2008.05.07 19:00 - Never not

    Table of contents
    No headers

    That evening I was alone in the tea house for a while, and I decided to talk through IM with stevenaia, whom I had not seen for a while. After a while I asked him whether he wanted to come over and he agreed.

    Pema Pera: Hi there!
    stevenaia Michinaga: ooops
    stevenaia Michinaga: nice hair
    Pema Pera: thanks!
    Pema Pera: time for a change, I thought
    stevenaia Michinaga: easy enough to do here
    Pema Pera: I tried a mohawk but quickly got tired of that
    Pema Pera: possibilities of expression are endless it seems in SL!
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, I’ve settled for this
    stevenaia Michinaga: there we go
    Pema Pera: take a seat
    stevenaia Michinaga: waiting for pillows to appear
    Pema Pera: once u are rezzed
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: at first they are round
    Pema Pera: like ruthing ;>)
    Pema Pera: then they flatten
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes
    stevenaia Michinaga: in their own way
    Pema Pera: haha
    stevenaia Michinaga: big lagg
    stevenaia Michinaga: I’m seeing if I can get my friend to join us
    Pema Pera: sure!
    Pema Pera: that would be fun
    Pema Pera: I do have to leave in about ten minutes
    stevenaia Michinaga: research librarian, intersting sort
    Pema Pera: great!
    Pema Pera: since I’ll have to go to the train station
    stevenaia Michinaga: no internet on the train/
    Pema Pera: NO!
    Pema Pera: unfortunately ;>)
    stevenaia Michinaga: no SL on youir cell phone?
    Pema Pera: so please bring him over
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: and in normal trains it works
    stevenaia Michinaga: thought Japan was ahead of us
    stevenaia Michinaga: no, it’s a her
    Pema Pera: between Kyoto and Osaka yes
    Pema Pera: but the bullet train switches cells too fast it seems . . . .
    stevenaia Michinaga: never been out of this hemisphere

    I switched to Play as Being, asking Steve for his impressions.

    Pema Pera: I am curious to hear from you what has been your impression of what we’re doing here, with the few sample impressions you’ve gotten so far
    Pema Pera: I love to get feedback; what we are doing is so new and unusual
    Pema Pera: I don’t have any grand plan: I’m just following what feels right while we are exploring.
    stevenaia Michinaga: my sense of the conversation I dropped in one… the one and only.. was that it was …
    stevenaia Michinaga: well eastern in direction
    stevenaia Michinaga: but not at a point I could settle in on and contribute too
    stevenaia Michinaga: even after I read the blog
    stevenaia Michinaga: but am interested in
    Pema Pera: is there any particular connection missing
    stevenaia Michinaga: the definition of being, for instance, the contect was not familiar in a clear sence
    stevenaia Michinaga: connection, rather
    Pema Pera: that is true
    Pema Pera: we have not gotten far into Being at all
    Pema Pera: in any session
    stevenaia Michinaga: hell it even took me several years to figure out what Hamlet was talking about, to be or not to be
    Pema Pera: The problem is you can’t define it, and any attempt is likely to get you further away — yet you have to express it. Our gatherings, playful as they are, perhaps say more than words, and our forest building attempt same.
    Pema Pera: o sure, np!
    Pema Pera: to be or not to be may take a few lifetimes to get to the bottom of it ;>)
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, you were talking about that, yet the words must be graspable
    Pema Pera: Yes
    Pema Pera: you do have to do something
    Pema Pera: just smiling won’t do
    Pema Pera: action, cameraderie, bonding, resonating, and yes, words do have their place
    stevenaia Michinaga: bit this place is a worthy exploration of ones self
    Pema Pera: but philosophical statements are deadening
    Pema Pera: and lead to fights
    Pema Pera: I’d rather everyone forgets all their ideas
    Pema Pera: and talk here spontaneously, not echoing learned statements

    The conversation inspired me into trying to summarize PaB, and soon Maharshi would join us

