2008.06.09 01:00 - Inexhaustible

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    That night, soon after I entered the tea house, Storm Ayres walked in. Her being from Flanders, we naturally started off in Dutch.

    Pema Pera: Hi Storm!
    Storm Ayres: hi pema
    Pema Pera: Hoe gaat het?
    Storm Ayres: goed
    Pema Pera: leuk je hier weer te zien!
    Storm Ayres: :-)
    Storm Ayres: blij terug te zijn
    Fael Illyar: Hello
    Storm Ayres: hello
    Pema Pera: Wow, Fael, what an appearance!
    Storm Ayres: nice
    Pema Pera: hungry?
    Fael Illyar: Just a dragon I use sometimes :)
    Pema Pera: quite spectacular!
    Pema Pera: Fael have you met Storm yet, Storm Ayres?
    Fael Illyar: No, not yet, Hello Storm :)
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.

    Fael had joined us as an impression little dragon, all purple except for a little yellow stripe in front.

    Pema Pera: We have a Northern European meeting here :)
    Storm Ayres: hello fael
    Pema Pera: Belgium, Holland, and Finland
    Fael Illyar: Ah :)
    Pema Pera: Not so surprising, given that the Americans are asleep . . . .
    Fael Illyar: Yes, I guess they tend to sleep now :)
    Storm Ayres: he he no
    Pema Pera: that will wake us up!

    Dragon Fael had just demonstrated spewing some fire straight ahead, over the area where the tea water was boiling.

    Pema Pera: now we dont’ have to worry that the wood fire might go out . . . .
    Storm Ayres: :-)
    Pema Pera: we have our own purple lighter!
    Fael Illyar: purple-yellow :)
    Pema Pera: even better!
    Pema Pera: Storm, have you gotten any chance to have a look at our blog perhaps? http://playasbeing.wordpress.com/
    Storm Ayres: yes i did
    Pema Pera: there is a lot of stuff there . . . . .
    Storm Ayres: follow the meetings at it
    Faenik: なるほど^^
    Pema Pera: it must take a lot of time to read it, even part of it!
    Storm Ayres: yes there is a lot to read
    Pema Pera: does it make some sense?
    Storm Ayres: yes it’s
    Fael Illyar: Quite a lot, yes :)
    Pema Pera: in between the lavish amounts of nonsense :)
    Storm Ayres: :-)

    I’m always happily surprised to see the PaB blog actually being read, given the massive amount of material collected on it by now.

    Pema Pera: Is there anything you’d like to comment upon, or ask about, or just something you enjoyed reading?
    Storm Ayres: i found the 9 seconds thing good
    Pema Pera: did you try it a few times?
    Storm Ayres: yes
    Storm Ayres: but it’s all chaos in my head
    Storm Ayres: does’nt work yet for me
    Pema Pera: perhaps there is no way for it to “work” :-)
    Pema Pera: at least at first
    Storm Ayres: no i guess i have to do it more
    Storm Ayres: it will come
    Pema Pera: the main thing is to get into the swing of doing it regularly
    Fael Illyar: It helps to set up an gong every 15 minutes
    Pema Pera: yes, it’s nice to have a reminder
    Storm Ayres: yes
    Pema Pera: did you know that we have a gong here, Storm?
    Pema Pera: since a week or so?
    Storm Ayres: no
    Storm Ayres: did’nt see it
    Storm Ayres: was here yesterday in the garden
    Storm Ayres: is’t there?
    Fael Illyar: there was this mindfulness clock software most people could use, probably.

    Peaceful came in and joined us as well.

    Peaceful Navarathna: Hello, all. :-)
    Pema Pera: Hi Peace!
    Pema Pera: come join us
    Storm Ayres: hello peace
    Fael Illyar: Hello peace
    Pema Pera: in a minute you will hear the gong here, Storm
    Storm Ayres: ok
    Peaceful Navarathna: I hope I’m not interrupting.
    Storm Ayres: no
    Pema Pera: not at all!
    Fael Illyar: http://www.mindfulnessdc.org/mindfulclock.html
    Pema Pera: These are our regular gettogethers, four times a day
    Pema Pera: every six hours
    Pema Pera: you’ve been here before, haven’t you, Paeceful?
    Peaceful Navarathna: Just once, a few days ago, I think.

    At that moment, our new gong reverberated over the landscape around the tea house.

