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Session 5 – What is Enlightenment and Why Should I Care? – Teaching Retreat January 2010


What Is Enlightenment and Why Should I Care? Session 5

The purpose of the Eastern meditation traditions is to bring us to a completely new way of being, known as Enlightenment, Awakening, or Liberation. What exactly does this mean? And how does this relate to us, living as we do in a 21st century technological society confronted with problems that were unheard of even a generation ago.

Master Culadasa leads this weekend teaching where the methods of meditation practice and their immediate benefits are fit into a larger perspective. He then takes participants beyond the meditative practices to examine their ultimate goal, a goal that often seems hidden somewhere beyond the immediate horizon. The Buddha’s definition of Awakening is explored along with how being an Awakened being manifested both in his own life and in the lives of others who have followed this Path to its end.

 

Here we explore the relevance of this 2500 year old Path to Awakening to ourselves, the practical attainability of its goals, and to come to an understanding of how meditation, concentration, awareness, mindfulness, and Insight that we have been cultivating as a part of our daily practices are woven together to make up this Path.

Play the recording below or right click here to save to your computer. (1 hour 20 minutes)

Note: Upasaka Nandaka is using a tool called Descript to create machine-generated transcriptions of some of the talks on the TMI Archive (at a pace of up to 30 hours of audio a month). The following is one such transcript. If you’d like to help edit them for accuracy and readability, please see this Google Doc for detailed instructions: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YxweiCr1N4YXY3Bn1mTzPBp811hTGolKroJS_RCMqo0/edit. Any editing contribution, no matter how small, is appreciated. Please remove this notice when the transcript has been fully edited.

Culadasa: [00:00:00] I think we've said enough about the attempt treasures questions

and as you're probably pretty, pretty clear about the distinction between the four different stages or paths.

Okay.

I guess one question when you were saying that the the first stream entry comes back seven more times. Doesn't that denote rain card. Yes. If you interpret it that way is there another, is there a. Okay. Another interpretation. Yes. And I think that what's important is, for a serious student of this material is not to interpret that as vain reincarnation of the person, a person, a personality, or a discrete entity, it is the cause of the content or to take mental predispositions that have formed over a period of time.

And that these can manifest in a completely new thing. Totally different person. But what carries on is. Is this a collection of this collection of conditioning is collection current position. Okay. Good. All right. Thank you. And in that way of looking at it too there's no reason to assume that the entire collection of karmic predispositions of long-term one person will reappear as a unit and one other person could be distributed over several other pieces that people with karmic predispositions from other persons.

So if you take the predispositions that you seem to have come into this world with it need not be attributed to a single idea. I stay as the genes that make you what you are getting in front of different individuals. Pretty good. Thank you. The, on the other hand, if over the course of a lifetime, a beam has shaped themselves through the practice or out of the Dharma and the perfections that we can assume that karma doesn't cease to exist when the body disintegrates, but it doesn't need to consist.

It doesn't need to continue as a, an identical file person, separate entity. All right. Good. Good. Thank you. Other types of beings like animals or plants growing into other types of things. Yes. Just mix up everything. That's right. So that I can say there's, if there is a part of you that that Heights of the shadows and feasts on the dropping of others, that part of you could be reincarnated

to the rich from the,

to the yes. If we regard, if we regarded the mind as one of the six senses and the con the contents of the mind and mental object actually belong to the sensory, at least at a certain degree, Vara refined mental contact contents with belonged to the foreign realm or the fine material around

anything else.[00:05:00]

As I was reading through this there was a question then that three parts of it brought up for me. And I'm not even sure if I'm clear what the question is, but if I put it out, maybe you can help me figure it out. So the first part was. Several times in the first half is talking about being identified with different things.

And then there's the part about direct knowing which I'd like to hear a little bit more about and the two of those, how they relate perhaps to the description of a Buddha and when it lists these things, the complete freedom from suffering absence of craving, how that how that relates to being identified with in a lot of ways and what in there like wisdom born of a profound insight into the true nature of reality.

I'm guessing that's the direct knowing, but it seems like that there's quite a bit of fuzziness in all that. Okay. We need to narrow this down a little. I know. You're hoping that I would help you with that. All right.

You started out with the identification aspect. Okay. And that's where this is where your mind and as process of selfing. When we, if we focus on the question of what am I or who am I, then we'll see how the mind identifies the mind could try to identify the self with the body, right? I am my body and that works up to a certain point, but only after a certain point.

Okay, but that's a, it's a clear example of identification, a much, much stronger identification and identification that stands up more easily for a longer period of time is identification with the mind. I have one in mind and there's a lot of that. And the idea of who we are as a person, as a personality is identification with that aspect of mind.

And then there is the identification with consciousness. And this is this is a really easy identification to make, if you find the body on satisfactory the mind on satisfactory the personality view on satisfactory is to identify with the experience of consciousness. And as a matter of fact, to get to that level, that is that I just described a deconstruction of the experience.

