Upside Down Thinking

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KeithA
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Upside Down Thinking

Post by KeithA » Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:04 am

Hi folks,

I am posting this here for the benefit of anyone who might be browsing these fora. Not really looking for a discussion, they just seemed like useful words.

We have this idea and it’s part of our culture. This idea has been created in this culture. That is “if we practice properly we can get this state of mind that is fixed and stable and its just the way we like it. That’s like finding a cloud in the sky and saying “that’s my cloud it will never change. It doesn’t work that way. Buddhism is not about attaining some state of mind. Buddhism is about being clear about the mind that you have. Whatever it is in each moment. If you are feeling irritated be clear about that. If you are having a good experience be clear about that. Don’t be deceived. See what is actually happening in the moment. Then you could use your life to make a difference in this world.

Barry Briggs, JDPSN
_/|\_

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Astus
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Re: Upside Down Thinking

Post by Astus » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:34 am

"Buddhism is about being clear about the mind that you have."

Mindfulness is a popular cloud.

"See what is actually happening in the moment."

It is seeing only if one can tell the difference between the wholesome and unwholesome, but it becomes practising only when unwholesome thoughts are not generated anew and those already there abandoned, and wholesome thoughts are generated and those already there are cultivated. It is then that there is some difference made.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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KeithA
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Re: Upside Down Thinking

Post by KeithA » Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:46 pm

Astus wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:34 am
"Buddhism is about being clear about the mind that you have."

Mindfulness is a popular cloud.

"See what is actually happening in the moment."

It is seeing only if one can tell the difference between the wholesome and unwholesome, but it becomes practising only when unwholesome thoughts are not generated anew and those already there abandoned, and wholesome thoughts are generated and those already there are cultivated. It is then that there is some difference made.
Thanks for the comments, Astus.

I have said elsewhere and back at ZFI that I see little utility in forum conversations, from a practice point of view. For me, it's mostly just "shooting the shit", as they say. Words on a screen lack all the very necessary tone, facial expressions, etc. of in the flesh conversation, which I feel is vital when discussing practice and the Dharma.

However, there is one area that I find very useful and that is in looking at my own reactions to posts, precisely because there is no tone. My reaction to the words above were mostly to roll my eyes and feel defensive. I know Barry PSN personally, having sat retreats with him, listened to him give talks at various wider Sangha gatherings, as well as having had personal conversations with him. So, there is some context to go along with the words in the OP. Barry, in word and in action, is a credit to the Dharma and is an inspiring teacher. That's just my opinion, though. Other's opinions are none of my business.

But, rolling my eyes probably isn't very nice, and forgoes an opportunity to learn something, so I will look into what was written. This is a discussion forum, so if I put something up, it is natural that it be picked apart. I wasn't really interested in that, but that's not up to me. :coffee:

_/|\_

Keith

SunWuKong
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Re: Upside Down Thinking

Post by SunWuKong » Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:02 pm

KeithA wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:04 am
Hi folks,

I am posting this here for the benefit of anyone who might be browsing these fora. Not really looking for a discussion, they just seemed like useful words.

We have this idea and it’s part of our culture. This idea has been created in this culture. That is “if we practice properly we can get this state of mind that is fixed and stable and its just the way we like it. That’s like finding a cloud in the sky and saying “that’s my cloud it will never change. It doesn’t work that way. Buddhism is not about attaining some state of mind. Buddhism is about being clear about the mind that you have. Whatever it is in each moment. If you are feeling irritated be clear about that. If you are having a good experience be clear about that. Don’t be deceived. See what is actually happening in the moment. Then you could use your life to make a difference in this world.

