New Buddhist Path - Beyond Transcendence and Immanence/Constructing Self - PP 39-46

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39271

    New Buddhist Path - Beyond Transcendence and Immanence/Constructing Self - PP 39-46

    Who is reading this book if there is no "self"?

    Your "self" is the source of judgments about the world. So, what does your "self" think of these two chapters?

    Your "self" is the root of frustrations and disappointments, feelings of lack. Does your "self" feel that these sections are lacking? That you are lacking?

    For folks who are new to this topic: The Buddhist proposition that there is no fixed "self", and that the subject/object divide (self vs. the rest of the world that is not yourself divide) is a mentally drawn line, does -not- mean that there is no "you" now reading these words. While, in one way of experiencing things, there is no "you" and the subject/object divide is only an arbitrary mental division and an illusion, but from another perspective there is a "you" (although more provisional and less solid and permanent than you might assume).

    Also, some folks believe that the goal of this practice is to be free of the individual "self" totally, once and for all. I do not believe so. We cannot function in the day to day world without a "self" that views itself as separate from other things. While their may be times of Kensho and the like in which the sense of being a separate and abiding self radically disappears, it must return for us to function in life. However, what is possible via this practice is for one to experience a sense of "self" and also "no self" at once (as if experiencing life simultaneously from two perspectives that are so interpenetrating and whole that they are truly one).

    Why is that a good thing?

    Because it allows one to experience life two ways (that are "not two"). For example, the "self" can experience loss, lack and frustration while simultaneously the "non-self" knows no loss, lack or frustration. One can experience a world in which we judge things and have hopes and regrets, and simultaneously a realm in which all is just as it is and precious. The "self" as an ordinary being in this world can experience the grief of a loved one's death, while the "non-self" experience surpasses the subject/object divide and can know something that does not "come and go", and is thus not a matter of birth and death. The "self" experiences the passage of time, the "non self" tastes something beyond the ticking clock.

    The central existential crisis of a human being is thus resolved.

    Does that make sense? Sound kinda nuts? Can you understand how the experience can resolve much human suffering?

    David Loy described many problems with a "transcendent" viewpoint. Is what he describing a "transcendent" viewpoint that somehow avoids those problems?

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-10-2017, 05:49 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Mp

    #2
    Originally posted by Jundo
    Who is reading this book if there is no "self"?

    Your "self" is the source of judgments about the world. So, what does your "self" think of these two chapters?

    Your "self" is the root of frustrations and disappointments, feeling of lack. Does your "self" feel that these sections are lacking? That you are lacking?

    For folks who are new to this topic, the Buddhist proposition that there is no fixed "self", and that the subject/object (self vs. the rest of the world that is not my self) divide is a mentally drawn line, does -not- mean that there is no "you" now reading these words. While, in one way of experiencing things, there is no "you" and the subject/object divide in only an arbitrary mental division and an illusion, but from another perspective there is a "you" (although more provisional and less solid and permanent than you might assume).

    Also, some folks believe that the goal of this practice is to be free of the individual "self" totally, once and for all. I do not believe so. We cannot function in the day to day world without a "self" that views itself as separate from other things. While their may be times of Kensho and the like in which the sense of being a separate and abiding self radically disappears, it must return for us to function in life. However, what is possible via this practice is for one to experience a sense of "self" and also "no self" at once (as if experiencing life simultaneously from two perspectives that are so interpenetrating and whole that they are truly one).

    Why is that a good thing?

    Because it allows one to experience life two ways (that are "not two"). For example, the "self" can experience loss, lack and frustration while simultaneously the "non-self" knows no loss, lack or frustration. The "self" as an ordinary being in this world can experience the grief of a loved one's death, while the "non-self" experience surpasses the subject/object divide there can be experience something that does not "come and go", and is thus not a matter of birth and death. The "self" knows the passage of time, the "non self" tastes something beyond the ticking clock.

    The central existential crisis of a human being is thus resolved.

    Does that make sense? Sound kinda nuts? Can you understand how the experience can resolve much human suffering?