So the cell ticket to that level is actually a significant achievement. And it gives rise to a particular kind of mystical experience, which I call the dualistic mystical experience, the experience of the witness. And it's named in in the Hindu religions is true. Yeah. And this is something that in an advanced state of meditation is a common experience where

there is this sense that I am just the watcher, the witness, and this witness never changes this way. Becomes, you realize that beneath all of the reactions that you ordinarily experienced in your life, there's always this witness who impassively observes and accepts everything and doesn't react to it.

It isn't changed by it. Perhaps you've had an experience of that at some time or another. I don't know, but it's something that comes to people and it can come briefly for a period of time. And it's just, you have this experience of being that completely detached objective observer, or whatever, arises and passes away.

And it can become more stable that can be cultivated. It can be something that you enter into consistently when you go in to meditation and. It is, and it represents an advanced stage in the deconstruction of the way we normally perceive things, particularly the self. And, but it does involve an identification where you're still identifying.

And we had the sense of, I inherent sense of life is now [00:10:00] identified with this detached observer, this witness.

So

This is still the state of identification and it's still a state that involves illusion, but it also involves a greatly increased understanding and appreciation of things as they are front of the vantage point of the witness. We see how everything that arises and passes away is, It's basically arising and passing away in the mind that consists of blind stuff.

It has no substantial reality. We see the emptiness of everything else while experiencing still an identification with consciousness itself. And so very profound experience. If it's sustained, it's a mystical experience and it could lead a person to say, I realized my true self, I am consciousness.

But if you think about it, this is still an objective experience. It is a dualistic experience. And that's why I call it the dualistic mystical experience, because partly because whenever somebody is having this experience and I give them that label, it helps them. Let go of the attachment that they're developing that all of this is it there's an IRA, because I say, oh, we were having a dualistic, mystical experiences.

Oh, right away. I thought yeah, I better not. Okay. I'm willing to look at it more closely now that I recognize that it's not necessarily the ultimate discovery, but it has a lot to teach us. It's a very valuable experience. It's a good place to meditate because you watched the mind and it allows you to become very familiar with the nature of the mind and the nature of the formations that have rights in the mind.

Very often even people who are stringing entrance afterwards, they tried to understand their experience, which is very often the form of a pure consciousness experience, their conscious, their weight. There was no self and there was no one. And so as their analytical mind tries to create a story around this, to understand it, to put it together, it will do that as well.

It will say, ah, that pure consciousness, that is my true self. And they paid Clinton to that view right up to the point of becoming an RA.

So that's identification. There is as a part of this though, there's the direct knowledge on when somebody has a pure consciousness experience, that is a direct knowing it's knowing SP not knowing in a subject object duality, even though you can interpret it. Dualistically after the fact

and. I'm not even sure it's such a bad thing to interpret it. Dualistically after the fact, because part of we came out of that experience and there is this sense of being one with everything of not having discovered the truth, that there is no separateness, that all is one. If there's this element of consciousness and it's very strong the awareness of it is very strong.

And afterwards you look at other people and that you still have this direct awareness of your own consciousness. That's carried over so strongly from that experience. And then you see in other payments, that's the same consciousness. That's consciousness is everywhere and every other big, and it fits in really well with this.

Less full feeling oneness and non-separation. And it fits in really well with the with this new kind of compassion, but is rising up in your heart that you see that we're all one, we're all this consciousness and that's true. And that it's not the same. They're recognizing that we're all in this consciousness is a delusion, but there's still a process of identification.

We're not at a place where we can let go of being a separate self. And so we're identifying with that consciousness has been the nature of self, but at that point it's not such a bad thing. That was [00:15:00] just the beginning of your remarks.

Okay. You went on to say something about the description of the Buddha? I would say I can't quite recall what you find. As you just described it, it was transformation or progression of of different types of awareness moving into identifying with consciousness. So if you look in here at the description of a Buddha so you got up to the point of identifying with consciousness and you said that, I think you said that all though, that might be useful or skillful to our path. Seem you seem to be saying there's something beyond that. And that would be, I'm guessing the things that are described here and in the description of a Buddha.

But I wonder, I guess there's a part of me. That's wondering that if that is also of you and also an as a type of identification of being identified with it, the description of a Buddha, whether that too is a type of identification. Okay. That's a very penetrating questions. Because if we recognize that all of our experience, all of our ordinary experience is constructed.

And as that becomes clear to us, then we do have to wonder about. These mystical experiences, are they too constructed? And

on the one hand, if we want to approach this intellectually, we can point out that the nature of the experience itself and all of the descriptions, if we'd collect together all the different descriptions of this the descriptions of the experience and the nature of the experience in itself are in terms of it's not being constructed, not main media, it being directly, no, that that they're being not.

