Archive for the ‘Buddhadasa’ Category

Today I have just done another home retreat. I usually go for a massage late Saturday afternoon, so it was interesting to see that when I arrived home I wanted to meditate. I did so for half an hour but began to feel tired – I usually do after massage. I ate and dozed off and on for two or three hours, and then woke up. It was 11 and I was wide awake.

This is a pre-amble to the home retreat. My sleep is totally screwed at the moment, the home retreat concerned sleep. I went to bed at 5 am and couldn’t sleep. Maybe about 6/6.30 I gave up and meditated (no timing) – I wanted to sleep because I wanted to do a home retreat so I didn’t give up and start computing. I was focussing on harmony with Nature as I have lost my natural sleep rhythm. After maybe an hour I was beginning to think there was a chance of sleep, and tried. I didn’t think I could sleep, had a vivid surface dream – dreaming but not feeling like I was asleep, and woke just after 9. There were strange feelings in my gerd area, I was worried about them. It was connected with harmony, and mind and body dropping – Dogen.

I went back to sleep and woke at 12, so I had not had enough sleep and was tired. But I wanted to home retreat so I started. 45 mins, then break, 45 mins and then break, 25 mins and break – wrote about “history ego”, 25 mins and then ate and walked. It was now 6.15. Home retreat is improving. 3rd session, some pain from knee but mostly poor discipline made me stop early – mind was “resisting”.

The theme of the home retreat started with sleep but finished with bhavana. I think the bhavana was contributing to the sleep problem. I am working through this so please don’t take this as truth, if I am way off I will amend the blogpost though. I am amending now.

First:-

I have never been good with samadhi (concentration) and meditation has usually been self-guiding towards learning. This retreat started with sleep, went into harmony with nature, and then saw the issue as bhavana. Instead of developing mind I have been expanding mind, and selves are being created as vinnana attaches to the expanded mind that is bhavana. This is just creating selves, it is not bhavana. There needs to be concentration to focus the mind for it to develop. I began to look at developing mind centring/focussing in the heart, and I could feel the pointed mind getting clearer.

Second:-

I was amazed at the power of self (ego) at the weekend with the historian justifying English nationalism as peace and compassion and colonialism being primarily Scottish. But in my arrogance I missed my own self concerning this bhavana. The clue is in what is happening (or not happening) – sleep. This is not natural so it is self. I have already recognised my self-indulgence tv entertainment, and now understand the vinaya; entertainment encourages self. Throughout my life there has been this self-indulgence – passing time. I have never cared for TV, very rarely have I made the effort to watch a particular thing, but it is there and on. I excused it as tired from teaching, firstly when I was hungover and then when stressed. By the time I retired it was a complete habit – yet in my mind it was with disinterest.

But I never connected it as the cause of my sleep problem; it is but I never connected it. What is happening. I come in, eat and fall asleep. Wake up, refreshed but it is late so I slip into tv-watching. When awake I should be active, reading watching teachers, blogging etc. But it is late and I think tired although I have just woken up. Normal sleeping hours have gone by but it doesn’t matter because I am not working. And when I get up I meditate and write.

But my sleep pattern is crazy and not healthy – not natural. But what else happens? I go to bed tired but cannot sleep. I lie there for a while, and then give up. Where do I go? Self-indulgent tv watching. To be fair sometimes it is good stuff but not always. But now I know it will always be good stuff or not giving up.

But the power of this self is amazing. The years of tv watching has created a screwed-up metabolism. Both digestion and metabolism both work together to prevent sleep. Self has created a screwed-up metabolism that is preventing natural sleep patterns, that is then indulging this self by watching more tv longer and longer. Crazy. Amazing I didn’t see it. I did with bhavana, and yet to begin with the self (of the self-indulgence) deflected to blaming bhavana above. So devious. It is so amazing – fascinating.

Third

I had hoped that was the end of it, I had hoped awareness would be enough!!! I am somewhat ashamed. I had thought my life was on track but sleep problems certainly shows it isn’t. Whatever the routine I was studying writing and so on. But I am ashamed because it is skewed over something as mundane as tv.

Last night was not good. I had slept mid-evening and drifted into tv watching. Past 12. I was getting irritated. Past 01.00 more irritated. Whatever I have recognised as self-indulgence I was not changing. 01.34 to bed. Some sleep. Awake 03.34. It was no good, problem was not going to correct itself. Phra solution, a phra day. Things were not going to get better, this is chronic tv watching. Drastic solution. Phra day. Not only was the tv getting into sleep it was into digestion and metabolism.

Only solution Phra day. Sleep 11-6 every day – like a job. Breakfast before 9 if possible. Main meal at lunch. Avoid food after that, not renounce avoid. At the most a sandwich for tea. Fruit OK. No big meal as digestion will not have dealt with it. A complete change of day. Shame, need to do this over tv self- indulgence.

At the beginning of this post self had questioned bhavana, but it was bhavana that solved the problem – found the self and came up with the solution.

To sunnata it becomes necessary to be clear about some functioning and terminology. Basically what happens with vinnana? What is consciousness? The 5 khandas are concerned with nama-rupa that which is conditioned and temporary. When there is mindfulness there is no attachment. The state of mindfulness occurs when nama-rupa is not attaching, when vinnana is not attaching. So what is happening with bhavana – mental development? The mind (nama) has been expanding, mind-vinnana has been attaching to the expanding mind. This expanding mind has been over-active (over-attached), and I have not been sleeping. I have been developing the mind incorrectly, whilst there have been positives there have also been this mind-expanding negative with attachment – selves. Bhavana – I must develop concentration whilst developing concentration so that I am not just creating mind-expansion.

So now the question concerns bhavana and sunnata, have I got the right view? Nama-rupa is temporary and is not connected with sunnata. So why is consciousness connected with sunnata? Mindfulness has the body, psyche and self systems in place (Buddhadasa approach) but what has mindfulness go to do with the emptiness system? What happens when we feel presence? When mindfulness has the 5 khandas in place, then there is a touch of awareness (vinnana) that feels sunnata – presence. Mindfulness is also needed to make sure that vinnana does not attach to sunnata. Mindfulness is judgement-free awareness, sufficient awareness (vinnana) that optimises the 4 other khandas with no attachment, sufficient awareness that can feel sunnata but not attach. Bhavana develops mindfulness through insight and concentration.

Mind is meant to be aware of sunnata as presence, that is a faculty of vinnana, but attachment is a hindrance; mindfulness prevents the hindrances. In Buddhism and other areas of spirituality there are all kinds of discussions about emptiness, pure consciousness, presence etc., none of which you have any direct control over. It all depends on the degree of mindfulness, and that we have control of – making our minds as perfect as they can be. How good our mindfulness is determines access to emptiness, determines our relationship with the emptiness system.