    Pema Pera: there it is!
    Pema Pera: the gong
    Pema Pera: thanks to Fael and Moon
    Pema Pera: did you hear it, Storm?
    Storm Ayres: no i hear the music
    Peaceful Navarathna: My sound has gone. I’m going to need to relog. BRB.
    Pema Pera: whap happens when you tried the 9-sec exploration, Storm, did you feel some kind of chaos?
    Faenik: ah :)
    Storm Ayres: not feeling..just thinking.there pop up a lot in my head if i try it
    Pema Pera: Hi Holden!
    Holden Henig: hi!
    Storm Ayres: all things that not matter
    Holden Henig: Surprused to see anyone here
    Storm Ayres: hi holden
    Holden Henig: hi everyone
    Fael Illyar: Hello Holden
    Holden Henig: hi
    Holden Henig: :)
    Peaceful Navarathna: Hello. :-)
    Holden Henig: hi :)

    Holden had joined us as well, so there were now five of us, quite a crowd for an 1 am SLT meeting. Peaceful had disappeared briefly, to correct his sound settings, and had then reappeared.

    Pema Pera: Perhaps no reason to judge, Storm
    Pema Pera: you can just watch
    Pema Pera: wb Peaceful!
    Pema Pera: perhaps the most important is to just do the 9-sec thing for a few days or even weeks
    Pema Pera: without any expectation
    Pema Pera: and therefore it is also nice to write down a few words
    Pema Pera: each time you do it
    Storm Ayres: yes
    Pema Pera: in a note book or computer file
    Pema Pera: have you tried that?
    Storm Ayres: yes
    Pema Pera: you may be surprised to see some patterns at the end of the day of what at first may have looked like chaos
    Faenik: could be
    Storm Ayres: so out off all the words that pop up in my head i most write some down?
    Pema Pera: yes, just a few — that’s fine
    Pema Pera: and it can be a few of the words that pop up
    Pema Pera: or it can be your feeling about the whole 9 seconds
    Pema Pera: or anything else that seems appropriate
    Pema Pera: at first you can just be a tourist
    Pema Pera: curiously looking at what you are doing in those 9 seconds
    Pema Pera: as if you are visiting a strange new island
    Pema Pera: and you see the natives doing something inscrutable
    Pema Pera: and you just give your impression
    Storm Ayres: a tourist in my own head..like that
    Faenik: なるほど^^
    Holden Henig: pema, I love that idea!
    Pema Pera: to send back to your family at home
    Pema Pera: which is yourself in RL in your normal state
    Pema Pera: basically what we are doing is building bridges
    Pema Pera: between waking and dreaming and PaBing and SL and RL and . . . . WAKING UP TO BEING
    Pema Pera: hahaha
    Pema Pera: but without making that into a goal
    Pema Pera: Thanks, Holden!

    I picked up on an earlier remark by Fael, about the zen story of Gutei’s finger

    Pema Pera: Fael
    Pema Pera: talking about waking up
    Pema Pera: you asked about zen stories the other day
    Pema Pera: I love zen stories. You had some questions?
    Pema Pera: I’d be glad to give my angles on them
    Fael Illyar: I wonder if there’s any left that I remember anymore … I might have to read a few again :)
    Pema Pera: someone with one finger pointing or such
    Pema Pera: what was the name
    Fael Illyar: ah, that one I did ask about.
    Fael Illyar: Gutei’s Finger was the name
    Pema Pera: do you remember the story?
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Fael Illyar: http://www-usr.rider.edu/~suler/zenstory/gutei.html

    I quickly read the story, about a boy mimicking a zen master who always put up one finger as a teaching. After the boy went around mimicking the master, one day the master grabbed the boy’s finger and cut it off.

    Pema Pera: Pretty severe teaching!
    Fael Illyar: Yes, quite so
    Pema Pera: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/glg/glg03.htm may be a better reference
    Pema Pera: especially the poem at the end
    Pema Pera: so many layers of meaning :)
    Fael Illyar: Oh, the one I was reading is missing a part.
    Pema Pera: where shall we start?
    Pema Pera: This is from the Gateless Gate, the Mumonkan, a famous collection of zen stories

    The first web link only contained the core of the story; the second web link gave the whole Mumonkan entry.

