2008.05.04 19:00 - The absolute and the relative

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    The guardian at this meeting was Pema Pera and the comments are his.  


    That evening, I was still up in the air. The flight from New York to Tokyo takes 14 hours, spanning two full cycles in our four-times-a-day sessions. I had asked Thorberg and Types to be present during my absence, and they both kindly agreed. They would later send me a log of the chat. Thorberg was present during the zen sitting organized by Dakini, and Types would arrive later, shorty before the start of the PaB session.

    It turned out that an energetic discussion was already in full swing, following the zen session, by the time the discussants moved toward the tea house. Here is the chat log. Since I was not there, I don’t want to interpret too much, but still I’m adding some reflections, partly just to break up the text, making it more readible that way.

    Thorberg Nordlicht: Hello Maharshi
    Maharshi Grun: Hello
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Let’s wait a minute or so to see if anyone else shows up.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Hello Autumn; hello Types
    Autumn Quinnell: hello
    Types Sideways: hi
    Types Sideways: are you logging the session Thor?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yes, I have my “local chat” window open, and i intend to cut/paste into an edit file. is there a better way to capture transcript?
    Types Sideways: good
    Types Sideways: I was worried
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Hello Tahuti
    Tahuti Thor: hello
    Types Sideways: hi there
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Let’s wait another minute to see who else shows up. Start at 7:05
    Tahuti Thor: hi everyone
    Types Sideways: need a chair Mango?
    Mongo McGinnis: no
    Autumn Quinnell: hi mongo–love the dog outfit;))
    Types Sideways: ok
    Thorberg Nordlicht: By the way, it wouldn’t hurt if someone else would also keep their local chat window open, too, and cut/paste to an edit file as a backup in case something bad happens to my copy.
    Mongo McGinnis: it is not my spirit animal but i love dogs
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Sorry, I’m a bit ill-informed, and curious about this meeting
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Shall we start? Anybody new here who’s not familiar with the topic?
    Autumn Quinnell: ;))
    Spiritnoname Saphir: thor, myself
    Mongo McGinnis: i have no idea what it is
    Types Sideways: will you post on http://playasbeing.wordpress.com/ blog Thor?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Actually, I intend to send the transcript to Pema and he’ll post it on his blog.
    Types Sideways: ok
    Dakini Rhode: hey!
    Types Sideways: he asked me to post
    Tahuti Thor: im not sure what playasbeing is to post
    Types Sideways: but that sounds better

    I realized I had not been very specific in my instructions, but everything worked out: Thorberg would send me the log in an email.

    Dakini Rhode: I hope you had tea
    Thorberg Nordlicht: So for the benefit of newcomers, i’ll take a shot at very briefly introducing the topic, and others can correct me if i don’t get it right.
    Types Sideways: its a blog Tahuti
    Tahuti Thor: ok, ty
    Thorberg Nordlicht: An avatar named Pema Pera, who can’t make it tonight, started this discussion, and blogs it on http://playasbeing.wordpress.com/
    Thorberg Nordlicht: We talk about taking your practice into the rest of your life, or starting a practice if you don’t have a formal pratice already.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Specifically, Pema has the notion of every 15 minutes throughout your day…
    Thorberg Nordlicht: you take 9 seconds out to mentally step back and reset the big big picture perspective in your mind….
    Thorberg Nordlicht: and see how that affects the rest of your life.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: We meet here to discuss everyone’s expericences, but we often get off topic.
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Thorberg sounds like a reasonable attempt at mindfulness, or advice on shamata
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Anyone have anything else to add?

    When I later read this, I felt touched by the sincere and precise way in which Thorberg had summarized our activities in PaB. And yes, haha, we often do get off topic — or at least it seems that way. Can we apply a different view in which our playing around can still be seen as somehow part of the larger Play as Being? An open question, I think.

