2009.08.30 - Wu-Wei and Seeing is Enough

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    Here is the text of a dialogue held by Piet Hut (in SL: Pema Pera) and Steven Tainer (in SL: Stim Morane), in Second Life on August 30, 2009.

     

    P: Is there a particular point you'd like to raise, perhaps in
       connection with the retreat and/or earlier discussions?
    S: I'm interested in your own impressions of the retreat, since those
       are what matters most.
    P: When we talked over breakfast yesterday, the four of us, including
       Storm and Saki
    P: I mentioned how I feel I'm learning a more and more minimal
       approach to helping/guiding/organizing PaB
    P: and I meant that in a wu-wei way
    P: not to give up responsibility, on the contrary
    P: but trying to be aware at each moment, the best I can, what impulse
       comes from a habitual way of functioning
    P: and what inspiration comes from a different place
    P: I'm not sure what words to use
    S: That sounds clear enough
    P: you talk about "more than one mind"
    P: the ordinary mind and something else
    P: is that how you use the terms?
    S: Yes
    P: that always has sounded a bit strange to me, though I think I
       understand what you mean; the notion of "two minds"
    P: or more perhaps
    P: it may give the impression of a kind of duality
    S: Yes, it's not a technically precise description, but it works for
       people doing practice
    S: When I started talking that way, it was just based on how it seemed
       to me, on a practice basis.
    S: It doesn't fit the theory I know and teach quite so neatly.
    S: I was surprised when I realized that even great meditation masters
       talk the same way.
    P: it does seem to be a common theme, in many religions, something
       like dropping the small self to let something higher shine through
    P: probably in all religions
    S: Yes
    P: the main difference may be the degree to which the practitioner is
       then encouraged to see the higher bit as a higher self or something
       else, an external God or higher power
    P: with Buddhism as yet another approach with the no-self emphasis,
       though I think that is closer to the higher self option in the two
       above
    S: Sure
    S: Anyway, I understand what you meant In your account.
    P: So to answer your question about the retreat: for me personally it
       was a great practice, to learn to notice more specifically the
       tendency of the ordinary mind to kick in and try to "help" in a way
       that is the ordinary approach, which when looked at closely always
       has elements of manipulation in it
    S: Yes
    P: and I learned to see those tendencies more precisely, and almost
       from moment to moment felt the difference between giving in to those
       and bypassing those quirks of ordinary "help"
    P: At first, more than a year ago, it was sometimes quite scary to NOT
       try to help in that way, to let the group find its own solution
       . . .
    P: more and more, though, I am learning to trust PaB, more than me
       (seen as ordinary mind me)
    S: That sounds like a good way to guide PaB, and also a good thing for
       PaB to concentrate on learning.
    P: but of course, I do interact and participate
    P: yes
    P: but by filtering out the ordinary-mind part of participating, what
       is left is the more natural wu-wei form of participating
    S: Yes
    P: which is so hard to explain in words, since the ordinary logic
       tells us that giving up ordinary ways of regulating means a total
       absence of control and hence a total absence of any interaction
    P: I like the way that Suzuki Roshi expressed it, in Zen Mind,
       Beginner's Mind:
    P: give your sheep a big meadow, but keep watching them
    S: :)
    P: what looks to the ordinary mind like "just watching" can grow into
       using what you call the higher mind, it seems.
    P: the wu-wei approach.
    S: I think what you're describing is suited to PaB. It seem realistic
       to me.
    P: and I see no other way, so I'm glad it seems to work :)
    S: Yes
    S: Were there other points that particularly stood out for you?
    P: hmm, let's see
    P: I was amazed at the great way in which generally, when somebody
       said something in a very personal and somewhat hesitant and shy way,
       there was always someone making a gentle confirming, acknowledging
       remark or gesture, preventing the speaker from remaining there
       dangling
    S: this is something the group has developed via SecondLife PaB
    P: yes
    S: it's also an interesting case of whether to apply the relaxed
       approach in the sessions, or to explicitly recommend more along the
       lines you're describing as an on-line exercise in relating.
    P: sorry, I'm not sure I fully understand
    S: well, I think it's clear the group has learned a nice way of
       relating and supporting each other in PaB.
    S: i was just raising the question of whether that should be allowed
       to continuue to develop on its own or to be explicitly encouraged in
       certain ways.
    S: This would not be necessary for some people, probably. Would it
       help others?
    P: just mentioning it may be enough
    P: our way seems to be one of seeing, and sharing what we see, and in
       general that does seem to be enough . . . .
    P: but yes, it is good to remark on it, in that way
    S: I agree that that is enough, probably as far as you'd want to go.
    P: You are probably happy with this notion of "seeing is enough" -- if
       properly interpreted -- since it seems to come more or less directly
       from your way of dealing with practice?
    S: It's clearly right.
    S: I'm not sure if it's enough in some cases, though ... it depends on
       many factors.
    S: but overall, yes, that's all there is.
    S: this gets back to the wu-wei thing
    P: PaB's main function may be to create a community within which
       "seeing is enough" can apply . . . .
    S: i think this is possible, but perhaps a rather long-term
       objective.
    P: perhaps, perhaps not; we're pretty intense, with so many sessions a
       day, and individually so many short breaks a day . . . . more and
       more participants may grow into the "seeing is enough" mode;
       certainly during the retreat I saw a move in that direction
    S: yes

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