Posts Tagged ‘intellect’

Philosophy – BigTalk

Posted: 16/03/2018 by zandtao in Insight
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Simon Critchley is talking with Russell about philosophy – it is not a talk I recommend. This talk to me typifies the worst aspect of Russell’s involvement with academia.

Simon began by saying that the questions they are asking are the same as the time of Socrates. This tells me philosophy is a waste of time yet genuinely there is nothing better than enquiry. We cannot accept what we are told, we cannot accept our conditioning, we must ask what is conditioning, how are we conditioned, we must have genuine enquiry.

This is enquiry with a purpose not discussion for the sake of it.

In Buddhist terms I classify discussion for the sake of it as sankhara – verbalising mental proliferations. It is normal human interaction to have conversation for conversation’s sake but that is not learning – not enquiry.

Why is it that understanding has not developed through centuries of asking questions? Has the answer for truth or justice changed over the years? There is a temporal component but primarily truth is permanent. It is known when people speak the truth through insight. Understanding could have developed but there are factors working against a greater understanding.

Primarily it is because philosophy is part of academia which is part of a system that is not looking for truth justice or any of the usual concepts of philosophical understanding. In a 1% system where are they looking for justice? Such justice would have to be critical of the 1%. Enquiring after the source of human problems, we have to answer in part the source of injustice is the 1%. In the same way as not all conditioning is the 1%-system, some human suffering stems from human conditioning that would exist in a non-1%-system. Is it just to have any suffering because of a 1%-system? If philosophy cannot answer yes to this, it is not seeking answers – it is not enquiring.

Is there a path, a way of going beyond conditioning? Anyone who has gone beyond conditioning – transcended, says yes. Intellectuals stuck in conditioning and sankhara says there isn’t a path. Because there are more of those intellectuals and they want the academic system (for jobs etc.), it becomes a consensus, and academia does not accept there is a path.

In the same way all those who go beyond conditioning say there is insight. Intellectuals stuck in the conditioning of sankhara do not have insight so it is not accepted.

All people who have experienced compassion by transcending see compassion as the essence of humanity, intellectuals stuck in sankhara have not experienced that compassion so are unable to draw appropriate conclusions.

Genuine creative people have transcended, their relationship with the muse has taken them beyond. Intellectuals stuck in sankhara cannot know what creativity is – they just talk about it. So academia talks about creativity, and is not creative.

When people sit still and look inside their heads their minds are swirling. When meditators look inside their heads their minds are not swirling. As philosophy is concerned with mind, does it accept this? No because intellectuals in academia do not meditate. This swirling is an observable representation of sankhara – mental proliferations. Sankhara can be observed by all, intellectuals and the state of mind of meditators before meditation. In view of this, should intellectuals stuck in sankhara be making judgements of states of mind they have not experienced?

These are all examples of philosophical questioning, questioning that benefits from not having answers for intellectuals who keep jobs by not having answers.

There are plenty of things that the path does not have answers for. There is much that needs to be learnt about humanity, transcending, going beyond conditioning, how to go beyond, etc. All of these are important philosophical questionings but such enquiry cannot exist because the 1% and the intellectuals have not gone beyond questioning. With what they do to humanity, the 1% cannot go beyond – cannot transcend.

All of the above is usually rejected by academic philosophy because it is vague – path muse is not defined. Words like insight creativity have a meaning beyond the rational yet there is an unwritten academic assumption that there is nothing beyond the rational. Perhaps they can discuss that of course. Genuine enquiry, Campbell’s quest?, gets buried in words and circular arguments. What if I had a stake up my arse would I or perhaps I wouldn’t maybe as if I suppose.

“Death is in the mouth” reminded me of Castaneda’s “death is always over the left shoulder”. If death as a constant presence provides motivation and determination it is useful. Death is, why discuss it? Death gives motivation and determination, why discuss it? What happens after death, do we know? Why discuss it?

During the interview they had a conversation about football – personal, and a conversation about humour – professional. Personal and professional conversations must happen, when a teacher I just rabbited on – only of interest to teachers – and then only some. Philosophy needs to be about learning and wisdom ie the path and not conversations. But as explained above it won’t happen. Philosophy is just professional discussion for philosophers.

Russell can have interviews about philosophy, but it has very little to do with learning at any level. This interview with Simon to me demonstrates all that is wrong with philosophy. A significant proportion was spent discussing football “in a philosophical way”, and at the end they only just touched love. Russell was into the diversion as much as Simon. Maybe Simon has more to him than this, but as a philosophy prof he could be just a conquistadore of sankhara.