    David Loy described many problems with a "transcendent" viewpoint. Is what he describing a "transcendent" viewpoint that somehow avoids those problems?

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Nuts? No not at all ... What a great expression Jundo, thank you for this. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    s@today #with wishing of something better and yet accepting of things just as they are

    Comment

    • Tai Shi
      Member
      • Oct 2014
      • 3309

      #3
      For me it was the advice and consent of my primary care doctor who told me "practice Zazen in every moment of every day." This was not the first doctor to tell me this, but also my Ph. D. therapist had worked with me through guided meditation, and through correcting faulty, so not from him, he gave me permission to find myself, and even the faulty pain specialist, and it was my non-self that sought through counting then beyond to let self and non-self flourish in Buddha arms around Christian shoulders toward freedom.

      Thank you so very much my teacher. You also have given permission for sitting in emptiness and non-emptiness, so in every day there is some self that lives in some pain for every living thing, and with self permission we are free. Thank you so very much Jundo, and in our Dokusan I learned of the self. Thank you my teacher.

      Tai Shi
      std
      Gassho
      Peaceful, Tai Shi. Ubasoku; calm, supportive, for positive poetry 優婆塞 台 婆

      Comment

      • Onkai
        Treeleaf Unsui
        • Aug 2015
        • 2840

        #4
        Thank you, Jundo. I find that I feel that sense of lack but can fill it temporarily with smaller and smaller joys, such as a cup of good tea or zazen. Sitting has made me aware of how my mind works sometimes. I'm still struggling to understand emptiness of form, sensations, perceptions, formations and consciousness. Occasionally I feel I'm getting a glimpse of how my self is interrelated to the rest of existence.

        Gassho,
        Onkai
        SatToday
        美道 Bidou Beautiful Way
        恩海 Onkai Merciful/Kind Ocean

        I have a lot to learn; take anything I say that sounds like teaching with a grain of salt.

        Comment

        • Jundo
          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
          • Apr 2006
          • 39271

          #5
          Originally posted by Onkai
          Thank you, Jundo. I find that I feel that sense of lack but can fill it temporarily with smaller and smaller joys, such as a cup of good tea or zazen.
          Hi Onkai,

          It is important to count our blessings (I do ), but there is also a "Joy" and Completeness that comes from this Practice which underlies all small, passing human judgments and feeling of joy (small "j") or sadness, wholeness or completeness (small "c"). I can only describe this as a Joy at heart of the very fact that often life is sad and happy, a sense that even life's incompleteness is Complete in its very incompleteness.

          This comes in the dropping of the self-centered, judgmental "self".

          I wrote about this a bit here, in a very incomplete talk ...

          SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: gratitude & Great Gratitude
          This "Buddha quote", however nice it sounds, is not something the Buddha likely said at all (turns out to be from the cheery 70's writer on love, Leo Buscaglia (http://www.fakebuddhaquotes.com/fake-buddha-quote-let-us-rise-up-and-be-thankful-for-if-we-didnt-learn-a-lot-today-at-least-we-learned-a-little/)). Oh, the


          Gassho, J

          SatToday
          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

          Comment

          • Jakuden
            Member
            • Jun 2015
            • 6142

            #6
            I will echo Tai Shi's gratitude. The ability of self and non-self to exist without conflict is the ultimate gift. On this very day I will be mired in lack and craving, but at the same time will be free of all lack and craving. Not 🥜 at all!
            Gassho
            Jakuden
            SatToday


            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

            Comment

            • Onkai
              Treeleaf Unsui
              • Aug 2015
              • 2840

              #7
              Thank you, Jundo. That was an eye-opening post and link (to the talk). I will cultivate Great Gratitude with a capital "G".

              Gassho,
              Onkai
              SatToday
              美道 Bidou Beautiful Way
              恩海 Onkai Merciful/Kind Ocean

              I have a lot to learn; take anything I say that sounds like teaching with a grain of salt.

