2008.06.22 13:00 - Strands of a Braid

    Table of contents
    No headers
    Maxine was the guardian that afternoon. She sent me the following log, with her comments. The title is her too.

    Parallel conversations, meandering streams of thought, passionate considerations inspiring amd demarcating the braid of the conversation.

    At the pavilion I was soon joined by Quilty, new to SL and to PaB and then Pia joined us.

    Quilty Bookmite: Is this where the meditation is?
    Maxine Walden: hello, Quilty, yes the playasbeing meeting?
    Quilty Bookmite: Yes.
    Quilty Bookmite: Thank you.
    Maxine Walden: not sure we have met, glad to see you, have you come to some of these meetings before?
    Quilty Bookmite: Yes but only recently.
    Quilty Bookmite: I don’t remember you anyway.
    Maxine Walden: ah, yes, I think all of us feel recent in this
    Quilty Bookmite: :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: I have only been on SL a couple of weeks.
    Maxine Walden: Ah, very new to SL, a lot to get used to
    Maxine Walden: Hi, Pia
    Quilty Bookmite: Indeed.
    Pia Iger: Me, too. hi, there.
    Quilty Bookmite: Hi Pia.
    Maxine Walden: Pia, have you met Quilty, he is new to SL and to playasbeing
    Quilty Bookmite: I don’t think we have met.

    Very soon we got into discussions regarding Playasbeing and the blog

    Pia Iger: I read about him on blog.
    Maxine Walden: ah
    Quilty Bookmite: I’m famous. :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: I should read this blog some time.
    Maxine Walden: yes, it is at playasbeing.wordpress.com
    Maxine Walden: Oh, you may then know, Quilty, that we blog our conversations, such as this one. That is OK with you?
    Quilty Bookmite: Thank you.
    Quilty Bookmite: Yes, that is fine.
    Maxine Walden: great, we always try to check to make sure each of us knows, so no feeling of bypassin privacy
    Maxine Walden: bypassing
    Quilty Bookmite: Very considerate.

    As I was noticing the spacing of us in the pavilion, me across the space while Pia and Quilty were closer together, I wondered whether that spacing would affect the flow of the conversation, specifically whether I would feel more distant from the others in terms of my comments and the first image of strands of a braid came to mind

    Quilty Bookmite: Do you think many others will come?
    Pia Iger: maybe.
    Maxine Walden: Not sure, sometimes 5-6 have come at this time, when I have been the greeter, sometimes fewer

    And indeed some close discussion of PaB but other forms of practice began between Pia and Quilty

    Pia Iger: when was your last time here, Quilty?
    Maxine Walden: but we do not have to wait
    Quilty Bookmite: A couple of days ago I think.
    Pia Iger: I sort of remember you are a British?
    Pia Iger: maybe not. so many ppl on blogs.
    Quilty Bookmite: Yes. :-)
    Pia Iger: Ok.
    Quilty Bookmite: Sorry, I was taking a sneaky look at the blog. :-)
    Pia Iger: Have you give PaB a try?
    Maxine Walden: not to worry, sometimes that helps out, so much to remember
    Quilty Bookmite: No. Is it open to all?
    Pia Iger: yes!
    Quilty Bookmite: I would like to join then. :-)
    Maxine Walden: oh, yes, Pia, would you like to describe it, the Playasbeing practice
    Pia Iger: very simple practice.
    Pia Iger: just stop 9 sec every 15min.
    Quilty Bookmite: What is it based on, if anything?
    Pia Iger: Are you Buddist?

    Quilty spoke of Soto Zen, mentioning some details about work meditation

    Quilty Bookmite: Yes. Soto Zen.
    Pia Iger: I may relate this a little bit to “Sacred Pause” in buddism.
    Quilty Bookmite: I haven’t heard of that.
    Pia Iger: No?
    Quilty Bookmite: It may not be widely spoken of in my tradition.
    Pia Iger: ok. The idea behind this 9 sec practice is to
    Quilty Bookmite: We have a great emphasis on meditation.
    Pia Iger: integrate the meditation to our daily life, by doing it frequently, though breifly everytime.
    Quilty Bookmite: That is a very nice idea.
    Maxine Walden: One of the wonderful things in PaB is that there may be many ways to describe the practice, according to each person’s experience and understanding
    Quilty Bookmite: Soto Zen is largely about integrating meditation into daily life.
    Quilty Bookmite: that’s why we do walking meditation and work meditation.
    Pia Iger: I never hear of work meditation. Can you say more?
    Quilty Bookmite: Well, it is commonly practiced in the abbey or monastery…
    Quilty Bookmite: They have work periods, which of course are necessary.
    Quilty Bookmite: The object during work periods is to focus just on the task you are doing and not let the mind wander.