Working on mindfulness however is not easy but at least we can work on it, the rest is beyond our control. Bhavana helps develop mind which can then be controlled to develop mindfulness.

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

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

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This clip introduced by Ram Dass comes from a movie “Abide in the self”about Sri Ramana Maharsi. It is simple, it is clear, and includes everything.

It is interesting that Sri Ramana almost died, and then awoke. One could almost say a completely natural wiping of ego, of I. From then on, in the movie’s terms, he was pure consciousness – just self. A literal complete awakening. And then he taught – silently.

BUT ….

Is that for you and I? I had a spiritual upheaval from which I started on the path. But there was no way that could be seen as living as pure consciousness. Yet as I have now determined through consideration of two childhoods that it was an awakening – although I don’t call it that. Using the movie’s terms it was concerned with I dropping away and living as self. However in no way did I achieve that.

Maybe I achieved it in part – although I suspect advaita says that is not possible. All or nothing. Maybe all is possible but not for me so far. But achieving it in part is possible. If you follow Sri Ramana it has to be all or nothing, so for many who don’t get there it is nothing, and for others they have to say it is all when maybe it isn’t.

Maybe all happens and then egos from daily life creep back in, yet perhaps people hold to the all.

In the full movie “Abide in the self”, Ram Dass talks of this approach being suitable for modern life; here is a negative interpretation of such suitability. Suiting the untrained western mind this approach requires no commitment – enlightenment happens “just like that”, and it is easy to explain. This enables the flighty undisciplined western mind to enjoy a fad and then move on. A spiritual life requires persistence, and with the miseducated western mind perhaps persistence ought to be the first lesson.

I don’t like this approach because it is a form of perfection, can we be perfection in daily life? Are those people who espouse this perfect? Do they claim to be perfect, and have to act as being perfect? Adhering to this approach might well force these compromises.

With Buddhadasa Buddhism there is no conflict with this approach of Sri Ramana Maharsi. There are the four systems, body psyche, self and emptiness, perfection oif the emptiness system being what Sri Ramana is talking about. Through practice, anapanasati, you work on removal of attachment to the 5 khandas, you work on removing the I and mine from the 5 khandas, and attempt to live as no self – emptiness. Because Buddhadasa’s approach is for the fallible there is no self to be, no pure consciousness to be, because we are fallible. We can work towards it.

Maybe there is no conflict but I have a reservation. Advaita is about pure consciousness, and can suggest that you “neglect the body”. Buddhadasa talks of Idappaccayata as the Buddhist God [- Nature – Gaia (my words)]. Nature gave us bodies. A body needs healthy food and good exercise to function as Nature intended. Taking care of the body is also one of the tenets of the Treatise of Zandtao. The body system needs attention but not becoming attached to, a subtle distinction that we personally need to investigate but not ignore. With the focus of pure consciousness only, I am concerned what Advaita says about taking care of the body.

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

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

I was drawn to Edward Muzika’s (Edji’s) “Awakening and Descent of Grace” because of the awakening aspect – I have not got far with it yet. But it is interesting.

I can’t as yet get beyond my criticisms so I am going to start with them. True Self. I came across this early on in my life (second childhood). For many years of following the path I wasn’t Buddhist, I saw the path as leading to the True Self – in search of the True Self. At that time I had a mistaken view, I always saw the True Self in some way as mine. It was a higher form of mine, an esoteric form of mine but it was mine. Mine at any level is not a right view. I have always been concerned about approaches which talk of Self even though as I understand it such views of Self are not “mine” – the terminology lends itself to a higher form of mine.

Akin to this criticism I have concerns about terms such as watcher, seer, knower. They are usually referred to as the watcher, the seer, the knower but these are terms which lend themselves to being entities – the knower and the known etc. “What is the knower?” is an obvious question, and the answer might well have an element of personification, and as it is an entity does that personification have an element of I? As such I have concerns about these terms.

As far as I understand advaita and Edji, these terms do not represent “I”. I have no dispute with that. When I used the term True Self and personified it as a higher I, it was because of ignorance. That was a mistake. But now when I hope I am not making such mistakes I become concerned by the terminology, I am not saying that Edji or advaita are saying there is an entity or I present.

This issue prevails throughout. Look at this meme which begins his satsang on consciousness:-

I am pure consciousness, universal consciousness. And later in the talk he says consciousness never dies. This reminds me of my ignorant mistake. I also had a belief at the time – reincarnation. So I developed some unsubstantiated proliferation (sankhara) that we were here to develop wisdom to improve our consciousness, and yet somehow within that proliferation there was a self with no ego.

Let’s examine the two terminologies. There is Buddhadasa’s Buddhism which talks of anatta. There are the 5 khandas with the three systems of body, psyche and self; please note this self is perceived differently to Edji and Advaita – it is the same word used very differently. The khandas are rupa – body, vedana – feelings, sanna – perceptions and memories, sankhara – mental operations and proliferations, and vinnana – consciousness. Here the word vinnana is used very differently to the words “pure consciousness” in Advaita. Here is how I understand how the khandas interact – I think my understanding is in accordance with Buddhadasa. There is consciousness that attaches to the body so that the body functions, this is not always a conscious interaction. When this attachment is more than required – such as through desire, then this attachment forms entities or egos, and if this attachment is held sufficiently these egos contribute to I which is self in Buddhadasa’s self system. Similarly consciousness attachments can form with the other 3 khandas and as that attachment develops becomes egos that contribute to I – self in Buddhadasa’s system. I is basically attachment to the 4 khandas that have occurred over time.

Buddhadasa has a fourth system – the emptiness system; note he uses the word system and I take that word as meaning process rather than being. We cannot be emptiness – sunnata. I use a visualisation to explain how the emptiness system works – this is my own I have no indication anywhere that this is what Buddhadasa would have accepted. The essential process is to remove attachment to the 5 khandas. Consciousness attaches to the 4 khandas through conditioning. Over time we learn to detach from this conditioning, and not to attach to any new conditioning – the visualisation is freeing oneself from the attachment using the mind internally in meditation. Being free from attachment there is freedom to experience emptiness – sunnata, sunnata that “wants to” experience but conditioning through the 5 khandas prevents this. In experiencing there is only experience, there is only emptiness, there is no I experiencing sunnata – emptiness.

The processes that I interpret from Advaita, Edji etc are similar. I am not the body – see meme. Once I go within I see that I am not the body, within there is emptiness that is pure consciousness. I am pure consciousness, pure consciousness is true self. For Buddhadasa there is no I experiencing emptiness, it is emptiness. There is no consciousness vinnana that is only associated with the body. The pure consciousness of Advaita is perhaps more akin to sunnata – the emptiness of Buddhadasa, but then Edji says I am pure consciousness. I as ego cannot be sunnata but the I that is pure consciousness is not ego so can be self. For Buddhadasa the self system is part of I, and is there to be detached from, for Advaita self is pure consciousness.