Th there being no, no self, no over no experience or no constructor. So just to have a purely logical basis, we'll say okay, it could be possible that this too is another construction of the mind, but it is different in that. It's most, the most fundamental characteristic of the way it's described anytime somebody has, it is in terms opposite to that, that it's empty.

That it's boy that is differentiated. That is changeless. I would say a time was so far another way to examine that until I actually say the way it's actually arrived at is by a process of removing all of those mediating constructing influence. Now we can still say yes, but have we truly arrive at an entirely unneeded state mediated state of direct knowing I direct experience of what lies behind all of our projections

and I suppose anything is possible. It's a very sophisticated version of that. This is something that the Buddha very carefully avoided ever even coming close to. He said he, he gave you the definition Davis, the definition of enlightenment that I gave you earlier, if a being is free from suffering free, from craving free, from ignorance.

Belief in an attachment to personal separate cell as a characteristics of an enlightened being, then you could ask yourself and is permanent. It's absolutely permanent. You could say what does it matter

exactly as I don't think that's something that, I think that it would be safe to say that even if we postulated that the enlightened stated with Buddha [00:20:00] was still a mentally constructed state. And then we would have to say, but it must be the most recent. Constructed state that the human mind is capable of.

And the beam that is in that state is not concerned. They experience themselves as what they really are and what we rationally can agree that they really are. They're a body and a mind acting in the world out of as a result of causes and conditions, but they are a very special body and mind it's a mind that has been cleansed and purified of all of those afflictions and it doesn't experience itself as they separate itself it functions. Wisdom after passionate. So even if we postulated that perhaps this was a super sophisticated conceptual construction, that's some level, I don't think it really negates any of the things, any of the other things that we say about it.

I will say that you will never find a mistake at any of the levels of who believes that.

I have a question to the dualism of your witness consciousness explanation. When you talked in an earlier retreat about the 10 steps to pass now, isn't that the same description, just observing the mind and whatever goes through the night without getting attached. So you become the witness and we didn't talk about dualism at that point.

So why is, why do you bring the snow up? What is the difference between the past and then the steps to insight meditation and that witness consciousness you described is the same thing, but then it's still doing this. It is still dualistic. Yeah. Yeah. It is a dualistic consciousness that is able to understand experience and to achieve insights.

Now the ultimate end. Is is the direct experience where the fabrications of the mind sees and you have the direct experience that, that produces the transformation to stream entry. Prior to that, as a part, the witness can or a meditator who is experiencing the witness can have as a part of that process, direct experiences of impermanence and so forth, which are the they're the small insights, but they're exactly what adds up to the large insight in the end.

Which is another thing I, let me somehow, we've come back to this point and I must be the right time just to clarify that, I did raise the issue of the experience versus the state of being and lightened bank. And there has grown up. Idea over time that the enlightenment experience is this one special dramatic experience that changes the person.

And it's become very well established sometime in the past 2,500 years. Although the Buddha himself never spoke of it it seems to first taken root when part of of the what's regarded as a scriptural material and Buddhism, a part of it called the Abbey DAMA was constructed and that was written down about 500 years after the Buddha died.

And the racks was several different versions of that be done written down, but what they all have in. Is that they approach existence of an individual as being a series of moments of consciousness, discrete moments of consciousness. And it's almost inevitable that with that system of analysis, if you're looking at enlightenment, you have to come, there is the moment of consciousness, which is all I, which is microscopically small unit of time that prior to that they were worldliness.

And after that, they are an RDN, they're a strain metric. And I think that notion from the Abbey DAMA [00:25:00]combined with the fact that in many people there is a profound experience has led to the idea that the only way that people become enlightened is that they have this profound enlightenment experience called Diana poly.

It's called Maga Paula, which means path and fruition and Sanskrit is. Darsana Marga, which means the path of seeing where a person has a direct experience of emptiness. But this is the experience where the fabrications of the, my CS, and they am the mind of Yogi dwells and this state of pure consciousness.

And because there isn't an experience no self and no object. And the process of fabrications has ceased. And the yogis arrived at this already with insights into no self and emptiness that it crystallizes internally in their mind, this transformation. And they come out of that as as the newly-minted strain inter, but when you look at well, first of all, as I mentioned last night, when you look at the sutras, the Buddha, doesn't talk about that.

There are things that could fit into that paradigm. And there's other descriptions that clearly don't, if you look at modern accounts of enlightenment and there's quite a few of them, that I given Gavin and together, you find too that although that's probably the most common description is the, somebody has this profound enlightenment experience after it's permanently changed, there is a substantial minority of accounts that don't involve that, that it happens over that.