    Dakini joined us after a brief swim

    Maxine Walden: Hi, Dakini
    Dakini Rhode: hi Max, Pia, Quilty!
    Quilty Bookmite: hi Dakini.
    Pia Iger: Hi, Dakini, did you swim in the moat?
    Dakini Rhode: haha i wondered if anyone saw that
    Maxine Walden: think I heard it!! Water warm?
    Dakini Rhode: very refreshing, and i won’t have to wash these garments now

    And we appreciated her contributions to the pavilion, the teahouse and the PaB endeavor

    Quilty Bookmite: you are the owner of this fine place, Dakini?
    Dakini Rhode: this place belongs to playasbeing, the group
    Quilty Bookmite: I’m sure I hav seen your name around the place.
    Dakini Rhode: I helped a little by building the basic framework, and the group is adding its own touches
    Quilty Bookmite: It is a wonderful work of art. I’m very impressed.
    Dakini Rhode: oh yes, but i see if you click on things my name is there
    Dakini Rhode: as i did build it
    Maxine Walden: but Dakini has done a great deal in terms of the’ building’ of the place, and she did contribute her teahouse to our initial meetings
    Dakini Rhode: ty now i can be a little embarrassed
    Pia Iger: Dakini, you are wearing title “owner”
    Dakini Rhode: yes it comes up that way when i wear my playasbeing hat
    Dakini Rhode: while Pema’s comes up cultivator
    Dakini Rhode: and that is a mystery to me
    Pia Iger: I guess, Pema did it.
    Maxine Walden: little tags of mystery
    Quilty Bookmite: :-)

    Pia mentions to Dakini the previous topic and we each muse about mindfulness and the essentials of our meditative practice

    Pia Iger: BTW, we were talking about integrating meditation into daily life.
    Dakini Rhode: we have the same little boxes checked, so not sure why the diff
    Dakini Rhode: good topic, please let’s return to it
    Maxine Walden: Quilty was speaking about such integration, Quilty were you in mid-thought?
    Quilty Bookmite: i was talking about work meditation, which we do in my practice.
    Quilty Bookmite: It is an essential part of any retreat.
    Quilty Bookmite: The idea is to stay focussed on whatever task you are given.
    Quilty Bookmite: It is surprising what widely diverse tasks lend themselves to work meditation, not just the simple things.
    Maxine Walden: Does that mean bringing the mind back to the task if it begins to wander?
    Quilty Bookmite: Exactly so.
    Quilty Bookmite: just as you would do in meditation.
    Quilty Bookmite: More like WHEN it begins to wander in my case. :-)
    Maxine Walden: Maybe that applies to each of us, when the mind wanders
    Quilty Bookmite: The most senior monks in our order admit to their minds wandering. It is part of being human I think. :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: I think the key is not to be hard on yourself. Just realize you are doing it and gently coax yourself back.

    But it also seemed to me, reading back over these notes, that in our sharings, something also began to occur which I felt to be individual strands, maybe comprised of our unique experiences where we were speaking along parallel tracks

    Maxine Walden: Seems so, the humanity of wanderings
    Dakini Rhode: if you were to describe your essential meditation practice, while sitting on the cushion (not in the work meditation) how would you describe it?
    Quilty Bookmite: It has often been described as “just sitting”.
    Quilty Bookmite: There isn’t really a point of focus or visualisation. In some ways this makes it harder than other forms of meditation.
    Dakini Rhode: I should think that would be fairly easy to carry into the rest of your life, though
    Quilty Bookmite: Sometimes. :-)
    Dakini Rhode: My practice is similar - unfocused awareness, but retaining the thread of attention, of mindfulness
    Dakini Rhode: not sure whether that came out right
    Quilty Bookmite: Sounds fine to me.
    Dakini Rhode: k

    And that in tuning into the fine detail, some concepts such as precepts and refuge emerged and the three jewels emerged and were spoken to. To my mind as the conversation continued there was both the sense of sharing our views/understandings while also focusing on these strands, something shared but also demarcating as the individual strands of a braid all contribute to the common braid while maintaining their individuality.