    Pema Pera: so the two central ideas is 1) play; and 2) there is something here already that is the greatest possible resource, and therefore there is nothing to worry about and we may as well play, both to find it and to express it.
    Pema Pera: Does that make sense, as a summary of Play as Being?
    stevenaia Michinaga: I enjoyed your blog, appriciate your editing and your commentary
    stevenaia Michinaga: play as being, perhaps, it’s a start
    Pema Pera: Good evening, Maharshi!
    Pema Pera: Meet Steven here
    Pema Pera: Steven, Maharshi
    Pema Pera: But Steven, please finish your thoughts!
    stevenaia Michinaga: but I don’t consider play here or in Rl as any different (or anything else about the two) however this place just offers oppertunity that may not exist in RL
    stevenaia Michinaga: hi Mharishi
    Pema Pera: Maharshi, we were talking about what Play as Being means.
    Maharshi Grun: Hello, Steven
    Pema Pera: or can mean
    Maharshi Grun: ((nods))
    stevenaia Michinaga: that was it, there is no separation between Sl/Rl, the environments are what’s different
    Pema Pera: I agree
    Pema Pera: I have been trying to do these very things in many forms in RL, but here for the first time it really seems to work!
    Maharshi Grun: Steve, do you practice the Play as Being method?
    stevenaia Michinaga: not familiar with it in any formal sence, but I may and not know it
    Maharshi Grun: Ah, Pema could probably explain it then. I apply my own method.
    stevenaia Michinaga: if I google “Play as Being” will something appear?
    Pema Pera: yes, the blog
    stevenaia Michinaga: haha
    stevenaia Michinaga: of course
    Pema Pera: Maharshi, I summarized PaB as:
    Pema Pera: he two central ideas are 1) play; and 2) there is something here already that is the greatest possible resource, and therefore there is nothing to worry about and we may as well play both to find it and to express it.
    Maharshi Grun: When you say ‘play’, how do you define that?
    Pema Pera: no particular definition

    From what I had heard Maharshi saying at a previous occasion, I thought that I might be able to phrase PaB in a way that might be close to his way of expressing these things — or at least I could try.

    Pema Pera: let me try to say it in your terms, if I may
    Pema Pera: Only Soul is what IS everything else is not real — and if we are trying too hard to grasp Soul we already overshoot and we are only trying to grasp ourselves, so a relaxed more playful attitude may be better — how is that?
    Maharshi Grun: Makes perfect sense. Buddha-nature, Self-Nature, Soul, Self, God, I use all those terms. There are an infinite number of terms, but all pale in comparison to that Truth at its root.
    Pema Pera: yes, and Being is a bit more neutral a term ;>)
    Pema Pera: Steven, Maharshi started visiting us for the first time a few days ago, and has been here several times since.
    Pema Pera: Maharshi, Steve has dropped by a few times off and on
    stevenaia Michinaga: I can tell
    stevenaia Michinaga: I was only here once or twice
    Maharshi Grun: I’m curious, how do both of you practice then, in daily life?
    stevenaia Michinaga: I need to set my clock
    stevenaia Michinaga: practice?
    Maharshi Grun: Haha! Good answer.
    Pema Pera: The problem is with meditation or any form of practice: without really going for it, you may not get anywhere — but then the very intensity of your quest tends to blind you — hence playfulness as a key. Playing is energetic without the dogmatic and fanatic side, or can be
    Maharshi Grun: Yes, all the great Gurus speak of there being no strain invovled. Earnestness and zest, but no room for zealousness. That’s just replacing one idea for another.
    stevenaia Michinaga: I have that approach, my nature is leaning east without the study…yet
    stevenaia Michinaga: more like swiming with the river that surrounds me rather than defining it
    Maharshi Grun: Study helps immensely, but, only to solidify your intellect. In the end, one must apply the concepts, so as to go beyond them.
    Maharshi Grun: It all boils down to one simple truth, Being cannot be attained. It always is, always has been. Thus, one can conclude that knowing that there is nothing to be attained, it enlightenment.