There, there is a period of time that can be identified maybe a few hours and maybe a few days over which understanding comes on the person sometimes in way he was one wave of understanding after another, or And answer may billing of failings and a lot of what we confused with enlightenment experiences, the feelings that kind of the feeling of oneness, the feeling of bliss, these, the emotional responses of the mind to the experience.

Sometimes the person goes through a protected period like that. One person she woke up one morning and realized that everything was different, but didn't know how it was different. And she did go to work that day, but not till very late. And through out the course of that day, she kept having these Tiffany's one after another, answer may build with these powerful blissful feelings, which all of which made her not particularly functional that way, but.

That finally all worked its way out, but she was never in the same sense. I never saw anything in the same sense. So there wasn't this one experience. And then there seems to be a very small number of people who can't even point to that degree of specificity of a period of time, but they had a more, much more gradual way.

I've come to find that, as I say they don't, they realize that they don't see things in the same way that other people do or that they used to do that they don't react to things the same way that other people do that they used to do. And it's only through a gradual process of of these kinds of Events that bring it into their awareness and reflection on it that are consolidates in their mind.

The realization that they indeed have changed in a very profound way. So I just wanted to bring that up and make you aware of that, that enlightenment doesn't necessarily come about. And in the standard textbook version of that, all of a sudden followed you have a direct experience of something that you never imagined before as possible.

And they're forever changed. They can happen in different ways.

I

Culadasa: think what is similar in all of these, so is that whether it happens gradually or abruptly The internal structure, how the mind that creates the person's worldview has become changed. It's a different view of the way things are not viewing yourself as a as a discreet and [00:30:00] separate separately, existing being permanent and unchanging and in charge of your mind and body and the recipient or experience, or whatever happens to you.

The it's the disappearance of that view. That is really crucial. And part of that too, is the disappearance of the view that the world is. I asked the way, I think it is, it consists of discrete entities, settlers. Ella empathy are understandable by me. And that the idea I have in mind in my mind in the world is an accurate representation of a self existing external world.

So these are, it is these views that constitute the ignorance. And it is the changing of those that constitutes the fundamental shift to becoming a string instrument. And this could happen all at once or this could happen in a somewhat more gradual fashion. There's nothing to say that it has to happen all at once.

It, it certainly does, but it's not the only way that it can happen. And the fact that it's not the only way to happen. It helps us to understand it a little bit better because if it remains. A dramatic, mystical experience and it retains a certain mysteriousness and incomprehensibility that makes it harder for us to recognize what's actually taking place.

We realize it can happen gradually and see what the gradual transformation involves. It is a restructuring of the intuitive way we perceive reality. And that is what it is, whether it happens all at once or, and I'm beginning to think that it's more likely to happen all at once. The more internal resistance is in the mind, the more strongly you're attached to the sense of being a separate personal self, but more likely it's going to come upon you like.

Kind of bricks that breaks through to the realization that it's not that way at all.

And at the higher stages of the path, it's also, it's the same realization, but just at a deeper degree, producing a further change in the way your mind works at a somewhat deeper level at a more profound level,

very quiet. It's either stages with ingestion or.

We have, let's see,

we can move on to discussing some of these other things that I've identified under the description or the string after. That's really what I was starting to talk about experience and the idea that there's always going to be this mother, Paula or son and Margaret experience. And I summarized for you.

There are three possibilities is that somebody may have a dramatic experience after which they have the changes in view and attitude and behavior that by which we would say, aha, they're now strengthened. Therefore that was a valid enlightenment experience. The second possibility not at all uncommon is somebody.

A profound experience. And it seems this is just, this sounds just like an enlightenment experience. But after the initial bliss and glow were off, they go back to me exactly the same way they were before. And there's no real change in which case we'd say because they haven't had this change in view and attitude behavior, they're not as stringent.

And therefore that was a really nice experience they had, but it wasn't an enlightenment experience. And then the third possibility is that a person may manifest the changes that were identified [00:35:00] by the Buddha as constituting, a straight metric, but may not have a particular experience that they can refer back to that respectively and say that's what had happened.

There is something about that though in the Buddhist tradition and the modern Buddhist tradition, where it is accepted, that the enlightenment experience is a necessary part of the process. It's also accepted that it is something that the Yogi should be able to add must to continue and their spiritual development must be able to repeat.

So the idea here is you have this experience of pure consciousness, the mind ceases its fabricating activities. It produces all the necessary changes, happen level you're at, but. To really consolidate that understanding and prepare your mind for the deepening stages that you should be able to return to that state of suspended fabrications.

You should be able to re-experience Nirvana should be able to have once again episodes where craving disappears grasping after objects disappears the mind ceases to split itself into a subject object polarity, and you have a pure consciousness experience and you should learn to do that repeatedly and for longer and longer periods of time.

And that him, that this is part of preparing the mind for the next stage of enlightenment

and.

