Posts Tagged ‘Bhavana’

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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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.

Living as No Self

Posted: 24/09/2017 in Insight
Tags: , ,

I have finally worked through what all this talk of awakening is about. I spoke of two childhoods. Let’s examine the first childhood, the system childhood, the outer childhood. In this childhood my contents of consciousness were filled with all kinds of stuff they wanted to fill it with – mainly academia but also system compliance. And how did that childhood end? By hitting bottom and “awakening” – following the path. There was a system “I”, an “I” that had been formed in my childhood (actual) that had been based on my upbringing. This “I” had attached to all the conditionality, become arrogant, and had to be knocked on the head before starting the path.

So what has happened during the second childhood? Instead of taking the opportunity to live an unconditioned existence, my “I” took on new selves. I started with compassion, and through that compassion “I” was allowed to take on a teacher “self”. That compassion then moved to beyond teaching and started to take on a political “self”. In addition throughout this second childhood period there have been insights. But what happened to those insights? “I” has appropriated them. What started as insights from the path became thoughts (sankhara) that self appropriated leading to a second conditioned “I” that needed to be knocked out of existence. When I was focussing on awakening it was the path telling me to remember what happened in the first childhood, and get rid of the conditioned second childhood “I”.

In some ways this is harder to do. Hitting bottom and coming through experiences on the other side was rapturous but unconscious. It was a time to be grateful for – however unhinged I was. But this second “I” with an accumulation of teacher, political ideology and insights is more difficult because it can only be dealt with consciously – mindfully. I have tended to rely on the fortune of following the path, and have not applied mindfulness to my second childhood allowing the selves to condition a new “I”.

There is only mindfulness as a way out – mindfully living as no self. In this world of spiritual and systemic inimicality/delusion/conditioning, it can only be through the recognition of continually emerging selves and the need to continually release them that the path can be followed – that I cannot accumulate again.

Finally a special word for the political self that I have to be especially conscious of. Much of the above is bog standard Buddhism, and whilst it is good to have such a body of knowledge it is also an institution with all the entity problems of an institution. The biggest such problem is that of avoiding politics because by such avoidance the institution can survive and have greater influence. As an individual there is no need for such avoidance, in fact it is an important part of awareness and the end of conditioning not to avoid such institutional compromise. But when an individual has to be better than an institution like Buddhism that contains much wisdom, there is a big danger of ego. There is no doubt that I have attached to a political self, and so ideology is perceived. I cannot alter the perceptions of others but I have to continually be aware of the potential for self-accumulating.

Accumulating is a good word to describe the 1%-system but it is also a good word to describe the khandas. Aggregation is the natural process, accumulation is attachment, mindfulness means aggregate but not accumulate – mindfully living as no self.

Just a final caution. Whilst I might have reached this insight concerning mindfulness – living as no self, it does not mean I will do it. Hopefully I will keep trying though.

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

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.