2008.06.08 13:00 - PaB, Zen and being Nothing

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    1. 1. 2 responses so far ↓

    Fael was the guardian, this afternoon, and she sent me the following chat log, with her comments. The title is her choice as well.

    Adams was the first one to arrive.

    Fael Illyar: Hello Adams
    Adams Rubble: hello Fael
    Fael Illyar: I have this vague memory that I might have seen you in a PaB meeting before. Am I correct?
    Adams Rubble: yes I have been to two, both outside
    Fael Illyar: Ah, good, then you know these are blogged :)
    Adams Rubble: yes
    Faenik loves wells!

    Pia arrived soon after.

    Adams Rubble: OK
    Fael Illyar: Hello Pia
    Adams Rubble: Hello Pia
    Pia Iger: Hi, Fael, Adam.
    Adams Rubble: Adams :)
    Pia Iger: sorry, it is Adams.
    Fael Illyar: Adams, have you done the 9-second explorations yet?
    Adams Rubble: I am afraid I have not done them on a regular basis. I forget mostly
    Fael Illyar: I would forget too, that’s why I set up a bell sound to play every 15 minutes.
    Adams Rubble: Something like that is a good idea
    Pia Iger: bell gives convenient time guide.
    Fael Illyar: http://www.mindfulnessdc.org/mindfulclock.html this one works nicely (I hear) if you’re using Windows
    Adams Rubble: Thank you
    Fael Illyar: How many times have you done the exploration so far?
    Faenik: why not?
    Adams Rubble: Oh my. I don’t know. A few times. I haven;t completed setting up the log yet
    Fael Illyar: Any thoughts or questions about it?
    Adams Rubble: When I syop I usually get focused on sounds which might be a good thing since I am a visually oreiented person
    Adams Rubble: stop
    Pia Iger: good. expand the senses.
    Fael Illyar: Yes, I tended to focus on sounds and my body at first.
    Adams Rubble: and what happens now?
    Fael Illyar: We have a bell in this teahouse that gongs every 15 minutes so if you’re feeling like doing them during this meeting, you can use that as the alarm

    Hopeful that Adams would try some explorations during
    the meeting, I mentioned the bell.

    Fael Illyar: I’ve been doing the explorations in a way similar to Zen meditation and I’ve also started doing a 15-20 minute meditation after waking up so I tend to get closer to being nothing when doing those now.
    Adams Rubble: I know very little about Zen
    Fael Illyar: meaning, I’m aware of things around me and my body but I don’t make much difference between them.
    Fael Illyar: next gong should be in 2 minutes by the way
    Adams Rubble: OK. that is interesting
    Adams Rubble: you merge with the environment?
    Pia Iger: PaB is very easy to start, we don’t need to know Zen, or Buddism, to do it.
    Fael Illyar: more like I am the enviroment I think.
    Fael Illyar: There, did you hear the belll?
    Adams Rubble: Yes and sounds of birds, frogs and water
    Pia Iger: why it sounds so weak, the gong?
    Fael Illyar: it depends on how close your camera is to the bell
    Adams Rubble: I think I am having a hard time understanding that concept
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Fael Illyar: It is a bit hard to understand. I haven’t really understood it for long myself and I’m feeling a bit uncertain of it still myself.
    Fael Illyar: It’s something that comes eventually as you learn to meditate better.

    Dakini arrives as Adams is starting express an interest in

    Adams Rubble: I have not learned to meditate
    Fael Illyar: I do think PaB explorations and meditation complement each other.
    Fael Illyar: Hello Dakini
    Adams Rubble: Yes, I get that idea. I have come to Biddhism through art
    Pia Iger: Hi, Dakini,
    Adams Rubble: Hi Dakini
    Dakini Rhode: Namaste
    Faenik: なるほど^^
    Dakini Rhode: hi!
    Dakini Rhode: pls forgive me for being a wee bit flashy tonight

    Dakini had entered with a beautiful green outfit.