Barry Briggs, JDPSN
_/|\_
I find it useful, i was cogitating something similar. An unhappy, miserable person will make others unhappy and miserable. Yet if they don't see that - that they are unhappy and miserable - they just go on doing it. (this is an example) The unskilled will get drawn into the commotion and strife and turmoil they create The miserable person does not think they are miserable because they are waist high in denial and misery. Call it mindfulness, whatever, to shine a light into that darkness. Similarly, someone who rises above the ordinary accepts things as they are and does not get weighed down by the world and all that's in it, even though it is inescapable
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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KeithA
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Re: Upside Down Thinking

Post by KeithA » Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:43 am

SunWuKong wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:02 pm
KeithA wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:04 am
Hi folks,

I am posting this here for the benefit of anyone who might be browsing these fora. Not really looking for a discussion, they just seemed like useful words.

We have this idea and it’s part of our culture. This idea has been created in this culture. That is “if we practice properly we can get this state of mind that is fixed and stable and its just the way we like it. That’s like finding a cloud in the sky and saying “that’s my cloud it will never change. It doesn’t work that way. Buddhism is not about attaining some state of mind. Buddhism is about being clear about the mind that you have. Whatever it is in each moment. If you are feeling irritated be clear about that. If you are having a good experience be clear about that. Don’t be deceived. See what is actually happening in the moment. Then you could use your life to make a difference in this world.

Barry Briggs, JDPSN
_/|\_
I find it useful, i was cogitating something similar. An unhappy, miserable person will make others unhappy and miserable. Yet if they don't see that - that they are unhappy and miserable - they just go on doing it. (this is an example) The unskilled will get drawn into the commotion and strife and turmoil they create The miserable person does not think they are miserable because they are waist high in denial and misery. Call it mindfulness, whatever, to shine a light into that darkness. Similarly, someone who rises above the ordinary accepts things as they are and does not get weighed down by the world and all that's in it, even though it is inescapable
:good:

This thread went in a little different direction then I thought it would. The words that struck me were:

"That is “if we practice properly we can get this state of mind that is fixed and stable and its just the way we like it. That’s like finding a cloud in the sky and saying “that’s my cloud it will never change."

I didn't really consider the mindfulness angle. I suppose it's because I am used to the language PSN was using and am familiar with him on a personal level. :shrug:

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Re: Upside Down Thinking

Post by White Lotus » Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:48 am

Sounds like good advice. Ordinary mind, begginers mind is just as special as experts mind they are both fundamentally 1 mind. Clouds come and clouds go. If we can gently observe our reactions and feelings without punishing ourselves. That helps. It's fine to be impatient or irritated. Just watch the feelings. Feel you'r sensations. Don't force them away. It's ok to feel 'inappropriate' feelings. They arn't really you'rs. Feelings sometimes try to use us. That's ok. Be a cloud watcher. Learn to be compassionate to these feelings. If they are very difficult ask them if they would like to take refuge in the triple gem. They may say yes. You may gently have to ask many times. Practice requires patience and a good degree of acceptance. Slowly slowly. Tom. :namaste:
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.

White Lotus
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Re: Upside Down Thinking

Post by White Lotus » Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:48 am

It is important to feel feelings if we are to gradually let go of them. Expressing a feeling is different from feeling it. Expressing anger upon a person it will continue to come back later; perhaps even worse. You can save for later and process/feel negative feelings later on when you are alone. There is a whole science to feelings. The important thing to know is that feelings need to be felt and not ignored or they will do damage.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.

SunWuKong
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Re: Upside Down Thinking

Post by SunWuKong » Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:23 am

i was stuck in the mindfulness serenity trap for years before i started to use Right Effort and Concentration to pay attention to the events as they took place. There's mindfulness techniques, then there's a kind of mindfulness used to skin razor blades
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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Lindama
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Re: Upside Down Thinking

Post by Lindama » Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:22 am

KeithA wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:04 am
Hi folks,

I am posting this here for the benefit of anyone who might be browsing these fora. Not really looking for a discussion, they just seemed like useful words.

We have this idea and it’s part of our culture. This idea has been created in this culture. That is “if we practice properly we can get this state of mind that is fixed and stable and its just the way we like it. That’s like finding a cloud in the sky and saying “that’s my cloud it will never change. It doesn’t work that way. Buddhism is not about attaining some state of mind. Buddhism is about being clear about the mind that you have. Whatever it is in each moment. If you are feeling irritated be clear about that. If you are having a good experience be clear about that. Don’t be deceived. See what is actually happening in the moment. Then you could use your life to make a difference in this world.