    Pema Pera: well, what do you think is the interpretation? Or at least one aspect or part of it?
    Faenik: could be
    Pema Pera: It’s certainly refreshingly shocking — nothing abstract about it!
    Fael Illyar: I guess it’s trying to say that imitation is the wrong approach.
    Pema Pera: yes, indeed, that’s the first interpretation
    Pema Pera: and a very important one.
    Pema Pera: All that zen masers are doing is demonstrating their insight
    Pema Pera: insight in the sense of what they see
    Pema Pera: and if you don’t see what they are pointing at and just copy their behavior, you totally miss the point
    Pema Pera: so Gutei showed the boy, and then the boy saw . . . .
    Pema Pera: but again, if somebody else would copy THAT behavior, it would likely be wrong too, and just cruel
    Pema Pera: Gutei cut off the finger at the point that he realized that the boy was ready to be shocked into seeing . . . .
    Pema Pera: but the commentary then talks about there being no finger no boy no Gutei . . . .
    Pema Pera: and that is another level of interpretation — not interpretation, but seeing, actually
    Pema Pera: compared to REALLY seeing that there is no i no you no finger, cutting off a finger is peanuts, small change, small gesture — hence the “cheapening” in the commentary poem
    Faenik: why not?
    Pema Pera: I’m just giving my interpretation here which does not exhaust anything either of course
    Pema Pera: I’m just trying to walk around and point from what I am able to see
    Pema Pera: So Gutei said at the end of his life that he could not exhaust the teaching of Tenryu, his teacher
    Pema Pera: so in that sense the poem says, in a playful way, that Gutei did not succeed himself as an imitator :-) — but of course, knowing that he could not exhaust it meant that Gutei could really see

    Remembering the last two sessions, in which Dakini and I talked a lot, I had to smile.

    Pema Pera: Hmmm, perhaps I am talking too much again :>). Is this somewhat helpful, Fael?
    Fael Illyar: I guess it is, however, what would exhausting Tenryo’s teachings be?
    Pema Pera: haha, many answers, you’re putting me on the spot :-)
    Pema Pera: one answer would be: it can’t be exhausted
    Pema Pera: another answer would be to not say anything but hold up a flower or the like
    Pema Pera: or just go about your business, since everything IS already exhausted
    Pema Pera: but you see, what you say and do is not important, but the base from which you talk/act
    Pema Pera: If you have seen, even to a small amount, what Being is about, how it is the base of everything then you can respond
    Pema Pera: and anything you say or do points at least in some way in the right direction
    Pema Pera: and then you can deepen that insight
    Pema Pera: the BIG challenge of what we are doing here is to get to that first step
    Pema Pera: What they call in the traditions “transmission”
    Pema Pera: which seems at first sight impossible in a virtual world . . . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . but perhaps it is not impossible, we’ll see :-)
    Pema Pera: am I making any sense at all?
    Fael Illyar: Well, other than that I don’t have a clue what this “transmission” is, yes :)
    Storm Ayres: :-)

    Not easy to point out in a few words, given that the notion of a form of transmission is so much part of the whole tradition it is embedded in. The best example I could think of on the spot was that of mathematics.

    Pema Pera: the best way I know of talking about it is like the way you “teach” someone mathematics
    Pema Pera: A funny type of teaching — since you don’t pour knowledge from your head into that of the other
    Pema Pera: you draw a few lines on paper
    Pema Pera: speak a few sentences
    Pema Pera: and ask “you see?”
    Pema Pera: and the student most likely doesn’t
    Pema Pera: and then you keep adding explanations in slightly different ways
    Pema Pera: and then suddenly the student “sees”
    Fael Illyar: From what I’ve seen most people end up learning imitation math.
    Pema Pera: yes, and their fingers should be cut off ! ! ! !
    Pema Pera: hehehe
    Pema Pera: sorry
    Pema Pera: but yes, real understanding of math requires that you can see how you could have discovered a theorem yourself
    Pema Pera: not only following
    Storm Ayres: :-) i gtg guys..thx for the talk
    Faenik loves wells!
    Pema Pera: thanks for joining us, Storm!
    Pema Pera: come back whenever you like!
    Storm Ayres: i do