    Fael Illyar: come to buddshim through art? would you mind explaining a bit more?
    Adams Rubble: The green tara
    Dakini Rhode: you recognized right away! :-)))
    Adams Rubble: I work with art images and have had to learn about Buddhism to catalog images of Chinese art
    Pia Iger: yah, any gesture or poise associated?
    Dakini Rhode: our new clothing designer made this
    Pia Iger: how about a fashion show?
    Dakini Rhode: seated with one leg extended would be the correct pose
    Fael Illyar: ryusho?
    Adams Rubble: So it is more of a rational approach
    Dakini Rhode: yes, ryusho
    Adams Rubble: It is beautiful Dakini
    Pia Iger: Oh, splendid
    Pia Iger: can you dance a bit?
    Dakini Rhode: this still needs alterations… it was fitted to ryusho’s avatar
    Adams Rubble: So I have not learned about meditation
    Faenik: ah :)
    Dakini Rhode: did i land on someone’s head?
    Pia Iger: no.
    Dakini Rhode: ah the table… dancing on the table
    Dakini Rhode: meditation
    Fael Illyar: Zen meditation, put simply, is that you sit and feel nothing, think nothing, be nothing.
    Fael Illyar: In practise, the way I’ve done it is to sit, close my eyes, start identifying feelings and thoughts and letting them go.
    Pia Iger: I think meditation is just disengaging from your normal state of consciousness.
    Adams Rubble: that is helpful
    Dakini Rhode: may i?
    Pia Iger: sure.
    Adams Rubble: please

    Dakini begins a short overview.

    Dakini Rhode: playasbeing is a form of meditation, “micro-meditation” I call it.
    Dakini Rhode: Normally, formal meditation practice is preceded by instruction
    Dakini Rhode: Instruction gives you the “view” of why you are meditating in the first place
    Dakini Rhode: With playasbeing, they intentionally avoided saying too much about “view”
    Dakini Rhode: The traditional schools of meditation are joined with study, some study for years before they engage in practice
    Dakini Rhode: I could suggest some books, RL instruction is optimal, and we have more formal meditation here at the zen retreat, too
    Dakini Rhode: we meditate in the zendo here at the retreat every night at 6PM SLT - for 20 minutes
    Dakini Rhode: just to say a bit about the purpose of meditation….
    Dakini Rhode: all sentient beings have an essential something in common
    Dakini Rhode: this essence is called many things… “buddha nature” is one word for it
    Dakini Rhode: behind thoughts, visions, dreams, neuroses, behind everything that passes through our minds…
    Dakini Rhode: is this buddha nature
    Dakini Rhode: meditation is to clear away all those other things…
    Dakini Rhode: that our buddha nature might be revealed, in purity
    Dakini Rhode: so that is the basic point of stilling the thoughts
    Dakini Rhode: some meditate with eyes closed, i and others in my school keep eyes open
    Dakini Rhode: there are fewer distracting dreamlike images with eyes open
    Dakini Rhode: dreamlike images are… thoughts
    Dakini Rhode: all thoughts… we practice letting come and go
    Faenik: could be
    Dakini Rhode: we remain mindful… when a thought is noticed, we allow it to pass without following it
    Dakini Rhode: just a short summary :-))))
    Adams Rubble: Much to ponder, thank you
    Adams Rubble: May I ask a stupid question?
    Dakini Rhode: no such thing….
    Adams Rubble: You mention training, is there danger in going alone
    Dakini Rhode: going alone has some pitfalls
    Dakini Rhode: one is that meditation is very boring, and people soon drop it if they go it alone
    Fael Illyar: I think not more dangerous than not going at all though.
    Adams Rubble: I understand that :)
    Dakini Rhode: another is getting distracted by all sorts of side effects of meditation practice
    Dakini Rhode: which although they may seem wonderful, are not the point
    Dakini Rhode: many have followed the path using books as teachers
    Pia Iger: dakini, can you say more about side effects?

    Which quickly becomes more than just a summary as we are
    asking questions left and right.

    Fael Illyar: I’ve found it useful talking to people here about meditation and my experiences with it.
    Dakini Rhode: i can’t say too much about side efects
    Dakini Rhode: but i can recommend some good books
    Dakini Rhode: and mention that we have RL zen monks practicing with us nightly
    Adams Rubble: So it helps for a novice to come to these sessions?
    Dakini Rhode: basically, whatever arises, we do not cling to it
    Dakini Rhode: whatever form or shape it may take, wonderful, blissful, scarey, powerful…. we do not cling
    Dakini Rhode: phenomena come and go
    Pia Iger: hard to understand not cling onto blissful things?
    Dakini Rhode: yes - beginners, advanced, we allsit together
    Adams Rubble: I would appreciate the book recommendations, thank you
    Dakini Rhode: things are things, i guess is the basic point
    Dakini Rhode: we like to cling to the good stuff and reject the bad stuff
    Dakini Rhode: buddha nature is beyond the duality of good and bad
    Dakini Rhode: i’m sitting here in PaB using the wodrd buddha nature - might be able to translate it as “being”
    Dakini Rhode: Being - as in Play as Being
    Dakini Rhode: but i don’t want to assume the two ar the same
    Dakini Rhode: so let us justsay there is more to us than what appears
    Faenik loves wells!
    Dakini Rhode: and meditation is a way to realize that
    Adams Rubble: yes, I understand that. I thin k it is helpful to understand how meditation relates to PaB
    Pia Iger: agree. Dakini.
    Dakini Rhode: i’m not sure meditation is supposed to relate to PaB directly
    Dakini Rhode: but i have noticed…
    Dakini Rhode: when people start with the PaB… they often start to want more extended practice
    Fael Illyar: I certainly wanted :)
    Dakini Rhode: so there is some crosseover into meditation
    Adams Rubble: and maybe those of us untrained in meditation might have a harder time with PaB which I think is where we atarted today
    Dakini Rhode: I wondere about that…
    Pia Iger: on the contrary, I think it may be easier.
    Dakini Rhode: and just to note, I don’t know quite where we’re going with PaB
    Dakini Rhode: I’m a newbie to PaB, on this journey with you
    Pia Iger: They start fresh new, having no expectation, or preassumption.
    Dakini Rhode: beginner’s mind…
    Dakini Rhode: open
    Fael Illyar: I’ve only been doing PaB’s myself for a little over week now.