    Maharshi Grun: I am curious, why should one look for effects in one’s practice? Types Sideways: good question
    Thorberg Nordlicht: uh, I guess so we have something to discuss here?
    Dakini Rhode: we chat about our experiences with the practice, quite openly and honestly Thorberg Nordlicht: got me, there
    Thorberg Nordlicht: anywone?
    Types Sideways: you mean results?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Maharshi, because suffering exists
    Maharshi Grun: Exists for whom?
    Dakini Rhode: Um, practice is bound to do something
    Spiritnoname Saphir: and practice is a means to end it, and it can be done wrong
    Autumn Quinnell: exists for everyone
    Autumn Quinnell: if one has it we all do
    Maharshi Grun: You say ‘everyone’ but how can you know everyone when you don’t know yourself?
    Types Sideways: I think Majarishi means what self?
    Dakini Rhode: Maha we talk in a practical way
    Autumn Quinnell: who says i don’t know myself
    Types Sideways: who??
    Dakini Rhode: Not philosophical
    Dakini Rhode: there is no philosphy associated with playasbeing practice
    Maharshi Grun: I’m simply asking questions.
    Dakini Rhode: it’s a workshop - an experiment
    Dakini Rhode: I’m simply trying to explain
    Autumn Quinnell: kk
    Types Sideways: whos asking?
    Types Sideways: the question
    Maharshi Grun: That’s the spirit, Types! Good job, you get six points.
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Maharshi, are you familiar with the emptiness doctrine?
    Types Sideways: LOL
    Maharshi Grun: Yes.
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Well then you know that it is not nihilism
    Dakini Rhode: Philosophy can become like just so many words without the practice and practical experience
    Mongo McGinnis: shunyata?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: or madhyamaka
    Types Sideways: true Dakini
    Maharshi Grun: Whenever did I say anything about nihilism, or Annihilationism as the Budhha more accurately calls it?
    Types Sideways: :)
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Maharshi, it seems that you are denying that there is a the appearance of suffering
    Dakini Rhode: so when we meet here, most often, my experience is we talk about practical things, our practice, understanding that, and any insights or observations we have
    Types Sideways: looks different this time Dakini
    Spiritnoname Saphir: or at least questioning it at inopportune times
    Maharshi Grun: Suffering exists, but only because you centre your awareness in mind and matter. Centre the awareness in itself, and you realise that suffering and its cessation are both illusions.

    It seemed pretty clear that the discussion happened with participants being on different wavelengths.
    Talking from an absolute point of view is fine and talking from a relative point of view is fine, and there is room for both. However, it is also important to try and find ways to connect to two. Having said that, there are also circumstances in which it seems right to heavily emphasize one of the two it that one threatens to be overlooked. There is just no recipe for a good dialouge, since it is all so conetextual.

    Dakini Rhode: I suggest that those who meet here for playasbeing, do the playasbeing practice in their own lives
    Dakini Rhode: so that we can discuss that in this group
    Spiritnoname Saphir: If you can cope with the results of actions based on denying suffering, then there is no harm that will come from it I imagine. But otherwise you should keep in mind conduct
    Types Sideways: ok
    Types Sideways: can you share with us Dakini
    Dakini Rhode: but if the conversation takes on its own life, is ok too
    Types Sideways: your experience
    Dakini Rhode: i have been doing the PaB practice… but I’m not the most faithful practitioner by any means
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Maharshi, oh,… so the solution to this problem is that of changing the view? Well that is what practice is for, which is why we are discussing the effects of it, because we want to change our view
    Maharshi Grun: Who is it that is changing the view?
    Dakini Rhode: But I have tried this - take an hour or so, and every 15 minutes, take a pause and change persepctive
    Tahuti Thor: so it seems that whoever is wanting to talk about experience will inevitably bring suffering in one’s mind?
    Dakini Rhode: of so… i have had a few moments of insight, and i can trace them to that practice
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Maharshi, hopefully the one that is suffering
    Maharshi Grun: Talk implies conceptualisation, and concepts are inherently limited. One’s Buddhanature, one’s One Mind is unformed, uncreated, and thus Infinite. It knows no limits.
    Maharshi Grun: Spirit, who is that one that is suffering, then?
    Dakini Rhode: MU
    Tahuti Thor: i agree-however, maybe everyone is on different levels of understanding
    Types Sideways: true
    Tahuti Thor: and some ppl need to discuss experiences so they can reach higher levels?
    Maharshi Grun: Several of you speak of this ‘everyone’, who is everyone? There is only you.
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Maharshi, if two things arise together, dissipate together, and cannot be separated, they are considered one thing, so the one that suffers suffers
    Types Sideways: what would you sugest Tahuti?
    Dakini Rhode: Maharshi what if there is only you?
    Maharshi Grun: Yes, when you define it as such, ‘the one that suffers suffers’, but then, who is the sufferer?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: suffering is something to be seen, the seer is inseparable from it
    Dakini Rhode: how do we make this understanding practical?
    Types Sideways: hard from different contexts like this
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Maharshi, the innate, ever present one
    Dakini Rhode: what is suffering?
    Dakini Rhode: If we have different contexts, we need to define what we are talking about
    Dakini Rhode: we need to speak in a way that others can understand
    Dakini Rhode: try to be clear