Russell, intellectualism is an addiction – addiction to the self of sankhara. Intellectualism is not learning, it is circulating around mental proliferations. Learning is the path scything through these proliferations and coming up with internalised truth. There is a case for studying the intellectual ideals so that you have the tools with which to discourse, but remember that discourse without purpose – without internalising – is simply verbalising the proliferations.

Russell, you have a huge advantage over most intellectuals. Through the 12 steps you connected with the path – with the power that helped you fight through your addiction. Intellectualism per se does not know this power, in fact conditionality (which includes the intellectual) is afraid of that power, of the truth that scythes through meandering rationales. Remember the path, do not get sucked back into the world of intellectual addiction because you respect “profs”.

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Posted: 15/12/2015 by zandtao in Insight, Meditation

For me the intellectual ego attaches to analysis, and this leads to an inability to understand and discern factors. Let me explain initially by what I look at. I ascribe only mathematical analysis to the word “analysis”. As a result there is much that is left unexplained. When I am examining a problem the scope of analysis and reason becomes limited, and I am forced to describe other mental processes to see what is happening. When mathematical analysis and reason come up short, I start enquiry. This brings in additional factors associated with the problem that can be analysed – strictly mathematically. At some point there comes a limit at which enquiry and analysis can develop. At this same point my mind becomes frustrated as the analysis and reason are chasing the same reasons around in a circle. It removes analysis and reason from possible situations and it focusses. This focus produces concentration – jhana – in which I am free from mundane thinking, and am left with understanding and insight. Because I limit the analytical process by definition I clarify understanding of the problem.

Now use a broad understanding of analysis (such as analytical meditation). Obviously this includes the mathematical analysis and reason. Then the meditation begins enquiry as part of analysis, and continues to analyse not by noting that enquiry has led to mathematical analysis and reason but by simply saying continue to analyse. Thinking or contemplating leads to further analysis which might well produce further thoughts that might then be considered insight. So analytical meditation produces insight by contemplation, enquiry, analysis and reason. There is no recognition of concentration and consciousness as described here, understanding comes from analysis and important details of the process are missed out.

Why are they missed out? It could be perfectly reasonable (analytical) to then break down the contemplation into concentration and consciousness but this doesn’t always happen. Why not? Self. Who analyses? I analyse; I contemplate, I enquire, I reason and deduce. The results might be the same as by focussing understanding comes but there is no self. I use the phrase “might be the same” because I feel that the self would prevent the clearest access to consciousness, and so understanding becomes limited.

Therefore the broad description of analysis is not useful as it is vulnerable to clinging. How does one help people avoid the suffering this clinging causes? By asking what is not analysis, what mental factors are not analysis? There are two main factors that I experienced – insight and creativity. Although in my case the insight came first, creativity naturally had jhanas with it so the process to insight using jhana was repeatedly reinforced through creativity. In this way perhaps the analysis atta can be avoided by identifying that consciousness creates, and that creation comes from jhana, and then the process of insight through jhana creates insights and understanding. Wisdom can then be divorced from knowledge and reason, truth cannot be analysed but is understood, and the 4 brahma-viharas are accessed by jhana; the atta clinging to analysis can be avoided.

Maybe the word awareness comes up as an answer to what is not analysis, and then we can get to judgement-free awareness – right mindfulness. Excellent – this just slipped in!!

I have always said analysis has its place, this is a much clearer explanation.

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Done and Dusted

Posted: 12/12/2015 by zandtao in Insight

point1WARNING 27/2/16

At the time of discussion of “The Two Paths” I was attempting to accommodate an intellectual Path; even whilst doing so I was uncomfortable with it. I tried to focus on the “shift” as described by HHDL but the intellect I was discussing with did not engage with the word – presumably because it was a non-intellectual process. Now that I have accepted mu it is clear that what I am aiming for is beyond intellect, and this whole rationalising of “Two Paths” was just an engagement with intellect. I am keeping this series of discussions on Two Paths on my blog as a warning as to how much the intellect can drag you in the wrong direction.


This intellectual challenging had been disturbing me. Despite seeing it as an attempt to look at two paths there was so much of an effort to reconcile the two approaches it was disturbing me. The same thing that happened before was happening again. I wanted some sort of inclusivity, this tolerance, and I was bending over backwards to reach it. My own intellect was beginning to dictate and think that the answer could be analysis in broad terms – as can be seen from this.

Last night all that changed, and it is now done and dusted. At the same time the answer is personal, so cannot be explained – no matter how much I want to explain it and include others in the process. 04.00 and I began thinking about this. It was all about enquiry, typically:-

zbullet Was insight contemplation?
zbullet Was contemplation detachment?
zbullet The Buddhadasa quote was very clear, but his rational thinking and intuitive insight were clearly opposed based on definitions. What if “broad analysis” – as in analytical meditation (contemplation, enquiry, analysis and reason) meant that the distinction was not so clear?
zbullet Was right thought thinking and insight?