              Comment

              • Hoko
                Member
                • Aug 2009
                • 444

                #8
                For some reason the koan Ungan (Yunyan) Sweeps the Ground has always resonated with me.
                As Yunyan was sweeping the ground, Daowu said, “Too busy.”
                Yunyan said, “You should know there’s one who isn’t busy.”
                Daowu said, “If so, then there’s a second moon.”
                Yunyan held up the broom and said, “Which moon is this?”
                "You should know there is one who is not busy."
                And yet, there are not "two moons".

                So many times in practice I find myself present both as the one who is busy (immanent) and the one who is not busy (transcendent).
                After all, someone has to solve all the problems even as there are no problems to solve!

                But also, in moments when there is no peace I am aware that there is one who IS at peace (with a capital P) and that's reason enough for boundless practice.

                Gassho,
                Hoko
                #SatToday
                Last edited by Hoko; 03-14-2017, 12:24 AM.
                法 Dharma
                口 Mouth

                Comment

                • Shokai
                  Treeleaf Priest
                  • Mar 2009
                  • 6391

                  #9
                  _/\_
                  合掌,生開
                  gassho, Shokai

                  仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

                  "Open to life in a benevolent way"

                  https://sarushinzendo.wordpress.com/

                  Comment

                  • AlanLa
                    Member
                    • Mar 2008
                    • 1405

                    #10
                    One of the new forms of psychotherapy that uses mindfulness is called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). The ACT workbook describes the very same mental process as Loy does in the section when he talks about the objects on his desk and how language creates for them what he calls "functional possibilities" that represents a constructed or conditioned reality of dualism and dukka and the wonderfully worded "sense of lack" that we all have. The other fascinating parallel between the ACT workbook and this section of the Loy text is how the workbook makes a distinction between "you" as a representation of your constructed self and your brain that helped create that construction that inadvertently left "you" lacking. The workbook then helps to deconstruct that sense of lack as a means of letting go of the dukka conditionally associated with it. I am grossly oversimplifying, of course, but my point here is that ACT is a westernized version of buddhist psychology (something it readily admits to) that is completely stripped of its Buddhist spirituality. In other words, it is ultimately goal directed rather than process oriented, in my view.

                    I really liked how he describes how religion is used to try and fulfill that sense of lack, especially his reinterpretation of the Adam and Eve story. I read all the time on this forum how so many of us came to Buddhism because traditional Judeo-Christian practices did not fulfill that sense of lack, and so we moved our search from external sources to internal sources of fulfillment. This certainly speaks for and to me.
                    AL (Jigen) in:
                    Faith/Trust
                    Courage/Love
                    Awareness/Action!

                    I sat today

                    Comment

                    • Jundo
                      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                      • Apr 2006
                      • 39271

                      #11
                      I do not know if this is connected to what Al wrote, but I asked this of our mental health professionals awhile back ...

                      I have a question or two for all our mental health professionals at Treeleaf.

                      I was listening to an episode of a new science podcast on the subject of "Dark Thoughts" (be warned, if others will want to listen and are sensitive, that some of descriptions during the episode are very very dark and violent).

                      The lines between boy and girl can be blurry but NPR's Invisibilia introduces us to someone with a very new idea of how blurry they can be.


                      During the first 30 minutes of the program, they discuss 3 schools of therapy:

                      -1- Analysis seeking for the meaning of thoughts, usually Freudian. Thoughts have meaning, often hidden in the subconscious.

                      -2- Dr. Beck's Cognitive Behavioral Therapy "don't take one's 'automatic negative thoughts' seriously, challenge them and don't buy in", which has come to largely replace analysis for most therapists.

                      -3- "Third Wave" or "Mindfulness" Therapy which, without seeking to contradict thoughts as in CBT, just "lets them go without engaging" in meditation, not buying in. This kind of therapy is experiencing a boom.

                      I am wondering how you feel about all this.

                      Also, it is my impression that 3 (and aspects of 2 too) have the flavor of Shikantaza. There are differences too from Shikantaza, which emphasizes much more. Based on your experience in our Community and with Shikantaza, how do you find Shikantaza to be similar or different from 2 and 3?