    I can certainly appreciate the high-level way of phrasing things that Maharsh was focusing on, and I could also appreciate the emphasis on what you can actually do in practice, which Dakini focused on. Both have their value. I was curious to hear whether Maharshi would translate his high-level statements into practical ways of behaving and practicing.

    Types Sideways: ok
    Maharshi Grun: If suffering is only an object, then Spirit, does that mean that suffering only comes from without?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Suffering is the appearance of separation I imagine
    Dakini Rhode: what do you mean suffering is an object?
    Dakini Rhode: i don’t think suffering is an object
    Maharshi Grun: Spirit, what is it that is separate? You are already pure! Purity and impurity exist only in that rat-trap mind of yours.
    Dakini Rhode: what is suffering as you are using the word?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: maharshi, which is how things appear
    Spiritnoname Saphir: my rat trap mind
    Maharshi Grun: Suffering is creating objects, it is centering awareness on mind and matter. Suffering is becoming ‘this’ and becoming ‘that’, whereas the non-suffering is simply being.
    Types Sideways: who is being?
    Maharshi Grun: Being simply is.
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Maharshi reminds me of myself bugging a particular yogi,…. asking what the point of practice was over and over haha
    Maharshi Grun: Thus, ‘To be or not to be’ is an illusory question. There is only ‘to be’.
    Types Sideways: what about play?
    Types Sideways: is that different?
    Dakini Rhode: reminds me of a zen master… asking what is an orange?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: sorry, avatar scripting problems
    Dakini Rhode: np Thorberg
    Dakini Rhode: a famous zen master and a famous tibetan master were in dialogue
    Dakini Rhode: everyone anticipated this greatly
    Dakini Rhode: discussion between the two traditions!
    Maharshi Grun: Yes, that Seung Sahn, I read that transcript.
    Dakini Rhode: the zen master started by holding up an orange and asking, What is this?
    Dakini Rhode: the Tibetan didn’t answer
    Dakini Rhode: again the zen master asked, what is this?
    Dakini Rhode: finally the Tibetan whispered to the interpreter…
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Fruit doesn’t grow in Tibet! Unfair question! lol
    Dakini Rhode: The interpreter said…”the rinpoche wants to know… has’n't the zen master ever seen an orange?”
    Dakini Rhode: that was the end of the discussion
    Spiritnoname Saphir: lol
    Types Sideways: no one ate it?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: ((smiling amused))
    Maharshi Grun: That’s because there can be no discussion between the enlightened. Nothing needs to be said.
    Dakini Rhode: hahah types
    Dakini Rhode: maybe
    Dakini Rhode: what other reasons maybe?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: What is the difference between awake and being asleep? I think that’s the difference between being enlightened and not
    Spiritnoname Saphir: definitely there are people who are asleep
    Types Sideways: Spirit
    Dakini Rhode: you’re reminding me I should be asleep
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Hiya Types
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Nice body :p

    I can only guess from the dialogue, and having had the pleasure of meeting Types a number of times, that probably Types was shape shifting again at this time :-).