    Suddenly I’m being the center of interest again.

    Dakini Rhode: Fael, what have you noticed in that time?
    Pia Iger: Fael has made quite progress.
    Pia Iger: do you keep any notes, Fael?
    Fael Illyar: I do have written something down after some explorations but that was mostly at the start. I’ve been forgetting to do that lately.
    Fael Illyar: I think I’m starting to see why Pema insists on writing “nothing” even if you don’t have anything else to write.
    Dakini Rhode: :-)
    Dakini Rhode: it doesn’t need to be something profound…
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Fael Illyar: I’ve this feeling I’ve noticed many things but I find myself unable to recall any specific one now that I’m asked
    Pia Iger: I reread some notes, and it encourage myself to keep doing.
    Dakini Rhode: i just don’t put all the “sleepy” or “hungry” stuff on my blog
    Fael Illyar: :)
    Pia Iger: haha./.
    Dakini Rhode: Yes, FAel I noticed that too
    Dakini Rhode: so we write something down so we’ll have something to say….
    Dakini Rhode: that’s one reason…
    Adams Rubble: :)
    Dakini Rhode: the 9 seconds passes quickly, and can be quickly forgotten
    Pia Iger: Notes are like fruit of our 9sec. Happy to read them, myself.
    Fael Illyar: Although, today I felt like I managed to reach being nothing while meditating.
    Pia Iger: see how far I have come, and have courage to go further.
    Fael Illyar: but that’s not PaB thing, really.
    Fael Illyar: although there is some crossover :)
    Dakini Rhode: what is it like, being nothing?
    Pia Iger: why it is not PaB thing?
    Fael Illyar: it’s more of Zen I guess
    Dakini Rhode: what does it feel like?

    Here I’m again trying to explain this, which feels quite
    hard even though I’ve already explained it before.

    Fael Illyar: It’s like there is nothing … hard to explain. Although afterwards when I was talking to Moon about it, I noticed being excited without being excited. That was sort of weird.
    Dakini Rhode: interesting to explore what being nothing feels, tastes, smells like.. the texture of it
    Pia Iger: how it makes you feel about yourself?
    Dakini Rhode: who is noticing being nothing?
    Fael Illyar: Before that, when meditating, I had been aware of my body and sounds but being nothing, those faded a lot
    Faenik: could be
    Fael Illyar: they were still there but …. somehow lesser
    Pia Iger: and you are comfortable with the change?
    Fael Illyar: I was a bit scared about it after the first time I guess. It didn’t even last long the first time.
    Fael Illyar: However, I found myself doing another meditation today a couple of hours before this meeting
    Dakini Rhode: Mama Dakini says…

    Mama Dakini begins her lecture.