Is this clear? I don’t know whether it is clear to you. For me the use of a personalised word such as self creates a confusion. Emptiness is an experience that is not to be attached to. I presume Edji’s pure consciousness is not to be attached to yet the word self implies some attachment – maybe. But of course I am biassed as I have accepted Buddhadasa as my teacher/guide. In this I see no reason for using the word self in the way Advaita uses it so long as it is clear that it is pure consciousness only.

But I am going to take this further. Through my younger ignorance I accepted a notion of true self, and got attached to it. I fear such attachment now. Ego is such a risk. If you add further Edji’s approach that you are your own guide – an approach that I like – I often see meditation as my guide, then there is such a risk of ego because there is an I that is pure consciousness that could turn to ego.

I hope this dissection is not proliferation – sankhara, sankhara to be intellectual and different. Mostly I like what Edji says, and would encourage others to listen to him. Edji is much easier to get than Buddhadasa who in my view sees through dogma but is dogma-heavy. When you go through dogma you reach a point of simplicity but do you actually need to go through the confusions of the dogma proliferations in order to understand?

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

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.


Have just finished another home retreat, excellent. Body getting better. Knee only a bit of trouble but ankles were trying hard towards the end. Managed 3 “hours” – 1 “hour” is 45 minutes with 15 minutes break. In total it lasted 5 hours, one break I fell asleep for an hour, and other “15 minutes” were longer.

The issue was indulgence. Towards the end of the first session “indulgence”, and then I realised I was avoiding the word “self-indulgence”. I am supposed to be “living no self” when a big portion of my day, after evening meal until sleep early/mid-early hours, is usually watching tv. “I AM” watching tv – self-indulgence.

This has been a pattern that has developed throughout my second childhood. For the first few months the path was no self – much learning. The two trips, first to Belgium and Paris 1975, second to St Valery-en-Caux 1976, were full on learning, but after returning from Belgium drinking started at Argyle Manor, and never stopped for 12 years. Except for holidays when mostly I was learning whether at home or on walking trips. In between the indulgence of drinking I indulged tv, when I stopped drinking pastime was indulging tv – excuse pressure of work, tv and marking etc. Once I retired there was writing, the beach and too much tv – excused because there was writing.

Too much TV is just indulgence – “living self”, “I am” watching TV, watching Man U. I remember a discussion with the “Tony and education” monk. At one time he realised that my lifestyle, meditation plus, was not aspiration-driven – it surprised him. I accepted this because I have doubts concerning “aspiration and desire” but I might well have been rationalising. It seemed to me that the path should just be – I do who I am, but maybe there needs more influence.

A monk is a renunciate – renouncing daily life. Ever since hitting bottom I have renounced “normal life”. Until I retired there had always been hopes I would find a partner, but they were mostly forlorn following Peyton Place; I tried in Botswana but I wasn’t discerning – like Farangs in Thailand. Since 1999 I have lived alone comfortably. After leaving uni I was forced to live alone – since Harrow I have mostly chosen to live alone with the failed Peyton Place and attempts in Botswana.

Renouncing “normal life” is not the same as renouncing daily life, I was more comfortable being alone. In that comfort I became used to self indulgence, used to living with self, despite varying efforts to live on the path including anatta. I don’t want a renunciate’s life because I want control, but that control is not so I can be self. Ascetic lack of self-indulgence is an avoidance rather than balance but what I am doing is definitely full of self. There needs to be a new balance, can I do it or am I too attached?

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

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.


Having recognised that in my following the path there has been two childhoods, there has to be a recognition of implications.

I have described these childhoods as system and spiritual. We could describe the system upbringing as conditioning, education or miseducation, and likewise for spiritual. Firstly let me state that these childhoods did not follow one from the other but ran in a sense in parallel. However hitting bottom and following the path was primarily although not exclusively concerned with the system conditioning …. in my case.

Even though I describe the consequence in spiritual terms – following the path, awareness of the process at the time was concerned with systemic education. It was based on the rejection of academia and the rejection of the world of work that academia had led me into. But immediately I rejected the academia, I began to follow a spiritual path. Following the path led to experiences, led to consideration of what spiritual life meant, and led to a removing of systemic conditioning or moving beyond systemic conditioning – mostly.

In this blog I discussed two conditionings perceiving difference between East and West. Yet I also say in the blog that there is only one conditioning, that the systemic conditioning is contained within the spiritual conditioning. In spiritual terms (Buddhist) attachments, to desire – greed – and a false theory – the 1%-system, create a miseducation that conditions us into the way of life the system offers – that benefits the 1%. Included within these attachments are intellectual adherence to academic knowledge and an acceptance that we should compete for more money as a rationale for working. Yet this is not all that is in our upbringing. Whilst I consider this as miseducation, this upbringing as education teaches us organisation and basics without which we could not function in any society. But why our education should teach us to function within a 1%-capitalist-system is purely a matter of exploitation – conditioning and miseducation, and is not concerned with our human development in society or spiritually – compassion.

It is important to see how instinct fits into this conditioning. Instinct is nature’s survival, we cling to our mothers, we have a procreational instinct, and generally have survival instincts. Over time these instincts fall out of necessary use, or at least are intended to, but this does not suit the 1% who benefit from manipulating a social imbalance that propagates these instincts. Particularly the sex instinct continues far beyond its natural end integrated with socialising that connects wealth, fame, sexual imagery and exploitation.

Spiritually, what does our upbringing do? Fundamentally it creates I. Using the 5 khandas (aggregates) as that which constitutes a human, then our spiritual miseducation conditions us into attaching to these khandas, and through that attachment creating selves that during our upbringing we aggregate as I (in Buddhism this is generally discussed as anatta). Within this attachment and aggregation is an acceptance of greed and the 1%-system of war and wage-slavery.

By moving beyond our systemic upbringing, we can see the conditioning into the competitive money ethic and the world of work as a process of creating a delusion that we adhere to. By moving beyond our spiritual upbringing, we see that the conditioning that creates attachment and ultimately the self creates a delusion where we are trapped in I. By moving beyond the spiritual conditioning we can experience genuine freedom, by moving beyond the systemic conditioning we can see that this war and wage-slavery now function for the benefit of the 1%. Moving beyond systemic conditioning does not mean we then become free from spiritual conditioning, hence why I consider I had two childhoods. I described the childhoods as one following the other but after hitting bottom and starting to follow the path there was still much systemic conditioning to remove and I hadn’t really begun to think about spiritual conditioning.