    Maharshi Grun: Really? Sleeping and waking, they come and go. What is it that remains through both states? That’s the One Mind. No difference between awake and sleep.
    Types Sideways: what brings you here?
    Dakini Rhode: yes Maharshi tell me in the morning no difference
    Types Sideways: LOL
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Types, hoping I might run into a friend of mine from www.tsemtulku.com’s forum
    Dakini Rhode: if i stay awak all night no difference
    Types Sideways: oh
    Types Sideways: was he coming here?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: I’m not sure
    Maharshi Grun: That is the world of conditions, and as we know, conditions come and go.
    Tahuti Thor: people that are sleep function a lot from their unconciousness
    Types Sideways: sleep well Dakini
    Maharshi Grun: The One Mind is what remains through it all.
    Spiritnoname Saphir: She just mentioned something about a Buddhism place on secondlife
    Dakini Rhode: Namaste everyone, please feel free to stay as long as you like
    Thorberg Nordlicht: good night Dakini
    Dakini Rhode: :-)
    Tahuti Thor: people that are awake function a lot in concious awarenes
    Mongo McGinnis: ttfn
    Types Sideways: whats her name?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Terri
    Spiritnoname Saphir: I’m not sure what her name here is though
    Types Sideways: oh
    Types Sideways: thought maybe Ive seen her
    Types Sideways: that wont help
    Types Sideways: :)
    Types Sideways: Spiritnoname
    Types Sideways: thats an interesting name
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Yeah, it’s old too, been with me online for years
    Spiritnoname Saphir: since when I was a kid in the Buddhism chat on AOL bugging lamas haha
    Types Sideways: LOL
    Types Sideways: years hey?
    Types Sideways: theres the silence
    Spiritnoname Saphir: around 7 years I imagine
    Types Sideways: long time
    Types Sideways: still traveling?
    Types Sideways: the path?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: I don’t know. But I refuse to let my emanation harm, and I would like it to benefit
    Types Sideways: noble cause
    Types Sideways: what type of meditation do you do?
    Types Sideways: if I may ask
    Spiritnoname Saphir: presently just a few prayers and shamata, on occasion I try to generate compassion by focusing on the innate mind and by that the inseparability between myself and others
    Types Sideways: did you hear that?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: yes
    Spiritnoname Saphir: not sure what it was
    Thorberg Nordlicht: did i miss something? don’t have m sound on
    Types Sideways: radio or something breaking through
    Types Sideways: gone now
    Thorberg Nordlicht: oh
    Thorberg Nordlicht: anyway, interesting points, all, but i’ve kind of lost the thread of conversation
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Someone’s outside it looks like
    Thorberg Nordlicht: someone want to swing their camera around and take a look?

    It seemed that Maharshi was determined to interpret all and everything from an absolute level.

    Maharshi Grun: How can something be outside, when all is one house?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Maharshi lol
    Autumn Quinnell: lol
    Autumn Quinnell: ur knees crapping there Types
    Thorberg Nordlicht: so, where were we in the conversation thread?
    Types Sideways: my knees

    Why can texting be so funny and deadpan? There is certainly something like an artform there, in the ways the serious and the playful can be so easily combined.

    Types Sideways: yeah
    Types Sideways: need to strech
    Autumn Quinnell: yes me too
    Autumn Quinnell: lol
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yeah, that’s why I said “in the conversation thread”; I know “no matter where you are, you’re here”
    Types Sideways: there it is
    Spiritnoname Saphir: types has such a neat body
    Maharshi Grun: Someone left their mic on, it seems
    Maharshi Grun: Someone relatively nearby
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Okay, so practices,…
    Types Sideways: Spirit
    Mongo McGinnis: i think it is spirtnoname
    Types Sideways: your mic is on
    Types Sideways: I think
    Spiritnoname Saphir: really?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: how do you turn the mic off?
    Types Sideways: you doing dishes?

    I had to laugh reading this, imagining someone washing dishes with one hand and typing with the other — seemed outright dangerous, both for dishes and for computer.

    Maharshi Grun: Ha, talk about KATZ! When is one’s mic ever off?
    Types Sideways: :)
    Mongo McGinnis: say something
    Spiritnoname Saphir: okay I’m going to say something, tell me if you can hear what
    Spiritnoname Saphir: hear it?
    Mongo McGinnis: fish and chips
    Spiritnoname Saphir: omg it’s me
    Types Sideways: :))
    Autumn Quinnell: ;))
    Types Sideways: :))
    Spiritnoname Saphir: how do I turn it off?
    Types Sideways: thats very much zen
    Types Sideways: eating fish?
    Types Sideways: :)
    Spiritnoname Saphir: no the mic?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: ok, this is certainly a new experience for this discussion group; let’s see if Pema can make any sense at all of the transcript; we’re just messin’ with ya Pema
    Types Sideways: LOL
    Types Sideways: a chalenge for him
    Autumn Quinnell: i think he will throw it out

    No Autumn, I will not! This is just too much fun. Laughing out loud while reading this transcript. So very much PaB-like: the silly and the sublime all in one package deal :-).