I began framing a question for the group. Then I began thinking more and more about the question, and my mind became a bit of a turmoil. I forced myself to stop thinking about the group and began thinking for myself. Was I clear on all these questions? For me I was clear about many but what about contemplation and detachment – where I stopped yesterday? I needed to be clear of the turmoil, I needed clarity. And my mind started to focus – concentration – jhana. It was not a completely powerful jhana as I could remember from the past but there was focus, and this stayed – without any bells and banjos. I needed concentration to get at the answer, and then the answer is ….

zbullet Understanding.

With right concentration there is understanding. Understanding understands, consciousness understands.

The next thing I remember is waking up from a disturbing dream. Then dreaming again – a slashing nightmare – slashing is a dream symbol for the mind – sleeping again and the same slashing nightmare; and waking up.

Evaluation is fairly straightforward. Understanding is not reached through an analytical process – conscious or unconscious. Understanding or insight occurs when a channel to consciousness has been established. This insight is a thought and a process exactly as I had used before. It is not up to me to try and fit in with the intellect and its miseducated ego, in Buddhist terms there is a need for right concentration – jhana – not reasoning.

My title should of course be “done and dusted for now”, but it doesn’t feel like it so it isn’t.

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Intellectual Trap

Posted: 05/12/2015 by zandtao in Insight

I mentioned the shared experience of Unity, and how we can learn by the experiences of others to avoid traps; I mentioned particularly the intellectual trap – the intellectual self. Online the intellect mentioned “insight (analysis)”, and had repeated same previously, this is an ouch. Here are the definitions for insight, by definition it is something separate from analysis:-

• Insight – the capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing.
• Intuition – a phenomenon of the mind, describes the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason.

As has happened previously reason has appropriated for itself something that is not reason. I had been questioned by this intellect about insight, at the time he did not define his terms; now I can see why – well I knew really.

I had a bad night as I kept waking up thinking about this, I was happy at finding this contradiction. There was clearly ego on my part involved in this. I have battled with intellect all my life, battled the intellects who negate my experience which I describe amongst others as insight. Understandably I have an ego because of the defending. It might be understandable but I have to let go of it. I felt good that the intellect trap of defining terms had trapped the intellect but in reality it has to be very difficult for the intellect; he is older than me as well so even harder. He knows my blog but I think I have the right here, but I will not be confronting him online; it has to be uncomfortable enough for him now.

I have to be more humble, the feelings that kept me awake were not good feelings. I felt good but they were not good feelings. If you look at those feelings properly there was a pleasure – I felt pleasure – because the intellect had been defeated in his own terms. But in reality I should feel empathy because the intellect will have to struggle with his own contradictions, and as intellect is so important to him that struggle has to cause pain. I will not pursue the point, and let him address the issue again if he chooses.

And I have to look at my own pleasure. Remember the grubby times in Sevenoaks, sleep destroyed by drink – then hitting bottom, running to Sale, wandering streets of Sale and Manchester as an empty shell – partly envious at office parties in pubs yet knowing I didn’t belong for the first time, then somehow crawling back to London to that trashy job in Hounslow. I now recall one of the conditions I wanted for that job was that it was not to be academic; still it was, I had discipline but did the job, completely disliked what I was doing, returning to the Chiswick loft, roaming up and down Chiswick High Road, meditating and yoga for the first time just to get through the day, starting with caring with the mongol kids, and after a period of 6 months my life was on track as a housefather and the Arts Centre. I don’t wish that turmoil on anyone, and yet shamefully last night I felt pleasure. At least by the end I was thinking about meditating on humility.

I now realise this blog was about two intellectual traps, one was my own arrogance.

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Khandhas and Senses

Posted: 05/12/2015 by zandtao in Insight, Meditation
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I have been guilty of flights of fancy for most of my life. The power of my experiences has placed an emphasis on those experiences, this is good, but has encouraged me to rate those experiences as religious (OK) but in a non-human realm. This has been a mistake. I have not touched God.

Having said that, my enemy, intellect, has gained control of the truth, and is trying to negate those experiences. This is far worse because that negation places emphasis on intellect and moves people away from experience. Those experiences are so important because they are the most defining aspect of human experience and if their value is to be reduced by intellect then the robots take over. At present I am in a discussion in which the word analysis comes up repeatedly, what is analysis? I suspect it means any kind of thinking anyone wants it to mean rather than a methodical approach based in reason.

