Monday, January 29, 2018

"But Words (Word-based Thoughts) Get in the Way"

"Sometimes I go about with pity for myself
and all the while Great Winds 
are carrying me across the sky."                   Ojibwe saying

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Everyday Mind's Blindness

     Most of us (sort of) realize that we don't "stop to smell the roses" enough. But who has time for such luxuries? After all, doesn't "everyday mind" insist that we're either a hunter or rabbit, and that it's always rabbit-hunting season?
     No wonder we miss out on so much - a huge chunk of life that doesn't involve survival / mating. Many people, events & things don't even enter our consciousness.

     “… organisms don’t pay much attention to … (things that are) not important in Darwinian terms (spreading genes). … 
     My older brother, after reaching the phase of middle age when women no longer paid much attention to him, said, ‘It isn’t that they think I’m bad looking. They just don’t realize I exist.’ Exactly! As a heterosexual woman walks down a city block, there are tons of things she could focus on, so the first job of her perceptual apparatus is to filter out things that, with the most cursory, even unconscious appraisal, are seen to not merit extended, conscious appraisal. Sadly, that category of things includes my brother …”
     Robert Wright. "Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment." Simon & Schuster, 2017.

Watershed Wood Designs

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Reading and Practice

     “… Buddhist practice … emphasizes the realization of nondwelling mind’: a mind that does not identify with any particular forms, including thought-forms such as ideologies, whether religious or secular.”
       David R. Loy. “A New Buddhist Path. Enlightenment, Evolution and Ethics in the Modern World.” Wisdom Publications, 2015.

      It's remarkable how easily the Buddha's (and other sages') wisdom teachings can be misinterpreted to fit the relatively early stage of consciousness of those who handed down the teachings orally & by transcription. Literal dogmatic interpretation of such writings is clearly problematic. In the Buddhist and other meditative traditions, meditation practice acts as a corrective to help us gain direct experiential knowledge.

     “Wisdom is what this practice is about. It is the elusive and hard-earned quality of mind we so desperately try to achieve. When found, it will become the compass that shows the way as we try to penetrate and understand the three mind-defiling elements of greed, aversion, and delusion. The antidote to delusion is wisdom, and the byproduct of wisdom is happiness, not the sensory happiness that we spend most of our lives chasing but genuine wisdom happiness that comes from the insight, information, and knowledge gained by continually being aware. The wisdom that must be present in the mind when meditating should at its most basic level be:
     1) the information you will receive from reading or listening to dhamma-related topics.
     2) The wisdom that comes from curiosity and interest must also be present. This investigative faculty of mind is necessary for developing further wisdom.
     3) Experiential wisdom arises out of a mindfulness practice that has both (1 & 2 above) firmly in place.” 

       Sayadaw U Tejaniya. “Where Awareness Becomes Natural. A Guide to Cultivating Mindfulness in Daily Life.” Shambhala, 2016.