    Types Sideways: LOL
    Autumn Quinnell: tell us to start over
    Autumn Quinnell: ;P
    Types Sideways: not Pema
    Thorberg Nordlicht: ok, “start over”
    Types Sideways: he goes with the flow

    Thanks, Types!

    Spiritnoname Saphir: ahhh,… tell me how to turn off my mic
    Types Sideways: its off now
    Thorberg Nordlicht: good point, can anyone tell us how to make sure our mics are off
    Thorberg Nordlicht: now everyone’s paranoid their mics are on
    Types Sideways: LOL
    Maharshi Grun: Just don’t make a sound. So simple.
    Types Sideways: LOL
    Types Sideways: hahahahaA
    Autumn Quinnell: go to preferances and unclik voice
    Spiritnoname Saphir: I’m just waiting for someone to fart for all of us now
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I’ve got housemate’s talking in the room; I sure hope you can’t hear what’s going on in my RL environment
    Types Sideways: :)
    Maharshi Grun: I just want to summarise it all, by saying that all that I say can be reduced to this: many think that their Souls exist within their body, but I say that the body exists with in the Soul.
    Types Sideways: no
    Types Sideways: cant hear you
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Maharshi, I think that is true
    Types Sideways: niether soul nor body
    Types Sideways: such
    Spiritnoname Saphir: okay, so no one should be able to hear me now
    Maharshi Grun: Suchness and Soul are just words, we are refering to the same thing.
    Mongo McGinnis: maharashi something i have allways said that our bodies existin in our soul
    Tahuti Thor: why is the soul such a meaningful concept?
    Maharshi Grun: Now, everyone needs to take it a step further. What doesn’t exist within one’s soul?
    Mongo McGinnis: didn’t go over too well from a six year old
    Types Sideways: good question
    Autumn Quinnell: ooohhh good Q
    Types Sideways: :)
    Maharshi Grun: It has whatever meaning you give it. Give it no meaning, and it has none.
    Types Sideways: It?
    Types Sideways: just messing with you
    Mongo McGinnis: without a soul there is no reincarnation but everything thing is shunyata
    Maharshi Grun: Shunyata applies only to the condition. What is born must die. The is unborn can never die, however.
    Types Sideways: flying trouble Spirit?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: hehe, just messing around
    Autumn Quinnell: so lets see—i was always wondering about the sheep that science made from another sheep
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Dolly?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Dolly the clone?
    Autumn Quinnell: yes
    Mongo McGinnis: i got taught shunyata is emptiness
    Tahuti Thor: so soul is only meaningful as it pertains to rebirth/reincarnation?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: what about dolly?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: guys, are you familiar with emanationism?
    Tahuti Thor: and that is only reason why ancients stressed it so much?
    Autumn Quinnell: well if science was able to do that with a human
    Mongo McGinnis: no
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Interrupt: we usually meet ’till 8; no prob going beyond 8, but I’ve got to take a break to go get RL dinner
    Autumn Quinnell: do you think a soul would have to volunteer to get into it?
    Tahuti Thor: yes @ spirit
    Maharshi Grun: Soul is One Mind. All self is no self. That is why the Buddha speaks of selflessness. All self is no self. The surest way to become nothing is to become everything.

    I was delighted to read that Thorberg asked the very important question of whether people are okay with being quoted.

    Thorberg Nordlicht: before we officially finish up, i need to ask, does anyone object to Pema quoting things you said here in his blog?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Cool Tahuti :p
    Maharshi Grun: No objection here
    Tahuti Thor: soul concept originally came from the egyptians
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Thorberg, should be fine if it is in context
    Mongo McGinnis: it is a little late for dinner for me, but enjoy
    Thorberg Nordlicht: your answers will go in the transcript so pema will know who (if anyone)) doesn’t want to be quoted
    Types Sideways: all is welcome here
    Types Sideways: open discussion
    Maharshi Grun: The Soul is not a concept. Where the concept came from is just an illusion upon an illusion.
    Tahuti Thor: and the guy that wrote emanationism - plotinus? he learned in egypt
    Thorberg Nordlicht: anyway, let’s say this is the official end of tonight meeting, and anyone who wants to can continue on, but I have to step away for a minute; be right back

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