In science early analytical methods have been rejected. When the atom is examined it cannot be broken into constituent parts, and we end up with the almost irrational complexity involving probabilities. Early on in this realisation books by Gary Zukav and Fritjof Capra pointed out many holes in their arguments, I presume science thinks the newer complexities have filled in these holes. I doubt it but cannot prove this. A scientific method that has proven fallible in science is being applied to religion.

On experience all people do not have the same experience, and I contend nor are they intended to. Life is the sum of all consciousnesses, and not all people experience consciousness the same way. In life’s journey we share experiences, we listen to others’ experiences and then form a collective consciousness based on this summative process. All experiences do not fit into our filter, we have to accept another’s experience as being valid. Reason is particularly guilty of filtering out all that is not reason. At the same time, when reason is applied outside its remit, its function, it negates experience there – basically if reason cannot experience it is not valid. Amusing I have just done definitions and reason and insight are mutually exclusive.

Different peoples’ experiences can be a warning to others, and the major warning I throw out is against the ego of reason or intellect. “Intellect – the faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively, especially with regard to abstract or academic matters.” It is this ego that made me hit bottom, and come out the other side. How? I was an arrogant maths student with limited awareness. My life was a focus on maths and drink – very limited. This worked at university – just, but when I started work all that was academic was questioned; I was not important – worse I was actually a failure at work. I had invested in the self that was academia and that was proving to be insubstantial. Drink became more and more important, and I hit bottom. After hitting bottom everything was not rosy but I had started on my Path. Erroneously I had seen this Path as being something “unmanifest” but it was not – it was consciousness. My ego was not blocking consciousness, that is Path which is now path. The paths of all people are part of their consciousness. Throughout life self gets in the way of that consciousness blocking it one way or another but not attaching to self is just consciousness coming through.

This is khandhas:-

• Rupa – body
• Vedana – feelings
• Sanna – perception
• Sankhara – thought
• Vinnana – consciousness

Previously I had not addressed the importance of vinnana. Because of the power of the experiences I had always sought the personal or self in them. These experiences are rightly powerful but not to be attached to.

What is a jhana? I have avoided this word because I had an ambivalence to jhanas and a perceived jhana competition:-

“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 orarúpávacara-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.”

“Thus the 1st absorption is free from 5 things (i.e. the hindrances, nívarana, q.v.), and 5 things are present (i.e. the factors of absorption; jhánanga). Whenever the monk enters the 1st absorption, there have vanished sensuous desire, ill-will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and scruples, doubts; and there are present: thought-conception (vitakka), discursive thinking (vicára) rapture (píti), joy(sukha), and concentration (samádhi). In the 2nd absorption there are present: rapture, joy and concentration; in the 3rd: joy and concentration; in the 4th: equanimity (upekkhá) and concentration” (Vis.M. IV).

The 4 absorptions of the immaterial sphere (s. above 5-8) still belong, properly speaking, to the 4th absorption as they possess the same two constituents. The 4th fine-material absorption is also the base or starting point (pádaka-jhána, q.v.) for the attaining of the higher spiritual powers (abhiññá, q.v.).

In the Abhidhamma, generally a fivefold instead of a fourfold division of the fine-material absorptions is used: the 2nd absorption has still the constituent ‘discursive thinking’ (but without thought-conception), while the 3rd, 4th and 5th correspond to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th, respectively, of the fourfold division (s. Tab. I, 9- 13) . This fivefold division is based on sutta texts like A . VIII, 63 .
For the 8 absorptions as objects for the development of insight (vipassaná), see samatha-vipassaná. – Full details in Vis.M. IV-X.

Jhána in its widest sense (e.g. as one of the 24 conditions; s. paccaya 17), denotes any, even momentary or weak absorption of mind, when directed on a single object.”

How does one understand all this? Is there any wonder why there is so much confusion? Somewhere within all of this exists the experiences of the muse, ecstatic erratic meditation, and so on – somewhere the tingling in the air of presence. The only word that truly helps (at the moment) is absorption.

What is clear? Jhana or absorption is a faculty of mind or consciousness, my experiences are khandha and do not require self.

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Leading to Questions

Posted: 05/12/2015 by zandtao in Insight, Meditation

I am struggling with an intellectual, and it is opening up an area of exploration I haven’t considered properly. In his case there is the usual problem, intellect cannot accept that there are areas beyond which intellect cannot go; not quite true, “it appears that” there is the Unconditioned and what is conditioned can be explained by intellect. He has given up on meditation, and the rest intellect can explain; this is not the first intellectual I have found has given up on meditation – and I think this is significant.

