Impasse, no not an impasse

Posted: 18/11/2015 by zandtao in Insight, Meditation

Pursuing yesterday’s consideration of meditation here is a description of this morning.

Yesterday I had some issues on my mind, and wrote about them before meditating; today I did not. I sat and just started thinking. There are two issues that I am currently dealing with:-

zbullet Insight and Understanding
zbullet Tolerance

And the issue of emptiness came up again.

Insight and Understanding:-

An insight is a just a thought or an idea so that when you look at it objectively it does not appear any differently to any other thought. To consider this I take the 4NT, I consider this a tremendous Insight found by the Buddha; some argue this is the major teaching that the Buddha found was different to previous teachings. This Insight I consider phenomenal, and learn more and more all the time I try to understand it. But no matter what I do I can never have the same Insight the Buddha had, I can have Insights about it but it can never be the same.

So if it is just a thought or idea, why is Insight so important? Because it is a process as well. When I have received an Insight I have felt a sudden clarity at the thought, this clarity is deep, it holds conviction – as I said link here it might be the difference between ideas and faith; I don’t know because I don’t have what people call faith – I don’t believe in a set of ideas. However I can accept that a religious experience can lead to faith, and accept this.

In meditation I tried to think of other ways of looking at Insight. There was the channel in the worksheet I wrote, the word I used above for this channel is clarity, a clear mind makes the channel. Where does the channel go? Voidness, somehow through meditation (and the other examples) a channel to Voidness is created and this brings with it an Insight. How do you know that it is an Insight and not just another idea? Conviction.

I cannot explain it any other way. Why do I want to? To help correlate the Paths of Awakening and Study, I am unable to do so and have reached an impasse.


I got involved in a good discussion concerning the tolerance of other Paths that led to the consideration of the Paths of Awakening and Study. There are religious paths that do not merit consideration as Paths, I consider the far christian right and violent muslim extremism such as isis example of this. However I do consider Christianity and Islam as Paths. The discussion however arose with the different Paths of Buddhism:-

zbullet Theravada
zbullet Mahayana
zbullet Vajrayana

Vajrayana considers these a linear development over time, and therefore implicitly, and by some explicitly superior. But I consider all Paths equal because by its very Nature it is a Path. There was disagreement.

In meditation the issue of tolerance came up. What is tolerance? A Path requires Understanding, and this Understanding is personal through Insight. So there can never be intellectual agreement between two people about their Path so there needs to be tolerance. So what is this tolerance? First of all there needs to be anatta. A Path is intensely personal, and so atta identifies with that Path; for tolerance there needs to be anatta. When that atta identification occurs then comparison happens, and because it is so deeply personal it is natural for atta to consider one’s own Path superior. This of course is judgemental. So Tolerance of another’s Path requires both anatta and non-judgementalism, both very hard.

This morning I couldn’t stop thinking, and even when I sought clarity my mind started thinking again. Towards the end I tried giving out compassion but gave up after a short while, the intellectual mind was too chatty – 39 minutes.

At the beach I studied Berzin’ article “What does it mean to understand something?”, early on it reminded me of the worst aspects of philosophy – detailed definition of minutiae (judgemental). But I went through the stages of understanding which seemed to fit well with HHDL’s description of the Path of Study (here). At least the article was heading deeper, and then I came to this:-

“Intuitive understanding does not rely directly on logical reasoning. Some non-Buddhist spiritual systems explain that intuitive understanding may be mystical and derive from a transcendent source, such as God. In Buddhism, we speak of understanding deriving through inspiration (byin-rlabs, “blessings”) from the Buddhas or from our spiritual teachers, or deriving from the ripening from our network of positive force(“collection of merit”). We find this most prominently inmahamudra and dzogchen practice in which our teacher helps us, literally, to meet face to face (ngo-sprod) the nature of our minds.

Dzogchen also speaks of the “self-arising deep awareness” (rang-byung ye-shes) that is primordial (gnyug-ma) and arises simultaneously (lhan-skyes, innate) in each moment of cognition. This deep awareness is part of the nature of pure awareness (rig-pa), the subtlest level of mental activity, devoidof all fleeting stains, such as those of unawareness (ignorance). When we access this deepest level, the deep awareness of the two truths is revealed. In Western terms, we would classify this deep awareness as intuitive.”

For clarity this intuitive understanding I think of as Insight, and this I liked:-

“An intuitive understanding of impermanence, voidness, compassion or bodhichitta may or may not apprehend its object. Sometimes it is not very precise in terms of either accuracy or decisiveness, or in terms of both. We may be convinced of the accuracy of our focusing on, for instance, impermanence or voidness, derived through intuition based on personal experience, but this is often just presumption (yid-dpyod): we are merely presuming it to be accurate, whereas it is rather vague. We may or may not be able to express our intuitive understanding of something in words, but this can be the case whether or not our intuitive understanding apprehends its object accurately and decisively. ”

When I read this at the beach I just read mahamudra and transmission, and I thought impasse, however reading this again I like Dzogchen “self-arising deep awareness”. In order to correlate the two Paths I need to understand Dzogchen. And I have a hard book “The Union of Mahamudra and Dzogchen” by Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche that might give answers.

I am opposed to transmission personally. I don’t disbelieve it but I don’t really see why things cannot be resolved personally. Dzogchen, Union?

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.


  1. […] Impasse, no not an impasse […]

  2. zandtao says:

    What is transmission? In the Zen stuff I am looking at now it seems to be just Zazen – fine. The Transmission that concerns me is the “laying on of hands” that appears to be part of Tibetan.

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