    Fael Illyar: It took a while get rid of wanting to be nothing so I could actually get there but I think managed it for a few minutes
    Dakini Rhode: it may be wise to start slow in the beginning…
    Dakini Rhode: I want to recommend a book….
    Dakini Rhode: since you are meditating for longer than the 9 seconds anyway…
    Dakini Rhode: the book is MINDING MIND by Thomas Cleary
    Dakini Rhode: A course in basic meditation
    Adams Rubble: Thank you
    Dakini Rhode: it’s a compilation of short chapters from different ancient buddhist teachers
    Dakini Rhode: Mainly Ch’an and Zen…
    Pia Iger: interesting. I like short chapters :)
    Dakini Rhode: YOu can read a chapter on the toilet, on the bus… I like that format too
    Pia Iger: the way I like books.
    Dakini Rhode: Fits into a busy life…
    Dakini Rhode: It’s very old information, very traditional, and still very relevant
    Dakini Rhode: (in my opinion of course)
    Adams Rubble: :)
    Dakini Rhode: the masters speaking… from the dust
    Fael Illyar: while I was being nothing there were thoughts flicking through every once in a while but I managed to not to cling to them for a few minutes.
    Faenik loves wells!
    Fael Illyar: I think I probably clung to something at the end since I suddenly lost it
    Dakini Rhode: it sounds like you were meditating, Fael
    Dakini Rhode: Thoughts will always come and go….
    Dakini Rhode: As long as you are alive
    Dakini Rhode: YOu can notice different quailities to the thoughts
    Dakini Rhode: ANd that is the basic instruction… let them come and go
    Dakini Rhode: Don’t follow them
    Dakini Rhode: Even the real good ones
    Dakini Rhode: :-P
    Pia Iger: so far, to quiet the mind has been hard for me to do.
    Dakini Rhode: YOu don
    Dakini Rhode: ;t need to try to quiet the mind
    Dakini Rhode: You can observe the mind doing it’s thing
    Pia Iger: but often my mind is racing.
    Dakini Rhode: Especially at first, we often notice the mind seems to be racing
    Dakini Rhode: Sometimes - that is just taking a good look at it for the first time
    Dakini Rhode: Whatever is happening - racing mind, nothing much, or a song stuck in your head - allow to come and go
    Dakini Rhode: Develop the practice of being mindful to what is happening
    Faenik: ah :)
    Pia Iger: being mindful and let it go?

    Dakini then gives probably the best practical explanation of
    meditation I’ve heard so far.

    Dakini Rhode: So if you are sitting there, and start to think about taking a trip to Bermuda…
    Dakini Rhode: YOu let it go instead of packing your bags and taking the whole trip
    Dakini Rhode: Something else bubbles up…
    Dakini Rhode: same thing
    Fael Illyar: Yes, that’s a good explanation :)
    Dakini Rhode: :-)
    Fael Illyar: That’s what I had trouble not doing at first
    Dakini Rhode: I have lived like whole lifetimes on the cushion :-)
    Dakini Rhode: or so it seems…
    Dakini Rhode: you begin to reference the interior space as the source of thoughts
    Dakini Rhode: instead of anything that seems to be “out there”
    Fael Illyar: One thing I’m still wondering, though, is that what is letting go of the thoughts if it’s being done without thinking.
    Dakini Rhode: yes, that it like a koan, isn’t it?
    Dakini Rhode: a puzzle
    Dakini Rhode: who is noticing ?
    Dakini Rhode: it’s a question…
    Dakini Rhode: can you look directly at the mind?
    Dakini Rhode: what is it?
    Dakini Rhode: it’s a question
    Faenik: なるほど^^
    Dakini Rhode: no need to answer…
    Dakini Rhode: it can lead to some understanding…
    Dakini Rhode: some experience
    Dakini Rhode: we all need to do meditation for ourselves…
    Dakini Rhode: is our own experience

    No one can be told what meditation is, you have to
    experience it for yourself.

    Fael Illyar: Words cannot really express what it’s like. Especially to someone who hasn’t experienced it
    Dakini Rhode: yes
    Pia Iger: a naive question, Dakini, if you have do zazen so long, being mindful, why you do PaB still, the micriomeditation?
    Dakini Rhode: Zazen isn’t my form actually… my school is tibetan
    Dakini Rhode: there is no end to meditation
    Pia Iger: sorry.
    Dakini Rhode: you keep polishing the mirror
    Pia Iger: oh..
    Dakini Rhode: it’s not like you meditate and get some realization and then stop
    Dakini Rhode: when Pema explained about PaB, I encouraged him to use this space
    Dakini Rhode: And then I thought I should do it…
    Dakini Rhode: I want the experience
    Pia Iger: thank you again for the space.
    Dakini Rhode: It’s my honor to see this space used

    Conversation moves to Dakini’s Zen Retreat since I
    couldn’t resist asking this question.