I don’t accept that intellect can explain the rest because of my experience of insight and rapture but relying on what experience has given me is not enough. In an effort to fit in I gave that erroneous explanation as explained in the blog “Fantastic Compassion”, but that places me in the realm of mind only – 6 senses only. Placing me in senses only leaves me vulnerable to the destruction of the intellect, yet truth has to be stronger. So what is the truth?

The key to solving this has to be meditation, and the intellect came up with a good quote from Stephen Bachelor on meditation. Here is the quote intermingled with what I answered online:-
“Good quote – thought-provoking:-

“Meditation originates and culminates in the everyday sublime.”

What is the everyday sublime? It suggests to me at least an everyday ordinary and an everyday sublime. Meditation is sourced in the sublime. I was into the 4 brahma-viharas, and a paper “The Four Sublime States by Venerable Nyanaponika Thera” helped me not be fanciful about these states. Recent discussions here have in part considered transcendence and analysis, and both in the context of meditation. Could transcendence be considered transition from ordinary to sublime, helped or otherwise by meditation?

Then consider analysis. Analysis occurs within the chattering mind, reasoning and comparing often occurs in the chattering mind. In my meditation one of the first things I do is calm the chattering mind stopping the chatter allows me to then clear the mind. Thoughts and some insights can then come but I don’t “chatter” about these thoughts during meditation, I feel it would destroy the clarity. I think about them later. So it makes me ask “what is analysis?” Does analysis occur in different states or is it part of the everyday ordinary?

“I have little interest in achieving states of sustained concentration in which the sensory richness of experience is replaced by pure introspective rapture.” What little rapture I have had, I have enjoyed; but I see it more as a carrot, a reward for being true to the Path. Are we advised not to seek states during meditation – just happen?

“I have no interest in reciting mantras…” When younger, 35 years ago, a friend used to come home from work and meditate on his TM mantra for half an hour. This helped him. It is not for me, for me it feels like putting the mind to sleep.

“gaining out of body experiences, reading other people’s thoughts,” Are these not considered by-products not purposes?

“practicing lucid dreaming,” Doesn’t this help people?

“or channeling psychic energies through chakras,” One Summer I spent time with the chakras with the help of a Gary Zukav book. Ever since then I have occasionally used chakra meditation especially if concerned with the health of the body.

“let alone letting my consciousness be absorbed in the transcendent perfection of the unconditioned.” Isn’t it fanciful to think we can transcend to the unconditioned? Isn’t the sublime sufficient? How can we know it is unconditioned?

“Meditation is about embracing what is happening in this
organism as it touches its environment in this moment.” Power of Now.

“The mystical does not transcend the world but saturates it.” What is the mystical?
Stephen Bachelor, After Buddhism, p.231”

The quotes and my answers lead to important questioning:-
What are sublime states?
What is transcending?
How do sublime states and my experience correlate?
What is rapture?
What is the mystical?
And in addition not written in the post
What is truth?
What is wisdom and insight?

Good questions – end of blog.

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Fanciful Compassion

Posted: 24/11/2015 by zandtao in Insight
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I slipped up, I tried to do too much. I have been attempting to understand another’s Path, I cannot. It is ludicrous to try to understand what I mean by Insight through intellect as has been evidenced in my previous discussions that have turned nasty. Yet I still try, but at least this time it did not turn nasty and led to an error on my part only.

There is another intellectual illusion that has come up – analytical meditation (I am not writing for a group here). One important aspect of meditation is to remove the chattering mind, what is the main component of the chattering mind – intellect. Is there an analysis that occurs in meditation – possibly? I know my meditation, there are times when there is chattering mind full of intellect, and there are times when thoughts come in as Insight; is there analysis during meditation – possibly? I need a clear mind of meditation to resolve this. My desire for tolerance allowed me to accept an intellectual approach that I find so completely difficult to accept, what I would describe as intellect masquerading as analytical meditation. I can’t see it any other way. I am doing my tolerant bending again, I am trying to see this intellectual masquerade as a Path – tolerance. To be tolerant I must allow the possibility of this being a Path, but I must not allow this type of masquerade to cloud my own judgement. I must not react to the intellectualism, I see my getting fanciful as being part of this.

I wrote this email:-

“Compassion is more than an emotion, it is more than just something we feel. Ultimately there is the Unconditioned, then there are the 4 brahma-viharas – divine abodes. From my Buddhist dictionary “ “‘There, o monks, the monk with a mind full of loving-kindness pervading first one direction, then a second one, then a third one, then the fourth one, just so above, below and all around; and everywhere identifying himself with all, he is pervading the whole world with mind full of loving-kindness, with mind wide, developed, unbounded, free from hate and ill-will.” Hereafter follows the same theme with compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity.”