What do these conditionings mean? Discussion of 1%-conditioning is common-place usually using rhetoric such as capitalist exploitation – or the like. However spiritual conditioning is rarely discussed generally except in Buddhist or similar circles. How does this esoteric discussion of anatta impact on people? Eckhart Tolle discusses the pain body regularly, this is an attachment to pain – creating a pain self that impacts on our thinking. I regularly harp on about the intellect or an intellectual self, people especially academics cling to this self, expect compliance to intellectual processes, and do not see the importance of higher mental developments (bhavana) such as insight or other benefits gained as described in Anapanasati pp79-81 [8) What is the benefit of concentration?]. The intellect through its own need to survive cannot conceive of thinking higher than its own, a typical characteristic of self. Following the path helps us understand the impact of these selves, moving beyond “spiritual” conditioning helps us to deal with these selves.

Previously in discussion I tend to have been associated with awareness of systemic conditioning – being against the 1%. In reality I am arguing against all conditioning including the conditioning by selves – that above I have called spiritual conditioning. Politically I have promoted compassion as a unifying approach (blogpost and Unity Platform), in this context compassion means freedom from suffering brought about by conditioning (the spiritual that includes systemic). Recognising two childhoods means a change to looking at conditioning rather than just the system, and even more sees the importance of compassion as a benchmark.

Finally it is interesting to consider conditioning. It is normal to perceive an agency that conditions – such as the 1%-system. The 1%-system has a clear purpose – conditioning for profit. But what is the purpose of spiritual conditioning? Who gains? It is nature’s purpose – Idapaccayata. By recognising the suffering caused by conditioning, we can enjoy the happiness that comes from moving beyond conditioning – spiritual including systemic. This is why we follow the path. Further by recognising that all conditioning is part of “spiritual” conditioning we learn how to be free of it, it is attachment – just let go. Don’t buy into it, just let go.

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

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

When I was writing the last blog I was conscious of the word conditioning. In Buddhism there are causes and conditions often associated with the teaching of Dependent Origination. In the West conditioning is much more associated with indoctrination, yet in the West we also have the dual educational understanding that there is a need for education and there is education as indoctrination. Going beyond conditioning means only having the positive aspects of these processes.

Let me begin with Buddhism. Buddhism tends not to examine the political aspects of what is. For example the first of the 4 Noble Truths is that there is suffering; it then goes on to say that there is an end to suffering by not clinging to desire and describes the 8-fold path as a way to do this. But clearly part of that suffering is caused by the political situation, it is not simply clinging to lust, for example – an important problem nevertheless. Buddhism talks about the Unconditioned and the conditioned as that which is not unconditioned so conditioning is far more than political indoctrination. It is seen as far more than education for wage-slavery for example.

For me attachment is key to understanding conditioning in Buddhism. Here I will talk of the 5 khandas – rupa-body, vedana – feelings, sanna – perceptions and memories, sankhara – mental formations, vinnana – consciousness. Without some khandas there is no human being but if we identify with these khandas then we are not true. There is no anatta, no insight, just conditioning that comes from this identification. This atta-self-identification tends to be the dogmatic approach of Buddhism in describing conditioning. Within this identification is all the conditioning that the West tends to discuss such as conditioning to wage-slavery, but there tends not to be the same emotional reaction when we say we are not attached to the 5 khandas as there is to being educated as wage-slaves.

Instinct arises as part of these 5 khandas, and instinct is necessary. Instinct is nature’s way of survival when human consciousness has not developed. But at some point we must let go of the mother’s breast or we are clinging. Instinct falls away when consciousness arises but consciousness can attach to instinct if we are not aware. Instinct is natural in its place as are the khandas, it is not natural to create selves – to create the self, I.

However being attached to the 5 khandas says far more. There is a tendency not to see the positive value of education when there is so much indoctrination and educating for wage-slavery. Yet education does teach organisation and necessary basic skills needed to survive such as language. Another way of describing this basic education is that we would be educating for the 5 khandas without attachment – necessities. But conditioning creates attachment, and we then have the conditioning that is more associated with what the west describes as conditioning.

But the western view of conditioning is limited because it does not see the conditioning that is the identification with these khandas as self. The standard western response to conditioning is dichotomy. There are those who accept conditioning and those who reject. This tends to be fought out on an outer level in which political systems are counterposed. For example Marxists use his theories to show how the 1% are exploiting working people through wage-slavery. But those same Marxists do not see the importance of self as being attached to the 5 khandas as they themselves are attached to the political theory that is part of sankhara. The revolution that comes from awakening by moving beyond all conditioning (including self) is the revolution that is permanent, within that permanent revolution would of course be the compassion that rejects wage-slavery and demands an end to all wars.

Moving beyond conditioning is awakening and anicca, western conditioning is still self – not anatta and is only temporary.

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

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

Terminology Warning – awakening

I have been re-engaging with Eckhart Tolle, someone who has greatly helped in the past. I like him because of his apparent lack of dogma, and his similarity of early experience as described in Power of Now (see below).

I re-engaged with him because I was examining pain, and in this talk he speaks of his dogma coming from Buddhism. That statement in itself now says little to me because there are many appeals to Buddhism, and as Eckhart also points out the mind has complicated what is Buddhism – sankhara or as Ajaan Buddhadasa says concocting or proliferations.

I am absolutely certain that Eckhart Tolle is talking beyond dogma, but in doing so he creates his own dogma. But the difference with his dogma is that for him it was insight – personal assessment. In other words Eckhart has moved beyond dogma, come up with his own insights, and then applied his own framework to where he has gone. So for him it is Buddhism that is beyond the dogma of Buddhism. Yet for others it is still dogma.

This paradox of the last sentence illustrates that there is a huge problem in all of this, communication – explaining. Once you move beyond dogma, language is a great limitation because language is the métier of dogma – it is the tool of sankhara. The only way that language has meaning beyond dogma is that if the experience is somehow shared.

Below I have copied Eckhart’s experience, and I want to compare. First I want to explain why. These experiences, awakenings connected to jhanas, are so important, and treated as non-existent by the intellectual establishment – by the intellect. I have only just begun to re-celebrate my own experience mainly through consideration of the 5 Gateways movie – if these experiences interest you listen to the people describe their experiences in the movie. Whilst Buddhism talks of these experiences through jhanas there is a sense of belittlement of them possibly because of institutionalism, the dogma of detachment or maybe simply some monks don’t have such experiences. I don’t know.

But these experiences are so important if placed in life’s context.

My experience was not one full-blown awakening as Eckhart describes his and that was primarily because of the booze. Because of the booze I describe my despair as “hitting bottom”. I think I was not suicidal because of the booze but as my “hitting bottom” was diffused over time by the booze, fortunately there was not the same intensity – the same level of despair.

Another difference, maybe, was that my life had not been intense. My early life been totally superficial, just concerned with academia. Everything had been easy. Get up, go to school, play some football. University was just as superficial with drink thrown in. Starting work was the only form of intensity. Studying for exams had been focussed – although not too successful. But there was a real focus for the job, I had to get up go to work and do the stuff they did; I had to have discipline for something that I found meaningless. And as it went on I had to be disciplined to do the work to get money to drink. I didn’t spend my 20s in despair, I drifted around on the surface getting drunk. When I hit bottom it was like I woke up and found an inner life.