    Fael Illyar: I’m curious Dakini, since you’re from Tibetan school, why Zen Retreat?
    Dakini Rhode: haha good question
    Adams Rubble: This is a wondeful place
    Dakini Rhode: This was the Avatarian Zen Retreat before I “owned” it
    Dakini Rhode: I loved it, and wanted to preserve it
    Fael Illyar: :)
    Dakini Rhode: This was before I understood how fast things change in SL :-)
    Adams Rubble: The Tara temple is a wonderful place too
    Pia Iger: I think ‘Zen’ attract many ppl stop by. which is good.
    Dakini Rhode: I think Zen Retreat is a good “tag”,
    Dakini Rhode: yes Pia
    Dakini Rhode: many people search for Zen and stop by
    Dakini Rhode: or buddhism
    Dakini Rhode: meditation
    Dakini Rhode: etc.
    Dakini Rhode: I try to keep this space faithful to the Zen name
    Dakini Rhode: I’m blessed to have RL zen monks here with us
    Dakini Rhode: so it’s working out…
    Dakini Rhode: and Zen is not so far off from my practice
    Dakini Rhode: and the purpose is the same
    Dakini Rhode: we are just more colorful :-)
    Faenik: ah :)
    Adams Rubble: It is good work
    Fael Illyar: That’s probably why I tend to prefer Zen. No frills.

    My curiosity about Dakini and Zen Retreat fulfilled,
    I’m back to wondering about Buddhism.

    Dakini Rhode: Adams, i think it’s the best work
    Dakini Rhode: yes, no frills
    Dakini Rhode: no frills at all ultimately
    Dakini Rhode: the frills are extra
    Adams Rubble: Buddhism itself can be very simple too
    Dakini Rhode: yes
    Dakini Rhode: it could be even simpler if people didn’t have such complicated thinking minds
    Adams Rubble: The problem is living it
    Pia Iger: yes. Adams. good point.
    Adams Rubble: yes, I think you are correct
    Dakini Rhode: i like the phrase, “no problems”
    Adams Rubble: about the thinking
    Dakini Rhode: if you’re ready to grasp the essence of the teaching
    Dakini Rhode: the frills are really extra
    Dakini Rhode: lots of flavors to reality
    Dakini Rhode: buddha said 144,000 paths to the truth
    Adams Rubble: :)
    Dakini Rhode: which really means just “avery larege number”
    Fael Illyar: :)
    Adams Rubble: very large
    Dakini Rhode: :-)
    Pia Iger: I hate to break the talk, but I have to go now.

    At this, I noticed the meeting had been going on for
    well over an hour already.

    Dakini Rhode: we have gone quite long…
    Adams Rubble: It has been good
    Pia Iger: yes. quite indepth talk this time.

    However, I still wasn’t quite ready to stop.

    Fael Illyar: I read a finnish text today with a subject that roughly translates to “Buddha’s 4 truths” I was wondering what it is called actually.
    Dakini Rhode: i hope i didn’t talk too much…
    Dakini Rhode: the Four Noble Truths
    Adams Rubble: Oh no
    Fael Illyar: No you didn’t I really liked reading it :)
    Pia Iger: I can stay longer for 4 truth.
    Pia Iger: do you know, Dakini?
    Dakini Rhode: yes, Four Noble Truths
    Dakini Rhode: All buddhists have a basic faith in the four noble truths
    Faenik: なるほど^^
    Pia Iger: I have no clue..
    Dakini Rhode: ah,if you walk thru my bamboo grove and click on things
    Dakini Rhode: you will get the 4 noble truths in a nutshell
    Pia Iger: ok. will try.
    Fael Illyar: the text I read was quite well written but it’s in Finnish.
    Dakini Rhode: it’s the buddhist path which explains the problems, the causes, and the cure
    Dakini Rhode: Is Finnish your first language Fael?
    Fael Illyar: Yes
    Adams Rubble: he Buddhist Shrine of Varosha is a great place for basic Buddhist concepts
    Pia Iger: Oh, I will check them out and catach up with you all next time
    Dakini Rhode: For the blog: PEMA, I’m really not making buddhists of everyone!!!
    Dakini Rhode: REALLY!

    In my case, I already have been, kind of, I just didn’t know it.

    Adams Rubble: hdehe
    Dakini Rhode: HAHA
    Fael Illyar: :) In this case, all of us were quite interested, no?
    Dakini Rhode: It’s just the language I speak…
    Adams Rubble: This has been a wonderful session. thank you all
    Dakini Rhode: if you want to understand meditation, the buddhists are a good place to go…
    Pia Iger: We won’t turn you in :)
    Fael Illyar: Well, I’m sending the log to Pema ;)
    Pia Iger: nice meeting you , Adams
    Adams Rubble: you too Pia
    Dakini Rhode: they have practiced, studied, and recorded their experiences for centuries
    Pia Iger: bye, Fael, and Dakini.
    Fael Illyar: Bye Pia, Adams
    Adams Rubble: bye
    Dakini Rhode: Very nice chatting with you all :-)
    Adams Rubble: yes you too :)
    Fael Illyar: Yes, I feel this has been one of the best meetings I’ve been in so far

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