This reminded me of the hermetic tradition “as above so below”. When an abode is divine is it as not as close to the Voidness as possible? I suggest there is a noumenal compassion that is part of the Voidness, having no phenomenon, no atta. In the same way there is a Wisdom that is noumenal having no atta. If Insight can touch Wisdom, can compassion meditation touch Voidness-Compassion? Theosophy says “there is no religion higher than truth”. Is there a Voidness-Truth that has no atta? Intellectually this makes no sense. In meditation I came to this, I trust my meditation.

“Beyond all desires? Kusala, or wholesome/skillful ones as well? Then where’s compassion or metta?” When in a divine abode there is Natural Wisdom, Naturally skilful.

Divine abode is religious “jargon”. Even if this “noumenal” description is created, surely a “divine abode” has got to be pretty close to the Source, more than emotion, and wise because of proximity to the Source – hence skilful.

Proof, being a Buddhadasa addict I have to prove. There are 2 sources of proof, scientific or objective proof – very limited, and subjective proof; my primary source of subjective proof is Insight meditation. The above has that subjective seal of approval – from me. It does not have intellectual approval.”

You can see a reaction to an intellectual straitjacket in this.

OK what is this noumenal “Voidness-Compassion”? Ludicrous. It was a nice intellectual construct to put Compassion, Truth, Wisdom in Voidness, good intellectual ego on my part. I was deluded by the Dzogchen quote, taken from the last blog “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, devoid of 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.”” This is so seductive – “part of the nature of pure awareness (rig-pa)”.

I made another error, I allowed Tibetan to seduce me, Sogyal did all that as well. “Talk of Gods, talk of touching rig-pa, and what else, meditating you are a God”, it is the Course in Miracles delusion. Am I a God, can I be a God in meditation? Fanciful.

I read this “The Four Sublime States by Venerable Nyanaponika Thera”. Isn’t sublime state enough? Why do I need to touch rig-pa – Voidness-Compassion?

How can the destructive intellect to describe such a sublime state as emotion? That is because intellect wants to assume that intellect is all that there is in mind. Why can’t a sublime state be wise? Again a good intellectual question because the intellect is destructive. A mind can have a sublime state, such a state is meant to be. Such a sublime state is wise, it is beyond intellect, intellect cannot reach it, it can analyse the results of such a state but it cannot reach it. Nature.

In trying to understand the intellect in a Path I allowed my own intellect to create a ludicrous proposition “Voidness-Compassion”, intellect is such a trickster.

In meditation compassion has been special, just because it is special cannot make it “Voidness-Compassion”. So careless and fanciful on my part.

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

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

Belief Insight and Faith

Posted: 13/11/2015 by zandtao in Insight, Meditation
Tags: ,

I have just had a huge negative reaction from a believer in Buddhism – horrific. It was out of the blue and as yet (if ever) I have no idea where it came from.

I suspect it came from a believer or a jhana king, and even if it isn’t that is where I begin this. A belief is simply an idea that is clung to, however beliefs are clung to by institutions and this makes those beliefs powerful; so powerful that those beliefs have been used to fight wars. My understanding of the Buddha is that he was trying to say to people to move beyond belief to understanding. Ideas are not important, they rapidly change over time; the deep conviction that comes with Insight into these ideas is the understanding that he was trying to convey.

Faith is a word that I have rejected. My view of it would be that it was not just belief but complete immersion in a set of ideas, and that immersion brings with it a conviction. However that particular conviction is not based on Insight but this immersion process. It is this immersion that leads to the blindness that can lead to conflict. “My faith is better than yours” is a consequence of this immersion, and because there is a conviction nothing can change that comparison.

Of course this is separation – division, and because Unity is fundamental dangerous to humanity.

However the word “conviction” here is interesting. To describe Insight I would begin with Eureka moments, followed by Insight through creativity, and then Insight meditation; I think all three are Insights although meditation is the only method – at a stretch you might call “being creative” methodical. What accompanies Insight is a deep conviction, a conviction that cannot be changed. This is a danger with Insights in that although they are never wrong they can develop, and if you cling to early Insights without allowing them to develop this can be harmful.

What if Insight is the basis to genuine Faith as opposed to immersed faith. Saul to Damascus is a described religious exerience that could be considered a “sort of awakening”, I presume St. Paul then had faith. If it is an “awakening” then there is Insight in St. Paul’s faith even if the terminology does not match Buddhists or mine.