I really have no idea whether I have not been able to discern whether it is in fact possible to advance to the higher stages, without learning to repeat the direct experience of emptiness, the experience of Nirvana, that your consciousness experience or if we step outside the Buddhist tradition, the immersion of the soul with the divine, with whatever way you want to describe it.

I don't really know whether it's possible to continue without doing that. So I would recommend it to all aspiring in our hearts that

if you're fortunate enough to become a straight mentor with. Without having already learned how to achieve this experience, it's still important for you to continue with your practice and learn to enter into this condition. The condition I described her to you picked the label for it, but the enlightenment experience that it's called in and the Buddhist tradition is called the fruition experienced.

So the first time it happens is called the path experience because you have attained to that level and you've attained to that path. And it is immediately followed by the fruition experience because it you've attained to the path and it's not over with right away. As there's a, both at a path attainment and it's followed by the continuing experience, however long or short, it happens to be a fruition, but it's considered very important that as soon as you can, that you recreate the circumstances and repeat the fruition and experience.

And if it's never happened to you and yet you have the characteristics of a stream metric, then you should still continue with the practices that are appropriate to having that experience. And you should likewise learn to repeat and to sustain those experiences. Yeah. As you said, works as a warning, not to be too lazy are, assume that distance without work with the state of the.

Yes. Yes. It is definitely a learning about that and also something else to that and even stronger warning. It is very easy for a stream entrance to the kind of complacent and to fall away from their practice because there is a period of time where life is so much better than it was before, but there is not the same sort of [00:40:00] drive and motivation to engage in the intensive practice.

Some yogis have just the opposite experience and, at, from this point, all they want to do is stay in your tree. They just wanted, keep growing for it. But theory is also, but had an experience where, you know this is really great. This is really wonderful, and I'll get around to continuing my practice literally right now, life stick. So that, that too can happen.

Yes, sir. Can you describe, so when somebody has the conscious experience of conscious monitor public experience, then I know it's pretty inevitable that it is, that is that the experience, that's not the experience of pure consciousness, which of these experiences that you talked about it. So then that kind of kicks, kicks that off, or is it the insight into impermanence itself?

I think that insight, could you read that? Because that calves game that is that's more of a.

This I repeat. Yeah. I've tried to repeat that to the extent that I was able to hear it and please, help me with this. But I think you're asking about the distinction between the modern Apollo experience and the experience of insights that lead up to it. It's more generally just I think he committed, described getting confused now.

It's just, what if there's any uniformity in the week and describe what that said, the experiences, the insight and impermanence like this seven vivid in real time insight, and that causes this cascade, or if it's something that I've got something else that we've discussed. And our experience is typically following the system of practice, this is the way it would unfold.

And enlightenment is an accident and practice makes us accident from, okay.

That is really the way it happened, but what's really valuable in Buddhism is that there are systems of practice that works, that are consistently tried and true. And if you followed this particular assistant and you'll go through particular stages and you'll get where you want to be, and that's what makes it really valuable now.

And all of these gradual systems of practice, there are most typically a series of insight experiences that precede that a moderate Paula experienced, and they prepare for that. And in the typical sequence is that the person would, the easiest insight to gain. And in a typical scenario is the Yogi will have insight into impermanence because that is the easiest one to really grasp.

And it's the most it's the one that you're most likely to have a direct experience of fairly early on in the process. And there's a number of different practice techniques that puts you in a place where you're likely to experience impermanence directly and how that kind of insight. Then next is the emptiness of self and the emptiness of the perceived world out of those two, it's the emptiness of external reality.

That is the most exciting. And so that's the one you're most likely to come to next. And a lot of practices focus on bringing about that awareness then is the insight into suffering and the causes of suffering, which is in essence, in the simplest terms is the recognition that if everything is empty and impermanent, that clinging to anything is a cause of suffering.

The illusion that things are real and the illusion that things are enduring is a cause of suffering. And so then the yoga comes to the place of having a really deep insight and to impermanence and emptiness. Now, if they, depending on how much insight they required into not self at this point, the emptiness of self, this can be a really traumatic state.

Because to the degree that they steal still are experiencing a cell. And it is a self that has discovered itself in a [00:45:00] really terrible situation, but nothing is real. Nothing is permanent, everything, everything that I encountered to address to us like grasping a red hot iron, it will only hurt, it can only bring me pain and that's a, that can be a very disturbing situation.

It is the deepest insight and to not sell that constitutes that transformation to string metric. But that can be proceeded by a lot of not so deep insights and the more, not so deep insights you have and the more they become consolidate. And then the less painful it is to discover the impermanent and empty nature to really realize the emptiness of things becomes less traumatic if you've already given up some of your attachment to self, but the deepest insight of all is the one that marks the transition to to stream entry.

And as the very definition of it tells you that is the realization or the emptiness of self. So in this typical progression, we'll have a Yogi, who's had insights into impermanence and emptiness and suffering and to some degree, and to not sell and has developed really strong equanimity and a certain degree of tranquility.