Barry Briggs, JDPSN
Good on Barry.... as far as I can see, he's not talking about the mindfulness/serenity trap. others are.

Keith, as far as talking in a forum and "shooting the shit"... I don't hold it that way. It has everything to do with practice when we open our mouths and actually make a response. Barry says as much.... he is refuting the "fixed and stable and it's just the way we like it". The key is that there is no such thing as permanence.... including the pride we take in "right practice" or saying just the right thing. So, IMHO, speaking has everything to do with practice. Practice is nothing if we can't move our lips and give voice.

Barry is very clear. I personally don't appreciate how in the midst of clarity, we have been so indoctrinated to mistrust ourselves. if we are mistaken, soon enough we trip and may see another view for ourselves or with guidance from a teacher.

My zen teacher often reminded us..... "the teaching is upside down". forever grateful. ofc, upside down has nothing to do with thinking.

linda
Not last night,
not this morning,
melon flowers bloomed.
~ Bassho

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Lindama
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Re: Upside Down Thinking

Post by Lindama » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:08 am

I was puzzling as to where to post this.... it is both related to what Barry said .... and just right for Zen for the Hollidays.
Snowball

I made myself a snowball
As perfect as could be.
I thought I'd keep it as a pet
And let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas
And a pillow for its head.
Then last night it ran away,
But first it wet the bed.
~Shel Silverstein
The back story is that this is from Dec 24, 2007.... on panhala.net, a site which no longer exists. They had the best poetry with a musical background. I did not know the author until I just now googled it... So far, it has never failed to bring laughter.... timeless wisdom never does
Not last night,
not this morning,
melon flowers bloomed.
~ Bassho

muni
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Re: Upside Down Thinking

Post by muni » Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:11 pm

Lindama wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:08 am
I was puzzling as to where to post this.... it is both related to what Barry said .... and just right for Zen for the Hollidays.
Snowball

I made myself a snowball
As perfect as could be.
I thought I'd keep it as a pet
And let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas
And a pillow for its head.
Then last night it ran away,
But first it wet the bed.
~Shel Silverstein
The back story is that this is from Dec 24, 2007.... on panhala.net, a site which no longer exists. They had the best poetry with a musical background. I did not know the author until I just now googled it... So far, it has never failed to bring laughter.... timeless wisdom never does
:jumping: Emaho!
“ Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek. ”
H H Dalai Lama

"Relax." nirvana-samsara do not stray from spaciousness.

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seeker242
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Re: Upside Down Thinking

Post by seeker242 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:29 pm

Buddhism is not about attaining some state of mind. Buddhism is about being clear about the mind that you have.

Yet, you could also say it is about attaining some state of mind, and that state is a clear state. :smile:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

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KeithA
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Re: Upside Down Thinking

Post by KeithA » Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:41 pm

Lindama wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:22 am
KeithA wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:04 am
Hi folks,

I am posting this here for the benefit of anyone who might be browsing these fora. Not really looking for a discussion, they just seemed like useful words.

We have this idea and it’s part of our culture. This idea has been created in this culture. That is “if we practice properly we can get this state of mind that is fixed and stable and its just the way we like it. That’s like finding a cloud in the sky and saying “that’s my cloud it will never change. It doesn’t work that way. Buddhism is not about attaining some state of mind. Buddhism is about being clear about the mind that you have. Whatever it is in each moment. If you are feeling irritated be clear about that. If you are having a good experience be clear about that. Don’t be deceived. See what is actually happening in the moment. Then you could use your life to make a difference in this world.