But there was another important aspect of intensity for me, after awakening I spent 13 years getting increasingly dependent on alcohol. This diffused the intensity, I even remember thinking at times that getting drunk burnt off excess energy. Coming to terms with the newfound awakening was tempered by increasingly dealing with alcoholism.

This also meant that I was in no way fit to be a spiritual teacher, I could not control my desires – addiction. But over time in this world you cannot live with the intensity, and over time I eschewed the addiction. By then I had accepted the world path of teacher, and in my personal time I occasionally wrote – although that was not frequent. But once I retired I found my own way. Getting rid of the job by writing – Matriellez, then coming to terms with how I should lead life – Treatise, blogging as a means of clearing the mind – Zandtao, Matriellez and Ginsukapaapdee, until I am now writing stories – Wai Zandtao.

His description of experience sounds so exciting:- “Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words “resist nothing,” as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It felt as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly, there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void. I have no recollection of what happened after that.”

Experiences occurred for me differently. Hitting bottom was obviously brought on by the booze, and booze, as I suspect all drugs – maybe not marijuana?, prevents these jhanas. Immediately following hitting bottom I ran to my parents – I was 22. As usual at my parents’ house I spent much time walking, and I remember wandering around Manchester looking at suits in a Xmas pub thinking “what is this?” Still coming to terms with what was going on I returned to London, and in my Chiswick bedsit finding these experiences happening regularly. I think I was meditating but they just came in, nothing as shattering as Eckhart but there was presence. (Added next day) Exploring memory makes things clearer. That Chiswick bedsit was far more important than the hazy recollection I have of it. It was not special. I remember cooking on a landing in a loft space, having little room but loving it. Getting up there seems almost to have been a trigger for presence. I was stuck in the cubicle of a job, escaped and wandered up and down Chiswick High Road. Then there was the bedsit. Maybe meditation triggered it, maybe just being there triggered it. Can’t remember, doesn’t matter. It happened. That Chiswick time was Eckhart’s “I spent almost two years sitting on park benches in a state of the most intense joy.”

After that initial Chiswick “reward” they settled down but have been there for much of my life. Usually they occurred late at night in bed, and suddenly this experience would well up inside me and expand. There was no light for me but it was almost like the air itself was visibly vibrating. I remember the Summer I wrote Kirramura, and I spent the days waiting for the late night where I would go to bed, lie down and just wait for “the guys” to come …. and then I wrote. It was as if such experiences were a bottleneck, they would build up and then wait for a chance to come out – a time when I was quiet or meditating. Now they are less because I am old and meditate regularly. I discussed experiences and Buddhism generally here.

Recently I heard of someone watching 5 Gateways and crying because she had something similar. I was unable to follow up. It made me realise that there is a need to celebrate such experiences because in this world such spiritual matters are belittled by academics, and such people are marginalised not celebrated.

Such great joy!!

“I had become a spiritual teacher.” During Chiswick I started writing – Martin Smoothchatter. It was a time when Arts Centre people were so important as they ratified my experience. The cubicle was never for me, and after a couple of months I started taking Mongol kids out on a Saturday morning, I had found a meaning. This compassion turned to child care and then teaching.

And why are these experiences connected with dogma. They are not, because such experience does not happen if all there is is dogma. Dogma is the refuge of the academic mind. Of its nature dogma creates restrictions, belief in a dogma or not. And if there is restriction there is no experience. This is an experience of genuine freedom, and that only occurs if what we are doing is opening doors. By the way institutions cling to dogma, there are not doors opening.

So Eckhart explains his despair, his experience and his expanding consciousness offering his insights. And he says choose to do this without going through pain and despair. Can we choose to do this without despair? Ajaan Buddhadasa did – I think he just grew up being wise and grew older getting wiser, but others? Is there a choice without pain and despair? I hope so.

    This is copied from the introduction of “The Power of Now”.

The Origin Of This Book
I have little use for the past and rarely think about it; however, I would briefly like to tell you how I came to be a spiritual teacher and how this book came into existence. Until my thirtieth year, I lived in a state of almost continuous anxiety interspersed with periods of suicidal depression. It feels now as if I am talking about some past lifetime or somebody else’s life.
One night not long after my twenty-ninth birthday, I woke up in the early hours with a feeling of absolute dread. I had woken up with such a feeling many times before, but this time it was more intense than it had ever been. The silence of the night, the vague outlines of the furniture in the dark room, the distant noise of a passing train – everything felt so alien, so hostile, and so utterly meaningless that it created in me a deep loathing of the world. The most loathsome thing of all, however, was my own existence. What was the point in continuing to live with this burden of misery? Why carry on with this continuous struggle? I could feel that a deep longing for annihilation, for nonexistence, was now becoming much stronger than the instinctive desire to continue to live.
“I cannot live with myself any longer.” This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. `Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the `I’ and the `self’ that `I’ cannot live with.” “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”
I was so stunned by this strange realization that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts. Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words “resist nothing,” as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It felt as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly, there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void. I have no recollection of what happened after that.
I was awakened by the chirping of a bird outside the window. I had never heard such a sound before. My eyes were still closed, and I saw the image of a precious diamond. Yes, if a diamond could make a sound, this is what it would be like. I opened my eyes. The first light of dawn was filtering through the curtains. Without any thought, I felt, I knew, that there is infinitely more to light than we realize. That soft luminosity filtering through the curtains was love itself. Tears came into my eyes. I got up and walked around the room. I recognized the room, and yet I knew that I had never truly seen it before. Everything was fresh and pristine, as if it had just come into existence. I picked up things, a pencil, an empty bottle, marveling at the beauty and aliveness of it all.
That day I walked around the city in utter amazement at the miracle of life on earth, as if I had just been born into this world.
For the next five months, I lived in a state of uninterrupted deep peace and bliss. After that, it diminished somewhat in intensity, or perhaps it just seemed to because it became my natural state. I could still function in the world, although I realized that nothing I ever did could possibly add anything to what I already had.
I knew, of course, that something profoundly significant had happened to me, but I didn’t understand it at all. It wasn’t until several years later, after I had read spiritual texts and spent time with spiritual teachers, that I realized that what everybody was looking for had already happened to me. I understood that the intense pressure of suffering that night must have forced my consciousness to withdraw from its identification with the unhappy and deeply fearful self, which is ultimately a fiction of the mind. This withdrawal must have been so complete that this false, suffering self immediately collapsed, just as if a plug had been pulled out of an inflatable toy. What was left then was my true nature as the ever-present I am: consciousness in its pure state prior to identification with form. Later I also learned to go into that inner timeless and deathless realm that I had originally perceived as a void and remain fully conscious. I dwelt in states of such indescribable bliss and sacredness that even the original experience I just described pales in comparison. A time came when, for a while, I was left with nothing on the physical plane. I had no relationships, no job, no home, no socially defined identity. I spent almost two years sitting on park benches in a state of the most intense joy.
But even the most beautiful experiences come and go. More fundamental, perhaps, than any experience is the undercurrent of peace that has never left me since then. Sometimes it is very strong, almost palpable, and others can feel it too. At other times, it is somewhere in the background, like a distant melody.
Later, people would occasionally come up to me and say: “I want what you have. Can you give it to me, or show me how to get it?” And I would say: “You have it already. You just can’t feel it because your mind is malting too much noise.” That answer later grew into the book that you are holding in your hands.
Before I knew it, I had an external identity again. I had become a spiritual teacher.” Power of Now Intro.

