakening does happen by stages.

And the buddha described four four stages of enlightenment. And then there arose the the instant and enlightenment met tradition, which is the zen tradition really epi optimize. But if you examine the zen tradition, you see that that it's an enlightenment, then there's a long period of time after the instant enlightenment, which the person still has to grow and develop to manifest all of these qualities of of the fully enlightenment being. So The thing is that it does happen by stages. The first dramatic transformation comes with the realization of the emptiness of cell.

That's a realization of emptiness. But if you realize the emptiness of the world in your projections, and you still feel like you're a genuine cell. It's not gonna do anything. It's only if your realization of emptiness includes the mind and the self. You realize the mind is empty the self is empty, you know, this brings about the first transformation. And it changes the way your mind works. If, you know, if if if it's caught, if it took hold. It changes the way your mind functions. But that mind still carries with it.

This huge load of past conditioning Karma, so forth. And there is a tendency still to become caught and desire and version and still to behave in habit ways. So until some serious work is done on that, and and that's what brings us to the second of the stages that the buddha. Described, which is where desire and inversion become greatly. Craving becomes greatly. And they they're still there, but now they're at a point where they arise, but they can't dominate the mind, they can't dominate the behavior.

And that's the second stage of awakening. Corresponding to that is that the degree of suffering that this desire and version bring about is hugely attenuated since it doesn't have the power to take over the mind and and plunge you to the same degree into to suffering. The third stage of awakening is been desire and a version to do craving to do with the entire sensor realm is completely eliminated it's uploaded from the mind. That's the third level. And at that level, the person... Well, The person at that level is is a very unique individual because they no longer have they no longer have any cleaning at all to the illusion of the personal self and the personality too.

And they have overcome the innate inherent compulsions of desire and inversion. They're left with the desire for existence and they're left with the inherent sense of being a separate cell. Even though they have no attachment to the person personality do, the ego is completely evaporated. They still go through the world feeling as though they are a separate self. And and and that's what remains to be to be eliminated. And because there is that feeling of being a separate cell, there is the craving for there is the craving for existence even though not in in a sensory realm, but in in fine fine material or immaterial realms is a craving to continue this separate existence And the fourth stage of awakening incomes when that inherent sense self is completely dissolved.

So so what this means is that you're always going to have to expect not only Not only is there this question that, you know, we'll have have I achieved have I achieved stream entry heather? Have I crossed the threshold? Yeah. Or not. But even once you have crossed the threshold it's still a long way to go. But a lot of work to do. So. That my sense has become very delicate. I'm saying, like, smell and air on my skin, and very delicate and those tend to make abstraction. Mh for me. And so is it a way of just kind of determining ignoring it for...

They will usually trigger a thought in my mind although I sometimes can just focus on the place itself. Whether it be air running a frost or an itch or maybe a pain or something like that. Mh. Just fun how to work in those. Rooms so has being so far. Also being able to keep that stillness and center. Yeah. That's. I I understand what you're saying. Let me, just repeat the question that we're doing a little recording here. So you you're finding that in the practice you reach a point where your senses are explicitly sensitive.

And that this seems to be in conflict with the stillness, the deep of your meditation that brought this ballots. So this very this very enhanced sensitivity is tending to disturb the stillness and the focus and bring out. That this is this is... You see with meditation we can think of it as there being two distinct functions of the mine that need to be trained simultaneously and imbalance. One of these is called stability or concentration. And the other is called fully conscious awareness or mind mindful awareness.

Right? And as they develop together, you you develop a a line that you can basically do anything you want with, including explorer the nature of reality and realize the nature of emptiness and things that we're talking about before. As long as they're not quite imbalance, you're going to experience certain kinds of problems. The attention stability concentration aspect of if you go to deeply into that too soon before this power of mindful awareness is strongly developed. They you just get kind of lost in this in this in this place of stillness.

There's nothing but stillness. And it's ultimately by itself not very productive. Of anything other than the stillness in the pleasant feelings that come from. If you delve a little bit too much mindful awareness. To that you enhance the power of consciousness. It makes you much more exquisite sensitive to things and it disturb and that's what you're talking about. So what what you're describing is a situation where you need to work a little bit more on the attention stability, which is exactly what you said.

It's the ability to let those sensations be and ignore them. If you succeed, and and not trying to eliminate them, but not trying to make them go away. But letting them be while retaining your... Your your focus. The mind will mine will become stronger in its ability to maintain this attention of stability. And at some point, when, you know, i spoke of the withdrawing of the mind from the sense of, the mind can intentionally just cease to cease to regard those things at all. They're still happening, but it...

It's like it's like the the there's a certain point that they they just don't come beyond. You know, fly comes and lands on your nose, why, you know but it doesn't... It doesn't get past to certain point. It doesn't come into your conscious so awareness i it doesn't disturb your focus. So what? What you have described is of the two... And and this is what it's spoken of in Sutra the two wings. These are like the two rings. And you you need to have both wings. Right? Right. They have a little bit too much at one wing compared to the other fly a little side.

Orient circles. Okay. So it's good did you have just this powerful mindful awareness, but what you need to do is just very relaxed way. Practice letting ding... you know, letting those sensations be there and we're because you're not gonna be able to manage them, especially not after you've trained your mind to open up and and and and be this powerfully conscious. You're gonna be able to make them go away. But you practice just keeping your focus on your meditation object. And and just ignoring them and letting...