With this equanimity, they are just observing the ongoing behavior of the mind moment by moment, the rising and passing away the phenomenon. And then at some point something is going to arise in their consciousness and they will see it. They won't they're buying will not label it and recognize it in the normal way.

Instead of recognizing it as an image of my dead father's face this, for example, but imagine you're singing in deep meditation and you're watching things arising and passing away without any attachment to them at all. And you have this deep sense of realization of the impermanence and the emptiness and the suffering nature of everything, but on the one hand, and on the other hand, you have this profound equanimity that you've developed and you've come to this place with a sense that there's nothing I can do, but continue in the practice because now that I've hired these insights, I can't walk away from this and you've developed the equanimity.

So you're watching it and then something comes up. It could be your dead father's face. Okay. Something comes up. But instead of the thought, forming that, all of that's the way my father used to look or something like that, what happens is you see. That's impermanence. And then all of a sudden, and that's suffering and all of the, all of your insight comes together in that moment and your mind, everything that arises, passes away.

And so have you been watching things arising and passing away? And so your mind continues to watch this thing arise and it passes away. It passes away into that emptiness that lies at the end of one passing away and prior to the arising of the next only what's happened is that you revived it, watches it pass away, but it has absolutely no desire to grasp on to the next to me through equity Dimity and inside your minds just stops.

It's constructing act. There's a gap and you're fully conscious and there is no self and there is no object and who's this full realization part of it. So insights lead up to this fully conscious experience, which Yogi will stay here for some variable period of time, depending on the kind of practice eight, nine.

It could be just a very brief time, or it could be for an extended period of time. But during that experience, the way their mind works is being altered. And the way that they're going to see things in the future is being altered. [00:50:00] They, the way that you'll find it described over and over again, if you look at the Buddhist literature, is the mind ceases in its construction and its fabrication of.

And analogy, is that just as a monkey swinging through the jungle of grasping at one ranch after another grasped, the next one before fully letting go of this one or grasp that soon enough. So it doesn't fall. This is what keeps us in the world of Samsara the line of grasps and what it's grasping is its own fabrications.

It makes these fabrications and it grasps to them and I pass away and it grasps the next one and so forth. And so what is happening is that through your training and through your insight and through the equanimity that you've developed as a part of this practice, you're coming to a point where it's not that you decide to stop grasping it's that they fabrication and the grasping stuff, and they start logging.

For you to have an experience is completely different than what you've ever had in your life before. And this is new information. This is new information that we write some of the basic programming of your mind and brain,

and then your mind begins fabricating and grasping again. But there is a very blissful state. There is a very profound, emotional sense of the release from the separate self identity. There is a liberation from a trap of believing in all of this. I said, matter of fact, prior to that, what do you have?

He's very likely to experience is a sense of. If it would always stop. If my mind would just stop it, won't stop. I'm so sick of this. I'm so tired of this, answer when it does stop. It's just, it can stop. It's possible. It's a release of liberation,

but if I'm understanding your question correctly and answering it, what has to happen is you have to create through very powerful insight experiences. And through the consolidation of those insight experiences, you have to create a state in your mind that is seeing things in terms of those insights, right?

It's the same thing. So the way it normally dies and you also have to have cultivated through your practice very powerful equity committee. That's equanimity is the opposite of the grasping. And when those are present, that's the conditions you've created the conditions and you'll be to sustain those conditions, or if you lose them, recreate them again and sustain them until until your mind does what it inevitably must do.

This is what's come up to me. What, how does grief fit into this grief at the break? I felt this overwhelming greed of losing myself. I think I, I'm not real sure, but it was very strong and I like, yes and that that is what happens when you. The mind is very attached to itself.

And are there any to the degree that your mind recognizes that it may lose that self that it's attached to you will experience not just grief, but could be terror depending on the practice of first and does very often, one of the signs that somebody is approaching their breakthrough is this is a growing sense of of dread or grief at the they feel that something's about to happen and they're afraid of it very deeply afraid of it.

And then what will happen in the experience is there will be a surrender 11. And they have to let go. And in the transition gets often described as as if you just jumped off a cliff. Some yogis will say it's exactly. So I walked up [00:55:00] to the edge of a bottom list of this and had no idea what was what was below. But I knew that what was behind me was so terrible that I had no choice, but to snap off.

And so in total fear, they step off and instead of falling into their doom, they sorted with the angels. Yeah. It seems like this.

But it's like this pregnant non-space that's like vibrating jellyfish

Is that if you hear, you're talking about an experience that you sometimes have, that everything is vibrating, that is that's an experience of impermanence. And if you carry that a bit further, it can become a very profound insight. And then thereafter you can learn to tap into that repeatedly, and it will give you a really profound appreciation of emptiness.