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

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.


I was drowsy last night – in and out of dozing so went to bed early. As to be expected there wasn’t sleep, and I began thinking about detachment from the 5 khandas. This has followed from this Santikaro talk on Ajaan Buddhadasa that, simplified, talks of 4 systems:-

Body
Psyche
Self
Emptiness

At the crux of the first 3 systems are the 5 khandas – discussed in part here. I want to look more at the Psyche and Self systems, and I want to bear in mind the visualisation talked of in the same blogpost. It is most interesting to me why Buddhadasa wanted to choose the word psyche as opposed to mind, and again for me it has an implication that mind is more than psyche.

Before I go on I consider myself Buddhist but much of this is personal. OK I am bouncing off a talk about Ajaan Buddhadasa, a key Buddhist in Thailand – if not mainstream, but I have no suttas or related dogma to back this up. If I thought I was wrong I would not be writing this but it is not mainstream Buddhism – I think.

Let me return to the term “psyche”. I believe Buddhadasa chose the term psyche because it is concerned with the 3 khandas, vedana – feeling, sanna – perception, and sankhara – formations and proliferations. But it is also concerned with that part of consciousness – vinnana (the 5th khanda) which enables us to experience the 4 other khandas of rupa – body, vedana – feeling, sanna – perception, and sankhara – formations and proliferations. But there is a part of vinnana that is more than just consciousness of the other khandas, a part of mind that is more than psyche.

Now how does this relate to self? Anatta, no-self, is a Buddhist tenet, but how can there be no ego, no self? This is where the khandas come in. When you examine the function of ego or self and compare it to the 5 khandas there is no difference, there is no functioning of I that is not a function of the khandas. A human functions as the 5 khandas. So where does I come in? As part of vinnana. There is that part of vinnana which enables the 4 other khandas to experience but through our conditioning we say that I experienced – I felt, I perceived, I thought. But it goes further than this – I become attached to the feeling, I become attached to the perception, and I become attached to the thoughts. These attachments start to build up the I, then through desire we indulge the feelings, through desire we remember and focus on the perceptions, and through desire we concoct proliferations and theories and reasons and theories and reasons and theories and reasons and theories and reasons and theories and reasons and theories and reasons and theories and reasons ….. And this becomes the I that is our ego – our self.

But if we detach from the desire, detach from the excesses, let the feelings, perceptions and thoughts happen without attachment we have the normal functioning of the khandas – and no self.

Let me recap simply the visualisation. In this I was trying to detach from conditioning – detach from the khandas, and once detached there was a part of mind that enabled me to relate to sunnata.

So this brings me to last night. I eventually slept trying to detach from the 5 khandas. I woke up early, and began thinking of vinnana. It was vinnana that transcends, it is a part of vinnana that transcends – that is meant to transcend. By transcending I mean beyond conditioning, that it is part of vinnana that detaches from the conditioning, detaches from the khandas, detaches from the self, and moves to relate to sunnata.

At this point consciousness started to lift from the base of my stomach and move up the body and towards the top of my head – crown chakra. It was a great feeling as this heaviness in my stomach became lighter and lighter as it moved towards the crown. With it came a great sense of freedom. I enjoyed it for a while, consolidated thoughts on vinnana and slept again- too much!

Fascinating – a good experience!!

I need the 5 Gateways people to do some effusion for me! And to counter my framework crit of 5 Gateways Ascension theory, I could be just fitting the experience to the theory – a Buddhadasa 4-system moment. Of course there is no answer to such except .

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

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

This is my 3rd blog on 5 Gateways movie.

It is strange how things happen. I got into discussion with an ex-student – communication friend, and amongst the first things I discussed was what I consider my awakening – nothing as arrogant as an awakening as a Buddha but an awakening. At one point I was sent a fascinating Anonymous clip much of which I agree with, and all I could see was a lack of joy. How could this Anonymous guy say all this without joy?

That took me to the 5 Gateways movie where there is joy, and this elicited tears from someone watching it. I have watched (and slept) with this film a number of times, and feel good about it (proviso (s)).

I have to react to the following. Here are the movie’s initiation stages:- Awakening, Realignment, Transfiguration, Enlightenment, Resurrection. Given all of this what does it mean to me?

Whenever I start questioning myself, it usually means I have been complacent, and complacency usually means less meditation. This is true. My first reaction is to offer my ageing body as an excuse, but whilst it requires more time it is not an excuse – except occasionally.

I am at peace. Whilst I continue to offer my limited dhamma online there is little feedback – perhaps I have been too willing to accept this. This last year writing has blossomed with there being 2 Wai Zandtao books completed and a third half way through. Same issue as my online Dhamma – it is not being read. I am willing to accept this too. I would like to see ever y thing distributed, but am unwilling to pay the publishers’ price for doing that – if I were ever to seek one interested. I have done enough work, and am at peace. But having said that, I have some interest in seeing if there are benefits in helping distribution.

In the movie I love all the effusion about nature, I don’t do effusion. Maybe I should. But nature and I are close now with the house and the sea and the walking – and the birds that want my bananas but run from me. And my tokey friends. Close without effusion.

It is only now that I thought of Ascension as western and I amended the framework blog accordingly. That east-west dilemma has been something I have never been comfortable with, maybe it is just east and west together that we should think about. Eastern religion regularly sends emissaries because they see what is missing. To me what is missing in the West is tradition, the strength that tradition gives you, countering the risks of ego that exist without tradition around you. But the eastern institution can bury the rapture especially if the institutional “experts” have not experienced the rapture.

There is a need to detach from rapture but being detached does not mean not evaluating the rapture for the importance of what it is. And when people ask the dogma which of the jhanas is happening, do the institutions have the answer? Maybe they do, that is for them to answer, but per se an institution does not as an institution does not have experience. Buddhism has the tradition and there are individuals within the tradition to help. It is up to you how you go and look. A question just struck me, can a person be a true Buddhist without having experienced the rapture?