    Storm left, and we continued

    Pema Pera: so what is it that is conveyed, given, handed over in true math teaching?
    Pema Pera: A kind of resonance?
    Pema Pera: What do you think, Fael?
    Fael Illyar: But yes, a good point, teaching math is somewhat similar to Zen. I’m starting to see why this one book sort of put them on the same level.
    Pema Pera: of course, any metaphor is limited, like a finger ointing to the moon, math is the finger, seeing Being is the moon, but it gives an idea of direction
    Pema Pera: and especially an idea of what it perhaps is not.
    Pema Pera: you see, no matter what I say, you will very likely, almost certainly, continue to look for something, for some kind of insight — and that is not a bad thing in itself — but you’ll never ever succeed . . . . . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . . and at some point you’ll stop, fail, give up in such a thorough way that you will see what is under your nose, has always been there
    Pema Pera: but if I explain more about this now, it is likely to move away from the core . . . . so tricky . . . .
    Fael Illyar: I think I sort of understand what you’re getting at.
    Pema Pera: you are a beggar living in a simple hut, sleeping on the mud, with a chest full of gold burried a few inches below your head and you don’t have any idea . . . .. . . .
    Pema Pera: this is a traditional image — I’m not making this up :-)
    Fael Illyar: Hello Rajah
    Pema Pera: I heard it many times myself
    Pema Pera: and thought it was a nice story
    Pema Pera: and I had some idea
    Pema Pera: hi Rajah
    Pema Pera: but then when I began to see what it was really pointing at
    Fael Illyar: nice hat :)
    Pema Pera: it was so shocking
    Pema Pera: so different
    Pema Pera: amazing
    Pema Pera: and every few months I am shocked again at how different it is from what I thought was already different
    Pema Pera: like Gutei,
    Pema Pera: I can’t exhaust it :)

    Rajah had walked in, briefly after Storm had left, so there were five of us again.

    Rajah Yalin: hi, not to bre the stories intrrruption…
    Fael Illyar: Ah, I think I finally get that “exhausting”
    Pema Pera: oh, I’m just being talkative Rajah
    Rajah Yalin: lol
    Rajah Yalin: came back from nakamall sarly early, continue..
    Pema Pera: Peace, is there something you’d like to add, ask, suggest?
    Pema Pera: feel free to speak up anytime, we’re never trying to be polite here :)
    Peaceful Navarathna: Not at the moment, no, but thank you.
    Pema Pera: Fael,
    Pema Pera: I suggest you sit with that exhaustion
    Pema Pera: during your twenty minutes a day
    Pema Pera: see whether you can get an idea of what it may be to stop
    Peaceful Navarathna: Though it’s funny you mention mathematics; I’ve been working on the same problem until 5-something in the morning. :-)
    Pema Pera: pehraps even _without_ exhaustion — just stop — no reason to follow the roundabout way of exhaustion — just STOP
    Fael Illyar: the same problem?
    Faenik: なるほど^^
    Pema Pera: what kind of problem?
    Peaceful Navarathna: It spans three notebooks thus far - a little hard to explain.
    Pema Pera: math?
    Peaceful Navarathna: Bayesian statistical analysis.
    Pema Pera: fun!
    Pema Pera: of what?
    Peaceful Navarathna: Anything, really. We’re working in the abstract at the moment, though we do have some Amazonian fish we’ve applied it to. But I really don’t want to get too far afield, apologies. :-)
    Pema Pera: Bayesian statistics is fascinating
    Pema Pera: and its history too!

    I made a suggestion for Fael, a brief three-line algorithmic script.

    Pema Pera: Fael, here is a suggestion, since you like scripting.
    Pema Pera: To try for the 20 minutes, for at least a few days
    Pema Pera: Start by focusing on “stopping” whatever that may mean.
    Pema Pera: Not literally stopping, like stopping your breath, that would be dangerous :)
    Pema Pera: more like dropping
    Pema Pera: any attachment any focus any friction any pushing any doing
    Pema Pera: so that is line 1: stop
    Pema Pera: line 2: look at who is trying to do the stopping
    Pema Pera: line 3: drop the stopper
    Pema Pera: drop whatever it is that wants to drop something
    Pema Pera: so by doing that you are likely to have found a goto to line 1

    As soon as you watch the stopper, the subject that tries to stop, you are likely to turn that one into a watched object. So then the question arising: who is watching that subject-turned-object? Can we drop that object, and then drop the watcher? And who is the witness of that act? We can continued that goto-loop for a while and see what happens.