    Quilty Bookmite: Are you a Buddhist?
    Dakini Rhode: yes
    Dakini Rhode: are you?
    Quilty Bookmite: Yes.
    Dakini Rhode: i should say, i practice tibetan buddhist meditation
    Dakini Rhode: without labelling myself a buddh “ist”
    Quilty Bookmite: So does my wife.
    Quilty Bookmite: I am definitiely a “Buddhist”. I took the precepts.
    Dakini Rhode: i took refuge
    Quilty Bookmite: Sounds the same.
    Quilty Bookmite: We have a week long retreat with various ceremonies. Part of it is taking refuge.
    Maxine Walden: I would appreciate hearing a bit more about ‘precepts’ and ‘refuge’ re each of your experience
    Quilty Bookmite: i think the precepts are an important part of bringing meditation into daily life.
    Dakini Rhode: the cultural and religious aspects are something i’m not 100% in tune with, since i was not born in that culture and find them easier to just defer rather than try to put on
    Quilty Bookmite: I was born into a Christian culture but got put off it at an early age.
    Quilty Bookmite: not that I think now that there is anything wrong with Christianity itself.
    Maxine Walden: I see, asking as not one born into the culture either
    Quilty Bookmite: The tradition I am part of came from Japan but it has been adapted for the west.
    Dakini Rhode: I’m at the subtraction stage… where if i identify a belief, I decide whether it’s essential, and basically let it go if it is not
    Quilty Bookmite: I have no belief. :-)
    Pia Iger: cool.
    Dakini Rhode: yes, Quilty
    Quilty Bookmite: Actually, i’m sure that isn;t true. I must have some beliefs.
    Dakini Rhode: well if you find one, you can decide whether to let it go
    Dakini Rhode: I have some basic belief that meditation practice is helpful
    Quilty Bookmite: I believe I exist although my practice may prove to me otherwise. :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: I know meditation is helpful because I have seen it for myself. I don;t know if that constitutes a belief.
    Maxine Walden: but could I ask about the concept of ‘refuge’ which is something each of us probably seeks intuitively, whether refuge from aspects of the ourter or inner world
    Dakini Rhode: to get back to your question, Maxine, I took refuge in the 3 jewels
    Maxine Walden: 3 jewels?
    Quilty Bookmite: We call them the 3 treasures. Same thing though.
    Pia Iger: (Isen gave us a notecard of Take Refuge at Zazen the other day)
    Dakini Rhode: the buddha, the dharma, and the sangha - or to put it another way, in the principle of enlightenment, in the teachings, and in my fellow students on th epath
    Pia Iger: very helpful to me ,the notecard
    Dakini Rhode: refuge as an acknowledgement that this is what will be helpful to me in my path
    Dakini Rhode: my home base
    Maxine Walden: ah…
    Quilty Bookmite: The three treasures are part of the precepts i took.
    Pia Iger gave Maxine Walden 6-16-08 Taking Refuge (on wings of angels).
    Dakini Rhode: (3 jewels = 3 treasures)
    Quilty Bookmite: There is also the 3 pure precepts: Cease from evil, do only good and do good for others.
    Quilty Bookmite: Then there is the 10 precepts.
    Quilty Bookmite: but I won’t list them. :-)
    Maxine Walden: thanks Pia for the notecard but does not want to interrupt the conversation
    Dakini Rhode: rather than focusing so much on the precepts etc (and maybe i’m trying to take a shortcut, i don’t know) but this is my way… I think that if I touch the heart of enlightenment these things will be naturally present
    Dakini Rhode: brb
    Pia Iger: np. Maxine, just in case want to read it later.
    Quilty Bookmite: I think that is right. the precepts are there as a guide. the person who is truly enlightened probably doesn’t need them .
    Pia Iger: Ppl should not take them as dogma
    Maxine Walden: this is wonderfully informing, and I am aware it is almost 1:45 when we should get another bell, would it be interesting to just pause for 9 or more sec to see what our experience is when it rings?
    Quilty Bookmite: That is part of the koan of the precepts.
    Quilty Bookmite: Also that it is impossible to keep the precepts absolutely.
    Quilty Bookmite: in some circumstances one precept can contradict another.
    Quilty Bookmite: This points the way to something deeper, beyond the precepts themselves.
    Pia Iger: Quilty, very well said.
    Quilty Bookmite: :-)
    Dakini Rhode: maybe it’s my age, but i’m in the subtraction stage, and that’s probably on reason PaB appeals so much to me
    Dakini Rhode: one reason
    Quilty Bookmite: What do you mean by the subtraction stage?
    Dakini Rhode: subtracting beliefs, i guess that is similar to letting go of beliefs, and not only beliefs but whatever isn’t essential.
    Dakini Rhode: simplifying my life and my mind
    Quilty Bookmite: Sounds rather like Daoism. :-)
    Dakini Rhode: oh dear, i hope it “is”n’t an “ism”
    Pia Iger: We are not any ism
    Dakini Rhode: i hope it’s getting to being
    Quilty Bookmite: there is always an ism lurking when you least want it. :-)
    Dakini Rhode: lol
    Dakini Rhode: “is”n’t that true..
    Pia Iger: We identify by using labels.
    Quilty Bookmite: Have read anything on Daoism?
    Pia Iger: but most labels do not fit
    Quilty Bookmite: Hi Bertrum.
    Pia Iger: Hi, Bertrum,
    Bertrum Quan: hi all
    Dakini Rhode: Hi Bert!
    Pia Iger: One thing I like PaB
    Pia Iger: is to encourage us to look inside ourself,