The vibration

Very rapid flying vibration. Is that what your.

Yeah, but it's so much more than that. It's a total, non-space no images, no thoughts, but it's so it's pregnant. It's just absolutely rich, but there's nothing, it's like a great nothing, but it's everything. It's very pregnant and I don't know, I wouldn't have put impermanence on that permanence on the fact that you said it was like jellyfish vibrating.

Yeah, because it's just, and it's not vibrating like one could measure the peaks and valleys. It's a steadiness, but there's, but there it's just a non-space, but it's so rich. There's nothing to be afraid of it. It's just, it's a wonderful thing. Yes. That is one of those very valuable mystical experiences that when you're talking to your dog, it does contain with that impermanent permanent.

So the vibration is impermanence is universe coming into and out of existence. And the emptiness that you experience is the emptiness of alternate would be

'cause when, and that happens often. So when it does it's it's so pregnant that anything can come out of it, everything, anything and everything in the whole universe. One can understand that. That's why there is this. There is this because it still has everything. Yeah.

That's a very good meditation. Keep. Dwelling. And that continued with

talk a little bit about the direct realization, meditation traditions, like mom, withdrawn, things like that, that it sounds very different from what you're doing. All meditation traditions are direct realization, traditions, Bama, Buddha is one where it's just taking a different approach and it is it. What you're doing is taking the mind itself as your primary meditation object, which you eventually do in every practice anyway to some degree, but this is much more upfront about it that we met at the met and mom had moved her.

You meditate on the mind. You watch the arising and passing away phenomenon. And then you, through that, you seek to understand the nature of the mind. And you seek to understand the relationship between phenomenon that arise and pass away. Now, this is predicated on your understanding that,

that the ultimate nature of reality is not dualistic. And so that all subject object dualities are generated by the mind itself and that it is possible to be conscious of that without having consciousness participate in the duality itself. So the idea of the Mahamudra practice is to get beyond the duality.

I observing both the phenomenal [01:00:00] side of the duality and the mind I'd the experience or side of the duality and recognizing the relationship of these two minds. So you see the phone and usually what happens is you realize that the phenomenon are of the same essence and substance. So it's the mind itself and that they are empty in that regard.

And then I was the point where you realize, aha, the mind is over the same essence and substance as the appearances it to SMT. And so then everything you're observing is empty and there's nothing left, but the clear relay of the mind that kind of, I don't know, phenomenon dualistically or know that

But it's going through the same stages. You're going, you're looking for the same direct experience of non constructed reality. You're looking at the mind, you're watching the line. My ex creates these objects and experiences at say the same time it does. It creates an observer, right? Every duality is a polarization and separation.

And so you watch that happen. It's the same thing. As what I was describing before, when I was talking to Adam, you'll be doing a different practice, but you're watching phenomenon, right? I said, password here, rise and pass away, arise and pass away. In that particular practice, you'd be more focused on the phenomenon rather than on the nature of mind.

The relationship between . You're focusing more on the mind and you're focusing on the mind and stillness, and you're also focusing on the line when it creates the funnel passed away, but you're coming to the same place you're coming to that place where all, everything that's going on, the mind arrives at the right spot and the mind ceases it's creation of a duality, and then you'd have to do that.

And then you had the director experience that said, mama, I'm going to drive. You see how they're the same

Maha Luder seems much more structured and analytical and all the things that I hear about the difficulty of it and all that just don't seem to match my experience at all. It seems so easy. And I guess I'm struggling with what I perceive as a discrepancy between what I hear about Jim white men realization and the difficulty of it and the ease of something like moms or

not everyone finds me.

So I think Mahara Madrid is Maha. Mudra is a very technically sophisticated practice. And I think it's one of the most powerful insight practices that's ever been developed, but it doesn't suit everybody. And what is it?

I think it would be too much to explain. It's a particular very powerful meditation practice from the Tibetan tradition from the cockier tradition specifically, although it's shared amongst the different cadets,

but yeah. That's well, you could say the same thing. If you find the practice that's right for you. It's not going to be that necessarily be that difficult, but unfortunately we don't, it's not something that we necessarily know in advance. And so you have to try, you have to do your best with the tools that you've cultivated and it seems necessary.

You can cultivate other tools. I don't think enlightenment is that difficult. We make it difficult for ourselves. We make it difficult for us. Through the ideas and concepts that we put in the way of it. And we make it difficult for ourselves due to the degree to which we attached to things that are incompatible with.

And but it's not that difficult. And that's what, I don't have any hesitation in saying that, any any person who is interested can attain that, you do have to work at it. And I think there are probably easier ways to attain it then what we never of right now, I certainly hope there are

at least there must be some easier way to match people up with the right practices.