Such a genuine religious experience has to be an “awakening” onto the Path, so the issue with Faith is not whether someone has Faith but where did that faith come from? If that Faith came from a genuine religious experience then that Faith is someone’s Path.

HHDL’s study method is taken from “The Middle Way: faith grounded in reason”. In the above descriptions Faith comes from Insight or religious experience, which hopefully leads them to follow a Path. If that Path is not subjected to analysis there is a danger of stagnation thought clinging. The suggestion of the title “Faith grounded in reason” is that the Faith can come from reason, to me the study method reads that although I don’t understand that. The study method says (this is my interpretation as I don’t understand it) that through immersion there can develop a conviction on the Truth of what is being studied leading to a deep conviction that is Faith.

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

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

The Study Path and Meditation

Posted: 13/11/2015 by zandtao in Meditation
Tags: , ,

point1WARNING 27/2/16

At the time of discussion of “The Two Paths” I was attempting to accommodate an intellectual Path; even whilst doing so I was uncomfortable with it. I tried to focus on the “shift” as described by HHDL but the intellect I was discussing with did not engage with the word – presumably because it was a non-intellectual process. Now that I have accepted mu it is clear that what I am aiming for is beyond intellect, and this whole rationalising of “Two Paths” was just an engagement with intellect. I am keeping this series of discussions on Two Paths on my blog as a warning as to how much the intellect can drag you in the wrong direction.


“If you are serious about Dharma practice, it is important to cultivate a good understanding of the teachings. First of all, it is important to read the texts. The more texts you read – the more you expand the scope of your learning and reading – the greater the resource you will find for your own understanding and practice. When, as a result of deep study and contemplation on what you have learned as related to your personal understanding, you reach a point on each topic when you have developed a deep conviction that this is how it is, that‘s an indication you have attained what is called understanding, derived through contemplation or reflection. Before that, all your understanding will have been intellectual understanding, but at that point it shifts. Then you have to cultivate familiarity, make it into part of your daily habit. The more you cultivate familiarity, the more it will become experiential.”
Dalai Lama, The Middle Way: Faith Grounded in Reason

This is the model I am using for the Study Path.

It is a major concession on my part to consider intellectual understanding as part of a Path but that doesn’t make my assessment of the intellectual ego invalid. The intellectual ego is so divisive. This ego is not tolerant, and insists that all accept its way; such a dangerous weapon.

Nature has given us a tool to control this ego – meditation. Having had battles with my own intellect I know how important meditation is to me to maintain control, and that is on a Path which does not see intellectual understanding as part. In fact in many ways connecting the words intellectual and understanding for me seems inappropriate. One aspect of the tool, intellect, is that it enables ideas to be held in the mind to be examined; this of course is not understanding but the intellect will always want to delude you that it is. In my view HHDL’s Path requires a great amount of meditation, something he does – I believe I read he sits for 4 hours a day.

There is another interesting observation. Minds dominated by the intellect find it difficult to meditate, typically “meditation does nothing for me”. I conclude without any real justification an incompatibility, maybe it is just incompatibility with an ego that is intellectual. I certainly conclude that someone on the study Path cannot let meditation go.

I broke down the Study Path into 6 stages:-

• Deep study
• Contemplation or reflection
• Deep conviction that this how it is – these first 3 are intellectual
• Shifting
• Cultivating familiarity
• Experiential understanding

I have not received any explanation how this connects with Insight despite highlighting its importance – as I saw it.

This Study Path is a Path I must tolerate as yet I do not understand how it can be a genuine Path without Insight. Where is the awakening in it? My yardstick!!!

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

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

Buddhism – at least 2 Paths?

Posted: 13/11/2015 by zandtao in Insight
Tags: , , , , ,

point1WARNING 27/2/16

At the time of discussion of “The Two Paths” I was attempting to accommodate an intellectual Path; even whilst doing so I was uncomfortable with it. I tried to focus on the “shift” as described by HHDL but the intellect I was discussing with did not engage with the word – presumably because it was a non-intellectual process. Now that I have accepted mu it is clear that what I am aiming for is beyond intellect, and this whole rationalising of “Two Paths” was just an engagement with intellect. I am keeping this series of discussions on Two Paths on my blog as a warning as to how much the intellect can drag you in the wrong direction.


Maybe 7 years ago I attended a talk in Bangkok given by Phakchok Rinpoche. He was a very powerful and funny man, and wound all the Theravadans up something rotten. The monks were squirming in the seats and monks and nuns were muttering away. To be honest I was just impressed with the man. I am going to refer to this with the Ludlum phrase “The Hinayana Incident”.