    We spoke about reading outside but also looking inside ourselves in our journeys. As I got ready to leave the conversation this aspect of curiosity and internal wisdom seemed to be prominent

    Maxine Walden: (just to mention that I will need to leave in about 5 minutes for another meeting and would be happy to take the log since it is my turn to do so, but if anyone else would like to send the subsequent log to Pema that would be fine, as this is such a vigorous discussion)
    Pia Iger: not to read books, or look for other’s wisdom
    Pia Iger: through those helps.
    Pia Iger: but essentially we need to look inside ourself
    Quilty Bookmite: Wisdom of others can often be useful.
    Quilty Bookmite: But I also find that I need to stop reading books at some point.
    Dakini Rhode: and of course looking inside might lead us to some teachings….
    Dakini Rhode: might awaken some curiousity
    Quilty Bookmite: In other words, stop reading and start doing. :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: It helps me that I have a “teacher”.
    Dakini Rhode: it’s quite alright to read, i think
    Pia Iger: Yes, they are helpful.
    Pia Iger: but not essential.
    Quilty Bookmite: True. :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: Although i would never have found my practice without my teacher and for that I am very grateful.

    I was aware that I was leaving a still vital discussion and Pia said she would take the rest of the log

    Maxine Walden: I have a sense this conversation has awakened much curiosity on each of our parts, each putting another strand into the weave, and that it will continue beyond this time, or the time that I can spend here today. Also various strands, some independent, seem to be part of our discussion.
    Dakini Rhode: It’s hard to say where this PaB leads, not having completed my journey…
    Pia Iger: Maxine, I can send rest of log if we talk more..
    Quilty Bookmite: There will also be other conversations. :-)
    Maxine Walden: Pia, or Dakini, I will need to leave and will take the log so far…oh, good, Pia, thanks for taking the rest of the log
    Quilty Bookmite: I need to go soon as well. getting near bedtime.
    Maxine Walden: OK, thanks all, lovely conversation, see soon.
    Maxine Walden: Bye
    Dakini Rhode: In the past few months, the practice has led me to sped time with my sangha… and closer to my teacher…
    Quilty Bookmite: Thank you. It has been a pleasure.
    Pia Iger: bye, Maxine and Quilty, was pleasure.
    Dakini Rhode: bye maxine, thank you

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