Barry Briggs, JDPSN
Good on Barry.... as far as I can see, he's not talking about the mindfulness/serenity trap. others are.
My sense is that he is cautioning against the mindset of practice wherein we do some practice for x amount of time and we get to a place where everything will be fine. I suppose we do that with a lot of things. I.e., if I get the latest phone I will be happy, if I get the job I applied for I will be happy, etc. etc. I have come to think of practice as losing something, not studying and sitting in order to get to a happy place. Of course, we still have to do something, so studying and sitting is a worthwhile pursuit. But I don't think it is a transaction in the way we tend to think of most things in our culture.
Keith, as far as talking in a forum and "shooting the shit"... I don't hold it that way.
Most people don't agree with my point of view on this. The truth is I do see value in hanging around in these fora. But, as a good friend was always saying: "It's serious, but not that serious." :thumbsup:
It has everything to do with practice when we open our mouths and actually make a response. Barry says as much.... he is refuting the "fixed and stable and it's just the way we like it". The key is that there is no such thing as permanence.... including the pride we take in "right practice" or saying just the right thing. So, IMHO, speaking has everything to do with practice. Practice is nothing if we can't move our lips and give voice.

]Barry is very clear. I personally don't appreciate how in the midst of clarity, we have been so indoctrinated to mistrust ourselves. if we are mistaken, soon enough we trip and may see another view for ourselves or with guidance from a teacher.

My zen teacher often reminded us..... "the teaching is upside down". forever grateful. ofc, upside down has nothing to do with thinking.

linda
Well voiced!

_/|\_

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KeithA
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Re: Upside Down Thinking

Post by KeithA » Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:52 pm

seeker242 wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:29 pm
Buddhism is not about attaining some state of mind. Buddhism is about being clear about the mind that you have.

Yet, you could also say it is about attaining some state of mind, and that state is a clear state. :smile:
Yes, yes! Attaining "no attainment with nothing to attain'.

Round and round words :rolling:

There is a wonderful poem written by Ryokan that I just love:

As long as I don't aim,
I won't miss.
With the catalpa bow,
I shoot an arrow
Toward the open sky.

trans. Kazuaki Tanahashi

Not aiming, but still doing something.

_/|\_

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KeithA
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Re: Upside Down Thinking

Post by KeithA » Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:01 pm

SunWuKong wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:23 am
i was stuck in the mindfulness serenity trap for years before i started to use Right Effort and Concentration to pay attention to the events as they took place. There's mindfulness techniques, then there's a kind of mindfulness used to skin razor blades
Walking on the edge of a sword,
Running over a ridge of jagged ice;
Not using steps or ladders,
Jumping from the cliff with hands free

Mumon's verse for Case 32 of the Mumonkan

SunWuKong
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Re: Upside Down Thinking

Post by SunWuKong » Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:32 pm

A Love Letter by Nanao Sakaki

Within a circle of one meter

You sit, pray and sing.

Within a shelter ten meters large

You sleep well, rain sounds a lullaby.

Within a field a hundred meters large

Grow rice and raise goats.

Within a valley a thousand meters large

Gather firewood, water, wild vegetables and Amanitas.

Within a forest ten kilometers large

Play with raccoons, hawks, poison snakes and butterflies.

Mountainous country Shinano

A hundred kilometers large

Where someone lives leisurely, they say.

Within a circle ten thousand kilometers large

Walking somewhere on the earth.

Within a circle one hundred thousand kilometers large

Swimming in the sea of shooting stars.

Within a circle a million kilometers large

Upon the spaced-out yellow mustard blossoms

The moon in the east, the sun in the west.

Within a circle ten billion kilometers large

Pop far out of the solar system mandala.

Within a circle ten thousand light years large

The Galaxy full blooming in summer.

Within a circle one billion light years large

Andromeda is melting away into snowing cherry flowers.

Now within a circle ten billion light years large

All thoughts of time, space are burnt away.

There again you sit, pray and sing.

You sit, pray and sing.
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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KeithA
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Re: Upside Down Thinking

Post by KeithA » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:12 pm

SunWuKong wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:32 pm
A Love Letter by Nanao Sakaki

Within a circle of one meter

You sit, pray and sing.

Within a shelter ten meters large...

<snip>
That's really lovely. Thanks.

_/|\_

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