    Fael Illyar: I think that’s pretty much what I spent 25 minutes doing before logging in
    Pema Pera: since now you are treating yourself, the you you think you are, like an object to be dropped or stopped
    Pema Pera: so keep doing that and see what happens!
    Rajah Yalin: easier said than done forn most people
    Pema Pera: Fael is not “most people” fortunately :)
    Pema Pera: and neither are you all
    Pema Pera: Most people haven’t visited here yet :)
    Pema Pera: sorry, Rajah, don’t want to make fun of what you said
    Pema Pera: of course you’re right
    Pema Pera: but on another level you are wrong
    Pema Pera: we are all wrong
    Pema Pera: it is NOT difficult
    Rajah Yalin: It wasnt tilmiwas kin India i GLimpsed meditating giht
    Pema Pera: it is NOT EVEN difficult
    Faenik loves wells!
    Fael Illyar: except it is :P
    Pema Pera: typing may be :)
    Rajah Yalin: eFFORTLESS effort
    Pema Pera: yes
    Rajah Yalin: sorry for kava typing..
    Pema Pera: haha yes

    After a while my typing also degenerated.

    Fael Illyar: stopping is not difficult. Finding what to stop is :)
    Pema Pera: and who is trying to stop
    Pema Pera: can you find the stopper
    Pema Pera: to seeking-to-stop-per
    Pema Pera: ?
    Pema Pera: *he
    Pema Pera: *the
    Pema Pera: argh
    Pema Pera: the seeking-to-stop-per
    Rajah Yalin: time is my enemy
    Pema Pera: in what way?
    Rajah Yalin: becos its fake but interewoven into all strings of human life
    Rajah Yalin: ow. new discovery. computers are bright. meditation is good for the eyesight, buts the cmputer really myfriend? do I need this thing/? thoughts all over the place
    Fael Illyar blinks in confusion.
    Pema Pera: kava?
    Pema Pera: :)
    Rajah Yalin: lol

    Rajah letting his time story drift our way reminded me that it was time for me to go.

    Pema Pera: if time is fake, it doesn’t seem like a very powerful enemy . . . .
    Rajah Yalin: it shouldnt be
    Pema Pera: is it?
    Rajah Yalin: not to me
    Rajah Yalin: but the resst dont realise it
    Rajah Yalin: someething sabout routine… and sleep.. zzzzz
    Pema Pera: time is my friend, but sometimes a nagging friend, lady time is tucking at my sleeve and asking me to go out to dinner with her now . . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . . so I’d better not disappoint her . . . . .
    Rajah Yalin: yep that its a nag
    Pema Pera: well, great talking with y’all !
    Fael Illyar: :) See you later Pera :)
    Peaceful Navarathna: See you later.
    Fael Illyar: umh, Pema
    Pema Pera: Fael, I look forward to see how you will drop Fael !
    Rajah Yalin: Namaste
    Pema Pera: perhaps Faenik can tell me later :)
    Pema Pera: namaste!
    Fael Illyar dropped
    Pema Pera: I see Fael dropping Fael
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: well done!
    Pema Pera: I heard the thud!!!

    Dragon Fael had first levitated and had then dropped herself.

    Pema Pera: that was dropping the body
    Pema Pera: now how about the mind?
    Faenik: could be
    Fael Illyar is trying to be funny here.
    Rajah Yalin: Lol
    Fael Illyar: Unfortunately, I can’t show you dropping my mind.
    Rajah Yalin: sure ou can
    Pema Pera: oh sure you can

    Rajah and I spoke in unison.

    Pema Pera: haha
    Rajah Yalin: zazen
    Pema Pera: thinking alike
    Pema Pera: that’s what those zen stories are
    Pema Pera: showing how someone drops their mind
    Fael Illyar: I suppose :)
    Rajah Yalin: Plus
    Rajah Yalin: there are SL poses
    Rajah Yalin: it maybe convincng yet
    Pema Pera: quick google search: http://www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachings/augusto/Denkoroku%2051.htm
    Pema Pera: google is great
    Fael Illyar: Well, maybe, I need to go eat too, actually :)
    Pema Pera: here is the poem after the very short story:
    Fael Illyar: See you later :)
    Pema Pera: The ground, clear and bright, has neither surface nor inside. How can there be body and mind to drop away?
    Pema Pera: ground here is Being
    Pema Pera: okay, see you later, Fael
    Pema Pera: and everyone!
    Rajah Yalin: lol
    Rajah Yalin: Namaste
    Rajah Yalin: take cae
    Pema Pera: good seeing you again Peace!
    Peaceful Navarathna: Likewise.
    Pema Pera: Bye Holden, Rajah!
    Faenik: ah :)

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