The most important thing about the Buddhism is its focus, it has taught me to focus on what people can control and not to try to get into areas where humans can only speculate. This is the danger of rapture (piti) – trying to control it. Is rapture a goal? I do have to say that at times when I was writing I did try to experience both sides of the muse – the writing and the presence that accompanied it; but it was never presence alone. Never a goal.

Ajaan Buddhadasa’s 4 systems do not seek rapture (see this talk):-

Body
Psyche
Self
Emptiness

Link these systems with the teachings concerning khandas (aggregates). The body and psyche systems are primarily concerned with khandas. We have to have an appropriate relationship with the 5 khandas – not attaching to them. If we don’t attach to them then effectively we have removed the “I and mine from the 5 khandas” (another Buddhadasa phrase), and there is an appropriate lack of ego (or self system) that enables us to relate to sunnata. I am not able to define this but this relationship with sunnata is what connects us to piti but the objective is not piti but sunnata. But we cannot experience sunnata we can experience piti, and we can only experience piti if we have established the conditions of the first three systems. And ironically those conditions are lack of conditioning. In the West that conditioning is oppressive and leads to rapturous experiences as discussed in 5 Gateways. I believe Hindus discuss such rapture as well (see Jim Carrey), but I don’t know Hindu except what is in Buddhism but am not sure of the distinction.

But the conditioning discussed in Buddhism is the same but different – what an appalling sentence. In the West conditioning tends to be discussed as social conditioning – almost indoctrination. It is almost seen as the outer imposing on the inner, and these external factors are considered as education, parents, community, society etc. Whereas the conditioning discussed in Buddhism comes from how we experience the 5 khandas through dependent co-arising, much more of an inner focus.

I often talk of “moving beyond” conditioning but this is not something we control. What we control is removing conditioning, by removing conditioning we open ourselves up to being the emptiness system – open ourselves up to a relationship with sunnata. This phraseology is so dangerous. What is sunnata – emptiness? It is the emptiness that is full, what does that mean? We cannot explain it, yet there is an emptiness system and a meaningful relationship with that system but one that cannot be explained. I said once that during meditation I breathe in emptiness, what does that mean? But doing it helped. Relationship with emptiness or an emptiness system is so fraught with danger.

Is the approach to conditioning helpful in considering rapture? I expand on this without answering. Does western conditioning with its type of oppressive approach encourage rapture when breaking out of the conditioning?

In meditation I worked on a visualisation that might help. To use this visualisation we must first know the 5 khandas:- rupa(body), vedana (feeling), sanna (perceptions/memory), sankhara (mental formations/concocting or proliferations), vinnana (consciousness). Basically Buddhadasa’s first three systems are concerned with understanding the khandas. He uses the word psyche as covering the 4 mental khandas of vedana, sanna, sankhara and vinnana, and it is my understanding that there is an aspect of mind that is more than these as can be seen by the visualisation.

The first 3 systems are basically covered by the Buddhadasa purpose of Buddhism:- “To remove the I and mine from the 5 Khandas”. The visualisation is based on the seeking of harmony of the first three systems enabling the freed mind to relate to the emptiness system.

The body has to function. It requires healthy food – ideally organic plant-based, any necessary medicine – hopefully natural/herbal, and it requires exercise both physical and energetic, and if done harmoniously rupa is a happy system ready for sunnata. Lack of harmony can be caused by indulging in unhealthy food for taste’s sake, partaking of drugs, and indulging in excessive exercise perhaps for reasons of “body beautiful” etc.

The 4 mental khandas are concerned with harmony of the mind, this perhaps is better understood as non-attachment. The easiest to explain in this way is sankhara. In this world the mind has certain functioning such as reasoning, the mind must apprehend theories in order to understand them (and reject them?). This is a sankhara function. But if we attach to theories, concoct theories, let the mind proliferate here there and everywhere, this is the ego attaching to sankhara and is evidenced in academia (Buddhist and otherwise). Why does academia not have a functioning approach to mind when all people have to do is look inside? Because of sankhara. There is a harmonious relationship with sankhara where the ego is not attached. Similarly there is a harmonious approach to the other three khandas whose functions are harmonious if the ego is not attached to them.

If there is harmony and non-attachment to the 5 khandas, then the body and psyche systems are ready. And of these systems are ready the self system is also likely to be in harmony. In Buddhism there is anatta – no self. There is no function of I and mine that is not covered by the 5 khandas. I grows out of the 5 khandas. If we attach to emotions, memories and theories saying this is who we are, we are attaching to the 5 khandas. Over time this attachment becomes our personalities – I. Letting go of attachment to I, to the 5 khandas, leaves the mind free. Letting go of conditioning leaves the mind free.

And here is where the visualisation comes in. With the 5 khandas in harmony, the body’s food and exercise having been dealt with, the psyche functioning also being in harmony with no attachment to the khandas, no attachment to I, the mind (the rest of the mind that is not psyche) is free. Visualise the mind being free from the khandas, free from I, and that min can expand and soar. That mind can be open to breathing in sunnata, that mind can soar into Unity, that mind can feel unconditional love. It is this freed mind that experiences rapture once mind as a whole is free from conditioning, free from khandas, free from I.

I contend that it is this mind freed from conditioning that experienced during the 5 Gateways, and it is the soul that “ascended”. Mind free from conditioning can experience.

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

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

Framework?

Posted: 05/08/2017 in Buddhadasa, ONE planet
Tags: ,

It was difficult for me to write about 5 Gateways, I don’t want to discourage people who are interested in 5 Gateways from going to them. But I don’t like frameworks.

For many of you (many on my blog?), looking at Buddhism you have got to see a huge proliferation of frameworks – it’s not worth listing them there are so many. And there are as many Buddhist traditions as there are Gateways. But it is my view that the Kalama sutta says that we should not hold to theoretical systems unless we have experienced them. Yesterday I mentioned Ajaan Buddhadasa. In a talk given by Santikaro (recognised as being a westerner close to Tan Ajaan), he described 4 samatthas (right systems) that Ajaan Buddhadasa focused on on his last mindful birthday:-

Body system
Psychic system
Self system
Emptiness system

I actually like this, if I think about these I feel it helps my understanding. But if you don’t that’s fine, that is the Kalama point to me.

And that’s my point about the 5 Gateways. If the 5 Gateways or initiations :-

Awakening
Realignment
Transfiguration
Crucifixion
Resurrection

if these Gateways work for you then use them. But trying to squeeze into them is the danger I am concerned about. What is valid is your experience, whatever happened to you that is what is valid, that is your strength.

But having said that, even that is not true. There are people who are stuck because they had such an experience and have never moved on. They try to recreate the experience because it was so meaningful, so powerful. I tend to think of these experiences as nature’s rewards for your progress on the Path, if you are following the Path then these rewards, wonderful experiences, happen. But if you become hooked on the experience and become an experience-junkie there is no satisfaction or peace – and no progress on the Path.