    I agreed, but was wondering about the many ways those sentences could be understood. As if reading my mind, Maharshi continued:

    Maharshi Grun: However, that leads to a lot of misinterpretation. Thus, the need to realise the truth one’s self.
    stevenaia Michinaga: and it comes to each of us in our own way. in it’s own time
    stevenaia Michinaga: or not at all
    Maharshi Grun: Oh, it already has come. It’s just not seeing that it has, is what prevents your liberation.
    Maharshi Grun: It had never not come.
    Pema Pera: But I think we have to be twice removed from words; words are not enough, we all agree — but when we tell people what we think and that we have to go beyond concepts, the danger is that that itself becomes dogmatic and those pointers may not help; so we have to be removed one more step — and my suggestion is to build a community in which Being then can express itself in wordless ways
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, something we all have but may not see, I agree
    Pema Pera: I agree, Maharshi, that it is already here, we only can celebrate, celebrate its Presence
    Maharshi Grun: Yes, Pema, but the problem is that many mistake Pyrite for gold. Delusions are subtle. A guide of some sort is essential.
    Pema Pera: perhaps. the real guide is Being
    Pema Pera: or Soul
    stevenaia Michinaga: and isn’t that why we are here, for guidance?
    Pema Pera: mutual guidance I would say
    Pema Pera: as a community of peers
    Pema Pera: not from a teacher to students
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, perspective
    Pema Pera: but we all teach each other
    Pema Pera: as instruments of Being

    At least that is my hope. And I realize that there is no guarantee that that will work. I just think it is worth trying.

    Maharshi Grun: Ultimately so. It is the eternal Guru. The problem is that so many get lost in their delusions and proclaim their liberation, and sadly lead others into all sorts of karmic disasters.
    Maharshi Grun: But, then again, what’s the alternative? I realise that what I say might not be all that practical in the modern world.
    Pema Pera: nothing is guaranteed to work — and play has less pretentions
    stevenaia Michinaga: Are you a practicing buddist? maharshi?
    Pema Pera: well, I very much look forward to continue this conversation but I have to run now
    Pema Pera: please feel free to stay here
    Pema Pera: and actually, if you dont’ mind
    stevenaia Michinaga: thanks for the invite, enjoy your trip
    Pema Pera: if you continue talking here
    Pema Pera: could you send me the transcript of what I will miss?
    Pema Pera: so that I can put part of it on the blog?
    Pema Pera: I will be careful to leave out personal details
    Pema Pera: my email address is piet@ias.edu
    stevenaia Michinaga: as you always are
    Maharshi Grun: I’ll be sure to send anything, if anything important crops up
    Maharshi Grun: See you, Pema.
    stevenaia Michinaga: see you soon
    Pema Pera: thank you!
    Pema Pera: actually, I prefer not to judge what is important Maharshi
    Pema Pera: my approach to the blog is to reflect
    Pema Pera: like a mirror
    Pema Pera: the atmosphere
    Pema Pera: rather than judging what may be important — different people will get inspiration from very different things said here ;>)
    Pema Pera: well, thank you both!
    Maharshi Grun: Thank you.
    stevenaia Michinaga: thank you
    Pema Pera: enjoy, and feel free to stay here as long as you like!

    I left, and indeed, Maharshi later sent me a transcript of the remainder of the conversation. It continued as follows. First Maharshi answered Steve’s question.

    Maharshi Grun: Anyway, you asked if I was a practicing Buddhist. It’s hard to be so, honestly.
    Maharshi Grun: It’s more a philosophy than a strict religion.
    stevenaia Michinaga: and I was wondering as I know people who say thay are buddists, but I can’t say I could define their religion by their sense of the world and how I understand buddhism
    stevenaia Michinaga: but, yes, I understand what you say
    Maharshi Grun: Yes, it’s very difficult to pin down exactly what a Buddhist is.
    Maharshi Grun: In places like China, census taking is a mess for that very reason, many claim to be Buddhists, yet they know nothing of it. Others know all there is to know about it, live it, yet refuse to call themselves Buddhists.
    Maharshi Grun: Where exactly do you place yourself on the religious spectrum?
    stevenaia Michinaga: I suspect, the more I would find out the more it would frame me
    stevenaia Michinaga: as though living ones life in a way that could be a buddist’s way, without know what that is
    stevenaia Michinaga: or could be just presumptuous on my part out of naivite
    Maharshi Grun: I think, the best way to estimate a Buddhist way of life would be to determine whether or not the person has the awareness of suffering at their centre
    Maharshi Grun: If they consider the impermanence of that which depends upon conditions, and begin a search for that which isn’t impermanent, then that’s a Buddhist perspective, regardless of whether or not they identify with the Buddha and his chosen terminology
    Maharshi Grun: Thus, I tend to read non-dualistic literature from every religion: Zen (or Chan) in Buddhism, Advaita in Hinduism, and Sufism in Islam
    Maharshi Grun: So, I guess that’s a very round about way of answering your original question, haha