I think one of the things that historically has made it very different [01:05:00] now it's very difficult is, the very notion of emptiness and it, no cell is so counter intuitive that for most of the history of these mystical traditions in the world, the people who were confronting them, we had, they were totally unprepared trying to accept something that was in such complete variance with their personal experience, their upbringing and what their culture said.

I think that's different in the blogger world. I don't think that we have the same problem. I think border highly educated Especially, people in countries where there's a level of sophistication regarding these things. I don't think it's nearly as hard for us to grapple with the concepts of emptiness of self.

And I think that's going to make a huge difference. I agree. He got it gigantic headstart over centuries of Buddhists who went into monasteries and butted their heads up over and over again. Ideas that seem incomprehensible. Biggest problem we have now is we look at all of these inherited attempts to make it easier to understand.

And they confuse the hell out of him. He make it seem a lot more complicated and difficult. Yeah. When we say insight in a meditative way, is it more is it less oh, I've got an idea or I just saw something it's more like Mr. Holstein's title experience of it itself. And it's not really necessary to think very much about it, about the idea.

Sometimes it's helpful to think about it, but they insights that are most powerful are the ones that they're a direct confrontation with the way things are that really doesn't even really leave room for thinking. It's just, you have, you're sitting there and meditating on the sensations of the breath and you look closer and that they stopped to being regular recognizable sensations.

Flux of stuff that, it was just happening and you can back away from it and your mind will put it back together again. It's oh, that's this sensation. That's warm, that's moving that's impact. And you stepped back a little further and you say, oh, that's it graft or that's how brown, but you grow into it.

And you experienced director, Rhonda that's impermanent. Now, afterwards, you can think about it afterwards. You can say, if you can think of that, you can think to yourself, wow. That wasn't impermanence. Everything is impermanent that way. And you can reflect and say, oh, that's emptiness too.

I saw him, my mind created sensations out of that stuff, whatever it was. And I saw how my mind attached to all of his familiar labels to it. So I could recognize it. And you can say to yourself, wow, that's it. So you've discovered in and emptiness through a direct experience. And then what it's really important to do not so much to think about it, but to notice it all the other times, when you're walking down the street, noticing the impermanence that is being presented to you by every sound and every sensation.

And every thought that is is arising and passing away. And then likewise, keep catching your mind and the act of creating reality out of this transient stuff that's flowing through your awareness. You know what that does that really consolidates the insight, the direct experience of it does something that no amount of intellectual analysis can ever do.

As I was saying last night, we say, okay, why don't all of these neuroscientists and philosophers and psychologists, why aren't they Enlighted lightened? At the intellectual level, they know so much more about impermanence and emptiness and no self than than anybody else. Why aren't they it's because they only know it at an intellectual level, they would become enlightened.

If they took the trouble to say, I know this is the way it is. Let me see if I can have a direct experience of it. And then if they continue to say, I know this is the way it is, I had a direct experience. Let me see if I can recognize it is happening all the time. I know every single incident it's is the same things are true.

I should be able to see it. And if they did that, then there would be a profound shift to take place in their mind. [01:10:00] They might have their mind might stop fabricating and they might have a classical enlightenment experience, or they might. Gradually realized that I'm blanking, but what's keeping them from, is it when it just stays at the level of intellectual understanding?

And that's the other thing, when you study Buddhist doctrine, the book says that this is something that cannot be understood intellectually. It doesn't mean it can't be understood, but understanding it intellectually is not going to do you much good. It's only the director experience and it's only incorporating that experience into your intuitive way of proceeding things.

It's going to be changed the way your mind works.

This the world round, but we rarely think of it as round. When we're walking down the street. I said, it looks pretty flat. Now there's the sun go around the earth, the desert, or around the side.

Unless you're an astronomer or an airline pilot, chances are you experienced the earth going across the sky at the very least, maybe across the sky of a flat earth, right? I don't know, but it's interesting. Airline pilots have this experience of the sun going around the earth in a way that people who don't spend a lot of time up in the air don't have.

And likewise people like astronomers who spent a lot of time understanding the movement of planets and stars and things like that. They get a really clear idea. It fixed in their mind that the earth goes around the sun and the planets go around the sun and the earth rotates on its axis. And that's why the stars moving across the sky in a way that somebody else they may know that's true.

Yeah, but they don't think that way. And in order to think that way they've got to stop and they've got to rearrange their interview, the universe to see. So something as simple as, the earth is flat and the earth goes around, the sun is a good example of how knowing something intellectually and having it be a part of your intuitive view of reality are two very different things.

And it's when the process of insight is to put you into direct contact with these truths. And to also help you to incorporate that into your intuitive way of saying things at a deep level, and it's preparatory to have more dramatic transformation, which will basically permanently alter your way of viewing things.

it's nice that we have lines that are so easily modified

and that we can figure out how to make these desirable changes. So we're probably a shift. I should probably give you another break, but now.


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