However it is worth considering the following:-

  • Ascension is western
  • I relate to the movie because the repressive conditioning I grew up with blew up into an awakening after hitting bottom. When I examine Buddhism I do not find discussion of oppressive conditioning, and a resulting awakening. Yes Buddhism talks of all the things including awakening but it seems as a gradual transition, awakening is maybe more “integrated” into eastern upbringing. It is hard to work out because of the institutional nature of much of Buddhism in the east and it is hard to judge an upbringing that is not your own. But there is a western thing when awakening happens or even before – “Go east”. And it is there in the east in Buddhism (and elsewhere) if not in the institutions – by the vary nature of institutions. Even though I ask questions about frameworks, Ascension has elements of western experience not found in Buddhism. Interesting.

    Below is how the Buddha described these experiences as jhanas, complicated? I have seen within forums people forlornly asking “did I experience a jhana?” I see people trying to squeeze into this jhana framework. I also see the experience of rapture being played down in Buddhism – non-attachment. Whilst I understand this I also understand the desire to celebrate the experience. This is a dilemma, attach to the experience or play it down as if detached. These are the negatives of the dilemma, there is a need for genuine equanimity – upekkha.

    I don’t know whether the people in the movie are attached or not, that is for them to decide. My strategy in recommending the movie is to encourage people to celebrate their experiences (and to cover myself I should say in a detached way). I have no doubts at all that I have overly-detached, and allowed time to forget the rapture. When I was younger (30s and 40s) such rapture was sporadic. Then I meditated daily and the highs of such rapture disappeared. But overall I felt better, no rollercoaster just peace – mostly.

    Am I being clear about fitting the framework? Let me try by example.

    Clip 20.36 – 23.32. Here Chris and Lesley describe experiences that have happened to them, these experiences don’t just happen to them they happen to many. But at the end Chris says it is his “Gateway 1 experience”, he fitted it into his Ascension framework. For me the descriptions of the experiences could equally have been described as rapture or jhanas. Or they could have just been described – that is why I recommend the film – for the description.

    When I hit bottom there was a mega-awakening from all the conditioning that had turned me into an arrogant academic focused on the system. I went back to London, took a job for money, realigned myself into a focus towards the Path, this realignment pushed me to child care and teaching, I had lost my ego and become this new compassionate person. This was the drastic one, the one that was obviously fitting into these Ascension categories. But as life went on there were further changes that could be described in this 5-stage process, and will be continued to be described in this way; this repetition was alluded to in the movie. The Buddha describes this as letting go of the ego leading to anatta, that is the emptiness that Ajaan Buddhadasa encourages. It is the experience not the framework, we don’t have to fit into a theory UNLESS that theory is where you are at. If theory and practice are together – great.

    It could just be that I have not reached the stages as described in the movie, I can’t be definitive about that – nor would I want to be. For me it matters not, but if you feel pressured to adhere to the framework it matters, that concerns me. For me measuring up to the framework doesn’t matter. If you relate to the experiences in the movie but don’t measure up to the framework, does that matter? That is for you to answer.

    Because they believe in the Ascension framework they will measure themselves against it, that is their choice. Because you have these experiences you don’t have to measure yourself by the same framework. BUT if it helps you do it.

    There is other stuff out there but not so many good movies. Enjoy, learn and feel reinforced.

    *************************

    jhána: ‘absorption’ (meditation) refers chiefly to the four meditative absorptions of the fine-material sphere (rúpa-jjhána or rúpávacara-jjhána; s. avacara). They are achieved through the attainment of full (or attainment -, or ecstatic) concentration (appaná, s. samádhi), during which there is a complete, though temporary, suspension of fivefold sense-activity and of the 5 hindrances (s. nívarana). The state of consciousness, however, is one of full alertness and lucidity. This high degree of concentration is generally developed by the practice of one of the 40 subjects of tranquillity meditation (samatha-kammatthána; s. bhávaná). Often also the 4 immaterial spheres (arúpáyatana) are called absorptions of the immaterial sphere (arúpa-jjhána or arúpávacara-jjhána). The stereotype text, often met with in the Suttas, runs as follows:
    (1) “Detached from sensual objects, o monks, detached from unwholesome consciousness, attached with thought-conception (vitakka) and discursive thinking (vicára), born of detachment (vivekaja) and filled with rapture (píti) and joy (sukha) he enters the first absorption.
    (2) “After the subsiding of thought-conception and discursive thinking, and by gaining inner tranquillity and oneness of mind, he enters into a state free from thought-conception and discursive thinking, the second absorption, which is born of concentration (samádhi), and filled with rapture (píti) and joy (sukha).
    (3) “After the fading away of rapture he dwells in equanimity, mindful, clearly conscious; and he experiences in his person that feeling of which the Noble Ones say, ‘Happy lives the man of equanimity and attentive mind’; thus he enters the 3rd absorption.
    (4) “After having given up pleasure and pain, and through the disappearance of previous joy and grief, he enters into a state beyond pleasure and pain, into the 4th absorption, which is purified by equanimity (upekkhá) and mindfulness.
    (5) “Through the total overcoming of the perceptions of matter, however, and through the vanishing of sense-reactions and the non-attention to the perceptions of variety, with the idea, ‘Boundless is space’, he reaches the sphere of boundless space (ákásánañcáyatana) and abides therein.
    [“By ‘perceptions of matter’ (rúpa-saññá) are meant the absorptions of the fine-material sphere, as well as those objects themselves . . . ” (Vis.M. X, 1).
    “By ‘perceptions of sense-reactions’ (patigha-saññá) are meant those perceptions that have arisen due to the impact of sense-organs (eye, etc.) and the sense-objects (visible objects, etc.). They are a name for the perception of visible objects, as it is said (Jhána-Vibh . ): ‘What are here the perceptions of sense-reactions? They are the perceptions of visible objects, sounds, etc.’ – Surely, they do no longer exist even for one who has entered the 1st absorption, etc., for at such a time the five-sense consciousness is no longer functioning. Nevertheless, this is to be understood as having been said in praise of this immaterial absorption, in order to incite the striving for it” (Vis.M. X, 16).
    “Perceptions of variety (ñánatta-saññá) are the perceptions that arise in various fields, or the various perceptions” (ib.). Hereby, according to Vis.M. X, 20, are meant the multiform perceptions outside the absorptions.]
    (6) “Through the total overcoming of the sphere of boundless space, and with the idea ‘Boundless is consciousness’, he reaches the sphere of boundless consciousness (viññánañcáyatana) and abides therein.
    (7) “Through the total overcoming of the sphere of boundless consciousness, and with the idea ‘Nothing is there’, he reaches the sphere of nothingness (ákiñcaññáyatana) and abides therein.
    (8) “Through the total overcoming of the sphere of nothingness he reaches the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception (nevasaññá-n’asaññáyatana) and abides therein.”

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

    Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.