                      It would be very helpful to hear from all our professionals.
                      Hi, I have a question or two for all our mental health professionals at Treeleaf. :) I was listening to an episode of a new science podcast on the subject of "Dark Thoughts" (be warned, if others will want to listen and are sensitive, that some of descriptions during the episode are very very dark and violent).


                      The consensus among several of the professionals who responded seemed to be that, yes, there was much common ground.

                      Gassho, J

                      SatToday
                      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                      Comment

                      • pthwaites
                        Member
                        • Aug 2016
                        • 48

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Jundo
                        The Buddhist proposition that there is no fixed "self", and that the subject/object divide (self vs. the rest of the world that is not yourself divide) is a mentally drawn line, does -not- mean that there is no "you" now reading these words. While, in one way of experiencing things, there is no "you" and the subject/object divide is only an arbitrary mental division and an illusion, but from another perspective there is a "you" (although more provisional and less solid and permanent than you might assume).
                        I have to admit that I find these ideas extremely challenging - particularly as my practice leads me to experience them in more than just an intellectual way. I have always found the teaching of non - permanence easy to grasp, for example, because it can be understood using the intellect rather than being directly experienced. The same can't be said, though, for the teaching above, which I think is much more difficult.

                        One way I've tried to get into it is to think of my own habits in terms of the way that they reinforce my own sense of selfhood. For example, every night around 9 I have a snack - hot chocolate, a piece of cake. I think it's true that these things make me feel more concrete. But I also find this thought extremely unsettling: if there is no inherent "self" apart from these thoughts, perceptions, etc. with which I experience my snack, then what is there?

                        I also find that things which might previously have been sources of comfort - the pleasant smell and feeling of fresh bed sheets, for instance - suddenly become a profound reminder of the illusory nature of reality.

                        I'm curious how others have navigated the tension (if they felt any) which I feel when I spend time contemplating these ideas?

                        Gassho

                        Sat today

                        Peter

                        Comment

                        • Jakuden
                          Member
                          • Jun 2015
                          • 6142

                          #13
                          Originally posted by pthwaites

                          I'm curious how others have navigated the tension (if they felt any) which I feel when I spend time contemplating these ideas?

                          Gassho

                          Sat today

                          Peter
                          Ooh I know the answer to that one! Stop contemplating and navigating and Just Sit! (Coming from a perceived "self" who experiences the same tendency to intellectualize everything and feels the tension you describe!)

                          Gassho,
                          Jakuden
                          SatToday

                          Comment

                          • Jeremy

                            #14
                            In this section, I loved David Loy’s description of Buddhist realization as "a transformative realization that the world as we usually experience it ... is a psychological and social construction that can be deconstructed and reconstructed". My first degree (many years ago) was in psychology and since then I’ve been aware that reality, including my self, is a social and psychological construction. The academic psychologist’s job is generally to come up with theories about the nature and process of this construction, with no thought of pulling it apart and putting it together again in a different guise. This is what most interests me about Buddhism – that it does involve a radical reconstruction of the way we experience reality.

                            As it's relevant to this section, here's a great line I came across recently in Sue Hamilton's "Identity and Experience":
                            Nirvana is selfless ... because it is the experience of ceasing to project the separateness of selfhood onto oneself and everything else..."
                            Jeremy
                            SatToday

                            Comment

                            • Risho
                              Member
                              • May 2010
                              • 3179

                              #15
                              I love this section; for me, this teaching of non- self is one if the most fascinating and helpful teachings of Buddhism. I really love this section lol

                              This section, Jundo's talk in Buddhas basics; I just like listening or reading these ovef and over because they are so damned resonant. And, even though I sit regularly, I slip into old habits a lot, so these teachings are just like a fresh breeze.

                              Being able to step back from "the blender" ( to steal a Jundo example ) and see without necessarily participating/ more like being controlled is very very cool; thats an understatement and also much deeper than my simple example.

                              Its freeing to be able to drop what we think is us; it opens us up. I dont know how to explain it but this practice allows us to relax our grip and by dojng that we experience a wider sense of things. This may make no sense; its hard to explain but its why I love the practice.

                              Gassho

                              Risho
                              -sattoday
                              Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

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