The mind will then figure out how to take care of this by itself. Okay? What kind of meditation do you do? Focus on an objective will it be something on for or candle or... Mh. Something strange shopping and work with my breath and trailer let focus on my breath, bringing place to it just kind of sense that they know that place where now the mind has been guided. I mean, of course, that happens where, you know, I get... But I called the red light, which seems to be off. It's something on mind who's snapped back in again, but then I'll usually again mh go back to the breath focus and that one usually...

Yeah. Move that past again so... So you're you're usually using with your eyes open and using some object that you focus visual attention on start with a focus but them that... Even if if my mind is on an object, I can see that my vision isn't really on the object at a certain point. And then it's almost what to call it. It's almost hazy. Like, I know that my... That I can... My body isn't a place where my mind is seen if if it was this. Then after a while, it's not even about my eyes saying that it's there's something else that happens.

I I to that. Yeah. This is this is something it tends to happen with what's called a a fixed object or an un changing object? Because you focus on it and it becomes totally familiar and it it doesn't change and it becomes... So This this will cause... Think of consciousness as a kind of illumination. And normally, that illumination gets shared between a flood light that takes in everything and a spotlight that's focus on something. You know, and of course, if you increase it if if all of this elimination gets focused in the in the spotlight, than the flood light, you know, that kind of shrinks and you lose that clarity.

What you're doing is you're putting the spotlight on something that doesn't change. And after a while, the mine says, well, there's nothing for me to do with this. And so the the illumination spur spreads out. So starts still taking everything out. Right? Right. Yeah. So the... What you might like to experiment with, I usually recommend that people use the sensation of the breath. Has a meditation object sensation breath, either at the tip of the nose or at the abdomen. And actually, I like the typically of the notes best.

But the reason for this is that this it has all of the positive qualities of a fixed object because the breath repeats over and over again similarly you become really familiar with, and you could get that expansion of consciousness. But it's also constantly changing. No two moments of the unfolding of the breath are exactly the same. And no two breaths are the same. You know, as when the Buddha taught this method, he said, is when he breathes in a long breath he nose he reason in a long breath, when you breeze out a short breath.

You you're you familiar with that person So what he's specifically referring to here is with the breath, no breaths are the same. And you refined your... You engage with the sensations of the breath. So that this this gives you some to stay with it. So now using the breath, you can both develop the expansion and the focus at the same time. So you might like to experiment with sensations over the bret. But you could probably do the same thing with the objects you're using. As long as you understand what you're doing.

You understand what's happening in your mind. As the the way that that your mind is using in in inherent capacity for conscious awareness and it it normally uses it in two different ways and shifts back and forth between these. So so this is what you need to train is the ability that you formulate an intention and your mind and, you know, you you you rest your attention on one thing and it stay. Okay Yep. It's wonderful to have such people with such good positive meditation experience. Reception.

Can you use them for that? How do they relate to? Connection start with experience of emptiness. The transformative to the experience. This is why... Yeah. The the the way these use the absorption? As an insight practice. So it gives you insight into true nature reality into emptiness. Is that you... That that's why you need to bring that awareness of of of the mind itself. And if you learn to do the different types of absorption, you know, there's there's first second third fourth donna, and then fourth John has divided up into four and more of this call.

Infinite space and infinite consciousness, nothing this and needed perception they're non production. If you learn to do these, These are a method for achieving insight into emptiness. And the key to this because in each absorption, there's a profound stillness is they have a maximum amount of intros awareness as you enter the absorption and as you come out of the absorption so that you're aware what's what's present prior to entering the absorption? What is different in the absorption? What re emerges coming out of the absorption and then do this for each of the different levels.

This is an extremely powerful practice. For using absorption for achieving insight into. As a matter of fact, in one one way that this is often formulated. They add to these eight, the the first four genres and the four form versions are the fourth trying. Pay out a night. Which is called the cessation of feeling of perception, which is which is the experience of Nirvana, which and your teaching Nirvana has probably been given a more limited meaning, but in and the system where this is spoken of.

This is this is the ultimate nirvana, the what is experience when and the enlightened being that does at the depth of the body and then might being. And so it is... And and it is fact in the past to to complete enlightenment. By practicing, practicing these eighth Genres until you reach this night stage, that it's called neuro or cessation. But you know and with with the experiences you're describing, this is a practice, that you could take out and do. But it's one that it it does take some some time and you need to learn the the the intricacies of of making these transitions.

Not that it's very difficult. And but Oh, they're described they described in a lot of ancient texts which are very difficult to understand. And they have been discussed in some more by some more modern teachers which are not as difficult to understand. Has written a couple of books. And the trouble with what he does is, he basically he follows this tradition of... You you try to never say anything new, you say what all the old teachers that the pass said over again, you know, and maybe elaborated on a little bit, which is what makes it difficult, because he uses a lot of ancient language interpreted or that has been translated into monitoring terms.

This is hoping you have jacob U. I I have I I... It's available actually on the Internet. I you where they Google P out, pa a a u k. A u k. Say. If you just put in out, you you'll get it, though I don't think there's anybody else in the world. Right now. Then there are... He's written three three different books. Chris, one of them is a shorter version of another one. So you might say two two different books that are already describes this. You really need a teacher. You know, I... You know... Yeah.

I mean, if if you have a little time and it's highly worth looking at what Paul has said about this. But for you to really do it, you know, it would be be much better if you have a teachers too guys you're going into two three years sense. Sorry dev antiviral going into three year. On the other hand, get as much information as you can and remember, the first people to discover these methods didn't have a teacher. You can do it way they. Okay. Send out notes. Yeah. As far as I'm concerned you can.

Okay.

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