Accompanying his talk he gave out a paper describing 3 Buddhist Paths:-


And there was some blurb that went vaguely like this. “In Buddhism you begin with some initial study that could be called the Lesser Vehicle or Hinayana. Then people begin to increase their study to the Greater Vehicle or Mahayana, and then finally they arrive at the highest form of learning Vajrayana.” Now to be perfectly honest it was extremely rude of this monk to go to a home of Thai Buddhism and present Theravada in this demeaning way.

I was personally not that invested in “being Theravada” so it didn’t wind me up, and after all it was someone from outside coming and talking about something he had never done – being Theravada. I think I am a bit angry about it now. I think all aspects of Buddhism talk about Unity, and yet the teachings are presented in such a divisive way. I have just got involved in a discussion online in which a similar division is occurring, and it reminded me of this. In fact all discussions online remind me of divisions, and whenever I think of division I think of uncontrolled intellect that delights in separation and cannot accept Unity. It reminds me so much of all the Trots who all claim they are Marxist, and believe in the power of the mass movement. Yet they all want the mass movement to follow their version of Marxism, and completely divide the Left by the way they say the mass movement should follow their particular individual bookwriter as opposed to a different bookwriter who has a Marxist group. In politics there is one leader the mass movement, and if organisers cannot get the mass movement to recognise the importance of seeing themselves as one Unity and the ensuing working together that could maybe dethrone the 1% then that means more wars for profits etc.

The parallel with Unity in Buddhism is so clear to me. You begin with Unity, because we are ONE and separation is caused by mind. From this Unity we can recognise that all Paths lead to Unity. This is a Truth for all Paths in Buddhism as well as for other Paths. So when there is a discussion in Buddhism shouldn’t it revolve around finding what is the commonality or the Unity rather than perpetuating mind-created differences.

This firstly made me think about my own Path – hitting bottom, coming out on the Path – awakening?, throughout my spiritual life somehow being close to the Path or not, being creativity helping closeness, erratic meditation experiences, veering to Buddhism, regular meditation, focussing on Theravada in retirement, wider reading, focussing on Buddhadasa. Basically the underlying Unity is what forced me onto the Path in the first place, and the rest of my life has been about holding to the Path or not, and how do I do this? For me in Theravada this meant Insight meditation, through Insight connecting to the Path.

When I read Eckhart Tolle, or others on the their creativity, I regularly see this hitting bottom and unconsciously I made an assumption that I now see as incorrect that peoples’ Paths will have this sort of awakening. Because of this awakening component my view of Phakchok Rinpoche’s hierarchy of study was an intellectual aberration.

With the current online discussion I was sent this quote from HHDL:-
“If you are serious about Dharma practice, it is important to cultivate a good understanding of the teachings. First of all, it is important to read the texts. The more texts you read – the more you expand the scope of your learning and reading – the greater the resource you will find for your own understanding and practice. When, as a result of deep study and contemplation on what you have learned as related to your personal understanding, you reach a point on each topic when you have developed a deep conviction that this is how it is, that‘s an indication you have attained what is called understanding, derived through contemplation or reflection. Before that, all your understanding will have been intellectual understanding, but at that point it shifts. Then you have to cultivate familiarity, make it into part of your daily habit. The more you cultivate familiarity, the more it will become experiential.”
Dalai Lama, The Middle Way: Faith Grounded in Reason

Now intellectual understanding is not something I am overly keen on as it has been my experience that the intellect is divisive. In fact I have seen that for those coming to the Path a focus on the intellect can lead to internal conflict that can produce awakening.

However there has always been a flaw in my approach that I have only partly internalised, why is Buddhadasa my teacher and yet he never had an awakening? I have never really answered that question until now – when perhaps I am getting answers.

Does there have to be an awakening? In the above quote HHDL describes a model of 6 stages:-

1) Deep study 2) Contemplation or reflection 3) Deep conviction that this how it is – these 3 are intellectual

4) Shifting 5) Cultivating familiarity 6) Experiential understanding

What is the shifting? Is it at all connected to awakening? Maybe shifting is just a smaller degree of awakening?

It seems to me there are two distinct types of Path:-

The Path of Awakening
Deep Study that leads to Understanding

If one has had an awakening, especially in the West where such awakenings are often associated with miseducation, it is hard to understand how deep study can be a Path.

If one is studious it is hard to see how someone who claims awakening after hitting bottom either through drugs or otherwise can be experiencing something other than feeling good in a recovery programme after the hangovers have gone.

What primarily needs to be understood is that no matter how exclusive these Paths appear to be they lead to Unity, and Unity is what all Buddhist seek, what all Seekers seek.

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

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.