    Then Maharshi asked Steve in turn.

    stevenaia Michinaga: but you have searched much… and have a clearity about what you think, I can’t say I’ve spent that amount of time doing that
    Maharshi Grun: Constant searching isn’t really necessary, nor is being well read. Several great Buddhist monks were illiterate, in fact. You need only meditate to achieve results.
    stevenaia Michinaga: I appreciate that
    Maharshi Grun: As discussed earlier, there are no real results to arrive at. But that realisation is hard to come by. One might call it the result of Oneness, the result of no-results.
    Maharshi Grun: With that being said, do you have a method of meditation?
    stevenaia Michinaga: no, i do not meditate, I do yoga, I have considered meditation, but do not meditate
    stevenaia Michinaga: I consider some of my work meditation, but not some much recently
    Maharshi Grun: Ah, meditation is to realise Self-Nature. If ever you want to see past the constraints of mind and matter and their incessant change, I can show you an excellent form of meditation. It can be done anywhere, anytime. Of course, if meditation isn’t a priority in your life now, I’ll understand.
    stevenaia Michinaga: no I view it as an oppurtunity I would be interested in but have not taken advantage of
    stevenaia Michinaga: so please, continue
    Maharshi Grun: All forms of Buddhist meditation boil down to two features: concentration and insight
    Maharshi Grun: Concentration is for pacifying the mind, making it dwell in peace
    Maharshi Grun: Insight is for the actualisation of wisdom

    Finally, Maharshi gave his recommendation of a simple but profound way to explore reality.

    Maharshi Grun: The method I’m about to teach utilises both concentration and insight, hence, this meditation practice is all you’ll ever need, so long as you practice it earnestly
    Maharshi Grun: If you examine your mind, you will realise that it typically has one object apparent in awareness at any given time. No matter what comes and goes, love or hate, pain or pleasure, sleepfulness or wakefulness, this fundamental awareness is always there.
    Maharshi Grun: This pure awareness is your Self-Nature, some call it Soul, some call it Being. It is the non-conceptual, and thus no word can accurately describe it.
    Maharshi Grun: The problem is that mind and matter are constantly changing in this awareness, and our minds identify with all those objects and never the awareness itself.
    Maharshi Grun: Thus my practice consists of this: whatever the object that arises, ask ‘Who is experiencing this?’ Thus, when hungry, ask ‘Who is hungry?’
    Maharshi Grun: The obvious answer is ‘I am’. But then another question crops up, ‘Who am I?’
    Maharshi Grun: This question can only be answered with silence. Dwell in that silence until the next object arises.
    Maharshi Grun: Then repeat the question, and thus the silence again.
    Maharshi Grun: Eventually, objects will stop affecting you and you can just dwell in pure Being. In your Self-Nature, there is only pure awareness, and thus it cannot be objectified, or subjectified. All simply is.
    Maharshi Grun: I know that form of meditation seems too simple. But if you practice it relentlessly, it will be all you’ll ever need.
    stevenaia Michinaga: thanks, it sounds like something I can fit into my way
    stevenaia Michinaga: thanks
    Maharshi Grun: No problem, keep in mind, there’s no rush. Keep it simple and relaxed, whatever comes your way, hit it with a ‘Who?’
    Maharshi Grun: All you need is enough faith to try, after that, all will become apparent.
    Maharshi Grun: Anyway, I must head out for the night, sorry for hogging the limelight in this conversation.
    stevenaia Michinaga: I enjoyed it, thanks
    stevenaia Michinaga: nice meeting you
    Maharshi Grun: If you have any questions about the practice I gave you, feel free to ask me about it anytime I’m on.
    stevenaia Michinaga: ok
    Maharshi Grun: May peace be with you.

    Tag page (Edit tags)
    • No tags
    You must login to post a comment.
    Powered by MindTouch Core